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For the Ottoman capture of Argos, see also Schreiner, Kleinchroniken, vol. i, Chr. 33/19; vol. ii,
pp. 360“1; MP, no. 198, pp. 393“5.
26 MP, no. 200 (Sept. 7, 1398), p. 397; cf. ibid., no. 301 (Jan. 30, 1398), p. 567.
27 Ibid., no. 207 (July 27, 1399), pp. 406“7.
28 Sathas, Documents, vol. ii, pp. 123“4 (Dec. 31, 1404); Thiriet, R´gestes, vol. ii, no. 1172.
e
29 MP, no. 177 (Sept. 10, 1395), p. 351; cf. ibid., no. 171 (Aug. 3, 1395), pp. 341“2.
30 Ibid., nos. 230 (April 22“4, 1401), 231 (May 6, 1401), 260 (June 18, 1402), 261 (Aug. 31, 1402),
pp. 460, 468“9, 506“7.
242 The Despotate of the Morea
The following year, a Venetian of¬cial in Modon still complained about the
restrictions brought about by Ottoman incursions.31 The negative effects
lasted, in fact, much longer, as indicated by a Venetian document of 1407
demonstrating the impoverished state of the veterani (elders) of Coron and
Modon, who were unable to pay their debts accrued at the time of the
above-mentioned hostilities.32 It is not unlikely that similar economic and
demographic conditions prevailed in Theodore I™s realm as well, under the
impact of Bayezid I™s increased pressures.
The situation in the Despotate of the Morea was further complicated
at this time by the activities of a group of landowning aristocrats who had
turned from a cooperation with the Navarrese against Theodore I, to an
accommodation with the Ottomans. Referring to these people as “desert-
ers” or “renegade Christians” (o¬ aÉtomolo“ntev cristiano©), Manuel II
has outlined their activities during 1393“4 in his funeral oration for his
brother.33 We learn from Manuel™s account that they appealed directly to
the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, asking him to come to their aid in person:

Since all the machinations of those abominable devils against you [the Moreotes]
were ineffective, they were faced with a stalemate. For they perceived that the
barbarian army in Europe was wholly engaged there and could not easily and
frequently march into the Isthmus while at the same time obeying the Satrap™s
commands. They therefore proposed to Bayezid that he should cross to Thrace
from Asia Minor by way of the Hellespont and when he had arrived there should
proceed to Macedonia and encamp there. Thence he should then send an embassy
to my brother [Theodore I] summoning him to his presence.34

The outcome of this incident was the famous meeting at Serres, where
the Sultan assembled his Christian vassals, Theodore I and Manuel II
included among them, allegedly upon the request of their discontented
subjects.35 Although Manuel does not name any speci¬c individuals in his
funeral oration, he provides information concerning the motives and social
backgrounds of the Peloponnesians who invited Bayezid to Greece. First,
like the rebellious native landlords mentioned in the Parori inscription who
acted in collaboration with the Navarrese, these people were stimulated by

31 Ibid., no. 264 (April 1403), p. 510. 32 Ibid., no. 284 (Feb. 21, 1407), pp. 537“8.
33 Manuel II, Fun. Or., pp. 127“35. For the establishment of this dating, see Loenertz, “Pour l™histoire,”
173“4, 177“8. See also Barker, Manuel II, pp. 113“17 for a discussion of what follows.
34 Manuel II, Fun. Or., p. 133, lines 13“20. This is a slightly altered version of Chrysostomides™
translation (p. 132).
35 See Barker, Manuel II, p. 114, n. 38 for relevant bibliography. See also ch. 2 above, p. 31, note 33, for

Inalc±k™s preference for locating this meeting at Verrai/Berroia (Turkish Fere or Kara-Ferye) rather
than at Serres.
243
The Morea (1382“1407)
an overwhelming desire to be freed from the Despot™s control.36 Moreover,
they expected that their association with the Ottomans would bring them
certain personal bene¬ts:
For they desire to ¬nd that on account of which they originally went over to the
enemies of the faith “ that is, wealth, glory, and those things which are pleasant
in the life here . . . I speak of those who think that they will ¬nd a most wonderful
post among the impious.37
Because of such expectations, continues Manuel II, they not only wished to
live with the Ottomans and have them as their overlords, but they even went
so far as to proclaim Muhammad a prophet. After prompting Bayezid I to
cross to Europe, they next summoned Evrenos Beg to enter the Corinthian
Isthmus and made a pledge to supply his army with abundant provisions.38
Manuel II emphasizes that the Peloponnesians who collaborated with the
Ottomans were generally of high social standing:
There were some individuals, neither belonging to the common people nor con-
sidered to be of low rank, who joined the enemy. At ¬rst they did so secretly
in so far as this was possible, for I think they felt ashamed, but later they acted
openly . . . They became for us an incurable calamity. I do not know what you
would call them: Romans and Christians on account of their race and baptism, or
the opposite because of their choice and actions?39
In short, these people were members of the aristocracy who, for reasons that
will be investigated below, believed that their material well-being would
improve under Ottoman domination.
