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2002), pp. 149“229, esp. 158ff. See also Barker, “John VII in Genoa,” 229“31 (n. 3).
67 Laiou-Thomadakis, “Greek merchant,” 109.
68 MM, vol. ii, no. 416, pp. 140“1. See also nos. 547 and 554 for later activities of Michael Sgouropoulos.
69 Ibid., p. 142; no. 417 (Aug. 1390), pp. 142“7. Cf. Darrouz`s, Reg., pp. 4“6, 12“13, 163“4, 166“9.
e
136 Constantinople
Shortly after John VII lost the throne Antonios was reinstated as patriarch
and resumed his hunt for the religious supporters of the deposed Emperor.
In April 1391 the patriarch pardoned two priests, the orphanotrophos George
Kallistos and John Sigeros, who swore in writing that they would no
longer refrain from commemorating the Emperors “ John V, recently
deceased, and Manuel II.70 It has been pointed out that the misspelled
and awkwardly drawn signatures of these two priests betray their low level
of culture and education.71 Hence, they must be included among the
lower-class supporters of John VII. On the other hand, John Adeniates,
who was involved in a plot against Manuel II about the time of John
VII™s expulsion from Constantinople (September 17, 1390), belonged to
the imperial clergy and was of higher social standing. A patriarchal act
drawn up against Adeniates in 1393 reports that he associated himself with
a group of “lawless” and “wicked” men with whom he conspired against
the Emperor and against the imperial capital. When their intrigues were
uncovered, Adeniates, fearing that he might be denounced by some of his
accomplices who had been caught and questioned, took ¬‚ight to Pera.
Despite the patriarch™s call for his return to Constantinople and the advice
of other members of the clergy that he try to seek Manuel II™s pardon,
Adeniates remained in Pera for about three years, in the course of which
he continued his activities against the Emperor, denouncing the Church
and the patriarch as well.72 Given John VII™s close ties with the Genoese,
Pera was clearly the most obvious place for Adeniates to ¬‚ee to for refuge.
In fact, many people had ¬‚ocked to Pera and formed a small clique there
following John VII™s fall from power. In 1391 Demetrios Kydones wrote
a letter to Maximos Chrysoberges, who had recently become a Catholic
and entered a Dominican monastery in Pera. Kydones stated in his letter
that he wished to visit Chrysoberges, but was afraid of encountering in
the Genoese colony “people from the other side.”73 Since Kydones always
remained loyal to John V and Manuel II in the course of the civil wars of
the late fourteenth century, he could have only meant by this expression the
partisans of John VII who had established themselves in Pera and who no
doubt shared with John VII a favorable disposition towards the Genoese.
Unfortunately, not as much information is available on the attitude of
John VII™s supporters towards his other foreign allies “ the Ottomans. We
possess no parallel examples of speci¬c individuals among John VII™s par-
tisans, like the pro-Latin aristocrats or the high-ranking priest cited above,
70 MM, vol. ii, no. 420. i, p. 151. 71 Darrouz`s, Reg., no. 2885, p. 176.
e
72 MM, vol. ii, no. 440 (Sept. 1393), pp. 172“4. Cf. Darrouz`s, Reg., pp. 204“5.
e
73 Kydones“Loenertz, vol. ii, no. 443, p. 411, line 74. Cf. Kalekas“Loenertz, p. 58.
137
The Byzantine court and the Ottomans
whose political tendencies towards the Turks are known. We have, however,
the eyewitness account of the Russian pilgrim Ignatius of Smolensk, who
reports that the Ottoman soldiers accompanying John VII in 1390 were
not allowed to enter Constantinople by the common people who opened
the gates of the city to the young pretender.74 This may have been a pre-
caution resulting from the former experiences of the capital™s population
with Ottoman soldiers. It will be recalled, for example, that in his letter to
John V quoted earlier, Pope Gregory XI had shown deep concern over the
activities of Turks who entered Constantinople in large numbers between
1372/3 and 1375.75 A Venetian document dating from April 9, 1390 reveals,
moreover, that at the time of John VII™s attack the takeover of the Byzantine
capital by Bayezid I was foreseen as a strong possibility in Italy.76 There
may have been similar suspicions in Constantinople, which would further
explain the hesitation of the Greek population to admit into their midst
the soldiers sent to John VII™s aid by the Ottoman ruler.
