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Title: Essays on the Latin Orient
Author: Miller, William James
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Essays on the Latin Orient" ***


                        CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
                           C. F. CLAY, MANAGER
                       LONDON: FETTER LANE, E.C. 4


                      NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO.
                      BOMBAY   }
                      CALCUTTA } MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD.
                      MADRAS   }
                      TORONTO: THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.

                           ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

                             THE LATIN ORIENT

                       WILLIAM MILLER, M.A. (OXON.)

                         AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS

    “You imagine that the campaigners against Troy were the only
    heroes, while you forget the other more numerous and diviner
    heroes whom your country has produced.”

               PHILOSTRATUS, _Life of Apollonius of Tyana_, III. 19.


This volume consists of articles and monographs upon the Latin Orient
and Balkan history, published between 1897 and the present year. For
kind permission to reprint them in collected form I am indebted to
the editors and proprietors of _The Quarterly Review_, _The English
Historical Review_, _The Journal of Hellenic Studies_, _Die Byzantinische
Zeitschrift_, _The Westminster Review_, _The Gentleman’s Magazine_, and
_The Journal of the British and American Archæological Society of Rome_.
All the articles have been revised and brought up to date by the light
of recent research in a field of history which is no longer neglected in
either the Near East or Western Europe.

                                                                     W. M.


_March, 1921._


    CHAP.                                                       PAGE

      I. THE ROMANS IN GREECE                                      1

     II. BYZANTINE GREECE                                         29

    III. FRANKISH AND VENETIAN GREECE                             57

            1. THE FRANKISH CONQUEST OF GREECE                    57

            2. FRANKISH SOCIETY IN GREECE                         70

            3. THE PRINCES OF THE PELOPONNESE                     85

               APPENDIX: THE NAME OF NAVARINO                    107

            4. THE DUKES OF ATHENS                               110


            5. FLORENTINE ATHENS                                 135


                 NOTES ON ATHENS UNDER THE FRANKS                155

                 THE TURKISH CAPTURE OF ATHENS                   160

            6. THE DUCHY OF NAXOS                                161

               APPENDIX: THE MAD DUKE OF NAXOS                   175

            7. CRETE UNDER THE VENETIANS (1204-1669)             177

            8. THE IONIAN ISLANDS UNDER VENETIAN RULE            199

            9. MONEMVASIA                                        231

           10. THE MARQUISATE OF BOUDONITZA (1204-1414)          245

           11. ITHAKE UNDER THE FRANKS                           261

           12. THE LAST VENETIAN ISLANDS IN THE ÆGEAN            265

           13. SALONIKA                                          268

     IV. THE GENOESE COLONIES IN GREECE                          283

            1. THE ZACCARIA OF PHOCÆA AND CHIOS (1275-1329)      283

            2. THE GENOESE IN CHIOS (1346-1566)                  298

            3. THE GATTILUSJ OF LESBOS (1355-1462)               313

      V. TURKISH GREECE (1460-1684)                              355

     VI. THE VENETIAN REVIVAL IN GREECE (1684-1718)              403

    VII. MISCELLANEA FROM THE NEAR EAST                          429

            1. VALONA                                            429

            2. THE MEDIÆVAL SERBIAN EMPIRE                       441

               APPENDIX: THE FOUNDER OF MONTENEGRO               458

            3. BOSNIA BEFORE THE TURKISH CONQUEST                460

            4. BALKAN EXILES IN ROME                             497

            5. THE LATIN KINGDOM OF JERUSALEM (1099-1291)        515

            6. A BYZANTINE BLUE STOCKING: ANNA COMNENA           533


  PLATE   FIGS.                                         TO FACE PAGE

      I. 1 & 2. THE CHURCH OF ST GEORGE AT KARDITZA              134

     II.   1.   MONEMVASIA FROM THE LAND                         234

           2.   MONEMVASIA. ENTRANCE TO KASTRO                   234

    III.   1.   MONEMVASIA. Παναγία Μυρτιδιώτισσα                235

           2.   MONEMVASIA. Ἁγία Σοφία                           235

     IV.        MONEMVASIA. KASTRO                               240

      V.   1.   MONEMVASIA. TOWN WALLS AND GATE                  241

           2.   MONEMVASIA. MODERN TOWN AT BASE OF CLIFF         241

     VI.   1.   BOUDONITZA. THE CASTLE FROM THE WEST             246

           2.   BOUDONITZA. THE CASTLE FROM THE EAST             246


           2.   BOUDONITZA. THE HELLENIC GATEWAY                 247

                     ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT

    Fig. 1. INSCRIPTION ON THE CHURCH AT KARDITZA                133



    THE NEAR EAST IN 1350                  BETWEEN PAGES 282 AND 283


From the Roman conquest in 146 B.C. Greece lost her independence for a
period of nearly two thousand years. During twenty centuries the country
had no separate existence as a nation, but followed the fortunes of
foreign rulers. Attached, first to Rome and then to Constantinople, it
was divided among various Latin nobles after the fall of the Byzantine
Empire in 1204, and succumbed to the Turks in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries. From that time, with the exception of the brief Venetian
occupation of the Peloponnese, and the long foreign administration of
the Ionian Islands, it remained an integral part of the Turkish Empire
till the erection of the modern Greek kingdom. Far too little attention
has been paid to the history of Greece under foreign domination, for
which large materials have been collected since Finlay wrote his great
work. Yet, even in the darkest hours of bondage, the annals of Greece can
scarcely fail to interest the admirers of ancient Hellas.

The victorious Romans treated the vanquished Greeks with moderation, and
their victory was regarded by the masses as a relief from the state of
war which was rapidly consuming the resources of the taxpayers. Satisfied
to forego the galling symbols, provided that they held the substance,
of power in their own hands, the conquerors contented themselves with
dissolving the Achaian League, with destroying, perhaps from motives of
commercial policy, the great mart of Corinth, and with subordinating the
Greek communities to the governor of the Roman province of Macedonia,
who exercised supreme supervision over them. But these local bodies were
allowed to preserve their formal liberties; Corfù, the first of Greek
cities to submit to Rome, always remained autonomous, and Athens and
Sparta enjoyed special immunities as “the allies of Rome,” while the
sacred character of Delphi secured for it practical autonomy. A few years
after the conquest the old Leagues were permitted to revive, at least in
name; and the land tax, payable by most of the communities to the Roman
Government, seemed to fulfil the expectation of the natives that their
fiscal burdens would be diminished under foreign rule. The historian
Polybios[1], who successfully pleaded the cause of his countrymen at
this great crisis in their history, has contrasted the purity of Roman
financial administration with the corruption of Greek public men, and
has cited a saying current in Greece soon after the conquest: “If we had
not perished quickly, we should not have been saved.” While this was the
popular view, the large class of landed proprietors was also pleased by
the recognition of its social position by its new masters, and the men
who were entrusted with the delicate task of organising the conquered
country at the outset of its new career wisely availed themselves of
the disinterested services of Polybios, who enjoyed the confidence of
both Greeks and Romans. Even Mummius himself, the destroyer of Corinth,
if he carried off many fine statues to deck his triumph, left behind
him the memory of his gentleness to the weak, as well as that of his
firmness to the strong, and might have been taken as the embodiment of
those qualities which Virgil, more than a century later, held up to the
imitation of his countrymen.

The _pax Romana_, which the Roman conquest seemed likely to confer
upon the jealous Greeks, was occasionally broken in the early decades
of the new administration. The sacred isle of Delos, which was then
subordinate to Athens, and which had become the greatest mart for
merchandise and slaves in the Levant since the destruction of Corinth,
and the silver-mines of Laurion, which had of old provided the sinews
of naval warfare against the Persian host, were the scenes of servile
insurrections such as that which about the same time raged in Sicily, and
a democratic rising at Dyme not far from Patras called for repression.
But the participation of many Greeks in the quarrel between Rome and
Mithridates, King of Pontus, entailed far more serious consequences
upon their country. While the warlike Cretans, who had not bowed as yet
beneath the Roman yoke, sent their redoubtable archers to serve in his
ranks, the Athenians were seduced from their allegiance by the rhetoric
of their fellow-citizen, Athenion, or Aristion, a man of dubious origin,
who had found the profession of philosopher so paying that he was now
able to indulge in that of a patriot. Appointed captain of the city,
he established a reign of terror, and included the Roman party and his
own philosophic rivals in the same proscription. He despatched the
bibliophile Apellikon, who had purchased the library of Aristotle, with
an expedition against Delos, which failed; but a similar attempt by the
Pontic forces was successful, and the prosperity of the island was almost
ruined by their ravages. When the armies of Mithridates reached the
mainland, there was a great rising against the Romans, and for the second
time the plain of Chaironeia witnessed a battle, which on this occasion,
however, was indecisive. A great change now took place in the fortunes of
the war. Sulla arrived in Greece, routed the Athenian philosopher and
his Pontic colleague in a single battle, cowed most of the Greeks by the
mere terror of his name, and laid siege to Athens and the Piræus, which
offered a vigorous resistance. The groves of the Academy and the Lyceum
furnished the timber for his battering rams; the treasuries of the most
famous temples, those of Delphi, Olympia and Epidauros, provided pay for
his soldiers; the remains of the famous “long walls,” which had united
Athens with her harbour, were converted into siegeworks. The knoll near
the street of tombs, on which a tiny church now stands, is supposed to be
part of Sulla’s mound, and the bones found there those of his victims.
An attempt to relieve the besieged failed; and, as their provisions
grew scarce, the Athenians lost heart and sought to obtain favourable
terms from the enemy. In the true Athenian spirit, they prayed for
consideration on the ground that their ancestors had fought at Marathon.
But the practical Roman replied that he had “not come to study history,
but to chastise rebels[2],” and insisted on unconditional surrender.
In 86 B.C. Athens was taken by assault, and many of the inhabitants
were butchered; but, in spite of his indifference to the glories of
Marathon, the conqueror consented to spare the fabric of the city for
the sake of its ancient renown. The Akropolis, where Aristion had taken
refuge, still held out, and the Odeion of Perikles, which stood at the
south-east corner of it, perished by fire in the siege. Want of water at
last forced the garrison to surrender, and the evacuation of the Piræus
by the Pontic commander made Sulla master of that important position
also. To the Piræus he showed as little mercy as Mummius had shown to
Corinth. While from Athens he carried off nothing except a few columns
of the temple of Zeus Olympios, a large sum of money which he found in
the treasury of the Parthenon, and a fine manuscript of Aristotle and
Theophrastos, he levelled the Piræus with the ground, and inflicted
upon it a punishment from which it did not recover till the time of
Constantine. Then he marched to Chaironeia, where another battle ended in
the rout of the Pontic army, and the Thebans atoned for their rebellion
by the loss of half their territory, which the victor consecrated to the
temples of Delphi and Olympia as compensation for what he had taken from
them. A fresh Pontic defeat at Orchomenos in Bœotia ended the war upon
Greek soil, but the struggle long left its mark upon the country. Athens
still retained her privileges, and the Cappadocian King Ariobarzanes
II, Philopator and his son, restored the Odeion of Perikles[3], but
many of her citizens had died in the siege, and the rival armies had
inflicted enormous injuries on Attica and Bœotia, the chief theatre of
the war. Some small towns never recovered, and Thebes sank into a state
of insignificance from which she did not emerge for centuries.

The pirates continued the work of destruction, which the first
Mithridatic war had begun. The geographical configuration of the Ægean
coasts has always been favourable to that ancient scourge of the Levant,
and the conclusion of peace between Rome and the Pontic king let loose
upon society a number of adventurers, whose occupation had ceased with
the war. The inhabitants of Cilicia and Crete excelled above all others
in the practice of this lucrative profession, and many were their
depredations upon the Greek shores and islands. One pirate captain
destroyed the sanctuaries of Delos and carried off the whole population
into slavery; two others defeated the Roman admiral in Cretan waters.
This last disgrace resulted in the conquest of that fine island by the
Roman proconsul Quintus Metellus, whose difficult task fully earned
him the title of “Creticus.” The islanders fought with the desperate
courage which they have evinced in all ages. Beaten in the open, they
retired behind the walls of Kydonia and Knossos, and when those places
fell, a guerilla warfare went on in the mountains, until at last Crete
surrendered, and the last vestige of Greek freedom in Europe disappeared
in the guise of a Roman province. Meanwhile, Pompey had swept the pirates
from the seas, and established a colony of those marauders at Dyme, the
scene of the previous rebellion[4]. Neither before nor since has piracy
been put down with such thoroughness in the Levant, and Greece enjoyed,
for a time at least, a welcome immunity from its ravages.

But the administration of the provinces in the last century of the Roman
Republic often pressed very heavily upon the unfortunate provincials.
Even after making due deduction for professional exaggeration from the
charges brought by Cicero against extortionate governors, there remains
ample evidence of their exactions. The notorious Verres, the scourge
of Sicily, though he only passed through Greece, levied blackmail upon
Sikyon and plundered the treasury of the Parthenon, and bad governors of
Macedonia, like Caius Antonius and Piso, had greater opportunities for
making money at the expense of the Greeks. As Juvenal complained at a
later period, even when these scoundrels were brought to justice on their
return home, their late province gained nothing by their punishment,
and Caius Antonius, in exile on Cephalonia, treated that island as if
it were his private property. The Roman money-lenders had begun, too,
to exploit the financial necessities of the Greeks, and even so ardent
a Philhellene as Cicero’s correspondent, Atticus, who owed his name to
his long sojourn at Athens and to his interest in everything Attic, lent
money to the people of Sikyon on such ruinous terms that they had to sell
their pictures to pay off the debt. Athens, deprived of her commercial
resources since the siege by Sulla, resorted to the sale of her coveted
citizenship, much as some modern States sell titles, and subsisted
mainly on the reputation of her schools of philosophy. It became the
fashion for young Romans of promise to study there; thus Cicero spent six
months there and revisited the city on his way to and from his Cilician
governorship, and Horace tells us that he tried “to seek the truth among
the groves of Academe[5].” Others resorted to Greece for purposes of
travel or health, and the hellebore of Antikyra (now Aspra Spitia) on
the Corinthian Gulf and the still popular baths of Ædepsos in Eubœa were
fashionable cures in good Roman society. Moreover, a tincture of Greek
letters was considered to be part of the education of a Roman gentleman.
Cicero constantly uses Greek phrases in his correspondence, and Latin
poets borrowed most of their plumes from Greek literature.

The two Roman civil wars which were fought on Greek soil between 49 and
31 B.C., were a great misfortune for Greece, whose inhabitants took sides
as if the cause were their own. The struggle between Cæsar and Pompey
was decided at Pharsalos in Thessaly, and most of the Greeks found that
they had chosen the cause of the vanquished, whose exploits against the
pirates and generous gift of money for the restoration of Athens were
still remembered. But Cæsar showed his usual magnanimity towards the
misguided Greeks, with the exception of the Megareans, whose stubborn
resistance to his arms was severely punished. Most of the survivors of
the siege were sold as slaves, and one of Cæsar’s officials, writing
to Cicero a little later, says that as he sailed up the Saronic Gulf,
the once flourishing cities of Megara, the Piræus and Corinth lay in
ruins before his eyes[6]. It was Cæsar, however, who in 44 B.C., raised
the last of these towns from its ashes. But the new Corinth, which he
founded, was a Roman colony rather than a Greek city, whose inhabitants
were chiefly freedmen, and whose name was at first associated with
a lucrative traffic in antiquities, derived from the plunder of the
ancient tombs. Had he lived, Cæsar had intended to dig a canal through
the Isthmus—a feat reserved for the reign of the late King George. On
Cæsar’s death, his murderer, Brutus, was enthusiastically welcomed by
the Athenians, who erected statues to him and Cassius besides those
of the ancient tyrannicides, Harmodios and Aristogeiton. The struggle
between him and the Triumvirs was decided at Philippi in Greek Macedonia,
near the modern Kavalla, but had little effect upon the fortunes of
Greece, though there were Greek contingents on either side. After the
fall of Brutus, Antony spent a long time at Athens, where he flattered
the susceptible natives by wearing their costume, amused them by his
antics and orgies on the Akropolis, gratified them by the gift of Ægina
and other islands, and scandalised them by the presence of Cleopatra,
upon whom he expected them to bestow the highest honours. When the war
broke out between him and Octavian for the mastery of the Roman world,
Greece for the second time became the theatre of her masters’ fratricidal
strife. At no previous time since the conquest had the unhappy country
suffered such oppression as then. The inhabitants were torn from their
homes to serve on the ships of Antony, the Peloponnese was divided into
two hostile camps according to the sympathies of the natives, and in the
great naval battle of Aktion the fleeing ship of Cleopatra was pursued
by a Lacedæmonian galley. The geographer Strabo, who passed through
Greece two years later, has left us a grim picture of the state of the
country. Bœotia was utterly ruined; Larissa was the only town in Thessaly
worth mentioning; many of the most famous cities of the Peloponnese were
barren wastes; Megalopolis was a wilderness, Laconia had barely thirty
towns; Dyme, whose citizens had taken to piracy again, was falling into
decay. The Ionian Islands and Tegea formed pleasant exceptions to the
general misery, but as an instance of the wretched condition of the
Ægean, the islet of Gyaros was unable to pay its annual tribute of £5.
The desolation of Greece impressed Octavian so deeply that he founded
two colonies for his veterans on Hellenic soil, one in 30 B.C. on the
spot where his camp had been pitched at the battle of Aktion, which
received the name of Nikopolis (“City of victory”) in memory of that
great triumph, the other at Patras, a site most convenient for the
Italian trade. In both cases the numbers of the Roman colonists were
augmented by the compulsory immigration of the Greeks who inhabited the
neighbouring cities and villages. This measure had the bad effect of
increasing the depopulation of the surrounding country, but it imparted
immediate prosperity to both Patras and Nikopolis, and the factories of
the former gave employment to numbers of women, while the celebration of
the “Aktian games” at the latter colony attracted sight-seers from other
places. Augustus, as Octavian was now called, made an important change in
the administration of Greece, separating it from the Macedonian command,
with which it had hitherto been combined, and forming it in 27 B.C. into
a separate senatorial province of Achaia, which was practically identical
with the boundaries of the Greek kingdom before 1912, and of which
Cæsar’s recently founded colony of Corinth was made the capital. But this
restriction of the limits of the province did not affect the liberties of
the different communities, though here and there Augustus altered their
respective jurisdictions. Thus, in order to give Nikopolis a share in
the Amphiktyonic Council, he modified the composition of that ancient
body, and he enfranchised the Free Laconians who inhabited the central
promontory of the Peloponnese, from Sparta; thus founding the autonomy
which that rugged region has so often enjoyed[7]. But Athens and Sparta
both continued to be “allies of Rome,” Augustus made a Spartan Prince of
the Lacedæmonians, and honoured them by his own presence at their public
meals. If he forbade the Athenians to sell the honour of citizenship,
he allowed himself to be initiated in the Eleusinian mysteries, and his
friend, Agrippa, presented Athens with a new theatre. As a proof of
their loyalty and gratitude, the Athenians dedicated a temple on the
Akropolis “to Augustus and Rome,” a large fragment of which may still be
seen, and erected a statue of Agrippa, the pedestal of which is still
standing in a perilous position at the approach to the Propylæa. It was
in further honour of the master of the Roman world, that an aqueduct
was constructed from the Klepsydra fountain to the Tower of the Winds,
which the Syrian Andronikos had built at a somewhat earlier period of the
Roman domination. The adjoining gate of Athena Archegetis was raised out
of money provided by Cæsar and Augustus, a number of friendly princes
proposed to complete the temple of Olympian Zeus, while an inscription
still preserves the generosity of another ruler, Herod, King of the Jews,
towards the home of Greek culture.

The land now enjoyed a long period of peace, and began to recover from
the effects of the civil wars. A further boon was the transference of
Achaia from the jurisdiction of the Senate to that of the Emperor soon
after the accession of Tiberius, who, whatever his private vices may
have been, was most considerate in his treatment of the provincials. He
sternly repressed attempts at extortion, kept his governors in office
for long terms, and, when an earthquake injured the city of Aigion on
the gulf of Corinth, excused the citizens from the payment of taxes for
three years. The restriction of the much-abused right of asylum in
various temples, such as that of Poseidon on the island of Tenos, and
the delimitation of the Messenian and Lacedæmonian boundary, showed the
interest of the Roman Government in Greek affairs; and the cult of the
Imperial family, which was now developed in Greece, was perhaps due to
gratitude no less than to the natural obsequience of a conquered race.
The visit of the Emperor’s nephew, Germanicus, to Athens delighted the
Athenians and scandalised Roman officialdom by the Imperial traveller’s
disregard of etiquette; and it was insinuated by a prejudiced Roman
even at that early period that these voluble burgesses, who talked so
much about their past history, were not really the descendants of the
ancient Greeks, but “the offscourings of the nations.” So deep was
the impression made by the courtesy of Germanicus that, several years
later, an impostor, who pretended to be his son Drusus, found a ready
following in Greece, which he traversed from the Cyclades to Nikopolis.
It became the custom, too, to banish distinguished Romans, who had
incurred the Emperor’s displeasure, to an Ægean island, and Amorgos,
Kythnos, Seriphos, and Gyaros were the equivalent of Botany Bay. The
last two islets in particular were regarded with intense horror, and
Juvenal has selected them as types of the worst punishment that could
befall one of his countrymen[8]. Caligula, less moderate than Tiberius
in his treatment of the Greeks, carried off the famous statue of Eros
from Thespiæ, for which his unaccomplished plan of cutting the Isthmus of
Corinth was no compensation. Claudius restored the stolen statue, and in
44 A.D. handed over the province of Achaia to the Senate—an arrangement
which, with one brief interval, continued to be the practice of the Roman
Government for the future. Meanwhile, alike under Senatorial and Imperial
administration, the Greeks had acquired Roman tastes and had even adopted
in many cases Roman names. If old-fashioned Romans complained that Rome
had become “a Greek city,” where glib Hellenic freedmen had the ear of
the Emperor and starving Greeklings were ready to practise any and every
profession, the conservatives in Greece lamented the introduction of such
peculiarly Roman sports as the gladiatorial shows, of which the remains
of the Roman amphitheatre at Corinth are a memorial. The conquering and
the conquered races had reacted on one another; the Romans had become
more literary; the Greeks had become more material.

It was at this period, about 54 A.D., that an event occurred which
profoundly modified the future of the Greek race. In, or a little
before, that year St Paul arrived at Athens, and, stirred by the
idolatry of the city, delivered his famous speech in the midst of the
Areopagos. The unvarnished narrative of the Acts of the Apostles does
not disguise the failure of the great teacher’s first attempt to convert
the argumentative Greeks, to whom the new gospel seemed “foolishness.”
But “Dionysios the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others
with them,” believed, thus forming the small beginnings of the Church
which grew up there in later days. From Athens the Apostle proceeded
to Corinth, where he stayed “a year and six months.” The capital of
Achaia and mart of Greece was a fine field for his missionary labours.
The Roman colony, which had now been in existence almost a century, had
become the home of commerce and the luxury which usually accompanies
it. The superb situation, commanding the two seas, had attracted a
cosmopolitan population, including many Jews, and the vices of the East
and the West seemed to meet on the Isthmus—the Port Said of the Roman
Empire. We may trace in the language of the two Epistles, which the
Apostle addressed to the Corinthians later on, the main characteristics
of the seat of Roman rule in Greece. The allusions to the fights with
wild beasts, to the Isthmian games, to the long hair of the Corinthian
dandies, to the easy virtue of the Corinthian women, all show what was
the daily life of the most flourishing city of Greece in the middle
of the first century. Yet even at Corinth many were persuaded by the
arguments of the tent-maker, and a Christian community was founded at
the port of Kenchreæ on the Saronic Gulf. At the outset the converts
were of humble origin, like “the house of Stephanas, the first fruits
of Achaia”; but Gaius, Tertius, Quartus, and “Erastus, the chamberlain
of the city,” were persons of better position. That a man like Gallio,
the brother of Seneca the philosopher and uncle of Lucan the poet, a
man whom the other great poet of the day, Statius, has described as
“sweetness” itself, was at that time governor of Achaia, shows the
importance attached by the Romans to their Greek province. St Paul had
not the profound classical learning of the governor’s talented family,
but the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, which he wrote during this
first stay at Corinth, have conferred an undying literary interest on
the capital of Roman Greece. Silas and Timotheus joined the Apostle at
that place; and after his departure the learned Alexandrian, Apollos,
carried on the work of Christianity among the Corinthians. But the germs
of those theological parties, which were destined later on to divide
the Greek Christians, had already been planted in the congenial soil
of Achaia. The Christian community of Corinth, with the fatal tendency
to faction which has ever marked the Hellenic race, was soon split up
into sections, which followed, one St Paul, another Apollos, another the
supposed injunctions of St Peter, another the simple faith of Christ.
Even women, and that, too, unveiled, like the Laises of Corinth, had
taken upon themselves to speak at Christian gatherings, and drinking and
the other sensual crimes of that luxurious city had proved temptations
too strong for some of the new converts. This state of things provoked
the two Epistles to the Corinthians and the second visit of the Apostle
to the then Greek capital, where he remained three months, writing on
this occasion also two Epistles from Greece—that to the Romans and that
to the Galatians. For the sake of the greater security which the land
route afforded, he returned to Asia through Northern Greece, accompanied
among others by St Luke, whose traditional connection with Greece may
be traced in the wax figure of the Virgin, said to be his work, in the
monastery of Megaspelæon, and in the much later Roman tomb venerated as
his, at Thebes. With the exception of his delay at Fair Havens on the
south coast of Crete, we are not told by the writer of the Acts that St
Paul ever set foot on Greek territory again; but he left Titus in that
island “to ordain elders in every city,” and contemplated spending a
winter at Nikopolis. A tradition, unsupported, however, by good evidence,
has been preserved to the effect that he was liberated from his Roman
imprisonment, and it has been supposed that he employed part of the time
that remained before his death in revisiting Corinth and Crete. His
“kinsmen,” Jason and Sosipater, bishops of Tarsus and Ikonium, preached
the Word at Corfù, where one of them was martyred, and where one of the
two oldest churches of the island still preserves their names[9]. The
Greek journey of the pagan philosopher, Apollonios of Tyana, who tried to
restore the ancient life of Hellas and to check the Romanising tendencies
of the age, took place only a few years after the first appearance of the
Apostle of the Gentiles in Greece.

Another visitor of a very different kind next arrived in the classic
land. Nero had already displayed his taste for the fine arts by
despatching an emissary to Greece with the object of collecting statues
for the adornment of his palace and capital. Delphi, Olympia and Athens,
where, in the phrase of a contemporary satirist, “it was easier to meet
a god than a man,” furnished an ample booty, and the Thespians again
lost, this time for ever, the statue of Eros. But Nero was not content
with the sculpture of Greece; he yearned to display his manifold talents
before a Greek audience, “the only one,” as he said, “worthy of himself
and his accomplishments.” Accordingly, in 66, he crossed over to Kassopo
in Corfù, and began his theatrical tour by singing before the altar
of Zeus there. Such was the zeal of the Imperial pot-hunter, that he
commanded all the national games to be celebrated in the same year, so
that he might have the satisfaction of winning prizes at them all in
the same tour. In order to exhibit his musical gifts, he ordered the
insertion of a new item in the time-honoured programme at Olympia, where
he built himself a house, and at Corinth broke the Isthmian rules by
contending in both tragedy and comedy. As a charioteer he eclipsed all
previous performances by driving ten horses abreast, upsetting his car
and still receiving the prize from the venal judges; as a victor, he
had the effrontery to proclaim his own victory, and the number of his
wreaths might have done credit to a royal funeral. In return for their
compliance, the Greeks were informed by the voice of the Emperor himself
on the day of the Isthmian games that they were once more free from the
jurisdiction of the Senate and exempt from the payment of taxes[10]. The
name of freedom and the practical advantage of fiscal immunity appealed
with force to the patriotic and commercial sides of the Greek character,
and outweighed the extortions of the Emperor and his suite to such a
degree that Nero became a popular hero, in whose honour medals were
struck and statues erected. To signalise yet further his stay in Greece,
he bade the long projected canal to be dug across the Isthmus. This
time the work was actually begun, and a prominent philosopher, who had
incurred the Imperial displeasure, was seen digging away with a gang of
other convicts. Nero himself dug the first sod with a golden spade, and
carried away the first spadefuls of earth in a basket on his shoulders.
But the task, of which traces may still be seen, was soon abandoned, and
the dangers which threatened his throne recalled the Emperor to Italy.
But first he consulted the Oracle of Delphi, which fully maintained its
ancient reputation for obscurity and accuracy, but was bidden henceforth
to be dumb. The two most celebrated seats of Greek antiquity, Athens and
Sparta, he left, however, unvisited—Sparta, because he disapproved of its
institutions; Athens, because he, the matricide, feared the vengeance of
the Furies, whose fabled shrine was beneath the Areopagos[11].

The civil war, which raged in Italy between the death of Nero and the
accession of Vespasian, had little influence upon Greece, except that it
gave an adventurer, who bore a striking resemblance to the late Emperor
and shared his musical tastes, the opportunity of personating him. But
this pretender, who had made himself master of the island of Kythnos, was
soon suppressed[12], and Vespasian, as he visited Greece on his way from
the East to Rome, could calmly study the condition of that country. The
stern old soldier, who, in spite of his Greek culture, had fallen asleep
during Nero’s recitations, had no sympathy with Greek antiquities, and
maintained that the Hellenes did not know how to use their newly-restored
freedom, which had involved the impoverished Roman exchequer in the loss
of the Greek taxes. He accordingly restored the organisation and fiscal
arrangements which had been in force before Nero’s proclamation, only
that the province of Achaia under the Flavian dynasty no longer included
Thessaly, Epeiros, and Akarnania. For a long time Greece had no political
history; but we know that Domitian, like Tiberius, was as considerate
towards the provincials as he was tyrannical to the Roman nobles; that he
cherished a special cult for the goddess Athena; and that he deigned to
allow himself to be nominated as Archon Eponymos of Athens for the year
93—an instance which shows the continuance of an institution which had
been founded nearly eight centuries earlier. Trajan’s direct connection
with Greece was limited to a stay at Athens on the way to the Parthian
war, but he counted among his friends the most celebrated Greek author of
that age, the famous Plutarch, who passed a great part of his time in the
small Bœotian town of Chaironeia, where his so-called “chair,” obviously
the end seat of one of the rows in the theatre, may still be seen in the
little church. Like Polybios in the first period of the Roman conquest,
Plutarch served as a link to unite the Greeks and their masters. At once
an Hellenic patriot and an admirer of Rome, he combined love of the past
independence of his country with a shrewd sense of the advantages of
Roman rule in the existing circumstances. True, the Greece of his time
was very different from that of the Golden Age. While the single city
of Megara had sent 3000 heavy armed men to the battle of Platæa, the
whole province of Achaia could not raise a larger number in his days.
Depopulation was going on apace; Eubœa was almost desolate, and the
inland towns of the mainland were mostly losing their trade, which was
gravitating to the coasts. The expenditure of the Greek taxes at Rome led
to the want of funds for public objects, and the Roman system of making
immunity from taxation a principle of Roman citizenship divided the
Greeks into two classes, the rich and the poor. The former led luxurious
lives, built expensive houses, added acre to acre, and fell into the
hands of the foreign money-lenders of Corinth or Patras. The latter sank
lower and lower in the social scale, and it was noticed that, while the
Greek women had become more beautiful, the classic grace of Hellenic
manhood had declined. But Greece continued to exercise her perennial
charm on the cultured traveller. In spite of the Thessalian brigands,
tourists journeyed to see the Vale of Tempe, and a race of loquacious
guides arose, whose business it was to explain the history of Delphi. Men
of the highest rank were proud to be made Athenian citizens, and one of
them, Antiochos Philopappos, grandson of the last king of Kommagene, was
commemorated in the last years of Trajan by the monument which is to-day
one of the most conspicuous in all Athens.

The reign of Hadrian was a very happy period for the Greeks. A lover of
both ancient and contemporary Hellas, which he visited several times,
the Imperial traveller left his mark all over the country. We may gather
from Pausanias, whose own wanderings began at this period, that there
was scarcely a single Greek city of importance which had not received
some benefit from this Emperor. Coins of Patras describe him as “the
restorer of Achaia,” Megara regarded him as her “second founder,”
Mantineia had to thank him for the restoration of her classical name.
Alive to the want of through communication between the Peloponnese and
Central Greece, he built a safe road along the Skironian cliffs, where
now the tourist looks down on the azure sea from the train that takes
him from Megara to Corinth. He provided the latter city with water by
means of an aqueduct from Lake Stymphalos, and began the aqueduct at
Athens which was completed by his successor. But this was only one of
his many Athenian improvements. His affection for Athens, where he lived
as a Greek among Greeks and had held the office of Archon Eponymos, like
Domitian, led him to assign the revenues of Cephalonia to the Athenian
treasury, to regulate the oil-trade, that important branch of Attic
commerce, his edict about which may still be read on the gate of Athena
Archegetis, to repair the theatre of Dionysos, and to present the city
with a Pantheon, a library, contained within the Stoa which still bears
his name and of which part is still standing, and a gymnasium. He also
built there a temple of Hera, and completed that of Zeus Olympios, which
had been begun by Peisistratos more than six centuries before and had
provided Sulla with spoil. The still standing columns of this magnificent
building formed the nucleus of the “new Athens,” which he founded outside
“the old city of Theseus,” and to which the Arch of Hadrian, as the
inscriptions upon it show, was intended as the entrance. With another
of his foundations, the temple of Zeus Panhellenios, was connected the
institution of the Panhellenic festival, which represented the unity of
the Greek race and, like the more ancient games, had a religious basis.
Hadrian called into existence a synod of “Panhellenes,” composed of
members of the Greek communities on both sides of the Ægean, who met at
Athens and whose treasurer was styled “Hellenotamias,” or “steward of
the Hellenes”—a title borrowed from the classical Confederacy of Delos.
In name, indeed, the golden age of Athens seemed to have returned, and
the enthusiastic Athenians heaped one honour after another upon the head
of the great Philhellene. They adored him as a god, and the President of
the Panhellenic synod became his priest; his statues rose all over the
city, his name was bestowed upon one of the months, a thirteenth tribe
was formed and called after him, and the thirteen wedges of the repaired
theatre of Dionysos contained each a bust of Hadrian; even an unworthy
favourite of the Emperor was dubbed a deity with the same ease that we
convert a charitable tradesman into a peer.

Hadrian’s two immediate successors continued his Philhellenic policy.
Antoninus Pius erected new buildings for the use of the visitors to that
fashionable health-resort, the Hieron of Epidauros; and in graceful
recognition of the legend, according to which the founders of the first
settlement on the Palatine were emigrants from Pallantion in Arkadia,
raised that village to the rank of a city, with the privileges of
self-government and immunity from taxes. Marcus Aurelius seemed to have
realised the Utopian ideal of Plato, that philosophers should be kings
or kings philosophers. The Imperial author of the _Meditations_ wrote
in Greek, had sat at the feet of Greek teachers, and greatly admired
the products of the Greek intellect. But his reign was disturbed by
warlike alarms, and it is noteworthy that at this period the first of
those barbarian tribes from the North, which inflicted so much injury
upon Greece in later centuries, penetrated into that country. The Greeks
showed, however, that they had not in the long years of peace, forgotten
how to defend themselves. At Elateia the Kostobokes—such was the name of
the marauders—received a check from a local force and withdrew beyond the
frontier[13]. In spite of his distant campaigns, Marcus Aurelius found
time to visit Athens, restored the temple at Eleusis, was initiated into
the Eleusinian mysteries, and founded in 176 the Athenian University.
It was, indeed, the heyday of Academic life, and Athens was under the
Antonines the happy hunting-ground of professors, who received salaries
from the Imperial exchequer, and enjoyed the privilege of exemption from
costly public duties. One of their number, Herodes Atticus of Marathon,
has, by his splendid gifts to the city, perpetuated his fame to our own
time. His vast wealth, united to his renown as a professor of rhetoric,
not only made him the most prominent man in Athens, where he held the
post of President of the new Panhellenic synod, but gained him the Roman
consulship, the friendship of Hadrian, and the honour of instructing
the early years of Marcus Aurelius. When Verus, the colleague of the
latter in the Imperial dignity, visited Athens, it was as the guest of
the sophist of Marathon; when the University was founded, it was Herodes
who selected the professors. The charm of his villas at Kephisia, then,
as now, the suburban pleasaunce of the dust-choked Athenians, and in
his native village, has been extolled by one of his pupils, while the
Odeion which still bears his name was erected by him to the memory of
his second wife[14]. He also restored the Stadion, which had been built
by Lykourgos about five centuries earlier, and within its precincts his
body was interred. There still exist remains of his temple of Fortune,
a goddess of whom he had varied experiences. For his vast wealth and
the sense of their own inferiority caused the Athenians to revile their
benefactor, and as many of them owed him money, he was naturally regarded
as their enemy until his death. Many other Greek cities benefited by
his liberality; he built a theatre at Corinth and restored the bathing
establishment at Thermopylæ; and he was even accused of making life too
easy for his fellow-countrymen because he provided Olympia with pure
water by means of an aqueduct, of which the Exedra is still visible.

It was at this period, too, that the traveller Pausanias wrote his famous
_Description of Greece_, a work which gives a faithful account of that
country as it struck his observant eyes. Compared with what it had been
in Strabo’s time, the land seemed prosperous in the age of the Antonines,
though some districts had never recovered from the ravages of the Roman
wars. Much of Bœotia was still in the desolate state in which Sulla had
left it; Ætolia had not been inhabited since Octavian carried off its
population to Nikopolis; the lower town of Thebes was quite deserted, and
the ancient name was then, as now, confined to the ancient Akropolis,
while the sole occupants of Delos were the Athenians sent to guard the
temple. But Delphi was in a flourishing condition, the Roman colonies of
Patras and Corinth continued to prosper, and among the ancient cities of
the Peloponnese, Argos and Sparta still held the foremost rank, while the
much more modern Megalopolis, upon which such high hopes had been built,
shared the fate of Tiryns and Mycenæ. Moreover, despite the robbery of
statues by Romans from Mummius to Nero, Pausanias found a vast number
of ancient masterpieces all over the country, and even the paintings,
with which Polygnotos had adorned the Stoa Poikile at Athens, were still
visible. As for the relics of classical lore and prehistoric legend,
they abounded in every city that could boast of a hero, and the remark
of Cicero was as true in the time of Pausanias, that in a Greek town one
came upon the traces of history at every step. In the second century,
too, good Doric was still spoken by the Messenians; and, if the pure
Attic of Plato had been somewhat corrupted at Athens by the presence of
many foreign students, it was still preserved in all its glory by the
peasants of Attica. The writings of Lucian at this period show how even
a Syrian could, by long residence at Athens, acquire a masterly gift of
Attic prose. The illusion of a classical revival was further kept up
by the continuance of ancient institutions, even though they had lost
the reality of power. Pausanias mentions the existence, and describes
the composition, of the Amphiktyonic Council in his time, when it was
still the guardian of the Delphic oracle. The Court of the Areopagos
preserved its ancient forms at Athens; the Ephors and other Spartan
authorities had survived the disapproval of Nero; the Confederacy of the
Free Laconians, though reduced in size, still included eighteen cities;
Bœotia and Phokis enjoyed the privilege of local assemblies. The great
games still attracted competitors and spectators; the great oracles still
found some believers, who consulted them; and the old religion, if it
had little moral force, was, at least in externals, still that of the
majority, though philosophers regretted it and enlightened persons like
Pausanias inclined to a rational interpretation of the myths, and told
stories of bribes administered to the Pythian priestess. Christianity
had made little progress in Greece during the three generations that
had elapsed since the last visit of St Paul. Mention is, indeed, made
by the Christian historian, Eusebius, of large communities at Larissa,
Sparta, and in Crete; but Corinth still remained the chief seat of the
new faith, and the Corinthian Christians still retained that factious
spirit which St Paul had rebuked. Athens, as the home of philosophy, was
little favourable to the simplicity of the Gospel; but the celebrated
Athenian philosopher, Aristides, was not only converted to Christianity,
but presented an Apology for that creed to Hadrian during his residence
in the city; while another Athenian, Hyginos, was chosen Pope in the age
of the Antonines. Anacletos, the second (or, in other lists, fourth)
Bishop of Rome after St Peter, is said to have been a native of Athens,
and a third, Xystos, perished, as Pope Sixtus II, in the persecution
of Valerian. The tradition that Dionysios the Areopagite, became first
Bishop of Athens[15], and there gained the crown of martyrdom, and that
St Andrew suffered death at Patras, has been cherished, and in the case
of Patras has had a considerable historical influence.

With the death of Marcus Aurelius the series of Philhellenic Emperors
ended, and the Roman civil wars in the last decade of the second century
occupied the attention of the Empire. Without taking an active part in
the struggle, Greece submitted to the authority of Pescennius Niger, one
of the unsuccessful candidates, and this temporary error of judgment
may have induced the Emperor Septimius Severus to inflict a punishment
upon Athens, the cause of which is usually ascribed to a slight which
he suffered during his student days there. His successor, Caracalla, by
extending the Roman citizenship to all free inhabitants of the Empire,
gave the Greeks an opportunity, of which they were not slow to avail
themselves. From that moment the doors of the Roman administration
were thrown open to all the races of the Roman dominions, and the
nimble-witted Greeks so obtained a predominance in that department such
as they acquired much later under Turkish rule. From that moment, too,
they considered themselves as “Romans,” and the name stuck to them long
after the Roman Empire had passed away. But Caracalla, while he thus made
them the equals of the Romans in the eyes of the law, increased the taxes
which it had long been the privilege of Roman citizens to pay, while he
continued to exact those which the provincials had paid previous to their
admission to the citizenship. The reductions made by his successors,
Macrinus and Alexander Severus, were to a large extent neutralised by
the great depreciation of the currency, which began under Caracalla and
continued for the next half century. The Government paid its creditors
in depreciated money, but took good care that the taxes were paid in
good gold pieces. The worst results followed: officials were tempted,
like the modern Turkish Pashas, to recoup themselves by extortion for
the diminution in their salaries; trade with foreign countries became
uncertain, even the specially thriving Greek industries of marble and
purple dye must have been affected, and possessors of good coin buried
it in the ground. Amid this dismal scene of decay, Athens continued to
preserve her reputation as a University town. Though no longer patronised
by cultured Emperors, she still attracted numbers of pupils to her
lecture rooms; and the name of Longinus, author of the celebrated
treatise, _On the Sublime_, adorns the scanty Athenian annals of this
period. That the drama was not neglected is clear from the inscription
which records the restoration of the theatre of Dionysos by the Archon
Phaidros during this period. But the philosophers and playgoers of Athens
were soon to be roused by the alarm of an invasion such as their city had
not experienced for many a generation.

Hitherto, with the unimportant exception of the raid of the Kostobokes
as far as Elateia, Greece had never been submitted to the terrors of a
barbarian inroad since the Roman Conquest, The Roman Empire had protected
Achaia from foreign attack, and even the least friendly of the Emperors
had allowed no one to plunder the art treasures of the Greek cities
except their own occasional emissaries. Hence the Greece of the middle of
the third century preserved in many respects the same external appearance
as that of the same country four hundred years earlier. But this blessing
of peace, which Rome had conferred upon the Greeks, had had the bad
effect of training up a nation which was a stranger to the arts of war.
Caracalla, indeed, had raised a couple of Spartan regiments; but the
local militia of the Greek cities had had no experience of fighting, and
the fortifications of the country had been allowed to fall into ruin.
Such was the state of the Greek defences when in 250 the Goths crossed
the Balkans and entered what is now South Bulgaria. Measures were at once
taken to defend the Greek provinces. Claudius, afterwards Emperor, was
ordered to occupy the historic pass of Thermopylæ, but his forces were
small and most of them had been newly enrolled. The death of the Emperor
Decius, fighting against the Goths, increased the alarm, and the siege of
Salonika thoroughly startled the Greeks. No sooner had Valerian mounted
the Imperial throne, than they signalised his reign by repairing the
walls of Athens, which had been neglected since the siege of Sulla[16],
and it was perhaps at the same time that a fort and a new gate were
erected for the defence of the Akropolis[17]. As a second line of defence
the fortifications across the Isthmus were restored, and occupied, just
as by Peloponnesian troops of old on the approach of the Persian host.
But these preparations did not long preserve the country from the attacks
of the Goths. Distracted by the rival claims of self-styled Emperors,
Valens in Achaia, and Piso in Thessaly, who had availed themselves of
the general confusion to declare their independence, and visited by a
terrible plague which followed in the wake of the Roman armies, the
Greeks soon had the Gothic hosts upon them. A first raid was repulsed,
only to be repeated in 267 on a far larger scale. This time the Goths
and fierce Heruli arrived by sea, and, after ravaging the storied island
of Skyros, captured Argos, Sparta, and the lower city of Corinth. Athens
herself was surprised by the enemy, before the Emperor Gallienus, whose
admiration for the ancient city had been shown by his initiation into
the Eleusinian mysteries and his acceptance of the Athenian citizenship
with the office of Archon Eponymos, could send troops to her assistance.
But at this crisis in her history, Athens showed herself worthy of her
glorious past. At that time one of her leading citizens was the historian
Dexippos, whose writings on the Scythian wars, preserved now only in
fragments, were favourably compared by a Byzantine critic with those of
Thucydides[18]. But Dexippos, if a less caustic writer, was a better
general, than the historian of the Peloponnesian war. He assembled a
body of Athenians, addressed them in a fiery harangue, a fragment of
which still exists[19], and reminded them that the event of battles
was usually decided by bravery rather than by numbers. Marshalling his
troops in the Olive Grove, he accustomed them little by little to the
noise of the Gothic war cries and the sight of the Gothic warriors. The
arrival of a Roman fleet effected a timely diversion, and the barbarians,
taken between two hostile forces, abandoned Athens and succumbed to
the Emperor’s arms on their march towards the North. Fortunately they
seem to have spared the monuments of the city during their occupation,
and we are told that the Athenian libraries were saved from the flames
by the deep policy of a shrewd Goth, who thought that the pursuit of
literature would unfit the Greeks for the art of war[20]. Dexippos, who
proved by his own example the compatibility of learning with strategy,
has been commemorated in an inscription, which praises his merits as a
writer, but is silent about his fame as a maker, of history—known to us
from a single sentence of the Latin biographer of Gallienus[21]. Yet at
that moment Greece needed men of action rather than men of letters. For
another Gothic invasion took place two years later, and from Thessaly to
Crete the vessels of the barbarians harried the coasts. But the interval
had been used to put the defences of the cities into repair; and such
was the ill-success of the invaders, who could not take a single town,
that they did not renew the attack. For more than a century the land
was spared the horrors of a fresh Gothic war. The great victory of the
Emperor Claudius II over the Goths at Nish and the abandonment of what
is now Roumania to them by his successor Aurelian secured the peace
of Achaia. Although the three invasions had resulted in the loss of a
considerable amount of moveable property and of many slaves, who had
either been carried off as captives or had escaped from their Greek
masters to the Gothic ranks, the recovery of Athens and Corinth seems to
have been so rapid that seven years after the last raid they were among
the nine cities of the Empire to which the Roman Senate wrote announcing
the election of the Emperor Tacitus and bidding them direct any appeals
from the Proconsul to the Prefect of the City of Rome—a clear proof of
their civic importance.

But the Greeks soon looked for the fountain of justice elsewhere than on
the banks of the Tiber. With the reign of Diocletian began the practice
of removing the seat of Government from Rome, and that Emperor usually
resided at Nicomedia. His establishment of four great administrative
divisions of the Empire really separated the two Eastern, in which Greece
was comprehended, from the two Western, and prepared the way for the
foundation of Constantinople by Constantine and the ultimate division
of the Eastern and Western Empires. Diocletian’s further increase in
the number of the provinces, several of which were grouped under one
of the Dioceses, into which the Empire was split up for administrative
purposes, had the double effect of altering the size of the Greek
provinces, and of scattering them over several Dioceses. Thus Achaia,
Thessaly, “Old” Epeiros (as the region round Nikopolis was now called),
and Crete, formed four separate provinces included in the Mœsian Diocese,
the administrative centre of which was Sirmium, the modern Mitrovitz.
The Ægean islands, on the other hand, composed one of the provinces of
the Asian Diocese. The province of Achaia had, however, the privilege of
being administered by a Proconsul, who was an official of more exalted
rank than the great majority of provincial governors. Side by side with
these arrangements, the currency reform of Diocletian and the edict by
which he fixed the highest price of commodities cannot fail to have
affected the trade of Greece, while his love of building benefited the
Greek marble quarries.

After the abdication of Diocletian the Christians of Greece were visited
by another of those persecutions, of which they had had experience under
the Emperor Decius half a century earlier. But on neither occasion
were the martyrdoms numerous, except in Crete, and it would appear that
Christianity in Greece was less prosperous, or less progressive, than
the same creed in the great cities of the East, where the victims were
far more numerous. Constantine’s toleration made him as popular with
the Greek Christians as his marked respect for the Athenian University
made him with the Greek philosophers, and it is, therefore, no wonder
that in his final struggle against his rival, Licinius, he was able to
collect a Greek fleet, which mustered in the harbour of the Piræus, then
once more an important station, and forced for him the passage of the
Dardanelles. But the reign of Constantine, although he found a biographer
in the young Athenian historian, Praxagoras[22], was not conducive to
the national development of Greece. Adopting the administrative system
of Diocletian, he continued the practice of dividing the Empire into
four great “Prefectures,” as they were now called, each of which was
subdivided into Dioceses, and the latter again into provinces. The four
Greek provinces of Thessaly, Achaia (including some of the Cyclades and
some of the Ionian Islands), Old Epeiros (including Corfù and Ithake),
and Crete (of which Gortyna was the capital), formed part of the
Diocese of Macedonia in the Prefecture of Illyricum, whereas the rest
of the Greek islands composed a distinct province of the Asian Diocese
in the Prefecture of the Orient. Thus, the Greek race continued to be
split into fragments, while at the same time the levelling tendency of
Constantine’s administration gradually swept away those Greek municipal
institutions, which had hitherto survived all changes, and thus the
inhabitants of different parts of the country began to lose their
peculiar characteristics. A few time-honoured vestiges of ancient Greek
freedom existed for some time longer; thus the Areopagos and the Archons
of Athens and the provincial assembly of Achaia may be traced on into
the fifth century. But their place was taken by the new local senates,
composed of so-called _Decuriones_, who were chosen from the richest
landowners, and who had to collect, and were held personally responsible
for, the amount of the land-tax. This onerous office was made hereditary,
and there was no means of escaping it except by death or flight to a
monastic cell; even a journey outside the country required a special
permit from the governor, and the rich _Decurio_, like the mediæval serf,
was tied down to the land which he was so unfortunate as to own. Even an
Irish landlord’s lot seems happy compared with that of a Greek _Decurio_,
nor was the provincial who escaped the unpleasant privilege of serving
the State in that capacity greatly to be envied. The exaction of taxes
became at once more stringent and more regular—a combination peculiarly
objectionable to the Oriental mind—and the re-assessment of their burdens
every fifteen years led the people to calculate time by the “Indictions,”
or edicts in which, with all the solemnity of purple ink, the Emperor
fixed the amount of the imposts for this new cycle of taxation. That
the ruler himself became conscious of the inequalities of his subjects’
contributions was evident half a century later when Valentinian I
allowed the citizens of each municipality to elect an official, styled
_Defensor_, whose duty it was to defend his fellow-citizens before the
Emperor against the fiscal exactions of the authorities.

The transference of the capital to Constantinople, enormous as its
ultimate results have proved to be, was at first a disadvantage to the
inhabitants of Greece. We are accustomed to look on the centre of the
Byzantine Empire as a largely Greek city, but it must be remembered
that, at the outset, it was Roman in conception and that its language
was Latin. Almost immediately, however, it began to drain Greece of its
population, attracted by the prospects of work and the certainty of
“bread and games” in the New Rome. In the days of Demosthenes Byzantium
had been the granary of Athens; now Attica, always unproductive of
wheat, began to find that Constantine’s growing capital had to import
bread-stuffs for its own use, and the Athenians were thankful for an
annual grant of corn from the Emperor. The founder wanted, too, Greek
works of art to adorn his city, and 427 statues were placed in Sta
Sophia alone; the Muses of Helikon were carried off to the palace of the
Emperor; the serpent column, which the grateful Greeks had dedicated at
Delphi after the battle of Platæa, was set up in the Hippodrome, where
one of its three heads was struck off by the battle-axe of Mohammed II.

The conversion of Constantine to Christianity had the natural effect of
bringing within the Christian ranks those lukewarm pagans who took their
religious views from the Emperor. But the comparative immunity from
persecution which the Christians of Greece had enjoyed under the pagan
ascendancy led them to treat their opponents with the same mildness.
There was no reaction, because there had been no revolution, and the
devotees of the old and the new religion went on living peaceably side
by side. The even greater temptation to the subtle Greek intellect to
indulge in the wearisome Arian controversy, which so long convulsed a
large part of the Church in the East, was rejected owing to the fortunate
unanimity of the bishops who were sent from Greece to attend the Council
of Nice. Their strong and united opposition to the heresy of Arius was
re-echoed by their flocks at home, and the Church, undivided on this
crucial question, became more and more identified with the people. After
Constantine’s death the harmony between the pagans and the Christians
was temporarily disturbed. Under Constantius II the public offerings
ceased, the temples were closed, the oracles fell into disuse; under
Julian the Apostate a final attempt was made to rehabilitate the ancient
religion. Julian seemed, indeed, to the conservative party in Greece to
have restored for two brief years the silver age of Hadrian, if not the
golden age of Perikles. The jealousy of Constantius, by sending him in
honourable exile to Athens, had made him an enthusiastic admirer of not
only the literature but the creed of the old Hellenes. It was at that
time that he abjured Christianity and was initiated into the Eleusinian
mysteries, and when he took up arms against Constantius it was to the
Corinthians, Lacedæmonians, and Athenians that he addressed Apologies for
his conduct. These manifestoes, of which that to the Athenians is still
extant among the writings of Julian, had such an effect upon the Greeks,
flattered no doubt by such an attention, that they declared in his
favour, and on his rival’s death they had their reward. The temples were
re-opened, the altars once more smoked with the offerings of the devout,
the great games were revived, including the Aktian festival of Augustus,
which had fallen into decline with the falling fortunes of Nikopolis.
Julian restored that city and others like it, and the Argives did not
appeal in vain for a rehearing of a wearisome law-suit with Corinth to
an Emperor who was steeped to the lips in classic lore. At Athens he
purged the University by excluding Christians from professorial chairs,
Christian students were often converted, like the Emperor, by the genius
of the place, and the University became the last refuge of Hellenism in
Greece, when Julian’s attempted restoration of the old order of things
collapsed at his death. Throughout this period, indeed, the University of
Athens was not only the chief intellectual centre of the Empire—for Rome
had ceased, and the newly founded University of Constantinople had not
yet begun, to attract the best intellects—but it was the all-absorbing
institution of the city. Athenian trade had gone on decaying, and under
Constans, the son of Constantine, the people of Athens were obliged to
ask the Emperor for the grant of certain insular revenues, which he
allowed them to devote to the purchase of provisions. So Athens was now
solely a University town, and the ineradicable yearning of the Greeks for
politics found vent, in default of a larger opening, in such academic
struggles as the election of a professor or the merits of the rival
corps of students. These corps, each composed as a rule of students
from the same district, kept Athens alive with their disputes, which
sometimes degenerated into pitched battles calling for the intervention
of the Roman governor from Corinth. So keen was the competition between
them, that their agents were posted at the Piræus to accost the sea-sick
freshman as soon as he landed and enlist him in this or that corps. Each
corps had its favourite professor, for whose class it obtained pupils, by
force or argument, and whose lectures it applauded whenever the master
brought out some fresh conceit or distorted the flexible Greek language
into some new combination of words. The celebrated sophist Libanios,
and the poetic divine, Gregory of Nazianzos, respectively the apologist
and the censor of Julian, have left us a graphic sketch of the student
life in their time at Athens, when the scarlet and gold garments of the
lecturers and the gowns of their pupils mingled in the streets of the
ancient city, which still deserved in this fourth century the proud title
of “the eye of Greece.”

The triumph of paganism ceased with the death of Julian; but his
successor Jovian, though he ordered the Church of the Virgin to be
erected at Corfù out of the fragments of a heathen temple opposite the
royal villa[23], proclaimed universal toleration. His wise example was
followed by Valentinian I, who repealed Julian’s edict which had made
the profession of paganism a test of professorial office at Athens, and
allowed his subjects to approach heaven in what manner they pleased.
The Greeks were specially exempted from the law forbidding nocturnal
sacrifices because it would “make their life unendurable.” The Eleusinian
mysteries were permitted to be celebrated, and Athens continued to
derive much profit from those festivals. It was fortunate for the Greeks
that, at the partition of the Empire between him and Valens in 364, the
Prefecture of Illyricum, which included the bulk of the Greek provinces,
was joined to the Western half, and thus fell to his share. His reign
marked the last stage of that peaceful development which had gone on in
Greece since the Gothic invasion of the previous century. A few years
after his death the Emperor Theodosius I publicly proclaimed the Catholic
faith to be the established creed of the Empire, and proceeded to stamp
out paganism with all the zeal of a Spaniard. The Oracle of Delphi was
closed for ever, the temples were shut, and in 393 the Olympic games,
which had been the rallying point of the Hellenic race for untold
centuries, ceased to exist. As a token of their discontinuance the
statue of Zeus, which had stood in the temple of the god at Olympia, was
removed to Constantinople, and the time-honoured custom of reckoning
time by the Olympiads was definitely replaced by the prosaic cycle of
Indictions. Yet Athens still remained a bulwark of the old religion, and
the preservation of that city from the great earthquake which devastated
large parts of Greece in 375 was attributed to the miraculous protection
of the hero Achilles, whose statue had been placed in the Parthenon by
the venerable hierophant of the Eleusinian mysteries.

But a worse evil than earthquakes was about to befall the Greeks. After
more than a century’s peace, the Goths crossed the Balkans and defeated
the Emperor Valens in the battle of Adrianople. The Greek provinces,
entrusted for their better defence to the strong arm of Theodosius,
escaped for the moment with no further loss than that caused by a Gothic
raid in the North and by the brigandage which is the natural result of
every war in the Balkan Peninsula. But, on the death of that Emperor
and the final division of the Roman Empire between his sons, Honorius
and Arcadius, in 395, the Goths, under their great leader, Alaric,
attacked the now divided Prefecture of Illyricum. The evil results of the
complete separation of the Eastern from the Western Empire were at once
felt. The Greek provinces, which had just been attached to the Eastern
system, might have been saved from this incursion if the Western general,
Stilicho, had been permitted by Byzantine jealousy to rout the Goths in
Thessaly. As the arm of that great commander was thus arrested in the act
of striking, Alaric not only was able to penetrate into Epeiros as far
as Nikopolis, which at that time almost entirely belonged to St Jerome’s
friend, the devout Paula, but he marched over Pindos into Thessaly,
defeated the local militia, and turned to the South upon Bœotia and
Attica. The last earthquake had laid many of the fortifications in ruins,
the Roman army of occupation was small, and its commander unwilling to
imitate the conduct of Leonidas at Thermopylæ. The monks facilitated the
inroad of a Christian army. The famous fortifications of Thebes had been
restored, but they did not check the course of the impetuous Goth, who,
leaving them unassailed, went straight to Athens. A later pagan historian
has invented the pleasing legend that Pallas Athena and the hero Achilles
appeared to protect the city from the invaders. But the Goths, who were
not only Christians but Arian heretics, would have been little influenced
by such an apparition. Athens capitulated, and Alaric, who bade spare the
holy sanctuaries of the Apostles when, fifteen years later, he entered
Rome, abstained from destroying the artistic treasures of which Athens
was full. But the great temple of the mysteries at the town of Eleusis,
and that town itself, so intimately associated with that ancient cult,
were sacrificed either to the fanaticism of the Arian monks who followed
the Gothic army, to the cupidity of the troops, or to both. The last
hierophant seems to have perished with the shrine, of which he was the
guardian, and a pagan apologist saw in his fall the manifest wrath of
the gods, angry at the usurpation of that high office by one who did not
belong to the sacred family of the Eumolpidæ. Henceforth the Eleusinian
mysteries ceased to exist, and the home of those great festivals is now a
sorry Albanian village, where ruins still mark the work of the destroyer.
Megara shared the fate of Eleusis, the Isthmus was left without
defenders, and Corinth, Argos, and Sparta were sacked. Those who resisted
were cut down, their wives carried off into slavery, their children made
to serve a Gothic master. Even a philosopher died of a broken heart at
the spectacle of this terrible calamity. Fortunately, Alaric’s sojourn
in the Peloponnese was shortened by the arrival of Stilicho with an
army in the Gulf of Corinth. The Goths withdrew to the fastnesses of
Mount Pholoe, between Olympia and Patras, and it seemed as if Stilicho
had only to draw his lines around them and then wait for hunger to do
its work. But from some unexplained cause—perhaps a court intrigue at
Constantinople, perhaps the negligence of the general—Alaric was allowed
to escape over the Gulf of Corinth into Epeiros. After devastating
that region he was rewarded by the Government of Constantinople with
the office of Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial forces in the Eastern
half of Illyricum, which comprised the scenes of his recent ravages.
The principle of converting a brigand into a policeman has often proved
successful, but there were probably many who shared the indignant
feelings of the poet Claudian[24] at this sudden transformation of “the
devastator of Achaia” into her protector. But Alaric could not rebuild
the cities, which he had destroyed; he could not restore prosperity to
the lands, which he had ravaged. We have ample evidence of the injury
which this invasion had inflicted upon Greece in the legislation of
Theodosius II in the first half of the next century. Two Imperial edicts
remitted sixty years’ arrears of taxation; another granted the petition
of the people of Achaia that their taxes might be reduced to one-third of
the existing amount on the ground that they could pay no more; while yet
another relieved the Greeks from the burden of contributing towards the
expenses of the public games at Constantinople. There is proof, too, in
the pages of a contemporary historian, as well as in the dry paragraphs
of the Theodosian Code, that much of the land had been allowed to go out
of cultivation and had been abandoned by its owners. Athens, however, had
survived the tempest which had laid waste so large a part of the country.
True, we find the philosopher Synesios, who visited that seat of learning
soon after Alaric’s invasion, writing sarcastically to a correspondent,
that Athens “resembled the bleeding and empty skin of a slaughtered
victim,” and was now famous for its honey alone. But the disillusioned
visitor makes no mention of the destruction of the buildings, for which
the city was renowned. Throughout the vicissitudes of the five and a
half centuries, which we have traversed since the Roman Conquest, one
conqueror after another had spared the glories of Athens, and even after
the terrible calamity of this Gothic invasion she remained the one bright
spot amid the darkness which had settled down upon the land of the


The period of more than a century which separated Alaric’s invasion from
the accession of Justinian was not prolific of events on the soil of
Greece. But those which occurred there tended yet further to accelerate
the decay of the old classic life. Scarcely had the country begun to
recover from the long-felt ravages of the Goths, than the Vandals,
who had now established themselves in Africa, plundered the west and
south-west coasts of Greece from Epeiros to Cape Matapan. But at this
crisis the Free Laconian town of Kainepolis showed such a Spartan spirit
that the Vandal King Genseric was obliged to retire with considerable
loss. He revenged himself by ravaging the beautiful island of Zante,
and by throwing into the Ionian Sea the mangled bodies of 500 of its
inhabitants[25]. Nikopolis was held as a hostage by the Vandals till
peace was concluded between them and the Eastern Empire, when their raids
ceased. Seven years afterwards, in 482, the Ostrogoths under Theodoric
devastated Larissa and the rich plain of Thessaly. In 517 a more serious,
because permanent enemy, appeared for the first time in the annals of
Greece. The Bulgarians had already caused such alarm to the statesmen
of Constantinople that they had strengthened the defences of that city,
and it was probably at this time that the fortifications of Megara were
restored. On their first inroad, however, the Bulgarians penetrated no
further into Greece than Thermopylæ and the south of Epeiros. But they
carried off many captives, and, to complete the woes of the Greeks, one
of those severe earthquakes to which that country is liable laid Corinth
in ruins.

The final separation of the Eastern and Western Empires tended to
identify the interests of the Greeks with those of the Eastern Emperors,
to make Greek the language of the Court, and to encourage the Greek
nationality. But from that period down to the Latin conquest of
Constantinople, the Imperial city grew more and more in importance at the
expense of the old home of the Hellenes, and Greece became more and more
provincial. But it seems an exaggeration to say with Finlay that during
those eight centuries “no Athenian citizen gained a place of honour in
the annals of the Empire.” To Athens, at least, belongs the honour of
having produced the Empress Eudokia, wife of Theodosius II, whose acts
of financial justice to her native land she may have prompted, such as
that which, in 435, reduced the tribute of the dwellers in Greece by
two-thirds, while she is said to have founded twelve churches in her
native city, among them the quaint little Kapnikarea, so conspicuous a
feature of modern Athens, if we may trust the belief embodied in the
inscription inside. The daughter of an Athenian professor, Leontios,
celebrated alike for her beauty and accomplishments, she went to
Constantinople to appeal against an unjust decision which had enriched
her brothers but had left her almost penniless. She lost her case, but
she won the favour of Pulcheria, the masterful sister of Theodosius,
and was appointed one of her maids of honour. She used this favourable
position to the best advantage, gained the heart of the young Emperor,
who was seven years her junior in age and many more in knowledge of the
world, and had no scruples about exchanging paganism and the name of
Athenais for Christianity and the baptismal title of Eudokia. She showed
her Christian charity by forgiving and promoting her brothers; she kept
up her literary accomplishments by turning part of the Old Testament
into Greek verse; but she was accused of ambition and infidelity, the
latter charge being substantiated by a superb apple, which the Emperor
had presented to his wife, which she in turn had sent to her lover, and
he, like an idiot, had placed on the Emperor’s table! She died in exile
at Jerusalem, a striking example of the vicissitudes of human fortunes.
Yet even in the time of her power, she could not, perhaps would not,
prevent her husband’s persecution of the religion which she had abjured.
His orders to the provincial authorities to destroy the temples or to
consecrate them to Christian worship were not always carried out, it is
true. But the pictures of Polygnotus, which Pausanias had seen in the
Stoa Poikile at Athens, excited the covetousness of an Imperial governor,
and the gold and ivory statue of Athena by Phidias vanished from the
Parthenon for ever[26]; the temple of Zeus at Olympia was destroyed by
an earthquake or by Christian bigotry, the shrine of Asklepios on the
slope of the Akropolis was pulled down, while the heathen divinities
became gradually assimilated with the Christian saints, in whom they
finally merged. Thus Helios, the sun-god, was converted into Elias, whose
name is so prominent all over the map of modern Greece; the wine-god
Dionysos became a reformed character in the person of St Dionysios, and
the temples of Theseus and Zeus Olympios at Athens were dedicated to St
George and St John. By a still more striking transformation the Parthenon
was consecrated as a church of the Virgin during the sixth century,
and was thenceforth regarded as the Cathedral of Athens. The growth of
Christianity is observable, too, from the lists of Greek sees represented
at the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, while the importance of Corinth
as the seat of the Metropolitan of Achaia is shown by the synod which
was held there to settle a point of Church discipline in 419. In spite,
however, of its political separation from Rome, we find Greece making
appeals to the Pope when grave theological questions arose. At this
period the Archbishop of Salonika was regarded as the official head of
all the Greek provinces in Europe, yet when he seemed to the orthodox
Epeirotes to be affected with heresy, they sent in their adhesion to Rome.

Theodosius II was not content with the destruction of temples; he
desired the final disappearance of such vestiges of municipal freedom
as Constantine had spared. In the same spirit of uniformity in which
he codified the law, he swept away the remains of Lycurgus’ system
at Sparta and the Court of Areopagos. Yet, as institutions usually
survive their practical utility in a conservative country, we are not
surprised to find the name of an Eponymos Archon as late as 485. And the
University of Athens still lived on, fighting the now hopeless battle
of the old religion with all the zeal of the latest Neo-Platonic school
of philosophy. The endowments of that school and the patriotism of rich
Athenians, like Theagenes, one of the two last Archons, and known as
the wealthiest Greek of his day, made up for the withdrawal of Imperial
subsidies, and the bitter tongue of Synesios could still complain of
the airs which those who had studied at Athens gave themselves ever
afterwards. “They regard themselves,” wrote the philosopher, “as
demi-gods and the rest of mankind as donkeys.” But the university
received a severe blow when, in 425, Theodosius enlarged and enriched the
University of Constantinople with a number of new professorial chairs.
If his institution of fifteen professors of the Greek language and
literature gave that tongue an official position in what had hitherto
been mainly a Latin city, it also attracted the best talent—men like
Jacobus, the famous physician of the Emperor Leo the Great—from Greece to
Constantinople, which thus acted as a magnet to the aspiring provincials,
just as Paris acts to the rest of France. The last great figure of the
Athenian University, Proklos, whose commentaries on Plato are still
extant, was engaged in demonstrating by the purity of his life and his
doctrines that a pagan could be no less moral and more intellectual than
a Christian. The old gods, deposed from their thrones, seemed to favour
their last champion; so, when the statue of Athena was removed from the
Akropolis, the goddess appeared to the philosopher in a dream and told
him that henceforth his house would be her home. The famous Bœthius,
whose _Consolation of Philosophy_ was translated by our King Alfred,
is thought to have studied at Athens in the last years of Proklos, and
earlier in the fifth century the charming Hypatia, whom Kingsley has
immortalised for English readers, may be numbered among the ladies who
at that time sought higher education at Athens and softened by their
presence the rough manners of the masculine students. But, with the death
of Proklos, the cause of polytheism and the prosperity of the university
declined yet more. The shrewd young Greeks saw that there was no longer
a career for pagans; even the rich benefactor of Athens, Theagenes, was
converted to Christianity. Justinian dealt the university its death-blow
in 529 by decreeing that no one should teach philosophy at Athens, and by
confiscating the endowments of the Platonic school. Seven philosophers,
of whom the most celebrated was Simplikios, the Aristotelian commentator,
resolved to seek under the benevolent despotism of Chosroes, King of
Persia, that freedom of speech which was denied to them by Justinian.
They believed at a distance that the barbarian monarch had realised the
ideal of Plato—a philosopher on the throne; they went to his court and
were speedily disillusioned. Home-sick and heart-broken, they begged
their new patron to let them return to die in Greece. Chosroes, who was
at the time engaged in negotiating a treaty of peace with Justinian,
inserted a clause allowing the unhappy seven “to pass the rest of their
days without persecution in their native land,” and Simplikios was thus
enabled, in the obscurity of private life, to compose those commentaries
which are still studied by disciples of Aristotle[27]. Thus perished the
University of Athens, and with it paganism vanished from Greece, save
where, in the mountains of Laconia, it lingered on till beyond the middle
of the ninth century. The ancient name of “Hellenes” was now exclusively
applied to the remnant which still adhered to the old religion, so much
so that Constantine Porphyrogenitus[28] in the tenth century called the
Peloponnesian Greeks “Graikoi,” because “Hellenes” would have still meant
idolaters. All the subjects of Justinian were collectively described as
“Romans,” while those who inhabited Greece came gradually to be specified
as “Helladikoi.”

The reign of Justinian marked the annihilation of the ancient life in
other ways than these. He disbanded the provincial militia, to which
we have several times alluded, and which down to his time furnished a
guard for the Pass of Thermopylæ. This garrison proved, however, unable
to keep out the Huns and Slavs who invaded Greece in 539, and, like the
Persians of old, marched through the Pass of Anopaia into the rear of
the defenders. The ravages of these barbarians, who devasted Central
Greece and penetrated as far as the Isthmus, led Justinian to repair
the fortifications of Thermopylæ, where he placed a regular force of
2000 men, maintained out of the revenues of Greece. He also re-fortified
the Isthmus, and put such important positions as Larissa, Pharsalos,
Corinth, Thebes, and Athens, with the Akropolis, in a state of proper
defence. But these military measures involved a large expenditure,
which Justinian met by appropriating the municipal funds. The effect
of this measure was to deprive the municipal doctors and teachers of
their means of livelihood, to stop the municipal grants to theatres
and other entertainments, to make the repair of public buildings and
the maintenance of roads—the greatest of all needs in a country with
the geographical configuration of Greece—most difficult. The old Greek
life had centred in the municipality, so that from this blow it never
recovered; fortunately, the Church was now sufficiently well organised
to take its place, and henceforth that institution became the depository
of the national traditions, the mainstay in each successive century
of the national existence. Yet another loss to Greece was that of the
monuments, which were taken to Constantinople to make good the ravages
of the great conflagration, caused by the _Nika_ sedition. The present
church of Sta Sophia, which Justinian raised out of the ashes of the
second, was adorned with pillars from Athens as well as marble from
the Greek quarries, and thus once again, as St Jerome had said, other
cities were “stripped naked” to clothe Constantinople. Earthquakes, which
shook Patras, Corinth, and Naupaktos to their foundations, completed the
destruction of much that was valuable, and the bubonic plague swept over
the country, recalling those terrors of which Thucydides and Lucretius
had left such a striking description in their accounts of the pestilence
at Athens in the days of Perikles. The King of the Ostrogoths, Totila,
after twice taking Rome, sent a fleet to harry Corfù and the opposite
coast of Epeiros, plundered Nikopolis and the ancient shrine of Dodona.
It was in consequence of this and similar raids that the Corfiotes
finally abandoned their old city and took refuge in the present citadel,
called later on in the tenth century from its twin peaks (Κορυφοί) Corfù,
instead of Corcyra. The Bulgarians, a few years later, made a fresh raid
as far as Thermopylæ, where they were stopped by the new fortifications.
In short, the ambitious foreign policy of Justinian, the powers of
nature, and the increasing boldness of the barbarians, contrived to make
this period fatal to Greece. Yet the Emperor bestowed one signal benefit
upon that country. By the importation of silkworms he gave the Greeks the
monopoly, so far as Christendom was concerned, of a valuable manufacture,
which was not infringed till the Norman invasion six centuries later.

The history of Greece becomes very obscure after the death of Justinian,
and the historian must be content to piece together from the Byzantine
writers such stray allusions as those chroniclers of court scandals make
to the neglected fatherland of the Greeks. The salient fact of this
period is the recurrence of the Slav invasions of Justinian’s time.
We learn that in 578 or 581 an army of 100,000 Slavonians “ravaged
Hellas” and Thessaly[29]; in 589, under the Emperor Maurice, the Avars,
according to the contemporary historian, Evagrios, “conquered all Greece,
destroying and burning everything[30].” This passage has given rise to a
famous controversy, which at one time convulsed not only the learned, but
the diplomatic world. In 1830 a German scholar, Professor Fallmerayer,
published the first volume of a _History of the Peninsula Morea during
the Middle Ages_, in which he advanced the astounding theory that the
inhabitants of modern Greece have “not a single drop of genuine Greek
blood in their veins.” “The Greek race in Europe,” he wrote, “has been
rooted out. A double layer of the dust and ashes of two new and distinct
human species covers the graves of that ancient people. A tempest,
such as has seldom arisen in human history, has scattered a new race,
allied to the great Slav family, over the whole surface of the Balkan
peninsula from the Danube to the inmost recesses of the Peloponnese. And
a second, perhaps no less important revolution, the Albanian immigration
into Greece, has completed the work of destruction.” The former of
these two foreign settlements in the Peloponnese, that of the Slavs and
Avars, was supposed by Fallmerayer to have taken place as the result
of the above-mentioned invasion of 589, and his supposition received
plausible confirmation from a mediæval document. The Patriarch Nicholas,
writing towards the end of the eleventh century to the Emperor Alexios I
Comnenos, alludes to the repulse of the Avars from before the walls of
Patras in 807, and adds that they “had held possession of the Peloponnese
for 218 years (_i.e._ from 589), and had so completely separated it from
the Byzantine Empire that no Byzantine official dared to set his foot in
it[31].” A similar statement from the _Chronicle of Monemvasia_[32]—a
late and almost worthless compilation—was also unearthed by the zealous
Fallmerayer, who accordingly believed that he had proved the existence
of a permanent settlement of the Peloponnese by the Slavs and Avars
between 589 and 807, “in complete independence of the Byzantine governors
of the coast.” It was in the coast-towns alone and in a few other
strongholds, such as Mt Taygetos, that he would allow of any survival of
the old Greek race, and he triumphantly pointed to the famous name of
“Navarino” as containing a fresh proof of an Avar settlement, while in
many places he found Slavonic names, corresponding to those of Russian
villages. Another evidence of this early Slavonic settlement seemed to
be provided by the remark of the very late Byzantine writer, Phrantzes,
that his native city of Monemvasia on the south-east coast, which used
to supply our ancestors’ cellars with malmsey, was separated from the
diocese of Corinth and raised to the rank of a metropolitan see about
this identical time, presumably because many Greeks had taken refuge
there from the Slavs, and were cut off from Corinth. Finally, a nun, who
composed an account of the pilgrimage of St Willibald, the Anglo-Saxon
Bishop of Eichstätt, in 723, stated that he “crossed to Monemvasia in
the Slavonian land,” an expression which Fallmerayer hailed as a proof
that at that period the Peloponnese was known by that name. It need not
be said that Fallmerayer’s theory was as flattering to Panslavism as
it was unpleasant to Philhellenes. But it is no longer accepted in its
full extent. No one who has been in Greece can fail to have been struck
by the similarity between the character of the modern and the ancient
Greeks. Many an island has its “Odysseus of many wiles”; every morning
and evening the Athenians are anxious to hear “some new thing”; and the
comedies of Aristophanes contain many personal traits which fit the
subjects of the present king. Nor does even the vulgar language contain
any considerable Slavonic element, although there are a certain number of
Slavonic place-names to be found on the map, including perhaps Navarino.
Moreover, the contemporary historian, Theophylact Simokatta, makes no
mention of the invasion of 589, though he minutely describes the wars
of that period. Yet, as we shall see later, there is no doubt that at
one time there was a great Slavonic immigration into Greece, but it took
place about 746, instead of in 589, and the incoming Slavs, so far from
annihilating the Greeks, were gradually assimilated by that persistent
race, as has happened to conquering peoples elsewhere.

But Fallmerayer was not content with wiping out the Greeks from the
Peloponnese. He next propounded the amazing statement that the history
of Athens was a blank for four centuries after the time of Justinian,
and explained this strange phenomenon by a Slavonic inundation in that
Emperor’s reign. In consequence of this invasion, the Athenians were said
to have fled to Salamis, where they remained for 400 years, while their
city was abandoned to olive groves and utterly neglected. These “facts,”
which the learned German had culled from the chronicle of the Anargyroi
Monastery[33], which, however, distinctly says “three years,” and not
400, and refers to Albanians, not Slavs, have since been disproved, not
only by the obviously modern date of that compilation, which is now
assigned to the nineteenth century, and which refers to the temporary
abandonment of Athens after its capture by Morosini in 1687, but by the
allusions which may be found to events at Athens during this period of
supposed desertion. Thus, we hear of an heretical bishop being sent
there towards the end of the sixth century, and we have the seal of the
orthodox divine who was Bishop of Athens a hundred years later[34].
An eloquent appeal was made by the Byzantine historian, Theophylact
Simokatta, to the city to put on mourning for the Emperor Maurice, who
died in 602, and sixty years later another Emperor, Constans II, landed
at the Piræus on his way to Sicily, spent the winter at Athens, and
collected there a considerable force of soldiers. Even some few traces
of culture may be found there in the century which followed Justinian’s
closing of the university. St Gislenus, who went as a missionary to
Hainault, and a learned doctor, named Stephen, were both born at Athens,
and the former is stated to have studied there. Finally, in the middle
of the eighth century, the famous Empress Irene first saw the light in
the city, which had already given one consort to an Emperor of the East.
Thus, if comparatively obscure, Athens was not a mere collection of ruins
in an olive grove, but a city of living men and women which had never (as
Zygomalas wrote to Crusius in the sixteenth century) “remained desolate
for about 300 years.”

The attacks of the Slavs and of the newly-founded Arabian power marked
the course of the seventh century. In 623 the Slavs made an incursion
into Crete, and that island, of which we have heard little under the
Imperial rule, was also visited by the Arabs in 651 and 674. But though
the Cretans were forced to pay tribute to the Caliph, Moawyah, they
were treated with kindness by the politic conqueror. About the same
time as this second Arab invasion, and while the main Arab force was
besieging Constantinople, a body of Slavs seized the opportunity to
settle in the rich plain of Thessaly, and it is from one of their tribes
that the present town of Velestino, so often mentioned in the war of
1897, received its name. Yet this tribe soon became so friendly that it
assisted the Greeks in the defence of Salonika against a Slavonic army—a
further proof of the readiness with which the Slavs adopted the Greek
point of view. It is clear also that the command of the Imperial troops
in Greece was regarded as an important post, for we find it entrusted to
Leontios, who made himself Emperor. The Greek islands were still used as
places of detention for prisoners of position. Thus Naxos was chosen as
the temporary exile of Pope Martin I by the Emperor Constans II, and the
future Emperor Philippicus was banished to Cephalonia.

A new era opened for the Empire with the accession of Leo the Isaurian
in 716. In the first place, that sovereign completed the reform of
the system of provincial administration, which had lasted more or
less continuously since the time of Constantine. In place of the old
provincial divisions, the Empire was now parcelled out into military
districts, called Themes—a name originally applied to a regiment and
then to the place at which the regiment was quartered. The choice of
such a title indicates the essentially military character of the new
arrangement, which implied the maintenance of a small division of troops
in each district as a necessary defence against the Avars, Slavs, and
Arabs, whose depredations had menaced provinces seldom exposed to
attack in the old times. Six out of the twenty-eight Themes comprised
Greece, as she was before the late Balkan wars. The Peloponnese, with
its capital of Corinth, formed one; Central Greece, including Eubœa,
formed another, under the name of Hellas, but its capital was Thebes, not
Athens; Nikopolis, which comprised Ætolia and Akarnania, and Cephalonia
(the latter created a separate Theme later on, and including all the
Ionian Islands) were two more; the Ægean Sea, popularly known as the
Dodekannesos, or “twelve islands,” composed one of the Asian Themes, and
Thessaly was a part of the Theme of Macedonia. Both the military and
civil authority in each Theme was vested in the hands of a Commander,
known as _strategós_, except in the case of the Ægean Islands, where
the post was filled by an Admiral, called _droungários_. Under the
_strategós_ were the _protonotários_ or “judge,” who was a judicial and
administrative authority, and two military personages, one of whom, the
_kleisourárches_, was so-called because he watched the mountain passes,
like the later Turkish _derben-aga_. So far as Greece is concerned, the
eclipse of Athens by Thebes, perhaps owing to the silk industry for which
the latter city was famous in the Middle Ages, is a very noticeable
feature of the new administration.

Another reform of Leo the Isaurian aroused the intense indignation of
the inhabitants of Greece. We have seen that the spread of Christianity
in that country had been facilitated by the assimilation of pagan forms
of worship in the new ritual. It was natural that a race, which had
been accustomed for centuries to connect art with religion and to seek
the noblest statuary in the temples of the gods, should have regarded
with peculiar favour the practice of hanging pictures in churches.
When therefore Leo, whose Armenian origin perhaps made him personally
unsympathetic to the Greeks, issued an edict against image-worship, his
orders met with the most bigoted resistance in Greece. It may be that
a more searching census for the purposes of the revenue had already
rendered him unpopular; but to those who know how strong is the influence
of the Church in the East, and what fierce disputes an ecclesiastical
question kindles there, the edict of the Emperor will seem ample ground
for the Greek rising of 727. An eruption at the volcanic island of
Santorin was interpreted as a sign of divine displeasure at the doings
of the iconoclast sovereign; while Pope Gregory II addressed two violent
missives to the Emperor, and probably encouraged the agitation in
Greece, which still acknowledged him as spiritual head of the Church.
The “Helladikoi,” as they were now called, and the seamen of the
Cyclades fitted out a fleet under the leadership of a certain Stephen;
and, with the co-operation of Agallianos, one of the Imperial military
officials, set up an orthodox Emperor, named Kosmas, and boldly set sail
for Constantinople—a proof of the resources of Greece at this period.
But the result of this naval undertaking was very different from that
which Greece had equipped on behalf of Constantine. A battle was fought
under the walls of the capital between the two fleets. The Emperor Leo,
availing himself of the terrible invention of the Greek fire, which
had been used with such deadly effect in the recent Saracen siege of
Constantinople, annihilated his opponents’ vessels. Agallianos, seeing
that all was lost, leaped into the sea; Stephen and Kosmas fell by the
axe of the executioner. We are not told what punishment was meted out
to the Greeks, but, in consequence of the strong attitude of opposition
which the Papacy had taken up to the Emperor, Leo in 732 deprived the
Pope of all jurisdiction over Greece, and placed that country under the
ecclesiastical authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

The next important event in the history of Greece was the great plague,
which broke out at Monemvasia in 746 and spread all over the Empire. The
political consequences of this visitation were far-reaching. For not
only was the population of Greece diminished by the increased mortality
there, but it was further lessened by emigration to Constantinople,
where there were openings for plasterers and other skilled workmen,
and where great numbers had died of the epidemic. The place of these
emigrants in the Peloponnese was taken by Slav colonists, and this is
the true explanation of the Slavonic colonisation, which Fallmerayer
placed so much earlier. In the celebrated words of the Imperial author,
Constantine Porphyrogenitus, “All the open country was Slavonised and
became barbarous, when the plague was devouring the whole world[35].”
It seems from the phrase “open country,” that such Greeks as remained
behind crowded into the towns, and that the rural districts were thus
left free for the Slavs to occupy. And this is confirmed by the _Epitome
of Strabo’s Geography_, compiled apparently about the end of the tenth
century, which states that at that time “All Epeiros and a large part
of Hellas and the Peloponnese and Macedonia were inhabited by Scythian
Slavs.” The memory of this Slavonic occupation has been preserved by the
Slavonic names of places, which Colonel Leake was the first to notice.
That the Slavs excited the alarm of the Byzantine government is clear
from the fact that in 783 Staurakios was despatched by the Empress Irene
to crush their efforts at independence. The Empress was actuated by
love of Greece as well as by motives of policy, for she was a native of
Athens, like her predecessor, Eudokia. At the age of seventeen she had
been selected by the Emperor Constantine Copronymos as the wife of his
son, Leo IV, and the premature death of her husband left her the real
mistress of the Empire, which she governed, first as Regent for her son
and then as sole ruler, for over twenty years. One of the earliest acts
of her Regency was to send the expedition against the Slavs. Those in
Thessaly and Central Greece were forced to pay tribute; those in the
Peloponnese yielded a rich booty to the Byzantine commander. But the
Slavs were not permanently subdued, as was soon evident. Irene, for the
greater security of her throne, had banished her five brothers-in-law
to Athens, which was, of course, devoted to her, and was at that time
governed by one of her kinsmen. But the five prisoners managed to
communicate with Akamir, a Slav chieftain who lived at Velestino, and a
plot was formed for the elevation of them to the throne. The plans of the
conspirators fell into the hands of Irene’s friends, and the prisoners
were removed to a safer place. Irene, however, was dethroned a little
later by Nikephoros I, and banished to Mitylene, where she died. In spite
of her appalling treatment of her son, whom she had dethroned and blinded
in order to gratify her greed of power, tradition states that she showed
her piety and patriotism by the foundation of several churches at Athens.
Some of her foundations disappeared in the storm and stress of the War
of Independence; others were removed to make way for the streets of the
modern town; but the Church of the Panagia Gorgoepekoos, or so-called old
Metropolis[36], which still stands, is ascribed to her, and the ruins of
the monastery which she built and where she at one time lived strew the
beautiful island of Prinkipo. Even with her death her native city did
not lose its connection with the Byzantine Court. Among her surviving
relatives at Athens was a beautiful niece, Theophano, who was married
to a man of position there. Nikephoros, anxious, no doubt, like all
usurpers, to connect his family with that of the Sovereign whom he had
deposed, resolved that the fair Athenian should become the consort of his
son, Staurakios. He accordingly snatched her from the arms of her husband
and brought her to Constantinople, where her second marriage took place.
But this third Athenian Empress did not long enjoy the reward of her
infidelity to her first husband. Staurakios survived his father’s death
at the hands of the Bulgarians a very few months, and his consort, like
Eudokia and Irene, ended her life in a monastery.

The Slavs of the Peloponnese believed that their chance of obtaining
independence had come during the troubled reign of Nikephoros, when the
Saracens under Haroun Al Rashid and the growing power of the Bulgarians
menaced the Byzantine Empire. They accordingly rose, and, after
plundering the houses of their Greek neighbours, laid siege in 807 to
the fortress of Patras, which was the principal stronghold of the old
inhabitants in the north-west of the country. The Slavs blockaded the
city from the land side, while a Saracen fleet prevented the introduction
of supplies by sea. The besieged, knowing that the fate of Hellenism in
the Peloponnese depended on their efforts, held out against these odds
in the hope that they would thus give the Imperial commander at Corinth
time to relieve them. At last, when all hope of deliverance seemed to
have disappeared, they sent out a horseman to one of the hills in the
direction of Corinth to see if the longed for army of relief was in
sight. His orders were to gallop back as soon as he caught a glimpse of
the approaching Imperialists and to lower the flag which he carried, so
that his comrades in Patras might have the glad news at once. But his
eyes in vain searched the road along the Gulf of Corinth for the gleam
of weapons or the dust that would announce the march of soldiers. Sadly
he turned his horse towards Patras, when, at a spot where he was in full
view of the walls, his steed stumbled and the flag fell. The besieged,
believing that help was at hand, were inspired with fresh courage, and,
sallying from the gates, inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Slavs,
which was followed up after the arrival of the relieving force three days
later by the restoration of the Imperial authority along the west coast.
At that age so great a victory was naturally ascribed to superhuman aid.
St Andrew, the patron-saint of Patras, who, as we have seen, was believed
to have suffered martyrdom there, and whose relics were then preserved
there, had caused the scout’s horse to stumble and had been seen on a
milk-white steed leading the citizens in their successful onslaught on
the Slavs[37]. The gratitude, or policy, of the government showed itself
in the dedication of the spoil and captives to the service of the church
of St Andrew, and the Slavonic peasants of the neighbourhood became its
tenants and paid it a yearly rent. The Archbishop of Patras, who had
hitherto been dependent upon Corinth, was raised by Nikephoros to the
rank of a Metropolitan, and Methone, Korone and Lacedæmon, were placed
under his immediate jurisdiction. The political object and result of
this step, which was ratified by later Emperors, was to hellenise the
vanquished Slavs by means of the Greek clergy. Moreover, the policy
of Nikephoros in organising Greek military colonies round the Slav
settlements in Greece, tended to check Slavonic raids. Public lands were
bestowed on these colonists whose establishment contributed much to the
ultimate fusion of the two races. Thus, the defeat of the Slavs before
Patras and the wise measures of Nikephoros prevented the Peloponnese
from becoming a Slavonic State, like Servia or Bulgaria, and from that
date the tide, which had at one time threatened to submerge the Greek
nationality there, began to ebb. Of this phenomenon we shall be able to
watch the progress.

A generation elapsed without a renewal of the Slav agitation in the
Peloponnese; but about 849 a fresh rising took place. On this occasion
the appearance of a Byzantine commander in the field soon caused the
collapse of the rebels. Two Slavonic tribes, however, the Melings
and Ezerits, which inhabited the slopes to the west, and the plain
to the east of Mount Taygetos, were enabled by the strength of their
geographical position to make terms with the Byzantine government, and
agreed to pay a small tribute which was assessed according to their
respective means[38]. The Church continued the work of the soldiers by
building monasteries in the Slavonic districts, and from the middle
of the ninth century the Greek element began to recover lost ground.
Nearly all the Slavs and the last of the Hellenic pagans in the south
of Taygetos were then converted, and the adoption of Christianity by
the Bulgarians cannot have failed to affect the Slavonic settlers in
the Byzantine Empire. Of the revived prosperity of Greece we have two
remarkable proofs. In 823 that country raised a fleet of 350 sail for
the purpose of intervening in the civil war then raging between the
Emperor Michael the Stammerer and a Slavonic usurper, and this implies
the possession of considerable resources. Still more striking is the
story of the rich widow, Danielis of Patras. About the time of the
Byzantine expedition against the Slavs of Taygetos, the future Emperor,
Basil I, then chief groom in the service of a prominent courtier, was at
Patras in attendance on his master, who had been sent there on political
business. One day, as the comely groom was entering the church of St
Andrew, a monk stopped him and told him that he should become Emperor.
Shortly afterwards he fell ill of a fever, which, by detaining him at
Patras after his master’s departure, proved to be a blessing in disguise.
Moved by philanthropy or the prophecy of the monk, Danielis took the sick
groom into her house, bade him be a brother to her son, and, when he had
recovered from his illness, provided him with a train of thirty slaves
to accompany him to Constantinople, and loaded him with costly presents.
When, in 867, the monk’s forecast was fulfilled, and Basil mounted the
Imperial throne, he did not forget his benefactress. He not only promoted
her son to a high position in his court, but invited the aged lady to
Constantinople. In spite of her age and infirmities, Danielis travelled
in a litter, accompanied by 300 slaves, who took in turns the duty of
carrying their mistress. As a gift to the Emperor, she brought 500 more,
as well as 100 maidens, chosen for their skill in embroidery, 100 purple
garments, 300 linen robes, and 100 more of such fine material that each
piece could easily be packed away in a hollow cane. Every kind of gold
and silver vessel completed the list of presents, which would not have
disgraced a brother sovereign. When she arrived, she was lodged like
a queen and addressed as “mother” by her grateful _protégé_. Basil’s
gratitude was rewarded by fresh favours. Danielis called for a notary
and made over to the Emperor and her own son a part of her landed estates
in the Peloponnese. Finding that Basil had tried to atone for the murder
of his predecessor, which had given him the throne, by the erection of a
church, she had a huge carpet manufactured by her own workmen to cover
the splendid mosaic floor. Once again, on the death of her favourite,
she journeyed to Constantinople to greet his son and successor. Her own
son was by that time dead, so she devised the whole of her property to
the young Emperor Leo VI. At her request, a high official was sent to
the Peloponnese to prepare an inventory of her effects. Even in these
days a sovereign would rejoice at such a windfall. Her loose cash, her
gold and silver plate, her bronze ornaments, her wardrobe, and her
flocks and herds represented a princely fortune. As for her slaves, they
were so numerous that the Emperor, in the embarrassment of his riches,
emancipated 3000 of them and sent them as colonists to Apulia, then part
of the Byzantine Empire. Eighty farms formed the real property of this
ninth century millionairess, whose story throws light on the position of
the Peloponnesian landed class, or _archontes_, at that period. Danielis
was, doubtless, exceptionally rich, and Patras was then, as now, the
chief commercial town in the Peloponnese. But the existence of such an
enormous fortune as hers presupposes a high degree of civilisation,
in which many others must have participated. Even learning was still
cultivated in Greece, for the distinguished mathematician Leo, who was
one of the ornaments of the Byzantine Court, is expressly stated to have
studied rhetoric, philosophy and science under a famous teacher, Michael
Psellos, who lectured at a college in the island of Andros, where his
pupil’s name is not yet forgotten[39].

But while the Greeks had thus triumphed in the Peloponnese, they had
lost ground elsewhere. Availing themselves of the disorders in the
Byzantine Empire, when the Greek ships were all engaged in the civil war
of 823, a body of Saracens, who had emigrated from the south of Spain
to Alexandria, descended on Crete, at that time recovering from the
effects of an earthquake, but still possessing thirty cities. Landing
at Suda Bay, they found the islanders mostly favourable, or at any rate
indifferent, to a change of masters. Reinforced by a further batch of
their countrymen, the Saracens resolved to settle there. A Cretan monk is
said to have shown them a strong position where they could pitch their
camp; so they burnt their ships and established themselves at the spot
indicated, the site of the present town of Candia, which derives its
Venetian name from the Chandak or “ditch” surrounding it. The conquest of
the island was soon accomplished—a clear proof of the islanders’ apathy
when we remember the heroic defence of the Cretans in more recent times.
Religious toleration reconciled many to the sway of the Saracens; in the
course of years a number of the Christians embraced the creed of their
conquerors, helping to man their fleets and sharing the profits of that
nefarious traffic in slaves of which Crete, as in former days Delos,
became the centre. One district, which we may identify with Sphakia,
was permitted to enjoy autonomy. For Greece the rule of the Saracens in
Crete was a serious misfortune. Cretan corsairs ably led by Christian
renegades, in quest of booty and slaves, ravaged the Cyclades and the
Ionian Islands, and menaced the coast towns of the mainland, whither the
terrified inhabitants of Ægina and similarly exposed spots migrated in
the hope of safety. The efforts of the Byzantine government to recover
“the great Greek island,” which was now a terror to the whole Levant,
were for more than a century unsuccessful, and during 138 years Crete
remained in the possession of the Saracens. Occasionally their fleet was
annihilated, as in the reign of Basil I, when the Byzantine admiral,
hearing that they meditated a descent upon the west coast of Greece,
conveyed his ships across the Isthmus in the night by means of the old
tram-road, or _diolkos_, which had been used by the contemporaries
of Thucydides, and has even now not entirely disappeared. By this
brilliant device he took the enemy by surprise in the Gulf of Corinth,
and destroyed their vessels. But new fleets arose as if by magic, and
Basil was obliged to strengthen the garrisons of the Peloponnese. His
successor, aroused to action by their daring attacks upon Demetrias and
Salonika, both flourishing cities which they devastated and plundered,
equipped a naval expedition, to which the Greek Themes contributed ships
and men, with the object of recapturing Crete. But neither that nor
the subsequent armada despatched by the Imperial author, Constantine
Porphyrogenitus, was destined to succeed. At last, in 961, the
redoubtable commander, Nikephoros Phokas, restored Crete to the Byzantine
Empire. But even at that early period, Candia began to establish the
reputation which it so nobly increased during the Turkish siege seven
centuries later. Its strong fortifications for seven long months resisted
the Byzantine general; but he patiently waited for a favourable moment,
and at last took the place by storm. The most drastic measures were
adopted for the complete reduction of the island. The broad brick walls
of Candia were pulled down; a new fortress called Temenos was erected on
the height of Rhoka some miles inland, to overawe the inhabitants. Some
of the Saracens emigrated, others sank into a state of serfdom. As usual
the missionary followed the Byzantine arms, and the island attracted many
Greek and Armenian Christians; the name of the latter still lingers in
the Cretan village of Armeni; among the former were some distinguished
Byzantine families, whose descendants furnished leaders to the
insurrections later on. In the conversion of the Cretan apostates back
to Christianity, an Armenian monk called Nikon, and nicknamed “Repent
Ye” from the frequency of that phrase in his sermons, found a fine field
for his labours. The Christian churches, for which Crete had once been
famous, rose again, and the reconquest of the island gave to Nikephoros
Phokas the Imperial diadem, to the deacon Theodosios the subject for a
long iambic poem, and to Nikon the more lasting dignity of a saint. But,
in spite of his efforts, not a few Arabs retained their religion, and the
Cretan Mussulmans of Amari are still reckoned as their descendants.

The tenth century witnessed not only the recovery of Crete for the
Byzantine Empire and for the Christian faith, but also the spread of
monasteries over Greece. When Nikon had concluded his Cretan mission he
visited Athens, where he is said by his biographer to have enchanted the
people with his sermons, penetrated as far as Thebes, and then returned
to Sparta, where he founded a convent and established his headquarters.
Thence he set out on missionary journeys among the Slavonic tribes
of the Melings and Ezerits, who had again risen against the Imperial
authority and had again been reduced to the payment of a tribute. Those
wild clans continued, however, to harry the surrounding country, and the
monastery of St Nikon was only protected from their attacks by the awe
which the holy man’s memory inspired. Long after his death he was adored
as the guardian of Sparta, where his memory is still green, and the
Peloponnesian mariner, caught in a storm off Cape Matapan, would pray to
him, as his ancestors had prayed to Castor and Pollux. For Central Greece
the career of the blessed Luke the younger was as important as that of
St Nikon for the South. The parents of this remarkable man had fled from
Ægina, when the Cretan corsairs plundered that island, and had taken
refuge in Macedonia, where Luke was born. Filled with the idea that he
had a call to a holy life, the young Luke settled as a hermit on a lonely
Greek mountain by the sea-shore, where for seven long years he devoted
himself to prayer. A Bulgarian raid drove him to the Peloponnese, where
for ten years more he served as the attendant of another hermit, who,
like the famous Stylites of old, lived on a pillar near Patras. After
further adventures, he migrated to Stiris, between Delphi and Livadia,
where the monastery which bears his name now stands.

The absorption of the Christianised Slavs by the Greeks was occasionally
interrupted by the Bulgarian inroads, which now became frequent. Since
the foundation of the first Bulgarian Empire towards the end of the
ninth century, the power of that race had greatly increased, and the
Byzantine sovereigns found formidable rivals in the Bulgarian tsars.
About 929 the Bulgarians captured Nikopolis, and converted it into a
Slavonic colony, which was only reconquered by considerable efforts.
Arsenios, Metropolitan of Corfù, who was canonised later on, and was
for centuries the patron saint of the island, where his festival is
still celebrated and his remains repose, fell into the hands of these
invaders, but was rescued by the valour of the islanders[40], and a
new tribe, called Slavesians, probably an offshoot of the Bulgarians,
made its way into the Peloponnese. The troublesome clans of Melings
and Ezerits seized this opportunity to demand the reduction of their
tribute, which had been raised after their last rising. The Government
wisely granted their demand, and so prevented a formidable insurrection.
Athens was also disturbed by a domestic riot. A certain Chases, a high
Byzantine official, had aroused the resentment of the people by his
tyranny and the scandals of his life. Alarmed at the threatening attitude
of the inhabitants, who had been joined by others from the country, he
took refuge at the altar in the Church of the Virgin on the Akropolis,
the ancient Parthenon. But the sanctuary did not protect him from the
vengeance of his enemies, who stoned him to death at the altar, thus
showing less reverence for the Virgin than the ancient Athenians had once
shown under somewhat similar circumstances for the goddess Athena.

The Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who wrote about the middle of
the tenth century, has left us a favourable sketch of the Peloponnese
as it was in his day. Forty cities were to be found in that Theme, and
some idea of its resources may be formed from the statement that the
Peloponnesians excused themselves from personal service in an Italian
campaign by the payment of 7200 pieces of gold and the presentation of
1000 horses all equipped[41]. The purple, parchment, and silk industries,
as well as the shipping trade, must have yielded considerable profits
to those who carried them on, and the presence of many Jews at Sparta
in the time of St Nikon, who tried to expel them, shows that there was
money to be made there. His biography represents that city—of which
the contemporary Empress, Theophano, wife of Romanos II and Nikephoros
Phokas, was perhaps a native[42]—as possessing a powerful aristocracy,
and as having commercial relations with Venice. The reconquest of Crete,
by freeing the coast-towns from the depredations of pirates, naturally
increased the prosperity of Greece. Schools rose again at Athens and
Corinth, and from that time down to the beginning of the thirteenth
century the country improved, in spite of occasional invasions. Thus,
the Bulgarian Tsar Samuel captured Larissa and carried off many of
its inhabitants, as well as the remains of the Thessalian Archbishop,
St Achilleios, which had long been the chief relic of the place. His
standards were twice seen south of the Isthmus, and Attica was ravaged
by his forces. To this period we may refer the statement above quoted
that “all Epeiros and a large part of Hellas and the Peloponnese and
Macedonia were occupied by Scythian Slavs.” But when they arrived at
the river Spercheios on their return march, they were surprised by a
Byzantine army and utterly defeated. The Emperor Basil II, surnamed
“the Bulgar-slayer,” completed the destruction of the first Bulgarian
Empire, and on his triumphal progress through Northern and Central Greece
in 1019 found the bones of the slain still bleaching on the banks of
the Spercheios. After inspecting the fortifications of Thermopylæ, he
proceeded to Athens, which no Byzantine Emperor had visited since the
days of Constans II. The visit was an appropriate sequel to the campaign.
For the first time for centuries the Byzantine dominions extended from
the Bosporos to the Danube, and the Balkan peninsula once again was under
Greek domination. In the Church of the Virgin on the Akropolis, the very
centre and shrine of the old Hellenic life in bygone days, the victorious
Emperor offered up thanks to Almighty God for his successes, and showed
his gratitude by rich offerings to the church out of the spoil which he
had taken. The beauty of the building, which he seems to have enhanced
by a series of frescoes, traces of which are still visible, was justly
celebrated in the next generation, and one curiosity of that holy spot,
the ever-burning golden lamp, is specially mentioned by the author of the
so-called _Book of Guido_, and by the Icelandic pilgrim, Saewulf. Other
persons imitated the example of Basil, and the restoration or foundation
of Athenian churches was one of the features of the first half of the
eleventh century. Freed for the time from corsairs and hostile armies,
Greece was once more able to pursue the arts of peace unhindered. During
the great famine which prevailed at Constantinople in 1037, the Themes of
Hellas and the Peloponnese were able to export 100,000 bushels of wheat
for the relief of the capital. The chief grievance of the Greeks was the
extortion of the Imperial Government, which aroused two insurrections
after the death of Basil. The first of these movements took place
at Naupaktos, where the people rose against “Mad George,” the hated
representative of the Emperor, murdered him, and plundered his residence.
This revolt was suppressed with great severity, the archbishop, who had
been on the side of the people, being blinded, according to the prevalent
fashion of Byzantine criminal law. Some years later, the inhabitants of
the Theme of Nikopolis murdered the Imperial tax-collector, and called in
the Bulgarians, who had risen against fiscal extortion like themselves.
While Naupaktos held out in the West, the Thebans, then a rich and
flourishing community, abandoned their silk manufactories, and took the
field against the Bulgarians[43]. But they were defeated with great loss,
and it has even been asserted that the victors occupied the Piræus with
the connivance of the discontented Athenians.

This surmise, which has, however, been rejected by the German historian
of mediæval Athens, rests upon one of the most curious discoveries that
have been made in connection with the place. Every visitor to Venice has
seen the famous lions which adorn the front of the arsenal. One of these
statues, brought home as a trophy by Morosini from the Piræus in 1688,
has upon it a runic inscription, which has been deciphered by an expert.
According to his version, the inscription commemorates the capture of
the Piræus at this period by the celebrated Harold Hardrada, whom our
King Harold defeated at Stamford Bridge, and who, in 1040, was commander
of the Imperial Guard at Constantinople. In consequence, it appears,
of an Athenian rising, Harold had been sent with a detachment of that
force, composed largely of Norwegians, to put down the rebellion. After
accomplishing their object, the Northmen, in the fashion of the modern
tourist, scrawled their names and achievements on the patient lion, which
then stood, like the lion of Lindau, at the entrance of the Piræus and
gave to that harbour its later name of Porto Leone. It would be difficult
to find a more curious piece of historical evidence than that a monument
in Venice should tell us of a Norwegian descent upon Athens.

Dissension among the Bulgarians led to their collapse, and Greece enjoyed
a complete freedom from barbarian inroads for the next forty years, with
the exception of a passing invasion by the Uzes, a Turkish tribe, who
left no mark upon the country. Athens at this period was regarded by the
Byzantine officials who were sent there as the uttermost ends of the
earth, though at Constantinople Philhellenism had a worthy representative
in the historian and philosopher Psellos, who constantly manifested a
deep interest in “the muse of Athens.” A more curious figure, typical of
that monastic age, was the Cappadocian monk Meletios, who established
himself on the confines of Attica and Bœotia, and by means of his
miracles gained great influence there. We find him descending from his
solitary mountain to Athens to rescue a band of Roman pilgrims, who had
taken refuge there and had been threatened with death by the bigoted
Athenians. We hear of the convents which he founded in various parts of
Greece, and it was to him that the land was largely indebted for the
plague of monks, many of them merely robbers in disguise, which checked
civic progress and injured all national life in the next century. Worse
than this, the final separation of the Greek and Latin Churches in 1053,
by kindling a fanatical hatred between West and East, brought countless
woes upon the Levant, and was one of the causes of the Latin invasions
which culminated in the overthrow of the Byzantine Empire in 1204.

