Theodore I Lascaris

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Theodore I Lascaris


Born circa 1175; died early 1222 in Nicaea. Founder of the Nicaean Empire.

A member of a prominent Byzantine family, Theodore became a son-in-law of Emperor Alexius III. After the Crusaders captured Constantinople in 1204, Theodore took the lead in efforts to unite the Greek forces in Asia Minor. Eventually he established a state in the region of Nicaea. He initially assumed the status of Alexius’ heir apparent, using the title of despot. In 1206, however, he proclaimed himself emperor; he was formally crowned in 1208.

Theodore crushed the Seljuks in early 1211. In 1214 he concluded the Treaty of Nymphaion with the Latin Empire, thereby fixing the boundaries between the Latin and Nicaean states. During the same year, he conquered the western holdings of the Trebizond Empire.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.