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)
Ch. VI THE LATIN EMPIRE OF CONSTANTINOPLE 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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