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about the Romans, who are said to have had no loyalty. Thus, Byzantine
Roman writers such as the elite historians already considered are typically
contemptuous about the residents of the Peloponnese, whom they dislike to
call Romans and characterise as lovers of discord, faithless to an extreme.
Nevertheless, closer examination reveals no ¬rm sense of ethnic loyalty
and no rigid ethnic divide: these were quarrels both within ethnic groups
and across the ethnic divide. The Byzantine Roman despotate of Mistra
struggled to preserve the loyalty of its ethnic Roman subjects, and various
Roman rebels took up arms against the despotate with Latins or even Turks
as allies. Similarly, some barons of the Frankish principality were ready to
consider acknowledging Byzantine Roman rule in place of the rule of the
Angevins, and some became loyal subjects of the Roman despotate. It
is important to appreciate that by the closing decades of the fourteenth
century it is no longer appropriate to speak of distinct ethnic groups in the
Peloponnese, the Franks of the Morea and the Romans of the Morea. By
the middle of the century, this had become a society of considerable ethnic
assimilation.
The Greek Chronicle is ¬rmly pro-Frankish in its sympathies, yet portrays
cooperative local Romans in a favourable light; moreover, it addresses
itself to Franks as well as Romans. This fourteenth-century audience of
the Chronicle is indicative of the thirteenth-century patterns of language
acquisition discussed above in that it includes Greek-speaking Franks; also
listening, though, were Romans who identi¬ed with their Frankish rulers.
Both Franks and Romans are explicitly addressed at ·: ˜Listen all of
you, both Franks and Romans™. The audience of the Greek Chronicle is
linguistically familiar with both French and Greek. An Angevin baili is sent
˜an order from Apulia, a komes©oun [komesioun: commission] the Franks
call it, thus they name it™ (·“). Then again, at a celebration everyone
˜had a camotso“kin [hamotsoukin: picnic], as the Romans call it™ (°);
we are also told of the Villehardouin chaplains that ˜the Romans name
them ¬ere±v [hiereis: priests], they all call them that™ (··). Such references
suggest an audience which is familiar with both Greek and French (though
members of it might favour one or the other). Interestingly, the reference
to hamotsoukin is omitted in both the later Turin and Paris manuscripts,
and the hiereis reference does not appear in the Paris text; the absence of
these ˜as the Romans say™ references may thus signal the diminution in the
 Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
non-Roman contingent of the audience over the course of the ¬fteenth
century. This will be further explored in the following chapter. It is, anyway,
clear that the earlier Greek version(s) were intended for an audience who
knew both French and Greek, some of whom were bilingual, and who
were native to the Morea. This would suggest a society where Franks
and Romans often had languages in common and, equally, were used to
socialising together.
Such a society would also have supplied the audience for some of the
vernacular romances of this period, and Frankish Greece has been proposed
as the place of origin for The Tale of Achilles, Libistros and Rhodamne,
Florios and Platzia-Flora and The War of Troy.· It has been credibly
argued that the example of western vernacular literature encountered in
the courts of the Latin states in the region after ±° encouraged the growth
and acceptability of the literary use of spoken Greek forms, and in these
vernacular romances we see a positive attitude to westerners, as well as a
mingling of the Hellenistic romance tradition with western fairy tale and
chivalric romance.·µ
Increased knowledge of westerners has in¬‚uenced these romances in
various ways. Florios and Platzia-Flora, clearly derived from the early
fourteenth-century Italian Il cantare di Fiorio e Bianci¬ore, is close to the
rugged vernacular of the Chronicle of the Morea, and was probably written
in the Peloponnese itself.· In the fourteenth-century Greek version of The
War of Troy, Ajax is actually said to come from the Mani in the south of
the Peloponnese and, in the earlier Tale of Achilles, the familiar presenta-
tion of Franks likewise makes a southern Greek origin at least plausible.
In this tale a Frankish knight is defeated by the hero Achilles at the joust
to celebrate his wedding. Emphatically, in the Achilles western things are
not disapproved of; they are de¬nitely different, but that difference is not
negative or to be deprecated. Achilles™ Frankish opponent is described in
a thoroughly positive fashion as handsome, brave and manly “ in fact the
only worthy opponent for the hero. Achilles himself is said to wear his hair
in the Frankish style, and his beloved loves to dress in Frankish fashion.
It is at least possible that this re¬‚ects actual practice among some of the
Romans living alongside westerners in Frankish Greece; turning to another
context entirely, ¬gures in western dress are depicted on some late Byzan-
tine pottery of the period “ but we cannot of course know for whom such

