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Since the time of the Macedonian emperors, the model of tension
between the dunato© (dynatoi) and the ptwco© (ptochoi), the powerful
and the poor, had been an in¬‚uential one in Byzantine views of rural life.
Successive acts of legislation under the Macedonians had sought ostensibly


µ McKee ±: “·±.
±±
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .
to protect the rights of the poor peasants against the land-hungry rich; it
has been cogently argued that the real motivation behind this legislation
was a desire to check the growing wealth and consequent independent
leanings of the provincial aristocracy. However, the legislation had had
a more charitable legacy with, for example, Alexios I Komnenos making
direct appeal to the  novel of Basil II as a model for his fair-minded
legislation on behalf of slaves.
Under the Byzantine Romans, archon could signify simply a rich land-
lord, or an of¬ce-holder in the civilian or military service: naturally,
landowning status and imperial service often went hand in hand. Such
men, the dynatoi, made up the leading provincial families who, under
Constantinopolitan rule, were used to considerable local power as well as
to implementing imperial rule in their area. In the context of the deteri-
oration in central control under the Angeloi, such men had been able to
act more and more independently. Leon Sgouros and the ˜Greek who was
a great lord of the land™ who collaborated with Geoffrey de Villehardouin
on his ¬rst venture into the Peloponnese were both men of this class, as
was Daimonoiannis of Monemvasia, and it was men of this type whom
Champlitte and Villehardouin were able to persuade to collaborate with
the incoming Franks. Crucially, they were not to lose economically: ˜they
should have their inheritance and more besides he would give to them™
(Greek Chronicle ±·, French Chronicle ±°). Thus in the Frankish Pelo-
ponnese economic and social status did not exactly parallel ethnic status:
although Frankish ptochoi were no doubt rare, there were certainly Roman
dynatoi.
The terms under which these Roman archontes held their land from
the Franks are not clear, but the evidence suggests that the arrangements
in place before ±° were in general permitted to continue. This note of
continuity is suggested by the Chronicle™s treatment of the subject, and
further con¬rmed by the evidence of the Assizes of Romania, the lawcode
of the Frankish principality which, despite surviving only in the form of a
Venetian Italian version written in the mid ¬fteenth century, was originally
composed in the mid fourteenth century and in its procedural details looks
back to the thirteenth century.·
The Greek Chronicle describes the Roman archontes as having prono±ev
(pronoies) and this is given as ¬es (¬ef ) in the French Chronicle (e.g. ±°),

 Kaplan ±: ±“; McGeer °°°, especially µ“±; Neville °°: ·; Morris ±·; Novel xxxv
of the Emperor Alexios Komnenos, in Zepos and Zepos ±± i: ±“.
· Recoura ±°; Jacoby ±·±; Topping ±··a.
± Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
but it is unclear to what extent the Byzantine Roman pr»noia (pronoia)
can be identi¬ed with the western feudal ¬ef. It is generally agreed that
the pronoia was a form of grant of land or the revenues from land that was
conditional on military or other service to the emperor, and that over time
a pronoia came to be inheritable rather than a grant to one individual. This
makes the pronoia at least analogous to the western ¬ef, and this in turn
would mean that Frankish rule need not have effected any extraordinary
change in the lives and ¬nances of the Roman archontes of the Morea, even
if the western model was imposed on the local Roman lords. However,
it is at least possible that the pronoia only acquired its peculiarly military
and heritable characteristics from the later thirteenth century under the
in¬‚uence of incoming Frankish institutions; thus too, and problematically,
there is no direct evidence for the existence of pronoies in the Peloponnese
before ±° and it has been argued that the Greek Chronicle™s references
to the institution as existing in ±° are anachronistic misinterpretations
conditioned by the western-in¬‚uenced fourteenth-century practice with
which the author of the Chronicle would have been familiar. Under this
model, where the Romans of the Peloponnese were unused to conditional
landholding, the coming of the Franks could have been much more irksome
if ¬ef-holding was simply imposed.
Nevertheless, the case for the continuance of pre-existing pronoies
in the Morea in ±° in fact remains strong. Signi¬cantly, the Greek
Chronicle employs alternative sets of terminology for Roman and Frank-
ish landholders in the principality. For the former, as well as pronoies,
it speaks of ˆn{rwp”a (anthropea), proskun¤ (proskyno), do“lov
(doulos) and doule©a (douleia), and these Greek terms have been under-
stood as ˜homage™, ˜to do homage™, ˜vassal™ and ˜service™. However, the paral-
lel terms which are clearly derived from French, such as f©e (¬e), ¾m†ntzio
(homantzio), mparoun©a (barounia) and so on, are never used in relation
to Roman archontes, but only for subjects of Frankish origin. Contrast,
for example, anthropea used in relation to the Greek subjects (±) and
homantzio (±µµ, ±µµ) in relation to the lords of Athens and Evia, although
it is worth noting that in the register of ¬efs and rules of service (Greek
Chronicle ±°“°±), which arguably apply to both Franks and Romans
in the principality, the terminology of pronoia is used less exclusively. This
dual nomenclature is strongly suggestive of different institutions for Franks
and Romans, indicating that the Franks continued or adapted an existing


