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the Byzantine court, both among members of the ruling dynasty and
among civil dignitaries, which opened the way for a considerable degree
of Ottoman interference in the internal affairs of Byzantium during the
late fourteenth and early ¬fteenth centuries. Chapter 7 deals with the ¬rst
Ottoman siege of Constantinople by Bayezid I, treating it as a case study for
the speci¬c economic adjustments, social tensions, and political responses
to which a direct military threat from the Ottomans gave rise in the
imperial city. In chapter 8 the dispositions of various individuals or social
groups in Constantinople vis-`-vis the Ottomans, the Latins, and the
a
question of Church union are set forth and analyzed within the context
of the political, economic, and social developments of the last ¬fty years
preceding the city™s fall to the Ottomans in 1453. The ¬nal two chapters of
the book, constituting Part IV, focus on the Despotate of the Morea. They
pick up some of the themes addressed in connection with the countryside
of Thessalonike and provide a comparative basis for highlighting the local
factors that played a role in the attitudes embraced by the empire™s rural
populations within the realm of foreign politics.
7
The topic and the sources
This book is intended to close a gap in Byzantine studies, given that no
comprehensive work has yet been undertaken on the political orientations
of individuals or groups in Byzantine society during the period in question,
even though several monographs are available on the political history of
the late Byzantine Empire and its diplomatic relations with foreign states.
There exist some specialized studies concerned with various aspects of the
relations of Byzantium with the Ottomans and/or the Latins which take
into account the political preferences of individuals or social groups, but
the scope of these works is limited either chronologically, or geographically,
or both. Such, for instance, is George T. Dennis™ excellent monograph on
the independent regime of Manuel II in Thessalonike from 1382 to 1387.3
Klaus-Peter Matschke™s inspiring book on the battle of Ankara and its
aftermath, too, covers a relatively short period between 1402 and 1422.
Moreover, within the general framework of Byzantine“Ottoman relations,
this particular period which coincides with the Ottoman interregnum is
quite unrepresentative, being marked by intense political instability and
internal dissension unprecedented at any other point in Ottoman history.4
Perhaps the study that comes closest to part of the subject matter of the
present book is an article by Michel Balivet entitled “Le personnage du
˜turcophile™ dans les sources byzantines ant´rieures au Concile de Florence
e
(1370“1430),” which, as its title indicates, is restricted to evidence from
Byzantine sources, does not go beyond the Council of Florence, and is
constrained in scope and range.5 By contrast, the same author™s more recent
book on the contacts and exchanges between the Byzantine and Turkish
worlds, which spans the eleventh to the nineteenth centuries, offers a global
view yet lacks for obvious reasons a detailed and systematic treatment of
the vast period under consideration.6 As for Speros Vryonis™ monumental
book on the Turki¬cation and Islamization of medieval Anatolia, this study
focuses on a region that had by and large fallen out of the hands of the
Byzantine Empire in the period treated by the present work.7 Finally, much

3 G. T. Dennis, The Reign of Manuel II Palaeologus in Thessalonica, 1382“1387 (Rome, 1960).
4 K.-P. Matschke, Die Schlacht bei Ankara und das Schicksal von Byzanz; Studien zur sp¨ tbyzantinischen
a
Geschichte zwischen 1402 und 1422 (Weimar, 1981). For Matschke™s articles that are relevant to the
present topic, see the Bibliography.
5 Travaux et Recherches en Turquie 2 (1984), 111“29. This article and the same author™s other essays
on various aspects of Byzantine“Ottoman relations have been collected and reprinted in M. Balivet,
Byzantins et Ottomans: relations, interaction, succession (Istanbul, 1999).
6 M. Balivet, Romanie byzantine et pays de Rˆ m turc: histoire d™un espace d™imbrication gr´co-turque
u e
(Istanbul, 1994).
7 Sp. Vryonis, Jr., The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from
the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1971). For Vryonis™ articles that
are of relevance to our subject matter, see the Bibliography.
