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

VII: The Catalans and Florentines in Greece, 1380-1462,   pp. 225-277 PDF (23.4 MB)

Page 272

Greek despot of Mistra, Constantine Palaeologus, and from the north by the
Turkish commander Turakhan Beg and sultan Murad II. He paid tribute to the
Turk, to the Greek, and to the Turk again. 170 
 The medieval history of Greece was drawing to a close. On October 31, 1448,
the tired emperor John VIII died and left the city of Constantinople to his
brother, the despot of Mistra, who was pro claimed emperor as Constantine
XI on the following January 6. 171 Murad II died about two years later (on
February 5, 1451), and the young Mehmed lithe Conqueror succeeded him. Nerio
II died in the same year, and left his ducal lordship to his little son Francis
and to his second wife, the duchess Clara Zorzi (Giorgio), the daughter of
Nicholas II Zorzi of Carystus, the titular marquis of Bodonitsa. Clara fell
in love with one Bartholomew Contarini, who had come to Athens on business;
Bartholomew's father, named Priam, had been the Venetian castellan of Nauplia.
172 Bartholomew found Greece attractive and Clara more so; to live with her
in Athens he murdered his wife in Venice. Sultan Mehmed II intervened at
the behest of the Athenians and the retainers of the Acciajuoli, who may
have feared for the little Francis. Contarini was summoned, together with
the boy, to the Ottoman court at Adrianople, where he found Franco Acciajuoli,
son of the late duke Antonio II, who after his father's death had become
a Turkish hostage. Franco now became the last duke of Athens, but only for
a brief while (1455—1456). When he was alleged to have murdered the
wayward Clara, her indignant lover Bartholomew remonstrated with the sultan,
at whose command Omar Pasha, son of the old warrior Turakhan Beg, occu pied
the lower city of Athens. Franco held out for a while on the Acropolis. Omar
offered him "the land of Boeotia and the city of Thebes," but Athens, which
the sultan had given to Franco, he was now taking away from him: Franco might
withdraw to Thebes, and take all his possessions from the castle on the Acropolis.
173 The 
 170. Cf. Chaleocondylas, Historia, VI (CSHB, pp. 319 ff.; ed. Darko, II-1,
91 ff.); 
Chronicon breve, ad ann. 6952 (1444), appended to Ducas's Historia byzantina
(CSHB, p. 
519); Gregorovius (trans. Lampros), Athens, II, 372—374; Miller, Latins
in the Levant, pp. 
409 ff. 
 171. Cf. Sphrantzes, Chronicon minus (PG, CLVI, 1052B), and Pseudo-Sphrantzes,
An nales, III, 1 (CSHB, p. 205); Zakythinos, Le Despotat grec de Morée,
I, 240. 
 172. Chaleocondylas, Historia, IX (CSHB, p. 453; ed. Darkó, II-2
[1927], 211—212); Hopf, in Erseh and Gruber, LXXXVI (repr., II), 128;
ef. J. von Hammer-Purgstall, Ge schichte des osmanischen Reiches, II (Pest,
1828; repr. Graz, 1963), 38. 
 173. Chalcocondylas, Historia, IX (CSHB, pp. 454—455; ed. Darkó,
II-2, 212—213); Gregorovius (trans. Lampros), Athens, II, 384—388;
Miller, Latins in the Levant, pp. 437—438. Chaleocondylas, loc. cit.,
says that Oman Pasha besieged the Acropolis "for a long time." 

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