. 37
( 54 .)


campaign in Thessaly. They then managed to take and reduce two castles
in the valley of the Alpheios, but when the local captain Sir Nicholas de
Maure and Prince Philip himself rallied their troops “ including their own
men of Skorta “ the Byzantine Romans and rebels were in the end alarmed
into ¬‚ight. Prince Philip then punished the ringleaders and reasserted his
rule in Skorta.

Under the obvious hostilities, these stories reveal a great deal about actual
relations between Franks and Romans in the Peloponnese. In the stories of
the loss of St George and Nikli, we may see that Franks and Romans mixed
freely at markets and on social occasions, including religious (presumably
Orthodox) festivals; as noted above, this is strongly suggestive of cross-
ethnic language acquisition and ¬‚uency. There were friendships across
ethnicities: the Roman Corcondille had a son-in-law Anino who worked
at a Frankish castle and was suf¬ciently friendly with the castle guard, a
Frank called Boniface, that the latter helped him betray the castle to the
Byzantine Romans of Mistra. Here we see that on a personal level Franks
° Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
and Romans could get on very well. Similarly, Photios Tzausios ended up
taking his misplaced and fatal revenge against Sir Gui de Charpigny whom,
we are told, he ˜held as lord and friend™.
Just as the castle guard Boniface ended up on the Roman side, the
stories also reveal a readiness for cross-ethnic allegiance on the part of
Peloponnesian Romans. It is worth noting that Foty™s villeins, who were
ethnic Romans, looked to Franks to protect them against another ethnic
Roman. Similarly, it was noted above that some Frankish barons of the ±°s
were ready to accept Roman authority; the implication is that such Moreots
were clearly not driven by a model of necessary ethnic division. Even more
striking in this regard is the story of the Roman archon Sgouromailly, who
is portrayed as acting for the Franks and against the duplicitous Roman
emperor. Asking the prince™s agents to regard him as a loyal chevalier “
which is at least suggestive of shared allegiances in the Peloponnese “ he
tells Florent™s men in Constantinople that

the good Prince William was our natural lord; for his ransom he gave us to the
emperor. And we are sure that we are only treated well and with honour by the
emperor because of the war that we are making on you, noble Latins. If you were
not there, he would not treat us half so nicely. And so I want you to know that
I™d rather you had the castle of Kalamata than that the emperor should have it.
(French Chronicle ·±“)

This incident is not recorded elsewhere and it would be dangerous to rely
on the Chronicle for detail. What is interesting however, and lends verisimil-
itude to the account, is the emphasis on Constantinopolitan contempt for
Peloponnesians. This is nowhere else re¬‚ected in the Chronicle but is as we
have seen a strong element in the Constantinopolitan outlook. It is credi-
ble that resentment at such contempt could have promoted regionalist and
even pro-Frankish sentiments among local archontes such as Sgouromailly.
Such local Romans could also have observed the new attention being given
to the region “ in contrast to the historical neglect “ and have re¬‚ected,
as does Sgouromailly, that this new interest from Constantinople was not
necessarily altruistic. Again, this story should warn us against assuming
ethnic solidarity “ although, as Sgouromailly™s fate shows, the expectation
that ethnic identity should have ensured political loyalty, familiar from
the works of the elite historians, was also at work ˜on the ground™ in the
The Slavs in the story of the castle of Kalamata are portrayed as more
on the side of the Byzantine Romans than the Franks, but basically out for
what they could get. This kind of pragmatic realism also emerges in the
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .
story of the revolt in Skorta. Skorta, the mountainous heart of Arkadia, had
initially put up resistance to the Franks under the archon Doxapatres, but
by around ±±µ seems to have been paci¬ed under the rule of the de Briel
lordship based at Karytaina. Although the Skortans™ loyalty wavered when
their lord was absent, under the popular Geoffrey de Briel they formed a
stalwart front line against Mistra from the late ±°s. Three aspects of the
account of this revolt are particularly worth noting. Firstly, some Skortans
stayed loyal to the Franks against their fellows, and those who revolted
are characterised as traitors. Secondly, the Chronicle comments that the
Franks found it dif¬cult to get reliable information in the area ˜because
all the villeins of the estates had ¬‚ed through the mountains, because they
were afraid “ ˜as much of the Greeks as of the Latins. They did not know
whose side to take, and thus were waiting to see who would win™ ().
Ethnic solidarity did not mean much against a quiet life attempting to till
one™s land or pasture one™s ¬‚ocks: pragmatism was all in the Peloponnese
in the opening years of the fourteenth century as it had been a century
earlier when Franks had ¬rst arrived. Thirdly, when Marshal Nicholas de
St Omer returned to the principality the erstwhile rebels informed him
that ˜they had only revolted because he, from whom they had hoped to
¬nd help against the taxes imposed on them, was not in the land™ (µ).
The Chronicle has already presented St Omer as a champion against the
excesses of the prince, and so there is a suggestion here that the archontes
felt their grievance against a particular ruler, rather than against Frankish
rule in itself: differences in personality could be at least as important as
ethnic rivalry (French Chronicle “µ).
These stories, then, present little evidence of ethnically driven loyalty
among the Romans. The registers of the Acciajuoli estates, dating from the
middle of the fourteenth century, published by Jean Longnon and Peter
Topping, similarly support a picture of cross-ethnic allegiances. Militarily,
Romans made up the garrisons of archers at several Acciajuoli strongpoints,
such as the tower of Krestena (Longnon and Topping ±: ·.µ“),
Archangelos Castle (.“) and Voulkano Castle (.±“·). There is now
further evidence of Romans employed in more senior positions of trust:
two other Romans are known to have held the of¬ce of protovestiary in the
±°s, Stephanos Koutroules and Ioannis Mourmoures; the latter drafted a
praktikon in Greek for the Acciajuoli estates (Longnon and Topping ±:
±.±±“±, .“, µ.±“±µ). Romans were also among those employed by
the Acciajuoli for the supervision of estates, just as they had been by the
Villehardouin princes. The demesne land of the Acciajuoli in their castel-
lany of Corinth was administered by one Todoro (i.e. Theodoros), and in
 Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans
the same year another Theodore, surname Mabrudi, is recorded as the col-
lector of the taxes due to the lord in Grebeni (Longnon and Topping ±:
±µ.±°, ±°.“µ, ±.±±, ±·.°“). In the ±µ°s, Roman feudatories named
Manulli Magno, Migali de Stiva and Nicolucha are recorded at Krestena
(Longnon and Topping ±: ·.“±±); while at Voulkano there were Domi-
nus Theoderus Papa Chyriacopulus, Manollus Vorcas and Theodore Papa
Stamatopulus (Longnon and Topping ±: ±°±.“).

