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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 172

 Muntaner has informed us, with much exaggeration,6 that, of all the seven
hundred knights who had ridden with Walter of Brienne into the battle of
the Cephissus in March 1311, only two came out alive, Boniface of Verona,
"lord of the third part of Negroponte, a very honorable, good man, who had
always loved the Company," and Roger Deslaur, through whose efforts the Catalans
had first hired out their services to Walter. The few thousand Catalans and
Ara gonese who took over the duchy of Athens lacked a leader of prestige
and rank. They offered the perilous responsibility of govern ing them to
Boniface of Verona, who felt obliged to reject their offer, whereupon they
turned to their other important captive, Roger Deslaur. He accepted the proffered
post, Muntaner relates, and received therewith the castle of Salona ("La
Sola") and the widow of Thomas III of Autremencourt, whose great fief Salona
had been until he lost his life on the banks of the Cephissus. Roger Deslaur
seems to have proved unequal to the task of maintaining the duchy against
the Catalans' Venetian enemies in Negroponte and their Frankish ene mies
in the Morea. The Grand Company therefore turned, with reluctance according
to Marino Sanudo Torsello,7 to king Frederick II of Sicily, who at their
behest appointed as duke of Athens his second son, the infante Manfred, who
was then only five years of age. The Company's acceptance of Catalan-Sicilian
rule was negoti ated by Roger Deslaur early in the year 1312. 
 An interesting document has survived, containing the articles and conventions
whereby the "Corporation of the Army of Franks in Romania," as the Company
was officially known, recognized the infante Manfred as their "true, legitimate,
and natural lord." By the common consent and will of the individual members
of the Com pany, duly assembled in council for this purpose, the young infante
and, on his behalf, the king were to exercise all right, dominion, power,
and jurisdiction over the members of the Company and their possessions; allegiance
to their new prince was an obligation under taken by them in perpetuity,
and in accordance with the laws of Aragon and the customs of Barcelona. Frederick
II, on behalf of his son, undertook to exercise the dominion, right of governance,
and jurisdiction thus granted in strict accord with these laws and cus toms.
The king and his son were to maintain and defend every member of the Company
in such status, office, and fief as he then held, although they acquired
in Attica and Boeotia such feudal rights 
6. Cronica, ch. CCXL (ed. Lanz, p.431; ed. E. B., VI, 108). 
7. Ep. XVI, in Jacques Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos (2 vols. in 1, Hanover,
1611), II, 

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