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B.C. 146 TO A. D. 1864 










A. D. I204 1461 




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v • V 



Changes of the Population in Greece after the Decline of the Homan 


Causes of the introduc 

§ I. Observations on the early changes 

2. Depopulation under the Roman government. 

tion of Sclavonian settlers ..... 

3. Sclavonians in the Peloponnesus .... 

4. Sclavonian names in the geographical nomenclature of Greece 

5. Colonies of Asiatic race settled by the Byzantine emperors in Thrace 

and Macedonia 

6. Bulgarians and Vallachians in Greece 

7. Albanians .... 

8. Tzakones or Lacones . 

9. Summary .... 

1 1 



Causes of Hostile Feelings between the Byzantine Greeks and the 
"Western Europeans.— A. D. 867-1204. 

§ 1. Political condition of the Byzantine empire . . 38 

2. Social condition of the Greeks in the twelfth century ... 43 

Stationary condition of the agricultural popula'tioh-throughout Europe 

during the Middle Ages . . . . . .47 

. Condition of the Normans when they conquered the Byzantine posses- 
sions in Italy . . . . . . .48 

. Normans invade the Byzantine empire. Their ravages in Greece . 51 

. Separation of the Greek and Latin churches . . • • 59 

. Great increase of the papal power during the eleventh and twelfth cen- 
turies ........ 61 

. Predominant position of the races speaking the French language in the 

west of Europe during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries . 63 

VOL. IV. b 




Overthrow of the Byzantine Empire by the Crusaders. — 
A.D. 1096-1204. 


§ i. The Crusades ........ 65 

2. Conquest of Cyprus by Richard I. of England . . . . 70 

3. Commercial relations of the Venetians with the Byzantine emperors . 75 

4. Conquest of the Byzantine empire by the Venetians and Crusaders . 81 


Empire of Romania.— A.D. 1204-1261. 

§ 1. Election of the first Latin emperor of Constantinople by the Crusaders 

and Venetians ....... 88 

2. Establishment of the feudal system in Greece .... 94 

3. Baldwin I. ........ 98 

4. Henry of Flanders. Ecclesiastical arrangements. Parliament of 

Ravenika ........ 100 

5. Peter of Ccurtenay. Robert. John de Brienne. Baldwin II. Ex- 

tinction of the empire of Romania . . . .112 

6. Kingdom of Saloniki. a. r>. 1204-1- 2 116 

Despotat of Epirus. Empire of Thessalonica. — A.D. 1204-1469. 

§ 1. Establishment of an independent Greek principality in Epirus . 121 

2. Empire of Thessalonica ...... 124 

3. Despotat of Epirus. Principality of Vallachian Thessaly. Family of 

Tocco . . . . . -. . .126 

Dukes of Athens.— 1205-1456. 

§ 1. Athens becomes a fief of the empire of Romania . . .132 

2. State of Athens under the house of de la Roche . . . 143 

3. Walter of Brienne. Catalan Grand Com] 'any . . .146 

4. Dukes of Athens and Neopatras of the Sicilian branch of the house 

ofAragon . . . . . . 1-3 

5. Dukes of the family of Acciaiuoli of Florence. Termination of the 

Frank domination al Athens ..... 156 

6. Condition of the Greek population under the Dukes of Athens . 166 


Principality of Achaia or the Morea. — 1205-1387. 


§ I. Conquest of Achaia, by William de Champlitte. Feudal organization 

of the Principality . . . . . 1 74 

2. Acquisition of the Principality by Geffrey de Villehardouin. Geffrey I. 

Geffrey II. . ....... 186 

3. William Villehardouin completes the conquest of the Morea. Cedes 

Monemvasia, Misithra, and Maina, to the Emperor Michael 

VIII 194 

4. Alliance and feudal connection of Achaia with the kingdom of 

Naples ........ 205 

5. Isabella de Villehardouin. Florenz of Hainault. Philip of Savoy . 209 

6. Maud of Hainault and Louis of Burgundy . . . .217 

7. Achaia under the Neapolitan princes. Ruin of the Principality . 220 


Byzantine Province in the Peloponnesus. — A.D. 1262-1460. 

§ 1. Early state of the Byzantine province. Government of the despot 

Theodore I. ...... . 229 

2. The emperor Manuel II. attempts to ameliorate the Byzantine adminis- 

tration in the Peloponnesus . . . . .236 

3. Division of the Morea among the brothers of the emperor John VI., 

viz., Theodore II., Constantine, and Thomas. War of Constan- 

tine and Thomas with the Othoman Turks in 1446 . . 242 

4. Disorders in the Morea. Albanian revolution . . .252 

5. First expedition of sidtan Mohammed II. into the Morea . . 257 

6. Final conquest of the Morea by the Turks .... 262 


Dukes of the Archipelago or of Naxos. — A.D. 1207-1566. 

§ 1. Observations on the Venetian establishments in the empire of Ro- 
mania . . • • • • . .270 

2. Dukes of the Archipelago of the families of Sanudo and Dalle Carceri 276 

3. Dukes of Naxos of the family of Crispo .... 290 

4. Condition of the Archipelago during its subjection to Venetian families 295 

b % 


EMPIRE OF TREBIZOND.— a.d. 1 204-1 461. 

Foundation of the Empire.— A.D. 1204-1222. 


§ i. Early history of Trebizond ...... 307 

2. Origin of the family of Grand-Komnenos . . . 315 

3. Reign of Alexios I. ...... . 319 


Trebizond tributary to the Seljouk Sultans and the Mongols. — 

§ 1. Reigns of Andronikos I. and Joannes I. .... 332 

2. Reigns of Manuel I., Andronikos II., Georgios . . . 338 

Trebizond independent. Internal Factions. — 1280-1349. 

§ 1. Reign of Joannes II. Alliance with the empire of Constantinople . 342 

2. Reign of Alexios II. Commercial importance of Trebizond. Trade 

of Genoa ........ 350 

3. Anarchy and civil wars. Reigns of Andronikos III., Manuel II., Ba- 

silios, Irene, Anna, Joannes III., Michael . . . 359 


He-establishment of the Emperor's Supremacy. — 1349-1446. 

§ 1. Reign of Alexios III. Progress of the Turkomans. Revenge of Ler- 

cari. Magnificent ecclesiastical endowments . . . 372 

2. Reign of Manuel III. Relations with the empire of Timor . . 386 

3. Reign of Alexios IV. Kara Vousouf, chief of the horde of the Black 

Turkomans. Family crimes in the house of Grand-Komnenos . 393 

Fall of the Empire.— 1446-1461. 

§ 1 . Causes of the rapid rise and vital energy of the Othoman empire . 400 

2. Kcign of Joannes IV. called Kalojoannes .... 405 

3. Reign of David. Conquest of Trebizond by Mohammed II. . . 413 




Chronological Lists. 

I. Emperors of Romania ..... 

II. Kings of Saloniki ...... 

III. Despots of Epirus. Emperors of Thessalonica, Princes of 

Vallachian Thessaly ..... 

IV. Dukes of Athens ...... 

V. Princes of Achaia ...... 

VI. Byzantine despots in the Morea .... 
VII. Dukes of the Archipelago and Naxos 
VIII. Emperors of Trebizond ..... 

IX. Genealogical list of the family of Grand-Komnenos 
X. List of chiefs of the Turkoman horde of the White Sheep . 


43 2 




















Changes of the Population after the Decline of 
the Roman Empire. 

Sect. I. — Observations on the Early Changes. 

Two facts form the basis of Greek history at the commence- 
ment of the Byzantine empire: the diminution in the numbers 
of the Hellenic race, and the occupation of a considerable part 
of Greece by Sclavonians who settled in the depopulated 
country \ The Byzantine writers inform us, that for several 
centuries the Sclavonians formed the bulk of the population 
in ancient Hellas, but the precise extent to which this 
Sclavonian colonization was carried has been the subject of 
warm discussion. One party maintains that the present 
inhabitants of Greece are Byzantinized Sclavonians ; another 
upholds them to be the lineal descendants of the men who 
were conquered by the Romans. This latter party generally 
selects an earlier genealogical era, and talks only of a descent 
from the subjects of Leonidas and the fellow-citizens of 
Pericles. Both seem equally far from the truth. But nations 
affect antiquity of blood and nobility of race as much as 
individuals ; and surely the Greeks, who have been so long 
deprived of glory in their immediate progenitors, may be 

1 The Byzantine empire is a conventional term which historians have applied 
to the Eastern Roman empire. In this work it is used as applicable to the period 
commencing with the accession of the iconoclast Leo III. in 715, and ending with 
the establishment of the Latin empire in 1204. See vol. ii. p. 3. 



[Ch.I. §i. 

pardoned for displaying an eager zeal to participate in the 
fame of a past world, with which they alone can claim any 
national connection. It is not, therefore, surprising that the 
attempt, to prove the extermination of the Hellenic race in 
Europe by the Sclavonians. deeply wounded both Greek 
patriotism and Philhellenic enthusiasm \ 

Before reviewing the various immigrations into Greece 
during the middle ages, it is necessary to notice two questions 
connected with the population in earlier times which still 
admit of doubt and discussion. Their importance in deter- 
mining the extent to which the bulk of the population may 
have been of mixed race during the classic ages is great. 
The one relates to the numbers of the slave population 
employed in agriculture when Greece was in its most flourish- 
ing condition ; and the other, to the proportions in which the 
free population and the slaves were diminished in the general 
depopulation of the country that preceded the Sclavonian 
immigration. A large proportion of the slaves employed 
in agriculture were of foreign origin, as we know from the 
enormous extent of the slave trade, and from the circumstance 
that the Greeks looked on the rearing of slaves as unprofit- 
able 2 . We know also that under the domination of the 
Romans, the higher classes of Greece either died out or 

1 Professor Fallmerayer made this attempt with great ability. His principal 
work is entitled Geschchte der halbimel Morea whhrend des MitteJalters. A subse- 
quent tract lorms a necessary appendix. It is entitled Welchen Einfliiss hatte die 
Besetzung Griechtnland* durch die Slaven auf das Schicksal der Siadt A then? oder die 
Entslehung der heutigen Griechen. In both these works, which contain much matter, there is too much latitude in the use of authorities. The ablest 
oj pjnent of Fallmerayer is Zinkeisen, but his Geschichte Griechenlands is far from 
a triumphant refutation. It has the meiit of exact references to the original 
authoiities. Two Greeks at Athens have also attempted to reply to Fallmerayer, 
viz. A ( i. Leukias, Refutatio illarum qui putaverunt, scripserunt, et typh divulgaverunt, 
quod nen r, eorum qui nunc Graeciam incolanf a veleribus Graecis ariundus est; Gr. et 
Lat. Athenis, 1S43; and K. Paparrhegopoulos, Tltpl ttjs tTroiK-qatws 2A.a/3i«wv 
<pvKwv (is ttjv U(\onuuurjffov, tv 'AO-qvats. [843, [By far the most exhaustive dis- 
cussion of this subject is to be found in Professor Carl Mopf's Geschichte Griechen- 
in Brockhaus' Griecketdand, vol. vi. pp. too foil. (vol. Ixxxv. of Ersch and 
Gil.ii's Eicyklopddie, published in iSf>7). Here Fallmerayer's authorities are 
subjected to a searching examination, and the historical aspect o, the question 
is fully discussed. This treatise may be fairly said to have set the matter at rest; 
so that Fallmerayer's theses may be considered as disproved, except so far as 
they imply that a large admixture of Slavonic blood flows in the veins of the 
modern Greeks, which is admitted on all hands. An interesting sketch of the 
Controversy is given in Hertzberg's Oesehiehte Griechenlands seit dem Absterben des 
anliken I.ehens. i pp. 120-130. Ed.] 

1 tristot. Pol. iv. * vii I o ; keitemcier, Gachichle und Zustand der Sklaverey und 
LtibeigLW-chaJt in Griechenland, pp. 73 ~ij. 


Ch.I.§ 1.] 

lost their nationality by adopting the names and assuming 
the manners of Roman citizens. Indeed it seems probable 
that pure Hellenic blood began to be greatly adulterated 
about the time the ancient Greek dialects fell into disuse. 
Still there can be no doubt that the Greek population retired 
before the Sclavonian immigration, and did not mingle with 
the intruders, but on the other hand there is no evidence to 
determine whether the agricultural slaves were exterminated 
by the barbarian invaders of the Hellenic soil, or were 
absorbed into the mass of the Sclavonian or Byzantine 
population. These questions prove how uncertain all inquiries 
into the direct affiliation of the modern Greeks must be. Of 
what value is the oldest genealogic tree, if a single generation 
be omitted in the middle ? 

The extent to which the purity of the Hellenic race was 
corrupted by admixture with the slave population hardly 
admits of a satisfactory answer. Liberated slaves certainly 
engrafted themselves into the native blood of Greece, to 
some extent, in Roman times ; but it is difficult to ascertain 
what proportion of the freedmen that filled Greece were of 
foreign origin. Slavery was for many ages the principal 
agent of productive industry in Greece; the soil was cultivated 
by slaves, and many manufactured articles were produced by 
their labour. Throughout the whole country, they formed 
at least one-half of the population \ Now, although the 
freedmen and descendants of liberated foreign slaves never 
formed as important an element in the higher classes of the 
population of Greece as they did of Rome, still they must 
have exerted a considerable influence on society. And here 
a question forces itself on the attention, — Whether the 
singular corruption which the Greek language has undergone, 
according to one unvarying type, in every land where it was 
spoken, from Syracuse to Trebizond, must not be, in great 
part, attributed to the infusion of foreign elements, which 
slavery introduced into Hellenic society in numberless streams, 
all flowing from a similar source? The Thracians and 
Sclavonians were for centuries to the slave-trade of the 

1 For the best information on the numbers of the slave population, see Clinton, 
Fasti Helletuci, vol. ii. 381. In comparing the numbers of the slaves in Greece 
with those in the slave states of North America, we must recollect that the pro- 
portion of adults would be greater in Greece, as the importation was free, and 
the Greeks did not rear slaves in any quantity. 

B 2 


[Ch. I. §i. 

Greeks what the Georgians and Circassians have been for 

ages to the Mohammedan nations, and the Negroes of the 

African coast to the European colonies in America 1 . 

Whatever may have been the operation of these causes in 
adulterating the purity of the Hellenic race and the Greek 
language. \vc know that a great revolution occurred about 
the middle of the sixth century of our era. Until that time, 
the population of Greece presented the external signs of a 
homogeneous people. In the third century, the Greek 
language was spoken by the rural population with as much 
purity as by the inhabitants of the towns, and even the 
ancient peculiarities of dialect were often preserved 2 . Nor 
did the condition of the mass of the population, greatly as 
it was diminished, undergo any material change until after 
the time of Justinian ; for the invasions of the Goths in the 
third and fourth centuries were temporary evils, that only 
caused a permanent decrease in the population in so far as 
they destroyed the productive powers of the country. 

The Greek language indicates that a great change had 
taken place in the Greek people before the extinction of 
the Western Empire. The rhythmical beauty of the ancient 
language had been destroyed by allowing accent to absorb 
quantity long before foreign colonies invaded the Hellenic 
soil. But it was not until the great Sclavonian invasion 
had overspread the land that the native population was com- 

1 [It rarely happens that the language of a highly developed people is influenced 
in any considerable degree by those of other races in a lower st.Ue of civilization 
and \ ossessing no literature. The change which has passed over the syntax of 
the Greek language in the transition from its ancient fo its modern form' is suffi- 
ciently accounted for by the tendency of all languages to lose inflexions and 
become more analytic, and by the necessity of adapting expressions to the modes 
of thought of conquering tribes. These are the same influences which have 
operated in the formation of the Roman-.- languages. In the modern Greek 
vocabulary the principal intrusive elements are derived from Latin, Italian, and 
Turkish This of course does not apply to the Neo-hellenic idiom of the Athens 
press, which has eliminated the intrusive words, but to the Romaic of the people, 
which was used by all classes up to the War of Independence. At one time it 
\\a- maintained that the language, had been considerably modified by the Slavonic 
dialects; as, for instance, by lleilmaicr, in his otherwise excellent treatise Ueber 
die Entttehung dtr romaiuhen Sprache unter dem Einflusse fremder Zungen (pp. 
2 3-34~> : lul this view has been disproved by Miklosich, who has shown in his 
essay entitled Die timuitehtn Elemente im Nengriichischen, how extremely slight 
that influence has been. Ed.] 

■ Philostmtus, though speaking of an earlier period, may be received as an 
authority for his own time, which may extend considerably into the third century. 
See the dialogue with Sostratus in the Life of Heroda Atticus {Vil. Soph. ii. l. 
p. 238), and the Life of Apollonius of Tyaiia, viii. 12. 


Ch.I. §1.] 

pletely transformed into that modern race of Greeks, which 
inhabited the towns and had recovered possession of a con- 
siderable part of the country at the time of the conquest of 
Greece by the Crusaders and Venetians. Among an illiterate 
people like the Greeks of the sixth, seventh, and eighth cen- 
turies, each successive generation alters the language of oral 
communication, by neglecting inflexions and disregarding 
grammatical rules. A corrupted pronunciation confounds 
orthography, and obscures the comprehension of the gram- 
matical changes which words undergo. The process of 
transforming the Hellenic language into the Romaic, or 
modern Greek dialect, evidently arose from a long neglect 
of the rules of grammar and orthography; and the pro- 
nunciation, though corrupted by the confusion it makes of 
vowels and diphthongs, proves by the very tenacity with 
which it has preserved the Hellenic accentuation, that modern 
Greek is a lineal descendant of the classic language ; for with 
its inflexions correctly written, it might easily be mistaken for 
a colloquial dialect of some ancient Greek colony, were it 
possible for a scholar unacquainted with the existence of the 
nation in modern times to meet with a Romaic translation of 
Thucydides 1 . There is hardly more difference between the 
language of Homer and the New Testament, than between 
that of the New Testament and a modern Greek review. 
Greek and Arabic seem to be the two spoken languages 
that have suffered the smallest change in the lapse of ages. 
The inference is plain ; either these are the nations which 
have admitted the smallest infusion of extraneous social 
elements, and been the least under foreign compulsion in 
modifying their habits and ideas ; or else, the ties of blood 

1 Ducange traces the progress of corruption in the Latin language, in the 
preface to his Glossar'mm mediae et infimae Latinitatis. Hallam {Introduction to 
the Literature of Europe in Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries, vol. i. p. C9, 
Paris edit.) notices a MS. in the British Museum (Cotton. Galba, i. 18) containing 
the Lord's Prayer in Greek, written in Anglo-Saxon characters, which proves the 
pronunciation to have been the same in the eighth century as at present. Compare 
Turner s History of the Anglo-Saxons, iii. 396. See also the German translation 
of Henrichsen's Tracts in Danish — Ueber die Neugriechische Aussprache der Hel- 
lenischen Sprache, p. 38 ; and Ueber die sogenannten politischen Verse bei den Griechen, 
27. [The standard work on the development of the modern Greek language is 
Prof. Mullach's Grammatik der Griechischen Vulgarsprache in historischer Entwick- 
lung : in English it is treated in the Introduction to Sophocles' Glossary of later 
and Byzantine Greek; and in a lucid essay by Professor Blackie, On the philological 
genius and character of the Neo-kellenic dialect of the Greek language, in his Horae 
Hellenicae, pp. 111-166. Ed.] 


[Ch. 1. § 2. 

and race have been weaker than those of civilization and 
religion, and literature and religion have created Arabs out 
of Syrians and Egyptians, and Greeks out of Sclavonians and 

The gospel and the laws of Justinian blended all classes of 
citizens into one mass, and facilitated the acquisition of the 
boon of freedom by every Christian slave. The pride of 
the Hellenic race was stifled, and the Greeks became proud 
of the name of Romans, and eager to be ranked with the 
freedmen and manumitted slaves of the masters of the world. 
But a Christian church which was neither Greek nor Roman, 
arose and created to itself a separate power under the name 
of Orthodox, and forming a partnership with the imperial 
authority, acquired a power greater than any nationality 
could have conferred. A social organization at variance with 
all the prejudices of ancient, private, and political life was 
framed, and the consequence was that this change created a 
new people. Such seems to be the origin of the modern 
Greeks, a people which displays homogeneity in character, 
though dispersed over an immense extent of country, and 
living in various insulated districts, from Corfu to Trebizond, 
and from Philippopolis to Cyprus. 

SECT. II. — Depopulation of Greece under the Roman Goveru- 
nicnt. — Causes of the Introduction of Sclavouiau Settlers. 

The depopulation of Greece under the Roman government 
is the leading fact of Greek history for several centuries. 
This depopulation was increased and perpetuated by the 
accumulation of immense landed estates in the hands of 
individual proprietors. The expense of maintaining good 
roads and other adjuncts of civilization, necessary for bringing 
agricultural produce to market, is greater in Greece than in 
most other countries ; and it would be considered by pro- 
prietors of whole provinces as an unprofitable sacrifice. Their 
lect consequently produced the abandonment of the cul- 
tivation of the soil in a great part of the country, and its 
conversion into pasture land. From provinces in this con- 
dition the government often derived very little revenue, for 
the large pr >prietors found facilities of gaining exemption 


Ch. I. § 2.] 

from taxation, and the diminished numbers and impoverished 
condition of the colons rendered the tribute insignificant. 
The defence of a province so situated became a matter of 
no interest to the central power at Rome or Constantinople, 
and it was abandoned to the invaders without a struggle. 
Greece was often left to defend itself against Gothic and 
Sclavonian invaders, whose progress must have been faci- 
litated by the numbers of the discontented colons and 
agricultural slaves, for the Sclavonian lands were the great 
slave marts of the age. Such was the internal state of 
Greece when the Sclavonians attacked the Byzantine empire 
as a warlike and conquering race. 

The earliest steps by which the Sclavonians colonized the 
Hellenic soil are unnoticed in history. Like the subsequent 
increase in the number of the Greeks who expelled or absorbed 
them, its very causes pass unrecorded, and the greater part of 
what we know is learned by inferences drawn from incidental 
notices connected with other facts. Strange to say, this 
remarkable revolution in the population of Greece excited 
very little attention among either ancient or modern historians 
until recently; and the great vicissitudes that took place in 
the numbers of the Greek population of the Byzantine empire 
in Europe, during different periods of the middle ages, is a 
subject which has not yet been carefully investigated \ 

The fabric of the ancient world was broken in pieces during 
the reign of Justinian, and Greece presented the spectacle of 
ruined cities and desolate fields. Procopius, in recording one 
of the great irruptions of the Hunnish armies, whose course 
was followed by Sclavonian auxiliaries and subjects, mentions 
that the barbarians passed the fortifications at Thermopylae, 
and spread their ravages over all the continent as far as the 
isthmus of Corinth. This notice places the commencement 
of the hostile incursions of the Sclavonians into Greece as 

1 Colonel Leake, in his Researches in Greece, published in 18 14, first pointed 
out proofs of the long residence of the Sclavonians in every part of Greece, and 
cited the principal Byzantine authorities which certify the political importance 
of their settlements (p. 379 1 ). Professor Fallmerayer became the champion of 
Sclavonian ism. in his History of the Morea, in 1830; and he has ever since defended 
the cause with great eloquence, learning, and wit, but with some exaggeration. 
It was Colonel Leake who first observed that the Sclavonian names of places 
in Greece are often the same as those of places in the most distant parts of 
Russia. By means of this discovery, Fallmerayer endeavours to exterminate the 
ancient Greeks. 


[Ch. I. § 2. 

early as the year 540 l . But the colonization of the Hellenic 
soil by Sclavonians is not noticed until long after its occur- 
rence, and its extent is proved more convincingly by its 
consequences than by the testimony of historians. In the 
adulatory work of Procopius on the buildings of Justinian, the 
conversion of a large part of Greece into pasture lands, by the 
repeated ravages of the barbarians, is incidentally revealed ; 
and the necessity of constructing forts, for the protection of 
the population engaged in the regular agricultural operations 
of husbandry, is distinctly stated. The fourth book is filled 
with an enumeration of forts and castles constructed and 
repaired for no other object. The care, too, which the 
emperor devoted to fortifying the isthmus of Corinth, when 
he found that the greater part of the Peloponnesian cities 
were not in a state of defence, affords strong proof of the 
danger of an irruption of barbarous tribes, even into that 
distant citadel of the Hellenic race'-. The particular mention 
of the fortifications necessary to protect the fertile land on the 
river Rhechios, in Macedonia, and the construction of the city 
of Kastoria, to replace the ruined Diocletianopolis. while they 
prove the desertion of great part of Chalcidice and Upper 
Macedonia by the ancient inhabitants, prepare us for finding 
these districts occupied by a new race of immigrants 3 . Now, 
it is precisely in these districts that we find the Sclavonians 
first forming the mass of the inhabitants within limits once 
occupied by the Hellenic race 4 . In these cases of colo- 
nization, as in many others afterwards, it seems that the 
Sclavonians occupied their new settlements without any 
opposition on the part of the Roman government ; and 
though their countrymen continued to ravage and depopulate 
the provinces of the empire as enemies, these peaceable 
settlers may have been allowed to retain their establishments 
as subjects and tributaries. The Goths, and other Teutonic 

1 Procopius, De Bello Persico, ii. c. 4. p. o,s\ edit. Paris. He mentions frequent 
incursions of the Sclavonians into Illyria and Thrace; and in alluding to thi^ very 
expedition in the Secret History, he connects the Huns. Sclavonians, and Antes, 
i as allies (c. i8, p. 54). Several Byzantine historians speak of irruptions 
of the Huns and Sclavonians, in a united body, into Thrace in 550. Malal. 
rphani -. 107 ; Cedrenus, 386; Clinton, Fat/i Romani, i. Sio. 
ipius, De Aedijicii^. iv. c. 2. p. 71. 
■ Ibid. fib. iv. c. .^, 4. The Rhechios is supposed to be the river that flows from 
the lal l rulf of Strymon, 

• J afel, De ThesvUonica ejusque Agio. Proleg. lvii. 



peoples who invaded the Eastern Empire, were nothing more 
than tribes of warriors, who, like the Dorians, the Romans, 
and the Othoman Turks, became great nations from the extent 
of their conquests, not from their original numerical strength. 
But the Sclavonians, on the contrary, had for ages formed 
the bulk of the population in wide-extended territories from 
the shores of the Adriatic to the sources of the Dnieper and 
the Volga. In a considerable portion of the countries in 
which they subsequently appear as conquerors, a kindred race 
seems to have cultivated the soil even under the Roman 
government ; but at what period the Sclavonians began to 
force themselves southward into the territories once occupied 
by the Illyrians and the Thracians, is a question of much 

The successive decline of the Roman, Gothic, and Hunnish 
empires, in the provinces along the Danube, allowed the 
hitherto subject Sclavonians to assume independence, and 
form themselves into warlike bands, in imitation of their 
masters. The warlike and agricultural Sclavonians from that 
time became as distinct as if they belonged to two different 
nations. A contrast soon arose in their state of civilization ; 
and this, added to the immense extent and disconnected and 
diversified form of the territory over which the Sclavonian 
race was scattered, prevented it from ever uniting, so as to 
form one empire. The Sclavonians always make their ap- 
pearance in the history of Greece as small independent hordes, 
or as the subjects of the Huns, Avars, or Bulgarians, and 
never, except in the Illyrian provinces, form independent 
states, with a permanent political existence. Their ravages 
as enemies are recorded, their peaceful immigrations as 
friends and clients pass unnoticed. No inconsiderable part 
of those provinces of the Eastern Empire that were desolated 
by the repeated inroads of the northern nations were never- 
theless repeopled by Sclavonian colonists, who, often fearing 
to devote themselves to husbandry, lest they should invite 
fresh incursions, adopted a nomadic life as the only method of 
securing their property. In this way they became, according 
to the vicissitudes of the times, the serfs or the enemies of 
their Greek neighbours in the walled towns. It was a 
characteristic of the Sclavonian colonists, in the Byzantine 
empire, for a long period, that they had an aversion to 


[Ch. I. § 2. 

agriculture, and followed it only on a small scale, deriving 
their principal support from cattle 1 . 

The progress of depopulation in the Roman empire is 
attested by numerous laws, which prove that the rapid 
diminution in the members of the municipalities forced the 
government to adopt regulations for the purpose of retaining 
every class of society in its own sphere and place 2 . The 
steady diminution of the Greek race, from the time of Jus- 
tinian I. to that of Leo III., is testified by the whole history 
of the period ; and it is evident that this diminution was more 
immediately dependent on political causes, connected with a 
vicious administration of the government, and on moral ones 
arising out of a corrupt state of society, than on the desolation 
produced by foreign invaders. The extermination of the 
Illyrian and Thracian nations may have been completed by 
the ravages of the northern barbarians ; but it could not have 
been effected unless these people had been weakened and 
decimated by bad administration and social degradation. 
The same causes which operated in exterminating the Thra- 
cian and Illyrian races were at work on the Greek population, 
though operating with less violence. The maritime cities and 
principal towns, both in Thrace and Illyria, were in great part 
inhabited by Greeks ; and from these the rural population was 
repulsed, as a hostile band, when it appeared before their 
walls in a state of poverty, in order to seek refuge and food. 
The citizens, in such cases, had always so many drains on 
their resources, to which interest compelled them to attend, 
that humanity only extended to the circle of their immediate 

1 Institutions Militaires de TEmpereur Leon le Phildsophe, traduites par Joly de 
Maizeroy, tome ii p. 117. Leonis Tactica, c. xviii. 5 99; Imp. Mauricii Ars Mili- 
tarise p. 2f% edit. Scheffer). The spirit of the warlike Sclavonians. at the period 
poured their conquering armies into the Eastern Empire, is described in 
Menander Excerpta e Menandri Historia, p. 406. edit. Bonn, in the Corpus His/oriae 
Ilyzautinae). The extent of tile Sclavonian colonization in Macedonia in the 
seventh century is proved by the Emperor Justinian II. transporting at one time 
inure than 1 50,0-50 soul- into Asia and settling them on the shores of the Helles- 
pont. Theophanes, pp. 304. 305, 364. Thirty thousand troops were raised in this 
colony shortly after its establishment 

I. Justin, x. tit. 32; and tit. 31, laws 18. 19. 20, 21, 50. Even he who 
quitted his civil | tax-payer to the fisc, to serve in the army, was ordered 

to lie brought back to his estate law 171 — * Qui derelicta curia militaverit, revo- 
cetur ad curiam.' No \\on!> could declare more strongly the decrease in the 
numbers of the tax-pay ers, nor marli more clearly that the treasury, not the army, 
gave its character and laws to the Eastern Roman empire. Modern nations, 
having readied the same crisis in their government, might study Byzantine history 


Ch.I.§ 3 .] 

neighbours. But when the Sclavonians colonized the wasted 
lands, this new population proved better able to protect itself, 
both from its previous rude habits of life, and from the artless 
method in which it pursued its agricultural occupations. The 
Sclavonians, therefore, soon became the sole possessors of the 
greater part of the territories once inhabited by the Illyrians 
and Thracians. For some centuries, they seem to have 
advanced into the Hellenic territory in the same manner in 
which they had possessed themselves of the country to the 
north ; but the circumstances were somewhat changed by the 
greater number of towns they met with, and by the com- 
paratively flourishing condition maintained by that large 
portion of the Greek population engaged in commerce and 
manufactures. Though they occupied extensive territories in 
Greece without encountering serious opposition, their progress 
was arrested at many points by a dense population, living 
under the protection of walled towns. It is, however, im- 
possible to trace the progress of the Sclavonians on the 
Hellenic soil in any detail ; and we learn only from a casual 
notice in the ecclesiastical historian Evagrius, that their first 
great hostile irruptions into the Peloponnesus were made under 
the shelter of the Avar power, towards the end of the sixth 
century 1 . Whether any colonies had previously settled in 
the peninsula as agriculturists, or whether they at that time 
formed populous settlements in northern Greece, is a mere 
matter of conjecture. 

SECT. III. — The Sclavonians in the Peloponnesus. 

It will assist our means of estimating the extent of the 
Sclavonian colonization of Greece, and the influence it exercised 
in the country, if we pass in review the principal historical 
notices that have been preserved relating to these settlements, 
particularly in the Peloponnesus, the citadel of the Hellenic 
population. The ravages by which the barbarians opened 
the way for the Sclavonians as early as the reign of Justinian 
have been noticed. The contemporary Byzantine historian, 
Menander, records that about the year 581 the Sclavonians 
ravaged Thrace with an army of their own amounting to 

1 See next section. 


[Ch. I. § 3. 

a hundred thousand men, and extended their devastations 
into Greece 1 . About this time they were carrying on war 
with the Chagan of the Avars, to whom they had formerly 
paid tribute. Many Sclavonian tribes, however, continued 
to be subject to the Avar power, and to furnish auxiliaries 
to their armies-. A few years later another contemporary 
historian, Evagrius, in a passage already alluded to, notices 
an invasion of the Avars into Greece in the following words : 
' The Avars penetrated twice as far as the long wall of 
Thrace. Singidon, Anchialos, all Greece, and many cities 
and fortresses, were taken and plundered ; everything was 
laid waste with fire and sword, for the greater part of the 
imperial army was stationed at the time in Asia 3 .' These 
words, unsupported by other evidence, would certainly not 
lead us to infer that any part of Greece had been then settled 
by either Avars or Sclavonians, even were we assured that 
the Sclavonians composed the bulk of the Avar army. But 
this careless mention of Greece, by Evagrius, in connection 
with the plundering incursions of the Avars, receives some 
historical value, when connected with the Sclavonian colonies 
in the Peloponnesus by a passage in a synodal letter of the 
Patriarch Xikolaos to the Emperor Alexius I. The Patriarch 
mentions that the Emperor Nicephorus I., about the year 
807, raised Patrae to the rank of a metropolitan see, on 

1 Excerp'ae Menandri Hts/oria, pp. 327 and 404, edit. Bonn. 

- Ibid. p. 334. The conquest of the A:.:ae. a numerous Sclavonian race, is 
mentioned in p I Schafarik's SlawUche Alterth'umer. i. 68. The importance 

of the Sclavonian colonies in Macedonia, and their wars with the Greeks and the 
Byzantine government during the interval between a.n. 589 and 746, are noticed 
by Tafel (De Thessalonica, proleg. pp. lviii. xci.) and the authorities he quotes. 
Theoph. pp. 288, 304. 305. The Patriarch Nicephorus mentions the Sclavonians 
a- united in great numbers with the Avar armies {Breviarium, pp. 13, 24). Ephrae- 
niius. 69, edit Iionn. 

1 H '. Kccle-. vi. 10. (This passage has been the subject of much 

discission ; see Zinkeisen, Gesehiehte Gn< p. 697.) This took place 

re the year 591, as the Emperor Maurice concluded peace with Persia in that 
\iar. Those who witnessed the complete desolation of Greece after the war 
of independence against the Turks, and the civil wars that followed the assassina- 
tion -irias. can alone understand to what extent it is possible for bar- 
barians to desolate a country. The Avars probably understood the art as well 
as the Turks and Greek Palikari. I have myself ridden through the streets of 
Tripolit/a. Corinth. Megara, Athens, Thel es, and Livadea, when hardly a single 
house had escaped being levelled with the ground. No living soul was to be 
h which the (alien walls of the houses rendered it diffi- 
cult to penetrate, and no cattle could be found in the surrounding country. 
1 have visited villages in which bread had not been made for a fortnight, the 
whole of the inhabitants living on herbs; and I have seen cargoes of the copper 
! iti v exported to Trieste, to obtain food for a few days. 
The consequence was, that two-thirds of the population perished. 


Ch. I. § 3.] 

account of the miraculous interposition of the apostle St. 
Andrew in destroying the Avars who then besieged it. ' These 
Avars,' says the Patriarch, ' had held possession of the 
Peloponnesus for two hundred and eighteen years, and had 
so completely separated it from the Byzantine empire that 
no Byzantine official dared to put his foot in the country 1 .' 
The Patriarch thus dates the establishment of the Avars in 
the Peloponnesus from the year 589 ; and the exact con- 
formity of his statement with the testimony of Evagrius, 
indicates that he had some official record of the same invasion 
before his eyes, which recorded that the Avar invasion of 
Greece, mentioned by the ecclesiastical historian, extended 
into the Peloponnesus, and described its consequences in some 
detail. The circumstance that the Patriarch speaks of Avars, 
instead of Sclavonians, who, at the time he wrote, formed 
a considerable portion of the population of Greece, points to 
the inference that his facts were drawn from Byzantine official 
documents, and not from any local records concerning the 
Sclavonian settlements in the Peloponnesus. The Emperor 
Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who is an earlier authority, 
differs from the Patriarch Nikolaos, and places the Sclavonian 

1 Nikolaos III., called the Grammarian, occupied the Patriarchal chair from 
a.d. 1084 to 1 11 1. Leunclavius, Jits Graeco-Romamnn, torn. i. 278; Le Quien, 
Oriens Chrcstianus, torn. ii. 179. A Greek MS. in the library of Turin, quoted 
by Fallmerayer (Fragmente aus dem Orient, ii. 413), perhaps confirms the testimony 
of the Patriarch; but the coincidence in the mode of expressing the chronology 
leads to the conclusion that the writer of the chronicle in this passage copied the 
synodal letter of the Patriarch. He. however, takes particular notice of the 
ravages of the Avars in Attica and Euboea, which he must have derived from 
another source, so that he may have seen the same original authority as the 
Patriarch. [The Chronicle of Monemvasia, which is here referred to, is examined 
by Hopf (op. cit. pp. 106-10S), and declared by him to be a confused compilation 
of the sixteenth century, almost worthless as a historical authority. The vague- 
ness of the passage in Evagrius, which tacks on 'all Hellas' to the names of 
two places in Moesia and Thrace, deprives it of all weight. The quotation from 
the Patriarch Nikolaos is of far greater importance. The statement, however, 
that Byzantine officials could not enter the Peloponnese during that period of 
218 years is historically untrue. Finlny himself has remarked (vol. i. p. 378) with 
reference to the visit of Constans II. to Athens in a.d. 662, and his assembling 
troops there, when on his way from Constantinople to Rome — ' The Sclavonian 
colonies in Greece must, at this time, have owned perfect allegiance to the imperial 
power, or Constans would certainly have employed his army in reducing them to 
subjection.' This may suggest the doubt, whether the Patriarch has not put 
a colouring of his own on a genuine record. There may have been a great inroad 
of the Avars accompanied by Slavonians at the end of the sixth century, and 
it is possible that some of them may have settled in a part of the Peloponnese 
until reinforced by other settlers at a later period. But this is the utmost that 
can be deduced from it. See Hertzberg, Geschichte Griechenlands teit dem Abster- 
ben dei antiken Lebens, pp. 139, 140. Ed.] 


[Ch.l. §3. 

colonization in the year 746 \ But whether these foreigners 
colonized the Peloponnesus in the year 589 or in the year 
746. it appears that they were sufficiently numerous to attempt 
the conquest of Patrae, and to form the project of expelling 
the Greeks from the peninsula in the year 807. Indeed, they 
came so near success that it was deemed necessary for St. 
Andrew to take the field in person in order to maintain the 
Hellenic race in possession of a city dear to the apostle by 
the memory of the martyrdom which he had suffered in it 
at the hands of the Hellenes. The Sclavonians must un- 
doubtedly have become dangerous enemies, both to the Greek 
population and the Byzantine government, before it became 
the general opinion that they could only be defeated by 
miraculous interpositions -. 

Other circumstances prove that a great change took place 
in the state of the Peloponnesus about the end of the sixth 
century. During the reign of the Emperor Maurice, A.D. 

- 602, the bishopric of Monemvasia was separated from 
the diocese of Corinth, and raised to the rank of a metro- 
politan see. Now, as the metropolitan bishops were at this 
period important agents of the central government, this change 
indicates a necessity for furnishing the Greek population of 
the south-western part of the Peloponnesus with a resident 
chief of the highest administrative authority ; and this necessity 
seems to have originated in the communication with Corinth 
which was the capital of the province having been rendered 
more difficult than in preceding times 3 . 

In the period between the reigns of Justinian I. and 
Heraclius, a considerable portion of Macedonia was entirely 
colonized by Sclavonians, who aspired at rendering themselves 
masters of the whole country, and repeatedly attacked the 
city of Thcssalonica 4 . In the reign of Heraclius other warlike 
tribes of Sclavonian race, from the Carpathian Mountains, 
were invited by the Emperor to settle in the countries between 
the Save and the Adriatic, on condition of defending these 

1 Constant. Porphyr. Be Them. ii. p. 2;. 

* Compare Falunerayer, Gtuhichte der halbinsel Morea, i. 13S, and Zinkeisen, 
Geuhichie Griechenland>, 702. 

j-arc Phiantzes, p. 39S, edit. Bonn, and Le Quien, Oriens Christianus, 

1 that relates to the- Sclavonians in Macedonia in Tafel's work, De Thes- 
ialonica ijtaque Agro, l'rulcy. civ. 


Ch.I. §3.] 

provinces against the Avars, and acknowledging the supre- 
macy of the Byzantine government. By this treaty the last 
remains of the Illyrian race were either reduced to the 
condition of serfs, or forced southward into Epirus 1 . This 
emigration of the free and warlike Sclavonians, as allies of 
the government, is of importance in elucidating the history 
of the Greeks. Though it is impossible to trace any direct 
communication between these Sclavonians, and those settled 
in Greece and the Peloponnesus, it is evident, that the new 
political position which a kindred people had thus acquired 
must have exerted a considerable influence on the character 
of the Sclavonian colonists in the Byzantine empire. 

The country between the Haemus and the Danube was 
conquered by the Bulgarians, under their chief Asparuch, 
about the year 678. The greater part of the territory sub- 
dued by the Bulgarians had already been occupied by 
Sclavonian emigrants, who exterminated the old Thracian 
race. These Sclavonians were called the Seven Tribes ; 
and the Bulgarians, who conquered the country and became 
the dominant race, were so few in number that they were 
gradually absorbed into the mass of the Sclavonian popu- 
lation. Though they gave their name to the country and 
language, the present Bulgarians are of Sclavonian origin, 
and the language they speak is a dialect of the Sclavonian 
tongue 2 . A few years after the loss of Moesia, the Emperor 
Justinian II. established numerous colonies of subject Scla- 
vonians in the valley of the Strymon, for the purpose of 
defending the possessions of the Greeks against the incursions 
of their independent countrymen 3 . 

In the early part of the eighth century the Peloponnesus 
was regarded by European navigators as Sclavonian land. In 
the account of St. Willibald's pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 723, 
it is said that, after quitting Sicily and crossing the Adriatic 
Sea. he touched at the city of Manafasia (Monemvasia) in the 
Sclavonian land 4 . The name of Sclavinia at times obtained 

1 Constant. Torphyr. Be Administ. Imp. cap. 30-32. 

2 Theoph. 298; Schafarik's Slawische Alter thinner, ii. 170. 

3 Constant. Porphyr. Di Thematibus, ii. p. 23. 

4 Fallmerayer quotes this passage (Geschichte der hal insel Morea, ii. 444) from 
Acta Sanctorum apud Bolland. ad 8 Jul. p. 504 — 'Et inde (e Sicilia) navigantes 
venerunt ultra mare Adriaticum ad urbem Manafasiam in Slavinica terra." [Hopf 
remarks (op. cit. p. 106) that the nun who composed the Life or Pilgrimage of 
St. Willibald was so ignorant of geography that she places Tyre and Sidon on 


[Ch.I.§ 3 . 

a widely extended, and at times a very confined, geographical 
application. We find it used in reference to particular dis- 
tricts and cantons in Macedonia and Thrace, but it does not 
appear to have been permanently applied to any considerable 
province within the territories of ancient Greece. 

It is thus proved that the Sclavonians had rendered them- 
selves masters of great part of the Peloponnesus in numbers 
at the very commencement of the eighth century. The com- 
pletion of the colonization of the whole country of Greece and 
the Peloponnesus — for such is the phrase of the Emperor 
Constantine Porphyrogenitus — is dated by the imperial writer 
from the time of the great pestilence that depopulated the 
East in the year 746 \ The events, if really synchronous, 
could not have been immediately connected as cause and 
effect. The city population must have suffered with more 
severity from this calamity than the rural districts ; and it is 
mentioned by the chronicles of the time, that Constantinople, 
Monemvasia, and the islands of the Archipelago, were prin- 
cipal sufferers ; and, moreover, that Constantinople itself was 
repeopled by drafts from the population of Greece and the 
islands 2 . Even in ordinary circumstances, it is well known 
that an uninterrupted stream of external population is always 
flowing into large cities, to replace the rapid consumption of 
human life caused by increased activity, forced celibacy, 
luxury, and vice, in dense masses of mankind. According to 
the usual and regular operation of the laws of population, the 
effects of the plague ought to have been to stimulate an 
increase of the Greek population in the rural districts which 
it still occupied ; unless we are to conclude, from the words of 
Constantine, that after the time of the plague all the Greeks 
were in the habit of dwelling within the walls of fortified 
towns, and the country was thus entirely abandoned to the 
Sclavonians, whose colonies, already established in Greece, 
found by this means an opportunity of extending their settle- 
ments. The fact seems to be so stated by the imperial writer, 
who declares that at this time 'all the country became Scla- 

thc Adriatic Sea: and that therefore there is no sufficient ground for supposing 
that by the Sclavonian land she meant the l'eloponnese as distinguished from 
k peninsula at large. Ed.] 

1 Constant, l'orphyr. De Thematibus, lib. U. p. 25; Theoph. 354; Cedrenus, 
ii. .\(>i. 

' Nicephorus Cpolitanus, p. 40; Theoph. pp. 354, 360. 

Ch.I. §3.] 

vonian, and was occupied by foreigners V And in confirma- 
tion of the predominance of the Sclavonian population in 
the Peloponnesus, he mentions an anecdote which does not 
redound to the honour of his own family. A Peloponnesian 
noble named Niketas, the husband of a daughter of his own 
wife's brother, was extremely proud of his nobility, not to 
call it, as the emperor sarcastically observes, his ignoble 
blood. As he was evidently a Sclavonian in face and figure, 
he was ridiculed by a celebrated Byzantine grammarian in 
a popular verse which celebrated his asinine Sclavonian 
visage 2 . 

The Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus dates the com- 
pletion of the Sclavonian colonization of Greece in the reign 
of Constantine V. (Copronymus) ; yet it is evident from 
history that a mighty social revolution commenced in the 
Byzantine empire during the reign of his father Leo III. 
(the Isaurian), and that the people then began to awake 
reinvigorated from a long lethargy. From this period all the 
Sclavonians within the bounds of the empire, who attempted 
to display any signs of political independence, were re- 
peatedly attacked in the districts they had occupied. Still, 
it required all the energy of the Iconoclast emperors, men 
in general of heroic mould and iron vigour, to break the 
power of the Sclavonian colonists who had rendered them- 
selves independent in several provinces. But this was at last 
effected. The Sclavonian emigrants who completed the occu- 
pation of Greece and the Peloponnesus, after the great plague, 
were not long allowed to enjoy tranquil possession of the 
country. In the year 783, the Empress Irene, who was an 
Athenian by birth, and consequently more deeply interested 
in the condition of the Greek population than her immediate 
predecessors, sent an army into Greece, to reduce all the 
Sclavonians who had assumed independence to immediate 
dependence on the imperial administration. This force 

1 Constant. Porphyr. Be Them. ii. 25. This passage is so important, from its 
official authority, that it must be transcribed in order that neither more nor less 
than it contains be attributed to it. TLdoa r/ 'EWis re kcu fj UiXonvvv-qaos vno 
Tf/v rwv 'PwfMioov crayrjvrjv k-y(V(To, ware 5ov\ovs ovt e\ev6epcov ftvioOai. E<70A.a- 
i9cu077 5« iraaa 7) X^P - * a ' fi~fOve ftapjiopos ore d XoipLiKos Odvaros iraaav l(3uOKtTO 
ttjv olitovfXfVTjv, oirrjv'iKa KaivaravTivos 6 rf/s Konpias knuvvf-ws rd otcrjirTpa rrjs tuiv 
'Pwpaiaiv Siuirev dpxTJs. 

2 See above, vol. ii. p. 305. 



[Ch.I. §3. 

marched into the Peloponnesus, ravaged the lands of the 
Sclavonians, carried off an immense booty and many prison- 
ers, and compelled all the independent tribes to acknowledge 
themselves tributary to the Byzantine empire 1 . In spite of 
this check, the Sclavonians continued numerous and powerful ; 
and fifteen years later, one of their princes in northern 
Greece, who ruled a province called Veletzia, engaged in 
a dangerous conspiracy against the imperial government, 
which had for its object to raise the sons of Constantine V. 
to the throne of Constantinople-. 

The conviction that their affairs were beginning to decline 
induced the Sclavonians of the Peloponnesus to make a 
desperate effort to render themselves masters of the whole 
peninsula. In the year 807, they made the attack on Patrae 
which has been already alluded to. The siege of that city 
was to be the first step towards political independence. They 
counted on deriving some assistance in their undertaking from 
a Saracen fleet, which was to co-operate in the attack on Patrae 
by cutting off all connection between the peninsula and the 
western coast of continental Greece. The military power of 
the Sclavonians does not appear to have been very formid- 
able, for the Greeks of Patrae were able to defeat the attack 
on their city, before any aid reached them from the Byzantine 
troops stationed at Corinth 3 . The policy of the Byzantine 
government, which viewed with great jealousy every indica- 
tion of martial spirit among the native Greek population, and 
carefully obliterated every trace of local institutions, willingly 
attributed all the honour of the victory to St. Andrew, rather 
than allow the people to perceive that they were able to de- 
fend their own rights and liberties, by means of their own 
courage and municipal authorities 4 . 

The condition of the Greek race began to change again 
soon after this event. The privileged position of the citizen 
in Hellenic society had disappeared; and now citizen, alien, 
frecdman and serf were melting into the mass that composed 

1 Theoph. 2 Ibid. 400. 

3 The chronicle of Monemvasia. quoted by l-'allmerayer, says that, previously 
to this period, the inhabitants of Patrae had emigrated' to Reggio in Calabria; 
so that for a time only the citadel remained in the hands of the Greeks. [On the 
value of this chronicle as evidence, see note on p. 13. Ed.] 

1 tint Porphyr. De AdminUt. Imp. cap. 49. p. 131; Lcunclavius, Jus 
Gruccrj-Iiomniiutn, p. 278. 


Ch.I.§ 3 -] 

the Romaioi, or Greeks of the Byzantine empire, called con- 
temptuously by the abbot confessor Theophanes, Helladikoi. 
Society suffered a deterioration in purity of race and in intel- 
lectual culture, but the mass of the population rose consider- 
ably in the scale of humanity. The first great wave of that 
irresistible river of democracy, which has ever since floated 
society onward with its stream, then rolled over the Eastern 
Empire, and it flowed majestically and slowly forward, un- 
noticed by philosophers, unheeded by the people, and 
undreaded by statesmen and sovereigns. Unfortunately on 
this occasion, as on too many others, the waters were allowed 
to wash away the productive soil of local institutions, and to 
leave only a few rocks insufficient to afford any shelter in the 
wide expanse of despotism. The barbarism of the Scla- 
vonians placed them beyond the sphere of this social revolu- 
tion, and they were ultimately swept from the Hellenic soil 
by its progress. The Greek race having enlarged its social 
sphere and included within itself that portion of the agricul- 
tural population which had replaced the purchased slaves, 
felt the invigorating influence of the change. As soon as the 
Greek population began to increase sensibly under the new 
impulse given to society, the necessity was felt of recovering 
possession of the districts which had been occupied by the 
Sclavonians for six generations. The progress of society 
made the Greeks the encroaching party, and their encroach- 
ments produced hostilities. 

In the ninth century the Greek population began to make 
rapid advances. During the reign of the Emperor Theophilus, 
the Sclavonians of the Peloponnesus broke out in a general 
rebellion, and remained masters of the open country for some 
years, committing fearful devastation on the property of the 
Greeks. But when his widow, Theodora, governed the em- 
pire during the minority of her son, Michael III. (a.D. 842- 
852), she sent an army to reduce them to obedience. This 
Byzantine force, commanded by Theoktistos the Proto- 
spatharios, does not appear to have encountered any very 
obstinate resistance on the part of the rebels. Two tribes — 
the Melings, who occupied the slopes of Taygetus, which had 
already received its modern name Pentedaktylon, and the 
Ezerits, who dwelt in the lower part of the valley of the 
Eurotas, about Helos, which the Sclavonians translated Ezero 

C 2 


[Ch. I. § 3. 

— had long enjoyed complete independence 1 . They were 
rendered tributary by this expedition, and their chiefs were 
selected by the Byzantine government. The Melings in the 
mountain were ordered to pay an annual tribute of sixty gold 
byzants, and the Ezerits in the rich plain three hundred. 
The insignificancy of these sums must be considered as a 
proof that they were imposed merely as a sign of vassalage, 
and not as a tax. But under an administration so essentially 
fiscal as that of the court of Constantinople, the Sclavonian 
tribes must have been exposed to various modes of oppres- 
sion. Rebellion was a natural consequence ; and accordingly, 
in the reign of Romanos I., we find them again in arms (a.d. 
920-944). Krinites Arotras, the Byzantine governor of the 
Peloponnesus, received orders to exterminate the Melings and 
Ezerits, who had distinguished themselves by their activity. 
After a campaign of nine months, in which he laid waste their 
territory, carried off their cattle, and enslaved their children, 
he granted them peace on their engaging to pay an increased 
tribute. The subjection of the mountaineers of Taygetus was 
on this occasion so complete that they were compelled to pay 
annually the sum of six hundred gold byzants, and the tribute 
of the Ezerits, whose possessions in the plain were probably 
laid waste, was fixed at the same amount. The successor of 
Krinites embroiled the affairs of his province ; and a Sclavo- 
nian tribe, called the Slavesians, invading the Peloponnesus, 
threatened the whole peninsula with ruin. The Melings and 
Ezerits, taking advantage of the troubles, sent a deputation 
to the Emperor Romanos to petition for a reduction of 
their tribute ; and the Byzantine government, fearing lest 
they should join the new band of invaders, consented to 
reduce the tribute to its first amount, and to concede to the 
tributaries the right of electing their own chiefs 2 . From this 
period the Melings and the Ezerits were governed by self- 
elected chiefs, who administered the affairs of these Scla- 
vonian tribes according to their native laws and usages. In 
this condition they were found by the Crusaders, who invaded 
the Peloponnesus at the commencement of the thirteenth 
century ; . 

1 Constaatine I'orphyrogenitus calls them MtKTjyyol kcli 'E^pirai; the Chronicle 
of the Conquest of the Morea, Mtkiyyoi. 

* Constant. Porphyr. De AJm. Imp. c. 50. p. 133. 
'hronide oj the Conquest of the Morea, Greek text of Copenhagen MS. pub- 


Ch. I. § 3.] 

In the time of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, the only part 
of Mount Taygetus that remained in the possession of the 
Greeks was the fortress of Maina and the rocky promontory 
in its vicinity. In that corner of Laconia, a small remnant 
of the Greek race survived, living in a state of isolation, 
poverty, and barbarism. So completely had they been sepa- 
rated from all connection with the rest of the nation, and 
secluded from the influence of the Greek church, that the 
rural population around the fortress remained pagans until 
the reign of Basil I., the Macedonian, a.d. 867-886. In 
Constantine's own reign these Mainates, who had been 
converted in the time of his grandfather, paid to the imperial 
treasury an annual tribute of four hundred gold byzants 1 . 

The epitomizer of Strabo, who lived not long before the 
commencement of the eleventh century, speaks of the Scla- 
vonians as forming almost the entire population of Macedonia, 
Epirus, continental Greece, and the Peloponnesus. He mentions 
the coast of Elis in particular, as a district where all memory 
of the ancient Hellenic names, and consequently of the Greek 
language, was then forgotten ; the population consisting 
entirely of Sclavonians, or as he calls them Scythians 2 . 

The Sclavonian tribes in Elis and Laconia were found by 
the Franks in a state of partial independence, A.D. 1205. 
They still preserved their own laws and language ; and 
though they acknowledged the supremacy of the Byzantine 
government, they collected their tribute and regulated their 
local administration by their own national usages. The 
Melings had become the dominant tribe in Laconia, and 
were masters of all Mount Taygetus ; but the Greeks had 
expelled the Sclavonians from the greater part of the plain 
of Elis. and driven them back into the mountainous districts 
of Elis and Arcadia. The country they occupied was called 
Skorta, and extended from the ruins of Olympia to the 

lished by Buchon, Paris, 1845, P- i". v. 166^. The Sclrvonians in the Morca 
are described — 'AvOpainuvs aKa^ovacovs, k oil akfiovrai avOivTrjv. 

1 Constant. Porphyr. De Adm. Imp. c. 50. p. 134. It is difficult to fix the posi- 
tion of the Kastron of Maina mentioned by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, in 
consequence of an error in the text. It is said to have been situated at Cape 
Malea, on the sea-coast, beyond the territory of the Ezerits. Malea is here 
evidently an inadvertency of the writer or an error of a copyist. 

2 For the age of the epitomizer, see Dodwell, De Geograph. Aetale, Diss. vi. 
The passage referred to will be found in Geograph. Vet. Script. Gr. Minores, edit 
Hudson, torn. ii. 98; and in Coray's edition of Strabo, torn. iii. pp. 373, 386. 


[Ch.I.§ 3 . 

sources of the Ladon. and to the great Arcadian plain. The 

importance of the Sclavonian population was still so great 

that the Franks, in order to facilitate their conquest of the 

Peloponnesus, induced the Melings and the Skortans to 

separate their cause from that of the Greek nation, by granting 

them separate terms of capitulation, and guaranteeing to 

them the full enjoyment of every privilege they had possessed 

under the Byzantine government K Though the numbers of 

the Sclavonians diminished, after the reconquest of the eastern 

part of the Frank principality by the Greek emperors, still 

several districts of the Peloponnesus, and especially the tribes 

of Mount Taygetus, are stated by Laonicus Chalcocondylas, 

an Athenian personally acquainted with the state of the 

country, to have preserved their manners and language until 

the time of the Turkish conquest in 1460 2 . 

We have thus undoubted proof, from Greek writers, that 

a considerable part of the Peloponnesus was inhabited by 

Sclavonians, and that the Sclavonian language was spoken 

in great part of Greece for a period of seven hundred 

years 3 . 

1 Chronicle of the Conquest of the Morea — French text, pp. 39, 335 ; Greek text, 
pp. 113, 170. 

2 Chalcocondylas, pp. 10, 71. Mazans (in Boissonade, Anecdo.'a Gracca, iii. 
1 74) also proves that Sclavonian was spoken in the Peloponnesus during the 
fourteenth century. 

3 [The present position of the question may be briefly summed up as follows. 
The great peiiod of Slavonian immigration into Greece was shortly after the great 
pestilence of a.d. 747, which greatly depopulated the country (see vol. ii. p. 68). 
From this time till the middle of the ninth century the Slavonians formed a large 
part, though by no means the whole, of the population. In the latter part of the 
ninth century the Greeks began to recover a numerical superiority (vol. ii. p. 355 . 
and from this period dates the process of the absorption and Hellenizing of the 
Slavonians, so as to form the mixed race, of which the greater part of the popula- 
tion of Greece is now composed. Hertzberg {op. cit. p. 338) rightly remarks 
on the important part which the Greek church played in effecting this change. 
The tendency of the Greek race rapidly to assimilate the Slavonic is illustrated 
by the fact that that excellent explorer M. Albert Dumont (quoted by Rambaud, 
V Empire Grec, p. 225) has only discovered two Slavonic inscriptions in a country 
so overrun by Slavonians as Thrace. The affinity between the ancient and modern 
Greeks has been traced by several lines of argument. It has been pointed out 
how great is the resemblance of character between them, and that too in points 
presenting the sharpest contrast to the character of the Slavonic races. The 
survival of old beliefs and cla>>ical superstitions at the present day lias been carefully 
traced, as, for instance, by X. G. Polites in his NfOfKKrjvtKj) MvdoKoyia, and by 
Bernhard Schmii Vctkdeben dcr Neugriechen imd das hellenische Alter thunt. 
The language is a lineal descendant of the ancient speech, and has been shown by 
Miklosich to contain next to no Slavonic element (see above, p. 4). Finally, lest 
it should be thought that this language had been imported into the provinces 
from one or more great centres, and had not survived in the districts themselves, 

proved that numerous classical words and forms, which have been lost to 
the language at large, still survive in the local dialects (Bernhard Schmidt, pp. 


Ch.I. §4.] 

Sect. IV. — Sclavonian names in the geographical nomenclature 

of Greece. 

The only durable monument of the Sclavonian colonization 
of Greece, that has survived to the present time, is to be found 
in the geographical names which they imposed, and which 
were adopted by the Greeks when they recovered possession 
of the country. It is natural that every year should diminish 
the number of these names, were it only by the corruption 
of Sclavonian into Greek words of similar sound or import ; 
and it is at present a subject of fierce contention, to decide 
what proportion of the modern geographical nomenclature of 
Greece is of Sclavonian origin. There is no doubt that for 
some centuries this proportion has been daily lessened ; for we 
now find many Turkish and Albanian names in those districts 
which were the peculiar seats of the Sclavonian population. 
Many names, too, are triumphantly claimed by both parties, 
one party asserting that a word is unquestionably Sclavonian, 
and the other that it is undoubtedly Greek. None, however, 
can contest that there was a period when Sclavonian influence 
succeeded in changing the name of the peninsular citadel 
of the Hellenic race from Peloponnesus to Morea, and in 
effacing all memory of the ancient Hellenic names over the 
greater part of the country. Indeed, ancient Hellenic names 
are the exception, and have only been retained in a few 
districts, in the immediate vicinity of the cities that preserved 
a Greek population. 

It may not be uninteresting to notice the historical facts 
relating to the name Morea ; leaving the whole of the philo- 
logical questions concerning the modern Greek geographical 
nomenclature, and the surnames of many of the inhabitants, 
to the sagacity of the learned, when party zeal and national 
prejudice shall have cooled sufficiently to admit of the subject 
being investigated with calmness and impartiality. It would 
seem from the pilgrimage of St. Willibald, which has been 

5-1 1). Thus, though the physical connection between the modem Greeks and 
the ancient Hellenes, in certain districts at all events, may be slight, as seems 
to be implied by the difference of physiognomy, yet in all that really constitute. 
a people, their character, feelings, and ideas, they are their lineal descendants. 
Mr. Finlay has expressed himself unhesitatingly to this effect in vol. iii. p. 225. 


[Ch.I. § 4 . 

already quoted, that in the eighth century the Morea was not 
the name generally applied to the Peloponnesus, or the writer 
would probably have used it, instead of calling it the country 
of the Sclavonians. Among the Greeks certainly it could 
never have come into use until the country fell under a 
foreign domination, for the Peloponnesus continued to be 
the official designation of the province down to the time of 
the Turkish conquest. The name Morea was at first applied 
only to the western coast of the Peloponnesus, or perhaps 
more particularly to Elis, which the epitome of Strabo points 
out as a district exclusively Sclavonian, and which, to this 
day, preserves a number of Sclavonian names. When the 
Crusaders first landed, the term Morea was the denomination 
used to indicate the whole western coast ; for Villehardouin, 
in his Chronicle, makes his nephew speak of coming to Nau- 
plia from the Morea, when he came from Modon : and the 
Chronicles of the French Conquest repeatedly give the name 
a circumscribed sense, referring it to the plain of Elis, though 
at other times applying it to the whole peninsula l . Originally 
the word appears to be the same geographical denomination 
which the Sclavonians of the north had given to a mountain 
district of Thrace in the chain of Mount Rhodope. In the 
fourteenth century the name of this province is written by 
the Emperor Cantacuzenos, who must have been well ac- 
quainted with it personally, Morrha 2 . Even as late as the 
fourteenth century, the Morea is mentioned in official docu- 
ments relating to the Frank principality as a province of the 
Peloponnesus, though the name was then commonly applied 
to the whole peninsula 3 . 

1 Villehardouin, Conquete de V Empire de Constantinople par les Francs, p. 121, edit. 
Buchon, in Recherche* et Materiaux, pt. 2, — ' Sire, je vieng (Tune terre ki moult est 
riche que on apele la Mouree;' and at p. 122. ' et entrerent en la tcrre de la 
Moune.' See the word Mon'-e in the index of the French text of the Chronicle 
(.f the Conquest of the Morea, and the following passages in the Greek, p. 171, 
: p. 207. v. 4 7, 7 7 : p. 243, v. 5394 : p. 291, v. 6729; and p. 296, v. 6861. 
1 Cantacuzeni Hist. 588, where Hyperpyrakion, a town in this district, is men- 
tioned; also pp. 592. 650. and S46. Ameilhon, in the continuation of Le Beau 
re (in Bas-Empire, torn. xx. 135). make? Hyperpyrakion a considerable city 
in the Peloponnesus, and (p. 137) he mentions Asan, the brother-in-law of Canta- 
ta 1 gi rnor of the Morea instead of Morrha. 
J The will oi Acciaiuoli, dated 1391, enumerates lands in the Morea, 

rita, and Calainata ; and a letter of Robert, prince of Achaia, in 1 35S, 
contains the expression — ' In dicta provincia Calamatae et provincia Amorreae.' 
Buchon, Nouvelles Recherches sur la Principam< Frattfaise de Marie; Diplomcs, 

[Of several derivations that have been given of the name Morea, three deserve 


Ch.I. §4.] 

With regard to the proportion between the Greek and 
Sclavonian names scattered over the whole surface of the 
Peloponnesus at the present day, the authority of Colonel 
Leake may be quoted with some confidence, as one of the 
most competent judges on account of his philological and 
personal knowledge, and as by far the most impartial wit- 
ness who has given an opinion on the subject. He thinks 
there are now ten names of Greek origin in the Morea 
for every one of Sclavonian *. Still, the fact that a mighty 
revolution was effected in the population of Greece, during 
the period between the seventh and the tenth centuries, is un- 
questionable ; and that the revolution swept away almost 
every trace of preceding ages from Greek society, and nearly 
every memory of Hellenic names from the geography of the 
country, is indubitable. The Jews of the present day hardly 
differ more from the Jews of the time of Solomon, and the 
Arabs of to-day certainly differ less from the contemporaries 
of Mahomet, than the modern Greeks from the fellow-citizens 
of Perikles. When the Greek race beean to increase in the 

especial notice. The first of these would derive it from the Greek popta; 'the 
mulberry-tree,' from the resemblance of the outline of the peninsula to the leaf of 
that tree. This is wholly untenable. According to the second it comes from 
the Slavonic more, ' sea,' so that it meant ' sea-land ' or ' coast-land.' If Finlay 
is right in thinking that the name was originally applied to part of the west coast 
of the Peloponnese (Hopf disputes this), it would seem, supposing this derivation 
to be the right one, that the name was first used in contradistinction to the other 
Slavonic districts, which lay inland. Kopitar, however, maintains that Morea 
cannot be formed from this root according to the principles of derivation of 
Slavonic words. Hopf, in his Geschichte Griechenlands (pp. 265-267), inclines 
to the view that Morea arose by metathesis from Romea {'Pai/xaia, i.e. the country 
of the 'PaifxaToi), and was first used by the Frankish occupants ; and that it was 
sometimes used in a restricted sense of the north-western province, because that 
was the Frankish headquarters. The arguments in favour of this last etymology 
are — (1) that the name does not occur before the Frank period; (2) that in con- 
temporary documents the words Morea and Romania are used interchangeably ; 
(3) that an Italian writer of the fifteenth century calls the Rumanians ^Wallachs) 
Morias, in which form the same metathesis appears. Ed.] 

1 Leake's Peloponnesiaca, p. 326. Servia, which is the name of a town of 
Macedonia founded by the Sclavonians, is mentioned in the Greek Chronicle 
as a place in the plain of Elis, v. 3532, 3S77. The observations of Fallmerayer 
on the Sclavonian names in Greece deserve perusal, though they contain much 
that is fanciful. Geschichte der halbinsel Morea, i. 240; Entstehting der heutigen 
Griechen, 64. Modern Greek names, indicative of Sclavonian and other foreign 
influences, and proving the extinction of all Hellenic reminiscences, are not un- 
common, like Sklavokhorion, Phrangokastron, Arnaoutli, and Turkovrysi. There 
is an amusing though ridiculous reply to Fallmerayer, entitled Die Abstammung 
der Griechen und die Irrthumer xind Ta'uschungen des Dr. Ph. Fallmerayer, von 
J. Bar Ow. Mr. Ow tries to persuade his readers that Miliosi, Kalendgi, Suli, 
Vrana, Varibobi, Hassani, and Spata are Greek names. In short, the only Scla- 
vonian name he finds in Greece is Divri. 


[Ch. I. § 5. 

ninth century, and to recover possession of the country- 
occupied by the Sclavonians, they gave Greek names to many 
of the places they regained ; but these names were modern, 
and not the old Hellenic denominations, for the people were 
too ignorant to make any attempt to revive the ancient 
geographical nomenclature of the country 1 . Where the 
Albanians settled, a considerable number of Albanian names 
are found — a circumstance which would hardly have been 
the case had the Albanian colonists entered a country pos- 
sessing fixed Greek names; for the Albanians certainly entered 
Greece gradually, and in comparatively small numbers at a 
time, and, moreover, their geographical nomenclature is so 
circumscribed that the same names recur wherever they 
settled. Even within the single province of Attica, we find 
the same name repeated in the case of several villages 2 . 
So complete was the dislocation of the ancient inhabitants 
of the Peloponnesus that traces of the Sclavonian lansmaee 
are found among the Tzakones, a race which is supposed 
to have preserved more of the ancient Greek dialect spoken 
in their country than the other inhabitants of the peninsula 3 . 

SECT. V. — Colonics of Asiatic Race settled by the Byzantine 
Emperors in Thrace and Macedonia. 

The emperors of Constantinople attempted to remedy the 
depopulation of their empire, which was forced on their 
attention by the spectacle of desolate provinces and unin- 
habited cities, by forming colonies on a scale that excites our 

1 [The plague of 747 was the period from which dates the oblivion of ancient 
Hellenic names. It would be of the utmost importance to know what the state 
of things was, when the Greek element began to reassert itself against the Slavo- 
nian settlers. Unfortunately, Constantine Porphyrogenitus in the tenth century, 
who is our only authority on the subject, is ve'ry untrustworthy in his use of 
\ fair number of ancient names of seaport towns have 1 cen preserved 
in the present day, Mich as Corinth, Patrae, Epidaurus, Methone, and others, 
either exactly in their old form or slightly changed in the course of ages. Even 
in Arcadia, one of the district., most completely cKCupied by Slavonians, the name 
of Pheneus 1- pres rved in Phonia, and that of Cleitor in Clituras. Some places 
which have been long deserted, still have the classical name attached to them; 
as the Huron of Aesculapius near Epidaurus, which is still called lliero. and the 
1 ichrea which hear, the name of Cechries, and Leuctra that of Leftra. 
I his point is well treated by Hertzberg, op. at. pp 329 338. Ed.] 

an two village, of the names ol Liopesi, Spata, Liosia, and Buyati 
Lc ' a! ■' .326 Sei below, p. 34.] 


Ch. I. § 6.] 

wonder even in this age of colonization. The Emperor Jus- 
tinian II. transported nearly two hundred thousand Sclavonians 
to Asia on one occasion. His removal of the Mardaite popu- 
lation of Mount Lebanon was on the same extensive scale. 
Future emperors encouraged emigration to as great an extent. 
A colony of Persians was established on the banks of the 
Vardar (Axios) as early as the reign of Theophilus (a.d. 
829-842), and it long continued to flourish and supply recruits 
for a cohort of the imperial guard, which bore the name of the 
Vardariots \ Various colonies of the different Asiatic nations 
who penetrated into Europe from the north of the Black Sea 
in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries, were also estab- 
lished in Macedonia and Thrace. In the year 1065 a colony of 
Uzes was settled in Macedonia ; and this settlement acquired 
so much importance that some of its chiefs rose to the rank of 
senators, and filled high official situations at Constantinople 2 . 
Anna Comnena mentions colonies of Turks established in the 
neighbourhood of Achrida before the reign of her father 3 
(a.d. 108 1 ). A colony of Patzinaks was settled in the western 
part of Macedonia by John II. in the year 1123 4 ; and colonies 
of Romans were also established both in Macedonia and 
Thrace, after the empire had been depopulated by the Cru- 
saders and Bulgarians, in the year 1243 5 . All these different 
nations were often included under the general name of 
Turks ; and, indeed, most of them were descended from 
Turkish tribes. 

Sect. VI. — Bulgarians and Vallacliians in Greece. 

The wars of the Byzantine emperors with the Bulgarian 
kings, from the latter half of the seventh century to the 
destruction of their kingdom by the Emperor Basil II. in the 
early part of the eleventh, form an important and bloody 
portion of the annals of the Byzantine empire. The wars 
of the Bulgarians with the Carlovingian monarchs give them 

1 Codinus, Be Officih Aulae Constantinopolitanae, 66, 7?, note; Tafel, Be TTies- 
salonica, 70. [On these so-called Persians and their relation to the Turks in the 
neighbourhood of Achrida, see the editor's note in vol. iii. p. 77- Ed] 

2 Skylitzes, ad calcem Cedreni, 816; Zonaras, ii. 2 73; Anna Comn. 195. 

3 Anna Comn. 109, 315. 

1 Nicetas, 11. 5 Xiceph. Greg. 21. 


[Ch. I. § 6. 
also some degree of importance in Frank history. After they 
had adopted the language of their Sclavonian subjects l , and 
embraced Christianity, they extended their dominion south- 
ward over the Sclavonian tribes settled in Mount Pindus, and 
encroached far within the limits of the Byzantine empire. In 
the year 933, the Bulgarians first formed permanent settle- 
ments to the south of Macedonia, and intruded into the 
territories occupied by those Sclavonians who had settled in 
Greece. In that year they rendered themselves masters of 
Xicopolis, and colonized the fertile plains on the Ambracian 
Gulf. After this they more than once ravaged Greece, and 
penetrated into the Peloponnesus 2 . Their colonies, scattered 
about in southern Epirus, continued to exist after the conquest 
of the Bulgarian kingdom by Basil II., and the defeat of a 
body of Byzantine troops sent against them in the year 1040 
by Petros Deleanos, enabled them to assume a temporary 
independence. They were soon reconquered by the Byzantine 
armies ; but the Bulgarians long continued to form a distinct 
class of the population of southern Epirus, though the simi- 
larity of their language to that of the Sclavonians led 
ultimately to their becoming confounded with the mass of 
the Sclavonian colonists 3 . 

The second Bulgarian kingdom, formed by the rebellion of 
the Bulgarians and Vallachians south of the Danube against 
the Emperor Isaac II., in 11 16, took place after the complete 
extinction of the old Bulgarian language, and this kingdom 
seems to have been quite as much a Vallachian as a Bul- 
garian state. The court language, at least, appears to have 
been Vallachian, and the monarchs to have affected to regard 
themselves as descendants of the Romans 4 . 

[The fusion of the Bulgarians and Slavonians took place so insensibly that 
it may be well to the traces of the process that have been collected by 
M. Kambaud { L E,„/:re Grec au dixiime Steele, p. 320). In a.d. 81 , the Slavonic 
chieftains are invited to a banquet of King Crumn, and join the Bulgarians in 

king from the skull of the Nicephorus. In 8,,. a Bulgarian am 

bassador is called Dargarnir, an evidentl) Slavonic name. Their rule, for a lonfl 
period is called ,„ the Byzantine historians the prince of the Bulgarians and 
Mavomans In the eighth century a distinction is drawn between the Bulgarian 
•u.d Slavonian langn ige. .See the authorities there riven. Ed 1 k 

rl litis. JO.'. J :: Tl ■ 1 _ „ 

p. No. 266, mm. i. p. 5,3, c dit. Baluze. Colonel 7 Leake 

mentions that the Bulgarian language-tha. is, the Sclavonian dialect now spoken 

""V- Hages in the mountains to the souTh 3 

ria. Travek m Northern Greece ,. .,,,. 347. [A1] the christians in Ochrida 

itself, d m its neighbourhood, a, far west as Struga, where the Black 


Ch. I. § 6.] 

Amidst the innumerable emigrations of different races, 
which characterize the history of Eastern Europe from the 
decline of the Roman empire to the conquest of Constan- 
tinople by the Othoman Turks, the Vallachians formed to 
themselves a national existence and a peculiar language, 
in the seats they still occupy, by amalgamating the Dacian 
and Thracian inhabitants with the Roman colonists into one 
people. That they grew out of the Roman colonies, which 
spread the language and civilization of Italy in these regions, 
is generally admitted. They make their appearance in 
Byzantine history as inhabiting an immense tract of country, 
stretching in an irregular form from the banks of the Theiss, 
in Hungary, to those of the Dneister, and from the Carpathian 
Mountains to the southern counterforts of the chain of Pindus, 
bordering the Thessalian plain 1 . But in this great extent of 
country, they were mingled with other races in a manner 
that makes it extremely difficult for us to know which was 
the most numerous portion of the population at different 
epochs 2 . 

In the eleventh century, the Vallachian race occupied a 
great part of the plains of Thessaly, and dwelt in several 
towns 3 . In the twelfth, the country had acquired the name 
of Great Vallachia 4 . The close affinity of their language 
to Latin is observed by the Byzantine historian, John 
Kinnamos 5 . Benjamin of Tudela, the famous Jew traveller, 
who visited Greece about the year 1161, informs us that the 
Vallachians of Thessaly had completely expelled the Greek 
inhabitants within the limits of their dominions, of which he 
places the southern boundary near Zeitouni. ' Here are the 
confines of Vallachia, a country the inhabitants of which are 
called Vlachi. They are as nimble as deer, and descend from 
the mountains into the plains of Greece, committing robberies 
and making booty. Nobody ventures to make war upon 

Drin issues from the lake of Ochrida, are Bulgarians and spesk Bulgarian. The 
population of the city, which amounts to about 15,000 persons, is nearly equally 
divided between Bulgarian Christians and Mahometan Albanians. See my High- 
lands of Turkey, vol. i. pp. 186, 199. Ed.] 

1 Chalcocondylas, 16, 40. Xicetas (236) speaks of the Vlachoi as inhabitants 
of Mount Haemus; but the Greeks of his time, as now, probably used the word, 
indiscriminately of race, to indicate nomade shepherds. 

2 [On the origin of the Wallachians, see above, vol. iii. p. 228. En.] 

3 Anna Comn. 138. 4 Nicetas, 410. 
5 Cinnami Hist. 152 ; and Ducange's note, 483. 



them, nor can any king bring them to submission ; and they 

do not profess the Christian faith. Their names are of Jewish 

origin 1 , and some even say they have been Jews, which nation 

they call brethren. Whenever they meet an Israelite, they 

rob, but never kill him as they do the Greeks. They profess 

no religious creed V This account is evidently not to be 

relied on as authentic information, for the Vallachians were 

undoubtedly Christians ; and Benjamin felt naturally very 

little desire to form a personal acquaintance with people who 

were in the habit of robbing Jews, even though they bore the 

sacred names of Moses, Samuel, and Daniel. He only reports 

the information he had picked up in the neighbouring Greek 

towns from Jews, who may have suffered from the plundering 

propensities of these nimble-footed brethren of Israel. This 

district long continued to bear the name of Vallachia or 

Vlakia, both among the Greeks and the Frank conquerors of 

Greece 3 . 

A Vallachian population still exists in the mountains of 

southern Epirus and Thessaly, in the upper valley of the 

Aspropotamos (Achelous) about Malakasa, Metzovo, and Za- 

gora. in the districts of Neopatras and Karpenisi, and in the 

country about Moskopolis, twelve hours' journey to the east 

of Berat. Their whole number, however, in all these districts, 

does not appear to exceed ^opoo souls 4 . 

SECT. VII. — Albanian Colonics in Greece. 

The Albanian or Skipetar race, which at present occupies 
more than one quarter of the surface of the recently con- 
stituted kingdom of Greece, first makes its appearance in 
Byzantine history, as forming part of the army of the rebel 
Nicephorus Yasilakes, who assumed the imperial title in 
The Albanians were then, as now, the inhabitants 
of the mountains near Dyrrachium. The existence of the 

1 The frequency of the names of Samuel, Simeon, Daniel, Gabriel, and Moses, in 
Vallachian history, is marked on every page. 

* The Itinerary of Benjamin of TuJela. translated by A. Asher, i. 48. 
" Acropolita, 23, 33; Pachymeres, i. 49; Chronicle of the Conquest (French), 

1 Pouqueville in his Voyage de la Gn'ce (ii. 394) estimates their numbers at 
II' affects exactitude in his exaggerations, 
litzac Hilt, ad calcem Cedreni, 865. 



Albanian name in these regions dates from a far earlier 
period. Albanopolis, which is the principal town of the 
northern district, bore that name in the time of Ptolemy, 
and continued to retain it under the Byzantine government \ 
The Turks have corrupted the word into Elbassan. Reason- 
able doubts may nevertheless be entertained, whether the 
ancestors of the present Albanians were the inhabitants of 
these mountains in ancient times. But the history of no 
European race is more obscure. They have been supposed 
by some learned men to represent the ancient Pelasgians, and 
by others to belong to the original race of which the Epirots 
and Macedonians were cognate branches. Modern philologists 
have decided that the Albanian language is an offset of 
Sanscrit which separated from the parent root at a period 
quite as remote as the earliest dialect of Greek 2 . 

Anna Comnena mentions the Albanians more than once, 
calling them Arvanitai, which is the name still in use among 
the modern Greeks. She indicates that they had acquired 
some political importance, though in her time they do not 
appear to have occupied a very extensive territory 3 . In the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries, they are mentioned by more 
than one Byzantine writer. Pachymeres and Nicephorus 
Gregoras called them Illyrians, but Chalcocondylas objects to 
that name, and thinks they were rather of Macedonian 
descent 4 . In the fourteenth century, they had rendered 
themselves masters of a considerable extent of territory in 
Acarnania, Epirus, Thessaly, and Macedonia, in which they 
appear never to have formed the majority of the inhabitants, 
and from which they have long disappeared. They first made 
their appearance in the Peloponnesus as mercenary troops 

1 Ptolemaei Geog. lib. iii. cap. 13. § 23. 

2 [On the origin and tribes of the Albanian race see below, History of the 
Greek Revolution, book i. ch. 2, where the principal authorities on the subject 
are mentioned. According to Bopp's view, which is referred to in the text, 
Albanian is derived, not from Sanscrit, but from the original Aryan language. 

3 Anna Comn. 122, 165, 390. 

4 Pachymeres, i. 243, 347, edit. Rom. ; Niceph. Greg. 69, 334; Chalcocondylas, 
283. There seems to be a question whether Cantacuzenos (289) in mentioning 
the Malakassians, Bouians, and Mesarites as Albanian tribes, has not confounded 
them with the Vallachians. A Vallachian population now occupies these dis- 
tricts with the same names. But the names of Malakasa and Bouia are found 
both in Attica and the Morea as favourite Albanian names of villages, and 
they appear in other districts where the Vallachians are not known to have 


[Ch. I. §8. 
in the sen-ice of the Greek despots of Misithra, and shortly 
after they were settled in great numbers as colonists on the 
waste lands in the province \ During the half century imme- 
diately preceding the conquest of the Morea by the Turks. 
the Albanian population more than once assumed a promi- 
nent part in public affairs, and at one time they conceived the 
project of expelling the Greeks themselves from the Morea. 

The Albanian population of the Greek kingdom amounts 
to about 200,000 souls, and the whole race in Europe is not 
supposed to number more than a million and a quarter 2 . 
In continental Greece they occupy the whole of Attica and 
Megaris, with the exception of the capitals, the greater part 
of Boeotia, and a portion of Locris. In the islands they 
possess the southern part of the island of Euboea, and about 
one-third of Andros ; while the whole of the islands of 
Salamis, Poros, Hydra, and Spetzas are exclusively peopled 
by a pure Albanian race, as well as a part of Aegina and 
the small island of Anghistri in its vicinity. In the Pelopon- 
nesus, they compose the bulk of the population in Argolis, 
Corinthia, and Sicyonia, and they occupy considerable dis- 
tricts in Arcadia, Laconia, Messenia, and Elis. In all this 
great extent of territory the prevailing language is Albanian ; 
and in many parts Greek is only spoken by the men, and 
very imperfectly, if at all, understood by the women. The 
soldiers of Suli and the sailors of Hydra, the bravest warriors 
and most skilful mariners in the late struggle of Greece to 
regain her independence, were of the purest Albanian race, 
unaltered by any mixture of Hellenic blood. 

Sect. VIII. — Tzakoncs or Lacones. 

Of all the inhabitants who now dwell on the Hellenic soil, 
the Tzakoncs,orLaconians— for the two words are identical- 
scorn to possess the best title to connect their genealogy with 
their geographical locality, though they must be regarded as 
the descendants of serfs rather than of free Laconians. Part 

1 Chalcocondylas, 112,127; Ducange, Histoire de Constantinople, 283 ; Phrantzes, 

£ ii.- 1 w""" ; ( ' hrf "" c " H B reve,adcaUemDtaaemit. ; Fallmerayer, Gtsckichte di- 
et Morea, 11. 255. 

cfEwl;?^* S '" W ' H ' he AUe '-' } ^mer. \. ?>2 ; Lcjean, Ethnographie de la Turauie 


Ch.I. §8.] 

of the country conquered by the Spartans was always peopled 
by a race that differed from the Dorian 1 . When the Cru- 
saders invaded Greece, they found the Tzakones occupying a 
much wider extent of country than they do at present. They 
are first mentioned by Constantine Porphyrogenitus as troops 
employed in garrison duty 2 . Nicephorus Gregoras mentions 
them as furnishing a body of mariners to the imperial fleets in 
the time of the Emperor Michael VIII. Pachymeres notices 
that they visited Constantinople in such numbers as to form 
a Tzakonian colony in the city with their families, while the 
men served on board the fleet 3 . The Chronicle of the Con- 
quest of the Morea by the Franks, which appears to have 
been written towards the latter part of the fourteenth century, 
repeatedly mentions Tzakonia and its inhabitants as distinct 
from the rest of the Peloponnesus 4 . In the fifteenth century 
Mazaris, in enumerating the various races then inhabiting the 
peninsula, places the Lakones or Tzakones first in his list. 
He then passes to the Italians, for, at the time he wrote, they 
were masters of the principality of Achaia. The Pelopon- 
nesians, or modern Greeks, appear only as third in his list 5 . 
Crusius informs us that in the year 1573 the Tzakones in- 
habited fourteen villages between Monemvasia and Nauplia, 
and spoke a dialect different from the other Greeks 6 . They 
now occupy only seven villages, and the whole population 
does not exceed fifteen hundred families, of whom nearly one 
thousand are collected in the town of Lenidhi. 

The language of the Tzakones is marked by many pecu- 
liarities ; but whether it be a relic of the dialect of the 
Kynourians, who, Herodotus informs us, were, like the 
Arcadians, original inhabitants of the Peloponnesus, and 
consequently of the Pelasgic race, or of the Laconians called 

1 Grote (Hist, of Greece, ii. 601) observes that the readiness with which Karyae 
and the Maleates revolted against Sparta after the battle of Leuktra, exhibits them 
apparently as conquered foreign dependencies without any kindred of race. Karyae 
must fall within the Tzakonian territory in the middle ages. The Maleates, when 
expatriated by the Sclavonians, would retire to Mount Parnon (Malevo). The 
Dorians of Messenia seem not to have degraded the subject race so completely as 
the Spartans. 

2 De Caerem. Aul. Byz. torn. i. p. 402, edit. Lips. ; p. 696, edit. Bonn. 

3 Niceph. Greg. 58 ; Pachymeres, i. 209, edit. Rom. 

* See Chacoignie in the index to the Livre de la Cowjueste, and T(aK<uvia under the 
head of the letter r in the Index Geographique of the Greek text, edit. 1845. 

5 Boissonade, Anecdota Graeca, torn. iii. p. 174. 

6 Turcograecia, 489. 



[Ch. I. § 8. 

Oreatae — whose traditions, according to Pausanias, were 
different from those of the other Greeks — seems to be a 
question with the learned \ While the rest of the modern 
Greeks, from Corfu to Trebizond, speak a language marked 
by the same grammatical corruptions in the most distant 
lands, the Tzakones alone retain grammatical forms of a 
distinct nature, and which prove that their dialect has been 
framed on a different type 2 . It cannot, therefore, be doubted 
that they have a strong claim to be regarded as the most 
direct descendants of the ancient inhabitants of the Pelopon- 
nesus that now exist ; and whatever may be the doubts of 
the learned concerning their ancestors, these very doubts 
establish a better claim to direct descent from the ancient 
inhabitants of the province they occupy, than can be pleaded 
by the rest of the modern Greeks, whose constant intercom- 
munications have assimilated their dialects, and melted them 
into one language 3 . 

The district of Maina has frequently been supposed to 
have served as an inviolable retreat to the remains of the 
Laconian race ; but the inhabitants of Maina have lost all 
memory of the very names of Laconia and of Sparta : they 
have adopted a foreign designation for their country and 
their tribe. Part of the district they now inhabit abounds in 
Sclavonian names of localities, and their language does not 
vary more than several other dialects from the ordinary 
standard of modern Greek. On the other hand, the people 
of the eastern mountain range of Laconia have only corrupted 
the pronunciation of the name of their country by the modi- 
fication in the sound of a single letter, Zakonia for Lakonia, 
and their language bears the impression of a more ancient 
type than any modern Greek dialect 4 . 

1 H lus, viii. 73; Pausanias, Lacon. 24. 

Kodrika, in his Observation* sur les Opinions de quelques Hellenhtes tovchant le 
Gee modern*, reckons thirteen spoken dialects of modern Greek, including Tzako- 
nian, which, however, can no more be considered a dialect of modem Greek than 
Dutch can be considered a dialect of English. 

I he most important works on the Tzakonian language are Leake's Researches 

■me iaca, 304 : Thiersch, Ueber die Sprache der Zakonen, in the 

J,n,j i: ". val Academy of Munich. [The account given in Leake's 

ica is professedly derived from Thiersch's essay. The chief peculiarities 

of the Tzakonian dialect are noticed in Mullach, Grammatik der griechischen VvU 

raehe, pp. 94 foil Bernhard Schmidt (p. 6) refers to the work of Th. M. 

(,lk " fzakonian by birth, Tpa^cnW, r^s ToaKavutfjs SiaXtKrov, Athens, 

I870, a id that of G. Deville, Etude du dialecte Tzaconien, Paris, 1S66. Ed.] 

1 [There seems to be little doubt that the Tzakonian dialect and tribe are 


Ch. I. § 9.] 

SECTION IX. — Summary. 

At the time Greece was conquered by the Othoman Turks, 
it was inhabited by six different nations as cultivators of 
the soil. All these people, consequently, formed permanent 
elements of the population, for the true test of national 
colonization is the cultivation of the soil by the settlers. It 
is the only way in which the nursery of a nation can be 
created. These national races were — the Greeks, who had 
then become the most numerous portion of the population 
both in the Peloponnesus and the continent ; the Tzakones, 
who, though they are the representatives of a Greek race, 
must still be considered a distinct people, since they speak a 
language unintelligible to the modern Greeks ; the Sclavonians, 
the Bulgarians, the Vallachians, and the Albanians. The 
whole civilization and literature of the country were in the 
hands of the Greeks, and whatever the others learned, it was 
from them the knowledge was acquired. Greek priests were 
the teachers of religion to all, and the rulers of the church 
that guided every inhabitant of the land. The Frank races 
and the Latin church, though enjoying great power and 
wealth for two centuries and a half, were unable to destroy 
this influence, and were always strangers on the Hellenic soil. 
Nevertheless, we have seen that the traditions of ancient 
Hellas were so completely forgotten by the modern popula- 
tion, that the. ancient geographical nomenclature of the 
country had disappeared. The mountain-peaks visible to 

Hellenic, and have survived from an early period. Hopf (in Brockhaus' Griechen- 
land, vol. vii. p. 184) maintains on historic grounds that they are purely Sclavonic, 
because the Venetians spoke of them as such. Bernhard Schmidt however (p. 12) 
replies with good reason that the philological evidence on the other side is stronger, 
and shows clear traces of the early Doric, and in particular of the Laconian, dialect. 
It appears that the Tzakonian race at one time occupied a more extensive area 
than their present narrow boundaries ; and when, as is probable, they were dis- 
placed by Slavonians, a confusion might easily arise between the earlier and later 
occupants. There is no satisfactory explanation of the name. Though the 
change from Lakonia to Zaconia involves only 'the modification in the sound of a 
single letter,' yet everything depends on the question, whether this change is in 
accordance with the laws of letter-change in the language ; and this is not the 
case. Lord Strangford, in his Appendix to vol. i. of Spratt's Travels in Crete, ^On 
Cretan and modern Greek ' (p. 356), would derive it from the name of the Kau- 
kones, and speaks of the language as ' not a dialect of modern Greek at all, but the 
representative of the ancient speech of the Kaukones, being a sub-dialect of the 
ancient Doric come down to us in a state of extreme corruption, yet not without 
traces of even pre-Hellenic antiquity.' Ed.] 

D 2 


[Ch. I. § 9. 
cultivators from valleys that rarely communicated with one 
another, and the rivers that fertilized distant plains, though 
their names must have been in daily use by thousands of 
tongues, lost their ancient names and received strange designa- 
tions, which became as universally known as those which they 
supplanted. Yet in some continental districts, and in most 
of the islands, we find Hellenic names still preserved, so that 
this very circumstance of their partial preservation becomes 
an argument for the complete extinction of the Hellenic race 
in those districts where Hellenic names have been utterly 
effaced. Numerous names are scattered over the surface of 
the country, and many Greek names in use are derived from 
circumstances that attest the establishment of foreign colonists 
in the country 1 . It must, however, be observed, that this 
change from Hellenic to modern Greek appears almost as 
complete in some portions of Greece into which we have no 
evidence that the Sclavonians ever penetrated, as in the heart 
of the Peloponnesus, where for ages they lived in a state of 
semi-independence. In Euboea, the change is almost as great 
as in the Morrha of Elis. By what process, therefore, the 
ancient Hellenic population was transformed into Byzantine 
Greeks— or, as they long called themselves, Romans— must 
be explained by the internal life of the people rather than by 
the introduction of foreign blood. 

The vicissitudes which the population of the earth has 
undergone in past ages have hitherto received little attention 
from historians, who have adorned their p^ges with the 
records of kings and the exploits of heroes, or attached 
their narrative to the fortunes of the dominant classes, 
without noticing the fate of the people. History, however, 
continually repeats the lesson that the power, the numbers, 
and the highest civilization of an aristocracy, are insufficient 
to insure national prosperity, and to guarantee the dominant 
class from annihilation. On the other hand, it teaches us 
that conquered tribes, destitute of all these advantages, may 
perpetuate their existence for ages in misery and contempt. 
It is that portion only of mankind which eats bread raised 

Skkvokhorum, Phrangokastron, Arnaoutli, and Turkovrysi have been men- 
tioned. Hebruokastron Jew being put as a term of contempt for stranger), 
I hranKohm.on.-,. Phxangovrysi, Venetiko, Vlakhiko, Turkokborion, and many 
Albanian and I urkish proper names, might be added. 


Ch. I. § 9.] 

from the soil by the sweat of its brow, that can form the 
basis of a permanent national existence. The history of the 
Romans and the Spartans illustrates these facts. Yet even 
the cultivation of the soil cannot always insure a race from 
destruction, ' for mutability is nature's bane.' The Thracian 
race has disappeared. The great Celtic race has dwindled 
away, and seems hastening to complete absorption in the 
Anglo-Saxon. The Hellenic race, whose colonies extended 
from Marseille to Bactria, and from the Cimmerian Bosphorus 
to the coast of Cyrenaica, has become extinct in many 
countries where it once formed the bulk of the population, 
as in Magna Graecia and Sicily. On the other hand, mixed 
races have arisen, and, like the Albanians and Vallachians, 
have intruded themselves into the ancient seats of the 
Hellenes. But these revolutions and changes in the popula- 
tion of the globe imply no degradation of mankind, as some 
writers appear to think, for the Romans and the English 
afford examples that mixed races may attain as high a degree 
of physical power and mental superiority as has ever been 
reached by races of the purest blood in ancient or modern 


Causes of Hostile Feelings between the Byzantine 
Greeks and the Western European Nations. 

SECT. I. — Political Condition of the Byzantine Empire. 

The Byzantine empire was brought into direct collision 
with the western Europeans towards the end of the eleventh 
century. As the representative of the Roman empire, it 
counted a longer political existence, free from radical revolu- 
tion, than had ever been attained by any preceding government. 
Alexius V., whom the Crusaders hurled from the summit of 
the Theodosian column, was the lineal political representative 
of Constantine and Augustus. 

The wide extent of territory over which the Greek race 
was dispersed, joined to its national tenacity of character 
and the organization of the Eastern Church, enabled the 
Roman administration in the Eastern Empire to quell the 
military anarchy that rendered the western provinces a prey 
to rebellious mercenaries and foreign invaders. The Goths, 
Huns, Avars, Persians, Saracens, and Bulgarians, in spite 
of their repeated victories, were all ultimately defeated. 
W lien Constantinople was apparently on the point of yielding 
to the united assaults of the Avars and Persians in the reign 
of Heraclius, the empire rose suddenly as if from inevitable 
ruin, and the imperial arms reaped a rich harvest of glory. 
Again, when assailed by the invincible Saracens in the first 
fervour of their religious enthusiasm, the administrative 
organization of imperial Rome arrested the progress of their 
armies under the walls of Constantinople, and under the 

noclast Emperors, Leo III. and his son Constantine V 


arrested the progress of Saracen conquest, drove back the 
armies of the caliphs, and rendered Mount Taurus the 
frontier of the empire. The Byzantine Leo had defeated 
the grand army of the Mohammedans before Charles Martel 
overthrew a division of the caliph's forces. At a later period 
the Bulgarian kingdom was destroyed, and in the eleventh 
century the Danube became again the frontier of the Eastern 
Empire. Age succeeded age without witnessing any sensible 
decline in the fabric of this mighty empire ; and while the 
successors of Haroun Al Rashid and Charlemagne were 
humbled in the dust, and their power became as completely 
a vision of the past as the power of Alaric and Attila, the 
Byzantine government still displayed the vigour of mature 

The warriors, the statesmen, and the legists of the Byzantine 
empire deserve a higher place in the history of mankind than 
they have received, for their merits have been obscured, and 
their individuality lost, in the monotonous movements of a 
mighty administrative machine, which shows its own power 
sufficient to command results that even valour and wisdom are 
sometimes incompetent to secure. Yet even at the time the 
Byzantine empire exhibited the most striking evidence of 
its power, we perceive many marks of internal weakness. 
There was no popular energy in the inhabitants directed 
to their own improvement. The antagonistic principles at 
work in Byzantine society were for ages so exactly balanced 
as to prevent any rapid change, and the slow changes which 
occurred, though they tended to prolong the existence of 
the government, did little to reinvigorate the people. 

In judging the Byzantine government according to modern 
ideas, it is often necessary to regard the change of emperors 
and dynasties as something equivalent to a change of ministers 
and parties. The imperial power was generally not more 
endangered by the murder of an emperor, than the mon- 
archical principle by a change of ministers. Revolutions at 
Constantinople assumed the authority of supreme criminal 
tribunals to punish national crimes. Society had not then 
learned to frame measures for guarding against abuses of the 
executive power, and it had sense enough to perceive that 
the power to punish emperors on earth could not always 
be left solely to heaven. The theory that the emperor 


[Cb.II. § i. 
concentrated in his person the whole legislative, as well as 
the executive power, was universally admitted ; yet the 
people regarded his authority as a legal and constitutional 
sovereignty, and not an arbitrary sway, for he presented 
himself to their minds as a pledge for the impartial admini- 
stration of that admirable system of law which regulated their 
civil rights. The emperors, however, claimed to be the 
selected agents of divine power, and to be placed above those 
laws which they could make and annul 1 . Yet many 
enlightened men repeated the truth that they were restrained 
in the exercise of their power by the promulgated laws of 
the empire, by the fixed order of the administration, by the 
immemorial privileges of the clergy, and by the established 
usages of local communities ; and each successive emperor, 
at his coronation, was compelled to subscribe his submission 
to the decrees of the general councils and the canons of 
the Orthodox Church 2 . Thus the regular administration 
of justice by fixed tribunals according to immutable rules of 
law, the order of the civil government based on well-defined 
arrangements, the limits on financial oppression by established 
usages, the restraint of military violence by systematic dis- 
cipline, and the immunities secured by ecclesiastical privileges 
and local rights, became parts of the Byzantine constitution, 
and were guaranteed by the murder of emperors, and by those 
revolutions and rebellions which the absence of hereditary 
right to the throne made so frequent. Strictly speaking, it is 
true that the state consisted only of the imperial administra- 
tion, of which the emperor was the absolute master. The 
rights of the people were comprised in the duty of supporting 
the state ; of political franchises, as members of the state 
they were in theory utterly destitute. The power of rebellion 
was the guarantee against oppression. 

No state ever possessed such a long succession of able 
rulers, competent to direct all branches of the administration 
as the Byzantine empire. The talents of the emperors! 
as well as the systematic order of the administration, held 
together their extensive dominions long after the tendencies 

a Codinus, De Officii, Const, c. xvii. De Conn. Imp. 


Ch.II. § 1.] 

of mediaeval society urged the provinces to separate. It was 
a constant object of the imperial attention to prevent too 
great an accumulation of power in the hands of any single 
official, and yet it was absolutely necessary to intrust the 
provincial governors with great authority, for they were called 
upon incessantly to resist foreign invaders and to quell 
internal insurrections. Never did sovereigns perform their 
complicated duties with such profound ability as the Byzan- 
tine emperors. No mayors of the palace ever circumscribed 
their power; nor, were they reduced to be the slaves of their 
mercenaries, like the caliphs of Bagdad. 

When the Byzantine empire first came in contact with the 
western nations, its military forces were numerous and well 
disciplined, and though its navy had been neglected for some 
time, its artillery and mechanical engines of war were superior 
to those of the Crusaders. But a great change took place 
before the commencement of the thirteenth century. In the 
interval between the first and fourth crusades, the navy of the 
Italian republics grew to be more powerful than that of the 
Byzantine emperors, and the whole energies of feudal Europe 
were devoted to the study of the military art, as well as to. its 
practice ; while, after the death of Manuel L, the resources of 
the Byzantine empire were allowed to fall to decay, or were 
wasted by the incapacity and infatuation of the two brothers 
Isaac II. and Alexius III. 

The Byzantine army was organized to prevent its being 
able to dispose of the throne, as well as to make it efficient 
in defending the empire. The troops raised from the native 
provinces were formed into themes, or legions, of a thousand 
men. These themes were placed in permanent garrisons 
throughout the provinces, like the ancient legions. The most 
celebrated of the European themes were the Thracian, Mace- 
donian, and Illyrian, whose ranks were filled with Vallachians, 
Sclavonians, and Albanians. But the most esteemed portion 
of the Byzantine army consisted of foreign mercenaries and 
federate soldiers. These last were recruited among the rude 
population of some districts, whose poverty was so great that 
they were unable to bear the burden of direct taxation ; but 
they willingly supplied the emperor with a fixed contingent 
of recruits annually. The mercenaries consisted of Russian, 
Frank, Norwegian, Danish, and Anglo-Saxon volunteers. 


[Ch.II. § i. 

The Varangians, who about this time began to rank as the 
leading corps of the imperial guards, consisted of Anglo- 
Saxons and Danes l . 

The financial administration was the most complex and 
important branch of the public service. The emperors always 
reserved to themselves the immediate direction of this depart- 
ment. In civilized states, the finances are the life of the 
government ; and the emperors, feeling this, acted generally as 
their own first lords of the treasury, to borrow modern phrase- 
ology. One fact may be cited, which will give a better idea 
of the financial wisdom of the Byzantine emperors than any 
detail of the administrative forms they employed. From the 
extinction of the western Roman empire in 476, to the con- 
quest of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204, the gold 
coinage of the empire was maintained constantly of the same 
weight and standard. The concave gold byzants of Isaac II. 
are precisely of the same weight and value as the solidus of 
Constantine the Great. Gold was the circulating medium of 
the empire, and the purity of the Byzantine coinage rendered 
it for many centuries the only gold currency that circulated 
in Europe. The few emperors who ventured to adulterate 
the coinage have been stigmatized by history, and their suc- 
cessors immediately restored the ancient standard. But the 
Byzantine financial system, though constructed with great 
scientific skill, was so rapacious that it appropriated to 
government almost the whole annual surplus of the people's 
industry, and thus deprived the population of the power of 
increasing their stock of wealth. It retained agriculture in 
a stationary condition, and imposed such heavy burdens on 
commerce, that the Greeks were unable to compete with the 
citizens of the Italian republics who were subject to lighter 
duties' 2 . 

1 Penzd, De Barangis in aula Byz. militanlibus, 9. 

2 Michael Akominatos, Archbishop of Athens, in his monody OB Eustathios, 
Archbishop ( f 1 1m ssali inica, snvs, Yl'ivrajs <popo\uyois eKK(i<ropiai,ira.vTws SaapteKoyois 
(ipaiQ-nooixai, ws trot/XT] /mi nyadr) Orfpa, kcu tois dvOpoiirotpayois tovtois O-qpalv ZkSotos. 
Tafel, Thessalom ,. 387. Things must have been bad when an arch- 
bishop spoke of the imperial tax gatherers as wild beasts with cannibal propen- 


Ch. II. § 2.] 

SECT. II. — Social Condition of the Greeks in the TivelftJi 
Cent i try. 

The destruction of municipal institutions by the emperors 
extinguished all patriotic feeling, and made selfishness the 
prominent social result of family education and local pre- 
judices 1 . But the greatest injury inflicted on the Greeks by 
the abolition of their municipalities was that the aqueducts, 
public buildings, schools, sewers, and sanatory police were 
neglected by the central government, in order to appropriate 
the money to purposes more gratifying to the pride of the 
emperor and the views of the ministers at the capital. The 
people lost all control over the business which related to their 
own immediate interests. The local magistrates, no longer 
selected by the will of the people, lost their former import- 
ance as conservators of the existing order of society, and 
became, according to circumstances, the servile agents of 
superior authority, or the tumultuous organs of a rebellious 

In the twelfth century the population of Greece was com- 
posed of many discordant elements, besides the difference 
of races who peopled the country. The city population was 
naturally liable to the ordinary vicissitudes of commercial and 
manufacturing industry ; its prosperity and its numbers rose 
and fell with the accidents of trade and the events of war. 
But the agricultural population was always in a stationary 
condition : generation followed generation, treading in the 
same footsteps as their forefathers ; family replaced family, 
cultivating the same fields, paying the same burdens, and 
consuming the same proportion of the earth's fruits, without 
adding to the annual amount of the earth's produce. The 
distinction of rich and poor was the only recognized division 
of the people, and this division made its way into the admi- 
nistration as a legislative classification. The emperor was 
compelled to pass laws to protect the poorer class of landed 
proprietors from the encroachments of their wealthier neigh- 
bours 2 . The middle class had always a tendency to diminish, 

1 Corpus Juris Civilis, Leonis Nov. Const. 46, 47. 

2 The laws of the emperors after Basil I. frequently mention the rich, ol Svvarol, 
and the poor, ol irivqTts. To prevent the complete absorption of the property of 


[Ch. II. § 2. 

from being more exposed than the others to fiscal oppression. 

Its members had not the influence necessary to make their 

complaints heard, or to get their interests considered, by the 

central authorities, while their property prevented all attempts 

at emigration. The decay of roads, bridges, aqueducts, ports, 

and quays caused a difficulty in the sale of agricultural 

produce, and made labour lose its value too rapidly, in the 

distant provinces, for any laws promulgated by the central 

government to arrest the accumulation of landed property 

in the hands of the rich. One of the social evils of 

old Roman society again demoralized the civilized world : 

' Verumque confitentibus latifundia perdidere Italiam ; jam 

vero et provincias V 

A considerable portion of the empire was cultivated by 
colons, who formed the bulk of the agricultural population 
on the extensive possessions of the rich. Like the serfs of 
the west, these colons were attached to the estates on which 
they were born ; they belonged to the land, not to the pro- 
prietor, and only paid to him a fixed portion of the fruits 
of the soil as rent. As long as this was regularly paid, they 
enjoyed very nearly the same position as the poor freemen. 
The colons formed a very important part of the population of 
the Byzantine empire in the eyes of the treasury. The impe- 
rial revenues were so largely drawn from agriculture that the 
Byzantine legislation is filled with provisions for their protec- 
tion against their landlords, and with restrictions for fixing 
them irrevocably as tillers of the soil, in order to prevent any 
diminution in the production of those articles from which the 
state revenues were principally derived. They were protected 
against the avarice of the proprietor, who might wish to render 
them more profitable to himself, by employing their labour in 
manufactures. But the colons were prevented from acquiring 
the rights of freemen, lest they should abandon the cultivation 
of the land, and seek refuge in the cities, where labour was 
better paid. 