Despite all the support that John VII had procured, his reign nonetheless
lasted merely ¬ve months. After two unsuccessful attempts together with
“Frankish” forces, Manuel II ¬nally chased John VII out of Constantinople
on September 17, 1390, following another attack carried out with the help
of the Hospitallers of Rhodes.77 John V was thus restored, while his ousted
grandson seems to have ¬rst ¬‚ed to Pera78 and then returned to his old
residence in Selymbria.79 Bayezid I, in the meantime, continued his efforts
to weaken Byzantium. Turning his attention to the Byzantine capital, he
ordered John V to tear down a recently reforti¬ed castle by the Golden Gate
of Constantinople. At this time Manuel II was with Bayezid I, ful¬lling
the military obligation of Byzantium to the Ottomans. Since Bayezid
threatened to imprison and blind Manuel, John V had no alternative
except to obey the order.80
This was the last confrontation John V had with the Ottomans. Shortly
thereafter he died (February 1391) and was succeeded by Manuel II, who
managed to escape from Bayezid I™s camp and installed himself on the
throne before John VII could take any action. Even on this occasion,
74 Ignatius of Smolensk, in Russian Travelers, ed. Majeska, pp. 100“1.
75 See p. 120 and note 5 above. 76 Thiriet, R´gestes, vol. i, no. 772.
e
77 Ignatius of Smolensk, in Russian Travelers, ed. Majeska, pp. 102“3, cf. 412“14; Schreiner,
Kleinchroniken, vol. i, Chr. 7/21“2, 10/6. Cf. Reinert, “Palaiologoi,” pp. 315“27.
78 Iorga, Notes, vol. i, p. 50 (Sept. 21, 1390): “ . . . in ratione diverssarum expensarum, casu visitacionii
domini Calojane.”
79 Barker, “John VII in Genoa,” 223; Barker, Manuel II, pp. 78, 112 and n. 33.
80 Ignatius of Smolensk, in Russian Travelers, ed. Majeska, pp. 102“5; Doukas“Grecu, XIII.3“4,
pp. 75“7; Schreiner, Kleinchroniken, vol. i, Chr. 7/23. Cf. Barker, Manuel II, pp. 80, 467“8; Reinert,
“Palaiologoi,” pp. 303, 331“2, 342 (n. 41).
138 Constantinople
however, the Ottoman ruler was able to handle the situation in such a
way as to derive some advantage out of it. From Bayezid™s point of view,
Manuel had de¬ed him not just by secretly ¬‚eeing from his camp, but also
by establishing himself as emperor on his own initiative, without consulting
or waiting for the opinion of his overlord, the Sultan. Bayezid™s strategy
was to forgive Manuel™s de¬ance and to recognize him as emperor in return
for certain concessions. Thus, demanding obedience, subservience, and
the ful¬llment of the usual terms and conditions of vassalage, Bayezid
additionally requested from Manuel the installation of a Muslim judge
(kadi) inside Constantinople to settle the disputes involving the Ottoman
merchants there.81 Earlier the Sultan had perhaps already negotiated with
John V for authorization to have a Muslim judicial functionary in the
Byzantine capital, because two entries in the account book of the Genoese
commune in Pera record expenditures in connection with the reception
and transportation of a kadi in October 1390.82 The repeated request in
1391 suggests, however, that either the practice was discontinued, or, what
is more likely, the earlier arrangement had only permitted occasional visits
by an Ottoman kadi rather than the permanent residence of one inside
Constantinople. In 1391 Bayezid may have also demanded the establishment
of a Turkish quarter, containing a mosque, within the city.83 In the words
that Doukas has put in his mouth, the Sultan then threatened Manuel,
81 Doukas“Grecu, XIII.5, p. 77. Cf. Barker, Manuel II, pp. 82“6. It should be noted that in 1993
Reinert rejected Doukas™ story of Manuel™s secret ¬‚ight from Bursa, suggesting instead that Manuel
left for Constantinople with the full knowledge and consent of Bayezid, who favored his accession,
and that the installation of a kadi may have already been negotiated between the two men prior to
Manuel™s departure: Reinert, “Palaiologoi,” pp. 332“3, 363 (n. 168). More recently, however, Reinert
has proposed a different reconstruction of events surrounding the establishment of the Ottoman
kadi in Constantinople, which implicitly rules out the latter part of his earlier hypothesis, as he now
dates to 1393/4 Bayezid™s demand from Manuel regarding the kadi: S. W. Reinert, “The Muslim
presence in Constantinople, 9th“15th centuries: some preliminary observations,” in Studies on the
Internal Diaspora of the Byzantine Empire, ed. H. Ahrweiler and A. E. Laiou (Washington, DC,
1998), pp. 144“7. For further controversy over the dating of the actual implementation of Bayezid™s
demand, see note 88 below.