The historian Chalkokondyles reports that one of the individuals who
made charges against Theodore I at Serres was a certain Mamonas, the for-
mer lord (Šrcwn) of Monemvasia (Epidauros). The grievance that brought
this Peloponnesian magnate before Bayezid I was that he had been deprived
by the Despot of his independent control of Monemvasia.40 Thanks to a
36 Manuel II, Fun. Or., p. 127: “. . . mhd•n –gkale±n ›contav £ t¼ mŸ q”lein Šrcesqai Ëf ¬ o• ge d©kaion
§n.” Throughout the funeral oration, Manuel frequently takes up the notion of “rightful/just ruler”
in connection with Theodore™s con¬‚icts with his adversaries: see ibid., pp. 117“19, 159.
37 Ibid., p. 129, lines 14“30: “ ¬Epiqumo“si g‡r eËre±n ¦n ™nec¬ ¨kon t¼ kat¬ ˆrc‡v e«v toÆv t¦v
p©stewv –cqro…v “ plo“t»n te l”gw kaª d»xan kaª ‚sa ge t¤ t¦de b©wƒ terpn† “ . . . l”gw
€
d• to…v ge doko“ntav par‡ to±v ˆseb”si cÛran eËrhk”nai kall©sthn . . .” Chrysostomides has
translated the last phrase of this passage as “those who thought that they would succeed in getting a
well defended city from our enemies” (p. 128). As my own translation above shows, I disagree with
her rendering of “cÛran kall©sthn” as “a well defended city,” which seems to make no sense in
the context of the quoted passage.
38 Ibid., pp. 131, 157“9.
39 Ibid., p. 161, lines 17“24. This is a slightly altered version of Chrysostomides™ translation (p. 160).
40 Chalkok.“Dark´ , vol. i, pp. 74“5. According to the dubious testimony of Pseudo-Phrantzes (Macarie
o
Melissenos, ed. Grecu, p. 198), Mamonas™ ¬rst name was Paul. Cf. PLP, no. 16580. On Mamonas
244 The Despotate of the Morea
Venetian document, we know indeed that in 1384 Theodore I had granted
Monemvasia (terram Malvasie) to Pietro Grimani, the castellanus of Coron
and Modon. According to this document, the cession of Monemvasia to
the Venetian of¬cial was intended as a compensation for the services he
had rendered formerly, as bailo of Constantinople, to Emperors John V
and Manuel II and to Theodore himself at the time of Andronikos IV™s
revolt and the Tenedos affair.41 While this is the explicit reason stated in the
Venetian document, which obviously re¬‚ects what was of direct interest to
Venice, we may suspect that an underlying motive for Theodore was the
prospect of curbing the insubordination of his rebellious subjects by way
of this grant. In other words, in transferring Monemvasia from Mamonas™
control into Pietro Grimani™s hands, the Despot may ¬rst have intended
to discipline Mamonas and, through the latter™s example, other unruly
archontes of the Morea, and secondly he may have hoped to secure for him-
self the assistance of Venice in his future con¬‚icts with the Peloponnesian
aristocracy.
On March 29, 1384, the Venetian Senate authorized Pietro Grimani to
take possession of Monemvasia. Yet, until Mamonas™ appeal to Bayezid I
almost a decade later, nothing is known about the town or about the
presence of Grimani there, except for a short chronicle entry which suggests
that Monemvasia, or a large part of it at least, was under the direct control of
Theodore I around 1391“2.42 For present purposes, however, the signi¬cant
issue here is not so much whether Grimani ever took over Monemvasia
or not, but rather the dating of the con¬‚ict between Theodore I and
Mamonas, which has been traced back to 1384. This date places the origins
of Theodore™s troubles with Mamonas in chronological agreement with
the rest of the evidence discussed above concerning the disobedience of

and his con¬‚ict with Theodore I over Monemvasia, see also Loenertz, “Pour l™histoire,” 172“83;
Zakythinos, Despotat, vol. i, pp. 127“8, 341“2 (Maltezou™s notes); Barker, Manuel II, p. 117; H.
Kalligas, Byzantine Monemvasia. The Sources (Monemvasia, 1990), pp. 147“9, 154“6. As will be seen
later in this chapter, Mamonas™ appeal to Bayezid I led to a temporary Ottoman occupation of
Monemvasia and its environs during 1394: see below, pp. 256“7.
