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Thessaly and the Duchy of Neopatras

Thessaly and the Duchy of Neopatras


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Thessaly was an independent state in medieval Greece from 1267 or 1268 to 1394 CE, first as the Greek-ruled Thessaly and later as the Catalan and Latin-ruled Duchy of Neopatras. Under its sebastokrators, Thessaly was a thorn in the side of the Byzantine Empire and an ally of the Latin states in Greece and southern Italy. Following the death of the last Thessalian sebastokrator in 1318 CE, the Duchy of Neopatras was established by the Catalans and combined with the Duchy of Athens, with the two states mostly sharing the same rulers and fortunes until Thessaly was finally conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1423 CE.

Beginnings in Epirus

Following the Fourth Crusade's sacking of Constantinople in 1204 CE, the Byzantine Empire splintered into a series of successor states. Thessaly was originally held by the regional Greek leader Leo Sgouros, but when the Latin crusaders arrived, the territory was quickly taken over by Latin lords under the nominal leadership of Boniface of Montferrat, the new King of Thessalonica (r. 1205-1207 CE). Latin rule in Thessaly was short-lived, however, and in 1212 CE, Michael I Komnenos Doukas of Epirus (r. 1205-1215 CE) occupied central Thessaly, including the key city of Larissa, and the rest of Thessaly was conquered by his half-brother and successor, Theodore Komnenos Doukas (r. 1215-1230 CE). Epirus was one of the three long-lasting Greek (or rather Roman) successor states to the Byzantine Empire, and it was initially quite successful, conquering Thessalonica, restyling itself the Empire of Thessalonica, and advancing almost to the gates of Constantinople itself before Theodore suffered a horrific defeat at the Battle of Klokotnitsa in 1230 CE.

Thessaly had a taste of independence under Manuel, & in the will of Michael II, it would become an independent state once again.

In the aftermath of Klokotnitsa, Manuel Komnenos Doukas (r. 1230-1241 CE) took up power in Thessalonica while his relative Michael II Komnenos Doukas (r. 1230-1267/1268 CE) became the ruler of Epirus. Thessaly was ruled by the Empire of Thessalonica during this decade of contraction, but when Manuel was ousted from Thessalonica in 1237 CE by the returned Theodore, he went to Thessaly, where he ruled the region as an independent state from 1239 to 1241 CE. Upon his death, Thessaly fell to Michael II of Epirus, being reincorporated into the Despotate of Epirus. The region was briefly occupied by the Empire of Nicaea in 1259 but was reoccupied by Epirote forces the following year.

An Independent State

While Thessaly had a taste of independence under Manuel, in the will of Michael II, it would become an independent state once again. Michael II decided to split his realm between his firstborn son, Nikephoros Komnenos Doukas, and his illegitimate son John Doukas. Nikephoros (r. 1267/1268-1297 CE) received the Despotate of Epirus while John received Thessaly.

John I Doukas (r. 1267/1268-1289 CE) established the city of Neopatras as his capital and ruled Thessaly as a practically independent state. Like his half-brother Nikephoros, he technically was beholden to Byzantine suzerainty. John had received the imperial title sebastokrator from the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos (r. 1259-1282 CE), acknowledging Byzantine rule in the same manner that Nikephoros acknowledged Byzantine rule in Epirus in exchange for the title of despot. But in reality, both states operated outside of Byzantine rule and frequently allied themselves with their Latin neighbors to the south and in Italy.

John was on good relations with Charles I of Sicily (r. 1266-1285 CE), who coveted the Byzantine Empire, as well as the Duchy of Athens. Like Nikephoros, John also portrayed Thessaly as a protector of Orthodoxy when Michael VIII agreed to the union of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches at the Council of Lyon in 1274 CE. John even convened a synod at Neopatras to condemn the Council of Lyon and its proclaimed union.

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In retaliation for John's disloyalty, a Byzantine army under Michael VIII's brother invaded Thessaly and besieged John in Neopatras. He was only saved by the timely arrival of an army from the Duchy of Athens. The price for this assistance, however, was the hand of John's daughter, Helena, in marriage to the future Athenian duke, William I de la Roche (r. 1280-1287 CE), as well as a dowry of a few Thessalian border towns. The Byzantines attempted to invade again in 1277 CE, and Michael VIII lead a campaign in person in 1282 CE but died en route.

While John I was a fearsome resistor of Byzantine rule, upon his death, he left two young sons as his successors, Constantine (r. 1289-1303 CE) and Theodore (r. 1289-1299 CE). John's widow, a Vlach princess, acquiesced to Byzantine power, and in 1295 CE, the Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (r. 1282-1328 CE) granted both men the title of sebastokrator, like their father. The two sebastokrators were their father's sons, however, and soon were causing trouble for the Byzantines. They conspired with the Serbians and even attacked their cousin in Epirus, taking the city of Naupaktos.

