Chersonesos Tauride

Chersonese Tauric, or simply Chersonese (ancient Greek: "peninsula"; in the Byzantine time - Kherson, in the Genoese period - Sarsona, in the Russian chronicles - Korsun) - a policy founded by the ancient Greeks on the Heraclean peninsula on the southwestern coast of Crimea ... Nowadays, the Chersonesos settlement is located on the territory of the Gagarinsky district of Sevastopol. For two thousand years, Chersonesos was a large political, economic and cultural center of the Northern Black Sea region, where it was the only Dorian colony.

History of Chersonesus

Chersonesos was a Greek colony founded in 529/528. BC e. immigrants from Heraclea Pontic, located on the Asia Minor coast of the Black Sea. It is located in the southwestern part of Crimea, near the bay, which is currently called Karantinnaya. In the earliest layers of Chersonesos, archaeologists have found a significant number of shards (fragments) of archaic black-figure ceramics, which date back to no later than the 6th century. BC BC)

A little over a hundred years after its foundation, the territory of Chersonesos already occupied the entire area of ​​the peninsula lying between Karantinnaya and Pesochnaya bays (translated from Greek “Chersonesos” means peninsula, and the Hellenes called the southern coast of Crimea Taurica (country of Tauri)). Chersonesos took an active part in general Greek holidays, sports competitions, and pursued an active foreign policy. In the IV-III centuries. BC e. Chersonesus issues massive series of silver coins that successfully competed with other currencies of the Black Sea region.

Description of the history of Chersonesus by the historian Sirisk

In the III century. BC e. the historian Sirisk lived in Chersonesos, who described the history of the city and its relationship with the Bosporus and other cities of the Black Sea region. The mention of this historian was preserved by a memorable decree dating from the second half of the 3rd century. BC e.

During all the years of the state's existence, the Chersonesites had to wage wars. In the II century BC. e. there was a bloody, long war with the Scythians. Kerkinitida was lost, Kalos Limen was destroyed, the enemy repeatedly stood at the gates of the city. Chersonesos was forced to turn for help to the Pontic king Mithridates VI Yevpator, who sent a large detachment to the Crimea, led by the commander Diophantus.

Acting at the head of the united army, which included Chersonesos and Pontic troops, Diophantus defeated the Scythians during three campaigns (about 110-107 BC), took Theodosia, marched to the Kerch Peninsula and captured Panticapaeum. However, Chersonesos also failed to maintain its independence: it became part of the state of Mithridates. Since then, the city has been in constant dependence on the Bosporus state.

Modification of the map of the Eastern Mediterranean

After the death of Mithridates VI Eupator, the political map of the entire Eastern Mediterranean changed dramatically. Choosing the lesser of the two evils, the Chersonesites sought to "stand under the firm hand" of Rome as a "free city" and get rid of the humiliating tutelage of the semi-barbarian kings of the Bosporus. The Roman dictator Guy Julius Caesar gave the city what he wanted. However, later, following their favorite principle of "divide and conquer", the Roman emperors either subjugated the city to their allies - the Bosporan kings, then gave it "freedom" when it was necessary to restrain the ambitions of the Bosporan monarchs.

In the first centuries A.D. e. in Chersonesos, an oligarchic republic was established, power in which belonged to an insignificant circle of influential, noble and obedient to Rome. In the 60s of the 1st century, the Romans organized a large military expedition to Taurica to repel the Scythians who again threatened the city. After the defeat of the Scythians by the troops of the tribune Plautius Silvanus, Chersonesos became an outpost of the Roman troops in the Northern Black Sea region.

In the citadel of the city, replacing and complementing each other, there were detachments of the I Italian, XI Claudian and V Macedonian legions from the province of Lower Moesia (ter. Modern Bulgaria), and the ships of the Moesian Flavian fleet were based in the Chersonesus harbor. In the city there was the headquarters of the military tribune, who commanded the land and sea forces in the Crimea.

