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

VI: Social Evolution in Latin Greece,   pp. 175-221 PDF (18.9 MB)

Page 200

the Frankish feudatories and enhanced their social superiority within their
own community. Administrative and military considerations already mentioned
induced the princes and the barons of the Morea to encourage this process,
thereby ensuring the loyalty, cooperation, and services of the Greek elite.
As a result, the Greek population was deprived of an upper class, willing
to join the Greek church in its opposition to the Latins and to take the
lead in this opposition, or to favor the Byzantine expansion in the Peloponnesus
begun in 1262.41 
 A similar process of integration, although somewhat different in nature,
took place in the lordships of the Aegean. The conciliatory approach of Marco
I Sanudo, duke of the Archipelago (1207-1227), toward the Greeks was expressed
in his religious policy and illustrated by the willingness of twenty Cretan
archontes to leave their native island and join him in 1213. The smallness
of the class of Latin conquerors and archontes in the duchy no doubt led,
from an early stage, to the integration of Greeks of a lower rank into the
class of the feudatories. The Ghisi, lords of Tenos and Myconos, awarded
tenements to Greeks and Latins whom they bound to be their vassals and whom
they "ennobled" in return for military service. The imposition of feudal
terminology and rules constituted a legal fiction, both useful and necessary.
Yet no change occurred in the economic activity of these Greek feudatories,
who continued to till their land. Their particular status and social promotion
produced, however, a new stratification within the indigenous society.42
 The Venetian implantation in Crete, begun in 1211, was based on the military
colonization of the island. It led to an expropriation of church land and
the estates of several archontes which drove the Greeks to rise against Venice
in 1212. This first rebellion ended with the departure of twenty archontes
from the island, yet most of their class remained in Crete. The division
within their ranks, which dated back to the period preceding the conquest,
prevented them from forming a united front against Venice, thus enabling
the commune to rally them progressively to its cause by granting them various
concessions. The settlement reached by Venice in 1219 with two rebel leaders
may be considered as the first stage in the integration of the archontes
within the ranks of the Latin elite. The commune granted each of them a half
militia in return for military service, an annual payment, and a promise
of loyalty. In all respects, the two archontes were assimilated to the Latin
holders of military tenements, yet at the same time they retained 
41. See Jacoby, "The Encounter," pp. 897—903, and his "Knightly Values,"
pp. 163—179. 
42. See Jacoby, La Féodalité, pp. 242—250, 284. 

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