Cherson (theme)

The theme of Cherson (Greek θέμα Χερσῶνος, subject Chersōnos ) originally and formally called climates (Greek τὰ Κλίματα ), was a Byzantine theme in the southern Crimea, whose capital was Kherson.

The theme was officially established in the 830ern and was an important center of the Black Sea Trade. Despite the destruction of the city of Kherson in the 980ern the subject was able to recover and prosper. It was after the Fourth Crusade part of the Empire of Trebizond.


The area of southern Crimea has long been under the control of the Roman and later the Byzantine Empire, after which it came into the possession of the Khazars. The Byzantine control was restored under Emperor Theophilus (reigned 829-842 ). Traditionally, the emergence of the theme of Cherson on 833/834 is dated, but modern historians believe that was founded in the issue in connection with the construction of the new Khazar capital Sarkel in 839 and see in Petronas Kamateros, the builder of Sarkel, the first strategos of the theme (about 840/841 ). First, the new theme ta climates, " regions / districts " was mentioned, but because of the importance of the capital city of Kherson, it was colloquially referred to as 860 and even in public documents as " topic of Kherson ."

About this topic, the Byzantines came with the Khazars and then with the Pechenegs and Rus in contact. The issue was more of a center of Byzantine diplomacy in the steppes as a military force, since the Byzantine garrison did not exceed some local militias.

Kherson flourished in the 9th - 11th Century as a center for the Black Sea trade, even though it was 988/989 destroyed by Vladimir I.. The city recovered quickly: the fortifications were rebuilt and extended in the 11th century to the port. After the death of Georgios Tzul 1016 the theme was extended to the eastern Crimea, after which the title of Leo Aliates as " strategos of Cherson and Sougdaia " in 1059 suggests. This area was fast back to the Cumans lost. About the Kherson 12th century nothing is known, suggesting a relatively quiet phase. Kherson remained until 1204 in the Byzantine hand, when it passed into the hands of the Empire of Trebizond (see Perateia ).


The theme of Cherson seems to have had a typical themed order. A tour March of Gothia is known from the 11th century. The cities of the theme enjoyed a high degree of independence, for example, Kherson was ruled by local rulers themselves ( Archontes ) under a Proteuon ( " the first "). Kherson to mint his own coins; for a long time this was the only Byzantine coin outside of Constantinople Opel. The autonomy of the subject is also made clear that the imperial government to local rulers paid tribute ( Pakta ), and in the book De Imperio administrando the local strategos in case of a revolt advised suspend payments and avoid another city of the topic. In the late 11th century, the area was ruled by a Katepano.