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6018. It has been suggested that Helleabourkos™ epithet (drepanhf»rov) may be a pun on the
´±
name Nikephoros: R.-J. Loenertz, “Epˆtre de Manuel II Pal´ologue aux moines David et Damien
e
1416,” Studi bizantini e neoellenici 9 (1957), 295, n. 6. A rebel from the Morea called “Lamburcho”
(Lampoudios?), who, after having escaped from prison, was found in Coron in 1418, may have been
one of Manuel II™s rivals too: Sathas, Documents, vol. iii, no. 731 (June 11, 1418), p. 176.
30 Cronaca dei Tocco, ed. Schir` , p. 380, vv. 2148“51; see also pp. 480, 68, 86, 533, 580. The verses
o
referring to Eliabourkos are also published and commented upon by Schir` in his “Manuele II
o
Paleologo incorona Carlo Tocco Despota di Gianina,” B 29“30 (1959“60), 209“30. For an English
translation and further comments on these verses, see Barker, “On the chronology,” where Barker
refutes Schir` ™s chronological reinterpretation of the events of 1415.
o
31 ´±
Loenertz, “Epˆtre,” 295, n. 6. The manuscript is cod. Mosquen. 244 (Vladimir), fos. 13“28.
32 Sphrantzes“Grecu, XL.9, p. 120. Although Krokodeilos could be regarded as a variant of the name
Krokondylos, it appears from Sphrantzes™ usage that it is a play on the word “crocodile.” See Mazaris™
Journey to Hades, pp. 118“19. Cf. PLP, no. 13823.
266 The Despotate of the Morea
who forty-¬ve years later surrendered Hagios Georgios to the Ottomans.
The connection of this family with the fortress can be traced back indeed
all the way to the end of the thirteenth century. According to the French
version of the Chronicle of the Morea, in 1296 a Greek silk merchant from
Great Arachova called “Corcondille” captured Hagios Georgios with the
help of his son-in-law Aninos, who was the storekeeper of the fortress.
At that date the fortress was under the control of Florent of Hainault,
the Latin Prince of Achaia (r. 1289“97). In order to accomplish this deed,
besides the cooperation of his son-in-law, Corcondille relied on a band of
one hundred Turkish mercenaries under the command of a Greek general
called Leo Mauropapas. Although the Chronicle states that Corcondille
intended to give the fortress to the Byzantine Emperor, the fact that in
1460 it was in the hands of one of his descendants suggests that either he
never gave it to the Emperor, or that the Emperor rewarded his undertaking
by allowing him to keep Hagios Georgios.33 Later, in 1375, some members
of the same family donated to the monastery of Brontochion in Mistra
several ¬elds situated in the village of Terkova, a fact which reveals other
holdings in the possession of this archontic family.34
Viewed in the light of the texts quoted earlier, our information on this
particular family has wider implications. It is clear that the Krokondyloi, in
accordance with Chalkokondyles™ general observation about the archontes
of the Morea cited above,35 derived their strength from the fortress of
Hagios Georgios which, by 1415, had been under their control for almost
120 years. Since the fortress had been captured from the Latins through the
individual action of a member of the family, we may presume that there-
after the Krokondyloi held it independently from the government of the
Greek Despotate. However, their autonomy was threatened by Manuel II™s
close supervision of Morean affairs, his presence there in 1415, and espe-
cially his reforti¬cation of the Isthmus of Corinth, which, by reducing the
external threat to the security of the Peloponnese, had the potential to

33 Livre de la conqueste de la princ´e de l™Amor´e. Chronique de Mor´e (1204“1305), ed. J. Longnon (Paris,
e e e
1911), §§ 802“16, 823, 826“7, pp. 319“24, 326“7. Cf. Zakythinos, Despotat, vol. i, p. 65; vol. ii,
pp. 253“4.
34 N. A. Bees, “DiorqÛseiv kaª parathržseiv e«v ˆfierwtžrion to“ 1375 ›touv pr¼v tŸn –n
MustrŽ‚ MonŸn t¦v Panag©av to“ Brontoc©ou,” N”a SiÛn 5 (1907), 241“8. The names and
titles of the ¬ve donors that appear in the donation contract are as follows: “O¬ do“loi to“
‰g©ou ¡m¤n aÉq”ntou Tsao…siov kaª stratoped†rchv o¬ ¬Akrok»nduloi, kont»staulov ¾
¬Akrok»ndulov kont»staulov ¾ Gewrgitz»poulov, Stam†tiov ¾ ¬Akrok»ndulov kaª ¬Andr»nikov
¾ ¬Akrok»ndulov” (p. 248). Cf. PLP, nos. 511“14, 516. For a Krokondylos, basilik¼v ¬k”thv, who
founded the Theotokos Church in Karytaina (mid ¬fteenth century), see G. A. Stamires, “ «H
–pigrafŸ to“ Krok»ntulou,” Peloponnhsiak† 3“4 (1958“9), 84“6. The latter has been identi¬ed
with the above-mentioned commander of Hagios Georgios: see PLP, no. 13823.
