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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
(1975)

III: Byzantium and the Crusades, 1354-1453,   pp. 69-103 PDF (13.6 MB)


Page 69

III 
BYZANTIUM AND THE 
CRUSADES, 1354—1453 
 With the retirement of John VI Cantacuzenus in 1354, John V Palaeologus
ruled alone. He did not underestimate the gravity of the situation, and like
his predecessor, soon after his accession made an attempt to save the empire
by the usual device of seeking western aid. Half-Latin himself, and inspired
by his mother Anna of Savoy with what seems to have been a certain devotion
to the Latin church, he set to work to bring about religious union. On December
15, 1355, one year after his accession, he sent Innocent VI at Avignon a
very detailed but surprisingly naive letter containing a series of astounding
proposals for the effecting of union.1 To begin with, he requested the pope
to aid in the defense of Constantinople by sending five galleys and fifteen
transport vessels with a thousand foot soldiers and five hundred horsemen.
All these were to be placed under the command of the emperor, but their expenses
for six months were to be borne by the pope. In exchange John committed himself
to some remarkable concessions. He pledged to convert his subjects within
six months to the faith of Rome. To convince the pope that he would carry
out the terms promised, he offered remark ably far-reaching guarantees, more
than the direst need of any empire could justify on the part of its ruler.
First of all John promised to receive the papal legates with respect and
accord them the authority to appoint to ecclesiastical benefices in Constantinople
whomever they wished. To disseminate a knowledge of Latin culture the papal
ambassadors would be permitted to found colleges in Constantinople for the
teaching of Latin.2 John even promised to send his second 
For bibliography, see preceding chapter. 
 1. See Halecki, Un Empereur de Byzance, pp. 17 ff. and 31 ff., who probably
over emphasizes the significance of negotiations with the pope under Cantacuzenus
(Gay, Clement VI, pp. 111 ff. is more reserved); see also Viler, "La Question
de l'union," RHE, XVIII, 26 ff. On John's letter to the pope, see Halecki,
loc. cit. 
 2. During the Latin occupation of Constantinople the Latin emperor had sought
to found a Latin college in Constantinople, but the papacy and especially
the University of Paris had blocked it. But events had so changed that crusader
theoreticians like Raymond Lull and 
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