CHKHAIDZE V.N. Leo Sgouros – Tyrant and Patriot. The Ruler of the Northeastern Peloponnese in the Early 13th Century

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2017.5.19 

Viktor N. Chkhaidze

Candidate of Sciences (History), Researcher,

Institute of Archaeology, RAS, 

Dm. Ulyanova St., 19, 117036 Moscow, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0806-6218


Abstract. Leo Sgouros is one of the Byzantine magnates who ruled in the northeastern Peloponnese in the late 12th – early 13th centuries. The paper discusses the separatist activity of the Leo Sgouros which allowed him in a short time to create ephemeral ‘state’ in the South of Thessaly, Boeotia, Attica, Corinth and the Argolid. In order to give legitimacy to his authority Leo Sgouros married the daughter of the deposed Emperor Alexios III. But his way from separatism to Imperial idea was interrupted by the clash with the knights of the Latin Empire who have predetermined his defeat. Among the reasons for the defeat we can name the enmity with the clergy and nonpossibility of joining with other governors in fighting the crusaders. According to later legend, Leo Sgouros died, throwing himself with his horse from the cliff of the Acrocorinth fortress, besieged by the crusaders. According to another version, Leo Sgouros died under the walls of his native city Nauplius. The study examined the seal of the Leo Sgouros with a rare title of sebastohypertatos (higher sebastos), and similar seal which was reused by John Branas. Data analysis suggests that such a contradictory personality as Leo Sgouros’ may be characterized not only as an ambitious tyrant and the defender of Byzantine Hellenism. The Annex contains information about the seven of Sgouros names that have become known in recent years by virtue of the monuments of sphragistics.

Key words: History of Byzantine Empire (Byzantium), Peloponnese, Leo Sgouros, Byzantine seals, molybdoboulloi, prosopography.

Citation. Chkhaidze V.N. Leo Sgouros – Tyrant and Patriot. The Ruler of the Northeastern Peloponnese in the Early 13th Century. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2017, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 205-213 (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2017.5.19.

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Leo Sgouros – Tyrant and Patriot. The Ruler of the Northeastern Peloponnese in the Early 13th Century by Chkhaidze V.N. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 

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