What happened to the Byzantine nobility after the fall of Constantinople in 1453?

Jul 2007
1,673
Australia
#2
Those who managed to escape pre-1453, would certainly have sought refuge with other European nations.
Others may be been adsorbed into the Ottoman beauracracy.
Potential claimants most likely executed.

There is much written on this period ... where to start
 
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Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,793
Iowa USA
#3
The Greeks held onto Salonika and Thessaly for a long time after the rise of the Ottomans, so if the question is about land owning families they had time to try to marry into nobility perhaps of Naples (of course losing the Greekness culturally attached to the Orthodox Church) or Serbia or Wallachia. Conversion to Islam probably happened in lots of cases, too. By mid 1400s there would already be no landowners since so little remained of the ERE, right?
 
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Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,040
Republika Srpska
#4
Megas doux Loukas Notaras was killed. Demetrios Palailogos received lands. It was not a uniform policy. One sidenote: the topic of Christian sipahi still needs to be researched further.
 
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Sep 2014
911
Texas
#5
I believe many went to Russia. When I was a member of the orthodox church, old calendar, we were told of the many martyrs killed by the Ottomans.
 
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MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,840
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#8
The Phanar district in Constantinople was the main Greek district in Ottoman times. The people who lived there were called Phanariotes, and some of their families gained high positions in the Ottoman government.

Here is a link to a list of 58 "Byzantine" families, mostly noble or imperial families. Category:Byzantine families - Wikipedia

And here is a link to a list of about 66 Phanariotes families. Phanariotes - Wikipedia

And one can see that a number of names are on both lists. A number of Phanariotes families used the same family names as a number of "Byzantine" noble and imperial families.

And naturally many modern Phanariotes families and other modern families which have the same family names as "Byzantine" noble and imperial families claim that they are descended from those "Byzantine" noble and imperial families with the same names.

And it is a fact that it was normal for a "Byzantine" son to use the same family name as his father used. Family names wee passed down from father to sons to grandsons, etc., which is what made them family names.

But it is also a fact that many "Byzantine" nobles (and lower ranking persons) used more than one family name, even though they could be descended in the male line from only one of those families. Clearly some "Byzantine" nobles (and commoners) used the family names of families they were descended from through females in addition to the family name of their agnatic (male lineage only) ancestors. Some "Byzantine" nobles used surnames of families there is no surviving evidence they were descended from or related to. And some "Byzantine" nobles (and lower ranking people) didn't use the family names of their agnatic (male lineage only) ancestors.

So the use of surnames by "Byzantine" nobles (and commoners) seems to have been rather arbitrary in the time of the "Byzantine" empire. And after the Ottoman conquest there would presumably be a lower probability of someone getting in trouble for falsely assuming a famous surname. So it is possible that a lot of Greeks did falsely assume the surnames of famous "Byzantine" families over the centuries before and after the Ottoman Conquest. It may also be noted that many unrelated and low ranking families might have chosen the same surname centuries before one of those families became rich and powerful.

Therefore, there is no proof that a specific Phanariotes or other modern family using the same surname as a "Byzantine" noble or Imperial family is descended from that "Byzantine" noble or Imperial family in the agnatic (male lineage only) line, or even at all.

I believe that many experts consider it to be fairly probable - though not proved - that the Cantacuzino family is descended from Emperor John VI Kantakuzenos (c.1292-1383) who reigned from 1347 to 1354, and from his son Emperor Matthew Kantakuzenos (c.1325-1382) who reigned from 1353 to 1357.

Some other "Byzantine" noble and imperial families may have moved to Georgia and Russia or to western Europe.

QUOTE="At Each Kilometer, post: 3176933, member: 18150"]Sophia Palaiologina, the niece of the last byzantine emperor Constantine XI , born as Zoe Palaiologos, was raised in Rome and married Ivan III the Great ergo she is the grandmother of the first Russian tzar Ivan IV the Terrible.[/QUOTE]

The descendants of Sophie Palaiologina and Ivan III died out and became extinct about 1610. Furthermore, Sophie Palaiologina (c. 1440/49-1503) was never the heiress of the Palaiologos dynasty. Her brother Andrew (Andreas) Palaiologos (1453-1502) was recognized in the west as the claimant and titular emperor. When Andreas died without known descendants in 1502 his heirs were the heirs of his older sister Helena Palaiologina (1431-1473) who married Lazar Brankovic (c. 1421-1458), Despot of Serbia.

Helena and Lazar had three married daughters and two of those daughters have descendants to the present time.

In this thread: Heirs of the "Byzantine" Empire? post number 92 on page number 10 traces a line of heirs of one of those daughters, and post number 98 on page 10 lists the lines of heirs of both daughters.
 
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#9
Another Byzantine lineage which has probably survived into the present is that of Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos. He apparently had a union with a woman of the Byzantine Skleraina noble family. According to Genealogics.org, their daughter Maria (Irene) married Vsevolod I, Grand Duke of Kiev. However, other sources say that it was a female relative of Emperor Constantine IX's called Anastasia, not necessarily his daughter, who was married to Grand Duke Vsevolod. At any rate, whether it was with a daughter or another relative of Constantine IX's, Vsevolod I was the father of Vladimir II Monomakh of Kiev. Vladimir II Monomakh married Gytha of Wessex (the daughter of King Harold II Godwinson of England, who'd died at the Battle of Hastings), and they had a large family of children. Through the royal family of Kiev, they evidently married into European (including English) royalty, and are ancestors of most of today's European royal families.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,840
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#10
[
Another Byzantine lineage which has probably survived into the present is that of Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos. He apparently had a union with a woman of the Byzantine Skleraina noble family. According to Genealogics.org, their daughter Maria (Irene) married Vsevolod I, Grand Duke of Kiev. However, other sources say that it was a female relative of Emperor Constantine IX's called Anastasia, not necessarily his daughter, who was married to Grand Duke Vsevolod. At any rate, whether it was with a daughter or another relative of Constantine IX's, Vsevolod I was the father of Vladimir II Monomakh of Kiev. Vladimir II Monomakh married Gytha of Wessex (the daughter of King Harold II Godwinson of England, who'd died at the Battle of Hastings), and they had a large family of children. Through the royal family of Kiev, they evidently married into European (including English) royalty, and are ancestors of most of today's European royal families.
And here is a link to Regnal Chronologies - Appendixes - pretenders - British Isles which has a section on the heirs of Harald II Godwinson and thus of Vladimir Ii Monomakh: Pretenders in the British Isles

I note that the descendants of Vladimir II Monomakh, even the ones descended in agnatic (male only) lineages, are not members of the Monomachos family. To be members of the Monomarchos family they would have to be descended from a male member of the Monomachos family in an agnatic (male only) lineage. It is possible to be descended from someone, and even to be their rightful heir, without being a member of the same family as that person.
 
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