There now appeared, for the first time in the history of Greece, that
vigorous race which in the same century conquered our own island. The
Normans of Italy, under their redoubtable leader, Robert Guiscard,
resolved to emulate the doings of William the Conqueror by subduing the
Byzantine Empire, which seemed to those daring spirits an easy prey.
They began by the annexation of the Byzantine provinces of Apulia and
Calabria, and then turned their eyes across the Adriatic to the opposite
coast. An excuse was easily found for this invasion. One of Guiscard’s
daughters had been engaged to the son of the Emperor Michael VII. But
the revolution, which overthrew Michael, sent his son into a monastery,
and thus provided Guiscard with an opportunity of posing as the champion
of the fallen dynasty. An impostor, who masqueraded as the deposed
Emperor, implored his aid in the cause of legitimacy, and the great
Pope, who then occupied the throne under the name of Gregory VII, bade
the godly help in the contest against the schismatic Greeks. After long
preparations Guiscard appeared in 1081 off Corfù, which surrendered to
the Norman invader, and then directed his forces against the walls of
Durazzo, now a crumbling Albanian fortress, then “the Western key of the
empire.” Menaced at the same moment by the Turks in Asia and the Normans
in Europe, the Emperor Alexios I made peace with the former and then
set out to the relief of Durazzo. But he did not trust to a land force
alone, and as the Byzantine navy, like the Turkish fleet in our own days,
had been neglected and the money intended for its maintenance had been
misappropriated, he applied for aid to the mercantile Republic of Venice.
The Venetians saw a chance of consolidating their trade in the Levant,
and, as the price of their assistance, obtained from the embarrassed
Emperor the right of free trade throughout the empire, where the Greek
cities of Thebes, Athens, Corinth, Nauplia, Methone, Korone, Corfù,
Euripos, and Demetrias are specially mentioned as their haunts. But
the aid of a Venetian fleet did not prevent the victory of the Normans
over Alexios on the plain near Durazzo, where Cæsar and Pompey had once
contended. The Emperor retreated to Ochrida, where, two generations
earlier, the Bulgarian Tsar Samuel had fixed his residence, while his
conqueror, after taking Durazzo, marched across Albania and captured the
city of Kastoria, which was defended by three hundred English, members of
the Imperial Guard. Recalled to Italy by troubles in his own dominions
and by the distress of his ally the Pope, Guiscard left the prosecution
of the campaign to his son Bohemond, who penetrated into Thessaly, that
historic battle-ground of the Near East. But the walls of Larissa and
the gold of Alexios proved too much for the strength of the Normans, and
Bohemond was forced to retire to Italy. He found his father fresh from
his triumph at Rome, which he had delivered to the Pope, and ready for
a second campaign against the Byzantine Empire. In 1084 Guiscard set
sail again; after three naval battles with the Greeks and their Venetian
allies, Corfù once more surrendered to the Normans, and their leader used
it as a stepping-stone to the island of Cephalonia. But he contracted a
fever there, which put an end to his life and to the expedition, of which
he had been the heart and soul. The village of Phiskardo has perpetuated
his name, thus marking this second attempt of the West to impose its sway
upon the East.

Bohemond renewed, twenty-two years later, his father’s attacks upon the
Byzantine Empire. In the meanwhile, as the result of his share in the
first crusade, he had become Prince of Antioch—one of those feudal States
which now adjoined the immediate dominions of the Eastern Emperor and
exercised considerable social influence on the customs of his subjects.
Aided by the Pisans, whose fleet ravaged the Ionian Islands, Bohemond
seemed likely to repeat the early successes of his father; but Alexios
had learnt how to deal with the Latins, and the Normans’ second assault
on Durazzo ended in a treaty of peace, by which Bohemond swore fealty
to the Emperor. For the next forty years Greece had nothing to fear
from the Normans, but the evil results of the alliance with Venice now
became manifest. The Republic of St Mark had jealous commercial rivals
in Italy, who envied her the monopoly of the Levantine trade. When,
therefore, concessions were made to the Pisans and the previous charter
of the Venetians was not renewed, the Empire found itself involved in
a naval war with the latter, from which the defenceless Greek islands
suffered, and which was only ended by the renewal of the old Venetian
privileges. The mercantile powers of Italy had come to treat the
Byzantine possessions much as modern European States regard Turkey, as
a Government from which trading concessions can be obtained. But every
fresh grant offended some one and gave the favoured party more and more
influence in the affairs of the Empire. Fresh Venetian factories were
founded in Greece, and the increasing prosperity of that country had the
disadvantage of attracting the covetous foreigner.

Such was the state of affairs when, in 1146, Guiscard’s nephew, King
Roger of Sicily, availing himself of an insult to his honour, invaded
Greece with far greater success than had attended his uncle. The Sicilian
Admiral, George of Antioch, occupied Corfù, with the connivance of the
poorer inhabitants, who complained of the heavy taxation of the Imperial
Government which in the twelfth century levied from that one Ionian
Island about 9,000,000 _dr._ of modern money, or more than the present
Greek Exchequer raises from all the seven, but was repulsed by the bold
inhabitants of the impregnable rock of Monemvasia; then, after plundering
the west coast, he landed his troops at the modern Itea, on the north of
the Gulf of Corinth, and thence marched past Delphi on Thebes, at that
time the seat of the silk manufacture. The city was undefended, but that
did not save it from the rapacity of the Normans. Alexander the Great
had, at least, spared “the house of Pindaros” when he took Thebes; but
its new conquerors left nothing that was of any value behind them. After
they had thoroughly ransacked the houses and churches they made the
Thebans swear on the Holy Scriptures that they had concealed nothing, and
then departed, dragging with them the most skilful weavers and dyers so
as to transfer the silk industry to Sicily. This last was a serious blow
to the monopoly of the silk trade which Greece had hitherto enjoyed so
far as Christian States were concerned. The secret of the manufacture
had been jealously guarded; and the fishers who obtained the famous
purple dye for the manufacturers were a privileged class, exempted from
the payment of military taxes. Roger was well aware of the value of his
captives; he established them and their families at Palermo, and at the
conclusion of the war they were not restored to their homes in Greece.
But the art of making and dyeing silk does not seem to have died out at
Thebes, which, fifteen years after the Norman invasion, had recovered
much of its former prosperity. When the Jewish traveller, Benjamin of
Tudela, visited it about 1161, he found 2000 of his co-religionists
there, among them the best weavers and dyers in Greece, and towards
the end of the century forty garments of Theban silk were sent as a
present by the Emperor to the Sultan of Iconium. Although there are no
silks now manufactured at Thebes and no mulberry-trees there, the plain
near the town is still called by the peasants _Morokampos_, from the
mulberry-trees which once grew upon it. From Thebes the Normans proceeded
to the rich city of Corinth, which fell into their hands without a blow.
Those who have ascended the grand natural fortress of Akrocorinth may
easily understand the surprise of the warlike Normans at its surrender by
the cowardly Byzantine commandant. “If Nikephoros Chalouphes”—such was
his name—“had not been more timid than a woman,” exclaimed the Sicilian
admiral, “we should never have entered these walls.” The town below
yielded an even richer booty than Thebes—for it was then, as under the
Romans, the great emporium of the Levantine trade in Greece—and laden
with the spoils of Thebes and Corinth and with the relics of St Theodore,
the Norman fleet set sail on its homeward voyage. Nineteen vessels fell
victims to privateers, but the surviving ships brought such a valuable
cargo into the great harbour of Palermo that the admiral was able to
build out of his share the bridge which is still called after him, Ponte
dell’ Ammiraglio. The Church of La Martorana as its older name of Sta
Maria dell’ Ammiraglio testifies, was also founded by him. The captives,
except the silk-weavers, were afterwards restored to their homes, and
Corfù was recaptured by the chivalrous Emperor, Manuel Comnenos, after a
siege, in the course of which he performed such prodigies of valour as to
win the admiration of the Norman commander.

The revival of material prosperity in Greece after the close of this
conflict was most remarkable, and in the second half of the twelfth
century that country must have been one of the most flourishing parts of
the Empire. The Arabian geographer, Edrisi, who wrote in 1153, tells us
that the Peloponnese had thirteen cities, and alludes to the vegetation
of Corfù, the size of Athens, and the fertility of the great Thessalian
plain, while Halmyros was then one of the most important marts of the
Empire. Benjamin of Tudela tells us of Jewish communities in Larissa,
Naupaktos, Arta, Corinth, Patras, Eubœa, Corfù (consisting of one man),
Zante, and Ægina, as well as in Thebes, and this implies considerable
wealth. Like St Nikon, he found them in Sparta, and we may note as a
curious phenomenon the existence of a colony of Jewish agriculturists
on the slopes of Parnassos. Salonika, where the Hebrew element is now
so conspicuous, even then had 500 Jews. When we remember how rare are
Jews in Greece to-day, except there and at Corfù, their presence in such
numbers in the twelfth century is all the more strange. Nor were they all
engaged in money-making. The worthy rabbi met Jews at Thebes who were
learned in the Talmud, while the Greek clergy had also some literary
representatives. It was about this time that the biography of St Nikon
was composed; the philosophical and theological writings of Nicholas,
Bishop of Methone, and Gregory, the Metropolitan of Corinth, belonged
to the same epoch. Athens, after a long eclipse, had once more become a
place of study. Yet, in point of wealth, Athens was inferior to several
other Greek cities, and perhaps for that reason had no Jewish colony. We
have from the pen of Michael Akominatos, the last Greek Metropolitan of
Athens before the Latin conquest, who was appointed about 1175, a full
if somewhat pessimistic account of the condition of his diocese, which
then included ten bishoprics. Michael was a man of distinguished family,
a brother of the Byzantine statesman and historian, Niketas Choniates,
and a pupil of the great Homeric scholar, Eustathios, who was Archbishop
of Salonika. An ardent classical scholar, he had been enchanted at
the prospect of taking up his abode in the episcopal residence on the
Akropolis, of which he had formed the most glorified idea. But the
golden dream of the learned divine vanished at the touch of reality. It
was said of the Philhellenes, who went to aid the Greeks in the War of
Independence, that they expected to find the Peloponnese filled with
“Plutarch’s men”; finding that the modern Greeks were not ancient heroes
and sages, they at once put them down as scoundrels and cut-throats. The
worthy Michael seems to have experienced the same disillusionment and
to have committed the same error as the Philhellenes. Fallen walls and
rickety houses fringing mean streets gave him a bad impression as he
entered the city in triumphal procession. His cathedral, it is true, with
its frescoes and its offerings from the time of Basil the Bulgar-slayer,
with its eternal lamp, the wonder of every pilgrim, and with the noble
memories of the golden age of Perikles which clung round its venerable
structure, seemed to him superior to Sta Sophia in all its glory, a
palace worthy of a king. And what bishop could boast of a minster such
as the Parthenon? But the Athenians, “the off-spring of true-born
Athenians,” as he styled them in his pompous inaugural address, did not
appreciate, could scarcely even understand, the academic graces of his
style. The shallow soil of Attica had become a parched desert, where
little or no water was; the classic fountain of Kallirrhoe had ceased to
run, the olive-yards were withered up by the drought. The silk-weavers
and dyers, traces of whose work have been found in the Odeion of Herodes
Atticus, had disappeared. Emigration and the exactions of the Byzantine
officials completed the tale of woe, which Michael was ever ready to pour
into the ear of a sympathetic correspondent. In 1198, he addressed a
memorial to the Emperor Alexios Comnenos III, on behalf of the Athenians,
from which we learn that the city was free from the jurisdiction of the
provincial governor, who resided at Thebes, and who was not even allowed
to enter the city, which, like Patras and Monemvasia, was governed by its
own _archontes_. But it appears that the governor none the less quartered
himself on the inhabitants, and had thrice imposed higher ship-money on
Athens than on Thebes and Chalkis. Nor did the Metropolitan hesitate to
tell another Emperor, Isaac Angelos, that Athens was too poor to present
him with the usual coronation offering of a golden wreath. Yet, when the
Lord High Admiral came to Athens, he found merchantmen in the Piræus,
and the Government raised more out of the impoverished inhabitants than
out of Thebes and Eubœa. We must therefore not take too literally all
the rhetorical complaints of the archbishop, which are incompatible with
the great luxury of the Athenian Court under the French Dukes in the
next century. As a good friend of Athens, he was anxious to make the
city appear as poor as possible in the eyes of a grasping Government,
for in the East it has always been a dangerous thing to appear rich. As
a cultured man of the world, he exaggerated the “barbarism”—such is his
own phrase, which would have staggered the ancient Athenians—of the spot
where his lot had been cast. He derided the Attic Greek of his time as
a rude dialect, and told his classical friends that few of the historic
landmarks in Attica had preserved their ancient names pure and undefiled.
Sheep grazed, he said, among the remains of the Painted Porch. “I live
in Athens,” he wrote in a poem on the decay of the city, “yet it is not
Athens that I see.” Yet Athens was at least spared the horrors of the
sack of Salonika by the Normans of Sicily, whose great invasion in 1185
touched only the fringe of Greece.

Then, as in the war which broke out between Venice and the Empire some
years earlier, it was the islands which suffered. After the attack
by the mob on the Latin quarter of Constantinople, those Latins who
escaped revenged themselves by preying upon the dwellers in the Ægean,
whose flourishing state had been noted by Edrisi before that terrible
visitation. Cephalonia and Zante were now permanently severed from
the Byzantine sway, many Italians settled there, and after succumbing
to Margaritone, the Sicilian admiral, Corfù, then a very rich island,
became for some years the home of Vetrano, a Latin pirate, who was
soon the terror of the Greek coasts. As if this were not enough, Isaac
Angelos robbed many of the churches of their ornaments and pictures for
the benefit of his capital, such as the famous picture at Monemvasia
of Our Lord being dragged to the Cross, and extortion once more roused
an insurrection in the Theme of Nikopolis. His successor injured Greek
trade by granting most extensive privileges to the Venetians, who
secured the commercial supremacy in the Levant. The Byzantine State
was becoming visibly weaker every day, and the re-establishment of the
second Bulgarian Empire suggested to a bold official, Manuel Kamytzes,
the idea of carving out, with Bulgarian aid, a kingdom for himself in
Greece. His attempt failed, but the growth of feudalism had loosened the
old ties which bound that country to Constantinople. The power of the
landed aristocracy, the _archontes_, as they were called, had gone on
growing since the days of Danielis of Patras. Their rivalries threatened
the Greek towns with the scenes which disgraced the cities of mediæval
Italy, and some of them, like the great clan of Sgouros at Nauplia, were
hereditary nobles of almost princely position. Large estates, the curse
of ancient Italy, had grown up in Greece; the Empress Euphrosyne, for
example, was owner of a vast property in Thessaly, which included several
flourishing towns. Moreover, that province was no longer inhabited
by a mainly Greek population; in the twelfth century it had passed
so completely under Wallachian influence that it was known as Great
Wallachia, and its colonists were the ancestors of those Koutso-Wallachs,
who still pasture their herds in the country near the Thessalian
frontier, descending to Bœotia in the winter, and who, in the war of
1897, were on the Turkish side. Finally a debased currency pointed to the
financial decline of the Byzantine Government. In short, the Empire was
ripe for the Latin conquest. It was not long delayed.



Professor Krumbacher says in his _History of Byzantine Literature_, that,
when he announced his intention of devoting himself to that subject,
one of his classical friends solemnly remonstrated with him, on the
ground that there could be nothing of interest in a period when the
Greek preposition ἀπό governed the accusative, instead of the genitive
case. I am afraid that many people are of the opinion of that orthodox
grammarian. There has long prevailed in some quarters an idea that, from
the time of the Roman conquest in 146 B.C. to the day when Archbishop
Germanos raised the standard of Independence at Kalavryta in 1821, the
annals of Greece were practically a blank, and that that country thus
enjoyed for nearly twenty centuries that form of happiness which consists
in having no history. Fifty years ago there was, perhaps, some excuse for
this theory; but the case is very different now. The great cemeteries
of Mediæval Greece—I mean the Archives of Venice, Naples, Palermo and
Barcelona—have given up their dead. We know now, year by year, yes,
almost month by month, the vicissitudes of Hellas under her Frankish
masters, and all that is required now is to breathe life into the dry
bones, and bring upon the stage in flesh and blood that picturesque
and motley crowd of Burgundian, Flemish and Lombard nobles, German
knights, rough soldiers of fortune from Cataluña and Navarre, Florentine
financiers, Neapolitan courtiers, shrewd Venetian and Genoese merchant
princes, and last, but not least, the bevy of high-born dames, sprung
from the oldest families of France, who make up, together with the Greek
_archons_ and the Greek serfs, the persons of the romantic drama, of
which Greece was the theatre for 250 years.

The history of Frankish Greece begins with the Fourth Crusade. I need
not recapitulate the oft-told story of that memorable expedition, which
influenced for centuries the annals of Eastern Europe, and which forms
the historical basis of the Eastern question. We all know, from the
paintings of the Doge’s Palace, how the Crusaders set out with the
laudable object of freeing the Holy Sepulchre from the Infidel, how
they turned aside to the easier and more lucrative task of overturning
the oldest Empire in the world, and how they placed on the throne of
all the Cæsars Count Baldwin of Flanders as first Latin Emperor of
Constantinople. The Greeks fled to Asia Minor, and there at Nice, the
city of the famous Council, and at Trebizond on the shores of the Black
Sea, founded two Empires, of which the latter existed for over 250 years.

When the Crusaders and their Venetian allies sat down to partition the
Byzantine Empire among themselves, they paid no heed to the rights of
nationalities or to the wishes of the people whose fate hung upon their
decisions. A fourth part of the Byzantine dominions, consisting of the
capital, the adjacent districts of Europe and Asia, and several of the
islands, was first set aside to form the new Latin Empire of Romania.
The remaining three-fourths were then divided in equal shares between
the Venetian Republic and the Crusaders, whose leader was Boniface of
Montferrat in the North of Italy, the rival of Baldwin for the throne
of the East. The Greek provinces in Asia, and the island of Crete had
originally been intended as his share of the spoil; but he wished to
obtain a compact extent of territory nearer his own home and his wife’s
native land of Hungary, and accordingly sold Crete to the Venetians,
and established himself as King of Salonika with sovereignty over a
large part of Greece, as yet unconquered. The Venetians, with their
shrewd commercial instincts and their much more intimate knowledge of
the country, secured all the best harbours, islands and markets in the
Levant—an incident which shows that an acquaintance with geography may
sometimes be useful to politicians.

In the autumn of 1204 Boniface set out to conquer his Greek dominions.
The King of Salonika belonged to a family, which was no stranger to the
ways of the Orient. One of his brothers had married the daughter of
the Greek Emperor Manuel I; another brother and a nephew were Kings of
Jerusalem—a vain dignity which has descended from them, together with the
Marquisate of Montferrat, to the present Italian dynasty. Married to the
affable widow of the Greek Emperor Isaac II, Boniface was a sympathetic
figure to the Greeks, who had speedily flocked in numbers to his side,
and several of whom accompanied him on his march through Greece. Among
these was the bastard Michael Angelos, of whom we shall hear later as
the founder of a new dynasty. With the King of Salonika there went too a
motley crowd of Crusaders in quest of fiefs, men of many nationalities,
Lombards, Flemings, Frenchmen and Germans. There were Guillaume de
Champlitte, a grandson of the Count of Champagne; Othon de la Roche, son
of a Burgundian noble; Jacques d’Avesnes, son of a Flemish crusader who
had been at the siege of Acre, and his two nephews, Jacques and Nicholas
de St Omer; Berthold von Katzenellenbogen, a Rhenish warrior who had
given the signal for setting fire to Constantinople; the Marquess Guido
Pallavicini, youngest son of a nobleman from near Parma, who had gone
to Greece because at home every common man could hale him before the
courts; Thomas de Stromoncourt, and Ravano dalle Carceri of Verona,
brother of the _podestà_ Realdo, whose name still figures on the _Casa
dei Mercanti_ there. Just as the modern general takes with him a band
of war-correspondents to chronicle his achievements, so Boniface was
accompanied by Rambaud de Vaqueiras, a troubadour from Provence, who
afterwards boasted in one of the letters in verse which he addressed to
his patron, that he “had helped him to conquer the Empire of the East and
the Kingdom of Salonika, the island of Pelops and the Duchy of Athens.”
Such were the men at whose head the Marquess of Montferrat marched
through the classic vale of Tempe, the route of so many armies, into the
great fertile plain of Thessaly.

While the Crusaders are traversing the vale of Tempe, let us ask
ourselves for a moment, who were the races, and what was the condition,
of the country which they were about to enter? The question is important,
for the answer to it will enable us to understand the ease with which a
small body of Franks conquered, almost without opposition, nearly the
whole of Greece. The bulk of the inhabitants were, of course, Greeks;
for no one, except a few propagandists, now believes the theory, so
confidently advanced by Professor Fallmerayer 90 years ago, according
to which there is not a single drop of Hellenic blood in the Greek
nation, but the Kingdom of Greece is inhabited by Slavs and Albanians.
At the time of the Frankish conquest, the Slavonic elements in the
population, the survivals of the Slavonic immigrations of the dark
centuries, were confined to the mountain fastnesses of Arcadia and
Laconia, where Taygetos was known as “the mountain of the Slavs.” The
marvellous power of the Hellenic race for absorbing and hellenising
foreign nationalities—a power like that of the Americans in our own
day—had prevented the Peloponnese from becoming a Slav state, a Southern
Serbia or Bulgaria, though such Slavonic names as Charvati near Mycenæ
and Slavochorio still preserve the memory of the Slavonic settlements.
As for the Albanians, they had not yet entered Greece; had they done so,
the conquest would probably have been far less easy. Besides the Greeks
and the Slavs, there were Wallachs in Thessaly, who extended as far south
as Lamia, and who had bestowed upon the whole of that region the name,
which we find employed by the Byzantine historian Niketas, of “Great
Wallachia.” That the Wallachs are of Roman descent, scarcely admits of
doubt; at the present day the Roumanians claim them as their kinsmen;
and the “Koutso”—or “lame,” Wallachs, so-called because they cannot
pronounce _chinch_ (or _cinque_) correctly, form one of the most thorny
questions of contemporary diplomacy. The Jewish traveller, Benjamin of
Tudela, who visited Greece about 40 years before the Frankish conquest,
argued from their Scriptural names and from the fact that they called the
Jews “brethren,” that they were connected with his own race. They showed,
however, their “brotherly” love by merely robbing the Israelites, while
they both robbed and murdered the Greeks.

In the south-east of the Peloponnese were to be found the mysterious
Tzakones, a race which now exists at Leonidi and the adjacent villages
alone, but which then occupied a wider area. Opinions differ as to the
origin of this tribe, which still retains a dialect quite distinct from
that spoken anywhere else in Greek lands and which was noticed as a
“barbarian” tongue by the Byzantine satirist, Mazaris, in the fifteenth
century. But Dr Deffner of Athens, the greatest living authority on
their language, of which he has written a grammar, regards them as the
descendants of the ancient Laconians, their name as a corruption of the
words Τοὺς Λάκωνας, and their speech as “new Doric.” Scattered about,
wherever money was to be made by trade, were colonies of Jews.

The rule of the Franks must have seemed to many Greeks a welcome relief
from the financial oppression of the Byzantine Government. Greece was, at
the date of the Conquest, afflicted by three terrible plagues: the tax
collectors, the pirates, and the native tyrants. The Imperial Government
did nothing for the provinces, but wasted the money which should have
been spent on the defences of Greece, in extravagant ostentation at the
capital. Byzantine officials, sent to Greece, regarded that classic land,
in the phrase of Niketas, as an “utter hole,” an uncomfortable place of
exile. The two Greek provinces were governed by one of these authorities,
styled _prætor_, _protoprætor_, or “general,” whose headquarters were at
Thebes. We have from the pen of Michael Akominatos, the last Metropolitan
of Athens before the conquest and brother of the historian Niketas, a
vivid account of the exactions of these personages. Theoretically, the
city of Athens was a privileged community. A golden bull of the Emperor
forbade the _prætor_ to enter it with an armed force, so that the
Athenians might be spared the annoyance and expense of having soldiers
quartered upon them. Its regular contribution to the Imperial Exchequer
was limited to a land-tax, and it was expected to send a golden wreath
as a coronation offering to a new Emperor. But, in practice, these
privileges were apt to be ignored. The indignant Metropolitan complains
that the _prætor_, under the pretext of worshipping in the Church of
“Our Lady of Athens,” as the Parthenon was then called, visited the city
with a large retinue. He laments that one of these Imperial Governors
had treated the city “more barbarously than Xerxes,” and that the leaves
of the trees, nay almost every hair on the heads of the unfortunate
Athenians, had been numbered. The authority of the _prætor_, he says,
is like Medea in the legend; just as she scattered her poisons over
Thessaly, so it scatters injustice over Greece—a classical simile, which
had its justification in the hard fact, that it had long been the custom
of the Byzantine Empire to pay the Governors of the European provinces
no salaries, but to make their office self-supporting, a practice still
followed by the Turkish Government. The Byzantine Government, too,
following a policy similar to that which cost our King Charles I his
throne, levied ship-money, really for the purpose of its own coffers,
nominally for the suppression of piracy.

Piracy was then, as so often, the curse of the islands and the deeply
indented coast of Greece. We learn from the English Chronicle ascribed
to Benedict of Peterborough, which gives a graphic account of Greece as
it was in 1191, that many of the islands were uninhabited from fear of
pirates, and that others were their chosen lairs. Cephalonia and Ithake,
which now appears under its mediæval name of Val di Compare—first used,
so far as I know by the Genoese historian, Caffaro, in the first half
of the twelfth century—had a specially evil reputation, and bold was
the sailor who dared venture through the channel between them. Near
Athens, the island of Ægina was a stronghold of corsairs, who injured
the property of the Athenian Church, and dangerously wounded the nephew
of the Metropolitan. Yet the remedy for piracy was almost worse than the
disease. Well might the anxious Metropolitan tell the Lord High Admiral,
that the Athenians regarded their proximity to the sea as the greatest of
their misfortunes.

Besides the Byzantine officials and the pirates, the Greeks had a third
set of tormentors in the shape of a brood of native tyrants, whose feuds
divided city against city and divided communities into rival parties.
Even where the Emperor had been nominally sovereign, the real power
was in the hands of local magnates, who had revived, on the eve of the
Frankish conquest, the petty tyrannies of ancient Greece. Under the
dynasty of the Comneni, who imitated and introduced the ways of Western
chivalry, feudalism had already made considerable inroads into the East.
At the time of the Fourth Crusade, local families were in possession of
large tracts of territory which they governed almost like independent
princes. Of all these _archontes_, as they were called, the most
powerful was Leon Sgouros, hereditary lord of Nauplia, who had extended
his sway over Argos “of the goodly steeds,” and had seized the city and
fortress of Corinth, proudly styling himself by a high-sounding Byzantine
title, and placing his fortunes under the protection of St Theodore the
Warrior. The manners of these local magnates were no less savage than
those of the Western barons of the same period. Thus, Sgouros on one
occasion invited the Archbishop of Corinth to dinner, and then put out
the eyes of his guest, and hurled him over the rocks of the citadel.
The contemporary historian Niketas has painted in the darkest colours
the character of the Greek _archontes_, upon whom he lays the chief
responsibility for the evils which befell their country. He speaks of
them as “inflamed by ambition against their own fatherland, slavish men,
spoiled by luxury, who made themselves tyrants, instead of fighting the
Latins.” The Emperor and historian, John Cantacuzene, gives much the same
description of their descendants a century and a half later.

Such was the condition of Greece, when Boniface and his army emerged from
the vale of Tempe and marched across the plain of Thessaly to Larissa.
He bestowed that ancient city upon a Lombard noble, who henceforth
styled himself Guglielmo de Larsa from the name of his fief. Velestino,
the ancient Pheræ, the scene of the legend of Admetos and Alcestis,
and the site of the modern battle, fell to the share of Berthold von
Katzenellenbogen, whose name must have proved a stumbling-block to his
Thessalian vassals. The army then took the usual route by way of Pharsala
and Domoko—names familiar alike in the ancient and modern history of
Greek warfare—down to Lamia and thence across the Trachinian plain to
Thermopylæ, where Sgouros was awaiting it. But the memories of Leonidas
failed to inspire the _archon_ of Nauplia to follow his example. Niketas
tells us that the mere sight of the Latin knights in their coats of mail
sufficed to make him flee straight to his own fastness of Akrocorinth,
leaving the pass undefended. Conscious of its strength—for Thermopylæ
must have been far more of a defile then than now—Boniface resolved to
secure it permanently against attack. He therefore invested the Marquess
Guido Pallavicini, nicknamed by the Greeks “Marchesopoulo,” with the
fief of Boudonitza, which commanded the other end of the pass. Thus
arose the famous Marquisate of Boudonitza, which was destined to play
an important part in the Frankish history of Greece, and which, after a
continuous existence of over two centuries, as guardian of the Northern
marches, has left a memory of its fallen greatness in the ruins of the
castle and chapel of its former lords, of whose descendants, the Zorzi
of Venice, there are still living—so Mr Horatio Brown informs me—some
thirty representatives in that city. Following the present carriage-road
from Lamia to the Corinthian Gulf, Boniface established another defensive
post at the pass of Gravia, so famous centuries afterwards in the War of
Independence, conferring it as a fief on the two brothers Jacques and
Nicholas de St Omer. At the foot of Parnassos, on the site of the ancient
Amphissa, he next founded the celebrated barony of Salona, which lasted
almost as long as the Marquisate of Boudonitza. Upon the almost Cyclopean
stones of the classic Akropolis of Amphissa, which Philip of Macedon had
destroyed fifteen centuries before, Thomas de Stromoncourt built himself
the fortress, of which the majestic ruins—perhaps the finest Frankish
remains in Greece—still stand among the cornfields on the hill above the
modern town. According to the local tradition, the name of Salona, which
the place still bears in common parlance, despite the usual official
efforts to revive the classical terminology, is derived from the King of
Salonika, its second founder. The lord of Salona soon extended his sway
down to the harbour of Galaxidi, and the barony became so important that
two at least of the house of Stromoncourt struck coins of their own,
which are still preserved.

Boniface next marched into Bœotia, where the people, glad to be relieved
from the oppression of Sgouros, at once submitted. Thebes joyfully
opened her gates, and then the invaders pursued their way to Athens. The
Metropolitan thought it useless to defend the city, and a Frankish guard
was soon stationed on the Akropolis. The Crusaders had no respect for
the great Cathedral. To these soldiers of fortune the classic glories of
the Parthenon appealed as little as the sanctity of the Orthodox Church.
The rich treasury of the Cathedral was plundered, the holy vessels
were melted down, the library which the Metropolitan had collected was
dispersed. Unable to bear the sight, Akominatos quitted the scene where
he had laboured so long, and, after wandering about for a time, finally
settled down in the island of Keos, whence he could at least see the
coast of Attica.

Thebes with Bœotia and Athens with Attica and the Megarid were bestowed
by the King of Salonika upon his trusty comrade in arms, Othon de la
Roche, who had rendered him a valuable service by assisting to settle a
serious dispute between him and the Emperor Baldwin, and who afterwards
negotiated the marriage between Boniface’s daughter and Baldwin’s brother
and successor. Thus, in the words of a monkish chronicler, “Othon de la
Roche, son of a certain Burgundian noble, became, as by a miracle, Duke
of the Athenians and Thebans.” The chronicler was only wrong in the
title which he attributed to the lucky Frenchman, who had thus succeeded
to the glories of the heroes and sages of Athens. Othon modestly styled
himself _Sire d’Athènes_, or _Dominus Athenarum_ in official documents,
which his Greek subjects magnified into “the Great Lord” (Μέγας κύρ),
and Dante, who had probably heard that such had been the title of the
first Frankish ruler of Athens, transferred it by a poetic anachronism
to Peisistratos. Half a century after the conquest, Othon’s nephew and
successor, Guy I, received, at his request, the title of Duke from
Louis IX of France—and Shakespeare in _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_ and
Chaucer in _The Knight’s Tale_ have by a similar anachronism conferred
the ducal title of the De la Roche upon Theseus, the legendary founder
of Athens. Contemporary accounts make no mention of any resistance to
the Lord of Athens on the part of the Greeks. Later Venetian authors,
however, actuated perhaps by patriotic bias, propagated a story, that the
Athenians sent an embassy to offer their city to Venice, but that their
scheme was frustrated “not without bloodshed by the men of Champagne
under the Lord de la Roche.”

We naturally ask ourselves what was the appearance and condition of the
most famous city of the ancient world at the time of Othon’s accession,
and the voluminous writings of the eminent man who was Metropolitan at
that moment, which have been published by Professor Lampros of Athens,
throw a flood of light upon the Athens of the beginning of the thirteenth
century. The only Athenian manufactures were soap and the weaving of
monkish habits, but the ships of the Piræus still took part in the
purple-fishing off the lonely island of Gyaros, the Botany Bay of the
Roman Empire. There was still some trade at the Piræus, for the Byzantine
Admiral had found vessels there. It was then guarded by the huge lion,
now in front of the arsenal at Venice, which gave the harbour its
mediæval name of Porto Leone, and on which Harold Hardrada, afterwards
slain at Stamford Bridge, had scratched his name nearly two centuries
before. We may infer, too, from the mention of Athens in the commercial
treaties between Venice and the Byzantine Empire that the astute
Republicans saw some prospect of making money there. But the “thin soil”
of Attica was as unproductive as in the days of Thucydides, and yielded
nothing but oil, honey, and wine, the last strongly flavoured with resin,
as it still is, so that the Metropolitan could write to a friend that it
“seems to be pressed from the juice of the pine rather than from that of
the grape.” The harvest was always meagre, and famines were common. Even
ordinary necessaries were not always obtainable. Akominatos could not
find a decent carriage-builder in the place; and, in his despair at the
absence of blacksmiths and workers in iron, he was constrained to apply
to Athens the words of Jeremiah: “the bellows are burnt.” Emigration,
still the curse of Greece, was draining off the able-bodied poor, so that
the population had greatly diminished, and the city threatened to become
what Aristophanes had called “a Scythian wilderness.”

Externally, the visitor to the Athens of that day, must have been struck
by the marked contrast between the splendid monuments of the classic age
and the squalid surroundings of the mediæval town. The walls were lying
in ruins, the houses of the emigrants had been pulled down, the streets,
where once the sages of antiquity had walked, were now desolate. But the
hand of the invader and the tooth of time had, on the whole, dealt gently
with the Athenian monuments. The Parthenon, converted long before into
the Cathedral of Our Lady of Athens, was almost as little damaged, as if
it had only just been built. The metopes, the pediments, and the frieze
were still intact, and remained so when, more than two centuries later,
Cyriacus of Ancona, the first archæologist who had ever visited Athens
during the Frankish period, drew his sketch of the Parthenon, which is
still preserved in Berlin and of which a copy by Sangallo may be seen in
the Vatican library. On the walls were the frescoes, traces of which are
still visible, executed by order of the Emperor Basil II, “the slayer
of the Bulgarians,” nearly two centuries earlier. Over the altar was a
golden dove, representing the Holy Ghost, and ever flying with perpetual
motion. In the cathedral, too, was an ever-burning lamp, fed by oil that
never failed, which was the marvel of the pilgrims. So widespread was the
fame of the Athenian Minster, that the great folk of Constantinople, in
spite of their supercilious contempt for the provinces and their dislike
of travel, came to do obeisance there. Of the other ancient buildings
on the sacred rock, the graceful temple of Nike Apteros had been turned
into a chapel; the Erechtheion had become a church of the Saviour, or
a chapel of the Virgin, while the episcopal residence, which is known
to have then been on the Akropolis, was probably in the Propylæa. The
whole Akropolis had for centuries been made into a fortress, the only
defence which Athens then possessed, strong enough to have resisted the
attack of a Greek magnate like Sgouros, but incapable of repulsing a
Latin army. Already strange legends and new names had begun to grow round
some of the classical monuments. The Choragic monument of Lysikrates
was already popularly known as “the lantern of Demosthenes,” its usual
designation during the Turkish domination, when it became the Capuchin
Convent, serving in 1811 as a study to Lord Byron, who from within
its walls launched his bitter poem against the filcher of the Elgin
marbles. But, even at the beginning of the thirteenth century, many of
the ancient names of places lingered in the mouths of the people. The
classically cultured Metropolitan was gratified as a good Philhellene, to
hear that the Piræus and Hymettos, Eleusis and Marathon, the Areopagos
and Kallirrhoe, Salamis and Ægina were still called by names, which
the contemporaries of Perikles had used, even though the Areopagos was
nothing but a bare rock, the plain of Marathon yielded no corn, and the
“beautifully-flowing” fountain had ceased to flow. But new, uncouth names
were beginning to creep in; thus, the partition treaty of 1204 describes
Salamis as “Culuris” (or, “the lizard”), a vulgar name, derived from the
shape of the island, which I have heard used in Attica at the present day.

Of the intellectual condition of Athens we should form but a low
estimate, if we judged entirely from the lamentations of the elegant
Byzantine scholar whom fate had made its Metropolitan. Akominatos had
found that his tropes, and fine periods, and classical allusions were
far over the heads of the Athenians who came to hear him, and who talked
in his cathedral, even though that cathedral was the Parthenon. He wrote
that his long residence in Greece had made him a barbarian. Yet he was
able to add to his store of manuscripts in this small provincial town.
Moreover, there is some evidence to prove that, even at this period,
Athens was a place of study, whither Georgians from the East and English
from the West came to obtain a liberal education. Matthew Paris tells us
of Master John of Basingstoke, Archdeacon of Leicester in the reign of
Henry III, who used often to say, that whatever scientific knowledge he
possessed had been acquired from the youthful daughter of the Archbishop
of Athens. This young lady could forecast the advent of pestilences,
thunderstorms, eclipses, and earthquakes. From learned Greeks at Athens
Master John professed to have heard some things of which the Latins had
no knowledge; he found there the testaments of the twelve Patriarchs, and
he brought back to England the Greek numerals and many books, including a
Greek grammar which had been compiled for him at Athens. The same author
tells us, too, of “certain Greek philosophers”—that is, in mediæval Greek
parlance, monks—who came from Athens at this very time to the Court
of King John, and disputed about nice sharp quillets of theology with
English divines. It is stated, also, though on indifferent authority, as
Mr F. C. Conybeare of Oxford kindly informs me, that the Georgian poet,
Chota Roustavéli, and other Georgians spent several years at Athens on
the eve of the Frankish conquest.

Othon de la Roche showed his gratitude to his benefactor, the King of
Salonika, by accompanying him in his attack upon the strongholds of
Sgouros in the Peloponnese. The Franks routed the Greek army at the
Isthmus of Corinth, and while Othon laid siege to the noble castle above
that town, Boniface proceeded to the attack on Nauplia. There he was
joined by a man, who was destined to be the conqueror and ruler of the

It chanced that, a little before the capture of Constantinople, Geoffroy
de Villehardouin, nephew of the quaint chronicler of the Fourth Crusade,
had set out on a pilgrimage to Palestine. On his arrival in Syria, he
heard of the great achievements of the Crusaders, and resolved without
loss of time to join them. But his ship was driven out of its course by
a violent storm, and Geoffroy was forced to take shelter in the harbour
of Methone on the coast of Messenia. During the winter of 1204, which
he spent at that spot, he received an invitation from a local magnate
to join him in an attack on the lands of the neighbouring Greeks.
Villehardouin, nothing loth, placed his sword at the disposal of the
Greek traitor, and success crowned the arms of these unnatural allies.
But the Greek _archon_ died, and his son, more patriotic or more prudent
than his father, repudiated the dangerous alliance with the Frankish
stranger. But it was too late. Villehardouin had discovered the fatal
secret, that the Greeks of the Peloponnese were an unwarlike race, whose
land would fall an easy conquest to a resolute band of Latins. At this
moment, tidings reached him that Boniface was besieging Nauplia. He at
once set out on a six days’ journey across a hostile country to seek
his aid. In the camp he found his old friend and fellow-countryman,
Guillaume de Champlitte, who was willing to assist him. He described to
Champlitte the richness of the land which men called “the Morea”—a term
which now occurs for the first time in history, and which seems to have
been originally applied to the coast of Elis and thence extended to the
whole peninsula, just as the name Italy, originally a part of Calabria,
has similarly spread over the whole of that country. He professed his
readiness to recognise Champlitte as his liege lord in return for his
aid, and Boniface consented, after some hesitation, to their undertaking.
With a hundred knights and some men-at-arms, the two friends rode out
from the camp before Nauplia to conquer the peninsula.

The conquest of the Morea has been compared with that of England by the
Normans. In both cases a single pitched battle decided the fate of
the country, but in the Morea, the conquerors did not, as in England,
amalgamate with the conquered. The Hastings of the Peloponnese was fought
in the olive-grove of Koundoura, in the North-East of Messenia, and
the little Frankish force of between 500 and 700 men easily routed the
over-confident Greeks, aided by the Slavs of Taygetos, who altogether
numbered from 4000 to 6000. After this, one place after another fell
into the hands of the Franks, who showed towards the conquered that tact
which we believe to be one of the chief causes of our own success in
dealing with subject races. Provided that their religion was respected,
the Greeks were not unwilling to accept the Franks as their masters, and
on this point the conquerors, who were not bigots, made no difficulties.
By the year 1212, the whole of the peninsula was Frankish, except where
the Greek flag still waved over the impregnable rock of Monemvasia, the
St Michael’s Mount of Greece, and where at the two stations of Methone
and Korone in Messenia Venice had raised the lion-banner of St Mark.
Insignificant as they are now, those twin colonies were of great value
to the Venetian traders, and there is a whole literature about them in
the Venetian Archives. All the galleys stopped there on the way to Syria
and Crete; pilgrims to the Holy Land found a welcome there in “the German
house,” founded by the Teutonic Knights, and as late as 1532 there was a
Christian Governor at Korone. The population was then removed to Sicily,
and of those exiles the present Albanian monks of Grottaferrata are the

I have now described the conquest of the mainland; it remains to speak
of the islands, which had mostly been allotted to Venice by the treaty
of partition. But the shrewd Government saw that its resources could
not stand the strain of conquering and administering the large group of
the Cyclades. It was, therefore, decided to leave to private citizens
the task of occupying them. There was no lack of enterprise among the
Venetians of that day, and on the bench of the Consular Court, as we
should now call it, at Constantinople, sat the very man for such an
enterprise—Marco Sanudo, nephew of “the old Doge Dandolo.” Sanudo
descended from the bench, gathered round him a band of adventurous
spirits, equipped eight galleys and was soon master of seventeen islands,
some of which he distributed as fiefs to his comrades. Naxos alone
offered any real resistance, and, in 1207, the conqueror founded the
Duchy of “the Dodekannesos” (or “Twelve Islands,” as the Byzantines
called it), which soon received the title of the “Duchy of Naxos,” or “of
the Archipelago”—a corruption of the name “Ægeopelagos,” which occurs
as early as a Venetian document of 1268. This delectable Duchy lasted,
first under the Sanudi, and then under the Crispi, till 1566, while the
Gozzadini of Bologna held seven of the islands down to 1617, and Tenos
remained in Venetian hands till it was finally taken in 1715 and ceded to
the Turks by the peace of Passarovitz in 1718. For persons so important
as the Dukes it was necessary to invent a truly Roman genealogy;
accordingly, the Paduan biographer, Zabarella, makes the Sanudi descend
from the historian Livy, while the Crispi, not to be beaten, claimed
Sallust as their ancestor, and may, perhaps, be regarded as the forbears
of the late Italian Prime Minister, Francesco Crispi.

The two great islands of Crete and Eubœa had very different fortunes.
Crete, as we saw, was sold by Boniface to the Venetians, and remained a
Venetian colony for nearly five centuries. Eubœa, or Negroponte, as it
was called in the Middle Ages, was divided by Boniface into three large
baronies, which were assigned to three Lombard nobles from Verona, who
styled themselves the _terciers_, or _terzieri_. We have no English
equivalent for the word; perhaps, borrowing a hint from Shakespeare,
we may call them “the three Gentlemen of Verona.” But Venice soon
established a colony, governed by a bailie, at Chalkis, the capital of
the island, and the subsequent history of Negroponte shows the gradual
extension of Venetian influence over the Lombards.

The seven Ionian Islands naturally fall into three divisions. Kythera
(or Cerigo) in the far South; the centred group, consisting of Zante,
Cephalonia, Ithake, and Levkas (or Santa Maura); and Corfù and Paxo
in the North. Of these divisions, the first fell to the share of a
scion of the great Venetian family of Venier—a family which traced its
name and descent from Venus, and naturally claimed the island, where
she had risen from the sea. Zante, Cephalonia and Ithake had a very
curious history—a history long obscure, but now well ascertained. They
belonged to Count Maio (or Matteo) Orsini, a member of the great Roman
family, who came, as the Spanish Chronicle of the Morea informs us, from
Monopoli in Apulia. This bold adventurer, half-pirate, half-crusader,—a
not unusual combination in those days—thus succeeded to the realm of
Odysseus, which was thenceforth known, from his title, as the County
Palatine of Cephalonia. Corfù with its appendage of Paxo, was at first
assigned to ten nobles of the Republic in return for an annual payment.
But, ere long, those two islands, together with Levkas, which is scarcely
an island at all, were included in the dominions of a Greek prince,
the bastard Michael Angelos, who had slipped away from the camp of
Boniface, and had established himself, by an opportune marriage with the
widow of the late Byzantine governor, as independent Greek sovereign
of Epeiros. His wife was a native of the country; his father had been
its governor; he thus appealed to the national feelings of the natives,
whose mountainous country has in all ages defied the attacks of invading
armies. A man of great vigour, he soon extended his sway from his capital
of Arta to Durazzo in the North, and to the Corinthian Gulf in the South,
and his dominions, known as the principality, or Despotat of Epeiros,
served as the rallying point of Hellenism—the only portion of Greece,
except Monemvasia, which still remained Greek.

I would fain have said something of the inner life of Frankish Greece—of
its society, of its literature, and of the great influence which women
exercised in its affairs. But for these subjects there is no time left.
I would only add, in conclusion, that the Frankish conquest of Greece
affords the clue to one of the vexed problems of modern literature—the
second part of Goethe’s _Faust_, which an American scholar, Dr Schmitt,
has shown to have been inspired by the account given in the _Chronicle of
the Morea_, a work which was first printed by Buchon in 1825, at the time
when Goethe was engaged on that part of his famous tragedy. Its origin
is obvious from the following lines, which he puts into the mouth of his

    I hail you Dukes, as forth ye sally
    Beneath the rule of Sparta’s Queen[44]!
    Thine, German, be the hand that forges
    Defence for Corinth and her bays:
    Achaia, with its hundred gorges,
    I give thee, Goth, to hold and raise.
    Towards Elis, Franks, direct your motion;
    Messene be the Saxon’s state:
    The Norman claim and sweep the Ocean,
    And Argolis again make great.


We saw in the last essay, how at the beginning of the thirteenth century
a small body of Franks conquered nearly the whole of Greece, and how,
as the result of their conquests, a group of Latin states sprang into
existence in that country—the Duchies of Athens and of the Archipelago,
the principality of Achaia, the County Palatine of Cephalonia, the three
baronies of Eubœa, and the Venetian colony of Crete, while at two points
alone—in the mountains of Epeiros and on the isolated rock of Monemvasia,
so well-known to our ancestors as the place whence they obtained their
Malmsey wine—the Greek flag still waved. In the present essay, I would
give some account of Frankish organisation, political and ecclesiastical,
of Frankish society, and of Frankish literature.

The usual tendency of the desperately logical Latin intellect, when
brought face to face with a new set of political conditions, is to frame
a paper constitution, absolutely perfect in theory, and absolutely
unworkable in practice. But the French noblemen whom an extraordinary
accident had converted into Spartan and Athenian law-givers, resisted
this temptation, nor did they seek inspiration from the laws of Solon
and Lycurgus. They fortunately possessed a model, the _Assizes of
Jerusalem_ which had been drawn up a century before for that Kingdom,
and which, under the name of the _Book of the Customs of the Empire of
Romania_—a work still preserved in a Venetian version of 1452 drawn
up for the island of Eubœa—was applied to all the Frankish states in
Greece. This feudal constitution, barbarous as it may seem to our modern
ideas, seems to have worked well; at any rate, it was tried by the best
test, that of experience, and lasted, with one small amendment, for 250
years. In Achaia, about which we have most information, a commission
was appointed, consisting of two Latin bishops, two bannerets, and five
leading Greeks, under the presidency of Geoffroy de Villehardouin, for
the purpose of dividing the Morea into fiefs and of assigning these to
the members of the conquering force according to their wealth and the
numbers of their followers, and the book, or “register” as the Chronicler
calls it, containing the report of this commission, was then laid before
a Parliament, held at Andravida, or Andreville, in Elis, now a small
village which the traveller passes in the train between Patras and
Olympia, but then the capital of the principality of Achaia.

According to this Achaian Doomsday-book, twelve baronies, whose number
recalls the twelve peers of Charlemagne, were created, their holders,
with the other lieges, forming a High Court, which not only advised the
Prince in political matters but acted as a judicial tribunal for the
decision of feudal questions. In the creation of these twelve baronies
due regard was paid to the fact that the Franks were a military colony
in the midst of an alien, and possibly hostile, population, spread over
a country possessing remarkable strategic positions. Later on, after the
distribution of the baronies, strong castles were erected in each upon
some natural coign of vantage, from which the baron could overawe the
surrounding country. The main object of this system may be seen from the
name of the famous Arcadian fortress of Matagrifon, a name given also to
our Richard I’s castle at Messina[45], (“Kill-Greek,” the Greeks being
usually called _Grifon_ by the French chroniclers), built near the modern
Demetsana by the baron of Akova, Gautier de Rozières, to protect the rich
valley of the Alpheios. The splendid remains of the castle of Karytaina,
the Greek Toledo, which dominates the gorge of that classic river, which
the Franks called _Charbon_, still mark the spot where Hugues de Bruyères
and his son Geoffroy built a stronghold out of the ruins of the Hellenic
Brenthe to terrify the Slavs of Skorta, the ancient Gortys and the home
of the late Greek Prime Minister, Delyannes. The special importance
of these two baronies was demonstrated by the bestowal of 24 knights’
fees upon the former and of 22 upon the latter. The castle-crowned hill
of Passavâ, so-called, not, as Fallmerayer imagined, from a Slavonic
Passau, but from the French war-cry _Passe Avant_, still reminds us how
Jean de Neuilly, hereditary marshal of Achaia and holder of four fiefs,
once watched the restless men of Maina; and, if earthquakes have left no
mediæval buildings at Vostitza, the classic Aigion, where Hugues de Lille
de Charpigny received eight knights’ fees, his family name still survives
in the village of Kerpine, now a station on the funicular railway between
Diakophto and Kalavryta. At Kalavryta itself Othon de Tournay, and at
Chalandritza to the south of Patras Audebert de la Trémouille, scion of
a family famous in the history of France, were established, with twelve
and four fiefs respectively. Veligosti near Megalopolis with four fell
to the share of the Belgian Matthieu de Valaincourt de Mons, and Nikli
near Tegea with six to that of Guillaume de Morlay. Guy de Nivelet kept
the Tzakones of Leonidi in check and watched the plain of Lakonia from
his barony of Geraki with its six fiefs—a castle which has been surveyed
by the British School at Athens—and Gritzena, entrusted to a baron
named Luke with four fiefs depending on it guarded the ravines of the
mountainous region round Kalamata. Patras became the barony of Guillaume
Aleman, a member of a Provençal family still existing at Corfù, and the
bold baron did not scruple to build his castle out of the house and
church of the Latin Archbishop. Finally, the dozen was completed by the
fiefs of Kalamata and Kyparissia (or Arkadia, as it was called in the
Middle Ages, when what we call Arcadia was known as Mesarea) which became
the barony of Geoffroy de Villehardouin. In addition to these twelve
temporal peers there were seven ecclesiastical barons, whose sees were
carved out on the lines of the existing Greek organisation, and of whom
Antelme of Clugny, Latin Archbishop of Patras and Primate of Achaia was
the chief. The Archbishop received eight knights’ fees, the bishops four
a piece, and the same number was assigned to each of the three great
Military Orders of the Teutonic Knights, the Knights of St John, and
the Templars. When, a century later, the Templars were dissolved, their
possessions went to the Knights of St John. In Elis was the domain of the
Prince, and his usual residence, when he was not at Andravida, was at
Lacedæmonia, or La Crémonie, as the Franks called it.

After the distribution of the baronies came the assignment of military
service. All vassals were liable to render four months’ service in the
field, and to spend four months in garrison (from which the prelates
and the three Military Orders were alone exempted), and even during the
remaining four months, which they could pass at home, they were expected
to hold themselves ready to obey the summons of the Prince. After the
age of 60, personal service was no longer required; but the vassal must
send his son, or, if he had no son, some one else in his stead. Thus
the Franks were on a constant war footing; their whole organisation
was military—a fact which explains the ease with which they held down
the unwarlike Greeks, so many times their superiors in numbers. This
military organisation had, however, as the eminent modern Greek historian
Paparregopoulos has pointed out, the effect of making the Greeks, too,
imbibe in course of time something of the spirit of their conquerors.
It is thus that we may explain the extraordinary contrast between the
tameness with which the Greeks accepted the Frankish domination, and
their frequent rebellions against that of the Turks. All over the Levant
and even in Italy the Frankish chivalry of Achaia became famous. They
fought against the luckless Conradin at Tagliacozzo, and the ruse, which
won that battle and which Dante has ascribed to Erard de Valéry, is
attributed by the _Chronicle of the Morea_ to Prince William of Achaia.
Round the Prince there grew up a hierarchy of great officials with
high-sounding titles, to which the Greeks had no difficulty in fitting
Byzantine equivalents. The Prince himself bore a sceptre, as the symbol
of his office, when he presided over the sessions of the High Court.

We learn from the _Book of the Customs of the Empire of Romania_
something about the way in which the feudal system worked in the
principality of Achaia. Society was there composed of six main
elements—the Prince, the holders of the twelve great baronies, the
greater and lesser vassals (among whom were some Greeks), the freemen,
and the serfs. The Prince and his twelve peers alone had the power of
inflicting capital punishment; but even the Prince could not punish any
of the barons without the consent of the greater vassals. If he were
taken prisoner in battle, he could call upon his vassals to become
hostages in his place, until he had raised the amount of his ransom. No
one, except the twelve peers, was allowed to build a castle in Achaia
without his permission, and without it any vassal, who left the country
and stayed abroad, was liable to lose his fief. Leave of absence was,
however, never refused if the vassal wished to claim the succession to
a fief abroad, to contract a marriage, or to make a pilgrimage to the
Holy Sepulchre, or to the Churches of St Peter and St Paul in Rome or
to that of St James at Compostella. But in such cases the vassals must
return within two years and two days. The vassals were of two classes,
the greater (or _ligii_) and the lesser (or _homines plani homagii_),
who took no part in the Council of the Prince. A liege could not sell
his fief without the Prince’s consent; but if the liege were a widow—for
the Salic Law did not obtain in Frankish Greece, and ladies often held
important fiefs—she might marry whom she pleased, except only an enemy of
the Prince. When a fief fell vacant, the successor must needs appear to
advance his claim within a year and a day if he were in Achaia, within
two years and two days if he were abroad. It was the tricky application
of this rule which led to the succession of Geoffroy de Villehardouin
to the throne of Achaia. Champlitte had been summoned away to claim a
fief in France, and had requested his trusted comrade in arms to act
as his viceroy till he had sent a relative to take his place. When the
news reached the Morea that a young cousin of Champlitte was on his way,
Geoffroy resolved to use artifice in order to prevent his arrival in
time. He accordingly begged the Doge to assist him, and the latter, who
had excellent reasons for remaining on good terms with him, managed to
entertain his passing guest at Venice for more than two months. When, at
last, young Robert de Champlitte put to sea, the ship’s captain received
orders to leave him ashore at Corfù, and it was with difficulty that he
managed to obtain a passage from there to the Morea. When he landed there
he had, however, a few days still in hand; but the crafty Villehardouin
managed by marching rapidly from one place to another to avoid meeting
him till the full term prescribed by the feudal pact had expired. He was
then informed that he had forfeited the principality, which thus fell
to Villehardouin by a legal quibble. The pious did not, however, forget
to point out later on, that the crime of the founder of the dynasty was
visited upon his family to the third and fourth generation, as we shall
see in the sequel.

There was a great difference between feudal society in Achaia and in the
Duchy of Athens. While in the principality the Prince was merely _primus
inter pares_, at Athens the “Great Lord” had at the most one exalted
noble, the head of the great house of St Omer, near his throne. It is
obvious from the silence of all the authorities, that the Burgundians
who settled with Othon de la Roche in his Greek dominions were men of
inferior social position to himself—a fact further demonstrated by
the comparative lack in Attica and Bœotia of those baronial castles,
so common in the Morea. Indeed, it is probable that, in one respect,
the Court of Athens under the De la Roche resembled the Court of the
late King George, namely, that there was no one, except the members of
his own family, with whom the ruler could associate on equal terms.
But in Frankish, as in modern Athens, the family of the sovereign was
soon numerous enough to form a coterie of its own. The news of their
relative’s astounding fortune attracted to Attica several members of his
clan from their home in Burgundy; they doubtless received their share
of the good things, which had fallen to Othon; one nephew divided with
his uncle the lordship of Thebes, another more distant kinsman became
commander of the castle of Athens. Other Burgundians will doubtless have
followed in their wake, for in the thirteenth century Greece, or “New
France,” as Pope Honorius III called it, was to the younger sons of
French noble houses what the British colonies were fifty years ago to
impecunious but energetic Englishmen. The elder Sanudo, who derived his
information from his relatives, the Dukes of Naxos, specially tells us
that this was the case at the Achaian Court. He says of Geoffroy II of
Achaia, that “he possessed a broad domain and great riches; he was wont
to send his most confidential advisers from time to time to the Courts of
his vassals, to see how they lived, and how they treated their subjects.
At his own Court he constantly maintained 80 knights with golden spurs,
to whom he gave their pay and all that they required; so knights came
from France, from Burgundy, and above all from Champagne. Some came to
amuse themselves, others to pay their debts; others because of crimes
which they had committed at home.”

There was another marked distinction between Attica and the Morea.
Niketas mentions no great local magnates as settled at Athens or Thebes
in the last days of the Byzantine domination, nor do we hear of such
during the whole century of Burgundian rule. Thus, whereas Crete,
Negroponte, and the Morea still retained old native families, which in
Crete headed insurrections, in Negroponte showed a tendency to emigrate,
and in the Morea held fiefs and even occasionally, as in the case of the
Sgouromallaioi, intermarried with the Franks, who usually, as Muntaner
tells us, took their wives from France and despised marriages with Greeks
even of high degree, Athens contained no such native aristocracy. It
is only towards the close of the fourteenth century that we hear of any
Greeks prominent there, and then they are not nobles, but notaries. Only
in the last two generations of Latin rule, is there a national party at
Athens, in which the famous family of Chalkokondyles, which produced
the last Athenian historian, was prominent. The Greeks of Attica were,
therefore, mostly peasants, whose lot was much the same as it was all
over the feudal world, namely that of serfdom. We have examples, too,
of actual slavery at Athens, even in the last decades of the Latin

Othon’s dominions were large, if measured by the small standard of
classical Greece. Burgundian Athens embraced Attica, Bœotia, the Megarid,
the ancient Opuntian Lokris, and the fortresses of Nauplia and Argos,
which the “Great Lord” had received as a fief from the principality
of Achaia in return for his services at the time of their capture.
Thus situated, the Athenian state had a considerable coast-line and at
least four ports—the Piræus, Nauplia, the harbour of Atalante opposite
Eubœa, and Livadostro, or Rive d’Ostre, as the Franks called it, on
the Gulf of Corinth—the usual port of embarkation for the West. Yet
the Burgundian rulers of Athens made little attempt to create a navy,
confining themselves to a little amateur piracy. Venice was most jealous
of any other Latin state, which showed any desire to rival her as a
maritime power in the Levant, and in a treaty concluded in 1319 between
the Republic and the Catalans, who then held the Duchy of Athens, it was
expressly provided that they should launch no new ships in “the sea of
Athens” and should dismantle those already afloat and place their tackle
in the Akropolis.

We are not told where the first Frankish ruler of Athens resided, but
there can be no doubt that, like his immediate successors, he fixed his
capital at Thebes—for it was not till the time of the Florentine Dukes
in the fifteenth century that the Propylæa at Athens became the ducal
palace. The old Bœotian city continued, under the Burgundian dynasty, to
be the most important place in the Athenian Duchy. The silk manufacture
still continued there; for it is specially mentioned in the commercial
treaty which Guy I of Athens concluded with the Genoese in 1240, and we
hear of a gift of 20 silken garments from Guy II to Pope Boniface VIII.
The town contained both a Genoese and a Jewish colony, and it was a nest
of Hebrew poets, whose verses, if we may believe a rival bard, were one
mass of barbarisms. But the great feature of Thebes was the castle, built
by Nicholas II de St Omer out of the vast fortune of his wife, Princess
Marie of Antioch. This huge building is described as “the finest baronial
mansion in all the realm of Romania”; it contained sufficient rooms
for an Emperor and his court, and the walls were covered with frescoes
illustrating the conquest of the Holy Land, in which the ancestors of
the Great Theban baron had played a prominent part. Unhappily, the great
castle of Thebes was destroyed by the Catalans in the fourteenth century,
and one stumpy tower alone remains to preserve, like the Santameri
mountains in the Morea, the name and fame of the great Frankish family of
St Omer.

I have spoken of the political organisation of the two chief Frankish
states of Greece; I would next say something of their ecclesiastical
arrangements. The policy of the Franks towards the Greek Church was more
than anything else the determining factor of their success or failure
in Greece, for in all ages the Greeks have regarded their Church as
inseparably identified with their nationality, and even to-day the terms
“Christian” and “Greek” are often used as identical terms. Now, as that
fair-minded modern Greek historian, Paparregopoulos, has pointed out,
the Franks were confronted at the outset with an ecclesiastical dilemma,
from which there was no escape. Either they must persecute the Orthodox
Church, in which case they would make bitter enemies of the persecuted
clergy and of the Nicene and Byzantine Emperors; or they must tolerate
it, in which case their Greek subjects would find natural leaders in
the Orthodox bishops, who would sooner or later conspire against their
foreign rulers. This was exactly what happened as soon as the Franks
abandoned the policy of persecution for that of toleration. At first,
they simply annexed the existing Greek ecclesiastical organisation, which
had subsisted, with one or two small changes, ever since the days of the
Emperor Leo the Philosopher, ousted the Orthodox hierarchy from their
sees, and installed in their places Catholic ecclesiastics from the West.

Thus, at Athens, a Frenchman, named Bérard, became the first Catholic
Archbishop of Athens, and thus began that long series which existed
without a break till the time of the Turkish conquest and was
subsequently renewed in 1875. Later on, however, when the Florentine
Dukes of Athens, at the end of the fourteenth century, permitted the
Greek Metropolitan to reside in his see, he at once entered into
negotiations with the Turks, and the same phenomenon meets us at Salona
and other places. As Voltaire has said, the Greek clergy “preferred the
turban of a Turkish priest to the red hat of a Roman Cardinal,” and
this strange preference contributed in great measure to the downfall
of Latin rule in the Levant. For, throughout the long period of the
Frankish domination, the Catholic Church made hardly any headway among
the Greeks. The elder Sanudo, who knew the Levant better than most of his
contemporaries, wrote to Pope John XXII, that the Western Powers might
destroy the Byzantine Empire but could not retain their conquests, for
the examples of Cyprus, Crete, the principality of Achaia, and the Duchy
of Athens showed that only the foreign conquerors and not the natives
belonged to the Roman faith. Even to-day, the Catholics of Greece come
mostly from those Italian families, whose ancestors emigrated to the
Levant in the Frankish period, and are mostly to be found just where
we should expect to find them—in the Ionian Islands and the Cyclades,
that is to say, in the two places where Latin rule lasted longest.
Moreover, the Catholic Church did not receive the consideration which it
might have reasonably expected from the Frankish rulers themselves. The
correspondence of Innocent III, who sat on the Chair of St Peter at the
time of the conquest, is full of complaints against the hostile attitude
of the Franks towards the Roman clergy. The Archbishop of Patras was not
safe even in his own palace, for the sacrilegious baron Aleman, who, as
we saw, had received that town as a fief, considered the Archiepiscopal
plan of fortifying the place against pirates as amateurish, carried the
Primate off to prison, cut off his representative’s nose, and converted
the palace and the adjacent church of St Theodore into the present
castle. Geoffroy I de Villehardouin neither paid tithes himself, nor
compelled his subjects to pay them; he forced the clergy to plead before
the secular tribunals, and exempted the Greek priests and monks from
the jurisdiction of the Catholic Archbishop. His son and successor,
Geoffroy II, went even farther in this secular policy. When the Latin
clergy refused to perform military service, on the ground that they owed
obedience to the Pope alone, he confiscated their fiefs and devoted the
funds which he thus obtained to building the great castle of Chlomoutsi,
or Clermont, near Glarentza in the West of Elis, the ruins of which
still remain a striking monument of the relations between Church and
State in Frankish Greece. This castle took three years to construct;
and, as soon as it was finished, Geoffroy laid the whole matter before
Pope Honorius III. He pointed out that if the Latin priests would not
help him to fight the Greeks, they would only have themselves to blame
if the principality, and with it their Church, fell under the sway of
those Schismatics. The Pope saw the force of this argument; the Prince
ceased to appropriate the revenues of the clergy; and peace reigned
between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. It is interesting to
note, that, under the next Prince, the castle of Chlomoutsi became the
mint of the principality, whence coins known as _tournois_, or _tornesi_,
because they bore on them a representation of the Church of St Martin of
Tours, were issued for more than a century. Many thousands of these coins
have been found in Greece, specimens may be seen in the Doge’s Palace
and in the Museo Correr at Venice, and from this Achaian currency the
castle received its Italian name of Castel Tornese. The town and harbour
of Glarentza near it rose to be the chief port of the principality.
Boccaccio mentions Genoese merchantmen there in one of the novels of the
_Decameron_, in which a “Prince of the Morea” is one of the characters;
the famous Florentine banking house of the Peruzzi had a branch there,
and Pegalotti describes to us the weights, measures, and customs duties
of this flourishing commercial place.

When we come to consider the social life of Frankish Greece, we are
struck by the prominent part which women played in it, and in political
life as well. The Salic law did not obtain in the Latin states of the
Levant, except at Naxos under the Crispi, and, without expressing any
opinion upon the thorny question of female suffrage, I do not think
that it can be denied that the participation of the weaker sex in the
government of a purely military community had disastrous effects. It
happened on two occasions that almost the entire baronage of Frankish
Greece was annihilated on the field of battle, and after the former
of these disasters—the battle of Pelagonia in 1259, in which Prince
William of Achaia was taken prisoner by the troops of the Greek Emperor
of Nice—the fate of the principality was decided by the votes of its
ladies. The Emperor Michael VIII was resolved to make the best use of
the advantage which the rashness of the Prince had placed within his
power, and demanded, as the price of his captive’s freedom, the cession
of the three great fortresses of Monemvasia, Mistra, and Maina, the
first of which had only recently been surrendered by the Greeks to the
Franks, while the other two had been erected by Prince William himself.
The question was submitted by Duke Guy I of Athens, who was then acting
as Regent of Achaia, to a Parliament, convened at Nikli in 1262. At this
“Ladies’ Parliament” there were only two other men present—for all the
men of mark were either in prison or had been slain at Pelagonia—and
their wives or widows had to take their place at the Council. Naturally,
an assembly so composed was guided by sentiment rather than by reasons
of high policy. In vain the statesmanlike Duke of Athens argued in
scriptural language, that “it were better that one man should die for the
people than that the other Franks of the Morea should lose the fruits
of their fathers’ labours”; in vain, to show his disinterestedness, he
offered to take the Prince’s place in prison or to pledge his own Duchy
to provide a ransom. The conjugal feelings of the ladies prevailed,
the three castles were surrendered, and from that day dates the gradual
recovery of the Morea by the Greeks. Two noble dames were sent, in strict
accordance with feudal law, as hostages for their lord to Constantinople,
and it is interesting to note the ingratitude with which one of them
was treated by him in the sequel. While she was still in prison on his
account, the great barony of Matagrifon, to which she was entitled as
next of kin, fell vacant. But the Prince, who wished to bestow it upon
one of his daughters, declined to invest her with it, on the technical
ground that she had permitted the period of time allowed by the feudal
code to elapse without appearing to claim the fief. Unable to obtain
justice, she resorted to matrimony with one of the powerful barons of
St Omer as the only means of compelling the Prince to give her what was
hers. In this she was partially successful; but the incident throws a
lurid light on the chivalry of the brave warrior, whom the author of the
_Chronicle of the Morea_ has made his hero.

It would be interesting to present a few portraits of the leading women
of Frankish Greece. There were the two daughters of Prince William,
of whom the elder, Princess Isabelle, succeeded him and whose hand
was eagerly sought in marriage by three husbands; her younger sister,
Marguérite, died in the grim castle of Chlomoutsi, the prisoner of the
turbulent Moreote barons, who never forgave her for having married her
daughter without their approval. There was Isabelle’s daughter, Matilda,
who had already been twice a widow when she was only 23, and who was
left all alone to govern the principality, where every proud feudal
lord claimed to do what was right in his own eyes. Compelled by King
Robert “the Wise” of Naples to go through the form of marriage with his
brother, John of Gravina, a man whom she loathed, she was imprisoned
for her contumacity in the Castel dell’ Uovo of Naples. There were the
three Duchesses of Athens—Helene Angela, widow of Duke William, Regent
for her son, and the first Greek who had governed Athens for 80 years;
Maria Melissene, widow of Duke Antonio I, who tried to betray the Duchy
to her countrymen the Greeks; and most tragic of all, Chiara Giorgio,
a veritable villain of melodrama, widow of Nerio II, who fell in love
with a young Venetian noble, induced him by the offer of her hand and
land to poison the wife whom he had left behind in his palace at Venice,
and expiated her crime before the altar of the Virgin at Megara at the
hands of the last Frankish Duke of Athens, thus causing the Turkish
conquest. Of like mould was the Dowager Countess of Salona, whose evil
government drove her subjects to call in the Turks, and whose beautiful
daughter, the last Countess of that historic castle, ended her days
in the Sultan’s harem. Another of these masculine dames was Francesca
Acciajuoli, wife of Carlo Tocco, the Palatine Count of Cephalonia, the
ablest and most masterful woman of the Latin Orient, who used to sign
her letters in cinnabar ink “Empress of the Romans.” In her castles at
Sta Maura and at Cephalonia she presided over a bevy of fair ladies, and
Froissart has quaintly described the splendid hospitality with which she
received the French nobles, whom the Turks had taken prisoners at the
battle of Nikopolis on the Danube. “The ladies,” writes the old French
chronicler, “were exceeding glad to have such noble society, for Venetian
and Genoese merchants were, as a rule, the only strangers who came to
their delightful island.” He tells us, that Cephalonia was ruled by
women, who scorned not, however, to make silken coverings so fine, that
there was none like them. Fairies and nymphs inhabited this ancient realm
of Odysseus, where a mediæval Penelope held sway in the absence of her
lord! Yet another fair dame of the Frankish world, the Duchess Fiorenza
Sanudo of Naxos, occupied for years the astute diplomatists of Venice,
who were resolved that so eligible a young widow should marry none but
a Venetian, and who at last, when suitors of other nationalities became
pressing, had the Duchess kidnapped and conveyed to Crete, where she was
plainly told that, if she ever wished to see her beloved Naxos again,
she must marry the candidate of the Most Serene Republic. And finally,
we have the portrait of a more feminine woman than most of these ladies,
Marulla of Verona, a noble damsel of Negroponte, whom old Ramon Muntaner
describes from personal acquaintance as “one of the fairest Christians in
the world, the best woman and the wisest that ever was in that land.”

Social life must have been far more brilliant in the hey-day of the
Frankish rule than anything that Greece had witnessed for centuries.
The _Chronicle of the Morea_ tells us, that the Achaian nobles in their
castles “lived the fairest life that a man can,” and has preserved the
account of the great tournament on the Isthmus of Corinth—a mediæval
revival of the Isthmian games—which Philip of Savoy, at that time Prince
of Achaia, organised in 1305. From all parts of the Frankish world men
came in answer to the summons of the Prince. There were Duke Guy II of
Athens with a brave body of knights, the Marquess of Boudonitza and the
three barons of Eubœa, the Duke of the Archipelago and the Palatine
Count of Cephalonia, the Marshal of Achaia, Nicholas de St Omer, with a
following of Theban vassals, and many another lesser noble. Messengers
had been sent throughout the highlands and islands of the Latin Orient
to proclaim to all and sundry, how seven champions had come from beyond
the seas and did challenge the chivalry of Romania to joust with them.
Never had the fair land of Hellas seen a braver sight than that presented
by the lists at Corinth in the lovely month of May, when the sky and the
twin seas were at their fairest. More than 1000 knights and barons took
part in the tournament, which lasted for twenty days, while all the fair
ladies of Achaia and Athens “rained influence” on the combatants. There
were the seven champions, clad in their armour of green taffetas covered
with scales of gold; there was the Prince of Achaia, who acquitted
himself right nobly in the lists, as a son of Savoy should, with all his
household. Most impetuous of all was the Duke of Athens, eager to match
his skill in horsemanship and with the lance against Master William
Bouchart, accounted one of the best jousters of the West. The chivalrous
Bouchart would fain have spared his less experienced antagonist; but
the Duke, who had cunningly padded himself beneath his plate armour,
was determined to meet him front to front; their horses collided with
such force that the iron spike of Bouchart’s charger pierced Guy’s steed
between the shoulders, so that horse and rider rolled in the dust. St
Omer would fain have met the Count John of Cephalonia in the lists; but
the Palatine, fearing the Marshal’s doughty arm, pretended that his horse
could not bear him into the ring, nor could he be shamed into the combat,
when Bouchart rode round and round the lists on the animal, crying aloud,
“This is the horse which would not go to the jousts!” So they kept high
revel on the Isthmus; alas! it was the last great display of the chivalry
of “New France”; six years later, many a knight who had ridden proudly
past the dames of the Morea, lay a mangled corpse on the swampy plain of
Bœotia, the victim of the knife of Aragon. Besides tournaments, hunting
was one of the great attractions of life in mediæval Greece; we hear,
too, of an archery match in Crete, at which the archers represented
different nations; we are told of great balls held in Negroponte, which
the gay Lombard society of that island attended; and mention is made
of the jongleurs who were attached to the brilliant Court of Thebes.
Muntaner, who knew Duke Guy II and had visited his capital, has given us
a charming account of the ceremony in the Theban Minster, when the last
De la Roche came of age and received the order of knighthood—“a duty
which the King of France or the Emperor himself would have thought it an
honour to perform, for the Duke was one of the noblest men in all Romania
who was not a King, and eke one of the richest.” The episode gives us
some idea of the wealth and splendour and open-handed generosity of the
Burgundian Dukes of Athens.

In conclusion, I should like to say something about Frankish influence
on the language and literature of Greece. We are specially told that the
Franks of Achaia spoke most excellent French; but, at the same time,
there is direct evidence, that in the second generation, at any rate,
they also spoke Greek. The _Chronicle of the Morea_ describes how Prince
William of Achaia after the battle of Pelagonia addressed his captor
in that language, and Duke John of Athens, according to Sanudo, once
used a Greek phrase, which is a quotation from Herodotus. Later on, the
Florentine Dukes of Athens drew up many of their documents in Greek, just
as Mohammed II employed that language in his diplomatic communications.
The Venetian Governors of Eubœa, however, who held office for only two
years, had to employ an interpreter, who is specially mentioned in one
of the Venetian documents. While a number of French feudal and Italian
terms crept into the Greek language, as may be seen in the Cyclades at
the present day, and especially in the Venetian island of Tenos, the
Franks covered the map of Greece with a strange and weird nomenclature.
Thus, Lacedæmonia became “La Crémonie,” the first syllable being mistaken
for the definite article; Athens was known as “Satines,” or “Sethines,”
Thebes as “Estives,” Naupaktos as “Lepanto,” Zeitounion, the modern
Lamia, as “Gipton,” Kalavryta as “La Grite,” Salona as “La Sole,” Lemnos
as “Stalimene,” and the island of Samothrace as “Sanctus Mandrachi.” Most
wonderful transformation of all, Cape Sunium becomes in one Venetian
document “Pellestello” (πολλοὶ στῦλοι), from the “Many columns” of the
temple, which gave it its usual Italian name of “Cape Colonna.”

The Franks have too often been accused of being barbarians, whereas there
is evidence that they were not indifferent to literature. Among the
conquerors were not a few poets. Conon de Béthune was a writer of poems
as well as an orator; Geoffroy I of Achaia composed some verses which
have been preserved; Rambaud de Vaqueiras, the troubadour of Boniface of
Montferrat, was rewarded for his songs by lands in Greece. Count John II
Orsini of Epeiros ordered Constantine Hermoniakos to make a paraphrase of
Homer in octosyllabic verse. We may say of this production, as Bentley
said of Pope’s translation of the _Iliad_, “it is a pretty poem, but you
must not call it Homer”; still it is interesting to find a Latin ruler
patronising Greek literature. The courtly poet was so delighted that he
tells us that his master was “a hero and a scholar,” and that the Lady
Anna of Epeiros “excelled all women that ever lived in beauty, wisdom,
and learning.” Historical accuracy compels me to add that the “heroic
and scholarly” Count had gained his throne by the murder of his brother,
while the “beautiful, wise and learned” Anna assassinated her husband!
Throughout a great part of the Frankish period, too, people were engaged
in transcribing Greek manuscripts. Several Athenians copied medical
treatises, William of Meerbeke, the Latin Archbishop of Corinth in 1280,
whose name survives in the Argive Church of Merbaka[46], translated
Hippocrates, Galen, Aristotle, and Proklos, and one of the Tocchi—the
Italian family which followed the Orsini as Counts of Cephalonia—employed
a monk to copy for him manuscripts of Origen and Chrysostom. Yet, in
1309, a Theban canon had to go to the West to continue his studies; and,
a century later, the Archbishop of Patras obtained leave to study at the
University of Bologna.

But the chief literary monument of Frankish Greece is the _Chronicle of
the Morea_—the very curious work which exists in four versions, Greek,
French, Italian, and Spanish. The Italian version need not detain us,
for it contains no new facts and is merely an abbreviated translation of
the Greek, chiefly remarkable for the extraordinary, but characteristic,
mutilation of the proper names. The Spanish version, made in 1393 by
order of Heredia, the romantic Grand-Master of the Knights of St John,
and the French version, found in the castle of St Omer—another proof of
Frankish culture—are of great historic interest. But by far the most
remarkable of all the four versions is the Greek—a poem of some 9000
lines in the usual jog-trot “political” metre of most mediæval and modern
Greek poetry, composed, in my opinion, by a half-caste lawyer, who
obviously had the most enthusiastic admiration for the Franks, to whom he
doubtless owed his place and salary. With the exception of a few French
feudal terms, this most remarkable poem may be read without the slightest
difficulty by any modern Greek scholar,—a striking proof that the vulgar
Greek spoken to-day is almost exactly the same as that in common use
in the first half of the fourteenth century, when the _Chronicle_ was
composed. As regards its literary merits, opinions differ. As a rule,
it is merely prose in the form of verse; but here and there, the author
rises to a much higher level, and his work is a store-house of social,
and especially legal information, even where his chronology and history
have been shown by documentary evidence to be inaccurate.

The bright and chivalrous Frankish society has long passed away; but a
few Italian and Catalan families still linger in the Cyclades, there are
still Venetian names and titles in the Ionian Islands; the Tocchi were
till lately represented at Naples and the Zorzi still are at Venice; the
towers of Thebes and Paros, the Norman arch of Andravida, the noble
castles of Karytaina and Chlomoutsi, and the carvings and frescoes of
Geraki still remind us of the romance of feudal Greece, when every coign
of vantage had its lord, and from every donjon floated the banner of a


It is satisfactory to note that, after a long period of neglect, the
great romance of mediæval Greek history is finding interpreters. Since
George Finlay revealed to the British public the fact that the annals of
Greece were by no means a blank in the Middle Ages, and that Athens was a
flourishing city in the thirteenth century, much fresh material has been
collected, by both Greek and German scholars, from the Venetian and other
archives, which throws fresh light upon the dark places of the Latin rule
in the Levant. Finlay’s work can never lose its value. Its author had
not the microscopic zeal for genealogies and minutiæ which distinguished
Hopf; but he possessed gifts and advantages of a far higher order. He
knew Greece and the Greeks as no other foreign scholar has known them;
he had a deep insight into the causes of political and social events; he
drew his picture, as the Germans say, _in grossen Zügen_, and he left a
work which no student of mediæval Greece can afford to ignore, and every
statesman engaged in Eastern affairs would do well to read. All that is
now wanted is for some one to do in England what Gregorovius did in so
agreeable a manner for the Germans—to make the dry bones of the Frank
chivalry live again, and to set before us in flesh and blood the Dukes
of Athens and the Princes of Achaia, the Marquesses of Boudonitza, the
Lords of Salona, the Dukes of the Archipelago, and the three barons of
Eubœa. Despite the vandalism of mere archæologists, who can see nothing
of interest in an age when Greeks were shaky in their declensions, and of
bigoted purists among the Greeks themselves, who strive to erase every
evidence of foreign rule alike from their language and their land, the
feudal castles of the Morea, of continental Greece, and of the islands,
still remind us of the days when classic Hellas, as Pope Honorius III
said, was “New France,” when armoured knights and fair Burgundian damsels
attended Mass in St Mary’s Minster on the Akropolis, and jousts were held
on the Isthmus of Corinth.

Of the Frankish period of Greek history the _Chronicle of the Morea_ is
the most curious literary production, valuable alike as an historical
source—save for occasional errors of dates and persons, especially in
the earlier part—and as a subject for linguistic study. The present
edition, the fruit of many years’ labour, is almost wholly devoted to
the latter aspect of the _Chronicle_, about which there is much that is
of interest. Versions exist in French, in Italian, and in Aragonese,
as well as in Greek; and the question as to whether the Greek or the
French was the original has been much discussed. The present editor,
differing from Buchon and Hopf, believes that the French _Livre de la
Conqueste_ could not have been the original. In any case, the Greek
_Chronicle_ is of more literary interest than the French, because it
throws a strong light on modern Greek. Any person familiar with the
modern colloquial language could read with ease, except for a few French
feudal terms, this fourteenth century popular poem, many of whose phrases
might come from the racy conversation of any Greek peasant of to-day,
and is very different from the classical imitation of the contemporary
Byzantine historians. Its poetic merits are small, nor does the jog-trot
“political” metre in which it is composed tend to lofty flights of
poetry. We know not who was its author; but, on the whole, there seems to
be reason for believing that he was a Gasmoulos—one of the offspring of
mixed marriages between Greeks and Franks—probably employed, as his love
of legal nomenclature shows, in some clerkly post. Unpoetical himself, he
has at least been the cause of noble poetry in others; for, as Dr Schmitt
shows, the second part of Goethe’s _Faust_ has been largely inspired
by its perusal; and the hero of that drama finds his prototype in the
chivalrous builder of Mistra.

       *       *       *       *       *

No chapter of this mediæval romance is more striking than the conquest
of the Morea by the Franks and the history of their rule in the classic
peninsula. At the time of the fourth crusade the Peloponnese was a prey
to that spirit of particularism which has been, unhappily, too often
characteristic of the Greeks in ancient, in mediæval, and in modern
times. Instead of uniting among themselves in view of the Latin peril,
the great _archontes_ of the Morea availed themselves of the general
confusion to occupy strong positions and to extend their own authority
at the expense of their neighbours. The last historian and statesman of
Constantinople before the Latin conquest, Niketas of Chonæ, has left us a
sad picture of the demoralisation of society in Greece at that critical
moment. The leading men, he says, instead of fighting, cringed to the
conquerors; some were inflamed by ambition against their own country,
slavish creatures, spoiled by luxury, who made themselves tyrants,
instead of opposing the Latins[47]. Of these _archontes_ the most
prominent was Leon Sgouros, hereditary lord of Nauplia, who had seized
the Larissa of Argos and the impregnable citadel high above Corinth, and
who, though he failed to imitate the heroism of Leonidas in the Pass of
Thermopylæ, held out at Akrocorinth till his death.

Such was the state of the country when a winter storm drove into the
haven of Modon, on the Messenian coast, Geoffroy de Villehardouin, a
crusader from Champagne, and nephew of the chronicler of the conquest of
Constantinople. A Greek _archon_ of the neighbourhood, thinking that the
opportunity was too good to be lost, invited the storm-bound warrior to
aid him in the conquest of the surrounding country. Geoffroy was nothing
loth; and the two unnatural allies speedily subdued one place after
another. But, as ill-luck would have it, the Greek died; and his son,
more patriotic or less trustworthy than the father, broke the compact
with the Frankish intruder, and turned Geoffroy out of his quickly-won
possessions. The crusader’s position was serious; he was in a hostile
country and surrounded by an alien and suspicious population; but he was
a man of resource, and, hearing that Boniface, Marquess of Montferrat and
King of Salonika, had made a triumphal march through continental Greece
and was at that moment besieging the great stronghold of Nauplia, he set
out across the Peloponnese—a six days’ journey—and succeeded in reaching
the Frankish camp. There he found an old friend and neighbour, Guillaume
de Champlitte, to whom he confided the scheme which he had been revolving
in his mind. “I come,” he said, so we learn from his uncle’s chronicle,
“from a land which is very rich, and men call it the Morea”—a name which
here occurs for the first time in the history of Greece, and the origin
of which is still a puzzle to all her historians. He urged Champlitte to
join him in the task of conquering this El Dorado, promising to recognise
him as his liege lord in return for his assistance. Champlitte agreed,
and the two friends, at the head of a small body of a hundred knights and
some esquires, started on their bold venture[48].

The ease with which the little band of Western warriors conquered the
peninsula, which had once produced the Spartan warriors, strikes every
reader of the _Chronicle of the Morea_—the prosaic, but extremely curious
and valuable poem in which the Frank conquest is described. The cause
lay partly in the disunited state of Greek society and the feuds of the
local _archontes_, but still more in the neglect of military training,
due to the fact that the Byzantine emperors had long drawn their best
troops from the non-Hellenic portions of their heterogeneous dominions.
It is remarkable that, apart from Sgouros, interned, as it were, on
Akrocorinth, and a Greek _archon_, Doxapatres, who held a small but
strongly situated castle in one of the gorges of Arcadia, the invaders
met with little opposition. Greece, as we know from the complaints of
Michael Akominatos, the last orthodox Archbishop of Athens before the
conquest, had been plundered by Byzantine tax-gatherers and despised as
a “Scythian wilderness” by Byzantine officials. So, when the inhabitants
found that the Franks had no intention of interfering with their prized
municipal privileges, they had no great objection to exchanging a master
who spent their money at Constantinople for one who spent it in Elis at
the new Peloponnesian capital of Andreville or Andravida. One pitched
battle decided the fate of “the isle of Greece,” as the Franks sometimes
called it. At the olive grove of Koundoura, in the north-east of
Messenia, the small force of Franks easily routed a Greek army six times
larger; and as the chronicler, always in sympathy with the invaders, puts

    Αὐτὸν καὶ μόνον τὸν πόλεμον ἐποῖκαν οἱ Ρωμαῖοι
    Εἰς τὸν καιρὸν ποὺ ἐκέρδισαν οἱ Φράγκοι τὸν Μορέαν.

Yet a modern Greek historian of singular fairness, the late K.
Paparregopoulos, has remarked how great was the change in the Turkish
times. The descendants of the unwarlike Moreotes, who fell so easy a prey
to the Frankish chivalry in 1205, never lost an opportunity of rising
against the Turks after the Frankish domination was over. As he justly
says, one of the main results of the long Latin rule was to teach Greek
“hands to war and their fingers to fight.”

Thus, almost by a single blow, the Franks had become masters of the
ancient “island of Pelops.” Here and there a few natural strongholds
still held out. Even after the death of Sgouros his triple crown of
forts, Corinth, Nauplia, and Argos, was still defended for the Greek
cause in the name of the lord, or Despot, of Epeiros, where a bold scion
of the imperial house of Angelos had founded an independent state on
the ruins of the Byzantine Empire. The great rock of Monemvasia in the
south-east of the Morea, whence our ancestors derived their Malmsey wine,
remained in the hands of its three local _archontes_; while, in the
mountains of southern Lakonia, a race which had often defied Byzantium
scorned to acknowledge the noblemen of Champagne. The local magnate,
Joannes Chamaretos, could boast for a time that he kept his own lands
in Lakonia, but he, too, had to take refuge at the Epeirote Court at
Arta[49]. Finally, the two Messenian ports of Modon and Koron were
claimed by Venice, which, with her usual astuteness, had secured those
valuable stations on the way to Egypt in the deed of partition by which
the conquerors of the empire had divided the spoils among themselves at
Constantinople. Not without reason did Pope Innocent III, whose letters
are full of allusions to the Frankish organisation of Greece, style
Guillaume de Champlitte “Prince of all Achaia.”

Champlitte now attempted to provide for the internal government of his
principality by the application of the feudal system, which, even before
the Frankish conquest, had crept into many parts of the Levant. The
_Chronicle of the Morea_, whose author revels in legal details, gives
an account of the manner in which “the isle of Greece” was organised
by its new masters. A commission, consisting of two Latin bishops, two
bannerets, and five Greek _archontes_, under the presidency of Geoffroy
de Villehardouin, drew up a species of Domesday-book for the new state.
In accordance with the time-honoured feudal custom, twelve baronies were
created and bestowed upon prominent members of the Frankish force, who
were bound to be at the prince’s beck and call with their retainers in
time of need; and the castles of these warrior barons were purposely
erected in strong positions, whence they could command important passes
or overcome troublesome neighbours. Even to-day the traveller may see the
fine fortress above the town of Patras which Guillaume Aleman, one of the
feudatories, constructed out of the Archbishop’s palace; the castle of
Karytaina, the Toledo of Greece, still reminds us of the time when Hugues
de Bruyères held the dalesmen of Skorta, ancestors of M. Delyannes, in
check; and, far to the South, the war-cry of Jean de Neuilly, hereditary
Marshal of Achaia, _Passe avant_, lingers in the name of Passavâ, the
stronghold which once inspired respect in the men of Maina, who boast
that they spring from Spartan mothers. Seven ecclesiastical peers, the
Latin Archbishop of Patras at their head, and the three military orders
of St John, the Templars, and the Teutonic Knights also received fiefs;
and, while Geoffroy de Villehardouin was invested with Kalamata and
Kyparissia, fertile Elis became the princely domain.

But Guillaume de Champlitte did not long enjoy his Achaian dignity. If
he was a prince in Greece he was still a French subject; and the death
of his brother made it necessary for him to do homage in person for his
fief in France. On the way he died; and the cunning Villehardouin, by an
ingenious stratagem, contrived to become master of the country. It had
been declared that a claimant must take possession of Achaia within a
year and a day after the date of the last vacancy; and Geoffroy contrived
to have Champlitte’s heir detained in Venice and left behind at Corfù
till the fatal date had almost passed. A little skilful manœuvring from
one place to another in the Morea filled up the rest of the time, so
that, when young Robert de Champlitte at last met Geoffrey in full court
at Lacedæmonia, the mediæval town which had risen near the Eurotas,
the year and a day had already elapsed. The court decided in favour of
Geoffrey, anxious, no doubt, that their ruler should be a statesman of
experience and not a young man fresh from France. Robert gave no further
trouble, and Geoffrey remained for the rest of his days “Lord of Achaia.”
By his tact and cleverness he had contrived to win the regard both of
the Frank barons and of the Greek population, whose religion and ancient
customs he had sworn to respect. He was thus enabled to subdue the three
outstanding fortresses which had once been the domain of Sgouros, while
he settled all claims that the Venetians might have upon the Morea by
allowing them to keep Modon and Koron, granting them a separate quarter
in every town in his principality, and doing homage to them for the whole
peninsula on the island of Sapienza. He crowned his career by marrying
his son to the daughter of the Latin Emperor Peter of Courtenay, from
whose family the Earls of Devon are descended.

Under his son and successor, Geoffrey II, the Frank principality
prospered exceedingly. The Venetian historian, Marino Sanudo, who derived
much of his information from his relative, Marco II Sanudo, Duke of
Naxos, has given us a vivid picture of life at the Peloponnesian court
under the rule of the second of the Villehardouins. A just prince,
Geoffrey II used to send his friends from time to time to the baronial
castles of the Morea to see how the barons treated their vassals. At his
own court he kept “eighty knights with golden spurs”; and “knights came
to the Morea from France, from Burgundy, and above all from Champagne,
to follow him. Some came to amuse themselves, others to pay their debts,
others again because of crimes which they had committed[50].” In fact,
towards the middle of the thirteenth century, the Morea had become for
the younger sons of the French chivalry much what the British colonies
were to adventurers and ne’er-do-weels fifty years ago. It was a place
where the French knights would find their own language spoken—we are
specially told what good French was spoken in Greece in the Frankish
period—and could scarcely fail to obtain congenial employment from a
prince of their own race.

One difficulty, however, had soon arisen in the Frank principality.
The Latin clergy, who had had their full share of the spoils, declined
to take any part in the defence of the country. Geoffrey, with all
the energy of his race, opposed a stout resistance to these clerical
pretensions, and confiscated the ecclesiastical fiefs, spending the
proceeds upon the erection of the great castle of Clermont or Chlomoutsi
above the busy port of Glarentza, the imposing ruins of which are still
a land-mark for miles around. When he had finished the castle Geoffroy
appealed to the Pope, placing before the Holy Father the very practical
argument that, if the principality, through lack of defenders, were
recaptured by the Greeks, the loss would fall just as much on the Roman
Church as on the prince, while the fault would be entirely with the
former. The Pope was sufficiently shrewd to see that Geoffroy was right;
the dispute was settled amicably; and both the prince and the Latin
clergy subscribed generously for the preservation of the moribund Latin
empire, which exercised a nominal suzerainty over the principality of

Geoffroy’s brother and successor, the warlike Guillaume de Villehardouin,
saw the Frank state in the Morea reach its zenith, and by his rashness
contributed to its decline. Born in Greece, and speaking Greek, as
the _Chronicle of the Morea_ expressly tells us, the third of the
Villehardouins began by completing the conquest of what was his native
land. It was he who laid siege to the rock of Monemvasia for three long
years, till at last, when the garrison had been reduced to eat mice and
cats, the three _archontes_ advanced along the narrow causeway which
gives the place its name[51], and surrendered on terms which the prince
wisely granted. It was he, too, who built the noble castle of Mistra on
the site of the Homeric Messe, now abandoned to tortoises and sheep, but
for two centuries a great name in the history of Greece. To a ruler so
vigorous and so determined even the weird Tzakones, that strange tribe,
perhaps Slavs but far more probably Dorians, which still lingers on and
cherishes its curious language around Leonidi, yielded obedience; while
the men of Maina, hemmed in by two new castles, ceased to trouble.

For the first and last time in its history the whole Peloponnese owned
the sway of a Frank prince, except where, at Modon and Koron, Venice
kept “its right eye,” as it called those places, fixed on the East.
So powerful a sovereign as St Louis of France wished that he had some
of Guillaume’s knights to aid him in his Egyptian war; and from seven
hundred to one thousand horsemen always attended the chivalrous Prince
of Achaia. His court at La Crémonie, the French version of Lacedæmonia,
was “more brilliant than that of many a king”; and this brilliance was
not merely on the surface. “Merchants,” says Sanudo, “went up and down
without money, and lodged in the house of the bailies; and on their
simple note of hand people gave them money[52].” But Guillaume’s ambition
and his love of fighting for fighting’s sake involved the principality
in disaster. Not content with beginning the first fratricidal war
between the Frank rulers of the East by attacking Guy de la Roche, Lord
of Athens, he espoused the cause of his father-in-law, the Greek Despot
of Epeiros, then engaged in another brotherly struggle with the Greek
Emperor of Nice. On the field of Pelagonia in Macedonia the Franks were
routed; and the Prince of Achaia, easily recognised by his prominent
teeth, was dragged from under a heap of straw, where he was lying, and
carried off a prisoner to the court of the Emperor Michael VIII.

Guillaume’s captivity was the cause of endless evils for the
principality; for Michael, who in 1261, by the recapture of
Constantinople, had put an end to the short-lived Latin empire and
restored there the throne of the Greeks, was resolved to regain a
footing in the Morea and to make use of his distinguished captive for
that purpose. He accordingly demanded, as the price of the prince’s
freedom, the three strong fortresses of Mistra, Monemvasia, and Maina.
The matter was referred to a ladies’ parliament held at Nikli, near the
site of the ancient Tegea, for so severe had been the losses of the
Frank chivalry that the noble dames of the Morea had to take the places
of their husbands. We can well understand that, with a tribunal so
composed, sentiment and the ties of affection would have more influence
than the _raison d’état_. Yet Guillaume’s old opponent, Guy de la Roche,
now Duke of Athens and bailie of Achaia during the prince’s captivity,
laid before the parliament the argument that it was better that one
man should die for the people than that the rest of the Franks should
lose the Morea[53]. At the same time, to show that he bore no malice,
he chivalrously offered to go to prison in place of the prince. But the
ladies of the Morea thought otherwise. It was decided to give up the
three castles; and two of the fair châtelaines were sent as hostages to

Thus, in 1262, the Byzantine Government regained a foothold in the
Morea; a Byzantine province was created, with Mistra as its capital, and
entrusted at first to a general of distinction annually appointed, and
ultimately conferred as an appanage for life upon the Emperor’s second
son. The native Greeks of the whole peninsula thus had a rallying-point
in the Byzantine province, and the suspicion of the Franks that the
surrender of the three fortresses “might prove to be their ruin[54],”
turned out to be only too well-founded. As for the Franks who were left
in the Byzantine portion of the Morea, their fate is obscure. Probably,
as Dr Schmitt thinks, some emigrated to the gradually dwindling Frankish
principality, while others became merged in the mass of Greeks around
them. In all ages the Hellenes, like the Americans of to-day, have shown
the most marvellous capacity for absorbing the various races which have
come within their borders. A yet further element of evil omen for the
country was introduced in consequence of this partial restoration of the
Byzantine power. As might have been foreseen, the easy morality of that
age speedily absolved the prince from his solemn oaths to the Emperor,
and he was scarcely released when a fresh war broke out between them. It
was then, for the first time, that we hear of Turks in the Morea—men who
had been sent there as mercenaries by the Emperor Michael. Careless whom
they served, so long as they were paid regularly, these Oriental soldiers
of fortune deserted to the prince; and those who cared to settle in the
country received lands and wives, whose offspring were still living, when
the _Chronicle of the Morea_ was written (p. 372), at two places in the

Unhappily for the principality, as the chronicler remarks, Guillaume de
Villehardouin left no male heir; and nothing more strongly justifies the
Salic law than the history of the Franks in the Morea, where it was not
applied. Anxious to take what precautions he could against the disruption
of his dominions after his death, the last of the Villehardouin princes
married his elder daughter Isabelle to the second son of Charles of
Anjou, the most powerful sovereign in the south of Europe at that time,
who, in addition to his other titles, had received from the last Latin
Emperor of the East, then a fugitive at Viterbo, the suzerainty over
the principality of Achaia, hitherto held by the Emperor. This close
connection with the great house of Anjou, to which the kingdom of the
Two Sicilies then belonged, seemed to provide Achaia with the strongest
possible support. The support, too, was near at hand; for communication
between Italy and Glarentza, the chief port of the Morea, was, as we
know from the novels of Boccaccio, not infrequent; and we hear of
Frankish nobles from Achaia making pilgrimages to the two great Apulian
sanctuaries of St Nicholas of Bari and Monte Santangelo. But, when
Guillaume de Villehardouin died in 1278 and was laid beside his brother
and father in the family mausoleum at Andravida (where excavations, made
in 1890, failed to find their remains)[55], his daughter Isabelle was
still a minor, though already a widow.

The government of the principality accordingly fell into the hands of
bailies appointed by the suzerain at Naples. Sometimes the bailie was
a man who knew the country, like Nicholas St Omer, whose name is still
perpetuated by the St Omer tower at Thebes and the Santameri mountains
not far from Patras; sometimes he was a foreigner, who knew little of
the country, and, in the words which the _Chronicle_ (p. 544) puts
into the mouths of two Frankish nobles, “tyrannised over the poor,
wronged the rich, and sought his own profit.” The complainants warned
Charles II of Anjou, who was now their suzerain, that he was going
the right way to “lose the principality”; and the King of Naples took
their advice. He bestowed the hand of the widowed Isabelle upon a young
Flemish nobleman, Florenz of Hainault, who was then at his court, and
who thus became Prince of the Morea. Florenz wisely made peace with the
Byzantine province, so that “all became rich, both Franks and Greeks,”
and the land recovered from the effects of war and maladministration.
But the Flemings, who had crowded over to Greece at the news of their
countryman’s good fortune, were less scrupulous than their prince and
provoked reprisals from the Greeks, from whom they sought to wring money.
On the other hand, it would seem that the natives of the Byzantine
province were able to secure good treatment from the Emperor, for there
is preserved in that interesting little collection, the Christian
Archæological Museum at Athens, a golden bull of Andronikos II, dated
1293, concerning the privileges of the sacred rock of Monemvasia. When
the modern Greeks come to think more highly of their mediæval history,
they should regard that rugged crag with reverence. For two centuries it
was the guardian of their municipal and national liberties.

Florenz of Hainault lived too short a time for the welfare of the Morea;
and Isabelle, once more a widow, was married again in Rome (whither she
had gone for the first papal jubilee of 1300) to a prince of the doughty
house of Savoy, which thus became concerned with the affairs of Greece.
Philip of Savoy was at the time in possession of Piedmont; and, as might
have been expected, Piedmontese methods of government were not adapted to
the latitude of Achaia. He was a man fond of spending, and an adept at
extorting, money. The microscopic Dr Hopf has unearthed from the archives
at Turin the bill—a fairly extensive one—for his wedding-breakfast; and
the magnificent tournament which he organised on the Isthmus of Corinth,
and in which all the Frankish rulers of Greece took part, occupied a
thousand knights for more than twenty days. “He had learned money-making
at home,” it was said, when the extravagant prince from Piedmont let it
be understood that he expected presents from his vassals, and imposed
taxes on the privileged inhabitants of Skorta. But the days of the
Savoyard in Achaia were numbered. The house of Anjou, suzerains of the
principality, had never looked with favour on his marriage with Isabelle;
an excuse was found for deposing him in favour of another Philip, of
Taranto, son of the King of Naples. To make matters smoother, Isabelle
and her husband received, as some compensation for relinquishing all
claims to the Morea, a small strip of territory on the shores of the
Fucine lake. They both left Greece for ever. Isabelle died in Holland;
and Philip of Savoy sleeps in the family vault at Pinerolo, near Turin,
leaving to his posterity by a second marriage the empty title of “Prince
of Achaia.”

The house of Villehardouin was not yet extinct. Isabelle had a daughter,
Matilda of Hainault, whose husband, Louis of Burgundy, was permitted,
by the tortuous policy of the Neapolitan Angevins, to govern the
principality. But a rival claimant now appeared in the field in the
person of Fernando of Majorca, one of the most adventurous personages
of those adventurous times, who is well known to us from the quaint
Catalan Chronicle of Ramon Muntaner. Fernando had already had his full
share of the vicissitudes of life. He had been at one time head of the
Catalan Grand Company, which had just won the Duchy of Athens on the
swampy meadows of the Bœotian Kephissos, and he had sat a prisoner in the
castle of Thebes, the famous Kadmeia, whose walls were painted with the
exploits of the crusaders in the Holy Land. He had married the daughter
of Guillaume de Villehardouin’s younger child, the Lady of Akova, and
he claimed Achaia in the name of his dead wife’s infant son. Such was
the violence of the age that both the rivals perished in the struggle,
Fernando on the scaffold, and Louis of Burgundy by a poison administered
to him by one of the petty potentates of Greece. Even more miserable
was the end of the unhappy Matilda. Invited by the unscrupulous King of
Naples to his court, she was informed that she must marry his brother,
John of Gravina. With the true spirit of a Villehardouin, the Princess
refused; and even the Pope himself, whose authority was invoked, could
not make her yield. She had already, she said, married again, and must
decline to commit bigamy. This gave the King of Naples the opportunity he
sought. He declared that, by marrying without her suzerain’s consent, she
had forfeited her principality, which he bestowed upon his brother. The
helpless Princess was thrown into the Castel dell’ Uovo at Naples, and
was afterwards allowed to die a lingering death in that island-prison,
the last of her race. So ended the dynasty of the Villehardouins.

Grievous, indeed, was the situation of the Franks in Greece at this
moment. Though little more than a hundred years had elapsed since the
conquest, the families of the conquerors were almost extinct. The
terrible blow dealt at the Frank chivalry by the rude Catalans, almost
on the very battlefield of Chaironeia, was as fatal to Frankish, as was
the victory of Philip of Macedon to free, Greece. Of the barons who had
taken part in that contest, where many Achaian nobles had stood by the
side of the headstrong Athenian duke, only four survived. Moreover, the
Frank aristocracy, as Finlay has pointed out, committed racial suicide
by constituting themselves an exclusive class. Intermarriages with the
Greeks took place, it is true; and a motley race, known as Gasmoûloi[56],
the offspring of these unions, of whom the author of the _Chronicle_
was perhaps a member, fell into the usual place of half-castes in the
East. But Muntaner expressly says that the nobles of Achaia usually took
their wives from France. Meanwhile new men had taken possession of some
of the old baronies—Flemings, Neapolitans, and even Florentines, one
of whom, Nicholas Acciajuoli, whose splendid tomb is to be seen in the
Certosa near Florence, laid on the rocks of Akrocorinth the foundations
of a power which, a generation later, made the bankers of Tuscany dukes
of Athens. The Greeks, had they been united, might have recovered the
whole peninsula amidst this state of confusion. But the sketch which the
imperial historian, John Cantacuzene, has left us of the _archontes_ of
the Morea shows that they were quite as much divided among themselves as
the turbulent Frank vassals of the shadowy Prince of Achaia. “Neither
good nor evil fortune,” he wrote, “nor time, that universal solvent, can
dissolve their mutual hatred, which not only endures all their lives, but
is transmitted after death as a heritage to their children[57].”

Cantacuzene, however, took a step which ultimately led to the recapture
of the Morea, when he abolished the system of sending a subordinate
Byzantine official to Mistra, and appointed his second son, Manuel, with
the title of Despot, as governor of the Byzantine province for life. The
Despot of Mistra at once made his presence felt. He drove off the Turkish
corsairs, who had begun to infest the deep bays and jagged coast-line
of the peninsula, levied ship-money for its defence against pirates,
and, when his Greek subjects objected to be taxed for their own benefit,
crushed rebellion by means of his Albanian bodyguard. Now, for the first
time, we hear of that remarkable race, whose origin is as baffling to
ethnologists as is their future to diplomatists, in the history of the
Morea, where hereafter they were destined to play so distinguished
a part. It is to the policy of Manuel Cantacuzene, who rewarded his
faithful Albanians with lands in the south-west and centre of the
country, that modern Greece owes the services of that valiant race,
which fought so vigorously for her independence and its own in the last
century. Manuel’s example was followed by other Despots; and ere long ten
thousand Albanians were colonising the devastated and deserted lands of
the Peloponnese.

