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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe
(1989)

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


Page 201

Ch. VI SOCIAL EVOLUTION IN LATIN GREECE 201 
their patrimonial estates, as well as their social position in Greek society.
The same Venetian policy was applied on several occasions after 1219. In
1224 two militiae were granted; in 1233, several others; and in 1252 Greeks
were to be endowed with some of the fifteen available; in 1265 two militiae
and five and a half sergeantries, each a sixth of a militia, were again granted.
In 1299 Alexius Callerges obtained the restitution of confiscated militiae,
and the commune granted him four more and allowed him to buy nine others,
two to six of which were designated for his followers. 
 As in the feudal Morea, Venice integrated the archontes, yet according to
its own interests, social structure, and institutions. The process Of integration
initiated in Crete in 1219 therefore differed markedly on many counts from
that in the principality. It was neither progressive nor generalized, but
took place in stages, and archontes enjoyed it only in exceptional instances,
as a result of specific agreements arrived at with Venice after uprisings
or as a reward for services rendered to the commune. The number of archontes
benefitting from integration was therefore limited, although it steadily
increased during the thirteenth century. The endowment of their followers
with military tenements enhanced the social standing of the upper ranks of
the archontes; so did their concern for the villeins oppressed by Latin masters,
as well as for those who supported their successive rebellions and whose
emancipation they managed to obtain or preserve, respectively. The concessions
regarding villeins granted by Venice in 1299 to Alexius Callerges were particularly
extensive. Venice even recognized the validity of the sentences pronounced
by Alexius and the judges he had appointed during his long revolt, and he
was allowed to receive voluntary payments and services from Greeks. All this
implies considerable social ascendancy, not only over Greeks who were his
followers or directly subjected to him, but also over Greeks subjected to
Latin holders of military tenements or to the commune. It is therefore obvious
that a network of social ties headed by the archontes existed alongside the
social and legal relationship recognized by Venice. 
 The slow pace at which Venice succeeded in rallying the archontes to its
cause explains the continuous role of the Greek church as a focus of opposition
to foreign rule, both on a religious and on an ethnic level, and as a source
of Greek popular resentment against the Latins. The alliance of the archontes
with the Greek church, which enhanced their prestige, was also strengthened
by the support lent on several occasions by the Byzantine emperors, such
as John III Vatatzes and the Palaeologi, to those who rebelled. Although
Venice granted military tenements to archontes in the thirteenth century,
it remained suspi 


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