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

IV: The Morea, 1311-1364,   pp. 104-140 PDF (13.6 MB)

Page 139

Ch.IV THEMOREA,1311—1364 139 
warned the empress, whom she must effectively curb if she and her son were
ever to enjoy any real authority "in Romania." Nicholas of Boyano concludes
his report with the news that Venice was arming twenty galleys for the capture
of Constantinople, in order to avenge the "schismatic" emperor's mistreatment
of Venetian merchants and officials. This was the hour, he urged, for prince
Robert to form a league with Venice for the recovery of Marie's imperial
heritage; the opportunity was the more favorable because the "signor of the
Turks" was causing such devastation on land that no one dared emerge from
the gates of Constantinople. This was fascinating intelli gence, indeed,
if accurate. One suspects, however, that Marie's hum ble servitor was exaggerating
various reports and rumors reaching the Morea in order to flatter their imperial
Early in 1360 Nicholas Acciajuoli was in Avignon on an important mission
for the Neapolitan court. Through his efforts large sums of the cens of the
kingdom, for long in arrears, were paid into the papal coffers. A grateful
Innocent VI bestowed on the grand seneschal the highest papal decoration,
the Golden Rose, till then reserved only for princes. He further rewarded
him by naming his kinsman, John Acciajuoli, to the vacant see of Patras (May
1360). The archbishopric was in a troubled state internally, and it was no
doubt hoped that the secular authority of Nicholas Acciajuoli would help
his cousin restore stability there. 
John's brother Nerio went to Patras as leader of a small armed force, to
enable the youthful archbishop to impose his authority.45 This is the first
appearance in Greece of the young Florentine destined to wear the ducal coronet
of Athens. He was one of the two adopted sons of the great Nicholas, who
had already provided lands in Italy for him in his final testament, drawn
up in September 1359. Now both his adoptive father and his brother the archbishop
tried to improve Nerio's prospects in Greece through a brilliant marriage.
They sought for him the hand of Florence Sanudo, who was left heiress to
the Archipelago when her father John I, the sixth duke, died in 1361 . 46
They asked queen Joanna of Naples and Robert of Taranto, as suzerains of
the Archipelago, to write on Nerio's behalf to Venice. The two rulers informed
the republic that as their vassal Florence was free to dispose of her hand
as soon as Robert gave his consent thereto. A firm rejoinder came that Florence
was first of all a Venetian citizen and subject whose heritage would long
since have 
 45. E. G. Leonard, "La Nomination de Giovanni Acciaiuoli a l'archevéché
de Patras (1360)," Mélanges offertshM. Nicolas Iorga (Paris, 1933),
pp. 513—535. 
 46. For this date see Miller, Latins in the Levant, p. 590, note 3, and
Jacoby, La Féodalite en Grèce médiévale, p. 301,
note 8. 

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