A considerable number of free labourers existed in Greece, 

the poor, Romanus I. created in their favour the preference of pre-emption, by 
which the members of the same community could alone purchase their neighbour's 
property; and the rich, as well as civil and ecclesiastical officials, were pro- 
hibited from making such purchases. This right, called irporlfxrjais, is the subject 
of many Byzantine laws. Mortreuil, Histoire du Droit Byzantin, ii. 321, 336, 354, 
iii. 139. 
1 Plinius, Hist. Nal. lib. xviii. 35. 


Ch.II. §2.] 

who were employed at a high rate of wages during short 
periods of the year by the citizens, to cultivate the olive 
grounds, vineyards, and orchards in the immediate vicinity 
of the towns. As the number of towns throughout the con- 
tinent and islands of Greece was still comparatively great, the 
existence of this class of poor freemen had a considerable 
influence on the social condition of the people, and must not 
be overlooked when we compare the Byzantine empire with 
Western Europe at the time of its conquest by the Crusaders. 

There is one social feature in the Byzantine empire which 
gives it a noble pre-eminence in European history, and con- 
trasts it in a favourable light with the other governments in 
the middle ages, not excepting that of the Popes. The 
Emperors of Constantinople were the first sovereigns who 
regarded slavery as a disgrace to mankind and a misfortune 
to the state in which it existed. A knowledge of the writings 
of the New Testament, and an acquaintance with the prin- 
ciples of Christianity, were far more generally diffused among 
the Greeks in what are called the dark ages than they have 
been in many western nations in what are supposed to be 
more civilized times. Justinian I., in the sixth century, pro- 
claimed it to be the glory of the Emperor to accelerate the 
emancipation of slaves ; and Alexius I., in the eleventh, gave 
the most favourable interpretation to the claims of those who 
sought to establish their personal liberty. The clergy were 
ordered to celebrate the marriage of slaves, and if their mas- 
ters attempted to deprive them of the nuptial benediction 
and of the rights of Christianity, then the slaves were to be 
proclaimed free. Alexius I. declares that human society and 
laws have divided mankind into freemen and slaves ; but, 
though the existing state of things must of necessity continue, 
it ought to be remembered that in the eye of God all men are 
equal, and that there is one Lord of all, and one faith in 
baptism for the slave as for the master 1 . 

The law had long prohibited freemen from selling them- 
selves as slaves, and punished both the buyer and the seller. 
Slaves were allowed to enter the army, and by so doing, if 
they obtained the consent of their masters, they acquired 
their freedom. They were allowed to become ecclesiastics 

1 Compare Corpus Juris Chilis; Nov.Jintin. 22. c. 8, with Nov. Alex. i. 9; 
Mortreuil, iii. 158 ; Bonefidius, 70. 


[Ch.II. §2. 

with the consent of their masters \ Agricultural slavery was 
evidently verging towards extinction. The facilities afforded 
to rural slaves for escaping into the Sclavonian and Bulgarian 
settlements, rendered it impossible to compel the slave to 
submit to as great privations as the colons, and his labour 
consequently became too expensive to be advantageously 
devoted to raising agricultural produce. Agricultural slavery 
could only be perpetuated with profit on those small and 
productive properties in the immediate vicinity of towns 
where free labour was dear, and where there was a great 
saving in the expense of transport. 

Domestic slavery continued ; but as domestic slavery can 
only be maintained under circumstances which would call for 
the employment of an equal number of hired menials, its 
general influence on the condition of the empire was not very 
great. Indeed, when slaves are habitually purchased young, 
they occupy a position superior to that of hired servants, for 
they are bred up in some degree as members of the family 
into which they enter. 

The progress of society among the Greek population, in the 
twelfth century, was thus evidently tending to enlarge the 
sphere of civil liberty, and to embody the principles of 
Christianity in the legislation of the empire. The progress 
of mankind seemed to require that such a political govern- 
ment should meet with a career of prosperity, the more so as 
it was surrounded on all sides by rude barbarians. It was 
not so. Political liberty is indispensable to man's progress. 
Human civilization demanded that new ties, connecting social 
and political life, should be developed : elements of liberty, 
alien to the condition of the Greek race, were to become the 
agents employed by Providence in the improvement of man's 
condition ; and the people of western Europe were now to 
take a prominent part in the world's history, to destroy the 
Byzantine empire, to enslave the Greek race, and in return to 
receive lessons of improvement from the Eastern nations. 

1 Nov. Leonis, o, 10, n. Leo in these laws declares that fugitive slaves who 
have become priests, monks, or even bishops, are to be delivered up to their mas- 
without the benefit of prescription, on the ground that a slave cannot possess 
the feelings suitable to the clerical functions. 


Ch.II. §3-1 

Sect. III. — Stationary Condition of Agricultural Industry 
throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. 

In the west the leading feature of civil society, from the 
fall of the western Roman empire to the time of the Crusades, 
is the abject condition of the agricultural classes. No Cin- 
cinnatus appears as a hero in mediaeval history. The 
labourers who became warriors returned no more to their 
ploughs. Century after century, the ruling classes, kings, 
priests, nobles, and soldiers, seized the whole surplus wealth 
which the hand of nature annually bestows on agricultural 
labour. The cultivator of the soil was only left in possession 
of the scanty portion necessary to enable him to prolong his 
existence of hopeless toil, and to rear a progeny of labourers, 
to replace him in producing wealth with the smallest possible 
consumption of the earth's fruits. Such was the condition of 
the greater part of Europe, from the commencement of the 
sixth to the end of the thirteenth century. 

The general insecurity of property, and the decrease of 
commercial intercourse, consequent on the neglect of the old 
Roman roads, reduced the numbers of the middle classes of 
society, who lived insulated in distant towns. They belonged 
to the conquered race, and were deprived of all political 
rights. They were despised by their conquerors as a dastard 
people, and envied by the poor, because they were the pos- 
sessors of more wealth than the rest of their countrymen. 
This state of society produced a perpetual though covert con- 
flict between the lower and higher classes. The ruling class, 
whether nobles, gentlemen, or soldiers, viewed the mass of 
the people with contempt and treated them with cruelty. 
The people indulged in vague hopes of being able, by some 
dispensation of heaven, to exterminate their tyrants and 
reform society. There hardly exists any European history 
that is not filled with rebellions and civil wars, which can 
be traced to this source. But the people, where they have 
not been trained to order by local institutions, can never form 
any practical scheme of administration ; and, consequently, 
their rebellions, when Unsuccessful, generally end in estab- 
lishing anarchy as a remedy for oppression. Still we must 
not forget, that the pictures we possess of popular struggles 


[Ch. II. §4. 

against governmental oppression have received their colouring 

from the aristocratic class ; and, consequently, that we seek in 

vain in such records for any notice of the wiser aspirations 

and better feelings of the patient and thinking individuals 

among the people. 

SECT. IV. — Condition of the Normans when they coiiqnered 
the Byzantine Possessions in Italy. 

The vigour of the Scandinavian race is one of the marvels 
in the history of European nations. The Normans rivalled 
the exploits of the Goths. In Gaul, Britain, Italy, and 
Russia they left permanent traces of their power. Driven 
by the same desire to secure to themselves a better position 
in the world by their own swords, which had impelled the 
Goths to destroy the Roman empire, they became the 
founders of new states and kingdoms. Unable to assemble 
large armies, they found the sea more favourable to their 
plundering excursions than the land. For nearly two cen- 
turies, the Scandinavian nations carried on a series of piratical 
attacks on the Franks in Gaul, and on the Saxons in Britain. 
They wasted the open country, and circumscribed every trace 
of civilization within the walls of fortified towns, or of 
secluded monasteries in inaccessible situations. The records 
of French and English history commence with details of 
cruelties committed by these pirates, so frightful that the 
poetry of their sagas cannot efface the conviction that plunder 
was dearer to them than glory, and that their favourite ex- 
ploits were the robbery of industrious villages, or the burning 
of peaceful monasteries. The daring of these ruthless plun- 
derers was rarely exposed to very severe trials, for the mass 
of the agricultural population was prevented from bearing 
arms, lest they should employ them against the ruling classes, 
and begin their military career by attacking their permanent 
oppressors. The descendants of Charlemagne preferred pay- 
ing thousands of pounds' weight of silver to the Normans, 
in order to purchase immunity from ravage for their own 
domains, to employing the money in arming a subject popu- 
lation whose feelings they knew to be hostile. This cause of 


Ch.II. §4.] 

the facility the Normans found in effecting their conquests, is 
hardly noticed by historians \ 

Tales of the inexhaustible wealth and unbounded luxury of 
the Byzantine empire were current in Scandinavia. Many 
warriors returned to their country enriched by the wealth 
they had amassed in the Byzantine service. These men 
repeated wondrous tales concerning the palaces and the gold 
of Constantinople, and the luxury and helplessness of the 
Greeks, to delighted crowds of listeners in their rude dwell- 
ings. Harald Hardrada, the gigantic warrior who lost his life 
at the battle of Stamford Bridge, acting as herald of the 
Norman conquest, had gained at Constantinople the treasures 
that enabled him to mount the throne of Norway. Tradi- 
tions, constantly revived by the sight of gold byzants, 
nourished a longing to reach the Byzantine empire in the 
breast of every Norman. The wish to see Constantinople, 
and obtain some small share of its immeasurable wealth, 
mingled with religious ideas in urging them to perform the 
pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 

About the commencement of the eleventh century, the 
Normans established in France began to appear frequently 
in Italy as pilgrims and military adventurers ; and, before 
the end of the century, they created a new political power 
at the expense of the Byzantine emperors. In their career 
from mercenary soldiers to independent chiefs, they advanced 
much in the same way, and nearly by the same steps, as the 
Goths and Lombards had done, when they founded kingdoms 
in the western Roman empire. Though some distinguished 
Normans visited Italy as pilgrims, the greater number wan- 
dered thither, impelled by the desire to better their condition, 
by entering into the military service of the Byzantine viceroys 
of southern Italy and Sicily. The changes that had occurred 
in northern Europe had put an end to piracy and degraded 
the occupation of the brigand, so that adventurous young 
men were now driven to seek their fortunes in distant lands. 
The Normans, like the Goths of older times, considered no 

1 Depping (Histoire des Expeditions Maritimes des Normands, p. 213, edit. Didier) 
cites the following passage, to show the fear entertained by the Franks of any 
assembly of the agricultural population : — ' Vulgus promiscuum inter Sequanam 
et Ligerim adversos Danos fortiter resistit ; sed quia incaute suscepta est eorum 
conjuratio, a potentioribus nostris facile interficitur.' Annates Berlin, ad ann. 
8 59- 



[Ch. II. § 4 . 

undertaking too arduous for their ambition ; and they feared 
to tread no path, however dangerous, that promised to conduct 
them to wealth and fame. 

The romantic narratives which connect the first appearance 
of the Normans in Italy with the formation of the Norman 
principalities, must not be received as true according to the 
letter. The sudden arrival of a ship of Amalfi, with forty 
Norman pilgrims, on their return from a pilgrimage to the 
Holy Land, may certainly have saved Salerno from the 
Saracens ; for these forty Normans, in complete panoply, 
may have rallied round them an army of pilgrims and mer- 
cenaries, on the great line of communication between the 
West and East. The meeting of Mel, the Byzantine rebel 
chief of Ban, with a few Norman gentlemen who were visiting 
the shrine of St. Michael on Mount Gargano, may also have 
led to these Normans collecting an army to attack the 
imperial authorities. But the success of the Norman arms 
arose from the circumstance that numerous bodies of Norman 
mercenaries were already serving in the South of Italy \ We 
may reasonably conclude that few men wandered from Nor- 
mandy to Italy to gain their fortune by the sword, who were 
not possessed of something more than ordinary daring and 
skill in the use of arms. The Norman mercenaries must 
therefore have possessed some superiority over ordinary 
troops ; and the physical superiority of the individual soldier, 
when the lance, the sword, and the mace determined the fate 
of a battle, was of more importance than it is in our day, 
when the fire of distant artillery and the evolutions of unseen 
regiments often decide the victory. The personal supe- 
riority of the Normans in moral character must also be taken 
into consideration, in estimating the causes of their surprising 
fortune in Italy and Sicily. In their own country they be- 
longed to a higher class of society than that from which 
mercenary soldiers were generally drawn, and their education 
h id taught them to aspire even above their birth. This 
nurture gave them a feeling of self-respect, and a high esti- 
mation of their individual responsibilities — qualities which 
form a firmer basis of national greatness than literary culture 

pare Gibbon, Decline and Fall, chap. hi. vol. \ii. p. 103; Sismondi, 
.'.'■ puMiques Italiennes, vol. i. p. 277; Gaily Knight, Normans in Sicily, 
p. 3, and their authorities. 


Ch.II. §5.] 

or refinement of taste. To this moral education, and to the 
manner in which it tempered their ambition, we must ascribe 
the facility displayed by the Norman soldiers in assuming the 
duties of captains and generals, and their prudence as leaders 
and princes. Brave, skilful, disciplined, rapacious, wary, un- 
feeling, and ambitious, they possessed every quality necessary 
for becoming conquerors, and all the talents required to rivet 
the bonds of their tyranny. Never, indeed, did any race of 
men fulfil their mission as conquerors and tyrants with a 
firmer hand or more energetic will, whether we regard them 
in their earlier state, as the devastators of France, and the 
colonists of Russia ; or in their more mature fortunes, as the 
lords of Normandy, the conquerors of England, Naples, and 
Sicily, and the plunderers of Greece 1 . Southern Italy, divided 
between the Lombard principalities of Benevento, Capua, and 
Salerno, and the Byzantine province, was saved from anarchy, 
and delivered from the ravages of the Saracens, by the Nor- 
man conquest. 

SECT. V. — Normans invade Byzantine Empire — Their ravages 

in Greece. 

The wars of the Normans with the Byzantine emperors, 
and the facility with which they conquered the Greeks in 
Italy, induced them to aspire at the conquest of Greece itself. 
Their successes, and the fame that attached to the Norman 
name from the recent conquest of England, raised their mili- 
tary reputation and their self-confidence to the highest eleva- 
tion. No enterprise was regarded either by themselves or 
others as too difficult for their arms ; and Robert Guiscard, 
when he found himself master of dominions in Italy which 
exceeded Normandy in wealth and population, aspired at 
eclipsing the achievements of William the Conqueror by sub- 
duing the Byzantine empire. 

In the month of June 108 1 he sailed from the port of 
Brindisi, with an army of thirty thousand men and with one 
hundred and fifty ships. Corfu, which then yielded an annual 

1 Galfredus Malaterra (i. c. 3) has an admirable sketch of the Norman character, 
of which the original is more expressive than Gibbon's amplified version (vii. 106) ; 
and the next chapter contains a correct portraiture of a Norman family. Carusius, 
Bibliotheca Historica Regni Siciliae, torn. i. p. 161. 

E 2 

° [Ch. II. § A 

revenue of fifteen hundred pounds of gold to the Byzantine 

treasury, surrendered to his arms, and he landed in Epirus 

without opposition. The glorious victories of the Normans, 

the prudent perseverance of the Emperor Alexius L, the 

valour of Bohemund, the failure of the expedition, and the 

death of Robert Guiscard as he was about to renew his 

attack, are recorded with such details in the pompous pages 

of Anna Comnena, and with so much art in the gorgeous 

descriptions of Gibbon, that they are familiar to every reader 

of history 1 . 

Bohemund again invaded the Byzantine empire in the year 
1107 with a powerful army. He was then Duke of Antioch, 
and had recently married the daughter of the King of France. 
The army of Bohemund, like that of William the Conqueror, 
whose glory he expected to eclipse, was composed of warlike 
adventurers from Normandy, France, and Germany. The 
winter was consumed besieging Dyrrachium, whose ancient 
Hellenic walls still existed, and were so broad that four 
horsemen could ride abreast on their summit, while they were 
flanked at proper intervals by towers raised eleven feet above 
their battlements 2 . The cities of Greece then preserved many 
classic monuments of art, and Bohemund encamped to the 
east of Dyrrachium, opposite a gate adorned with an equestrian 
statue of bronze 3 . The Emperor Alexius had acquired more 
experience in the tactics of western warfare than he possessed 
when he encountered Robert Guiscard in the earlier invasion. 
Bohemund could neither take Dyrrachium nor force the 
emperor to fight ; so that in order to escape utter ruin he 
was compelled to sign a treaty, in September 1108, by which 
he acknowledged himself the liegeman of the Byzantine 
emperor. Such was the fate of an expedition under the 
haughty Bohemund, no way inferior to that which conquered 
England 4 . 

The third invasion of the Byzantine empire took place 
in consequence of the Emperor Manuel rudely disavowing 
the conduct of his envoy, who had concluded a treaty with 
Roger, King of Sicily. But its real origin must be sought 

1 Robert Guiscard died .it Ccphalonia in 1085. 
- Anna Comn, . 

' Ibid. ;,so. Other monuments of ancient sculpture also remained in Dyrra- 
chium ; ibid. p. 99. 
' Anna Comn. 406. 


Ch.II.§ 5 .] 

in the ambitious projects of the Sicilian king and the warlike 
and haughty spirit of the young emperor. Roger, by the 
union of the Norman possessions in Sicily and southern Italy, 
was one of the wealthiest and most powerful princes of his 
time. The large fleet and well-disciplined army at his dis- 
posal authorized him to aspire at new conquests ; and he 
hoped to accomplish what his uncle, Robert Guiscard, and 
his cousin, Bohemund,had vainly attempted. But the Byzantine 
power in the interval had improved as rapidly as the Norman 
had increased. Manuel I., proud of the excellent army and 
trusting to the well-filled treasury left by his father, John II., 
and expecting to recover all his predecessors had lost in 
Italy, and even to reconquer Sicily, was as eager for war as 
the Norman king. Indeed, had the emperor been able to 
direct all his forces against the Normans, such might possibly 
have been the result of a war ; but the attention of Manuel 
was diverted by many enemies, and his forces were required 
to defend extensive frontiers ; while Roger was enabled to 
direct his whole force against the point where least preparation 
had been made to encounter an enemy. The Normans in- 
vaded Greece, and their expedition inflicted a mortal wound 
on the prosperity of the country. 

When the second crusade was on the eve of marching 
through the Byzantine empire, Roger, who had collected 
a powerful fleet at Brindisi, either for attacking Manuel's 
dominions or for transporting the Crusaders to Palestine, 
as might turn out most advantageous to his interests, was 
put in possession of Corfu by an insurrection of the inha- 
bitants. This occurred in the year 1146. From Corfu the 
Sicilian admiral sailed round the Peloponnesus to Monemvasia, 
at that time one of the principal commercial cities in the 
Mediterranean ; but the population of this impregnable rock 
boldly encountered the Sicilians, and repulsed their attacks. 
The Norman fleet then proceeded to plunder the island of 
Euboea, after which it suddenly returned to the western coast, 
and laid waste the coasts of Acarnania and Aetolia. 

The whole of Greece was thrown into such a state of 
alarm, by these sudden and far distant attacks, that it was 
impossible to concentrate the troops in the province at any 
particular point. The Norman admiral now darted on his 
prey, directing his whole force against Thebes, whose situation 


[Ch.II.§ 5 . 

appeared to secure it from any sudden assault, but whose 

wxalth, from this very circumstance, promised a larger amount 

of plunder than any city on the coast. Thebes was then a 

rich manufacturing town, without any walls capable of defence. 

George Antiochenus, the Sicilian admiral, entered the Straits 

of Lepanto without encountering any opposition, and debarked 

his troops at the Scala of Salona. From thence the Norman 

troops marched past Delphi and Livadea to Thebes. 

Thebes was taken and plundered in the most barbarous 
manner. The inhabitants carried on an immense trade in 
cultivating, manufacturing, and dyeing silk, and their industry 
had rendered them extremely rich. Everything they possessed 
was carried away by their avaricious conquerors, who con- 
veyed their gold, silver, jewels, bales of silk and household 
furniture of value, to the ships which had anchored at the 
port of Livadostro. The unfortunate Thebans were com- 
pelled to take an oath on the Holy Scriptures, that they 
had not concealed from their plunderers any portion of their 
property; nor was the city evacuated by the Normans until 
they had removed everything they considered worth trans- 
porting to the fleet. They dragged the principal inhabitants 
into captivity to profit by their ransom or sell them as 
slaves, while the most skilful workmen in the silk manu- 
factories were carried to Sicily to exercise their industry for 
their new masters. 

From Livadostro the fleet transported the troops to Corinth. 
Nicephorus Kalouphes, the governor, retired with the chief 
men of the city into the Acrocorinth. That fortress was 
impregnable, but the cowardly governor basely surrendered 
the place on the first summons. The Sicilian admiral, on 
examining the magnificent fortress of which he had so un- 
expectedly become master, could not refrain from exclaiming, 
that the Normans certainly fought under the protection of 
heaven, for, if Nicephorus Kalouphes had not been more 
timid than a woman, all their attacks might have been 
repulsed with case 1 . Corinth was sacked with the same 

1 George Anliochcnus was high-admiral, and one of the nobles of the highest rank 
in Sicily. The Greek deed by which Roger. King of Sicily, confers the title of proto- 
nobilissimus on ( hristodoulos the father of George, is preserved in the archives of 
the Royal Chapel at Palermo. Montfaucon has engraved it in his Palaeographia 
Graeca (p. 40S). There is a stone bridge of five arches near Palermo, called I'onte 


Ch. II. § 5] 

rapacious avidity as Thebes : all the men of rank, the most 
beautiful women, and the most skilful artizans, with their 
wives and families, were carried away, either to obtain a 
ransom or to keep them as slaves. Even the shrines of 
the saints were plundered, and the relics of St. Theodore 
were torn from his church ; and it was only when the fleet 
was fully laden with the spoils of Greece that it sailed for 

The inhabitants of Greece attained the highest point of 
material improvement, which they reached during the middle 
ages, at this period ; and perhaps their decline may be more 
directly attributed to the loss of the silk trade than to any 
other single event connected with the Normans and Crusaders. 
The establishment of the silk manufacturers of Thebes and 
Corinth at Palermo transferred the highest skilled labour 
from Greece to Sicily. Roger took the greatest care of the 
captured artizans ; he collected together their wives and 
children, furnished them with dwellings, and the means of 
resuming their former industry under the most favourable 
circumstances. He perceived that their skill was the most 
valuable part of the plunder of the expedition, and he suc- 
ceeded by his kindness in attaching them to their new home 
and in naturalizing their industry in Sicily. On the other 
hand the Byzantine emperors ruined the trade of Greece 
by oppressive monopolies and ill-judged restrictions, and 
thus prepared the way for the conquests of the Franks and 
Venetians l . And even when the Emperor Manuel concluded 
a treaty of peace with William I. of Sicily in 1159, he did 
not endeavour to restore the workmen of Thebes and Corinth 
to their homes, but abandoned them to their fate. Yet 
Thebes continued for some time to retain some importance 
by its silk manufactures. Benjamin of Tudela, who visited 

del Ammiraglio, which was built by George, probably from the plunder of Greece. 
The church at Palermo, called La Martorana, was also built by George, and 
contains two curious mosaics with Greek inscriptions. Greek, indeed, seems 
to have been the habitual language of the admiral, and of many Sicilian nobles 
at the court of Roger. Gaily Knight, Normans in Sicily, 263, 301. [See above, 
vol. iii. p. 162 note. Ed.] 

1 Nicetas, 65. Roger seems to have paid more attention to improving the 
condition of his subjects than any contemporary sovereign. In his reign the 
cultivation of the sugar-cane was introduced into Sicily. For the Norman expe- 
dition to Greece, see Ducange's note to Cinnamus, 446 ; Otho of Frisingen, De 
Gestis Frederici I., i. c. 33. in Muratori. Script. Rer. Ital. vi. 668. The passage is 
extracted in Carusius, Bibliotheca Hist. Regni Siciliae, torn. ii. 934. 


[Ch.II. §5. 

it about the year 1161, speaks of it as a large city with two 
thousand Jewish inhabitants, who were the most eminent 
silk-merchants and dyers of purple in Greece 1 . The silks 
of Thebes continued to be celebrated throughout the East 
even at a later period. In 1195, Moieddin, Sultan of Iconium, 
required from the Emperor Alexius III. forty pieces of the 
Thcban silk that was woven expressly for the imperial family, 
among other presents, as the price of his alliance -. 

The last attempt of the Sicilian Normans to subdue the 
Byzantine empire was made in the year 1185. William II., 
hoping that the cruelty of the Emperor Andronicus I. would 
prove a powerful ally to the Sicilian arms, invaded the empire 
under the pretext of aiding Alexius Comnenus, one of the 
nephews of Manuel I., to dethrone the tyrant and of avenging 
the losses sustained by the Latins during the troubles which 
preceded the usurpation of Andronicus, when their establish- 
ments were plundered, when thousands were massacred, and 
thousands sold as slaves 3 . But whatever might be his 
pretexts, his real object was to secure for himself some per- 
manent possession in Greece. A powerful fleet under the 
command of Tancred, the king's cousin and successor, was 
sent to attack Dyrrachium. which was taken by assault after 
a siege of thirteen days. The army then marched by the 
Via Egnatia to Thessalonica, while the fleet with Tancred 
sailed round the Morea. The rich and populous city of 
Thessalonica fell into the hands of the Sicilians after a feeble 
defence. In the fury of conquest, neither age nor sex had 
been spared when Thessalonica was sacked, and the barbarity 
of the conquerors is described in frightful detail by Nicetas. 

1 Itinerary, vol. i. 47, Asher's edit. 

•as, 297. It was not until the reign of John III. at Nicaea, 1222-1355, 
when Thebes was in the hands of the Latins, that the Greeks of Asia Minor 
were forced to import silk from Persia and Sicily. A law was then promulgated 
to prohibit the use of foreign silk. Niceph. Greg. 25 ; Bonefidius, Jus Orientate, 
124. Interesting proof of the great extent and long continuance of the manufac- 
ture of purple dye at Athens was found in clearing out the earth and rubbish 
which had accumulated in the Odeion of Herodes Atticus. The interior of the 
building and the roof had been destroyed by fire probably as early as the fourth 
century. Above the pulverized marble and the charcoal of the beams, layers 
of earth were intermingled at different levels with fragments of shells several feet 
thick, beside immense jars of earthenware in which a Diogenes could have resided, 
ra of these shells were found at three different levels, indicating that the 
dyeing manufactory had been abandoned for long periods and again resumed on 
a wry large scale, 

3 Nicetas, 162; Eustathius, Funeral oration on Manuel; Tafel, Comnenen und 
Normannen, p. 117. 


Ch.II. §5.] ' 

Neither rich nor poor were safe from the most barbarous 
treatment. Similar horrors are the ordinary events of every 
war in which religious bigotry excites the passions of rival 
nations, and the Greeks and Latins now hated each other 
as heretics, commercial rivals, and political enemies. The 
cruelties which the Greeks had committed when they drove 
the Latins from Constantinople three years before were fresh 
in the memory of the Sicilian troops. On that occasion 
women, children, and even the sick in the hospital of St. 
John, had been mercilessly slain, churches filled with helpless 
fugitives had been burned, and upwards of 4000 Latins had 
been sold as slaves to the Mohammedans 1 . Many of the 
wealthiest inhabitants of Thessalonica were driven from their 
splendid palaces without clothes ; many were tortured, to 
compel them to reveal the place where they had concealed 
their treasures ; and some, who had nothing to reveal, were 
hung up by the feet and suffocated with burning straw. 
Insult was added to cruelty. The altars of the churches 
were defiled, the religious ceremonies of the Greeks were 
ridiculed ; while the priests were chanting divine service in 
the nasal harmony admired by the Orientals, the Sicilian 
soldiers howled in chorus in imitation of beaten hounds. The 
celebrated Archbishop Eustathius, however, fortunately suc- 
ceeded, by his prudence and dignified conduct, in conciliating 
the Sicilian generals, and in persuading them to make some 
exertions to bridle the license of their troops, which they 
had tolerated too long. By his exhortations, Thessalonica 
was saved from utter ruin 2 . 

The Sicilian army at last put itself in march towards 
Constantinople. But the cruelty with which the inhabitants 
of Thessalonica had been treated, roused the indignation of 
the whole population of Macedonia and Thrace, and the 
Sicilians encountered a determined resistance. In the mean- 
time the tyrant Andronicus had been dethroned and 
murdered, and Isaac II. reigned in his stead. The Sicilian 

1 William of Tyre (Hist. xx. 12, in Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos, i. p. 1024) 
says that the Greeks beheaded the Sub-deacon of Rome, whom the Pope had sent 
to the East, and tied his head to the tail of a mangy dog to mark their contempt 
for the Latin church. 

2 Nicetas, 192. Eustathius has left us a declamatory but valuable account 
of the capture of Thessalonica, which was first published by Tafel, Eustathu Opus- 
cula, Tubingen, 1832, 4to. p. 267. It is reprinted in the collection of the Byzan- 
tine historians, published at Bonn, in the same volume with Leo Grammaticus. 


[Ch. II. § 5. 

fleet under Tancred entered the Propontis, and advanced 
within sight of Constantinople, without being able to effect 
anything. The army continued to advance in two divisions 
in spite of all opposition ; one of these divisions reached 
Mosynopolis, while the other was engaged plundering the 
valley of the Strymon and the country round Serres. 
Alexius Vranas, an experienced general, assumed the com- 
mand of the Byzantine army. The new emperor, Isaac II.. 
secured the good-will of the troops by distributing among 
them four thousand pounds of gold, in payment of their 
arrears and to furnish a donative. The courage of the 
imperial forces was revived, and their success was insured 
by the carelessness and presumption of the Sicilian generals, 
whose contempt for the Greek army prevented them from 
concentrating their strength. Vranas, taking advantage of 
this confidence, suddenly drove in the advanced guard and 
defeated the division at Mosynopolis with considerable loss. 
The Sicilians retreated to the site of Amphipolis, where 
they had collected their scattered detachments, and fought 
another battle at a place called Demerize, on the 7th 
November 1185. In this they were utterly defeated, and 
the victory of the Byzantine army decided the fate of the 
expedition. Count Aldoin and Richard Acerra, the generals, 
with about four thousand soldiers, were taken prisoners. The 
fugitives who could gain Thessalonica immediately embarked 
on board the vessels in the port, and put to sea. Tancred 
abandoned his station in the Propontis, and, collecting the 
shattered remnants of the army, returned to Sicily. Even 
Dyrrachium was soon after abandoned, for William found 
the expense of retaining the place far greater than its 
political importance to Sicily warranted. The prisoners 
sent by Vranas to the Emperor Isaac II. were treated with 
great inhumanity. They were thrown into dungeons, and 
neglected to such a degree by the government, that they 
<>\ved the preservation of their lives to private charity l . 

1 Nicetas, 231. 


Ch.II. §6.] 

SECT. VI. — Separation of the Greek and Latin Churches. 

The Normans of Italy were the vassals of the Pope. 
Robert Guiscard, the first Norman invader of Greece, adopted 
the style of ' Duke by the grace of God and St. Peter ; ' and 
the animosity and cruelty of the Sicilian troops against the 
Greeks were increased by the ecclesiastical quarrels of the 
Popes of Rome and the Patriarchs of Constantinople. The 
influence of the Latin and Greek clergy rapidly disseminated 
the hatred caused by these dissensions throughout the people. 
The ambition of the Patriarch Photius laid the foundation of 
the separation of the two churches in the ninth century. 
He objected to the addition of the words 'and the Son,' 
which the Latins had inserted in the original creed of the 
Christian church, and to some variations in the discipline 
and usages of the church which they had adopted ; and 
he made these a pretext for attacking the supremacy and 
orthodoxy of the Pope. The Christian world was astonished 
by the disgraceful spectacle of the Bishops of Rome and 
Constantinople mutually excommunicating one another, and 
each pointing out his rival as one who merited the reprobation 
of man and the wrath of God. These disputes were allayed 
by the prudence of a Sclavonian groom, who mounted the 
throne of the Byzantine empire as Basil I.; but Christian 
charity never again took up her abode with the heads either 
of the Papal or the Greek church. 

The arrogance of the Patriarch, Michael Keroularios, induced 
him to revive the dormant quarrel in 1053. His character 
as a man condemns him as a Patriarch. When a layman, he 
plotted against his sovereign ; when a priest, he rebelled 
against his superior. Whatever may have been his religious 
zeal, there is no doubt that the revival of the quarrel between 
the Eastern and Western churches was an unnecessary and 
impolitic act. A joint letter, in the name of the Patriarch 
Michael and Leo Archbishop of Achrida, was addressed to 
the Archbishop of Trani, then a Byzantine possession, in 
which all the accusations formerly brought forward by Photius 
against the Latins were repeated. The Emperor Constantine 
IX. (Monomachos) attempted to appease the ardour of 
Michael ; and, in the hope of averting a quarrel, prevailed 


[Ch. II. § 6. 
on Pope Leo IX. to send legates to Constantinople. Un- 
fortunately the Papal legates were quite as arrogant as the 
Patriarch himself; and thus the slumbering animosity of the 
Greek clergy was roused by their imprudent conduct. The 
legates, finding their exorbitant pretensions treated with 
contempt, completed the separation of the two churches, 
by excommunicating the Patriarch and all his adherents ; 
and they inflicted a sensible wound on the feelings of the 
Greeks by their success in depositing a copy of the act of 
excommunication on the high altar of the church of St. 
Sophia. The Patriarch immediately convoked a council of 
the Eastern clergy, and replied by excommunicating the 
Pope and all the Latins. The Papal act was ordered to 
be taken from the altar and publicly burned. From the 
time of these mutual anathemas, the separation of the Greek 
and Latin churches has been attended with antichristian ani- 
mosity ; and the members of the Eastern and Western 
hierarchies have viewed one another as condemned heretics. 
From this period, therefore, we must always bear in mind 
that the conduct of the Byzantine government and the 
actions of the Greeks are judged by the Western nations 
under the influence of religious prejudices of great virulence, 
as well as of political and commercial jealousy. 

The crimes of which the Patriarch accused the Pope, and 
on account of which the Greeks deemed the Latins worthy 
of eternal damnation, were these : the addition of the words 
' and the Son ' to the clause of the primitive creed of the 
Christians, declaring the belief in the Holy Ghost, who 
procecdeth from the Father; the use of unleavened bread 
in the holy communion ; the use in the kitchens of the 
Latins of things strangled, and of blood, in violation of the 
apostles' express commands 1 ; the indulgence granted to 
monks to make use of lard in cooking, and to eat meat when 
sick ; the use of rings by Latin bishops as a symbol of their 
marriage with the church, while, as the Greeks sagaciously 
observed, the marriage of bishops is altogether unlawful; 
and, to complete the folly of this disastrous quarrel, the 
Greek clergy even made it a crime that the Latin priests 
shaved their beards and baptized by a single immersion. 

1 Acts of the Apostles, xv. 20. 


Ch. II. § 7.] 

Whatever may be the importance of these errors in a moral 
or religious point of view, it is certain that the violence dis- 
played by the clergy in stimulating the religious hatred 
between the Greeks and Latins contributed to hasten the 
ruin of the Greek nation. 

Sect. VII. — Increase of the Papal Power during the 
Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries. 

Unfortunately for the Greeks, the period during which the 
animosity of the orthodox and Catholic clergy was transfused 
into the Eastern and Western nations witnessed a wide 
extension both of the spiritual jurisdiction and the temporal 
power of the Popes. Numerous conversions effected by the 
zeal of the Catholic clergy augmented the authority of the 
Papal throne, for though the Normans, Danes, Norwegians, 
Hungarians, and Poles, embraced Christianity in the tenth 
century, it was not until the eleventh that their conversion 
added sensibly to the numbers and wealth of the Latin 
clergy, and augmented the power and dignity of the Popes of 

The events which particularly influenced the political 
relations of the Popes with the Byzantine empire were, the 
conquest of Transylvania by the kings of Hungary, the 
establishment of the Normans in Italy as vassals of the 
papal see, and the expulsion of the Greeks and Saracens 
from Sicily. The first of these conquests carried forward 
the banner of the Popes into the east, and raised a strong 
bulwark against the progress of the Greek church to the 
westward, whether it attempted to advance from Constanti- 
nople or Russia ; by the second, a number of rich benefices, 
which had been previously held by Greek ecclesiastics, were 
transferred to Latins ; and by the Norman conquest of Sicily 
the clergy of that island, who, under the Saracens, had 
remained dependent on the Patriarch of Constantinople, 
became united to the Latin church. The commencement 
of the schism was thus marked by three important victories 
gained by the papal see. The Pope was also furnished with 
a numerous body of clergy from southern Italy and Sicily, 
who were familiar with the Greek language, then generally 


[Ch. II. § 7. 

spoken in those countries. It was consequently in his 
power to carry the ecclesiastical contest into the heart of 
the Byzantine empire ; while the Greek Patriarch, deprived 
bv the emperor of all political authority, dependent on a 
synod, and subordinate to the civil power, offered but a faint 
representation of what was in that age conceived to be the 
true position of the head of the church. 

The territorial acquisitions of the Western Church, great 
as they really were, bore no comparison to the augmentation 
of the power of the Pope within the church itself. The 
authority of the Popes, in Western Europe, was based on 
the firmest foundation on which power can rest : it was 
supported by public opinion, for both the laity and the clergy 
regarded them as the only impartial dispensers of justice 
on earth, as the antagonists of feudal oppression, and the 
champions of the people against royal tyranny 1 . It is true 
that the general anarchy towards the end of the tenth cen- 
tury, and the social disorganization incident to the early 
consolidation of the feudal system, produced a great revolution 
of discipline among the Latin clergy; and a series of disorders 
prevailed in the Western Church to which there is no parallel, 
until far later times, in the Eastern. But the exertions of the 
well-disposed — who are generally the most numerous, though 
the least active portion of society — effected a reformation. A 
spirit of reform conferred on Gregory VII. the extensive 
temporal power which he assumed for the good of society, 
but which was too great for an imperfect mortal to possess 
without abusing it. Thus, at the time when a variety of 
events invested the Popes with the rank of temporal princes 
of the highest order, numerous causes conspired to constitute 
them supreme judges of right and wrong, both in the eyes of 
kings and people ; while their real power was also increased 
by a widespread belief that the end of the world was ap- 
proaching, and that the possession of the keys of St. Peter 
conferred a power to open the portals of heaven. Such was 
the position of one of the enemies which the vanity and 
bigotry of the Greek clergy arrayed in hostility against their 

ory VII (the great Httdebrand), dying at Salerno, under the protection 
of the Normans, in 1085, exclaimed, 'I have loved justice and hated iniquity, and 
therefore I die an exile' 


Ch. II. § 8.] 

SECT. VIII. — Predominant position of the French Language in 
the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. 

The progress of events, rather than any fault on the part 
of the Byzantine government, ranged many of the nations of 
western Europe as enemies of the Greeks. All the nations 
who spoke the French language were regarded by the Greeks 
as one people, and all were treated as enemies in consequence 
of the wars with the Normans of Italy and Sicily. The name 
of Franks was given, in the Byzantine empire, to all who 
spoke French ; and, consequently, under this hated designa- 
tion the Greeks included not only Normans and French, but 
also Flemings, English, and Scots \ The Norman conquests 
on the shores of the Mediterranean, and their commercial 
relations with the Italian republics, began to place their 
interests in rivalry with those of the Byzantine Greeks. And 
when the East was invaded by the Crusaders, the prevalence 
of the French language, and the number of Normans in their 
ranks, tended to make the Greeks view the intruders as Old 

It is singular that the most numerous body of those who 
appeared in the East, making use of the French language, 
were neither French by race nor political allegiance. Nor- 
mandy, Flanders, southern Italy, Sicily, England, and we 
may add Scotland, were then more French in language and 
manners, in the higher and military classes, than the southern 
provinces of what is now France. The foundation of the 
Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, and the smaller principalities of 
Syria, gave the French language and Norman manners a pre- 
dominant influence in the East. Though the king of France 
really exercised no direct authority over the greater part of 
the states in which French was spoken, still the depend- 
ence of several of the most powerful princes on the French 
crown as feudatories, and the great influence which Louis IX. 
deservedly possessed throughout the Christian world at 

1 'At this period (a.d. 1290) Norman-French was, alike in England^and Scot- 
land, the language in which state affairs were generally conducted.' Tytler's 
History 0/ Scotland, i. 75 ; Hume's History of England, chap. xiii. note U. 


a later period, rendered the king of France, in the eyes of 
the Greeks, the real sovereign of all the French or Frank 
nations 1 . 

1 [The influence of the French mediaeval romances on the Greek literature 
from the twelfth century onwards is carefully traced by M. Gidel in his Etudes 
sur la litiirature grecque moderne ; imitations en Grec de nos romans de chevalerie. 
See especially pp. 358 foil. Ed,] 


Overthrow of the Byzantine Empire by the 

Sect. I. — The Crusades. 

In the West, the Crusades were productive of much good ; 
but to the native Christian population in the East they were 
the cause of unmixed evil. During the early period, while 
the force of the Crusaders was greatest, and religious enthu- 
siasm directed their conduct, they respected the Byzantine 
empire as a Christian state, and treated the Greeks as a 
Christian people. The earlier armies passed through the 
empire like hurricanes, producing widespread but only tem- 
porary desolation. At a later period, when ambition, fashion, 
and the hope of gain made men Crusaders, avarice and in- 
tolerance exerted more influence over their conduct than 
religion and a sense of justice. The Crusades must, conse- 
quently, be examined under two different aspects in order to 
be correctly appreciated. In the East, they offer little beyond 
the records of military incursions of undisciplined invaders, 
seeking to conquer foreign lands by the sword, and to main- 
tain possession of them by the combinations of the feudal 
system. To the Christians of Greece and Syria, the Latins 
appeared closely to resemble the Goths, Vandals, and Lom- 
bards. Viewed, therefore, as the actions of the Crusaders 
must have been by the Eastern nations, the results of their 
expeditions were so inadequate to the forces brought into the 
field, that the character of the Western nations suffered, and 
the Franks were long regarded with contempt as well as 
hatred both by Christians and Mussulmans. 

With armies far exceeding in number those of the early 
Saracens who subdued Asia, Africa, and Spain, and much 



[Ch. III. § t. 

greater than those of the Seljouk Turks, who had recently 
made themselves masters of great part of Asia, the conquests 
of the Crusaders were comparatively insignificant. One 
striking difference between the Asiatic and European warriors 
deserves to be noticed, for it formed the main cause of the 
inefficiency of the latter as conquerors. The Asiatics left 
untouched the organization of society among the Christians 
throughout their wide-extended empires. The changes effectec 
by their conquests in the relations of rich and poor, master 
and slave, resulted from altered habits gradually arising out 
of new social exigencies, and were rarely interposed by the 
direct agency of legislation. But the Crusaders immediately 
destroyed all the existing order of society, and revolutionized 
every institution connected with property and the cultivation 
of the soil. Mankind was forced back into a state of bar- 
barism, which made predial servitude an element of feudal 
tenures. In the East, the progress of society had alread} 
introduced the cultivation of the soil by free agricultural 
labour before the arrival of the Crusaders in Palestine ; the 
Franks brought back slavery and serfage in their train. The 
Saracens had considered agricultural labour as honourable; 
the Franks regarded every useful occupation as a degradation. 
The Saracens became agriculturists in all their conquests, and 
were, consequently, colonists who increased in number under 
certain social conditions. The Franks, on the contrary, were 
nothing but a feudal garrison in their Eastern possessions ; so 
that, as soon as they had reduced the cultivators of the soil to 
the condition of serfs, they were themselves subjected to the 
operation of that law of population which, like an avenging 
Nemesis, is perpetually exterminating every class that dares 
to draw a line of separation between itself and the rest of 
mankind. Thus the system of government introduced by the 
Crusaders, in their Asiatic conquests, contained within itself 
the causes of its own destruction. 

The Crusades are the last example of the effects of that 
mighty spirit of emigration and adventure that impelled the 
Goths, Franks, Saxons, and Normans to seek new possessions 
and conquer distant kingdoms. The old spirit of emigration 
in its military form, engrafted on the passion for pilgrimages 
in the Western church, was roused into religious enthusiasm 
by many coincident circumstances. The passion for pilgrim- 


Ch.III. §1.] 

ages, though of ancient date, received great extension in the 
eleventh century ; but as early as the fourth, the conduct of 
the numerous pilgrims who, in the abundance of the ancient 
world, went on their way to Palestine feasting and revelling, 
had scandalized St. Gregory of Nyssa. The great increase of 
pilgrimages in the eleventh century was connected with the 
idea then prevalent, that the thousand years of the imprison- 
ment of Satan mentioned in the Apocalypse had expired ; 
and, as the tempter was supposed to be raging over the face 
of the earth, no place was considered so safe from his intru- 
sion as the holy city of Jerusalem. 

The inhabitants of the Byzantine empire were from early 
times familiarized with the passage of immense caravans of 
pilgrims, and due arrangements were made for this inter- 
course, which was a regular source of profit. Even the 
Saracens had generally treated the pilgrims with considera- 
tion, as men who were engaged in the performance of a 
sacred duty. The chronicles of the time relate that a band 
of pilgrims amounting to seven thousand, led by the arch- 
bishop of Mentz and four bishops, passed through Con- 
stantinople in the reign of Constantine X. (Ducas) 1 . Near 
Jerusalem they were attacked by wandering tribes, but were 
relieved by the Saracen emir of Ramla, who hastened to their 
assistance. The conquests of the Seljouk Turks had already 
thrown all Syria into a state of disorder, and the Bedouin 
Arabs began to push their plundering excursions far into the 
cultivated districts. This army of pilgrims was prevented 
from visiting the Jordan and the Dead Sea by the robbers 
of the desert, and it is reported that the caravan lost three 
thousand of its number before returning home. The misfor- 
tunes of so numerous a body of men resounded throughout 
the Christian world ; and year after year bringing tidings of 
new disasters, the fermentation of the public mind continually 
increased. No distinct project was formed for delivering the 
holy sepulchre, but a general desire was awakened to remedy 
the insecurity attending the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The 
conquest of Palestine by the Seljouk Turks, in 1076, increased 
the disorders. These nomades neglected to guard the roads, 
and augmented the exactions on the pilgrims. In the West, 

1 a.d. 1064 or io 65- Michaud, Histoire des Croisadc, i. 67, who refers to 
Annalium Baronii epitome, p. 11, cap. 5, p. 432. 

F 2, 


[Ch.III. §i. 

the passion for pilgrimages was increasing, while in the East, 
the dangers to which the pilgrims were exposed were aug- 
menting still more rapidly. A cry for vengeance was the 
consequence. The Franks and Normans were men of action, 
more prompt to war than to complaint. The mine was 
already prepared, when Peter the Hermit applied the match 
to the inflammable materials. 

Commercial interests were not unconnected with the origin 
of the Crusades, though the commercial enterprise of the age 
was perhaps too confined for us to attribute to commerce a 
prominent part in producing these great expeditions ; but if 
all notice of the facts that connect them with the progress of 
trade were to be overlooked, a very inaccurate idea would be 
formed of the various causes of their origin. Commerce 
exercised almost as much influence in producing the Crusades, 
as the Crusades did in improving and extending the relations 
of commerce \ The roads which the early Crusaders followed 
in marching to Palestine were the routes used by the com- 
mercial caravans which carried on the trade between Ger- 
many, Constantinople, and Syria. This had been very 
considerable in earlier times, and had enriched the Avars 
and the Bulgarians 2 . From Constantinople to Antioch, the 
great road had always been much frequented, until the com- 
mercial communications in Asia Minor were deranged by the 
incursions of the Seljouk Turks. In the year 1035, before 
their arrival, Robert, Duke of Normandy, called Robert the 
Devil, the father of William the Conqueror, when on the pil- 
grimage to Jerusalem with a numerous suite, joined a caravan 
of merchants travelling to Antioch, in order to traverse Asia 
Minor under their guidance 3 . The great losses of the 

1 Thirty-five years before the Crusades, Ingulph, the Secretary of William the 
Conqueror, mentions that in returning from the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he found 
a fleet of Genoese merchantmen at Jaffa, in one of which he took his passage to 
Europe. Vinccns, Histoire de la Republique de Guies, i. 40. 

■ Capitularies of Charlemagne, ed. Baluze, i. 755. The Bulgarian trade is men- 
tioned liy Suidas, v. BovKyapoi. 

3 The pilgrimage of Robert the Devil was much talked of. and gives a good 

of the pilgrimages then in fashion with prince- and nobles. ' He reached 

Constantim a numerous and splendid suite of Norman gentlemen. The 

emperor, Michael IV.. received him at a public audience ; but either from Personal 

vanity, or the pride of Byzantine etiquette, the Paphlagonian moneychanger, whom 

a turn of fortune had seated on the throne of Constantine, left 'the Duke 

:.:,'. Robert made a sign to his companions to imitate his proceedings. All 

ped their rich velvet cloaks and satedown on them. On quitting the audience 

chamber the) lefl their cloaks on the ground. A chamberlain followed to remind 


Ch.III. §i.] 

Crusaders in their expeditions by land, are not therefore to 
be attributed so much to absolute ignorance of the nature 
of the country, as to utter inattention to the arrangements 
required by their numbers, and to incapacity for exercising 
habitual forethought and restraint. As early as the first 
Crusade, the fleets of the Italian republics would have sufficed 
to transport large armies direct to Palestine. The Venetians 
and Byzantines are said by Anna Comnena to have lost 
thirteen thousand men in a naval defeat they sustained from 
Robert Guiscard, near Corfu, in 1084 ; and the Byzantine 
princess can hardly be suspected of making the losses of her 
father's subjects and allies exceed the numbers of those 
actually serving on board their fleets 1 . Amalfi, Pisa, and 
Genoa were all able to send large fleets to Palestine as soon 
as they heard that the Crusaders had got possession of 

During the age immediately preceding the Crusades, 
society had received a great development, and commerce 
had both aided and profited by the movement. There is 
no greater anachronism than to suppose that the commercial 
greatness of the Italian republics arose out of these expedi- 
tions. Their commerce was already so extensive, that the 
commercial alarm caused by the conduct of the Seljouk 
Turks was really one of the causes of the Crusades. The 
caravans of pilgrims which repaired annually to the East, 
supplied Europe with many necessary commodities, whose 
augmented price was felt as a universal grievance. The fair 
held at Jerusalem during Easter was at that time of great 
commercial importance to all the nations of Europe, and this 
market was in danger of being closed. The commerce of the 
East, if it were allowed to exist at all by the Mohammedans, 
seemed to be in danger of becoming a monopoly in the hands 
of the Greeks. 

them, but Robert replied, ' It is not the habit of Norman gentlemen to carry away 
their chairs.' As he was travelling through Asia Minor, he was met by a Norman 
pilgrim, who asked him if he had any message to send home. The Duke was in a 
litter, carried by four negroes. ' Tell them in Normandy that you saw me carried 
to heaven by four devils,' was all he had to say. He was poisoned at Nicaea, on 
his return, by one of his attendants. Wace, Ro?tian de Ron, quoted by Ducange, 
Gloss. Med. et Inf. Latinitatis, v. ' Bancus.' 

1 Anna Comnena, 161. A ship at this time generally carried one hundred 
and forty men. The Norman fleet consisted of one hundred and twenty ships. 
Guilielmus Apuliensis, Res in Italia Normanicae. 

2 Anna Comnena (336) mentions a Pisan fleet. 


' [Ch.III. §2. 

Thus we see that the Scandinavian spirit of adventure, the 
ancient superstitions of the people, the interests of the Latin 
church, the cruelties of the Mohammedans, and the com- 
mercial necessities of the times, all conspired to awaken 
enthusiastic aspirations after something greater than the 
commonplace existence of ordinary life in the eleventh cen- 
turv; and every class of society found its peculiar passions 
gratified by the great cry for the deliverance of Christ's tomb 
from the hands of the infidels. The historians of the Cru- 
sades often endeavour to give a miraculous character to the 
effects of the preaching of Peter the Hermit ; but we have 
seen in our own day Father Mathew in morals, and Daniel 
O'Connell in politics, produce almost as wonderful effects on 
the people. 

SECT. II. — Quarrels with the Byzantine Emperors during the 
First and Second Crusades. Conquest of Cyprus by 
Richard I., King of England. 

The subjection of the Greeks to Latin domination was 
commenced by one of those accidents which no human 
foresight could have predicted. The third Crusade seemed 
to threaten the Greeks with little danger after the prudence 
of Frederic Barbarossa had prevented the folly of Isaac II. 
from causing a war in Thrace. The kings of France and 
England, in order to avoid visiting the Greek territory, trans- 
ported their armies to Palestine by sea. But ' who can avoid 
his fate?' On this occasion, as on so many others, fortune 
amused herself by making the condition of nations depend on 
the caprice of a worthless tyrant. Isaac Komnenos, who had 
assumed the title of emperor of the Romans in the island of 
Cyprus, wantonly engaged in hostilities with Richard Cceur- 
de-Lion, and caused that king to conquer the island, and lay 
the foundations of the most durable state which the Latins 
established in the East. This accidental conquest of Cyprus 
was the first serious blow that the Crusaders struck at the 
independence of the Hellenic race. 

The island of Cyprus was well cultivated ; its population 
was numerous, and its trade flourishing. The extreme fer- 
tility of the soil secured to the inhabitants abundant harvests 


Ch. III. § 2.] 

of corn, fruit, oil, and wine ; the solid buildings erected in 
former ages afforded them extensive magazines for storing 
their produce ; and the situation of their island supplied them 
with ready and profitable markets in the Frank possessions in 
Syria, in the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia, in Egypt, and on 
the African coast. Neutrality in the wars of the Christians 
and Mohammedans was the true basis of the wealth of Cyprus. 
Its pecuniary interests suffered seriously by the policy of the 
court of Constantinople, which was frequently engaged in 
disputes with the best customers for the produce of Cyprus ; 
and to this circumstance we must in some degree attribute 
the ease with which Isaac Komnenos established himself in 
the island as an independent sovereign. He had gained pos- 
session of the island during the oppressive administration of 
Andronicus I., and had already reigned seven years. His 
marriage with the sister of William II. of Sicily was both a 
popular and a politic alliance, because it secured to his sub- 
jects a flourishing trade ; but his bad government, and the 
commercial selfishness of his subjects, had destroyed every 
sentiment of patriotism in the breasts of the Cypriots, and 
prepared them to receive a foreign yoke. 

In the year 1191, the English fleet, under Richard Cceur- 
de-Lion, on its voyage from Messina to Acre (Ptolemai's), put 
into Crete and Rhodes to renew its stock of provisions and 
water. After leaving Rhodes it encountered a tempest in the 
Gulf of Satalia, and two ships were wrecked near Limisso on 
the coast of Cyprus. Isaac, who possessed all the feelings of 
personal rancour against the Franks generally felt by the 
Greeks, and who had recently formed an alliance with 
Saladin, fancied that he might gratify his spleen against the 
English with impunity. He was ignorant of the power and 
energy of the English monarch, whom he considered only as 
the chief of a barbarous island. The Cypriots were allowed 
to plunder the shipwrecked vessels, though even the tyrant 
Andronicus had made a law which punished severely such 
acts of plunder, and the unfortunate crews escaping on shore 
were thrown into prison. The ship that carried Berengaria 
of Navarre, the betrothed of Richard, and Joanna, queen of 
Sicily, his sister, sought shelter from the storm in the same 
port. Isaac invited the queens to land, and though they 
suspected treachery they would have been unable to avoid 


[Ch. III. § 2. 

accepting his invitation, had Richard not arrived during the 
night l . 

The emperor of Cyprus had sadly miscalculated his own 
power, as well as the disposition of the English king. 
Richard demanded the release of the prisoners, and indemni- 
fication for the property plundered. Isaac refused to deliver 
up the shipwrecked subjects of the crown of England without 
ransom, and disclaimed all responsibility for the pillage of the 
shipwrecked mariners. Richard immediately took measures 
to deliver the prisoners by force and to levy an ample con- 
tribution. The English army was landed, the city of Limisso 
taken by assault, and the Greek troops defeated in battle. 
The nobles, proprietors, and citizens submitted to the con- 
queror, and took an oath of fidelity and allegiance to the 
English king on the first summons. The emperor Isaac, who 
fled to Nicosia, alarmed at this defection, sued for peace. 
Guy of Lusignan, king of Jerusalem, Bohemund, prince of 
Antioch, Raymond, count of Tripolis, and Leo, king of 
Cilician Armenia, arrived at this time in Cyprus to welcome 
Richard. His marriage with Berengaria of Navarre was cele- 
brated on Sunday, May 12th, at Limisso, and by the media- 
tion of the Knights Hospitallers a meeting took place 
between the king of England and the emperor of Cyprus, 
and a treaty of peace was concluded. By the terms of this 
treaty Isaac received back the island of Cyprus as a fief to be 
held of the crown of England ; and he engaged to deliver up 
all the prisoners still in his power ; to pay twenty thousand 
marks of gold as an indemnity for his injustice, and for the 
expense of the expedition ; to receive English garrisons into 
his fortresses ; and to join the Crusaders in person with five 
hundred cavalry and five hundred infantry, serving as a vassal 
of Richard. Isaac had expected to obtain more favourable 
terms, and at the instigation of a knight of Palestine in his 
service he fled during the following night to Famagusta. 
Richard pursued him with his usual promptitude, and made 
himself master of the whole island in a fortnight. The 
English fleet was sent to cruise round the island in order 

1 Richard's fleet left Rhodes on the i>t May 1191, and his ship reached Limisso 
on the 6th. Itinerarium peregrinorum et gesta Regis Ricardi, auctore ut vidi 
Ricarcio, Canonico Sanctae Trinitatis Londoniensis, p. i s >; in vol. ii of the 
Chronicltt and Memorials 0/ the Reign of Richard I. edit. Stubbs. 


Ch.III. §2.] 

to occupy every point from which it seemed probable that 
Isaac might endeavour to escape to the mainland. The king 
proceeded first to Keronia (Cerines), which contained the 
emperor's treasury, and where his young daughter resided. 
The place made no resistance, and the princess threw herself 
at Richard's feet and implored pardon for her father ; while 
Isaac, seeing the insufficiency of any military force he could 
assemble to carry on the war, surrendered himself a prisoner, 
asking only that he might not be confined in irons. Richard, 
who could not trust his promises, granted his request only so 
far as to order him to be secured by silver fetters, and com- 
mitted him to the custody of Guy of Lusignan \ 

The conquest of Cyprus detained Richard a month, and 
on quitting the island he intrusted the government to Richard 
Camville and Robert Turnham 2 . The dethroned emperor 
Isaac was transported to Tripolis, to be kept imprisoned in 
the castle of Margat, under the wardship of the Knights 
Hospitallers 3 . The Greeks soon considered the domination 
of foreign heretics a severer lot than the tyranny of an 
orthodox usurper, and they took up arms to expel the English. 
Richard, who wished to withdraw all his troops for the war 
in Palestine, sold the island to the Templars ; but these 
knights found the internal affairs of Cyprus in so disturbed 
a state, that they surrendered back their purchase to Richard 
in a short time. The king of England then transferred the 
sovereignty to Guy of Lusignan, who had lost the kingdom 

1 The account of the first battle, given by the author of the Itinerarium, is 
curious. He describes the Greek army as making a gallant show on the beach, 
and the emperor as riding to and fro splendidly equipped, and attended by a crowd 
of courtiers in rich armour and many coloured scarfs, mounted on spirited horses or 
beautiful mules. As soon as the English effected their landing, the whole Greek 
army fled. Richard hastening to pursue the fugitives on foot, fell in with a pack- 
horse, and with the aid of his lance mounted on the pack-saddle. Fixing his feet 
in the ropes which served as stirrups he galloped after Isaac shouting, ' My lord 
emperor, I challenge you to single combat.' But Isaac fled away swiftly as if he 
was deaf. Chronicles and Memorials of the Reign 0/ Richard I. vol. i. p. 191. 

1 He sailed to Palestine on June 5th, 11 91. 

3 Isaac escaped from Margat, and attempted to invade the Byzantine empire, 
but was poisoned by one of his own household, Nicetas, 298. His daughter was 
placed under the protection of Berengaria, and Richard is said to have been a great 
admirer of her beauty. When the queen quitted Palestine the Cypriot princess 
accompanied her to Poitiers. One of the articles in the treaty for the ransom of 
Richard, extorted by the German emperor, was, that Isaac and his daughter 
should be set at liberty. The article is supposed to have been suggested by the 
Duke of Austria, who was connected with the family of Komnenos by marriage. 
The daughter of Isaac was married to a Flemish noble, who vainly claimed the crown 
of Cyprus. Roger of Hoveden, 414, Saville's edit ; Ducange, Fain. Byz.Aug. 184. 


[Ch. III. § 2. 

of Jerusalem by the election of Henry Count of Champagne 
as successor to Conrad of Montferrat. 

Guy of Lusignan introduced the feudal system as it existed 
in the kingdom of Jerusalem. He made the French language 
that of the government, the Latin became that of the church, 
and the Greek language was confined to the chapel and the 
family. Territorial rank and military power were reserved 
to the Catholics, but toleration was practised with more equity 
than in most Christian states. The Greek clergy were allowed 
to retain their ecclesiastical authority over the orthodox, 
though they were deprived of the greater part of the church 
property; and Armenians. Xestorians, and Copts were allowed 
to build churches. Latin bishops and priests were endowed 
with rich benefices, and Byzantine officials and wealthy Greeks 
were driven from the island. Numbers of Greek families 
emigrated, and their place was occupied by Latin families 
from the kingdom of Jerusalem, who had lost their property 
by the conquests of Saladin. Three hundred knights were 
invested with landed estates by Guy of Lusignan, and many 
Latin soldiers received dotations as sergeants at arms or as 
burgesses in the fortresses. 

From this period the history of Cyprus ceases to be con- 
nected with the records of the Greek nation. After flourishing 
for several centuries as a feudal kingdom it became at last 
nothing more than a dependency of the republic of Venice. 
In the year 15 71 it was conquered by the Turks, after having 
been possessed by the Latins for 380 years. During that 
period, and especially since its conquest by the Turks, the 
Greek population has sunk from age to age, into an inferior 
state of society, in consequence of the destruction of capital 
and property ; and the island is probably at the present hour 
incapable of maintaining in wretchedness one-tenth of the 
population which it nourished in abundance at the time of 
its conquest by Richard King of England l . 

m 1 191 to 1 4 vr > Cyprus was a feudal kingdom under the sway of 
sovereigns who often assumed a triple crown, and styled themselves kings of 
Cyprus, Jerusalem, and Armenia. From i486 to 1571 it was a Venetian p< 
sion, and since 1571 it has been a Turkish province. Loredano, Istoria de 1 Re 
Lungnani dalV anno 1 1S0 tin' al 1 475, and the French translation by Giblet, Paris, 
I; Jauna. Histoirt Ginerale des Royautnes de Chypre, de Jerusalem, d'Arnu'nie, 
el (TAegypte, Leyde, 1747, 2 vols. 4to. ; Reinhard's Geschichte ./<- K<"iigrcich$ Cypren 

is a much better work, but the new work by Maslatrie, Hi 
de Vile de Chypre tout lc r. %ne des princes de la maison de Lusignan. will be still more 
complete. VoU. ii. and iii. contain a valuable collection of documents. 


Ch. III. § 3] 

SECT. III. — Commercial relations of the Venetians with the 
Byzantine Empire. 

The commercial greatness of Venice arose from its trade 
with the Greeks of the Byzantine empire. The flourishing 
trade in Christian slaves with the Mohammedans, which early- 
roused the anger of the Popes, was a secondary though lucrative 
branch of Venetian commerce \ During several ages the 
Byzantine emperors considered Venice as a vassal munici- 
pality, not as an independent city; and even under the 
Iconoclast and Basilian dynasties the Venetians recognized 
the suzerainty over the Mediterranean as an attribute of 
the imperial crown. Indeed for nearly two centuries the 
thalassocracy or dominion of the sea of the Byzantine empire 
was only temporarily disturbed by a few isolated catastrophes, 
whose terrible effects are prominently exhibited in history 2 . 

After the extinction of the Basilian family, the emperors 
of the East ceased to govern by the systematic agency of 
a well-trained official aristocracy acting on ancient traditions 
and by fixed rules of procedure, and the government assumed 
the form of an administrative despotism conducted for the 
aggrandizement of an oligarchy consisting of a few families. 
The commercial and industrial corporations of the Greeks, 
which had been allowed to replace or to survive their muni- 
cipal rights under the Roman empire, were now destroyed 
by the fiscal rapacity of the Comneni. Greek commerce 
declined, and the dominion of the sea passed into the hands 
of the free cities of Italy. Amalfi, Pisa, Venice, and Genoa 
became sharers in that eastern commerce, which had been 
long monopolized by the subjects of the Byzantine emperors. 

Towards the latter part of the eleventh century the naval 
power of Venice was so great, that when Robert Guiscard 
invaded the Byzantine empire, Alexius I. purchased the assist- 
ance of a Venetian fleet by granting important immunities 
to Venetian commerce at Constantinople. The concessions 
he made were confirmed in a charter dated in 1082, which 
secures to the republic the exclusive possession of a street 
or quarter as a factory, in which the merchants constructed 

1 See above, vol. ii. History of the Byzantine Empire, p. 64 note. 

2 Ibid. p. io, and the taking of Thessalonica, p. 270. 


[Ch. III. § 3. 

dwelling-houses, warehouses, churches, and monasteries, and in 
which justice was administered by Venetian judges accord- 
ing to the laws of Venice. A landing-place in the Golden 
Horn was set apart for Venetians, and their goods, im- 
ported in Venetian ships, were exempt from import duties. 
There can be no doubt that a colony of Venetian traders 
was established at Constantinople before this concession, 
but the privileges it conferred soon rendered the Venetian 
merchants a rich and powerful community. Their quarter 
and landing were situated near the entrance of the great 
port in the vicinity of the walls of the ancient Byzantium, 
which now enclose the old palace of the sultans. 

The privileges conceded by this charter of Alexius in 1082 
were perpetuated in the Byzantine and Greek empires. When 
foreigners were assured of legal protection against the fiscal 
exactions of a rapacious government, strangers were enriched 
and the Greeks were impoverished. The system of which 
this charter was the progenitor, was a heritage which the 
Othoman sultans received from the Greek emperors 1 . 

A generation of Venetian colonists grew up at Constanti- 
nople, neither under the control of Byzantine laws nor subject 
to the wholesome restraint of native usages at home. Com- 
plaints were made by the unprivileged Greeks of the license 
of the privileged strangers. Frequent quarrels and tumults 
arose in the streets of the capital, which were attributed to 
the insolence of the Venetians. At last John II., called 
Kalojoannes, and one of the best of the Byzantine emperors, 
expelled the Venetian colony from Constantinople, as the 
only mode of restoring order and doing justice to his own 
subjects. This was regarded by the Venetian republic as 
a violation of his father's treat}'. A loud outcry was raised 
against the faithlessness of the Greeks, and prompt measures 
were taken to revenge the injury. 

In 1122 a body of Venetian crusaders on their way to 
Palestine turned aside to attack Corfu and collect some wealth 
by plundering Rhodes. The same body on its return in 
1 1 24 seized the island of Chios, where it established its winter 
quarters, and from whence it plundered Lesbos, Samos, and 

1 This charter of Alexius I. i-< recited in a charter of Manuel I. published by 
Tafel ami Thomas, Urkunden zur altern Handels- und Staatsgeschichte der Republik 
V r enedig mil baonderer Beziehung au/Byzanz und die Lcvanle, Theil i. pp. 43 and 1 13. 


Ch. III. § 3.] 

j Andros. On its return to Venice it surprised the city of 
Modon and plundered the coast of the Morea. In 1126 
another body of Venetians conquered Cephalonia, and the 
emperor John II. finding that he was unable to contest the 

j dominion of the sea with the single city of Venice, or even 
to defend his territories against the attacks of the bold 
republicans, concluded a treaty of peace and re-established 
the Venetian merchants in all their former privileges and 
possessions at Constantinople \ 

In the year 1148 the emperor Manuel, in order to obtain 
active assistance from Venice in his war with King Roger 
of Sicily, confirmed the charters of his father and grandfather, 
though the immunities of the Venetians were hourly becoming 
a greater burden to the Greek traders in his empire 2 . The 
insolence of the Italians on the one hand and the envy of 
the Greeks on the other engendered a violent hatred between 
the two nations, which occasioned several bloody quarrels 
during the siege of Corfu in 1149. O n one occasion the 
young emperor was grossly caricatured by a party of Venetian 
sailors, but unmoved by personal insults he appeased the 
most dangerous tumults, and re-established order in the allied 
force by his patience, courage, and prudence 3 . For many 
years the value of the political alliance both to the Byzantine 
empire and the Venetian republic was so great, that Manuel 
bore the insolence of the colonists at Constantinople, and the 
senate despised the occasional outbreaks of Greek hatred. 
Manuel did not entirely neglect to form some counterpoise 
to the overweening power of the Venetians. He granted 
commercial privileges, and conceded quarters for the for- 
mation of colonies, both to the Pisans and the Genoese. 
By this means he diminished the exorbitant gains of the 
Venetians without infringing the treaties he had concluded 
with Venice, for while they were entirely exempt from import 
duties, the Pisans were obliged to pay four per cent., and 
the Genoese were subjected to the same duty as the native 
Greek merchants and paid ten per cent. 4 And the treaty 
(a.D. i 1 55), which conferred on the Genoese the right of 

1 Tafel and Thomas, Urkunden Venedigs, i. 95. 2 See above, vol. iii. p. 169. 

3 Tafel and Thomas, i. 109, 113. 

4 See an able memoir on the commercial colonies of the Italians in the Byzantine 
empire by Heyd, published in the Tubingen Zeitichrift far die gesammte Staats- 
wissenschaft, vol. xiv. p. 674. 


[Ch. III. § 3. 

establishing a colony at Constantinople, bound the colonists 
to military service in defence of the empire 1 . The citizens 
of Amalfi had been long established as traders in the Byzan- 
tine empire, but at this time they were subjected to Venetian 

While looking round for allies, Manuel concluded a treaty 
with the free city of Ancona 2 . And to place some restraint 
on the tumultuous behaviour of the Venetian seamen who 
visited the port of Constantinople, he demanded an oath of 
fealty from every Venetian who resided in his dominions as a 
permanent settler 3 . In virtue of this oath he proposed to 
render them responsible for the good conduct of their fellow- 
citizens who were only temporary sojourners in the ports of 
the empire. These prudent measures awakened the jealousy 
of the Venetian government, and when Manuel was involved 
in war with William II. of Sicily (a.d. 1167), the republic 
refused to afford him any aid. Bloody feuds between the 
citizens of the different Italian states occurred frequently in 
the streets of Constantinople. The colonists arrogated to 
themselves the right of waging private war in the dominions 
and even in the capital of the Byzantine emperor, and burned 
down one another's shops in their respective quarters. It was 
necessary for Manuel to adopt strong measures to maintain 
order. Instead of establishing a strong police, he seized the 
opportunity for avenging himself on Venice, and pretending 
that the Venetians were more disorderly than the othe 
Italians, he ordered all who could be seized in the Byzantine 
empire to be imprisoned. At the same time he abrogatec 
all their privileges and confiscated their goods. This act 
imperial despotism 4 was perpetrated in 11 71, and if 
believe a contemporary writer. 10,000 Venetians were arrestee 
in Constantinople alone 6 . The Greeks, who hated the privi- 
leged strangers, were pleased with the tyrannical proceedings 

1 Sauli, Delia colonia dei Genovesi in Galata, ii. 181. 

2 Cinnamus, 98. 3 Ibid. 164. 

* Cinnamus, 165; Nicetas, m. The iniquity of seizing the goods of foreign 
merchants without provocation was often practised by mediaeval sow 

1 princes have found it more profitable to cheat their own subjects by bor- 
rowing their gold and paying them in paper, while western republics have preferred 
the dishonesty of repudiating their lawful debts. 

i At the end of Manuel's reign (a.d. 1180") Eustathius the archbishop of Thessa- 
lonica Bays there were 60,000 Latins in Constantinople; De Thessalonica urbe a 
Latinis capta narratio, c. 28. 


Ch. III. §3-3 

of Manuel. Indeed the Venetians seem to have done every- 
thing in their power to render themselves intolerable both 
to the sovereign and the people. Byzantine writers complain 
of the rudeness and insolence of the purse-proud mariners 
and burghers of the colony, who treated even the titled 
officials of the empire as if they were merely slaves. It is 
certain, however, that the independent spirit of the free citi- 
zens of Venice rendered their persons and their manners less 
displeasing to the Byzantine ladies, for the colonists excited 
the envy of the Greeks by marrying young, rich, and beau- 
tiful orthodox damsels, and living like Byzantine nobles in 
splendid houses beyond the precincts of the quarter assigned 
to them for residence as well as trade \ The haughty repub- 
licans also ridiculed the pretension of the sovereign of the 
Greeks, who styled himself emperor of the Romans, and their 
bitter irony drew tears from the eyes of a courtly Byzantine 
historian 2 . 

The Venetians lost no time in wreaking their vengeance on 
the Greeks in the islands and coasts of the empire for the 
injuries they had received from Manuel. They attacked 
Negrepont, and plundered its suburbs when they found they 
were unable to take the city. They gained possession of 
Chios, which, as before in the year n 24, they made their 
winter-quarters. A contagious disease broke out among their 
forces in that island, and they accused the Emperor Manuel of 
having suborned emissaries to poison the wells and the wine- 
casks of the Chiotes. The malady broke the strength of the 
expedition, which returned to Venice without having effected 
any lasting conquest. 

In 1174 the Venetians and the troops of the emperor 
Frederic Barbarossa besieged Ancona, which had admitted a 
Greek garrison, and the republic having concluded an alliance 
with the King of Sicily, Manuel found himself unable to 
defend his dominions. Like his father, he was compelled 
to patch up a peace by agreeing to all the demands of the 
Venetians. A treaty was concluded, by which Manuel 
engaged to release all his prisoners, and pay fifteen hundred 

1 Cinnamus, 164. Nicetas (129) calls the Venetians disorderly, bloody-minded, 
greedy mariners, breathing irreconcileable hatred of the Greek race. Will. 'lyr. 
xxii. 12. 

2 Cinnamus, 127. 


pounds' weight of gold as an indemnity for the property he 
had confiscated l . 

After the death of Manuel, the Latins at Constantinople 
became involved in the political contests and intrigues that 
were terminated by the usurpation of Andronicus 2 . The 
national and religious antipathies of the Greeks facilitated 
that usurpation, and in the tumults which attended it, the 
Latins were overpowered and ruthlessly massacred. Not 

tbatants only, but also the peaceful colonists and traders 
with their wives and children were murdered in cold blood, or 
if their lives were saved, they were frequently sold as slaves to 
the Mohammedans in Asia Minor. Venetian children were 
exposed for sale in the slave markets of Nicaea and Iconium. 
The cruelties committed at this time by both parties added 
greatly to the violence of the hatred already existing between 
the Greeks and Latins 3 . 

The accession of Isaac Angelos re-established the com- 
mercial relations of the Venetians with the Byzantine empire 
on the old footing. The colonists were put in possession 
oi their quarter and landing-place in the port (sca/a), and 
the merchants were indemnified for their losses. Isaac also 
concluded an offensive and defensive alliance with the republic 
in the year 1187. by which the Venetians bound themselves to 
assist in defending the empire when attacked by any foreign 
power, even should it be their close ally the King of Sicily 4 . 

Even this alliance with Venice was insufficient to prevent 
continual outbreaks of the hatred which the Latins felt for 
the Greeks. During the weak government of Isaac the popu- 
lace of Constantinople attacked the Latin colonists, and Latin 
cruisers plundered the ships of the Greeks. When ambassa- 
dors passed between Isaac and Saladin. they were arrested on 
the pretext that the Byzantine emperor was forming an 
alliance with the infidels against the Crusaders 5 . Piracy was 
also carried on by the Italian merchant-nobles in the Aegean 

. .mi a scale resembling the private wars of the great feudal 
barons in the western states of Europe. 

1 a. p. 1175. Nicetas, 11:; Tafel and Thomas, Urhmdtn Vtnedigs, i. 1;- 
. vol. iii p. I s ,',. 

rol. iii. s Will. Tyr. xxii. 13. 

4 This int< anient is published by Tafel and Thomas, Url 

Marin. Storia </.-/ Commtrtm </»•' Vtiuziami, iii. 165. 
zwa, Histoirt dv Ba . >i. 41b. 


Ch. III. § 4.] 

Alexius III., though he regarded the Venetians with a less 
friendly feeling than his brother whom he had dethroned, 
nevertheless renewed all their privileges, and even extended 
their exemption from import duties to sales of goods made in 
the interior of the empire. In 11 99 he also concluded an 
offensive and defensive alliance with the republic on the same 
conditions as his brother Isaac in 1187. At this time the 
Venetians were in possession of an extensive trade over the 
whole empire, and numerous colonies of Venetian merchants 
were settled in all the great maritime cities, excluding the 
natives from the most lucrative branches of foreign com- 
merce \ 

The ultimate result of the privileges granted to the Vene- 
tians, Genoese, and Pisans was to deprive the Greeks of any 
share in the eastern trade. That the native subjects of the 
Byzantine emperors should be always eager to expel strangers 
who were ruining their commerce was perfectly natural, and it 
is probable that about this time the Venetians began to feel 
the necessity of rendering their position more secure by 
acquiring some possessions in the Archipelago. The fourth 
crusade afforded them an opportunity, of which they availed 
themselves without paying the slightest regard to their recent 
treaty with the Emperor Alexius III. Honesty in politics 
was then as little a characteristic of the Latins as of the 

Sect. IV. — Conquest of the Byzantine Empire. 

Religious enthusiasm had less to do with the fourth 
Crusade than with the preceding expeditions. Many of the 
leaders engaged in it to escape the punishment of their feudal 
delinquencies to the crown of France, and many were needy 
adventurers eager to better their condition abroad, as the 
prospect of improving it at home became daily more clouded. 
The chiefs of this Crusade concluded a treaty with the 
republic of Venice, which engaged to transport all who took 
the cross to Palestine by sea ; but when the expedition 

1 Tafel published the treaty of 1 199 with a valuable geographical commentary 
under the title Symbolarttm criticarum geographiam Byzantinatn spec/antium pars 
prior; and it is reprinted in Tafel and Thomas, Urkunden Venedigs, i. 246. 



[Ch. III. § 4. 

assembled, the Crusaders were so few that they were unable 
to pay the stipulated price. Henry Dandolo, the blind old 
hero who was then doge, took the cross and joined them ; 
but he appears hardly to have contemplated visiting the holy 
sepulchre, and only to have proposed guiding the Crusade in 
such a manner as to render it subservient to his country's 
interests. When the Crusaders declared their inability to pay 
the whole sum agreed on, Dandolo proposed that the republic 
should defer its claim for 34,000 marks of silver, and despatch 
the fleet immediately, on condition that the Crusaders should 
aid in reducing the rebellious city of Zara. The Crusaders 
consented. In vain Pope Innocent III., the greatest prince 
who ever sate on the papal throne, excommunicated both the 
Crusaders and the republic of Venice, for turning the swords 
they had consecrated to the service of Christianity against 
Christians. They paid no attention to the excommunication, 
and took Zara \ 

It must not be forgotten that the state of Venice did not 
yet possess any territory in Italy beyond the Dogado. The 
nobles were still merchants, not feudal chiefs. They went 
forth to wage war or to collect plunder, as well as to trade in 
their own galleys or as captains of the galleys of the republic. 
Verona, Vicenza, Padua, and Treviso confined the Venetians, 
and seemed to exclude them from any hope of forming a 
state en the Italian continent. Even in Istria and Dalmatia 
their authority was not yet firmly established. It was the 
order and security of property which prevailed at Venice and 
the energy of her citizens that made the republic powerful, 
not the number of its inhabitants nor the extent of its 

\\ hile the expedition remained in Dalmatia, ambassadors 
from the emperor Philip of Germany solicited their assistance 
in behalf of his nephew, Alexius Angelos, the son of the 

Various accounts are given concerning the age and blindness of Dandolo. 
The best authorities are : for his age, Marin Sanudo (Vite de Duchi di Venetia, 526), 
who says he was 85 years when he was elected doge in 1192 ; and concerning his 
blindness, Villehardouin, his companion in the crusade, who says that he had fine 
but was stone blind, from a wound in the head. This notice by the marshal 
refutes the tale of his having been blinded by Manuel I. when envoy at Constan- 
tinople, as reported by Andrea Dandolo. The two friends would have been 
ted to plead so good a reason for punishing the Greeks. See the text of 
\ illehardouin bj Buchon (471: ' Ki viex hons estoit. Et si avoit bieaus iex en sa 
.' ^oute, car perdue avoit la veue par une plaie qu'il avoit eue el 


Ch. III. § 4.] 

dethroned emperor of Constantinople, Isaac II. In spite of 
the opposition of many French nobles, who were more pious 
and more amenable to papal censures than the Venetians 
and Italians, it was decided to attack the Byzantine empire l . 
A treaty was signed at Zara, by which the Crusaders engaged 
to replace Isaac II. and his son Alexius on the throne of 
Constantinople ; and Alexius, in return, promised to pay 
them 200,000 marks of silver, and furnish them with provi- 
sions for a year. He further engaged to place the Eastern 
church under papal authority, to accompany the Cru- 
saders in the holy war, or else to furnish them with a 
contingent of 10,000 men paid for a year, and to maintain 
constantly a corps of 500 cavalry for the defence of the 
Christian possessions in Palestine. Thus, as Nicetas says, 
the young Alexius quitted the ancient doctrines of the 
orthodox church to follow the novelties of the Popes of 
Rome 2 . 

On the 23rd June 1203, the Venetian fleet, with the army 
of the Crusaders on board, appeared in sight of Constanti- 
nople. The Byzantine troops had been neglected both by 
Isaac II. and Alexius III., and were now ill-disciplined and 
ill-officered ; the citizens of Constantinople were void of 
patriotism, and the Greek fleet had been for some time 
utterly neglected. One of the heaviest of the Venetian 
transports, armed with an immense pair of shears, in order 
to bring the whole weight of the ship on the chain drawn 
across the entrance of the port, was impelled with all sail set 
against the middle of this chain, which was thus broken in 
two, and the whole fleet entered the Golden Horn. The 
Crusaders occupied Galata, and prepared to assault Constan- 
tinople. The army was divided into six divisions, and 
encamped on the hills above the modern suburb of Eyoub, 
for their numbers did not admit of their extending them- 
selves beyond the gate of Adrianople. An attack directed 
against the portion of the wall opposite the centre of the 
camp was perseveringly carried on ; and on the 17th July, 

1 Villehardouin (53) says that only twelve French nobles could be persuaded to 
swear to assist Alexius. The disgrace or the glory of conquering Constantinople 
belongs, therefore, to the Belgians, Venetians, and Lombards. 

2 Nicetas, 348. It is not easy to determine what share commercial schemes and 
what influence projects of conquest exercised over the Venetians in determining 
them to divert the crusade from Palestine and turn it against the Greeks. 

G 2 


[Ch. III. §4. 

a breach, caused by the fall of one of the towers, appeared 
practicable. A furious assault was made by the Flemish 
knights ; but, after a long and bloody combat, they were all 
hewed down by the battle-axes of the English and Danes of 
the Varangian guard 1 . The Greeks were less successful in 
defending their ramparts towards the port where they were 
assailed by the Venetians. High towers had been con- 
structed over the decks of the transport ships, and the tops 
of the masts of the galleys were converted into little castles 
filled with bowmen. A number of vessels directed their 
attack against the same point. Showers of arrows, stones, 
and darts swept the defenders from the wall ; the bridges 
were lowered from the floating towers ; the Doge, in com- 
plete armour, gave the signal for the grand assault, and, 
ordering his own ship to press forward and secure its bridge 
to the ramparts, he walked himself steadily across it, and was 
among the first who trampled on the pride of the city of 
Constantine. In an instant a dozen bridges rested on the 
walls, and the banner of St. Mark waved on the loftiest 
towers that overlooked the port. Twenty-five towers were 
captured by the Venetians before they advanced to take 
possession of the city. But when they began to push onward 
through the narrow streets, the Greeks made a vigorous 
defence, and inflicted severe loss on their assailants by attacks 
on their flanks. The Venetians set fire to the houses before 
them, and the fire soon extended from the hill of Blachern to 
the monastery of Euergetes and to the Deuteron. But the 
victory of the Byzantine forces over the Crusaders, on the 
land side, enabled the Greek army to follow up their advan- 
tage by attacking the Crusaders in their camp. Dandolo no 
sooner heard of the danger to which his allies were exposed 
than he nobly abandoned his own conquests, and repaired 
with all his force to their assistance. Night terminated the 
various battles of this eventful day, in which both parties had 
suffered great loss, without securing any decided advantage. 
The event was ultimately decided by the cowardice of the 
emperor, Alexius III., who abandoned Constantinople during 

1 Sixteen Crusaders mounted the breach ; two were seized, the rest were slain as 
we learn from an eyewitness. ' Et li nmrs hit mout garnis d'Englois et de Danois.' 
Villehardouin, 72. Nicetas (35) mentions also the Pisans as having done good 



Ch.HI. §4.] 

the night. His brother Isaac was led from the prison in 
which he had been confined and placed again on the throne, 
and negotiations were opened with the Crusaders. The treaty 
of Zara was ratified with fresh stipulations ; and on the 1st 
of August, Alexius IV. made his public entry into the city, 
riding between Count Baldwin of Flanders and the old Doge, 
Henry Dandolo, and was crowned as his father's colleague. 

Isaac and Alexius soon became sensible that they had 
entered into engagements with the Crusaders which it was 
impossible for them to perform. Quarrels commenced. The 
disorderly conduct of the Frank soldiers, the rapacity of the 
feudal chiefs and of the Venetians, who deemed the wealth of 
the Greeks inexhaustible, and the strong feelings of religious 
bigotry which inflamed both parties, quickly threatened a 
renewal of hostilities. While things were in this state, a 
second conflagration, more destructive than the first, was 
caused by a wilful act of incendiarism committed by some 
Flemings. A party of soldiers, after drinking with their 
countrymen who were settled at Constantinople, proposed in a 
drunken frolic to burn the Turkish mosque, and plunder the 
warehouses of the Turkish merchants in the neighbouring 
quarter. Their pillage was interrupted by the Greek police 
officers of the capital, who assembled a force to preserve order 
and compel the drunken Franks to respect the Byzantine 
laws. The Flemings, beaten back, set fire to some houses in 
their retreat in order to delay the pursuit ; and the fire, aided 
by a strong wind, spread with frightful rapidity, and devas- 
tated the city during two days and nights. This conflagration 
traversed the whole breadth of Constantinople, from the port 
to the Propontis, passing close to the church of St. Sophia, 
and laying everything in ashes for the breadth of about a 
mile and a half 1 . The wealthiest quarter of the city, in- 
cluding the richest warehouses and the most splendid palaces 
of the Byzantine nobility, filled with works of ancient art, 

1 Gibbon (chap. lx. vol. vii. 308) says the conflagration lasted eight days 
and nights ; and Daru {Histoire de Venise) and Michaud {Histoire des Croisades) both 
repeat the error. The mistake seems to have originated in copying Cousin's 
French translation of Xicetas. Buchon has given additional currency to the 
blunder, by reprinting the inaccurate translation without correction in his notes to 
Villehardouin. We possess two contemporary witnesses. Nicetas says the fire 
continued the first day, all the night, the following day and the evening (p. 356). 
Villehardouin says it lasted two days and nights, and extended half a league in 
front (p. 82, Buchon's edit.). The text of Ducange has une lieue de terre. 


[Ch.III. §4. 

Oriental jewellery and classic manuscripts, were destroyed. 
Constantinople never recovered from the loss inflicted on it 
by this calamity. Much that was then lost could never be 
replaced even by the most favourable change in the circum- 
stances of the Greeks ; but the occasion was never again 
afforded to the inhabitants of the city to attempt the restora- 
tion of that small portion of the loss which wealth could have 

The fury of the people after this dreadful misfortune knew 
no bounds, and all the Latins who had previously dwelt 
within the walls of Constantinople were compelled to 
emigrate, and seek safety with their wives and families at 
Galata, where they enjoyed the protection of the crusading 
army. Fifteen thousand souls are said to have quitted the 
capital at this time. 

The Emperor Isaac II. soon died. Alexius IV. was 
dethroned and murdered by Alexius V., called Murtzuphlos. 
The Crusaders and Venetians, glad of a pretext for conquer- 
ing the Byzantine empire, laid siege to Constantinople, and 
it was taken by storm on the 12th April 1204. But before 
the Crusaders could make themselves masters of the immense 
circuit of the city, whose ramparts they had conquered, they 
thought it necessary to clear their way through the heart 
of the dense buildings by a third conflagration, which, Ville- 
hardouin informs us. lasted through the night and all the next 
day. It destroyed the whole of the quarter extending from 
the monastery of Euergetes to the Droungarion l . These 
three fires which the Franks had lighted in Constantinople 
destroyed more houses than were then contained in the three 
largest cities in France. 

This conquest of Constantinople effected greater changes 
in the condition of the Greek race than any event that had 
occurred since the conquest of Greece by the Romans. It 
put an end to the reign of Roman law and civil order in the 
East ; and to it we must trace all the subsequent evils and 
degradations of the Byzantine empire, the Orthodox Church, 
and the Greek nation. Yet society only avenged its own 
wrongs. The calamities of the Greeks were caused more by 
the vices of the Byzantine government and by the corruption 

1 Nicetas, 36G. 


Ch. III. § 4.] 

of the Greek people, than by the superior valour and military- 
skill of the Crusaders. The lesson is worthy of attentive 
study by all wealthy and highly civilized nations, who neglect 
moral education and military discipline as national institutions. 
No state, even though its civil organization be excellent, its 
administration of justice impartial, and its political system 
popular, can escape the danger of a like fate, unless skill, 
discipline, and experience in military and naval tactics watch 
constantly over its wealth. Except men use the means which 
God has placed in their hands with prudence for their own 
defence, there can be no safety for any state, as long as kings 
and emperors employ themselves incessantly in drilling troops, 
and diverting men's minds from honest industry to ambitious 
projects of war \ 

1 Universal peacemakers in the present state of society should inquire where 
lies the savour of truth in the Satanic observation of Voltaire, that the God of 
justice is always on the side of powerful armies. Divine Providence has ordained 
that order and science, united with a feeling of moral responsibility, give men 
additional force by increasing their powers of action and endurance. Military 
organization has hitherto combined these qualities more completely than education 
has been able to infuse them into civil society. The self-respect of the indivi- 
dual soldier has prevented his falling so low, with reference to the military 
masses, as the citizen falls in the mass of mankind. Discipline and tactics have 
concentrated power in a higher degree than laws and education ; consequently, 
until the political constitution of society educates the feeling of moral responsibility 
in the citizen as perfectly as in the soldier, and renders him as amenable to moral 
and political discipline as the soldier is to military, the destructive classes will look 
down on the productive. But when the maximum of civil education and discipline 
is obtained in the local communities of free governments, then the God of justice 
will invariably be found on the side of the citizen armed in defence of political 
order. (Written in 1850.) 


Latin Empire of Romania. 

SECT. I. — Election of the First Latin Emperor of 
Constantinople ] . 

BEFORE the Crusaders made their last successful attack 
on Constantinople, they concluded a treaty partitioning the 
Byzantine empire and dividing the plunder of the capital. 
This singular treaty is interesting to the general history of 
Europe, from the proof it affords of the facility with which the 
people of all the feudally constituted nations amalgamated 
into one political society, and formed a separate state ; 
while it displays also in a strong point of view the marked 
difference that prevailed between feudal society, and the 
people subjected to the free institutions of the republic of 
Venice 2 . 

This treaty was entered into by the Frank Crusaders on the 
one part, and the citizens of the Venetian republic on the 
other, for the purpose of preventing disputes and of preserving 
unity in the expedition. 

' [For a detailed account of the Frank occupation of the provinces of the 

era Empire, the reader is referred to the part of Hopf's Grieckische Geschichte 

which relates to this period, published in 1867, in Ersch and Gruber's Encyltlopddie, 

vol. 85, pp. 200-465, and vol. $6, pp. 1-173. Professor Hopf, besides making 

I the original documents illustrating the subject, which had been edited by 

others, has aimseli explored the archives of the principal North Italian cities, as 

well as those of Naples, Palermo, Malta, Corfu, Athens, and other places in 

c. rhe resull us that his work, which is very exhaustive on this period, 

ins a large amount of material which cannot be found elsewhere. Ed ] 

I his treaty is given in the Gesta Innocentii III. torn. i. p. 55, edit. Baluze ; and 

in MuratOHS notes to Andrea Dandolo's Chronicle, in Muratori, Script. Rer. ltd. 

mi. 326. It is translated in Midland, Histoire des Croisades, Pieces Justific. ii. cg£ 

aid Buchons VUUhardouin, 90. A corrected text is published by Tafel "and 

I nomas, Vrkundm Venedigs, i. 444. 


Both Crusaders and Venetians engaged to obey the chiefs 
appointed by the council of the army, and to bring all the 
booty captured to one common stock, to be divided in the 
following manner. The Venetians were to receive three parts 
and the Franks one, until the debt originally due to the 
Venetian republic was discharged. After that, the surplus 
was to be equally divided. The provisions captured in the 
city of Constantinople were to form a common stock, and 
to be deposited in magazines, from which rations were to be 
issued according to the established practice as long as the 
expedition continued. 

The Venetians were to enjoy all the honours, rights, and 
privileges, in the new conquests, which they possessed in their 
own country, and were to be allowed to constitute a community 
governed by the laws of Venice. 

After the capture of Constantinople, twelve electors, six 
being Crusaders and six Venetians, were to be chosen for the 
purpose of electing the emperor of Romania ; and these 
electors were to nominate the person whom they considered 
best able to govern the conquered country for the glory of 
God and of the holy Roman Church. 

The emperor was to be put in possession of one quarter of 
the Byzantine empire, and of the two palaces Bukoleon and 
Blachern, as the imperial domain. The remaining three parts 
of the empire were to be equally divided between the Crusaders 
and the Venetians. 

The Patriarch was to be elected from the different party 
to the emperor, and the ecclesiastics were to have the same 
share in the church patronage as their respective parties had 
in the division of the empire. 

All parties bound themselves to remain together for one 
year from the last day of March 1 204 ; and all who estab- 
lished themselves permanently in any conquest made in the 
Byzantine empire were bound to take the oath of fealty, and to 
do homage for their possessions, to the emperor of Romania. 

Twelve commissioners were to be chosen by each party to 
divide the conquered territory into fiefs, and to determine the 
service due by each feudatory. 

No person belonging to nations at war, either with the 
Crusaders or the Venetians, was to be received in the empire 
as long as the war lasted. 


[Ch. IV. § i. 

Both Crusaders and Venetians were to employ all their 
influence with the Pope to procure his ratification of the 
treaty, and to induce him to excommunicate any persons who 
refused to fulfil its stipulations. 

The emperor elected was to bind himself by oath to 
execute these stipulations. In case it should be found 
necessary to make any addition to, or put any restriction 
on, any clause of the treaty, the Doge of Venice, and the 
Marquis of Montferrat, as commander-in-chief of the Cru- 
saders, each assisted by six councillors, were declared com- 
petent to make the necessary change. The Doge, Henry 
Dandolo, as a mark of personal honour and privilege, was 
dispensed from taking the oath of fealty to the emperor to be 
elected l . 

An act of partition of the empire was also prepared, but in 
the copies which have been preserved the names of many 
places are greatly disfigured, and neither the Crusaders nor 
the Venetians ever gained possession of many of the provinces 
which they had partitioned 2 . 

The conduct of the conquerors, after the capture of Con- 
stantinople, fixed an indelible stain on the name of the 
Franks throughout the East. They sacked the city with 
infamous barbarity; and the contrast afforded by the conduct 
of the Christians, who now took Constantinople, and the 
Mohammedans, who a few years before had conquered 
Jerusalem, may be received as an explanation of the success 
of the Mohammedan arms in the East at this period. When 
Saladin entered Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre 
was respected, and the conquered Christians remained in 
possession of their property; no confiscations were made of 
the wealth of the non-combatants, nor were any driven into 
exile ; the women were not insulted, and the poor were not 

' This clause indicates that it was understood that Dandolo was not to he 
elected emperor. He was afterwards invested with the rank and title of Despot. 
Gibbon gives currency to the error that — 

' Old Dandolo 
Refused the diadem of all the Caesars,' 
chap. lxi. vol. vii. 321. By the phrases the great historian makes use of, he allows 
erceive that he had not fully appreciated the immense difference between 
European feudalism and Italian commercial republicanism. 

1 Tafel has published a corrected text of the act of partition in Latin and Greek, 
with valuable geographical notes in his Symbnlae criticae geagraphiam Byzantinam 
spec/antes; see also Tafel and Thomas, Urkunden Venedigs. i. 452, 489. 


A.D. I2O4.] 

enslaved. But the Christians, who had taken the cross to 
cany on war against the Infidel oppressors of their brethren 
— who had taken oaths of abstinence and chastity, and sworn 
to protect the innocent — plundered a Christian city without 
remorse, and treated its inhabitants in such a way that exile 
was the least evil its inhabitants had to suffer. The noblest 
church in Christendom, the cathedral of St. Sophia, was 
stripped of all its rich ornaments, and then desecrated by the 
licentious orgies of the northern soldiers and their female 
companions. Nicetas recounts, with grief and indignation, 
that ' one of these priestesses of Satan ' seated herself on the 
Patriarchal throne, sang ribald songs through her nose, in 
imitation of Greek sacred music, and then danced before 
the high altar. It is unnecessary to detail the sufferings of 
the wretched Greeks. Villehardouin, the Marshal of Romania, 
vouches for the extent of the disorder by saying that each 
soldier lodged himself in the house that pleased him best ; 
and that many who before that day had lived in penury 
became suddenly wealthy, and passed the remainder of their 
lives in luxury 1 . Pope Innocent III., as soon as he was 
informed of the disgraceful proceedings of the Crusaders, 
considered it his duty to express his abhorrence of their 
conduct in the strongest terms, and he has left us a fearful 
description of their wickedness 2 . A few of the Catholic 
clergy endeavoured to moderate the fury which the bigoted 
prejudices of the papal church had instilled into the minds 
of the soldiery; but many priests eagerly joined in plundering 
relics from the altar, and made as little scruple in desecrating 
Greek churches and monasteries as the most licentious among 
the troops 3 . 

1 Compare Nicetas, 371, and Villehardouin, 97, Buchon's edit. 

2 Gesta Innoceutii III. i. 57, edit. Baluze. The Pope's words deserve to be 
cited : — ' Illudque longe gravius reputatur quod quidam nee religioni nee aetati 
nee sexui pepercerunt, sed fornicationes, adulteria, et incestus in oculis omnium 
exercentes, non solum maritatas et viduas, sed et matronas et virgines Deoque 
dicatas exposuerunt spurcitiis garcionum. Nee imperiales suffecit divitias ex- 
haurire ac diripere spolia majorum pariter et minorum, nisi ad ecclesiarum 
thesauros et, quod gravius est, ad ipsarum possessiones extenderetis manus vestras, 
tabulas argenteas de altaribus rapientes, et violatis sacrariis, cruces, iconas et 
reliquias exportantes, ut Graecorum ecclesia quantumcunque persecutionibus afrli- 

3 Michaud, Histoire des Croisades, iii. 269. The Rev. C. W. King, in his work on 
Antique Getns (p. 303 note), has the following passage: — 'The greatest part of 
these gems (camei and intagli figured by Caylus) were small intagli on caraelian, 
and set in a chasse containing a tooth of St. Peter, and the head of St. Philip, 


[Ch.IV. 5 i. 

After several days spent in the wildest license, the chiefs 
of the Crusade at last published a severe proclamation, re- 
calling the army to the salutary restraints of military dis- 
cipline. But many soldiers were put to death ; and a French 
knight was hung by order of the Count of St. Pol, with his 
shield round his neck, before the authority of the leaders 
could be fully restored. The offence, however, which was 
punished with death, was not cruelty to the Greeks, and 
abuse of the rights of conquest towards the defenceless ; it 
was the crime of defrauding their comrades, by embezzling 
part of the plunder, which excited the feelings of justice in a 
Christian army. Thanks were at length solemnly rendered 
to God for the conquest of a city containing hundreds of 
thousands of Christian inhabitants, by an army of twenty 
thousand soldiers of Christ ; and in the midst of their thanks- 
givings, the cry ' God wills it ' was the sincere exclamation of 
these pious brigands \ The treasures collected from the sack 
of the city were deposited in three of the principal churches. 
Sacred plate, golden images of saints, silver candelabra from 
the altars, bronze statues of heathen idols and heroes, pre- 
cious works of Hellenic art, crowns, coronets, and vessels 
of gold, thrones, and dishes of gold and silver, ornaments of 
diamonds, pearls, and precious stones from the imperial 
treasury and the palaces of the nobles ; precious metals and 
jewellery from the shops of the goldsmiths ; silks, velvets, and 
brocaded tissues from the warehouses of the merchants, were 
all heaped together with piles of coined money that had been 
yielded up to the exactions of personal robbery. 

The whole booty amounted to three hundred thousand 
marks of silver, besides ten thousand horses and mules. 
Baldwin, count of Flanders and emperor of Romania, de- 
clares that the wealth thus placed at the disposal of the 
victorious army was equal to the accumulated riches of all 
western Europe; and no prince then living was more com- 
petent to make a just estimate 2 . This sum was divided into 

made by order cf Bishop Gamier, almoner to the Crusaders at the taking of Con- 
stantinople, whence he >tole the skull of the Apostle.' 

1 Villehardouin, 98. 

2 The edition of Villehardouin by Ducange, which has been generally copied, 

ur hundred thousand marks; but the text of Buchon is preferable. See 
Baldwin's Letter to Tope Innocent III., and to the Cistercian Chapter: D'Outre- 
inan, ConUaminopolis Belgica, 71?. 


A.D. I2O4.] 

two equal parts. The Venetians then received fifty thousand 
marks out of the share of the Crusaders, in payment of the 
debt due to the republic ; and the one hundred thousand 
marks which remained as the crusading portion was divided 
in the following manner : — Each foot-soldier received five 
marks of silver, each horseman and each priest ten, and each 
knight twenty \ This small difference between the shares of 
the knights and the private soldiers is a proof that the feudal 
militia of the time consisted of men occupying a higher social 
position than is generally attributed to this class. Noble or 
gentle birth was almost an indispensable requisite in a soldier; 
and when we reflect, moreover, that this required to be united 
to great physical strength, and long practice in the use of 
arms, in order to acquire the activity necessary to move 
with perfect ease under the weight of heavy armour, it be- 
comes evident that the power of recruiting armies was, at 
this time, restricted within such narrow limits as to make the 
difference between officers and privates rather one of rank 
than of class 2 . 

Much difficulty was found in coming to a decision on the 
election of the emperor. Three persons occupied so pro- 
minent a position in the Crusade that only one of these three 
could be appointed sovereign of the state the Crusaders were 
about to found ; but as the new empire was to possess a 
feudal organization, that very circumstance excluded Henry 
Dandolo, the brave old Doge of Venice, and the ablest states- 
man and most sagacious leader in the expedition, from the 
throne. The choice, therefore, remained between Boniface, 
marquis of Montferrat, who had hitherto acted as commander- 
in-chief of the land forces, and Baldwin, count of Flanders, 
who served with the most numerous and best appointed body 
of knights and soldiers under his own private banner. The 
military talents and experience of the marquis of Montferrat, 
and the wealth, liberality, valour, and virtues of the count of 
Flanders, made the choice between them difficult. As the 
co-operation of the unsuccessful candidate was absolutely 

1 MS. entitled Croisade de Constantinople, in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris, 
published by Buchon in the appendix to the Livre de la Conqueste de la Prineie de 
la Moree, 491. A mark of silver was eight ounces troy. 

* In ancient times it was the same. Xenophon mentions that the officers 
received only double the pay of the hoplites, and the commanders of battalions 
only four times as much as the privates. Cyr. Ex. vii. 3. 19 ; vii. 6. I. 


[Ch. IV. § 2 . 

necessary to ensure the conquest of the empire, ample terri- 
tories and high honours were promised to him \ There can 
be no doubt that Dandolo would have been the ablest 
monarch, but Venice had no power to maintain him on the 
throne without the support of the Crusaders ; and the con- 
stitution of the Venetian republic rendered it impossible for 
the Doge to become a feudal sovereign, even if the Crusaders 
would have submitted to swear fealty to a merchant prince. 
The nature of the expedition rendered it necessary that the 
conquered territory should receive a feudal organization. 
The Venetians were, from their way of life, not likely to be 
able to render regular sendee for any fiefs they might acquire. 
The republic might call on them to perform other duty as 
citizens, or they might be trading to the Crimea or to Tre- 
bizond when their services were required in Thrace or 

The election took place on the 9th of May, and Baldwin 
of Flanders was declared emperor. The character of Baldwin, 
his youth, power, chivalric accomplishments, and civil virtues, 
made him the most popular prince among the Crusaders, and 
pointed him out to the electors as the person most likely to 
enjoy a long and prosperous reign. His piety and the purity 
of his personal conduct commanded universal respect, both 
among the laity and the clergy, and obtained for him the 
admiration even of the Greeks. He was one of the few 
Crusaders who paid strict attention to a part of their vows ; 
and so rare was his virtue, and so necessary ihe influence of 
his example, that after he mounted the imperial throne he 
ordered it to be repeated twice every week, by a public 
proclamation, that all those who had been guilty of incon- 
tinericy were prohibited from sleeping within the walls of his 
palace '-'. 

Sect. II. — Establishment of the Feudal system in Greece. 

The empire of Romania illustrates the history of feudal 
conquests in countries too far advanced in their social or- 

1 Villehardouin (Buchon's text in Recherche* et Materiaux, 101) says that the 
unsuccessful candidate was to receive la lerre hi est dautre part le Tirach devers It 
Turku et VUU de Gries:-e. that is. the Asiatic portion of the empire beyond the 

tea, etc.), and the Peloponnesus. 

2 Nicetas, 384. 


A.D. I 204.] 

ganization to receive feudal ideas. The Greeks were far 
superior to the Franks in material civilization ; and the 
various ranks were united together more closely, and by- 
more numerous ties, under the Byzantine laws than under 
the feudal system. The Manual of Armenopoulos, which 
presents us with a sketch of Byzantine jurisprudence in its 
last state of degradation, offers a picture of society far in 
advance of that which is depicted in the Assize of Romania, 
where we are presented with the feudal code of the East in 
its highest state of perfection. But though the Greeks were 
considerably in advance of the Franks in their knowledge of 
law, theology, literature, arts, and manufactures, they were 
greatly inferior to them in military science and moral dis- 
cipline. The Greeks were at this period destitute of a system 
of education that had the power of creating and enforcing 
self-respect in the individual, and attachment to the principles 
of order in society; while the Franks, though born in political 
anarchy and nurtured in warlike strife, were trained in a 
family discipline that nourished profound respect for a few 
fixed principles more valuable than learning and science, and 
prepared them to advance in a career of improvement as soon 
as circumstances modified their society into a fit scene of 
action for progressive amelioration. Yet, in spite of this, we 
find that the empire of Romania presents Frank society in a 
state of rapid decline and demoralization ; while the Greek 
empire, as soon as its capital was transferred to Asia, offers 
the aspect of steady improvement. The causes of this de- 
parture from the general progress of improvement among 
the Franks, and of decline among the Greeks, were entirely 
political, and they are more closely connected with the 
administrative history of the two governments than with 
the social condition of the rival nations. In order to trace 
their effects in connection with the government of the em- 
pire of Romania, it is necessary to review the peculiarities 
of the feudal system as it was now introduced among the 

The Byzantine empire was a despotism based on the ad- 
ministration of the law, and exercised by an educated class of 
trained officials. The sovereign was both the legislator and 
the judge, and was responsible only to heaven, to his own 
conscience, and to a rebellion of his subjects. His people had 


[Ch. IV. § 2. 

no political rights in opposition to his authority, and their 

only chance of redress -was in a revolution. 

On the other hand, the empire of Romania was a free 
government based on the feudal compact' of copartnery in 
conquest. The sovereign gave lands and protection to the 
vassal in return for feudal services, and both parties were 
bound to a faithful execution of their mutual obligations 1 . 
The sovereign was the superior of men who had rights which 
they were entitled to defend even against the emperor him- 
self ; and they were equitable judges of his conduct, for they 
themselves occupied a position similar to his with regard to 
their own inferiors. The Greeks were governed by the bonds 
of power ; the Franks by the ties of duty. But it was im- 
possible to transplant the feudal system into Greece exactly 
as it existed in western Europe, for it became immediately 
separated from all the associations of ancestral dignity, family 
influence, personal attachments, and traditional respect, which, 
by interweaving moral feelings with its warlike propensities, 
conferred upon it some peculiar merit. In the East, the 
obligations of hereditary gratitude and affection, the local ties 
that connected homage and protection with social relations 
and all the best feelings of humanity and religion, were 
weakened, if not dissolved. In its native seats the feudal 
system was a system of moral and religious education, begun 
by the mother and the priest, and completed by practical 
discipline. In the Byzantine empire it became little more 
than a tie of personal interest, and partook of that inherent 
selfishness which has been the curse of Greece from the time 
of its autonomous cities until the present day, and which is 
the prominent feature of all Eastern social relations beyond 
the immediate ties of family. 