41 MP, no. 22 (March 29, 1384), p. 47. Cf. C. A. Maltezou, «O Qesm¼v toÚ –n Kwnstantinoup»lei
BenetoÚ ba¹lou (1268“1453) (Athens, 1970), pp. 46“7, 118. On Andronikos IV™s revolt and the
Tenedos affair, see above, ch. 6, pp. 120ff.
42 Schreiner, Kleinchroniken, vol. i, Chr. 32/28 (Sept. 1391“Aug. 1392); vol. ii, pp. 346“8; cf. MM,
vol. v, pp. 171“4. For a discussion of the privileges Theodore I granted to Monemvasia at this
date, see P. Schreiner, “Parathržseiv di‡ t‡ pron»mia t¦v Monembas©av,” Praktik‡ to“ B ©
Dieqno“v Sunedr©ou Peloponnhsiak¤n Spoud¤n, vol. i (Athens, 1981“2), pp. 161“3; P. Schreiner,
“I diritti della citt` di Malvasia nell™epoca tardobizantina,” in Miscellanea di studi storici, vol. ii
a
(Genoa, 1983), pp. 93“7; Kalligas, Byzantine Monemvasia, pp. 149“53. It is noteworthy that in a
Venetian document dated July 24, 1394 Mamonas is described as “dominus Malvasie”: see note 90
below.
245
The Morea (1382“1407)
Morea™s landowning aristocracy during the initial years of the Despot™s
accession to power.
Indeed, it must have been incidents resembling Mamonas™ claim to
rights over Monemvasia that forced Theodore I to dispossess other local
magnates, too, of territories which they tried to rule independently of his
authority. It may be recalled that around 1388“9 Theodore I succeeded in
asserting his control over the Peloponnese by seizing the lands which were
in the hands of the local dynasts.43 This information which comes from
the Parori inscription is con¬rmed by Manuel II in two passages of his
funeral oration where the Emperor describes how his brother subdued his
subjects. According to these passages, Theodore I constrained members of
the aristocracy to restore to him all the lands they had appropriated, as well
as those they had received as grants from previous rulers of the Morea.44 It is
dif¬cult to assign an exact date to these con¬scations since both references
occur in sections of the oration where Manuel II does not follow a strictly
chronological order. But a terminus ante quem can be established with the
help of a letter written by Demetrios Kydones in 1391, which alludes to
the obedience and submissiveness of the Peloponnesians to Theodore I,
without speci¬cally referring to con¬scations.45 On the basis of this dating,
then, we may suppose that some of the dispossessed landlords mentioned
in the Parori inscription and in the funeral oration ¬gured among the
Greeks who sought the Ottoman Sultan™s support at the Serres meeting of
1393“4, especially since Manuel II, who was present there, refers to more
than one “renegade,” unlike the historian Chalkokondyles, who names
only Mamonas.
On the Mamonas family, further information can be pieced together
from various sources. An of¬cial document drawn up in Venice in 1278,
which lists complaints about pirates who caused damage to Venetian
merchants or to their subjects, names a certain Mamonas (“Mamora”)
among Greek pirates from Monemvasia.46 Another Mamonas, again with
an unknown ¬rst name, is mentioned in a letter of Demetrios Kydones
addressed to a George the philosopher sometime between 1363 and 1365.47
43 See pp. 239“40 and note 19 above. 44 Manuel II, Fun. Or., pp. 95“7, 123.
45 Kydones“Loenertz, vol. ii, no. 442, p. 408.
46 ¨
Urkunden zur alteren Handels- und Staatsgeschichte der Republik Venedig, ed. G. L. Tafel and
G. M. Thomas, vol. iii: 1256“1299 (Vienna, 1857), no. 370 (March 1278), pp. 164, 192“3, 280.
A certain Andreas (“Andream Malvasium”), Mamonas™ partner (socium), and Eudaimonoiannes
(“Demonozannem”) are other Monemvasiot pirates cited in the document. Cf. G. Morgan, “The
Venetian claims commission of 1278,” BZ 69 (1976), 411“38, esp. 425, 430“1.
47 Kydones“Loenertz, vol. i, no. 32, pp. 63“4; cf. Demetrios Kydones. Briefe, trans. F. Tinnefeld,
vol. i/2 (Stuttgart, 1982), no. 57, pp. 346“50. Loenertz has dated the letter to “1363“1365?”, whereas
Tinnefeld dates it to “spring or fall(?) of 1363.” See also PLP, no. 16577.
