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

V: The Morea, 1364-1460,   pp. 141-166 PDF (15.1 MB)

Page 141

THE MOREA, 1364—1460 
 Robert of Taranto, prince of Achaea and titular emperor of Constantinople,
died at Naples in September 1364. A year later Nicholas Acciajuoli, for thirty
years the counsellor, confidant, and main support of the prince, was also
dead. A new phase in the history of the principality now began, even though
the immediate connection of the small state with the Angevin dynasty of Naples
continued until 1383. 
 From 1365 the principality steadily declined, until its last remnant was
absorbed in 1432 by the expanding Greek despotate of the Morea, with its
capital at Mistra. Throughout this period it was generally on the defensive
in its relations with the despotate. Among the Latin states of Greece it
was put in the shade by the brilliant duchy of the Florentine Acciajuoli
in Athens and by the remarkable state created by Charles Tocco in the Ionian
islands and Epirus. It was almost a satellite of Venice, and from the 1390's
on it was tributary to the Ottoman Turks. Yet until nearly the end of its
existence it was a factor in the politics of the Levant and in the waning
crusading movement. Repeatedly popes and grand masters sought to establish
the great military-religious organization of the Knights of St. John (Hospitallers)
in the strategic peninsula of the Morea. The title prince of Achaea was hardly
less coveted than that of emperor of Constantinople or king of Jerusalem.
Paradoxically, in the second half of the fourteenth century the claimants
to the principality founded by the Villehardouins multiplied in proportion
as its territorial extent and authority over its vassal states dimin ished.
 The death of Robert of Taranto led to a serious conflict over the succession
to his Greek dominions. His surviving brother Philip II, the youngest of
the sons of Philip I of Taranto, claimed Corfu and Achaea, together with
the title emperor of Constantinople. However, he faced a determined counter-claimant
in the person of his brother's stepson Hugh de Lusignan, titular prince of
Galilee, who had the 
For bibliography see preceding chapter. 

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