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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe

VII: The Ottoman Turks and the Crusades, 1329-1451,   pp. 222-275 PDF (24.1 MB)

Page 250

 The despot Theodore Palaeologus (13 82-1407) had become an Ottoman vassal
in 1388, in order to gain Ottoman support for his struggle against the Latin
barons, and especially for his fight against Venice for Argos. According
to the famous inscription of Parori, he said he was ruling in the Morea in
the name of the sultan.68 But when, after the meeting of Verrai, Bayazid
required the surrender of Argos and other strategic places in the Morea,
Theodore managed to flee to the Morea, where he made an alliance with Venice
against the Ottomans by the agreement of Modon on May 2, 1394. He surrendered
Argos to the Venetians and then with their assistance captured Monemvasia
from the Ottoman garrison.69 
 But the major event leading to the crusade was Bayazid's invasion of Hungary
in 1394. We learn from a later Ottoman document7° that in that year the
Ottoman army under the sultan himself entered Hungary near Belgrade,71 attacked
Slankamen, Titel, Becskerek, Temesvár, Carashova, Caransebesh, and
Mehadia deep in Transylvania, and then turned south into Wallachia in the
direction of Nicopolis. There Mircea barred the way to the Ottoman army at
the mountain pass of Rovine near Argesh, his capital. On October 10, 1394,
Bayazid's army escaped disaster only after a fierce battle at Argesh in which
the vassal Serbian princes Mark Kraljevich and Constantine Dejanovich and
several Ottoman begs fell.72 The sultan crossed the Danube at Nicopolis on
ships supplied by tsar Shishman, who was placed there by Bayazid in 1393
when Tirnovo, his capital, was occupied by the Ottomans. Suspicious of Shishman's
secret relations with Mircea and Sigismund,73 
 68. Loenertz, "Pour l'histoire du Péloponnèse au XIve siècle
(1382-1404)," Etudes byzantines, 1(1943), 169—171; Turks from western
Anatolia had appeared in the Morea as mercenaries or allies since the time
of Michael IX Palaeologus (1294—1320). According to Loenertz, Ottoman
Turks interfered in Moreote affairs following their conquest of Thessalonica
in 1387. Theodore went to Murad's court to offer his allegiance in 1388.
 69. Ibid., 183—184. 
 70. See Actes du Xe Congrès internationald'études byzantines
(Istanbul, 1956), p. 220; the original is in the Topkapi Sarayl archives,
no. 6374. Apparently it was a report prepared for Mehmed II for a campaign
in Hungary or Wallachia. 
 71. The Topkapi document says that there was no fortress at Belgrade at
that time whereas the Paris anonymous (Bibi. nat., MS. suppl. turc 1047)
speaks of the siege of Belgrade for a month. 
 72. On the basis of a document dated October 1395 concerning a donation
made by Helen for the soul of her father, Constantine Dejanovich, G. S. Radojèié,
"La Chronologie de la bataille de Rovine," Revue historique du sud-est européen,
v (1928), 136—139, puts the date of the battle as May 17, 1395, the
date of Constantine's death as found in Serbian annals. But now the Topkapi
document provides new details supporting October 1394. On the battle itself
EnverI, Düstdrndme, p. 88, gives interesting details. 
 73. According to von Aschbach, Geschichte Kaiser Sigmunds, I, 99, tsar Shishman
had shifted to the Hungarian side. 

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