End of the Dynasty

However, to the north, a new crisis was brewing in the form of the Catalan Company. The Catalan Company was a group of mercenaries from the Kingdom of Aragon that was hired by the Byzantine emperor Andronikos II. After arriving in 1303 CE, they successfully defeated the Turks in several engagements, but their growing power terrified the Byzantines. In 1305 CE, the Catalan Company leader, Roger de Flor, was murdered, leading the Catalan Company to ravage Thrace for several years, utterly devastating the land. By 1309 CE, the Catalans having already sacked Byzantine territory to the fullest extent were looking for new opportunities. John II was now of age and was attempting to break free from Walter of Brienne, the new Duke of Athens (r. 1308-1311 CE). Walter called in the Catalan Company to assert Athenian power in Thessaly, and the mercenaries easily plundered the Thessalian plain and captured several Thessalian forts.

Much like the Byzantines before him, Walter was now alarmed at the ferociousness and bloody efficiency of the Catalan Company. He attempted to liquidate them, but the Catalans crushed the ducal army in 1311 CE at the Battle of Halmyros. Walter was killed in battle. In the aftermath, the Catalans conquered the Duchy of Athens itself. John struggled on for several more years, but the Catalans maintained the Thessalian forts they had conquered earlier and continued to raid deep into Thessaly. The Thessalian nobles also grew restless, and so John was forced to recognize Byzantine suzerainty. When John died in 1318 CE, the realm quickly dissolved, with the Catalans conquering the southern part of Thessaly and Greek nobles, Stephen Gabriolopoulos chief among them, ruling semi-autonomously in the north.

Duchy of Neopatras

Although Thessaly was officially gone, it had a half-life of another century as the Duchy of Neopatras. The Catalans set up the Duchy of Neopatras in place of the southern half of Thessaly, but in reality, it was part of the Duchy of Athens. Catalan Athens was ruled by second and third sons of the Aragonese kings of Sicily, and thus the dukes of Neopatras and the dukes of Athens were one and the same. It was held by the Catalans until 1390 CE, when Nerio I Acciaioli (r. 1390-1391 CE), the Florentine lord of Corinth, conquered it, having wrested the Duchy of Athens from the Catalans two years before.

The Duchy of Neopatras under the Acciaioli would be short-lived. Four years later, in 1394 CE, the Ottomans conquered the duchy and advanced on Athens. After the Ottomans fell at the Battle of Ankara in 1402 CE against Timur (aka Tamerlane), the Byzantines reconquered Thessaly for a time, and the territory moved back and forth between the Byzantines and Ottomans until the Ottomans conquered it for good in 1423 CE. After its extended life of actual and nominal independence, Thessaly was now to be part of the Ottoman Empire for the next four centuries.


Ypati

Ypati (Greek: Υπάτη ) is a village and a former municipality in Phthiotis, central peninsular Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality of Lamia, of which it is a municipal unit. [1] The municipal unit has an area of 257.504 km 2 . [2] Its 2011 population was 4,541 for the municipal unit, and 496 for the settlement of Ypati itself. [1] The town has a long history, being founded at the turn of the 5th/4th century BC as the capital of the Aenianes. During the Roman period the town prospered and was regarded as the chief city of Thessaly, as well as a bishopric. It was probably abandoned in the 7th century as a result of the Slavic invasions, but was re-established by the 9th century as Neopatras. The town became prominent as a metropolitan see and was the capital of the Greek principality of Thessaly in 1268–1318 and of the Catalan Duchy of Neopatras from 1319 to 1391. It was conquered by the Ottomans in the early 15th century and remained under Ottoman rule until the Greek War of Independence.


Establishment of the Duchy Edit

The first duke of Athens (as well as of Thebes, at first) was Otto de la Roche, a minor Burgundian knight of the Fourth Crusade. Although he was known as the "Duke of Athens" from the foundation of the duchy in 1205, the title did not become official until 1260. Instead, Otto proclaimed himself "Lord of Athens" (in Latin Dominus Athenarum, in French Sire d'Athenes). The local Greeks called the dukes "Megas Kyris" (Greek: Μέγας Κύρης , "Great Lord"), from which the shortened form "Megaskyr", often used even by the Franks to refer to the Duke of Athens, is derived.

Athens was originally a vassal state of the Kingdom of Thessalonica, but after Thessalonica was captured in 1224 by Theodore, the Despot of Epirus, the Principality of Achaea claimed suzerainty over Athens, a claim disputed by the de la Roche in the War of the Euboeote Succession. Like the rest of Latin Greece, however, the Duchy recognized the suzerainty of Charles I of Sicily after the Treaties of Viterbo in 1267.

The Duchy occupied the Attic peninsula as well as Boeotia and extended partially into Thessaly, sharing an undefined border with Thessalonica and then Epirus. It did not hold the islands of the Aegean Sea, which were Venetian territories, but exercised influence over the Latin Triarchy of Negroponte. The buildings of the Acropolis in Athens served as the palace for the dukes.

Aragonese conquest Edit

The Duchy was held by the family of la Roche until 1308, when it passed to Walter V of Brienne. Walter hired the Catalan Company, a group of mercenaries founded by Roger de Flor, to fight against the Byzantine successor state of Epirus, but when he tried to dismiss and cheat them of their pay in 1311, they slew him and the bulk of the Frankish nobility at the Battle of Halmyros and took over the Duchy. Walter's son Walter VI of Brienne retained only the lordship of Argos and Nauplia, where his claims to the Duchy were still recognized.

