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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 169

Ch. VI THE CATALANS IN GREECE, 1311—1380 169 
1337), to the great humiliation of pope Boniface VIII and the Angevins in
Naples. With the advent of peace they needed employ ment, which they found,
under Roger's command, in the service of the Byzantine emperor Andronicus
II Palaeologus,1 who hoped to use their strength against the newly risen
power of the Ottoman Turks in Asia Minor. In September 1303 Roger de Flor
and the chief body of the Company had arrived in Constantinople, having sacked
the island of Ceos on the way (August 18, 1303). The Turks in Asia Minor
soon felt the heavy force of their arms and learned of their prowess. Roger
was ambitious, however, and having married into the imperial family, he became,
as the months passed, an object of not unwarranted suspicion in the capital.
It was feared that he might prefer the part of a ruler to that of a defender
of the empire. At the end of April 1305 he was murdered by the Palaeologi,
but the Catalan Company, which had come to include Turks in their ranks,
held much of the Gallipoli peninsula until June 1307; thereafter they moved
westward rapidly, ravaging Thrace and Macedonia; by the end of August 1307
they were at Cassandrea in the Chalcidic peninsula; in the spring and summer
of 1308 we find them menacing the monks of Mt. Athos; in the spring of 1309
they entered the plains of Thessaly, and a year later passed into the employ
of duke Walter I of 
world of Latin Greece is depicted in David Jacoby, "Les Archontes grecs et
la féodalité en Morée franque," Travaux et memoires,
II (Paris, 1967), 421—481. Jacoby has also written on "La ' Compagnie
catalane' et l'état catalan de Grèce: Quelques aspects de leur
histoire," Journal des savants, 1966, pp. 78—103, and has produced
the most discerning work thus far written on the "Assizes of Romania," the
feudal law code of Frankish Greece, in La Feodalite en Grèce mddiévale
(Paris and The Hague, 1971). Although the Catalans in Athens, Thebes, and
Neopatras lived under the "laws of Aragon and the customs of Barcelona" (fori
Aragonie vel consuetudines Barchinonie), a knowledge of the Assizes adds
much to one's understanding of the political and social conditions which
obtained in the Latin states neighboring upon the Catalan duchies in Greece.
On such conditions within these duchies, see Setton, "Catalan Society in
Greece in the Fourteenth Century," in the dedicatory volume to the late Basil
Laourdas, now in the press in Thessaloniki. 
 1. The account of Raymond Muntaner, who was close to Roger de Flor, makes
clear that the initiative for the Company's employment by Andronicus II lay
with Roger, who was fluent in Greek (CrOnica, ch. CXCIX, ed. Karl Lanz, Chronik
des edlen En Ramon Muntaner [Stuttgart, 1844], p. 358; ed. E. B. [Enric Bogué],
9 vols. in 2, VI [Barcelona, 1951], 20). At the time of their departure from
Messina the Company consisted of 1,500 horse, some 4,000 almogàvers
(Castilian, almogavares), and 1,000 other footsoldiers, all of whom were
Catalans or Aragonese (ch. CCI, Lanz, p. 361; E. B., VI, 22; and cf. ch.
CCIII). They were later reinforced by 300 horse and 1,000 almogàvers
(ch. CCXI, Lanz, p. 376; E. B., VI, 41), but after the murder of Roger de
Flor, the Byzantines allegedly killed so many of the Company that only 3,307
men, both horse and foot, remained (ch. CCXV, Lanz, p. 382; E. B., VI, 47).
These numbers were further reduced by an encounter with the Genoese, leaving
only 206 horse and 1,256 foot, according to Muntaner (ch. CCXV, CCXIX, Lanz,
pp. 383, 386; E. B., VI, 48, 52), but before leaving Gallipoli the Company
was joined by a Turkish force of 800 horse and 2,000 foot (ch. CCXXVIII,
Lanz, p. 405; E. B., VI, 76), and more Catalans and Aragonese were subsequently
added to their forces. 

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