1. Historical framework
The rebellion of Manuel Maurozomes was staged as soon as the Latin crusaders captured Constantinople for a second time (April 13, 1204) during the Fourth Crusade, and established Latin administration. Because the Latin rule was unwelcome to the citizens some members of the aristocracy escaped to free regions and created new states supported by the local populations. Theodore I Laskaris, the son-in-law of Alexios III Angelus (1195-1203), was at the time struggling to create in Asia Minor a new state in the area of Nicaea, aiming to continue the Byzantine Empire. As a result of the political instability in the free regions of the empire, several independent states were formed in the Byzantine provinces of Asia Minor. Theodore Mangaphas had imposed himself upon Philadelphia as an independent ruler, Sabas Asidenos in Samson, near Miletus, while in the same period Manuel Maurozomes was attempting to establish an independent rule in the region of Phrygia. The rebellion of the latter was also favoured by the restoration of Kaykhusraw I (1192-1196, 1204/5-1211) to the throne of the Sultanate of Ikonion. Manuel, who was a relative of the Seljuk sultan, found a loyal ally in his attempt to impose himself as an independent ruler in the area.
2. Manuel Maurozomes' rebellion
After Constantinople fell to the Latins (Αpril 1204), Manuel Maurozomes (who had escaped from the city shortly before the fall) fled to Asia Minor, where he was arrested by the Byzantines of Nicaea. Maurozomes managed to get away and sought shelter in his son-in-law, Kaykhusraw I, who had just been restored to the throne of the sultanate of Ikonion.1 With his support the rebel tried to establish an independent rule in the region of Phrygia and the Meander River. In 1204/5, helped by Türkmen nomads and Seljuk mercenaries of the sultan, Maurozomes looted and raided the valley of Meander, aiming to consolidate his position in Phrygia.
Maurozomes with his troops was a serious threat to Emperor Theodore I, who wanted to have absolute control over the Phrygian provinces, thus eliminating a possible attack from the Sultanate of Ikonion. In early 1205 Laskaris, who had imposed himself on Bithynia, turned against the revolter of Phrygia. At first he managed to restrict his activities, while towards the end of the same year he had to confront him once again. In a battle fought somewhere in Phrygia, the mercenaries of Maurozomes were dispersed, the leading were arrested and Maurozomes fled in disorder.2 However, in February/March 1206, Theodore I, fearing for a Seljuk attack and having to deal with the invasion of David Komnenos (the brother of Alexios I Grand Komnenos, emperor of Trebizond) in Paphlagonia, the rebellions of minor local rulers as well as the constant attacks of the Latins of Constantinople against the provinces of western Asia Minor, was forced to come to terms with the Seljuk sultan. As part of that agreement, Laskaris recognised the independence of Maurozomes and gave him the command of the cities of Laodikeia and Chonai near Hierapolis. However, according to the conditions of the agreement, Manuel would be subjected to the sultan of Ikonion.3 The two cities remained under Maurozomes until his death, when they were incorporated into the Seljuk possessions.4
Manuel Maurozomes rebelled when Constantinople was captured by the Latins and his movement became one of the most serious concerns of the new emperor of Nicaea, Theodore I Laskaris. As it happened with the rest of the separationist movements of the time, Maurozomes’ rebellion caused problems for Theodore I in his attempt to establish a powerful state in NW Asia Minor. Things changed in the years of John III Vatatzes, when the latter adopted strict measures in order to reinforce the state power and control court aristocracy and provincial rulers, two of the major factors responsible for the emergence of separationist movements.
1. Τhe throne of Kaykhusraw I was usurped in 1196 by his brother, Rukn ad-Din Suleiman Shah. See Σαββίδης, Α., Βυζαντινά στασιαστικά και αυτονομιστικά κινήματα στα Δωδεκάνησα και τη Μικρά Ασία, 1189-1240 μ.Χ.: Συμβολή στη μελέτη της υστεροβυζαντινής προσωπογραφίας και τοπογραφίας την εποχή των Αγγέλων, των Λασκαρίδων της Νίκαιας και των Μεγαλοκομνηνών του Πόντου (Athens 1987), p. 232.
2. Van Dieten, J.A. (ed.), Nicetae Choniatae Historia (Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 11, Berlin – New York 1975), p. 626.47-73.
3. In this capacity Manuel Maurozomes took part in the campaign of the Seljuks of Ikonion against Armenia Minor in 1215.
4. According to Langdon, J., Byzantium’s last imperial offensive in Asia Minor. The documentary evidence for and hagiographical lore about John III Ducas Vatatzes crusade against the Turks, 1222 or 1225 to 1231 (New York 1992), p. 49, n. 22, the city of Laodikeia came temporarily under the rule of John III Vatatzes around 1226/7.