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

VIII: The Crusade of Varna,   pp. 276-310 PDF (14.1 MB)

Page 281

vinced the Byzantines that any significant military aid was highly unlikely.5
The only source from which Byzantium could expect concerted military action
was the papacy, so Manuel II Palaeologus had continued negotiations concerning
union, sending emissaries to the Council of Constance.6 With the removal
of the Ottoman threat after Ankara, all initiative for union had vanished,
and negotiations were postponed. Manuel made few effective diplomatic overtures
to the west between 1402 and 1417, though he did send representatives to
the Council of Constance, but not to the Council of Pisa. He concentrated
his efforts in the east, recovering Thessalonica, rebuilding the Hexamilion
wall, and consolidating Byzantine power in the Morea. 
 The Byzantines could not, however, reasonably expect aid to be sent until
union was achieved, an objective that Manuel nevertheless attempted to postpone
and otherwise prevent from reaching fruition. He realized that for the Byzantine
populace and clergy this was an unacceptable price to pay for military aid,
and he warned his son and heir that it was an unattainable objective.7 
 The accession of Murad II meant for Byzantium a period of renewed warfare.
Almost immediately Constantinople was besieged, from June 10 to September
6, 1422, but the city could not be taken as long as the Turks could not maintain
a naval blockade. In the following year the Turks destroyed the Hexamilion,
overran the Morea, and attacked Thessalonica. In a desperate effort to save
the city, the despot Andronicus Palaeologus gave it to the Venetians, from
whom Murad II, nevertheless, captured it in 1430. And yet the conciliatory
gestures of pope Martin V (1417—143 1), including the suggestion of
convening an ecumenical council that would have met the requirements of the
Greeks and defraying the cost of the Byzantine delegates, met with evasiveness
in Constantinople. On July 1, 1425, Manuel died and John VIII became sole
emperor (d. 1448), and negotiations continued. When Mar- 
 5. John w. Barker, Manuel II Palaeologus (1391—1425): a Study in Late
Byzantine Statesmanship (New Brunswick, N.J., 1969), PP. 290 if. 
 6. Raymond J. Loenertz, "Les Dominicains byzantins Theodore et André
Chrysobergès et les négociations pour l'union des églises
grecque et latine de 1415 a 1430," AFR IX (1939), 5— 61. In early 1416
Manuel sent a delegation led by Nicholas EudaimonoIoannes, his son Andronicus,
and John Bladynteros. 
 7. On June 15, 1422, Martin V appointed Anthony of Massa as apostolic nuncio
to Constantinople. Although he had an audience with Manuel on September 16,
by November 14, with Manuel recovering from a stroke, John viii and the patriarch
replied that only an ecumenical council could settle the differences between
the churches. On November 8, 1423, these discussions were reported to the
fathers at Pisa, and further discussions were postponed. Cf. Gill, op. cit.,
pp. 327—330. 

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