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

IV: The Morea, 1311-1364,   pp. 104-140 PDF (15.1 MB)

Page 135

Ch. IV THE MOREA, 1311—1364 135 
Innocent's, written in 1359 to Nicholas Acciajuoli, we learn that the grand
seneschal was at that time preparing a feet to attack the Turks.38 Only the
year before, Nicholas had received the strategic castellany of Corinth from
prince Robert; this acquisition made it imperative for him to deal seriously
with the Turkish peril. However, although he strengthened the defenses of
Corinth, he did not under take any naval expedition against the Turks. 
 In contrast to these abortive efforts stands the victory of a Chris tian
coalition over a Turkish fleet off the coast of Megara about the year 1359.
The allies were Walter of Lor, the bailie of Achaea, Manuel Cantacuzenus,
the despot of Mistra, the Venetian signoria, and the Hospitallers of Rhodes.
The Venetians and the knights contributed a certain number of galleys. "They
were all together at Megara and there burnt thirty-five vessels of the Turks,
and the Turks fed to Thebes to Roger de Lluria." Thereupon the commanders
of the land forces and the captains of the galleys, being unable to do further
injury to the Turks, dispersed to their home places. Such is the brief account
of this action preserved in the Aragonese Chronicle of the Morea (pars. 685—686).
John Cantacuzenus probably refers to the same event when he reports an invasion
of Boeotia against Roger de Lluria by the Peloponnesian Greeks and Latins
under the com mand of his son, the despot Manuel.39 In the same passage the
ex-emperor mentions, certainly with exaggeration, "many victories" of the
allies over the Turkish raiders. He also magnifies the degree of his son's
ascendancy over the Franks of the Morea. But there is no doubt that Manuel—whose
long rule (1349—1380) at Mistra was a model administration compared
to the turbulent situation in the Angevin Morea—enjoyed great prestige
throughout Achaea, and he may well have taken the initiative in forming the
coalition which gained the victory near Megara.40 
 At best, however, this isolated victory could have given the ha rassed population
of the Morea only temporary relief from the Anatolian raiders. Like his predecessors
Clement VI and Innocent VI, pope Urban V showed much concern over the plight
of the exposed Frankish principality. On August 10, 1363, he wrote to Robert
of Taranto commending the newly appointed archbishop of Patras, Bartholomew,
who apparently was prevented by the Turks and the "schismatic Greeks" from
occupying his see. In 1364 the pontiff 
38. Buchon, Nouvelles recherches, II, 135—136. 
39. IV, 13—14 (CSHB, III, 89—90). 
 40. Various dates, as early as 1357 and as late as 1364, have been proposed
for the battle near Megara. Our preference for cfrca 1359 is based in part
on the probable dates for the bailliage of Walter of Lor. Cf. Loenertz, "Athénes
et Neopatras ...," pp. 430—431. 

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