The nature of the army that conquered Constantinople 
was not calculated to replace the relaxation of feudal bonds 
by a closer union of its members, derived from personal 
interests, military subordination, or the administration of 

1 'Nam obligatio fcudalis est reciproca, praecipue in fidelitate.' Craig;, Jus 
Feudale, ii. dicg II, p. 2S4. The Greek Chronicle of the Conquest of the Morea 
shows how deeply this sense of mutual obligation was impressed on the minds 
of the people : 

nat ivt rb npnyfia dfupurtpov kniicoivov th roi/s b"vo, 
ovTws xptaoTtl o TTpi-fKinas martv npos rov Ki^tov 
iiaav & A<((os npus aiiTof. V. 6552. 


A.D. 1 2O4.] 

justice. As Crusaders, as Flemings, Venetians, French, Ita- 
lians, and Germans, their tendency was towards separation ; 
and even the treaty by which they engaged to effect the 
conquest of the Byzantine empire only bound them to remain 
united until the end of March 1205. After that period, no 
Crusader who had not received a grant of lands in Romania 
owed any obedience to the emperor of Constantinople ; and 
thus the Frank domination was left to subsist on such support 
as it could draw from feudal principles, from the spirit of 
adventure, from the large domain conceded to the emperor, 
and from the religious zeal of the Popes and the Latin 

Immediately after the coronation of Baldwin measures 
were taken to carry into execution the act of partition. But 
ignorance of geography, and the resistance offered by the 
Greeks in Asia Minor, and by the Vallachians and Albanians 
in Europe, threw innumerable difficulties in the way of the 
proposed distribution of fiefs. 

The quarter of the empire that formed the portion of 
Baldwin consisted of the city of Constantinople, with the 
country in its immediate vicinity as far as Bizya and Tzurulos 
in Europe, and Nicomedia in Asia. The Venetians were put 
in possession of a quarter far more extensive than that which 
had been conceded to them by the Byzantine emperors, and 
within its gates they governed by their own magistrates and 
laws, living apart as if in a separate city. Beyond the territory 
around Constantinople, Baldwin possessed districts extending 
as far as the Strymon in Europe, and the Sangarius in Asia ; 
but his possessions were intermingled with those of the 
Venetians and the vassals of the empire. Prokonnesos, Les- 
bos, Chios, Lemnos, Tenos, Skyros, and several smaller islands, 
also fell to his share. 

Boniface, marquis of Montferrat, in the first instance 
received a feudatory kingdom in the Asiatic provinces ; but, 
in order to be nearer support from his hereditary principality 
in Italy, his share was ultimately transferred to the province 
of Macedonia, and he received Thessalonica as his capital, 
with the title of King of Saloniki. But before his share of 
the conquered empire was determined to his satisfaction, he 
entered into a private treaty with the Venetians to cede to 
them all his possessions acquired by the Crusade. Pretending 




to have received a promise of the island of Crete from young 
Alexius IV., and asserting that his father had received a grant 
of the kingdom of Thessalonica from the Emperor Manuel, he 
ceded both Crete, Thessalonica, and his other territories in the 
empire to the Venetians, who bound themselves to pay him 
the sum of one thousand marks of silver, and to put him in 
possession of territory in the western part of the empire from 
their share of the partition, which should yield him an annual 
revenue of 10,000 gold hyperpers 1 . 

The Venetian republic obtained three-eighths of the empire. 
Adrianople, and many inland towns, formed part of the 
territory assigned to the republic ; but the Venetian senate 
never made any attempt to take possession of a considerable 
portion of its share. Many of the Greek islands were con- 
ceded by the senate to private citizens, as fiefs of the republic, 
on condition that those to whom they were granted should 
conquer them at their own expense. 

The remainder of the empire was parcelled out among a 
certain number of great vassals, many of whom never con- 
quered the fiefs assigned to them ; while some new adven- 
turers, who arrived after the partition was arranged, succeeded 
in possessing themselves of larger shares of the spoil than 
most of the original conquerors. The most important of the 
Frank possessions in Greece was the principality of Achaia, 
which, though conferred on William of Champlitte, soon 
passed into the hands of the younger Geffrey Villehardouin, 
who had not been present at the siege of Constantinople '-. 

Sect. III. — Baldwin I. 

The reign of Baldwin was short and troubled. Though no 
braver knight, nor more loyal gentleman, ever occupied a 
throne, he was deficient in the prudence necessary to com- 

1 I his Refutatio is a curious document, and seems to prove that Boniface was 
anxious to relieve himself from doing homage to Baldwin. It is dated in August 
1204. and is printed in Flaminius Cornelius, Creta Sacra, vol. ii. p. 222; and in 
Buchon, Recherches el Matiriaux, i. 10; and Tafel and Thomas, Urkunden Venedigs, 
1 - : \i. Several of the stipulations were annulled by subsequent arrangements. 

• In the lists annexed to the partition-treaty, great part of Macedonia, almost 
all Ihessaly, eastern Greece, including Attica, Megaris and the Dodekanesos, are 
•1 to the Crusaders. Tafel, Symbolae criiicae ad geogr. Byz. specialties, and 
'laid and Thomas, Urkunden Venedigs, i. 485. 


A.D. I 204-I 205.] 

mand success, either as a statesman or a general, and he even 
wanted the moderation required to secure tranquillity among 
his great vassals. In his first expedition to extend his terri- 
tory and establish his immediate vassals in their fiefs, he 
involved himself in disputes with Boniface the king-marquis. 
The emperor announced his intention of visiting Thessalonica, 
in order to establish the imperial suzerainty, and confer the 
investiture of the kingdom of Saloniki on Boniface, whose 
oath of fealty he was naturally extremely anxious to receive 
as soon as possible. The king-marquis opposed this arrange- 
ment, as tending to exhaust the resources of his new dominions, 
by burdening them with the maintenance of Baldwin's army ; 
but his real objection was that he had all along hoped to 
render his kingdom independent of the empire, and he wished 
to evade taking the oath. The rivalry of the Flemings and 
the Lombards led them to espouse the quarrel of their princes 
with warmth. Baldwin marched with his army to Thessa- 
lonica ; Boniface led his troops to Adrianople, and besieged 
the governor placed there by the emperor Baldwin. A civil 
war threatened to destroy the Frank empire of Romania 
before the Crusaders had effected the conquest of Greece ; 
but the doge of Venice and the count of Blois succeeded, by 
their intervention, in re-establishing peace, and persuading 
Baldwin to agree to a convention, by which all disputes were 
arranged. Boniface did homage to the emperor for the king- 
dom of Saloniki, consisting of all the country from the valley 
of the Strymon to the southern frontier of Thessaly; and he 
was appointed commander-in-chief of the army of the Cru- 
saders destined to march against Greece, in order to take 
possession of the fiefs appropriated to those who had been 
assigned their shares of the conquest in that part of the 
empire by the act of partition \ 

Next year (1205) one army, under the count of Blois and 
Henry of Flanders, the emperor's brother, attacked the Greeks 
in Asia ; while another, under the king of Saloniki, invaded 
Greece. As soon as the Frank forces were thus dispersed, 
and engaged in distant operations, the Greeks of Adrianople 
rose in revolt, expelled the Frank garrison, and obtained 
assistance from Joannes, king of Bulgaria and Vallachia, who 

Villehardouin, 113, compared with Henri de Valenciennes, 187, edit. Buchon. 

H % 


[Ch.IV. §4. 

was deeply offended with the emperor Baldwin for having 
rejected his offers of alliance. Joannes had recently received 
the royal unction from a cardinal legate, deputed for the pur- 
pose by Pope Innocent III. ; and he conceived that, in virtue 
of this dignity as a Latin monarch, he was entitled to share 
with the Franks in dividing the Greek empire. 

The emperor Baldwin, the old doge of Venice, and the 
count of Blois, no sooner heard of the revolt of Adrianople, 
than they hastened with all the troops they could collect to 
besiege the city. The king of Bulgaria soon arrived to relieve 
it, at the head of a powerful army. Baldwin rashly risked a 
battle with his small force, and the greater part of his army 
was cut to pieces. The count of Blois and a host of knights 
perished on the field ; the emperor was taken prisoner, and 
murdered by his conqueror during the first year of his cap- 
tivity, though in the west of Europe his death was long 
doubted. The doge Dandolo, and the historian Villehar- 
douin, marshal of the empire, were the only men of rank and 
military experience who survived in the camp. They hastily 
rallied the remains of the army, and by abandoning every- 
thing but the arms in their hands, succeeded, with great 
difficulty, in conducting the surviving soldiers safe to Rhe- 

SECT. IV. — Henry of Flanders. — Ecclesiastical Affairs. — 
Political Difficulties. — Parliament of Ravenika. 

Henry of Flanders immediately took upon himself the 
direction of the administration, acting as regent until he 
was assured of his brother's death, when he assumed the title 
of emperor. But though certain tidings arrived at Constan- 
tinople of Baldwin's death, various romantic tales were long 
current that seemed to throw a doubt over his ultimate fate. 
On the 20th August, 1206, Henry was crowned; and, during 
his whole reign, he devoted all his energy and talent to the 
difficult task of giving a political as well as a military 
organization to the heterogeneous elements of his empire. 
The cruel ravages of the Bulgarian troops — who, after the 
battle of Adrianople, were allowed by Joannes to plunder 
the whole country, from Serres to Athyras — taught the 


A.D. 12o6-I2l6.] 

Greeks to regret the more regular and moderate exactions 
of the Franks, and many voluntarily made their submission 
to Henry, who treated all his subjects with mildness. He 
possessed more military as well as civil capacity than his 
unfortunate brother, and carried on war successfully against 
the king of the Bulgarians, in Europe, and against Theodore 
Lascaris, the Greek emperor of Nicaea, in Asia. 

The internal organization of the Frank empire presented 
a series of obstacles to the introduction of order and regular 
government, that no genius could have removed. Henry 
effected wonders in his short reign ; but all he did proved 
nugatory, from the incapacity of his successors. His great 
success was in part due to the popularity he acquired by 
his mild and conciliatory conduct, perhaps quite as much as 
to his political sagacity and brilliant courage. The situation 
of his empire was every way anomalous. Its foundation 
by Crusaders acting under papal authority, and serving 
avowedly as a means of carrying on holy wars, conferred 
on Innocent III. a just pretext for interfering in its internal 
affairs. The emperor, and barons also, standing constantly 
in need of new recruits in order to maintain and extend 
their conquests, could not fail to feel the necessity of con- 
ciliating the pontiff, without whose religious influence and 
liberal grants of indulgences these recruits could not be easily 
obtained. Though the conquest of the Byzantine empire 
had been made in express violation of the commands of 
Innocent III., that Pope showed a determination to profit by 
the crime as soon as it was perpetrated, and displayed a 
willingness to promote the views of the Crusaders, on con- 
dition that the affairs of the church should be settled in a 
manner satisfactory to the papal see K There were, neverthe- 
less, so many discordant interests and rivalities at work in the 
ecclesiastical condition of the new empire, that it required all 
the talents of Innocent III., the greatest of the Popes, and all 
the moderation and firmness of Henry of Flanders, the most 
conciliatory of emperors, to avoid open quarrels between the 
church and state. The Pope was determined to maintain the 

1 See a translation of Innocent's letter to the marquis Boniface and the counts 
of Flanders, Blois, and St. Pol, in Hurter's Histoire du Pape Innocent III. i. 607, 
French translation. The original is in the portion of Innocent's letters published 
in the rare collection of Brequigny, lib. vi. ep. 48, 103 ; see also Gesta Innoc, III. 
cap. 89, in the edition of Baluze. 


[Ch. IV. § 4. 

same control over the church in the East which he had laid 
claim to in the West. Without this authority, the union 
of the Greek and Latin churches had little significance at 
the papal court, where the union could only be regarded as 
consummated when the patriarch of Constantinople was re- 
duced to the condition of a suffragan of the bishop of Rome. 
The habits of thought of the Greeks, the nature of the civil 
administration of the empire, and the power over ecclesiastical 
affairs which the emperor of Romania had inherited from his 
Byzantine predecessors, all opposed the papal pretensions. 
Even the Latin clergy were not united in a disposition to 
submit implicitly to the papal authority. The Venetian 
republic was still less so, for it directly attacked some of the 
prerogatives arrogated by the Popes, and alarmed by the terms 
of its opposition even the fearless Innocent. It secured the 
election of a Venetian as patriarch of Constantinople ; and 
though the Pope annulled the election as illegal, still, in order 
to avoid a direct collision with the Venetians, who would pro- 
bably not have allowed a patriarch selected by Innocent to 
put his foot in Constantinople, he appointed Thomas Morosini, 
who had already been elected to the dignity, to be the lawful 
patriarch by papal authority. The Venetians were indifferent 
by what subterfuges Innocent thought fit to account for his 
ratification of the election of the patriarch whom they had 
chosen 1 . 

It is always dangerous for a sovereign whose power rests 
directly on public opinion, to swerve from the cause of truth 
and justice. The spirit of temporization displayed by 
Innocent with regard to the Crusaders, from the time they 
abandoned the real object for which they had assumed the 
cross, weakened his moral influence and now diminished 
his power. When he disapproved of the attack on Con- 
stantinople, and reprobated the array of a Christian army, 
with the cross shining on the breast of every soldier, against 
the largest city of Christendom, it was expected by the 
Crusaders that he would overlook their offence with the 
same facility with which he had pardoned the storming of 
Zara. Their anticipations were not false, for the Pope 
readily accepted their success as a proof that the will of 

1 The ratification is dated 21 January 1 205. Brequigny, ii. 621. 


/.D. I206-I2I6.] 

Heaven had sanctified their act of injustice, and the Holy 
Father recommended the conquerors to retain possession 
of a country which God had delivered into their hands \ 
His legate had relieved the army from the papal excommuni- 
cation by his orders, and he confirmed that act without 
exacting any proofs of sincere repentance ; and he thus 
gave a warrant even for churchmen to tamper with the 
papal authority in political matters 2 . Innocent likewise 
tolerated the legate's absolution of the Crusaders from their 
vow to visit the Holy Land, on condition that they served 
an additional year against the Greeks ; and he wrote to the 
archbishops of France, to recommend them to recruit the 
ranks, both of the clergy and the troops in the Latin empire, 
by promises of riches and of absolution for their sins to the 
emigrants 3 . These concessions of justice to policy, and the 
open deference shown by the head of the church to worldly 
success, were not unobserved by the conquerors. The 
Venetians viewed them as the time-serving policy of priestly 
ambition, while the more superstitious Franks received them 
as a guarantee that all their crimes were pardoned by Heaven, 
on account of their zeal against the Greek heretics. 

Under the guidance of such principles, the disorders in the 
church soon became intolerable. The Venetians endeavoured 
to bind the Patriarch to appoint only Venetian priests to the 
vacant sees ; the Frank clergy refused to receive the Venetian 
patriarch as their superior ; and Morosini, on his arrival at 
Constantinople, commenced his functions by excommunicating 
half the clergy of the empire 4 . Many priests, after receiving 
grants of fiefs, compelled the Greeks on these estates to 
purchase the rent or service due from the land, and, when 
they had collected the money, they abandoned the fief and 
returned to their native country with these dishonest gains 5 . 
To these difficulties with the Pope, the Crusaders, the Vene- 
tians, and the Frank clergy, were added the embarrassments 
that arose in regulating the relations between the Latin 
clergy and the priests of the Greek church, who had united 

1 Gesta Innocentii III. c. 98, edit. Baluze. 

2 Brequigny, lib. vii. ep. 206, 207, from Hurter, ii. 22. 
* Ibid. lib. viii. ep. 69, 71 ; Hurter, ii. 40. 

4 Gesta Innocentii III. c. 1 00. 

6 Epist. Innocentii III. lib. xiii. ep. 24, torn. ii. 421, edit. Baluze. 


[Ch. IV. § 4 . 

with the papal church, as well as the relations between the 

papal church and those Greeks who still denied the Pope's 

supremacy, and adhered to their national usages and to the 

doctrines of the orthodox church. 

At length, in order to settle the ecclesiastical affairs of the 
empire, a convention was signed between the papal legate and 
the Latin patriarch on the one hand, and the emperor Henry 
and the barons, knights, and commons of the Crusaders on 
the other — for the Venetians took no part in the act — in the 
month of March 1206 l . By this arrangement, a fifteenth 
of all the conquered lands and possessions was to be ceded 
to the Latin church, excepting, however, the property within 
the walls of Constantinople, and the town-dues of that city. 
All the Greek monasteries were to be surrendered to the 
papal power without being regarded as included in the 
fifteenth. Tithes were to be paid by the Catholics on all 
their revenues, whether derived from the fruits of the earth, 
cattle, bees, or wool ; and if the Greeks could be induced 
to pay tithes to the Latin clergy, the civil power was to 
offer no resistance. The clergy, the religious orders, and 
all monks and nuns, whether Latins or Greeks, the households 
of ecclesiastics, the churches, church property, and monas- 
teries, with all their tenants, and all persons who might seek 
refuge in the sanctuaries, were to be exempted from the 
civil jurisdiction, as in France ; reserving, however, in such 
cases, the authority of the papal see, and of the patriarchate 
of Constantinople, and the honour of the emperor and the 
empire. Thus a nation of ecclesiastics, living under their 
own peculiar laws and usages, and amenable neither to 
the imperial legislation nor to feudal organization, was 
established in the heart of the empire of Romania. The 
Venetians, who were not included in this convention, obsti- 
nately refused to pay tithes to the church ; nor did Innocent 
venture to proceed with vigour either against them or against 
the refractory Greeks, from the dread of causing a close 
alliance between the two. 

The civil affairs of the empire were in as great confusion 
as the ecclesiastical, and presented even greater difficulties 
in the way of their ultimate arrangement. The nature of 

1 Gesta Innoc. c. ioi ; Brcquigny, lib. xi. ep. 143. 


A.D. I2o6-I2l6.] 

the conquest divided the inhabitants into two distinct classes 
of Greeks and Latins, whose separation was rendered 
permanent by the feudal system, as well as by national 
divergences of manners and religious opinions. The Franks 
formed a small dominant class of foreign warriors, many 
of whom were constantly returning to the lands of their 
birth, where they held ancestral estates and honours, while 
many died without leaving posterity. Their numbers con- 
sequently required to be perpetually recruited by new bodies 
of immigrants. From the hour of the conquest, too, the 
conquerors began to diminish in number, even from the 
operation of that law of population which devotes all privileged 
classes to a gradual decay. The Greeks on the other hand, 
composed a numerous, wealthy, and organized society, dwell- 
ing in their native seats, perpetuating their numbers by the 
natural social amalgamation of classes, and increasing their 
strength by being compelled to abandon their previous habits 
of luxury and idleness, and turn their attention either to 
profitable industry or to imitating the warlike virtues of their 
new masters. Other causes of discord existed, equally 
irremediable except by the slow progress of time, yet which 
called for immediate palliatives. The Crusaders and the 
Venetians had each their own political views and interests ; 
while the Crusaders were incapable of complete union or 
harmonious action, from the variety of nations that brought 
their respective antipathies to the common stock. The 
Flemish, Italian, French, and German nobility had all their 
private grounds of alliance and offence. The position of 
the Greek landed proprietors, who were willing to become 
vassals of the empire, and to join the Latin church, and 
of the Greek citizens, cultivators, artizans, and labourers 
who adhered to their national church and usages, all required 
to be regulated by positive laws. The relations between 
the emperor of Romania, the king of Saloniki, the great 
feudatories and the lesser barons, though sufficiently defined 
by the feudal system, required to be strictly determined 
by express enactment ; for the moral force of feudality, 
which prevented the progress of anarchy in western Europe, 
was wanting in the Eastern Empire. It was necessary, 
therefore, to frame a list of all the fiefs in the empire, like 
the Doomsday Book of England ; and a code of feudal 

106 E Mr IRE OF ROM AX I A. 

[Ch. IV. § 4 . 

usages, like the Assize that had been framed for the kingdom 

of Jerusalem '. 

The Venetians, who possessed a large share of the empire, 
could not be subjected to the strict feudal regime nor to the 
precise rules of the Byzantine civil law. Yet, though living 
beyond the control of feudal usages, they arrogated to 
themselves the privileges of the dominant classes even while 
acting in professional rivality with the conquered. Other 
trading communities from every country, both of the East 
and the West, had companies of merchants established at 
Constantinople ; and, whether they were Pisans, Catalans, 
Genoese, Flemings, Germans, Syrians, or Armenians, they 
all claimed to regulate the administration of justice 
among themselves, according to their respective laws and 

The subject Greeks had their own code, and their own 
judicial establishments organized with a degree of complete- 
ness that must have impressed the more enlightened members 
of the Crusading army with astonishment and admiration. 
The conquerors immediately felt the necessity of respecting 
the superior civilization of the conquered.. The laws of 
Justinian, as modified in the Greek compilation, called the 
Basilika, remained in full force, and entailed on the Crusaders 
the necessity of leaving the administration of justice and of 
the municipal affairs, with a considerable portion of the 
fiscal business of government, in the hands of the Greeks, 
on nearly the same footing as they had been under the 
last Byzantine emperors. The citizens preserved some 
local privileges ; they elected magistrates to perform some 
few duties, they took part in framing the regulations and 
local bye-laws under which they lived, and to a certain extent 
they controlled the administration of the municipal revenues 
and communal property. In short, the Frank emperors of 
Romania, as far as the majority of their Greek subjects were 
concerned, occupied the position and exercised the authority 
of the Byzantine emperors they had displaced a . 

1 The history of the Assize of Jerusalem, and an examination of the period 
of its introduction into the empire of Romania, will be found in the preface to 
the magnificent edition of the Assises de Jerusalem, by count Beugnot ; but it 
must be observed that he attributes a degree of historical importance to the 
Chronicle of the Conquest of the Morea to which it has no claim. 

* 1 he emperor Henry even admitted Greeks into his service, which Baldwin 


A.D. I 206-1 2l6.] 

The marriage of the emperor Henry with the daughter of 
Boniface, king of Saloniki, preserved union between these 
two sovereigns. But after Boniface was unfortunately killed 
in the war with the Bulgarians, discussions arose between 
the emperor and the guardians of the kingdom. Demetrius, 
the son of Boniface by his second marriage with the dowager- 
empress Margaret, widow of Isaac II., succeeded to the crown 
of Saloniki by his father's will \ The empress Margaret 
acted as regent for her son, who was only two years old ; 
but count Blandrate, a Lombard noble connected with the 
family of Montferrat, was elected by the nobles and the army 
as bailly and guardian, to carry on the feudal administration 
and lead the vassals of the crown 2 . The policy of the bailly 
was directed to strengthening as far as possible the connection 
of the kingdom of Saloniki with Italy, and with the 
marquisate of Montferrat, and to dissolving the feudal ties 
that bound it to the empire of Romania. He was accused by 
the Flemings of endeavouring to transfer the crown of the 
young Demetrius to the head of the marquis William, his 
elder brother ; but it does not appear that his plan really 
extended beyond effecting a close union between the power 
and dominions of the two brothers, and garrisoning all 
the fortresses of the kingdom of Saloniki with Lombard 
troops, whom he was compelled to recruit in Italy in great 

The conduct of count Blandrate rendered it necessary for 
the emperor Henry to subdue the spirit of independence 
which manifested itself among the Lombards without loss 
of time, or the empire of Romania would have been soon 
dissolved. The count was accordingly summoned to do 
homage at the imperial court for the young king, and to 
deliver up the fortresses of the kingdom, to be guarded by 
the Suzerain according to the obligations of the feudal law ; 
and the emperor marched with a body of troops towards 
Thessalonica, to hold a court for receiving the oath of fealty. 

and Boniface had not allowed. Ephraemius, v. 733s and 7414- Branas, who 
married Agnes of France, sister of Louis VII. and widow of the tyrant Andro- 
nicus, seems to have been the only Greek who held any command during the 
reign of Baldwin. Nicetas, 332. 

1 The empress Margaret was the daughter of Bela III , king of Hungary. 

2 Count Blandrate is called Blandras by the old French writers. For the 
commune and counts of Blandrate see Troja, Delia condizione de' Romani vinti 
da' Longobardi, p. cccc. 


[Ch. iv. § 4 . 

But Blandrate replied to the summons, that the kingdom of 
Saloniki had been conquered by the arms of the Lombards ; 
and he boldly refused to allow the emperor to enter Thes- 
salonica, except on the condition of recognizing the claim 
of the king of Saloniki to the immediate superiority over 
the country actually conquered by the Crusaders, including 
the great fiefs of Budonitza, Salona, Thebes, Athens, Negre- 
pont, and Achaia, as well as all the unconquered territory 
south of Thessalonica and Dyrrachium l . 

Henry now found himself sorely embarrassed ; for, not 
contemplating any serious opposition, he had quitted Con- 
stantinople with few troops, and was encamped in the open 
country of Chalkidike, where the winter suddenly set in with 
intense severity. All his councillors advised him to consent 
to any terms that might be offered, in order to save the 
lives of his followers, by gaining immediate shelter within 
the walls of Thessalonica. The clergy who attended the 
expedition promised to absolve him from any sin he might 
commit, by subsequently violating the engagements that 
necessity compelled him to accept, if they should be contrary 
to the feudal constitution of the empire. Under these cir- 
cumstances, the emperor promised everything that the Lom- 
bards demanded ; but he soon found a pretext for violating 
his promises, after he had succeeded in establishing his troops 
in Thessalonica. 

In order to determine definitely the feudal relations of 
his subjects, in the month of May, 12 10, Henry held a high 
court of his vassals, or parliament, at the small town of 
Ravcnika 2 . His principal object was to receive the homage 
and oath of fealty from all the tenants-in-chief in the country 
south of the kingdom of Saloniki, and to grant such investi- 
tures of fiefs and offices as might be required to put an end 
to all pretensions of superiority similar in nature to those 

1 Henri de Valenciennes, 191, edit. Buchon ; Nicetas, 410; Buchon, Histoire 
des conquetes et de Vitablisseinent des Francois dans les ctats de lancienne Greet, 
i. 262. 

1 Buchon (Histoire des Conqui'tes et de f Etablisseinent des Francais, p. I 24") places 
Ravcnika between the Axius and the Strymon at the village called Reveniko 
by Leake (Travels in Northern Greece, iii. 161), and Knvanikia by Fallmerayer 
(Fragmente nus dem Orient, ii. 63). But the place must be the Rabenica of Ben- 
jamin of Tudela (i 4 s , Asher's edit.), which lay to the south of the Reveniko of 
AnnaComnena near Larissa (Anna, 1 39. edit. Paris'). Henry of Valenciennes (p. 207) 
indicates clearly that the Ravenika where the parliament was held lay I 
Armyro and Budonitza. Tafel, Thessalonica, 488, 


A.D. 1 206-1 2l6.] 

advanced by count Blandrate. The claim of the bailly of 
the kingdom of Saloniki rendered this step absolutely neces- 
sary, for the Lombards had already made considerable en- 
croachments on the possessions of the great feudatories who 
had received their portion of the spoils of the empire in 
Greece. Otho de la Roche, the signor of Athens, had been 
deprived of Thebes. The parliament of Ravenika was con- 
sequently viewed with favour by the barons of the south, 
who were not Lombards, and who naturally preferred to 
remain direct feudatories of the emperor of Romania, in his 
distant capital at Constantinople, to being converted into 
subordinate vassals of a neighbouring Italian king. But 
though the barons of Boudonitza, Negrepont, Athens, and 
Naxos, the bailly of Achaia, and other tenants-in-chief of 
the empire in Greece, made their appearance at the court 
of Henry and fulfilled their feudal obligations, the Lombards 
attached to the Montferrat party still opposed the emperor's 
authority, and compelled him to march southward and dis- 
possess them of Thebes by force. That fortress was then 
restored to Otho de la Roche, who received the investiture 
both of it and Athens : Mark Sanudo was invested with 
his conquest of Naxos, and other islands, under the title 
of Duke of the Archipelago or the twelve islands x ; and 
Geffrey Villehardouin the younger, bailly of Achaia, in the 
absence of his prince, William de Champlitte, was appointed 
seneschal of Romania, that he might become a great feudatory 
in virtue of his office. 

A determined effort was also made to restrain the eccle- 
siastical power. This became necessary, from the facility 
with which the' Crusaders, who were on the point of returning 
home, lavished their possessions on the church. To such 
an extent was this liberality carried, that there seemed to 
be some danger of the ecclesiastics acquiring possession of 
the greater part of the fiefs throughout the empire, in which 
case the country would have been left without military de- 
fenders. Henry and the great barons now ratified an edict 
which had been already published, prohibiting all grants of 
land to the church or to monasteries, either by donation 
or testament ; leaving sinners to purchase their peace with 

AcuSeicdvrjaos. This name is used by Theophanes, when speaking of the Byzan- 
tine empire, as early as a.d. 810 j p. 412, edit. Paris. 


[Ch.IV. § 4 . 

Heaven, through the agency of the priesthood, out of the 
proceeds of their movable property alone. This regulation, 
as might be expected, was violently opposed by a Pope so 
ambitious as Innocent III., who immediately declared it null 
and void. But necessity compelled the emperor and the 
barons to adhere to their decision ; and they enforced the 
edict, in spite of the Pope's dissatisfaction and threats 1 . 
The ecclesiastical affairs of the kingdom of Saloniki, and 
of the great fiefs in Greece, as far as the isthmus of Corinth, 
and the relations which the possessions of the church were 
to hold, with reference to those of the feudal lords, were 
also regulated by a convention with the patriarch Morosini, 
and the metropolitans of Larissa, Neopatras, and Athens. 
By this convention the signors engaged to put the church 
in possession of all its lands, and to acknowledge and support 
the rights of the Latin clergy and their dependants. This 
convention, being extremely favourable to the views of the 
papal see, was ratified with much pleasure by Innocent III. 2 

Count Blandrate and the Lombard army continued never- 
theless to resist the emperor and the parliament, and 
determined to defend their possessions with the sword. 
Henry, therefore, found himself compelled to take the field 
against them, in order to establish the imperial power in 
Greece on a proper feudal basis. He met with no resistance 
until he arrived at Thebes, in which count Blandrate had 
assembled the best portion of the Lombard troops. The 
army of Henry was repulsed in an attempt to take the place 
by assault ; and it was not without great difficulty, and more 
by negotiation than force, that the imperial army at last 
entered Thebes. The emperor immediately restored it to 
Otho de la Roche, its rightful signor. Henry then visited the 
city of Negrepont, where Ravanno dalle Carceri, one of 
the three signors among whom the island had been parti- 
tioned, induced Blandrate to make his peace with Henry; 
and the Lombard count soon after retired to Italy, leaving 

1 Ducange, Hhtoire de Constantinople, 56. 

5 The original text nf this act is contained in the Bullamm Amplisdma Collectio, 
Rome, 1740. torn. Hi. No xliL; and in Buchon, Nouvelles Reckerches; avant- 
propos, 49. There is also a translation of it in Buchon, Histoire des Conquetes des 
Frangau, 150; but this author, as is too frequently the case, omits to mention 
that the text is to be found in one of his own prior publications. For the con- 
firmation, see Efisl. Innocent. III. torn. li. p. 496, edit. Baluze. 


A.D. I 206-1 2 1 6.] 

the empress-queen Margaret regent for her son, under the 
usual restrictions in favour of the suzerain's rights over the 
fortresses of his vassal while a minor l . 

A treaty was also concluded about this time between 
Henry and Michael, the Greek sovereign of Epirus, Great 
Vallachia, Acarnania, and Aetolia, who consented to do 
homage for his possessions to avoid war. The Greek naturally 
attached little importance to a ceremony which he regarded 
only as a public acknowledgment of the superior power of 
the Latin emperor 2 . 

The remainder of Henry's reign was a scene of constant 
activity. At one time, he was engaged in defending the 
empire against foreign enemies; at another, he was forced 
to protect his Greek subjects against the tyranny of Pelagius, 
the papal legate, who made an attempt to compel all the 
orthodox Greeks to join the Latin rite, and by his own 
authority shut up the Greek churches and monasteries, and 
imprisoned the most active among the Greek clergy. A 
rebellion was on the point of breaking out, when the emperor 
ordered all the priests to be released, and the churches and 
monasteries to be reopened 3 . The emperor Henry died, 
universally regretted, in the year 1216. 

The island of Euboea was conquered by the Fleming James of Avesnes, 
acting as general for Boniface the king-marquis in 1205, and divided into three 
fiefs, which were conferred on Ravanno dalle Carceri, Peccoraro de' Peccorari 
and Giberto of Verona. ' 

2 There exists a letter of Henry, giving an account of his victories over the 
four enemies of the Latin empire— Theodore Lascaris. emperor of Nicaea ; Boris- 
las, king of the Bulgarians ; Michael, despot of Epirus ; and Stratius, a near 
relation of the terrible Joannes of Bulgaria, who after that king's death governed 
an independent principality. The letter is dated Pergamus, 121 2. Martenne et 
Durand, Thesaurus Novus Anecdotorum, torn. i. 821 ; and Buchon's Villehardouin, 

211. ' 

3 Heyd, Die Colonien der romischen Kirche in den Kreuzfahrerstaaten p 318- 
in the Zeitschri/ifur die historische Theologie for 1856. It would seem from some 
accounts that Henry took no step to protect his subjects on this occasion until 
a tumult arose at Constantinople, and twenty thousand Greeks assembled before 
the gates of the imperial palace, crying out that the emperor ought to rule the 
state, and defend his subjects against the frock. Hisloire Nouvelle des Anciens Dues 
et autre* Souverains de VArchipel, 24. Dr. Hopf, however, by his accurate researches 
lias proved that this curious book is of very little value as a historical guide ; yet 
it contains many important facts. 



Sect. V. — Peter of Courtenay. — Robert. — Baldwin II. — 
Extinction of the Empire of Romania. 

The eastern empire of Romania, like the western or Ger- 
manic Holy Roman empire, was considered elective ; but 
feudal prejudices, and the feudal organization of the thirteenth 
century, stamped its government with an hereditary form, 
and the law of succession adopted in practice was that 
established for the great fiefs in France. Yoland, sister of 
the emperors Baldwin and Henry, had a prior claim to the 
heritage ; but as her sex excluded her from the imperial 
crown, her husband, Peter of Courtenay, was elected emperor 
by the barons of Romania. Peter was detained in France for 
some time, collecting a military force strong enough to enable 
him to visit his new empire with becoming dignity. When 
his army was assembled, he visited Rome, where he received 
the imperial crown from the hands of Pope Honorius III. 
He landed in Epirus, to the south of Dyrrachium, with the 
intention of marching through the territories of Theodore, 
despot of Epirus, who had succeeded Michael as sovereign of 
that country; but he had entered into no arrangements with 
Theodore, hoping to force his way through the mountains by 
the Via Egnatia without difficulty. He was attacked on his 
march by the troops of Theodore in the defiles near Albanon 
(Elbassan l ) ; his army was routed, and he perished in the 
prisons of the despot of Epirus. 

The empress Yoland reached Constantinop 1 e by sea ; and 
as soon as she heard of her husband's captivity and death, she 
undertook the regency in the absence of her eldest son, Philip 
count of Namur, who was regarded as heir to the imperial 
crown. Yoland died in 12 19; but before her death, she 
secured the tranquillity of the empire by renewing the treaty 
of peace with the Greek emperor at Nicaea, Theodore 

Philip of Namur refused to quit his Belgian county for the 
dignity of emperor of Romania, and his younger brother, 
Robert, was elected emperor in his stead. Conon of Bcthune, 
who had been the principal councillor of the emperor Henry, 
and had acted as regent in the period that elapsed between 

1 iv rah tov 'Abfiavov 5vt7\wpiais. Acropolita, 14. 


A.D. I2l6-126l.] 

the death of Yoland and the arrival of Robert, unfortunately 
for the empire died shortly after the coronation of Robert. 

The race of warriors who had founded the empire was now 
nearly extinct, and most of their successors possessed neither 
the military talents nor the warlike disposition of their 
fathers. The Crusaders had been soldiers by choice, and 
great barons by accident ; their successors were only soldiers 
from necessity, and because their position compelled them 
to appear in arms to defend their sovereign's throne and 
their own fiefs. The training they received may have fitted 
them for a tilt-yard, but it did not furnish them with the 
military qualifications required for a campaign. There was 
also another difference still more injurious to their position. 
Their fathers had commanded enthusiastic and experienced 
soldiers ; the sons were compelled to lead inexperienced vas- 
sals or hired mercenaries. Many of the new barons, too, were 
younger sons, who possessed no revenues except what they 
drew from their Eastern fiefs, and no nursery existed in the 
East for supplying them with the hardy followers who had 
supported the power of their fathers. Unfortunately for the 
Latin power, the young barons of Romania were generally 
persons who thought more of enjoying their position than Of 
improving it for the advantage of their posterity. The wealth, 
both of the emperor Robert and his barons, was consumed in 
idle pomp, and in what was called upholding the dignity of 
the imperial court, instead of being devoted to the administra- 
tive and military necessities of their respective positions. 
The number of experienced soldiers daily decreased in the 
Frank empire, while the Greeks, observing the change, pressed 
forward with augmented energy. The Frank army was 
defeated by the emperor John III. (Vatatzes) at the battle of 
Poimanenos, in the year 1224, and shortly after Adrianople 
was captured by Theodore, the despot of Epirus. From 
these wounds the empire of Romania never recovered. 

The emperor Robert possessed neither the valour required 
to defend his dominions, nor the prudence necessary to regu- 
late his own conduct A fearful tragedy, enacted in the 
imperial palace, proclaimed his weakness, and called the 
attention of the whole world to his vices. The daughter of 
the knight of Neuville, one of the veteran Crusaders, recently 
dead, was betrothed to a Burgundian knight, when the young 



[Ch. IV. § 5. 

emperor fell in love with the fair face of the lady. His suit, 
aided by the favour of the mother, won her heart, and he 
persuaded mother and daughter to take up their residence 
in the palace. The rejected Burgundian, as soon as he saw 
his betrothed bride established as the emperor's mistress, 
vowed to obtain a deep revenge. The unheard-of boldness 
and daring of his project secured it the most complete success 
in all its horrible details. He assembled his relatives, friends, 
and followers ; and, with this small band of adherents in com- 
plete armour, walked into the palace, where no suspicion of 
any outrage was entertained. Guided by a friendly assistant, 
he forced his way into the women's apartments, where the 
young lady's mother was seized, carried off by his friends, 
and drowned in the Bosphorus. The daughter was at the 
same time mutilated by her rejected lover, who cut off her 
nose and lips, and then left her in this frightful condition 
filling the palace with her moans, to receive such consolation 
as her imperial lover could bring. The spirit of the age 
excused this inhuman vengeance of the Burgundian knight ; 
but it would equally have excused Robert had he seized the 
culprit immediately, and hung him in his armour before the 
palace gates, with his shield round his neck. The emperor 
was so weak and contemptible that he was unable to punish 
this barbarous outrage and personal insult even by legal 
forms. He felt the insult, however, which he could not 
avenge, so deeply, that shame drove him from Constantinople 
to seek military assistance from the Pope, by which he hoped 
to make his power more feared. He died in the Morea on 
his way back from Rome in 1228 \ 

Baldwin, the younger brother of Robert, was not ten years 
old when the succession opened to him. The situation of the 
empire required an experienced sovereign, and the barons 
proceeded to elect John de Brienne, titular king of Jerusalem, 
who at the time was acting as commander-in-chief of the 
Papal army, emperor-regent for life 2 . The conditions on 
which the imperial throne was conferred on John de Brienne 

1 Ducange, Hist, de Con-tatitinopU, 86. 

2 John de Brienne married Mary, daughter of Isabella, queen of Jerusalem, and 
Conrad of Montferrat. His kingdom never extended far beyond the walls of 
Acre and Tyre; but in 12 19, at the head of a band of Crusaders, he took Damii.Ua, 
which he retained for two years. He quitted the Holy Land in 1223. 


A.D. I2l6-I26l.] 

afford an instructive illustration of the political views and 
necessities of the period. Brienne was a warrior of great 
renown, and his election was warmly promoted by Pope 
Gregory IX. He was already eighty years of age, but he 
had not retained the activity of mind and the vigour of body 
which rendered the octogenarian doge. Henry Dandolo, the 
hero of the fourth Crusade. By the terms of the convention 
between John de Brienne and the barons of Romania, Brienne 
was declared emperor, and invested with the imperial power 
during his life. He was bound to furnish Baldwin with an 
establishment suitable to his rank as heir-apparent to the 
empire, until he attained the age of twenty, when the young 
prince was to be invested with the government of the Asiatic 
provinces. Baldwin was to marry Mary the daughter of John 
de Brienne ; and the heirs of John de Brienne Avere to receive, 
as a hereditary fief on the accession of Baldwin, either the 
possessions of the imperial crown in Asia beyond Nicomedia, 
or those in Europe beyond Adrianople. This act was con- 
cluded in 1229 ; but the valour and experience of John de 
Brienne were inadequate to restore the shattered fabric of the 
Latin power 1 . The barons, knights, and soldiers seemed all 
to be rapidly dying out, and no vigorous and warlike youth 
arose to replace them. The enormous pay then required by 
knights and men-at-arms rendered it impossible for the de- 
clining revenues of the empire to purchase the services of any 
considerable number of mercenaries. The position of soldiers 
in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was, in one respect, 
like that of barristers in London at present. There were 
great prizes to be won, as Robert Guiscard and John de 
Brienne testify ; but, on the whole, the number of amateurs 
was so great, that the whole pay received by the class was 
insufficient to cover the annual expenditure of its members. 
John de Brienne died in 1237, after living to witness his 
empire confined to a narrow circuit round the walls of Con- 

Baldwin II. prolonged the existence of the empire by 
begging assistance from the Pope and the King of France ; and 
he collected the money necessary for maintaining his house- 
hold and enjoying his precarious position, by selling the holy 

1 The act is printed by Buchon, Recherches et Matiriaux, 21. 
I 2 


[Ch. IV. § 6. 

relics preserved by the Eastern Church. He was fortunate in 

finding a liberal purchaser in St. Louis *. The fear of the 

Mongols, who were then ravaging all Asia, and the rivalry 

of the Greek empire and the Bulgarian kingdom, also tended 

to prolong the existence of the empire of Romania after it 

had lost all power and energy. But at length, in the year 

1261, a division of the Greek army surprised Constantinople, 

expelled Baldwin, and put an end to the Latin power, without 

the change being an event of much importance beyond the 

walls of the city. The feudal nobility appeared to be extinct, 

and the Latin church suddenly to have melted away. The 

clergy, indeed, had consumed the wealth of their benefices 

quite as disgracefully as the nobles had wasted their fortunes ; 

for we learn from the correspondence of Pope Innocent III., 

that they at times alienated their revenues and retired to their 

native countries, carrying off even the communion plate and 

the relics from the churches -. There is nothing surprising in 

the pitiful end of a society so demoralized. 

SECT. VI. — Kingdom of Saloniki. 

Boniface, marquis of Montferrat, having held the office of 
commander-in-chief of the Crusaders before the establishment 
of the empire of Romania, affected to regard his kingdom as 
an independent monarchy. His plan for rendering it inde- 
pendent of the empire failed through the prompt energy of 
Baldwin I., and he was compelled to do homage to the 
imperial crown ; but when he obtained the command of the 
division of the Crusaders which marched to establish itself in 
Greece, he endeavoured to indemnify himself for his first 
failure, by inducing the barons, who received lands to the 
south of his own frontier in Thessaly, to accept investiture 

1 As it would have been an act of impiety to buy these relics, St. Lours re- 
deemed the crown of thorns which Baldwin had pawned, and received it as a gift. 
The king also furnished the young emperor with large sums of money to be 
wasted at the court of Constantinople, and received the following relics as a mark 
of Baldwin's satisfaction :— A piece of the true cross ; the linen cloth in which 
the body of Jesus was enveloped; the bonds, the sponge, and the cup of the 
crucifixion : a piece of the skull of St. John the Baptist ; and the rod of Moses ! ! ! 
An engraving of the skull, or of one of the skuils, of St. John the Baptis 
given by Ducange, Constantutopolis Christiana, 101. 

2 Hurter, Innocent III. ii. 214. 


A.D. 1204-1222.] 

from and do homage for their possessions to him 1 . The 
operations of Boniface against Greece were crowned with 
success. Leo Sguros, the Byzantine governor of Nauplia 
and Argos, after taking possession of Corinth, Athens, and 
Thebes, had led a Greek army northward to the Spercheius, 
for the purpose of defending Greece against the Franks. But 
the Greek troops were unable to make a stand even at the 
pass of Thermopylae, where they were disgracefully routed, 
and fled, with Leo, to shelter themselves within the walls of 
the Acrocorinth, abandoning all the country north of the 
isthmus to the army of the Crusaders. Boniface established 
all those who had been assigned shares of the conquered 
district in their fiefs, and marched into the Peloponnesus, 
where he laid siege to Corinth and Argos at the same time, 
with the reduced army under his command. At this con- 
juncture, he was suddenly recalled to the north by the news 
of a rebellion in Thessalonica. This he soon repressed ; but 
not very long after, as has already been mentioned, he was 
slain in a skirmish with the Bulgarians (a.d. 1207). His death 
was the commencement of a series of misfortunes, that soon 
ruined the kingdom of Saloniki, which he had been so eager 
to extend. 

This feudatory kingdom bore within itself the seeds of its 
own destruction. The Lombards, by whom it was founded, 
were not so much under the influence of feudal organization 
as the other Crusaders, nor so commercial and intelligent as 
the Venetians. Their social position had been modified by 
their intercourse with the republics and free cities of Italy. 
Money was, therefore, necessary to a larger amount than in 
the other conquests of the Crusaders, and yet the Lombards 
were as incapable of creating wealth for their government as 
any of the Franks. Though Saloniki was regarded rather 
in the light of a colonial dependency than as a feudal king- 
dom, still the Lombards thought only of profiting by the 
acquisition as military men paid to govern and garrison the 
fortresses and towns, and took no measures to occupy and 
cultivate the land. 

The personal friendship and family alliance of Boniface and 
Henry preserved peace until the king's death. But we have 

1 Nicetas, 410. 


[Ch. IV. § 6. 

seen that Count Blandrate, impelled either by his own ambi- 
tion or by the grasping spirit of the Lombards, adopted a 
policy that involved the kingdom in hostilities with the em- 
pire, which ended in the fortresses of the kingdom being 
forced to receive Belgian garrisons, and, consequently, in 
greatly diminishing the number of Lombard troops in the 
kingdom. Yet an Italian colony at Thessalonica, though 
surrounded by powerful enemies, might have maintained its 
ground more easily than the Belgians at Constantinople, had 
the government been able and prudent. The minority of 
Demetrius, to whom Boniface had left his crown, completed 
the ruin of the state. His mother, the queen-empress Mar- 
garet, acted as regent ; and, after the retreat of Count 
Blandrate. the military command of the fortresses was vested 
in officers named by the emperor Henry. Under such a 
partition of power, the resources of the country were natu- 
rally consumed in the most unprofitable manner, and the 
people became eager for any change, hoping that it could 
not fail to better their condition. While the emperor Henry 
lived he protected the kingdom effectually both against the 
king of Bulgaria and the despot of Epirus, its two most 
dangerous enemies. But after the defeat and death of Peter 
of Courtenay, it was left exposed to the attacks of Theodore, 
despot of Epirus, who invaded it with a powerful army. 

In the year 1222, while the young king Demetrius, then 
only seventeen years old, was still in Italy, completing his 
military education at the court of his brother, the marquis 
of Montferrat, the despot Theodore took Thessalonica, and 
subdued the whole kingdom. In order to efface all memory 
of the Lombard royalty by the creation of a new and higher 
title, he was crowned emperor at Thessalonica by the arch- 
bishop of Achrida, patriarch of Macedonian Bulgaria. 

William, marquis of Montferrat, had been invested with 
the guardianship of the kingdom of Saloniki by Peter of 
Courtenay, while that emperor was at Rome, and the marquis 
no sooner heard of the loss of his brother's dominions, than 
he undertook an expedition for their recovery. The conquest 
of Thessalonica by the Greeks had also excited lively indig- 
nation on the part of Pope Honorius III., who felt that the 
stability of the papal power throughout Greece was seriously 
compromised by this reaction in favour of the Greek church. 


A.D. X 2O4-I 2 2 2.] 

His holiness, therefore, willingly assisted the marquis of Mont- 
ferrat with funds, to enable him to enrol a large body of 
troops. The Pope even authorized a crusade against the 
Greeks to re-establish Demetrius as Catholic king of Saloniki. 
Great delays occurred before the marquis William was able 
to assemble an army; but at length, in the year 1225, he 
quitted Italy, accompanied by his brother Demetrius, at the 
head of a well-organized force. Their expedition sailed from 
Brindisi, and the army, landing at the ports of Epirus. marched 
over the mountains into the plain of Thessaly, without sus- 
taining any loss — so admirably had the young marquis com- 
bined the movement of his squadrons, and taken measures 
for securing them abundant supplies of provisions on the 
road. But just as the army was commencing its operations 
in the extensive plains, which offered ground best suited to 
the movements of the heavy cavalry of which it was composed, 
the marquis William was attacked by the autumnal fever of 
the country, and died in the course of a few days. The 
young Demetrius, finding himself unable to manage the vassals 
of his brother's marquisate and the fierce mercenaries who 
formed the most efficient portion of the army, was obliged 
to abandon this attempt to recover his kingdom, and retire, to 
Italy. He died two years after, while engaged in endeavours 
to form a new expedition, A.D. 1227. 

The death of Demetrius allowed several European princes 
to assume the empty title of king of Saloniki, though none 
ever regained possession of any portion of the kingdom they 
pretended to claim. The family of Montferrat naturally 
considered the crown as descending to the male heirs of 
the last king, though Demetrius had appointed the emperor 
Frederic II. his heir by testament. The emperor Frederic 
II., however, formally renounced all his right to the succession 
(a.D. 1239) in favour of Boniface III., marquis of Montferrat, 
who had already assumed the title of king of Saloniki. 
William dalle Carceri, baron of Negrepont, who married a 
niece of Demetrius, appears to have assumed the title after 
the death of marquis Boniface III. ; but it was also assumed 
at the same time by William V., marquis of Montferrat, called 
the Great or Long-sword, who ceded it, with all his claims 
to the territory of Thessalonica, as the dowry of his daughter 
Irene on her marriage with the Greek emperor, Andronicus II., 


in the year 1284 1 . Thus the title of the descendants of the 
founder of the kingdom became united with the sovereignty 
of the Byzantine empire. 

After Baldwin II. was driven from Constantinople, he 
affected to consider the fief of the kingdom of Saloniki as 
having been reunited to the empire on the death of Demetrius; 
and in order to purchase the aid of the house of Burgundy 
for recovering his throne, he ceded the title of King of 
Saloniki, as a fief of his imaginary empire, to Hugh IV., 
duke of Burgundy, in the year 1266. Hugh transmitted 
the empty title, for which he never rendered any service, 
to his brother Robert, from whom it passed to his nephew 
Hugh V. Hugh V., duke of Burgundy, became party to 
a series of diplomatic arrangements connected with the 
lost empire of Romania and the valuable principality of 
Achaia, that took place at Paris in 1312 ; and he then ceded 
his title to the imaginary kingdom to his younger brother 
Louis, who became Prince of Achaia by his marriage with 
Maud of Hainault, the possessor of that principality 2 . On 
the death of Louis, the title returned to Eudes IV., duke 
of Burgundy, his surviving brother, who sold all his claims 
to the imaginary possessions of his family in the East, to 
Philip of Tarentum, the titular emperor of Romania, in the 
year 1320. After this we find no further mention of a 
kingdom of Saloniki 3 . 

1 William V. married Isabella, daughter of Richard earl of Cornwall, brother 
of our Henry III., on the 28th March 1257; but Irene was the child of his 
second wife, Beatrice of Castille. 

2 These arrangements were embodied in a series of treaties and marriage 
contracts involving the following marriages : 1 . Jane, sister of Hugh V., Duke 
of Burgundy, to Philip son of Charles of Valois, third son of Philip III. of France 
(le Hardi). Philip succeeded to the throne of France in 1328, as Philip Y. (of 
Valois). 2. Catherine of Valois, daughter of Catherine of Courtenay, titular 
empress of Romania, who had been betrothed to Hugh V. of Burgundy, was 
married to Philip of Tarentum. 3. Maud of Hainault, princess of Achaia, was 
married to Louis, brother of Hugh V. Ducange, Histoire de Constantinople, Recueil 
des Charles; Duchesne, Histoire generate des Dues de Bourgogne, preuves, 115; 
Buchon, Recherches et Materiaux, 54, 238. 

3 Ducange, Histoire de Constantinople, 246; Buchon, Recherches et Materiaux, 
''„'. 69. 


Despotat of Epirus— Empire of Thessalonica. 

Sect. I. — Establishment of an independent Greek principality 

in Epirus. 

That portion of the Byzantine empire situated to the 
west of the range of Pindus was saved from feudal domi- 
nation by Michael, a natural son of Constantine Angelos, 
the uncle of the Emperors Isaac II. and Alexius III. After 
the conquest of Constantinople, he escaped into Epirus, where 
his marriage with a lady of the country gave him some 
influence ; and assuming the direction of the administration 
of the whole country from Dyrrachium to Naupactus, he 
collected a considerable military force, and established the 
seat of his authority generally at Ioannina or Arta 1 . The 
civil government of his principality was a continuation of 
the Byzantine forms ; and there was no interruption in the 
territory over which he ruled of the ordinary dispensation 
of justice by the existing tribunals, nor of the regular pay- 
ment of the usual taxes. The despotat of Epirus was merely 
a change in the name of the government, not a revolution 
in the condition of the people. But the political necessity 
in which Michael was placed, of preserving his power by the 
maintenance of a large and permanent military force, gave 
his administration a barbarous and rude character, more in 
accordance with the nature of his army, and of the moun- 
taineers he ruled, than with the constitution of his civil 
government. The absence of all feudal organization, and the 
employment of a large body of native militia, mingled with 

1 Villehardouin, 1 14; Chronicon Alberli monachi Trium Fontium, in the collec- 
tion of German historians by Leibnitz, torn. ii. 441 ; Acropolita, 8, 



hired mercenaries, gave the despotat of Epirus a Byzantine 
type, and kept it perfectly distinct from the Frank princi- 
palities by which it was almost entirely surrounded. 

The population of the territory of which Michael assumed 
the sovereignty, consisted of .different races in various grades 
of civilization. The Greeks were generally confined to the 
towns, and were in a flourishing condition ; many were wealthy 
merchants and prosperous traders, as well as large proprietors 
of land, particularly in the vicinity of Ioannina and Arta. 
The Yallachian population inhabited the country called Great 
Ylachia, which still acknowledged the authority of its own 
princes ; but as it was pressed back on the great range of 
mountains to the south and west of the Thessalian plains, 
it readily united its force under the authority of a Byzantine 
leader like Michael, from whose ambition it had evidently 
less to fear than from the intrusion of the rapacious Franks l . 
The Albanians, broken into tribes and engaged in local 
quarrels or predatory warfare with their wealthier neighbours, 
readily acknowledged the supremacy of a chief who offered 
liberal pay to all the native warriors who joined his standard. 
The despots of Epirus long ruled their dominions by em- 
ploying the various resources of the different classes of their 
subjects for the general good, and restraining their hostile 
jealousies more mildly, yet more effectually, than it would 
have been in the power of any one of the classes, if rendered 
dominant, to have done. The wealth of the Greeks furnished 
a considerable pecuniary revenue, which enabled the despots 
to maintain a respectable army of mercenaries ; and round 
this force they could assemble the Albanian mountaineers 
without fear of seditious conduct on the part of that dangerous 
militia. The government thus acquired the power, rarely 
possessed by the masters of this wild country, of arresting 
the predatory habits of the native mountain tribes. The fear 
of the Franks rendered the Vallachians obedient subjects 
whenever a force was required to resist foreign invasion. 
The mountain brigands, who had wasted the country under 
the later Byzantine emperors, were now paid to fight the 
common enemies ; and military courage, instead of being 
denied official employment by rapacious courtiers from Con- 

1 Nic tas (410) mentions the independence of the Toparch of Great Vlachir. at 
this period. 


A.D. 1 2O4-1 2 14.] 

stantinople, became a means of securing wealth and honour. 
The public taxes, no longer transmitted to a distant land 
to be lavished in idle pomp, were expended in the country, 
and the exigencies of the times insured their being employed 
in such a way as to produce a greater degree of order, and 
a more effectual protection for property, than the distant 
government at Constantinople had been able to afford. These 
circumstances explain how it happened that Michael suc- 
ceeded in checking the progress of the warlike Franks, and 
in creating an independent principality with the discordant 
elements of the population of Epirus. It must not, moreover, 
be overlooked, that the geographical configuration of the 
country, and the rugged nature of the great mountain barriers 
by which it is intersected in numerous successive ridges, 
protected Michael from immediate attack, and allowed him 
time to complete his preparations for defence, and unite his 
subjects by a feeling of common interest, before the Crusaders 
were prepared to encounter him. 

History has unfortunately preserved very little information 
concerning the organization and social condition of the dif- 
ferent classes and races which inhabited the dominions of the 
princes of Epirus. Almost the only facts that have been 
preserved, relate to the wars and alliances of the despots 
and their families with the Byzantine emperors and the Latin 
princes. These facts must be noticed as they occur. In this 
place it is only necessary to give a short chronological sketch 
of the princes who ruled Epirus. They all assumed the name 
of Angelos Komnenos Dukas ; and the title of despot, by 
which they are generally distinguished, was a Byzantine 
honorary distinction, never borne by the earlier members of 
the family until it had been conferred on them by the Greek 

Michael I., the founder of the despotat, distinguished him- 
self by his talents as a soldier and a negotiator. He extended 
his authority over all Epirus, Acarnania, and Aetolia, and 
a part of Macedonia and Thessaly. Though virtually inde- 
pendent, he acknowledged Theodore I. (Lascaris) as the lawful 
emperor of the East. Michael was assassinated by one of his 
slaves in the year 1214 1 . 

1 Acropolita, p. 13. 


[Ch.V. §j. 

SECT. II. — Empire of Thcssalonica. 

Theodore Angelos Komnenos Dukas, the legitimate brother 
of Michael I., escaped from Constantinople to Nicaea, and 
resided at the court of Theodore I. (Lascaris), where he 
received an invitation from his brother to visit Epirus, in 
order to assist in directing the administration. The emperor 
Theodore I., distrusting the restless and intriguing spirit of 
his namesake, would not allow him to depart until he had 
sworn fidelity to the throne of Nicaea, and to himself as the 
lawful emperor of the East. After the murder of Michael, 
Theodore was proclaimed his successor, and soon displayed 
the greatest ability and activity in his government, joined to 
an utter want of principle in the measures he adopted for 
extending his dominions. The suspicions of the emperor 
Theodore I. were fully warranted by his conduct, for he made 
no distinction between Greek and Frank whenever he con- 
ceived that his interest could be advanced by attacking or 
assisting either the one or the other. 

In the year 12 17, as we have already seen, he defeated and 
captured the Latin emperor, Peter of Courtenay, in the defiles 
near Albanon. After completing the conquest of Thessaly 
and Macedonia, and driving the Lombards out of Thessa- 
lonica, he assumed the title of emperor in direct violation of 
his oath to Theodore I., and was crowned in the city of 
Thessalonica, which he made his capital, by the archbishop 
of Achrida, patriarch of Bulgaria. Theodore Angelos then 
pushed his conquests northward with increased vigour, and in 
the year 1224, having gained possession of Adiianople, his 
dominions extended from the shores of the Adriatic to those 
of the Black Sea. The empire of Thessalonica then promised 
to become the heir of the Byzantine empire in Europe. 
Theodore was already forming his plans for the attack of 
Constantinople, when his restless ambition involved him in 
an unnecessary war with John Asan, king of Bulgaria, by 
whom he was defeated and taken prisoner in 1230. His 
treacherous intrigues while in captivity alarmed the Bulgarian 
monarch, who ordered his eyes to be put out. 

Theodore had two brothers, Manuel and Constantine, both 
holding high commands in his empire. Manuel was present 


A.D. 1 2 I4-I234.] 

at his defeat, but escaped from the field of battle to Thessa- 
lonica, where he assumed the direction of the government and 
the imperial title \ His reign as emperor was short, for John 
Asan, the king of Bulgaria, falling in love with the daughter 
of his blind prisoner, married her and released his father-in- 
law. Theodore returned to Thessalonica, where he kept 
himself concealed for some time ; but his talents for intrigue 
enabled him to form a powerful party of secret partizans, and 
before his brother Manuel was aware of his designs, his friends 
took up arms and drove the usurper into exile. But as it 
was impossible for Theodore, on account of his blindness, to 
reascend the throne, the imperial crown was placed on the 
head of his son John. The father nevertheless continued to 
direct the administration, with the title of Despot. In the 
mean time Manuel, who had escaped to Asia, obtained mili- 
tary aid from the emperor John III. (Vatatzes), and landing 
at Demetrias (Volo), made himself master of Pharsala, Larissa, 
and Platamona. Constantine, his younger brother, who 
governed a part of Thessaly, joined the invaders, and the 
country was threatened with a destructive civil war. But the 
spirit of the politic Theodore averted this catastrophe. He 
succeeded in inducing his two brothers to hold a conference, 
in which, acting as prime-minister of his son's empire, he em- 
ployed so many powerful arguments in favour of family union, 
and agreed to such liberal concessions, that Manuel and Con- 
stantine joined in a family compact for supporting the empire 
of Thessalonica, and abandoned the cause of the emperor 
John III. of Nicaea. The three brothers then concluded an 
alliance with the Franks in Greece, for their mutual defence 
against the emperor of Nicaea. 

John, the young emperor of Thessalonica, was a virtuous 
prince, by no means destitute of talent, though he submitted 
with reverence to his father, who governed his empire. But 
neither his own virtues nor his father's talents were able to 
save Thessalonica from the attacks of the emperor of Nicaea, 
who was determined that no Greek should share the honours 
of the imperial title. The facility with which the rich plains 

1 Acropolita, p. 23. Interesting coins of both Theodore and Manuel exist, 
representing these emperors and St. Demetrius holding between them the city of 
Thessalonica, above which are the words PO Al C ©6CCAAONIKH- They 
are concave and of copper. For those of Theodore see Mionnet, Descript. de 
Midailles Gr. et Rom.; Suppl. tome iii. p. 172. 


[Ch.V.§ 3 . 

of Macedonia were transferred from one sovereign to another, 
whether he was a Lombard king or a Belgian or a Greek 
emperor, must in part be attributed to the want of union 
among the agricultural population. In great part of Mace- 
donia the Sclavonians were more numerous than the Greeks, 
and in great part of Thessaly the Vallachians formed the 
whole population. The war between the Greek emperors of 
Nicaea and Thessalonica was a war of conquest carried on by 
mercenary soldiers, in which the people had nothing to gain. 
The emperor of Nicaea was victorious ; he took Thessalonica, 
and compelled John to lay aside the imperial title, but allowed 
him to retain the direction of the government on his accepting 
the rank of despot and publicly proclaiming the emperor of 
Nicaea as the lawful emperor of the East both in Europe and 
Asia \ The short-lived empire of Thessalonica ceased to 
exist in the year 1234. 

SECT. III. — Despotat of Epirus. — Principality of Vallachian 
Thessaly. — Family of Tocco. 

John continued to govern Thessalonica as despot until his 
death in 1244. He was succeeded by his brother Demetrius, 
a weak prince, whose authority never extended far beyond the 
walls of the city. By his misconduct he drove his politic 
father from his councils, and involved himself in disputes with 
the Greek emperor, John III., who removed him from the 
government, and united Thessalonica directly to the Greek 
empire in 1246. 

In the mean time Michael II., a natural son of Michael I., 
had acquired great influence in Epirus, where he gradually 
gained possession of the power and dominions occupied by 
his father. The fall of Thessalonica, and the weakness of his 
uncles in their Thcssalian principalities, enabled him to gain 
possession of Pelagonia, Achrida, and Prilapos, while the blind 
old Theodore maintained himself as an independent prince in 
Vodcna, Ostrovos, and Staridola 2 . The emperor John III., 

1 The official title of the emperors of Nicaea, as of Constantinople, was always 
' the true emperor of the Romans.' 

9 Acropolita, 46. There is no doubt that Staridola is the present Sarigbil li. 
Leake's Travels in Northern Greece, i. 311 ; Cantacuzenos, p. 776. 


A.D.I 234-I318.] 

in order to secure the friendship of Michael II., and induce 
him to acknowledge the supremacy of the throne of Nicaea, 
conferred on him the title of despot, and proposed Maria, the 
daughter of his son, the emperor Theodore II., as bride for 
Michael's son Nicephorus. The restless and intriguing old 
Theodore succeeded, however, in involving Michael II. in war 
with the emperor. Michael was unsuccessful, and his reverses 
compelled him to purchase peace by delivering up his blind 
uncle Theodore as a prisoner, and by ceding Kastoria, Achrida, 
Deabolis, Albanon, and Prilapos to the Greek empire. The 
wars of Michael II., and his treaties with the Greek emperors 
John III., Theodore II., and Michael VIII., belong to the 
history of the empires of Nicaea and Constantinople rather 
than to the history of Epirus. The loss of the battle of 
Pelagonia compelled Michael to abandon his dominions for 
some time; but the inhabitants of Epirus appear to have 
found the Constantinopolitan administration more oppressive 
than that of Michael, whom they regarded as their native 
prince, and he was enabled to recover possession of the 
southern part of his despotat. He died about the year 1267. 

His son, Nicephorus, received the title of despot when he 
celebrated his marriage with Maria the daughter of the 
emperor Theodore II. 1 He succeeded his father in the 
sovereignty of Epirus, and extended his authority over Acar- 
nania and part of Aetolia. About the year 1290 he was 
attacked by a Byzantine army, sent by the emperor Androni- 
cus II. to attempt the conquest of Joannina, while a Genoese 
fleet assailed Arta. Both expeditions were repulsed with loss 
by the despot, who received important succours from Florenz 
of Hainault prince of Achaia, and Richard count of Cepha- 
lonia, whom he had subsidized 2 . Nicephorus died in the year 
1293, leaving a son named Thomas, who succeeded to his 
continental possessions. He left also two daughters, one 
married to John, count of Cephalonia ; the other, named 
Ithamar, was the first wife of Philip of Tarentum 3 . 

Thomas, the last Greek despot of Epirus of the family of 

1 Nicephorus, on the death of Maria Lascaris, married Anna, niece of the 
emperor Michael VIII., daughter of that emperor's sister Eulogia. Pachymeres, 
i. 162. 

3 Livre de la Conqueste, p. 302. 

* The marriage of Philip of Tarentum, son of Charles II. of Naples, with 
Ithamar, was celebrated 12th July 1294. 


[Ch.V.§ 3 . 

Angelos, was murdered by his nephew, the count of Cepha- 

lonia, in 1318, and his dominions were then divided, the 

greater part falling to the share of the murderer. Thomas, 

count of Cephalonia, was himself murdered by his own brother 

John ; and John was again murdered by his wife Anne, the 

daughter of Andronicus Palaeologos, Protovestiarios of the 

Byzantine empire, who was the guardian of her son, Nice- 

phorus II., a child of seven years of age at the time the 

emperor Andronicus III. invaded the despotat in the year 

1 337- ^ ie possessions of the young Nicephorus were then 

conquered, and he himself subsequently received an appanage 

in Thrace, and married a daughter of John Cantacuzenos, the 

usurper of the throne of Constantinople. Nicephorus was 

slain in a battle with the Albanians, on the banks of the 

Achelous, as he was attempting to recover possession of the 

despotat in the year 1358 1 . As early, however, as the year 

1350, the civil wars in the Byzantine empire, produced by the 

unprincipled ambition of Cantacuzenos, had enabled Stephen 

Dushan, king of Servia, to conquer all Epirus and the greater 

part of Thessaly 2 . 

A principality distinct from that of Epirus was founded 

by John Dukas, the natural son of the despot Michael II., 

who married the heiress of Taron, hereditary chieftain of 

the Vallachians of Thessaly 3 . He received the title of 

Sebastokrator from the emperor Michael VIII., as a reward 

for deserting his father before the battle of Pelagonia, in 

1 1*59. He acted an important part in the history of his 

time, and displayed all the restless activity and daring spirit 

of his family, occupying an independent possession in 

Thessaly at the head of his Vallachians, and carrying on 

war or forming alliances with the emperor of Constantinople, 

the despot of Epirus, and the Frank princes of Greece, 

according to the dictates of his own personal interest. He 

was generally called by the Franks duke of Neopatras, 

1 Cantacuzenos (304) makes Nicephorus only seven years old at the time of the 
invasion of Epirus; but Nicephorus Gregoras (335) says he was fourteen in 
1 339-134°. which must be an error, as Cantacuzenos certaiuly knew the real age 
of his son-in-law; see Cant. 453. 

1 MS. on the state of Epirus. published by Pouqueville, of which an abstract 
is given in Leak in Northern Greece, iv. 553. The original is reprinted 

in the Bonn edition of the Byzantine Historians ; Historia Poliiica et Patriarchka 
Cow/aritinopoleos; Epirotica, p. 210. 

3 l'achymerts, i. 49, edit. Rom. 


A.D. I 259-I 308.] 

(Hypata), from his having made that town his capital ; but 
his principality was usually called Great Vlachia. He died 
about the year 1290 1 , leaving two sons. 

The second prince of Vlachia, the son of John, reigned 
about ten years. His sister was married to William de la 
Roche, duke of Athens. The third prince was John Dukas 
II., who was left by his father under the guardianship of 
Guy II., duke of Athens, his cousin. The possessions of 
the young prince were attacked by the troops of Epirus, but 
the duke of Athens hastened to the assistance of his ward, 
and quickly carried the war into the territory of the despotat, 
forcing the government to conclude an advantageous peace 2 . 
John Dukas II. married Irene, a daughter of the emperor 
Andronicus II., in the year 1305, and died three years after, 
without leaving issue 3 . The line of the princes of Vallachian 
Thessaly then became extinct, and their territories were 
divided among the frontier states. The Catalans conquered 
the valley of the Spercheius, with the city of Neopatras ; 
and they were so proud of this exploit that they styled 
their Grecian dominions the duchy of Athens and Neopatras. 
But the greater part of the rich plain of Thessaly was annexed 
to the Byzantine empire, and was governed by officers sent 
from Constantinople, who were often honoured with the title 
of despot 4 . Cantacuzenos conferred the government of 
Thessalian Vlachia, in the year 1343, on John Angelos for 
life, by a golden bull 5 . 

The history of Epirus after its conquest by Stephen 
Dushan, king of Servia, in 1350, becomes mixed up with 
the wars of the Servians, Albanians, Franks, and Greeks in 
the neighbouring provinces, until the whole country fell 
under the domination of the Turks. Stephen committed 
the government of Epirus, Thessaly, Acarnania, and Aetolia 
to his brother Simeon, who was involved in constant wars 
to defend those conquests against the Albanians, the Franks, 
and the Greeks. In the year 1367 he recognized Thomas 
Prelubos as prince of Joannina and Arta. Prelubos was 
assassinated, on account of his horrid cruelties, in 1385 ; and 

1 Pachymeres, ii. 137, edit. Rom.; Niceph. Greg. 65; Ducange, Histoire de 
Constantinople, 214. 

2 Livre de la Conqueste. 405. 3 Niceph. Greg. 153, 173. 
4 Cantacuzenos (288) mentions Stephen Gabrielopulos in 1334. 

6 Cant. 526. 



° [Ch.v.§|. 

his widow, who was the sister of Simeon, married Esau 
Buondelmonte, a Florentine connected with the family of 
Acciaiuoli. Esau was engaged in incessant wars with the 
Albanians, by whom he was taken prisoner in .the year 1399, 
and compelled to pay a large ransom \ 

In the mean time, Leonard Tocco of Beneventum had 
been invested with the county-palatine of Cephalonia by 
Robert of Tarentum, the titular emperor of Romania, when 
that county had reverted to the imperial crown by the death 
of the despot Nicephorus II., in 1357. Leonard Tocco also 
received the title of duke of Leucadia, to give additional 
dignity to his fief 2 . Charles Tocco, who was apparently 
his grandson, invaded Epirus about the year 1390, and by 
gradual encroachments rendered himself master of the whole 
country south of Joannina, including Acarnania and part 
of Aetolia, after which he assumed the title of despot of 
Romania. His second wife was Francesca, daughter of Nerio 
I. Acciaiuoli, duke of Athens ; and his niece Theodora was 
the wife of Constantine, the last emperor of Constantinople, 
to whom Clarentza. and all the possessions of the counts 
of Cephalonia in the Morea, were ceded as her dowry. 
Theodora died before Constantine ascended the throne of 
Constantinople. Charles II. died in 1429 3 . He was suc- 
ceeded by his nephew, Charles III., from whom the Turks 
took Joannina and Aetolia in 143 1. Charles III., in order 
to obtain the protection of the republic of Venice for the 
towns he still retained in Epirus and Acarnania. became a 
citizen of the republic in the year 1433, duiing the reign 
of the doge Francis Foscari \ It would seem, from the 
letters of Cyriakos of Ancona, that he assumed the title of 
king of Epirus, in addition to his previous titles of duke 

1 Chalcocondylas, 112. The names of Albanian chieftains in the wars against 
the despots, Thomas Prelubos and Esau Buondelmonte, are. Ghinos Vaia, who 
held Angeloka^ln >n, Petro I.eosa, and afterwards John Spata, who held Aria 
and Kogous, and Ghino Frati of Malakassi. Epirotica, pp. 21 e 322, &c, edit. 

2 Remondini, Be Zacinthi Antiqvitatibus et Fortuna, Venet. 1756, p. 243. 

3 Phrantzes, 120,, 154. edit. Bonn. The name of Karlili, or the country of 
Charles, was applied by the Turks to Acarnania and a portion of Aetolia, as long 
as they retained possession of the country. 

4 The act of the doge, Francis Foscari, authorizing the insertion of the name 
of Charles Tocco, despot of Arta. duke of Leucadia. and count palatine of Cepha- 
topia, in tl, of the republic, is published by Buchon j Aouvelles Recherches; 
Diploma, p. 


A.D. I357-I479.] 

of Leucadia and despot of Romania \ He was succeeded by 
his son, Leonard II., in 1452, who was driven from Leucadia 
and Cephalonia by the Turks in 1479. 

Historians have related those facts concerning the wars, 
marriages, murders, and successions of the rulers of Epirus 
and Great Vallachia, which they considered interesting to 
their contemporaries. But it would have been more instruc- 
tive to modern readers had they recorded an equal number 
of events relating to the condition of the Albanian and 
Vallachian population. For about this time the Vallachian 
population appears to have declined, while the Albanian race 
was beginning to increase and send out agricultural colonies to 
repeople the Peloponnesus. 

1 Cyriaci Anconitani Epistolae, p. 71. 

K 2 


History of the Dukes of Athens— 1205-1456. 

SECT. I. — Athens a Feudal Principality. 

The portion of Greece lying to the south of the kingdom 
of Saloniki was divided by the Crusaders among several 
great feudatories of the empire of Romania. According to 
the feudal code of the time, each of these great barons 
possessed the right of constructing fortresses, coining money, 
establishing supreme courts of justice, and waging war with 
his neighbours ; consequently, their number could not be 
great in so small an extent of country. The lords of Bou- 
donitza, Salona, Negrepont, and Athens are alone mentioned 
as existing to the north of the isthmus of Corinth, but the 
history of the sovereigns of Athens can alone be traced in 
any detail. The slightest record of a city which has acted 
so important a part in the history of human civilization must 
command some attention ; and fortunately her feudal annals, 
though very imperfect, furnish matter for study and instruc- 
tion. Athens and Thebes — for the fate of these ancient 
enemies was linked together — were then cities of considerable 
wealth, with a numerous and flourishing population. 

Otho de la Roche, a Burgundian nobleman, who had 
distinguished himself during the siege of Constantinople, 
marched southward with the army of Boniface the king- 
marquis, and gained possession of Athens in 1205, and re- 
ceived the title of Grand-Sire 1 . Thebes and Athens had 
probably fallen to his share in the partition of the empire, 
but it is possible that the king of Saloniki may have found 

■ y de Yillehardouin, Be la Conqueste de Constantinople; Note of Ducange 
at p 325 of his edition. 


means to increase his portion, in order to induce him to do 
homage to the crown of Saloniki for this addition. At all 
events, it appears that Otho de la Roche did homage to 
Boniface as his immediate superior \ 

We possess some interesting information concerning the 
events that occurred at Athens immediately previous to 
its conquest by Otho de la Roche, though unfortunately this 
information does not give us any minute insight into the 
condition of the population. Still, it allows us to perceive 
that the social as well as the political condition of the people 
was peculiarly favourable to the enterprise of the Crusaders. 
The people of Athens and Thebes were living in the enjoy- 
ment of wealth and tranquillity when the news reached them 
that Constantinople was besieged by the Franks and Vene- 
tians. The greatest grievance then endured in the cities 
where no regular garrisons were maintained arose out of fiscal 
extortion and judicial corruption, both of which certainly 
increased to an alarming degree under the emperors of the 
house of Angelos. But these abuses were palliated, and 
prevented from assuming a highly oppressive form, whenever 
the bishop of the place exerted his influence to restrain in- 
justice within the strict bounds of the established laws. The 
direct judicial authority of the bishops, and their acknow- 
ledged political influence as protectors of the people, gave 
them virtually a superintending control over the agents of 
the central administration in the distant provinces of the 
empire. The authority of the central administration had 
been greatly weakened by the usurpation and misgovernment 
of Alexius III., and the power of the local governors and 
great landed proprietors had been proportionally increased 2 . 

1 This title, Mtyas Kvpios, was derived by some from the title of Meyas Vlpiniii- 
icfipios, which Constantine the Great was said to have conferred on the governor 
of Thebes. The general belief, both of the Byzantines and Latins, was that either 
this title or that of duke had been the ancient title of the governors of Athens. 
Compare Kiceph. Greg. p. 146, and Livre de la Cowpieste, Greek text of Copen- 
hagen, v. 2132. 

' Tafel {De Tkessalonica ej usque Agro, 462) has published a memorial of the 
archbishop Michael Akominatos to the emperor Alexius III., which gives a 
curious picture of the abuses then prevailing in the Byzantine fiscal administra- 
tion. It represents Athens as a city thinly inhabited, with a declining population, 
impoverished and in danger of being reduced by the emigration of its inhabitants 
to a Scythian waste. The good Archbishop here alludes to Aristophanes. Ackam. 
703. It is always difficult to appreciate the precise value of such declamation. 
Modern official correspondence concerning Athens shows us that any condition 
of public affairs can be represented by diplomatic agents, even when they are 


° [Ch.VI. §i. 

The support of many wealthy and influential individuals had 
been purchased by Alexius at a ruinous price. Some had 
been intrusted with civil and military commands ; and 
others, particularly in Greece, had been allowed to assume 
the authority of imperial officers without any legal warrant \ 

Leo Sguros, a Peloponnesian noble, who held the office of 
imperial governor of Nauplia, took advantage of the general 
disorder, and assumed the administration over the cities and 
fortresses of Argos and Corinth. As soon as he heard of the 
arrival of the Crusaders before Constantinople, he collected 
a considerable army and fleet, and extended his authority 
beyond the isthmus, apparently with the intention of forming 
an independent principality in Greece. His first expedition 
was directed against Athens, of which he hoped to render 
himself master without difficulty, as it was defended by no 
regular garrison. The Athenians,, however, were not disposed 
to submit tamely to the usurpation of the Peloponnesian 
chief. They perhaps flattered themselves with the hope that, 
in existing circumstances, they might recover some municipal 

poorer rhetoricians than Michael, under totally different aspects, merely because 

a minister has been changed. Now as the Archbishop informs us that Athens 

possessed ships, suffered in its commercial affairs from pirates, paid a ship tax, 

and was considered by the imperial officials as a place from which more money 

could be extorted than from the fertile regions of Thebes and Euboea, we must 

conclude that the city possessed considerable wealth, trade, and population. This 

memorial is printed with a German translation in Dr. Ellissen's Michael Ahomi- 

natos von Chonae, Erzbischof von Athen, p. 118. That Athens had declined greatly 

from its nourishing condition in the time of Basil II. is, however, evident from 

the Panegyricon or Oratio in Isaacium II., for the city was then unable to make 

the customary coronation offering. Tafel, TTiessalonica, 459: Ellissen, Michael 

Akomiiiaios, 58. [Professor Hopf {Geschichte Griechenlands, in Brockhaus' Griechen- 

land, vol. vi. pp. 176, 177) has brought together evidence to show that Athens 

was a considerable literary centre at this period. Among other students who 

resorted thither were several Englishmen, who, as Hopf suggests, may have been 

attracted to those parts by relationship to members of the Varangian guard. One 

of these, Master John of Basingstoke, afterwards Archdeacon of Leicester, who 

died in 1252, is mentioned by Matthew Paris (Hisloria Major, edit. Wats, 1684, 

pp. 710, 721) as having been instructed by a daughter of the Archbishop of 

Athens; and this Archbishop is believed by Hopf to be Michael Akominatos, 

who in this ca>c must have been married before he was consecrated bishop. The 

passage in Matthew Paris is as follows: — ' Quaedam puella, filia Archiepiscopi 

Atheniensis, nomine Constantina, nondum vicesimum agens annum, virtutibus 

praedita, omnem trivii et quadrivii noverat difficultatem : unde alteram Catherinam, 

vel Catherinam consuevit dictus magister Johannes jocose, propter suae scientiae 

einincnliam, appellare. Ilaec magistra fuit magistri Johannis, et quicquid boni 

scivit in scienlia. ut saepe asseruit, licet Parisiis diu studuisset et legisset, ah ea 

mendicaverat. Ilaec puella pestilentias, tonitrua, eclipsin, et quod mirabiliufl 

fuit, terrae motum praedicens, omnes suos auditores infallibiliter praemunivit' 


1 Leo Chamaretos, ruler of Lacedaemon, appears to have belonged to this 


A.D. 1 205-1 308.] 

privileges ; and they were fortunate enough to find a prudent, 
disinterested, and energetic chief in their archbishop, Michael 
Akominatos, the elder brother of the historian Nicetas. 
When Sguros made his appearance in the plain of Athens, 
descending from the monastery of Daphne by the remains of 
the Sacred Way to Eleusis, the archbishop went out to dis- 
suade him from an attempt which would infallibly lead to a 
civil war, at a moment when Greece was menaced with a hostile 
invasion. Sguros treated the solicitations of the archbishop 
with contempt, and, persisting in his design, forced his way into 
the city, which was not fortified in such a way as to enable it 
to offer any opposition. But the archbishop animated his flock 
to defend their independence. The inhabitants, on the first 
report that Sguros meditated attacking them, had transported 
all their most valuable effects into the Acropolis, where they 
soon showed their enemy that they were both able and willing 
to make a long defence. Sguros, seeing there was no imme- 
diate prospect of taking the citadel, raised the siege and 
marched northward. On retiring, he barbarously set fire to 
the city in several places, plundered the surrounding country, 
and. after collecting a large supply of cattle and provisions, 
proceeded to invest Thebes, which surrendered without offer- 
ing any resistance. All eastern Greece, as far as the frontier 
of Thessaly, then submitted to his authority ; and he pre- 
pared to meet the Crusaders at Thermopylae. His inex- 
perienced soldiers were, however, ill qualified to encounter 
the veteran warriors under the banners of Boniface. The 
memory of Leonidas was insufficient to inspire the Greeks 
with courage, and their army suffered a disgraceful defeat. 
Leo Sguros fled to Corinth, where he shut himself up in the 
Acrocorinth with the relics of his force. 

Thebes, Chalcis, and Athens opened their gates, and re- 
ceived the Franks as their deliverers from the tyranny of 
Sguros and the Peloponnesians. There appears to be ,10 
doubt that the Greeks generally obtained very favourable 
capitulations from their conquerors : the inhabitants were 
secured in the possession of their private property, local 
institutions, established laws, and national religion. Under 
the protection of the Franks, therefore, they hoped to enjoy 
a degree of personal security to which the anarchical condi- 
tion of the Byzantine empire, since the death of Manuel I. in 


[Ch. VI. § i. 

1 1 80, had rendered them strangers 1 . The Athenians were 
not disappointed in their expectations ; for, though the 
Byzantine aristocracy and dignified clergy were severe suf- 
ferers by the transference of the government into the hands 
of the Franks, the middle classes long enjoyed peace and 
security. The noble archbishop Michael, who for thirty years 
had ruled the see of Athens as a spiritual father and political 
protector, was compelled to seek refuge at Keos, where he 
spent his declining years lamenting the forced apostacy of 
many of his flock, and the desecration of the glorious temple 
of the Panaghia in the Acropolis, by the rude priests of the 
haughty Franks, who compelled the subject Greeks to cele- 
brate divine service according to the rites of the orthodox in 
the humbler churches of the city below -. 

The conquest of Athens rendered Otho de la Roche master 
of all Attica and Boeotia ; but immediately after the death of 
Boniface, the Lombards of the kingdom of Saloniki, under 
the orders of count Blandrate, deprived him of Thebes. This 
city was again restored to its rightful master by the emperor 
Henry, when the Lombard kingdom of Saloniki was reduced 
to its lawful state of vassalage to the imperial crown of 
Romania ; and Otho de la Roche did homage at the par- 
liament of Ravenika, for both Athens and Thebes, as one of 
the great feudatories of the empire. Otho, like the emperor 
Henry and the principal vassals of the empire, forbade all 
donations of land to the papal church, and appropriated to 
his own use, or at least to temporal purposes, a greater share 
of the spoils of the Greek church, than met with the appro- 
bation of Innocent III. Even threats of excommunication 
could not compel him to alter his policy, and the Pope was 
induced to accept the explanations he offered for his pro- 
ceedings, founded on the political exigencies of his position, 

1 Nicetas (391) indicates that there was some danger of internal disorders at 
Athens. He alludes to a young noble who opposed the archbishop, and whom 
any other pastor would gladly have given up to Sguros to be put to death. The 
Frank Chronicle of the Conquest 0/ the Morea affords repeated testimony that the 
Crusaders systematically respected the established institutions of the Greeks, and 
gave them written capitulations. For the life of the archbishop Michael, see 
Ellissen's Michael Akominatos von Chonae. 

2 The Parthenon had then hardly felt the finger of time, and had escapel 
almost uninjured from the hand of man. The marble walls of the Cella were 

' in the in' Byzantine church paintings, in which it is not im- 

{■ that the emperor Basil II. appeared in his imperial robes, presi 
rii j !, in the spoils of the Bulgarian war. Cedreaus, 717. 


A.D.T 205-I308.] 

and the deep contrition he expressed for having offended the 
head of the church \ It seems that the wealth of the Greek 
church, the monastery lands, and the imperial domains of the 
Byzantine emperors in Attica and Boeotia, were sufficient to 
satisfy Otho's wants and ambition, for his administration, 
judging from the tranquillity of his Greek subjects and the 
importance acquired by his principality, must have been less 
rapacious than the previous government of the emperors 
of Constantinople. Otho de la Roche nevertheless, in the 
decline of life, preferred his modest fief in France to his 
principality in Greece, and about the year 1225, he resigned 
the government of Athens and Thebes to his nephew Guy, 
son of his brother Pons de Ray 2 - 

Athens has been supposed to have lost its position as a 
direct fief of the empire of Romania by the homage which 
Otho de la Roche paid to Boniface, king of Saloniki ; and it 
was pretended that the king of Saloniki had transferred the 
immediate superiority over all the country to the south of his 
own frontier, in Thessaly, to William de Champlitte, prince 
of Achaia. The pretended vassalage of Athens to Achaia 
at this early period rests only on the authority of the Book of 
the Conquest of the Morea, a Frank chronicle, of which a 
metrical translation in Greek was known long before the 
French text, which appears to be the original, was discovered 3 . 
The work contains an inaccurate and far from poetical narra- 
tive of the prominent events relating to the affairs of the 

1 Epist. Innocent. III. torn. ii. pp. 193, 213, 266, 418, 462, ep. 110. pp. 465, and 
624; Raynaldi Annates Eccles. an. 1218, torn. i. 438. The Frank Chronicle says 
the church possessed one-third of Greece. Greek text, v. 1305. 

2 Genealogie de la Mahon de la Roche; Nouvelles Recherckes hhtoriques sur la 
Principaute francaLe de Moree, par Buchon, i. p. 84. Guy de Ray, or de la 
Roche, is always called Guillerme in the Frank Chronicle of the Conquest of the 
Morea, one of the numerous inaccuracies which prove that it cannot be implicitly 
relied on as a historical authority. 

3 [The opinion here expressed as to the relation of the Livre de la Conquest e 
and the UpoviKuv rov Uwpaiais to one another is shared by Hopf (Griechische 
Geschichte, p. 202) and by Buchon. The last-named writer for some time held 
that the Greek was the original, when he published the Greek text from the Paris 
MS. in his Chroniques etrangeres relatives aux Expeditions franeaises pendant le 
treizieme Steele; but he was led to change his opinion by his discovery of the 
French text in a MS. at Brussels. This he published as vol. i. of his Recherches 
hhtoriques sur la Principaute frangaite de Moree; while vol. ii. of that work con- 
tained another version of the Greek text from the MS. at Copenhagen. On his 
change of opinion, see vol. i. pref. pp. xv. foil., and vol. ii. pref. p. vi. Dr. Elhssen, 
however, in his Analekten der mittel- und neugriechischen Li/era ur, vol. 11. pref. 
p. xxi., opposes the idea that the Greek text was a translation of the French. 
Professor Hopf also remarks on the frequent untrustworthmess of the work as 
a historical authority. Ed.] 


[Ch.VI. §1. 

Peloponnesus, from the time of its conquest by the Franks 
until the commencement of the fourteenth century. On all 
occasions it exalts the importance of the house of Villehar- 
douin. This Chronicle asserts that Boniface, on quitting the 
army of the Crusaders in the Alorea, to return to Thessalonica, 
placed all the great feudatories of the empire, including the 
duke of the Archipelago or Naxos, under the immediate 
superiority of William de Champlitte, prince of Achaia. The 
earliest claim of the princes of Achaia to any superiority over 
the princes of Athens appears to have arisen in the time of 
Guy de la Roche, about the year 1246. The Grand-sire 
of Athensand Thebes had assisted William Villehardouin to 
conquer Corinth and Xauplia l as an ally, and not as a vassal, 
and received as a reward for this assistance the free possession 
of Argos and Nauplia, for which the prince of Achaia did 
not even claim personal homage, as long as his wars with the 
Greeks in Laconia rendered the alliance of the prince of 
Athens a matter of importance. This, as far as can be 
ascertained from authentic evidence, is the only feudal con- 
nection that existed between Athens and Achaia previous 
to the conquest of the empire of Romania by the Greeks, and 
the transference of the feudal superiority over Achaia to the 
house of Anjou of Naples -. 

When William, prince of Achaia, had completed the con- 
quest of the Peloponnesus, his ambition led him to form 
projects for extending his power to the north of the isthmus 
at the expense of the Latin allies, who had aided him against 
the Greeks. In the year 1254 he called on Guy, Grand-sire 
of Athens, to do personal homage for his possessions in the 
Morea. To this demand the prince of Athens replied, that 
he was ready to pay the feudal service that was due for his 
fiefs of Argos and Nauplia, but he asserted that he owed no 

1 [On the Author's mistake with regard to this point, see below, p. 194, note. 

2 The Frank Chronicle makes Guy de la Roche admit that he owed homage 
for Argos and Nauplia, but makes him assert that be was no va al of Achaia. 
Livre de la Conquesie, p. 106. King Louis IX. of France, to whom the dispute 
was referred, decided that Guy had never actually done homage to William ; and 
as he could not therefore be considered a liege-man of the prince of Achaia. 
he had committed no feudal delinquency in bearing arms against him; p. 114. 
Muntaner, an earlier and much better authority than the Chronicles, whether 

1 . k, who had visited the court of Guy II., duke of Athens, in 1308, 
had never heard of any vassalage of Athens to Achaia. He declares that the 
dukes of Athens and the princes <■! Achaia held their principalities equally free of 
homage and service. Muntaner, chap, cexxxvii. and ccxliv. 


AJD. 1 205-1 308.] 

personal homage to William. Both parties prepared to 
decide the question by arms, for it seemed emphatically one 
of those that authorized a private war according to the feudal 
system. The Grand-sire of Athens was supported by the 
count of Soula (Salona), the lords of Euboea, and even by 
the baron of Karitena, a relation and vassal of the prince of 
Achaia. But the army of the confederates was defeated by 
Villehardouin at the pass of Karidi, on the road from Megara 
to Thebes. The vanquished were besieged in Thebes, and 
compelled to enter into a capitulation, by which Guy de la 
Roche engaged to present himself at the court of William 
Villehardouin, at Nikli, in order that the question concerning 
the homage due to the prince of Achaia might be decided in 
a parliament of the principality \ Guy made his appearance, 
and William was unable to persuade his own vassals that the 
Grand-sire of Athens was deserving of any punishment 
according to the letter of the feudal law. The case was 
referred to king Louis IX. of France, whose reputation as an 
able and impartial judge was already so great in the whole 
Christian world that all parties willingly consented to abide 
by his decision. Guy de la Roche hastened to the court of 
France, confident in the justice of his cause ; and Villehar- 
douin was satisfied with the temporary absence of a powerful 
opponent at a critical moment. The king of France con- 
sidered the delinquency of the Grand-sire of Athens to be of 
so trifling a nature, that it was more than adequately punished 
by the trouble and expense of a journey to Paris ; and in 
order to indemnify Guy in some measure for the inconve- 
nience which he had suffered in presenting himself at the 
court of France, Louis authorized him to adopt the title of 
Duke of Athens, instead of that of Grand-sire, by which he 
had been hitherto distinguished 2 . From subsequent events 
it seems that William Villehardouin really made a claim at 
this time to the direct homage of the duke of Athens ; but 
whether he based his claim on a pretended grant of the king 

1 Nikli was the town that in Byzantine times occupied the site of Tegea. 
Mouchli rose into importance when it declined ; and when Mouchli fell into 
ruins, the modern town of Tripolitza was founded. A similar succession of 
towns occurred also in the lower Arcadian plain. Veligosti arose not very far 
from the ruins of Megalopolis, and Leondari near the remains of Veligosti. 

2 Guy de la Roche appears to have made ample use of his power to coin money 
as a great feudatory of the empire of Romania before visiting France, for his 
coins with Dominus are more common than those with Dux. 


[Cb.VI. §i. 
of Saloniki to Champlitte, or on some charter of the emperors 
Robert, or Baldwin II., to his elder brother Geffrey II., prince 
of Achaia, who had married the sister of these emperors, 
cannot be determined. The claim, whether well or ill 
founded, was made a pretext by the kings of Naples for 
assuming that the cession of the suzerainty of Achaia, by the 
emperor Baldwin II., at the treaty of Viterbo in 1267, con- 
veyed also to the crown of Naples a paramount superiority 
over the duchy of Athens \ 

\\ hen Guy de la Roche returned to Greece, he found the 
emperor Baldwin II. a fugitive from Constantinople, and his 
own conqueror, William, prince of Achaia, a prisoner in the 
hands of the Greek emperor, Michael VIII., the conqueror of 
Constantinople. In order to regain his freedom, the prince 
of Achaia was compelled to cede to the Greek emperor the 
fortresses of Monemvasia, Misithra, and Maina, as the price of 
his deliverance. This cession was warmly opposed by the 
duke of Athens, as highly injurious to the stability of the 
Frank possessions in Greece ; but it was ratified by a parlia- 
ment of the vassals of the principality, and carried into effect 2 . 
Guy de la Roche died about the year 1264, and was succeeded 
by his eldest son, John. 

John de la Roche maintained with honour the high position 
his duchy had acquired in the East. John Dukas, while 
besieged in Neopatras, his capital, by a Byzantine army 
under the brother of the emperor Michael, succeeded in 
escaping through the hostile camp in the disguise of a groom 3 . 
He hastened to Athens, and solicited aid from the duke to 
save his capital. The duke of Athens immediately supplied 
him with a body of Latin cavalry, with which the adventurous 
prince surprised the imperial army, and compelled the em- 
peror s brother to save the remnants of the besiegers on 
board the Byzantine fleet 4 . About a year after this victory, 
the duke of Athens, who had formed a close alliance with 
the prince of Vallachian Thessaly, placed himself at the 

1 This seems to result from two rescripts of Charles II. of Naples, published by 
Buchon, Nouvelles Recherche,, ii. p. 3^6, Naples, xxx. and xxxi. 

J Livre de la Cowjiteste, p. 1 53, Clicek text, v. 3082. 

1 he Russian chronicle <>f Nestor gives an anecdote concerning the escape 
of a young man from Kief when it was besieged by the l'atzinaks, which is verj 
similar to the escape of Jolm Dukas from Neopatras. Chronique de Nestor, i. 91. 


A.D. I 2O5-I308.] 

head of a body of troops, to defend the north of Euboea 
against a Byzantine force under the command of Jaqueria, 
or Zacharia, the Genoese signor of the island of Thasos. A 
battle was fought in the plain of Oreos, in which the Franks 
were completely defeated ; and the duke of Athens, who, 
though suffering severely from the gout, had rushed into 
the midst of the combat in order to rally his knights, was 
dashed from his horse and made prisoner. The emperor 
Michael VIII., whose position was at this time extremely 
critical, gave the captive duke an honourable reception, and 
did everything in his power to detach him from the interests 
of Charles of Anjou, king of Naples, who then threatened 
to invade the Greek empire. A treaty was concluded between 
the emperor and the duke, which allowed John to return 
to Athens without paying any ransom. John died unmarried 
in the year 1275 1 . 

William, the second son of Guy I., succeeded his brother 
John. He had married Helena, daughter of John Dukas, 
prince of Vallachian Thessaly, shortly after the victory of 
Neopatras, and obtained Zeituni and Gardhiki as his wife's 
dowry-. When the people of Thebes heard that his brother 
had been taken prisoner at Oreos, they proclaimed William 
lord of Thebes, evidently more with the intention of defending 
their own rights and privileges, and of securing the power of 
the house of de la Roche against any encroachments of the 
powerful and wealthy family of Saint-Omer, than from dis- 
satisfaction with the government of duke John 3 . William was 
a man highly esteemed both for his valour and prudence. He 
was selected by Charles of Anjou to administer the govern- 
ment of Achaia during the minority of Isabella Villehardouin; 
and he held his charge from 1280 to the time of his death, 
in 1290 4 . 

His son, Guy II., was only eighteen years of age when 
he succeeded to the dukedom. The despot of Vlachia died 
shortly after Guy attained his majority, and left him guardian 
of an infant prince. The nobles of Vlachia ratified the pro- 
visions of their sovereign's testament, and invited the duke 
of Athens to assume the direct administration of his nephew's 

1 Pachymeres, i. 280, edit. Rom. 2 Livre de la Conqueste, 408. 

3 Pachymeres, i. 280. 

* The Greek Chronicle calls him bailly and vicar-general, v. 6657. 


[Ch.VI. §i. 

dominions. The moment appeared favourable for the enemies 
of Vallachian Thessaly to attack the country. An infant 
prince and a young foreign regent did not seem likely to 
offer any serious resistance to a well-combined attack. Anna, 
the widow of Nicephorus, despot of Epirus, acted at the time 
as regent for her son Thomas, the last Greek despot of 
Epirus. She commenced hostilities by ordering the Epirot 
troops to seize the castle of Phanari. Guy was at Thebes, 
his favourite residence, when he heard that his nephew's 
territories were invaded. Eager to prove himself worthy of 
the high trust confided to his care, the young prince sum- 
moned all his friends and vassals to join his banner, and 
marched to avenge the injury offered to his helpless pupil. 
Boniface of Verona, lord of Karystos, Francis della Carcere, 
lord of Negrepont, the count of Soula, and Nicholas of 
Saint-Omer, marshal of Achaia, and a feudatory of the duchy 
of Athens for one half of the lordship of Thebes, all joined 
the duke's camp, each at the head of more than one hundred 
knights and esquires. The whole army, when drawn up in 
the plain of Vlachia at Domokos, amounted to nine hundred 
Latin knights and horsemen in complete armour, six thousand 
Vallachian and Greek cavalry, and thirty thousand infantry, 
if we can rely on the Chronicles. The chief command was 
intrusted to Saint-Omer, and the army advanced to Trikala, 
Stagous and Sirako, from which it could have reached Joan- 
nina in three easy marches. But the rapidity of the young 
duke's movements alarmed Anna and her counsellors, and 
she was glad to purchase peace by delivering up the castle 
of Phanari, and paying ten thousand perpers or gold byzants 
for the expenses of the expedition \ 

In 1304, Guy II. married Maud of Hainault, daughter of 
Isabella Villehardouin, princess of Achaia. Maud was then 
only eleven years old 2 . Guy received Kalamata, the here- 
ditary fief of the Villehardouins in the Morea, as his wife's 
dowry ; but he soon advanced a claim to the government 
of the whole principality, of which he pretended that Philip 

1 The Litre de la Conqueste becomes a historical authority of value as it ap- 
proaches the times of the author. Thalassinos, which it mentions as a village 
one day's march from Domokos and two from Trikala. is erroneously confounded 
by the editor with the town ofElassona, the ancient Oloosson : pp. 406-41S. 

- Maud or Matilda, daughter of Isabella Villehardouin and Florenz of Hainault, 
was born 30th November 1293. Livre de la Conqueste, 388, note. 


A.D. I 205-1 308.] """J 

of Savoy, the third husband of Isabella, held possession 
illegally 1 . In order to make good his claim by force of 
arms, Guy enrolled in his service Fernand Ximenes and a 
part of the Catalans who had quitted the Grand Company 
at Cyzikos. The projects of Guy were frustrated by his 
early death in 1308. As he left no children, the male line 
of de la Roche became extinct, and his cousin, Walter de 
Brienne, succeeded to the duchy of Athens and Thebes. 

SECT. II.— State of Athens under the House of De la Roche. 

Athens is usually represented as a miserable and decayed 
town during the whole period of the middle ages, and Attica 
is supposed to have then offered the same barren, treeless, 
and unimprovable aspect which it now does as a European 
kingdom. Such, however, was not the case. The social 
civilization of the inhabitants, and their command of the 
necessaries and luxuries of life, were in those days as much 
superior to the condition of the citizens of Paris and London 
as they are now inferior. When Walter de Brienne succeeded 
to the duchy, it occupied a much higher position in the scale 
of European states than is at present occupied by the kingdom 
of Greece. The Spaniard Muntaner, who was well acquainted 
with all the rich countries around the Mediterranean, then 
the most flourishing portion of the globe, and who was familiar 
with the most magnificent courts of Europe, says that the 
dukes of Athens were among the greatest princes who did 
not wear a kingly crown. He has left us a description 
of the court of Athens, which gives us a high idea of its 
splendour 2 ; and he declares that the nobles of the duchy 
were so entirely French, that they spoke their language with 
as much purity as the Parisians themselves 3 . The city was 
large and wealthy, the country thickly covered with villages, 
of which the ruins may still be traced in spots affording 
no indications of Hellenic sites. Aqueducts and cisterns 
then gave fertility to land now unproductive ; olive, almond, 

1 Isabella was thrice married — ist. When a child, to Louis-Philippe, second 
son of Charles of Anjou ; 2d. To Florenz of Hainault ; 3d. To Philip of Savoy. 

2 Muntaner, chap, ccxliv. p 481 of Buchon's translation, edit, of 1S40. 

3 Ibid. chap, eclxi. p. 502. 


[Ch.VI. §2. 

and fig-trees were intermingled with vineyards and orchards 
covered ground now reduced, by the want of irrigation, to 
yield only scanty winter pasturage to the flocks of nomade 
shepherds. The valonia, the cotton, the silk, and the leather 
of Attica then supplied native manufactories, and the surplus 
commanded a high price in foreign markets. The trade of 
Athens was considerable, and the luxury of the Athenian 
ducal court was celebrated in all the regions of the West 
where chivalry flourished. Genoese merchants carried on 
a prosperous trade at Athens, and shared with the native 
Greeks the profits of the silk manufacture of Thebes, where 
the richest brocades were still woven \ 

Nor was the position of the Greek subjects of the dukes 
at this period one of severe oppression. Civilization had 
penetrated deeper into the social relations of men in Greece 
than in the rest of Europe, and its effects were displayed 
in the existence of a middle class, living in ease, and by the 
decay of slavery and serfdom. Though the Greeks of Athens 
were a conquered race, the terms of capitulation granted 
by Otho de la Roche secured to them all the privileges, as 
individual citizens, which they had enjoyed under the Byzan- 
tine government, with much greater freedom from financial 
oppression. The feudal conquerors of Greece soon perceived 
that it was greatly for their interest to respect the terms of 
the capitulations concluded with their Greek subjects, and 
to gain their good-will. Each grand feudatory became aware 
that the Greeks, from their wealth and numbers, might be 
rendered useful allies in opposing the exorbitant pretensions 
of their own immediate vassals and military followers, and 
in restraining the avarice of the Latin clergy,' the ambition 
of the Pope, or the pretensions of the emperor of Romania. 
The peculiar condition of the Greek landed proprietors, who 
were in some degree both capitalists and merchants, taught 
their princes the necessity of alleviating the natural severity 
of the feudal system, and modifying the contempt it inculcated 
for the industrious and unwarlike classes of society. The 

1 A charter of Guy de la Roche, dated in 1 240, attests that Genoese mercantile 
colonies, possessing their own warehouses, exchanges, and resident consuls, were 
already established both at Athens and Thebes. Heyd, Die italienischeti HandeU' 
colonial in Griechenland zur Zeit de^ lateinischen Kaiserlhums, 76; Canale, Storia de' 
Genovesi, ii. 773 ; Liber Jurium Reip. Genvensis, i. 992, forming part of the Historiae 
l'atriae Monumenta, published at Turin by the government. 


A.D. I 205-I 308.] 

high value of some of the productions of Greece, before the 
discovery of America and of the route to India by the Cape 
of Good Hope, placed the landed proprietors on the coasts 
of Greece in the receipt of considerable money-revenues. 
They were thus enabled to pay to their dukes an amount 
of taxation which many monarchs in Western Europe were 
unable to extract from numerous cities and burghs, whose 
trade depended on slow and expensive land-communications, 
and from cultivators without capital, who raised little but 
corn and hay. An alliance of interest was thus formed 
between the Frank princes and their Greek subjects. The 
taxes paid by the Greeks supplied their sovereign with the 
means of hiring more obedient military followers than the 
array of the vassals of the fief. It became consequently an 
object of importance to the Frank barons in Greece to protect 
the natives as allodial proprietors, or, at least, as holding 
their lands directly from the prince, on payment of a money- 
rent, corresponding to the amount of taxation they had 
previously paid to the Byzantine empire, instead of distributing 
the land among the invaders as military fiefs. The richest 
portions of the conquered territory in the immediate vicinity 
of the towns were therefore left in the hands of the Greeks, 
while the Crusaders generally received the territorial domains, 
for which they were bound to pay personal military service, 
in the more distant districts — a fact which is still proved by 
the existing divisions of property, and by the ruins of feudal 
strongholds. Out of this state of things a constant struggle 
arose between the dukes, who desired to extend their autho- 
rity and increase their revenues — the Frank military vassals, 
who demanded the complete division of the whole conquered 
country, in order to increase the numbers and power of their 
own class — and the Greeks, who laboured and intrigued to 
defend their possessions and maintain the capitulations. To 
the existence of this struggle for a long period, without any 
party venturing openly to disregard the principles of justice 
and the force of public opinion, we must in a great measure 
attribute the prosperous state of Athens and Thebes, under 
the government of the house of de la Roche and the long 
duration of the Frank domination in Attica. The security 
enjoyed by the Greeks attached them to their dukes. Many 
obtained the privilege of bearing arms, and though they 
VOL. iv. L 


[Ch.VI.§ 3 . 

never became a match for the Frank chivalry in a pitched 

battle, they often bore a prominent part, and performed good 

service, in the wars of the period l . 

Sect. III. — Walter de Brienne. — The Catalan Grand 


Walter de Brienne was the son of Isabella de la Roche, 
sister of the dukes John and William. She married Hugh 
de Brienne, count of Lecce, in the kingdom of Naples. The 
family of Brienne was pre-eminent for brilliant actions in 
the brightest age of chivalry; but the fortunes of this 
celebrated house were more splendid and glorious than 
solid, and the character of its members bore a strong re- 
semblance to the gorgeous edifice of their renown. The 
life of Walter, duke of Athens, was like that of many other 
members of his illustrious family in its bright career and 
bloody end. His grandfather, Walter de Brienne, count of 
Jaffa, was that gallant freebooter of the Syrian desert whom 
the Saracens long regarded with intense fear and hatred, 
but whom they at last captured, and hanged before the 
walls of his own castle 2 . His great-grandfather was Walter 
de Brienne, who assumed the title of king of Sicily, and 
died in prison. John de Brienne, king of Jerusalem and 
emperor of Romania, was his great-grand-uncle; and his 
father, Hugh, had not degenerated from the valour of the 
house, or allowed its glory to diminish in his person. He 
was one of the band of three hundred French knights who 
called themselves the Knights of Death, and who perished 
at the battle of Gagliano, in Sicily. Hugh de Brienne, after 
performing prodigies of valour, and keeping his banner flying 
on the field of battle with his own hand, after every one of 
his followers and companions had fallen, was himself slain, 
refusing quarter ; . 