 Kazhdan ±µ for a review of the problem and the literature; Jacoby ±·.
±
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .
system for their Roman subjects, but one that was recognisably analogous
to their own.
That the Franks certainly recognised some distinctions between their
mode of landholding and that familiar to the Romans is con¬rmed by
the Assizes of Romania. The Roman subjects of the prince are not often
mentioned in the Assizes, and this could in itself suggest that on many
matters there was no difference in the treatment of Frankish and Roman
subjects. However, there is explicit con¬rmation in the Assizes that some
Byzantine Roman norms of tenure and inheritance were permitted to
continue under the principality. Thus, with regard to inheritance law,
Article ± states explicitly that ˜in the ¬efs of Greek vassals which have
been held since an early date [tegnudi antegamente], their sons and daughters
will succeed equally™; in other words, the Byzantine Roman tradition of
partible inheritance was permitted to the archontes, in contrast to the
western rules of primogeniture. There is further reference to the system
of shared inheritance in Article ±·. We cannot know what is meant by
tegnudi antegamente; this could imply tenure from early in the history of
the principality, or potentially tenure from pre-Frankish days. If the latter,
this implies that the Franks did not meddle with the existing Byzantine
Roman systems of land tenure: land held in a certain way before the Franks
arrived on the scene continued to be held in the same way; this is possibly
supported by the somewhat ambiguous Article µ, which states that land
may be bequeathed ˜to all heirs™ if it dates ˜from the acquisition of the
principality™. At any rate, at some point it was agreed that the Romans of
the principality could inherit in the ways they had been used to.
Article ± clearly states that Romans could be vassals in possession of
¬efs. This is supported by Articles ·° and ·±, which together set out the
military service required of vassals, and end with the problem of ˜an archon
. . . [who] has little land or few serfs™, and so presumably might have
found the terms of service unduly onerous. Lesser archontes, then, were
permitted to continue in their estates. This is supported by Article ±·,
which is primarily concerned with grants of land to serfs but takes care
to point out that different, and more favourable, rules apply to a grant
to an arcondo (archon). Additionally, by Article ·±, Roman landholders
were clearly expected to provide service like their Latin counterparts: the
potential issue here is not one of ethnicity but of economic status.
The article lacks a de¬nitive solution to the implied problem of the
impecunious low-ranking archon, stating that ˜the service is not given™, i.e.
there is no record of the service for such archontes. This is in itself interesting.
Article µ (provisionally) exempts those ˜who hold ¬efs according to the
± Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
manner of the Greeks™ (segondo lo muodo de li griegi) from the usual rules
on time-limits for investiture, which are strictly applied to Frankish vassals.
We may conclude that, while the Assizes are extremely detailed on the rules
applicable to western subjects in the principality, the work is basically not
concerned with the rules for Romans, who were administered at least in
some respects along different lines: the details of this muodo de li griegi have
not been preserved alongside the Assizes. In conclusion, there are enough
references within the Assizes for us to know that there were at least some
different rules for Roman subjects, as suggested by the Chronicle. Such
concessions as we see in the Assizes could well be viewed as preservation,
in the Chronicle™s words, of ˜our custom, the law of the Romans™. Thus,
the Franks were content to allow for continuity in Roman practices in the
Peloponnese, where these did not con¬‚ict with their own interests. If, as
seems probable, there was a system of conditional landholding, then this
too was allowed to continue.
As for those outside the ranks of the dynatoi, both the Assizes and the
Chronicle agree in an indication that the coming of the Franks meant
little change for the less well-off Romans of the Peloponnese. The Greek
Chronicle brie¬‚y informs us that it was agreed between Villehardouin and
the archontes that ˜the villagers of the villages would stay as they found them™
(±). The Franks would have recognised the basic division in Roman
society between the dynatoi and the ptochoi as corresponding to their
division between freeman and serf, and the Assizes cover the status of serfs
in some detail (Articles “µ, “, ±·“, ±“±µ, ±). Unsurprisingly,
their provisions on peasant land tenure with the associated taxes and services
suggest an identi¬cation of villanus (˜villein™ in the Italian of the Assizes)
with the Byzantine Roman p†roikov (paroikos). Article ± hints at a
difference in legal status between Roman villani and others, but we should
assume that the vast majority of villani were of Roman origin, as suggested
in relation to the fourteenth century by the villeins who are recorded in the
registers of land owned by the Acciajuoli family, to be considered below.
On those lands held by Roman archontes, conditions can hardly have
changed for the peasants; on lands held by Franks there may have been
more upheaval as the incomers viewed their dependant peasants through a
western lens and treated them accordingly; not least with regard to religion.
However, it is impossible to quantify the changes in peasant life that were
brought about by the Franks.


