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

VI: The Catalans in Greece, 1311-1380,   pp. 167-224 PDF (10.1 MB)

Page 171

Ch. VI THE CATALANS IN GREECE, 1311—1 380 171 
rejoined by their five hundred fellows, who preferred the yellow banner with
the red bars to the gold and azure of Brienne. Thus it came about that the
Company, with their Turkish allies, met Walter and his Frankish army on the
right bank of the river Cephissus, as Muntaner says, "in a beautiful plain
near Thebes."3 On the field of battle the duke of Athens and his knights,
assembled from most of the Latin states in Greece, displayed the reckless
courage of their class; they made a dashing attack upon the enemy; men and
horses charged into prepared ditches; they piled upon one another; they sank
into the bogs and marshes, covered with a treacherous sward of green; they
were shot down by arrows, ridden down by horses, cut down by knives. The
Frankish losses were fearful; Walter of Brienne was killed; it was a catastrophe
from which there was to be no recovery. 
 French knights had jousted in the plains of Boeotia and Attica and feasted
in great castles on the Cadmea and the Acropolis for more than a hundred
years (1204—13 11). All this had now come to an end. Thebes, the capital
of the Athenian duchy, was immediately occu pied; many of the Latin inhabitants
of the duchy sought refuge on the Venetian island of Euboea (Negroponte).4
The great castle of St. Omer (on the Cadmea), then famous for its frescoes,
was taken over by the Company, and other towns and strongholds in Boeotia
quick ly followed. The Greek natives of the fortress town of Livadia admitted
the Catalans with a "spontaneity" that bespoke no love for the French, and
for this assistance some of them received the rights and privileges of "Franks"
(Catalans),5 except that, as schismatics, they were commonly denied the right
to marry Frankish women. Athens was surrendered to the Catalans by the now
widowed duchess of Athens, Joan of Châtillon, daughter of the constable
of France. Of the Burgundian duchy of Athens and its dependencies the family
of Brienne now possessed only Argos and Nauplia in the Morea, which their
advocate Walter of Foucherolles held for them. Attica, like Boeotia, was
now a Catalan possession, and land and vineyards and olive groves which had
once been the property of Pericles and Herodes Atticus were owned by Catalan
soldiers of fortune. 
 3. Crônica, ch. CCXL (ed. Lanz, p. 430; ed. E. B., VI, 107). 
 4. Dipl., doc. CLXXVI, pp. 227—228, dated June 27, 1340, and referring
to the fall of Thebes in 1311. 
 5. A half century later a letter patent of Frederick III of Sicily, then
Catalan duke of Athens, recalled the events at Livadia in 1311 (Dipl., doe.
CCLXVIII, pp. 352—353, where the letter is misdated 1366; Loenertz,
"Athenes et Néopatras," Arch. FF. Praed., XXV [1955], 117, no. 63,
and especially pp. 194, 199—200). The document should be dated July
29, 1362. 

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