· Hesseling ±±; Lambert ±µ; Kriaras ±µµ; Jeffreys and Papathomopolous ±; Jeffreys ±: ±.
·µ Beaton ±: ±“°; Browning ±: ··.
· Beaton ±: ±·“; Spadaro ±: ±; also Horrocks ±·: ±“.
µ
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .
pieces were intended.·· Libistros and Rhodamne is if anything even more
positive about westerners than the Achilles. Here, the eponymous hero is
actually from a Latin land and of noble Latin birth; he has a western-style
haircut and he dresses in western dress. The presentation of the west in
such romances is very different from the aloof caution of the elite histo-
rians, and the romances may re¬‚ect the closer interactions necessary in
Frankish-ruled Greece.·
There are further traces of evidence from the Peloponnese to support
a picture of inter-ethnic cooperation. To add to the thirteenth-century
instance of the Roman Philokalos working in a Frankish-owned castle, the
castellan of Kalamata in ±± was a Roman named Janni Misito and another
Roman, Nikolakos of Patras, was captain at the castle of St George in Skorta
in around ±°.· In the fourteenth century, Greek family names point to
western origins of distinguished Roman families in the Byzantine Roman
Peloponnese: Phrangopoulos (˜son of a Frank™), (S)Phrantzes (˜Francis™)
and the Syryannis Gilopoulos of Gardiki, clearly of Frankish origin but
loyal to Mistra.° Contrariwise, there were now Romans among the senior
baronial families of the principality; the Misito family held the barony of
Molines in Messenia and the Sideros family claimed lands in Skorta.±
Although there is very little speci¬c information in any source, it is also
clear that there were numerous cross-ethnic liaisons in the Peloponnese.
The Gasmouloi of mixed Roman and Latin descent who are mentioned by
Pachymeres are said by him to have been resettled from the Peloponnese
by Michael Palaiologos in the ±°s. It is of course worth noting that
these Gasmouloi ¬ght on the Roman side, but this need not have been
true of all children of mixed parentage; indeed, writing in the ±°s, the
Latin author of the Directorium ad faciendum passagium transmarinum saw
these Gasinuli as simply per¬dious, all things to all men, taking advantage
of their dual heritage to seize advantage with either side as they might.
Pachymeres states speci¬cally that the Gasmouloi knew the language of the
Latins, suggesting that they were not brought up in an exclusively Roman
environment. Nor should we assume that all Gasmouloi were born outside
marriage. It is true that the Catalan chronicler Ramon Muntaner, writing

