Cyril Toumanoff

Cyril Leo Heraclius, Prince Toumanoff (Russian: Кирилл Львович Туманов; 13 October 1913 – 4 February 1997) was a Russian-born American historian and genealogist who mostly specialized in the history and genealogies of medieval Georgia, Armenia, Iran and the Byzantine Empire. His works have significantly influenced the Western scholarship of the medieval Caucasus.[1]


Cyril Toumanoff was born in Saint Petersburg into a family of the military officer of the Russian army. His father came of the princely family of Tumanishvili from Georgia,[2] whose ancestors had emigrated from their original homeland in Cilician Armenia in the 15th century.[1] This family is on the list of the Georgian princes that was attached to the Treaty of Georgievsk concluded between the Georgian king Erekle II and the Russian empress Catherine II in 1783. On December 6, 1850, the Tumanishvili were officially enrolled on the Russian Empire's list of Georgian princely families as knyaz Tumanov.[3] Toumanoff's mother, Elizabeth Zhdanova, was a descendant of a number of Russian noble families, with genealogical ties with the Western European nobility.[1]


Toumanoff's parents fled the October Revolution in St. Petersburg in 1917. His father joined the White Russian forces during the Russian Civil War, while his mother was put to death by the Bolsheviks.[1] Cyril Toumanoff was initially sheltered by his maternal grandparents in Astrakhan. In 1928, Toumanoff's father was able to escape to the United States, bringing his son with him. Cyril Toumanoff attended the Lennox School which he graduated from in 1931 and went to Harvard. His educators John Coddington and Robert P. Blake helped him secure funding for travel to Brussels to study Armenology under Nicholas Adontz and then to Berlin, where he studied Georgian under Michael Tsereteli.[1] During these years, Toumanoff converted to Roman Catholicism. A breach with his Orthodox Christian father ensued and was only terminated when the two reconciled at the latter's deathbed in 1943.[1]

Toumanoff earned a doctorate from the Georgetown University in 1943 and soon accepted a position there which he held until his retirement as a professor emeritus of history in 1970. Thereafter he moved to Rome.[1] A recognized authority on nobiliary and dynastic questions, Prince Toumanoff was also a Professed Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, High Historical Consultant, Grand Magistry,[4] and the Grand Prior of Bohemia.[1] Having taken religious orders he became known as Fra Cyril.

Cyril Toumanoff died in 1997 in Rome at the age of 83.[1] He is buried at the chapel of the Knights of Malta at Campo Verano, Rome.[5]



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Robert H. Hewsen. "In Memoriam: Cyril Toumanoff." Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies. Vol. 8, 1995, 5–7.
  2. Rapp, Stephen H. (2003), Studies In Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts And Eurasian Contexts, p. 16. Peeters Bvba, ISBN 90-429-1318-5.
    For the present investigation no single scholar's body of work has had a greater impact than that of Cyril Toumanoff (1913 -1997). Born in St. Peterburg of an old Armeno-Georgian noble house (Tumanian, Tumanishvili), Toumanoff emigrated to the United States in 1928. He went on to earn his doctorate from Georgetown University in 1943 and immediately accepted a position there, holding it until his retirement in 1970
  3. Любимов С.В. Титулованные роды Российской империи: Опыт подробного перечисления всех титулованных российских дворянских фамилий, с указанием происхождения каждой фамилии, а также времени получения титула и утверждения в нем / Гос. публ. ист. б-ка России. – М.: ФАИР-ПРЕСС, 2004. с. 368
  4. McHugh, Rosita (1996), The Knights of Malta: 900 years of care, p. xix. Irish Association of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta, ISBN 0-9525810-0-0.
  5. (Russian) А. А. Шумков, М. Ю. Медведев (1997), Дворянский календарь: справочная родословная книга российского дворянства, т. 4, с. 102. Санкт-Петербургское Дворянское Собрание.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/11/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.