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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 207

make William the emperor of Constantinople, supplanting Henry, and righting
what they still felt to be the wrong done to Boniface in 1204. Though they
had repeatedly urged William to come out to Greece and assume the imperial
power, he cautiously preferred "a pair of oxen and a plow in Montferrat
to an emperor's crown abroad". <17> Uncomprehendingly, the few
great Lombard nobles who were in on the plot complained that their lord must
be a bastard. Hoping that William would reconsider, they had waited, pretending
to support Margaret and Demetrius. Now Henry had skillfully turned their
embarrassment to his own account. He had accepted Biandrate's humiliating
terms, provided that Margaret would approve of them. Biandrate had had to
accept the proviso for fear of revealing prematurely his disloyalty to Margaret.
Once inside Thessalonica, Henry was able to demonstrate publicly that Biandrate's
territorial demands had only a limited amount of support among the Lombard
nobles, and to persuade Margaret to repudiate them, despite the pressure
which Biandrate and his followers had brought to bear on her. Henry thus
extracted himself from his dilemma, and without dishonor. Now, on January
6, 1209, he crowned the infant Demetrius as king, and Biandrate took a new
oath of homage as regent of the kingdom of Thessalonica. 
 But Biandrate garrisoned the important fortresses of Serres and Christopolis
(Kavalla) with men loyal to William of Montferrat. In the crisis Henry supported
Margaret, on whom he conferred great estates in Thessaly, formerly the property
of Alexius III's wife Euphrosyne. Biandrate, furious, resigned, and went
off to prison. Henry had to fight for Serres, which he took, but Christopolis
held out, and the Lombard revolt spread to Thessaly. Henry spent the spring
of 1209 campaigning there, taking Larissa but treating the defeated garrison
with kindness, and receiving a warm welcome from the Greek population at
Halmyros. At Ravennika, the emperor held a "parlement", hoping
that the Lombard lords would make peace. Only Amédée Pofey
appeared, declared his repentance, did homage, and received his fief once
more. Though disappointed, Henry took advantage of the presence of the French
lords of southern Greece to receive the younger Villehardouin as his vassal
and make him seneschal of the empire, thus attaching Achaea directly to Constantinople
instead of to Thessalonica. Villehardouin also recognized that Henry's rights
had precedence over those of 
 17 V. de Bartholomaeis, "Un Sirventês historique d'Elias Cairel,"
Annales du Midi, XVI (1904), 469 ff.; H. Jaeschke, Der Troubadour Elias Cairel
(Romanische Studien, ed. E. Ebering, part 20, Berlin, 1921), pp. 149 ff.

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