8 Introduction and political setting
relevant material on Byzantine“Ottoman relations can be found scattered
throughout the voluminous works of Halil ™ Inalc±k, as illustrated by the
abundance of references to his studies in my footnotes.8
Concerning Byzantine“Latin relations, on the other hand, research over
the last few decades has made important strides, particularly with regard
to the social and economic aspects of the topic. This book, in fact, owes a
great deal to the pioneering works of Michel Balard, Nicolas Oikonomid`s, e
and Angeliki E. Laiou which have laid the groundwork for demonstrating
the commercial interests that linked part of the Byzantine aristocracy to
the Italians in the Palaiologan period.9
In approaching a subject such as the present one, much depends on
the kinds of primary sources used and their possible biases, and, in this
particular case, on their position regarding the Ottomans and the Latins. It
is, therefore, necessary to proceed with a discussion of the sources and the
political attitudes they themselves stand for in order to be able to assess the
reliability of the information they provide on the political attitudes of oth-
ers. Among Byzantine sources, narrative histories ought to be mentioned
¬rst. For the period following 1370 there are the ¬fteenth-century histories
of George Sphrantzes, Doukas, Laonikos Chalkokondyles, and Kritobou-
los of Imbros, all written after the fall of Constantinople. Sphrantzes™ work
covers the period from 1401, the year of his birth, to 1477, and is written in
the form of annalistic memoirs. Sphrantzes was a court of¬cial who served
the last three emperors of Byzantium and held administrative functions
both in the imperial capital and in the Despotate of the Morea. He went
on several diplomatic missions and embassies to the Ottomans, the king
of Georgia, Trebizond, the Morea, and Cyprus. He also lived through the
Ottoman conquest, ¬rst, of Constantinople and, then, of the Morea, after
which he ¬‚ed to the Venetian island of Corfu. Hence, Sphrantzes was a
well-informed historian as well as an active participant in the events about
which he wrote.10 During the conquest of Constantinople, Sphrantzes and

8 See the Bibliography.
9 See especially M. Balard, La Romanie g´noise (XIIe“d´but du XVe si`cle), 2 vols. (Rome and
e e e
Genoa, 1978); N. Oikonomid`s, Hommes d™affaires grecs et latins a Constantinople (XIIIe“XVe si`cles)
` e
e
(Montreal and Paris, 1979); A. E. Laiou-Thomadakis, “The Byzantine economy in the Mediter-
ranean trade system, thirteenth“¬fteenth centuries,” DOP 34“5 (1982), 177“222; A. E. Laiou-
Thomadakis, “The Greek merchant of the Palaeologan period: a collective portrait,” Praktik‡ t¦v
%kadhm©av %qhn¤n 57 (1982), 96“132. For the current state of scholarship on this subject, see now
K.-P. Matschke, “Commerce, trade, markets, and money: thirteenth“¬fteenth centuries,” in EHB,
vol. ii, pp. 771“806, esp. 789“99.
10 On Sphrantzes, see R.-J. Loenertz, “Autour du Chronicon Maius attribu´ a Georges Phrantz`s,” in
e` e
Miscellanea Giovanni Mercati, vol. iii (Vatican, 1946), pp. 273“311; G. Moravcsik, Byzantinoturcica.
Die byzantinischen Quellen der Geschichte der T¨ rkv¨lker, 2nd edn., vol. i (Berlin, 1958; repr. Leiden,
uo
9
The topic and the sources
his family were taken captive by the Ottomans, but soon thereafter he was
ransomed and a year later secured the ransom of his wife as well. Yet his
children, whom Mehmed II bought for himself, remained under Ottoman
domination. His son John, accused of plotting to assassinate the Sultan,
was executed at the end of 1453, while his daughter Thamar died of an infec-
tious disease in Mehmed II™s harem in 1455.11 The hardships Sphrantzes and
his family suffered at the hands of the Ottomans, his ¬‚ight, twice, from
Ottoman-occupied places, and his eventual settlement in Venetian Corfu
indicate that he had no sympathy at all for the Ottomans. In addition to
signs of his pro-western inclinations, Sphrantzes is also known, just on the
eve of the fall of Constantinople, to have favored the implementation of
the Union of Florence and the appointment of Cardinal Isidore of Kiev as
patriarch of Constantinople, “in the hope that various advantages would
come from him.”12 Yet later, with the bene¬t of hindsight, he pointed to
the Union of Florence as the major cause for the capture of the Byzan-
tine capital and held this opinion at the time when he was composing his
chronicle.13
Doukas, on the other hand, who lived most of his life in the service of
the Genoese, ¬rst in New Phokaia, then on the island of Lesbos, not only
fostered pro-Latin feelings but was also a staunch advocate of the union
of Churches, which he viewed as the only policy capable of saving the
Byzantine Empire. He, therefore, blamed the activities of the anti-unionists
in Constantinople for the failure of the city before the Ottoman armies in
1453.14 It is of interest to note that Doukas™ grandfather, Michael Doukas,
had been a partisan of John VI Kantakouzenos in the civil war of 1341“7
and, following his imprisonment by John VI™s opponents, had ¬‚ed from
Constantinople and sought refuge in Ephesus with Isa Beg, the Turkish
emir of Ayd±n. Doukas claims that his grandfather remained thereafter in
the service of the Ayd±no˜ lu dynasty, foreseeing that the Turks would soon
g
take control over the European territories of the Byzantine Empire, just
as they had conquered Asia Minor.15 Yet, while the historian inherited his
grandfather™s dislike of the Palaiologos dynasty of Byzantium,16 he chose
a different course by orienting himself not towards the Turks but rather

1983), pp. 282“8; V. Grecu, “Georgios Sphrantzes. Leben und Werk. Makarios Melissenos und sein
Werk,” BS 26 (1965), 62“73.