In 1312, the Catalans recognized the suzerainty of King Frederick III of Sicily, who appointed his son Manfred as Duke. The ducal title remained in the hands of the Crown of Aragon until 1388, but actual authority was exercised by a series of vicars-general. In 1318/19 the Catalans conquered Siderokastron and the south of Thessaly as well, and created the Duchy of Neopatras, united to Athens. Part of Thessaly was conquered from the Catalans by the Serbs in the 1340s.

Under Aragonese rule, the feudal system continued to exist, not anymore under the Assizes of Romania, but under the Customs of Barcelona, and the official common language was now Catalan instead of French. Each city and district—on the example of Sicily—had its own local governor (veguer, castlà, capità), whose term of office was fixed at three years and who was nominated by the Duke, the vicar-general or the local representatives. The principal towns and villages were represented by the síndic, which had their own councils and officers. Judges and notaries were elected for life or even as inherited offices.

Decline and fall Edit

In 1379 the Navarrese Company, in the service of the Latin emperor James of Baux, conquered Thebes and part of Neopatria. Meanwhile, the Aragonese kept another part of Neopatras and Attica.

After 1381 the Duchy was ruled by the Kings of Sicily until 1388 when the Acciaioli family of Florence captured Athens. Neopatras was occupied in 1390.

From 1395 to 1402 the Venetians briefly controlled the Duchy. In 1444 Athens became a tributary of Constantine Palaeologus, the despot of Morea and heir to the Byzantine throne. In 1456, after the Fall of Constantinople (1453) to the Ottoman Empire, Turahanoğlu Ömer Bey conquered the remnants of the Duchy. Despite the Ottoman conquest, the title of "Duke of Athens and Neopatras" continued in use by the kings of Aragon, and through them by the Kings of Spain, up to the present day.

Athens was the seat of a metropolitan archdiocese within the Patriarchate of Constantinople when it was conquered by the Franks. The seat, however, was not of importance, being the twenty-eighth in precedence in the Byzantine Empire. [2] Nonetheless, it had produced the prominent clergyman Michael Choniates. It was a metropolitan see (province or eparchy) with eleven suffragans at the time of conquest: Euripus, Daulia, Coronea, Andros, Oreos, Scyrus, Karystos, Porthmus, Aulon, Syra and Seriphus, and Ceos and Thermiae (or Cythnus). The structure of the Greek church was not significantly changed by the Latins, and Pope Innocent III confirmed the first Latin Archbishop of Athens, Berard, in all his Greek predecessors' rights and jurisdictions. The customs of the church of Paris were imported to Athens, but few western European clergymen wished to be removed to such a distant see as Athens. Antonio Ballester, however, an educated Catalan, had a successful career in Greece as archbishop.

The Parthenon, which had been the Orthodox church of the Theotokos Atheniotissa, became the Catholic Church of Saint Mary of Athens. The Greek Orthodox church survived as an underground institution without official sanction by the governing Latin authorities. The Greek clergy had not typically been literate in the twelfth century and their education certainly worsened under Latin domination, when their church was illegal. [3]

The archdiocese of Thebes also lay within the Athenian duchy. Unlike Athens, it had no suffragans. [4] However, the Latin archbishopric produced several significant figures as archbishops, such as Simon Atumano. It had a greater political role than Athens because it was situated in the later capital of the duchy at Thebes. Under the Catalans, the Athenian diocese had expanded its jurisdiction to thirteen suffragans, but only the diocese of Megara, Daulia, Salona, and Boudonitza lay with the duchy itself. The archiepiscopal offices of Athens and Thebes were held by Frenchmen and Italians until the late fourteenth century, when Catalan or Aragonese people began to fill them.

De la Roche family Edit

Of Burgundian origin, the dukes of the petty lordly family from La Roche renewed the ancient city of Plato and Aristotle as a courtly European capital of chivalry. The state they built around it was, throughout their tenure, the strongest and most peaceful of the Latin creations in Greece.

Briennist claimants Edit

The Athenian parliament elected the count of Brienne to succeed Guy, but his tenure was brief and he was killed in battle by the Catalans. His wife briefly had control of the city, too. The heirs of Brienne continued to claim the duchy, but were recognised only in Argos and Nauplia.

Aragonese domination Edit

The annexation of the duchy to first the Catalan Company and subsequently Aragon came after a disputed succession following the death of the last Burgundian duke. The Catalans recognised the King of Sicily as sovereign over Athens and this left the duchy often as an appanage in the hands of younger sons and under vicars general.

Catalan vicars-general Edit

These were the vicars-general of the Crown of Sicily, and after 1379 of the Crown of Aragon.

    (1312–1316) [5] (1317 – ca. 1330) [6] , possibly appointed pro tempore to lead the war against Walter VI of Brienne in 1331 [7] (ca. 1331–1335) [7] (1354–1356) [8] (1359) [9] (1359–1361) [9] (1361–1362) [9] (1362–1369/70), de facto and unrecognized until 1366 [10] (1362–1363), uncertain [9] (1363–1366), only de jure[9] (1370–1374) [11] (1375–1382) [11] (1379–1386, de facto only during his stay in Greece 1381–1382) [12][13]
      (1382–1386), deputy of Philip Dalmau after his departure from Greece [14]
      (1386–1388), deputy of Bernard of Cornellà and then of Philip Dalmau in Greece until the fall of Athens to Nerio Acciaioli [17]

    Acciaioli family Edit

    The Florentine Acciaioli (or Acciajuoli) governed the duchy from their removal of the Catalans, with the assistance of the Navarrese. While Nerio willed the city and duchy to Venice, it returned to the Florentines until the Turkish conquest.

