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Turkish Raiders Against the Island of Rhodes: From the end of the 11th to the 14th Century
Aleksis G. K. SAVVIDIS
Çeviren: Esin OZANSOY*

Regrettably several centuries passed without historical references in the period between the Arab and the Turkish raids on Rhodes, but this fact does not mean that the island was not raided and plundered by other invaders, particularly by Europeans in the period of the Crusades, it is difficult to judge the veracity of the sources regarding the 1090 raid of the Seljuk Emir of Smyrna (Izmir), Tzachas (Chaka), recorded by Zonaras in the 12th century, because there are no parallel Byzantine or other source. However, the information provided by Anna Comnena that around the year 1097 the Turks constructed ships on Chios and Rhodes may imply that they had in fact become the masters of Rhodes some years before, which may well coincide with the alleged capture of Rhodes by Tzachas in 1090.

However, a clearer picture of the Turcoman raids on Rhodes is presented in the late Byzantine sources dating from the rule of the Palaeologus dynasty-particularly in the period following the regime of the Gabalas semi-independent dynasty in the period after 1250. In this period the island found itself once again loosely attached to the Constantinople regime, but under the control of various Western ex-corsairs, who had put themselves in the service of the first Palaeologus Emperors. Michael VIII and Andronicus II.

Those Turcoman, who were to launch successive raids on Rhodes and the nearby islands in the final decades of the 13th and in the early 14th century, were formerly associated with the maritime Emirate of Aydın. However, recent research has shown that they were, in fact, associated with the Emirate of Menteshe, which was founded directly to the south, and adjacent to the Aydın Emirate, on the southwestern corner of Anatolian. The Emirate of Menteshe had been founded a few decades earlier. Moreover, the forerunners of the Menteshe had around 1278 attempted the first long-scale Turcoman landing on Rhodes from the adjacent Anatolian coastline of Marce/Eethiye. They occupied the island's eastern section for a considerable time, until 1282/83. In the early 14th century the Menteshe Turcomans would intensify their efforts to establish a neutral zone around their possessions, this policy led to them launch frequent attacks on Rhodes in 1302-3, in 1303-4 and in 1307. The Turcoman remnants were eventually evicted from Rhodes after 1309/10, when the island passed into the hands of the Hospitaller Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.

In the spite of the initial efforts towards esteblishing peace between the Menteshe Emir, Masud and the Grand Master of the Hospitaller Knights, Fulques de Villaret, the ambitious Emir tried, unsuccessfully, to occupy parts of the islands in 1311/12, yet for more than two centuries from 1309/10 to 1522/23 the Knights were able to thwart incessant Turcoman, Mumluk and Ottoman raids on Rhodes, until the final annexation of Rhodes, the "Island of Roses" by the Ottoman Sultanate in 1523.

*Yunanca aslından çeviren: Yard. Doç. Dr. Esin Ozansoy, İstanbul Üniversitesi, Edebiyat Fakültesi, Çağdaş Yunan ve edebiyatı Anabilim Dalı, Fen P.T.T. 34459 - İstanbul.

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