11 Sphrantzes“Grecu, pp. 98, 104, 106. 12 Ibid., p. 100. 13 Ibid., p. 58.
14 Doukas“Grecu, pp. 315“19, 323“5, 327“9, 365. On Doukas, see W. Miller, “The historians Doukas and
Phrantzes,” Journal of Hellenic Studies 46 (1926), 63“71; V. Grecu, “Pour une meilleure connaissance
de l™historien Doukas,” in M´morial Louis Petit (Paris, 1948), pp. 128“41; Moravcsik, Byzantinoturcica,
e
vol. i, pp. 247“51.
15 Doukas“Grecu, pp. 41“7. 16 Ibid., pp. 49, 73.
10 Introduction and political setting
towards the Latins, and entering the service of the Genoese in their eastern
Mediterranean possessions. Despite his ¬rm pro-Latin stance, Doukas tries
to be objective in his narrative, which goes down to the year 1462, ¬nding
fault at times with the Genoese, at times with the Venetians, but particularly
in his account of the union controversy he cannot conceal his partiality
and biases.
While Sphrantzes and Doukas took as the theme of their histories the fall
of the Byzantine Empire, the Athenian aristocrat Laonikos Chalkokondyles
centered his work, covering the period 1298“1463, around the theme of the
Ottomans and their rise to power. However, as far as Chalkokondyles™ polit-
ical preferences are concerned, he can be described as neither pro-Ottoman
nor pro-Latin. When composing his history during the 1480s, he still cher-
ished the hope that the day might come when the Byzantine people would
be reunited within a state ruled by a Greek emperor.17 Chalkokondyles,
who spent the years 1435“60 at the court of the Despots in Mistra, provides
a detailed ¬rsthand account of events in the Peloponnese. For the rest,
his narrative, though useful, is ¬lled with chronological inaccuracies and
requires the aid of other sources.
Kritoboulos of Imbros, another aristocratic author, differs from the three
historians discussed above in terms of both his political standing and the
scope of his work, which is a partial account of the reign of Mehmed II
covering the years from 1451 to 1467. In 1453 Kritoboulos, through embassies
to the Sultan and to Hamza Beg, the governor of Gallipoli (Gelibolu) and
admiral of the Ottoman ¬‚eet, arranged for the peaceful surrender of the
islands of Imbros, Lemnos, and Thasos in order to prevent their capture
by force. Shortly thereafter, Kritoboulos™ submission to the Sultan was
rewarded by his assignment to Imbros as governor, a post he held until
the island™s capture by the Venetians in 1466.18 He then ¬‚ed to Ottoman
Istanbul, where he wrote his history of Mehmed II, whom he regarded as
“the supreme autocrat, emperor of emperors . . . lord of land and sea by
the will of God.”19 In short, Kritoboulos was a representative of the group
17 Chalkok.“Dark´ , vol. i, p. 2. On Chalkokondyles, see W. Miller, “The last Athenian historian:
o
Laonikos Chalkokondyles,” Journal of Hellenic Studies 42 (1922), 36“49; Moravcsik, Byzantinoturcica,
vol. i, pp. 391“7; A. Wifstrand, Laonikos Chalkokondyles, der letzte Athener. Ein Vortrag (Lund, 1972);
N. Nicoloudis, Laonikos Chalkokondyles, A Translation and Commentary of the “Demonstrations of
Histories” (Books I“III) (Athens, 1996), pp. 41“86; J. Harris, “Laonikos Chalkokondyles and the rise
of the Ottoman Turks,” BMGS 27 (2003), 153“70.