35 See p. 261 and note 6 above.
267
The ¬nal years of the Byzantine Morea (1407“1460)
create greater opportunity for the government to focus on internal matters.
These, then, must have been the factors underlying the opposition of the
archon “Krokodeilos” to the Emperor. We do not know how Eliabourkos,
who also had fortresses under his control, and the other unnamed archontes
happened to acquire their holdings. But whether or not they occupied their
fortresses and lands by the same means as the Krokondylos family, they
no doubt rebelled against Manuel II for identical reasons. Finally, seen
against the background of the determination with which a member of the
Krokondylos family opposed the Byzantine Emperor in 1415, the eventual
surrender of the family™s fortress of Hagios Georgios to the Ottoman Sultan
without apparently much resistance in 1460 is indicative not only of the
indisputable power exercised by the Ottomans at this later date, but also
of the great impact of the Islamic-Ottoman policy of offering the enemy
a choice between conquest by force and surrender with privileges. The
reward that Krokondylos received for his submission to Mehmed II was
Loi, a place located in the south-western Peloponnese.36
To crush the rebellion of the Peloponnesian archontes, Manuel II decided
in the end to counterattack with an armed force, and on July 15, 1415 he
defeated some, at least, of his opponents.37 The Emperor is known to
have received military assistance from Count Leonardo Tocco, who partic-
ipated with his men in the siege of Eliabourkos™ castle.38 Chalkokondyles
additionally relates that Manuel II arrested the disobedient archontes and
deported them to Constantinople.39 Yet, by whichever means the Emperor
disciplined the magnates of the Morea, as in the time of his brother
Theodore I, the internal order that was thus restored to the Despotate
was limited and temporary. According to Mazaris, Manuel II™s military
encounters were accompanied with or followed by “treaties,” “embassies,”
and “favors to the ungrateful,” implying that in some cases the Emperor
may have been obliged to make concessions to the rebels in order to pacify
them.40

36 Sphrantzes“Grecu, XL.9, p. 120. On Loi, see above, ch. 9, p. 252. For another branch of the
Krokondylos family which intermarried with the Kladades and fought against the Ottomans under
Venetian service in the 1460s, see Sathas, Documents, vol. v, pp. 31“2 (Nov. 28, 1465), 33 (Dec. 20,
1465). These people were “Pifani Concordili Clada primarii nobilis Amoree, domini castri Verdogne in
Brachio Maine,” his four brothers, and his nephew Thomas. A Kladas Corcondile, who instigated a
rebellion against the Ottomans in 1480 despite the objection of his Venetian overlords, is unlikely
to be the same person as the commander of Hagios Georgios in 1460, as has been proposed in PLP,
no. 13823.
37 Schreiner, Kleinchroniken, vol. i, Chr. 33/27, p. 247; vol. ii, pp. 403“4.
38 Cronaca dei Tocco, ed. Schir` , p. 380, vv. 2145“54. 39 Chalkok.“Dark´ , vol. i, pp. 173, 203.
o o
40 Mazaris™ Journey to Hades, p. 84. It may be that Manuel II also turned to Genoa for assistance
because a Venetian document records rumors concerning a possible intervention of the Genoese in
the Morea at the outset of 1416: Thiriet, R´gestes, vol. ii, no. 1597 (Jan. 14 and 25, 1416).
e
268 The Despotate of the Morea
Even more signi¬cant in terms of con¬rming the persistence of similar
internal con¬‚icts that endangered the security of the Morea before the
Ottomans are the efforts of Despot Theodore II in 1422“3 to cede the
care and defense of the Isthmian forti¬cations to Venice and the issues
raised by the Venetian Senate in the course of the ¬nal negotiations con-
cerning this matter on February 18, 1423.41 On that day the members of
the Senate indicated that they would consider the Despot™s proposal on
certain conditions, two of which are very revealing. First, the Venetians
stressed that everyone, and particularly the landowning segment of the
population, would have to contribute to the defense of the Hexamilion,
each in accordance with his means. So as to determine the proper amount
of contribution from each household and to guarantee its payment, the
Senate proposed to carry out an assessment of the inhabitants™ resources.42
It must have been inevitable that the Venetians, who were so accustomed
to receiving from the Byzantines of the Morea deposits of money and
valuables in their own colonies of Coron and Modon, would realize the
importance of compelling the inhabitants with ¬nancial means to channel
part of their funds to the war effort. The other condition upon which
the Senate insisted was the maintenance of peace between the lords and
magnates of the Despotate. If the Venetians were to assume the defense
of the Hexamilion, those who possessed or held control over the lands,
fortresses, and districts of the Despotate would have to put an end to the
hostilities against one another. In the event of a disagreeement, moreover,
they were to submit the matter to the care of the Senate instead of trying
to resolve it among themselves by armed con¬‚ict.43 It is clear that the
Venetians perceived the critical internal weaknesses of the Despotate of the
Morea that hindered, and would indeed continue to hinder in the future,
the successful defense of the province against Ottoman attacks. It is also
evident from the persisting reluctance of the rich to make ¬nancial contri-
butions and from the ongoing strife for possessions among members of the
local aristocracy that, because of inherent elements in the social structure
of the Morea, Manuel II™s achievements in 1415 did not have long-term
in¬‚uence.
