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

V: The Morea, 1364-1460,   pp. 141-166 PDF (10.1 MB)

Page 146

second husband was Francis of Les Baux, duke of Andria and lord of extensive
estates in Provence and southern Italy. The half-royal Les Baux were one
of the greatest families of the Regno. Margaret and her husband claimed the
principality of Taranto and Philip II's Greek lands and titles for themselves
and their son James, the last male descendant of Philip I of Taranto. But
Joanna acted decisively to put down the open rebellion of the family and
deprived Francis, for the crime of lèse-majeste, of all of his titles
and possessions (April 
1374). 12 
 The civil war between Joanna and the Les Baux is echoed in the Aragonese
version of the Chronicle of the Morea. Soon after Philip II of Taranto's
death the barons of the Morea sent an important embassy to Naples to examine
the rights of the two sides respecting the principality of Achaea. Its members
were Erard III le Maure, the lord of Messenian Arcadia, Centurione I Zaccaria,
lord of Chalan dritsa, John II Misito, baron of Molines, and Leonard I Tocco,
one of the peers of the principality, who had been created count of Cepha
lonia and Zante in 1357 by Robert of Taranto and was married to a niece of
Nicholas Acciajuoli. The embassy decided in favor of the queen and did homage
to her as their princess after she had sworn to respect the usages and customs
of the principality. 
 Joanna then sent Francis of San Severino, a member of the highest Neapolitan
aristocracy, as her bailie in the Morea. He broke the peace of long standing
between the principality and the despotate of Mistra by attacking the castle
of Gardiki, which commanded the pass of Makryplagi in the border country
of Messenia and Arcadia. Although he defeated a relieving force led by the
despot Manuel Cantacuzenus, the fortress held out and he had to retire to
Glarentsa. Venetian sources report the harassment of the republic's merchants
by Francis in Achaea and by the queen's governor in Corfu. Francis also en
croached on the territory of Modon and Coron. In answer to the republic's
protests Joanna sent strict orders to her officials to uphold all Venetian
franchises and privileges. A mixed commission was agreed on to define the
boundaries between Achaea and the Venetian colony. 
 On March 25, 1376, Joanna of Naples married her fourth husband, Otto of
Brunswick-Grubenhagen. She bestowed upon him the princi pality of Taranto,
which she had lately confiscated from the Les 
 12. Pope Gregory XI supported Margaret's claims: cf. G. Mollat, ed., Lettres
secretes et curiales du pape Grégoire XI (1370—1378), fasc.
4 (Paris, 1955), col. 1063, no. 3302; col. 1080, no. 3371; col. 1081, no.
3374. Gregory addresses James of Les Baux as despotus Romaniae in a letter
of June 30, 1371 (ibid., col. 769, no. 2251); it is possible that Philip
had granted the title to his nephew. 

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