Despot Ivanko
Faction Principality of the Rhodopes
Role Ruler
Fief(s) Tsepina

Despot Ivanko is the ruler of the Principality of the Rhodopes.

Historical Background Edit

Despot Ivanko is first mentioned in 1196. At that time, the Bulgarian Tsardom was ruled by Tsar Petar IV and Tsar Asen, his cousins. Upon returning from a particularly successful campaign, Tsar Asen discovered that Ivanko has had an affair with the sister of Asen's wife. The tsar called for a meeting with Ivanko immediately, in the middle of the night. The latter, with the aid of his friends and probable co-conspirators, hid a sword beneath his mantle and stabbed Tsar Asen during the meeting. He then took control over Tarnovgrad, Tsar Asen's seat of power, attempting to take the Bulgarian throne for himself. However, Asen's elder and senior ruler of the state, Tsar Petar, gathered an army and besieged Ivanko in Tarnovo. The Roman reinforcement, upon which Ivanko had relied, didn't arrive and thus he managed to sneak out at night from the city and flee to Constantinople, where he was richly rewarded. He quickly became a favourite of the Emperor Alexios Angelos, adopting the name Alexios himself (which is how Niketas Choniates f.e. usually calls him), and was even betrothed to Theodora Angelina, the emperor's underaged granddaughter. He was also given command of the region of Philippolis, near the Bulgarian border, where he fought for a time against his former countrymen.

Soon, however, he started gathering a personal army of his own, recruited from the local Bulgarians, and around 1197 or 1198 he rebelled against the empire, signing a truce and possibly even an alliance with Tsar Kaloyan, the new ruler of the Bulgarian Tsardom and younger brother of Petar and Asen. In 1198, the forces of Protostrator Manuel Kamytzes were sent against him. Unable to hold the city of Philippopolis, Ivanko fled to the Rhodopean Mountains and its numerous strongholds. Manuel Kamytzes followed him, but was defeated and captured after a battle near Batkun. In the summer of 1200, Theodora Angelina's stepfather, Theodore Laskaris, launched a new offensive against Ivanko's holdings. After seeing the impregnability of the Rhodopean fortresses, he convinced the emperor to guarantee a peaceful meeting with Ivanko, aiming to negotiate a peace and re-admission of Ivanko back among the Roman officials. Having believed the emperor's oaths, Ivanko went to the meeting and was captured, possibly being executed soon after.

Game Info Edit

Family Edit

Family (Historical) Edit

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