Enez is a town and a district of Edirne Province, in Thrace, Turkey. The pre-Turkish name of the town was Ainos (Greek: Αἶνος), Latinized as Aenus.
The mayor is Ahmet Çayır (DSP). The population is 3,826 as of 2010.
The town is located on the left (eastern) bank of the river Hebrus, where its estuary broadens to flow into the Gulf of Saros, the ancient Melas Gulf, and so into the Aegean Sea. Enez occupies a ridge of rock surrounded by broad marshes. In ancient Greek times, it lay on a land route for trade from the Black Sea to the Aegean and was a port for the corn, wood and fruit produced in eastern and central Thrace.
The mythical and eponymous founder of the ancient Greek city of Ainos/Aenus was said to be Aeneus, a son of the god Apollo and father of Cyzicus. Another mythical ruler, named Poltys, son of Poseidon, entertained Heracles when he came to Aenus. On that occasion, Heracles slew Poltys' insolent brother Sarpedon on the beach of Aenus. According to Strabo, Sarpedon is the name of the coastline near Aenus, so both Poltys and Sarpedon would appear to be eponyms.
Presumably because of the similarity of the names, Virgil has Aeneas found the city after the destruction of Troy. A surer sign of its antiquity is in the Iliad, where Homer mentions that Peirous, who led Troy's Thracian allies, came from Aenus.
Herodotus (7.58) and Thucydides say Aenus was an Aeolian colony. Scymnus Chius (696) says the colonists came from Mytilene on Lesbos Island, while Stephanus Byzantius says they came (also?) from Cumae. According to Strabo (p. 319), a more ancient name of the place was Poltyobria and Stephanus says it was also called Apsinthus.
As a subject ally of Athens, Aenus provided peltasts at the Battle of Sphacteria in 425 BC and sent forces to the Sicilian Expedition in 415. It was in the possession of Ptolemy Philopator in 222, of Philip V of Macedon in 200 BC, and later of Antiochus the Great, who lost it to the Romans in 185 BC, whereupon the Romans declared Aenus a free city. It was still a free city in the time of Pliny the Elder.
The city is mentioned first among the cities of the province Rhodope in the 6th-century Synecdemus of Hierocles. Under Justinian I (r. 527–565), the city wall was heightened and the previously unprotected shore fortified. In the middle Byzantine period, the city was part of the Theme of Thrace. In 1091, in the nearby hamlet of Lebounion, Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081–1118) and his Cuman allies dealt a crushing defeat on the Pechenegs. In 1189, the town was plundered by soldiers of the Third Crusade under Duke Frederick of Swabia, with the inhabitants fleeing by ship. In the Partitio Romaniae of 1204, the city is attested as a distinct district (catepanikium de Eno). Under Latin rule, it was the seat of a Catholic bishop (a suffragan of Trajanopolis), while in a document of 1219 the Crusader barons Balduin de Aino and Goffred de Mairi are mentioned as lords of the city. In 1237 a Cuman raid reached the city, and in 1294 it was besieged by the Bulgarians under Constantine Tikh and his Tatar allies until the Byzantines released Sultan Kaykawus II. In June 1265 Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos granted the Venetians the right to settle and trade in the city.
In 1347, John Palaiologos, Marquess of Montferrat, planned to take over the city. In 1351, John V Palaiologos demanded possession of Ainos from the senior emperor John VI Kantakouzenos. In the ensuing civil war, Palaiologos signed a treaty with Venice there on 10 October 1352, securing financial assistance in exchange for ceding the island of Tenedos as collateral. After Palaiologos' Serbian and Bulgarian allies were defeated by Kantakouzenos' Ottoman allies, Ainos was captured by the Kantakouzenos loyalists and was placed under the rule of the exiled ruler of Epirus, Nikephoros II Orsini. Following the death of the Serbian emperor Stephen Dushan and his governor of Thessaly, Preljub, in 1355, however, Nikephoros abandoned the city and sailed to Thessaly to claim his ancestral inheritance. His admiral Limpidarios took over control of the city in his absence, despite the opposition of Nikephoros' wife Maria Kantakouzene (daughter of John VI). Maria locked herself in the city's citadel and continued to resist for a while, before agreeing to depart.
With the gradual Ottoman conquest of Thrace in the 1360s and 1370s, the city became a haven for the Greek population. From ca. 1384 on the city came under the rule of the Genoese Gattilusio family, beginning with Niccolo Gattilusio. The Gattilusi maintained their possession by exploiting the city's wealth, chiefly deriving from the area's salt pans and fisheries, and sending an annual tribute to the Ottomans. Niccolo Gattilusio was deposed by his son Palamede in 1408/9, who ruled until his death in 1454. His son and successor, Dorino II, squabble with the widow of Giorgio Gattilusio and ruled only for two years when the Ottomans under Sultan Mehmed II attacked the city from land and sea and forced its surrender in January 1456.
In 1463 Ainos was given by Mehmed II to the deposed Despot of the Morea, Demetrios Palaiologos, as an appanage (along with parts of Thasos and Samothrace). He remained in possession of the town until 1467, when he fell into disgrace. The Venetians briefly captured the city in 1469.
The city was an episcopal see already in the 4th century: bishop Olympius under Constantius II. At first it was a suffragan of Trajanopolis, the capital and metropolitan see of the Roman province of Rhodope, but by the time of the Notitia Episcopatuum of Pseudo-Epiphanius (c. 640), it was an autocephalous archbishopric, and rose to a separate metropolitan see (without suffragans) at the end of the 11th century. Its bishop Olympius was driven from the see by the Arians under Constantius II. Macarius took part in the Council of Chalcedon (451), Paul in the Second Council of Constantinople (553), George in the Trullan Council of 692, and John in the Photian Council of Constantinople (879). Another John took part in the Council of 1030/38, and Michael in the councils of 1092 and 1094.
Between 1285 and 1315, the see was awarded to the Metropolitan of Antioch in Pisidia. In 1361 the see was awarded to the Metropolitan of Makre, two years later to the Metropolitan of Sougdaia and in 1369 to the Bishop of Athyra. It remained a residential see of the Greek Orthodox Church until the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey and is now a titular metropolis. No longer a residential bishopric, Aenus is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.