Ainos

Ainos (modern Enez) was a city in Thrace on the east bank of the Hebros River near its mouth. Prokopios reports that Justinian I transformed its low city wall into an impregnable fortification, and the Synekdemos of Hierokles lists it as capital of the province of Rhodope. Nothing is known about the city from the 7th to 11th century, but it did function as an ecclesiastical center: first as an autonomous archbishopric, and by 1032 a metropolis. It reappears in historical narratives in 1090 when Alexios I established his headquarters there during his war against the Pechenegs. Thereafter its role increased: in the 12th century, it was a market where monks of the Kosmosoteira monastery bought olive oil directly from boats. A 15th- century historian characterizes Ainos as a large polis thriving on trade with the neighboring islands of Imbros and Lemnos. Strongly fortified, it withstood the attack of the Bulgarians and Tatars in 1265 and that of the Catalan Grand Company in 1307. According to Chalkokondyles, around1384 the people of Ainos invited a member of the family of Francesco Gattilusio to be their ruler, and it remained an important Genoese possession until it fell to the Turks in 1456; in 1460 Mehmed II granted Ainos to Demetrios Palaiologos, the deposed despotes of the Morea, but in 1468 it returned to Ottoman control.

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Sources

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium