O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

THE LAST YEARS OF BYZANTIUM AD 1328-1453 The fall of the Roman Empire, and the rise of the Ottomans
with many asides on the Palaiologian army and an occasional notice about the navy of Constantinople. Complied by MICHAEL O’ROURKE Canberra Australia
Published September 2011

An encyclopaedic chronology,

List of Roman (“Byzantine”) Emperors All were of the Palaiologos/Palaeologus dynasty, except for John Cantacuzenus. 1328-41: Andronicus III Palaiologos 1341-76: John V (Gk Ioannes) Regent, 1341-47: dowager empress Anna of Savoy Senior co-emperor 1347-54: John VI Kantakouzenos 1376-79: Andronicus IV 1379-91:

Ottoman emirs and sultans The title ‘sultan’ was first formally assumed in 1383 by Murad I. 1324-1361: Orhan Ghazi, Orhan Bey

(In 1346, Orhan married Kantakouzenos’s daughter Theodora.) 1362-1389: Murad I, Hüdavendigâr, "the Godlike One" 1389-1402:


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years John V again Rival emperor 1390: John VII 1391-1425: Manuel (Gk Manouel) II 1425-48: John VIII ‘Calojohn’ (Kaloioannes, ‘John the Good’) 1449-53: Constantine XI (Konstantinos) Dragases Bayezid I, Yıldırım, ‘the Thunderbolt’ 1413-1421: Mehmed I Çelebi 1421-51: Murad II 1451-81: Mehmet II, el-Fatih, ‘the Conqueror’

Place-Names and Technical Terms When place-names and technical terms first appear, I define or specify them. Here are a few that some readers may not know: Byzantium: say “buh-zantium” or, if you must, “bai-zantium”. Byzantine: say “bizz’n’teen”. Please avoid “bai-zan-tyne”! Achaia: In Greece: the NW corner of the Peloponnesus, i.e. the mainland to the SE of Cephalonia/Kefalonia. Aegean Islands: The major islands in the east, from north to south are: Samothrace; Imbros (present-day Turkish Gökçeada or Imroz, west of the Gallipoli peninsula); Lemnos; Lesbos/Lesvos (1,633 sq km: largest in area: if it were square it would be 40 x 40 km); Chios [English pronunciation “kaios”, west of Izmir/Smyrna]; Ikaros; Samos; Kos; and Rhodes/Rhodos (almost as big as Lesbos: 1,408 sq km). Angevin is the adjectival form of Anjou (present-day Angers in NW France: located in the triangle formed by Nantes, Le Mans and Tours). The ‘House of Anjou’ was established by the Capetian prince Charles of Anjou, d.1285, the younger brother of the Capetian king Louis IX (“Saint Louis”) of France, 1226-1270. Charles made himself by force of arms king of South Italy (Naples). In its time, the House ruled Naples and Sicily, Hungary, Croatia, and Poland. (These later Angevins are distinct from the Plantagenets, descended from an earlier Count of Anjou. The Plantagenets, e.g. Richard I ‘the Lionheart’, ruled western France and the larger part of the British Isles—domains that have been dubbed the ‘Angevin empire’ by modern historians—until 1217.) Bithynia: The far NW corner of Asia Minor/modern Turkey-in-Asia. Greek Nicaea/Nikaia = Turkish Iznik.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Bursa (Gk Prusa): A town in NW Asia Minor, capital of the Ottoman Turks from 1326. (Today it is Turkey’s 4th largest city.)To locate it, run an imaginary line directly south from Istanbul-Constantinople across the Sea of Marmara. Bursa is about 20 km from the southern shore of the Marmara. It is also on a line drawn west-east from Gallipoli (Çanakkale) to Ankara: somewhat closer to the former. Despotes: (Greek) ‘Master, lord, ruler’. The most senior office under the Emperor. The term has no special connotations of harsh and arbitrary rule, as the English term ‘despot’ does. Epirus: West-central Greece plus our southern Albania. English pronunciation ‘ep-i-rus’ (preferred) or ‘epaius’ (older but also correct). “Greek” [Latin Graecus] is a Western term. The ‘Byzantines’ of course called themselves Romans (Greek: Rhomaioi), while the Latins called them Graeci, ‘Greeks’. “Called the emperor of the Greeks”: thus the French pope Martin IV in 1281, when affecting to excommunicate the first Palaiologos, Michael VIII. Hyperpyron: (Greek, “super-refined”) The gold coin of Constantinople. Plural hyperpyra. The hyperpyron was in regular issue and circulation until the 1350s, remaining in use thereafter only as a money of account. After 1400, Byzantine coinage became insignificant, as Italian money, notably the Venetian ducat, became the predominant circulating coinage. Janissaries: Elite professional guards-infantry of the Ottoman army. Although slaves, they were well paid and were a standing army, ready to march at a moment’s notice. Macedonia: In this paper, we mean the region centred on Thessaloniki in present-day Greece. That is, between Thessaly and Thrace, qqv. As shown in the map below, ancient Macdonia is today divided ebtwen several states.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Morea: Greek Moreas: The medieval name of the Peleoponnesus; lower Greece. First used in Byzantine chronicles of the 10th Century. Cf ‘Romania’. Regions in the Peloponnesus: Achaia, in the NW, south of Patras; Corinthia: the NE near Corinth; the Argolid in the central-east around Argos and Nauplion; Laconia in the SE around Mistras (and ancient Sparta); Messenia in the south-west including the ports of Coron/Koroni, Modon/Methoni, and Pylos/Navarino; Elis in the central-west including Andravida; and in the heart of the Morea: Arcadia, including Tripoli/Tripolizza. Mount Athos (English pronunciation ”ay-thos”): The famed monastic complex, or rather a series of monastic complexes, extending along the top or easternmost finger, 50 km long, of the Halkidiki (Chalcidice) peninsula, SE of Thessalonica. The mountain called Mt Athos (2,033 m) and the earliest complex, the Great Lavra, are near the tip of the finger. As well as Greek monastries, there were/are Georgian, Serbian and Bulgarian monastries. Pera: (Greek for “across”:) Also known as Galata: modern Karaköy. The Genoese colony located on the Golden Horn immediately north of Constantinople, across the water. The famous Galata Tower was built by the Genoese in 1348 at the northernmost and highest point of the citadel. Cf the Turkish football team Galatasaray. Plovdiv (Greek Philippopolis, medieval Bulgarian Filibe): is a city on the Maritsa River in south-cental Bulgaria. The same river is called the Maritsa in Bulgaria, the Merich (Meriç) in Turkey and the ‘Evros/Hebrus in Greece. From Plovdiv the river runs SE into European Turkey, past Edirne (Gk Adrianople); from there it runs broadly SSW until it enters the Aegean, forming the border between Greek Thrace/Traki and Turkish Thrace/Trakya. On the Greek side, the major town was/is Didymoteicho [Bulg. Dimotika, Tk Dimetoka], about 25 km south of Edirne/Adrianople.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

A pronoiar or stratiotes (‘soldier’) was a person holding a grant called a pronoia. Instead of paying taxes to the state, a set of farming villages paid their revenues to a pronoiar. This enabled him to serve as a professional or semi-professional cavalryman (lancer or combined bowman-lancer), supplying his own horse, arms and equipment. Although he received the revenues, the lands remained state land. A pronoiar would commonly live a in a town, not in the country. (Bartusis pp.182 ff discusses the considerable differences between this and Western feudalism.) Romania/Rhômanía: This word had several shades of meaning. For the Byzantines it was either a name for their whole empire (the Roman Empire: Basileia Rhomaion) or else a ‘national’ designator, i.e. for the regions where people spoke Greek, were Orthodox in religion and Byzantine in customs, even if the ruler was a Latin. For the Latins, it tended to mean the lower half of our Greece (Boeotia, Attica, Epirus, the Peloponnesus) . Rumeli/Rumelia: ‘Little Romania’. A Turkish term for the NE Balkans. The European capital of the Ottomans Turks was, from the late 1300s, at Tk Edirne/Gk Adrianople. Thessalònica, Thessalonìki: Greece’s second city. English pron. ThessalONica; modern Greek pron. ThessaloNIki. Thessaly: Today’s east-central Greece; centred on Larisa/Larissa. Halfway between Athens and Thessalonica/Thessaloniki. Thrace: The large region adjoining Istanbul/Constantinople on the west: with its centre at the present-day intersection-point of the borders of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey-in-Europe. Cf ‘Plovdiv’. Varangian: Byzantium’s famous (to Byzan-teen-ists!) guards-regiment of axearmed heavy infantry.

WESTERN EURASIA IN 1328 (Times Atlas 1994: 93, and map in Nicolle 2008: 53). Before we come to Byzantium, here is an overview of the states of Western Eurasia. In the Muslim East the leading powers were the Mamelukes of Egypt, ruling as far north as Syria; the Ilkhans (Muslim Turko-Mongols) of Persia who dominated as far as eastern Anatolia (Rum); and the ‘post-Mongol’ Golden Horde or Kipchak or Tatar Empire, ruling east of Hungary and around the top half of the Black Sea. Among the Latin/Catholic powers, the strongest on paper look to be: Castile, now controlling the European side of the Gibraltar Strait; Aragon, whose power


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years extended to Sardinia and Sicily; France; and Hungary, which dominated Catholic Croatia and Orthodox Bosnia. And, although small on land, Venice and Genoa are all powerful at sea. The Orthodox ‘Christian Roman Empire of the Greeks’, or Romania, known today as >>Byzantium<<, with the loss of nearly all of its Asian lands, has fallen from among the most powerful states. Cf Ibn Battuta’s list of the strongest monarchs (below: after 1331). Turning to the Aegean region, we will begin with the sea-trade routes and the islands. Byzantium continued to hold both sides of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. So there was no impediment—except Turkish pirates [see under 1330-34]—to Christian, mainly Venetian and Genoese, galleys sailing to Constantinople; the Genoese and sometimes the Venetians also operated in the Black Sea. Cf 1329: leasing of Venetian galleys. Genoa held several trading enclaves inside the Black Sea: two on the Wallachian coast above the Danube delta; one in Kipchak Crimea; and another on the Turkish/Trebizond coast at Amastris. In the Balkans Byzantium still ruled from Albania and Epirus through Macedonia to Thrace. The empire’s longest land transect was from Albania east to the capital. The Aegean islands were broadly divided west-north-east between Venice (west), Byzantium (north) and Genoa (east). Lesbos is Byzantine, while Chios is Genoese [see 1329]. Genoa also controls an enclave on the Turkish coast at Phocaea. Cf 1329: Smyrna. Crete is ruled by Venice; the Venetians trade east to Rhodes and further. Rhodes and several other small islands in the SE Aegean are held by the Knights Hospitallers (the French-dominated military Order of St John), who operate a modest navy. In Asia Minor, the interior Germiyanid state appears as the strongest of many Turkish beyliks (lordships: small emirates), with the small land-locked Ottoman/Osmanli state perhaps in second place. (Cf evidence from Doria, AlUmari and Ibn Battuta: below, after 1331.) Byzantium rules the whole southern littoral of the Sea of Marmara, controlling it against the Karesi beylik and the Ottomans. Cf 1329: battle of Pelekanon. The Byzantine ‘empire’ still looks on the map like the strongest state in the immediate Aegean region (setting aside Bulgaria and the Germiyan beylik), but, as we will see, it is weakening in relation to the still inferior but fast-rising powers of Serbia and the Ottomans. The ‘empire’ extends, as we have said, west across the Balkans to the Adriatic Sea (Albania and Epirus), and south to Thessaly. Constantinople also controls the SE third of the Peloponnesian peninsula called ‘the Morea’. Thus, after 1,000 years, Byzantium has become an essentially ‘European’ realm (although ‘Europe’ is an anachronistic term, not useful until 1453). The Orthodox Bulgarians rule north of a notional line from Philippopolis (Plovdiv) to Burgas. The former town is Byzantine, the latter Bulgarian. Orthodox Serbia initially extends not much further south than Skopje. Cf 1330: Serbians defeat Bulgarians. There are still two Catholic* (Latin) states in lower Greece: the Catalan Duchy of Athens and the ‘Greco-French’ (Angevin) Principality of Achaea in the Peloponnesus. Cf 1330: the Greeks take Kalavryta. To the west, the other Latin powers are: Venice, the Angevin Kingdom of Naples (S Italy), and Aragonese Sicily. 6

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

(*) We mean the religion of their ruler. When Athens went from Catalan to Forentine rule in 1385-88, the Catholic archbishop continued to live near and say Mass in the cathedral church of the Partheneon, while the Orthodox bishop was confined to the lower town (Fine, Balkans 1994: 404). Major Cities At this time the major cities of the greater Mediterranean world, with over 50,000 people, were (from east to west): Tabriz in the Mongolo-Persian Ilkhanate; Mameluke Cairo; Byzantine ‘New Rome’ or Constantinople; Venice; Florence; Milan (nominally part of the German empire); Genoa; Paris; and the Frenchruled woollen-cloth-making city of Ghent in Flanders (thus McEvedy, New Atlas 1992). It will be noticed that of the 10, only two are Muslim. Mamluk Cairo, with probably 300,000 people in 1315, was possibly the world's largest city; it was overtaken by Hangzhou/Hangchow, China, when the Black Death hit the cities of western Eurasia in 1347-48: Hangchow would reach ‘432,000’ in 1350. Then Nanking/Nanjing, China, by 1358: ‘487,000’ people in AD 1400. According to Matschke 2002, the population of Constantinople may still have exceeded 100,000 during the early Palaiologan period, though shortly before the city fell (in 1453) to the Turks the number was barely half that. Old Rome, with perhaps 35,000 people, had now recovered to second-rank status. In 1305 the popes will leave Rome and take up residence at Avignon.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Above: Turkia and Romania. By 1326 the Turkish beylik (lordship) of Karasi held parts of the southern shore of the Sea of Marmara, as did the Ottomans, but most of the littoral was still Byzantine. The near-defunct Turkish (Seljuq) Sultanate of Rum/Rome was now a vassal of the Mongol-ruled Ilkhanate of Persia. The unlabelled lavender segment between the Turkish beylik of Karesi and the beylik of Aydin is the beylik of Saruhan. Osman = Ottoman.

THE PALAIOLOGAN ARMY IN ABOUT 1330 After Bartusis, Late Byantine Army [LBA], 1992. Size After 1204 it was unusual for a Byzantine army to number more than a few thousand men. The “empire” was quite small, but in addition the expense of maintaining an army seems to have been greater everywhere in this period than before about AD 1100. Moreover much less tax per head was able to be collected than before 1100 (cf Treadgold 1997: 842). For comparison, I have listed in an Appendix some estimates of the size of Western European field armies before and after the Black Death. Even quite large states were not capable of fielding big armies. An exception was the Ottoman Empire, once it had expanded to cover a quarter or more of Asia Minor: see the entry after AD 1432 in this chronology. At sea, the strongest power was Venice, but as a city-state (with only a few coastal and island colonies in the East), its resources were quite limited: see the discussion below under AD 1410. As for the Byzantines, Bartusis, LBA p.266, calculates that the state budget in the 1320s was large enough to hire at most about 1,700 full-time professionals or ‘mercenaries’. (In 1321, Andronicus succeeded in collecting much more tax and other revenues than usual, and planned—although the plan was never realised—to hire 3,000 salaried cavalrymen, i.e. ‘knights’, and a standing navy with 3,000 oarsmen, enough to man some 18-20 war-galleys: Treadgold 1997: pp.841 ff.) But there were in addition pronoiar cavalrymen (Greek professionals) and small-holder troops who were largely self-financing. Thus the men who could be mustered for a campaign numbered over 3,000. The largest imperial field army mentioned in Kantakouzenus’s works [fl. 1345] numbered just 5,000 men; the largest in Gregoras [fl. 1340] was 3,000 men (LBA pp.260 ff). This covered all the paid campaign troops supported by the emperor whether by salary or other means: small-holder troops, pronoiars (tenured cavalrymen) and imperial ‘mercenaries’ of differing ethnicities. In addition, there were often unpaid ‘allied’ foreign troops deployed at no cost to emperor (or rather: no cash cost). They fought for booty. The median figure for allied Turks in several campaigns was 6-8,000 men, and the median for other allies 2-3,000. Thus on rare occasions an ally-boosted expeditionary force could exceed 10,000 men. Interestingly, in 1332, according to the Berber (Moroccan) traveller Ibn Battuta, who was a careful observer, fully “5,000” Byzantine cavalry or horsemen, all in


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years armour, some also with horse-armour, rode out to meet the Byzantine wife of the ‘Golden Horde’ (Kipchak) khan (see below under 1332). One must assume that this included not only regular soldiers but also garrison troops and probably some civilians riding with them. Alternatively we should strike off a zero and read this as 500. Adding together imperial and (unpaid) allied troops, an expeditionary army of some 5,000 men was possible, and one as large as 10,000 men was exceptional but not unknown. Such are the figures when time allowed for a full muster of the army and allies. But when an emergency called for a scratch army, the force deployed must have numbered only in the hundreds! (Bartusis, LBA p.269). Garrisons guarding major towns and fortresses tended to number around 2300 men per site, but figures as low as 30 men are reported. These troops were lower status amateur soldiers who did not go on campaigns (LBA pp.296, 299). Cf 1342.

Above: Fresco of military saints ca. 1300. Quite likely they represent pronoiar soldiers (see in text). Points to note: 1. The small round shield carried by the left-hand figure. 2. The box-shaped quiver of the middle figure with the arrows points-up (suggesting he is a horse-archer); and his large concave triangulate shield (also appropriate for a horseman). The dark purple coloured shape behind his right knee is presumably a bow-case (another piece of cavalry gear)? His bow is relatively large. 3. The larger round shield of the right-hand figure. His neck projector looks


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years like lamellar meatal. 4. The swords are about half their height. If the average medieval man was 175 cm tall, that translates to about 85-90 cm. Small-holders, pronoiars and mercenaries To simplify, there were three categories of imperial troops who went on campaign: (1) Small-holder soldiers, mainly infantry, numbering as many as 2,500 in a very large army of 5,000. (2) The pronoiars, never numbering more than “several hundred”, who were seen as the ‘ideal’ soldiers, being in theory well-equipped and well-trained native Rhomaioi/‘Greek’ cavalry. Finally (3) salaried troops, so-called ‘mercenaries’, mostly foreigners or foreign-born, who were the actual elite, and numbered up to 2,000 (Bartusis, LBA p.267). 1. Small-holder infantrymen This term applied to land-owners who were semi-professional unsalaried farmer-soldiers. Or better: soldier-landlords, as they may not personally have done the farming. In return for military service they were exempted from taxation. Many were native Greek-Romanics, but others were foreigners or the descendants of foreigners granted land in return for military service, e.g. the Cuman horse-archers transplanted to Asia Minor in 1241-42. Effectively all of the infantry (foot archers) would have been small-holder soldiers. Some were spearmen. As depicted in Heath (1995), a Byzantine infantry spearman wears a plain bascinet or round-cap-style helmet, a mail coif and mail body armour to the elbows and waist [his illustration C3]. Alternatively he wears mail also covering the whole of his legs [illustration D2]. He carries a tall (ca. 120 cm) narrow, triangular shield. The spear is relatively short: about 225 cm; that is, it is not a pike. Foot archers are referred to as ‘light’ infantry, but in one illustration in Bartusis [also Heath 1995: sketch D3] we see them wearing both helmets (brimmed warhats) and body armour (evidently mail), with large, flat, box-style quivers girded to their belts (i.e. not carried on a baldric). Parani 2003: 142 notes that both flapclosed box-quivers (arrow tips upwards: the cavalry style) and open type quivers (feathers upwards: the infantry style) are seen in late Byzantine art, the former being more common. Bow-cases are also shown in illustrations, eg Figure 6 in Bartusis’s book: the soldier wears an open, half-size bowcase [the top half of the bow is visible] on his left and a full quiver on his right. No baldric can be seen, suggesting that both were attached to his waist belt. (But baldrics were in use: in Bartusis’s Figure 5, the soldier carries a mace on a baldric, with his box quiver attached to his waistbelt.)


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Above: From the 14th Century ‘Alexander Romance’. Note the ‘inverted teardrop’ or triangular shields, and the modest length of the spears. The turbaned figure is not a Turk but Alexander’s lieutenant Seleucus. 2. Pronoiar cavalry These were the Byzantine professional cavalry armed with lance and sword. As pictured in Nicolle’s Eastern Europe 1988, a Byzantine pronoiar cavalryman wore a metal helmet in the form of a low dish-shaped brimmed war-hat; a shortsleeved mail hauberk [body armour] extending from head (mail hood) to the knees; high boots; and he carried a medium-small convex triangular shield. The miniatures in the Alexander Romance of ca.1330 show both cavalry and infantry carrying fairly small round shields (reproduced in Bartusis, LBA). The pronoiars were relatively high status town-dwellers who drew their income from a pronoia (grant) of rural land-taxes. Most but not all were ethnically Greek; some would be Latins. They did not own the farms but rather were the payees of the peasant-farmers’ taxes. A grant of a pronoia was a grant of revenue, not a land grant. Instead of paying taxes to the central treasury, a nominated set of peasants paid money direct to the pronoiar. Thus Kantakuzenos writes of those soldiers “having incomes from villages” (quoted in LBA p. 163). Not only were they few in number, the pronoiars as a group seem to have been not very capable, often functioning just to bolster the elite mercenary units.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Bartusis, LBA p.344, points outs unkindly that there was no occasion when they ever played a decisive role in battle. 3. Foreign professionals As Bartusis uses it, ‘mercenaries’ simply means salaried full-time soldiers who are not Greeks. It is an unhappy term: cf the Gurkhas in the 20th C British army: salaried foreigners, but an elite and totally loyal. In the literature, the elite imperial troops are called ‘mercenaries’ because nearly all were foreigners or at least of foreign descent: Alans, Cumans, Turks, Bulgarians, Serbs, Italians, Germans, French, Catalans, English and other Latins. Typically they were either Western ‘men at arms’ (‘knights’: heavy lancers) or Eastern horse-archers. The Varangian Guard of course were ethnic English guards-infantry. Plate armour or mail? The Russian traveller Ignatius of Smolensk was present at Manuel II’s coronation in Hagia Sophia in 1392. On either side of the emperor walked 12 men at arms “completely (covered in) iron from head to foot” (quoted by Bartusis p.281). This sounds like plate armour but it could be a reference to mail. A notional field army might be composed as follows: 600: foreign knights, e.g. Germans (lancers). 1,000: horse-archers, usually allied Turks. 400: Byzantine/Greek pronoiar cavalry (lancers). Treadgold 1997: 842 puts their numbers at about “500” in 1320. 1,250: Byzantine/Greek infantry, mostly archers. Also from 1329 [see there] a few Italian infantrymen, probably crossbowmen, served Byzantium. The Varangians in this period did not normally go out on campaign, and not at all after 1329. -----Total: 3,250.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

14th century Byzantine troops. Cavalry armour The following details refer to cavalry. As noted, the Varangians, who were armoured infantry, had ceased during the 1200s to be a field regiment (their appearance on campaign in in 1329 is exceptional). The only remaining infantry serving on campaign were unarmoured light infantrymen, mainly archers. If they wore armour, it was quilt not metal. Head: The typical, perhaps even standard, cavalry helmet was the “war hat” or chapel de fer, a relatively tall, brimmed conical helmet. As noted below, some brimmed war-hats were low and dish-shaped. But conical helmets without brims are also shown in contemporary illustrations (Bartusis LBA p.325; Heath 1995). Parani notes, p.124, that little was written about helmets in contemporary works, so we have to rely on artworks. She thinks (but offers no reasoning) that these are generally fanciful, which is to say, not based on real-life examples (p.125). Neck armour, aventails: Both plate and mail neck-guards were worn. Sometimes they were rigid or semi-rigid lamellar structures of metal or leather. But mail hoods/coifs were also in use. Body: Probably mail was the most common type of armour used by cavalry. There were short and long types, some sleeveless, some with sleeves, some with


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years attached hoods, some without. Sometimes lamellar cuirasses (made of laced or rivetted lamellae or platelets of metal or hardened leather) were worn over, or instead of, mail hauberks, as depicted, for example, in the painting (ca. 1300) of St Demetrius at Mt Athos (Protaton Church) attributed to Manuel Panselinos fl. 1290-1320. The saint wears a lamellar corselet that is sleeveless and extends only to the waist. His large rectangular quiver has the arrows stored points-upwards, so he is a cavalryman, but he also carries a spear or short lance. The miniatures in the Alexander Romance of ca.1330 shows both mail and lamellar armour, often with a soldier wearing a combination of both (reproduced in Bartusis, LBA; also Nicolle, Eastern Europe). Parani pp.112ff says that the artistic evidence for lamellar armour after 1204 is equivocal; she suggests that mail probably predominated. Moreover she queries (p.114) whether depictions were drawn from life or invented. In any event, the armour shown on Demetrius is realistic and very clearly lamellar. Over the body armour again, on top, was worn a quilted or padded cloth surcoat. There is mention in the mid-14th Century Pseudo-Kodinos of blue and white “epanoklibana”, which is to say: surcoats for covering (epano-) lamellar armour (klibana), being worn by the palace guards called Tzakones (Parani p.120). In the fighting against Epirus in 1257, on one occasion the emperor’s uncle Michael Lascaris is said to have worn a corselet instead of a full breastplate “so that he could flee the more readily when caught in a hard plight” (Setton 1976: 75, citing Acropolites). This may imply that after 1250 the better class of Byzantine cavalrymen ordinarily wore some plate armour*, but of a kind that did not cover the whole body. - Ibn Battuta in 1332 (see there) reports that some horses in the Byzantine army wore horse-armour of mail. The miniatures in the Alexander Romance of ca.1330 show mainly unarmoured horse but several are shown with non-plate barding (reproduced in Bartusis, LBA). (*) Keen 1999: 191, 199 notes that Latin knights began using horse-armour (“barding”) from the middle 1200s: mostly in the form of hardened leather, with metal plates at first confined to the horse’s head and chest. The knight’s own armour remained mainly mail, although some iron-plate armour is seen from the mid 1200s, worn to protect the elbows, knees and shins. Full plate armours for man and horse did not appear until the mid-to-late 1300s, and were not in wide use until the mid 1400s. A good illustration of lamellar armour can be found in the monastery of the Forty Martyrs near Sparta. The wall paintings of the cave church are dated by one inscription to 1304/5. St Demetrios sits astride a white horse with his spear held across his chest. The saddle has a raised cantle and pommel, features also found on the Sinai portraits, ca. 1275, of Sergios and the images of St George at Nauplion and St John Chrysostom, Geraki. In Demetrios’ portrait, the saint wears a sleeveless waist-length lamellar corselet and a long surcoat over ornately patterned leggings. The upper arm protection is provided by pteruges (wide strips) evidently of leather. His boots extend up to mid-calf. —Sharon E. J. Gerstel, ‘Art and Identity in the Medieval Morea’, http:// 14

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years www.doaks.org/LACR.html. [Dead link 2011.] Shields: The most common late Byzantine shield was the so-called ‘kite-shaped’ or almond type, actually an elongated triangular shape and slightly curved: very slightly convex. It was medium to large in size: three to five feet (90-150 cm) high and quite narrow: about 45 cm or 18 inches wide at the top (Bartusis, LBA p.326; Heath 1995: 44). Parani, p.129, adds that there was also a smaller more literally triangular type with a slight vertical curve; she proposes that this was a uniquely Byzantine type. Finally she notes that a small flat round ‘oriental-style’ type of shield is depicted in some Byzantine drawings, for example in the painting [ca. AD 1300] of St Mercurius at Mt Athos: hsio shield looks to be only about 35 cm or 14 inches in diameter. St Mercurius carries a quite large bow [to my eye: 150160 cm or around five feet long], which may indicate that he is depicted as a foot soldier; but such a small shield might be better suited to a horseman. The painting of St Demetrius from Mt Athos, mentioned earlier, shows him with a medium-sized round shield of a diameter that looks to my eye about 130 cm or 4 ft 3 in. Cavalry horse armour or “barding”: There is some evidence, literary and pictorial, that on occasion horses wore mail or metal lamellar barding. Presumably this was rare, barding being used only by nobles and perhaps the most elite cavalry (LBA p.324). As we have said, Ibn Battuta in 1332 (see there) reports that in the Byzantine army many horses wore horse-armour of mail. Although the occasion was ceremonial, it can be believed that such armour was also worn in battle. Latin ‘mercenaries’ (“men-at-arms”: salaried professional ‘knights’ from Western Europe) in Byzantine service would have used plate armour in the period 1350-1450.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Above: Fresco of St Mercurius and St Artemius, Mt Athos, attributed to Manuel Panselinos, dating to 1290-1310. Points to note: the large size of Mercurius’s bow, the small round shield and sabre, perhaps indicating he is depicted as a horse-archer. Artemius’s body armour looks like mail, while his upper arm-guards are lamellar (leather?). His left hand rests on a large shield, and the spear (or javelin?) is not a long one. Weapons Swords: The typical sword was straight and of medium length: perhaps up to 90 cm long, to judge from depictions in art. Some straight swords had a slightly curved tip, for example in the painting [ca. AD 1300] of St Mercurius at Mt Athos, and (new in this period) there were also curved sabres. Parani p.135 proposes that swords were now worn girt at the waist, ie not hung on a baldric. Maces – are mentioned in texts and seen in illustrations (but are not common: Parani p.139). One illustration, in Bartusis LBA p. 326, suggests that maces could be quite long, perhaps 60 cm. — In a battle fought in 1211, emperor Theodore I Lascaris personally slew the sultan Kay-Khusraw with a mace. Spear: Spears or lances were the main weapon of the cavalry. Illustrations in art may be unreliable, but it would appear, see e.g. illustration in frontispiece of


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Bartusis’s LBA, that the late Byzantine cavalry lance was shorter than the 12 ft or 3.5 metre kontarion (long pike) of earlier times. Heath 1995: 43 says the infantry spear was about 8 ft or 2.4 m long. The couched charge was used by cavalry, having been adopted from the West in the Comnenian period. Bow: The Byzantines used the Eastern-style composite recurve bow. Amazingly (in view of earlier history), the bow was little used by the late Byzantine cavalry (pronoiars). Bartusis says that native Byzantine cavalry used the sword and lance “almost exclusively”. But this can be doubted. First, several of the contemporary illustrations in his book show military saints in the guise of well equipped armoured soldiers who can only be cavalrymen, and they definitely carry bows, bow-cases and quivers as well as swords and lances (Bartusis, LBA p.330). Second, hunting with the bow was a favourite sport of the Byzantine aristocracy; and Manuel Philes, aged about 25 in 1300, even wrote a poem about the emperor’s ornamental quiver (Parani 2003: 142). Third, Ibn Battuta mentioned cavalry carrying both bows and lances in 1332 (see there). Finally, as Heath remarks, 1995: 24, Byzantine archers were frequently brigaded alongside Cuman mercenaries and Turkish auxiliaries on the battlefield, and this probably indicates that some Greek-Romanic archers were horse-archers or multi-weaponed horse-lancer-bowmen. But, however that may be, certainly the composite recurve bow remained an important weapon by virtue of its use by allied or mercenary horse-archers and the Byzantine infantry. One has to guess, but perhaps as many as 40% of a field army carried bows. In depictions of Byzantine military saints, their quivers are mostly, but not always, box-shaped (rectangular) with a closing flap, and the arrows are stored point-upwards, as was the practice on the Eurasian steppes (Parani p.142). Thus the saints being depicted are dismounted horsemen. In 1439 at Florence the Verona-based painter Pisanello drew sketches of Emperor John VIII on horseback. (Cf chronology under 1417-18: John was an active participant in campaigns in his youth.) John wears over his left thigh a half-size bow-case containing a strung bow about one metre long and what appears to be a short, scabbarded sabre under it. The bowcase (to my eye about 50 cm deep) contains about half of the bow’s length, the top half being uncovered. Image here: http://www.oilpaintinghk.com/art/oil_paintings_58705.html. In another sketch, Pisanello has drawn a bow-case that contains two-thirds of a strung bow, with only the top third exposed (in Nicolle, Eastern Europe p.37).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Above: Illustration from the 14th Century ‘Alexander Romance’. Points to note: Only round shields are in evidence. Alexander’s horse and the one to his left wear horse-armour, possibly lamellar leather. The foot-archers wear iron ‘kettle-hats’ and box-shaped quivers attached to their belts containing arrows with the fletching at the top: points downward (typical infantry style), but so too does the cavalryman behind Alexander. The body armour of the cavalryman behind Alexander looks to be lamellar iron. In the case of the footarcher second from the right, his armour from its colour may be lamellar leather.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Above: John VIII (aged 46) in Italy as depicted by Pisanello Cross-bows: The Latins made wide use of the cross-bow, but it was not much used by the Byzantines, except in the case of town garrisons. (This makes sense: accuracy is not important in the effect of an arrow-storm during a battle in the field, and the plain bow can be fired more quickly; the only real advantage of the crossbow is that untrained soldiers can learn to use it more quickly, whereas the plain bow demands expertise and long years of practice.) Firearms – have not yet appeared. The first reference to guns (cannons) in the Balkans comes in 1378 [cf 1389: said to have been used, ineffectually, by both sides at Kossovo]; but firearms would not decide field battles until the 1500s. The Byzantines may have used small cannons as early as 1390 in an internal squabble coup. The Genoese of Galata were using primitive bombards from 1392. The first siege in which the Ottomans used cannon was the 1422 siege of Constantinople (Bartusis, LBA pp.335, 337). CHRONOLOGY BEGINS HERE


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

1328-41: ANDRONIKOS III Palaiologos Andronicus III Palaeologus, aged 32 at acc.: grandson of Andronicus II, who he deposed after a series of civil wars. 1st wife: Adelaide [Adelheid] von Brunschweig [Brunswick], renamed Irene, d. 1324. 2nd wife: marr. 1326: Joanna/Giovanna/Anna of Savoy. His youngest sister was married to successive tsars of Bulgaria. His chief minister and general was John Cantacuzene/Kantakouzenos, later Emperor John VI. During this reign the Ottoman Turks gained almost complete control of NW Asia Minor, while Stephen (Stefan) Dushan of Serbia conquered western Macedonia and Albania. Warren Treadgold, 1997: 764 and 837, writes of Byzantium temporarily reversing its decline under Andronicus III, and he judges that on the whole his reign was successful. Thanks to the commanding general, the Grand Domestic John Cantacuzenus, “the real architect of Andronicus’s success”, Byzantium would win more in Epirus, Thessaly and the islands than it would lose in Bithynia and around Ochrid [in present-day FYROM/Slavic Macedonia]. Its army, albeit tiny, fought at least as well as the armies of its neighbours, “with the possible exception of the Ottoman Turks” (p.764). Cf 1329, Battle of Pelekanon. 1315-21: Although strictly not within our chronological ambit, the Chora Church is worth a mention. The powerful Byzantine statesman Theodore Metochites endowed the


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Church of Holy Saviour in Chora (in the north-western sector of Constantinople) with much of its fine mosaics and frescos. The impressive decoration of the interior was carried out between 1315 and 1321. The mosaic-work is the finest example of the ‘Palaeologian Renaissance’. (The majority of the fabric of the current building is earlier, namely from 1077–1081, when Maria Doukaina, the mother-in-law of emperor Alexios I Komnenos, had the Chora Church rebuilt as an inscribed cross or quincunx: a popular architectural style of the time.) There is no known instance of mosaic decoration in Byzantium after 1321; only frescoes. This is probably to be explained by the negative economics of a small population fighting a civil war (Sevcenko in Treadgold‘s Renaissances, 1984 p.161). 1325-1334: SW Aia Minor: The Aydin emir Mehmed divided the principality between his sons. The elder, Hızır, received Ephesus in 1325: he ruled it until his death in 1360, first under the suzerainty of his father then under that of his younger brother, Umur Bey, who inherited the supreme power on the death of Mehmed in 1334. —Foss, Ephesus p.146 1328: At age 70 Andronicus II abdicated, i.e., he was deposed, and retired to a monastery; his grandson assumed the throne as Andronicus III. Evidently the Varangian Guard readily switched allegiance to the younger Andronicus because, in 1330 when he fell seriously ill and his partisans were afraid his grandfather would attempt to resume the throne, the Varangians were used as a threat against it (Benedikz p.175). The Venetian and Genoese traders of Constantinople were at this time engaged in a naval war being fought around the city. A Venetian fleet of 40 ships was blockading the Genoese colony of Galata (Pera) and the mouth of the Golden Horn. This meant that Genoese food ships carrying grain and fish from the Black Sea could not get through to the harbour and the Byzantine population was short of food: “During the campaign of the Venetians against the Genovese [sic: Genoese] in 1328, a number of Genovese and Byzantine merchant ships were taken as hostage to secure a ransom. Upon release of these ships, the urban population [of Constantinople] was relieved to see that their cargoes of grain and salted fish originating from the shores of the Sea of Azov and the deltas of the Don and Kuban rivers had survived intact. At a time when the wheat-growing fields of Thrace and Macedonia were destroyed by incessant hostilities and warfare, the helpless capital had turned more than ever to these supply zones on the northern littoral of the Black Sea. However, the era of 1325-28 marked also the disintegration of the Byzantine monopoly over the Black Sea grain trade as well as the control of Constantinople over the grain exports to the West. The Genovese had the upper hand in the trade of the Black Sea grain.” —Eyüp Özveren, at www.eh.net/xiiicongress/cd/papers/6%d6zveren48. Evidently what is meant, however, is that the proportion of Genoese ships 21

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years increased relative to Greek-Romanic. The Genoese had been bringing grain to Constantinople from the Black Sea littoral for many decades. Matschke has underlined that “native (Byzantine) ships with native merchants and a variety of native products are attested between Thessalonike and Constantinople and between various Black Sea ports, independent of the Italians and with no connections to them. Their presence reveals that one cannot speak of a true monopoly of Genoese and Venetians on either side of the straits” (in Laiou 2002: 790).

Above: Venetian gallley at the Battle of Curzola, 1298. Each bench had three oarsmen each pulling on his own oar, a system called alla sensile. 1329: 1a. Planning to proceed against rebellious Chios, Emperor Andronikos III negotiated a peace agreement with the Turks of Saruhan (Manisa) in 1329 (Hasan Celâl Güzel, Cem Oguz & Osman Karatay, The Turks: Ottomans 2 v. )2002). 1b. Eastern Aegean: Andronikos III effected the recovery of the mainland coastal fortress of Old Phocaea and the islands of Lesbos and Chios from Benedetto Zaccaria in 1329, but this did little to stem the Ottoman advance in Asia Minor. (The Zaccarias managed to maintain control of New Phocaea, 20 km away.) The Greek inhabitants of Chios, led by Leo Kalothetos, rebelled against Zaccaria rule in 1329. The emperor intervened, captured Martino Zaccaria and imprisoned him in Constantinople. —Nicol 1972: 176. Byzantium held Chios until 1346: see there. The E Aegean: Martino Zaccaria's opponent on Chios, Leon Kalothetos, approaches the new Emperor Andronicus Paleologos with a plan to regain the 22

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years island for Byzantium. Martino is thus summoned to Constantinople to explain why he has built a fortress without consent. Martino responds by removing the imperial standard, raising his own and retiring into his fortress. The emperor sends a fleet to take the island but Martino fails to negotiate for peace and his own safety when he finds the island's Greeks and his own brother Benetto ll are opposed to him. He is taken prisoner to Constantinople. The island's Greek and Latin nobility are offered a lease on the same terms originally offered to Benetto ll . But Benetto ll wants the island for himself and responds by chartering eight Genoese vessels in Constantinople and sailing for Chios. He is routed by the inhabitants and dies of a stroke a few days later (Long 1998). Zaccaria had a standing army of two galleys, 100 cavalrymen and 1,000 (or “800”) infantrymen, according to the Wikipedia authors (under ‘Chios’ 2011, citing Benjamin Arbel, Bernard Hamilton and David Jacob, Latins and Greeks in the Eastern Mediterranean after 1204 [1989]). Miller 1921: 292 says Zaccaria had 800 men. The island’s revenues amounted to the surprisingly large sum of 120,000 hyperpyra (gold coins) - equivalent to more than a 1/10th of the state budget of the empire at its highest in this period (Treadgold, State p.839). Presumably the income from the alum mines of Phocaea is included here, as land taxes would surely have been modest. Andronicus III declared Martino Zaccaria deposed. And with a fleet of 105 [sic!] ships and boats, the Byzantines invaded Chios (Miller 1921: 292; Wikipedia, 2011, ‘Martino Zaccaria’). One imagines the large majority were small boats rather than large galleys: even so, the number of oarsmen involved may have exceeded 3,780 if (purely a guess) there were 15 galleys [108 rowers each] and 90 lesser craft [24 rowers each]. The number of imperial troops is not known, but just “300” mounts were brought along for the cavalry (Bartusis p.262, citing Kantakouzenos’s memoirs). Thus the entire expedition may have included no more than (say) 1,200 professional fighters. Of course if every oarsmen also carried a sword, then the Italians were heavily outnumbered . . . Martin was taken prisoner to Constantinople. And Andronicus compelled the subordinate governor of Phocea, Andreolo Cattaneo, to swear fealty to him. When the Genoese Martino Zaccaria surrendered Chios to Andronicus, the former’s 800 Italian soldiers were given the choice of leaving or “taking mercenary pay to serve the emperor”. Most chose to become mercenaries and either stayed on Chios or “numbered themselves among the servants of the emperor”, i.e. joined the imperial army (Kantakouzenos, quoted in Bartusis, LBA p.209). 2a. Asia: The Aydin-oglou Turks had held the upper fortress at Smyrna since 1317; in 1329 under Umur Pasha they took its lower harbour from the Genoese. This became the main base of the Aydinoglu navy. The Aydinoglu capital was inland at Birgi (ex-Greek Pyrgion). –Nicol B&V p.252; also ‘Aydin-oglu’, in Encyclopedia of Islam, Leiden, Brill 1960, I:783. 2b. The N Aegean: Sailing from Smyrna and Ayasuluk/Ephesus*, the fleet of the Aydin-oglou Turks under Umur Pasha attacks Christian ships off the


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Dardanelles (Pryor 1988: 167). Among the weapons used by the Turks were the arbalest [steel crossbow] and wood crossbow [Inalcik, Maritime p.326], although we may guess that the ‘ordinary’ composite bow predominated. According to Lemerle (also Inalcik, loc.cit.), Umur’s men also attacked Chios around this time, perhaps in early 1330 after the withdrawal of Zaccaria’s Genoese from that island. As related in the later Turkish chronicle Dusturname by Enveri, the Turks “took innumerable boys, virgins and young women and gold and silver beyond reckoning” . . . “moonfaced virgins …. (and) beautiful Frankish [Italian] boys” (quoted in Paul Lemerle, L’Emirat d’Aydin, Paris 1957). The contemporary writer, al-‘Umari, writing in about 1330, says Umur was engaged in jihad (cited in Ann Lambton & Bernard Lewis, The central Islamic lands from pre-Islamic times to the first world war, Volume 2, Cambridge University Press, 1978, p.271); but of course there were also compelling non-religious reasons for going against the Christians, namely slaves, booty and fame. Al-‘Umari was relying on second-hand reports; he did not visit Aydin. (*) By this time the ancient harbour was silted up; the actual port of Ephesus was an inlet about six km west of Ayasuluk** (as medieval Ephesus was called: Italian Altoluogo) at the ancient port of Panormos (Foss, Ephesus after Antiquity, p.149). (**) From Greek Ayios Theologos, [church of the] Holy Theologian.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Above: Illustration from the 14th Century ‘Alexander Romance’. Points to note: 1. The iron ‘kettle-hat’ helmets. 2. The rider behind Alexander has a face-cover of mail. The differently sketched bodyarmour of the soldier visible over Alexander’s right shoulder would be lamellar iron. 4. NW Asia Minor, 10 June: The last eastern offensive by Byzantium. At Pelecanus or Pelekanon, which was near modern Gebze*, on the road from Constantinople to Nicomedia, the second and last major battle is fought between the Empire and the Ottomans in Asia (thr fruist was at Bapheon in 1301 or 1302). Andronicus, accompanied by Cantacuzenus, makes a last valiant attempt to recover some of Asia Minor: unsuccessful attempt to force back the Ottomans who were besieging Byzantine Nicomedia and Nicaea. The emperor himself was wounded by a Turkish arrow (Bradbury 2004: 11). (*) Norwich says, wrongly, that Pelekanos is today’s Manyas, i.e. well west of Bursa. Pryor and Nicolle both say the battle was fought, after a march of more than two days [1-3 June], at Pendik, 30 km from the capital, which is NW of Gebze in Bithynia (Pryor 2006: 285; Nicolle 2008: 37; also Freely 2008: 114). Pendik is now on the SE edge of Istanbul’s suburbs. Liakopoulos says Pelekanon is modern-day Eskihisar, nearer to (south of) Gebze and on the coast. Eskihisar is more than halfway from Byzantine 25

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Nicomedia to Constantinople, specifically about 45 km from the latter (in his ‘Ottoman Conquest’, www.thesis.bilkent.edu.tr/0002131). The Byzantine army retreated from Pelekanon to Philokrene, which is today’s Bayramoglu on the coast west of Gebze and just 4 or 5 km west of Eskihisar. The sources say the Turks came down from the hills to attack the Byzantines: looking at a contour map one can only conclude that they were the hills immediately NW of central Gebze (nowadays the town surrounds the hills). Given the points to which the imperials retreated (see below in text), the battle must have taken place on the flatter land immediately south-west of Gebze proper. That is, where today Gebze’s south-west suburbs extend. The Battle of Pelekanon, 1329 In the battle of Pelekanon, about 8,000 Ottoman troops, or better: armed retainers, under Orhan (aged 48) defeated some 4,000 Byzantine soldiers under Andronicus (aged 32) and the grand domestic John Cantacuzenos (aged about 34). There were perhaps as few as 3,000 on the imperial side, of whom 2,000 were regulars (Nicol, Last Centuries p.169; Bartusis LBA p.91; Norwich 1996: 285; Freely 2008: 114). Cantacuzenos commanded the right wing. The lower totals are credible because they are fully consistent with the figures offered for the number of dead and wounded: see details below. As noted, Andronicus himself was wounded in the battle, as also was Cantacuzenus (Nicol, Cantacuzene 2002: 32). In the time available, Andronicus was able to assemble troops only from the capital and Thrace; the troops of Macedonia and “the rest of the west” (i.e. our Albania) did not participate (Bartusis, LBA p.236). He managed to assemble some 2,000 regulars, so we may deduce that the whole professional land forces in 1329 totalled no more than about 3,000. Adding irregulars, he may have commanded as many as 4,000 men at Pelekanon. The 2,000 regulars on the Greek-Romanic side were mainly cavalry: presumably both ‘men at arms’ (heavy cavalry: say 1,000?) and pronoiars (medium cavalry: say 500?) but also included the elite Varangian (English) infantry guard, say 500 men. They were bolstered by an equal or larger number of irregulars: halftrained smallholder farmer-soldiers (LBA p.214, 236, citing Gregoras). Noting that initially the imperials more than held their own against the Turks, we must imagine that many, evem most, of these Byzantine farmer-infantrymen were archers. This (1329) is the last time we hear of the Varangians as a campaigning unit; after about 1329, or even earlier, they become or became palace guards normally serving only in the capital or escorting the emperor when he travelled. The very last reference to axe-bearing soldiers “of British race” comes in 1404 (Heath 1995: 23; Bartusis p.275). Cf 1341, 1355.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

The Turks were first sighted on the third day, which would be 3 June. The battle took place on 10 June; presumably the six days 4-9 June were spent eyeing off each other or counter-manoeuvring? Alternatively there was desultory fighting for some days before the decisive phase on 10 June. The first phase of the battle went in the Empire’s favour. In a contest that took up most of the day, the Byzantines beat off three Turkish attacks. The first Ottoman attack was made by just 300 horsemen, the next two by larger numbers. But Orhan held back most of his force. If we may believe Kantakouzenus—and his modest but exact figures are consistent with other data from this period—then the Byzantines sustained just “two” dead and a “few” wounded, as against nearly 270 (sic) dead on the Turkish side, in the opening phase of the battle (Bartusis p.268; Nicol loc.cit.). Noting the small numbers on the imperial side, we may imagine that the Turks were not always very fearsome in this era. Indeed one writer (see below under 1330) described the 14th century Ottoman horsemen as mediocre (“not good”) and the infantry as more warlike in appearance than in reality. It must be a guess, but probably some of the 270 Turkish fatalities were inflicted by lancer-charges and others by the fire of the Byzantine infantry archers. In any event, the Byzantines thought that they had won and, as evening approached [10 June], began returning to their nearby camp. But the fighting was renewed, and in the second phase “127” Byzantines were killed. Andronicus himself was lightly wounded in the knee or thigh. A rumour that the wound was fatal led to a panicky withdrawal from the camp to the imagined safety of the coast. The Turkish casualties in this second phase are not recorded but presumably were fewer than 127 (Kantakuzenos, cited in LBA p.269; Nicol loc.cit.; Norwich 1996: 285 gives a slightly different account). The Byzantines, or most of them, took refuge at four sites: (1) the fortress of Philokrene [modern Bayramoglu, on the coast to the west], Andronicus being carried there on a stretcher. He was put on a ship to Constantinople (night of 10 June). Ramsay, Geography pp.184-85, says that as well as (1) Philokrene, the Byzantines retired to (2) Niketiata (west), (3) Dakibyza [modern Gebze to the north-east] and (4) Ritzion [modern Darica: between Bayramoglu and Eskihisar] on the coast (south). The fort of Niketiata lay on the coast close to and west of Gebze, so also near Philokrene. The Turks followed close behind, and at dawn the next day (11 June) a battle or skirmish was fought outside the walls of Philokrene, in which two high ranking imperials were killed. Kantakouzenos managed to rally his troops (evidently from all four refuge sites) and marched them in something like order back to Chrysopolis, where they had left their ferry-boats (Nicol, loc.cit.; Finlay, Empire, 1854 p.530). Lindner: “Orkhan's force consisted of nomad [horse] archers. A series of brief encounters was indecisive, but the Byzantines were able to repulse two larger Turkish attacks. It would seem as though the two armies had fought to a draw, although the Byzantines began to return to camp as victors. It was only during the undisciplined retirement of the Byzantine infantry that the Turks were able to sow panic and turn an indecisive encounter into a rout. It was the aftermath of the battle, not the direct encounter itself, which furnished Orkhan with victory” 27

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years (thus Lindner; also LBA p.91). It would seem that either the imperial troops were well led, or the average Turkish light cavalryman, a ‘gifted amateur’, was not yet as capable as the average professional or semi-professional soldier serving Byzantium - or both. Moreover probably many Turks were light infantrymen, or better: mere unarmoured herdsmen with a bow and dagger. In this period none were fulltime professional troops, as were so many of their opponents.

Above: Ottoman horse-archer. 4. Venice: The Pregadi (the Senate) decided in 1329 to auction the state galleys and offer them on lease to the highest bidder voyage by voyage, on a given route and under binding conditions. The experiment began with the trade to and from the Eastern Empire, and the success of the operation led to its being extended to the galleys bound for the other destinations. This system ensured work for the Arsenal, the largest state industry even in time of peace. —‘Veneto’ website: www.veneto.org/history/serenissima2.htm; accessed 2011. 5. The existence of a Christian minority in Ephesus and its surrounds is attested by the writings of Manuel Gabaslas, called Matthew of Ephesus, created titular archbishop of Ephesus in 1329. Emir Mehmet would not allow him to enter the town. It was only in 1339 (see there) that he was able to take up his post, after a detour via Smyrna —Foss, Ephesus, p.148 1330: 1000th anniversary of the founding of Constantinople.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years c.1330: 1. fl. Demetrius Triclinius, a writer of commentaries on classical lyric and dramatic poetry. He edited and analyzed the metrical structure of many texts from ancient Greece, particularly those of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. He is often compared favourably with two contemporary annotators of ancient Greek texts, Thomas Magister and Manuel Moschopulus. He had also knowledge of astronomy. 2. Asia Minor: “In about 1330”, says Inalçik, Emergence of the Ottoman State, “Al'Umari's [d. 1349] two sources estimated that the 16 Turcoman [herder-tribal] principalities established by that time could mobilise over half-a-million cavalrymen—the figure given by Balaban the Genoese [the Genoa-born mamluk Domenico Doria]—or over a quarter-of-a-million according to Haydar al-Uryan [Shaikh Haidar].'' The latter figure yields an average of about 17,000 men (275,000 / 16 = 17, 187). In addition, they mentioned an unspecified number of infantry. The figures (writes Inalcik) were obviously greatly exaggerated [but Balaban’s total is perhaps not incredible if it comprised all able-bodied Turkish men aged 15 to 50 . . . - MO’R]. However, if we remember that the majority of these forces consisted of Turcoman tribesmen, the figure given for each individual principality can be interpreted as the relative number of fighting tribesmen dependent upon a particular lord or ruler. It is noteworthy that the highest figures in these accounts were given for the Mentese-oghlu (100,000 in Caria) [capital at Milas/Mylasa: near Bodrum] , the Aydin-oghlu (70,000 in lonia) [capital at Ayasuluk/Ephesus], the Osman-oghlu (Ottomans - 40,000 in Bithynia) [capital at Bursa: cf below: 1331], the Karasi-oghlu (over 40,000 in Mysia) [capital at Balıkesir*], and the Sarukhan-oghlu (18,000 in Lydia) [capital at Manisa/Magnessia ad Sipylum, NE of Izmir/Smyrna] - all of whom were operating in the area captured from the Byzantines in western Anatolia between 1260 and 1330.” –Inalçik 1980. Cf Ibn Battuta’s figures in the table below, afer 1331. (*) At the halfway point on a line drawn from Izmir/Smyrna to Istanbul/Constantinople. “The geographer al-Umari, whose sources provide information on the Ottoman domains ca. 1331, presents a … critical assessment of Orkhan's strength. According to his informants, Orkhan had 25,000 or 40,000 mediocre horse and an almost innumerable infantry, more warlike in appearance than in reality” (Lindner, emphasis added: cf Doria’s judgement below). If 8,000 of them could be held to a draw by 3 or 4,000 Byzantines (above: 1329), then certainly the quality of the Turkish forces must have been limited. Nicolle, Janissaries 1995: 7, notes that Orhan first enrolled a corps of fulltime infantry at around this time, i.e. by 1338. The Janissaries as such were formed somewhat later, after 1354. In an earlier work, Nicolle, Armies of the Ottoman Turks, 1983 p.9, he had written that they were first formed after the capture of Edirne/Adrianople, i.e. in the 1360s. — The figure of 25,000 Ottoman cavalry comes from al-Umari, ca. 1331: see the


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years table below, after 1331. The judgment that they were “not good” is that of the Italian mamluk Domenico Doria (‘Balaban’); he says “40,000” were cavalry (Lippard 1984). — In the case of Aydin, Cantacuzenus reports that on a later occasion (in 1343) Umur came to help leading 29,000 men (or 15,000) transported by 380 (or 300) boats, some of whom may have been volunteers from other emirates as well men from the Aydin emirate (Zachariadou p.217). That is an average of 76 men per boat. Presumably all were warriors who also rowed and sailed, i.e. none were specialist oarsmen. — Doria (Balaban) says Aydin had “70,000” cavalry enrolled; but this figure probably included all able-bodied men of the emirate; al-Umari more plausibly says Aydin could field “10,000” cavalry. Emergence of plate armour in Western Europe: After c. 1330 illustrations of knights armoured entirely or almost entirely in mail are rare (Claude Blair, European Armour Circa 1066 to Circa 1700. London: B. T. Batsford, 1958, p. 41). Armour was expensive and only the very rich could afford to keep up with changes in style. Almost to the end of the 14th century, many knights made do with armour composed mainly of mail, supplemented by a few pieces of plate (David Edge and John M Paddock, Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight. Hong Kong: Crescent Books, 1998, p.93). The appearance of Latin infantrymen can be seen, for example, in the paintings of Lippo Memmi of Siena, ca. 1291-1356. In “Jesus carrying his cross to Calvary” (1340s), and the “Arrest of Jesus”, the soldiers wear iron ‘kettle-hats’, mail coifs (hoods under the helmet) and mail body armour that seems to go to the wrist but not below the thighs. They carry large shields that are chevron-shaped and convex. Warships By our standards, medieval war-galleys were tiny:
Venetian galley ca. 1350*: Present-day Australian “Armidale” class ocean-going patrol boat: 9.5 56.8 Present-day USA “Cyclone” class coastal patrol boat: 7.6 55 metres Boeing 737 aircraft

Beam: Length:

5.33-5.9 metres 40.3 to 40.4 m; elsewhere “37” m.** 2.57 m.** 600 [sic]

3.76 m. fuselage width 31-36 m. according to which model. ---N/a

Height of hull: Tonnage:




O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

(*) Lillian Martin, The art and archaeology of Venetian ships and boats, Texas A&M University Press, 2001, p.208. (**) Museo Galieo, ‘Michael of Rhodes’ website, http://brunelleschi.imss.fi.it/michaelofrhodes/ships_galleys.html Genoese naval regulations of about 1330 stipulated that a galley with a crew of “176” men should include several junior officers and 12 crossbowmen. Equipment included 160 cuirasses, 160 gorgets [armour for the throat], 170 helmets, 12 further crossbows, 5,000 crossbow bolts [208 per crossbow], plus spears, javelins and bills (David Nicolle, Knight Hospitaller (2): 1306-1565, Osprey 2001, p.31). The small number of crossbows is perhaps surprising; one imagines that the 12 crossbowmen did not row, so that they could fire ahead while the ship was being fast-rowed to the attack. 1330: 1. Asia Minor: Orhan defeats the Byzantines in the battle of Philokrene in the Mesothynian peninsula (entry under ‘Orkhan’ in Brill’s Encyc. Islam, 1936, ed. Houtsma, citing Cantacuzenus and Gregoras; inexplicably Nicolle 2008: 37 lists it as an Ottoman defeat). Others say this was just a sequel to the battle of Pelekanon, fought in 1329 (Nicol, Last Centuries; Heath & McBryde 1995: 8; Freely 2008: 115). The modern-day location is variously given as either Bayramoglu or Tavsanclı; both are near Gebze, about half-way between Constantinople and Nicomedia. See the earlier discussion under 1329. It was now clear that Nicaea could not survive. See 1331. 2. North-central Morea: The Greek-Romanics capture Kalavryta from the Franks. Kalavryta lies between Patras and Corinth. 3. Low-point in Bulgarian power: the Serbs under prince Stefan Dushan defeat and capture the Tsar Michael Shishman, who was being aided by Byzantium. The western Bulgarian domains were absorbed by Serbia which was now the rising power. Cf 1336. The Bulgarians under Michael III, although aided by 3,000 ‘Mongols’ (Kipchaks and Ossetians), were heavily defeated by the Serbs at Velbuzhd or Velbazhd, a pass near Kyustendil*, and large parts of Bulgaria came under Serbian domination. Michael's army was estimated by contemporaries to be 12,000 strong. Stefan Urosh strengthened his army with additional Spanish and German mercenaries (1,000 soldiers each), who were the elite in a force that comprised a total of 15- or 18,000 troops (numbers as given by Cantacuzenus and Gregoras). If these figures


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years may be believed, they suggest that both these states were significantly stronger than Byzantium.** As Runciman notes, 1965: 37, Bulgaria never recovered from this defeat; later in the century, following the Serbian defeat at Kosovo (1389), the rump of Bulgaria fell to the Turks. (*) Located near the present-day ‘corner-point’ of Serbia, FYROM and Bulgaria. (**) McEvedy & Jones’ guesstimate for the population of Bulgaria [presentday borders] in 1300 is around 1,000,000. The number of able-bodied men might have numbered some 150,000; so the figures are credible, albeit larger than average in this era. Stefan Decanski (Dushan) of Serbia, after defeating a Bulgarian army at Velbuzd—modern Kustendil in the far west of modern Bulgaria—expanded his dominion down the Vardar valley (past Skopje) in 1330. John Fine says there were some 15,000 men on either side. “The Serbian army, 15,000 strong, included 1,000 Spanish mercenaries [figures asserted by Dushan himself], reflecting the increasing importance mercenaries had on warfare during the period and the value of Serbian mines [silver mines in Bosnia and at Novo Brdo in what is now Kosovo] to pay for them. Decanski took advantage of the victory to extend Serbian control over [part of] Bulgaria but did not attack the Empire. The Serbian nobility, as usual, were more anxious [just] to gain booty from the rich Byzantine lands”. —Thus ‘Balkan Military History’, at balkanhistory.com/medieval.htm, accessed March 2010; also Fine 1994: 271. The numbers are perhaps surprisingly large, but this was an age of prosperity, before the Black Death. See 1331: raids into Byzantine Macedonia. 4. 16 July: Partial solar eclipse over Thrace predicted (calculated) by the historian and astronomer Nikephoros Gregoras [aged about 35], using Ptolemy’s tables, and described in his Ekthesis psephophorias ekleipseos heliou, ed. and French trans., Calcul de l'eclipse de soleil du 16 juillet 1330, by J. Mogenet et al., Amsterdam: Gieben, 1983. Alternatively or in addition it was in 1330 that he predicted the eclipse of 14 May 1337 (Paul Magdalino, The occult sciences in Byzantium, La Pomme d'or, 2006 p.285). 1330-34: 1a. At Smyrna (Turkish Izmir), the bey’s son Umur builds up the fleet of Adyin, and Aydin becomes a major player in the Aegean sea (Inalcik, Maritime p.323). The Muslim traveller Ibn Battuta (see below: after 1331) admired the few galleys that Aydin, unlike the other ‘maritime emirates’, managed to build – using local Byzantine/Greek shipwrights of course. Greeks also serves as the oarsmen. In his first major expedition to Chios in 1330, Umur commanded a fleet of seven galleys [Turkish kadirga], and 21 light vessels, namely 14 kayik, and seven igribar. He was accompanied by Hizir of Ayasoluk (Ephesus) with 22 kayiks and 32

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years igribars, for a total of 50 vessels. A total of 3,000 fighters was embarked, i.e. an average of 60 per vessel (Inalcik loc.cit. and page 325). See 1332: 250 ships! 1b.. Greece and the Aegean: Turkish power is asserted across the Aegean. Raids are made as far as Venetian Euboea and the Greek mainland. The inhabitants of Byzantine Lesbos in about 1330 and those of Byzantine Monemvasia in the Morea in 1333-34 were reduced to the status of tributaries by Umur, the future bey of the Aydin-oglu. Cf 1332 and 1333. 1331: 1. Thrace: A ‘Mongol’ (Uzbek) raiding party clashes with the Byzantine army. The new Bulgarian leader John (Ivan) Alexander, Michael Shishman’s nephew and successor, was born a ‘Tartar’ (Kipchak); he led 2,000 ‘Mongols’ and some Bulgarians into Thrace; they recaptured the Black Sea ports of Mesembria and Anchialus (Lippard p.211). Andronicus negotiated with Ivan and initially an agreement was struck for an exchange of territor without fighting. But, although the Tatars were actually allied with Byzantium, Ivan deceived them into aiding him in an attack on Andronicus’s Byzantines, despite the peace agreement. A mere “102” Greeks were killed or captured (Kantakuzenos, cited in Bartusis, LBA p.269). This was regarded as a major defeat. So, in view of the modest size of the losses, we may guess the Byzantine force numbered not more than about 1,000. Or perhaps as many as 2,000 noting that Andronicus and Kantacuzenus had let go many of their troops as soon as the agreement was struck (István Vásáry, Cumans and Tatars: Oriental military in the pre-Ottoman Balkans, 1185-1365, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p.130). Cf 1337. 2. NW Asia Minor: To their north, the Ottomans attack and annex the tiny beylik of Göynük (east of Geyve) (Nicolle 2008: 37). 3. Offered generous terms, Byzantine Nicaea surrenders to the Turks. The Ottoman Turks under Chandarli Kara Halil Pasha, a military judge from Bilecek, finally enter imperial Nicaea (Tk: Iznik) on 1-2 March 1331 following an Ottoman victory over the Byzantines at Philokrene, on the road from Constantinople to Nicomedia: just west of the latter, in 1329 or 1330 (Nicol 1993: 170). Those Greeks who wished could leave unmolested, taking their holy relics; the claim that most chose to stay seems unlikely (see next: Ibn Battuta). Candarli Kara Halil Pasha is supposed, but this is doubtful, to have founded the Janissary corps of professional infantrymen thereafter. The Janissaries as such were almost certainly formed somewhat later, after the Ottomans penetrated to Rumelia (Thrace). In his early work, Nicolle, Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1983 p.9, says that they were first formed after the capture of Edirne/Adrianople, i.e. in the 1360s. Measured along a line Constantinople-Nicomedia-Nicaea, the last is 120 km (75 miles) from the first as the crow flies, about the same distance as from Sydney to Newcastle or London to Dover or Southhampton or Washington to Baltimore.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years The Muslim traveller Ibn Battuta arrived in Nicaea in October 1331, seven months after its surrender. He found the city ". . . in a mouldering [decaying] condition and uninhabited except for a few men in the sultan's service." Inside the town walls there were orchards, farms and cultivated fields. By contrast, the Ottoman seat of Bursa, taken from Byzantium half a decade earlier, was a thriving city (Lippard 1984: 5). Cf 1334. Ibn Battuta: “The sultan of Bursa is Orkhan Bek [sic: bey], son of Othman Chuk. He is the greatest of the Türkmen kings and the richest in wealth, lands, and military forces, and possesses nearly 100 fortresses which he is continually visiting for inspection and putting to rights. He fights with the infidels and besieges them. It was his father who captured Bursa from the Greeks, and it is said that he besieged Yaznik [Nicaea] for about 20 years, but died before it was taken. His son Orkhan besieged it 12 years before capturing it, and it was there that I saw him.” The Roman (Rum, Byzantine) emperor had consistently figured in earlier Muslim lists of the world’s greatest rulers. Now he is finally omitted. For Battuta, the seven mightiest kings are: 1. the Marinid sultan of Morocco, Battuta’s own sovereign [not actually very powerful, but . . . noblesse oblige]; 2. the Mamluk sultan of Egypt; 3. the Mongol Ilkhan in Iraq/Iran; 4. Uzbek/Ozbeg, the Khan of the ‘Golden Horde’ or Kipchak Empire in present-day Ukraine and west Central Asia; 5. the Jagatai/Chagatay (Mongol) Khan of Turkestan-east Central Asia; 6. India (the sultan of Delhi); and 7. the Yuan (Mongol) emperor of China (cited in El Cheikh 2004: 213). The Latin kingdoms such as Castile and ‘Germany’ are not noticed, or at least not rated. Castile was at least as powerful as Marinid Morocco, whereas ‘Germany’ was not united. And, putting Morocco to one side, one cannot say that Castile or France were as strong as any of the other six in his list. If land is the criterion, the third among the Christian powers was Hungary. Quote: “The illustrious Sultan Muhammad Uzbeg Khan [of the Golden Horde] is the ruler of a vast kingdom and a most powerful sovereign, victor over the enemies of God, the people of Constantinople the Great, and diligent in warring against them. He is one of the seven mighty kings of the world, to wit: [first], our master the Commander of the Faithful, may God strengthen his might and magnify his victory! [i.e. the sultan of Morocco]; [second] the [Mamluk] sultan of Egypt and Syria; [third], the sultan of the Two Iraqs [Ilkhanate]; [fourth], this Sultan Uzbeg; [fifth], the sultan of Turkestan and the lands beyond the Oxus [the ‘Chagatay’ or Jagatai khanate]; [sixth], the sultan of India [Muhammad bin Tughluq of Delhi]; and [seventh], the sultan of China [i.e. the Yuan or Mongol emperor].” 4. Acc. Stephen (Stefan) Dushan, Serbian king: he will bring Serbia to the height of its power. See 1336. 5. Byzantine Macedonia: Serbian raids in the neighbourhood of Berrhoea [Verria/Veroia: west of Thessalonica] disrupted monastic life, so Gregory Palamas [aged 35] returns* to Mount Athos, the great monastic complex on the


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years peninsulas SE of Thessalonica (John Meyendorff, St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox spirituality, St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1974 p.79). (*) Palamas had become a monk at Athos in 1316; he formed a small hermit community at Verria in 1326. 6. Greece: Walter [Gautier] de Brienne, the French count of Brienne (France) and of Lecce [in Angevin south Italy], with papal endorsement, led Italo-French forces in a vain attempt to retake the duchy of Athens from the Catalans. (The Catalan ‘Grand Company’, mercenaries who had once served Byzantium, took it from his father in 1311; they killed Walter senior in the decisive battle.) Departing from Brindisi in August 1331 with 800 French cavalry and 500 Tuscan infantry, de Brienne landed near Arta (in the Italian-ruled despotate of Epirus-Cephalonia). John Orsini of Epirus-Cephalonia was forced to abandon Byzantine suzerainty and accept Angevin (Neapolitan) suzerainty. The expedition then marched to Attica and Boeotia, but the Catalans declined to give battle and retired behind the walls of Athens and Thebes. The local Greeks gave them no help, and all they could do was ravage the countryside. Their supplies began to dwindle, and in mid 1332 they adandoned the task and returned to Italy (Setton, Papacy p. 452; George Finlay, The History of Greece from its Conquest by the Crusaders to its Conquest by the Turks, and of the Empire of Trebizond 1204 – 1461, Will. Blackwood, 1851 p.177).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Above: Note the several Christian enclaves within Muslim Asia Minor: 1. Genoese Foça/Phocaea on the Mediterranean coast west of Manisa; 2. Greek (Byzantine) Alashehir/Philadelphia on the Aydin-Saruhan border; and the three Genoese-held ports on the Black Sea coast: 4 Amasra, 5 Sinop/Sinope and 6 Samsun. Finally, 7 Trabzon, or the ‘empire of Trebizond’, is Greek. The Turkish suffix –ogullari means “sons of”, ie ‘tribe or clan of x’. ‘Devleti’ translates as ‘state of’. ‘Karakoyunlular’is Qara Qoyunlu or ‘the Black Sheep’, a dynasty of Turkmen rulers; they captured Baghdad in 1410. The ‘Ghazi Emirates’ in 1330-33 Ibn Battuta, aged 26, travelled from Alanya to Konya and thence NNW to Sinope on the Black Sea coast in 1330 (or 1332); later (1331 or 1333: the exact chronology is unclear) he proceeded to visit, among other places, the Ghazi Emirates in western Asia Minor. — He describes Orhan of the Ottomans, perhaps too generously, as already the “greatest of the kings of the Turkmens [herders] and the richest in wealth, lands and military, possessing nearly 100 fortresses” (cf Nicolle, Ottomans 2008: 35). As noted below, Doria (Balaban) and al-Umari more more credibly place Germiyan in the first place. — He calls Balikesir (Gk Akhyaous), the principal town of the Karesi emirate, “populous”, yet it had no working mosque (only a roofless one); one can only guess that most of the town was Greek. Most of its major products, laudanum and silk, were exported to Greek Constantinople. — Bergama, also part of the Karesi beylik, was in ruins except for a large and mighty fortress on a hill. — Phocaea was held by the Genoese Zaccaria family. Turkoman Forts and Cavalry Forces According to Doria [Balaban] and Haydar (al-Umari’s two sources) and ibn Battuta; cited in Lippard 1984: 5 ff; listed from largest to smallest. Al-Umari’s informmation came from Doria and Haydar; al-Umari said that he regarded Doria as more reliable than Haydar. We assume the troop numbers here are just counts of able-bodied men. These cavalry would be mostly “amateurs”, i.e. herders with useful archery skills. We know from other sources that Aydin had an army of just 3,000 men in 1330, or at least that is how many fighters they embarked on a maritime expedition (Inalcik, Maritime p.325), whereas here the lowest figure given is “55,000” horsemen. And in 1430 an Italian source noted that the Ottoman province of Menteshe (as it had become) produced just “7,000” horsemen (Lauro Quirini, cited by Zachariadou, Patmos p.132), compared with the “36,000” recorded 90 years earlier by Ibn Battuta.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years The term “fort” too must have included all walled towns and villages as well as fortresses having only a garrison and no civilian population. In the case of the Ottomans, the famous Janissaries lie still in the future. Largest cavalry forces (Doria): Germiyan, Aydin, Menteshe. Ditto, Haydar: Germiyan, Antalya, Karaman. Ibn Battuta ranks them 1 Germiyan 2 Aydin and 3 Ottoman in terms of cavalry. Most forts (Doria): Germiyan, Aydin, Menteshe. The ranking below is based on the average of Doria and Haydar for the number of cavalry. Column b. = Doria (cavalry), c. = Doria (forts), d. = Shaikh Haidar/Haydar (ca. 1331)

a. Beylik

b. Most Horsemen (Doria) 100,000 cavalry Ibn Battuta’s 1st in terms of cavalry numbers was Germiyan, with 70 K.

c. Most Forts (Doria)

d. Haidar/al-Umari horse

(1) Germiyan: capital at Kutahya; according to Doria, the most powerful of the Turkmen chieftains. Ibn Battuta said Orhan of the Ottomans was ‘greatest of the kings of the Turkmens’: with almost 100 fortresses. (2) Aydin-oglu, capital at Birgi: Ibn Battuta’s 2nd, with 55 K: Aydin. (3) Menteshe: Ibn Battuta’s 3rd for cavalry, with 36 K: Ottoman. (4) Emirate of Karasi/ Baliksehir; plus others at Bergama.

Germiyan: 350+

40,000 cavalry Germiyan

70,000 –/+

“300” fortresses.

Haidar’s equal 1st: 40,000 – Antalya 300 forts – Aydin.


200 forts – Menteshe.

40,000 – Karaman

“Larger army” than the Ottomans, ie 40,000+

“over 50” forts.

30,000+ - Kastamonu;


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years
others at Bergama. Ibn Battuta’s 4th, with 30 K was Karasi. (5) Ottoman (Bursa segment only): Ibn Battuta’s 5th, with 27 K: Kastamonu. Ottomans, ie 40,000+ 150 forts in the Karaman beylik

40,000 and “50+” forts. + 8,000 cavalry at the subemirate of Nicaea with “30” forts. 25,000 and 40+ fortresses.

50+ forts Ottomans of Bursa, ie Doria’s figure is half that of Ibn Battuta. 50+ forts: Balikesir (Karesi) 40+

25,000 cavalry

(6) Kastamonu: (Ibn Battuta’s 6th: 24 K: Antalya.) (7) Karaman: (Ibn Battuta’s 7th strongest: 18 K : Saruhan.) (8) Emirate of Bergama: Karasi family: Bergama itself was in ruins except for a large fortress on a hill. (9) Saruhan:


10,000 – Birgi (Aydinoglu)

20,000 and “15” fortresses.

3,000 – Goynuk: the garrison of a single town east of Geyve; subject to the Ottomans.

18,000 ie 10,000 at Manisa plus 8,000 at Kas Berdik; and “20” fortresses. 8,000

30 - Nicaea (Ottoman beylik of)

3,000 – Kerdele/Gerede: small beylik in NE Anatolia; west of Kastamonu. 3,000 – Mentehse

(10) Nicaea (Ottoman sub-emirate):

25 forts in the beylik of Antalya 20 forts: Saruhan

(11) Antalya:


200 horse [sic] – Malikkesri (Balikesir/Karasi) – presumably just the size of the garrison. Geyve has 10 fortresses, concurring with Doria.

(12)– Geyve: 50 km east of Nicaea; presumably an Ottoman vassal

7,000 and “10” forts.

15 forts: Bergama


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years
Ottoman vassal (13) Denizli: (14) Tavas, south of Denizli: 5,000 4,000. 10 forts: Geyve 4 forts- Tavas

1331: The Islamic dates given by Ibn Battuta are consistent with either 1331 or 1333. Our Moroccan traveller came from the east to Ladik (Denizli); then via Mugla to Milas [Gk Mylasa], the seat of the Menteshe emir, inland from modern Bodrum: “one of the finest and msost important towns in the country”. He then proceeded northwards visiting in turn the courts of Aydin [at Birgi, Gk Pyrgion] , Sarukhan [Manisa], Karesi [Balikesir] and finally the Ottomans [Bursa] (Dunn p.151). After Birgi, Ibn Battuta went ESE via Tire to Aya Soluk (Ephesus: also under Aydin rule), then “Yazmir” (Izmir, Smyrna: also under Aydin rule), Manisa (NE of Smyrna), Bergama, Balikesir, Bursa and Iznik. Only at Ayasoluk was he not warmly welcomed, because there he committed a sin of etiquette, and was snubbed by the governor. He says that the larger part of Smyrna was in ruins, plainly because of the recent fighting with the Genoese (above: see 1329). He mentions Umur’s recently commenced naval war with the ‘infidels’ (Greeks, Genoese and French). At Manisa he met the aged Saruhan, the eponymous emir. He mentions “Fuja” or “Foudjah” (‘New Phocaea’: Italian Fuggia, Tk Foça, Gk Phokaia*) as a town on the coast “belonging to the infidels”, i.e. the Genoese under the Zaccaria family. He says the Genoese paid an annual tribute to Saruhan (d. 1345) “in return for which he is content to leave them alone because of the strength of the city”. (*) There was an Old Phocaea and a New Phocaea, 20 km aprt. The Byzaantines had ousted the Zaccarias from Chios and Old Phocaea in 1329, leaving only New Phocoea remaining in their hands (Notes to the French edn of Ibn battuata p.144: ttp://classiques.uqac.ca/classiques/ibn_battuta/voyages_tome_II/ibn_b attuta_t2.pdf). From Magnesia/Manisa he proceeded to Bergama (emirate of Karesi): it was “in ruins” except for a strong fortress on a hill. Next was Balikesir: “it was his father [i.e. emir Karesi, d. ca. 1320**] who built this town”. Our traveller reached Bursa in September or October. After summarising Orhan bey’s wars with the Byzantines, he describes “Yaznik” or “Yeznik” [Iznik, Nicaea], recently conquered by the Ottomans [March 1331], as “in ruins and uninhabited except for a few men in the Sultan’s service”. These men were under the command of Orhan’s wife “Bayalun khatun” (Nilufer). Ibn Battuta then (November) turned eastwards back into Anatolia (Gibb trans., Ibn Battuta 1929, 2004 reprint, Routlege).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years (**) Karesi Beg/Bey, who captured Bergama around 1306. The Byzantine fort called ‘Palaio-kastron’ gave its name to a new town of ‘Bali-kesir’. If we follow the French Wikipedia, the eponymous emir Karesi had three sons who succeeded hin in turn. In ?1330/35 first son Açlan (‘Ajlan) was succeeded by second son Demirhan (Demir Khan), r. ?1330-46, based at Balikesir. Alternatively, Demirhan was Karesi’s grandson. Third, Yakhshi Khan, whether brother or father, was based at Bergama. As quoted in the the French Wikipedia [2011 under ‘Karesiogullari’], Ibn Battuta says that it was Shuçaeddin Yahsihan (Arabic Shuja al-Din Yakshi Khan), ?1330-1346, who he met at Bergama, and, say the French authors, at Balikesir he met a son or nephew of Yahshihan also named Demirhan: « . . . nous arrivâmes à Berghamah, ville en ruine, qui possède une citadelle grande et très forte, située sur la cime d’une montagne. ... Il (Le sultan) est appelé Yakhchy khân. Khân, chez ces peuples, signifie la même chose que Sultan, et yakhchy veut dire excellent. Nous le trouvâmes dans son habitation d’été ; on lui annonça notre arrivée, et il nous envoya un festin et une pièce de cette étoffe appelée kodsy. » [We arrived at Bergama, a town in ruins, but with a great and very strong citadel, located on the summit of a hill. … He (the emir) is called Yakhchy khan [Tk Yahshihan]. Among them “khan” [the Turkish form is –han, MO’R] signifies the same as ‘sultan’, and “yakhchy” may be rendered as ‘excellent’ [Turkish yahshi, ‘good, beautiful’]. We found him in his summer residence; our arrival was proclaimed and he sent us a feast and a piece of the fabric called “kodsy”. [My trans. MO’R] - Ibn Battûta, French trans. Quelques jours après son passage à Bergama, Ibn Battûta passe à de Balikesir où il rencontre un fils ou neveu de Yahshihan: [Several days after his passage to Bergama IB crosses to Balikesir where he meets a son or nephew of Yahshihan:] « Il se nomme Domoûr khân, et il ne possède aucune bonne qualité. C’est son père qui a bâti cette ville, dont la population s’est accrue d’un grand nombre de vauriens, sous le règne du prince actuel ; « car les hommes suivent la religion de leur roi » (tel roi, tel peuple). » [His name was Domour khan [Tk Demirhan] and he had not a single virtue. It was his father who had built the town, whose population had been swelled by a great number of good-for-nothings under the rule of the current prince, ‘for men follow the religion of their king’ (like king, like people)”] — Ibn Battûta, op.cit., vol. II [« Du sultan de Balîkesri », p. 146. 1331-32: 1. Aegean region: Narrative sources mention high numbers that imply a large population before the Black Death. The chronicler Sanudo, for example, tells of 25,000 Greeks (Byzantines) being taken slaves during the Ottoman raids of 1331 and 1332 (Fleet 1999, chapter 4, “Slaves”) . Cf 1332 below. In Fleet’s book, the following places are noted as having slave markets in the period 1300-1350: Alanya/Candelor (Turks): Hamidoglu Turks Antalya (beylik of Teke) 40

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Aydin: Sultanhisar (Nyssa), Theologus/Ayasoluk, Ania [south of Ephesus]. Balat/Palatia (ancient Miletus) [Mentese beylik] Bursa (Ottoman) Candia, Crete (Venetian) Cyprus (Latin-ruled) Foca (Phocaea) [Genoese] – slaves exported to Sicily. Genoese-held ports: Black Sea, Pera, Chios. Karesi/Baliksehir. Magnesia/Manisa (Mentese) Naxos of the Angevins – much used as a sales stop by Turks. Rhodes of the Hospitallers. Saruhan: unspecifed. Venetian: Crete. According to Lane, 1973: 133, as noted earlier, most of the slaves bought or sold by the Venetians around 1300 were Greeks, many bought from the Turks, but during the 1300s the view developed that fellow Christians should not be trafficked, and the northern Black Sea region, i.e. the Kipchak Empire (Khanate of the Golden Horde) became the main source of supply. The Genoese in particular traded slaves from the Black Sea to Muslim Egypt (Fleet 1999: 37). 2. The writer Nikephoros Gregoras, 1293/94–1360/61, began his career as an astronomer and ended it as a theological controversialist. Some of his letters and a few passages of his Roman [Byzantine] History touch upon philosophical subjects: especially noteworthy is the vehement criticism of Aristotle in the dialogue Phlorentius, ostensibly an account of the author's debate with fellow theologian Barlaam of Calabria (c. 1290–1348) in 1331–32. —Stanford Encyc. of Philosophy, at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/byzantine-philosophy/; accessed 2009. 1331-72: Serbian control of Bulgaria will be ended by Ivan IV (Ivan Alexander 1331-72), but Bulgaria will be left divided into rival states; the two largest, one was based at Veliko Turnovo and the other at Vidin, will be ruled by Ivan's two sons. See next. 1332: 1. Rhodes: An anti-Turkish treaty was concluded between Venice, the Hospitallers of Rhodes and Byzantium. Although the treaty was not all put into action, its terms usefully show what the Christian powers thought they were capable of doing. First, they would dedicate 20 galleys to police the Aegean, of which 10 would come from Byzantium. Philip VI of Capetian France and pope John XXII* joined in 1333-34, proposing to supply four galleys each. By 1334 there was a commitment for the supply of 40 galleys in all, including from Venice: 10 from Venice, 10 from Rhodes, Byzantium six, Cyprus six and the Pope and King of France together* eight. (See 1334: naval victory of Adramyttium.)


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years The treaty also envisaged that by 1335 a force of 800 men-at-arms (knights) would land in Anatolia under the command of the French lord, Louis, the Bourbon duke of Clermont: (a) 400 knights supplied by the Pope and Philip VI*; (b) 200 by the Hospitallers, (c) 100 by Byzantium, and (d) 100 by the (French) King of Cyprus, Hugh of Lusignan, who was also the titular or claimant king of Jerusalem. If one adds infantry to (say) at three times the number of knights, the planned expedition might have totalled 3,200 troops.** The ships to transport them would come from the same five powers, plus Venice and Angevin [French] Naples (whose king also claimed Jerusalem). This never came about (see Norman Housley, The Avignon papacy and the Crusades, 1305-1378, OUP,1986, pp.25-27; also Inalcik, Maritime p.228). (*) From 1305 to 1378 the Popes resided in Avignon, in modern-day France. A total of seven popes reigned at Avignon; all were French, and all were increasingly under the influence of the French crown. (**) Cf 1330 above – list of the military strength of the Turkish beyliks. 2. Thrace: Last-ever major clash between Byzantines and Bulgarians. The Byzantines overran Bulgarian-controlled northeastern Thrace. In response, Ivan Alexander, who was dealing with rebels in the north, rushed southward with a strong army and swiftly caught up with Andronikos III at Rusokastro, a fortress-village south of Aytos, west of Burgas, in our SE Bulgaria. The Byzantine right wing was commanded by a protostrator*, the left wing was under a megas papias* Alexios Tzamplakon, and the centre was commanded personally by the emperor. The army formed a wide front in two lines with the flanks positioned behind the centre forming a crescent. After giving the impression that he wished to negotiate, Ivan Alexander, reinforced by Mongol or Kipchak cavalry (“8,000” Bulgarians plus “3,000” Mongols), overwhelmed the smaller but better organised Byzantine army (“3,000” men) in the three-hour Battle of Rusokastro [18 July 1332]. The contested ‘cities’ surrendered to Ivan, while Andronikos III sought refuge within the walls of Rusokastro. The war ended with Ivan Alexander meeting Andronikos and agreeing to a peace based on the status quo (Wikipedia, 2011, under ‘Ivan Alexander’). (*) These were ranks or titles, not posts. In the 12th C, the protostrator had been second-in-command of the army after the megas domestikos, and was equated by Niketas Choniates to the Western marshal; but in the Palaiologian period it seems to gave become just a high title. The title protostrator (which could be held by several people at once) occupies the 8th position in the imperial hierarchy in the mid-14th century Book of Offices of Pseudo-Kodinos; while megas papias is only 22nd (Bartusis pp.250 ff) 3a. First Balkan expedition by Umur [aged about 23], son of the bey of Izmir [Smyrna]: a failed attack on Gallipoli and Thrace. In alliance with the ‘sea ghazis’ of Sarukhan, Umur attacked Gallipoli, the island of Samothrace, and the port of Porou in Thrace. A further expedition was made to Thessaly and Venetian Euboea (in 1331 and 1332: Inalcik, Maritime p.316). Cf 1334. 42

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years First European alliance against the Turks: as noted above, a five-year agreement of cooperation was signed by Venice, Byzantium and the Hospitallers of Rhodes (see A. Laiou, 1970: Marino Sanudo Torsello, Byzantium and the Turks: The Background to the Anti-Turkish League of 1332-1334). The relative weakness of the Turks as mariners is illustrated by the size of the proposed fleet: the plan was to create a Christian fleet of just 20 galleys, of which 10 would be contributed by Constantinople. This was considered enough to defeat the many small boats of the weaker Turkish fleets. - Cf 1333 and 1334. 3b. The Aegean: The Emirs of Aydin (Smyrna) and Menteshe (Miletus) began to exact tribute from the Venetian-ruled island of Negroponte [Euboea], the Duchy of the Archipelago (Naxos) and a number of other islands under Venetian lords. Constantinople too was forced to pay annual tribute. Cf next. Also 1333: Ottoman treaty. There were more than 300 renegade Christians in a Turkish armada of 70* (nearly all small) vessels that sailed against the Christian islands in 1332. Sanudo** calls them perfidi Christiani (Zachariadou p.216; also Pryor 1988: 171). At an average of just four men per boat, we may guess that the Christians were the pilots or navigators while the Muslims rowed and fought. (*) Inalcik, Maritime p.323, says that Umur of Aydin commanded “250” ships and boats on his 1332 expedition against the Morea, Bodonitsa (Mundenitsa in E Greece: a castle on the Evvian Gulf near ancient Thermopylae, garrisoned by Italians) and Euboea, and “170” in 1333, numbers which in both cases no doubt included vessels supplied by the other maritime beyliks. Kantakuzenos (cited by Inalcik, note 88) says Aydin itself had “72” vessels by 1332. (**) Chronicle of Marino Sanudo (Istoria del Regno di Romania sive regno di Morea): the story of the Frankish/Latin states of Greece, written in the period 1326-1333 by the Venetian Marino Sanudo Torsello, d.ca 1343. Small Turkish Boats vs Large Christian War-Galleys Alone among the emirs of the Asian coast, Umur Pasha Aydinoglu constructed a few modestly-sized war galleys. Including small boats, Umur dispatched at different times naval expeditions of 75, 170 and 250 vessels, most of whih were not galleys. The other emirs relied wholly on small boats which they deployed in fleets of sometimes over 200. On one occasion the emirs are said to have combined their forces into a large fleet of “800” boats (Zachariadou pp.215 ff, and Ozturkler, “Umur” at http://www.ozturkler.com/data_english/0003/0003_01_17.htm; accessed 2007). While the light vessels of the Turks allowed them to transport significant numbers of warriors to the Aegean islands, they were unable to confront the large galleys with their high central fire-platforms (or “castles”). Also, until about 1400 the Turks remained most uncertain at sea due to their lack of experience (or better: lack of a maritime tradition) and were generally easy to defeat. The naval forces of the Genoese, Venetians and Byzantines are widely reported in our sources as superior to the Turkish fleets (Zachariadou pp.215 ff). See references 43

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years to Christian victories under 1319, 1320 and 1334. Ibn Battuta describes Byzantium and the Byzantines The Muslim traveller Ibn Battuta, aged 28, visited Constantinople in 1332 (or 1334: the exact year is uncertain). He recorded, as would be expected, that Greeks (Byzantines) were still to be found in large numbers in Turkish western Anatolia. In one passage he recounts a visit home to Constantinople by “Bayalan/Bayalun”, the Byzantine wife of Uzbek, Khan of the Tatars or Kipchak Turks (‘Golden Horde’), in whose party he was travelling. Bayalan was pregnant and received permission to return to Constantinople to give birth there. Ibn Battuta went with her because it gave him the opportunity for the first time to visit a non-Muslim realm and to see the famous city. Much later, on his retrun journey (1349) to Morocco from the distant East he was to stop briefly in Sardinia (Dunn pp.170, 276). Note: Uzbek or Oz Bey was the khan’s name; ethnically he was a Mongol. Reign: 1313-41. Most of his subjects were Turkic-speaking groups. Uzbek islamicised the formerly shamanist Horde, or at least its western regions. The capital was at Sarai, on a tributary of the Volga River. “The amir [i.e. Kipchak army commander] Baydara with 5,000 troops travelled with her [the khatun ‘Bayalan’, a Byzantine noblewoman, one of the khan’s wives: a legitimised (adopted) natural daughter of Andronicus III*], and her own troops numbered about 500 horsemen, 200 of whom were her attendant slaves and Greeks [Byzantines], and the remainder Turks. She had with her also about 200 maidens, most of whom were Greeks, and about 400 carts and about 2,000 draught and riding horses, as well as 300 oxen and 200 camels. She had also 10 Greek youths and the same number of Indians, whose leader-in-chief was called Sunbul the Indian; the leader of the Greeks was a man of conspicuous bravery called Michael … The Greeks had heard that this khatun was returning to her country, and there came to this fortress [in Thrace, at the Byzantine border] to meet her the Greek Kifali [i.e. Greek kephale, meaning ‘head, chief, governor’] Nicholas, with a large army and a large hospitality-gift, accompanied by the princesses and nurses from the palace of her father, the king* of Constantinople . …. [At the Danube or perhaps further south: Dunn p.171 suggests this was Yambol or Jamboli in SE Bulgaria] The commander Baydara returned [to Khan Uzbeg] with his troops, and none travelled on with the khatun but her own people.” The Rhomaniyan noblewoman quickly reverted to Christian habits: “She left her mosque behind at the fort and the practice of calling to prayer was abolished. As part of her hospitality-gifts she was given intoxicating liquors [i.e., wine], which she drank, and swine, and I was told by one of her suite that she ate them. . . . Sentiments formerly hidden were revealed because of our entry into the land of the infidels, but the khatun charged the amir Kifali to treat us honourably, and on one occasion he beat one of his guards [or “his mamluks”: Dunn p.171] because he had laughed at our prayer.” (*) Emperor Andronicus III was aged 35 in 1332; his wife Anna of Savoy was 44

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years aged about 26. But this daughter was either the daughter of Andronicus’s first wife, Irene (d. 1324) or else an adopted daughter … . Bayalan is met by her Brother A significant point in the following text from Ibn Battuta is that some cavalrymen carried both bows and lances and rode horses with some sort of mail barding (horse armour). It may be implied that one in 20 rode armoured horses. (In inner Thrace, some 10 miles from Constantinople:) “ . . . her brother, whose name was Kifali Qaras, arrived with 5,000 [sic!]* horsemen, fully accoutred in armour. When they prepared to meet the princess, her brother, dressed in white, rode a grey horse, having over his head a parasol ornamented with jewels. On his right hand he had five princes and the same number on his left hand, all dressed in white also, and with parasols embroidered in gold over their heads. In front of him were 100 foot soldiers and 100 horsemen, who wore long coats of mail over themselves and their horses, each one of them leading a saddled and armoured horse carrying the arms of a horseman, consisting of a jewelled helmet, a breastplate, a bow, and a sword, and each man had in his hand a lance with a pennant at its head. Most of these lances were covered with plaques of gold and silver. These led horses [that] are the riding horses of the sultan's [emperor’s] son. His horsemen were divided into squadrons, 200 horsemen in each squadron. Over them was a commander, who had in front of him 10 of the horsemen, fully accoutred in armour, each leading a horse, and behind him 10 coloured standards, carried by 10 of the horsemen, and 10 kettledrums slung over the shoulders of 10 of the horsemen, with whom were six others sounding trumpets and bugles and fifes.” (*) This must surely have represented all the cavalry enrolled in or hired for the Byzantine army, which at this time was tiny. Ibn Battuta enters the City “When we reached the first gate of the king's [emperor’s] palace [the Blachernai] we found there about 100 men, with an officer on a platform, and I heard them saying "Sarakinu, Sarakinu" ["Saracen, Saracen"], which means Muslims. They would not let us enter, and when those who were with the khatun [the Greek wife of the Khagan] said that we belonged to their party, they answered, "They cannot enter except by permission". So we stayed at the gate. One of the khatun's party sent a messenger to tell her of this while she was still with her father [the emperor]. She told him about us and he gave orders that we should enter, and assigned us a house near the khatun's house. He wrote also on our behalf an order that we should not be abused wheresoever we went in the city, and this order was proclaimed in the bazaars.” The Greek monarch receives Ibn Battuta “I reached a great pavilion, where the king (Emperor) was seated on his throne, 45

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years with his wife [?or mistress], the mother of the khatun, before him. At the foot of the throne were the khatun and her brothers,* to the right of it six men and to the left of it four, and behind it four, every one of them armed. The Emperor signed to me, before I had saluted and reached him, to sit down for a moment, in order that my apprehension might be calmed. After doing so, I approached him and saluted him, and he signed to me to sit down, but I did not do so. He questioned me about Jerusalem, the Sacred Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the cradle of Jesus, and Bethlehem, and about the city of Abraham [Hebron], then about Damascus, Cairo, Iraq, and Anatolia, and I answered all his questions about these, the Jew interpreting between us. He was pleased with my replies and said to his sons, "Treat this man with honour and ensure his safety". … I requested him to designate someone to ride in the city with me every day, that I might see its marvellous and rare sights and tell of them in my own country, and he appointed a man as I had asked. They have a custom that anyone who wears the king's robe of honour and rides his horse is paraded round with trumpets, fifes and drums, so that the people may see him.” (*) This is curious. Andronicus’s eldest son, the future John V, was aged just two years in 1334. Also it is said that Bayalun was Andronicus’s illegitimate or legitimised (adopted) daughter, and not the daughter of his wife Anna of Savoy.

Above: Constantinople with Hagia Sofia in the foreground.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 13 Villages within Constantinople At Constantinople: "At dawn (he writes) the drums, trumpets and fifes were sounded; the troops mounted, and the king [emperor] with his wife, . . . came out, accompanied by the high officials of state and the courtiers. Over the king's head there was a canopy, carried by a number of horsemen and men on foot, who had in their hands long staves, each surmounted by something resembling a ball of leather, with which they hoisted the canopy. In the centre of this canopy was a sort of pavilion which was supported by horsemen [carrying] staves". "The city lies at the foot of a hill which projects about nine miles into the sea, its breadth being the same or greater. On the top of the hill there is a small citadel and the Emperor's palace [meaning the disused ancient palace in the eastern sector rather than the Blachernai in the far NW sector]. Round this hill runs the city-wall, which is very strong and cannot be taken by assault from the sea front. Within its circuit there are about 13 inhabited villages.* The principal church [Hagia Sophia] is in the midst of this [main] part of the city." (*) Arable lands within the city had been cultivated at least since the time of Michael Palaeogus (1260s) and no doubt earlier, during the period of Latin rule: Pachymeres 187, II.6-14, cited by Geanakoplos 1959: 130. More fully: “The part of the city on the eastern bank of the river [sic: southern side of the Golden Horn] is called Istambul, and contains the residence of the Emperor, the nobles and the rest of the population. Its bazaars and streets are spacious and paved with flagstones; each bazaar has gates which are closed upon it at night, and the majority of the artisans and sellers in them are women. The city lies at the foot of a hill which projects about nine miles into the sea, its breadth being the same or greater. On the top of the hill [near the city’s eastern point] there is a small citadel and the Emperor's palace. Round this hill runs the city-wall, which is very strong and cannot be taken by assault from the sea front. Within its circuit there are about 13 inhabited villages. The principal church is in the midst of this part of the city.” "The second part [of the city], on the western [i.e., north of the City proper] bank of the river, is called Galata, and is reserved to the Frankish Christians who dwell there. They are of different kinds, including Genoese, Venetians, Romans [Byzantines?] and people of France; they are subject to the authority of the king of Constantinople …. They are all men of commerce and their harbour is one of the largest in the world; I saw there about 100 galleys and other large ships, and the small ships were too many to be counted." Ibn Batutta visits a Convent and (perhaps) meets the Retired Emperor “I entered a monastery [nunnery] with the Greek whom the king had given me as a guide. Inside it was a church containing about 500 virgins [nuns] wearing hair-garments; their heads were shaved and covered with felt bonnets. They were exceedingly beautiful and showed the traces of their austerities [presumably fasting: M.O’R]. A youth [?eunuch] sitting on a pulpit was reading the gospel to them in the most beautiful voice I have ever heard; round him were eight other 47

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years youths on pulpits with their priest, and when the first youth had finished reading another began. The Greek said to me, "These girls are kings' daughters [i.e. nobles] who have given themselves to the service of this church, and likewise the boys who are reading [are kings' sons]." Ibn Battuta met the retired emperor-monk Andronicus II (1258-1332), or rather, someone who was represented to him as the retired emperor: “When the Greek [Battuta’s guide] saw him he dismounted and said to me, "Dismount, for this is the king's [emperor’s] father". When my guide saluted him the king asked him about me, then stopped and sent for me. He took my hand and said to the Greek (who knew the Arabic tongue:), "Say to this Saracen (meaning Muslim), 'I clasp the hand which has entered Jerusalem and the foot which has walked within the Dome of the Rock and the great church of the Holy Sepulchre and Bethlehem,'" and he laid his hand upon my feet and passed it over his face. I was astonished at their good opinion of one who, though not of their religion, had entered these places. Then he took my hand and as I walked with him, asked me about Jerusalem and the Christians who were there, and questioned me at length.” Now, as Ross Dunn has pointed out, Andronicus senior had died in 1332, so could not have been met by Ibn Battuta in 1334; possibly his Greek guide was having a bit of fun. —Dunn 2004: 172. The Ghazi Beyliks In the early 14th century western Asia Minor was divided between as many as nine Turkish beyliks or "ghazi emirates". The four western-most beyliks were those of the Ottomans (at Bursa); Sarukhan (at Manisa); Aydin-oglu (at Ephesus and Birgi) and Menteshe (at Milas). It was not until the reign of Bajazet or Bayezid, 1389-1402, that the Ottomans would finally remove the last of their Turkish rivals and establish their rule over all of Asia Minor. During the 1320s and 1330s the Ottomans swallowed up their western neighbour, the emirate of Karasi/Qarasi, with its seat at Pergamos, SW of Bursa. To the north, the last years of Osman's reign and the first decade of Orkhan's rule saw Ottoman expansion down the Sakarya/Sangarius River as far as the Black Sea. These campaigns were against Muslim, not Christian, beys. * * * From Recovery to Ruin It is instructive to compare the restored empire’s size as it had been in 1261 with its position 80 years later. The era began with Byzantium dominant in the Balkans, and much stronger than the then minor states of Serbia and Bulgaria. But within a generation the empire was so weak that it could no longer afford, or believed it could no longer afford, a blue-water navy. And after 1300, when the Serbs asserted themselves by encroaching on imperial lands as far as the Aegean, and Bulgaria expanded into


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years northern Thrace, Byzantium did not have the money or men to expel them. It is no surprise that large scale mosaic artworks were no longer produced after 1320. In Asia, Constantinople had still ruled between a quarter and a third of Asia Minor in 1261. Eighty years later this had all been lost, except for several islands in the eastern Aegean. The Türkmen first of all, having been pushed westward by the Mongols, and then a powerful new local emirate, the Ottomans, steadily took it all. Thus, having begun as the strongest power in the region between Hungary and Persia in 1261, and still recognised as a major power, by the 1340s Byzantium was nearly the weakest. 1333: Bithynia: Andronicus in person took a relief ship to Nicomedia to bring food to its starving inhabitants. While there he arranged to meet Orhan, and a settlement was agreed, the first formal treaty between a Byzantine emperor and an Ottoman emir. Andronicus promised to pay 12,000 gold coins in return for peace and the continued rule of the little of Bithynia that still remained in Christian hands (Nicol, Cantacuzene p.33; Agoston & Masters p.109). 1333-34: During the years 1333–1334, the Calabrian-born Italo-Greek cleric ‘Barlaam’ [born Bernardo Massari: aged about 34 in 1333] undertook to negotiate the union of churches, Latin and Orthodox, with the representatives of Pope John XXII. In 1339 he was also sent to the royal courts of Naples and Paris. For this occasion he wrote 21 treatises against the Latins in which he opposed papal primacy and the filioque doctrine (“and from the Son”; a formulation concerning the Trinity that the Byzantines had long opposed). —Wikipedia, 2011, ‘Barlaam’. In 1342 at Avignon, then the seat of the Popes, he met the Tuscan-born poet Petrarch (aged 38) and (unsuccessfully) taught him Greek. 2. Crimea of the Golden Horde: The most important Tatar (Kipchak) town in the Crimea was Solghat (Italian Solchati: Eski Qirim/Saryi Krym*), the provincial capital of the Golden Horde, in the south-eastern interior. The first khan of the Golden Horde to become Muslim, Ozbeg 1313-1341, ordered a madrasa built there in 1332, while in 1338 local Armenians built the Christian monastic complex called Surb Khach. In 1333-34 the Arab (Moroccan) traveller Ibn Battuta visited Venetian** Soldaia [modern Sudak] and Genoese Kaffa/Caffa/Cafà [modern Feodosiya], both on the SE coast. He mentions that Kaffa was mostly Genoese and a large town. He counted about 200 ships in Kaffa Harbour (Dunn 2004: 163). There was a further Genoese colony at Kherch (Cerko/Cherkio) at the extreme eastern point of the Crimea, on the western side of the Kerch Strait or “Cimmerian Bosporus”: the entrance to the Sea of Azov; and the Venetians ran a colony at Tanais/Tana on the Don, which is to say: at the far NE point of the Sea of Azov. There they sold Italian and Flemish textiles and bought slaves (Dunn p.166).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years The ‘Gotho-Greek’ principality of Theodoro or “Gothia”, a vassal first of Trebizond, then of the Golden Horde, was located in the central-southern projection of the Crimean peninsula. The capital town was Doros (modern Mangup: east of Sevastopol). The population was a mixture of Greeks, Crimean Goths, Alans, Bulgars, Kypchaks and other nations, which confessed Orthodox Christianity. The principality's official language was Greek (Paul Magocsi, A History of Ukraine: The Land and Its Peoples, University of Toronto Press, 2010, p.118 ff). The Karaims or Karaites, Crimean ethnic-Turkish Jews, had a fortified settlement at Kirk/Qirq Yer [modern Chufut-Kale], in the south of the peninsula, NE of Sevastopol. It was located in the southern part of the sector known as “Tartaria”. Karaites also lived in Sudak/Soldaia and Feodosiya/Caffa. (*) The towns of Sudak (coastal), Staryi Krym (inland) and Feodosiya (coastal) make up a small triangle in the south-east of the Crimean peninsula. Staryi Krym/Solghat lies some 25 km west of Feodosiya/Caffa. (**) Venice will cede control of Soldaia to the Genose in 1365. 1334: 1. Western Macedonia: Serbia expanded south and SE into Byzantine territory in “outer” Macedonia, taking Ohrid, Prilep, Kastoria, Strumica/Strumitsa, and Voden in or before about 1334 (ca. 1332-1334). The one time governor of Thessalonica, Syrgiannes Palaeologos, had deserted to the side of the Serbians and aided their advance. In August of 1334 Stefan Dushan and Andronicus made peace, and the forces of Andronicus were allowed to retake control of those parts of Macedonia that Syrgiannes had been directly responsible for capturing. But the Serbs retained Ohrid, Prilep and Strumica (Fine 1994, pp. 287-88; Wikipedia, 2011, ‘Andronicus III’; Norwich, Decline pp.284-85). 2. East Aegean: Naval victories were won by Italian-led forces over the Turks in 1334 and 1359. In September 1334 a fleet of 40 Christian ships - Venetians, Hospitallers of Rhodes, Cyprus, Byzantium, and Papal and French troops - under Venetian leadership defeated and burned a fleet of “over 200” boats of the emir of Karasi, Yakhshi Bey, in the Gulf of Adramyttion (Edremit). This seems to have been the first serious battle between Turkish and Christian naval forces (there is no record of any clash between Christian ships and Umar of Aydin’s fleet from 1330 to 1344) (Inalcik, Maritime p.324). As we noted earlier, the weakness of the Turkish naval forces during the 14th century was due to their use of small boats and lack of experience at sea; the Christians relied on large war-galleys. Only Aydin among the Turks built a few large galleys. The Christian fleet also tried to land at Smyrna but was beaten off by Turkish archers (Zachariadou pp.214-15; Inalcik, Maritime p.316). From the Venetian point of view, the actions of 1333-1345 had important consequences: they strengthened the Venetian positions in the Aegean, dealt a powerful blow at the ‘Maritime Emirates’ - Aydın, Sarukhan and Karasi/Qarasi , and contributed to a break in the relations between John VI Cantacuzene and his ally the new Bey of Aydın, Umur-beg.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years From 1334: The Aegean: Reign of Bahaeddin Ghazi ‘Umar Bey or Umur Beg (the sobriquet ‘Bahaeddin’ means “splendour of the faith”), 1334-48, the Turkish bey or lord of the Aydin-oglu. The capital was inland at Birgi (ex-Greek Pyrgion), ESE of Smyrna/Izmir (Inalcik, Maritime p.316). He will initiate an attack on the Cyclades Islands and Thessalonica, take Chios* [the island off Asia Minor: west of Smyrna] and come to the aid of John Cantacuzenos, who he will help elevate to the throne of New Rome (Constantinople) (see 1337, 1347/48). (*) Chios: The Aegean was effectively divided between Venetian and Genoese spheres. Venice dominated the route to Constantinople via the Dalmatian coast and the Ionian islands. Genoa controlled an alternative route by way of Chios and the eastern shore. Umur extracted annual tributes from the Christian inhabitants of the whole Aegean: money was paid by Venetian Negroponte or Euboea, the Latins and Greeks of the Morea, and the entire coast of Byzantine Thessaly, Macedonia and Thrace as far as the Byzantine capital (Zachariadou 1989: 214). But if caught by even a small Christian flotilla, Umur’s navy was likely to be crushed. Zachariadou, p.216, cites a Turkish writer describing the emir’s terror when, on one occasion, sailing with seven light vessels (‘caigues’), he met five Christian galleys near the island of Tenedos. The Muslims conducted no sea commerce of their own. They preferred piracy, i.e. capturing the commercial cargoes of Christian ships, selling captives as slaves, taking booty and receiving money-tribute. The ports of Altoluogo (Gk: Ephesus, Tk Ayasulug) under the Aydinoglu, and Palatia (Byz: Kastro Palation, Tk: Balat, ancient Miletus) under the Menteshe beys became major slave markets (Pryor 1988: 171). Balat is located north of Bodrum and ENE of the Greek island of Patmos (the latter was under Hospitaller rule in the 1330s). Ex-Romaic Nicaea becomes Turkish We have seen (above: 1331) that Ibn Battuta found Nicaea “. . . in a mouldering condition and uninhabited except for a few men in the sultan's service.” This soon changed. The old Nicaea [Gk Nikaia], called Iznik by the Turks, became the cradle of Ottoman architecture and it was there that the first Ottoman-style mosque was built, the Haci Özbek Mosque. This mosque, constructed in 1334, is notable for its single dome. Also during the reign of Orhan Bey, Kara Halil Hayrettin Pasha had the Yesil Cami or Green Mosque built (ca. 1380) by the architect Haci Musa in Iznik: it was completed after his death by his son, Ali Pasha, in 1392, with an exterior covered with marble blocks. The materials that went into the construction of the minaret show the continuation of Seljuk traditions. 1330s:


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 1. The Aegean: According to Sanudo, the Turks took “25,000” captives during their raids of the early 1330s (1331-32). There must have been more than a few islands and stretches of the mainland coasts that were desolated (Zachariadou p.217; Fleet 1999: 39). 2. Byzantium: Religious struggle for and against the mystical, anti-intellectual school of the ‘Hesychasm’. The Hesychasts were led by a monk from Mt Athos, Gregory Palamas, 1296-1359, afterwards metropolitan of Thessalonica. He wrote many polemical works. Gregory had already begun to write on the nature of the procession of the Holy Spirit, especially in comparison with the Latin view which was then being much discussed, while living at his hermitage of St Sabbas on Athos, in the early 1330s. He wrote his Apodictic Treatises to this effect c.1336; they would soon play a great part in the controversies to follow. —M C Steenberg, ‘Gregory Palamas: An Historical Overview’, at www.monachos.net/content/patristics/studiesfathers/61-gregory-palamas-an-historical-overview. See 1341. Barlaam of Calabria and Gregoras were both on the losing side in the Hesychast strife, which raged between c. 1337 and 1351 and revolved around the question of theological method. The winner was Gregory Palamas (aged 41 in 1337), famous for his claim that even though God's substance (ousia) is necessarily concealed to us, we can have direct experience of his activities (energeiai). The first 29 of Palamas’ 150 Chapters attempt to put natural philosophy on a more secure footing by placing facts about the world as a whole—in contrast to particular facts, such as astronomical phenomena—in the same epistemological category as facts about God and Man, which are only knowable through the teaching of the spirit. —Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/byzantine-philosophy/; accessed 2011). 1335: 1. The fleet of Aydin and the other beyliks, a total of “270” ships and boats, attacks the Morea (Inalcik, Maritime p.323). 2a. Near Smyrna: The emperor was preparing to attack the Genoese. Umur Pasha, the young emir of Aydin, came personally to Andronicus’s camp at Kara Burun [the peninsula between Chios and Smyrna], where Umur also met (for the first time) and befriended the Grand Domestic John Kantakuzenos (Nicol, Reluctant Emperor, pp.35-36). Inalcik says they met “near” the Cheshme/Aerythrea peninsula (Maritime p. 317); the latter is nearer Chios than Karaburun.* For the Byzantines, a key issue was the recent occupation of Mytilene (on Lesbos) by the Genoese lord of Phocaea.** A treaty was signed with Umur in 1336, and he was to provide much help to the emperor and especially Kantakuzenos: see 1336 and 1337. Needless perhaps to say, the Byzantines saw the payment of money as the funding of a junior ally and parvenu barbarian, whereas the Turks saw themselves as the senior partner and the payment of money as recognition of their overlordship (cf Benjamin Arbel, Bernard Hamilton, Latins and Greeks in the Eastern Mediterranean after 1204, Routledge, 1989 pp.220ff, citing the Turkish chronicler Enveri). 52

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(*) A line drawn due west from Izmir crossed first the peninsula of Karabun, then the lesser peninsula of Chesme, then the Byzantinecontrolled island of Chios (recovered from the Genoese in 1329). This region was the intersection of Genoese, Byzantine, Saruhan and Aydinoglu holdings. Mytilene is on the eastern side of Byzantine Lesbos. From Lesbos, Genoese-held Phocaea (Yenifoça or ‘New Phocaea’: Foglia Nuova) located to the SE, on the mainland. Izmir/Smyra of the Aydinoglu was further down (40 km away) on the mainland coast. Manisa, the seat of Saruhan was inland, ESE of Yenifoça. (**) Ancient Phocaea or Foça and (founded in 1275:) New Phocaea, Italian ‘Foglia Nuovo’, Turkish Yenifoça (NE of Old Phocaea), are about 20 km apart. 2b. Asian coast: At the end of 1335, Andronicus left behind several ships to blockade Lesbos, where Mytilene was in the hands of the Genoese, while he led other troops to besiege New Phocaea/Foglia Nuova. The Genoese led by the “Lord of Phocaea”, Domenico Cattaneo (a grandson of Benedetto Zaccaria), received some help from the Hospitallers. The Turks of Saruhan provided Andronicus with men and supplied his troops until the town capitulated (William Miller, Essays on the Latin Orient, CUP Archive, 1964 p.294). 3. NW Asia Minor: Orhan’s Ottomans capture Lopadion (Ulubad), the key imperial fortress on the highway that ran east from Byzantine Cyzicus and the coast to the recently Ottoman-conquered Bursa (ODB ii:1250; or in May 1337 according to Nicol, Last Centuries p.145). Evidently this occurred as part of the Ottoman conquest of Karesi. See 1337: Nicomedia. 1336: (Dunn dates this to 1331 or 1333:) SW Asia Minor: Ibn Battuta visits Ladik (Laodiceia, Denizli).”a most important town with seven cathedral-mosques”. “The distinctive mark of the [male] Greeks is their tall peaked hats, red or white; their women wear capacious turbans”. “Most of the artisans [seamstresses making cotton fabrics] there are Greek women”. Also there was a slave market in the town where buyers came “to purchase [beautiful] Greek girls and put them out to prostitution; each girl has to pay a regular share to her master. The girls go into the bath houses with the men” (quoted in Freely 2008: 138: square brackets = alternative rendering).


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1336-37: (Or 1337-38:) Epirus: Anna Palaiologus Orsini assumed the regency for her young son Nicephorus but failed to allay the enmity of the Rhomaniyan emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos. He invaded and annexed the Epirote part of Thessaly in 1336 and advanced on Ioannina. The Albanians took advantage of conflict to the south to raid the Byzantine possessions in the north, but were defeated by the emperor in 1337. Cf below under 1337. 1336-40: Orhan’s Ottomans conquer most of the emirate of Karesi (except for Çanakkale and Edremit/Adramyttium), establishing their presence for the first time on the coast of the Sea of Marmara. 1336-58: West coast of Asia Minor: Andronicus’s troops, allied with those of the Saroukhan/Saruhan emir of Magnesia [acc. 1313], besieged the Genoese-ruled towns of Old and New Phocea in 1336 or 1337 and obliged them to pay tribute. They continued also to pay annually to Saroukhan 500 ducats. The Greeks occupied the two towns from 1340 to 1345, and again in 1358 for a short period (Cath. Encyc., online, under ‘Phocaea’). 1337: Final extinction of Romaic rule in Bithynia: the Ottomans take Nicomedia (Tk: Izmit), just 80 km east of Constantinople. The Ottomans finally managed to


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years blockade the narrow gulf on which it stood, and the town, without food and other resources, was forced to capitulate (Runciman 1965: 33; Freely 2008: 115). In this year Orhan had an Arabic inscription about himself and his father placed on a mosque at Bursa which reads “the great and magnificent emir, the warrior of the Holy Faith … [or] Sultan*, son of the Sultan of the Ghazis, ghazi son of ghazi**, [or] … march-lord (“margrave”, “marquis”) of the horizons [marzuban al-afaq***], hero of the world and of the faith . . ..” (quoted in Bernard Lewis, The Political Language of Islam, University of Chicago Press, 1991 p.147; also Michael Bonner, Jihad in Islamic History: Doctrines and Practice, Princeton University Press, 2008, p.145). See below after 1340 for a discussion of jihad or, as some maintain, its absence (Lindner vs Wittek) . (*) Or such is the supposed wording. In fact, a recent re-inspection has shown that the term used was not “sultan” but “the exalted great emir”. Evidently the mis-rendering of ‘sultan’ was due to Paul Wittek (Bonner loc.cit., also Peter Rehm: ‘Ventures into the Reign of Osman: A New Consensus on Early Ottoman Historiography’, p.4, online at http://www.etudeshistoriques.org/index.php/etudeshistorique/article/viewFi le/12/9; citing Heath Lowry). (**) Arabic ghazi comes from ghazawan, “to carry out a military expedition”, hence “military raider”. They were mercenary frontier fighters who relied on plunder. The extent to which they were driven by religious motives is a hotly debated issue. Ghazi became part of the ‘throne name’ of the Sultans, and Murad II, acc.1421, took it up as one of his formal titles. (***) Marzuban is the Arabic form of the Pahlavi/Persian word marzpan, meaning ‘margrave/marcher lord’; also rendered as ‘military governor of a frontier province’ (Kramers, ‘Marzuban’ in Encyc. Islam VI: 633). Al-afaq is Arabic for ‘of the horizons’. Cf alam al-afaq: ‘the world of horizons’, ie, the physical or finite realm of this world (Qur. 1:2 and Qur. 41:53). In Turkish the term is uç bey, i.e. ‘lord (begi, bey) of the frontier (uç)’. The Greek equivalent was akron, “farthest bounds, uttermost parts”, hence akritai, ‘borderers, border-guardsmen’. 2a. Thrace: Last-ever ‘Mongol’ (Kipchak) incursion into the empire: a “massive” force advanced as far as the Hellespont, where they met and defeated a group of Turks who had crossed the straits to plunder Byzantine territory. (There were raiders from both the Karesi and Ottoman principalities separately engaged in Thrace.) Gregoras says the Kipchaks and Turks were like two dogs fighting over a corpse (Lippard p.211). 2b. The NW Balkans: With an army including 2,000 unpaid Turkish allies (“azebs”: infantry archers) from Aydin, Andronicus and his general Cantacuzenus march to Albania and then tour into Epirus (Fine 1994: 292). The Albanians having been defeated, the Epirotes capitulated (1338). The Turks on this occasion were (perhaps surprisingly) all infantrymen, so we must guess there was in addition a


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years small force of native Byzantine cavalrymen (say 500). Miller notes that no Greek emperor had visited Epirus since the time of Manuel I nearly two centuries earlier. The emperor engaged a body of Turkish infantrymen and, along with a number of Byzantine cavalry, led them from Thessaly against the “unruly” Albanians in the region east of Durres. The enemy are described as “Albanian nomads from Balagrada (Berat: SE of Durres) and [the SW coastal area of] Kanina”. The Turks in turn are described “light-armed Turkish forces and archers, who operate admirably in inaccessible regions”. Foot soldiers were chosen because cavalry were less effective in the highlands. The reward for the Turks was to enslave as many of the Albanian women and children as they could capture, and other booty (Kantakouzenos’s memoirs, quoted in R. Elsie: Early Albania, a Reader of Historical Texts, 11th-17th Centuries, Wiesbaden 2003). When, in 1336/37, Andronikos III attacked the Albanian tribes in the mountainous areas around Berat and Kanina, going as far as Durres/Durrazzo, his booty is said to have included 300,000 oxen (a huge number for such terrain), 5,000 horses, and 1,200,000 sheep (sic: Kantakouzenos’s figures: Laiou, 2002, “Agrarian Economy”, in his (ed.) Economic Hist of Byzantium p.317). One should probably strike the final zero off all these figures, if not simply reject them as wild guesses! Evidently the Turks left the oxen to the Greeks, preferring human captives as more valuable; Kantakouzenos claimed that Greeks were not allowed to enslave fellow Christians (Finlay, Empire, 1854 II: 536). But why herd an ox from Albania across the Balkans to Constantinople? It must be that the animals were just the total owned by the defeated Albanians: two horses each would represent 2,500 conquered Albanian fighters, who each could certainly have owned an average of 480 sheep …. Outcome: Epirus and Thessaly were re-annexed to the empire. Cf 1337 below: the Serbs intervene. See also 1348. 3. (This is more commonly dated to 1335:) Old and New Phocaea were towns in W Asia Minor under Genoese rule. Andronicus, allied with the Saroukhan/Saruhan emir of Magnesia/Manisa, besieged the two towns and obliged them to pay the tribute stipulated back in 1275. They continued also to pay annually to Saruhan 500 ducats. 4. c. 1337: The Hospitallers of Rhodes re-capture Cos, the neighbouring island (Setton, Crusades p.293). From 1337: Taking advantage of the unsettled conditions and then the Romaic civil war (from 1341), Stefan Dushan of Serbia was able, in 1337-40 and in 1345, to conquer Albania, eastern Macedonia, Epirus and Thessaly. He undertook 13 campaigns against Byzantium in which he advanced as far as the imperial capital itself. There were few if any battles: the Serbs simply blockaded the Byzantine fortresses and starved them out (Fine 1994: 320). See 1337, 1343, 1345, etc.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

1337-41: Constantinople: About the year 1337, during the patriarchate of John Kalekas, a Calabrian monk, Barlaam, who was the abbot of the Monastery of the St. Saviour in Chora, learned of the practice of hesychasm during a visit to Mount Athos. Barlaam was scandalized and began to campaign against the practice and its advocate Gregory Palamas. The dispute grew until in 1341, emperor Andronikos III, a supporter of Gregory Palamas, convened the Fifth Council of Constantinople at which Patriarch John, while supportive of Barlaam, did not resist his condemnation. After his condemnation Barlaam left Constantinople permanently. (*) The practice of a method of mental ascesis (self-control, self-denial, selfdiscipline) that involves the use of the Jesus Prayer assisted by certain psychophysical techniques, the view being that one cannot be a genuine or a true theologian or teach knowledge of God without having experienced God, as is defined as the vision of God (theoria). (In Eastern Orthodoxy, theology is not treated as an academic pursuit; instead, it is based on revelation, so that Orthodox theology and its theologians are seen as validated by ascetic pursuits, rather than academic degrees.) The hesychasts stated that at higher stages of their prayer practice they reached the actual contemplation-union with the Tabor Light, i.e., Uncreated Divine Light or photomos seen by the apostles in the event of the Transfiguration of Christ and Saint Paul while on the road to Damascus. Barlaam issued a number of treatises mocking the absurdity of the practices which, he claimed, included, "miraculous separations and reunions of the spirit and the soul, of the traffic which demons have with the soul, of the difference between red lights and white lights, of the entry and departure of the intelligence through the nostrils with the breath, of the shields that gather together round the navel, and finally of the union of Our Lord with the soul, which takes place in the full and sensible certitude of the heart within the navel." Venice: The register of 1338 estimated that “30,000” Venetian men were capable of bearing arms; many of these were skilled crossbowmen (Wikipedia: “Venice”, 2011). I see this as an ‘in principle’ claim: see my the discussion of Venice’s naval power under AD 1410, below. 1339: 1. Greece: The Epirotes rebelled in Arta on behalf of the 11 years old pretender Nikephoros Orsini in 1339, and he was duly sent to Epirus. However, Andronikos III and John Kantakouzenos swiftly subdued the rebellion and besieged the young ex-despot Nikephoros in ‘Thomokastron’ [Riza or Riniasa, ESE of Ioannina: the castle there had been built by an earlier despot, Thomas I Komnenos Doukas, acc. 1297] (Fine 1994: 254). Assuring the pretender’s personal safety, John Kantakouzenos persuaded the garrison to surrender. In 1339, there was a revolt supported by the Taranto-based Catherine of Valois, titular/claimant Empress of Constantinople, who was in the Peloponnese


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years at the time, and by Nikephoros who had returned with her from Italy. She sent Nicephorus to Epirus with a detachment of Angevin troops, who occupied Thomokastron. At the end of 1339 the imperial army returned to the area and next year, 1340, Andronikos III himself arrived together with John Kantakouzenos. Nikephoros and the Angevin garrison were persuaded through diplomacy to recognize the authority of the emperor (November 1340: Fine 1994: 254). He surrendered Thomokastron, married Maria Kantakouzene, the daughter of John Kantakouzenos, and received the title of panhypersebastos. Thus by the end of 1340 Byzantium had recovered Epirus and Acarnania (the region S of Arta) [originally lost by Constantinople in 1204]. 2. The West: The Greco-Calabrian Basilian monk, Barlaam, leaves for Avignon at this time the seat of the popes - as Byzantine ambassador on a mission of unity with the Latin Church. The embassy fails when Pope Benedict XII rejects his ‘dogmatic relativism’. —“Monachos.Net”, ‘Gregory Palamas’, at www.monachos.net/content/patristics/studies-fathers/63-gregory-palamashistorical-timeline; accessed 2011. 3. East Mediterranean: Matthew the titular metropolitan archbishop of Ephesus left Constantinople to take up residence at his see. He stopped first in Chios to obtain reliable information about the local situation. To get from Smyrna to Ephesus (Altoluogo to the Italians) he had a pay money to Umur Bey of Aydin. He had six priests for his whole archdiocese and at Ephesus itself several thousand parishioners, most of them prisoners and slaves (Foss, Ephesus after Antiquity p.149; David Jonsson, The Clash of Ideologies, Xulon Press, 2005 p.191). See next. 1339: Midpoint in the THE ERA OF THE CIVIL WARS: from the beginning of John Kantakouzenus’s alliance with the younger Andronicus (III) Palaiologos to the year that John’s son and co-emperor Matthew Kantakuzenus renounces his claim to the throne and John V Palaiologos becomes sole emperor. Late 1339/early 1340: From Greek to Turk: The bishop of Ephesus, Mathew, was able to take up residence there, after many years in Constantinople as titular bishop. He records that Smyrna (Izmir), where he was briefly detained by Umur Beg, remained a large “city”; but after several decades of Turkish rule it had undergone a drastic ethnographic change, and the harbour was “filled” with Turkish pirate ships (cited in Vryonis 1971). This was not yet two generations from the beginning of Muslim rule. One would therefore expect at least three-quarters of the people to be Christians (they were still a majority as late as the ealy 20th Century), although it seems (see above) that Christians were in the minority. Cf entry for 1340-54 below. c.1340: “Romania”: The Florentine merchant Francesco Pegolotti records in La Pratica della Mercatura, c. 1340, that ‘vino greco’, i.e. Greek-style wine, or from a grape variety of Greek origin, was exported from southern Italy to Constantinople, the Byzantine Greek capital. There was not necessarily any confusion, since wine 58

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years exported from Greece was at that period usually called ‘vino di Romania’ [literally ‘Byzantium’, but here a general reference to the lower Balkans]. This was Rumney or Romney wine in English. Rumney was exported from Methoni in the southern Peloponnese - one English source calls it Rompney of Modonn* - and perhaps also from Patras and other ports (Wikipedia 2011, ‘Vino Greco’). (*) Modon, the Italian name for the port of Methoni, a Venetian outpost in the Morea. The Morea was divided between Latin (Angevin) Achaia and Byzantium (Mistra).

Above: The ‘long style’ of Byzantine elite dress, before Italian influences were felt. Mosaic dated 1315-1320 in the Chora church (Kahriye-Cami). Other mosaics in the same church show lower status men in tunics that extend only to the knee. 1340: Constantinople: fl. Nicephorus Gregoras, “one of the greatest intellects of the 14th century”, a historian, mathematician and astronomer, e.g. predicting eclipses and explaining the astrolabe.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years A student of Metochites and a principal opponent of Palamas and the Hesychasts, Gregoras wrote prose of all kinds, including a massive Roman [ie, Byzantine] History covering the period to 1359. Gregoras complained about young fashionable men who appeared in church on Sunday dressed in peculiar fashion with Italian dress.* Gregoras was a partisan of John Kantakouzenos during the civil war and could be accused of a bias. What is revealing is that Bessarion, one of the main proponents of the union of the Churches, agreed with Gregoras in his belief that the ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) aristocracy was spending substantial amounts of money on Italian clothing. —Alexander Mirkovic, ‘Politics of Silence . . .’, Golden Horn 8 (2) 2001, at http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/goudenhoorn/82alexander.html; accessed 2009. (*) The draped garments and straight seams of previous centuries were being replaced by curved seams and the beginnings of tailoring, which allowed clothing to more closely fit the human form. Also, the use of lacing and buttons allowed a snugger fit to clothing. Replacing the long ‘super tunic’ of previous centuries, the outer garment of this era was a shorter cote or cotte. It replaced the tunic and was knee length and close-fitting. This new low necked, knee length piece was tight fitting and buttoned or laced down the front to waist level. By about 1350 came the cote-hardie, a body-hugging buttoned coat reaching to the mid-thigh or juist to the groin. Tight-fitting multi-coloured hose makes its appearance. As headdress, Latin men often wore caped hoods. The gipon or jupon, also called a pourpoint or doublet: a body-hugging pinafore or body-shirt, emerged during the 14th century (after about 1350). For example, the painting called “La campagna ben governata” (1337-38) by Ambrogio Lorenzetti of Siena, ca.1290-1348, shows hoods with short tails, ‘Robin Hood style’ caps, and short, knee-length parti-coloured bodywear (cotes) worn tight around the torso, belted at the waist but flared below the waist. Tight hose is worn with simple shoes. 1340: The “last great Arab offensive" is defeated in what is now Spain. Christian Castile stymies Muslim Grenada. 1340-54: Arguing against Wittek,* and for the absence of jihad, Linder notes that neither Osman nor Orkhan seem to have placed much emphasis on converting their Christian neighbours. At least as late as 1340, Christians could serve as judges in Ottoman Bithynia. In 1354, late in Orkhan's reign, a Romaic observer reported that there was no persecution of Christians or pressure to convert to Islam in the Ottoman domains (Lindner, ‘Tent of Osman’; also Lindner, Nomads and Ottomans in Medieval Anatolia. Bloomington: Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies, 1983). On the other hand, Housley says that, writing in about 1330, al-Umari saw Umur of Aydin's naval war as possessing the consistency and ferocity of a Jihad (Norman Housley, The Later Crusades, 1274-1580: from Lyons to Alcazar, Oxford University Press, 1992, p.57). And see 1354: Palamas’s contemporary assessment. 60

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Uyar & Erickson have proposed that the Ottomans were not strictly religious fighters but raiders (Tk akinci) with the unshakeable belief of the superiority of Islam. Religious motives were part of it, but there were imperatives “beyond simple holy war” (Mesut Uyar & Edward Erickson, A military history of the Ottomans: from Osman to Atatürk, p.14). (*) Paul Wittek, The Rise of the Ottoman Empire. New York: Lenox Hill Publishing and Distribution Co., 1938. - Wittek and his critics are discussed by Peter Rehm: ‘Ventures into the Reign of Osman: A New Consensus on Early Ottoman Historiography’, p.4, online at http://www.etudeshistoriques.org/index.php/etudeshistorique/article/viewFi le/12/9. 1341: 1. Black Sea: Umur leads the fleet of Aydin, and vessels from the other beyliks, “350” ships and boats in all, on an expedition to Kilia [Greek Kellia, in what is now Romania, then the Golden Horde Khanate] at the mouth of the Danube, which is to say: through the ‘Christian’ waters of the Dardanelles, Sea of Marmara and the Bosporus. A Turkish source records that the raid yielded “countless slaves, girls and boys, as well as material goods, so that the whole of the Aydin-ili was filled with wealth” (Inalcik, Maritime pp.323, 327). 2. Andronikos III died aged 44 or 45 in 1341, and was succeeded by his young son, nine years old John V Palaiologos. His death may have beem due to malaria (see Lascaratos & Marketos in J Roy Soc Med (1997) 90, 106-109). 18 June 1341: Three days after the death of Andronicus III, Patriarch John Calecas and Great Domestic Cantacuzene begin to vie for the regency. After an initial round of stormy arguments, the two exchange oaths of mutual fidelity, and Cantacuzene leaves on a military campaign in the Balkans. —Monachos.net: ‘Palamas Timeline’, http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/studiesfathers/63-gregory-palamas-historical-timeline. 3. Epirus: Anna Palaiologina, Regent, for her absent six years old son, Nikephorus II Orsini, despot of Epirus (1341-42), +after 1355; 1m: ca 1328 Ioannes (John) Orsini, Despot of Epirus and Ct of Cephallenia, (+of poisoning 1335); 2m: before 1355, Ivan Asen of Bulgaria, governor of Valona [Vlorë in present-day Albania] (+1363). Taken to Constantinople, young Nikephoros remained attached to the household of Kantakouzenos during the Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347. (Nikephoros II will tkae advantage of the Byzantine civil war and the death of Du_an to escape and to reestablish himself in Epirus in 1356.) The Byzantine Army in the 14th Century The largest imperial field army mentioned in Kantakuzenus’s works, fl. 1345, numbered 5,000 men; the largest in Gregoras, fl. 1340, was 3,000 men (Bartusis, LBA p.260 ff). This covered all the campaign troops paid by the empire whether by salary or other income: small-holder troops, pronoiars and imperial 61

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years mercenaries of whatever ethnicity. Cf below: perhaps 3,000 men under Kantakuzenus in 1341. In addition, there were often allied foreign troops deployed at no cost to emperor (or rather: no cash cost). The median figure for Turks in several campaigns was 6-8,000 men, and the median for other allies 2-3,000. Cf 1343: ‘6,000’ Turks from Aydin. Adding together imperial and allied troops, an army of some 5,000 men would be possible, while one as large as 10,000 men was truly exceptional.

1341-47: Civil war: Anna of Savoy, aged about 35, regent for her son, nine-years old JOHN V PALAIOLOGOS, versus the erstwhile regent John Cantacuzenus. Kantakuzenos, aged about 46 in 1341, had served as a general under the two Andronicuses [Andronicus II and III]. To gain the throne, he had to fight a dangerous civil war,1341-47, against the adherents of a rival boy-emperor, John V. Treadgold 1997: 777 notes that Cantacuzenus briefly created (restored) a small Imperial navy in 1348-49. Cf the poem by Cavafy: "Will Kantakuzenos pity me if I appeal to him, fall at his feet and kiss his purple shoes? People say he’s kindly. But what about his minions, his army? Perhaps I should plead with the Lady Irene his wife? "I must have been mad to affiliate with Anna curse Andronicus for marrying the bitch! Utterly incompetent and ruthless, even the Franks deplore her, her scheming useless, ridiculous, pointless! The foreigners took the city, holy Constantinople, but Kantacuzenos crushed them under his heel." Religious conflict continues: Hesychasm won fervent support, but aroused equally violent opposition, mainly because of the simplistic exaggerations practised by certain of its ardent enthusiasts. It marshalled its followers in the East, and set them against anything Western or papal. It was supported by the Rhomaniyan aristocracy and thereby prevailed in three Synods (1341, 1347, 1351). 1341: 1a. The Hagioritic Tome which Gregory Palamas drafted in early 1341 with the support of the monastic communities of Athos, clearly demonstrates a pointed


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years attack at Barlaam’s views. The Hagioritic Tome was to be accepted by four councils of Constantinople, at which the Byzantine Church affirmed the orthodoxy of hesychast spirituality and mysticism (Harvey Egan, An Anthology of Christian mysticism, Liturgical Press, 1991, p.312). 1b. 10 June: First session of a Church Council held in St. Sophia, lasting only one day. “The sickly Andronicus III presides in person [aged 44: he dies on 15 June]; hearings are public; senators and ‘general judges’ from the Imperial Court are present, along with bishops, several archimandrites [senior abbots who supervised junior abbots] and hegoumenoi [abbots]. The Council is clearly unfavourable to Barlaam, who at the end of the day, under the advice of Cantacuzene his ‘protector’, confesses his error. Palamas freely pardons him”. – From http://www.monachos.net/patristics/palamas_appendices.shtml; accessed 2011. August 1341: Second Council session in St. Sophia, presided over by Cantacuzene, who [the new emperor being a child: John V, aged nine] acts as de facto emperor. Patriarch Calecas summons Akindynos* as the accused, and again attempts to limit discussion to non-doctrinal matters. The synod eventually condemns Akindynos and rejects his teaching about ‘the light’. Thus the first reaction of the Byzantine Church as a whole is clearly favourable to Palamas (idem). (*) Gregory Akindynos, one of Barlaam's friends, and originally also a friend of St Gregory Palamas, took up the controversy before in the period 1337-41, and three other synods on the subject were held, at the second of which the followers of Barlaam gained a brief victory. Cf 1351. 2a. Thrace: To “complete and even increase the fiscal resources destined for the campaign” in Thrace [see next], John Kantakouzenos received from Patrikiotes, who had made a fortune as a tax collector, 100,000 hyperpyra and movable goods to the value of 40,000 hyperpyra in 1341 (Memoirs of Kantakuzenos, ed. Schopen III.8). If (this is a guess) half this amount went to the soldiers, they received an average of about 32 hyperpyra each. (Cf the salary of 72 hyperpyra p.a. paid to foreign mercenaries by Andronicus III in the 1320s: Treadgold 1997: 842.) But officers get more; so probably fewer than 10 hyperpyra each went to the other ranks. Cf 1343: crown jewels pawned by John’s rival Anna. 2b. Thrace: The grand domestic Kantakouzenos, with perhaps 3,000 troops, marched out from the capital into Thrace, drove off a body of raiding Turks and persuaded the Bulgarians and Serbs to make peace. At Didymotichus, downstream from Adrianople, he accepted the submission of the Latin delegates from the Peloponnesus. See next. 2c. Seeing the weakness of the local Angevins in the Morea, the Greeks of the Morea appealed to Cantacuzenus to accept control of the principality of Achaia. Cantacuzenus accepted, but the annexation was never implemented. Meanwhile his rival Anna strikes a treaty with Genoa, ending the conflict with the Genoese merchants of Galata (the Italian colony on the northern side of the Golden Horn). 63

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years And when Anna seeks to remove Cantacuzenus (see next), popular opinion will force most of the local governors of the Thracian towns to declare for the regency and against Cantacuzenus. 3. Civil war: The dowager empress Anna of Savoy and her allies arrange for Anna’s son, the young John V, to sign an order dismissing Cantacuzenus. Along with patriarch Calecas, Anna becomes regent in his place; and at Didymoteichon in Thrace (downstream from Adrianople/Edirne) Cantacuzenus allows his troops to proclaim him emperor (26 October). In response Anna arranges the formal crowning of her son the young John V (19 November) (Nicol, Reluctant Emperor p.55; Norwich, Decline p.296). — It has been proposed that the ensuing civil war was “more devastating in its consequences than any that the Byzantines had ever brought upon themselves” (Nicol, Lady p. 87). As will appear, the fighting was quite desultory and caused few deaths among the combatants. To that extent, Nicol exaggerates. But the conflict ruined the economy, and in 1344-45 (see next) the Serbs pushed past Thessaloniki to reach the Aegean, while in 1354 (see there) the Turks managed to set up a foothold on the European side of the Dardanelles. — It is said that the last reference to Varangians in service relates to their use in 1341 as bodyguards to the young John V. In fact they are last mentioned in 1395 and 1404: see Bartusis, LBA pp.274-75, 281: correcting Stephen Lowe, www.oocities.org/egfrothos/BattleHonours.html. Severing of the ‘Empire’ “Communications dwindled between Constantinople and Thessalonike after the 1320s because of the civil war between the two Andronikoi. After 1341, as Angeliki Laiou points out, we have no references for use of the Via Egnatia at all; by that time, communications [with Thessalonike] were by sea alone” [cf 1345: Serbian control of the NW Aegean coast]. —Anna Avramea, ‘Land and Sea Communications, Fourth–Fifteenth Centuries’, in The Economic History of Byzantium: From the Seventh through the Fifteenth Century, ed. Angeliki E. Laiou, 2002. No doubt the Via Egnatia was still used by the local Macedonian and Thracian Greeks in 1342-44. Cantacuzenus’s army used it in 1342, but they did not go as far as Thessalonike. Then in 1344-45 the Serbians under Dushan enter and conquer NE Macedonia as far as the sea, cutting forever any Romaic use of the land route between the capital and Thessalonica. (In 1371 the Byzantine governor of Thessalonica will briefly recover all of Macedonia in the wake of the defeat of the Serbs by the Turks. By then, however, Thrace and its section of the great road were in Turkish hands.) 1341-43: Venice and Constantinople discuss and negotiate for a league of Christian states against Umur of Aydin, whose raids have pressed hard upon Venetian-ruled Euboea and the Cyclades (Inalcik, Maritime p.318). See 1344.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

1341-47: Civil war in Byzantium: Cantacuzenus against the regent Anna and the boyemperor John V. Both sides negotiate for aid from the Serbians, Bulgarians, Venetians, Turks and the Papacy (Frederic Miller, Agnes Vandome & John McBrewster, The Byzantine Civil War of 1341-1347, BDM Publishing House Ltd., 2010). Sometimes women even assumed military command, as when Irene Asanina, wife of John VI Kantakouzenos, was placed in charge of the garrison at Didymoteichon during the civil war of 1341-47, and in 1348 when she took responsibility for the defence of Constantinople during her husband's absence. At Trebizond the civil war is fought (1341) between the local elite and Genoese and Venetian traders and troops from Constantinople, resulting in great destruction for the town and its institutions. 1342: 1a. The Balkans: Leaving a garrison under his wife at Didymotichus, Cantacuzenus and his army marched past the hostile towns of Thrace in the direction of Thessalonica. Before his reached that city, it was taken over by local ‘Zealots’ (see next) who nominally favoured the regency (Nicol 1993: 195). Seeing that Thessalonica would resist him, he decided on visiting Serbia to seek military aid from Dushan. See para 3 below. 1b. The people of Thessalonica rebelled against Kantakouzenos’s governor in 1342, led by a group called ‘Zealots’, a group of anti-aristocratic reformers. Elite partisans of the usurper John VI Kantakouzenos attempt to hand Th. over to him, but the faction of Zealots arouses the populace—“they incited the people [demos] against the rich [dynatoi]”, worote Kantakouzenos*—to expel proKantakouzenian notables and establish a quasi-independent regime, supporting the legitimate successor, John V Palaiologos. John Apokaukos, son of the legitimist leader in the capital, Alexios Apokaukos, is sent to share government with Zealot leader Michael Palaiologos [evidently a person unrelated to the emperor]; resentful of Zealot high-handedness, Apokaukos has Michael murdered (1344?) (Nicol 2003: 201; extract from Kantakouzenos’s memoirs at http://www.landmarkhistory.com/Urban_Class_Warfare_The_Zealot_Revolt_i n_Thessalonika.htm*). (*) “. . .the Zealots, who from the poorest and most ignoble status had suddenly become rich and arrogant, seized everything for themselves, and either drew the middle class toward them or forced them (reluctantly) to accept them. Or the Zealots condemned wisdom and reasonableness as being "Cantacuzenism." The Zealots seized power in 1342 and, after driving out the supporters of Cantacuzenus, they set up their own government in the city. The possessions of the aristocracy were confiscated. The Zealots were regarded in conservative ecclesiastical circles as disciples of Barlaam of Calabria and Gregory Acindynus, but were also violently opposed to the Hesychasts, who supported Cantacuzenus (Wikipedia 2011, ‘Zealots’) . See 1345.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Although their regime was characterised by Gregoras as “a strange ochlocracy” [i.e. mob rule], that is probably too simple. There is no documentation about the Zealots’ aims or program. The zealots, who may have been champions of the freedom and independence of the church, were opposed to state interference in church affairs, a point of view which brought them into continual collision with the state or aristocracy. The rebellion bears resemblance with contemporary Italian urban conflict between popolo grosso and popolo minuto. They controlled the city for seven years. —A Mirkovic in the journal Golden Horn, at www.isidore-ofseville.com/goudenhoorn/82alexander; accessed 2011. 2. The Balkans: Seeking an alliance, John Cantacuzenus visits Dushan in Serbia, travelling (July 1342) via the Axius (our Vardar) River, i.e. via Skopje. Dushan’s seat was at Prizren (Prishtina) in what is now Kosovo. No agreement is reached. Indeed, immediately after John’s departure, the Serbs invade the empire, taking Voden (Edessa): see next. Cf 1343. Having let go many of his soldiers in 1341-42, and some having deserted, Cantacuzenus still had a force of over 2,000 regular cavalry - perhaps 2,500 in all if one adds the men in the private retinues of the nobles with him who were capable of fighting (Bartusis, LBA pp.95, 224, citing Gregoras; also Treadgold 1997: 767). This may imply that he had commanded a field army as large as about 3,500 men in 1341. This “2,000” is the last figure ever recorded* for the size of a Byzantine field army, and, especially after the Black Death (from 1349), only some hundreds of native troops can have been enrolled. From this time, when the emperor deployed large forces, they were nearly all Turkish allies or mercenaries. See 1343, 1345, 1346, 1350 and 1352. The reliance on Turks ended of course in the later 1350s, when the Turks crossed to Europe and began to conquer Byzantine Thrace in their own right. (*) Unless we count the mention in the Chronicle of the Tocco family, a Greek text written at Cephalonia after 1425, which indicates that the emperor had 500 horsemen and local Byzantine lords had retinues of 20-100 armed men (ODB i:185). The “8,000 archers” Kantakuzenos says he left in Didymoteichon would have referred to all the civilians able to bear arms, and they may actually have been nearer 800 in number (cf LBA p.297). 3. The lower Balkans: Dushan’s Serbs invade Romaic Macedonia and Thessaly, taking Edessa and Kastoria (Treadgold 1997: 767; Fine 1994: 100).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years The Serbian systematic offensive began in 1342. It proceeded without even a single major battle (in part because Byzantium’s few troops were preoccupied elsewhere). The Byzantine fortresses were simply blockaded and starved into submission. In the end, by 1345, Dushan had annexed almost the whole of Byzantine Europe from the Balkan mountains to Kavala on the N Aegean coast, except for the Peloponnesus and Thessaloniki, which he could not conquer because he had no fleet (Jean Sedlar, A history of East Central Europe: East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, University of Washington Press p.384). Cf 1343: Thracian forts. Italy: Early origins of Western "humanism", by which is meant the recovery of the knowledge of pagan Antiquity. Barlaam, the GrecoCalabrian Basilian monk and theologian lived briefly in Naples. Having transferred his allegiance from the church of Constantinople to the Western church, Barlaam taught Greek at the court of the Angevin king of Naples. One of his pupils was, for a period, Petrarch, who wanted to read Homer in the original Greek but the Italian was either lazy or uneducable or Barlaam was a poor teacher. His method of teaching involved taking Plato and translating it bit by bit into Latin, with the idea that Petrarch would thus grasp the mechanics of the language and be able to read it. Petrarch failed to learn Greek for a second time during 1358. Cf 1343. 1343: 1a. Thrace: In early 1343 [winter], Cantacuzenos’ ally Umur of Aydin sailed up the Evros/Maritsa river with a fleet of ‘200’ [Kantakuzenos] or ‘300’ [Gregoras] ships/boats, including some vessels drawn from the other beyliks, and ‘31,00029,000’ Turkish horse and foot (according to Kantakouzenos: Bartusis p.96) or 15,000 men (according to Turkish sources: Inalcik, Maritime p.326) and relieved Demotika from a Bulgarian army investing it. Presumably one drops a zero from the Turkish numbers, to get 3,100? After pillaging Thrace for a few months, Cantacuzenos was forced to retreat to Asia as his army suffered from the heavy winter of 1342-43. 1b. Civil war in the west: The pretender Catatacuzenus brought troops from Epirus and Thessaly to besiege Thessalonica, which was loyal to the regency. Dushan now switched sides and marched against Cantacuzenus who withdrew. Cantacuzenus marched back into Thrace where he was was joined (summer 1343) by 6,000 Turks, mainly infantry, sent by his friend Umur of Aydin (or again, dropping a zero from the “30,000” asserted by Kantakuzenos [Bartusis p.96]: perhaps 3,000 Turks). Kantakuzenos refers to Umur’s men as “auxiliary infantry”, which may suggest that very few fought as cavalry. The Turkish boats could not carry horses: but some local horses no doubt were available in Thrace (LBA pp.95, 96). He saw the Turks as allies, not mercenaries, because he paid them nothing: they fought for booty, slaves and moveable property. With them and his own troops the pretender set out to rescue his wife isolated in Didymotichus and under threat from the Bulgarians (later 1343-early 1444) —Treadgold, State p.768.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

1c. Albania: Having switched to the side of the regency, and against Cantacuzenus, the Serbians under Dushan overrun Byzantine-ruled Albania, modern Shqiperia, as the Albanians call Albania. Cantacuzenus meanwhile was engaged in Thrace, where Umur of Aydin came to his aid with “60” ships and “6,000” Turkish troops. —D. Nicol, The Reluctant Emperor, pp. 67-68. See 1344-45. The presence of his Turkish allies allowed Kantakouzenos to turn his attention towards Thrace: leaving his son Manuel as governor at Veria and western Macedonia, he marched towards Demotika, relieving the two and seeing his wife again after more than a year. When Cantacuzenus’ wife, Eirene, was blockaded by the Bulgarians in Didymoteichon, Umur sailed to her aid from Asia Minor with a force of 380 boats and supposedly “29,000” or “30,000” or “31,000” men (according to the emperor’s memoirs; others say 300 boats and 15,000 men). Umur succeeded in frightening the Bulgarians away (LBA p. 96; Liakopoulos, ‘Ottoman conquest’, at www.thesis.bilkent.edu.tr/0002131.pdf). As noted, Treadgold prefers a figure of just 6,000 Turks. But if the figure of at least 29,000 men in 380 boats is right, then each vessel on average would have carried 76 or more men. We may imagine the soldiers also served as oarsmen/sailors, i.e. probably there were no non-combatant rowers/sailors. Western humanism as anti-medievalism: The Italian poet Petrarch in 1343 made a list of his favourite (Latin) books. It contained almost nothing from medieval times; all his favourites are from ancient times. Indeed it is the Italian ‘humanists’ who, in the period 1340 to 1540, will create the idea of the 'middle ages' … When the Italians later seek to learn Greek from Romaic exiles, their only interest will be in so-called 'classical' (pre-Byzantine, pre-Christian) Greek texts. 1343-69: Asia Minor: Following the Turkish conquest in the early 1300s, the old Greek town of Sardis declined rapidly. It was still formally the seat of a metropolitanate (archbishopric) in 1343, when it must have been at best a large village with possibly zero Muslim inhabitants. By 1369, however, it was “nothing more than a field of ruins” and the title of metropolitan of Sardis passed to the bishop of nearby Philadelphia (Vryonis 1971). 1344: 1a. Thrace/Bulgaria: Cantacuzenus’s Greeks and Turks finally enter Didymotichus. After subduing most of western and NW Thrace for Cantacuzenus, including Stanimaka (Azenovgrad: SE of Plovdiv) and Tzepania, most of the Turks went home to Aydin. The pretender’s remaining Turks defeated a Bulgarian attack from the north and an attack from the east by troops of the regent Alexius Apocaucus (Fine 1994: 303; Treadgold, State p.768). See 1344.1b.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Western Thrace: The town of Komotini in the southern foothills of the Rhodope range had one, or possibly even several, substantial markets around 1340. We know this from an incidental report by Nikephoros Gregoras, who recounts in 1344 that the troops of John Kantakouzenos, prior to setting out on a new military campaign, bustled about these agorai (market-squares) to buy everything they needed (Matschke in Laiou 2002: 779). 1b. NW Thrace: To gain the support of Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria, the regency cedes to him the region of the upper Marica/Maritsa River, along with nine Thracian towns including Philippopolis (Plovdiv), Stanimaka (Azenovgrad) and Tzepania. The Bulgarians quickly occupied this territory, taking the latter two towns from Kantakouzenos. Fine 1994: 304 notes that this territory was to remain Bulgarian-ruled until the Ottoman conquest. The megas doux and regent Alexios Apokaukos is depicted in a donor portrait in a collection of the "Works of Hippocrates" commissioned by him in the early 1340s. Alexios is depicted in the garb of his office, wearing a richly decorated collarless silk kaftan (purple) that extends to his ankles and the skaranikon, a ceremonial headdress - a sort of domed or cylindrical mitre or high hat (in gold and red), depicting the reigning emperor. 1c. (Or in 1343:) Anna pawns the crown jewels of Byzantium. Nicol 1993: 199 and Norwich 1996: 300 date this to August 1343. To raise money to fight Cantacuzenus, the empress Anna pawns the crown jewels to Venice for 30,000 gold ducats or about 60,000 half-gold hyperpyra. See 1347. (The crown jewels were never to return: they may have been melted down when Napoleon conquered Venice in 1797 . . . ) 2. The west Aegean: The Ottoman Turks in the form of a flotilla of corsairs occupied part of Venetian-ruled Naxos, killing the men and enslaving “6,000” women and children (Wikipedia 2011, under ‘John Sanudo’; John Freely, The Cyclades: Discovering the Greek Islands of the Aegean, I.B.Tauris, 2006, p.16). 3. Asia Minor: ‘The Crusade of Smyrna’. A Venetian-led naval league fought Cantacuzenus’s ally the Anatolian Turkish emirate of Aydin and [28 October 1344] captured the port of Smyrna (Izmir). Venice supplied the ships, while the Hospitallers of Rhodes, Cyprus and the papacy supplied the troops. Another source says Venetian Cyprus, Venice and Rhodes (the Hospitallers) put together an armada of 20 or “24” galleys [Inalcik, Maritime p. 319 says ’20; “24” is the figure in Kantakuzenos’s memoirs: Setton, Papacy and the Levant, pp.190-91] commanded by the Hospitaller Fra' Gian de Biandra. The Latins stormed Umur's* stronghold at Smyrna in October, burning his entire navy of “over 300” boats and ships at anchor. The Italian chronicler Cortusi says “52”


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Turkish vessels were sunk, while Kantakouzenos recalled that “60” were burned (ibid.) Taking advantage of a momentary incautiousness on the part of the ‘sons of Aydın’ (Aydinoglu), the Latins took back the lower castle at Smyrna but only that. A 60-year period of uneasy cohabitation ensued between the three powers, i.e. the Aydın-oglu, the Saruhan-oglu of Manisa/Magnesia and the Christians. The first held the upper castle of Izmir, the second Izmir's opposite coast and the third Izmir's port and sea-side castle. Inalcik, Maritime p.319, notes that the loss of the port and lower castle meant an end to Umur’s maritime expeditions. Now he had to go to Europe overland, and only with the cooperation of the principalities of Sarukan and Karasi. (*) If we may believe a Venetian source, a Venetian delegation in 1344 or 1346 visited Umur, aged about 35/37, and found him enormously fat, with a stomach “like a wine cask [barrel]” (Setton, Papacy p.207; Foss, Ephesus p.152). 1344-45: 1a. Thrace: Momchil, a former brigand who had been entrusted by Kantakouzenos with control over the Rhodope mountains area, switched over nominally to the regency. The rebel or Bulgarian “adventurer” Momchilo, lately a governor under the Rhomaniyans, declared himself independent under the regency in 1344. He defeated an Ottoman flotilla near Portolagos [NE of Thasos Island; SE of Xanthi] and seceded from the Byzantine Empire, proclaiming himself an independent ruler in the Rhodope region and the Aegean, with the capital of his domain in western Thrace at Xanthi. However, he was attacked by Aydin-oglu and Romaic forces led by John VI Cantacuzenus a year later; his band, numbering a few thousand people, was defeated and Momchil himself was killed near his capital. Kantakuzenos defeated him in 1345 – see also there - at the battle of Peritheorion (Xanthi, Anastasioupolis) in far western Thrace, just east of the Nestos River. 1b. Civil war continues. As the price for Bulgaria’s support against Cantacuzenos, as noted, the regency for John V Palaiologos ceded to tsar Ivan Alexander the town of Philippopolis (Plovdiv) and nine fortresses in the Rhodope Mountains in 1344 (Demetres Tziovas, Greece and the Balkans: identities, perceptions and cultural encounters, Ashgate 2003, p.31). In 1345 Cantacuzenus captures Adrianople from the regency, and with Ottoman (not Aydin-oglu) aid, he takes control as far as the Black Sea coast of Thrace. Seeing this, and judging that the pretender is more of a Turkophile or less of a Turkophobe than the regent, Umur also sends some of his Aydin Turks to join in on Cantacuzenus’s side. They all march to Constantinople, where the regent Apocaukas has been murdered (June 1345 or 11 July), but they find the other members of the regency still in firm control of the impregnable city (Treadgold, State p.769). 2. Macedonia: Taking advantage of the Byzantine civil war, the Serbs under Dushan capture Serres and reach the Aegean coast. 70

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Dushan now begins to call himself, in aspirational terms, fere totius imperii Romani dominus, ‘of almost (fere) the whole of the Roman empire, lord’ (Dushan, letter written at Serres addressed to the Doge of Venice, quoted in Norwich 1996: 308: Vasiliev has imperii Romaniae: ‘of the empire of Romania’). This was rather extravagant; but certainly, by conquering as far east as Mt Athos and the coast of NE Macedonia, he had indeed split the small Roman ‘empire’. See next. Bartusis: “The most tangible consequence of the [renewed] civil war [in the empire] was the the conquest of [most of] Macedonia by the Serbs under Stefan Dushan” (LBA p.94). Dushan’s Serbs plundered and occupied nearly all of Macedonia and Epirus. By the end of 1345, only Thessalonica, held by the Zealots, and Veria, possibly still holding out under Manuel Kantakouzenos, remained outside Serbian control. By this time Cantacuzenus or his allies control Thessaly, and in Macedonia the region around Thessalonica but not Thessalonica itself, and Thrace. The regency holds just Thessalonica, the Capital and some islands. Stefan Dusan of Serbia conquered the Greek fortresses of eastern or north-eastern Macedonia as far as the Aegean Sea in 1344-1345. The entire region, including Mount Athos and its hinterland with numerous monastic properties, remained an integral part of the Serbian Empire until the battle of the Marica in September 1371. Cf next (1345). This also cut off forever the land route between Byzantium’s two major centres, Thessaloniki and Constantinople. From now until the definitive abandonment of Thessaloniki in 1423, the empire’s main communications were by sea. In 1346 the farthest one could ride from Constantinople across imperial territory was the 350 or so km WNW into western Thrace, to the eastern Rhodope Mountains (today’s SW Bulgaria). Given the successes of the Serbs, the following statement, in a letter dated 1345 from the young theologian Demetrius Kydones to Kantakuzenos sounds like vain-glory. (His attitude had cnaged by 1361: see there.) “Here in Macedonia we have big cities, [and] an army capable of beating the barbarians. … It is still only the name of Macedonia that terrifies barbarians, especially when they recall Alexander [the Great] and the few [sic!!] Macedonians who once occupied Asia” (Kydones Ep.8, quoted by Karathanasis, in Burke and Scott 2000: 112). Alexander, of course, led an army of . . . over 100,000 men. 3. fl. Nicephorus Gregoras, the theologian and historian. He was appointed to conduct the unsuccessful negotiations for a union of the Greek and Latin churches with the ambassadors of Pope John XXII (1333). Gregoras subsequently took an important part in the Hesychast controversy, in which he violently opposed Gregorius Palamas, the chief supporter of the sect.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years His chief work is his Roman [Byzantine] History, in 37 books, of the years 1204 to 1359. It thus partly supplements and partly continues the work of George Pachymeres, which covers the period to 1308. 1344-46: Anna and the regency called on the help of the Turks on five occasions (Nicol, Lady p. 88). As we have seen, Cantacuzenus also used Turkish aid: initially from the Aydin-oglu, later from the Osmanlis (Ottomans). See 1346. 1345: Thrace: Umur returned to the aid of Kantakuzenos in spring 1345, with an army of reportedly “20,000” horsemen (Kantakouzenos’ own figure: Bartusis p.96; Fine 1994, pp. 303–304; Treadgold 1997, p. 768). After raiding Bulgaria, the allies turned against the Bulgarian bandit-lord Momchil of Rhodope. Momchil had gathered a substantial force of 300 horse and 5,000 foot (or “over 4,000 armed men” if we follow Gregoras: Fine loc.cit.). Exploiting the power vacuum in the Rhodope, an effective no man's land between the Serbs, Bulgarians and Byzantines, he had set himself up as a quasi-independent prince. On 7 July 1345, the two armies clashed at Peritheorion, near Xanthi. Momchil's army was crushed, and he himself fell in the field. At Peritheorion/Anastasiopolis [7 July 1345] the Cantacuzenist-Aydinoglu army drew up in three taxeis or divisions: (1) John Asen—a Byzantine, not a Bulgarian as his name may suggest, and a relative of Kantakouzenos’s wife—took the left flank with the Byzantine/Latin heavy cavalry (kataphraktoi); (2) Kantakouzenos commanded the centre with “picked” [Gk logades] Byzantine and Turkish troops; and (3) Umur Pasha of Aydin led the right wing with his Turkish horse-archers (Bartusis LBA p.256). — If there were “6,000” Turks present [see above – 1343], then Kantakouzenos’s whole army possibly numbered of the order of 8,000 men; but it would have been larger again if we can believe there were “20,000” Turks present (Kantakouzenos’s figure: Bartusis p.96; Fine1994: 304). — No figures are given for the number of ethnic Greek (Byzantine) troops present in the Cantacuzenist army, but if they could be deployed both in the centre and on one wing, then they can hardly have been fewer than 1,000. Let us imagine then that Umur’s men comprised 1,500 horsemen and 4,500 infantry (all the latter in the centre). If so, we can picture, although it is pure speculation, that there were say 500 Greek and Latin cavalry on the left flank; say 1,000 Greek infantry alongside (let us guess) 4,500 Turkish foot in the centre; and 1,500 Turkish horse on the right flank. 2. Macedonia: As noted, in 1345 the Serbs under Stefan Dushan, after a long siege, seized Serres [25 September 1345] , inland NE of Thessalonica, along with the Aegean coastal sector around Mt Athos, cutting the empire in two. (Part of the Chalcidic peninsula remained in Greek hands.) The most easterly town captured by the Serbs was Kavalla (Fine 1994: 306). The following year Dushan has himself crowned – 16 April 1346 in Skopje - as (putative) Emperor "of Rascia and Romania", meaning Serbia and Byzantium.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Even so, he allowed the monks of Mt Athos to mention the Byzantine emperor’s name first in their prayers, ahead of his own (Fine, ibid.) The central administration at Mt Athos passed into the hands of the Serbs, who distributed the lands of the Protaton with lavish generosity. This stirred the Rhomaniyan authorities – and particularly the Patriarchate in Constantinople – to action; but the Serbian domination of Mount Athos lasted, with only a single brief interruption, until 1371. Byzantium retained Thessalonica itself: loyal to the regency; and Thessaly: controlled by the Cantacuzenists. 3. Thessalonica: Upon the murder of Alexios Apokaukos in the capital, his son John pursues an independent policy, seeking to join the Kantakouzenian side in exchange for confirmation of his rule in Th.; but revived Zealot agitation leads to a preemptive riot, as a result of which John and 100 city notables are brutally murdered; under one Andreas Palaiologos, the Zealot regime becomes more radical and staunchly anti-Kantakouzenian. The acropolis in a late Byzantine city offered security to its governors. The acropolis of Thessalonica, for example, played this role. The grand primikerios* John Apokaukos had a residence (oikia) in Thessalonica, from which he governed the city. When relations with the Zealots worsened in the summer of 1345, however, he stayed in the acropolis in the NE sector of the city. —Bazirkis, in Talbot ed., ‘Late Byzantine Thessalonike’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 2003; accessed online 2007. (*) The megas primikerios was a high official in charge of palace ceremonies. Presumably Apokaukos had held this post earlier in Constantinople. Zealot Revolt In 1345 there was a plot by the imperial governor to surrender Thessalonica to Cantacuzenus. He had the leader of the Zealots, Michael Palaeologus*, killed. But this caused even greater violence (Fine 1994: 308). Led now by Andrew (Andreas) Palaeologus*, the Zealots overpowered the reaction, as described by chief minister Demetrius Cydones: “… one after another the prisoners were hurled from the walls of the citadel and hacked to pieces by the mob of the Zealots assembled below. Then followed a hunt for all the members of the upper classes: they were driven through the streets like slaves, with ropes round their necks - here a servant dragged his master, there a slave his purchaser, while the peasant struck the strategus [army officer] and the labourer beat the soldier (i.e. the pronoiar).” (*) Neither man has been connected to the imperial family of this name. 4. Ottoman rule reaches the Sea of Marmara: The Ottomans already had several toeholds on the Sea of Marmara. In 1345 or 1346, taking advantage of its internal conflicts, the Ottoman leader Orhan annexed Karas/Karesi, the emirate


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years bordering the Dardanelles, and gained control of the area between the Gulf of Edremit or Adrymittium and Kapdag (Cyzicus) (Shaw 1976: 15). This put the Ottomans in full control of the Asian shore of the Sea of Marmara. Orhan thus put himself in a position to end the lucrative monopoly enjoyed by the beylik of Aydin, that of providing troops to competing Byzantine factions in Thrace and at Constantinople. The Ottomans replaced Aydin as the principal ally of the Byzantine emperor John VI Cantacuzenus. Cf 1346. 1345-46: Eastern Aegean: Seizure of Chios by the Genoese who rule until 1566. While the Holy League was battling Catancuzenus’s ally Umur at Smyrna, the Genoese exploited the fighting to take (1346) Chios from the regents, weakening them further (Treadgold, State p.770). The Doge in Genoa borrows money from Genoese aristocrats to equip a substantial* fleet of 25 or 29 galleys manned by 6,000 ‘troops’ under admiral Simone Vignoso. (Average: 240 men per vessel; if, say, 148 in each vessel were mariners, then we have 90+ soldiers also embarked on each vessel.**) They landed on 14 June 1346. The Rhomaniyan governor of Chios, Zubos, withdraws to the kastro (citadel) for three months until persuaded to accept generous terms on 12 or 16 September 1346. The terms include the continuation of the almost unique rights and privileges of the Chian (local Greek) nobility and their exemption from direct taxation and that certain monasteries would retain their fortunes and property. In return, the Chians are to become Genoese citizens, pay 7,000 hyperpera (but for three years only), hand over their fortress and take the oath of allegiance to Genoa (Long 1998). See 1363. Having received the surrender of Chios, Vignoso led his troops to the Anatolian coast, the beylik of Sarukan, where they took both Old and New Phocaea by 20 September (and with it the alum mines). Setton calls this a “startling” success, one that appeared to have restored the Genoese commercial establishment in the Levant (Papacy, p.207). (*) In 1424 when a “powerful” fleet was desired, the Venetian Senate voted to arm 25 galleys (Lane, Venetian Ships p.254). (**) The prescribed crew of a standard galley was “212” men in 1412 (Lane, Venetian Ships p.254). Cf the Venetian galley crew of AD 1561: 10 officers, about 65 sailors, gunners and other staff, plus 138 rowers: total 213 (Wikipedia, 2011, ‘Galley’). So in the expedition of 1345-46 it is possible that over 90 men per vessel (240-148 = 92) were specialist non-rowing marines or soldiers. 1345-66: Italy-Provence: The first 'humanist' epistolary or letter collection: letters in Latin by Petrarch, in imitation of Cicero. Serbia had emerged by this time as the dominant power in the Balkans. As noted, from 1346 its king Stephen (Stefan) Urosh IV Dushan, r. 1331-55, began pretentiously to style himself 'Tsar [emperor: basileus] of the Serbs [Serbias: Rascians] and Greeks [Romanias]'. In Latin documents: Imperator Rasciae et


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Romaniae. In Serbian: ‘Car Srba I Grka’ (Boskovic p.1). Dushan politely dominated the true “Greek” (Romaic, Byzantine) emperors, John V Palaeologus (to 1347) and John VI Cantacuzenus, 1347-54. STATES AND CITIES IN WESTERN EURASIA AND NORTH AFRICA

After McEvedy, New Atlas p.89. Tracking from the east, the largest cities in 1346 were: a. Tabriz, in the Mongol-Persian Ilkhanate. After 1335, the khanate began to disintegrate rapidly, and split up into several rival successor states, most prominently the Jalayirids. Tabriz was ruled by the Cubanid/Chobanid house. Its population may have been of the order of 250,000 around 1390 and presumably more than that in 1346 (Dunn, Ibn Battuta 1989 p.101). Lesser cities in the former Ilkhanate were: Herat under the Karts/Kartids, Nishapur of the Sarbardars, Yazd of the Muzaffarids, Shiraz of the Indjids/Injuids, Isfahan (Injuids), Basra (Jalayirids), Wasit (Jalayirids), Baghdad of the Jalayirids, and Sultaniyah (Chobanid). Italics = ruling houses contending for the Ilkhanate. The key trade route ran from Samarkand to Nishapur, then to Sultaniyah and Tabriz. From the latter goods were carried to Christian (Greek) Trebizond on the Black Sea coast. Iran remained divided until the arrival (1381) of Timur of Samarkand, who is variously described as of Mongol or Turkic origin. After establishing a power base in Transoxiana, he invaded Iran in 1381 and conquered it piece by piece. His successors, the Timurids, maintained a hold on most of Iran until 1452, when they lost the bulk of it to the ‘Black Sheep’ Turkmen. b. Cairo of the Mamluks, probably the largest city west of India. Lesser cities in the Mamluk Eqyptian empire were Mecca, Damascus, Damietta (a port on Nile delta coast), Mahalla (ditto) and Alexandria. Cairo around 1325 may have had at least 450,000 and perhaps over 500,000 people (Dunn loc.cit..; also Maya Shatzmiller, Labour in the medieval Islamic world, Brill 1994 p.60, citing Dols). "This city of Cairo has a population greater than that of all Tuscany," wrote the Italian traveller Frescobaldi of his visit in 1384, "and there is a street which has by itself more people than all of Florence” (quoted in Dunn 1989: 45: no doubt a very long street!). [Tuscany in area is about 23,000 sq km; applying a modest density figure (post-Black Death) of 10 per sq km we get 230,000 people – so Frescobaldi’s estimation looks credible.] c. Constantinople of the Romans (‘Byzantines’, ‘Greeks’). If the Black Death reduced the population to 50,000 by 1350 [Karl Kaser, The Balkans and the Near East: Introduction to a Shared History, LIT Verlag Münster, 2010 p.196], then the city may have had some 150,000 people before 1347. At the end in 1453 it was just 45-50,000 (Marios Philippides & Walter Hanak, The Siege and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, Ashgate, 2011, p.179, citing Jacoby and others).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

d. The north Italian cities of Venice, Florence, Genoa and Milan. Venice aside, they were nominally part of the so-called ‘Holy Roman [German] Empire’ but in practice independent republics. Estimates based on military enrolments put the population of Venice at 160,000 in about 1300 (Catherine Killerby, Sumptuary law in Italy, 1200-1500, OUP 2002 p.43, citing Lane). The population of the “dogado”, i.e. the city of Venice and the narrow coastal strip on the Italian mainland, fell to about 80,000 after the Plague of 1347-48 (F C Lane, Venice, a maritime republic, JHU Press, 1973 p.175). Presumably it had recovered to about 100,000 by 1400. Genoa’s population fell after 1315 but it was still around 100,000 when the Black Death arrived (Robert S. Gottfried, The black death: natural and human disaster in medieval Europe, Simon and Schuster 1985 p.43) Northern Italy had many sizeable urban centres of the second and third rank, many more than any other region in all of Wewstern Eurasia-north Africa. Some were nominally part of the German (‘Holy Roman’) Empire, while others (notably in the lower Po Valley) were theoretically part of the (Italian) Papal State.* Milan led the Lombard ‘cities’ (in our terms, just large towns) against the German Emperors and defeated them, gaining independence (battles of Legnano, 1176, and Parma, 1248). At the time of the Black Death its population was close to 100,000 according to Robertt Gottfried (loc.cit. p.48: no source cited); or over 100,000 if we follow William Naphy & Andrew Spicer (The Black Death: a history of plagues, 1345-1730, Tempus 2002, p.35). Meanwhile the Republic of Venice, Pisa [some 40,000 people in 1347] and Genoa were able to conquer their naval empires around the Mediterranean sea (in 1204 Venice conquered onefourth of Byzantine Empire by diverting the Fourth Crusade). Towns such as Parma, Ferrara, Verona, Padua, Lucca, Mantua and others were able to create stable states at the expense of their neighbours, some of which lasted until modern times. (*) From 1305 to 1378 the Popes resided in Avignon, in modern-day France. A total of seven popes reigned at Avignon; all were French, and all were increasingly under the influence of the French crown. e. Ghent in Flanders, nominally part of France. The wool industry created the first European industrialised zone in Ghent from the 11th Century on. It population was perhaps 50,000 or 65,000 in 1400 (María Jesús Viguera et al., Ibn Khaldun: the Mediterranean in the 14th century: rise and fall of Empires, Seville: Fundación El legado andalusì, 2006, p.193, citing Fourquin; also Eric Mielants, The origins of capitalism and the "rise of the West", Temple University Press, 2007, p.25, citing Prevenier). Flanders’ autonomous urban communes were instrumental in defeating a French attempt at annexation (1300–1302), finally defeating the French in the Battle of the Golden Spurs (11 July 1302), near Kortrijk. Two years later, the uprising was defeated and Flanders remained part of the French Crown. From 1405 to 1482 Flanders shared the same rulers as Burgundy. f. Paris in the Valois kingdom of France (Capetian dynasty until 1328). It had perhaps 100,000 people around 1325 (Thomas Bergin & Jennifer Speake, eds. 76

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Encyclopedia of the Renaissance and the Reformation, Infobase Publishing, 2004, p.360). For the year 1400, half a century after the Black Death, estimates range from as low as 80,000 to as high as 210,000: averaging the two we get 145,000 (Hendrik Spruyt, The sovereign state and its competitors: an analysis of systems change, Princeton University Press, 1996, p.87, citing various sources). Lesser cities included Toulouse and Rouen. In the so-called ‘Hundred Years War’, 1337-1453, an artefact of the historians, France was generally supported by Castile, Aragon and Genoa. England was supported by the ‘Holy Roman Empire’, Flanders and the duchy of Burgundy [a de facto independent part of the Holy Roman Empire, today part of eastern France]. Other strong powers in Christendom were Castile (Cordoba and Toledo), Aragon (Barcelona and Valencia), the loose confederation called the ‘German Empire’ (Nuremburg, Cologne, Liege) and the Angevin Kingdom of Sicily/S Italy (Naples, Messina, Palermo). Hungary too was quite strong, but little urbanised. Other Muslim powers were the Marinid Sultanate of Morocco (Marrakesh, Rabat/Sale and Fez) and the Hafsid Caliphate of Tunis (Tunis and Kairouan). The great Khanate of the Golden Horde or Kipchak Empire in our RumaniaUkraine-east Russia was militarily very powerful, but little urbanised. The Aegean Sector The Byzantine Empire was all but defunct. Having lost all its Asian territories, except for a few isolated fortresses, Byzantium now ruled only three parcels of territory in Europe: 1. Constantinople and southern Thrace: its largest domain; 2. Thessalonica and north-central Greece (as it now is): but Epirus and Thessaly will be lost to the Serbs 1348-49; and 3. an isolated outpost in the southern Peloponnesus - about half of the Peloponnesus or Morea: capital at Monemvasia. Two other outposts may be mentioned: the isolated city of Philadelphia surrounded by Turkish domains in inland west-central Asia Minor, and the large eastern Aegean island of Lesbos. The Serbs were the strongest state in the region, or apparently the strongest. Treadgold 1997: 777 calls Dushan’s empire “jerry-built”. The Serbs controlled a tongue of land, including the peninsula of Mt Athos, that extended to the Aegean coast. This separated Greek Thessalonica from Greek Constantinople. After 1349, the Serbs controlled territories on all sides of Thessaloniki including the south. See 1348, 1349. Sicily, Genoa and Venice dominated the southern Aegean. The Knights of St John or "Hospitallers" held Rhodes, offshore from the emirate of Menteshe. Western Asia Minor was divided between 10 different ghazi emirates, one of which was the Osmanli or Ottomans [capital at Bursa since 1326], namely: 1. Ottomans, capital at Bursa; 2. Karasi - opposite the Dardanelles, now reduced to the Çanakkale-Edremit/Adramyttium sector and under continuing threat from the Ottomans: see 1346; 3. Sarukhan or Saruhan, at Manisa in the west: nearest to Lesbos; 4. Aydin, at Birgi and Izmir-Smyrna; 5. Menteshe (Milas, ancient Miletus); 6. inland Germiyan, with its seat at Kutahya in west-central Anatolia; 7. Hamid or Hamidili (at Egridir); 8. Tekke (south coast - Antalya); 9. Jandar or the


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Chandarids, in the north: at Kastamonu near the Black Sea coast; and 10. Karaman, at Laranda near Konya. Slavery The young Demetrios Kydones (aged 22: afterwards Byzantine chief minister) gives us a very fragmentary description of a small town in Byzantine Thrace, where he spent a short time at the beginning of September 1346. He mentions its market and reports on the daily events: an oxcart that gets stuck in the muck of the street, a quarrel over borrowed money and the interest demanded, a sale of slaves “who were surely war captives”. —Thus K Matschke, ‘The Late Byzantine Urban Economy, Thirteenth–Fifteenth Centuries’, in Laiou ed. The Economic History of Byzantium, From the Seventh through the Fifteenth Century, 2002. Bartusis notes that in late Byzantine times the army did not enslave its prisoners (LBA p.249; also Finlay, Empire, 1854 II: 536, citing Kantakouzenos: see in the chronology under 1336-37). It is more likely therefore that these slaves had been brought in by civilian slave-traders, e.g. ‘Tatar’ (Kipchak) slaves brought overland from the Danube through Bulgaria or by sea from Genoese Kaffa. We do not know whether the buyers were local Greeks (unlikely) or Muslim traders (likely). Speaking generally, if any Byzantine bought a slave, he was a rich man; but practically all the buyers were Muslim traders from Egypt and elsewhere. For slavery had ceased to be very important in Byzantium after AD 800. The Al-'Iqd al-Farid of ca. 900 mentions the Byzantine slaves' primary role as being in the realm of domestic services, and they were also used on monastic properties into the 900s. But they practically disappeared from Byzantium after the middle of the 11th century, “except for the case of a few domestics, enfranchised by testaments”. —Michael Kaplan, ‘Slavery’, in Vauchez et al. eds, Encyc of the Middle Ages, 2005 p.1360. The prices of slaves sold at Latin Cyprus, Venetian Crete and Byzantine Constantinople in the period 1350-62 have been collated by Morrisson & Cheyney (in Laiou 2002). — Constantinople 1350: median 45 hyperpyra. Highest: 63 for a slave woman not tagged “Tatar” (almost all others are tagged Tatar). Lowest: 26 for a “Tatar slave”, by implication a man. In 1362 the range was 50-70 hyperpya (three cases): more expensive than Cyprus in 1360. — Cyprus 1360: average 25-30 hyperpyra (hp) or Byzantine gold coins. — Crete in the 1380s: males slaves averaged 64-90 hyperpyra; female slaves averaged 95-96 hp. For comparison: an ordinary horse cost 12-14 hyperpyra in this period. So at various times, a slave cost the same as four horses. Buying power can also be illustrated by listing the annual salaries of soldiers in this period: Byzantine senior officers were paid 150-400 hp; Cretan (Venetian) “mounted captains” 240 hp; Cretan foot captains 168 hp; and Cretan mounted sergeants 35 hp. Civilian incomes: Cretan doctor 250 hp, Cretan construction worker 100; domestic servant in Constantinople 14 hp. The dowry of a middleclass daughter could exceed 100 hp. 78

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

1346: Serbia: Dushan was crowned Emperor of the Serbs “and Romans”* (Byzantines) on Easter Sunday, 16 April 1346, probably in Skopje. The title tsar had replaced ‘king’ (kral) in 1345.* Serbian, Greek and Albanian nobles attended, and chroniclers (notably Gregoras) contrasted the grandeur of the event with the impoverishment of the Byzantines. Dushan's crown was bejewelled gold, while the Rhomaniyan Emperor was reduced (see 1347) to ‘jewels’ made of coloured glass set in gilded leather. The dishes at Kantakouzenos’s coronation were of pewter and clay instead of gold and silver (Gregoras, cited by Parani p.29; Nicol, Lady p.75). Dushan's imperial majesty was underscored by an ecclesiastical element, an autocthonous Patriarch of the Serbian church (independent since 1219 but now for the first time called ‘patriarch’); the Bulgarian patriarch was also present. The seat of the Serbian patriarch was Pech/Peje, in what is now western Kosovo. Needless to say, Byzantium did not recognise Dushan’s imperial title (Fine 1994: 309). (*) 'Tsar [emperor: basileus kai autokrator] of the Serbs [Serbias] and Greeks [Romanias]'. In Latin documents: Imperator Rasciae** et Romaniae. In Serbian: ‘Car Srba i Grka’ (Boskovic p.1). Kral derives etymologically from ‘Karolus’, i.e. Charlemagne. (**) Rascia (Serbian Rashka) was the region around Rash, located in far SE Serbia on the Serbian side of today’s Serbian-Kosovo border. Rash was the seat of the strongest of the early Serbian chiefs (zhupans). ‘Rascia’ came to be used by Westerners as the name of the Serbian state, when it emrged under Stefan Nemanja, 1109-1199. The Byzantines always called Serbia ‘Serbia’. Note that Dushan’s capital was at Skopje, not Rash. 2. Adrianople: Cantacuzenus, aged 51, allows himself to be finally crowned on 19 May 1346 in Adrianople. (A further crowning took place in Constantinople the next year.) The ceremony was performed by the patriarch of Jerusalem because the patriarch of Constantinople, John XIV Calecas/Kalekas, was on the opposing side. Adrianople was chosen because it was the largest town that Cantacuzenus controlled. Patriarch Lazarus of Jerusalem solemnly crowns Cantacuzene at Adrianople; a Council of Thracian bishops and those Metropolitans who had fled Constantinople assemble there and pronounce the deposition of Calecas on the grounds that he had ordained condemned heretics. Thus Calecas is no longer considered the legitimate Patriarch by that camp, and Cantacuzene gives Lazarus a sort of ad interim authority. 3. Thrace: Balica, the Wallachian leader of Dobruja, i.e. the Danube delta, interferes in the internal struggles of the Empire. He sends 1,000 soldiers under the command of Dobrotici and his brother Theodore to support the regent Anna of Savoy, mother of John V Paleologus, against John VI Cantacuzenus, pretender to the imperial throne.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Turks on both sides: The Ottomans make a treaty with the Byzantine pretender Cantacuzenus. Orhan led 5,500 Ottoman horsemen across the Dardanelles in support of John Cantacuzene (Shaw I:16). Orhan came across the Sea of Marmara with a fleet of 30 galleys and boats: average 183 men per vessel. They ejected the Wallachians from the Black Sea coast NW of Constantinople. In return, emir Orhan received the pretender’s teenage daughter Theodora as a bride (the marriage took place at Selymbria in 1346). (Nicolle 2008: 40; Freely 2008: 116). John’s rival the empress Anna responded by hiring 6,000 Turkish troops from the emir of Saruhan, but, after pillaging in Thrace, they deserted to Cantacuzenus (Treadgold, State p. 770). Orhan, c.1324-c.1360, had defeated the Byzantine army at Battle of Pelacanon or Maltepe [above: 1329], effectively ending Byzantine rule in western Anatolia. He transformed the Ottoman principality into a state, taking over Byzantine governmental and military machinery centred at Bursa. Declaring independence, he threw off vassalage to Seljuks and Ilkhanids, minted his own coins, and had his own name recited in Friday prayers. - Used mainly peaceful means to take over the neighbouring Turkoman (herder-Turks) principality of Karesi. - Enlisted ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) officers and men could serve in the Ottoman army without the requirement to convert. 4. Asia: The Ottomans began the gradual envelopment of the other Anatolian emirates in the middle 14th century. The first to fall to the Ottomans was Karasi in the region from Bergama-Pergamum to the Asian coast of the Dardanelles in 1346 (or 1345) (1346 according to Nicolle, Ottomans p.39). Around 1346, taking advantage of an internal struggle for the throne in 13451346, the Ottomans annexed the adjacent emirate of Karasi thus gaining full access to the Aegean Sea. Orhan, who had a fleet of at least 36 vessels as early as the 1330s, thereby acquired the important fleet of the Karasi Turks who, relatively more experienced in naval warfare, began to collaborate successfully with the Ottomans by organising raids on the Greek littoral. The Karesi domains extended to the Asian shore of the Dardanelles, so this brought the Ottomans within sight of Byzantium’s European shore.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Above: Modern Istanbul showing Hagia Sophia with the later minarets deleted. 5. Earthquake: the eastern semi-dome and arch of Hagia Sophia collapsed on 19 May 1346. (The earthquake that caused the fatal cracks occurred earlier: in October 1344.) The eastern buttressing half-dome collapsed together with the corresponding quarter of the main dome. The repairs would take six (or eight) years. This was the third collapse in the building’s history, again caused by an earthquake. This time about a third of the east part of the dome was involved, together with its main supporting arch. Reconstruction was finished by 1354, but because of lack of funds, the work was limited and was carried out carelessly, leaving obvious signs on the building. The work was botched due to shortage of money although the regent Anne of Savoy raised a considerable sum. Replacing the 13 ribs of the dome without new centring resulted in the present ‘jog’ in the cornice. As a precaution, the stones of the northeast pendentive [support rib] were clamped in iron. Revealingly, the architects were two Latins, namely Georgios Synadenos Astras, called ‘Faciolatus’ [Latin for “I build (it) wide”], an ethnic Latin (perhaps Italian) Byzantine subject from Lesbos who became governor of Lemnos, and Giovanni Peralta, a Sicilo-Catalan [others say Italian] employed at the court. —See chapter by Matschke, in Nevra Necipoglu ed., Byzantine Constantinople: Monuments, Topography and Everyday Life, Brill, 2001; also W. Emerson and R.L. Van Nice ‘The Construction of the Second Dome and its Repairs’, Archeology 14 no. 3, Autumn 1951, Cambridge, Mass. p.163, pp. 169-170. 6. The Genoese re-conquered Chios and the port of Phocaea in 1346, as we noted earlier, and the island of Lesbos in 1354.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

France: During the Battle of Crécy in 1346, “6,000” Ligurian (Genoese) crossbowmen were deployed by the French in the first line. But the English longbow could be fired at a faster rate than the crossbow. When the crossbowmen began to come under heavy fire from the English bowmen, the Genoese commander, Ottone Doria, ordered his troops to retreat. Territory in 1346 Map in Nicolle 2008: 39. The Asian side of the Dardanelles was in Ottoman hands [see 1352], but Byzantium controlled a section of the southern littoral of the Sea of Marmara itself in the greater Cyzicus region, from Biga in the west to near Lopadion (Ulubad) in the east. The town of Lopadion itself had fallen to the Turks in 1327 (D M Nicol, Last Centuries, p. 145). Thus the western end of Lake Ulubad (Gk Apolyant) was Greek while the eastern end was Turkish. Also in Asia Byzantium still held a third or so of the Optimaton peninsula (classical “Mesothynia”) in Asia opposite Constantinople. All else was Ottoman. Constantinople controlled the whole European shore of the Dardanelles and the northern shore of the Sea of Marmara; also the Aegean islands including Lesbos and Chios (until 1346: see below). Lesbos lay offshore from ex-Karesi territory now in Ottoman hands. Chios lay offshore from the emirate of Saruhan. Byzantium also held a mainland enclave at Phocaea, surrounded by Saruhan. The Genoese held the port of Smyrna, which also marked the intersection point of Saruhan and Aydin: Saruhan controlled the coast north of Smyrna, Aydin the coast south of it. To the east, inland, there was a Byzantine enclave around the town of Philadelphia. From 1346: Thrace: Kantakouzenos' Turkish allies pillaged parts of Bulgarian Thrace in 1346, 1347, 1349, 1352 and 1354. To this were added the ravages of the Black Death from 1347. The Bulgarians' attempts to repel the invaders met with repeated failure, and Ivan Alexander's third son and co-emperor, Ivan Asen IV, was killed in battle against the Turks in 1349. 1346-53: The marriage of Orhan (aged 65*) and Kantakouzenos’s daughter Theodora (aged 14!) brought seven years of peace. —Donald M. Nicol, The Reluctant Emperor: A Biography of John Cantacuzene, Cambridge University Press, 2002 p.78. - To be more exact: Orhan did not fight Cantacuzenus; but his men raided Byzantine territory loyal to the Regency. Cf 1353: raids from Tyzmpe/Çimpe, and 1354: loss of Gallipoli. (*) His fourth marriage. Curiously, although he married first as early as 1299, his eldest known son (Suleyman) was born in 1316.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Theodora Cantacuzene, as the wife of Orhan, clung tenaciously to her Christian religion despite many attempts to convert her to Islam. She became, says Nicol (Lady p.74, quoting the emperor’s memoirs) a tower of strength to the Christian ‘prisoners and slaves’ in her husband’s realm – Christians remained of course the majority among his free subjects– and a shining example of Christian virtue to all. And when Orhan dies in 1362 she will hurry back (still only 30 years old) to Constantinople (Nicol, Reluctant Emperor, p.146). 1347: 1. End of the civil war: In February John VI Cantacuzenus, with 1,000 troops, is let into the capital by his supporters there, through a tunnel they have dug under the city walls. The dowager empress Anna negotiates an agreement whereby Cantacuzenus becomes senior emperor while her son, 15 years old John V Palaiologos, remains junior emperor (Treadgold, State p. 770). — Anna’s council was convened on 1 February 1347 and resulted in the condemnation of Calecas and a reaffirmation of the Tome of 1341. The next day, Cantacuzene would make a triumphant formal entrance into the city. However, the issue of contention between the Domestic and John V was yet to be resolved. Empress Anna sent Palamas himself to act as mediator, a task in which he had great success: Cantacuzene and John were soon proclaimed co-Emperors.  — Cantacuzene makes his entry into the capital, as Calecas (the patriarch) is now no longer an issue. Anna does not yet succumb, and barricades herself into the palace. Only at the intervention of her son John V, then aged 15, does she send an ambassador: Gregory Palamas himself. This time Gregory succeeds completely in bringing the two sides together. Cantacuzene and John V are recognised as coEmperors, effectively returning things to the political regime prior to autumn 1341. Cantacuzenus is subsequently re-crowned (21 May) as John VI with imitation (glass) crown jewels, the real crown jewels having been pawned to Venice (by Anna: see above under 1343). St Sophia being in disrepair, the crowning took place at the Blachernai palace. The boy-emperor John V was married to Cantacuzenus’s daughter a week later. At the banquets that followed, the wine was served in pewter vessels and the food from plates of cheap earthenware (Gregoras, cited by Norwich, Decline p.306; and Nicol, Lady p.75). Poem by Cavafy: Of Coloured Glass I'm very moved by one detail in the coronation at Vlachernai* of John Kantakuzinos and Irini, daughter of Andronikos Asan.** Because they had only a few precious stones (our afflicted empire was extremely poor) they wore artificial ones: numerous pieces of glass, red, green, or blue. I find nothing humiliating or undignified in those little pieces of coloured glass. Just the opposite: they seem 83

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years a sad protest against the unjust misfortune of the couple being crowned, symbols of what they deserved to have, of what surely it was right that they should have at their coronation - a Lord John Kantakuzinos, a Lady Irini, daughter of Andronikos. (*) The Blachernai palace. (**) Kantakouzenos’s wife, married before 1320. Irene’s father Andronicus Asen was the exiled son of the Bulgarian tsar Ivan III Asen (d. 1303: the Asen dynasty had been ousted in 1280). Her grandmother was a Palaiologina. 1b. Helena Kantakuzene, aged 13 or 14, marries the co-emperor John V Palaeologus, aged 15. The marriage took place on 28 May or 29 May 1347, i.e. immediately before the Plague began to rage. Helena was about 13 years old, while her groom was a month short of his 15th birthday. Peace only lasted until 1352 when her husband resumed hostilities against her father. 2. BLACK DEATH: The plague strikes Constantinople in the spring [about April] of 1347, and sweeps on to the West. One victim was Andronicus Cantacuzenus, the new co-emperor’s youngest son.

1347-54: JOHN VI Kantakouzenos (Cantacuzenus) Formerly general of the army. Aged about 52 when he finally assumed the throne. Wife: Irene, a granddaughter of the Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asen III. His eldest daughter Theodora was married to the Ottoman emir Orhan. His second daughter Maria married Nicephorus II Doukas, despot of


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Epiros. The youngest, Helena, married co-emperor John V Palaiologos. “Although [his] reign saw Byzantium decline from a viable state to a wreck, most of the fault was not his. . . . Without the Black Death, Cantacuzenus would probably have defeated the jerry-built empire of [the Serbian] Stephen Dushan, regained the upper hand and kept control of his Turks”, or so supposes Treadgold 1997: 777. (The loss of control alludes to the seizure of the Gallipoli peninsula by Turks officially fighting on his side.) Kantakuzenos was not dealt a good hand. The civil war had exhausted the public treasury and brought about significant territorial losses: Chios and Phocea to the Genoese, Philippopolis [Plovdiv] to the Bulgarians, and Albania and parts of Thessaly and Macedonia (around Serres) to the Serbs (Treadgold 1997: 770). 1347-48: Mt Athos: Women normally remained outside the Mountain with its all-male monasteries. Nevertheless Helen or Jelena of Bulgaria, the wife of the Serbian tsar Stefan Dusan, accompanied him throughout a lengthy four-month residence, end of 1347-start of 1348, in Athos (where they were taking refuge from the Plague: see next). Helen’s husband had, however, recently conquered Serres and its surrounding territory, so perhaps force majeure played its part (Fine 1994: 306; Vasiliev, History of the Byzantine Empire, 1958: 620). 1347-49: THE BLACK DEATH or bubonic plague spread to the Black Sea from central Asia, and thence on Genoese ships to Constantinople (spring 1347: before July), Mameluk Alexandria, Sicily, Venice and Genoa itself, and thence as far as Scotland. It seems to have arrived at Constantinople in May, was recognised as the plague in July, became epidemic in September, and peaked in late autumn. It arrived in what is now central and southern Greece in late summer and autumn the same year. Also in autumn 1347 it succeeded in covering the whole western coast of (Turkish-ruled) Asia Minor. In 1348 it spread through the whole lowlands of Asia Minor before finally reaching the Anatolian Plateau in 1349. Meanwhile in the West it was first noticed at Marseilles on 1 November 1347 (Ole Jørgen Benedictow, The Black Death, 1346-1353: the complete history, Boydell Press, 2004 pp.61ff, 69, 74ff) Cantacuzenus writes about it in his memoirs (History iv.8); one of its first victims was his eldest son, Andronicus. Cydones too writes about it in his letters, saying “the Greatest [city] is becoming a small town …” (quoted by Marien 2009: 62). Cf 1361. If the Byzantine empire’s population was two million in 1312 [see there], then by 1349 it must have fallen to . . . say 1,300,000. And one might guess that Constantinople itself was reduced to . . . say just 50,000. In qualitative terms,


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Baloglu p.408 proposes that the City’s population fell by a half, more than the probable proportion of one-third dead in the provinces. About 15 million people were dead by 1349, perhaps a third of the population of the Mediterranean world. . . Nor were the Faithful exempted: Tunis, Aswan, , Damascus, Jerusalem, Antioch and of course Mecca followed. It also hit Turkish Asia Minor, as we have said, although how severely is not known, because the records are sparse. Marien (2009: 51) speculates that because relatively more Turks led a pastoral way of life, it may have had less impact there. At Venice the population of the “dogado” [the city of Venice and the narrow coastal strip on the Italian mainland] fell to about 80,000. This meant that conscripting enough rowers for the war-galleys became very difficult. (These men were free citizens, not slaves, and were paid, albeit not very much.) Thus the government turned to the Stato da Mar [its ‘sea-empire’], i.e. men from Dalmatia and Venice’s Greek colonies. Of the large fleet of 35 galleys sent East in 1350, Venetians manned 25 and these others 10 galleys (F C Lane, Venice, a maritime republic, JHU Press, 1973 p.175). The prescribed crew of a standard galley was “212” men in 1412 (Lane, Venetian Ships p.254). Or if we use “216” rowers per ship [Angus Konstam, Tony Bryan, Renaissance War Galley 1470-1590, Osprey Publishing, 2002, p.5], then 35 galleys required 7,560 oarsmen. That approximates to one in every two ablebodied males serving in the galleys . . . In the Emperor’s Own Voice Thrace: In his memoirs Cantacuzenus describes as follows his clash with renegade Turks in Thrace in 1348 (see also there: they had recently been in Byzantine service). The enemy numbered not quite 2,000. The emperor, having recently let most of his field army return home, commanded far fewer: say 750 men. At a guess, they may have comprised 250 cavalry (“heavily-armed horsemen”) and 500 light infantry (“archers and light-armed soldiers”). “The emperor” – he writes of himself in the 3rd person - “thought he ought not lead his heavily-armed horsemen with the [foot] archers and light-armed soldiers into this difficult ground and into places, cut by ditches and narrow passes, to engage in battle. In addition to the barbarians' superior numbers, the rough ground would contribute considerably to their victory. For this reason he ordered the army to assemble in a shaded place, capable of concealing them and took every precaution that it would not be clear to the barbarians what was happening. “ . . . At their encounter [it was an ambush] the Romans conquered by storm. They also killed most of the barbarians and captured many alive. One of the two generals, named Kara Mehmet, fell during the battle. The other, Mar Atoumanus, with those few who had escaped death for the moment, dismounted and retreated to a certain hill. By standing their ground and shooting many arrows, they kept the Romans away from the hill and wounded many soldiers and


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years horses.” —The History of John Cantacuzenus (Book IV), online at www.deremilitari.org/resources/sources/cantacuzenus. 1348: 1. East Aegean: In May 1348 Umur of Aydin was killed while besieging the Christian-held lower castle at Smyrna. Cantacuzenus grieved for him, as Gregoras records. —Inalcik, Maritime p.320; D M Nicol, The last centuries of Byzantium, 1261-1453, Cambridge University Press, 1993 p.203. 2. The Balkans: Dushan’s Serbs invade Thessaly and Epirus: Cantacuzenus obtained “10,000” Turkish irregulars (foot and horse) from his father-in-law Orhan to assist Byzantium-Rhomaniya against the Serbs (Bartusis p.97). But the Turks soon deserted, i.e. they departed to take part in plunder and slave-taking. The emperor then raised a small army of his own (probably not more than 2,000 men) and attacked in Thrace against his father-in-law's Ottomans (as described above) and the Serbs. He also established a small Rhomaniyan navy, but the Genoese of Galata - his neighbours and trading rivals - quickly destroyed it (1349: see below). The civil war and the Black Death so weakened Byzantium that the Serbs overran Epirus and Thessaly with little resistance (1348-49). All of northern Greece, except for Thessalonica, was lost to the empire. The only large region of farmland still belonging to Byzantium was in Thrace, where the two major towns were Adrianople and Didymotichum (LBA p.97; Norwich, Decline p.309). Sometimes women even assumed military command, as when Irene, wife of Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos, was placed in charge of the garrison at Didymoteichon – the fortress on the Marica River south of Adrianople - during the civil war of 1341-47, and in 1348 when she took responsibility for the defence of Constantinople during her husband’s absence. 3. The Serbian “empire”: To put his extended realm on a sound legal footing, Dushan promulgates a new legislative code (Norwich 1996: 308). Or in 1349: Fine 1994, p.314. 4. Mystra becomes the seat of the Despotate of Morea [Gk Moreos] - the lower Peloponnesus. Mystras or Mistra developed at such a rate that in 1348, 100 years after the building of the Frankish castle, it became the capital of the Despotate of Morea with prince Manuel Kantakouzenos, aged about 22, as first Despot, son of the Emperor John VI. Manuel Kantakouzenos, Despot of the Peloponnese, 1349-80, contender to the principality of Achaia: born ca 1326, died Mistra, Peloponnese 10.4.1380, buried there; m. in Constantinople 1347, Isabelle de Lusignan, dau. of the French King of Cyprus.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 5. d. Gregory Akindynos (ca. 1300-1348): Anti-Palamite theologian and protege of Irene Choumnaina (fl. 1322), the daughter-in-law of Andronicus II. Gregory received a very good secular education. He was ordained deacon and then priest in 1344 by the patriarch John XIV Kalekas. Although Palamas was his friend, Gregory criticised his doctrines. Akindynos objected not to hesychasm but to the distinction between the essence and energies of God that Palamas had employed in defending it. He was sent into exile following his excommunication at the Council of Blachernai [1347] and died shortly afterwards. His most famous antiPalamite theological treatise was the Antirrhetics, containing arguments against the teaching of Palamas (David Bradshaw, Aristotle East and West: metaphysics and the division of Christendom, Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp.234 ff). See next. c.1348: Palamas returns to Constantinople after his time on Athos with Dushan. There he debates with Nicephorus Gregoras, a firm anti-Palamite. 1348-49: In 1348, the Genoese seized Kerasous, the second most important city of the ‘empire’ of Trerbizond in revenge for a massacre of Genoese by the Trapezuntines some years earlier. In May 1349, a Genoese expedition from Caffa was launched against Trebizond. The small Trapezuntine fleet under Michael Tzanichites was destroyed and the people of Trebizond responded by killing any Westerner they found in the capital. Eventually, peace was reached with the Genoese, but in exchange for Kerasous they were given the fortress of Leontokastron. From now on Trebizond's commercial capacity was lessened even further, as the Genoese came to increasingly command the lucrative Black Sea trade of the port. 1348-49: Emperor John Cantacuzene tries to rebuild a Byzantine navy but is (largely) foiled by the Genoese: his own account of this follows below. Cf 1351-52. John VI Kantakouzenos had trouble in procuring raw materials with which to build ships, in Constantinople, to face the Genoese of Galata; and since a blockade made it impossible to transport timber by sea to the capital, wood suitable for shipbuilding was moved overland Thrace, from the Little Haemos mountains. —Ioannis Cantacuzeni, Historiarum libri quatuor [memoirs], ed. L. Schopen, 3 vols. (Bonn, 1831–32), 3:70–77. As Makris notes (in Laiou, ed. 2002), regardless of its outcome, the undertaking of Kantakouzenos in building even a small war-fleet at top speed in 1348 presupposed the existence of well-organised shipyards. The galleys built at this time were fitted with battle towers, but they sank (1149) off the capital in the first spell of rough weather. When Byzantium sought to undercut the Genoese of Galata by charging lower import tariffs, the Genoese declared war (mid 1348). The Constantinopolitans responded with vigour. By the spring of 1349 they had built and deployed nine large war-galleys and 100 smaller vessels; but the Byzantine amateurs barely managed to row out from shore, and their ships were quickly captured by the


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years more professional Genoese, almost without an arrow being fired (Bartusis, LBA p.98; Norwich, Decline pp.311-12). Cf 1351. Cantacuzenus’s own account of this incident follows below. The massive tower that still dominates the Galata district in modern Istanbul was built by the Genoese traders in 1349 as a watchtower and a fortification for their walled enclave. The Tower and the Naval Fight with the Genoese, as described in Cantacuzenus’s memoirs: “ … They [the Genoese of Galata] armed their own galleys which had been readied and as many light boats and fast-sailing ones as they had, and burned the houses outside the walls of Byzantium along the sea [i.e. the Golden Horn]. They also captured some transports while others they burned. They burned all the [Byzantine] galleys which had been prepared except three which, under the orders of the emperor's son, the Romans [Byzantines] took from the place called Kosmidion [outside the city: the upper shore of the Golden Horn, near the northern or Blachernai “corner” of the walls] where they were being readied, since the destruction was encompassing everything. Leading them across the river which flows by the place called Pissa, they dragged them up onto dry land and, placing a guard on either side, they watched over them.” “. . . now that they [the Genoese] had gained control of the sea, they sailed up and down along the coasts [adjoining Constantinople], causing destruction and consigning everything to the flames. They also sallied forth together and first fortified the hill [at Galata], raising a tower on its summit. Both men and women displayed equally every eagerness. Even the most distinguished did not consider it beneath them to take part with the others in the construction. After marking out the rest of the land, they then fortified it with a wall as far as the material would go, raising the wall to a height they thought sufficient. “. . . he [Cantacuzenus] commanded the Byzantines to contribute and placed Constantine Tarchaneiotes in charge of the collection [see below: tax on wine and wheat] while he turned his attention to preparing [more] galleys. Since the Galatans held the sea and it was most difficult to import wood by sea fit for ship building, he commanded the Byzantines to bring the wood in by oxen and mules from the mountains opposite Sergentzion [NW of Constantinople]. The wood was brought in with a great deal of difficulty and hard work and the galleys were constructed at the docks in the Heptaskalon [“Seven Piers”: the harbour on southcentral edge of the city, ie farthest from Galata]. . . . while the galleys were being constructed, the emperor selected sailors and heavily-armed soldiers and readied all else for battle. He appointed as generals the protostrator Fazzolati [a Genoese renegade] over the three galleys along the Pissa, and Tzamplakon, the megadux, over those built in the Heptaskalon.” . . . When all the [nine] imperial galleys had been thoroughly readied, they set out from the dockyard, fittingly equipped and inferior to none of the fleets mustered by the Romans in many years, both in numbers of heavily-armed troops


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years and in the splendour and scale of the preparations. Quite a few single-tiered vessels, both fast-sailing vessels and small boats carrying heavily-armed soldiers, accompanied the fleet, and all joined in the expedition eagerly because of their hatred of the Latins. The Latins, struck by the size of the armada, considered everything other than engaging in a sea battle with the imperial galleys.”  . . . Suddenly an unexpected wind fell upon them [the Byzantines] and upset the first three galleys on which the wooden towers stood. The rest of the men with their armour fell from the other ships into the sea, sailors as well as heavilyarmed soldiers, and in one instant all the boats appeared empty of seamen. … The Latins in Galata put to sea with revived courage and, taking the galleys in tow, pulled them up onto the beach. No one prevented them or defended the ships, so that they had a bloodless victory.” —The History of John Cantacuzenus (Book IV), excerpts online at www.deremilitari.org/resources/sources/cantacuzenus; accessed 2011. By 1351-52 the Byzantines were operating 12 war-galleys: see there. No doubt some were purchased from, or gifted by Venice, but it seems that many of the 12 were built at Constantinople. 1349: 1. CP: John VI Kantakouzenos imposed taxes on the sale and production of wine. Wine merchants were taxed twice as much as wine producers. He also taxed the wheat from the Black Sea at half a gold nomisma per modios. He lowered the kommerkion (the sales and import/exprt tax) at Constantinople to two percent to compete with the Italians (who charged higher tax for goods landed at Galata), and introduced a special tax on imports of wine, wheat, and the bulk trade controlled by the Genoese (Ana Mamie Raguz, The Resilient Empire: Institutional reform in Byzantium, California State University, Dominguez Hills, 2007). See 1349-50.1. 2. Serbia annexes Epirus. Or in 1348: Balard, “Balkans’ in NCMH, 1995: 828. 1349-50: 1. Cantacuzenus builds a second, then a third tiny fleet: the Genoese soon agree to terms in order to maintain their trading rights, and the Byzantines manage to recover Chios and Phocaea (Treadgold 1997: 774). Cf 1350 and 1351. 2. As noted earlier, the emperor’s son Manuel took charge of the province of the Morea in 1349 with the rank of Despot (Gk: “lord”) and governed it with growing success until his death in 1380; his eldest son, Matthew, was given a principality in Thrace; while the junior emperor John V, who had married a daughter of Cantacuzenus, ruled in Thessalonica after 1351. Among the troops employed by the Rhomaniyans in the Morea, we have reports of Albanians* (Heath 1995: 21). Cf 1390s. (*) Albanian immigation: Some have proposed that, when the Ottomans conquered Greece in the 15th century, already some 45% of it was populated by Albanians (P. Trudgill & G.A. Tzavaras, A sociolinguistic study of Albanian dialects


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years spoken in the Attica and Biotia [sic] areas of Greece. London: Social Science Research Council Report, 1975, p.6). 3. [1350:] Orhan sends “20,000 cavalry” troops to retake Serbian-controlled Thessaloniki for Cantacuzenus (recently offered to the Serbs by the Byzantine religious rebels known as the Zealots). The city surrenders to Cantacuzenus, without the Turks having to fight; they quickly returned to Asia (Bartusis, LBA p.97; Norwich, Decline p.314). See 1351. Aware that their downfall was only a question of time, the Zealots started to negotiate and offered to surrender to the Serbian Emperor, Stefan Dushan, preferring foreign rule to that of Cantacuzenus. But by the end of 1349 their rule collapsed. With Serbian pressure mounting and the Zealot regime crumbling, the Zealot leader Andreas Palaiologos is expelled and his successor, Alexios Metochites, negotiates the city’s capitulation. Andrew Palaeologus fled to Serbia, while Cantacuzenus, accompanied by co-emperor John Palaeologus, made (1350) a triumphal entry into the city. See 1350 – recovery of parts of Macedonia. After the Serbs had advanced to surround Thessalonica, and entered northern Greece (1345, 1349), John VI Cantacuzenus possessed nothing beyond the ancient prestige of his office, the Great City itself, and some patches of territory in Thrace, at Thessalonica and in the Peloponnese. Serbia dominated the Balkans. The Aegean islands were dominated by the Sicilians, Venetians and Genoese. Asia Minor was Turkish: divided among several ghazi emirates, including that of the Ottomans at Bursa. “ ... Byzantine dominion withered. Its last strength”, writes McEvedy, “was squandered in a civil war, which abandoned the recently annexed Despotate of Epirus, together with all Macedonia, to the Serbs. Under Steven Dushan, the south Slavs at last achieved an empire, and the moment had come for them to claim the heritage of Byzantium. But Dushan’s feverish attempt to reproduce, in a decade of victory, the splendour of a millennial decline failed for the lack of the one success that might have cemented the others: the taking of Constantinople” (McEvedy 1961: 78). By 1350 elite first-class Western knights had added a significant amount of platearmour to their mail hauberks. Supplementary pieces of plate armour were worn over the suit of mail. Plate protected especially the legs and arms. The helmet was either a great helm with visor and high ornamental crest (in jousts, without the crest in battle) or, in battle only, a simpler pointed “bascinet” (metal skull-cap). The lance is very large and heavy (Hopkins 1996: 99). 1350: 1 Macedonia: The Byzantines recaptured Beroea/Verria and Vodena (European Edessa) from the Serbs. So vicious was the fighting that . . . at Verria a single soldier was killed and at Vodena not one person was killed on either side (Kantakouzenos, cited in LBA p. 269; Norwich, Decline p.314).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

2. In 1350, the Venetian colony of Crete feared an attack coming from the Turks of Ephesus (Aydin). The Venetians decided to send an embassy to the emir Hizir. The Turks, they insisted, should cease their acts of piracy and not help the Genoese. On their side the Genoese also sent an embassy to Ephesus, known to them as Altoluogo, to thank Hizir for his benevolence to them and his offer of support. The Genoese obtained supplies for their colony at Chios, and Hizir allowed Genoese galleys to be supplied at Ephesus. He hoped thus to counterbalance the influence of Venice (Foss, Ephesus, p.154). Cf 1350-52. c. 1350: Approximate date of key buildings and frescos of the Peribleptos (“celebrated”, “admired by all”) Monastery at Mistra in the Peloponnesus - Morea. See entry for 1350-75. d. 1350: Early emergence of vernacular languages in W Europe: d. the satirist Juan Ruiz, arch-priest of Hita, "the first true poet writing in Spanish”, i.e. Castilian. His pseudo-autobiography Libro de buen amor, ca 1343, mentions among other things Moorish dancing girls and sex with nuns. Cf 1353 – Boccaccio’s Italian; and 1362 - English. Already Dante had written his Divine Comedy in Italian in the years after 1308. 1350-75: Mistra: late Byzantine Church of the Mother of God Peribleptos, with painted vaults. 1350-52: In 1350 the Venetian admiral Nicolo Pisani led a squadron to Constantinople to conclude an alliance with the Byzantines. See 1351. They also tried to attack Genoese Galata, which was formally allied with Byzantium. At the mouth of the Bosphorus, he engaged in a fierce battle with the Genoese, forcing a bloody nonvictory against the distinguished admiral Paganino Doria (in 1352: see there). Cf next: Venice trades grain to Thessalonica. In 1350 the intermittent, opportunistic taking of vulnerable vessels and their cargoes by both sides flared into a more serious conflict when a Venetian fleet of armed galleys sent east under the command of Marco Ruzzini to deal with a quarrel over trading rights at Tana caught about 14 Genoese galleys in the harbour of Castro near Negroponte and took ten. The Genoese response was to dispatch in 1351 year a fleet of some 64 galleys under the command of Paganino Doria to the Aegean (Mitch Stone: http://mitchtestone.blogspot.com/2008/09/venetians-genoese-and-turks.html) 1351: Dissolution of the anti-Turkish Christian league. Hizir, the bey of Aydin, made overtures to the Genoese, causing Venice to withdraw its contribution. And now Venice too opened negotiations with Hizir, who allowed the Venetian-Catalan fleet to pass the winter of 1351-52 at Ephesus! (Inalcik, Maritime p.321). 92

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years The bey was referred to in Italian documents as “lord and emir of Theologos”, that being the medieval Greek name of Ephesus: Turkish Ayaslug from ‘Ayios Theologos’ (K Fleet, in J. Chrysostomides, Charalambos Dendrinos & Judith Herrin, eds., Porphyrogenita: Publications for the Centre for Hellenic Studies, Kings College, London, Ashgate 2003 p.282). 2. Final session of the Fifth Council of Constantinople, presided over by Cantacuzenus. At this synod Hesychast doctrine was established as the doctrine of the Orthodox Church. An illustration of the event shows eight Varangian guards stationed behind the emperor, wearing boat-shaped white hats trimmed with gold, and blue gowns (copy in Heath, Armies 1118, 1995: 7). Interestingly, the Varangians voiced their acclamations of the emperor in English (Bartusis p.273, citing Pseudo-Kodinos, fl. 1355). The English were the most prominent element in the Varangian Guard from the late 11th to the 14th century. Although there were probably few Englishmen serving in the guard by the time of its writing, the 14th-century (c. 1355) Book of Offices of Georgios Kodinos or Pseudo-Kodinos mentions the Christmas custom of the Guard. "Then the Varangians come and wish the Emperor many years in the language of their country, that is, English, and beating their battle-axes with loud noise." —Peri ton offikialion tou palatiou tou Konstantinoupoleus (De officiis, ‘Book of Offices’), in J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologiae Cursus Completus, vol. 157 (Paris, 1854), p.76; also Bartusis LBA p. 273; Benedikz p.180. 3a. Macedonia: The Serbians again threaten Thessalonica. Cantacuzenus sends his erstwhile rival Anna of Savoy to stiffen the resolve of her son John V and to negotiate with Dushan. Surprisingly, she persuades Dushan to withdraw; and she enters the city, which becomes her domain. After the Zealot period, 1342–50, the harbour at Thessalonica did not flourish as before; Demetrios Kydones referred to it as a large fortified harbour. Bazirkis suggests it had probably become partly silted up, like the sea-front of the city. The inner wall of the harbour was not as wide as the main fortification wall proper, but it did have towers. Kantakouzenos mentions that near the sea gate of this wall, which led to the harbour, was a quarter inhabited by sailors, who had played a decisive role in the Zealot insurrection. —Bazirkis, in Talbot ed., ‘Late Byzantine Thessalonike’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 2003; accessed online 2007. 3b. The Aegean: Grain in the form of wheat and barley was the most important land product traded by the Byzantines. We see a steady decline in grain production due to Ottoman conquest and civil conflicts. For example in 1350 or 1351: see there, Thessalonica was unable - this was only several years after the Plague - to feed itself due to the Serbian siege; and Venice provided supplies of grain. —Angeliki Laiou-Thomadakis, 'The Byzantine Economy in the Mediterranean Trade System', in Dumbarton Oaks Papers (1980-81) 34-35, 178. 1351-54: Byzantine civil war resumes. John V is supported by the Serbs and Bulgarians, while John VI is supported by the Ottomans. Cantacuzenus's Turks are provided


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years (1352) with a base at Gallipoli which they will decide to keep when he tries (1354: se there) to disband them. Travel by galley Documents dating from the second half of the 14th century and concerning the voyages of Genoese ships are indicative of the time it could take to cover a specific route by sea. These ships sailed (rowed) close to the coast, rarely venturing out into the open sea except in emergencies or where it was unavoidable in terms of one’s destination. The day’s voyage would begin at dawn, and at dusk the ship would take refuge in a bay where the night would be spent; they rarely sailed in darkness. A good average for a day’s travel is quoted as ‘75-80 km’ in John Morrison & Robert Gardiner, The Age of the Galley, 1995 p.219. Calculated using 14 hours of daylight (as at Athens in mid-summer) that represents around five km/h. If we look at specific examples, we find that in 1351, one Genoese galley covered an average distance of 65 km per day, and another in 1369 made 76 km in a day. The voyage from Alexandria to Genoa took 23 days, or 29 days in the case of another galley. A distance of 176 km (sic) covered in a single day was regarded as a noteworthy exception: another ship took two days and nights at sea to cover the 80 km from Ios to Melos in bad weather, i.e. only 20 km for each 12 hours (Avramea in Laiou ed. 2002). 1351-52: N Aegean and Sea of Marmara: The Venetian fleet attacked Galata (Pera)*, the Genoese base on the other side of the Golden Horn from Constantinople; Cantacuzenus with his tiny native navy (12 ships) joins in on the CatalanVenetian side. The Venetians withdraw and the Genoese punish Byzantium (but a treaty is struck in May 1352). Meanwhile John V Palaeologus's mother, Anna of Savoy, has taken control in Thessalonica; and, when Matthew Cantacuzenus (John's son) takes control of Adrianople, the Paleologians capture him: Cantacuzenus goes to his son's aid with Turkish mercenaries. (*) “Nikephoros Gregoras tells us that in the mid-14th century the Genoese were collecting 200,000 gold pieces [annually] from their customs-house at Galata, whereas the customs of Constantinople [itself] were barely taking in 30,000. These figures [or the discrepancy between them] may be exaggerated, but they give a picture of economic and fiscal activities on the two sides of the Golden Horn at this time” (thus Oikonomides). [It should be added that Byzantium relied more on land taxes than customs.] The Venetians assembled an alliance of Byzantines - who did not like Genoese airs of superiority any better than they had Venetian - and Aragonese/Catalans, who opposed the Genoese in the western Mediterranean (Dotson 2001). In the


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Bosphorus, or more precisely, near its mouth, a fierce but indecisive battle was fought (13 February 1352); while at Alghero in Sardinia (1353) the Genoese fleet was defeated by the Venetians and their Aragonese allies. Naval battle of the Bosphorus, 13 February 1352: a slightly smaller Venetianled fleet, including some galleys from Byzantium (12 ships) and Aragon (26 ships), faced over 60 galleys* of the Genoese under Doria (Nicol, B&V p.275). The Genoese also has some Turkish support: 1,000 archers and nine light vessels called (in Italian) parascarmi. Turks: see Luttrell’s paper at www.deremilitari.org/resources/pdfs/luttrell.pdf). Cf 1351. (*) This was a massive force for this era. In 1424 when a “powerful” fleet was desired, the Venetian Senate voted to arm just 25 galleys (Lane, Venetian Ships p.254). A Genoese fleet led by Paganino Doria fought a combined fleet of Venetian, Aragonese and Greek galleys to an impasse in the Bosphorus. The Byzantines financed a handful of their own galleys (12 ships), while Venice subsidised others: to the tune of 1,000 ducats per month per ship (Gardiner 2004: 223; also Norwich, Decline p.317). The Venetians gained reinforcements by hiring the allied fleets of Aragon and Byzantium, and set out against Pera, the Genoese base opposite Constantinople. There the Genoese had a large fleet of over 60 galleys under Paganino Doria. The allied fleets failed to meet up, causing a series of delays and diversions, but eventually there was a bitter and bloody encounter near the Bosphorus in the late winter of 1352. So great was the number of dead on both sides that the tactical outcome of the battle was uncertain. The battle was indecisive and inflicted heavy losses on both sides, but in the end Venice had to abandon the Bosphorus and the Aragonese fleet was hardest hit. After the 1352 battle near the mouth of the Bosphoros, the Venetian-Aragonese fleet departed for the West, leaving the Byzantines alone facing the enemy Genoese of Galata. Helped by a contingent of Ottoman troops, the Genoese surrounded Constantinople by land. This persuaded the emperor to make (6 May 1352) a treaty (Nicol, B&V p.276). The sea-battle in the Bosphorus between the Byzantines and the Genoese (13 February 1352) brought an end to Kantakuzenos’s ambitious ideas concerning the reconstruction of the Byzantine navy (thus Liakopoulos). 1352: 1. Kantakouzenos acquires a personal or palace guard of some “500” Catalans; they were marines who stayed on from the allied Aragonese-Venetian fleet of 1351-52 (Bartusis p.285; Heath 1995: 22; Treadgold 1997: 842). What this meant for the Varangians (if indeed they were still extant: cf 1351 above), we do not know. Cf 1352.3.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 2. Coastal western Asia Minor: The Ottomans grant trading rights to the Genoese. Genoa reached agreement with the Ottomans in 1352, giving her a monopoly over the alum mines of Magnesia (John H. Pryor, Geography, technology, and war: studies in the maritime history of the Mediterranean, 649-1571, Cambridge University Press, 1992 p.173) Alum or hydrated potassium aluminium sulphate (Potassium alum) was used in dyeing and medicine - a dye-fixer (mordant) for wool; as a base in skin whiteners and treatments. 3. The Byzantine civil war continues. The deteriorating relations between Matthew Kantakouzenos (now placed in charge of eastern Thrace) and John V (in western Thrace) led to open war again in 1352, when John V, supported by Venice and Turkish troops, launched an attack on Matthew Kantakouzenos. John VI came to his son's aid with “10,000” Ottoman troops, who retook the towns of Thrace and liberally plundered them. There were also a few Catalans in the service of Kantakouzenos senior. In October 1352, at Pythion near Demotika, the Ottoman force met and defeated 4,000 Serbs, provided to John V by Stefan Dushan (Fine 1994, pp. 325–326; Treadgold 1997, pp. 775–776; Luttrell p.123). This was the Ottomans' first victory in Europe. Dissatisfied with his pseudo-independent imperial regime in Thrace, John V intrigues with Stefan Dushan; his mother, Anna of Savoy, resolves the situation, and, when John moves off to take a partition of Thracian territory, Anna assumes active government of Thrace in her own right, as “despoina,” until her death in ca.1365. With financial backing from Venice, John V requested aid from Bulgaria and Serbia to attack Cantacuzenist Thrace. The Bulgarian tsar sent a small force and Dushan sent “4,000” Serbian troops (the last time that Serbs would fight for Byzantium). Adrianople was besieged. Kantakouzenos responded by calling in from Orhan either “7,000” or “not fewer than 10,000 [Turkish] cavalry”. They crossed at the Dardanelles. Kantakouzenos’ Turks decisively defeated John’s Greeks, Bulgarians and Serbs in the region between Adrianople and Didymoteicho [Dimotika or Demotika] in Thrace (Bartusis LBA p.100, citing Kantakouzenos and Gregoras; Heath 1995: 34; Norwich 1996: 318). First Ottoman acquisition in Thrace: Tzympe/Çimpe on the European shore of the Gallipoli isthmus opposite Abydos. Çimpe was a small fort or castle located between between Bolayir and Gallipoli. Orhan’s son Suleyman aids Cantacuzenus at Adrianople; Suleyman also occupies Tzympe on the European side of the Dardanelles; in retrospect this appears as the beginnings of the Ottoman conquests in Thrace. — Orhan’s son Suleyman went to Adrianople to give assistance to Cantacuzenus, his relative since 1346, against Serbian and Bulgarian forces; on the way, he took possession (1352) of Tzympe and as a reward for his service the emperor allowed him to hold on to it (Nicolle, Ottomans p.40). See 1354. FIVE YEARS SINCE THE ARRIVAL OF THE PLAGUE


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Territories When the Ottomans acquired their first foothold on the European shores of the Dardanelles at Impe, Çimpe or Tzympe in 1352-54, over half of the upper Balkans was controlled by the Serbs. The ‘Greek’ or Rhomaioi Empire, torn by civil war, held Thrace and our S Bulgaria roughly south of a line running due west from the Black Sea port of Burgas (Purgos, Burgaz) to the Struma (Strymon) River below Sofia. A Bulgarian state, which stretched to the Danube, occupied the area north of Byzantine Thrace. In addition Byzantium held a small area around the city of Salonika (Thessaloniki, Tk: Selanik) and an enclave in the southeast of the Morea or Peloponnesus. See map.

Above: Serbia’s expansion to 1355 and contraction thereafter. 1353: 1. Thrace: In alliance with Genoa, Orhan’s son Suleyman Pasha raids from Tyzmpe (Çimpi) into Byzantine territory seizing a number of villages and towns as far as Rodosto (Tekirdag) (Shaw, Ottoman Empire, p.16). See 1354.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 2. A series of setbacks on John V Palaiologos’s part results in the coronation of Matthew (Matias) Cantacuzene*, son of John VI, as co-emperor at Constantinople. Patriarch Kallistos, who refuses (1353) to perform the coronation, is deposed and replaced by Philotheus. Kallistos and John are exiled to the island of Tenedos, and the coronation is carried out in 1354 (Norwich 1996: 319). Thus there were for a period nominally three emperors. In 1357, he was captured by his enemies, who delivered him to the rival emperor John V Palaiologos. Compelled to abdicate, he moved to the Morea, in 1361, and assisted his brother Manuel Kantakouzenos in its government. (*) Mathaios (Matthew) Asenes Kantakouzenos, co-Emperor of Byzantium (IV.1353-XII.1357): crowned, aged about 28, in the Church of the Virgin, Blachernai II.1354 (effective ruler around Adrianople), Despot of Mistra (1357-ca 1380). Born ca 1325, died as a monk in the Peloponnese 1391; m.Thessalonike early 1341 Eirene Palaiologina (b.1327, +ca 1357), dau. of Despot Demetrios Palaiologos, son of Emp. Andronikos III. —‘ Kantakouzenos family’, 2011, at http://genealogy.euweb.cz/byzant/byzant5.html. 1353: The Serbs under Dushan defeated Louis of Hungary, who had been urged by the pope to lead a Catholic crusade. The Serbs acquired Belgrade. d. Stjepan (Stephen) II Kotromanich, first Bosnian ruler to coin money. Italy: Boccaccio, c.1313-1375, completes his Decameron, a collection of tales in Italian. ‘The vernacular’ was beginning to oust Latin in written works, a process that would take many centuries. Western Mediterranean: In 1353 the Venetians and Aragonese took the war against Genoa to the western Mediterranean and won a victory off Sardinia. The battle was not decisive, and in the next year Paganino Doria inflicted a crushing defeat on the allies off Modon [SW Greece: the southwestern tip of the Morea] in the battle of Porto Longo. 1354: 1. The Dardanelles: The Byzantine fortress-port of Gallipoli/Kallipolis/Gelibolu was located near Tzympe, where Suleyman had his base. Gallipoli itself is on the central-east coast of the peninsula at the top of the Dardanelles; Tzympe lies in the SE, opposite Abydos and Çanakkale. When Gallipoli’s and Tzympe’s walls were destroyed by a further earthquake [2 March], the Turks occupied them and other strong-points, and garrisoned them with additional troops from Anatolia (March 1354). In response to the earthquake, towns and villages were abandoned by the native Greeks, and the Turks, supposedly the senior emperor’s friends ands allies, moved to occupy many of them (Norwich, Decline p.320). The Ottoman prince Suleyman was leading former Karesi officers and men (Kunt, ‘Rise of the Ottomans’, in NCMH p.849). Cantacuzenus offered 40,000 hyperpyra if the Turks would leave, but emir Orhan declined the offer, evidently preferring to keep his gains as a foothold. He reportedly said that the earthquake was a sign that God wanted the Turks to 98

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years stay. This brought the senior emperor’s popularity to its lowest ebb (Shaw, Empire p. 16; Nicol, Lady p.78). See below: Cantacuzenus is pressured into abdicating. The establishment of what looked like a Turkish beachhead aroused great anxiety in Byzantium and the wider Christian world (Inalcik 1973 p.9; Bartusis LBA p.101). See next. Shortly after the occupation of Kallipolis, the Ottomans began to collect tax or tribute from the inhabitants of Thrace in the zone extending between Kallipolis and Constantinople. They raided as far as the Byzantine capital itself; this may be counted as the first Osmanli attack on Constantinople. 2. Gregory Palamas, aged 58, Metropolitan of Thessalonica and distinguished theologian, was taken a prisoner to the Ottoman territories, where he had the opportunity to meet the Christian communities and also to participate in a public theological debate organised by Orhan in Nicaea. Palamas had left Thessalonica for Constantinople on an imperial warship put at his disposal. He waited until the earthquake of 2 March was over, but heading into the Dardanelles his ship was forced by wind to land in Gallipoli, where he finds the town overtaken by the Turks. The Turks take Gregory and his entourage captive. During his captivity in Turkish control (until 1355), Gregory is allowed (under escort) to travel a great deal, and he learns of the Turkish culture. He speaks favourably of the occupying force, so long as they allow for the religious freedom of those under their control. The Christians saw the Turks as mere pirates seeking loot and captives to sell in slave-markets and imagined that this was just greed, which of course it was. But also they had no knowledge of the idea of jihad. Palamas was therefore astonished to find that the Turks attributed their success to their love of God: “(they) boast of having got the better of the Romans by their love of God … (and) they believe God approves [of taking slaves, murdering and pillaging]”. —Quoted in Zachariadou p. 219; also http://www.monachos.net/patristics/palamas_appendices.shtml. More fully, he wrote: “these impious people, hated by God and infamous, boast of having got the better of the Romans by their love of God … they live by the bow, the sword and debauchery, finding pleasure in taking slaves, devoting themselves to murder, pillage, spoil … and not only do they commit these crimes, but even—what an aberration—they believe that God approves of them” (quoted in Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Oxford history of the Crusades, OUP 1999). Equally, he records the fairly good treatment of Greek Christian dhimmis already under Ottoman rule in Asia Minor. Palamas was told by some that they preferred Turkish rule to the harsher rule of the French and Italians in Frankish Greece and the Aegean islands (Nicol, Reluctant Emperor, p.177). 3. Kiev: The Russian church at this time was still subordinate to Constantinople. Emperor John and Patriarch Philotheus appointed the Muscovite candidate to the post of ”metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia”. When Cantacuzenus was


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years deposed (see next) the post went to the candidate of the ruler of Lithuania, which dominated the region at this time (Obolensky p.340). 4. Taking advantage of Kantakouzenos’s loss of popularity, the 22-years old John V Palaeologus leads a small armed force to, and is let into, Constantinople (22 November). Aged about 62, John Cantacuzenus either abdicates or is deposed (4 December), but is allowed to retire to a monastery, where he will write at length on theology (in favour of the Hesychasts) and contemporary history (justifying his own reign). It was an amicable retirement, and he remained on good terms with all the Palaeologi, often providing John V with useful political and military advice (Fine 1994: 327; Joan Hussey, The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire, OUP p.262). “Although [his] reign saw Byzantium decline from a viable state to a wreck, most of the fault was not his. . . . Without the Black Death, Cantacuzenus would probably have defeated the jerry-built empire of Stephen Dushan, regained the upper hand and kept control of his Turks”, or so supposes Treadgold 1997: 777. 5. d. Eirene Asenina Cantucuzene, empress 1347–1354. fl. Petrarch, the Italian poet, writing in both Latin and Italian. He was the first to understand, through careful reading of old texts, that latter-day Latin was not the same as classical Latin. This was the origin of the concept of the Middle Ages - the period of supposedly 'debased' Latin. He suggested that Dante’s Italian writings were suitable only for woolworkers and innkeepers while his own Latin (so he imagined) was comparable with Homer's Greek and Virgil's Latin. Ironically Petrarch is remembered today for his Italian poems. fl. ibn-Battuta, Arab voyager and geographer. A Moroccan Berber, he travelled as far as China, India, sub-Saharan Africa and Constantinople (see earlier under 1332). He retired to Fez in the Marinid Sultanate in 1354 to write the narrative of his travels. See excerpts earlier: 1330s. Territory in 1355 Looking back, the major changes since 1328 are: 1. in Asia the loss of the remaining section of Bithynia near Constantinople. The Ottomans now control all the southern-eastern shore of the Sea of Marmara from the Dardanelles to the Bosphorus opposite Constantinople. 2. There is one tiny gain in Asia, namely the outpost of Phocaea opposite Lesbos. Lesbos too is still in Greek hands. 3. The most dramatic change is in Europe: the Serbs have seized all of Epirus and Thessaly and most of Macedonia, including most of the Chalcidice peninsula and Mt Athos. Thessalonica and a small parcel of territory around it have become a ‘land island’ surrounded by Serbian-ruled territory, with Thessalonica connected to Constantinople only by ship (maps in Bartusis, pp.20-21). Despite its ancient prestige, Byzantium was now just a minor state comprising only the capital and Thrace; the N Aegean islands plus Lesbos; also Thessaloniki and its tiny hinterland; and the south-eastern third of the Peloponnesus or 100

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Morea. There was also an outpost or enclave around the fortress-town of Philadelphia in inland west-central Asia Minor, a tiny Byzantine land-island in a large Turkish sea. Thrace formed the only substantial area of farmland still ruled by the Basileus. Byzantium's immediate neighbours were the Ottoman Turks in Asia; Bulgaria; and Serbia, which ruled as far as the NW Aegean and taking in the Mt Athos peninsula. The Latin princedoms were: the now Florentine duchy of Athens; the Italo-French (Angevin) principality of Achaia ruling most of the Morea; Venetian-ruled Euboea (Negroponte: the large island N of Athens) and Crete; the Duchy of the Archipelago (the Cyclades); and the Hospitallers or Knights of St John on Rhodes off the Turkish coast. The palace guards in and before 1355 An anonymous text on ceremonies dated c.1355 known as the ‘Pseudo-Kodinos’ contains some incidental information about the army including the guards of the palace. It is an antiquarian document, and not all units were necessarily still extant in 1355. Five types of palace guards are mentioned: the Tzakones, Vardariotai, Paramonai, Varangians and Mourtatoi. As noted earlier (see 1351), the Varangians were nearly all Englishmen. i. The Tzakones were distinctively dressed bodyguards, not to be confused with the Morean marines and wall-guards of the same name. As a guard they do not appear before 1262 nor after 1285, except in the Pseudo-Kodinos. ii. The Vardariotai were a sort of paramilitary police who kept order during state ceremonies. Evidently they disappeared after 1272 (Bartusis, LBA p.280, 283). iii. The Paramonai (literally “Near-standers’) are otherwise known only from a handful of references in the period 1272-1315. They were, or had been, native Byzantine-Greek mounted guardsmen, although some were infantry. Bartusis sees them as ‘native mercenaries’, meaning Greek-speaking salaried fulltime soldiers (LBA p.140). iv. After about 1329 the Varangians no longer took part in campaign warfare but became a literal bodyguard. They also served as guardians of the imperial treasure and as prison-managers. In formal processions they attended closely upon the emperor with their distinctive axes. They are last mentioned in 1395 (according to LBA pp.274-75, 281) or more probably in 1404 (see there). v. The Mourtatoi, according to the Pseudo-Kodinos, were foot archers serving in the palace. Nicolle, Fall p.20, suggests they were crossbowmen (yet one of the illustrations shows a soldier with an ordinary bow). In Ottomans, 2008: 62, he proposes they were Turkish foot archers in Byzantine service. Or, as Bartusis suggests, perhaps descendants from mixed Greek-Turkish marriages. Evidently they were not a unit but just a type of soldier forming an element in the palace guard or at least who were sometimes found in the palace guard; they also served in campaigns (LBA p.278). 101

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1354-1453: BYZANTIUM’S FINAL CENTURY . . . 1354-76: JOHN V PALAEOLOGUS Son of Andronicus III and Anna of Savoy. Aged 22 or 23 when he ousted John VI Cantacuzenus and became senior emperor in 1354. Wife: Helena, daughter of Cantacuzenus. Children: the future Andronicus IV, born 1348; the future Manuel II, born 1350; and Theodore, born ca. 1355. Baum calls John “a weak and unsuccessful ruler” (Wilhelm Baum, ‘Manuel II’, http://www.romanemperors.org/manuel2.htm). In 1354 western Thrace remained in the control of Manuel Cantacuzenus (cf 1359). 1354: 1. The Ottomans occupy Gallipoli (after the earthquake of 2 March); John V Palaeologus breaks into Constantinople; abdication of John Cantacuzenus. — The Turkish occupation of Gallipoli/Kallipolis caused panic among the population of Constantinople, who felt that the capital was now under serious threat (Kenneth Setton, Harry Hazard, Norman Zacour, A History of the Crusades: The Impact of the Crusades on Europe, 1990, p. 235). Thus, when John V, who at the time was on Tenedos (the island south of the Gallipoli peninsula), entered Constantinople with the support of the Genoese adventurer, Francesco Gattilusio, the people went over to his side. Kantakouzenos, aged around 59, was forced to step down and John V was left in sole possession of the throne. At night, Gattilusio had his sailors wake the sleeping sentries, and shout (from the ships) that one of their ships had been wrecked and that they (the sailors) would share the remains of the cargo with whoever would help them. "At this appeal to their love of gain the guards opened the gate" (writes Miller). Some 500 of Gattilusio's band entered and killed the sentries. Gattilusio and his band then ran along the wall shouting "Long live the Emperor John Palaiologos", waking the populace. The demonstrations in Palaiologos's favour convinced Cantacuzene that resistance would be futile, and he retired to a monastery. — William Miller, "The Gattilusi of Lesbos", in Byzantinische Zeitschrift 22 (1913), 406-447, quoted by W A Reitwiesner, ‘The Lesbian ancestors of Prince Rainier …’ (1995), online at http://www.wargs.com/essays/lesbian.html; accessed 2011. 2. East Aegean: By agreement with the new emperor, Gattilusio’s band of Genoese occupied the Byzantine island of Lesbos, off the Ottoman coast, in 1354. Gattilusio led 2,500 soldiers and had just two galleys (also boats, one imagines)


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years (Elisavet Zachariadou, Studies in pre-Ottoman Turkey and the Ottomans. Ashgate, 2007 p.761). Cf 1355-56. Princess Maria Palaeologina Gatilusio: future ruler of Lesbos, the Italo-Greek Island State: Emperor Ióannés (John) V Palaiologos, emperor of Byzantium, gave his sister the island as dowry when Maria married (1355) baron Francesco Gattilusio, patrician of Genoa, the self-installed archon of Lesbos. In 1384 her husband and two oldest sons were killed by an earthquake. Their only surviving son, Jacopo, reigned under the name of Francesco II until his death 1403. She lived ca. 1330/35-ca. 1401. 1354-94: This was the period in which the devshirme (“collecting, hand-picking, recruitment”) or human tax was developed: the Turks began to take regular levies of Greek and other Christian boys to be raised as Muslim soldiers. The Greeks in a later era would call it paedomazoma, ‘harvest of children’ (Byer in NCMH p.777). The date is uncertain but the majority opinion is that the practice began under Murad I, r. 1362-1389. The first clear reference to it comes in 1395: see there. We read, for example, in the biography of St. Philotheus (Patriarch of Constantinople) that after the surrender [in 1387] of Christopolis/Kavalla [western Thrace] the Sultan ordered (probably after 1391) the imposition of this form of youth-tribute in those parts. This decree may have been the same as that which Isidore Glabas (metropolitan of Thessalonica) refers to in connection with the youth-tribute imposed in Thessalonica in 1395; and if this is so, the decree which concerned Christopolis must also be ascribed to that year (Vacalopoulos, trans. 1973). 1355: Trebizond was, in and after Marco Polo's time (d. 1324), the principal port for the Black Sea-Persia trade, via Erzerum and Tabriz. The tiny size of the ‘empire’ is illustrated by the fact that, according to Pero Tafur, the Spanish (Castilian) traveller, the capital “city” Trebizond had just 4,000 people in 1437-38 (cited in Nicol, Last Centuries, 1993 p.405). (The term “empire” reflects the fact that in the 1200s the ruler claimed the title of basileus or Greek ‘Emperor’.) Trebizond maintained a permanent naval force (last mentioned in 1437) of two or three large warships that were able to transport 300-600 men (embarked total up to 1,800: this shows the small size of the army) and could build smaller ships in extraordinary circumstances. In 1355 we read of one large warship and 11 ploiaria [boats, skiffs]; in 1372 40 xylaria; and in 1379 two large warships and two boats (Krakras, loc.cit.; also Spanish Wikipedia under ‘Imperio de Trebisonda’, no sources cited). The largest army of the ‘empire’, recorded in 1366, was 2,000 troops: cavalrymen and infantrymen, according to Sokrates Krakras, “The Lions of Trebizond”, dead linl 2011, but cached by Google, at www.fortunecity.com/underworld/straif/69/engtrapez; also Heath 1995: 39. Alternatively, Trebizond had the respectable total of some 3,500 (‘fewer than 4,000’) troops in 1437, according to Tafur (Wikipedia, 2007, ‘Empire of 103

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Trebizond’). A Muslim report of 1350 said that the soldiers of Trebizond were "warlike men and without fear, although few and badly equipped, heroic like terrible lions that never let to their prey escape” (Spanish Wikipedia under ‘Imperio de Trebisonda’, no sources cited.) See 1461: Trebizond falls to the Ottomans. 1355-58: Dalmatia: Anti-Venetian coalition. At the end of 1355, after the peace with Genoa, Venice had to deal with the "whole of Slavonia [modern Croatia] in tumult". Arrayed against Venice in 1356 were the dukes of Austria, the patriarch of Aquileia, the Carrarese lord of Padua, and most dangerous of all, the Hungarians, who were laying siege to Zara (Zadar). Zara fell, Trad (Trogir) and Spalato (Split) went over to the Hungarians, and in June 1358 Venice ceded her claim to the possessions in Dalmatia to the Hungarian crown. 1355-59 Thrace: The Ottomans based in the Gallipoli peninsula raid into SE Thrace. By 1360 they will control the whole lower region east of the mouth of the Evros River (Nicolle 2008: 41, 44). 1355-67: 1. A Byzantine envoy, 1355-56, takes a letter from emperor John to the pope in Avignon requesting military assistance. It was an entirely modest request: 1,000 infantry, 500 knights, 15 transport vessels and five war galleys; they would serve Byzantium for only six months. Although conversion to Catholicism and John’s son as hostage were offered, this produced no significant result (Nicol, Last Centuries p. 258). 2. Following the death of Stephen Dushan of Serbia in December 1355, his son and co-emperor Stephen Urosh V, 1355-67, becomes sole monarch. This reign saw Serbia disintegrate into feudal lordships (under minor "despotes"). In Epirus, the Albanian clans asserted themselves against Serbian and Greek nobles. See next. Also 1358-72: Hungarian suzerainty. Ex-Serbian Epirus: Nikephoros II Ducas Orsini, son of the late Italo-Greek despot, took advantage of the Byzantine civil war and the death of Dushan to escape and to re-establish himself in Epirus in 1356, to which he also added Thessaly. But Orsini and the local Greeks securely controlled only the towns; much of the countryside was dominated by Albanian clans. Orsini died putting down an Albanian revolt in 1359 and the territory of the former despotate became a component part of the personal Epirote-Thessalian ‘empire’ of Dushan's halfbrother, Simeon Urosh, nicknamed Sinisha (also called Simeon-Sinisha Palaiologos for his Greek mother Maria Palaiologina) [1359-ca.1370]. Simeon effectively left Epirus to the Albanians, focussing his rule on Thessaly (Miranda Vickers, The Albanians: a modern history, I.B.Tauris, 1999 p.4). In 1367 the Epirotan Despotate was resurrected under a local Serbian nobleman Thomas II Prerljubovich (1367-1384), while Simeon continued to rule


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Thessaly. With much of Epirus under the control of Albanian clans, the area was divided between several rulers, each claiming the title of despotes. 1356: France: The ‘Black Prince’, son of the English king, defeats and captures the French king. This leads to English rule in Aquitaine, present-day SW France, for over 50 years … 1356-66: Bulgaria was under pressure from Byzantium, the Hungarians and Wallachians (Gk Blachoi or Vlachoi; our ‘Rumanians’*). The Ottomans sent military aid to the Bulgarians. (*) Transdanubian Wallachia had broken free from Hungary in 1330. In the 14th century the Vlachs or Wallachians called themselves (in their Romance tongue) Romani. The Byzantines knew themselves as (in Greek) Rhomaioi. The geographical name ‘Romania’ generally meant the lower Balkans or more generally the Byzantine Empire; it was not applied to the transDanubian region until the 19th century. 1357: 1a. Matthew Kantakuzenos, controlling Thrace, formally renounces his claim to the throne. John V Palaiologos finally becomes the undisputed ruler of “an empire in ruins” (Bartusis, LBA p.102). 1b. Thrace: Some date the Turkish capture of Dimetoka or Didymoteichum – on the Maritsa south of Adrianople/Edirne, SW of Constantinople - to 1357; others prefer 1359, 1360 or 1361. See the discussion below under 1359: it was lost and captured more than once in the period 1359-61. 2. Venice promises aid to John in return for confirming his debt to them of 100,000 hyperpyra. Cf 1369. 3. Death of the prince Suleyman Pasha in a hunting accident; Orhan makes peace with Byzantium. Cf 1357-58 below. TEN YEARS SINCE THE APPEARANCE OF THE BLACK DEATH 1357-58: The Aegean: In the spring or summer of 1357 Genoese or Greek ‘pirates’ operating from Phocaea, the Byzantine-ruled coastal town N of Turkish Smyrna, kidnapped Halil, the 11 or 12-year-old son of Orhan and Theodora. (Byzantium had recently recovered Phocaea from Genoa.) Halil was Kantakouzenus’s grandson and Theodora was John Palaiologos’s own sister-in-law. It is not clear if the Genoese initially knew who the boy was; it was probably just a random taking of a captive for sale. Not surprisingly Orhan appealed to Palaiologos for help. The emperor agreed to assist him if Orhan ceased Turkish incursions in Thrace. Thus, for a period of two years, 1357-1359, Ottoman offensive operations in Thrace were limited.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Orhan's key objective was to effect the release of his son Halil. He insisted that John V Palaeologus proceed in person with a ‘fleet’ against the Phocaeans - at that time, Byzantium had just three galleys! (Assuming all the rowers also fought, the fighting strength of the expedition cannot gave exceeded some 900 men.) The emperor set out in the following spring, i.e. in 1358. Orhan had also made an agreement with Ilyas Bey, the ruling prince of Saruhan, to attack the Phocaeans by land; together they encircled the town, but without success. The Byzantine governor Leo Kalothetos was a strong Kantakouzenist and would not cooperate. So Orhan decided to pay 100,000 hyperpyra (30,000 ducats) to ransom Halil, and in 1359 Halil was duly returned (Nicol, Last Centuries, p.261; also Finlay, History of the Byz Empire, vol 2, Blackwood 1854, p.576). Cf 1359. 1357-60: Gallipoli: In the period 1357-1359 the Turks began a thorough colonisation of the Gallipoli/Gelibolu Peninsula. In his Conquest of Thrace (2002), Liakopoulos notes that a vakfiyye [endowment] of Orhan to his son Süleyman, dated in 1360, gives a list of many villages and çiftliks [estates] with Turkish names in the area. This colonisation was strengthened by nomads, aîhis [urban religious brotherhoods] and dervishes who poured in “every day” from Asia Minor. 1358-72: Hungary achieves nominal suzerainty over Bosnia, the Serbian states, Wallachia and Moldavia. 1359: 1. The Ottomans resumed their raids on Thrace, perhaps as a riposte to the activity of the papal legate, Peter Thomas, who visited Constantinople with his fleet and then proceeded to make an attack on the Ottoman fort at Lampsakos (Lapseki) in the autumn of 1359. The troops were a mixed bunch of Hospitallers (50 men), Venetians (two galleys), Genoese, English and ‘Greeks’ (Luttrell, ‘Latin Responses’ at www.deremilitari.org/resources/pdfs/luttrell.pdf; accessed 2011; Norman Housley, The Avignon papacy and the Crusades, 1305-1378, Oxford University Press, 1986, p.38). Peter (Pierre) Thomas arrived at Constantinople accompanied by Venetian and Rhodian (Hospitaller) galleys. He failed to cement the union between the churches, but with Greek assistance the motley Latin forces (Hospitallers, Venetians, Genoese and English) destroyed the Ottoman fort at Lampsacus on the Asian shore opposite Gallipoli in the Dardanelles. Some “300” Turks were killed. This was probably the first ever Latin assault on the Ottomans (Setton, Papacy p.236; Luttrell p.124) Loss of inner Thrace: The Turks take Arcadiopolis, east of Adrianople, and nearby towns, including Boulgaropygon, Apros and Rhaidestros, on and inland from the northern, Thracian shore of the Sea of Marmara (Liakopoulos, Conquest of Thrace). This put them inside a 100-mile/160 km radius drawn from Constantinople … Indeed, as we have noted, a Turkish advance guard briefly made an excursion to the walls of Constantinople itself in 1359 (Norwich 1996: 328).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

“The unusual intensity”, writes Inalcik, “of the renewed assaults by Rumelian [Europe-based] ghazis [religious warriors] in 1359 stirred an echo even in the Western sources. It was then that the systematic occupation of [inner] Thrace really began. The Florentine Villani writes that Didymoteichum [on the Evros or Maritsa River 40 km below Adrianople] temporarily fell for the first time to the Turks in 1359 in the course of this assault, and Turkish raiders appeared at the walls of Byzantium in that same year”. —Thus Halil Inalcik, ‘The Conquest of Edirne (1361)’, Archivum Ottomanicum, III, The Hague, 1971. Emphasis added. Ottoman tradition gives 761 A.H., ie, 23 November 1359 to 13 October 1360, as the date of the conquest of Edirne/Adrianople. But the generally accepted date is 1361; some argue for 1369. 2. Greece: In Epirus Nikephoros II Orsini was killed in a skirmish against the Albanians, and this opened up a welcome opportunity for Simeon Urosh of Serbia. Consequently, he rapidly swept into Thessaly and was acknowledged as its ruler in 1359. He then invaded Epirus, where the towns, harried by the Albanian clansmen who had taken over the countryside, also recognised his authority. (ExByzantine Epirus was governed thereafter by Albanian chiefs under Serbian suzerainty.) —Fine 1994: 350-51. 3. Greece: Probably in 1359, but possibly in 1360, a combined Christian fleet of Venetians, Hospitallers, the (Greek) Despot of Morea and the bailie [governor] of Achaea, burned 35 Turkish vessels (probably from Aydin) off Megara (west of Athens). Aydin was allied with the Catalans of Athens and the surviving Turks were able to take refuge with the Catalans at Thebes (NW of Athens). Cf 1363. —Inalcik, ‘Maritime’ p.321; Kenneth Meyer Setton A History of the Crusades: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, v.7 1975, p.297. 4. Gregory Palamas dies, 14 Nov. 1359, aged 63, having been a bishop for 12-anda-half years. His body is buried in his cathedral of Haghia Sophia in Thessaloniki. fl. Leontios Pilatos, south Italian-Greek teacher and translator. At Petrarch's suggestion and with Boccaccio's help, the Calabrian Greek Leonzio Pilato came to Florence and made (1360-62) a complete Latin translation of the Iliad and Odyssey, although a very poor one. ‘Our Leontius is really a Calabrian, but would have us to consider him a Thessalian as though it were nobler to be Greek than Italian’ (wrote Petrarch). Late 1350s: Cydones translates into Greek Ricolda’s Improbatio Alcorani or “Condemnation of the Quran”, a defence of Christianity against Islam. This gave, says Vryonis, Byzantine polemicists a fresh arsenal of details and arguments. Ricolda or Riccoldo of Monte Croce, fl. 1302, was an Italian monk who travelled widely in the East. He was in Il-Khan-ruled Baghdad when the news of the fall (1291) of Acre (the last ‘Crusader’ outpost in Palestine) to the Mamluks reached the city.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Above: A 16th Century rendering of Murad I, r. 1361-1389. 1359-61: Thrace: Murad, 33 years old and still prince in 1359, commanded the Ottoman outpost in Gallipoli. Arguing that attack was the best form of defence, he decided to go for Adrianople/Edirne. In 1359, as we noted, his forces took the fortresses along the lower Evros/Meriç valley, the river that enters the Aegean NW of Gallipoli, and those on the road from Constantinople to Adrianople, thus cutting off the supply line to the latter. Adrianople would surrender in 1361 (or such was the majority view among historians: some now think it held out until 1369). Murad’s men seized the vital fortresses along the historic ConstantinopleAdrianople road, which were, starting from Constantinople: Corlu, Misini and Burgus (Lule-Burgaz: Gk Arcadiopolis). At the same time the Turkish commanders of the marches, some of whom were ex-Karesi in origin, were holding down the Byzantine fortresses, and especially Didymoteichum, which protected Edirne (Adrianople) from the south, i.e. from the lower Maritsa (Evros) valley. These Turks were not necessarily under Ottoman control; they seem to have acted independently. Or so say some: there is much debate about this (cf Kunt, in ‘Rise of the Ottomans’, in CNMH p.849). In the second and final phase of the expedition, prince Murad set up his headquarters in Baba-Eskisi, at a distance of 55 km from Edirne; from there he sent Lala Qahin [‘Shahin’] against Adrianople. Metin Kunt writes of the Turkish forces, frontiersmen and Ottoman regular troops together, marching up the


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Maritsa to Adrianople. The Byzantine forces that gathered in Adrianople attempted to scatter the Ottomans by engaging in a battle outside the walls, at Sazludere/Sazlidere, but when they were defeated they retreated into the fortress. —Kunt loc.cit.; Halil Inalcik, "The Conquest of Edirne (1361)", Archivum Ottomanicum, III, The Hague, 1971. See 1361. 1360: 1. fl. Nicholas Cabasilas: Byzantine scholar and mystical humanist, born in Thessalonica. Haussig calls him a representative of “the final stage of mysticism”: Haussig, Hans Wilhelm, A history of Byzantine civilization, translated [from the German] by J. M. Hussey, (London, Thames & Hudson, 1971). He supported Palamas, and approved of secular and Classical learning; a pioneer of the term "Hellene" to mean a contemporary Byzantine Greek rather than its previous meaning of Ancient Greek pagan. His views on mysticism did not coincide with Palamas’s; mystical experience could best be reached, he argued, by concentration on the Sacrament, and there was no reason why a mystic should not be a man of the world: secular learning would help rather than hinder him. He was apparently considered for the office of Patriarch in 1354. 2. The history of Nikephoros Gregoras, Romaike Historia, in 37 "books" or chapters, covers the period to 1359. When Gregoras passed through Bithynia en route to Turkish Nicaea in the middle of the 14th century, just one generation after the conquest of Nicaea, he observed that the population consisted of 1 Greeks, 2 mixovarvaroi - ‘mixobarbari’ or Graeco-Turks, and 3 Turks. Intermarriage of Muslim and Christians at every level of society played a very important role in the integration and absorption of the Greek Christian element into Muslim society. —Vryonis, Medieval Hellenism, pp.228-29. The Aegean Region in 1360 Maps in Nicolle 2008: 44; 59. By 1360-61 the tiny 'empire' consisted of little more than the immediate hinterlands of three cities and an outpost in the Morea or Peloponnesus: (a) the European side of Constantinople and the immediate littoral on the Asian side; (b) Adrianople and southern Thrace, as far as Kavala [in eastern Macedonia]: lost by 1361; and (c) around Thessalonica. A tongue of Serbian-controlled territory in Macedonia, including Serres and Mt Athos, separated Kavala from Thessalonica. Also [d] the south-east third of the Peloponnesus or Morea acknowledged the emperor in Constantinople. Other Byzantine outposts were [e] on the Black Sea coast of Asia around Heraclea, [f] around Biga in Bithynia, the town “inside” the Ottoman dominated littoral of the Sea of Marmara, and [g] the town of Philadelphia, a tiny island of Greek rule on the borderland between the Turkish emirates of Saruhan and Aydin. The Ottomans held a segment of lower Thrace east of the Evros river and Byzantine Ainos, and both sides the Dardanelles. Thus potentially they could try to


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years control the sea-trade route from the Aegean into the Sea of Marmara. (In fact the Venetian and Genoese galleys prevailed or were let through: there was indeed a treaty between the Ottomans and Genoese.) Byzantium held both sides of the Bosphorus. If we look at the Aegean itself, we see that Byzantium held the northern islands including Lemnos, Venice the western islands from Negroponte (Euboea) and Naxos to Crete, and the Genoese the eastern islands from Lesbos down to Samos, with the Knights of St John at Kos and Rhodes. On the Asian shore, the Genoese held Phocaea (against Saruhan) and the Hospitallers held Smyrna (against Aydin). Asia Minor was controlled by various Turkish emirates, including the powerful Ottomans of Bursa. The other emirates were the coastal states of Sarukhan, Aydin, Menteshe, inland Germiyan, and Hamid (in SW Asia Minor). At this time, although the strongest in Asia, the Ottomans did not appear to be the most powerful state in the region. (Cf 1361 below.) Bulgaria’s territory, or rather that of various Bulgarian princes and lords, was still extensive; and still the most powerful realm appeared to be the (now disintegrating) ex-“empire” of Serbia, whose contending princes ruled the whole NW half of the Balkans, from Nish south as far as Epirus and east as far as inner Macedonia including the Strymon Valley, Serres and the peninsula of Chalcidice-Mt Athos. In Macedonia the Greeks of Byzantium controlled only the immediate environs of Thessalonica. Thessaly was divided between the Serbs and the Wallachian (Vlach) Duchy of Neopatras. The Latin kingdom of Naples held two enclaves on the Serbian-dominated Adriatic coast: (a) around Durres in modern Albania and (b) at Corfu and around Butrinto in Epirus.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Above: The situation on the eve of the fall of Adrianople/Edirne to the Turks. Purple = the Byzantine Empire or Romania. The dot and label ‘Genoa’ next to Constantinople is to indicate the “internal” Genoese colony of Pera/Galata. “Achaea” = the Latin (Angevin) Principality of Achaia. ‘Anjevian’ is an unorthodox spelling of Angevin. Athens and Neopatria [lower Thessaly] were ruled, nominally on behalf of Sicily, by the Catalan Company. Epirus and Thessaly, whose populations were largely “Greek” (Byzantine), were ruled by the Serbian prince Simeon Urosh, 1359-70 (uncle of the then Serbian ruler, Stefan V). The blue spot in Asia Minor north of Cyrus was ‘Lesser’ or Cilician Armenia, a long-surviving Christian realm that was soon to be annexed (1375) by the Mamluks of Egypt. Notice too that ‘Frankish’ (Lusignan) Cyprus controls a section of the Asia Minor littoral. 1360-1405: Central Asia: Tamerlane or 'Timur the lame', ruler of Samarkand, proclaims himself (1360) restorer of the Mongol Empire. Timur himself was a Mongol-descended Turkish-speaker; the administrative language of his realm was Persian. See 1370. While Central Asia blossomed under his reign, other places such as Baghdad, Damascus, Delhi and other Arab, Persian, Indian and Turkic cities were sacked and destroyed, and several million people were slaughtered or starved. 1360-62: Latin- (French-) ruled Cyprus: Famagusta had risen to the position of the chief Christian slave emporium in the eastern Mediterranean following the fall [in the later 1200s] of Crusader outposts in the Levant, and of the settlement of colonies of foreign traders there, particularly the Genoese. The Venetian notary Nicola de Boeteriis recorded, during 1360-62, sales of a ‘large’ number of Greek slaves, but no Arab, Turkish or black slaves (on the whole, 22 men - 24 women). —Benjamin Arbel (1993), ‘Slave Trade and Slave Labour in Frankish Cyprus, 1191-1571’, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History 24 = N.S. 14:149-190. 1360-89: “Orchan’s brother Amurath I [i.e. prince Murad, sultan from 1362] conquers Thrace and ‘Romania’ [Greece], 1360-89, fights the Sclavonians [sic], Bulgarians, Servians, Bosnians and Albanians [see 1385], and converts them to his allies” (1911 edn of Encyc. Brit). Cf 1361. 1361: 100 years since the Greek (Byzantine) recovery of Constantinople. 1361: Expatriates: The scholar and several times chief minister (mesazon) Demetrios Kydones, ca.1324-ca.1398, first served in that post as a young man under


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Kantakouzenos. He later was a personal friend and teacher of prince Manuel II (the future emperor: acc. 1391). Kydones/Cydones, a student of Latin, worked in Italy from 1354. He converted to Latin Catholicism at some point between 1355 and 1361 (at age 31+). In 1369, Emperor John V Palaiologos recalled Kydones to Constantinople and named him Imperial Prime Minister or Mesazon, the second time he held this position, 1369-1383. Returning to Italy he eventually applied for and was granted Venetian citizenship. Recalled again to Constantinople in 1391 by his former pupil Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, the son of Emperor John V Palaiologos, Kydones resumed the position of Prime Minister ("Mesazon"), but in 1396 hostility to his Catholicism compelled him to retire permanently to the island of Crete, then ruled by the Venetians. He died there the following year, in 1398. —Kianka, ‘Cydones’ in The International History Review,Vol. 7, No. 2, May, 1985; also Dennis, Letters of Manuel II, 1977 p.xxxix. Cf below, 1360-61. 2. Thrace: The Ottomans capture Didymotechion and (probably) Adrianople. The Turks renewed their push into Europe after Dushan's death (1355). Bartusis p.104 and Nicol, Last Centuries p.262 note that it is not known whether it was the Ottomans or other Turks who took Didymoteichon, downstream from Adrianople, in 1361. But possibly it was other, non-Ottoman Turks who took Adrianople.; or ex-Karsei ireegaulsr in coaperion with Ottoman regular, as Kunt envisages. Probably in the same year, 1361, following a victory over a combined Byzantine-Bulgarian force at Eski Baba or Baba-eskisi, SE of Adrianople, or rather between Eski Baba and Adrianople, the Turks received the surrender the third largest East Roman town, Adrianople in Thrace. It would subsequently become the new Ottoman capital (present-day Edirne) (in 1377). —Halil Inalcik, ‘The Conquest of Edirne (1361)’, Archivum Ottomanicum, III, The Hague, 1971. The generally agreed date for the occupation of Adrianople is 1361; some have argued that it was retaken by the Christians and held out until 1369, showing that the Turkish conquest was slower and more piecemeal than previously thought (Harris 2005: 65, citing Imber’s Ottoman Empire 1990; Kunt in CNHM p.850; also Bartusis). The Chronicle of Panaretos (kept by Trebizond’s ambassador to Constantinople) states that Adrianople was still in Byzantine hands at the time of the second bubonic plague (thanatos tou boubounos), i.e. in 1361-62; it is therefere possible or even likely that plague aided the conquest of the Thracian towns by the Ottomans (Marien 2009: 96, citing Babinger). Halecki says that news of the fall, or at least the investment, of Adrianople reached Venice as early as 14 March 1361. It created a powerful impression and drew the attention of the West for the first time (or rather the second: the earlier fall of Gallipoli had also been noticed) to this new land power emerging in the Levant. (At sea the Ottomans were still more of a nuisance than a threat at this time.) —Oskar Halecki in his (1972) Un Empereur de Byzance à Rome, London, Variorum Reprints, cited in Inalcik’s “Conquest of Edirne”; also in The


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Cambridge Medieval History: excerpt at http://www.ravenglass.com/vlad/romania/neighbrs.html. The Turks adopted the term Rumeli ("Rumelia") to designate the portions of the Balkan Peninsula that they acquired from the Rhomaioi in the fourteenth century. "Rumelia" was a diminutive term. If Anatolia was Rum, 'Rome' proper, then the European territories were Lesser Rome or ‘Rumeli’. Murad, Sultan from 1362: First Ottoman ruler to plan and carry out organised conquests up to the Danube river. Control of Byzantine food supplies enabled him to make the Byzantine emperors into vassals. Initial conquests of Thrace and a new capital Edirne (old Adrianople) in 1361 gave the Ottomans control of the Byzantine administrative, financial and military centres in Southeastern Europe. Edirne became the base for further conquests along Black Sea coast, through Bulgaria and Rumania to the mouth of the Danube; through the Balkan mountains in Bulgaria and west to the Maritsa river, where they will defeat a Serb army in the 'Rout of the Serbs' battle (1364); along the shores of Aegean Sea to Salonica with help of the ethnic Greek Muslim champion Evrenos*, routing the Bulgarians in Macedonia at the Battle of Samako (1371); and finally an advance from Salonica north up Vardar River under command of Turkoman prince Kara Timurtash that will capture Nish (1386). (*) Kara Timürtash Gazi Evrenos, ca. 1327-1417. His family converted to Islam soon after 1302 and he served first the Karasi bey and then the Ottomans when they annexed the Karasi emirate (Nicolle, Ottomans 2008: 39). 1361: Latin counter–strike. The French of Cyprus under the young Lusignan king Peter/Pierre I make an expedition to Asia Minor to capture Antalya (”Adalia”), seat of the Tekke beylik. The fleet was made up of 119 vessels, some large and many small, including four Hospitaller galleys and two papal galleys. Adalia was quickly taken. News of this surprising success spread throughout Christendom and briefly made Pierre famous (Setton, Papacy, p.240) 1361-62: Second outbreak of the Black Death. The whole of the Byzantine domains suffered, according to the Short Chronicles/Brachea Chronika. In Constantinople Cydones lost his mother amd two of his sisters. Many, perhaps most, of the ruling caste escaped to the country (Marien 209: 63-64). The Chronicle of Panaretos (kept by Trebizond’s ambassador to Constantinople) states that Adrianople was still in Byzantine hands at the time of the second bubonic plague (thanatos tou boubounos); it is therefore possible or even likely that plague aided the conquest of the Thracian towns by the Ottomans (Marien 2009: 96, citing Babinger). It also struck at least a part of the Ottoman realms, but the records are sparse; it is possible that the emir Orhan’s death (1361) was due to plague, rather than


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years from grief at the death of his son as Turkish tradition has it (Marien 2009: 52-53, citing Schreiner). 1361-65: 1a. Thrace: Pushing inland to the north and then north-west, the Ottomans take Arcadiopolis (Luleburgaz), Chorlu (NW of Silivri), Keshan* [in the west near the lower Evros/Maritsa River], Pinarhisar [north of Luleburgaz] and Babaeski [Gk Boulgarophygon, west of Luleburgaz] in 1361 and Adrianople (Edirne) in 1361 or 1362 (Nicolle 2008: 56; Murat Ocak, The Turks: Middle ages, Yeni Türkiye, 2002). (*) This area was again in Greek hands 559 years later: in AD 1920-22 after the end of WWII; the Turks retook it in 1922 ( = AH 1341). 1b. Bulgaria: The Turks conquer north-west to Bulgarian Philippopolis (our Plovdiv) and Beroe, which is modern Stara Zagora. Plovdiv falls in 1363 or 1364 (Nicolle 2008: 55; Shaw 1979: 18). 1362: d. sultan Orhan, aged 79, probably from the plague, which broke out in this year (or in 1361); accession of his son Murad I (1362-89). Ottoman civil war ensues; uprising against the Ottomans in Anatolia. In Orhan’s long reign the Osmanli/Ottoman emirate had more than trebled in size, expandinging east to beyond Ankara, west to inner Thrace, and southwest beyond Bergama/Pergamon to the border of the Aydinoglu. Ottoman Standing Army The changeover from Early Ottoman to Later Ottoman comes when the army is restructured around 1362 by the establishment of quasi-feudal levies (timariots) in the newly-conquered Balkans, and the foundation of the Qapukulu (Kapikulu) and the Janissary (Yeniçeri) corps, initially from captured Thracian (Greek) soldiers: thus slave-soldiers. ‘Kapikulu’ is a generic term covering both cavalry and infantry. There were only a few thousand Janissaries, elite heavy infantrymen, until after 1400. After 1362 we find a kind of standing army, mainly cavalry, capable of defending fixed positions and conducting offensive raids. Professional regulars largely replaced the earlier type of Turcoman volunteer cavalry, mostly unpaid, who had operated in large numbers along with lesser numbers of irregular light infantrymen (foot archers) in support. Already there was a small core of salaried professionals under Orhan (d. 1362), superseded thereafter by a larger force of professionals remunerated with land holdings (timar, land grants, “fiefs”: but the lands remained State lands). Of course there were still volunteers after 1362 but they became second-class troops (Nicolle, Janissaries 1995: 9; and his Ottomans 2008: 61ff). Cavalry are represented by the feudal Sipahis [“horsemen”], mounted quasifeudal warriors who served in return for a small fief (timariot) from which they self-financed their weapons, equipment and horse. They had some armour: at least a helmet, often mail and usually a shield. They fought mostly with the bow and hand weapons (sword and mace); lances were rare until later (Late Ottoman 114

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years period) (Mesut Uyar & Edward Erickson, A military history of the Ottomans: from Osman to Atatürk, ABC-CLIO, 2009 p.54) These troops would have been supplemented by mercenaries, some of whom were even ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi).

Above: Bellini’s pen drawing of an Ottoman janissary in ca 1480, i.e. after the fall of Constantinople. He wears a soft-cloth (felt) conical headdress so high that it droops backwards; a bow and what appears to be a combined bowcase-quiver but may be a simple quiver. He is pictured thus because the Turks did not use chairs. 1362: Early emergence of England as a nation-state: English replaces French as the spoken language in the law courts of England (written law continued to be recorded in Latin). Most pre-modern political units were not nation-states. "France" simply meant the collection of rural estates lorded over by the man who called himself 'king of France'. The peasant workers, although no longer permanently tied to the estate of their master - serfdom had ended de facto - had no solidarity even with the next valley, and on top of the collection of rural estates there lay various feudal allegiances (kings dominating dukes who dominated lesser barons). 1362-82:


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years In Europe this period will see the Ottomans conquer outer Thrace and lower Bulgaria: west to the edge of Macedonia (Serres)and north-west beyond Filibe (Philippopolis, Plovdiv) [see 1363-65]. In Asia the Ottomans will expand SE into the Great Lakes region of Anatolia. By 1382 they will hold somewhat more territory in Asia than in Europe. 1363: 1. E Aegean: The status of Genoese-ruled Chios vis-à-vis Byzantium is finally settled when the Emperor concedes the island to the Genoese Giustiniani family in return for an annual payment of 500 gold hyperpyra (Long 1998). (By 1400 the population would consist of some 8,000 Greek and perhaps 2,000 Latins, or about 12* people per sq km: Lutttrell in CNMH p.804). (*) Stathakopoulos 2008 offers conservative figures for a population density, empire-wide, in the whole Byzantine millennium, of nine people per km2 in tough times, rising to 15 per km2 in fair to good times. 2. Murad I paid a visit to Edirne/Adrianople, and appointed Lala‘shahin Pasha commander of the garrison (Shahin Yildirm & Gunay Karaka, Edirne müzeleri ve ören yerleri, YKY 2006 p.23: text is in English). Edirne became a crucial military base for subsequent territorial conquests by the Turks in Rumelia, although it did not become the Ottoman capital until 1377. See next. 3. Catalan (Sicilian*) Athens vs Achaea: A contingent of Anatolian Turks (presumably from Aydin), who crossed to Thebes first by sea and then land, was based in Thebes as allies of the the Catalan/Sicilian vicar-general Roger de Lluria. This was resented by other Catalans, who appealed to their overlord the Aragonese-Sicilian king. De Lluria and his Turkish allies attacked Angevin-ruled Achaea, overwhelming the forces sent there from Sicily* (Setton, Crusades p.202; Inalcik, Maritime p.321). (*) The Aragonese king of Sicily was also Duke of Athens. 4. Insurrection against Venetian rule in Crete [after 159 years of Latin rule: but not the first]. It was provoked by the imposition of new taxes to make repairs in the harbour of Candia but the real grievance was the harsh rule by the Venetians and their allies among the Greek upper-class. Venetian officials were killed, imprison or expelled. The rebels, who included Italians and other Latins as well as Greeks, created their own ruling council, but the two nationalities did not get on well. Venice was a month’s sail away, but when the news reached there the authorities wrote to all the neighbouring rulers in the Aegean asking them to not interfere. The Pope wrote to the rebels saying they needed Venice to defend them from the Muslims. This was rejected. Venice then (early 1364) engaged troops to retake the island, and informed the Pope and others that they would happily go East after subduing the island and would transport other crusaders, eg from Savoy, if they want to go to Cyprus and launch a crusade in the East from there. A fleet of 33 galleys, 18 of which could


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years carry horses, was hired to convey the troops to Crete. (This was a strong force for this time, at least in naval terms: in 1424, when a “powerful” fleet was desired, the Venetian Senate voted to arm 25 galleys: Lane, Venetian Ships p.254).* The fleet under the admiral Domenico Michiel of Santa Fosca and Luchino dal Verme (a Veronese condottiero) sailed in April 1364 with 1,000 cavalry and 2,000 infantry, Italians and Germans, but all were in Venetian service: the idea of a crusade in the Levant had lapsed. (18 /1,000 horses = 55+ horses per horsetransport: they must have been large vessels. + Dividing the 3000 men into 15 ships we get 200 per ship: very cramped ….) Meanwhile on Crete fighting broke out between the Greeks and Latins, and the Greeks seemed to be winning. But the expeditionary force quickly intervened and re-secured the island for Venice, or at least the lowlands were secured. Some rebels declared (August 1364) allegiance to Byzantium (which had not expressed any sympathy or solidarity) and withdrew into the mountains to fight guerreilla style. The last rebels were not finially defeated until 1366 (Setton, Papacy pp.49ff; Hodgson, Venice in the 13th and 14th Ccc, London 1910, pp.477ff). (*) But much weaker than in former times: see Appendix II.

Above: Galia grosse (big galley) of the later 14th C. 1363-65: Ottoman conquests in S Bulgaria and western Thrace; conquest of Philippopolis (Plovdiv) [1363]. See 1364, 1371. As Inalcik notes (1973, p.11), the broad line of advance was along the ancient highways, the Via Egnatia and the old Roman road to Belgrade. Local Christian lords frequently decided that accepting Turkish suzerainty was better than fighting. The whole Maritsa [Meriç, Evros] valley was under Turkish control by 1365. But it took a further 20 years for the Ottomans to reach the Albanian coast and the Adriatic in the west (1385).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Inalcik p.13 points to several non-military factors in the progress of Ottoman expansion. First, the Turkish feudal code was easier on the peasants than that of Stephan Dushan, d.1355. Second, the Ottomans formally recognised the Orthodox Church, ignoring the official (but resented) union of the Catholic and Orthodox churches since 1274. 1363-66: Thrace: Didymoteichon or Dimoteka serves as the temporary Ottoman capital on the European side (then Edirne from 1367) (Gibbons, Foundation of Ottoman Empire, Oxford 1916). 1364: 1. Asia Minor: The Kara-Biga/Pegai region, last Byzantine or former Byzantine enclave on the southern side of the Sea Marmara, falls to the Turks. Thus Nicolle 2008: 41: evidently it was still in the hands of the descendants of the Catalan Great Company. 2. (Setton 1975: 297 places this in 1359-60:) Greece: Naval battle off Megara, in the Saronic Gulf south-west of Athens: an allied Frankish-Byzantine-VenetianRhodian fleet defeats the Turks; 35 Turkish ships are burnt, and the remnant of the enemy force is pursued overland to Thebes (Vacalopoulos p.82). Seeabove undr 1359 1364/65: 1. (Usually dated to 1371: see there:) The Battle of Adrianople or ‘second battle of the Maritsa’ or Tk: Sirf sindigi, Sırpsındı’ı: ‘Destruction (or Rout) of the Serbs', the name was afterwards given to the site of the battle - was fought 25 km west of Edirne or Adrianople. The Ottomans defeat a joint army of Serbs, Wallachians and Hungarians (Shaw p.18). Encyc. Brit. 1911 edn: At the instigation of the pope an allied army of supposedly 60,000 Serbs, Hungarians, Wallachians and Moldavians attacked the Ottoman general Lala Shahin. Murad, who had returned to Brusa, crossed over to Biga, and sent on Haji Ilbeyi with 10,000 men; these fell by night on the Servians (sic) and utterly routed them at a place still known as the "Servians' coffer". 2. Byzantium v Bulgaria: The Turks offer the Bulgarian Tsar an agreement to collaborate against Byzantium. To punish the Tsar, Emperor John's tiny army, presumably a few hundred men, ventures into Bulgarian territory and seizes the port of Anchialus (1364); failed siege of Mesembria. Nicol, Last Centuries p.263, dates this to 1363. Then, after visiting the Hungarian king* - sailing/rowed (1365) up the Danube between Bulgarian, Moldavian and Wallachian territory John/Ioannes/ V Palaiologos is left stranded in Buda (1365 or 1366). See 1366. (*) Hungary was the nearest powerful Christian kingdom; its territories extended as far as the Dalmatian coast, incorporating p.d. Croatia.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Silver replaces gold The gold hyperpyron, after suffering progressive debasement, was finally abandoned, and replaced in the 1360s (perhaps in 1367) by a large, heavy coin of good silver, the stavraton, tariffed at half a (debased) hyperpyron. The stavraton and its fractions, the half and the eighth, were the pattern for the standard coinage of Constantinople until its fall. There were also a new varieties of copper coins called ‘tornese’ and ‘folaro’ (Hendy, Monetary Economy p.541). 1364-87: The first Grand Vizier [Arabic wazir, Tk: Vezir-i âzam, Sadrazam, Serdar-ı Ekrem or Sadr-ı Azam] of the Ottomans was Çandarlı Kara Halil Hayreddin Pasha. 1365: 1. Bulgaria: John Alexander or Ivan Alexandur divided his realm between his two sons. After his death in 1371, the two separate kingdoms of Turnovo and Vidin emerged. See 1366. Marriage alliance with Byzantium: Ivan’s dau. Maria (Keratza) of Bulgaria (ca 1348-1390) marries Prince Andronikos IV Palaiologos, future Emp. of Byzantium (12.8.1376-VII.1379) – cr. St.Sophia 18.10.1377, born Constantinople 11.4.1348, +28.6.1385. He was about 17; she was also about 17. Plovdiv (Philippopolis) having been recently lost to the Turks, it obviously made sense for Bulgaria and Byzantium to form an alliance. See 1366. 2. Crimea: Genoese troops seized the Greek town of Sudak, on the SE coast, in 1365. Ibn Batutta (see above: 1330s) had counted Sudak as one of the four great ports of the world; its population was then mainly Turkic, i.e. Tatar/Kipchak. The Genoese took Soldaia (as they called Sudak) in 1365 and built strong defences, still to be seen. Eventually (by 1380) they controlled a narrow strip of the coastal land, “the Captainship of Gothia”, that ran from Yamboli (Balaklava) in the west to Aluston (Alushta) in the east (Henry Seymour, Russia on the Black Sea and Sea of Azof: being a narrative of travels: J. Murray, 1855 p.245). A Goth0Greek principality around the stronghold of Doros (modern Mangup), the Principality of Theodoro, continued to exist, while further north the Kipchak Empire or Khanate of the Golden Horde ruled the rest of the peninsula. The Genoese and the Venetians competed for a lucrative trade in slaves and spices, taking slaves from our Eastern Europe via Crimea to Egypt and buying spices, silk, linen and aromatic woods there brought in by traders from India and Ceylon. In the case of Tana, the Venetian colony on the NE coast of the Sea of Azov, by 1408 no less than “78%” of its export earnings would come from slaves (Ascherson, quoted in Paul Magocsi, A History of Ukraine: The Land and Its Peoples, University of Toronto Press, 2010, p.118).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 1365/66: d. Anna of Savoy, aged about 60, dowager empress, widow of Andronicus II and mother of John V Palaeologus. Others say 1359. Nicol, Lady p.93, says 1365. 1366: Gallipoli: While the Turks were crossing the Byzantine-Bulgarian border in 1366, only to be defeated at Vidin, the Pope tried to organise a crusade against them. He was not successful, but a small Christian (Italian: Savoyard) fleet was able to reconquer the fortress of Gallipoli in the same year and return it to Byzantine control. Nicolle 2008: 41 places this in 1364; but the generally accepted date is 1366 (Kunt in NCMH p.851). The Pope calls for a crusade against the Turks, but no one responds. — Seeking to return from Hungary to his capital, John finds himself effectively blocked by the Bulgarians. But a Franco-Italian or Savoyard fleet of 15 ships, under his cousin, the 22 years old Amadeo VI of Turin, known as "the Green Count" (il Conte Verde), sails to the Black Sea and Danube mouth and rescues the stranded John. On the way, Amadeo captures the port of Gallipoli. See 1367. He was known as "le Comte Vert" after a tournament of May 1353 at Bourg-en-Bresse where (aged 19) he appeared dressed entirely in green, and after which he used the colour green for his apartments, tents and sails. Count Amadeus of Savoy took the Turkish fortress of Gallipoli on 23 August 1366 with 15 ships and an army numbering no more than 3,000 to 4,000 men, made up of about 1,700 or 1,500 of his Italian soldiers, Genoese from Lesbos and some Byzantines. Some men were contributed by Francesco I Gattilusio, Lord of Lesbos. See 1367. Amadeus then sailed into the Black Sea where, on behalf of Byzantium, he captured (15-25 October 1366) six Bulgarian coastal towns including Mesembria and Sozopolis.* Varna he was unable to take. As a result, the Bulgarians released John V (Norwich 1996: 330; Bartusis, LBA p.105, citing Nicol; E. Cox, The Green Count of Savoy. Amadeus VI and Transalpine Savoy in the Fourteenth Century Princeton, 1967, p. 220, note 41; N. Housley, The Avignon Papacy and the Crusades, 1305-1378, Oxford, 1986, pp 44-5.) (*) Sozopolis is on the south side of the Gulf of Burgas; Mesembria on its north side. Provence/N Italy: Early "humanism" and the recovery of the ancient preChristian classic texts: Petrarch obtains a complete copy of the Greek classics Odyssey and Iliad in Latin. He had tried to learn Greek in order to read them in the original, but failed. 1367: 20 YEARS SINCE THE BLACK DEATH 1367: 1a. John and Amadeo reach Constantinople.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 1b. Thrace: Amadeo returns the port of Gallipoli to Byzantium (14 June) (Kenneth Meyer Setton, The Papacy and the Levant, 1204-1571: The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, American Philosophical Society, 1976 p.299). The ships of the various Christian states controlled the Dardanelles at this time [1367-76], and in principle the Turks were thereby in a difficult position. In practice, the Turks were able, absent any large crusader army from the West, to proceed with their land conquests. See next. 1367-76: Thrace: The Byzantines were once more in control of Gallipoli and so in a position to prevent Ottoman reinforcements crossing to the Balkans. It is likely therefore, - or at any rate possible, - that much of the early conquest and defeat of the Bulgarians and Serbs was achieved by independent bands of Turks who owed no allegiance to the Ottoman emir. —Harris 2005: 65, citing BeldiceanuSteinher. Actually this seems unlikely, in light of the activities of Murad’s general Lala Shâhin Pasha (see 1371). Also the Turks were in control of the whole Maritsa valley by 1365; probably enough settlement has taken place in the decade 1356-66 for them to be able to support the required soldiers locally. 1368: Calabria: Three centuries after the Norman conquest of Byzantine Italy, the Greek language endured in S Italy. The anonymous author of a French chronicle of the late 1200s noted that "through the whole of Calabria the peasants speak nothing but Greek". In 1368 Petrarch recommended a stay in the region to a student who needed to improve his knowledge of Greek. 1369: 1. Emperor John V (aged 37) sails to the West and personally submits (18 October) to the pope in Rome (briefly restored there - from Avignon), hoping to secure western aid. He even kissed the pope’s feet. This was a personal conversion to Latin Catholicism; not the submission of the Eastern Church. However, in Venice he is detained (1370) by the Venetians, who seek more Byzantine territory in payment of his debts (Norwich 1996: 333 ff). His son Manuel (aged 19) will travel to Venice and ransom him in 1371 under humiliating circumstances from a debtor's prison (Nicol, B&V pp.305ff; Baum, “Manuel II”, http://www.roman-emperors.org/manuel2.htm). Cf 1373. 2. Winter: First raid (1395) of the Ottoman Turks through Bulgaria into Wallachia (modern Rumania). The Wallachian prince Vladislav I, supported by Transylvanian contingents led by Ladislau of Dabica, defeats and chases (1396) the invaders, then crosses the Danube and frees Bulgarian Vidin from Hungarian domination (Kurt Treptow et al. A History of Romania, The Centre for Romanian Studies,1997, p.99). Balkan Armies


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

East European cavalry c. 1370: A Serbian or Bulgarian illumination from this period (in Bartusis, LBA) shows cavalry wearing lamellar armour extending to the upper arm and upper thigh. While other illustrations show Serbians wearing visored bascinet helmets (i.e. the sides of the helmet extend to cover the ears), here the helmets are plain, open and brimless in a high conical shape, with a lamellar aventail supplying the ear protection. The horsemen carry medium-length spears or lances (apparently about three metres long), which are deployed variously couched and overarm. Interestingly, their legs and feet are pushed forward so that their short stirrups act to brace the riders (reproduced in Nicolle, Eastern Europe p.44). Lamellar armour was at least as effective as mail, if not superior, so we must not conclude that South-east Europe (below the Danube) was already falling behind the West (and Hungary), where a limited amount of plate armour was now being widely used to supplement the mainly mail protection. Full plate armour for man and horse did not appear in the West until the mid-to-late 1300s, and then only among the richest Western knights. (Full plate reached a peak in Latin Europe in the period 1450-1550, declining thereafter in the face of firearms.) 1370-89: In Europe, this period will see the Ottomans conquer parts of outer Bulgaria including Sofia and Serbian Nish, and west through Macedonia past Thessalonica as far as Ohrid and the edge of modern Albania. 1371-72: Thrace: Battle of Chermanon (Tk: Çirmen) or Battle of the Maritsa, on the Maritsa or Evros River near ex-Byzantine Adrianople, 26 September 1371. A smaller Turkish force of ghazis (irregulars), some “800” men [the figure given by Laonikos Chalkokondyles], in a surprise night attack defeated a larger Christian army, supposedly “70,000” (one might just believe 7,000) (Vladislav Boskovic, King Vukasin and the Disastrous Battle of Marica, GRIN Verlag, 2010, p.11). This was the first pitched battle since the Turks had established themselves in Europe and the first Turkish victory over the Bulgarians and Serbs. Tsar Ivan Shishman of Bulgaria declares himself a vassal of Murad (1372). Cf 1382. At this time John and Manuel were still en route by sea from Venice back to Constantinople. The battle of Maritsa in 1371, in which the Christian leaders of northern Macedonia were defeated, sealed the conquest of Thrace. The Balkans were laid open to the Ottoman raids. Norwich 1996: 335 calls it a “disaster . . . for the whole of Christendom”. See below under 1372. Chermanon and its Consequences The Slav princes, Bulgarians and Serbs, led by the Serbian ruler of Prilep – now in today’s FYROM - attacked Murad’s general Lala Shâhin Pasha, the first


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years ‘beyler-bey’ (governor-general) of Rumelia, in 1371. This took place at Chirmen (Chernomen, Chermanon: Gk ‘Ormenio/n), a small village on the lower Maritsa (Meriç, Ebros-Evros, Hebros) River just upstream from Turkish EdirneAdrianople. The Encyc. Brit. places it on the upper Maritsa between Adrianople and Philippopolis. On 26 September 1371, O.S. [old style], at Chernomen on the Evros/Maritsa River, Turkish military forces (irregulars) met the united armies of Volkashin or Vukashin and John Uglesha/Ugljesa Mrnyavchevich of Serres. The Turks defeated the attackers and the Christian leaders were killed in battle. This opened the road for further conquests to the north and west, and the Bulgarian King of Turnovo was forced to accept the status of an Ottoman vassal. Macedonia: After the Battle of the Marica, where the Turks defeated the Serbs: In the autumn of 1371 the despot Manuel Palaeologos, governor of Thessalonika, moved to occupy the region of Serres and hitherto Serbian-ruled Chalcidice (the eastern peninsula of Macedonia). He liberated many towns in Eastern Macedonia from the "Serbian yoke" and made it possible for "justice to shine and for the Mighty and Holy Lord and Emperor [John V Palaeologus] to assume the reign he had been deprived of". Thus - www.byzconf.org/1999abstracts.html. The restoration was brief: see 1372. But the following forts and towns in western Thrace fell to the Ottomans in 1371: 1 Promousoulon; 2 Traianoupoli(s) on the Via Egnatia: on the right bank near the mouth of the Evros or Maritza; 3 Peristerion (Koptero in modern Xanthe province, west of modern Komotini); 4 Peritheorion (Anastasioupolis, Buru); 5. Xantheia or Xanthi,* inland, west of Komotini: nearer to Serbian/Greek Serrai [see next] than Turkish Edirne; and 6 Maroneia or Maronia: near the N Aegean coast in western Thrace: modern Rhodope region, west of modern Alexandroupoli. (*) A line drawn north from the eastern coast of Thasos Island intersects with Xanthi. Thus Byzantine northern Macedonia now, for an all too brief moment, bordered upon Turkish-ruled western Thrace. With a view to strengthening the defence of his province Manuel even went so far as to sequestrate half of the properties of the monasteries of Athos and the district of Thessalonica, and to distribute their revenues provisionally as pronoia (fiscal fiefs) to military personnel, turning a deaf ear to the complaints and protestations of the Archbishop of Thessalonica, Isidore (Vacalopoulos, trans. 1973). The hard-headed monks of famous Mt Athos were not deceived. Having smelled the future, they seek out the sultan, Murad I: 1362-89, and submit to him (1371) in return for the security of their monastic lands (Mango p.124). Formal sovereignty over the peninsula, however, remained with Byzantium (until 1383).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

2. West Aegean: The Christians were still supreme at sea. The Ottomans, encouraged by their victory at the Maritsa, sailed or rowed with a large fleet, presumably of small boats, against Mt Athos: just three Venetian galleys and a small patrolling fleet from Byzantine Christoupolis - modern Kavala, near the Macedonian-Thracian border - were sufficient to reduce their plans to nothing (Zachariadou p.216). 1372: 25 YEARS SINCE THE BLACK DEATH 1372: Macedonia: Turkish akincilar (singular akinci, “raider/s, attacker/s”), i.e. light cavalry, appeared before the walls of Byzantine Thessaloniki (11 April 1372). In the following years the Thessalonian plain and the ‘Mygdonian basin’ [i.e. western Thrace plus Macedonia] will be seized by the ghazıs (‘warriors for the Faith’) of the great uç-beg˘i or marcher-lord Evrenos, aged about 45. This started the process of conquering Thessaloniki in three stages: devastation of the countryside, subjugation, conquest. —Vacalopoulos trans. 1973; Bazirkis, in Talbot ed., ‘Late Byzantine Thessalonike’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 2003; accessed online 2011. Evren or Evrenos, born in western Asia Minor around 1327, bore what was originally a Greek name. So his immediate ancestors were almost certainly Christians from the region of Bursa; indeed some say he himself was a convert to Islam By 1382 the Ottomans will occupy all of Macedonia except for Thessaloniki itself. Greece: A four-line brick inscription in the northwest corner of an enclosure at Thessalonica is of a triumphal nature. It refers to the building of a tower by the doux of Thessalonike, George Apokaukos, sqevnei Manouh’l despovtou (‘by the power of the despot Manuel’), i.e. Manuel II Palaiologos, who governed Thessalonike with the title of Despot (1369–73). In point of fact, says Bazirkis loc.cit., the work carried out was not the actual building of a tower, but merely involved adding a rather shoddy superstructure to an existing well-built triangular bastion, which had a commanding view of the broad plain to the northwest of the city and the main road leading to it (Bakirtzis 2003). Cf 1373: Yenice Vardar. See 1383. 1372-73: 1. The Byzantine emperor, John V Palaeologus, becomes a vassal of the newly styled "sultan" Murad. This means only that John acknowledged his dependence on the sultan’s will; there was no formal feudal agreement. The key point was that John had to contribute his very few soldiers to the sultan’s campaigns (LBA p.196; Norwich 1996: 336 -37).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 2. Failed revolts (1373) by both the emperor's and the sultan's sons against their fathers. Murad blinds his son ‘Saudji’ [Savcı Bey: he died from the botched blinding] and compels John V to blind Andronikos [IV- accession 1376] and his infant son John. In fact only one of Andronicus’s eyes was blinded, or perhaps neither: Bartusis p.107 says that “evidently” the two later regained their sight. John made his younger son Manuel his heir (Treadgold 1997: 780). c. 1373: Macedonia: The Turkish frontier commander Evrenos [Gk: Vrenes], whose title was Uç-beyi or (putative) ‘Marcher Lord’ of Thessaly, established a base in the Macedonian plain, an area that provided grazing lands for his horses, and founded the town of Yeniçe [Yenije] Vardar, modern Giannitsa, near ancient Pella, 50 km northwest of Thessaloniki. Yenije became the base of the ghazi followers of Evrenos who took Macedonia, Thessaly (1392-93) and later Albania. —Machiel Kiel, ‘Yenice Vardar (Vardar Yenicesi-Giannitsa): A forgotten Turkish cultural centre in Macedonia of the 15th and 16th century’, Studia Byzantina et Neohellenica Neerlandica 3 (1973): 303. 1373: Frankish (Lusignan) Cyprus: Tensions between the Venetian and Genoese trader-colonies at Famagusta led to intervention from Genoa. Following the murder of Genoese traders on Cyprus, Genoa sent a fleet of “43” or “49” galleys and all but conquered the island. Counting sailors as well as land-soldiers, the Genoese forces numbered “14,000”, a figure that presumably included all those resident traders able to wield a sword* (Steven Epstein, Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528, UNC Press Books, 2002, p.236; George Hill, A History of Cyprus, Cambridge University Press, 2010 reprint pp.392-93, 412). The peace settlement left a junta of local Lusignan (French) nobles governing for the French boy-king still in charge the island, but under the military dominance of the Genoese garrison, and with Famagusta wholly ceded to Genoa. Genoa deployed a relatively large force in Cyprus from 1373 to 1464, bigger than anything it could field at home, and big enough to frustrate Venetian ambitions there. (*) Setton notes (Papacy p.295) that 200 men (oarsmen and others including fighting troops) was a typical complement for an Italian galley in the earlier 1300s. Now 14,000 divided by 49 gives us 286 men per vessel: very crammed, not to say overloaded. 1374-89: r. Stjepan (Stephen) Lazar I Hrebeljanovic, Knez (prince) of Raska, 1374-89, which is today’s south-central Serbia. Afterwards made a saint of the Serbian church. Born 1329; +executed after the defeat at Kosovo in 1389. See 1381 – first Ottoman incursion. 1375: Syrian-Egyptian [Mamluk] conquest of Lesser Armenia. The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia was a Christian enclave between the Turks of Asia Minor [Emirate of Karaman] and Mamluk-ruled Syria. "Lesser Armenia" came to an end in 1375 when the Mamluk (Egyptian) 125

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years general Emir Ashiq Timour of Mardin, Governor of Aleppo, captured the patriarchal city of Sis in central Cilicia at the foot of the Anti-Taurus Mountains and received the surrender of its last king, Leon V. After parading the Armenian king and the Catholicos (Armenian patriarch) in the streets of Aleppo, Ashiq took the entire retinue to Cairo as war prizes for the sultan. 1375: MIDPOINT IN THE RULE OF MURAD I, OTTOMAN EMIR AND SULTAN 1376: 1a. The Ottoman Sultan Murad watches from Edirne (Adrianople) while various Byzantine factions, and the Venetians and Genoese, fight over control of various port towns. The Genoese colony at Constantinople resented John’s agreement to sell the island of Tenedos to the Venetians for 30,000 ducats and the return of the Byzantine crown jewels (Norwich 1996: 337). Tenedos controlled the entrance to the Dardanelles from the Aegean. With help from the Ottomans and Genoese, Andronicus Palaeologus, John V's eldest son, besieges the City for a month: they succeed in entering the City [12 August 1376], where they capture his father and younger brother Manuel, and (aged 28) the prince assumes the East Roman throne as ANDRONICUS IV, 1376-79. Wife: Maria of Bulgaria. See 1379. It will be recalled (see 1373) that Andronicus had been blinded or at least partially blinded; it seems that either he retained some sight or recovered it. Manuel was wounded during the fighting in the city. Andronicus had him and their father imprisoned. Andronikos IV takes Constantinople with Ottoman and Genoese support and then returns (1377) Gallipoli to the Ottomans, thus reuniting the two halves of the sultanate. He promised Tenedos to the Genoese but could not deliver it; the Venetians seized it. 1b. Dardanelles: Murad receives back the fortress of Gallipoli that Amadeo of Savoy had taken on 23 August 1366 and given to the Byzantines on 14 June 1367. 2. Albania: Arrival of the so-called ‘Navarrese Company’: Louis of Évreux, the Capetian (French) prince of Navarre (in today’s Spain), was also Count of Beaumont-le-Roger in Normandy and, from 1366, nominal Duke of Durazzo (Durres, Albania). He employed a mercenary band or bands of Gascons, Basques and Spanish, dubbed ‘the Navarrese’, to enforce his claims in the Balkans by capturing (1376) Durres, thus reestablishing the regnum Albaniae (kingdom of Albania). He died the same year, leaving the Navarrese unemployed. See 137778.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Above: Iberian troops of the 14th Century: Navarrese, Aragonese, Portuguese. 1376: fl. Hafiz, greatest lyric poet of Persia. Born in Shiraz, his poems won him the patronage of the local emir. Persia at this time was ruled by various successor sultanates and emirates, e.g. the ‘Mongol’ Jalayrids of Baghdad (following the collapse of Mongol Ilkhanate rule); by 1393 Iran was conquered by Timur/Tamerlane. Muzaffarid dynasty: Abu'l Fawaris Djamal ad-Din Shah Shuja (first at Yazd, then Shiraz 1353) (1335-1364, 1366-1384) versus Qutb Al-Din Shah Mahmud (at Isfahan) (1358-1366), d. 1375. Mahmud, with the support of his father-in-law Shaikh Uvais of the Jalayirids, had invaded Fars and captured Shiraz. Shah Shuja would not be able to reconquer his capital until 1366. Shah Mahmud would continue to play and influential role in Iranian politics, using his marriage alliance to claim Tabriz from the Jalayirids after Shaikh Uvais died in 1374. He occupied the city but soon gave up after he was struck by illness. He died the next year, allowing Shah Shuja to occupy Isfahan. Soon afterwards the Qara Qoyunlu or ‘Black Sheep’ Turkmen established themselves as an independent principality at Van in central Armenia in 1379 AD, expanding their rule and raiding heavily in southern Armenia in the 1380s. For now, the Qara Qoyunlu were content to serve as clients of the Jalayirids in exchange for a free hand. 1376-79:


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years CP: As noted, John's son Andronicus IV, aged 28, staged a second coup in 1376 against his father and brother, who were then incarcerated in the prison of the Anemas tower of the Blachernai palace [in the NW corner of the city], where Andronicus himself had previously been imprisoned. In 1379 father and brother will succeed in fleeing to Murad. They promise him higher tribute than hitherto and military help, if they are restored. With the aid of Turkish troops ferried in Venetian ships, John V [aged 47] and Manuel II reentered the Capital on 1 July 1379; Andronicus fled to Galata (Norwich 1996: 339). Thus tiny Byzantium will become a client state of the Turks, and was obligated to pay tribute and to enter into military alliance (see 1379). 1377: Adrianople became the first European Turkish capital when, celebrating the return of Gallipoli, Murad I formally entered the town (Nicol 1993: 280). Bursa remained the capital in Asia. 1377: 1. End of the so-called 'Babylonian Captivity': From Frenchdominated Avignon, the papacy returns to Rome. But an anti-pope ruled at Avignon until 1417. 2. Muslim Spain: the Alhambra court at Granada. 1377-78: The Balkans: ‘The Navarrese Company’ is a label used anachronistically by historians for the bands of Spanish, Gascon and Basque soldiers who had fought for Louis of Navarre. They put themselves at the command of the Peter IV of Aragon early in 1377. After the successful conquest of Durres/Durazzo [Albania], the bands disappear (1377) from view until their leader Urtubia is found in the Morea in April 1378, leading 100 men or more in the employ of Nerio Acciajuoli, the Florentine governor of Corinth. They had entered the Morea in the spring or early summer of 1378, some coming at the invitation of Gaucher of La Bastide, the Hospitaller commandant in the Principality of Achaea and others, probably at the behest of Nerio I Acciaioli of Corinth. They were not yet a single band or Company. Then, having switched formal allegiance from Aragon to the Duke of Andria [in S Italy], James of Baux, the Angevin claimant to the throne of Achaea, the Navarrese captains governed the Latin sector of the Morea until after 1383. See 1379, 1383. 1378: The Byzantine painter, Theophanes, called in Russian “Feofan Grek”, the Greek, famous for his work in Constantinople, Chalcedon and the Crimea, goes to Russia. After some years in Novgorod, he went to Moscow, at this time still a small town in the Great Principality of Vladimir. He painted many icons, frescoes and miniatures (Birnbaum, ‘Medieval Novgorod’, California Slavic studies, Volume 14, ed. Henrik Birnbaum, Thomas Eekman, Hugh McLean, p.28) 1378-81: The origins of the fourth war between Genoa and Venice lay in rivalry over the conquest of the Byzantine island of Tenedos, which was a potential base 128

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years commanding the Gallipoli straits coveted by both Venetians and Genoese. The Venetians received it from John V and occupied it in 1376; war was not far behind. See 1378. Genoa vs Venice: “When … John V gave the Venetians the island of Tenedos [south of Gallipoli: at the mouth of the Dardanelles], the Genoese, fearing lest the [Venetians] should thereby have access to the Black Sea, espoused the cause of [John’s son] Andronicus; in this way broke out the conflict known as the War of Chioggia. The Genoese, defeated at Anzio (Italy: 1378), were victorious at Pola (1379) and blockaded Venice, but were obliged to surrender when the blockade was broken by Vettor Pisani. The great rivals were now exhausted” (Cath. Encyc. under ‘Genoa’). “In the fourth Venetian-Genoese war (1378-1381), the Genoese strategy of striking directly at Venice - for that seems to have been their consistent aim almost succeeded. The war began when the Venetians occupied the small island of Tenedos at the mouth of the Dardanelles. A strong base there would control passage to and from the Black Sea as thoroughly as Constantinople ever had. After an initial defeat in the Tyrrhenian Sea west of Italy by a Venetian fleet commanded by Vettore Pisani, the Genoese struck directly into the Adriatic. In 1379 Luciano Doria defeated Pisani just off Pola in Istria and began the siege of Chioggia at the southern entrance to the Venetian lagoon. After a six-month countersiege, the Genoese surrendered in 1381 to the forces of Doge Andrea Contarini. Venice had barely managed to survive and the terms of the peace required them to abandon Tenedos.” —John Dotson, ‘Foundations of Venetian Naval Strategy from Pietro II Orseolo to the Battle of Zonchio 1000–1500’, in Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies v. 32 (2001). 1379: 1. John V and Manuel - the emperor’s father and brother - escape (June 1379) and obtain aid from the Sultan Murad's Ottomans and the Venetians; Andronicus IV [aged 31] is deposed and his father John V (aged 47) is restored. Father and brother succeeded in fleeing to Murad, to whom they promised higher tribute than hitherto and military help, if they were restored. Thus Byzantium had become a client state of the Turks, and was obligated to pay tribute* and to enter into military alliance. With the aid of Turkish troops ferried in Venetian ships, John V [aged 47] and Manuel II reentered the Capital on 1 July 1379; Andronicus fled [1 July] to Pera, taking refuge with the Genoese until 1381 (Nicol, Last Centuries, p.281; Norwich 1996: 339). (*) Baum says (http://www.roman-emperors.org/manuel2.htm) that between 1379 and 1402 Byzantium paid 690,000 hyperpyra (or 345,000 ducats) to the Ottomans. That is to say: 15,000 ducats per year. Brocquière in 1432-33 (see there) mentions tribute of 10,000 ducats.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years This may be compared with, first, the expenses of the army and navy in the 1320s, which Bartusis (pp.147-148) estimates at up to 300,000 hyperpyra, including up to 150,000 in cash for foreign-born professional soldiers or so-called ‘mercenaries’. Or rather, 300,000 was the value of the army and navy: pronoiars were paid direct by ‘their’ peasant-farmers, not by the state, and the lesser soldier-farmers received exemption from tax. It can also be compared with, second, the annual tribute paid in the 1380s by Venice to Hungary (which had ousted the Venetians from nearby Dalmatia), namely 7,000 ducats[Note] (Setton, Papacy p.322). After the fall of Constantinople, the Genoese of Chios paid the Ottomans initially 6,000 ducats per year, and somewhat later 12,000 (Mordtmann, ‘Sarkiz’ in Houtsma ed., Brill’s First Encyc. of Islam, 1993 reprint p.79) [Note] The Venetian government’s revenue from taxes and its monopoly on salt was 667,250 ducats (!) around 1450 (Paolo Malanima, The Pre-modern European Economy: one thousand years, 10th-19th centuries, Brill 2009, p.338, citing Luzzatto). I have at hand no figures for the 1380s but even then the tribute was probably a trivial proportion of its revenue. One might expect the faded Byzantine state to be poorer, and indeed this seems to have been the case. As Treadgold notes (1997: 841), the only recorded total for the empire’s revenues is that of 1320, namely one million hyperpyra. Land taxes yielded more than the excises on trade and commerce. Now the year 1320 was an exceptional year for tax gathering, so that we must suppose that normally the empire’s revenues were below ‘667,000’ hyperpyra in the period 1320-1345. In the period 1314-24 a Byzantine hyperpyron was worth 12 Venetian silver ducats/grossi (Alfred Bellinger & Philip Grierson, Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection: Michael VIII to Constantine Xi, 1258-1453, Volume 5, Parts 1-2 Dumbarton Oaks1992, p.26). Thus Byzantium’s revenues were at least 12 million grossi per year. Now there were 24 grossi to the gold ducat (Jan Lucassen, Wages and currency: global comparisons from antiquity to the twentieth century, Peter Lang, 2007 p.199). Thus the revenues were at least 500,000 gold ducats in the early 1300s. To the extent that the empire lost further territory after 1345, so its revenues must have fallen.

2. Latin Greece: The Navarrese Company, or the elements that would morph into it, and a Greco-Florentine force from Corinth attacked the Catalan Duchy of Athens. The Navarrese under Urtubia invaded Boeotia and attacked Thebes, which was part of the Duchy of Athens, then a possession of another Spanish mercenary company, the Catalan Grand Company, in the spring or early summer of 1379. (Thebes was the seat and main town of the Duchy of Athens.) John Fine says they were at least allies if not retainers of Nerio Acciajouli, the Florentine banker who held Corinth (under the suzerainty of Angevin Naples). The invaders probably numbered much more than 100 knights, possibly more than 200, which would have been a considerable force in the 14th century (just 30


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years years after the Black Death). They took Thebes in May or June 1379 (Fine 1994: 401; Wikipedia 2011 under ‘Juan de Urtubia’). See 1388. Sometime during the first half of 1379 John (Juan) de Urtubia left the Morea and the service of the Hospital (the Hospitallers of Rhodes) and with the connivance of Nerio Acciajuoli effected the violent conquest of Thebes, the capital of the Catalan duchy of Athens. Following Urtubia's departure, the Navarrese and Gascons remaining in Achaea were reformed (perhaps in 1380) into a single company under three chiefs: Mahiot of Coquerel, Peter Bordo de Saint Superan, and Berard de Varvassa. Saint Superan and Varvassa had been members of Urtubia's force. It is this new organization which we may call, conveniently if not with entire accuracy, the ‘Navarrese Company of Achaea’. It is not clear how and when the Florentine Nerio Acciajuoli acquired Thebes, and presumably Livadia, from the Navarrese, but the mercenary bands which had served under Mahiot of Coquerel and John de Urtubia seem finally to have merged into a single "Company," which is referred to in the Hospitaller financial accounts of August 1381. —H. W. Hazard ed., The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, University of Wisconsin Press 1975: ‘VII: The Catalans and Florentines in Greece, 1380-1462’, p.233. The cleric and translator Simon Atumano, born in Contantinople before 1320 of Greco-Turkish stock, was the Bishop of Gerace in Calabria from 1348 until 1366 and the Latin Archbishop of Thebes thereafter until 1380. While the Catalans supported the Avignon Papacy during the Western Schism, Atumano remained faithful to Rome. In 1373, while visiting Avignon, Atumano translated the De remediis irae of Plutarch into Latin from Greek. He participated in the talks about the union of the Greek and Latin churches in Constantinople in 1374. In 1379, Atumano assisted the Navarrese Company under Juan de Urtubia to take Thebes (Setton, Crusades p.168). He got along no better with the Navarrese, and sometime in 1380–1381 fled to Rome. 1378-81: The ‘War of Chioggia’ (as described above) between John V and Venetians, on one side, and his son Andronicus and the Genoese on the other. See 1381. 1379: AS noted earlier, the Venetians helped John V to regain his throne in 1379, and the tiny ‘empire’ (so called) was once again divided into appanages under his sons. 1379-91: JOHN V PALAEOLOGUS, restored. Aged 47 in 1379, "John let his [tiny] army and navy decay, and squandered his last asset, Byzantine prestige, on ill-conceived appeals to the papacy, to Hungary and to Venice" (so writes Treadgold 1997: 783). His first reign was marked by the gradual dissolution of the imperial power through the rebellion of his son Andronicus and the encroachments of the Ottomans, to whom in 1381 John acknowledged himself tributary, after a vain 131

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years attempt to secure the help of the popes by submitting to the supremacy of the Church of Rome. 1379-90: Period of Aragonese rule in the Duchy of Athens. 1380: Re-emergence of Christian Russia: Muscovite victory over the socalled 'Tatars' or Kipchaks* at Kulikovo on the Don. Our Russia was at this time confined in the north, and divided between several petty principalities. Kiev was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The result was not independence for Russia. The Kipchaks reasserted their rule after 1380; the Russian rulers resumed their role as vassal taxcollectors for the ‘Golden Horde’ khanate of the Kipchaks. Independence had to await the reign of Ivan III, 1462-1505, who exploited the advantages of gunpowder (cannons and arquebuses). (*) In linguistic terms, Tatar is a varierty of Kypchak. The Turkic languages fall into four groups: Southwestern (Oghuz Turkic) – including Osmanli/Ottoman Turkish and Azerbaijani; Northwestern (Kipchak Turkic) – including Tatar; Southeastern (Uyghur Turkic); and Northeastern (Siberian Turkic). By 1380: 1. The Ottomans have occupied all of Macedonia except for Thessaloniki. See 1382, 1384, 1387. In Asia they expand to the south, step by step and peacfully, against their Muslim neighbours, even as far as Satalia (Antalya) on the Mediterranean coast. It is not clear whether this territory was obtained as dowry, as bequest and/or by purchase (Kunt in NCMH p.851) 2. Crimea: By 1380 the Genoese effectively controlled the whole Crimean Black Sea coast, from Kaffa in the east to Chembalo in the west, and consolidated their position through a series of treaties with various Tatar Khans. Such was the importance of Sudak (although subordinate to Kaffa) that the Black Sea was referred to as the ‘Sudak Sea' on contemporary maps of the area. There were also Genoese enclaves on the Turkish Black Sea coast of Asia Minor: at Amastris in the beylik of Çandar and around Samsun in the beylik of Eretna (Nicolle 2008: 50). The slave trade from the Black Sea: By the 1380s, the slave populations of the Christian states, from ‘Frankish’ Cyprus to Catalonia (Aragon) in the western Mediterranean, were largely from the Black Sea region: Circassians [from the North Caucasus: on the NE side of the Black Sea], Georgians, Armenians, Tatars, Bulgarians, and other peoples transported by Italian slave ships (D B Davis, ‘Looking at Slavery from Broader Perspectives’, The American Historical Review, Vol. 105, No. 2, Apr., 2000). Of course the Ottomans also participated. Most Ottoman slaves in the 14th century were prisoners of war, since according to Muslim law only one-fifth of 132

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years all captives taken in combat became the sultan's property, leaving the rest to their captors. From ca. 1380: Ioannes (John) Kantakouzenos, born ca 1342, died after 1380. Titled as Despot (XII.1357), he was briefly Despot of the Peloponnese (ca 1380). Ancestor of the Kantakouzenoi of Romania, future Princes of Moldavia and Wallachia. 1380-81: War continues between the Genoese and Venetians. 1380-85: The Thessalonian painters who had decorated the Nea Moni of Thessalonica (now the Church of the Prophet Elias) between 1360 and 1380 fled north to Serbia at various times (to escape the Turks). It was they or their pupils who painted the frescoes of the Monastery of Ravanica (central Serbia: NNE of Nish) between 1385 and 1387, of the church at Sisojevac between 1390 and 1400, and of the monastery of Rechava between 1407 and 1418 (Vacalopoulos, trans. 1973). 1381: 1. Balkans: A first Turkish incursion into Serbian territory (by a single unit of men) is checked by prince Lazar’s general Crep on the Dubravnica River near Paracin, upstream from Nish (Sima ‘Cirkovi’c, The Serbs, Wiley-Blackwell, 2004 p.83). See 1382. 2. In Constantinople, the pro-Genoese and pro-Venetian factions strike an agreement whereby Andronicus is reinstated as heir to the throne, i.e. in place of his younger brother Manuel (who was absent campaigning with his overlord the sultan). Manuel’s seat was at Thessalonica. Andronicus receives a small appanage on the northern coast of the Marmara with its seat at Selymbria and including the towns of Panidus, Rhaedestus and Heraclea. It shared a border with Ottoman Thrace (Norwich 1996: 339; Nicolle 2008: 61). 3. Demetrius Cydones [Gk: Demetrios Kydones], aged 57; previously converted to Latin Catholicism, was Byzantine prime minister (mesazon) and sometime ambassador to Italy. His journey to Venice in 1390, which contributed to reintroduce Greek culture to Italy, is credited with encouraging the nascent Italian Renaissance. 1381-82: Further outbreak of plague at Pera, according to the Byzantine ‘Short Chronicles’ (Marien 2009: 53). 1382: 1. Greece: John’s son Manuel Palaeologus, aged 31, co-emperor at Thessalonica, tried to resist the Turks. He won over the rulers of Thessaly (the caesar Alexios Angelos Philanthropenos [1373-1390] of ‘Megale-Vlachia’/Great Wallachia, as Thessaly was now called) and Epirus (the Serb Thomas II Preljubovich of


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Ioannina), giving them each the title “despot”, and he built up a small army of volunteers (Nicol 2003: 287). See 1383 and 1393. 2. Bulgaria: The Bulgarian Tsar had declared himself an Ottoman vassal, and gave his sister as a wife for the sultan. Nevertheless the Turks under Lala Shahin penetrated westwards and seized Sofia (Francis Dvornik, The Slavs in European History and Civilization, Rutgers University Press, 1962 -p.115). See 1393. 1382: fl. ibn Khaldun, Arab or better: ‘Maghrebo-Andalusian’ philosopher and historian, called the "founder of sociological history". Born in Tunis of an ex-Spanish-Muslim family. Served as ambassador to Christian Castile for the Sultan of Granada in 1364, aged 32. In later life he retired to Egypt as chief judge. Tunisia at this time was ruled by the Hafsid line. Spain was dominated by Castile, with Granada a Muslim enclave in the south-east. EgyptPalestine-Syria was ruled by the Mamelukes. The Aegean Region in 1382 On land, the Ottomans were by far the strongest state, ruling territories about half in Europe and half on the Asian side. In Asia, the Ottoman state was already the foremost of the Turkish states, but most of Anatolia was ruled by other Turkish emirates, including Saruhan, Aydin. Menteshe, Germiyan and Chandar. The Italian republics were dominant at sea: Genoa in the Black Sea and north Aegean, and Venice in the southern Aegean. The Byzantine emperor ruled just Constantinople and small parcels of land ‘within’ the Ottoman domination, namely the small Asian and European peninsulas immediately adjoining the Byzantine capital; several outposts on the Black Sea coast of Turkish-ruled ex-Bulgaria; several north Aegean islands; the region around Thessalonica including the Mt Athos peninsula; and the southern half of the Peloponnesus. In reality the ‘empire’ was four effectively independent statelets: (i) John V reigned in Constantinople under Italian domination; (ii) Andronicus and his 12 years old son John [VII] held the N shore of the Marmara; (iii) prince Manuel II governed Thessalonica-Mt Athos [see next]; and (iv) John V’s 4th son, Theodore governed the Despotate of the Morea from Mistra (Norwich 1996: 340). John V was also nominally ruler of the inland region around the town of Philadelphia in SW Asia, a tiny Greek-Christian ‘land-island’ in the vast TurkishMuslim realm. Philadelphia lay inland on the borderlands of Turkish emirates of Saruhan, Aydin and Germiyan. Cf 1387. 1382-87: Macedonia: For nearly five years, from 1382 to 1387, John V’s son Manuel reigned as emperor at Thessaloniki and laboured to make it a rallying point for


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years resistance against the encroaching Turks. In 1383 the enemy took Byzantine Serres and put Thessaloniki under siege. The city held out for nearly four years, finally falling to Murad's army in April 1387: see there. (In the meantime the Turks pushed west to Epirus.) The fact that we are told that the ‘surrounding’ castles were besieged at the same time as Thessalonica itself suggests that the castles of East and Central Macedonia (excepting Kítros* and Platamón, which lie towards the Thessalian border) fell into Turkish hands between 1383 and 1387 — most likely nearer the earlier date. Among the first of these places to be besieged was Sérres, possibly towards the end of 1382. On 19 September 1383 the town was taken by storm. Its fate was as prescribed by the time-honoured custom of the East: the town was plundered and its inhabitants — their metropolitan, Matthew Phakrasis among them—were enslaved (Vacalopoulos, trans. 1973). (*) Nicol, Last Centuries p.160, date the fall of Kitros to 1386. 1382-1407: Theodore I, brother of Andronicus IV and Manuel II, served as despotes (“lord, governor”) of the Morea. Mistra/Mystras (just west of Sparta/Sparti) became the empire’s de facto second capital, with its own bureaucracy, literati and artists. Theodore I Palaeologus, reigned 1383-1407, son of ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) emperor John V Palaeologus, ruled in the Morea from his capital at Mistra (modern Mistras, Greece). He consolidated Byzantine rule by recognizing Turkish suzerainty and settling Albanians in the territory to bring new blood and workers into the despotate, which, under his successor, became a bastion of Byzantine strength in the midst of a crumbling empire. . . . 1383: 1. Balkans: As noted, the Turks take Serres, the town north-east of Thessalonica, from the Byzantines (Norwich 1996: 341). 2. Manuel wins several clashes* with the Turks but (following its submission) the Ottomans seize Mount Athos, with which they have had earlier contacts. The first brief period of Ottoman rule of the peninsula begins. See 1385. (*) Three military successes were registered by the Greeks; two at sea and one on land. Cydones says that the enemy's losses were heavy and the number of prisoners taken considerable; and congratulates his pupil on his achievement in transforming the citizens of Thessalonica into 'warriors of Marathon' (Vacalopoulos, trans. 1973). 3. Death of James [Jacques] of Baux, last Latin (Provencal-Italian) claimant to the throne of Constantinople. He was nominal overlord of the Navarrese in the Morea, with their seat at Old Navarino, and they now began to act entirely in their own interest. 1383-87:


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Having taken Serres, the Turks besieged Thessaloniki from 1383 to 1387; after its inhabitants had surrendered, the Turks maintained control of the city from 1387 to 1403 (Setton, Papacy, p..329). The city’s economic prosperity came to an end. See next. Thessalonica was able to hold out for four years because the Sultan lacked an effective fleet and the city could be resupplied from the sea. 1384: Thessalonica: Defeat of the last Byzantine army outside the Morea. – Murad’s Turks defeat the Greeks of Manuel II, the governor of Thessaloniki, at the battle of Chortaites or Chortiatis/Hortiatis on the SE, “four hours march” from the city. (Chortiatis is about 15 km away.)* Except for the Morea, this was to be the last pitched battle fought between Byzantines and Turks (Bartusis, LBA p. 108; Vacalopoulos trans. 1973). The city, which could be resupplied from the sea, held out until 1386. Figures are not available but we can safely guess that the Byzantine side numbered no more than 1,000 men. Although Constantinople was not finally conquered until 1453, it was too weak to deploy a field army after 1384. Its military forces simply comprised the garrisons of the capital and Thessalonica and several hundred (up to 1,000) troops in the Morea. Cf 1385, 1387. Cf entry before 1422: just 500 troops in the emperor’s “army”. (*) The fortress-monastery of Chortiatis [at 600 m] was/is located on the slopes of Mt Chortiatis [1,201 m]; an aqueduct ran from there to Thessaloniki, providing part of the city’s water supply. 1384-86: Conquest of Bulgaria: The Sultan's regular army operated under his personal leadership and captured Sofia - probably in 1385, at the earliest 1384, - the environs of which had for some time been in the hands of the Turks. Shortly afterwards they took Nish: in 1386 according to the Serbian chronicles (Leften Stavrianos & Traian Stoianovich, The Balkans since 1453, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2008, p.44). 1385: 1. (Or in 1384:) The Ottomans under Timurtash, the Beyler-bey of Rumeli, make a first excursion against Albanian-dominated Epirus. They raided as far as Arta (Fine 1994: 352; Babinger, ‘Timurtash’, in Brill’s First Encyc. of Islam, ed. Houtsma p.783). Cf 1386: Corfu. 2. Andronicus IV (aged 37) marches with the garrison of Constantinople into Thrace against his father John V, who defeats him. There must have been fewer than 100 men on either side! (Bartusis, LBA pp.108-09). Cf 1390.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 1385-86: 1. Bulgaria: Ottomans capture Sofia (1385) and then Nish (1386). —Efraim Karsh Islamic Imperialism: A History Yale University Press, 2007, p.888. 2. Macedonia: While the siege of Thessalonica continued throughout 1385 and 1386, the Turks took Véroia, which was formerly the possession of the Serbian regional governor, Radoslav Hlapen, but at this time was once more in Greek hands (Vacalopoulos trans. 1973). 3. Latin Greece: Nerio Acciaiuoli, the Florentine ruler of Corinth, took up the title dominus Choranti et Ducaminis, "lord of Corinth and the Duchy of Athens", in 1385. In the winter of that year, he successfully resisted an Ottoman raid. In 1386 he occupied the lower city of Athens, although the Catalans* still held the acropolis (until he took it in 1388). - Kenneth Setton, Catalan Domination of Athens 1311–1380, revised edition, Variorum: London, 1975. (*) The Catalans of Greece recognised the throne of Aragonese Sicily rather than that of Aragon itself. But by the marriage of Peter IV of Aragon to Mary of Sicily (herself Aragonese), the Kingdom of Sicily, as well as the duchies of Athens and Neopatria, were added to the Aragonese empire in 1381. The Greek possessions were to be permanently lost to Nerio I Acciaioli in 1388. A contemporary document, a letter of around 1385 written by the bishop of Argos, says that “the lord Nerio [of Thebes] can raise a good 70 lances, 800 Albanian horse, and a good many foot. The despot [ = Nerio’s son-in-law Theodore Palaeologus, despot of the Morea], moreover, who is always with the lord Nerio, will also have at least 200 horse [knights] and a good many foot including Turks, in his force. The Navarrese [in the Morea], however, have about 1,300 horse.” Quoted in H. W. Hazard ed., The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (1975): ‘VII: The Catalans and Florentines in Greece, 1380-1462’, p.239. If infantry numbered twice the knights in each case then we have totals of: Latin Moreots (Navarrese) 3,900; Greek Moreots (Despotate) 600; and ItaloThebans over 1,000. 1386: 1. (Or 1383:) Mount Athos came under the rule of the Turks; the monasteries jointly submitted to the Sultan. 2. SW Greece: Fearing an attack by the Turks, the Council of Corfu asked for the protection of Venice. This was agreed, and on 20 May 1386, the flag of Saint Mark was raised on the Old Fortress. 1386: fl. Timur of Samarkand. See 1402. - See also the illustration beleow, before 1400-02.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 1387: Greece: The next imperial outpost to fall to the Ottomans was the second city of the Rhomaioi, Thessalonica, which Manuel surrendered in 1387. It had long been an outpost of Romaic rule in Serbian-controlled territory, linked to the capital only by sea. After a ruinous Turkish siege led initially by Hayreddin Pasha [vizier Çandarlı Kara Halil Hayreddin Pasha], the Thessalonians force Manuel to leave and they accept some degree of Turkish rule or domination. Defeatist elements in Thessalonica steadily gained adherents and began to form conspiracies. Manuel II, seeing that there was fear of his being handed over to the Turkish commander-in-chief, Hayreddin Pasha, was obliged to abandon the city by boat. He was in the process of making his way to his father when the latter, fearing further complication, forestalled his arrival in Constantinople and instructed hitn to seek some other refuge. Deprived of all hope in this quarter, Manuel fled to his brother-in-law, Francesco II Gattilusio, dynast of Lesbos, who not without raising a good many difficulties for him, reluctantly gave him permission to remain outside the walls of his capital. Subsequently Manuel decided on an act of dramatic boldness. He made his way to Brusa, the capital of the Ottoman state, where he presented himself before Murad and asked to be forgiven. The Sultan treated him with magnanimity, and after admonishing him forgave him (!) (Vacalopoulos, trans. 1973). The Ottoman domains were divided about equally between NW Asia Minor and Europe (Macedonia, outer Thrace and S Bulgaria). The tiny central remnant of the Byzantine empire – inner Thrace and Constantinople itself – was a large ‘island’ within the Turkish realm. 2. Asia Minor: Murad’s Balkan vassals contributed troops – a few hundred Byzantines and Serbs – who helped in the Ottoman victory over the Karamandid Turks of SE Asia Minor. All the ghazi emirates now recognised Ottoman suzerainty. (They were mostly annexed after 1389.) From 1387: The Morea: In 1387 the despot Theodore became the willing vassal of Murad I in order to crush his own rebellious archontes (lords) and gain the advantage over his Christian (Navarrese-led) adversaries in the Morea. This relationship was broken early in 1394 only because Bayazid made impossible demands on his vassal — especially the surrender of Argos — thus causing Theodore's flight from his camp. See next. 1387-88: First Turkish raids from Macedonia into the Romaic Peloponnese. The Turks, however, were not merely following a policy of raid and run. They were assisting their


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years good friend or near-vassal, Theodore I Palaeologus, against his rebellious Greek archontes and his Latin enemies in the Morea, including presumably the Navarrese (H. W. Hazard, ed., The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries 1975: 246; Treadgold 1997: 782; Herrin 2007: 292; Bartusis p.114). 1387-90: The Aegean: Prince Manuel left Thessaloniki shortly before it was conquered in April 1387, and fled to Lesbos. From 1387 to 1389 he was exiled on Lemnos, one of the few Aegean islands to remain in the emperor's hands (Mango, Oxford History 2002 p.272). See 1390: Manuel to the capital. 1388: Morea: Venice buys Nauplia and Argos from the last of the ‘Frankish’ line, Marie d’ Enghien [a county now in Belgium], widow of Peter Cornaro (Setton, Crusades p.247). 1388-89: 1a. A rare Turkish reverse: The Serbian prince (knez) Lazar Hrebelianovich, 13721389, organises a Christian army of Serbs, Bosnians (Croats) and Bulgarians who defeat or at least stymie (1388) the Ottomans at the Battle of Ploshnik, a small village on the Toplitsa River west of Nish. This was the first and only Serbian victory over the Turks (Runciman 1965: 38). Lazar I of Serbia, Stjepan Tvrto I of Bosnia, and John Stratsimir of Vidin (“Danubian Bulgaria”) united against Murad I and together won a victory in 1388 at Plocnik (Plotchnik). Murad pulled back to Nish. The sultan, however, turned around and invaded Vidin-Bulgaria, forcing this state to acknowledge his overlordship. See next. 1b. N Bulgaria: Encouraged by the Serbian and Bosnian victory over the Ottomans at Plochnik in 1387/88, the Ottoman vassal Ivan Shishman of Bulgaria now refused to support Murat I or to recognise his suzerainty. The Ottoman reprisal was swift, and the enemy overran the Bulgarian defences, besieging Ivan Shishman in Nikopol (Nicopolis) on the Danube in 1388. 2. The Danube delta: Mircea ‘the Great’, supported by the population of Dobruja, defeats and chases out of Dobruja the Turks who, in 1388, installed themselves there under the command of the Grand Vizier Ali-Pasha. Then, near the Danube, he defeats an army sent by the Sultan Murad I to plunder the country. The Vlach or ‘Rumanian’ prince united Dobruja, including Silistra, with Wallachia (or such is one view: the sequence of events and chronology are confused in the primary sources: see discussion in Donald Pitcher, An Historical Geography of the Ottoman Empire, Brill 1972, pp.49ff) 3. Serbia: The Ottomans return in the spring of 1389, destroy Lazar's ‘crusader’ army at the Battle of Kosovo (Kosovo Polje: “Field of the Blackbirds”, 15 June 1389), near Pristina, ending Serbian independence and establishing Ottoman rule


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years in all of the eastern Balkans up to the Danube river. Cf 1391: Wallachia and Bosnia become Turkish tributaries. Bosnia, Serbia and Wallachia became buffer zones between Hungary and the Ottomans. The lowest figure cited for the strength of the Turkish side is 27,000 men. Murad's army might have numbered up to 40,000. Taking the 40,000 estimate, it probably included 2,000 to 5,000 Janissaries, 2,500 of Murad's cavalry guard, 6,000 sipahis, 20,000 azaps or infantry irregulars and akincis, light cavalry or horse-irregulars; and 8,000 of his vassals. Uyar & Erickson propose that some 25% [10,000] were akincis. Among the infantry were many archers from the former Hamidid emirate of SW Anatolia [Pisidia] who formed a forward skirmishing line. Notable is the relatively large number of infantry, perhaps a reflection of a reorganisation of the Ottoman army (Mesut Uyar & Edward Erickson, A military history of the Ottomans: from Osman to Atatürk, ABC-CLIO, 2009 p.25). The largest element was light irregular infantrymen, with elite infantry (Janissaries) and elite cavalry (sipahis) contributing fewer than 10,000. The Janissaries formed the centre of the first line, with foot-archers on each wing; the cavalry made up a second line. On the Christian side, the lowest figure cited is 12,000 men, nearly all infantry. Lazar's army might have been 12-30,000. Taking an estimate of 25,000, some 15,000 were under Lazar's command, 5,000 under Vuk (from the Skopje region), and the same under Vlatko (from Herzegovina). Several thousand were cavalry, but perhaps only several hundred were clad in full plate armour (Wikipedia 2011). If only a few hundred of the cavalry were knights in full plate armour, we may guess that light-armoured foot and horse-archers played a more important role. Curiously perhaps, the cavalry formed the first line with infantry behind in a second line (Wikipedia, 2011, ‘Battle of Kosovo’). Probably the idea was for the heavy cavalry to charge with the support of an arrow-storm generated by the foot archers. Murad is killed - assassinated in camp by a Serb - but his son Bayezid wins victory. At the outset the victory seemed to be on the side of the Serbs (see further below on the several phases of the battle). The story goes that a noble Serb, Lazar’s son-in-law, Milosh Kobolich, contrived to force a passage into the Turkish camp, presented himself as a deserter to the Turks, and entering Murad’s tent, killed him with a stab from a poisoned dagger. The confusion among the Turks was rapidly quelled by Bayazid, the son of the slain Murad. He surrounded the Serbian army and inflicted a crushing defeat upon it. Lazar was taken prisoner and slain (Vasiliev p.549). Sultan Murad’s forces ‘probably’* annihilated the Serbian aristocracy at the battle of Kossovo, a loss long lamented by the Serbs under the name 'Field of the Blackbirds' (Norwich 1996: 343). Murad was killed; but, although the Serbs fought well, the Turks prevailed and Serbia became a Turkish vassal. Bulgaria for its part was annexed fully (in 1392).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

(*) There is certainly little initially to indicate that it was a great Serbian defeat; and the earliest reports of the conflict suggest, on the contrary, that the Christian forces had won. One looks in vain (says Emmert) for any careful description of the battle, but there is enough detail to fuel the controversy over the actual outcome of the struggle. Neither the earliest Ottoman account by Ahmedi nor a description 100 years after the battle makes any reference to plunder or other exploitation from the victory. Given the death of their leader and the decision to return immediately to Edirne, it was (says Emmert) perhaps a pyrrhic victory at best. The first writer to give the name of Murad's assassin was Konstantin Mihailovic from Ostrovica who wrote his Memoirs of a Janissary or Turkish Chronicle about 1497. It was not until 1512, more than a century after Kosovo, that a highly detailed description of the Battle of Kosovo appeared among the Turks. This account by Mehmed Nesri, however, would become the major resource for subsequent descriptions of the battle, not only in the Ottoman world but in Western Europe as well (Thomas Emmert, Kosovo, excerpt at http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/articles/emmert.htm; and Gliga Elezovic, Ogledalo sveta ili istorija Mehmeda Nesrije, Belgrade, 1957). According to Nesri, Lazar's army began the battle with a cannon volley which did not land close enough to do any damage. This was followed by an archery attack, but the arrows also fell short of the Turkish lines. The Turks (perhaps) responded with cannon* and arrows, and then suddenly the Christians – led no doubt by their heavy cavalry - surged against the Turkish left flank. They completely defeated it and pushed their way to the rear of that flank. Nesri writes: "The ruler [Bayezid] spoke to the archers, saying: 'Discharge your arrows immediately against the unbelievers, to prevent them from massing their troops, and to make them disperse behind one another like pigs.'" The manoeuvre, however, did not bear fruit, as another Turkish writer Sead-Eddin relates, the discharge hardly bothered the Christian armoured knights, and "they suddenly charged at the left wing of the troops of the Faithful like so many boars pierced by arrows" (quoted in Géza Perjés, The fall of the medieval kingdom of Hungary: Mohács 1526-Buda 1541, Social Science Monographs, 1989 p.56). By contrast, Uyar & Erickson loc.cit. (which seems unlikely) attribute this success to Serbian and Bosnian heavy infantry. At the moment of possible defeat, however, Bayezid rallied the Turkish right flank and began a counterattack against the Christians which ended in a victory for the Turks. It is mentioned that Bayezit used his mace to good effect. (*) Possibly an anachronism. Bartusis says that the Ottomans did not use cannon until the 1422 siege of Constantinople (LBA p.337). Ágoston likewise says that only the Christians used cannons in this battle (Gábor Ágoston, Guns for the sultan: military power and the weapons industry in the Ottoman Empire, Cambridge University Press, 2005 p.17).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

3. Attica: Nerio Acciajuoli of Thebes already held the lower city at Athens. In 1388 he purchased the Duchy of Athens from Aragon - nominal overlord of the Catalan dukes of Athens - and took the Acropolis by surrender [2 May 1388]: Norman Housley, The later Crusades, 1274-1580: from Lyons to Alcazar, OUP 1992 p.170. This inaugurated 68 years of Italian rule until Athens/Athinai fell to the Turks in 1456. (From 1395 to 1402 the Venetians briefly controlled the Duchy.) In the 1380s Nerio Acciajuoli typically fielded 70 lances (Navarrese, GrecoFrench and Italian knights), 800 Albanian horse and ‘a good many foot’, presumably a total force of about 1,500 troops (Setton, Crusades p.239, quoting a letter of the bishop of Argos, ca. 1385). By 1389: All of Bulgaria was in Ottoman hands. 1389: Greek Macedonia: The details of the Turkish advance westwards (says Vacalopoulos) have not been established with any degree of certainty. We do not know, for instance, exactly when Náousa, Édessa, Kastoriá, and Ohrid (in modern FYROM*) fell. Sweeping onwards beyond Náousa, the Turks reached the district of Édessa in 1389 (Vacalopoulos trans. 1973). Others say Ohrid and Kastoria fell in 1385: Trudy Ring et al., International Dictionary of Historic Places: Southern Europe, Taylor & Francis, 1996 pp.361ff. (*) From Thessaloniki to Ohrid the driving distance on modern roads is 280 km. Today the FYROM-Greek border runs between Ohrid (FYROM) and Edessa (Greece). Naousa is S of Edessa. Kastoria (Greece) lies SW from Edessa, near the Albanian-Greek border. 1389-1402: Sultan Bayezid I. In a painting from the late 1500s, he is depicted as palecomplexioned with a bright red beard. 1389-90: Expansion of Ottoman power in Asia: In campaigns in 1389 and 1390, Bayezid conquered and/or annexed the east Aegean coastal emirates: Sarukhan, Aydin and Menteshe; and also inland Germiyan and Hamid. With the fall of Caria [Menteshe] in 1391, all of Turkish Asia Minor was united under Ottoman rule (until 1402: see there) (Parry et al., 1976: 24). By 1390: Ottoman rule is extended to the Danube; Bulgaria is formally annexed in 1392.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Trebizond: Under the rule of Alexios III, 1349–1390, the “city” (4,000 people in 1437 according to Tafur) was one of the leading trade centres of Western Eurasia and was renowned for its wealth and artistic accomplishment. 1390: JOHN VII Palaeologus, aged about 20, son of the late Andronicus IV, used Turkish troops to depose his grandfather, John V, aged 58. John gained entry [April 1390] when his partisans within the city opened one of the gates for him and his Genoese supporters; the Turks were not let in (George Majeska, Russian travellers to Constantinople in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Dumbarton Oaks, 1984 p.411). The elder John barricaded himself into the Golden Gate fortress in the city’s SW corner, while Manuel escaped and brought help from the Hospitallers of Rhodes and Byzantine Lemnos. John VII was emperor for less than a year; his uncle Manuel removed him [August-17 September] with the help of the Hospitallers and briefly (1390-91) restored his (Manuel’s) father JOHN V, d. February 1391. In the interim (winter of 1390-91). Manuel was on campaign with the sultan Bayezid as the sultan’s loyal vassal (Majeska loc.cit. p.414). So weak was Byzantium that Bayezid required Manuel to supply just 100 soldiers for the sultan’s campaigns! (Bartusis, LBA p.110). Manuel then (nominally in 1391: aged 41; crowned in 1392) took the throne as MANUEL II (Norwich 1996: 146). For Sultan Bayezid I (1389-1402), the conquest of Constantinople was the logical conclusion of a process his father had initiated. He skilfully played the pretenders to the Byzantine throne off against each other, and backed John VII's (Andronicus IV' s son) seizure of power in April 1390. With Genoese and Turkish soldiers, John VII won entry into the city. Thereupon Manuel returned from Lemnos to Constantinople (August), forced his way into the city on 17 September 1390, expelled his nephew John VII, and reestablished his father as emperor. While his father was able to rule for a last time, Manuel had to reside at the sultan's court and as an obedient vassal accept any humiliation (during this time [see below: 1391] he debated with a Muslim theologian; his record of this was famously quoted in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI). —Baum, www.romanemperors.org/manuel2. See next. 2. Western Asia Minor: Expansion of Ottoman rule - annexation of Turkish Aydin and the Sarukhan principality of Lydia (inland from Smyrna). Also Philadelphia [today’s Alasehir], the last Byzantine-governed town in Asia Minor. As a vassal, Constantinople was forced to send (1391) a contingent of troops under prince Manuel to help Bayazid capture Philadelphia. The devastation and cultural transformation of Anatolia are recorded in Manuel’s letters at this time (cited in Vryonis 1971). See 1391-92. 3. Manuel Chrysoloras leads an embassy from Constantinople to Venice. Cf 1396.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years From 1390: Italy was not only the closest refuge, but it also offered a vibrant and progressive atmosphere which many Byzantine intellectuals contrasted favourably with their own ancient traditions and civilisation (Svevcvenko, 173-4; Geanakoplos, 'A Byzantine looks at the Renaissance', 157-62). It was easiest for the wealthy and powerful, or those connected with court circles, to remove themselves to Italy. Theodore Palaeologus (d.1407), the brother of the Romaic emperor Manuel II (1390-1425), for example, made arrangements with Venice that he should be received in Venetian territory if the Turks took Constantinople. Along with wealth and position, an added advantage was conversion to Latin Christianity, by accepting the authority of the Pope and the Western version of the creed (Jonathan Harris, ‘Byzantines in Renaissance Italy’, online @ http://www.the-orb.net/encyclop/late/laterbyz/harris-ren.html). 1390-91: 1. Plague at Constantinople. It broke just before Manuel II left for Asia to assist the sultan, as his vassal, in a military campaign against Isfendiyar (Candar/Jandar: the Turkish beylik of Kastamonu in north-central Anatolia). Manuel found that some of his men were struck down. This would suggest that the plague also struck Bayezid’s army (Marien 2009: 54). 2. Turkish campaign north of the Danube. The Wallachian army, commanded by Mircea, together with Srazhimir [Ivan Stratsimir], the Bulgarian ex-tsar exiled from Vidin, defeats the invading Turks commanded by Firuz-Bey, who had plundered terribly, drive them out of the country and reconquer Vidin, where Srazhimir will be re-installed (up to 1396). Due to its geographical position, Vidin was innitially safe from attacks by the Ottoman Turks who were ravaging the Balkans to the south and Ivan Stratsimir had made no attempts to assist his half-brother tsar Ivan Shishman of Tarnovo in his struggle against the Ottomans. Janissaries: The first Janissary units comprised war captives and slaves, selected one in five for enrollment in the ranks (Pencik rule). In the early to mid 1300s they probably numbered only around 1,000; rising to some 3,000 during Murad II’s reign, 1421-51 (Nicolle, Janissaries 1995: 7; Bartusis p.129). After the 1380s Sultan Mehmet I filled their ranks with the results of taxation in human form called devshirme: the Sultan’s men conscripted a number of non-Muslim, usually Christian Balkan boys, taken at birth at first at random, later by strict selection – to be trained. Initially they favoured Greeks, Albanians (who also supplied many gendarmes), and Bulgarians, usually selecting about one boy from 40 houses. By 1475 the number of Janissaries will reach 6,000 (Nicolle p.7). 1395 sermon preached by Isidore of Thessalonica, referring to devshirme: “ … he beholds that same child suddenly gripped by brutal, hostile hands, and forced into the acceptance of foreign ways and customs; to know that in a short while the child will grow up into a personage wearing the uniform of a barbarian


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years and speaking his barbarous tongue; a vessal replete with impiety and stench? What sort of consolations could sooth the anguish of a man who sees himself as it were severed into two pieces, the one taken away to serve no good purpose, to become a mass of depravity, while the remaining part he deems as useless as a corpse, yet full with grief and woe?" (in Vacalopoulos, trans. 1973).

MANUEL II, 1391-1425
Aged 41 at accession. Married 1392: Helena Dragash, daughter of the Serbian prince Constantine Dragas’. Six sons including John VIII, born 1392, and Constantine XI, born 1405. (Manuel married late: at age 40; but had had at least one mistress and an illegitimate daughter: George Dennis,


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years The letters of Manuel II Palaeologus: text, translation, and notes, Dumbarton Oaks, 1977, p.70.) 1391: 1. Death of John V, aged 58 or 59: Accession of his second son MANUEL II Palaeologus, age 41, uncle of John VII and younger brother of the late Andronicus IV. At the time of his father's death, Manuel was a hostage at the court of the Ottoman emperor Beyazid I at Brusa, but he succeeded in making his escape (7 March 1391); he was forthwith besieged in Constantinople by the sultan, who warned him that he was emperor only inside the city walls. See next. In mid 1391 Manuel was summoned to return to the Sultan’s camp in Asia Minor, and was detained until January 1392. (Nicol, Last Centuries p.267). From October to December of 1391 the emperor enjoyed the hospitality of a Muslim teacher or (Turkish:) müderris, ‘religious scholar, professor, senior teacher at a madrasa’ (Gk Mouterizes) at Ankara (Dennis, notes to Letters of Manuel II, p.61). A Muslim born to Christian parents acted as interpreter between the emperor and the Kadi. The result of these conversations was the "Twenty-six Dialogues with a Persian," dedicated to his brother Theodore I. By 1399 the work had received its final editing. Presumably the emperor took notes at the time of the conversations. Apart from the emperor's writings there is no independent proof that the conversations ever took place. They must represent a mixture of fact and fiction (says Baum). In 2006 Pope Benedict quoted some lines from the work about jihad and forced conversion to Islam (as translated by the Vatican from Benedict’s German original): "Show me [said Manuel to the müderris] just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". 2. The Ottoman Turks may have surrounded Constantinople. According to Doukas, the first siege and blockade lasted eight years, from 1391 to 1399; but this seems an error (see discussion in Reinert). Others prefer 1394-1402, the point being that Manuel was acting from 1391 until 1394 as a dutiful vassal. The Ottoman Sultan Yildirim Beyazid besieged the City initially for seven months. According to Doukas, ch.13, this was done with just 10,000 troops. In this version, the siege was altered to form a blockade as the sudden threat of a Hungarian attack emerged. The Byzantines, however, accepted certain conditions. They included the creation of a Turkish quarter within the city, the establishment of a Turkish court with a judge appointed by the Ottoman Sultan, the construction of a mosque and the foundation of a Turkish garrison on the northern shores of the Golden Horn. In addition, the Ottomans would receive an annual tribute of 10,000 gold pieces (1391 AD). Beyazid then proceeded against Macedonia, where the fortress of Christopolis held out against him, though for how long we do not know. When the Turks finally took the town by assault, as punishment for its stubborn resistence they levelled it to its foundations, the inhabitants scattering in various directions.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Continuing on to semi-independent Thessalonica, Beyazid re-occupied and reannexed it (Vacalopoulos, trans. 1973). Turkish rule was now complete in practically the whole of Macedonia. The region around Prilep under the rule of Kraljevich Marko and the northern part of Eastern Macedonia (today forming part of Bulgaria) under Constantine Dejanovich remained in a state of vassalage. 3. SW and south Asia Minor: The Ottomans annex Caria - the emirate of Milas and take the ports of Antalya, controlled by the Latin (French) kingdom of Cyprus, and Alanya whjich was ruled by a Seljuq descended Türkmen chief (Shai Har-El, Struggle for domination in the Middle East: the Ottoman-Mamluk War, 1485-91, Brill 1995, p.62; Paul Wittek, ‘Milas’, in Houtsma ed. Brill’s First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1936/1993 repirnt, p.496). Territory in 1391 When John V died in February 1391, after a reign of half a century, the possessions of the Byzantine ‘Empire’ consisted only of the capital, some towns on the Sea of Marmara, some Aegean islands, and Byzantine Morea, which made up less than half of the Peloponnesus. Constantinople itself was a tiny ‘island’ in a vast Turkish-ruled ‘sea’. In order to estimate the total population of the Morea, V. Panayiotopoulos (cited in Laiou 2002: 50) has used the Turkish census of 1530–1540 which gave 50,941 families. Thus he estimates that around 200,000 people lived in the Ottoman Peloponnesus at that time (with a household coefficient of 4, since he argues that the household structure was different in the Peloponnesus and in Macedonia), that is, a density of nine people per sq km. (In 1400 the population of the eastern Aegean island of Chios consisted of some 8,000 Greek and perhaps 2,000 Latins, or about 12 people per sq km: Lutttrell in NCMH p.804). ‘Nine’ was a low density compared with some parts of northern Greece*, and we know that the Morea had not recovered from the ravages of the previous century. So perhaps we may hazard 100,000 Byzantines living in the Morea in about 1400, 53 years after the Black Death. Cf the estimate of ‘up to 100,000’ in 1460 on the eve of the Ottoman conquest (see under 1460). About one-third was in Byzantine hands: so population ’33,000’. Based on known long-run percentages (Treadgold, Army p.163), we would expect ’33,000’ people to afford to contribute a semi-professional army of about one percent, i.e. 330 semi-professional soldiers. Indeed, given the relative prosperity of the Palaiologian period one might guess: 700 soldiers. Adding civilian volunteers and temporary conscripts, the Morean Byzantines should have been able to field a scratch fighting force of up to 1,500 men. Or even 2,250: that being half the likely number of able-bodied grown men in a population of 33,000. Cf 1423: invasion by “23,000” Turks under Turahan. Cf next: 50 towns and villages.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years (*) Stathakopoulos 2008 offers conservative figures for a population density, empire-wide, in the whole Byzantine millennium of nine people per km2 in tough times, rising to 15 per km2 in fair to good times. 1391-92: 1. Asia Minor: After his enthronement in March 1391, Manuel II still had to perform military service for the sultan in Asia Minor. As a vassal of the Turks, in May 1391 he was summoned to Anatolia and took part in a campaign on the Black Sea coast until mid-January 1392. He not only had to support the sultan against various Turkish emirates, but as an especial humiliation, he had to aid his mortal enemy with the conquest of Philadelphia, the last Greek/Byzantine hold-out in Asia Minor (Norwich 1996: 350; Baum loc.cit.). 2. The Morea: During the Palaiologan period, the territory of Monemvasia included many settlements of various sizes. Thirteen of them, probably the most important, are mentioned in the “silver bull” issued in 1391–92 by Despot Theodore I for Monemvasia. By combining information from sources of various periods, one can conclude that there existed in the territory more than 50 settlements (towns and larger villages) and that most of them had some sort of fortification. —Kaligas, ‘Monemvasia’, in Laiou ed. Economic History of Byzantium 2002. See above: 1391 and below: 1450, for details of the whole Morea’s population in the mid 1400s, namely about 100,000. But in 1392 only about a third of the Morea (the Mistra-Monemvasia sector) was in Byzantine hands: say 30,000 people. Dividing by “50” we get 600, which ‘sounds right’ as an average for a large-village/small town. 1391-1400: Italy: Manuel Chrysoloras, 1355-1415, was the first to translate the works of Homer and (1400-03) Plato's Republic into Latin, in collaboration with his Italian pupil Uberto Decembrio of Milan. Chrysoloras arrived in Italy at the end of the fourteenth century. He came not as a teacher or a scholar, but as an envoy of the Byzantine emperor, charged with negotiating Western assistance for the beleaguered remnants of the Empire. In 1391, however, while staying in Venice, he gave some lessons in Greek to a certain Roberto Rossi, who then passed an enthusiastic account of his teacher to the Chancellor of Florence, Coluccio Salutati, 1331-1406. So impressed was Salutati that he decided to secure Chrysoloras's services, and in 1396 invited him to teach grammar and Greek literature at University of Florence. Chrysoloras only occupied this post between 1397 and 1400, but in that period had a major effect. —See Ian Thomson, "Manuel Chrysoloras and the Early Italian Renaissance," Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 1 (1966): 76-80. 1392: Manuel II, aged 42, marries Helena (Jelena) Dragash, aged about 20, daughter of the Serbian noble, Constantine Dragash, ruler (gospodin) of Serbian (north-east) Macedonia: the region east of, but not including, Skopje. His seat was at


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Kyustendil (Velbazhd) in what is now far-western Bulgaria. Although a vassal of the Ottomans, Constantine enjoyed close relations with other Christian rulers. (As remarked earlier, Manuel married late; but had had at least one mistress and an illegitimate daughter.) Cf 1392-93.2b. 1392-93: 1. In eastern Asia Minor, the Ottoman campaign (1392) was briefly stopped and pushed back (1393) by the forces of Kadi Burhaneddin, the emir of Sivas [eastern Anatolia] (Stanford Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey: Volume 1 – 1976, p. 32). 2a. North-central Bulgaria: Returning from Asia Minor to the Balkans in 1393, the sultan proceeded into northern Bulgaria. Bayezid expelled the Wallachians from Silistra and the Dobrudja and declared that ‘Danubian (or Turnovo) Bulgaria’, unable to fend for itself, was now an Ottoman province. The new Sultan Bayezit I invaded Bulgaria unexpectedly and besieged (1393) the capital Turnovo. The fortress-town was defended under the supervision of the Bulgarian patriarch Evtimii (Euthymius), while tsar Ivan Shishman had taken refuge in Nikopol (Nicopolis) on the Danube once more. After a siege of three months, Turnovo fell by treason on 17 July 1393, a point sometimes taken as the end of the Second Bulgarian Empire, although both Ivan Shishman and Ivan Sratsimir survived (Fine 1994: 423). Cf 1395. The Bulgarian capital Turnovo fell in July 1393 after a three-month siege. 2b. A rump Bulgarian principality re-grouped for several years at Vidin. See 1396. All the vassal princes in the Balkans, including the Byzantine emperor and his brother, the despotes of the Morea, Theodore, were called before Bayezid first at Serres* {Macedonia] and later at Verria in 1393/94. Manuel went to Serres but refused refused to attend the Verria convocation (Norwich 1996: 352). This of course provoked the Sultan. - See below: Ottoman blockade of the City. (*) Fine 1994: 428 prefers to date the summoning to Serres to 1393-94. ca. 1393: When Basil (Vasiliy) I, grand duke or prince of Moscow, removed the Byzantine Emperor’s name from the liturgy, he received a letter of reproval from Constantinople’s Patriarch Antonios IV. Or rather: Antonius/Anthony wrote to the bishop of Novgorod, the chief Muscovite prelate, knowing the duke would be informed. "The holy Emperor," he wrote, "is not as other rulers and other governors of other regions are. He is anointed with the great myrrh [or chrism], and is consecrated basileus and autocrator of the Romans - to wit, of all Christians." These other rulers, "who are called kings (reges) promiscuously among the nations," exercise a purely local authority; the Basileus alone is "lord and master


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years of the oikoumene," the "universal Emperor," "the natural King" whose laws and ordinances are or should be accepted in the whole world. —See the full text, quoted in James Henderson Burns, ed. The Cambridge history of medieval political thought c. 350-c. 1450, 1988 p.73. This was written when the Ottomans had already annexed Bulgaria and north Greece and made Wallachia and Bosnia their tributaries. Anthony acknowledged this in his letter, noting that Constantinople was “encircled” by “the nations” (meaning the Turks). See next. Vasiliy married his daughter Anna to prince John VIII Palaiologos, the future emperor, in 1414 (John was still a baby at the time of Anthony’s letter.) 1393-94: Asia Minor: Anadolu-hisari is a castle on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus. The name means ‘Anatolian Castle’. It was built in 1393 (or 1394) by the Ottoman emperor Bayezid II "the Thunderbolt" as a prelude to his siege of Constantinople. See 1394. The sultan knew that the emperor could obtain help only from Hungary, and in 1393-94 Bayezid conquered Thessaly* and Bulgaria; the next year (spring 1394) he began the blockade and siege of Constantinople. This was the longest in the city's history, lasting from 1394 to 1402. In the city hunger and despair prevailed. (*) As Setton explains, (Crusades 1975 p.254), Sultan Bayazid I’s troops invaded central Greece toward the end of 1393 and the beginning of 1394. They occupied Neopatras [modern Ypati] and Livadia [Gk Levadia], and seized the county of Salona [Amfissa: north of the Gulf of Corinth] together with its dependencies of Zeitounion [modern Lamia], Loidoriki and Veteranitsa. In other words: the region NW of Thebes. 1394: Turks cross the lower Danube: Campaign of Sultan Bayezid I Yildirim in Wallachia; the Ottoman army of about 40,000 men, accompanied by an army corps about 8,000 men from the south-Danubian vassals, king Marko Kraljevic, prince Stefan Lazarevic [17 years old], and lord Constantin Dragashevic [Manuel II’s father-in-law], invaded the trans-Danubian lands. — 10 October 1394: The Battle of Rovine, fought probably on the Jiu river, near Craiova in what is now south-central Romania. The army of Wallachia, about 10,000 men, led by Mircea cel Batrin (“the Elder”), defeats the invading armies, gaining a remarkable victory. A Wallachain arrow-storm followed by a cavalry charge won the day. Among the dead were king Marko and lord Constantine (or the latter may have died later at Argesh in 1395). But the numerical inferiority of the Wallachian meant that Mircea could not take advantage of the victory. The Sultan Bayazid I installs as ruling prince the boyar Vlad, called ‘the Usurper’, 1394-1397, supported by a part of the great nobility, while Mircea retreats beyond the mountains to Transylvania [then part of Hungary; today’s NW Romania]. The Turks are likely to have taken hold of Dobruja (the Danube delta) during the same period. A further battle against the invaders, waged in the nearby Arges Valley, ends unsatisfactorily for Mircea [17 May 1395]. — The first Turkish incursion into Transylvania: into Birsa Land, the region around Brasov, the very centre of what is now Rumania. 150

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

1394: 1. The Sultanate: Bayezid sought to give an air of legitimacy to his conquests by requesting the puppit Abbasid Caliph in Cairo (under Mamluk control: so in reality it was the Egyptian sultan who agreed), in 1394, to confer on him the title of ‘Sultan of Rum', which he readily obtained. (The Mamluks probably wanted support against the rising power of Timur: thus Shai Har-El, Struggle for domination in the Middle East: the Ottoman-Mamluk War, 1485-91, Brill, 1995: 67). His father, Murad I, had already adopted the title of Sultan, regarding his actual power as sufficient justification, but he was in fact only ‘prince’ (bey); it was Bayezid who first assumed the title of Sultan with all its implications according to Sunni doctrine, as the independent and legitimate wielder of power in his dominions. 2. Bayezid summoned Manuel, his nephew John VII, Theodore of Morea, and Prince Stefan Lazervic of Serbia to Serres in 1393/94 to show submission. The sultan at first wanted to kill them all. Before he released them, they were forced to watch as several Byzantine army officers were blinded. "The events in Serres confirmed Manuel's opinion that the Turks were not amenable to any kind of reasoning" (Baum). It seems that at Serres Bayezid had demanded that Manuel allow a kadi (Muslim official) to be installed within Constantinople, along with a Muslim quarter, a mosque and Muslim settlers. When Bayezid came to understand that Manuel would not concede this, he opened his siege of Constantinople later in 1394 (Reinert p.147). 3. Greece: Ottoman conquest of Thessaly 1393-95; and raids into the Morea or Peloponnesus against the Latin-ruled principality of Achaia. The ageing Evrenos Beg crossed the isthmus into the Morea again at the end of 1394 or the beginning of 1395. After spending a fortnight in Laconia he met the Navarrese forces at Leondari and together with them captured the fortress of Akova from the Byzantines. In Thessaly, Trikkala, west of Larissa, but recently the capital of a GrecoSerbian principality*, fell in 1395 and became the headquarters of Turahan Beg, the first of a long line of pashas of Thessaly (Nicol, Last Centuries p.302). (*) A Greek ruler succeeded the last Serbian ruler in 1373; later, from 1384, Thessaly subordinated itself to Byzantine Thessalonica. In the 1390s the Romaic despot of the Morea, Theodore Palaeologus, allowed some 10,000 Albanians to settle in the Morea in return for military service (the number presumably included women and children and well as men: if so, the number of soldiers would have numbered perhaps 1,500) (Heath 1995: 21). If we imagine the Greek Moreots themselves could supply 1,500 fighters, then we have a Byzantine-led army of 3,000. Cf 1394-95: loss of 3,000 horsemen. The Ottomans were supreme on land, but the Christians dominated the southern Aegean, controlling, from east to west: Cyprus, Rhodes [Kts of St John], parts of the central Ionian coast of Asia Minor [Genoa], Crete and the SW Aegean islands 151

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years (Venice) and the Morea: Byzantine ‘Greek’ or Rhomaioi in the SE; and Latin (Navarrese*) Achaia in the NW. (*) The so-called “Navarrese Company”, Spanish and Basque adventurers, operated as mercenaries in Greece from 1378 under the Gascon Mahiot of Coquerel. By 1383 they were the effective rulers of the Latin sector of the Morea. Pedro Bordo de San Superano became leader when Mahiot died in 1386. He allied with Venice from 1387. Cf 1394-95 below. From 1394: As noted, the old East Roman capital itself came under perpetual blockade - until 1402. “Byzantium”, writes Joan Hussey, p.81, “was virtually a Turkish dependency and its emperor little more than a vassal who was liable for military service". — The Venetian navy was far superior to the still makeshift Ottoman fleet and so supply from the sea was assured. On the land side, the great walls remained impregnable (Treadgold, State p.785). See 1395 below. 1394-95: E Greece: As soon as Nerio Acciaioli's death [Sept. 1394] was known, the despotes Theodore Palaiologos overran Corinthia (late 1394) and seized all the castles in the castellany. Partly in answer to a request for aid from Carlo Tocco, Evrenos Bey’s Ottomans launched a “massive raid” into the Peloponnesus (Fine 1994: 431). The fighting is recorded by the Italian Nicholas of Martoni, near Capua, who spent February 24 and 25 (1395) in Athens on his way back from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Nicholas informs us, "We could not get [from Athens] to the city of Corinth by land because of the widespread fighting then going on between the duke of Cephalonia [Carlo Tocco: count of Cephalonia and duke of Leukas] and the Despot of the Morea [Theodore I Palaiologos], brother of the emperor of Constantinople, over the lands left by the lord Nerio, Duke of Athens, who was the father-in-law of the said duke and despot. The duke [of Cephalonia] had on his side a large armed force of Turks, and was allied with the lord Turk against the said Despot . . . . The duke, perceiving that he could not withstand the might of the Despot, his brother-in-law, joined with the Turk against the Despot, and so a Turkish force, about 40,000 horse,** came over one night to Corinth, and suddenly fell upon the camp of the despot's troops, broke it up, scattered all his people, and captured about 3,000 of the Despot's horse. The despot himself barely escaped capture." Quoted in H. W. Hazard ed., The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (1975). (**) One wants to drop the final zero to obtain the more credible number of 4,000; but perhaps there were many bashi-bazouks (irregulars, adventurers, plunderers) with Evrenos. Proceeding onwards into the Peloponnesus, Evrenos Beg (bey) met up with the Navarrese mercenary commander Pedro Bordo de San Superano and his Navarrese and local Greco-Frank (Latin) troops at Leonardi in Laconia (i.e, in the Byzantine sector). Together (having turned back) the Turks and Navarrese besieged and took Akova (near Argos) on 28 February. After Evrenos returned to Thessaly, however, Pedro was defeated (4 June) by the Greeks and taken captive 152

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years along with his brother-in-law and grand constable Andronico Asano Zaccaria, “Lord of Damala, Chalandritza, Maniatochori and Lisarea, Baron of Arcadia, Constable of Achaia”. In December, Venice paid 50,000 hyperpyra for the release of her allies (Setton, Crusades p.158). Cf 1399. 1395: 1. Bulgaria: Turks cross the Danube: Bayezid’s expedition into Hungary and Wallachia [present-day Rumania]. The battle of the Argesh/Arges River [17 May 1395*] was tactically a Christian victory; nevertheless Wallachia had to submit and becomes an Ottoman vassal state; execution of Shishman, king of Bulgaria (Sugar, Ottoman Rule p.22). Cf 1396. (*) This is the date in the Serbian annals for the death of prince Constantine Dejanovich (Konstantin Dragash, Manauel II”s father in law), who was wounded or killed at Argesh. Based on a Turkish source, Setton et al. Crusades, p.250 proposes that the battle actually took place on 10 October 1394. The Turks cross the western Balkan passes, and enter the Morava valley by way of Sofia and Nish. And in the NE, the hospodar of Wallachia, Mircea ‘the Elder’, with the support of the Hungarians, opposed the Turkish troops to the SE of Bucharest on the plain of Rovine, north of the lower Danube, in 1394 or 95. Serbs fought on both sides. The Serb princes who fought as vassals on the side of the Sultan, included prince Stefan Lazarevich (who survived) and Manuel’s own father-in-law, Constantine (Dejanovich) Dragash of Serres (who died). The contest was uncertain, first one side and then the other prevailing, but at the end of it Mircea, too, was forced to pay tribute to the sultan (Norwich 1996: 354; Sugar loc.cit.). After the battle, the Turks occupied the Dobrudja, the delta of the Danube, as well, and gained control over the fords of the Danube. Mircea appears to have been victorious militarily, but his forces and resources were so depleted that he had to acknowledge the loss of the Dobrudja, into which Bayezid moved Turkish garrisons. Wallachia also had to accept the status of an Ottoman vassal and pay regular tribute. See next: 1396. Returning from this failed or at least unsuccessful campaign against Mircea I of Wallachia, Sultan Bayezit I had the Bulgarian ruler Ivan Shishman beheaded at Nikopolis on 3 June 1395. The remainder of Ivan Shishman's territory was annexed by the Ottoman Empire, although Bulgarian ‘emperors’ continued to rule a mini-state at Vidin until 1422. 2. Alliance of Venice, Hungary and Byzantium against the Ottomans: a crusading army is formed in Hungary. Emperor Manuel II promised to arm 10 galleys to help the ‘Crusade of Nicopolis’ as it was later dubbed. See next.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Baum: “At the end of 1395 Manuel sent his envoy Manuel Philanthropenus to King Sigismund; at the beginning of 1396 he concluded a treaty with him in which he obligated himself to equip 10 ships at his own expense and three at the king's expense for the crusade. The crusade of the Hungarian king Sigismund of Luxemburg ended on September 25, 1396 [see there] in the battle of Nicopolis in a complete fiasco. According to the panegyric of Isidore of Monemvasia, the Hungarian king fled on imperial galleys across the Black Sea to Constantinople, where he met with Manuel and then returned to Hungary. Manuel sent a message to the Venetian council, putting Byzantium in the hands of the Venetian government. But Venice, which already in the fourteenth century viewed Byzantium as a "lost outpost," abandoned the empire to its fate.” 3. Thrace: The Romaics refused to accept some of the conditions put forth in 1391. So ‘Yildirim’ Beyazid's army surrounded (1395) Constantinople once more, and the blockade turned into a siege (Setton, Papacy p.341). News now reached the Sultan that ‘crusaders’ – mainly Hungarians and French: see 1396 - were marching towards the Balkans. Beyazid briefly lifted the siege and led his troops into the Balkans to confront the crusaders (1396 AD). 4. Russia: Vasily I, the grand prince of Moscow, realising how weak the emperor of the Romans (Byzantines) was, wrote a disparaging letter about him: “Since there was no other way to prove him [Vasily] wrong, patriarch Anthony of Constantinople wrote a response … in 1395 arguing* how different the imperial office was from any other ruler. With all the other vestiges of power gone, he presents the emperor as the guarantor of true faith throughout the universe. The letter is a piece of political propaganda, so that one wonders to what extent either side believed in the far fetched theory of religious supremacy of the sacred emperor of the Romans”. —A Mirkovic, ‘Politics of Silence . . . , Golden Horn 8 (20) 2001, online at http://www.isidore-ofseville.com/goudenhoorn/82alexander.html. (*) Excerpts: “For even if, by God's permission, the nations [primarily the Ottoman Turks] have constricted the authority and domain of the emperor, still to this day the emperor possesses the same charge from the church and the same rank and the same prayers [from the church]. The basileus [Gk: ‘sovereign’] is anointed with the great myrrh and is appointed basileus and autokrator of the Romans, and indeed of all Christians. Everywhere the name of the emperor is commemorated by all patriarchs and metropolitans and bishops wherever men are called Christians, [a thing] which no other ruler or governor ever received. . . . . . . our very great and holy autokrator [Gk: ‘emperor’], by the grace of God, is most orthodox and faithful, a champion of' the church, its defender and avenger, so that it is impossible for bishops not to mention his name in the liturgy. Of whom, then, do the Fathers, councils, and canons speak? Always and everywhere they speak loudly of the one rightful basileus, whose laws, decrees, and charters are in force throughout the world and who alone, only he, is mentioned in all places by Christians in the liturgy.”


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Armour Western European (and Hungarian) knights, or at least the richer half, had mainly moved to full plate armour by 1400. Plate was worn from head to toes, with mail used only to cover joints and other weak points. The Ottomans, however, preferred to use a combination of mail and plate, better suited to their mobile style of fighting. The mail corselet (shirt-sleeved, to below the waist) provided the basic protection, but small plates of iron were sewn in or on: across the shoulders an over the area of the chest and belly. Arm-guards and greaves of iron were added (illustration by Palmer in Dougherty 2008: 82-83).

Above: Battle of Nicopolis, 1396. 1396: 1. 25 September: “The Last Crusade” so-called: Sigismund of Hungary leads a mainly Franco-Hungarian army against the Turks. Ottoman victory at the battle of Nicopolis on the southern side of the lower Danube (then the TurkishWallachian border). The result was that Wallachia, present-day Rumania, became a Turkish dependency. The Battle of Nicopolis The young king of Hungary and Croatia, the Luxemburger Zsigmond or Sigismund, who later (1433) became the German Emperor, took the field with a strong cavalry force containing contingents from ‘every’ nation in Western Europe (including even some Scots), but suffered an overwhelming defeat at the hands of Bayezid on 25 September 1396 at Nicopolis on the Danube.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years According to the Cambridge Medieval History, this was “a victory won by the rigidly disciplined regular army of the Ottoman military machine over the undisciplined feudal army with its motley array of rival national contingents”. It would be better, however, to say: ‘a mainly regular army’ or ‘a small regular army bolstered by many irregulars’… . The Western nobles flocked in thousands to the royal standard, and were reinforced by volunteers from nearly every part of Europe, the most important contingent being that of the French led by John, duke of Nevers, son of Philip II, duke of Burgundy. Sigismund set out with perhaps 90,000 men – some argue as few as 16,000 men - and a fleet of 70 Genoese and Hospitaller galleys. Once below Belgrade the land force crossed to the right bank of the Danube. After capturing Vidin, they proceeded down to the Danube and camped before the fortress of Nicopolis (Norwich 1996: 354; Wikipedia, 2011, under ‘John the Fearless’; Nicolle 2008: 66). The main force was Hungarian but detachments came to the Danube from as far as France, Burgundy and Germany to form, according to some, possibly the biggest crusading army ever assembled (thus Fletcher 2003: 135). Others argue that the numbers were relatively small, albeit relatively large for a post-Black Death era army. Treadgold prefers to put the size of the Christian army at only about 16,000 – against a somewhat larger force under Bayezid, while Nicolle suggests that both sides had about 15-16,000 men (Treadgold State, p.787; David Nicolle, Nicopolis 1396: The Last Crusade, Campaign Series, London: Osprey Publishing 1999, p.37.) — The troops from the West were mainly heavy cavalry (knights) while the Eastern Europeans were mainly infantry, light and heavy. So perhaps, and this is just a guess: 4,000 Hungarian and Wallachian knights; 1,000 French, Burgundian and other Western knights; 8,000 Hungarian/Wallachian/Transylvanian foot; and 3,000 Western foot. — The frequently asserted figure of ‘100,000’ crusaders is correctly dismissed by Barbara Tuchman, who notes that 100,000 men would have taken a month to cross the Danube at the Iron Gates, while the crusaders took eight days (Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978, p.554). — All the Christian/Latin leaders were inexperienced except for Sigismund, and the others chose not to adopt his proposed tactics. — The 15th century Ottoman historian Syükrullah claims (but we can reject this) that the Ottoman force was half the size of the crusaders’. It consisted mainly of infantry with some light and medium cavalry. The Balkan vassals of the Sultan contributed perhaps 5,000 men including 1,500 Serbian heavy cavalry under Stefan Lazarevich, who was more anti-Hungarian than he was anti-Turk. So perhaps, again just a guess: 2,000 Turkish horse (including sipahis), 1,500 Serbian knights, 8,000 Turkish foot (including an unknown number of Janissaries) and 3,500 allied infantry. — Bayezid and his officer corps were experienced at war. The situation in Constantinople and in the Morea greatly alarmed Latin leaders, especially King Sigismund (Zsigmond) of Luxemburg, who was German 156

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Emperor and King of Hungary (1387-1437). He asked for help and got it from French knights and Venice. He then led his army into the Balkans, only to lose at the great battle of Nikopolis (Nikopol, Niyebol) on 25 September 1396. This victory won the sultan great fame as a ghazi throughout the Muslim world (Parry et al. 1976: 25). — With the Bulgarian infantry and the Hungarian army under King Sigismund of Hungary came French, Germans, Italians and Knights Hospitallers under the leadership of John of Nevers, son of the Duke of Burgundy. — In response to a crusade preached by Pope Boniface IX, a Franco-Burgundian army of “10,000” under the leadership of John of Nevers, son of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, marched to the relief of Christians savagely oppressed by the soldiers of Islam. The admiral Tomanice Nico commanded the fleet of 44 galleys equipped by Venice and Genoa and joined later on by ships from Rhodes (the Hospitallers). —‘Battle of Nicopolis’, Bulgarian History Page, at http://www.geocities.com/nbulgaria/bulgaria/nicop396.htm; accessed 2009. 2. (or 1398:) Turks capture Vidin in the far NW of present-day Bulgaria and extinguish the last remnant of Bulgarian independence. Serbia now becomes an Ottoman vassal, subservient but also semi-independent. 3. The return of the Greek language to Western Europe: The University of Venice invites Chrysoloras [above: 1390] to teach Greek in Venice. Hence the later term 'Renaissance' or "re-birth". Cf 1403. 4. Italian slave trade: The bill of lading of a Black Sea ship putting into Genoa in 1396 listed "17 bales of pilgrims' robes, 191 pieces of lead, and 80 slaves." —Iris Origo, The Merchant of Prato (1963). Cf 1437 – Tafur’s visit to Kaffa. 1397: The Morea: A major Turkish raid [3 June] led by Timurtash Pasha on Venetianruled Argos (the town in the north-east, SSE of Corinth) led to the removal of 14,000 captives. This left the district so bare that as late as 1480 it had only 200 households, notwithstanding Venetian attempts to repopulate it with Albanians. (Argos was on the border of Achaean or Frankish Morea and Byzantine Morea.) — Setton, Papacy p.472; F. Zareinebaf et al. (2005), ‘Historical and economic geography of Ottoman Greece’, Hesperia, supplement 34: online at www2.let.uu.nl/solis/anpt/ejos/pdf8/wright-fin-01.pdf; accessed 2011. Large Turkish forces led by Timurtash Beg and Ya'qub Pasha pillaged Boeotia and Attica and then devastated the Morean peninsula on a major plundering raid. Theodore sent a small army against them but it was “badly mangled” (Fine 1994: 431). The invasion climaxed with the capture and sack (the citadel was razed) of Argos on 3 June 1397. The surviving population of the town (supposedly “14,000” people) was enslaved and deported to Asia Minor (Setton, Levant p.472).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years In anticipation, apparently, of this great invasion, the despot Theodore had offered Corinth to the Venetian republic in return for military aid, only to have his proposal rejected by the senate (29 April 1397). When the Turks laid siege to the citadel in the summer of 1397, Theodore in terror and desperation next offered Corinth to the Order of St. John (the Hospitallers). The knights accepted, and it is probable that they took possession of Corinth before the end of 1397. Hazard: “It is sometimes stated that the Turks occupied the lower city of Athens in the spring or summer of 1397, but the evidence for assuming so is hardly conclusive. It is of course quite possible. The Turks did take Argos on June 3, 1397, sacked and burned the city, and are said to have carried off [from the wider region] 14,000 persons into slavery.” —H. W. Hazard ed., The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Harvard 1975. 2. Constantinople: Having defeated the Crusaders, Beyazid once more turned his attention to Constantinople. In order to prevent military help from reaching the Byzantines via the Black Sea - from Moldavia or Lithuanian-ruled Ukraine, - he ordered the ‘Anatolian Fortress’, Anadolu Hisari, to be constructed at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus on the Asian side (about 15 km from Constantinople). Finally the Romaics accepted all the conditions laid out in the siege of 1391. The annual tribute was raised to 30,000 gold pieces (1397 AD). Although primitive firearms were already common in the Latin West, the Ottomans did not use cannon during this siege; it was not until 1422 that they first used firearms against Constantinople (see there) (LBA p.336). The great 'Greek' city of Constantinople did not fall immediately. Sultan Bajazet or Bayezid, 1389-1402, although a competent general, in this respect was unsuccessful. "New Rome" was still well defended, and the Turks were often distracted. In 1396, as we have seen, they were checked by a crusading Western force led by the king of Hungary (Sigismund 1387-1437). Then in 1402 (see there), Timur or Tamerlane, the all-conquering ‘Turco-Mongol’ ruler of Samarkand and a better general than Bayazid, made a punitive expedition to the west, inflicting a severe defeat on the upstart Ottoman sultan. The Ottomans temporarily lost control of their territories on the Asian side, and the pressure on Rhomaniya/Byzantium was removed. Thessaloniki was restored to Romaic imperial rule (1403). But the imperial "Greek" city was now reduced to a shadow of its former self, with well under 50,000 people, who (says Tafur: see 1437) lived mainly on the coastal sides. So large was the city's interior area, however, that the space within the walls contained a number of hamlets separated by wheat-fields and orchards (Mango 1980 p.87; Treadgold 1997: 840; Harvey in Harris 2005). See 1403. 3. NW Balkans: Sultan Bayezid I approached Vidin and, assured by the promise of his safety, the Bulgarian tsar (or anti-tsar*) Ivan Stratsimir came out to meet him. On the sultan’s order, Ivan Sratsimir was arrested and conveyed to Bursa, while the sultan confiscated the contents of the Vidin treasury. (The territory of Vidin, or at least some portions of it, appear to have remained under Ivan’s son Constantine II's rule almost until his death in 1422.)


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years (*) Ivan Stratsimar reigned in Vidin while his younger brother Ivan Shishman reigned in Tarnovo - until 1393 when Tarnovo fell to the Ottomans. 1397-98: Embassies are dispatched to the West, seeking aid against the Turks. Now London and Moscow were included in the Byzantines’ trawling for friends. Charles VI of France particularly was targeted, as he had in the meantime become feudal overlord of Genoa (Norwich 1996: 357-58). See next. 1399: 1. The N Aegean: The French king sends his Marshal (army commander), Jean/Jehan [John] le Meingre, also called Boucicaut, who had taken part in the battle of Nicopolis, to Constantinople with six vessels and 1,200 soldiers, of whom 400 were heavy cavalry. Others joined him on the way so that when he reached Constantinople he was leading some 2,200 men: 600 knights, 600 armed grooms and 1,000 archers (Bartusis, LBA p.111; also Norwich 1996: 359). In 1399 they broke through the Turkish blockade of the Dardanelles and arrived in Constantinople to the rejoicing of the populace. Le Meingre persuaded the emperor Manuel to accompany him on his return trip to Western Europe. They left Constantinople on 10 December 1399. —See 1399-1402. 2. The Peloponnesus: Following the Battle of Nicopolis, the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I turned his attention to reducing the remaining Christian states in Greece. This drew Pedro Bordo de San Superano, the Navarrese prince of Achaea, and the Byzantine Despot of Morea, Theodore I Palaeologus, into alliance. The Order of St John, the Hospitallers, was also on side, but the Venetian senate refused to aid the Byzantines. In 1399, Pedro’s Achaeans defeated an invading Turkish force and received the titles of papal vicar and ‘gonfalonier (“banner-bearer”) of Achaea’ from Boniface IX (15 February 1400). Hazard notes that conditions had become so bad in the Morea toward the end of the year 1399 that the despot Theodore sent a Greek monk to Venice, requesting asylum for himself and his family. —H. W. Hazard ed., The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries,1975: 262. 1399-1402: 1. Manuel II tours Western Europe vainly seeking aid. His nephew, the deposed former John VII, aged 29, acted as regent. Departing Constantinople on 10 December 1399, Manuel reached Venice in April 1400. The Venetians gave him the pleasant surprise of a lavish welcome (Nicol, B&V p.339). See further under 1400. In 1400 he received the news that the ‘Mongols’ (Timur’s Muslim MongoloTurks) had invaded Asia Minor. For Byzantium they were welcome allies against the Turks. While the emperor was still in Paris, news arrived of Bayazit's overwhelming defeat in the battle of Ankara (in 1402: see there), which afforded Byzantium a chance to catch its breath. ‘Tamerlane’ (Timur), the ruler of Samarkand, had defeated the rising Ottoman Empire and held it in check until his death in 1405.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 2. In the East, the Ottomans attack into the Mamluk-ruled domains in the Euphrates valley (1399). Territory in 1400 Map in NCMH p.855. The boundary of Ottoman empire in the northwest was the lower Danube, with Wallachia a Turkish vassal. In the west, the border ran down, from the middle Danube above Ottomanruled Vidin, past Nish through western Greece as far as eastern Epirus. West of Nish was Serbian land, held by Prince Stefan Lazarevich, but he was another vassal who had to contribute military assistance to the Turks. Albania was divided between four Albanian statelets. In Epirus, further Albanian princelings ruled two local, short-lived statelets, centred in Arta (1358–1416) and [opposite Corfu:] Gjirokastër (1386–1411) under the Losha and Zenebishi clans, respectively. Central Epirus and Ioannina were still in Greek hands, but under a foreign ruler, namely the Florentine nobleman, Esau de’ Buondelmonti. Boeotia was divided between the Ottomans and the Venetian duchy of Athens (Venice had control of Athens only briefly: from 1395 to 1402, when it reverted to Florentine rule). Venice continued to rule Euboea/Negroponte, the large island N of Athens. In Thrace Byzantium held only a fraction of land, i.e. to about 50 km west of Constantinople (Chorlu was Turkish, Silivri/Selymbria Greek). In Asia the Ottomans controlled nearly the whole of Asia Minor, to about 40 km west of Trebizond (still held by the Greeks) and in the south-east to beyond Konya. The Egyptians (Mamluks) controlled the Taurus Mountains and ‘Little Armenia’ (having annexed Armenian Cilicia in 1375).

THE 1400s 1400: 1. Manuel, on a tour of Western Europe (1400-03), receives a warm welcome in Venice. He proceeded thence, warmly received everywhere - at Padua, Vicenza and Pavia - to Milan, and thence to Paris (June 1400). At Milan he met his friend the Byzantine expatriate scholar Manuel Chrysoloras (Nicol B&V p.340). Charles VI of France received the emperor with great pomp in Paris in June 1400 as did Henry IV in December 1400 in London.* The emperor employed Constantinopolitan relics and holy objects to win over the princes of Europe. —Baum, Manuel II, at http://www.roman-emperors.org/manuel2.htm; accessed 2011; Norwich 1996: 363. (*) Adam Usk, a Welsh chronicler in English service, describes the visit of the emperor Manuel II Palaiologos to London to meet king Henry IV in 1400. The purpose of the visit was to seek military and financial assistance. Manuel and


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Henry celebrated Christmas at Eltham, the palace south-east of London, and a joust was given in his honour. This is how Usk describes his feelings about the emperor: “I thought within myself, what a grievous thing it was that this great Christian prince from the farther East should perforce be driven by unbelievers (or “infidels”) to visit the distant (or “more distant”) islands of the West [to get help against them]. My God! What dost thou, ancient glory of Rome? Shorn is the greatness of thy empire. . . . . Who would ever believe that thou shouldst sink to such depth of misery, that, although once seated on the throne of majesty, thus didst lord over all the world, now thou hast no power to bring succour to the Christian faith?” —Adam Usk, Chronicon AD 1377-1421. London: H. Frowde, 1904, 219-20; Vasiliev 1958: 634. Brackets: alternative translations. 2. Italy: The dialect called ‘Salentine’ Greek, spoken in the Italian heel, at first declined more rapidly than its Calabrian counterpart. But around 1400, more than three centuries after the end of Byzantine rule, it was already confined to a territorial strip bounded by Gallipoli and the Gulf of Taranto in the west and Lake Limini near Otranto in the east, with Struda near Lecce and Alliste south of Gallipoli as its respective northern and southern limits (that is, just the southcentral region of the heel). —Geoffey Hull, Polyglot Italy (1989), excerpt at http://www.geocities.com/enosi_griko/articoli/greek_vernacular.html.



O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years The ‘Turko-Mongol’ amir Timur of Samarkand enters the picture. (Although a Muslim Turk, Timur saw himself as Genghis Khan’s heir.) He attacks Turkish Asia Minor (Sebasteia-Sivas was levelled to the ground in 1400), and captures Baghdad (June 1401) and thereafter re-invades Asia Minor. His army crushes and captures Bayezid (and his Serbian vassals) at Ankara on 28 July 1402, and reaches the Aegean, where they pillage Ottoman Bursa and take Smyrna [Izmir], the last Christian enclave in Asia, from the Hospitallers. Meanwhile Bayezid’s son Suleyman escaped across the Sea of Marmara in a Genoese galley, and lesser Turks paid huge sums to Byzantine boatmen to be ferried across the Bosporus (Norwich 1996: 36; Turnbull, Ottoman Empire p.29). As one result, the Ottomans ended their blockade of Constantinople (1402). “The intervention of Timur postponed the fall of Constantinople for half a century”, says Runciman 1965: 13. It appeared as if Timur had utterly destroyed the Ottoman empire. At this time the Byzantines controlled nothing except the Great City and an outpost in the Peloponnesus (the Morea). The news of the ‘Mongol’ victory reached emperor Manuel in Paris in September 1402 (Norwich 1996: 364; Nicolle 2008: 73). 1400-42: Venice: A colony of Byzantines in Venice provided some of the rowers for Venetian galleys, and carpenters for the Arsenal or shipyard. Between 1400 and 1442 a dynasty of Greek shipwrights dominated the Arsenal, designing galleys for both trade and war. Others, however, worked as tailors and gold wire drawers, or joined the Stradioti [Gk stratatoi, ‘soldiers’], a light cavalry regiment in Venetian service initially recruited entirely from Greeks. (Many Albanians were later recruited.) They fought in the style of the Turks, i.e. using hit and run tactics (Harris, ‘Byzantines in Renaissance Italy’, online at http://www.theorb.net/encyclop/late/laterbyz/harris-ren.html). 1401: The Morea: Pedro’s Navarrese raided the Venetian-governed ports of Modon and Coron. 1402: Greece: Antonio Acciajuoli/Acciaioli of Thebes, the bastard son of Nerio and Maria Rendi, and an Ottoman vassal, suddenly swooped down upon Venetian Athens in force. His seizure of the lower town (in part at least) and his siege of the Acropolis were known in Venice well before 22 August 1402, when the Venetian senate decided to take drastic action against him. Letters were dispatched to the Venetian colonial government of Negroponte, authorising an increase of the cavalry force at its command "from 200 to 300 beyond the 50 for which permission was previously accorded the said government". With this force, and with the bowmen and foot soldiers which they could raise locally, the bailie and councillors of Venetian Negroponte were to strive manfully "for the recovery of


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years our city of Athens and for the injury and destruction of Antonio Acciajuoli and of Thebes and his other possessions". According to Chalcocondylas, Historia IV, the Venetian commander Francesco Bembo marched with “6,000” men from Negroponte against Thebes (Hazard 1975: 263). But if there were only 300-350 knights then a more likely figure is surely about 1,000. In any event, Acciaioli’s men ambushed Bembo’s force and forced them back to Negroponte. The siege of the acropolis then continued until the early months of 1403, when the starving Venetian garrison surrendered (Fine 1994: 435). 2. In the autumn of 1402, Timur’s army captured and pillaged Brusa, the Ottoman capital; then, as we have seen, Timur made a significant contribution to the Muslim Holy War by taking Christian Smyrna; finally, he re-established all the Turkish princes in their domains (beyliks) – Saruhan, Aydin, Menteshe and Germiyan - before his departure in 1404 and his return to his court at Samarqand (Freely 2008: 121). 1402-03: Bayazit's eldest son, Suleiman, met with the regent John VII in August 1402. (Manuel was still in the West, as yet unaware of these events.) With Timur still in Asia Minor, Suleiman was willing to receive help, and early in 1403 he made a treaty of commerce and a pact of alliance against Timur with Venice, Genoa, the Byzantine emperor, the duke of Naxos, and the Hospitallers on the island of Rhodes. Among other things he agreed to return Thessalonica to the Byzantines, to grant the high contracting parties the right to trade in his domains, and to give Athens to the Venetians (i.e., see above: he was to instruct Acciajuoli to vacate it). The negotiations and their outcome are discussed at length in Dimitris Kastritsis, The sons of Bayezid: empire building and representation in the Ottoman civil of 1402-03, Brill, 2007, pp.53ff. In February 1403 Sulayman and John—the sultan wanted to avert an antiTurkish coalition in the West so as to have a free hand in the East—concluded a peace treaty on the Gallipoli peninsula in which Suleiman gave back Thessaloniki, the Chalkidiki with Mt Athos, the coastal strip of Macedonia stretching from the Strymon to the mouth of the River Peneus as far inland, and the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Skyros (west Aegean) as well as a strip of the Black Sea coast but not the port town of Gallipoli itself (Vacalopoulos, ‘Les limites de l'empire byzantin’, Byzantion 55 [1962] 59-61; Treadgold 1997: 789). The European possessions of the Turks in "Rumeli" with their capital at Edirne/Adrianople were in turn formally recognised by Byzantium. See next. Byzantium no longer owed tribute to the Turks, and Suleiman even swore to become a vassal of the emperor! This was the Byzantine empire's last political success (Baum, http://www.roman-emperors.org/manuel2.htm). 1402-11: Sultan Suleyman was nominal ruler of all Ottoman domains. In practice he controlled only the European side (Rumelia).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years - After the defeat by Timur, Bayezid's eldest son Emir Süleyman Çelebi moved the state treasury from Bursa to Edirne, where he declared himself sultan (1402). - As we have noted, the beys, Turkish former subordinates of the Ottomans resumed their rule in Western Asia Minor, e.g. Aydin at Ephesus. 1403: 1. Plague was rampant at Gallipoli and in Anatolia, as reported by Doukas and Clavijo (Marien 2009: 35, 107). 2. Chaos in Anatolia: contest between the sons of Bayezid. Isa installs himself in Bursa but is driven out by Mehmet. Meanwhile on the European side Suleyman HQ at Adrianople/Edirne - makes a treaty with Constantinople, and (as noted above) Thessalonica is returned to Byzantium. See 1407, 1423. Early in 1403, a treaty is signed by Suleiman, son of Sultan Bayazet I, the coemperor Ioannis/John VII, the representatives of Venice and Genoa, the Ioannites and the Serb despot Stephan Lazarevic. Under the treaty the Byzantines abolish taxes and recover the Thracian coasts on the Propontis and Black Sea [i.e. eastern Thrace], as well as ‘Palateoria’, which can perhaps be identified with Peritheorion [Anastasiopolis in Thrace] (Anonymous: ‘Chronology of Thrace’, at . http://thesaurus.duth.gr/english/thrace.asp?theme=6; accessed April 2011). -- The treaty provided that the Sultan would cancel all land grants in these regions made to Turks (probably meaning timars or soldiers’ ‘fiefs’) but not any land that Turks had purchased (Smyrlis, ‘First Ottoman Occupation’, in Alexander Beihammer, Maria Parani, & Christopher Schabel, eds; Diplomatics in the eastern Mediterranean 1000-1500, Brill 2008, p.338). -- Manuel confirmed the treaty on his return (see next) but sent John into exile at newly restored Thessalonica with the grand title ‘Basileus of all Thessaly’ (Norwich 1996: 370). 3. May 1403: Returning from his Western tour, Manuel reaches Constantinople, after nearly three and a half years. He and his party of 40 were conveyed thence initially in Venetian galleys and finally in a combined Venetian-Genoese flotilla: a sense of honour for their two cities brought the Italian rivals briefly together (Nicol, B&V p.347; Norwich 1996: 369). Territory At the end of 1403, following the treaty, Byzantium ruled four tiny pockets of land: 1. the northern littoral of the Sea of Marmara and a large slice of eastern Thrace (its largest domain) extending as far north as the northern side of the Gulf of Burgas, i.e. including the port-towns of Mesembria or Nessebar; Anchialus or Pomorie; and Develtos: modern Debelt* [see 1403 above]; 2. a number of islands in the North Aegean (see above); 3. Thessalonica and the Chalkidiki peninsula that contained Mt Athos; and 4. the south-central half of the Morea or Peloponnesus. Or as Vacalopolus [trans. 1973] describes it, the boundaries of the Byzantine empire embraced, besides the capital itself, a few small towns and villages in the 164

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Propontis [the northern littoral of the Sea of Marmara] (Áyios Stéphanos, Selymbria, Heráclaea), and on the Black Sea coast (Médaea, Agathópolis, Sozópolis, Pyrgos, Anchíalos, Mesembría, Varna). Westwards they included the coastal district stretching from the [western bank of the] Strymon (with Chalcidice, Thessalonica and a small portion of the hinterland as far as Chortiátis) to the head of the Malaean [sic: Malian/Maliakos] Gulf** (together with Lamía and its environs); also included was the despotate of the Morea. Skyros and other islands of the Northern Sporádes also belonged to Byzantium, but they were “notoriously the nests of pirates and essentially ungovernable”. The Emperor “exercised but a shadowy control” over the Aenus region of Southern Thrace and the islands of the Thracian Gulf: Lemnos, Imbros, Samothrace and Thasos—, which were fiefs of the Genoese dynasty of the Gattilusi. (*) These towns remained Byzantine until 1453. (**) That is: the coast as far as southern Thessaly. The Malian or Maliakos Gulf cuts into east-central Greece, near Thermopylae, opposite the top of Euboea. Lamia was/is inland from the top of the Gulf. c. 1403: Italy: The Florentine scholar Leonardo Bruni translates into Latin St Basil's 4th century Greek essay ‘To the Younger Generation on Making Good Use of Greek Literature’. Being written by one of the great Church Fathers, this text served as a useful defence against the critics of the ancient pagan writers. Clavijo’s Visit, 1403 Ruy González de Clavijo was the ambassador of Henry III of Castile to the court of Timur, founder and ruler of the Timurid Empire. Here are extracts about the Aegean region from his memoirs. “On Saturday, the 6th of October [1403], at dawn, they [the sailors/rowers transporting the Spanish envoys] made sail, and directed their course between the land of Turkey, and the said island of Metellin [Mytilene, i.e. Lesbos], until they reached Cape St Mary. On Sunday they doubled the cape, and came in sight of a desert island called Tenio [Tenedos], on the left hand; and an inhabited island, belonging to Constantinople, called Nembro [Imbros]. “They entered the strait of Romania [the Dardanelles]; and the entrance is so narrow that it is not more than eight miles across.” “Gallipoli, a castle and town on the Grecian [sic: European] side, . . . is occupied by the Mussulman Ahalali, eldest surviving son of the Turk. In the said port of Gallipoli, the Turk [i.e. the Sultan] has all his fleet of ships and galleys, 40 in number; and the castle is strongly fortified, with a large garrison” (trans. Markham: see reference below).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

Constantinople in 1403 “Though the circuit of the walls is . . . very great and the area spacious, the city is not throughout very densely populated. There are within its compass many hills and valleys where corn [wheat] fields and orchards are found, and among the orchardlands there are hamlets and suburbs which are all included within the city limits. The most populous quarter of the city is along the lower level by the shore towards the point that juts into the Sea [of Marmara]. The trading quarter of the city is down by the gates which open on the strand [of the Golden Horn] and which are facing the opposite gates which pertain to the city of Pera [Galata], for it is here that the galleys and smaller vessels come to port to discharge their cargoes, and here by the strand it is that the people of Pera meet those of Constantinople and transact their business and commerce. Everywhere throughout the city there are many great palaces, churches and monasteries, but most of them are now in ruin. It is however plain that in former times when Constantinople was in its pristine state it was one of the noblest capitals of the world.” The Valens Aqueduct was perhaps, but probably not, still in use: “there stretches from hill to hill, rising above the houses and orchards, the Aqueduct, and this carries water that is used to irrigate all these orchards”. —Clavijo, Embassy to Tamerlane 1403-1406. Ed. Guy le Strange (London, 1928) pp.87-89. But in another translation, we read that “in a part below the church which is dedicated to the Holy Apostle, there is a bridge reaching from one valley to another, over houses and gardens, by which water used to come, for the irrigation of those gardens” (trans. Markham, p.46, at http://www.archive.org/stream/narrativeembass01markgoog/narrativeembas s01markgoog_djvu.txt) A modern Spanish edition of Clavijo renders this passage as “por esta dicha puente [by this bridge] solía ir [used to go] agua de que se regaban [water with which they were watering/they watered: Preterite Imperfect tense, conveying the Past when relating a story] estas huertas [those kitchen-gardens/orchards]”. Page 50 of the text as published by Linkgua ediciones, 2007; also online (2009) at http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/servlet/sirveobras/1259317533014040308784 6/. “The sea between Pera and Constantinople [i.e. the Golden Horn] is narrow, not being more than a mile across, which is the third of a league; and this sea serves as the port for both cities; and I hold it to be the best and most beautiful in the world, and the most secure from all winds.” Trebizond “The city of Trebizond is built near the sea, and its wall rises up over some rocks, and on the highest part there is a very strong castle, which has another wall round it. A small river passes by the castle, and dashes over the rocks, and on this side the city is very strong, but on the other side it is on open ground. Outside the city walls there are suburbs, and the most beautiful part is a street


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years near the sea, which is in one of these suburbs, where they sell all the things required in the city.” “The Greeks [of Trebizond] are armed with bows and swords, and other arms like the Turks, and they have cavalry.” “The emperor [of Trebizond] and his son were dressed in imperial robes. They wore, on their heads, tall hats surmounted by golden cords, on the top of which were cranes' feathers;* and the hats were bound with the skins of martens. They call the emperor Germanoli [Gk Kyr Manoli: ‘lord Manuel’: Manuel III Megas Komnenos] and his son Quelex [kyr Alexius, aged 21]; and they call the son emperor as well as the father, because it is the custom to call the eldest legitimate son emperor, although his father may be alive; and the Greek name for emperor, is Basileus. This emperor pays tribute to Timour Beg, and to other Turks, who are his neighbours.” (*) Tall plumed hats are depicted on Greek soldiers in a Florentine painting on a wooden marriage chest of c. 1462 depicting the Turkish capture of Constantinople and Trebizond (reproduced in black & white in Heath, Byzantine Armies 1118-1461, 1995; coloured online, 2009, at http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/dome/ho_14.39.htm). 1403-13: Civil war in Turkish Anatolia: conflicts between the sons of Bayezid and with other Turkish princes. Reassertion of Ottoman power: final end of the emirate of Aydin 1403; end of Saruhan 1410. Struggle between Isa, Muhammad (Mehmed), Sulaiman and Musa, 1402-1413. In this period Bosnia, Serbia and Wallachia were able to throw off Turkish suzerainty, meaning that they would have to be reconquered later. 1405: d. Timur of Samarkand. 1403-33: “Writers of the time agree that the city [Constantinople] had virtually fallen into ruin when it passed [1453] into Turkish hands. Clavijo [a Castilian diplomat: quoted earlier], who came to the city in 1403, writes that the city was ‘empty’ and the doors of St. Sophia were lying on the ground; Buendelmonti writes, in 14191420, that the Church of the Apostles had become a ruin and the cisterns were being used as vineyards; Bertrandon de la Broquiere [a Burgundian spy or pilgrim] writes that in 1433 the city was [almost] ‘totally empty’” (see there for fuller quotes). – This meant that its unoccupied sections were much more extensive than the parts where people lived. Clavijo, quoted in Norwich 1996, p.388: “It is poorly populated; for in the midst of it are a number of hills and valleys on [sic] which there are fields of corn [i.e. wheat and barley] and vineyards and many orchards; and in these cultivated


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years areas the houses are clustered together like villages; and this is in the midst of the city”. Cf above: 1397. Also cf 1450: population of perhaps 50-75,000. This was perhaps one-tenth of the maximum in the 6th century, so we may imagine that up to 80% of the area inside the walls was unused, or only occasionally used for growing wheat and other crops. 1404: Last mention of the Varangian Guard (perhaps). Adam Usk, the Welsh chronicler, briefly banished to Rome by his English king, encounters there Byzantine ambassadors visiting the pope. They tell him or seem to tell him that Manuel II’s retinue in Byzantium includes Britons who carry axes: “men of British race . . . bear axes in their country, which others do not”* (quoted by Bartusis p. 275). —One imagines that at this late date they were a small bodyguard. (*) ‘Your actual Englishman’ did not make much use of large axes in this period; but of course in Ireland and Scotland the famous ‘gallowglass’ [Ir. gallóglaigh +s] preserved and re-perfected the use of the two-handed infantry axe from AD 1290 to the early 1600s . . . Chris Given-Wilson ed., The Chronicles of Adam Usk, OUP reprint 1997 p.199, seems to imply that the men in question may have been ordinary English mercenaries freshly appeared at Constantinople, not specifically axe-armed infantrymen, mentioned in letter of 1402 from Manuel to Henry IV, following Manuel’s visit to England in1400. That is, perhaps the ambassadors in Rome were simply recalling the earlier history of the English in Constantinople. D’Amato p.12 suggests that the English soldiers of 1402-04 were mixed-blood descendants of Varangians. Otherwise, we have mention of Varangians in Byzantine documents in 1400 and 1395, although there it is not clear if they were still soldiers in service (Bartusis p.275). The last definite last mention of Varangians in military service is in the year 1341 in Cantacuzenus’s memoirs. In that year Kantakouzenos selected 500 men as bodyguards for Emperor John V, adding to them 'axe-bearing Varangians, as many as there were in service'. Since in 1352 (see there) Kantakouzenos recruited 500 Catalans for his own personal guard, we may imagine the Varangians were few in 1341. c. 1405/1407: Or in 1410: The Morea: The cleric and scholar called “Plethon” [Georgios Gemistos, aged about 45] was exiled to Mistra by his friend and admirer the Emperor of Constantinople, Manuel II Palaeologus, because the Orthodox clergy were outraged at his neoplatonic doctrines. He had studied for a period in the Turkish capital, Edirne/Adrianople. Mistra, a town in the southern portion of the


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Peloponnesus just five km from ancient Sparta, was capital of the largely autonomous despotate of Morea. See 1438. 1406: The Morea: The Despot Theodore I, the implacable foe of the Navarrese and the Zaccarias of Arcadia* (Centurione and Stephen), made a last effort to conquer the principality of Achaia in 1406. Despite his alliance with Carlo Tocco of Cephalonia and Centurione's brother Stephen, he once more was cheated of his objective (Setton, Crusades p.161). (*) Until 1402 the Prince of Achaia had been the Navarrese captain San Superano; his widow Maria Zaccaria then ruled as regent until 1404, when their overlord Ladislas King of Naples/Sicily [Anjou-Capet] recognised her nephew Centurione Zaccaria as Prince (“Prince of Achaea, lord of Arcadia, baron of Chalandritza”). 1407: Suleyman crosses into Asia and, in Mehmet’s absence, seizes his brother’s seat of Bursa. Meanwhile another brother, Musa, attacks Edirne (Norwich 1996: 372-74). See 1410 and 1410-11. The relevant sons of Bayezid, all with his wife Devlet (d. 1411), were as follows. “Çelebi” is just an honorific, not a name: a. Süleyman Çelebi, aged 30 in 1407, Co- Sultan of Rumelia: Murdered in 1410. b. Isa Çelebi, Governor of Anatolia (Balıkesir and Bursa ) (d. 1406) - son of Devlet Hatun. c. Musa Çelebi, Sultan of Rumelia (1410–1413 ) (d. 1413) - son of Devlet Shah Hatun. d. Mehmed Çelebi, aged 25 in 1407: Governor of Anatolia (Amasya) and later as Ottoman Sultan Mehmed I Çelebi, (1389–1421) - son of Devlet Hatun. 2. So good were the relations between Byzantium and the Ottomans that Manuel for the first time could leave the capital and travel to Thessalonica and Mistra. (Both sides of the Dardanelles were Turkish.) He did so after the death of his brother Theodore, Despot of the Morea. Still in Mistra when John VII also dies at Thessalonica, Manuel hastens there to install his third son, eight years old Andronicus (Norwich 1996: 373; Nicol, Last Centuries p.324). 1409: Russian alliance: Marriage of 17 years old Prince Ióannés (John) VIII Palaiologos, future co-Emperor of Byzantium, 1421-25 and then Emperor 1425-48, born 16.12.1392, died 31.10.1448; to 16 years old Anna of Moscow, 1393-1417, eldest dau. of Vasiliy I, Great or Grand Prince of Moscow, the most powerful of the several Russian princes. 169

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

1409-10: The plague killed “10,000” people in Constantinople according the ‘Short Chronicles’. The Byzantine historian Sphrantzes says that the same plague killed Bayezid’s son Yusuf, a hostage given to the Byzantines, but the date is contested. Yusuf’s death is not mentioned in the Turkish sources, perhaps because he converted to Christianity before dying (Marien 2009: 55-56). 1410: 1. Such was the rate of migration, and the flood of refugees after the defeat at the hands of Timur, that the Byzantine historian Michael Doukas, fl. 1450, believed that already by 1410 there were more Turks in Europe than in Asia (Runciman 1965: 42). 2. Ottoman civil war: The Battle of Kosmidion, 15 June 1410, was fought between the forces of Musa Çelebi and the supporters of Suleyman Çelebi just outside the land walls of Constantinople: within sight of the Blachernai Palace (!). During the battle, some of Musa's vassals, including the Serb Vuk Lazarevic, deserted him and joined Suleyman. It ended in a victory for Suleyman Çelebi: but see next. Musa fled to Bulgaria, accompanied by his Wallachian allies (Dimitris Kastritsis, The Sons of Bayezid: Empire Building and Representation in the Ottoman Civil War of 1402-13, Brill 2007, p.150). 3. Manuel II turns 60. 4. Venice’s naval forces: By 1410, according to Norwich (A History of Venice, New York: Knopf, 1982, p.269), Venice had a “navy” of “3,300” ships [sic!!*] manned by 36,000 men [sic! 11 rowers per “ship”], and had recently taken over most of mainland Venetia, including such important towns as Verona and Padua [140406]. A further 16,000 people worked in the Arsenal (Venice’s dockyard and weapons factory). More exactly, as given by Doge Tommaso Mocenigo (1414-1423), Venice had “300” navi or large ships in 1423. The seamen employed on them totalled only 8,000 men, i.e, 26 or 27 per vessel. In addition there were “3,000” small craft, including sailing boats (“cogs”): very small, as they employed just “17,000” men or five or six men each. Total vessels 3,300.* Total seamen: “25,000” (Lane, Venetian Ships pp.106 and 253). Now the prescribed crew of a standard galley was “212” men in 1412 (Lane, Venetian Ships p.254). Using this with Mocenigo’s “8,000” men, Venice could have dispatched only 37 standard galleys . . . Indeed, in 1424, when a “powerful” fleet was desired, the Senate voted to arm 25 galleys (ibid). So, most of the ‘300’ large ships must have been in mothballs at any one time. (*) To interrogate this figure further, we may imagine that two-thirds of the ’36,000’ men were drawn from the lagoon-city of Venice itself: viz 24,000. (Many oarsmen serving Venice came from Dalmatia.) Ships crews needed to be ablebodied males; so that ’24,000’ men would represent a total population (men, women and children: babies to old women) of perhaps 144,000. Now the estimates for Venice’s total population in 1400 range from 110,000 to 200,000 – 170

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years with a figure under 150,000 to be preferred (UNESCO 2000: History of humanity p.18; David Nicolle & Christopher Rothero, The Venetian Empire 1200-1670, Osprey Publishing, 1989 p.5; Hendrik Spruyt, The sovereign state and its competitors: an analysis of systems change, Princeton University Press, 1996 p.132). It follows that the ‘3,300’ “ships” were nothing more than simply all the tiny boats and large ships that could in principle be manned by the entire male population, and in no sense a measure of Venice’s power to project itself militarily across the Mediterranean. Indeed Pryor says that the largest fleet ever dispatched by any Italian city was “165” galleys, launched by Genoa in 1295; and that was in an era when galleys used fewer men per oar: two men per oar, 54 oars, 108 oarsmen per ship (Pryor in Morrison & Gardner, eds.,The age of the galley: Mediterranean oared vessels since pre-classical times, Conway 1995 p.222). Setton notes (Papacy p.295) that 200 men (oarsmen and others including fighting troops) was a typical complement for a Venetian galley in the earlier 1300s.** Using this with our figure of “24,000” able-bodied men, Venice could in principle have manned about 120 galleys (that is, if all of standard size).** But most of Venice’s population of course would have been involved in primary production, i.e. farming and fishing etc. They could not have been released to serve as oarsmen for months in the Levant … (**) Cogs (small, high-sitting sailing ships) were also widely used after 1350 (Lane, Republic 1973: 123).

Above: Later style of Venetian galley.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 1410-11: Thrace: Musa defeats his brother Suleiman (15 June 1410) and takes Edirne (1411); Suleiman is strangled (Norwich 1996: 374). 1411-13: Musa Çelebi rules as Ottoman sultan at Edirne/Adrianople. With the help of the voyvode of Wallachia, he attacked Edirne in 1411 and seized it from his brother Sulayman. Musa Çelebi struck coins in his own name. The Byzantines and Serbs allied themselves with Mehmed (in Bursa). The feud between the remaining two heirs to the Ottoman throne, Princes Musa (at Edirne) and Mehmet (at Brusa), served not only to weaken the Ottoman Empire but to further strengthen Byzantium's position. As Prince Musa besieged Constantinople (from August 1411), Manuel struck an arrangement with Prince Mehmet whose troops the Byzantines ferried across to attack his brother's forces outside Constantinople. The Serbs and Byzantines provided troops to aid Mehmet’s army. Ther were two campaigns by Mehmet, the first in which he (and Manuel) lost, the second he won. Thus, the siege had to be lifted (June-July 1412 AD) (Norwich 1996: 375). Mehmet pursued Musa into Serbia (see next) and killed him. Now as undisputed sultan, he was suitably grateful to Manuel. See next. Musa sent a further army to Thessalonica and it too was subjected to a siege at this time: Fine 1994: 507. 1413: 1. The western Black Sea coast: As noted, in 1412-13 Manuel supported Mehmet (Ar. Muhammad) in the war against his brother Musa. In 1413 Mehmet confirmed the peace treaty of Gallipoli with Byzantium, which thereby regained further territories on the Black Sea. Turkish Bulgaria: During Musa's siege of Constantinople, Mehmed had moved his troops (and a small number of Byzantine soldiers) south of his brother's position, entered Sofia and pushed on to Nis, where he was joined by the Serbs under the Ottoman vassal Stefan Lazarevic (total forces some 10,000). Mehmed then turned around and in 1413 met Musa's forces at Jamurlu (Çamurlu) near Sofia in our west-central Bulgaria (July 1413). Mehmed, who Constantinople favoured, won the battle; Musa lost his life. Byzantium’s assistance was crucial because only it had the ships ansd boats to ferry Mehmet’s large army across the straits, as well as provide a safe place for it to assemble prior to the campaign and retreat in case of defeat (Dimitris Kastritsis ,The sons of Bayezid: empire building and representation in the Ottoman civil war of 1402-13, Brill 2007, pp.189ff). We cannot think that “the many infidels” (ie Christian troops) contibuted by Manuel, as the Turkish chronicler describes them, amounted to even as many as 1,000 men. The Ottoman Empire was finally reunited under Sultan Mehmed I (1413-21), and the reorganization of the state could begin. Cf 1416. 2. In Samos, the Genoese under the Giustiniani regained supremacy (from the Venetians) and ruled the island together with Chios.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 1413-21: Mehmed, Ottoman sultan, aged 31 in 1413. See 1416. Mehmed realized how precarious was the balance of power in Europe, and how unsettled was the situation in his own lands, and he knew that the descendants of Timur could still challenge him at any moment in Anatolia. He therefore became a man of peace after 1413, concentrating on his domestic problems. 1414: Proceeding via Thasos, Manuel visits Thessalonica accompanied by contingents of infantry and cavalry. His party consisted of four galleys and two horse transports (Norwich 1996: 376); so the number of troops was probably around 400. See next. 1414-15: Manuel tours his impoverished, or presumably impoverished, realms: see 1422. Having repulsed (1414) an attack by Genoese from Lesbos on the island of Thasos in the NW Aegean, he sojourned there for three months (Norwich 1996: 377). Manuel, with a fleet of four galleys and two other vessels carrying some infantry and cavalry, re-took (1414) the island of Thasos from the Genoese; or else he repulsed an attempt by the Genoese to take it (Treadgold 1997: 791). (The Genoese held a large stretch of islands and parts of the coast of the Turkishdominated eastern Aegean.) He then winters in Thessalonica before visiting the Peloponnesus (the Morea) in 1415. This involved sailing (rowing) through the Venetian-dominated south Aegean. Cf 1416, 1422 and 1423. The 5th century Hexamilion (“six mile”) wall across the isthmus near Corinth was rebuilt in 1415; eight years later, however, the Turks found it unmanned. See 1423 (Bartusis, LBA p.115 ff). When first built in the 6th century it had 153 towers and a castle at either end. Since it took Manuel’s men just 25 days to rebuild (Nicol, Last Centuries p.328), one would guess that not everything was re-created. On the other hand, the work was expensive: the extra taxes levied for this in the Morea caused an uprising. — The tax he imposed for the rebuilding of the Hexamilion provoked rebellion but in July 1415 at Kalamata in the south Manuel’s few hundred troops were enough to defeat the rebels (Norwich 1996: 377; Bradbury 2004: 175). See 1417. 1415, Battle of Agincourt: The English under Henry V defeat the French. Anne Curry has recently argued there were more English and Welsh troops than previously thought, and far fewer on the French side. She was able to count the number of soldiers on both sides accurately because all were paid recruits. Their names and wages were recorded. She calculates that total numbers were about 8,000 (mainly foot archers) on Henry’s side and 12,000 on the French. Curry: Agincourt, A New History, 2005.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Cf 1425: 25,000 Turks invade the Morea. 1415-1439: Italy: Traverarai translates many early Christian Greek texts into Latin. 1416: 1. Venice, Constantinople and Wallachia [present-day Rumania: nominally a Turkish protectorate] ally against Mehmed, who also has to mollify Timur’s son Shahrukh, his nominal overlord in Iran. — Byzantium supported the challenge by Mehmed’s other brother Mustafa who had reappeared, probably from the East, after the civil war was decided. In this war Venice destroyed Mehmed’s fleet near Gallipoli in 1416, but he defeated Mustafa, who sought refuge in Byzantine Thessalonica. In the peace that ensued, the sultan promised not to attack Byzantine territory in exchange for Manuel's agreement to hold Mustafa prisoner (he was confined on Lemnos). — When the Ottoman fleet was defeated by the Venetians near Gallipoli and the crews of the ships were captured, many Greeks were among the prisoners; they were not just sailors but also timar-holders, i.e. holding land received in return for soldiering for the Sultan (Zachariadou p.216). Also many of the hired crew in the Ottoman fleet during the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1416 were Genoese (Gábor Ágoston & Bruce Masters, Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire 2009, p.427). 2. Further Ottoman siege of Thessalonica (Russell 2010: p.21).

French crossbowman, 1417. After the John Rous Pageant c.1485 at Caen (1417). 1417-18: The Peloponnesus: The tiny imperial army of Constantinople (see after 1421-22 below), led by the future Emperor prince John VIII (aged 25) and the despotes 174

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Theodore II Palaeologus, invaded (1417) Italian-ruled Achaea. They also harrassed the hinterlands of the several Venetian-ruled ports. Some very fantastic figures are given for the number of Byzantine troops; one figure in an Italian source is “10,000” horse and “5,000” archers (Bartusis, p.266): this is perhaps credible if we lop a zero off the number of cavalry. And one guesses that few of the ‘archers’ would be salaried professionals.* John and Theodore’s men took the Messenia region in the south-west and the Elide (Elis/Ilia) valley and forced Centurione Zaccaria, the Genoese prince of Achaea, to hole up in Clarentsa [or Glarentza, present-day Kyllini in the far west, the major port of Achaia: at the westernmost tip: nearest port to Cephalonia], from which he fled by sea in spring 1418. A little later, Patras too [the northern town on the Gulf of Patras] fell. Only by the mediation of the Venetians who held Navarrino or Pylos, the port of Messenia, was Centurione able to secure a truce (Setton, Crusades, pp162-63; also his Papacy at p.10). (*) A post-conquest census taken by the Ottomans in 1461 found that the population of the Morea/Peloponnesus was “20,000” households, which presumably equates to something around 100,000 people, or a little less (F. Zarinebaf et al., ‘Historical and economic geography of Ottoman Greece’, Hesperia, supplement 34, (2005), Princeton USA: online www2.let.uu.nl/solis/anpt/ejos/pdf8/wright-fin-01.pdf; accessed 2008). The area of the Peloponnesus is some 21,500 sq km; thus the population density was under five persons per sq km, which was quite low by medieval standards : perhaps a reflection of the region’s recent woes [cf Stathakopoulos 2008 offers conservative figures for a population density, Empire-wide, in the whole Byzantine millennium, of nine people per km2 in tough times, rising to 15 per km2 in fair to good times]. For the purposes of a thought experiment, let us suppose that the Despotate had 75,000 subjects in 1417 (Greeks, Albanians and Latins). The number of ablebodied grown males might have been 12,500; so a full “call-out” ought to have been able to realise 6,000+ armed men. Urban life in Frankish and ex-Frankish Greece was primarily limited to the harbour-ports and zones: 1 Corinth; 2 Clarentza or Clarence [It. Chiarenza, Glarentsa, modern Kyllini], 3 Pylos or Port de Jonc [Port of Junch, Zanklon, Avarinos, Navarin] in Achaia, and also 5 Thebes, an "artisanal" city of the former duchy of Athens, rich from its silk workshops. A certain urban development also characterized 6 Andravida or Andreville, in the inland sector of the far west, the nominal capital of the principality of Achaia, as well as the princely residences of 7 Kalamata or Calemate: on the central-south coast in Achaia, and formerly at 8 Athens** in the duchy; although the Latin princes especially resided at ClarentzaKyllini and Thebes. (**) The Italian notary Nicolo’ da Martoni, who visited Athens itself in 1395, describes it as a “small” town of some 1,000 houses. The Acropolis had long since been converted into a medieval castle and the ‘city’ had shrunk to a settlement huddled at the foot of the rock. It was ruled by the Acciajuoli family of Florence under Venetian suzerainty. —J. M. Patton, Chapters on Medieval and Renaissance Visitors to Greek Lands, Princeton, N.J., 1951, p.32. 175

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years We may perhaps deduce from this that the chief towns of the Morea had at most 10,000 people. 1420: Plague. Sphrantzes says that in order to escape it Manuel temporarily transferred his court to the Monastery of the Periblebtos (Marien 2009: 63). 1420-21: Italian marriage alliances: Manuel’s eldest son John (aged 28) married Sophia of Montferrat, and Theodore the Despot of the Morea (aged about 25) marries the daughter of the Count of Rimini. John was at the same time crowned co-emperor as John VIII (Norwich 1996: 381-82). 1420-35: From medieval to early modern? - “Quattrocento art” in N Italy: The use of the perspective vanishing point allows the Florentines to increase the range of their painting. 1421: 1. When Mehmet I in 1421 requested permission to travel from Europe to Asia via Constantinople, Manuel rejected a plan of murdering him and personally accompanied him. (The Ottomans controlled the whole Bosphoros, the southern side of the Marmara Sea, and the Dardanelles; but Mehmet and Mustafa were fighting for the throne: presumably crossing via Christian Constantinople was a low-risk option.) Cf 1422. 2. d. Mehmet; accession of Murad II, sultan 1421-44; and again 1446-51. Constantinople took the side of Mustafa Duzme (‘anti-sultan’ 1421-22) against his nephew Murad II. 1421: Pre-Renaissance 'humanism' (rediscovery of ancient texts): Discovery, at Lodi near Milan, of the complete text of Cicero's De oratore and other ancient texts. This led to a movement of "purification" in modern Latin writing - called "Ciceronianism". 1421-22: 1a. Mustafa, who Byzantium supported, crossed the Bosphorus on Genoese ships, with some 12,000 cavalry and 5,000 infantry, but was beaten by the army of his brother Murad at the beginning of the year 1422. Murad has Mustafa publicly hanged (Agoston & Masters, p.399; Nancy Bisaha, Creating East and West: Renaissance humanists and the Ottoman Turks, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006, p.236). This Mustafa, who claimed to be Murad’s uncle and is called “False” Mustafa by the Turkish chronicles should be distinguished from Murad’s younger brother, “Little” Mustafa, who was strangled in 1423 (Nicol, Last Centuries p.333). 1b. Sixth siege of CP: To punish Manuel for having aided Mustafa, the new sultan Murad, with some 10,000 men, besieges Constantinople; this fails after four months (8 or 10 June to 6 September 1422) (Bartusis p.117; Setton, Papacy


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years p.12; Nicol, Last Centuries p.333). Thessalonica was also blockaded. See 1423: Venetian rule. — Murat II laid a siege the moment he ascended the Ottoman throne. Just as Byzantine resistance was broken and the city had almost capitulated, a major rebellion broke out in Anatolia. A pretender to the Ottoman throne, Sultan Murat's younger brother, Prince Mustafa, started it, with help from the beys of Germiyan and Karaman. They put Bursa under threat. Once more, as brother marched against brother, the Byzantines were left to their own devices (1422 AD). By February 1423 Murat had defeated and excuted Mustafa (Shaw, Ottoman Empire I: 45). — From June to September 1422 Constantinople was besieged for the second time by the Turks. The fortifications of the city nonetheless held up to the Turkish pressure. — Byzantine women came out the help guard the walls, carrying stones and water for the soldiers (Kananos, cited in Bartusis, LBA p.308). Large cannons were deployed by Murad, for the first time in Ottoman history. Evidently they were either ineffective or poorly operated. The Turks also had various primitive handguns (Kananos, cited in LBA p. 337). 2. The same fate befell the Macedonian capital, Thessalonica. Bürak Bey, the son of Evrenos, laid siege to the city in June 1422 and ravaged Kalamaria, the eastern region of Chalcidice as far as Cassándria [SE of Thessalonica: on the lowest finger of the Chalcidice] (Vacalopoulos, trans. 1973). 3. Byzantine-ruled Morea remained prosperous. According to a Venetian report, it had more than 150 castles or forts; and it had both silk and cotton industries and overall yielded more revenues than Venetian-ruled Crete (Miller p.386). See 1423. The Byzantine Army … was of course tiny at this time. The Chronicle of the Tocco family, a Greek text written at Cephalonia after 1425, indicates that the emperor had 500 horsemen and local Byzantine lords had retinues of 20-100 armed men (ODB i:185). The population of Greece, within its modern-day boundaries, was of the order of 750,000 at this time (McEvedy & Jones Population Atlas p.113). Let us imagine that a third or 250,000 people lived in the Morea (both the Frankish and imperial sectors), and that 1% or 2,500 were semi-professional soldiers. Allowing a measure for the Frankish lords, we might give the despotate of the Morea half of these or just 1,250 trained soldiers. Cf 1423: invasion by “25,000” Turks. 1422-40:


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years The island of Lemnos/Limnos in the N Aegean is governed by Demetrios Palaiologos, Manuel II’s younger son. (In 1440 he became governor of Mesembria.) In 1437 (see there: probably because he was too untrustworthy to leave behind) he was part of the entourage of his brother Emperor John VIII Palaiologos that went to the West. This was to Florence for the Council of BaselFerrara-Florence, which sought to reunite the Catholic (Latin or West Roman) Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. 1423: 1. “Little” Mustafa, who was being used as a figurehead by Byzantium and the Anatolian emirs, is betrayed to his brother and Murad has him strangled (Nicol, Last Centuries p.333). 2. Greece: Thessaloniki was lost once more, irretrievably. Besieged by the Turks and hampered by ill health, the desperate despotes Andronikos, with his father’s approval, negotiates the transfer of Th. to Venice. The ruler of Thessalonica, Andronicus Palaeologus, and the nobles decided that it would be preferable to hand over the city to the Venetians, and this they did on condition that the Venetians would respect the town's autonomy and the privileges enjoyed by the Archbishop and the Church (Vacalopoulos, trans. 1973). Byzantine Thessaloniki, still under Turkish blockade, thus became a Venetian possession due to the sieges and famine within. It was purchased by them in return for supplies and the promise to defend it from the Turks (Norwich 1996: 385). Seven years later (1430), the Venetians will be forcibly "relieved" of their purchase when the city is stormed by the army of Sultan Murad. This reduced the emperor’s realm to just the city of Constantinople, an urban island in the middle of the Ottoman empire, along with the distant outpost of the Morea [the Peloponnesus: cf next 1423.3, and 1428]. In the meantime Murad made peace within Byzantines, in order that they would not (as the Turks feared) accept Venetian rule in Constantinople ( + see 1424). - At this time Venice dominated the southern Aegean from Crete and Euboea and also held ( against the Turks) toeholds in Epirus and p.d. Albania. Genoa clung to a number of islands off the coast of Turkish Asia Minor (where various Turkish beys, including Menteshe,were still resisting Ottoman rule). Cf 1425.


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3. The Peloponnesus: Murad’s general Turahan or Turakhan Bey invades Albania, Thessaly and the Peloponnese/Morea (May). He proceeded to the Morea with an army of “25,000” including a contingent from Italian-ruled Athens, already a vassal of the Turks. Turahan found [22 May 1423] the Hexamilion wall near Corinth undefended and his troops demolished it (Bartusis, LBA p.116; Norwich 1996: 390). Cf 1431. May 1423: The Turkish commander Turakhan Beg entered the Morea on a terrifying razzia, ravaging the land and attacking the towns of Mystras/Mistra, Leontari and Gardiki/Anavyto (both in Arcadia: SW of Tripolis and NW of Mistra) and ‘Tabia’ which is today’s Davia, about 10 km NW of Tripoli (that is, almost at the exact geographical centrepoint of the Peloponnesus: Setton, Papacy p.38). As Diana Wright relates, citing Chalcocondyles, they first made a drive down through the Nemea valley, and into the passes of Mt Lyrkeo, south-eastwards past Mantinea—the same general route as today’s E65 highway—and south down past Tripoli, as far as Mistra (the Byzantine capital). This raid was timed to take advantage of the barley harvest, and then the wheat. (Harvesting from May: winnowing from July.) After raiding the Mistra area, Turahan’s men started back north through the “miserable” passes of the Taygetos range and back up into the plain south-west of Tripoli where they assaulted two of the more important Greek towns in the Morea, Gardiki [present-day Anavyrto] and Leondari. The Greeks perhaps wisely did nothing to respond, but at Davia the local Albanians bravely confronted the Turks [5 June 1423]. Turahan’s troops captured and then slew “800” Albanians and, says Chalcocondyles, made a tower of their heads (Wright’s blog 2011 at http://surprisedbytime.blogspot.com/search/label/Turahan%20Bey). The Byzantines, and separately the local Moreot Albanians, managed to ambush Turakhan, but this was a temporary check only. The Turks prevailed,


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years and they marched home with over 7,000 Christian prisoners - 6,000 Byzantine subjects (Greeks and Albanians) and 1,260 Venetian subjects (Italians and Greeks). The emperor was obliged (1424) to purchase peace by offering an annual tribute of 100,000 hyperpyra (Miller p.387; Setton, Papacy p.17). But see the excerpt from Brocquière below, after AD 1432: he says only 10,000 were paid.

See in text below for discussion of these illustrations.

1423-48: JOHN VIII Palaeologus Son of Manuel II. Aged 31 at accession. First wife: Anna of Kiev, d. 1417: daughter of the Muscovite ruler. Second: Sophia of Montferrat. Third: Maria of Trebizond, d. 1439.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years John visited Italy in 1438-39 and as a result we have several good depictions of him: (a) A contemporary medallion by the Italian artist Pisanello famously shows an aquiline-nosed John with a full but well-trimmed and pointed beard. He wears a large high-crowned mitre-like hat. Its large front brim points forward and at the back is turned-up* (US Library of Congress: reproduced in Browning 1992: 246; image here: http://www.nga.gov/cgi-bin/pimage?44031+0+0). (*) A hat rather than a crown. A portrait of Manuel Laskaris, d. 1445, in the church of the Pantanassa in Mistra shows him in the same style of high hat. Other illustrations show John VIII wearing the familiar jewel-studded bulbous-domed crown and pendilia (side-hung pearls) of Late Byzantium. According to David Alexander, ‘Pisanello’s Hat’, Gladius XXIV, 2004: 139, the hat was not an indigenous Greek design but an Islamic type, possibly a gift from the Egyptian sultan. This is perhaps unlikely in view of the Mistra portrait of Laskaris. On the other hand, Pisanello did copy down an Arabic inscription on a robe in John VIII’s wardrobe in 1438. (b) Antonio Averlino made a bronze bust of the emperor known as Filarete (from the Greek: "lover of virtue"), probably in 1439, wearing the same imperial hat. Image here: http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Medieval/Bio/JohnVIIIPalaeolog us.html. (c) See image above: Most famously Benozzo Gozzoli in about 1460 portrayed, or ‘doctored’ a memory of, John (d. 1448) as one of the Magi in an extravagant fresco in the Capella dei Magi in Florence. Here the emperor’s hair is longer and his beard more trimmed (but very much in contrast to the beardless locals depicted in the procession). The headdress or crown (pointed crown with side decoration of curved feathers) looks totally un-Byzantine, but he wears a luxurious full black caftan with stylised designs sewn in gold. The purple boots and long spurs certainly look imperial. Image here: http://www.paradoxplace.com/perspectives/italian%20images/mon tages/firenze/capella_dei_magi.htm. 1423-24: John VIII travels to Italy for one last appeal to the Western powers. Turned away by the dukes of Milan and Mantua, he proceeded to Hungary where (summer 1424) he met the German-Hungarian king Sigisimund*, again to be disappointed. He returned to Byzantium via the Danube and Black Sea (1 November 1424) (Norwich 1996: 386; Nicol B&V p.365). (Part but not all of the European coast of the Black Sea was Ottoman territory; there were several Byzantine-controlled ports on the lower coast.)


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years (*) A Luxemburger, Sigismund was Margrave of Brandenburg from 1378. He successively became king of Hungary from 1387; ‘Germany’ (in formal terms: “King of the Romans”) from 1411; and Bohemia from 1419. He was later chosen as titular western Emperor (“Holy Roman Emperor”), in 1433. 1423-30: Ottoman-Venetian war. See 1430. 1424: 1a. A peace treaty between the Ottoman Adrianople and Byzantine Constantinople was struck during the emperor’s absence in the West. Murad concluded a new treaty with Byzantium, which, as noted, again became tribute-paying, at the rate of ‘100,000 hyperpyra’ a year (thus Baum, loc. cit.). Treadgold, 1997: 792 and note p.966, rightly prefers the more realistic sum of “about 20,000” hyperpyra, i.e. the amount given in Doukas as “300,000 aspra” [Turkish “akcha” or akçe]. By this time the hyperpyron was only a notional money of account; the tribute was paid in silver coins called aspra (singular aspron). Treadgold has “14” aspra to the hyperpyron, so more exactly: ’21,429’ hyperpyra. Or, using around 11 akçe per hyperpyron in the late 1430s: Fleet 2009, p.14: nearer 30,000 hyperpryra. Setton et al., Crusades p.257, render this 300,000 akçe as equivalent to about 10,000 ducats. Brocquière confirms this, reporting in 1432 (see there) that Byzantium was paying the Sultan “10,000 ducats”. If we use the known exchange rate of three hyperpyron per ducat (Fleet loc.cit.), that translates back to 30,000 hyperpyra. 1b. Mount Athos was cut off from Greek (but Venetian-ruled) Thessaloniki; and finally, in 1424, a delegation of monks, with the approval of the Despot Andronicos Palaeologos, paid homage to Sultan Murad in Adrianople, thus ushering in the second period of Ottoman rule over the Holy Mount (Athanasios Karakatsanis & Basile Atsalos, eds., Treasures of Mount Athos. Mouseio Vyzantinou Politismou (Thessaloniki Greece), Greece: Hypourgeio Politismou, Ministry of Culture, Museum of Byzantine Culture, 1997 p.9). 2. The Ottomans re-annexe Menteshe (SW Asia Minor). 1425: 1. Death of the retired Manuel II; John VIII rules as sole monarch. 2. Greece: The Turks had 30,000 men (Vacalopoulos’s figure: Setton et al. p.257 prefer 5,000) engaged in the siege of Venetian-ruled Thessalonica, against whom were ranged 700 Italian balistarii (crossbowmen) supported by the Greek townsfolk (Bartusis, p.298). In addition, the Venetian infantry were supported by the five galleys which were anchored in the harbour of Thessalonica. On the Venetian flank, and with his own body of troops, fought Mustafa, one of Bayezid's five sons and a claimant to the Turkish throne. The enemy's attacks were repulsed; in fact, after losing 2,000 men the Turks' hopes were dashed and they were forced to withdraw for a time (Vacalopoulos 1973; Kenneth Setton, Harry Hazard & Norman Zacour, A History of the Crusades: The Impact of the Crusades on Europe, Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1990). + See 1430. 182

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

2. The Ottomans reassert (1425) their rule down the east coast of Asia Minor annexation of Menteshe, 1426. The emirate of Karaman remained independent in SE Asia Minor. 1427: 1a. The Morea: Byzantium’s last naval victory in the ‘Battle of the Echinades’.* John VIII, his brother Constantine, and George Sphrantzes lead a campaign against Carlo Tocco, Lord of Cephalonia and Epirus, “duke of Leucadia” [mod. Lefkada],* who had seized the port of Glarentsa/Clarenza (Killini). While John besieges Clarenza by land, a Byzantine flotilla led by Leontares destroys Tocco’s fleet among the Echinades Islands at the mouth of the Gulf of Patras. A treaty conceded Elis and Clarenza to Byzantium, although the Latins held Patras until 1429 (Setton, Papacy p.19; Nicol, Last Centuries p.346; Norwich 1996: 393). Cf 1428. (*) In the Ionian Islands, Ithaki (Ithaca) lies between Lefkada and Keffalonia (Cephalonia). The Echinades are a set of small islands nearer the coast of Epirus, opposite Ithaki. The campaign, 1427-28, against Tocco on land and sea was led by emperor John VIII and Constantine (XI), the ablest of the sons of Manuel II. John VIII gained the last naval victory of Byzantium in the battle of the Echinades islands (SE of Lefkada; east of Ithaca, Ithaki) off the Acarnanian coast, in which he destroyed the superior forces of the duke of Leucadia. Carlo not only surrendered his possessions in Elis, including Glarentsa, to Constantine but also gave him the hand of his niece Maddalena, the elder daughter of the late Leonard II. See 1428. 1b. The Byzantine authorities reorganised the Morea into three despotates, based at (a) Mistra in the south-east; (b) Glarentza near Kyllini in the far west; and (c) Kalavryta in the north. 1428: Prince Konstantinos XI "Dragasés" Palaiologos, future Emp. of Byzantium, born 1405, died 1453, marries Maddalena-Theodora Tocco (dies 1429)—niece of Carlo Tocco of Epirus and dau. of Leonardo II, Lord of Zante in the Ionian Islands. 1428-29: Plague at Ottoman Bursa. Many of the notables died, suggesting that the practice of ‘escaping fast and far’ may not have been practised, or else the Sultan prevented them from fleeing (Marien 2009: 65-66, 89). 1428-32: Following the victory over Tocco, old Latin Achaea returns to the Byzantines. In 1429, Thomas Palaeologus of the Morea besieged the last “Frankish” lord Centurione in Chalandritsa and extracted a treaty from him whereby his daughter, Catherine, would marry him and thus make him Centurione's heir in


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Achaea. Centurione was allowed to keep his inheritance of Arcadia. Centurione retired to Arcadia in 1430, after the marriage was finalised. He died there a short two years later. His domains passed to the despotate of Morea and into Byzantine hands* (Fine 1994: 544). Thus the whole of the Morea now briefly returned to Greek rule, except for the Venetian ports of Corone, Modone, Argos and Nauplia. Various Latin lords ruled south-central Greece, from southern Epirus to Athens, constituting a buffer zone between the Ottoman Balkans and the Morea. See 1430 and 1432. (*) The Morea was divided thus between the three junior Palaiologoi princes: 1. Theodore [aged about 36 in 1432] retained the south-east including the traditional capital of Mistra. 2. Constantine [aged 27] ruled the areas north of Arcadia including Kalavryta and Patras, and the northwest including Corinth. 3. Thomas [aged about 25] held the title of Despot, ruling the southwest, northwest and Arcadia (the centre). Theodore had an honorary precedence but was given no authority over his brothers (Fine loc.cit.)

1429: Joan of Arc at the siege of Orleans, SSW of Paris. In 1430 she is captured by the Burgundians; and in 1431 tried and hanged. At this time nearly all of northern France and some parts of the southwest were under foreign control. The English ruled Paris, while the Burgundians controlled Reims. The French claimant, Charles of Valois (“the Dauphin”), maintained an itinerant court in the Loire Valley at castles such as Chinon (near Tours) and Bourges, higher up on (east along) the Loire. Joan first met Charles at Chinon. She was tested for orthodoxy by clerics at Poitiers, south of Chinon. She then proceeded to victory at Orleans, SSW of Paris. 1430: The Ottomans take Thessalonica from Venice, 29 March, and in Epirus they capture Ioannina. A large Ottoman fleet attacked Salonika/Thessaloniki by surprise. The Venetians later signed a peace treaty, in 1432. The treaty gave the Ottomans the city of Salonika and the surrounding land. The Turkish land army, supposedly “190,000” men, came up on 26 March (Nicol, B&V 1992: 371, and Last Centuries p.138). Dropping a zero gives the more likely number of 19,000 [see below after 1432: Bertrandon’s figures]. Murad was expecting a peaceful surrender but the Turks found the Venetians and Greeks ready to resist. (A count of the men on the walls revealed the alarming weakness of the defence: there was only one man to every two or three crenelles in the walls! - Vacalopoulos. Or as Doukas put it, “barely one crossbowman to cover 10 turrets”: Bartusis p.298.)


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years There were three days’ preparations. Each day, long lines of camels and ox-carts could be seen bringing up siege-engines and other war-material. Then a general assault was launched under the command of Sinan (Karasinan) Pasha, beylerbey of the Turkish European territories, ‘the general of the West’, as an eye-witness, John Anagnostes, calls him. “Their war-cry alone would have been enough to shake from its foundations an even greater and more populous city than Thessalonica”: so ran the Venetian war-report. There was spirited resistance (Greek women also participated) but the Turks soon burst into the city, some by means of ladders and others through breaches in the walls, and brandishing their swords, swept down through the streets towards the lower parts of the city. At the same time they broke through the walls at several points. Some 7,000 captives (Anagnostes’s estimate) were dragged off as slaves to the tents of the Turkish camp — an ill-assorted mass of men, women and children, bound together in lines. Churches, monuments and other public buildings became the scene of frenzied searches for hidden treasure, as each and every stone was suspected of concealing some secreted hoard (thus Vacalopoulos, excerpted at the site http://history-of-macedonia.com/, accessed 2011; also New Cambridge Medieval History (NCMH), Vol. 7, 1998: 778, and Norwich 1996: 395). The Aegean Region in 1430 Genoa dominated at sea in the eastern Aegean and in the Black Sea, where its traders controlled small land enclaves on the coast of Asia Minor and in the Crimea (vs the ‘Golden Horde’ or Kipchak Khanate of Sarai). In the south, Venice dominated the seas, controlling Crete and the southern Aegean islands. On land, the large Ottoman Empire was dominant, ruling from what is now southern Serbia, Epirus and the Gulf of Corinth in the west across the Balkans and Asia Minor to the borders of Trebizond in the east. ‘East Roman’ Constantinople now controlled just a few parcels of land: the tiny hinterlands in the Asian and European peninsulas adjoining Constantinople; several towns on the Black Sea coast of Turkish-ruled former Bulgaria; some N Aegean islands; and effectively the whole Peloponnesus (“Morea”): vs the Duchy of Athens (Time Atlas 1994: 100). The Faded City of Constantinople As Vasiliev notes, an interesting description of Constantinople was written by a pilgrim, envoy and spy returning from Jerusalem, an Aquitaine-born Burgundian court official Bertrandon de la Brocquière, who visited the capital of the Palaeologi at the beginning of the thirties (1432-33), shortly after the fall of Thessalonica. (See excerpts below, after 1432.) He praised the good state of the walls, the land-walls in particular, but remarks on its emptiness. He also noticed some desolation in the city; he spoke for example of the ruins and remnants of two beautiful palaces - destroyed, according to a tradition, by an Emperor at the command of a Turkish sultan. Bertrandon wrote that he saw in Constantinople many merchants of various nations, but the Venetians “had more authority”; in another place he mentioned


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Venetians, Genoese and Catalans. —A A Vasiliev, at http://www.intratext.com/ixt/eng0832/_p2b.htm; accessed 2011. In 1437, a Spanish (Castilian) traveller, Pero Tafur or Tarfur, was graciously received at Constantinople by Emperor John VIII. (Again, excerpts are quoted below, after 1437.) When, on his way back from the Crimea and Trebizond, Tafur visited Constantinople again, the “Despotes Dragas”, i.e. Constantine, John’s brother, was governing there, for John himself at that time was in Italy. Tafur remarked that “the church they called Valayerna [the Blachernai: in the far NW sector] is today so burnt that it cannot be repaired”; that “the dockyard must have been magnificent; even now it is sufficient to house the ships”. “The Emperor’s Palace must have been very magnificent, but now it is in such state that both it and the city show well the evils which the people have suffered and still endure . . . The city is sparsely populated . . . The inhabitants are not well clad, but sad and poor [or: “poor and shabby”]” (extract quoted in Norwich 1996: 389). 1431: The Morea: Evidently the Hexamilion wall near Corinth had been rebuilt, for when Turahan (Ottoman governor of Thessaly since 1423) again invaded the Morea he had it destroyed once more. It had 153 towers and a castle at each end (Bartusis, LBA p.116; Nicolle 2008: 82) Cf 1443. 30 May 1431: The English burn to death Joan of Arc at Rouen. 1432: 1. A Byzantine embassy went to the West for a church council; confused negotiations continued for several years, and it was not until 1437 that the council was convened (see there). 2. The Morea: When the despot Thomas, the emperor’s brother, inherits the last portion of the Principality of Achaea, the Byzantines finally ruled the whole Peloponnesus or Morea, except for the Venetian ports of Methone or Modon and Korone or Coron, both on the left-most cape, and Nauplia at the the top of the eastern gulf. See map. Thomas Palaiologus ruled from Clarenza, present-day Killini, on the coast near the NW point of the Morea, while his older brother Constantine ruled as senior Despot from Mistra in the SE (Runciman 1965: 50).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years

1430s: Italy: First 'moral dialogues' (high-style prose) written in the Italian vernacular, by Alberti and Palmieri. They are entirely secular in tone, showing the "liberation" of (some) high culture from Christian domination. Byzantium in Bertrandon de Brocquière’s Le Voyage d'Outre-Mer, 1432-33 Online at http://www.archive.org/stream/travelsbertrand00legrgoog/travelsbertrand00l egrgoog_djvu.txt. Brocquiere, aged about 32 in 1432, was a senior official at the court of Philip ‘the Good’, duke of Burgundy, during whose reign, 1419-1467, Burgundy was at its peak: the capital was Dijon, north of Lyon and Geneva. He left on a pilgrimage to the East in that year, sailing from Venice to Jaffa. After visiting Jerusalem, he joined a Muslim land caravan that was travelling to Bursa. He crossed from Asia Minor probably in December 1432 as he was in Constantinople until 23 January 1433. We deal here only with the Aegean parts of his journey. From Bursa he travelled to Nicomedia and thence overland to the Bosphoros. “All this country is difficult to travel; but beyond Nicomedia, toward Constantinople, it is very fine, and tolerably good travelling. It is more peopled with Greeks than Turks; but these Greeks have a greater aversion to the Latin Christians than the Turks themselves.” (The Ottomans had just taken Nicaea – in


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 1331, and Nicomedia remained under Byzantine rule, albeit that the hinterlands wee dominated by the Turks.) At Constantinople he had run-ins with Greeks, evidently because they quickly identified him as a Latin, prompting this warning: “All those [Greeks] with whom I have had any concerns have only made me more suspicious, for I have found more probity in the Turks.” Describing Genoese Pera, he writes: “The port is the handsomest of all I have seen, and I believe I may add, of any in the possession of the Christians, for the largest Genoese vessels may lie alongside the quays; but as all the world knows this, I shall not say more.” Describing the Byzantine city itself, he mentions the discrete urban villages that constituted it, thus: “Constantinople is formed of many separate parts, so that it contains several open spaces to a greater extent than those built on. The largest vessels can anchor under its walls as at Pera: it has besides a small harbour in the interior, capable of containing three or four galleys. This is situated to the southward, near a gate . . .”. The harbour in question was probably the Harbour of Sophia (or ‘of Julian’) near the southern end of the Hippodrome (cf Magdalino in Laiou ed., 2002: 536). The Harbour of Theodosius, into which the River Lykos ran, had already silted up centuries earlier. “This prince [the emperor] must be under great subjection to the Turk, since he pays him, as I am told, a tribute of 10,000 ducats annually; and this sum is only for Constantinople, for beyond that town he possesses nothing but a castle situated three leagues to the north and in Greece [sic: he means the European side] a small city called Salubria (“two days journey” from the capital; recte: Selymbria, Tk: Silivri). Selymbria fell to the Turks in 1399; but it had been returned in the treaty of 1403. Bertrandon attended a church service at Hagia Sophia out of curiosity and to catch sight of the emperor John VIII and his empress. He had heard that the empress, Maria of Trebizond, as well as being beautiful, rode her horse astride: “I was also desirous to see how she mounted her horse; for it was thus she had come to the church, attended only by two ladies, three old men, ministers of state, and three of that species of men [i.e. eunuchs] to whose guard the Turks entrust their wives.” She and John then rode back to the place at the other end of the city. Next he mentions the Hippodrome: “In the front of St Sophia is a large and handsome square, surrounded with walls like a palace, where games were performed in ancient times. I saw the brother of the emperor, the despot of the Morea [Theodore II, then aged about 37], exercising himself there, with a score of other horsemen. Each had a bow, and they galloped along the inclosure, throwing their hats before them, which, when they had passed, they shot at; and he who with his arrow pierced his hat, or was nearest to it, was esteemed the most expert. This exercise they had adopted from the Turks, and was one of which they were endeavouring to make themselves masters.” Our Burgundian left Constantinople in January 1433 in the company of the Milanese ambassador to the sultan, bound for the Ottoman capital Adrianople (Edirne). Passing Selymbia, whence the highway runs NW to Adrianople, he notes that “this country is completely ruined, and has but poor villages.” Conditions improved further on in Ottoman territory: “The country from 188

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Constantinople hither [i.e, to Adrianople] is good, and well watered, - but thinly peopled, having fertile valleys that produce everything but wood.” “We [eventually] came to Adrianople, a large commercial town, very populous, and situated on a great river called the Mariza, six days journey* from Constantinople. This is the strongest town possessed by the Turk in Greece [sic: Rumelia], and here he chiefly resides.” (*) They made about 45 km per day, indicating that the entire party was mounted. In 1437 (see there), the same journey took Tafur nine days. It seems implied that Murad had a core, standing army of 5,000 at Adrianople: “His household is composed of 5,000 persons, as well horse as foot, but in war-time he does not augment their pay, so that he does not expend more than in time of peace, contrary to what happens in other nations.” [This number would have included Janissaries.] “Greece [i.e. Rumelia or European Turkey, or rather, his subjects and vassals in Europe] annually supplies him with 30,000 men, whom he may lead whither he pleases, - and Turkey [i.e. Anatolia: see more below] 10,000, for whom he only finds provisions. Should he want a more considerable army, Greece alone, as they tell me, can then furnish him with 120,000 more; but he is obliged to pay for these. The pay is five aspers [Turkish: akçe] for the infantry, and eight for the cavalry.” [At this time, during the reign Mehmet II, 1423-1481, a Venetian ducat was worth 40-50 aspers: Setton, Papacy and the Levant, 1978 p.227. Spandounes, writing afrer 1453, says “54” aspers to the ducat: Nicol, Donald M., ed. (1997), Theodore Spandounes: On the origin of the Ottoman emperors, Cambridge University Press, p.109. Venetian oarsmen were paid 200 soldi (10 lira) per month or 2,400 pa or 120 lira pa in the late 1300s: Long et al., The Book of Michael of Rhodes p.42; Setton p.944.] “I have, however, heard that of these 120,000, there was but half, that is to say, the cavalry, that went properly equipped, and well armed with tarquais [quiver or bow-case] and sword: the rest were composed of men on foot miserably accoutred, — some having swords without bows, others without swords, bows, or any arms whatever, many having only staves. It is the same with the infantry supplied by Turkey [Anatolia], one half armed with staves. This Turkish infantry is nevertheless more esteemed than the Greek, and considered as better soldiers.” The Ottomans were capable of raising a field army of over 50,000: “Other persons, whose testimony I regard as authentic, have since told me, that the troops Turkey [i.e., Anatolia] is obliged to furnish, when the prince wants to form an army, amount to 30,000 men, and those from Greece to twenty [thousand] without including two or three thousand slaves of his own, whom he arms well.” This is almost certainly a reference to the Janisseries, for he goes on to say that, “among these slaves are many Christians; and there are likewise numbers of them among the troops from Greece, Albanians, Bulgarians, and from other countries.” 189

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years “In the last army from Greece [Rumelia], there were 3,000 Serbian horse, which the despot of the province had sent under the command of one of his sons. It was with great regret that these people came to serve him, but they dared not refuse.” See next for a more extended discussion of Murad’s army, drawing further on Bertrandon’s account. Brocquière on the Ottoman Army of the 1430s The Burgundian courtier Bertrandon de Brocquière describes the Turkish army as he saw and heard about it in 1432 or 1433. The various estimates of his informants put the total available troops at between 50,000 and 120,000. This suggests that the true figure was under 100,000. Probably 25,000 men could be put into the field at fairly short notice. No single Christian state could raise even as many as 10,000 soldiers, so the Turks would usually outnumber them, except when a Christian coalition was formed. “Over these [cotton tunics]”, he writes, “they [the Ottoman troops] wear a robe [caftan?] made of felt, like a mantle [which] withstands the rain . . . knee length boots and pantaloons …. When on the march or in battle, they pull up their tunics and tuck them into their trousers . . . “. “Their headgear consists of a round white cap ornamented with plates of iron on all sides to protect the whole head and the neck. It is about six inches [15 cm] high and ends in a point.* . . [they] keep their knees very high in short stirrups; in this position, the least thrust from a lance is enough to unseat them.” This of course makes the contrast with the heavier plate-armoured lancers of the Latin West. (*) Presumably 15 cm above the top of the head, i.e. high and concavepeaked or cylindrical, like the ‘Helmet of Orhan Ghazi’ in Istanbul’s Askeri Muze; the reference to the “neck” possibly means that there was a lamellar aventail . . .. Weapons: Brocqiere mentions bows, swords, shields and “a strong short-handled mace spiked at one end”. He does not mention lances, but we know they were in use. It is implied that the poorer troops did not carry shields. “Several [sic] of the Turks have small wooden bucklers [presumably carried on the upper left arm] with which they cover themselves well on horseback when they draw the bow”. Almost all Turkish soldiers were lightly armoured, contrasting very distinctly with the French and Italians of his time. Among the infantry it appears that only a minority were well equipped with a shield and several types of weapons. Most foot soldiers carried just a sword [light infantry] or only a bow [foot archers] and many had nothing more than a club


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years or stave [volunteers and irregulars]! Even so, as we have seen, Brocquiere considered the average Turkish foot soldier superior to his Greek counterpart. The sources imply that Byzantine commanders had too much contempt for their own troops for the latter to rally effectively behind them (Vacalopoulos pp.14143, citing Brocquière, Ducas and the Spaniard Tafur). The normal Ottoman tactic (for cavalry) was to attack in several large separate units, seeking to surround the enemy. Another tactic was ambush. Against a well-deployed enemy, the tactic was to surround them and then press hit and run attacks continually from all sides, riding around at high speed at the distance of an arrow’s flight. Brocquière attributed the success of the Ottomans to several factors: (1) morale and a self-regard which was bolstered by the ease of their victories and their belief that God was using them to punish the ‘debased’ Greeks; (2) discipline, shown in their obedience to their commanders and their ability to advance noiselessly into battle; (3) vigilance, in the form of constant use of forward scouts riding several days ahead of the main army; and (4) their speed of attack. “The Turks attack on the run, and, since they are all lightly armed, they cover a distance of three days’ normal march between nightfall and dawn”. Chalcondylas, cited in Nicolle, Janissaries, 1995: 3, also recorded their discipline, but he underlined logistics and organisation: an excellent commissariat, maintaining roads in good repair, having well-ordered camps, large numbers of pack animals and well organised support services. But Brocquiere believed the Turks were not so strong that well-trained and properly led Christian forces could not defeat them, especially noting the relatively poor armament of most of the Ottoman infantry. 1430s-1440s: Italian scholars engaged in a debate about when Latin literature first became 'debased' ("medieval") = origins of the presentday notion of the Middle Ages. The favoured nominees for "Last of the Ancients" included Boethius, fl. 520, and Cassiodorus, fl. 525. Greek of course became the language of the Italian ruling class, or part of it, when Byzantium conquered Italy from the Romanised Goths later in the 500s. The church in most of Italy continued to use Latin, except in the Mezzogiorno where again Greek dominated. By 600 the major languages of Italy were Latin, Greek and (a new arrival) Lombardic. Lombardic soon died out in favour of Latin or ‘protoItalian’ dialects, but Greek remained for many centuries the main tongue in Calabria and south Apulia/Puglia (south of a line drawn from Cosenza in Calabaria and Taranto in Puglia). 1435-37: Plague in the region of the Sea of Marmara (Constantinople and the Ottoman realms); also at Trebizond (Marien 2009: 108-09, citing Turkish and Italian sources).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 1436-37, Italy: Bruni translates Aristotle's Politics into Latin. 1437: There were 67 metropolitan sees (senior archbishops) dependent on the Patriarch of Constantinople, ranging from Turkish southern Albania and Greece in the west to Turkish Asia Minor in the east and Serbia, Turkish Bulgaria, Wallachia and the Russian principalities in the north.* Just eight metropolitans remained in the emperor’s own dominions (coastal ex-Bulgaria and inner Thrace) and seven more in the Despotate of the Morea** (Runciman 1965: 20). To make the same point another way, 52 senior sees or 78% were located in lands now ruled by Catholic Latin, Orthodox Slavic, Romano-Wallachian or Muslim rulers. (*) Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch had from their foundation been autocephalous (self-ruling) patriarchates. Two ‘Orthodox’ churches became officially autocephalous in later centuries, namely those of Bulgaria [10th century, patriarchal seat at Trnovo] and Serbia [13th century, patriarchal seat at Pech]. Georgia too was independent. The Ottomans liquidated the Patriarchate of Trnovo in 1393, and they will in the future (in terms of this chronology) also liquidate the Patriarchy of Pech (in AD 1459). Trnovo was subordinated to Constantinople after 1393, and was not re-established until 1870. Pech was to be reinstated in 1557. (**) This seems a very high ‘clerical density’. The population of the Morea was of the order of 100,000 (see entry below for 1449). Thus we have over 14,000 people per archdiocese. Allowing (say) five bishops per metropolitan, we have bishops servicing only 2,800 people each … 2. The Morea: “. . . the famous traveller, archaeologist, and merchant of that time, Cyriacus* of Ancona [Italy: Ciriaco de' Pizzicolli, aged 46] visited Mistra, where he was graciously received by the despot (Constantinum cognomento Dragas, ‘Constantine, surnamed Dragases’) and his dignitaries. At his court Cyriacus met Gemistus Plethon, the most learned man of his age, and ‘Nicholas’ Chalcocondyles, son of his Athenian friend George, a young man [aged about 20] very well versed in Latin and Greek. ‘Nicholas’ Chalcocondyles can have been none other than the future historian Laonikos Chalcocondyles, for the name Laonikos is merely Nicolaos, Nicholas, slightly changed. During his first stay at Mistra, under the Despot Theodore Palaeologus in 1437, Cyriacus . . . visited ancient monuments at Sparta and copied Greek inscriptions”. —Vasiliev, ‘History of Byzantium’, at www.ellopos.net/elpenor/vasilief/john-viii; accessed 2005. (*) Cyriac, or Ciriaco de' Pizzecolli, 1391-1452, was a merchant and diplomat from Ancona, a self-taught humanist and antiquarian. His is the only surviving record for many of the antiquities he described, and for most of the 1,000 or so Greek and Latin inscriptions he copied on voyages in Italy, Greece, the Mediterranean islands, and Asia Minor. 3. Leading a delegation 700 or 800 strong (!), the emperor and patriarch embark for the West, leaving the emperor’s brother Constantine as regent. Among the 192

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 700 were Plethon and a young scholar called Bessarion, already titular Metropolitan of Nicaea (Norwich 1996: 397). The accounts of the 1437 journey by sea of the Byzantine delegation to the Council of Florence, by the Byzantine cleric Sylvester Syropoulos and the GrecoVenetian fleet commander Michael of Rhodes, mention that most of the ships were Venetian or Papal, but also record that Emperor John VIII travelled on an "imperial ship". It is unclear whether that ship was Byzantine or had been hired, and its type is not mentioned. It is, however, recorded as having been faster than the Venetian great merchant galleys accompanying it, possibly indicating that it was a light war galley (‘Voyage from Constantinople’, http://syropoulos.co.uk/ships.htm; 2011). Venetian galleys used in the eastern Mediterranean were called “galleys of Romania” [meaning Byzantium]. They were 37 metres long with a hull just 2.57 metres high (Museo Galieo, ‘Michael of Rhodes’ website, http://brunelleschi.imss.fi.it/michaelofrhodes/ships_galleys.html 4. Pero Tafur, who visited Trebizond in 1437, reported that the town had fewer than 4,000 troops. Greeks, Latins and Turks in Pero Tafur’s Andanças e viajes (Travels and Adventures), 1437 Pero or Pedro Tafur, aged about 26 in 1436, toured the Mediterranean region in 1436-39 as an information-gathering envoy for Juan II of Castile. We present here only the Byzantine sector of his voyages. On the outward journey, Tafur ‘sailed’ (his galley was rowed) from Ancona in Italy to Rhodes and thence north via Samos to Genoese-ruled Chios. From there he crossed to the Genoese settlement of “Foja-Vecchia” (Sp: Foja-veija: Old Phocaea) on the Turkish coast. Returning thence to Chios, he next sailed north to Tenedos and into the Dardanelles, which he calls “the Straits of Romania” (Sp: canal de Romania). “No ship can enter the Straits without first anchoring there [Tenedos] to find the entrance, which is very narrow, and the Turks, knowing how many ships touch there, arm themselves and lie in wait and kill many Christians.” Tenedos was an uninhabited no man’s land, except for its well-maintained port (it seems implied that Christians not Turks manned the port). Reaching Constantinople in AD 1437, our Castilian went first to the Latin enclave of Pera. He then presented himself in Constantinople to the Emperor, John VIII. The following day the Emperor took him hunting (falconry). The conversations he had show that the hatred of the Venetians among the Greeks went back to the sack of 1204. “The city is badly populated and there is need of good soldiers, which is no wonder since the Greeks have such powerful nations to contend with.” The emperor could not entertain Tafur for long because John was readying to visit the West (Tafur had already encountered at Chios the galleys sent to collect


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years him). “There went with him two of his brothers, and 800 men, all noblemen of high rank.” Leaving Constantinople, our Spaniard proceeded to the Ottoman capital Adrianople (Edirne: Tafur’s Andrenopoli) and thence across the lower Black Sea to Trebizond (Tafur’s Trapesundia). It took nine days by land to reach Adrianople, a rate of about 30 km per day. There he had an audience with ‘The Grand Turk’ (Gran Turco), i.e. sultan Murad II: “He was so handsomely attended that I never saw the like, for he had with him all his forces, which amount to 600,000 [sic*] horsemen, and, lest it should appear that I am exaggerating, I refer to those who gave me the information. In good faith, I am afraid to repeat all that was told me. There is not a pedestrian in the whole country, but all go on horseback, on very small and lank horses.” But the Turkish horses did not impress him: “I would as like ride to war or to tourney on one of our asses as on any of their horses.” (*) Cf the numbers given above (1433) by Brocquiere. Here again Tafur went along on a monarch’s hunt: “The Turks have the custom to carry in the saddle an iron staff [?mace], and a tambourine [sic: bowcase?] with their bows and quivers. This is the whole of their fighting outfit*, and since the country is cold and often frozen, and the horses fall easily, the men wear boots of Damascine leather up to the knees, which are very hard, and to which the spurs are fixed. These they wear always, and if the horse falls they can free their legs without receiving any injury, and the boot remains in the stirrup. . . . Their saddles are like asses' saddles, but very rich and covered with fine cloths, and their stirrups are rather short than long.” (*) That is to say, lances were not common in this period. Returning thence again to Constantinople, our young Spaniard sought passage to Kaffa (Sp: Cafa), the port city in the Crimea. His ship proceeded first to the Genoese-held port of Sinope and then to Greek Trebizond. “Trebizond (Trapesonda) has about 4,000 inhabitants. It is well walled, and they say that the ground is fruitful and that it produces a large revenue.” “Kaffa . . . is part of the Empire of Tartary [el imperio Tartaria, our ‘Golden Horde’ or Kipchak empire], but the city is held by the Genoese who have licence to inhabit there, only the Tartars did not think that they would settle there in such numbers. . . . The city is very large, as large as Seville, or larger, with twice as many inhabitants, Christians and Catholics as well as Greeks, and all the nations of the world.” Tafur was surprised by, and disdainful of, the brisk slave trade at Kaffa, but nevethelesss felt able to buy three people (two women and one man) for his household in Cordoba: “In this city [Kaffa] they sell more slaves, both male and female, than anywhere else in the world, and the Sultan of Egypt (el soldán de Babilonia, i.e. Cairo) has his agents here, and they buy the slaves and send them to Cairo, and they are called Mamelukes [slave-soldiers, from Arabic mamalik, ‘owned’]. The Christians have a Bull from the Pope, authorising them to buy and keep as slaves the Christians of 194

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years other nations, to prevent their falling into the hands of the Moors and renouncing the Faith. These are Russians (Sp: roxos), Mingrelians, Caucasians (abogasos, ‘Abasgians’), Circassians, Bulgarians, Armenians and divers other people of the Christian world.” He took ship back to Constantinople by the same route. A quarantine was in force as it was already known that there was plague in the Crimea. But Tafur received an exemption as he was personally known to the Empress and the regent, the absent emperor’s brother “the Despot Dragas” (Constantine). He toured Hagia Sofia (his Santa Sufia). “Inside, the circuit is for the most part badly kept, but the church itself is in such fine state that it seems today to have only just been finished.” And: “Beneath [it] there is a great cistern which, they say, could contain a ship of 3,000 botas [1,800 tons]* in full sail, the breadth, height and depth of water being all sufficient. I know not if such a statement can be supported, but I never saw a larger in my life and do not believe that one exists.” The massive equestrian column of Justinian still stood nearby; but so many centuries had passed that the Byzantines now believed the statue was of Constantine the Great. The same error had been related to Bertrandon in 1433. (*) Bota = Italian botta, botte. One botta = about 0.6 deadweight tons. So 3,000 botte = 1,800 tons. The size of a modern corvette or small frigate. In a much-cited passage he sketches the dilapidation and depopulation of the capital: “The city is sparsely populated. It is divided into districts, that by the sea-shore having the largest population. The inhabitants are not well clad, but sad and poor, showing the hardship of their lot which is, however, not so bad as they deserve, for they are a vicious people, steeped in sin.* It is their custom when anyone dies not to open the door of the house for the whole of that year except in case of necessity. They go continually about the city howling as if in lamentation, and thus they long ago foreshadowed the evil which has befallen them.” (*) Latins saw the Greeks as semi-heretical schismatics. Departing homeward, he sailed via Mytilene, the town on the Genoese-ruled island of Lesbos, where the ship took on a cargo of alum. They proceeded thence to Turkish-ruled “Salonica” (Thessaloniki) and Venetian-ruled Negroponte (Evvia, Euboea) before reaching Andros, the most northerly island of the Cyclades. Next was Crete. From there Tafur’s ship turned west and continued to the SW point of mainland Greece at Modone and up to Corfu. Thence into the Adriatic Sea which was known in the 1400s as “the Gulf of Venice”. —Text at http://www.corvalliscommunitypages.com/Europe/iberianonislam/pero.htm 1438: The first ‘humanist’ or classically-inspired work to be written in England was a Latin treatise on virtues and vices by the Papal manuscript collector, the visiting Italian Pietro del Monte. The British Isles were still an intellectual backwater. (The first philosophical work by an English


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years humanist was Examinatorium in Phaedonem Platonis by John Doget, ca. 1480.) 1438: 1. The Eastern delegation reached Venice on 8 February and proceeded thence to Ferrara, the initial site of the council. The famous medallion designed by Pisanello was crafted when emperor John VIII journeyed to Italy in 1438 for the councils of Ferrara and Florence (1438-39) in a vain search for aid against the Turks. It shows the basileus wearing a high pointed hat with a large forward-pointing brim. Byzantine scholarship became more fully available to the West after 1438, when Byzantine emperor John VIII Palaeologus attended the Council of Ferrara, later known as the Council of Florence, to discuss a union of the Orthodox and Catholic churches. Despite being a secular philosopher, Plethon (George Gemistos) was chosen to accompany John VIII on the basis of his renowned wisdom and morality. Other delegates included Plethon's former students Bessarion, Mark Eugenikos and Scholarios. The Florentine magnate Cosimo de' Medici attended lectures given in Florence by Plethon and, according to Ficino, was inspired to found the Academia Platonica in Florence, where Italian students of Plethon continued to teach after the conclusion of the council (Ficino was mistaken according to Blum, citing Kristeller: Paul Blum, Philosophers of the Renaissance, CUA Press 2010, p.25). 2. The army of Trebizond was tiny. The population of the whole ‘empire’ was 250,000 and there were (says Tafur) just 4,000 inhabitants of the so-called ‘city’ of Trebizond in 1438. —Website “The Lions of Trebizond”, at www.fortunecity.com/underworld/straif/69/engtrapez. 3. Ottoman Empire: It is not known when the first elite Janissary infantry unit was formed – presumably in the later 1300s - but the first Western reference to the corps occurs in 1438. (Nicolle, Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1983 p.9, proposes that they were first formed after the capture of Edirne/Adrianople, i.e . in the 1360s.) Ali Annoshar says that the number of Janissaries had risen by Murad’s reign (d. 1451) from a few hundred in the early years of the century to about 7,000 (Annoshar, The Ghazi sultans and the frontiers of Islam: a comparative study of the late medieval and early modern periods, Volume 9 of Routledge studies in Middle Eastern history 2009, p. 146, citing Imber). Bartusis p.129 prefers “no more than 3,000” in Murad’s reign. 1439: 1. Formal reunion of the eastern/Greek and western/Latin Churches. — The Council of Florence or Ferrara-Florence in 1439 was attended by the emperor John VIII, the Eastern patriarch, and many Orthodox bishops and dignitaries. After protracted and difficult discussions, they agreed to submit to the authority of Rome.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years — A momentary union, more apparent than real, took place between the Latin and the Greek churches (5-6 July 1439). The only Eastern bishop to refuse to sign onto the union was Mark of Ephesus, who held that Rome was in both heresy and schism for its acceptance of the Filioque clause in the Nicene Creed (filioque: “and from the Son”; a formulation that the Byzantines had long opposed) and for the papal claims to universal jurisdiction over the Church. — Byzantine scholarship became more fully available to the West after 1438, when John VIII Palaeologus attended the Council of Ferrara and the Council of Florence to discuss a union of the Greek and Roman churches. Accompanying John VIII were Plethon, his student ‘Johannes’ (more correctly Basil) Bessarion, and George Scholarios. It was at this time that Bessarion, soon made a cardinal, converted to Latin Catholicism. At the Council of Florence, held in Ferrara and then Florence, Bessarion supported the Latin church and gained the favour of Pope Eugene IV, who invested him with the rank of cardinal at a consistory of 18 December 1439. From that time, he resided permanently in Italy, doing much, by his patronage of learned men, by his collection of books and manuscripts, and by his own writings, to spread abroad the new learning. His palazzo in Rome was a virtual Academy for the studies of new humanistic learning, a centre for learned Greeks and Greek refugees, whom he supported by commissioning transcripts of Greek manuscripts and translations into Latin that made Greek scholarship available to Western Europeans (Wikipedia 2011 under ‘Bessarion’). See 1460. 2. Serbia and Bosnia become tributary dependencies of the Ottomans. The Ottoman sultan Murad II annexes Serbia and forces the Serbian despot George Brankovic to take refuge in Hungary. 1440-41: The NW Balkans: Having taken control of most of northern Serbia, the Ottomans besiege Hungarian-governed Belgrade but they fail to take it. The Christian commander was John Talloci, Prior of the Hospitallers in Hungary. Both sides deployed cannons. There was initially no help from outside because Hungary was in the middle of a civil war (Colin Imber, The Crusade of Varna, 1443-45, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006, p.11). When the Turks under Evrenoszade `Ali Bey besieged Belgrade by land and water (1440-1), the town was delivered at the end of six months by King Vladislav III of Poland, now also king of Hungary. But the real heart of Hungarian resistance to the Turks was the voivode [governor] of Transylvania, John (Janos) Hunyadi, who in the same year (1441: see there) won a victory over the Turks at Semendria on the Danube below Belgrade and in the following year drove back Turkish attacks on Transylvania. —Cambridge Medieval History, excerpted at the ‘Romanian Knowledge Page’: www.ravenglass.com/vlad/romania/neighbrs.html; accessed 2011. 1440: Italy: The Rome-born scholar Valla exposes the Donation of Constantine - for centuries past the authority for the secular power of the papacy - as a forgery. 197

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1440-51: Turkish-dominated Bulgaria: The Byzantine outpost around Mesembria [modern Nesebar] is governed – under his brother’s close supervision - by Demetrios Palaiologos, Manuel II’s youngest son (aged 33 in 1440). Unhappy with this appointment, in 1442 he made an alliance with the Ottoman Turks, who lent him military support and briefly besieged Constantinople, demanding that Demetrios be given control of the more strategic appanage of Selymbria (Silivri) nearer the capital. This effort failed, and the appanage of Selymbria was turned over first to Constantine Palaiologos and then to Theodore II Palaiologos (thus Wikipedia 2011). 1441-42: 1. Wallachia/Rumania: In 1441 the Turks crossed the Danube into Transylvania (Wallachia). But the Hungarian general - later regent - Janos (John) Hunyadi, aged 54, delivered Serbia by the victory of Semendria, modern Smederevo, a Turkish-held fortress on the Danube downstream from Turkish-dominated Belgrade. Then in 1442, not far from Sibiu in present-day Rumania (medieval Wallachia), to which he had been forced to retire, he annihilated an “immense” Ottoman presence, and recovered for Hungary the suzerainty of Wallachia. The Turks were expelled from Transylvania. A peace was agreed in 1444 by which Smederevo was returned to the Serbs. See next. — In 1441 and 1442 the Hungarians penetrated deep into the Balkans, forcing Murad to come to an agreement. The Treaty of Edirne, in 1444, which was extended by the Treaty of Szeged during the same year, re-established Serbia as a buffer state. (The Serbian Despotate will fall in 1459 following the siege of the "temporary" capital Smederevo [near Belgrade], followed by Bosnia a few years later, and Herzegovina in 1482.) — At this time the Turks maintained 60 ships at Gallipoli and a river fleet of 80100 light vessels on the Danube. 2. Constantinople: Repairs to the city walls made by John VIII were recorded in a large, very neat and square, Greek inscription (see photograph p.160 in Treadgold’s Renaissances 1984). Slavery [Cyriac of Ancona, writing on 3 December 1442:] “For on numerous occasions we saw Christians* - boys as well as unmarried girls and masses of married women of every description - paraded pitiably by the Turks in long lines throughout the towns of Thrace and Macedonia bound by iron chains, and lashed by whips, and in the end put up for sale in villages and markets and along the shore of the Hellespont, an unspeakably shameful and obscene sight, like a cattle market, so to speak.” —Edward W. Bodnar & Clive Foss, Cyriac of Ancona: Later Travels. The I Tatti Renaissance Library, Harvard University Press, 2003. See 1444: Cyriac visits the Morea. (*) Islam forbade the enslaving of fellow Muslims.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 1443: Near Corinth: The despot of the Morea, the future emperor Constantine XI, orders a further rebuilding of the Hexamilion wall with its 153 towers (Bartusis p.116). See 1446. 1443-44: Serbia: The Hungarians and other Christians under Janos Hunyadi defeat the Turks at Nish and Mount Kunovica. Then Murad beats (1444) Hunyadi and young (20 year old) Polish-Hungarian king Wladislaw III at Varna in Ottoman Bulgaria, but Hunyadi escapes (Bradbury 2004: 49). A Hungarian crusader army: some 25,000 men led by the Hungarian/Polish king King Vladislav or Ladislas and his general John Hunyadi, reinforced with Germans and Poles, invaded Rumelia in 1443, while the Sultan was absent in Anatolia engaged in repelling a Karaman attack. The Christians defeated the Turks at Nis, captured Sofia and achieved several further victories; but, as they were crossing the mountains (Sredna Gora) into the plain of Philippopolis in the depth of winter, they encountered powerful Turkish resistance at Zlatica (Turkish Izladi), which compelled them to turn back (12 December 1443), though they did gain victories over the Turks during their retreat (Norwich 1996: 404). The following year, in September 1444 a crusading army was again on the move, crossed the Danube at Orsova and marched through Bulgaria in the direction of Varna, from which it was hoped to launch an attack upon the Turks by sea. The soldiers were variously drawn from Hungary, Poland, Wallachia, Moldavia, Lithuania, Bulgarians, the papacy, Croats and the (German) Teutonic Knights. They may have numbered some 20,000 (Ervin Liptai: Magyarország hadtörténete I. Zrínyi Katonai Kiadó, Budapest 1984). On receiving the news, Murad hastily concluded the Karaman campaign in Asia Minor, made peace with Ibrahim Bey of Karaman and hurried back to Europe, where his “60-80,000” troops inflicted a crushing defeat on the Christians at Varna on 10 November 1444; the king of Hungary, Vladislav, fell in battle, and only fragments of the crusaders' army (including Hunyadi) were able to make their way home (Norwich 1996: 406: Liptai prefers “about 60,000”). Two banners with a total of 3,500 men from the king's Polish and Hungarian bodyguards, Hungarian royal mercenaries, and banners of Hungarian nobles held the centre. The Wallachian cavalry was left in reserve behind the centre. The right flank that lined up the hill towards the village of Kamenar numbered 6,500 men in 5 banners. Bishop Jan Dominek of Varadin with his personal banner led the force; the papal delegate Cesarini commanded a banner of German mercenaries and a Bosnian one. The Bishop of Eger led his own banner, and the military governor of Slavonia, ban Franco Talotsi, commanded one Croatian banner. The left flank, a total of 5,000 men in 5 banners, was led by Michael Szilágyi, Hunyadi's brother in law, and was made up of Hunyadi's Transylvanians, Bulgarians, German mercenaries and banners of Hungarian magnates. Behind the Hungarians, closer to the Black Sea and the lake, was the Wagenburg, defended by 300 or 600 Czech and Ruthenian mercenaries under hetman Ceyka, along with Poles, Lithuanians and Wallachians. Every wagon was manned by 7 to 10 soldiers and the Wagenburg was equipped with bombards (mortar-style cannons) (Wikipedia 2011: ‘Battle of Varna’).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years The Ottoman centre included the Janissaries and levies from Rumelia (the Balkans) deployed around two ancient Thracian burial mounds. Sultan Murad observed and directed the battle from one of them. The Janissaries dug in behind ditches and two palisades. The right wing consisted of Kapikulus and Sipahis (professional medium cavalry) from Rumelia, and the left wing was made up by Akıncıs (irregular light cavalaty), Sipahis from Anatolia, and other forces. Janissary archers and Akıncı light cavalry were deployed on the Franga plateau. For most of the day the Christians had the advantage, defeating first the Anatolian troops and killing their commander, the governor-general (and brother in law of the sultan) Karaca Bey, and then towards the end of the day driving the Rumelian cavalry under Shabeddin Pasha from the field. This left the Sultan alone with a guard of Janissaries and other infantry. Apparently the Hungarian king was jealous that Hunyadi, a commoner, was taking all the glory, while he a king sat idly by. Ignoring Hunyadi’s advice not to attack, Vladislav’s personal ‘banner’ (500 Polish knights) charged the Sultan’s position. A Janissary dragged Vladislav from his horse (or else his horse fell in a pitfall) and removed his head. This threw the Christians into disorder, and the Turkish cavalry was able to return and complete a rout (Colin Imber, The Crusade of Varna, Ashgate 2006, pp.30-31) Vasiliev, p.567, notes that the battle of Varna was the last attempt of Latin Europe to come to the help of perishing Byzantium (also Norwich 1996: 406). Thereafter Constantinople was left to its fate. c.1444: The Peloponnesus: In a letter written from Italy to the despot of Morea around 1444, Bessarion reveals his interest in the matter of outdated Byzantine technology: “I heard that the Peloponnesos, especially the area around Sparta itself, is full of iron metal and that it is lacking men who know how to extract it and to construct weapons and other things . . . These four skills, my excellent lord: engineering, ironworking, weapons manufacture, and naval architecture - are needed and useful to those who wish to prosper. Send four or eight young men here to the West, together with appropriate means - and let not many know about this - so that when they return to Greece they can pass on the knowledge to other Greeks.” —Letter of Bessarion to the Despot of the Morea Constantine Palaeologus (c. 1444), in S. Lambros, ed., Neos Hellenomnemon (Athens, 1906), vol. 3, 43-44. Translation in: D.J. Geanakoplos, Byzantium, 379. Quoted in Mirkovic, “Byzantinism?”, Golden Horn, at www.isidore-ofseville.com/goudenhoorn/82alexander; accessed 2011. 1444: 1. Greece: The Italian manuscript-hunter and papal diplomat Cyriacus of Ancona was in the Morea. There were few local scholars of any distinction but he discovered a large library in Kalavryta in the central-north, inland from the S shore of the Gulf of Corinth, owned by the scholar-general George Palaeologus


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Cantacuzenos (d. after 1456: son of the one-time despot Demetrius Cantacuzenos). Palaeologus lent him a copy of Herodotus (Vacalopoulos p.170; Miller, Essays on the Latin Orient p.149). Cyriacus’s drawings of the Partheneon and Acropolis at Athens in 1444 are the easiest known depiction of it. 2. Greece: the last success of Byzantine arms. With the Turks far away in Bulgaria (see next), the despot Constantine campaigns from the Morea northeast into Italian-ruled Attica and Boeotia. He captures or subjects to tribute Athens, Thebes and Boeotia. He pressed on into Ottoman territory, briefly restoring Greek rule over Thessaly as far as Mt Olympus by the end of 1445 (Fine 1994: 561: Bartusis LBA p. 118, citing Chalkokondyles). See 1446. Byzantine foot archers: “Mail [i.e. not plate armour] was still widely worn (and) bows were a favoured weapon” (Nicolle, Eastern Europe p.47). 3. The Byzantines were sheltering Orhan, son of Sulayman and grandson of Bayezid, and so the prospect of a Turkish civil war presented itself. — To prevent this, or for religious motives, Murad (aged 40) abdicated [August 1444] in favour of his 12 year old son Mehmed. Murad retired to Manisa, apparently to the contemplative life of a mystic. See 1446 – resumption of the throne. — Murad II came out of retirement to win won the Battle of Varna on 10 November 1444 against the Hungarians under János Hunyadi but lost the Battle of Jalowaz and was forced or persuaded or he chose to abdicate again (late Novearly December). His exact motives are not known (Franz Babinger, Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time, Princeton University Press, 1992 p.41). Despite the Christians’ significant military advantages, the Polish king Wladyslaw/Vladislav failed to recognise the serious threat which the Turkish empire posed to Europe as a whole. Therefore, when the Battle of Varna began on 10 November 1444, he did not sense that this would be his final fight. The Ottoman victory at Varna on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria removed the final Christian threat. Thus it “sealed the fate of the Balkans and the Byzantine empire” (Inalcik p.21). Firearms [tüfenks, handguns] were in use by some of Murad’s forces at Varna, but they were not the decisive weapons (Agoston, Guns for the Sultan p.19). A key factor was the self-confidence of the elite Janissaries who stood firm against the Hungarian heavy lancer-cavalry (Nicolle 2008: 79). Recklessness and indiscipline on the part of the mainly cavalry Christian army caused them to launch a series of uncoordinated attacks. They became bogged down in mêlées where their lance charge could not be used. The European charge was powerful but it needed support from infantry and missile troops,


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years something the Ottomans had at Varna but the ‘Crusaders’ lacked (Dougherty 2008: 85). The Ottomans began using guns more widely sometime between 1444 and 1448. Following that, new troop types began to appear, such as the regular arquebus infantry: Payade Topçı, literally "foot artillery"; regular cavalry armed with rifles: Svari Topçı Neferi, literally "mounted artillery soldiers"; and bombardiers (Khımbaracı), consisting of grenadiers who threw explosives called khımbara and the soldiers who served the artillery with maintenance and powder supplies. 1444: Failed Mamluk (Egyptian) siege of Rhodes. The siege of Rhodes by the Mamluks lasted 40 days. Their fleet of 75 vessels appeared offshore on Monday, 10 August, 1444. After a decisive battle on September 10 the Mamluks withdrew on September 14. Some 9,000 Mulsims were killed or captured (Setton, Papacy pp.87-88) 1445: The Balkans: From the Morea, the Despot Constantine led Byzantine and 300 Burgundian troops on campaign into Ottoman-ruled Epirus and Albania (Heath, Byz Armies p.22). This resulted from Constantine striking an alliance with the Duke of Burgundy. At about the same time, another small Byzantine force crossed the Gulf of Corinth and drove the Turks from the Delphi region (Norwich 1996: 406). See next. 1446: Greece: Murad (aged 42) resumes the Ottoman throne,* and leads supposedly “50-60,000” men on another campaign against the (Greek) Despot of Morea. For the third time the Turks demolish the Hexamilion wall across the isthmus of Corinth. Murad deployed cannons, siege engines and scaling ladders (27 November–10 December 1446) (Nicolle, Immortal Emperor pp.30ff). Murad himself, accompanied by Turahan, led the army (supposedly “50,000” men) into Greece during winter, and used heavy artillery to break through the Hexamilion (10 December 1446). The walls must have been well-rebuilt and carefully guarded because it took a fortnight of steady bombardment to break through (Runciman 1965: 50). Doukas says that it had been defended by “60,000” Albanians and Greeks: an impossible figure, but credible if we lose a zero: i.e. 6,000 defenders (Bartusis, LBA p.116). Now the Hexamilion ran for some eight kilometres across the isthmus (Gregory, History of Byzantium, 2010 p.109). Let us picture the ‘6,000’ men as 60 units of 100 men: if evenly spaced there would be 133 metres between each unit … Originally in the 6th Century it had had 153 towers, ie one every 50 metres on average. Dividing 6,000 men between 153 towers, we get 40 men per tower. (*) As noted, Murad II was forced or persuaded to abdicate in 1444; he reassumed the throne in 1446. The boy Mehmet went (1446) to Manisa, while Murad took control in Edirne. Mehmet then had to wait until his father’s death in 1451.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Murad sent Turahan and half the army further on into the Morea towards Mistra while he himself proceeded west along the southern side of the Gulf of Corinth with the other half. Patras, with its garrison or armed populace of 4,000 men, was bypassed and left in Byzantine hands. The two armies came together at Clarentza (modern Killini in the far NW). Turahan had not managed to reach Mistra in the height of winter. In January 1447 they all returned north with, it is said, 60,000 prisoners (given by contemporary sources, both Venetian and Greek, but hardly credible**) and leaving behind in their wake (a perhaps more credible figure:) “22,000” dead Greeks, Albanians and Franks. —Norwich 1996: 407; Nicolle loc.cit.. (**) See mention below under 1450 of a census taken in 1461. Murad’s son Mehmet II, 12 years old, was the first Ottoman sultan whose accession took place in Edirne after the city had become the Ottoman capital. But the Byzantines and the Pope stirred up the subject Christians of Rumelia against him. This led to panic in Edirne. Threatened by the approach of a Venetian fleet and a new Polish-Hungarian-Wallachian army under Hunyadi, the former sultan Murad re-assumed (late 1446) control, although his son Mehmet nominally remained sultan (Runciman, Fall p.57). Mehmet’s role was limited to being governor of Manisa. See 1448. 1446: fl. Manetti, first western scholar to systematically study ancient Hebrew. 1447: fl. Tommaso Parentucelli, the "humanist pope" Nicholas V, d. 1455. 1447: 1. Lower Greece: The Italian traveller and antiquarian Ciriaco of Ancona makes a second visit to Mistra in July: this was less than six months after the Morea had been ravaged by the Turks (Norwich 1996: 407). 2. Demetrius Chalcondyles, 1424-1511, brother of the historian, was born in Athens. In 1447, aged 23, he migrated to Italy, where Cardinal Bessarion gave him his patronage. He became famous as a teacher of Greek letters and Platonic philosophy. In 1463 he was made professor at Padua, and in 1479 he was summoned by Lorenzo de' Medici to Florence to fill the professorship vacated by John Argyropoulos. See 1451 and 1463.