In later years, therefore, Theodore II as well as other despots of the
imperial house of the Palaiologoi were compelled to carry on the struggle
against the unruly landlords of the Morea. A measure increasingly applied
by the despots in the course of this struggle was to reward or entice their
41 Sathas, Documents, vol. i, nos. 78 (July 22, 1422) and 83 (wrongly dated Feb. 24, instead of Feb. 18,
1423), pp. 115“19, 126“7; Iorga, Notes, vol. i, pp. 322“3; Thiriet, R´gestes, vol. ii, nos. 1849, 1870.
e
42 Sathas, Documents, vol. i, no. 83, p. 126, lines 19“24. 43 Ibid., p. 126, lines 24“30.
269
The ¬nal years of the Byzantine Morea (1407“1460)
trusted of¬cials from among the aristocracy with grants of property and
privileges. Yet, given the extended history of con¬‚icts between the despots
and the archontes, this was a dangerous policy from a long-term perspec-
tive. It re¬‚ects, moreover, the growing weakness of central authority in
the Morea. From a series of documents dated between 1427 and 1450, we
know for instance that Theodore II ceded to George Gemistos Plethon
and his two sons, Demetrios and Andronikos, in hereditary fashion, the
control of the fortress of Phanarion and of the village of Brysis, with
nearly all their revenues and taxes.44 Through these grants, Theodore II
thus raised an entire family to an indisputable position of power as gov-
ernors and simultaneously lords of the above-mentioned areas. It is also
revealing that whereas Theodore expressly denied the Gemistoi the right
to collect from the inhabitants of Phanarion and Brysis one particular
tax, the phloriatikon, which was reserved for the state, some years after
the Despot™s death, in 1449, the sons of Gemistos obtained from Emperor
Constantine XI a chrysobull which granted them even this tax that was
so crucial for forti¬cation maintenance.45 Constantine, when he himself
ruled as Despot of the Morea (1428“48), tried to win or maintain the loy-
alty of certain aristocrats by similar means. In February 1444 he granted to
Demetrios Mamonas Gregoras, in return for his services, a house and tower
in Helos, as well as the village of Prinikon together with its inhabitants
and revenues.46 At an unknown date, Demetrios Palaiologos Dermoka¨tes ±
47
and John Rhosatas received from him a garden near Patras. Since in 1429
John Rhosatas had participated in a successful attack led by the Despot
Constantine against Patras, which was then in the possession of Venice,
this grant may have been a reward for the services he and presumably
Dermoka¨tes rendered at that time.48 Constantine even managed to attract
±
44 PP, vol. iv, pp. 104“5 (Nov. 1427); PP, vol. iii, pp. 331“3 (Oct. 1428); PP, vol. iv, pp. 106“9
(Sept. 1433), 19“22 (Feb. 1449) (= S. Kougeas, “Crus»boullon Kwnstant©nou to“ Palaiol»gou
prwt»grafon kaª ˆn”kdoton,” «Ellhnik† 1 [1928], 373“5), 192“5 (July 1450). Cf. Ostrogorskij,
Pour l™histoire de la f´odalit´, pp. 180“6.
e e
45 PP, vol. iv, pp. 20, 21. On the phloriatikon, see note 11 above.
46 PP, vol. iv, pp. 17“18. Cf. Zakythinos, Despotat, vol. i, pp. 228“9; vol. ii, pp. 123“4; PLP, no. 4440.
47 This may be deduced from an argyrobull of Thomas Palaiologos, which con¬rms an earlier grant
made by his brother, the Emperor, who was then Despot in the Morea: PP, vol. iv, pp. 231“2 (=
MM, vol. iii, p. 258). The date of this document is disputed, and based on the different dates
assigned to it (1440, 1445, 1450) the former Despot and present Emperor who made the original
grant has been alternatively identi¬ed as John VIII or Constantine XI. In my preference for the
latter, I have followed Lampros™ argument making a case for redating the argyrobull from October
1440 (the date given in MM) to October 1450: see PP, vol. iv, p. 232 (I take it that the date 1445,
which appears in the title of the document in Lampros™ edition, is a printing error). Cf. D. M.
