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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 175

Ch. VI THE CATALANS IN GREECE, 1311—1380 175 
reserved, for the most part, for the Catalans themselves, including the office
of marshal, which, whether by royal appointment or not, was apparently held
for almost two generations (until 1354?) by the important family of the Novelles.
 Thebes was the capital of the Athenian duchy. The Catalans in Athens conducted
various local affairs as a municipal corporation with their own civil and
military officers and with their own syndics, aldermen, and municipal council.
The city of Neopatras was the capital of the northern duchy, within the boundaries
of which were located the important castle and town of Zeitounion (in Catalan
la Citó), the ancient Lamia. A captain presided over the city of Neo
patras, and a castellan commanded the garrison in the castle. Condi tions
in Neopatras, owing to its semi-isolation in the north, were unique, and
authority resided not only ultimately but directly in the sovereign duke
in Sicily or, after 1379, in Aragon-Catalonia. The duchy of Neopatras possesses
far less history than that of Athens. 
 It is difficult to make valid generalizations concerning the adminis tration
of the municipalities or town corporations in the two duch ies—Athens,
Thebes, Livadia, Siderokastron, and Neopatras—but they all belonged
to the royal domain. Greeks served on the municipal councils in Athens, Livadia,
and Neopatras. The Assizes and Customs of Romania, which were presumably
the feudal law of Burgundian Athens, gave way in 1311 to the Customs of Barcelona,
which thereafter formed the basis of public and private law in the Athenian
duchy as in Catalonia, and the high court of the Frankish baronage was replaced
by the court of the vicar-general, which was located in Thebes. Disputed
cases were adjudicated by appeal in the royal court in Sicily. After 1355,
as we shall see, the duke of Athens was also, in the person of Frederick
III, the king of Sicily; this increased the ducal dignity if not the ducal
power. The duke commonly nominated the veguers and castellans in the chief
towns and fortresses in the Athenian duchy; and on the surface the Catalan
feudatories, the municipalities, and even the clergy possessed fewer rights
of private jurisdiction than had their Frankish predecessors. The royal act
of appointment to or removal from office, however, was often not the royal
will, and again and again in the troubled history of Catalan Athens the Sicilian
royal duke had no alternative but to accept the accomplished fact with which
he was firmly presented by his loyal subjects across the sea. 
 The Catalans had made their entrance into the Latin politics of Greece as
unseemly intruders, and they were at first unpopular with 

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