The death of Guy II. had no sooner put Walter in posses- 
sion of the duchy of Athens, than he found his dominions 

1 George Acropolita (93) mentions the Greeks as forming part of the army 
of William, prince of Achaia, at the battle of Pelagonia. 

2 Joinville's Memoirs of Si. Louis, p. 490 (Bohn's translation). 

3 Muntaner, exci. 


A.D. 1 308-I3I I.] 

threatened with invasion by his neighbours, the despot of 
Epirus and the prince of Vlachia. His territories were 
exposed to attack, for Guy II. had extended his authority 
as far as Armyros on the gulf of Volo, so that their geo- 
graphical configuration left them open to invasion at many 
points \ In order to punish his enemies, and revenge himself 
by conquering some portion of their dominions, Walter 
concluded a treaty of alliance with the Catalan Grand 
Company, which had established its winter quarters in 
Thessaly during the year 1308 2 . 

The expedition of the Catalans in the East is a wonderful 
instance of the success which sometimes attends a career of 
rapacity and crime, in opposition to all the ordinary maxims 
of human prudence. Had their military executions and 
inhuman devastations been the only prominent features in 
their history, we might regret that all the military virtues 
can exist in union with most of the crimes that disgrace 
human nature, but we should feel no astonishment at their 
great success. But when we find that internal dissensions 
and civil anarchy frequently reigned in their camp, their 
victorious military career and their steady discipline under 
arms becomes a strange historical phenomenon. The leaders 
quarrelled among themselves, the chiefs assassinated one 
another, the troops murdered or banished their generals, 
and yet victory remained faithful to a standard under which 
every crime was committed with impunity : while the most 
terrific anarchy prevailed in the councils of the leaders, the 
strictest discipline was observed whenever the ranks were 
formed for service in the field. Their great leader, Roger 
de Florez, was assassinated by the Greeks. D'Entenza, one 
of their most distinguished chiefs, was murdered, with many 
knights of rank and renown, by the troops themselves, on 
the march from Gallipoli to Cassandra. Fernand Ximenes 
only saved himself by a precipitate flight. The infant Don 
Fernand of Majorca, and his friend Muntaner, the delightful 
historian of their singular exploits, were compelled to quit 
the expedition, seeing that all regular authority was treated 
with contempt. The royal and aristocratic feelings of the 
prince and the warrior were too deeply wounded to permit 

1 Muntaner, cxci. p. 467, edit, of 1840. a Niceph. Greg. 151 ; Muntaner, 474. 

l a 


[Ch.VI. §3. 

them to live in a republican army. Rocafort, the oldest 
general in the Grand Company, the chief demagogue of 
the camp, and the man who incited them to commit many 
of their previous acts of violence, was at last treacherously 
seized by his own officers, and delivered up a prisoner to 
a French admiral, who carried him to Naples, where he 
perished in a prison, starved to death by the mean revenge 
and inexorable cruelty of the house of Anjou. The soldiers 
revenged their veteran leader by murdering the fourteen 
chiefs of the army who had delivered him to the French. 
Two knights, an Adalil, and a colonel of Almogavars, were 
then elected by the troops to perform the duties of 
commander-in-chief ; and a council of twelve officers was 
added, in accordance with a usage already established in 
the republican government of the Grand Company. After 
this bloody revolution, the Catalans marched forward to new 
conquests, and to the establishment of a permanent territorial 
dominion in Greece. 

On their march they encountered serious opposition from 
the officers of the Byzantine emperor in the mountains of 
Macedonia, and from the forces of the prince of Vallachian 
Thessaly. The hardy mountaineers of these districts, 
Sclavonians, Vallachians, and Greeks, were found to be a 
very different class of men from the Greeks of the Thracian 
cities whom the Catalans had so often vanquished. The 
campaign in 1308 was consumed in these contests, and 
the Grand Company took up its winter quarters in Thessaly. 
It suffered many hardships before it could force its way 
though the Vallachian district, which was then one of the 
most redoubtable countries in the world 1 . In the year 
1309 it effected its junction with the army of the duke of 
Athens, and from the time of its entry into his dominions 
Walter became bound to pay each horseman in complete 
heavy armour four gold ounces a-month, each light-armed 
horseman two, and each Almogavar or foot-soldier one 
ounce 2 . As the Grand Company then counted in its ranks 
three thousand five hundred cavalry and three thousand 

1 Muiitaner, 474. 

1 Ibid. A letter of Pope Benedict XI. informs us that in 1304 the ounce of 
gold was equal to five florins of Florence, that is, in weight of gold nearly two 
sovereigns and a half. Raynaldi Ann. xiv. 597 ; Sismoudi, Hisloire des Ripubliques 
Italiennes, ii. 341, note 2, edit. Unix. 1838. 


A.D. 1308-I3H.] 

infantry, while the army of the duke of Athens was still 
more numerous, these facts afford some data for estimating 
the wealth and population of the dominions of Walter de 
Brienne at this time. 

The duke of Athens was at first highly popular with the 
Catalans, whose language he spoke with facility \ The 
campaign of 1309 was very successful. Walter defeated 
all his enemies, and compelled them to purchase peace by 
ceding to him thirty castles, which he added to his dominions. 
The war was now terminated. Walter felt strong- in the 
numbers of the knights he had assembled under his banner, 
and in the impregnable nature of the fortresses and castles 
that commanded every road and valley in his territory. 
Relying on these resources, he determined to get rid of his 
Spanish allies, whose high pay exhausted his treasury, and 
whose rapacity and licentious habits oppressed his subjects. 
The Catalans, on the other hand, were too well satisfied with 
their life in the Boeotian and Phocian plains, which had long 
enjoyed immunity from the ravages of war, to be easily 
induced to quit a land so alluring to their avarice. When the 
duke proposed to dismiss them, however, they contented 
themselves with demanding payment of the arrears due for 
their services, and liberty to march forward into the Morea. 
Both demands were refused ; and Walter de Brienne, who, 
as an adherent of the house of Anjou, was inclined to quarrel 
with them as soon as he no longer stood in need of their 
services, replied to their propositions that he would give them 
nothing but the gibbet if they ventured to advance. 

In the month of March 13 10, the Grand Company marched 
down into the plain of Boeotia and took up a position on the 
banks of the Cephissus near Skripou, the ancient Orchomenos 2 . 

1 Muntaner tells us that Walter de Brienne learned Catalan in the castle of 
Augusta in Sicily, where he passed a long time when young, as hostage for 
his father. 

2 The ignorance which Nicephorus Gregoras shows of the geography of Greece, 
in his account of this battle on the banks of the Boeotian Cephissus, is curious. 
He says that the great river Cephissus, rising in Mount Parnassus, flows eastward 
through Locris, Achaia, and Boeotia in an undivided stream, as far as Livadea 
and Haliartos, where it separates into two branches, changing its name into 
Asopos and Ismene. The branch Asopos divides Attica into two parts and flows 
into the sea. The branch Ismene falls into the straits of Euboea near Aulis, 
where the heroes of Greece stopped on their expedition to Troy. After this 
specimen of the ignorance of a Byzantine historian concerning classic Greece, 
whose authors he was always reading, and with allusions to whose history and 
mythology he was always encumbering his own pages by a tasteless display of 


[Ch.VI.§ 3 . 

The level plain appeared to offer great advantages to the 
party that possessed the most numerous cavalry, and the 
duke of Athens, confident in numbers, felt assured of victory, 
and hastened forward to attack them at the head of the 
army he had assembled at Thebes. His forces consisted 
of six thousand cavalry and eight thousand infantry, partly 
raised in the Morea, but principally composed of the Frank 
knights of his own duchy, their feudal retainers, and the 
Greeks of his dominions l . Walter placed himself at the 
head of a band of two hundred nobles in the richest armour ; 
and seven hundred feudal chiefs, who had received the honour 
of knighthood, fought under his standard. It required all 
the experience of the Spanish veterans, and their firm 
conviction of the superiority of military discipline over 
numbers and individual valour, to preserve their confidence 
of success in a contest with a force so superior to their own 
on a level plain. But the Spaniards were the first people, 
in modern times, who knew the full value of a well-disciplined 
and steady corps of infantry. 

In spring, all the rich plains of Greece are covered with 
green corn. The Catalan leaders carefully, conducted the 
waters of the Cephissus into the fields immediately in front 
of the ground on which they had drawn up their army. The 
soil was allowed to drink in the moisture until it became so 
soft that a man in armour could only traverse a few narrow 
dykes that intersected the fields of wheat and barley ; yet 
the verdure effectually concealed every appearance of recent 
irrigation-. The duke of Athens, who expected to drive the 
Spaniards back into Thessaly without much trouble, advanced 
with all the arrogance of a prince secure of victory. Reserving 
the whole glory of the triumph which he contemplated to him- 
self, he drew up his army in order of battle ; and then, placing 
himself at the head of nine hundred knights and nobles who 
attended his banner, he rushed forward to overwhelm the 
ranks of the Grand Company with the irresistible charge of 

learning, we need Jiot wonder at any fables and absurdities the Greeks adopted 
concerning the inhabitants and countries of Western Europe: p. 154. 

1 Niceph. Greg. 

8 A similar expedient was adopted by the Spar'ans. who diverted the waters of 
the Eurotas into the land near the city, in order to embarrass the retreat of 
Philip V. of Macedon as he returned from ravaging the southern part of Laconia, 
B.C. 218. Ov hiafipu\ov ytvi)0(i>Tos, ovx olov tou» inirovs d\\' ovb' av toi/s rre^ci* 
IwaTvV fy (/xPaivtiv. I'olybius, lib. v. cap. xxii. § 6. 


A.D. I30S-I3II.] 

the Frank chivalry. Everything promised the duke victory as 
he moved rapidly over the plain to the attack, and the shafts 
of the archers were already beginning to recoil from the 
strong panoply of the knights, when Walter de Brienne shouted 
his war-cry, and charged with all his chivalry in full career. 
Their course was soon arrested. The whole body plunged 
simultaneously into the concealed and new-formed marsh, 
where there was as little possibility of retreat as there was 
thought of flight. Every knight, in the belief that he had 
only some ditch to cross, spurred forward, expecting that 
another step would place him on the firm ground, where he 
saw the Catalan army drawn up almost within reach of his 
lance. Every exertion was vain : no Frank knight ever 
crossed the muddy fields : horse and man floundered about 
until both fell ; and as none that fell could rise again, the 
confusion soon became inextricable. The Catalan light troops 
were at last ordered to rush in, and slay knights and nobles 
without mercy. Never did the knife of Aragon do more 
unsparing execution, for mercy would have been folly while 
the Spanish army still remained exposed to the attack of a 
superior force ranged before it in battle array, and which 
could easily have effected its retreat in unbroken order to the 
fortresses in its rear. It is reported that, of all the nobles 
present with Walter de Brienne, two only escaped alive and 
were kept as prisoners — Boniface of Verona, and Roger Deslau 
of Roussillon. The duke of Athens was among the first who 
perished. The Athenian forces had witnessed the total defeat 
of their choicest band of cavalry; the news that the duke was 
slain spread quickly through their ranks ; and, without waiting 
for any orders, the whole army broke its order, and each man 
endeavoured to save himself, leaving the camp and all the 
baggage to the Grand Company 1 . 

1 The authorities for this account of the battle are Nicephorus Gregoras, 155, 
and Muntaner, ccxl. Two great battles had decided the fate of Greece on this 
plain in ancient times ; the victory of Philip of Macedon at Chaeronea, b. c. 338, 
and that of Sylla over the generals of Mithridates, b.c 86. 

The chronology of the Catalan expedition admits of discussion, but several 
events are fixed by official documents. Don Fernand and Muntaner were taken 
prisoners, and Muntaner was plundered of property to the value of 25.000 ounces 
of gold at Negrepont in July 1307. Hopf, Veneto-Byzantinische Analekten, 149. 
Compare Niceph. Greg. 151, and Pachymeres, ii. 455. In the following winter 
the Grand Company was in Thessaly. Niceph. Greg. 153- The order of events 
is then traced by Nicephorus Gregoras (155) and Muntaner (ch. ccxl.). The 
grand-daughter of Muntaner succeeded in obtaining an indemnity of 11,000 gold 
florins from the heirs of the two Venetian nobles who had joined the French. 


[Ch.VI. §3. 

This victory put an end to the power of the French families 
in northern Greece ; but the house of Brienne continued to 
possess the fiefs of Nauplia and Argos in the principality 
of Achaia. Walter de Brienne, son of the slain duke, assumed 
his father's title, and was remarkable for more than his father's 
pride. After an unsuccessful attempt to recover possession of 
the duchy of Athens in 1331, in which he landed near Arta 
with a force of eight hundred French cavalry and five hundred 
Tuscan infantry, he became general of Florence, but was 
expelled from that city for his tyrannical conduct. He was 
subsequently appointed constable of France, and perished at 
the battle of Poitiers \ 

The Catalans followed up their victory with vigour : Thebes, 
Athens, and every fortified place within the duchy, quickly 
submitted to their authority. But their conquest, in spite of 
its facility, was stained with their usual violence. The magni- 
ficent palace at Thebes, built by Nicholas Saint-Omer, which 
was the admiration of the minstrels of that age, was burned to 
the ground, lest it should serve as a stronghold for some of 
the French barons. A portion of the olive grove in the 
Athenian plain, in the classic environs of Golonos and the 
Academy, was reduced to ashes either from carelessness or 
wantonness 2 . 

Admiral Cepoy and plundered Muntaner's ship. The suit was compromised 
at Venice in the year 1356. The Chronicle of the Conquest of the Morea (Greek 
text, v. 5960) says the battle occurred on Monday, 15th March, in the year 
a.m. 6S17. and the 8tfi indiction. But the year a.m. 6817 gives a.d. 1309, and 
the 8th indiction would place it in 1310. Monday was the 15th of March, only 
in the year 131 1. 

1 After the death of the constable Walter de Brienne, in 1356, Sohier d'Enghicn, 
hi> nephew, assumed the title of duke of Athens, but it expired with his son 
Walter, who died childless in 138 1. The family of d'Enghien ended in a female, 
who sold Argos and Nauplia to the Venetian republic. 

2 Boole of the Conquest, Greek text, v. 6749. Eallmerayer, Geschichte der Hal- 
binsel Morea, ii. 182. The paintings on the walls of the palace represented the 
conquest of Palestine by the Crusaders — to ttws tKovyKeaTTjaaatv ol Qpa-yicoi ttjv 
2i/; av. The emperor Manuel I. of Constantinople decorated his palace at 
Blachern with hunting scenes representing his own exploits, and it became so 
much the fashion of courtly sycophants to imitate these paintings, that Alexis 
Axouchos was looked upon as a traitor for omitting similar scenes in the decora- 
tion of his new palace. Cinnamus, 154; Benjamin of Tudela, i. 53. The repre- 
sentation of the Last Judgment, which may be seen in the porch of many a Greek 
church, probably gives some idea of the style of these mural paintings. A rather 
ludicrous bul not inaccurate description of these church paintings will be found 
in A Vhit to Monaiteries in the Levant, by the Hon. Robert Curzon, ch. xxiv. 


A.D. I3II-I386.] 

SECT. IV. — Dukes of At/tens and Neopatras of the Sicilian 
Branch of the House of A ragon. 

The Spaniards resolved to settle in their new conquest, and 
the Grand Company assumed the position of a sovereign 
prince, though there never existed an army worse adapted 
for administering the affairs of civil government. Its first act 
was to share the fiefs of the nobles who had fallen in the 
battle on the banks of the Boeotian Cephissus, and to bestow 
their widows and heiresses in marriage on the best officers, 
who thus became possessed not only of well-fortified 
castles and rich estates, but also of suitable and splendid 
household establishments. The descendants of the French 
now felt all the miseries their forefathers had inflicted on the 
Greeks. Muntaner, the former associate of the Spanish sol- 
diers, observes that on this occasion many stout Catalan 
warriors received as wives noble ladies, for whom, the day 
before their victory, they would have counted it an honour to 
be allowed to hold the wash-hand basin l . 

No sooner did the Catalan warriors become lords and 
barons, than they felt the necessity of living under civil as 
well as military law ; and so satisfied were they of the incom- 
petency of all their own generals to act as civilians, that they 
appointed Roger Deslau to act as their leader, until they 
could arrange their differences with the house of Aragon ; 
for in spite of their rebellious conduct, the ties of the feudal 
system still bound the minds of the majority in allegiance 
to their lawful sovereign. Under Roger Deslau the Grand 
Company pursued its career of conquest, and extended its 
dominion both to the north and west. Neopatras and Soula 
(Salona) were annexed to the duchy; and their incursions 
into the territories of the despot of Epirus on the one side, 
and of the prince of Achaia on the other, alarmed the French 
barons of the Morea to such a degree that they solicited 
assistance from the spiritual arms of the Pope, whom they 
persuaded to threaten the Spaniards with excommunication, 
unless they restored their conquests to the rightful owners ; 
though probably, in most cases, it would have puzzled even 

1 Muntaner, p. 477. 


[Ch.M. §4. 

his holiness to determine where the rightful claimants were to 
be found. The archbishops of Corinth, Patras, and Otranto 
were authorized to preach a crusade against the Catalans in 
their dioceses 1 . Neopatras, from its strong position, important 
military situation, and delightful climate in summer, divided 
with Athens the honour of being the capital of the Catalan 
principality, which was styled the duchy of Athens and 

During the administration of Roger Deslau, in 1326, the 
Catalans sent a deputation to Sicily, begging Frederick II. to 
invest his second son, Manfred, with the dukedom of Athens, 
and praying him to send a regent to govern the country 
during his son's minority. From that time the duchy of 
Athens and Neopatras became an appanage of the house 
of Aragon 2 . 

During the period the duchy of Athens was possessed by 
the Sicilian branch of the house of Aragon, the Catalans were 
incessantly engaged in wars with all their neighbours. The 
despots of Epirus, the Venetians in Euboea, and the French 
in Achaia, were in turn attacked ; but it was only in the 
earlier years of their power, while the veterans of the Grand 
Company still retained their military habits and passion 
for war, that their operations were attended with success. As 
happens with all conquering armies, the number of those who 
were fitted by their physical and mental qualities to make 
good soldiers was considerably diminished in the second 
generation. Some families became extinct, some fell into 
opposition by attaching themselves to their maternal race, 
while many of the best soldiers were constantly engaged in 
watching and defending their own private possessions against 
foreign invaders or internal brigandage. The lieutenants- 
general of the dukes, who arrived from Sicily, were always 
compelled to bring with them fresh supplies of mercenary 
troops 3 . The lieutenants of the Sicilian dukes mentioned 

1 This bull of Pope John XXII. is dated in 1330. 

2 Manfred, William, and John, the younger sons of King Frederic II. of Sicily, 
held the duchy in succession. Manfred died about the year 131 7, William in 
1331, and John in 133S. Frederic, Marquis of Randazzo, son of John, succeeded 
his father, and died childless in 1355 without visiting Athens. The duchy then 
reverted to Frederic III. of Sicily, whose daughter Maria inherited it in 1377. 
From Maria the title passed to Alphonso V. of Aragon, and after the union 
of the crowns of Aragon and Ca^tille the kings of Spain retained the title of Dukes 
of Athens and Xeopatras. 

3 Buchon, Nouvelles Recherches, i. 99, note. 


A.D. I3II-I386.] 

in history are Beranger d'Estauol, and Alphonso, the natural 
son of king Frederic II. Roger de Lauria, son of the re- 
nowned admiral, represented Frederic of Randazzo. After- 
wards, Francis George, marquis of Boudonitza, Philip of 
Dalmas, and Roger and Antonio de Lauria, sons of the 
preceding Roger, ruled the duchy 1 . During the government 
of Roger and Antonio de Lauria, Louis, count of Salona, son 
of the regent Alphonso, died, leaving an only daughter as his 
heiress 2 . Louis was proprietor of a very large portion of the 
duchy, and the disputes that arose concerning the marriage 
of his daughter caused the ruin of the Catalan power, and 
the conquest of Athens by Nerio Acciaiuoli, the governor of 

The Catalans were the constant rivals of the Franks of 
Achaia, and Nerio Acciaiuoli, as governor of Corinth, was the 
guardian of the principality against their hostile projects. 
The marriage of the young countess of Salona involved the 
two parties in war. The mother of the bride was a Greek 
lady : she betrothed her daughter to Simeon, son of the prince 
of Vallachian Thessaly; and the Catalans, with the two 
Laurias at their head, supported this arrangement. But the 
barons of Achaia, headed by Nerio Acciaiuoli, pretended that 
the Prince of Achaia as feudal suzerain of Athens was entitled 
to dispose of the hand of the countess. Nerio was deter- 
mined to bestow the young countess, with all her immense 
possessions, on a relation of the Acciaiuoli family, named 
Peter Sarrasin 3 . The war concerning the countess of Salona 
and her heritage appears to have commenced about the year 
1386. The Catalans were defeated, and Nerio gained pos- 
session of Athens, Thebes, and Livadea ; but a few of the 
Spanish proprietors, and the remains of the military force 
attached to the viceroys, continued for some years to offer 
a determined resistance in other parts of the duchy, and 

1 The count de Foix, endeavouring to persuade Roger de Lauria, the great 
admiral, to consent to a truce, observed, ' France can arm three hundred galleys.' 
'Let her do it,' exclaimed Lauria: ' I will sweep the sea with my hundred, and 
no ship without leave from the king of Aragon shall pass : no, nor shall a fish 
dare to raise its head above the water, unless I can see that it bears the arms of 
Aragon on its tail.' Desclot, c. 166. 

2 Moncada, Expedition de los Catalanes y Aragoneses, cap. lxx. The Chronicle 
of the Conquest fixes the position of La Sola or Soula at the ancient Amphissa 
with certitude. Troops marching from Vetrinitza to Gravia pass by La Sola. 
Livre de la Conqneste, p. 413 ; Ducange, Histoire de Constantinople, 243, 299. 

3 Ducange, Histoire de Constantinople, 299. 


[Ch.VI. § 5 . 

rallied round them a body of Navarrese troops in the service 
of the last Spanish governors. 

During the war, a quarrel broke out between the dowager 
countess of Salona and the bishop of Phocis. The Athenian 
historian Chalcocondylas narrates that the bishop accused the 
lady, whose name was Helena Cantacuzena, of adultery witl 
a priest, and that this conscientious bishop hastened to th< 
court of the sultan Bayezid I. (Ilderim), who was then in 
Thessaly, and begged him to remove the scandal from Greek 
society by conquering the country. In order to attract the 
sultan, who was passionately fond of the chase, the reverend 
bishop vaunted the extent of the marshes of Boeotia filled 
with herons and cranes, and the numerous advantages the 
country offered for hunting and hawking. Bayezid made his 
interference a pretext for occupying the northern part of the 
duchy around Neopatras ; but, being soon after engaged with 
other projects, the Turks do not appear to have retained 
permanent possession of the district then seized. Chalco- 
condylas affirms that the dowager countess delivered up her 
daughter to Bayezid to be placed in his harem, which would 
imply that her marriage with the prince of Vlachia had not 
yet been celebrated l . 

The Laurias, pressed by the Turks on the north, and by 
Nerio Acciaiuoli and the Franks of Achaia on the south, 
abandoned the duchy, in which only a few small bands of 
troops continued to defend themselves almost in the capacity 
of brigands. 

SECT. V. — Dukes of the family of Acciaiuoli of Florence. — 
Termination of the Frank domination in A thens. 

The decline of mediaeval Athens commences with the 
Catalan conquest. The ties of interest which had hitherto 
connected the prosperity of the Greek landed proprietors 
with the power of the sovereign were then broken, and every 
Greek was exposed to the oppression and avarice of a 
thousand mercenary soldiers suddenly converted into petty 
princes, and to the exactions of the rapacious agents of 
absent sovereigns. The feudal system was everywhere 

1 Ducange, Histoire de Constantinople, 298 ; Chalcocondylas, p. 35, edit. Paris. 


a.d. 1386-1456.J 

giving way ; the authority of the prince and the money of the 
commons were rapidly gaining power, as the new elements of 
political government. Several members of the family of 
Acciaiuoli, which formed a distinguished commercial com- 
pany at Florence in the thirteenth century, settled in the 
Peloponnesus about the middle of the fourteenth, under the 
protection of Robert, king of Naples. Nicholas Acciaiuoli 
was invested, in the year 1334, with the administration of the 
lands which the company had acquired in payment or in 
security of the loans it had made to the royal house of Anjou ; 
and he acquired additional possessions in the principality of 
Achaia, both by purchase and by grant, from Catherine of 
Valois, titular empress of Romania, and regent of Achaia for 
her son prince Robert \ The encroachments of the mer- 
cantile spirit on the feudal system are displayed in the 
concessions obtained by Nicholas Acciaiuoli, in the grants 
he received from Catherine of Valois. He was invested with 
the power of mortgaging, exchanging, and selling his fiefs, 
without any previous authorization from his suzerain 2 . 
Nicholas acted, as principal minister of Catherine, during a 
residence of three years in the Morea ; and he made use of 
his position, like a prudent banker, to obtain considerable 
grants of territory. He returned to Italy in 1341, and never 
again visited Greece ; but his estates in Achaia were adminis- 
tered by his relations and other members of the banking house 
at Florence, many of whom obtained considerable fiefs for 
themselves through his influence. 

Nicholas Acciaiuoli was appointed hereditary grand 
seneschal of the kingdom of Naples by queen Jeanne, whom 
he accompanied in her flight to Provence when she was driven 
from her kingdom by Louis of Hungary. On her return, he 
received the rich county of Amalfi, as a reward for his fidelity, 
and subsequently Malta was added to his possessions 3 . He 
was an able statesman, and a keen political intriguer ; and he 

1 The company of Acciaiuoli made a loan to John, count of Gravina. brother 
of Robert, king of Naples, to enable him to prosecute his iniquitous scheme of 
seizing the principality of Achaia, under the pretext that he was the husband 
of the princess Maud of Hainault, who was already married. 

2 Buchon, Nouvelles Recherches ; Diplomes, Florence, No. VII. torn. ii. p. 70. 

3 Buchon {Nouvelles Recherches, i. 101) cites some documents, relating to the 
possession of the county of Malta by the Acciaiuoli, not previously known. The 
imposing ruins of a castle built by Nicholas at Lettore may still be seen, after 
quitting the valley of Gragnano, near Castellamare. 


[Ch.VI.§ 5 . 

was almost the first example of the superior position the 
purse of the moneyed citizen was destined to assume over the 
sword of the feudal baron and the learning of the politic 
churchman. Nicholas Acciaiuoli was the first of that banking 
aristocracy, which has since held an important position in 
European history. He was the type of a class destined at 
times to decide the fate of kingdoms, and at times to arrest 
the progress of armies. He certainly deserved to have his 
life written by a man of genius ; but his superciliousness and 
assumption of princely state, even in his intercourse with the 
friends of his youth, disgusted Boccaccio, who alone of his 
Florentine contemporaries could have left a vivid sketch of 
the career which raised him from the partner of a banking- 
house to the rank of a great feudal baron, and to live in the 
companionship of kings. Boccaccio, offended by his inso- 
lence, seems not to have appreciated his true importance, as 
the type of a coming age and a new state of society ; and 
the indignant and satirical record he has left us of the pride 
and presumption of the mercantile noble is by no means 
a correct portrait of the Neapolitan minister. Yet even 
Boccaccio records, in his usual truthful manner, that Nicholas 
had dispersed powerful armies, though he unjustly depreciates 
the merit of the success, because the victory was gained by 
combinations effected by gold, and not by the headlong 
charge of a line of lances l . 

Nicholas Acciaiuoli obtained a grant of the barony and 
hereditary governorship of the fortress of Corinth in the year 
1358. He was already in possession of the castles of Vulcano 
(Messene), Piadha, near Epidauros, and large estates in other 
parts of the Peloponnesus. He died in 1365 ; and his sons, 
Angelo and Robert, succeeded in turn to the barony and 
government of Corinth 2 . Angelo mortgaged Corinth to his 
relation, Nerio Acciaiuoli, who already possessed fiefs in 
Achaia, and who took up his residence at Corinth, on account 

1 l'occaccio, Opere Volgari, Florence, 1834, tom. xvii. p. 37, quoted at length 
by Buchon, Nouvelles Recherches, i. 87. Nicholas was unfortunate in his inter- 
course with the great literary characters of his age. Petrarch was displeased with 
him for not keeping a promise, for which act he is sharply reproached by the 
poet. Napier. Florentine History, ii. 163, note. 

2 The tomb of Nicholas Acciaiuoli. in the monastery of St. Lawrence, near 
J lorence. is said to be the workmanship of Andrea Orcagna, and is one of the 
richest sepulchral monuments of the time. Buchon, Nouvelles Recherches, plate 


aj>. 1386-1456.] Jy 

of the political and military importance of the fortress as 
well as to enable him to administer the revenues of the barony 
in the most profitable manner. 

Nerio Acciaiuoli, though he held the governorship of 
Corinth only as the deputy of his relation, and the barony 
only in security of a debt, was nevertheless, from his ability, 
enterprising character, great wealth, and extensive connections, 
one of the most influential barons of Achaia ; and, from the 
disorderly state of the principality, he was enabled to act as 
an independent prince. We have already seen under what 
pretext he succeeded in gaining possession of the greater 
part of the Catalan possessions in Attica and Boeotia. About 
the commencement of the year 1394, Ladislas, king of Naples, 

conferred on him by patent the title of duke of Athens 

Athens forming, as the king pretended, part of the princi- 
pality of Achaia \ But almost about the same time the new 
duke had the misfortune to be taken prisoner by a band of 
Navarrese troops, which still maintained itself in eastern 
Greece, and with which he was holding a conference, trusting 
to the safe conduct of a Catalan chief, who also continued to 
preserve his independence. Nerio was compelled to purchase 
his liberty by paying a large ransom, part of which he raised .by- 
seizing the treasures and jewels in all the churches throughout 
his territories, and selling all the ornaments of value, even to 
the silver plates on the door, of the church of St. Mary at 
Athens. He died shortly after. By his will he placed all his 
possessions under the protection of the republic of Venice, 
supplicating it to defend the rights of his daughter Francesca, 
wife of Charles Tocco, count of Cephalonia and despot of 
Arta, or Romania 2 . Nerio left the castle and district of 
Livadea to his natural son Antonio, as well as the city of 
Thebes, with the right to redeem it, on payment of the sum 
for which it had been pledged on account of his ransom. 

The first bequest in the will of Nerio Acciaiuoli is a very 
singular one. It bequeaths the city of Athens to the church 
of St. Mary. The bequest implied the acquisition of muni- 
cipal liberty, under the protection of the clergy; and thus, 

1 Buchon, Nouvelles Recherches; Diplomes, No. xli. torn. ii. p. 223. Ladislas had 
really no title to the suzerainty over Achaia. This patent is incorrectly abridged 
in Fanelli, Atene Attica, p. 290. 

3 Chalcocondylas, 113. The testament of Nerio is published by Buchon, 
Nouvelles Recherches, ii. 260. 


[Ch.VI.§ 5 . 

after fourteen centuries of slavery, Athens regained for a 
moment a halo of liberty, under the shadow of papal influ- 
ence, through the superstition or piety of a Florentine 
merchant prince \ The archbishop was the true defender of 
the commons in the East, but, unfortunately, the archbishop 
of Athens was of the Catholic Church, and the people were 
orthodox ; so that, even if he could have succeeded in main- 
taining his authority, he must have done so as a feudal prince. 
But the bequest of Nerio was a delusion, by which the dying 
sinner calmed the reproaches of a conscience troubled with 
the memory of the plundered ornaments of many churches, 
and, above all, of the silver plates of the doors of St. Mary, 
with which he had paid his own ransom. The archbishop of 
Athens and the administrators of church property belonging 
to the papal church being hated by the majority of the 
inhabitants of Athens, who were orthodox Greeks, it is 
probable that a revolution would have soon followed the 
assumption of power by the chapter of St. Mary, had the 
Venetian republic not been called in to protect their govern- 
ment, in virtue of the general superintendence over the 
execution of the testament confided to Venice. 

In the mean time, Antonio, who was master of Livadea 
and Thebes, trusting to his popularity, and counting on the 
active support of the Greeks, to whose nation his mother 
belonged, advanced to attack Athens. He besieged the city 
before the Venetians had placed a garrison in the Acropolis. 
To create a diversion the Venetian governor of Negrepont 
marched to attack Thebes at the head of six thousand troops. 
Antonio hastened to meet them before they could intrench 
themselves ; and, by a skilful disposition of a very inferior 
numerical force, he completely routed this army, and cap- 
tured many of the Latin feudal chiefs who had joined the 
Venetians. On his return to his camp before Athens, he 
was immediately admitted within the walls by his partizans. 
The Acropolis soon surrendered, and Antonio assumed the 
government of the duchy, adopting the title of Lord of the 
duchy of Athens 2 . As soon as his power was firmly estab- 

1 The words of the bequest are — ' Lasciamo all' ecclesia di Santa Maria di 
Atene la citu di Atene. COD tutte sue pertinentie et ragioni.' 

- It is not easy to fix the time that Antonio assumed the title of duke of Athens, 
if indeed he ever used it. The patent of the dukedom by king Ladislas granted 
the title to the son of Donato Acciaiuoli, the brother of Nerio, on the death 


A.D. I386-I456.] 

lished in all the country, from Livadea to Athens, he 
visited the court of sultan Bayezid I., whose impetuous 
character rendered him the terror of the Christian princes in 
his neighbourhood. From this restless enemy of the Christian 
name he succeeded in obtaining a recognition of his sove- 
reignty over Attica and Boeotia x . 

Under the government of Antonio Acciaiuoli, Athens en- 
joyed uninterrupted tranquillity for forty years. Its wealth 
and commercial importance, though in a state of decline, 
were still considerable, for it required many generations of 
misfortune and bad government to reduce Attica to the 
miserable condition in which we see it at the present time — 
languishing under what is called the protection of the great 
powers of Europe 2 . The republic of Florence deemed it an 
object worthy of its especial attention to obtain a commercial 
treaty with the duchy, for the purpose of securing to the 
citizens of the republic all the privileges enjoyed by the 
Venetians, Catalans, and Genoese. The conclusion of this 
treaty is almost the only event recorded concerning the ex- 
ternal relations of Athens during the long reign of Antonio 3 . 
The Athenians appear to have lived happily under his 
government ; and he himself seems to have spent his time in 
a joyous manner, inviting his Florentine relations to Greece, 
and entertaining them with festivals and hunting parties. 
Yet he was neither a spendthrift nor a tyrant ; for Chalco- 
condylas, whose father lived at his court, records that while 
he accumulated great wealth with prudent economy, he at 
the same time adorned the city of Athens with many new 
buildings 4 . Phrantzes, who visited the court of Athens, at a 
subsequent period, on a mission from Constantine, the last 
emperor of Constantinople, then despot in the Morea, says 
that Antonio married Maria Melissenos, and received several 

of the first duke without heirs male. Antonio lived on friendly terms with the 
members of his father's family ; and Nerio, the third son of Donato, resided often 
at his court. The title Antonio assumes in the commercial charter he granted 
to the citizens of Florence, in 1423, is, AvOivrrjs 'AOrjvwv Qrjfiuiv rravros Bov/ctdfiov 
/cat twv k£rjs. 

1 Chalcocondylas, 113, 114. 2 a.d. 1850. 

3 The Greek charter is printed by Buchon, Nouvelles Reckerches ; Diplomes, lxvii. 
torn. ii. p. 289. It is dated August 1422. 

4 Chalcocondylas, 114. Colonel Leake thinks that the high _ tower in the 
Acropolis may have been built by Antonio ; I own I feel inclined, from the 
manner of its construction, to attribute it to an earlier period. Leake's Topo- 
graphy of Athens, vol. i. p. 73. 



[Ch.VI.§ 5 . 

towns in the district of Tzakonia as her dowry. Antonio died 

of apoplexy in 1435 l . 

Nerio II., the grandson of Donato Acciaiuoli, brother of the 
first duke, was now the legal heir to the dukedom. He and 
his brother Antonio had been invited to Athens, and treated 
as heirs to the principality by the Duke Antonio ; but when 
the Duke Antonio died without a will, his widow succeeded 
in gaining possession of the Acropolis, through the favour of 
the Greek population, who desired the expulsion of their 
Latin rulers. Phrantzes was sent by the despot Constantine, 
as envoy, to treat with her for the cession of Athens and 
Thebes to the Greek empire, on condition of her receiving 
an increase of her paternal heritage in the Peloponnesus ; but 
her power proved of too short duration to enable the envoy 
to conclude anything. Military assistance, not diplomatic 
negotiation, was what the widow required, in order to enable 
her to maintain the position she had occupied. As she could 
not procure this from the Greeks, she endeavoured to obtain 
it from the Turks. For this purpose she sent the father of 
the historian Chalcocondylas as ambassador to sultan Murad 
II., with rich presents, in order to purchase the ratification or 
recognition of her authority at the Porte. The principal men 
at Athens were then of the papal church, and they were con- 
sequently averse to the government of a Greek lady, whose 
administration could not fail to terminate by the sale of her 
authority to the Greek despot of the Peloponnesus, or by her 
a needing a portion of her power to the lower order of 
citizens, who adhered to the Greek rite. The long prosperity 
of Antonio's government had attached the majority, in some 
degree, to the family of Acciaiuoli. The Latin aristocracy, 
therefore, contrived to put an end to the power of his widow 
by enticing her to quit the Acropolis, seizing on that fortress, 
and expelling her most active partizans from the city. Chal- 
cocondylas was driven into banishment, and Nerio II. was 
established on the ducal throne, with the approbation of the 
sultan, whose troops had advanced as far as Thebes. 

The new duke was a man of weak character, and the 

1 Phrantzes, p. 159, edit. Bonn. Chalcocondylas (114) and Fanelli (Atene 
Allien, p. 294"! indicate that he was twice married. The towns that formed 
the dowry of Maria bfelissenos were, Astros, Aghios Petros, Aghios Joannes, 
Platamouas, Melingou, Proasteion, Leonidas, Kyparissia, Rheontas, and Sitanas. 


A.D. 1 386-I456.] 

direction of the administration fell into the hands of his 
brother Antonio. Nerio visited Florence, in order to regulate 
the affairs of his father's succession ; and it was generally- 
reported in Greece, and perhaps not entirely without founda- 
tion, that he had been compelled to surrender the government 
of the duchy to his brother. Still there does not appear to 
have been any feeling of personal animosity between the 
brothers, for Nerio II. left his wife and son to the care of 
Antonio during his absence 1 . On his return he found his 
brother dead. Nothing more is recorded of Nerio, except 
that he was compelled to pay tribute to Constantine, despot 
of the Morea, in the year 1443, when the victorious campaign 
of John Hunniades in Bulgaria enabled the Moreotes to make 
a temporary incursion into northern Greece. But as soon as 
Murad II. had restored the superiority of the Turkish arms 
by his victory at Varna, Nerio abandoned the cause of the 
Greeks, and hastened to join his forces to those of the Otho- 
man general Turakhan, at Thebes, as he advanced to invade 
the Peloponnesus. Nerio was allowed to retain possession of 
Athens as a vassal and tributary of the Othoman empire ; but 
he was obliged to remain a tame spectator while part of his 
dominions was plundered by a detachment of the Turkish 
army. His death happened about the time Constantinople 
was taken by Mohammed II. 

Nerio II. left an infant son, and his widow acted as regent 
during the minority. She fell in love with Pietro Almerio, 
the Venetian governor of Nauplia, and promised to marry 
him if he could obtain a divorce from his wife. Almerio 
thought that he could remove all obstacles to the marriage 
most readily by murdering his wife, a crime which he doubt- 
less expected to be able to conceal. He was so far successful 
that he married the duchess, and obtained the direction of the 
government of Athens. But his crime became known, and 
the principal Athenians, both Latins and Greeks, fearing to 
fall under the severe authority of the Venetian senate, and 
indignant at the conduct of the duchess, complained to sultan 
Mohammed II. of the crimes of her Venetian lover. The 
principal men, or Archonts, of Athens, had acquired a re- 
cognized right to interfere in the affairs of the administration 

1 Compare Chalcocondylas, 170, with Buchon, Nouvelles Recherches, i. 185. 

M 2 


[Ch.VI.§ ? . 

from the moment the duchy became tributary to the Otho- 
man Porte. Their complaints met with immediate attention, 
for it did not suit the sultan's policy to permit Venice to 
extend her influence in Greece, and the Othoman sultans 
were the protectors of religious toleration and of the equality 
of all Christian sects. Almerio was summoned to the Otho- 
man court, to defend himself against the accusation of the 
Athenians ; and in his position as guardian of a tributary 
prince, he could not venture to dispute the order without 
resigning the charge to obtain which he had committed his 
crime. On his arrival, he found Franco Acciaiuoli, the son 
of Antonio and cousin of the young duke, already in high 
favour at the Porte. Sultan Mohammed II. no sooner heard 
Almerio's reply to the accusations of the Athenians, than he 
removed the Venetian from the government, and conferred 
the duchy on Franco, who was received by the inhabitants 
with great demonstrations of joy. 

The first act of Franco Acciaiuoli proved that his residence 
at the Turkish court had utterly corrupted his morals. He 
sent his aunt to Megara, where, after keeping her a short 
time in prison, he ordered her to be secretly put to death. 
Almerio accused him of this murder at the Porte, and soli- 
cited the government of Athens as the guardian of the young 
duke, whose person, it was evident, could not be safe in the 
custody of his mother's murderer. Mohammed II., finding 
that the Athenians were now equally disgusted with both 
pretenders, ordered Omar the son of Turakhan to take pos- 
session of the Acropolis, and annexed Attica to the Othoman 
empire. Franco held out the Acropolis against the Turkish 
army for a short time, but surrendered it on receiving a pro- 
mise that he should be allowed to remove his treasures to 
Thebes, and be acknowledged as prince of that city. This 
conquest put an end to the domination of the Latins, in the 
year 14,56 l . 

Two years after the conquest, sultan Mohammed II. visited 
Athens in person, on his return from the Morea. The mag- 
nificence of the ancient buildings in the city and Acropolis, 
and the splendid aspect of the Piraeus, with its quays and 

1 Chalcocondylas (241) places the final conquest of Athens during Mohammed's 
expedition into the Peloponnesus in 1458; but 1'hrantzes (385, edit. Bonn) gives 
the correct date. 


A.D. I386-I456.] 

moles recently adorned by the duke Antonio, struck the 
sultan with admiration, who exclaimed with delight, ' Islam 
is in truth deeply indebted to the son of Turakhan.' Mo- 
hammed visited Athens a second time in the year 1460, after 
he had put an end to the power of the Greek despots in the 
Morea ; and on this occasion some of the Athenian archonts 
were accused of having formed a plot to place Franco again 
in possession of the city. In order to remove all chance of 
disorder after his own departure, Mohammed carried away ten 
of the principal inhabitants as hostages ; and Saganos, who 
was left as pasha of the Morea, was ordered to put Franco to 
death. Saganos cited Franco to appear before him, and as 
the criminal had once been his intimate friend, he permitted 
him to be privately strangled in his own tent \ The govern- 
ment of the last sovereigns of Athens and the bigotry of the 
papal church had become intolerable to the Greek population, 
who hailed the establishment of the Othoman power with 
delight. For some time the administration of the Turks 
was considered mild and liberal : they invested Greek local 
magistrates with a greater degree of authority than they had 
previously possessed ; they allowed the orthodox clergy to 
dispense justice to the Greek population, and the local 
authorities to collect the tribute which the province was 
compelled to remit to Constantinople. The arrival of the 
Turks appeared like the dawn of liberty to those who could 
forget that they were compelled to pay a tribute of children 
to recruit the ranks of the Janissaries. Slavery, and the 
religious quarrels of the Greeks and Latins, had so deadened 
the moral feelings of the people to this calamity that, to 
all outward appearance, they seemed long contented with 
their lot, and by no means inclined to participate in the 
schemes formed by the Christians of the West for their 
deliverance from the Turkish yoke, which, even with the 
burden of the tribute of Greek children, was considered pre- 
ferable to that of the Catholics. 

1 Chalcocondylas, 257. The Historia Patriarckica Constantinopoleos (p. 121, 
edit. Cmsius) says that the wife of Franco was a daughter of Demetrius Asan 
of Corinth. 


[Ch. VI. § 6. 

SECT. VI. — Condition of the Greek Population under 
the Dukes of Athens. 

Chronicles and official documents replace in some degree 
the want of a Thucydides or a Xenophon, and enable us 
to reconstruct at least an outline of the political history of 
mediaeval Athens. But the blank left by the want of 
an Aristophanes is irreparable, and we are unfortunately 
completely ignorant of the condition of those whom Shakspeare 
calls — 

'The rude mechanicals, 
That worked for bread upon Athenian stalls.' 

Still, in order to mark the peculiarities of the period that 
witnessed the almost total extinction of rural slavery, it is 
necessary to pass in review the few facts that are recorded 
concerning the condition of the labouring classes during 
the Frank domination in Attica. There is no doubt that 
the conquest of the Byzantine empire by the Latins, and 
the division of the territory among' several independent 
princes, must have tended to ameliorate the. condition of 
the cultivators of the soil who were still slaves or serfs. The 
Sclavonian or Albanian slave found a protector against his 
Greek master in the Frank feudal chief ; and whenever his 
condition became insupportable, he could without much 
difficulty escape into the territories of some neighbouring and 
generally hostile prince. 

It has been supposed, from the tendency of Justinian's 
legislation, compared with subsequent laws of the Byzantine 
emperors, that Christians were not retained in slavery by the 
Greeks in the thirteenth century; and that rural slavery had 
been long extinguished, and replaced by the labour of serfs 
or colons, who made fixed payments in produce and labour 
for the land to which they were attached. Two laws are 
frequently quoted to prove the advances made by the 
Byzantine government towards the abolition of slavery. One 
of these laws displays an extremely favourable disposition 
with regard to the slaves, while the other indicates a desire 
to see slavery extinguished. The first, dated at the end 
of the eleventh century, declares, that if any person be 
claimed as a slave, and can produce two witnesses of character 


A.D. I205-I456.J 

to prove that he has been known as a freeman, the process 
must be terminated by his own oath. The same law declares, 
also, that even slaves shall be entitled to claim their liberty, 
if their masters refuse to permit the religious celebration of 
their marriages 1 . The second law, which belongs to the 
middle of the twelfth century, gives freedom to all persons 
who have been reduced to slavery by the sale of their 
property, by the necessity of cultivating the lands of others 
in a servile capacity, or by poverty which had compelled 
them to sell themselves in order to obtain the necessaries of 
life 2 . The enactment of these laws must not be attributed 
entirely to feelings of humanity or Christian charity, caused 
by the advanced state of moral civilization in Byzantine 
society, or to the powerful influence exercised on the religious 
feelings of Eastern Christians by the Greek church. They 
had their origin partly in political motives ; and when these 
motives ceased to operate, we find, from subsequent history, 
that they were forgotten or neglected. As late as the year 
1344, imperial selfishness extinguished every sentiment of 
humanity and religion in the Byzantine government and the 
Greek people on the subject of slavery. During the civil 
war between the empress Anne of Savoy, guardian of John 
V., and the usurper Cantacuzenos, the empress concluded 
a treaty with the Othoman sultan Orkhan, by which the 
Mohammedan auxiliaries in the imperial armies were allowed 
to export as slaves into Asia any Christians they might take 
prisoners belonging to the adverse party ; and this treaty 
even permitted the slave-merchants, who purchased these 
slaves, to convey them from the markets held in the Turkish 
camp through Constantinople and Scutari to their destination 
in the Mussulman countries 3 . The provisions of this treaty 
were ratified by Cantacuzenos when he gained over the sultan 
to his party by making him his son-in-law ; yet this un- 
principled hypocrite, in his pompous history, gravely records 
that it was forbidden by the Roman law to reduce prisoners 
of war to the condition of slaves, unless they were barbarians 

1 Mortreuil, Hitoire du droit Byzantin, torn. iii. p. 158; E. Bonefidius, Jus 
Orienfale, p. 67. 

2 Cinnami Hist. Byz. 161. This law has escaped the attention both of Boie- 
fidius and' Mortreuil, but is noticed by Le Beau, HUtoire du Bas-Empire, torn. xvi. 
p. 302. 

3 Cantacuzeni Hist. p. 302. 


[Ch. VI. § 6. 

who did not believe in the doctrines of Christianity. The 
hypocrisy of princes sometimes succeeds in falsifying history, 
even when they are not writing it themselves, like Canta- 
cuzenos, in a monastery where they excite sympathy by 
having exchanged the robes of an emperor for the garb of a 

A few documents have been preserved which prove the 
existence both of domestic and rural slavery in Athens, 
down to the latest period of the ducal government. A letter 
of Pope Innocent III. to the archbishop of Patras, in the 
year 1209, shows that the soil was very generally cultivated 
by serfs throughout Greece at the time of the Frank con- 
quest \ A charter of the titular Latin emperor Robert, 
in 1358, mentions the loss of slaves as one of the greatest 
misfortunes to which landed proprietors could be exposed 2 . 
In the will of Nerio I., duke of Athens, there is a clause 
conferring liberty on a slave named Maria Rendi, and de- 
claring that all her property, whether movable or immovable, 
must be given up to her. This clause affords conclusive 
proof of the existence both of domestic and rural servitude, 
for the idea of a domestic slave possessing immovable 
property indicates that the legal position of rural serfs had 
modified the condition of domestic slaves 3 . There is still 
a more decisive proof of the generality of domestic slavery 
in an act of donation of a female slave, by Francesca, countess 
of Cephalonia, daughter of Nerio I., to her cousin Nerio, 
by which she gives him one of her female slaves or serfs 
from the despotat of Arta, in absolute property, with full 
power to sell or emancipate her 4 . The last official act 
relating to slavery during the government of the Frank dukes 
is dated in 1437. It mentions numerous personal services as 
due by serfs in Attica, corresponding to those to which the 
villeins were subjected in western Europe ; and it liberates 
a slave of duke Antonio, named Gregorios Chamaches, and 
his posterity, from the servitudes of transporting agricultural 

1 Innocentii III. Epist. lib. xiii. ep. 159, torn. ii. p. 4S5, edit. Baluze. 

2 Buchon, Nouvelles Recherches; Diplomes, torn. ii. p. 145. 
8 Ibid. ii. 256. 

* Ibid ii. 2S6. We know that slaves were publicly sold at Venice in the 

fourteenth century. Still it appears that, in certain cases, the consent of the 

-lave was necessary for a legal transference from one master to another. Gamba, 

'egli scritti im/ressi in Dialetto Veneziano, Venezia 1*32, where, at p. 32, an 

Imtrumeiito di vendila d'uno schiavo scrilto I' anno 1365 is given. 


A.D. 1 205-1 456.] 

produce to the city, of transporting new wine from the vats, 
of collecting and making offerings of oil and olives, and from 
all other obligations of rural servitude, making him as free as 
a Frank \ 

But rural slavery did not become completely extinct 
in Greece until the country was conquered by the Turks. 
The fact is, that in no country where it prevailed has rural 
slavery ceased until the price of the productions raised by 
slave- labour has fallen so low as to leave no profit to the 
slave-owner. When some change in the condition of the 
population admits of land being let for a greater share of 
the produce than can be reserved by the proprietor, when 
he cultivates it himself with the labour of his slaves, then 
it will be impossible to perpetuate slavery; but on the other 
hand it will be very difficult to abolish slavery in any society 
where the labour of the slave gives fertility to the soil and 
wealth to the slave-owner, and where no free labourers can 
be found to secure a corresponding profit to the landowner. 
History affords its testimony that neither the doctrines of 
Christianity, nor the sentiments of humanity, have ever yet 
succeeded in persuading slave-owners that it was their duty 
as men or as Christians to abolish slavery, where the soil 
could be cultivated with profit by slave-labour. No Christian 
community of slaveholders has yet voluntarily abolished 
slavery. Philanthropy is the late production of an advanced 
state of civilization, operating on a society free from external 
danger, whose members are not under the necessity of 
rendering personal military service, and where the majority 
remain ignorant of the sufferings and passions of actual 

It may not be uninteresting to notice here some proofs of 
the wealth and importance of Athens during the government 
of the dukes. Muntaner, a valuable testimony, since he was 
long engaged in war with the French along the whole shores 
of the Mediterranean, declares that the Frank chivalry of 

1 The original words are curious — 'A\\a not naWov earaj 001 cppayyos i\ev9epos 
ml iraihia tuiv ircudiajv aov airb iracrrjs inrapoitcias re 5ov\oavvrjs dwo T€ eyyapias 
KavtcrKiwv, p.ovaTo<popiuiv, i\aioimpovx<-<uv Kal krtpoiv dKXcav roiavrrjs vnapoiKias 
■npovopnov. B\ichon,Nouvelles Recherches; Diplomes, ii. 297. The system of paroekia 
or feudal servitudes that prevailed in the Venetian possessions in the East, and 
particularly in Cyprus, was extremely odious and oppressive. It caused the flight 
of many Greek families to the Turkish dominions. 


[Ch.Vl §6. 

Greece was in nobility and deeds of arms second to none in 
Europe ; that they spoke as good French as the nobles of 
Paris ; that the title of prince of the Morea was, after that of 
king, one of the highest and noblest in the world ; and that 
the duke of Athens was one of the greatest princes of the 
empire of Romania, and among the noblest of those sove- 
reigns who did not bear the kingly title \ 

The palace of the dukes of Athens was built over the 
columns of the Propylaea of the Acropolis, and the great 
tower which still exists was the keep of that edifice. Though 
perhaps it may disfigure the classic elegance of the spot, it is 
a grand historical landmark, and testifies, by the solidity of its 
construction, both the wealth of the dukes and their firm 
confidence in the stability of their power, now that every other 
trace of their palaces has disappeared -. The Turks only 
whitewashed the fortresses which the Franks strengthened. 
The palace erected by the Franks at Thebes was far more 
celebrated in the days of its splendour than their buildings in 
the Acropolis of Athens. A single ruined tower is now all that 
remains of this renowned construction, and it still retains the 
name of Santomeri, in memory of Nicholas . Saint-Omer, by 
whom it was built. This magnificent baron possessed one 
half of the barony of Thebes, in consequence of his grand- 
father's marriage with the sister of Guy L, duke of Athens 3 . 
Nicholas married the princess of Antioch, who brought him an 
immense dowry. His fortified palace at Thebes was built 
with a strength and solidity of which the ruined tower affords 
us some evidence ; and the jealousy of the Catalans who 

1 Muntaner, chap, ccxliv., cclxi.. cclxii. 

2 Some remains of the ducal palace were visible in the northern chamber of 
the Propylaea, called the Pinacotheca. until they were removed with the battery 
that encumbered the centre of the building. The period at which this tower wat 
constructed is not certain, but it seems to be a monument of the dukes of the 
family of De la Roche, and to belong to the same epoch as the ruined tower 
of Mark Sanudo. in the citadel of Naxos, and that of Santomeri at Thebes. This 
early age was the period in which towers were a universal system of defence. 
For the strong towers in Palestine constructed by the French, see Michaud, 
Hisfoire dt . Pieces Jusrif. ; Vie de Malek Mantour Kelaoun; and Bihlio- 
thrjue des Crohades, iv. partie, p. 491. The lower built by Philip Augustus at 
Bourges was a hundred and twenty feet high, and the walls twenty feet thick. 
In Italy, many republics would not allow towers 10 be built more than eighty 
feet high, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Vincens, Hisfoire de G. 

i. 247. [It is greatly to be regretted that so valuable a mediaeval monument 
as this Venetian tower has been removed within the last two years. Ed.] 

3 The sister of Guy de la Roche, who married Nicholas Saint-Omer, was widow 
of Demetrius, king of Saloniki. 


a.d.i 205-1456.] 

destroyed it gives us additional testimony ; while of its mag- 
nificence the Greek Chronicle of the Conquest of the Morea 
speaks in terms of great admiration, celebrating its apartments 
as worthy of royalty, and its walls as works of wonderful art, 
adorned with paintings of the chivalric exploits of the Cru- 
saders in the Holy Land \ A few lines in rude Greek verse, 
and a ruined tower, are all that remains of the pride of Saint- 
Omer. The Acropolis and city of Athens, even to the present 
day, contain some rude but laborious sculptures executed 
during the period of the Frank domination ; and their num- 
ber was much greater before the recent reconstruction of the 
town, and the destruction of numerous mediaeval churches, 
which formed a valuable link in the records of Athens, and an 
interesting feature in Athenian topography, while they illus- 
trated the history of art by their curious and sometimes precious 
paintings. But in the space of a few years, the greater and 
most valuable part of the paintings has disappeared ; and hun- 
dreds of sculptured monuments of Byzantine and Frank pride 
and piety have been broken in pieces, and converted into 
building materials or paving-stones 2 . 

But though the marble monuments of the dukes and arch- 
bishops, their charters and their archives, have disappeared, 
the renown of the dukedom lives, and will live for ever, in 
many imperishable works of European literature. The Catalan 
chronicle of Ramon Muntaner, a work considerably older and 
not less delightful than the brightest pages of Froissart, gives 
us an account of the chivalric pomp and magnificent tourna- 
ments of the ducal court 3 . Muntaner bore a prominent part 
in many of the scenes he so vividly describes. He had fought 
in numerous bloody battles with the Turks and Greeks ; he 
had visited the court of Guy IL, the last duke of the family of 
De la Roche ; he had viewed the magnificent halls of the 
castle of Santomeri at Thebes, where his friend and master, 
the Infant Don Fernand, of Majorca, was detained a prisoner. 
What can be more touching than the stout old warrior's tale 

1 Greek text of Copenhagen, v. 6743. See above, p. 152. note 2. 

2 The destruction of historical records contained in the remains of Byzantine 
and Frank sculpture and painting, and Turkish inscriptions, which have been 
annihilated by Bavarians and Greeks during the reign of king Otho, has deprived 
Greece of records of mediaeval art and Turkish chronology, valuable even among 
the classic remains of Hellas. Such conduct ratifies the proceedings of Lord 
Elgin on the part of Germany and Greece. 

3 Muntaner, chap, ccxliv. 


[Ch. VI. § 6. 
of how his heart swelled in his breast as he took leave of his 
king's son in prison ; and how he gave his own rich habit to 
the cook of the castle, and made him swear on the Holy 
Scriptures that he would rather allow his own head to be cut 
off, than permit anything hurtful to be put in the food of the 
Infant of Majorca 1 ? 

Gibbon tells us that 'from the Latin princes of the four- 
teenth century, Boccaccio, Chaucer, and Shakspeare have 
borrowed their " Theseus, duke of Athens ; " ' and the great 
historian adds, 'An ignorant age transfers its own language 
and manners to the most distant times V The fact is, that 
every age does the same thing. The name of Dante must be 
added to those enumerated by Gibbon. Dante was a con- 
temporary of Guy II. and Walter de Brienne, and in his day 
the fame of the dukes of Athens was a familiar theme in the 
mouths of the Italians of all the commercial republics, as well 
as of the statesmen at Naples and the priests at Rome. It 
was natural, therefore, that the 'great poet-sire of Italy' 
should think that he gave his readers a not unapt idea of the 
grandeur of Pisistratus, by calling him 

'Sire della villa 
Del cui nome ne' Dei fu tanta lite, 
Ed onde ogni scienzia disfa villa V 

Surely this is at least as correct as our established phrase, 
which styles him tyrant of Athens. Dante also calls Theseus 
duca d'Atene — and he did so, doubtless, because the title 
appeared to him more appropriate than that of king, and he 
was compelled to choose between them*. 

Boccaccio, whose relations with Nicholas Acciaiuoli have 
been already noticed, and who was familiar with the state of 
Athens from many sources, has left us a charming picture of 
the Athenian court "'. 

Chaucer and his contemporary readers must have been 
well acquainted with the fame of Walter de Brienne, titular 
duke of Athens, who, as constable of France, perished on the 
field of Poitiers ; and the history of his father, whom the 
Catalans had deprived of life and duchy in the battle of the 

1 Muntaner, chap, ccxxxviii. 

3 Decline and Fall, chap, lxii, vol. vii. p. 385. 

* Purgalorio, \\. st. 33. 

* Inferno, xii. st. 6. 

5 See the history of the princess Alathiel; Decameron, ii. 7. 


a.d. 1 205-1456.] 

Cephissus, must have been the theme of many a tale in every 

country in Europe. Chaucer may therefore have considered 

that he adorned the name of Theseus by lending it the title 

of a great and wealthy prince, instead of associating it with 

that of a paltry king \ 

Shakspeare, on the contrary, probably never bestowed a 

thought either on the history of Theseus or the chronology of 

the Athenian duchy. Little did he care for that literary 

fastidiousness which allows the attention to be diverted from 

a true picture of human nature by historical anachronisms. 

To such critics it is possible that the Midsummer Nights 

Dream would appear more perfect if Theseus had been 

inventoried in the dramatis personae as a member of the 

house of De la Roche, and Hippolyta as a princess of Achaia ; 

but the defect is in the critics, who can allow their minds to 

go wandering into history, and thinking of Doric temples or 

feudal towers, when they ought to be following Shakspeare 

into the fairy-land he creates. 

1 The Knight's Tale. 


Prinxipality of Achaia, or the Morea. 

Sect. I. — Conquest of Achaia by William of ' Champlitte. — 
Feudal Organization of the Principality. 

THE conquest of the Peloponnesus by the French differs 
considerably from the other military operations of the 
Crusaders in the Byzantine empire, and bears a closer resem- 
blance to the conquest of England by the Normans. The 
conquering force was small — the conquest was quickly yet 
gradually effected— the opposition did not become a national 
struggle that interested the great mass of the population, and 
the conquerors perpetuated their power and kept their race, 
for some generations, distinct from the conquered people ; so 
that the enterprise unites in some degree the character of a 
military conquest with that of a colonial establishment. The 
number of the Frank troops that invaded the Peloponnesus, 
or at least that began its conquest after the retreat of the king 
of Saloniki from Corinth, was numerically inadequate to the 
undertaking; nor could any degree of military skill and 
discipline have compensated for this inferiority, had the 
Byzantine provincial government possessed the means of 
organizing any efficient union among the local authorities, 
or had the native Greek population felt a patriotic determina- 
tion to defend their country, and avail themselves of the 
many strong positions scattered over the surface of a land 
filled with defiles and mountain-passes. But the high state 
of material civilization— the wealth of a large portion of 
the inhabitants, who generally lived collected together in 
towns — their love of ease, and their indifference to the fate of 
the Byzantine emperors, made the people both careless of any 


change in their rulers, and unfit to offer any serious resistance 
to a determined enemy. The inhabitants of Greece were 
habitually viewed with jealousy by the Byzantine govern- 
ment, which feared to see them in possession of arms, lest 
they should avail themselves of the singular advantages their 
country presents for asserting their independence. Several 
Greek islands and the town of Modon in the Morea had been 
occupied by the Venetians as early as the year 11 25, so that 
the effects of foreign domination were not unknown, and were 
not found to be intolerable 1 . The Peloponnesians were little 
exercised in the use of offensive weapons, unaccustomed to 
bear the weight of defensive armour, and unacquainted 
with military discipline ; they were, therefore, absolutely 
ignorant of the simplest dispositions necessary to render their 
numbers of any practical advantage in the occupation of posts 
and the defence of towns. The Frank invaders found that 
they had little else to do but to drive them together into 
masses, in order to insure their defeat and submission. 
Under such circumstances, it need not surprise us to learn 
that the little army of Champlitte subdued the Greeks with 
as much ease as the band of Cortes conquered the Mexicans ; 
for the bravest men, not habituated to the use of arms, and 
ignorant how to range themselves on the field of battle or 
behind the leaguered rampart, can do little to avert the 
catastrophe of their country's ruin. Like the virtuous priest 
who, ignorant of theological lore, plunges boldly into public 
controversy with a learned and eloquent heretic, they can 
only injure the cause they are anxious to defend. 

William de Champlitte and his brother Eudes are fre- 
quently mentioned by Geffrey de Villehardouin, in his 
Chronicle, as distinguished leaders of the Crusaders during 
the siege of Constantinople. Eudes, the elder brother, died 
before the conquest of the Byzantine empire, but William 
received his portion of territory in the Peloponnesus, and 
accompanied Boniface, king of Saloniki, in his expedition into 
Greece 2 . The Crusaders, after defeating Leo Sguros at 

1 See above, p. 77. 

2 The family of Champlitte was often called of Champagne. The father of 
the two Crusaders was Eudes, son of Hugh, eighth count of Champagne, and 
his wife, Elizabeth of Burgundy. Hugh, believing himself impotent, refused to 
acknowledge his son Eudes, and ceded the county of Champagne and all his 
property to his nephew, Thibaut, count of Blois and Chaitres. It was this Hugh, 
count of Champagne, who bestowed Clairvaux on St. Bernard. He died a 


[Ch.VII. §r. 

Thermopylae, and installing Otho de la Roche in his posses- 
sion at Thebes and Athens, pursued the Greeks into the 
Peloponnesus, and laid siege to Corinth and Nauplia. James 
d'Avesnes commanded the force which held Sguros himself 
blockaded in the Acrocorinth, while Boniface and William de 
Champlitte advanced with the main body, and invested 

In the mean time, Geffrey Villehardouin the younger 
arrived in the camp. He was nephew of the celebrated 
marshal of Romania, whose inimitable history of the expedi- 
tion to Constantinople is one of the most interesting literary 
monuments of the middle ages; but instead of accompanying 
his uncle and the members of the fourth Crusade who 
attacked the Byzantine empire, he had sailed direct from 
Marseilles to Syria. Like most of the Crusaders who visited 
the Holy Land on this occasion, he performed no exploit 
worthy of notice ; and as soon as he had completed the 
year's service to which he was bound by his vow, he hastened 
to return to France. On his voyage he was assailed by a 
tempest, which drove his ships into the harbour of Modon, 
where he found himself compelled to pass the winter. It 
was already known in Greece that the Crusaders had taken 
Constantinople, and that the central government of the 
Byzantine empire was destroyed. One of the Greek nobles 
of the Peloponnesus, who possessed extensive property and 
influence in Messenia, deemed the moment favourable for 
increasing his power. For this purpose he hired the military 
services of Villehardouin and his followers, who were passing 
the winter at Modon in idleness, and by their assistance 
subdued all the neighbouring towns. The city of Modon 
was conceded to Villehardouin as the reward of his alliance ; 
but the Greek dying in a short time, hostilities commenced 
between his successor and the Franks. At this conjuncture, 
the French at Modon heard of the arrival of the army of 
Boniface before Nauplia. Geffrey Villehardouin, who had 
made up his mind to seek his fortune in Greece (the flourish- 
ing condition of which contrasted in his imagination with the 

Templar in Palestine. Kinks, who was called le Champenois, was bred up 
at his mother's property <>1 Champlitte, which he inherited. Ducange, note to 
Villehardouin. p. 26* ; L 'Art de verifier les Dates; Comtes de Champagne et Blois, 
1 1 'in. iii. part ii. p. 125. 


A.D. I205-I209.] 

squalid poverty of France and the wretched disorder in 
Palestine), boldly resolved to march through the centre of 
the Peloponnesus and join the camp of the Crusaders. This 
enterprise he accomplished in six days, without encountering 
any opposition on his way. Geffrey was probably already 
aware that William of Champlitte had received his share of the 
spoils of the empire in the Peloponnesus ; at all events, he 
offered to serve under his banner, and persuaded him that 
it would be more advantageous to turn their arms against the 
western coast of Greece, then called the Morea, than to 
persist in besieging the impregnable fortresses of Acrocorinth, 
Argos, and Nauplia. Champlitte quitted the main army 
with one hundred knights and a considerable body of men- 
at-arms, and, marching westward, entered the land of the 
Morea, as the plain of Elis was then called, to unite his forces 
with those left by Villehardouin at Modon l . The news of 
an insurrection in Thessalonica compelled Boniface to hasten 
back to his own dominions ; but before the Franks quitted 
the Peloponnesus, the force besieging Corinth was roughly 
handled by the Greeks in a sortie, and James d'Avesnes, 
one of the bravest leaders of the Crusaders, was severely 

By the act of partition — which William de Champlitte 
doubtless felt every disposition to carry into execution, as 
one of those who profited in the highest degree by its pro- 
visions — Modon was assigned to the Venetians. It seems 
probable, from the words of the Chronicle of the marshal, 
that the first operation of Champlitte was to effect a 
junction of his forces with those of Villehardouin left to 
guard the ships at Modon. This was done by marching 
along the southern coast of the gulf of Corinth, and ordering 
the ships of Villehardouin to join the expedition at Patras, 
which was thus blockaded by land and sea. The city of 
Patras, and the castle of Katakolo, which commands a small 
port to the north-west of the mouth of the Alpheus, were 
taken almost as soon as they were invested ; and the inhabi- 
tants of the populous but open town of Andravida, in the 

1 Villehardouin, Conquete de Constantinople, p. 122, edit. Buchon. It must le 
remembered that the act of partition assigned a considerable portion of the 
Peloponnesus to the Venetians, and Lacedaemon. Patras. Modon, and Corinth 
were included in their share. Many modifications were made, but Modon from 
its importance as a naval station remained always in the hands of the Venetians. 



[Ch.VII. § i. 

plain of Elis, voluntarily submitted to Champlitte, who then 
led his troops southward along the coast l . Coron and Kala- 
mata were soon after attacked and captured, without serious 
resistance. As Modon belonged of right to the Venetian 
republic, Champlitte conferred on Geffrey Villehardouin the 
fief of Kalamata, as a reward for his assistance, and it long 
continued to be the family estate of the house of Ville- 
hardouin. The Greeks at last collected an army to resist 
the further progress of the French. It consisted of the few 
Byzantine troops in the garrisons, the armed citizens of the 
towns of Lacedaemon. Veligosti, and Nikli, and the Scla- 
vonian mountaineers of the canton of Melingou, on Mount 
Taygetus. the whole amounting to about four thousand men, 
under the command of a Greek named Michael. The French 
had not more than seven hundred cavalry to attack this 
force ; but the battle was fought in the Lakkos, or north- 
eastern portion of the Messenian plain, where the Franks 
could turn their superior discipline and heavy armour to the 
greatest advantage. The victory was not long doubtful. 
The Greeks were utterly routed ; and this insignificant 
engagement was the only battle fought by the Greeks to 
defend their independence and orthodoxy. The city of 
Arkadia, on the western coast, attempted to make some 
resistance, but ended by submitting to the victorious army 2 . 

The arrangements of Champlitte for the government of the 
Greek population were by no means unfavourable to the 
inhabitants. They prove that the feudal barons of the West 
already understood something of the art of government as well 
as of war. The citizens of the towns were guaranteed in the 
unmolested enjoyment of their private property, and of all the 

1 The Book of the Conquest describes Andravida as a rich town without either 
walls or a citadel, and as there were other populous towns without fortifications 
in the Morea, we have a strong proof of the order and security which existed 
in Greece under the Byzantine government. To judge it equitalily. we ought 
to contrast the state of Greece with that of England under King John, and that of 
Italy, where in the free cities every rich man was compelled to make his house 
a castle. 

2 In this account I have followed Nicetas (p. 393") and Villehardouin (p. 134) 
who agree, and who appear to me to be much better authorities than the Chronicle 
of the Conquest, in French and Greek, published by Buchon. I accept, however, 
the traditional evidence of the Chronicle tor the fact that there was only one 
battle fought between the Greeks and the French in the time of Champlitte. 

avruv nuvov tov nuKtfiov tmjicav 01 'Vqjjjxuoi 

(is Tut' Kaipuv dirfv (KtpSiaav ol 4>pnfK(n tov Tftwpaiav : v. 405. 
The battle was fought near the olive-grove of Koiuidoura. 


A.D. 1 205-1 209.] 

municipal privileges they had possessed under the Byzantine 
government. The Sclavonian cantons of Skorta and Melingou 
were allowed to retain all the privileges which had been con- 
ceded to them by imperial charters. The idea of local admi- 
nistrations and privileged corporations was familiar to all feudal 
Europe by the glorious exploits of the Italian cities against 
the German emperors, and by the charters which had already 
been granted to several communes in France ; so that the 
feudal prejudices of Champlitte and his followers were by 
no means adverse to the concession of capitulations securing 
a considerable degree of liberty to the Greek city population. 
The principle adopted by the Crusaders, in all these political 
arrangements, was extremely simple and well defined. The 
Greeks were allowed to retain their personal property and 
individual rights and privileges, and were allowed to preserve 
the use of the Byzantine law ; while the victors entered 
into possession of all the power and ■ authority of the Byzan- 
tine emperors, of all the imperial domains, and of the private 
estates of the nobles and clergy who had emigrated and 
preferred sharing the fortunes of the Greek emperor and 
Patriarch at Nicaea, or of the despot in Epirus. The powers 
of government, and the property thus acquired, were divided 
and administered according to the feudal system. Patras, 
Andravida, Coron. Kalamata, and Arkadia, which surrendered 
in succession to Champlitte, were all received to submission 
on the same terms, guaranteed by the oath of their 
conqueror x . 

Champlitte employed persuasion as well as arms to assist 
his progress ; and the picture which Villehardouin, his most 
active agent, was enabled to present to the Greeks of their 
own political condition must have made a deep impression 
on their minds, and proved a powerful argument for their 
immediate submission. The conquest of Constantinople, and 
of all eastern Greece, had left them with little hope of forming 
a national government. Leo Sguros, even if he had been 
popular in the Peloponnesus, had been completely defeated 
in the field, and could not dispute the sovereignty with the 

1 Greek Chronicle, v. 765 : — 

dnu tov vvv Kal efxnpoaOev $payKOS vd (tr) p.ds Piaffy 

v a\kn£ofj.ev tt)v itiariv pas did tuiv QpayKow rty iriffTtv 

l*r)T( and rd avvrjOetd pas, ruv vop-ov twv 'Fwpaiaiv. 

N 2 


[Ch.VII. §i. 

Franks who remained in Attica, Boeotia, and Euboea, after 
the retreat of the king of Saloniki. Anarchy and civil war 
had commenced. Champlitte assured the inhabitants of the 
Peloponnesus that he came among them as a prince deter- 
mined to occupy the vacant sovereignty, and not as a passing 
conqueror bent on pillage. He offered terms of peace that 
put an end to all grounds of hostility ; while the continuance 
of the war would expose them to certain ruin, as the 
invading army must then be maintained by plunder. The 
Greek people, destitute of military leaders, freed from alarm 
by the small number of the French troops, and confiding 
in the strict military discipline that prevailed in their camp, 
submitted to a domination which did not appear likely to 
become very burdensome. The French took possession of 
estates in the rural districts, and established themselves in 
all the strong castles scattered over the country; but they 
left the local administration of the urban population very 
much in the state they found it. The two nations quickly 
perceived that their interests and habits of life would allow 
them to live together in greater harmony than they supposed 
possible at first sight, from the strong contrast produced by 
their different states of civilization and the adverse prejudices 
of their religious feelings. 

William de Champlitte remained about three years in the 
Peloponnesus, and during that time he completed the conquest 
of more than one-half of the peninsula 1 . He organized the 
invading army into a feudal society, completed a register of 
the territory partitioned among his knights and soldiers, 
in the style of the famous Doomesday-book of England, 
and regulated the terms and the nature of the service which 
the different vassals were bound to perform. The arrange- 
ments adopted afford us an interesting insight into the manner 
of life of the dominant class in this feudal colony, and throw 
considerable light on an interesting but dark period of 
mediaeval history. 

The feudal organization of Achaia is now a dream of the 
past, and a record of men who left no inheritors ; but every 
dream or tradition that enters the domain of literature must 

1 His departure took place early in 1209, for he was at Paris on the 8th May. 
Livre de la Conqueste. p. 45, note I. He was obliged to appear in France to 
receive investiture of the fief of Champlitte, vacant by the death of his brother. 


A.D. 1 2O3-I 209.] 

have exercised sufficient influence on the minds of men 
to make it deserving of calm investigation. Enthusiasts, by 
means of a few well-known phrases of sacred writ cunningly- 
misapplied, have authorized deeds of rapine and murder by 
recollections of Jewish history. The songs of the Scandi- 
navians encouraged the piracies of the Vikings of the north. 
The romances concerning Charlemagne and his twelve peers 
formed the political repertory of the French nobles during 
the middle ages, and from this strange magazine of the 
art of government they drew many of their rules of conduct 
in state affairs. One of these rules was, that in every well- 
organized state the sovereign ought to be surrounded by 
twelve peers. It was necessary, therefore, for Champlitte, 
as prince of Achaia, to form his court of twelve peers, if he 
intended to arrogate to himself the position of a sovereign ; 
and it appears that such a court was really constituted, 
though it is difficult to ascertain at what precise period the 
arrangement was made. The Chronicle of the Conquest 
informs us that the distribution of the fiefs was effected by 
a commission consisting of Geffrey Villehardouin, two knights, 
two Latin prelates, and four Greek archonts, on the same 
basis as that which had been adopted in the Latin kingdom 
of Jerusalem, whose assize served as the model for the 
legislation of the new empire of Romania 1 . The Greek 
archonts were admitted as members of the commission, to 
secure the observance of the capitulations, and to guard 
against encroachments on private property. The scheme 
of partition, when completed, was formally adopted by 
Champlitte and the army, with various general laws con- 
cerning the internal government of the principality. In short, 
what in modern language would be called the constitution 
of Achaia was then promulgated. The slight sketch of the 
institutions adopted at this time that has been transmitted 
to us is unfortunately interpolated with additions of a more 
modern date, added after the house of Anjou of Naples 
had acquired a claim to the suzerainty of the principality. 
In its principal features however, if not in all its details, it 
appears to be a record of an earlier age. 

1 Livre de la Conqueste, p. 46. [Hopf regards this story of the partition of the 
Peloponnese, as related in the Livre de la Conqueste, as legendary (Griechische 
Gesehichte, p. 236). Ed.] 


[Ch. VII. § i. 

A domain was marked out for the prince ; and Andravida, 
where probably a great confiscation of imperial property had 
taken place, was fixed upon as the capital of the principality 
and the residence of the sovereign. Twelve baronies were 
formed, and these peers of Achaia were bound to serve with 
two banners, furnishing a knight and two sergeants with 
their attendants for each fief they possessed. The lesser 
barons or baronets who possessed only four knights'-fees 
were bound to serve in person with a knight and twelve 
sergeants, while every knight who held a single fee performed 
personal service with the usual following of his rank, and 
every sergeant who held land performed the service due 
for his sergeantry. The number of knights and sergeants 
who served for pay in the crusading armies was at this 
period very great, and the leaders in Greece, not being rich 
enough to pay large bodies of troops, were compelled to 
secure military service by grants of land. The archbishop 
of Patras was recognized as primate of the principality, and 
received eight fiefs to maintain the dignity of his position ; 
while his six suffragan bishops and the three military orders 
of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the 
Teutonic Order, each received four. 

Military service in this feudal colony was declared to 
be permanently due by the vassals. Four months' duty 
in garrison and four months' service in the field compelled 
the vassal to be generally absent from his fief. Even during 
the four months which he was entitled to spend on his 
property, he was bound to hold himself in constant readiness 
to brace on his armour, and defend both his own possessions 
and those of his absent companions, in case of revolt or 
invasion. It was the duty of the prince and the parliament 
to arrange the various terms of service of the different vassals 
in such a manner as to insure a sufficient defence for the 
lands of those who happened to be absent on military service, 
and this duty greatly increased the authority of the prince. 
The prelates and the military orders were exempt from 
garrison-duty, but in other respects were bound to furnish 
the military service due from the fiefs they held like the 
other vassals of the principality. The courts of justice 
were modelled on the institutions of France ; but the Assize 
of Jerusalem, which was adopted at Constantinople as the 


A.D. I 205-I 209.] 

code of the Latin empire, under the title of the Assize of 
Romania,, was received as the legal code of the principality. 
Indeed, the principality of Achaia presented a miniature 
copy of the empire, which proved more durable than the 
original *. 

The geographical division of the baronies of the principality 
throws considerable light on the early history of the conquest. 
The first vassal in rank and importance was unquestionably 
Geffrey Villehardouin, on whom the fief of Kalamata had 
been conferred immediately after its conquest, and who was 
elected bailly by the vassals on the death of Hugh, whom 
Champlitte had left in that capacity when he returned to 
France -. But the list of the baronies as we now possess 
it dates after Villehardouin had gained possession of the 
principality, and in it the most important barony in a military 
point of view, and the largest in extent, was that of Akova. 
This barony embraced the valley of the Ladon, and the 
district that still retains the name of Achoves. It protected 
the rich valley of the Alpheus and the plains of Elis from 
the attacks of the Sclavonians, who occupied the mountains 
to the north of the upper valley of the Alpheus, immediately 
to the east of the possessions of the baron of Akova. The 
country inhabited by the Sclavonians was called Skorta. 
The French had found it for their interest to detach these 
Sclavonians from the Greek cause by a separate treaty, 
concluded soon after the taking of Patras, and had left 
them in possession of their local independence, with all the 
privileges they had enjoyed under the Byzantine emperors 3 . 

1 The assize of Jerusalem, as we possess that code, was remodelled at a later 
period, but a number of regulations were established, and a register like Doomes- 
dav-book was formed either by Godfrey or his brother Baldwin. It was imitated 
in the kingdom of Cyprus by Richard Cceur-de-Lion and Guy de Lusignan. The 
Assises du Royaume de Jerusalem have been published by Count Beugnot, in the 
splendid work entitled Historiens des Croisades, under the title Assises de Jerusalem, 
on Recueil des Ouvrages de Jurisprudence, composes pendant le XIII e . nicle, dam les 
Royaumes de Jerusalem et de Chypre, 2 vols. fol. Paris, 1841-43. A Greek text 
has been published in part by Zacharia, Historiae Juris Graeco-Romani Dehneatio, 
p. 137. The Assises de Romania are inserted in the work of Canciani, Barbarormn 
Leges An'iquae, torn. iii. Ven. 1781, 1792. 

2 Villehardouin, p. 123. Though Buchon's edition generally offers the best 
text, there appears to be an inadvertence at this place, as Coron is said to be 
the city granted to Geffrey; but Coron in the act of partition is appropriated 
to the Venetians, and we know that Kalamata was the family fief of the 

3 Livre de la Conquesfe, p. 39, where Skorta is called Escorta. The word appears 
to be a corruption of Gortys. 


[Ch.VII. §1. 

The Sclavonians of Skorta, or the Gortynian district, and 

of Melingou, or the slopes of Mount Taygetus, were at this 

period the only survivors of the great immigration that had 

threatened to exterminate the Hellenic race in the eighth and 

ninth centuries. The barony of Akova, established to watch 

the Sclavonians of Skorta, was endowed with twenty-four 

knights'-fees ; and the fortress which its barons constructed 

as a bulwark of the French power was called Mategrifon, or 

Stop-Greek \ 

The barony next in importance was that of Karitena or 
Skorta, placed within the limits of the territory once held 
by the Sclavonian Skortiots, and commanding the ordinary 
line of communication between the central plains of the 
Peloponnesus and the western coast. The castle of Karitena, 
which the French constructed, was well selected as a post 
for maintaining the command of the upper valley of the 
Alpheus, while it secured the passes into the maritime plain. 
This barony consisted of twenty-two knights'-fees. The two 
great baronies of Akova and Karitena formed the barrier of 
the French possessions against the Sclavonians of Skorta, the 
Greeks of Argolis, and the Byzantine garrisons of Corinth, 
Argos, and Nauplia. 

The other important military positions in which baronies 
were established, but which are now deserted and almost 
unknown, were Veligosti, Gritzena, Passava, Geraki, and 
Nikli. Veligosti was a considerable Greek town at the epoch 
of the invasion, but, like Andravida, it had grown up in a 
time of general security, and was without fortifications. It 
was situated on a low hill near the point of intersection of the 
ancient roads from Sparta to Megalopolis, and from Messene 
to Tegea, where they quit the mountains to enter the upper 
valley of the Alpheus. Its site is not far from the modern 
town of Leondari, which rose out of its ruins about the end of 
the fourteenth century. The barony of Veligosti consisted 

1 Colonel Leake (Peloponnesiaca, p. 149) and Boblaye (Recherches giographiques 
sur les Ruines de la Moree, p. 152) agree in thinking that the ruined castle named 
Galata, near the site of 'leuthis, marks the position of Akova, or Mategrifon. 
Perhaps armorial bearings may be some day discovered in the ruins, that will 
identify this important position. Meletius calls it Iakova, and says it was in 
ruins in his time ^p. 370, edit. 1728). The western nations at this time generally 
called the Greeks Grifons. Ducange, Glossanum mediae et infimae Latinitatis, s. v. 
Grijfone . Compare Richard of Devizes ; Bolin's Chronicles of the Crusaders, pp. 
19, (.. 


A.D. I205-I209.] 

of only four knights'-fees, but the city lying within the baron's 
military jurisdiction gave him baronial rank. Gritzena was 
the barony created to watch the Sclavonian mountaineers on 
Mount Taygetus — the Melings of Byzantine history — and to 
defend the valley of the Pamisus against their incursions *. 
Passava was an advanced post established at the eastern 
threshold of Maina, to tame the Greek mountaineers of the 
savage peaks that run out into the sea to the south of the 
great summits of Taygetus, and to command the fertile region 
which was afterwards called Bardunia. It was situated about 
four miles to the south of Gythium, where the ruins of a castle 
destroyed by the Venetians under Morosini may still be seen 
rising over the foundations of a city of the heroic age 2 . 
Passava was a frontier garrison which required to be occupied 
by a permanent body of troops, to watch the Mainates, the 
Sclavonians, and the Greek serfs who cultivated the rich plain 
of Helos. The baron of Passava was consequently named 
hereditary marshal of Achaia, as being the head of the 
standing army and military establishment of the principality. 
His office gave him full baronial power in his territory, as 
well as peculiar judicial authority in the army, though his fief 
consisted of only four knights'-fees. The selection of this 
position for a French fortress, on the frontier of a district into 
which cavalry could not penetrate, but in the vicinity of an 
excellent port, proves that it was also selected to protect the 
commerce of the Greek subjects of the principality from 
the corsairs of Maina. Geraki was built on the lower slope 
of the mountains that rise to the east of the valley of the 
Eurotas, near the site of Geronthrae, and was destined to pro- 
tect the country east of the Eurotas from the forays of the 
mountaineers of Tzakonia and the incursions of the Byzan- 
tine garrison of Monemvasia. Nikli was a walled town of 
considerable importance, occupying the site of Tegea, and 
commanding the lines of communication between the southern 
provinces of Lacedaemonia and Messenia, and the northern of 

1 Gritzena was in Lakkos, the name given to the upper part of the great 
Messenian valley; but its exact position is not known. Book of the Conquest, 
Greek text, p 73, v. 617. 

2 Colonel Leake identifies Passava with Las, a city destroyed by Castor and 
Pollux. Leake's Travels in the Morea, i. 256; Strabo, lib. viii. c. 5, p. 364; 
Boblaye, Recherckes, 87. Coronelli gives a plan of the fort (p. 38). In the list 
of places at the end of the letters of Plethon Gemistus on the state of the Pelo- 
ponnesus, Gythion is called Palaiopolis or Pasabas. 


[Ch.VII. §2. 

Corinthia and Argolis \ Only a portion of the territory- 
allotted to several of the feudatories had been subdued in the 
time of William de Champlitte. 

Sect. II. — Acquisition of the Principality by Geffrey 
ViUekardouin. — Geffrey I.; Geffrey II. 

William dc Champlitte left his relation Hugh to act as 
his bailly in the principality during his absence 2 ; but, Hugh 
dying soon after the prince's departure, Geffrey Villehardouin 

1 The list of the feudatories of Achaia given by count Beugnot in his edition 
of the Assizes de Jerusalem (p. 428) is taken from the imperfect edition of the 
Greek Chronicle published in 1840. Buchon's subsequent editions of the French 
and Greek texts supply the means of correcting it ; but it must not be forgotten 
that, as far as its chronology is concerned, the authority is doubtful. The follow- 
ing is the list : — 

1. Kalamata, 

2. Akova, 

3. Karitena or Skorta, 

4. Patras, 
Vostitza, . 
Nikli, ' . 
Veligosti, . 
Gritzena, . 
Passava, . 

Geffrey de Villehardouin, 

Walter de Rosieres, 

Hugh de Brieres, 

William de Alaman, 

Hugh de Charpigny, 

Robert de Tremouille, 

Otho de Tournay, . 

William „ 

Matthew de Mons, . 

Luke „ 

Guy de Nivelet, 

John de Neuilly, hereditary Marshal, 
All those rated at only four knights'-fees must have had a city under their juris- 
diction, or else been in possession of a baronial office. The list of the twelve 
baions of Achaia having the right to build fortresses and exercise supreme juris- 
diction, which is given in the Achaian copy of the Assize of Romania ;art. 43 and 
94), is of a comparatively modern date, probably about the middle of the 
fourteenth century. Compare Buchon, Recherches et Materiaux, y. 118. 

The ecclesiastical barons were : — 








1. The archbishop of Patras, primate of Achaia 

2. The bishop of Olenos, or Andravida, ..... 
3- „ Modon, ........ 

4. „ Coron, ........ 

5. ,, Veligosti, ........ 

6. „ Nikli, afterwards transferred to Mouchli, and 

called Amyclae, ...... 

7 „ Lacedaemon, ....... 

The military orders: — 

1. The knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, 

3. „ 'I i utonic order, ...... 4 

[The family nan. s and 10 in the first list are not known. The name of 

No. 6 is in reality Audebert, and not Robert, de Tremouille. See llopf, Griechische 
Geschichte, p. 237, note. Ed.] 

a We learn this from a letter of rope Innocent III. addressed to Hugh de 
Cham—, doubtL-So Champlitte. Tom. ii. 488, edit. Baluze. 


A.D. I 2O9-I 246.] 

was elected by the feudatories to fill the vacant office, on 
account of his high reputation for ability and warlike skill, his 
influence over the Greek population, and his intimate connec- 
tion with the family of Champlitte. The election was in 
strict conformity with the feudal usages established in the 
empire of Romania. Geffrey availed himself of his position 
to increase his popularity in the principality, and to gain the 
favour of Henry, emperor of Romania, and the great vassals 
of the empire. He obtained from the emperor Henry a grant 
of the office of seneschal of Romania, which raised him to the 
rank of great feudatory of the empire 1 . The manner in which 
he possessed himself of the principality of Achaia affords a 
curious example of the laws and customs of the Crusaders in 
their eastern possessions. From the terms in which the 
acquisition is stigmatized in the assize of Jerusalem, it is 
implied that William of Champlitte died while Villehardouin 
was acting as his bailly, and that the bailly basely availed 
himself of the defenceless condition of his patron's infant 
children in France, to rob the absent orphans of their 
heritage 2 . 

The Chronicle of the Conquest of the Morea gives a different 
account of the method by which Geffrey Villehardouin gained 
possession of the principality, but the character of the bailly 
gains very little by the change. He is represented as having 
retained possession of the principality by a dishonourable 
fraud. It was known in the Peloponnesus that Champlitte 
proposed sending Robert de Champlitte, a young member of 
his own family, to replace his relation Hugh. The nomination 
was displeasing both to Villehardouin, and to the barons and 
troops who had undergone all the fatigues of the conquest, 
and who feared to behold a crowd of young nobles arrive 
from France to share the spoils of war without having shared 
its dangers. A plot was formed to prevent the new bailly 

1 D'Outremann {Constant'nwpolis Belgica, 669") gives a charter by Geffrey as 
seneschal of Romania dated Sept. 1209, reprinted by Buchon, Eclairchsenunts, 89, 
note 2, and again in Greek Chronicle, edit. 1845. Recueil de diplomes, 375. 

2 AsUses de Jerusalem, MS. de Venise, c. 272, appendix to Count Beugnot's 
edition. It is evident that the manner in which Villehardouin acquired Achaia 
was viewed with general reprobation even from the expressions of the Livre de la 
Conqnete, p. 5Q. 

In a letter of Pope Innocent III., dated 4th March 1210, Geffrey is called only 
Seneschal of Romania. Tom. ii p. 409, edit. Baluze. But at the end of March 
he receives the title of the Prince of Achaia in the Pope's letters. Tom. ii. p. 420, 
ep. 23, 24, 25, edit. Baluze. 


[Ch. VII. § 3. 

from taking possession of his office. Geffrey sent envoys to 
Venice, who induced the doge to retard as much as possible 
the arrival of Robert de Champlitte, and the Venetian ship 
in which he had engaged a passage to the Morea treacherously 
left him on shore at Corfu. But in spite of these delays 
Robert arrived in the principality within the year accorded 
by the feudal law, as the term beyond which a fief could not 
remain vacant without incurring the penalty of forfeiture. 
Geffrey avoided meeting him for some time, and led him into 
the interior of the province, where a meeting at length took 
place at Lacedaemon. An assembly of the barons, knights, 
and clergy favourable to the projects of Villehardouin had 
already assembled, and in this parliament Robert claimed to 
be received as bailly of Achaia in virtue of his cousin's act of 
investiture, which he produced. The assembly, however, had 
already concerted with Villehardouin the manner in which the 
claim was to be disallowed. It was pretended that William 
de Champlitte had engaged to cede the principality to 
Villehardouin in case he failed to return, or send a bailly to 
govern it on his own account within a year from the day of 
his departure. The parliament now declared that, the year 
having expired, they were bound to acknowledge Villehar- 
douin as prince of Achaia. In vain Robert de Champlitte 
argued that, even according to this compact, he was entitled 
to be received as bailly, for he had landed in the princi- 
pality before the expiry of the year. The parliament replied 
that of that circumstance they were incompetent to judge, 
as the public act of his appearance in the parliament of the 
principality could alone be taken into consideration. Robert, 
seeing that it was vain to resist, demanded a certificate of 
the decision and returned to France, while Geffrey Villehar- 
douin was acknowledged prince of Achaia. Such is the story 
of the Chronicles, and its foundation rests on truth, though it 
appears very like a fable invented to explain the transfer of 
the principality to the family of Villehardouin in conformity 
with the customs of Romania, when it was really acquired by 
illegal conduct l . 

Geffrey had conducted himself with great prudence during 
the time he ruled as bailly. He had successively conquered 

1 See the provisions of the Liher consuetudinum Imperii Romaniae in Canciani, 
Barbarorum Lege* Antiquae, torn. iii. tit. 36, p. 5056. 


A.D. 1 209-1 246.] 

the cities of Veligosti, Nikli, and Lacedaemon, though the 
two last were well fortified ; and he had granted favourable 
terms of capitulation to the Greek inhabitants. He then 
laid siege to Corinth, which on the death of Leo Sguros had 
placed itself under the protection of Michael, despot of 
Epirus \ The conquest of Corinth was of vital importance to 
all the Frank establishments in Greece, for, so long as it 
remained in the hands of the despot of Epirus, the communi- 
cations of Achaia with the great feudatories in northern 
Greece were exposed to be constantly interrupted, and their 
armies to be attacked on the flank and rear. Geffrey Ville- 
hardouin and Otho de la Roche united their forces to attack 
Corinth, but before they had taken the Acrocorinth a treaty 
of peace was concluded between the emperor Henry and 
Michael, despot of Epirus, which left the Greeks in possession 
of that fortress, with Argos, Nauplia, Monemvasia, and the 
whole of Argolis and Tzakonia 2 . 

The conduct of the Latin clergy, at this time, was far less 
charitable than that of the French nobles and knights ; and it 
required all the prudence and firmness of Geffrey to prevent 
their avarice and bigotry from interrupting the friendly rela- 
tions established with the Greek population under the Frank 
government. Even Pope Innocent III., the most zealous of 
pontiffs in the acquisition of temporal power, was compelled 
to rebuke the Latin archbishops for the violence with which 
they treated the Greek bishops who had recognized the 
papal supremacy. The Pope, satisfied with the acknowledg- 
ment of his own authority, was not inclined to allow the 
Latin prelates to drive the Greeks from their episcopal sees, 
in order to confer the vacant benefices on the herd of clerical 
emigrants and poor relations of the barons, who flocked to 
the East to profit by the conquest 3 . The violent conduct 
of these ecclesiastical fortune-hunters compelled Geffrey to 
become the defender of the Greeks, and the enemy of clerical 

1 Acropolita, p. 6. Compare the letter of Innocent III. lib. xv. ep. 77, torn. ii. 
p. 628, edit. Baluze. 

2 It seems, from a letter of Pope Innocent III., that the Franks had at one 
time gained possession of Argos. They must have lost it again, or restored 
it to the Greeks at the peace concluded with the despot of Epirus. Ep. Innocent. 
III. lib. xv. ep. 77. [The statement in the text, that Corinth, Argos, and Nauplia 
were not conquered by the Franks at this time, is erroneous. See below, p. 194. 

3 Epht. Innocent III. lib. x. ep. 51 ; lib. xi. ep. 179; torn. ii. pp. 23, 228. 


[Ch. VII. § 2. 

abuses. As the clergy of Achaia frequently sold the fiefs 
they had acquired, and returned home with the profit, 
Geffrey steadily enforced the law of the emperor Henry, 
prohibiting all donations of immovable property to the 
church, either in life or by testament ; and, even though the 
all-powerful Innocent III. threatened him with excommunica- 
tion, he persisted in his course. At the same time, he sent 
envoys to Rome to explain to his holiness the peculiar 
difficulties and exigencies of his situation. After the death 
of Innocent, Gervais the patriarch of Constantinople excom- 
municated both Geffrey and Otho de la Roche, for their 
conduct to the clergy ; but they were both relieved from 
this interdict by the order of Honorius III. 1 

Geffrey I. strengthened his family influence and increased 
his political importance by the marriage of his son and 
successor Geffrey, with Agnes, daughter of the emperor 
Peter of Courtenay, and sister of the emperors Robert and 
Baldwin II. In the year 1217, the empress Yoland sailed 
from Brindisi to proceed to Constantinople by sea. when her 
husband undertook the unfortunate expedition through 
Epirus in which he perished. On the voyage the fleet of 
Yoland stopped at the port of Katakolo, then protected by 
a castle called by the French Beauvoir, of which the ruins, 
still existing, are distinguished by the degraded name of 
Pondikokastron, or the Castle of Rats. Geffrey Villehar- 
douin presented himself to the empress as her seneschal, and 
invited her to repose a few days at the castle of Vlisiri in 
the neighbourhood, while the fleet revictualled. During this 
visit the marriage of young Geffrey with Agnes Courtenay 
was celebrated with due pomp, in presence of the empress 
Yoland 2 . 

1 Epht. Innocent III. torn. ii. pp. 421, 486; Raynaldi, Ann. Eccles. anno 1218, 
torn. i. p. 438, edit. Lucca ; Buchon, Recherches et Mat> : riaux, 141. 

2 Buchon, Recherches et Matiriaux, p. 146. The Chronicles of the Conquest give 
the following account of this marriage, which they pretend happened after the 
death of Geffrey I. They narrate that the emperor Robert (?) sent a fleet to 
convey his daughter from Constantinople to Catalonia, as she was engaged to the 
king of Aragon. This fleet touched at Katakolo, and Geffrey II., then prince of 
Achaia, persuaded the young princess to accept him for her husband instead 
of the king of Aragon. The quarrel that ensued between the emp.ror and the 
prince was arranged at a parliament held at Larissa, where the emperor Robert 
conferred on his son inlaw the feudal superiority over the Archipelago, the title 
of prince of Achaia, the office of grand seneschal, and the right of coining silver 
pennies (petits tornoys). The emperor also delivered to the prince a copy of the 
usages of Romania, which the emperor Baldwin, Robert's brother, had received 


A.D. 1209 -1246.] 

Geffrey I. appears to have died about the year 1218. 

The commencement of the reign of Geffrey II. was 
troubled by a serious quarrel with the Church. The young 
prince proposed to assemble the whole military force of 
Achaia, in order to drive the Greeks from the fortresses they 
still possessed in the Peloponnesus, and complete the con- 
quest of the peninsula. But when he summoned the clergy 
and military orders to send their contingents to the camp, 
they refused to obey his orders. In spite of all the opposi- 
tion his father had offered to the aggrandizement of the 
church, the clergy and the military orders had acquired 
possession of almost one-third of the conquered territory ; 
and they now, in defiance of the constitution of the princi- 
pality, refused to send their contingents into the field, 
declaring that the clergy held their fiefs from the Pope, and 
owed no military service, except at his command and for 
holy wars. Had Geffrey II. permitted these pretensions to 
pass unpunished, there would have been a speedy end of 
the principality of Achaia. Without a moment's hesitation, 
therefore, he seized all the fiefs held by the clergy on the 
tenure of military service ; and to those clerical vassals who 
had no other revenue than that derived from their fiefs, he 
assigned a pension sufficient for their subsistence. This 
statesmanlike conduct threw the Latin church in the East 
into a state of frenzy, and Geffrey II. was immediately 
excommunicated. But excommunication was not a very 
terrific weapon where the majority of the population was of 
the Greek church, so that the prince of Achaia was enabled 
to pursue his scheme of compelling the church to submit 
to the civil power without much danger. Yet in order 
to prove to the world that his conduct was not influenced 
by avarice, he proposed, in the parliament of the princi- 
pality, that all profits resulting from the ecclesiastical 
fiefs placed under sequestration should be employed in 

from Jerusalem. In return, the prince became the liege-man of the emperor. 
Now it is evident that this fable must have been invented after the Catalans 
had conquered Attica and rendered themselves a terror to the French. It was 
a gratification to French vanity to hear of this imaginary insult inflicted on 
a Spanish king by a French prince. But after this specimen of the way in 
which times, places, and persons are confounded, it must be evident that history 
and chronology cannot by any process be extracted from such a mass of inac- 
curacy. On the other hand, much may be learned concerning manners and 


[Ch.VII. §2. 

constructing a strong fortress, commanding the whole western 
promontory of Elis, as well as the port of Clarentza, which 
was then the principal seat of the trade of the principality 
with the rest of Europe. This was adopted, and the walls of 
the fortress then constructed still exist. The ruins are called 
by the Greeks Chlomoutzi, but they are also known by their 
Frank name of Castel Tornese. They are situated about 
three miles from the remains of Clarentza 1 . Three years 
were employed in its construction. When it was terminated, 
the declining state of the Latin empire induced Geffrey II. 
to send an embassy to the Pope, to prevail on his holiness 
to put an end to the quarrel with the church in Achaia. The 
prince expressed his readiness to restore all the fiefs that had 
been placed under sequestration ; but he required that the 
possessors should engage to perform military service ; for 
without this service, he declared that it would be impossible 
to defend the country against the Greeks, whom the successes 
of Theodore, despot of Epirus, and Theodore Lascaris, 
emperor of Nicaea, had emboldened to such a degree that 
they contemplated being able to expel the Franks from the 
Peloponnesus. Honorius III., satisfied that, the pretensions 
of Geffrey II. were just and reasonable, ordered his legate at 
Constantinople, John Colonna, to absolve him from excom- 
munication 2 . 

The vigour displayed by Geffrey extended his power, by 
gaining the voluntary submission of a powerful vassal. The 
count of Zante and Cephalonia, though brother-in-law of 
Theodore, despot of Epirus, became a vassal of the princi- 

1 Chlomoutzi was frequently called Clarenza, as well as Castel Tornese, by the 
Franks It received the latter name probably from having contained the mint 
and treasury of the princes of Achaia. It was generally termed Clairmont by 
the French of the principality. Colonel Leake derives Chlomoutzi from x^c^tis. 
X\t(jLus. or \t\p6*. Pelofonnssiaca, p. 210. Most of the coins of the princes of 
Achaia extant are inscribed as coined at Clarencia, but many are found also with 
Corintum. Colonel Leake remarks — ' An unfounded opinion has long prevailed, 
and has been repeated by some of the latest travellers, that the name of the 
English dukedom of Clarence was derived from Klarentza. But there can be 
no question that Clarentia or Clarencia was the district of Clare in Suffolk. The 
title was fust given, in 1362. by Edward III. to his third son, Lionel, when the 
latter succeeded to the estates of Gilbert, earl of Clare and Gloucester.' Pelo- 
ponnesiaca, p. 212. During the Greek revolution the ruined fortress of Chlomoutzi 
was occupied by the Christians in 1826. It was taken by Ibrahim Pasha's 
Egyptian troops in 1 S27. 

2 Most of the facts relating to the quarrel between Geffrey II. and the clergy of 
Achaia are only mentioned in the Chronicles, but here their authority is confirmed 
by various documents. Raynaldi, Annales Eccles. an. 1222, torn. i. p. 501, edit. 


A.D. 1 209-I 246.] 

pality of Achaia, in order to secure the support and alliance 
of Geffrey II. 1 

In the year 1236, Constantinople was threatened by the 
united forces of the Greek emperor, John III. (Vatatzes), and 
the Bulgarian king, John Asan. On this occasion Geffrey 
hastened to its relief with one hundred knights, three hundred 
crossbowmen, and five hundred archers, and with a consider- 
able sum of money, raised by a tax which he had been 
authorized by Pope Gregory IX. to levy on the clergy of 
the principality, for the purpose of succouring the Latin 
empire. All these supplies were embarked in a fleet of ten 
war galleys 2 . The Greeks attempted in vain to intercept 
the Achaian squadron : their fleet was defeated, and Geffrey 
entered the port of Constantinople in triumph 3 . He again 
visited Constantinople in the year 1239, to attend the coro- 
nation of his brother-in-law, the emperor Baldwin II., and do 
homage for his principality and for his office of seneschal. 
On this occasion he lent the young emperor a considerable 
sum of money; and like a prudent prince rather than a 
generous relation, he exacted from the imprudent Baldwin 
the cession of the lordship of Courtenay, the hereditary fief 
of the imperial family in France, as the price of his assistance. 
This hard bargain was doubly usurious, since part of the 
money advanced consisted of the funds Geffrey had been 
authorized by the Pope to levy on the ecclesiastics of Achaia 
for the service of the empire. The cession of Courtenay, 
extorted from the young Baldwin by his brother-in-law, who 
was a vassal and grand seneschal of the empire, appeared to 
the equitable mind of Louis IX. of France so gross an act of 
rapacity, that as feudal suzerain he refused to ratify the act, 
and compelled the parties to annul the transaction 4 . It 
seems, however, not improbable that Geffrey received a com- 
pensation in the East in lieu of the lordship of Courtenay, 
for he continued to maintain a hundred knights and cross- 
bowmen at Constantinople for the service of the empire — 

1 Alberic (trium fontium), p. 558 ; Buchon, Histoire des Conquetes des Francis 
dans les Eta's de Vancienne Grece, p. 215. 

2 Raynaldi, Annate', Eccles., an. 1236, torn. ii. p. 159. 

3 Alberic, 558 ; Philip Mouskes, in Ducange's edition of Villehardouin, pp. 
224, 227. 

4 Baldwin's reply to the letter of St. Louis is printed in Buchon's Recherches 
et Materiaux, p. 153. 



[Ch.VII.§ 3 . 

a contingent which, though he might have been bound to 
maintain it as a great feudatory, and in consequence of the 
tax levied under the papal grant, he would perhaps have 
found the means of eluding, had it not been particularly his 
interest to please and cajole the emperor 1 . It seems, there- 
fore, that these events may be connected with the claim of 
suzerainty subsequently advanced by the principality of 
Achaia over the other great fiefs of Romania in Greece. 

Geffrey II. died about the year 1246, without leaving any 
children, and was succeeded in the principality of Achaia 
by his brother William. 

Sect. III. — William VillcJiardouiii completes the Conquest of 
the Morca. — Cedes Monemvasia, Misithra, and Mama to the 
Emperor Michael VIII. 

William Villehardouin was born in the castle of Kalamata, 
and was therefore the first prince of Achaia who had some 
pretensions to be regarded as a native of Greece. In the 
eyes of the Greek catholics, at least, he was a countryman, 
and as he spoke the language of the country, and entered 
into the prejudices and political views of the Eastern princes, 
he gave the principality of Achaia a more prominent position 
in the eyes of the Greeks than it had hitherto occupied. 
Even the Frank nobility of his dominions had now acquired 
something of an Eastern character, and become weaned from 
their attachment to France, where the rank and fortune of 
their ancestors had generally been much inferior to that 
which they themselves held in Greece. Many now laid aside 
their family names, and adopted titles and designations 
derived from their Eastern possessions. 

The first act of William was to complete the conquest of 
the Peloponnesus 2 . The Greek empire of Nicaea had 

1 Raynaldi, Annales Ecclet. an. 1244, torn. ii. p. 304. 

2 [Both in what follows, and in a previous passage (above, p. 189), the author 
has been led into a mistake by following the authority of the Chronicle of the 
Conquest. The cities of Corinth, Nauplia. and Arg< s were conquered by Geffrey I. 
between the years 12 10-12 12, whereas Monemvasia was conquered in 1248 by 
William Villehardouin, as here related. The Chronicle combines these events, 
and places them all in the latter reign. See Hopf, Griechische Geschichte, pp. 240, 
273. Ed.] 