      (1388–1394) (1394–1395)
    • Venetian control (1395–1402), under podestàs:
        (1395–1397)
    • Lorenzo Venier (1397–1399)
    • Ermoaldo Contarini (1399–1400)
    • Nicolo Vitturi (1400–1402)
      • with Bartolomeo Contarini (1451–1454)

      Italian poet Dante Alighieri (c. 1265-1321), in the Inferno segment of his Divine Comedy, meets, along with the Roman poet Virgil, the mythological Minotaur and, speaking with him, he mentions "the Duke of Athens" (Theseus). So does Shakespeare in his comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. In Dante's Divine Comedy (especially in Inferno), there are many references to Greek mythology, and the poet connects them to Late Middle Ages Greece, such as with the Duke of Athens. [ citation needed ]


      Contents

      In Homer's epic, the Odyssey, the hero Odysseus visited the kingdom of Aeolus, which was the old name for Thessaly.

      The Plain of Thessaly, which lies between Mount Oeta/Othrys and Mount Olympus, was the site of the battle between the Titans and the Olympians.

      According to legend, Jason and the Argonauts launched their search for the Golden Fleece from the Magnesia Peninsula.

      Ancient history Edit

      Thessaly was home to extensive Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures around 6000–2500 BC (see Cardium pottery, Dimini and Sesklo). Mycenaean settlements have also been discovered, for example at the sites of Iolcos, Dimini and Sesklo (near Volos). In Archaic and Classical times, the lowlands of Thessaly became the home of baronial families, such as the Aleuadae of Larissa or the Scopads of Crannon.

      In the summer of 480 BC, the Persians invaded Thessaly. The Greek army that guarded the Vale of Tempe evacuated the road before the enemy arrived. Not much later, Thessaly surrendered to the Persians. [4] The Thessalian family of Aleuadae joined the Persians subsequently.

      In the 4th century BC, after the Greco-Persian Wars had long ended, Jason of Pherae transformed the region into a significant military power, recalling the glory of Early Archaic times. Shortly after, Philip II of Macedon was appointed Archon of Thessaly, and Thessaly was thereafter associated with the Macedonian Kingdom for the next centuries.

      Thessaly later became part of the Roman Empire as part of the province of Macedonia when that was broken up, the name resurfaced in two of its late Roman successor provinces: Thessalia Prima and Thessalia Secunda.

      Byzantine period Edit

      Thessaly remained part of the East Roman "Byzantine" Empire after the collapse of Roman power in the west, and subsequently suffered many invasions, such as by the Slavic tribe of the Belegezites in the 7th century AD. [5] The Avars had arrived in Europe in the late 550s. [6] : 29 They asserted their authority over many Slavs, who were divided into numerous petty tribes. [7] Many Slavs were galvanized into an effective infantry force, by the Avars. In the 7th century the Avar-Slav alliance began to raid the Byzantine Empire, laying siege to Thessalonica and even the imperial capital Constantinople itself.

      By the 8th century, Slavs had occupied most of the Balkans from Austria to the Peloponnese, and from the Adriatic to the Black seas, with the exception of the coastal areas and certain mountainous regions of the Greek peninsula. [8] Relations between the Slavs and Greeks were probably peaceful apart from the (supposed) initial settlement and intermittent uprisings. [9] Being agriculturalists, the Slavs probably traded with the Greeks inside towns. [10] It is likely that the re-Hellenization had already begun by way of this contact. This process would be completed by a newly reinvigorated Byzantine Empire.

      With the abatement of Arab-Byzantine Wars, the Byzantine Empire began to consolidate its power in those areas of mainland Greece occupied by Proto-Slavic tribes. Following the campaigns of the Byzantine general Staurakios in 782–783, the Byzantine Empire recovered Thessaly, taking many Slavs as prisoners. [11] Apart from military expeditions against Slavs, the re-Hellenization process begun under Nicephorus I involved (often forcible) transfer of peoples. [12]

      Many Slavs were moved to other parts of the empire such as Anatolia and made to serve in the military. [13] In return, many Greeks from Sicily and Asia Minor were brought to the interior of Greece, to increase the number of defenders at the Emperor's disposal and dilute the concentration of Slavs. [14]

      Late Medieval and Ottoman period Edit

      In 977 Byzantine Thessaly was raided by the Bulgarian Empire. In 1066 dissatisfaction with the taxation policy led the Aromanian and Bulgarian population of Thessaly to revolt against the Byzantine Empire under the leadership of a local lord, Nikoulitzas Delphinas. The revolt, which began in Larissa, soon expanded to Trikala and later northwards to the Byzantine-Bulgarian border. [15] In 1199–1201 another unsuccessful revolt was led by Manuel Kamytzes, son-in-law of Byzantine emperor Alexios III Angelos, with the support of Dobromir Chrysos, the autonomous ruler of Prosek. Kamytzes managed to establish a short-lived principality in northern Thessaly, before he was overcome by an imperial expedition. [16]

