War Against the Yezda
Location Empire of Videssos
Result Peace Treaty
  • Death of Avtokrator Mavrikios Gavras and rise to the throne of Thorisin Gavras
  • Ortaias Sphrantzes sent into exile
  • Death of Avshar, greatest enemy of the Empire of Videssos
  • Yezda tribes inside the westlands disavowed by Khagan Wulghash, giving Avtokrator Thorisin free rein to attack them.
Videssos - Emblem of Videssos.png Empire of Videssos Videssos - Emblem of Yezd.png Khaganate of Yezd
Commanders and leaders
Videssos - Emblem of Videssos.png Mavrikios Gavras

Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg.png Marcus Scaurus
Videssos - Emblem of Videssos.png Thorisin Gavras
Videssos - Emblem of Videssos.png Ortaias Sphrantzes
Videssos - Emblem of Videssos.png Nephon Khoumnos

Videssos - Emblem of Yezd.png Wulghash

Videssos - Emblem of Yezd.png Avshar

The War Against the Yezda was a series of military actions between the Empire of Videssos and the nomadic tribe who had invaded, and now, ruled Makuran, the Yezda.

Some forty years before Mavrikios Gavras gained the throne and became Avtokrator of Videssos, Yezda tribesmen sacked Mashiz and managed to seize all of Makuran. They continued to raid and expanded through Vaspurakan to challenge the Empire. Mavrikios was one of a long line of dissatisfied western noblemen who tried for the red boots (the symbol of authority which only Avtokrators were permitted to wear) but the first to gain control by dividing the various bureaucratic factions in the capital and getting some to support him.[1]

In the first two years of Mavrikios' rule, he managed to blunt the Yezda expansion eastward, fighting them to a standstill on the borders.[2] In his third year, Mavrikios' position was challenged and he could not leave the City to campaign for fear of an usurper taking the throne. Hence, the western provinces suffered raids and other torments. In the fourth year, Mavrikios consolidated his power, and raised enough treasure and hired sufficient mercenaries to finally attempt to crush Yezd in a single decisive campaign.[3]

Year Four of Mavrikios Gavras' Reign[]

Mavrikios Gavras began concentrating troops in the City as soon as the roads were passable in the spring. It was a mixed force of native Videssians and foreign mercenaries including the Namdaleners, the Khatrishers and a newly arrived tribe, the Ronams. Though it made the Videssian army flush with manpower, the large numbers of foreigners made it unwieldy and the mercenaries also could not be fully trusted. Departure was delayed by a series of riots provoked by radical monks of Phos inciting a pogrom against the heterodoxy of the Namdaleni mercenaries and their dependants.

After some difficulty, the riots were put down and the army was ready to depart. The first leg was to sail across the Cattle Crossing and then march to Garsavra. There, the army was augmented by peasant levies raised by Baanes Onomagoulos from the provinces towards the southern mountains. From there, the army would march along the Arandos to Amorion where Gagik Bagratouni would add Vaspurakani volunteers and refugees. Then the army would move northwest along the Rhamnos to Soli and then onto Vaspurakan itself where Mavrikios hoped to trap the Yezda in the narrow mountain passes.[4]

The march to Soli went according to plan although the Videssians were subject to minor attacks and raids by the Yezda much earlier than expected. From Soli the army moved into Vaspurakan where it liberated the occupied town of Khliat by storm. Mavrikios had wanted the Namdaleners and Ronams to spearhead the attack but Bagratouni requested his Vaspurakanis do so since they would be freeing their countrymen. Mavrikios agreed and with the support of Videssian siege engines broke through with lighter than expected casualties.[5]

Mavrikios used Khliat as a base of operations and soon captured Yezda-held towns of Ganolzak and Shamkanor to the north, Baberd to the southeast, and Phanaskert due south.[6] He sent Onomagoulos west with about of quarter of the army to take Maragha but they marched into a trap. Pinned down, unable to advance or retreat, the rest of the army went forward to the rescue and the disastrous Battle of Maragha resulted.[7]

During the Civil War Years[]

At Maragha, the Yezda all but destroyed the Videssian army and the Empire was left in no position to contest the victorious Yezda. Yezda began flowing into the Videssian westlands' central plateau, destroying farmland, pillaging undefended towns, and generally wreaking havoc throughout the area.

The Empire was unable to directly fight against the Yezda due to a series of internal conflicts. First the Sphranzai family usurped the throne and Thorisin Gavras was forced to lay siege to Videssos itself to regain power. Next a disgruntled noble named Baanes Onamagoulos revolted along with the drungarios of the fleet, Elissaios Bouraphos, which forced Gavras to use a Namdalener count, Drax, to subdue his forces. Finally, Drax himself rebelled, defeated the imperial forces sent to subdue him, and then was himself defeated by the Yezda tribes which had entered the westlands.

Throughout this period the Yezda penetrated deeper into the westlands, taking advantage of the Empire's weakness. The final obstacle was the schism of the prelate Zemarhkos, whose fanatic irregulars held the city of Amorion and prevented the Yezda from spilling into the coastal plain.

Final Battle[]

When Scaurus defeated the rebellious priest, the Roman legion moved from Garsavra to Amorion, defeating Yavlak's clan along the way.

The Avtokrator himself soon followed, arriving in Amorion in time for the final battle against Yezd. The fight raged for most of a day, with Avshar's army attempting to break through the Videssian troops. Eventually Avhar's large force of Makuraner lancers formed a massive wedge and charged the Videssian line; in the subsequent fighting Viridovix and Scaurus were able to work towards each other and touched their swords, sending Avshar into Skotos' hell. The Makuraners rallied and continued the fight, until Wulghash, having gathered loyal forces from elsewhere in the kingdom, arrived and hit the Yezda rear, routing the army and (ironically) defeating his own kingdom.

During the subsequent peace negotiations, in which Marcus Scaurus and Gaius Philippus served as the Avtokrator's emissaries, the Yezda tribes inside the westlands were disavowed by Wulghash, giving Thorisin free reign to attack them. Wulghash retreated back to Yezd and the two large states agreed to a peace.


  1. Videssos Cycle: Volume One, pg. 84.
  2. Ibid. pg. 85.
  3. Ibid. pgs. 168, 85.
  4. Ibid. pgs. 213-214.
  5. Ibid. pgs. 275-278.
  6. Ibid. pg. 280.
  7. Ibid. pgs. 282, 286.