A.D. I246-I267.] 

already grown so powerful both by sea and land, that he 
could not besiege the maritime cities of Nauplia and Monem- 
vasia with any prospect of success, without the aid of such a 
fleet as one of the Italian commercial republics could alone 
supply. The Venetians who possessed Modon were his 
natural allies, and he concluded a treaty with the republic, 
by which they engaged to maintain the blockade of Nauplia 
and Monemvasia with four war galleys, in consideration of 
the cession of Coron, to which they laid claim, as a portion 
of their territory under the original partition treaty of the 
Byzantine empire. The prince of Achaia considered it 
necessary, also, to increase his land forces, by obtaining the 
assistance of Guy de la Roche, the Grand-sire of Athens and 
Thebes ; and it would appear that this was purchased by a 
promise of the cession of Argos and Nauplia to the Athenian 
prince, to be held by the freest holding known to the feudal 
system. Guy joined the Achaian army with a considerable 
force, and the first operations of the Franks were directed 
against Corinth. The city was soon taken, and the Acro- 
corinth closely blockaded by the construction of two forts ; 
one to the south, on a peaked rock which was called Montes- 
quiou, now corrupted into Penteskouphia A ; the other to the 
north-east. The citadel was thus cut off from all supplies, 
but the impregnable fortress, well supplied with water and 
provisions, might have defied the efforts of its besiegers, had 
its garrison not consisted in great part of the proprietors of 
the lands around. These men, when they saw their houses 
ruined by the Frank soldiers, their olive-trees cut down for 
fuel, their orchards and vineyards destroyed, their grain 
reaped by the enemy, and their own supplies gradually 
diminishing, began to think of submission ; and they soon 
consented to surrender the mighty bulwark of the Pelopon- 
nesus to the Franks, on condition of being allowed to retain 
possession of their private property and local privileges, like 
the other Greeks under the Frank domination. To these 
terms William Villehardouin consented, and took possession 
of the Acrocorinth. 

Nauplia was then invested, for Argos seems to have offered 
no serious resistance. The siege of a strong maritime fortress 
offered many difficulties to the Franks. O n the land side 

1 i. e. the five caps. 
O 2 


y [Ch. VII. § 3. 

Nauplia was quite as impregnable as the Acrocorinth, while 
the position of its citadel, Palamedi, afforded greater ad- 
vantages for sorties, and its port facilitated the introduction 
of supplies in spite of the vigilance of the Venetians in main- 
taining the blockade. The inhabitants of the neighbouring 
provinces of Argolis and Tzakonia were a warlike race of 
mountaineers, exercised in skirmishes with the Latins, and 
whose activity and knowledge of the country exposed the 
convoys of provisions and the foraging parties of the besiegers 
to constant danger. These circumstances sustained the 
courage of the besieged, so that very little progress had been 
made towards reducing the place by military operations, when 
Guy de la Roche succeeded in disposing the minds of the 
Greeks to a capitulation, by his success in driving back the 
mountaineers, and by contrasting the fiscal rapacity of the 
Byzantine government with the more moderate pecuniary 
demands of the French princes. The terms of capitulation 
were such as to place the Greeks of Nauplia in much more 
favourable circumstances than the rest of their countrymen, 
for as a guarantee that their commercial and municipal 
privileges should be inviolable, they were allowed to guard the 
fortifications of the town, while the Franks only placed a 
permanent garrison in the citadel on Palamedi l . The Greeks 
considered it an additional security for the observance of the 
treaty, that Guy de la Roche was invested with the fiefs of 
Nauplia and Argos. 

Monemvasia was now the only fortress in the hands of the 
Greeks, and Tzakonia the only province that preserved its 
independence. The town of Monemvasia, situated on a rock 
rising out of the sea, so near the mainland as to be joined 
to it by a long bridge, was quite impregnable ; but the in- 
security of its port, or rather, its want of a port capable of 
protecting ships from the enemy, exposed it to suffer every 
evil that could be inflicted by a naval blockade. The activity 
of the Venetian and Achaian squadrons, which had safe ports 

1 It seems singular that Palamedi is not mentioned by name in the Chronicles ; 
but there can hardly be a doubt that the two fortresses alluded to are Palamedi 
and Itch-kale. The insular fort is too insignificant to be the one that was left 
in the hands of the Greeks ; and Palamedi must then have been fortified, not only 
on account of the passion of the military engineers of the time for occupying 
almost inaccessible peaks, but also because an enemy, even with the engines then 
in use, could from its sides have set fire to the town below. 


A.D. I 246-I 267.] 

of retreat at Epidaurus Limera, and Zarax, from whence they 
could watch the sea around, effectually excluded all supplies ; 
yet the place was defended until the third year. At last the 
inhabitants, seeing no prospect of relief from the Greek em- 
peror, John III., who was then occupied with the war in 
Thrace, and having suffered all the miseries of famine, made 
an offer to capitulate \ They were allowed to retain posses- 
sion of their private property ; and, instead of being bound to 
furnish a contingent of armed men for the military service, 
they engaged to supply a certain number of experienced 
sailors to man the galleys of the prince of Achaia, who 
engaged to pay them the same wages which they had hitherto 
been in the habit of receiving from the Byzantine emperors. 
The surrender of Monemvasia was followed by the complete 
submission of the Tzakonian mountaineers, who then occupied 
all the country from Argolis to Cape Malea. 

William, having completed the conquest of the eastern 
coast, turned his arms against the Sclavonians of Mount 
Taygetus and the Greeks of Maina, whom he now resolved 
to reduce to immediate dependence on his government. The 
richest possessions of the Sclavonians were situated in the 
plain of the Eurotas, near the lowest slopes of the mountain. 
In order to cut them off from the resources they derived from 
this fertile district, the prince of Achaia built a strong fortress 
on a hill called Misithra, about three miles from the city of 
Lacedaemon, and five from Skiavochorion, the chief town 
of the Sclavonian population of the district. High on the 
summit of this hill, perched on a precipitous rock, William 
erected a strong castle, and at its base his Frank followers 
constructed a fortified town, that they might live as much 
as possible separate from their Greek and Sclavonian subjects. 
Misithra soon became the capital of the district, and it still 
remains the most considerable place in the valley of the 
Eurotas 2 . The residence of the prince was established within 

1 The three years of the Chronicles were 1246-8, lor there is a letter of 
William, prince of Achaia, to Thibaut, king of Navarre, dated at Lacedaemon 
in Feb. 1248; and as the year then began in March, this is really Feb. 1249. 
This letter must have been written after the fall of Monemvasia. It is therefore 
necessary to suppose that the blockade commenced at the same time as the siege 
of Corinth. 

2 The name of Misithra, pronounced generally at present Mistra, was the name 
applied to the locality before Villehardouin constructed his citadel. Greek Chro- 
nicle, v. 1663. But whether the name was introduced by the Sclavonian colonists, 


[Ch. VII. § 3. 

its walls, and the mediaeval Lacedaemon soon sank into the 
same state of desolation as the ancient Sparta, over whose 
ruins it had risen ; nor have the ill-judged royal ordinances 
promulgated in the modern kingdom of Greece, to revive 
classic names and create imaginary cities by destroying exist- 
ing towns, succeeded in rendering Sparta a rival to Villehar- 
douin's city 1 . The Sclavonians, overawed by the proceedings 
of the prince, which they did not dare to interrupt, sent envoys 
offering to submit to the Frank domination, to pay a fixed 
tribute, and to furnish a contingent of armed men on the same 
terms on which they had formerly acknowledged the supre- 
macy of the Byzantine government ; but they demanded, and 
obtained, exemption from direct taxation and feudal services, 
and it was stipulated that no Frank barony was to be estab- 
lished within their limits. About the same time William 
likewise completed the conquest of the Mainates, and ordered 
two castles to be constructed in their territory, to keep them 
in subjection. One of these castles was situated at Maina, in 
the vicinity of the Taenarian promontory, and the other at 
Leftro, on the west coast near Kisternes. The Mainates, 
intimidated by the garrisons of these fortresses, and by the 
galleys of the prince, which interrupted their communications 
and cut them off from receiving supplies from the Greek 
empire, submitted to the same terms as had been imposed 
on the rest of their countrymen. It seems that the operations 
against the Tzakonians, Sclavonians, and Mainates, were 
carried on simultaneously, and they were thus prevented from 
concentrating their forces and affording one another aid. The 
whole of the Peloponnesus was thus reduced under the Frank 
domination by William Villehardouin, before the end of the 
year 1248 2 . 

or derived from ancient Greek, has been warmly disputed by two learned Germans 
— viz. Zinkeisen, Geschichte Griechenlands, p. 885, and Fallmerayer, Entstehung der 
heutigen Grieehen, p. 90. [Hopf considers the name undoubtedly Slavonic; 
Griechi>che Ge>chichte, p. 267. Ed.] 

1 The government of King Otho having transferred the residence of the official 
authorities to the new town of Sparta, the inhabitants of Misithra have followed, 
and the town of the Frank princes is sinking into a village. [Amidst the ruins 
there are some very fine specimens of mediaeval Byzantine architecture; one of 
the churches is figured in Fergusson's Handbook of Architecture, Lond. 1855, p. 
961. Ed] 

-' Pachymcres (i. p. 52, edit. Rom.') proves that Kistema, or Kinsterna, was the 

name applied to the district along the north western coast of Maina, below Zygos, 

which embraces the two modern capitaneries of l'lnt/a and Melaia. It is not 

r.uly described by the Byzantine historian as a district abounding in good 


A.D. I 246-I 267.] 

The prosperity of the Franks of Achaia had now attained 
its highest point of elevation. Their prince was the recognized 
sovereign of the whole peninsula. His revenues were so 
considerable, that he was enabled to build a cathedral at 
Andravida, and several fortresses in his principality, without 
oppressing his subjects by any additional taxes. The barons 
also constructed many well fortified castles and impregnable 
towers throughout the country, of which numerous ruins still 
exist. The wealth of all sought frequent opportunities of 
display, in festivals and tournaments that rivalled the most 
brilliant in western Europe, and their splendour was sung by 
many minstrels. 

While the principality was in this flourishing condition, 
William took the cross and joined the crusade of St. Louis. 
The prince of Achaia, and Hugh, duke of Burgundy, sailed 
from the Morea in the spring of 1249. O n their way to join 
the king of France they stopped at Rhodes, to assist the 
Genoese in defending that island against the Greek emperor, 
John III. The Achaian and Burgundian forces compelled 
the Greeks to abandon the siege of Rhodes, and the two 
princes continued their voyage. They fell in with the fleet of 
St. Louis off the coast of Cyprus, and the united force landed 
at Damietta on the 4th of June. As Louis remained several 
months at Damietta without advancing, William Villehardouin 
demanded permission to return to his principality, from which 
he did not consider it prudent to be long absent. 

William's ambition increased with his wealth and power, 

things, to Trepl ttjv Kivcrrepvav 9ip.a tto\v ye bv to /j.tjkos hcli ttoWois Qpvov rots 
ayadois. Leftro is the ancient Leuktron ; but there is a difference of opinion 
concerning the position of Maina. Colonel Leake thinks the castle erected by 
Villehardouin is that still called Maina, above Porto Quaglio ; and the vicinity 
of the only fountain in the promontory renders this opinion the most probable. 
Peloponnesiaca, 142. There is a port called Kisternes, to the south of Porto 
Quaglio. The geographical nomenclature of Greece is singularly poor, and the 
same names are as often repeated as in English colonies. The only ruins of 
a considerable mediaeval town, in this vicinity, are on the west coast of the cape, 
at the site of the ancient Taenaros. about four miles from the extreme southern 
point ; and this appears to be the town called Maina in the Byzantine period. 
Constant. Porphyr. de Adm. Imp. c. 50, p. 134. There are also considerable re- 
mains of a fortress to the north of Cape Grosso, on the peninsula called Tegani 
— from its resemblance to a frying-pan. This place is also called Kisternes, 
and is supposed by Boblaye to be the Maina of Villehardouin. Recherches 
Geographiques, p. 92. But the towns at Taenaros and Tegani appear both to 
have existed before Villehardouin's time. Here, however, we have three Mainas 
and three Kisternas to exercise the sagacity of antiquaries and the subtilty of 
the Greeks, when they begin to devote some attention to the study of their 
own history. 


[Ch. VII. § 3. 

and he began to regret the liberality with which he had 
rewarded the services of his ally, Guy de la Roche. He 
quarrelled with his former friend, and called on the prince 
of Athens to do personal homage for the fiefs of Argos and 
Nauplia ; and, if we can credit the Chronicles, he even pre- 
tended to the suzerainty over the lordships of Athens and 
Thebes, on the plea that this superiority had been vested in 
the princes of Achaia by the king of Saloniki. The claim to 
a right of suzerainty may possibly have been made, but there 
can hardly be a doubt that it was never based by William 
Villehardouin on a grant to Champlitte by the king of 
Saloniki. It could only have arisen out of a grant from the 
Latin emperor of Constantinople, if it rested on any plausible 
grounds. Guy de la Roche was now an old man ; he had 
arrived in Greece in the year 1208. Whatever claim Ville- 
hardouin really made, it excited the indignation of de la 
Roche, as an insulting and unjust demand. He replied, that 
he was willing to acquit himself of the feudal obligations due 
for the fiefs of Argos and Nauplia, by furnishing the military 
service they owed to the prince of Achaia ; but he refused to 
pay any personal service, or to swear fealty, for he declared 
the fiefs were conferred free of personal homage. War fol- 
lowed. The Athenian army was defeated at Karidi, and the 
dispute was referred to the decision of king Louis of France, 
as has been already mentioned. The king of France evidently 
thought William the party most to blame in this transaction, 
as he had considered his brother, Geffrey II., deeply culpable 
in the matter of the lordship of Courtenay. The Villehar- 
douins seem to have been rather too rapacious, and addicted 
to seek sordid profit in chicanery. Louis absolved the 
sovereign of Athens from all criminality, and considered that 
the question at issue, whatever its precise terms may have 
been, was one that justified private war between two great 
feudatories 1 . 

William Villehardouin married a daughter of Michael II., 
despot of Epirus. This alliance, joined to his own enter- 
prising and warlike disposition, induced him to join his 
father-in-law in a war against the Greek empire. The dis- 
turbed state of the court of Nicaea, after the death of the 

1 Livre de la Conqueste, p. 114. 


A.D. I 246-I 267.] 

emperor Theodore II., held out great hopes to the despot and 
his allies, of gaining both honour and an extension of territory 
by the war. William joined Michael with all the forces of 
Achaia ; but the united army was defeated, in the plains 
of Pelagonia, by the Byzantine troops, though inferior in 
number, in consequence of the skilful military combinations 
of John Palaeologos, the brother of the emperor Michael 
VIII. Prince William of Achaia, after fighting bravely with 
the Frank cavalry, until he saw it all destroyed, fled from the 
field of battle. He gained the neighbourhood of Kastoria in 
safety; but he was there discovered by his pursuers concealed 
under a heap of straw. His front teeth, which projected in a 
remarkable manner, enabled them to identify their prize \ 
He was sent prisoner to the emperor Michael VIII., who 
retained him in captivity for three years. 

The conditions on which William regained his liberty in- 
flicted an irremediable injury on the principality of Achaia. 
He ceded to the Greek emperor, as the price of his deliver- 
ance, the fortresses of Monemvasia, Misithra, and Maina, the 
very cities which were especially connected with his own 
glory; and he engaged, besides, with solemn oaths and the 
direst imprecations, never to make war on the Greek em- 
peror — ratifying his assurances of perpetual amity by standing 
godfather to the emperor's youngest son, which was considered 
a sacred family tie amongst the Greeks. Yet the Chronicles, 
speaking in the spirit of the times, declare that he resolved to 
pay no attention to these engagements, as soon as he could 
obtain the authority of the Pope and the Latin church to 
violate his oath, trusting that his Holiness would readily 
release him from obligations entered into with a heretic and 
extorted by force. The ecclesiastical morality of the age 
viewed the violations of the most sacred promises as lawful 
whenever they interfered with the interests of the papal 

1 Acropolita, 94. The desertion of John Dukas, prince of Vallachian Thessaly, 
natural son of Michael II. despot of Epirus, was said to have caused the loss 
of this battle : and this desertion was caused by the behaviour of William prince 
of Achaia. The wife of John Dukas, the heiress of Vlachia, who was extremely 
beautiful, had accompanied her husband to the camp: the French knights made, 
unseemly demonstrations of gallantry to attract her attention. Her husband was 
offended, and quarrels ensued, in which blood was shed. The prince of Achaia, 
taking part with his young knights, accused John Dukas of exciting dissension 
in the camp, and insulted him to his face, by calling him a bastard, and no better 
than a slave. Pachymeres, i. p. 50, edit. Rom. 


[Ch.VII.§ 3 . 

church 1 . But the emperor Michael VIII. respected his own 
promises too little, to place any confidence in the good faith 
of the prince of Achaia, with whatever oaths it might be 
guaranteed, and he would not release his prisoner until the 
three fortresses were consigned to Byzantine garrisons. 

From this period the history of the Morea assumes a new 
aspect. It now becomes divided into two provinces — one 
held by the Franks, and the other immediately dependent 
on the Greek emperor of Constantinople. The Greek popu- 
lation aspired at expelling their heterodox masters, and a 
long series of national wars was the consequence. But as 
the numbers, both of the Franks and Greeks, who bore arms, 
continually diminished, these wars were principally carried 
on by foreign mercenaries. The country was laid waste by 
rival rulers, the people pillaged by foreign soldiers, and the 
numerous unfortified towns and villages scattered over the 
face of the peninsula at this time began to be ruined. The 
garrisons in the fortresses of Monemvasia, Misithra, and Maina 
gave the Greek emperor the command over the whole coast 
of Laconia. The mountaineers of Tzakonia, Vatika, and 
Taygetus hastened to throw off the yoke of the Franks, 
who were soon compelled to abandon the fortresses of Passava 
and Leftro, in consequence of the rebellion of the inhabitants 
of Kisterna or Exo-Mani 2 . The Sclavonians of Skorta, roused 
by the success of their countrymen, the Melings of Taygetus, 
who had established themselves in virtual independence between 
the two contending parties, made a desperate effort to expel 
the Franks ; and though they were assailed on all sides by 
the barons of Akova and Karitena, and by the whole army 
of Achaia, they were not reduced to obedience until a body 
of Turkish troops, who had deserted from the Greeks, joined 
the Franks. The savage cruelty and fearful devastations of 

1 The Greek Chronicle lays down the church principles of the time in very plain 
language : — 

ol opitoi (Kftvoi onov eiTTjKt 's rtjv <pv\aKJ)v onov ?jTOv 
Ti-noTt ovdiv Tuv t/lkallav vci tuv Kparovv Sid a<piupKOV, 
Kadas to upi((i -q inKk-qaioi kcu ol ippuvtpioi rb kiyovv. 

v. 3031. 

2 Pachymeres, i. 52, edit. Rom. confirmed by the Greek Chronicle: — 

T<i BariKa ivpodKwqaav, 6/xoiais Hal -q l^aKcuvla, 

<5 Spuyyos yap tuv MeKiyov, to p.ipos rrjs Tiartpvas, 

tKtlvoi ipofSuXtvoav /xtrd. tvv BaaiKia. 

v. 3165. 
Compare Leake's Travels in the Morea, i. 261, for the extent of Exo-Mani. 


A.D. 1 246-I 267.] 

these mercenaries overpowered the resistance of the Scla- 
vonians, and ruined their country \ 

There may be some difficulty in pronouncing whether the 
prince of Achaia, the Pope, or the Greek emperor was most 
to blame for commencing the war in the Morea. The Pope 
authorized the commencement of hostilities by relieving prince 
William from the obligations of his oath. His Holiness was 
alarmed at the blow the papal church had received in the 
East by the loss of Constantinople, and the prospect of seeing 
the Frank clergy excluded from a considerable part of the 
Peloponnesus. In order to recover the ground lost, he sanc- 
tioned the preaching of a crusade for the deliverance of the 
Morea from the Greek emperor 2 . The Venetians joined their 
solicitations to the papal exhortations ; and the rebellion of 
the mountaineers, who voluntarily placed themselves under 
the Byzantine protection, gave the prince of Achaia a legiti- 
mate pretext for assembling an army to watch the Greek 
forces in Misithra. Michael VIII. was as much determined 
to avail himself of the territory he had acquired, to extend 
his dominions at the expense of the Franks, as William was 
resolved to make every exertion for its recovery. For many 
years a war of mutual invasions was carried on, which de- 
generated into a system of rapine. The whole Peloponnesus, 
from Monemvasia to Andravida, was wasted by the hostile 
armies, the resources of the land were ruined, its population 
diminished, and its civilization deteriorated. 

The Franks laboured under many disadvantages in the 
prosecution of this war. Their best troops had been anni- 
hilated at the battle of Pelagonia, which had thrown many 
fiefs into the hands of females 3 ; nor was it easy to recruit 
their armies from western Europe, since the fortune of war had 
changed, and there was no hope of acquiring fiefs as a reward 
of valour. The Greeks, who formed the majority of the 
population even in the districts still under the Frank domi- 
nation, were secretly attached to the cause of the emperor ; 

1 The instructions to the Turks were — ' Que il gastent et essillent celle mal- 
veise gent et qu'il leur faichent le pys que il porront.' Livre de la Conquesle, 
p. 191. 

2 Urban. IV. Episi. lib. ii. ep. 94; lib. iii. ep. 137, 138, referred to by Ducange, 
His/oire de Constantinople, p. 167. 

3 Sanudo (Li^er Secretorum Fidelium Cruris) mentions the inconvenience that 
resulted in the Morea from women being allowed to hold fiefs. Beugnot, Assizes 
de Jerusalem, i. p. 427. 


[Ch.VII. §3. 

and most of the higher orders emigrated into the Byzantine 
fortresses. When the prince of Achaia visited the city of 
Lacedaemon, of which he retained possession after the cession 
of Misithra, and which he was anxious to hold as a bulwark 
against the Byzantine troops, he found it deserted by all 
its Greek inhabitants, who had abandoned their houses and 
taken up their residence within the fortifications of Misithra 1 . 
The weakness of the two contending parties, and the rude 
nature of the military operations of the age, are depicted 
by the fact that the prince of Achaia continued to retain 
possession of Lacedaemon for several years after the war 
had broken out, though it was only three miles distant from 
Misithra, which served as the head-quarters of the Byzantine 
army. Under every disadvantage, the Franks displayed their 
usual warlike spirit and indomitable courage, and the Greeks 
were no match for them on the field of battle. The first 
tide of success, however, ran strongly in favour of the Byzan- 
tine forces, and the insurrection of the native population 
drove the Frank army back into the plain of Elis. Andravida 
the capital of the principality was attacked, and William 
Villehardouin was compelled to construct intrenchments, in 
order to place his forces in a condition to defend the open 
town. Had Andravida fallen, it is probable the Franks would 
have been expelled from the Morea ; but the imperial forces 
were repulsed, and subsequently defeated in two battles. 
Their first defeat was at Prinitza, in the lower valley of the 
Alpheus ; the other at the defile of Makryplagia, between 
the plains of Veligosti and Lakkos 2 . In this last engage- 
ment the imperial generals, Philes and Makrinos, were taken 
prisoners, and the open country, as far as Helos and Monem- 
vasia, was ravaged by the victorious army. But the valour 
of the Franks would have been insufficient to defend every 
corner of their territory from the incessant attacks of the 
large bodies of light troops which the Byzantine emperor 
was able to direct against every exposed point, had the prince 

1 Greek Chronicle, v. 4276. 

2 The ruin called Palati, on the left bank of the Alpheus, nearly opposite to 
its junction with the Erymanthos. is supposed to be the site of the mona>teiy 
of Isova, burned by the Greeks before the battle of Prinitza. The Franks con- 
sidered their victory as the vengeance of the Madonna for her desecrated shrine. 
Prinitza must have been near Agoulonitza. In the part of the Greek Chronicle 
which treats of this war, there are several passages that prove the term Morea 

vea then often restricted to the western coast of the peninsula. 


A.D. I267-I277.] 

of Achaia not found a new and powerful ally in Charles of 
Anjou, the conqueror of the kingdom of Naples. 

SECT. IV. — Alliance and feudal Connection between the 
Principality of Achaia and the Kingdom of Naples. 

In the year 1266, Charles of Anjou, the brother of St. Louis, 
rendered himself master of the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily 
by the defeat and death of king Manfred ; and in the following 
year, though William Villehardouin had been the brother-in- 
law of Manfred, he purchased the alliance of the new king 
by betrothing his infant daughter Isabella, the heiress of his 
principality, to Philip, the second son of Charles of Anjou. 
This alliance exerted a powerful influence on the condition 
of the Frank establishments in Greece, and infused new 
vigour into the French chivalry in Achaia. It also gave 
a new direction to the political projects of the Latins through- 
out the East, by involving them in the mortal quarrel between 
the houses of Anjou and Aragon. The general advance of 
society in western Europe was daily diminishing the proportion 
of the population that lived constantly with arms in their 
hands, and the inadequacy of feudal institutions to meet the 
new exigencies of social life was becoming gradually more 
apparent. In this state of things the Franks of Achaia, if 
they had not been supported by a powerful prince, and a 
numerous military population in their immediate neighbour- 
hood, to whom they could apply in every sudden and pressing 
emergency, would have been unable to resist the vigorous 
assaults of the Byzantine Greeks on the one hand, and the 
encroachments of the republics of Venice and Genoa on the 

The dethroned emperor, Baldwin IL, had concluded a treaty 
with Charles of Anjou at Viterbo, the professed object of 
which was to purchase the assistance of the king of Naples 
for recovering the empire of Romania, and re-establishing 
his throne at Constantinople. Among other stipulations in 
this treaty, Baldwin ceded to Charles the suzerainty of the 
principality of Achaia and the Morea, which he separated 
entirely from the empire of Romania, and vested in the 
crown of Sicily and Naples. The betrothal of Philip, the 


[Ch.VII. § 4 . 

second son of Charles, to Isabella Villehardouin took place 
at the same time, and the king of Naples invested his son, 
who was still a child, with the suzerainty over his wife's 
future heritage 1 . This alliance rendered William the liege- 
man of his son-in-law ; but it also enabled him to claim 
succours from the king of Naples in his wars with the emperor 
Michael VIII. William repaid the assistance he received at 
a very critical moment. He joined the French army with 
a chosen band of knights, long exercised in the wars of the 
East, on the eve of the contest with Conradin ; and their 
brilliant valour contributed materially to the success of Charles 
of Anjou at the decisive battle of Tagliacozzo. After the 
death of Conradin, William received from the king of Naples 
a strong auxiliary force, which enabled him to conclude peace 
with the Greek emperor on favourable terms, and for several 
years the Peloponnesus enjoyed tranquillity. 

The condition of the Greek population in the peninsula 
underwent a considerable alteration at this period, though it 
is impossible to trace in detail all the causes of the great 
change which was soon produced. The commerce of the 
East passed out of the hands of the Greeks, and was trans- 
ferred to the citizens of the Italian republics and of the 
Spanish coast ; besides this, many of the productions of which 
the Greeks had long enjoyed a monopoly, were now raised 
more abundantly and of better quality in Sicily, Italy, and 
Spain. The men of Tzakonia and Maina, no longer able 
to find constant employment in the merchant ships of the 
Byzantine empire, and cut off from continuing their forays 
into the Frank territory, sought service in the fleet at Con- 
stantinople, and aided in ravaging the islands of the Archi- 
pelago which were in the possession of the Franks, or the 
coasts of Asia Minor that had been conquered by the Turks. 
The women, old men, and children were left as the principal 
inhabitants of the mountain districts in the Peloponnesus, 
because their labour was sufficient for the collection of the 
olives, valonia, dye-stuffs, and mulberry-leaves, and for weaving 
cloth and rearing silk-worms, which were the only occupations 

1 The treaty of Viterbo, dated 27th May 12(17, is printed by Ducange, Histoire 
de Constantinople; Recueil des Charles, p. 7; and by Buchon. Recherche* et Mate- 
riaux, p. 30. The second son of Charles of Anjou is called Philip by the French 
historian, and Louis by the Chronicles 0/ the Conquest. 


A.D.I 267-I 277.] ' 

that yielded any considerable profit in their country. Many 
entire families, however, quitted their native mountains and 
settled at Constantinople 1 . 

The eventful reign of William Villehardouin at last drew to 
a close. The only act recorded of his latter years proves that 
rapacity was the characteristic feature of his government. 
Under the pretext of executing the strict letter of the feudal 
laws of Romania, which he had shown himself so ready to 
infringe in the case of the duchy of Athens, he perpetrated a 
disgraceful violation of every principle of equity. Ambition 
might be urged as a plea in excuse for his attack on the 
independence of Guy de la Roche, but avarice and ingratitude 
darkened the infamous rapacity he displayed in seizing the 
property of Margaret de Neuilly. When William had*been 
released from his captivity by the Greek emperor, he had 
been forced to give hostages for his faithful execution of the 
treaty. One of these hostages was a child, the daughter of 
his friend John de Neuilly, baron of Passava, and hereditary 
marshal of Achaia. The young lady was allowed to reside at 
the court of Constantinople ; for at that time there was no 
better school for female education in Europe than the house- 
hold of the princesses of the Byzantine empire; and as 
Margaret would be received under the sacred character of a 
hostage, her parents knew that she would be treated with 
every care, and receive such an education as could hardly 
be obtained by a king's daughter in any feudal court. The 
young lady remained a prisoner until peace was concluded 
between the prince of Achaia and the emperor of Constanti- 
nople. She then returned to Greece to find her father, the 
marshal, dead, and her paternal castle of Passava in the hands 
of the Greeks. Her fortune, however, was still brilliant, for 
she was heiress of her maternal uncle, Walter de Rosieres, 
baron of Akova, the lord of four-and-twenty knights'-fees, 
who had died a short time before her father. When Mar- 
garet de Neuilly presented herself at the court of the princi- 
pality of Achaia to claim the investiture of her father's empty 
title and of her uncle's large estates, she met with an answer 
worthy of the pettifogging spirit of Villehardouin. The 
worthless investiture of the barony of Passava, and the empty 

1 Niceph. Greg. 58; Pachymeres, i. 209, edit. Rom.; Leake, Pelopotmesiaca, 35. 


[Ch. VII. § 4. 

honour of the hereditary title of marshal, were readily con- 
ferred on her, as her father had died within a year. But her 
claim to the barony of Akova was rejected on the plea that 
her uncle had been dead more than a year ; and in conse- 
quence of her not having demanded the investiture in person 
within a year and day after his decease, the fief was forfeited 
according to the provisions of the feudal code 1 . To her 
allegation, that she had only been prevented from appearing 
to claim the investiture of her heritage by the act of the 
prince of Achaia himself, who had placed her person in pledge 
as a hostage, William replied, that the terms of the law made 
no exception for such a case ; and as every vassal was bound 
to become hostage for his lord, he was equally bound to suffer 
every loss which might be entailed on him in consequence of 
fulfilling this obligation. The barony of Akova was, there- 
fore, declared to have reverted to the prince of Achaia as its 
immediate lord-paramount. By this mean subterfuge William 
Villehardouin obtained possession of the most extensive 
barony in his principality, and defrauded the orphan daughter 
of his friend of her inheritance. Margaret de Neuilly married 
John de Saint-Omer ; and her brother-in-law, Nicholas de 
Saint-Omer of Thebes, came to Andravida with great pomp 
to plead her cause before the high court of Achaia. The 
appeal, however, proved fruitless. The influence of the prince 
secured a confirmation of the previous decision. Prudence, 
some slight respect for public opinion, and, perhaps, some fear 
of the great power of the family of Saint-Omer, induced the 
prince of Achaia to grant eight knights'-fees out of the barony 
to Margaret and her husband ; but he retained the others, 
which he bestowed on his younger daughter, Margaret, who 
was called the lady of Akova, or more commonly the Lady 
of Mategrifon ; and the sins of her father were visited on 
her head. 

William Villehardouin died at Kalamata, the place of his 
birth, in the year 1277. He left two daughters, Isabella 
and Margaret. Misfortune soon extinguished his race. Ma- 
tilda of Hainault, the daughter of Isabella, was deprived of the 
principality of Achaia, and died childless, a prisoner in the 
Castel del Uovo at Naples ; Margaret, the lady of Akova, 

1 William's authority for his unjust seizure of the barony of Akova is found 
in chap. clxxii. tls of the Anises de Jerusalem, torn. i. p. 267, edit. Beugnot. 


A.D. I277-I3II.] 

died a prisoner in the hands of the barons of Achaia, who 
were displeased at her sanctioning her daughter's alliance 
with the house of Aragon ; and her daughter Elizabeth, after 
marrying Fernand of Majorca, the enemy of the French, died 
in childbed at Catania x . 

Sect. V. — Isabella de Villehardouin. — Florenz of Hainaidt. — 
PJiilip of Savoy. 

Isabella de Villehardouin lost her betrothed husband, Philip 
of Anjou, while both were children. During her minority the 
administration of the principality of Achaia was carried on by 
baillies appointed by Charles, king of Naples, in virtue of his 
rights as lord-paramount of the principality acquired by the 
treaty of Viterbo. Under these baillies, war was renewed 
with the Byzantine governors of Misithra ; and the Pelopon- 
nesus was wasted by the continual forays of the Franks and 
Greeks, until it fell into a state of anarchy, during which all 
the landed proprietors, but especially the Greek population of 
Achaia, suffered severely from the extortions of the political 
and military adventurers, who made the war a pretext . for 
collecting contributions in the principality. William de la 
Roche, duke of Athens, governed the principality for ten 
years, and his administration seems to have been temperate 
and not unpopular : but after his death, the state of things 
became intolerable ; and at last the barons became so impa- 
tient of their sufferings, that they petitioned Charles II., king 
of Naples, to send them a prince, who, as the husband of 
Isabella, would take up his residence among them. Charles 
selected Florenz of Hainault, a cadet of one of the noblest 
houses of Belgium, who had visited Naples to seek his fortune 
in the military service of the house of Anjou, as a prince 
worthy to receive the hand of Isabella and the government of 
the principality of Achaia, in the critical condition to which it 
was reduced. After the celebration of the marriage, the king 
of Naples invested Florenz with sovereign power, as regent 
for his wife, and renounced for himself the use of the title of 
the prince of Achaia, which was to be borne by the actual 

1 Muntaner, chap, cclxv. ; Buchon's Genealogy of the House of Villehardouin 
in Reckerches et Materiaux. 



[Ch.VII. §5. 

sovereigns of the country, and not by the lords-paramount, 
who had begun to assume it ; but he reserved the homage 
due to the crown of Naples, and he added a provision, that in 
case Isabella should become a widow, without having a male 
heir, it should neither be lawful for her, nor for any female 
heir to the principality, to marry without the consent of the 
kings of Naples, as their feudal suzerains l . 

The reign of Isabella and Florenz lasted about five years. 
It was afterwards looked back to by the population of the 
Morea with regret, as the last prosperous epoch in the Frank 
domination. Florenz of Hainault showed that he really 
wished to remedy the evils under which the country was 
suffering. His first measure was to conclude a treaty of 
peace with the Greek emperor Andronicus II. ; and as soon 
as he was relieved from the necessity of keeping large bands 
of military retainers in constant movement, he endeavoured to 
reform the internal government. But though his administra- 
tion was subsequently regretted, because succeeding times 
were worse, still his government was marked by many scenes 
of violence, which prove that the general state of society in 
the Morea was not far removed from universal intestine war. 
Men who had it not in their power to revenge the injuries 
they sustained, had very little chance of obtaining justice. A 
few anecdotes, illustrative of the social state of Greece at this 
period, taken from the chronicles written during the next 
generation, afford a more correct delineation of the govern- 
ment, and the condition of the people, than any narrative 
founded on the scanty official documents that have been 

Florenz named one of his Flemish relations, Walter de 
Luidekerke, governor of Corinth. Walter maintained a gal- 
lant establishment ; but the revenues of his barony being 
insufficient to support his magnificent style of housekeeping, 
he supplied the deficiency in his treasury by various acts of 
pillage and extortion. In those days it was not easy for the 
prodigal to run into debt unless they possessed large landed 
estates; the luxurious and extravagant military chieftains could 
only repair their finances by robbing strangers and waylaying 

1 Livre de la Conqtteste, pp. 291, 293, notes; Ducange. Histoire de Constantinople, 
edit. Buchon, ii. 375, Extraii d'wi Mimoire touchant les Droits du Roi de Majorque; 
Muntaner, p. 521, edit. Buchon. 


A.D. I277-I3II.] 

and ransoming travellers : it was reserved for a chivalry of a 
later age to preserve its social pre-eminence by defrauding 
tradesmen or cheating friends. At a moment when Walter 
de Luidekerke was in want of money, it happened that a 
wealthy Greek, named Photios, visited some property he 
possessed within the limits of the province of Corinth. The 
governor, hearing of his presence, sent a party of his men-at- 
arms to seize Photios, pretending that he was violating the 
treaty with the Byzantine authorities, by living at free 
quarters within the limits of the Frank territory. When 
the prisoner was secured, the peasants of the district were 
incited to make a demand for damage done by Photios, to the 
amount of ten thousand perpers ] ; and Walter insisted that 
this sum should be paid to him by his prisoner. Photios, who 
knew the accusation was got up as a pretext to extort money, 
treated the demand with contempt. Though he was im- 
prisoned and treated with great severity, he resisted the 
demands of Walter with constancy, not thinking that the 
governor would dare to make use of any personal violence, 
which might become a ground of war with the Byzantine 
government. But the governor of Corinth was determined 
to obtain money, even at the most desperate risk ; and in 
order to compel Photios to agree to his demands, he ordered 
two of the Greek's teeth to be extracted. As it was now 
clear that Walter was ready to proceed to extremities, 
Photios consented to purchase his liberty, by paying one 
thousand perpers 2 . 

Photios, as soon as he was released from confinement, 
applied for justice to the Byzantine governor of Misithra, 
who represented the matter to the prince of Achaia ; but 
Florenz, who was anxious to protect his relation, affected 
to believe that the accusation brought by the peasants was 
well founded, and rejected the claim for satisfaction. The 
Byzantine authorities did not consider the moment favourable 
for renewing hostilities ; so that Photios, disgusted with his 
ineffectual attempt to obtain justice, resolved to seek revenge. 
Hearing that his enemy was returning to Corinth from Patras, 

1 These perpers must have been silver coins of ten to a gold florin ; see below, 
p. 213, note. Joinville says the gold besant was worth dix sols d 'argent. Such 
byzants were not of the value of the old Byzantine gold pieces from the fall of the 
Western empire to the reign of Isaac II. Angelos. 

a This would be one hundred gold florins. 

P 2 


[Ch.VIT. §5. 

he assembled some armed men, and placed himself in ambush 
on the southern shore of the Corinthian gulf. While he was 
thus on the watch, a galley was perceived coming from the 
entrance of the gulf, and bearing the pennon of a Frank 
knight. It approached the shore, and a young noble, with 
light hair and a fair complexion, landed to dine near a 
fountain shaded with plane-trees, not far from the ambush. 
The Greeks cautiously crept up to the spot ; and Photios, 
seeing a man whom he supposed to be Walter de Luidekerke 
seated on a carpet, while his attendants prepared his meal, 
became inflamed with rage at the sight of his oppressor ; and 
rushing forward, with his drawn sword struck the knight 
several blows, exclaiming, ' There, my lord Walter, take your 
quittance.' The attendants of the prostrate noble recognized 
the assailant, and shouted ' Photy, Photy ! what are you 
doing? It is the lord of Vostitza, not lord Walter.' But 
the information came too late : the fair hair and handsome 
countenance of the lord of Vostitza had made him the sacrifice 
for Walter's vices. Both parties raised the wounded knight 
from the ground, with feelings of deep regret ; for the lord of 
Vostitza was as much beloved as he of Corinth was disliked. 
He was conveyed in his galley to Corinth, where he expired 
next day. The prince of Achaia now called on the Byzantine 
governor to deliver up Photios, but he met with the same 
denial of justice he had formerly used. The Byzantine 
authorities declared that the crime committed was accidental, 
and originated in a mistake while Photios was in search of a 
legitimate revenge. In spite of the high rank of the young 
baron of Vostitza, the affair was allowed to drop ; for it was 
evident that Florenz could obtain no satisfaction without war, 
and he did not think it prudent to renew hostilities on account 
of a private injury. 

The Sclavonians of Mount Taygetus were still governed 
by their own local magistrates. They were tributary to 
the Byzantine government, but not subject to the Byzantine 
administration. Two Sclavonian chiefs, who resided at 
Ghianitza, about three miles from Kalamata, formed a plan 
to surprise that fortress. This design was carried into execu- 
tion by scaling a tower that commanded the internal defences 
of the citadel, during a storm)' night, with a band of fifty 
followers. At daybreak, the assailants were joined by 6oo of 


AD. I277-I3II.] 

their countrymen, in good hauberks, who drove the Franks 
out of the citadel and garrisoned Kalamata. The moment 
prince Florenz heard of this disaster, he hastened to Kala- 
mata, and formed the siege of the place in person ; but the 
Sclavonians had sufficient time to augment the garrison, and 
the citadel contained ample magazines of provisions and 
military stores. The surprisal of Kalamata was an open 
infraction of the treaty, and Florenz called on the Byzantine 
governor of Misithra to compel the Sclavonians to surrender 
the place they had so treacherously seized ; but the governor 
replied that the Sclavonians were a people who lived accord- 
ing to their own customs and paid no obedience to the laws 
of the Byzantine empire. Nothing, therefore, remained for 
the prince but to send an embassy to Constantinople, to 
demand justice from the emperor Andronicus II. ; and, in 
the mean time, he prosecuted the siege with the greatest 
vigour. His ambassadors received very much the same reply 
from the emperor as the prince had received from the imperial 
authorities in Greece. At last, however, they succeeded in 
obtaining the nomination of a Greek commissioner to examine 
into the facts on the spot, with full powers to terminate 
the business. This commissioner, whose name, Sguros- 
Mailly, indicates a family connection with the Latins, 
was bribed by the Achaian ambassadors, and through his 
treachery Florenz succeeded in recovering possession of 
Kalamata, merely on paying the traitor three hundred 
gold florins, and making him a present of a valuable 
horse 1 . 

At this period the Peloponnesus was rich in that accumula- 
tion of capital on landed property which forms the surest 
mark of a long period of civilization, and which it often takes 
ages of barbarism and bad government to annihilate. Roads, 
wells, cisterns, aqueducts, and plantations, with commodious 
houses, barns, and magazines, enable a numerous population 
to live in ease and plenty, where, without this accumulation of 
capital, only a few ploughmen and shepherds could drag 
out a laborious and scanty existence. Abundance creates 

1 Livre de la Co?iqueste, 350-355. This chronicle makes three thousand perpers 
equal to three hundred gold florins ; so that it would seem the perper, at this time, 
was a silver coin about the size of the gros tournois of France, and the gold florin 
equal in value to those of St. Louis or Philip IV. Sguros-Mailly, from his name, 
must have been what was called a Gasmul— half Greek, half Frank. 


[Ch. VII. § 5. 

markets where the difficulties of communication are not 


In a fine meadow, near the town of Vervena, a fair of some 
importance was held, during the thirteenth century, in the 
month of June. Vervena was subject to the Franks, and 
was still included in the district of Skorta, once inhabited 
exclusively by Sclavonians. A rich Greek, named Chalko- 
kondylas *, from Great Arachova, on the western side of 
the Tzakonian mountains, had visited this fair to sell his 
silk. In consequence of some dispute in the public square, 
a Frank knight struck him with the stave of a lance. There 
was no hope of redress for the insult at Vervena, so 
Chalkokondylas returned home, and laid plans for revenging 
himself on the Franks by expelling them from the castle of 
St. George, the frontier fortress on the eastern limits of their 
territory, situated not far from Great Arachova. He suc- 
ceeded in his project, by gaining over the Greeks employed 
in the castle to act as cellarer and butler ; and with the aid 
of a few troops, lent by the Byzantine governor of Misithra, 
who considered the prize of sufficient value to warrant the 
treachery and risk a renewal of hostilities with the prince 
of Achaia, he made himself master of the strong castle of 
St. George. 

Florenz, who was never wanting in activity and energy, 
hastened to besiege the castle in person, hoping to recover 
possession of it before the Greeks were able to lay in a store 
of provisions. Its situation, however, rendered it almost 
impregnable, so that a very small force sufficed for its defence, 
and there seemed little chance of taking it, except by famine. 
In order, therefore, to prevent the Byzantine garrison which 
occupied it from commanding the roads leading to Nikli and 
Veligosti, Florenz constructed a new castle, called Beaufort, in 
which he stationed a strong body of men. In the mean time, 
he sent agents to Italy to enrol veteran troops, experienced in 
the operations of sieges, and hired the services of Spany, the 
Sclavonian lord of the district of Kisterna, who joined the 
Achaian army with two hundred infantry, pikemen, and 
archers, accustomed to mountain warfare, and habituated to 
besiege their neighbours in the rock forts of their native 

1 Called in the French chronicle Corcondille, p. 378. 


A.D. I277-I3II.] 

province l . Spany received from the prince of Achaia two 
fiefs in the plain near Kalamata, and in return engaged to 
maintain an armed vessel at the command of the prince. 
But before all the necessary preparations for making a 
vigorous attack on the castle of St. George were completed, 
Florenz of Hainault died in the year 1297. 

During the reign of Isabella and Florenz, the suzerainty 
of Achaia was transferred from the crown of Naples by king 
Charles II., and conferred on Philip of Tarentum, his second 
son, on the occasion of his marriage with Ithamar, daughter 
of Nicephorus, despot of Epirus. Philip received from his 
father-in-law the cities of Naupaktos, Vrachori, Angelokastron, 
and Vonitza, as the dowry of his wife; and his father 
bestowed on him Corfu, and all the lands possessed by the 
crown of Naples in Epirus, in actual sovereignty. These 
possessions, united to the suzerainty of Achaia, were intended 
to form the foundations of a Graeco-Latin kingdom. The 
death of Ithamar, and the subsequent marriage of Philip of 
Tarentum with Catherine of Valois, the titular empress of 
Romania, opened new prospects of ambition to the house of 

Isabella, princess of Achaia, after a widowhood of. four 
years, married Philip of Savoy. The marriage was ratified 
by Charles II. of Naples, who invested Philip of Savoy with 
the actual sovereignty of the principality of Achaia, in the 
name of his son Philip of Tarentum, the real suzerain 2 . 
Philip of Savoy, on arriving in the Morea, was compelled 
by the feudatories of the principality to take an oath to 

1 The district of Kisterna, above Kardamyle and Leuktron, appears from exist- 
ing remains to have been then, as now, filled with defensible towers. Spany was 
the master of several castles in the district. Livre de la Conqueste, 384. 

8 For the act of investiture, dated at Rome, 23rd Feb. 1301, see Guichenon, 
Preuves de VHistoire de la Maison de Savoie, p. 103; Buchon's edition of Mimtaner, 

E. 505. But Buchon, in his Nouvelles Recherches (vol. i. p. 236, and vol. ii. p. 339), 
as published an act, dated at Calvi, 6th February, 1301, in which Charles II. of 
Naples declares that Isabella had forfeited her title to the principality, in virtue of 
the stipulation entered into at the time of her marriage with Florenz of Hainault, 
prohibiting her or her female heirs to marry without the consent of the kings 
of Naples, as lords-paramount. It would appear that the influence of Pope 
Boniface VIII. effected the change in the conduct of the king of Naples ; but 
Buchon does not mention this discrepancy in his last work. [Isabella had 
visited Rome in 1 300, on the occasion of the Jubilee, and had an interview with 
the Pope. Hopf, who has compared the unpublished documents relating to 
the subject, shows that Finlay was right in supposing that the Pope's influence 
with the Angevin princes caused them to consent to the arrangement (Griechische 
Geschichte, p. 351). Ed.] 


[Ch.VII.§ 5 . 

respect the usages and privileges of the state before they 
would consent to offer him their homage as vassals. He 
was considerably younger than his wife ; and his fear of 
losing the government of the principality after her death, 
and of sinking into the rank of a titular prince on his Italian 
lands, induced him to employ his time in amassing money, 
in violation of all the usages he had sworn to respect. In 
order to avoid awakening the opposition of the Frank knights 
and barons, he directed his first attacks against the purses 
of the Sclavonians and Greeks who inhabited the privileged 
territory of Skorta,. on whom he imposed a tax. This was a 
direct violation of the charter under which these people had 
long lived in tranquillity, and they determined to resist it. 
The Byzantine authorities at Misithra were invited to assist 
the insurrection ; and the population of Skorta, with the 
auxiliary force sent to aid them from the Byzantine province, 
succeeded, by a sudden attack, in capturing the two castles of 
St. Helena and Crevecceur, in the passes between Karitena 
and the lower plain of the Alpheus, both of which they 
levelled with the ground. The vigour of Philip, who collected 
all the military force of the principality and hastened to the 
scene of action, arrested the progress of the insurrection, and 
recovered the ground lost by the Franks ; but the country 
was laid waste, the wealth of the knights in the district was 
diminished, two strong castles were utterly destroyed, and 
there seemed little probability that means would be found 
to rebuild them. The ruinous effects of the avarice of the 
prince became evident to all, and it was made too apparent 
that the tenure on which the Franks continued to hold their 
possessions in the centre of the Peloponnesus would by a 
repetition of such conduct become extremely precarious. 
The Greeks and Sclavonians henceforward made common 
cause ; and whenever an opportunity was afforded them, they 
threw off the yoke of the Franks, in order to place themselves 
under the protection of their Byzantine coreligionaries, who 
gradually gained ground on the Latins, and year after year 
expelled them from some new district. To this union of the 
Greeks and Sclavonians for a common object, we must 
attribute the complete amalgamation of the two races in 
the Peloponnesus, and the creation of social feelings, which 
soon led to the utter extinction of the Sclavonian language, 


M>. 1311-1317.] 

and the abolition of all the distinctive privileges still retained 
by the Sclavonian population. 

Isabella and Philip of Savoy quitted Greece in the year 
1304. They appear to have taken this step in consequence of 
differences with their vassals in the principality, and of dis- 
putes with Philip of Tarentum. their lord-paramount, who, 
after the death of Boniface VIII., seems to have called in 
question the legality of the investiture granted by his father 
to Philip of Savoy 1 . Isabella died at her husband's Italian 
possessions in the year 131 1, and Philip of Savoy then be- 
came merely titular prince of Achaia, without having subse- 
quently any direct connection with the political affairs in the 
principality 2 . 

Sect. VI. — Maud of Hainault and Louis of Burgundy. 

Maud or Matilda, the daughter of Isabella Villehardouin 
and Florenz of Hainault, though only eighteen years of age 
when she succeeded to the principality of Achaia, was already 
widow of Guy II., duke of Athens 3 . In the year 13 13, two 
years after her accession, she was married to Louis of Bur- 
gundy, a treaty having been concluded between the king of 
France, the duke of Burgundy, and Philip of Tarentum, in 
which her rights were most shamefully trafficked to serve the 
private interests of these princes. Hugh, duke of Burgundy, 
had been already engaged to Catherine of Valois, the titular em- 
press of Romania ; but it now suited the interests of all parties 
that Philip of Tarentum, who was a widower, should marry 
Catherine of Valois ; and in order to bribe the duke of Bur- 
gundy to consent, Maud of Hainault was forced to cede her 
principality to her husband, Louis of Burgundy, the duke's 
brother, and to his collateral heirs, even to the exclusion of 
her own children by any future marriage. Pope Clement V., 
the royal houses of France and Naples, and the proud dukes 

1 Ducange, Histoire de Constantinople, 213. 

2 Neither Philip's daughter by Isabella, nor his son by a subsequent marriage, 
though that son assumed the title of prince of Achaia, had any influence on the 
public affairs of Greece. Buchon, Recherckes et Materiaux, pp. 260, 2?o; Datta, 
Storia dei Principi di Snvoia del Ratno d'Acr.ia, 2 vols., Turin, 1832. 

3 Maud, Mahaut, Matilda, Maiatis, and Madr, are all variations of her name 
found in documents and chronicles, and on coins. 


[Ch. VII. § 6. 

of Burgundy, all conspired to advance their political schemes 
by defrauding a young girl of nineteen of her inheritance 1 . 

About the end of the year 13 15, Maud and Louis set out 
from Venice with a small army, to take possession of their 
principality, which was governed by the Count of Cephalonia 
as bailly for Maud. In the mean time, Fernand, son of Don 
Jayme L, king of Majorca, had married Elizabeth, only 
daughter of Margaret de Villehardouin, the lady of Akova, or 
Mategrifon 2 , and he advanced a claim to the principality on 
the pretext that William Villehardouin had by will declared 
that the survivor of his daughters was to inherit his domin- 
ions. The French barons of Achaia, however, were not in- 
clined to favour the pretensions of a Spanish prince, who 
might easily deprive them of all their privileges by uniting 
with the Grand Company which had already conquered 
Athens. As a precautionary measure they imprisoned the 
lady of Akova on her return from Messina, where the marri- 
age of her daughter was celebrated, and sequestrated her 
estates while waiting anxiously for the arrival of Louis of 
Burgundy. The lady of Akova died shortly after her arrest. 
Her daughter Elizabeth only survived a few weeks, dying 
after she gave birth to Jayme II., king of Majorca, one of the 
most unfortunate princes that ever bore the royal title 3 . 
Fernand was a widower before he quitted Sicily to invade 
Achaia, and he counted far more on the valour of his Almo- 
gavars, than on the validity of his son's title. Taking ad- 
vantage of the war that had broken out between Robert, king 
of Naples, and Frederic, king of Sicily, he collected a fleet on 
the Sicilian coast, and sailed from Catania with a corps of five 
hundred cavalry, and a strong body of the redoubtable in- 
fantry of Spain, in 13 15. Clarentza and Pondikokastron 

1 On the subject of these arrangements, see p. 120, note, and Duchesne, Histoire 
generate des Dues de Dourgogne de la mahon de France; preuves, p. 115. Buchon 
{Recherches et Materiaux, 238) has printed that part of the treaty which relates to 
the principality of Achaia. 

2 Elizabeth is sometimes called Isabella d'Adria. The stipulations relating to 
her marriage with Don Fernand of Majorca are given in d'Achery, Spicilegium, 
torn. iii. p. 704. and Buchon's translation of Muntaner, p. 508, edit. 1S40. 

3 Jayme II., the last king of Majorca, was driven from his dominions by the 
king of" Aragon, Don Pedro IV. (the Ceremonious), and fell in battle like his father. 
It is said that he incurred the implacable hatred of Don Pedro, in consequence of 
a Majorcan squire giving the horse of the ceremonious king a cut with his whip 
in a contemptuous manner as that monarch was making his public entry into 
Avignon. This unceremonious conduct of the man was avenged on the master. 


A.D. I3II-I317.] 

surrendered on his arrival, and the greater part of the western 
coast of the Morea was soon subdued ; but Fernand, though 
a gallant knight, was no general, and his wilfulness ruined the 
enterprise, and cost him his life, at a moment when with a 
little prudence it seemed probable that he might have com- 
pleted the conquest of Achaia, and expelled the French from 
the Peloponnesus as completely as his countrymen had driven 
them out of Athens 1 . 

Early in the year 13 16, Louis of Burgundy, who had just 
arrived in Achaia, led out his army against Fernand, who was 
slain in a petty skirmish where he had no business to be pre- 
sent. After his death, his Spanish followers abandoned all 
idea of conquering the principality. Their force was inade- 
quate to the undertaking ; and what was worse, they had no 
expectation of finding another leader who could procure the 
supplies of men and money required to prosecute the war. 
Yet the Spaniards were generally accused of treachery 
for yielding up the fortified places in their possession to the 
French, who were considerably their inferiors in warlike spirit 
and military discipline 2 . Louis of Burgundy survived his rival 
only about two months. It was said that he was poisoned by 
the Count of Cephalonia, who was one of a family in which 
poisoning appears to have been a common practice. The 
death of Louis rendered his widow Maud merely a liferenter 
in her own hereditary dominions, since, by her contract of 
marriage and the will of her deceased husband, it now de- 
scended in fee after her death to Eudes IV., duke of Bur- 
gundy ; while even her own personal rights were exposed to 
confiscation, in case she should marry again without the 
consent of Philip of Tarentum, the lord-paramount of the 

1 Muntaner, who seems to have loved Femand as if he had been his son, com- 
plains in amusing terms of his wilfulness when they quitted the Grand Company 
together in 1307, and Fernand ran himself into captivity at Negrepont. 'It is 
always a service of danger to wait on the son of a king when he is young,' says 
the stout old Spaniard ; ' for on account of their high blood, they can never believe 
that anything in the world can induce other people to do what will not please 
them. . . . And it must be confessed ako, that they hold themselves such great 
lords, that no one dare contradict anything which they wish to be done ; and this 
was what happened to us ; so Don Fernand forced us to consent to our own ruin.' 
Ch. ccxxxv. 

2 Extracts from a curious memoir, relating to the circumstances that attended 
the death of Fernand, are given in Ducange, Hisloire de Constantinople, torn. ii. 
p. 175, Buchon's edit.; and in a note to Buchon's translation of Muntaner, p. 518, 
edit. 1840. 


[Ch. VII. § 7. 

The Neapolitan house of Anjou was as famous for relent- 
less cruelty as for unprincipled ambition and boundless rapacity. 
The object of Robert king of Naples, and Philip of Tarentum, 
was to unite the sovereignty as well as the suzerainty of the 
principality in their own family. They expected to do this, 
and to find a pretext for frustrating the claims of the duke of 
Burgundy, by marrying the princess Maud to their brother 
John, count of Gravina ; but to this marriage the young widow 
refused to consent. In vain entreaties and threats were em- 
ployed to make her yield ; at last the king of Naples carried 
her before the pope, John XXII., when she declared that she 
was already secretly married to Hugh de la Palisse. a French 
knight. The princes of Anjou determined that this secret 
marriage should not prove a bar to their ambitious projects. 
The king of Naples declared the marriage null, and ordered 
the marriage ceremony to be celebrated between Maud and 
his brother, the count of Gravina, in defiance of the deter- 
mined opposition of the young princess. Immediately after 
this infamous ceremony, the unfortunate Maud was immured 
in the prisons of the Castel del Uovo. which she was never 
allowed to quit, and where she is supposed to have died about 
the year 1324. She was the last of the line of Villehardouin 
who possessed the principality of Achaia. The frauds of 
Geffrey I., and of William his son, seem to have been 
punished in the third and fourth generation of his house, 
every member of which suffered the severest private calamities 
as well as public misfortunes l . 

SECT. VII. — Achaia under the Neapolitan Princes. — Ruin of 

the Principality. 

John of Gravina assumed the title of Prince of Achaia 
immediately after his pretended marriage with the princess 
Maud, in 1317, and gained possession of part of the prin- 
cipality; but his brother, Philip of Tarentum, reclaimed her 
liferent, as lord-paramount, in virtue of her forfeiture ; and 

1 Jayme III., titular king of Majorca, who married Jeanne I., queen of Naples, 
and Isabella, who married John II.. marquis of Montferrat, were the children of 
Jayme II., son of Elizabeth of Adria. Jayme died without issue, but Isabella, 
Elizabeth, or Esclannonde, was the mother of Otho, John, and Theodore, who 
became in succession Marquis of Montferrat. Art de verifier les Dales ; compare 
A'o/i de Majorque and Marquis de Montferrat, 


A.P. 131 7-I4OO.] 

the eventual right to the sovereignty was vested in the duke 
of Burgundy. Eudes IV. sold his claim to Philip of Taren- 
tum, in the year 1320, for the sum of forty thousand livres ; 
and, Maud dying soon after, he became the real sovereign as 
well as the lord-paramount of Achaia. Philip died in 1322, 
and was succeeded by his son Robert, whose real sovereignty 
was disputed by his uncle, John of Gravina. Catherine of 
Valois, who acted as regent for her son Robert, in order 
to terminate this family dispute, ceded to John of Gravina 
the duchy of Durazzo, thereby obtaining a renunciation of all 
his claims on Achaia. 

During this period of confusion in the claims to the prin- 
cipality, the barons of the Morea endeavoured to extend their 
privileges, and to acquire virtual independence, by forming 
amongst themselves associations to support that claimant 
whose interest seemed most likely to coincide with their own ; 
while in some cases new claimants were invited to enter the 
field, merely to embarrass the proceedings of those who might 
otherwise become too powerful. All patriotism was lost by 
the French of Achaia ; and in the year 1341, after the death 
of the Greek emperor Andronicus III., a party of nobles sent a 
deputation to Constantinople to offer their fealty to the 
Byzantine empire. The rebellion of Cantacuzenos put an 
end to this intrigue, by depriving them of all hope of obtain- 
ing any effectual aid from this quarter 1 . The same party 
then turned their attention to Don Jayme II., king of Majorca, 
as the representative of the family of Villehardouin, and they 
invited him to invade the Morea in the year 1344 ; but Jayme, 
who was an exile from Spain, was more intent on recovering 
possession of his hereditary kingdom than on acquiring a 
distant principality 2 . 

Philip of Tarentum bequeathed the suzerainty of Achaia to 
his wife, Catherine of Valois, titular empress of Romania. At 
her death, in 1346, her son Robert reunited in his person the 
suzerainty with the actual sovereignty of the principality; 
and, as titular emperor of Romania, he became lord-para- 
mount of the duchies of Athens and of the Archipelago, as 

1 Cantacuzeni Hist., p. 384. 

2 Ducange. HUtoire de Constantinople, torn. ii. p. 375, Buchon's edit.; and the 
notes to Buchon's edition of Muntaner, p. 521, edit. 1S40, where the memorial sent 
by the barons of the Morea to Don Jayme II. of Majorca is printed. 


[Ch.VII. §7. 

well as of all the other fiefs of the empire still in the posses- 
sion of the Franks. It is needless to say that the Catalans, 
the Venetians, and the Genoese attached very little im- 
portance to this remnant of feudal pretensions. Still the 
position of the emperor Robert might, in the hands of a man 
of talent and energy, have been converted into a station of 
great power and eminence ; but he was of a very feeble 
character, and in his hands the feudal suzerainty sank into 
an insignificant title. He died in the year 1364, leaving the 
real sovereignty of Achaia to his wife, Mary de Bourbon ; 
while the direct suzerainty passed, with the title of emperor, 
to his brother Philip III. Mary de Bourbon established her- 
self in Greece, but her authority was circumscribed by the 
power of the barons, and by the claims which others advanced 
to the princely title ; while the ravages of the Turkish pirates, 
who now began to infest all the coasts of Greece, and the in- 
creasing power of the Byzantine governors in the Morea, 
rendered the administration in that portion of the peninsula 
still in the possession of the Franks a task of daily increasing 
difficulty. Disgusted with her position, Mary de Bourbon 
retired to Naples, where she died about the year 1387. She 
was the last sovereign whose title was recognized in the whole 
of the principality. 

The barons of the Morea had succeeded in defending their 
privileges and local independence even against the power of 
the house of Anjou. The configuration of the country, in 
which the richest valleys are encircled by stupendous and 
rugged mountains, rising to a height that prevents all com- 
munication between contiguous districts except through a few 
narrow and defencible passes, must always enable the people 
of the Peloponnesus, when they are moved by a strong feeling 
of patriotism, to secure their local independence. The lord of 
every little valley was thus enabled to live in as complete 
a state of exemption from direct control as the greatest prince 
of the Germanic empire. The spirit of separation inherent in 
the feudal system was assisted by the same physical and 
geographical causes which had secured the existence of the 
little republics of Pellene, Tritaea, and Methydrium, in ancient 
Greece, and now enabled the barons of Chalandritza, Akova, 
and Karitena to share the political sovereignty of the Pelopon- 


A.D. 131 7-I4OO.] 

nesus with the princes of Achaia, the dukes of Argos and 
Nauplia, and the Greek despots of Misithra. 

Whenever the power and wealth of their sovereign appeared 
to threaten any encroachment on their privileges, the Moreote 
barons united to resist his measures ; but after the death of 
Robert of Tarentum left the succession divided between 
his wife and brother, the barons began separately to form 
projects for their individual aggrandizement, by appropriating 
the rights which belonged to their sovereigns. Various con- 
federacies were constituted for organizing a new constitution. 
John de Heredia, grand-master of the order of the Hospital at 
Rhodes, claimed the principality in virtue of a grant from 
Jeanne I., queen of Naples, confirmed by pope Clement VII. 
The grand-master stormed Patras sword in hand, and for a 
short time stood at the head of a powerful confederacy, which 
threatened to place the whole of Achaia under his dominion ; 
but difficulties presented themselves, and the power of the 
order soon melted away 1 . Subsequently, in the year 139 1, 
Amadeus of Savoy, titular prince of Achaia, was invited by 
another confederacy to assume the government of the princi- 
pality; but he died in the midst of his preparations 2 . In the 
mean time, the predominant influence in the country was 
exercised by Peter San Superano, bailly of the titular emperor 
of Romania, Jacques de Baux (Balza) ; by Asan Zacharias 
Centurione, baron of Chalandritza and Arcadia ; and by Nerio 
Acciaiuoli, governor of Corinth. It is unnecessary to record 
the names of any more pretenders to the title of Prince of 
Achaia. This portion of history belongs to the family annals 
of the houses of Anjou, Aragon, and Savoy, and has little 
connection with the progress of events in Greece, or with the 
fate of the Greek population. 

It would be an unprofitable task to trace the intrigues and 
negotiations of the barons, their civil broils and petty wars 
with the Catalans, Greeks, and Turkish pirates. Achaia was 
a scene of anarchy; but we should err greatly if we concluded 
that such a state of things was considered by contemporaries 
as one of intolerable suffering. It is unquestionably the 

1 Vertot, Histoire des Chevaliers Hospitaliers de St. Jean de Jerusalem, torn. ii. 
p. 94. 

3 Datta, Sloria del Principi di Savoia del Ramo d'Acaia, torn. i. p. 271. Clement 
VII. recalled his confirmation of the grant to the grand-master of Rhodes, and 
issued a new bull in favour of Amadeus of Savoy. 


[Ch.VII. §7. 

source of much trouble and confusion to the historian, who 
must toil through wearisome pages of tumid phrases before he 
can form any classification of the records of the time, or 
understand the spirit of an age in a society which often 
avoided expressing its real feelings. We may, however, form 
a not incorrect estimate of the general feeling, if we reflect 
that the men of that age, whether nobles, gentlemen, burghers, 
or peasants, were obliged to choose between two evils. On 
the one hand, the sovereign, whether emperor, king, prince, or 
duke, was always engaged in extorting as much money as 
possible from his subjects, both by taxes, monopolies, and 
forced contributions ; and this treasure was expended for 
distant objects in distant lands, so that those who paid it 
rarely derived the smallest benefit from their sacrifices. On 
the other hand, the local signers, whatever might be the evils 
caused by their warlike propensities, were compelled to culti- 
vate the good-will of those among whom they passed their 
lives : their quarrelsome nature was restrained by habits of 
military fellowship, and their insolence to inferiors softened by 
personal intercourse. The Greeks could not be oppressed 
with impunity, for they could easily make their escape into 
the Byzantine province. Thus prudence placed a salutary 
restraint on the conduct of the local nobles. To guard against 
hostile forays and piratical incursions was a necessity of 
existence ; and, as far as personal position was concerned, it 
must not be forgotten that what the historian feels himself 
compelled to call anarchy, contemporaries usually dignified 
with the name of liberty. 

While the possession of the principality was disputed by 
rival princes, and the country governed by the baillies of 
absent sovereigns, the Franks were compelled to devote all 
their attention to plans for mutual defence. Their position 
was one of serious danger : they were a foreign caste, inca- 
pable of perpetuating their numbers without fresh immigrations, 
for they were cut off by national and religious barriers from 
recruiting their ranks from the native Greek population. They 
were consequently obliged to watch carefully every sign of 
domestic discontent, for rebellion was always likely to prove 
more dangerous than hostile attacks from abroad. In such 
a state of insecurity, it is natural that the wealth of the 
country should decline. But the slow decay wrought by 


A.D. I317-I4.OO.] 

these causes was suddenly converted into a general destruction 
of property, by the piratical expeditions of the Seljouk Turks 
of Asia Minor, who about the latter half of the fourteenth 
century filled the Grecian seas with their squadrons, and laid 
waste every coast and island inhabited by Greeks. Omar, 
son of Aidin, the friend of the usurper Cantacuzenos, was 
the bloodiest pirate of the Eastern seas ; under the name 
of Morbassan, he has obtained celebrity in the pages of 
European writers. His power was great, and his insolence 
even greater. He depopulated the shores of Greece by his 
piracies, assumed the title of Sovereign master of Achaia, 
and gloried in the appellation of the Scourge of the Christians 1 . 
Large bodies of the Seljouk pirates who had acquired an 
accurate knowledge of the topography of the peninsula by 
serving as mercenaries in the armies of the Greek despots 
of the Morea, ravaged the principality. These plunderers 
destroyed everything that was spared in Christian warfare. 
Other enemies only carried off movable wealth, leaving the 
peasant and his family to renew their toil, and be plundered 
on a future occasion. The Turks, on the contrary, after 
burning down the wretched habitations of the labourer, de- 
stroyed the olive and fruit trees, in order to depopulate the 
country and render it a fit residence for their own nomadic 
tribes. And they also carried off the young women and 
children, as the article of commerce that found the readiest 
sale in the slave-markets of the Asiatic cities. Indeed, for 
several generations the Seljouk Turks recruited their city 
population, throughout the greater part of their wide-extended 
empire, not by the natural influx of the rural population 
of the neighbourhood, but by foreign slaves, obtained by 
their warlike expeditions by land and sea. This accumu- 
lation of ills diminished the Greek population to such a 
degree that the country was prepared for the immigration 
of the Albanian colonists who soon after entered it : the 
power of the Frank lords of the soil was undermined, and 
the principality was ready to yield to the first vigorous 

1 We find the ravages of the Seljouk pirates complained of by the inhabitants of 
Corinth in a letter to the emperor Robert, prince of Achaia, dated in 1358-— 
' Insupportabiles affiictiones quibus ab infidelibus Turchis affligimur omni die.* 
Buchon, Nouvelles Recherche*, Diplomes, torn. ii. p. 145. 



[Ch. VII. § 7. 

Other causes of decay were also at work. The princes 
of Achaia possessed the right of coining money, and, like 
all avaricious and needy sovereigns who possess the power 
of cheating their subjects by issuing a debased coinage, they 
availed themselves of the privilege to an infamous extent. 
They were also masters of several commercial ports of some 
importance, and possessed the power of levying taxes on the 
foreign trade of the Peloponnesus. This power they abused 
to such a degree, that the whole trade of the principality 
was gradually transferred to the ports of the Peninsula in 
possession of the Venetians. As a consequence of the change, 
much of the internal trade of the country was annihilated. 
The value of produce in the interior was depreciated, on 
account of the increased cost of its transport to the point 
of exportation ; roads, bridges, and buildings fell to ruin ; 
property ceased to yield any rent to the signors ; many castles 
were abandoned, and a few foot-soldiers guarded the walls 
of fortresses from which, in former days, bands of horsemen 
in complete panoply had sallied forth at the slightest alarm. 
The extent of the change which a single century had pro- 
duced in the state of Greece became apparent when the 
Othoman Turks invaded the country. These barbarians found 
the Morea peopled by a scanty and impoverished population, 
ruled by a few wealthy and luxurious nobles — both classes 
equally unfit to oppose the attacks of brave and active 
invaders. The condition of the Morea was even more degraded, 
morally, than it was financially impoverished and politically 
weakened. The whole wealth of the country flowed into a 
few hands, and was wasted in idle enjoyments ; while the 
vested capital that supplied a considerable portion of this 
wealth was sensibly diminishing from year to year. The 
surplus revenue which the principality of Achaia, even in its 
later days, contributed to the treasury of its princes, after 
deducting the sums required for payment of the permanent 
garrisons maintained in the fortresses of the state, and the 
expenses of the civil administration, amounted to one hundred 
thousand gold florins. This, therefore, was what we term, 
in modern language, the civil list of the sovereign of Achaia 
towards the end of the fourteenth century ; and it is more 
than Otho, the present king of Greece, succeeds in extracting 
from the whole Hellenic soil south of the Ambracian and 


A.D. I3X7-I4OO.] 

Malian gulfs, though, with reference to the revenues of the 
country he governs, king Otho has the largest civil list of 
any European monarch 1 . 

The Franks had now ruled the greater part of the Pelopon- 
nesus for two centuries ; and the feudal system had been 
maintained in full vigour for sufficient time to admit of its 
effects on civilized communities living under the simpler 
system of personal rights, traced out in the Roman law, 
being fully developed. The result was that the Franks were 
demoralized, the Greeks impoverished, and Greece ruined. 

The study of the feudal government in Greece offers much 
that is peculiarly worthy of an Englishman's attention, since 
it supplies an illustration of a state of things resembling, 
in many points, the condition of society that resulted from 
the Norman Conquest. The fate of England and Greece 
proved very different. It is true that the difference of religion 
placed the conquered Greeks in a much worse condition than 
that of the conquered Saxons, but the discordant results of 
the two conquests are in no inconsiderable degree to be 
attributed to the discipline of the private family, and to the 
domestic and parish life of the two countries. Order and 
liberty grew up in the secluded districts of England, as well 
as in the towns and cities ; self-respect in the individual 
gradually gained the reverence of his fellow-citizens ; society 
moved forward simultaneously, and bore down gradually the 
tyranny of the Norman master, the rapacity of the monarch, 
and the jobbing of the aristocracy. The spirit of liberty 
was rarely separated from the spirit of order, so that in the 
end it achieved the most difficult task in the circle of politics — 
it converted the rulers of the country to liberal views. In 
Greece, on the other hand, anarchy and slavery demoralized 
all classes of society, and involved the rulers and their subjects 
in common destruction. 

Both in England and Greece, the conquest was effected as 

1 This amount is given in the memoir of the barons of Achaia, who invited 
Jayme II. of Majorca to invade the principality in 1344. Ducange, Histoire de 
Constantinople, ii. 375, edit. Buchon ; Muntaner, 522, note to Buchon's translation 
of 1840. The domains of the prince were immense at a later period. In 1391 the 
barons possessed fiefs with 1904 hearths, the prince with 2320. This enumeration 
can hardly be assumed as a guide for determining the total of the population, nor 
perhaps even the relative extent of country occupied by the parties, since the 
prince was lord of the populous fiefs of Clarentza and Saint-Omer. Buchon, 
Recherches et Materiaux, 296. 

Q 3 


much by the apathy of the natives as by the military supe- 
riority of the conquerors, and in both the feudal system was 
forced upon the conquered in spite of their efforts to resist it 
and their detestation of its principles. Unfortunately we 
cannot contrast the effects of the system on the very different 
social condition of the two countries, for the records of the 
Frank domination in Greece are almost entirely confined to 
the political history of the country, and afford us but scanty 
glimpses into the ordinary life of the people. We see few 
traces of anything but war and violence ; and we are led to 
the lamentable conclusion that the great result of the power 
of the Franks in Greece was to extirpate that portion of 
Byzantine civilization which existed at its commencement, 
and to root out all the principles of Roman law and Roman 
administration on which that civilization rested. The higher 
and educated classes of Greek society vanished, as might be 
expected, where their masters made use of the French lan- 
guage and reverenced the Latin church. In England, the 
conflict of the Normans and the Saxons prepared the way for 
the submission of both to the law ; while in Greece the wars 
of the French and Greeks only prepared the country to seek 
repose from anarchy and civil broils under the shade of 
Turkish despotism. The Norman Conquest proved the fore- 
runner of English liberty, the French domination the herald 
of Turkish tyranny. The explanation of the varied course of 
events must be sought in the family, the parish, the borough, 
and the county; not in the parliament, the exchequer, and the 
central government. 


Byzantine Province in the Peloponnesus recon- 
quered from the French. 

Sect. I. — Early State of the Byzantine Province. — Government 
of the Despot Theodore I. 

The emperor Michael VIII. no sooner took possession of 
Misithra, Monemvasia, and Maina, which had been sur- 
rendered to him as the ransom for William Villehardouin, 
than he sent able officers into the Peloponnesus with instruc- 
tions to spare neither exertions nor intrigues for recovering 
possession of the whole peninsula. He believed that there 
would be little difficulty in raising such a rebellion of the 
Greeks as would expel the French from the territory they 
retained. The Sclavonians of Mount Taygetus, encouraged 
by the vicinity of the Byzantine garrison of Misithra, which 
was the residence of the principal officers from Constanti- 
nople ; the Tzakones, relying on support from the fortress 
of Monemvasia ; and the Mainates, incited by imperial 
money, — all flew to arms, and drove the French from their 
territories. The Sclavonians of Skorta were less fortunate, 
for they were surrounded on every side by French barons, all 
the avenues into their mountains were guarded by strong 
castles, and Akova and Karitena, two impregnable holds, 
commanded the very heart of their country. Even though 
they received aid from a Byzantine army, their rebellion was 
soon suppressed. The Greeks, though they swept over nearly 
the whole peninsula in the first tide of national enthusiasm, 
and displayed the imperial eagle before the palace of the princes 
of Achaia at Andravida, were still unable to encounter the 
French on the field of battle. Two victories re-established 
the authority of the Franks. The first was at Prinitza, where 


[Ch.VIII. §i. 

a small body of French knights and men-at-arms, under John 
de Katavas, defeated the Byzantine army with great loss ; but 
this defeat did not prevent the advance of the Greeks into the 
plain of Elis. The second battle was more decisive. The 
armies met at the defile of Makryplagi, and the Byzantine 
troops were routed with great slaughter. Their generals were 
taken prisoners, and the commander-in-chief, the grand- 
domestikos Alexis Philes, died in prison. Makrinos, the 
second in command, obtained his liberty by paying a high 
ransom, but on his return to Constantinople he was deprived 
of sight by his jealous master, who suspected him of secret 
dealings with the prince of Achaia 1 . For five years (1264 to 
1268) the war was prosecuted with varied success; but at 
length the exhaustion of both parties induced them to con- 
clude a truce, which was subsequently converted into a per- 
manent treaty of peace. These events have been already 
noticed in reviewing the history of the reign of William 
Villehardouin, prince of Achaia 2 . 

It has also been mentioned that, in the year 1341, a 
number of the French barons offered the sovereignty of 
Achaia to the Greek emperor 3 . The Byzantine throne was 
at that time occupied by John V. (Palaeologos), and the 
regency was in the hands of his mother, Anne of Savoy : 
but John Cantacuzenos, the usurper, then acted as prime- 
minister. The dissensions of the French nobles would pro- 
bably have caused the speedy subjection of the whole 
principality to the Greek empire, had the rebellion of 
Cantacuzenos not compelled the Byzantine government to 
neglect the affairs of Greece. The strategos at Misithra, who 
governed the Byzantine province, was watched with as much 
jealousy by the primates and archonts, as the Frank princes 
and baillies at Andravida were by the barons and knights of 
the principality of Achaia. At last the success of the rebel- 
lion of Cantacuzenos enabled that emperor to send his son 
Manuel to the Peloponnesus as imperial viceroy, with the title 
of Despot, in the year 1349. 

The despot Manuel Cantacuzenos found the country suffer- 

1 Pachymeres (i. 138, edit. Rom.) confirms the general account of the events 
given in the Chronicles of the Conquest. 

2 See above, p. 203. 

s Cantacuzenos, 384; above, p. 221. 


A.D. 1 264-1407.] 

ing severely from the incessant forays of the Franks of Achaia, 
the Catalans of Attica, and the Seljouk pirates. Each district 
was forced to rely solely on its own means of defence. Each 
archont pursued his own private interest as his only rule of 
action, without any reference to the national cause. The 
open country was everywhere left exposed to be plundered 
by foreign enemies, while the walled cities were weakened by 
intestine factions. Manuel, arriving in the peninsula with a 
strong body of troops, succeeded in concluding a peace with 
the principality of Achaia, in repulsing the attacks of the 
Turkish pirates, and in terminating for a while the civil dis- 
sensions of the Greek archonts ; so that the Peloponnesus 
enjoyed more security under his government than it had 
known for many years. The despot had, nevertheless, his 
own personal views to serve, for patriotism was not an active 
principle in any class of Byzantine Greeks. The position of 
his family at Constantinople was so insecure, that he resolved 
to take measures for maintaining his own authority in the 
Peloponnesus, no matter what might happen elsewhere. 
Under the pretext that it was necessary to keep a fleet in 
order to defend the country from the ravages of the Seljouk 
pirates, he imposed a tax on the province. The collection of 
this tax was intrusted to a Moreot archont, named Lampou- 
dios, who had been exiled on account of his previous intrigues, 
but whose talents now induced Manuel to recall and employ 
him. The arbitrary imposition of a tax by the despot was 
considered an illegal act of power, and the Greeks every- 
where flew to arms. Lampoudios, thinking that he was most 
likely to advance his private fortunes by joining the popular 
cause, deserted his patron, and took up arms with his in- 
surgent countrymen. For a moment all the intestine broils 
and local quarrels, which even time rarely assuaged in the 
rancorous hearts of the Peloponnesian Greeks, were suddenly 
suspended. The mutual hatred which the archonts cherished 
to the hour of death, and the feuds which were regularly 
transmitted as a deathbed legacy to children and to heirs, as 
an inalienable family inheritance, were for once suspended K 
The Moreots, if we may believe the perfidious Cantacuzenos, 

1 These strong expressions, which depict the present state of Maina, are copied 
from Cantacuzenos, Hist, p 751. 


[Ch.VIII. §i. 

in this record of his son's fortunes, were on this single occa- 
sion sincerely united, and made a bold attempt to surprise the 
despot in the fortress of Misithra ; but Manuel was a soldier 
of some experience, trained in the arduous school of a 
treacherous civil war, and with a guard of three hundred 
chosen men-at-arms, and a body of Albanian mercenaries, 
who now for the first time make their appearance in the 
affairs of the Morea, he sallied out from the fortress, and 
completely defeated the insurgents 1 . The patriotic con- 
federacy was dissolved by the loss of this one battle. Some 
of the archonts submitted to the terms imposed on them by 
the despot, some attempted to defend themselves in the 
fortified towns, while others endeavoured to secure their 
independence by retiring into the mountains and carrying 
on a desultory warfare. But as soon as the chiefs saw their 
property ravaged by the Byzantine mercenaries, they hastened 
to make their peace with the despot. 

The fall of the emperor Cantacuzenos induced the Greeks 
of the Peloponnesus to take up arms a second time against 
Manuel ; and they welcomed Asan, the governor deputed 
by the emperor John V. to supersede him, with every de- 
monstration of devotion. Manuel was compelled to abandon 
the whole province, and shut himself up in the fortress of 
Monemvasia with the troops that remained faithful to his 
standard. His administration had been marked by great 
prudence, and his unusual moderation, in pardoning all those 
concerned in the insurrection against his plans of taxation, 
had produced a general feeling in his favour. When the first 
storm of the new outbreak was in some degree calmed, the 
archonts came to the conclusion that it would be more advan- 
tageous to their interests to be ruled by a governor who was 
viewed with little favour by the emperor, than to be exposed 
to the commands of one who was sure of energetic support 
from the central authority at Constantinople. The result of 
their intrigues was, that Manuel Cantacuzenos was invited 
back to Misithra, where he soon succeeded in regaining all 
his former power, and more, perhaps, than his former 
influence. He contrived, also, to obtain the recognition of 

1 These Albanians were from the despotat of Acamania, a name then given not 
only to the ancient Acarnania and the west of Aetolia, but also to the southern 
part of Epirus. 


A.D. I264-I407.] 

his title from the feeble court at Constantinople, and he con- 
tinued to rule the Byzantine possessions in the Peloponnesus 
until the time of his death, in 1380. His administration 
was only troubled by partial hostilities on the part of the 
Franks of Achaia, with whom he usually maintained a close 
alliance, in order that both might be able to employ their 
whole military force in protecting their territories against the 
incursions of the Catalans and the Turkish pirates. On one 
occasion, a joint expedition of the Greek and Frank troops 
invaded Boeotia, to punish the Grand Company for plundering 
in the Morea. This expedition took place while the duchy of 
Athens and Neopatras was governed by Roger Lauria, as 
viceroy for Frederic, duke of Randazzo. 

In the year 1388, Theodore Palaeologos, the son of the 
emperor John V., arrived at Misithra, as governor of the 
Byzantine province ; and from that time, until the final con- 
quest of the country by the Othoman Turks, it was always 
governed by members of the imperial family of Palaeologos, 
with the title of Despot. In later years, when the territory of 
the Byzantine empire became circumscribed to the vicinity 
of Constantinople, several despots were often quartered on the 
revenues of the Morea at the same time. Theodore I,, how- 
ever, reigned without a colleague. But the archonts having 
taken measures to prevent his governing with the degree of 
absolute power which he considered to be the inherent right 
of a viceroy of the emperors of the East, he hired a corps of 
Turkish auxiliaries to support his despotic authority, under 
the command of Evrenos, whose name became subsequently 
celebrated in Othoman history as one of the ablest generals of 
sultan Murad I. 1 This was the first introduction of the Otho- 
man Turks into the Peloponnesus. But the incapacity of the 
Byzantine despots, and the selfishness of the Greek archonts, 
soon rendered them the arbiters of its fate. In the year 1391, 
hostilities broke out with the Franks, and Evrenos, who had 
quitted the Morea, was invited to return. The Othomans 
displayed their usual military energy and talent. In the first 
campaign they captured the celebrated fortress of Akova, or 

1 Evrenos was a native of Yanitza in Macedonia. His tomb is stilL shown, and 
he is regarded as a saint. His countrymen call him Ghazi Gavrinos, and his 
descendants hold considerable estates, and possessed until lately considerable 
feudal rights. 


[Ch.VIII. §i. 

Mategrifon 1 . About the same time, a corps of Albanian and 
Byzantine troops, issuing from Leondari, which had now risen 
up as a Greek town on the decline of the Frank city of Veli- 
gosti, defeated the Franks, and took the prince who com- 
manded them prisoner. This prince, however, redeemed 
himself before the end of the year, by paying a ransom 2 . 

Incessant hostilities had now destroyed all the farm-houses 
of the better class, and the peasants were either crowded into 
the walled towns and fortified castles, or lodged in wretched 
huts, that the destruction of these temporary habitations 
might be a matter of little importance. The great plains were 
almost depopulated ; the Greeks had almost entirely aban- 
doned the occupation of agriculture, restricting themselves to 
the cultivation of their olive-groves, orchards, mulberry-trees, 
and vineyards. A new race of labourers was required to till 
the soil, and to guard the cattle that were becoming wild in 
the mountains : such a race was required to endure greater 
hardships and perpetuate its existence on coarser food and 
scantier clothing than satisfied either the Greeks or the Scla- 
vonians who previously pursued the occupation of agricul- 
turists. This class was found among the rude peasantry of 
Albania, who began about this time to emigrate into the 
Peloponnesus as colonists and labourers, as well as in the 
capacity of mercenary soldiers. An immigration of about ten 
thousand souls is mentioned as having taken place at one 
time ; and from year to year the Albanian population of the 
peninsula acquired increased importance, while the Sclavo- 
nians rapidly diminished, or became confounded In the greater 
numbers of the Greeks 3 . 

1 The Chronicon Breve, at the end of Ducas, says that Evrenos united with the 
prince ; but the context warrants the inference that the despot is thereby meant, 
who had moved from Leondari before the arrival of the Othoman general. 

■ This prince appears to have been Hugh, prince of Galilee, son of the empress 
Mary de Bourbon, widow of Robert, emperor and prince of Achaia. by her first 
marriage with Guy de Lusignan. Hugh was his mother's bailly in Achaia at the 
time of her death in 1387, and continued to possess considerable fiefs in the princi- 
pality. In the year 1391, the principality of Achaia was governed by l'eter of 
San Superano, as vicar-general, in virtue of an appointment from the titular 
emperor James de Baux, the lord-paramount. 

3 The Sclavonians are mentioned for the last time as forming part of the popu- 
lation of the Peloponnesus in an enumeration of the various races inhabiting the 
country, by Mazaris, a Byzantine writer of the first quarter of the fifteenth century. 
He enumerates Lacedaemonians (Tzakones), Italians (Franks), Peloponncsians 
(Greeks), Sclavonians, Ulyrians (Albanians), Egyptians (Gipsies), and Jews. 
Boissonade, Anecdota Graeca, torn. iii. p. 174. See above, p. 33. 


A.D. 1 264-I407.] 

In the year 1397, sultan Bayezid I. sent his generals Iakoub 
and Evrenos into the Peloponnesus, to punish the despot 
Theodore for having taken part in the confederacy of the 
Christian princes that was broken up by the defeat of Sigis- 
mund, king of Hungary, at the battle of Nicopolis on the 
Danube. On this occasion a powerful Othoman army entered 
the peninsula by the isthmus of Corinth, and extended its 
ravages as far as the walls of Modon. Argos then belonged 
to the Venetian republic, which had purchased it from Mary 
d'Enghien, the last heir of the fief granted by William Ville- 
hardouin to Guy de la Roche 1 . Though it was defended by 
a Venetian garrison, the Othoman troops stormed the place, 
and the inhabitants were either massacred or carried away as 
slaves and sold in the Asiatic markets. The sultan's object 
in this invasion was merely to punish the despot and to em- 
ploy and enrich his troops, not to take permanent possession 
of the country. His army therefore retired in autumn, carry- 
ing with it an immense booty and about thirty thousand 
slaves. The destruction of the crops and cattle, and the 
depopulation and desolate condition of the country, produced 
a severe famine. 

The despot Theodore, seeing the deplorable state to which 
his territory was reduced, endeavoured to procure ready 
money by selling the city of Misithra to the grand-master of 
the knights of the Hospital at Rhodes, as if the Morea had 
been his own private domain. The Greek inhabitants resisted 
this transfer of their allegiance to a society of Latin military 
monks, so that it was impossible to complete the transaction, 
and by the advice and at the intercession of the archbishop of 
Lacedaemon, the Greek archonts consented to receive the 
despot Theodore again as their prince, on his promising with 
a solemn oath not to take any important step in the govern- 
ment of the province without convoking an assembly of the 
Greek aristocracy and receiving their consent to the proposed 
measure. Had the Greek archonts of the Morea possessed 
any capacity for government, or any patriotism, they might 
from this time have conducted the public administration ; but 
their mutual jealousies and family feuds soon enabled the 

1 Crusius, Turcograecia, 92. Compare Chalcocondylas, 51 ; Phrantzes, 62, 
p. 83, edit. Bonn., where correct the year; the indiction, however, is right; see 
the Chronicon Breve at the end of Ducas, anno 1 389-1 394. 


[ch.vm. §2. 

despot to regain the authority he had lost- Theodore died in 
the year 1407, and was succeeded by his nephew, Theodore 
Palaeologos II., son of his brother the emperor Manuel II. 1 
At the time of his death, the Byzantine possessions had in- 
creased so much that they embraced fully two-thirds of the 
peninsula. He had annexed Corinth to the despotat in the 
year 1404. The Frank principality of Achaia was divided 
among several barons. The counts of Cephalonia, of the 
family of Tocco, who had risen to power by the favour of the 
house of Anjou, were in possession of Clarentza, and divided 
the sovereignty of the rich plain of Elis with the family of 
Centurione, who held Chalandritza, the city of Arcadia, and a 
part of Messenia. The Pope was the possessor of Patras, 
which was governed by its Latin archbishop ; and the Vene- 
tian republic possessed Modon, Coron, Nauplia, Argos, and 
Thermisi -. 

Sect. II. — The Emperor Manuel II. attempts to ameliorate 
the Byzantine Government in the Peloponnesus. 

In the year 14 15 the emperor Manuel II. visited the 
Peloponnesus, in order to strengthen the position of his 
son Theodore II. by reorganizing the province, which, in 
consequence of the rapid conquests of the Othoman Turks, 
had become the most valuable possession of the Byzantine 
empire beyond the Hellespont, and excited a degree of 
attention it had never before received from the statesmen of 
Constantinople. As it was the native seat of the Greek race, 
and the only country that offered profitable posts, these 
Byzantine politicians at last made the discovery that they 
were themselves Greeks, and not Romans. To the Pelopon- 
nesus, therefore, the imperial government directed its care, 
in the hope that this most important part of ancient Greece 
might furnish the means of prolonging the resistance of the 

1 Chalcocondylas, 114. 

2 Thermisi is a castle of the middle ages, on the coast of Argolis, nearly oppo- 
site the town of Hydra. It is now in ruins. It was built to command the 
anchorage, which was often used by vessels ascending the Archipelago when met 
by a northerly wind. A few traces of Hellenic remains are visible in the walls, 
and the modem name is evidently connected with the temple of Ceres Thermesia. 
I'ausanias, ii. 34, § 11. 


A.D. I4I5-I423.] 

eastern empire to the progress of the Othomans. Manuel II. 
devoted himself to the task he had undertaken both with zeal 
and judgment. He regulated the amount of taxes to be 
paid by the inhabitants with justice, and with what he 
conceived to be great moderation ; and he introduced so 
many administrative reforms that he put an end to the 
tyranny of the archonts, and restored power to the administra- 
tion of the despotat at Misithra. But it was far beyond the 
genius of Manuel, or of any man then living, to infuse a spirit 
of unity into the discordant elements of Greek society in the 
fifteenth century. The vices of the Greeks were nourished by 
the circumstances in which they were individually placed, 
even more than by the defects of their political institutions. 
This insuperable barrier to their improvement could not be 
removed by financial and administrative reforms ; the moral 
regeneration of every class would have been necessary, to 
remove the prohibition which Greek society then imposed on 
all national progress. Had the demoralized, rapacious, and 
intriguing aristocrats of the Morea been all suddenly de- 
stroyed, they would immediately have been replaced by men 
equally vicious, for no healthier social elements existed in the 
classes below. Under the most favourable possible circum- 
stances, time was necessary to enable a better administration 
and a good system of education to produce any effect ; and 
there was no time to lose, for the avengers of the moral 
degradation of Greece were at the gate. The armies of the 
Othoman sultan waited only for a word to destroy the troops, 
fortresses, government, and people of Greece. 

There is no doubt that the emperor Manuel, and many 
statesmen of the time, were fully aware of the evil state of 
things. The depopulation of the country was apparent from 
the remains that were everywhere visible of recently aban- 
doned habitations. But still no one was able to point out 
the precise method by which the evil could be remedied. 
All perceived that the weakness of the country invited the 
ravages of the Franks, Catalans, and Turks, but how to 
infuse new strength into society was a problem none could 
solve. The emperor Manuel, in a funeral oration he delivered 
at Misithra, in memory of his deceased brother Theodore, 
praised the despot for the great care he had devoted to 
establishing Albanian colonies on the waste lands in the 


[Ch. VIII. § 2. 

Peloponnesus ; but it does not appear to have struck the 
emperor's mind that Greeks ought to have been able, under a 
proper system of government, to multiply in a country into 
which foreigners could immigrate with advantage. In the 
United States of America at present we see an immense 
annual immigration, but we see at the same time a greater 
proportional increase of the native population. The Greek 
emperor, however, could see no means of preventing the 
native seats of the Greek race from becoming an unin- 
habited waste, except by repeopling them with Albanian 

The defence of the peninsula was not neglected. The 
plan adopted by Manuel for completing the fortifications at 
the Isthmus of Corinth, where he believed a Greek army 
might effectually resist the Othoman forces, affords us a 
curious illustration of the state of society at the time. Either 
the Byzantine government was unwilling to pay for labour, 
or it knew that money alone, in the condition to which the 
Morea was then reduced, would not procure a competent 
supply. Forced labour was therefore necessarily employed 
to construct the wall across the isthmus. The archonts and 
landed proprietors, the local magistrates and government 
officials collected labourers in their respective districts, and 
the fortifications from the Saronic Gulf to the Gulf of Corinth 
were divided into suitable portions, according to the numerical 
strength or masonic skill of the different contingents, each 
being employed in the construction of a fixed portion of the 
wall or of the ditch l . The emperor directed the progress 
of the works, which were carried across the isthmus, on the 
remains of the fortifications constructed by Justinian on older 
foundations, just behind the Diolkos, or tram-road, by which 
vessels were dragged over the isthmus from sea to sea. The 
distance was about seven thousand six hundred yards, or 
forty-two stades. The wall was strengthened by one hundred 
and fifty-three towers 2 . Remains of the work are still 

1 Edward III. built the palace at Windsor in the same way. Each county was 
required to send a certain number of masons, tilers, and carpenters. Hume, 
History of England, chap xvi. 

1 Phrantzes (p. 96, edit. Bonn.) gives three thousand eight hundred orgyiai as 
the breadth of the isthmus; Chalcocond)las (p. 98, edit. Paris) forty-two stades. 
The real distance from sea to sea in a straight line is about three miles and a half, 
but the wall is longer. There is a memorable instance of the diolkos having been 
used for transporting a fleet across the isthmus in the Middle Ages. During the 


A.D. I415-I423.] ^ 

visible, but it proved utterly useless for the defence of the 

When the emperor Manuel had completed his plans for 
the reorganization and defence of the Peloponnesus, he 
returned to Constantinople, carrying with him the most 
turbulent of the Moreot archonts, who had attempted to 
thwart his designs. He left his son, the despot Theodore II., 
to govern the province under the most favourable circum- 
stances ; but the attempt of the emperor to infuse vigour 
into the Byzantine administration proved unsuccessful. His 
plans never received a fair trial, for the government of the 
Morea was after his death divided among his sons, two or 
three of whom were generally established in different parts of 
the province, living at the expense of the inhabitants, and 
each maintaining a princely retinue and assuming the authority 
of an independent sovereign. Yet some good effects resulted 
from the emperor's labours : the Byzantine government 
gradually gained ground on the Franks of Achaia, and the 
progress was made more by the favourable disposition of 
the Greek people than by the military force employed by the 
Byzantine authorities. Manuel also succeeded in giving to 
the Peloponnesus a greater degree of security from foreign 
attacks than it had experienced for many years. But towards 
the end of his reign, he was unfortunately involved in hostili- 
ties with the Othoman Turks, and the Peloponnesus suffered 
severely in the quarrel. In 1423, sultan Murad II., having 
been compelled to raise the siege of Constantinople, revenged 
himself by plundering the Byzantine possessions in the Morea. 
An Othoman army under Turakhan invaded the Pelopon- 
nesus, and, meeting with no resistance from the despot 
Theodore, plundered the whole country. The Albanians 
established at Gardiki and Tavia alone had courage to oppose 
the Turks. Their courage was vain ; they were completely 
defeated, and all the prisoners that fell into the hands of 
Turakhan were massacred without mercy, in order to 
intimidate the Christians. Pyramids of human heads were 
erected by the Turks, in commemoration of this victory 

reign of Basil I., a. d. 8S3, Niketas Oryphas, the Byzantine admiral, conveyed his 
fleet over the isthmus in order to surprise the Saracens who were ravaging the 
western coasts of Greece. The best account of the Isthmus of Corinth is con- 
tained in Leake's Travels in the Morea, iii. 2S6. 


[Ch. VIIT. § 2. 

over the Christians ; but the sultan, not thinking that the 
hour had yet arrived for taking possession of all Greece, 
ordered Turakhan to evacuate the Morea and return to 
his post in Thessaly \ The despot Theodore was a weak 
man, utterly incapable of directing the government : he took 
no measures either to circumscribe the ravages of the Turkish 
troops, or to alleviate the evils they had produced, after their 

Every thinking man began to feel that nothing but a 
radical change in the government and in the social condition 
of the inhabitants could save the country from ruin. Mazaris, 
a Byzantine satirist, describes the inhabitants of the Pelopon- 
nesus as a barbarous and demoralized rabble, consisting of a 
mixture of Tzakones, Franks, Greeks, Sclavonians, Albanians, 
Gipsies, and Jews, of whose improvement there was no hope. 
A political moralist of the time, Gemistos Plethon, with the 
boldness that characterises speculative politicians, proposed 
schemes for the regeneration of the people as daringly 
opposed to existing rights, and as impracticable in their 
execution, as the wildest projects of any modern socialist 2 . 
Plethon's project was to divide the population into three dis- 
tinct classes, — cultivators of the soil, landlords and capitalists 
who live on rent or profits, and officials who guard order 
whether soldiers, administrators, lawyers, or princes. It is 
not necessary to review the details of his scheme, for, though 
he frequently displays much acuteness his project was im- 
practicable. The evils that struck him most forcibly in the 
social condition of the peninsula were, — the wretched state 
of the military force ; the oppressive nature of the system 
of taxation, which ruined the people by a multiplicity of 
imposts ; the imperfect administration of justice, and the 

1 Ruins retaining the name of Gardiki, and a church called Kokala (Bones), in 
a deep glen in one of the counterforts of the rugged mountain Hellenitza, to the 
south of Lcondari, mark the site of this tragedy. Tavia or Davia still exists as a 
village in the valley of the Helisson, west of Tripolitza. 

* 2 George Gemistos Plethon is best known as a Platonic philosopher, whose 
reputation was great in Italy in the fifteenth century. He attended the Byzantine 
emperor John VI. to the council of Ferrara and Florence, in 1433, and became 
a public lecturer under the patronage of Cosmo de' Medici. His two discourses 
on the political condition of the Peloponnesus are printed in Canter's edition of 
Stobaeus, Antwerp, 1575. Fallmerayer, in his Geschichie der Halbinsel Morea, 
first drew the public attention of modem scholars to these works. Dr. Ellissen 
of Gottingen has reprinted these works of Mazaris and Plethon with German 
translations in Part iv. of Analeklen der miitel- und neugriechischen Literatur, Leipzig, 



debased state of the metallic currency, which filled the 
country with foreign coin of base alloy. Plethon thought 
that all wealth resulted from the cultivation of the soil, and 
he supposed that society could prosper if the farmer received 
one third of its produce, the landlord and capitalist an- 
other third, and the government, including every branch of 
public expenditure, the remaining third. The soldiers were 
to be quartered in the families of the peasantry to consume 
the produce appropriated to the government. All money 
taxes were to be abolished ; and the revenue necessary for 
the prince and higher officials was to be raised by exporting 
the surplus produce of the country. It is evident that the 
project of Gemistos Plethon would have rendered society 
even more barbarous than he found it, but it would be a 
waste of time to expose its theoretical errors. The test by 
which we can decide on the impracticability of his scheme is 
very simple, and very generally applicable to many other 
schemes, which have a good theoretical aspect. Though he 
boldly offered himself to the emperor Manuel as the agent 
for carrying his plans into immediate execution, he fails to 
indicate the primary step which it would be necessary to take 
to prevent the administrative powers in existence from 
opposing the gradual introduction of measures which, from 
their very nature, required a certain lapse of time before they 
could be brought into operation. Now it is evident that no 
gradual reform can ever be carried through, unless the first 
step in the change creates a strong feeling in favour of the 
ulterior scheme, as well as a powerful body of partizans 
interested in its success ; for unless the opposition of those 
who have an interest in opposing a change be instantaneously 
paralyzed, a long struggle may ensue, which is most likely to 
end by producing some arrangement totally different from 
that contemplated by the reformer. The difficulty of de- 
scribing a better state of society than that in which we are 
living is never great, and most men believe that, if they could 
lay all mankind asleep, and only awaken each individual at 
the moment when his place in their new order of society 
is prepared to receive him, they could improve the condition 
of mankind. But statesmen know well that complicated 
schemes of reform can only be completed by society itself. 
They only seek to guide the movement, so that, while each 



individual is hurrying on in pursuit of his own objects, a 
general improvement may be produced without any appear- 
ance of sudden change. It is only possible to point out with 
certainty the first step in the path of improvement. That 
step can be taken without delay ; but, when taken, it may 
reveal unseen impediments, and open new paths, which 
require fresh measures and additional resources before further 
progress is attempted. The statesman concentrates all his 
powers on the first step ; the theoretical political philosopher 
undertakes to arrange all society, with the exception of this 
first step. 

SECT. III. — Division of ilie Morea among the Brothers of the 
Emperor John VI. — War of the Despots Constantino and 
Thomas with the Othoman Turks, in 1446. 

The emperor John VI. succeeded his father, Manuel II., 
in the year 1426, and in the autumn of T427 he visited the 
Peloponnesus, to create for his brothers Constantine and 
Thomas suitable establishments in the province. The despot 
Theodore had announced his intention of retiring into a 
monastery, and the emperor proposed conferring the most 
important part of the province, with the general direction of 
the administration, on his favourite brother Constantine. 
Thomas had already received an appanage in the peninsula 
by his father's will. Before the emperor reached Misithra the 
melancholy and discontented Theodore had changed his 
mind. For some years, therefore, the three brothers governed 
different portions of the Byzantine province simultaneously, 
almost with the power of independent princes. Theodore, as 
has been already noticed, was inconstant and weak ; Con- 
stantine, the last unfortunate emperor of Constantinople, 
was brave but imprudent ; while Thomas w r as a cruel and 
unprincipled tyrant. 

The fortunes of the despot Constantine acquire a promi- 
nent interest, from his fate being linked with the conquest of 
Constantinople and the ruin of the Greek race. His bold 
and restless character connects the fate of the Morea with his 
personal history. When the emperor John VI. found that 
Theodore refused to resign his authority, he procured for 


A.D. I427-I446.] ^ 

Constantine a territorial establishment at the expense of the 
Franks. Charles Tocco, count-palatine of Cephalonia, was 
threatened with war; and as the wealth of the Byzantine 
empire, even in its impoverished condition, enabled it to 
bring into the field an overwhelming mercenary force, he was 
glad to purchase peace by marrying his niece Theodora to 
the despot Constantine, and ceding the city of Clarentza, 
with all his possessions in the Peloponnesus, as her dowry. 
After the celebration of this marriage, the emperor, before 
returning to Constantinople, conferred the government of 
Vostitza and Messenia on Constantine, and that of Kalavryta 
on Thomas. 

Constantine resided at Clarentza, where he possessed the 
feudal jurisdiction of a Frank prince over the Latin inhabit- 
ants, whom he endeavoured to conciliate ; while at the same 
time he entered into plots with the Greeks who resided in 
Patras, to gain possession of that place by treachery. The 
Latin archbishop, Pandolfo Malatesta, who governed as the 
temporal no less than spiritual deputy of the Pope, was at 
the moment absent in Rome. The attempt to surprise 
Patras failed, and a skirmish ensued, in which the historian 
Phrantzes was taken prisoner while bravely covering the 
retreat of Constantine, to whom he was attached as chamber- 
lain \ The despot, undismayed by his failure to surprise the 
city, soon returned with a sufficient force to form the siege ; 
and though he received an order from sultan Murad II., 
who had constituted himself the arbiter of all the Christian 
princes in Greece, to suspend hostilities, he prosecuted his 
undertaking, and succeeded in persuading the inhabitants of 
the town of Patras to submit to his authority. The Latin 
archbishop arrived at Naupaktos with succours a few days 
after the Byzantine troops had entered the town ; but it was 
found impossible to introduce any supplies into the citadel, 
which still held out, and whose garrison continued to defend 
it for a year. Phrantzes, who had been released by (he 
Latins after forty days' imprisonment, was the envoy cm- 
ployed by Constantine to persuade sultan Murad II. to 
consent to the conquest of Patras. In the mean time a 
papal fleet, consisting of ten Catalan galleys, finding it 

1 Phrantzes, 138, edit. Bonn. 
R % 


[Ch.VIII. §3. 

impossible to open any communication with the besieged 
garrison in the citadel of Patras, left their anchorage, and, 
sailing to Clarentza, suddenly stormed that city during the 
absence of Constantine. The Catalans threatened to destroy 
the town, unless they received immediately the sum of twelve 
thousand sequins as its ransom ; and this sum the despot 
consented to pay, in order to obtain liberty for all the 
prisoners who had been captured in the place. The despot 
knew that the fortifications of Clarentza were so strong that 
the Catalans might have kept possession of this position for 
some time, and he feared lest some other Frank power might, 
by seizing the place, become master of a port in his 
dominions. To prevent this, he no sooner recovered posses- 
sion of the city than he ordered the walls to be destroyed, 
and intrusted the defence of the whole coast to the garrison 
of the neighbouring fortress of Chlomoutzi, or Castel Tornese, 
which is only three miles distant. From this time Clarentza 
gradually declined. The Catalans continued to cruise in the 
Ionian seas, and they subsequently captured the unlucky 
Phrantzes, who appears to have been as severely persecuted 
by fortune as his unlucky master, without being so directly 
the cause of his own misfortunes. He had on this occasion 
been sent to the Ionian islands to arrange some differences in 
the family of Tocco, and he was now compelled by the 
Spaniards to ransom himself, and the other Greek prisoners 
who had fallen into their hands, by paying five thousand 
sequins l . War was at that time an honourable mode of 

1 It would be more interesting to follow the private fortunes of the historian 
Phrantzes, at this period, than to pursue the record of public events in the Morea. 
The simplicity with which he recounts his bad and good fortune gives a character 
of truth to his narrative that is often wanting in the Byzantine writers. He tells 
us in the most entertaining manner of the ptesents he received from the despot 
Constantine on his release from the prison of Tatras ; and the sincere joy shown 
by his prince, on this occasion, inspires us with a feeling of affection for the 
unfortunate and imprudent despot. He must really have felt a friendship for 
Phrantzes not often experienced in the chilly atmosphere of a court, and his 
affection was repaid by sincere devotion. Phrantzes also narrates with diplomatic 
shamelessness and self gratulation how he picked the pockets of the Turkish 
ministers of their despatches, after he had succeeded in making them drunk, and 
himself, according to his own confession, very nearly so. Thus we see that the 
irresponsible nature of diplomacy can hardly fail to stain the character even of 
the worthiest man. No gentleman who had not been a diplomatist would boast 
of his exploits as a pick-pocket. But the event of the historian's life which seems 
to have given him the greatest satisfaction, and which he hoped might induce 
his readers to rank the name of Phrantzes with the Spartan heroes of old, was 
the fact that he was intrusted by the despot with the government of the city 


A.D. I427-I446.] 

collecting plunder ; it had not yet assumed the pretext of 
being a means of obtaining justice. 

