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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 201

him into contact with the Latins. Second among the new Greek leaders to appear
was Theodore Lascaris, son-in-law of Alexius III. At the very moment of the
crusaders' triumphal entry into Constantinople, after Alexius V Mourtzouphlus
had already fled, there was some sort of ceremony in Hagia Sophia, in which
Theodore seems to have been chosen emperor in preference to a rival named
Theodore Ducas," but refused to accept the insignia. He crossed the
straits to Asia Minor, persuaded the inhabitants of Nicaea to shelter his
wife Anna and his three daughters, set up headquarters at Brusa (Bursa),
reached an understanding with the Selchukids, and defeated three princelings
who had set themselves up in the turbulent region of the Maeander valley.
By 1208, when he named a new Greek patriarch, who crowned him basileus, Theodore
had made Nicaea his capital. The third Greek leader was Michael Ducas Angelus
Comnenus, illegitimate son of a high Byzantine official, who suddenly deserted
Boniface of Montferrat, in whose service he had been, and at Arta, in southern
Epirus, married the daughter of the local governor and soon had extensive
holdings there. 
 In addition to these three local rulers, the former emperors, Alexius III
Angelus and Alexius V Ducas Mourtzouphlus, were refugees. Alexius III succeeded
in having Alexius V, his son-in-law, blinded; after a series of adventures
the former made his way to Iconium, where the Selchukids for some time used
him as a threat to Theodore Lascaris, his other son-in-law. 
The Vlacho-Bulgarian state, in 1204, had for seven years been in the capable
hands of Ioannitsa (1197-1207; "Kaloyan"), younger brother of the
two Vlach rebels who had founded it in 1186. Claiming descent from the rulers
of the first Bulgarian empire, Ioannitsa had asked Innocent III to crown
him emperor, as former popes had done, he said, for his "ancestors",
and to consecrate the chief of the Bulgarian church as a patriarch. Innocent
had sent a cardinal-legate, Leo, who crowned Ioannitsa king, not emperor,
and made the archbishop Basil a primate, not a patriarch (November 1204).
The Vlach monarch wrote to the pope, after he learned of the Latin conquest:
"Write to the Latins to keep away from my empire, and if they do, my
empire will do them no harm. 
 But if they make an attempt against it, and some of them are killed, let
not your holiness suspect my empire because it will not 
 11 B. Sinogowitz, "Uber das byzantinische Kaisertum nach dem vierten
Kreuzzuge (1204-1205)," Byzantinische Zeitschrift, XLV (1952), 345-351,
has tried, but not successfully, to demonstrate that the emperor chosen in
Hagia Sophia was Theodore's brother, Constantine Lascaris, who held the throne
only until early in 1205. 

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