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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 163

Ch. V THE MOREA, 1364—1460 163 
Centurione hard in Elis, forcing him to take refuge in Glarentsa.38 The Greeks'
brilliant successes and the devastation of Modon and 
Coron by Albanian forces with the despot's connivance, coupled with the fact
that Centurione had earlier been negotiating with his ancestral city of Genoa
over the cession of Achaea, led the Venetians to take the preventive action
of occupying Port-de-Jonc. At the same time archbishop Stephen invited a
Venetian garrison from Euboea to Patras to prevent the city from falling
to the Greeks. Had the Venetians been allowed to remain in Patras they might
have pre vented the Greek reconquest. But the papacy insisted on the inalien
ability of church property and required the republic to withdraw in 1419.
This shortsightedness resulted in the loss of the first city of the Morea
to the Greeks a decade later. 
 In the meantime a former captain of the despot named Oliver Franco (or Francone)
seized Glarentsa early in 1418, taking one of Centurione's brothers captive.
To save appearances the prince gave one of his daughters to the adventurer,
with Glarentsa as her dower. But neither the hand of the princess nor her
rich dower could hold Franco in Greece; in 1421 he accepted Charles Tocco's
offer to buy Glarentsa and left the country. In the same year the war between
the despot and the prince was renewed.39 In their extremity Centurione and
Stephen sought to interest the Knights of Rhodes once more in the Morea.
Perhaps Stephen hoped that the papacy would allow him to alienate his ecclesiastical
barony to the great military-religious organization. Or perhaps an anti-Moslem
coalition of the states of the Morea with the Hospitallers was in question,
since Theodore II of Mistra was in correspondence with the order at the same
time as the Zaccarias. But the reply of the Hospitallers to all three rulers
(May 10, 1422) was a rather curt refusal to become involved in the affairs
of the Morea at a time when they were deeply engaged against the Turkish
states of Asia Minor.40 
 The anarchy now prevailing in the Morea made the government of 
38. Cf. the anonymous panegyrist on Manuel II and John VIII Palaeologus,
published in Sp. P. Lampros, Palaiológeia kal peloponnesiaká,
III (Athens, 1926), 174—175, and the introduction to that volume by
K. Voyatzidis, pp. xv—xvi. 
39. The "Chronicle of the Tocchi" has a somewhat different account of these
events. Centurione had brought Oliver over from Apulia with a hundred men
in order to defend Glarentsa. Oliver, however, betrayed the prince by seizing
the fortified port and holding the princess and Centurione's brother Benedict
to ransom. Centurione, who had been absent from Glarentsa, entered into an
alliance with the Byzantines of Mistra, but failed to retake the city. Finally
Tocco bought it in order to rid himself of a dangerous neighbor. The Byzantines
then launched their own campaign to capture Glarentsa. (See Schirô's
summary of this part of the chronicle inByzantion, XXXII [1962], 246—250.)
40. See below, pp. 3 12—313. 

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