18 Kritob.“Reinsch, pp. 85“6, 107. On Kritoboulos, see V. Grecu, “Kritobulos aus Imbros,” BS 18
(1957), 1“17; Moravcsik, Byzantinoturcica, vol. i, pp. 432“5; G. Emrich, “Michael Kritobulos, der
byzantinische Geschichtsschreiber Mehmeds II.,” Materialia Turcica 1 (1975), 35“43.
19 Kritob.“Reinsch, p. 3: “aÉtokr†tori meg©stwƒ , basile± basil”wn Mecem”tei . . . kur©wƒ g¦v kaª
qal†sshv qeo“ qelžmati.”
11
The topic and the sources
in Byzantium that opted for an accommodation and understanding with
the Ottomans in the face of the political realities of the time, and that
recognized Sultan Mehmed II as the legitimate successor of the Christian
Byzantine emperors.
Besides the works of these four major historians, shorter works by Byzan-
tine eyewitnesses to particular events have survived, such as an anonymous
account of Bayezid I™s blockade of Constantinople (1394“1402),20 John
Kananos™ description of the siege of the capital by Murad II in 1422,21
or John Anagnostes™ account of the capture of Thessalonike by the same
Sultan in 1430.22 Since the last source is used extensively in the chapters
on Thessalonike, its author merits a few words here. From what he writes,
it appears that Anagnostes, a native Thessalonian, was not particularly
fond of the Venetians who ruled his city during 1423“30 and seems to
have shared the opinion of those who wished to surrender to Murad II™s
forces without resistance.23 In the course of the city™s conquest, Anagnostes
fell captive to the Ottomans but soon afterwards regained his freedom
along with many others by means of the money which the Serbian Despot
George Brankovi´ offered for their ransom. The author then returned to
c
the Ottoman-occupied city, even though he was to regret this later when,
around 1432“3, Murad II began to institute a set of new policies, including
the con¬scation of religious and secular buildings, that hurt the interests of
the Greek community in Thessalonike.24 Finally, together with the more
concise historical works used in this study, the Byzantine short chronicles
ought to be mentioned as well, since one often ¬nds in these brief and
chronologically accurate notices invaluable information that is unattested
elsewhere.25
Among the most important contemporary literary sources written by
Byzantines are the works of Demetrios Kydones. The leading intellectual
and statesman of his time, Kydones came from an aristocratic family of
Thessalonike and started his political career as a partisan of John VI Kan-
takouzenos in the civil war of 1341“7. Following the latter™s abdication
in 1354, he entered the service of John V Palaiologos and held the post

20 P. Gautier, “Un r´cit in´dit sur le si`ge de Constantinople par les Turcs (1394“1402),” REB 23 (1965),
e e e
100“17.
21 Giovanni Cananos, L™assedio di Costantinopoli. Introduzione, testo critico, traduzione, note e lessico,
ed. E. Pinto (Messina, 1977).
22 Anagnostes“Tsaras. For an evaluation of this work, see Sp. Vryonis, Jr., “The Ottoman conquest of
Thessaloniki in 1430,” in Continuity and Change in Late Byzantine and Early Ottoman Society, ed.
A. Bryer and H. Lowry (Birmingham and Washington, DC, 1986), pp. 281“304.
23 Anagnostes“Tsaras, pp. 6“8. 24 Ibid., pp. 56, 64“6.
25 P. Schreiner (ed.), Die byzantinischen Kleinchroniken, 3 vols. (Vienna, 1975“9).
12 Introduction and political setting
of mesazon for the next thirty years during which he maintained a tight
friendship with the Emperor™s son Manuel II, to whom he was initially
assigned as tutor. Kydones, who from a religious, intellectual, and political
standpoint identi¬ed strongly with the world of Latin Christendom, con-
verted to the Catholic faith around 1357. In 1369 he accompanied John V
to Rome and was closely involved with the Emperor™s own conversion to
Catholicism, which was in accordance with Kydones™ belief that only a
policy of rapprochement, political as well as theological, with the papacy
and western European powers could save the empire from the Ottoman
threat.26 Concerning the Latins and Rome, he wrote, “from the beginning
we were both citizens of, as it were, one city, the Church, and we lived
under the same laws and customs, and we obeyed the same rulers. Later
on “ I don™t know what happened “ we separated from one another.”27
Indeed, Kydones spent almost all his professional life trying to bring this
separation to an end. He also appealed to the Venetian Senate for citizen-
ship, which he was granted in 1391.28 Kydones™ writings, which include
several hundreds of letters addressed between 1346 and 1391 to almost all
the prominent ¬gures of the period,29 “Apologies” documenting the evolu-

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