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

VIII: The Hospitallers at Rhodes, 1306-1421,   pp. 278-313 PDF (20.9 MB)

Page 307

together with the Venetians and two galleys from Rhodes, he brought a respite
to besieged Constantinople, winning minor suc cesses against the Turks in
and around the Dardanelles. The Christian naval union preserved a spasmodic
existence until 1402, while the Venetians alternated proposals for a Christian
league and negotiations with the Turks. 58 
After Nicopolis the Greeks faced disaster. Emperor Manuel II had visited
Rhodes in 1390 and secured two ships to assist him. In 1396 the Hospital
opened negotiations with the Greeks. The Ottomans controlled most of Greece
north of the Gulf of Corinth, and after the Venetians had refused to defend
the isthmus in April 1397, the Turks invaded the Morea. They captured Argos
on June 3 but were unable to occupy all the lands within their grasp, and
after ravaging the Morea they withdrew. Corinth was a strategic and defensible
base and the Hospitallers, responding once again to the idea of interven
tion in Greece, occupied it in the second half of 1397. 59 They bound themselves
to defend the despotate, which did enjoy a period of peace until early in
1399, when the Morea was again threatened by Ottoman armies. Manuel Palaeologus
then left to seek aid in the west, while the Hospitallers prepared to help
his brother, the despot Theodore. 
In July 1399 Naillac sent Eli of Fossat, the captain at Corinth, to open
abortive negotiations with Theodore for the acquisition of Megara, to the
north of Corinth, while another Hospitaller, Gerard of Le Puy, went to Peter
de Saint Superan, the Navarrese prince of Achaea, who by November had agreed
to help resist the Turks and rebuild the Hexamilion wall across the isthmus
at Corinth. The Hospitallers were anxious to make further acquisitions, and
in Febru ary 1400 an impressive embassy, including the priors of Venice,
England, Aquitaine, and Toulouse, and Dominic de Alamania, was dispatched
with a credit of 60,000 ducats and powers to purchase the whole Greek despotate.
Theodore apparently temporized, and in November new envoys were commissioned,
with instructions either to purchase further territories in the Morea or
to resign those already obtained. Peter de Saint Superan allowed the Turks
to pillage part of the Morea, but in mid-1401 the Hospitallers were again
negotiating with him for a new league. The territories acquired in the despotate
probably included Mistra, Theodore's capital (which at one point he 
 58. Luttrell, "Venice," pp. 209—211; F. Thiriet, Régestes des
deliberations du Senat de Venise concernant Ia Romanie, I (Paris and The
Hague, 1958), nos. 739, 813, 949; II (1959), nos. 981, 988, 1007, 1042. 
 59. On the Morea in 1397 see above, p. 159. 

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