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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311

VI: The Latin Empire of Constantinople, 1204-1261,   pp. 186-233 PDF (13.5 MB)

Page 190

successors called themselves "Porphyrogenitus, semper Augustus",
signed imperial documents in sacred cinnabar ink using Greek letters, and
bestowed an occasional Greek title (such as protovestiarios, chamberlain)
upon their followers. But most of their household retained the familiar western
names (seneschal, marshal, butler, constable). Despite the external trappings
associated with the divinely ordained power of the Byzantine autocrat, the
Latin emperor remained a western feudal ruler, whose power had been sharply
limited before he had even been chosen. 
 The crusader-Venetian treaty of March 1204, which had laid down the procedure
for the election of the Latin emperor, had allotted to him, besides the two
Byzantine imperial palaces in the capital, only one quarter of the empire.
The remaining three-quarters were to be divided between the Venetians and
the non-Venetian crusaders. The doge himself would take no oath to render
service to the emperor, but the doge's vassals would be required to do so.
Nor would the emperor participate in the distribution of fiefs; a mixed commission
of crusaders and Venetians would have this responsibility, although it would
be the emperor who would have to find all necessary troops and equipment
beyond what the feudatories might furnish. 
The barons had set aside Asia Minor and the Morea (Pelopon-nesus) as a consolation
prize for the unsuccessful candidate for the throne. But Boniface asked instead
for the "kingdom of Thessalonica". No doubt he was pursuing the
family claim, but he probably also wanted lands bordering on those of his
new brother-in-law, the king of Hungary. Boniface's demand precipitated a
dangerous quarrel with Baldwin, who disregarded the marquis's request that
he not enter Thessalonica, and even issued an imperial edict confirming its
traditional Byzantine municipal privileges. In revenge, Boniface asked the
Greeks of Adrianople to accept as emperor one of his two young step-sons,
children of Isaac Angelus by Margaret of Hungary. Open warfare in Thrace
between the two crusader leaders threatened the entire Latin position in
the area. Only pressure from the doge and the barons eventually induced Boniface
and Baldwin to submit their dispute to arbitration. A joint "parlement"
of crusaders and Venetians then awarded Thessalonica to Boniface. Venetian
support for the marquis was probably procured by his sale to the doge of
the island of Crete, long ago promised to Boniface by Alexius IV. Thus Venice
thwarted its chief enemy, Genoa, whose representatives were also negotiating
for Crete. 

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