Charsianon (Greek: Χαρσιανόν) was the name of a Byzantine
fortress and the corresponding theme (a military-civilian province) in
the region of
Cappadocia in central
Anatolia (modern Turkey). It
center was first in
Charsianon (its ruins are found in Muşalikalesi
Akdağmadeni district in Yozgat Province), later in
The fortress of
Charsianon (Greek: Χαρσιανόν κάστρον,
Charsianon kastron; Arabic: Qal'e-i Ḥarsanōs) is first mentioned in
638, during the first wave of the Muslim conquests, and was allegedly
named after a general of
Justinian I named Charsios. The
seized it in 730, and it remained a hotly contested stronghold during
the next century of Byzantine–Arab warfare. In the early 9th
century, the fortress became the center of a kleisoura, a separately
administered fortified frontier district. Sometime between 863 and
873, it was raised to the status of a full theme, augmented by
territory from the neighboring Bucellarian, Armeniac and Cappadocian
themes. It ranked in the middle tier of themes, with its
governing strategos receiving an annual salary of 20 pounds of gold
and commanding, according to Arab sources, 4,000 men and four
In the 10th century, the theme of
Charsianon became a major stronghold
of the landed military aristocracy, with the great clans of Argyros
Maleinos having their homes and estates there. After 1045, a large
number of Armenians, including the former king
Gagik II (r.
1042–1045), were settled there, leading to friction with the local
Greeks. The theme was lost to the
Seljuk Turks following the Battle of
Manzikert in 1071 and given to Danishmendids.
Gagik II is attested
as the last doux of
Charsianon in 1072–1073.
^ a b c d Kazhdan 1991, p. 415.
^ a b McGeer, Nesbitt & Oikonomides 2001, p. 107.
Kazhdan, Alexander Petrovich, ed. (1991). The Oxford Dictionary of
Byzantium. New York, New York and Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford
University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
McGeer, Eric; Nesbitt, John W.; Oikonomides, Nicolas, eds. (2001).
Catalogue of Byzantine Seals at Dumbarton Oaks and in the Fogg Museum
of Art, Volume 4: The East. Washington, District of Columbia:
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.
Coordinates: 39°44′25″N 35°50′10″E / 39.740217°N
35.836142°E / 39.740217; 35.836142
Themes of the
Byzantine Empire according to
De Thematibus (ca. 950)
Eastern or Asian themes
1. Anatolic Theme
Armeniac Theme (incl.
Cappadocia and Charsianon)
3. Thracesian Theme
4. Opsician Theme
6. Bucellarian Theme
14. Cibyrrhaeot Theme
17. Aegean Sea
Western or European themes
§ Thrace and Macedonia were counted among the Eastern themes for