Meanwhile the barren honour of Prince of Achaia had passed from one
absentee to another. John of Gravina, who had been installed in the room
of the last unhappy Villehardouin princess, grew disgusted with the sorry
task of trying to restore order, and transferred his rights to Catherine
of Valois, widow of his brother, Philip of Taranto; her son Robert, who
was both suzerain and sovereign of the principality, was a mere phantom
ruler whom the Achaian barons treated with contempt. After his death
they offered the empty title of princess to Queen Joanna I of Naples on
condition that she did not interfere with their fiefs and their feuds.
Then a new set of conquerors descended upon the distracted country, and
began the last chapter of Frankish rule in Achaia.

The great exploit of the Catalans in carving out for themselves a duchy
bearing the august name of Athens had struck the imagination of Southern
Europe. Towards the close of the fourteenth century a similar, but less
famous band of freebooters, the Navarrese Company, repeated in Achaia
what the Catalans, seventy years earlier, had achieved in Attica and
Bœotia. Conquering nominally in the name of Jacques de Baux, a scion of
the house of Taranto, but really for their own hands, the soldiers of
Navarre rapidly occupied one place after another. Androusa, in Messenia,
at that time the capital of the Frankish principality, fell before them;
and at “sandy Pylos,” the home of Nestor, then called Zonklon, they made
such a mark that the spot was believed by Hopf to have derived its name
of Navarino from the castle which they held there. In 1386 their captain,
Pedro Bordo de San Superan, styled himself Vicar of the principality, a
title which developed into that of prince.

Meanwhile another Western Power, and that the most cunning and
persistent, had taken advantage of these troublous times to gain a
footing in the Peloponnese. Venice, true to her cautious commercial
policy, had long been content with the two Messenian stations of Modon
and Koron, and had even refused a tempting offer of some desperate
barons to hand over to her the whole of Achaia. During the almost
constant disturbances which had distracted the rest of the peninsula
since the death of Guillaume de Villehardouin, the two Venetian ports
had enjoyed comparative peace and prosperity. The high tariffs which the
Frankish princes had erected round their own havens had driven trade to
these Venetian harbours, so conveniently situated for trade with the
great Venetian island of Crete as well. The documents which Sathas has
published from the Venetian archives are full of allusions to these
two now almost forgotten places. But at last, towards the end of the
fourteenth century, Venice resolved on expansion. She accordingly bought
Argos and Nauplia, the old fiefs which the first French Lord of Athens
had received from the first of the Villehardouins, and which lingered
on in the hands of the representatives of the fallen Athenian duke. A
little later Lepanto, the old Naupaktos, gave the Venetians a post on the
Corinthian Gulf.

As the Byzantine Empire dwindled before the incursions of the Turks,
the Greek province of Mistra assumed more importance in the eyes of
the statesmen at Constantinople. In 1415 the Emperor Manuel II, with
an energy which modern sovereigns of Greece would do well to imitate,
resolved to see for himself how matters stood, and arrived in the Morea.
He at once set to work to re-erect the six-mile rampart, or “Hexamilion,”
across the Isthmus, which had been fortified by Xerxes, Valerian,
Justinian, and, in recent times, by the last Despot of Mistra, Theodore
I Palaiologos. Manuel’s wall followed the course of Justinian’s; and, in
the incredibly short space of twenty-five days, forced labourers, working
under the imperial eye, had erected a rampart strengthened by no less
than 153 towers.

But the Emperor saw that it was necessary to reform the Morea from
within as well as to fortify it without. We have from the pen of a
Byzantine satirist, Mazaris, who has written a _Dialogue of the Dead_
in the manner of Lucian, a curious, if somewhat highly-coloured account
of the Moreotes as they were, or at any rate seemed to him to be, at
this time[58]. In the Peloponnese, he tells us, are “Lacedæmonians,
Italians, Peloponnesians (Greeks), Slavonians, Illyrians (Albanians),
Egyptians (gypsies), and Jews, and among them are not a few half-castes.”
He says that the Lakonians, who “are now called Tzakones,” have “become
barbarians” in their language, of which he gives some specimens. He
goes on to make the shrewd remark, true to-day of all Eastern countries
where the Oriental assumes a veneer of Western civilisation, that “each
race takes the worst features of the others,” the Greeks assimilating
the turbulence of the Franks, and the Franks the cunning of the Greeks.
So insecure was life and property that arms were worn night and day—a
practice obsolete in the time of Thucydides. Of the Moreote _archontes_
he has nothing good to say; they are “men who ever delight in battles
and disturbances, who are for ever breathing murder, who are full of
deceit and craft, barbarous and pig-headed, unstable and perjured,
faithless to both Emperor and Despots.” Yet a Venetian report—and the
Venetians were keen observers—sent to the government a few years later,
depicts the Morea as a valuable asset. It contained, writes the Venetian
commissioner, 150 strong castles; the soil is rich in minerals; and it
produces silk, honey, wax, corn, raisins, and poultry.

Even in the midst of alarms an eminent philosopher—to the surprise of
the elegant Byzantines, it is true—had fixed his seat at Mistra. George
Gemistos Plethon believed that he had found in Plato a cure for the evils
of the Morea. Centuries before the late Mr Henry George, he advocated a
single tax. An advanced fiscal reformer, he suggested a high tariff for
all articles which could be produced at home; a paper strategist, he had
a scheme which he submitted, together with his other proposals, to the
Emperor, for creating a standing army; an anti-clerical, he urged that
the monks should work for their living, or discharge public functions
without pay. The philosopher, in tendering this advice to the Emperor,
modestly offered his own services for the purpose of carrying it out.
Manuel II was a practical statesman, who knew that he was living, as
Cicero would have said, “non in Platonis republica, sed in fæce Lycurgi.”
The offer was rejected.

At last the long threatened Turkish peril, temporarily delayed by the
career of Timour and the great Turkish defeat at Angora, was at hand.
The famous Ottoman commander, Evrenos Beg, had already twice entered
the peninsula, once as the ally of the Navarrese prince against the
Greek Despot, once as the foe of both. In 1423 a still greater captain,
Turakhan, easily scaled the Hexamilion, leaving behind him at Gardiki,
as a memorial of his invasion, a pyramid of eight hundred Albanian
skulls. But, by the irony of history, just before Greeks and Franks alike
succumbed to the all-conquering Turks, the dream of the Byzantine court
was at last realised, and the Frank principality ceased to exist.

The Greek portion of the Morea was at this time in the hands of the
three brothers of the Emperor John VI Palaiologos—Theodore II, Thomas,
and Constantine—the third of whom was destined to die on the walls of
Constantinople as last Emperor of the East. Politic marriages and force
of arms soon extinguished the phantom of Frankish rule; and the Genoese
baron, Centurione Zaccaria, nephew of Bordo de San Superan, who had
succeeded his uncle as last Prince of Achaia, was glad to purchase peace
by giving his daughter’s hand to Thomas Palaiologos with the remaining
fragments of the once famous principality, except the family barony and
the princely title, as her dowry. Thus, when Centurione died in 1432,
save for the six Venetian stations, the whole peninsula was once more
Greek. Unhappily, the union between the three brothers ended with the
disappearance of the common enemy. Both Theodore and Constantine were
ambitious of the imperial diadem; and, while the former was pressing
his claims at Constantinople, the latter was besieging Mistra, having
first sent the historian Phrantzes, his confidential agent in these
dubious transactions, to obtain the Sultan’s consent. Assisted by his
brother Thomas and a force of Frank mercenaries, Constantine was only
induced to keep the peace by the intervention of the Emperor; till,
in 1443, Theodore removed this source of jealousy by carrying out his
long-cherished scheme of retiring from public life. He accordingly handed
over the government of Mistra to Constantine and received in exchange the
city of Selymbria on the Sea of Marmora, where he afterwards died of the

The Morea was now partitioned between Constantine, who took possession
of the eastern portion, embracing Lakonia, Argolis, Corinth, and the
southern shore of the Corinthian Gulf as far as Patras, and Thomas,
who governed the western part. With all his faults Constantine was a
man of far greater energy and patriotism than the rest of his family,
and he lost no time in developing a national policy. His first act was
to restore the Hexamilion; his next, to attempt the recovery of the
Athenian duchy from the Acciajuoli family for the Greek cause, which
he personified. Nine years earlier, on the death of Duke Antonio, he
had sent Phrantzes to negotiate for the cession of Athens and Thebes.
Foiled on that occasion, he now invaded the duchy and forced the weak
Duke Nerio II to do homage and pay tribute to him. The Albanians and
Koutso-Wallachs of Thessaly rose in his favour; the Serbs promised to
aid him in defending the Isthmus against the Turks; it seemed for the
moment as if there were at last some hope of a Christian revival in the
Near East. But the battle of Varna soon put an end to these dreams.
Murad II, accompanied by the Duke of Athens, set out in 1446, at the
head of a large army, for the Isthmus. The two Despots had assembled a
considerable force behind the ramparts of the Hexamilion, which seemed
so imposing to the Sultan that he remonstrated with his old military
counsellor, Turakhan, for having advised him to attack such apparently
impregnable lines so late in the season. But the veteran, who knew
his Greeks and had taken the Hexamilion twenty-three years before,
replied that its defenders would not long resist a determined attack.
A Greek officer, who had been sent by Constantine to reconnoitre the
Turkish position, came back so terrified at the strength of the enemy
that he urged his master to retreat at once to the mountains of the
Morea. The Despot ordered his arrest as a disciplinary measure, but he
was so greatly struck by what he had heard that he sent the Athenian
Chalkokondyles, father of the historian, to offer terms of peace to
the Sultan. Murad scornfully rejected the proposals, arrested the
envoy, and demanded, as the price of his friendship, the destruction of
the Hexamilion and the payment of tribute. This was too much for the
high-spirited Despot, and the conflict began.

For three whole days the excellent Turkish artillery played upon the
walls of the rampart. Then a general assault was ordered, and, after a
brave defence by the two Despots, a young Serbian janissary climbed to
the top of the wall and planted the Turkish flag there in full view of
the rival hosts. The towers on either side of him were soon taken by
his comrades, the gates were forced in, and the Turks streamed through
them into the peninsula. The Greeks fled; the two Despots among them;
Akrocorinth surrendered, and a band of 300, who had thought of “making
a new Thermopylæ” at Kenchreæ, were soon forced to lay down their arms.
Together with 600 other captives, they were beheaded by the Sultan’s
orders. Then the Turkish army was divided into two sections; one, under
old Turakhan, penetrated into the interior; the other, commanded by the
Sultan in person, followed the coast of the Corinthian Gulf, burning the
mediæval town which had arisen on the ruins of Sikyon. Aigion shared the
same fate; but most of the inhabitants of Patras had escaped over the
Gulf before Murad arrived there. The old Frankish citadel defied all the
efforts of the besiegers, for the besieged knew that they had nothing to
hope from surrender. A breach was made in the walls, but the defenders
poured boiling resin on to the heads of the janissaries and worked at
the rampart till the breach was made good. The season was by this time
very far advanced, so the Sultan and his lieutenant withdrew to Thebes,
dragging with them 60,000 captives, who were sold as slaves. The Despots
were glad to obtain peace and a qualified independence by paying a
capitation tax, and by sending their envoys to do homage to the Sultan
in his headquarters at Thebes. The Greeks ascribed their misfortunes to
their Albanian and Frankish mercenaries, the former of whom had begun to
feel their power, while the latter had espoused the cause of Centurione’s
illegitimate son at the moment when the Despots were engaged in the
defence of the country.

On the death of the Emperor in 1448 the Despot Constantine succeeded to
the imperial title; and it is a picturesque fact that the last Emperor of
Constantinople was crowned at Mistra, where his wife still lies buried,
near that ancient Sparta which had given so many heroes to Hellas. His
previous government was bestowed on his youngest brother Demetrios, with
the exception of Patras, which was added to the province of Thomas.
The new partition took place in Constantinople, where the two brothers
solemnly swore before God and their aged mother to love one another and
to rule the Morea in perfect unanimity. But no sooner had they arrived
at their respective capitals of Mistra and Patras than they proceeded to
break their oaths. Thomas, the more enterprising of the two, attacked
his brother; Demetrios, destitute of patriotism, called in the aid of
the Turks, who readily appeared under the leadership of Turakhan, made
Thomas disgorge most of what he had seized, and on the way destroyed
what remained of the Hexamilion. The object of this was soon obvious. As
soon as the new Sultan, Mohammed II, was ready to attack Constantinople,
he ordered Turakhan to keep the two Palaiologoi busy in the Morea, so
that they might not send assistance to their brother the Emperor. The
old Pasha once again marched into the peninsula; but he found greater
resistance than he had expected on the Isthmus. He and his two sons,
Achmet and Omar, then spread their forces over the country, plundering
and burning as they went, till the certainty of Constantinople’s fall
rendered their presence in the Morea no longer necessary. But as Achmet
was retiring through the Pass of Dervenaki, that death-trap of armies,
between Argos and Corinth, the Greeks fell upon him, routed his men and
took him prisoner. Demetrios, either from gratitude for Turakhan’s recent
services to him, or from fear of the old warrior’s revenge, released his
captive without ransom. It was the last ray of light before the darkness
of four centuries descended upon Greece.

The news that Constantinople had fallen and that the Emperor had been
slain came like a thunderbolt upon his wretched brothers, who naturally
expected that they would be the next victims. But Mohammed was not in a
hurry; he knew that he could annihilate them when he chose; meanwhile
he was content to accept an annual tribute of 12,000 ducats. The folly
of the greedy Byzantine officials, who held the chief posts at the petty
courts of Patras and Mistra, had prepared, however, a new danger for the
Despots. The Albanian colonists had multiplied while the Greek population
had diminished; and the recent Turkish devastations had increased the
extent of waste land where they could pasture their sheep. Fired by the
great exploits of their countryman, Skanderbeg, in Albania, they were
seized by one of those rare yearnings for independence which meet us only
occasionally in Albanian history. The official mind seized this untoward
moment to demand a higher tax from the Albanian lands. The reply of the
shepherds was a general insurrection in which 30,000 Albanians followed
the lead of their chieftain, Peter Boua, “the lame.” Their object was to
expel the Greeks from the peninsula; but this, of course, did not prevent
other Greeks, dissatisfied, for reasons of their own, with the rule of
the Despots, from throwing in their lot with the Albanians. A Cantacuzene
gained the support of the insurgents for his claims on Mistra by taking
an Albanian name; the bastard son of Centurione emerged from prison and
was proclaimed as Prince of Achaia. Both Mistra and Patras were besieged;
and it soon became clear that nothing but Turkish intervention could save
the Morea from becoming an Albanian principality. Accordingly, the aid of
the invincible Turakhan was again solicited; and, as Mohammed believed
in the policy—long followed in Macedonia by his successors—of keeping
the Christian races as evenly balanced as possible, the Turkish general
was sent to suppress the revolt without utterly destroying the revolted.
Turakhan carried out his instructions with consummate skill. He soon put
down the insurgents, but allowed them to retain their stolen cattle and
the waste lands which they had occupied, on payment of a fixed rent. He
then turned to the two Despots and gave them the excellent advice to live
as brothers, to be lenient to their subjects, and to be vigilant in the
prevention of disturbances. Needless to say, his advice was not taken.

The power of the Palaiologoi was at an end; and the Greek _archontes_
and Albanian chiefs did not hesitate to put themselves in direct
communication with the Sultan when they wanted the confirmation of their
privileges. But the Despots might, perhaps, have preserved the forms of
authority for the rest of their lives had it not been for the rashness
of Thomas, who seemed to be incapable of learning by experience that
he only existed on sufferance. In 1457, emboldened by the successes of
Skanderbeg, he refused to pay his tribute. Mohammed II was not the man
to submit to an insult of that sort from a petty prince whom he could
crush whenever he chose. In the spring of the following year the great
Sultan appeared at the Isthmus; but this time the noble fortress of
Akrocorinth held out against him. Leaving a force behind him to blockade
it, he advanced into the interior of the peninsula, accompanied by the
self-styled Albanian leader in the late revolt, Cantacuzene, whose
influence he found useful in treating with the Arnauts. The Greeks, whom
he took, were despatched as colonists to Constantinople; the Albanians,
who had broken their parole, were punished by the breaking of their
wrists and ankles—a horrible scene long commemorated by the Turkish name
of “Tokmak Hissari,” or “the castle of the ankles.” Mouchli, at that time
one of the chief towns in the Morea, near the classic ruins of Mantinea,
offered considerable resistance; but lack of water forced the defenders
to yield, and then the Sultan returned to Corinth. His powerful cannon
soon wrecked the bakehouse and the magazines of the citadel; provisions
fell short; and the fact was betrayed by the archbishop to the besiegers.
At last the place surrendered, and its gallant commander was deputed by
Mohammed to bear his terms of peace to Thomas. The latter was ordered to
cede the country as far south as Mouchli, and as far west as Patras; this
district was then united with the Pashalik of Thessaly, the governor of
the whole province being Turakhan’s son Omar, who remained with 10,000
soldiers in the Morea. The other Despot, Demetrios, was commanded to send
his daughter to the Sultan’s harem.

Thomas at once complied with his conqueror’s demands; but his ambition
soon revived when Mohammed had gone. Fresh victories of Skanderbeg
suggested to him the flattering idea that a Palaiologos could do more
than a mere Albanian. Divisions among the Turkish officers in his
old dominions increased his confidence—a quality in which Greeks are
not usually lacking. Early in 1459 he raised the standard of revolt;
but, at the same time, committed the folly of attacking his brother’s
possessions. Phrantzes, who, after having been sold as a slave when
Constantinople fell, had obtained his freedom and had entered the service
of Thomas, has stigmatised in forcible language the wickedness of those
evil counsellors who had advised his master to embark on a civil war and
to “eat his oaths as if they were vegetables.” Most of Thomas’ successes
were at the expense of his brother, for, of all the places lately annexed
by the Turks, Kalavryta alone was recovered. But the Albanians did far
more harm to the country than either the Greeks or the Turkish garrison
by plundering both sides with absolute impartiality and deserting from
Thomas to Demetrios, or from Demetrios to Thomas, on the slightest
provocation. Meanwhile the Turks attacked Thomas at Leondari, at the
invitation of his brother; and the defeat which he sustained induced the
miserable Despot to go through the form of reconciliation with Demetrios,
under the auspices of Holy Church. This display of brotherly love had the
usual sequel—a new fratricidal war; but Mohammed II had now made up his
mind to put an end to the Palaiologoi, and marched straight to Mistra.
Demetrios soon surrendered, and humbly appeared in the presence of his
master. The Sultan insisted upon the prompt performance of his former
command, that the Despot’s daughter should enter the seraglio, and told
him that Mistra could no longer be his. He therefore ordered him to bid
his subjects surrender all their cities and fortresses—an order which
was at once executed, except at Monemvasia. That splendid citadel, which
had so long defied the Franks at the zenith of their power, and boasted
of the special protection of Providence, now scorned to surrender to the
infidel. The daughter of Demetrios, who had been sent thither for safety,
was, indeed, handed over to the Turkish envoys, and Demetrios himself was
conducted to Constantinople; but the Monemvasiotes proclaimed Thomas as
their liege lord, and he shortly afterwards presented Monemvasia to the
Pope, who appointed a governor.

Having thus wiped the province of Demetrios from the map, Mohammed turned
his arms against Thomas. Wherever a city resisted, its defenders were
punished without mercy and in violation of the most solemn pledges. The
Albanian chiefs who had defied the Sultan at Kastritza were sawn asunder;
the Albanian captain of Kalavryta was flayed alive; Gardiki was once
more the scene of a terrible massacre, ten times worse than that which
had disgraced Turakhan thirty-seven years before. These acts of cruelty
excited very different feelings in the population. Some, especially the
Albanians, were inspired to fight with the courage of despair; others
preferred slavery to an heroic death. From the neighbourhood of Navarino
alone 10,000 persons were dragged away to colonise Constantinople; and a
third of the Greeks of Greveno, which had dared to resist, were carried
off as slaves. The castles of Glarentza and Santameri were surrendered by
the descendants of Guillaume de Villehardouin’s Turks, who experienced,
like the Albanians, the faithless conduct of their conquerors. Meanwhile
Thomas had fled to Navarino, and, on the day when the Sultan reached that
place, set sail with his wife and family from a neighbouring harbour for
Corfù. There the faithful Phrantzes joined him and wrote his history of
these events—the swan-song of free Greece.

Another Palaiologos, however, Graitzas by name, showed a heroism of
which the Despot was incapable. This man, the last defender of his
country, held out in the castle of Salmenikon between Patras and Aigion
till the following year, and, when the town was taken, still defied all
the efforts of the Turks, who allowed him to withdraw, with all the
honours of war, into Venetian territory at Lepanto. In the autumn of 1460
Mohammed left the Morea, after having appointed Zagan Pasha as military
governor, with orders to install the new Turkish authorities and to make
arrangements for the collection of the capitation tax and of the tribute
of children. Thus the Morea fell under Turkish rule, which thenceforward
continued for an almost unbroken period of three hundred and fifty years.
Save at Monemvasia, where the papal flag still waved, and at Nauplia,
Argos, Thermisi, Koron, Modon, and Navarino, where Venice still retained
her colonies, there was none to dispute the Sultan’s sway.

The fate of the Palaiologoi deserves a brief notice. Demetrios lived ten
years at Ænos in Thrace in the enjoyment of the pension which Mohammed
allowed him, and died a monk at Adrianople in 1470. His daughter, whom
the Sultan never married after all, had predeceased him. Thomas proceeded
to Rome with the head of St Andrew from Patras as a present for the Pope,
who received the precious relic with much ceremony at the spot near the
Ponte Molle, where the little chapel of St Andrew now commemorates the
event, and assigned to its bearer a pension of 300 ducats a month, to
which the cardinals added 200 more, and Venice a smaller sum. He died
at Rome in 1465, leaving two sons and two daughters. One of the latter
died in a convent on the island of Santa Maura; the other married, first
a Caracciolo of Naples and then the Grand Duke Ivan III of Russia, by
whom she had a daughter, afterwards the wife of Alexander Jagellon of
Poland. With this daughter the female line became extinct. Of Thomas’
two sons, the elder, Andrew, married a woman off the streets of Rome,
ceded all his rights, first to Charles VIII of France, and then to
Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and died in 1502 without issue. The
younger son, Manuel, escaped from papal tutelage to the court of Mohammed
II, who gave him an establishment and allowed him a daily sum for its
maintenance. He died a Christian; but of his two sons (the elder of whom
died young), the younger became a Mussulman, took the name of Mohammed,
and is last heard of in the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. Though
the family would thus appear to have long been extinct, a Cornish
antiquary announced in 1815 that the church of Landulph contained a
monument to one of Thomas’ descendants. A few years ago a lady residing
in London considered herself to be the heiress of the Palaiologoi and
aspired to play a part in the Eastern question[59]. But neither of
these claims is genealogically sound; for there is no historical proof
of the existence of the supposed third son of Thomas, mentioned in the
Landulph inscription. But, after all, the world has not lost much by the
extinction of this race, nor would the future of Constantinople or Greece
be affected by its revival.



Ever since Hopf published his history of mediæval Greece writers on that
subject have followed his opinion that the name of Navarino was derived
from the Navarrese Company, which entered the Morea in 1381 to support
the claims of Jacques de Baux, titular emperor of Constantinople and
prince of Achaia, and which established its headquarters at the classic
Pylos. Hopf adduces no evidence in support of this derivation, which
he thrice repeats[60], except that of the French traveller De Caumont,
who saw at Pylos in 1418 _ung chasteau hault sur une montaigne que se
nomme chasteau Navarres_[61]. But his opinion, mainly formed in order to
controvert the anti-Hellenic theory of Fallmerayer, has been followed,
also without proof, by Hertzberg[62], Tozer[63], and more tentatively by
Paparregopoulos[64]. The name of Navarino, however, seems to have existed
long before the Navarrese Company ever set foot in Greece. Nearly a
century earlier a golden bull[65] of the Emperor Andronikos II, dated
1293, confirmed the possessions of the church of Monemvasia, among which
it specially mentions τὴν Πύλον, τὸν καλούμενον Ἀβαρῖνον. A little before
the date of this imperial document (1287-1289) Nicholas II de Saint-Omer,
lord of half Thebes, was bailie of the principality of Achaia for Charles
II of Naples, and the Greek _Chronicle of the Morea_[66] tells us that
ἔχτισεν τὸ κάστρον τοῦ Ἀβαρίνου. Now Hopf himself thought that the French
version of the _Chronicle, Le Livre de la Conqueste_[67] (in which the
above passage runs _ferma le chastel de port de Junch_), was the original
of the four editions which we possess. It is generally agreed that the
French version was written between 1333 and 1341; but it is by no means
certain that the French is the original and the Greek a translation;
rather would it appear that the Greek was the original, in which case it
was composed in the early part of the fourteenth century, for the one
passage[68] which refers to an event as late as 1388 is regarded as an
interpolation by the latest editor of the _Chronicle_, Dr Schmitt. Even
the most recent of all the four versions—the Aragonese—was written, as it
expressly says[69], no later than 1393. Therefore we have every reason
for regarding the mention of the name Ἀβαρῖνος in the Greek _Chronicle_
as a second proof that it was in common use long before the time of the

There are several other passages in which the name occurs, the date of
which cannot, however, be fixed with certainty. In the _Synekdemos_ of
Hierokles[71] we have three times the phrase Πύλος, ἡ πατρὶς Νέστορος,
νῦν δὲ καλεῖται Ἀβαρῖνος. Now Hierokles wrote before 535, but all these
three passages occur in the lists of towns which have changed their
names, and these three lists must belong, as Krumbacher points out,
to a much later period than the main body of the work. The scholiast
to Ptolemy[72] also makes an annotation Πύλος ὀ καὶ Ἀβαρῖνος, and in
the Latin manuscripts of that passage the rendering is _Pylus, qui et
Abarmus_ (sic).

The alteration of Abarinos into Navarino follows, of course, the usual
Greek habit of prefixing to the mediæval name the last letter of the
accusative of the article. Thus εἰς τὸν Ἀβαρῖνον becomes Ναβαρῖνον,
just as εἰς τὴν Πόλιν becomes _Stambûl_, εἰς τὰς Ἀθῆνας _Satines_ or
_Sathines_, εἰς τὰς Θῆβας _Estives_. The conclusion seems to be that
Fallmerayer was right after all when he derived the name of Navarino
from a settlement of Avars on the site of the ancient Pylos[73]. The
settlement of the Navarrese Company there was merely a coincidence.

It may be added that _Abarinus_ also occurs in a document[74] of Charles
I of Naples, dated 1280, as the name of a place in Apulia, not apparently

       *       *       *       *       *

Since I wrote the above note on this subject I have found two other
passages which confirm the view that the name of Navarino existed
before the Navarrese Company entered Greece. They occur in the
_Commemoriali_[75], where we find Venice complaining to Robert, prince
of Achaia, and to the bailie of Achaia and Lepanto that the crew of a
Genoese ship had started from _Navarrino vecchio_ and had plundered some
Venetian subjects. The dates of these two documents are 1355 and 1356.
The late Professor Krumbacher, in the _Byzantinische Zeitschrift_ (XIV.
675), agreed that Hopf’s derivation had been disproved by my article, but
thought that the name of Navarino comes not from the Avars, but from the
Slavonic _javorina_, “a wood of maples.”


1. _The Chronicle of Morea._ Ed. John Schmitt, Ph.D. London, 1904.

2. _Le Livre de la Conqueste._ In _Recherches historiques sur la
Principauté française de Morée_. Tome II. By J. A. Buchon. Paris, 1845.
New Edn. by J. Longnon. Paris, 1911.

3. Ἱστορία τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ Ἔθνους (_History of the Greek Nation_). By K.
Paparregopoulos. 4th Edn. Athens, 1903.

4. _Geschichte Griechenlands vom Beginn des Mittelalters._ Von K. Hopf.
In Ersch und Gruber’s _Allgemeine Encyklopädie_. Bände 85, 86. Leipzig,

5. _Chroniques Gréco-Romanes inédites ou peu connues._ Published by
Charles Hopf. Berlin, 1873.

6. _Geschichte der Stadt Athen im Mittelalter._ Von F. Gregorovius. 3rd
Edn. Stuttgart, 1889.

7. _La Conquête de Constantinople, par Geoffroy de Villehardouin._ By
Émile Bouchet. Paris, 1891.

8. _Georgii Acropolitæ Opera._ Ed. by A. Heisenberg. Leipzig, 1903.

9. _Corpus Scriptorum Historiæ Byzantinæ._ Bonn, 1828-43.

10. _Anecdota Græca._ Ed. J. Fr. Boissonade. Tom. III. Paris, 1831.


Nations, like individuals, sometimes have the romance of their lives in
middle age—a romance unknown, perhaps, to the outside world until, long
years afterwards, some forgotten bundle of letters throws a flash of rosy
light upon a period hitherto regarded as uneventful and commonplace.
So is it with the history of Athens under the Frankish domination,
which Finlay first described in his great work. But since his day
numerous documents have been published, and still more are in course of
publication, which complete the picture of mediæval Athens as he drew it
in a few master-strokes. Barcelona and Palermo have been ransacked for
information; the Venetian archives have yielded a rich harvest; Milan has
contributed her share; and a curious collection of Athenian legends has
been made by an industrious and patriotic Greek. We know now, as we never
knew before, the strange story of the classic city under her French, her
Catalan, and her Florentine masters; and it is high time that the results
of these researches should be laid before the British public. The present
paper deals with the first two of these three periods.

The history of Frankish Athens begins with the Fourth Crusade. By the
deed of partition, which divided up the Byzantine Empire among the
Latin conquerors of Constantinople, the crusading army, whose chief was
Boniface, Marquess of Montferrat, had received “the district of Athens
with the territory of Megara[76]”; and both Attica and Bœotia were
included in that short-lived realm of Salonika, of which he assumed the
title of king. Among the trusty followers who accompanied Boniface in his
triumphal progress across his new dominions was Othon de la Roche, son of
a Burgundian noble, who had rendered him a valuable service by assisting
to settle the serious dispute between him and the first Latin Emperor of
Constantinople, and who afterwards negotiated the marriage between his
daughter and the Emperor Baldwin I’s brother and successor. This was the
man upon whom the King of Salonika, in 1205, bestowed the most famous
city of the ancient world. Thus, in the words of an astonished chronicler
from the West, “Othon de la Roche, son of a certain Burgundian noble,
became, as by a miracle, Duke of the Athenians and Thebans[77].”

The chronicler was only wrong in the title which he attributed to the
lucky Frenchman, who had succeeded by an extraordinary stroke of fortune
to the past glories of the heroes and sages of Athens. Othon modestly
styled himself “Sire d’Athènes” or “Dominus Athenarum,” which his Greek
subjects magnified into the “Great Lord” (Μέγας Κύρ or Μέγας Κύρης),
and Dante, in the _Purgatorio_, transferred by a poetic anachronism to
Peisistratos. Contemporary accounts make no mention of any resistance to
Othon de la Roche on the part of the Greeks, nor was such likely; for the
eminent man, Michael Akominatos, who was then Metropolitan of Athens,
was fully aware that the Akropolis could not long resist a Western army.
Later Venetian writers, however, actuated perhaps by patriotic bias,
propagated a story that the Athenians sent an embassy offering their city
to Venice, but that their scheme was frustrated, “not without bloodshed,
by the men of Champagne under the Lord de la Roche[78].” If so, it was
the sole effort which the Greeks of Attica made during the whole century
of French domination.

Othon’s dominions were large, if measured by the small standard of
classical Greece. The Burgundian state of Athens embraced Attica, Bœotia,
Megaris, and the ancient Opuntian Lokris to the north; while to the
south of the isthmus the “Great Lord’s” deputies governed the important
strongholds of Argos and Nauplia, conferred upon him, in 1212, by Prince
Geoffroy I of Achaia as the reward of his assistance in capturing them,
and thenceforth held by Othon and his successors for a century as fiefs
of the Principality. The Italian Marquess of Boudonitza on the north,
the Lord of Salona on the west, were the neighbours, and the latter
subsequently the vassal, of the ruler of Athens, his bulwarks against the
expanding power of the Greek despots of Epeiros. Thus situated, mediæval
Athens had at least four ports—Livadostro, or Rive d’Ostre, as the Franks
called it, on the Gulf of Corinth, where Othon’s relatives landed when
they arrived from France; the harbour of Atalante opposite Eubœa; the
beautiful bay of Nauplia; and the famous Piræus, known in the Frankish
times by the name of Porto Leone from the huge lion, now in front of
the Arsenal at Venice, which then guarded the entrance to the haven of
Themistokles. It is strange, in these circumstances, that the Burgundian
rulers of Athens made little or no attempt to create a navy, especially
as Latin pirates infested the coast of Attica, and a sail down the
Corinthian Gulf was described as “a voyage to Acheron[79].”

Guiltless of a classical education, and unmoved by the genius of the
place, Othon abstained from seeking a model for the constitution of his
new state in the laws of Solon. Like the other Frankish princes of the
Levant, he adopted the “Book of the Customs of the Empire of Romania,”
a code of usages based on the famous “Assizes of Jerusalem.” But the
feudal society which was thus installed in Attica was very different
from that which existed in the Principality of Achaia or in the Duchy
of the Archipelago. The “Great Lord” of Athens had, at the most, only
one exalted noble, the head of the famous Flemish house of St Omer, near
his throne. It is obvious, from the silence of all the authorities,
that the Burgundians who settled in Othon’s Greek dominions were men of
inferior social position to himself, a fact further demonstrated by the
comparative lack in Attica and Bœotia of those baronial castles so common
in the Peloponnese.

In one respect the Court of Athens, under Othon de la Roche, must have
resembled the Court of the late King George, namely, that there was no
one, except the members of his own family, with whom the ruler could
associate on equal terms. But, as in Georgian, so in Frankish Athens,
the family of the sovereign was numerous enough to form a society of
its own. Not only did Othon marry a Burgundian heiress, by whom he had
two sons, but the news of his astounding good fortune attracted to the
new El Dorado in Greece various members of his clan from their home in
Burgundy. They doubtless received their share of the good things which
had fallen to their lucky relative; a favourite nephew, Guy, divided
with his uncle the lordship of Thebes; a more distant relative became
commander of the castle of Athens. Both places became the residences
of Latin archbishops; and in the room of Michael Akominatos, in the
magnificent church of “Our Lady of Athens,” as the Parthenon was now
called, a Frenchman named Bérard, perhaps Othon’s chaplain, inaugurated
the long series of the Catholic prelates of that ancient see. The last
Greek Metropolitan retired sorrowfully from his plundered cathedral to
the island of Keos, whence he could still see the shores of his beloved
Attica; and for well-nigh two centuries his titular successors never once
visited their confiscated diocese. The Greek priests who remained behind
performed their services in the church near the Roman market, which was
converted into a mosque at the time of the Turkish conquest, and has now
been degraded to a military bakery; while Innocent III assigned to the
Catholic archbishop the ancient jurisdiction of the Orthodox Metropolitan
over his eleven suffragans, and confirmed to the Church of Athens its
possessions at Phyle and Marathon—places still called by their classical

    The renewal of the divine grace (wrote the enthusiastic Pope to
    Bérard) suffereth not the ancient glory of the city of Athens
    to grow old. The citadel of most famous Pallas hath been
    humbled to become the seat of the most glorious Mother of God.
    Well may we call this city “Kirjath-sepher,” which when Othniel
    had subdued to the rule of Caleb, “he gave him Achsah, his
    daughter to wife[80].”

But the “Othniel” of Athens, to whom the Pope had made a punning
allusion, was, like the other Frankish rulers of his time, a sore
trial to the Holy See. He forbade his subjects to give or bequeath
their possessions to the Church, levied dues from the clergy, and
showed no desire to pay tithes or compel his people to pay them. A
“concordat” between Church and State was at last drawn up in 1210,
at a Parliament convened by the Latin Emperor Henry in the valley of
Ravenika, near Lamia, and attended by Othon and all the chief feudal
lords of continental Greece. By this it was agreed that the clergy of
both dominations should pay the old Byzantine land-tax to the temporal
authorities, but that, in return, all churches, monasteries, and other
ecclesiastical property, should be entrusted to the Latin Patriarch of
Constantinople free of all feudal services.

Othon was more loyal to the Empire than to the Papacy. When the Lombard
nobles of Salonika, on the death of Boniface, tried to shake off the
feudal tie which bound that kingdom to the Latin Emperor, he stood by
the latter, even though his loyalty cost him the temporary loss of his
capital of Thebes. He was rewarded by a visit which the Emperor Henry
paid him at Athens, where no Imperial traveller had set foot since Basil
“the Bulgar-slayer,” two centuries earlier, had offered up prayer and
thanksgivings in the greatest of all cathedrals. Like Basil, Henry also
prayed “in the Minster of Athens, which men call Our Lady,” and received
from his host “every honour in his power[81].” Only once again did an
emperor of Constantinople bow down in the Parthenon; and then it was not
as a conqueror but as a fugitive that he came.

The “Great Lord” was not fired with the romance of reigning over the
city of Perikles and Plato. When old age crept on, he felt, like many
another baron of the conquest, that he would like to spend the evening of
his days in his native land; and in 1225 he departed for Burgundy with
his wife and sons, leaving his nephew, Guy, to succeed him in Greece.
Under the wise rule of his successor, the Athenian state prospered
exceedingly. Thebes, where Guy and his connections, the great family
of St Omer, resided, had recovered much of its fame as the seat of the
silk manufactory. Jews and Genoese both possessed colonies there; and
the shrewd Ligurian traders negotiated a commercial treaty with the new
ruler which allowed them to have their own consul, their own court of
justice, and their own buildings both there and at Athens.

The Greeks too profited by the enlightened policy of their sovereign. One
Greek monk at this time made the road to the monastery of St John the
Hunter on the slopes of Hymettos, to which the still standing column on
the way to Marathon alludes; another built one of the two churches at the
quaint little monastery of Our Lady of the Glen, not far from the fort of
Phyle. For thirty years Athens enjoyed profound peace, till a fratricidal
war between Guillaume de Villehardouin, the ambitious Prince of Achaia,
and the great barons of Eubœa involved Guy in their quarrel. The prince
summoned Guy, his vassal for Argos and Nauplia, to assist him against his
foes; Guy, though bound not only by this feudal tie but by his marriage
to one of William’s nieces, refused his aid, and did all he could to help
the enemies of the prince. The latter replied by invading the dominions
of his nephew. Forcing the Kakè Skála, that narrow and ill-famed road
which leads along the rocky coast of the Saronic Gulf towards Megara, he
met Guy’s army at the pass of Mount Karydi, “the walnut mountain,” on
the way to Thebes. There Frankish Athens and Frankish Sparta first met
face to face; the Sire of Athens was routed and fled to Thebes, where he
obtained peace by a promise to appear before the High Court of Achaia and
perform any penalty which it might inflict upon him for having borne arms
against the Prince.

The High Court met at Nikli near Tegea; and the Sire of Athens, escorted
by all his chivalry, made a brave show before the assembled barons. They
were so much impressed by the spectacle that they declared they could not
judge so great a man, and referred the decision to St Louis of France,
the natural protector of the French nobles of Greece. The chivalrous
monarch propounded the question to the _parlement_ at Paris, which
decided that Guy was technically guilty, but that the trouble and cost of
his long journey to France was ample punishment for his offence. Louis
IX, anxious to show him some mark of royal favour, conferred upon him,
at his special request, the title of Duke of Athens, for which, he told
the king, there was an ancient precedent. The ducal style borne by Guy
and his successors has become famous in literature as well as in history.
Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer, and Shakespeare bestowed it upon Theseus, and
the Catalan chronicler, Muntaner, upon Menelaos.

Meanwhile the wheel of fortune had avenged the Duke of Athens. His
victorious enemy, involved in a quarrel between the rival Greek states
of Nice and Epeiros, had been taken prisoner by the Greek Emperor; and
the flower of the Achaian chivalry was either dead or languishing in the
dungeons of Lampsakos. In these circumstances the survivors offered to
Guy the regency of Achaia—a post which he triumphantly accepted. But he
had not been long in Greece when another blow descended upon the Franks.
The Latin Empire of Constantinople fell; and the Emperor Baldwin II, a
landless exile, was glad to accept the hospitality of the Theban Kadmeia
and the Castle of Athens. Thus, on that venerable rock, was played the
last pitiful scene in the brief Imperial drama of the Latin Orient[82].

Fired by the reconquest of Constantinople, Michael VIII now meditated
the recovery of the Peloponnese, and demanded the cession of the three
strongest castles in the peninsula as the price of his prisoner’s
freedom. It was Guy’s duty, as regent of Achaia, to convene the High
Court of the Principality to consider this momentous question. The
parliament, almost exclusively composed of ladies—for all the men of mark
had been slain or were in prison—decided, against Guy’s better judgment,
in favour of accepting the Emperor’s terms; and Guy, whose position was
one of great delicacy, finally yielded. Not long afterwards, the first
Duke of Athens died, conscious of having heaped coals of fire upon the
head of his enemy, and proud of leaving to his elder son, John, a state
more prosperous than any other in Greece.

The second Duke, less fortunate than his father, was involved in the
wars against the Greek Emperor, which occupied so much of that period.
The restless scion of the house of Angelos, who had carved out for
himself a principality in the ancient realm of Achilles in Phthiotis,
and reigned over Wallachs and Greeks at Neopatras, or La Patre, beneath
the rocky walls of Mount Œta, fled as a suppliant to the Theban Court
and offered the duke the hand of his daughter Helene if he would only
assist him against the Palaiologoi. The duke, gouty and an invalid,
declined matrimony, but promised his aid. At the head of a picked body
of Athenian knights he easily routed the vastly superior numbers of the
Imperial army, which he contemptuously summed up in a phrase, borrowed
from Herodotos, as “many people, but few men.” As his reward he obtained
for his younger brother William the fair Helene as a bride; and her
dowry, which included the important town of Lamia, extended the influence
of the Athenian duchy as far north as Thessaly. But John of Athens was
destined to experience, like William of Achaia, the most varied changes
of fortune. Wounded in a fight with the Greeks and their Catalan allies
outside the walls of Negroponte, he fell from his horse and was carried
off a prisoner to Constantinople. Michael VIII did not, however, treat
the Duke of Athens as he had treated the Prince of Achaia. He made no
demand for Athenian territory, but contented himself with a ransom of
some £13,500. Policy, rather than generosity, was the cause of this
apparent inconsistency. Fears of an attack by Charles of Anjou, alarm at
the restless ambition of his prisoner’s kinsman, the Duke of Neopatras,
and suspicion of the orthodox clerical party in his own capital, which
regarded him as a schismatic because of his overtures to Rome, convinced
him that the policy of 1262 would not suit the altered conditions of
1279. He even offered his daughter in marriage to his prisoner, but the
latter refused the Imperial alliance. A year later John died, and William
his brother reigned in his stead.

During the seven years of his reign William de la Roche was the leading
figure in Frankish Greece. Acknowledging the suzerainty of the Angevin
kings of Naples, who had become overlords of Achaia by the treaty of
Viterbo, he was appointed their viceroy in that principality, and in that
capacity built the castle of Dematra, the site of which may be perhaps
found at Kastri, between Tripolitsa and Sparta. Possessed of ample means,
he spent his money liberally for the defence of Frankish Greece, alike
in the Peloponnese and in Eubœa; and great was the grief of all men
when his valiant career was cut short. Now, for the first time since
the conquest, Athens was governed by a Greek, for Guy’s mother, Helene
Angela of Neopatras, who has given her title to K. Rhanghaves’ drama,
_The Duchess of Athens_, acted as regent for her infant son, Guy, until a
second marriage with her late husband’s brother-in-law, Hugh de Brienne,
provided him with a more powerful guardian. The family of Brienne was one
of the most famous of that day. First heard of in Champagne during the
reign of Hugh Capet, it had, in the thirteenth century, won an Imperial
diadem at Constantinople, a royal crown at Jerusalem, and a count’s
coronet at Lecce and at Jaffa; ere long it was destined to provide the
last French Duke of Athens.

The Burgundian duchy of Athens had now reached its zenith; and the
ceremony of Guy II’s coming of age, which has been described for us in
the picturesque Catalan chronicle of Muntaner, affords a striking proof
of the splendour of the ducal Court at Thebes. The young duke had invited
all the great men of his duchy; he had let it be known, too, throughout
the Greek Empire and the Despotat of Epeiros and his mother’s home of
Thessaly, that whosoever came should receive gifts and favours from his
hands, “for he was one of the noblest men in all Romania who was not a
king, and eke one of the richest.” When all the guests had assembled,
Archbishop Nicholas of Thebes celebrated mass in the Theban minster;
and then all eyes were fixed upon the Duke, to see whom he would ask
to confer upon him the order of knighthood—“a duty which the King of
France, or the Emperor himself, would have thought it a pleasure and an
honour to perform.” What was the surprise of the brilliant throng when
Guy, instead of calling upon such great nobles as Thomas of Salona or
Othon of St Omer, co-owner with himself of Thebes, called to his side a
young Eubœan knight, Boniface of Verona, lord of but a single castle,
which he had sold the better to equip himself and his retinue. Yet no
one made a braver show at the Theban Court; he always wore the richest
clothes, and on the day of the ceremony none was more elegantly dressed
than he, though every one had attired himself and his _jongleurs_ in the
fairest apparel. This was the man whom the young duke bade dub him a
knight, and upon whom, as a reward for this service, he bestowed the hand
of a fair damsel of Eubœa, Agnes de Cicon, Lady of the classic island of
Ægina and of the great Eubœan castle of Karystos or Castel Rosso, still a
picturesque ruin. The duke gave him also thirteen castles on the mainland
and the famous island of Salamis—sufficient to bring him in a revenue of
50,000 _sols_.

Prosperous indeed must have been the state whose ruler could afford
such splendid generosity. Worthy too of such a sovereign was the castle
in which he dwelt—the work of the great Theban baron, Nicholas II de
St Omer, who had built it out of the vast wealth of his wife, Marie
of Antioch. The castle of St Omer, which was described as “the finest
baronial mansion in all Romania[83],” contained sufficient rooms for
an emperor and his court; and its walls were decorated with frescoes
illustrating the conquest of the Holy Land by the Franks, in which the
ancestors of its founder had borne a prominent part. Alas! one stumpy
tower, still bearing the name of Santameri, is all that now remains of
this noble residence of the Athenian dukes and the Theban barons.

French influence now spread from Thebes over the great plain of Thessaly
to the slopes of Olympos. The Duke of Neopatras died, leaving his nephew
of Athens guardian of his infant son and regent of his dominions,
threatened alike by the Greek Emperor, Andronikos II, and by the able and
ambitious Lady of Epeiros. At Lamia, the fortress which had been part of
his mother’s dowry, Guy received the homage of the Thessalian baronage,
and appointed as his viceroy Antoine le Flamenc, a Fleming who had become
lord of the Bœotian Karditza (where a Greek inscription on the church of
St George still commemorates him as its “most pious” founder), and who
is described as “the wisest man in all the duchy.” The Greek nobles of
Thessaly learnt the French language; coins with Latin inscriptions were
issued in the name of Guy’s young ward from the mint of Neopatras[84];
and the condition of Thessaly was accurately depicted in that curious
story the _Romance of Achilles_, in which the Greek hero marries a
French damsel and the introduction of French customs is allegorically
represented by cutting the child’s hair in Frankish fashion[85].

Wherever there was knightly work to be done, the gallant Duke of Athens
was foremost; none was more impetuous than he at the great tournament
held on the Isthmus of Corinth in 1305, at which the whole chivalry of
Frankish Greece was present. He needs must challenge Master Bouchart,
one of the best jousters of the West, to single combat with the lance;
and their horses met with such force that the ducal charger fell and
rolled its rider in the dust. His Theban castle rang with the songs
of minstrels; festival after festival followed at his Court; and this
prosperity was not merely on the surface. Now for the first time we find
Attica supplying Eubœa with corn, while the gift of silken garments to
Pope Boniface VIII is a proof of the continued manufacture of silk at
Thebes. But the duke’s health was undermined by an incurable malady; he
had no heirs of his body; and, when he died in 1308, there was already
looming on the frontiers of Greece that Grand Company of Catalan soldiers
of fortune whom the weakness of the Emperor, Andronikos II, had invited
from the stricken fields of Sicily to be the terror and the scourge of
the Levant. The last duke of the house of la Roche was laid to rest in
the noble Byzantine abbey of Daphni or Dalfinet (as the Franks called
it), on the Sacred Way between Athens and Eleusis, which Othon had
bestowed upon the Cistercians a century before. Even to-day there may
be seen in the courtyard a sarcophagus, with a cross, two snakes, and
two lilies carved upon it, which the French scholar Buchon (_La Grèce
continentale_) believed to have been the tomb of “the good duke,” Guy II.

The succession to the “delectable duchy” of Athens—for such, indeed,
it was in the early years of the fourteenth century—was not seriously
disputed. There were only two claimants, both first cousins of the late
duke—Eschive, Lady of Beyrout, and Walter de Brienne, Count of Lecce, a
true scion of that adventurous family, who had been a “knight of death”
in the Angevin cause in Sicily, and had fought like the lion on his
banner at the fatal battle of Gagliano. The rival claims having been
referred to the High Court of Achaia, of which the Duke of Athens was, in
Angevin times, a peer, the barons decided, as was natural, in favour of
the gallant and powerful Count of Lecce, more fitted than a lonely widow
to govern a military state. Unfortunately, Duke Walter of Athens was as
rash as he was brave; prison and defeat in Sicily had not taught him to
respect the infantry of Cataluña. Speaking their language and knowing
their ways, he thought that he might use them for his own ends and then
dismiss them when they had served his purpose.

In the spring of 1309 the Catalan Grand Company threatened by starvation
in Macedonia, marched through the vale of Tempe into the granary of
Greece, whence, a year later, they descended upon Lamia. The Duke of
Neopatras had now come of age, and had not only emancipated himself
from Athenian tutelage, but had formed a triple alliance with the
Greek Emperor and the Greek Despot of Epeiros in order to prevent the
ultimate annexation of his country by his French neighbours. In these
circumstances the new Duke of Athens bethought himself of employing the
wandering Catalans against the allies. Thanks to the good offices of
Roger Deslaur, a knight of Roussillon who was in his employ, he engaged
them at the same high rate of payment which they had received from
Andronikos II. The Catalans at once showed that they were well worth the
money, for by the end of a six months’ campaign they had captured more
than thirty castles for their employer. Thereupon his three adversaries
hastened to make peace with him on his own terms.

Walter now rashly resolved to rid himself of the expensive mercenaries
for whom he had no further use. He first selected 500 men from their
ranks, gave them their pay and lands on which to settle, and then
abruptly bade the others begone, although at the time he still owed them
four months’ wages. They naturally declined to obey this summary order,
and prepared to conquer or die; for retreat was impossible, and there was
no other land where they could seek their fortune. Walter, too, assembled
all available troops against the common enemies of Frankish Greece—for
as such the savage Catalans were regarded. Never had a Latin army made
such a brave show as that which was drawn up under his command in the
spring of 1311 on the great Bœotian plain, almost on the self-same spot
where, more than sixteen centuries before, Philip of Macedon had won that
“dishonest victory” which destroyed the freedom of classic Greece, and
where, in the time of Sulla, her Roman masters had thrice met the Pontic
troops of Mithridates. All the great feudatories of Greece rallied to
his call. There came Alberto Pallavicini, Marquess of Boudonitza, who
kept the pass of Thermopylæ; Thomas de Stromoncourt of Salona, who ruled
over the slopes of Parnassos, and whose noble castle still preserves
the memory of its mediæval lords; Boniface of Verona, the favourite of
the late Duke of Athens; George Ghisi, one of the three great barons of
Eubœa; and Jean de Maisy, another powerful magnate of that famous island.
From Achaia, and from the scattered duchy of the Archipelago, contingents
arrived to do battle against the desperate mercenaries of Cataluña.
Already Walter dreamed of not merely routing the company, but of planting
his lion banner on the ramparts of Byzantium.

But the Catalans were better strategists than the impetuous Duke of
Athens. They knew that the strength of the Franks lay in the rush of
their splendid cavalry, and they laid their plans accordingly. The marshy
soil of the Copaic basin afforded them an excellent defence against a
charge of horsemen; and they carefully prepared the ground by ploughing
it up, digging a trench round it, and then irrigating the whole area by
means of canals from the river Kephissos. By the middle of March, when
the two armies met face to face, a treacherous covering of green grass
concealed the quaking bog from the gaze of the Frankish leaders.

As if he had some presentiment of his coming death, Walter made his
will—a curious document still preserved[86]—and then, on March 15, took
up his stand on the hill called the Thourion, still surmounted by a
mediæval tower, to survey the field. Before the battle began, the 500
favoured Catalans whom he had retained came to him and told him that
they would rather die than fight against their old comrades. The duke
bade them do as they pleased; and their defection added a welcome and
experienced contingent to the enemy’s forces. When they had gone, the
duke, impatient for the fray, placed himself at the head of 200 French
knights with golden spurs and charged with a shout across the plain.
But, when they reached the fatal spot where the grass was greenest,
their horses, heavily weighted with their coats of mail, plunged all
unsuspecting into the treacherous morass. Some rolled over with their
armoured riders in the mire; others, stuck fast in the stiff bog, stood
still, in the picturesque phrase of the Byzantine historian, “like
equestrian statues,” powerless to move. The shouts of “Aragon! Aragon!”
from the Catalans increased the panic of the horses; showers of arrows
hailed upon the helpless Franks; and the Turkish auxiliaries of the
Catalans rushed forward and completed the deadly work. So great was the
slaughter that only four Frankish nobles are known to have survived that
fatal day—Boniface of Verona, Roger Deslaur, the eldest son of the
Duke of Naxos, and Jean de Maisy of Eubœa[87]. At one blow the Catalans
had destroyed the noble chivalry of Frankish Greece; and the men, whose
forefathers had marched with Boniface of Montferrat into Greece a century
earlier, lay dead in the fatal Bœotian swamp. Among them was the Duke
of Athens, whose head, severed by a Catalan knife, was borne, long
afterwards, on a funeral galley to Brindisi and buried in the church of
Santa Croce in his Italian county of Lecce.

The Athenian duchy, “the pleasaunce of the Latins,” as Villani[88]
quaintly calls it, now lay at the mercy of the Grand Company; for the
Greeks made no resistance to their new masters, and in fact looked upon
the annihilation of the Franks as a welcome relief. We would fain believe
the story of the Aragonese _Chronicle of the Morea_, that the heroic
widow of the fallen duke, a worthy daughter of a Constable of France,
defended the Akropolis, where she had taken refuge with her little son
Walter, till she saw that there was no hope of succour. But the Byzantine
historian, Nikephoros Gregoras, expressly says that Athens fell without
a struggle, as Thebes had already fallen. Argos and Nauplia alone held
aloft the banner of the Frankish dukes. Thus the Catalans were able,
without opposition, to parcel out among themselves the towns and castles
of the duchy; the widows of the slain became the wives of the slayers;
each soldier received a consort according to his services; and many a
rough warrior thus found himself the husband of some noble dame in whose
veins flowed the bluest blood of France, and “whose washhand-basin,” in
the phrase of Muntaner, “he was not worthy to bear.”

After nine years’ wandering these vagabonds settled down in the promised
land, which the most extraordinary fate had bestowed upon them. But they
lacked a leader of sufficient social position to preside over their
changed destinies. Finding no such man in their own ranks, they offered
the post to one of their four noble prisoners, Boniface of Verona, whom
Muntaner, his guest at Negroponte, has described as “the wisest and most
courteous nobleman that was ever born.” Both of these qualities made him
disinclined to accept an offer which would have rendered him an object of
suspicion to Venice, his neighbour in Eubœa, and of loathing to the whole
Frankish world. On his refusal the Catalans turned to Roger Deslaur, whom
neither ties of blood nor scruples of conscience prevented from becoming
their leader. As his reward he received the castle of Salona together
with the widow of its fallen lord.

But the victors of the Kephissos soon recognised that they needed some
more powerful head than a simple knight of Roussillon, if they were to
hold the duchy against the jealous enemies whom their meteoric success
had alarmed and excited. Their choice naturally fell upon King Frederick
II of Sicily, the master whom they had served in that island ten years
earlier, and who had already shown that he was not unwilling to profit by
their achievements. Accordingly, in 1312, they invited him to send them
one of his children. He gave them as their duke his second son Manfred,
in whose name—as the Duke was still too young to come himself—he sent,
as governor of Athens, Beranger Estañol, a knight of Ampurias. On his
arrival Deslaur laid down his office, and we hear of him no more.

The Catalan duchy of Athens was now organised as a state, which, though
dependent in name on a Sicilian duke, really enjoyed a large measure
of independence. The duke nominated the two chief officials, the
vicar-general and the marshal, of whom the former, appointed during
good pleasure, was the political, the latter the military, governor of
the duchy. The marshal was always chosen from the ranks of the Company;
and the office was for half a century hereditary in the family of De
Novelles. Each city and district had its own local governor, called
_veguer_, _castellano_, or _capitán_, whose term of office was fixed at
three years, and who was nominated by the duke, by the vicar-general, or
by the local representatives from among the citizens of the community.
The principal towns and villages were represented by persons known as
_sindici_, and possessed municipal officials and councils, which did
not hesitate to present petitions, signed with the seal of St George
by the chancellor, to the duke whenever they desired the redress of
grievances. On one occasion we find the communities actually electing the
vicar-general; and the dukes frequently wrote to them about affairs of
state. One of their principal subsequent demands was that official posts
should be bestowed upon residents in the duchy, not upon Sicilians.

The feudal system continued to exist, but with far less brilliance
than under the Burgundian dukes. The Catalan conquerors were of common
origin; and, even after seventy years of residence, the roll of noble
families in the whole duchy contained only some sixteen names. The
Company particularly objected to the bestowal of strong fortresses,
such as Livadia, upon private individuals, preferring that they should
be administered by the government officials. The “Customs of Barcelona”
now supplanted the feudal “Assizes of Romania”; the Catalan idiom of
Muntaner took the place of the elegant French which had been spoken by
the Frankish rulers of Greece. Even to their Greek subjects the Spanish
dukes wrote in “the Catalan dialect,” the employment of which, as we
are expressly told, was “according to the custom and usage of the city
of Athens.” Alike by Catalans and French, the Greeks were treated as
an inferior race, excluded, as a general rule, from all civic rights,
forbidden to intermarry with the conquerors, and still deprived of
their higher ecclesiastical functionaries. But there were some notable
exceptions to these harsh disqualifications. The people of Livadia, for
services rendered to the Company, early received the full franchise of
the Conquistadors; towards the end of the Catalan domination we find
Greeks holding such important posts as those of _castellano_ of Salona,
chancellor of Athens, and notary of Livadia; a count of Salona and a
marshal married Greek ladies; and their wives were allowed to retain
their own faith.

Under the rule of Estañol the Catalans not only held their ground in
Attica and Bœotia, but increased the terror of their name among all their
neighbours. In vain the Pope appealed to King James II of Aragon to
drive them out of Attica; in vain he described the late Duke Walter as
a “true athlete of Christ and faithful boxer of the Church”; the king’s
politic reply was to the effect that the Catalans, if they were cruel,
were also Catholics, who would prove a valuable bulwark of Romanism
against the schismatic Greeks of Byzantium[89]. The appointment of King
Frederick II’s natural son, Don Alfonso Fadrique (or Frederick), as
“President of the fortunate army of Franks in the Duchy of Athens” yet
further strengthened the position of the Company. The new vicar-general
was a man of much energy and force of character; and during his thirteen
years’ administration the Catalan state attained its zenith. Practically
independent of Sicilian influence—for the nominal Duke Manfred died in
the year of Fadrique’s appointment, and his younger brother William was
likewise a minor—he acquired a stronger hold upon Attica, and at the same
time a pretext for intervention in the affairs of Eubœa, by his marriage
with Marulla, the heiress of Boniface of Verona, “one of the fairest
Christians in the world, the best woman and the wisest that ever was in
that land,” as Muntaner, who knew her, enthusiastically describes her.
With her Fadrique received back, as her dowry, the thirteen castles which
Guy II of Athens had bestowed upon her father on that memorable day at

The growing power of the Catalans under this daring leader, who had
marched across “the black bridge” of Negroponte and had occupied two
of the most important castles of the island, so greatly alarmed the
Venetians that they persuaded King Frederick II of Sicily to curb
the restless ambition of his bastard son, lest a European coalition
should be formed against the disturber of Greece. Above all else, the
Republic was anxious that a Catalan navy should not be formed at the
Piræus; and it was therefore stipulated, in 1319, that a plank was to
be taken out of the hull of each of the Catalan vessels then lying in
“the sea of Athens,” and that the ships’ tackle was to be taken up to
“the Castle of Athens” and there deposited[90]. Thus shut out from naval
enterprise, Fadrique now extended his dominions by land. The last Duke
of Neopatras had died in 1318, and the best part of his duchy soon fell
into the hands of the Catalans of Athens, who might claim that they
represented the Burgundian dukes, and were therefore entitled to some
voice in the government of a land which Guy II had once administered.
At Neopatras, the seat of the extinct Greek dynasty of the Angeloi,
Fadrique made his second capital, styling himself “Vicar-General of
the duchies of Athens and Neopatras.” Thenceforth the Sicilian dukes
of Athens assumed the double title which figures on their coins and in
their documents; and, long after the Catalan duchies had passed away,
the Kings of Aragon continued to bear it. This conquest made the Company
master of practically all continental Greece; even the Venetian Marquess
of Boudonitza paid an annual tribute of four horses to the Catalan
vicar-general[91]. Still, however, the faithful family of Foucherolles
held the two great fortresses of Argos and Nauplia for the exiled house
of Brienne.

Young Walter had now grown up to man’s estate, and it seemed to him that
the time had come to strike a blow for the recovery of his Athenian
heritage. The Angevins of Naples supported him in their own interest as
well as his; Pope John XXII bade the Archbishops of Patras and Corinth
preach a crusade against the “schismatics, sons of perdition, and pupils
of iniquity” who had seized his patrimony; but the subtle Venetians,
who could have contributed more than Angevin aid or papal thunder to
the success of his expedition, had just renewed their truce with the
Catalans. From that moment his attempt was bound to fail.

Walter was, like his father, a rash general, while his opponents had
not forgotten the art of strategy, to which they owed their success.
At first the brilliant band of French knights and Tuscan men-at-arms
which crossed over with him to Epeiros in 1331 carried all before it.
But, when he arrived in the Catalan duchy, he found that the enemy was
much too cautious to give his fine cavalry a chance of displaying its
prowess on the plains of Bœotia. While the Catalans remained behind the
walls of their fortresses, the invaders wasted their energies on the
open country. Ere long Walter’s small stock of money ran out, and his
chances diminished with it. The Greeks rendered him no assistance. It is
true that a correspondent of the historian Nikephoros Gregoras wrote that
they were “suffering under extreme slavery,” and had “exchanged their
ancient happiness for boorish ways,” while Guillaume Adam said that they
were “worse than serfs”; but either their sufferings were insufficient to
make them desire a change of masters, or their boorishness was such that
it made them indifferent to the advantages of French culture. Early in
the following year Walter took ship for Italy, never to return. Summoned
by the Florentines to command their forces, he became tyrant of their
city, whence he was expelled amidst universal rejoicings eleven years
later. His name and arms may still be seen in the Bargello of Florence.
Thirteen years afterwards he fell fighting, as Constable of France,
against the English at the battle of Poitiers. His sister Isabelle, wife
of Walter d’Enghien, succeeded to his estates and his pretensions; some
of her descendants continued to bear, till 1381, the empty title of Duke
of Athens, while the last fragments of the French duchy—the castles of
Nauplia and Argos—remained in the possession of others of her line till,
in 1388, they were purchased by Venice.

One irreparable loss was inflicted upon Greece by this expedition. In
order to prevent the castle of St Omer at Thebes from falling into his
hands, the Catalans destroyed that noble monument of Frankish rule.
Loudly does the _Chronicle of the Morea_ lament over the loss of a
building more closely associated than any other with the past glories
of the De la Roche. At the time of its destruction it belonged to
Bartolommeo Ghisi, Great Constable of Achaia, one of the three great
barons of Eubœa, son-in-law of Fadrique, and a man of literary and
historic tastes, for the French version of the Chronicle, _Le Livre de la
Conqueste_, was originally found in his Theban castle[92]. Had Fadrique
still been head of the Company at the time, he would probably have saved
his kinsman’s home; but for some unexplained reason he was no longer
vicar-general, though he was still in Greece. Possibly, as he paid a
visit to Sicily about this time, he may have been accused at the Sicilian
Court of aiming at independent sovereignty in the duchies—an accusation
to which his too successful career may have lent some colour. Though he
never resumed the leadership of the Catalans he passed the rest of his
life in Greece, where one of his sons was Count of Salona, and another
became, later on, vicar-general of the duchies.

Soon after Walter’s futile expedition the Papacy made its peace with
the “sons of perdition,” who came to be regarded as a possible defence
against the growing Turkish peril. Unfortunately, when the Catalans
became respectable members of Christendom, they ceased to be formidable.
Occasionally the old Adam broke out, as when the Count of Salona plied
the trade of a pirate with the aid of the “unspeakable” Turk. But
their Thessalian conquests were slipping away from the luxurious and
drunken progeny of the hardy warriors who had smitten the Franks in the
marshes of the Kephissos. Meanwhile, in distant Sicily, the shadowy
Dukes of Athens and Neopatras came and went without ever seeing their
Greek duchies. Duke William died in 1338; and his successors, John and
Frederick of Randazzo, the picturesque town on the slopes of Etna, both
succumbed to the plague a few years later—mere names in the history of
Athens. But in 1355 the new Duke of Athens became also King of Sicily,
under the title of Frederick III; and thus the two duchies, which had
hitherto been the appanage of younger members of the royal family, were
united with the Sicilian crown in the person of its holder.

Thenceforth, as is natural, the archives of Palermo contain far more
frequent allusions to the duchies of Athens and Neopatras, whose
inhabitants petition their royal duke for redress of grievances and
for the appointment of suitable officials. But it is evident from the
tenour of these documents that the Catalan state was rapidly declining.
In addition to the Turkish peril and the menaces of the Venetians of
Negroponte, the once united soldiers of fortune were divided into
factions, which paralysed the central authority, and were aggravated
by the prolonged absence of the vicar-general in Sicily. One party
wished to place the duchies under the protection of Genoa, the natural
enemy of Venice, while two bitter rivals, Roger de Lluria and Pedro
de Pou, or Petrus de Puteo, the chief justice, an unjust judge and a
grasping and ambitious official, both claimed the title of vicar of
the absent vicar-general. Pou’s tyranny became so odious to Catalans
and Greeks alike that the former rose against him and slew him and his
chief adherents. The experiment of allowing the vicar-general as well
as the duke to remain an absentee had thus proved to be a failure;
Lluria, as the strongest man on the spot, was rewarded with the office
of vicar-general as the sole means of keeping the duchies intact. So
vulnerable did the Catalan state appear that the representatives of
Walter of Brienne, the Baron of Argos and the Count of Conversano,
renewed the attempt of their predecessor and, if we may believe the
Aragonese _Chronicle of the Morea_, actually occupied for a time the city
of Athens.

The fast approaching Turkish danger ought to have united all the Latin
states of the Levant against the common foe, to whom they all eventually
succumbed. An attempt at union was made by Pope Gregory XI, at the
instance of the Archbishop of Neopatras; and a congress of the Christian
rulers of the East was convened by him to meet at Thebes in 1373. We can
well imagine how the ancient city, the capital of the Athenian duchy, was
enlivened by the arrival of these more or less eminent persons, or their
envoys; how the Archbishops of Neopatras and Naxos preached a new crusade
against the infidel in the church of Our Lady; how every one applauded
their excellent advice; and how personal jealousies marred the results of
that, as of every subsequent congress on the Eastern question. Scarcely
had the delegates separated, when Nerio Acciajuoli, Baron of Corinth, the
boldest and astutest of them all, a worthy scion of that great Florentine
family of bankers established for a generation in the principality of
Achaia showed his appreciation of the value of unity by seizing Megara
as the first step on the way to Athens. It is an interesting proof of
the popularity of Catalan rule among those Greeks, at any rate, who held
office under the Company, that one of the warmest defenders of Megara was
a Greek notary, Demetrios Rendi, who afterwards rose to a position of
importance at Athens. Such was the weakness of the once terrible Catalan
state that the upstart Florentine’s attack remained unavenged. The fall
of Catalan rule was now only a question of time.

The death of the royal Duke of Athens and Neopatras, Frederick III, in
1377, yet further injured his Greek duchies. The duke had bequeathed them
to his young daughter Maria; but the succession was disputed by King
Pedro IV of Aragon, brother-in-law of Frederick III, who appealed to the
principle of the Salic law as laid down by that monarch’s predecessor,
Frederick II. The Catalans of Attica were naturally disinclined to accept
the government of a young girl at so critical a moment, when the Turk was
at their gates. All the three archbishops and the principal barons and
knights at once declared for the King of Aragon; but there was a minority
in favour of Maria, headed by the Venetian Marquess of Boudonitza, who
was eager to shake off the bond of vassalage to the vicar-general. The
burgesses, anxious for security, supported the Aragonese party. At this
moment, however, a third competitor appeared in the duchies in the shape
of the Navarrese Company, which sought to repeat the exploits of the
Catalans seventy years before. The researches of the learned historian
of the Catalans and Navarrese, Don Antonio Rubió y Lluch, have thrown
a flood of light upon this portion of the Athenian annals, and have
explained much that was hitherto obscure. Employed originally by King
Charles II of Navarre in his struggle with Charles V of France, the
Navarrese mercenaries had found their occupation gone when those two
rival sovereigns made peace in 1366. After many vicissitudes they found
congenial service, fourteen years later, under the banner of Jacques de
Baux, Prince of Achaia and the last titular Emperor of Constantinople,
who thought the moment had come to recover his ancestors’ dominions.

Accordingly, early in 1380, they directed their steps towards Attica,
under the command of Mahiot de Coquerel, chamberlain of the King of
Navarre, and Pedro de Superan, surnamed Bordo, or the bastard[93].
These experienced leaders found valuable assistance in the chiefs of
the Sicilian party; in the knights of St John who sallied forth from
the Morea to pillage the distracted duchy; in the Count of Conversano,
who seems to have now made a second attempt to regain his ancestors’
heritage; and in the mutual jealousies of Thebes and Athens, fomented by
the characteristic desire of the Athenians to be independent of Theban
supremacy. In Bœotia, one place after another fell before the adventurers
from Navarre; the noble castle of Livadia, which still preserves the
memory of its Catalan masters, was betrayed by a Greek from Durazzo; and
the capital was surrendered by two Spanish traitors. But the fortress of
Salona defied their assaults; and the Akropolis, thanks to the bravery of
its governor, Romeo de Bellarbe, and to the loyalty of the ever useful
notary, Demetrios Rendi, baffled the machinations of a little band of
malcontents. These severe checks broke the force of the soldiers of
Navarre; their appearance in Greece had alarmed all the petty potentates
of the Morea and the islands; and they withdrew to Bœotia, whence, some
two years later, they were finally dislodged. Thence they proceeded to
the Morea, where they carved out a principality, nominally for Jacques de
Baux, really for themselves.

The people of Athens and Salona, whose loyalty to the crown of Aragon
had saved the duchies, were well aware of the value of their services,
and were resolved to have their reward. Both communities accordingly
presented petitions to King Pedro; and these capitulations, drawn up in
the Catalan language, have fortunately been preserved in the archives
of Barcelona. Both the Athenian capitulations and those of Salona are
largely concerned with personal questions—requests that this or that
faithful person should receive privileges, lands, and honours, especially
his Majesty’s most loyal subject, the Greek, Demetrios Rendi. From the
date of the Frankish conquest no member of the conquered race had ever
risen to such eminence as this serviceable clerk, who now obtained broad
acres, goods, and serfs in both Attica and Bœotia. But there were
some clauses in the Athenian petition of a more general character. The
Athenians begged the central authorities at Thebes for a continuance of
their recently won independence, and for permission to bequeath their
property and serfs to the Catholic Church. Both these prayers met with
a blank refusal. King Pedro told the petitioners that he intended to
treat the duchies as an indivisible whole, and that home-rule for Athens
was quite out of the question. He also reminded them that the Catalans
were only a small garrison in Greece, and that, if holy Church became
possessed of their property, there would be no one left to defend the
country. He also observed that there was no hardship in this, for the
law of Athens was also that of his kingdoms of Majorca and Valencia. The
soundness of his Majesty’s statesmanship was obvious in the peculiar
conditions of the Catalan state; but this demand shows the influence of
the Church, an influence rarely found in the history of Frankish Greece.

Of all the dukes who had held sway over Athens, Pedro IV was the first
to express himself in enthusiastic terms about the Akropolis. The poetic
monarch—himself a troubadour and a chronicler—described that sacred rock
in eloquent language as “the most precious jewel that exists in the
world, and such as all the kings of Christendom together would imitate
in vain.” He had doubtless heard from the lips of Bishop Boyl of Megara,
who was chaplain in the chapel of St Bartholomew in the governor’s palace
on the Akropolis, a description of the ancient buildings, then almost
uninjured, which the bishop knew so well. Yet he considered twelve
men-at-arms sufficient defence for the brightest jewel in his crown.

Pedro now did his best to repair the ravages of the civil war; he
ordered a general amnesty for all the inhabitants of the duchies, and
showered rewards on faithful cities and individuals. Livadia, always a
privileged town in the Catalan period, not only received a confirmation
of its rights, but became the seat of the Order of St George in Greece,
an honour due to the fact that the head of the saint was then preserved
there. Most important of all for the future history of Greece, the king
granted exemption from taxes for two years to all Albanians who would
come and settle in the depleted duchies. This was the beginning of that
Albanian colonisation of Attica of which so many traces remain in the
population and the topography of the present day.

But the Albanian colonists came too late to save the Catalan domination.
From the heights of Akrocorinth and from the twin hills of Megara, Nerio
Acciajuoli, the Florentine upstart, had been attentively watching the
rapid dissolution of the Catalan power. He saw a land weakened by civil
war and foreign invasion; he knew that the titular duke was an absentee,
engrossed with more important affairs; he found the ducal viceroys
summoned away to Spain or Sicily, while the old families of the conquest
were almost as extinct as the French whom they had displaced. He was a
man of action, without scruples, without fear, and he resolved to strike.
Hiring a galley from the Venetian arsenal at Candia, under pretext of
sweeping Turkish corsairs from the two seas, he assembled a large force
of cavalry, and sought an excuse for intervention. The pride of a noble
dame was the occasion of the fall of Athens. Nerio asked the Dowager
Countess of Salona to give her daughter’s hand to his brother-in-law,
Pietro Saraceno, scion of a Sienese family long settled in Eubœa. The
Countess, in whose veins flowed the Imperial blood of the Cantacuzenes,
scornfully rejected the offer of the Florentine tradesman, and affianced
her daughter to a Serbian princeling of Thessaly. Franks and Greeks
at Salona were alike indignant at this alliance with a Slav; Nerio’s
horsemen invaded the county and the rest of the duchy, while his galley
went straight for the Piræus. In the absence of a guiding hand—for the
vicar-general was away in Spain—the Catalans made no serious resistance;
only the Akropolis and a few other castles held out. In vain the King of
Aragon despatched Pedro de Pau to take the command; that gallant officer,
the last Catalan governor of the noblest fortress in Europe, defended the
“Castle of Athens” for more than a twelvemonth, till, on May 2, 1388,
it too surrendered to the Florentine. In vain, on April 22, as a last
resource, it had been offered to the Countess of Salona, if she could
save it[94]. The new King of Aragon in vain promised the _Sindici_ of
Athens to visit “so famous a portion of his realm,” and announced that he
was sending a fleet to “confound his enemies.” We know not whether the
fleet ever arrived; if it did, it was unsuccessful. The sovereigns of
Aragon might gratify their vanity by appointing a titular vicar-general,
or even a duke, of the duchies whose names they still included in their
titles; once, indeed, the news of an expedition aroused alarm at Athens.
But it proved to be merely the usual tall talk of the Catalans; the flag
of Aragon never waved again from the ramparts of the Akropolis; the duchy
passed to the Acciajuoli.

The Catalan Grand Company disappeared from the face of Attica as rapidly
as rain from its light soil. Like their Burgundian predecessors, these
soldiers of fortune conquered but struck no root in the land. Some took
ship for Sicily; some, like Ballester, the last Catalan Archbishop of
Athens, are heard of in Cataluña; while others, among them the two
branches of the Fadrique family, lingered on for a time, the one at
Salona, the other at Ægina, where we find their connections, the Catalan
family of Caopena, ruling till 1451—a fact which explains the boast of a
much later Catalan writer, Peña y Farel, that his countrymen maintained
their “ancient splendour” in Greece till the middle of the fifteenth
century. Thither the Catalans conveyed the head of St George, and thence
it was removed to the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore at Venice, when
the Venetians succeeded the Caopena as masters of Ægina. Even to-day a
noble family in Zante bears the name of Katalianos; and in the island of
Santorin are three families of Spanish origin—those of Da Corogna, De
Cigalla, and Delenda, to which last the recent Catholic Archbishop of
Athens belonged. Besides the castles of Salona, Livadia, and Lamia, and
the row of towers between Livadia and Thebes, the Catalans have left a
memorial of their stay in Greece in the curious fresco of the Virgin and
Child, now in the Christian Archæological Museum at Athens, which came
from the church of the Prophet Elias near the gate of the Agora. Unlike
their predecessors, they minted no coins; unlike them, they had no ducal
court in their midst to stimulate luxury and refinement. Yet even in the
Athens of the Catalans there was some culture. A diligent Athenian priest
copied medical works; and we hear of the libraries belonging to the
Catholic bishops of Salona and Megara.

The Greeks long remembered with terror the Catalan domination. A Greek
girl, in a mediæval ballad, prays that her seducer may “fall into the
hands of the Catalans”; even a generation ago the name of Catalan
was used as a term of reproach in Attica and in Eubœa, in Akarnania,
Messenia, Lakonia, and at Tripolitsa. Yet, as we have seen, the Greeks
did not raise a finger to assist a French restoration when they had the
chance, while there are several instances of Greeks rendering valuable
aid to the Catalans against the men of Navarre. Harsher they may have
been than the French, but they probably gained their bad name before
they settled down in Attica, and became more staid and more tolerant as
they became respectable. In our own time they have found admirers and
apologists among their own countrymen, who are justly proud of the fact
that the most famous city in the world was for two generations governed
by the sons of Cataluña. And in the history of Athens, where nothing can
lack interest, they, too, are entitled to a place.


1. _I Libri Commemoriali._ Vols. I-VI. Ed. by R. Predelli. Venice: Reale
Deputazione Veneta di Storia Patria, 1876-1903.

2. _Libro de las Fechos et Conquistas del Principado de la Morea._ Ed. by
A. Morel-Fatio. Geneva, 1885.

3. _La Espedición y Dominación de los Catalanes en Oriente; Los Navarros
en Grecia._ By D. Antonio Rubió y Lluch. Barcelona, 1887.

4. _Sul Dominio dei Ducati di Atene e Neopatria dei Re di Sicilia._ By F.
Guardione. Palermo, 1895.

5. _Chronik des Edlen En Ramon Muntaner._ Ed. Karl Lanz. Stuttgart, 1844.

6. Οἱ Καταλάνοι ἐν τῇ Ἄνατολῇ (_The Catalans in the East_). By E. I.
Stamatiades. Athens, 1869.

7. _Diplomatarium Veneto-Levantinum._ Ed. G. M. Thomas and R. Predelli.
Venice, 1880-1899.

8. _De Historiæ Ducatus Atheniensis Fontibus._ By K. Hopf. 1852.

9. _Catalunya a Grecia._ By D. Antonio Rubió y Lluch. Barcelona, 1906.

10. Ἔγγραφα ἀναφερόμενα εἰς τὴν μεσαιωνικὴν Ἱστορία τῶν Ἀθηνῶν
(_Documents relating to the Mediæval History of Athens_). Ed. Sp. P.
Lampros. Athens, 1906.

And other works.



To students of Frankish Greece the church at Karditza in Bœotia is one of
the most interesting in the country, because it contains an inscription
referring to an important Frankish personage, Antoine le Flamenc, and
dating from the fatal year 1311, which witnessed the overthrow of the
Frankish Duchy of Athens in the swamps of the Bœotian Kephissos. Buchon
had twice[95] published this inscription; but, as I was anxious to
know in what condition it was and to have an exact facsimile of it, I
asked Mr D. Steel, the manager of the Lake Copais Company, to have a
fresh copy taken. Mr Steel kindly sent his Greek draughtsman to copy
the inscription, and at the same time visited the church and took the
photographs now published (Plate I, Figs. 1 and 2). Subsequently, in
1912, I visited the church with him and saw the inscription, which is
painted on the plaster of the wall. Mr Steel informed me that, when he
first saw the church about 1880, “the extension of the west end,” clearly
visible in the photographs, “had not yet been made, while at that end
there existed a sort of verandah set on pieces of ancient columns.”

On comparing the present copy (Text-fig. 1) with Buchon’s versions, it
will be noticed that not only are there several differences of spelling,
but that the French scholar omitted one important addition to the year
at the end of the inscription—the indiction, which is rightly given as
the 9th. This is a further proof that the date of the inscription is
1311, which corresponds with both the year 6819 and the 9th indiction. As
the battle of the Kephissos was fought on March 15th of that year, and
as Antoine le Flamenc is known to have survived the terrible carnage of
that day, we may surmise, as I have elsewhere suggested, that the work
commemorated in the inscription was “in pursuance of a vow made before he
went into action.”


Antoine le Flamenc, whose ancestors had settled in the Holy Land, is
several times mentioned during the first decade of the fourteenth
century. The _Livre de la Conqueste_[96] states that Guy II, Duke of
Athens, appointed him his “bailie and lieutenant” in Thessaly in 1303,
and describes him as _un des plus sages hommes de Romanie_ and _le plus
sage dou duchame_. The same passage alludes also to Jean le Flamenc,
his son, as receiving a post in Thessaly. Doubtless their experience of
the Wallachs, who then, as now, wandered as winter approached from the
Thessalian to the Bœotian Karditza, would specially commend these two
distinguished men for such duties. Two years later we find Antoine as
one of the witnesses of a deed[97] regarding the property of the Duchess
of Athens, just come of age at Thebes, in her father’s land of Hainault.
On April 2nd, 1309, both Antoine and Jean were present at the engagement
of the then widowed Duchess with Charles of Taranto at Thebes[98].
On the 23rd of a certain month (? September) of 1308, a Venetian
document[99] alludes to the intention of _Fiammengo Antonio_, together
with Guy II, Rocaforte, and Bonifacio da Verona, to _tentar l’impresa di
Negroponte_—in other words, to make an attempt upon that Venetian colony.
On August 11th, 1309, another Venetian letter, this time addressed to
_Egregio militi Antonio Fiammengo_, informs us that he had rented the
property of Pietro Correr, an absent canon of Thebes, and bids him not to
consign the rents to any but the rightful person. A second letter of the
same day, addressed to the bailie and councillors of Negroponte, mentions
him again in connection with this affair[100]. Finally, the list of Greek
dignitaries, with whom the Republic was in correspondence, originally
drawn up before the battle of the Kephissos and then corrected in 1313,
mentions _Ser Antonius Flamengo miles_[101]. As his name is not followed
by the word _decessit_ or _mortuus_, added to those who had fallen in the
battle, he was one of the very few survivors.

To these certain facts Hopf[102] added the assumption, based on no
evidence, that he was the “Frank settled in the East,” whom Isabella,
Marchioness of Boudonitza, married, and who, in 1286, disputed the
succession to that castle with her cousin.

As Buchon’s books are rare, I append his transcript of the inscription:

                       ΑΝΗΓΕΡΘΗ Ο ΘΥΙΩΣ ΚΕ ΠΝΣΕΠΤΟΣ
                         ΝΑΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΙΠΟΥ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΜ.Τ
                        ΓΕΩΡΓΙΟΥ ΔΗΑ ΣΙΝΕΡΓΙΑΣ ΚΕ
                          ΚΑΒΑΛΑΡΙ ΜΙΣΕΡ ΑΝΤΟΝΙ
                                 ΛΕ ΦΛΑΜΑ
                       ΟΔΕ ΤΕΛΟΣ ΕΥΡΕΝ ΗΣΤΟΡΗΑ ΑΥΤΑ
                        ΠΑΡΑ ΓΕΡΜΑΝΟΥ ΙΕΡΟΜΟΝΑΧΟΥ
                             ΚΕ ΚΑΘΕΓΟΥΜΕΝΟΥ
                        ΚΑΙ ΝΙΚΟΔΕΜΟΥ ΙΕΡΟΜΟΝΑΧΟΥ
                           ΤΟΝ ΑΥΤΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ ΤΟΥΣ
                            ΑΝΑΚΕΝΕΣΑΝΤΑΣ ΤΟΝ
                               ΗΚΟΝ ΤΟΥΤΟΝ.
                              + ΕΤΙ. ϛωΙΘ. +

[Illustration: PLATE I




The history of mediæval Athens is full of surprises. A Burgundian
nobleman founding a dynasty in the ancient home of heroes and
philosophers; a roving band of mercenaries from the westernmost
peninsula of Europe destroying in a single day the brilliant French
civilisation of a century; a Florentine upstart, armed with the modern
weapons of finance, receiving the keys of the Akropolis from a gallant
and chivalrous soldier of Spain—such are the tableaux which inaugurate
the three epochs of her Frankish annals. In an earlier paper in the
_Quarterly Review_ (January 1907) we dealt with the French and the
Catalan periods; we now propose to trace the third and last phase of
Latin rule over the most famous of Greek cities.

When, in the spring of 1388, Nerio Acciajuoli found himself master of
“the Castle of Setines,” as the Franks called the Akropolis, his first
care was to conciliate the Greeks, who formed by far the largest part of
his subjects, and who may have aided him to conquer the Athenian duchy.
For the first time since the day, nearly two centuries before, when
Akominatos had fled from his beloved cathedral to exile at Keos, a Greek
Metropolitan of Athens was allowed to reside in his see, not, indeed, on
the sacred rock itself, but beneath the shadow of the Areopagos. We may
be sure that this remarkable concession was prompted, not by sentiment,
but by policy, though the policy was perhaps mistaken. The Greek
hierarchy has in all ages been distinguished for its political character;
and the presence of a high Greek ecclesiastic at Athens at once provided
his fellow-countrymen with a national leader against the rulers, whom
they distrusted as foreigners and he hated as schismatics. He was ready
to call in the aid of the Turks against his fellow-Christians, just as in
modern Macedonia a Greek bishop abhorred the followers of the Bulgarian
Exarch far more than those of the Prophet. Thus early in Florentine
Athens were sown the seeds of the Turkish domination; thus, in the
words of the Holy Synod, “the Athenian Church seemed to have recovered
its ancient happiness such as it had enjoyed before the barbarian

Nor was it the Church alone which profited by the change of dynasty.
Greek for the first time became the official language of the Government;
Nerio and his accomplished daughter, the Countess of Cephalonia, used it
in their public documents; the Countess, the most masterful woman of the
Latin Orient, proudly signed herself, in the cinnabar ink of Byzantium,
“Empress of the Romans”; even Florentines settled at Athens assumed the
Greek translation of their surnames. Thus, a branch of the famous Medici
family was transplanted to Athens, became completely Hellenised under the
name of Iatros, and has left behind it a progeny which scarcely conceals,
beneath that of Iatropoulos, its connection with the mediæval rulers of
Florence. There is even evidence that the “elders” of the Greek community
were allowed a share in the municipal government of Florentine, no less
than in that of Turkish, Athens.

Hitherto the career of Nerio Acciajuoli had been one of unbroken
success. His star had guided him from Florence to Akrocorinth, and
from Akrocorinth to the Akropolis; his two daughters, one famed as
the most beautiful, the other as the most talented woman of her time,
were married to the chief Greek and to the leading Latin potentate of
Greece—to Theodore Palaiologos, Despot of Mistra, and to Carlo Tocco, the
Neapolitan noble who ruled over the County Palatine of Cephalonia. These
alliances seemed to guard him against every foe. He was now destined,
however, to experience one of those sudden turns of fortune which were
peculiarly characteristic of Frankish Greece. He was desirous of rounding
off his dominions by the acquisition of the castles of Nauplia and Argos,
which had been appendages of the French Duchy of Athens, but which,
during the Catalan period, had remained loyal to the family of Brienne
and to its heirs, the house of Enghien. In 1388, Marie d’Enghien, the
Lady of Argos, left a young and helpless widow, had transferred her
Argive estates to Venice, which thus began its long domination over the
ancient kingdom of Agamemnon. But, before the Venetian commissioner had
had time to take possession, Nerio had instigated his son-in-law, the
Despot of Mistra, to seize Argos by a _coup de main_. For this act of
treachery he paid dearly. It was not merely that the indignant Republic
broke off all commercial relations between her colonies and Athens,
but she also availed herself of the Navarrese Company, which was now
established in the Morea, as the fitting instrument of her revenge. The
Navarrese commander accordingly invited Nerio to a personal conference
on the question of Argos; and the shrewd Florentine, with a childlike
simplicity remarkable in one who had lived so many years in the Levant,
accepted the invitation, and deliberately placed himself in the power
of his enemies. The opportunity was too good to be lost; the law of
nations was mere waste-paper to the men of Navarre; Nerio was arrested
and imprisoned in a Peloponnesian prison. At once the whole Acciajuoli
clan set to work to obtain the release of their distinguished relative;
the Archbishop of Florence implored the intervention of the Pope; the
Florentine Government offered the most liberal terms to Venice; a message
was despatched to Amedeo of Savoy; most efficacious of all, the aid of
Genoa was invoked on behalf of one whose daughter was a Genoese citizen.
Nerio was released; but his ransom was disastrous to Athens. In order to
raise the requisite amount, he stripped the silver plates off the doors
of the Parthenon and seized the gold, silver and precious stones which
the piety of many generations had given to that venerable cathedral.

Nerio was once more free, but he was not long allowed to remain
undisturbed in his palace on the Akropolis. The Sicilian royal family
now revived its claims to the Athenian duchy, and even nominated a
phantom vicar-general[104]; and, what was far more serious, the Turks,
under the redoubtable Evrenos Beg, descended upon Attica. The overthrow
of the Serbian Empire on the fatal field of Kossovo had now removed
the last barrier between Greece and her future masters; and Bayezid,
“the Thunderbolt,” fell upon that unprotected land. The blow struck
Nerio’s neighbour, the Dowager Countess of Salona, the proud dame who
had so scornfully rejected his suit nine years before. Ecclesiastical
treachery and corruption sealed the fate of that ancient fief of the
Stromoncourts, the Deslaurs, and the Fadriques, amid tragic surroundings,
which a modern Greek drama has endeavoured to depict[105]. The Dowager
Countess had allowed her paramour, a priest, to govern in her name; and
this petty tyrant had abused his power to wring money from the shepherds
of Parnassos and to debauch the damsels of Delphi by his demoniacal
incantations in the classic home of the supernatural. At last he cast
his eyes on the fair daughter and full money-bags of the Greek bishop;
deprived of his child and fearing for his gold, the bishop roused his
flock against the monster and begged the Sultan to occupy a land so well
adapted for his Majesty’s favourite pastimes of hunting and riding as is
the plain at the foot of Parnassos. The Turks accepted the invitation;
the priest shut himself up in the noble castle, slew the bishop’s
daughter, and prepared to fight. But there was treachery among the
garrison; a man of Salona murdered the tyrant and offered his head to the
Sultan; and the Dowager Countess and her daughter in vain endeavoured
to appease the conqueror with gifts. Bayezid sent the young Countess to
his harem; her mother he handed over to the insults of his soldiery, her
land he assigned to one of his lieutenants. Her memory still clings to
the “pomegranate” cliff (ροιά) at Salona, whence, according to the local
legend, repeated to the author on the spot, “the princess” was thrown.

Nerio feared for his own dominions, whence the Greek Metropolitan
had fled—so it was alleged—to the Turkish camp, and had promised the
infidels the treasures of the Athenian Church in return for their aid.
For the moment, however, the offer of tribute saved the Athenian duchy;
but its ruler hastened to implore the aid of the Pope and of King
Ladislaus of Naples against the enemies of Christendom, and at the same
time sought formal recognition of his usurpation from that monarch, at
whose predecessors’ court the fortunes of his family had originated,
and who still pretended to be the suzerain of Achaia, and therefore of
its theoretical dependency, Athens. Ladislaus, nothing loth, in 1394
rewarded the self-seeking Florentine for having recovered the Duchy of
Athens “from certain of His Majesty’s rivals,” with the title of duke,
with remainder—as Nerio had no legitimate sons—to his brother Donato and
the latter’s heirs. Cardinal Angelo Acciajuoli, another brother, was to
invest the new duke with a golden ring; and it was expressly provided
that Athens should cease to be a vassal state of Achaia, but should
thenceforth own no overlord save the King of Naples. The news that one
of their clan had obtained the glorious title of Duke of Athens filled
the Acciajuoli with pride—such was the fascination which the name of
that city exercised in Italy. Boccaccio, half a century before, had
familiarised his countrymen with a title which Walter of Brienne, the
tyrant of Florence, had borne as of right, and which, as applied to Nerio
Acciajuoli, was no empty flourish of the herald’s college.

The first Florentine Duke of Athens did not, however, long survive the
realisation of his ambition. On September 25 of the same year he died,
laden with honours, the type of a successful statesman. But, as he lay
on his sick-bed at Corinth, the dying man seems to have perceived that
he had founded his fortunes on the sand. Pope and King might give him
honours and promises; they could not render effective aid against the
Turks. It was under the shadow of this coming danger that Nerio drew up
his remarkable will.

His first care was for the Parthenon, Our Lady of Athens, in which he
directed that his body should be laid to rest. He ordered its doors to be
replated with silver, its stolen treasures to be bought up and restored
to it; he provided that, besides the twelve canons of the cathedral,
there should be twenty priests to say masses for the repose of his
soul; and he bequeathed to the Athenian minster, for their support and
for the maintenance of its noble fabric, the city of Athens, with its
dependencies, and all the brood-mares of his valuable stud. Seldom has a
church received such a remarkable endowment; the Cathedral of Monaco,
built out of the earnings of a gaming-table, is perhaps the closest
parallel to the Parthenon maintained by the profits of a stud-farm.
Nerio made his favourite daughter, the Countess of Cephalonia, his
principal heiress; to her he bequeathed his castles of Megara, Sikyon,
and Corinth, while to his natural son, Antonio, he left the government
of Thebes, Livadia, and all beyond it. To the bastard’s mother, Maria
Rendi, daughter of the ever-serviceable Greek notary who had been so
prominent in the last years of the Catalan domination, and had retained
his position under the new dynasty, her lover granted the full franchise,
with the right to retain all her property, including, perhaps, the spot
between Athens and the Piræus which still preserves the name of her
family. Finally, he recommended his land to the care of the Venetian
Republic, which he begged to protect his heiress and to carry out his
dispositions for the benefit of Our Lady of Athens.

Donato Acciajuoli made no claim to succeed his brother in the Duchy of
Athens. He was Gonfaloniere of Florence and Senator of Rome; and he
preferred those safe and dignified positions in Italy to the glamour
of a ducal coronet in Greece, in spite of the natural desire of the
family that one of their name should continue to take his title from
Athens[106]. But it was obvious that a conflict would arise between the
sons-in-law of the late duke, for Nerio had practically disinherited his
elder daughter in favour of her younger but abler sister. Carlo Tocco of
Cephalonia at once demanded the places bequeathed to his wife, occupied
Megara and Corinth, and imprisoned the terrified executors in his island
till they had signed a document stating that he had carried out the terms
of his father-in-law’s will. Theodore Palaiologos, who contended that
Corinth had always been intended to be his after Nerio’s death, besieged
it with a large force, till Tocco, calling in a still larger Turkish
army, drove his brother-in-law from the Isthmus[107].

Meanwhile, the Greeks of Athens had followed the same fatal policy of
invoking the common enemy as arbiter of their affairs. It was not to be
expected that the Greek race, which had of late recovered its national
consciousness, and which had ever remained deeply attached to its
religion, would quietly acquiesce in the extraordinary arrangement by
which the city of Athens was made the property of the Catholic cathedral.
The professional jealousy and the _odium theologicum_ of the two great
ecclesiastics, Makarios, the Greek Metropolitan, and Ludovico da Prato,
the Latin archbishop, envenomed the feelings of the people. The Greek
divine summoned Timourtash, the Turkish commander, to rid Athens of
the _filioque_ clause; and his strange ally occupied the lower town.
The castle, however, was bravely defended by Matteo de Montona, one of
the late duke’s executors, who despatched a messenger in hot haste to
the Venetian colony of Negroponte, offering to hand over Athens to the
Republic if the governor would promise in her name to respect the ancient
franchises and customs of the Athenians. The bailie of Negroponte agreed,
subject to the approval of the home Government, and sent a force which
dispersed the Turks, and, at the close of 1394, for the first time in
history, hoisted the lion-banner of the Evangelist on the ancient castle
of Athens.

The Republic decided, after mature consideration, to accept the offer of
the Athenian commander. No sentimental argument, no classical memories,
weighed with the sternly practical statesmen of the lagoons. The romantic
King of Aragon had waxed enthusiastic over the glories of the Akropolis;
and sixty years later the greatest of Turkish Sultans contemplated his
conquest with admiration. But the sole reason which decided the Venetian
Government to annex Athens was its proximity to the Venetian colonies,
and the consequent danger which might ensue to them if it fell into
Turkish or other hands. Thus Venice took over the Akropolis in 1395,
not because it was a priceless monument, but because it was a strong
fortress; she saved the Athenians, not, as Cæsar had done, for the sake
of their ancestors, but for that of her own colonies, “the pupil of her
eye.” From the financial point of view, indeed, Athens could not have
been a valuable asset. The Venetians confessed that they did not know
what its revenues and expenses were; and, pending a detailed report from
their governor, they ordered that only eight priests should serve “in the
Church of St Mary of Athens”—an act of economy due to the fact that some
of Nerio’s famous brood-mares had been stolen and the endowment of the
cathedral consequently diminished. On such accidents did the maintenance
of the Parthenon depend in the Middle Ages.

We are fortunately in a better position than was the Venetian Government
to judge of the contemporary state of Athens. At the very time when its
fate was under discussion an Italian notary spent two days in that city;
and his diary is the first account which any traveller has left us, from
personal observation, of its condition during the Frankish period[108].
“The city,” he says, “which nestles at the foot of the castle hill,
contains about a thousand hearths” but not a single inn, so that, like
the archæologist in some country towns of modern Greece, he had to seek
the hospitality of the clergy. He describes “the great hall” of the
castle (the Propylaia), with its thirteen columns, and tells how the
churchwardens personally conducted him over “the Church of St Mary,”
which had sixty columns without and eighty within. On one of the latter
he was shown the cross made by Dionysios the Areopagite at the moment
of the earthquake which attended our Lord’s passion; four others, which
surrounded the high altar, were of jasper and supported a dome, while the
doors came—so he was told—from Troy. The pious Capuan was then taken to
see the relics of the Athenian cathedral—the figure of the Virgin painted
by St Luke, the head of St Makarios, a bone of St Denys of France, an
arm of St Justin, and a copy of the Gospels written by the hand of St
Elena—relics which the wife of King Pedro IV of Aragon had in vain begged
the last Catalan archbishop to send her fifteen years before[109].

He saw, too, in a cleft of the wall, the light which never fails, and
outside, beyond the castle ramparts, the two pillars of the choragic
monument of Thrasyllos, between which there used to be “a certain idol”
in an iron-bound niche, gifted with the strange power of drowning hostile
ships as soon as they appeared on the horizon—an allusion to the story
of the Gorgon’s head, mentioned by Pausanias, which we find in later
mediæval accounts of Athens. In the city below he noticed numbers of
fallen columns and fragments of marble; he alludes to the Stadion; and
he visited the “house of Hadrian,” as the temple of Olympian Zeus was
popularly called. He completed his round by a pilgrimage to the so-called
“Study of Aristotle, whence scholars drank to obtain wisdom”—the
aqueduct, whose marble beams, commemorating the completion of Hadrian’s
work by Antoninus Pius, were then to be seen at the foot of Lykabettos,
and, after serving in Turkish times as the lintel of the Boubounistra
gate, now lie, half buried by vegetation, in the palace garden. But the
fear of the prowling Turks and the feud between Nerio’s two sons-in-law
rendered travelling in Attica difficult; the notary traversed the Sacred
Way in fear of his life, and was not sorry to find himself in the castle
of Corinth, though the houses in that city were few and mean, and the
total population did not exceed fifty families.

The Venetian Government next arranged for the future administration of
its new colony. The governor of Athens was styled _podestà_ and captain,
and was appointed for the usual term of two years at an annual salary of
£70, out of which he had to keep a notary, an assistant, four servants,
two grooms, and four horses. Four months elapsed before a noble was
found ambitious of residing in Athens on these terms, and of facing the
difficult situation there. Attica was so poor that he had to ask his
Government for a loan; the Turkish corsairs infested the coast; the
Greek Metropolitan, though now under lock and key at Venice, still found
means of communicating with his former allies. Turkish writers even
boast—and a recently published document confirms their statement—that
their army captured “the city of the sages” in 1397; and an Athenian
dirge represented Athens mourning the enslavement of the husbandmen of
her suburb of Sepolia, who will no longer be able to till the fields of

The Turkish invaders came and went; but another and more obstinate enemy
ever watched the little Venetian garrison on the Akropolis. The bastard
Antonio Acciajuoli fretted within the walls of his Theban domain, and was
resolved to conquer Athens, as his father had done before him. In vain
did Venice, alarmed by the reports of her successive governors, raise the
numbers of the garrison to fifty-six men; in vain did she order money
to be spent on the defences of the castle; in vain did she attempt to
pacify the discontented Athenians, who naturally preferred the rule of
an Acciajuoli who was half a Greek to that of a Venetian noble. By the
middle of 1402 Antonio was master of the lower city; it seemed that,
unless relief came at once, he would plant his banner on the Akropolis.
The Senate, at this news, ordered the bailie of Negroponte to offer a
reward for the body of the bold bastard, alive or dead, to lay Thebes
in ashes, and to save the castle of Athens. That obedient official set
out at the head of six thousand men to execute the second of these
injunctions, only to fall into an ambush which his cunning enemy had
laid in the pass of Anephorites. Venice, now alarmed for the safety of
her most valuable colony far more than for that of Athens, hastily sent
commissioners to make peace. But Antonio calmly continued the siege of
the Akropolis, till at last, seventeen months after his first appearance
before the city, when the garrison had eaten the last horse, and had been
reduced to devour the plants which grew on the castle rock, its gallant
defenders, Vitturi and Montona, surrendered with the honours of war. The
half-caste adventurer had beaten the great Republic.

Venice attempted to recover by diplomacy what she had lost by arms.
She possessed in Pietro Zeno, the baron of Andros, a diplomatist of
unrivalled experience in the tortuous politics of the Levant. Both he
and Antonio were well aware that the fate of Athens depended upon the
Sultan; and to his Court they both repaired, armed with those pecuniary
arguments which have usually proved convincing to Turkish ministers. The
diplomatic duel was lengthy; but at last the Venetian gained one of those
paper victories so dear to ambassadors and so worthless to practical men.
The Sultan promised to see that Athens was restored to the Republic, but
he took no steps to perform his promise; while Antonio, backed by the
Acciajuoli influence in Italy, by the Pope, and the King of Naples, held
his ground. Venice wisely resigned herself to the loss of a colony which
it would have been expensive to recover. To save appearances, Antonio was
induced to become her vassal for “the land, castle, and place of Athens,
in modern times called Sythines[110],” sending every year, in token of
his homage, a silk _pallium_ from the Theban manufactories to the church
of St Mark—a condition which he was most remiss in fulfilling.

The reign of Antonio Acciajuoli—the longest in the history of Athens
save that of the recent King of the Hellenes—was a period of prosperity
and comparative tranquillity for that city. While all around him
principalities and powers were shaken to their foundations; while that
ancient warden of the northern March of Athens, the Marquisate of
Boudonitza, was swept away for ever; while Turkish armies invaded the
Morea, and annexed the Albanian capital to the Sultan’s empire; while
the principality of Achaia disappeared from the map in the throes of a
tardy Greek revival, the statesmanlike ruler of Athens skilfully guided
the policy of his duchy. At times even his experienced diplomacy failed
to avert the horrors of a Turkish raid; on one occasion he was forced to
join, as a Turkish vassal, in an invasion of the Morea. But, as a rule,
the dreaded Mussulmans spared this half-Oriental, who was a past-master
in the art of managing the Sultan’s ministers. From the former masters
of Athens, the Catalans and the Venetians, he had nothing to fear. Once,
indeed, he received news that Alfonso V of Aragon, who never forgot
to sign himself “Duke of Athens and Neopatras,” intended to put one
of his Catalan subjects into possession of those duchies. But Venice
reassured him with a shrewd remark that the Catalans usually made much
ado about nothing. On her part the Republic was friendly to the man who
had supplanted her. She gave Antonio permission, in case of danger, to
send the valuable Acciajuoli stud—for, like his father, he was a good
judge of horse-flesh—to the island of Eubœa; and she ordered her bailie
to “observe the ancient commercial treaties between the duchy and the
island, which he would find in the chancery of Negroponte.” But when
he sought to lay the foundations of a navy, and strove to prevent the
fruitful island of Ægina, then the property of the Catalan family of
Caopena, from falling into the hands of Venice, he met with a severe
rebuff. To the Florentine Duke of Athens Ægina, as a Venetian colony,
might well seem, as it had seemed to Aristotle, the “eyesore of the

With his family’s old home, Florence, Antonio maintained the closest
relations. In 1422 a Florentine ambassador arrived in Athens with
instructions to confer the freedom of the great Tuscan Commonwealth upon
the Duke; to inform him that Florence, having now, by the destruction of
Pisa and the purchase of Leghorn, become a maritime power, intended to
embark in the Levant trade; and to ask him, therefore, for the benefit
of the most-favoured-nation clause. Antonio gladly made all Florentine
ships free of his harbours, and reduced the usual customs dues in favour
of all Florentine merchants throughout his dominions. Visitors from
Tuscany, when they landed at Riva d’Ostia, on the Gulf of Corinth, must,
indeed, have felt themselves in the land of a friendly prince, though
his Court on the Akropolis presented a curious mixture of the Greek and
the Florentine elements. Half a Greek himself, Antonio chose both his
wives from that race—the first the beautiful daughter of a Greek priest,
to whom he had lost his heart in the mazes of a wedding-dance at Thebes;
the second an heiress of the great Messenian family of Melissenos, whose
bees and bells are not the least picturesque escutcheon in the heraldry
of mediæval Greece. As he had no children, numbers of the Acciajuoli clan
came to Athens with an eye to the ducal coronet, which had conferred
such lustre upon the steel-workers and bankers of Brescia and Florence.
One cousin settled down at the castle of Sykaminon, near Oropos, which
had belonged to the Knights of the Hospital, and served his kinsman
as an ambassador; another became bishop of Cephalonia, the island of
that great lady, the Countess Francesca, whom Froissart describes as a
mediæval Penelope, whose maids of honour made silken coverings so fine
that there was none like them, and whose splendid hospitality delighted
the French nobles on their way home from a Turkish prison after the
battle of Nikopolis. Two other Acciajuoli were archbishops of Thebes;
and towards the close of Antonio’s long reign a second generation of the
family had grown up in Greece. With such names as Acciajuoli, Medici,
Pitti, and Machiavelli at the Athenian Court, Attica had, indeed, become
a Florentine colony.