The only Frank prince who now retained a feudal sovereignty 
in the Peloponnesus was Azan Zacharias Centurione, baron 
of Chalandritza and Arkadia, who had assumed the title of 
Prince of Achaia. During the siege of Patras, Thomas 
Palaeologos invested Chalandritza ; and after its capture, 
Centurione, unable to receive succour either from Italy, or 
from the Catalan fleet, was compelled to make the best terms 
he was able with the Greeks. Thomas married his daughter 
Katherine, who was declared heir of all his territorial pos- 
sessions, though her father was allowed to enjoy a liferent 
of them. This act extinguished the last trace of the princi- 
pality of Achaia, after it had existed two hundred and 
twenty-five years, and as a reward for his exploits Thomas 
received from his brother the emperor the title of despot 
(a.d. 1430). The whole of the Peloponnesus, with the 
exception of the five maritime fortresses held by the Venetians, 
was now reunited to the Byzantine empire, and its govern- 
ment administered by the three despots, Theodore, Constantine, 
and Thomas. 

The demon of discord had so long established his court 
in the Peloponnesus, and hatred, envy, and avarice had so 
thoroughly transfused themselves into Greek society, that 
it is not surprising to find the three brothers soon involved 
in disputes. The state of society, the configuration of the 
country, and the corruption of the Byzantine financial ad- 
ministration, invested the archonts and chieftains with con- 
siderable local power, while it debarred them from all 
participation in the legislation of their country, and all power 
to correct the abuses that prevailed in the general government. 
They were excluded from direct authority, except as financial 
or administrative agents of the central power. The conse- 
quence was, that the attention of every man in the country 
was directed to the courts of the despots, where every intrigue 
was employed to secure the favour of those individuals who 
were supposed to influence the decisions of the despots and 
the distribution of offices. The fraternal discord which disgraces 
the last period of the Byzantine domination was produced 

of Misithra and its environs, consisting of the citadel, the Jews' quarter, Tzera- 
mios, Pankotes, Sklavochorion, and some other villages. 


[Ch.VIII. §3. 

as much by Moreot intrigue as by Constantinopolitan am- 
bition ; for, though the house of Palaeologos knew nothing 
of brotherly love, no violent personal hatred inflamed the 
passions of the brothers in their quarrels for power. There 
was more of meanness than of wickedness in their conduct ; 
their very vices partook of the weakness of the empire and 
the degradation of the Greek race. 

In the year 1436 the despots Theodore and Constantine 
visited Constantinople, and John VI. showed a disposition 
to select Constantine, though the younger of the two, to 
be his heir. He knew that Theodore was utterly incapable 
of preserving the city of Constantinople from falling into 
the hands of the Turks ; while, if it were possible to prolong 
the existence of the Byzantine empire, the courage and popu- 
larity of Constantine alone held out any hope of success. 
Prudence, however, was no part of Constantine's character; 
and, in order to make sure of the imperial succession, he 
resolved to eject his brother Theodore from the government 
of Misithra, hoping that the blow would induce the melan- 
choly despot to retire into a monastery, to which he often 
expressed an inclination. Leaving Constantinople secretly, 
he hastened to Clarentza, where he assembled a band of 
soldiers, composed in great part of the Frank military ad- 
venturers who still lingered in the western part of the 
Peloponnesus. He persuaded his brother Thomas to join 
in his plans, and they invaded the territories of Theodore, 
where they expected to meet with little opposition ; but 
Constantine's project had transpired in timetoaMow Theodore 
to reach Misithra before it was besieged. Civil war soon 
spread over the whole country, and a pretext was afforded 
to the Moreot chiefs to gratify private revenge, under colour 
of serving the hostile despots. While the quarrel of the 
brothers was languidly prosecuted, the personal vengeance 
of individuals deluged the country with blood. Constantine 
on this occasion displayed an utter want of patriotism. In 
order to reign, he was ready to become a vassal of the Turks. 
Phrantzes was sent as envoy to solicit the support of sultan 
Murad II. ; and it was with difficulty that the emperor 
John VI. prevailed on his infatuated brothers to conclude 
a peace, without making the sultan the arbiter of their 
differences. Constantine at last consented to return to Con- 


A.D. I42 7-I446.] 

stantinople, and cede his government in the Peloponnesus 
to the despot Thomas, who continued to live in discord 
with Theodore until the year 1443. In tnat y ear Theodore 
finally quitted the Morea, and received in exchange the 
city of Selymbria as an appanage. He soon resigned his 
power, and retired into a monastery, where he died, before 
witnessing the final ruin of his country. On the retreat of 
Theodore from the Peloponnesus, Constantine was invested 
with the government of Misithra, including Laconia, Argolis, 
Corinthia, and the coast of Achaia as far as Patras. Thomas 
continued to rule the whole of Elis and Messenia, with part 
of the ancient Arcadia, and of Achaia l . 

About this time the Othoman power was threatened with 
serious embarrassments ; and the despot Constantine imme- 
diately forgot the friendship he had professed for sultan 
Murad II., when he was soliciting Turkish assistance to drive 
his brother from Misithra. The news that the Hungarians 
had overthrown the Othoman army at Isladi, and that George 
Castriot, or Scanderbeg, had re-established a Christian princi- 
pality in Albania, induced Constantine to strengthen the wall 
at the isthmus of Corinth, and repair the breaches made in 
it by Turakhan in 1423. As many troops as it was possible 
to collect were assembled at Corinth ; and Constantine ad- 
vanced into northern Greece with a considerable force, in 
order to invade the pashalik of Thessaly, and distract the 
operations of the Turks by attacking their rear. Nerio II., 
duke of Athens, was compelled to join the league against 
the sultan ; and the Albanians of Epirus and the Vallachians 
of Pindus were incited to commence hostilities with the 
Mohammedans. The military operations of Constantine were 
soon brought to a conclusion by an Othoman army, under 
Omar, the son of Turakhan, who without difficulty dispersed 
the Greek troops, and, advancing to Thebes, gave the duke 
of Athens an opportunity of separating from the Greek 
alliance, which he had embraced to avert an attack on his 
own dominions. Constantine unable to face the well-disci- 
plined army of Omar, abandoned all the conquests he had 
made beyond the isthmus, and thought only of defending 

1 In order to avoid confounding the name of the modern city of Arkadia (the 
ancient Cyparissiae, the fief of the Centurione') with the ancient state of Arcadia, 
it is convenient to make a difference in the spelling. 


[Ch.VIII. § 3 . 

himselfin the Peloponnesus. Circumstances seemed to promise 

him success. 

Sultan Murad II., after destroying the Christian army at 
the battle of Varna, hastened to bury himself again in his 
beloved retirement at Magnesia, and left the direction of 
the Othoman government in the hands of his son Mohammed 
II. The young sultan, able as he proved himself to be a 
very few years afterwards, could not then preserve order in 
the mass of armed men who formed the nucleus of the 
Othoman empire, and the janissaries broke out into open 
rebellion. It was necessary for Murad to quit his Asiatic 
retreat a second time. The victory at Varna had put to 
flight the dreams of independence and national regenera- 
tion which were floating in the minds of a few enthusiastic 
Greeks; the return of Murad II. threatened the nation with 
immediate destruction : for nothing but constant employment 
could insure obedience in the Othoman armies. Murad's first 
enterprise was to punish Constantine for what he considered 
his ungrateful and rebellious conduct. 

Late in the year 1445, Murad II. marched from Adrianople 
into Thessaly ; and taking with him the veteran pasha 
Turakhan, whose long acquaintance with Greece and its 
inhabitants rendered him an invaluable counsellor, he pushed 
forward to Thebes, where he was joined by Nerio II., duke 
of Athens, a willing vassal in any enterprise against the 
Greeks. The Turkish army was accompanied by a number 
of waggons laden with bronze, to cast cannon 1 . The army 
halted for a few days at Minzies, and while his officers were 
preparing the artillery for an attack on the fortifications of 
the isthmus of Corinth, the sultan advanced to reconnoitre 
the wall in person. The imposing appearance of its well- 
constructed battlements, manned by a numerous army of 
defenders, under the personal orders of the despots Con- 
stantine and Thomas, astonished Murad by a military display 
he had not expected to behold, and he reproached Turakhan 
for having persuaded him to attack these impregnable lines 
at the commencement of winter. Turakhan assured his 
master that many years' acquaintance with the Greeks enabled 
him to despise their military array ; and declared that the 

1 Dam, Histoire de Venise, vii. 195. 


a,t>. 1 42 7-1 446.] 

army, even though covered by fortifications, would not long 
resist a vigorous assault. The conduct of the Christians 
verified his opinion. The Greek officer sent by Constantine 
to reconnoitre the Turkish preparations returned with alarming 
accounts of the Othoman force, and assured the despots 
that it would be impossible to resist its attack. He advised 
them to abandon the lines at the isthmus without delay, 
and seek refuge in the impregnable fortresses in the interior 
of the Peloponnesus. Either from cowardice or treachery, 
he behaved so disgracefully that Constantine found it necessary 
to imprison him, in order to prevent his report from spreading 
a panic among the soldiery. The sultan soon established his 
camp before the Greek fortifications. Constantine then de- 
puted Chalcocondylas, an Athenian in his service, to propose 
terms of peace \ The Greek leaders must have been singularly 
confident of their diplomatic success, for they could not place 
much reliance on the courage of their troops. Chalcocondylas 
was instructed to demand that the sultan should acknowledge 
Constantine as independent sovereign of the Peloponnesus, 
and of all the territory beyond the isthmus which recognized 
the Byzantine government. On this condition, he offered 
to abstain from all future hostilities against the Othoman 
dominions. The proposition appeared to Murad a greater 
insult than the invasion of Thessaly. Chalcocondylas was 
thrown into prison, and military operations were prosecuted 
with vigour. The Othoman camp was established before the 
middle of the wall, on the last slopes of Mount Geranea, 
overlooking the whole isthmus and the two seas, with the 
Acrocorinth and the rugged mountains of the Morea in the 

1 This Chalcocondylas must have been the father of the historian, whom his son 
mentions as having been sent on an embassy to Murad by the widow of Antonio 
Acciaiuoli, duke of Athens, in 1435, though Hammer draws a contrary inference, 
and considers that the historian is speaking of himself. Histoire de V Empire Otho- 
man, torn. ii. p. 500, note 10, trad, par Hellert. Vossius mentions that the his- 
torian was alive in 1490, so it seems not very probable that he could have been 
intrusted with this important embassy forty-four years before ; but it is very 
natural that his father, who had already been employed to negotiate with the 
sultan, should be again employed in the same way, when we recollect that 
he had been expelled from Athens by the Latin party, in consequence of his 
first embassy, and must have sought refuge at the court of the Greek despots 
in the Morea. Vossius, De Hktorich Graecis, ii. 30. Compare Chalcocondylas, 
169, 181. Demetrius Chalcocondylas, one of the restorers of learning in Italy, 
who died in Milan a.d. 1511, at the age of eighty-seven, and is buried in the 
church of St. Mary of the Passion, was a member of the same family as the 


[Ch. VIII. § i. 

background. The excellent police observed in the Turkish 
army, the plentiful supply of provisions that everywhere 
attended its march, the regular lines of shops that formed 
a market at every halt, the crowd of sutlers, with their 
well-laden mules, accompanying the troops in perfect security, 
and the regularity with which the soldiers received a daily 
advance on their monthly pay, calls forth, on this occasion, 
the admiration of the Greek historian. Chalcocondylas must 
have often himself witnessed the influence of the Turkish 
system in creating plenty, even while the army was marching 
through the most barren districts ; but the order and discipline 
which were preserved among the soldiery may have been 
more deeply impressed on his memory on this occasion, in 
consequence of his having heard his father often dwell with 
wonder on the arrangements he had witnessed, while detained 
as a prisoner. This description of the Othoman commissariat 
explains the cause of the long continued success that attended 
the Turkish arms, better than any account of the tactics 
of the generals, or of the exercises of the soldiers. The 
valour of the janissaries was a consequence of their discipline ; 
the talents of the Othoman generals a result of their superior 
moral as well as military training 1 . 

On the fourth morning after the Turkish batteries had 
opened on the wall, the troops mounted to the assault. In 
the centre of the lines, opposite to the principal battery, the 
sultan overlooked the storming party; and under his eye a 
young Servian janissary first gained the summit of the ram- 
part, and planted the crescent firmly in the sight of the two 
armies. His followers mastered the central towers, broke 
open the gates of the great road into the Peloponnesus, and 
admitted the whole Othoman army. The Greek troops 
abandoned the whole line of the wall the moment the breach 
was stormed. Constantine and Thomas, unable to rally a 
single battalion, fled with precipitation to Misithra. Their 
imprudence had been so great that the Acrocorinth afforded 
no cover for the defeated army. It had been left without 
provisions, and surrendered to the first party of Turks that 
approached it. Three hundred Greeks attempted to resist 
the enemy. Entrenching themselves in Mount Oxi, above 

1 Chalcocondylas, p. 182. 


A.D. 1427-1446.] 

Kenchries, they were besieged by the Turks ; but when they 
found they were cut off from all aid their courage failed and 
they surrendered at discretion. They were fettered with six 
hundred prisoners the sultan had purchased from his janissa- 
ries, and the whole nine hundred were beheaded without 
mercy; yet historians tell us that Murad II. was one of the 
mildest and most humane of the Othoman sovereigns. 

Constantine, the author of the war, was so alarmed at the 
sultan's vigour and cruelty, that he thought of quitting the 
Peloponnesus and abandoning the Greeks to their fate. The 
movements of the Othoman army saved him from this dis- 
grace. The main body of the Turks advanced along the 
coast of Achaia to Patras ; while Turakhan, at the head of 
a light division, was sent into the interior of the Peninsula, 
merely to lay waste the country and collect booty. The 
greater part of the inhabitants of Patras escaped over the gulf 
into the Venetian territory in Aetolia ; but about four thou- 
sand Greeks who remained in the city, and threw themselves 
on the mercy of the sultan, were all reduced to slavery. The 
citadel made a brave defence, and even after the Turks suc- 
ceeded in making a breach in the walls, they were repulsed. 
In the mean time Turakhan joined the sultan ; and Murad, 
who was not inclined to waste any more time in Greece, led 
his army back to Thebes. He is said to have carried away 
about sixty thousand Greeks, who were distributed through- 
out the slave-markets in the Othoman dominions. Constan- 
tine had received so severe a lesson that he was glad to 
accept peace on the terms the sultan dictated, and to acknow- 
ledge himself a tributary of the Porte 1 . 

1 Chalcocondylas, 168-180; Phrantzes, 202; Ducas, 125. The slight mention 
made of this campaign by Phrantzes, who was then in the Peloponnesus, and 
the care with which he throws a veil over everything disgraceful in the conduct 
of Constantine, gives us the standard of veracity in most Byzantine writers. 
From the conquest of Italy by the Lombards, to the desolation of the Pelopon- 
nesus by sultan Murad II., the Greek historians frequently leave the most im- 
portant events connected with the history of the Greek nation unrecorded. 
Phrantzes says the isthmus was forced on the 10th December, 1446, but the 
Breve Chronicon says on Saturday 3rd December. Peace was concluded early 
in 1447. Chalcocondylas, 185. A Turkish historian speaks of the immense 
quantity of silver plate carried off by the Othoman troops, and says that the 
booty was so great that the most beautiful women were sold for 300 aspers. 
Daru, Hhtoire de Venise, vii. 196. 


[Ch. VIII. § 4. 

SECT. IV. — Disorders in the Morea during the Government of 
the Despots Thomas and Demetrius. — Albanian Revolution. 

The death of the emperor John VI. called Constantine 
from Misithra to fill the imperial throne at Constantinople, 
and the government of the Peloponnesus was divided between 
his brothers Thomas and Demetrius. Thomas received Patras 
and a considerable portion of Achaia in addition to his former 
possessions ; while Demetrius was established as despot in 
Laconia, Argolis, and the eastern parts of Arcadia and 
Achaia. Both were at Constantinople when the partition was 
made, and, before quitting the capital to assume the adminis- 
tration of their respective provinces, they swore in the most 
solemn manner, with all the fearful imprecations of which the 
Greek church makes liberal use, not to invade one another's 
possessions, but to live together in constant harmony. These 
oaths were disregarded the moment they set foot in the 
Peloponnesus. Thomas was a cruel tyrant, who assassinated 
his enemies and put out the eyes of his captives. Demetrius 
was an idle, luxurious, and worthless prince,, who neglected 
the business of his station. Both had more than an ordinary 
share of Byzantine avidity for money, and a princely con- 
tempt for the feelings of their subjects. Strictly speaking, 
the despots who ruled in Morea were nothing more than vice- 
roys of the emperor of Constantinople ; but the circumstances 
in which the empire was placed had, for a long time, rendered 
them in point of fact absolute and independent sovereigns. 
The administration both of Thomas and Demetrius, never- 
theless, afforded an example of that peculiar system of 
government, by means of courtly dependents imported from 
Constantinople in the train of the prince, which, in modern 
times, has produced the ruin and demoralization of Vallachia 
and Moldavia. It is a system which, wherever it has existed, 
has created the deepest execration in the hearts of those 
subjected to its tyranny. In modern times, the Byzantine 
officials, who have been the agents of this system, are called 
Phanariotes, from the name of the quarter of Constantinople 
in which they usually resided ; and their conduct has been 
one cause of the general detestation with which the Greeks 
are regarded by other races in the East. Before the conquest 


a.d. 1446-1454.] 

of the Byzantine empire by the Turks, the officials at Con- 
stantinople were a powerful class 1 . The two despots were 
naturally inclined to quarrel ; the Byzantine officials who 
composed their courts expected new places and additional 
profits from their hostilities, so that their passions were pan- 
dered to by these adventurers. Nothing but the fear of the 
Turks prevented the more energetic Thomas from attacking 
his brother Demetrius 2 . 

When Mohammed II. prepared to attack Constantinople, 
he deemed it prudent to give the two despots in the Morea 
sufficient employment at home to prevent them from sending 
any assistance to their brother Constantine. In October 
1452, a Turkish army under Turakhan and his two sons, 
Achmet and Omar, passed the isthmus, where a Greek corps 
stationed to guard the wall was cut to pieces. Leaving 
Corinth unattacked, Turakhan divided his army, and ex- 
tended his ravages over the whole of the great Arcadian 
plain, from whence he marched by Leondari into the rich 
valleys of Messenia. He took Neochorion on the way ; but 
on reaching Siderokastron he vainly endeavoured to storm 
that place, and was in the end compelled to abandon the 
attempt. The Othoman troops passed the winter in the soft 
climate of Messenia. After collecting an ample supply of 
plunder and slaves, they were ordered in the spring to 
evacuate the Morea, having fulfilled the object of their winter 
campaign. As the last division of the Turkish army under 
Achmet was retiring by the narrow pass on the road from, 
Argos to Corinth, called by the ancients Tretos, and cele- 
brated in modern times for the defeat of a Turkish army 
under Dramali Pasha in 1822, the Othomans were vigorously 
assailed by a Greek corps, commanded by Matthew Asan, 
a noble who possessed both valour and military talents. The 
Turks were routed with severe loss, and Achmet their general 
was taken prisoner and delivered up to the despot Demetrius 
at Misithra. Demetrius received his captive with the greatest 
attention, and released him without ransom as a mark of 
gratitude to Turakhan for the services he had received from 

1 The aversion felt by the Peloponnesian Greeks for the Byzantine officials 
is expressed by Chalcocondylas, p. 216. 

2 Chalcocondylas informs us that Thomas compelled Demetrius to yield up 
Skorta, and receive Kalamata in exchange ; p. 200. 


[Ch. VIII. § 4. 

that pasha during his quarrels with his brother Thomas 1 . 
The fall of Constantinople, and the conviction that the in- 
habitants of the Peloponnesus feared Turkish cruelty less 
than Byzantine rapacity, induced the despots to solicit peace 
on such terms as Mohammed II. might be pleased to dictate. 
The sultan received them as vassals of the Porte on their 
engaging to pay a yearly tribute of twelve thousand gold 
ducats ; yet these miserable princes were so blinded by 
avidity, the master passion of their existence, as to neglect 
remitting this tribute until the sultan sent them an order 
either to send the tribute or quit the Morea. This message 
was delivered in a tone that met with implicit obedience 2 . 

At this unfortunate epoch in the history of the Greeks the 
people, oppressed by rulers who were aliens in feeling, lost all 
wish to defend their national independence ; while the Alba- 
nian colonists in the Morea aspired at political liberty. The 
extent of land thrown out of cultivation by the depopulating 
ravages of the Turks had enabled the Albanian population to 
increase considerably, by spreading their flocks and herds 
over the districts left desolate. The reports that daily 
reached the Morea of the great exploits of their countryman, 
Scanderbeg, or George Castriot, inspired them with a desire 
for independence, and with the hope of rendering themselves 
absolute masters of the soil they occupied. The Albanians, 
habituated to hardship, increased in numbers amidst the 
general desolation of the Morea. The Greeks, on the other 
hand, nurtured among too many artificial wants, were unable 
to perpetuate their numbers in the state of privation to which 
they were reduced. The peasantry, crowded into the towns, 
were daily perishing from want ; the artizans and traders, 
deprived of their occupations, were rapidly emigrating to 
other countries. This inauspicious moment was selected by 
the Moreot archonts, and the Byzantine officials, as a fit 
conjuncture for demanding from the Albanians an additional 
rent for the land they occupied. The exaction was resisted, 
and the moment appearing favourable for a general insurrec- 
tion, the chiefs of the Albanians boldly proclaimed their 

1 Chalcocondylas, 202 ; Phrantzes, 235, edit. Bonn ; Fallmerayer, ii. 352. Chal- 
cocondylas fixes the place, which Phrantzes might lead his readers to suppose 
was near Leondari. 

3 Ducas, 177. 191 ; Chalcocondylas, 215, 219. 


a.d. 1 446-1454.] *00 

project of expelling the Greek population from the Morea. 
Turkish interference perhaps alone saved the peninsula from 
becoming an Albanian land. Many discontented political 
adventurers deserted their Greek countrymen, and became 
the most active leaders in this revolution, which was, on the 
whole, as much a movement of Albanian cupidity and Greek 
intrigue, as a contest of national ambition and patriotic feel- 
ing. Manuel Cantacuzenos, a Byzantine noble who had 
acquired great influence among the semi-independent moun- 
taineers of Taygetus and Maina, placed himself at the head of 
the principal body of the insurgents. By assuming an Alba- 
nian name, he expected that the rebels would be persuaded to 
elect him Prince of the Morea. Instead of Manuel, he 
adopted the Albanian appellation Ghin ; and his wife, instead 
of Maria, called herself Cuchia 1 . The insurgents, with Ghin 
at their head, besieged the despot Demetrius in Misithra. 
Centurione, the brother of the wife of the despot Thomas, 
was at this time confined in the castle of Chlomoutzi along 
with a Greek named Loukanos, who possessed considerable 
influence in the affairs of the Peloponnesus. The two pri- 
soners succeeded in making their escape at this critical 
moment. Centurione, who styled himself Prince of Achaia, 
collected all the remains of the Latins and Greeks in com- 
munion with the papal church, and advanced to besiege 
Patras with a considerable body of armed men. Loukanos 
affected the character of an Albanian patriot, and, assembling 
the discontented of every class and nation in the west of the 
Morea, united his forces with those of Centurione, before 
Patras, into which they had driven the furious Thomas, who 
had been as unable to make head against the insurgents as his 
weaker brother Demetrius. Neither Patras nor Misithra could 
have offered any prolonged resistance, so that the fate of the 
Peloponnesus depended on the Turkish sultan. Both parties 
sent deputations to Mohammed, to gain his favour. The 
Albanian chiefs offered to pay the same tribute that had been 
imposed on the Greek despots, begging to be allowed to 
occupy the whole peninsula as vassals of the Porte. On the 
other hand, Matthew Asan, who commanded the Greek gar- 
rison in Corinth, assured the sultan that any party would 

1 Theodori Spandugini Diss, de Orig. Imp. Turcicorum, in Sansovino's Collec- 
tion, Venet. 1600, p. 166; Fallmeiayer, ii. 357. 


[Ch. VIII. § 4. 

readily pay the tribute ; and he solicited assistance from the 
Turk to subdue the Albanian rebels, whose projects, he per- 
suaded Mohammed, were partly directed to independence 
and partly to plunder. The sultan could not view any move- 
ment of the countrymen of Scanderbeg with favour. It 
suited his policy for the moment to maintain the two rival 
races in joint possession of the country, but it seemed that, 
unless he immediately interfered, the Greeks might be com- 
pletely subdued. To prevent such a catastrophe, Turakhan 
was again ordered to march into the Peloponnesus, and deliver 
the despots from their Albanian besiegers. The popular fury 
was exhausted before the Othoman army entered the penin- 
sula. As soon as the Greek adventurers succeeded in intruding 
themselves into the principal commands over the insurgent 
army, the Albanian population perceived that the war was no 
longer a revolution for their own objects alone. 

Turakhan crossed the isthmus in October 1454, and has- 
tened to attack the district of Borbotia, where the Albanians 
had secured the greater part of their wealth. This place 
served them as a citadel \ The approach of the Turks com- 
pelled the Albanians to raise the siege of Misithra. The 
despot Demetrius immediately joined the Turkish army; 
which, aided by the topographical knowledge of the Greeks, 
penetrated into the enemy's stronghold and captured ten 
thousand women and children, as well as the greater part 
of the riches that had been accumulated by plundering the 
Greeks during the insurrection. The siege of Patras was 
raised about the same time, and Turakhan, on advancing into 
Messenia, was met by the despot Thomas, who conducted the 
Turks to the fortress of Aetos, where the Albanian partizans 
of Centurione and Loukanos had secured their share of the 
plunder. This party of the insurgents purchased impunity 
and pardon, by delivering up one thousand slaves to the 
Turks, with a quantity of arms and a large supply of pro- 
visions and cattle. The Albanians now everywhere laid down 
their arms, and sued for peace. The terms which Turakhan 
thought fit to dictate were by no means severe, for he was too 

1 Phrantzes, 3S5, edit. Bonn; Chalcocondylas, 218, edit. Paris Zinkeisen 
(Geschichte des Osmamsehen Reichs. in Europn, ii. 184 s ) calls the district Bordonia, 
which indicates that Bardunia was inhabited by Christian Albanians before the 
Turkish conquest, though their apostasy must have taken place at an early 


a.d. 1458-1459.] «■>' 

politic a statesman to allow the Greeks to gain any very 
decided superiority over their enemies. The terms of the 
pacification he forced on the despots are a sad testimony of 
the utter ruin that had overwhelmed the Greek agricultural 
population. The Albanians were allowed to retain possession 
of all the cattle they had plundered. They were also per- 
mitted to colonize all the waste lands they had occupied, on 
paying a fixed rent to the proprietors. After Turakhan had 
settled the affairs of the country, he gave the two despots 
some good advice, which, if it be correctly reported by 
Chalcocondylas, does honour both to the head and the heart 
of this experienced warrior, who had grown grey in the 
Grecian wars. He advised them to live in peace and cherish 
brotherly love, for he warned them that their dissensions 
could not fail to produce rebellions of their subjects, and 
he recommended them to keep a strict watch over every 
movement of the unruly Moreots. The Albanian insurrection 
was marked by many atrocities ; it reduced whole districts to 
a state of desolation, and converted many Greek towns into 
mere sheepfolds, or mandrai 1 . 

Sect V. — First Expedition of Sultan Mohammed II. into the 


The suppression of the Albanian revolt did not tranquillize 
the Peloponnesus. The country continued to be troubled 
with plots and convulsions. Byzantine nobles, Greek archonts, 
and Albanian chieftains were running a race for plunder 
through the mazes of political intrigue. Constant complaints 
reached the Porte, and at last Mohammed II. resolved to 
examine the state of the country in person. On the 15th 
of May 1458, he passed the ruined wall of the isthmus, and 
entered the town of Corinth. The Acrocorinth was in a 
neglected state ; but Matthew Asan, with his usual prompti- 
tude, introduced a supply of provisions and military stores 
into it from the port of Kenchries, though he had to convey 
them almost through the middle of the Turkish camp during 
the night. The impregnable position of the fortress then 

1 Chalcocondylas, 215; Phrantzes, 383, edit. Bonn; Spandugnino, op. cit. p. 166. 


[Ch.VIII.§ 5 . 

defied any attempt at assault. Mohammed therefore left a 
body of troops to blockade it, while he advanced into the 
centre of the Morea with the rest of his army. In order to 
avoid traversing the Venetian possessions round Argos and 
Nauplia, as he was then at peace with the republic, he turned 
off at Nemea, and, passing by the lake Stymphalos, crossed a 
mountain road to Tarsos in the valley of the river of Phonia. 
Tarsos was inhabited by Albanians, who purchased immunity 
by furnishing the sultan with three hundred boys to recruit 
the ranks of the janissaries. A fortress called Aetos bravely 
resisted the Othoman arms ; but after suffering every ex- 
tremity of thirst, the inhabitants saw their walls stormed by 
the janissaries, who pillaged all their property. Their lives 
were spared, that the young and active might be selected as 
slaves. From Aetos the sultan marched to Akova, where 
numbers both of Greeks and Albanians had sought refuge 
with their families. The place was attacked ineffectually for 
two successive days ; but when the sultan was on the point 
of raising the siege, the garrison sent an offer to capitulate. 
The inhabitants were personally well treated, but they were 
transported to Constantinople, which Mohammed was endea- 
vouring to repeople with contingents from most of the cities 
he conquered. Twenty Albanians, who were found in Akova, 
were condemned by Mohammed to be executed with the 
most horrid cruelty, for having violated the capitulation of 
Tarsos by again bearing arms against the Mussulmans 1 . 
The sultan now turned back, and entered the great Arcadian 
plain near the ruins of Mantinea. The Albanians of Pente- 
choria, or Pazenika, were summoned to surrender by the 
agency of Manuel (or Ghin) Cantacuzenos, the leader of the 
Albanian revolt, who was now serving with the Turkish army; 
but they rejected all the sultan's offers, and repulsed the Otho- 
man troops. Mohammed continued his march to Mouchli on 
Mount Parthenios. Mouchli was at this time one of the 
principal towns in the peninsula, and its ruins still cover a 
considerable space, and are said by the peasantry of the 

1 The sultan ordered the ankles and wrists of these Albanians to be broken 
with clubs, and in this state they were left to die. With that fiendish exultation 
in cruelty which characterizes Othoman history, the place was called Tokrnak 
Hissari, or the Castle of Ankles. Akova is called Rupela by Chalcocondylas ; 
but Hammer (Histoire de V Empire Othoman, iii. 48) observes that the Turkish 
historian Seaddin agrees with Phrantzes in calling it Akova. 


a.d. 1458-1459.] 3? 

neighbourhood to contain the remains of three hundred and 
sixty-five churches. Though nothing but rudely-built walls 
are now visible, the Albanian population around connect this 
Byzantine rubbish with vague traditions of imperial grandeur 
and of ancient wealth, while they look with indifference on the 
Hellenic walls of Mantinea, as the work of heathen giants. 
Mouchli soon surrendered from want of water, the besiegers 
cutting off the supply by the aqueduct, and the cisterns being 
insufficient for the inhabitants. From Mouchli, Mohammed 
returned to Corinth, where he bombarded the Acrocorinth 
with such effect that the bakehouse and magazines were 
reduced to ashes 1 . The treachery of the archbishop caused 
the surrender of the place. He secretly informed the sultan 
of the condition to which the garrison would soon be reduced 
from want of provisions ; and when Asan saw there was no 
hope of the siege being raised, or of receiving any further 
supplies, he surrendered the fortress. Mohammed had the 
generosity to treat this brave enemy with honour. He de- 
puted him to the two despots, to communicate the terms on 
which they would be allowed to retain their posts. The 
country visited by the sultan as far as Mouchli, with the 
whole coast of Achaia as far as Patras, was annexed to the 
pashalic of Thessaly, and intrusted to the command of Omar, 
the son of Turakhan. The tribute of the two despots was 
fixed at five hundred staters of gold, and Demetrius was 
ordered to send his daughter as a bride to the sultan's 
harem 2 . 

When the despot Thomas believed that the attention of 
the Othoman government was exclusively occupied with the 
affairs of Servia and the troubled state of Asia Minor, he 

CP l A f ? rd ! ng to C h alcocondylas(2 4 o) ) the balls of Mohammed's artillery weighed 
wnt fi ' j° ' - lf th \ ta f nt be estimat ed. with Suidas, at one hundred and 
ThPc?ifTf P ° U ' glV f, S , a baU ° f dght hundred and seventy-five pounds' weight, 
a half. WerC Pr ° pelled to the distance of fourte en stades, or about a mile !nd 

» Chalcocondylas, 240; Phrantzes, 387, edit. Bonn; Chronicon Breve, a.m. 6q66, 

tZi t 4 ' ♦• am ? 0t aware how we are t0 fo the val ue of what Chalcocondylas, 
with Byzantine pedantry, calls a stater of gold. Hammer supposes that he means a 
centner or hundred pounds' weight, as that was the usual mode of reckoning with 
the Byzantuie officials at an earlier period. Until the time of the conquest of Con- 
stantinople by the Crusaders, the centner was one hundred pounds' weight of gold, 
and the pound contained seventy-two nomismata or byzants. The gold coinage of 
Constantinople lost its ancient purity in the empire of Nicaea and the restored 
J) zantine empire. Reiskn Commentarii ad Conskmtinum Porphyrogenitum de Caere- 
momu Aulae Byzantinae, edit. Lips. vol. ii. p. 44; edit. Bonn, vol ii. p. 139. 

S 2 


[Ch. VIIL § 5. 

resolved to attack his brother Demetrius and the Turkish 
garrisons in the peninsula at the same time, hoping to render 
himself master of the whole of the Peloponnesus before the 
sultan could send any aid. Thomas trusted to the chapter of 
accidents for the means of making his peace with the sultan, 
or for resisting his attacks. Vanity whispered that his power 
as the prince of the Greeks made him a more redoubtable 
enemy than Scanderbeg the chieftain of the Albanians, whose 
exploits were then the theme of universal admiration, and 
whose great success proves to us the worthlessness of his 
Christian contemporaries. In the month of January 1459, 
Thomas formed a considerable army by assembling all the 
troops he could engage in his service. Karitena, St. George, 
Bordonia, and Kastritza were induced to drive out the officers 
of Demetrius and join the war party. A proclamation was 
issued, promising that the archonts and municipal authorities 
would be allowed to manage their local affairs. The national 
hatred of the Turks, the contempt felt for Demetrius, and the 
love of local independence among the Greeks, were the senti- 
ments on which Thomas counted for securing the support of 
the whole Christian population of the Peloponnesus 1 . One 
division of his army besieged the Turkish garrison in Patras, 
while the other captured the fortresses of Kalamata Zarnata, 
Leftron, and the castles in the Zygos of Maina. The whole 
peninsula was, by this ill-judged insurrection, converted into a 
scene of anarchy, pillage, and bloodshed. The Albanians, to 
revenge themselves for their former defeat, plundered all the 
Greeks alike, whether they were the parti zans of one brother 
or the other ; and availed themselves of the general anarchy 
to lay waste the villages whose farms they were eager to con- 
vert into pasture-lands. The Turkish garrisons of Mouchli, 
Vostitza, and Corinth found opportunities of making continual 
sorties, burning down the villages, carrying off the cattle in 
the surrounding country, and preventing the despot from 
concentrating a sufficient force to besiege them. 

To repress these disorders, Mohammed II. sent the pasha 
of Thcssaly against Thomas. The Moslems marched from 
Patras along the western coast of the Morea into the plain of 
Messenia, from which they ascended by the pass of Makry- 

1 Phrantzes, 389 : tv' avQis (\ojciv oivtcL ov\ ws irpwrju tKV0tpvow, dAA* ws aWivrai 


A.D. I458-I459.] 

plagia into the valley of Leondari. Here Thomas had drawn 
out a numerous army to await their attack, under the walls of 
the town. The Duke of Wellington is said to have observed 
that, if fifty thousand men were drawn up in close order in 
Hyde Park, there would probably not be found three men in 
London who could move them out of it without producing a 
scene of confusion and disorder as dangerous as a battle. 
The Greek despot, in his long embroidered robes, surrounded 
by a crowd of ceremonious courtiers better versed in the 
formalities of Byzantine etiquette than the movements of 
troops in front of an enemy, surveyed his army in helpless 
pride. Younisbeg, the commander of the Othoman sipahis, 
after reconnoitring the close array of the Greeks, made a 
remark on the ignorance of their commanders not unlike the 
observation of the Duke. He soon verified the correctness of 
the judgment he had pronounced, by a charge which threw 
one flank of the army into inextricable confusion, while the 
great body of the troops remained utterly helpless. The rapid 
flight of the Greeks, however, showed the Turkish general 
that fear can often accomplish with ease manoeuvres which 
military science only effects with difficulty. The defeated 
army left only two hundred men on the field of battle. The 
speedy capture of Leondari and the submission of Thomas 
seemed inevitable ; but just at this critical moment a violent 
contagious disease broke out in the Turkish army, and com- 
pelled it to retire \ The Greeks again advanced ; Patras was 
once more besieged, and patriotism revived ; but a fresh body 
of Turkish troops from continental Greece soon compelled the 
besiegers of Patras to take to flight, abandoning their camp- 
baggage and artillery to the enemy. Thomas, convinced that 
his troops were utterly unfit to cope with the Turkish militia, 
sued for peace, which the sultan, whose attention was occu- 
pied with more important affairs, readily granted. He was 
ordered to pay three thousand gold staters as indemnity for 
the expenses of the war, and to ratify the conditions of the 
peace at Corinth within twenty days in person before the 
Othoman plenipotentiary. 

Fear of treachery, and a vague conviction that the sultan 
would not have consented to any terms had he been prepared 
for war, inspired Thomas with the courage of despair, and he 
1 Chalcocondylas, 243. 


[Ch. VIII. § 6. 

ventured to disobey the order. He reconciled himself with 
his brother Demetrius through the mediation of the bishop 
of Lacedaemon, and the two brothers met at the church of 
Kastritza. The meeting was singularly solemn : the bishop 
performed high mass in a small church, while the two despots 
stood side by side in his presence. They then stepped 
forward and swore perpetual amity, mutual oblivion of every 
past injury, and brotherly love — receiving the holy communion 
from the hands of the bishop as a guarantee of their oaths. 
But to these unprincipled Byzantine lords their plighted word 
was a jest ; the ceremonies of their church mere mummery, 
to deceive the people ; and their religion a device, by which 
they could cheat heaven out of pardon for the worst crimes. 
The light of the tapers they had held in their hands, as they 
uttered their imprecations on their own perjuries, was hardly 
extinguished before they were plotting how to violate their 
oaths. The year 1459 had not ended before they were both 
in arms, ravaging one another's possessions, and exterminating 
the scanty remains of the Greek population in the Pelopon- 
nesus. The Albanian shepherds had good reason to adore 
the Constantinopolitan rulers of Greece : to the Hellenic race 
they were far more destructive enemies than the Sclavonians 
or the Crusaders. We need not wonder when we find that, 
in this age, many Greeks quitted their religion to embrace 
Mohammedanism. The Greek church imposed no restraint 
on the worst vices, and the moralist might well fancy that 
such Christianity was less productive of moral good, and 
more at variance with the scheme of the creation, than the 
faith of Mahomet l . 

SECT. VI. — Final Conquest of the More a by Mohammed II. 

Instead of remitting the tribute to the sultan, and ratifying 
the treaty of peace, Thomas devoted all his endeavours to 
conquering his brother's territories before the arrival of the 
Turks. The patience of Mohammed was now exhausted, 
and he delayed his proposed expedition into Asia in order 
to lead an army in person into the Peloponnesus, and put 
an end to these disorders, by extinguishing every trace of 

1 It would be very easy to make a long list of distinguished men in the service 
of the sultans Murad II. and Mohammed II. who were renegades. 


A.D. I460-I54O.] 

Greek independence. He passed the Isthmus of Corinth 
in the month of May 1460, and marched direct to Misithra, 
where the despot Demetrius received him with profound 
submission ; but the sultan immediately informed him that 
the state of affairs in the peninsula no longer admitted of 
a Greek governing any portion of the country, and ordered 
him to close his reign by commanding every city and fort 
in his territory to receive a Turkish garrison. The in- 
habitants of Monemvasia, whose situation had enabled them 
to retain some degree of independence, boldly refused to 
comply with these commands ; and as they possessed a body 
of armed citizens sufficiently numerous to garrison their 
walls, they proclaimed the despot Thomas as their sovereign 
— preferring a Christian tyrant, against whom they could 
defend themselves, to a Mohammedan, who would soon 
destroy their liberties. The sultan marched from Misithra 
to Kastritza, which also refused to surrender — but, after a 
vigorous defence, it was compelled to capitulate ; and 
Mohammed, in order to strike terror into all who might 
feel inclined to resist his arms, excluded three hundred of 
its brave defenders from the benefit of the capitulation, and 
ordered them to be put to death. Leondari offered no 
resistance, but the Turks found it abandoned by the greater 
part of its inhabitants, who had retired with their families 
and property to the secluded town of Gardiki. In this rocky 
retreat the refugees hoped to escape notice, until the storm 
should roll over, like so many that had preceded it ; but the 
sultan had now resolved to exterminate all who possessed 
the means of resisting his authority at a future period. H e 
led his troops into the defiles of Mount Hellenitza, and 
stormed Gardiki. The citadel, in spite of its rocky and 
almost impregnable position, capitulated as soon as the 
town was taken. Men, women, and children were then all 
collected in one spot, and massacred without mercy, by the 
orders of the sultan. Six thousand souls, among whom 
were the principal families of Leondari, perished on this 
occasion to expiate the vices and folly of their Byzantine 
princes 1 . The inhabitants of Old Navarin and Arkadia 

1 Chalcocondylas, 252; Phrantzes, 406. Gardiki was the scene of the first 
great massacre perpetrated by the Turks in the Morea, in 1423 (see above, p. 239). 
The cruelty of Turakhan excited the emulation of Mohammed. 


[Ch. VIII. § 6. 

surrendered, and from "their environs ten thousand persons 
were transported to repeople Constantinople. Amidst these 
scenes of desolation, the despot Thomas conducted himself 
with the basest cowardice. As soon as he heard that Moham- 
med had entered Misithra, he fled to the port of Navarin, 
and embarked in a ship he had prepared to be ready for his 
own escape, in case of any accident. When Mohammed 
approached the western coast, the despot sailed to Corfu. 

The Byzantine government in Greece was now at an end. 
Most of the political adventurers from Constantinople, who 
had been one of the chief causes of its ruin, abandoned the 
country. They could no longer expect that the central 
government would allow them to extort wealth from the 
unhappy population — for the Othomans systematically pre- 
ferred levying the tribute by the agency of local primates. 
The implicit submission of the whole Peloponnesus might 
have been expected to follow the resignation of one sovereign 
and the flight of the other, as a natural consequence ; but 
it was not so. The fall of the Greek people was more 
dignified than that of their Byzantine rulers. Each separate 
community now acted on its own feelings, and the true 
national character of the population was for a moment visible 
ere it was washed out in blood by the Turks. Cowardice, 
at least, does not seem to have been the prevailing vice. 
The spirit ' attached to regions mountainous,' which, under 
a better system of family training, enabled the Swiss to 
maintain their national independence by the exertions of 
local communities, was not utterly wanting among the Greek 
and Albanian population of the Morea. Central governments 
are easily destroyed by a victorious enemy ; local inde- 
pendence engenders permanent feelings that almost insure 
success, in a national struggle, against the most powerful 

Mohammed II. led the main body of the Turkish army 
into the centre of the Morea. Wherever he encountered 
opposition he treated his enemies with his usual inhuman 
cruelty. At Kalavryta he ordered an Albanian chief, who 
had repeatedly deserted from the Turks, to be sawn in 
two, though he had given up the citadel to the sultan's 
troops. Part of the garrison of Kalavryta were sold as slaves, 
and the rest were beheaded. Zagan Pasha was detached 


A.D. I460-I54O.] 

to complete the conquest of the north-western part of the 
peninsula. He behaved with such monstrous inhumanity 
that he displeased even Mohammed. Grevenos repulsed his 
attacks; but Santimeri, in which all the wealth of the 
surrounding country had been laid up, opened its gates on 
receiving a promise that he would protect the lives and 
property of the inhabitants 1 . When he gained possession 
of the place, he allowed the Turkish troops to plunder the 
houses and murder the inhabitants. This open violation of 
his word caused such hatred against him that the whole 
population of the surrounding districts flew to arms, and, 
considering that it was vain to treat with such a monster, 
offered a determined resistance to the further progress of the 
Othoman arms. Zagan lost his master's favour by imitating 
too closely his master's example. 

Mohammed II., who had met with no resistance, advanced 
from Arkadia through the plain of Elis, where all the towns 
opened their gates on his approach, and their inhabitants 
were uniformly treated with humanity. Grevenos, unable 
to resist any longer the additional force that attacked it, was 
compelled to surrender, and one-third of its inhabitants were 
selected by the conquerors to be sold as slaves. The garrison 
of Salmeniko commanded by Palaeologos Graitzas made a 
desperate defence. For seven days the sultan's troops re- 
iterated their attempts to storm the walls, but were repulsed 
by the gallantry of its defenders. At last the Turks cut 
off the supply of water, and thus compelled the town to 
surrender. Six thousand of the inhabitants were reduced 
to slavery, and nine hundred young men were enrolled among 
the janissaries. But the citadel continued to hold out, as 
the- cisterns were sufficient for its supply. Nothing, however, 
now remained for the garrison to protect ; and the com- 
mandant offered to evacuate the place, on condition that the 
garrison should be allowed to cross the Gulf of Corinth into 
the Venetian territory at Lepanto. Mohammed gave his 
consent to the terms proposed, and withdrew his army to 
Vostitza to afford the besieged a free passage to the shore. 
The commandant, however, entertained great distrust of the 
Turks, in consequence of their conduct at Santimeri, and, 

1 Santimeri was founded by Nicholas de Saint-Omer about the year 1273. 


[Ch.VIII. §6. 

in order to guard against any treachery, he sent forward a 
detachment with a considerable quantity of baggage, trusting 
that this display of booty would allure any ambuscade from 
its concealment. The plan was successful. Hamza Pasha, 
the successor of Zagan, who had been charged by Mo- 
hammed to receive the surrender of the fortress, allowed 
his troops to waylay this detachment and plunder the baggage. 
The commandant of Salmeniko, finding that it was impossible 
to place any reliance on the capitulations he had concluded, 
sent a message to the sultan to announce that he was deter- 
mined to defend the citadel to the last extremity. Mohammed 
disgraced Hamza, perhaps as much for his awkwardness as 
his treachery, and restored Zagan to his former post. He 
then continued his march, leaving troops to blockade the 
citadel of Salmeniko, which continued to hold out for a year. 
The garrison then obtained a capitulation, with proper gua- 
rantees for its faithful execution, and retired in safety into 
the Venetian territory l . 

Mohammed II. quitted the Morea in the autumn of 1460. 
On his way back to Constantinople he visited Athens for the 
second time ; while the main body of his army, laden with 
spoil and encumbered with slaves, moved slowly northward 
from Megara by Thebes. This last campaign in the Morea 
was attended with wanton destruction of property and waste 
of human life. Mohammed's policy evidently was to ruin 
the resources of the country, as a preventive against insur- 
rection, and a security that it would hold out little inducement 
to any Christian power to occupy it with an army. His 
measures were successful. The diminished population 
remained long in such a state of poverty and barbarism, that 
it could devote little care to anything beyond procuring the 
means of subsistence. Even the payment of the annual 
tribute of their children, which the Christians were compelled 
to send to Constantinople, in order to recruit the strength of 

1 The family name of the gallant leader of this heroic band was Graitzas, not 
Palaeologos. Phrantzes proves that he was not of the imperial family with 
which Phrantzes was himself connected, by calling him, with Byzantine super- 
ciliousness, a certain Palaeologos, whose surname was Graitzas. Phrantzes. 409 ; 
Chalcocondylas, 256, 258. Sir James Emerson Tennent, in his History of Modern 
Greece (i. 141), copying the Turkish History of Knolles (i. 242), speaks of the 
cowardly despot Thomas Palaeologos as the valiant chieftain who defended 
Salmeniko, and compelled Mohammed II. to exclaim 'that in the country of 
Peloponnesus he had found many slaves, but never a man but him.' 


A.D. I460-I54O.] 

the Othoman power, failed to awaken either patriotism or 
despair among the Greeks. 

The fate of the two last despots hardly merits the attention 
of history, were it not that mankind has a morbid curiosity 
concerning the fortunes of the most worthless princes. Deme- 
trius was sent by the sultan to reside at Enos, where he 
received from Mohammed's bounty an annual pension of 
six hundred thousand aspers \ He died a monk at Adria- 
nople in 147 1. It is said that the sultan never married the 
daughter whom he had been compelled to send into the 
imperial harem. Thomas, whose life is one long act of 
infamy, attempted to purchase an appanage from the 
sultan, by offering to cede Monemvasia to the infidels, but 
Mohammed despised his offer, and he finished his life as a 
pensionary of the Pope, who was so liberal as to allow him 
three hundred ducats a month, to which the cardinals added 
two hundred more. He died at Rome in 1465. The papal 
pension of three hundred ducats a month was continued to 
his children. His eldest son, Andrew, married a woman 
from the streets of Rome, and, dying childless in 1502, left 
the visionary empire of the East, of which he deemed himself 
the heir, to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. His second 
son Manuel, tired of papal patronage, escaped from Rome to 
Constantinople, where he threw himself on the protection of 
the sultan. Mohammed gave him a hospitable reception, 
and prevented him from behaving as disreputably as his 
brother by supplying him with the means of maintaining a 
decent harem. Manuel left a son named Andrew, who 
became a Mussulman, and received the name of Mohammed. 
Thus ended the contemptible house of Palaeologos 2 . 

1 'E£t)kovto. fivpiaSas dpyvplov. Chalcocondylas, 257. If we suppose the pro- 
portion to have continued the same between the common silver coin and the 
common gold coin in circulation at this period, as it was a century earlier, thirty 
of these silver pieces were equal to a gold piece. This would make the pension 
of Demetrius equal to twenty thousand ducats. The sultan Mohammed I. allowed 
the emperor Manuel II. only three hundred thousand aspers for the maintenance 
of his brother Mustapha ; and this sum the Turkish historians make equal to 
thirty thousand ducats. Compare Ducas, 67, 90, and Hammer's Histoire de 
TEmpire Othoman, ii. 474. As it is not probable that Mohammed II. allowed 
Demetrius more than Mohammed I. allowed Mustapha, we must suppose that 
in the first case a smaller coin is alluded to than in the second. There were 
aspers of twice the value of the ordinary silver coin in circulation, fifteen aspers 
being equal to thirty sterlings. Ducange, Gloss, med. el inf. Latinitatis, s.v. Asperi. 
Both sizes are found in the coinage of Trebizond. 

3 Ducange, Familiae Augnstae Byzantinae, 248. Andrew made an attempt in 


[Ch. VIII. § 6. 

The city of Monemvasia defended its independence for 
four years; but in 1464, when the inhabitants heard that 
the despot Thomas had offered to surrender their city to 
the Turks, they submitted to the Venetian republic and 
received an Italian garrison. The Venetians continued to 
hold possession of Nauplia, Argos, Thermisi, Coron, Modon, 
and Navarin, as well as Acarnania, Arta, Mesolonghi, Nau- 
paktos, and Euboea. In the year 1463, the Turks endeavoured 
to complete the conquest of the Morea by attacking the 
Venetian possessions. Argos was betrayed into their hands 
by a Greek priest, and the greater part of its Greek 
inhabitants were transported to Constantinople. The terri- 
tory of Coron and Modon was laid waste, and Acarnania 
invaded. But Venice, on this occasion, nobly exerted 
herself to gain the title of Europe's bulwark against the 
Othoman. A powerful expedition was fitted out, and great 
exertions were made to rouse the Greek population to attempt 
a general insurrection. The Italian condottieri and foreign 
mercenaries, who composed the armies of Venice, were no 
match for the severely disciplined regular troops of the 
Othoman empire, attended by the well-organized batteries of 
field and siege artillery, without which no Turkish army 
now entered on a campaign. The pashas who commanded 
the Othoman armies were almost the only soldiers in Europe 
accustomed to direct and combine the movements of large 
bodies of men for one definite result. The Venetians had a 
short gleam of success : Argos was recovered ; the Isthmus 
of Corinth was occupied. Thirty thousand men were em- 
ployed to work by relays, night and day, in order to repair 
the wall, which experience had so frequently proved to be 
useless. For a fortnight the work was pursued with ardour ; 
but, in the mean time, the Venetian army was repulsed in all 

1494 to cede his rights to the empire of Constantinople, as heir to his uncle 
Constantine the last emperor, to Charles VIII. of Fiance, for an annual pension 
of 4300 gold ducats and other advantages ; but the failure of the king's expedition 
to Italy prevented the transaction from being completed. Mcmoire* de VAcadt'uiie 
des Inscriptions, torn. xvii. p. 561. The notarial act is printed at the end of the 
Memoir. Sophia, the second daughter of the despot Thomas, married Ivan III. 
of Russia. The pretended descent of a Palaeologos, buried in the parish church 
of Landulph in Cornwall, from the despot Thomas, cannot be admitted as 
authentic. See the account by the Rev. F. Vyvyan Jago, F.S.A., rector of 
Landulph, in the eighteenth volume of the Archaeologia. The name Palaeologos 
became, and continues to be, a common one, and all who bear it are, of course, 
prepared to substantiate their pretensions to descent from the imperial family. 


A.D. I460-I54O.] 

its attacks on Corinth ; and, the season setting in with 
intense cold early in autumn, the lines at the isthmus were 
abandoned, and the whole Venetian force retreated to 
Nauplia. In 1466, the Venetians, under Victor Capello, the 
advocate of the war, succeeded in taking Athens ; but sub- 
sequently, on his debarking his troops near Patras, they 
sustained a disastrous defeat. When peace was concluded 
between Venice and the Porte in 1479, tne republic retained 
possession of Nauplia, Monemvasia, Coron, Modon, and 
Navarin ; but it was compelled to cede to the Turks the 
fortresses of Maina, Vatica, and Rampano, which had been 
captured during the war. In the year 1500, sultan Bayezid 
II. gained possession of Modon and Coron ; and in 1540 the 
Venetians were driven from all their remaining possessions 
in the Peloponnesus by Suleiman, who took Nauplia and 

To the last hour of the Byzantine domination in Greece 
learning was not neglected ; and all men of any rank in 
society devoted some portion of their youth to study, and to 
acquiring some knowledge of ancient Greek and of the history 
and laws of the Greek church. The annals of the Morea have 
given us the means of estimating the value of such an educa- 
tion as can be obtained from books alone, without the soul- 
inspiring culture of the moral and religious feelings that can 
be gained only in the domestic circle, and which must have its 
seeds sown before books can enlarge the mind. Some Greek 
manuscripts have been preserved, written at this disastrous 
period, even in the mountains of Tzakonia and the city of 
Misithra, one of which contains the history of Herodotus, and 
another treats of the miraculous light on Mount Tabor. The 
selection indicates the nature of the Hellenic mind at this 
epoch. The classes that floated on the surface of society 
were in their mental dotage, and their pride and superstition 
sought gratification equally in the legends of Christian fable, 
narrated in pedantic phraseology, and in the tales of the father 
of history, sketched with the noble simplicity of nature l . 

1 See notice of these MSS. in Montfaucon's Palaeographia Graeca, p. 72. The 
discourses on the miraculous light were transcribed at Misithra in 1370. Herodo- 
tus was copied at Astros in 1372. Montfaucon, at p. 71, a.d. 1362, mentions 
another MS. by the same scribe of Misithra; and at p. 70 he notices^ several 
medical works by an Athenian scribe, a.d. 1339. There is also a MS. of the 
Elymologicum Magnum from Chalcis in Euboea, 1386, and one of five books of 
Polybius, by an Athenian, a.d. 141 7 and 1435. See pp. 76, 79. 


Duchy of the Archipelago or Naxos 1 . 

Sect. I. — Observations on the Venetian Possessions in the 
Empire of Romania. 

As soon as any part of the Byzantine empire was con- 
quered by the Crusaders, the Venetians were reinstated in all 
the commercial privileges conceded to them by the Byzantine 
emperors 2 . In addition to these privileges, the partition 
treaty extended the limits of their settlement in Constanti- 
nople over three-eighths of the city, for the capital was 
partitioned in the same manner as the whole empire. The 
Venetian town created by this arrangement formed a separate 
enclosure within the walls of Constantinople, and was governed 
by a podesta sent from Venice, who, though he was inferior to 
the Latin emperor in dignity, soon became his equal in power 
and his superior in real authority. The Venetian colony in 
this settlement was very prosperous ; and, a few years later, it 
is said that the Senate of Venice debated whether the seat of 
government might not be advantageously transferred from the 
then humble city in the lagunes to the comparatively magni- 
ficent quarter of Constantinople which belonged to the re- 

1 Since the first edition was published, Dr. Hopf, by his researches in various 
archives, has proved that the Hisioire nouvelle des anciens Dues et autres Souverains 
de VArchipel ought not to be trusted unless when it is confirmed by other 
authorities. The work was written by Robert Saugcr, a Jesuit missionary in 
the Levant, and was supposed to have been compiled from documents since lost. 
As the author was often misled by following its guidance, considerable changes 
have been made in this edition. The Histoire nouvelle is a rare book. Two editions 
exist, both in i2mo, Paris 1698 and 1699. ^he latter of these is cited here. 
See Tournefort, Voyage du Levant, lettre v. vol. i. p. 254, 8vo. Lyon; Curtius, 
Naxos, p. 39. 

2 See above, p. 81, and compare Tafel and Thomas, Urlunden Venedigs, i. 446, 


public. A few ambitious nobles and enterprising merchants 
may probably have formed such a project, but patriotism and 
prejudice would alike prevent its execution, and there seems 
to be a doubt whether it was ever publicly discussed \ 

The establishment of the Latin empire in the East encoun- 
tered many insurmountable obstacles. The feudal barons 
possessed little influence over their Greek vassals and little 
attachment to their own sovereign. The emperors had neither 
the power to restrain their great feudatories, nor the wealth to 
purchase the service of mercenary troops. The close contact 
of unfriendly nations and the unappeasable hostility of con- 
tentious churches caused incessant troubles. But from many 
of the evils of the Latin empire the republic of Venice escaped 
by rendering its principal territorial possessions in the East 
direct dependencies of the state, and sending Venetian co- 
lonists to occupy the fortified cities, Venetian governors to 
maintain order, and Venetian judges to administer justice 
according to the laws and usages of Venice. Only maritime 
possessions could be so treated, and even their obedience 
could not be permanently secured without frequent visits of 
the fleets of the republic. 

At the commencement of the thirteenth century the influence 
of the Venetian republic was very great in the Levant, both 
among Christian and Mussulman nations ; yet the Venetian 
state consisted only of the city and the islands of the lagunes. 
Its possessions in Istria and Dalmatia were held by garrisons, 
not peopled by citizens. The population of the republic was 
small, the duties of its citizens were great and various. Every 
Venetian toiled in order to win wealth for himself, and stood 
ready with his sword to defend the wealth he had won and 
the riches, power, and honour of his native city. Nobles and 
burghers, merchants and seamen, fought as fearlessly as barons 
and knights, but their numbers were insufficient, and Venice 
was compelled to hire the services of mercenary soldiers in 
her foreign dependencies. It was impossible therefore for the 
Venetian state to attempt conquering many of the provinces 
assigned to the republic by the partition treaty. 

Crete was the most valuable possession which Venice ac- 
quired by the fourth crusade, both on account of its com- 

1 The project was attributed to the doge Fietro Ziani in 1225. Daru, Histoire 
de Venise, book v. § 11 (vol. i. p. 382, edit. 1S21). 


[Ch.IX. §i. 

mercial importance and its position as a naval station. It was 
the refuge and the resting-place for the fleets that traded with 
Egypt, Palestine, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Constantinople, and the 
Black Sea as far as Trebizond and Tana. The republic, as 
has been already mentioned \ purchased the island from the 
Marquis of Montferrat, but its conquest was not completed 
without a severe struggle. 

During the confusion that prevailed in the Byzantine em- 
pire after its invasion, a military adventurer of the time, 
Henry Count of Malta, gained possession of great part of 
Crete, and entertained hopes of being able to found an inde- 
pendent principality with the assistance of the republic of 
Genoa 2 . The Venetians succeeded with great exertions in 
expelling the count and his Genoese allies from Crete, which 
they governed by a duke sent from Venice. In order to 
retain a firm hold on the island, considerable bodies of 
colonists were settled in it at different periods 3 . The valour 
with which the Greeks of Crete defended their local inde- 
pendence, and their repeated insurrections against the Vene- 
tian government, offer a marked contrast to the submissive 
conduct of the majority of their countrymen on the Con- 
tinent 4 . But the history of Crete, with its Greek inhabitants 
and Venetian colonists, its orthodox and its catholic clergy, 
its native and Italian municipalities, and its repeated civil 
wars, though it well deserves a place in the history of Greece 
under foreign domination, would require a whole volume to 
do justice to the subject 5 . 

The islands of Corfu, Santa Maura, Cephalonia, and Zante, 
as well as great part of Albania, Acarnania, and Aetolia, and 
several towns in the Peloponnesus, were assigned to Venice 
by the partition treaty. But Michael Angelos, who founded 
the despotat of Epirus, prevented the republic from making 

1 Above, p. 98. 

4 Nicetas (411, edit. Paris) says that Crete was conquered by some Genoese 
pirates, offscourings of men and abortions of society (ntipaTai rivts Ttvovtrai, irtpi- 
if^fiaTa uvbpwv ml dp-^Xuifxara), with five round ships and twenty-four galleys, 
which was surely a goodly fleet for such fellows to assemble. See Pagano, Delle 
imprese e del dominio dei Genovesi nella Grecia, 12, 15. 

8 Tafel and Thomas, Vrkunden Venedigs, ii. 129, 136, 143, 234. 

4 Dam (Hiitoire de Venise, i. 321) mentions fourteen insurrections of the 
Cretans between 1207 and 1365. See extracts from Laurentius de Monads 
in Tafel and Thomas, Vrkunden Venedigs, ii. 129, 167; Cornelius, Creta Sacra, 
ii. 224. 

* [It is related in great detail in Hopf's Geschichte Gricchenlands . Ed.] 


A.D. 1 204-1 207.] 

any conquests on the continent, and his successor, the despot 
Theodore, conquered Corfu (1216) after it had been occupied 
by Venetian colonists 1 . Cephalonia and Zante fell into the 
hands of Count Maio, who was probably an Italian Crusader. 
At a later period the counts of Cephalonia, like some other 
vassals of the empire, became vassals of the princes of Achaia, 
with whom their interests connected them more closely than 
with the republic of Venice 2 . The maritime cities in the 
Peloponnesus which belonged to Venice were, like Crete, 
governed by officers sent directly from Venice 3 . It would 
be impossible to give a lucid account of the condition of the 
direct dependencies of Venice in Greece without entering into 
more minute details concerning the administration of the 
republic than fall within the limits of this work, which must 
proceed onward with the main stream of Grecian history 4 . 

The northern and southern parts of Euboea and the 
Cyclades were also assigned to Venice. But some of the 
islands in the Aegean Sea were reserved to the emperor, 
and unless there be an error in the existing copies of the act 
of partition, the Dodecanesos or province of the twelve islands 
was assigned to the Crusaders 5 . But whatever was the 
original distribution of the islands, the greater part fell into 
the hands of Venetian families, some of which retained their 
possessions until the sixteenth century 6 . 

1 Tafel and Thomas, ii. 54, 120. 

2 Epist. Innocent. III. vol. ii. pp. 16, 73, edit. Baluze ; Buchon, Recherches his- 
toriques ; Premiere Epoque, vol. ii. p. 478. 

3 Modon and Coron, to the possession of which the Venetians attached much 
importance, were occupied by colonists and governed by castellani. Tafel and 
Thomas, ii. 96, iii. 51. 

* For the history of the Ionian islands, see Count Lunzi, -rrfpl ttJs ttoXitiktjs 
KaTaaTaaeas irjs 'EnTavrjaov (wl 'EvtTwv, Athens, 1 856, of which there is an Italian 
translation with additions, published at Venice in i860. 

5 The islands of Nisia (Naxos), Andros, and the Cyclades are enumerated as" 
assigned to Venice; Samothrace, Mitylene, Lemnos, Skyros, Tenos, Chios, and 
Samos to the emperor ; and the Dodecanesos, unless the word be corrupt, to the 
Crusaders. The Dodecanesos is mentioned as an administrative division of the 
Byzantine empire in the eighth century by Theophanes (383) and Cedrenus.(ii. 
479), but it is impossible to determine of what islands it was composed, and 
it does not appear that it was identical with the theme of the Aegean Sea or the 
Cyclades mentioned by Constantine Porphyrogenitus (De Them. i. 17). An earlier 
distribution of the Greek islands will be found in the Synecdemus of Hierocles. 
Compare Tafel, Symbolarum criticarum geographiam Byzanlinam spectanHttm paries 
duae, i. 62. 

6 Dr. Hopf, who has resuscitated the history of the Greek islands under their 
Venetian signors from unpublished documents, gives a list of the possessors of all 
the islands after the conquest of Constantinople in 1204. Urkunden und Zusdlze 
zur Geschichte der Insel Andros, 7. 

The Latin emperor gained possession of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Cos, and some 



[Ch.IX. §i. 

In great part of Greece, the Venetian domination forms the 
connecting link between Byzantine oppression and Othoman 
tyranny. Its records are therefore inseparably interwoven 
with the national history. To understand them thoroughly, 
it is necessary to observe attentively the great political and 
social contrast offered by the Greeks and the Italians of the 
free republics at the commencement of the thirteenth century, 
when they were brought into the closest contact. The 
Venetians were not then the stationary and conservative 
people they became at a later period. No people was more 
enterprising and self-dependent. Their individual energy 
constituted the chief element of the power of the republic. 
The Greeks were passive and unaspiring, seeking only to 
preserve the material advantages they enjoyed. They had 
been united to the Byzantine government by no political 
sympathy, but had obeyed it very much as slaves obey their 
master. They were consequently prepared to transfer their 
services passively to any other master. A conservative and 
despotic government and a jealous and absolute church had 
confined the movements of Greek society, and the thoughts of 
individuals within fixed and narrow limits for many genera- 
tions. The spheres both of action and of thought were so 
circumscribed that no individual energy sufficed to break the 
shackles rivetted by education. The landed proprietor, the 
colon who cultivated the land, the merchant and the artizan, 
were all trained to walk through life along a beaten road. 
Their ordinary habits were determined with as much minute- 
ness as the ceremonial of the imperial court. New social 
ideas were as rare as new forms of etiquette. For many 
centuries the great lesson inculcated on the Greeks was to 
abstain from thinking or acting for themselves, and to look for 
guidance in all civil and religious matters to the imperial 
government and the eastern church. The Greeks were by 

simller islands, which he held until they were reconquered by the Greek emperor 
<-if \icaea. John Vatat/es, in 1247 (Xiceph. Greg. p. 16) ; and he also possessed 
Imbros and Saraothrace. Lemnos was held as an immediate fief of the empire, 
with the title of Mcgaduca and the command of the imperial fleet. 

Dr. Hopf has published Urkundliche Mittheilungen uber die Geschichte von Karystos 
in Euhcj-a, 1 ^.= 7,. (Of this work there is an Italian translation with additions by 
G. B. de Sardagna) ; Gefckichte der Ins- el Andros und ihrer Rehcrrscher mit Urhunden 
und Zmiitzen, 1855; Veneto-Byzantinische Analekten, 1859. These were printed 
in the Transactions of the Academy of Vienna : al>o the articles Ghisi and Giui- 
tiniani in Ersch und Gruber, AUgemeine Encyhlopiidie. 


A.D. 1 2O4-I 207.] '"-' 

this system of education rendered utterly helpless in every 
social emergency or political catastrophe. Even when some 
irrepressible impulse of human feeling or some insupportable 
calamity goaded them to rebellion, they were incapable of 
conceiving any plan for improving their condition. 

The citizens of Venice were almost in everything as unlike 
the Greeks as it was possible to be. Nobles, burghers, mer- 
chants, and seamen were all men in whom individual character 
was strongly marked, and in whom personal enterprise was 
the essence of existence. This character of the citizens was 
impressed on the government of Venice during the twelfth 
and thirteenth centuries, and impelled the republic onward in 
a career of restless activity. 

When the Greeks and Venetians were brought into hostile 
collision, a phenomenon was repeated which history is con- 
stantly obtruding on the attention of mankind. The energy 
inspired by individual liberty in the breasts of a few thousand 
free citizens enabled them to conquer and retain in subjection 
millions of subjects as wealthy and perhaps as intelligent 
as their conquerors, because the Greeks, having been treated 
as children for ages, had been rendered incapable of indepen- 
dent thought or united action. 

The Venetian republic acquired by the partition treaty 
a right to so many territories, that the government soon felt 
the impossibility of attempting their conquest. The high pay 
then demanded by knights and men-at-arms rendered it im- 
prudent to employ mercenary troops in the conquest of 
distant and scattered possessions. The military leaders of 
the age were generally daring and adventurous nobles, who, if 
they were intrusted with the command of garrisons, might 
avail themselves of any favourable opportunity to render 
themselves independent, or to transfer the sovereignty of the 
cities where they commanded to some wealthy and powerful 
prince or rival state. 

A passion for territorial acquisitions had also at this time 
taken possession of the minds of the wealthy citizens of 
Venice, in consequence of the sudden power which many 
of the crusading nobles from the north of Italy had obtained 
by the partition of the Byzantine empire. The ablest of the 
Venetian nobles were not disposed to toil in the service of 
the state merely to command garrisons in maritime cities. 

T 2 


[Ch. IX. § 2. 

By pursuing their own private enterprises in the East, they 
expected to obtain greater profits and higher honours, and 
they were sure of enjoying greater personal independence. 

The knowledge of this disposition induced the Venetian 
government to pass a law authorizing wealthy citizens to 
conquer any of the territories assigned to the republic of 
which the state had not taken possession, and especially the 
islands of the Archipelago, by expeditions fitted out at their 
own expense. But their conquests, though they became 
family possessions, were to be held as fiefs of the republic, 
and were to be subject to the civil laws and commercial 
regulations of Venice. This concession induced many Vene- 
tian nobles who had taken part in the Crusade to combine 
together and form a great expedition, which by mutual 
assistance and simultaneous attacks effected the conquest of 
almost all the islands of the Archipelago during the year 
1207 l . 

SECT. II. — Dukes of the Families of 'Sanudo and Dalle Carceri. 

Marco Sanudo, who founded the duchy of the Archipelago, 
was one of the ablest and most enterprising of the Venetian 
Crusaders, but, like old Dandolo, he seems never to have 
bestowed a thought on visiting the Holy Land, or on warring 
with the infidels. Sagacious in diplomacy, bold in war, and 
unscrupulous in his undertakings, he mingled in his character 
many of the virtues of the greatest Venetian citizens with 
some of the vices of the military adventurers of his time, who 
often held the rank of princes and conducted themselves like 
brigands and pirates. His knowledge placed him in many 
respects on a level with the western clergy; his valour ren- 
dered him the equal of the most distinguished knights, and 
his experience as a statesman made him the companion of 
princes. He had acquired so much influence in the camp 
of the Crusaders that he was selected by the republic to act 
with Ravano dalle Carceri, as Venetian commissioner, to 
conclude the treaty with Boniface, marquis of Montfcrrat 
and king of Saloniki, for the purchase of the island of Crete. 
In dividing the fiefs of the empire, the duchy of the Archi- 

1 Ramnusius, Be hello Constanlinopolitano, lib. vi. p. 272, edit. 1634. 


a,d. 1 207-1383.] " 

pelago was conferred on Marco Sanudo, and the island of 
Lemnos with the office of imperial admiral and the title of 
Megaduca or grand-duke on Filocalo Navigajosi \ In the 
year 1207 the conquest of the Greek islands was completed; 
but Sanudo associated himself with other Venetians, some of 
whom agreed to hold islands comprised in his duchy as sub- 
fiefs, while others conquered islands assigned to the republic, 
which they held as fiefs of Venice 2 . At the parliament of 
Ravenika in 1210 both Sanudo and Navigajosi received their 
investitures as great feudatories of the empire of Romania, 
and did homage to the emperor Henry. 

_ The conquest of Naxos, which was the principal island of 
his duchy and the usual residence of the dukes of the Archi- 
pelago, gave Sanudo very little trouble. He landed with his 
troops at the port of Potamides, and immediately laid siege 
to Apaliri, the strongest fortress in the island, situated on a 
rugged rock and surrounded by a triple line of walls. The 
place, like all the fortified posts in the Byzantine empire, had 
been long neglected, and was ill prepared to offer a prolonged 
resistance. After a siege of five weeks it capitulated, and on 
its surrender the rest of the island submitted to Sanudo. The 
Greeks of Naxos, like their countrymen on the continent, 
obtained very favourable terms from their conqueror. Sanudo 
guaranteed them in the possession of their property, both 
landed and movable, in the exercise of their local privileges 
and immunities, and in the free practice of all the rites of 
their religion, according to the usage and doctrines of the 
Greek church; and he confirmed the Greek archbishop, the 
priests, and the monks in the possession of their property. 

1 Megaduka was the title of the grand-admiral of the fleet in the Byzantine 
empire ; see Ducange, s. v. Aov£. 

- Marco Sanudo retained possession of Xaxos, Paros, Antiparos, Syra, Kythnos 
or Thermia, Siphnos or Sifanto. Ios or Nio, Milos, Kimolos, Pholegandros or 
Policandro, and Sikinos. The islands held as sub-fiefs of the duchy of the Archi- 
pelago were, — Andros by Marino Dandolo from 1207 to 1233; Amorgos by 
Andrea and Geremia Ghisi from 1207 to 1269; Keos or Zia and Seriphos held 
in shares by the Ghisi, Giustiniani, and Michieli from 1207 to 132S; Thera or 
Santorini and Therasia by the Barozzi from 1207 to 1350; and Anaphe or Namfio 
by Foscoli from 1207 to 1269. 

The islands held as fiefs of Venice were Tinos, Mykone, Skyros, Skiathos, and 
Skopelos by the Ghisi; Astypalaea or Stampalea by the Quirini, to whom at 
a later period it gave the title of Count ; and Scarpanto by the Cornari. Hopf, 
Andros, Urkunden und Zusatze, p. 7; Articles in the Allgemeine Encyklopddie of 
Er 5 ch and Gruber on Ghisi and Giustiniani; Veneto-Byzantinhche Analekten. [At 
the time when the above was written Hopf's Geschichte Grieckenlands had not yet 
appeared. Ed.] 


[Ch. IX. § 2. 

The imperial domains, the estates of the Greek proprietors 
who had attached themselves to the fortunes of the emperors 
of Nicaea or Trebizond or to the despot of Epirus, and the 
ecclesiastical possessions of Greek churches or monasteries 
abroad, were alone confiscated. From the wealth thus placed 
at his cc mmand, Sanudo was able to reward his followers, and 
yet to retain in his own possession an extensive domain. 
The power of Marco Sanudo depended on his wealth, which 
enabled him to maintain a squadron of well-armed galleys 
and a band of well-trained mercenary soldiers, for a con- 
siderable force was necessary to protect his duchy against 
the enemies of the Latin empire, and to defend it from the 
attacks of the corsairs who swarmed in the Grecian seas in 
this warlike and piratical age. Sanudo knew well how to 
watch the signs of the times, and the principality, which he 
founded on what was at the time deemed but an insecure 
basis, enjoyed the longest existence and the greatest degree 
of internal tranquillity of all the Latin establishments erected 
in the dismembered provinces of the Byzantine empire. 

The first object of Sanudo in his new conquest was to 
improve the communications of Naxos with the capital of 
the Latin empire at Constantinople, and with the centre of 
the commercial power at Venice. For this purpose he rebuilt 
the ancient town on the sea-shore, repaired the port by con- 
structing a new mole, formed an arsenal for his own galleys, 
and fortified the citadel which commanded the town. A 
tower that still remains attests the solidity of his buildings, 
rivalling in its strength the tall tower in the Acropolis of 
Athens, and the thick walls of the palace of Santameri at 
Thebes 1 . Within the city constructed by Sanudo everything 
was Latin. Its population flourished by the commercial 
relations they maintained with the other Latins, and secured 
their superiority over the Greeks by the great additional 
facilities they enjoyed for receiving foreign assistance. A 
Catholic bishop was sent by the Pope to guide the political 
opinions as well as the religious consciences of the Latins of 
Naxos ; and Sanudo, in order to secure the good-will of the 
papal power and clergy, built a cathedral in his new capital, 
and liberally endowed its chapter 2 . 

1 Bisftwrv nouvelle des anciens Dues et autres Souverains de I'Archipel, io. 

2 [The present inhabitants of Sanudo's city, now the upper town of Naxos, though 


A.D. I 207-I383.] 

The conduct of the new duke to his native country, when 
Venice was involved in a serious struggle for the possession of 
the island of Crete, shows that Sanudo, with the ability of a 
statesman and the ambition of a prince, had also the lax 
conscience of a piratical adventurer. The inhabitants of Crete 
had risen in rebellion against the Venetians, and the rebels 
had taken the fortresses of Mirabello and Setia when Tiepolo, 
the Venetian governor of Candia, sent to Naxos to solicit aid 
from Sanudo, as a citizen of the republic \ The duke of the 
Archipelago hastened to the scene of action with a force 
which enabled the Venetians to suppress the rebellion. But 
Marco Sanudo, moved either by unprincipled ambition, or by 
a desire to avenge himself on Tiepolo for some imaginary 
affront, entered into a plot to expel his countrymen from the 
island, and render himself sovereign of Candia. A Greek 
named Sevastos Scordili was labouring at the same time to 
organize a plan for the deliverance of his country from a 
foreign yoke. Sanudo, hoping to render the patriotic projects 
of the Greek subservient to his own schemes of ambition and 
revenge, conspired secretly to assist him. The plan of the 
conspirators was to overpower the garrison and surprise 
Tiepolo. But though the conspiracy broke out unexpectedly, 
Tiepolo was fortunate enough to escape from Candia in 
woman's clothes, and reach the castle of Temenos in safety, 
where he soon collected a number of Venetians in arms. 
Sanudo having taken measures to secure the possession of 
Candia, marched out at the head of a strong body of Latin 
mercenaries and Greek insurgents to complete the conquest of 
the island. But his career was arrested by the arrival of 
reinforcements to the Venetians, which came from Venice 
under the command of Quirini. Tiepolo availed himself 
skilfully of these succours, which landed at the port of Kali- 
limenes 2 . As soon as they had joined him at Temenos, he 
marched secretly to Candia, which he entered by surprise 
during the night, and made prisoners the garrison established 

they speak Greek and consider themselves Greeks, are descendants of the original 
Italian occupants, and belong to the Latin church. One family is that of Som- 
maripa, whose ancestors for a long time were the rulers of Paros. There is 
a Lazarist and a Capuchin church, and the archbishop is not a native, but sent 
from Rome. En.] 

1 Tafel and Thomas, Urhmden VeneJigs, ii. 159. 

2 The ' fair havens ' of Acts xxvii. 8. 


[Ch.IX. §2. 

in the place by Sanudo, with several influential Greeks who had 
taken part in the insurrection. The rebels still remained in 
possession of a fertile region to the west of the capital, ex- 
tending from Milopotamo to Cape Spada, and of the strong 
castle of Belvedere to the south, so that it was still in their 
power to carry on a long war. To prevent these districts 
from being laid waste and depopulated, Tiepolo prudently 
pardoned the treachery of Sanudo, and concluded with him a 
treaty, by which the duke of the Archipelago and his allies 
were permitted to depart from the island, and a sum of 
money was paid them on their delivering up the fortresses 
still in their possession l . On his return to his own duchy, he 
sent envoys to Venice to deprecate the vengeance of the 
republic, and urge such excuses for his proceedings as he was 
able to frame. These explanations were accepted, for the 
senate wished to secure his alliance, in order to include his 
dominions within the circle of the commercial monopolies, 
which it was the policy of Venice to extend as far as possible, 
to the exclusion of the Genoese and Pisans. 

Mark Sanudo died in the year 1220, and was succeeded by 
his son Angelo. The new duke assisted John de Brienne 
when he was besieged in Constantinople by the Greek em- 
peror John III. (Vatatzes), and sent succours to the duke of 
Candia, when the Cretans revolted at the instigation of that 
indefatigable enemy of the Latins. But he was compelled to 
withdraw his troops from Crete in order to secure the tran- 
quillity of his own islands, which were threatened by the fleet 
of the Greek emperor -. He also furnished a squadron of 
three galleys to assist the emperor Baldwin II. in his last war 
with Michael VIII. ; and when Constantinople was retaken 
by the Greeks, the duke of the Archipelago sent an embassy 
to Chalcis, where the fugitive emperor had sought refuge, to 
console him in his misfortunes, and furnished him with money 
to continue his voyage to Italy. The death of Angelo hap- 
pened about 1262 ; he was succeeded by his son Marco II. 

1 Tafel and Thomas, ii. 159, and Laurentius de Monads, quoted at p. 167; 
Cornelius, Creta Sacra, ii. 241. 

1 Ducange (Histoire de Constantinople, 134) places this in the year 1247, an 1 >ays 
that the duke of the Archipelago, whom he calls Marco, ' abandonna la Candie 
avec tant de lachete que plusieurs estiment que Yatace le corrompit a force 
d'argcnt.' He mentions, nevertheless, that the Greek emperor had already con- 
quered several of the islands of the Archipelago, and Amorgos was one. 


a.d. 1207-1383.] 

The decline of the Latin power augmented the authority of 
the Catholic clergy; and Mark II. was so much alarmed by 
the discontent of the orthodox Greeks that he deemed it 
necessary to construct a fortress in the interior of Naxos, to 
command the fertile plain of Drymalia, which then contained 
twelve large villages, a number of farm-buildings, country- 
houses, and towers, with about ten thousand inhabitants. 
The duke Mark II. had reason to distrust his Greek subjects, 
for he was far more intolerant of their superstitions than his 
father and grandfather. Induced by religious zeal, or by a 
mistaken policy, he destroyed an altar dedicated to the 
service of St. Pachys, the saint of the Naxiotes, whose 
mediation in heaven was supposed to confer on mortals the 
rotundity of figure then regarded by the Greeks as requisite 
for beauty in women and respectability in men. The devo- 
tion paid to this sanctification of obesity was probably a relic 
of superstition inherited from pagan times. A hollow stone 
existed in the island, which St. Pachys was believed to have 
taken under his peculiar care. Through this stone the 
mothers of lean or languishing children were in the habit 
of making their offspring pass ; and the Naxiote matrons 
were convinced that this ceremony, joined to a due number 
of prayers to Saint Fat, an offering in his chapel, and some 
pieces of money placed in the hands of the priests, would 
infallibly render their children stout and healthy — unless, 
indeed, some evil eye of extraordinary power deprived the 
good-will of the saint of due effect. History has not recorded 
whether duke Mark II. was fat or lean. He, however, broke 
the altar in pieces, and then found that it was necessary to 
replace it by a fortress \ 

In the year 1262, when the Byzantine troops took pos- 
session of the maritime fortresses of Monemvasia and Maina, 
and the people of the eastern and southern coast of the Morea 
broke out in rebellion against the Frank power in Achaia, the 
inhabitants of the island of Melos also seized the opportunity 
of driving out the ducal garrison, and claiming the assistance 
of the Byzantine officers. Mark II. was a man of energy in 
war, with men as well as with saints ; and on receiving the 
first tidings of the insurrection, he hastened to besiege the 

1 Histoire noitvelle des anciens Dues, etc., 65. 


[Ch. IX. § 2. 

city of Melos, with a fleet of sixteen galleys, and a troop of 
Frank refugees, collected from the soldiers who had fled from 
Constantinople. The place was invested before any succours 
could reach it, and, after repeated attacks, the duke at last 
carried it by storm. The Greek priest suspected or convicted 
of being the author of the insurrection was thrown into the 
port, with his hands and feet tied together. The rest of the 
inhabitants were pardoned. Duke Marco II. was not so 
fortunate in an expedition he conducted against the Byzan- 
tine admiral Licario, who defeated his galleys and plundered 
Naxos in his presence \ 

After the taking of Constantinople by the Greeks in 1261, 
the emperor Baldwin II. transferred the suzerainty of the 
duchy of the Archipelago to the principality of Achaia 2 . 
The fall of the Latin empire, the death of William prince of 
Achaia without male issue, and the fear generally entertained 
of the ambition of Charles of Anjou, induced the Venetian 
government to attempt acquiring a direct authority over the 
duke of the Archipelago as a Venetian noble. Andros was a 
fief of the duchy, and Marco II. united the whole island to his 
immediate possessions on the death of Jelisa the widow of 
Marino Dandolo the first conqueror, who possessed one-half 
of the island as her dowry (a.d. 1262). Nicolo Ouirini, the son 
of Jelisa by her second marriage, claimed his mother's half of 
Andros as her heir, but he did not arrive at Xaxos to demand 
investiture and do homage until the term accorded by the 
usages of Romania had expired 3 . He was then returning 
from Acre, where he had exercised the office of bailly of the 
republic of Venice. His demand was refused by the duke, 
and he appealed to the Venetian senate for redress. But 
the time was not favourable for any attempt to extend 
the authority of the republic in the East. The fleet of 

1 Histoire nouvelle des anciens Dues, etc, 79. The Byzantine fleet also laid waste 
Xaxos, I'aros, and Keos. l'achymeres, i. p. 136, edit. Rom. Licario, like most 
of the Greek admirals at this time, was an Italian. 

- Baldwin II. ceded the suzerainty of Achaia in 1267 to Charles of Anjou, king 
of Naples, who thus became lord-paramount of the duchy of the Archipelago. 
"William II., prince of Achaia. died in 1277, leaving a daughter, Isabella, married 
to Philip, son of Charles of Anjou. 

3 If the heir did not appear to claim investiture of the vacant fief within forty 
days, the lord was entitled to a year's rent. If the heir was in Romania, he was 
bound to demand investiture and do homage within a year and a day, and if absent 
from Romania within two years and two days, or the fief was forfeited. Liber 
Coribueludinum Imperii Romaniae, i. tit. 36; Hopf, Andros, 23. 


a.d.i 207-1383.] 

the Greek emperor, Michael VIII. (Palaeologos), under the 
command of Licario, who had been grand-duke, began 
about this time a career of success which threatened the 
Venetian signors with the loss of all their possessions in 
the Greek islands. Many of these islands were conquered, 
and many more were plundered 1 . The duke Marco II. was 
defeated by the Byzantine fleet, and Naxos and Andros were 
laid waste without his being able to defend them. The 
Venetian possessions in Euboea were ravaged, and Venetian 
merchantmen were captured in every part of the Aegean Sea 
by Greek and Genoese corsairs. For several years the 
Byzantine fleet with its Genoese grand-admiral might be 
regarded as master of the Aegean Sea. Quirini, who was 
at this time bailly of Venice at Negrepont, could not in such 
circumstances think of quarrelling with duke Marco about 
half of Andros, when there seemed to be imminent danger of 
the Greeks taking the whole; A.D. 1269-1278. 

In the year 1282, Venice having recovered her ascendency 
in the Grecian seas, the doge Giovanni Dandolo summoned 
duke Marco to answer the suit of Nicolo Quirini before the 
senate. To this summons the duke of the Archipelago, or, 
as he was generally called, the duke of Naxos and Andros, 
answered that his grandfather Marco Sanudo had conquered 
the islands and received investiture of the duchy as a baron of 
Romania from the emperor Henry, and that Marino Dandolo 
had done homage to him for Andros as a fief of the duchy of 
the Archipelago ; that when the emperor Baldwin II. had 
transferred the suzerainty of the Archipelago from the empire 
of Romania to the principality of Achaia, his father duke 
Angelo had done homage to William II. prince of Achaia ; 
and consequently, that any question relating to the fief of 
Andros must be decided according to the usages and laws 
of Romania, and the only competent court in the present 
suit was the ducal court of Naxos, before which it was the 
duty of Nicolo Quirini to plead, and where the duke assured 

1 Lemnos, Skiathos. Skyros, Siphnos, Ios, Anaphe, and Astypalaea were con- 
quered by the grand-duke Licario in 1269; but all except Lemnos were subse- 
quently reconquered by Venetian families. The family of Licario was originally 
from Vicenza, but settled at Karystos. He married the widow of Narzotto dalle 
Carceri, but being driven into exile, found protection at the court of Constan- 
tinople. Pachymeres (i. 280, edit. Rom.) calls him Icarios. Dissertazione docu- 
mentata sulla Storia di Karystos, dal D w - Hopf, versione con aggiunte dell' autore 
da G. B. da Sardagna, 31 ; Hopf, Venelo-Byzantinische Analekten, 24. 


[Ch.IX. §2. 

the doge the case would be carefully examined and equitably- 
judged. The duke's answer was considered to be satisfactory 
by the senate l . 

Not long after, a war occurred in the Archipelago, which 
affords us a better insight into the state of society and the 
insecurity of property among the inhabitants, whether Latins 
or Greeks, than the solemn proceedings of the Venetian senate 
or the state papers of the ducal chancellery. The origin of the 
hostilities was so trifling, that it might be treated as a satirical 
invention to ridicule the conduct of the Venetian nobles in 
Greece, were it not that the facts are recorded by Marino 
Sanudo Torsello, a relative of the ducal family, who had 
heard the events narrated by the duke himself and by many 
of the inhabitants of Andros 2 . 

In the year 1286 a valuable ass, marked with the cypher of 
Bartolommeo Ghisi signor of Tinos and Mycone, was carried 
off by corsairs and purchased by Guglielmo Sanudo son of 
duke Marco II. who resided at Syra, though there could be 
no doubt concerning the lawful proprietor of the ass nor how 
it had been obtained. Ghisi considered himself insulted by 
this mode of profiting by the pillage of his lands, and to 
revenge the injury and recover his ass he invaded Syra, 
ravaged the island, and besieged Sanudo in the castle. But 
when the place was reduced to extremities, a new combatant 
made his appearance and took part in the contest. Narjaud 
de Toucy, the admiral of Charles of Anjou king of Naples, 
having put into the port of Milos, was informed of the dan- 
gerous position in which the ass had placed the son of his 
master's ally, duke Marco II. He hastened to Andros where 
the duke was at the time, and having concerted measures for 
the relief of Guglielmo he sailed to Syra and raised the siege. 
But the contest still remaining unsettled, Ghisi and Sanudo 
agreed to submit their difference to the arbitration of the 
republic of Venice. The senate re-established peace in the 
Grecian seas, and we may conclude that if the ass had sur- 
vived the want of provender during the siege of the castle of 

1 I [opt Andros, 26. 

2 Marino Sanudo Torsello, the author of Secrela Fidelium Crucis, in the second 
volume of Bongars' Gesta Dei per Francos, wrote a history of Romania entitled 
htoria del Regno di Rotnanin sive Regno di Morea in 132S. Dr. Hopf discovered 
the value of a neglected MS. of this work in the Marcian Library at Venice. 
Hopf, Andros, 14. 


a.d.i 207-1 3S3.] 

Syra, it was restored to its lawful owner. Besides the damage 
which the purchase of the stolen ass had caused to the Greek 
peasants in Syra, the war is said to have cost the belligerents 
the sum of 30,000 heavy soldi \ 

Marco II. was living in the year 1292 ; but before the year 
1303 Guglielmo Sanudo had succeeded to the duchy. In 
that year corsairs employed by duke Guglielmo captured 
Jacopo Barozzi, signor of Santorin and Therasia, on his way 
to Negrepont, after he had filled the office of duke of Candia 
for the republic of Venice during two years. 

The quarrel between duke Guglielmo and Barozzi arose 
out of a claim of homage. The islands of Santorin and 
Therasia had been originally held by the Barozzi as fiefs 
of the duchy of the Archipelago. But that family, like many 
other noble families of Venice, had been expelled from the 
Greek islands by the Byzantine fleet in 1269. The increasing 
power of the Venetian republic had however in the year 1296 
enabled the families of Barozzi, Ghisi, Michieli, and Giustiniani 
to reconquer the islands they had formerly possessed. Venice 
claimed the sovereignty over these conquests, and this was 
willingly conceded by Venetian citizens, who felt that the 
protection of the republic was necessary to enable them to 
defend the possessions they had recovered. 

On the other hand the duke of the Archipelago insisted, 
that his claim to suzerainty over all the islands which had 
originally formed part of the duchy was restored by their 
reconquest. Jacopo Barozzi denied this claim, and duke 
Guglielmo, who did not venture to attack his islands, was 
bold enough to arrest him on the high seas as a rebellious 
vassal. He was carried to Naxos as a prisoner and kept there 
closely confined. But Barozzi was an officer high in the 
service of Venice, and the republic was at this time far more 
powerful than in the days when duke Marco I. waged war 
against her troops in Candia with impunity. The senate 
adopted vigorous measures to deliver Barozzi. Duke Gug- 
lielmo was summoned not only to release him, but also to 
send him under safe escort to Negrepont within eight days, 
under pain of being proclaimed a pirate and treated as an 
enemy. This threat procured the immediate release of the 
Signor of Santorin 2 . 

1 Hopf, Andros, 28. 2 Hopf, Veneto-Byzantinische Analeltten, 26. 


[Ch.IX. §a. 

Duke Guglielmo died in the year 1323, and was succeeded 
by his son Nicolo who reigned until 1341. If we could trust 
the history of the dukes by Sauger, duke Xicolo was a brave 
warrior, a devoted son of the Latin church, and a great 
enemy of the schismatic Greeks. He spent much of his 
time in warring against the Turks, who began to ravage the 
islands and coasts of Greece, and the Jesuit says that no more 
valiant or active prince ever sat on the throne of Naxos. 
But unfortunately we know that too many of the details 
which are carefully narrated by the Jesuit missionary are 
destitute of all historical authority. Duke Nicolo died with- 
out children, and was succeeded by his brother Giovanni I. 

Giovanni Sanudo occupied the ducal throne for twenty-one 
years (1341-1362). When called upon to preside over the 
government he was residing at a hermitage in the valley 
of Engarais in Naxos, to which he had retired on the death 
of his wife, and where he manifested an intention of entering 
the priesthood l . One of his first acts was to invest his 
younger brother Marco with the signory of the island of 
Milos as a fief of the duchy. 

Duke Giovanni died in 1362, leaving an only daughter 
Fiorenza, who was already a widow with an only son. She 
had married Giovanni dalle Carceri, signor of two-thirds of 
the island of Euboea, and one of the greatest of the Frank 
princes in Greece, who died in 1359. The Salic law not being 
in force according to the usages of the empire of Romania, 
Fiorenza became duchess of the Archipelago at her father's 
death. She was apparently then about twenty-two years of 
age, and both her beauty and her wealth rendered her hand a 
prize to which the proudest nobles aspired, and of which the 
republic of Venice and the titular emperor of Romania sought 
to dispose as means of extending their influence in Greece 2 . 
Proposals of marriage had been made to the young widow 
during her father's life-time on the part of Pietro Recanelli, 
a Genoese noble, governor of Smyrna, which had been recently 
taken from the emir of Aidin by a party of Crusaders or, as 
they might be more correctly termed, of Christian corsairs 3 . 

1 Ili^toire nouvelle des anciens Dues, etc., II 8. 

2 Fiorenza was probably born in 1340, for her father is said to have retired to 
the hermitage of Engarais on her mother's death. 

■ The Latins kept possession of Smyrna for more than half a century, a.d. 1344 
to 1402. 


a.d. 1 207-1383.] 

Recanelli was one of the associates or maoncsi who had con- 
quered Chios, and as such became a member of the great 
Genoese house or clan of Giustiniani \ His alliance would 
have been very valuable to the duchy of the Archipelago, if it 
could have been secured without offending Venice. But the 
Venetian senate was too jealous of any addition to the power 
of Genoa in the Greek islands to remain passive, and duke 
Giovanni was warned not to give his daughter to the citizen of 
a hostile state. The senate also wrote to the bailo of Negre- 
pont and the duke of Candia, ordering them to place every 
obstacle in their power in the way of the young duchess 
marrying any husband who had not previously obtained the 
consent of the Venetian government. 

After her father's death Fiorenza wished to bestow her 
hand on Nerio Acciaiuoli, who afterwards won the duchy of 
Athens, but it was intimated to her that Venice disapproved 
of her marriage with that enterprising Florentine. The 
senate then selected its own candidate for the prize, and a 
diplomatic contest ensued between Venice and Naples, similar 
to that which Europe lately witnessed between England and 
France on the subject of the Spanish marriages. Guglielmo 
Sanudo, a grandson of duke Marco II., who possessed estates 
in Negrepont, was sent to Naxos to persuade the duchess to 
marry his son Nicolo, called Spezzabanda or the Disperser, on 
account of the headlong valour he displayed as a soldier. 

The cause of Nerio Acciaiuoli was warmly supported by his 
uncle the grand-seneschal Nicholas, whose influence in the 
kingdom of Naples secured the active interference of Robert, 
titular emperor of Romania and reigning prince of Achaia, 
the suzerain of the duchy of the Archipelago, and of Johanna 
I. queen of Naples 2 . The hand of Fiorenza was claimed be- 
cause she was a vassal of the principality of Achaia, and 
negotiations were opened with Venice. But the senate re- 
plied that the duchess was a child of the republic by her 
descent from a family of Venetian nobles who had always 

1 Chios was conquered in 1345 by Genoese adventurers under Simone Vignosi. 
The government of Genoa, not being able to repay the expenses they had incurred, 
authorized their forming a joint-stock company {maona) in 1347, and the share- 
holders (maonesi) became the real sovereigns of Chios, with some slight restric- 
tions, under the suzerainty of Genoa. In 1362 the members of the manna laid 
aside their family names and adopted the name of Giustiniani. as it is said, from 
the circumstance of the company having acquired the Giustiniani palace. 

2 For some notice of the grand-seneschal Nicholas, see above, p. 157. 


[Ch. IX. § 2. 

preserved their citizenship, and that the republic had often 

defended her duchy, which she could only preserve from 

attack by a close alliance with Venice. At the same time, 

the senate determined not to trust entirely to diplomatic 

negotiations and the prudence of the young duchess. Orders 

were sent to Michieli, the captain of the gulf fleet, to prevent 

some Genoese galleys which lay at Clarenza from conveying 

Nerio Acciaiuoli, or any envoy he might wish to send, from 

thence to Naxos, even should it be necessary to employ force 

for that purpose. Secret orders were also transmitted, which 

Michieli and Gradenigo the bailo of Negrepont interpreted as 

an authority for carrying off the duchess from her castle at 

Naxos. She was taken on board the Venetian fleet and 

transported to Candia, where she was received by Francesco 

Morasini, who was then duke, with due honour. She was 

there informed that if she wished to return to her duchy she 

must consent to marry her cousin Nicolo Spezzabanda. 

It seems that the young widow had never seen her Floren- 
tine suitor, so that when her cousin arrived from Venice with 
his marriage contract in his pocket, with the recommendation 
of the senate and with his military fame, it is probable that 
his personal attentions effaced the imaginary portrait Fiorenza 
may have drawn of Xerio Acciaiuoli from her mind 1 . The 
marriage was celebrated at Candia on the 12th March 1364, 
and as Fiorenza and Spezzabanda stood in the third degree 
of consanguinity, a papal dispensation ought to have preceded 
the marriage ; but Venice was impatient to terminate her 
negotiations with Naples, and the young duchess was equally 
impatient to return to her palace at Naxos, so the dispensa- 
tion followed the marriage 2 . 

Nicolo Spezzabanda administered the affairs of his wife's 
duchy. There was not a braver man, but his very name 
indicates that his most prominent qualities were those be- 
longing rather to a popular captain than to a prudent prince. 
He attended honourably to the interests of his step-son, and 
one of his military expeditions was to defend the possessions 
of the Dalle Carceri in Euboea against the attacks of the 
Catalans of Attica. He carried on war also against them in 

1 The marriage contract was drawn up before a Venetian notary, and dated 
Aug. 19, 1363. 

1 Hopf, Andros, 35-40. 


a.d.i 207-1383.] 

Thessaly, where, at the head of a body of Albanian mer- 
cenaries, in conjunction with the Vallachians and Greeks of 
the country, he succeeded in expelling them from all their 
conquests north of the valley of the Spercheus. 

The duchess Fiorenza had two daughters by her second 
marriage. She died in 1371, and her son Nicolo dalle Carceri, 
who had inherited his father's extensive possessions in Negre- 
pont, became duke of the Archipelago. 

Duke Nicolo II., though he always lived on good terms 
with his step-father and treated his relatives with favour, was 
of a violent and tyrannical disposition to his subjects. Imme- 
diately after his accession he separated the valuable island of 
Andros from his possessions, by conferring it on his step-sister 
Maria to be held by her and her heirs as a fief of the duchy of 
the Archipelago, to which it was never again reunited. He 
subsequently granted the small island of Antiparos, which 
must then have been of much greater value than it is at 
present, and an estate at Lithada in the north of Euboea, to 
his step-sister Elizabeth. The Venetian senate had almost as 
much trouble with the marriage of Maria Sanudo as with that 
of her mother. Bartolemmeo Quirini, while bailo of Negre- 
pont, made an attempt to obtain her hand for his son by 
force ; but though he ventured to make use of the Venetian 
galley in station at Negrepont to enforce his enterprise, he 
was unsuccessful. Maria Sanudo married Gasparo de Som- 
maripa, and carried the signoria of Andros into that family \ 

Duke Nicolo II. formed a league with the Navarrese Grand 
Company, which had acquired great power in the principality 
of Achaia, and made an attempt to conquer the whole island 
of Euboea, which involved him in war with Venice. Baffled 
in this undertaking, he retired to Naxos, where his exactions 
caused great discontent, and at last drove the inhabitants into 

1 Hopf, Geschichte der Insel Andros und Mirer Beherrscher in dem Zeitraume von 
1207 zu 1566, 47-82. 

Maria Sanudo was expelled from Andros after the murder of her step-brother 
by duke Francesco I., but invested with the signoria of Paros before her marriage 
with Gasparo de Sommaripa. Pietro Zeno, who married Petronilla, the daughter 
of duke Francesco I., obtained Andros from his father-in-law, which he held for 
upwards of forty years (a.d. 1384-1427). He was one of the ablest diplomatists 
of Venice, and was employed in all the most important affairs of the republic in 
the Levant, and as ambassador at the courts of the despot of the Morea, the 
emperor of Constantinople, and the Othoman sultan. He received the title of 
duke of Andros. The son of Maria, Crusino de Sommaripa, recovered possession 
of Andros after a long law-suit at Venice in the year 1440. 




rebellion. He was assassinated at a hunting party in the 
year 1383, and Francesco Crispo, the husband of his mother's 
cousin, who was on a visit at his court, was generally sup- 
posed to have been the real murderer, as he was the person 
who profited by the crime. 

SECT. III. — Dukes of the Family of Crispo. 

Francesco Crispo had rendered himself popular both with 
the Franks and Greeks of Naxos, who elected him duke of 
the Archipelago after the murder of Duke Nicolo II., ex- 
cluding from the throne the two daughters of the duchess 
Fiorenza, who were the legal heirs. He was a Lombard by 
birth who had settled in Negrepont. In the year 1376 he 
was selected by Marco Sanudo, the signor of Milos, to be the 
husband of his only daughter, named, like her cousin the 
duchess, Fiorenza ; and after the marriage was celebrated 
Marco Sanudo abdicated the signoria of Milos in his favour. 

Marco, who received Milos from his brother the duke 
Giovanni, governed the island with prudence. He increased 
the trade by the facilities he granted to foreign shipping, and 
rendered the port the usual resort of all merchantmen on 
entering the Archipelago in order to ascertain whether the sea 
was free from pirates, to learn the state of the markets in the 
Levant, and to take on board skilful pilots. Under his rule 
Milos prospered greatly, and Francesco Crispo, though he 
was tainted with the want of principle which distinguished the 
Italians of that age, appears to have had the prudent conduct 
of his father-in-law from policy. 

His usurpation of the duchy of Naxos was recognized by 
the Venetian government. It was a principle of state policy 
with the senate to extend its influence by marriages; and 
Francesco secured its favour by betrothing one of his sons to 
the daughter of the doge Antonio Veniero, the marriage being 
declared to be for the honour and advantage of the republic. 
His own prudence, and the influence of his son-in-law Pietro 
Zeno the ablest Venetian diplomatist of the time, also assisted 
in enabling him to keep possession of the duchy, in spite of 
numerous law-suits in which he was involved with the mem- 
bers of the families of Sanudo and Dalle Carceri, whose 


A.D.1383-1566.] y 

inheritance he had usurped, and who compelled him to answer 
their complaints before the Venetian senate. 

Duke Francesco lived in greater dependence on the republic 
than any of the preceding dukes, for the power of his feudal 
suzerains, the princes of Achaia and the titular emperors of 
Romania, having ceased, the power of the Turkish corsairs in 
the Grecian seas rendered the protection of Venice absolutely 
necessary to prevent the utter devastation of the islands of the 

Duke Francesco I. died in the year 1397, and was suc- 
ceeded by his eldest son Jacopo the Pacific. To his second 
son Giovanni he left the islands of Milos and Kimolos, to his 
third Nicolo he left Syra (Suda), to his fourth Guglielmo 
Anaphe (Namfio), and to his fifth Marco the island of Ios 
(Nio) 1 . 

Duke Jacopo I. the Pacific was, like his father, involved in 
numerous law-suits, and his dominions were often ravaged by 
Turkish corsairs. He died at Ferrara in 1418 2 . At his death 
the Venetian senate ordered that his duchy should be seques- 
tered in order to satisfy the claims of those who demanded 
justice against the usurpations of duke Francesco I., but the 
execution of this order was prevented by the nobles of Naxos, 
who elected Giovanni, signor of Milos and Kimolos, to be 
their duke immediately on the death of his brother. Gio- 
vanni II. secured the support of powerful friends at Venice by 
marrying a daughter of Vettore Morosini. He died in 1437. 
His son Jacopo II. reigned ten years, and at his death his 
brother Nicolo, signor of Syra and Santorin, became regent of 
the duchy for his posthumous child Giovanjacopo, who died in 
1453 when only five years old. Francesco, the son of Nicolo, 
who was the lawful heir at the death of the child Giovanjacopo, 
yielded the duchy to his uncle Guglielmo II., signor of 
Anaphe, and did not become duke of Naxos until his uncle's 
death in 1463 3 . 

1 Hopf, Veneto-Byzantinische Atialeklen, 36. 

2 Duke Jacopo I. was in England at the court of Henry IV. in 1404. and in 
1418 Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester and uncle of Henry V., returned from 
Palestine to Venice in a galley belonging to Pietro Zeno, duke of Andros, the 
brother-in-law of duke Jacopo I. Hopf, Andros, 59, 64. 

3 Nicolo Crispo, signor of Syra and Santorin, married Valenza Komnena, a 
princess of Trebizond, daughter of the emperor John IV. In the year 1457, while 
his son Francesco was signor of Santorin, a great eruption of the submarine 
volcano threw up a new island in the port, which connected itself with the existing 

U 2 


The history of the duchy of the Archipelago is at this time 
little more than a record of family law-suits and Turkish 
depredations. Duke Francesco II. died almost immediately 
after he succeeded to the duchy. His eldest son Jacopo III. 
(146 3-1480) saw his possessions terribly wasted by the Turks. 
In the year 1470 it is said that there were only 300 inhabit- 
ants left on the island of Santorin l . 

Giovanni III. took possession of the duchy at the death of 
his brother Jacopo III., whose daughters he excluded from 
their inheritance. He possessed Naxos, Milos, and Santorin. 
His exactions drove his subjects into rebellion, and he was 
murdered in 1494, leaving a natural son Francesco. The 
Venetian government sequestered the duchy, in order to 
render justice to the numerous suitors who had brought just 
claims against the dukes of the family of Crispo. But in 
the year 1500 Francesco III. was invested with the duchy 2 . 
He died in the year 15 19, leaving the duchy to his son 
Giovanni IV. 

