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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 271

the lord Antonio's influence, archbishop of Thebes. 165 The Floren tines
who came to Athens were delighted with what they found. One of them, a son
of one of Donato's daughters, wrote from Athens in December 1423 to Nerio
di Donato, then visiting his cousin, the duchess Frances, on the island of
Leucas: "Ah, you have never seen a fairer land than this nor a finer fortress"—than
the Acropolis! 166 
After the lord Antonio's death, his widow Maria apparently tried to secure
the Athenian duchy for herself and her Greek kinsman Chalcocondylas, father
of the historian Laonicus. Maria sent Chalco condylas, well supplied with
funds, to the Ottoman court to try to persuade sultan Murad II to recognize
their authority over Athens and Thebes. But the Florentine party lured Maria
from the security of the Acropolis, where they installed the late Antonio's
young cousin and adopted heir Nerio II as duke, driving the Chalcocondylae
and their supporters from the citadel and the city. Chalcocondylas failed
in his Turkish mission, which was attended by rather exciting adventures,
and Nerio II married the enterprising Maria, with whom (a Venetian document
suggests) he settled down "in peace and concord." 167 After three or four
years on the Acropolis (1435— 1439?), however, Nerio II was displaced
by his younger and more energetic brother Antonio II (1439?—1441).
168 After the latter's death, Nerio returned to Athens and to his ducal authority.
The intervening two or three years he had spent in Florence, 169 the only
Florentine ruler of Athens to see his native city again. Nerio reoccu pied
for about a decade the little palace built into the Propylaea, but the Athenian
duchy was now being buffeted from the south by the 
 165. Buchon, II, Florence: doc. LXI, pp. 281—282; John is unknown
to Eubel, I, 482. 
 166. Buchon, II, Florence: doc. LVIII, p. 279: "Mio. tu non vedesti mai
el pin belo paese che questo ne la pin bela forteza." 
 167. Sathas, III, doc. 1020, pp. 427—428, dated September 5, 1435.
The sources provide different accounts of what took place in Athens: Chalcocondylas,
VI (CSHB, pp. 320—322; ed. Darkó, II-1, 93—94); Sphrantzes,
Chronicon minus (PG, CLVI, 1044); and the Pseudo Sphrantzes ("Phrantzes,"
probably not to be trusted), Annales, II, 10 (CSHB, pp. 15 8—160).
According to the Pseudo-Sphrantzes, the dowager duchess was called Maria,
and was a member of the family of the Melisseni, but neither Sphrantzes himself
nor Chalcocondylas gives her name. Cf. Hopf, in Ersch and Gruber, LXXXVI
(repr., II), 91; Gregorovius (trans. Lampros), Athens, II, 334—336;
Miller, Latins in the Levant, pp. 404—406; D. G. Kampouro glous, The
Chalkokondylai [in Greek] (Athens, 1926), pp. 93—99; and Zakythinos,
Le Despotat grec de Morée, I, 212; but all these accounts are vitiated
by their authors' reliance upon "Phrantzes," a later sixteenth-century forgery
by Macarius Melissenus. 
 168. Chaleocondylas, Historia, VI (CSHB, p. 322; ed. Darkó, II-1,
94). Cf. Hopf, in Ersch and Gruber, LXXXVI (repr., II), 113; Gregorovius
(trans. Lampros), II, 336; Buehon, I, 185; Ubaldini, op. cit. (1588), p.
 169. Nerio II was still in Athens on August 6, 1437 (Buehon, II, Florence:
doc. LXXI, p. 
297), and he was still in Florence on February 24 and March 5, 1441 (ibid.,
docs. LXXII, LXXIII, pp. 298, 299). Cf. Chaleocondylas, loc. cit., p. 322.

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