Tatikios (A Byzantine Commander of Turkish Origin)
Keywords: Byzantine Empire, Tatikios, XI. Century, Seljuk Turks, Anatolia
The Byzantine commander Tatikios, a Turk of Pechenek (a Turkoman tribe) origins, being a friend of Emperor Alexius I since his childhood, stayed with him for all his life as a close and trusted friend. On the basis of the information provided by Nicophoros Bryennios and Anna Comnena, we know that Tatikios was taken prisoner by John Comnenus and then was educated together with John's son, Alexius. Tatikios was praised not just for his heroism and war -like qualities, but also for his prudent personality and foresight. We also know that Tatikios was a constant companion of Comnenus, accompanied him in all his expeditions in Anatolia and the Balkans and by uncovering a plot against him, saved his life. He participated, under the Byzantine banner, in the siege of İznik by the armies of the First Crusade and contributed to its fall to the emperor. As a guide to the armies of the First Crusade, he led them across Anatolia and participated in their siege of Antakya. Taken in by the treacherous words of Bohenund, he became convinced that Antakya would never fall and went to the isle of Cyprus together with all the Byzantine military units by means of ships in the Samandağ (Süveydiye) port. When Comnenus I learned in 1099 that the navy of Pisa was plundering the isles of Corfu, Leucas, Cephalonia and Zakyntos in the Adriatic Sea, he put together a navy against the Pisans under the command of Tatikios, who was honored with the title of "most glorious admiral." This fleet set sail from İstanbul and defeated the Pisan navy between the isles of Patara and Rhodes, but was not able to destroy it completely, because of a storm. Tatikios then went to Cyprus and from there returned to İstanbul. We do not have any precise information concerning the death of Tatikios.