Monument to Andrew the First-Called in Chersonesos

At the turn of the III - IV centuries. the first followers of Christianity appear in Chersonesos. With the beginning of a new era, Christianity penetrates into Chersonesos, in the 5th century. it becomes the official religion. Monuments of ancient art, theaters, temples are ruthlessly destroyed, they are replaced by Christian churches and chapels. As part of the Roman state in the IV-V centuries. the city is waging a grueling struggle for survival, holding back the strongest onslaught of barbarians, among whom the Huns were particularly ferocious. Chersonesos, protected by powerful defensive walls, continues to live for another millennium, but already under the conditions of a new, feudal system.

Chersonesos within the Byzantine Empire

In the 5th century, Chersonesos became part of the Byzantine Empire, and in the 9th century. became one of its military-administrative areas. By this time, not only the appearance of the medieval city had changed, but also its name: the Byzantines called it Kherson, the Slavs - Korsun. Until the XIII century. he was an outpost of Byzantium in the Crimea. In this half-millennium of its history, Kherson found itself at the crossroads of the military-political interests of the Khazar Kaganate, Kievan Rus, Pechenegs and Polovtsians, but the enemy managed to enter the city limits only once. In 988, the Kiev prince Vladimir, after several months of siege, captured the city. The capture of Korsun allowed Vladimir to dictate his terms to Emperor Vasily II and to marry the Byzantine princess Anna. In the minds of the ancient Russian chroniclers, the capture of Korsun is inextricably linked with the Baptism of Rus and preceded the spread of Orthodoxy among the Russian people.

The collapse of the Byzantine Empire

The failure of the IV Crusade in 1204 led to the collapse of the Byzantine Empire into a number of small states and a sharp activation of Muslim and nomadic peoples. All this had the most sad consequences for Chersonesos. In the first half of the XIII century. the Seljuk Turks became the masters of the Black Sea region, subjugating all transit trade. In 1223 the Mongol hordes of Khan Batu made their first raid on the Crimea; the southern coast of the peninsula was attacked by the Seljuk Turks. In 1299, the southern and southwestern Taurica was devastated by the horde of the Tatar Khan Nogai. Chersonesos could not resist either. In the second half of the XIII century. the main trade routes moved to the eastern part of Taurica, where the Genoese founded their trading posts Kafu (modern Feodosia), Soldayu (modern Sudak), and Chembalo (modern Balaklava) appeared near Kherson.

Devastation of Chersonesos by the Lithuanian prince

In the middle of the XIV century. control over the city was exercised by the Genoese, but it was not possible to return it to its former power. The Grand Duke of Lithuania Olgerd, defeated the Crimean Tatar army in 1363 near the mouth of the Dnieper, invaded the Crimea, devastated Chersonesos and seized all the valuable church items here. His successor Vitovt in 1397 went to the Crimea, reached Kaffa and again destroyed Chersonesos.

One should not think that in the XIII - XIV centuries. the Chersonites humbly watched the extinction of the life of their native city. On the contrary, the city walls and towers were repaired, services were performed in churches, streets were paved, workshops worked, inns were not empty ... Residential buildings were decorated with ornamental carvings, paintings, and figured cornices. But in 1399 the temnik Edigei betrayed the city to fire and sword.

After this crushing blow, Chersonesos was not destined to rise. Chersonesos was primarily a trading city, which disappeared because it could not withstand competition with the Genoese colonies: Kafa, Cembalo and others. They took over the trade in the Black Sea basin. Considering the mores of the Genoese merchants, one can imagine that not all methods of dealing with Chersonesos were honest.

In the first half of the 15th century. the life of a small fishing village still glimmered, but soon the population left it too. The city died ... In the 16th century. Polish ambassador Martin Braniewski writes about Chersonesos: “The amazing ruins very clearly testify that it was once a magnificent, rich and glorious city of the Greeks, populous and glorious for its harbor. Throughout the entire width of the peninsula, from coast to another, even now there is a high wall and towers, numerous and large of hewn huge stones. This city stands empty and uninhabited and represents nothing but ruins and devastation. Houses lie in the dust and are razed to the ground ... ".