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Mixed Marriages in a Polyethnic Society: A Case Study of Tana, 14th – 15th Centuries
By S. Karpov
Toleration and repression in the Middle Ages (2002)
Introduction: The area of the Azov Sea and of the Don estuary was of a considerable importance for Byzantium (in the 12th century it was under direct Byzantine control) as a source of supply of grain, salt and fish for Constantinople and the Northern Anatolia. This role gradually increased since mid 13th century when new axes of great commerce passed through main Black Sea ports. At first Soldaia (Sudak), then Caff a (Theodosia) and Tana (Azov) became chief terminals of the international and local trade in the Northern Pontos during two centuries of the Latin domination in the area.
Tana is a name of Italian settlements near (and partly inside) the big Moslem town of Azak. Sometimes Tartar Azak was called Tana as well by West European medieval writers. I use here the name of Tana only in its proper and narrow sense. Still, the differentiating of Tana from Azak is relative enough. Italian settlements were fortified and detached from the Tartar semi-nomadic neighborhood, but they were bordering the quarters and houses of Greek, Slavonic, Zieh, Armenian and Jewish inhabitants that gradually infiltrated the territory of Italian settlements. It is also probable that a medieval Greek settlement with a similar name preceded Italian Tana.