Fictional Character
The Tale of Krispos
Videssos Series
Appearance(s): Krispos Rising;
Krispos of Videssos;
Krispos the Emperor
Type of Appearance: Direct POV;
Posthumous reference in Swords of the Legion
Nationality: Empire of Videssos
Religion: Phos-worship
Cause of Death: Unrevealed
Occupation: Peasant, Horse-groomer, amateur wrestler, Vestiarios, Monarch
Parents: Phostis, Tatze
Spouse: Dara
Children: Phostis, Evripos, Katakolon;
An illegitimate baby with Drina,
Others who died in infancy
Political Office(s): Avtokrator of Videssos

Krispos was a peasant who grew up to become the Avtokrator of Videssos after being forced off his farm by a cholera outbreak and ensuing taxes.

His rule was known for being the most stable for a long time in Videssos' often turbulent history. His legacy included being one of the more merciful and just rulers the Empire had seen. Centuries later, he would remembered by a patriarch named Balsamon for his part in defeating a previous incarnation of Avshar.[1]

Early Life[]

Born a peasant in the northern frontier of the empire, Krispos had a spectacular rise to power.

Early in his life Krispos was seized by raiders from Kubrat along with his family and several other people from their peasant village near the empire's northern border. For a few years, Krispos and the resettled peasants toiled under heavy taxation by their new overlords, barely surviving the harsh winter months. They were finally freed when a ransom was paid by then Avtokrator Rhaptes. At the official hand-over ceremony, Krispos met Omurtag, the Khagan of Kubrat, who gave him a gold piece,[2] as well as Abbot Pyrrhos and the diplomat Iakovitzes, both of Videssos.

In his new village, Krispos grew into a young adult. He helped fight off a raid from Kubrat but lost almost his entire family to an outbreak of cholera. Even after the cholera outbreak, tax collectors dispatched by the government of Anthimos III burdened the devastated village with increased taxes[3]. Bitter, Krispos took his gold piece, his few belongings, and set out for Videssos the city, working as a day laborer for various farms and villages as he travelled.

Arrival in Videssos the City[]

When he arrived in Videssos the city, Krispos begged shelter at a local monastery which was coincidentally run by the abbot Pyrrhos. The abbot had a dream about Krispos that foretold of great things to occur if he took Krispos under his wing. Meeting the young peasant after waking up from the dream in a cold sweat and on the floor[4], Pyrrhos took Krispos to meet Iakovitzes, who needed a groom for his stable. Even though Krispos was repelled by the diplomat's obvious sexual attraction to him, Krispos took the job.

A few months after moving in, Krispos accompanied Iakovitzes on a diplomatic trip to the provincial city of Opsikion. He helped Iakovitzes get started in his talks with the Khatrisher diplomat Lexo, then grew bored and wandered around the city. He ran into a noblewoman named Tanilis who referred to him as "majesty" before falling in a faint[5]. He soon became friends with Tanilis and her son, Mavros; the noblewoman told Krispos that she thought he would become a major power in Videssos, and that she wanted to support his rise if she took in Mavros as his brother. Krispos accepted, and soon developed a love life with Tanilis, who was a decade older than he, to pass the time.

Iakovitzes finally settled with Lexo in a treaty favorable to Videssos (cleverly worded so that Khatrish would not take notice). Informing Krispos of his desire to leave Opsikion, Iakovitzes drank himself stupid and then walked in front of a horse-drawn wagon, breaking his leg and forcing the entire party to pass the winter in Opsikion. With nothing else to do, Krispos passed his time making love to Tanilis. With the spring thaw, Krispos and Iakovitzes made their way back to the capital, taking Mavros with them.

In the Court of Anthimos III[]

Krispos soon noticed by Petronas, uncle and Sevastokrator to Avtokrator Anthimos III. Petronas was the effective ruler in Videssos; Anthimos had no interest in managing the empire. Petronas took Krispos in as a groom after watching Kripos wrestle a Kubrat diplomat to the floor [6], and soon introduced him to Anthimos and his chief eunuch Skombros. Petronas maneuvered Skombros, who was acting as a rival advisor to Anthimos, out of the city and had Krispos installed in his place; Krispos was even allowed to keep his manhood.

Krispos Takes the Throne[]

As vestiarios, Krispos had to take part in several of Anthimos' night-time galas. Occasionally he slept through these parties; he also made the acquaintance of the empress, Dara, who was ignored by her husband. Working with the empress, Krispos gradually convinced Anthimos to get rid of Petronas; the Sevastokrator, in turn, attempted to slay Krispos with sorcery. In time, Petronas was lured into a coronation ceremony, tonsured and dispatched to a monastery.

With no one in the empire working as an authority figure, Anthimos allowed the running of government to deteriorate. Krispos ran afoul of the Avtokrator, who, as an amateur sorcerer, attempted to slay him as his uncle had tried to do the year before; forewarned, Krispos turned the tables, and Anthimos accidentally slew himself with his own magic. Krispos was then grudgingly crowned avtokrator by Petronas' uncle, Gnatios, who was the Patriarch of Videssos.[7]


As Avtokrator, Krispos had to fight off pretenders such as Petronas, as well as barbarian raiders such as Harvas Black-Robe (Harvas was later revealed to be an centuries-old Skotos-worshipping sorcerer.)[8] He dueled with ecumenical patriarchs over matters of statecraft and theology. Even with these challenges during the first years of his reign, Krispos proved to be one of the greatest Avtokrators ever to have ruled. He also had to face rebellion from a group of religious fanatics called the Thanasioi.

His heir was a rather snobbish person named Phostis whom he named after his father. He was always suspicious that his son might not be his, but rather Anthimos'[9]. This complicated the relationship between father and son, who had always been angered at his father's peasant origins and singular lack of affection. However, after being kidnapped by the Thanasioi, he matured more and became more respectful of his father.

See also[]


  1. Videssos Cycle: Volume Two, pg. 732.
  2. The Tale of Krispos, pg. 22.
  3. Ibid., pg. 65.
  4. pg.72, Ibid.
  5. pg.101, Ibid.
  6. pg.159, Ibid.
  7. pg.325, Ibid.
  8. pg.510, Ibid.
  9. pg. 941, Ibid.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Anthimos III
Avtokrator of Videssos
Served alongside: Phostis
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Vestiarios of the Imperial Palace of Videssos Succeeded by