      Following the siege of Constantinople and the dissolution of the Byzantine Empire by the Fourth Crusade in April 1204, Thessaly passed to Boniface of Montferrat's Kingdom of Thessalonica in the wider context of the Frankokratia. [17] [18] In 1212, Michael I Komnenos Doukas, ruler of Epirus, led his troops into Thessaly. Larissa and much of central Thessaly came under Epirote rule, thereby separating Thessalonica from the Crusader principalities in southern Greece. [19] Michael's work was completed by his half-brother and successor, Theodore Komnenos Doukas, who by 1220 completed the recovery of the entire region. [20]

      The Vlachs of Thessaly (originally a chiefly transhumant Romance-speaking population) [21] [22] first appear in Byzantine sources in the 11th century, in the Strategikon of Kekaumenos and Anna Komnene's Alexiad). [21] [22] In the 12th century, the Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela records the existence of the district of "Vlachia" near Halmyros in eastern Thessaly, while the Byzantine historian Niketas Choniates places "Great Vlachia" near Meteora. The term is also used by the 13th-century scholar George Pachymeres, and it appears as a distinct administrative unit in 1276, when the pinkernes Raoul Komnenos was its governor (kephale). [21]

      From 1271 to 1318 Thessaly was an independent despotate that extended to Acarnania and Aetolia, run by John I Doukas. In 1309 the Almogavars or Catalan Company of the East (Societas Catalanorum Magna), settled in Thessaly. In 1310, after lifting the siege of Thessalonica, the Almogavars withdrew as mercenaries in the pay of the sebastokrator John II Doukas and took over the country. From there they departed to the Duchy of Athens, called by the duke Walter I. In 1318, with the extinction of the Angelid dynasty, the Almogavars occupied Siderokastron and southern Thessaly (1319) and formed the Duchy of Neopatria.

      In 1348, Thessaly was invaded and occupied by the Serbs under Preljub. After the latter's death in 1356, the region was conquered by Nikephoros Orsini, and after his death three years later, it was taken over by the self-proclaimed Serbian emperor Simeon Uroš. Simeon's son John Uroš succeeded in 1370 but abdicated in 1373, and Thessaly was administered by the Greek Angeloi-Philanthropenoi clan until the Ottoman conquest c. 1393.

      Ottoman control was disputed by the Byzantines until the 1420s when it was consolidated by Turahan Bey, who settled Turkomans in the province and founded the town of Tyrnavos. The territory was ruled through the Sanjak of Tirhala administrative division during the Ottoman period.

      Modern Edit

      In 1600, a short-lived rebellion broke out in the region.

      Rigas Feraios, the important Greek intellectual and forerunner of the Greek War of Independence was from the region. He was born in Velestino, [23] near the ancient town of Pherae.

      In 1821, parts of Thessaly and Magnesia participated in the initial uprisings in the Greek War of Independence, but these revolts were swiftly crushed. Thessaly became part of the modern Greek state in 1881, after the Convention of Constantinople except the area around the town of Elassona, which remained in Ottoman hands until 1912. It was briefly captured by Ottomans during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. After the Treaty of Constantinople (1897), Greece was forced to cede minor border areas and to pay heavy reparations. The remaining part of Thessaly held by the Ottomans was finally regained by the Greeks during the First Balkan War in 1912.

      During World War II, Thessaly was occupied by the Kingdom of Italy from April 1941 to September of 1943. After the Armistice of Cassibile, Germany occupied Thessaly until October 1944.

      Language Edit

      The Aeolic dialect of Greek was spoken in Thessaly. This included several local varieties, in particular the variants of Pelasgiotis and Thessaliotis. The language was not written. [24]


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      Neopatras, Duchy of: Information

      The Duchy of Neopatras (Catalan: Ducat de Neopàtria Modern Greek: Δουκάτο Νέων Πατρών Latin: Ducatus Neopatriae) was one of the Crusader States set up in Greece after the sacking and conquest of the Byzantine Empire during the Fourth Crusade. It was situated in Central Greece, centered on the city of Neopatras (Νέαι Πάτραι, Neai Patrai), modern Ypati) in the Spercheios valley, west of Lamia.

      When the Greek ruler of Thessaly, John II Doukas, died in 1318 without heir, his domains fell into anarchy. The Almogavars of the Catalan Company, who had recently conquered most of the Duchy of Athens to the south of Thessaly, took advantage of the situation to push north. The Catalans took Neopatras in 1319, and by 1325 had also conquered Zetounion, Loidoriki, Siderokastron and Vitrinitsa, as well as - apparently briefly - Domokos, Gardiki and Pharsalus. The central and northern part of Thessaly remained in Greek hands.

      The Catalans selected the infant Manfred, son of King Frederick III of Sicily, as their duke, but actual power was wielded by the Duke's local representative, the vicar-general, as well as by the marshal (mariscalus exercitus ducatuum) as the elected head of the Company members.

      Most of the Duchy's possessions in Thessaly were lost when the region was conquered by the Serbs of Stefan Dushan in 1348, but Neopatras and the region around it remained in Catalan hands. In 1377, the title of Duke of Athens and Neopatras was assumed by Peter IV of Aragon. It was preserved among the subsidiary titles of his successors, and was regularly included in the full title of the Spanish monarchs at least until the takeover of the Spanish crown by the House of Bourbon.

