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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 216

be married. An abandoned infant slave became free if not claimed, in conformity
with Roman law.84 To sum up, although certain rules applied to slave and
villein alike, the latter enjoyed a superior status. 
 Economic factors no doubt played an important role in shaping the pattern
of daily coexistence of individuals belonging respectively to the Latin and
Greek communities; these factors also generated divergent and even contrasting
attitudes and feelings. 
 Land remained, as before the conquest, the principal source of income in
Greece.85 Whether held in full ownership or as a conditional tenement, it
was mostly in the hands of the Latins, who expropriated the Greeks' land
on a large scale and replaced them as landlords. In contrast to the Byzantine
period, land became under Latin rule a double source of revenue for the landlords:
income deriving from agricultural exploitation and income from what had been
public taxes, especially in feudalized areas and, to a lesser degree, in
Venetian territories, as a result of the transfer of fiscal state prerogatives
into private hands. Land seems to have yielded good returns: it provided
knights with means to maintain an appropriate standard of living, and its
temporary or permanent acquisition was considered a good investment, as illustrated
by the commercialization of military tenements in Crete.86 On the whole,
Greeks were prevented by social and legal barriers from substantially enlarging
their landholding and getting their share of a prosperous agriculture increasingly
geared to export. It may be assumed that this situation generated some degree
of resentment within the ranks of the Greek elite, further enhanced by its
exclusion from the economic benefits deriving from power positions in feudalized
areas, as well as from governmental offices in Venetian territories and Catalan
 84. Ratti vidulich, Duca di Candia, Bandi, nos. 100 and 153; Santschi, Régestes,
p. 263, no. 1196: a case of postponement in 1388; idem, "Quelques aspects,"
p. 125, notes 60 and 61, and on the status of offspring in cases of mixed
parentage, ibid., pp. 114—115, 117—120. 
 85. On the economy of Latin Greece see Jacoby, "Les Etats latins," pp. 42—48.
On the Morea in particular see numerous documents in Filangieri, I Registri,
and Longnon and Topping, Documents; also Bon, La Moreefranque, pp. 320-325;
Carile, La Renditafeudale, pp. 80—183, and "Rapporti fra signoria rurale
e despoteia," pp. 548-570, as well as the reviews by Jacoby of Longnon and
Topping, Documents, and of Carile's book (see bibliography above). On venetian
territories see Borsari, II Dominio, pp. 67—103, and his Studi, pp.
107-132; Laiou, "Quelques observations," pp. 177—198, and her "Observations
on the Results of the Fourth Crusade," pp. 47—54, 57; Zachariadou,
Trade and Crusade; Thiriet, La Romanie, pp. 309-349, 410-428. Notarial documents
and venetian complaints about piracy provide evidence of the extensive reliance
of Greek traders who were venetian or foreign subjects on ships belonging
to venetians. On piracy see especially Gareth Morgan, "The venetian Claims
Commission of 1278," Byzantinische Zeitschrzft, LXIX (1976), 411—438.
 86. Presumably because of the rise in grain prices; some prices paid in
the thirteenth century for military tenures are recorded by Borsari, II Dominio,
opposite p. 84. 

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