246 The Despotate of the Morea
At that time, this Mamonas had traveled from the Morea to Constanti-
nople to see the Emperor on some business. Despite the efforts of Kydones,
who upon the request of his philosopher friend interceded with John V
on behalf of Mamonas, the latter was unable to have audience with the
Emperor. This was, explains Kydones, because before him certain slanderers
(o¬ peuq¦nev) had said negative things to the Emperor about Mamonas.48
Although the purpose of Mamonas™ visit to John V is not speci¬ed, the
letter reveals that this Peloponnesian aristocrat had enemies at the imperial
court who turned the Emperor against him. It may well be that the tensions
between Mamonas and the palace of¬cials at the capital were related to
a dispute over territorial and administrative rights, such as the one that
brought another member of the Mamonas family before Bayezid I thirty
years later; but it is impossible to insist on this point, given our limited
information.49
More speci¬c details about a Gregory Palaiologos Mamonas, who was
married to the sister of George Sphrantzes, are contained in the lat-
ter™s chronicle.50 Sphrantzes identi¬es him as the son of the grand duke
Mamonas (meg†lou douk¼v to“ MarwnŽ), the former lord (aÉq”nth
pot”) of Monemvasia and its environs. Thus, in all likelihood, Gregory
Palaiologos Mamonas was the son of the Mamonas who made charges
against Theodore I at Serres. Sphrantzes is the only source to mention
the title “grand duke” in connection with the latter, who may well have
been granted the title in compensation for his dispossession of Monem-
vasia.51 Sphrantzes further relates that during the winter of 1416“17 Gre-
gory Palaiologos Mamonas died of the plague in the Black Sea region,
where he held charge as the governor of an unidenti¬ed fortress. On the
basis of this information, Zakythinos has reasonably raised the question
as to whether Gregory might not have been given an administrative post
in a different region of the Byzantine Empire in order to be hindered
from causing trouble to central authority in the Morea as his father had
done.52 Regarding the time and occasion of the establishment of mar-
riage ties between the Mamonades of Monemvasia and the Palaiologoi,
48 Kydones“Loenertz, vol. i, p. 63.
49 Zakythinos has assumed that the Mamonas mentioned in Kydones™ letter is the same person who
appeared before the Ottoman Sultan at Serres: Despotat, vol. i, p. 127. But this seems unlikely; cf.
PLP, no. 16580.
50 Sphrantzes“Grecu, V.1, pp. 6“8. Cf. PLP, no. 16578.
51 On account of this title, it has been proposed that Mamonas might be identical with the grand
duke Manuel, whose death in 1409“10 is reported in a Byzantine short chronicle: Schreiner,
Kleinchroniken, vol. i, Chr. 33/25; cf. PLP, nos. 16580 and 16711. Pseudo-Phrantzes, on the other
hand, attributes the ¬rst name Paul to Mamonas: see note 40 above.
52 Zakythinos, Despotat, vol. i, p. 187.
247
The Morea (1382“1407)
nothing further is known except Gregory™s full name, which indicates that
his mother probably was a Palaiologina.
Whereas we have seen that a member of the Mamonas family from
Monemvasia, in his struggle for territorial rights and independence from
central authority, had recourse to the Ottomans at the time of Bayezid I,
other individuals bearing the same family name appear to have formed
connections with Italians in later years. For example, a document dating
from 1411 makes reference to a shipowner Mamonas who was an inhabitant
of the Venetian port of Coron.53 About the same time, another Mamonas
is attested in the Genoese colony of Kaffa, where he probably engaged in
trade.54 During the late 1430s a broker (sanser) Mamonas acted in Con-
stantinople as middle-man between the Venetian merchant Badoer and his
Greek clients.55 We encounter yet another unidenti¬ed Mamonas in the
account book drawn up in Venice during 1470“1 by a Greek merchant
and banker residing in that city.56 Unfortunately, it cannot be ascertained
whether the last three Mamonades were of Peloponnesian origin or not.
Supposing however that they were, the evidence at hand suggests that while
some among the Mamonades who had been deprived of their landed pos-
sessions by the Despot Theodore I associated with the Ottomans during
the last decade of the fourteenth century, hoping thereby to regain control
of their lost property, others gradually turned from landownership to the
pursuit of commercial activities in conjunction with the Venetians and the
Genoese.57
As to why or how the Moreote aristocrats expected that Bayezid I would
help them when they made charges against their Despot at the Serres
meeting, the con¬dence with which they approached the Sultan seems to
indicate that they possessed a fairly good knowledge of the conciliatory
policy pursued by the Ottomans towards Christians in the Balkans. As
already pointed out, the Ottoman expansion in Thrace and Macedonia
was partly carried out by peaceful means, through the offer of certain
guarantees and privileges to native inhabitants. In accordance with Islamic
principles, the Ottomans promised peace, prosperity, and religious freedom


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