      In 1378-79, the Catalans lost most of their possessions in Boeotia to the Navarrese Company, while from the south the ambitious Florentine adventurer Nerio Acciaioli, lord of Corinth, took over Megara in 1374 and began applying pressure on Athens. By 1380, the Catalans were left only with the two capitals of Athens and Neopatras, as well as the County of Salona. Athens fell to Acciaioli in 1388, and in 1390 he captured Neopatras as well. Acciaioli could boast in the title "Lord of Corinth and the Duchy of Athens and Neopatras", but his triumph was short-lived: in 1393/4 the Ottoman Turks conquered Neopatras and the entire Spercheios River valley.


      History

      When the Greek ruler of Thessaly, John II Doukas, died in 1318 without heir, his domains fell into anarchy. The Almogavars of the Catalan Company, who had recently conquered most of the Duchy of Athens to the south of Thessaly, took advantage of the situation to push north. The Catalans took Neopatras in 1319, and by 1325 had also conquered Zetounion, Loidoriki, Siderokastron and Vitrinitsa, as well as—apparently briefly—Domokos, Gardiki and Pharsalus. [1] [2] [3] The central and northern part of Thessaly remained in Greek hands under a series of local magnates, some of whom recognized Byzantine suzerainty, like Stephen Gabrielopoulos of Trikala others, however, like the Maliasenos family around Volos, turned to the Catalans for support. [1] [4] The territory conquered by the Catalans was divided into five captaincies. [2]

      The Catalans selected the infant Manfred, son of King Frederick III of Sicily, as their duke, but actual power was wielded by the Duke's local representative, the vicar-general, as well as by the marshal (mariscalus exercitus ducatuum) as the elected head of the Company members. [3]

      Most of the Duchy's possessions in Thessaly were lost when the region was conquered by the Serbs of Stefan Dushan in 1348, but Neopatras and the region around it remained in Catalan hands. [5] In 1377, the title of Duke of Athens and Neopatras was assumed by Peter IV of Aragon. [6] It was preserved among the subsidiary titles of his successors, and was regularly included in the full title of the Spanish monarchs at least until the takeover of the Spanish crown by the House of Bourbon. [7]

      In 1378–79, the Catalans lost most of their possessions in Boeotia to the Navarrese Company, while from the south the ambitious Florentine adventurer Nerio Acciaioli, lord of Corinth, took over Megara in 1374 and began applying pressure on Athens. [6] [8] By 1380, the Catalans were left only with the two capitals of Athens and Neopatras, as well as the County of Salona. Athens fell to Acciaioli in 1388, and in 1390 he captured Neopatras as well. Acciaioli could boast in the title "Lord of Corinth and the Duchy of Athens and Neopatras", but his triumph was short-lived: in 1393/4 the Ottoman Turks conquered Neopatras and the entire Spercheios River valley. [9] [10]

      Ecclesiastically, Neopatras largely corresponded to the Latin Archdiocese of Neopatras (L'Arquebisbat de la pàtria), which had one suffragan: Zetounion (Lamia). Among the Catalan archbishops was Ferrer d'Abella, who tried to have himself transferred to a west European see.


      Latin Dukes

      Guy’s rule was generally successful, and Athens was prosperous during this period, being left unmolested by its neighbors. The War of the Euboeote Succession (1256-1258 CE) brought this peace to a close as Guy backed the local Euboean triarchs and the Venetians but was defeated by Prince William II Villehardouin of Achaea (r. 1246-1278 CE) in 1258 CE and forced to surrender when Thebes was besieged. William tried to depose Guy, and Guy traveled to France to receive a judgment on whether William was Guy’s liege lord due to Guy’s territory in the Peloponnese in Greece. The decision was in the negative, but one positive of Guy’s journey was that King Louis IX of France (r. 1226-1270 CE) officially raised Athens to the level of a duchy prior to this, it was technically only a lordship. Another benefit was that with Guy gone, the Duchy of Athens was not involved in the disastrous Battle of Pelagonia against the Byzantines in 1259 CE, in which the flower of Achaean knights had been slaughtered and William was captured. Upon returning to Greece, Guy was even made administrator of Achaea while William languished in a Byzantine prison.

      A map indicating the division of the Byzantine Empire following the sack of Constantinople in 1204 CE during the Fourth Crusade. / Wikimedia Commons

      It was under Guy’s son, John I de la Roche (r. 1263-1280 CE) that Athens grew closer to the Greek country of Thessaly to its north. John twice marched an army to assist the Thessalians against the Byzantine Empire and was even captured by Byzantine forces once. John’s son William I de la Roche (r. 1280-1287 CE) was even married to a Thessalian princess. While Athens’ connections to Thessaly were increasing, it also recognized the suzerainty of the powerful king of Sicily, Charles I (r. 1266-1285 CE), in 1267 CE at the Treaty of Viterbo, which transferred the Duchy of Athens from being beholden to the defunct Latin Empire to Charles. Although Charles’ attempted conquest of the Byzantine Empire ultimately came to nothing, he and his successors would have a heavy hand in Latin politics in Greece for decades, although they held more power and influence in the Principality of Achaea than in Athens.