When war broke out between the sultan Suleiman the 
Magnificent and the republic of Venice in 1537, the celebrated 
Turkish admiral Barbarossa (Haireddin pasha), after laying 
waste the island of Aegina and murdering a great part of 
the inhabitants, carried away 6000 as slaves 3 . He then 
subjected most of the islands of the Archipelago in the 
possession of Venetian nobles to the sultan's authority, 
and put an end to the independence of the duchy of the 
Archipelago, or, to speak more correctly, forced duke 
Giovanni IV. to transfer his allegiance from the Venetian 
republic to the Othoman empire i . He appeared before 
Naxos with a fleet of seventy galleys, from which he landed 

inland of old Kaumeni. Pigues, Histoire et phenomenes du volcan et des ties volcan- 
iquet de Santorin, 137. 

1 Hopf, Veneto-Byzantinhche Analek/en, 40. In the year 1S50 the population of 
Smtorin was 13,000 according to the statistical work of Dr. De Cigalla (Tumi) 
"S.TaTtaTiK^i rf)% Ni7<rov Qrjpas, iin6 I. At KiyaWa). 

2 Francesco 111. was born in 1483. and married to a daughter of Matteo 
Loredano in 1496, according to Hopf, Veneto-Byzantinische Analekten, 52; Zin- 
keisen, Geschichte des Ostnanischen Retches in Eurofa, ii. 525. 

3 See a notice of the ravages of Barbarossa in Negotiations de la France dans It 
Levant (Documents im'dits sur Vhistoire de France), i 371. 

4 Ceosand Kythnos were then taken from the Gozzadini and Premarini, Scriphos 
from the Michieli, los, Anaphe. and Antiparos from the Pisani. Paros from the 
Sangredi, Astypalaea and Amorgos from the Quirini and Grimani, Skyros, Skiathos, 
and Chelidromi. and in 1538 Skopelos, from the Venetians. Hopf, Andros, 
Urkunden und Zusatze, 7. 


a.d. 1 383-1 566.] 

a body of troops, and took possession of the town and 
citadel without meeting with the slightest resistance. The 
duke, seeing the immense force of the Turks, hastened on 
board the admiral's ship the moment it anchored, and 
declared his readiness to submit to any terms Barbarossa, 
as capitan-pasha, might think fit to impose. From the deck 
of the Turkish ship, where he was obliged to remain three 
days, Duke John IV. saw his capital plundered by the 
Turkish troops, and all his own wealth, and even the 
furniture of his palace, transported into the cabin of Bar- 
barossa. He was at length allowed to return on shore 
and resume his rank of duke, after signing a treaty acknow- 
ledging himself a vassal of the Sublime Porte, and engaging 
to pay an annual tribute of five thousand sequins \ 

From this period the Latin power in the island of Naxos 
was virtually extinguished. The Greek inhabitants, who 
preferred the domination of the Turks to that of the 
Catholics, no longer respected the orders of their duke. The 
heads of the communities, who were charged with the 
collection of the taxes levied to pay the tribute, placed them- 
selves in direct communication with the Turkish ministers, 
and served as spies on the conduct of their sovereign, under 
the pretext of attending to fiscal business. Both the Greek 
primates and the Turkish ministers contrived to render this 
connection a source of pecuniary profit. The primates 
obtained pretexts for extorting money from their countrymen 
at Naxos, and the ministers at Constantinople shared the 
fruits of their extortions. The Greek clergy, too, by their 
dependence on the Patriarch, who served the Porte as a kind 
of under-secretary of state for the affairs of the orthodox, 
were active agents in preparing the Greek people for the 
Turkish domination. 

Giovanni IV., after writing a letter addressed to Pope 
Paul III. and the princes of Christendom, in which he 
announced the degradation into which he had fallen, died in 

1 The plunder the Turks carried off from Naxos was estimated at twenty thou- 
sand sequins. Paruta, lib. viii. p. 617; Sagredo, lib. v. p. 245. The curious letter 
of Duke John IV., giving a circumstantial account of the taking of Naxos, is dated 
1st Dec. 1537. It is printed in the Chronicorum Tnrcicorum, in quibus Turcorum 
origo, principes, imperatores, bella, praelia, caedes, victoriae, reique militaris ratio expo- 
mmtur, omnia collecta a Philippo Lonicero, Francofurti, 1584, 2 vols. 8vo., torn. ii. 
pp. 153- 161 ; and in Buchon's Recherches et Materiaux, p. 360. 


" V4 [Ch.IX. §3. 

peace unmolested by the Turks, against whom his lamenta- 
tions had vainly incited the Christians. He was succeeded 
by his son, Jacopo IV., in the year 1564. The impoverished 
treasury and enfeebled authority of the ducal government 
required the greatest prudence on the part of the new sove- 
reign to preserve his position. Jacopo IV., to console himself 
for his political weakness, resolved to enjoy all the pleasures 
within his reach. His court was a scene of debauchery and 
vice ; the Latin nobles, who were his principal associates, 
were poor, proud, and dissolute : the Catholic clergy, in 
whose hands the chief feudal estates in the island had 
accumulated, were rich, luxurious, and debauched, and lived 
openly with their avowed concubines \ The Greeks laboured 
to put an end to the scandal of such a court and government 
which was both oppressive and disgraceful ; but the Turks 
remained indifferent, as the annual tribute was regularly 
remitted to the Porte. At last the whole Greek inhabitants 
of Naxos sent deputies to the sultan, to complain of some 
extraordinary exactions, to demand the extinction of the 
duke's authority, and to petition the sultan to name a new 
governor. The Patriarch and the Greek clergy supported the 
petition of the primates, and the Porte prepared to give it 
a favourable reception. The duke was made sensible of his 
danger. Collecting a sum of twelve thousand crowns, he 
hastened to Constantinople to purchase some powerful pro- 
tector at the Porte ; but he arrived too late — his destiny was 
already decided. He was thrown into prison, and his pro- 
perty was confiscated ; but, after a detention of six months, 
he was released and allowed to depart to Venice. Such was 
the final fate of the duchy of the Archipelago, the last of 
the great fiefs of the Latin empire of Romania, which was 
extinguished in the year 1566, after it had been governed by 
Catholic princes for about three hundred and sixty years. 
After the loss of his dominions, Jacopo IV. resided at Venice 
with his children, living on a pension which the republic 
continued to his descendants until the male line became 

The Greeks gained little by their change of masters, for the 
sultan, Sclim II., conferred the government of Naxos on a 

1 Histoire nouvelle Jes anciens Dues, p. 300. 


A.D. I207-I566.] 

Jew named Joa Miquez, who never visited the island in person, 
using it merely as a place from which to extract as much 
money as possible. The island was governed by Francis 
Coronello, a Spaniard, who, acting as his deputy, collected 
the tribute and overlooked the public administration l . 

SECT. IV. — Condition of the Archipelago during its subjection 
to Venetian Families. 

The peculiar circumstances which enabled a long line of 
foreign princes to maintain themselves in a state of inde- 
pendence as sovereigns of the Archipelago require some 
explanation. The popes, who were powerful temporal 
princes on account of their great wealth, were the natural 
protectors of all the Latins in the East against the power of 
the Greek emperors — and they protected the dukes of the 
Archipelago ; but it was unquestionably the alliance of the 
republic of Venice and the power of the Venetian fleets, 
rather than the zealous activity of the Holy See, that saved 
the duchy from being reconquered by Michael VIII., though 
the papal protection may have acted as a defence against the 

In forming our idea of the true basis of the Latin power in 
the Byzantine empire, we must never lose sight of the fact that 

1 Don Joa Miquez or Don Joseph Nasi belonged to a family of wealthy bankers 
which emigrated from Spain to escape the persecutions of Ferdinand and Isabella. 
The members of the family who obtained protection in Portugal and Flanders 
were compelled to embrace Christianity. The banking house of Nasi carried on 
extensive business in Flanders, France, and Italy, and lent money to kings and 
princes. Donna Garcia inherited the greater part of the wealth of the house, 
returned to the Jewish faith, and escaped from Venice to Constantinople. Don 
Joa Miquez, who had superintended the banking house at Antwerp, managed her 
affairs after her departure, but when he had realized the greater part of her fortune, 
he also quitted Christendom, returned to the faith of his fathers, and married her 
daughter. He became farmer of the revenues of the Greek islands, and is said to 
have collected 14,000 sequins from Naxos. 

The conduct of the Othoman sultans to the Jews in the sixteenth century 
deserves to be contrasted with the conduct of Christian sovereigns. The departure 
of the Jews impoverished Christendom, and their arrival enriched Turkey as 
much by their industry and scientific knowledge as by the wealth they brought 
with them. They became the physicians of the sultans and the diplomatists 
of the Porte, and they were hated by the Christians for the zeal with which they 
served their benefactors, and envied by the Italian merchants for the influence 
they acquired by means of their capital in all the mercantile affairs of the Levant. 
See a memoir entitled Don Joseph Nasi, Herzog von Naxos, by Dr. Levy, Breslau, 


[Ch. IX. § 4. 

the Venetians, who suggested the conquest, were induced to 
support the undertaking by their eagerness to obtain a mono- 
poly of the Eastern trade ; and the conquests of the republic 
were subordinate to the scheme of excluding every rival from 
the markets of the East. Monopoly was the object of all 
commercial policy in the thirteenth century. After the loss 
of Constantinople in 1261, and the close alliance of the 
Genoese with the Greek empire, which enabled those rival 
republicans to aim at a monopoly of the trade of the Black 
Sea, the islands of the Archipelago acquired an increased 
importance both in a military and commercial point of view. 
To exclude her rivals from the ports of the duchy, Venice 
formed a close alliance with the dukes, and persuaded them 
to include their dominions within the system of commercial 
privileges and monopolies which was applied to all the foreign 
settlements of Venice, and to hold no commercial communica- 
tions with the western nations of Europe except through the 
port of Venice. The military character of several of the 
dukes of the family of Sanudo contributed to give the duchy 
more importance in the eyes of the Venetian government than 
it might otherwise have held. 

It is not easy to fix the precise extent of the privileges 
and monopolies accorded to the commerce of Venice in the 
duchy; but foreign ships always paid double duties on the 
articles they imported or exported, and many articles could 
only be exported and imported in Venetian ships direct to 
Venice. This clause was a consequence of the right which 
the Venetians arrogated to themselves of the exclusive navi- 
gation of the Adriatic ; so that the Greeks in the islands were 
compelled to sell to the Venetians alone that portion of their 
produce which was destined for the consumption of England 
and the continental ports on the ocean, from Cadiz to Ham- 
burg. This commerce could only be carried on beyond the 
Straits of Gibraltar by the fleet periodically despatched from 
Venice, under the title of the Fleet of Flanders *. The com- 
mercial system of Venice caused a stagnation of industry 
in Greece : the native traders were ruined, and either 
emigrated or dwindled into retail shopkeepers : all great 
commercial transactions passed into the hands of the Vene- 

1 Marin, Storia Civile e Politico del Commercio de' Veneziani, torn. v. lib. 3. 


A.D. I207-I566.] 

tians, who left to the duke's subjects, who were not citizens of 
Venice, only the trifling coasting trade necessary to collect 
large cargoes at the ports visited by Venetian ships. The 
landed proprietors soon sank into idle gentlemen or rustic 
agriculturists ; capital ceased to be accumulated on the land, 
for its accumulation promised no profit ; the intercommunica- 
tion between the different islands gradually diminished ; time 
became of little value ; population declined ; and, in this 
debilitated condition of society, the dukes found a consola- 
tion in the thought that this state of things rendered any 
attempt at insurrection on the part of the orthodox Greeks 
hopeless. The wealth of the dukes, and even of the signors of 
the smaller islands, enabled them to maintain a small body of 
mercenaries sufficient to secure their castles from any sudden 
attack, while the fleets of Venice were never far distant, from 
which they were sure to receive effectual support. At the 
same time a Latin population, consisting partly of descendants 
of the conquering army, and partly of Greeks who had joined 
the Latin church, lived mingled with the native population, 
and served as spies on its conduct. The Greeks, however, 
who lived in communion with the papal church, were always 
regarded by the mass of the inhabitants as strangers, just as 
much as if they had been of Frank or Venetian extraction. 
Orthodoxy was the only test of nationality among the Byzan- 
tine Greeks. 

The power of the dukes was thus rendered so firm, that 
they oppressed the Greeks without any fear of revolution ; 
and the consequence was, that their financial exactions ex- 
ceeded the limits which admit of wealth being reproduced 
with greater rapidity than it is devoured by taxation. A 
stationary state of things was first produced ; then capital 
itself was consumed, and the ducal territories became incapa- 
ble of sustaining as large a population as formerly. History 
presents innumerable examples of society in a similar state, 
produced by the same causes. Indeed, it is the great feature 
of Eastern history, from the fall of the Assyrian empire to the 
decay of the Othoman power. Central governments are 
incessantly devouring what nations are labouring to produce. 

The Latin nobility in the Greek islands generally passed 
their lives in military service or in aristocratic idleness. Their 
education was usually begun at Venice, and completed on 


[Ch. IX. § 4. 

board the Venetian fleet. When the wealth of the islands 

declined, only one son in a family was allowed to marry, in 

order to preserve the wealth and dignity of the house. 

Younger sons sought a career in the Venetian service or in 

the church, the daughters retired into a monastery. The 

consequence of these social arrangements was a degree of 

demoralization and vice that rendered Latin society the object 

of just detestation among the Greek population. The moral 

corruption of a dominant class soon works the political ruin 

of the institutions it upholds ; and the Latins in Greece were 

almost exterminated by their own social laws, imposed for the 

purpose of maintaining their respectability, before they were 

conquered by the Turks. 

The overthrow of the Byzantine empire produced as great 
a change in the social as in the political condition of the 
Greek race. In religion alone it remained unaltered ; and 
henceforth religion became a more prominent characteristic 
than nationality, so that Greeks manifested a stronger attach- 
ment to their church than to their country. For more than 
350 years Venetian nobles ruled in many of the Greek islands, 
and for 250 years Latin princes were masters of a consider- 
able part of the continent of Greece. During this long period 
of subjection the natives of western Europe were constantly 
advancing in well-being and civilization. Society was quitting 
its feudal and aristocratic constitution in its progress towards 
the popular organization, which has rendered justice one of 
the elements of political power and given public opinion some 
control over the exercise of authority even by the most 
despotic sovereigns. But at the time the Latin nations 
began to hasten their pace on the way of improvement, the 
Greeks began to decline in civilization, and to diminish in 
numbers and national importance. 

In the twelfth century the Greeks were the richest merchants, 
the greatest manufacturers, the most expert mechanicians, 
and the ablest artists in Europe. In the sixteenth century 
they had lost their superiority both in arts and manufactures; 
their country was impoverished and depopulated, the people 
was without industry, and the nation was disorganized. It is 
easy to trace the progress of this decline in the islands of the 
Archipelago. During the early period of the Venetian rule, 
the Greeks suffered only the usual evils of conquered and 


A.D. I207-I566.] 

heterodox races, which however were not inconsiderable in 
that age of crusading. But after Michael VIII. (Palaeologos) 
had expelled the Latins from Constantinople, the Archipelago 
became the scene of a long and bloody struggle for the 
mastery between the Greeks, aided by the Genoese, and the 
Venetians. In this contest every island was attacked in turn ; 
the wealth of the proprietors was plundered, and the peasants, 
whether slaves, serfs, or freemen, were kidnapped to serve as 
rowers in the hostile galleys. From this period a rapid 
diminution of the Greek race becomes apparent. If any con- 
temporary chronicle had transmitted to us the events of a 
single successful assault on some flourishing and peaceful 
island, or preserved a detailed account of the calamities of 
a single captive family after its home had been pillaged by 
Greek or Venetian corsairs, we should have possessed mate- 
rials for exciting pity in the most callous heart, and for 
making the most complacent philosopher feel somewhat 
ashamed of human nature. 

It has been already mentioned that the Greek fleet pur- 
sued a long career of conquest in the Grecian seas during the 
reign of the emperor Michael VIII. 1 In 1269 the grand 
admiral Licario expelled the Venetians from many islands, 
and for several years Greek corsairs captured almost every 
merchant ship that ventured to quit a port without convoy 2 . 
Santorin and Zia became two stations of the Greek cruisers 
who avenged the sufferings of their peaceable countrymen. 
There was a primate of Monemvasia who was terrible to the 
Latins as a corsair under the name of Demoiannes 3 . 

The Spaniards soon arrived in the Levant to share in the 
plunder of Greece. The celebrated admiral Roger de Loria 
plundered the islands of Andros, Tinos, Mycone, and Thermia 
in the year 1292 ; and we know from the chronicle of Ramon 
Muntaner that the Spaniards ravaged the East with the 
unsparing ferocity and insatiable rapacity which they after- 
wards displayed under Cortes and Pizarro in Mexico and 
Peru 4 . At the commencement of the fourteenth century the 

1 See above, p. 283. 

2 Tafel and Thomas, Urhmden Venedigs, iii. 159-281, 'Judicum Venetorum in 
causis piraticis contra Graecos decisiones;' Hopf, Andros, and Veneto-Byzatiti/iisckt 

3 Demo (a contraction for Demetrius), the son of John. 

4 Muntaner, ch. cxvii. 


° [Ch. IX. § 4. 

Catalan Grand Company under Roger de Flor and the 
Seljouk emirs of Ai'din and Mentesche ravaged the islands, 
and their expeditions were doubly destructive, for they depo- 
pulated the places they plundered by carrying off the youth 
of both sexes to sell as slaves, and the able-bodied men to 
serve as soldiers or sailors, leaving the old and the helpless 
children to die of starvation \ 

The possessions of the Venetians in the Greek islands were 
at this time so insecure that even in Candia no proprietor who 
owed military service was allowed to quit the island. In the 
year 1313 Andrea Cornaro, signor of Scarpanto, who possessed 
large estates in Candia, became by his marriage with the 
widow of Alberto Pallavicino, margrave of Boudonitza, signor 
of one-sixth of the island of Negrepont, but before he could 
visit the fiefs he had acquired in the empire of Romania, he 
was obliged to obtain permission of the senate of Venice. 
Leave of absence was granted him for five years, on condition 
that his heir remained to do service and keep guard in his 
castles during his absence 2 . 

The history of Andros presents an epitome of the history of 
the other islands under a favourable aspect. From it there- 
fore we may estimate the decline and depopulation of the 
whole Archipelago without any danger of exaggeration. 
Andros was long one of the most flourishing, as it must 
always from its abundant springs be one of the most agree- 
able, of the Greek islands. In the ninth century Leo, the 
greatest mathematician of his age, studied at a college in 
Andros. His scientific reputation obtained for him an in- 
vitation to the court of the Caliph Almamun 3 . In the twelfth 

1 Pachymeres, ii. 344, edit. Rom. ; Nicephorus Gregoras, i. 285, 523, 525, edit. 
Paris. Again, in 131 7, Don Alfonso Fadrique of Aragon with the Catalans of the 
duchy of Athens carried off 700 slaves from Milos. [Some of the Catalans appear 
to have settled in the Greek islands. Two of the principal Greek families now 
inhabiting Santorin, those of De Cigallas and Delenda, are descended from them, 
as their names testify ; traditions of Spanish occupation are also to be found in 
several places on the mainland of Greece, and in Crete Pashley mentions a village 
still called Spaniako for this reason. Ed ] 

2 Ilopf, Veneto-Byzantinische Analekten. 121. 

3 See above, vol. ii. p. 224. Some years ago, Theophilus Kaires, a Greek 
monk who had studied metaphysics and physical science in western Europe, 
and who was a man of vast attainments and great originality, founded a college 
at Andros, which acquired great celebrity in Greece. He was adored by his 
pupils, but his heretical doctrines caused the Greek government to dissolve his 
college, and his ecclesiastical superiors confined him in a monastery. He attempted 
to modify Christianity into what he called Otool&tia. The building he erected 
remains, and its arrangements were singularly judicious. [The story of Kaires bas 


A.D. I 207-I566.] 

century the island was renowned for its manufacture of velvet 
and silk \ Its iron-bound coast and rugged mountains 
afforded its inhabitants a sure defence against the Saracen 
pirates who plundered the coasts and islands of Greece in the 
tenth and eleventh centuries. 

When the Venetians conquered Andros, the island exported 
wheat, which it produces of a very fine quality, and barley, 
which was abundant. But about the middle of the fourteenth 
century, the ravages of Greek, Genoese, Catalan, and Seljouk 
corsairs had ruined agriculture, and grain was imported from 
Euboea 2 . A century later, Andros had been so depopulated 
by the devastations of Turkish pirates that it contained only 
2,000 inhabitants 3 . This depopulation was followed by the 
immigration of Albanian colonists, who now occupy more 
than one-third of the island 4 . 

Most of the other islands suffered more severely than 
Andros. In the middle of the thirteenth century Amorgos 
was abandoned by the cultivators of the soil, who fled to 
Naxos to escape from Greek corsairs, and in the middle of 
the fourteenth century the inhabitants of the island emigrated 
to Candia to escape from the Catalans and Seljouk Turks. 
The islands belonging to several Venetian nobles were depo- 
pulated, and they were obliged to colonize their deserted 
possessions by bringing peasants from Crete and the Morea. 

been made the subject of a short poem by the Rev. H. N. Oxenham, who, in 1854, 
published a volume entitled The Sentence of K aires and other Poems. The circum- 
stances are related, from a point of view unfavourable to Kaires, in the Christian 
Remembrancer for 1845, v °l- xv "i- PP- I2 6-8. At the end of the eighth century 
a writer named Michael Psellus, a namesake of the more famous author of the 
eleventh century, studied in Andros. See above, vol. iii. p. 38, note 1. Ed.] 

1 Bohn's Early Travels in Palestine. Saevvulf, p. 34. 

2 Hopf, A ndros, 34; Veneto-Byzantinische Analekten, 21. In 1364 Marco Dandolo 
was allowed to export 100 measures of wheat annually from Negrepont to Andros. 

8 Hopf, Andros, 92. 

4 At present (1861) the population is nearly 19,000, of whom about 7000 are 
Albanians, who have preserved their manners and language. I may here mention 
a circumstance which I think travellers have omitted to notice. The form of the 
Homeric palace is preserved in some of the houses of the Greeks of Andros. 
There is a large hall, so high that the chambers of the upper storey of the remain- 
ing part of the house have windows which look down into it. From such a 
window Penelope looked down on the suitors in the palace of Ithaca. I have not 
seen a similar tradition of Homeric architecture in any other part of Greece. [It 
is a little difficult to discover from the author's description the arrangement of the 
houses he saw in Andros. But there is nothing in the Odyssey to lead us to 
suppose that there was a window in Penelope's chamber looking down into the 
hall in the palace of Ithaca. That chamber was on the upper storey, and was 
reached by a ladder, but Penelope is described as hearing the singing in the hall 
from thence, not as seeing the suitors: Od. i. 328-330. Ed.] 


° [Ch. IX. § 4. 

Marco Crispo, the fifth son of Duke Francesco I. of Naxos, 
when he became signor of Ios at his father's death in 
1397, found that island almost deserted by the agricultural 
population. He fortified the port and other points accessible 
to corsairs to ensure protection to the peasantry, and then 
brought over a number of families from the Morea to cul- 
tivate the soil. These colonists are said to have been of the 
Albanian race x . The population of Paros fell at one time 
to 3,000 souls, and many of the smaller islands were at times 
almost entirely deserted. The islands of Naxos and Santorin 
had once exported cotton to Venice, but Santorin was so 
devastated that it contained only 300 inhabitants 2 . Mules 
were also exported from Naxos and Andros in the period 
that preceded the ravages of the corsairs, and a breed of 
ponies of great strength and activity from Tinos, Skiathos, 
and Karystos, where a few are still reared 3 . 

The insecurity of commerce in the Grecian seas has pro- 
duced a repetition of similar measures for its protection in 
distant ages. In the fourteenth century the desert rock of 
Gaidaronisi was fortified by the Venetians and became a 
flourishing Italian town. In the eighteenth century the arid 
island of Hydra was colonized by a numerous population 
of Albanian shipowners and sailors. The settlement of 
Gaidaronisi is interesting, not only from its commercial im- 
portance, but also on account of the man by whom it was 
founded. In the year 1330 Andrea Dandolo, the earliest 
historian of Venice, who became doge in 1343, was invested 
with the island of Gaidaronisi, which served as a harbour 
of refuge for vessels in the Levant, on the condition that 
he should fortify it in such a manner as to give effectual 
protection against the corsairs that then swarmed in the 
Archipelago. He fulfilled this obligation so well that 
Gaidaronisi became for more than a century an important 
commercial station 4 . 

In the fifteenth century the protection of the Venetian 

1 Histoire nouvelle des anciens Dues de I'Archipel. 215. There are now no remains 
of an Albanian population in Ios, and there is no tradition of its existence. 

■ Naxos and Santorin now contain each upwards of 13,000 inhabitants. A 
perennial sp cies of cotton is still cultivated in Santorin, the produce of which is 
consumed there and in the adjacent islands. 

if, Veneio-Byzantinische Analekten, 40, 82 ; Andros, 47, 59, 64, 67. 

' Eiopf, Andros, 34. 


A.D. 1 207-I566.] 3 3 

republic prevented the Turks from conquering the Archi- 
pelago, but it was not always sufficient to prevent the 
possessions of the Venetian signors from being plundered by 
Othoman corsairs, even when the dukes of Naxos and the 
signors of the other islands were included in the treaties of 
peace between the sultans and the republic. The continual 
ravages of Turkish corsairs in time of peace with Venice 
induced the senate to allow the signors of the islands to con- 
clude separate treaties for their own security \ 

It is generally believed, and the opinion seems to be well 
founded, that the Latin domination in Greece was extremely 
destructive to the remains of ancient art and architecture. It 
is true that the Byzantine Greeks appear to have loathed 
Hellenic art, while several Latin signors felt a sincere admira- 
tion for the monuments, and particularly for the sculpture, 
of the ancient Greeks. But Hellenic buildings were not often 
destroyed for their materials under the Byzantine emperors, 
because materials were more abundant and society more sta- 
tionary than after the conquests of the Crusaders. Under the 
Venetian and Latin signors society became more active, and 
that activity, though it may have added little to the prosperity 
of the country, made great changes in its appearance. Towns 
were built and castles were erected in new situations. Ports 
which had long remained deserted were frequented and for- 
tified. The materials of the Hellenic buildings which the 
Byzantine Greeks had spared were required for these con- 
structions. Every petty signor required a palace, and blocks 
of well-worked stone, pieces of broken cornices, and fragments 
of sculptured marble inserted into many a wall attest that 
many magnificent Hellenic buildings served as quarries in 
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries 2 . When a taste for 
Greek literature and art arose in Italy, many Italians collected 
manuscripts, coins, and statues in Greece, but the collectors 
were few and the destroyers were many. The conception 

1 Hopf, Veneto-Byzantinische Anahhten, 35. In the treaties of 1419, 1430, and 
most of the subsequent treaties, the dukes of Naxos and other signors are included 
by name. 

2 [This is especially noticeable at Paroekia, the modern capital of Paros. where, 
owing to the ancient quarries in the neighbourhood, white marble blocks are very 
abundant. On one side of the low hill which formed the ancient Acropolis the 
wall of the Venetian fortress is composed of drums of columns laid on their sides 
and slabs unequally fitted together. In the town pieces of cornices serve for door- 
steps, and triglyphs and other ornaments are built into the house-walls. Ed.] 



of art and the sentiment of beauty found no place in the 
breasts of modern Greeks or Latin colonists. The revival 
of classic taste in the West awakened no echo in Greece, 
until political revolutions in recent times roused in the minds 
of Eastern Christians a desire for civil liberty. 






Foundation of the Empire. 

SECT. I. — Early History of Trebizond. 

The empire of Trebizond was the creation of accident 1 . 
No necessity in the condition of the people called it into 
existence. The popular resources had undergone no develop- 
ment that demanded change; no increase had taken place in 
the wealth or knowledge of the inhabitants ; nor did any- 
sudden augmentation of national power impel them to assume 

x The history of Trebizond was almost unknown, until Professor Fallmerayer 
discovered the Chronicle of Michael Panaretos among the books of Cardinal 
Bessarion, preserved at Venice. From this chronicle, with the aid of some unpub- 
lished MSS., and a careful review of all the published sources of information, he 
wrote a history of Trebizond, which displays great critical acuteness. His able 
work is entitled, Geschichte des Kaiserthums von Trapezunt, Miinchen, 1S27, 4to. 
After visiting Trebizond, in 1840, the learned professor published the results of his 
personal researches at Trebizond and Mount Athos in the Transactions of the 
Historical Class of the Royal Academy of Munich, vol. iii. part 3, and vol. iv. part 1. 
The Chronicle of Panaretos, and a discourse of Eugenikos in praise of Trebizond, 
were published by the learned Professor Tafel of Tubingen, who has by his 
researches shed much light on several dark periods of Byzantine history; Eustathii 
Metropolitae Thessalonicensis Opuscula, accedunt Trapezuntinae Historiae Scriptores 
Panaretus et Eugenicus, Francofurti ad M., 4to. 

_ The little that can be learned concerning the history of Trebizond in English 
literature will be found in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vii. 327, 
edit. Smith. Walter Scott implies that Trebizond had been conquered by the 
Turks in the time of Richard Cceur-de-Lion, for in Ivanhoe the Templar says to 
Rebecca, ' Mount thee behind me on my gallant steed — on Zamor the gallant 
horse that never failed his rider. I won him in single fight from the Soldan of 
Trebizond.' Sir Walter overlooked Gibbon's observation (vii. 169), 'Trebizond 
alone, defended on either side by the sea and mountains, preserved at the extremity 
of the Euxine the ancient character of a Greek colony and the future destLiy of a 
Christian empire.' 

X 2 


5 [Ch.I. §i. 

an independent position and claim for their capital the rank 
of an imperial city. The destruction of a distant central 
government, when Constantinople was conquered by the 
Frank Crusaders, left their provincial administration without 
the pivot on which it had revolved. The conjuncture was 
seized by a young man who bore the name of Alexios Kom- 
nenos, and was descended from the worst tyrant in the 
Byzantine annals 1 . This youth grasped the vacant sove- 
reignty, and merely by assuming the imperial title, and 
placing himself at the head of the local administration, 
founded a new empire. Power changed its name and its 
dwelling, but the history of the people was hardly modified. 
The grandeur of the empire of Trebizond exists only in 
romance. Its government owed its permanence to its being 
nothing more than a continuation of a long-established order 
of civil polity, and to its making no attempt to effect any 
social revolution. 

The city of Trebizond wants only a secure port to be one 
of the richest jewels of the globe. It is admirably situated to 
form the capital of an independent state. The southern 
shores of the Black Sea offer every advantage for maintaining 
a numerous population, and the physical configuration of the 
country supplies its inhabitants with excellent natural barriers 
to defend them on every side. There are few spots on the 
earth richer in picturesque beauty, or abounding in more 
luxuriant vegetation, than the south-eastern shores of the 
inhospitable Euxine. The magnificent country that extends 
from the mouth of the Halys to the snowy range of Caucasus 
is formed of a singular union of rich plains, verdant hills, 
bold rocks, wooded mountains, primaeval forests, and rapid 
streams. In this fertile and majestic region, Trebizond has 
been, now for more than six centuries, the noblest and the 
fairest city. 

At an early period its trapezoid citadel was occupied by a 
Greek colony, and received its name from the tabular appear- 
ance of the rock on which the first settlers dwelt. In those 
v days, the Hellenic race occupied a position among the 
nations of the earth not dissimilar to that now held by the 
Anglo-Saxon population. Greek society had embraced a 

1 Androuicus I. See above, vol. iii. p. 201. 


Ch.I. §i.] 3 ? 

social organization that enabled the people to nourish a 
rapidly-augmenting population in territories where mankind 
had previously barely succeeded in gleaning a scanty supply 
of necessaries for a few families, who neither increased in 
number, nor deviated from the footsteps traced by their 
fathers in agriculture or commerce. Many cities on the 
shores of the Black Sea, which received Greek colonists 
seven centuries before the Christian era, have ever since 
retained a body of Greek inhabitants. The conquests of 
peace are more durable than those of war. The Chronicle 
of Eusebius places the foundation of Trebizond 756 B.C. 1 
Sinope was an earlier settlement ; for Xenophon informs us 
that both Trebizond and Kerasunt were colonies of Sinope 2 . 
But it is in vain to suppose that we can see any historical 
forms distinctly in the twilight of such antiquity. 

Trebizond rose to a high degree of commercial importance 
in the time of the Roman empire. The advantages of its 
position, as a point of communication between Persia and the 
European provinces of Rome, rendered it the seat of an 
active and industrious population. The municipal institutions 
of Grecian colonies, less dependent on the central administra- 
tion than those of Roman origin, insured an excellent local 
government to all the wealthy Greek cities which were al- 
lowed to retain their own communal organization ; and we 
know from Pliny that Trebizond was a free city 3 . The 
emperor Hadrian, at the representation of Arrian, constructed 
a well-sheltered port, to protect the shipping from winter 
storms, to which vessels had been previously exposed in the 
unprotected anchorage. From that time the city became 
one of the principal marts for the produce of the East. Three 
great Roman roads connected it with the rest of Asia— one 
from the westward, along the shores of the Euxine ; another 
eastward, to the banks of the Phasis ; and a third southward, 
over the great mountain barrier to the banks of the Euphrates, 
where, separating into two branches, one communicated with 
the valley of the Araxes, and proceeded to Persia, while the 
other conducted to Syria 4 . 

The country from Trebizond eastward to the summits of 

1 Clinton, Fasti Hellenici, i. 156. 2 Anabasis, iv. 8, 22; v. 3. 2. 

s Hist. Nat. vi. 11. * See the Tabula Peutingeriana. 


[Ch.I. §i. 

Caucasus was anciently called Colchis ; but in the time of 
Justinian the district as far as the banks of the Phasis had 
received the name of Lazia, from one of the many small 
nations which have composed the indigenous population of 
this singular region from the earliest period. The Chalybes, 
the Chaldians, the Albanians, the Iberians, the Thianni, 
Sanni, or Tzans, the Khazirs, and the Huns, appear as sepa- 
rate nations round the Caucasian mountains in former days, 
just as the Georgians and Mingrelians, the Circassians, the 
Abazecs, the Ossetes, the Tchenchez, the Lesguians, and the 
Tzans — who each speak a distinct language — cluster round 
the counterforts of this great range at the present hour. 

The history of Trebizond from the time of Justinian to the 
accession of Leo III. (the Isaurian) is almost without interest. 
The iconoclast hero infused new life into the attenuated body 
of the Eastern empire, and his stern spirit awakened new 
springs of moral and religious feeling in the breasts of the 
Christians in Asia. The palsy that threatened Christian 
society with annihilation, under the reigns of the successors 
of Justinian, was healed. The empire was restored to some 
portion of its ancient power and glory, and remodelled by 
reforms so extensive, that Leo may justly be termed the 
reformer of the Roman, or, more properly, the founder of 
the Byzantine empire. In this reformed empire Trebizond 
acquired an additional degree of importance. It became the 
capital of the frontier province called the theme of Chaldia, 
and the centre from which the military, political, commercial, 
and diplomatic relations of the Byzantine empire were con- 
ducted with the Christian princes of Armenia and Iberia 1 . 
The direction of the complicated business that resulted from 
the incessant warfare between the Christians and Saracens, on 
the frontiers of Armenia, was necessarily intrusted to the 
dukes of Chaldia, who made Trebizond their habitual resi- 
dence. The freedom of action accorded to these viceroys 
afforded them frequent opportunities of forming personal 
alliances with the neighbouring princes and people, and when 
the central government at Constantinople displayed any 

1 The people who inhabited this country before the arrival of the Romans were 
called Chaldaei and Sanni. Strabo, lib. xii. p. 54S. The Byzantine theme of 
( hal lia dates from the commencement of the tenth century. Constant. Porphvr. 
// Thematibvs, lib i. p. 12. edit. I'ari>. The trade of Trebizond with Iberia is 
mentioned by Constantine l'orphyrogenitus, De Adm. Imp. c. 46. 


Ch.I. §i.] J 

weakness, the power of the dukes of Chaldia enabled them 
to act as if they were independent princes. The position 
of the city of Trebizond, the nature of its mixed population, 
the condition of its society, divided into many separate 
classes, and the individual ambition of the leading men in the 
neighbouring provinces, all tended in the same direction. 

Under the vigorous and prudent administration of the 
iconoclast emperors, and the legislative wisdom of the 
Basilian dynasty, the Byzantine empire held a dominant 
position in the commercial world ; and Trebizond, secure 
from anarchy, blessed with municipal liberty, and protected 
against external danger, flourished in repose. Still, though 
the wealth of Trebizond preserved the people in the enjoy- 
ment of some advantages, little care was bestowed by the 
central administration on their local interests. Many of the 
public works constructed in Roman times, while Trebizond 
was a free city, were allowed to fall into decay ; while their 
ruins, which were constantly before the eyes of the in- 
habitants, perhaps awakened some aspirations after political 
independence. It was not unnatural, therefore, for the people 
of Trebizond to recur to the memory of the days when the 
Romans allowed the municipality to expend part of the 
money levied on the inhabitants in the city itself, and to 
contrast it with the Byzantine government, which had con- 
verted the ancient municipalities into police and fiscal offices, 
and had made it a state maxim to collect the whole taxes 
of the empire at Constantinople, where report said that 
immense treasures were expended in the pompous ceremonies 
of an idle court, or in pampering the mob of the capital with 
extravagant shows in the hippodrome. 

About the period of the extinction of the Basilian dynasty, 
the Byzantine administration fell into disorder : the imperial 
government ceased to be regarded by its subjects as the only 
human type of power that could guarantee religious ortho- 
doxy, political order, and security of private property. The 
spell was broken that for centuries had bound together the 
various provinces and nations of the Eastern empire into one 
state. The growing incapacity of the Byzantine government 
to execute the duties imposed on them as the heirs of the 
Romans, added to the great changes that time had effected 
in the very elements of society, destroyed all public ties. 


[Ch.I. §i. 

Society was in a state of revolution at the conclusion of the 
eleventh century. Public opinion had done more to uphold 
the fabric of the Byzantine empire than the sword : civil 
virtues, as well as military, had driven back the Saracens 
beyond Mount Taurus, and rescued southern Italy from 
Charlemagne and his successors ; the laws of Rome, rather 
than the fleets of Greece, had upheld the emperor of Con- 
stantinople as the autocrat of the Black Sea and the Medi- 
terranean. As long as the Byzantine emperor was looked up 
to, from the most distant provinces of his dominions, as the 
only fountain of justice on earth, so long did a conviction 
of the necessity of maintaining the supremacy of the central 
administration find an advocate in every breast ; and this 
conviction, as much as devotion to the divine right of the 
orthodox emperor, saved the empire both from the Saracens, 
the Bulgarians, and the Sclavonians, and from rebellion and 

From the period when the Asiatic aristocracy mastered 
the Byzantine administration, and placed Isaac I. (Comnenos) 
on the imperial throne, in the year 1057, a change took 
place in the conduct of public affairs. Provinces were 
bartered as rewards for political and military support, and the 
law began to lose a portion of its previous omnipotence. The 
people, as well as the provincial governors, showed themselves 
ready to seize every opportunity of escaping from the fiscal 
avidity of the central government, even at the risk of dissol- 
ving the ties that had hitherto bound them to the orthodox 
emperor. The imperial power was felt to be daily more 
arbitrary and oppressive, as the administration grew less 

The arrival of the Seljouk Turks in the west of Asia, about 
the same period, changed the condition of the inhabitants of 
all the countries between the Indus and the Halys. These 
warriors swept from the face of the earth many of the acces- 
saries of civilization, and destroyed vast accumulations of 
labour and capital, which afforded the means of life to 
millions of men. Wherever these Turkish nomades passed, 
cities were destroyed, water-courses were ruined, canals and 
wells were filled up, and trees cut down ; so that provinces 
which, a few years before their arrival, nourished thousands of 
wealthy inhabitants, became unable to support more than a 


Ch.I. §1.] 

few families. A few herdsmen could barely find subsistence 
by wandering over territories that had previously maintained 
populous cities. Provinces, where mankind had once been 
reckoned by millions, saw their inhabitants counted by 
thousands. The defeat of Romanos IV. (Diogenes) at the 
battle of Manzikert, in 1071, led to the expulsion of the 
Greeks from the greater part of Asia Minor, and carried the 
conquests of the Seljouk Turks up to the walls of Trebizond. 
The province of Chaldia was wasted by their incursions, but 
the city was saved from their attacks. It owed its safety, 
however, more to the strength of its position, defended by a 
great mountain barrier to the south, and to the spirit of its 
inhabitants, than to its Byzantine garrison, or to the pro- 
tection of the emperors of Constantinople. 

The Turks were ultimately expelled from the Trebizontine 
territory by the skill and prudence of Theodore Gabras, a 
nobleman of the province, who ruled Chaldia almost as an 
independent prince during part of the reign of the Byzantine 
emperor Alexius I. The personal differences of Theodore 
Gabras with Alexius I., in the year 109 1, are recorded by 
Anna Comnena, but they afford us little insight into the 
real nature of the position of Gabras at Trebizond, except in 
so far as they prove that the emperor feared his power, and 
was unwilling to risk hostilities with an able vassal who could 
count on popular support 1 . In the year n 04, the office of 
duke of Trebizond was filled by Gregorios Taronites, who was 
allied to the imperial family. Taronites went a step beyond 
Gabras, and, not satisfied with being virtually independent, 
acted as a sovereign prince, and set the orders of the emperor 
at defiance. Alexius sent an expedition against him, by 
which he was defeated and taken prisoner ; but though he 
was kept in prison for some time at Constantinople, he was 
subsequently, for reasons of which we are not informed, 
released and reinstated in the government of Trebizond. He 
ruled the province until the year 11 19. In that year he 
formed an alliance with the emir of Kamakh, to attack the 
Seljouk prince of Melitene. The confederates were defeated, 
and Taronites fell into the hands of the Turks, who com- 
pelled him to purchase his freedom by paying a ransom of 
thirty thousand gold byzants — a sum t hen regarded in the 
1 Anna Comnena, 340. 


[Ch.I. §i. 

East as the usual ransom of officers of the highest rank in the 

Byzantine empire l . 

Constantine Gabras obtained the government of Trebizond 
after the misfortune of Taronites. Nicetas mentions him, in 
the year 1 139, as having long governed the province as an 
independent prince. In that year the emperor John II. 
(Comnenus) led an expedition into Paphlagonia, with the 
expectation of being able to advance as far eastward as Tre- 
bizond, where he hoped to re-establish the imperial authority, 
and recover possession of the whole southern shore of the 
Black Sea. But the emperor found Paphlagonia in such a 
depopulated condition that his progress was interrupted by 
the difficulty of procuring supplies, and it was late in the 
year before he reached Neocaesareia. That city was in the 
hands of the Seljouk Turks, who defended it with such 
valour that John was compelled to abandon the siege, and 
retreat to Constantinople after a fruitless campaign -. During 
the reign of his son, Manuel I., however, we find the imperial 
authority completely re-established in Trebizond ; and the 
city continued to remain in immediate subjection to the 
central administration at Constantinople, until the over- 
throw of the Byzantine empire by the Crusaders, in 1204 3 . 

History has preserved no documents for estimating the 
proportions in which the different races of Lazes and Greeks 
inhabited the city of Trebizond and the surrounding country, 
nor can we arrive at any precise idea of the relative influence 
which each exercised on the various political changes that 

1 The ransom of Richard Coeur-de-Lion, who was regarded as the richest king 
of his time in the west of Europe, was fixed at 150,000 mirks of pure silver, in the 
year 1193. The mark was eight ounces troy weight, which, taking the price of 
gold at sixty shillings an ounce, makes 300,000/. But supposing the proportion 
of the value of silver to that of gold to have been as twelve to one, the sum was 
equivalent to about 600,000 gold byzants. 

J'allmerayer (Kaiserthum von Trapezunt, p. 19} calls Gregorios Taronites the son 
of Theodore Gabras ; but Byzantine history, I believe, does not certify this affilia- 
tion. It is true Anna Comnena (pp. 241 and 364) tells us that Gabras had a son 
named Gregorios. The capture of Taronites is mentioned by Abulpharagius, who 
alone connects him with the family of Gabras (p. 300). Compare Ducange, 
Famtline Ar/tr. Byznntinae, pp. 172 and 1 77. Cinnamus (p. 31) mentions a Gabras 
about this time, who was born in the Byzantine empire, but bred up among the 
Seljouk Turks, in whose armies he served. 

* Nicetas, 23. A Constantine Gabras was sent by the emperor Manuel I. as 
ambassador to sultan Kilidji-Arslan of Iconium. Nicetas, 79. 

:i Cinnannis, 171. A Michael Gabras is noticed as charged with the care of 
assembling the troops of Pontus and Trebizond, and he is mentioned as having 
commanded the Byzantine army on the Danube (150). Nicetas (87) recounts an 
anecdote not much to his credit as a soldier. 


Ch.I. §2.] D 

occurred under the Byzantine government. There was 
always a numerous Greek population dwelling in all the 
maritime cities of Colchis and Pontus, though whether these 
colonists had perpetuated their existence by descent, or 
recruited their numbers by constant immigrations from those 
lands where the Greek race formed the native population of 
the soil, is by no means certain. This Greek population 
permanently established at Trebizond lived in a state of 
opposition to the power and pretensions of the Byzantine 
aristocracy, which grew up in the province under the shadow 
of the central administration. Both these sections of Greeks 
were regarded with jealousy by the indigenous population of 
Lazes or Tzans, who inhabited the mountain districts that 
overhane the coast. 

SECT. II. — Origin of the Family of Grand Komnenos or 

The name of Komnenos, or Comnenus, was originally 
borrowed from Italy. But Roman names were too generally 
diffused in the provinces among the clients and the freedmen 
of distinguished Romans, for us to draw any inference con- 
cerning the descent of an Asiatic family, merely because it 
bore a name once used in Italy. All Gaul was filled with 
families of the name of Julius, few of whom had the slightest 
claim to any relationship with the Julian house of Rome. 
The family of Komnenos, which gave a dynasty of able 
sovereigns to the Byzantine empire, and a long line of 
emperors to Trebizond, first made its appearance in Eastern 
history about the year 976, when Manuel Komnenos held the 
office of praefect in Asia. Manuel, at his death, left his 
children under the guardianship of the emperor Basil II. 1 
Of these children the eldest was Isaac I., who seated himself 
on the imperial throne after the extinction of the Basilian 
dynasty, by heading a successful rebellion of the Asiatic 
aristocracy in the year 1057. After occupying the throne 
for little more than two years, he voluntarily retired into 
a monastery, without attempting to secure the empire as a 

1 Niceph. Bryenn. 16; Ducange, Familiae Aug. Byzantinae, 169. 


[Ch. I. § 2. 

heritage to his family. The domains of the house of Kom- 
nenos, their hereditary castle and the seat of their territorial 
power, was at Kastamona, in Paphlagonia, before that pro- 
vince was depopulated by the ravages of the Seljouk Turks l . 
The emperor Alexius I. was the third son of John Komnenos, 
the brother of Isaac I. Like his uncle, he mounted the 
imperial throne by heading a successful rebellion. Andro- 
nicus I. dethroned and murdered Alexius II., then about 
-ixteen years of age. who was the great-grandson of Alexius I., 
of whom Andronicus was the grandson. 

In the year 1185, the savage cruelty of Andronicus pro- 
duced a terrible revolution at Constantinople. Andronicus 
was dethroned and murdered by a popular insurrection. A 
city mob overthrew the imperial government, executed the 
emperor as a criminal, and remained masters of Constanti- 
nople for several days. The people plundered the treasury, 
and celebrated their orgies in the palace. These acts dissolved 
the spell that had invested the power of the emperor with a 
halo of divine authority. All legislative, judicial, civil, and 
military power, remained annulled by the will of the rabble. 
The new sovereign, Isaac II. (Angelos), was a man destitute 
of capacity and courage, and he only gradually recovered the 
semblance of the power held by his predecessors. But a 
mortal wound had been inflicted on the imperial government, 
and from the hour that the aged tyrant Andronicus, with his 
long forked beard, was led through the streets of Constanti- 
nople on a mangy camel, to perish amidst inhuman tortures, 
a hideous spectacle to the mob in the hippodrome, the public 
administration became daily more anarchical. The worthless 
princes of the house of Angelos were high priests well suited 
to conduct the sacrifice of an empire exhausted by the 
energetic tyranny of the bold house of Komnenos. 

The people had certainly good reason to hate the name 
of Komnenos, for the princes of that able and haughty race 
had been severe rulers, treating their subjects as the instru- 
ments of their personal aggrandizement, wasting the wealth of 
the state, and pouring out the blood of the people with a 
lavish hand, to gratify every whim of power. Yet their 
name was a spell on the minds of the people, wherever the 

1 Cedrenus, 798. 


Ch.I. §2.] 

Greek language was spoken ; and when the empire broke up 
into fragments, the sovereigns of every province used the 
mighty name as a passport to power. 

Manuel Komnenos, the eldest son of the tyrant Andro- 
nicus, had acquired some popularity by opposing the cruelties 
of his father, and by declaring that his respect for the 
authority of the Greek church compelled him to refuse 
marrying Agnes of France, the betrothed of his murdered 
relation Alexius II., — the affinity established by the cere- 
mony of betrothal, according to the ecclesiastical rules of the 
Greeks, creating a bar to marriage where the parties stand as 
Alexius II. and Manuel did, in the relationship of second 
cousins. The prudent conduct of Manuel, and his reverence 
for established laws, excited distrust in the breast of his 
passionate father, who deprived him of his birthright, and 
raised his younger brother John to the imperial dignity, 
investing him with the rank of colleague and successor. Yet 
the virtues of Manuel proved no protection, when the popular 
fury was roused against his father. The very name of Kom- 
nenos was for a while hateful, and every one who bore it was 
proscribed. The new emperor, Isaac II., weak, envious, and 
cruel, was induced, by the memory of the popularity which 
these good qualities had once inspired, to guard against a 
reaction in Manuel's favour. To prevent the possibility of 
his ever being called to the throne, Isaac ordered his eyes to 
be put out ; and the sentence was executed with such bar- 
barity that Manuel died from the effects of the operation. 
He left two children, Alexios and David. 

Alexios was only four years old at the time of his father's 
murder. The friends of his family placed him and his infant 
brother in security during the fury of the revolution, keeping 
them concealed from the jealousy of Isaac II. and the 
vengeance of the enemies of their house. When all danger 
was passed, the two children were allowed to reside un- 
molested at Constantinople, where they received their 
education, neglected and forgotten by the imperial court. 
Their title to the throne could give little disquietude to the 
reigning sovereign in a government which, like that of the 
Byzantine empire, was recognized to be elective, and in which 
their father had been excluded from the throne by the 
exercise of an acknowledged constitutional prerogative. In 


[Ch.I. §2. 

virtue of the same power of selecting a successor, to be 
publicly ratified by what was termed the Senate and the 
Roman people, the emperor John II., the best prince of the 
name of Komnenos, had excluded his eldest son, Isaac, from 
the succession, and left the empire to Manuel, his youngest. 
Alexios and David lived in obscurity until the Crusaders 
besieged Constantinople. Before the city was taken, the two 
young men escaped to the coast of Colchis, where their 
paternal aunt, Thamar, possessed wealth and influence. 
Assisted by her power, and by the memory of their tyran- 
nical grandfather, who had been popular in the east of Asia 
Minor, they were enabled to collect an army of Iberian mer- 
cenaries. At the head of this force Alexios entered Trebizond 
in the month of April 1204, about the time Constantinople 
fell into the hands of the Crusaders. He had been proclaimed 
emperor by his army on crossing the frontier l . To mark 
that he was the legitimate representative of the imperial 
family of Komnenos, and to prevent his being confounded 
with the numerous descendants of females, or with the family 
of the emperor Alexius III., who had arrogated to themselves 
his name, he assumed the designation of Grand-Komnenos 2 . 

1 Fallmerayer, in his Kaiser/hum von Trapezunt, corrects the errors of Ducange 
and Gibbon concerning Alexios I., whom these authors represent as not having 
assumed the title of emperor. But he does not appear to have sufficient authority 
for representing Thamar as having escaped from Constantinople, with her nephews, 
at the time of the revolution against Andronicus. When he argues that this flight 
was necessary to save their lives, he attributes too much importance to hereditary 
rights in the Byzantine empire. Had the young Alexios been educated as a pre- 
tender to the throne, this could only have been done under the protection of some 
powerful independent sovereign like Queen Thamar of Georgia, or Sultan Kilidji- 
Arslan of Iconium ; and of this there is no evidence in history. Indeed, Manuel, 
the father of Alexios, never having received the title of emperor, Alexios, according 
to Byzantine ideas, had no claim to the empire. He required to conquer it, when 
of age, like his ancestors Isaac I. and Alexius I. Panaretos, in hi~ Chronicle, 
informs us that Alexios, leaving Constantinople, arrived in Iberia, where he 
assembled an army by the influence of his aunt Thamar, and gained possession of 
Trebizond in April, 1 204. This is really all we know of his life before he ascended 
the throne ; and this leads to the conclusion that Thamar, but not Alexios, had 
been long established in Iberia. She may have been the widow of some Colchian 
prince who had maintained his independence against Queen Thamar of Georgia, 
or, as the Georgian historians call her, on account of her great exploits, King 
Thamar — the Georgian queen having only succeeded in extending her dominions 
as far westward as the shores of the Black Sea for a short time. She died in 1201. 
Saint-Martin, Mcmoires de I'Anmnie, ii. pp. 249, 255 ; Le Beau, Hisloire du Bas- 
Empire, xvii. p. 256, Brosset's note. It seems probable that the emperor Andro- 
nicus I. had married an Iberian princess, who introduced the Georgian names of 
Thamar and David into his branch of the family of Komnenos, and connected it 
by ties of consanguinity with the Colchian regions. 

3 It has been considered convenient, for distinction, to employ the usual Latin 
names for the Byzantine emperors, and to adopt the Greek orthography for the 
sovereigns of Trebizond. 


Wherever he appeared, he was acknowledged as the lawful 
sovereign of the Roman empire. The Greeks of Trebizond 
were in a state of alarm at the frightful revolution which had 
overthrown the political and commercial position of their 
race. The duke who then governed the province of Trebi- 
zond possessed neither the talents nor the power necessary 
to convert his government into an independent princi- 
pality; nor had he the energy or the influence required to 
oppose the progress of the young Alexios, who had a con- 
siderable share of the active vigour and decision of character 
for which so many of his ancestors had been remarkable. 
The inhabitants of the city were sensible of the danger they 
would incur should the Franks or the Georgians attack them 
while isolated from the other provinces of the empire, and 
their fear of foreign conquest and domestic anarchy operated 
in favour of the claims of an emperor who could boast a name 
renowned in the East. Trebizond was sure of enjoying the 
advantage of being the seat of government for some time. 
It might become the capital of an empire. At all events, 
if victory attended the arms of the young Grand-Komnenos' 
and if he succeeded in expelling the Franks from Constanti- 
nople, and restoring the Byzantine empire to the wealth and 
power it had formerly possessed under the emperors of his 
family, there could be no doubt that his early partizans would 
reap a rich harvest of reward. 

Sect. III.— Reign of Alexios I., Grand-Komnenos. 

Alexios Grand-Komnenos was twenty-two years of age 
when he was crowned emperor in Trebizond l . The title to 

1 It was the fashion of this age to magnify titles. There was a Grand Chan 
of Tartan^ a Grand Sultan of the Seljouk Turks, a Grand Sire of Athens ; and 
when the Greeks recovered possession of Constantinople, they called their sovereign 
the Grand Emperor, Meyas BaoiKtvs. The first modification of the title of the 
emperors of Trebizond, after they ceased to style themselves emperors of the 
Romans, is stated to have been, The faithful Emperor and Autocrat of all 
the^ East, Iberia, and Perateia : JJiards Baai\ev$ teal AvTOKparup iraarjs 'AvaroMjs, 
\&r)pwv, ml TlepaTtias, 6 Mtyas Kofivqvos. Perateia, or the transmarine province, 
was the name given to the possessions of Trebizond in the Tauric Chersonesos, 
Cherson, and Gothia. It may be doubted whether they used this title before 
the reign of the emperor John II., who married Eudocia, the daughter of Michael 
VIII. Palaeologos, emperor of Constantinople. The earlier emperors of Tre- 
bizond, however, appear to have attached less importance to the title of Grand 
than the later, for Manuel I. is called simply Komnenos, emperor and autocrat 


5 [Ch.I.§ 3 . 

which he laid claim was, The Faithful Emperor of the Romans. 
Such had been the title of the emperors of Constantinople 
until the dismemberment of the Eastern empire by the 
Crusaders; and Alexios, regarding the family of Angelos 
as dethroned usurpers, naturally laid claim to the position 
from which they had fallen, and which had been long occu- 
pied by his ancestors. The title of the emperors of Trebizond 
subsequently underwent some modification, particularly when 
it became necessary to conciliate the house of Palaeologos, 
after Michael VIII. had reconquered Constantinople ; and the 
title of Emperor of the Romans was then exchanged for that 
of Emperor of all the East, Iberia, and the Transmarine 

The conquests of Alexios at the commencement of his 
career were rapid and brilliant. The helplessness and in- 
capacity of the Byzantine provincial authorities, however, 
favoured the progress of his arms quite as much as his own 
talents, for whenever he met with a determined resistance his 
advance was arrested. The governors of most of the cities 
before whose walls he appeared, knowing that they could 
entertain no hope of support from the central government, 
unable to place any reliance on their own administrative 
powers, and without any chance of receiving assistance from 
the native population, submitted to the new emperor as 
their lawful sovereign. The Byzantine troops flocked to his 
standard with enthusiasm, for under his command a new 
career of activity was suddenly opened to the ambitious, 
while long dormant hopes of plunder, glory, and power were 
awakened in many breasts. Another cause affecting the 
minds of all the Greek Christians in the East favoured his 
enterprise. The fear of the Mussulman yoke was becoming 
daily greater. The family of Angelos had neglected the 
defence of the eastern Asiatic provinces, while the Seljouk 

of the Romans, in the inscription which exists in the church or mosque of St. 
Sophia, and which appears contemporaneous. [The expression mar us 0aot\*vt 
at the commencement of the title here given is apt to create an erroneous im- 
pression. It should rather be 'Ev Xpiaru maris ^aaiKtvs, as it is in the miniature 
of the emperor Basil, the Slayer of the Bulgarians, referred to below (p. 341^, or 
'i v XpiffTw tS Qtw maris 0aai\cv; as it is in the inscription of Manuel 1. ot 
Trebizond which i's there given, and in that of Alexius 111. on the fresco m the 
monastery of the Panaghia Theotocos near Trebizond. The latter runs thus— 
'n\i£ios iv Xpiarw rw 8c£ marcs paaiKtiis kcu avroxpara-p vaa V s AvaroXTjs u fifyai 
Ko^vrjvis. See Texier and Pullan's Byzantine Architecture, p. 201. Ed.J 


A.D. 1204-1222. 

Turks had taken advantage of this indifference, and threat- 
ened to overwhelm the orthodox from the south. The 
invasion of the Latin Christians had cut off all retreat to the 
westward. The Eastern nations had long believed that the 
power of the Greek emperors could alone offer a successful 
resistance to the progress of Mohammedanism, and drive the 
Seljouk Turks out of Asia Minor, as their predecessors had 
driven out the Saracens. 

Alexios Grand-Komnenos presented himself at the appro- 
priate moment to profit by this state of public opinion. In 
the course of a few months he rendered himself master of the 
fortresses of Tripolis, Kerasunt, Mesochaldaion, Jasonis, and 
Oinaion, and without fighting a single battle he conquered the 
whole country from the Phasis to the Thermodon. In the 
mean time his brother David invaded Paphlagonia at the 
head of a strong body of Iberian mercenaries and Lazian 
volunteers. His success was as great as that of his brother. 
The whole coast, from Sinope to Heracleia, submitted to his 
orders, and was incorporated into the empire of Alexios. 
The rich and strongly fortified cities of Sinope, Amastris, 
Tios, and Heracleia, opened their gates, and welcomed David 
as the representative of the lawful emperor of the Romans. 
He then advanced to the Sangarios, hoping soon to render his 
brother master of all the country which the Greeks still 
defended against the Crusaders. 

The condition of the Greeks at Nicaea favoured the project. 
Theodore Lascaris then ruled in Bithynia, but he still con- 
tented himself with the title of despot, and acted in the 
disadvantageous position of viceroy for his worthless father-in- 
law Alexius III., whose tyrannical government and cowardly 
flight from Constantinople, after the first assault of the Cru- 
saders, rendered him universally detested. David, confident 
in the popularity of his family, and trusting to the valour of 
his Iberian cuirassiers, expected to enter Nicomedia without 
resistance. But Theodore Lascaris was a better soldier and 
abler statesman than either David or Alexios. He made 
every preparation in his power for stopping the tide of con- 
quest which had borne forward the banner of Grand- 
Komnenos with uninterrupted success over all the southern 
shores of the Euxine. To prevent the two brothers from 
uniting the armies under their command, Theodore concluded 



5 [Ch.I.§3. 

a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, with Gaiaseddin 
Kaikhosrou, sultan of Iconium or Roum \ who was alarmed 
alike at the progress of the Crusaders and at that of the new 
emperor of Trebizond. While Theodore prepared to en- 
counter the army of David in Bithynia, the sultan marched 
against Alexios, who had laid siege to Amisos. Both brothers 
were defeated. Neither of them had been trained as soldiers, 
and nature had not endowed them with that rare genius 
which sometimes enables an individual in early youth to 
divine the strategic knowledge and military experience that 
are usually only to be acquired as the result of long service in 
the field. 

David had intrusted the command of his army to Syna- 
denos, a young and inexperienced general, who was ordered 
to occupy Nicomedia, as if the operation could be effected by 
a simple march. Theodore Lascaris cautiously watched the 
movements of his enemies, and assembled a considerable force 
on their flank before they entertained any suspicion that a 
hostile army was observing them in their immediate vicinity. 
The troops of Trebizond advanced in careless confidence until 
they were surprised by a sudden attack. The Iberian mer- 
cenaries, on whom David had principally relied for extending 
his conquests westward, fought bravely, and were cut to 
pieces. The general Synadenos was taken prisoner, and 
carried to Nicaea. This defeat arrested the progress of 
David, but he was still at the head of so large a force that 
he was able to retain possession of all his previous con- 
quests 2 . For a moment the empire of his brother extended 
from the chain of Caucasus to the shores of the Bosphorus, 
with the exception of the two contiguous cities of Amisos and 

Alexios was defeated by the Turks shortly after the loss of 
his brother's army. Amisos was the only Greek city on the 
coast that refused to acknowledge his authority. The Turks 
had built a town at Samsoun about a mile from the gates of 
Amisos. This Turkish possession, though forming a fortified 
town, was really only a commercial factory, resembling in its 

1 The Seljouk sultans of Minor Asia, who held their court at Iconium, called 
themselves the sultans of Roum, or Romania, as having subdued the most valuable 
portion of the dominions of the Byzantine emperors, who called themselves em- 
perors of the Romans. 

3 Nicttas, 403. 


A.D. 1204-1222. 

object what the Genoese town of Galata, in the port of 
Constantinople, became at a subsequent period. Commercial 
interests united the Greeks of Amisos and the Turks of 
Samsoun in close alliance. This point of the coast offers the 
easiest line of communication with that part of the interior of 
Asia Minor which extends from the Halys to the Euphrates, 
as far southward as Syria. The walls of Samsoun, conse- 
quently, protected warehouses filled with merchandise of 
immense value, which was first collected in the cities of the 
interior, from whence it was transmitted to the coast, for the 
Turks had from early ages been a commercial people \ It is 
only the Othoman race that has always been a tribe of 
warriors. The produce accumulated at Samsoun was pur- 
chased by the Greeks of Amisos, who furnished the capital 
and the ships necessary for its distribution through Russia and 
western Europe. The capitalists and the mariners of Amisos 
dispersed the manufactures of the nomades, their cloth of hair 
and wool, and their variegated carpets, the copper of Tokat, 
and the brilliant dye-stuffs of Caesarea, among the populous 
cities of the Byzantine empire and the Italian commercial 
republics. They conveyed them to Alexandria, Tripoli, and 
Tunis, from whence they reached Morocco and Spain ; and to 
Bulgaria and the Tauric Chersonesos, from whence they were 
transported by various routes over the north of Europe and 
Asia. The present aspect of the small fortified city of Sam- 
soun probably gives a tolerably exact idea of the aspect it 
presented at the commencement of the thirteenth century, by 
supposing everything that now appears old and dilapidated as 
then new and substantial. Amisos, however, which was then 
a larger, wealthier, and stronger city, has now disappeared ; 
and the traveller who visits its site can only trace a few 
ruined walls on the hill which rises to the north-westward of 
Samsoun 2 . 

At the time Constantinople fell into the hands of the 
Latins, Amisos was governed by a Byzantine officer named 
Sabbas. Like several provincial governors in Europe and 
western Asia, he assumed the position of an independent 
prince. His government had been so prudent that the citizens 
of Amisos acknowledged his authority with readiness ; and 

1 Menander, 398, edit. Bonn. 

2 Hamilton's Reiearches in Asia Minor, i. 290. 

Y % 


[Ch.I.§ 3 . 

both the Greeks of the surrounding country and the Turks 
of Samsoun considered their interests so closely identified 
with the continuation of the order he had preserved, during 
his administration, that they joined in defending him against 
the attacks of the emperor of Trebizond, and assisted him 
in preserving his independence after Alexios was defeated 
by the sultan of Iconium. Alexios, on his way westward 
to complete the conquest of the Greek empire, encamped 
with his army before the walls of Amisos, and summoned 
Sabbas to surrender the city. His demand was rejected, 
and he laid siege to the place. The Turks of Samsoun, 
persuaded that the conquest of Amisos would be followed 
by an attack on their town, and would cause their exclusion 
from any direct communication with the Black Sea, made 
common cause with the Greeks of Amisos. Messengers were 
despatched to Iconium, to urge the Seljouk sultan to expedite 
his movements. The defence of the place was so vigorous 
that Alexios had made little progress with the siege when 
Ga'faseddin Kaikhosrou arrived with the Turkish army. A 
battle was fought under the walls of the city, in which the 
troops of Trebizond were completely defeated, and the emperor 
escaped with only a remnant of his forces. 

The position of the city of Amisos at this period affords 
us a glimpse into the anomalous state of society and political 
power that was not uncommon in Asia Minor during the 
later days of the Byzantine empire, and to which many 
parallels may be found even in European histoiy. Sabbas 
occupied an intermediate position between that of an inde- 
pendent prince and a popular chief. The citizens of Amisos 
were enabled to defend their liberty in the midst of powerful 
and hostile states, rather by a favourable combination of 
circumstances, of which they availed themselves with prudence 
and moderation, than by any power they derived from their 
own wealth, or the strength of their position. They were 
contented to submit to a foreign leader, because they found 
him a wise and judicious administrator. Sabbas, on the other 
hand, accidentally raised from the rank of a provincial gover- 
nor to that of an independent sovereign, unable to count on 
the support of a large military force, and possessing only a 
limited power over the revenues of a single city with no very 
extensive territory, was dependent for the continuance of his 


A.D. 1204-1222. 

high position on his popularity and good behaviour. He 
showed himself everyway well adapted for his situation. He 
repulsed the attacks of the Christian emperor of Trebizond, 
and conciliated the good-will and active assistance of the 
Turks of Samsoun, without admitting the army of the sultan 
of Iconium within the walls of Amisos. Satisfied, however, 
that it would be an act of rashness to attempt defending his 
independence, unless he could secure the support of some 
powerful ally against both Alexios and Gai'aseddin, he became 
a voluntary vassal of the Greek empire of Nicaea as soon 
as Theodore Lascaris assumed the title of emperor. Theodore 
was too distant to interfere with the local administration of 
the city, but he was able from his position to afford an effec- 
tive protection to Amisos, should it be attacked either by 
the troops of David Grand-Komnenos or of the sultan of 
Iconium K 

David found himself so much weakened by the loss of his 
Iberian troops, and the impossibility of drawing further 
succours from Trebizond after his brother's defeat, that he 
sought a new alliance to maintain his ground against Theo- 
dore and Gai'aseddin. The emperor of Nicaea had leagued 
with the Turks ; David formed a treaty with the Latins in 
Constantinople. Without their assistance he feared that he 
should be unable to preserve his conquests in Paphlagonia ; 
and to purchase their aid, he became a vassal of the Latin 
empire of Romania, and consented to hold Heracleia and 
the neighbouring country as a fief from the emperor Henry; 
thus virtually separating himself from his brother's empire. 
The emperor Henry had already gained possession of Nico- 
media, and was eager to press the war against Theodore 
Lascaris, whose dominions he had compressed into a narrow 
space, by the conquest of all the southern shore of the 
Propontis, from the Hellespont to the Rhyndacus. David 
received the assistance of a body of crusading knights, with 
their followers and men-at-arms. These vain-glorious auxi- 
liaries, despising both their Greek enemies and their Greek 
allies, advanced boldly forward to attack the troops of the 
emperor of Nicaea, without condescending to combine their 
movements with the other corps that composed the army 

1 Acropolita, 6. 


[Ch. I. § 3. 

of David. Andronikos Ghidos, who commanded the army 

of Nicaea, availing himself of the rashness of the Latins, 

surrounded their cavalry in the great forest that extends over 

the highlands between Nicomedia and Heracleia, called by 

the Turks, with poetic feeling and descriptive observation, 

the ' ocean of trees.' The crusading knights were completely 

routed. Those who escaped death on the field of battle were 

carried as prisoners to Nicaea, and the trust David had 

placed in foreign aid was annihilated *. 

About the year 12 14, Theodore concluded a treaty of 
peace with Henry, in which David was not included. The 
Greek emperor immediately endeavoured to unite the ter- 
ritory still held by David to the empire of Nicaea. He 
successively conquered Heracleia, Amastris, and Tios, making 
himself master of the whole country as far as Cape Carambis 2 . 
His progress was facilitated by the sultan Azeddin, who 
laid siege to Sinope about the same time, and whose invasion 
induced the Greeks to submit to their countrymen rather 
than run the risk of falling under the sway of the Turks. 
Sinope was the richest city in David's dominions, and he 
hastened to defend it with all the troops he could assemble. 
A battle ensued, in which he terminated his active career 
on a bloody and disastrous field. Sinope surrendered to the 
victor, and Azeddin subdued the whole country from Cape 
Carambis eastward to the territory of Amisos 3 . 

The affairs of Aiexios at Trebizond now assumed a threat- 
ening aspect. From the time of his defeat at Amisos he 
had been cut off from all regular communication by land with 
his brother, to whose activity he had been so much indebted 
at the commencement of his career. Enemies who were 
alarmed at the sudden formation of a new empire in their 
vicinity attacked his dominions on every side. The Turks 
of Cappadocia assailed Pontus, while the Georgians ravaged 

1 Nicetas, 412. a Acropolita, 9. 

3 This is the result of the notices in Abulpharagius and Abulfeda, as they 
have been well explained by Fallmerayer, Gesckichte, 94. Abulpharagius mentions 
that Sinope was taken, and its rnler Kyr Alexis slain. Abulfeda states that this 
year (i.e. 1214) the Turkomans (Seljouks) took prisoner the emperor Lascaris. 
Fallmerayer points out how these errors arose ; and, indeed, it is not surprising 
that David, who was the real sovereign of Sinope, should be confounded with 
Aiexios, who was the emperor; nor that the Greek emperor of Trebizond, called 
by the orientals Kyralexis, should have his name confounded with that of Lascaris, 
the better known Greek emperor of Nicaea. 


A.D. 1204-1222. 

Colchis. The Georgians, or Iberians, were the bravest war- 
riors in all Asia ; and it was fortunate for the young emperor 
of Trebizond that, at this crisis, their hostilities were prin- 
cipally directed against the Mussulmans in Armenia, for, 
had they turned all their energy to effect the overthrow 
of the empire of Trebizond, they might have stifled the 
existence of the imperial house of Grand-Komnenos in the 
cradle \ 

It was not until after the fall of Sinope, and the conquest 
of the country eastward to the Thermodon, that the sultan of 
Iconium and the emperor of Trebizond were brought into 
direct collision for the second time. Azeddin proved a more 
active and dangerous enemy than his father Gai'aseddin. 
He was a man of great ambition and few prejudices ; indeed, 
the contemporary Europeans reported that he was extremely 
favourable to the Christians, and almost, if not really in secret, 
a Christian. The report was propagated in the West as a 
ground of praise ; in the East, his enemies gave it currency as 
proving him a traitor to his faith and nation. He may, like 
some other members of his family, have been an infidel, as far 
as the divine commission of Mahomet was concerned ; but 
the accusation of his preferring Christianity was spread among 
the Turks by those who feared his political ambition. Like 
the caliphs of Bagdad and Cairo, he had more confidence in 
veteran mercenaries than in patriotic native troops. He 
feared the turbulent and independent spirit of his Seljouk 
subjects. Neither the nomade hordes nor the territorial 
nobles were the instruments which he could employ at will, 
to extend his dominions and augment his personal power. 
In order to possess a body of troops on whose service he 
could constantly reckon, he formed a guard of mercenaries ; 
and circumstances rendered it easier for him to hire Christian 
warriors than to purchase slaves, like the Mamlouk sultans 
of Egypt, or collect neophytes and renegades, like later 
Moslem princes. His infidel guards, hated by all around, 
and looking only to the sultan for wealth and honour, were 
ready to execute all his orders without distinction of rank or 
respect for law or religion. At this time the East swarmed 
with European adventurers, who, having secured indulgences 

1 Abulpharagius, 449 ; Fallmerayer, Geschichle, 90. 


[Ch.I.§ 3 . 

to an unlimited amount by their services as Crusaders, were 

eager to enjoy the interest of the treasures they had laid up 

in heaven by committing a few additional sins on earth. 

Their visit to the tomb of Christ, and their wars against 

the infidels, had brought them neither wealth nor lands 

as a reward for their pious exertions. They had, however, 

obtained indulgences, which in their opinion authorized them 

to seek riches by hiring their swords to Greek heretics or 

Turkish infidels without shame or sin. Theodore I. (Lascaris), 

the Greek emperor of Nicaea, had at one time eight 

hundred of these soldiers of fortune in his service 1 . Azeddin 

assembled round his person a powerful corps of similar 


Alexios of Trebizond was unable to resist a powerful, 

wealthy, and warlike sovereign like Azeddin. Cut off from 

all direct collision with the Greek empire of Nicaea, and 

the Latin empire of Romania, he was almost forgotten in 

the West. Involved in a political and international circle 

of alliances and hostilities, that disconnected his interests 

from those of the Greeks on the Asiatic and European shores 

of the Aegean, his wars and treaties placed him in close 

relations with the Christian princes of Georgia and Iberia, 

with the Turkoman chieftains of Cappadocia, and the emirs 

of Armenia. In this state of comparative isolation, he was 

unable to offer any effectual resistance to the arms of the 

• r rand-sultan of Roum, and he was glad to purchase 

tranquillity, and save his dominions from devastation, by 

acknowledging himself a vassal of the Seljouk empire, by 

paying an annual tribute to the treasury of Azeddin, and 

sending a contingent of troops to serve in the Turkish 

armies 2 . Of the particular circumstances or misfortunes 

that reduced him to this extremity, nothing is known : 

the fact alone is recorded. It is probable, however, that 

the commercial relations of the Greeks of Trebizond with 

the rest of Asia both assisted the emperor in concluding 

this treaty of peace with the sultan, and rendered it, in spite 

1 Niceph. Greg. io. 

- MS. of Lazaros the Skeuophylax (intendant of the plate), discovered by Fall- 
mcrayer at the monastery of St. Diony>i<>-. on Mount Athos, founded by the 
emperor Alexios III. of Trebizond. Original-FragmeMe, PL i. p. 85, in the 
Transactions of the Academy of Munich for 1843. 


A.D. I204-I222. 

of its humiliating conditions, not unpopular among his own 

Of the internal history of Trebizond during the reign of 
Alexios I. nothing has been preserved. We know, however, 
that the emperor or his ministers did not neglect to profit 
by the advantages of his position, and of the extensive 
commercial relations of his subjects in the Black Sea. 
Cherson, Gothia, and all the Byzantine possessions in the 
Tauric Chersonesos, were united to his empire ; and so close 
was the alliance of interest, that these districts remained 
dependent on the government of Trebizond until the period 
of its fall x . It is not very probable that this conquest could 
have been effected by an imprudent or unpopular sovereign. 
We know, too, that Trebizond rose rapidly in power and 
wealth immediately after the establishment of its independ- 
ence. This was a natural consequence of increased security 
and the great addition to the size of its territory, which from 
a province grew suddenly into an empire. 

Alexios I. died at Trebizond in the year 1222. Of his 
character, feelings, passions, and talents so little is known, 
that any attempt to embody his personality would be an 
encroachment on the domain of poetry or romance. He 
appears in the history of Trebizond as the shadow of a 
mythic hero, the founder of an empire, whose origin we may 
perhaps, without sufficient warrant, feel inclined to trace to 
his individual actions, when he himself may have been 
nothing more than an ordinary man accidentally selected 
by fortune to act a prominent part. That he possessed the 
noble figure, handsome face, and active frame that were 
hereditary in the house of Grand-Komnenos, and which 
they probably derived from their Georgian ancestors, may 
be admitted, though the epithet of great was not applied to 
his stature 2 . 

A Greek empire, in the thirteenth century, required a 
new saint just as necessarily as a Greek colony, in the heroic 
ages, required its demi-god or eponymous hero. This new 

1 This is another of the facts with which Fallmerayer's researches have enriched 
history. MS. of Lazaros, Originat-Fragmente, Pt. i. p. 1 10. The territory of the 
city of Cherson, and the province of Gothia, embraced the southern and south- 
eastern parts of the Crimea. 

2 Gibbon, vii. 327: 'The epithet of great was applied perhaps to his stature 
rather than to his exploits.' 


[Ch. I. § 3. 

saint was indispensable, for it was his duty to appear in the 

celestial tribunals unencumbered with the business of older 

clients. St. Eugenios was chosen by the emperor and people 

of Trebizond to act as their advocate in heaven and their 

protector on earth \ His name and worship served to 

separate the citizens of the empire of Trebizond from the 

Greeks of the Byzantine empire. The votaries of St. 

Eugenios formed a nation apart, united together by their 

own ecclesiastical ideas and religious prejudices, then the 

most powerful feelings and motives of action with the 

Christian population in the East. St. Eugenios was a native 

martyr, who had been condemned to death during the 

persecution of Diocletian for boldly destroying a statue of 

Mithras, which had long been an object of adoration to the 

people of Trebizond, on the romantic Mount of Mithrios, 

now Bouz-tepe, that overlooks the city with its wall of rock. 

The martyrdom of St. Eugenios took place at an isolated 

point between two ravines that separate the upper citadel and 

the great eastern suburb, and on this spot Alexios erected 

a splendid church and monastery to the patron of the city 

and empire. The buildings dedicated to St. Eugenios were 

more than once destroyed amidst the revolutions of Trebizond ; 

but a Christian church, now converted into a mosque by the 

Osmanlis, and called Yeni Djuma djami, still exists. The 

effigy of St. Eugenios was also impressed on all the silver 

coins of Trebizond 2 . The festivals of St. Eugenios became 

the bond of social communication between the emperor and 

his subjects : the biography of the saint was the text-book 

of Trapezuntine literature ; his praise the subject of every 

oratorical display; his name the appellation of one member 

in every family, the object of universal veneration, and the 

centre of patriotic enthusiasm 3 . The religion, the literature, 

1 [St. Eugenios was not altogether a 'new saint ' with the people of Trebizond, 
for Procopius informs us that the aqueduct which Justinian built there was named 
by the inhabitants after that saint. De Aedif. lib. iii. c. 7. Ed.] 

2 No coins of Alexios I. and Andronikos I. have been identified, but all the 
known silver coins of Trebizond bear the effigy of St. Eugenios on their reverse. 
The earlier, while the emperor and people had some warlike habits, represent the 
saint on foot, as the spiritual guide and shepherd of his flock ; the later, when 
the emperor and people were effeminate and luxurious in their way of life, display 
him on horseback with a cross in his hand, as a macc-at-arms, ready to protect 
the city, which the sovereign and the people felt themselves too weak to defend 
without miraculous aid. 

;: In a lawsuit of which Fallmerayer discovered the records in the monastery of 


A.D. I 204-1 222. 

and the politics of the inhabitants of Trebizond, during the 
whole existence of the empire, identified themselves with the 
worship and the legends of St. Eugenios. 

St. Dionysios, on Mount Athos, three citizens of Trebizond appear as witnesses, 
all named Eugenios. 


Trebizond Tributary to the Seljouk Sultans and 
Grand-Khans of the Mongols. 

Sect. I. — Reigns of Andronikos 1. {Ghidos), and Joannes I. 
(Axone/ios), 1222-1238. 

The succession to the imperial title was never considered 
to be hereditary among the Byzantine Greeks ; but the new 
Greek empire at Trebizond forgot many of the old Roman 
traditions, and soon assumed a hereditary form. At the 
death of Alexios I., however, the hereditary principle had not 
prevailed over the elective constitution imprinted by imperial 
Rome on all its offshoots, and the vacant throne was occupied 
by Andronikos Ghidos, the son-in-law of Alexios, to the ex- 
clusion of Joannes, the eldest son of the deceased emperor 1 . 

Though Andronikos continued to be tributary to the Sel- 
jouk empire, he availed himself so skilfully of the embarrass- 
ments which arose on the decease of the emperor at Iconium, 
as to succeed in concluding a treaty with Alaeddin, who had 
succeeded his brother Azeddin (a.d. 12 14). This treaty made 
no change in the relations of vassalage already established 
between the two empires, but it provided that the two sove- 
reigns were to live in perpetual amity, and that the subjects 
and frontier garrisons of the one were never to molest those of 
the other. Such a treaty of a suzerain with his tributary, 
being a direct acknowledgment of complete political inde- 
pendence, was not likely to be long respected ; and the 
manner in which it was broken indicates that Alaeddin soon 
repented of his concession. 

1 Panareti Chronicon Trapezuntinum, 362. The emperor Andronikos I. was 
perhaps the same Andronikfs Ghidos who commanded the army of Theodore 
Lascaris, when the Latin auxiliaries of David Grand-Komnenos were destroyed. 


A ship bearing the imperial flag of Trebizond was driven 
on shore near Sinope. It carried the receiver-general of 
Cherson and several archonts of Perateia, with a large sum 
of money destined for the public treasury of the empire. 
The ship was seized by Hayton, the reis or governor of Sinope, 
who took possession of the treasure destined for Andronikos, 
and detained the archonts in order to enrich himself by their 
ransom. The emperor no sooner heard of this act of piracy 
than he sent a fleet to punish Hayton. The Trapezuntine 
expedition proceeded to Karousa, where troops were landed, 
and the whole country, up to the very walls of Sinope, was 
wasted and plundered. The fleet attacked the ships in the 
port with equal success ; and Hayton, distracted by the ruin 
of his dominions, the captivity of his people, and the signs 
of discontent within his city, purchased peace by giving up 
the captured ship with the treasure seized, and releasing all 
his prisoners without ransom. At the same time all the 
prisoners on board the fleet were released, but the troops and 
sailors carried off all the plunder they had collected. 

Hayton was a vassal of the Seljouk empire, and the ter- 
mination of the affair was extremely displeasing to the sultan 
Alaeddin, who considered that the emperor of Trebizond, as 
a tributary of his throne, was bound to appeal to his suzerain 
at Iconium, before attacking Sinope and ravaging the Turkish 
territory. He resolved to avail himself of the occasion, to set 
aside the treaty by which he had placed Andronikos on the 
footing of an equal, and to conquer Trebizond. The Greek 
emperor could bring no force into the field capable of contending 
with the Seljouks. Alaeddin ordered an army to be assem- 
bled at Erzeroum, which he strengthened with a body of 
veteran troops from Melitene. The command of the expedi- 
tion was intrusted to his son Melik, who was ordered to lay 
siege to Trebizond 1 . The young Melik pressed rapidly 
forward through the passes to Baibert, where he encamped 
for a couple of days to make the necessary dispositions for 
descending with his army to the coast, by the defiles of the 
wooded mountains that surround Trebizond. Andronikos 

1 Lazaros says distinctly that Melik, the commander-in-chief of the Turkish 
army, was the son of the grand sultan Alaeddin, the son of Sa Apatines, the 
Iathatines of Acropolita— Gaiaseddin Kaikhosrou. Fallmerayer, Original-Frag- 
mente, Chronihen, Inschriften, und anderes Materiale zur Geschichte des Kaiserlhums 
Trapezunt, 18. 


OJ [Ch.II. §i. 

had done everything in his power to meet the threatened 
danger. The fortress of Trebizond was put in the best state of 
defence, the wealth of the suburbs was secured within its 
walls, and arrangements were made for lodging the immense 
population crowded within its narrow circuit. All the chosen 
warriors of the empire, from Sotiropolis, under the Mingrelian 
mountains, to Oinaion. in the land of the Chalybes, were sum- 
moned to the imperial standard ; and the emperor, hoping to 
delay the march of the Seljouk troops, advanced to the summit 
of the mountain range with his army. But his followers were 
sadly inferior to the Turks both in courage and discipline, and 
as soon as they perceived the numerous array of their enemies, 
the greater part dispersed. Some sought the recesses of the 
forests, from which they subsequently issued to interrupt the 
communications of the Turkish army during the siege. Others 
fled back on Trebizond, to seek shelter at the shrines of the 
Panaghia Chrysokephalos and St. Eugenios, where they quar- 
tered themselves in the monasteries around those churches. 
Andronikos covered the retreat with a small guard of five 
hundred chosen cavalry armed with shield and lance, who 
distinguished themselves by a valiant attack on the advanced 
guard of the Turkish army, at a bridge over the Pyxites. 
Melik, however, moved steadily forward with the main body; 
while Andronikos, unable to defend even the extensive suburb 
of Trebizond to the east of the citadel, shut himself up within 
its walls. The Seljouk army encamped along the whole space 
from St. Eugenios to St. Constantine, down to the sea. The 
besieging army was only separated from the fortress by the 
deep ravine that bounds it on the eastern side. 

At this period the fortress of Trebizond occupied only the 
table-rock between the two great ravines of Gouzgoun-dere 
and Isse-lepol, including what now forms the central and 
upper citadels. The northern wall ran parallel to the shore 
at some distance from the sea, and the intervening space was 
not yet fortified by the wall which now protects it, and 
includes part of the suburb beyond the western ravine. The 
first attack of the Seljouk army was directed against this 
northern wall. In this spot alone the ground offered facilities 
f< r approaching the fortifications, and admitted of an attempt 
to carry the place by storm. But though the ramparts at 
this point did not tower so high above the assailants as at 


A.D. 1222-1238. 

every other, the narrowness of the space between the wall and 
the sea deprived the Turks of the advantages to be derived 
from their superior numbers ; and, by crowding them closely 
together, exposed those engaged in the assault to every 
missile discharged by the besieged. The consequence was 
that this attack was repulsed with considerable loss ; and 
Andronikos, by a well-directed sally of his horsemen, pur- 
sued the assailants into the Turkish encampment, where the 
fugitives threw a portion of the army into the greatest con- 
fusion. The Seljouk generals soon re-established order, and 
a superior force was drawn out against the Greeks, who then 
retreated within their walls. The leaders of both parties in 
this engagement displayed great personal valour, several men 
of rank fell on both sides, and Gai'aseddin, a cousin of Melik, 
and Hayton, the reis of Sinope, were among the slain. 

The next attempt to storm Trebizond was made from the 
south. Melik occupied the narrow platform between the two 
great ravines before the wall of the upper citadel with a 
division of his army. His own head-quarters were in the 
monastery of St. Eugenios, the church itself serving as the 
residence of his harem. It was resolved to surprise the upper 
citadel by a night attack ; but the darkness which was to aid 
the success of the operation proved the ruin of the Turkish 
army. The three divisions of the besiegers, occupying the 
eastern suburb, the hill of St. Eugenios, and the platform 
above the citadel, were separated from one another by deep 
ravines, yet they were destined to act in concert. As the 
troops were moving forward to support the storming party, 
a dreadful tempest, accompanied by a hail-storm and a deluge 
of rain, suddenly swelled the torrents in the ravines. The 
troops from St. Eugenios and the eastern suburb were unable 
to mount the rocky ascent to the platform, and some were 
carried away by the flood as they were crossing the ravine. 
The feint attack from the north was repulsed, and the whole 
assault failed. The defeated troops were everywhere driven 
back on those destined to support them. The cavalry, horse 
and man, was forced over the precipices ; the infantry was 
driven back into the torrents which poured down from the 
mountains, and the confusion was soon inextricable. When 
the fury of the storm abated, and it became possible to render 
the local knowledge of the garrison of some avail, a sortie was 


[Ch.II. §1. 

directed against the head-quarters of Melik from the northern 

gates. The whole Seljouk army then fled in confusion, 

abandoning its camp and leaving everything to the enemy. 

Melik himself joined the fugitives, and was made prisoner at 

Kouration by a party of mountaineers from Matzouka. The 

glory of the victory was attributed to St. Eugenios, whose 

history it enriched with many a legend. 

Andronikos used his victory with prudence. He treated 
Melik with great attention, dismissed him without a ransom, 
and sent him with a becoming escort to Iconium. Negotia- 
tions were opened with the sultan Alaeddin, and a new treaty 
of peace was concluded, by which the empire of Trebizond 
was declared free from all tribute, from the obligation of 
furnishing a military contingent, and from the homage which 
Alexios and Andronikos had been hitherto bound to pay to 
the grand sultan of Roum a . 

The independence of the empire of Trebizond was not of 
long duration. The sovereignty of western Asia was disputed 
by the great Khoarasmian shah Gelaleddin and the grand 
sultan Alaeddin. Andronikos saw that, in such a conflict, it 
would be impossible for him to retain his dominions unless he 
secured the alliance of one of these powerful princes. The 
ambitious shah was the more dangerous neighbour ; and to 
purchase his friendship the emperor of Trebizond acknow- 
ledged himself Gelaleddin's vassal, and furnished a contingent 
to the Khoarasmian army. The army of Gelaleddin was 
completely defeated by Alaeddin at the bloody battle of 
Akhlat 2 . One division of the Persian cavalry was driven 
over a range of precipices, and perished almost to a man 
in a vain attempt to escape ; but another, by a rapid retreat, 
gained the passes of Armenia, and reached Trebizond in 
safety, where they served to strengthen the imperial army. 
Another defeat of Gelaleddin by the Mongols, in the year 
after the battle of Akhlat, placed Octai the grand khan of 
Tartary in direct rivality with the sultan of Roum. Andro- 
nikos was again called upon to secure his political existence, 
and the duration of the empire of Trebizond, by the sacrifice 

1 Fallmeraycr, Original-Fragmente, Pt. i. 85. 

2 Hammer {Histoire de V Empire Othoman, i. 39) places the battle of Akhlat in 
the year 1229. But Fallmerayer (Geschichte, 107), on the authority of Abul- 
pharagius, places it in 1230, and d'Herbelot (Bibliothdque Orientale, s.v. Gelaleddin) 
agrees with this chronology. 


A.D. I222-I23S.] 

of his imperial pride. The activity of Alaeddin allowed him 
little time to choose ; and as soon as the Seljouk sultan had 
completed the conquest of lesser Armenia, Andronikos hast- 
ened to renew his relations of vassalage with his old suzerain, 
and engaged to maintain a subsidiary force of two hundred 
lances constantly in the service of the sultan. This force may 
be considered as forming a body of one thousand men l . 

The sultan Alaeddin, with all his ambition and personal 
daring, was a politic and able prince, who did not overlook 
the commercial interests of his subjects. He perceived that 
the idle satisfaction of conquering a weak state like that of 
Trebizond, which only desired by its alliances to secure to 
itself a neutral position, would be ill compensated by the 
injury he would inflict on trade. He had discernment enough 
to understand that commerce was considered by the great 
majority of the merchants, whether Christians or Mussulmans 
— both in his own dominions and in the other states of 
western Asia — more secure while Trebizond and its territory 
remained an independent and neutral empire, than it would 
be were that city governed by one of his own turbulent emirs. 
The Seljouk empire was now at the height of its power, and 
had Alaeddin not thought and acted as a wise statesman, 
the Greek empire of Trebizond might have been destroyed at 
this early period of its existence, and its very name lost to 
European history. Though Trebizond survived this crisis, its 
extent suffered some contraction. Iberia, which had hitherto 
formed one of its most valuable provinces, and the possession 
of which was long recorded in the imperial title, seized the 
opportunity afforded by the weakness of Andronikos I. to 
assume complete independence. After the Mongols had 
driven the Georgian queen Roussadan from Tiflis, her son 
David was elected king by the Iberian and Lazian tribes, who 
had hitherto remained independent ; and the Trapezuntine 
province threw off its allegiance, and united itself with the 
new Iberian kingdom. David was for some time the only 
Christian prince in these regions who lived in a state of 

1 Vincent de Beauvais, quoted by Fallmerayer, Geschickle, 70. A lance at this 
time, in the East, consisted of the leader in complete panoply with four armed 
followers— two on horseback and two on foot. Ducange, Glossarium Med. el Inf. 
Lot. s.v. Lancea: 'Centum lanceas more antiquo, quarum unaquaeque dicitur 
habere quinque milites vel homines.' 



[Ch. II. § 2. 

complete independence, owning no vassalage to the surround- 
ing infidels. His capital was at Kutasion in Imerathia. 

Andronikos reigned thirteen years. He was succeeded by 
his brother-in-law Joannes I., surnamed Axouchos, who occu- 
pied the throne only three years. The death of Joannes was 
caused by a fall from horseback while playing at the dan- 
gerous game called tzukanion — an amusement extremely 
fashionable among the Byzantine nobles \ John I. left a son, 
named Joannikios, who was compelled to enter a monastery; 
and the crown was assumed by Manuel I., the second son of 
Alexios I. 

SECT. II. — Manuel I, the Great Captain. — Andronikos II. — 
George. — A.D. 123 8- 12 80. 

Manuel I. was distinguished by the title of the Great 
Captain, but of the military exploits that gained him this 
name we know nothing. They were not, however, sufficiently 
brilliant to deliver Trebizond from its state of vassalage, for it 
is certain that he was compelled in the earlier part of his reign 

1 The emperor Manuel I. of Constantinople was nearly killed by the fall of his 
horse at this game. It was played with a leather ball, like a cricket ball, about 
as 1 ig as an apple or pomegranate. Two rival parties, mounted on horseback, 
with ^icks having a conical bowl at the end, endeavoured to impel this ball 
beyond a certain barrier, or to prevent their adversaries from accomplishing the 
same feat before themselves, according to certain fixed rules of the game. Only 
the nobility appear to have engaged in the game, but it drew crowds of spectators 
an 1 shared with the hippodrome in exciting Byzantine enthusiasm and passion. 
Every city of importance had its tzukanisterion, or place appropriated to this 
amusement. Cinnamus, 154; Ducange, Histoire de St. Louis par Joinville, diss. 8; 
de V Exercise de la Chicane et du Jeu de Pautne a Chevnl. Quatremere, His/oire des 
Sultans Mamlouks de I'Egypte, i. 121, note; Ducange, Glossarium Med. et Inf. Graeci- 
tatis, s.v. l^vKaviarripi v. 

In the modern Trebizond the Meidan is usually supposed to represent the 
ancient hippodrome, but it is perhaps too far beyond the line of the ancient It is called by its present name Meidan in the Chronicle of 
Panaretos. See Kallmerayer. Original-Fraprvien'e, Pt. ii. p. 89. The great open 
space on the road to St. Sophia*s called Kapak-Meidan, i.e. 'Pumpkin Square,' 
seems to have a better claim to be the site of the hippodrome, and perhaps of the 
tzukanisterion. Kallmerayer (Original-FragmenU, Pt ii. p. -4) thinks that the 
site of the tzukanisterion may be traced in the remains of a large enclosure on 
the space between the two ravines outside the walls of the upper citadel. On 
visiting it with Mr. Powers, the American missionary at Trebizond. a Turk of the 
neighbourhood informed us that the place was called Domouz Serai, and had 
served as a palace for the pigs of a giaour king of Trebizond. The enclosure may 
have contained an amphitheatre, but there hardly appears to be a level space large 
enough for a good game at tzukanion, and the name Kapak seems to refer to the 
ball, though a pumpkin is rather larger lhan an apple. See also Eugenici Laus 
Trapezuntis, c. 6, in Tafel's edition of Eustathii Opusada. 


A.D. I 238-I 280.] 

to pay homage to the Seljouks, and in the latter to the Mon- 
gols. We can only conjecture that his personal character was 
remarkable for daring, and that his military skill enabled him 
to command a degree of political influence incommensurate 
with the extent of his empire. 

After the death of Alaeddin, in 1237, the Seljouk empire 
lost much of its power. His son Gai'aseddin Kaikhosrou II., 
who was said to have poisoned his noble father, was a weak 
and luxurious prince. During his reign the Mongols renewed 
their incursions into western Asia; and in the year 1244 he 
was entirely defeated in a great battle at Kousadac, near 
Arsinga, by the army of the grand khan Octai. The Seljouk 
force, composed of Turks, Arabs, Greeks, Georgians, Arme- 
nians, and Franks, though far superior in numbers to that of 
the Mongols, fled before them without offering any serious 
resistance. Manuel's contingent had fought in the routed 
army. Policy urged him to lose no time in conciliating the 
victor, and he was fortunate enough to be admitted to become 
a vassal of the Tartar empire, on nearly the same terms as 
had previously bound him to the Seljouk sultan. Trebizond 
was viewed by the Mongol court, as it had been by that of 
Iconium, rather as a mercantile station than as the capital of 
an empire ; and the great captain escaped appearing as a sup- 
pliant sovereign before the grand Mongol at the court of 
Karakorum, because he was regarded as the chief of a trading 
factory, not as the emperor of a powerful state. His position 
and his power awakened neither the ambition nor the jealousy 
of the grand khan. 

The political condition of Asia Minor during the reign 
of the emperor Manuel I. is described by the friar Rubruquis, 
who visited it in the year 1253, on his embassy from St. 
Louis to the court of Karakorum. He mentions that the 
Circassians, the Soanes, and the Iberians then lived in a 
state of independence ; but Trebizond was governed by its 
own prince, named Komnenos, of the family of the emperors 
of Constantinople, who was in a state of vassalage to the 
Tartars. Sinope belonged to the sultan of the Turks, but 
at that time it was also reduced to a state of vassalage by the 
Tartars. The Greek empire of Nicaea, called by Rubruquis 
the land of Vatatzes, was ruled by Theodore II., called 
Lascaris, from his maternal grandfather ; and this country 

z 2 


[Ch. II. § 2. 

was independent, and owed no vassalage to the Tartar 

empire 1 . 

The only notice of Manuel that is found in any western 
contemporary writer is contained in the life of St. Louis by 
Joinvillc. The stout seneschal mentions that, in the year 
1 253, while St. Louis was engaged fortifying Sidon, ambassa- 
dors visited the king from the signor of Trebizond, who 
called himself Grand-Komnenos. They brought with them 
rich presents, and asked the hand of a princess of France for 
their sovereign. No princess having accompanied the king 
on his pilgrimage, he recommended Manuel to form a matri- 
monial alliance with the family of Baldwin II., emperor of 
Constantinople, since the house of Courtenay was related to 
the royal family of France. This advice was doubtless not 
much relished by Manuel, who cared very little about the 
blood of Capet, and only sought an alliance with the French 
king on account of the great personal fame and influence of 
St. Louis ; and because he hoped that a marriage with a 
princess of France might enable him to attract the expedi- 
tions of the crusading chivalry of the West to Trebizond. 

Manuel died in the year 1263, after a long and prosperous 
reign of twenty-five years. He was the founder of the 
magnificent church and monastery of St. Sophia, situated in 
a delightful position on the sea-shore, about a mile and a half 
to the westward of the fortress of Trebizond, where the 
inhabitants of the city still crowd to enjoy every festival. 
His half-defaced portrait still exists on its walls 2 . 

1 Voyage de Rubruqvis, in the Recueil de Voyages et de Mi moires, public par la 
Societe de Geographic. Paris, 1839, tom - * v - 

'-' The monastery has disappeared ; but the church, with its external ornaments, 
its inlaid marble pavement, its mural decorations, and contiguous belfry and 
chapel, forms one of the most interesting monuments of Byzantine architecture, 
sculpture, and painting, that time has spared. The paintings are suffering hourly 
dilapidation, and in a very few years will probably be utterly destroyed. I was 
fortunate enough to find a full-length figure of the emperor Manuel, of which 
I had heard no previous mention, tolerably well preserved, to the right of the 
door used as the entry to the mosque. The emperor is without a crown, wearing 
only a band on his head ornamented with a double row of pearls : his robes are 
adorned on both sides, down the front, with two rows of single-headed eagles 
on circular medallions, about three inches in diameter. On his breast is a large 
medallion, about seven inches in diameter, bearing the figure of St. Eugenios on 
horseback, as he is represented on the later coins of Trebizond. The figure of 
the saint is painted on a blue ground. This painting would seem to be con- 
temporary with Manuel, from the inscription, which style-; him Emperor of the 
Romans. The single-headed eagle was a common type of the Byzantine empire, 
and by no means peculiar to the empire of Trebizond, before the conquest of 
tantinople by the Crusaders. It may be seen on the inlaid floor, as it is 


A.D.1238-1280.] ° 

Andronikos II., the eldest son of Manuel, occupied the 
throne for three years, and died without issue. 

The reign of Georgios, who succeeded his brother Andro- 
nikos, lasted fourteen years ; and as the power both of the 
Seljouks and the Mongols was now declining in Asia Minor, 
he gradually acquired a position of complete independence, 
and ventured to make war on the Turkoman tribes on the 
frontiers of his dominions. His endeavours to increase his 
own power rendered him unpopular among the nobles and 
military chiefs of Trebizond, whose assumption of individual 
authority, and whose attempts to arrogate to themselves the 
complete control over the financial and judicial affairs within 
their possessions, he determined to repress. In one of his 
military expeditions he was deserted by the nobles who 
accompanied him. Their object in deserting their sovereign 
was to turn the defeat of the imperial army to their own 
advantage, by weakening the central power ; for they feared 
the increased authority of the emperor's administration, in 
matters of finance and justice, far more than they desired 
the extension of the limits of the empire. Their treacherous 
retreat left Georgios a prisoner in the hands of the Turko- 
mans at the moment he expected to drive them from the 
range of Mount Tauresion, where they had begun to settle. 

often represented, picking out the eyes of a hare. The inscription at the side 
of the picture is as follows : — 

'en xn m en nisToc baciaetc kai attokpathp p^imaion kththp 


It must be observed that the title used by Manuel is precisely that of the Byzan- 
tine emperors, as may be seen in the drawing of the emperor Basil II., from an 
old MS. of the ninth century, in Seroux d 'Agin court, History of Art ; Painting, 
plate xlvii. 5, English edit. ; so that, if the inscription had been discovered at 
Nicaea or Nicomedia, it would be attributed without hesitation to the Byzantine 
emperor, Manuel I. Comnenus. [I suppose the beginning of the latter part of the 
inscription should run — ht'iotx? ttjs /x6vt]S tclvttjs. Ed.] 


Trebizond Independent. — Internal Factions. 

SECT. I. — Reign of Joannes II. — Alliance with the Empire of 
Constantinople. — A.D. 1280-1297. 

JOANNES II., the third son of Manuel, ascended the throne 
in the year 1280, as soon as the news of the captivity of 
his brother Georgios reached the capital. The empire of 
Trebizond was now completely relieved from its vassalage 
to the Mongols, and its history assumes a new character. 
Hitherto, we have known little of its internal condition ; 
henceforward the memorials of its intestine factions, the 
intrigues of the palace, and the vices of the emperors, form 
the prominent features in the records of the empire : but we 
hardly obtain a glimpse of the nature of the commerce or 
the social organization of the people, that furnished the 
wealth of the ruling classes, and enabled the nobles, the 
courtiers, and the sovereigns to amuse themselves with 
alternate feats of war and sensuality. 

Joannes was a weak young man, and the state of society in 
the thirteenth century, not only at Trebizond, but over all 
the world, required that the sovereign should be a man of 
energy in order to preserve his authority. It was an age in 
which law and legislation exerted little control on the actions 
of men, and in which religion ceased to uphold the temporal 
power of princes. The talents and the will of a vigorous 
ruler could alone repress the tyrannical conduct of his own 
officers, the insolence of the aristocracy, and the anarchical 
propensities of the populace. Want of roads insulated each 
little district ; experience was as difficult to acquire as a 
lettered education ; wealth was concentrated in the hands of 



a few landlords ; public opinion had no existence ; legal 
tribunals were powerless, and justice slept. The supreme 
authority in the state was consequently irresponsible ; and 
for power of such a nature, emperors, nobles, and ministers of 
state fought and intrigued with an energy and at a risk which 
excites our surprise, when we couple this boldness with the 
worthless characters of the individual actors. Able and 
energetic sovereigns are, from the nature of man, not of 
frequent occurrence on despotic thrones, after power has been 
transmitted in the same family for some generations. The 
palace is rarely a good school for education. The family of 
Grand-Komnenos displayed at least an average deficiency in 
all great and good qualities, from the reign of Joannes II. to 
the extinction of the empire. Part of the difficulties, how- 
ever, in which this emperor and his successors were placed 
arose as much from the state of society, as from their own 
incapacity and maladministration. Mankind was beginning 
to feel the operation of those social causes which replaced 
mediaeval life by modern habits. Masses of the population 
were growing up beyond the ordinary movement of the old 
social routine. Slavery was disappearing, without creating 
any immediate opening for the employment of free labour. 
Popular anarchy, aristocratic oppression, royal rapacity, 
and military cruelty, were often the throes of a society in 
which men were driven to despair in their endeavour to 
obtain a subsistence or defend a hereditary right. The 
convulsions which destroyed the old system threatened for 
several generations to depopulate all western Asia and great 
part of Europe ; nor has a large portion of the East yet 
attained a political organization suitable to social improve- 
ment. The history of the empire of Trebizond offers us a 
miniature sketch of this great social struggle, drawn in faint 
colours and with an indistinct outline. 

The records of the reign of Joannes II. are extremely 
confused. Ducange and Gibbon supposed that he was the 
first sovereign of Trebizond who assumed the imperial title ; 
but the discovery of the Chronicle of Panaretos enabled 
Fallmerayer to restore the title of emperor to the earlier 
princes 1 . The critical sagacity of Ducange had almost 

1 Ducange (Familiae Augtistae Byzantinae, p. 192) quotes at length the autho- 
rities from which he drew his inferences. Gibbon (chap. lxi. vol. vii. 327) follows 


[Ch.III. §i. 

divined the true position of Joannes, even from the scanty 
materials at his disposal. There can be no doubt that the 
form of the coronation ceremony, and the title of the emperors 
of Trebizond, had remained, up to this period, precisely the 
same as that of Constantinople when it fell into the hands of 
the Crusaders. Joannes II. was crowned emperor of the 
Romans ; and no especial political significance would pro- 
bably have been given to the title, as constituting him a 
rival to the throne of the Byzantine emperor, Michael VIII., 
had it not been for the religious disputes that distracted the 
empire of Constantinople. Michael had rendered himself 
unpopular among the orthodox by forming a union with the 
papal church. The fealty of the Greeks was not considered 
to be due to an emperor of doubtful orthodoxy. Michael 
had been pardoned, by the lax morality of the Greek people 
and church, for dethroning and putting out the eyes of his 
young ward, the emperor John IV.; but he was condemned 
as an outlaw, by the ecclesiastical bigotry of Byzantine 
society, for seeking to unite the Greek and Roman, or 
orthodox and catholic, sections of the Christian church. A 
powerful party in his own dominions, and a large body of 
Greeks living beyond the bounds of his empire, were eager 
to dethrone him. Fortunately for Michael, the people of 
Europe and Asia were not agreed on the rival emperor they 
wished to place on the throne of Constantinople. The 
European Greeks looked to the despot of Epirus, or to John, 
prince of Thessalian Vallakia, both of whom called themselves 
Komnenos ; but the Asiatics, and a considerable party at 
Constantinople, invited Joannes II. of Trebizond to place 
himself at the head of the orthodox Christians, as the 
undoubted heir of the imperial house of Komnenos, and 
as already crowned emperor of the Romans. Michael was 

Ducange even in the error of mistaking the name of Miyas Kofwrjvos, or Grand- 
Komncnos, for Komnenos the Great. Fallmerayer ^Geschichte, 135) has explained 
the true connection of the passages of Ogerius, the protonotary of Michael VIII., 
and of the Armenian historian Haithon, cited by Ducange, by means of the liy;ht 
thrown on this period by the Chronicle of Panaretos. Fallmerayer. however, 
tliinks that Joannes II. made a great change in the title of the emperors of Tre- 
bizond by receiving the crown as emperor of the Romans; but the date of the 
embassy of ( ►gerius, and the words of Pachymeres v>- 353)i who says that .Michael 
.. embassies to Trebizond on the subject of the imperial title, indicate 
that the preceding emperors bore the same designation. Joannes, indeed, could 
not otherwise, as we are informed he did. plead the impossibility of laying aside 
Le familiar to his subjects by long usage, 


A.D. I280-I29;.] 

regarded as a usurper, from the fact of his having ceased 
to be orthodox, and Joannes was considered as the lawful 
sovereign, because he had been already crowned the faithful 
emperor of an orthodox people. 

