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53 Sathas, Documents, vol. ii, no. 527, p. 262. 54 Iorga, Notes, vol. i, p. 19 (1410/11?).
55 Badoer, pp. 79, 133, 135, 139, 229, 276, 521, 582, 647, 651, 725.
56 Schreiner, Texte, p. 109 (Text 4, § 7). See Appendix V(D) below.
57 An exception to this observation is Demetrios Mamonas Gregoras, to whom the Despot Constantine
Palaiologos granted the village of Prinikon along with other properties situated in Helos during
1444: see below, ch. 10, p. 269 and note 46. It is to be recalled, on the other hand, that a tradition
of seamanship existed in the family already in the late thirteenth century, but the naval operations
of the pirate Mamonas in 1278 were directed against the Venetians: see p. 245 and note 46 above.
248 The Despotate of the Morea
to those who agreed to recognize their sovereignty, thereby winning over
a signi¬cant portion of the indigenous population, among whom ¬gured
the landowning aristocracy.58 Some practical applications of this policy in
the environs of Thessalonike and Serres, mostly dating from the reign of
Bayezid I, have been shown and discussed in chapter 5.59 Similar examples
speci¬cally concerning the Morea do not exist since the Ottomans did
not establish their effective control over this region until much later. But it
may not be too farfetched to assume that Mamonas and other discontented
archontes of the Morea who had been deprived of their landed property by
Theodore I had some knowledge of Bayezid I™s concessions to their fellow
aristocrats in other regions of the Byzantine Empire. These concessions,
including the right to retain former holdings as well as new grants of land
(t±mar) in return for military service, may well have incited the dispossessed
aristocrats of the Despotate to solicit the aid of Bayezid I in 1393“4.
The archontes of the Morea, on account of the dual position they tra-
ditionally held as great landlords and as government of¬cials in charge of
administrative or military duties, had accumulated considerable power and
local in¬‚uence, which they frequently tried to use against central authority.
In the years preceding the Fourth Crusade, for instance, they took full
advantage of the weakness of imperial authority to extend their own power
over different regions of the Peloponnese.60 And while some among them
suffered a decline in their fortunes at the time of the Frankish conquest of
the peninsula, many of them were successful in their attempts to reach an
understanding with the conquerors on special terms and conditions which
included the recognition of their property rights, religious freedom, and
local customs. Interestingly, one of the three archontes from Monemvasia
who submitted to Prince William II Villehardouin of Achaia in 1248 was a
certain Mamonas. In return for their submission, Mamonas and the other
two archontes “ Eudaimonoioannes and Sophianos “ were left undisturbed
in their possessions and granted pronoiai in the neighboring region of
Vatika as additional presents.61 During the second half of the fourteenth
century, it was the Ottomans who posed the greatest danger to the western
58 See above, ch. 2, pp. 26f. 59 See above, pp. 88ff.
60 See Jacoby, “Les archontes grecs,” 465“7; D. Jacoby, “The encounter of two societies: western
conquerors and Byzantines in the Peloponnesus after the Fourth Crusade,” The American Historical
Review 78/4 (1973), 882“3.
61 On all this, in addition to Jacoby™s articles in the previous note, see Zakythinos, Despotat, vol. ii,
pp. 192“3; J. Ferluga, “L™aristocratie byzantine en Mor´e au temps de la conquˆte latine,” BF 4
e e
(1972), 76“87; A. Ilieva, Frankish Morea (1205“1262): Socio-cultural Interaction between the Franks
and the Local Population (Athens, 1991), esp. pp. 171“90. See also D. Jacoby, “The Latin Empire
of Constantinople and the Frankish states in Greece,” in The New Cambridge Medieval History,
vol. v: c.1198“c.1300, ed. D. Abula¬a (Cambridge, 1999), pp. 537“9, with further bibliography.
249
The Morea (1382“1407)
provinces of the Byzantine Empire. Moreover, since Theodore I™s appeal
to Evrenos Beg, followed by his submission to Murad I™s suzerainty shortly
after the surrender of Thessalonike to Hayreddin Pasa™s forces in 1387, the
¸
Ottomans started interfering directly in the affairs of the Morea. Their
conquests in Thessaly, which were well under way by 1394, brought them
even closer to the borders of the Morea. It is, therefore, not surprising that
some archontic families of the Despotate sought to come to terms with
the Ottomans around this time, just as they had done with the Frankish
conquerors in the thirteenth century. As before, they found that the new
conquerors allowed them to maintain their social and economic status, as
well as their religion.