Antonio and his Florentine relatives must have led a merry life in their
delectable duchy. In the family correspondence we find allusions to
hawking and partridge shooting; and the ducal stable provided good mounts
for the young Italians who scoured the plains of Attica and Bœotia in
quest of game. The cultured Florentines were delighted with Athens and
the Akropolis. “You have never seen,” wrote Nicolò Machiavelli to one
of his cousins, “a fairer land nor yet a fairer fortress than this.” It
was there, in the venerable Propylaia, that Antonio had fixed his ducal
residence. No great alterations were required to convert the classic work
of Mnesikles into a Florentine palace. All that the Acciajuoli seem to
have done was to cut the two vestibules in two so as to make four rooms,
to fill up the spaces between the pillars with walls—removed so recently
as 1835—and to add a second storey, the joist-sockets of which are still
visible, to both that building and the Pinakotheke, which either then, or
in the Turkish times, was crowned with battlements.

To the Florentine dukes is also usually ascribed the construction of
the square “Frankish tower,” which stood opposite the Temple of Nike
Apteros till it was pulled down in 1874 by one of those acts of pedantic
barbarism which considers one period of history alone worthy of study,
instead of regarding every historical monument as a precious landmark
in the evolution of a nation. We can well believe that the Florentine
watchman from the projecting turret daily swept sea and land in all
directions, save where the massive cathedral of Our Lady shut out part
of Hymettos from his view; and at night the beacon-fire kindled on
the summit warned Akrocorinth of the approach of Turkish horsemen or
rakish-looking galleys. Nor did the Italians limit their activity as
builders to the castle-crag alone. Chalkokondyles expressly says that
Antonio’s long and peaceful administration enabled him to beautify the
city. There is evidence that the dukes possessed a beautiful villa at
the spring of Kallirrhoe, and that close by they were wont to pray in
the church of St Mary’s-on-the-rock, once a temple of Triptolemos. More
than two centuries later a French ambassador heard mass in this church;
and one of his companions found the lion rampant and the three lilies
of the Florentine bankers, which visitors to the famous Certosa know so
well, still guarding—_auspicium melioris ævi_—the entrance of the Turkish

Of literary culture there are some few traces in Florentine Athens. It
was in Antonio’s reign that Athens gave birth to her last historian,
Laonikos Chalkokondyles, the Herodotos of mediæval Greece, who told the
story of the new Persian invasion, and to his brother Demetrios, who did
so much to diffuse Greek learning in Italy. Another of Antonio’s subjects
is known to scholars as a copyist of manuscripts at Siena; and it is
obvious that the two Italian Courts of Athens and Joannina were regarded
as places where professional men might find openings. A young Italian
writes from Arezzo to ask if either Antonio Acciajuoli or Carlo Tocco
could give him a chair of jurisprudence, logic, medicine, or natural or
moral philosophy[112]. Unfortunately, we are not told whether the modest
request of this universal genius was granted or not.

Thus, for a long period, the Athenian duchy enjoyed peace and prosperity,
broken only by a terrible visitation of the plague and further diminished
by emigration—that scourge of modern Greece. But the modern Greeks have
not the twin institutions, serfdom and slavery, on which mediæval society
rested. Even the enlightened Countess of Cephalonia presented a young
female slave to one of her cousins, with full power to sell or otherwise
dispose of her as he pleased. Antonio did all in his power to retain
the useful Albanians, who had entered his dominions in large numbers
after the capture of the Despotat of Epeiros by Carlo Tocco in 1418,
and thus rendered a service to Attica, the results of which are felt to
this present hour. It is to the wise policy of her last Aragonese and
her second Florentine duke that that Albanian colonisation is due which
has given “the thin soil” of Attica numbers of sturdy cultivators, who
still speak Albanian as well as Greek, and still preserve in such village
names as Spata, Liosia, and Liopesi, the memory of the proud Albanian
chieftains of Epeiros. Greek influence, too, grew steadily under a
dynasty which was now half Hellenised. The notary and chancellor of the
city continued to be a Greek; and a Greek _archon_ was, for the first
time since the Frankish conquest, to play a leading part in Athenian

       *       *       *       *       *

When one morning in 1435, after a reign of thirty-two years, Antonio’s
attendants found him dead in his bed, a Greek as well as an Italian party
disputed the succession. The Italian candidate, young Nerio, eldest son
of Franco Acciajuoli, baron of Sykaminon, whom the late Duke had adopted
as his heir, occupied the city. But the Duchess Maria Melissene and her
kinsman, Chalkokondyles, father of the historian and the leading man
of Athens, held the castle. Well aware, however, that the Sultan was
the real master of the situation, the Greek _archon_ set out for the
Turkish Court to obtain Murad II’s consent to this act of usurpation.
The Sultan scornfully rejected the bribes of the Athenian diplomatist,
threw him into prison, and sent his redoubtable captain, Tourakhan, to
occupy Thebes. Even then the Greek Duchess did not abandon all hope of
securing Athens for the national cause. Through the historian Phrantzes
she made an arrangement with Constantine Palaiologos, the future Emperor,
then one of the Despots of the Morea, and the foremost champion of
Hellenism, that he should become Duke of Athens, and that she should
receive compensation near her old home in the Peloponnese. This scheme
would have united nearly all Greece under the Imperial family; but it
was doomed to failure. There was a section of Greeks at Athens hostile
to Chalkokondyles—for party spirit has always characterised Greek public
life—and this section joined the Florentine party, decoyed the Duchess
out of the Akropolis, and proclaimed Nerio II. The marriage of the new
Duke with the Dowager Duchess[114] and the banishment of the family of
Chalkokondyles secured the internal peace of the distracted city; and the
Sultan was well content to allow a Florentine princeling to retain the
phantom of power so long as he paid his tribute with regularity.

The weak and effeminate Nerio II was exactly suited for the part of a
Turkish puppet. But, like many feeble rulers, the “lord of Athens and
Thebes” seems to have made himself unpopular by his arrogance; and a few
years after his accession he was deprived of his throne by an intrigue
of his brother, Antonio II. He then retired to Florence, the home of his
family, where he had property, to play the part of a prince in exile, if
exile it could be called. There he must have been living at the time of
the famous Council, an echo of whose decisions we hear in distant Athens,
where a Greek priest, of rather more learning than most of his cloth,
wrote to the Œcumenical Patriarch on the proper form of public prayer
for the Pope. A bailie—so we learn from one of his letters[115]—was then
administering the duchy, for Antonio had died in 1441; his infant son,
Franco, was absent at the Turkish Court; and his subjects had recalled
their former lord to the Akropolis. There he was seen, three years later,
by the first antiquary who ever set foot in Frankish Athens, Cyriacus of
Ancona, the Pausanias of mediæval Greece.

That extraordinary man, like Schliemann, a merchant by profession but
an archæologist by inclination, had already once visited Athens. In
1436 he had stayed there for a fortnight as the guest of a certain
Antonelli Balduini; but on that occasion he was too much occupied copying
inscriptions to seek an audience of the Duke. He, too, like the Capuan
notary, went to see “Aristotle’s Study”; he describes the “house” or
“palace of Hadrian”; he alludes to the statue of the Gorgon on the south
of the Akropolis. But of contemporary Athens, apart from the monuments,
he tells us little beyond the facts that it possessed four gates and
that it had “new walls”—a statement corroborated by that of another
traveller thirty years later, which might indicate the so-called wall of
Valerian as the work of the Acciajuoli[116]. Of the inhabitants he says
nothing; as living Greeks, they had for him no interest; was he not an

In February 1444 the worthy Cyriacus revisited Athens; and on this
occasion, accompanied by the Duke’s cousin and namesake, he went to pay
his respects to “Nerio Acciajuoli of Florence, then prince of Athens,”
whom he “found on the Akropolis, the lofty castle of the city[117].”
Again, however, the archæological overpowered the human interest; and he
hastened away from the ducal presence to inspect the Propylaia and the
Parthenon. His original drawing of the west front of the latter building
has been preserved in a manuscript, which formerly belonged to the Duke
of Hamilton, but is now in the Berlin Museum, and is the earliest known
pictorial reproduction of that splendid temple[118]. Other Athenian
sketches may be seen in the Barberini manuscript of 1465, now at the
Vatican, which contains the diagrams of San Gallo; and it seems that the
eminent architect, who took the explanatory text almost _verbatim_ from
the note-books of Cyriacus, also copied the latter’s drawings.

The travels of the antiquary of Ancona in Greece demonstrate an
interesting fact, which has too often been ignored, that the Latin rulers
of the Levant were sometimes men of culture and taste. Crusino Sommaripa,
the baron of Paros, took a pride in showing his visitor some marble
statues which he had had excavated, and allowed him to send a marble
head and leg to his friend Giustiniani-Banca, of Chios, a connoisseur of
art who composed Italian verses in his “Homeric” villa. So deeply was
Cyriacus moved by Crusino’s culture and kindness that he too burst out
into an Italian poem, of which happily only one line has been published.
Dorino Gattilusio, the Genoese lord of Lesbos, aided him in his
investigation of that island; the Venetian governor of Tenos escorted him
in his state-galley to inspect the antiquities of Delos; and Carlo Tocco
II, whom he quaintly describes as “King of the Epeirotes,” gave him every
facility for visiting the ruins of Dodona, and was graciously pleased
to cast his royal eye over the manuscript account of the antiquary’s
journey[119]. Another of the Tocchi is known to have employed a Greek
priest to copy for him the works of Origen and Chrysostom; and in the
remote Peloponnesian town of Kalavryta Cyriacus met a kindred soul, who
possessed a large library from which he lent the wandering archæologist
a copy of Herodotos. Thus, on the eve of the Turkish conquest, Greece
was by no means so devoid of culture as has sometimes been too hastily
assumed. It is clear, on the contrary, that her Frankish princes were by
no means indifferent to their surroundings, and that the more enlightened
of her own sons were conscious of her great past.

The very year of the antiquary’s second visit to Athens witnessed the
last attempt of a patriotic and ambitious Greek to recover all Greece
for his race. The future Emperor Constantine was now Despot of Mistra,
the mediæval Sparta; and he thought that the moment had at last come for
renewing the plan for the annexation of the Athenian duchy which had
failed nine years before. The Turks, hard pressed by the Hungarians and
Poles, defeated by “the white knight of Wallachia” at Nish, defied by
Skanderbeg in the mountains of Albania, and threatened by the appearance
of a Venetian fleet in the Ægean, could no longer protect their creature
at Athens. Ere long the last Constantine entered the gates of Thebes
and forced Nerio II to pay him tribute. The Court of Naples heard that
he had actually occupied Athens; and Alfonso V of Aragon, who had never
forgotten that he was still titular Duke of Athens and Neopatras, wrote
at once to Constantine demanding the restitution of the two duchies
to himself, and sent the Marquess of Gerace to receive them from the
conqueror’s hands. Scarcely, however, had the letter been despatched when
the fatal news of the great Turkish victory at Varna reached the writer.
We hear nothing more of Gerace’s mission, for all recognised that the
fate of Athens now depended upon the will of the victorious Sultan. To
Murad II the shadowy claims of the house of Aragon and the efforts of the
house of Palaiologos were alike indifferent.

Nerio’s attitude at this crisis was pitiful in the extreme. The Turks
punished him for having given way to Constantine. Constantine again
threatened him for his obsequiousness in promising to renew his tribute
to the Turks. But the Sultan, true to the traditional Turkish policy
of supporting the weaker of two rival Christian nationalities, forced
the Greek Despot to evacuate the Florentine duchy. Nerio had the petty
satisfaction of accompanying his lord and master to the Isthmus and of
witnessing the capture of the famous Six-mile Rampart, in which the
Greeks had vainly trusted, by the Serbian janissaries. Five years later,
in 1451, a Venetian despatch gives us a last and characteristic glimpse
of the wretched Nerio, when the Venetian envoy to the new Sultan,
Mohammed II, is instructed to ask that potentate if he will compel his
vassal, “the lord of Sithines and Stives,” to settle the pecuniary claims
of two Venetians[120].

Nerio’s death was followed by one of those tragedies in which the women
of Frankish Greece were so often protagonists, and of which a modern
dramatist might well avail himself. After the death of his first wife,
Nerio II had married a passionate Venetian beauty, Chiara Zorzi, or
Giorgio, one of the daughters of the baron of Karystos, or Castel
Rosso, in the south of Eubœa, who sprang from the former Marquesses
of Boudonitza. The Duchess Chiara bore him a son, Francesco, who was
unfortunately still a minor at the time of his father’s death. The
child’s mother possessed herself of the regency and persuaded the Porte,
by the usual methods, to sanction her usurpation. Soon afterwards,
however, there visited Athens on some commercial errand a young Venetian
noble, Bartolommeo Contarini, whose father had been governor of the
Venetian colony of Nauplia. The Duchess fell in love with her charming
visitor, and bade him aspire to her hand and land. Contarini replied
that alas! he had left a wife behind him in his palace on the lagoons.
To the Lady of the Akropolis, a figure who might have stepped from a
play of Æschylus, the Venetian wife was no obstacle. It was the age of
great crimes. Contarini realised that Athens was worth a murder, poisoned
his spouse, and returned to enjoy the embraces and the authority of the

But the Athenians soon grew tired of this Venetian domination. They
complained to Mohammed II; the great Sultan demanded explanations; and
Contarini was forced to appear with his stepson, whose guardian he
pretended to be, at the Turkish Court. There he found a dangerous rival
in the person of Franco Acciajuoli, only son of the late Duke Antonio II
and cousin of Francesco, a special favourite of Mohammed and a willing
candidate for the Athenian throne. When the Sultan heard the tragic
story of Chiara’s passion, he ordered the deposition of both herself and
her husband, and bade the Athenians accept Franco as their lord. Young
Francesco was never heard of again. But the tragedy was not yet over.
Franco had no sooner assumed the government of Athens than he ordered the
arrest of his aunt Chiara, threw her into the dungeons of Megara, and
there had her mysteriously murdered. A picturesque legend current three
centuries later at Athens makes Franco throttle her with his own hands as
she knelt invoking the aid of the Virgin, and then cut off her head with
his sword[121]; so deep was the impression which her fate made upon the
popular imagination.

The legend tells us how her husband, “the Admiral,” had come with many
ships to the Piræus to rescue her, but arrived too late. Unable to save,
he resolved to avenge her, and laid the grim facts before the Sultan.
Mohammed II, indignant at the conduct of his _protégé_, but not sorry,
perhaps, of a pretext for destroying the remnants of Frankish rule
at Athens, ordered Omar, son of Tourakhan, the governor of Thessaly,
to march against the city. The lower town offered no resistance, for
its modern walls had but a narrow circumference, and its population
and resources were scanty. Nature herself seemed to fight against
the Athenians. On May 29, the third anniversary of the capture of
Constantinople, a comet appeared in the sky; a dire famine followed, so
that the people were reduced to eat roots and grass. On June 4, 1456,
the town fell into the hands of the Turks[122]. But the Akropolis,
which was reputed impregnable, long held out. In vain the Constable of
Athens and some of the citizens offered the castle to Venice through one
of the Zorzi family; the Republic ordered the bailie of Negroponte to
keep the offer open, but took no steps to save the most famous fortress
in Christendom; in vain he summoned one Latin prince after another to
his aid. From the presence of an Athenian ambassador at the Neapolitan
Court[123] we may infer that Alfonso V of Aragon, the titular “Duke of
Athens,” was among their number. The papal fleet, which was despatched
to the Ægean, did not even put into the Piræus. Meanwhile Omar, after a
vain attempt to seduce the garrison from its allegiance, reminded Franco
that sooner or later he must restore Athens to the Sultan who gave it.
“Now, therefore,” added the Turkish commander, “if thou wilt surrender
the Akropolis, His Majesty offers thee the land of Bœotia, with the city
of Thebes, and will allow thee to take away the wealth of the Akropolis
and thine own property.” Franco only waited till Mohammed had confirmed
the offer of his subordinate, and then quitted the castle of Athens, with
his wife and his three sons, for ever. At the same time the last Catholic
archbishop, Nicolò Protimo of Eubœa, left the cathedral of Our Lady. It
was not till 1875 that a Latin prelate again resided at Athens.

The great Sultan, so his Greek biographer, Kritoboulos, tells us, was
filled with a desire to see the city of the philosophers. Mohammed knew
Greek, and had heard and read much about the wisdom and marvellous
works of the ancient Athenians; we may surmise that Cyriacus of Ancona
had told him of the Athenian monuments when he was employed as reader
to his Majesty during the siege of Constantinople[124]. This strange
“Philhellene”—for so Kritoboulos audaciously describes the conqueror of
Hellas—longed to visit the places where the heroes and sages of classic
Athens had walked and talked, and at the same time to examine, with
a statesman’s eye, the position of the city and the condition of its
harbours. In the autumn of 1458, on his return from punishing the Greek
Despots of the Morea, he had an opportunity of achieving his wish. When
he arrived at the gates (if we may believe a much later tradition[125]),
the Abbot of Kaisariane, the monastery which still nestles in one of the
folds of Hymettos, handed him the keys of the city. There is nothing
improbable in the story, for the Greek Metropolitan, Isidore, had fled to
the Venetian Island of Tenos; and the abbot may therefore have been the
most important Greek dignitary left at Athens. The Sultan devoted four
days to visiting his new possession, “of all the cities in his Empire
the dearest to him,” as the Athenian Chalkokondyles proudly says. But of
all that he saw he admired most the Akropolis, whose ancient and recent
buildings he examined “with the eyes of a scholar, a Philhellene, and a
great sovereign.” Like Pedro IV of Aragon before him, he was proud to
possess such a jewel, and in his enthusiasm he exclaimed, “How much,
indeed, do we not owe to Omar, the son of Tourakhan!”

The conquered Athenians were once again saved by their ancestors. Like
his Roman prototype, Mohammed II treated them humanely, granted all their
petitions, and gave them many and various privileges. So late as the
seventeenth century there were Athenians who could show patents of fiscal
exemption, issued to their forebears by the conqueror. If, however, the
Greek clergy had hoped that the great cathedral would be restored to
the Orthodox church, they were disappointed. The Parthenon, by a third
transformation, was converted into a mosque; and soon, from the tapering
minaret which rose above it, the muezzin summoned the faithful to the
_Ismaïdi_, or “house of prayer.” A like fate befell the church which had
served as the Orthodox cathedral during the Frankish domination, but
which received, in honour of the Sultan’s visit, the name of _Fethijeh
Jamisi_, or “Mosque of the Conqueror,” and which still preserves, amid
the squalid surroundings of the military bakery, the traces of its former

The anonymous treatise on “The Theatres and Schools of Athens,” which
was probably composed by some Greek at this moment, perhaps to serve as
a guide-book for the distinguished visitor, gives us a last glimpse of
Frankish Athens. The choragic monument of Lysikrates was still known as
“the lantern of Demosthenes”; the Tower of the Winds was supposed to be
“the School of Sokrates”; the gate of Athena Archegetis was transformed
in common parlance into “the palace of Themistokles”; the Odeion of
Perikles was called “the School of Aristophanes”; and that of Herodes
Atticus was divided into “the palaces of Kleonides and Miltiades.” The
spots where once had stood the houses of Thucydides, Solon, and Alkmaion
were well known to the omniscient local antiquary, who unhesitatingly
converts the Temple of Wingless Victory into “a small school of
musicians, founded by Pythagoras.”

On the fifth day after his arrival the heir of these great men left
Athens for Thebes, the abode of his vassal Franco, who must have heaved
a sigh of relief when his terrible visitor, after a minute examination
of Bœotia, set out for Macedonia. For two years longer he managed to
retain his Theban dominions, from which he received a revenue as large
as that which he had formerly enjoyed, till, in 1460, Mohammed, after
finally destroying the two Greek principalities of the Morea, revisited
Athens. There the Sultan heard a rumour that some Athenians had conspired
to restore their Florentine lord. This decided Franco’s fate. At the
moment he was serving, as the man of the Turk, with a regiment of Bœotian
cavalry in Mohammed’s camp. His suzerain ordered him to join in an attack
which he meditated upon the surviving fragments of the ancient county
of Cephalonia, the domain of the Tocchi. Franco shrank from fighting
against his fellow-countryman; and a curious letter has recently been
published[126] in which, for this very reason, he offered his services
as a _condottiere_ to Francesco Sforza of Milan for the sum of 10,000
ducats a year. But he was forced to obey; he did his pitiable task, and
repaired to the headquarters of Zagan Pasha, the governor of the Morea,
unconscious that the latter had orders to kill him. The Pasha invited him
to his tent, where he detained him in conversation till nightfall; but,
as the unsuspecting Frank was on his way back to his own pavilion, the
governor’s guards seized and strangled him. Such was the sorry end of the
last “Lord of Thebes.” Mohammed annexed all Bœotia, and thus obliterated
the last trace of the Duchy of Athens.

Franco’s three sons were enrolled in the corps of janissaries, where
one of them showed military and administrative ability of so high an
order as to win the favour of his sovereign. Their mother, a Greek of
noble lineage and famed for her beauty, became the cause of a terrible
tragedy which convulsed alike Court and Church. Amoiroutses, the former
minister and betrayer of the Greek Empire of Trebizond, fell desperately
in love with the fair widow, to whom he addressed impassioned verses, and
swore, though he was already married, to wed her or die. The Œcumenical
Patriarch forbade the banns, and lost his beard and his office rather
than yield to the Sultan. But swift retribution fell upon the bigamist,
for he dropped down dead, a dice-box in his hand.

Though the Acciajuoli dynasty had thus fallen for ever, members of
that great family still remained in Greece. An Acciajuoli was made
civil governor of the old Venetian colony of Koron, in Messenia, when
the Spaniards conquered it from the Turks in 1532. When they abandoned
it, he was captured by pirates but eventually ransomed, only to die in
poverty at Naples, where his race had first risen to eminence. At the
beginning of the last century the French traveller, Pouqueville, was
shown at Athens a donkey-driver named Neri, in whose veins flowed the
blood of the Florentine Dukes; and the modern historian of Christian
Athens, Neroutsos, used to contend that his family was descended from
Nerozzo Pitti, lord of Sykaminon and uncle of the last Duke of Athens.
In Florence the family became extinct only so recently as 1834; and the
Certosa and the Lung’ Arno Acciajuoli still preserve its memory there. In
a Florentine gallery are two coloured portraits of the Dukes of Athens,
which would seem to be those of Nerio I and the bastard Antonio I. In
that case the Florentine Dukes of Athens are the only Frankish rulers of
Greece, except the Palatine Counts of Cephalonia, whose likeness has been
preserved to posterity[127].

Thus ended the strange connection between Florence and Athens. A titular
Duke of Athens had become tyrant of the Florentines, a Florentine
merchant had become Duke of Athens; but the age when French and Italian
adventurers could find an El Dorado on the poetic soil of Greece was
over. The dull uniformity of Turkish rule spread over the land, save
where the Dukes of the Archipelago and the Venetian colonies still
remained the sole guardians of Western culture, the only rays of light in
the once brilliant Latin Orient.


1. Ἔγγραφα ἀναφερόμενα εἰς τὴν μεσαιωνικὴν Ἱστορία τῶν Ἀθηνῶν (_Documents
relating to the Mediæval History of Athens_). Ed. Sp. P. Lampros. Athens,

2. _Briefe aus der “Corrispondenza Acciajoli” in der Laurenziana zu
Florenz._ By Ferdinand Gregorovius. Munich, 1890.

3. Nicolai de Marthono liber peregrinationis ad loca sancta. In _La Revue
de l’Orient Latin_, vol. III. Paris, 1895.

4. Μνημεῖα τῆς Ἱστορίας τῶν Ἀθηναίων (_Memorials of the History of the
Athenians_). By Demetrios Gr. Kampouroglos. 2nd Edn. Athens, 1891-92.

5. Ἱστορία τῶν Ἀθηναίων (_History of the Athenians_). By D. Gr.
Kampouroglos. Athens, 1889-96.

6. Ἱστορία τῶν Ἀθηνῶν ἐπὶ Τουρκοκρατίας (_History of Athens under the
Turks_). By Th. N. Philadelpheus. Athens, 1902.

7. Μνημεῖα Ἑλληνικῆς Ἱστορίας (_Memorials of Greek History_). Edited by
C. N. Sathas. Paris, 1880-90.

8. Νέος Ἑλληνομνήμων (_Greek Remembrancer_). New Series. Vols. I-III. Ed.
by Sp. P. Lampros. Athens, 1904-17.

9. _Nouvelles Recherches historiques sur la principauté française de
Morée._ By Buchon. Two vols. Paris, 1843.

10. _La politica Orientale di Alfonso di Aragona._ By F. Cerone. In
_Archivio Storico per le province Napoletane_. Vols. XXVII-XXVIII.
Naples, 1902-3.

And other works.



Within the last sixteen years a great deal of new material has been
published on the subject of Frankish Athens. The late Professor
Lampros[128] not only translated into Greek the _Geschichte der Stadt
Athen im Mittelalter_ of Gregorovius, but added some most valuable notes,
and more than a whole volume of documents, some of which had never
seen the light before, while others were known only in the summaries
or extracts of Hopf, Gregorovius, or Signor Predelli. He also issued a
review, the Νέος Ἑλληνομνήμων, devoted to mediæval Greek history, of
which thirteen volumes have appeared. The French have gone on printing
the _Regesta_ of the thirteenth-century popes, which contain occasional
allusions to Greek affairs. Don Antonio Rubió y Lluch, the Catalan
scholar, has issued a valuable pamphlet, _Catalunya a Grecia_[129],
besides contributing a mass of documents from the archives at Palermo
to the collection of Professor Lampros; and the essay on the “Eastern
Policy of Alfonso of Aragon,” published by Signor Cerone in the _Archivio
Storico per le province Napoletane_[130], contains many hitherto
unknown documents dealing with the last two decades of Greek history
before the Turkish conquest. I propose in the present article to point
out the most important additions to our knowledge of Athens under her
western masters which have thus been obtained. Of the condition of the
Parthenon—“Our Lady of Athens”—on the eve of the Frankish conquest we
have some interesting evidence. We learn from an iambic poem of Michael
Akominatos, the Greek Metropolitan of Athens, that he “beautified the
church, presented new vessels and furniture for its use, increased the
number of the clergy, and added to the estates” of the great cathedral,
as well as to the “flocks and herds” which belonged to it. Every year a
great festival attracted the Greeks from far and near to the shrine of
the “Virgin of Athens[131].”

As was only to be expected, very little fresh light has been thrown on
the Burgundian period. We learn however, from a Greek manuscript in the
Vatican library, how Leon Sgouros, the _archon_ of Nauplia, who long held
out at Akrocorinth against the Frankish conquerors, met his end. Rather
than be taken captive “he mounted his horse and leapt from Akrocorinth,
so that not a single bone in his body was left unbroken[132].” We find
too, in a letter from Honorius III to Othon de la Roche, dated February
12, 1225, the last allusion to the presence of the _Megaskyr_ in his
Athenian dominions before his return to France; and we hear of two
members of his family, William and Nicholas, both canons of Athens. The
former had _gravem in litteratura defectum_, or else he would have been
made archbishop of Athens; the latter is probably the same person whose
name has been found on the stoa of Hadrian[133].

The Catalan period receives much more illustration. We know at last the
exact date at which it ended, for a letter of Jacopo da Prato (probably
a relative of the Ludovico da Prato who was the first Florentine
archbishop of Athens), dated Patras, May 9, 1388, announces that Nerio
Acciajuoli _ebe adi 2 di questo lo chastello di Settino_[134]. Thus Don
Antonio Rubió y Lluch[135] was right in his surmise that Don Pedro de
Pau, who is mentioned as erroneously reported dead in a letter of John
I of Aragon, dated November 16, 1387, held out in the Akropolis down
to 1388. The Catalan scholar had shown that the brave commander of “the
Castle of Athens” had sent an envoy to John I, who received him “in the
lesser palace of Barcelona” on March 18, 1387, and who promised the
_sindici_ of Athens on April 26 to pay a speedy visit to his distant
duchy[136]. Don Antonio Rubió y Lluch also writes to me that Hopf was
mistaken in translating _Petrus de Puteo_ of the Sicilian documents—the
official whose high-handed proceedings led to a revolution at Thebes in
which he, his wife, and his chief followers lost their lives—as Peter
de Puig[137]. His name should really be Peter de Pou, and it is obvious
from the documents that Hopf’s chronology of his career is also wrong.
He is mentioned in a document of August 3, 1366, as already dead[138];
we learn that his official title was “vicar of the duchies”—that is to
say, deputy for Matteo de Moncada, the absent vicar-general—and he is
spoken of as “having presided in the duchies as vicar-general,” and as
“having presided in the office of the vicariate[139].” We find too that
the castle of Zeitoun or Lamia (_turrim Griffinam_) belonged to him[140].
Roger de Lluria, who was at this time marshal of the duchies[141], is
already officially styled as vicar-general[142] on August 3, 1366, though
the formal commission removing Matteo de Moncada and appointing Roger
de Lluria in his place was not made out till May 14 of the following
year[143]. The new vicar-general held till his death, which must have
taken place before March 31, 1370, when his successor was appointed[144],
the two great offices[145], and, I think, the facts above stated enable
us to explain the reason why no more marshals were appointed after that
date. The office of marshal had been hereditary in the family of De
Novelles, and Gregorovius[146] pointed out that Ermengol de Novelles did
not (as Hopf imagined) hold it till his death, but that Roger de Lluria
was marshal before that event. I should suppose that Ermengol had been
deprived of the office as a punishment for his rebellion against his
sovereign[147]; that the conflict between Lluria and Pou proved that
there was no room in the narrow court of Thebes for two such exalted
officials as a vicar and a marshal; and, as Lluria, when he became vicar,
combined the two offices in his person, it was thought a happy solution
of the difficulty.

Professor Lampros has published three documents[148] from the Vatican
archives which refer to a mysterious scheme for the marriage of a
Sicilian duchess of Athens. The documents have no date, except the day
of the month, and in one case of the week, and one of them is partly in
cypher. But I think that I have succeeded in fixing the exact date of the
first to January 4, 1369, because in 1368, December 22 was on a Friday.
This suits all the historical facts mentioned. The bishop of Cambrai, to
whom the second letter is addressed, must be Robert of Geneva (afterwards
the anti-pope Clement VII), who occupied that see from October 11, 1368,
to June 6, 1371. The _dominus Anghia_, whose death has so much disturbed
the diocese, is Sohier d’Enghien, who was beheaded in 1367; the _comes
Litii_ is his brother Jean, count of Lecce, and the latter’s nephew,
whose marriage “with the young niece of the king of Sicily, daughter of
a former Catalan duke of Athens,” is considered suitable, is Gautier
III, titular duke of Athens, who had inherited the claims of the Brienne
family. The lady whose marriage is the object of all these negotiations
must therefore have been one of the two daughters of John, Marquis of
Randazzo and Duke of Athens and Neopatras, who died in 1348, and whose
youngest child, Constance, may therefore have been _xx annorum et ultra_
at this period, and is known to have been single. She was the niece
of King Peter II and cousin of Frederick III of Sicily, one of whose
sisters is described as too old for the titular duke, which would of
course have been the case in 1369. The allusions to Philip II of Taranto
as still living also fix the date as before the close of 1373, when
he died. Moreover Archbishop Simon of Thebes is known to have been in
Sicily in 1367, and may have remained there longer. What was apparently
an insuperable chronological obstacle, the allusion to _obitum domini
regis Franciæ_, disappeared when I examined the original document in the
Vatican library and found that the last two words were _regie fameie_,
that is, _familiæ_. Possibly the allusion may be to Pedro the Cruel of
Castile, who was slain in 1369. The letters then disclose a matrimonial
alliance which would have reconciled the Athenian claims of the house
of Enghien with the ducal dominion over Catalan Athens exercised by
Frederick III of Sicily.

Don Antonio Rubió y Lluch has published two letters[149] of “the queen of
Aragon,” wife of Pedro IV (not, as assumed by K. Konstantinides, Maria,
queen of Sicily and duchess of Athens), from the former of which, dated
1379 and addressed to Archbishop Ballester of Athens, we glean some
curious information about the relics which the cathedral of _Santa Maria
de Setines_ (the Parthenon) then contained, and of which the Italian
traveller Nicolò da Martoni made out a list sixteen years later[150].
The Catalan scholar has shown too that some years after the Florentine
conquest of Athens a certain Bertranet, _un dels majors capitans del
ducat d’Atenes_, recovered a place where was the head of St George, that
is to say, Livadia[151]. The personage mentioned is Bertranet Mota,
whose name occurs in the treaty with the Navarrese in 1390, as a witness
to another document in the same year, in the list of fiefs in 1391, in
Nerio Acciajuoli’s will, and in a letter of the bishop of Argos in 1394.
He was a friend of Nerio’s bastard, Antonio; he had obviously helped
the latter to recover Livadia from the Turks in 1393, and we are thus
able to reconcile Chalkokondyles, who says that Bayezid had already
annexed Livadia, with the clause in Nerio’s will leaving the important
fortress to Antonio[152]. More interesting still, as showing the tenacity
with which the kings of Aragon clung to the shadow of their rule over
Athens, is the letter of Alfonso V to the despot Constantine Palaiologos
(afterwards the last emperor of Constantinople), dated November 27, 1444,
in which the king says that he has heard that Constantine has occupied
Athens, and therefore requests him to hand over the two duchies of Athens
and Neopatras to the Marquess of Gerace, his emissary[153].

Lastly, to our knowledge of the Florentine period Professor Lampros
has contributed three letters[154] of the Athenian priest and copyist
Kalophrenas, which show that the attempts of the council of Florence for
the union of the eastern and western churches found an echo in Florentine
Athens. Professor Lampros was puzzled to explain the allusion to τοῦ
ἀφεντὸς τοῦ μπαὴλου in one of the letters. He thinks it alludes to the
Venetian bailie at Chalkis, who however had no jurisdiction at Athens
at that period. If however, as he supposes, the correspondence dates
from 1441 the phrase presents no difficulty. In that year Antonio II
Acciajuoli had died, leaving an infant son, Franco, then absent at the
Turkish court, and Nerio II, the former duke, returned to Athens. We may
therefore suppose that “the prince’s baily” was the official who governed
Athens till Nerio II came back. Professor Lampros has also published a
letter[155] of Franco, the last duke of Athens, to Francesco Sforza of
Milan, dated 1460, from Thebes, which Mohammed II had allowed him to
retain after the capture of Athens in 1456. In this letter, written not
long before his murder, Franco offers his services as a _condottiere_
to the duke of Milan. This was not his only negotiation with western
potentates, for only a few days before the loss of Athens an ambassador
of his was at the Neapolitan court[156].

One mistake has escaped the notice of Professor Lampros, as of his
predecessors. The date of the second visit of Cyriacus of Ancona to
Athens, when he found Nerio II on the Akropolis, must have been 1444 and
not 1447, because the antiquary’s letter from Chios is dated _Kyriaceo
die iv. Kal. Ap._ Now, March 29 fell on a Sunday in 1444, and we know
from another letter of Cyriacus to the emperor John VI, written before
June 1444, that he left Chalkis for Chios on _v. Kal. Mart._ of that year.


The authorities differ as to the exact date of the capture of Athens by
the Turks. A contemporary note in Manuscript No. 103 of the Liturgical
Section of the National Library at Athens, quoted by Kampouroglos[157],
fixes it at “May 4, 1456, Friday”; but in that year _June_ 4, not
May 4, was a Friday, which agrees with the date of June 1456, given
by Phrantzes[158], the _Chronicon Breve_[159], and the _Historia
Patriarchica_[160]. But the best evidence in favour of June is the
following document of 1458, to which allusion was made by Gaddi[161]
in the seventeenth century, but which has never been published. I owe
the copy to the courtesy of the Director of the “Archivio di Stato” at

    Item dictis anno et indictione [1458 Ind. 7] et die xxvj

    Magnifici et potentes domini domini priores artium et
    vexillifer iustitie populi et comunis Florentie Intellecta
    expositione facta pro parte Loysii Neroczi Loysii de
    Pictis[162] civis florentini exponentis omnia et singula
    infrascripta vice et nomine Neroczi eius patris et domine
    Laudomine eius matris et filie olim Franchi de Acciaiuolis
    absentium et etiam suo nomine proprio et vice et nomine
    fratrum ipsius Loysii et dicentis et narrantis quod dictus
    Neroczus eius pater et domina Laudomina eius mater iam diu
    et semper cum eorum familia prout notum est multis huius
    civitatis habitaverunt in Grecia in civitate Athenarum in qua
    habebant omnia eorum bona mobilia et immobilia excepta tantum
    infrascripta domo Florentie posita et quod dictus Neroczus iam
    sunt elapsi triginta quinque anni vel circa cepit in uxorem
    dictam dominam Laudominam in dicta civitate Athenarum ubi per
    gratiam Dei satis honorifice vivebant. Et quod postea de mense
    iunii anni millesimi quadringentesimi quinquagesimi sexti
    prout fuit voluntas Dei accidit quod ipsa civitas Athenarum
    fuit capta a Theucris et multi christiani ibi existentes ab
    eisdem spoliati et depulsi fuerunt inter quos fuit et est ipse
    Neroczus qui cum dicta eius uxore et undecim filiis videlicet
    sex masculis et quinque feminis expulsus fuit et omnibus suis
    bonis privatus et ita se absque ulla substantia reduxit in
    quoddam castrum prope Thebes in quo ad presens ipse Neroczus
    cum omni eius familia se reperit in paupertate maxima; et quod
    sibi super omnia molestum et grave est coram se videre dictas
    puellas iam nubiles et absque principio alicuius dotis et cum
    non habeant aliqua bona quibus possint succurrere tot tantisque
    eorum necessitatibus nisi solum unam domum cum una domuncula
    iuxta se positam Florentie in loco detto al Poczo Toschanelli
    quibus a primo, secundo et tertio via a quarto domus que olim
    fuit domine Nanne Soderini de Soderinis ipsi Nerozus et domina
    Laudomina et eorum filii predicti optarent posse vendere domos
    predictas ut de pretio illarum possint partim victui succurrere
    partim providere dotibus alicuius puellarum predictarum[163].

The petitioners in the document are all well known. Nerozzo Pitti and
his wife Laudamia owned the castle of Sykaminon, near Oropos, which had
belonged to her father, Franco Acciajuoli[164]. She was the aunt of the
last two dukes of Athens. Pitti also possessed the island of Panaia, or
Canaia, the ancient Pyrrha, opposite the mouth of the Maliac Gulf, and
his “dignified tenure” of those two places is praised by Baphius in his
treatise _De Felicitate Urbis Florentiæ_[165], a century later. According
to the contemporary chronicler, Benedetto Dei[166], the Athenian Pitti
were compelled to become Mohammedans when Bœotia was annexed; but the
late historian Neroutsos used to maintain his descent from Nerozzo.


Of all the strange and romantic creations of the Middle Ages none is
so curious as the capture of the poetic “Isles of Greece” by a handful
of Venetian adventurers, and their organisation as a Latin Duchy for
upwards of three centuries. Even to-day the traces of the ducal times may
be found in many of the Cyclades, where Latin families, descendants of
the conquerors, still preserve the high-sounding names and the Catholic
religion of their Italian ancestors, in the midst of ruined palaces and
castles, built by the mediæval lords of the Archipelago out of ancient
Hellenic temples. But of the Duchy of Naxos little is generally known.
Its picturesque history, upon which Finlay touched rather slightly in
his great work, has since then been thoroughly explored by a laborious
German, the late Dr Hopf; but that lynx-eyed student of archives had
no literary gifts; he could not write, he could only read, and his
researches lie buried in a ponderous encyclopædia. So this delightful
Duchy, whose whole story is one long romance, still awaits the hand of a
novelist to make it live again.

The origin of this fantastic State of the blue Ægean is to be found in
the overthrow of the Greek Empire at the time of the Fourth Crusade. By
the partition treaty made between the Latin conquerors of Constantinople,
Venice received the Cyclades among other acquisitions. But the Venetian
Government, with its usual commercial astuteness, soon came to the
conclusion that the conquest of those islands would too severely tax the
resources of the State. It was therefore decided to leave the task of
occupying them to private citizens, who would plant Venetian colonies
in the Ægean, and live on friendly terms with the Republic. There was
no lack of enterprise among the Venetians of that generation, and it so
happened that at that very moment the Venetian colony at Constantinople
contained the very man for such an undertaking. The old Doge, Dandolo,
had taken with him on the crusade his nephew, Marco Sanudo, a bold
warrior and a skilful diplomatist, who had signalised himself by
negotiating the sale of Crete to the Republic, and was then filling
the post of judge in what we should now call the Consular Court at
Constantinople. On hearing the decision of his Government, Sanudo quitted
the bench, gathered round him a band of adventurous spirits, to whom he
promised rich fiefs in the El Dorado of the Ægean, equipped eight galleys
at his own cost, and sailed with them to carve out a Duchy for himself in
the islands of the Archipelago. Seventeen islands speedily submitted, and
at one spot alone did he meet with any real resistance. Naxos has always
been the pearl of the Ægean: poets have placed there the beautiful myth
of Ariadne and Dionysos; Herodotos describes it as “excelling the other
islands in prosperity[167]”; even to-day, when so many of the Cyclades
are barren rocks, the orange and lemon groves of Naxos entitle it, far
more than Zante, to the proud name of “flower of the Levant.” This was
the island which now opposed the Venetian filibuster, as centuries before
it had opposed the Persians. A body of Genoese pirates had occupied the
Byzantine castle before Sanudo’s arrival; but that shrewd leader, who
knew the value of rashness in an emergency, burnt his galleys, and then
bade his companions conquer or die. The castle surrendered after a five
weeks’ siege, so that by 1207 Sanudo had conquered a duchy which existed
for 359 years. His duchy included, besides Naxos, where he fixed his
capital, the famous marble island of Paros; Kimolos, celebrated for its
fuller’s earth; Melos, whose sad fortunes furnished Thucydides with one
of the most curious passages in his history; and Syra, destined at a
much later date to be the most important of all the Cyclades. True to
his promise, Sanudo divided some of his conquests among his companions;
thus, Andros and the volcanic island of Santorin became sub-fiefs of
the Duchy. Sanudo himself did homage, not to Venice, but to the Emperor
Henry of Romania, who formally bestowed upon him “the Duchy of the
Dodekannesos,” or Archipelago, on the freest possible tenure. Having thus
arranged the constitution of his little State, he proceeded to restore
the ancient city; to build himself a castle, which commanded his capital
and which is now in ruins; to erect a Catholic cathedral, on which, in
spite of its restoration in the seventeenth century, his arms may still
be seen; to improve the harbour by the construction of a mole; and to
fortify the town with solid masonry, of which one fragment stands to-day,
a monument, like the Santameri tower at Thebes, of Frank rule in Greece.

As we might expect from so shrewd a statesman, the founder of this
island-duchy was fully sensible of the advantages to be derived from
having the Greeks on his side. Instead of treating them as serfs and
schismatics, he allowed all those who did not intrigue against him
with the Greek potentates at Trebizond, Nice, or Arta, to retain their
property. He guaranteed the free exercise of their religion, nor did
he allow the Catholic archbishop, sent him by the Pope, to persecute
the Orthodox clergy or their flocks. The former imperial domains were
confiscated, in order to provide and maintain a new fleet, so necessary
to the existence of islands menaced by pirates. That Marco I was a
powerful and wealthy ruler is proved not only by his buildings, but also
by the value set upon his aid. When the Cretans had risen, as they so
often did, against the Venetians, the Governor sent in hot haste to Naxos
for Marco’s assistance. The Duke was still a citizen of the Republic;
but the Governor knew his man, and stimulated his patriotism by the
offer of lands in Crete. Marco lost no time in appearing upon the scene,
defeated the insurgents, and claimed his reward. The Governor was also a
Venetian, and not over-desirous of parting with his lands now that the
danger seemed to be over. But Marco knew his Greeks by this time, and
readily entered into a plot with a Cretan chief for the conquest of the
island. Candia was speedily his, while the Governor had to escape in
woman’s clothes to the fortress of Temenos. But, just as he seemed likely
to annex Crete to his Duchy, Venetian reinforcements arrived. Unable to
carry out his design, he yet succeeded by his diplomacy in securing an
amnesty and pecuniary compensation, with which he retired to his island
domain. But the failure of his Cretan adventure did not in the least damp
his ardour. With only eight ships he boldly attacked the squadron of the
Emperor of Nice, nearly four times as numerous. Captured and carried as a
prisoner to the Nicene Court, he so greatly impressed the Emperor by his
courage and manly beauty that the latter ordered his release, and gave
him one of the princesses of the imperial house in marriage. In short,
his career was that of a typical Venetian adventurer, brave, hard-headed,
selfish, and unscrupulous; in fact, just the sort of man to found a
dynasty in a part of the world where cleverness counts for more than
heroic simplicity of character.

During the long and peaceful reign of his son Angelo, little occurred to
disturb the progress of the Duchy. But its external relations underwent a
change at this time, in consequence of the transference of the suzerainty
over it from the weak Emperor of Romania to the powerful Prince of
Achaia, Geoffroy II, as a reward for Geoffroy’s assistance in defending
the Latin Empire against the Greeks. Angelo, too, equipped three galleys
for the defence of Constantinople, and, after its fall, sent a handsome
present to the exiled Emperor. Like his father, he was summoned to aid
the Venetian Governor of Crete against the native insurgents, but on
the approach of the Nicene fleet he cautiously withdrew. His son, Marco
II, who succeeded him in 1262, found himself face to face with a more
difficult situation than that which had prevailed in the times of his
father and grandfather. The Greeks had recovered ground not only at
Constantinople, but in the south-east of the Morea, and their successes
were repeated on a smaller scale in the Archipelago. Licario, the
Byzantine admiral, captured many of the Ægean islands, some of which
remained thenceforth part of the imperial dominions. Besides the Sanudi,
the dynasty of the Ghisi, lords of Tenos and Mykonos, alone managed to
hold its own against the Greek invasion; yet even the Ghisi suffered
considerably from the attacks of the redoubtable admiral. One member
of that family was fond of applying to himself the Ovidian line, “I am
too big a man to be harmed by fortune,” and his subjects on the island
of Skopelos, which has lately been notorious as the place of exile of
Royalist politicians, used to boast that, even if the whole realm of
Romania fell, they would escape destruction. But Licario, who knew that
Skopelos lacked water, invested it during a hot summer, forced it to
capitulate, and sent the haughty Ghisi in chains to Constantinople. Marco
II had to quell an insurrection of the Greeks at Melos, who thought that
the time had come for shaking off the Latin yoke. Educated at the court
of Guillaume de Villehardouin, Marco had imbibed the resolute methods of
that energetic prince, and he soon showed that he did not intend to relax
his hold on what his grandfather had seized. Aided by a body of Frank
fugitives from Constantinople, he reduced the rebels to submission,
and pardoned all of them with the exception of a Greek priest whom he
suspected of being the cause of the revolt. This man he is said to have
ordered to be bound hand and foot, and then thrown into the harbour of

Towards the orthodox clergy Marco II was, if we may believe the
Jesuit historian of the Duchy, by no means so tolerant as his two
predecessors[168]. There was, it seems, in the island of Naxos an altar
dedicated to St Pachys, a portly man of God, who was believed by the
devout Naxiotes to have the power of making their children fat. In the
East fatness is still regarded as a mark of comeliness, and in the
thirteenth century St Pachys was a very popular personage, whose altar
was visited by loving mothers, and whose hierophants lived upon the
credulity of the faithful. Marco II regarded this institution as a gross
superstition. Had he been a wise statesman, he would have tolerated it
all the same, and allowed the matrons of Naxos to shove their offspring
through the hollow altar of the fat saint, so long as no harm ensued to
his State. But Marco II was not wise; he smashed the altar, and thereby
so irritated his Orthodox subjects that he had to build a fortress to
keep them in order. But the Greeks were not the only foes who menaced
the Duchy at this period. The Archipelago had again become the happy
hunting-ground of pirates of all nationalities—Greek corsairs from the
impregnable rock of Monemvasia or from the islands of Santorin and Keos,
Latins like Roger de Lluria, the famous Sicilian admiral, who preyed on
their fellow-religionists, mongrels who combined the vices of both their
parents. The first place among the pirates of the time belonged to the
Genoese, the natural rivals of the Venetians in the Levant, and on that
account popular with the Greek islanders. No sooner was a Genoese galley
spied in the offing than the peasants would hurry down with provisions
to the beach, just as the Calabrian peasants have been known to give
food to notorious brigands. The result of these visitations on the
smaller islands may be easily imagined: thus the inhabitants of Amorgos
emigrated in a body to Naxos from fear of the corsairs; yet, in spite
of the harm inflicted by Licario and the pirates, we are told that the
fertile plain of Drymalia, in the interior of Naxos, “then contained
twelve large villages, a number of farm buildings, country houses and
towers, with about 10,000 inhabitants.” Sometimes the remote consequences
of the pirates’ raids were worse than the raids themselves. Thus, on one
of these expeditions, some corsairs carried off a valuable ass belonging
to one of the Ghisi. The ass, marked with its master’s initials, was
bought by Marco II’s son, Guglielmo, who lived at Syra. The purchaser
was under no illusions as to the ownership of the ass, but was perfectly
aware that he was buying stolen goods. Seeing this, Ghisi invaded Syra,
laid the island waste, and besieged Sanudo in his castle. But the fate
of the ass had aroused wide sympathies. Marco II had taken the oath of
fealty to Charles of Anjou, as suzerain of Achaia, after the death of his
liege lord, Guillaume de Villehardouin, and it chanced that the Angevin
admiral was cruising in the Archipelago at the time of the rape of the
ass. Feudal law compelled him to assist the son of his master’s vassal;
a lady’s prayers conquered any hesitation that he might have felt; so he
set sail for Syra, where he soon forced Ghisi to raise the siege. The
great ass case was then submitted to the decision of the Venetian bailie
in Eubœa, who restored the peace of the Levant, but only after “more than
30,000 heavy soldi” had been expended for the sake of the ass!

After the recapture of Constantinople by the Greeks, the policy of
Venice towards the dukes underwent a change. As we have seen, neither
the founder of the Duchy nor his son and grandson were vassals of the
Republic, though they were all three Venetian citizens. But the Venetian
Government, alarmed at the commercial privileges accorded to its great
rivals, the Genoese, by the Byzantine Emperor, now sought to obtain a
stronger military and commercial position in the Archipelago, and, if
possible, to acquire direct authority over the Duchy. An excuse for
the attempt was offered by the affairs of Andros. That island had been
bestowed by Marco I as a sub-fief of Naxos upon Marino Dandolo. Marco
II resumed immediate possession of it after the death of Dandolo’s
widow, and refused to grant her half of the island to her son by a
second marriage, Nicolò Quirini, on the plausible plea that he arrived
to do homage after the term allowed by the feudal law had expired. But
Quirini was a Venetian bailie, and accordingly appealed to Venice for
justice. The Doge summoned Marco II to make defence before the Senate;
but Marco replied that Venice was not his suzerain, that the ducal Court
at Naxos, and not the Senate at Venice, was the proper tribunal to try
the case, and that he would be happy to afford the claimant all proper
facilities for pleading his cause if he would appear there. The question
then dropped; Marco remained in possession of Andros, while the Republic
waited for a more favourable opportunity of advancing its political
interests in the Archipelago.

This opportunity was not long in coming. Towards the end of the
thirteenth century a violent war broke out between Venice and her Genoese
rivals, supported by the Byzantine Emperor. While the Genoese tried to
undermine Venetian power in Crete, Venice let loose a new swarm of
privateers on the islands of the Ægean, which Licario had recovered
for the Byzantines. Then for the first time we meet with the word
_armatoloí_, so famous in the later history of Greece, applied originally
to the outfitters, or _armatores_, of privateers. The dispossessed
Venetian lords were thus enabled to reconquer many of the possessions
which they had then lost; Amorgos, the birthplace of Simonides, was
restored to the Ghisi, Santorin and Therasia to the Barozzi, but only
on condition that they recognised the suzerainty of the Republic. This
arrangement was contested by the Duke of the Archipelago, on the ground
that those islands had originally been sub-fiefs of his ancestors’
dominions. Guglielmo Sanudo, the purchaser of the ass, had now succeeded
to the Duchy, and, as might have been inferred from that story, was
not likely to be over-scrupulous in his methods. As one of the Barozzi
declined to do him homage, he had him arrested by corsairs on the high
seas, and threw him into the ducal dungeon at Naxos. This was more than
Venice could stand, for this scion of the Barozzi had been Venetian
governor of Candia. An ultimatum was therefore despatched to the Duke,
bidding him send his captive to Eubœa within eight days, under pain of
being treated as a pirate. This message had the desired effect. Guglielmo
let his prisoner go, and it was seen that the name of Venice was more
powerful than before in the Archipelago. But neither Venice nor the Duke
could prevent the increasing desolation of the islands. The Catalans
had now appeared in the Levant; in 1303 they ravaged Keos; after their
establishment in the Duchy of Athens they organised a raid on Melos,
from which, like the Athenians of old, they carried off numbers of
the inhabitants as slaves. A Spaniard from Coruña, Januli da Corogna,
occupied Siphnos, and two of the leading families in Santorin to-day are
of Catalan origin. A member of one of them, Dr De Cigalla, or Dekigallas,
as he is called in Greek, is a voluminous author, and a great authority
on the eruptions of that volcanic island. Turkish squadrons completed the
work of destruction; we hear of a new exodus from Amorgos in consequence
of their depredations, but this time the frightened islanders preferred
to seek refuge under the Venetian banner in Crete rather than in Naxos.
The latter island was, indeed, no longer so secure as it had been. True,
Duke Guglielmo had welcomed the establishment of the warlike knights of
St John at Rhodes, and had helped them to conquer that stronghold, in the
hope that they would be able to ward off the Turks from his dominions.
Venice, too, had come to see that her wisest policy was to strengthen the
Naxiote Duchy, and furnished both the next Dukes, Nicolò I and Giovanni
I, with arms for its protection. But, all the same, in 1344 the dreaded
Turks effected a landing on Naxos, occupied the capital, and dragged
away 6000 of the islanders to captivity. This misfortune increased the
panic of the peasants throughout the Archipelago. They fled in greater
numbers than ever to Crete, so that Giovanni complained at Venice of
the depopulation of his islands, and asked for leave to bring back the
emigrants. Even the fine island of Andros, which had formerly produced
more wheat and barley than it could consume, was now forced to import
grain from Eubœa, while many of the proprietors in other parts of the
Ægean had to procure labour from the Morea. In fact, towards the middle
of the fourteenth century, such security as existed in the Levant was due
solely to the presence of the Venetian fleet in Cretan and Eubœan waters,
and to a policy such as that which conferred upon the historian, Andrea
Dandolo, the islet of Gaidaronisi, to the south of Crete, on condition
that he should fortify its harbour against the assaults of pirates.
Naturally, at such a time, it was the manifest advantage of the Naxiote
Dukes to tighten the alliance with Venice. Accordingly we find Giovanni
I preparing to assist the Venetians in their war with the Genoese, when
the latter suddenly swooped down upon his capital and carried him off as
a prisoner to Genoa.

In 1361, a few years after his release, Giovanni I died, leaving an
only daughter, Fiorenza, as Duchess of the Archipelago. It was the
first time that this romantic State had been governed by a woman, and,
needless to say, there was no lack of competitors for the hand of the
rich and beautiful young widow. During her father’s lifetime Fiorenza
had married one of the Eubœan family of Dalle Carceri, which is often
mentioned in mediæval Greek history, and she had a son by this union,
who afterwards succeeded her in the Duchy. Over her second marriage
there now raged a diplomatic battle, which was waged by Venice with
all the unscrupulousness shown by that astute Republic whenever its
supremacy was at stake. The first of this mediæval Penelope’s suitors was
a Genoese, one of the merchant adventurers, or _maonesi_, who held the
rich island of Chios much as a modern chartered company holds parts of
Africa under the suzerainty of the home Government. To his candidature
Venice was, of course, strongly opposed, as it would have been fatal to
Venetian interests to have this citizen of Genoa installed at Naxos.
Fiorenza was therefore warned not to bestow her hand upon an enemy of
the Republic, when so many eligible husbands could be found at Venice
or in the Venetian colonies of Eubœa and Crete. At the same time, the
Venetian bailie of Eubœa was instructed to hinder by fair means or foul
the Genoese marriage. Fiorenza meekly expressed her willingness to marry
a person approved by Venice, but soon afterwards showed a desire to
accept the suit of Nerio Acciajuoli, the subsequent Duke of Athens.
This alliance the Republic vetoed with the same emphasis as the former
one; but Nerio was an influential man, who had powerful connections in
the kingdom of Naples, and was therefore able to obtain the consent of
Robert of Taranto, at that time suzerain of the Duchy. That Robert was
Fiorenza’s suzerain could not be denied; but Venice replied that she was
also a daughter of the Republic, that her ancestors had won the Duchy
under its auspices, had been protected by its fleets, and owed their
existence to its resources. What, it was added, have the Angevins of
Naples done, or what can they do, for Naxos? Simultaneous orders were
sent to the commander of the Venetian fleet in Greek waters to oppose,
by force if necessary, the landing of Nerio in that island. The Venetian
agents in the Levant had, however, no need of further instructions. They
knew what was expected of them, and were confident that their action,
if successful, would not be disowned. Fiorenza was kidnapped, placed on
board a Venetian galley, and quietly conveyed to Crete. There she was
treated with every mark of respect, but was at the same time plainly
informed that if she wished ever to see her beloved Naxos again she
must marry her cousin Nicolò Sanudo “Spezzabanda,” the candidate of the
Republic and son of a large proprietor in Eubœa. The daring of this young
man, to which he owed his nickname of “Spezzabanda,” “the disperser of
a host,” may have impressed the susceptible Duchess no less than the
difficulties of her position. At any rate she consented to marry him, the
wedding was solemnised at Venice, the Republic pledged itself to protect
the Duchy against all its enemies, and granted to Santorin, which had
been reconquered by Duke Nicolò I, the privilege of exporting cotton and
corn to the Venetian lagoons. Venice had won all along the line, and
when the much-wooed Duchess died, “Spezzabanda” acted as regent for his
stepson, Nicolò II dalle Carceri. He showed his gratitude to his Venetian
patrons by assisting in suppressing the great Cretan insurrection of this
period. He also defended Eubœa against the Catalans of Athens, showing
himself ready to fight for the rights of young Nicolò whenever occasion

Nicolò II was the last and worst of the Sanudi Dukes. From his father he
had inherited two-thirds of Eubœa, which interested him more than his own
Duchy, but at the same time involved him in disputes with Venice. Chafing
at the tutelage of the Republic, he selected the moment when Venice was
once more engaged in war with Genoa, to negotiate with the Navarrese
company of mercenaries then in Central Greece for its aid in the conquest
of the whole island of Eubœa. This attempt failed, and, so far from
increasing his dominions, Nicolò diminished them in other directions. We
have seen how Andros had been reunited with Naxos by Marco II. The new
Duke now bestowed it as a sub-fief upon his half-sister, Maria Sanudo,
thus severing its direct connection with his Duchy. Nor was he more
cautious in his internal policy. He aroused the strongest resentment
among his subjects, Greeks and Franks alike, by his extortion, and they
found a ready leader in a young Italian who had lately become connected
by marriage with the Sanudo family. This man, Francesco Crispo—a name
which suggested to biographers of the late Italian Prime Minister a
possible relationship—was a Lombard who had emigrated to Eubœa and had
then obtained the lordship of Melos by his union with the daughter of
Giovanni I’s brother Marco, who had received that island as a sub-fief of
Naxos, and under whom it had greatly prospered. Crispo chanced to be in
Naxos at the time when the complaints of the people were loudest, and he
aspired to the fame, or at any rate the profits, of a tyrannicide. During
one of the ducal hunting parties he contrived the murder of the Duke, and
was at once accepted by the populace as his successor. Thus, in 1383,
fell the dynasty of the Sanudi, by the hand of a Lombard adventurer,
after 176 years of power.

Times had greatly changed since the conquest of the Archipelago, nor
was a usurper like Crispo in a position to dispense with the protection
of Venice. He therefore begged the Republic to recognise him as the
rightful Duke, which the astute Venetians saw no difficulty in doing.
He further strengthened the bond of union by bestowing the hand of his
daughter upon the rich Venetian, Pietro Zeno, who played a considerable
part in the tortuous diplomacy of the age. Crispo did not hesitate to
rob Maria Sanudo of Andros in order to confer it upon his son-in-law,
and it was not for many years, and then only after wearisome litigation,
that it reverted to her son. She was obliged to content herself with the
islands of Paros and Antiparos, and to marry one of the Veronese family
of Sommaripa, which now appears for the first time in Greek history,
but which came into the possession of Andros towards the middle of the
fifteenth century, and still flourishes at Naxos. Sure of Venetian
support, Crispo indulged in piratical expeditions as far as the Syrian
coast, while he swept other and less distinguished pirates from the sea.
His son-in-law seconded his efforts against the Turks; yet, in spite
of their united attempts, they left their possessions in a deplorable
state. Andros had been so severely visited by the Turkish corsairs that
it contained only 2000 inhabitants, and had to be repopulated by Albanian
immigrants, who are still very numerous there; Ios, almost denuded of
its population, was replenished by a number of families from the Morea.
Although the next Duke, Giacomo I, was known as “The Pacific,” and paid
tribute to the Sultan on condition that no Turkish ships should visit his
islands, he was constantly menaced by Bayezid I. In his distress, like
the Emperor Manuel, he turned to Henry IV of England, whom he visited in
London in 1404. Henry was not able to assist him, though he had at one
time intended to lead an army “as far as to the sepulchre of Christ”;
but, when Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, made a pilgrimage to
Palestine in 1418, he was conveyed back to Venice on one of Pietro Zeno’s
galleys. This was, so far as we have been able to discover, the only
connection between England and the Duchy. In the same year Giacomo died
at Ferrara, on his way to see the Pope, the natural protector of the
Latins in the Levant.

During the greater part of the fifteenth century the history of the
Archipelago presents a monotonous series of family feuds and Turkish
aggression. The subdivision of the islands, in order to provide appanages
for the younger members of some petty reigning dynasty, was a source of
weakness, which recalls the mediæval annals of Germany, nor did there
arise among the Dukes of this period a strong man like the founder of the
Duchy. One of them was advised by Venice to make the best terms that he
could with the Sultan, though complaints were made that he had failed to
warn the Venetian bailie of Eubœa of the approaching Turkish fleet, by
means of beacon-fires—an incident which takes us back to the _Agamemnon_
of Æschylus. The fall of Constantinople, followed by the capture of
Lesbos and Eubœa by the Turks, greatly alarmed the Dukes, who drew closer
than ever to the Venetian Republic, and were usually included in all the
Venetian treaties. Other misfortunes greatly injured the islands. The
Genoese plundered Naxos and Andros, and the volcanic island of Santorin
was the scene of a great eruption in 1457, which threw up a new islet in
the port. A few years later, Santorin had suffered so much from one cause
or another that it contained no more than 300 inhabitants. An earthquake
followed this eruption, further increasing the misery of the Archipelago.
But this was the age of numerous religious foundations, some of them
still in existence, such as the church of Sant’ Antonio at Naxos, which
was bestowed upon the Knights of St John, as their arms on its walls
remind the traveller. It was about this time too that Cyriacus of Ancona,
after copying inscriptions at Athens, visited Andros and other islands
of the Ægean. The island rulers not only received him courteously, but
ordered excavations to be made for his benefit—a proof of culture which
should be set against their wanton destruction of ancient buildings, in
order to provide materials for their own palaces—a practice of which
the tower at Paros is so striking an example. When we remember that each
petty lord considered it necessary to be well lodged, the extent of these
ravages may be easily imagined.

Towards the close of the fifteenth century the condition of the islanders
had become intolerable, and matters came to a climax under the rule of
Giovanni III. That despotic Duke incurred the displeasure not only of
the Sultan, but also of his own subjects. The former complained that
he had fallen into arrears with his tribute—for the Dukes had long
had to purchase independence by the payment of _bakshîsh_—and that he
harboured corsairs, who plundered the Asian coast. The latter grumbled
at the heavy taxes which the Duke pocketed without doing anything for
the protection of his people. The Archbishop of Naxos made himself the
mouthpiece of popular discontent, and wrote to Venice, in the name of the
people of Naxos and Paros, offering to acknowledge the suzerainty of the
Republic. Venice replied, authorising him to point out to the Duke and
to Sommaripa, the lord of Paros, the utter hopelessness of their present
position, and to offer them an assured income for the rest of their lives
if they would cede their islands to a Venetian commissioner. But the
negotiations failed; the Naxiotes, driven to despair, took the law into
their own hands, and in 1494 murdered their Duke. The Archbishop then
proceeded to Venice, and persuaded the Senate to take over the Duchy, at
least till the late Duke’s son, Francesco, came of age. During the next
six years Venetian Commissioners administered the islands, which were,
however, loyally handed over to Francesco III at the end of that time.
The new Duke proved unfortunately to be a homicidal maniac, who killed
his wife and tried to kill his heir. As a consequence he was removed to
Crete and a second brief Venetian occupation lasted during the rest of
his successor’s minority[169]. The long reign of his son, Giovanni IV,
who, soon after his accession, was captured by Turkish pirates while
on a hunting party, lasted till 1564 and witnessed the loss of many of
the Ægean islands. That great sovereign, Suleyman the Magnificent, now
sat upon the Turkish throne, and his celebrated admiral, Khaireddîn
Barbarossa, spread fire and sword through many a Christian village.
In 1537 the classic island of Ægina, still under Venetian domination,
was visited by this terrible scourge, who massacred all the adult male
population, and took away 6000 women and children as slaves. So complete
was the destruction of the Æginetans that, when a French admiral touched
at the island soon afterwards, he found it devoid of inhabitants. There,
as usual, an Albanian immigration replenished, at least to some extent,
the devastated sites, but Ægina was long in recovering some small measure
of its former prosperity. Thence Barbarossa sailed to Naxos, whence he
carried off an immense booty, compelling the Duke to purchase his further
independence—if such it could be called—by a tribute of 5000 ducats,
and submitting him to the ignominy of seeing the furniture of his own
palace sent on board the Admiral’s flagship under his very eyes. The
horrible scenes of those days would seem to have impressed themselves
deeply upon the mind of the wretched Duke, who gave vent to his feelings
in a bitter letter of complaint to the Pope and other Christian princes.
This curious document urged them to “apply their ears and lift up their
eyes, and attend with their minds while their own interests were still
safe,” and reminded them of the evils caused by discord in the councils
of Christendom. The Duke emphasised his admirable truisms, which might
have been addressed to the Concert of Europe at any time during the
last fifty years, by a well-worn tag from Sallust—Sallustius Crispus,
“the author of our race.” But neither his platitudes nor his allusion
to his distinguished ancestry, which he might have had some difficulty
in proving, availed him. The Turks went on in their career of conquest.
Paros was annexed, Andros was forced to pay tribute, the Venetians lost
Skiathos and Skopelos, and by the shameful treaty of 1540 forfeited the
prestige which they had so long wielded in the Levant.

The Duchy of Naxos had long existed by the grace of the Venetian
Republic, and, now that Venice had been crippled, its days were numbered.
The capture of Chios in 1566 was the signal for its dissolution. As
soon as the news arrived in Naxos and Andros that the Turks had put an
end to the rule of the joint-stock company of the Giustiniani in that
fertile island, the Greeks of the Duchy complained to the Sultan of the
exactions to which they were subjected by their Frank lords. There was
some justification for their grievances, for Giacomo IV, the last of the
Frank Dukes, was a notorious debauchee; and the conduct of the Catholic
clergy, by the admission of a Jesuit historian, had become a public
scandal. But the main motive of the petitioners seems to have been that
intense hatred of Catholicism which characterised the Orthodox Greeks
during the whole period of the Frank rule in the Levant, and which, as
we saw under Austrian rule in Bosnia, has not yet wholly disappeared.
Giacomo was fully aware of the delicacy of his position, and he resolved
to convince the Turkish Government, as force was out of the question, by
the only other argument which it understands. He collected a large sum
of money, and went to Constantinople to reply to his accusers. But he
found the ground already undermined by the artifices of the Œcumenical
Patriarch, who had warmly espoused the cause of the Orthodox Naxiotes,
and was in the confidence of the Turkish authorities. Giacomo had no
sooner landed than he was clapped into prison, where he languished for
five months, while the renegade, Pialì Pasha, quietly occupied Naxos
and its dependencies and drove the Sommaripa out of Andros. But the
Greeks of the Duchy soon discovered that they had made an indifferent
bargain. One of the most important banking houses of the period was
that of the Nasi, which had business in France, the Low Countries, and
Italy, and lent money to kings and princes. The manager of the Antwerp
branch was an astute Portuguese Jew, who at one time called himself João
Miquez and posed as a Christian, and then reverted to Judaism and styled
himself Joseph Nasi. A marriage with a wealthy cousin made him richer
than before; he migrated to the Turkish dominions, where Jews were very
popular with the Sultans, and became a prime favourite of Selim II. This
was the man on whom that sovereign now bestowed the Duchy; and thus,
by a prosaic freak of fortune, the lovely island of classical myth and
mediæval romance became the property of a Jewish banker. Nasi, as a Jew,
knew that he would be loathed by the Greeks, so he never visited his
orthodox Duchy, but appointed a Spaniard named Coronello to act as his
agent, and to screw as much money as possible out of the inhabitants. In
this he was very successful.

As soon as Giacomo IV was released he set out for the west to procure
the aid of the Pope and Venice for the recovery of his dominions, even
pledging himself in that event to do homage to the Republic for them.
But, in spite of the great victory of Lepanto, the Turks remained in
undisturbed possession of the Duchy, except for a brief restoration of
Giacomo’s authority by Venice in 1571. On the accession of Murad III
Giacomo had hopes of obtaining his further restoration through the good
offices of the new Sultan’s mother, a native of Paros, belonging to the
distinguished Venetian family of Baffo. But though she promised her
aid, and he went to plead his cause in person at Constantinople, the
Sultan was inexorable. The last of the Dukes died in the Turkish capital
in 1576, and was buried in the Latin church there. Three years later
Joseph Nasi died also, whereupon the Duchy was placed under the direct
administration of the Porte.

But though Naxos and all the important islands had been annexed by
the Turks, there still remained a few fragments of the Latin rule in
the Levant. The seven islands of Siphnos, Thermia, Kimolos, Polinos,
Pholegandros, Gyaros, and Sikinos were retained by the Gozzadini family
on payment of a tribute until 1617, while Venice still preserved Tenos as
a station[170] in the Levant for a whole century more. Everywhere else
in the Ægean the crescent floated from the battlements of the castles
and palaces where for three and a half centuries the Latin nobles had
practised the arts of war.

The occupation of the Greek islands by the Latins was unnatural, and,
like most unnatural things, it was destined not to endure. But this
strange meeting of two deeply interesting races in the classic seats
of Greek lyric poetry can scarcely fail to strike the imagination. And
to-day, when Italy is once more showing a desire to play a _rôle_ in the
near East, when Italians have officered the Cretan police, when Italian
troops have occupied thirteen islands in the lower Ægean since 1912,
including the old Quirini fief of Stampalia, when the Aldobrandini’s
thirteenth century possession of Adalia is being revived, and the
statesmen of Rome are looking wistfully across the Adriatic, it is
curious to go back to the times when Venetian and Lombard families held
sway among the islands of the Ægean, and the Latin galleys, flying the
pennons of those petty princes, glided in and out of the harbours of that
classic sea. Even in her middle age Greece had her romance, and no fitter
place could have been chosen for it than “the wave-beat shore of Naxos.”



Subsequent historians of the Duchy of Naxos have accepted without
question Hopf’s[171] chronology and brief description of the reign of
Francesco III Crispo, who was formally proclaimed duke, after a brief
Venetian protectorate, in October 1500. According to the German scholar,
who is followed by Count Mas Latrie[172], Francesco III “quietly
governed” his island domain down to 1518, the only incident in his
career being his capture by Turkish corsairs while hunting in 1517. His
wife, according to the same authorities, had already predeceased him,
having died “before 1501.” But a perusal of Sanuto’s _Diarii_ shows that
all these statements are wrong. Francesco III, so far from “quietly
governing” his subjects, was a homicidal maniac, who murdered his wife in
1510 and died in the following year.

We first hear of the duke’s madness in 1509, when he and his
brother-in-law, Antonio Loredano, were on board the ducal galley, then
engaged in the Venetian service at Trieste. The duke was put in custody
at San Michele di Murano, but was subsequently released and allowed to
return to Naxos[173]. There, as we learn from two separate accounts, one
sent to the Venetian authorities in Crete by the community of Naxos, the
other sent to Venice by Antonio da Pesaro, Venetian governor of Andros,
the duke had a return of the malady[174]. On August 15, 1510, he was
more than usually affectionate to his wife, Taddea Loredano, to whom
he had been married fourteen years, and who is described by one of the
Venetian ambassadors as “a lady of wisdom and great talent[175].” Having
inveigled the duchess to his side “by songs, kisses, and caresses,” he
seized his sword and tried to slay her. The terrified woman fled, just
as she was, in her nightdress, out of the ducal palace, and took refuge
in the house of her aunt, Lucrezia Loredano, Lady of Nio. Thither, in
the night of Saturday, August 17, her husband pursued her; he burst open
the doors, and entered the bedroom, where he found the Lady of Nio and
her daughter-in-law, to whom he gave three severe blows each. Meanwhile,
on hearing the noise, the duchess had hidden under a wash-tub; a slave
betrayed her hiding-place, and the duke struck her over the head with
his sword. In the attempt to parry the blow, she seized the blade in her
hands, and fell fainting on the ground, where her miserable assailant
gave her a thrust in the stomach. She lived the rest of the night and
the next day, while the duke fled to his garden, whence he was induced
by the citizens to return to the palace. There, as he sat at meat with
his son Giovanni, he heard from one of the servants that the people
wished to depose him and put Giovanni in his place. In a paroxysm of
rage, he seized a knife to kill his son; but his arm was held, and the
lad saved himself by leaping from the balcony. The duke tried to escape
to Rhodes, but he was seized, after a struggle in which he was wounded,
and sent to Santorin. His son Giovanni IV was proclaimed duke, and as he
could not have been more than eleven years old—his birth is spoken of
as imminent[176] in May 1499—a governor of the duchy was elected in the
person of Jacomo Dezia, whom we may identify with Giacomo I Gozzadini,
baron of the island of Zia, who is mentioned as being present in the
ducal palace at Naxos, in a document[177] of 1500, whose family had a
mansion there, and who had already been governor in 1507. From Santorin,
Francesco III was removed on a Venetian ship to Candia, where, as we
learn from letters of August 15, 1511, he died of fever[178].

Meanwhile, on October 18, 1510, it had been proposed at Venice that
the mad duke’s brother-in-law, Antonio Loredano, should be sent as
governor to Naxos, with a salary of 400 ducats a year, payable out of
the revenues, just as Venetian governors had been sent there during the
minority of Francesco III. Loredano sailed on January 16, 1511, for his
post, where he remained for four and a half years[179]. Naxos, in his
time, cannot have been a gloomy exile, for we hear of the “balls and
festivals with the accompaniment of very polished female society” which
greeted the Venetian ambassador[180]. We do not learn who governed the
duchy between July 1515, when Loredano returned to Venice, and the coming
of age of Duke Giovanni IV, which seems to have been in May 1517. On
May 6 of that year he wrote a letter to the Cretan government, signed
_Joannes Crispus dux Egeo Pelagi_, which Sanuto has preserved[181]; and
in the same summer _il ducha di Nixia, domino Zuan Crespo_, was captured
by corsairs while hunting, and subsequently ransomed[182]—an adventure
which Hopf, as we have seen, wrongly ascribed to Francesco III.


Of all the Levantine possessions acquired by Venice as the result of
the Fourth Crusade, by far the most important was the great island of
Crete, which she obtained in August, 1204, from Boniface of Montferrat
to whom it had been given 15 months earlier by Alexios IV, at the cost
of 1000 marks of silver. At that time the population of the island,
which in antiquity is supposed to have been a million, was probably
about 500,000 or 600,000[183]. Lying on the way to Egypt and Syria, it
was an excellent stopping-place for the Venetian merchantmen, and the
immense sums of money expended upon its defence prove the value which the
shrewd statesmen of the lagoons set upon it. Whether its retention was
really worth the enormous loss of blood and treasure which it involved
may perhaps be doubted, though in our own days the Concert of Europe has
thought fit to spend about thrice the value of the island in the process
of freeing it from the Turk. What distinguishes the mediæval history of
Crete from that of the other Frank possessions in the Near East is the
almost constant insubordination of the Cretan population. While in the
Duchy of Athens we scarcely hear of any restlessness on the part of
the Greeks, while in the Principality of Achaia they gave comparatively
little trouble, while in the Archipelago they seldom murmured against
their Dukes—in Crete, on the other hand, one insurrection followed
another in rapid succession, and the first 160 years of Venetian rule are
little else than a record of insurrections. The masters of the island
explained this by the convenient theory, applied in our own time to
the Irish, that the Cretans had a double dose of original sin, and the
famous verse of Epimenides, to which the New Testament has given undying
reputation, must have been often in the mouths of Venetian statesmen. But
there were other and more natural reasons for the stubborn resistance
of the islanders. After the reconquest of Crete by Nikephoros Phokas,
the Byzantine Government had sent thither many members of distinguished
military families, and their descendants, the _archontes_ of the island
at the time of the Venetian invasion, furnished the leaders for these
perennial revolts[184]. Moreover, the topography of Crete is admirably
suited for guerilla warfare; the combination of an insular with a
highland spirit constitutes a double gage of independence, and what the
Venetians regarded as a vice the modern Greeks reckon as a virtue.

Even before the Venetians had had time to take possession of the island,
their great rivals, the Genoese, had established a colony there, so that
it was clear from the outset that Venice was not the only Latin Power
desirous of obtaining Crete. The first landing of the Venetians was
effected at Spinalonga, where a small colony was founded. But, before the
rest of the island could be annexed, a Genoese citizen, Enrico Pescatore,
Count of Malta, one of the most daring seamen of his age, had set foot
in Crete in 1206 at the instigation of Genoa, and invited the Cretans
to join his standard. He easily made himself master of the island,
over which he endeavoured to strengthen his hold by the restoration or
construction of fourteen fortresses, still remaining, although in ruins.
A larger force was then despatched from Venice, which drove out the
Maltese adventurer, who appealed to the Pope as a faithful servant of the
Church, and continued to trouble the conquerors for some years more[185].
In 1207 Tiepolo had been appointed the first Venetian Governor, or Duke,
as he was styled, of Crete; but it was not till the armistice with Genoa
in 1212 that the first comprehensive attempt at colonisation was made,
and the organisation of a Cretan Government was undertaken. According to
the feudal principles then in vogue, which a century earlier had been
adopted for the colonisation of the Holy Land, the island was divided
into 132 knights’ fiefs (a number subsequently raised to 200, and then
to 230) and 48 sergeants’ or foot soldiers’ fiefs, and volunteers were
invited to take them. The former class of lands was bestowed on Venetian
nobles, the latter on ordinary citizens; but in both cases the fiefs
became the permanent property of the holders, who could dispose of them
by will or sale, provided that they bequeathed or sold them to Venetians.
The nobles received houses in Candia, the Venetian capital (which now
gave its name to the whole island), as well as pasture for their cattle,
the State reserving to itself the direct ownership of the strip of coast
in which Candia lay, the fort of Temenos and its precincts, and any gold
or silver mines that might hereafter be discovered. The division of the
island into six parts, or _sestieri_, was modelled, like the whole scheme
of administration, on the arrangements of the city of Venice, where the
_sestieri_ still survive. So close was the analogy between the colonial
and the metropolitan divisions that the colonists of each _sestiere_ in
Crete sprang from the same _sestiere_ at Venice—a system which stimulated
local feeling. At the head of each _sestiere_ an official known as a
_capitano_ was placed, while the government of the colony was carried on
by a greater and a lesser Council of the colonists, by two Councillors
representing the Doge, and by the Duke, who usually held office for two
years. The first batch of colonists was composed of twenty-six citizens
and ninety-four nobles of the Republic, the latter drawn from some of
the best Venetian families. But it is curious that, while we still find
descendants of Venetian houses in the Cyclades and at Corfù, scarcely
a trace of them remains in Crete[186]. As for ecclesiastical matters,
always of such paramount importance in the Levant, the existing system
was adopted by the newcomers. Candia remained an archbishopric, under
which the ten bishoprics of the island were placed; but the churches,
with two temporary exceptions, were occupied by the Latin clergy, and
that body was required, no less than the laity, to contribute its quota
of taxation towards the defence of the capital[187]. Although we hear
once or twice of a Greek bishop in Crete, the usual practice was to allow
no orthodox ecclesiastic above the rank of a _protopapâs_ to reside at
Candia, while Greek priests had to seek consecration from the bishops of
the nearest Venetian colonies. But, as the Venetian colonists in course
of time became Hellenised and embraced the Orthodox faith, the original
organisation of the Latin church was found to be too large, so that, at
the time of the Turkish conquest, the Latin Archbishop of Candia with his
four suffragans represented Roman Catholicism in the island, and outside
the four principal towns there was scarcely a Catholic to be found.

The division of the island into fiefs naturally caused much bad blood
among the natives, who objected to this appropriation of their lands.
In 1212, the same year which witnessed the arrival of the colonists, an
insurrection broke out under the leadership of the powerful family of
the Hagiostephanitai. The rising soon assumed such serious proportions
that Tiepolo called in the aid of Duke Marco I of Naxos, whose duplicity
in this connection was narrated in a previous essay. In addition to
these internal troubles, the Genoese and Alamanno Costa, Count of
Syracuse, an old comrade of the Count of Malta again became active; but
the Venetians wisely purchased the acquiescence of the Genoese in the
existing state of things by valuable concessions, the chief of which was
the recognition of Genoa’s former privileges of trade with the Empire
of Romania, and imprisoned Costa in an iron cage. From that moment,
save for two brief raids in 1266 and 1293, Genoa abandoned the idea of
contesting her rival’s possession of Crete. In the same year, however,
only five years after the first rising, a fresh Cretan insurrection,
due to the high-handed action of the Venetian officials, caused the
proud Republic of St Mark to admit the necessity of conceding something
to the islanders. The ringleaders received a number of knights’ fiefs,
and became Venetian vassals. But a further distribution of lands in the
parts of the island hitherto unconfiscated kindled a new revolt. The
rebels, seeing the growth of the Empire of Nice, offered their country to
the Emperor Vatatzes if he would come and deliver them, while the Duke
summoned the reigning sovereign of Naxos to his aid. The latter withdrew
on the approach of the Nicene admiral, who managed to land a contingent
in the island. Long after the admiral’s departure these men held their
own in the mountains, and it was eight years before the Venetians
succeeded in suppressing the rising. On the death of Vatatzes, the
Cretans seemed to have lost hope of external assistance, and no further
attempt was made to throw off the Venetian yoke till after the fall
of the Latin Empire of Romania. Meanwhile, in 1252, a fresh scheme of
colonisation was carried out; ninety more knights’ fiefs were granted in
the west of the island, and the town of Canea, the present capital, was
founded, on or near the site of the ancient Cydonia[188]; one half of the
new city was reserved to Venice, and the other half became the property
of the colonists.

After the recapture of Constantinople by the Greeks, the value of the
island became greater than ever to the Venetians. Three years after that
event we find the Doge Zeno writing to Pope Urban IV that “the whole
strength of the Empire” lay in Crete, while at the same time the revival
of the Greek cause, both on the Bosporos and in the Morea, led to an
attack upon it by the Byzantine forces. But Venice had less difficulty in
coming to terms with the Emperor than in managing her unruly subjects.
In 1268 the Venetian colonists rose under leaders who bore the honoured
names of Venier and Gradenigo, demanding complete separation from the
mother country. The harsh policy of the Republic towards her colonies
was an excuse for this outbreak; but no further attempt of the kind was
made for another hundred years, when the descendants of the Venier and
the Gradenigo of 1268 headed a far more serious rebellion. Another Greek
rising now followed, this time organised by the brothers Chortatzai,
but the Venetians had now succeeded in winning over a party among the
Cretans, including Alexios Kallerges, the richest of all the _archontes_.
This man used all his local influence on the side of the Government;
yet even so the rebellion continued for several years, and at times
threatened to gain the upper hand. One Venetian Governor was lured into
the mountains, surprised, and slain; another was driven behind the walls
of Candia, and only saved from capture by the fidelity of the Greek
inhabitants of that district. At last adequate reinforcements arrived,
the Chortatzai were banished from the island, and the castle of Selino
was erected to overawe the rebels in their part of the country. Peace
then reigned for a few years, and the conciliatory policy of the next
Governor earned for him the title of “the good” Duke from the Cretan
subjects of the Republic.

But the calm was soon disturbed by a fresh outbreak. In 1283 the same
Alexios Kallerges who had been so valuable an auxiliary of Venice in the
last rising inaugurated a rebellion which, arising out of the curtailment
of his own family privileges, spread to the whole island and lasted for
sixteen years. The home Government made the mistake of under-estimating
the importance of this movement, which it neglected to suppress at the
outset by the despatch of large bodies of men. As usual, the insurgents
operated in the mountains, whence the Venetians were unable to dislodge
them, while the Genoese laid Canea in ashes in 1293, and tried to
establish relations with the insurrectionary chief. But Kallerges was not
disposed to exchange the rule of one Italian State for that of another,
and, as he saw at last that he could not shake off the Venetian yoke
single-handed, he came to terms with the Governor. His patriotic refusal
of the Genoese offers had excited the admiration of the Venetians, who
were ready to make concessions to one whom Genoa could not seduce. He
was allowed to keep the fiefs which the Angeloi had granted in the
Byzantine days to his family, he was created a knight, and his heirs
received permission to intermarry with Venetians—a practice absolutely
prohibited as a rule in Venetian colonies. It is pleasant to be able to
record that both parties to this treaty kept their word. Kallerges on his
death-bed bade his four sons remain true to Venice; one of his grandsons
fought in her cause, and his descendants were rewarded with the title of
patricians—at that time a rare distinction. These frequent insurrections,
combined with the horrors of plague and famine, do not seem to have
permanently injured the resources of the island, nor were the ravages of
corsairs, fitted out by the Catalans of Attica in the early part of the
fourteenth century, felt much beyond the coast. At any rate, in 1320 such
was the prosperity of the colony that the Governor was able to remit a
large surplus to Venice after defraying the costs of administration. But
the harsh policy of the Republic gradually alienated the colonists as
well as the natives. A demand for ship-money caused a fresh rebellion of
the Greeks in 1333, in which one of the Kallergai fought for, and another
of them against, the Venetian Government. Eight years later a member of
that famous Cretan family, forgetting the patriotic conduct of his great
ancestor, entered into negotiations with the Turks; but he was invited to
a parley by the Venetian Governor, who had him arrested as a traitor and
thrown in a sack into the sea. This act of cruelty and treachery had the
effect of embittering and prolonging the Cretan resistance, so that the
Venetians soon held nothing in the island except the capital and a few
castles. At last the arrival of overwhelming reinforcements forced the
rebel leader, Michael Psaromelingos, to bid his servant kill him, and the
rebellion was over. The death of this chieftain has formed the subject of
a modern Greek drama, for the Greeks of the mainland have always admired,
and sometimes imitated, the desperate valour of their Cretan brethren. On
the Venetians this revolt made so great an impression that the Duke was
ordered to admit no Cretan into the Great Council of the island without
the special permission of the Doge—an order due as much to the fears of
the home Government as to the jealousy of the colonists.

But the most significant feature of this insurrection was the apathy
of the Venetian vassals in contributing their quota of horses and men
for the defence of the island. Somewhat earlier, the knights had been
compelled, in spite of their vigorous protests, to pay the sum which,
by the terms of their feudal tenure, they were supposed to expend upon
their armed followers, direct to the Exchequer, which took care to see
that the money was properly applied. Many of the poorer among them now
found themselves unable to provide the amounts which the Government
required, and so became heavily indebted to the Treasury. It was the
opinion of Venetian statesmen that Crete should be self-supporting, but
it at last became necessary to grant a little grace to the impoverished
debtors, some of whom had shown signs of coquetting with the Turks. Thus
the discontented Venetian colonists, who had been born and trained for
the most part in an island which exercises a strong attraction on even
foreign residents, found that they had more grievances in common with the
Greeks than bonds of union with the city of their ancestors. More than a
century and a half had elapsed since the first great batch of colonists
had left the lagoons for the great Greek island. Redress had been
stubbornly refused, and it only needed a spark to set the whole colony

In 1362 a new Duke, Leonardo Dandolo, arrived at Candia with orders from
the Venetian Senate to demand from the knights a contribution towards
the repair of the harbour there. The knights contended that, as the
harbour would benefit trade, which was the interest of the Republic,
while their income was exclusively derived from agriculture, the expense
should be borne by the home Government. As the Senate persisted, the
whole body of knights rose under the command of two young members of
the order, Tito Venier, Lord of Cerigo—the island which afterwards
formed part of the Septinsular Republic—and Tito Gradenigo, entered
the Duke’s palace, and put him and his Councillors in irons. Having
arrested all the Venetian merchants whom they could find, the rebels then
proclaimed the independence of Crete—how often since then has it not been
announced!—appointed Marco Gradenigo, Tito’s uncle, Duke, and elected
four Councillors from their own ranks. In order to obtain the support of
the Greeks they declared that the Roman Catholic ritual had ceased to
exist throughout the island, and announced their own acceptance of the
Orthodox faith. In token of the new order of things the Venetian insignia
were torn down from all the public buildings, and St Mark made way for
Titus, the patron saint and first bishop of Crete[189]. The theological
argument was more than the Greeks could resist, and the descendants of
Catholic Venetians and Orthodox _archontes_ made common cause against
Popery and the tax-collector.

When the news reached Venice, it excited the utmost consternation. But,
as no sufficient forces were available, the Republic resolved to try
what persuasion could effect. A trusty Greek from the Venetian colony
of Modon was sent to treat with the Greeks, while five commissioners
proceeded to negotiate with the revolutionary Government at Candia.
The commissioners were courteously heard; but when it was found that
they were empowered to offer nothing but an amnesty, and that only on
condition of prompt submission to the Republic, they were plainly told
that the liberty recently won by arms should never be sacrificed to the
commands of the Venetian Senate. Nothing remained but to draw the sword,
and the home Government had prudently availed itself of the negotiations
to begin its preparations, both diplomatic and naval. All the Powers
friendly to Venice, the Pope, the Emperor Charles IV, the King of France,
and the Queen of Naples, even Genoa herself, forbade their subjects to
trade with the island, and the Pope, alarmed at the apostasy of the
colonists, addressed a pastoral to the recalcitrant Cretans. But neither
papal arguments nor an international boycott could bend the stubborn
minds of the insurgents. It was not till the arrival of the Venetian
fleet and army, the latter under the command of Luchino dal Verme, the
friend of Petrarch, who had warned him, with the inevitable allusions to
the classic poets and to St Paul, of the “untruthfulness,” “craft,” and
“deceit” of the Cretans, that the movement was crushed.

The armament was of considerable size. Italy had been ransacked for
soldiers, the Duchy of the Archipelago and Eubœa for ships, and Nicolò
“Spezzabanda,” the regent of Naxos, hastened to assist his Venetian
patrons. Candia speedily fell, and then the commissioners who accompanied
the military and naval forces proceeded to mete out punishment to the
chief insurgents without mercy. Marco Gradenigo and two others were
beheaded on the platform of the castle, where their corpses were ordered
to remain, under penalty of the loss of a hand to any one who tried
to remove them. The same bloody and brief assizes were held in Canea
and Rethymno; the most guilty were executed, the less conspicuous were
banished. Tito Venier was captured by Venetian ships on the high sea,
and paid for his treasonable acts with his head; his accomplice, Tito
Gradenigo, managed to escape to Rhodes, but died in exile. The property
of the conspirators was confiscated by the State.

Great was the joy at Venice when it was known that the insurrection
had been suppressed. Three days were given up to thanksgivings and
festivities, at which Petrarch was present, and of which he has left an
account. Foreign powers congratulated the Republic on its success, while
in Crete itself the new Duke ordered the celebration of May 10 in each
year-the anniversary of the capitulation of Candia—as a public holiday.
But the peace, or perhaps we should say desolation, of the island was
soon disturbed. Some of the banished colonists combined with three
brothers of the redoubtable family of the Kallergai, who proclaimed the
Byzantine Emperor sovereign of Crete. This time the Venetian Government
sent troops at once to Candia, but hunger proved a more effective weapon
than the sword. The inhabitants of Lasithi, where the insurgents had
their headquarters, surrendered the ringleaders rather than starve. Then
followed a fresh series of savage sentences, for the Republic considered
that no mercy should be shown to such constant rebels. While the chiefs
were sent to the block, the whole plateau of Lasithi was converted into
a desert, the peasants were carried off and their cottages pulled down,
and the loss of a foot and the confiscation of his cattle were pronounced
to be the penalty of any farmer or herdsman who should dare to sow corn
there or to use the spot for pasture. This cruel and ridiculous order
was obeyed to the letter; for nearly a century one of the most fertile
districts of Crete was allowed to remain in a state of nature, till at
last in 1463 the urgent requirements of the Venetian fleet compelled the
Senate to consent to the recultivation of Lasithi. But as soon as the
temporary exigencies of the public service had been satisfied, Lasithi
fell once more under the ban, until towards the end of the fifteenth
century the plain was placed under the immediate supervision of the Duke
and his Councillors. It would be hard to discover any more suicidal
policy than this, which crippled the resources of the colony in order
to gratify a feeling of revenge. But it has ever been the misfortune
of Crete that the folly of her rulers has done everything possible to
counteract her natural advantages.

A long period of peace now ensued, a peace born not of prosperous
contentment but of hopeless exhaustion. The first act of the Republic
was to substitute for the original oath of fealty, exacted from the
colonists at the time of the first great settlement in 1212, a much
stricter formula of obedience. The next was to put up to auction the
vacant fiefs of the executed and banished knights at Venice, for it had
been resolved that none of those estates should be acquired by members of
the Greek aristocracy. The bidding was not very brisk, for Crete had a
bad character on the Venetian exchange, so that, some years later, on the
destruction of the castle of Tenedos, the Republic transported the whole
population to Candia. There they settled outside the capital in a suburb
which, from their old home, received the name of Le Tenedee[190].

We hear little about Crete during the first half of the fifteenth
century, which was so critical a time for the Franks of the mainland.
The principal grievance of the colonists at that period seems to have
been the arrogance of the Jews, against whom they twice petitioned
the Government. It was a Jew, however, who, together with a priest,
betrayed to the Duke the plot which had been concocted by a leading
Greek of Rethymno in 1453 for the murder of all the Venetian officials
on one day, the incarceration of all other foreigners, and the
proclamation of a Greek prince as sovereign of the island. The capture
of Constantinople by the Turks in that year, followed as it was by
the flight of many Greek families to Crete, induced the Venetians to
take more stringent precautions against the intrigues of their Cretan
subjects. An order was issued empowering the Duke to make away with
any suspected Cretans without trial or public inquiry of any kind. We
are reminded by this horrible ordinance of the secret commission for
the slaughter of dangerous Helots which had been one of the laws of
Lycurgus. Nothing could better show the insecurity of Venetian rule, even
after two centuries and a half had passed since the conquest. Another
incident, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, shows how savage
was the punishment meted out to the insurgents, with the approval of
the authorities. At that period the Cretans of Selmo, Sphakia, and the
Rhiza, not far from the latter place united their forces against their
Venetian masters under the leadership of the Pateropouloi clan. The
three insurgent districts were formed into an independent Republic, of
which a leading Greek was chosen Rector. The Venetians of Canea, under
the pretext of a wedding feast at the villa of one of their countrymen
at the charming village of Alikianou, lured the Rector and some fifty
of his friends to that place, seized the guests after the banquet, and
hanged or shot him, his son, and many others in cold blood. The remainder
of the rebels were rigorously proscribed, and a pardon was granted to
those alone who produced at Canea the gory head of a father, a brother,
a cousin, or a nephew[191]. Nor were the foes of Venice only those of
her own household. The Turkish peril, which had manifested itself in
sporadic raids before the fall of Constantinople, became more pressing
after the loss of the Morea. Appeals were made by the inhabitants for
reinforcements and arms, and at last, when the capture of Eubœa by the
Turks had deprived them of that valuable station, the Venetians turned
their thoughts to the protection of Crete, and resolved to restore the
walls of Candia. Those who saw, like the author, those magnificent
fortifications before the sea-gate was destroyed by the British troops
in 1898, can estimate the strength of the town in the later Venetian
period. Unfortunately, those ramparts, which afterwards kept the Turks
at bay for twenty-four years, could not prevent the dreaded Barbarossa’s
ravages on other parts of the coast. In 1538 that great captain appeared
with the whole Turkish fleet—then a very different affair from the
wretched hulks of 1898 which were a terror only to their crews—landed at
Suda Bay, laid all the adjacent country waste, and nearly captured Canea.
Thirty years later, this raid was repeated with even greater success,
for Rethymno was destroyed, and soon the loss of Cyprus deprived Crete
of a bulwark which had hitherto divided the attention of the advancing
Turk. Venice was, at length, thoroughly alarmed for the safety of her
great possession, and she took the resolve of introducing drastic reforms
into the island. With this object an experienced statesman, Giacomo
Foscarini, was sent to Crete in 1574 as special commissioner, with full
powers to inquire into, and redress, the grievances of the islanders.
Foscarini, well aware that his task would be no easy one, endeavoured
to excuse himself on private grounds; but his patriotism prevailed over
all other considerations, and he set out for Crete with the intention of
increasing the resources of the island and at the same time protecting
the inhabitants against the oppression of those placed over them. In
accordance with this policy, he issued, as soon as he had landed, a
proclamation, urging all who had grievances against any Venetian official
to come without fear, either openly or in secret, before him, in the
certainty of obtaining justice and redress. He then proceeded to study
the condition of the country, and it is fortunate that the results of his
investigation have been preserved in an official report, which throws
a flood of light on the state of Crete during the latter half of the
sixteenth century[192].

At the time of Foscarini’s visit the island was divided up into 479
fiefs, 394 of which belonged to Venetians, who were no longer subdivided
into the two original classes of knights and sergeants, or foot soldiers,
but were all collectively known as knights. Of the remaining fiefs,
thirty-five belonged to native Cretan families, twenty-five to the
Latin Church, and twenty-five to the Venetian Government. None of these
last three classes paid taxes or yielded service of any sort to the
Republic, though a rent was derived from such of the State domains as
were let. As might be guessed from the frequent repetition of Cretan
insurrections, the condition of the native Cretan aristocracy was one
of the most serious problems in the island. When Venice had adopted,
somewhat reluctantly, the plan of bestowing fiefs on the Greek leaders,
twelve prominent Cretan families had been selected, whose descendants,
styled _archontópouloi_, or _archontoromaîoi_, formed a privileged class
without obligations of any sort. As time went on, the numbers of these
families had increased, till, shortly before Foscarini’s visit, they
comprised at least 400 souls. But, as the number of the fiefs at their
disposal remained the same, a series of subdivisions became necessary,
and this led to those continual quarrels, which were the inevitable
result of the feudal system all over Greece. A hard and fast line was
soon drawn between the richer “sons of the _archontes_,” who lived a
life of idleness and luxury in the towns, and the poorer members of
the clan, who sank into the position of peasants on their bit of land,
without, however, losing their privileges and their pride of descent.
The latter quality involved them in perpetual feuds with rival families
equally aristocratic and equally penniless, and the celebrated district
of Sphakia, in particular, had even then acquired the evil notoriety
for turbulent independence which it preserved down to the end of the
nineteenth century. Shortly before Foscarini appeared on the scene, a
Venetian commissioner had paid a visit to that spot for the express
purpose of chastising the local family of the Pateroi, whose hereditary
feud with the family of the Papadopouloi of Rethymno had become a public
scandal. Both the parties, the latter of whom still has a representative
in an illustrious family resident at Venice, were of common stock, for
both were branches of the ancient Cretan clan of the Skordiloi. But they
hated one another with all the bitterness of near relatives; revenge
was the most precious heritage of their race; the bloody garment of
each victim was treasured up by his family, every member of which wore
mourning till his murder had been wiped out in blood; and thus, as in
Albania to-day, and in Corsica in the days of Mérimée, there was no end
to the chain of assassinations. On this occasion the Sphakiotes, who
could well maintain the classic reputation of the Cretan bowmen, were
completely crushed by the heavily armed troops of Venice. Their homes
were burned to the ground, those who resisted were slain; those who were
captured were sent into exile at Corfù, where they mostly died of cruel
treatment or home-sickness, the home-sickness which every true Cretan
feels for his mountains. The survivors of the clan were forbidden to
rebuild their dwellings or to approach within many miles of their beloved
Sphakia. The inhospitable valleys and rough uplands became their refuge,
and winter and lack of food had been steadily diminishing their numbers
when Foscarini arrived at Sphakia to see for himself how things were in
that notorious district.

Sphakia lies on the south coast of the island, almost exactly opposite
the Bay of Suda on the north. Foscarini describes it as consisting of
“a very weak tower,” occupied by a Venetian garrison of eleven men,
and a small hamlet built in terraces on the hills. The wildness of the
scenery was in keeping, he says, with the wildness of the inhabitants,
whose bravery, splendid physique, and agility in climbing the rocks he
warmly praises. Their appearance suggested to him a comparison with “the
wild Irish,” and they have certainly vied with the latter in the trouble
which they have given to successive Governments. Their long hair and
beards, their huge boots and vast skirts, the dagger, sword, bow and
arrows, which every Sphakiote constantly carried, and the unpleasant
odour of goats, which was derived from their habit of sleeping in caves
among their herds, and which clung to their persons, struck the observant
Venetian in a more or less agreeable manner. Yet he remarked that,
if they were let alone and not agitated by family feuds, they were a
mild and gentle race, and the peasant spokesman of the clan seemed to
him one of nature’s noblemen. With this man Foscarini came to terms,
promising the Pateroi a free pardon, their return to their homes, and the
restoration of their villages, on condition that they should furnish men
for the Venetian galleys, send a deputation twice a year to Canea, and
work once annually on the fortifications of that town. The Sphakiotes
loyally kept these conditions during the stay of Foscarini in the island,
their district became a model of law and order, while their rivals,
the Papadopouloi, were frightened into obedience by the threats of the
energetic commissioner. He further organised all the native clans in
companies for service in the militia under chiefs, or _capitani_, chosen
by him from out of their midst and paid by the local government. This
local militia was entrusted with the policing of the island, on the sound
principle that a former brigand makes the best policeman. Disobedience or
negligence was punished by degradation from the privileged class of free
_archontópouloi_, and thus the military qualities of the Cretans were
diverted into a useful channel, and a strong motive provided for their
loyalty. Similarly since the union with Greece the Cretans have become
excellent constables.

The next problem was that of the Venetian knights. It had been the
original intention of the Republic that none of their fiefs should pass
into Greek hands. But as time went on many of the colonists had secretly
sold their estates to the natives, and had gone back to Venice to spend
the proceeds of the sale in luxurious idleness. When Foscarini arrived,
he found that many even of those Venetians who remained in Crete had
become Greek in dress, manners, and speech. More than sixty years earlier
we hear complaints of the lack of Catholic priests and of the consequent
indifference of the colonists to the religion of their forefathers,
so that we are not surprised to hear Foscarini deploring the numerous
conversions of the Venetians in the country districts to the Orthodox
faith through the want of Latin churches. In the town of Candia, where
the nobles were better off, they still remained strict Catholics, and
this difference of religion marked them off from the Orthodox people;
but their wives had adopted Oriental habits, and lived in the seclusion
which we associate with the daily life of women in the East. In Canea,
which was a more progressive place than the capital, things were a little
more hopeful, but even there education was almost entirely neglected.
In the country, owing to the subdivision of fiefs, many of the smaller
Venetian proprietors had sunk to the condition of peasants, retaining
neither the language nor the chivalrous habits of their ancestors, but
only the sonorous names of the great Venetian houses whence they sprang.
All the old martial exercises, on which the Republic had relied for the
defence of the island, had long fallen into abeyance. Few of the knights
could afford to keep horses; few could ride them. When they were summoned
on parade at Candia, they were wont to stick some of their labourers on
horseback, clad in their own armour, to the scandal of the Government and
the amusement of the spectators, who would pelt these improvised horsemen
with bad oranges or stones. Another abuse arose from the possession of
one estate by several persons, who each contributed a part of the horse’s
equipment which the estate was expected to furnish. Thus the net result
of the feudal arrangements in Crete at this period was an impoverished
nobility and an utterly inadequate system of defence.

Foscarini set to work to remedy these evils with great courage. He
proceeded to restore the old feudal military service, with such
alterations as the times required. He announced that neglect of this
public duty would be punished by confiscation of the vassal’s fief; he
abolished the combination of several persons for the equipment of one
horse, but ordered that the small proprietors should each provide one of
the cheap but hardy little Cretan steeds, leaving the wealthier knights
to furnish costlier animals. By this means he created a chivalrous spirit
among the younger nobles, who began to take pride in their horses, and
1200 horsemen were at the disposal of the State before he left the
island. He next turned his attention to the remedy of another abuse—the
excessive growth of the native Cretan aristocracy owing to the issue of
patents of nobility by corrupt officials. Still worse was the reckless
bestowal of privileges, such as exemptions from personal service on the
galleys and from labour on the fortifications, upon Cretans of humble
origin, or even upon whole communities. The latter practice was specially
objectionable, because the privileged communities exercised a magnetic
attraction upon the peasants of other districts, who flocked into them,
leaving the less favoured parts of the island almost depopulated. Quite
apart from this cause, the diminution of the population, which at the
time of the Venetian conquest was about half a million, but had sunk to
271,489 shortly before Foscarini’s arrival, was sufficiently serious. It
is obvious that in ancient times, Crete with its “ninety cities” must
have supported a large number of inhabitants; but the plagues, famines,
and earthquakes of the sixteenth century had lessened the population,
already diminished by Turkish raids and internal insurrections. In 1524
no fewer than 24,000 persons died of the plague, and the Jews alone were
an increasing body. Against them Foscarini was particularly severe; he
regarded the fair Jewesses of Candia as the chief cause of the moral
laxity of the young nobles; he absolutely forbade Christians to accept
service in Jewish families; and nowhere was his departure so welcome as
in the Ghetto of Candia. The peasants, on the other hand, regarded him
as a benefactor; for their lot, whether they were mere serfs or whether
they tilled the land on condition of paying a certain proportion of the
produce, was by no means enviable. The serfs, or _pároikoi_, were mostly
the descendants of the Arabs who had been enslaved by Nikephoros Phokas,
and who could be sold at the will of their masters. The free peasants
were overburdened with compulsory work by the Government, as well as by
the demands of their lords. In neither case was Foscarini sure that he
had been able to confer any permanent benefit upon them. At least, he had
followed the maxim of an experienced Venetian, that the Cretans were not
to be managed by threats and punishments.

