Open main menu

Demetrio Stefanopoli (12 November 1749 – 8 August 1821) was a Corsican notable and military officer in French service. A member of the Greek community of Corsica, in 1782 he received letters patent from Louis XVI recognizing him as the descendant and heir of David Megas Komnenos, the last Emperor of Trebizond, after which he was known in French as Démètre Stephanopoli de Comnène.

Demetrio Stefanopoli
Born(1749-11-12)November 12, 1749
DiedAugust 8, 1821(1821-08-08) (aged 71)


Origin and familyEdit

Demetrio Stefanopoli was born on 12 November 1749 at Paomia (modern Cargèse) in Corsica, a village founded by Greek refugees from the Mani Peninsula in the 17th century. He was the son of Constantino Stefanopoli, the hereditary head of the Greek community, and of his wife, Alexandra. He had two brothers and a sister: Giorgio, Laura-Maria, and Giovanni-Stefano. His sister was the mother of Laure Junot, duchess d'Abrantès.

His family always considered itself as descendants of the Komnenos dynasty of the Byzantine Empire, via the Emperors of Trebizond: Demetrio accounted himself the heir, in the thirteenth generation, of David Megas Komnenos (r. 1459–1461) by the latter's son George.


View of Marathonisi and the ruins of Gythium, from his 1800 work Voyage en Grèce

Demetrio Stefanopoli was named a captain in the cavalry by King Louis XVI of France in 1779, nine years after the island was annexed to France. In 1782, the King also recognized his claims to the descent from the Komnenos dynasty,[1] which allowed him to add their surname to his name, becoming known in French as Démètre Stephanopoli de Comnène.

Following the French Revolution, he initially joined the counter-revolutionary Army of Condé. Following the French conquest of Italy in 1796–1797, he was employed by Napoleon Bonaparte in his schemes to exploit the Greek aspirations for independence from the Ottoman Empire; Napoleon sent Stefanopoli as his agent to Greece in 1797, and reportedly even considered him as a potential candidate for the Greek throne. The French invasion of Egypt put an end to Napoleon's plans for a Greek insurrection, and Stefanopoli returned to France, where he published his Voyage en Grèce in 1800.

With the Bourbon Restoration, Louis XVIII named him maréchal de camp.[1] He died childless at Paris on 8 August 1821. His younger brother Giorgio and then his nephew, Adolphe de Geouffre, were his heirs.



  1. ^ a b Comnène 1831, p. 41.


  • Comnène, Marie-Anne (1959). Cargèse: une colonie grecque en Corse (in French). Les Belles lettres.
  • Comnène, Prince Georges (1831). Sur la Grèce (in French). Paris: Imprimerie de Firmin Didot Frères.
  • Rousseau, Hervé. "La duchesse d'Abrantès, Napoléon et les Comnène".
  • Biographie universelle, ancienne et moderne ...: Ouvrage redigé par plus de 300 Collaborateurs, 1847