82 Iorga, Notes, vol. i, pp. 42 (October 20, 1390), 43 (October 28, 1390).
83 There is considerable chronological confusion in the sources over these issues. While Doukas places
Bayezid™s demand for the installation of a kadi in the immediate aftermath of Manuel™s accession to
the throne (1391), Ottoman sources maintain that this and Bayezid™s additional demands were made
following the battle of Nikopolis (1396). According to As±kpasazade (ed. Giese, pp. 61“2; ed. Ats±z,
¸ ¸
p. 137), who provides the most detailed account, immediately after his victory at Nikopolis, Bayezid
arrived before Constantinople with his army and demanded the city™s surrender but then made
peace when the Byzantine government agreed to the construction of a mosque (mahalle mescidi)
and the installation of a kadi inside the city, in addition to the payment of an annual tribute of
10,000 gold pieces (¬‚ori). Thereupon Bayezid had the inhabitants of the fortresses of G¨ yn¨ k and
ou
Darakc± Yenicesi settled in Constantinople within the special quarter assigned to the Ottomans.
After the battle of Ankara, the Byzantine Emperor expelled the Ottoman settlers and demolished
their mosque. On the other hand, an entry in the Annales ecclesiastici, ed. O. Raynaldus and
139
The Byzantine court and the Ottomans
saying, “If you do not wish to do and grant all that I command you, then
shut the gates of the City and reign within. Everything outside the City is
mine.”84
Manuel™s direct reply to Bayezid is not known. Judging from the course
of events, however, it is almost certain that he conceded to the Sultan™s
demands. Only about three months after his accession Manuel was back in
Asia Minor, ¬ghting in another campaign of Bayezid.85 Hence, as far as the
military obligations of vassalage were concerned, the Emperor obediently
ful¬lled them as in the time of John V. The same must have been true of
the tributary liability of Manuel™s government. In order to pay the money
demanded by the Sultan in 1391, the Emperor seems to have contemplated
imposing extra taxes on the citizens of Constantinople, including even the
untaxed poor, or perhaps resorting to con¬scation of private property.86
As to the installation of a kadi in Constantinople, some references in
Genoese expense accounts for Pera reveal that it was undertaken before
the end of 1391.87 For Bayezid this was a matter of such importance that
during Manuel™s trip to western Europe (1399“1403), when John VII was
temporarily placed on the throne, the Sultan made certain that the pre-
existing agreement to house a kadi inside the Byzantine capital would be
observed by John.88 Bayezid™s efforts to protect the rights of his subjects
who were trading in Constantinople are indicative of the not negligible
number of Ottoman Muslim merchants engaged in commercial relations
with Byzantium at the end of the fourteenth century. For the Sultan
this was not merely a tool to serve as a symbolic demonstration of his
political supremacy over the Byzantine state but a measure founded upon
the economic realities of his day. At this time, Bayezid also repeated to
C. Baronius, vol. xxvi (Bar-le-Duc, 1878), p. 540, no. 7, reports under the year 1393 Bayezid™s
demand for an Ottoman quarter, a mosque, and an annual tribute of 10,000 gold pieces.
84 Doukas“Grecu, XIII.5, p. 77; trans. by Magoulias, Decline and Fall, p. 83. See also Kydones“Loenertz,
vol. ii, no. 442 (date: 1391), p. 407: “ . . . t¤n m•n barb†rwn ›xwqen p†nta proeilhf»twn . . .”
85 Dennis, Letters of Manuel II, nos. 14“21, pp. 36“63. See also Barker, Manuel II, pp. 86“99, and for
the date of Manuel™s departure (June 8, 1391), p. 87, nn. 3“4.
86 Kydones“Loenertz, vol. ii, no. 442, p. 407 and no. 443, p. 410; see p. 128 and note 37 above. Cf.
Matschke, Ankara, p. 69.
87 Iorga, Notes, vol. i, pp. 47 (Oct. 16, 1391), 52 (Oct. 17, 1391); Belgrano, “Prima serie,” no. 38 (May
24, 1392), pp. 171“2.
88 Doukas“Grecu, XV.1, p. 87. Contrary to my interpretation, F. D¨ lger, “Johannes VII., Kaiser der
o
Rhom¨er 1390“1408,” BZ 31 (1931), 31 and Barker, Manuel II, p. 86 (n. 2) have taken Doukas™
a
statement as evidence that Bayezid™s demand for the establishment of a kadi was not ful¬lled by
Manuel II in 1391, and that it was John VII who ¬rst carried it out after 1399. Reinert, too, has
lately argued that Manuel rejected Bayezid™s demand (made, according to this author, in 1393/4),
which was put into effect only in 1399 by John VII: Reinert, “Muslim presence in Constantinople,”
pp. 144“7. See now Jacoby, “Foreigners and the urban economy,” 121, n. 255, for a convincing
rejection of Barker™s and Reinert™s view on this matter.
140 Constantinople
John VII his claim to all the territories outside the walls of Constantinople.
