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 205 Trapezuntines attacked Nicomedia, diverting Theodore from an assault on Pontic Heraclea. Theodore did drive the Latins back across the straits, but now David sent supplies to Constantinople, and agreed to become Henry's vassal. During the winter of 1206 - 1207 the Latins won Pegae, Cyzicus, and Nicomedia. In difficulty, Theodore Lascaris appealed to Ioannitsa to help him by launching an attack on the Latins in Europe. As soon as Ioannitsa did so, and Henry had to weaken his forces in Asia, Theodore attacked. A dash across the straits by Henry in person saved the garrison but not the fortress of Civetot (Cibotus). Another saved Cyzicus from a naval attack led by a Calabrese pirate, Stirione, once admiral of Alexius III and now in Lascaris's service. The Latins chased him out through the Dardanelles into the Aegean. A third expedition saved Nicomedia, and a fourth rescued the survivors of a Latin force, which Lascaris had defeated. All this time Ioannitsa was besieging Adrianople, which the Latins could not relieve. When Lascaris proposed a two-year truce, offering to exchange all his Latin prisoners for the right to raze the Latin fortresses at Cyzicus and Nicomedia, Henry accepted the offer. He had nothing left in Asia but Pegae and Charax. The truce almost fulfilled Lascaris's war aims of the moment: to expel the Latins from Asia. Freed for a European campaign, Henry began an advance, but lost many men in a new ambush. In February 1207 Henry had married Agnes, the daughter of Boniface of Montferrat, at a solemn ceremony in Hagia Sophia, followed by a splendid wedding feast in the imperial palace of the Boukoleon. Now, in the summer of 1207, Henry and Boniface conferred on the banks of the Maritsa; Boniface did homage to Henry, and received Thessalonica from him as a fief, as he had from Baldwin. Soon after the conference, however, Boniface was killed in a skirmish with the Bulgarians. About the same time, Ioannitsa himself died suddenly, of a hemorrhage of the lungs; the death was at once attributed to St. Demetrius, defender and patron of Thessalonica. These two deaths substantially altered the situation. Ioannitsa's proper heir was his young nephew, John Asen. Too young to make good his claim, however, he fled to Russia, and there ensued a struggle for the throne among three rival chieftains: Slav, a relative of the royal family, with headquarters at Melnik in the Rhodope mountains; Strez, another relative, but the protégé of king Stephen of Serbia, with headquarters in the strong Vardar valley fortress of Prosek; and Boril, Ioannitsa's sister's son, who married his uncle's Kuman widow and seized Tirnovo, the capital.
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