Joannes was utterly destitute of the talents necessary to 
profit by the advantages of his position, nor had he any 
councillors around him capable of contending with a veteran 
diplomatist and experienced sovereign like Michael. No 
man estimated the exact danger of his situation better than 
Michael himself; and though his fears at times indicated a 
nervous sensibility, there can be no doubt that he had good 
reason to apprehend a general rebellion in support of any 
rival claim to the imperial title at this momentous crisis. 
About the time Joannes II. was crowned emperor of the 
Romans at Trebizond, Charles of Anjou, the papal vassal- 
king of Naples, threatened to invade the Byzantine empire, as 
the champion of the rights of Philip of Courtenay, the heir 
of the Latin empire of Romania, and thus deprived Michael 
of all hope of finding any support from the Latin Christians, 
with whose church he had endeavoured to unite. In this 
critical conjuncture, Michael, who feared domestic treason 
more than foreign invasion, was anxious to secure the alliance 
of the young emperor of Trebizond. Knowing his weak 
character, and the factious views of the nobility of Trebizond, 
he sought to neutralize all opposition from that quarter by a 
combination of cajolery, bribery, and intimidation, that would 
induce the government of Trebizond to dread an open rupture 
with the Byzantine empire. 

The first embassy sent by Michael to sound the disposition 
of the young emperor of Trebizond was intrusted to the 
experience of the veteran statesman and valuable historian 
George Acropolita, in the year 1281 \ But the ambassador 

1 Smith's valuable Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology 
(s.v. Acropolita), and the improved German translation of SchoelPs History of 
Greek Literature (vol. iii. 274), both state that the historian was sent, in the year 
1282, on an embassy to John, king of Bulgaria. This is an error which has 
arisen from transcribing llankius, De T.yzantinarum Rerum Scriptoribus Graecis, 
without referring to his authorities. The learned work of llankius is generally 
a safe mine of Byzantine lore ; but in this case he seems inadvertently to have 
written Bulgarorum instead of Lazorum Principem, for he quotes at length the 
passage of Tachymeres as his authority, which states distinctly that Acropolita 
was sent to the prince of the Lazes, as the vain Conslantinopolitan writers called 
the emperor of Trebizond. The date given by Hankius also seems to require 


[Ch.III. §i. 

could neither persuade John to lay aside his title of emperor 
of the Romans, nor inspire him with a wish to unite his 
fortunes with those of Michael, by forming a matrimonial 
alliance with the family of Palaeologos. Acropolita, however, 
whose duty it was to ascertain the party views and political 
designs of the aristocracy as well as of the court, seems to 
have discovered the means of preparing the mind of Joannes 
to admit the conviction, that it would be impossible for him 
to wage war with the Byzantine court, and that it would even 
be dangerous to neglect forming a close alliance with the 
emperor. Acropolita had hardly quitted Trebizond before a 
general insurrection, headed by a Greek named Papadopoulos, 
drove the ruling party from power. The rebels rendered 
themselves masters of the citadel, and kept Joannes II. for 
some time a prisoner in his palace. It is true that Joannes 
soon escaped and recovered his power, and that it is not 
possible to prove the complicity of the Byzantine agents in 
this business ; but there cannot be a doubt that it caused 
a great change in the views of the emperor of Trebizond, and 
induced him to form a close alliance with the emperor of 
Constantinople, on the basis of a league for their mutual 
protection against the rebellious movements Of their subjects. 
The veteran Acropolita was not the man to have overlooked 
this obvious condition of public affairs in his arguments with 
the court of Trebizond, nor to have neglected taking measures 
for making events confirm his reasoning. 

After the failure of Papadopoulos's insurrection, a new 
embassy arrived at Trebizond, and the emperor Joannes 
expressed a wish to form a close political and family alliance 
with Michael ; but while he expressed his eagerness to 
espouse Eudocia, the emperor's youngest daughter, he de- 
clared that it was impossible for him to lay aside the imperial 
title which had been borne by his ancestors. The title of 
Basileus, the purple boots, the robes embroidered with eagles, 
and the prostrations of the powerful chiefs of the aristocracy, 
were dear to the pride of the citizens of Trebizond, and 
attached them to the person of the emperors, of whose heart 
these vanities formed the inmost delight. Neither the per- 

correction, since the unsuccessful embassy of Acropolita must have happened 
in the year preceding the marriage. Hankius, 562; Pachymeres, lib. vi. c. 34, 
torn. i. p. 354, edit. Rom. 


A.D. 1 280-1 297.] 

sonal honour of Joannes, nor his political position, nor the 
feelings of his people allowed him to think for a moment of 
abandoning the pageantry of an imperial court. Michael 
himself soon saw clearly that the change was impossible ; 
and this very circumstance rendered it more important that 
the rival emperor should be included within the circle of his 
own family. But his notorious bad faith, and the just suspi- 
cions it awakened in the breast of Joannes, still created some 
difficulties. The young emperor of Trebizond feared to trust 
himself in the power of Michael, lest, instead of becoming 
the husband of Eudocia, he should meet the fate of the 
unfortunate John Lascaris. At last, however, he received 
such assurances of his personal safety, and such pledges of 
the sincerity of Michael, that he repaired to Constantinople, 
where his marriage was celebrated in the month of September 
1282 \ 

The reception of the emperor of Trebizond at the Byzantine 
court displays all the vanity and meanness of the Constanti- 
nopolitan Greeks in a striking manner. Michael VIII. was a 
perfect type of this class, and his agents were worthy of their 
master. When Joannes reached the capital, he found Michael 
absent at Lopadion, and every species of intrigue, persuasion, 
and intimidation was employed to induce the young emperor 
to lay aside his purple boots and imperial robes. Seeing 
himself surrounded by the unprincipled instruments of By- 
zantine tyranny, and retaining always a lively recollection 
of the fate of the blind Lascaris, he consented, at last, to 
present himself before his future father-in-law in black boots, 
and in the dress of a despot of the Byzantine court. He 
was even induced to carry his concession to Byzantine vanity 
so far, as not to resume the insignia of an emperor until the 
celebration of his marriage. It seems that the emperor of 
Trebizond then first adopted the style of Emperor of the 
East, instead of his earlier designation of Emperor of the 
Romans ; and probably his robes, adorned with single-headed 
eagles, were viewed by the Constantinopolitan populace as 
marking a certain inferiority to the family of his wife, who 
appeared in a dress covered with double-headed eagles, to 

1 Ducange {Fam. Aug. Byz. 234) makes Eudocia the second daughter of 
Michael VIII. instead of Anna. But Pachymeres (i. 354) says distinctly she was 

the third 


[Ch. III. §i. 

mark her rank as an imperial princess of the East and the 
West, born in the purple chamber 1 . Both Joannes II. and 
his successors found it advisable to cultivate the alliance of 
the Byzantine court after this period. Policy, therefore, 
prompted them to lay aside the use of their ancient title 
of Emperor of the Romans, which was reserved exclusively 
for the sovereigns of Constantinople, while those of Trebizond 
confined themselves to that of Emperor of all the East, Iberia 
and Peratcia 2 . 

The emperor Joannes returned home shortly after his 
marriage. His dominions had suffered severely during his 
absence, in consequence of David, king of Iberia, availing 
himself of the conjuncture to attempt the conquest of the 
capital. The Iberian army ravaged the country up to the 
walls of the citadel of Trebizond, which David besieged for 
some time ; but with so little success, that he was compelled 
to effect his retreat without being able to carry off any booty. 
The reign of Joannes was not without its troubles after his 
return. Georgios, his brother and predecessor, was released 
by the Turkomans, and found a faction of discontented nobles 
to aid him in his endeavours to recover the throne. His 
attempts were unsuccessful. His followers were defeated; 
and the dethroned emperor, after wandering in the mountains 
in a condition between a knight-errant and a brigand, was 
at last taken prisoner and brought to Trebizond. In order 
to insure family concord as well as public tranquillity, Joannes 
allowed his brother to retain the title of Emperor, without, 
however, admitting him to take any part in the administration 
of public affairs. 

A new revolution suddenly drove Joannes again from his 
throne. His sister Theodora, the eldest child of Manuel I. 

1 I observed full length portraits of the emperor Joannes II, and of the empress 
Eudocia, in their imperial robes, though sadly defaced, on the walls of the porch 
of the church of St. Gregory of Nyssa, which was used as the metropolitan church 
of Trebizond. The robes of the emperor were adorned with single-headed eagles, 
those of the empress with double-headed. There were three figures on each side 
of the porch; that of the empress Eudocia was the one nearest the door of the 
church on the right hand. The crowns and robes of all the figures were curious, 
but the inscriptions were illegible. This church has been destroyed. Bulletin 
mensuel de VAcadimie lies Inscriptions : Revue Archeologique, Aoul, 1S63. p. 264. 

-' The title of Emperor of the East, [beria and Perateia, ought really only to 
have bun used by Alexios I. and Andronikos I., since the province of Iberia 

ign of the latter. But sovereigns are in the habit of assuming and 
retaining titles to which they have no right. See the golden bulls of the emp 
Alexios ill. Fallmerayer, brig. -Frag. Ft. i. pp 87, 92. 


A.D. I 280-1 297.] 

by his first marriage with Roussadan, an Iberian princess, 
availed herself of the party intrigues of the nobles and the 
popular dissensions in the capital — perhaps also of the civil 
war between her two brothers — to assemble an army and 
mount the throne. Her reign occurred in the year 1285 ; 
but its duration is unknown, though the existence of coins, 
bearing her name and effigy, attest that her power was not 
destitute of political stability, and that she was fully and 
permanently recognized as sovereign of the empire 1 . No 
clue affords us the means of explaining how Theodora 
obtained the empire with such facility, or how she as suddenly 
lost it, but Joannes very soon recovered possession of his 
throne and capital. He died at the fortress of Limnia in the 
year 1297, after a reign of eighteen years, and his body was 
transported to Trebizond, where it was entombed in the 
cathedral of Panaghia Chrysokephalos. He left two sons, 
Alexios II. and Michael. 

The effects of the incessant domestic revolutions and civil 
wars in the empire of Trebizond can be more clearly traced 
than their causes. One of their immediate consequences, in 
the reign of Joannes, was the loss of the extensive and 
valuable province of Chalybia, with its strange metallic soil, 
from which, since the days of the Argonauts, the inhabitants 
have scraped out small nodules of iron in sufficient quantity 
to form a regular branch of industry 2 . The Turkomans, 
availing themselves of the disorders at the capital, laid waste 
the province, and drove out the greater part of the ancient 
population, in order to convert the whole country into a 
land of pasture suitable for the settlement of their nomadic 

Joannes II. enjoyed a reputation among the nations of 
western Europe totally incommensurate with his real power. 
The magnificent title of Emperor of Trebizond threw a veil 
over his weakness, and distance concealed the small extent 
of his dominions behind the long line of coast that acknow- 
ledged his sway. He was invited by pope Nicholas IV. to 
take part in the crusade for the recovery of Ptolemais. in 
which his Holiness flattered himself that the emperor of 

1 Pfaffenhoffen, Essai sur les Aspres Comnamis. p. 88. 1 D 1 

2 See an interesting account of the modern Chalybes in Hamilton s Researches 
in Asia Minor, Pontus, and Armenia, vol. i. p. 2 74* 


[Ch. III. § 2. 

Trebizond would be joined by Argoun, the Mongol khan of 

Tauris, and all the Christian princes of the East, from 

Georgia to Armenian Cilicia. The invitation proved of 

course ineffectual. Joannes was too constantly employed 

at home watching the movements of domestic faction, and 

guarding against the inroads of the Turkomans of the great 

horde of the Black Sheep, to think of aiding the Latin 

adventurers in Palestine, even had he felt any disposition to 

listen to papal exhortations l . 

SECT. II. — Reign of Alcxios II. — Increased commercial import- 
ance of Trebizond. — Trade of Genoese. — A.D. 1297-1330. 

Alexios II., the eldest son of Joannes II., succeeded his 
father at the early age of fifteen. He was naturally for some 
time a mere nominal sovereign, acting under the guidance 
of the ministers of state who held office at the time of 
his father's death. His father's will placed him under the 
guardianship of his maternal uncle, the Byzantine emperor 
Andronicus II. ; but the courtiers and nobles of Trebizond 
easily persuaded the young sovereign to assume complete 
independence, and emancipate himself from all control. 
Andronicus, on the other hand, was eager to direct his 
conduct even in his most trifling actions. His first attempt 
to enforce his authority was ridiculous and irritating, like 
many of the acts of that most orthodox and most injudicious 
sovereign. He ordered the young emperor of Trebizond, an 
independent foreign prince, to marry the daughter of a 
Byzantine subject, Choumnos, his own favourite minister 2 . 
The idea of this marriage was offensive both to Alexios and 

1 Wadding, Annales Ordinis Minorum, torn. v. p. 254, ad ann. 1291 ; Fallmerayer, 
Geschich/e, 157. 

- Nikephorus Choumnos was praefect of the kanikleion. or keeper of the purple 
ink with which the imperial signature was written — something between a lord- 
chancellor and a privy-seal. lie was the author of several works that stdl exist 
in MS. in the libraries of Europe. Some of his writings have been published 
by Boissonade in the Anecdota Graeca, vols. i. and ii. One consists of consolations 
to his daughter Irene, who, after being rejected by Alexios of Trebizond, was 
married to the despot John, the third son of Andronicus. The despot died in 
1304, and Irene, left a widow at an early age, took the veil under the name of 
Eulogia. There is also a discourse of Choumnos on the death of the despot John, 
nddrcssed to his father the emperor Andronicus II. 


A.D. I 297-I33O.] ^O 

the people of Trebizond ; so that, when the young emperor 
married the daughter of an Iberian prince, in contempt of his 
guardian's commands, the act gained him great popularity 
in his own dominions. 

Andronicus, who was fond of exaggerating his claims to 
authority from his intense orthodoxy, conceived that he 
could always make the Greek church a subservient instrument 
of his political enterprises. In order to carry into execution 
his plans concerning the marriage of the daughter of his 
favourite, he put the whole Eastern church in a state of 
movement, and treated the question as if it was of equal 
importance with papal supremacy or the doctrine of the 
Azymites. He assembled a synod at Constantinople, and 
demanded that the marriage of his ward, the emperor of 
Trebizond— or the prince of the Lazes, as the Byzantines in 
the excess of their pride had the insolence to term the young 
Alexios — should be declared null by the Greek church, 
because it had been contracted by a minor without the 
sanction of his guardian, the orthodox emperor. The patri- 
arch and clergy, alarmed at the ridiculous position in which 
they were likely to be placed, took advantage of the interest- 
ing condition of the bride, to refuse gratifying the spleen of 
Andronicus. At this time Eudocia, the mother of Alexios, 
was at Constantinople. She had rejected her brother's pro- 
posal to form a second marriage with the kral of Servia, and 
was anxious to return to her son's dominions. By per- 
suading Andronicus that her influence was far more likely 
to make her son agree to a divorce than the sentence of an 
ecclesiastical tribunal whose authority he was able to decline, 
she obtained her brother's permission to return to Trebizond. 
On arriving at her son's court she found him living happily 
with his young wife ; and, on considering the case in her new 
position, she approved of his conduct, and confirmed him in 
his determination to resist the tyrannical pretensions of his 
uncle 1 . Eudocia showed herself as much superior to her 
brother Andronicus in character, judgment, and virtue, as 
most of the women of the house of Palaeologos were to the 
men. The difference between the males and females of this 
imperial family is so marked, that it would form a curious 

1 Pachymeres, torn. ii. 184, 198, edit. Rom. 


[Ch. III. §2. 

subject of inquiry to ascertain how the system of education 

in the Greek empire, at this period, produced an effect so 

singular and uniform. The ecclesiastical culture of the Greek 

clergy may possibly have tended to strengthen the female 

mind, while it weakened and dogmatized that of the men. 

Alexios II. displayed both firmness and energy in his 
internal administration. He defeated an invasion of the 
Turkomans in the year 1302. Their army, which had ad- 
vanced to the neighbourhood of Kerasunt, was routed with 
great slaughter, and their general Koustaga taken prisoner. 

The danger to which the empire was exposed by the 
insolent pretensions of the Genoese, in their endeavours to 
secure a monopoly of the commerce of the Black Sea, was as 
great as that which threatened it from the Turkomans and 
Mongols. This bold and enterprising people had already 
gained possession of the most important part of the commerce 
carried on between western Europe and the countries within 
the Bosphorus, both on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azof. 
These commercial relations had been greatly extended after 
the expulsion of the Latins from Syria, Palestine, and Con- 
stantinople ; and the Genoese colonies at Galata and Caffa, 
joined to the. turbulence and activity of the people, rendered 
them dangerous enemies to a maritime state like Trebizond, 
which was dependent on foreign trade for a considerable 
portion of its revenues. 

At this time the ruin of the commercial cities of Syria, 
by the invasions of Khoarasmians and Mongols, the inse- 
curity of the caravan roads throughout the dominions of 
the Mamlouk sultans, the bull of the Pope, forbidding 
the Christians to hold any commercial intercourse with the 
Mohammedans under pain of excommunication, and the 
impossibility of European merchants passing through Syria 
and Egypt to purchase Indian commodities, all conspired to 
drive the trade of eastern Asia through the wide-extended 
dominions of the grand khan of the Mongols, where security 
for the passage of caravans could be guaranteed from the 
frontiers of China and Hindostan to the shores of the Caspian 
and Black Seas. The grand khans, Mangou and Kublai, 
cherished the useful arts ; and during their reigns the vigorous 
administration of Houlakou in Persia, Armenia, and Asia 
Minor, allowed merchants to wander in safety with their 


a.d.i 297-1330.] 

bales from Caffa, Tana, and Trebizond, to Samarcand, Bok- 
hara, and other entrepots of Indian and Chinese productions. 
The importance which this trade acquired, and the amount of 
wealth it kept in circulation, may be estimated from the 
effects of the Mongol invasions on the commerce of lands 
that might be supposed to have lain far beyond the sphere of 
their direct influence. Gibbon mentions, that the fear of the 
Tartars prevented the inhabitants of Sweden and Fries- 
land from sending their ships to the fisheries on the British 
coast, and thus lowered the price of one article of food in 
England K 

Akaba, the son and successor of Houlakou, on the vassal 
throne of the Mongols at Tauris, was a friend of the Chris- 
tians, and an ally of both the Greek emperors, Michael VIII. 
of Constantinople, and Joannes II. of Trebizond. On as- 
cending the throne he married Maria, the natural daughter of 
Michael, though she had been destined to become his father's 
bride 2 . The political interests of the Mongols of Tauris 
induced them to become the protectors of the commercial 
intercourse between the Christians of Europe and the idola- 
ters of India. The desperate valour of the Mussulmans of 
western Asia made even the dreaded Tartars seek every 
means of diminishing the wealth and financial resources of 
the restless warriors who ruled at Iconium, Damascus, and 
Cairo. The approval of this policy by the grand khans 
created an active intercourse with the Tartar empire, and 
suggested to the Christians hopes of converting the Mongol 
sovereigns to the papal church. Frequent embassies of friars 
were sent to the court of Karakorum, whose narratives supply 
us with much interesting information concerning the state 
of central Asia in the thirteenth century 3 . The commerce of 
the farthest East had at this period returned to a route it had 
followed during the wars of the Romans with the Parthians, 
and of the Byzantine emperors with the Sassanides and the 
early caliphs 4 . 

1 Decline and Fall, chap. lxiv. vol. viii. 15, note 2S : 'It is whimsical enough 
that the orders of .1 Mogul Khan who reigned on the borders of China should 
have lowered the price of herrings in the English market.' 

2 Pachymeres torn. i. 116, edit. Rom. 

3 Recneil de Voyages et de Memoires, publie par la Societe de Geographic Paris, 
1839, 4to. ably edited by M. d'Avezac. 

4 The importance of the commercial relations of the Romans by this route is 

VOL. IV. A a 


[Ch. III. § 2. 

The treaty of alliance which the Genoese concluded with 
the emperor Michael VIII., before the recovery of Constanti- 
nople from the Latins, conceded to them great commercial 
privileges. Subsequent grants placed them in possession of 
Galata, and rendered them masters of a large part of the 
port of Constantinople. Their own activity and daring 
enabled them to convert this factory into a fortress under the 
eyes of the Byzantine emperor, and within a few hundred 
yards of the palace of Bukoleon. New factories on the 
northern shores of the Black Sea soon became even more 
important for their commerce than the colony of Galata ; 
and the trade they carried on from Caffa and Tana was of 
such value, that Caffa became the greatest commercial 
factory, and the most valuable foreign colony, of the republic. 
The advantages the Genoese derived from these establish- 
ments enabled them to extend their commerce, until it far 
exceeded that of any other power 1 . Their long chain of 
factories, from Chios and Phokaia to Caffa and Tana, gave 
them the power of supplying every market both of Asia, 
Europe, and Africa, more speedily, and at a cheaper rate, 
than their Pisan, Catalan, and Venetian rivals. When they 
feared that the mercantile competition of rival traders was 
becoming too keen, their turbulent disposition led them to 
plunge into open hostilities with the party whose commercial 
activity alarmed them. Their insolence increased with their 
prosperity, and at last they aspired at a monopoly of the 
Black Sea trade. To carry their project into execution, it 
was necessary to obtain from the emperor of Trebizond all 
the privileges which they enjoyed in the empire of Constanti- 
nople. They had already formed an establishment at Daph- 
nus, the anchorage of Trebizond, where the eastern suburb 
overhangs the beach ; and they were desirous of fortifying 
this position, as its possession would have made them as 
completely independent of the government at Trebizond, 
as their fortress of Galata made them of the government 

attested by several passages of Strabo, lib. xi. c. 2 and 3. For later times, com- 
pare Menander, 39S, edit. Bonn ; Jornandes, Be Rebus Ge/icis, c. ii. 

1 I'achymeres, ii. 310. Every commercial people was eager to participate in 
this trade, and Niccphorus Gregoras (p. 60) informs us that the sultan of Egypt 
obtained from the emperor of Constantinople the right of sending annually two 
ships into the Llack Sea. One of the principal objects of commerce for the 
.sultan was male and female slaves; and this was an article of export the Genoese 
did not neglect. 


a.d. 1 297-1330.] 

at Constantinople. In the year 1306 the emperor Alexios 
II. concluded a treaty with the republic of Venice, by which 
he conceded to Venetian merchants all the privileges hitherto 
enjoyed by the Genoese alone. He put the Venetians in 
possession of a quarter near the anchorage ; and a Venetian 
bailo was established at Trebizond, with an interpreter and 
a colonial court of justice framed on the model of that at 
Constantinople 1 . This concession excited the greatest dis- 
satisfaction among the Genoese, who displayed their ill 
humour with their usual arrogance. They disputed with the 
imperial officers, and resisted their just demands. They 
denied the right of the revenue officers to open their mer- 
chandise in order to levy the transit-duties, they made the 
amount of these duties a constant subject of contestation, and 
they expected in this way to force the emperor to commute 
the transit-duties into a fixed tribute, which they regarded 
as the first step to the formation of an independent colony. 
These disputes lasted several years. 

A formal embassy w r as at last sent from Genoa to Alexios 
II., to demand the conclusion of a commercial treaty on 
the same terms as that which the republic had concluded 
with the emperor of Constantinople, whom the government 
of Genoa affected to regard as the suzerain of Trebizond. 
The ambassadors declared that unless the Genoese merchants 
were freed from the examination of their goods in levying the 
transit-duties, and allowed to farm the tax for a fixed sum, 
they would quit the dominions of Alexios and transfer their 
commercial establishments to the neighbouring states. The 
admission of this pretension would have greatly curtailed the 
revenues of the empire, and would have placed the Genoese 
in the possession of immense warehouses, into which the 
imperial authorities would have had no right to enter. These 
buildings, from their nature and extent, would have soon 
formed a fortified quarter. The Genoese would then have 
repaired the ruins of Leontokastron, which would have given 
them the command of the port 2 . 

1 Passini Codices MSS. Graeci Biblioth. Taurinensis, p. 222 ; J. Muller, Ueber 
einige byzantinhche Urhinden ; in the Sitzungsberichte der philosoph.-historischen 
Clause der K. Aiademie von Wien. 1851, vol. vii. p. 335. 

2 The site of Leontokastron is now occupied by the lazzaretto, which was 
constructed on the ruins of the palace of a pasha, built out of the remains of 

A a 2 


[Ch.III. §2. 

The proposals of the Genoese were peremptorily rejected 
by Alexios ; and, in refusing their demands, he added that 
they were at perfect liberty to depart with all their property 
as soon as they paid the duties on the merchandise then in 
his dominions. The emperor knew well that, if they with- 
drew from Trebizond, their place would be immediately oc- 
cupied by the Venetians, Pisans, or Catalans. The Genoese, 
enraged at the prompt rejection of their terms, acted with 
violence and precipitation. They were always the most reck- 
less and quarrelsome of merchants, and ever ready to balance 
their books with the sword. They collected twelve ships in 
the port, and began immediately to embark their property 
without offering to pay any duties. This was opposed by 
the imperial officers of the revenue, and a battle was the 
consequence. The Genoese, pressed by numbers, set fire to 
the houses of the Greeks towards the Meidan, expecting to 
distract the attention of their enemies and impede the arrival 
of troops from the citadel. Their infamous conduct was 
severely punished. The variable state of the wind drove 
the fire back in their faces, and, descending the hill to the 
port, it destroyed the greater part of the merchandise about 
which the battle had arisen, and laid their warehouses in 
ashes. This unfortunate result of their passion brought the 
traders to their senses. They felt that they had suffered a 
far greater loss than it was in their power, under any circum- 
stances, to inflict on their enemy. The destruction of their 
goods served as a premium to other merchants, and quickened 
the eagerness of rival traders to supplant them. Very little 
hesitation on their part, therefore, was likely to place either 
the Venetians or the Pisans in possession of the profitable 
trade they were on the eve of losing, after having long 
enjoyed a monopoly of its advantages. In this critical con- 
juncture they forgot their passion and their pride, and hast- 

Leontokastron, of which some foundations may be traced. The palace was destroyed 
by order of the Porte, in consequence of the strength of the position. It appears 
that an old castle occupied the site before the establishment of the Genoese at 
Trebizond, and that it had fallen to ruin. The Genoese acquired a title to the 
possession of at least some part of this site, which they resigned to the emperor 
when they concluded their treaty of peace, and Leontokastron was repaired and 
strengthened by Alexios, in consequence of these disputes with the republic ; but 
in the year 1349 it was surrendered to the G<_noc^e by the emperor Michael, 
shortly before he was dethroned, and remained in their hands until the fall of the 
empire. Fallmerayer, Original-Fragmente, Pt. ii. 84. 


a.d. 1297-1330.] 

ened to conclude peace with Alexios, on condition that they 
should be allowed to resume their usual trade on the previous 
terms. Alexios prudently consented to this demand ; and a 
treaty was signed by which the Genoese were allowed to 
re-establish themselves at Trebizond. But they were com- 
pelled to quit the position occupied by the warehouses that 
had been burnt, and form their new quarter deeper in the 
bay at the Darsena. Their industry soon enabled them to 
repair their losses ; and these indefatigable merchants grew 
richer and more powerful from year to year, while the Greeks, 
industrious only in intrigue, became as rapidly poorer, and 
saw their political influence hourly decline. The summit of 
the position previously occupied by the Genoese was fortified 
by Alexios II., who repaired the ruins of Leontokastron, as 
a check on the naval power of the republicans \ 

The Greeks in general had lost much of their taste for 
naval affairs, as well as that skill which had made them, in 
the early part of the middle ages, the rulers of the sea-. 
The people of Trebizond had participated in the national 
decay. The city was filled with that inert population which 
congregates round an idle and luxurious court, when the 
sovereign expends immense revenues, extracted from the 
industry of an extensive realm, within the walls of a single 
city. In such a state of things men's minds are turned away 
from every useful occupation and enterprising course of life. 
Wealth and distinction are more easily gained by haunting 
the antechambers of the palace, or frequenting the offices 
of the ministers, than by any honest exertion. The merchant 
is generally despised as a sordid inferior, and exposed to 
insult, peculation, and injustice. Merit cannot make its way 
without favour, either in the military or naval service. A 
large body of the populace lives by performing menial service 
about the dwellings of the courtiers, or acting as military 
retainers and instruments of pomp to the nobles. The public 
taxes and private rents, levied from the agricultural classes 

1 Pachymeres (ii. 310) places these events in the year 1306; Panaretos, whose 
chronology is more to be depended on, in the year 1311. Chron. Trapez. p. 363, 
edit. Tafel. Fallmerayer (Original-Fragmente, Ft. ii. p. 15) informs us that a 
copy of the treaty which put an end to this contest exists in the archives of 
Turin. It is dated at Trebizond the 9th June 131 5, and ratified by the republic 
of Genoa the 16th March 13 16. 

2 Constant. Porphyr. De Them. p. 58, edit. Bonn. 


[Ch. III. § 2. 

in the provinces, supply a number of favoured individuals 
with the means of pursuing a life of worthlessness. Such 
was the state of Greek society in the city of Trebizond. 

In the Mohammedan city of Sinope everything was 
different. There, valour and military skill were the surest 
road to riches and distinction. But as the continent offered 
no field of conquest to the small force at the disposal of the 
emir of Sinope, his attention, and that of his people, was 
directed to naval affairs. The Black Sea became the scene 
of their enterprises. Every merchant-ship was the object of 
their covetousness. The rich commerce of the Christians, 
joined to the skill and bravery of the Italian mariners, made 
the war against the trade of the western nations a profitable 
but dangerous occupation. This very danger, however, tended 
to make it an honourable employment in the eyes of the 
Mussulmans of Sinope. The merchant-ships of this age were 
compelled to sail on their trading voyages in small fleets, 
well armed and strongly manned. In the Archipelago they 
were exposed to the attacks of the Seljouk pirates of Asia 
Minor ; in the Black Sea, to the corsairs of Sinope. Even 
the Genoese, Pisans, Venetians, and Catalans were ready 
to avail themselves of slight pretexts for plundering one 
another. Piracy was a vice of the Christians as well as the 
Mohammedans 1 . The difference was, that on the part of the 
Christians it was a deviation from their ordinary pursuits, 
while it was the chief occupation of the ships of the Mussul- 
man princes. The corsairs of Sinope were thus sure of meet- 
ing enemies worthy of their valour ; nor had they any chance 
of success, unless they became experienced seamen as well as 
daring warriors. Their usual expeditions were directed against 
the flags of the Italian republics ; but when it happened that 
they met with no booty at sea, they turned their arms to 
other sources of gain, and ravaged the coasts inhabited by the 
Christians. Every article of property on which they could 
lay their hands, even to the metal cooking-utensils of the 
poorest peasants, were carried away, and all the inhabitants 
they could seize were sold as slaves. 

In the year i 314 a band of these pirates landed in the 

1 Pegolotti <Pmc/ica della Ahrcatura), who was engaged in commercial affairs 
in the East al out this time, tells us that the freight paid for mcichandise embarked 
in vessels not armed was only the half of what was paid for its embarkation in 
armed galleys. 


a.d.i 297-1330.] 

vicinity of Trebizond, and, after ravaging the surrounding 
country, plundered the suburbs of the city, and set fire to the 
buildings without the gates. The conflagration spread far 
and wide, and many splendid edifices were destroyed. 

Alexios II., in order to protect the western suburb, and the 
space between the fortress and the sea, from all future attacks, 
constructed a new wall to the city. This addition to the 
fortress extended from the tower that protected the bridge 
over the western ravine, in a line running down to the shore. 
The style of the new fortification was modelled on the land 
wall of Constantinople ; and it still exists in tolerable pre- 
servation, particularly where it covers the bridge over the 
romantic ravine that forms the noble moat to the citadel 1 . 

Pope John XXII. seems to have entertained some hope of 
inducing Alexios to acknowledge the supremacy of the see 
of Rome, though we are aware of no grounds that could 
lead him to adopt such an opinion. There exists a letter of 
his Holiness, addressed to the emperor, dated in 1329, inviting 
him to co-operate in bringing about the union of the Greek 
and Latin churches, and recommending some missionaries to 
his good offices 2 . The emperor Alexios died in the year 
1330, after a prosperous reign of thirty-three years. He left 
a brother named Michael, and four sons, besides two daugh- 
ters — one of whom, Anna, occupied the throne of Trebizond 
for a short period. 

SECT. III. — Period of Anarchy and Civil Wars. — Reigns of 
Andronikos III., Manuel II., Basil, Irene, Anna, John III., 
and Michael. — 1330-1349. 

Andronikos III., the eldest son of Alexios II., reigned 
little more than a year and a half. He is accused of 
having murdered his two younger brothers, Manuel and 
Georee. If the crime was committed from motives of poli- 
tical suspicion, we may conclude that his second brother 
Basilios, and his uncle Michael, only avoided the same fate 

1 An inscription on this wall, though much defaced, proves that it was terminated 
in 1324. Fallmerayer, Orig.-Frag. Pt. i. 133. There is another inscription of the 
reign of Alexios III. in the tower to the left of the gate. Ibid. Pt. ii. 103. 

2 Wadding, Annul. Minor, ann. 1329, n. 11 ; Raynaldi, Annal. Eccles. ann. 1329, 
n. 95 ; Fallmerayer, Geschichte, 165. 


[Ch. III. § 3. 

by being absent, or by effecting their escape to Constan- 

Manuel II. was only eight years old when his father Andro- 
nikos III. died. The crimes of his parent had utterly 
depraved a society already deeply stained with vice. No 
measures were now too violent for those who hoped to 
obtain wealth or power by civil broils or private murders. 
The chiefs of the different factions incited the populace to 
tumult, and goaded them to rebellion, in order to gratify 
their own ambition. The city was a scene of disorder, and 
the interior of the palace became the theatre of many an act 
of bloodshed. As soon as Andronikos III. died, the ministers 
of state, the clergy, the nobility, the provincial governors, and 
the leaders of the troops commenced intriguing one against 
the other, in order to obtain the command of all the patronage 
of the court. 

The moment seemed favourable for the Turkomans to 
invade the empire. But it not unfrequently happens that 
a country apparently on the verge of ruin from intestine 
troubles, is found peculiarly ready to encounter a foreign 
enemy, on account of the very preparations which have 
been made to perpetrate political crimes. All parties become 
eager to gain popularity, by evincing extraordinary patriotism 
in defence of their native land. Each leader sees that the 
best way to strengthen his party is to perform good service 
against the foreign enemy. This was experienced by the 
Turkomans, who invaded the empire of Trebizond in the 
year 1332. They advanced as far as Asomatos, where they 
were defeated with considerable loss, and compelled to 
retreat with such precipitation that they abandoned the 
greater part of their horses and baggage to save their lives. 
The disorder within the walls of the capital was however 
very little diminished by this victory, and the whole popula- 
tion became at length seriously alarmed for the fate of the 
empire. In order to put an end to this state of anarchy, 
Basilios, the second son of Alexios II., was invited from 
Constantinople to govern the empire. 

Basilios arrived at Trebizond in the month of September 
1332, and was immediately proclaimed emperor. Manuel II. 
was deposed, after his name had been used for eight months 

authorize every kind of violence and disorder. The young 


A.D. I33O I349.] 

prince was kept in a state of seclusion, with the view, doubt- 
less, of compelling him, when he grew older, to become a 
monk ; but in the course of a few months the intrigues of a 
eunuch, who held the office of grand-duke, caused an insur- 
rection during which Manuel was stabbed. Basilios, on 
mounting the throne, had allowed his partizans to commit 
the most shocking enormities. The grand-duke Leka, and 
his son Tzamba, the grand-domestikos, were slain ; while 
the grand-duchess, a member of the family of Syrikania, one 
of the most illustrious houses in the empire, was stoned to 
death *. The reign of Basilios lasted seven years and six 
months. It was disturbed by the exorbitant power and 
independent position which the great officers had acquired 
during the preceding anarchy. The principal nobles of the 
provinces assumed the rank of petty sovereigns, and their 
wealth and influence enabled them to form parties in the 
capital. The Scholarioi, or privileged militia, in the fortress, 
possessed a constitution and a degree of power not unlike 
that of the Janissaries of the Othoman empire in the century 
preceding their destruction 2 . The emperor, unable to trust 
the Scholarioi, found it necessary to surround his person with 
a body of Frank, Iberian, and Byzantine guards, to guard the 
citadel and the palace ; and the insolence and rapacity of 
these foreign mercenaries increased the unpopularity of his 

The personal conduct of Basilios was ill suited to extend 
his influence. He married Irene, the natural daughter of the 
Byzantine emperor, Andronicus III.; and, had he availed 
himself with prudence of this alliance, he might have ren- 
dered the defeat of the Turkomans, who again ventured to 
advance to the walls of his capital, extremely advantageous 
to the empire. His conduct, however, was such that it 
excited the popular indignation ; and an eclipse of the sun 
being interpreted by the people as a proof of divine repro- 
bation, he was pursued with insults, and driven with stones 
to seek refuge in the citadel. The empress Irene had no 
children. Basilios, not contented with living in open adultery 

1 Irene, the third wife of the emperor Manuel I., the great captain, and mother 
of the emperors Georgios and Joannes II , was a daughter of the same family. 

3 See what Agathias (159) says of the Scholarioi. He considered them only 
a burden to the state. 


[Ch. III. §3. 

with a lacly of Trebizond, also named Irene, by whom he was 

the father of two sons, determined to open the way for their 

succession to the throne, by celebrating a public marriage with 

this mistress. Whether he ever succeeded in obtaining any 

divorce from his first wife, except by his own decree, seems 

doubtful, and on what plea he could pretend that his marriage 

was invalid is not known ; but he persuaded or forced the 

clergy of Trebizond to celebrate his second marriage in the 

month of July 1339. He died in the following year 1 . 

Irene Palaeologina, who was universally considered as the 
lawful wife of Basilios, was suspected <of having had some 
share in causing his death. She was found prepared for the 
event, and had already organized the movements of a party 
which placed her on the throne. This promptitude in profit- 
ing by her husband's death certainly looked suspicious ; while 
the readiness of mankind to repeat calumnious reports con- 
cerning their rulers, the known immorality of the society in 
the imperial palace, and the careless levity of Irene herself, 
all tended to give circulation and credibility to unfavourable 
rumours. The moderation with which the empress treated 
her rival raises a doubt concerning the probability of her 
having plotted the assassination of her husband. Instead of 
putting Irene of Trebizond to death or immuring her in a 
monastery, she only sent her with her two sons to Con- 
stantinople, to be detained as hostages for the tranquillity 
of Trebizond. A powerful party among the nobility, how- 
ever, was both alarmed and offended by the success of her 
schemes, which deranged all the plans they had formed for 
acquiring wealth and power during the minority of the chil- 
dren of Basilios, through the favour of Irene of Trebizond, 
whom they had intended to name regent. 

The empire of Trebizond became, for several years, a prey 
to civil wars and intestine disturbances. Two great parties 
were formed, called Amytzantarants and Scholarians 2 . Civil 

1 Compare Panaretos, 363, with Niceph. Greg. 424. Fallmerayer (Geschichte, 
[76) has pointed out the errors of Ducange (Fam. Aug. Byz. 193I concerning 
Basilios and Irene, in his usual lucid manner. The consecration of bigamy by 
the clergy of Trebizond was sternly reproved by the patriarch of Constantinople, 
but he did not venture to command the metropolitan of Trebizond to excom- 
municate his sovereign even for bigamy. Fallmerayer, Original-Fragmente, Pt. ii. 
77 ; Muller, Ueber einige byzantinhche Urhnnhn. 331, 

1 Fragment of Lazaros the Skeuophylax, in Fallmcravcr's Original-Fragmctfe, 
Pt. i. p. 85. 


A.D. I33O-I349.] 

war in itself, though more to be deprecated than any foreign 
hostilities, may nevertheless be as necessary and legitimate. 
Its instigator may be a true patriot, its duration may be a 
proof of social progress, and its successful termination in 
favour of those who were stigmatized as rebels at its com- 
mencement may be an indispensable step to the establishment 
of national prosperity. Where war is undertaken by the 
people for the purpose of establishing the empire of the law, 
it indicates a healthy condition of society, even though it be 
a civil war. It is when internal contests take place among 
those who have no object to obtain but power, and no feelings 
to gratify but party spirit, revenge, or avarice, that civil war 
marks a state of the body politic so demoralized as to serve 
as a sure herald of national degradation. In the fourteenth 
century, neither the governments of Trebizond nor Constan- 
tinople, nor the Greek people, felt any disposition to submit 
their power, their passions, their prejudices, or their factions 
to the dictates of law or justice ; and nowhere did the 
violence of individuals represent the demoralized condition 
of Greek society more vividly than in the city of Trebizond. 

The empress Irene was no sooner established on the throne 
than civil war broke out. Assisted by the Amytzantarants, 
by a powerful party among the nobles, and by the Italian 
and Byzantine mercenaries, she held possession of the fortress, 
with its citadel and small port. The rebels, who affected to 
consider themselves the patriotic champions of native rights, 
headed by the lord of Tzanich, who was the captain-general 
of the Scholarioi, and supported by the great families of the 
Doranites and Kabasites, and of Kamakh — joined to a 
detachment of the imperial guard which remained faithful to 
the memory of the emperor Basilios, and a body of the 
people, who hated Irene as a Constantinopolitan stranger — 
established themselves in possession of the great monastery 
of St. Eugenios. This monastery then rose like a fortress 
over the eastern ravine that enclosed the citadel ; and though 
it is almost within rifle range of the imperial palace, the 
distance, when combined with the advantages of its situation, 
was at that time sufficient to render it impregnable on the side 
of the old city, while another ravine separated it from the 
populous suburb extending to the Meidan and the great port. 
A third party, under the command of the grand-duke, the 


[Ch. III. § 3. 

eunuch John, who had murdered the young emperor Manuel 

II., held possession of the fortress of Limnia, then the most 

important military station in the empire beyond the walls of 

the capital. It was situated little more than twenty miles 

to the westward of Trebizond l . For two months the parties 

of the empress Irene and of the Scholarioi and great nobles 

remained in arms, watching one another, within hearing of 

their mutual cries, and engaging in daily skirmishes leading 

to no permanent result. 

The circumstance of a grand-duke being an eunuch, and 

holding Limnia as if it was his private estate, indicates that 

the power of many of the factious leaders was official and 

administrative as well as territorial and hereditary. The 

oligarchs of Trebizond were representatives of a Roman, not 

a feudal aristocracy, and partook more of the ancient and 

Asiatic type than of the mediaeval characteristics of the 

nobility of western Europe. The eunuch at last declared in 

favour of the empress, and advanced with his troops to her 

assistance. The communications of the citadel with the 

country to the westward had always remained open, as they 

were completely protected against the nobles at St. Eugenios 

by the two deep ravines that surround the old city. As soon 

as the troops of the grand-duke had effected a junction with 

those in Trebizond, the party intrenched in St. Eugenios was 

vigorously attacked. The approaches were made from the 

south, battering-rams were planted against the walls, and 

fire-balls were hurled into the place, which was soon set on 

fire. The immense monastery, and the splendid church — 

the rich plate, images, and relics, and the old mural paintings, 

which would have been more valuable in modern times than 

the bones of martyrs — the pride and palladium of the empire 

of Trebizond, was on this occasion reduced to a shapeless 

heap of ruins by a foreign empress and a factious eunuch '-'. 

The leaders of the aristocratic party and the Scholarioi were 

captured by the warlike eunuch, who sent them prisoners to 

Limnia, where they were put to death in the following year, 

1 Niceph. Greg, p 425. 

'-' Nature has adapted the position of St. Eugenios to form a petty rival to the 
citadel of Trebizond, when missiles of only short range are in use. Both the 
quarter of St. Eugenios and the palace at Leontokastron served as defensive 
positions during the civil broils between the Turkish aitillerymen of the upper 
citadel and the Janissaries of the lower fortress, which occurred in the h-t 
century. Peyssonel, Traili sur le Commerce de la Mer Noire, ii. 73, ^8. 


AD. I33 -I349] 

when the throne of Irene was threatened by Anna Anachout- 
lou, her deceased husband's sister. 

Irene was of a gay, thoughtless, and daring disposition, 
like her father Andronicus III. She soon overlooked the 
danger of her position, though she fully understood that her 
tenure of power was exposed to hourly perils. It was 
evident that, without a husband who could wear the imperial 
crown, she could not hope to maintain her position long ; 
and she urged her father to send her a husband, chosen from 
among the Byzantine nobles, who could direct the adminis- 
tration, command the armies of the empire, and aid her 
in repressing the factions that were constantly plotting 
against her authority. Her ambassadors found Andronicus 
occupied in preparing for his campaign against the despotat 
of Epirus, and he died before he found time to pay any 
serious attention to his daughter's request. Irene consoled 
herself for the delay by falling in love with the grand-domes- 
tikos of her own empire. The favour this passion led her to 
confer on a few individuals divided her own court into 
factions, and afforded her old enemies, who had escaped the 
catastrophe at St. Eugenios, an opportunity of again taking 
up arms, so that a new storm burst on the head of the 
thoughtless empress. 

Another female now appeared to claim the throne, with 
a better title than Irene. Anna, called Anachoutlou, the 
eldest daughter of the emperor Alexios II., had taken the 
veil, and until this time had lived in seclusion. The opposi- 
tion party persuaded her to quit her monastic dress and 
escape to Lazia, where she was proclaimed empress as being 
the nearest legitimate heir of her brother Basilios. The 
Lazes, the Tzans, and all the provincials preferred a native 
sovereign of the house of Grand-Komnenos to the domination 
of a Byzantine scion of Palaeologos, who seemed determined 
to marry a foreigner. Anna, strong in the popular opinion 
that it was a fundamental law of the empire that Trebizond 
could only be ruled by a member of the house of Grand- 
Komnenos, marched directly to the capital without encounter- 
ing any opposition. The government of Irene was unpopular, 
both on account of her personal conduct and the losses which 
a recent Turkish expedition had inflicted on all classes of her 
subjects. Her Constantinopolitan mercenaries fled without 


[Ch.III.§ 3 . 

giving battle to the infidels, who advanced to the walls 
of the capital and burned the suburbs on both sides of the 
fortress, leaving the blackened ruins encumbered with such 
numbers of unburied bodies that a fearful pestilence was the 
consequence. At this conjuncture Anna arrived at Trebi- 
zond. She was immediately admitted within the citadel, and 
universally recognized as the lawful empress. Irene was 
dethroned after a reign of a year and four months. 

On the 30th of July 1341, when Anna had only occupied 
the throne for about three weeks, Michael Grand-Komnenos, 
the second son of Joannes II., arrived at Trebizond. He had 
been selected by the regency at Constantinople as a suitable 
husband for Irene ; but he had attained the mature age of 
fifty- six — a circumstance which may have rendered it a piece 
of good fortune for him that she was dethroned before his 
arrival 1 . As he was the legitimate male heir of his house, 
and had a son Joannes already nineteen years old, there were 
certainly strong political reasons in favour of his election. 
Michael reached Trebizond accompanied by three Byzantine 
ships of war and a chosen body of troops. He landed with- 
out opposition, attended by Niketas the captain-general of the 
Scholarioi, and it appeared that his title to the throne would 
be readily acknowledged by all parties. But the circumstance 
that he came to marry Irene, surrounded by Byzantine mer- 
cenaries and supported by the faction of the Scholarioi, 
irritated without intimidating the native nobility, who had 
driven Irene from the throne, and who were not willing to 
lose the fruits of a successful revolution without a contest. 
But as they were doubtful of the support of the people, and 
not prepared for open resistance, they resolved to gain their 
ends by treachery. Michael was received by the archbishop 
Akakios with due ceremony. He received the oath of alle- 
giance from the assembled nobles and officers of state, and 
retired to the palace to prepare for his coronation on the 
morrow. At daybreak the scene was changed. The people 
had been incited during the whole night to resist the invasion 
of a new swarm of Constantinopolitan adventurers, and they 
now rose in rebellion. The treacherous nobles and officers 
of state facilitated their enterprise. Michael was seized in 

1 Niceph. Greg. 424. 


a.d.i 330-1 349.] 

the palace and sent prisoner to Oinaion (Unieh T ). The 
Lazes, after a severe engagement, captured the three Byzan- 
tine ships, and Irene was embarked in a European vessel, 
and sent off to Constantinople with the adventurers who had 
escaped from the people in the tumult. The nobles of the 
Lazian faction now became the sole possessors of political 
power, and an association of powerful chiefs governed the 
empire in the name of the empress Anna 2 . 

The Greek people were too deeply imbued with an adminis- 
trative organization, and too firmly persuaded of the necessity 
of a powerful central authority, to remain long satisfied with 
this state of things. Niketas, the captain-general of the 
Scholarioi, and the Greek party, which looked to the Byzan- 
tine alliance as the surest guarantee of civil order, resolved 
to make another attempt to drive their rivals from power. 
It was evident they could expect no success, unless they 
placed at their head a member of the family of Grand- 
Komnenos. Michael was in a distant prison ; his son Joannes, 
who resided at Constantinople, was now twenty years old, 
and to him the Scholarioi resolved to apply. Niketas and 
the chiefs of the party left Trebizond in a Venetian galley, 
to persuade the young man to embark in the project. The 
expedition was undertaken without any open support from 
the Byzantine government. Three Genoese galleys were 
hired, in addition to two fitted out by the chiefs of Tre- 
bizond ; and a body of chosen troops was enrolled, for an 
attack on the government of the empress Anna. They 
reached Trebizond in the month of September 1342, and 
effected a landing at the port. The Scholarioi, the Midzo- 
mates, and the Doranites joined them ; and after a fierce 
contest in the streets the invaders forced their way into the 
fortress, and proclaimed Joannes III. emperor. Anna was 
taken prisoner in the imperial palace, and, to guard against 
the possibility of any reaction in her favour, she was imme- 
diately strangled. She had occupied the throne rather more 
than a year 3 . Many nobles of the Lazic party, particularly 
the Amytzantarants, were murdered ; and a lady of rank was 
strangled, as well as the empress Anna, during the tumults 
that accompanied this revolution. 

1 He was afterwaids removed to Limnia ; Panaretos, c. 11. 
2 Niceph. Greg. 425. 3 Panaretos, c. 12. 


[Ch. III. § 3. 

Joannes III. celebrated his coronation in the church of 
Chrysokephalos. So little concern did he give himself about 
his father's fate, that he allowed the eunuch John to retain 
him a prisoner at Limnia. But before a year elapsed the 
grand-duke was murdered ; and soon after this event, the 
party who had placed Joannes III. on the throne became 
disgusted with his conduct. The young emperor had never 
possessed much power beyond the walls of the capital, nor 
did he pay much attention to the duties of a sovereign. He 
found money enough in the public treasury to enable him to 
indulge in every species of luxury and idle amusement, and 
he trusted to his foreign guards for repressing any dangerous 
effects of popular discontent. At the same time, the preference 
he gave the young nobility of the native party, who, to gain 
his good-will and recover power, flattered his follies and his 
vices, alienated the attachment of those statesmen and soldiers 
who had placed him on the throne. The captain-general 
Niketas, who had taken the lead in so many revolutions, 
again commenced his factious movements. It is true there 
is no mode of reforming an absolute sovereign. He must 
be dethroned, as the first step to a better state of things. 
Niketas and his party marched to Limnia. and, releasing 
the imprisoned Michael, conducted him to Trebizond and 
proclaimed him emperor, in May 1344. Joannes III. was 
dethroned, after a reign of a year and eight months, and 
confined by his father in the monastery of St. Sabas l . 

The emperor Michael seems to have made some attempt 
to improve the condition of the government, but his talents 
were unequal to the task. The two great parties of the 
Lazian nobles and Greek leaders of the citizens maintained 
themselves in a condition to control the imperial administra- 
tion, by personal combinations and political arrangements, 
arising out of temporary and local causes. Michael resolved 
to break the power of both parties. Immediately after his 
accession, he condemned to death the most eminent of the 
nobles of the Lazian party — a measure in which he was sup- 
ported by the Greek party, to whom a distribution was made 

1 There are some slight remains of this monastery before a cavern in the 
rocky face of Bous-tepe, which overlooks the harbour. Fanaretos, c. 13; Niceph. 
'irey 426. 


a.d. 1330-1349.] 

of all the great offices of state. Niketas was made grand- 
duke 1 . 

All parties now felt the evils to which they were exposed 
by the continual vicissitudes in their civil contests, and became 
seriously alarmed at the bloody massacres which followed 
every change. Those who had recently secured power 
attempted on this occasion to give their authority a greater 
degree of permanence, by establishing an organic law for 
regulating the administration of the empire. In short, the 
confederacy of Scholarioi attempted to give Trebizond an 
oligarchical constitution. The emperor Michael was com- 
pelled to sign an act, ratified by a solemn oath, promising 
to leave the whole of the legislative power, and the direction 
of the public administration, in the hands of the great officers 
of state and members of the senate ; and to remain satisfied 
with the imperial dignity, a liberal civil list, and the rule 
over his own palace 2 . Neither party violence nor imperial 
ambition could be long restrained by such a convention ; 
while the knowledge that the nobles had circumscribed the 
power of the emperor excited indignation among the people, 
who looked to the sovereign as their protector against the 
aristocracy, and as the only pure fountain of law and justice. 

The emperor Michael seized the earliest opportunity that 
presented itself to rid himself of the tutelage in which he 
was held. The people of the capital and the Lazes flew 
to arms, and declared that they were determined to live 
under the government of their lawful emperors, and not under 
the arbitrary rule of a band of nobles. The enthusiasm of 
the people for a mere shadow of the laws of Rome enabled 
Michael to resume absolute power, and declare the con- 
cessions he had made to the ministers and the senate null. 
The grand-duke Niketas and several of the great officers 
of his party were arrested ; but on this occasion no blood 
appears to have been shed. The emperor, to guard against 
further troubles, sent his son Joannes to be kept in ward at 

1 Gregorios Meizomates was created general-in-chief; Leo Kabasites, grand- 
domestikos; Constantine Doranites, vestiarios or treasurer; his son, high-steward; 
John Kabasites, grand-chancellor of the finances; the son of Gregorios Meizo- 
mates, chamberlain ; Michael Meizomates, amirtzaoutzes — that is, tchaous, 
or marshal of the empire ; and Stephanos Tzanichites, grand-constable. Panaretos, 
c. 13. 

2 Niceph. Greg. 426. 

VOL. IV. B b 


[Ch.III. 13. 

Adrianople, where he could find few opportunities of com- 
municating with the factious at Trebizond \ 

The absolute sway of the emperor Michael brought no 
more prosperity to the city and empire than had been ob- 
tained by the government of the nobles. The great plague 
that about this time devastated every country in Asia and 
Europe visited Trebizond in the year 1347, where it swept 
off numbers of the population, and increased the social dis- 
order, by dissolving all family ties 2 . The Turkomans, who 
occupied the country from Arsinga and Erzeroum to the 
castle of Baibert, invaded the empire, and ravaged the valley 
of the Pyxites up to the walls of the capital 3 . 

A more serious war than any which had yet occurred 
broke out about this time with the Genoese, who availed 
themselves of the enfeebled condition of the empire to seize 
on some of the most important positions in the imperial 
territories. In the year 1348 they captured the city of Kera- 
sunt, after burning great part of the buildings. Two expedi- 
tions from Kaffa were successively directed against the 
capital. The first consisted of only two large Genoese men- 
of-war. The imperial officers considered that the force ready 
for action in the port was sufficient to capture these enemies. 
The Trapezuntine squadron, consisting of one large ship, a 
galley, and several smaller vessels, left the harbour of Daph- 
nous to attack the republicans ; but the Greeks were no match 
for the Genoese. The large imperial ship was burned ; the 
grand-duke John Kabasites, Michael Tzanichites, and many 
more who bravely engaged in the fight, were slain. The 
Greeks now revenged themselves by attacking all the Franks 
settled at Trebizond ; their houses and warehouses were plun- 
dered, and those were imprisoned who- escaped death from 
the popular fury. The Genoese returned from Kaffa in a 
few weeks with a stronger force, determined to exact signal 
satisfaction for the treatment of the Europeans. Affairs at 
Trebizond were in a state of anarchy. Michael was stretched 

1 In the year 1362. during the reign of Alexios III., the dethroned Joannes III. 
escaped from Adrianople, but he was arrested at Sinope by the Turks, and died 
there. He left a son, who escaped to Kaffa and Galata. lanaretos, c. 14, 31. 

- I his was the great plague known in Europe by the name of the Black Death, 
of which Boccaccio has left us the well-known description. Panaretos, c. 14; 
Fallmerayer, Kai erthum von Trapczunt, 1 

s The modern name of the Pyxites is Deyirmcnderisi, or mill-stream. 


a.d. 1330-1349.] 

on a sick-bed, incapable of action. An internal revolution 
was on the eve of explosion. With much difficulty peace was 
negotiated with the Genoese ; but it was only obtained by 
ceding to them the fortress of Leontokastron, which Alexios 
II. had constructed to restrain their insolent pretensions (1349). 
Kerasunt, however, was restored to the Trapezuntine govern- 
ment. From this period the Genoese acquired the complete 
command of the harbour of Daphnous, and the importance 
of the empire of Trebizond began to decline. 

Against all these misfortunes, an old man like Michael, 
worn out with sickness, and naturally destitute of talent, 
either as a soldier or a statesman, was ill suited to contend. 
Party spirit revived, conspiracies were formed, and popular 
tumults broke out, until at last Michael was dethroned, on 
Sunday the 13th December, 1349, after a reign of five years 
and seven months. He was compelled by the partizans of 
his successor, Alexios III., to enter the monastery of St. 
Sabas ; but after a short time, the imperial monk was sent to 
Constantinople for greater security 1 . 

1 Panaretos, c. 15. 

li b I 


Re-establishment of the Imperial Supremacy in 
the Illegitimate Branxh of the House of Grand- 

SECT. I. — Reign of Alexios III. — Progress of the Turkomans. — 
Revenge of Lercari. — Magnificent Ecclesiastical Endowments. 
— A.D. 1349-1390. 

ALEXIOS III., son of Basilios by Irene of Trebizond, had 
been brought from Constantinople by the party of the 
Scholarioi to occupy the throne. He was declared emperor 
by the senate and the people, and solemnly crowned in the 
church of St. Eugenios, though he had not yet completed 
his twelfth year. His real name was John, but he adopted 
that of Alexios, which was the name of his deceased brother, 
on account of the auspicious influence it was supposed to 
exert over the family of Grand-Komnenos. The youth of 
the prince secured the aristocracy from all immediate attempts 
to diminish their power, and they hoped to profit by their 
tenure of administration, in such a way as to consolidate 
their authority, without openly restricting the exercise of the 
imperial prerogative, to which the people had given so many 
proofs of devotion. 

The young emperor had received his education at Con- 
stantinople, and the usurper John Cantacuzenos assisted in 
placing him on the throne in order to exclude the legitimate 
branch of the family of Grand-Komnenos, represented by 
the emperors Michael and Joannes III., on account of its 
alliance with the house of Palaeologos, the lawful emperors 



of Constantinople. That the union might be drawn as 
close as possible between the two dynasties of intruders, the 
young Alexios, when only fourteen years old, was married 
to Theodora, the daughter of Nicephorus Cantacuzenos l . 
The marriage ceremony of the imperial children was 
celebrated in the church of St. Eugenios, whom the young 
Alexios selected as the patron saint of his dynasty, in 
addition to the saint's previous duties as guardian of the 
empire of Trebizond. The church and monastery, which 
had been ruined by the conflagration during the reign of 
Irene Palaeologina (1340), were both rebuilt, and enriched 
with great external splendour ; but the appearance of the 
existing church proves that the arts had already declined 
at Trebizond, and the restoration of the shrine of his patron 
saint by the magnificent Alexios will bear no comparison, 
either in solidity or purity of architectural decoration, with 
the earlier church of St. Sophia — and it is doubtless far 
inferior in these qualities to the preceding building whose 
place it occupied 2 . 

The rebellions of the aristocracy and the seditions of the 
people continued with unabated violence during the early 
part of this reign. Each noble and senator strove, by intrigue 
or force, to secure for himself some private advantage, before 
the system of partitioning the resources of the state should be 
brought to a conclusion. No concessions of the ministers of 
state could satisfy even the pretensions of a single faction, 
so that plot was succeeded by plot. Nor were the people 
always inclined to submit tamely to see their interests sacri- 
ficed to the rapacity of the aristocracy, or stand idle spectators 
while the officers of state squandered the heavy taxes, that 
were employed to maintain armed followers, who did little 
else than plunder the country they ought to have been 
guarding against the inroads of the Turkomans. On one 

1 Panaretos (16) says that Nicephorus was the cousin of the emperor. Canta- 
cuzenos mentions that he had a brother, to whom he intrusted the government 
of Adrianople, named Nicephorus. Cant. Hist. pp. 841, 879. 

2 The church is converted into a mosque, called Yeni Djuma djami, or New 
Friday mosque. Some very defaced paintings of emperors, with one-headed eagles 
embroidered on their robes, and fragments of inscriptions, may still be traced 
on the external wall to the west, where the portico stood, which has now dis- 
appeared. Of the monastery, which so often served as a fortress in the civil wars 
of Trebizond, no remains exist, unless they are concealed in the Turkish houses 
near the church. 


[Ch.IV. §i. 

occasion the family of Doranites, mastering the whole ad- 
ministration, of which they had for some time held the 
principal offices, forced the young emperor to retire to 
Tripolis ; but they were soon after overpowered by the 
people, who often changed sides in their vain endeavours 
to find individual leaders willing to establish order and 
conduct the government according to law. 

The fortresses of Limnia, Tzanicha, Kerasunt, and Ken- 
chrina were for a time in the hands of various parties of 
rebel nobles. Limnia was recovered from the Doranites by 
an expedition led by the emperor's mother, with Panaretos, 
the author of the dull Chronicle which has preserved a place 
for the revolutions of Trebizond in the world's history, as 
one of her council. It would hardly tend to give us a clearer 
insight into the state of society at this period, if we were to 
repeat the meagre enumeration Panaretos has left us of the 
various revolutions that followed one another for some years 
in quick succession. A few prominent facts will paint with 
greater accuracy the universal disorder. The grand-duke 
NiketaSj who was the leader of the Scholarioi, had been 
invested with the direction of the public administration at 
the popular rising which drove the Doranites from power ; 
but in the course of about two years, the young emperor 
having recovered possession of the fortresses of Limnia, 
Tzanicha, and Kenchrina, and displaying both the power 
and the will to take upon himself the direction of the 
administration, the grand-duke and his partizans retired to 
Kerasunt. Counting on their influence over the factious 
native militia, and their popularity with- the citizens, they 
made an attempt to recover their power by force. The 
rebels presented themselves before the capital in the spring 
of 1355, with a fleet of one large ship and eleven smaller 
vessels. Their arrival caused great disorders ; but they found 
the young emperor's authority firmly established, and they 
were compelled to return to Kerasunt without having gained 
their object. This retreat marks the period at which the 
power of the emperor was again re-established in its full 
supremacy; but an altered state of society, and a general 
feeling that individuals, whether high or low, must trust to 
their individual position, and not to the law or the central 
administration, for justice, gave the authority of the emperors 


A.D. I349-I390.] 

of Trebizond, henceforth, rather the characteristics of feudal 
suzerainty blended with Oriental despotism, than of the old 
Byzantine ascendency of supreme legislator and incorruptible 
and all-powerful judge. Force, to the exclusion of justice, 
acquired the same influence over public opinion among the 
Greek race, that it had long held both in western Europe and 
among the Mohammedan nations; and as the social organiza- 
tion of the Greek people was now essentially unwarlike, their 
appeal to force, from their want of discipline and courage 
only rendered them despicable. 

The defeat of the grand-duke before Trebizond was followed 
up by Alexios with some vigour. He sailed to attack the 
rebels in Kerasunt with two ships and a small fleet of 
transports, and after a single engagement the place capitu- 
lated. The grand-duke assembled his troops at Kenchrina, 
of which he had gained possession, and the emperor marched 
to besiege him ; but the place was so strong that Alexios 
was compelled for a time to rest satisfied with a simple 
acknowledgment of his authority, and the apparent submission 
of the rebels who retained possession of the fortress. In spite 
of this check, the emperor gradually consolidated the central 
authority. During his expedition against Kenchrina John 
Kabasites, the duke of Chaldia, recovered the forts of 
Cheriana and Sorogaina from the Turkomans, and restored 
the imperial power in those districts. The dethroned emperor 
Michael was also defeated in an attempt to profit by the 
rebellion of his old ally, Niketas the grand-duke. The 
partizans of the Byzantine emperor John V. (Palaeologos) 
favoured his escape from Constantinople, and assisted him 
in his enterprise, in order to weaken the party of Cantacuzenos 
by the fall of the young Alexios. Michael, however, was 
too well known at Trebizond to find any support, and he 
was obliged to return to Constantinople without having it 
in his power even to create a revolt. Before the end of 
the year, the grand-domestikos, Meizomates, and the grand- 
general, Michael Sampson, took Kenchrina and put an end 
to the civil war. The grand-duke Niketas, whose administra- 
tive talents were very great, was soon received into favour ; 
and when he died in the year 1361, the emperor Alexios, 
to mark his grief for the loss of so able a man, led the funeral 
procession clad in white robes — the mourning garb of the 


[Ch.IV. §i. 

emperor. The authority of Alexios III. was now re- 
established along the whole line of coast, from Oinaion to 
Batoun ; but very little order existed in the interior of the 
country, at a distance from the sea-ports. Even the 
possessions of the great monastery of the Virgin at Sumelas, 
not thirty miles from the capital, were exposed to constant 
attacks on the part of the neighbouring Mohammedans. 
Many of the great landed proprietors continued to be almost 
independent and their conduct kept several districts in a 
state bordering on anarchy. Domestic raids and foreign 
inroads of plundering tribes were events of frequent occur- 
rence during the whole reign of Alexios *. On one occasion 
the emperor himself had very nearly fallen into the hands 
of a party of his subjects, who attempted to carry him off 
to the mountains, from under the walls of his palace in the 
citadel of Trebizond. Alexios had formed a party of pleasure 
in the ravine of St. Gregorios, and while he was enjoying the 
fresh air on the picturesque banks of this deep ravine, a band 
of nobles belonging to the party of the Kabasites attempted 
to seize him, and it was with difficulty that he effected his 
escape into the citadel by the southern sally-port. This 
daring outrage occurred in the month of October 1363. 

The emperor Alexios III. was less fortunate in his wars 
with the Turkomans than in the civil broils with his own 
subjects. The fall of Kenchrina encouraged him to make 
an expedition against the tribes established in the district 
of Cheriana. The chronicler Panaretos says, that the idea 
of the expedition must have been inspired by the machinations 
of the devil. The imperial troops marched forward without 
any plan of operations, ravaging the country, plundering, 
and making prisoners. In the midst of their career they 
were suddenly assailed by a small body of the enemy's 
cavalry. Emperor, generals, and troops, were all seized with 
a panic, and fled without offering any resistance. Four 
hundred were left dead on the field. John Kabasites, the 
duke of Chaldia. who a few months before had reconquered 

1 The golden bull of Alexios to the monastery of Sumelas. dated in 1365. gives 
a dark picture of the violence and oppression of the imperial officers, as well as 
of the neighbouring nobles, in levying exactions from the monks and their serfs, 
or TTJpoiKoi. The emperor says, EioijXOov iiioittp rivis 6i)pts dypioi. Fallmerayer, 
Original-Fragmenie, l't. i. p. 97. 


A.D.I 349-I 390.] 

the forts of Cheriana and Sorogaina, perished. Not only 
was all the plunder lost, but the whole of the baggage of 
the troops, the military chest of the army, and the personal 
equipage and tents of the emperor, fell into the hands of 
the Turkomans. Alexios fled among the foremost, and 
Panaretos followed close after his master. The historian 
declares, that if the Lord had not been with him, and 
strengthened his horse, so that he galloped for three days, 
posterity would have lost the imperial notary, and the 
history of Trebizond would have been at this hour a blank *. 
The fugitives never stopped a moment to rally the troops, 
nor did they hold their own persons to be perfectly secure 
until they entered the walls of Trebizond, to which they 
brought the news of their disgraceful overthrow. 

The Turkish hordes which attacked the long slip of terri- 
tory that composed the empire of Trebizond belonged to 
different independent tribes. They were united by no poli- 
tical tie, and generally acted without concert. Indeed, they 
were frequently so hostile as to be more inclined to contract 
alliances with the Christians than with one another. The 
great impulse that carried them onward in their career of 
conquest and colonization was the necessity of securing new 
lands for their augmenting population and their increasing 
flocks and herds. Why the nomadic population should have 
increased in an augmented ratio at this period of history, 
is one of the social problems that lies beyond the sphere of 
Greek history; or, at least, it would involve a deeper investi- 
gation into the state of society among the Oriental nations, 
during the middle ages, than could be satisfactorily treated 
without indulging in conjectures which place the subject 
beyond the bounds of history. A few prominent facts alone 
require to be noticed. The Turkish nomades were compelled 
yearly to occupy a greater extent of land with their migratory 
encampments. Necessity obliged them either to exterminate 
other nomades, or to push before them the civilized cultivators 
of the soil, just as the civilized cultivators of the soil in our 
day, acting under the impulse of similar motives, are now 
driving before them the nomadic tribes of North America, 
Southern Africa, and Australia. 

1 Panaretos, c. 20. 


[Ch.IV. §i. 

The Turkomans on the frontiers of the empire of Trebi- 
zond, when they met with a numerous population, or a 
strong castle capable of resisting their progress, usually 
began their attacks by ruining the resources of the natives, 
not by risking a battle with them in the field. A successful 
foray in autumn enabled them to burn the standing grain, 
even when they were not strong enough to carry away 
plunder. The farm-houses, the cattle, and the fruit-trees 
were thus gradually destroyed ; until at last the population 
was so reduced in numbers, and so impoverished, as either to 
emigrate or to become incapable of defending their paternal 
possessions. In this way the Mussulman nomades in Asia, 
and the Sclavonian and Bulgarian herdsmen and shepherds 
in Europe, occupied many extensive provinces, and exter- 
minated millions of the Greek race. Their progress, it is 
true, was aided by the rapacity of the central governments at 
Constantinople and Trebizond, which neglected the defence 
of the country, and, by the very nature of their administra- 
tive agency, fomented a spirit of local dissension and selfish- 
ness that took away from the people all power of acting in 
common, paralyzed their courage, and reduced them to a 
state of social degradation in which they hailed slaver)'- as 
a welcome repose. 

The process of depopulation was likewise at times effected 
by internal changes in the profits of industry. A dense 
population of cultivators of the soil often, in the declining 
period of the empire, gave way to a few graziers. This 
change was brought about by the fiscal severity of the 
government, which taxed gardens, vineyards, olive-groves, 
and orchards, while it neglected to repair the aqueducts, the 
roads, and the bridges, which could alone secure to the 
cultivator the power of converting his surplus produce into 
money at a profitable price. The peasantry made the 
discovery that the government could not so easily absorb the 
gains of a pastoral population as they could tax the fruits of 
the soil, and consequently it became the interest both of the 
great landed proprietors and of the peasantry to produce 
cattle, wool, and hides, rather than corn, wine, and oil. Every 
person who has paid attention to the condition of society in 
the interior of the Othoman empire must have frequently 
observed traces of the practical results of similar causes. 


a.d. 1349-139°-] 

In the decline of all absolute governments, the expenses of 
the sovereign absorb so large a portion of the public revenues 
that every department of the executive power is weakened 
to increase the splendour of the court. Distant lines of 
communications are allowed to become useless for transport. 
Military positions and strong fortresses are neglected, when 
the immediate district they cover cannot pay the expense of 
their maintenance. Princes often prefer dismantling fort- 
resses to reducing the number of their chamberlains or of 
their court pageants. Of this spirit of economy the Turko- 
mans frequently reaped the fruits. Every successive genera- 
tion saw them gain possession of some frontier fortress, or 
encroach far into some province, that the emperors regarded 
as hardly worth defending x . It must not, however, be sup- 
posed that they were always allowed to advance in an 
uninterrupted career of conquest. The army of Trebizond 
inherited some portion of the military discipline and science 
which enabled the Byzantine sovereigns not only to repulse 
the Saracens from the walls of Constantinople, but to drive 
them back beyond Mount Taurus. On the field of battle, 
if properly commanded, it was still superior to the nomade 
cavalry of the Turkomans. Even the reign of a sovereign so 
destitute of military talents as Alexios III. was distinguished 
by several successful military enterprises. The emir of 
Baibert was defeated and slain; and the emir of Arsinga, 
who had laid siege to Golacha, was repulsed with loss. On 
the other hand, however, the forts of old Matzouka and 
Golacha were ultimately captured by the Mussulmans. 
Limnia was either conquered by Tadjeddin, who married 
Eudocia, the daughter of Alexios, or it was ceded to him by 
the emperor as the dowry of the princess, to prevent its 
conquest 2 . Alexios made a second attempt to reconquer 
Cheriana ; but his military incapacity and the severity of the 

1 The emperor Alexios III., in his golden bull to the monastery of Sumelas. 
affords a strong illustration of this. The emperor says expressly that the pos- 
sessions of the monastery were endangered by the frequent inroads of the Mussul- 
mans ; yet, to guard this important pass into the valley of the Pyjutes he only 
recommends the abbots to select their most trustworthy serfs {napoiic 11 1, that good 
watch may be kept in the little fort near the monastery. Fallmerayer, Original- 
Fragmente, Pt. i p. QQ. , , . , 

2 The Limnia ceded to Tadjeddin can hardly have been the fortress mentioned 
by Nicephoras Gregoras as onlv two hundred stades distant from I rcbizond. U 
appears to have been the name of a district between Kerasunt and Omaiou. 


[Ch.IV. §1. 

weather destroyed his army, which suffered greater loss from 
hunger and cold than from the sword of the enemy. For- 
tunately for the empire, the chiefs of the Turkomans directed 
their forces against one another, instead of uniting to con- 
quer the Christians. Tadjeddin, the emir of Limnia, attacked 
Sulcimanbeg, the son of Hadji-Omer, emir of Chalybia ', 
at the head of an army of twelve thousand men. A great 
battle was fought between these princes, who were both sons- 
in-law of the emperor of Trebizond. Tadjeddin was defeated, 
and perished on the field of battle with six thousand of his 

The character of the emperor Alexios III. was stained 
with far deeper disgrace by a quarrel in which he was in- 
volved with a Genoese merchant, than by all the defeats he 
suffered from the Turkomans. The disgraceful circumstances 
connected with this affair rendered the empire of Trebizond 
a byword of contempt throughout all the commercial cities 
of the East. A Genoese merchant noble, named Megollo 
Lercari, was settled at the colony of Caffa 2 . He was in the 
habit of residing a good deal at Trebizond, partly on account 
of the facilities it afforded him for conducting some part of 
his business, and partly to enjoy the agreeable climate and 
gay society. As a man of rank and wealth he frequented the 
court of Alexios, where his knowledge of the world and 
intelligent conversation gained him a degree of intimacy with 
the emperor that excited the jealousy of the Greek courtiers. 
It happened one day, while playing at chess, that he became 

1 Hadji-Omer was married to a sister of the emperor. 
A <:oge of Genoa of this family. J. B. Lercari, was celebrated for the injustice 
with which he was treated by his countrymen on quitting office, and for the 
patriotic dignity with which he bore his persecutions, and refused to seek revenge. 
a.d. I565. The doge whom Louis XIV . in the height of his insolence, compelled 
to visit Versailles in 1685, after the unjust bombardment of Genoa, was 
a Lercari His sarcastic reply to the vain Frenchmen, who. to make a boast of 
the magnificence of Versailles, asked him what he thought most wonderful in the 
palace, is well known — 'To see me here' The high rank held by the Genoese 
in the Last at this period is testified by the chronicler Panaretos, who recounts 
that, when he was sent with several great officers of Trebizond on an cm! 
to Constantinople in 1 363, they paid visits of ceremony not only to the emperor 
John V.. and his father-in law, the monk Toasaph. as the dethroned Cantacuzenos 
was called, but also to the podesta of the Genoese, whose name he disfigures. 
Leonardo de Montaldo, a distinguished lawyer m morable for his intrigues, was 
then captain-general <>f the 1 <>ssessions in the Levant — an office to which 

he had been named by the doge Boccanegra, in order to remove him from Genua. 
Leonardo de Montaldo was raised to the rank of doge by his talents and his 
intrigues, in 1383, 


! aj). 1 349-1 390.] J 

I involved in a dispute with a page whom Alexios was reported 
to treat with unseemly favour. The young Greek, knowing 
that Lercari was regarded with jealousy by all who were 
present, carried his insolence so far as to strike the Genoese. 
The surrounding courtiers prevented Lercari from revenging 
himself on the spot: and when he demanded satisfaction 
from the emperor, Alexios treated the affair as a trifle and 
neglected his complaint. 

Lercari was so indignant that he quitted Trebizond, de- 
claring that he would hold the emperor accountable for his 
favourite's insolence. In order to prepare the means of 
gratifying his revenge he returned to Genoa, where, with the 
assistance of his friends and relations, he fitted out a piratical 
expedition, consisting of two war galleys, to cruise in the 
Black Sea. 

He soon made his appearance off Trebizond, where he 
captured the imperial ships, ruined the commerce of the 
Greeks, ravaged the coasts, and took many prisoners, whom 
he treated with horrid cruelty— cutting off the ears and noses 
of all those who were in any way connected with the imperial 
service. Alexios sent out a squadron of four war galleys of 
superior size, manned with his best mariners and favoured by a 
leading wind, in the fullest confidence that the Genoese would 
be easily overtaken and conquered by the superior swiftness 
and size of these ships. But, even at this great disadvantage, 
the naval skill and undaunted courage of the unruly republi- 
cans gave them a complete victory over the Greeks. By a 
feigned flight, the Genoese succeeded in separating the four 
galleys from one another, and then by a combined attack they 
captured them all in succession. The prisoners were muti- 
lated as usual, and sent on shore in the boats. 

On this occasion an old man was taken prisoner with his 
two sons. When the sons were brought up to be mutilated, 
the old man entreated Lercari to take his life and spare 
his children. They had only obeyed their father's orders 
in taking arms against the Genoese. Lercari was moved by 
the noble earnestness of the father's entreaties, and for the 
first time a sentiment of compassion touched his heart for 
the innocent victims of a worthless monarch's pride, and he 
perhaps felt ashamed of his own brutal revenge. The old 
man and his sons were released and sent on shore ; but they 


[Ch. IV. § 1. 

were charged to deliver to the emperor a barrel full of the 

salted ears and noses of his subjects, and a letter declaring 

that the only means of delivering the empire from the 

exaction of this species of tribute was to send the author 

of the insult to Lercari, as a prisoner. Alexios, seeing his 

best galleys captured and his subjects exposed to the fury 

of the Genoese, submitted. The insolent page was delivered 

over to the vengeance of Lercari. 

As soon as the young Greek beheld Lercari, he threw 
himself on his knees, and begged with many tears to be put 
to death without torture. Lercari, whose revenge was gratified 
by having humbled an emperor, felt nothing but contempt 
for the despicable page. He saw that his honour would 
gain more by sparing the weeping courtier, than by treating 
the blow he had received as a thing which of itself merited 
a moment's consideration. He only pushed the kneeling 
suppliant from him with his foot, adding with a significant 
sneer, ' Brave men do not revenge themselves by beating 

The expedition of Lercari appears to have been connected 
with some diplomatic transactions between the empire of 
Trebizond and the Genoese colonies in the Black Sea, for, 
at the peace which followed this transaction, the emperor 
Alexios engaged to put the Genoese merchants at Trebizond 
in possession of an edifice to serve as a warehouse. This 
must have been one of those great buildings like the caravan- 
series of the East — storehouses for goods, lodgings for mer- 
chants, and castles for defence, which, in the same way as 
the monasteries of the period, formed fortresses in the midst 
of every city, and of whose walls remains may yet be traced 
even in the fire-devastated city of Constantinople. The 
emperor also published a golden bull, confirming all the 
privileges enjoyed by the Genoese traders throughout his 

The facts relating to the vengeance of Lercari have not 
been noticed by any Greek writer, and they are evidently 
strongly coloured by the pride and passion of the Genoese 
chronicles. Yet the whole history of the enterprise is so 
characteristic of the violence and daring of the citizens of 
Genoa la superba^ that, even had it rested on a slenderer 
basis of fact than probably supported it, still it would have 


A.D. 1349-1390.] 

merited notice as a correct portraiture both of the people 
and the age \ 

The emperor Alexios III., though neither a successful 
warrior nor an able statesman, walked through life with 
some show of dignity as a sovereign. He received the 
empire, in boyhood, in a state of anarchy; he gradually 
restored it to order, and reconstructed the central adminis- 
tration. In completing this great work, he did everything 
in his power to secure the aid of the clergy. Policy required 
him to gain their good-will, in order to render their influence 
over the people of some practical use in re-establishing the 
imperial supremacy over the rival factions of the Amytzan- 
tarants and Scholarians. He may also have felt that some- 
thing was necessary to calm his own conscience. Whether 
from policy, the memory of his vices, or the expression of 
heartfelt piety, certain is it that the ecclesiastical endowments 
of Alexios were singularly magnificent. He restored the 
church of St. Eugenios to something resembling its ancient 
splendour. He discovered that the 24th of June was the 
saint's birthday, and celebrated it annually with great pomp 
at the expense of the imperial treasury. He rebuilt other 
churches, and founded and repaired several monasteries and 
almshouses. The convent of nuns of Panaghia Theoske- 
pastos, which occupies a fine position before a cavern in the 
rocky face of Mount Mithrios, with a romantic view over 
the city of Trebizond, was enlarged, decorated, and enriched 
by his care and liberality 2 . He built a church and founded 

1 This episode is recounted by most of the historians of Genoa ; Agostino Gius- 
tiniano, Ann. de Genova, lib. iv. ; Petri Bizari Senatus Populique Genuensh rerutn 
gestarum Hist. p. 145, edit. Anv. ; U. Foliettae Hist. Genuensium, lib. viii. p. 483; 
Paolo Interiano, Ristretlo delle Historie Genovesi, lib. iv. The insolence of the 
Genoese was as great on the coasts of France as of Colchis. They complained 
to the seneschal of Beaucaire and to the consuls of Nismes, that the inhabitants 
carried on maritime commerce, from which they pretended that the native citizens 
were excluded by an exclusive privilege conceded to the Genoese by the counts 
of Toulouse. 'Vincens, Histoire de la Ripublique de Genes, vol. i. p. 391. 

2 Inscriptions commemorating the generosity of Alexios and various members 
of the imperial family to this monastery are given by Tournefort, Relation dun 
Voyage du Levant, torn. iii. p. 81, 8vo edit.; by Fallmerayer, Original-Fragmente, 
Pt. i. p. 101 ; and Pfaffenhoffen, Essai sur les Aspres Comnenats, pi. xiv. The 
paintings of Alexios, his mother, the lady Irene of" Trebizond, and the empress 
Theodora, the size of life and clad in their imperial robes, which were seen in the 
vestibule of the church by Tournefort and Fallmerayer, were effaced in 1843. 
The church was then repaired and the vestibule replastered by the liberality of 
an ignorant abbess, when some hideous figures, true types of modern Greek art, 
were daubed over the ancient paintings. [The original figures are given in Texier's 


[Ch. IV. § 1. 

a monastery of St. Phokas at Kordyle \ The great monas- 
tery of Sumelas, covering the front of an immense cavern 
amidst the sublime rocks and magnificent forests which over- 
hang the roaring torrents of the Melas, was enriched by his 
imperial bounty, and still possesses the golden bull he signed 
as the charter of its privileges 2 . 

But the most splendid existing monument of the liberality 
of Alexios is the monastery of St. Dionysius, situated in an 
enchanting site, overlooking the sea, on the south-western 
coast of Mount Athos or the Holy Mountain. It was the last 
constructed of the two-and-twenty great monasteries which 
consecrate the mountain in the eyes of the Eastern church 3 . 
The golden bull of Alexios. the charter of its foundation, is 
still preserved in its archives, and forms one of the most 
valuable monuments of the pictorial and caligraphic art of 
the Greeks in the middle ages. This imperial charter consists 
of a roll of paper, a foot and a half broad and fifteen feet 
long, surrounded by a rich border of arabesques. The im- 
perial titles are set forth in capitals about three inches 
high, emblazoned in gold and ultramarine ; and the word 
Majesty, wherever it occurs in the document, is always 
written, like the emperor's signature, with the imperial red 
ink. This curious document acquires its greatest value 
from containing at its head, under a half-length figure of 
our Saviour with hands extended to bless the imperial 
figures, two full-length portraits of the emperor Alexios 
and the empress Theodora, about sixteen inches high, in 
which their features, their imperial crowns, the»r rich robes 
and splendid jewels, are represented in colour, with all 

Asie Mineure, plate 64, and in Texier and Pullan's splendid work on Byzantine 
Architecture, plate 66. The faces are evidently portraits, having nothing of the 
conventionality of the ordinary Byzantine type. The monastery is generally 
known as that of the Panaghia Theotocos. Ed.] 

1 The site of Kordyle is now occupied by the Turkish fort of Ak-kala. 

2 The romantic district in which the monastery of Sumelas is situated, amidst 
primaeval forests, often impenetrable from the thick underwood of azaleas and 
rhododendrons, was called Matzouka. The distance from Trebizond is reckoned 
at twelve hours, but is not more than thirty miles. The golden bull of Alexios 
is not so magnificent as that of the monastery of St. Dionysius on Mount Athos. 
The imperial portraits are only about six inches high, and the seals are wanting. 
It is dated in December 1365. 

3 [The number of monasteries on Athos is twenty. St. Dionysius, though one 
of the later ones, having been founded along with Simopetra, Constamonitu, 
Russico, and St. Paul's in the latter half of the fouiteenth century, was not the 
last, for Stavroniceta was established in 1545. Ed.] 


a.d. 1349-1390.] 

the care and minuteness of the ablest Byzantine artists. 
Immediately under the imperial titles, below the portraits, 
are the two golden bullae or seals, each of the size of a 
crown piece, bearing the respective effigies and titles of the 
two sovereigns. The seals are attached to the bull by 
clasps of gold \ 

Alexios III. died in the year 1390, after a reign of forty- 
one years. The period in which he lived was one of almost 
universal war, civil broils, and anarchy; and few countries in 
Europe enjoyed as much internal tranquillity, or so great 
security for private property, as the empire of Trebizond. 
By his diplomatic arrangements he succeeded in preserving 
a degree of political influence which his military reverses 
frequently endangered, and the transit trade which was 
carried on through his territories gave him financial resources 
vastly exceeding the apparent wealth of his small empire. 
The most powerful princes in his vicinity were eager to 
maintain friendly relations with his court, for their subjects 
profited by the trade carried on in the city of Trebizond. 
Alexios availed himself of this disposition to form matrimonial 
alliances between the princesses of his family and several 
neighbouring sovereigns, both Mohammedan and Christian. 
His sister Maria was married to Koutloubeg, the chief of the 
great Turkoman horde of the White Sheep ; his sister Theo- 
dora to the emir of Chalybia, Hadji-Omer. His daughter 
Eudocia was first married to the emir Tadjeddin 2 , who 
gained possession of Limnia ; and after Tadjeddin was slain 
by the emir of Chalybia, she became the wife of the Byzantine 
emperor, John V. That prince had selected her as the bride 
of his son, the emperor Manuel II. (Palaeologos) ; but when 
she arrived at Constantinople, her beauty made such an 
impression on the decrepit old debauchee that he married 
the young widow himself. Anna, another daughter of Alexios, 
was married to Bagrat VI., king of Georgia 3 ; and a third 

1 The account of this interesting document is given by Fallmerayer. who has 
published the text both of it and of the golden bull of Sumelas in the Tran actions 
of the Academy 0/ Munich, 1843; Original-Fragmente. Pt. i. Montfaucon's Palaeo- 
graphia Graeca (p. 476) notices this monastery in the description of Mount Athos 
by John Comnenus. 

2 Tadjeddin is called Dschiatines, Zetines, and Tatziatin. He occupied the 
coast of Pontus between the cities of Kerasunt and Oinaion. 

3 Bagrat VI. reigned at Teflis from 1360 to 1396. 



[Ch. IV. § 2. 
daughter was bestowed on Taharten, emir of Arsinga or 
Erdzendjan 1 . 

Constantinople was now tributary to the Othoman Turks ; 
and its vassal emperor was glad to find an ally in the wealthy 
and still independent emperor of Trebizond. 

The countenance and whole personal appearance of Alexios 
were extremely noble. He was florid, fair, and regular- 
featured, with an aquiline nose, which, his flatterers often 
reminded him, was considered by Plato to be a royal feature. 
In person he was stout and well formed ; in disposition he 
was gay and liberal ; but his enemies reproached him with 
rashness, violence, and brutal passions. 

SECT. II.— Reign of Manuel III. — Relations with the Empire 
of Timor. — 1 390-141 7. 

Manuel III. received the title of emperor from his father 
in 1376, when only twelve years of age. As a sovereign, he 
was more prudent than his father, and possessed all his 
diplomatic talent. He lived in critical times, and was favoured 
by fortune in circumstances when his own resources could 
have availed him very little. The great Tartar irruption 
under Timor, that desolated Asia Minor during his reign, left 
his little empire unscathed. Though he was compelled to 
acknowledge himself a vassal of that mighty conqueror, and 
pay tribute to the Mongol empire for a few years, still his 
government was disturbed by no internal vicissitudes of 
importance. The only interest we feel in his reign of twenty- 
seven years' duration, is derived from its transitory connec- 
tion with the exploits of Timor. 

Alexios III. left the empire of Trebizond reduced to a 
narrow strip of coast, extending in an uninterrupted line from 
Batoun to Kerasunt, and including also the territory of 
Oinaion, separated from the rest of the empire by the pos- 
sessions of Arsamir, the son of Tadjeddin, emir of Limnia. 
Its breadth rarely exceeded forty miles, its frontier running 
along the high range of mountains that overlook the sea. 
Within these limits several Christian nobles owned a doubtful 

1 Clavijo, p. 92 ; cited by Fallmerayer, 209. 


A.D. I39O-I4I 7.] 

allegiance to the imperial authority. The city of Oinaion, 
with its territory, extending westward to the Thermodon, 
was governed by a Greek named Melissenos. As his pos- 
sessions were separated from the imperial garrison at Kera- 
sunt by the possessions of the emir of Limnia, he was almost 
virtually independent. Arsamir, the emir of Limnia, was, 
however, fortunately closely allied with Manuel, both by 
relationship and political interest. He was the son of Manuel's 
sister, the beautiful Eudocia. 

Leo Kabasites, the head of a distinguished family, which 
had long possessed great influence in the empire, ruled an 
extensive territory in the mountains, and held several fortified 
castles, that gave him the command of the caravan route 
leading southward from the capital l . The possession of these 
castles, which after the Othoman conquests became the 
residence of Dere-Begs. enabled him to levy tribute on all 
travellers who passed along the great road leading to Persia 
and Armenia. 

The Spanish traveller Gonsalez de Clavijo, who was sent 
by Henry III., king of Castile, as ambassador to Timor, 
has left us a curious account of the power of Leo Kabasites, 
as duke of Chaldia, and of the manner in which he exercised 
it on those who came within his jurisdiction 2 . The picture 
he gives of the insubordination and rapacity of the great 
nobles in the empire of Trebizond shows how generally the 
frame of society was convulsed by aristocratic anarchy, which 
was a feature of the social movement of the human race, 
not merely of a change in the feudal system of Europe. 
Clavijo confirms the expressions used by Alexios III. in 
his golden bull to the monastery of Sumelas, which he wished 
to protect against the exactions of his nobles. The Spanish 
traveller accompanied an envoy sent to Henry by Timor, 
on his way back to Samarcand. After quitting Trebizond, 
they were stopped by Leo Kabasites, as they entered his 
territory, and required to pay toll or make a present. In 

1 John Kabasites, who was killed in the shameful flight at Cheriana. was 
duke of Chaldia, or that portion of the mountains to the south-east of Trebi- 
zond inhabited by the Lazes, who still resisted the advances of the Turkoman 

2 The Itinerary of Clavijo and the Hhtoria del Gran Tamerlan were published 
by Gongalo Argote de Molino fol. Sevilla, 1582. Also in vol. iii. of the Cronicas 
de los Reyes de Castillo, 4to. Madrid, 1782. 

C C 2 


[Ch. IV. § 2. 

vain the Mongol envoy protested that an ambassador of 

the great Timor was not bound to pay toll like the agent 

of a merchant, and insisted that he was entitled to a free 

passage through a land which was tributary to the Great 

Mongol — for Leo, as a vassal of the emperor of Trebizond, 

had no pretext for exacting toll from the representative of 

the suzerain of his prince. To all this Leo replied, that his 

duty was to keep the road open, which was done solely by 

his care, and that he was consequently entitled to receive 

toll from every traveller who passed. He lived in a desert 

district, where it was necessary to maintain a larger body 

of guards than the inhabitants could furnish, otherwise the 

mountain passes would be left open to the incursions of 

the nomad Turkomans, and would soon become impassable. 

Nay, he added significantly, at times he found it necessary 

to make incursions himself into the more fertile districts of 

the empire, to carry off provisions by force when travellers 

were rare. Clavijo was compelled to give the chieftain a 

piece of scarlet cloth and a silver dish; and the Mongol 

ambassador offered him at first a piece of fine linen and a 

dress of scarlet; but Leo was not satisfied with this present, 

and would not allow the two ambassadors to proceed on 

their journey until they had purchased a bale of camlet 

from a merchant in their caravan and added it to their previous 

presents. Leo Kabasites then treated them as his guests, 

and supplied them with an escort through the Christian 

territories, but at the same time he made as much profit as 

he could of their passage, by letting them pack-horses for the 

transport of their baggage as far as Arsinga l . 

The other Christian chiefs who acknowledged the suze- 
rainty of the emperor of Trebizond were the signors of 
Tzanich, Dora, Larachne, Chasdenik, and the prince of 

Timor was now the lord of Asia. Gibbon thought that 
this great conqueror had overlooked the little empire of 
Trebizond, amidst those mighty projects of ambition which 
led him to plan the conquest of China while encamped 
before the walls of Smyrna. Speaking of the flight of 
Mohammed, the son of Bayezid, from the disastrous defeat 

1 Clavijo, quoted by Fallmcrayer, Geschichle, 240. 


ajd. 1390-1417.] 

of Angora, the historian observes, ' In his rapid career, 
Timor appears to have overlooked this obscure and con- 
tumacious angle of Anatolia 1 .' But it was not so. Timor 
neither overlooked Trebizond nor forgot Mohammed ; but 
neither the Greek empire nor the Othoman prince possessed 
a degree of importance that called for his personal presence. 
It reflects no discredit on the measures of Timor, either as 
a general or a statesman, that the empire of Trebizond out- 
lived the Tartar power in Asia Minor, or that Mohammed I. 
became the second founder of the Othoman empire. Timor 
did not advance to the decisive battle with Bayezid until he 
had secured his right flank from every danger, and taken 
due precautions that no serious attempt could be made 
to interrupt his communications with the countries in his 
rear, by a diversion from the shores of the Black Sea. 

All the princes who ruled in the countries between the 
gulf of Alexandretta and the sea of Trebizond, whether 
Christian or Mohammedan, were compelled to contribute 
their contingents to swell the numbers, and to form maga- 
zines to supply the wants, of the Tartar army. The king 
of Georgia was forced to abjure the Christian religion, and 
to deliver up to Timor the coat of mail which was believed 
by all the votaries of the Koran to have been forged by 
king David the psalmist, with his own hands 2 . Taharten 
the emir of Arsinga, and Kara Yolouk, the chief of the 
Turkomans of the White Horde, became the voluntary 
vassals of the Mongol empire. Kara Yousouf, the redoubted 
leader of the Black Horde, was driven from the vast pos- 
sessions over which he had wandered with his nomad army, 
and was a fugitive under the protection of the Othoman 

Bayezid had pushed forward the frontiers of the Othoman 
empire to the banks of the Thermodon, and his territories 
were contiguous with the empire of Trebizond. Amasia, 
Tokat, and Sivas were in the possession of the sultan, who 
was also master of a fleet which would enable him to attack 

1 Decline and Fall, chap. lxv. vol. viii. 68, edit. Smith. 

2 Sale's Koran, chap. 21— 'And we taught him [David] the art of making coats 
of mail for you, that they may defend you in your wars ' This passage proves 
that little reliance can be placed on the pictures of society drawn by the romantic 
historian, translated by Ockley, who represents the Saracens, when they conquered 
Syria from the veteran troops of Heraclius, as mere naked warriors. 


[Ch. IV. § 2. 

Trebizond by sea. In this state of things it became im- 
possible for Timor to overlook the position of Manuel, nor 
could he without great imprudence have allowed the emperor 
of Trebizond to enjoy even a nominal independence. The 
precise period at which Timor reduced Trebizond to the 
rank of a tributary state cannot be exactly determined, but 
it seems to have taken place after the Georgian campaign 
in the spring of 1400. Timor detached a division of the 
northern army, then under his own immediate orders, to 
attack the empire ; and Manuel made an attempt to arrest 
the progress of the Tartars by occupying the mountain passes. 
But the troops who had stormed the inaccessible cliffs and 
plunged into the precipitous ravines and dark caverns of the 
Georgian mountains, defended by the bravest mountaineers 
and hardiest warriors of Asia, made light of the obstacles 
which the mercenary forces of Manuel could oppose to them. 
The prudence and diplomatic talents of Manuel served him 
better than his military skill or the courage of his army. 
By some negotiations of which we are ignorant, he succeeded 
in arresting the march of a Tartar army on Trebizond, by 
acknowledging himself a tributary of the Mongol empire, 
and placing his whole land and sea forces at the orders of 

When the grand army of the Tartars marched against 
Bayezid, Timor ordered the emperor of Trebizond to appear 
in person at the head of his contingent. By some means or 
other, and most probably for the purpose of hastening the 
preparation of the naval force which Timor had ordered 
to be prepared to cover his flank, Manuel obtained the 
relaxation of this order, for there is no doubt that he was 
not present at the battle of Angora. His dignity and fame 
as a Christian emperor, and the deep detestation felt by all 
Christians against Bayezid, who had so often defeated the 
chivalry of the west, would have embalmed the name of 
Manuel in glory as a champion of a holy war, had he taken 
any part in the victory of Angora. We have too many 
accounts of that great battle, both by contemporary Christians 
and Mohammedans, to leave any doubt on the subject. At 
the same time, the close political alliance that existed 
between Tahartcn, the emir of Arsinga, who was highly 
distinguished at the court of Timor, and his brother-in-law 



Manuel, would alone be sufficient to establish the impossi- 
bility of the wary Mongol having overlooked the importance 
of the empire of Trebizond. Indeed, so minute was Timor's 
attention to every circumstance that could contribute to aid 
his cause in the severe struggle he anticipated with the 
Othoman forces, that he resolved to distract the attention 
of Bayezid, and deprive him of succours from his European 
dominions, by attacking the flank and rear of the Turkish 
army. For this purpose he ordered a fleet to be assembled 
at Trebizond ; and there exists proof of this in a letter of 
Timor, addressed to John Palaeologos, the nephew of 
Manuel II., emperor of Constantinople, who governed the 
Byzantine empire while his uncle was begging assistance 
against the Turks in western Europe. This communication 
shows the importance attached by Timor to a naval diversion, 
in case of a prolonged campaign in the interior of Asia 
Minor. The letter is dated about two months before the 
battle of Angora. The Tartar monarch orders John Palaeo- 
logos to prepare immediately twenty galleys, to unite with a 
fleet of the same number which the emperor of Trebizond 
was fitting out, and to hold them ready for further orders J . 
It is true that no use was made of these fleets, and that 
Timor did not cross the Bosphorus and lay waste the Serai 
of Adrianople, nor enter the walls of Constantinople ; but 
this must be attributed to the utter destruction of the Otho- 
man forces at Angora, and to the disappearance of every 
trace of further resistance in the Othoman empire ; not, as 
Gibbon supposes, because ' an insuperable though narrow 
sea rolled between the two continents of Europe and Asia, 
and the lord of so many tomans or myriads of horse was 
not master of a single galley 2 .' The reason was different. 

1 This letter is given by Fallmerayer with his usual judicious observations; 
Geschichte, 224. See also Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores. torn. xxii. p. 806; 
Marini Sanuti, Vile de' Duchi di Venezia. Ascala, the principal minister of Timor, 
was well acquainted with the naval affairs of the Black Sea. He is said to have 
been born at Caffa, of Genoese origin. Silvestre de Sacy (Memnires del' Acad, des 
Inscriptions, torn. vi. 410) has published the correspondence of Timor with Charles 
VI. of France in 1403. He had previously written to the republics of Venice 
and Genoa, to incite them to attack Bayezid. 

2 The army of Timor is usually represented by historians as so numerous that 
common-sense tells us no such numbers could find food in the countries through 
which he marched. Its admirable discipline and the excellence of its equipments, 
the real causes of its success, are passed unnoticed. It was one of the first arm es 
in which the various bodies of men were distinguished by the colours of th ir 


[Ch. IV. § 2. 

The same political views which made Timor disdain to visit 

Trebizond and Brusa led him to despise Adrianople and 


Timor ruled the world as the general of an army, not as 
the sovereign of a state. He was a nomad of surpassing 
genius, but he gloried in remaining a nomad. His camp 
was his residence, hunting was his favourite amusement, 
and, as long as he lived, he resolved that no city should 
relax the discipline of his invincible cuirassiers. In his eyes, 
wisdom and virtue existed only in tents ; vice and folly 
were the constant denizens of walled cities and fixed dwell- 
ings. Before the battle of Angora, Timor had wisely 
prepared for a long war by calculating that all the resources 
of the immense empire of Bayezid would have been ably 
employed to resist the Tartars. But after the irreparable 
defeat of the sultan, and the total dissolution of the Turkish 
army, he overlooked the vitality of the administrative in- 
stitutions on which the Othoman power reposed ; and, in 
consequence of the contempt he felt for the Turks as a 
nation, he erroneously believed that the Othoman empire 
was based on the military strength of a tribe, that appeared 
to be almost exterminated. Timor saw no Othoman army 
in the field, while he beheld the Seljouk princes of Asia 
Minor resuming all the power of which they had been 
deprived by Bayezid. Many tribes of Turks and Turkomans 
were now only vassals of the Mongol empire, and among 
them the Othomans appeared by no means the most 

When the grand army of Timor quitted Asia Minor, a 
division of the troops visited Kerasunt. But the steep 
mountains, the winding and precipitous paths, and the want 
of forage for the cavalry and beasts of burden along the coast, 
between Kerasunt and Trebizond, saved the capital from 
their unwelcome presence l . Manuel, we may rest assured, 
did everything in his power to collect abundant supplies of 
provisions and furnish ample means of transport on the 
shorter lines of road, in order to preserve the caravan routes 

uniforms. Hammer says that Timor had the first regiment of cuirassiers men- 
tions, in the annals of warfare. Histoire de VEmpire Oihoman, ii. 83. 

1 Scl.iltberger's Reisen, edit. Penzel, Miinchen, 1813, p. 89, quoted by Fall- 
meraycr, Geschichte, 231. 


A.D. I4I 7-I446.] 

in the immediate vicinity of Trebizond free from interruption. 
Fortunately none of these routes conducted to the westward. 
The revenues of the empire were now in a great measure 
dependent on the commercial importance of the capital. On 
quitting western Asia, Timor established his nephew, Mirza 
Halil, as immediate sovereign over the tributary states of 
Trebizond, Georgia, and Armenia, as well as over the chief- 
tains of the Turkoman hordes 1 . The troubles that ensued 
in the Mongol empire after Timor's death, and the departure 
of Mirza Halil to occupy the throne of Samarcand, enabled 
Manuel to throw off all dependence on the Tartars and deliver 
the empire from tribute. 

Manuel III. died in the year 1417. He was twice married ; 
first to Eudocia of Georgia, in the year 1377, by whom he 
had a son, Alexios IV., and after her death to Anna Phil- 
anthropena of Constantinople, by whom he left no children. 
Alexios was suspected of having hastened his father's death. 

SECT. III. — Reign of Alexios IV. — Relations with the Turko- 
man hordes. — Family crimes in the house of Grand-Kom- 
netios. — 141 7-1446. 

After the retreat of the grand army of the Mongols, the 
empire of Trebizond was exposed, almost without defence, 
to the attacks of the two great Turkoman hordes of the 
Black and White Sheep, who wandered over the vast provinces 
that extend from the suburbs of Sinope to the walls of 
Bussora. Kara Yousouf, the chief of the horde of the Black 
Sheep, appeared for a time to be on the point of founding 
a great empire between the Mongols and the Turks. His 
conquests extended from the Euxine to the Persian Gulf. 
The career of Kara Yousouf was marked by the strangest 
vicissitudes, and a history of his empire would be nothing 
more than a record of his own singular adventures. Born the 
hereditary chieftain of a tribe that mustered thirty thousand 
cavalry, he was more than once forced to gain the necessaries 
of life as a common robber, while at other times he swept 

1 Hhtoire de Timur-Bec, ecrite en Persan par Cherefeddin Ali, traduite par Petis 
de la Croix, torn. iv. p. 120. 


[Ch. IV. § 3. 
through Mesopotamia at the head of sixty thousand of the 
finest troops in Asia. As early as the year 1387, he had tried 
his fortune in battle with Timor ; but he was no match for 
the military skill of the wary Tartar. Undaunted by his first 
misfortune, he renewed the war in 1393 ; and though defeated 
a second time, he again raised his standard against the Tartars 
in 1400. In this last war, his army was so completely routed, 
and he was himself so hotly pursued, that, unable to conceal 
his movements either in the mountains of Assyria or the 
deserts of Mesopotamia, he fled to the court of Bayezid. The 
refusal of the Turkish sultan to deliver him up to Timor, 
who claimed him as a rebellious vassal, was the immediate 
cause of the invasion of the Othoman empire by the Mongols. 

When Bayezid became the prisoner of Timor, Kara Yousouf 
fled to Cairo, where the Mamlouk king, Furreg the son of 
Berkouk, gave him an asylum until Timor's death. He then 
hastened back to the banks of the Euphrates and once more 
collected the Turkomans round his standard. The genius 
of Timor no longer directed the movements of the Tartar 
armies, and success attended the enterprises of Kara Yousouf. 
Tauris itself was captured, and became the capital of his 
empire. Kara Yousouf then occupied Arsinga, driving out 
the family of Taharten. He also defeated Oulough, who 
commanded the troops of the White Horde of the Turko- 
mans for his brother Hamsa, their chieftain. 

Alexios IV. was a helpless spectator of these sudden revo- 
lutions in his vicinity. He trusted, when he heard rumours 
of the impetuous career of Kara Yousouf, that the emir of 
Arsinga and the chieftain of the White Horde, who were 
both allied to his family, would serve as a barrier to protect 
his empire \ The defeat of these allies compelled the emperor 
to throw himself on the mercy of the conqueror, and to 
declare his readiness to submit to any conditions of peace. 
Kara Yousouf ordered the suppliant monarch to send his 
daughter, the most beautiful princess of the house of Grand- 
Komnenos, which had long been celebrated in Asia for the 
beauty of its daughters, to be the wife of his son Djihanshah, 
and to pay the same amount of tribute to the Black 

1 Kara Youlouk, or the Black Leech, the father of Hamsa and Odour*, or 
Alibeg, was the son-in law of Alexios III. Ducas, p. 69. 


A.D. I4I 7-I446.] 

Turkomans that his father, Manuel III., had paid to the 
Mongols 1 . 

Kara Yousouf died, in the year 1420, in as strange a 
manner as he had lived. A fit of apoplexy smote him 
in his tent as he was speculating on the consequences of 
an approaching conflict with the Tartars, in which he felt 
confident of victory. The next day was to have witnessed 
a great battle with Shah Roukh, the youngest son of Timor ; 
and had victory continued faithful to the standard of Kara 
Yousouf, the empire of Asia would have passed from the 
Tartars to the Black Turkomans. The death of their leader, 
however, served as a signal for the dispersion of the Turkoman 
army. Each captain, the moment he heard the news, hastened 
from the camp to gain possession of some province rich enough 
to supply the means of keeping his troops together, until he 
could find an opportunity of selling his services to a new 

Kara Yousouf had never connected his personal authority 
with a systematic administration extending over all his 
dominions. The effect of his neglect or ignorance of political 
organization deserves to be contrasted with the fate of the 
Othoman administration after the catastrophe of Angora. 
While the Othoman empire revived with undiminished vigour 
even after the annihilation of its armies, the empire of the 
Black Turkomans melted away, on the death of its ruler, 
before any disaster had shaken its fabric. Kara Yousouf's 
corpse lay in his tent, surrounded by a chosen body of hardy 
veterans, while tribe after tribe marched off from the camp ; 
but at length these guards, on beholding the troops in their 
immediate vicinity striking their tents, suddenly began to 
inquire what was to be done. They could not wait until 
Shah Roukh fell upon them. All their hopes had been 
concentrated in the dead prince, who had ridden proudly 
through their ranks the day before, promising them victory. 
To him they had loo