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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 164

Venice decide to acquire the entire peninsula as the only effective way of
protecting its subjects and trade and of building a strong dam against the
Turkish assaults that were certain to come. But nothing came of the negotiations
in Venice during the winter of 1422—1423 between the signoria and envoys
representing emperor Manuel, Theo dore II, Centurione, Stephen, and Charles
Tocco. The Venetians mediated a one-year peace and admonished the contestants
to unite against the Turks. They themselves undertook to protect the hand
against Catalan pirates, who are mentioned in Venetian documents of the time
only less frequently than Turkish raiders. Although the republic failed to
annex the Morea, it strengthened and enlarged its valuable Messenian colony
in 1422—1423 by acquiring the castle of Grisi midway between Modon
and Coron and by purchasing Port-de Jonc. 
Murad II now ruled over the reunited Ottoman state. The expected Turkish
storm burst upon the Morea in the spring of 1423 when a great host under
Turakhan Beg quickly scaled the Hexamilion and proceeded to devastate the
peninsula, sparing only Charles Tocco's possessions in Elis. The republic
was now alarmed, and tried once again to bring together the warring dynasts
of the Morea. Venice warned Tocco not to feud with Theodore or call on the
Ottomans for assistance. Momentarily Centurione and the despot ceased their
fighting. But in the next round of their bitter conflict Theodore succeeded
in making the prince his prisoner, in June of 1424. A few months earlier,
in January, archbishop Stephen had died. The power of the Zaccaria family
in the Morea was virtually at an end. 
The papacy again lost an opportunity to allow Venetian influence to predominate
in Patras by insisting on the appointment of Pan dolfo Malatesta of Pesaro
as Stephen's successor, instead of a Vene tian cleric. Pope Martin V thus
hoped to dispose Theodore favorably to the holy see, since the despot was
the husband of Pandolfo's sister Cleopa. But Theodore and his numerous brothers
were only awaiting an opportunity to conquer the ecclesiastical state. First,
however, Charles Tocco had to be expelled from the Morea, where he had replaced
the prince of Achaea as the chief foe of the Byzantine despotate. This task
was executed with dispatch in a campaign against Tocco (1427—1428)
on land and sea led by emperor John VIII and Constantine (XI), the ablest
of the sons of Manuel II. John VIII gained the last naval victory of Byzantium
in the battle of the Echinades islands off the Acarnanian coast, in which
he destroyed the superior forces of the duke of Leucadia. Charles not only
surrendered his possessions in Elis, including Glarentsa, to Constan 

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