Chersonesus Taurica (Greek: Χερσόνησος, Chersonēsos ) is an ancient Greek colony founded approximately 2500 years ago in the southwestern part of Crimea, known then as Taurica. The colony was established in the 6th century BC by settlers from Heraclea Pontica. Currently the site is part of the National Historical-Archeological Museum-Zapovednik of Ukraine “Khersones Tavriysky”.
The ancient city is located on the shore of the Black Sea at the outskirts of Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine, where it is referred to as Khersones. It has been nicknamed the “Ukrainian Pompeii” and “Russian Troy”. The name “Chersonesos” in Greek means simply “peninsula”, and aptly describes the site on which the colony was established. It should not be confused with the Tauric Chersonese, the name often applied to the whole of the southern Crimea along with “Taurica”.
During much of the classical period the town was a democracy ruled by a group of elected archons and a council called the Damiorgi. As time went on the government grew more oligarchic, with power concentrated in the hands of the archons. A form of oath sworn by all the citizens in the 3rd century BC has survived to the present day.
In the late 2nd century BC Chersonesus became a dependency of the Bosporan Kingdom. It was subject to Rome from the middle of the 1st century BC until the 370s AD, when it was captured by the Huns.
It became a Byzantine possession during the Early Middle Ages and withstood a siege by the Göktürks in 581. Byzantine rule was slight: there was a small imperial garrison more for the town’s protection than for its control. It was useful to Byzantium in two ways: as an observation point to watch the barbarian tribes, and its isolation made it a popular place of exile for those who angered the Roman and later Byzantine governments. Among its more famous “inmates” were Pope Clement I and Pope Martin I, and the deposed Byzantine Emperor Justinian II. According to Theophanes the Confessor and others, Chersonesus was the residence of a Khazar governor (tudun) in the late 7th century.
In 833 Emperor Theophilus sent the nobleman Petronas Kamateros, who had recently overseen the construction of the Khazar fortress of Sarkel, to take direct control over the city and its environs, establishing the theme of Klimata/Cherson. It remained in Byzantine hands until the 980s, when it reportedly fell to Kiev. Vladimir the Great agreed to evacuate the fortress only if Basil II’s sister Anna Porphyrogeneta would be given him in marriage. The demand caused a scandal in Constantinople, as imperial princesses had never been married to non-Greeks before. As a pre-condition for the marriage settlement, Vladimir was baptized here in 988, thus paving the way to the Baptism of Kievan Rus’. Thereafter Korsun’ was evacuated.
Since this campaign is not recorded in Greek sources, historians have suggested that this account actually refers to the events of the Rus’-Byzantine War (1043) and to a different Vladimir. In fact, most valuables looted by the Slavs in Korsun’ made their way to Novgorod (perhaps by way of Ioakim Korsunianin, the first Novgorodian bishop, as his surname indicates ties to Korsun), where they were preserved in the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom until the 20th century. One of the most interesting items from this “Korsun Treasure” is the copper Korsun Gate, supposedly captured by the Novgorodians in Korsun’ and now part of the St. Sophia Cathedral.
After the Fourth Crusade Chersonesus became dependent on the Empire of Trebizond, and then fell under Genoese control in the early 13th century. In 1299, the town was sacked by the armies of Nogai Khan. A century later it was destroyed by Edigu and was permanently abandoned. In the late 19th century, St Vladimir’s Cathedral (completed 1892) was built on a small hill overlooking the site; designed in Byzantine style, it was intended to commemorate the site of Vladimir’s baptism.
This capture is taken on western coast of Crimea, in the city Sevastopol / Ukrain / , and adding some processing in photoshop