He concluded his mission by strengthening the two harbours of Suda
and Spinalonga, by increasing the numbers and pay of the garrison, by
improving the Cretan fleet and the mercantile marine, and by restoring
equilibrium to the budget. The Levantine possessions of Venice cost her
at this period more than they brought in, and it was the desire of the
Republic that Crete, should, at any rate, be made to pay expenses. With
this object, Foscarini regulated the currency, raised the tariff in such
a way that the increased duties fell on the foreign consumer, saw that
they were honestly collected, and endeavoured to make the island more
productive. But in all his reforms the commissioner met with stubborn
resistance from the vested interests of the Venetian officials and the
fanaticism of the Orthodox clergy, always the bitterest foes of Venice
in the Levant. In dealing with the latter, Foscarini saw that strong
measures were necessary; he persuaded his Government to banish the worst
agitators, and to allow the others to remain only on condition that they
behaved well. Then, after more than four years of labour, he returned to
Venice, where he was thanked by the Doge for his eminent services. He
had been, indeed, as his monument in the Carmelite church there says,
“Dictator of the island of Candia”; but even his heroic policy did “but
skin and film the ulcerous place.” Not ten years after his departure
we find another Venetian authority, Giulio de Garzoni, writing of the
tyranny of the knights and officials, the misery of the natives, the
disorder of the administration, and the continued agitation of the Greek
clergy among the peasantry. So desperate had the latter become that
there were many who preferred even the yoke of the Sultan to that of the
Catholic Republic[193]. The population of the island, which Foscarini
had estimated at 219,000, had sunk in this short space of time to about
176,000. Numbers of Cretans had emigrated to Constantinople since
Foscarini left, where they formed a large portion of the men employed
in the Turkish arsenal, and where the information which they gave to
the Turks about the weakness of the Cretan garrison and forts filled
the Venetian representatives with alarm. Yet Venice seemed powerless to
do more for the oppressed islanders; indeed, she inclined rather to the
Machiavellian policy of Fra Paolo Sarpi, who advised her to treat the
Cretans like wild beasts, upon whom humanity would be only thrown away,
and to govern the island by maintaining constant enmity between the
barbarised colonists and the native barbarians. “Bread and the stick,
that is all that you ought to give them.” Such a policy could only
prevail so long as Venice was strong enough to defend the colony, or wise
enough to keep at peace with the Sultan.

The latter policy prevailed for nearly three-quarters of a century after
the peace between Venice and the Porte in 1573, and during that period
we hear little of Crete. The quaint traveller Lithgow[194], who visited
it in the first decade of the seventeenth century, alludes to a descent
of the Turks upon Rethymno in 1597, when that town was again sacked and
burned; and he remarks, as Plato had done in _The Laws_, that he never
saw a Cretan come out of his house unarmed. He found a Venetian garrison
of 12,000 men in the island, and reiterates the preference of the Cretans
for Turkish rule, on the ground that they would have “more liberty and
less taxes.” But while he was disappointed to find no more than four
cities in an island which in Homer’s day had contained ninety, he tells
us that Canea had “ninety-seven palaces,” and he waxes eloquent over the
great fertility of the country near Suda. It is curious to find, nearly
three centuries ago, that Suda bay was eagerly coveted by a foreign
potentate, the King of Spain, of whose designs the astute Venetians were
fully aware, and whose overtures they steadily declined.

The time had now arrived when the Cretans were to realise their desires,
and exchange the Venetian for the Turkish rule. The Ottoman sultans had
long meditated the conquest of the island, and two recent events had
infuriated Ibrahim I against the Venetians. The Near East was at that
time cursed with a severe outbreak of piracy, in which there was little
to choose between Christians and Mussulmans. While the Venetians had
chased some Barbary corsairs into the Turkish harbour of Valona, on
the coast of Albania, and had injured a minaret with their shots, they
had allowed a Maltese squadron, which had captured the nurse of the
Sultan’s son, to sail into a Cretan harbour with its booty. The fury
of the Sultan, whose affection for his son’s nurse was well known, was
not appeased by the apologies of the Venetian representative. Great
preparations were made for an expedition against Crete, and Ibrahim
constantly went down to the arsenals to urge on the workmen. All over
the Turkish empire the word went forth to make ready. The forests of
the Morea were felled to furnish palisades, the naval stores of Chalkis
were emptied to supply provisions for the troops. All the time the Grand
Vizier kept assuring the Venetian bailie that these gigantic efforts were
directed not against the Republic, but against the knights of Malta.
In vain the Mufti protested against this act of deception, and pleaded
that, if war there must be against Venice, at least it might be open.
The Capitan-Pasha and the war party silenced any religious scruples of
the Sultan, and the Mufti was told to mind his own business. As soon
as the truth dawned upon the Venetians they lost no time in preparing
to meet the Turks. Andrea Cornaro, the new Governor of Crete, hastily
strengthened the fortifications of Candia and of the island at the mouth
of Suda bay, while the home Government sent messages for aid to every
friendly State, from Spain to Persia, with but little result. The Great
Powers were then at each other’s throats; France was quarrelling with
Spain, Germany was still in the throes of the Thirty Years’ War, England
was engaged in the struggle between King and Parliament, and it was
thought that the English wine trade would benefit by the Turkish conquest
of Crete. Besides, the downfall of the Levantine commerce of Venice was
regarded with equanimity by our Turkey merchants, and the Venetians
accused us of selling munitions of war to the infidel. It was remarked,
too, that Venice, of all States, was the least entitled to expect
Christendom to arm in her defence, for no other Government had been so
ready to sacrifice Christian interests in the Levant when it suited her
purpose. Only the Pope and a few minor States promised assistance.

In 1645 the Turkish fleet sailed with sealed orders for the famous bay
of Navarino. Then the command was given to arrest all Venetian subjects,
including the Republic’s representative at Constantinople, and the
Turkish commander, a Dalmatian renegade, set sail for Crete. Landing
without opposition to the west of Canea, he proceeded to besiege that
town, whose small but heroic garrison held out for two months before
capitulating. The principal churches were at once converted into mosques;
but the losses of the Turks during the siege, and the liberal terms
which their commander had felt bound to offer to the besieged, cost him
his head. At Venice great was the consternation at the loss of Canea;
enormous pecuniary sacrifices were demanded of the citizens, and titles
of nobility were sold in order to raise funds for carrying on the war.
Meanwhile, an attempt to create a diversion by an attack upon Patras only
served to exasperate the Turks, who became masters of Rethymno in 1646,
and in the spring of 1648 began that memorable siege of Candia which was
destined to last for more than twenty years. Even though Venice sued
for peace, and offered to the Sultan Parga and Tenos[195], as well as a
tribute, in return for the restoration of Canea and Rethymno, the Turks
remained obdurate, and were resolved at all costs to have the island,
“even though the war should go on for a hundred years.” And indeed it
seemed likely to be prolonged indefinitely. The substitution of Mohammed
IV for Ibrahim I as Sultan, and the consequent confusion at the Turkish
capital, made it difficult for the Turks to carry on the struggle with
the vigour which they had shown at the outset. The Venetian fleet waited
at the entrance of the Dardanelles to attack Turkish convoys on their
way to Crete, while the Ottoman provision-stores at Volo and Megara
were burned. But these successes outside of the island delayed, without
preventing, the progress of the Turkish arms. In fact, the Venetian
forays in the Archipelago, notably at Paros and Melos, had the effect
of embittering the Greeks against them, and, as a Cretan poet wrote,
the islanders had to suffer, whichever side they took. In Crete itself,
an ambitious Greek priest persuaded the Porte to have him appointed
Metropolitan of the island, and to allow him to name seven suffragans.
The Cretan militia refused to fight, and even the warlike Sphakiotes,
under the leadership of a Kallerges, did little beyond cutting off a few
Turkish stragglers. At last they yielded to the Turks, whose humane
treatment of the Greek peasants throughout the island, combined with
the unpopularity of the Latin rule, frustrated the attempt to provoke
a general rising of the Cretans against the invaders. Nor was a small
French force, which Cardinal Mazarin at last sent to aid the Venetians,
more successful. Both sides were, in fact, equally hampered and equally
unable to obtain a decisive victory; the Venetian fleet at the islet of
Standia, and the Turkish army in the fortress of New Candia, which it had
erected, kept watching one another, while year after year the wearisome
war dragged on. Then, in 1666, a new element was introduced into the
conflict. The Grand Vizier, Ahmed Köprili, landed in Crete, resolved to
risk his head upon the success of his attempt to take Candia[196].

For two years and a half Köprili patiently besieged the town, with an
immense expenditure of ammunition and a great loss of life. Worse and
worse grew the condition of the garrison, which was commanded by the
brave Francesco Morosini, who was destined later on to inflict such
tremendous blows upon the Turks in the Morea. A ray of hope illumined
the doomed fortress when, in June 1669, a force of 8000 French soldiers
under the Duc de Navailles, and fifty French vessels under the Duc de
Beaufort, arrived in the harbour, sent by Louis XIV, at the urgent prayer
of Pope Clement IX, to save this bulwark of Catholicism. But these French
auxiliaries met with no success. Four days after their arrival, the Duc
de Beaufort fell in a sally outside the walls[197]. His colleague, the
Duc de Navailles, soon lost heart, and sailed away to France, leaving
the garrison to its fate. His departure was the turning-point in the
siege. The houses were riddled with shots, the churches were in ruins,
the streets were strewn with splinters of bombs and bullets, every
day diminished the number of the defenders, and sickness was raging
in the town. Then Morosini saw that it was useless to go on fighting.
He summoned a council of war, and proposed that the garrison should
capitulate. A few desperate men opposed his proposition, saying that
they would rather blow up the place and die, as they had fought, like
heroes among its ruins. But Morosini’s opinion prevailed, the white flag
was hoisted on the ramparts, and two plenipotentiaries—one of them an
Englishman, Colonel Thomas Anand—were appointed to settle the terms of
capitulation with the Grand Vizier, who was represented at the conference
by a Greek, Panagiotes Nikouses, the first of his race who became
Grand Dragoman of the Porte[198]. Köprili insisted upon the complete
cession of Crete, with the exception of the three fortresses of Suda,
Spinalonga, and Grabusa, with the small islands near them; but he showed
his appreciation of the heroic defence of Candia by allowing the garrison
to march out with all the honours of war. On September 27 the keys of
the town were handed to him on a silver dish, and on the same day, the
whole population, except six persons, left the place. There, at least,
the Greeks preferred exile to Turkish rule, and one of Köprili’s first
acts was to induce fresh inhabitants to come to the deserted town by the
promise of exemption from taxes for several years.

The cost of this siege, one of the longest in history, “Troy’s rival,”
as Byron called it[199], had been enormous. The Venetians, it was
calculated, had lost 30,985 men, and the Turks 118,754, and the Republic
had spent 4,253,000 ducats upon the defence of this one city. Some idea
of the miseries inflicted by this long war of a quarter of a century may
be formed from the fact that the population of Crete, which had risen to
about 260,000 before it began, was estimated by the English traveller
Randolph, eighteen years after the Turkish conquest, at only 80,000, of
whom 30,000 were Turks. Even before the siege it had been said that Crete
cost far more than it was worth, and from the pecuniary standpoint the
loss of the island was a blessing in disguise. But a cession of territory
cannot be measured by means of a balance-sheet. The prestige of the
Republic had been shattered, her greatest possession in the Levant had
been torn from her, and once more the disunion of the Western Powers had
been the Turk’s opportunity. Both the parties to the treaty were accused
of having concluded an unworthy peace. Every successful Turkish commander
has enemies at home, who seek to undermine his influence; but Köprili was
strong enough to keep his place. Morosini, less fortunate, was, indeed,
acquitted of the charges of bribery and malversation brought against him,
but he was not employed again for many years, until he was called upon to
take a noble revenge for the loss of Candia.

Venice did not retain her three remaining Cretan fortresses indefinitely.
Grabusa was betrayed by its venal commander to the Turks in 1691; Suda
and Spinalonga were captured in 1715 during the Turco-Venetian War, and
the Treaty of Passarovitz confirmed their annexation to Turkey[200].

So, after 465 years, the Venetian domination came to an end. From the
Roman times to the present day no government has lasted so long in that
restless island; and the winged lion on many a building, the old galley
arches on the left of the port of Candia, and the chain of Venetian
fortresses, of which Prof. Gerola has given a detailed description in
his great work, _Venetian Monuments in the island of Crete_, remind us
of the bygone rule of the great republic. But the traveller will inquire
in vain for the descendants of those Venetian colonists whose names have
been preserved in the archives at Venice. Rather than remain in Crete,
most of them emigrated to Corfù or to the Ægean islands, or else returned
to Venice—reluctantly, we may be sure, for Crete has ever exercised a
strange fascination on all who have dwelt there. Now that Crete is once
more emancipated from the Turk, it is possible to compare the Venetian
and the Ottoman rule, and even Greeks themselves, no lovers of the Latins
in the Levant, have done justice to the merits of the Republic of St
Mark. The yoke of Venice was at times heavy, and her hand was relentless
in crushing out rebellion. But a Greek writer of eminence has admitted
that the Venetian administration in Crete was not exceptionally cruel, if
judged by the low standard of humanity in that period[201]. Some persons,
on the strength of certain striking instances of ferocious punishment
inflicted on those who had taken part in the Cretan risings[202], have
pronounced the Venetians to have been worse than the Turks. But in
our own day the Germans, who boast of their superior education, have
exterminated the inhabitants of a South Sea island as vengeance for the
murder of one missionary and have incited the Turks to massacre the
Armenians. It should be reckoned to the credit of Venice that she, at
least, did not attack the religion, or attempt to proscribe the language,
of her Greek subjects, but sternly repelled the proselytising zeal of the
Papacy, so that the Orthodox Church gained more followers than it lost.
The permission accorded in Crete to mixed marriages tended to make the
children of the Venetian colonists good Cretans and luke-warm Catholics,
where they did not go over to the Orthodox creed. The Greeks were given
a share in the administration, trade was encouraged, and many of the
natives amassed large fortunes. At no time in the history of the island
was the export of wine so considerable as during the Venetian occupation.
So great was the wine trade between Crete and England that Henry VIII
appointed in 1522 a certain merchant of Lucca, resident in the island, as
first English Consul there—the beginning of our consular service. Various
travellers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries allude to this
traffic, and Ben Jonson, in his play of _The Fox_, talks of “rich Candian
wine” as a special vintage. In return, we sent woollens to the islanders,
till the French managed to supplant us[203]. Nor was learning neglected
under the Venetians. The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries produced many
Cretans of distinction, among them Pope Alexander V. One became a famous
engineer, two others gained renown as printers at Venice and Rome; a
great Cretan artist, Domenicos Theotokopoulos, obtained undying fame at
Madrid under the name of “El Greco”; one Cretan author edited the Moral
Treatises of Plutarch; another, Joannes Bergikios, wrote a history of
his native island in Italian. We have two poems in Greek by the Cretans
Bouniales and Skleros upon the war of Candia[204]. It was a Cretan of
Venetian origin, Vincenzo Comaro, who wrote the romance of _Erotokritos_,
which was “the most popular reading of the Levant from the sixteenth to
the nineteenth century,” and in which Herakles, “king of Athens,” his
lovely daughter Aretousa, and her lover Erotokritos are the principal
figures, amidst a crowd of princelets obviously modelled on the Frankish
dukes and marquesses of mediæval Greece. Other novelists were produced
by the island, but when Crete fell all the lettered Cretans left, and
with their departure the romantic spirit in literature, which they had
imbibed from the West, ceased[205]. A Greek school had been founded at
Candia in 1550, and many young Cretans went to Italy for purposes of
study[206]. Markos Mousouros, the Cretan scholar, was buried in Sta Maria
della Pace in Rome in 1517; another Cretan, Skouphos, published his
_Rhetoric_ at Venice in 1681. Compared with the present day, when the
island has just emerged from the deadening effect of 229 years of Turkish
rule, its civilisation was materially more advanced in Venetian times.
The Venetians made roads, bridges, and aqueducts; the Turks created
nothing, and allowed the former means of communication to decay. Yet, as
we have seen, Venice was never popular with the Cretans, and the reason
is perfectly obvious to those who have observed the Greek character. Be
the material advantages of foreign domination never so great, the Greek
resents being governed by those of another race and creed, especially if
that creed be Roman Catholicism. The history of the Ionian Islands under
the British Protectorate, of Cyprus under the existing arrangement, of
the Morea under the Venetians, of Athens and of Naxos under the Latin
dukes, all point the same moral. The patriotic Greek would rather be free
than prosperous, and most Greeks, though sharp men of business, are warm
patriots. That is the lesson of Venetian rule in Crete—a lesson which
Europe, after the agony of a century of insurrections, at last took to
heart by granting the Cretans autonomy—now become union with Greece.


On their way from Venice to Constantinople the soldiers of the fourth
crusade cast anchor at Corfù, which (as modern Corfiote historians
think) had lately been recovered from the Genoese pirate Vetrano by
the Byzantine government, and was at that time, in the language of the
chronicler Villehardouin, “very rich and plenteous.” In the deed of
partition the Ionian islands were assigned to the Venetians; but they
did not find Corfù by any means an easy conquest. The natives, combining
with their old master, Vetrano, ousted the Venetian garrison, and it
was not till he had been defeated in a naval battle and hanged with a
number of his Corfiote supporters that the Republic was able to occupy
the island. Even then the Venetian government, finding it impossible to
administer directly all the vast territories which had suddenly come into
its possession, granted the island in fiefs to ten Venetian citizens on
condition that they should garrison it and should pay an annual rent to
the Republic. The rights of the Greek church were to be respected, and
the taxes of the loyal islanders were not to be raised[207]. But this
first Venetian domination of Corfù was of brief duration. When Michael I
Angelos founded the Despotat of Epeiros the attraction of a neighbouring
Greek state proved too much for the Corfiotes, who threw off the Latin
yoke and willingly became his subjects. A memorial of his rule may still
be seen in the splendidly situated castle of Sant’ Angelo, whose ruins
rise high above the waters of the Ionian Sea not far from the beautiful
monastery of Palaiokastrizza[208].

Corfù prospered greatly under the Despots of Epeiros. They took good care
to ratify and extend the privileges of the church, to grant exemptions
from taxation to the priests, and to reduce the burdens of the laity to
the smallest possible figure. In this they showed their wisdom, for the
church became their warmest ally, and a Corfiote divine was one of the
most vigorous advocates of his patron in the ecclesiastical and political
feud between the rival Greek empires of Nice and Salonika. But after
little more than half a century of Orthodox rule the island passed into
the possession of the Catholic Angevins. Michael II of Epeiros, yielding
to the exigencies of politics, had given his daughter in marriage to the
ill-starred Manfred of Sicily, to whom she brought Corfù as a part of her
dowry. Upon the death of Manfred at the battle of Benevento the powerful
Sicilian admiral Chinardo, who had governed it for his master, occupied
the island until he was murdered by the inhabitants at the instigation
of Michael. The crime did not, however, profit the crafty Despot. The
national party in Corfù endeavoured, indeed, to restore the island to the
rule of the Angeloi; but Chinardo’s soldiers, under the leadership of a
baron named Aleman, successfully resisted the agitation. As the defeat
of Manfred had led to the establishment of Charles of Anjou as king of
Naples and Sicily, and as they were a small foreign garrison in the midst
of a hostile population, they thought it best to accept that powerful
prince as lord of the island. By the treaty of Viterbo the fugitive Latin
emperor, Baldwin II, ceded to Charles any rights over it which he might
possess, and thus in 1267 the Angevins came into possession of Corfù,
though Aleman was allowed to retain the fortresses of the place until his
death[209]. For more than five centuries the Latin race and the Catholic
religion predominated there.

The Angevin rule, as might have been anticipated from its origin, was
especially intolerant of the Orthodox faith. Charles owed his crown
to the Pope, and was anxious to repay the obligation by propagating
Catholicism among his Orthodox subjects. The Venetians, as we saw, had
enjoined the tolerance of the Greek church during their brief period of
domination, so that now for the first time the islanders learnt what
religious persecution meant. The Metropolitan of Corfù, whose office
had been so greatly exalted by the Despots of Epeiros, was deposed, and
in his room a less dignified ecclesiastic, called “chief priest” (μέγας
πρωτοπαπᾶς), was substituted. The title of “Archbishop of Corfù” was now
usurped by a Latin priest, and the principal churches were seized by the
Catholic clergy[210]. In the time of the Angevins too the Jews, who still
flourish there almost alone in Greece, made their first appearance in any
numbers in Corfù, and first found protectors there; but the injunctions
of successive sovereigns, bidding the people treat them well, would seem
to show that this protection was seldom efficacious[211]. The government
of the island was also reorganised. An official was appointed to act as
viceroy with the title of captain, and the country was divided into four
bailiwicks. Many new fiefs were assigned, while some that already existed
were transferred to Italians and Provençals.

The Sicilian Vespers, which drove the house of Anjou from Sicily and
handed that kingdom over to the rival house of Aragon, indirectly
affected the fortunes of Corfù. The Corfiotes did not, indeed, imitate
the Sicilians and massacre the French; but their connexion with the
Angevins now exposed them to attack from the Aragonese fleets. Thus the
famous Roger de Lluria burnt the royal castle and levied blackmail upon
the inhabitants. Another Roger, the terrible Catalan leader, De Flor,
ravaged the fertile island in one of his expeditions; yet, in spite of
these incursions, we find the condition of Corfù half a century later
to have been far superior to that of the neighbouring lands. The fact
that the diligent research of the local historians has brought to light
so little information about the Angevin period in itself proves that,
in that generally troubled time, Corfù enjoyed tranquillity. Beyond
the names of its sovereigns, Charles II of Naples, Philip I, Robert,
and Philip II of Taranto, Catherine of Valois and Marie de Bourbon, we
know little about the island from the time when Charles II, reserving
to himself the overlordship, transferred it as a fief in 1294 to his
fourth son, the first of those princes, down to the death of Philip
II in 1373. It then experienced the evils of a disputed succession,
and, as it espoused the cause of Queen Joanna I of Naples, it was
attacked by the Navarrese mercenaries, who were in the pay of the rival
candidate, Jacques de Baux, and who afterwards played so important a
part in the Morea. When Joanna lost her crown and life at the hands of
Charles III of Durazzo, the latter obtained Corfù, and, with the usual
kindness of usurpers insecure on their thrones, he confirmed the fiscal
privileges which the Angeloi had granted to the Corfiotes in the previous
century[212]. But after his violent death four years later, in 1386, the
decline of the Angevin dynasty and the unsettled condition of the east of
Europe caused the islanders to turn their eyes in the direction of the
only power which could protect them.

Venice indeed had never forgotten her brief possession of Corfù: she
had long been scheming how to recover so desirable a naval station, and
her consul encouraged the Venetian party in the island. There was also
a Genoese faction there, but its attempt to hold the old castle failed,
and on May 28, 1386, the Corfiotes hoisted the standard of St Mark.
Six envoys—one of them, it is worth noting, a Jewish representative of
the considerable Hebrew community—were appointed to offer the island
to the Republic upon certain conditions, the chief of which were the
confirmation of the privileges granted by the Angevins, a declaration
that Venice would never dispose of the place to any other power, and a
promise to maintain the existing system of fiefs. On June 9 a second
document was drawn up, reiterating the desire of the islanders, “or the
greater and saner part of them,” to put themselves under the shelter
of the Republic. Since the death of Charles III, they said, “the island
has been destitute of all protection, while it has been coveted by
jealous neighbours on every side and almost besieged by Arabs and Turks.”
Wherefore, “considering the tempest of the times and the instability
of human affairs,” they had resolved to elect Miani, the Venetian
admiral, captain of the island, and he had entered the city without the
least disturbance. The castle of Sant’ Angelo held out for a time in
the name of Ladislaus, king of Naples; but the transfer of the island
was effected practically without bloodshed. On its side the Venetian
government readily agreed to the terms of the six Corfiote envoys, but
thought it prudent to purchase the acquiescence of the king of Naples in
this transaction. Accordingly in 1402 the sum of 30,000 gold ducats was
paid to him for the island, and the Venetian title was thus made doubly
sure[213]. For 411 years the lion of St Mark held unbroken possession of

Meanwhile the fate of the other Ionian islands had been somewhat
different, and they only gradually passed beneath the Venetian sway.
Paxo, the baronial fief of the successive families of Malerba, Sant’
Ippolito and Altavilla, was, indeed, joined politically with Corfù, from
which it is so short a distance, but Cephalonia, Zante, and Ithake had
fallen about the time of the Latin conquest of Constantinople into the
hands of a roving crusader or pirate—the terms were then identical—named
Majo, or Matthew, a member of the great Orsini clan and son-in-law of
the Sicilian Admiral Margaritone, who styled himself count palatine of
the islands, though he recognised the supremacy of Venice. Stricken with
pangs of conscience for his sins, he atoned for them by placing his
possessions under the protection of the Pope, who made short work of the
Orthodox bishops and put the islands under a single Latin ecclesiastic.
Majo did fealty to Geoffroy I de Villehardouin of Achaia, and the islands
were thenceforth reckoned as a vassal state of that principality.
Historians have narrated the horrible crimes of the descendants of Count
Majo in describing the stormy history of Epeiros, and so terrible was
the condition of the islands when John of Gravina set out to claim the
principality of Achaia that he had no difficulty in occupying them as
dependencies of that state. A few years later, in 1333, an arrangement
was made by which they were united with Achaia and Corfù under the
Angevin sceptre. But Robert of Taranto subsequently separated them in
1357 from the latter island by conferring them upon Leonardo Tocco of
Benevento, who also became in 1362 duke of Santa Maura, an island whose
history during the thirteenth and part of the fourteenth centuries is
buried in the deepest obscurity. It appears to have belonged to the
Despots of Epeiros down to a little before the year 1300, when it is
mentioned as a part of the county of Cephalonia. Captured by young Walter
of Brienne in his expedition to Greece in 1331, it was by him bestowed on
the Venetian family of Zorzi in 1355.

The Turks took the four islands of Cephalonia, Ithake, Zante, and Santa
Maura from the Tocchi in 1479, and the attempt of Antonio Tocco to
recover his brother’s dominions ended in his murder at the hands of the
Ionians. By arrangement with the Sultan the Venetians, who had expelled
Antonio’s forces, handed Cephalonia over to the Turks in 1485, but kept
Zante, which thus, from 1482 onwards, was governed by them, on payment
of an annual tribute of 500 ducats to the Turkish treasury[214]. This
tribute ceased in 1699, when the treaty of Carlovitz formally ceded the
island, free of payment, to the Republic. The Venetians invited colonists
to emigrate thither, in order to fill up the gaps in the population; for
the Turks had carried off many of the inhabitants to Constantinople, for
the purpose of breeding mulatto slaves for the seraglio by intermarriage
with negroes. As there were many homeless exiles at the time, in
consequence of the Turkish conquests in the Levant, there was no lack
of response to this invitation, and Zante soon became a flourishing
community. Its wealth was further increased, in the sixteenth century,
by the introduction of the currant from the neighbourhood of Corinth,
so that at that period it merited its poetic title of “the flower of
the Levant.” Cephalonia did not long remain in Turkish hands. After two
futile attempts to take it the Venetians succeeded, in 1500, with the aid
of the famous Spanish commander, Gonsalvo de Cordoba, in capturing the
island, and at the peace of 1502-3 the Republic was finally confirmed
in its possession, which was never afterwards disturbed. Ithake seems
to have followed the fate of its larger neighbour. Santa Maura[215],
however, though taken two years after Cephalonia, was almost at once
restored to the Turks, and did not become Venetian till its capture by
Morosini in 1684, which was ratified by the treaty of Carlovitz fifteen
years later. It had long been a thorn in the side of the Venetians, as
it was, under the Turkish rule, a dangerous nest of pirates, against
whom the Corfiotes more than once fitted out punitive expeditions. When
Santa Maura was reluctantly given back to the Sultan in 1503, part of
the population emigrated to Ithake, then almost desolate[216], and at
the same time Cephalonia received an influx of Greeks from the Venetian
possessions on the mainland which the Turks had just taken. Kythera,
or Cerigo, which is not geographically an Ionian island at all, and
is no longer connected with the other six, was the property of the
great Venetian family of Venier, which traced its name and origin from
Venus, the goddess of Kythera, from 1207, with certain interruptions
and modifications, down to the fall of the Republic. These Venetian
Marquesses of Cerigo were ousted by the Greeks under Licario after the
restoration of Byzantine rule in the South of the Peloponnese in 1262.
The Emperor bestowed the island upon Paul Monoyannes, a member of one of
the three great Monemvasiote families, but in 1309 intermarriage between
the children of the Greek and Latin lords restored it to the Venieri,
who divided it up into twenty-four shares. But the participation of the
Venieri in the Cretan insurrection of 1363 led to the transformation
of their island into a Venetian colony. Thirty years later, however,
thirteen out of the twenty-four shares were restored to them, while
the Venetian Governor was dependent upon the Cretan administration, so
long as Crete remained Venetian, and upon the Government of the Morea
during the Venetian occupation in the early part of the eighteenth
century. After the peace of Passarovitz he became the subordinate of the
_provveditore generale del Levante_ at Corfù, and the former “eye of
Crete” was thenceforth treated as one of the seven Ionian Islands for the
remainder of the Venetian rule.

Besides the seven islands Venice also acquired, at different periods
after her occupation of Corfù, several dependencies on the mainland
opposite. Of these, owing to its dramatic history in the days of the
British protectorate, the most interesting was Parga, first taken in
1401[217]. As the landing-place for the famous rock of Suli, with
which in a famous line Byron has connected it, it was a place of some
importance, and was fortified by the Venetians as an outpost against
the Turks. But the Republic ultimately found that it cost more than it
was worth, and several times in vain urged the inhabitants to emigrate
over the narrow channel to Anti-Paxo, or to settle in Corfù. But then,
as in 1819, the Pargians showed a touching, if inconvenient, attachment
to their ancient home, perhaps not unmixed with the desire to continue
the lucrative traffic of selling the munitions of war, sent from Venice
for their own defence, to the neighbouring Turks. Butrinto, opposite
the northern end of Corfù, had voluntarily surrendered to the Venetians
soon after their final occupation of that island, and, like Parga, was
fortified with works, of which the remains may still be seen. During the
Venetian rule of the Ionian Islands Butrinto, well known to sportsmen for
its duck-shooting, and to scholars for the allusion in the _Æneid_[218],
was several times captured and recaptured. The fisheries in the lakes
there, which had once been the property of Cicero’s friend Atticus,
were of considerable value to the Venetians[219], as they are still to
the present proprietors; and the place became definitely assured to
the Republic in 1718, at which date Vonitza inside, and Prevesa at the
entrance of, the Ambrakian Gulf, the latter a stronghold of corsairs
and an important military position which resisted the Greek bombardment
during the Greco-Turkish war of 1897, were also confirmed to Venice.
The value set by the Venetians upon these continental dependencies may
be judged from the fact that they were called “the eyes and ears of the
Republic on the mainland.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The administration of the islands during the Venetian period was modelled
on that of the Republic. In Corfù, the first occupied and most important
of the seven, the chief Venetian functionary was known as the bailie,
who was subsequently assisted by two noble Venetian councillors, and by
a third official, called _provveditore e capitano_, who was in command
of the garrison and resided in the fortress. The strong castle of Sant’
Angelo, on the west coast, which was never taken though often besieged,
was entrusted to a special officer. But the power of the bailie was
soon overshadowed by that of the commander of the fleet, which was
soon stationed at Corfù, and for which the arsenal at Govino, of which
large and imposing ruins still remain, was built. This naval authority
was the _provveditore generale del Levante_; he was usually appointed
for three years, and exercised very important functions at the time
when Venice was still a first-class eastern power. Strict orders were
issued to all these officials that they should respect the rights of
the natives, and spies, known as “inquisitors over the affairs of the
Levant,” were sent from time to time to the islands for the purpose of
checking the Venetian administration and of ascertaining the grievances
of the governed, who had also the privilege, which they often exercised,
of sending special missions to Venice to lay their complaints before
the home government. Ionian historians, after due deduction is made
for the strong Venetian bias of the privileged class from which they
sprang, are agreed that redress was almost invariably granted, though the
abuses of which the natives complained were apt to grow up again. Thus
when, in the early part of the seventeenth century, the Corfiotes sent
envoys to point out the excesses committed by the sailors of the fleet
the Venetian government forbade the men to land on the island[220]. Not
long afterwards we find the “inquisitors” ordering the removal of all
statues and epitaphs erected to the Venetian officials at Corfù, in order
to prevent this slavish practice, which had descended to the Greeks from
the Roman days[221]. And somewhat later the exactions of the Venetian
officials were stopped. A large share in the local administration was
granted to the inhabitants, or rather to those of noble birth, for
Corfiote society was divided into the three classes of nobles, burghers,
and manual labourers. At first the so-called national council was a much
more democratic body, including many foreigners and local tradesmen.
But the latter and their children were gradually excluded from it, the
entrance of the former was restricted, and in 1440 the functions of
the national council were strictly limited to the annual election of
a smaller body, the communal, or city, council—a body composed at the
outset of seventy, and, half a century later, of 150 members, a total
which was maintained till the last years of Venetian rule, when the
numbers were reduced to sixty. For the purposes of this annual election
the members of the national council met in a quaint old house, decorated
with pictures of Nausikaa welcoming Odysseus, and of other scenes from
the early history of Corcyra, and situated between the old fortress and
the town. This interesting memorial of Venetian rule has long since been
swept away.

The council of 150, which thus became the governing body of the island,
was composed of Greeks as well as Latins, and formed a close oligarchy.
Once only, during the crisis of the Candian war, it was resolved to add
to it those citizens who would pay a certain sum towards the expenses
of that costly struggle[222]. It had the right of electing every year
certain officials, called syndics (σύνδικοι), at first four in number—two
Greeks and two Latins—and at a later period, when the numbers of the
Latins had declined, only three. These syndics were required to be more
than thirty-eight (at another period thirty-five) years of age, and
were regarded as the special representatives of the community of Corfù.
Those who felt themselves wronged looked to them for redress, and, in
accordance with the economic heresies of that age, they regulated prices
in the markets—a curious interference with the usual Levantine practice
of bargaining. The council of 150 also elected three judges, of whom one
must always be a Latin; but these officials possessed no more than a
consultative vote, and the real decision of cases rested with the bailie
and his two councillors. No local offices—and there were many in Venetian
days—were held for more than a year; most of them were purely honorary,
and all were in the gift of the council of 150. One of the most important
was that of _trierarch_, or captain of the Corfiote war galleys, an
official whom the Venetians wisely allowed these experienced seamen,
worthy descendants of the seafaring Phaiakians of the _Odyssey_, to
elect. Two campaigns entitled a Corfiote officer to the rank of captain
in the Republican fleet, and it would have been well if the British had
followed in this respect the example of their predecessors[223], and
thus opened a naval career to the Ionians. The Corfiote nobles also
commanded the town militia, composed of about 500 artisans, and called
“apprentices,” or _scolari_, who received immunity from taxation in lieu
of pay and exercised on Sundays alone. Each village provided a certain
number of rural police. In imitation of the similar record at Venice a
Golden Book was established, containing the names of the Corfiote nobles.
When the latter were much diminished in numbers by the first great siege
of the island by the Turks in 1537 new families were added to the list
from the burgher class, and Marmora gives the names of 112 noble families
existing at the time when he wrote his history, in 1672[224]. The
Golden Book was burned as the symbol of hated class distinction in the
first enthusiasm for liberty, equality, and fraternity after the French
republicans took possession of Corfù.

The Venetians had found the feudal system already in existence when they
took over the island, where it had been introduced in Byzantine days, and
they had promised to maintain it. We are told by Marmora that there were
twenty-four baronies there in former times, and later on the total seems
to have been a dozen. In the last century of Venetian rule there were
fifteen[225]. Occasionally the Venetians created a new fief, such as that
of the gipsies, to reward public services. The Ἀθίγγανοι, or gipsies,
who were about 100 in number, were subject to the exclusive jurisdiction
of the baron, upon whom their fief had been bestowed, “an office,” as
Marmora says, “of not a little gain and of very great honour.” They had
their own military commander, and every year on May 1 they marched under
his leadership to the sound of drums and fifes, bearing aloft their
baron’s standard and carrying a maypole, decked with flowers, to the
square in front of the house where the great man lived. There they set
up their pole and sang a curious song in honour of their lord[226], who
provided them with refreshment and on the morrow received from them their
dues. Every feudatory was compelled to keep one horse for the defence of
the island, and was expected to appear with it on May Day on parade. The
peasants were worse off under this feudal system than their fellows on
the mainland under Turkish rule. They had no political rights whatever;
they were practically serfs, and were summed up in the capitulations at
the time of the Venetian occupation together with “the other movable and
immovable goods” of their lords[227]. A decision of the year 1641 that
no one should vote in the council who had not a house in the city must
also have tended to produce absenteeism, still one of the evils of Corfù,
where at the present day only four landed proprietors live on their
estates. A distaste for country life, always a marked feature of Greek
society, may thus have been increased, and the concentration of all the
nobles and men of position in the town, which is now ascribed at Corfù
to the lucrative posts and gaieties of the capital during the British
protectorate, would seem to have begun much earlier. Occasionally we hear
of a peasants’ rising against their oppressors. Thus in 1652 a movement
of the kind had to be put down by force; but the Venetian government,
engaged at the time in the Candian war, did not think it desirable to
punish the insurgents. Somewhat earlier a democratic agitation for
granting a share in the local administration was vetoed by the Republic.
Marmora remarks in his time that “the peasants are never contented;
they rise against their lords on the smallest provocation[228].” Yet,
until the last century of her rule, Venice had little trouble with
the inhabitants. She kept the nobles in good humour by granting them
political privileges, titles, and the entrance to the Venetian navy,
and, so long as the Turk was a danger, she was compelled, from motives
of prudence, to pay a due regard to their wishes. As for the other two
classes of the population they hardly entered into the calculations of
Venetian statesmen.

No foreign government can govern Greeks if it is harsh to the national
church and clergy, and the shrewd Venetians, as might have been
anticipated, were much less bigoted than the Angevins. While, on the one
hand, they gave, as Catholics, precedence to the Catholic Church, they
never forgot that the interests of the Republic were of more importance
than those of the Papacy. Accordingly, in the Ionian islands no less
than in Crete, they studiously prevented any encroachments on the part of
either the Œcumenical Patriarch or the Pope. Their ecclesiastical policy
is well expressed in an official decree, “that the Greeks should have
liberty to preach and teach the holy word, provided only that they say
nothing about the republic or against the Latin religion[229].” Mixed
marriages were allowed; and, as the children usually became Orthodox,
it is not surprising to learn that twenty years before the close of
the Venetian occupation there were only two noble Latin families in
Corfù which still adhered to the Catholic faith, while at Cephalonia
Catholicism was almost exclusively confined to the garrison[230]. The
Venetians retained, however, the externals of the Angevin system. The
head of the Orthodox Church in Corfù was still called “chief priest”
(μέγας πρωτοπαπᾶς), while the coveted title of Archbishop was reserved
for the chief of the Catholic clergy. The “chief priest” was elected by
the assembled urban clergy and 30 nobles, and held office for five years,
at the end of which he sank into the ranks of the ordinary popes, from
whom he was then only distinguished by his crimson sash. Merit had, as
a rule, less to do with his election than his relationship to a noble
family and the amount of the pecuniary arguments which he applied to the
pockets of the electors, and for which he recouped himself by his gains
while in office. In each of the four bailiwicks into which Corfù was
then divided, and in the island of Paxo, there was a πρωτοπαπᾶς, under
the jurisdiction of the “chief priest,” who was dependent upon no other
ecclesiastical authority than that of the Œcumenical Patriarch, with
whom, however, he was only allowed to correspond through the medium of
the Venetian bailie at Constantinople. Two liberal Popes, Leo X and Paul
III, expressly forbade any interference with the religious services of
the Greeks on the part of the Latin Archbishop; and upon the introduction
of the Gregorian calendar it was specially stipulated by Venice[231] that
in the Ionian islands Latins as well as Greeks should continue to use the
old method of reckoning, in order to avoid the confusion of two Easters
and two Christmasses in one and the same community. When we consider how
strong, even to-day, is the opposition of the Orthodox Church to the new
style, we can understand how gratifying this special exemption must have
been to the Greeks of that period.

From these causes there was less bitterness than in most other places
between the adherents of the two churches. The Catholics took part in
the religious processions of the Orthodox. When the body of St Spiridion
was carried round the town the Venetian authorities and many of the
garrison paid their respects to the sacred relics; twenty-one guns were
fired from the Old Fortress, and the ships in the harbour saluted; and
the enlightened Catholic Archbishop, Quirini, author of a work on the
antiquities of Corfù, actually went in full state to the Greek church
of St Spiridion on the festival of that saint[232]. The Orthodox clergy
reciprocated these attentions by meeting the Catholics in the church of
St Arsenios, a tenth-century bishop and first Metropolitan of Corfù,
where the discordant chanting of Greeks and Latins represented their
theological concord, and by praying for the Pope and the Latin Archbishop
at the annual banquet at the latter’s palace. They were ready, also,
to excommunicate refractory villages at the bidding of the government,
and this practice, which filled the superstitious people with terror,
was one of the greatest social abuses of Corfù. It was put into force
against individuals on the least provocation, and we are told that the
same priest was quite willing to provide a counter-excommunication for a

The position of the Corfiote Jews, though far less favourable than that
of the Orthodox, was much better than that of the Hebrew colonies in
other parts of the Venetian dominions. In the very first days of the
Venetian occupation an order was issued to the officials of the Republic,
bidding them behave well to the Jewish community and to put no heavier
burdens upon them than upon the rest of the islanders. Many of the
Venetian governors found it convenient to borrow not only money, but
furniture, plate, and liveries from them. That they increased—owing to
the Jewish immigration from Spain and Portugal in 1492 and from Naples
and Calabria half a century later—in numbers under the Venetians may
be inferred from Marmora’s statement that in 1665 there were about 500
Jewish houses in Corfù, and the historian, who shared to the full the
natural dislike for the Hebrew race which is so characteristic of the
Greeks and so cordially reciprocated by the Jews, naïvely remarks that
the Corfiote Jews would be rich if they were let alone[234]. A century
later they had monopolised all the trade as middlemen, and the landed
proprietors were in their debt. They paid none of the usual taxes levied
on Jewish banks at Venice, and when, by the decree of 1572, the Jews were
banished from Venetian territory, a special exemption was granted to
those of Corfù. They were allowed to practise there as advocates, with
permission to defend Christians no less than members of their own race.
They had their own council and elected their own officials, and a law
of 1614 prohibits the practice of digging up their dead bodies, under
pain of hanging. At the same time they had to submit to some degrading
restrictions. They were compelled to wear a yellow mark on the breast, or
a yellow hat, as a badge of servitude, and an ordinance of 1532 naïvely
remarks that this was “a substitute for the custom of stoning, which does
so much injury to the houses.” True, a money payment to the treasury
secured a dispensation from the necessity of wearing these stigmas; but
there was no exception to the rule which enjoined upon all Jews residence
in a separate part of the city, where they were divided into two groups,
each with its own synagogue. Even to-day the Jewish quarter in the town
of Corfù is known as the _Hebraïká_. Absurd tales were current about
them. Travellers were told that one of them was a lineal descendant of
Judas, and it was rumoured that a young Jewish girl was about to give
birth to a Messiah. They were not allowed to possess real property or
to take land or villas on lease, with the exception of one house for
the personal use of the lessee. But the effect of this enactment was
nullified by means of mortgages; and if a Jew wanted to invest money in
houses he had no difficulty in finding a Christian who would purchase
or rent them with borrowed Jewish capital. They were expected to offer
a copy of the law of Moses to a new Latin Archbishop, who sometimes
delighted the Corfiotes by lecturing them on their shortcomings, and
sometimes, like Quirini, was tolerant of their creed. Finally, they were
forbidden to indulge in public processions—an injunction perhaps quite as
much in their own interest as in that of the public peace[235].

The Venetian government did practically nothing for education during the
four centuries of its rule in the Ionian islands. No public schools were
founded, for, as Count Viaro Capodistria informed the British parliament
much later, the Venetian senate never allowed such institutions to be
established in the Ionian islands[236]. The administration was content
to pay a few teachers of Greek and Italian in Corfù and one in each of
the other islands. There was also some private instruction to be had,
and the promising young men of the best families, eager to be doctors
or lawyers, were sent to complete their education at the university of
Padua. But the attainment of a degree at that seat of learning was not
arduous, for by a special privilege the Ionians could take their degree
without examination. And the Ionian student after his return soon forgot
what he had learned, retaining only the varnish of culture. There were
exceptions, however, to this low standard. It was a Corfiote who founded
at Venice, in 1626, the Greek school, called Flangineion, after the name
of its founder, Flangines, which did so much for the improvement of Greek
education[237]; while it was a Cephalonian, Nikodemos Metaxas, who about
the same time set up the first Greek printing press in Constantinople,
which he had purchased in England[238]. But even in the latest Venetian
period there were few facilities for attaining knowledge in Corfù. We
are told that at that time reading and writing—the highest attainments
of the average Greek pope—could be picked up in one of the monasteries,
and Latin in the school of some Catholic priest, but that there were no
other opportunities of mental cultivation there. The historian Mario
Pieri, himself a native of Corfù, remarks that towards the close of the
eighteenth century, when he was a boy, there were no public schools, no
library, no printing press, and no regular bookseller in the island, and
the only literature that could be bought there consisted of a grammar and
a Latin dictionary, displayed in the shop of a chemist[239]. No wonder
that the Corfiotes were easier to manage in those days than in the more
enlightened British times, when newspapers abounded and some of the best
pens in southern Europe were ready to lampoon the British protectorate.

Yet, even under the Venetians, that love of literature which has
always characterised the Greeks did not become wholly extinct. Jacobo
Triboles, a Corfiote resident at Venice, published in the sixteenth
century in his native dialect a poem, the subject of which was taken
from Boccaccio, called the _History of the King of Scotland and the
Queen of England_. Another literary Corfiote, author of a _Lament for
the Fall of Greece_, was Antonios Eparchos, a versatile genius, at once
poet, Hellenist, and soldier, upon whom the fief of the gipsies was
conferred for his services[240]. Several other Corfiote bards sang of
the Venetian victories, while, in 1672, Andrea Marmora, a member of
a noble family still extant in Corfù, published in Italian the first
history of his country from the earliest times to the loss of Crete by
the Venetians. Subsequent writers have criticised Marmora’s effusive
style, his tendency to invent details, his intense desire to glorify
the most serene Republic[241]. But his work is quaintly written and he
thoroughly reflects the feelings of his class and era. In 1725 Quirini,
whom we have already mentioned as Latin Archbishop of Corfù, issued the
first edition of a Latin treatise on the antiquities of his see, which
was followed, thirteen years later, by a second and enlarged edition. In
1656 an academy of thirty members, known as the _Assicurati_, was founded
at Corfù[242], and only succumbed amid the dangers of the Turkish siege
of 1716. A second literary society was started about the same time, and
a third saw the light in 1732. Of the other islands Cephalonia produced
in the seventeenth century a priest of great oratorical gifts in the
person of Elias Meniates. In short, the Frankish influence, which had
practically no literary result on the mainland, was much more felt in the
intellectual development of the Ionians. But this progress was gained at
the expense of the Greek language, which, under the Venetians, became
solely the tongue of the peasants. Even to-day Greek is almost the only
language understood in the country districts of Corfù, while Italian is
readily spoken in the town. In the Venetian times the Venetian dialect
was the conversational medium of good society, and the young Corfiote,
fresh from his easy-won laurels at Padua, looked down with contempt upon
the noblest and most enduring of all languages. Yet it will never be
forgotten in Corfù that in the resurrection and regeneration of Greek two
Corfiotes of the eighteenth century, Eugenios Boulgaris and Nikephoros
Theotokes, played a leading part. The former in particular was the
pioneer of Greek as it is written to-day, the forerunner of the more
celebrated Koraes, and he dared to write, to the disgust of the clergy,
in a language which the people could understand. But, as his best work
was done at Joannina, then the chief educational centre of the Greek
race, it concerns the general history of Greece under the Turks rather
than that of the seven islands[243].

Ionian commerce was hampered by the selfish colonial policy then
prevalent in Europe, which aimed at concentrating all colonial trade in
the metropolis, through which the exports of the islands had to pass.
This naturally led to a vast amount of smuggling, even now rampant in the
Greek Archipelago, in which the British gained an unenviable pre-eminence
and for which they sometimes paid with their lives. The oil trade, the
staple industry of Corfù, was, however, greatly fostered by the grant
of 360 _drachmai_ for every plantation of 100 olive trees, and we find
that, in the last half-century of the Venetian rule, there were nearly
two millions of these trees in that island, which exported 60,000 barrels
of oil every second year. The taxes consisted of a tithe of the oil,
the crops, and the agricultural produce, and a money payment on the
wine, a “chimney tax” on each house, and an export duty of 15 per cent.
on the oil, 9 per cent. on the salt, and 4 per cent. on other articles.
There was also an import duty of 6 per cent. on Venetian and of 8 per
cent. on foreign, goods. The revenue of Zante was so greatly benefited
by the introduction of the currant industry that it increased more than
forty-fold in the space of thirty years during the sixteenth century,
and a hundred years later the traveller Spon said it deserved the name
of the “island of gold” and called it “a terrestrial paradise.” But
the wholesale conversion of corn fields into currant plots caused such
alarm that the local authorities applied to Venice for permission to
root up the currant bushes by force. The Republic replied by allowing
the currants to remain, but at the same time levying a tax upon them,
the proceeds of which were devoted to the purchase and storage of bread
stuffs. The currant industry of that island was injured by further
duties, and was thus placed at a disadvantage as compared with the
lightly taxed currants of the Morea. But in the eighteenth century such
numbers of English ships came to Zante to load currants that the place
had an English consul, two English offices, and an English cemetery,
while our countrymen were very popular there[244]. One of the English
families, attracted thither by the currant trade, that of Sergeant,
still flourishes there. These public granaries were also instituted at
Corfù, which continued, however, to suffer severely from famines. At
the time when Zante was so prosperous Corfù was less productive, and we
accordingly hear that the Venetians obtained permission from the Pope
to levy a tithe on the goods of the Catholic clergy, in order to defray
the costs of maintenance. The salt pans of Levkimo, at the south of the
island, formed a government monopoly, and the importation of foreign
salt was punished by banishment[245]. In order, perhaps, to counteract
the excessive usury of the Corfiote Jews, the government established
an official pawnshop[246], where money was lent at a moderate rate of
interest—6 per cent.

The administration of the other six islands was on similar lines to that
of Corfù. The nearest of them, Paxo, with its dependency, Anti-Paxo,
was treated as part of that island, and, as we have seen, the Corfiote
“chief priest” had ecclesiastical jurisdiction over it, just as nowadays
the Greek Archbishop of Corfù is also styled “of the Paxoi.” In 1513,
however, Paxo, together with the taxes which it paid, was sold by the
Venetians to the heirs of a Corfiote noble, who treated its inhabitants
so badly that many of them fled to Turkish territory. At last the
_provveditore generale del Levante_, under whose province the affairs of
these islands came, interfered, fixed the taxes of Paxos at a certain
sum, and appointed a native with a title of _capitano_ to govern it as
the representative of the _provveditore e capitano_ at Corfù. Zante was
administered during the first half-century of Venetian rule by a single
_provveditore_; but when the population had considerably increased the
Zantiotes, like the Cephalonians, had need of further officials—two
councillors and a secretary, all Venetian nobles—who assisted the
_provveditore_, and, like him, were appointed for two years. In both
Cephalonia and Zante there were a general council, composed of the
nobles, and a smaller council, whose numbers were finally fixed in Zante
at 150. The character of these two islands, separated by such a narrow
channel of sea, was, however, widely different. Zante was much more
aristocratic in its ideas, though the feudal system, against which the
popular rising of 1628 was directed, prevailed in both islands alike,
where it had been introduced by the Latin counts, Zante having twelve
fiefs and Cephalonia six[247]. But Cephalonia, owing to its purer
Hellenic population, was actuated by the democratic sentiments engrained
in the Greek character. The meetings of the Cephalonian council were
remarkable for their turbulence, of which the authorities frequently
complained, and a retiring governor of that island drew up a report to
the home government in 1754 in which he described in vivid colours the
tendency of the strong to tyrannise over the weak, which he had found
common to all classes, and which caused annoyance to the government
and frequent disturbances of the public peace[248]. British officials
had in turn a similar experience, and Mr Gladstone discovered that the
_vendetta_ was not extinct in the wild mountainous regions of Cephalonia
when he visited the Ionian islands on his celebrated mission. Venice
fostered the quarrels between the various parties at Argostoli, and
governed the unruly Cephalonians by means of their own divisions. In
Zante the number of the noble families, at first indefinite, was finally
fixed at ninety-three; and if any became extinct the vacancy was filled
by the ennoblement of a family of burghers. Once a year the _provveditore
generale del Levante_ paid a visit of inspection to these islands; his
arrival was the greatest event of the whole calendar, and etiquette
prescribed the forms to be observed on his landing. He was expected to
kiss first the cross presented to him by the Latin bishop, and then the
copy of the Gospels offered to him by the spiritual head of the Orthodox

Leonardo Tocco had restored the Greek episcopal throne in Cephalonia,
and in the Venetian times, promoted to the rank of an archbishopric, it
continued to exist with jurisdiction over the Greeks at Zante and Ithake,
which was often disputed by the “chief priest” (πρωτοπαπᾶς) of Zante,
where a Latin bishop also resided. This dispute was at last settled by a
decree of the senate that the Cephalonian clergy should retain the right
to elect their prelate on condition of choosing a Zantiote on every third
vacancy[249]. In Zante, as in Corfù, the Jews were a considerable factor;
at the close of the Venetian rule they numbered about 2000, and lived in
a separate quarter of the city, walled in and guarded; and the island
was remarkable for the violent anti-Semitic riots of 1712[250], arising
out of the usual fiction of the slaughtered Christian child, which found
their counterpart at Corfù in our own time. But the greatest evil in
these less important islands was that their _provveditori_, being chosen
from the poorer Venetian aristocracy, the so-called _barnabotti_, and
receiving small salaries, made up for their lack of means by corruption,
just as the Turkish officials do now. The efforts of the home government
to check the abuse of bribery, by forbidding its officials to receive
presents, were not always successful. The discontent of the lesser
islands found vent in the embassies which they had the right to send to
Venice, and we occasionally hear of their _provveditori_ being detected
in taking bribes. More rarely the _provveditore generale_ himself was
degraded from his high office for malversation. Accordingly the most
recent Greek historian of the fiscal administration of the islands under
the Venetians, considers that it was fortunate for them to have been
taken, and lost, by Venice when they were[251].

Anything which concerns the supposed home of Odysseus must necessarily
be of interest, and fortunately we have some facts about the government
of Ithake at this period. We first hear of a Venetian governor there in
1504, when the island had been repeopled by emigrants from Santa Maura,
and this official was assisted by two local magnates, called “elders
of the people” (δημογέροντες). In 1536 a life governor was appointed,
and upon his death, in 1563, a noble from Cephalonia, appointed by the
council of that island, was sent to administer it with the two “elders,”
subject to the approval of the _provveditore generale_, who visited
Ithake every March. The Ithakans twice successfully complained to Venice
of their Cephalonian governors, who were accused of extortion and of
improper interference in local affairs. Accordingly in 1697 the office
was abolished, and thenceforth the two Ithakan “elders” held sway alone,
while every year the principal men of the island met to elect the local
officials. Small as it is, Ithake formed one feudal barony[252], of which
the Galati were the holders, and its population at the close of the
Venetian period was estimated at about 7000.

Santa Maura was more democratic in its constitution than most of the
islands; for when Morosini took it from the Turks he permitted the
inhabitants to decide how they would be governed. Accordingly the general
council came in course of time to be largely composed of peasants;
but when, towards the close of the eighteenth century, the Venetian
government sent a special commissioner to reform the constitutions of the
seven islands he created a second and smaller council of fifty at Santa
Maura, to which the election of the local officials was transferred.
Venice was represented there by two _provveditori_, one of whom had
jurisdiction over the continental dependencies of Prevesa and Vonitza,
subject, however, to the supreme authority of the commander of the
fleet at Corfù[253]. Parga and Butrinto were entrusted to two officers
sent from the seat of the Ionian government; the former had its own
council, its own local officials, and paid neither taxes nor duties. All
its inhabitants were soldiers, and many of them pirates, and they were
known to imprison a Venetian governor, just as the Albanians of our time
besieged a Turkish _vali_, till they could get redress[254].

Finally the distant island of Kythera was administered by a Venetian
noble sent thither every two years. While it was a dependency of Crete
Kythera fell into a very bad state; its chief men indulged in constant
dissensions; the government was arbitrary, the garrison exacting. In
1572 an attempt was made to remedy these evils by the establishment of a
council of thirty members, elected on a property qualification, with the
power of electing the local authorities. A Golden Book was started, and
the natives were granted the usual privilege of appeal to the Venetian
government, either in Crete or at the capital. All the islands shared
with Corfù the right of electing the captains of their own galleys, and
they on more than one occasion rendered valuable services to the Republic
at sea.

There had been, as we have noticed, a Genoese party at Corfù when the
fate of the island lay in the balance, and the commercial rivals of
Venice did not abandon all hope of obtaining so desirable a possession
until some time after the establishment of the Venetian protectorate.
Twice, in 1403 and again in 1432, they attacked Corfù, but on both
occasions without success. The first time they tried to capture the
impregnable castle of Sant’ Angelo, which was courageously defended by
a Corfiote noble. The second attempt was more serious. The invaders
effected a landing, and had already ravaged the fertile island, when a
sudden sally of the townsfolk and the garrison checked their further
advance. Many of the Genoese were taken prisoners, while those who
succeeded in escaping to their vessels were pursued and severely handled
by the Venetian fleet. The further attempts of Genoese privateers to
waylay merchantmen on their passage between Corfù and Venice were
frustrated, and soon the islanders had nothing to fear from these
Christian enemies of their protectors.

Although the Turks were rapidly gaining ground on the mainland, they
were repulsed in the attack which they made upon Corfù in 1431, and did
not renew the attempt for another century. Meanwhile, after the fall of
Constantinople and the subsequent collapse of the Christian states of
Greece, Corfù became the refuge of many distinguished exiles. Thomas
Palaiologos, the last Despot of the Morea, and the historian Phrantzes
fled thither; the latter wrote his history at Corfù at the instance
of some noble Corfiotes, and lies buried in the church of Sts Jason
and Sosipater, where Caterina Zaccaria, wife of Thomas Palaiologos,
also rests. About the same time the island obtained a relic which had
the greatest influence upon its religious life. Among the treasures
of Constantinople at the moment of the capture were the bodies of St
Theodora, the imperial consort of the iconoclast emperor Theophilos,
and St Spiridion, the latter a Cypriote bishop who took a prominent
part at the council of Nice and whose remains had been transferred
to Constantinople when the Saracens took Cyprus. A certain priest,
Kalochairetes by name, now brought the bodies of the two saints to Corfù,
where they arrived in 1456. Upon the priest’s death his two eldest sons
became proprietors of the male saint’s remains, and his youngest son
received those of the female, which he bestowed upon the community. The
body of St Spiridion ultimately passed to the distinguished family of
Boulgaris, to which it still belongs, and is preserved in the church of
the saint, just as the body of St Theodora reposes in the metropolitical
church. Four times a year the body of St Spiridion is carried in
procession, in commemoration of his alleged services in having twice
delivered the island from plague, once from famine, and once from the
Turks. His name is the most widespread in Corfù, and the number of boys
called “Spiro” is legion[255].

During the operations against the Turks at this period the Corfiotes
distinguished themselves by their active co-operation with their
protectors. We find them fighting twice at Parga and twice at Butrinto;
we hear of their prowess at the Isthmus of Corinth and beneath the
walls of Patras in 1463, when Venice, alarmed for the safety of her
Peloponnesian stations, called the Greeks to arms; and they assisted
even in the purely Italian wars of the Republic. It seems, indeed, as
if, at that period, the words of Marmora were no mere servile phrase:
“Corfù was ever studying the means of keeping herself a loyal subject of
the Venetians[256].” At last, after rather more than a century of almost
complete freedom from attack, the island was destined to undergo the
first of the two great Turkish sieges which were the principal events in
its annals during the Venetian occupation. In 1537 war broke out between
the Republic and Suleyman the Magnificent, at that time engaged in an
attack upon the Neapolitan dominions of Charles V. During the transport
of troops and material of war across the channel of Otranto the Turkish
and Venetian fleets came into hostile collision, and though Venice
was ready to make amends for the mistakes of her officials the Sultan
resolved to punish them for the insults to his flag. He was at Valona,
on the Albanian coast, at the time, and, removing his camp to Butrinto,
despatched a force of 25,000 men, under the command of the redoubtable
Barbarossa, the most celebrated captain in the Turkish service, to take
possession of the island. The Turks landed at Govino, destroyed the
village of Potamo, and marched upon the capital, which at that time had
no other defences than the old fort. That stronghold and the castle of
Sant’ Angelo were soon the only two points in the island not in the power
of the invaders. A vigorous cannonade was maintained by Barbarossa from
the site of the present town and from the islet of Vido, but the garrison
of 4000 men, half Italians and half Corfiotes, under the command of
Jacopo di Novello, kept up a brisk reply. The Greeks, it was said, could
not have fought better had they been fighting for the national cause,
and they made immense sacrifices in their determination never to yield.
In order to economise food they turned out of the fortress the women,
old men, and children, who went to the Turkish lines to beg for bread.
The Turkish commander, hoping to work on the feelings of the garrison,
refused; so the miserable creatures, repudiated alike by the besieged
and besiegers, wandered about distractedly between the two armies,
striving to regain admission to the fortress by showing their ancient
wounds gained in the Venetian service, and at last, when their efforts
proved unavailing, lying down in the ditches to die. Their sufferings
contributed largely towards the victory of the defenders, for while
provisions held out in the fortress they began to fail in the camp.

Sickness broke out among the half-starved Turks, and, after a stay
of only thirteen days in the island, they re-embarked. But in that
short time they had wrought enormous damage. They had ravaged the fair
island with fire and sword, and they carried away more than 20,000
captives[257]. The population was so greatly reduced by this wholesale
deportation that nearly forty years afterwards the whole island contained
only some 17,500 inhabitants, and rather more than a century after this
siege a census showed that the total was not more than 50,000—a much
smaller number than in classical days, when it is estimated to have been
100,000. In 1761 it had declined to 44,333; at the end of the Venetian
occupation it was put down at 48,000; a century later, in 1896, it was
90,872[258]. At the census of 1907 it was 94,451. Butrinto and Paxo, less
able to defend themselves than Corfù, fell into the hands of the Turks,
who plundered several of the other Ionian islands. Great was the joy of
Venice at the news that the invaders had abandoned Corfù, and public
thanksgivings were offered up for the preservation of the island, even in
the desolate condition in which the Turks had left it. A Corfiote, named
Noukios, secretary of an Ambassador of Charles V and author of three
books of travels, the second of which, relating to England, has been
translated into English, wrote, with tears in his eyes, a graphic account
of this terrible visitation.

One result of this invasion was the tardy but systematic fortification
of the town of Corfù, at the repeated request of the Corfiote council,
which sent several embassies to Venice with that object. More than 2000
houses were pulled down in the suburb of San Rocco to make room for the
walls, for which the old classical city, Palaiopolis, as it is still
called, provided materials, and Venice spent a large sum on the erection
of new bastions. Two plans are in existence showing the fortifications
of the citadel and of the town about this period[259], and some parts
of the present Fortezza Vecchia date from the years which followed
this first Turkish siege. The still existing Fortezza Nuova was built
between 1577 and 1588, when the new works were completed. Another result
of the Turco-Venetian war was the grant of lands at Corfù to the Greek
soldiers, or _stradioti_, who had formed the Venetian garrisons of
Monemvasia and Nauplia, and for whom provision had to be made when, in
1540, the Republic ceded these two last of her Peloponnesian possessions
to the sultan. The present suburb of Stratia still preserves the name of
these soldiers. The loss of the Venetian stations in the Morea and the
subsequent capture of Cyprus by the Turks naturally increased the numbers
of the Greeks in Corfù.

Shortly before the battle of Lepanto the Turks raided Kythera, Zante, and
Cephalonia, and again landed in Corfù. But the memory of their previous
failure and the fact that the garrison was prepared for resistance
deterred them from undertaking a fresh siege. They accordingly contented
themselves with plundering the defenceless villages, but this time did
not carry off their booty with impunity. Their ships were routed; as they
were departing many of them sank, and in Marmora’s time the sunken wrecks
could still be seen when the sea was calm[260]. In the battle of Lepanto
1500 Corfiote seamen took part on the Christian side, and four ships were
contributed by the island and commanded by natives. One of these Corfiote
captains was captured during the engagement and skinned alive, his skin
being then fastened as a trophy to the rigging of one of the Turkish
vessels. Another, Cristofalo Condocalli, captured the Turkish admiral’s
ship, which was long preserved in the arsenal at Venice, and he received
as his reward a grant of land near Butrinto, together with the then
rare title of _cavaliere_. The criticisms which Finlay, after his wont,
has passed upon the Greeks at Lepanto, and which do not agree with the
testimony of a contemporary Venetian historian, certainly do not affect
the conduct of the Ionians[261]. A little later, when the Turks again
descended upon Corfù, they were easily repulsed, and the long peace which
then ensued between Venice and the Porte put an end to these anxieties.
Both the Corfiotes and the local militia of Zante did service about this
time under the banner of St Mark in Crete; but the fearful losses of the
Zantiotes, of whom eighty only out of 800 returned home alive from the
Cretan mountains, made the peasants reluctant to serve again.

There are few facts to relate of the Ionian islands during the peaceful
period between the battle of Lepanto and the war of Candia. At Corfù
the peace was utilised for the erection of new buildings; the church
of St Spiridion was finished, and the body of the saint transferred
to it[262]. But the town did not strike the Venetian traveller Pietro
della Valle, who visited it early in the seventeenth century, as a
desirable residence. Both there and at Zante he thought the buildings
were more like huts than houses, and he considered the latter island
barren and no longer deserving of its classical epithet of “woody[263].”
It was about this time that the Venetians introduced the practice of
tournaments, which were held on the esplanade, and at which the Corfiote
nobles showed considerable skill. Rather later the island was visited
by the plague, which was stayed, according to the local belief, through
the agency of their patron saint, who had on a previous occasion saved
his good Corfiotes from famine by inspiring the captains of some corn
ships to steer straight for their port. The first two of the four
annual processions were the token of the people’s gratitude for these

When the Candian war broke out further fortifications were built at Corfù
as a precautionary measure; but during the whole length of the struggle
the Turks came no nearer than Parga and Butrinto. The Corfiotes were thus
free to assist the Venetians, instead of requiring their aid. Accordingly
the Corfiote militia was sent to Crete, and horses and money were given
to the Venetian authorities for the conflict, while one Corfiote force
successfully held Parga against the enemy, and another recaptured
Butrinto. In fact the smallness of the population at the census of that
period was attributed to the large number of men serving on the galleys
or in the forts out of the island. When Crete was lost Corfù naturally
became of increased importance to the republic, and in the successful war
between Venice and Turkey, which broke out in 1684, the Ionian islands
played a considerable part. They were used as winter quarters for the
Venetian troops, and the huge mortars still outside the gate of the Old
Fortress at Corfù bear the memorable date of 1684, while a monument of
Morosini occupies, but scarcely adorns, the wall of the old theatre. That
gallant commander now led a squadron, to which the three chief islands
all contributed galleys, against the pirates’ nest of Santa Maura. The
countrymen of Odysseus are specially mentioned among the 2000 Ionian
auxiliaries, and the warlike bishop of Cephalonia brought a contingent
of over 150 monks and priests to the Republic’s standard[265]. Santa
Maura fell after a sixteen days’ siege; the capture of Prevesa followed;
and though the latter was restored to the Sultan with dismantled
fortifications by the treaty of Carlovitz, Santa Maura was never again,
save for a few brief months during the next war, a Turkish island. The
Venetians did not forget the Ionians, who had co-operated with them
so readily. Colonel Floriano, one of the Cephalonian commanders, was
granted the two islets of Kalamos and Kastos, off the coast of Akarnania,
famous in Homer as the abode of “the pirate Taphians.” Thenceforth their
inhabitants were bidden to pay to him and his heirs the tithes hitherto
due to the Venetian government. In consequence of this he assumed the
curious title of _conte della Decima_ (“count of the Tithe”), still
borne by his descendants[266]. No wonder that Venice was popular with an
aristocracy to which it gave employment and rewards.

The occupation of the Morea by the Venetians in the early part of the
eighteenth century secured the Ionians from disturbance so long as
the peace lasted; but when the Turks set about the re-conquest of the
peninsula they became involved in that last struggle between Venice and
Turkey. In 1715 the Turkish fleet took Kythera, the garrison of which
refused to fight, and the Venetians blew up the costly fortifications
of Santa Maura and removed the guns and garrison to Corfù, in order
that they might not fall into the hands of their foes[267]. Alarmed at
the successes of the Turks, but unable in the degenerate condition of
the commonwealth to send a capable Venetian to defend the remaining
islands, the government, on the recommendation of Prince Eugène, engaged
Count John Matthias von der Schulenburg to undertake the defence. A
German by birth, and a brother of the duchess of Kendal, mistress of
our George I, Count von der Schulenburg did not owe his career, strange
as it may seem to us, to social influence or female intrigue. Entering
the Polish service, he had compelled the admiration of his opponent,
Charles XII of Sweden, and had afterwards fought with distinction under
the eyes of the duke of Marlborough at the siege of Tournai and in the
battle of Malplaquet. Armed with the rank of field-marshal, he set out
for Corfù, where he rapidly put the unfinished fortifications into as
good a condition as was possible in the time, and paid a hurried visit
to Zante for the same purpose. The approach of the Turks hastened his
return, for it was now certain that their objective was Corfù. They had
requisitioned the Epeirotes to make a wide road from Thessaly down to
the coast opposite that island, traces of which were in existence half
a century ago[268]. Along this road Kara Mustapha Pasha marched with
65,000 men, and effected a junction at Butrinto with the Turkish fleet
under Janum Khoja. In the narrow strait at the north end of the island,
opposite the shrine of the virgin at Kassopo, which had taken the place
of the altar of Jupiter Cassius, before which Nero had danced, a division
of the Venetian fleet engaged the Turkish ships and cut its way through
them into Corfù. But this did not prevent the landing of 33,000 Turks
at Govino and Ipso, who encamped along the Potamo and made themselves
masters of the suburbs of Mandoukio and Kastrades, on either side of the
town. Meanwhile Schulenburg had armed all the inhabitants, including even
the Jews, and we are specially told that one of the latter distinguished
himself so much as to merit the rank of a captain[269]. But he wrote that
he was “in want of every thing,” and his motley garrison of Germans,
Italians, Slavs, and Greeks was at no time more than 8000 men. Even
women and priests aided in the defence, and one Greek monk, with a huge
iron crucifix in his hands, was a conspicuous figure as he charged the
besiegers, invoking the vengeance of God upon their heads.

The Turkish commander’s first object was to occupy the two eminences
of Mounts Abraham and San Salvatore, which commanded the town, but had
been carelessly left without permanent fortifications. A first assault
upon these positions was repulsed, but a second was successful, and
the Turks now called on Schulenburg to surrender. The arrival of some
reinforcements revived the spirits of the besieged, who had now withdrawn
from the town into the citadel, while the Turkish artillery played upon
the houses and aimed at the _campanile_ of St Spiridion’s church. The
New Fortress was the point at which the enemy now directed all their
efforts; one of the bastions was actually taken, and a poet has recorded
that Muktar, grandfather of the famous Ali Pasha of Joannina, fought
his way into the castle and hung up his sword on the gate[270]; but
Schulenburg, at the head of his men, drove out the Turks with enormous
loss. He said himself that that day was the most dangerous of his life;
but his reckless daring saved Corfù. It was expected that the Turks would
renew the assault three days later; but when the fatal morning broke, lo!
they were gone. On the evening before, one of those terrific showers
of rain to which Corfù is liable about the end of August descended upon
the Turkish camp. The storm swept away their baggage into the sea, and
the panic-stricken Turks—so the story ran-saw a number of acolytes
carrying lighted candles, and an aged bishop, who was identified with
St Spiridion, pursuing the infidels staff in hand. The murmurs of the
janissaries and the news of a great Turkish defeat on the Danube may have
had more to do with the seraskier’s hasty departure than the miraculous
intervention of the saint. But the Venetians, with true statesmanship,
humoured the popular belief that St Spiridion had protected the Corfiotes
and themselves in their hour of need. We can still see hanging in the
church of St Spiridion the silver lamp which the senate dedicated to the
saint “for having saved Corfù,” and a companion to which was provided by
the Corfiote nobles in memory of the safe arrival of the two divisions
of the fleet. The islanders still celebrate on August 11 (O.S.), the
anniversary of the Turkish rout in 1716, the solemn procession of the
saint, which Pisani, the Venetian admiral, instituted in his honour[271].

The siege had lasted for forty-eight days, and the losses on both sides
had been very great. The lowest estimate of the Turkish dead and wounded
was 8000. Schulenburg put down his own casualties at 1500. Moreover the
Turks had left their artillery behind them, and in their own hurried
re-embarkation some 900 were drowned. The Venetian fleet, under Pisani,
whose indolence was in striking contrast to the energy of Schulenburg,
did not succeed in overtaking the foe; but Schulenburg retook Butrinto,
to which he attached much importance, and personally superintended the
re-fortification of Santa Maura, which another Latin inscription still
commemorates. The extraordinary honours paid to him were the measure of
Corfù’s value to the Republic. In his favour, as in that of Morosini, an
exception was made to the rule forbidding the erection of a statue to a
living person. Before the Old Fortress, which he so gallantly defended,
there still stands his image. Medals were struck in his honour, and
foreign sovereigns wrote to congratulate him. Nor did his services to
the Ionians end here. The fear of a fresh attack brought him to Corfù
again in the following year. From thence he made a successful attack upon
Vonitza and Prevesa, and those places, together with Butrinto, Cerigo,
and the islet of Cerigotto, or Antikythera, were finally confirmed to
the Republic at the peace of Passarovitz. After the peace he drew up a
systematic plan for the defence of the islands, which considerations
of expense prevented the Republic from carrying out as fully as he
wished. One restoration was imperative—that of the citadel of Corfù,
which was blown up by a flash of lightning striking the powder magazine
only two years after the great siege. Pisani and 1500 men lost their
lives in this accident; several vessels were sunk and much damage done.
Under Schulenburg’s directions these works were repaired. At the same
time, warned by the experience of the late siege, he strongly fortified
Mounts Abraham and San Salvatore and connected them with subterranean
passages[272]. To pay for these improvements a tax of one-tenth was
imposed upon the wine and oil of the island[273]. Large sums were also
spent in the next few years upon the defences of Zante, Santa Maura,
and the four continental dependencies of the islands. But the Republic,
having lost much of her Levant trade, could no longer keep them up,
and Corfù was again damaged by a second explosion in 1789. About the
middle of the eighteenth century there was a huge deficit in the Ionian
accounts, and the islands became a burden to the declining strength of
the Venetian commonwealth. On Corfù in particular she spent twice what
she got out of it.

The peace of Passarovitz in 1718, which made the useless island of Cerigo
the furthest eastern possession of Venice, practically closed the career
of the Republic as an oriental power, and thenceforth of all her vast
Levantine possessions the seven islands and their four dependencies
alone remained under her flag. The decadence of Turkey preserved them to
the Republic rather than any strength of her own, so that for the next
seventy-nine years they were unmolested. Yet this immunity from attack
by her old enemy caused Venice to neglect the welfare of the Ionian
islands, which were always best governed at the moment when she feared to
lose them. The class of officials sent from the capital during this last
period was very inferior. Poor and badly paid, they sought to make money
out of the islanders, and at times defrauded the home government without
fear of detection. M. Saint-Sauveur, who resided as French consul in
the Ionian islands from 1782 to 1799, has given a grim account of their
social and political condition in the last years of Venetian rule; and,
after due deduction for his obvious bias against the fallen Republic,
there remains a large substratum of truth in his statements. At Zante the
cupidity of the Venetian governors reached its height. Nowhere was so
little of the local revenue spent in the locality, nowhere were the taxes
more oppressive or more numerous; nowhere were the illicit gains of
the Venetian officials larger. They were wont to lend money at usurious
interest to the peasants, who frequently rose against their foreign and
native oppressors—for the nobles and burgesses of that rich island were
regarded by the tillers of the soil with intense hatred. Murders were
of daily occurrence at Zante; most well-to-do natives had _bravi_ in
their pay; there was a graduated tariff for permission to wear weapons;
and Saint-Sauveur was once an eye-witness of an unholy compact between
a high Venetian official and a Zantiote who was desirous to secure in
advance impunity for his intended crime[274]. It is narrated how the
wife of a Venetian governor of Zante used to shout with joy “Oil, oil!”
as soon as she heard a shot fired, in allusion to the oil warrants, the
equivalent of cash, which her husband received for acquitting a murderer.
Justice at this period was more than usually halting. The French consul
could only remember three or four sentences of death during the whole of
his residence in the islands, and when, a little earlier, the crew of a
foreign ship was murdered in the channel of Corfù by some islanders under
the leadership of a noble, only one scapegoat, and he a peasant, was
punished. Pirates were not uncommon, Paxo being one of their favourite
haunts. Yet after the peace of Passarovitz Corfù was the centre of the
Republic’s naval forces, and it was in the last years of Venetian rule
that many of the present buildings were built at Govino, and a road was
at last constructed from that point to the town[275].

During the Russo-Turkish war between 1768 and 1774 many Ionians took part
in the insurrectionary movement against the Turks on the mainland, in
spite of the proclamations of the Venetian government, which was anxious,
like the British protectorate fifty years later, to prevent its subjects
from a breach of neutrality[276]; but it could not even control its own
officials, for a _provveditore generale_ sold the ordnance and provisions
stored at Corfù under his charge to the Russians. The sympathy of the
Ionians for Orthodox Russia was natural, especially as many Greeks from
the Turkish provinces had settled in the islands without having forgotten
their homes on the mainland. They took part in the sieges of Patras and
Koron, while after the base desertion of the Greeks by the Russians the
islands became the refuge of many defeated insurgents. These refugees
were, however, delivered up by the Venetians to the Turks, and nothing
but a vigorous Russian protest saved from punishment two Ionian nobles
who had taken up arms on her side. Russia followed up her protest by
appointing Greeks or Albanians as her consuls in the three principal
islands[277]; many Cephalonians emigrated to the new Russian province of
the Crimea, and Cephalonian merchantmen began to fly her flag. During
the next Russo-Turkish war—that between 1787 and 1792—the Ionians fitted
out corsairs to aid their friends, and a Russian general was sent to
Ithake to direct the operations of the Greeks. Two of the latter, Lampros
Katsones of Livadia and the Lokrian Androutsos, father of the better
known klepht Odysseus, were specially conspicuous. Lampros styled himself
“king of Sparta,” and christened his son Lycurgus. He established himself
on the coast of Maina and plundered the ships of all nations—a patriot
according to some, a pirate according to others. When a French frigate
had put an end to his reign of terror he, like Androutsos, fled to the
Ionian islands. The Venetians caused a hue and cry to be raised for his
followers, who were saved from the gallows by their Russian patrons; but
Androutsos was handed over to the Turks, who left him to languish in
prison at Constantinople. Katsones became the hero of a popular poem.

The attacks of pirates from Barbary and Dulcigno upon Prevesa and Cerigo
roused the Venetians to the necessity of punishing those marauders,
and accordingly Angelo Emo was appointed “extraordinary captain of the
ships” and sent to Corfù. After a vigorous attempt at reforming the
naval establishment there, which had fallen into a very corrupt state,
he chastised the Algerines and Tunisians, to the great relief of the
Ionians. The Zantiotes “presented him with a gold sword, and struck a
medal in his honour”; in Corfù a mural tablet still recalls his services
against the Barbary corsairs, and his name ranks with those of Morosini
and Schulenburg in the history of the islands[278].

The long peace of the eighteenth century had marked results upon the
social life of the Ionians. It had the bad effect, especially at Corfù,
of increasing the desire for luxuries, which the natives could ill
afford, but which they obtained at the sacrifice of more solid comfort.
Anxious to show their European culture, the better classes relinquished
the garb of their ancestors, and the women, who now for the first time
emerged from the oriental seclusion in which they had been kept for
centuries in most of the islands, deprived themselves of necessaries
and neglected their houses in order to make a smart appearance on
the esplanade—a practice not yet extinct at Corfù. Yet this partial
emancipation of the Ionian ladies, due to the European habits introduced
by the increasing number of Venetian officers who had married Corfiote
wives, was a distinct benefit to society. Gradually ladies went to the
theatre; at first they were screened by a _grille_ from the public gaze,
then a mask was considered sufficient protection; finally that too was
dropped[279]. The population of the islands and their dependencies in
1795 was put down at 152,722. But Corfù was already in the deplorable
state of poverty into which it once more relapsed after the withdrawal
of the British. In spite of its splendid climate and its fertile soil
the fruitful island of the Phaiakians at the end of the Venetian rule
could not nourish its much smaller number of inhabitants for more than
four or five months in the year. The fault did not lie with the soil;
but few of the proprietors had the capital to make improvements, and few
of the peasants had the energy or the necessary incentives to labour.
The lack of beasts of burden and of carriageable roads was a great
drawback. One governor did at last, in 1794, construct five roads from
the town into the country, by means of voluntary subscriptions and a tax
on every loaded horse entering the streets[280]. But it was not till the
British time that either this or the scarcely less evil of want of water
was remedied. The successors of the seafaring subjects of Alkinoös had
scarcely any mercantile marine, while the Cephalonians, sons of a less
beautiful island, voyaged all over the Levant in search of a livelihood.
An attempt to naturalise sugar, indigo, and coffee in a hollow of the
Black Mountain was a failure[281]. Zante, less luxurious and naturally
richer than either of her two other greater sisters, suffered during
the Anglo-French war from the absence of English commerce; and repeated
earthquakes, the predecessors of that of 1893, caused much damage
there[282]. As might have been expected the Venetian system had not
improved the character of the islanders, whose faults were admitted by
their severest critics to be due to the moral defects of the government.
If the Corfiotes of that day seemed to Saint-Sauveur to be ignorant and
superstitious, poor and indolent, they were what Venice had made them.
Yet, in spite of all her errors, the Republic had given to the seven
islands a degree of civilisation which was lacking in Turkish Greece, and
which, improved by our own protectorate, still characterises the Ionians
to-day. Corfù and Zante are still, after over fifty years of union with
the Hellenic kingdom, in many respects more Italian than Greek. Even
to-day the seal of Venice is upon them; not merely does the lion of St
Mark still stand out from their fortifications, but in the laws and the
customs, in the survival of the Italian language and of Italian titles of
nobility here almost alone in Greece, we can trace his long domination.
But no Corfiote or Zantiote, for all that, desires to become Italian.

The French Revolution had little immediate influence upon the Ionian
islands, though there were some disturbances at Zante, and the citizens
of Corfù petitioned Venice against the exclusive privileges of the
nobles. Three years before the outbreak in Paris, the most serene
Republic had sent a special commissioner to reform the constitution of
the islands; but those reforms mainly consisted in reducing the numbers
of the councils at Corfù and Santa Maura. Much greater hopes were formed
in 1794 on the arrival of Widman, the last _provveditore generale_ whom
Venice sent to Corfù. Widman had had a distinguished naval career; his
benevolence was well known by report, and the Corfiotes, who had been
plundered by his rapacious predecessor, gave him a reception such as had
never fallen to the lot of any of their previous Venetian governors[283].
It was fortunate for him that he was so popular, for, after selling his
own silver to meet the pressing needs of the administration, he had
to appeal to the generosity of the Ionians for funds to carry on the
government. He did not appeal in vain; the inhabitants of the three chief
islands subscribed money; the four continental dependencies, having no
money, offered men, who could not, however, be accepted, as there were
no uniforms available; the Jews gave him over £400 and armed a certain
number of soldiers at their expense; he was even reduced, as he could
get nothing but promises from home, to use up the savings-bank deposits
in the public service. In the apology which he published two years
after the loss of the islands he gave a black picture of the state of
the fortifications, which contained scarcely enough powder for a single
man-of-war. Under the circumstances his sole consolation was the perusal
of St Augustin. Such was the condition of the Ionian defences when the
French troops entered Venice in 1797[284].

Venice was preparing to send commissioners with powers to establish a
democratic form of government at Corfù, when Bonaparte, fearing lest
Russia should occupy the islands, ordered General Gentili to go thither
at once, bidding him introduce some telling classical allusions in
his proclamation to the islanders. In the guise of an ally of Venice,
with Venetian forces mixed among his own, and flying the lion banner
of St Mark at his mast-head, Gentili sailed into Corfù on July 11. He
informed Widman that he had come to protect the islands, and asked that
room might be found within the fortress for their new protectors; he
told the people in a trilingual proclamation that the French Republic,
in alliance with the Venetians, would free this fragment of ancient
Hellas, and revive the glories and the virtues of classic times. Catching
the classical spirit of the general’s proclamation, the head of the
Orthodox church met him as he landed and presented him with a copy of
the _Odyssey_. The islanders received the French as saviours. Gentili
occupied the citadel, and Bonaparte wrote from Milan that they hoped “to
regain, under the protection of the great French nation, the sciences,
arts, and commerce which they had lost through oligarchical tyranny.”



There are few places in Greece which possess the combined charms of
natural beauty and of historic association to the same extent as
Monemvasia. The great rock which rises out of the sea near the ancient
Epidauros Limera is not only one of the most picturesque sites of the
Peloponnese, but has a splendid record of heroic independence, which
entitles it to a high place in the list of the world’s fortresses (Plate
II, Figs. 1, 2). Monemvasia’s importance is, however, wholly mediæval;
and its history has hitherto never been written; for the painstaking
brochure of the patriotic Monemvasiote ex-deputy and ex-Minister K.
Papamichalopoulos[285], was composed before modern research rendered it
possible to draw upon the original authorities at Venice and elsewhere.
In the present chapter I have endeavoured to state briefly what, in the
present state of Greek mediæval studies, is known about this interesting
city during the Frankish period.

At the time of the Frankish Conquest of the rest of Greece, Monemvasia
was already a place of considerable importance. Even if we reject
the statement of the fifteenth century historian, Phrantzes[286],
himself a native of the place, that the Emperor Maurice had raised it
to the rank of the 34th Metropolitan see—a statement contradicted by
an ecclesiastical document of 1397—we know at least that it was even
then the seat of a Greek bishopric, whose holder remained a suffragan
of Corinth[287] till the Latins captured the latter city in 1210.
The Comneni had confirmed the liberties of a community so favourably
situated, and the local aristocracy of Monemvasia enjoyed the privilege
of self-government. Thanks to the public spirit of its inhabitants, the
wisdom of the local magnates, and the strength of its natural defences,
which made it in the Middle Ages the Gibraltar of Greece, it had repelled
the attack of the Normans from Sicily in the middle of the twelfth
century. Fifty years later it was a busy sea-port town, whose ships
were seen at the Piræus by Michael Akominatos, the last Metropolitan of
Athens before the Conquest, and whose great artistic treasure, the famous
picture of Our Lord being “dragged,” which has given its name to the
Ἑλκόμενος church, attracted the covetousness of the Emperor Isaac II[288].

As might have been expected from its position and history, Monemvasia was
the last spot in the Peloponnese to acknowledge the Frankish supremacy.
Geoffroy I Villehardouin had contented himself perforce with sending
a body of troops to raid the country as far as the causeway, or μόνη
ἔμβασις, which leads to the great rock-fortress and from which its
name is derived[289]; and his son Geoffroy II seems to have meditated
the conquest of the place[290]; but it was reserved for the third of
the Villehardouins, soldierly Prince William, to hoist the _croix
ancrée_ of his family over the “sacred rock” of Hellenism, which was
in uninterrupted communication by sea with the successor of Byzantium,
the Greek Emperor of Nice[291], and was therefore a constant source of
annoyance to the Franks of the Peloponnese. The Prince, after elaborate
preparations, began the siege not long after his accession in 1246.
He summoned to his aid the great vassals of the Principality—Guy I of
Athens, who owed him allegiance for Nauplia and Argos; the three barons
of Eubœa; Angelo Sanudo, Duke of Naxos, with the other lords of the
Cyclades, and the veteran Count Palatine of Cephalonia, Matteo Orsini,
ruler of the island-realm of Odysseus[292]. But the Prince of Achaia saw
that without the naval assistance of Venice, which had taken care that
his principality should not become a sea-power, he could never capture
the place. He accordingly obtained the aid of four Venetian galleys, and
then proceeded to invest the great rock-fortress by land and water. For
three long years the garrison held out, “like a nightingale in its cage,”
as the Chronicler quaintly says—and the simile is most appropriate, for
the place abounds with those songsters—till all supplies were exhausted,
and they had eaten the very cats and mice. Even then, however, they
only surrendered on condition that they should be excused from all
feudal services, except at sea, and should even in that case be paid.
True to the conciliatory policy of his family, William wisely granted
their terms, and then the three _archontes_ of Monemvasia, Mamonas,
Daimonoyannes, and Sophianos, advanced along the narrow causeway to his
camp and offered him the keys of their town. The conqueror received them
with the respect of one brave man for another, loaded them with costly
gifts, and gave them fiefs at Vatika near Cape Malea. A Frankish garrison
was installed in the coveted fortress; and a Latin bishop, Oddo of
Verdun, at last occupied the episcopal palace there, which had been his
(on paper) ever since Innocent III[293] had organised the Latin see of
Monemvasia as one of the suffragans of Corinth.

The Frankish occupation lasted, however, barely fourteen years, and has
left no marks on the picturesque town. Buchon, indeed, who spied the
Villehardouin arms on the Gorgoepekoos church at Athens, thought that he
had discovered the famous _croix ancrée_ on one of the churches[294].
He apparently meant the Ἑλκόμενος church, which the late Sir T. Wyse
called and Murray’s _Handbook_ still calls St Peter’s—a name not now
known in Monemvasia, but derived perhaps from an inscription to a certain
_Dominus Petrus_, whose remains “lie in peace” hard by. One church in
the town, “Our Lady of the Myrtle,” bears, it is true, a cross with
anchored work below, and four stars above the door. But this church,
as I was informed and as the name implies, was founded by people from
Cerigo, whose patron saint is the Παναγία Μυρτιδιώτισσα (Plate III, Fig.
1). The capture of the town by the Franks is, however, still remembered
at Monemvasia, and local tradition points out the place on the mainland
where Villehardouin left his cavalry. One pathetic event occurred at the
rock during the brief Frankish period—the visit of the last Latin Emperor
of Constantinople, Baldwin II, in 1261, on his way from his lost capital
to Italy[295]. In the following year Monemvasia was one of the castles
ceded to his successor, the Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, as the
ransom of Prince William of Achaia, captured by the Greeks three years
earlier after the fatal battle of Pelagonia.

The mediæval importance of Monemvasia really dates from this retrocession
to the Byzantine Emperor in 1262, when a Byzantine province was
established in the south-east of the Morea. It not only became the seat
of an Imperial governor, or κεφαλή, but it was the landing-place where
the Imperial troops were disembarked for operations against the Franks,
the port where the Tzakones and the _Gasmoûloi_, or half-castes, of the
Peloponnese enlisted for service in the Greek navy. During the war which
began in 1263 between Michael VIII and his late captive, we accordingly
frequently find it mentioned; it was thither that the Genoese transports
in the Imperial service conveyed the Greek troops; it was thither, too,
that the news of the first breach of the peace was carried post-haste,
and thence communicated to Constantinople; it was there that the Imperial
generals took up their headquarters at the outset of the campaign;
and it was upon the Monemvasiotes that the combatants, when they were
reconciled, agreed to lay the blame for the war[296]. Under the shadow
of the Greek flag, Monemvasia became, too, one of the most dangerous
lairs of corsairs in the Levant. The great local families did not
disdain to enter the profession, and we read of both the Daimonoyannai
and the Mamonades in the report of the Venetian judges, who drew up a
long statement in 1278 of the depredations caused by pirates to Venetian
commerce in the Levant. On one occasion the citizens looked calmly on
while a flagrant act of piracy was being committed in their harbour,
which, as the port of shipment for Malmsey wine, attracted corsairs
who were also connoisseurs[297]. Moreover, the Greek occupation of so
important a position was fatal to the Venetian lords of the neighbouring
islands, no less than to Venetian trade in the Ægean. The chief sufferers
were the two Marquesses of Cerigo and Cerigotto, members of the great
families of Venier and Viaro, who had occupied those islands after the
Fourth Crusade. It would appear from a confused passage of the Italian
Memoir on Cerigo, that the islanders, impatient at the treatment which
they received from their Latin lord, the descendant, as he boasted, of
the island-goddess Venus herself, sent a deputation to invoke the aid of
the Greek governor of the new Byzantine province in the Morea[298]. At
any rate, the famous cruise of Licario, the upstart Italian of Negroponte
who went over to the Greeks, temporarily ended the rule of the Venetian
Marquesses. A governor was sent to Cerigo from Monemvasia; but ere
long Michael VIII conferred that island upon the eminent Monemvasiote
_archon_, Paul Monoyannes, who is described in a Venetian document
as being in 1275 “the vassal of the Emperor and captain of Cerigo.”
Monoyannes fortified the island, where his tomb was discovered during the
British protectorate, and it remained in the possession of his family
till 1309, when intermarriage between the children of its Greek and Latin
lords restored Cerigo to the Venieri[299].

[Illustration: PLATE II



[Illustration: PLATE III

Fig. 1. MONEMVASIA. Παναγία Μυρτιδιώτισσα.

Fig. 2. MONEMVASIA. Ἁγία Σοφία.]

The Byzantine Emperors naturally rewarded a community so useful to them
as that of Monemvasia. Michael VIII granted its citizens valuable fiscal
exemptions; his pious son and successor, Andronikos II not only confirmed
their privileges and possessions, but founded the church of the Divine
Wisdom which still stands in the castle. The adjoining cloister has
fallen in ruins; the Turks after 1540 converted the church, like the
more famous Santa Sophia of Constantinople, into a mosque, the _mihrab_
of which may still be traced, and smashed all the heads of the saints
which once adorned the church—an edifice reckoned as ancient even in the
days of the Venetian occupation, when a Monemvasiote family had the _jus
patronatus_ over it (Plate III, Fig. 2). But a fine Byzantine plaque over
the door—two peacocks and two lambs—still preserves the memory of the
Byzantine connexion. Of Andronikos II we have, too, another Monemvasiote
memorial—the Golden Bull of 1293, by which he gave to the Metropolitan
the title of “Exarch of all the Peloponnese,” with jurisdiction over
eight bishoprics, some, it is true, still _in partibus infidelium_, as
well as the titular Metropolitan throne of Side, and confirmed all the
rights and property of his diocese, which was raised to be the tenth
of the Empire and extended, at any rate on paper, right across the
peninsula to “Pylos, which is called Avarinos”—a convincing proof of the
error made by Hopf in supposing that the name of Navarino arose from the
Navarrese company a century later. The Emperor lauds in this interesting
document, which bears his portrait and is still preserved in the National
Library and (in a copy) in the Christian Archæological Museum at Athens,
the convenience and safe situation of the town, the number of its
inhabitants, their affluence and their technical skill, their seafaring
qualities, and their devotion to his throne and person. His grandson and
namesake, Andronikos III, in 1332 granted them freedom from market-dues
at the Peloponnesian fairs[300]. But a city so prosperous was sure to
attract the covetous glances of enemies. Accordingly, in 1292, Roger
de Lluria, the famous admiral of King James of Aragon, on the excuse
that the Emperor had failed to pay the subsidy promised by his father
to the late King Peter, descended upon Monemvasia, and sacked the lower
town without a blow. The _archontes_ and the people took refuge in the
impregnable citadel, leaving their property and their Metropolitan in
the power of the enemy[301]. Ten years later, another Roger, Roger de
Flor, the leader of the Catalan Grand Company, put into Monemvasia on
his way to the East on that memorable expedition which was destined to
ruin “the pleasaunce of the Latins” in the Levant. On this occasion the
Catalans were naturally on their good behaviour. Monemvasia belonged
to their new employer, the Emperor Andronikos; it had been stipulated
that they should receive the first instalment of their pay there;
and Muntaner[302] tells us that the Imperial authorities gave them a
courteous reception and provided them with refreshments, including
probably a few barrels of the famous Malmsey.

Monemvasia fortunately escaped the results of the Catalan expedition,
which proved so fatal to the Duchy of Athens and profoundly affected the
North and West of the Morea. Indeed, in the early part of the fourteenth
century the corsairs of the great rock seemed to have actually seized the
classic island of Salamis under the eyes of the Catalan rulers of Athens,
whose naval forces in the Saronic Gulf had been purposely crippled by
the jealous Venetian Government. At any rate we find Salamis, which
had previously belonged to Bonifacio da Verona, the baron of Karystos
in Eubœa, and had passed with the hand of his daughter and heiress to
Alfonso Fadrique, the head of the terrible Catalan Company in Attica,
now paying tribute to the Byzantine governor of Monemvasia[303]. When,
however, towards the end of the fourteenth century, the Greeks began to
recover most of the Peloponnese, the city which had been so valuable to
them in the earlier days of the reconquest of the Morea had to compete
with formidable rivals. In 1397, when Theodore I Palaiologos obtained,
after a desperate struggle, the great fortress of Corinth, which had
been his wife’s dowry from her father, Nerio Acciajuoli, his first
act was to restore the Metropolitan see of that ancient city, and the
first demand of the restored Metropolitan was for the restitution to
him by his brother of Monemvasia of the two suffragan bishoprics of
Zemenos and Maina, which had been given to the latter’s predecessor
after the Latin conquest of Corinth[304]. This demand was granted, and
we are not surprised to hear that the Monemvasiotes were disaffected to
the Despot, under whom such a slight had been cast upon their Church.
The Moreote _archontes_ at this period were intensely independent of
the Despot of Mistra, even though the latter was the brother of the
Emperor. The most unruly of them all was Paul Mamonas of Monemvasia,
who belonged to the great local family which had been to the fore in
the days of Villehardouin. This man held the office of “Grand-Duke”
or Lord High Admiral in the Byzantine hierarchy of officials and
claimed the hereditary right to rule as an independent princelet over
his native city, of which his father had been Imperial governor. When
Theodore asserted his authority, and expelled the haughty _archon_, the
latter did not hesitate to arraign him before the supreme authority of
those degenerate days—the Sultan Bayezid I who ordered his immediate
restoration by Turkish troops—a humiliation alike for the Greek Despot
and for the sacred city of Hellenism[305]. Theodore had, indeed, at one
time thought of bestowing so unruly a community upon a Venetian of tried
merit; and, in 1419, after the death of Paul’s son, the Republic was
supposed by Hopf to have come into possession of the coveted rock and
its surroundings—then a valuable commercial asset because of the Malmsey
which was still produced there[306]. But the three documents, upon which
he relies for this statement, merely show that Venetian merchants were
engaged in the wine-trade at Monemvasia.

It was at this period that Monemvasia produced two men of letters, George
Phrantzes and the Monk Isidore. To the latter we owe a series of letters,
one of which, addressed to the Emperor Manuel II on the occasion of his
famous visit to the Morea in 1415, describes his pacification of Maina
and his abolition of the barbarous custom of cutting off the fingers
and toes of the slain, which the Mainates had inherited from the Greeks
of Æschylus and Sophocles. He also alludes to the Greek inscriptions
which he saw at Vitylo[307]. Of Phrantzes, the historian of the Turkish
conquest, the secretary and confidant of the Palaiologoi, the clever if
somewhat unscrupulous diplomatist, who, after a busy life, lies buried
in the quiet church of Sts Jason and Sosipater at Corfù, it is needless
to speak. In the opinion of the writer, Phrantzes should hold a high
place in Byzantine history. His style is clear and simple, compared with
that of his contemporary Chalkokondyles, the ornate Herodotus of the new
Persian Conquest; he knew men and things; he was no mere theologian or
rhetorician, but a man of affairs; and he wrote with a _naïveté_, which
is as amusing as it is surprising in one of his profession. Monemvasia
may be proud of having produced such a man, who has placed in his
history a glowing account of his birthplace. We hear too in 1540 of a
certain George, called “Count of Corinth” but a native of Monemvasia,
who had a fine library, and among the many Peloponnesian calligraphists,
the so-called “Murmures,” found later on in Italy, there were some

We next find Monemvasia in the possession of the Despot Theodore II
Palaiologos[309], who ratified its ancient privileges. All the Despot’s
subjects, whether freemen or serfs, were permitted to enter or leave
this important city without let or hindrance, except only the dangerous
denizens of Tzakonia and Vatika, whose character had not altered in the
two hundred years which had elapsed since the time of Villehardouin. The
citizens, their beasts, and their ships were exempt from forced labour;
and, at their special request, the Despot confirmed the local custom,
by which all the property of a Monemvasiote who died without relatives
was devoted to the repair of the castle; while, if he had only distant
relatives, one-third of his estate was reserved for that purpose (Plate
V, Fig. 1). This system of death duties (τὸ ἀβιωτίκιον, as it was called)
was continued by Theodore’s brother and successor, Demetrios, by whom
Monemvasia was described as “one of the most useful cities under my
rule[310].” Such, indeed, he found it to be, when, in 1458, Mohammed II
made his first punitive expedition into the Morea. On the approach of
the great Sultan, the Despot fled to the rock of Monemvasia. It was the
ardent desire of the Conqueror to capture that famous fortress, “the
strongest of all cities that we know,” as the contemporary Athenian
historian, Chalkokondyles[311], called it. But his advisers represented
to him the difficult nature of the country which he would have to
traverse, so he prudently desisted from the enterprise. Two years later,
when Mohammed II visited the Morea a second time and finally destroyed
Greek rule in that peninsula, Monemvasia again held out successfully.
After sheltering Demetrios against an attack from his treacherous brother
Thomas, the town gave refuge to the wife and daughter of the former.
Demetrios had, however, promised to give his daughter in marriage to the
great Sultan; and Isa, son of the Pasha of Üsküb, and Matthew Asan, the
Despot’s brother-in-law, were accordingly sent to demand the surrender of
the city and of the two princesses, whom it contained. The Monemvasiotes
did, indeed, hand over the two Imperial ladies to the envoys of the
Sultan and the Despot; but, relying on their immense natural defences,
animated by the sturdy spirit of independence which had so long
distinguished them, and inspired by the example of their governor, Manuel
Palaiologos, they bade them tell Mohammed not to lay sacrilegious hands
on a city which God had meant to be invincible. The Sultan is reported
to have admired their courage, and wisely refrained from attacking the
impregnable fortress of mediæval Hellenism. As Demetrios was the prisoner
of the Sultan, the Governor proclaimed Thomas as his liege-lord; but
the latter, a fugitive from Greece, was incapable of maintaining his
sovereignty and tried to exchange it with the Sultan for another sea-side
place[312]. A passing Catalan corsair, one Lope de Baldaja, was then
invited to occupy the rock; but the liberty-loving inhabitants soon drove
out the petty tyrant whom they had summoned to their aid, and, with the
consent of Thomas, placed their city under the protection of his patron,
the Pope. Pius II gladly appointed both spiritual and temporal governors
of the fortress which had so long been the stronghold of Orthodoxy, and
of that nationalism with which Orthodoxy was identical[313].

But the papal flag did not wave long over Monemvasia. The Orthodox Greeks
soon grew tired of forming part of the Pope’s temporal dominion, and
preferred the rule of Venice, the strongest maritime power interested
in the Levant, whose governors were well known to be “first Venetians
and then Catholics.” The outbreak of the Turco-Venetian War of 1463, and
the appearance of a Venetian fleet in the Ægean, gave the citizens their
opportunity. The Pope, as Phrantzes informs us, had no wish to give up
the place; but he was far away, his representative was feeble, the flag
of Venice was for the moment triumphant in Greek waters, and accordingly
in 1463 or 1464, the inhabitants admitted a Venetian garrison. On
September 21, 1464, the Senate made provision for the government of
this new dependency. A _Podestà_ was to be elected for two years at an
annual salary of 500 gold ducats, this salary to be paid every three
months out of the revenues of the newly-conquered island of Lemnos. Six
months later, it was decreed that in case there was no money available
for the purpose at Lemnos, the _Podestà_ should receive his salary from
the Cretan treasury[314]. From that time to 1540 Monemvasia remained a
Venetian colony. Once, indeed, a plot was organised in the ancient city
of the Palaiologoi for the purpose of wresting the place from the claws
of the Lion of St Mark. Andrew Palaiologos, the still more degenerate
son of the degenerate Thomas, had, in 1494, transferred all his Imperial
rights and claims to King Charles VIII of France, then engaged in his
expedition to Naples, in the Church of San Pietro in Montorio at Rome.
In accordance with this futile arrangement his partisans at Monemvasia,
where the Imperial name of Palaiologos was still popular, schemed to
deliver the city to his French ally[315]. But the plans of Charles VIII,
and with them the plot at Monemvasia, came to nought. Venice remained
mistress of the Virgin fortress.

[Illustration: PLATE IV


[Illustration: PLATE V



Down to the peace of 1502-3, Monemvasia seems to have been fairly
prosperous under Venetian rule. By the Turco-Venetian treaty of 1479
she had been allowed to retain the dependency of Vatika[316] in the
neighbourhood of Cape Malea, which had been captured from the Turks
in 1463, and where her citizens had long possessed property. But the
territories of Monemvasia were terribly restricted after the next
Turco-Venetian war: she had then lost her outlying castles of Rampano
and Vatika, from which the ecclesiastical authorities derived much
of their dues; and we find the inhabitants petitioning the Republic
for the redress of their grievances, and pointing out that this last
delimitation of their frontiers had deprived them of the lands which they
had been wont to sow. The rock itself produced nothing, and accordingly
all their supplies of corn had now to be imported through the Turkish
possessions[317]. As for the famous vintage, which had been the delight
of Western connoisseurs, it was no longer produced at Malvasia, for
the Turks did not cultivate the vineyards which were now in their
hands, and most of the so-called “Malmsey,” _nihil de Malfasia habens
sed nomen_, as worthy Father Faber says, had for some time come from
Crete or Modon[318], till the latter place, too, became Turkish. But,
in spite of these losses, Monemvasia still remained what she had been
for centuries—an impregnable fortress, the Gibraltar of Greece. The
Venetians renewed the system, which had prevailed under the Despots of
the Morea, of devoting one of the local imposts to the repair of the
walls; the Venetian _Podestà_, who lived, like the military governor, up
in the castle, seems to have been a popular official; and the Republic
had wisely confirmed the special privileges granted by the Byzantine
Emperors to the Church and community of this favoured city (Plate IV).
Both a Greek Metropolitan and a Latin Archbishop continued to take their
titles from Monemvasia, and the most famous of these prelates was the
eminent Greek scholar, Markos Mousouros. It is interesting to note that
in 1521 Pope Leo X had a scheme for founding an academy for the study of
the Greek language out of the revenues of whichever of these sees first
fell vacant, as Arsenios Apostoles, at that time Metropolitan, was a
learned Greek and a Uniate, and in both capacities, a prime favourite of
the classically cultured Pontiff. In 1524, however, despite the thunders
of the Œcumenical Patriarch, the Greek and the Italian prelates agreed
among themselves that the former should retain the see of Monemvasia and
that the latter should take a Cretan diocese[319]. The connection between
“the great Greek island” and this rocky peninsula was now close. The
Greek priests of Crete, who had formerly gone to the Venetian colonies
of Modon and Coron for consecration, after the loss of those colonies in
1500 came to Monemvasia; the Cretan exchequer continued to contribute
to the expenses of the latter; and judicial appeals from the _Podestà_
of Malmsey lay to the colonial authorities at Candia, instead of being
remitted to Venice; for, as a Monemvasiote deputation once plaintively
said, the expenses of the long journey had been defrayed by pawning the
chalices of the churches. Even now Monemvasia is remote from the world;
in those Venetian days she was seldom visited, not only because of her
situation, but because of the fear which ships’ captains had of her

The humiliating peace of 1540, which closed the Turco-Venetian war
of 1537, closed also the history of Venice in the Morea till the
brief revival at the close of the seventeenth century. This shameful
treaty cost the Republic her two last possessions on the mainland of
Greece—Nauplia and Monemvasia, both still uncaptured and the latter
scarcely assailed by the Turkish forces[321]. Admiral Mocenigo was sent
to break as best he could to her loyal subjects the sad news that the
Republic had abandoned their homes to the Turks. The Venetian envoy, if
we may believe the speech which Paruta puts into his mouth, repeated to
the weeping people the ancient adage, _ubi bene, ibi patria_, and pointed
out to them that they would be better off in a new abode less exposed
than their native cities had been to the Turkish peril. In November a
Venetian fleet arrived in the beautiful bay of Nauplia and off the sacred
rock of Monemvasia to remove the soldiers, the artillery, and all the
inhabitants who wished to live under Venetian rule. Then the banner of
the Evangelist was lowered, the keys of the two last Venetian fortresses
in the Morea were handed to Kassim Pasha, and the receipts for their
transfer were sent to Venice[322].

