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

VII: The Catalans and Florentines in Greece, 1380-1462,   pp. 225-277 PDF (23.4 MB)

Page 228

holding for a higher ransom than the Catalans in Athens could pay. Peter
was sadly aware of Peralta's captivity, the petitioners were told, and he
had instructed Dalmau to see to his release. Also the refugees from Thebes
and other places in the duchy, who had found a temporary haven in Athens,
had their rights and titles to property confirmed, for they hoped to return
to Thebes and resume posses sion of their homes when Dalmau expelled the
 As usual in a medieval magna carta, the voice of the church was heard. The
petitioners asked for the revocation of the statute or statutes which the
Conquistadors had passed decades before "against the soul's true conscience
and against the church of the Catholic faith," and which forbade the faithful
to leave to the church "es tates, lands, vineyards, as well as other things"
or even to free serfs from their harsh bondage to the soil. It had hitherto
been the Catalan practice to use property bestowed upon the church, in violation
of the statutes of the Company, to maintain or extend the Acropolis fortifications,
to which Peralta had given much attention. In rejecting this request, the
king reminded the Catalans in Athens that their numbers were sparse, and
that if they began leaving their possessions to the church, they would soon
lack the men and resources necessary to defend the duchies, "for ecclesiastics
are not soldiers, and they are not under the jurisdiction of the lord king."
Peter said that when Dalmau arrived in Greece; he would make whatever provisions
for the church were in keeping with the public interest. 
 The Catalans concluded their petition with a solemn request for the royal
pledge to preserve in Athens "the statutes, constitutions, usages, and customs
of Barcelona," and never to alienate the ducal dominions in Greece from the
sacred Crown of Aragon. To these requests Peter readily gave his assent (plau
al senyor rey). The Articles of Athens, formulated perhaps on the Acropolis
on May 20, 1380, were thus confirmed or modified at Lerida on the following
September 1, and Peter took an oath upon the four gospels always to observe
them "in royal good faith." Thereupon bishop John Boyl of Megara and Gerard
(Guerau) de Rodonella, envoys of the Catalans in Athens, solemnly swore the
feudal allegiance of their principals to the king of Aragon and his successors.3
Ten days later, on September 11, Peter wrote to Bellarbre as castellan of
Athens and to the syndics, aldermen, and council of the city that bishop
John Boyl and 
 3. Dipl., doc. CCCXCI, pp. 473—479, and for the order in which the
petitions appear in the Articles of Athens, cf. Loenertz, Arch. FF. Praed.,
XXV, no. 167, p. 143. John Boyl and Rodonella had arrived in Lerida on August
1, 1380 (Dipl., doc. CCCXC, p. 472). Five weeks after dealing with the Athenian
petitions, Peter IV repeated his prohibition against selling, 

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