Regarding the art and architecture of the Frankish Peloponnese, was
there any cross-fertilisation of in¬‚uences between the westerners and the
Romans? Like the archaeology of the medieval Peloponnese, this is still an
area for research. At this stage, it is possible to say that the presence of the
western settlers did indeed have some effect on local styles in architecture
and art, although in the Peloponnese this western in¬‚uence had no lasting
At Geraki, east of Sparta, the tomb monument of one of the thirteenth-
century de Nivelet barons survives in the church of St George in the castle.
Like the remains of the Cistercian monasteries of Isova in the Alpheios val-
ley and Zaraka at Stymphalia, most of all this exempli¬es the gulf between
the traditional soft curves of the Orthodox church and the dramatic angles
of Frankish Gothic, which was, after all, reaching its zenith at the time of
Frankish settlement. An analysis of the medieval churches of Frankish
Greece for any in¬‚uence of the Gothic style reveals that, apart from the
explicitly western structures like the Cistercian monasteries mentioned and
the churches of the Princes at Andravida or Glarentsa (Fig. ±), the in¬‚u-
ence of the Gothic is relatively restricted to decorative elements “ some
pointed windows, slender columnettes and decorated column capitals.·
There are ten known Byzantine churches in the Peloponnese which show
overt western in¬‚uence, several of which are in major Frankish sites. In
Elis these are the Vlakhernae Monastery near Kyllini (Fig. ) and the Dor-
mition of the Theotokos near Anilio; in Arkadia, the bell-tower of the
church of the Zoodochos Pege in Karytaina; in Messenia, Aghios Georgios
at Androusa and Agios Georgios at Aipeia; in the Argolid, the Dormition
of the Theotokos at Merbaka; in Korinthia, the Palaiomonastero of the
Phaneromene and the church of the Rachiotissa at Phlious; and in Lakonia
the churches of Aghios Georgios and Aghia Paraskevi at Geraki. These are

 Wace ±°“µ: ±°“µ.
· Bouras °°±; but contrast Grossman °°, who argues for the development of a distinctive hybrid
˜Moreot™ architecture during the Frankish period.
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .

Figure ± Decorative pillars at the ruined Frankish cathedral, Glarentsa (Kyllini) in the

characterised as Byzantine because they date at least in origin to before the
Frankish conquest, or otherwise are typically Byzantine in all barring the
Gothic touches.
What these churches reveal is that Gothic elements were known and used
in Byzantine church architecture. This was not only so in the Peloponnese,
but generally around Frankish Greece and indeed in Epiros, which was
never ruled by Franks but was clearly still open to the prevailing western
trends through its links to Italy. However, it was only in Venetian-ruled
Cyprus that the Gothic style was genuinely adopted by the Orthodox
church. On the mainland, including the Peloponnese, the Gothic style
made some impact but only in details, apart that is from the few wholly
Frankish churches and monasteries. Furthermore, the wholly Frankish
buildings display some characteristic features, beyond artistic detail, that
indicate that techniques if not workmen were brought with the conquerors
from the west, for example the use of a particular form of roof tile. On the
other hand, it is clear that local craftsmen also worked on Frankish struc-
tures, and these presumably learnt some of the hitherto alien techniques
and styles and proved to some extent capable of responding to the tastes of
 Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans

Figure  Window on the south wall of the monastery at Vlakherna, near Kyllini in the

the westerners. Outside the religious sphere, the Palace complex at Mistra
shows clear western in¬‚uence, particularly in the oldest wing, which may
date back to the brief period of Frankish occupation (Fig. ).
The Agnes stone from the Frankish church of St Sophia in Andravida
has attracted attention. The grave-slab of Agnes/Anna, the Roman wife of
Prince William II, this combines standard western epigraphy with Byzan-
tine decorative motifs, leading some to argue for a considerable degree of
hybridisation. However, others maintain that this slab is simply an existing
piece of relief-work from an older Orthodox church, reused by the Franks,

 Cooper °°: “µ; Campbell ±·.
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .

Figure  The earliest wing of the despot™s palace, Mistra
and thus no indication of true assimilation. Turning to painting, however,
there is evidence of a more subtle western in¬‚uence that is furthermore
indicative of an assimilated society.
One study has focused on the portrayal of warrior saints in church fres-
coes of the south and east Peloponnese, to demonstrate that the detail of

 Contrast Ivison ±:  and Cooper ±: .
 Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans

Figure  St George, from Agios Nikolaos at Polemitas in the Inner Mani

the characteristic iconography had changed by the end of the thirteenth
century under the impact of the Franks. During the Frankish period, mil-
itary saints appeared in greater quantity and were on average given greater
prominence; moreover, the position of the saint changed to re¬‚ect western
practice. It is argued that this re¬‚ects ˜appreciation of Frankish chivalric
customs and . . . a certain degree of cultural emulation and symbiosis™.°
The popularity of St George in such wall-paintings “ a ¬ne example is
the thirteenth-century fresco of the saint at St Nicholas, Polemitas in the
Mani (Fig. ) “ certainly ¬ts well with the respect for the saint as military

° Gerstel °°±: ·±.
Meanwhile, a long way from Constantinople . . .

Figure µ St Theodore, from Trissakia near Tsopakas in the Inner Mani

protector shown in the Chronicle of the Morea. According to the Chronicle,
the soldiers of the principality (who could be Roman, Frankish or both)
believed that St George had helped the Franks to victory over the Byzantine
Romans of Mistra at the battle of Prinitsa (Greek Chronicle ·±). Again,
the vernacular Greek romances, several of which have strong connections
with the Frankish Peloponnese, suggest that there was an appreciative audi-
ence for tales of chivalry and for the glamour of knightly combat. The cave
church of the Old Monastery at Vrontamas near Geraki shows six military
saints drawn up to face each other as if in a tournament, while the image
of St Theodore at Trissakia in the Mani (Fig. µ) very unusually portrays the
saint at full gallop, very like a western knight; both images date from the
late thirteenth century. More generally, arms, equipment and pose imitate
the western model.± Familiarity with western forms is also shown by the
appearance in thirteenth-century frescoes of soldiers in Frankish dress “
for example at Trissakia (Fig. ) or Agios Niketas at Karavas, both in the
Inner Mani.

± Gerstel °°±.
 Being Byzantine: Greek identity before the Ottomans

Figure  Frankish soldiers featured in the arrest at Gethsemane, from Trissakia near
Tsopakas in the Inner Mani

Although much work remains to be done in this area, it is clear that west-
ern in¬‚uences enter into the artistic decoration of churches in this period.
Thus, the church of Aghios Nikolaos at Agoriani in Lakonia, with frescoes
dating from the end of the thirteenth century, shows western in¬‚uence in
its portrayal of St Matthew. The artist here is named as Kyriakos Fran-
gopoulos (Kyriakos, son of the Frank), raising the tantalising possibility
that these frescoes were made by a Gasmoulos. The frescoes at Agoriani lie
right in the border zone between western and Mistran control at the end
of the thirteenth century, and most of the images of military saints in the
study by Sharon Gerstel cited above lie within the areas where Byzantine
power was re-established after ±. In other words, western in¬‚uence was
not limited to areas under direct Frankish rule. Doula Mouriki has written
about the use of the mask motif in the wall paintings at Mistra, showing
how Latin styles crept into Byzantine Roman iconography, while Mary


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( 54 .)