Another case of opposition to Theodore I, which occurred approxi-
mately a year after the Serres meeting, is brought to light by a document
from the patriarchal registers of Constantinople. This document contains
the text of a letter written by Theodore I to Emperor Manuel II shortly
before August 23, 1395 for the purpose of denouncing the metropoli-
tan of Patras (Maximos), who had expelled the governor of the fortress
of Grevenon and replaced him with another man of his own choice.
The expelled governor is identi¬ed as “the brother of Phrankopoulos,”
while the new magnate put in charge of the fortress was the protostrator
Sarakinopoulos, who, the letter proclaims, was disloyal to the Despot and
provoked the people of the Morea to revolt against him. Theodore asked
the Emperor to present this case to the patriarch, expecting that the latter
would depose the metropolitan. The patriarchal court, however, deeming
that this would be an uncanonical procedure, decided to try Maximos
in Constantinople before taking any action against him.62 The result of
the trial remains unknown; the only relevant information that is avail-
able indicates that in January 1397 a new metropolitan was nominated for
Patras.63 But whether this was as a result of Maximos™ deposition, or sim-
ply the end of his term or his death cannot be determined without further
evidence.
In comparison with the other acts of disobedience to the Despot
presented earlier, the most distinguishing feature of this affair is the
involvement of an ecclesiastical dignitary. Hence, the civil strife between

62 MM, vol. ii, no. 493, pp. 249“55; Theodore I™s letter is quoted on p. 250. See Darrouz`s, Reg.,
e
nos. 3004“9, pp. 269“74 and also no. 3037, p. 300 (Crit. 1), where the accused metropolitan of
Patras is identi¬ed as Maximos; cf. PLP, no. 16803. On Sarakinopoulos, see PLP, no. 24855; on
the likely identity of “Phrankopoulos,” brother of the unnamed governor of Grevenon, see note 69
below.
63 MM, vol. ii, no. 511, p. 275; Darrouz`s, Reg., no. 3037, p. 300.
e
250 The Despotate of the Morea
Theodore I and the landed magnates of the Morea was further complicated
by the intervention of members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Theodore
must have found the collaboration of his lay subjects with high-ranking
religious of¬cials so threatening that he referred the matter at once to the
attention of the Emperor and the patriarch in Constantinople, denoun-
cing the metropolitan of Patras as “a second metropolitan of Athens.” The
Despot does not explain the meaning of this comparison which, never-
theless, must have been clear to his addressee. He only states vaguely that
the metropolitan of Patras, not wanting his co-dignitary in Athens to be
unique, followed the example of his deeds and manners, and had him as an
associate (s…ntrofov).64 A patriarchal letter addressed to the metropolitan
Dorotheos of Athens immediately after Theodore™s implication of the two
metropolitans is not very illuminating either since it does not name the
charges on the basis of which Dorotheos was asked to appear before the
ecclesiastic tribunal of Constantinople.65 A month later the patriarch sent
a letter to the Greek clergy of Negroponte, who had been excommunicated
by the metropolitan of Athens but refused to obey or to commemorate him
because of rumors about his deposition. The patriarch asked the islanders
to continue recognizing the metropolitan until the court was to reach a
decision concerning the accusations against him, still, however, without
stating what these were.66
Fortunately, an earlier patriarchal act from the year 1393 sheds some light
on this issue. We learn from this act that Dorotheos had been ordained
metropolitan of Athens during the patriarchate of Neilos (1380“8), proba-
bly circa 1388. Once stationed in his see, which was then under the political
control of Nerio Acciaiuoli, Dorotheos had successfully stood up against
the religious suppression of the Latin authorities for several years, until
shortly before March 1393 when he had been constrained to take ¬‚ight
from Athens. Thereupon, the Latin authorities dispatched written accusa-
tions to the patriarch of Constantinople, claiming that Dorotheos had gone
over to the Turks to seek military support against the Latins and promised
to give the Turks holy treasures of the Church if they would help him regain
control of his see. Although in the end the patriarchal court acquitted the
metropolitan of these charges, this was not because any positive evidence
had been found to disprove them, but solely on the basis of the canonical

64 MM, vol. ii, p. 250.
65 Ibid., no. 494 (August 1395), p. 256; cf. Darrouz`s, Reg., no. 3010, pp. 275“6. On Dorotheos of
e
Athens, see PLP, no. 5926, which, however, does not follow Darrouz`s, accepting rather the former
e
identi¬cation of the unnamed metropolitan of Athens in this act with Makarios.