      William’s successor, Guy II de la Roche (r. 1287-1308 CE), became the guardian of the young Thessalian ruler John II Doukas (r. 1303-1318 CE), increasing Athenian power to its greatest height. But When Guy died, John, now old enough to rule in his own right, tried to break free from Guy’s successor, Walter of Brienne (r. 1308-1311 CE). Walter called in the Catalan Company, a famous group of mercenaries from Aragon that had previously served the Byzantine emperor until the Byzantines murdered their leader, leading to years of the Catalans ravaging the Byzantine countryside. When they started to move toward southern Greece, Walter engaged them to reassert Athenian power in Thessaly. The Catalans were successful, retaking several castles and ravaging the Thessalian plain, but Walter was unnerved by their success and marched his own army north to defeat them. The Battle of Halmyros in 1311 CE was an unmitigated disaster for the Duchy of Athens Walter was killed in the fighting and the Catalans took Athens. They were to be the new dukes of Athens.


      Duchy of Athens

      The Duchy of Athens (Greek: Δουκᾶτον Ἀθηνῶν, Doukaton Athinon Catalan: Ducat d'Atenes) was one of the Crusader states set up in Greece after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire during the Fourth Crusade as part of the process known as Frankokratia, encompassing the regions of Attica and Boeotia, and surviving until its conquest by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.

      History

      Establishment of the Duchy

      The first duke of Athens (as well as of Thebes, at first) was Otto de la Roche, a minor Burgundian knight of the Fourth Crusade. Although he was known as the "Duke of Athens" from the foundation of the duchy in 1205, the title did not become official until 1260. Instead, Otto proclaimed himself "Lord of Athens" (in Latin Dominus Athenarum, in French Sire d'Athenes). The local Greeks called the dukes "Megas Kyris" (Greek: Μέγας Κύρης , "Great Lord"), from which the shortened form "Megaskyr", often used even by the Franks to refer to the Duke of Athens, is derived.

      Athens was originally a vassal state of the Kingdom of Thessalonica, but after Thessalonica was captured in 1224 by Theodore, the Despot of Epirus, the Principality of Achaea claimed suzerainty over Athens, a claim disputed by the de la Roche in the War of the Euboeote Succession. Like the rest of Latin Greece, however, the Duchy recognized the suzerainty of Charles I of Sicily after the Treaties of Viterbo in 1267.

      The Duchy occupied the Attic peninsula as well as Boeotia and extended partially into Thessaly, sharing an undefined border with Thessalonica and then Epirus. It did not hold the islands of the Aegean Sea, which were Venetian territories, but exercised influence over the Latin Triarchy of Negroponte. The buildings of the Acropolis in Athens served as the palace for the dukes.

      Aragonese conquest

      The Duchy was held by the family of la Roche until 1308, when it passed to Walter V of Brienne. Walter hired the Catalan Company, a group of mercenaries founded by Roger de Flor, to fight against the Byzantine successor state of Epirus, but when he tried to dismiss and cheat them of their pay in 1311, they slew him and the bulk of the Frankish nobility at the Battle of Halmyros and took over the Duchy. Walter's son Walter VI of Brienne retained only the lordship of Argos and Nauplia, where his claims to the Duchy were still recognized.

      In 1312, the Catalans recognized the suzerainty of King Frederick III of Sicily, who appointed his son Manfred as Duke. The ducal title remained in the hands of the Crown of Aragon until 1388, but actual authority was exercised by a series of vicars-general. In 1318/19 the Catalans conquered Siderokastron and the south of Thessaly as well, and created the Duchy of Neopatras, united to Athens. Part of Thessaly was conquered from the Catalans by the Serbs in the 1340s.

      Under Aragonese rule, the feudal system continued to exist, not anymore under the Assizes of Romania, but under the Customs of Barcelona, and the official common language was now Catalan instead of French. Each city and district—on the example of Sicily—had its own local governor (veguer, castlà, capità), whose term of office was fixed at three years and who was nominated by the Duke, the vicar-general or the local representatives. The principal towns and villages were represented by the síndic, which had their own councils and officers. Judges and notaries were elected for life or even as inherited offices.

      Decline and fall

      In 1379 the Navarrese Company, in the service of the Latin emperor James of Baux, conquered Thebes and part of Neopatria. Meanwhile, the Aragonese kept another part of Neopatras and Attica.

      After 1381 the Duchy was ruled by the Kings of Sicily until 1388 when the Acciaioli family of Florence captured Athens. Neopatras was occupied in 1390.

      From 1395 to 1402 the Venetians briefly controlled the Duchy. In 1444 Athens became a tributary of Constantine Palaeologus, the despot of Morea and heir to the Byzantine throne. In 1456, after the Fall of Constantinople (1453) to the Ottoman Empire, Turahanoğlu Ömer Bey conquered the remnants of the Duchy. Despite the Ottoman conquest, the title of "Duke of Athens and Neopatras" continued in use by the kings of Aragon, and through them by the Kings of Spain, up to the present day.