[Illustration: Fig. 2. ARMS ON WELL-HEAD IN THE CASTLE.]

The inhabitants of the two cities had been loyal to Venice, and Venice
was loyal to them. The first idea of transporting the Monemvasiotes to
the rocky island of Cerigo—then partly a Venetian colony and partly
under the rule of the great Venetian family of Venier, which boasted
its descent from Venus, the fabled goddess of Kythera—was abandoned, in
deference to the eloquent protests of the Metropolitan, and lands were
assigned to the exiles in the more fertile colonies of the Republic.
A commission of five nobles was appointed to consider the claims, and
provide for the settlement, of the _stradioti_, or light horsemen from
Nauplia and Monemvasia, who had fought like heroes against the Turks;
and this commission sat for several years, for the claimants were
numerous and not all genuine[323]. Some, like the ancient local family of
Daimonoyannes, formerly lords of Cerigo, received lands in Crete[324],
where various members of the Athenian branch of the great Florentine
family of the Medici, which had been settled for two hundred years at
Nauplia, also found a home. Scions of the clan of Mamonas went to Zante
and Crete, and are found later on at Corinth, Nauplia, Athens and Corfù.
Others were removed to Corfù, where they soon formed an integral part
of the Corfiote population and where the name of these _stradioti_ is
still preserved in a locality of the island; while others again were
transplanted to Cephalonia, Cyprus, or Dalmatia. Not a few of them were
soon, however, smitten with home-sickness; they sold their new lands and
returned to be Turkish subjects at Nauplia and Monemvasia[325].

The Venetian fortifications; the old Venetian pictures on the
eikonostasis of the Ἑλκόμενος church; the quaint Italian chimneys, and
the well-head up in the castle, which bears the winged lion of St Mark,
two private coats of arms, the date MDXIV and the initials S R upon it,
the latter those of Sebastiano Renier, _Podestà_ from 1510 to 1512 (to
whom the first coat belongs, while the second is that of Antonio Garzoni,
_Podestà_ in 1526 and again in 1538, when he was the last _Podestà_
before the Turkish conquest), still speak to us of this first Venetian
occupation, when the ancient Byzantine city, after the brief vicissitudes
of French and Papal government, found shelter for nearly eighty years
beneath the flag of the Evangelist (Plate V, Fig. 2 and Text-fig. 2).



I.—_Regina_ fol. 52.

                       MCCCCLXIIIJ indictione xij.

        Die xxi Septembris.

    Cum per gratiam omnipotentis Dei acquista sit in partibus
    grecie insula Staliminis dives et opulenta in qua sunt tres
    terre cum Castellis viz Cochinum, Mudrum et Paleocastrum que
    tempore pacis reddere solent ducatos circa xᵐ. Item etiam
    Civitas Malvasie sita in Amorea. Ad quorum locorum bonam
    gubernationem et conservationem sub obedientia nostri Dominii
    providendum est de rectoribus et camerariis e venetiis
    mittendis tam pro populis regendis et jure reddendo quam pro
    introitibus earum bene gubernandis et non perdendis sicut
    hucusque dicitur esse factum....

    Eligatur per quattuor manus electionum in maiori consilio
    unus potestas Malvasie cum salario ducatorum V. auri in anno,
    sit per duos annos tantum; et habeat salarium liberum cum
    prerogativis et exemptionibus rectoris Staliminis et similiter
    in contumacia sua. Debeat habere duos famulos et tres equos et
    recipiat salarium suum ab insula Staliminis de tribus mensibus
    in tres menses ante tempus.

                          †De parte        474
                           De non           14
                           Non syncere       9

    Die xvij Septembris mcccclxiiij in consilio di xlᵗᵃ.

                           De parte         26
                           De non            0
                           Non sync.         1

II.—_Regina_ fol. 56.

        Die iij Marcii 1465.

    Captum est in maiori Consilio: Quod Rector monouasie elegendus
    de tribus in tres menses habere debeat salarium suum a loco
    nostro stalimnis et quum facile accidere posset per magnas
    impensas quas idem stalimnis locus habet quod inde salarium
    ipsum suum habere non posset.... Vadit pars quod in quantum
    idem rector noster monouasie a Stalimnis insula salarium ipsum
    suum habere non posset juxta formam presentis electionis sue a
    camera nostra crete illud percipere debeat sicuti conueniens et
    honestum est de tribus in tres menses juxta formam presentis

                          †De parte        573
                           De non           39
                           Non syncere      42


(I have altered the Venetian dates to Modern Style):

                                                     _Jan. 9, 1420._


    Attenta humili et devota supplicatione fidelium civium
    nostrorum mercatorum Monavaxie et Romanie et considerate quod
    mercantia huiusmodi vinorum hoc anno parvum vel nichil valuit,
    ob quod ipsi mercatores multa et maxima damna sustinuerunt, ob
    quibus (_sic_) nullo modo possunt ad terminum quatuor mensium
    sibi limitatum solvere eorum datia prout nobis supplicaverunt;
    Vadit pars quod ultra terminum quatuor mensium sibi concessum
    per terram ad solvendum datia sua pro suis monavasiis et
    romaniis, concedatur eisdem et prorogetur dictus terminus usque
    ad duos menses ultra predictos menses quatuor sibi statuitos
    per terram ut supra dando plezariam ita bonam et sufficientem
    pro ista prorogatione termini, quod comune nostrum sit securum
    de datio suo, solvendo ad terminum debitum.

                             De parte omnes.

    (Archivio di State Venezia—Deliberazioni Senate Misti Reg. 53.
    c. 21.)

                                                    _Feb. 19, 1421._


    Quod audita devota supplicatione fidelium civium nostrorum
    mercatorum Romanie et Monovasie Venetiis existentium, et
    intellectis damnis que receperunt iam annis tribus de ipsis
    vinis et maxime hoc anno quia per piratas accepte sibi fuerunt
    plures vegetes huiusmodi vinorum, et considerato quod ilia que
    habent non possunt expedire, propter que damna non possunt
    solvere sua datia ad terminum sibi limitatum per ordines
    nostros. Et audita superinde responsione offitialium nostrorum
    datii vini ex nunc captum sit quod ultra dictum terminum sibi
    limitatum per ordines nostros elongetur terminus solvendi dicta
    datia ipsorum vinorum usque duos alios menses.

                             De parte omnes.
                             De non       0.
                             Non sinceri  0.

    (Archivio di State Venezia—Deliberazioni Senato Misti Reg. 53.
    c. 112.)

                                                     _Feb. 9, 1428._

                         In Consilio Rogatorum.


    Quod mercatoribus Monovaxie et Romanie, qui non potuerunt
    expedire vina sua propter novitates presentes elongetur
    terminus solvendi datia sua per unum mensem ultra terminum
    limitatum per ordines nostros.

                          De parte omnes alii.
                          De non            2.
                          Non sinceri       1.

    (Archivio di Stato Venezia—Deliberazioni Senato Misti Reg. 56.
    carte. 76tᵒ.)


Of all the feudal lordships, founded in Northern Greece at the time of
the Frankish Conquest, the most important and the most enduring was
the Marquisate of Boudonitza. Like the Venieri and the Viari in the
two islands of Cerigo and Cerigotto at the extreme south, the lords of
Boudonitza were Marquesses in the literal sense of the term—wardens of
the Greek Marches—and they maintained their responsible position on
the outskirts of the Duchy of Athens until after the establishment of
the Turks in Thessaly. Apart, too, from its historic importance, the
Marquisate of Boudonitza possesses the romantic glamour which is shed
over a famous classical site by the chivalry of the middle ages. What
stranger accident could there have been than that which made two noble
Italian families the successive guardians of the historic pass which is
for ever associated with the death of Leonidas!

Among the adventurers who accompanied Boniface of Montferrat, the new
King of Salonika, on his march into Greece in the autumn of 1204, was
Guido Pallavicini, the youngest son of a nobleman from near Parma who had
gone to the East because at home every common man could hale him before
the courts[326]. This was the vigorous personality who, in the eyes of
his conquering chief, seemed peculiarly suited to watch over the pass of
Thermopylæ, whence the Greek _archon_, Leon Sgouros, had fled at the mere
sight of the Latins in their coats of mail. Accordingly, he invested him
with the fief of Boudonitza, and ere long, on the Hellenic substructures
of Pharygæ, rose the imposing fortress of the Italian Marquesses.

The site was admirably chosen, and is, indeed, one of the finest in
Greece. The village of Boudonitza, Bodonitza, or Mendenitza, as it is
now called, lies at a distance of three and a half hours on horseback
from the baths of Thermopylæ and nearly an hour and a half from the
top of the pass which leads across the mountains to Dadi at the foot
of Parnassos. The castle, which is visible for more than an hour as
we approach from Thermopylæ, stands on a hill which bars the valley
and occupies a truly commanding position (Plate VI, Figs. 1 and 2).
The Warden of the Marches, in the Frankish times, could watch from its
battlements the blue Maliac Gulf with the even then important town
of Stylida, the landing-place for Zetounion, or Lamia; his eye could
traverse the channel up to, and beyond, the entrance to the Gulf of
Almiro, as the Gulf of Volo was then called; in the distance he could
descry two of the Northern Sporades—Skiathos and Skopelos—at first in the
hands of the friendly Ghisi, then reconquered by the hostile Byzantine
forces. The northernmost of the three Lombard baronies of Eubœa with the
bright streak which marks the baths of Ædepsos, and the little island of
Panaia, or Canaia, between Eubœa and the mainland, which was one of the
last remnants of Italian rule in this part of Greece, lay outstretched
before him; and no pirate craft could come up the Atalante channel
without his knowledge. Landwards, the view is bounded by vast masses
of mountains, but the danger was not yet from that quarter, while a
rocky gorge, the bed of a dry torrent, isolates one side of the castle.
Such was the site where, for more than two centuries, the Marquesses of
Boudonitza watched, as advanced sentinels, first of “new France” and then
of Christendom.

The extent of the Marquisate cannot be exactly defined. In the early
years after the Conquest we find the first Marquess part-owner of
Lamia[327]; his territory extended down to the sea, upon which later
on his successors had considerable commercial transactions, and the
harbour from which they obtained their supplies would seem to have been
simply called the _skala_ of Boudonitza. In 1332 Adam, the Archbishop
of Antivari, alludes to the “castle and port of Boudonice (_sic_),
through which we shall have in abundance grain of all kinds from
Wallachia” (_i.e._ Thessaly, the “Great Wallachia” of the Byzantine
historians and of the “Chronicle of the Morea”)[328]. The Pallavicini’s
southern frontier marched with the Athenian _seigneurie_; but their
feudal relations were not with Athens, but with Achaia. Whether or no
we accept the story of the “Chronicle of the Morea,” that Boniface of
Montferrat conferred the suzerainty of Boudonitza upon Guillaume de
Champlitte, or the more probable story of the elder Sanudo, that the
Emperor Baldwin II gave it to Geoffroy II de Villehardouin[329], it
is certain that later on the Marquess was one of the twelve peers of
Achaia[330], and in 1278 Charles I of Naples, in his capacity of Prince
of Achaia, accordingly notified the appointment of a bailie of the
principality to the Marchioness of that day[331]. It was only during
the Catalan period that the Marquess came to be reckoned as a feudatory
of Athens[332]. Within his dominions was situated a Roman Catholic
episcopal see—that of Thermopylæ, dependent upon the metropolitan see of
Athens. At first the bishop resided at the town which bore that name; on
its destruction, however, during those troublous times, the bishop and
canons built an oratory at Boudonitza. Even there, however, the pirates
penetrated and killed the bishop, whereupon in 1209 the then occupant
of the see, the third of the series, begged Innocent III to allow him
to move to the abbey of “Communio”—perhaps a monastery founded by one
of the Comneni—within the same district[333]. Towards the close of
the fourteenth century, the bishop was commonly known by the title of
“Boudonitza,” because he resided there, and his see was then one of the
four within the confines of the Athenian Duchy[334].

[Illustration: PLATE VI



[Illustration: PLATE VII



Guido, first Marquess of Boudonitza, the “Marchesopoulo,” as his Greek
subjects called him, played a very important part in both the political
and ecclesiastical history of his time—just the part which we should have
expected from a man of his lawless disposition. The “Chronicle” above
quoted represents him as present at the siege of Corinth. He and his
brother, whose name may have been Rubino, were among the leaders of the
Lombard rebellion against the Latin Emperor Henry in 1209; he obstinately
refused to attend the first Parliament of Ravenika in May of that
year; and, leaving his castle undefended, he retreated with the still
recalcitrant rebels behind the stronger walls of the Kadmeia at Thebes.
This incident procured for Boudonitza the honour of its only Imperial
visit; for the Emperor Henry lay there one evening—a certain Wednesday—on
his way to Thebes, and thence rode, as the present writer has ridden,
through the _closure_, or pass, which leads over the mountains and down
to Dadi and the Bœotian plain—then, as now, the shortest route from
Boudonitza to the Bœotian capital[335], and at that time the site of a
church of our Lady, _Sta Maria de Clusurio_, the property of the abbot
and canons of the Lord’s Temple. Like most of his fellow-nobles, the
Marquess was not over-respectful of the rights and property of the Church
to which he belonged. If he granted the strong position of Lamia to the
Templars, he secularised property belonging to his bishop and displayed
a marked unwillingness to pay tithes. We find him, however, with his
fellows, signing the _concordat_ which was drawn up to regulate the
relations between Church and State at the second Parliament of Ravenika
in May, 1210[336].

As one of the leading nobles of the Latin kingdom of Salonika, Guido
continued to be associated with its fortunes. In 1221 we find him acting
as bailie for the Regent Margaret during the minority of the young
King Demetrius, in whose name he ratified a convention with the clergy
respecting the property of the Church[337]. His territory became the
refuge of the Catholic Archbishop of Larissa, upon whom the bishopric of
Thermopylæ was temporarily conferred by Honorius III, when the Greeks of
Epeiros drove him from his see. And when the ephemeral kingdom had fallen
before them, the same Pope, in 1224, ordered Geoffroy II de Villehardouin
of Achaia, Othon de la Roche of Athens, and the three Lombard barons of
Eubœa to aid in defending the castle of Boudonitza, and rejoiced that
1300 _hyperperi_ had been subscribed by the prelates and clergy for its
defence, so that it could be held by “G. lord of the aforesaid castle,”
till the arrival of the Marquess William of Montferrat[338]. Guido was
still living on May 2, 1237, when he made his will. Soon after that date
he probably died; Hopf[339] states in his genealogy, without citing any
authority, that he was killed by the Greeks. He had survived most of
his fellow-Crusaders; and, in consequence of the Greek reconquest of
Thessaly, his Marquisate was now, with the doubtful exception of Larissa,
the northernmost of the Frankish fiefs, the veritable “March” of Latin

Guido had married a Burgundian lady named Sibylle, possibly a daughter
of the house of Cicon, lately established in Greece, and therefore a
cousin of Guy de la Roche of Athens. By her he had two daughters and a
son, Ubertino, who succeeded him as second Marquess. Despite the feudal
tie which should have bound him to the Prince of Achaia, and which he
boldly repudiated, Ubertino assisted his cousin, the “Great Lord” of
Athens, in the fratricidal war between those prominent Frankish rulers,
which culminated in the defeat of the Athenians at the battle of Karydi
in 1258, where the Marquess was present, and whence he accompanied Guy
de la Roche in his retreat to Thebes. In the following year, however,
he obeyed the summons of the Prince of Achaia to take part in the fatal
campaign in aid of the Despot Michael II of Epeiros against the Greek
Emperor of Nice, which ended on the plain of Pelagonia; and in 1263, when
the Prince, after his return from his Greek prison, made war against
the Greeks of the newly established Byzantine province in the Morea,
the Marquess of Boudonitza was once more summoned to his aid[340]. The
revival of Greek power in Eubœa at this period, and the frequent acts
of piracy in the Atalante channel were of considerable detriment to the
people of Boudonitza, whose food supplies were at times intercepted by
the corsairs[341]. But the Marquess Ubertino profited by the will of
his sister Mabilia, who had married Azzo VII d’Este of Ferrara, and
bequeathed to her brother in 1264 her property near Parma[342].

After the death of Ubertino, the Marquisate, like so many Frankish
baronies, fell into the hands of a woman. The new Marchioness of
Boudonitza was his second sister, Isabella, who is included in the
above-mentioned circular note, addressed to all the great magnates of
Achaia by Charles I of Anjou, the new Prince, and notifying to them
the appointment of Galeran d’Ivry as the Angevin vicar-general in the
principality. On that occasion, the absence of the Marchioness was one
of the reasons alleged by Archbishop Benedict of Patras, in the name
of those present at Glarentza, for the refusal of homage to the new
bailie[343]. So important was the position of the Marquisate as one of
the twelve peerages of Achaia.

The Marchioness Isabella died without children; and, accordingly, in
1286, a disputed succession arose between her husband, a Frank settled in
the East, and the nearest male representative of the Pallavicini family,
her cousin Tommaso, grandson of the first Marquess’s brother, Rubino. The
dispute was referred to Guillaume de la Roche, Duke of Athens, in his
capacity of bailie of Achaia, before the feudal court of which a question
relating to Boudonitza would legally come. Tommaso, however, settled the
matter by seizing the castle, and not only maintained himself there, but
transmitted the Marquisate to his son, Alberto[344].

The fifth Marquess is mentioned as among those summoned by Philip of
Savoy, Prince of Achaia, to the famous Parliament and tournament on the
Isthmus of Corinth in the spring of 1305, and as having been one of
the magnates who obeyed the call of Philip’s namesake and successor,
Philip of Taranto, in 1307[345]. Four years later he fell, at the great
battle of the Kephissos, fighting against the Catalans beneath the lion
banner of Walter of Brienne[346], who by his will a few days before had
bequeathed 100 _hyperperi_ to the church of Boudonitza[347].

The Marquisate, alone of the Frankish territories north of the Isthmus,
escaped conquest by the Catalans, though, as at Athens, a widow and her
child were alone left to defend it. Alberto had married a rich Eubœan
heiress, Maria dalle Carceri, a scion of the Lombard family which had
come from Verona at the time of the Conquest. By this marriage he had
become a hexarch, or owner of one-sixth of that great island, and is
so officially described in the Venetian list of Greek rulers. Upon his
death, in accordance with the rules of succession laid down in the _Book
of the Customs of the Empire of Romania_, the Marquisate was divided
in equal shares between his widow and his infant daughter, Guglielma.
Maria did not, however, long remain unconsoled; indeed, political
considerations counselled an immediate marriage with some one powerful
enough to protect her own and her child’s interests from the Catalans of
Athens. Hitherto the Wardens of the Northern March had only needed to
think of the Greek enemies in front, for all the territory behind them,
where Boudonitza was most easily assailable, had been in the hands of
Frenchmen and friends. More fortunate than most of the high-born dames
of Frankish Greece, the widowed Marchioness had avoided the fate of
accepting one of her husband’s conquerors as his successor. Being thus
free to choose, she selected as her spouse Andrea Cornaro, a Venetian of
good family, a great personage in Crete, and Baron of Skarpanto. Cornaro
thus, in 1312, received, by virtue of his marriage, his wife’s moiety of
Boudonitza[348], while her daughter conferred the remaining half, by her
subsequent union with Bartolommeo Zaccaria, upon a member of that famous
Genoese race, which already owned Chios and was about to establish a
dynasty in the Morea[349].

Cornaro now came to reside in Eubœa, where self-interest as well as
patriotism led him to oppose the claims of Alfonso Fadrique, the new
viceroy of the Catalan Duchy of Athens. His opposition and the natural
ambition of Fadrique brought down, however, upon the Marquisate the
horrors of a Catalan invasion, and it was perhaps on this occasion
that Bartolommeo Zaccaria was carried off as a captive and sent to a
Sicilian prison, whence he was only released at the intervention of
Pope John XXII. It was fortunate for the inhabitants of Boudonitza that
Venice included Cornaro in the truce which she made with the Catalans in
1319[350]. Four years later he followed his wife to the grave, and her
daughter was thenceforth sole Marchioness.

Guglielma Pallavicini was a true descendant of the first Marquess. Of
all the rulers of Boudonitza, with his exception, she was the most
self-willed, and she might be included in that by no means small
number of strong-minded, unscrupulous, and passionate women, whom
Frankish Greece produced and whom classic Greece might have envied as
subjects for her tragic stage. On the death of her Genoese husband, she
considered that both the proximity of Boudonitza to the Venetian colony
of Negroponte and her long-standing claims to the castle of Larmena in
that island required that she should marry a Venetian, especially as the
decision of her claim and even her right to reside in the island depended
upon the Venetian bailie. Accordingly, she begged the Republic to give
her one of its nobles as her consort, and promised dutifully to accept
whomsoever the Senate might choose. The choice fell upon Nicolò Giorgio,
or Zorzi, to give him the Venetian form of the name, who belonged to
a distinguished family which had given a Doge to the Republic and had
recently assisted young Walter of Brienne in his abortive campaign to
recover his father’s lost duchy from the Catalans. A Venetian galley
escorted him in 1335 to the haven of Boudonitza, and a Marquess,
the founder of a new line, once more ruled over the castle of the

At first there was no cause to regret the alliance. If the Catalans, now
established at Neopatras and Lamia, within a few hours of Boudonitza,
occupied several villages of the adjacent Marquisate, despite the
recommendations of Venice, Nicolò I came to terms with them, probably
by agreeing to pay that annual tribute of four fully equipped horses to
the Vicar-General of the Duchy of Athens, which we find constituting
the feudal bond between that state and Boudonitza in the time of his
son[352]. He espoused, too, the Eubœan claims of his wife; but Venice,
which had an eye upon the strong castle of Larmena, diplomatically
referred the legal question to the bailie of Achaia, of which both
Eubœa and Boudonitza were technically still reckoned as dependencies.
The bailie, in the name of the suzeraine Princess of Achaia, Catherine
of Valois, decided against Guglielma, and the purchase of Larmena by
Venice ended her hopes. Furious at her disappointment, the Marchioness
accused her Venetian husband of cowardice and of bias towards his native
city, while more domestic reasons increased her indignation. Her consort
was a widower, while she had had a daughter by her first marriage, and
she suspected him of favouring his own offspring at the expense of her
child, Marulla, in whose name she had deposited a large sum of money at
the Venetian bank in Negroponte. To complete the family tragedy played
within the walls of Boudonitza there was only now lacking a sinister ally
of the angry wife. He, too, was forthcoming in the person of Manfredo
Pallavicini, the relative, business adviser, and perhaps paramour, of
the Marchioness. As one of the old conqueror’s stock, he doubtless
regarded the Venetian husband as an interloper who had first obtained the
family honours and then betrayed his trust. At last a crisis arrived.
Pallavicini insulted the Marquess, his feudal superior; the latter
threw him into prison, whereupon the prisoner attempted the life of his
lord. As a peer of Achaia, the Marquess enjoyed the right of inflicting
capital punishment. He now exercised it; Pallavicini was executed, and
the assembled burgesses of Boudonitza, if we may believe the Venetian
version, approved the act, saying that it was better that a vassal should
die rather than inflict an injury on his lord.

The sequel showed, however, that Guglielma was not appeased. She might
have given assent with her lips to what the burgesses had said. But she
worked upon their feelings of devotion to her family, which had ruled
so long over them; they rose against the foreign Marquess at their
Lady’s instigation; and Nicolò was forced to flee across to Negroponte,
leaving his little son Francesco and all his property behind him. Thence
he proceeded to Venice, and laid his case before the Senate. That body
warmly espoused his cause, and ordered the Marchioness to receive him
back to his former honourable position, or to deliver up his property.
In the event of her refusal, the bailie of Negroponte was instructed to
break off all communications between Boudonitza and that island and to
sequestrate her daughter’s money still lying in the Eubœan bank. In order
to isolate her still further, letters were to be sent to the Catalans of
Athens, requesting them not to interfere between husband and wife. As the
Marchioness remained obdurate, Venice made a last effort for an amicable
settlement, begging the Catalan leaders, Queen Joanna I of Naples, as
the head of the house of Anjou, to which the principality of Achaia
belonged, and the Dauphin Humbert II of Vienne, then commanding the papal
fleet against the Turks, to use their influence on behalf of her citizen.
When this failed, the bailie carried out his instructions, confiscated
the funds deposited in the bank, and paid Nicolò out of them the value of
his property. Neither the loss of her daughter’s money nor the spiritual
weapons of Pope Clement VI could move the obstinate Lady of Boudonitza,
and in her local bishop, Nitardus of Thermopylæ, she could easily find
an adviser who dissuaded her from forgiveness[353]. So Nicolò never
returned to Boudonitza; he served the Republic as envoy to the Serbian
Tsar, Dushan, and as one of the Doge’s Councillors, and died at Venice in
1354. After his death, the Marchioness at once admitted their only son,
Francesco, the “Marchesotto,” as he was called, now a youth of seventeen,
to rule with her, and, as the Catalans were once more threatening her
land, made overtures to the Republic. The latter, glad to know that a
Venetian citizen was once more ruling as Marquess at Boudonitza, included
him and his mother in its treaties with Athens, and when Guglielma died,
in 1358, after a long and varied career, her son received back the
confiscated property of his late half-sister[354].

The peaceful reign of Francesco was a great contrast to the stormy
career of his mother. His Catalan neighbours, divided by the jealousies
of rival chiefs, had no longer the energy for fresh conquests. The
establishment of a Serbian kingdom in Thessaly only affected the Marquess
in so far as it enabled him to bestow his daughter’s hand upon a Serbian
princelet[355]. The Turkish peril, which was destined to swallow up the
Marquisate in the next generation, was, however, already threatening
Catalans, Serbs, and Italians alike, and accordingly Francesco Giorgio
was one of the magnates of Greece whom Pope Gregory XI invited to
the Congress on the Eastern question, which was summoned to meet at
Thebes[356] on October 1, 1373. But when the Athenian duchy, of which he
was a tributary, was distracted by a disputed succession between Maria,
Queen of Sicily, and Pedro IV of Aragon, the Venetian Marquess, chafing
at his vassalage and thinking that the moment was favourable for severing
his connexion with the Catalans, declared for the Queen. He was, in fact,
the most important member of the minority which was in her favour, for
we are told that “he had a very fine estate,” and we know that he had
enriched himself by mercantile ventures. Accordingly he assisted the
Navarrese Company in its attack upon the duchy, so that Pedro IV wrote
in 1381 to the Venetian bailie of Negroponte, begging him to prevent
his fellow-countryman at Boudonitza from helping the King’s enemies.
As the Marquess had property in the island, he had given hostages to
fortune. The victory of the Aragonese party closed the incident, and the
generous policy of the victors was doubtless extended to him. But in 1388
the final overthrow of the Catalan rule by Nerio Acciajuoli made the
Marquisate independent of the Duchy of Athens[357]. In feudal lists—such
as that of 1391—the Marquess continued to figure as one of the temporal
peers of Achaia[358], but his real position was that of a “citizen and
friend” of Venice, to whom he now looked for help in trouble.

Francesco may have lived to see this realisation of his hopes, for he
seems to have died about 1388, leaving the Marquisate to his elder
son, Giacomo, under the regency of his widow Euphrosyne, a daughter
of the famous insular family of Sommaripa, which still survives in
the Cyclades[359]. But the young Marquess soon found that he had only
exchanged his tribute to the Catalan Vicar-General for a tribute to the
Sultan. We are not told the exact moment at which Bayezid I imposed this
payment, but there can be little doubt that Boudonitza first became
tributary to the Turks in the campaign of 1393-4, when “the Thunderbolt”
fell upon Northern Greece, when the Marquess’s Serbian brother-in-law
was driven from Pharsala and Domoko, when Lamia and Neopatras were
surrendered, when the county of Salona, founded at the same time as
Boudonitza, ceased to exist. On the way to Salona, the Sultan’s army must
have passed within four hours of Boudonitza, and we surmise that it was
spared, either because the season was so late—Salona fell in February,
1394—or because the castle was so strong, or because its lord was a
Venetian. This respite was prolonged by the fall of Bayezid at Angora
and the fratricidal struggle between his sons, while the Marquess was
careful to have himself included in the treaties of 1403, 1408, and 1409
between the Sultan Suleyman and Venice; a special clause in the first of
these instruments released him from all obligations except that which
he had incurred towards the Sultan’s father Bayezid[360]. Still, even
in Suleyman’s time, such was his sense of insecurity, that he obtained
leave from Venice to send his peasants and cattle over to the strong
castle of Karystos in Eubœa, of which his brother Nicolò had become the
lessee[361]. He figured, too, in the treaty of 1405, which the Republic
concluded with Antonio I Acciajuoli, the new ruler of Athens, and might
thus consider himself as safe from attack on the south[362]. Indeed, he
was anxious to enlarge his responsibilities, for he was one of those
who bid for the two Venetian islands of Tenos and Mykonos, when they
were put up to auction in the following year. In this offer, however, he

The death of Suleyman and the accession of his brother Musa in 1410
sealed the fate of the Marquess. Early in the spring a very large
Turkish army appeared before the old castle. Boudonitza was strong,
and its Marquess a resolute man, so that for a long time the siege was
in vain. “Giacomo,” says the Venetian document composed by his son,
“preferred, like the high-minded and true Christian that he was, to die
rather than surrender the place.” But there was treachery within the
castle walls; betrayed by one of his servants, the Marquess fell, like
another Leonidas, bravely defending the mediæval Thermopylæ against
the new Persian invasion. Even then, his sons, “following in their
father’s footsteps,” held the castle some time longer in the hope that
Venice would remember her distant children in their distress. The Senate
did, indeed, order the Captain of the Gulf to make inquiries whether
Boudonitza still resisted and in that case to send succour to its gallant
defenders—the cautious Government added—“with as little expense as
possible.” But before the watchmen on the keep could descry the Captain
sailing up the Atalante channel, all was over; both food and ammunition
had given out and the Zorzi were constrained to surrender, on condition
that their lives and property were spared. The Turks broke their
promises, deprived their prisoners of their goods, expelled them from the
home of their ancestors, and dragged young Nicolò to the Sultan’s Court
at Adrianople[364].

Considerable confusion prevails in this last act of the history of
Boudonitza, owing to the fact that the two leading personages, the
brother and eldest son of the late Marquess, bore the same name of
Nicolò. Hopf has accordingly adopted two different versions in his three
accounts of these events. On a review of the documentary evidence, it
would seem that the brother, the Baron of Karystos, was not at Boudonitza
during the siege, and that, on the capture of his nephew, he proclaimed
himself Marquess. Venice recognised his title, and instructed her envoy
to Musa to include him in her treaty with the Sultan and to procure at
the same time the release of the late Marquess’s son. Accordingly, in
the peace of 1411, Musa promised, for love of Venice and seeing that
he passed as a Venetian, to harass him no more, on condition that he
paid the tribute established. Not only so, but the Marquess’s ships and
merchandise were allowed to enter the Turkish dominions on payment of
a fixed duty[365]. Thus temporarily restored, the Marquisate remained
in the possession of the uncle, from whom the nephew, even after his
release, either could not, or cared not to claim it. He withdrew to
Venice, and, many years later, received as the reward of his father’s
heroic defence of Boudonitza, the post of _châtelain_ of Pteleon, near
the mouth of the Gulf of Volo, the last Venetian outpost on the mainland
of North-Eastern Greece—a position which he held for eight years[366].

Meanwhile, his uncle, the Marquess, had lost all but his barren title.
Though the Turks had evacuated Boudonitza, and the castle had been
repaired, he felt so insecure that he sent his bishop as an emissary to
Venice, begging for aid in the event of a fresh Turkish invasion and for
permission to transport back to Boudonitza the serfs whom he had sent
across to Karystos a few years before[367]. His fears proved to be well
founded. In vain the Republic gave orders that he should be included in
her treaty with the new Sultan, Mohammed I. On June 20, 1414, a large
Turkish army attacked and took the castle, and with it many prisoners,
the Marquess, so it would seem, among them—for in the following year we
find his wife, an adopted daughter of the Duke of Athens, appealing to
Venice to obtain his release from his Turkish dungeon[368]. He recovered
his freedom, but not his Marquisate. In the treaty of 1416, Boudonitza
was, indeed, actually assigned to him in return for the usual tribute;
but nine years later we find Venice still vainly endeavouring to obtain
its restitution[369]. He continued, however, to hold the title of
Marquess of Boudonitza with the castle of Karystos, which descended to
his son, the “Marchesotto,” and his son’s son[370], till the Turkish
conquest of Eubœa in 1470 put an end to Venetian rule over that great
island. Thence the last titular Marquess of Boudonitza, after governing
Lepanto, retired to Venice, whence the Zorzi came and where they are
still largely represented.

Of the castle, where for two hundred years Pallavicini and Zorzi held
sway, much has survived the two Turkish sieges and the silent ravages
of five centuries. Originally there must have been a triple enclosure,
for several square towers of the third and lowest wall are still
standing in the village and outside it. Of the second enceinte the most
noticeable fragment is a large tower in ruins, while the innermost wall
is strengthened by three more. In the centre of this last enclosure are
the imposing remains of the large square donjon (Plate VII, Fig. 1),
and adjoining this is the most interesting feature of the castle—the
great Hellenic gateway (Plate VII, Fig. 2), which connects one portion
of this enclosure with the other, and which Buchon has described so
inaccurately[371]. It is _not_ “composed of six stones,” but of three
huge blocks, nor do “the two upper stones meet at an acute angle”; a
single horizontal block forms the top. Buchon omits to mention the
Byzantine decoration in brick above this gateway. Of the brick conduit
which he mentions I could find no trace, but the two cisterns remain.
The large building near them is presumably the Frankish church of
which he speaks; but the window which he found there no longer exists.
Possibly, when the new church in the village was erected, the builders
took materials from the chapel in the castle for its construction. At any
rate, that very modern and commonplace edifice contains several fragments
of ancient work. Thus, the stone threshold of the west door bears three
large roses, while on the doorway itself are two stars; and the north
door is profusely decorated with a rose, two curious creatures like
griffins, two circles containing triangles, and a leaf; above this door
is a cross, each arm of which forms a smaller cross. As usually happens
in the Frankish castles of Greece—with the exception of Geraki—there
are no coats of arms at Boudonitza, unless this composite cross is an
allusion to the “three crosses,” said to have been originally borne by
one branch of the Pallavicini. The “mediæval seal” in the possession
of a local family dates from the reign of Otho! But there exists a
genuine seal of the monastery of the Holy Virgin of Boudonitza, ascribed
by M. Schlumberger[372] to the end of the fourteenth or beginning of
the fifteenth century. The Marquesses have left behind them neither
their portraits—like the Palatine Counts of Cephalonia of the second
dynasty—nor any coins—like the French barons of Salona, to whom they
bear the nearest resemblance. One of their line, however, the Marquess
Alberto, figures in K. Rhanghaves’s play, _The Duchess of Athens_,
and their castle and their ofttimes stormy lives fill not the least
picturesque page of that romance which French and Italian adventurers
wrote with their swords in the classic sites of Hellas.




Capta. Quod vir nobilis Ser Nicolaus Georgio, cum sua familia et levibus
arnesiis possit ire cum galeis nostris unionis. Et committatur Capitaneo,
quod eum conducat Nigropontum, et si poterit eum facere deponi ad
Bondenizam, sine sinistro armate faciat inde sicut ei videbitur.—Omnes de

                                                      Misti, XVI. f. 97tᵒ.


1345 DIE 21 JULIJ.

Capta. Cum dominacio ducalis ex debito teneatur suos cives in eorum
iuribus et honoribus cum justicia conservare et dominus Nicolaus Georgio,
Marchio Bondanicie, sit iniuriatus ut scitis, et Marchionatu suo per eius
uxorem indebite molestatus, et dignum sit, subvenire eidem in eo quod cum
honore dominacionis comode fieri potest, ideo visa et examinata petitione
ipsius marchionis, et matura et diligenti deliberatione prehabita,
consulunt concorditer viri nobiles, domini, Benedictus de Molino et
Pangracius Justiniano; quod committatur consiliario ituro Nigropontum,
quod postquam illuc applicuerit vadat ad dominam Marchisanam, uxorem
dicti domini Nicolay pro ambaxatore, exponendo eidem, quomodo iam diu
ipsam ad dominacionem misit suos procuratores et ambaxatores petens sibi
per dominacionem de uno nobilium suorum pro marito provideri, et volens
dominacio suis beneplacitis complacere, consensit quod ipse dominus
Nicolaus carus civis suus ad eam iret, quem ipsa domina receptando,
ostendit id habere multum ad bonum. Et quoniam ob hoc semper Ducale
Dominium promtum et favorabilem se exhibuit ad omnia que suam et suorum
securitatem respicerent et augumentum, treuguas quamplurimas confirmando
et opportuna alia faciendo. Sed cum nuperrime per relacionem ipsius
domini Nicolay viri sui ad ducalis magnificentie audienciam sit deductus
de morte cuiusdam Pallavesini inopinatus casus occursus qui mortuus
fuit in culpa sua, sicut postmodum extitit manifestum, quia dum ipse
Marchio coram omnibus burgensibus congregatis, de velle et consensu
dicte domine exponeret rei geste seriem, ab ipsis habuit in responsum
quod ipse Palavesin dignam penam luerat propter foliam suam, et melius
erat, quod ipse, qui vaxallus erat mortuus fuisset quam dicto suo domino
iniuriam aliquam intulisset, quod ecciam ipsa domina in presencia
dictorum burgensium ratificavit. Unde consideratis predictis vellit amore
dominij, ipsum dominum Nicolaum honori pristino restituere, quod si
fecerit, quamquam sit iustum et honestum nobis plurimum complacebit, et
erimus suis comodis stricius obligati. Verum si dicta domina dubitaret
de recipiendo ipsum dicat et exponat ambaxator prefatus, quod firmiter
dominacio hanc rem super se assumpsit et taliter imposuit civi suo
quod minime poterit dubitare. Que omnia si dicta domina acetabit bene
quidem, si vero non contentaretur et ipsum recipere non vellet, procuret
habere et obtinere omnia bona dicti Marchionis que secum scripta portet
antedictus ambaxator et si ipsa ea bona dare neglexerit, dicat quod bona
sua et suorum ubicumque intromitti faciemus, et protestetur cum notario,
quem secum teneatur ducere, quod tantam iniuriam, quam dominacio suam
propriam reputat, non poterit sustinere, sed providebit de remediis
opportunis sicuti honori suo et indenitati sui civis viderit convenire,
firmiter tenens quod sicut semper dominacio ad sui conservacionem et
suorum exhibuit se promtam favorabilem et benignam, sic in omnibus
reperiet ipsam mutatam, agravando factum cum hijs et alijs verbis, ut
viderit convenire. Et rediens Nigropontum omnia, que gexerit, fecerit et
habuerit, studeat velociter dominacioni per suas literas denotare. Verum
si dictus consiliarius iturus tardaret ire ad regimen suum, quod baiullus
et consiliarij Nigropontis determinent quis consiliariorum de inde ad
complendum predicta ire debebit.

Et scribatur baiullo et consiliarijs Nigropontis, quod si habebunt post
redditum dicti ambaxatoris, quod ipsa domina stet dura nec vellit ipsum
dominum Nicolaum recipere, quod possint si eis videbitur facere et
ordinare quod homines Bondanicie non veniant Nigropontum et quod homines
Nigropontis non vadant Bondaniciam.

Item prefati baiullus et consiliarij sequestracionem factam de aliqua
pecunie quantitate que pecunia est damiselle Marulle filie dicte domine
firmam tenere debeant, donec predicta fuerint reformata, pacificata vel
diffinita, vel donec aliud sibi mandaretur de hinc.

Et scribantur litere illis de la compagna, quas dominus bayullus et
consiliarij presentent vel presentari fatiant, cum eis videbitur, rogando
dictos de compagna, quod cum alique discordie venerint inter virum
nobilem dominum Nicolam Georgio et eius uxorem Marchisanam se in aliquo
facto dicte domine intromittere non vellint quod posset civi nostro
contrariare ad veniendum ad suam intentionem.

De non 14—Non sinceri 13.—Alij de parte.

                                                      Misti, XXIII. f. 26.



Capta. Quod respondeatur domine Marchisane Bondinicie ad suas litteras
substinendo ius civis nostri Nicolai Georgio, cum illis verbis que
videbuntur sequendo id quod captum fuit pridie in hoc consilio in favorem
civis nostri.

                                                    Misti, XXIII. f. 30tᵒ.



Capta. Quod scribatur nostro Baiulo et Consiliariis Nigropontis quod
Ser Moretus Gradonico consiliarius, vel alius sicut videbitur Baiulo et
Consiliariis, in nostrum ambaxatorem ire debeat ad dominam Marchionissam
Bondenicie, et sibi exponat pro parte nostra quod attenta honesta et
rationabili requisitione nostra quam sibi fieri fecimus per virum
Nobilem Johannem Justiniano nostrum consiliarium Nigroponti, quem ad
eam propterea in nostrum ambaxatorem transmisimus super reformatione
scandali orti inter ipsam et virum nobilem Nicolaum Georgio eius virum
in reconciliatione ipsius cum dicto viro suo: Et intellecta responsione
quam super premissis fecit nostro ambaxatori predicto gravamur et
turbamur sicut merito possumus et debemus, de modo quem ipsam servavit
et servat erga dictum virum suum. Nam sibi plene poterat et debebat
sufficere remissio et reconciliatio cum [eo?] facta coram nobis per
dictum eius virum, secundum nostrum mandatum, et nuncio suo in nostra
presencia constituto de omni offensa et iniuria sibi facta, et debebat
esse certa quod quicquid idem Marchio in nostra presencia et ex nostro
mandato promittebat effectualiter observasse. Et quod volentes quod bona
dispositio dicti viri sui et paciencia nostra de tanta iniuria facta
civi nostro sibi plenius innotescat deliberavimus iterate ad eam mittere
ipsum in nostrum ambaxatorem ad requirendum et rogandum ipsam quod debeat
reconciliare cum dicto viro suo et eum recipere ad honorem et statum in
quo erat antequam inde recederet, nam quamvis hoc sit sibi debitum et
conveniat pro honore et bono suo, tamen erit gratissimum menti nostre et
ad conservacionem ipsius marchionisse et suorum avidius nos disponet et
circa hoc alia dicat que pro bono facto viderit opportuna.

Si vero dicta marchionissa id facere recusaret nec vellet condescendere
nostre intentioni et requisitioni predicte, dictus Ser Moretus assignet
terminum dicte Marchionisse unius mensis infra quem debeat complevisse
cum effectu nostram requisitionem premissam. Et sibi expresse dicat,
quod elapso dicto termino nulla alia requisitione sibi facta, cum non
intendamus dicto civi nostro in tanto suo iure deficere, faciemus
intromitti personas et bona suorum et sua ubicumque in forcio nostro
poterunt reperire. Et ultra hoc providebimus in dicto facto de omnibus
favoribus et remediis, que pro bono et conservacione dicti civis
nostri videbimus opportuna. Et si propter premissa dicta Marchionissa
ipsum recipere et reintegrare voluerit bene quidem sin autem scribatur
dicto baiulo et consiliariis quod elapso termino dicti mensis et ipsa
marchionissa premissa facere recusante mittant ad nos per cambium sine
aliquo periculo yperpera octomillia quinquaginta vel circa que sunt apud
Thomam Lippomanum et Nicolaum de Gandulfo, qua pecunia Venecias veniente
disponetur et providebiter de ipsa sicut dominationi videbitur esse

Capta. Item quod scribatur domino Delphino Vihennensi et illis de
Compagna in favorem dicti civis nostri et recommendando ei iura et
iusticiam ipsius in illa forma et cum illis verbis que dominacioni pro
bono facti utilia et necessaria videbuntur.

Non sinceri 15—Non 12.—De parte 57.

                                                    Misti, XXIII. f. 46tᵒ.



Capta. Quod possint scribi littere domino Pape et aliquibus Cardinalibus
in recommendacione iuris domini Nicolai Georgio marchionis Bondinicie
nostri civis in forma inferius anotata.

                               Domino Pape.

Sanctissime pater pro civibus meis contra Deum et iusticiam aggravatis,
Sanctitati Vestre supplicationes meas porrigo cum reverentia speciali:
Unde cum nobilis vir Nicolaus Georgio Marchio Bondinicie honorabilis
civis meus, iam duodecim annis matrimonii iura contraserit cum domina
Marchionissa Bondinicie predicte et cum ea affectione maritali
permanserit habens ex ea filium legiptimum, qui est annorum undecim, ipsa
domina Marchionissa in preiudicium anime sue, Dei timore postposito ipsum
virum suum recusat recipere et castrum Bondinicie et alia bona spectantia
eidem suo viro tenet iniuste et indebite occupata in grave damnum civis
mei predicti et Dei iniuriam manifestam precipientis, ut quos Deus
coniunxit homo non separet: Unde Sanctitati Vestre humiliter supplico
quatenus Clementie Vestre placeat dictum civem meum habere in suo iure
favorabiliter commendatum, ut dicta domina eum tanquam virum legiptimum
recipiat et affectione maritali pertractet sicut iura Dei precipiunt,
atque volunt, et salus animarum etiam id exposcit. Cum ipse civis meus
sit paratus ex sua parte ipsam dominam pro uxore legiptima tractare
pacifice et habere.

                                                       Misti, XXIV. f. 63.

_Note._—The “Misti” are cited throughout from the originals at Venice; I
have corrected the dates to the modern style.


In works descriptive of Greece it is customary to find the statement that
the island of Odysseus was “completely forgotten in the middle ages,”
and even so learned a mediæval scholar as the late Antonios Meliarakes,
whose loss is a severe blow to Greek historical geography, asserts this
proposition in his admirable political and geographical work on the
prefecture of Cephalonia[373]. But there are a considerable number of
allusions to Ithake during the Frankish period, and it is possible, at
least in outline, to make out the fortunes of the famous island under its
western lords.

The usual name for Ithake in Italian documents is Val di Compare, the
earliest use of which, so far as I can ascertain, occurs in the Genoese
historian Caffaro’s _Liberatio Orientis_, written in the first half of
the twelfth century[374]. According to K. Bergotes of Cephalonia this
name was given to the island by an Italian captain, who was driven
to anchor there one stormy night. Seeing a light shining through the
darkness, he landed, and found that it proceeded from a hut in which a
child had lately been born. At the request of the parents he accepted the
office of godfather, or κουμπάρος at the child’s christening, and named
the valley where the hut lay Val di Compare, to commemorate the event.
Whether this derivation be correct or not, the name stuck to the island
for several centuries, though we shall also find the classical Ithake
still surviving contemporaneously with it. The neighbouring islands of
Zante and Cephalonia were severed from the Byzantine empire in 1185,
at the time of the invasion of Greece by the Normans of Sicily, and
were occupied by their admiral, Margaritone of Brindisi. Ithake is not
specially mentioned as included among his conquests, but its connection
with the other two islands under the rule of his immediate successors
makes it very probable. Six years later, in the graphic account of Greece
as it was in 1191, ascribed to Benedict of Peterborough, Fale (Valle)
de Compar is said to have had a specially evil reputation for piracy,
and the channel between it and Cephalonia is described as a favourite
lair of those robbers[375]. After Margaritone’s death he was succeeded
by a Count Maio, or Matthew, a member of the great Roman family of
Orsini, who seems to have been born in Apulia—according to one account
he came from Monopoli—and who at the time of the fourth crusade was
lord of Cephalonia, Zante, and _Theachi, el qual se clamado agora Val
de Compare_[376], under the suzerainty of the king of Sicily. Although
the two larger of those islands had fallen to the share of Venice by
the partition treaty he and his descendants continued in possession of
them and of Ithake, though he thought it wise, in 1209, to acknowledge
the overlordship of the Republic. A Venetian document of 1320, alluding
to this transaction, specially mentions Val di Compare as one of the
islands, for which he then did homage[377]. In 1236 the count recognised
as his suzerain Prince Geoffroy II of Achaia, and he and his successors
were henceforth reckoned among the twelve peers of that principality, in
whose history they played an important part[378].

The next mention of Ithake occurs in a Greek document of 1264, in which
Count Matthew’s son and successor, “the most high and mighty Richard,
palatine count and lord of Cephalonia, Zakynthos, and Ithake,” confirms
the possessions of the Latin bishopric of Cephalonia[379]. Here Ithake is
called by its classical name, which was not confined to Greeks, for we
find it used in a Venetian document of 1278, where the island is again
mentioned as the scene of piracies[380]. Later on, in 1294, a document in
the Angevin archives at Naples mentions the promise of Count Richard to
bestow “the castle of Koronos”—a name still given to part of the island
of Cephalonia—“or the island of Ithake” (_sive vellent castrum Corony
de dominio suo, sive vellent insulam Ythace_) upon his son John I, on
the occasion of the latter’s marriage with the daughter of Nikephoros I,
despot of Epeiros[381]. Richard, in spite of the repeated remonstrances
of Charles II of Naples, who, in virtue of the treaty of Viterbo, was
suzerain of Achaia, and accordingly of Cephalonia, failed to carry out
this promise. We next hear of Val di Compare in the above-mentioned
Venetian document of 1320, in which Count John I’s son, Nicholas, who had
two years earlier murdered his nephew, the last Despot of Epeiros of the
house of the Angeloi, and had made himself Despot, is reminded that his
ancestor Matthew had done homage, as he was now offering to do, for the
three islands of Cephalonia, Zante, and Val di Compare to the Venetian

Although not mentioned by name Ithake doubtless followed the fortunes
of Cephalonia and Zante when those islands were conquered from the
Orsini by John of Gravina, prince of Achaia, in 1324. The “county of
Cephalonia,” of which the island of Odysseus had long formed a part, was
thus under the direct authority of the Angevins, and was transferred by
John of Gravina, together with the principality of Achaia, to Robert of
Taranto in 1333, after which date the same Angevin officials held office
in both Achaia and the insular county till Robert bestowed the latter
in 1357 upon his friend Leonardo Tocco, a Neapolitan courtier, whose
family came from Benevento. In an ecclesiastical document[382] of 1389
the Greek bishop of Methone, writing about the archbishopric of Levkas,
mentions “the duchess Franka (Francesca), lady of Levkas, Ithake, Zante
and Cephalonia,” the allusion being to the daughter of Nerio I Acciajuoli
of Athens, who had in the previous year married Carlo I Tocco, count
of Cephalonia and duke of Levkadia. A little earlier, in a Piedmontese
document[383] of 1387, we find Amedeo of Savoy, one of the claimants
to the principality of Achaia, rewarding the zeal of one of his Greek
supporters, Joannes Laskaris Kalopheros, with Cephalonia, Zante, Val di
Compare, and other places as hereditary possessions—a gift which was, of
course, never carried out, as the islands were not Amedeo’s to bestow.
Spandugino[384] specially mentions “Itaca,” or “Val di Compare,” as
being part of the insular dominions of the Tocchi, and Carlo II Tocco
is described in documents of 1430 and 1433, and by the annalist Stefano
Magno, as _comes palatinus Cephaloniæ, Ithacæ, et Jacinti_—a designation
repeated in a document of 1458 after his death[385]. We find an allusion
to it under both its classical and its mediæval name in the _Liber
Insularum_ of Buondelmonti[386], written in 1422, and the latter also
occurs in a Venetian document of 1430, where Val di Compare[387] is
stated to belong to Carlo II. Six years later the archæologist Cyriacus
of Ancona, visiting the “king of the Epeirotes,” as he calls that prince,
mentions _Itaci_ (sic) _insulæ_ as opposite the mainland[388]. After
Leonardo III lost practically all his continental possessions to the
Turks in 1449 he still retained the islands, Ithake among them, under
the protection of Venice, of which both he and his father were honorary
citizens, and under the nominal suzerainty of the kings of Naples. From
a document of 1558 we learn that it was in his time that the family of
Galates—the only Ithakan family which enjoyed the privileges of nobility
in the Venetian period, and which is still extant in the island—first
received exemptions[389]. It was he too who revived the Orthodox see of
Cephalonia and bestowed it, together with spiritual jurisdiction over
Ithake, upon Gerasimos Loverdo[390].

When Mohammed II sent Achmet Pasha to conquer all that remained of
Leonardo’s dominions in 1479 we are told by Stefano Magno[391] that the
Turkish commander “ravaged also the island of Itacha (_sic_), called
Valle di Compare, which belonged to the said lord,” whom he also styles
“palatine count of Cephalonia, Itaca (_sic_) and Zakynthos.” Loredano,
the Venetian admiral, thereupon sent some galleys to Ithake and rescued
seven or eight persons—an act of which the pasha complained. This
devastation of the island will account for the fact that, in 1504, the
Venetian government, which then owned Cephalonia and Zante, took steps
for repopulating “an island named Val di Compare, situated opposite
Cephalonia, at present uninhabited, but reported to have been formerly
fertile and fruitful.” Accordingly lands were offered to settlers,
free from all taxes for five years, at the end of which time the
colonists were to pay to the Treasury of Cephalonia the same dues as the
inhabitants of that island[392]. Thenceforth down to 1797 Ithake remained
beneath the sway of the Venetian republic. The offer of the senate seems
to have been successful; among those who accepted it were the family
of Boua Grivas, of Albanian origin, connected with the clan of Boua,
which had formerly ruled over Arta and Lepanto and had played a part in
the Albanian revolts of 1454 and 1463 in the Morea, that of Petalas,
and that of Karavias, which in modern times produced a local historian
of Ithake[393]. In 1548 Antonio Calbo, the retiring _provveditore_
of Cephalonia, reported to the Venetian government, that “under the
jurisdiction of Cephalonia there is another island, named Thiachi,
very mountainous and barren, in which there are different harbours and
especially a harbour called Vathi; in the island of Thiachi are three
hamlets, in three places, inhabited by about sixty families, who are in
great fear of corsairs, because they have no fortress in which to take
refuge[394].” The three hamlets mentioned in this report are doubtless
those of Paleochora, Anoe, and Exoe, which are regarded as the oldest in
the island.

The former counts of Ithake were till lately the only Latin rulers
of Greece who still existed in prosperous circumstances. But in the
seventeenth century they took the title of “prince of Achaia”—to which
they were not entitled, although the counts of Cephalonia had once been
peers of Achaia and Leonardo II and Carlo I had for a short time occupied
Glarentza. The modern representative of the family was Carlo, Duke of
Regina[395], who succeeded his cousin Francesco Tocco in 1894. But he is
now dead and his only son was killed in a motor accident.


It has hitherto been asserted by historians of the Latin Orient that,
after the capture of the Cyclades by the Turks in the sixteenth
century, the two Venetian islands of Tenos and Mykonos remained in the
possession of the Republic down to 1715. As to Tenos, this statement is
unimpeachable; as to Mykonos, despite the assertions of Hopf[396] and
Hertzberg[397], who quote no authorities for the fact, all the evidence
goes to show that it ceased to belong to Venice in the sixteenth century.

The two islands, the only members of the Cyclades group under the direct
rule of the Venetian government, were bequeathed to the Republic by
George III Ghisi, their ancestral lord, upon whose death in 1390 they
passed into its hands. The islanders implored Venice not to dispose
of them; and, though there were not failing applicants for them among
the Venetian princelets of the Levant, she listened to the petition of
the inhabitants. At first an official from Negroponte was sent as an
annual governor; then, in 1407, Venetian nobles who would accept the
governorship of Tenos and Mykonos, with which _Le Sdiles_, or Delos,
was joined, for a term of four years, paying a certain sum out of the
revenues to Venice and keeping the balance for themselves, were invited
to send in their names. One of them was appointed, still under the
authority of the bailie of Negroponte[398]; and this system continued
down to 1430, when a rector was sent out from Venice for two years, and
the two islands were thenceforth governed directly by an official of the

Mykonos remained united with Tenos under the flag of St Mark till the
first great raid of the Turkish fleet in the Cyclades under Khaireddîn
Barbarossa in 1537. Neither Andrea Morosini nor Paruta, nor yet Hajji
Kalifeh, mentions its fate in their accounts of that fatal cruise; but
Andrea Cornaro in his _Historia di Candia_[399] relates that, after
taking the two islands of Thermia and Zia, Barbarossa went to Mykonos,
many of whose inhabitants escaped to Tenos, while the others became his
captives. After the Turkish admiral’s departure the fugitives returned;
but in the same year one of Barbarossa’s lieutenants, a corsair named
Granvali, with eighteen ships, paid a second visit to Mykonos and carried
off many of them. Accordingly the shameful treaty[400] between Venice and
the Sultan, concluded in 1540, in both versions mentions Mykonos among
the islands ceded to the Sultan, while Tenos was expressly retained. How,
in the face of this, Hopf can have asserted that Mykonos still remained
Venetian it is difficult to understand. Nor is this all. In a document of
1545 the Republic orders her ambassador at Constantinople to obtain the
restoration of the island[401]; in 1548 a certain Zuan Zorzo Muazzo, of
Tenos, begs, and receives, from the Venetian government another fief in
compensation for that which he had lost in Mykonos[402]. A petition from
the inhabitants of Tenos to Venice in 1550 mentions the lack of ships
“at the present time when Mykonos has been lost[403].” We have, too, the
statement of Sauger[404], who becomes more trustworthy as he approaches
his own time, that Duke Giovanni IV Crispo, of Naxos, bestowed the island
of Mykonos (apparently in 1541) upon his daughter on her marriage with
Giovanfrancesco Sommaripa, lord of Andros. There is nothing improbable in
this. The Turks acquiesced at the same time in the action of the duke in
turning the Premarini family out of their part of Zia, and bestowing that
also upon his son-in-law; they may have had no objection to his dealing
in the same manner with the devastated island of Mykonos. At any rate
the latter was no longer Venetian. The long and elaborate reports[405]
of the Venetian commissioners, who visited Tenos in 1563 and 1584, make
no mention whatever of Mykonos, except that in the latter document we
hear of a Grimani as Catholic bishop of Tenos and of the sister island;
nor does Foscarini allude to it in his report on Cerigo and Tenos in
1577. More conclusive still, while the style of the Venetian governor
is “rector of Tenos and Mykonos” down to 1593, from that date onwards
the governor is officially described as “rector of Tenos” alone[406].
Hopf[407] is, therefore, wrong in giving us a long list of _rettori di
Tinos e Myconos_ from 1407 to 1717. It seems probable that the latter
island ceased to belong to Venice in 1537, but that the rector of Tenos
continued to bear the name of Mykonos also, as a mere form, for rather
more than half a century longer. Possibly it may have belonged to the
Sommaripa of Andros from 1541 to 1566, when that dynasty was dethroned.

These conclusions are confirmed by the travellers and geographers
who wrote about the Levant between that date and the loss of Tenos.
Porcacchi[408], in 1572, mentions Mykonos, without saying to whom it
belonged. One of the Argyroi, barons of Santorin, who, in 1581, gave
Crusius the information about the Cyclades which he embodied in his
_Turco-Græcia_[409], had nothing to say about Mykonos, except that it
contained one castle and some hamlets, while he specially mentioned
that Tenos and Cerigo were “under Venice.” Botero[410], in 1605, giving
a full list of the Venetian possessions in the Levant, includes the
Ionian Islands and Tenos alone. Neither the French ambassador, Louis des
Hayes[411], who visited Greece in 1630, nor the sieur du Loir[412], who
sailed with him, is more explicit, though both describe Crete, Cerigo,
and Tenos as the sole Venetian islands in the Ægean. Thévenot[413],
in 1656, and Boschini[414], ten years later, tell us that Mykonos was
“almost depopulated” because of corsairs, but are likewise silent as to
its ownership. Baudrand, in his _Geographia_[415], remarked, however,
that it had been _sub dominio Turcarum à sæculo et ultra, cum antea
Venetis pareret_, an account which appears to me to coincide with the
real facts. But both Spon[416] and Wheler[417] censured the geographer
for his statement that it had been Venetian, so completely had the
Venetian tradition faded at the time of their visit in 1675. At that
period, as they inform us, the Sultan’s galleys never failed to come
there every year to collect the capitation tax, and the governor of
the island was a Greek sent by the Turks from Constantinople. Both
travellers surmised, however, that the island might perhaps have changed
hands during the Candian war, when it was neglected. Their surmise
is rendered probable by the remark of Sebastiani[418], who visited
it in 1666, during that long struggle. For he says that it was then
ecclesiastically under the jurisdiction of the Catholic bishop of Tenos,
who had begged the Venetian admiral, Comaro, to give his deputy in
Mykonos the old Venetian church of San Marco for the use of the twenty
Latin inhabitants. Randolph[419] confirms their story of its subjection
to the Sultan, for he tells of a visit paid to the island by the Capitan
Pasha in 1680. Piacenza[420] reiterates their criticism of Baudrand, and
mentions that the atlases of the Mediterranean erroneously described it
as _insula altera hoc in tractu maritimo Reipublicæ Venetæ obsequium
præstans_, whereas it was really “under the Turkish yoke.” Dapper[421]
takes the same view. After mentioning that Tenos “is the last Venetian
island in this quarter of the Levant” he adds that “there are authors
who allege that Mykonos is in subjection to Venice.” Finally, in 1700,
Tournefort[422] found the island dependent on the Capitan Pasha, to whom
it paid the capitation tax, while in the last war it had been subject
to the bey of Kos. Although, he says, it was conquered by Barbarossa,
the Venetian governor of Tenos still continues to style himself
_provveditore_ of Mykonos also. But throughout the period of the Candian
war and right down to the end of the Venetian occupation of Tenos the
governor of the latter is always called simply _Rettor a Tine_ in the
official registers[423]. If further refutation were needed of Hopf’s
statement that Mykonos was captured from the Venetians in 1715, it may be
added that Ferrari[424], the contemporary authority for the surrender of
Tenos, never mentions it, nor does it figure in the peace of Passarovitz.


Salonika, “the Athens of Mediæval Hellenism” and second to Athens alone
in contemporary Greece, has been by turns a Macedonian provincial city,
a free town under Roman domination, a Greek community second only to
Constantinople, the capital of a short-lived Latin kingdom and of a brief
Greek empire to which it gave its name, a Venetian colony, and a Turkish
town[425]. There, in 1876, the murder of the consuls was one of the
phases of the Eastern crisis; there, in 1908, the Young Turkish movement
was born; there, in 1913, King George of Greece was assassinated; and
there in 1916 M. Venizelos established his Provisional Government, in the
city which served as a base for the Allies in their Macedonian campaign.

Nor has Salonika’s contribution to literature been inconsiderable. The
historian Petros Patrikios in the sixth century; the essayist Demetrios
Kydones, who wrote a “monody over those who fell in Salonika” in 1346,
during the civil war between John Cantacuzene and John V Palaiologos;
John Kameniates and John the Reader, the historians respectively of the
Saracen and the Turkish sieges, and Theodore Gazes, who contributed to
spread Greek teaching in the West, were natives of the place. Plotinos
and John, hagiographers of the seventh century; Leo, the famous
mathematician of the ninth; Niketas, who composed dialogues in favour of
the union of the churches; Eustathios, the Homeric commentator, historian
of the Norman siege and panegyrist of St Demetrios; Nikephoros Kallistos
Xanthopoulos, the ecclesiastical historian; Gregorios Palamas, Neilos,
and Nicholas Kabasilas, the polemical theologians of the fourteenth
century; and Symeon, the liturgical writer, who died just before the
final Turkish capture of the city, were among those who occupied this
important metropolitan see; while the rhetoricians, Nikephoros Choumnos
and the grammarian Thomas Magistros, addressed to the Thessalonians
missives on the blessings of justice and unity in the fourteenth century.
And precedents for the exile of Abdul Hamid II at Salonika may be found
in the banishment thither of Licinius, the rival of Constantine, of
Anastasios II in 716, and of Theodore Studita during the Iconoclast

Salonika has no very ancient history. It did not exist till after
the death of Alexander the Great, when Kassander, who became king of
Macedon, founded it in 315 B.C., and gave to it the name of his wife,
Thessalonike, who was half-sister of the famous Macedonian conqueror,
just as he bestowed his own upon another town, from which the westernmost
of the three prongs of the peninsula of Chalkidike still retains the
name of Kassandra. When the Romans conquered and organized Macedonia,
Thessalonika became the capital of that province, remaining, however,
a free city with its own magistrates, the πολιτάρχαι, to whom St Paul
and Silas were denounced on their memorable visit. It is a proof of
the technical accuracy of the author of the Acts of the Apostles,
that this precise word occurs as the name of the local magistracy in
the inscription formerly on the Vardar gate, but now in the British
Museum. The description in the Acts further shows that the present large
Jewish colony of Salonika, which is mostly composed of Spanish Jews,
descendants of the fugitives from the persecutions of the end of the
fifteenth century, had already a counterpart in the first. We may infer
that Salonika was a prosperous town, and its importance in the Roman
period is shown by the fact that Cicero, who was not fond of discomfort,
selected it in 58 B.C. as his place of exile, and that Piso found it
worth plundering during his governorship. But the sojourn of the Roman
orator left a less durable mark upon the history of Salonika than that
of the Apostle. It was not merely that two of his comrades, Aristarchos
and Secundus, were Thessalonian converts, but mediæval Greek writers lay
special stress upon the piety of what was called _par excellence_ “the
Orthodox City”—probably for its conservative attitude in the Iconoclast
controversy. Salonika furnished many names to the list of martyrs, and
one of them, St Demetrios, a Thessalonian doctor put to death in 306 by
order of Galerius[426] became the patron of his native city, which he is
believed to have saved again and again from its foes. The most binding
Thessalonian oath was by his name[427]; his tomb, from which a holy
oil perpetually exuded, the source of many miraculous cures, is in the
beautiful building, now once more a church, which is called after him;
it was on his day, October 26 (O.S.), that in 1912 Salonika capitulated
to the Greek troops, and there were peasant soldiers at the battle
of Sarantaporon who firmly believed that they had seen him fighting
against the Turks for the restoration of his church and city to his own
people[428], just as their ancestors had beheld him, sword in hand,
defending its walls against the Slavs. The story of his miracles forms a
voluminous literature, and on the walls of his church his grateful people
represented all the warlike episodes in which he had saved them from
their foes. Some of these mosaics have survived the conversion of the
church into the Kassimié mosque, and the great fire of August 18, 1917,
and among them is a portrait of the saint between a bishop and a local
magnate. Nor was St Demetrios the only Thessalonian saint. The city also
cherished the tomb of St Theodora of Ægina, who had died at Salonika in
the ninth century. Its walls contain the name of Pope Hormisdas.

Like Constantinople, Salonika was devoted to the sports of the
hippodrome; and, in 390, the imprisonment of a favourite charioteer
on the eve of a race, in which he was to have taken part, provoked
an insurrection, punished by a massacre. Theodosius I, then on his
way to Milan, ordered the Gothic garrison to wreak vengeance upon the
inhabitants; the next great race-meeting was selected, when the citizens
had come together to witness their favourite pastime, and 15,000 persons
were butchered in the hippodrome. St Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan,
refused to allow the Emperor to enter the cathedral, and made him
repent for eight months his barbarous treatment of a city where he had
celebrated his wedding. Of Roman Salonika there still exists a memorial
in the arch of Galerius, with its sculptures representing the Emperor’s
Asiatic victories; a second arch, the Vardar gate, was sacrificed fifty
years ago to build the quay; while a Corinthian colonnade, with eight
Karyatides, known to the Jews as _Las Incantadas_, a part of the Forum,
was removed by Napoleon III to France. The pulpit, from which St Paul was
believed to have spoken, and which used to stand outside the church of St
George, was removed—so I was informed when last at Salonika—by a German
in the time of Abdul Hamid.

Salonika had been chiefly important in Roman times, because the Via
Egnatia which ran from Durazzo, “the tavern of the Adriatic” (as Catullus
calls it), passed through its “Golden” and “Kassandreotic” gates. But
in Byzantine days its value was increased owing to its geographical
position. As long as the Exarchate of Ravenna existed, it lay on the
main artery uniting Constantinople with the Byzantine province in
Northern Italy, and it was an outpost against the Slavonic tribes,
which had entered the Balkan peninsula, where they have ever since
remained, but which, despite many attempts, have never taken Salonika.
Of these invaders the most formidable, and the most persistent, were the
Bulgarians, whose first war with their natural enemies, the Greeks, was
waged for the possession of Salonika, because of the heavy customs dues
which they had to pay there, and who, more than a thousand years later,
still covet that great Macedonian port, the birthplace of the Slavonic
apostles, the brothers Constantine (or Cyril) and Methodios.

The influence of these two natives of Salonika, partly historical
and partly legendary, has not only spread over the Slavonic parts of
the Balkan peninsula, but forms in the church of San Clemente a link
between the Balkans and Rome. The brothers were intended by nature to
supplement one another: Constantine was a recluse and an accomplished
linguist, Methodios a man of the world and an experienced administrator.
Both brothers converted the Slavs of Moravia to Christianity, and it
was long believed that a terrifying picture of the Last Judgement from
the hand of Methodios had such an effect upon the mind of Boris, the
Bulgarian prince, that he embraced the Christian creed. The real fact
is, that Boris changed his religion (like his namesake in our own day)
for political reasons, as a condition of obtaining peace from the
Byzantine Emperor, Michael III, in 864, taking in baptism the name of his
imperial sponsor. Tradition likewise attributes to Cyril the invention
of the Cyrillic alphabet, which still bears his name and is that of
the Russians, Serbs, and Bulgars. But Professor Bury[429], the latest
writer on this question, considers that the alphabet invented by Cyril
for the use of the Bulgarian and Moravian converts was not the so-called
Cyrillic (which is practically the Greek alphabet with the addition of a
few letters, and would, therefore, be likely to offend the Slav national
feeling), but the much more complicated Glagolitic, which still lingers
on in the Slavonic part of Istria, on the Croatian coast, and in Northern
Dalmatia. In this language, accordingly, his translation of the Gospels
and his brother’s version of the Old Testament were composed, and old
Slavonic literature began with these two Thessalonians, whose names
form to-day the programme of Bulgarian, just as Dante Alighieri is of
Italian expansion. On another mission, to Cherson on the Black Sea, Cyril
is said to have discovered the relics of St Clement, who had suffered
martyrdom there by being tied to an anchor and flung into the waves. He
brought them to Rome, where the frescoes in San Clemente before Monsignor
Wilpert’s researches were believed to represent the Slavonic apostles,
Cyril before Michael III, and the transference of his remains to that
church from the Vatican—for he died in Rome in 869.

Thus sentimental and commercial reasons impelled the Bulgarians to attack
Salonika. Both the great Bulgarian Tsars of the tenth century, Symeon
and Samuel, strove to obtain it, and during the forty years for which
the famous Greek Emperor Basil, “the Bulgar-Slayer,” contended against
Samuel for the mastery of Macedonia, Salonika was the headquarters, and
the shrine of its patron-saint the inspiration, of the Greeks, as Ochrida
was the capital of the Bulgars. We learn from the historian Kedrenos
that there was at the time a party which favoured the Bulgarians in some
of the Greek cities[430]; but in 1014 the Emperor, like the King of
the Hellenes in 1913, and in the same defile, called by the Byzantine
historian “Kleidion” (or “the key”)—which has been identified with the
gorge of the Struma, not far from the notorious fort Roupel—utterly
routed his rival, and took, like King Constantine, the title of
“Bulgar-Slayer.” Samuel escaped, only to die of shock at the spectacle of
the 15,000 blinded Bulgarian captives, each hundred guided by a one-eyed
centurion, whom the victor sent back to their Tsar. Basil celebrated
his triumph in the holy of holies of Hellenism, the majestic Parthenon,
then the church of Our Lady of Athens, where frescoes executed at his
orders still recall his visit and victory over the Bulgarians. Thus the
destruction of the first Bulgarian empire was organised at Salonika
and celebrated at Athens, just like the defeat of the same enemies 900
years later. But even after the fall of the Bulgarian empire we find
a Bulgarian leader besieging Salonika for six days, and only repulsed
by the personal intervention of St Demetrios[431], whom the terrified
Bulgarian prisoners declared that they had seen on horseback leading the
Greeks and breathing fire against the besiegers.

But Salonika was no longer a virgin fortress. An enemy even more
formidable than the Bulgarians had captured it, the Saracens, who from
823 to 961 were masters of Crete. Of this, the first of the three
conquests of Salonika, we have a description by a priest who was a
native of the city and an eye-witness of its capture, John Kameniates,
as well as a sermon by the patriarch Nicholas[432]. The “first city of
the Macedonians” was indeed a goodly prize for the Saracen corsairs,
whose base was “the great Greek island.” Civic patriotism inspired the
Thessalonian priest with a charming picture of his home at the moment
of this piratical raid, in 904. He praises the natural outer harbour,
formed by the projecting elbow of the Ἔμβολον (the “Black Cape,” or
Karaburun, of the Turks)[433]; the security of the inner port, protected
by an artificial mole; the great city climbing up the hill behind it;
the vineyards and hospitable monasteries, whose inmates (unlike their
modern successors) take no thought of politics; the two lakes (now St
Basil and Beshik), with their ample supply of fish, which stretch almost
across the neck of the Chalkidic peninsula; and to the west the great
Macedonian plain (treeless then, as now), but watered by the Axios (the
modern Vardar) and lesser streams. In times of peace Salonika was the
_débouché_ of the Slavonic hinterland; the mart and stopping-place of the
cosmopolitan crowd of merchants who travelled along the great highway
from West to East that still intersected it; in short, both land and sea
conspired to enrich it. Unfortunately, it was almost undefended on the
sea side, for no one had ever contemplated any other danger than that
from the Slavs of the country, and the population was untrained for war,
but more versed in the learning of the schools and in the beautifully
melodious hymns of the splendid Thessalonian ritual.

On Sunday, July 29, fifty-four Saracen ships were sighted off Karaburun
under the command of Leo, a renegade, who on that account was all the
more anxious to display his animosity to his former co-religionists. He
at once detected the weak point of the defences—the low sea-wall, which
had not been put into a state of proper repair[434],—and ordered his
men to scale them. This attempt failed, nor was a second, to burn the
“Roma” and the “Kassandreotic” gates on the east—the latter destroyed in
1873—more serviceable. The admiral then fastened his ships together by
twos, and on each pair constructed wooden towers, which overtopped the
sea-wall. He then steered them to where the water was deep right up to
the base of the fortifications, and began to fire with his brazen tubes.
The sea-wall was abandoned by its terrified defenders, and an Ethiopian
climbing on to the top to see if their flight were merely a ruse, when
once he had assured himself that it was genuine, summoned his comrades
to follow him. A terrible massacre ensued; some of the inhabitants
occupied the Akropolis, then known as “St David’s,” but now called “the
Seven Towers,” whence a few Slavs escaped into the country; others fled
to the two western gates, “the Golden” and “the Litaian”—the “New gate”
of the Turks, destroyed in 1911—where the besiegers butchered them as
they were jammed together in the gateways. Our author with his father,
uncle, and two brothers took refuge in a bastion of the walls opposite
the church of St Andrew. When the Ethiopians approached, he threw himself
at the feet of their captain, offering to reveal to him the hidden
treasure of the family, if the lives of himself and his relatives were
spared. The captain agreed, but the author did not escape two wounds
from another band of pillagers, and witnessed the massacre of some 300
of his fellow-citizens in the church of St George. And, if his life had
been spared, he was still a captive; 800 prisoners, besides a crew of
200, were herded in the ship which transported him to Crete, and he has
described in vivid language the horrors of that passage in the blazing
days of August without air or water. Over and above those who perished
during the voyage, which lasted a fortnight for fear of the Greek fleet,
22,000 captives were landed to be sold as slaves. Even then his troubles
were not over. A hurricane sprang up on the voyage from Crete to Tripoli,
and the narrative closes as the author is anxiously awaiting at Tarsus
the hour of his liberation. A curious illustration in a manuscript of
Skylitzes remains, like his story, to remind us of this siege.

Salonika recovered from the ravages of the Saracens, who later in
the tenth century were driven out of Crete, and the collapse of the
Bulgarians in the eleventh enabled her to develop her trade. Three
churches, of St Elias, of the Virgin, and of St Panteleemon, date from
this period, to which belong the extant seals of Constantine Diogenes,
Basil II’s lieutenant, and of the Metropolitans Paul and Leo[435]. The
Byzantine satire, _Timarion_[436], which was composed in the twelfth
century, gives an interesting account of the fair of St Demetrios, to
which came not only Greeks from all parts of the Hellenic world, but
also Slavs from the Danubian lands, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, and
Celts from beyond the Alps. It is curious that this list omits the Jews,
now such an important element at Salonika, for they are mentioned in the
seventh century, and Benjamin of Tudela, who visited the city about the
time that _Timarion_ was written, found 500 there[437]. As for Italians,
we hear of Venetians and Pisans obtaining trading-rights, and having
their own quarter and the distinctive name of Βουργιέσιοι[438].

Not long after the brilliant scene described by the Byzantine satirist
a terrible misfortune befell Salonika—its capture by the Normans of
Sicily. The usurper, Andronikos I, then sat on the throne, and Alexios,
a nephew of the late Emperor Manuel I, fled to the court of William
II of Sicily, and implored his assistance. William consented, and
despatched an army to Salonika by way of Durazzo, and a fleet round the
Peloponnese. On August 6, 1185, the land force began the siege, of which
the Archbishop Eustathios, the commentator on Homer, was an eye-witness
and historian. Salonika was commanded by David Comnenos, who bore a
great Byzantine name, but was—by the accordant testimony of another
contemporary, Niketas, who describes him as “more craven than a deer,”
and of the archbishop, who calls him “little better than a traitor”—a
lazy, cowardly, and incompetent officer, who, in order to prevent his
supersession by some one more capable, sent a series of lying bulletins
to the capital, that all was well. The walls were in good repair, except
(as in 904) at the harbour, but the reservoir in the castle leaked; and
many of the most capable inhabitants had been allowed to escape. Still
the remainder, and not least the women, who completely put to shame the
effeminate commander on his pacific mule, showed bravery and patriotism,
while the archbishop specially mentions the courage of some Serbians
in the garrison[439]. There were, however, traitors in the city and
neighbourhood—Jews and Armenians, and on August 24 the city fell. The
conduct of the learned archbishop at this crisis was in marked contrast
with that of the miserable commander. Eustathios acted like a true
pastor of his flock. The invaders found him calmly awaiting them in his
palace, whence, seizing him by his venerable beard, they dragged him to
the hippodrome, and thence, through lines of corpses, to the arsenal.
There he was put on board the ship of a pirate, who demanded 4000 gold
pieces as his ransom. As the archbishop pleaded poverty, he was next day
escorted to the presence of Alexios himself, and thence to Counts Aldoin
and Richard of Acerra, by whom he was at last restored to his palace,
where he took refuge in a tiny bathroom in the garden.

Meanwhile, the Normans had shown no respect for the churches of the
city. They danced upon the altars; they used the sacred ointment which
flowed from the tomb of St Demetrios as boot-polish; they interrupted
the singing by their obscene melodies and imitated the nasal intonation
of the eastern priesthood by barking like dogs. But it is best to pass
over the revolting details of the sack, for which the only excuse was
the massacre of the Latins in Constantinople three years earlier.
Eustathios, by his influence with Count Aldoin, was able to mitigate
some of the tortures of his flock; he describes the miserable plight of
these poor wretches, robbed of their houses and almost stark naked, and
the strange appearance which they presented (like the Messina refugees
after the earthquake of 1908) in their improvised hats and clothes. More
than 7000 of them had perished in the assault, but the archbishop notes
with satisfaction that the Normans lost some 3000 from their excessive
indulgence in pork and new wine. Vengeance, too, soon befell them. A
Greek army under Alexios Branas defeated them on the Struma, and in
November they evacuated Salonika[440]. But their treatment of Salonika
embittered the hatred between Latins and Greeks, and prepared the way for
the Fourth Crusade.

Barely twenty years after the Norman capture, Salonika became the
capital of a Latin kingdom. Boniface, marquess of Montferrat, was the
leader of the crusaders who, with the help of the Venetians, overthrew
the Greek empire in 1204, and partitioned it into Latin states. Of these
the most important after the Latin empire, of which Constantinople
became the capital, was the so-called Latin kingdom of Salonika, of
which Boniface was appointed king, and which, nominally dependent upon
the Latin Emperor, embraced Macedonia, Thessaly, and much of continental
Greece, including Athens. Of all the artificial creations of the Fourth
Crusade, which should be a warning to those who believe that nations
can be partitioned permanently at congresses of diplomatists, the Latin
kingdom of Salonika was the first to fall. From the outset its existence
was undermined by jealousy between its king and the Latin Emperor, whose
suzerainty he and his proud Lombard nobles were loath to acknowledge. For
this reason Boniface, whose wife, Margaret of Hungary, was widow of the
Greek Emperor, Isaac II, endeavoured to cultivate his Greek subjects.
But, in 1207, he was killed by the Bulgarians, who would have taken
Salonika, had not a traitor (or, as the pious believed, St Demetrios)
slain their tsar.

Boniface’s son, although born in the country and named after Salonika’s
patron-saint (whose church was, however, the property of the chapter
of the Holy Sepulchre while a Latin archbishop occupied the see), was
then barely two years old. His mother was regent, but the real power was
wielded by her bailie, the ambitious count of Biandrate, whose policy
was to separate the kingdom from the Latin empire and draw it closer to
the Italian marquisate. His quarrels with the Emperor Henry were viewed
with joy by the Greeks; and, after his retirement, and in the absence
of the young king in Italy, the kingdom was easily occupied, in 1223,
by Theodore Angelos[441], the vigorous ruler of Epeiros, where, as at
Nice, the city of the famous council, Hellenism, temporarily exiled from
its natural capital, had found a refuge. The Greek conqueror exchanged
the more modest title of “Despot of Epeiros” for that of “Emperor of
Salonika,” while the exiled monarch and his successors continued to amuse
themselves by styling themselves titular kings of Salonika for another
century. But the separate Greek empire of Salonika was destined to live
but little longer than the Latin kingdom. The first Greek Emperor, by one
of those sudden reverses of fortune so characteristic of Balkan politics
in all ages, fell into the hands of the Bulgarians; and, after having
been reduced to the lesser dignity of a Despotat, the empire which he had
founded was finally annexed, in 1246, to the stronger and rival Greek
empire of Nice, which, in 1261, likewise absorbed the Latin empire of
Constantinople. No coins of the Latin kingdom exist; but we have a seal
of Boniface, with a representation of the city walls upon it. Of the
Greek empire of Salonika there are silver and bronze pieces, bearing the
figure of the city’s patron-saint; while a tower contains an inscription
to “Manuel the Despot,” identified by Monsignor Duchesne[442] with Manuel
Angelos (1230-40), the Emperor Theodore’s brother and successor, but
locally ascribed to a Manuel Palaiologos, perhaps the subsequent Emperor
Manuel II, Despot and governor of Salonika in 1369-70.

Salonika, restored to the Byzantine empire, enjoyed special privileges,
second only to those of the capital. Together with the region around it,
it was considered as an appanage of one of the Emperor’s sons (_e.g._
John VII, nephew, and Andronikos, son of Manuel II). It was sometimes
governed by the Empresses, two of them Italians, Jolanda of Montferrat,
wife of Andronikos II, a descendant of the first king of Salonika,
and Anne of Savoy, wife of Andronikos III, who was commemorated in an
inscription over the gate of the castle, which she repaired in 1355.
The court frequently resided there: we find Andronikos III coming to be
healed by the saint, and the beauteous Jolanda, when she quarrelled with
her husband, retired to Salonika and scandalised Thessalonian society
with her accounts of her domestic life. As in our own day, Salonika was
the favourite seat of opposition to the imperial authority. During the
civil wars of the fourteenth century, such as those between the elder
and the younger Andronikos and between John V Palaiologos and John
Cantacuzene, it supported the candidate opposed to Constantinople, so
that we may find precedents in its mediæval history for its selection
as the headquarters of the Young Turkish movement. It enjoyed a full
measure of autonomy, had its own “senate,” elected its own officials, was
defended by its own civic guard, and administered by its own municipal
customs. It even sent its own envoys abroad to discuss commercial
questions. Its annual fair on the festival of St Demetrios still
attracted traders from all the Levant to the level space between the
walls and the Vardar. Jews, Slavs, and Armenians, as well as Greeks,
crowded its bazaars; scholars from outside frequented its high schools,
and Demetrios Kydones[443] compared it with Athens at its best.

The fourteenth century was, indeed, the golden age of Salonika in
art and letters. The erection of the churches of the Twelve Apostles
and St Catherine continued the tradition of the much earlier churches
of St George, St Sophia, and St Demetrios. The clergy followed in the
footsteps of the learned Eustathios, and the beauty, wit, and reading
of a Thessalonian lady, Eudokia Palaiologina, turned the head of a son
of Andronikos II, when governor of Salonika, “that garden of the Muses
and the Graces,” as one of the literary archbishops of the fourteenth
century called it. The intellectual activity of the place led to intense
theological discussion, and at this period the “Orthodox” city _par
excellence_ was agitated by the heresy of the “Hesychasts,” or Quietists,
who believed that complete repose would enable them to see a divine light
flickering round their empty stomachs, while the so-called “Zealots,”
or friends of the people, with the cross as their banner, practised in
Salonika the doctrines of Wat Tyler and Jack Cade in mediæval England.
The exploitation of the poor by the rich and the tax-collectors, and
the example of the recent revolution at Genoa, caused this republican
movement, which led to the massacre of the nobles in 1346 by hurling
them from the castle walls into the midst of an armed mob below.
The “Zealots,” like the Iconoclast Emperors, have suffered from the
fact that they have been described by their enemies, and notably by
Cantacuzene[444], to whose aristocratic party they were opposed. Yet even
an archbishop publicly advocated so drastic a measure as the suppression
of some of the monasteries, in order to provide funds for the better
defence of the city; nor was there anything very alarming in their
preference for direct taxation. Thus, Salonika was from 1342 to 1349,
under their auspices, practically an independent republic, till they
succumbed to the allied forces of the aristocracy and the monks.

Salonika, indeed, continued to have urgent need of its walls, which
still remain, save where the Turks completely dismantled them on the
sea side in 1866, a fine example of Byzantine fortification. Andronikos
II strengthened them by the erection of a tower, which still bears his
initials, in the dividing wall between the Akropolis and the rest of the
city. Thanks to them it escaped pillage by the Catalan Grand Company
at a time when they sheltered two Byzantine Empresses. Even during the
greatest expansion of the Serbian empire under Stephen Dushan, Salonika
alone remained a Greek islet in a Serbian Macedonia. But a far more
serious foe than either Catalan or Serb was now at hand. The Turks
entered Europe shortly after the middle of the fourteenth century, and
advanced rapidly in the direction of Salonika. At least twice[445] before
the end of that century—in 1387 and from 1391 to 1403, when Suleyman
handed it back—they occupied it, and at last the inhabitants came to the
conclusion that, in the weak condition of the Greek empire, their sole
chance of safety was to place themselves under the protection of a great
maritime power. Accordingly, in 1423, pressed by famine and by continual
Turkish attacks, the Greek notables sent a deputation to Venice offering
their city to the republic, whether their sickly Despot Andronikos, son
of the Emperor Manuel II, consented or no. The Venetians, we are told,
“received the offer with gladness, and promised to protect, and nourish,
and prosper the city and to transform it into a second Venice.” The
Despot, whose claims were settled by a solatium of 50,000 ducats, made
way for a Venetian duke and a captain; for seven years Salonika was a
Venetian colony[446].

The bargain proved unsatisfactory alike to the Venetians and the Greeks.
Their brief occupation of Salonika cost the republic 700,000 ducats—for,
in 1426, in addition to the cost of administration and repairs to the
walls, she agreed to pay a tribute to the Sultan. Nor was it popular with
the natives, especially the notables, many of whom the government found
it desirable to deport to the other Venetian colonies of Negroponte and
Crete, or even to Venice itself, on the plea that there was not food for
them at Salonika. Others left voluntarily for Constantinople to escape
the “unbearable horrors” and the Venetian slavery. The Turkish peril was
ever present, and when envoys solicited peace from the Sultan Murad II,
he replied: “The city is my inheritance, and my grandfather Bayezid took
it from the Greeks by his own right hand. So, if the Greeks were now
its masters, they might reasonably accuse me of injustice. But ye being
Latins and from Italy, what have ye to do with this part of the world?
Go, if you like; if not, I am coming quickly.” And in 1430 he came.

Two misfortunes preceded the fall of Salonika—the death of the beloved
metropolitan, and an earthquake. There was only one man to defend every
two or three bastions, and the Venetians, distrusting the inhabitants,
placed a band of brigands between themselves and the Greeks, so that,
even if the latter had desired to accept the liberal offers which Murad
made them, they dared not do so. Chalkokondyles hints at treachery,
and a versifying chronicler[447] makes the monks of the present
Tsaoush-Monastir near the citadel urge the Sultan to cut the conduits
from the mountain, which supplied the city with water, and ascribes
to their treason their subsequent privileges. But even the wives of
the Greek notables joined in the defence, until a move of the Venetian
garrison towards the harbour led the Greeks to believe that they would
be left to their fate. On March 29, the fourth day of the siege, a
soldier scaled the walls at the place near the castle known as “The
Triangle,” and threw down the head of a Venetian as a sign that he was
holding his ground. The defenders fled to the Samareia tower[448] on the
beach—perhaps the famous “White Tower,” or “the Tower of Blood” as it was
called a century ago, which still stands there and which some attribute
to the Venetian period, or at least to Venetian workmen—only to find it
shut against them by the Venetians, who managed to escape by sea.

In accordance with his promise, Murad allowed his men to sack the city,
and great damage was inflicted on the churches in the search for treasure
buried beneath the altars. The tomb of St Demetrios was ravaged, because
of its rich ornaments and to obtain the healing ointment for which it
was famous, while the relics of St Theodora were scattered, and with
difficulty collected again. Seeing, however, the wonderful situation of
Salonika, the Sultan ordered the sack to cease, and began to restore the
houses to their owners, contenting himself with converting only two of
the churches, those of the Virgin and of St John Baptist, into mosques.
It is pleasant to note that George Brankovich, the Despot of Serbia
and one of the richest princes of that day, ransomed many prisoners.
Two or three years afterwards, however, the Sultan adopted severer
measures towards the captured city. He took all the churches except
four (including that of St Demetrios, which, as the tomb of Spantounes
shows, was not converted into a mosque till after 1481), built a bath
out of the materials of some of the others, and transported the Turks of
Yenidjé-Vardar to Salonika, which thus for 482 years became a Turkish
city. Chalkokondyles[449] was not far wrong when he described its fall as
“the greatest disaster that had yet befallen the Greeks.”

When, on St Demetrios’ day, 1912, the victorious Greeks recovered
Salonika, all those churches, sixteen in number, which had existed
before the Turkish conquest were reconverted into Christian edifices;
and when I was there in 1914, it was curious to see the two dates, 1430
and 1912, the former in black, the latter in gold, on the eikonostasis
of the Divine Wisdom, the church which was perhaps founded before the
more famous St Sophia of Constantinople. Almost the last acts of the
Young Turks before they surrendered Salonika were to destroy not only
the “Gate of Anna Palaiologina,” but also the “New Gate,” which bore the
inscription recording the Turkish capture.

[Illustration: THE NEAR EAST IN 1350]



Genoa played a much less important part than Venice in the history of
Greece. Unlike her great rival on the lagoons, she had no Byzantine
traditions which attracted her towards the Near East, and it is not,
therefore, surprising to find her appearing last of all the Italian
Republics in the Levant. But, though she took no part in the Fourth
Crusade, her sons, the Zaccaria and the Gattilusj, later on became
petty sovereigns in the Ægean; the long administration of Chios by the
Genoese society of the Giustiniani is one of the earliest examples of the
government of a colonial dependency by a Chartered Company, and it was
Genoa who gave to the principality of Achaia its last ruler in the person
of Centurione Zaccaria.

The earliest relations between Genoa and Byzantium are to be found in
the treaty between the two in 1155; but it was not till a century later
that the Ligurian Republic seriously entered into the field of Eastern
politics. After the establishment of the Latin states in Greece, the
Genoese, excluded from all share of the spoil, endeavoured to embarrass
their more fortunate Venetian rivals by secretly urging on their
countryman, the pirate Vetrano, against Corfù, and by instigating the
bold Ligurian, Enrico Pescatore, against Crete—enterprises, however,
which had no permanent effect. But the famous treaty of Nymphæum,
concluded between the Emperor Michael VIII and the Republic of Genoa in
1261, first gave the latter a _locus standi_ in the Levant. Never did a
Latin Community make a better bargain with a Greek ruler, for all the
advantages were on the side of Genoa. The Emperor gave her establishments
and the right to keep consuls at Anæa, in Chios, and in Lesbos, both of
which important islands had been assigned to the Latin Empire by the deed
of partition, but had been recaptured by Michael’s predecessor Vatatzes
in 1225[450]. He also granted her the city of Smyrna, promised free trade
to Genoese merchants in all the ports of his dominions, and pledged
himself to exclude the enemies of the Ligurian Commonwealth, in other
words, the Venetians, from the Black Sea and all his harbours. All that
he asked in return for these magnificent concessions was an undertaking
that Genoa would arm a squadron of fifty ships at his expense, if he
asked for it. It was expressly stipulated that this armament should
not be employed against Prince William of Achaia. Genoa performed her
part of the bargain by sending a small fleet to aid the Emperor in the
recovery of Constantinople from the Latins; but it arrived too late
to be of any use. Still, Michael VIII took the will for the deed; he
needed Genoese aid for his war against Venice; so he sent an embassy to
ask for more galleys. The Genoese, heedless of papal thunders against
this “unholy alliance,” responded by raising a loan for the affairs of
the Levant[451]; and it was their fleet, allied with the Greeks, which
sustained the defeat off the islet of Spetsopoulo, or Sette Pozzi, as the
Italians called it[452], at the mouth of the Gulf of Nauplia in 1263.
But the Emperor soon found that his new allies were a source of danger
rather than of strength; he banished the Genoese of Constantinople to
Eregli on the Sea of Marmara, and made his peace with their Venetian
rivals. In vain Genoa sent Benedetto Zaccaria to induce him to revoke his
decree of expulsion; some years seem to have elapsed before he allowed
the Genoese to return to Galata, and it was not till 1275 that the formal
ratification of the treaty of Nymphæum marked his complete return to
his old policy[453], and that Manuele and Benedetto Zaccaria became the
recipients of his bounty.

The Zaccaria were at this time one of the leading families of Genoa,
whither they had emigrated from the little Ligurian town of Gavi some
two centuries earlier. The grandfather of Manuele and Benedetto, who
derived his territorial designation of “de Castro,” from the district
of Sta Maria di Castello, in which he resided, had held civic office in
1202; their father Fulcho had been one of the signatories of the treaty
of Nymphæum[454]. Three years before that event Benedetto had been
captured by the Venetians in a battle off Tyre. Three years after it, he
was sent as Genoese ambassador to Michael VIII and, though his mission
was unsuccessful, the Emperor had the opportunity of appreciating his
business-like qualities[455]. Early in 1275, the year when Genoa had
returned to favour at the Imperial Court, the two brothers started from
their native city upon the voyage to Constantinople, which was destined
to bring them fame and fortune—to Manuele, the elder, the grant of the
alum-mines of Phocæa at the north of the Gulf of Smyrna, to Benedetto
the hand of the Emperor’s sister[456]. Phocæa at that time consisted of
a single town, situated to the west of the alum-mountains; but, later
on, the encroachments of the Turks led its Latin lords to build on
the sea-shore at the foot of the mountain a small fortress sufficient
to shelter about fifty workmen, which, with the aid of their Greek
neighbours, grew into the town of New Phocæa, or Foglia Nuova, as the
Italians called it. The annual rent, which Manuele paid to the Emperor,
was covered many times over by the profits of the mines. Alum was
indispensable for dyeing, and Western ships homeward-bound were therefore
accustomed to take a cargo of this useful product at Phocæa[457]. The
only serious competition with the trade was that of the alum which came
from the coasts of the Black Sea, and which was exported to Europe in
Genoese bottoms. A man of business first and a patriot afterwards,
Manuele persuaded the Emperor to ensure him a monopoly of the market by
prohibiting this branch of the Euxine trade—a protective measure, which
led to difficulties with Genoa. He was still actively engaged in business
operations at Phocæa in 1287, but is described as dead in the spring of
the following year[458], after which date the alum-mines of Phocæa passed
to his still more adventurous brother, Benedetto.

While Manuele had been accumulating riches at Phocæa, Benedetto had
gained the reputation of being one of the most daring seamen, as well as
one of the ablest negotiators, of his time. He was instrumental, as agent
of Michael VIII, in stirring up the Sicilian Vespers and so frustrating
the threatened attack of Charles I of Anjou upon the Greek Empire, and
later in that year we find him proposing the marriage of Michael’s son
and the King of Aragon’s daughter[459]. In the following years he was
Genoese Admiral in the Pisan War, and led an expedition to Tunis; in 1288
he was sent to Tripoli with full powers to transact all the business of
the Republic beyond the seas. After negotiating with both the claimants
to the last of the Crusaders’ Syrian states, he performed the more
useful action of conveying the people of Tripoli to Cyprus, when, in the
following year, that once famous city fell before the Sultan of Egypt.
In Cyprus he concluded with King Henry II a treaty, which gave so little
satisfaction to the home government, that it was speedily cancelled. More
successful was the commercial convention which he made with Leo III of
Armenia, followed by a further agreement with that monarch’s successor,
Hethum II. But his rashness in capturing an Egyptian ship compelled the
Republic to disown him, and in 1291 he sought employment under a new
master, Sancho IV of Castile, as whose Admiral he defeated the Saracens
off the coast of Morocco[460]. From Spain he betook himself to the
court of Philip IV of France, to whom, with characteristic audacity, he
submitted in 1296 a plan for the invasion of England[461]. During his
absence in the West, however, war broke out between the Genoese and the
Venetians, whose Admiral, Ruggiero Morosini, took Phocæa and seized the
huge cauldrons which were used for the preparation of the alum[462].
But upon his return he speedily repaired the walls of the city, and
ere long the alum-mines yielded more than ever. Nor was this his only
source of revenue, for under his brother and himself Phocæa had become a
name of terror to the Latin pirates of the Levant, upon whom the famous
_Tartarin_ of the Zaccaria ceaselessly preyed, and who lost their lives,
or at least their eyes, if they fell into the hands of the redoubtable
Genoese captains[463]. The sums thus gained Benedetto devoted in part
to his favourite project for the recovery of the Holy Land, for which
he actually equipped several vessels with the aid of the ladies of his
native city—a pious act that won them the praise of Pope Boniface VIII,
who described him as his “old, familiar friend[464].” This new crusade,
indeed, came to nought, but such was the renown which he and his brother
had acquired, that the Turks, by this time masters of the Asian coast,
and occupants of the short-lived Genoese colony of Smyrna, were deterred
from attacking Phocæa, not because of its natural strength but because
of the warlike qualities of its Italian garrison. Conscious of their own
valour and of the weakness of the Emperor Andronikos II, the Genoese
colonists did not hesitate to ask him to entrust them with the defence
of the neighbouring islands, if he were unable to defend that portion of
his Empire himself. They only stipulated that they should be allowed to
defray the cost out of the local revenues, which would thus be expended
on the spot, instead of being transmitted to Constantinople. Benedetto
had good reason for making this offer; for Chios and Lesbos, once the
seats of flourishing Genoese factories under the rule of the Greek
Emperor and his father, had both suffered severely from the feeble policy
of the central government and the attacks of corsairs. Twice, in 1292 and
1303, the troops first of Roger de Lluria and then of Roger de Flor had
ravaged Mytilene and devastated the famous mastic-gardens of Chios—the
only place in the world where that product was to be found, while a
Turkish raid completed the destruction of that beautiful island[465].

Andronikos received Benedetto’s proposal with favour, but as he delayed
giving a definite decision, the energetic Genoese, like the man of action
that he was, occupied Chios in 1304 on his own account. The Emperor, too
much engaged with the Turkish peril to undertake the expulsion of this
desperate intruder, wisely recognised accomplished facts, and agreed
to let him have the island for ten years as a fief of the Empire, free
of all tribute, on condition that he flew the Byzantine standard from
the walls and promised to restore his conquest to his suzerain at the
expiration of the lease[466]. Thus, in the fashion of Oriental diplomacy,
both parties were satisfied: the Italian had gained the substance of
power, while the Greek retained the shadow, and might salve his dignity
with the reflexion that the real ruler of Chios hoisted his colours, owed
him allegiance, and was a near kinsman of his own by marriage.

This first Genoese occupation of Chios lasted only a quarter of a
century; but even in that short time, under the firm and able rule of
the Zaccaria, it recovered its former prosperity. Benedetto refortified
the capital, restored the fallen buildings, heightened the walls,
and deepened the ditch—significant proofs of his intention to stay.
Entrusting Phocæa to the care of his nephew Tedisio, or Ticino, as his
deputy, he devoted his attention to the revival of Chios, which at his
death, in 1307, he bequeathed to his son, Paleologo, first-cousin of the
reigning Emperor, while he left Phocæa to his half-brother, Nicolino,
like himself a naval commander in the Genoese service. This division
of the family possessions led to difficulties. Nicolino arrived at
Phocæa and demanded a full statement of account from his late brother’s
manager, Tedisio; the latter consented, but the uncle and the nephew
did not agree about the figures, and Nicolino withdrew, threatening to
return with a larger force, to turn Tedisio out of his post, convey him
to Genoa, and appoint another governor, Andriolo Cattaneo della Volta,
a connexion of the family by marriage, in his place. Nicolino’s son
privately warned his cousin of his father’s intentions, and advised him
to quit Phocæa while there was still time. At this moment the Catalan
Grand Company was at Gallipoli, and there Tedisio presented himself,
begging the chronicler Muntaner to enroll him in its ranks. The Catalan,
moved by his aristocratic antecedents and personal courage, consented,
and soon the fugitive ex-governor, by glowing accounts of the riches
of Phocæa, induced his new comrades to aid him in capturing the place
from his successor. The Catalans were always ready for plunder, and the
alum-city was said to contain “the richest treasures of the world.”
Accordingly, a flotilla was equipped, which arrived off Phocæa on the
night of Easter 1307. Before daybreak next morning, the assailants
had scaled the walls of the castle; then they sacked the city, whose
population of more than 3000 Greeks was employed in the alum-manufactory.
The booty was immense, and not the least precious portion of it was a
piece of the true Cross, encased in gold and studded with priceless
jewels. This relic, said to have been brought by St John the Evangelist
to Ephesus, captured by the Turks when they took that place, and pawned
by them at Phocæa, fell to the lot of Muntaner[467]. This famous “Cross
of the Zaccaria” would seem to have been restored to that family, and we
may conjecture that it was presented to the cathedral of Genoa, where it
now is, by the bastard son of the last Prince of the Morea[468], when,
in 1459, he begged the city of his ancestors to recommend him to the
generosity of Pius II. Emboldened by this success, Tedisio, with the
aid of the Catalans, conquered the island of Thasos from the Greeks and
received his friend Muntaner and the Infant Ferdinand of Majorca in its
castle with splendid hospitality. Six years later, however, the Byzantine
forces recovered this island, whence the Zaccaria preyed upon Venetian
merchantmen[469], and it was not for more than a century that a Genoese
lord once again held his court in the fortress of Tedisio Zaccaria.

Meanwhile, Paleologo, in Chios, had continued the enlightened policy of
his father, and reaped his reward in the renewed productiveness of the
mastic-plantations. In 1314, when the ten years’ lease of the island
expired, the strong fortifications, which his father had erected, and
his near relationship to the Emperor procured him a renewal for five
more years on the same terms[470]. He did not, however, long enjoy this
further tenure, for in the same year he died, apparently without progeny.
As his uncle, Nicolino, the lord of Phocæa and the next heir, was by this
time also dead, the latter’s sons, Martino and Benedetto II, succeeded
their cousin as joint-rulers of Chios, while Phocæa passed beneath the
direct control of Nicolino’s former governor, Andriolo Cattaneo, always,
of course, subject to the confirmation of the Emperor.

The two brothers, who had thus succeeded to Chios, possessed all the
vigorous qualities of their race. One contemporary writer after another
praises their services to Christendom, and describes the terror with
which they filled the Turks. The Infidels, we are told, were afraid to
approach within twelve miles of Chios, because of the Zaccaria, who
always kept a thousand foot-soldiers, a hundred horsemen, and a couple
of galleys ready for every emergency. Had it not been for the valour of
the Genoese lords of Chios “neither man, nor woman, nor dog, nor cat, nor
any live animal could have remained in any of the neighbouring islands.”
Not only were the brothers “the shield of defence of the Christians,” but
they did all they could to stop the infamous traffic in slaves, carried
on by their fellow-countrymen, the Genoese of Alexandria, whose vessels
passed Chios on the way from the Black Sea ports. Pope John XXII, who
had already allowed Martino to export mastic to Alexandria in return
for his services, was therefore urged to give the Zaccaria the maritime
police of the Archipelago, so that this branch of the slave-trade might
be completely cut off[471]. Sanudo[472], with his accurate knowledge of
the Ægean, remarked that the islands could not have resisted the Turks
so long, had it not been for the Genoese rulers of Chios, Duke Nicolò
I of Naxos, and the Holy House of the Hospital, established since 1309
in Rhodes, and estimated that the Zaccaria could furnish a galley for
the recovery of the Holy Land. Martino was specially renowned for his
exploits against the Turks. No man, it was said, had ever done braver
deeds at sea than this defender of the Christians and implacable foe of
the Paynim. In one year alone he captured 18 Turkish pirate ships, and at
the end of his reign he had slain or taken more than 10,000 Turks[473].
The increased importance of Chios at this period is evidenced by the
coins, which the two brothers minted for their use, sometimes with the
diplomatic legend, “servants of the Emperor[474].” Benedetto II was,
however, eclipsed by the greater glories of Martino. By marriage the
latter became baron of Damala and by purchase[475] lord of Chalandritza
in the Peloponnese, and thus laid the foundations of his family’s
fortunes in the principality of Achaia. He was thereby brought into close
relations with the official hierarchy of the Latin Orient, from which the
Zaccaria, as Genoese traders, had hitherto been excluded. Accordingly, in
1325, Philip I of Taranto, who, in virtue of his marriage with Catherine
of Valois, was titular Latin Emperor of Constantinople, bestowed upon
him the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Kos, and Chios, which Baldwin II had
reserved for himself and his successors in the treaty of Viterbo in
1267,—a reservation repeated in 1294—together with those of Ikaria,
Tenedos, Œnoussa, and Marmara, and the high-sounding title of “King and
Despot of Asia Minor,” in return for his promise to furnish 500 horsemen
and six galleys a year whenever the “Emperor” came into his own[476]. The
practical benefits of this magnificent diploma were small—for Martino
already ruled in Chios, with which Samos and Kos seem to have been united
under the sway of the Zaccaria, while the other places mentioned belonged
either to the Greeks or the Turks, over whom the phantom Latin Emperor
had no power whatever. Indeed, this investiture by the titular ruler
of Constantinople must have annoyed its actual sovereign, who had not,
however, dared to refuse the renewal of the lease of Chios, when it again
expired in 1319.