·· Dark °°±: . I follow Vroom™s classi¬cation of ˜late Byzantine™ pottery here, for work from the
thirteenth to the ¬fteenth century: Vroom °°: ·“.
· Beaton ±: ±µµ.
· In the French Chronicle (Longnon ±±±: °), Nikolakos of Patras is characterised as a traitor for the
surrender of St George to Andronikos Asen; the Aragonese Chronicle is more generous, painting
the here unnamed castellan as fooled by the Romans.
° Runciman ±°: µ ± Bon ±: ±“±, .  Beazley ±°“· (±): ±°°“±.
 Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
early in the fourteenth century, says that the Frankish barons married only
into good French families; however, Prince William II himself married a
Roman from Epiros and was moreover ready to ˜give wives™ to the two
Turks whom he knighted and enfeoffed in the ±°s: if marriages to Turks
could be contemplated, then why not also to Romans?
One answer to this question might be that such Turkish converts would
then have been baptised into the Catholic faith, whereas Romans were
more likely to have remained, from the western point of view, schismatics
with their own Orthodox church. However, while this remained a concern
for the leaders of the churches, it does not seem to have ruled out marriage.
Several Articles of the Assizes of Romania (·, ±µ, ±· and ±°) make careful
stipulations about marriages between people of different social rank, and
these have been interpreted as discouragement of inter-ethnic marriage.
Article ±, moreover, speci¬cally addresses issues arising from marriage
between female ˜Greeks™ and male Latins; Article ± likewise implies the
possibility of marriage between female Latins and ˜Greek™ males. Papal
concern at such cross-ethnic liaisons is expressed regularly throughout the
fourteenth century (for example by John XXII, ±±·“, and Benedict XII,
±“) and it is worth emphasising that if, as seems certain, inter-ethnic
marriages were taking place then, equally, the religious schism was not
proving an unbridgeable gulf between the Latins and the Romans. We
shall return to the religious question below.
The persistence of the casaux de parcons, which can be detected into the
¸
±°s, presupposes a predominantly ˜peaceful co-existence between Franks
and Greeks™, despite the impression given by the narrative sources of almost
perpetual con¬‚ict.µ However, we naturally hear most about the relations
between Franks and Romans in the Peloponnese in these years in relation
to the moments of crisis, in the detail of the stories of disputes between
Franks and Romans in the decade around the turn of the thirteenth century
which are given in the French and Aragonese versions of the Chronicle of
the Morea. These stories, which are not supported in any other source, are
worth a closer look.
Foty Tzausios and Gui de Charpigny (French Chronicle 663“92)
This story takes place during the reign of Prince Florent (±“·), and
more precisely within the seven-year truce from ± to ±, which had
been agreed with the emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos. Foty (Photios)

 Raymond Muntaner, Cronaca cclxi.
 Tautu ±µ: n. ±±,  (John xxii); Tautu ±µ n. ±± (Benedict xii).
µ Jacoby ±: ±µ, and cf. Coureas ±·: ±° on Cyprus: ˜no news is good news™.
·
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .
was a Roman of a notable family which was loyal to the emperor, who held
lands in the region of Corinth on a shared basis with Frankish lords (i.e.
a casal de parcon). His villeins were not happy with him, and complained
¸
to their Frankish lords, who in turn carried the complaint to Gautier de
Lindequerc, the Frankish lord of Corinth and a friend of Prince Florent.
Gautier had Foty hauled before him and, eventually, tortured, before releas-
ing him in return for a substantial payment. Foty, understandably, made
a complaint about this to his Byzantine Roman overlords at Mistra, who
in turn complained to Prince Florent “ who did nothing. Baulked of legal
comeback, Foty looked to get his own revenge on Gautier. However, the
hapless Roman managed to kill the wrong man “ he ambushed and slew
Gui de Charpigny who, being pale-skinned and blond-haired, is said to
have resembled Gautier. As he attacked him, Foty taunted him: ˜Take your
wages, Monsieur Gautier!™; then, when he was alerted to his mistake by
Gui™s retainers (who also recognised him), he was utterly distraught as Gui
had been ˜his lord and friend™. The Franks were understandably at ¬rst
set on war and revenge for this murder but, in the end, Prince Florent
decided that this incident did not justify bringing an end to the truce
(especially as the Byzantine Romans might have held him culpable for not
taking action against Gautier). Florent sued Mistra for justice against Foty,
and the emperor™s captain at Mistra in turn sued the Franks for justice
against Gautier, and so the matter was allowed to rest. The truce remained
unbroken.

