Constantine Gabras

Constantine Gabras (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Γαβρᾶς) was the governor or doux (duke) of the Byzantine province of Chaldia, around Trebizond on the Black Sea coast of Anatolia, in what is today north-eastern Turkey. He ruled Chaldia as a semi-independent prince between 1126 and 1140.



The province of Chaldia effectively became a fief of the Gabrades (the Gabras family) as his father, Theodore Gabras, preceded him as governor. In the 1090s his older brother Gregory had plotted against the emperor Alexios I Komnenos and had been imprisoned.[1]

After service as strategos of Philadelphia,[2] Constantine became doux of Chaldia some time, probably quite shortly, before the death of Alexios I in 1118.[1] Constantine seems to have been less rash in his politics than his brother, though he managed to rule Trebizond more or less free of central authority between 1126 and 1140. Choniates refers to him as the "tyrant of Trebizond."[3] Extant examples show that he minted his own lower denomination coinage.[4] In 1140 the emperor John II Komnenos moved into Chaldia with the main Byzantine army in order to campaign against the Danishmend Turks. This display of force was enough to overawe Constantine Gabras and the region came under direct Imperial control once more.[5]

Later history of his family

Following their loss of power many of the Gabras dynasty gravitated to the court of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, where one member became vizier to the sultan Kilij Arslan II. A son of Constantine Gabras, also named Constantine, however, became a trusted minister of Manuel I Komnenos. He led an important, and successful, diplomatic mission to the Seljuk sultan Kilij Arslan II in 1162. No doubt his mission was helped by the family contacts he would have had at the Seljuk court.[3]


  1. ^ a b Angold p. 130
  2. ^ Kazhdan, p. 812
  3. ^ a b Choniates, p. 69
  4. ^ Grierson, pp. 228-229
  5. ^ Angold p. 157


  • Angold, Michael (1984). The Byzantine Empire 1025–1204. Longman, Harlow Essex. 
  • Choniates, Niketas. Historia. English translation: Magoulias, H. (O City of Byzantium: Annals of Niketas Choniates). Detroit, 1984. ISBN 0-814-31764-2
  • Grierson, Philip, (1982), Byzantine Coins, Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0416713602
  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed (1991). Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6. 

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