 Jacoby ±·: ±; Jacoby ±: °“; Lock ±µ: ·“°.
±µ
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .
Elsewhere in the Byzantine Roman world, this period was one of change
for the peasantry. In the empire of Nikaia, many free peasants were bought
out as part of the formation of new and large estates; peasants on these
estates were now dependent paroikoi. Although change was slow, and many
landowners at ¬rst worked within existing institutions, there is evidence
that the status of the dependent peasants declined over the thirteenth
century and the burden on them became more onerous. Likewise in the
Pontos (on the Black Sea coast), small estates owned by rural families who
had come into debt were bought up and absorbed into large estates.°
There is no particular evidence for a similar process in the Peloponnese
in the thirteenth century. The Assizes show that serf (villanus) status was
hereditary, but we cannot know whether this was an innovation arising
from the incoming Franks™ identi¬cation of the Byzantine paroikos with
the western villein, or whether this re¬‚ected Byzantine Roman practice
before ±°. As with the pronoia the evidence is simply too scanty to draw
any ¬rm conclusions about the measure of change, but the general trend
against innovation seems clear.
Continuity is also clear in at least some elements of the ¬scal system.
Documentation of land tenure in the principality is scanty, but anything we
have con¬rms the continuing use of Greek terms. The Assizes mention the
zemuro (Greek ghm»ron, the tithe on produce due to the lord, Articles ·
and ±); acrostico (Greek ˆkr»sticon, the hearth tax, Articles ± and
±°) and dispoticaria (Greek despotik»n, ˜for the master™, the services
due to the lord of the land, Article ±°). Similarly, Venetian land surveys
of the early fourteenth century refer to the anagraf¬ and the catastica
(Greek ˆnagrafž and kat†stica, registers of property) and to stico
(Greek st©cov, line, i.e. an individual entry in a register) etc., while a
survey compiled for Niccolo Acciajuoli in the ±°s refers to the practico
(Greek praktik»n, an inventory of an estate) prepared in Greek by the
local agent.± All these words are clearly of Greek origin and must have
been taken over directly from the pre-±° system, as is also the case with
the use of arconde, arcondo (Greek archon) in the French Chronicle of the
Morea and the Assizes. Continuity of terminology is not a guarantee of
continuity of practice. In Norman Sicily, the incoming Normans inherited
and adapted a developed Arabic administration; however, while on the
surface little seemed to change, with the same terminology for processes and

