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|Gepid Expedition in Caucasus|
|Part of Byzantine Reconquest War|
|Gepid Republic||Abbasid Caliphate (763-770)|
|Burnei Caliphate (770- )|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Consul Sigeric Bessas (763-768)†||Abbasid Caliph (763-770)|
The Gepid Expedition in Caucasus was a military expedition made by the Gepid Republic in order to help the Byzantine Empire against the Caliphate in exchange of keeping the lands that they conquered.
The Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire had been at war since the end of the War for the Ashes of Rome in 745. By that time, the Caliphate was trying to push them to surrender lands to them, which ended up starting a war.
By 750, the Gepid Consul of the time, Vithimiric Bessas, accepted the offer to help the Byzantine in exchange of lands. But his frustration against the Empress for refusing to respect the Christian Meeting of Buteridava lead to his inaction.
This would anger the Senate, who refused to elect him again in 760, instead electing Sigeric Bessas, a religious fanatic who's first action was to send troops to the Caucasus.
The success of the Principality of Benevento pushed the Gepid Republic to change his external policies. Being isolationist for almost a century, they were now willing to expand and create those vassals states that they called Gepid Principalities, and one in the Caucasus would certainly help them.
The War in Caucasus
When he arrived in 763, Sigeric found the region in pure chaos, the Abbasid struggling against the Khazars and Byzantines. He used this opportunity to conquer the coasts, securing his access to the Black Sea, and founding the city of Sigerica. The war was going fairly well for him and his allies, and he decided to divide his troops into two forces in order to conquer more lands. However, Sigeric was captured in 768 and executed, even if the Gepid forces won the battle.
This lead to the interim election of Amaric Valomer, son of Hermenigild Valomer, who lead the Gepid Republic during the War for the Ashes of Rome. As soon as he arrived, he reorganized his forces and claimed what he could of the Abbasid territory. His skills were known by the troops, who were motivated by his presence.
However, in 770 the Abbasid Caliphate felt, being replaced by the Brunei Caliphate in the Middle-East. This would change things for the Consul, as he knew that they would be less likely to accept peace than the Abbasid. To complicate this, the Khazar locals felt oppressed by the Gepid troops, and Amaric had to act before a revolt could rose up.
He passed the following years keeping the local population under control, and making sure that they would support the Gepids, or at the very least tolerate their presence in the Caucasus. Although it did strenghten their position in the region, it slowed any progression in Caliphate territories, which angered the Consul, who wanted to gain as much as possible before the Caliphate could retaliate.
By 780, Amaric had conquered the coasts of the Azovian Sea, which was the main objective of the war. However, the Consul died of old age in 782 at Sigerica. To succeed him, the Senate elected Goderic Hunigild, who declared the end of the expedition and the foundation of the Principality of Abkhazaria, making it the second Gepid Principality. With this, the Gepid Republic became a massive power into the Black Sea, and helped the Gepid develop their economy.