But Martino had given hostages to fortune by his connexion with the
Morea. His son, Bartolommeo, was captured by the Catalans of Athens
in one of their campaigns, sent off to the custody of their patron,
Frederick II of Sicily, and only released at the request of Pope John
XXII in 1318. As the husband of the young Marchioness of Boudonitza, he
was mixed up also in the politics of Eubœa and the mainland opposite,
while he is mentioned as joining the other members of his family in their
attacks upon the Turks.

For a time Martino managed to preserve good relations with the Greek
Empire. In 1324, the lease of Chios was again renewed, and in 1327 Venice
instructed her officials in the Levant to negotiate a league with him,
the Greek Emperor, and the Knights against the common peril[477]. But by
this time the dual system of government in the island had broken down:
Martino’s great successes had led him to desire the sole management of
Chios, and he had accordingly ousted his brother from all share in the
government and struck coins for the island with his own name alone,
as he did for his barony of Damala[478]. His riches had become such
as to arouse the suspicions of the Imperial Government that he would
not long be content to admit himself “the servant of the Emperor”;
the public dues of the island amounted to 120,000 gold pieces a year,
while the Turks paid an annual tribute to its dreaded ruler, in order
to escape his attacks. It happened that, in 1328, when the quinquennial
lease had only another year to run and the usual negotiations for its
renewal should have begun, that Andronikos III, a warlike and energetic
prince, mounted the throne of Constantinople, and this conjunction of
circumstances seemed to the national party in Chios peculiarly favourable
to its reconquest. Accordingly, the leading Greek of the island, Leon
Kalothetos, who was an intimate friend of the new sovereign’s Prime
Minister, John Cantacuzene, sought an interview with the latter’s mother,
whom he interested in his plans. She procured him an audience of the
Emperor and of her son, and they both encouraged him with presents and
promises to support the expedition which they were ready to undertake. An
excuse for hostilities was easily found in the new fortress which Martino
was then engaged in constructing without the consent of his suzerain.
An ultimatum was therefore sent to him ordering him to desist from his
building operations, and to come in person to Constantinople, if he
wished to renew his lease. Martino, as might have been expected from his
character, treated the ultimatum with contempt, and only hastened on his
building. Benedetto, however, took the opportunity to lodge a complaint
against his brother before the Emperor, claiming 60,000 gold pieces,
the present annual amount of his half-share in the island, which he had
inherited but of which the grasping Martino had deprived him.

In the early autumn of 1329, Andronikos assembled a magnificent fleet of
105 vessels, including four galleys furnished by Duke Nicolò I of Naxos,
with the ostensible object of attacking the Turks but with the real
intention of subduing the Genoese lord of Chios. Even at this eleventh
hour the Emperor would have been willing to leave him in possession of
the rest of the island, merely placing an Imperial garrison in the new
castle and insisting upon the regular payment of Benedetto’s annuity.
Martino, however, was in no mood for negotiations. He sank the three
galleys which he had in the harbour, forbade his Greek subjects to wear
arms under pain of death, and shut himself up with 800 men behind the
walls, from which there floated defiantly the flag of the Zaccaria,
instead of the customary Imperial standard. But, when he saw that his
brother had handed over a neighbouring fort to the Emperor, and that no
reliance could be placed upon his Greek subjects, he sent messengers
begging for peace. Andronikos repulsed them, saying that the time for
compromise was over, whereupon Martino surrendered. The Chians clamoured
for his execution; but Cantacuzene saved his life, and he was conveyed
a prisoner to Constantinople, while his wife Jacqueline de la Roche, a
connexion of the former ducal house of Athens, was allowed to go free
with her family and all that they could carry. Martino’s adherents
were given their choice of leaving the island with their property, or
of entering the Imperial service, and the majority chose the latter
alternative. The nationalist leaders were rewarded for their devotion by
gifts and honours; the people were relieved from their oppressive public
burdens. To Benedetto the Emperor offered the governorship of Chios
with half the net revenues of the island as his salary—a generous offer
which the Genoese rejected with scorn, asserting that nothing short of
absolute sovereignty over it would satisfy him. If that were refused, he
only asked for three galleys to carry him and his property to Galata.
Andronikos treated him with remarkable forbearance, in order that public
opinion might not accuse an Emperor of having been guilty of meanness,
and, on the proposal of Cantacuzene, convened an assembly of Greeks and
of the Latins who were then in the island—Genoese and Venetian traders,
the Duke of Naxos, the recently appointed Roman Catholic bishop of Chios
and some other Frères Prêcheurs who had arrived—in order that there might
be impartial witnesses of his generosity. Even those of Benedetto’s own
race and creed regarded his obstinate refusal of the Imperial offer with
disapprobation; nor would he even accept a palace and the rank of Senator
at Constantinople with 20,000 gold pieces a year out of the revenues of
Chios; nothing but his three galleys could he be persuaded to take. His
object was soon apparent. Upon his arrival at Galata, he chartered eight
Genoese galleys, which he found lying there, and set out to reconquer
Chios—a task which he considered likely to be easy, as the Imperial
fleet had by that time dispersed. The Chians, however, repulsed his men
with considerable loss, the survivors weighed anchor on the morrow, and
Benedetto II succumbed barely a week later to an attack of apoplexy,
brought on by his rage and disappointment[479].

Martino, after eight years in captivity, was released by the intervention
of Pope Benedict XII and Philip VI of France in 1337, and treated with
favour by the Emperor, who “gave him a command in the army and other
castles,” as some compensation for his losses[480]. In 1343, Clement VI
appointed him captain of the four papal galleys which formed part of
the crusade for the capture of the former Genoese colony of Smyrna from
Omar Beg of Aïdin, the self-styled “Prince of the Morea[481]”—a post
for which his special experience and local knowledge were a particular
recommendation in the eyes of the Pope. Martino desired, however, to
avail himself of this opportunity to reconquer Chios from the Greeks,
and invited the Knights and the Cypriote detachment to join him in this
venture, to which his friend, the Archbishop of Thebes, endeavoured to
force the latter by threats of excommunication. The Pope saw, however,
that this repetition on a smaller scale of the selfish policy of the
Fourth Crusade would have the effect of alienating his Greek allies, and
ordered the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople to forbid the attack[482].
Martino lived to see Smyrna taken in December, 1344, but on January 17,
1345, the rashness of the Patriarch, who insisted on holding mass in the
old Metropolitan Church against the advice of the naval authorities,
cost him his life. Omar assaulted the cathedral while service was still
going on, Martino was slain, and his head presented to that redoubtable
chieftain[483]. When, in the following year, the Genoese retook Chios,
and founded their second long domination over it, his descendants did
not profit by the conquest. But his second son, Centurione, retained his
baronies in the Morea, of which the latter’s grandson and namesake was
the last reigning Prince.

After the restoration of Greek rule in Chios and the appointment of
Kalothetos as Imperial viceroy, Andronikos III had proceeded to Phocæa.
By this time the Genoese had abandoned the old city and had strongly
fortified themselves in the new town, purchasing further security for
their commercial operations by the payment of an annual tribute of 15,000
pieces of silver and a personal present of 10,000 more to Saru-Khan,
the Turkish ruler of the district. The Emperor, having placated this
personage with the usual Oriental arguments, set out for Foglia Nuova.
Andriolo Cattaneo chanced to be absent at Genoa on business, and
the Genoese garrison of 52 knights and 400 foot-soldiers was under
the command of his uncle, Arrigo Tartaro. The latter wisely averted
annexation by doing homage to the Emperor, and handed the keys of the
newly constructed castle to his Varangian guard. After spending two
nights in the fortress, in order to show that it was his, Andronikos
magnanimously renewed the grant of the place to Andriolo during good
pleasure. But Domenico Cattaneo, who succeeded his father not long
afterwards with the assent of the Emperor, lost, in his attempt to obtain
more, what he already had.

Cattaneo, not content with the riches of Foglia Nuova, coveted the island
of Lesbos, which had belonged for just over a century to the Greeks,
and it seemed in 1333 as if an opportunity of seizing it had arisen.
The increasing power of the Turks, who had by that time taken Nicæa and
Brusa and greatly hindered Greek and Latin trade alike in the Ægean, led
to a coalition against them; but, before attacking the common enemy,
the Knights, Nicolò I of Naxos, and Cattaneo made a treacherous descent
upon Lesbos, and seized the capital of the island. The crafty Genoese,
supported by a number of galleys from his native city, managed, however,
to outwit his weaker allies, and ousted them from all share in the
conquered town, whither he transferred his residence from Foglia Nuova.
Andronikos, after punishing the Genoese of Pera for this act of treachery
on the part of their countrymen, set out to recover Lesbos. The slowness
of the Emperor’s movements, however, enabled Cattaneo to strengthen the
garrison, and Andronikos, leaving one of his officers to besiege Lesbos,
proceeded to invest Foglia with the aid of Saru-Khan, whose son with
other young Turks had been captured and kept as a hostage by the Genoese
garrison. The place, however, continued for long to resist the attacks
of the allies, till at last Cattaneo’s lieutenant prevailed upon them to
raise the siege by restoring the prisoners to their parents and pledging
himself to obtain the surrender of the city of Mytilene, which still
held out, and which the Emperor, fearing troubles at home, had no time
to take. Cattaneo, indeed, repudiated this part of the arrangement, and
bribery was needed to seduce the Latin mercenaries and thus leave him
unsupported. From Lesbos he retired to Foglia, which the Emperor had
consented to allow him to keep on the old terms; but four years later,
while he was absent on a hunting party, the Greek inhabitants overpowered
the small Italian garrison and proclaimed Andronikos III[484]. Thus
ended the first Genoese occupation of Phocæa and Lesbos—the harbinger
of the much longer and more durable colonisation a few years later. Two
gold coins, modelled on the Venetian ducats, of which the first of them
is the earliest known counterfeit, have survived to preserve the memory
of Andriolo and Domenico Cattaneo, and to testify to the riches of the
Foglie under their rule[485].



22-24 Aug. 1285.   Fourteen documents of these dates refer to the
                     mercantile transactions of Benedetto and Manuele
                     Zaccaria, such as their appointment of agents to
                     receive their wares from “Fogia” and to send them
                     to Genoa, Majorca, Syria, the Black Sea, and other

                   (Pandette Richeriane, fogliazzo ii. fasc. 10.)

17 April, 1287.    “Benedetto Zaccaria in his own name and in that of
                     his brother Manuele” gives a receipt at Genoa to
                   “  Percivalis Spinula.”

                                   (_Ibid._ fasc. 20.)

24 Jan. 1287.      “Nicolino” is mentioned as brother of Benedetto and
                     Manuele Zaccaria.

                             (_Ibid._ fogliazzo i. fasc. 178.)

9 May, 1291.       “Clarisia, wife of the late Manuele Zaccaria, in her
                     own name and on behalf of her sons Tedisio, Leonardo,
                     Odoardo and Manfred,” appoints an agent for the sale
                     of a female slave.

                             (_Ibid._ fogliazzo ii. fasc. 27.)

14 April, 1304.    “Paleologo Zaccaria” is cited as witness to a monetary

                              (_Ibid._ fogliazzo A. fasc. 7.)

31 May, 1311.      Two documents executed at Genoa. In one Domenico Doria
                     acknowledges receipt of monies from Andriolo Cattaneo,
                     son of Andriolo; in the other Andriolo appoints
                     Lanfranchino Doria and Luchino Cattaneo his agents.

                                    (_Ibid._ fasc. 7.)

13 Aug. 1313.      “Manuel Bonaneus” acknowledges receipt of monies from
                     Andriolo Cattaneo.

                                    (_Ibid._ fasc. 13.)

21, 24 Sept. 1316. Mention of “the galley of Paleologo Zaccaria, which
                     was at Pera in 1307.”

                                    (_Ibid._ fasc. 13.)



    Manuele Zaccaria.            1275.
    Benedetto I  ”               1288.
      [Tedisio   ”    governor.  1302-7.]
    Nicolino     ”               1307.
    Andriolo Cattaneo della Volta, governor, 1307; lord, 1314.
    Domenico     ”      ”     ”  1331-40.
      [Byzantine. 1340-6.]
    Genoese (with Chios).        1346-8.
                 |                                           |
    (_a_) Foglia Vecchia:—                      (_b_) Foglia Nuova:—
          [Byzantine: 1348-58.]                       [Byzantine: 1348-51.]
          Genoese (with Chios): 1358-(_c._) 1402.     Genoese (with Chios):
          Gattilusj, (_c._) 1402-55 (December 24).    1351-1455 (Oct. 31).
                 |                                            |
             Both Turkish: 1455-1919; Greek (with Smyrna): 1919-


      [Latin Emperors: 1204-25; Greek Emperors: 1225-1304.]
    Benedetto I Zaccaria. 1304.
    Paleologo      ”      1307.
    Benedetto II   ” }
    Martino        ” }    1314-29.
      [Byzantine. 1329-46.]
          |                       |                         |
        (_a_)                   (_b_)                     (_c_)
        Chios:—                 Samos:—                   Ikaria:—
     Genoese: 1346-1566.    Genoese: 1346-1475.      Genoese: 1346-62.
    [Turkish: 1566-1694.]  [Turkish: 1475-1832.  ]   Arangio: 1362-1481.
    [Venetian: 1694-5.  ]  [Autonomous: 1832-1912]  [Knights of St John:]
    [Turkish: 1695-1912.]         |                 [ 1481-1521.        ]
          |                       |                 [Turkish: 1521-1694.]
          |                       |                 [Venetian: 1694-5.  ]
          |                       |                 [Turkish: 1695-1912.]
          |                       |                         |
                           All Greek: 1912-


      [Latin Emperors: 1204-25; Greek Emperors: 1225-1333.]
    Domenico Cattaneo. 1333-6.
      [Byzantine. 1336-55.]
    Francesco I Gattilusio. 1355.
    Francesco II    ”       1384.
      [Nicolò I of Ænos, regent. 1384-7.]
    Jacopo Gattilusio. 1404.
      [Nicolò I of Ænos again regent. 1404-9.]
    Dorino I Gattilusio: succeeded between March 13, 1426, and
                           October 14, 1428.
      [Domenico  ”  regent 1449-55.]
    Domenico     ”  1455.
    Nicolò II    ”  1458-62.
      [Turkish: 1462-1912; Greek: 1912- .]


    Tedisio Zaccaria. 1307-13.
      [Greek Emperors. 1313-_c._ 1434.]
    Dorino I Gattilusio. _c._ 1434 or ? _c._ 1419.
    ? Jacopo Gattilusio. _c._ 1419.
      [Oberto de’ Grimaldi, governor. 1434.]
    Francesco III Gattilusio. 1444-_c._ 1449.
    Dorino I          ”     again. _c._ 1449.
      [Domenico, regent. 1449-55.]
    Domenico. 1455. (June 30-October.)
      [Turkish: 1455-6; Papal: 1456-9; Turkish: 1459-60; Demetrios
        Palaiologos: 1460-6; Venetian: 1466-79; Turkish: 1479-1912;
        Greek: 1912- .]


      [Navigajosi, Gradenighi, Foscari: 1207-69; Greek Emperors:
    Dorino I Gattilusio. 1453. (Castle of Kokkinos from 1440.)
      [Domenico, regent. 1453-5.]
    Domenico. 1455-6.
      [Nicolò II, governor. 1455-6.]
      [Turkish: 1456; Papal: 1456-8; Turkish: 1459-60; Demetrios
        Palaiologos: 1460-4; Comnenos: 1464; Venetian: 1464-79;
        Turkish: 1479-1656; Venetian: 1656-7; Turkish (except for
        Russian occupation of 1770): 1657-1912; Greek: 1912- .]


      [Latin Emperors: 1204-61; Greek Emperors: 1261-_c._ 1431.]
    Palamede Gattilusio. _c._ 1431.
      [Joannes Laskaris Rhyndakenos, governor: 1444-55.]
    Dorino II Gattilusio. 1455-6.
      [Turkish: 1456; Papal: 1456-9; Turkish: 1459-60; Demetrios
        Palaiologos: 1460-6; Venetian: 1466-79; Turkish: 1479-1912;
        Greek: 1912- .]


      [Latin Emperors: 1204-61; Greek Emperors: 1261-1453.]
    Palamede Gattilusio. 1453.
      [Joannes Laskaris Rhyndakenos, governor.]
    Dorino II Gattilusio. 1455-6.
      [Turkish: 1456-60; Demetrios Palaiologos: 1460-6; Venetian:
        1466-70; Turkish: 1470-1912; Greek: 1912-14; Turkish:
        1914-20; Greek: 1920- .]


    Nicolò I Gattilusio. _c._ 1384.
    Palamede     ”         1409.
    Dorino II    ”         1455-6.
      [Turkish: 1456-60; Demetrios Palaiologos: 1460-8; Turkish:
        1468-1912; Bulgarian: 1912-3; Turkish: 1913-20; Greek:
        1920- .]


    Genoese. 1261-_c._ 1300.
      [Turkish, _c._ 1300-44.]
    Genoese. 1344-1402.
      [Mongol: 1402; Turkish, interrupted by risings of Kara-Djouneïd:
        1402-24; continuously Turkish: 1424-1919; Greek (“under
        Turkish sovereignty”): 1919- .]


    Genoese: 1374-1464.
      [Banca di San Giorgio: 1447-64; Lusignans: 1464-89; Venetian:
        1489-1571; Turkish: 1571-1878; British (under Turkish
        suzerainty): 1878-1914; British: 1914- .]

2. THE GENOESE IN CHIOS (1346-1566)

Of the Latin states which existed in Greek lands between the Latin
conquest of Constantinople in 1204 and the fall of the Venetian Republic
in 1797, there were four principal forms. Those states were either
independent kingdoms, such as Cyprus; feudal principalities, of which
that of Achaia is the best example; military outposts, like Rhodes; or
colonies directly governed by the mother-country, of which Crete was
the most conspicuous. But the Genoese administration of Chios differed
from all the other Latin creations in the Levant. It was what we should
call in modern parlance a Chartered Company, which on a smaller scale
anticipated the career of the East India and the British South Africa
Companies in our own history.

The origins of the Latin colonization of Greece are usually to be found
in places and circumstances where we should least expect to find them.
The incident which led to this Genoese occupation of the most fertile
island of the Ægean is to be sought in the history of the smallest of
European principalities—that of Monaco, which in the first half of the
fourteenth century already belonged to the noble Genoese family of
Grimaldi, which still reigns over it. At that time the rock of Monaco and
the picturesque village of Roquebrune (between Monte Carlo and Mentone)
sheltered a number of Genoese nobles, fugitives from their native city,
where one of those revolutions common in the mediæval republics of
Italy had placed the popular party in power. The proximity and the
preparations of these exiles were a menace to Genoa, but the resources of
the republican treasury were too much exhausted to equip a fleet against
them at the cost of the state. Accordingly, an appeal was made to the
patriotism of private citizens, whose expenses were to be ultimately
refunded, and in the meanwhile guaranteed by the possession of any
conquered territory. In response to this appeal, twenty-six of the people
and three nobles of the popular party equipped that number of galleys,
which were placed under the command of Simone Vignoso, himself one of
the twenty-nine privateers. On April 24, 1346, the fleet set sail; and,
at its approach, the outlawed nobles fled to Marseilles, whence many of
them entered the French army and died four months later fighting at Crécy
against our King Edward III.

The immediate object for which the fleet had been fitted out had been
thus accomplished. But it seemed to Vignoso a pity that it should not be
employed, and the Near East offered a tempting field for its activities.
The condition of south-eastern Europe in 1346 might perhaps be paralleled
with its situation in later times. An ancient empire, which Gladstone
described as “more wonderful than anything done by the Romans,” enthroned
on the Bosporos with one brief interval for ten centuries, was obviously
crumbling away, and its ultimate dissolution was only a question of
time. A lad of fourteen, John V Palaiologos, sat on the throne of the
Cæsars, while a woman and a foreigner, the Empress-mother Anne of Savoy,
governed in his name. Against her and her son the too-powerful Grand
Domestic (or, as we should say, prime minister), John Cantacuzene, whom
posterity remembers rather as an historian than as an Emperor, had raised
the standard of revolt. In Asia Minor Byzantium retained nothing but the
suburb of Scutari, Philadelphia, and the two towns of Phocæa. Independent
emirs ruled the south and centre, the Ottomans the north, whence in
seven years they were to cross into Europe, in eight more to transfer
their capital to Adrianople. Already the European provinces of Byzantium
were cut short by the frontier of the Bulgarian Empire and still more
by the rapid advance of Serbia, then the most powerful state in the
Balkan peninsula. Seventeen days before Vignoso sailed for the East, the
great Serbian conqueror and lawgiver, Stephen Dushan, one of the most
remarkable figures in mediæval history, was crowned at Skoplje “Emperor
of the Serbs and Greeks” and had proposed to Genoa’s rival, Venice, an
alliance for the conquest of the Byzantine Empire. Greece proper, with
the exception of the Byzantine province in the Morea, was parcelled
out between Latin rulers, while Byzantium had no fleet to protect her
outlying territories. Under these circumstances a commercial Italian
republic might not unnaturally seek to peg out claims in the midst of
the general confusion in the East, where only two years before Smyrna,
formerly a Genoese colony, had been recaptured from the Turks.

Vignoso’s first intention was to protect the Genoese settlements on the
Black Sea against the attacks of the Tartars; but information received
at Negroponte, where he touched on the way, led him to change his plans.
There he found a fleet of Venetian and Rhodian galleys, under the Dauphin
of Vienne, preparing to occupy Chios as a naval base for operations
against the Turks in Asia Minor. Vignoso and his associates were offered
large sums for their co-operation, but their patriotism rejected the idea
of handing over to the rival republic an island which had belonged to
the Genoese family of Zaccaria from 1304 to 1329, and which as recently
as seventeen years earlier had been recovered by the Greeks. They made
all sail for Chios, and offered to assist the islanders against a
Venetian attack, if they would hoist the Genoese flag and admit a small
Genoese garrison. The scornful refusal of the garrison was followed
by the landing of the Genoese; four days sufficed to take the rest of
the island; but the citadel made such a spirited resistance that three
months passed before food gave out and on September 12 the capitulation
was signed. The governor, Kalojanni Cybo, himself of Genoese extraction,
and a member of the well-known Ligurian family which afterwards produced
Pope Innocent VIII, made excellent terms for himself and his relatives,
while the Greeks were to enjoy their former religious liberties and
endowments, their property, and their privileges. A Genoese governor was
to be appointed to administer the island according to the laws of the
Republic, and 200 houses in the citadel were assigned at once for the
use of the Genoese garrison. Vignoso proved by his example that he meant
to keep these promises. He ordered his own son to be flogged publicly
for stealing grapes from a vineyard belonging to one of the natives, and
bequeathed a sum of money for providing poor Chiote girls with dowries
as compensation for any damage that he might have inflicted upon the

Vignoso completed the conquest of Chios by the annexation of Old and
New Phocæa, or Foglia Vecchia and Nuova, as the Italians called them,
almost the last Byzantine possessions on the coast of Asia Minor, and
celebrated for their valuable alum-mines, whence English ships used to
obtain materials for dyeing, and of the neighbouring islands of Psara,
or Santa Panagia, Samos, Ikaria, and the Œnoussai[486]. All these
places had belonged to the former Genoese lords of Chios, with whose
fortunes they were now reunited. The two Foglie, with the exception of
a brief Byzantine restoration, remained in Genoese hands till they were
conquered by the Turks in 1455; Foglia Vecchia, after about 1402, being
administered by the Gattilusj of Lesbos, Foglia Nuova being leased to a
member of the _maona_ for life or a term of years. Samos and Psara were
abandoned in 1475 from fear of corsairs, and their inhabitants removed
to Chios, whilst the harbourless Ikaria, where pirates could not land,
was in 1362 granted to the Genoese family of Arangio, which held it with
the title of Count until 1481. In that year it was ceded for greater
security to the knights of Rhodes, and remained united with that island
till it too was conquered by the Turks in 1522. Vignoso desired to add
the rich island of Lesbos and the strategic island of Tenedos, which, as
we have been lately reminded, commands the mouth of the Dardanelles, to
his acquisitions. But his crews had had enough of fighting, and were so
mutinous that he returned to Genoa[487].

The Genoese exchequer was unable to repay to Vignoso and his partners
their expenses, amounting to 203,000 Genoese pounds (£79,170 of our
money) or 7000 for each of the twenty-nine galleys, the Genoese
pound being then, according to Desimoni, worth 9 lire 75 centesimi.
Accordingly, by an arrangement made on February 26, 1347, it was agreed
that the Republic should liquidate this liability within twenty years and
thereupon become the direct owner of the conquered places, which in the
meanwhile were to be governed—and the civil and criminal administration
conducted—in her name. The collection of taxes, however, and the monopoly
of the mastic, which was the chief product of the island, were granted to
the twenty-nine associates in the company, or _mahona_, as it was called.
The origin of this word is uncertain. In modern Italian _maona_ means
a “lighter”; but those vessels of Turkish invention are not mentioned
before 1500. On the other hand, we read of a _maona_, or _madona_ (as it
is there written), in connexion with a Genoese expedition to Ceuta in
a document of 1236, and it has, therefore, been suggested that _maona_
is a Ligurian contraction of _Madonna_, and that such trading companies
were under the protection of Our Lady, whose image was to be seen on the
palace of the Giustiniani at Genoa. At any rate, the name was applied to
other Genoese companies, to the Old and New _maona_ of Cyprus, founded
in 1374 and 1403, and to the _maona_ of Corsica, founded in 1378. Other
derivations are from the Greek word μονάς (“unit”), the Genoese _mobba_
(“union”), and the Arabic _me-unet_ (“subsidy”)[488].

This convention with the _maonesi_[489] was to be valid only as long as
the popular party remained in power at Genoa. The Republic was to be
represented in Chios by a _podestà_, selected annually out of a list
of twenty Genoese democrats submitted in February by the Doge and his
council to the _maonesi_; from these twenty the _maonesi_ were to choose
four, and one of these four was then appointed _podestà_ by the Doge and
council. Should the first list of twenty be rejected by the _maonesi_,
a second list was to be prepared by the home government. The _podestà_
was to swear to govern according to the regulations of Genoa and the
convention concluded by Vignoso with the Greeks. Twice a year he went on
circuit through the island to hear the complaints of the natives, and
no _maonese_ was allowed to accompany him on those journeys. Another
officer of the Republic was the _castellano_, or commander of the castle
of Chios, likewise chosen annually, from a list of six names, submitted
to the Duke and his council by the _maonesi_. This officer was bound
to find security to the amount of 3000 Genoese pounds (£1170) for his
important charge. A _podestà_ and _castellano_ for Foglia Nuova and the
_castellano_ of Foglia Vecchia, who had the powers of a _podestà_, were
appointed in the same way. These officials were responsible for their
misdeeds to a board of examiners, and the _podestà_ was assisted by six,
afterwards twelve, councillors called _gubernatores_, elected by the
_maonesi_ or other nominees, in everything except his judicial work,
where their co-operation was at his discretion. Salaries were not high;
those of the _podestà_ of Chios and Foglia Nuova were only 1250 (or £560)
and 600 _hypérpera_ (or £268 16_s._) respectively; those of the three
_castellani_ ranged from 400 to 500 (or £179 4_s._ to £224). Out of these
sums they had to keep and clothe a considerable retinue. Local officials
called generically _rettori_, but familiarly known as _codespótæ_ (“joint
lords”) or _protogérontes_ (“chief elders”) in the eight northern, and as
_logariastaí_ (or “calculators”) in the four southern or mastic districts
of Chios, were appointed by the _podestà_.

The _podestà_ had the right of coining money, provided that his coins
bore the effigy of the Doge of Genoa and the inscription “Dux Ianuensium
Conradus Rex” in memory of Conrad III, King of the Romans, who in 1138
had conceded to the Republic the privilege of a mint on condition that
her coins always bore his name[490]. This condition was not, however,
always observed in the Chiote mint. The _maonesi_ between 1382 and 1415
coined base imitations of the Venetian _zecchini_, a practice likewise
adopted by Francesco I Gattilusio of Lesbos, and by Stephen Urosh II of
Servia, and which procured for the latter a place among the evil kings
in the _Paradiso_[491] of Dante. From 1415 the name and figure of St
Laurence, the patron saint of the cathedral at Genoa, and the initial
or name of the Doge began to appear on the Chiote coins; during the
Milanese domination of Genoa two Dukes of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti
and Galeazzo Maria Sforza, figured on the currency of the island, and two
issued during the French protectorate of Genoa (1458-61) actually bear
the kneeling figure of Charles VII[492]. Finally, from 1483 small pieces
bear the initials of the _podestà_. The financial affairs of the company
were entrusted to two officials known as _massarj_, who were obliged to
send in annual accounts to the Genoese Audit Office. Lastly, Chios was
to be a free port for Genoese ships, which were to stop a day there on
the voyage to Greece or between Greece and Syria, but no Genoese outlaws
were to be harboured there. Thus, while the nominal suzerainty was vested
in the home government, the real usufruct belonged to the company,
especially as the former was never able to clear off its liabilities to
the latter.

The members of the _maona_ soon began to tire of their bargain and to
sell their shares. Vignoso died, most of his partners resided at Genoa,
and only eleven years after the constitution of the original company the
island was in the possession of eight associates, of whom one alone,
Lanfranco Drizzacorne, had been a member of the old _maona_. These
persons, being mainly absentees, had farmed out the revenues to another
company, formed in 1349 for the extraction of mastic, and consisting
of twelve individuals under the direction of Pasquale Forneto and
Giovanni Oliverio. Difficulties arose between the eight partners and
their lessees; the Republic intervened, and, by the good offices of the
Doge of Genoa, Simone Boccanegra, a fresh arrangement[493] was made on
March 8, 1362. The island was farmed out for twelve years to the twelve
persons above mentioned or their heirs, who collectively formed an “inn”
(or _albergo_), and, abandoning their family names, called themselves
both collectively and individually the Giustiniani—a name assumed three
years earlier by the members of the old _maona_, and perhaps derived from
the palace where their office was. One of the twelve partners, Gabriele
Adorno, alone declined to merge that illustrious name in a common
designation. The members of this new _maona_ were to enjoy the revenues
of the island in equal shares; but the Republic reserved to herself the
right of purchasing Chios before February 26, 1367, the date fixed by the
previous arrangement for the liquidation of her original debt of 203,000
Genoese pounds; if that date were allowed to pass without such payment,
the Republic could not exercise the right of purchase for three years
more; if no payment were made by February 26, 1374, that right would
be forfeited altogether. No member of the new company could sell his
twelfth or any fraction of it (for each twelfth was divided into three
parts called _caratti grossi_ and each of these three was subsequently
subdivided into eight shares, making 288 _caratti piccoli_ in all) to any
of his partners, but, with the consent of the Doge, he might substitute
a fresh partner in his place, provided always that the number of the
partners remained twelve and that they belonged to the popular party at
Genoa. The number was not, however, strictly maintained. Thus, while
at first the partners were twelve, viz. Nicolò de Caneto, Giovanni
Campi, Francesco Arangio, Nicolò di S. Teodoro, Gabriele Adorno, Paolo
Banca, Tommaso Longo, Andriolo Campi, Raffaelle di Forneto, Lucchino
Negro, Pietro Oliverio, and Francesco Garibaldi, there was soon added a
thirteenth in the person of Pietro di S. Teodoro, whose share, however,
only consisted of two _caratti grossi_, or sixteen _caratti piccoli_,
that is to say, two-thirds of the share of each of the other members. In
the very next year some of the partners retired to Genoa, selling their
shares, and thus two entire twelfths came into the possession of the same
individual, Pietro Recanelli, who had succeeded Vignoso as the leading
spirit of the company. Later on, the shares became subdivided to such an
extent that at the date of the Turkish conquest more than 600 persons
held fractions of them. The shareholders were entitled not only to their
dividends but also to a proportionate share of the local offices, of
which two or three were attached to each share, but no shareholder could
hold the more important for two consecutive years.

When the term for the purchase of the island by the Genoese Republic drew
near, her treasury, exhausted by the war arising out of her quarrels with
the Venetians in Cyprus, was unable to liquidate its debt to the company
of 203,000 Genoese pounds, at that time (owing to the change in the value
of the pound) equivalent to 152,250. Anxious not to forfeit her right of
purchase, the Republic paid to the company collectively this sum, which
she had first borrowed from the chief members of it in their individual
capacity as bankers. By this financial juggle she became possessed of
Chios; but, in order to pay the interest on her new loan, she let the
island for twenty years more to the _maonesi_, who were to deduct from
its revenues the amount of the interest and remit the balance, calculated
at 2000 gold florins, to the Genoese exchequer. Seven years’ balance was
to be paid in advance. But such was the financial distress of Genoa that
the government in 1380 was obliged to mortgage this annual balance to
the bank of St George for 100,000 Genoese pounds. The company then came
to the aid of the mother-country, and voluntarily offered to furnish a
loan of 25,000 Genoese pounds. In return, the Republic, by a convention
of June 28, 1385, renewed the lease of Chios, which would otherwise have
expired in 1394, till 1418. Five years before the latter date it was
again renewed, in return for a fresh loan of 18,000 Genoese pounds, till
1447; again, in 1436, in consideration of a further loan of 25,000, it
was prolonged till 1476, when it was extended to 1507 and then till 1509.
Then, at last, the Republic not only resolved to pay off the _maonesi_,
but even raised the money for the purpose; but the shareholders protested
that 152,250 Genoese pounds were no longer sufficient in view of the
altered value of the pound (then worth only 3 lire 73 c.) and the
large sums which they had advanced. Payment was accordingly postponed
till 1513, when it was decided to leave the island in the hands of the
Giustiniani till 1542, with some modifications of their charter. In 1528,
however, it was finally agreed to lease Chios to them in perpetuity, in
return for an annual rent of 2500 Genoese pounds. At that time most of
the shareholders were enrolled in the Golden Book of Genoa.

Such were the arrangements between the company and the mother-country,
arrangements which worked so well that in 220 years there was only
one revolt against her, when Marshal Boucicault occupied Genoa for
the King of France. Considering their contract thereby annulled, the
Giustiniani deposed the _podestà_ and on December 21, 1408, proclaimed
their independence. Venice allowed them to buy provisions and arms;
but in June, 1409, a Genoese force under Corrado Doria forced them to
yield[494]. Let us now look at their relations with foreign powers. Of
these, three were at one time or another a menace to their existence—the
Greek Empire, Venice, and the Turks. Both Anne of Savoy[495] and
Cantacuzene demanded the restoration of Chios from the Republic, which
replied that no official orders had been given for its capture and the
government could assume no responsibility for the acts of a private
company, nor could it dislodge the latter without great expense; at some
future date, however, when circumstances were more favourable, it would
undoubtedly be possible to restore it to the Emperor. The latter was not
satisfied with this reply, but bade the Genoese envoys, who were sent to
pacify him, fix a definite date for the evacuation of Chios. It was then
agreed between him and the Republic that the _maonesi_ should retain the
city of Chios, and enjoy its revenues, for ten years, on condition that
they paid an annual tribute of 12,000 gold pieces to the Emperor, hoisted
his flag, mentioned his name in their public prayers, and received
their metropolitan from the church of Constantinople. The rest of the
island, including the other forts, was to belong to the Emperor, and
to be governed by an Imperial official, who was to decide all disputes
between the Greeks, while those between a Greek and a Latin were to be
referred to the two Byzantine and Genoese authorities sitting together.
At the end of the ten years, calculated from Cantacuzene’s occupation of
Constantinople, the Genoese were to evacuate Chios altogether. Vignoso
and his co-partners, however, declined to be bound by an arrangement
made between the Emperor and the Republic, whereupon Cybo attempted to
restore Greek rule, and perished in the attempt. The two Foglie were,
however, temporarily reoccupied[496], but the Greek peril ceased when
the Emperor John V Palaiologos in 1363 granted Chios to Pietro Recanelli
and his colleagues in return for an annual payment of 500 _hypérpera_
(or £224)[497]. Eight years earlier the position of the _maona_ had been
strengthened by the same Emperor’s gift of Lesbos as his sister’s dowry
to another Genoese, Francesco Gattilusio, whose family, as time went on,
ruled also over Thasos, Lemnos, Samothrace, Imbros, and the town of Ænos
on the mainland, in 1913 the Turkish frontier in Europe. In 1440 John VI
renewed the charter of 1363.

Venice was a more obstinate rival. The war which broke out between the
two Republics in 1350 involved Chios, for a defeated Genoese squadron
took refuge there. But Vignoso, with his usual energy, fitted out a
flotilla, sailed to Negroponte, captured the castle of Karystos, ravaged
Keos, and hung the keys of Chalkis as a trophy over the castle-gate of
Chios—a humiliation avenged by the despatch of a Venetian squadron which
carried off many of the islanders[498]. During the struggle of the two
Italian commonwealths for the possession of Tenedos (granted to Genoa
by Andronikos IV in 1376), Foglia Vecchia was attacked and the suburbs
of Chios laid in ashes. For a time the common danger from the Turks
united the Venetians and the Genoese company; but in 1431-2 a Venetian
fleet bombarded the town. The captain of the Venetian foot-soldiers,
who bore the appropriate name of Scaramuccia, was killed while laying
a mine, and the admiral, Mocenigo, contented himself with ravaging the
mastic-gardens. On his return home he was condemned to ten months’
imprisonment in the _Pozzi_, while his Genoese rival, Spinola, carried
off the keys of Karystos to adorn the castle of Chios, where they were
still visible in the sixteenth century[499].

There remained the most serious of all enemies—the Turks. Murad I, who
died in 1389, had already levied tribute from Chios[500]; Mohammed I
in 1415 fixed this sum at 4000 gold ducats, while the lessee of Foglia
Nuova paid 20,000 out of the profits of the alum mines. By this system of
Danegeld the _maonesi_ kept on fairly good terms with the Turks till the
capture of Constantinople. The active part taken in its defence by one
of the Giustiniani, whose name will ever be connected with that of the
heroic Constantine XI, exasperated Mohammed II against Chios, whither the
chalices and furniture from the Genoese churches of Pera were removed,
and many of the survivors fled for safety. An increase of the tribute to
6000 ducats was accepted[501]. But in 1455 the Turks sent two fleets to
Chios under the pretext of collecting a debt for alum, alleged to have
been supplied to the _maona_ by Francesco Drapperio, former lessee of
Foglia Nuova, and then established at Pera[502]. These expeditions cost
the company Foglia Nuova, but it gained a further respite by the payment
of a lump sum of 30,000 gold pieces and the increase of the annual
tribute to 10,000 ducats. In vain it appealed to Genoa and to the Pope;
in vain on April 7, 1456, the Republic wrote to our King Henry VI[503],
then struggling against the Yorkists, for assistance, reminding him that
there had been few wars against the infidels in which the most Christian
Kings of England had not borne a great part of the toils and dangers.
The extinction of the Lesbian principality of the Gattilusj in 1462, the
taking of Caffa in 1475, the capture of the Venetian colony of Negroponte
by the Turks in 1479, were signs of what was in store for Chios, now
completely isolated. The _maonesi_ in vain wrote to Genoa, threatening to
abandon the island, if help were not forthcoming, and offered to cede
it to her altogether. “We cannot put our hands,” so ran their letter,
“on 100 ducats; we owe 10,000. The Genoese mercenaries sent us were very
bad. Send us none from the district between Rapallo and Voltri, for
they quarrel daily, steal by day and night, and pay too much attention
to the Greek ladies,” whose charms were the theme of every visitor to
the island[504]. The only means of maintaining independence was to pay
tribute punctually and to propitiate any persons who might be influential
at the Porte, notably the French ambassadors, two of whom visited Chios
in 1537 and 1550. Finally, in 1558 Genoa disavowed all connexion with the
island, and instructed her representative at Constantinople to repudiate
her sovereignty over it[505].

Then came the final catastrophe. The company was no longer able to
provide the annual tribute, which had risen to 14,000 gold pieces, and
to give the usual presents, valued at 2000 ducats, of scarlet cloth to
the Turkish viziers, “a race of men full of rapacity and avarice,” as De
Thou called them. It was accused of having betrayed the Turkish plans
against Malta to the knights and thus helping to stultify the siege of
that island in 1565; while the fugitive slaves who found refuge in Chios
were a constant source of difficulties. One of them was the property of
the grand vizier; the _podestà_, Vincenzo Giustiniani, called upon either
to give him up or pay compensation, confided the latter to an emissary,
who absconded with the money. Thereupon Pialì Pasha, a Hungarian renegade
in the Turkish service, appeared off Chios with a fleet of from 80 to 300
sail on Easter Monday, April 15, 1566. The pasha told the Chiotes that
he would not land, as he did not wish to disturb the Easter ceremonies.
Next day he entered the harbour and demanded the tribute. After having
landed and studied the strategic position, he invited the _podestà_ and
the twelve “governors” on board to confer with him, and clapped them into
irons. On April 17, as an inscription[506] in the chief mosque, then a
church, still tells us, he took the town, and the flag of St George with
the red cross gave way to the crescent almost without resistance.

The fall of Genoese rule was ennobled by the heroism of the bishop,
Timoteo Giustiniani, who bade a renegade kill him rather than profane the
mass, and by the martyrdom of eighteen boys, who died rather than embrace
Islâm—a scene depicted by Carlone in the chapel of the Ducal Palace
at Genoa[507]. The other boys between the ages of twelve and sixteen
were enrolled in the corps of janissaries, while the leading _maonesi_
were exiled to Caffa, whence some of them, thanks to the intervention
of the French ambassador, returned to Chios or Genoa[508]. In vain they
demanded from the home government compensation for the loss of their
island. As late as 1805 their descendants were still trying to recover a
sum of money, deposited with the bank of St George, and in 1815 the bank
ceased to exist and with it the last faint hope of repayment. There were,
however, some lucky exceptions to these misfortunes. Thus Vincenzo Negri
Giustiniani, who was a child of two at the date of the Turkish conquest,
came to Rome, was created by Pope Paul V in 1605 first marquess of
Bassano, and in 1610 built the Palazzo Giustiniani, now the seat of the
Italian Freemasons and of the Prussian Historical Institute. Professor
Kehr, the director of that body, informs me, however, that there is no
trace there of the Chiote inscription of 1522, which is said to have been
removed thither[509]. On the other hand, although the Turks destroyed
many churches, Chios still abounds with Latin monuments[510], in which
the arms of the Giustiniani—a castle of three towers, surmounted after
1413 by the imperial eagle granted by the Emperor Sigismund[511]—are
conspicuous. It may be of interest to mention that when in 1912, an
Italian attack upon Chios was contemplated, orders were issued to spare
the historical monuments of Chios. That island, however, with the
exception of a brief Venetian occupation in 1694-5, remained Turkish till
November 24, 1912, when a Greek force landed and on the following day
easily captured the capital, which thus, for the first time since 1346,
passed from under foreign domination.

We may now ask ourselves whether the rule of the company was successful.
Financially, it certainly was. Even in its latter days, when heavy
loans had been contracted with the bank of St George and the Turkish
tribute was 14,000 gold ducats, a dividend of 2000 ducats was paid
on each of the thirteen original shares; while in its best times the
small _caratto_, originally worth some 30 Genoese pounds, was quoted
at 4930. Chios during the middle ages was one of the most frequented
marts of the Levant, while the alum of Foglia Nuova (which, as long as
that factory remained Genoese, covered the annual rent to Genoa) and
the mastic of the island (in which a part of the Turkish tribute was
paid) were two valuable sources of revenue. The production of mastic was
carefully organised. The company leased to each hamlet a certain area of
plantation, and the lessees once a year handed in a certain weight of
mastic in proportion to the number of the trees. If it were a good year
and the yield were greater, they received a fixed price per pound for the
excess quantity delivered; but if they failed to deliver the stipulated
amount, they had to pay twice that sum[512]. In order to keep up prices
in years of over-production, all the mastic over a certain amount was
either warehoused or burned. Special officials divided the net profit
accruing from its sale among the shareholders; no private person might
sell it to foreigners; and thefts or smuggling of the precious gum, if
committed on a small scale, cost the delinquent an ear, his nose, or
both; if on a large scale, brought him to the gallows. Another curious
source of revenue was the tax on widows[513]. The latter must have had
ample opportunities of avoiding the penalty, for the courtesy and beauty
of the Chiote ladies was the theme of every traveller. Indeed, one
impressionable Frenchman[514] proclaimed Chios to be “the most agreeable
residence” with which he was acquainted, while another visitor[515]
declared their natural charm, the elegance of their attire, and the
attraction of their gestures and conversation to be such “that they
might rather be judged to be nymphs or goddesses than mortal women or
maids.” He then, greatly daring, attempts a detailed description of their
costume, upon which I shall not venture. Nor were amusements lacking. The
inhabitants were musical; they were wont to dance by the Skaramangkou
torrent; the chief religious feasts were kept in state; and Cyriacus
of Ancona[516] was a witness of the festivities which accompanied the
carnival in what Bartolomeo dalli Sonetti[517], another traveller of the
fifteenth century, called the first island of the Archipelago.

There was more intellectual life at Chios than in some of the Latin
settlements in the Levant; indeed, the two Genoese colonies of Chios and
Lesbos stood higher in that respect than most of the Venetian factories.
The list of authors during the period of the _maona_ is considerable.
Among them we may specially notice Leonardo Giustiniani, archbishop
of Lesbos, but a native of Chios, and author of a curious treatise,
_De vera nobilitate_, intended as a reply to the book _De nobilitate_
of the celebrated scholar, Poggio Bracciolini. But the chief value of
the literary divine for us at the present day is the graphic account
which he has left us in two letters, addressed respectively to Popes
Nicholas V and Pius II, of the Turkish conquest of Constantinople
in 1453 and of Lesbos in 1462—accounts of the greatest historical
interest, because their author was an eyewitness of what he described.
In Gerolamo Garibaldi Giustiniani, born in Chios in 1544, the island
found an historian, who wrote in French a work entitled _La Description
et Histoire de l’Isle de Scios, ou Chios_; Vincenzo Banca Giustiniani,
another Latin Chiote, edited the works of St Thomas Aquinas; while
Alessandro Rocca Giustiniani translated portions of Aristotle and
Hippocrates. But the most curious local literary figure of the period was
Andriolo Banca Giustiniani (1385-1456), who sang in Italian verse the
Venetian siege of Chios[518] of 1431. The poet was a man of taste and had
the means to satisfy it; he constructed near the so-called “School of
Homer” (who, according to Thucydides, was a native of Chios) an “Homeric
villa” in a forest of pines near a crystal well, where he was visited by
the well-known antiquary and traveller, Cyriacus of Ancona, his frequent
correspondent[519]. This elegant Chiote accumulated a library of 2000
manuscripts, and for him Ambrogio Traversari of Florence translated into
Latin the treatise on the Immortality of the Soul by the fifth-century
philosopher, Æneas of Gaza. His son, in 1474, entertained at his villa
a greater even than the archæologist of Ancona, then, however, only a
modest ship’s captain, the future discoverer of America, Christopher
Columbus. The culture, however, of the Giustiniani seems to have been
mainly Latin—a fact explained by their practice of sending their sons to
be educated at Genoa, Pavia, Padua, or Bologna; and it was from Italy
that they summoned the architects to build their palaces “of divers kinds
of marbles, with great porticoes and magnificent galleries,” and their
villas, of which there were more than 100 in the last century of their
rule. It was only just before the Turkish conquest that they thought of
founding a university[520].

But we must also look at the picture from another point of view—that
of the governed. The judgment of Finlay that the rule of the company
was “the least oppressive government in the Levant” seems by the light
of later research to need qualification. If we are to take as our
standard the happiness of the people as a whole, then of all the Latin
establishments in the Levant Lesbos comes first. But for that there were
special reasons. The first Gattilusio came to Lesbos not as a foreign
conqueror, but as brother-in-law of the Greek Emperor; he soon spoke the
language of his subjects; his successors wrote in Greek, and as time went
on the family became hellenized. But a company is apt to be deficient
on the human side; and this would seem to have been the weak point of
the _maona_. Quite early in its career a conspiracy of the Greeks was
discovered, which led to the permanent expulsion of the metropolitan and
the substitution in his place of a vicar, called Δίκαιος (or “the Just”),
elected by the company and confirmed by the patriarch. Moreover, the
dominant church, whose bishops were usually Pallavicini or Giustiniani,
was partly supported by tithes, which the members of the other creed had
also to pay, and which they paid so reluctantly that in 1480 the bishop
was glad to abandon all claims to tithe and all the church property to
the company[521] in return for a fixed stipend. Moreover, we are told
that certain Latins seized property belonging to Νέα Μονή, “one of the
most beautiful churches of the Archipelago,” as it was called[522]. To
these ecclesiastical disadvantages was added social inferiority. The
native nobles, or _archontes_, sixty in number, although their privileges
had been guaranteed at the conquest and although instructions were
subsequently given to see that that pledge was respected, ranked not
only below the Giustiniani, who formed the apex of the social scale, but
below the Genoese _bourgeoisie_ also, from which they suffered most. They
lived apart in the old town (much as the Catholics still do at Syra); and
if they sold their property and left the island, they forfeited to the
company one-quarter of the proceeds of such sale.

Worse still was the position of the Greek peasantry, who were practically
serfs, forbidden to emigrate without permission and passports. Liable to
perform military service even out of the island, they had to undertake in
time of peace various forced labours, of which the lightest was to act
as beaters once a year for their masters during the partridge season.
So many of them sought to escape from Chios that a local shibboleth was
invented for their identification, and they were obliged to pronounce the
word _fragela_ (a sort of white bread), which became _frangela_ in the
mouth of a native. Still, the Greeks were consulted at least formally
before a new tax was imposed; a Greek noble sat in the commercial court
and on the commission of public works, and during the administration
of Marshal Boucicault in 1409 and down to 1417 four out of the six
councillors who assisted the _podestà_ were Greeks. In later times when
there was a Turkish element in the population—for after 1484 the Turks
paid no dues—the company provided the salary of the Turkish _kâdi_.
Cases were tried in a palace known as the Δικαιότατο (“Most Just”), and
a “column of justice” hard by served for the punishment of the guilty. A
great hardship was the cost of appeals to the ducal council in Genoa—the
counterpart of our judicial committee of the privy council. Worst treated
of all classes were the Jews, forced to wear a yellow bonnet, to live in
their ghetto, which was hermetically closed at Easter, to present a white
banner with the red cross of St George to the _podestà_ once a year, and
to make sport for the Genoese at religious festivals[523]. Such, briefly,
was the Genoese administration of Chios—an episode which may serve to
remind us how very modern in some ways were the methods of Italian
mediæval commonwealths.


    Me clara Cæsar donat Lesbo ac Mytilene,
    Cæsar, qui Graio præsidet imperio.

                      Corsi _apud_ Folieta.

The Genoese occupation of Chios, Lesbos, and Phocæa by the families of
Zaccaria and Cattaneo was not forgotten in the counting-houses of the
Ligurian Republic. In 1346, two years after the capture of Smyrna, Chios
once more passed under Genoese control, the two Foglie followed suit, and
in 1355 the strife between John Cantacuzene and John V Palaiologos for
the throne of Byzantium enabled a daring Genoese, Francesco Gattilusio,
to found a dynasty in Lesbos, which gradually extended its branches to
the islands of the Thracian sea and to the city of Ænos on the opposite
mainland, and which lasted in the original seat for more than a century.

Disappointed in a previous attempt to recover his rights, the young
Emperor John V was at this time living in retirement on the island of
Tenedos, then a portion of the Greek Empire and from its position at the
mouth of the Dardanelles both an excellent post of observation and a
good base for a descent upon Constantinople. During his sojourn there,
a couple of Genoese galleys arrived, commanded by Francesco Gattilusio,
a wealthy freebooter, who had sailed from his native city to carve out
for himself, amidst the confusion of the Orient, a petty principality
in the Thracian Chersonese, as others of his compatriots had twice done
in Chios, as the Venetian nobles had done in the Archipelago 150 years
earlier. The Emperor found in this chance visitor an instrument to effect
his own restoration; the two men came to terms, and John V promised, that
if Gattilusio would help him to recover his throne, he would bestow upon
him the hand of his sister Maria—an honour similar to that conferred by
Michael VIII upon Benedetto Zaccaria.

The family of Gattilusio, which thus entered the charmed circle of
Byzantine royalty, had already for two centuries occupied a prominent
position at Genoa. One of the name is mentioned as a member of the Great
Council in 1157; a second is found holding civic office in 1212 and 1214;
and two others were signatories of the treaty of Nymphæum. Luchetto,
grandfather of the first lord of Lesbos, was both a troubadour and a man
of affairs, who went as envoy to Pope Boniface VIII to negotiate peace
between his native city and Venice, served as _podestà_ of Bologna,
Milan, Savona, and Cremona; and founded in 1295 the family church of San
Giacomo at Sestri Ponente in memory of his father—a foundation which
remained in the possession of the Gattilusj till 1483, and of which the
Lesbian branch continued to be patron. Towards the end of the thirteenth
century, the family seems to have turned its attention to the Levant
trade, for a Gattilusio was among the Genoese who had sustained damage
from the subjects of the Greek Emperor at that period, and by 1341
another member of the clan was a resident at Pera. In that year Oberto
Gattilusio was one of the Genoese ambassadors, who concluded the treaty
between the Republic and the Regent Anne of Savoy at Constantinople, and
ten years later the same personage was sent on an important mission to
all the Genoese commercial settlements in the East. The future ruler of
Lesbos was this man’s nephew[524].

The Genoese of Galata had good reasons to be dissatisfied with the
commercial and naval policy of Cantacuzene, and it was no less their
interest than that of their ambitious fellow-countryman to see John V
replaced on the throne of his ancestors. They accordingly entered into
negotiations with him at Tenedos, and thus Gattilusio could rely upon
the co-operation of his compatriots at the capital. On a dark and windy
night in the late autumn of 1354 he arrived with the young Emperor off
the “postern of the Pathfinding Virgin,” where his Ligurian mother-wit
at once suggested a device for obtaining admittance. He had on board a
number of oil-jars, which he had brought full from Italy—for he combined
business with politics—but which were by this time empty. These he
ordered the sailors to hurl against the walls one at a time, until the
noise awoke the sleeping sentinels. To the summons of the latter voices
shouted from the galleys, that they were merchantmen with a cargo of oil,
that one of their ships had been wrecked, and that they were willing
to share the remains of the cargo with anyone who would help them in
their present distress. At this appeal to their love of gain the guards
opened the gate, whereupon some 500 of the conspirators entered, slew
the sentries on the adjoining tower, and were speedily reinforced by the
rest of the ships’ crews and marines. Francesco, who was throughout the
soul of the undertaking, mounted a tower in which he placed the young
Emperor with a strong guard of Italians and Greeks, and then ran along
the wall with a body of soldiers, shouting aloud: “long live the Emperor
John Palaiologos!” When dawn broke and the populace realised that their
young sovereign was within the walls, their demonstrations convinced
Cantacuzene that resistance would be sanguinary, even if successful. He
therefore relinquished the diadem which he could not retain, and retired
into a monastery, while John V, accompanied by Francesco and the rest of
the Italians, marched in triumph into the palace. The restored Emperor
was as good as his word; he bestowed the hand of his sister upon his
benefactor, and gave to Francesco as her dowry the island of Lesbos. On
July 17, 1355, Francesco I began his reign[525].

Connected by marriage with the Greek Imperial house, the Genoese lord
of Lesbos seems to have met with no resistance from his Greek subjects,
who would naturally regard him not so much in the light of an alien
conqueror as in that of a lawful ruler by the grace of the Emperor. He
soon learnt to speak their language[526], and continued to assist his
Greek brother-in-law with advice and personal service. At the moment
of his accession, the Greek Empire was menaced by the Turks, who had
lately crossed over into Europe, and occupied Gallipoli, and by Matthew
Cantacuzene, the eldest son of the deposed Emperor. In the very next year
the capture of the Sultan Orkhan’s son, Halil, by Greek pirates from
Foglia Vecchia, at that time a Byzantine fief, enabled John V to divide
these two enemies by promising to obtain the release of the Sultan’s
son. The promise proved, indeed, to be hard of fulfilment, for John
Kalothetos, the Greek governor of Foglia Vecchia, resisted the joint
attacks of the Emperor and a Turkish chief, whom John V had summoned to
aid him, until he received a large ransom and a high-sounding title. It
was during these operations, in the spring of 1357, that the Emperor, on
the advice of Francesco Gattilusio, treacherously invited his Turkish
ally to visit him on an islet off Foglia and then arrested him[527]. Such
reliance, indeed, did John place in his brother-in-law, whose interests
coincided with his own, that, when Matthew Cantacuzene was captured by
the Serbs and handed over to the Emperor, the latter sent the children of
his rival to Lesbos, and even meditated sending thither Matthew himself,
because he knew that they would be in safe keeping[528]. In 1366, when
the Bulgarian Tsar, John Shishman, had treacherously arrested John V, and
the Greeks of Byzantium, hard pressed by the Turks, sought the help of
the chivalrous _Conte verde_, Amedeo VI of Savoy, Francesco Gattilusio
was present with one of his nephews at the siege and capture of Gallipoli
from the Ottomans and assisted at the taking of Mesembria from the
Bulgarians[529]. But fear of Murad I made him refuse to see or speak to
his wife’s nephew, Manuel, when the latter, after plotting against the
Sultan, sought refuge in Lesbos[530].

Meanwhile, as a Genoese, he naturally had difficulties with the
Venetians. Thus, we find him capturing[531] in the Ægean a Venetian
colonist from Negroponte, and quite early in his reign he imitated the
bad example of his predecessor, Domenico Cattaneo, and coined gold
pieces in exact counterfeit of the Venetian ducat, although of different
weight. This was so serious an offence, that the Venetian Government made
a formal complaint at Genoa, and in 1357 the Doge of his native city
wrote to Francesco[532] bidding him discontinue this dishonest practice,
which augured badly for the future of his administration, and would
entail severe penalties upon him, if he insisted in its continuance.
Francesco felt himself strong enough to go on his way, heedless of the
ducal thunders alike of Genoa and of Venice, and coins of himself and of
at least four out of his five successors have been preserved. The great
war, which broke out between the two Republics in 1377 on account of the
cession of Tenedos by the usurper Andronikos to Genoa and its seizure
by Venice, must have placed Francesco in a difficult position. He was,
it is true, a Genoese but he was also brother-in-law of John V, whom
Andronikos had deposed and who had promised the disputed island, which he
and Francesco knew so well, to Venice. Accordingly, when the treaty of
Turin imposed upon Venice the surrender of Tenedos to Amedeo VI of Savoy,
who was to raze the castle to the ground at the cost of Genoa, yet the
islanders none the less swore that they would retain their independence.
Muazzo, the Venetian governor, excused his action in refusing to give up
the island by pleading Francesco’s intrigues. An agent of the Lesbian
lord, he wrote, one Raffaele of Quarto, had stirred up the inhabitants,
some 4000 in number, to resist the cession, by spreading a rumour that,
if Tenedos fell into Genoese hands, the Venetian colonists would all be
forced to turn Jews or emigrate[533]. When, however, Venice found herself
reluctantly compelled to force her recalcitrant officer to carry out the
provisions of the treaty, Francesco helped to victual the Venetian fleet,
and Tenedos was reduced to be the desert that it long remained.

While such were his relations with the Byzantine Empire and the rival
Republics of the West, the Papacy regarded Francesco as one of the
factors in the Union of the Churches and thereby as a champion of
Christendom against the Turks. When Innocent VI in 1356, despatched St
Peter Thomas and another bishop to compass the Union of the Old and the
New Rome, he recommended his two envoys to the lord of Lesbos. Thirteen
years later, Francesco accompanied his brother-in-law, the Emperor John
V, to Rome, and signed as one of the witnesses of that formal confession
of the Catholic faith, which the sorely-pressed sovereign made on
October 18, 1369, in the palace of the Holy Ghost before Urban V[534].
He was one of the potentates summoned by Gregory XI in 1372 to attend
the Congress[535] of Thebes on October 1, 1373, to consider the Turkish
peril—a peril which at that time specially menaced his island—and in the
following year the Pope recommended Smyrna to his care, and sent two
theologians to convince him, a strenuous fighter against the Turks, and
defender of Christendom beyond the seas, that the Union of the Churches
would be a better defence against them than armed force[536]. The
Popes might well have thought that no one could be a better instrument
of their favourite plan than this Catholic brother-in-law of the Greek
Emperor. But the astute Genoese was too wise to compel his Greek subjects
to accept his creed. Throughout his reign, besides a Roman Catholic
Archbishop, there was a Greek Metropolitan of Mytilene, and under his
successor the Metropolitan throne of Methymna was also occupied[537]. The
Armenian colony, settled in Lesbos, preferred, however, to seek shelter
in Kos under the Knights of St John rather than remain as his subjects,
without proper protection from a hostile raid[538].

The success of their kinsman encouraged other members of the Gattilusio
clan to seek a comfortable _seigneurie_ in the Levant. The barony of
Ænos, at the mouth of the Maritza, had been assigned in the partition
of the Byzantine Empire to the Crusaders, and, although reconquered by
the Greeks, the exiled Latin Emperor Baldwin II had been pleased to
consider it as still his to bestow, together with the titular kingdom of
Salonika, upon Hugues, Duke of Burgundy, in 1266. Besieged by Bulgarians
and Tartars in 1265, and invaded by the Catalans in 1308, it had been
governed in the middle of the fourteenth century by Nikephoros II
Angelos, the dethroned Despot of Epeiros, the son-in-law and nominee of
John Cantacuzene. When, however, Cantacuzene fell, the Despot thought it
more prudent to surrender the city to John V, who thus, in 1356, became
its master. We do not know the precise time or manner of its transference
to the Gattilusio family. A later Byzantine historian[539], however,
states that the inhabitants, dissatisfied with the Imperial governor,
called in a member of the reigning family of Lesbos, who was able to
maintain his position owing to the domestic quarrels in the Imperial
family, and by payment of an annual tribute to the Sultan, when the
Turks became masters of Thrace and Macedonia. Whether the ancient barony
became a Genoese possession by the will of the natives or by grant of
the Emperor, one fact is certain, that in June, 1384, it was in the
possession of Francesco’s brother, Nicolò[540]. Some six weeks later,
a great upheaval of nature, prophesied, it was afterwards said, by a
Lesbian monk, made the new lord of Ænos regent of his brother’s island

The violent end of the first Gattilusio who reigned in Lesbos was long
remembered in the island. On August 6, 1384, a terrible earthquake
buried him beneath the ruins of the castle which he had built, as an
inscription proudly informs us[541], some eleven years before. After a
long and painful search, his mutilated body was found and laid to rest
in a coffin, which he had already prepared, in the church of St John
Baptist, which he had founded. By his side were laid the mangled bodies
of two of his sons, Andronico and Domenico, who, with his wife, had also
perished in the disaster. A third son, named Jacopo, escaped, however, by
a miracle. At the time of the shock, he was sleeping by the side of his
brothers in a tower of the castle; next day, however, he was discovered
by a good woman in a vineyard near the Windmills at the foot of the
fortress. The woman hastened to tell the good news to the chief men of
the town, who came and fetched the young survivor. The boy took the oath
on the Gospels as lord of Lesbos before the people and the nobles, and,
as he was still a minor, his uncle, Nicolò Gattilusio, lord of Ænos, who
hastened over to Lesbos on the news of the catastrophe, shared authority
with him. In order to perpetuate the name of the popular founder of the
dynasty, Jacopo on his accession took the name of Francesco II[542].

The joint government of uncle and nephew lasted for three years, when a
dispute arose between them, and Nicolò returned to the direction of his
Thracian barony. In November, 1388, Francesco II joined the league of the
Knights of Rhodes, Jacques I of Cyprus, the Genoese Chartered Company
of Chios, and the Commune of Pera against the designs of the Sultan
Murad I. His popularity with his Perote compatriots was such, that,
on the occasion of a visit to Constantinople in 1392, they gave him a
banquet; but four years later they complained that he had not performed
his treaty obligations, made in 1388, against the Turks. In the summer
of 1396, Pera was besieged by the forces of Bayezid I, and although
Francesco was actually in the port of Constantinople at the time, and
his galley was stationed in the Golden Horn near “the Huntsman’s Gate”
in the modern district of Aivan Serai the Commune thought it necessary
to draw up a formal protest against his inaction and execute it on the
stem of his ship. He replied by offering to aid his fellow-Genoese,
if they would make a sortie, and his galley subsequently assisted the
Venetians in relieving the capital[543]. After the disastrous defeat of
the Christians at the battle of Nikopolis later in the same year, both
he and Nicolò of Ænos rendered signal services to the Sultan’s noble
French prisoners, and Lesbos emerged into prominence throughout the
French-speaking world. Thither came the Duke of Burgundy’s chamberlain,
Guillaume de l’Aigle, on his preliminary mission to mollify the heart
of Bayezid, with whom Francesco had such influence that he was able to
obtain leave for his sick cousin, Enguerrand VII de Coucy, to remain
behind at Brusa, when the rest of the captives were dragged farther up
country by the Sultan[544]. The humane feelings of the lord of Lesbos
were doubtless further moved by the fact that de Coucy was, through his
mother, an Austrian princess, connected with the reigning family of
Constantinople, from which he was himself descended, and by the recent
establishment of a French protectorate over Genoa.

Accordingly, he offered bail for his suffering relative, and when
Marshal Boucicault, another of the prisoners, was set free to raise the
amount necessary for their ransom, Francesco and other rich merchants
of Lesbos advanced him the preliminary sum of 30,000 francs. Nicolò of
Ænos willingly lent 2000 ducats more, and sent the prisoners a present
of fish, bread and sugar, while his wife added a goodly supply of linen,
for which they expressed their deep gratitude[545]. Of the total ransom,
fixed at 200,000 ducats, Francesco and Nicolò, anxious to please the King
of France and the Duke of Burgundy, respectively made themselves liable
for 110,000 and 40,000, which the prisoners promised to repay as soon
as possible. Half of these two sums was actually paid, and the lord of
Ænos further furnished on account of the Comte de Nevers 10,000 ducats
to a son of Bayezid and another Turk, who had guarded that nobleman on
the day of his capture. Some years later the two Gattilusj of Lesbos
and Ænos sent in a claim for what they had advanced and for sundry
expenses amounting in all to 108,500 ducats. Another member of the family
lent 5075 ducats, and during his stay in Lesbos the Comte de Nevers
negotiated another loan from his host for 2500 more[546]. These sums show
the wealth and credit of these merchant princes.

When the ransom had been settled, the three French and Burgundian envoys
who had been treating with Bayezid, embarked for Lesbos, escorted by
Francesco and Nicolò and accompanied by one of the ransomed prisoners,
who took with him to Burgundy a natural son of Francesco, destined to
become the grandfather of Giuliano Gattilusio, the terrible corsair
of the next century[547]. The rest of the prisoners followed early in
July, and remained for six weeks the guests of Francesco and his lady,
a noble dame of gentle breeding and European accomplishments, acquired
at the court of Marie de Bourbon, titular Empress of Constantinople and
Princess of Achaia, in whose society she had been educated. Feeling
herself highly honoured at the presence of the Comte de Nevers and his
companions in the castle of Lesbos, she clothed them with fine linen and
cloth of Damascus, according to the fashion of the Levant, not forgetting
to replenish the wardrobe of their retainers, while her husband and his
uncle rendered them every honour and assisted them in their necessity.
The visit terminated in the middle of August, when two galleys, equipped
by the Knights of Rhodes, transported them to that island, their next
stage on the homeward voyage. Their generous host stood on the shore
till the Rhodian galleys had sunk beneath the horizon[548]. A few hours
earlier he had obtained the signature of a treaty which might confer a
solid advantage upon his own family and give an illusory hope of future
glory to his departing guests. His daughter Eugenia had just married John
Palaiologos, Despot of Selymbria, the Emperor Manuel II’s nephew and
rival. Through the agency of Francesco this potentate ceded his claims to
the Empire to King Charles VI of France in return for a French castle and
a perpetual annuity of 25,000 gold ducats[549]. Thus in Lesbos, on the
morrow of Nikopolis, the French could dream of re-establishing the long
extinct Latin Empire of Romania!

Francesco had not seen the last of the French prisoners. In the summer
of 1399, Boucicault, sent by Charles VI to assist Manuel II in defending
Constantinople from the Turks, arrived at Lesbos, which he had last
visited two years before. Francesco received him with outward signs of
joy, but told him that he had already informed the Turks of this new
expedition, as he was bound to do by the treaties which he had with them.
The position of the Lesbian lord was, indeed, of no small difficulty. It
was his interest to stand well with Bayezid, while his son-in-law, John
Palaiologos, who spent much of his time in the island, had received, as
the son of Manuel’s elder brother, Turkish assistance in his blockade
of the Imperial city. The diplomatic Levantine did not, however, wish
to offend his powerful guest; he therefore offered to accompany him,
and ordered a galley to be made ready to join the expedition. But the
information which he had supplied to Bayezid had put the Turks upon their
guard. A raid in Asia Minor was Boucicault’s sole military success;
but he achieved, probably thanks to the influence of Francesco, the
reconciliation of Manuel with his nephew, whom the French Marshal fetched
from Selymbria to Constantinople. Manuel then departed with Boucicault
to seek aid at the courts of Europe, while John acted as his viceroy on
the Bosporos and received, in the presence of the Marshal, the promise
of Salonika as his future residence[550]. Thus, during the absence of
Manuel, Francesco’s daughter Eugenia sat upon the Byzantine throne as the
consort of the Emperor’s representative, while her sister Helene married
Stephen Lazarevich, Despot of Serbia, who had made her acquaintance
during a visit to Lesbos on his return from the stricken field of
Angora[551]. Francesco was at that time holding Foglia Vecchia on a lease
from the _maona_ of Chios, and his tact and presents saved the place in
that crisis from the covetous hands of the victorious Timour and his

When Manuel returned to Constantinople in 1403, he refused to carry out
his promised gift of Salonika. Before the battle of Angora had decided
the fate of Bayezid, and the issue between the Turks and the Mongols was
still uncertain, John Palaiologos had agreed—it was said—to surrender
Constantinople and become a tributary of the Sultan, in the event of a
Turkish victory. This was Manuel’s, excuse for refusing to allow his
nephew to reside at Salonika and for banishing him to Lemnos. John
thereupon appealed to his father-in-law for assistance, and Francesco,
early in 1403, sailed with five vessels to attack Salonika. Hearing that
Boucicault, then French governor of Genoa, whose interest in Lesbos had
just been evinced by the despatch of an embassy thither, was once more
in the Levant on a punitive expedition against King Janus of Cyprus,
who had besieged the Genoese colony of Famagosta, Francesco despatched
a vessel to meet the Marshal, reminding him that he had been a witness
of the Emperor’s promise and begging him to aid in taking Salonika[553].
Boucicault did not accede to this request; on the contrary, two vessels
from Lesbos and two from Ænos went to assist him in his operations
against the King of Cyprus, and remained with him till shortly before
he reached the Venetian colony of Modon on his homeward voyage. Manuel
ended by bestowing Salonika upon John Palaiologos, but the attacks made
by Boucicault upon Venetian trade in the Levant and the consequent
hostilities cost Nicolò Gattilusio, owing to his Genoese origin, the loss
of 3000 ducats in gold, seized by the Venetians at Modon[554].

In October of this eventful year of Boucicault’s cruise, there arrived at
Lesbos a mission, sent by Enrique III of Castile to Timour, the victor of
Angora, whose court was then at Samarkand. The narrative of the Castilian
ambassador, Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, gives us an interesting account of
the island under the second Gattilusio. He found the town “built on a
high hill near the sea,” and “surrounded by a wall with many towers,”
outside of which was “a large suburb.” Besides the capital, Lesbos
contained “several villages and castles,” while the neighbourhood of the
city was well-cultivated and abounded in gardens and vineyards. At one
time—probably before the earthquake—“very large houses and churches” had
stood near the town, and at one end of the city were “the ruins of great
palaces, and in the middle of the ruins about 40 blocks of white marble.”
The local tradition was, that “on the top of these blocks there was once
a platform, where those of the city met in council.” During the five
days of their stay the envoys made the acquaintance of John Palaiologos,
who was then residing in his wife’s old home, and heard the tragic story
of the late lord’s death, of his successor’s marvellous preservation
and of the recent expedition against Salonika[555]. Thus, in the reign
of Francesco II, Lesbos was frequently visited by important personages
from the West, and was their last stopping-place in Latin lands on their
way to Constantinople or to Asia. Descended from the famous houses of
Byzantium and Savoy, and connected with that of Austria, the lord of
Mytilene and lessee of Foglia Vecchia was regarded by Western visitors
as “a great baron”; Eastern potentates sought the hands of his daughters
in marriage, and when one of them married the heir of the powerful
Giovanni de’ Grimaldi[556], governor of Nice and usurper of Monaco, the
dowry of 5000 gold ducats which she brought from Lesbos was considered a
large sum on the Riviera. Although born in the Levant, he still kept up
the family connexion with his paternal city. Both he and his uncle had
financial transactions with Genoa[557], and Francesco was patron of the
family church of San Giacomo at Sestri Ponente[558]. At the same time,
while Latin archbishops held the see of Mytilene, his relations with
the dignitaries of the Orthodox church were excellent. The Œcumenical
Patriarch addressed him as “well-beloved nephew of the Emperor,” and his
uncle Nicolò as the “Emperor’s kinsman by marriage[559], the most noble,
glorious, and prudent _archon_ of Ænos,” whose consent was sought for the
appointment of a Metropolitan to that long vacant see[560]. With Venice
the Gattilusj, as befitted Genoese, at times had difficulties. In 1398
corsairs, sallying forth from their dominions, did much damage to the
Cretans who sailed under the Venetian flag; but the Republic none the
less allowed the wax of Lesbos to be exported at certain seasons for sale
in her dominions[561].

After an eventful reign of 20 years, Francesco II died, if we may believe
an anonymous Greek chronologist[562], on October 26, 1404. His end was
strangely similar to that of his father. On a journey through the island,
while passing the night in one of the lofty towers then common in the
Archipelago, he was stung by a scorpion. Alarmed at his cries, his
attendants and nobles climbed up into his room in such numbers that the
floor collapsed and he was killed on the spot leaving three sons, Jacopo,
Palamede and Dorino, of whom the eldest Jacopo became his successor[563].
The heir was, however, still a minor, and accordingly once again Nicolò
came and acted as regent. His friendly policy as regent and his support
of her subjects in the Levant on more than one occasion called forth the
warm praise of Venice; but his fortification of Tenedos provoked an
indignant protest[564]. Moreover the Greeks of Lesbos can scarcely have
been edified by the appointment of rival Latin bishops—the result of the
schism in the Western Church—which occurred during his regency[565].
In the spring of 1409 he died[566], and Jacopo, then of age, assumed
the government of Lesbos, while Francesco’s younger son, Palamede[567],
succeeded his uncle and guardian at Ænos. Nicolò’s fame long lingered in
the Levant. Kritoboulos[568] half a century later ascribed to him the
achievements of Francesco I, the founder of the dynasty, whose wisdom,
and education, whose courage and physical gifts he extols, whom all Syria
and Egypt feared and propitiated with annual blackmail, for his numerous
navy ravaged their coasts and even the Libyan littoral.

Jacopo’s policy was to favour Genoese interests where they conflicted
with Venetian, but to co-operate with the two rival Republics when they
showed signs of uniting against his dreaded neighbours, the Turks. Thus,
he aided Centurione Zaccaria, the Genoese Prince of Achaia, in his
campaign against the Tocchi of Cephalonia and Zante, who were thereby
compelled to invoke the protection of Venice; while the Venetians
threatened to sequestrate all Lesbian merchandise in Crete, unless he
gave satisfaction for the seizure of a Cretan merchantman[569]. Venetian
and Genoese subjects, however, suffered alike from the reprisals provoked
by the attack of two Lesbian galleys upon the Saracens of Damietta; and
Jacopo had a counter grievance in the illegal levy of toll upon his
people by the Genoese of Chios[570]. Towards the Turks he was, from his
position, obliged to be deferential, except when he saw prospect of
common action against them. If the Knights of Rhodes complained that he
had sheltered the Turks, and so saved them from destruction at the hands
of those zealous champions of Christendom[571], he was ready, in 1415, to
join the latter, the Genoese of Chios, and the Venetian Republic in an
anti-Turkish league; while he did homage to Mohammed I and aided first
that Sultan and then Murad II in the suppression of Djouneïd of Aïdin,
when fortune smiled upon them[572]. In 1426, the threatened declaration
of war by Venice upon Genoa, then under Milanese domination, caused him
some embarrassment; but the Genoese Government bade him[573] not to
be afraid of Venetian threats. Not long after this, probably in 1428,
Jacopo died[574]. An anonymous Greek informs us that he had married
Bonne, “the fair daughter of the lord of Nice near Marseilles” but this
statement would appear to be due to a confusion with the marriage of his
sister with Pietro de’ Grimaldi, for Bonne, the offspring of that union
espoused Louis Cossa, lord of Berre, unless the Bonne mentioned was
the daughter of Amedeo VIII of Savoy, in whose dominions Nice was then
included[575]. In 1421, however, Valentina D’Oria is described as “lady
of Mytilene[576].” At any rate, it seems probable that he left no issue,
for his successor, Dorino I, is described in a Genoese document and by
a traveller of this period as “brother” of Palamede, lord of Ænos[577],
and therefore of Jacopo. Dorino, whose name was derived from the famous
Genoese house of D’Oria, allied by marriage with many Gattilusj, had
already had experience of ruling for several years over Foglia Vecchia as
his appanage—a fact still commemorated by his coins and an inscription
there[578], which describes him as its “lord” in 1423-4. This former
possession of the Zaccaria is first mentioned as administered by the
Gattilusj in 1402, and remained united with the Lesbian branch of the
family till 1455.

Meanwhile, Ænos had prospered under the rule of Palamede. Six
inscriptions, still extant there, proclaim the activity of the masons
during the early years of his long reign—the erection of the churches
of the Chrysopege and of St Nicholas by two private citizens and the
completion of three other public works[579]. But Palamede not only
embellished his domain; he also extended it. The neighbouring island of
Samothrace, a Greek possession since the reconquest of Constantinople
from the Latins, now owned his sway—for in 1433, when Bertrandon de la
Brocquière[580] visited Ænos, he wrote that Samothrace also belonged to
its lord. In that island, then known as Mandrachi and celebrated for its
honey and its goats, Palamede erected on March 26, 1431, and extended
in 1433, a new fortress for the protection of its numerous population,
as two inscriptions in its walls, one in Greek, one in Latin[581] still
remind us. The Genoese lord, we are told, was interested in the past
history of his dominions; he “loved greatly to hear learned discussions,”
and to him a contemporary scholar, John Kanaboutzes, applied the saying
of Plato about philosophers and kings. To his desire to know what
Dionysios of Halikarnassos had written about Samothrace we owe the brief
commentary on that author, compiled at his command by that writer, a
native of Foglia[582], whose family was connected with Ænos[583]—one of
several instances, where Italian rulers of Greece showed a consciousness
of that country’s great past. Like his brother Jacopo, Palamede was
inclined to support the Genoese Prince of Achaia, and the Venetian
admiral was ordered to remonstrate with him, should occasion require[584].

Although more than seventy years had by this time elapsed since Francesco
I had left Genoa for the Levant, the connexion between the distant
Republic and his descendants in the East was never closer than now. In
1428, and again in 1444, the Genoese Government, although it forbade
the circulation of Lesbian ducats in Genoa and district, and repudiated
responsibility for the harm done by the Gattilusj to the subjects of the
Sultan of Egypt, specially consulted “the lords of Mytilene, Ænos and
Foglia Vecchia” whether they desired to be included or no in the treaties
of peace, which it had just concluded with King Alfonso V of Aragon.
“The many services rendered to us and to the community of Genoa by you
and your ancestors”—so runs one of these interesting despatches—“make us
realise that in all treaties involving peace or war we ought to consider
your honour and advancement. For your welfare, your misfortunes, are
equally ours.” Dorino I replied that he wished to be so included, and his
agents accordingly ratified the peace at Genoa on his behalf in 1429.
When, two years later, Genoa was drawn into the war between her Milanese
masters and Venice, the Archbishop of Milan, who was at that time the
governor of Genoa, notified Dorino of the outbreak of hostilities,
following the precedent set in the case of his father and grandfather,
warned that “most distinguished of our citizens” to put his island in
a state of defence and begged him to aid any Genoese colony that might
require assistance[585]. So much importance was attached at Milan to his
support, that Francesco Sforza, the Duke, accredited Benedetto Folco of
Forlì to the Lesbian court, in order to urge Dorino against Venice[586].
At the same time, the Genoese Government, “remembering that in all its
past victories the galleys of the Gattilusj had borne their part,”
invited the lord of Lesbos to co-operate with Ceba, the Genoese commander
who was to be despatched for the relief of Chios from the Venetians, and
requested him to send a galley to that island. Dorino replied in a loyal
strain, whereupon the Genoese Government thanked him for this display of
fidelity, traditional in his family, and again urged him to equip his
galley for the defence of Chios. Two other despatches, following in rapid
succession, begged him to inform the Chians of the speedy arrival of the
Genoese fleet and to see that his own galley was in Chian waters by the
middle of May. Dorino was as good as his word, and gave orders that a
Lesbian galley should join the expedition; but before the latter arrived,
the Venetians had raised the siege. As a reward for his services, the
commander of the Genoese fleet and the governors of Pera and Chios were
instructed to provide for the safety of his little state, and the home
government invited him to rely upon its unshakable affection in time
of need. Influential Genoese marriages stimulated this feeling. Dorino
had married a D’Oria; Palamede’s daughter Caterina now married another;
while her sisters, Ginevra and Costanza, respectively espoused Ludovico
and Gian Galeazzo de Campo-fregoso, relatives of the then reigning Doge,
and the former soon to be Doge himself. Thus Lesbian interests were well
represented at Genoa. In return, Genoa frequently requested Dorino to
see that justice was done to her subjects in his dominions, even to the
detriment of his own family[587].

Genoa found Dorino no less useful as a diplomatist than as an ally, for
the lord of Lesbos and Foglia Vecchia had married his daughter Maria
to Alexander, second son of Alexios IV, Emperor of Trebizond, in whose
dominions the Genoese, owing to their Black Sea colonies, had important
commercial interests, latterly greatly injured by the pro-Venetian
policy of that sovereign. According to the Trapezuntine practice, Alexios
had raised his eldest son John IV to the Imperial dignity in his own
lifetime; but his unfilial heir conspired against him, was driven into
exile, and replaced by his next brother Alexander. John IV was, however,
as favourable to the Genoese as his father to the Venetians, and was
restored with the assistance of a Genoese of Caffa. Alexios IV was
murdered in 1429; but John IV was not allowed to reign undisturbed. His
brother Alexander fled to Constantinople, where his sister was wife of
the Emperor John VI, and contracted a marriage with Dorino’s daughter,
in order that he might secure his support, and through him, that of
Genoa, against the Emperor of Trebizond. When the Spanish traveller, Pero
Tafur, visited Lesbos at this time he found Alexander there engaged in
levying a fleet for his restoration. This did not, however, suit Genoese
policy, and accordingly the Doge of Genoa requested Dorino in 1438 to
act as peacemaker between the two brothers and to invite his son-in-law
to reside at Constantinople or in Lesbos on an annuity chargeable on the
revenues of Trebizond[588]. Another matrimonial alliance brought Dorino’s
family into renewed relations with the Palaiologoi. In 1440, an old
link between the two families had been snapped by the death of Eugenia
Gattilusio, widow of the Emperor John VI’s cousin and namesake[589]—an
event which was doubtless the occasion when the castle of Kokkinos on
the coast of Lemnos, which had been her widow’s portion, passed into the
hands of Dorino[590]. On July 27 of the following year, however, the
Emperor’s brother, the Despot Constantine, afterwards the last Christian
ruler of Byzantium, married Dorino’s daughter Caterina, a marriage
arranged by the historian Phrantzes. This union did not last long; after
a brief honeymoon in Lesbos, Constantine left his bride in her father’s
care, and set out, accompanied by a Lesbian galley, for the Morea, nor
did he see her again till his return in the following July. At Lesbos he
took her on board his ship; but, when he reached Lemnos on his way to
Constantinople, he had to take refuge behind the walls of Kokkinos from
the attacks of a Turkish fleet. The Turks in vain besieged the castle of
the Gattilusj for 27 days, and the strain and anxiety of the siege caused
the death of his wife, which occurred at Palaiokastro in August. There
the ill-fated second consort of the last hero of the Byzantine Empire was
laid to rest[591].

Meanwhile, besides the acquisition of Kokkinos, thus courageously saved
by his heroic son-in-law, Dorino had received from the Greek Empire the
island of Thasos, which more than a century before had belonged to the
Genoese family of Zaccaria. Indeed, if we may accept the two allusions
to the Gattilusj in the Greek version of Bondelmonti[592] as the work of
that traveller, Thasos, which was Byzantine in September, 1414, had been
given to Jacopo as a fief before 1420. At any rate, a Thasian inscription
of April 1, 1434, now preserved in the wall of the church of St
Athanasios at Kastro, informs us that a tower was built there by Oberto
de’ Grimaldi[593] a member of the well-known Ligurian family who is
mentioned elsewhere[594] as a captain in the service of Dorino. Ten years
later, the archæologist, Cyriacus of Ancona, upon visiting Thasos, found
that Dorino had recently bestowed the island upon his son, Francesco III,
who was still under the control of a preceptor, Francesco Pedemontano.

The indefatigable antiquary may have paid an earlier visit to Lesbos
in 1431, but the accounts which he has left of the Gattilusj, their
dominions, and the neighbouring islands of the Thracian Sea range from
1444 to 1447. In Lesbos he was well received by Dorino, who promised
to aid him in exploring the whole island. He had, indeed, arrived at a
fortunate moment, for the rumour of a threatened Turkish invasion had
ceased, so that the lord of Lesbos had leisure for archæology, and his
visitor could examine “the remains of the temple of Diana,” and “the
baths of Jove,” whose name was carved in the midst of them[595]. With
Dorino’s captain, Oberto de’ Grimaldi, he sailed to Foglia Vecchia, where
the Gattilusj had a factory, as at Lesbos, for the production of alum,
and made the acquaintance of “the Master Kanaboutzes,” probably the
author of the commentary on Dionysios, who could tell him all about the
Foglie, of which he was a native[596]. In Thasos, the third domain of
the elder branch of the Gattilusj, he spent Christmas day, and composed
a long Latin inscription as well as an Italian poem in honour of young
Francesco. The enthusiastic guest prayed that the beginning of his host’s
rule over Thasos might be of as good omen as “the yule log thrown on the
fire in the turreted castle”; that the yoke of the barbarian Turks might
be removed from Thrace, that the former dependencies of the island there
might return to his sway, and that Francesco’s patron saint, St John the
Evangelist, might protect this “native offspring of the Palaiologoi,
this pride of the most noble Gatalusian race.” “What Thasian nymph,” he
asks, “could have deprived Lesbos of her Francesco?” The attraction was
the lordship of an island, which had been described by Bondelmonti as
well-peopled, very fertile and containing three fair towns. Francesco
had, indeed, begun well by restoring the principal city, thus earning
a dedicatory inscription by the Thasian citizens and colonists, and by
erecting at the entrance of the harbour some fine marble statues, which
an ancient inscription showed to have represented the members of the
Thasian council. At this time the island could boast of six other towns
beside its “marble city,” whose walls attracted the admiration of the
traveller. Under the guidance of Carlo de’ Grimaldi and “the learned
Giovanni of Novara,” he inspected the numerous ancient tombs outside, the
large amphitheatre with no less than 20 rows then standing intact, and
the akropolis of the city[597].

The worthy Cyriacus was no less hospitably received by the junior branch
of the Gattilusj. At Ænos he met Palamede with his two sons Giorgio and
Dorino II, and was delighted to find there an old friend in the person
of Cristoforo Dentuto, envoy extraordinary of Genoa in the Levant.
Accompanied by “the prince of Ænos and Samothrace” as he calls Palamede,
and by Francesco Calvi, the latter’s secretary, he was taken to see “the
great tomb of Polydoros, son of Priam,” some five stadia beyond the
walls, admired the sculptured figures of fauns and animals there, and
copied an ancient Greek inscription from the marble base of a statue that
stood before “the prince’s court.” Letters of introduction from Palamede
and Francesco of Thasos secured for him a warm reception at the monastery
of Hagia Laura on Mount Athos[598]. At Samothrace, Joannes Laskaris
Rhyndakenos, Palamede’s prefect of the island, personally conducted
the antiquary to the old city, where he saw “ancient walls and the
remains of a marble temple of Neptune” (known to modern archæologists
as “the Dorian marble temple”), “fragments of huge columns, epistylia
and bases, and doorposts, adorned with the crowned heads of bulls and
other figures”—now identified with the remains of a round building
built by Arsinöe, daughter of Ptolemy Soter. Thence he went to “the new
castle, founded by Palamede” some thirteen years before, and built to
protect his new town of “Capsulum.” Close to the tower he saw to his
delight “several ancient marbles, with dances of Nymphs sculptured and
inscriptions in Latin and Greek”—the two reliefs of dancing Nymphs now in
the Louvre[599]. From his accounts of the neighbouring islands, we learn
that Imbros, where his guide was a noble and learned Imbriote, Hermodoros
Michael Kritoboulos, the historian, in 1444 was still Byzantine, and
“governed for the Emperor John Palaiologos” by that same noble, Manuel
Asan, of whom inscriptions have been found there, and who had lately
restored two-thirds of the akropolis[600]. We find, too, that in 1447
Theodore Branas was Byzantine governor of Lemnos, where the Gattilusj as
yet held only the castle of Kokkinos[601].

The visit of the antiquary of Ancona to the Gattilusj was the calm before
the storm, which was so soon to burst upon them. Even while Cyriacus
was their guest, the fatal battle of Varna made Murad II master of the
Near East. For a few years, indeed, the Gattilusj went on marrying
and giving in marriage, as if the end of their rule were not at hand.
In 1444, Dorino’s daughter Ginevra married Giacomo II Crispo, Duke of
the Archipelago[602]; five years later the lord of Lesbos sent the
Archbishop of Mytilene, at that time the celebrated Leonardo of Chios,
to Rome to obtain from the Pope a dispensation for the marriage of his
eldest surviving son, Domenico, and a daughter of Palamede. As the two
young people were first-cousins, Ludovico de Campo-fregoso, Palamede’s
son-in-law and at that time Doge of Genoa, begged the Pope not to grant
the dispensation, and as an example of the iniquity of such an alliance
he instanced the case of Dorino’s firstborn (presumably Francesco III
of Thasos), who had married another daughter of Palamede and had died
less than six months afterwards. The Pope refused his consent, and the
marriage did not take place[603].

Hitherto the Gattilusj, partly by tribute paid ever since the reign
of Murad I[604], partly by tact, had managed to keep the Turks at a
distance. On one occasion, when Constantinople had been threatened,
the Pope had offered to pay the expenses of the Lesbian galley, if
Dorino would agree to sent it thither; but the Genoese Government,
while transmitting his Holiness’ offer and praising the services of the
Gattilusj to Christendom, recognised their natural unwillingness to
offend the Sultan and advised Dorino, if he did send aid, to pretend that
he was merely protecting Genoese interests at Pera. The Greek Emperor was
able to raise a loan, if he received no actual assistance, at Ænos[605];
but in 1450, at last, Lesbos was attacked. Murad despatched a large fleet
under Baltaoghli, the first in the list of Turkish admirals, against
the island, and his men carried off more than 3000 souls, slaughtered
many cattle, destroyed the flourishing city of Kallone, and inflicted
damage to the amount of more than 150,000 ducats. It was probably on
this occasion that the lady of Lesbos, Orietta d’Oria, performed the
prodigy of valour that won her a niche in the literary Pantheon of her
native city besides the men of her father’s house. At the time of the
invasion, she seems to have been in the town of Molivos, the ancient
Methymna, whose inhabitants, exhausted from lack of food, were on the
point of surrendering, when she appeared among them in full armour, and
led them to victory against the astonished Turks. Thereupon Dorino was
able to secure by a timely present and the increase of his tribute to
2000 gold pieces a renewal of the peace which he protested that he had
never broken. He was, however, under no illusions as to the durability
of this truce. He wrote to Genoa, asking for assistance, reminding the
Republic that he was of Genoese origin and that he had often aided her to
the best of his power with men, ships, and money. Unless, therefore, she
could protect him, he would be reluctantly compelled to look elsewhere
for help. At the same time, after the fashion of the Christian princes of
the Levant on the eve of the Turkish conquest, he announced his intention
of sending an expedition to obtain his rights from the Emperor John IV
of Trebizond, who had also maltreated the Genoese of Caffa, and begged
the Republic to receive and revictual his galleys in her Black Sea ports.
This last request was granted[606].

The Turkish conquest of Constantinople, although it sounded the
death-knell of the Latin states in the Levant, was of momentary benefit
to the Gattilusj. They had been close relatives and good friends of
the Greek Imperial family, and one of them, a certain Laudisio, had
distinguished himself in the defence of the city[607]; but, when all was
over, they hastened to profit by its fall. The two islands of Lemnos
and Imbros, from their position near the mouth of the Dardanelles, have
always possessed great strategic importance. Under the Latin Empire,
Lemnos had been the fief of the Lord High Admiral, who bore the title
of Grand-duke; under the Palaiologoi it had been either the appanage
of an Imperial prince, or had been entrusted to the government of some
great noble. So greatly was it coveted, that Alfonso V of Aragon had
made it the price of his aid for the relief of Constantinople[608],
while during the siege Constantine had promised it to Giustiniani, if
the Turks were repulsed[609]. When the news of the disaster reached
these islands, the Byzantine authorities fled on board Italian ships,
while many of the inhabitants sought refuge in Chios or in the Venetian
colonies. There was, however, one leading personage in Imbros, who was
resolved to remain and make terms with the victors. This was Kritoboulos,
the future historian of Mohammed II, who bribed the Turkish Admiral,
Hamza, not to attack the islands and through his mediation managed to
send representatives of the Greek church and the local nobility with a
present to the Sultan’s court at Adrianople, begging him to allow them
to be administered as before. It chanced that at this moment envoys of
the Gattilusj were at Adrianople, for on the fall of Constantinople
both Dorino and Palamede had hastened to placate and congratulate the
terrible Sultan, and to crave the grant of Lemnos and Imbros. Dorino,
although he was still lord of Lesbos in name and continued to sign state
documents, had been bed-ridden since 1449, and his eldest surviving son,
Domenico, governed as regent. Domenico and one of Palamede’s councillors
were supported by the two emissaries of Kritoboulos, and the Sultan
was pleased to confer Lemnos upon the lord of Lesbos, Imbros upon him
of Ænos. At the same time Mohammed ordered the former to pay an annual
tribute of 3000 gold pieces for Lesbos and 2325 for Lemnos; that of
Imbros was assessed at 1200 gold pieces. Thus, by the irony of fate,
only nine years before its annihilation, the dominion of the Gattilusj
reached its greatest extent. Indeed, there was a party in Skyros also
which advocated annexation to Lesbos, but there the majority wisely
preferred the nearer and more powerful lion of St Mark, which waved over

The Gattilusj were now well aware that they only existed on sufferance,
and they were more careful than ever not to offend their master. Domenico
paid more than one visit of obeisance to the Turkish court; and when,
in June, 1455, the Turkish admiral, on his way to Rhodes, anchored off
Lesbos, the historian Doukas[611], the prince’s secretary, was sent on
board with a handsome present of garments of silk and of woven wool
six in number, 6000 pieces of silver, 20 oxen, 50 sheep, more than 800
measures of wine, 2 bushels of biscuit and one of bread, more than 1000
lbs. of cheese, and fruit without measure, as well as gifts in proportion
to their rank for the members of the admiral’s staff. Under these
circumstances, it was no wonder that Hamza treated the lord of Lesbos
“like a brother,” and refrained from entering the harbour, for fear of
alarming the islanders.

Scarcely had the Turkish fleet left, when, on June 30, 1455, Dorino
I died, leaving his dominion of Lesbos, Foglia Vecchia, Thasos, and
Lemnos to his eldest surviving son, Domenico, for whom the younger,
Nicolò, acted as governor in the last-named island. Before a month had
passed, the fleet hove in sight of Mytilene on its homeward voyage,
and was invited to anchor in the harbour, where the serviceable Doukas
again visited the admiral, whom he kept in good humour by a sumptuous
banquet and sped on his way with a sigh of relief on the morrow. But
the historian had before him a more delicate mission—that of paying the
annual tribute for Lesbos and Lemnos to Mohammed II. Starting from Lesbos
on August 1, he found the Sultan at Adrianople, kissed hands in token of
homage and remained seated in his presence, till His Majesty’s morning
meal was over. When, however, he went to hand the money to the Sultan’s
ministers next day, they ingeniously asked him after the health of his
master. The historian replied that he was well and sent his greeting,
whereupon the Ottomans answered, that they meant the old prince. Doukas
explained that Dorino had been dead 40 days, and that his successor
had already been practically prince for six years, during which time
he had once or twice come in person to do homage and congratulate the
Great Turk. The ministers thereupon cut short the conversation with the
remark that no one had the right to assume the title of lord of Lesbos
(borne till his death by Dorino), until he had come and received his
principality from the hands of his Most Mighty suzerain. “Go therefore,”
they said, “and return with thy master; for if he come not, he knows
what the future has in store for him.” The terrified envoy hastened back
to Lesbos, and set out with Domenico and several leading men of both
races in the island to do homage to Mohammed. The Sultan had, however,
meanwhile changed his headquarters, for the plague was then ravaging
Thrace, and it was not till the Lesbian deputation reached the Bulgarian
village of Zlatica that they came up with him. After the usual _bakshîsh_
to the influential Pashas, Mahmûd and Said Achmet, they were admitted to
the presence, and Domenico humbly kissed the hand of his suzerain. But on
the morrow a message was conveyed to Domenico, that the Sultan wished to
have the island of Thasos. Argument was useless, and the island, which
had belonged for some 20, or perhaps even 35, years to the Gattilusj,
was ceded to Mohammed. This sacrifice only whetted the appetite of the
Sultan; on the morrow a second message announced that the tribute for
Lesbos would be doubled. At this Domenico plucked up courage to reply,
that, if the Sultan wished to take the whole of Lesbos, it was in his
power to do so; but that to pay twice the previous tribute was beyond
its present ruler’s resources. At the same time, he begged the Sultan’s
ministers to intervene on his behalf. They represented the facts to their
master, and the latter agreed to a compromise, by which Lesbos should
thenceforth pay 4000 gold pieces, instead of 3000. Then, at last they
decked Domenico with a gold-embroidered robe and his companions with
silken garments; the Lesbians signed the oath of allegiance and set out
on their homeward journey, “thanking God, who had delivered them out of
the hands of the monster.”

But the year was not destined to close without further losses to the
Gattilusj. While the deputation was still at Philippopolis, a second
Turkish fleet, under Junis, set out to attack the Genoese colony of
Chios. Off the Troad a storm arose, in which several of the Turkish
vessels perished, while the rest of the fleet, except the flagship, took
refuge in the harbour of Mytilene, where Nicolò was then representing his
absent brother. It had been one of the treaty obligations of the lords of
Lesbos, ever since they had been vassals of the Sultan, to warn the Turks
who inhabited the opposite mainland between the mouth of the Kaïkos and
the town of Assos, of the approach of Catalan corsairs, and the Gattilusj
were bound to pay compensation for any loss caused by negligence in
performing this service. Now it chanced that the scout, employed on this
business, sailed into the harbour while the Turks were there, followed
by the missing Turkish flagship. The admiral, a very different man from
his predecessor, requited Nicolò Gattilusio’s generous hospitality by
demanding that this vessel with all on board should be given up to him
as a prize, including the wife of a very distinguished member of the
Chian Chartered Company, Paride Giustiniani Longo, with all her jewelry.
The lady in question was none other than Domenico’s mother-in-law, whom
he had invited to Lesbos to keep his wife company while he was away—for
Domenico’s love for his wife was proverbial, and it is narrated of him
that he could never bear to be out of her sight and even shared her bed
when she was afflicted with leprosy. Nicolò protested that the vessel
was his brother’s and that the wealthy Chian dame had not been on board
but had already been long in the island. At this, the Turkish commander
complained to the Sultan, and sailed for Foglia Nuova, of which Paride
Longo was then governor for the Chian Company. Arrived there, he summoned
the governor and the chief men of the place to appear before him. Such
was their alarm, that even before his summons arrived they had started
to meet him, only to hear the Sultan’s written orders that they should
all be imprisoned and their city levelled with the ground, unless they
surrendered the fort. The citizens, without attempting to argue or reply,
at once admitted the Turks; the Genoese merchants were plundered and led
on board; the names of all the citizens were taken down, about a hundred
of their children carried off, and a Turkish guard placed in the fort.
Thus on October 31, 1455, fell the Genoese colony of Foglia Nuova, the
old possession of the Zaccaria and of the Cattaneo families, and then for
a century a dependency of the _maona_ of Chios.

When Domenico returned home and learnt from his brother what had
occurred, he sent Doukas to plead the case at Constantinople. The Lesbian
envoy’s arguments and appeals to justice were, however, all in vain;
Mohammed gave Domenico the alternative of paying 10,000 gold pieces or
of war; and, when Doukas resisted this monstrous ultimatum, secretly
despatched one of his servants to take Foglia Vecchia, which had been
held by the Gattilusj of Lesbos ever since 1402 at least. This, their
sole possession on the Asian main, was seized on December 24, 1455. As
soon as the Sultan received the news of its capture, he ordered Doukas to
be sent away free and declared the question settled. Well might Domenico,
after this experience, write urgently to Genoa for succour[612].

It was now the turn of the younger branch of the Gattilusj. Palamede
of Ænos had died in 1455; and, as his elder son Giorgio had predeceased
him[613] in 1449, he had bequeathed his dominions to his second son,
Dorino II, and to Giorgio’s widow and her children. While Giorgio was
still alive, his father had given him all his estates, except his Lesbian
property, which was the share of Dorino II, and even after Giorgio’s
death, his widow and family had a preference in the old lord’s will,
as representing the first-born. No sooner, however, was Palamede dead
than Dorino, defying the dictates alike of justice and prudence, seized
the whole of the estate. In vain Giorgio’s widow and his own advisers
implored him not to drive her to appeal to the judgment-seat of the
Sultan, his suzerain. Finding her arguments useless, she begged her uncle
to lay her case before Mohammed, and that undiplomatic envoy, anxious to
punish Dorino even at the price of annexation to Turkey, depicted the
usurper as a faithless vassal, who was conspiring with the Italians,
collecting arms, hiring soldiers, and preparing to increase the garrisons
of Ænos and the two islands with the object of proclaiming his complete
independence. His advocacy found a willing hearer, for Mohammed coveted
Ænos because of its favourable situation, on the estuary of the Maritza,
then navigable for a considerable distance, opposite the islands, of
which it was the natural mart, and in close proximity to the lake of
Jala Göl. Thanks to these natural advantages, to the river and lake
fisheries, and above all to its valuable salt-beds, which supplied all
Thrace and Macedonia, Ænos was then a very rich city, from which Palamede
had received 300,000 pieces of silver. It was true, that two-thirds of
the proceeds of the salt-beds and of the other revenues were already
handed over to the Sultan; but it was suggested by the people of the
neighbouring towns of Ipsala and Feredchik that the Gattilusj did not
administer the salt-works honestly, while they gave refuge at Ænos to
fugitive Turkish slaves.

Mohammed resolved to act at once. Despite the terrible Balkan winter,
which made havoc with his troops, he left Constantinople on January 24,
1456, and marched against Ænos, while Junis with the fleet menaced it
from the sea. Dorino was absent in Samothrace, whither he had gone to
spend the winter in Palamede’s castle; and his subjects, thus left to
themselves, made no attempt at resistance. They sent a deputation of
leading citizens to the Sultan’s headquarters at Ipsala, and surrendered
the city on condition that no harm was done to its inhabitants. Mohammed
received them kindly, granted some of their requests, and sent Mahmûd
Pasha back with them to take over the town. On the next day he came in
person, carried off all the silver, gold and other valuables, which he
found in Dorino’s palace and plundered the houses of that prince’s absent
suite. Then, after a three days’ stay, during which he organised the
future administration of the place and appointed a certain Murad as its
governor, he marched away, taking 150 children, the flower of the youth
of Ænos, with him, and entrusting Junis with the annexation of Samothrace
and Imbros, the maritime dependencies of that city.

The Turkish admiral, on his arrival at Imbros, summoned Kritoboulos
the historian, whose personality and opinions were already well-known
at the Turkish court, and made him governor in the room of Dorino’s
representative, at that time apparently Joannes Laskaris Rhyndakenos,
whom he carried off on board. Meanwhile, a vessel had been despatched to
Samothrace to fetch Dorino. But the latter, mistrusting the admiral, as
he well might, preferred to throw himself upon the mercy of the Sultan.
He therefore manned his yacht, crossed over to Ænos, and thence proceeded
to Adrianople. Mohammed received him, and promised to restore to him
his islands; but the malicious admiral, indignant at what he considered
a slight upon himself, persuaded his sovereign to give Dorino instead
some place on the mainland, on the ground that the islanders would not
tolerate him and that he would be less able to plot at a distance from
the sea. The Sultan thereupon changed his mind, and granted to the
dethroned prince the district of Zichna in Macedonia. Dorino did not,
however, long remain there; after slaying the Turkish officials, who were
his guard of honour, he fled to Lesbos, and thence to Naxos, where he
married his cousin, Elisabetta Crispo, daughter of the late Duke, Giacomo
II, and settled down at the ducal court[614].

The Turkish annexation of Samothrace and Imbros and the appointment of a
native governor had an immediate effect upon the neighbouring island of
Lemnos. The Lemnians had had little more than two years of Gattilusian
Government, and the experience had been unfortunate, for Domenico had
entrusted their island to his brother Nicolò, against whose tyrannical
conduct they made secret complaint to the Sultan, begging him to send one
of his servants to rule over them. Mohammed gladly consented, and ordered
Junis’ successor, Ismael, to sail for Lemnos, and install the amiable
Hamza as governor. Before the Turks arrived, Domenico despatched a small
force under Giovanni Fontana and Spineta Colomboto with orders to induce
the Lemnians by promises to return to their allegiance, and failing that
to escort his brother, then encamped behind the walls of Palaiokastro,
back to Lesbos. His emissaries, however, disobeying his orders,
resorted to force, with the result that the islanders routed them with
considerable loss, and those who escaped had to content themselves with
conveying Nicolò home. When the Turkish admiral arrived, he commended
the Lemnians, landed the new governor and returned, in May, 1456, with
the Lesbian prisoners on board, to the Dardanelles. The news of what had
occurred so infuriated Mohammed against Domenico, that when in August
Doukas came with the annual tribute and begged for their release, he
commanded their heads to be cut off, and only repented when they had
actually mounted the scaffold, ordering that they should be sold, instead
of being beheaded[615].

