Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe
VI: Social Evolution in Latin Greece, pp. 175-221 PDF (18.9 MB)
Ch. VI SOCIAL EVOLUTION IN LATIN GREECE 181 clearly indicates that they were often identical. One occasionally would make a distinction between the rich landlord or ktematikos arc/ion and the official in charge of civilian administration or the military officer, known respectively as thematikos and tagmatikos archon, who exercised authority from the urban center over a district which at times was limited to a city and its neighboring territory. In certain cases the emperor recognized the authority and traditional status of the chiefs of foreign populations which had settled in the empire; by conferring on them imperial titles, he strengthened their position. It is therefore not surprising that they too were considered as archontes. This was the case with the chiefs of Slav groups who preserved their tribal structure in the Peloponnesus, such as the Melings of Mount Taygetus. The great provincial landlords were not content with the power deriving from their estates. In order to enhance their prestige and social ascendancy they strove to acquire administrative or military functions within the imperial machine of government or honorary titles in the imperial hierarchy. Imperial grants of offices and court titles ensured their cooperation. On the eve of the conquest, several great landlords of Crete and the Peloponnesus bore court titles, and some had close relations with the imperial court. A Cretan archon who was a magistros and "friend of the emperor" traveled to Constantinople and persuaded Isaac II Angelus (1185—1195) to grant an estate to the bishop of Calamona (Retimo) for his lifetime.2 Leo Sgouros, an archon of Nauplia in the Peloponnesus, married the daughter of ex-emperor Alexius III Angelus (1195—1203) in 1204. The association of the archontes with the church was often quite close, since some of their relatives served as church dignitaries or officials. Besides, the patronage of ecclesiastical institutions enhanced their prestige and, occasionally, also their income, whenever they obtained the management of these institutions and their property. Powerful archontes also developed in their own interests a network of personal bonds of dependence, yet these always retained their private nature and were never recognized by law or sanctioned by custom. They were thus basically different from western vassalage. Dependents, real or fictitious relatives, and allies occasionally constituted a large family or a real clan.3 It is within this framework that the archontopouloi of Crete and the Peloponnesus were to be found. In the early thirteenth century, these were not just "sons of archontes", but a par- 2. See text in Borsari, Ii Dominio, p. 18, note 26. 3. See an example ibid., p. 60: in the late thirteenth century, four famiglie were supposed to include about two thousand prole or descendants.
Copyright 1989 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved. Use of this material falling outside the purview of "fair use" requires the permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. To buy the hardcover book, see: http://www/wisc/edu/wisconsinpress/books/1737.htm