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1448-53: CONSTANTINE XI, called ‘Dragases’ after his mother (the Greek form of the Serbian ‘Dragash’, her family name), last Roman emperor Second son of Manuel II; younger brother of John VIII. Aged 44 at accession. First wife: Maddelena-Teodora Tocco, d. 1429. Second: Catherine Gattiluso, d. 1442. Runciman 1965: 53 describes him, based on his career in the Morea, as a good soldier, competent administrator, honourable, generous, patient, and liked by all. 1448: 1. The Balkans, Second Battle of Kosovo, 17 October: The regent John (Janos) Hunyadi led a Wallachian*-Hungarian ‘Crusader’ army of around “24,000” men, mainly Hungarians, across the Danube River into Turkish-ruled Serbia and was heading southward, intent on driving Islam back to Asia Minor. Leading perhaps 50 or 60,000 men, Murad II intercepted them at Kosovo in October 1448 and in a three-day battle (18-20 October 1448) finally defeated them, securing Ottoman rule south of the Danube River. The Ottomans thus regained Wallachia as a vassal state. —Jean W. Sedlar, East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500, University of Washington Press, pp. 247-48; also Nicolle 2008: 79. (*) Wallachia: the region immediately north of the Danube; modern-day Rumania. Hunyadi, eager to avenge the ignominy of Varna, made war on the Turks and invaded Serbia. Murad took the field with a large army and gained a decisive victory on 17-19 October 1448, on the same Field of the Blackbirds (Kossovo polje) where 59 years earlier (in 1389) Serbia's fate had been decided. This victory finally restored Ottoman rule over the Balkans. It was only in Albania that the rebels held out under Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu or ‘George Castriota’, called by the Turks “Skanderbeg”, ie ‘Alexander-bey’, d.1468. 204

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2. Death of emperor John VIII, aged 56. 1449: Crowned in the Morea on 6 January, Constantine travelled to Constantinople in a Catalan ship and reached it on 12 March 1149. Nicol B&V 1992 p. 390 and Norwich 1996: 411 say it was a Venetian ship. In his Immortal Emperor, 2002 p.40, Nicol corrects this to Catalan, citing Sphrantzes. Runciman 1965: 52 likewise says Catalan. Territories in 1450 The huge Ottoman empire ruled from the Balkans - south as far to Thessaly - to eastern Asia Minor. The northern littoral of the Sea of Marmara was divided between the Byzantines (Herakleia and east to Constantinople) and the Ottomans (the west including Gallipoli). The Byzantines also controlled the Black Sea coast of Thrace and former Bulgaria north as far as Mesembria. But all of inland Thrace and beyond was Ottoman. In the Aegean, the Christians dominated: Byzantium held the northern islands including Thasos and Lemnos; the Genoese Giustianiani family ruled the islands off the coast of Turkish Asia Minor such as Chios and Samos; Venice governed Euboea (Montenegro) and Crete; various Italians and ‘Greco-Frank’ families (also Venice) ruled the islands of Naxos and ‘the Archipelago’; and the Byzantines controlled the entire Morea, the largest part of their tiny “empire”: see 1452. Finally the Hospitallers (Latin knights) ruled Rhodes and several nearby islands. But all of the Asia Minor mainland was Ottoman. A post-conquest census taken by the Ottomans in 1461 found that the population of the Morea was “20,000” households, which presumably equates to something around 100,000 people, or a little less. —F. Zarinebaf et al. (2005), ‘Historical and economic geography of Ottoman Greece’, Hesperia, supplement 34, Princeton USA: online www2.let.uu.nl/solis/anpt/ejos/pdf8/wright-fin-01.pdf; accessed 2008. It is a guess, but possibly the proportions were something like: 60% Greeks, 30% ethnic Albanians and 10% ethnic ‘Franks’ and Italians. c.1450: 1. Various estimates put Constantinople’s population at 50-75,000 people. Magdalino says “70,000”: ‘Medieval C’nople’, in Laiou ed., 2002: 536. Cf Schneider, ‘Die Bevolkerung Konstantinopels in XV. Jahrhundert’, Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Götingen, Philologisch-historische Klasse (1949), 236-37; and Charanis, ‘Note on the population and cties of the Byzantine Empire in the Thirteenth Century’, The Joshua Starr Memorial Volume, New York, 1953, p.139.


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2. Lower Peloponnese: The governor of the Mani peninsula, the middle finger of lowest Greece, was Manuel Kantakouzenos, called "Ghin" (an Albanian name), fl. 1450. There was a revolt in 1453-54 when he was proclaimed Despot by the local Albanians (Setton, Papacy p.148). The revolt was crushed by the Turks in 1454 as a favour to their vassals the Palaeologoi. Manuel died an exile in Hungary 1470. 1451: 1. The new sultan Mehmed, 19 years old, was angered when Constantine hinted that he, Constantine, might let free the Ottoman pretender Orchan (grandson of the late Suleiman) who was living as a refugee in Constantinople. The young sultan was further angered when, returning from the East, he found his sea crossing to Gallipoli blocked by Christian (Italian) ships. This forced him and his retinue to go north, to cross over the Bosphorus into territory that was still officially Byzantine. The whole of both the eastern and western shores were in Turkish control, but the Christians still dominated at sea. It is said that this inconvenience prompted Mehmed to proceed with the conquest of the Christian outpost of Constantinople (Nicol, B&V p.393). See 1452. 2. fl. the historian George Sphrantzes or Phrantzes, 1401-77. He began his career as secretary to Manuel II, d. 1423, and served thereafter in various official posts. He was present in Constantinople during the final siege in 1453. As an old man he took refuge on the Venetian-ruled island of Corfu. —Last of the “pro-Greek” historians. By contrast, Laonicus Chalcondyles and Critobulos of Imbros, fl. 1460, the biographer of Muhammad II, wrote so-called “pro-Turkish” histories. They saw the Turkish conquest as tragic but inevitable (Runciman 1965: 194). 1451-81: Sultan Mehmet II; posthumously dubbed el-Fatih, ‘the Conqueror’. Aged 19 at accession, it is said, unreliably, that he learnt to be fluent in Greek, Arabic, Latin, Persian and Hebrew, as well as his native Turkish! (Runciman 1965: 36). Others will allow only that he knew Turkish, Arabic and Persian. Kritoboulos, who knew him personally, said that he knew Greek only in Arabic and Persian translations (Patrinelis, ‘Mehmet II’, in Viator II, 1972, p.351). - “Lectio difficilior lectio potior”! 1452: 1. Thrace: As a prelude to attacking Constantinople, Mehmet orders the building of a new fort, called Boghaz-kesen, ‘the throat-cutter’: now called Rumeli Hisar, on the European side of the Bosporus: about 12 km from the city. It was begun on 15 April and completed on 31 August 1452 (Runciman 1965: 66; Norwich 1996: 415). 2. The Morea: The sultan ordered the elderly general Turahan to invade the Morea once again in October 1452. The general took with him a large army and his grown sons Umur and Ahmed. The idea was to distract the emperor’s


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years brothers so that they would be unable to send him aid from the Morea when the investment of Constantinople began (Runciman 1965: 75). The Hexamilion wall, across the isthmus, was no longer in their way and they plundered all the Peloponnese from Corinth down to Messenia. They took Neokastron [Pylos, Navarino] in Messenia but Siderokastron [near the coast in N Messenia] successfully resisted. Only one other setback marred their victory. In an encounter with the army of the Despot Matthew Asen, one of the officers of the former despot Demetrios managed to capture Turahan's son Ahmed. Ahmed was carried away as a prisoner to Mistra (thus Donald M. Nicol, The Immortal Emperor, Cambridge Univ. Press, Canto edition, 1992; xxx p,86). 3. In October 1452 Cardinal Isidore, who had been appointed papal legate, arrived in Constantinople. He brought with him a company of 200 archers from Naples, and he was accompanied by Leonardo of Chios, Genoese Archbishop of Lesbos (Nicol, Last Centuries) 1452-53: 1. Italy: fl. Bessarion, émigré Byzantine scholar and cardinal of the Latin Church. He was a key figure in the revival of (Christian-oriented) Platonism. Cf 1484.

2. THE TURKS CAPTURE CONSTANTINOPLE: - FINAL END OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. Mehmed II’s Turks built the Rumeli Hisari fortress on the European side in JanAug 1452 to give him full control of the Bosphorus, and he then declared his intention to take the City. March 1453: The Ottoman fleet assembles off Gallipoli. It comprised 31 galleys, 75 fast longboats, 20 large transport sailing-barges, and some light sloops and cutters (Norwich 1996: 418). See further below for a more detailed chronology of events. The Ottoman army marched out from Adrianople in March, and reached Constantinople on 2 April (ibid.) The siege commenced on 6 April 1453. It was


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years almost seven weeks into the siege, on 22 May 1453, when a lunar eclipse took place. After a siege of nearly eight weeks - the bombardment lasted 55 days -, the city was taken on 29 May 1453. Wave upon wave of the Sultan's front-line troops charged up to the land walls. For nearly two (or four) hours they hammered at the weakest section, where the guns had already done their ruinous work. At about 1:30 in the morning of 29 May, Mehmet launched a series of massive assaults on the walls. After four hours of fierce but inconclusive fighting, the commander of the Byzantines' Genoese allies was wounded, the Kerkoporta gate was breached—or possibly left open—and the tide of battle turned. By midmorning, Constantinople belonged to the Ottoman Turks. A small pocket of Greek/Byzantine rule continued in the Morea: see 1460. Poem by Cavafy: Theophilos Palaiologos* This is the last year, this the last of the Greek emperors. And, alas, how sadly those around him talk. Kyr Theophilos Palaiologos* in his grief, in his despair, says: "I would rather die than live." Ah, Kyr Theophilos Palaiologos, how much of the pathos, the yearning of our race, how much wearinesssuch exhaustion from injustice and persecutionyour six tragic words contained. (*) The emperor’s cousin, killed fighting alongside him. He died charging forward against the final Turkish assault. Kyr = ‘lord’. The Final Siege of New Rome, 1453 a. Attackers Not counting irregulars, the Turkish army besieging Constantinople numbered over 50,000 men. Turkish authorities set the total of the Ottoman forces at not more than 80,000 regular troops (Runciman 1965: 76; Norwich 1996: 418). But if we include the irregulars on the Turkish side, it is clear that the defenders were outnumbered by at least 15 to one. The lowest number offered by an eyewitness was that of the Florentine soldier Tedaldi: “60,000” fighting men among the Turks. Up to 40,000 were cavalry, making the number of regular infantry as few as perhaps 20,000 including 5,000 or more elite Janissaries (Bartusis, LBA p.129, citing the Florentine merchant Giacomo Tedaldi). Norwich 1996: 418, following Runciman 1965: 76, prefers “12,000” Janissaries; another contemporary source, Leonard of Chios, says “15,000” Janissaries were present in 1453: Runciman p.215.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years — Mehmed deployed some 50 primitive cannons, including one monster piece which required 60 oxen to haul it (Runciman 1965: 78; Browning 1992: 249). For weeks the Turkish guns relentlessly battered the Land Walls. In the words of an eye-witness, the Venetian ship’s-doctor Nicolo Barbaro, "firing their cannon again and again, with so many other guns and arrows without number ... that the air seemed to split apart." Mehmed's biggest cannon fired on the walls for weeks, but due to its imprecision and the extremely slow rate of reloading the Byzantines were able to repair most of the damage after each shot, limiting the cannon's effect. Cf Barbaro: “On 20 May there were hardly any attacks or skirmishings by sea or on land, except for the usual cannon fire which continually brought stretches of the walls down to the ground, while we Christians quickly repaired the damage with [a stockade of] barrels and withies and earth to make them as strong as they had been before. Men and women, the old and the young and the priests, all worked together at these repairs because of the urgency of the matter, since they had to be strong: the cannon would have stripped the whole of the city of its defences, except that when the shots struck, they landed in the repaired sections which were of earth.” The lowest contemporary estimates of the strength of the Ottoman fleet are about 100 ships (“more than 92”: Tedaldi) and about 145 (Barbaro). A realistic report puts the total at 126 vessels, viz: 6 large galleys, 10 ordinary galleys, 15 smaller galleys, 20 horse-transports (sailing barges) and 75 large rowing boats. Barbaro: “The Turkish fleet was made up of 145 ships, galleys, fuste, parandarie [heavy sailing-barges used for transport] and bregantini [brigantines], of which 12 were fully equipped galleys, 70 to 80 to large fuste [lesser galleys], 20 to 25 parandarie [transports and troop barges], and the rest bregantini [sail-boats also equipped with oars]; also in this Turkish fleet there was one ship of about 200 botte*, which came from Sinopolis loaded with stones for cannonballs, hurdles and timber, and other munitions for their army of the sort necessary for making war.” (*) About 125 tons.


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Giustiniani’s Italians may have looked like this. b. Defenders On the Christian side the defenders - Greeks, Venetians and others - numbered some 8,000 men including perhaps 3,000 non-Byzantines, mainly Italians (Bartusis, LBA p.131; Runciman 1965: 85 prefers ‘up to 7,000’ in all). The majority overall, said Leonard of Chios, had helmets and body armour, but some did not. Among the Greeks, civilians far outnumbered trained soldiers (LBA p.130). — The number of the defenders within the walls was assessed by the imperial chancellor George Sphrantzes who claimed to have been sent to count them by the Emperor, namely “4,773” Greeks and about “200” foreigners. The latter figure is obviously much too low. Indeed neither of his figures can be accepted without question. Italian sources put the number of Greek fighters at 6,000-7,000 and there were 700 Italian troops under Giustiniani (Bartusis in LBA p.131 prefers ‘about 5,000’ Byzantines). The Byzantines also had a few cannons, but they were much smaller than those of the Ottomans and the recoil tended to damage their own walls. Kritovoulos explains that the Byzantines were unable to fire their own artillery from vantage points on top of the land walls because the recoil from the cannons shook the walls and caused pieces of them to fall. Since the Greeks did not want to weaken the integrity of their walls in the face of heavy Ottoman bombardment, the defensive armament upon Constantinople’s walls was limited to handheld ranged weapons.


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The largest figure cited for ships on the Christian side is 39 including just nine larger galleys. The nine major ships were: 4 Genoese, 3 Venetian-Cretan, 1 Byzantine and 1 Anconan (Tedaldi, cited in LBA p.132). Others say the defenders had a fleet of 26 capital ships: about 10 Byzantine; 5 from Genoa, 5 from Venice, 3 from Venetian Crete, 1 from Ancona [Italy], 1 from distant Spain/Catalonia, and 1 from France/Provence (Runcimen 1965: 85; Nicolle, Constantinople 1453: The end of Byzantium, 2000, p. 45). Barbaro lists 10 large galleys ranging in size from 2,500 botte to 600, the median being 800 botte or about 480 tons. By our standards they were almost tiny: like a modern corvette or large patrol boat. Cf 1,825 metric tons for the Italian Minervaclas corvette and 270 tons for the Australian Armidale-class ocean patrol boats.

Above: The view here is to the south. c. The Walls To an attacker the defences of Constantinople presented first a ditch or moat 60 feet [18 metres] wide and 20-30 feet [six to nine metres: others say “10” metres] deep. There was next an embankment protected by a parapet [1.5 metres high] leading to the outer wall, which was the wall the Christians chose to defend in 1453. It was guarded by square towers built at intervals of 50-100 yards (metres) along its length and rising to heights of 30 feet [over nine metres: others give “8.5” metres: Turnbull, Stephen (2004), The Walls of Constantinople AD 324–1453


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years (Fortress 25), Osprey Publishing]. More importantly, seeing that cannons were used by the Turks, the outer wall was two metres thick. The last line of defence, separated from the outer wall by a space of about 50 feet [15 metres], was the inner or great wall, about 40 feet [12 metres*] in height, protected by 96 towers rising to heights of 60 feet [18 metres] (Nicol, Last Centuries, Ch.18). (*) If in the 15th C. the average man was 1.75 m tall, then this is a height of 6.8 men. Or if we use 3.5 m as the height of a building storey, 3.4 storeys high. d. The Course of the Siege The young Genoese noble and warlord Giovanni Giustiniani Longo arrived at Constantinople as a volunteer on 29 January 1453 bringing a battalion of “700” (Barbaro’s figure) or “400” (Leonard of Chios and Kritoboulos) of his own troops, recruited at Genoa, Chios and Rhodes. He was an experienced professional soldier and renowned for his skill in siege warfare. The Emperor immediately appointed him to take general command of the defence of the walls on the landward side (Runciman 1965: 83; Bartusis p.125; also D M Nicol, The Immortal Emperor, 1992). In February the Ottoman advance guard left Edirne taking siege cannons to the siege-lines outside Constantinople, while other Ottoman contingents captured most remaining Byzantine outposts along the Marmara coast. And still further Ottoman contingents captured the remaining Byzantine outposts (towns, villages and forts) along the Black Sea coast from Mesembria to the inner Thracian coast (Nicolle 2008: 84). The contest commenced when the first Turkish detachment came into sight on the landward side on 2 April 1453. Venice dispatched a small fleet in May. 5 April: The Turkish land forces were finally all in place when the Sultan arrived with the last detachments of the army (Runciman 1965: 79; Bartusis p.122). 6 April: The fighting opened with a heavy bombardment of the walls. 9 April: “On the ninth day of April, seeing that nevertheless the faithless Turks would come with their fleet and army, to gain their accursed intention of completely destroying the wretched city of Constantinople, preparations began to be made for this on the harbour side, and so we put [vessels] along the boom which ran across the harbour; nine of the biggest ships which were there and these ships along the length of the boom stretched from Constantinople as far as Pera; they were well armed and in good order, all ready to join battle, and one as good as another.” Thus Barbaro, an eyewitness. 12 April: A new round of bombardment began; it would last “with ceaseless monotony” for more than six weeks: for “48” days according to Norwich (1996: 424; also Runciman 1965: 97).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years 18 April: First assault on the walls: a night attack on the Mesoteichion, the lowest middle section of the walls under which the River Lycus ran into the city. The sections damaged by cannon-fire had been refortified with a stockade of wooden planks topped with barrels of earth. The assault failed after four hours (Runciman 1965: 99). 20 April: Arrival from the Aegean of four large vessels: three Genoese warships and one large Imperial-Greek grain-transport. They fought their way through a large Turkish fleet into the Golden Horn, humiliating the Ottoman admiral and angering the Sultan (Runciman 1965: 102-03; Norwich 1996: 425). We have a presumed report of Greek Fire, but more probably in fact some other kind of incendiary material*, being used against the Turkish ships on this occasion (Runciman 1965: 102). It was also used later on land, under the direction of Johann (John) Grant, the emperor’s German or Scottish engineer, against tunnellers and to destroy a giant siege machine (D. Nicolle, J. Haldon and S. Turnbull, The Fall of Constantinople: The Ottoman Conquest of Byzantium, Osprey 2007, p.152). (*) See the discussion in Bartusis, LBA pp 340 ff. Only two less reliable sources say “liquid fire” was used and by both sides. It is almost certain, however, that the material in question was a combination of “pitch, brushwood and gunpowder”, as mentioned by Barbaro, an eyewitness. 21 April: “There was a continuous bombardment all day of the walls by San Romano [Gate of St Romanus: the most central gate in the wall], and a tower was razed to the ground by the bombardment, with several yards [metres] of wall. This was the time when those in the city, and also those in the fleet, began to be afraid” (diary of Barbaro). By this time the outer wall of the city across the Lycus valley (geographically the lowest point) had been completely destroyed in many places; but every night the defenders came out to restore it with stockades built with planks, barrels and sacks of earth (Runciman 1965: 97). 22 April: Using oxen and wooden cradles, the Turks haul some 70 ships or boats overland via Galata (Pera) – across the peninsula above (behind) Pera - to be launched on the Golden Horn (Bartusis, LBA p.132; Runciman 1965: 105; Norwich 1996: 427). This opened a new front in the siege. 5 May: “On the fifth of May, the wicked and evil Turks went and placed great cannon on the top of the hill above Pera [Galata], and with these cannon they began to fire over Pera at our fleet, which lay by the boom [in the Golden Horn]. They continued this bombardment for several days, firing stones of 200 pounds weight each, and the third shot which was fired sent to the bottom a Genoese ship of 300 butte*” (Barbaro).


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years (*) About 190 tons. 22 May: A lunar eclipse occurred, which the Byzantines interpreted as a negative sign. It also worried the Turks. (The moon rose at Constantinople at 19:31 local time, i.e. half-past-seven at night; the moon was already in full eclipse. It exited from totality at 20: 41 and from penumbra at 21: 50, i.e. just before 10 pm: ‘Eclipses of the Moon in History’ in Ron Sun, C. Lee Giles, Sequence learning: paradigms, algorithms, and applications, Springer, 2001 p.85). From mid-May to 25 May, the Ottomans sought to break through the walls by constructing underground tunnels in an effort to sap them. Many of the sappers were Serbians sent from Novo Brdo by the Serbian Despot. They were placed under the command of Zaganos Pasha. However, the Byzantines employed an engineer named Johannes Grant (who was said to be German but was probably Scottish), and he had countertunnels dug, allowing Byzantine troops to enter the tunnels and kill the Turkish and Serbian workers. The heaviest concentration of Byzantine and foreign soldiers was along the central stretch of walls extending from around the Gate of St. Romanos to the Charisios or Adrianople Gate, against which the main attack was directed; even here, fewer than 1,000 Christian soldiers held back the first two waves and the full strength of the Turkish Janissaries before they were outflanked as a result of the fall of the Kerkoporta postern (small gate or door) near the Kaligaria gate (mod. Egri Kapi: near the Blachernai Place and the northern end of the wall). All sources agree that the elite Janissary infantry advanced with terrifying discipline, slowly and with neither noise nor music (Nicolle 2008: 85). 29 May: Final attack. The Turks enter: “This butchery lasted from sunrise, when the Turks entered the city, until midday, and anyone they found was put to the scimitar in their rage. Those of our merchants who escaped hid themselves in underground places, and when the first mad slaughter was over, they were found by the Turks and were all taken and sold as slaves” (Barbaro). Critopoulos or Kritibolus of Imbros, cited by Vacalopoulos, p.202, says that “50,000” Christians were enslaved; Leonard of Chios, the Latin Archbishop of Lesbos, says “60,000”. This may seem rather a high figure, but relatively few had died in the fighting: only some 4,000 or 3,000; and for some time no one or almost no-one was allowed to stay in the devastated city (cf Runciman 1965: 203 and 226). Cf 1454. 1454: 1. Revolt in the Morea by Albanians and Greeks under Manuel ‘Ghin’ Kantakouzenos. Mehmet II sent his general Turahan Bey to help Demetrios and Thomas, as his vassals, to regain control (Nicolle 2008: 88; Nicol, Immortal Emperor, p.111). See 1460. 2. The future historian Michael Critopoulos or Critoboulos was a local political leader of Imbros - the island in the North Aegean: south of the Dardanelles - and


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years played an active role in the peaceful handover of the islands of Imbros, Limnos and Thasos to the Ottomans after the final breakdown of the Byzantine state. He later wrote a historical account of the rise of the Ottomans and the final conquest of the remainder of the Byzantine Empire. Its main part is a biography of the Ottoman sultan Mehmet II, ‘the Conqueror’, to whom the work was also dedicated. Writing under Ottoman rule, Critopoulos expressed admiration for Mehmet in his work, and combined the mourning of the Byzantine loss with an acceptance of the shift of power to the Ottoman Turks, which he interpreted as a divinely ordained world historic event. In doing so, he took as a literary model the works of Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem (Wikipedia, 2011, ‘Critoboulos’). 1456: 1. Thrace: With the conquest in 1456 of Ainos [Tk: Enez], at the mouth of the Evros/Maritsa, from the Genoese, the last important Christian post in Thrace is incorporated into the Ottoman empire. The Turks also took control of the N. Aegean islands of Byzantine Thasos, Genoese Samothrace and Imbros (1457). 2. The Danube: Ottoman failure at the siege of Hungarian-governed Belgrade. Janos (John) Hunyadi, aged about 49, arrives with a substantial, mainly Hungarian army (only 4,000 were professionals: Setton, Papacy p.177) to bolster the garrison. The Turks arrived on 3 July and deployed 300 cannons. Initially the Janissaries were threatening to break into the fortress, but were beaten off. Unexpectedly, the Christian army of about 45,000 (or 60,000) Hungarians, Serbs and some Western Europeans—most were local peasants and townsmen armed with scythes and pitchforks—sallies forth and routs a surprised 65,000 Turks (low figure 30,000 vs high figure 100,000). Thus Hunyadi “saves Europe” - if only for a generation or two - by defeating Mehmet II, who is wounded (by an arrow in the thigh). On 22 July Mehmet orders withdrawal. Hunyadi dies soon after when disease broke out in the Christian camp. 3. Or 1458: The Turks receive Italian-ruled Athens. The last Florentine duke surrendered the town to the Ottomans on 4 June 1456, thus bringing to a close two and a half centuries of Latin domination. 4. The Greek “empire” of Trebizond pays money tribute to Mehmed. See 1461. 5. Italy: John Argyropoulos, an official in the service of one of the rulers of the Byzantine Morea, was sent to Italy in 1456 on a diplomatic mission. He too was offered the chance to teach in Florence and he accepted with alacrity, remaining in Italy until his death in 1487. 1458: Mehmet in the Morea: Unable to take Acrocorinth, the citadel-fortress near Corinth, the Ottomans pillaged into the interior before turning NW to take Patras. Mehmet’s troops then returned to lay siege again to Acrocorinth, whose leaders now (August) decided to surrender (Runciman 1965: 171). For two years, 1458-60, the Turks occupied the NE quarter of the Morea, from Patras to Corinth (map in Vacalopoulos p.405). See 1460-61. 215

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years When the Turks captured Athens in 1458, the monastery of nearby Dafni was returned to the Orthodox Church (from Catholic control) and was reoccupied by Orthodox monks who also made alterations to the buildings. 1458-69: Italy: The scholar George of Trebizond [cf 1461 below], although he had translated Plato in the past, in 1458 wrote a strongly worded denunciation of him, entitled Comparisons of Aristotle and Plato. He claimed that Plato's ideas led inevitably to immorality and heresy, and denounced any attempt to reconcile Platonism with Christianity. To prove his point, he cited Bessarion's teacher, George Gemistos Plethon, who he claimed had been led by reading Plato to abjure Christianity and to turn to the worship of the old Olympian gods. In response, Bessarion and other members of his circle became some of the most prominent champions of the works of Plato against those who favoured the more traditionally acceptable Aristotle. In 1469, Bessarion published his Against the Calumniator of Plato, the 'calumniator' being George of Trebizond. —Jonathan Harris, ‘Byzantines in Renaissance Italy’, at //www.the-orb.net/encyclop/late/laterbyz/harrisren.html; accessed 2011. 1460: 1. Rhodes: A Turkish fleet of 40 ships and “7,000 soldiers” (we assume oarsmenfighters: 175 men per ship) landed at Simi/Symi (the island near Rhodes) and besieged the Hospitaller castle for 14 days before withdrawing (J. M. UptonWard, The Military Orders: On land and by sea, Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2008 p.216) 2. Italy and Germany: Basilios Bessarion (the Trebizond-born Catholic cardinal and titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople) wanted the West to go to the aid of his homeland Byzantium. He therefore accepted the commission given him by the pope to attend two German diets held in 1460, one on the 2nd of March at Nuremberg, the other on the 25th of the same month at Worms. Neither, however, had any practical results. At the command of the pope he went to Vienna to induce the emperor to assist, with arms and supplies, Matthias Corvinus, the young King of Hungary. After a long wait the German leaders, on 17 September, asked for another delay, and only the express wish of Pius II kept Bessarion in Germany for a whole year, pleading the cause of the Christians of the East. Internal discord among the German leaders prevented them from reaching any decision concerning the crusade, and Bessarion returned to Rome disillusioned and discouraged (Cath. Encyc., ‘Bessarion’). 1460-61: End of Romaic rule in Greece: Mehmet II (aged 28) leads the Ottoman conquest of Byzantine Morea. Mistra and Patras surrendered (29 May 1460) without resistance, but some of the Byzantines’ smaller fortress-towns put up a fierce struggle. The northern fortress of Kalavrytra fell also in 1460. The Venetian-ruled


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years ports of Modon and Croton saved themselves by welcoming the Sultan with lavish gifts and honours (Runciman 1965: 72; Harris 2005: 67). See 1463. 1461: 1. Asia Minor: Ottomans conquer the tiny so-called “empire” (mini-state) of Trebizond, the last capital of the Greeks. Mehmet led a sizeable army from Brusa, first to Sinope whose emir quickly surrendered, then south across Armenia to neutralize Uzun Hasan (the ruler of western Iran: the Sultan of the Aq Qoyunlu dynasty, or White Sheep Turkmen) who had received a request for aid from the rule of Trebizond. Meanwhile a sizeable fleet under the command of Mahmud Pasha Angelovich* sailed (rowed) from the Bosphoros. Having isolated Trebizond, the Turks quickly swept down upon it before the inhabitants knew they were coming, and placed it under siege. The town held out for a month before the ‘emperor’ David surrendered on 15 August 1461. This was 200 years to the day since Michael Palaeologus had recaptured Constantinople from the Latins and a new dawn had seemed to be breaking for the Greek world (Runciman 1965: 175). See 1462. (*) Mahmud had been born a Christian of Greek descent in Serbia but at age seven was taken in the devshirme [seizure of Christian boys] or otherwise enslaved, and became a janissary. Having distinguished himself at the Siege of Belgrade (1456), he was made Grand Vizier.

2. Corfu: George Sphrantzes (also Phrantzes or Phrantza), 1401-c.1478, was a late Byzantine historian. Born in Constantinople, at an early age he had become secretary to Manuel II Palaeologus, d. 1425; in 1432 he was protovestiarius (‘Master of Robes’); in 1446 prefect of ‘Sparta’ [Mistra]; and subsequently (from 1451) Great Logothete (chancellor). He was present at the Ottoman siege and capture of the capital in 1453. After the Turks removed the Peloponnesian princes (1460: see next), Phrantza retired to the monastery of Tarchaniotes in Corfu. There he wrote his Chronicle, containing the history of the House of the Palaeologi from 1258 to 1476, including a valuable account of the fall of Constantinople. 3. One of the rulers or Despots of the Peloponnese, Thomas Palaeologus, brother of the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI, fled to Corfu with his family and then crossed alone to Italy. Arriving in Rome in March 1461, he threw himself on the mercy of the Pope, Pius II. Pius granted Thomas a lodging and an annual pension which he enjoyed until his death in 1465. – Harris, ‘Byz in Renaissance Italy’: http://www.the-orb.net/encyclop/late/laterbyz/harris-ren.html. 1462: Lesbos: The fleet of Mahmud Pasha (67 ships), grand vizier since 1453, besieges Mytilene, the Italo-Greek town on the E coast of Lesbos, offshore from - NW of – Smyrna. The Turks bombarded the twon with 27 guns (Setton, Papacy, p.238; Kramers, ‘Mahmud Pasha’, in Houtsma ed. Encyc. p.137). Further south, 217

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years Melanoudion, the Genoese-held fortress near Miletos, falls (an area protected by outer walls on the outskirts of the town). Then, after 27 days’ bombardment, Lesbos’s Greco-Genoese ruler Niccolo Gattilusio handed over the castle at Mytilene (Houtsma, ed. First Encyc of Islam, Brill 1993, under ‘Mytilini’, p.483). Molyvos on the island of Lesbos was the next town to fall, followed by Aghii Theodori and Eresus. The Sultan received the surrender of the island in person. “Ten thousand” captives are sent to Ottoman Constantinople. (Chios remained in Genoese hands.) The Ottoman poet and historian Enveri, author of the verse-chronicle Düsturname (1464), took part in the subjugation of Lesbos. 1463: 1. “The first Byzantine historian to recognize the Turkish authority as such was Laonicus Chalcocondyles (c.1432-c.1490)” (Dölger 1967: 233). Chalcocondyles’ history, which covered the years 1298 to 1463, was patterned after that of Thucydides, and he took as his central theme the origin and growth of Turkish power. Chalcondyles was born in Italian-ruled Athens in about 1423. His family went to the Byzantine Peloponnese, where, according to Kyriakos the Agonites, he lived at the court of Konstantinos Palaiologos and was taught by George Gemistos Plethon. His work, Proofs of Histories, comprises one of the most important sources for the final 150 years of Byzantine history. It covers the period from 1298 to 1463, describing the fall of the Greek empire and the rise of the Ottoman Turks, which forms the centre of the narrative, down to the defeat of the Venetians and Mathias, king of Hungary, by Mehmed II. 2. The Ottomans annex Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Wikipedia:) Under the king Stjephan Tomshevich, Bosnia officially "fell with a whisper" (shaptom pala) in 1463 and became the westernmost province of the Ottoman Empire. The Turks were aided by a heterodox Christian sect, the Bogomils, who had been mistreated by the Hungarians. Herzegovina held out against the Turks until 1482. 1463-64: Venetian-Ottoman War: the Venetians briefly (re)capture the Morea but it is quickly recovered by the Turks. - In 1463, after Venice refused to give up ports on the Aegean side of Morea, Mehmed and Venice began their second war during the 1400s. Also in 1463, Mehmed took Bosnia. - The Turks and Venetians continued to fight from time to time, but the position on land did not change after this time. Cf 1469. 1464-65: Printing arrives in Italy from Germany. The first press was at the Benedictine Monastery of Subiaco, 80 km east of Rome. Venice later became the centre of the printing industry in Italy. 1465:


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years fl. John Argyropoulos, émigré ‘Greek’ (Rhomaioi) scholar in Italy from 1456. He taught at Padua, Florence and Rome. He left a number of Latin translations, including many of Aristotle’s works, but his real importance lies in his work as a teacher in Italy. Cf Fotis Vassileiou and Barbara Saribalidou, "John Argyropoulos, teacher of Leonardo Da Vinci", Philosophy Pathways 117, 2006. 1467-72: a. Calabria and Puglia: Latinisation of post-Byzantine Italy: “Among those [towns] which held out longest for the Greek Rite were Acerenza (and perhaps Gravina), 1302; Gerace [in Calabria], 1467; Oppido, 1472, when it was temporarily united to Gerace; Rossano, 1460; Gallipoli [on the heel of Italy], 1513; Bova (to the time of Gregory XIII), etc. —Cath. Encyc. under “Italo-Greeks”. b. N Italy: Exiled Byzantine scribes were often obscure individuals known only from the signatures or colophons which they appended to the manuscripts they copied. One example is Demetrius Trivolis, a native of the Peloponnese, who made a copy of Homer's Odyssey for Bessarion in Rome in 1469. – Harris, ‘Byz in Renaissance Italy’: http://www.the-orb.net/encyclop/late/laterbyz/harrisren.html. c. Bessarion publishes (1471) Periculis Imminentibus (‘Of Imminent Perils’), in which he warns Italy against coming Turkish expansionism. His fears were wellfounded: see 1480. 1469-70: The Aegean: Venetian attack on Enos and New Phocaea; Mehmed II’s fleet conquers Venetian-ruled Euboea. 1472: The 'Grand Prince' of Moscow, Ivan III “the Great”, marries Sophia Palaeologus, the niece of the last Roman/Byzantine emperor (and daughter of Thomas, claimant to the throne of Constantinople). Ivan was the first Russian ruler occasionally to call himself Tsar or emperor, a term previously reserved for the Byzantine ruler. See discussion below under “Greek and Russian Orthodoxy” 1475: Transdanubia: Stephen/Stefan of Moldavia scored a temporary victory over the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Vaslui which was reversed by the next year's defeat at Paraul Alb. At Vasliu, supposedly 40,000 Moldovan, Hungarian, and Polish troops commanded by Stefan defeated a Turkish and Wallachian force numbering over 100,000 (Charles King, The Moldovans: Romania, Russia, and the politics of culture, Hoover Press, 2000 p.15). 1480: 1. Unsucessful Ottoman invasion of Rhodes. 2. Italy: In the summer of 1480 an Ottoman fleet of 132 ships and 18,000 men - av. nearly 140 per vessel; ergo many were smaller types - took control of Otranto, on


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years the back heel of Italy. From Otranto the Ottomans began making raids deeper into Italy. The Pope considered fleeing. Cath. Encyc.: “The name of Otranto is linked to the tragic events which took place in July 1480, when a fleet of Turkish warships besieged the town. The Turks’ bold plan was to subdue Italy and France and join forces with the Muslims ruling [a small part of] Spain; but they were caught unawares by the unexpected resistance of the inhabitants of Otranto, who held them at bay for 15 days. Eventually the Muslims broke into the town and ordered the Christians to abjure. On their refusal, the Turks breached the cathedral and killed Bishop Stefano Pendinelli and all the others who had taken refuge within the walls.” The Turks left a garrison in charge of Otranto, but in 1481 a Neapolitan army of “20,000” besieged them and, to avoid starvation, the garrison surrendered the town after a fiercely contested siege of four and a half months (Ivy Corfis & Michael Wolfe, The Medieval City Under Siege, Boydell & Brewer, 2000, p.253). See 1495. 1481: Ottoman-ruled Thessalonica: The monumental tomb of the grain merchant Loukas Spantounes was manufactured in the workshop of Pietro Lombardo in Venice and erected in the basilica of St. Demetrios in 1481. This work is the last funerary monument of the Byzantine aristocracy. —Bazirkis, in Talbot ed., ‘Late Byzantine Thessalonike’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 2003; accessed online 2011. 1484: 1. fl. Angelo Poliziano, Florentine humanist, the first scholar to undertake a thorough collation (comparison and analysis of variant copies) of an ancient manuscript. 2. Ficino publishes the whole of Plato's dialogues in Latin translation. Early 1490s: The Florentine ruler Lorenzo de'Medici sends collectors to Ottoman-ruled Constantinople in search of ancient Greek texts. 1493: Humanism as anti-medievalism: d. Ermolao Barbaro, Venetian humanist, a severe critic of the "bad" Latin of Aquinas and Albertus Magnus. Barbaro of course is forgotten but Rome at least remembers Aquinas. 1495: Italy: Kemal Reis (a corsair in the sultan’s employ) set sail from Istanbul and raided the Gulf of Taranto with a force of small force of five galleys, five fustas (smaller ships: up to 50 oars: 2x25 oars*), a barque and a smaller ship. (*) The fusta or fuste was in essence a small galley -- a narrow, light and fast ship with shallow draft, powered by both oars and sail. Typically it had 12 to 15 twoman rowing benches on each side, and a single mast with a lateen (triangular) sail.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years THE ‘THIRD ROME’ The Russians, from the conversion of the 'Viking' Prince of Kiev in AD 989, looked to Constantinople as the centre of orthodox Christianity. ‘Russians’: Originally the common people of Ukraine and Russia were mainly of Finnish stock, the Slavs being at first a minority (see Pipes chapter 2). The ruling caste in Kiev, the Viking 'Rus', followed a Scandinavian-Norman culture until they were slavicised in the period 950-1050. Threatened by the Turks, the Basileus and the patriarch of New Rome (Constantinople) submitted to the Papacy in 1439 [see there] and agreed to a reunion of the Eastern and Western churches. The Russian hierarchy regarded this as "an incredible act of treachery", as George Ostrogorsky puts it. Constantinople's 'treachery' caused Kiev and Moscow to begin re-thinking the position of the 'Greek' emperor as the Favoured One of God. And, 20 years after the fall in 1453 of the East Roman capital, the 'Grand Prince' of Moscow, Ivan III “the Great”, married (1472) the niece of the last Roman emperor. Then in a treaty with the town of Pskov in 1473, Ivan III, the Grand-Duke of Moscow, used the title of Tsar; the use became more consistent after he freed himself from Tatar (Kipchak) vassalage in 1480. Tsar was originally used in Russia to refer to the Roman (Byzantine) Emperor; in due course it was also applied to the Kipchak ruler (khan of the Golden Horde) as overlord of the Russians. Its core meaning was a self-determining ruler, i.e. one not subject to any other (Isabel De Madariaga, Ivan the Terrible, Yale University Press, 2006, pp.49-50). The very first ruler to call himself Tsar was actually a nearer neighbour to Byzantium, namely Simeon I, ‘the Great’, of Bulgaria, r. 893-927. Simeon began his reign as a mere ‘prince’ (Slavic knyaz) but in or after 913, by force majeure, he assumed or received the title of “emperor” (Gk basileus; Slavic tsar). The Byzantine patriarch (and regent for Byzantium’s boy-emperor) submitted to crowning Simeon, but he did so in order to avoid war, and it was quite some time before the Byzantine state could bring itself to recognise Simeon’s selfassumed title of ‘basileus’. The term "Basileus" was not used to refer to the Bulgarian ruler until the boy-emperor had grown to manhood and assumed sole rule as Constantine VII (945-959) (Steven Runciman, The Emperor Romanos Lecapenus and His Reign, 1929; reprinted 1963, p.100; J J Norwich, Byzantium: The Apogee, Penguin edn. 1993, p.147). By Ivan III’s time, however, the Bulgarian Empire - also the Serbian Empire under the self-proclaimed tsar Stefan Urosh IV Dushan, 1346: see there - had already been extinguished by the Ottoman Turks and hence played no role as a model for the Russian prince. Grand Prince Ivan III, acc. 1462, established Moscow's independence from the socalled ‘Tatars’, i.e. Kipchaks, by successfully repudiating the payment of tribute (1480). From about 1480 he is designated as "imperator" in his Latin correspondence; as "keyser" in his correspondence with the Swedish regent; and as "kejser" in his correspondence with the Danish king, the Teutonic Knights and


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years the Hansa (Wikipedia, 2011, under “Tsar”). This was his own, aspirational usage: it was not reciprocated until the time of Ivan IV. In 1492, the metropolitan of Moscow, proclaiming the paschal canon for the new millenium, called Ivan III "the new Constantine" and Moscow "the new Constantinople". On this, see Dimitri Stremooukhoff (1953): 'Moscow the Third Rome: Sources of the Doctrine', Speculum 28(1):84-101. The idea of a Third Rome developed quite slowly. It was formulated initially in the early 1500s by Filofei, a Russian monk, becoming in due course an integral part of Muscovite political theory (see in Pipes and Obolensky). Pipes argues, however, that Russian absolutism has owed much more to the Mongol (Tartar) model than to the Byzantine example. Specifically the idea crystallised with a panegyric letter composed by the Russian monk Philotheus or Filofey in 1512 to Grand Duke Vasili (Basil) III, which proclaimed: "Two Romes have fallen. The third stands. And there will not be a fourth. No one will replace your Christian Tsardom!" (Runciman 1965: 178). Contrary to a common misconception, Filofey explicitly identifies Third Rome with Russia the country rather than with Moscow the city (Stremooukhoff p.99). As we have said, the ‘Grand Prince’ Ivan III (d. 1505) had been the first Russian ruler occasionally to call himself Tsar or emperor, a term previously reserved for the Byzantine ruler and the Kipchak khan. It was Ivan IV 'the Terrible', meaning awesome [groznyi, ‘fearsome, severe, forbidding, threatening’], 1533-84, who gave himself the definitive title Tsar vseia Rossii or 'Tsar of all the Russias' in 1547. This was nearly a century after the fall of the ‘Second Rome’. Ivan IV created an early Russian empire by conquering the successor states to the Golden Horde: the Tatar (Turkic) khanates of Kazan (1552: located on the upper Volga River west of Moscow) and Astrakhan (1556: located where the lower Volga River runs into the Caspian Sea) and in the west by trying, unsuccessfully, to dominate the Poles and Swedes. Reflecting on these achievements – for religious orthodoxy was supposed to guarantee military success - Moscow finally began to believe it was indeed the "Third Rome". Ivan IV Vasilyevich, called The Terrible or better: “awesome”, grand duke of Moscow 1533-1547 and, from 1547, tsar of Russia (1547-1584), was one of the main creators of the Russian state. Ivan was born in Moscow, the son of Basil/Vasili III. As we have said, he was the first Russian ruler to be formally crowned (1547) as tsar, aged 16. Specifically he was proclaimed “God-crowned Tsar and sovereign [or ‘autocrat’: Ru. samoderzhets] of all Great Russia” (echoing the Greek formula basileus kai autokrator, ‘sovereign and emperor’: De Madariaga, loc.cit.). He was crowned thus by metropolitan archbishop Macarius/Makarii of Moscow, metropolitan from 1542, who apparently cultivated in young Ivan the idea of the ruler as the guardian of the church, as the Byzantine emperor had been (Abbott Gleason, A companion to Russian history, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009 p.62). The first 13 years of Ivan's reign constitute one of the greatest periods of internal reform, external expansion and centralisation of state power in the history of Russia. Ivan convened the first national representative assembly ever 222

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years summoned by a Russian ruler, and initiated an updating of the Russian law code. His conquests - Kazan 1552, Astrakhan 1556 - brought within the borders of Russia the entire Volga River, to the NW of the top of the Caspian Sea. The Rusuains finally came out of the forests onto the steppes. The religious confirmation came a little later, in 1561, or more than a century after the Great City had fallen to the infidel Turks. In that year, after long drawn out negotiations, the Greek Patriarch, writing from Turkish-ruled Constantinople, acclaimed the Muscovite ruler “emperor and master [Tsar' i Gosudar'*] of Orthodox Christians in the entire world” (De Madariaga, p.52). It was not until 1589, however, 136 years after the fall of Constantinople, that the Metropolitan of Moscow was acknowledged by the patriarch of Constantinople and the other Eastern archbishoprics as a fellow Patriarch. (*) Often rendered as “sovereign” or “lord”. It was/is the counterpart of the Greek despotes and Latin dominus. It connotes ‘slave-owner’. Pipes pp. 21, 48, 65 glosses it as ‘lord, master, outright owner of all men and things’. For, unlike a despotes, there was no law to constrain a gosudar’. . . . (For a contrary view, see Madariaga loc.cit. pp 34 ff: she argues against a literalist reading of ‘slave-master’ and slave’. And she may have a point: doulos [fem. doule] in Greek literally means ‘slave’ but it was also used in a loose way to denote a free subject or free servant. And cf Luke 1.38: ‘I am the doule of the Most High’.) Aftermath, 1453-1910 It is interesting to look at the numbers of Greeks in the provinces of Turkish Anatolia in the final period of the Ottoman Empire. On the eve of the First World War, the five Asian provinces with the largest Turkish populations were: Bursa [NW], Konya [central/SE], Kastamon [north], Trebizond and Ankara. Greeks were not a majority anywhere in Asia Minor (16% of the total), but formed very large minorities in the Izmir [Aegean coast], Trebizond, Sivas [NE], Adana [SE: Cilicia] and Konya provinces. Kastamon province had the fewest Greeks. There were also relatively large Armenian populations in the provinces of Sivas (where they outnumbered Greeks*), Ankara (ditto); Bursa, Izmit and Trebizond*; making up 5.5% overall in Asian Turkey. In Adana province* Armenians were nearly as many as Greeks (Dimitri Pentzopoulos, The Balkan exchange of minorities and its impact on Greece. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. 2002pp. 29–30, cited in Wikipedia 2011). (*) Sivas and Trebizond provinces took in the western and northern parts of Old Armenia, while Adana province covered what had once been the medieval region of New or ‘Little’ Armenia in Cilicia. In the case of Europe, it should be noted that the Slavs were not the only groups to move into the southern part of the Balkan peninsula in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Many Albanians came in also, especially in the period 1000-1450. They settled in Athens, Corinth, Mani, Thessaly and even in the Aegean islands. In the early nineteenth century, the population of Athens was 24 percent Albanian, 32 percent Turkish, and only 44 percent Greek. The village of Marathon, 223

O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years scene of the great victory in 490 BC, was, early in the nineteenth century, almost entirely Albanian (John Shea, Macedonia and Greece: The Struggle to Define a New nation , McFarland 2008, p.88) As for the Vlach minority, the Armãnji or Aromanians, there have been no population statistics collected regarding the Romance-speaking descendants of ancient Latin speakers, since the Greek census of 1951. The censuses of 1935 and 1951 recorded 19,703 and 39,855 Vlachs respectively. Greece does not recognise the presence of a Vlach minority.  APPENDIX one The size of Latin and N European field armies While medieval numbers are a very vexed issue, the point to notice is that invading expeditionary armies sent even by large states seem frequently enough to have numbered fewer than 10,000 men. (The sizes of the armies of the Italian city-states are impressive precisely because of their small populations and tax–bases, and an indication of how rich they were.) Italics: over 20,000. Underlined: under 10,000. Battle 1314: Bannockburn Home side Perhaps 7,500 Scots (Pete Armstrong, Bannockburn. Botley, Oxford: Osprey Publishing., 2002, p.43.) Upper Bavaria: 1,800 knights plus mercenaries (Wikipedia): total say 3,600? France: 35-38,000 (Wikipedia, citing John Lynn, "Battle: A History of Combat and Culture". Cambridge, MA: Westview Press, 2003). Invader, attacker At least 13,700 English (Armstrong loc.cit.)

1322: Muhldorf

Duchy of Austria: 1,400 knights, Cuman (Turkish) cavalry and mercenaries: total say 4,200? England as few as 9,000 or as many as 16,000 (Wikipedia).

1346: Crecy:

(Black Death 134749) 1356: Poitiers France 11,000 including 8,000 knights. England 6,000 including 3,000 knights (Wikipedia, citing Jonathan Sumption, 2001, Trial by Fire. faber & faber. p.235)


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1367: Najera. Vilalon & Kagay say the sources are too discrepant to allow a conclusion.

Castile [Henry II] and France: Only 4,500 knights plus some infantry: say 13,500? Supposedly “60,000” horse including 6,000 knights and ’40,000’ infantry spearmen (Wikipedia: no source cited): 100,000 not credible (Vilalon & Kagay). A midrange estimate is “31,000”. Verona: under 15,000, namely 9,000 horse, 2,600 crossbowmen and several thousand other infantry (Paduan chronicler, cited by Caferro). Bologna, Florence and allies: n.a.

Castile [Peter] and England/Aquitaine: Lowest estimate 7,000 (cited in Vilalon & Kagay); possibly 28,000 including 14,000 knights (Wikipedia); 30,000 (Froissart).

1387: Castagnaro, SE of Verona. Earliest example of the use of cannon in field warfare in Italy. 1402 : Casalecchio, near Bologna 1410: Grunwald: said to be one of the largest battles of the era. 1415: Agincourt

Padua: 8,600, namely 7,000 knights, 1,000 infantry and 600 English foot-archers (Nicolle p.24).

Milan and allies: vanguard of 2,000 cavalry, so total perhaps 8,000?

Teutonic Order: 11,000 Poland, Lithuania and allies: (Razin), 27,000 (Kuczynski) just 16,000 (Razin), or 39,000 men? (Kuczynski). France 12,000 (Curry), 1215,000 (Schnerb, also Mortimer), 32,000 (Barker). England: 6,000 of whom only 900 knights (Barker), 8,100 (Mortimer), 9,000 (Curry)

Caffero, Hawkwood 2006 David Nicolle, Italian Medieval Armies, Osprey 1983. L. J. Andrew Villalon & Donald Kagay, The Hundred Years War: a wider focus, Brill 2005. APPENDIX 2 The Byzantine Reconquest of Crete in AD 911 The purpose of this appendix is to show how small the Italian and Aegean navies of the 14th and 15th centuries were compared to that of the Empire in the 10th C.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years “Some estimate may be formed (writes Gibbon) of the power of the Greek emperors, by the curious and minute detail of the armament which was prepared for the reduction of Crete [in 911]. A fleet of 112 galleys (“dromons”), and 75 vessels [total 187] of the Pamphylian style, was equipped in the capital, the islands of the Aegean Sea, and the seaports of Asia, Macedonia, and Greece. It carried 34,000 mariners [oarsmen], 7,340 soldiers, 700 Russians, and 5,087 Mardaites [marines]*, whose fathers [i.e. ancestors] had been transplanted from the mountains of Libanus [S Syria and Lebanon]” (Decline and Fall, citing Const. Porphy. De Cerem.: Constantine VII's "Ceremony Book"). Total of non-oarsmen: 13,127 fighters. Cf below: Whittrow and Haldon say 17,000+. (*) Mardaïtes (marda+ites): Descendants of Christian refugees from Syria; first settled in the Aegean naval themes in the 680s. Ships: 112 + 75 = 187 vessels, or an average of some 240 men per vessel (rowers and troops). Or, if we spread the number of troops evenly, then the result is 34 soldiers per vessel (or 90+ if there were 17,000+ troops). Of the ‘197’ (or 187 or 180 or 119)* major ships in the Romaniyan expeditionary fleet, most were drawn from the central or Imperial fleet, with lesser numbers from the themes [provinces] of Hellas; Samos/Aegean; and the Cibyrrhaeots of Asia Minor. (*) Treadgold, State p.470, says 119 ships; Constantine says 187, namely 75 elite chelandia pamphyloi and 112 other dromons: text in Pryor & Jeffreys p.550. – Given the number of rowers and marines, the higher figure of 197 given by Heath should perhaps be preferred. Ship Numbers In the Cretan expedition of 911, the contingents of the fleets were as follows according to Gibbon’s Decline, vol 9, p. 354. The figures in square brackets are from Heath, Dark Ages, 1976. The Central Fleet: 100 [or 102] ships from the central or Imperial Fleet - 40 elite* pamphylians and 60 other dromonds [sic]. (*) This distinction follows Pryor & Jeffreys, who argue that ‘pamphylians’ were vessels crewed by picked mariners rather than being a distinct ship type or design. Provincial Fleets: (a) 31 from the Cibyrrh. Theme [SW Asia Minor]: 16 elite pamphylians and 15 other dromons. Oarsmen and marines: 6,760 men, average 218 per ship. Cf ships’ complements in the Thematic fleets in 929: 108-110 men per Ousakios; 120-150 per Pamphylos; and 220 officers and oarsmen per large Dromon (Heath 1976: 13). Average: 164, not including marines. 226

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(b) 22 from the Samos Theme: 12 pamphylians and 10 other dromonds. Oarsmen and marines: 5,690 or average 259 men per vessel, so nearly all must have been bigger ships (e.g. 200 rowers, 40 marines and 19 others). (c)17 from the Aegean Theme: 7 pamphylians and 10 other dromonds. Oarsmen and marines: 3,100 or average 182 per ship, so possibly none was of the largest type. Subtotal 35 and 35 [vs Heath’s 33 and 42]. (d) 10 from the Helladic Theme: 10 dromonds [Heath: 10 ships]. All were the larger type of dromon, i.e. with 230 oarsmen/naval crew and 70 marines each (text of Constantine in Pryor & Jeffreys p.550). Grand total 180 ships [Heath says “197”], i.e. 75 pamphylians and 105 other dromonds, Or according to Toynbee, 1973, p. 33, 33 larger and 42 smaller type pamphyla; and 102 other dromons: total “177”. As noted, Constantine himself says “187” in all. There is no actual reference to specialist horse-transport ships, but there is mention of large amounts of barley and also skalai, which no doubt meant gangways or boarding ramps. Leo says “he [Nicephorus] had brought ramps with him [to Crete] on the transport ships and thus transferred the army, fully armed and mounted, from the seas to dry land” (Leo Diaconus. I:3; also Pryor & Jeffreys Dromon p.306). - See below for a discussion of what may be deduced from the amount of barley; it is possible that Constantine’s “187” meant only warships and that there were further ships dedicated to transporting horses. Mariners, Marines and Soldiers The estimates for the number of fighting men, or at least the number of specialist fighters - marines and embarked soldiers - vary from about 6,000 (Treadgold) to over 17,000 (Whittow and Haldon). These scholars assume, which is by no means certain, that the rowers did not fight, or at least not on this expedition. It is stated explicitly, at least for the later expedition of AD 949, that many or even most of the rowers were armed to fight: see Pryor & Jeffreys Dromon p.261. i. Of the “42,774” men on the 911 expedition, “36,837” or 86% were rowers, according to Treadgold. The embarked fighting men or specialist fighters may have numbered only about 5,937 (sic: Treadgold, Army p.190, note 11). ii. Heath 1976: 13, following Gibbon, offers these figures: 34,000 rowers; ‘7,340’ land troops; 5,087 ‘Mardaites of the West’ [marines]; and 700 Rus mercenaries. These are the actual numbers recorded by Constantine himself: text in Pryor & Jeffreys, Dromon p.550. Adding the last three we have 13,127 fighting men. Cf Whittow’s figures, below.


O’ROURKE: Byzantium’s Last Years iii. Haldon says “just over 17,000 (excluding oarsmen)” in his Byzantium at War 1997, excerpted at http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/articles/haldon1.htm. “Irrespective of what one makes of Treadgold’s aggregate statistics and projections, one should remember that for an imperial field-army of the middleByzantine period to have consisted of 25-30,000 troops was exceptional, and even when on campaign against strategically vital targets such as Crete in 911 or 949, the [fighting] forces deployed could be considerably smaller” (Haldon 1997). iv. Mark Whittow, The Making of Byzantium, 600-1025, University of California Press 1996, p.185 presents the figures thus:
1. Marines: Mardaïtes (from the Peloponnesus and Cephalonia) Imperial fleet, marines Kibyrrhotai fleet [southern Asia Minor] Russians (Imperial fleet) Samos flotilla Hellas flotilla [North] Aegean flotilla Subtotal 5,087

4,200 1,190 700 700 700 490 13,067 13,067 / 70 = 187. This figure nicely tallies with the “187” ships said to have sailed, “70” being a standard complement of marines.

2. Land troops: Tagmata (Constantinople and environs) Thrakesian Theme [west Asia Minor] Sebasteis Theme (Armenians) Armenians from Palation (in the Anatolikon:central Asai Minor) Armenians from Priene (in the Thrakesion) Sub-total 1,037 1,000 1,000 500

500 4,037


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The amount of horse-feed carried would have fed as many as 10,000 cavalry mounts for about two weeks, but in all probability the number of horses taken was more like 5,000 (say Pryor & Jeffreys, Dromon p.306). This figure seems high, noting that in the later expedition of 949 the cavalry mounts numbered only a few more than 2,000 animals. Moreover 5,000 horses translates as 27 animals per ship on average. And we know that medieval specialist horse-transport ships ordinarily carried fewer than 30 horses each (Gardiner 2004: 115). If the expedition really had that many horses, then it was very severely overcrowded, each ship also having to accommodate on average about 230 humans (using Treadgold’s figures). Of course Constantine’s “187” vessels may have meant only the warships; the several thousand horses could well have been transported in a further 100+ civilian galleys. The latter seems more likely, given that the expedition of 949 comprised “3,308” vessels of all sizes, including troopships, horse-transporters and supply boats. [text ends]

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