66 MM, vol. ii, no. 498 (September 1395), pp. 258“9; cf. Darrouz`s, Reg., no. 3013, pp. 278“9.
e
251
The Morea (1382“1407)
argument that accusations made against Greek bishops by “heretics and
schismatics” (i.e. Latins) could not be considered valid.67 Yet it is a known
fact that during 1393“4 Bayezid I™s armies were actively engaged in Thessaly
and in 1394 they seized from Nerio the city of Neopatras, which was sub-
ject to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Greek metropolitan of Athens.
Hence, it is not entirely inconceivable that Dorotheos had actually called
on the military assistance of the Ottomans in order to be able to return to
Athens and to continue his resistance against the Latin authorities there.68
Two years later the metropolitan of Patras, who according to Theodore I
not only imitated the actions of his colleague at Athens but also had him
as an accomplice, may likewise have had recourse to Ottoman forces in
overthrowing the rightful governor of Grevenon and replacing him with an
adversary of the Despot. A less likely possibility, on the other hand, is that in
drawing his comparison between the two metropolitans, Theodore I may
have considered Maximos™ collaboration with the protostrator Sarakinopou-
los as an act parallel to Dorotheos™ collaboration with the Ottomans on the
grounds simply that both were examples of a cooperation between ecclesias-
tics and laymen, regardless of the separate religions of the respective laymen
involved.
Whatever the exact details of this collaboration were, the Grevenon
affair must be seen, above all else, as another example of aristocratic resis-
tance to the Despot. Leaving aside the involvement of the metropolitan
of Patras, at ¬rst sight the key issue appears to be the supplanting of
one magnate by another, which could be interpreted as a petty rivalry
between two archontic families, rather than a struggle for independence
from central authority. However, the description of the supplanter, the
protostrator Sarakinopoulos, as an opponent of Theodore I who incited
the people of the Morea against the Despot places the event within
its proper context. Additional evidence concerning the Phrankopouloi,
the family of the expelled governor, reveals, moreover, that its mem-
bers included many high functionaries who were loyal servants of suc-
cessive Palaiologan Despots. For example, Manuel Phrankopoulos was one
of Theodore I™s most trusted ambassadors, who concluded a treaty in
Modon with representatives of the Venetian government on May 27, 1394
and later during the same year conducted further negotiations with the

67 MM, vol. ii, no. 435 (March 1393), pp. 165“9; cf. Darrouz`s, Reg., no. 2921, pp. 199“201.
e
68 For the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Dorotheos of Athens over Neopatras (and Thebes), see MM,
vol. ii, p. 165, repeated on pp. 167, 168, 169. For Bayezid™s capture of Neopatras in 1394, see Setton,
“Latins in Greece,” p. 423; J. V. A. Fine, Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late
Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest (Ann Arbor, 1987), pp. 404, 430.
252 The Despotate of the Morea
Venetians.69 The protostrator John Phrankopoulos, founder of the Pan-
tanassa monastery in Mistra, was the chief minister (katholikos mesazon)
of Theodore II and later, in 1444, generales of the Despot Constantine.70
He is also usually identi¬ed with the protostrator Phrankopoulos, who is
mentioned twice in the chronicle of Sphrantzes without any ¬rst name.
Sphrantzes relates that prior to 1428 Phrankopoulos used to be the gover-
nor of several territories, all in the south-western Peloponnese, including
Androusa, Kalamata, Pedema, Mani, Nesi, Spitali, Grembeni, Aetos, Loi,
Neokastron, and Archangelos. Following an administrative rearrangement
in 1428, when these places were transferred from the Despot Theodore II
to the Despot Constantine, Sphrantzes was appointed to take over their
control from Phrankopoulos.71 Sphrantzes later reports that in 1443 the
protostrator Phrankopoulos went to Constantinople as Theodore II™s envoy
to negotiate a settlement with Emperor John VIII and Despot Constan-
tine.72 Another Phrankopoulos, bearing the title megas stratopedarches, for
whom the Despot of the Morea demanded a safe-conduct grant from
the Senate of Venice, is mentioned in a Venetian document dating from
1430.73 Finally, an unpublished argyrobull of the Despot Demetrios issued
in 1456 in favor of the sons of a certain Phrankopoulina (Michael and
Demetrios) reveals the heights to which this family had risen in terms of
economic power and social prestige during the ¬nal years of the Despotate.
