Khliat was a Vaspurakanian town near the border with the Empire of Videssos. After the Yezda began heavy raiding, it fell to them and was occupied.[1]

When Mavrikios Gavras began his campaign against Yezda, he brought the imperial army to Soli, a Videssian town two days from Khliat. After resupplying, he marched onto Khliat and surrounded it. He gave the garrison a chance to surrender but its commander refused, stating that Gavras could do him no more harm than his own lords would if he yielded. That night, the Videssian army unloaded and assembled siege engines but Gavras decided to try to take the town by storm. He originally intended to send his most heavily armed foot, the Namdaleni and "Ronam" mercenaries but Gagik Bagratouni, a Vaspurakan noble, requested that his own volunteers lead the assault. He argued that while they were more lightly armored, they would be fighting for their homes and countrymen. Gavras agreed stating spirit was important too.[2]

The next morning, the attack went in. The walls were raked with arrows from Khamorth horsemen and by larger bolts from the Videssian siege engines. This allowed rams to be brought forward and several walls crumbled. The Vaspurakaners rushed forward and managed to hammer through the defenders into the town. A Yezda wizard attempted to hurl magical thunderbolts but they dissipated an arm's length from his fingertips. With the Yezda committed trying to stop the Vaspurakan attack, Gavras ordered a general assault with scaling ladders. The Yezda defence collapsed and they began surrendering.[3]

The Vaspurakan townspeople wanted them massacred out of hand but Gavras cordoned them off with Ronam and Halogai troops in the town's marketplace. He sent the common soldiers back to Soli under guard but kept their chieftains with him. He tried to get them to change sides but they refused. Their leader killed himself with a vial of poison overnight rather than be tempted further.[4]

Gavras made Khliat his base of operations and quickly liberated a number of nearby Vaspurakan towns. He sent a large force (about a fourth of the army) west to Maragha under the command of Baanes Onomagoulos but they were ambushed by a large force of Yezda under the command of Avshar. He took the rest of the army west to try to rescue them, leaving behind the camp followers and baggage train and fought the historic Battle of Maragha.[5]

After the defeat and Gavras' death, a number of survivors returned to Khliat. First back was the cowardly Ortaias Sphrantzes who caused panic by declaring all was lost. He remained long enough to change horses and continue eastward.[6] Then the remains of a Namdalener mercenary regiment returned with the "Ronams" a day later. Both groups stayed long enough gather their dependants and possessions and then abandon the town to the Yezda. The Namdaleners headed toward Phanaskert to join their countrymen who were performing garrison duty while the Ronams chased after Sphrantzes.[7]


  1. Videssos Cycle: Volume One, pg. 275.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid, pgs. 275-279.
  4. Ibid, pgs. 275-279.
  5. Ibid, pgs. 280-282, 288.
  6. Ibid, pgs. 335-336.
  7. Ibid, pgs. 344-346.