According to Doukas, “John reigned only within the City.”89
During the period between John V™s death and the above-mentioned
arrangement of 1399, John VII persisted in his dynastic ambitions and
directed his attacks against Manuel II. In 1391 Kydones, describing the
con¬‚ict between John VII and Manuel II, drew attention to how it strength-
ened the position of the Ottomans with respect to Byzantium:
[T]he old evil which caused the general ruin still rages. I mean the dissension
between the emperors over the shadow of power. For this they are forced to serve
the barbarian; it is the only way of being able to breathe. For everybody admits
that to whomever of the two the barbarian gives his support that one will prevail
in the future. Therefore the emperors by necessity become his slaves before the
citizens and live according to his injunctions.90

Kydones™ words demonstrate that Bayezid I, who twice “ in 1391 and
1399 “ made the assertion that Byzantine emperors ruled only within the
walls of Constantinople, was not deluded by false visions of his power and
in¬‚uence.
Until his death in 1408 John VII remained a sporadic source of friction
and controversy for Manuel II and for the Byzantine Empire at large. If,
however, John VII™s death brought to an end the recurrent problems gener-
ated since the early 1370s by this branch of the imperial family, there were
still other dynastic crises awaiting the Palaiologoi. Following the temporary
reversal in Byzantine“Ottoman diplomatic relations prompted by Bayezid™s
defeat at the battle of Ankara (1402), which empowered the Byzantine gov-
ernment to have its share in exploiting the rivalries between the deceased
Sultan™s many sons,91 the Ottomans, having resolved their problems by
the second quarter of the ¬fteenth century, started once again to take
advantage of the internal squabbles that plagued the Byzantine court. As
in the period prior to the battle of Ankara, the rivals in these con¬‚icts
often sought the aid of the Ottomans, thereby further endangering the
strength and stability of the Byzantine state. In his funeral oration for the
Emperor John VIII (d. 1448), Demetrios Katadoukinos alluded to plots
against the ruler organized by his own brothers, who received help both
from the Turks (“impious barbarians”) and from members of the Byzan-
tine elite (archontes).92 The successive attempts by one of these brothers,
Demetrios Palaiologos, the future Despot of the Morea, at cooperation
89 Doukas“Grecu, XV.1, p. 87.
90 Kydones“Loenertz, vol. ii, no. 442, p. 407; trans. by Charanis, “Strife,” 308“9.
91 See above, ch. 2, pp. 33“4. 92 “Com´die de Katablattas,” ed. Canivet and Oikonomid`s, 85.
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141
The Byzantine court and the Ottomans
with the Ottomans are well documented. In 1423 Demetrios is known
to have ¬‚ed to Pera, from where, according to one source (Sphrantzes),
he intended to go over to the Turks.93 At the time of the Council of
Ferrara“Florence (1438“9), John VIII was reluctant to leave Demetrios
at home and brought him along to Italy, suspecting that in his absence
Demetrios might betray Constantinople, presumably to the Ottomans.94
In 1442 Demetrios, disappointed by John VIII™s choice of his other brother
Constantine as successor to the throne and simultaneously denied certain
territories which had been promised him, went over to Murad II from his
appanage centered on Mesembria. Procuring an army from the Sultan, he
led an unsuccessful attack against Constantinople which lasted three and a
half months (April 23“August 6).95 The deep distrust that the Palaiologos
brothers cherished for each other, no doubt originating from conduct such
as that of Demetrios, is revealed in a passage by Sphrantzes concerning
John VIII™s grant of Selymbria to Constantine in 1443. As one of Con-
stantine™s most trusted servants, Sphrantzes was appointed on this occasion
to govern the town. The chronicler relates that Constantine sent him to
Selymbria with speci¬c instructions to guard the town not only against
Murad II, but also against Demetrios Palaiologos and against John VIII.96
According to this account, then, Constantine considered his own brothers
to be enemies as threatening as the Ottoman ruler. Kydones, embittered
and disheartened by similar circumstances in Constantinople back in 1385,
had remarked:
To the foreign wars there has now been added civil strife, which formerly spread
destruction everywhere and which the fault of all of us has now pushed to a point
beyond repair. Nature is disregarded; family ties are merely a name; the one means
of life is to betray one™s own race and fellow citizens.97

Not much had changed more than half a century later. While the Ottomans
were consolidating their power during these critical years, the chronic
recurrence of civil wars in Constantinople proved to be fatal for Byzantium,
93 Sphrantzes“Grecu, XII.2, p. 16; Schreiner, Kleinchroniken, vol. i, Chr. 13/8“9; vol. ii, pp. 420“1;
Syropoulos, “M´moires,” II.11, p. 112. Demetrios was accompanied by Hilario Doria and the latter™s
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son-in-law George Izaoul. But instead of going over to the Turks, Demetrios set out for Hungary a

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