Nicol, “The Byzantine family of Dermokaites, circa 940“1453,” BS 35 (1974), 9, no. 21; PLP, nos.
5207 and 24552.
48 Sphrantzes“Grecu, XIX.4, p. 38.
270 The Despotate of the Morea
by such grants Venetian subjects residing in the territories he recovered
from the republic. One method that he applied with success was to recog-
nize the prior rights and privileges of certain individuals established at the
time of Latin domination.49 Despot Thomas Palaiologos (r. 1428/30“60),
too, recognized previous arrangements made by Latins in certain areas that
later came under the control of the Despotate of the Morea.50 And he, too,
offered grants to Byzantines in his entourage, including one John Basilikos
and one Thomas Pyropoulos, who received from him the tax revenues
of the village of Potamia in the region of Lankada.51 As we approach the
¬nal years of the Despotate, we have evidence of another grant, made this
time by Demetrios Palaiologos (r. 1449“60), to two brothers, Michael and
Demetrios, the sons of a certain Phrankopoulina and “nephews” of the
Despot. In 1456 these two brothers acquired from the Despot the privilege
of collecting on their inherited estates certain revenues and tax incomes that
were normally received by the state and many of which were designated
for the defense needs of the Morea.52
As a further measure aimed at reducing the power of the local aristocracy,
the Despot Constantine also engaged in a reorganization of the adminis-
trative system of the Morea. In September 1446 he granted the control (t¼
kefalat©kion) of Mistra, including the surrounding districts and all their
income, to George Sphrantzes with the following instructions:
I want Mistra to be an entity, like Corinth held by John Kantakouzenos, and
Patras held by Alexios Laskaris. Know it well: no one else will be an intermediary
(mes†zwn) here, except my intermediary Eudaimonoioannes. I do not want to
stay here at all times, as I wish to tour my territories pursuing advantageous
situations. When I am at Corinth I will take care of my affairs and those of the
land through Kantakouzenos and Eudaimonoioannes. At Patras I will proceed
through Laskaris and Eudaimonoioannes, while Kantakouzenos will remain in
his province. I propose to do the same when I am at Mistra through you and
49 Sathas, Documents, vol. iii, no. 938 (wrongly dated July 2, instead of June 2, 1429 = see Thiriet,
R´gestes, vol. ii, no. 2141), p. 351: “Intelleximus, quod aliqui ex Subditis nostris querunt habere in
e
pheudum a Despoto Grecorum seu a dragassi de locis jurisditionum nostri dominii usurpatis et ablatis per
grecos, que per ipsos grecos presentialiter possidentur . . . ”; E. Gerland, Neue Quellen zur Geschichte des
lateinischen Erzbistums Patras (Leipzig, 1903), pp. 83“4, 218“20, 222“4. Cf. D. Jacoby, La f´odalit´e e
en Gr`ce m´di´vale. Les “Assises de Romanie”: sources, application et diffusion (Paris, 1971), pp. 182“3.
e ee
50 Gerland, Neue Quellen, p. 125; PP, vol. iv, pp. 236“7.
51 PP, vol. iv, p. 14. On these two men, see PLP, nos. 2465 and 23920; Matschke, “Zum Anteil
der Byzantiner an der Bergbauentwicklung,” 67“71; Matschke, “Some merchant families,” 227“34;
Matschke, “Leonhard von Chios, Gennadios Scholarios, und die ˜Collegae™ Thomas Pyropulos und
Johannes Basilikos vor, w¨hrend und nach der Eroberung von Konstantinopel durch die T¨ rken,”
a u
Buzantin† 21 (2000), 227“36.
52 Vranoussi, “ ï Enav ˆn”kdotov ˆrgur»boullov,” 347“59; Vranoussi, “Notes sur quelques institutions
du P´loponn`se,” 81, 86, 87“8. Cf. PLP, no. 30078.
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271
The ¬nal years of the Byzantine Morea (1407“1460)
Eudaimonoioannes . . . You are to stay here and govern your command well. You
are to put an end to the many instances of injustice and reduce the power of the
numerous local lords. Make it clear to everybody here that you alone are in charge
and that I am the only lord.53
This passage indicates, however, that all Constantine actually did in
his attempt to reassert central control over the unruly magnates of the
Morea was to appoint his own men to govern the most important
strongholds of the province. The rights that he ceded to John (Palaio-
logos) Kantakouzenos,54 Alexios Laskaris (Philanthropenos?),55 and George
Sphrantzes are in effect comparable to the rights Theodore II had granted
in 1427“8 to Plethon and his elder son Demetrios over the fortress of Pha-
narion and its countryside. Constantine thus perpetuated the old admin-
istrative system which in the ¬rst place had given rise to the abuses of the
local aristocracy, even though in the short run he may have been able to
gain some power through his trusted of¬cials. Down to the very last days

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