      The Latin church in the Duchy of Athens

      Athens was the seat of a metropolitan archdiocese within the Patriarchate of Constantinople when it was conquered by the Franks. The seat, however, was not of importance, being the twenty-eighth in precedence in the Byzantine Empire. [2] Nonetheless, it had produced the prominent clergyman Michael Choniates. It was a metropolitan see (province or eparchy) with eleven suffragans at the time of conquest: Euripus, Daulia, Coronea, Andros, Oreos, Scyrus, Karystos, Porthmus, Aulon, Syra and Seriphus, and Ceos and Thermiae (or Cythnus). The structure of the Greek church was not significantly changed by the Latins, and Pope Innocent III confirmed the first Latin Archbishop of Athens, Berard , in all his Greek predecessors' rights and jurisdictions. The customs of the church of Paris were imported to Athens, but few western European clergymen wished to be removed to such a distant see as Athens. Antonio Ballester, however, an educated Catalan, had a successful career in Greece as archbishop.

      The Parthenon, which had been the Orthodox church of the Theotokos Atheniotissa, became the Catholic Church of Saint Mary of Athens. The Greek Orthodox church survived as an underground institution without official sanction by the governing Latin authorities. The Greek clergy had not typically been literate in the twelfth century and their education certainly worsened under Latin domination, when their church was illegal. [3]

      The archdiocese of Thebes also lay within the Athenian duchy. Unlike Athens, it had no suffragans. [4] However, the Latin archbishopric produced several significant figures as archbishops, such as Simon Atumano. It had a greater political role than Athens because it was situated in the later capital of the duchy at Thebes. Under the Catalans, the Athenian diocese had expanded its jurisdiction to thirteen suffragans, but only the diocese of Megara, Daulia, Salona, and Boudonitza lay with the duchy itself. The archiepiscopal offices of Athens and Thebes were held by Frenchmen and Italians until the late fourteenth century, when Catalan or Aragonese people began to fill them.

      Dukes of Athens

      De la Roche family

      Of Burgundian origin, the dukes of the petty lordly family from La Roche renewed the ancient city of Plato and Aristotle as a courtly European capital of chivalry. The state they built around it was, throughout their tenure, the strongest and most peaceful of the Latin creations in Greece.

      Briennist claimants

      The Athenian parliament elected the count of Brienne to succeed Guy, but his tenure was brief and he was killed in battle by the Catalans. His wife briefly had control of the city, too. The heirs of Brienne continued to claim the duchy, but were recognised only in Argos and Nauplia.

      Aragonese domination

      The annexation of the duchy to first the Catalan Company and subsequently Aragon came after a disputed succession following the death of the last Burgundian duke. The Catalans recognised the King of Sicily as sovereign over Athens and this left the duchy often as an appanage in the hands of younger sons and under vicars general.

      These were the vicars-general of the Crown of Sicily, and after 1379 of the Crown of Aragon.

        (1312–1316) [5] (1317 – ca. 1330) [6]
      • Odo of Novelles , possibly appointed pro tempore to lead the war against Walter VI of Brienne in 1331 [7]
      • Nicholas Lancia (ca. 1331–1335) [7]
      • Raymond Bernardi (1354–1356) [8]
      • Gonsalvo Ximénez of Arenós (1359) [9] (1359–1361) [9]
      • Peter de Pou (1361–1362) [9]
      • Roger de Llúria (1362–1369/70), de facto and unrecognized until 1366 [10]
      • Gonsalvo Ximénez of Arenós (1362–1363), uncertain [9] (1363–1366), only de jure[9]
      • Matthew of Peralta (1370–1374) [11] (1375–1382) [11]
      • Philip Dalmau, Viscount of Rocaberti (1379–1386, de facto only during his stay in Greece 1381–1382) [12][13]
        • Raymond de Vilanova (1382–1386), deputy of Philip Dalmau after his departure from Greece [14]
        • Peter of Pau (1386–1388), deputy of Bernard of Cornellà and then of Philip Dalmau in Greece until the fall of Athens to Nerio Acciaioli [17]

        Acciaioli family

        The Florentine Acciaioli (or Acciajuoli) governed the duchy from their removal of the Catalans, with the assistance of the Navarrese. While Nerio willed the city and duchy to Venice, it returned to the Florentines until the Turkish conquest.

          (1388–1394) (1394–1395)
      • Venetian control (1395–1402), under podestàs:
          (1395–1397)
      • Lorenzo Venier (1397–1399)
      • Ermoaldo Contarini (1399–1400)
      • Nicolo Vitturi (1400–1402)
        • with Bartolomeo Contarini (1451–1454)

        The Duchy, Dante Alighieri, and William Shakespeare

        Italian poet Dante Alighieri (c. 1265-1321), in the Inferno segment of his Divine Comedy, meets, along with the Roman poet Virgil, the mythological Minotaur and, speaking with him, he mentions "the Duke of Athens" (Theseus). So does Shakespeare in his comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. In Dante's Divine Comedy (especially in Inferno), there are many references to Greek mythology, and the poet connects them to Late Middle Ages Greece, such as with the Duke of Athens. [ citation needed ]


        The Duchy and Dante Alighieri [ edit | edit source ]

        Italian poet Dante Alighieri (c. 1265-1321), in the Inferno segment of his Divine Comedy, meets, along with the Roman poet Virgil, the mythological Minotaur and, speaking with him, he mentions "the Duke of Athens" (Theseus).

        In Dante's Divine Comedy (especially in Inferno), there are many references to Greek mythology, and the poet connects it to Late Middle Ages Greece, such as with the Duke of Athens.


        Watch the video: Paliouria Larissa Thessaly Thessalia Greece Παλιουριά Λάρισας Θεσσαλία (July 2022).


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