A little about the Armenians of Byzantium

In the late Seventh century, numerous nakharars and thousands of Armenians settled in Byzantium (Constantinople, Thrace, Pergamum, Macedonia, and Cyprus). Many famous “Byzantines” were descended from these Armenian migrants.

Among them was the great general Vrtanes (Bardanes Philipicoa) of Pergamum who became emperor (711-713). Basil I, perhaps the most important Byzantine emperor after Justinian, was the son of Armenian immigrants. He was born in Macedonia.

After his conquest of Constantinople, Fatih Sultan brought Turks and Armenians to the city to reduce the influence of the Greek majority. He settled the Armenians in the Koumkapou district of the city. He also helped establish the Armenian Patriarchate in the city.

By Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto

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