The two sons, inheritors of large estates from their deceased mother, were
granted by this document the right to collect on their domains certain
69 MP, no. 141; pp. 270“1; no. 143, p. 278; no. 158, p. 310; cf. no. 151, p. 297 n. 1; no. 153, p. 301
n. 1; no. 155, p. 305 n. 1. On Manuel Phrankopoulos, see K. Hopf, Geschichte Griechenlands vom
Beginn des Mittelalters bis auf unserer Zeit, 2 vols., in Allgemeine Encyklop¨ die der Wissenschaften
a
und K¨ nste, ed. J. S. Ersch and J. G. Gruber, vols. lxxxv“lxxxvi (Leipzig, 1867“8), vol. ii,
u
p. 70; Zakythinos, Despotat, vol. i, pp. 129, 138, 166; vol. ii, p. 98; Dennis, Letters of Manuel II,
pp. xli“xlii. These works strangely ascribe to Manuel the title protostrator, for which there seems to
be no evidence. They also suggest that he may have acted as the guardian and regent of Theodore
II during the latter™s minority. Furthermore, Zakythinos, followed by Dennis and PLP, all suppose
that the above-mentioned governor of Grevenon was the brother of Manuel Phrankopoulos, which
is quite likely. Cf. PLP, no. 30139, with a discussion also of the title megas doux, to which Manuel
Phrankopoulos was supposedly promoted in 1429.
70 G. Millet (ed.), “Les inscriptions byzantines de Mistra,” Bulletin de Correspondance Hell´nique 23
e
(1899), 137; G. Millet (ed.), “Inscriptions in´dites de Mistra,” Bulletin de Correspondance Hell´nique
e
e
30 (1906), 462“3; PP, vol. iv, p. 18. Cf. Zakythinos, Despotat, vol. ii, pp. 98, 103, 298 and PLP,
no. 30100, with further bibliography. As noted in PLP, “Mit kaqolik¼v mes†zwn u. gener†lhv ist
offenbar die gleiche Funktion gemeint.”
71 Sphrantzes“Grecu, XVI.7, p. 26.
72 Ibid., XXV.7, p. 66. Pseudo-Phrantzes, in yet another one of his typical corruptions, af¬xes the ¬rst
name Leo to this Phrankopoulos: Macarie Melissenos, ed. Grecu, p. 336.
73 Sathas, Documents, vol. iii, no. 953 (Jan. 1, 1430), pp. 366“7; Thiriet, R´gestes, vol. ii, no. 2174. This
e
person is also cited in an undated letter of John Eugenikos to Bessarion written before the Council
of Florence: see PP, vol. i, p. 165; cf. PLP, no. 30090.
253
The Morea (1382“1407)
revenues and tax incomes formerly received by the state. It is noteworthy
that the brothers, who are designated only by their ¬rst names and their
mother™s last name, are identi¬ed in the argyrobull as “nephews” of the
Despot, which could mean that they were related to the imperial family and
may have even borne the paternal name Palaiologos.74 Viewed all together,
these references indicate that from the time of Theodore I onwards the
Phrankopouloi of the Morea followed a consistent political course as loyal
and devoted of¬cials in the service of the central government.75 There-
fore, Sarakinopoulos™ collaboration with the metropolitan of Patras in the
removal of “the brother of Phrankopoulos,” who must have been placed in
charge of Grevenon by Theodore I, was in fact an action directed against
the Despot with the aim of seizing the fortress from his control and ruling it
independently.
A crucial question that begs an answer is why the local landowning aris-
tocrats of the Morea were so zealous about achieving independence from
central authority, when this often required obtaining military assistance
from Turks or Latins and in some cases resulted even in the acceptance of
Ottoman sovereignty. As pure political ambition does not suf¬ce for a con-
vincing explanation, the answer must be sought elsewhere. Some pieces
of evidence suggest that one of the major aspirations of the landown-
ing aristocracy was to acquire freedom from certain obligations to the
government at Mistra. In the Parori inscription the Peloponnesians who
rebelled against Theodore I at the outset of his rule are designated as peo-
ple who violated their oaths.76 Similarly, Manuel II censures the Greek
aristocrats who fought alongside Navarrese troops against the forces of
the Despotate in 1395 for having disregarded the oaths they had taken.77
Although neither source speci¬es what kind of obligations such oaths car-
ried with them, presumably they comprised the performance of military
service, which may have been one of the duties the aristocracy was seek-

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