Of the seven possessions of the Gattilusj Lesbos now alone remained;
and Genoa, which a few months earlier had been mainly concerned lest
rebellious citizens of the friendly Republic of Ancona should find
shelter in Domenico’s ports, now sent a ship with arms and 200 men to
his aid, purchased cannon and powder on his behalf, and appealed to Pope
Calixtus III and to Kings Alfonso V of Portugal and Henry VI of England
to join in a crusade against the enemy which threatened him. Meanwhile,
the Pope organised a fund for the redemption of the captives of the two
Foglie[616], plans were laid for the reconquest of the places lost, and a
certain George Dromokaïtes, a noble Greek of Lemnos, offered to deliver
that island and Imbros to Venice[617]. In the autumn of 1456 a papal
fleet under the command of Cardinal Scarampi, the Patriarch of Aquileia,
appeared in the Ægean; and, after vain attempts to make Domenico refuse
to pay his tribute and fight, annexed Lemnos without opposition, thanks
to the influence of George Diplovatatzes[618], the Greek _archon_ of
Kastro, occupied Samothrace, and took Thasos after an assault upon the
harbour fort. Imbros was, however, saved by the diplomacy of Kritoboulos,
its governor, who bribed and flattered the Cardinal’s lieutenant, a
certain “Count,” whom we may identify with the Count of Anguillara.
Garrisons were left in the three conquered islands, and the papal
commander appointed governors in the name of the Holy Father—for these
former possessions of the Gattilusj were not restored to their lawful
owners, but retained by the Holy See. Both the Venetians and the Catalans
in vain begged the Pope to give them the three islands; but, in 1459,
Pius II offered to consign them to the Bank of St George, which then
managed the Genoese colonies, on condition that it would hold them as
his vicar. The papal offer was, however, unanimously declined, from fear
of offending the Sultan, who might then attack the Black Sea colonies,
and from considerations of expense. Besides, Genoa could scarcely have
accepted Lemnos, Thasos and Samothrace without a breach of good faith
towards her own children[619].

The indignation which Mohammed felt at the capture of the Thracian
islands, he vented upon Domenico. Although Doukas, the person most
likely to know, expressly tells us that the lord of Lesbos had continued
to pay his tribute, and he had certainly not profited by the losses of
his suzerain, nevertheless the Sultan accused him of being entirely
responsible for what had occurred and the Turcophil Kritoboulos
insinuates that he and his brother Nicolò, now resident in Lesbos,
refused to send the usual tribute and harboured corsairs who preyed upon
the opposite coast and plundered Turkish merchantmen. Domenico was,
however, himself a sufferer from these raids, and had begged the Pope
to excommunicate the pirates who had injured his subjects. But Mohammed
was doubtless glad of an excuse for attacking Lesbos, and in August,
1457, sent Ismael, his admiral, with a large fleet against it. Ismael
landed at Molivos, the scene of a former Turkish defeat; and, after
ravaging all the countryside, besieged the castle. Such was the terror,
inspired by the Turks, that a detachment of the papal fleet, which had
been sent under a certain “Sergius,” perhaps Raymond de Siscar, to the
relief of Lesbos, at once weighed anchor for Chios. But the garrison
of Molivos resisted with such courage, that the Turkish commander was
forced to retire on August 9 with much loss, after venting his rage on
the defenceless portions of the island. As soon as he had gone, the papal
lieutenant returned, only to be greeted with reproaches by the justly
indignant Gattilusj. The Pope, indeed, described Lesbos as “Our island”
and calmly stated that he had only allowed its lord to retain it on
condition that he recognised the authority of the Holy See. But Domenico
wrote to the “Office of Mytilene”—a body which then existed in Genoa for
the promotion of trade with Lesbos—stating frankly that he could hold
out no longer unless Genoa helped him, and threatening, that, in case of
her refusal, he must perforce submit to some other rule. Meanwhile, he
sent envoys to the Sultan to pay his tribute and obtain peace. The Bank
of St George assured him that it would not desert him, and decided to
appoint a committee of four shareholders in the Chian Chartered Company
and two other Chians, who should raise 300 soldiers for the defence of
Lesbos at the Bank’s expense. A new duty on merchandise exported to Chios
was to defray the equipment of these men; their pay was to be provided by
Domenico, if possible; or, if he could not find the ready money, he was
to mortgage his property as security. Genoa was none too generous to her
outpost in the Levant; she calculated her Lesbian policy by the maxims of
the counting-house[620].

Domenico did not, however, live to fall by the hands of the Turks. He
had a more sinister enemy in his own household. So long as Nicolò had
been able to gratify his love of power at the expense of the unhappy
Lemnians, he was harmless to his brother; but, when his intractable
disposition had estranged the sympathies of the governed and caused the
loss of that island, the two brothers were both restricted to Lesbos,
the sole fragment of the Gattilusian dominions that remained. Nicolò was
quarrelsome and ambitious; he chafed at the inferior position which he
occupied, and resolved to usurp Domenico’s place. Accordingly, with the
assistance of his cousin, Luchino, and a Genoese named Baptista (possibly
the Baptista Gattilusio, who is described as a very influential person
at Lesbos 14 years earlier[621]), he deposed his elder brother towards
the end of 1458, and threw him into prison, on the pretext that he was
plotting to surrender the island to the Turks. Soon afterwards the
usurper strangled his prisoner, having, according to one account, first
cut off his arms so that he could no longer embrace the faithful wife who
still clung to him[622]. Her father demanded from the murderer repayment
of the sums which Domenico had received as her dowry and of those which
he had subsequently borrowed; and the Doge of Genoa threatened the
lord of Lesbos with the forcible intervention of the Republic unless
he liquidated these debts[623]. The fate of the widow is unknown; more
fortunate, however, in one respect than other ill-fated heroines of
Frankish Greece, she has given her name to the only modern poem, based
upon the mediæval history of Sappho’s island, while her bust by Mino da
Fiesole is in the National Museum at Florence[624].

The fratricide’s position was, indeed, unenviable. The papal fleet
had returned to Italy upon the death of Calixtus III in the summer of
1458, leaving the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes as vicar of the
three Thracian islands, and the new Pope, Pius II, was too busy with
the internal politics of that country to provide for their defence,
which the Bank of St George did not think it prudent to undertake, but
contented himself with founding a new Order of the Knights of St Mary
of Bethlehem with its seat at Lemnos[625]. Thus inadequately defended
by the Italians and terrified at the possible advent of the Turkish
fleet, the islanders had no option but to submit to the Sultan. Lemnos
set the example. In the winter of 1458-9, Kritoboulos, ever ready to do
the work of the Turk, entered into secret negotiations with the Lemnian
leaders for the surrender of their island. The Greeks were nothing loth,
for they found the papal yoke irksome, as it must naturally have been
to “schismatics,” and above all they feared the vengeance of Mohammed.
The Imbriote diplomatist thereupon wrote to Demetrios Palaiologos, the
Despot of Mistra, suggesting that this was the moment to crave Lemnos
and Imbros from the Sultan, which the Despot had already coveted as a
peaceful retreat, and offering to drive the Italians out of the former
island. Demetrios at once sent Matthew Asan, his brother-in-law, whose
family was, as we saw, connected with Imbros, to ask Mohammed for the
two islands. The Sultan consented, on condition that Demetrios paid 3000
gold pieces as tribute for them, and it then devolved upon Kritoboulos
to carry out his mission. Evading the Italian guard-ships, he landed in
Lemnos; his confederates at Kastro opened the gates of that fortress; the
townsfolk of Kokkinos shut up the small Italian garrison in the public
offices, till it surrendered unconditionally, whereupon Kritoboulos
told them that they could go or stay as they pleased, and sent their
Calabrian commander with presents to Eubœa. The fort of Palaiokastro, the
strongest in the island, alike by its natural position and its triple
wall of huge stones, contained provisions for a year and was commanded
by a young and resolute soldier, named Michele. When Michele received a
summons to surrender, his sole reply was a sword, drawn in blood, and an
invitation to Kritoboulos to come and take the castle by force, if he
were a man. He could not, however, trust the Greeks in the town below,
whose vines and fields Kritoboulos was careful to respect; and, when he
saw the superior forces drawn up against him, he begged for three months’
grace, till he had time to communicate with the Grand Master at Rhodes,
the papal vicar of the islands. Later on, he surrendered Palaiokastro for
1000 gold pieces, and in 1460, after the Turkish conquest of the Morea,
Lemnos and Imbros were bestowed by the Sultan upon the dispossessed
Despot, Demetrios.

The other two islands shared the fate of Lemnos. In the autumn of 1459,
Zaganos, Ismael’s successor in the command of the Turkish fleet, captured
both Thasos and Samothrace, cutting to pieces the Catalan garrison placed
by Scarampi in the former, and removing Thasians and Samothracians alike
to recolonise Constantinople. In the following year the Sultan bestowed
these two islands also, together with Ænos, upon Demetrios Palaiologos,
who thus became the heir of the Gattilusj in Thrace and the four maritime
dependencies[626]. In vain, Pius II urged Rhyndakenos, the former prefect
of the Gattilusj, to release Samothrace from its captivity. In vain, he
gave Turkish Imbros to Alexander Asan[627].

About the time that Lemnos fell, the learned Leonardo of Chios, who had
held the Archiepiscopal see of Lesbos since 1444 and was on very intimate
terms with the reigning family, was sent to ask the aid of Christendom
for that sole remaining island. The Genoese Government early in 1459
appealed to the Christian Powers and more especially to Charles VII of
France, whose viceroy, the Duke of Calabria, was then administering
Genoa, reminding them of the recent attack of the Turks upon Lesbos, of
the exiguous resources of its lord, and of the impossibility in which
the exhausted Genoese now found themselves of supporting him without
external assistance, as they had done before, against another and more
serious invasion. The fall of Lesbos, it was added, might encourage the
Sultan to direct his arms against Italy. Unfortunately this appeal met
with no response. Indeed, one of the Christian Powers, England, was at
that moment greatly incensed with the Gattilusj, owing to the piracies
of Giuliano, a celebrated corsair of that family, whose depredations on
the merchants of Bristol had caused the arrest of all the Genoese in the
country and the confiscation of their goods. Accordingly, the Genoese
Government, which had been glad to make use of him as a cousin, when
it seemed convenient, now repudiated him as a Greek and an alien. The
proceedings of this illegitimate descendant of Francesco II formed the
subject of letters to Henry VI, to the Chancellor and the Privy Seal, to
the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, to John Viscount Beaumont, the
Great Chamberlain, and Humphry Duke of Buckingham. Indeed, it was owing
to Giuliano Gattilusio, that “the office of English affairs” was founded
at Genoa[628].

The new lord of Lesbos, as one Christian state after another fell, became
more urgent in his requests for help, for he knew that even the payment
of tribute would not save him. In 1460 he begged that the former practice
might be revived of having a board of four commissioners in Chios, who
could send 300 men to the relief of Lesbos, whenever the Sultan was
preparing to attack it. It was decided to re-constitute this board, but
not to impose any new duty for defraying the expense, and a certain
number of men from Camogli on the Riviera di Levante were hired for the
defence of Lesbos. Towards the close of 1461, he wrote imploring the
Republic not to forget him in his distress. But, although the French had
then been expelled from Genoa, and Lodovico de Campo-fregoso, husband
of Nicolò’s first-cousin, Ginevra Gattilusio, was once more Doge, all
the reply that he received was fair words, a futile assertion that in
the season of 1462 the Turk would be occupied by land rather than at
sea, and a promise to promote a good understanding between Lesbos and
the Chartered Company of Chios, which was apt to forget the common
danger in the private quarrels of its members—an allusion to the still
outstanding dispute between Nicolò and Paride Longo. Weakened by faction
at home, divided by rival interests abroad, the Genoese allowed Lesbos to

Mohammed’s conquest of Serbia, Greece, and Trebizond and his campaign in
Wallachia had given Nicolò a brief respite, which he had wisely employed
in strengthening the fortifications of his island-capital by deepening
the moats and heightening the ramparts. To this may be referred his Latin
inscription[630] in the castle, dated 1460. But on September 1, 1462,
the long-threatened Turkish fleet hove in sight under the command of
Mahmûd Pasha, himself a Greek, while the Sultan at the head of the land
forces advanced across the plain of Troy, the sight of which is said
to have inspired him with the belief that he was the chosen avenger of
the Trojans upon the descendants of their conquerors. Mohammed had no
difficulty in finding plausible excuses for his invasion of Lesbos. The
island had become a receptacle of Catalan pirates, who issued thence to
ravage the Turkish coast and returned thither to divide their prisoners,
assigning a goodly proportion to their patron. A reluctance to pay his
tribute and a secret understanding with the Italians formed further
accusations against him, and Mohammed chose to regard himself as the
instrument of the Almighty for the punishment of the Lesbian fratricide.

The great Turkish fleet, variously estimated at 67, 110, 125, 150, and
even 200 sail, cast anchor in the old harbour of St George, whither
Nicolò’s envoys went to enquire the justification of this attack upon
an island, whose lords had paid, ever since the death of Dorino I seven
years before, an annual tribute of 7000 gold ducats of Venice. Mahmûd
replied, that his master wanted the castle and island of Mytilene—a
demand repeated by the Sultan himself, when he crossed over from the
mainland, with the addition that he would grant Nicolò a sufficient
estate elsewhere. Nicolò replied, that he could not yield, except to
force, whereupon Mohammed allowed himself to be persuaded by Mahmûd to
return to the opposite coast, lest the Venetian fleet, then at Chios,
to which Nicolò had appealed for help, should arrive and shut him up in
the island. Thereupon the Greek renegade began the siege of the capital,
whose walls contained more than 20,000 non-combatants, men, women and
children, and were garrisoned by over 5000 soldiers, including 70 knights
of Rhodes and 110 Catalan mercenaries from Chios.

After four days’ skirmishing, which resulted in a number of the Latins
being cut off from the city and cut up by the Turks, the besiegers landed
six large cannon, whose shot weighed more than 700 lbs. apiece, and
planted them in favourable positions for bombarding the city—three at
the soap works only a stone’s throw from the walls, one at St Nicholas’,
another at St Bonne’s[631] near the place of public execution, and the
sixth in the suburbs opposite a barbican tower, defended by a monk and
a knight of Rhodes. Protected by a barrier of large stones from the
fire of the besieged, the Turkish batteries did great execution. The
tower of the Virgin and the adjacent walls were pounded till they were
nothing but a mass of ruins; the cannon of St Nicholas’ riddled the
tower of the harbour, built long before by a Gallego named Pedro de
Laranda, so that no one durst defend it, and it fell on the eighth day
into the hands of the Turks, whose red flags floated from its riven
battlements. The besiegers then concentrated their efforts on the lower
castle, called Melanoudion, and commanded by Luchino Gattilusio, who
had helped Nicolò to the throne, and whose neglect caused the loss of
this important position. It was proposed by the wiser members of his
staff to set fire to the lower castle, as they had already burnt to the
water’s edge their ships in the harbour, rather than that it should be
taken by the Turks and used as a base for attacking the upper citadel.
But Luchino boasted that he could hold the fort, and actually held it
for five days, although the Turks once climbed the walls and carried off
in triumph an Aragonese flag which had been planted there by the Catalan
corsairs. At last a force of 20,000 men carried Melanoudion by storm,
drove the defenders “like locusts” into the upper castle, and destroyed
all that they found. Terrified and breathless, with his naked sword in
his hand, Luchino rushed into the midst of the Italians, who had taken
refuge in the upper castle, and his narrative struck them with such
terror that they resolved to surrender. According to one account, Luchino
and the commander of the city had intentionally made further resistance
impossible by betraying to Mahmûd the weak points of the defences, and
by then urging Nicolò to yield and to save their heads and property. The
panic was increased by one huge mortar, whose heavy projectiles destroyed
houses and the women inside and drove the terrified defenders from the
walls to take shelter from a similar fate. Heavy sums had to be offered,
to induce men to repair the breaches; while many, in their despair, flew
to drink, and broke into the vast stores of wine and provisions, which,
if the garrison had been properly led, would have enabled Mytilene to
resist a whole year’s siege. But, though well provided with food and
engines of war, the place lacked a brave and experienced soldier, who
would have inspired the garrison with enthusiasm. Another council was
held, and two envoys were sent to inform Mahmûd, that the inhabitants
were ready to become his master’s vassals, if their heads and remaining
property were guaranteed. The Turkish commander drew up a memorandum of
the terms in writing, and swore by his girded sword and his sovereign’s
head that no harm should befall them. The Sultan, on hearing the news,
re-crossed to Lesbos, and a janissary was ordered to conduct Nicolò to
his presence. Thither the last Latin lord of Lesbos proceeded with two
horsemen, kissed the feet of his new master and tearfully handed to
Mohammed the keys of the city, which the Gattilusj had held for well-nigh
eleven decades. At the same time he pleaded that he had never violated
his oaths, never harboured Turkish slaves, but had at once restored them
to their owners; and, if he had perforce received pirates to save his own
land from their ravages, he had never furnished them with the means of
injuring that of the Turks. It was, he added, the fault of his subjects
that he had not accepted the Sultan’s generous offer at once, and “I
now,” he concluded with tears, “surrender the city and island, begging
that my lord may reward me for my good disposition in the past towards
him.” Mohammed censured him for his past ingratitude, but promised that
it should not be remembered against him. Forthwith a _subashi_ and two
men took possession of the upper castle, whence the Frankish garrison was
removed but no one else was allowed to issue. The conquerors celebrated
their success by a Bacchanalian orgie and by burning the still standing
houses of Melanoudion, while the Sultan, setting on one side the chief
men among the Franks, bade saw asunder with exquisite cruelty some 300 of
the others as pirates in one of the suburbs. Thus, it was said, he had
literally carried out their conditions, that their heads should be spared.

The other fortresses in the island—Molivos (or Augerinos), the castle
of the two SS. Theodores, and Eresos—now surrendered; for the wretched
Nicolò, by the Sultan’s commands, sent a notary with instructions under
his own seal, ordering his officers to open their gates. The countryfolk
were left undisturbed, but any suspects found there were removed;
and later on, one or two of these places were destroyed, and their
inhabitants transported, like those of the Foglie, to Constantinople. On
the second day after the occupation of the capital, a herald summoned all
the citizens to file past the Sultan’s pavilion one by one. On September
17 the sorrowful procession took place; three clerks noted down the names
of each, of the most pleasing maidens and the children several hundreds
were picked out, and the rest of the population was divided into three
classes—the worthless were left behind in the city, others were sold by
public auction on the beach, and others again driven on board ship like
so many sheep, to await slavery and fill the gaps at Constantinople.
But of the 10,000 and more who were shipped from Lesbos a part perished
on the overcrowded ships; and with brutal, if business-like precision,
all disputes as to the ownership of these human cattle were obviated by
cutting off the right ear of each corpse, before it was flung into the
deep, and removing the victim’s name from the list. Some 200 janissaries
and 300 infantry were left to garrison the city under Ali Bestami, a man
of great courage and learning.

The fleet, bearing Nicolò, Luchino, the Archbishop Leonardo, and the
rest of the captives, reached Constantinople on October 16, where some
of them received houses, or sites in one quarter of the city. The two
Gattilusj, however, were soon afterwards imprisoned in the “tower of the
French.” Mohammed disliked Nicolò for what he had done in the past, and
the _chronique scandaleuse_ of the capital attributed his feelings to
the fact that a lad attached to the Turkish court had fled to Lesbos,
abandoned Islâm, and become the favourite of Nicolò. After the fall of
Lesbos, this youth was sent as a present to the Sultan, and recognised by
his comrades, who told their master and thus rekindled his indignation.
The two prisoners, to save their lives and regain their freedom, offered
to abjure Christianity, and were duly circumcised, gorgeously apparelled
by the Sultan, and set free. But their liberty did not last long; they
were again imprisoned, and executed, Nicolò being strangled with a
bow-string, as he had strangled his own brother. His lovely sister Maria,
widow of the Emperor Alexander of Trebizond, whom Mohammed had previously
captured in Kolchis, entered the seraglio; her only son became one of the
Conqueror’s favourite pages.

Thus ended the rule of the Gattilusj in Lesbos. Had Nicolò been bolder,
had Genoa given more help, had Venice not played the part of a spectator,
the island might have been saved, or at least its capture postponed.
At the time of the siege, Vettor Capello was at Chios, and, in answer
to Nicolò’s appeal, actually set out with 29 galleys towards Lesbos;
but, although he could have burnt the Turkish fleet in the absence of
its crews, he durst not disobey his instructions, which were to avoid
giving any offence to the Sultan. Even after the capture of Mytilene,
when the people of the castle of the two SS. Theodores begged him to
accept them as Venetian subjects, he refused. Later on, when war broke
out with Turkey, Venice repented her inaction, and tried in vain to
make reparation for it. Even Genoa took the “calamity of Mytilene” with

Christendom did not, however, abandon all hope of recovering what the
Gattilusj had lost. The learned Archbishop of Lesbos, a second time the
prisoner of the Turks, wrote to Pius II, as he had written to Nicholas V
after the capture of Constantinople, a letter describing the sufferings
of his flock and begging the Pope to make peace in Italy and war upon
“the Cerberus” of the East. Pius responded by planning a new crusade,
and the Genoese suggested that its first stage should be the recapture
of Lesbos[633]. The Pope’s death ended his plans; but early in 1464 a
Venetian fleet under Luigi Loredano occupied Lemnos with the assistance
of a Moreote pirate, who bore the great name of Comnenos. This man had
descended upon the island some time before with two galleys, had captured
it from the officials who were governing it for Demetrios Palaiologos,
and had established his authority over the citadel and the old city of
Lemnos. But the pirate saw that he was not strong enough to hold his
conquest single-handed, and therefore transferred it to the maritime
Republic, which thence easily extended her sway over the rest of the
island. Venice retained Lemnos for 15 years, and five Venetian nobles
successively administered, with the title of “Rector,” this distant
outpost[634]. In April of the same year Orsato Giustiniano, Loredano’s
successor, laid siege to Mytilene, but, after six weeks spent before the
walls and two battles, in which the Venetians sustained heavy losses,
on the approach of the Turkish fleet withdrew to Eubœa with all the
Christian islanders whom he could convey, only returning to SS. Theodores
to remove a second cargo. Giustiniano died of grief at his failure, and
the Turkish sway over Lesbos, despite three subsequent attempts, had
never been broken till the Greek fleet took the island on November 22,

Two years later Vettor Capello obtained Imbros, Thasos, and Samothrace
for Venice[636], and Bernardo Natale was sent as Rector to the last-named
island. Imbros was, however, retaken by the Turks in 1470, owing to the
unpopularity and incapacity of that official[637]. Lemnos resisted more
than one Turkish attack; in view of its importance as a station for the
fleet, Venice sent 200 _stradioti_ to settle there, restored the walls
of Kokkinos, and strengthened the fortifications of Palaiokastro, while
Mohammed made its cession a condition of peace. At last this island, then
inhabited by 6000 souls, or twice the population of Imbros, after having
won romantic fame by the exploits of its heroic defender, the virgin
Marulla, was ceded to Turkey by the peace[638] of 1479. At the same time,
Samothrace with its 200 islanders, and Thasos, neither of them mentioned
since their capture in 1466, were probably surrendered, and the whole
of the Gattilusj’s former realm was thus irrevocably Turkish till 1912,
with the exception of the Venetian occupation of Lemnos in 1656/7, and of
the Russian occupation of part of that island in 1770—for Ænos, although
laid in ashes by Nicolò da Canale in 1468, had not been occupied by the
Venetians, and Foglia Vecchia had repulsed his attack[639].

Even after this apparently final Turkish conquest, one member of the
family continued to cherish the remote hope that one day his ancestral
dominions might be reconquered. Dorino II of Ænos was still alive
at Genoa, and in 1488, as the sole representative of both branches
of the Gattilusj—for Nicolò II had left no children—granted to his
brother-in-law, Marco d’Oria, all his rights to their possessions in the
Levant. It was agreed, that, should Lesbos be recovered—as was hoped,
by the aid of the King of France—Dorino should nevertheless have his
father’s former estates in that island, unless Ænos, Foglia Vecchia,
Thasos and Samothrace were also recovered, in which case he should be
entitled to Ænos, Thasos and Samothrace alone and have no claim to the
Lesbian property[640]. Dorino II died childless, the last legitimate male
of his race; but the pirate Giuliano, whose depredations continued to
vex the Genoese Government[641], had progeny. Among his descendants were
perhaps the Hector Gattilusio[642] whom we find receiving a small pension
from Pope Innocent VIII, and the Stefano Gattilusio[643], who was bishop
of Melos in 1563. Other Gattilusj occur at Naxos in the seventeenth
century, and the name is reported to exist still not only there but at
Smyrna and Athens[644], although the family is extinct at Genoa. Nine
years ago a London lady claimed the Byzantine Empire as a descendant
of the Palaiologoi through the Gattilusj. The family church at Sestri
Ponente[645] was ceded by Dorino II to two other persons in 1483.

The rule of the Gattilusj has been described by a modern Greek writer
as more favourable to his fellow-countrymen than that of other
Frankish rulers. Chalkokondyles[646] praises the excellence of their
administration, and one alone of them, the fratricide Nicolò, seems
to have been unpopular. Hellenized by intermarriage with the Imperial
houses of Byzantium and Trebizond, and proud to quarter the arms of the
Palaiologoi with their own, they spoke Greek in the first generation,
and thus early came to understand the feelings of their subjects,
who scarcely regarded them as foreigners, certainly not as foreign
conquerors. Two extant Greek letters of Dorino I and Domenico attest
their familiarity with the language of their people. Moreover, they were
not so much feudal lords as prosperous merchant princes, whose wealth is
attested not only by the sums lent by Francesco II and Nicolò I, but by
the extensive coinage of the Lesbian line. Coins of at least five of the
lords of Mytilene are extant, while Dorino I, whose appanage was Foglia
Vecchia before he succeeded to Lesbos, struck money for that emporium
also[647]. Yet these Genoese nobles took an interest alike in history,
literature, and archæology. Kanaboutzes wrote his commentary on Dionysios
for Palamede; in 1446, the year of Cyriacus’ visit, Leonardo of Chios,
the most famous of Lesbian divines, who owed his appointment to the
patronage of Maria Gattilusio and was selected to accompany the papal
legate, Cardinal Isidore, to Constantinople[648], wrote at the bidding
of Dorino I’s brother, Luchino, his _Treatise concerning true nobility
against Poggio_. This quaint tract took the form of a Platonic dialogue
with Luchino in the presence of the Duke of the Archipelago, and gives
us a pretty picture of Lesbian society at the time. “The prince,” we
read, “protects religion; his senate is wise, his soldiers distinguished,
and he lives in splendid state among his lovely halls, his gardens, his
fish-ponds, and his groves.” The drama, if we may argue from the presence
of an actor named Theodoricus, was patronised by Dorino[649]. Life in
Lesbos must therefore have been pleasant, if it had not been lived on the
edge of the Turkish volcano. But even in the last years of the Gattilusj
the numbers of the Latins cannot have been large, for Calixtus III united
the Archiepiscopal see of Methymna with that of Mytilene, and in 1456 the
revenues which Leonardo derived from both together did not exceed 150
gold florins[650].

The Genoese sway over Lesbos and the Thracian islands has gone the way of
all Latin rule in the Levant, of which it was so favourable a specimen. A
few inscriptions, a few coats of arms, here and there a ruined fortress,
still remind the now emancipated Greeks of their last Italian rulers.


      I. Lesbos (1355-1462).
         Francesco I 1355, July 17.
             ”    II 1384, August 6.
        [Nicolò I of Ænos regent 1384-7.]
         Jacopo 1404, October 26.
        [Nicolò of Ænos regent 1404-9.]
         Dorino I 1426/1428.
        [Domenico regent 1449-55.]
         Domenico 1455, June 30.
         Nicolò II 1458-62.
        [Turkish: 1462-1912; Greek: 1912, November 22.]

     II. Thasos (_c._ 1434 or ? _c._ 1419-55)
         ? Jacopo _c._ 1419.
         Dorino I _c._ 1434.
        [Oberto de’ Grimaldi governor 1434.]
         Francesco III 1444-_c._ 1449.
         Dorino I _c._ 1449.
        [Domenico regent 1449-55.]
         Domenico 1455, June 30-October.
        [Turkish: 1455-6; 1459-60; 1479-1912; Papal: 1456-9; Demetrios
           Palaiologos: 1460-6; Venetian: 1466-79; Greek: 1912, October

    III. Lemnos (1453-6).
         Dorino I 1453 (castle of Kokkinos from 1440).
        [Domenico regent 1453-5.]
         Domenico 1455-6.
        [Nicolò II governor 1455-6.]
        [Turkish: 1456; 1459-60; 1479-1656; 1657-1912; Papal: (autumn)
           1456-8; Demetrios Palaiologos: 1460-4; Comnenos 1464; Venetian:
           1464-79; 1656-7; Russian (except Palaiokastro): 1770; Greek:
           1912, October 22.]

     IV. Foglia Vecchia (_c._ 1402-55).
         With Lesbos: _c._ 1402-1455, December 24. (For several years
           _c._ 1423-8 appanage of Dorino I.) [Turkish: 1455-1919;
           Greek: 1919- .]

      V. Ænos (_c._ 1384-1456).
         Nicolò I _c._ 1384.
         Palamede 1409.
         Dorino II 1455-6.
        [Turkish: 1456-60; 1468-1912; 1913, July 15; Demetrios Palaiologos:
           1460-8; Bulgarian: 1912, Nov. 29-1913, July 15; Turkish:
           1913-20; Greek: 1920- .]

     VI. Samothrace (_c._ 1431-56).
         Palamede _c._ 1431.
        [Joannes Laskaris Rhyndakenos governor 1444-55.]
         Dorino II 1455-6.
        [Turkish: 1456; 1459-60; 1479-1912; Papal: (autumn) 1456-9;
           Demetrios Palaiologos: 1460-6; Venetian: 1466-79; Greek:
           1912, November 1.]

    VII. Imbros (1453-6).
         Palamede 1453.
         Dorino II 1455-6.
        [Joannes Laskaris Rhyndakenos governor.]
        [Turkish: 1456-60; 1470-1912; Demetrios Palaiologos: 1460-6;
           Venetian: 1466-70; Greek: 1912, October 30-1914; Turkish:
           1914-20; Greek: 1920- .]

Genealogical Tree:

(The rulers of Lesbos are denoted by Roman, those of Ænos by Arabic

                 |                                   |
       (I) Francesco I = Maria Palaiologina   (1) Nicolò I
             (II) Francesco II
          |            |                    |
  (III) Jacopo  (2) Palamede         (IV) Dorino I
                       |                     |
                       |          +----------+------+--------------+
                       |          |                 |              |
                (3) Dorino II  Francesco III  (V) Domenico  (VI) Nicolò II



From the second half of the fifteenth down to the close of the
seventeenth century, a large portion of what now forms the kingdom of
Greece formed an integral part of the Turkish Empire, and from the second
part of the sixteenth century some of the Ionian Islands and a few of the
Cyclades were alone exempt from the common lot of Hellas. Thus, for the
first time since the Frank conquest, a dead level of uniformity, broken
only by the privileges of certain communities, prevailed in place of the
feudal principalities, whose fortunes occupied the annals of the previous
two centuries and more. Greece, so often divided against herself, had
found unity in the death of her independence; and the victorious Turks,
like the conquering Romans, had obliterated the divisions and the
liberties of the Greek States at the same moment. Once more the whole
Greek world, with few exceptions, depended upon a foreign ruler, whose
capital was at Constantinople, and whose officials, like those of the
Byzantine Emperors, administered the affairs of his Greek subjects. There
is, however, a considerable difference between the two periods into which
the Turkish government of Greece was divided. During the first period,
down to the Venetian conquest of the Morea, towards the close of the
seventeenth century, Turkey was a flourishing and conquering Power—a
danger to Europe, and a strong State. During the second period, from
the Turkish re-conquest of the Morea down to the close of the War of
Independence, Turkey was declining, slowly but surely, in all save the
one art which she has never lost even in her political dotage, the art of
fighting. For, like the Roman and the Briton, the Turk has ever been a
good soldier, but, unlike those two great unintellectual peoples, many of
whose qualities he shares, he has never been a good administrator; even
when his arrangements have been excellent in theory, as they often are,
they have frequently proved to be miserable in practice.

The political organisation of Greece under the Turks was indeed
comparatively simple. Before the conquest of the Ægean Islands all their
Greek dominions were comprised within the jurisdiction of the _beglerbeg_
(“lord of lords”) of Rumili, who resided at Sofia[651], and were divided
into seven _sandjaks_, so called from the “flag” which was the emblem of
each large territorial sub-division, and which recalled the essentially
military character of all Turkish arrangements. These seven _sandjaks_,
after the year 1470, when the capture of Eubœa rounded off the Greek
conquests of Mohammed II, were Salonika, Negroponte, Trikkala, Lepanto,
Karlili, Joannina, and the Morea. Negroponte included not only the
island of Eubœa, but also Bœotia, and Attica. Its capital was Chalkis,
and Athens, Thebes and Livadia, were among its principal cities. Karlili
comprehended Ætolia and Akarnania, as well as Prevesa, and derived
its name from Carlo II Tocco, whose dominions there had fallen to the
Turks. The capital of the Morea fluctuated between Corinth, Leondari,
and Mistra, down to 1540, when the capture of Nauplia from the Venetians
made that place the residence of the Turkish Pasha. In 1574, when the
conclusion of the war of Cyprus had practically extinguished Latin rule
in the Levant, a different arrangement obtained. Salonika, Trikkala,
Joannina, Patras and Mistra formed five _sandjaks_ under the _beglerbeg_
of Rumili; while the capitan pasha, in his capacity of _beglerbeg_ “of
the sea,” ruled over the seven insular _sandjaks_ of Lemnos, Lesbos,
Rhodes, Chios, the former Duchy of Naxos (except a few islands bestowed
on the favourite Sultana), Santa Maura (with Prevesa), and Negroponte,
besides the three maritime _sandjaks_ of Nauplia, Lepanto and Kavalla.
And, after the conquest of Crete, three more _sandjaks_, named from
Candia, Rethymno, and Canea, were carved out of “the great Greek

Each _sandjak_ was in turn sub-divided into a number of _cazas_, or
sub-districts, of which there were twenty-three in the Morea. It is
now supposed that from 1470 to about 1610, Athens was the chief place
of a _caza_ of the _sandjak_ of Negroponte. Just as each _sandjak_ was
governed by a Pasha or _sandjak-beg_, so each _caza_ was administered by
a lesser magnate known as a _voivode_ or _subashi_, who was assisted by a
judge, or _cadi_.

True to the Turkish feuded system, which had been organised in Thessaly
at the end of the fourteenth century, and extended to Akarnania and
Ætolia on the fall of the Tocchi, Mohammed II distributed Central
Greece and the Morea in fiefs to his veteran warriors. These fiefs were
of two sorts: the larger fief, known as a _zaimet_, entailed upon the
holder the obligation to provide fifteen horsemen; the smaller, called
a _timar_, involved the equipment of only two[653]. The standard of the
_sandjak-beg_ formed the rallying point of all these feudal chiefs and
their horsemen in case of need. About the middle of the seventeenth
century the whole area of the present Greek kingdom on the mainland,
including Negroponte but without Macedonia and Thrace, was portioned out
into 267 _zaimets_ and 1625 _timars_, so that they would represent a
force of 7255 horsemen.

Crete, after its conquest, was similarly parcelled out into seventeen
_zaimets_ and 2550 _timars_, which would produce 5355 cavalry. At first
the timariot system was not in the nature of an hereditary aristocracy.
The _timars_ were originally life-rents only, conferred for services
rendered to the Sultan upon veteran warriors, who might be called upon
to appear with their retainers at the call of their liege lord. In the
golden age of Turkish administration—if such a phrase can be applied to
any Turkish institution—the son of _timariot_ was entrusted with a large
fief such as his sire had held only after he had proved his capacity
as the holder of a small one. But, like all political systems, the
Turkish began by making capacity the sole test of office, and ended by
making office the reward of favourites. Gradually the _beglerbeg_ was
allowed to bestow these fiefs, which had formerly been in the Sultan’s
gift, and that official naturally rewarded his own creatures, just as
a British Prime Minister, allowed by weak or preoccupied monarchs to
dispense patronage at his will, bestows the honours of the peerage and
the baronetage upon subservient, or perhaps recalcitrant, supporters.
Thus, in the second half of the seventeenth century, it was the custom
of Romania that, if a holder of a _zaimet_ or _timar_ died in the wars,
his fief was divided into as many portions as he had sons, unless the
rent was no more than 3000 aspers, in which case the whole went to the
eldest son. But if the holder died in his bed, his lands fell to the
_beglerbeg_, who could bestow them upon the dead man’s heirs, give them
to any of his own servants, or sell them, as he pleased[654].

The Turks did not interfere with the Greek municipal system, which
had existed for centuries before the Ottoman conquest. As far back as
the Byzantine times we find that the Hellenic communities employed
representatives, not necessarily drawn from their own members, at the
Imperial Court at Constantinople. Thus, in the eleventh century, Michael
Psellos represented the Ægean Islands at the capital[655]; but, in some
cases, instead of having a permanent representative, whose functions
may be compared with those of the agents-general of our self-governing
colonies, a local deputation occasionally visited Constantinople to
lay its grievances before the central authorities. In the Venetian
island of Tenos a similar practice prevailed; there a committee was
selected from among the primates to watch over the administration of the
Venetian officials. The Turks, like the Romans, were quite willing that
their Greek subjects should continue to enjoy local self-government.
Accordingly, they allowed the communes to promote commerce and found
schools, while Greek naturally continued to be the official language
of the communal authorities. There was no hard and fast rule for their
election, and no stereotyped title by which they were known all over
Greece. But, generally speaking, every town and even every hamlet had
its own Greek officials, elected by the Christian inhabitants, or by
some portion of them, in a more or less indirect fashion, and variously
styled “elders of the parish,” “elders,” _archontes_, “primates,” or,
in Turkish, _khodja-bashis_. Thus, at a late period of the Ottoman
domination, in the island of Psara the whole community met annually
for the election of forty electors, who in turn elected four “elders
of the parish”; at the same period, in the island of Spetsai, the
five “primates” were elected annually by the ships’ captains and the
well-to-do citizens; while Hydra, during a large part of the eighteenth
century, was administered by its priests, with whom two laymen were
associated. The Morea had certain special municipal privileges. It was
permitted to send two or three “primates” to Constantinople, who were
able to mitigate the exactions of the Turkish Pashas by the influence
which they acquired during their stay there. Moreover, each province of
the peninsula used to send two prominent Greeks once or twice a year to
the seat of the Pasha to confer with him upon the affairs of the Morea.
Sometimes, both there and in Thessaly, municipal office descended as a
heritage from father to son, and too often the feuds, which continued to
distinguish the Moreote _archontes_, descended, with their dignities,
to their descendants. Their duties were to administer the local affairs
of their communities, to act as arbitrators in civil cases, to levy
local rates, to manage the local treasury, and to act as protectors and
advisers of the oppressed. Sometimes they carried out this last duty
without flinching, sometimes, however, their conduct earned them the name
of “a kind of Christian Turks[656].”

Both the law of Islâm and the laws of human nature forbade the wholesale
conversion of the conquered to the faith of the conquerors. But Mohammed
II, who spoke Greek and knew the Greeks well, recognised, like the wise
statesman that he was, the possibility of managing his Christian subjects
through the medium of their own Church. The Turks were a foreign garrison
in a hostile country, and in the middle of the fifteenth century it was
quite possible that some Catholic power might undertake a new crusade
for the deliverance of the East. The bitter hatred of the Eastern for the
Western Church provided the astute Sultan with a powerful incentive for
the toleration and even patronage of the Orthodox religion. He saw that,
if he favoured the one branch of Christendom, he would prevent its union
with the other, and he made a most politic selection of an instrument
for the accomplishment of his plan. One of the strongest opponents of
the union had been Georgios Scholarios, a man of great influence with
the Orthodox and of equal unpopularity with the Catholics. As soon as
Constantinople had fallen, the Sultan caused diligent search to be made
for this uncompromising champion of Orthodoxy, and about the end of the
same year gave orders for his election as Œcumenical Patriarch, according
to the time-honoured forms which the Byzantine Empire had recognised for
centuries. Gennadios II, as the new Patriarch was styled, was invited
to a banquet by the Sultan, who showed him the greatest attention,
and accompanied him as far as the courtyard of the palace, where he
assisted him to mount his horse. A _berat_ of the Sultan determined the
position, powers, and privileges of Gennadios and his successors. The
Œcumenical Patriarch was declared to be “untaxable and irremovable,”
and the document, of which only a summary has come down to us in the
history of Phrantzes[657], is said to have prohibited the conversion of
Christian churches into mosques. The loss of the original _berat_ is
of less importance because subsequent rescripts modified these notable
concessions, while in practice the privileges of the Patriarch came to
be far less respected than in theory. To him was assigned the supreme
administration of all churches and monasteries, the right of deposing
archbishops and bishops, and the highest criminal jurisdiction over all
the clergy. He decided all matrimonial questions, and other suits, in
which the parties, being both Christians, preferred his judgment to that
of the Turkish courts. He could levy dues for the needs of the Church on
laity and clergy alike, and it was provided that existing ecclesiastical
property should be respected, and that no Christian should be forced
to embrace Islâm. But in these respects, as well as with regard to the
fiscal exemption and irremovability of the Patriarch, the ecclesiastical
history of the Greeks under the Turks shows us a gradual falling off from
the original intentions of Mohammed II. A later _berat_ laid it down that
the Patriarch could be deposed for one of three reasons—oppression of
his flock, transgression of the ecclesiastical law, and treason towards
his sovereign—elastic terms, capable of a wide interpretation. Mohammed
II himself deposed the Patriarch Joseph I, for refusing to sanction the
marriage of the widow of the last Duke of Athens with George Amoiroutses,
the traitor who had been accused of handing over Trebizond to the Turks,
and who had a wife still living. From the Turkish conquest to the present
day 69 Patriarchs have been deposed, several more than once, 20 were thus
removed in the seventeenth century, and the Sultans at times inflicted
punishments on the Patriarchs, which recall the horrible mutilations of
Byzantine times. From the moment of the conquest, Christian churches,
beginning with St Sophia, were converted into mosques, and the seat
of the Patriarchate, fixed by Mohammed II at the Church of the Holy
Apostles, was successively moved, as church after church became a sacred
place of Islâm, till it reached, in the beginning of the seventeenth
century, its present home in the Phanar. All over Greece the same
process went on, wherever the Mussulmans were numerous, and we have seen
at Salonika, Livadia and Larissa buildings which have served first as
churches and then as mosques. Certain dues, too, were fixed, which the
Patriarch was expected to pay; and soon _bakshîsh_, the bane of Turkey,
began to affect Patriarchal elections. This introduction of simony into
the Greek Church was due to the intrigues of the Greeks themselves. After
the fall of the empire of Trebizond in 1461 many of the Trapezuntine
grandees sought careers at Constantinople. Among other posts they coveted
that of the Patriarch, and as early as 1467 they conspired with that
object against Markos II, the fourth successor of Gennadios[658]. They
succeeded in securing his deposition and the election of one of their
own party by promising that he would pay an annual sum of one thousand
gold pieces and forego the allowance which his four predecessors had
received from the government. The evil, thus soon introduced, spread
apace. Two years later, an offer of double the sum paid by the Patriarch
ensured his removal in favour of a wealthier candidate. Then the annual
payment was raised to three thousand gold pieces, and large sums came
to be spent in bribes to courtiers, eunuchs, janissaries and the female
favourites of the Sultans, the money being ultimately raised out of the
clergy and laity. Thus, the history of the Patriarchate resembles that
of the mediæval Papacy in that the same means were employed to ensure an
election. After the Reformation, Jesuits and Protestants, each anxious
to have at the head of the Greek Church a man favourable to themselves,
joined in the bidding, and between the years 1623 and 1700 there were
about fifty Patriarchal elections, most of them won by bribery. The debts
of the Patriarchate became enormous, as a consequence of this almost
constant expenditure, and the necessity thus imposed upon the Patriarch
of selling all the chief ecclesiastical offices in his gift was one of
the main causes which made the Greek Church so unpopular in many parts of
Turkey, where the population belonged to another race than the Hellenic.
The history of Roumania abounds with examples of the exactions of Greek
bishops, who sought to make the wretched people make up to them what they
had spent on the purchase of their sees.

Another cause tended, in course of time, to make the Turkish Government
less careful of the Patriarch’s privileges and dignities. He had been
regarded by Mohammed II as a bulwark against the Catholic powers;
but, a century after the fall of Constantinople, Rome, distracted by
the Protestant secession, had become far less dangerous, and Venice
had lost her last possessions in the Morea, while in the seventeenth
century Spain was no longer an enemy to be feared. Moreover, France,
the “eldest daughter of the Church,” and the patroness of the Jesuits,
had become the ally of Turkey, and supported her _protégés_, who first
appeared at Constantinople in 1609, against the Œcumenical Patriarch.
Thus, finding himself in little danger from a disunited Europe and an
impotent Papacy, the Sultan could afford to modify his attitude towards
the head of the Greek Church. After 1657, the Patriarch ceased to be
installed by the Sultan in person, who was thenceforth represented by
the Grand Vizier, and further restrictions were soon placed upon the
honours paid to him. Still, the Œcumenical Patriarch enjoyed, throughout
the Turkish domination, a great ecclesiastical and political position,
such as some of his predecessors had not held under the Byzantine Empire,
such as his successors have never held since the Church in Greece
became autocephalous, and the Bulgarian Church became independent.
In the Turkish days, he was the spiritual, and in many respects the
political, head, not only of the Greek subjects of the Sultan, but of all
the Orthodox Christians within his dominions, Bulgarians, Serbs[659],
Albanians, and Armenians of the Orthodox rite, who, as well as Greeks,
were all collectively described as _Romaîoi_—for in those days religion
and not race was the mark by which Ottoman subjects were distinguished.
Moreover, he was not only the accredited representative of the Orthodox
with the Porte, but he was also the ecclesiastical superior of all the
Orthodox communities in the Venetian dominions, and he was therefore
permitted to correspond with all those foreign powers which had subjects
of that religion. Thus, so long as Venice was a Levantine State, she
had continual relations with the Patriarch, and the Venetian bailie at
Constantinople conducted diplomatic business with him, no less than with
the Turkish government. Mohammed II, in the treaty which he concluded
with Venice in the year after the capture of Constantinople, specially
provided for the preservation to the Patriarch of all the revenues which
his predecessors had received from the Orthodox. We frequently find the
Patriarchs intervening with the Venetians on behalf of the Orthodox
inhabitants of the Venetian colonies, sometimes urging the claims of the
Greeks of Koron, Modon and Crete, sometimes successfully deprecating
the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in the Venetian possessions, and
in one case rebuking the Orthodox Cretans for their persecution of the
Jews. Nothing more clearly proves the peculiar position of the Patriarch
as the head of an _imperium in imperio_, than the fact that the Turkish
government conducted its business with him through the medium of the
_Reis-effendi_, or Minister for foreign affairs. Not without reason did
men address so powerful a personage as “master” and even “king.” We
might, indeed, compare his situation with that of the Pope since 1870.
Like the Pope, he had no territory, but his ecclesiastical sway ranged
over and beyond the dominions of the sovereign, in whose capital his seat
was fixed. Like the Pope, he negotiated with diplomatists, corresponded
with foreign governments, and combined, or identified, politics and
religion. And, like the Pope, he at times intrigued against the monarch
who had ensured him the secure exercise of his privileges within his

Although the Koran forbade the forcible conversion of the Christians,
there were various causes which swelled the ranks of Islâm. The Turks,
being but a small body of men compared with the great numbers of the
Christians, early saw that they could neither preserve nor extend their
conquests without the aid of the latter. Accordingly, just as some
Christian rulers of the East had enlisted young Turks to fight their
battles, so the Sultan Orchan, more than a century before the capture of
Constantinople, founded the terrible institution of the Janissaries, a
corps entirely recruited from that time till the middle of the sixteenth
century from Christian children who embraced the faith of the sovereign.
At the outset the numbers of these children were not less than one
thousand a year, and they were taken at the tender age of six or seven
years at the most; but later on, perhaps in the reign of Mohammed II,
a regular levy of children was ordered to be made throughout all the
subject provinces of Turkey, with a few favoured exceptions. This
tribute of Christian children, or παιδομάζωμα, as the Greeks called it,
was subsequently erected into a complete system, and became one of
the greatest engines of conversion. Every five years, or even oftener,
for the tribute came at last to be levied annually, an officer of the
Janissaries would descend with a clerk upon each district, and demand
from the head man of the place a list of all the Christian families.
Every Christian father was compelled to make a declaration of the number
of his sons and to present them for inspection. At first, only one boy
out of every five and only one out of every family were taken. Then no
proportion was observed, but the government took as many children as
it wanted, always selecting the strongest, and not even sparing the
only son of a family. The age, too, was raised to ten, fifteen, and
even more years. We can easily imagine the misery inflicted upon the
unhappy parents by a system which recalled the fabled tribute paid by the
Athenians to the Minotaur. We are told by an eye-witness that mothers
sometimes prayed God to strike their sons dead in order to save them
from enlistment. Others, in order to evade the law, would marry their
children at nine years of age; but the authorities soon disregarded these
infantile unions, and marriage was no excuse in the eyes of an arbitrary
official. There were only two ways of avoiding the payment of this
hideous blood-tax—bribery or flight into one of the Venetian colonies,
and the latter means of escape became more difficult when Venice lost
her last possessions on the mainland. It might have been thought that
this tax would have been more likely to cause a rising. Yet in the long
list of insurrections against the Turks we can recall one only, that
of 1565, which is specially ascribed to this reason, and that was an
Albanian and not a Greek agitation[660]. Moreover, as time went on, and
the Janissaries became more pampered and more powerful, it was esteemed
by many a blessing rather than a curse that their sons should serve in
the corps. The Venetian bailie at Constantinople in the middle of the
sixteenth century expressly says that the tribute of children had by that
time come to be regarded as a special favour enjoyed by the Christians,
who were thus able to provide their sons with an easy and comfortable
profession! We even hear of Mussulman parents so anxious to share in
this singular privilege that they lent their children to the Christians
so that they might be enrolled as such among the Janissaries. But the
loss to Hellenism and to Christianity through the tribute of children
was enormous. If we remember that for two centuries the Janissaries were
exclusively recruited from the Christians, and that the latter were
chiefly to be found in European Turkey, and if we take into consideration
that the tribute children were not only the strongest members of
their respective families, but were also prohibited by the original
constitution of the corps from marrying, for the Janissaries, like the
Zulu army of Cetewayo, were a celibate body, we may form some idea of
what a drain the παιδομάζωμα was upon the actual and possible resources
of Eastern Christianity. A modern Greek historian[661] estimates at
about a million the number of Christian children taken to serve in the
corps during the first two centuries of its existence. At last, however,
it fell into disuse, and in the seventeenth century ceased to exist. A
variety of causes contributed to the decline of an institution which had
so greatly strengthened the Turkish army at the expense of the Christian
population. From the time when the Janissaries were allowed to marry,
they naturally desired to have their own children taken into the corps,
while others obtained admission to its privileges by bribery. On the
other hand, the Sultans came to regard the Janissaries as dangerous to
themselves, much as the Roman Emperors had found the Prætorians to be,
and were thus less anxious to have the corps recruited. The number of
conversions to Islâm had also narrowed the area of enlistment from among
the Christians; and Rycaut, writing shortly after the custom had fallen
into disuse, mentions the corruption of the officers and the carelessness
in their discipline as the cause of its decay. Accordingly we last hear
of the tribute being levied in 1676, though an isolated case is mentioned
as late as 1703[662].

Besides the tribute of Christian children, there was a further reason
for the conversion of the Greeks in the honours offered to those who
apostatised. When the Turks found themselves masters of a great European
Empire, they had neither the financial nor the diplomatic skill requisite
for conducting it. The Turkish method of keeping accounts was cumbrous,
the Turkish language is extremely difficult to write, and the Turks
resembled the British in their absolute ignorance of foreign tongues,
while treaties and diplomatic correspondence continued to be composed in
Greek. But empires are not won by linguists but by men of character, who
are easily able to find subtle intellects to do their office work for
them. The precise qualities which the Turks lacked the Greeks possessed,
and Mohammed II saw at once how useful the versatile talents of his new
subjects would be in the administration of his dominions. But there was
this difficulty, that nearly all the best educated Greeks had fled abroad
after the fall of the Byzantine Empire, and it was owing to this reason
that, during the two first centuries of the Turkish rule, the Greeks did
not, as a rule, rise higher in the Turkish service than a clerkship in
the Treasury or the Foreign Office. There was, however, even at that
period, one notable exception, the office of Grand Vizier. Of the five
Grand Viziers of Mohammed II, two were Greeks, the former of whom, Mahmûd
Pasha, was the first Christian to hold that great position. Under Bayezid
II we find two more Greeks as Grand Viziers. Suleyman the Magnificent
gave that post to two others, and later on one Grand Vizier was the son
of a Greek priest; while the terrible Barbarossa, the scourge of the
Christians at sea, was of Greek origin. By the middle of the sixteenth
century the Venetian bailie at Constantinople could write that the great
places in the Sultan’s service usually fell to the Christians, and the
Turks complained that the children of the poor _rayah_ were put over
their heads.

But for a long time these mundane advantages could only be obtained by
apostasy, and thus the lukewarm Christian had strong incentives to turn
Mussulman. But in Greece there were fewer conversions than among the
Slavs of Bosnia and the Herzegovina; and when, about the middle of the
seventeenth century, the Turkish Government relaxed the strictness of
its policy, and abolished religious tests for certain important offices
of state, the Greeks were able to gratify a laudable ambition without
abandoning the religion of their fathers. By that time education had
revived among the Greeks of the capital, so that the lack of qualified
Hellenes, which had been felt so acutely immediately after the conquest,
no longer existed. It was then that, for the first time, a Greek was
appointed Grand Dragoman of the Porte in the person of Panagiotes
Nikouses, who conducted the negotiations for the surrender of Candia
on behalf of the Turks. From the close of that century down to the War
of Independence most of his successors in that post were Greeks[663].
Similarly, the position of Dragoman of the Fleet was usually held by a
Greek, and the island of Paros has still many monuments of the family of
Mavrogenes, two of whose members conducted the naval negotiations of the
Capitan Pasha. One of them, Nicholas Mavrogenes, rose from that rank to
be Prince of Wallachia; and it is scarcely necessary to remind those who
have studied Roumanian history, that in the eighteenth and the first part
of the nineteenth century the two thrones of Moldavia and Wallachia were
occupied by Greeks, and the two Danubian principalities were regarded
as the happy hunting-ground of the Phanariotes of Constantinople. There
was even an idea of erecting the Morea into a Christian principality
on similar lines; and, though this was never carried out, the Morea
was entrusted to a native governor. But the advancement of the Greeks
in the Turkish service, though always beneficial to the individuals
concerned and sometimes to their employers, was of doubtful value to the
Greek national cause. When their private and racial interests clashed,
the Greek officials almost always sacrificed the latter, and, indeed,
it would have been an Utopian idea to expect the virtues of heroes and
saints from the descendants of men who for centuries had been under
foreign domination. It is easy for English historians, belonging to
a race which has never known what an alien yoke implies, to demand
impossible qualities from a down-trodden people, and we are fond of
trying foreign nations by an ideal standard—which fortunately we never
apply to our own public affairs. But, after all allowances have been
made, it must be confessed that some of the worst blows to Hellenism,
such as the loss of Eubœa and that of Crete, were dealt by the Greeks
themselves, just as the Bosnian, Cretan and Albanian apostates have
ever been the bitterest enemies of the Christians, and the warmest
supporters of Turkish rule, so long as it permitted them to tyrannise
over their own fellow-countrymen. In other words, religion replaced all
racial sympathies, and a Mussulman Slav or Cretan was first a Mussulman
and then a Slav or Cretan. Even in our own time, at the crisis of the
Greco-Turkish war of 1897, a Greek was trying to counteract Greek
interests in the capacity of Turkish ambassador in London; and the show
statesmen of the Porte, whose virtues and culture are always exhibited
for the edification of Europe, are invariably Greeks. Samos, too, with
its Greek prince, was, till 1912, an interesting survival of the former
practice of sending Greeks to rule beyond the Danube in the interest of
the Sultan.

On two occasions, under Selim II, in 1514, and in the early days of the
Candian war, in 1646, it was actually proposed to exterminate all the
Christians of Turkey. But wiser counsels happily prevailed; and towards
the close of the seventeenth century, as we saw, the policy of the
Turkish government was to preserve, rather than further diminish, the
numbers of its Christian taxpayers. By that time fears were felt lest the
Christians should continue to dwindle away, and a taxable infidel seemed
a more valuable asset than a less remunerative believer in the true faith
of Islâm. Accordingly, in 1691, a first serious attempt was made to
secure the Christians against exactions by the _Nizam-djedid_[664], or
“new system,” which commanded the provincial governors to levy no other
impost than the _haratch_, or “capitation-tax,” from them. Originally,
the only fiscal disadvantages of the Christians, besides the blood-tax
of their children, had been this _haratch_, which was payable by all
unbelievers over the age of ten years, except priests, old men, and the
blind, the maimed, and the paralytic. A Christian had also to pay on all
imports and exports twice the duty levied upon a Mussulman. But, as is
still the case in Turkey, the hardships of taxation arose not so much
from its legal amount as from its illegal collection. Thus, in 1571, we
hear of the incredible extortions suffered by the Christian subjects
of the Sultan, who were mostly so deeply sunk in poverty and misery
that they scarce durst look a Turk in the face, and who only cultivated
their lands sufficiently for their own wants and for the payment of
_haratch_, knowing that the Turks would seize any surplus that was
over[665]. However, the _Nizam-djedid_ represented, like the abolition
of the tribute of children, a new and humaner policy, which resulted in
the diminution of apostasy. From that time onward the Greeks had less
temptation to become Mohammedans; the Venetian occupation of the Morea in
the early part of the eighteenth century had the double effect of causing
many re-conversions to Christianity, and of forcing the Turks to treat
their Greek subjects better, from fear of comparisons; while, a little
later, the Russian claims to a protectorate over the Eastern Christians
further checked the movement towards Mohammedanism.

But it was not only in the numbers, but also in the quality of their
population, that the Greek provinces of Turkey suffered from the effects
of the Turkish conquest. Almost all the men of learning, nearly all the
chief families, in short the intellectual and political leaders of the
people, went into exile immediately after the fall of the Byzantine
Empire. Mohammed II did, indeed, address a proclamation in Greek to the
principal _archontes_ of the Morea, in which he promised to respect their
families and property and make them more prosperous than before[666];
but his promises had little effect in checking the general exodus of the
great Moreote families. So universal was their emigration, that only
four or five of the Peloponnesian clans, which had played the prominent
part during the mediæval period, remained behind, and there were similar
wholesale emigrations from continental Greece and Eubœa. As the leading
men all went with their relatives and followers, the drain upon the Greek
population was as serious a danger to the nation as the emigration of
the Peloponnesian peasants to America, which has lately been robbing the
land of its cultivators and causing widespread alarm in the Greek press.
Most of the exiles went, as was natural, to the Venetian possessions in
Greece, which thus became what in earlier times the Despotat of Mistra
had been to the Franks—a thorn in the side of the Turkish conqueror.
Thus, Michael Ralles, one of the most prominent of Spartan _archontes_,
and the protagonist of the first Turco-Venetian war after the conquest,
and the brothers Daimonoyannai, belonging to the great family of that
name at Monemvasia, sought homes in the colonies of the Republic in
the Morea; thus, too, Graitzas Palaiologos, the last defender of the
peninsula, entered the Venetian service. Other Greek leaders accompanied
Sophia, daughter of Thomas Palaiologos, the last Despot of the Morea,
on her marriage with the Grand Duke Ivan of Russia, and the Russian
Court soon became another favourite resort of the Peloponnesian magnates
who had known her father, and whose descendants were recruited three
centuries later by a further band of Greek refugees after the abortive
rising in the Morea[667]. Many Greeks, anxious to fight against the foes
of their own, or even those of their adopted country, became of their
own free will Venetian light horsemen, or _Stradioti_, just as others
were forced to enlist in the ranks of the Turkish Janissaries. The
researches of a learned Greek historian have thrown a flood of light upon
the constitution and exploits of that remarkable body of soldiers[668].
The name by which they were known is not derived from the Greek word
στρατιῶται (“soldiers”) but from the Italian, _strada_, and signified
that those who bore it were “always on the road”—wanderers, who had no
fixed abodes. Composed of Greeks and Albanians, the corps was entirely
recruited from the Morea, and mainly from Laconia, but the most valiant
were the men of Nauplia. Among their leaders we find many historic
Moreote names, such as those of Boua and Palaiologos, whose bearers were
descendants or relatives of the men who had fought the good fight for
the liberty of the Peloponnese. The sixteenth century was the golden age
of the _Stradioti_, who demonstrated all over Europe that Greek valour
was not extinct. One of them was even in the service of our Henry VIII,
fighting in Scotland and acting as governor of Boulogne, at that time
an English fortress. But they had their weaknesses, as well as their
good qualities, and their inordinate vanity was the favourite theme of
Venetian comedians, just as Plautus had satirised the boastfulness of
the _Miles Gloriosus_ for the amusement of the ancient Romans. Tasso has
blamed their rapacity in the line:

    Il leggier Greco alle rapine intento,

but other poets have sung of their triumphs. Indeed, there were bards in
the ranks of the “wanderers” themselves, and a whole literature of their
poems has been published, mostly written in a peculiar dialect resembling
that now spoken in Calabria, where many Greek songs are still sung by the
descendants of the numerous Epeirote families settled there after the
Turkish conquest—the third time that Magna Græcia had received a large
Greek population. One of their number, Marullus, of whom it was said
that he “first united Apollo to Mars,” wrote Latin alcaics and sapphics,
which, if not exactly Horatian, are, at any rate, as good as the ordinary
product of the sixth-form intellect. Another, Theodore Spandounis, or
Spandugino, more usefully employed his pen in the composition of a work
on the Origin of the Ottoman Emperors, with the patriotic object of
arousing the sympathy of sixteenth-century statesmen for the deliverance
of Greece. The _Stradioti_, were, however, mightier with the javelin
and the mace—their characteristic weapons—than with the pen. The long
javelin, which they carried on horseback, was a particularly formidable
weapon. Shod at both ends with a sharp iron point, it could be used
either way with equally deadly effect; and if it failed, the agile
horseman could seize the mace which hung at his saddle bow, and bring
it down on the skull of an opponent. Unfortunately, the blow was rarely
struck for Greece, and the skull was usually that of a Christian, against
whom the _Stradioti_ had no personal or national quarrel.

But Greece was deprived of her literary as well as her military men by
the Turkish conquest. For almost the first time in her long history,
all traces of learning vanished from the home of the Muses. Most of the
scholarly Greeks of that age emigrated to Italy, and, just as, in the
words of Horace, “Captive Greece led her victors captive,” after her
subjugation by the unlettered Romans, so, sixteen centuries later, she
once more spread the light of Hellenic studies in the darkest West.
Thus, the Athenian, Demetrios Chalkokondyles, became the tutor of one
of Lorenzo de’ Medici’s sons at Florence, while the Spartan, George
Hermonymos, was the first Greek who publicly taught that language in
Paris. Two other Moreotes, Demetrios Ralles, a soldier and scholar,
and Isidore, who had distinguished himself alike in theology and in
the defence of Constantinople, spent the rest of their lives in Italy,
while the historian Phrantzes wrote his history and died in peace at
Corfù under the Venetian protection. We owe much of our modern culture
to this fifteenth-century dispersion of the learned Greeks; but the
gain of Europe was the loss of Greece. It required the lapse of two
whole centuries to make up in the least degree the deficiencies in Greek
education, which the departure of all these men of light and leading
caused; and if they strove to interest European courts and scholars in
the fortunes of their abandoned country, that was of small practical
advantage compared with the loss which they inflicted upon it. Had they
remained in Greece, their influence would soon have made itself felt;
they would have obtained posts in the Turkish service, which might have
enabled them to improve the condition of their fellow-countrymen, and
their example would have prevented the complete spread of ignorance over
large parts of Greece during the first two centuries after the conquest.

The flight of these two classes—the _archontes_ and the men of
letters—made the provincial landowners, the peasants, and the parish
priests, who mostly sprang from the ranks of the latter, the sole
representatives of the Greek nation[669]. But, though Hellenism has
never suffered such enormous losses as during the Turkish period, owing
to conversions to Islâm and emigration to the West, there never was
any time in the history of Greece under alien dominion when the Greek
race remained so pure as between the Turkish conquest and the War of
Independence. There can be no doubt that, after the long era of confusion
and disorder which had followed the break-up of the Frankish power in
Greece, even the Turkish, or any other strong Government—and at that
time Turkey was strong and the Sultans could govern—must have proved a
benefit to the great mass of the population. Moreover, from the date of
the Turkish conquest the immigrations of the foreign elements, which
had occurred so often during the Byzantine and Frankish period, ceased,
and for nearly four centuries the Hellenic race was uncontaminated by
alien blood. The Franks left behind them few survivors, except in the
islands, and there were no Slavonic raids, while the Greeks, who remained
true to their faith, never intermarried with the Turks, for a Greek
woman who became the wife of a Mussulman was excommunicated. The two
religions remained absolutely apart, and, under Turkish rule, for the
first time for centuries, perhaps also for the last, there was no racial
rivalry between the Christians of the Near East. Union reigned between
Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, Albanians and Roumanians; and the doctrine of
nationalities, nowadays the keynote of Balkan politics, had no influence
under the Turkish system of that period, which treated all Christians of
whatever race as the inferiors of all Mussulmans, whether of Turkish,
Slavonic, Albanian or Greek extraction.

Education was scanty enough in the Venetian possessions, as we saw in
the case of Corfù; but it was much worse in Turkish Greece. For two
hundred years after the conquest there was practically nothing done
for the instruction of those Greeks who remained under the Turks, and
even archbishops could with difficulty write their own names correctly.
Larissa in Thessaly was then one of the wealthiest of Greek sees;
yet a Greek scholar, who examined the archiepiscopal records during
the Turkish period, found them a mass of bad grammar and remarkable
spelling. As for literature, though Sathas has compiled a work on the
Greek authors of the long period between the capture of Constantinople
and the War of Independence, only four of them, with the exception of
a few theological writers, came from Greece proper. Two of these four
were the brothers Laonikos and Demetrios Chalkokondyles, of Athens,
the former of whom wrote his history of the Turks in Italy, while the
latter composed his critical editions of Homer, Isokrates and Suidas
at Milan, where his monument may be seen in the church of Sta Maria
della Passione. The remaining two were born and bred in Nauplia, at
that time Venetian. One, Zygomalas, composed a _Political History of
Constantinople from 1391 to 1578_; the other, Malaxos, produced a
vernacular version of the _Patriarchal History_ of the same city, where
both resided for a great part of their lives. Another historical work,
the _Chronicle_ of Dorotheos, Metropolitan of Monemvasia, was written
in Moldavia. It originally contained the history of the world from the
creation down to the year 1629, but was subsequently extended to 1685,
and for two hundred years after its publication was “the only historical
text-book used by the Greek people.” At last, towards the middle of
the seventeenth century, an educational revival began in Greece, which
derived its origin from the _Flangineion_, or Greek school founded by the
Corfiote, Flangines, at Venice, in 1626, and still existing. The Hellenic
community in that city, largely composed of business men, interested—as
the Greek merchants of London, Manchester and Alexandria still are in
the intellectual, moral and material welfare of their fatherland, sent
out educational missionaries, who spread the gospel of learning in the
home of their race. One of these Greeks of Venice, a native of Joannina,
founded in 1647, two schools, one in his native town[670], another at
Athens, where the Catholic monks also taught the young Athenians about
the same period.

It must not be supposed that the Greeks acquiesced patiently in the
Turkish domination for more than three centuries. The long rule of
the Franks had had the effect of making the natives far more warlike
than they had been before the Latin conquest; but the conviction of
the overwhelming power of the Turks rendered them reluctant to rise,
except when they were sure of foreign aid. During the first few years
which followed the capture of Constantinople it seemed, indeed, as if
such assistance would be speedily forthcoming. The East expected, and
the West meditated, a new crusade against the Infidel. A Greek poet
appealed to “French and English, Spaniards and Germans,” to make common
cause for the recovery of Constantinople[671]. The many learned Greeks
who had been scattered all over western Europe by the loss of that city
endeavoured to interest the rulers of Christendom in the fate of their
fellow-countrymen. Prominent among these missionaries of Hellenism was
the famous Cardinal Bessarion of Trebizond, who was twice regarded as a
likely candidate for the Papacy, and who travelled across Europe with
untiring zeal on behalf of the conquered Greeks. The Popes of that
period—men, for the most part, of learning and statesmanlike views—warmly
supported the plan, and Pius II set out to Ancona, where the crusaders
were to assemble. But his death at that seaport caused the collapse
of the proposed expedition, and the crusade, for which such great
preparations had been made, ended in a fiasco.

For 80 years after the Turkish conquest Venice continued to keep a
foothold in the Morea, and consequently Greece became from time to time
the scene of Turco-Venetian wars, for the Sultans naturally desired to
round off their Greek territories by the acquisition of the remaining
Venetian colonies upon Greek soil. The first of these wars, lasting,
more or less continuously, from 1463 to 1479, led to the temporary
capture of the lower town of Athens by Vettor Capello in 1466—the second
occasion on which that famous city had fallen into Venetian hands. It is
characteristic of Turkish toleration, that at that time the heretics,
known as the _fraticelli della mala opinione_, whom in that very year
Pope Paul II was persecuting and imprisoning in the castle of Sant’
Angelo[672] and whose church may still be seen on Monte Sant’ Angelo
between Poli and Casape in the Roman Campagna, were living quietly at
Athens. For more than a century Athens disappeared from the notice of
the western world, but a Greek chronicle in the library of Lincoln
College, Oxford, informs us that seven severe plagues afflicted the
city between 1480 and 1554, and that the aqueduct was begun in 1506. We
know, too, of the existence of three Metropolitans of Athens during the
first century of Turkish rule, and somewhat later an Athenian became
Œcumenical Patriarch. But the honour of having momentarily re-occupied
Athens was far outweighed in the minds of the practical Venetians by the
definite loss of Argos and Negroponte during this war, while the Greeks
had been the chief sufferers whichever side was victorious. The next
Turco-Venetian war, which began in 1499 and was closed by the treaty of
1502-3, yet further diminished the colonies of Venice, involving the loss
of Lepanto, her last outpost on the mainland north of the Isthmus, and of
Modon, Koron and Navarino, in the Morea, where Nauplia and Monemvasia,
with the castles depending upon them, alone remained. The thirty years’
peace which followed enabled Greece to recover somewhat from the ravages
of the late struggle, while patriotic Greek exiles, like Markos Mousouros
and Joannes Laskaris in vain tried to interest the powers in a fresh
crusade for their deliverance. Charles V was not the man to liberate
Greece for the sake of those ancient heroes and sages, whose names
Laskaris invoked in an eloquent speech, and when, in 1532, war broke
out between him and the Sultan, he showed more anxiety to damage the
Turks than to benefit the Greeks, who paid dearly for the triumphs of
the Genoese admiral, Andrea Doria. The re-capture of Koron (like that of
Modon by the Knights of St John in the previous year) merely led to its
abandonment and the compulsory emigration of its unwilling inhabitants
to Sicily and Naples. Then, in 1537, came the Turco-Venetian war, which
was destined to cost the Republic Ægina, Mykonos, the Northern Sporades
and her last surviving colonies in the Morea. For nearly 150 years after
the disastrous peace of 1540 Venice did not own an inch of soil on the
mainland of Greece, except the Ionian dependencies of Parga and Butrinto,
but of her insular dominions Cyprus, Crete, Tenos and six Ionian islands
still remained.

For the next thirty years after the disappearance of the Venetian flag
from the Morea, the Greeks were undisturbed by further fighting on the
mainland, though learned men continued to make appeals to Europe on their
behalf. The fall of the Duchy of Naxos in 1566 and the capture of Chios
from the _maona_, or Chartered Company, of the Giustiniani of Genoa, in
the same year yet further diminished the influence of the Latins in the
Levant; but it was not till Selim II attacked the (since 1489) Venetian
island of Cyprus in 1570, that Greece once more became the theatre of a
European war. The first operations of the Venetians were directed against
the coast opposite Corfù and against a fort which the Turks had newly
constructed to command the Mainate harbour of Porto delle Quaglie, where
the Turkish galleys could wait and intercept the Venetian vessels on
their way to Cyprus. Thanks to the aid of the Mainates, ever ready for a
fight, the Venetian commander was able to capture this strong position.
But he found it necessary to blow it up, as he could not retain it,
and sailed for the island of Andros, captured by the Turks four years
before, whose Greek inhabitants suffered more than the garrison from the
excesses of his soldiers[673]. Meanwhile, the Republic had been working
hard to form an alliance against the Sultan. At last, in the spring of
1571, a league was concluded at Rome between Pope Pius V, Philip II of
Spain, and the Venetians for the destruction of the Ottoman power. It
was the thirteenth time that a Holy Alliance had been made with that
object; but it seemed as if the efforts of Christendom would finally be
crowned with success. A large fleet was collected, under the supreme
command of Don John of Austria, bastard son of the Emperor Charles V,
while the papal galleys were placed under the charge of Marcantonio
Colonna. But more than a month before the Armada had left Sicily for
Corfù Cyprus had fallen, and while the allies were discussing their
plans the Turkish fleet had ravished the Cretan coast, and carried off
more than 6000 souls from Cephalonia. It was not till the morning of
October 7 that the two navies met. The Turkish commander had taken up his
position off Lepanto; while the Christian ships were stationed off the
Echinades islands, outside the Gulf of Corinth. Against the advice of
wiser men, Ali, the Turkish admiral, issued from the Gulf in search of
the enemy. Suddenly the two fleets came in sight of one another. It was
a striking scene; the varied colours of the Ottoman ships lighted up by
the brilliant sunshine, which played upon the shining cuirasses of the
Christian warriors; the blue waves of a Greek sea, calm and peaceful,
where, centuries before, Corinthians and Corcyræans had fought a naval
battle. On either side their modern representatives were to be found,
25,000 were serving as sailors in the Ottoman service, and 5000 more
were on board the Venetian ships. Several Venetian galleys were actually
commanded by Greeks; especially noteworthy were the exploits of the
Corfiote Condocalli, who was the most famous of these Greek commanders;
among his Greek colleagues were two Cretans, one a member of the historic
clan of the Kallergai, whose name is writ large in the stormy history of
the great Greek island. The contemporary Venetian historian, Paruta[674],
specially awards the palm for courage, discipline, and skill combined
to the Greeks, “as being most accustomed to that kind of warfare,”
while he places both Italians and Spaniards below them. And another
historian, Sagredo, says that “being more experienced in seafaring, they
contributed not a little to the victory[675].” The defeat of the Turks
was overwhelming; 224 ships taken or destroyed and 30,000 men slain
represented their losses, while the allies lost only 15 galleys and 8000
men. Among the dead were the Turkish admiral and many of the scions of
the noblest Venetian houses; among the wounded was the author of _Don
Quixote_, who lost, like Æschylos at Marathon, a hand at Lepanto for
the cause of Greece. The first impression which the victory caused at
Constantinople was one of consternation, and for three days Selim refused
to take food. Nor was this dismay without foundation: the Ottoman fleet
had been annihilated; the Greeks were in revolt; and a cool-headed French
diplomatist considered that the allies could easily have destroyed the
Turkish Empire and taken Constantinople. But the discord of the victors
and the energy of the Grand Vizier, Mohammed Sokolli, saved the Ottoman
dominions. Within eight months after the battle a new Turkish fleet of
250 galleys, fifteen of which were contributed by the wealthy Greek
merchant of Constantinople, Michael Cantacuzene, better known from his
nickname of Saïtan Oglou, or “the Devil’s son,” left the Dardanelles, and
Sokolli, contrasting the capture of Cyprus with the barren victory of
Lepanto, could truly say that, if “the Republic had shorn his beard, he
had cut off one of her arms.”

The battle of Lepanto has made a great noise in history, and Rome and
Venice still preserve many memorials of that victory. But its results
were valueless, so far as the Greeks were concerned, and, indeed, it
would have been better for them if it had never been fought. They had
welcomed with enthusiasm the advent of the allied fleet, which they
confidently hoped would free them from the Turkish yoke; and, in the
first excitement of the Christian victory, they flew to arms, and begged
the victors to support their efforts on land by the presence of the fleet
off the coast of the Morea. But, as usual, the Christian commanders
differed as to the best means of utilising their success. At the council
of war, which was held on board after the battle, one party advocated
a naval demonstration off the Peloponnese, and another the capture of
Eubœa, while a third proposed the seizure of Santa Maura, which the
Venetians alone actually attempted, and a fourth suggested the siege
of the two forts on either side of the Corinthian Gulf. In the end, as
the season was far advanced, all farther united action was postponed to
next year, and the fleet withdrew to Corfù, whence the Spanish and Papal
contingents sailed to Italy, leaving the insurgents to themselves[676].
Many Moreotes had crossed over to the little town of Galaxidi, which the
visitor to Delphi sees as he approaches the harbour of Itea, and there in
a church they solemnly bound themselves, together with the townsfolk and
the inhabitants of Salona, to rise against the Turk on the self-same day.
“May he, who repents him of his oath or betrays what we have said, never
see the face of God,” so runs the picturesque formula of the conspirators
in the _Chronicle of Galaxidi_[677]. “And then,” says the Chronicler,
“they all lifted up their hands to the eikons and swore a terrible oath.”
But there was at least one traitor in the church at Galaxidi, a man
from Aigion, on the opposite shore of the Gulf, who betrayed the dread
secret to the Turks. While in the Morea the Ottomans wreaked vengeance on
the conspirators and burnt the Archbishop of Patras alive as a fearful
example, the ringleaders of the insurrection at Galaxidi, still “relying
on the aid of the Franks,” marched with 3000 men against the noble
Catalan fortress of Salona, then the residence of a Turkish Bey. On their
arrival, however, they found a Turkish force drawn up in order of battle,
and no Frankish contingent awaiting them. Disheartened and abandoned,
they trusted to the invitation of the crafty Bey, who bade them come
and tell him the story of their woes. The Bey received the deputation,
eighty in all, with every honour, and listened sympathetically to their
tale, bidding them be good subjects and mind their own affairs for the
future. But, when the evening was come, he threw them into a dungeon
of the castle, where all save one, a priest who escaped by his great
personal strength, “died for their country and their faith.” Meanwhile,
the Moreotes who had escaped from the Turks, had taken refuge in Maina,
where the two brothers Melissenoi, from Epidauros, members of that famous
Peloponnesian family, placed themselves at the head of 28,000 men, who
continued the struggle for two whole years in that difficult country.
Don John, who was still lingering idly at Messina, afraid to return
to the East in consequence of the growing dissensions between France
and Spain, wrote to one of the heroic brothers, bidding him keep the
insurrection going till his arrival[678]. But it was not till August,
1572, that the victor of Lepanto again joined the allies in Greek waters.
Even then, he accomplished nothing. For some time the two hostile fleets
hovered off the coast of Messenia without an engagement, and attempts
upon Navarino and Modon were abandoned. Then, as in the previous year,
the allied armada broke up, while the Moreote insurgents withdrew to
the most inaccessible mountains, until, abandoning all hope of their
emancipation, they once more bowed their necks beneath the Turkish
yoke[679]. The two Melissenoi survived and escaped to Naples, where a
monument, removed in 1634, was erected to them in the Greek Church of
SS. Peter and Paul[680], with an appropriate inscription, like those
commemorating two exiles from Koron. Early in 1573 Venice made peace with
the Sultan, and the historian Paruta considered that such a course was
the wisest that his country could have adopted. The Republic acquiesced
in the loss of Cyprus, and gained nothing in return for her efforts and
her losses of blood and treasure during the war but the barren laurels of
Lepanto. Upon the Turks the lessons of the recent campaign had not been
thrown away. In order to check any fresh Greek rising, they fortified
the coasts of the Morea, and built a fort at the entrance of the famous
haven of Navarino. Nor had the disillusioned Greeks failed to gain a sad
experience from their abandonment. Now, for the first time, we find the
Venetian representative in Constantinople writing that the Sultan was
afraid of the Muscovite, because of the devotion shown by the Eastern
Christians towards a ruler of their own faith. As early as 1576 that
astute diplomatist remarked that the Greeks were ready to take up arms
and place themselves under Russian protection, in order to escape from
the Turkish yoke[681]. The shadow of the Russian bear was beginning to
wax, while that of the Venetian lion waned.

One result of the battle of Lepanto was to turn the attention of
civilised Europe to Greece. Four years after the victory we find Athens
“re-discovered” by the curiosity of Martin Kraus—or Crusius, as he styled
himself—a professor at Tübingen, who wrote for information about the
celebrated city to Theodosios Zygomalas, a Greek born at Nauplia but
living at Constantinople. Zygomalas had often visited Athens, which the
frequent wars in the Levant, the depredations of corsairs, and the fact
that the usual pilgrims’ route to Palestine lay far to the south had so
completely isolated from Europe that the densest ignorance prevailed
about it in the West. He mentions in his reply the melody of the Athenian
songs, which “charmed those who heard them, as though they were the music
of sirens,” the salubrity of the air, the excellence of the water, the
good memories and euphonious voices of the inhabitants, among whom, as
he states elsewhere, there then were “about 160 bishops and priests.” At
the same time he remarks of the language then spoken at Athens that “if
you heard the Athenians talk your eyes would fill with tears.” Another
Greek, Simeon Kabasilas of Arta, informed Kraus that of all the seventy
odd dialects of Greece the Attic of that day was the worst. The Greek
and “Ishmaelite,” or Turkish, populations lived, he wrote, in separate
quarters of the town, which contained “12,000 male inhabitants[682].” We
learn too, from a short account of Athens discovered in the National
Library at Paris in 1862, and composed in Greek in the sixteenth
century[683], that the Tower of the Winds was then a _tekkeh_ of
dervishes, and the mosque in the Parthenon was called Ismaïdi.

In spite of the depreciatory remarks on the culture of the
sixteenth-century Athenians which Kraus permitted himself to make on the
strength of his second-hand investigations, learning was even in that age
not quite extinct in its ancient home. It was then that there flourished
at Athens an accomplished nun, Philothee Benizelou, afterwards included,
for her piety and charitable foundations, among those whom the Greek
Church calls “blessed,” and buried in the beautiful little Gorgoepekoos
church. But, though she founded the Convent of St Andrew on the site of
what is now the chapel of the Metropolitan of Athens, within whose walls
she established the first girls’ school of Turkish Athens, she has left a
most uncomplimentary description of the Athenians of her day, with whom
she had some pecuniary difficulties and upon whom she showers a string of
abusive epithets in the best classical style[684]. Two other religious
foundations also mark this period—that of the Church of the Archangels
in 1577 in the Stoa of Hadrian, where an inscription still commemorates
it, and that of the monastery of Pentele, built in the following year by
Timotheos, Archbishop of Eubœa, whose skull, set in jewels, may still be
seen there. The monks of Pentele had to send 3000 _okes_ of honey every
year to the great mosques of Constantinople[685]. We may infer from
these facts that the Turkish authority sat lightly upon a town which was
allowed the rare privilege of erecting new places of worship. The idea
too then current in the West that Athens had been entirely destroyed,
and that its site was occupied by a few huts, was obviously as absurd as
the sketches of the city in the form of a Flemish or German town which
were made in the fifteenth century. A place of “12,000 men” was not to
be despised; and, if we may accept the statement of Kabasilas[686], the
male population of the Athens of 1578 was twice as large as the whole
population of the Athens which Otho made his capital in 1834, and about
equal to the entire population estimated by Stuart, Holland, Forbin and
Pouqueville in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It has
sometimes been supposed, in accordance with the local tradition, that
the city was placed, immediately after the Turkish conquest, under the
authority of the chief eunuch at Constantinople; but it has now been
shown that that arrangement was introduced much later. From the Turkish
conquest to the capture of Eubœa from the Venetians in 1470 Athens was
the seat of a pasha, and capital of the first of the five _sandjaks_, or
provinces, into which the conqueror divided continental Greece. In that
year the seat of the pasha was transferred to Chalkis, which then became
the capital of the _sandjak_ of the Euripos, of which Athens sank to be a
district, or _caza_. In this position of dependence the once famous city
continued till about the year 1610, being administered by a subordinate
of the Eubœan pasha[687], who every year paid it a much-dreaded visit of
inspection, which, like most Turkish official visits, was very expensive
to the hosts.

From the conclusion of the war of Cyprus in 1573 to the outbreak of the
Cretan war in 1645 there was peace between Venice and the Turks, so
that Greece ceased for over seventy years to be the battle-ground of
those ancient foes. But spasmodic risings still occurred even during
that comparatively quiet period. Thus, in 1585, a famous _armatolós_,
Theodore Boua Grivas, raised the standard of revolt in the mountainous
districts of Akarnania and Epeiros, at the instigation of the Venetians.
His example was followed by two other _armatoloí_, Drakos and Malamos,
who took Arta and marched on Joannina. But this insurrection was speedily
suppressed by the superior forces of the Turks, and Grivas, badly
wounded, was fain to escape to the Venetian island of Ithake, where he
died of his injuries[688]. Somewhat later, in 1611, Dionysios, Archbishop
of Trikkala, made a further attempt on Joannina; but he was betrayed
by the Jews, then, as ever, on the Turkish side, and flayed alive. His
skin, stuffed with straw, was sent to Constantinople. Another Thessalian
archbishop, accused of complicity with him, was offered the choice of
apostasy or death, and manfully chose the latter, a choice which has
given him a place in the martyrology of modern Greece[689].

The greatest disturbance to the pacific development of the country arose,
however, from the corsairs, who descended upon its coasts almost without
intermission from the date of the Turkish conquest to the latter part
of the seventeenth century. The damage inflicted by these pirates, who
belonged to the Christian no less than to the Mussulman religion, and who
made no distinction between the creeds of their victims, led the Greeks
to dwell at a distance from the seaboard, in places that were not easily
accessible; and thus the coast acquired that deserted look which it has
not wholly lost even now[690]. The worst of these wretches were the
Uscocs of Dalmatia, whose inhuman cruelties have rarely been surpassed.
Sometimes they would eat the hearts of their victims; sometimes they
would chain the crew below the deck, and then leave the captured vessel
adrift, and its inmates to die of starvation, on the blue Ionian or
the stormy Adriatic sea. In addition to the common pirates there were
organised freebooters of higher rank, such as the Knights of Santo
Stefano, founded by Cosimo I de’ Medici in 1560, and the Knights of
Malta. The former, whose church at Pisa contains on its ceiling a picture
of the taking and plunder of “Nicopolis Actiaca” (the modern Prevesa)
in 1605, besides many Turkish trophies, were convenient auxiliaries of
the Florentine fleet, because their exploits could be disowned by the
government if unsuccessful. Towards the close of the sixteenth century
the Florentines were able to occupy Chios for a moment; but the Turks
soon regained possession of that rich island, and visited the sins of
the Tuscans upon the inhabitants whom they had come to deliver. Years
afterwards a traveller saw a row of grim skulls on the battlements of
the fort, and the descendants of the Genoese settlers, who had hitherto
received specially favourable treatment from the Sultan, were so badly
treated that they mostly emigrated[691]. In emulation of the Knights of
Santo Stefano those of Malta in 1603 sacked Patras, which had been burned
by a Spanish squadron only eight years before, and occupied Lepanto,
which in the seventeenth century bore the ominous nickname of “Little
Algiers,” from the pirates of Algiers and Tripoli who made it their
headquarters. When, in 1676, the traveller Spon visited it, he found a
number of Moors settled down there with their coal-black progeny[692].
A few years later the Maltese, baffled in an attempt on Navarino,
retaliated on Corinth, whence they carried off 500 captives. Finally
in 1620 they assailed the famous Frankish castle of Glarentza, in the
strong walls of which their bombs opened a breach; but the approach of
a considerable Turkish force compelled them to return to their ships,
after having attained no other result than that of having injured one
of the most interesting mediæval monuments in Greece. Another Frankish
stronghold, that of Passavâ, was surprised by the Spaniards when they
ravaged Maina in 1601. The co-operation of that restive population with
the invaders, whose predatory tastes they shared, led the Porte to adopt
strong measures against the Mainates, who in 1614 were, in name at least,
reduced to submission and compelled to pay tribute[693]. But though the
capitan pasha was thus able to starve Maina into submission he could not
protect the Greeks against the pirates, who so long preyed upon their
commerce, burnt their villages, debauched their women, and desolated
their land. Had Turkey been a strong maritime power, able to sweep piracy
from the seas, Greece would have been spared much suffering and would
have had less damage to repair.

It was at this time too that the classic land of the arts began to suffer
from another form of depredation, that of the cultured collector. To
a British nobleman belongs the discredit of this revival of the work
of Nero. About 1613 the earl of Arundel was seized with the idea of
“transplanting old Greece into England.” With this object he commissioned
political agents, merchants, and others, chief among them William Petty,
uncle of the well-known political economist, to scour the Levant in quest
of statues. His example speedily found imitators, such as the duke of
Buckingham, and King Charles I, who charged the English admiral in the
Levant, Sir Kenelm Digby, with the duty of collecting works of art for
the royal palace. Needless to say the rude sailors who were ordered to
remove the precious pieces of marble often mutilated what they could not
remove intact. They sawed in two a statue of Apollo at Delos, and they
might have anticipated the achievements of Lord Elgin at Athens had not
its distance from the sea and the suspicions of the Turkish garrison
on the Akropolis saved it from the fate to which the Cyclades were

While the corsairs were devastating Greece a picturesque adventurer,
who recalls the abortive scheme of Charles VIII of France, was engaged
in planning her deliverance. Charles Gonzaga, duc de Nevers, boasted
of his connection with the imperial house of the Palaiologoi through
his grandmother, Margaret of Montferrat, a descendant of the Emperor
Andronikos Palaiologos the Elder[695]. After having fought against the
Turks in Hungary he conceived the romantic idea of claiming the throne of
Constantinople, with which object he visited various European courts,
and about 1612 entered into negotiations with the Greeks. His schemes
received a willing hearing from the restless Mainates, who sent three
high ecclesiastics to assure him of their readiness to recognise him as
their liege lord if he would send them a body of experienced officers to
organise a force of 10,000 Greeks. They even promised to become Roman
Catholics, and arranged, on paper, for the division of the Turkish lands
among themselves, and for the confiscation of all Jewish property in
order to defray the expenses of the expedition. The pretender, on his
part, sent three trusty agents to spy out the land and make plans of
the Turkish positions; they came back with most hopeful accounts of the
enthusiasm of the Mainates, who were only waiting for the favourable
moment to raise the two-headed eagle on the walls of Mistra. Neophytos,
the bishop of Maina, and Chrysanthos Laskaris, the Metropolitan of
Lacedæmon, and namesake of the Manuel Laskaris whose tomb may still be
seen in one of the churches at Mistra, addressed him as Constantine
Palaiologos, and told him to hasten his coming among his faithful people,
who in proof of their submission sent him some falcons.

But the duc de Nevers wasted in diplomacy time which should have been
devoted to prompt action. He appealed to Pope Paul V, the Grand Duke
of Tuscany, the King of Spain, and the Emperor, who were all profuse
in promises and some of whom furnished him with ships and money. An
attempt was also made to stir up the other Christian nationalities of
the East, and a meeting of Albanian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Bulgarian and
Serbian leaders was held for the purpose of concerted action, while the
two _hospodars_ of Moldavia and Wallachia promised their aid. Another
adventurer, who styled himself Sultan Zachias and gave out that he was
a brother of the Sultan Ahmed I, was admitted as an ally. Finally, in
order to give a religious character to the movement, the duke founded and
became chief of a body calling itself the “Christian army,” commissions
in which were offered to the conspirators, among whom we find the name
of a learned Athenian, Leonardos Philaras[696], who was patronised by
Richelieu and to whom Milton addressed two letters. A date was fixed for
the rising, and four memoranda were addressed to the duke, with full
particulars of his future realm of Greece. From these we learn that in
1619 the Peloponnese could furnish him with 15,000 fighting men, while
it contained 8000 Turks capable of bearing arms, of whom 800 formed the
scanty garrisons of Koron, Modon, Navarino and Nauplia. At that time,
we are told, there were 800 Turkish military fiefs in the Morea, and
the population of Maina was estimated at 4913 families, spread over 125
villages and hamlets. These statistics are the most valuable result of
the agitation.

After several years of correspondence and negotiation the pretender at
last managed to equip five vessels for the transport of his crusaders;
but a sudden fire, perhaps the work of an incendiary, laid them in ashes,
and the jealousy of Spain and Venice prevented any effective political
action. The “Christian army” still went on meeting and discussing its
plan of campaign, and two more strange adventurers—a Moor who had
become a Christian and styled himself “Infant of Fez,” and a Greek
who, with even greater ambition, had adopted the title of “prince of
Macedonia”—became the principal agents of the duke. At last, however,
every one grew weary of his absurd pretensions, and the secession of the
Pope from his side finally destroyed his hopes[697].

During the Cretan war between Venice and the Turks two risings were
promoted by the Venetians in Greece for the purpose of diverting the
attention of their enemies. In 1647 the Venetian admiral, Grimani,
after chasing the Turkish fleet to Eubœa and Volo, blockaded it within
the harbour of Nauplia. At this the Albanians of the Peloponnese, who
were very favourable to the Republic, rose against the Turks, and
after having done a considerable amount of damage to Turkish property,
escaped punishment by fleeing on board the Venetian squadron. A Greek,
more daring but less fortunate, conceived the idea of setting fire to
the Turkish vessels as they lay in harbour, but paid for his audacity
with his life[698]. In 1659 the Mainates, who had availed themselves
of the war to throw off every shadow of subjection to the Sultan, but
who plundered Venetian and Turkish ships with equal impartiality, were
induced by the great Francesco Morosini to devote their abilities to the
plunder of the Morea. At that time piracy was the principal profession
of the Mainate population, who sold Christians to Turks and Turks to
Christians. Priests and monks, we are told, joined in the business, and
the fact that they lived in caves overlooking the sea made them valuable
auxiliaries of the pirates, whom they informed of the approach of passing
vessels. Some of them even embarked on board the pirate schooners,
for the purpose of levying the tithe which was allotted by the pious
freebooters to the Church[699]. These schooners sometimes sailed out
among the Cyclades, and just as Lepanto was nicknamed “Little Algiers”
so Vitylos in Maina was called “Great Algiers.” Well acquainted with
the influence of the Church in eastern politics, Morosini worked upon
the feelings of the Mainates by taking with him the deposed Œcumenical
Patriarch, then living on the island of Siphnos. The pirates of Maina
humbly kissed the hand of the eminent ecclesiastic, and 10,000 of them,
with 3000 Greeks and Albanians, assisted the Venetian commander in an
attack upon Kalamata, which was abandoned by its Mussulman and Christian
inhabitants alike to its rapacious assailants. The Cretan poet Bouniales
has left a graphic account of their proceedings in his poem on the Cretan

But no strategic result accrued from the sack of Kalamata; Morosini
sailed off to the Ægean, advising the Mainates to reserve their energies
for a more favourable opportunity of conquering the Peloponnese. The
auxiliaries of the Venetian commander, pending that event, continued
to prey upon Turkish vessels, and even attacked the fleet of the Grand
Vizier, Ahmed Köprili, which was then engaged in the siege of Candia. The
offer of double the pay of his own soldiers could not bribe the Mainates
to desist from their at once patriotic and profitable piracies. Baffled
by their refusal, the Grand Vizier ordered Hasân-Babâ, a pirate of renown
and accounted the best seaman in the Turkish fleet, to reduce Maina to
submission. But the women of Maina sufficed to strike terror into the
heart of the bold Hasân. “Tell my husband,” said one of them, “to mind
the goat, and hold the child, and I will go and find his weapons and use
them better than he.” At the head of the population the women marched
down to the shore, and the Turkish captain thought it wiser to remain
on board. But in the evening experienced swimmers cut the cables of his
ships, two of which were driven upon the rocks of that iron coast and
became the prey of the wreckers, while Hasân was glad to escape on his
sole surviving vessel.

Unable to subdue the Mainates by force, the Grand Vizier now had recourse
to diplomacy. The hereditary blood feud had long been the curse of
Maina, and its inhabitants were divided into the hostile factions of the
Stephanopouloi and the Iatraioi—the Montagues and Capulets of that rugged
land. At that time there was in Maina a certain Liberakes Gerakares, who,
after an apprenticeship in the Venetian fleet, had turned his nautical
experience to practical use as a pirate. In an interval of his profession
he had become engaged to a daughter of the clan of Iatraioi, who boasted
of their descent from one of the Florentine Medici, formerly shipwrecked
there; but, before the wedding had taken place, a rival, belonging to the
opposite clan, eloped with the lady. Smarting under his loss and burning
for revenge upon the whole race of the Stephanopouloi, the disappointed
lover was accidentally captured by the Turks at sea and carried off to
prison. The crafty Köprili saw at once that Liberakes was the very man
for his purpose. He not only released him, but provided him with money,
and sent him back to Maina in the capacity of his secret agent. Liberakes
at once distributed the pasha’s gold among his clansmen and proclaimed
civil war against the Stephanopouloi. At the same time the Mainates were
told of favours which the Grand Vizier had in store for them—the use of
bells and crosses outside their churches, the abolition of the tribute of
children, and the remission of half the capitation tax. No Turk, it was
added, should live among them.

As soon as Crete had fallen Köprili devoted his attention to the
accomplishment of his plan. He peremptorily summoned the Mainates, under
penalty of extermination, to submit to his authority, promising them an
amnesty and the remission of all arrears of tribute in case of prompt
submission. At the same time he despatched 6000 men to Maina, with orders
to treat the people well, but to build, under the pretext of protecting
trade, three forts in strong positions. As soon, however, as the forts
were finished, Liberakes and his men seized some of their most prominent
foes, while the Turks preserved an air of complete indifference. After
a mock trial the unfortunate Stephanopouloi were sentenced to death as
disturbers of the public peace. Those of them who escaped emigrated to
Corsica, where their descendants may still be found at Cargèse. More than
a century later they furnished to Bonaparte agents for the dissemination
of his plans of conquest in Greece. Other Mainates went into exile in
Tuscany, where their descendants soon became fused with the Italian
population, and in Apulia, while those who remained behind were for the
second time placed under Turkish authority. Liberakes, as soon as his
deluded countrymen had realised the device of which they had been the
victims, became so unpopular that he took to piracy again. A second time
captured by the Turks, he was again imprisoned till his captors once more
found need for his services[700].

While Candia was the scene of the great struggle between Venice and “the
Ottomite,” Athens was once more coming within the ken of Europe. At the
beginning of the seventeenth century the French showed much activity
in the Levant, where they established consuls about that time. In 1630
the French ambassador at Constantinople, Louis des Hayes, had visited
Athens[701], of which a brief mention is made in his travels, and in
1645 a very important step towards the “re-discovery” of the famous
city was taken. In that year a body of Jesuit missionaries were sent
thither, and though they subsequently removed to Negroponte, because
that place contained more Franks, they were followed at Athens in 1658
by the Capuchins, whose name will ever be remembered in connection with
the topography of that city. In 1669 they bought the choragic monument
of Lysikrates, then colloquially known as “the Lantern of Demosthenes,”
which henceforth formed part of their convent[702]. Over the entrance
they placed the lilies of France, to which the monument still belongs,
and by whose care it has twice been restored; but their hospitality was
extended to strangers of all races and religions, and it is curious to
hear that the Turkish _cadi_ would only sanction this purchase of a
national monument on condition that the Capuchins promised not to injure
it and to show it to all who wished to see it. The monument itself was
converted into a study, where Lord Byron passed many an hour during his
visit to Athens in 1811, and where he wrote his famous indictment of Lord
Elgin’s vandalism. The chapel of the convent was, till the capture of
the city by Morosini, the only Frankish place of worship. But the worthy
Capuchins did not confine themselves to religious exercises. About the
same time that they purchased the choragic monument they drew up a plan
of Athens, which was a great advance on the imaginary representations
of that place, which had hitherto been devised to gratify the curiosity
of Europe, and which had depicted Athens now as a Flemish and now as a
German town. Nor did they keep their information to themselves. They
communicated their plan and a quantity of notes to a French literary man,
Guillet, who published them in the form of an imaginary journey, supposed
to have been undertaken by his brother, La Guilletière. The sources of
Guillet’s information render his narrative far more valuable than if
he had merely paid a flying visit to Athens; and though he never saw
the place about which he wrote he had at his command the best available
materials, compiled by men who had lived there. About the same time
Babin, a Jesuit who had also lived at Athens, drew up an account of it,
which was published by Dr Spon[703], a physician and antiquary of Lyons,
who visited Greece in 1675 and 1676 in the company of an Englishman,
Sir George Wheler, and subsequently issued a detailed account of his
travels, upon which his travelling companion afterwards based an English
version. Two other Englishmen, Randolph and Vernon, also travelled in
Greece at different times between 1671 and 1679, and have left behind
records of their impressions. Besides these unofficial travellers Lord
Winchelsea, the British ambassador at Constantinople, paid a visit,
of which, however, he published no record, to Athens in 1675, while
the previous year had witnessed the tour of his French colleague, the
marquis de Nointel, through the Cyclades and Attica, in the company
of the painter Jacques Carrey, who drew for him the sculptures of the
Parthenon, and of an Italian, Cornelio Magni, who wrote an account of the
great man’s journey[704]. Thus we have ample opportunities for judging
what was the condition of Athens between the years 1669 and 1676, or
shortly before the Venetian siege, while recent researches have greatly
elucidated the statements of the travellers.

The population of Athens at that time is estimated by Guillet at between
15,000 and 16,000, of whom only 1000 or 1200 were Mussulmans, and by
Spon at between 8000 and 9000, of whom three-quarters were Greeks and
the rest Turks. A modern Greek scholar[705], while accepting Spon’s
estimate of the proportion between the Greeks and the Mussulmans, puts
the total population at the time of the Venetian siege at 20,000, which
would better tally with the expression of a Hessian officer, Hombergk,
who was among the besiegers, and who wrote home that Athens was “a very
big and populous town.” Another German officer, a Hanoverian, named Zehn,
even went so far in his journal as to state that Athens had “14,000
houses[706],” which must be an exaggeration. In 1822 there were only
1238. It is clear, however, from all these estimates that Athens was in
1687 a considerable place. Besides the Greeks and Turks there were also
a few Franks, some gipsies, and a body of negroes. The negroes were the
slaves of the Turks, living in winter at the foot of the Akropolis, in
the holes of the rock, in huts, or among the ruins of old houses, and
in summer, like the modern Athenians, spending their spare time on the
beach at Phaleron. The gipsies were particularly odious to the Greeks
as the tools of any Turk who wished to torture them. Among the Franks
were the consuls, of whom there were two. At the time of Spon’s visit
they were both Frenchmen and both deadly enemies, M. Châtaignier, the
representative of France, and M. Giraud, a resident in Athens for the
last eighteen years, who acted for England and was the _cicerone_
of all travellers. A little later, in the reign of James II, we were
represented by one of our own countrymen, Launcelot Hobson, one of whose
servants, a native of Limehouse, together with two other Englishmen,
was buried at that time in the Church of St Mary’s-on-the-Rock beneath
a tombstone, now in the north wall of the English church, commemorating
his great linguistic attainments. Besides the two consuls Spon found
no other Franks at Athens, except one Capuchin monk, one soldier, and
some servants; a little earlier we hear of a German adventurer as living

Our authorities differ as to the feelings with which at that period
the Athenians regarded the Franks. Guillet, indeed, alludes to the
excellent relations between the Greeks and Latins, and points, as a
proof of it, to the remarkable fact that young Athenians were sent by
their parents to be educated by the Capuchins. The consul Giraud’s wife
was also a Greek. Spon, however, speaks of the great aversion of the
Greeks to the Franks[708], and this is confirmed by an incident which
followed the visit of the marquis de Nointel to Athens in 1674. During
his stay the pious ambassador had had mass recited in the ancient
temple of Triptolemos, beyond the Ilissos, which, under the title of
St Mary’s-on-the-Rock, had served as a chapel of the Frank dukes[709].
After their time it had been converted into a Greek church, but had
been allowed to fall into disuse. None the less it was considered
by the Orthodox to have been profaned by the masses of the French
ambassador[710]. A great number of satirical verses have been also
preserved[711], which show that the Frank residents were the butt of
every sharp-witted Athenian street boy, and their cleanly habits were
especially suspicious to the Orthodox. Besides, as many of the pirates
were Franks, the popular logic readily confounded the two, and visited
upon the harmless Latin the sins of some of his co-religionists. It
was manifest, however, at the time of the Venetian siege that the
Athenians preferred the Franks to the Turks, and every traveller from
the West praised the hospitality which the Greeks of Athens showed to
the foreigner. Spon tells us that there was not a single Jew to be found
in the city. Quite apart from the national hatred which they inspired,
and still inspire, in the Hellenic breast, how could they outwit the
Athenians[712]? Would they not have fared like their fellow countrymen
who landed one day on Lesbos, but, on observing the astuteness of
the Lesbian hucksters in the market-place, went off by the next ship,
saying that this was no place for them? On the other hand a few Wallachs
wandered about Athens, some Albanian Mussulmans were employed in guarding
the entrances to the town, and in all the villages of Attica the
inhabitants were of the Albanian race, as is still largely the case[713].
In Athens itself all the non-Turkish and non-Hellenic population did not
amount at that time to more than 500.

A great change had taken place in the government of the city since the
early years of the seventeenth century. We last saw Athens forming a
district of the _sandjak_ of Euripos, and dependent on the pasha of
Eubœa, who was represented there by a lower official. A document in the
Bodleian Library[714], dated 1617, gives us, from the pen of a Greek
exile in England, an account of the exactions of a rapacious Turkish
governor of Athens somewhat earlier. In consequence of this bad treatment
the Athenians sent several deputations to Constantinople, and about the
year 1610 the efforts of their delegates received strong support from
one of those Athenian beauties who have from time to time exercised sway
over the rulers of Constantinople. A young girl, named Basilike, who had
become the favourite wife of Sultan Ahmed I, had been requested by him
to ask some favour for herself. The patriotic Athenian, who had heard in
her childhood complaints of the exactions of the pasha of Euripos and
his deputy, and perhaps primed by one of the Athenian deputations which
may then have been at Constantinople, begged that her native city might
be transferred to the _kislar-aga_, or chief of the black eunuchs in
the seraglio. The request was granted, and thenceforth Athens, greatly
to its material benefit, depended upon that powerful official[715]. A
_firman_, renewable on the accession of a new sultan, spared the citizens
the annual visitation of the pasha of Euripos, who could only descend
upon them when the issue of the precious document was delayed. The
_kislar-aga_ was represented at Athens by a _voivode_, or governor, and
the other Turkish officials were the _disdar-aga_, or commander of the
garrison in the Akropolis, which shortly before the Venetian war amounted
to 300 soldiers; the _sardar_ and the _spahilar-aga_, who directed the
Janissaries and the cavalry; the _cadi_; and the _mufti_.

The Athenians enjoyed, however, under this Turkish administration an
almost complete system of local self-government. Unlike the democratic
Greece of to-day, where there is no aristocracy and where every man
considers himself the equal of his fellows, Turkish Athens exhibited
sharp class distinctions, which had at least the advantage of furnishing
a set of rulers who had the respect of the ruled. Under the Turks
the Greek population of the town was divided into four classes—the
_archontes_; the householders, who lived on their property; the
shopkeepers, organised, as now, in different guilds; and the cultivators
of the lands or gardens in the immediate s