Sgouromailly and the castle of Kalamata (French Chronicle 693“753)
This story, which again takes place during the seven-year truce between
Prince Florent and Andronikos II Palaiologos, begins with the capture of
the Frankish castle and town of Kalamata by the Slavs who lived near
the town, Slavs who had cried out the name of the emperor as they
attacked. Prince Florent and the Franks naturally suspected that this was
the work of the Byzantine Romans of Mistra, but Mistra said they had
no control at all over the Slavs. So Florent sent two senior knights to
Constantinople to ask for justice from the emperor; these were men who
had been in prison in Constantinople with Prince William and therefore
knew the ways of the court. Despite this, they at ¬rst had no luck getting
an audience at all, but ¬nally they gained the assistance of an Angevin
envoy, and in audience Andronikos II agreed that Kalamata should be
handed back to the Franks. However, they then received more unexpected
help from one Sgouromailly, ˜a noble Greek man of the Morea™ (i.e. an
important local Roman). Sgouromailly assured them that the emperor in
 Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
fact had no intention of giving them the castle, but would send orders
countermanding the handover which would reach the Morea before the
knights. With Sgouromailly™s personal help, the knights managed to get
back to the Morea in good time, and Sgouromailly personally saw to the
transfer of the castle into Frankish hands. Then, just as he had suspected,
orders arrived at Mistra countermanding the handover, and Sgouromailly
had to ¬‚ee for his life. He eventually died in poverty, one ˜who greatly loved
the Latins™.

Corcondille and the castle of St George (French Chronicle 802“27)
This was the incident that ¬nally brought to an end the truce between
the Franks and the Byzantine Romans in the Peloponnese. Corcondille
was a Greek (as the French Chronicle has it) from Skorta in Arkadia in
the central Peloponnese. In the June of ±, he attended the panejours “
the village festival “ at Varvaine in Skorta, an event that was popular
with both Franks and Romans. However, he had an argument that turned
violent with a Frank called Girart de Remy, so that Corcondille came
away from the festival determined on revenge. He looked out his son-in-
law, a man called Anino who worked as cellarer at the nearby Frankish
castle of St George, which stood on the border with the Byzantine Roman
lands ruled from Mistra. Anino recruited a further crucial accomplice “
his ˜great friend™ Boniface, the sergeant who guarded the keep of the castle.
Then, Corcondille involved the Romans at Mistra: he contacted a relative
of his called Leon Mavropapas who commanded a troop of Turks for
the Byzantine Roman army, with the offer of securing St George for the
Romans. The powers at Mistra had to think carefully before agreeing to
this, as it would constitute a breaking of the truce between Prince Florent
and the emperor. It was possible that the emperor would agree to give the
castle back, just as the castle at Kalamata had eventually been handed back.
However, they concluded that St George was in such a useful position on
the border between them and the Franks that the emperor would accept
the fait accompli. And thus it happened. The castle was taken with the help
of Boniface and the Turks, Prince Florent was unable to win it back by
force, and the capture of St George thus marked the renewed outbreak of
hostilities in the Peloponnese.

The loss of Nikli (Aragonese Chronicle 472“85)
This incident happened in the days of Prince Florent, but cannot be
placed any more precisely; it may well have been in the last year of his

Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .
reign and after the ending of the truce. Nikli was an important centre for
the Franks, but its location cannot be securely identi¬ed. According to
the Aragonese Chronicle, the ˜Greeks™ (as it calls them “ in other words,
the Byzantine Romans based at Mistra) were getting fed up with all the
successes of the Franks, and therefore they were plotting revenge. The
captain of the emperor (at Mistra) ¬rst tricked the Franks into selling them
lots of quality horses, and then made sure that his men should attend
festivals and gatherings and try to pick a ¬ght with the Franks. On the ¬rst
attempt, a ¬ght was successfully picked, but the local Frank in command
in Nikli did not choose to punish the Franks who had fought. On the
second attempt, the ˜Greeks™ managed to manipulate the situation into
a free-for-all, with the result that they ended up taking both the town
of Nikli and some poorly forti¬ed castles nearby. The Franks saw that
the ˜Greeks™ were well armed and well horsed so that it would not be
easy to retake Nikli. Both sides garrisoned the frontiers and settled to
war.

The revolt in Skorta (French Chronicle 922“53)
In ±°, the principality was under the grasping rule of Philip of Savoy,
Isabeau de Villehardouin™s third husband, and he foolishly decided to tax
the archontes of Skorta. These archontes plotted to revolt against the prince
and go over to the Byzantine Romans of Mistra, but they waited until the
respected marshal of the principality, Nicholas de St Omer, was absent on

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