° Angold ±·µa: ±“; Bryer ±·: ±µ“±.
± Thiriet ±: · (no. µ); Longnon and Topping ±: µ, line ±. For more examples, Jacoby
±: ±±“±µ, and the discussions in Longnon and Topping ±: Appendix iii.
± Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
institutions, it is nevertheless clear that there were in fact considerable
divergences in practice. Notwithstanding, in the Morea, the prevalence of
Greek in everyday interactions between conquerors and conquered suggests
a continuity in ¬scal practices “ perhaps as a result of the use from the
earliest days of the principality of Romans in those administrative roles that
required ¬‚uency in Greek. The likelihood of such continuity is increased
by the weight of evidence for continuity of Byzantine Roman landholding
and inheritance law.

˜Our faith™
So much for the ˜customs of the Romans™. The Chronicle™s suggestion that
the Peloponnesian Romans were allowed to continue in their Orthodox
faith is similarly con¬rmed, ¬rstly by the provisions of the Act of Pope
Honorius in ±. Fundamentally, this aimed at resolving the serious dis-
pute that had arisen between some of the Frankish lords of Greece and
the papacy over issues of Catholic church lands and taxation, but it also
dealt with questions that had arisen with regard to the native Orthodox
clergy. Like their Latin counterparts, Orthodox priests were eventually
made exempt from most taxes, with the exception of the akrostichon, or
hearth tax. However, perhaps in a attempt to check abuses, limits were set
upon the numbers of Orthodox priests: villages of less than twenty-¬ve
hearths (family units) had to share a priest with another village; villages of
twenty-¬ve to seventy hearths were allowed two priests; villages of ·± to ±µ
hearths were allowed four priests; and any larger villages were allowed six
priests.
Thus, it is clear that the Orthodox faith was allowed to continue on a
personal level, as suggested by the Greek Chronicle, and there does not seem
to have been any kind of campaign to convert the rank-and-¬le Romans
of the Peloponnese to Catholicism, nor any mass exodus of priests at the
lower levels. Similar restrictions on the recruitment of Orthodox priests
in Cyprus show that here too Orthodoxy was regulated but not seriously
interfered with ˜on the ground™. The ± agreement also allowed for
the protection and maintenance of Orthodox monasteries on generous
pre-conquest terms, and the Greek Chronicle (···) likewise con¬rms that
there were both eastern and western monastic establishments within the
principality “ as in all parts of the Latin east.

 
Bon ±: “·; PL ccxvi: cols. “·. Coureas ±·: ±“.
 Coureas ±·: ·; Richard ±: µ±“µ.
±·
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .
In the Peloponnese, as in other crusader states, the arrival of the Latins
had brought the eastern and western churches into direct contact with
each other. As we have seen, there was a history of religious disagreement
between the churches, with one important element being the role of the
pope: the eastern church rejected any notion of papal supremacy. The
fact of conquest seemed to give the western church the opportunity to
encourage or enforce its primacy over the eastern, which might extend
merely to an acknowledgment of papal jurisdiction or go on to insist on
conformity in all points of doctrine and practice. This effort on the part
of the Latin church can be seen in all conquered areas, although actual
results differed from region to region. In each region for which evidence
can be found, though, there is basically the same pattern of effective tol-

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