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effect by the Senate, this time banning the meetings of the Greek confrater-
nity (fratalea) in Modon.88 Such measures that restrained the religious and
social freedom of the Orthodox community may have further disillusioned
the inhabitants of the Despotate who had emigrated to Venetian territories
of the Peloponnese, expecting their conditions to improve thereby. On
a different level, moreover, religious restrictions that were applied to the
Greeks living under Latin rule, and which often extended into the social
domain too, might well account for the betrayal of places such as Salona
(in 1393“4) and Argos (in 1463) to the Ottomans by Orthodox priests.89
A new stage in the context of both internal and external events began
in 1449 with the arrival of Demetrios Palaiologos as Despot of the Morea
to rule parts of the province jointly with his younger brother, the Despot
Thomas Palaiologos. Given that from 1428 onwards the government of the
Byzantine Morea had been shared by two or three despots at a time, all
sons of the Emperor Manuel II, there was in itself nothing unusual about
Demetrios™ installation there. Yet the different orientations of the two
brothers in the arena of foreign politics “ Thomas generally leaning towards
cooperation with the Latins and Demetrios towards accommodation with
the Ottomans90 “ produced a new opportunity for the dissident elements
within the local aristocracy who were, as we have seen, habitually inclined
towards creating confusion and disorder by cooperating with the external
enemies of the Despotate. The unruly magnates of the Morea henceforth
capitalized on this major point of disagreement between Thomas and
Demetrios, using it to stir up further hostilities and rivalries between the
Despot brothers from which they themselves were to bene¬t. For instance,
in 1459 a group of archontes who had been governing Karytaina, Bordonia,

87 Iorga, Notes, vol. iii, p. 10 (Nov. 28, 1436); Thomas and Predelli, Diplomatarium Veneto-Levantinum,
vol. i, pp. 105“7 (1318).
88 Fedalto, Chiesa latina, vol. iii, no. 609 (April 23, 1444), p. 237; Iorga, Notes, vol. iii, p. 164; Thiriet,
R´gestes, vol. iii, no. 2642.
e
89 Chalkok.“Dark´ , vol. i, pp. 62“3; vol. ii, p. 289; Cronik¼n ˆn”kdoton Galaxeid©ou, ed. K. N.
o
Sathas (Athens, 1914), pp. 84“8, 206, 211“12. On the betrayal of Salona to Bayezid I, see also Nicol,
Family of Kantakouzenos, pp. 160“3; W. Miller, The Latins in the Levant. A History of Frankish Greece
(1204“1566) (London, 1908; repr. 1964), pp. 346“7.
90 See above, p. 233 and note 3 of the Introduction to Part IV.
278 The Despotate of the Morea
and Kastritzi in the service of Demetrios succeeded in taking possession
of these fortresses in the midst of a quarrel they instigated by persuading
Thomas to rise up against his brother.91 It will be instructive, therefore, to
conduct an investigation of the partisans of Thomas and Demetrios so as
to distinguish between those who genuinely agreed with the respective pro-
Latin or pro-Ottoman views of each Despot and those who were merely
interested in generating civil discord by switching their loyalty from one
Despot to the other.
Demetrios Palaiologos, long before his arrival in the Morea as Despot,
had on several occasions already made his pro-Ottoman stance quite clear.
In 1423 he had ¬‚ed from Constantinople to Galata, from where, according
to Sphrantzes, he intended to go over to the Turks.92 In 1442, disappointed
by Emperor John VIII™s preference for his other brother Constantine as
successor to the imperial throne, and denied certain territories which the
Emperor had promised him, Demetrios went over to Sultan Murad II
and, receiving military help from the Ottomans, led an attack on Con-
stantinople.93 At the time of the Council of Florence, John VIII had taken
Demetrios with him to Italy because he suspected that in his absence
the latter might betray Constantinople, presumably to the Ottomans.94
Demetrios Katadoukinos, in his funeral oration for John VIII (d. 1448),
also alludes to Demetrios Palaiologos™ cooperation with the Ottomans
against the Emperor.95
Hence, in 1449, when Demetrios came to the Morea to share the gov-
ernment of the Despotate with Thomas, he had a well established record
vis-`-vis the Ottomans. During the same year, Thomas initiated hostili-
a
ties against Demetrios by capturing Skorta, which was one of the districts
under the latter™s control. Demetrios immediately responded by seeking the
intervention of Murad II through his envoy and brother-in-law Matthew
Asanes, about whom more will be said below. Shortly afterwards, Tura-
han Beg, the Ottoman governor of Thessaly who had not ceased from
terrorizing the Morea since his ¬rst destruction of the Hexamilion in 1423,
came to Demetrios™ help with an army and forced Thomas to compensate
91 Sphrantzes“Grecu, XXXIX.2, p. 112.
92 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
e
son-in-law George Izaoul. But instead of going over to the Turks, a few days later Demetrios set out
for Hungary.
93 Sphrantzes“Grecu, XXV.1,3, p. 64; Chalkok.“Dark´ , vol. ii, p. 80; Schreiner, Kleinchroniken, vol. i,
o
Chr.29/11, 62/10; vol. ii, p. 461. Cf. Scholarios, ’uvres, vol. iii, p. 118 (= PP, vol. ii, p. 53); Thiriet,
R´gestes, vol. iii, nos. 2583, 2584.
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94 Schreiner, Kleinchroniken, vol. i, Chr. 22/43. Cf. Syropoulos, “M´moires,” III.30, pp. 190“1, n. 5.
e
95 “Com´die de Katablattas,” ed. Canivet and Oikonomid`s, 85.
e e
279
The ¬nal years of the Byzantine Morea (1407“1460)
for the seizure of the region of Skorta by ceding the city of Kalamata to
Demetrios.96
The association of Demetrios Palaiologos with the Asanes family, like his
cooperation with the Ottomans, dates back to his days in Constantinople.97
In 1423, following Demetrios™ ¬‚ight to Galata mentioned above, Emperor
Manuel II and Empress Helena had sent Matthew Asanes and other
archontes from Constantinople to accompany Demetrios to Hungary.98 In
1441 the two families were united through the marriage of Demetrios with
Matthew Asanes™ sister Theodora. According to a short chronicle entry, the
Empress-mother Helena and Emperor John VIII were opposed to this mar-
riage, while both Sphrantzes and Syropoulos note that Theodora Asanina
and her father Paul Asanes ¬‚ed from Constantinople to Mesembria, where
Demetrios was based at this time and where the marriage took place.99
Paul Asanes, who thus became Demetrios Palaiologos™ father-in-law in
1441, was a very important man in the political scene of Constantinople.
In 1437 he was sent on an embassy to Murad II to inform the Sultan
about John VIII™s plan to attend the Council of Union with the Latin
Church.100 During the Council itself, Paul Asanes held the post of gov-
ernor (kefalž) of the capital.101 In the course of these years, however,
somehow dissatis¬ed with serving the imperial government, he decided in
1441 to associate himself with the Emperor™s rebellious younger brother,
who one year later blockaded Constantinople with the help of Ottoman
troops. According to Syropoulos, Demetrios Palaiologos™ efforts against
Church union, combined with Paul Asanes™ desertion to him, played a
crucial role in the general resistance to the Union of Florence.102 Perhaps
Paul Asanes had gradually come to agree with the Ottoman viziers who
had told him during his embassy to Murad II that for Byzantium the

96 Chalkok.“Dark´ , vol. ii, pp. 141, 144“5; Plethon, in PP, vol. iv, pp. 207“10. Venetian documents
o
reveal that Demetrios also asked Venice for help, but the Senate declined his request, desiring to
remain neutral in the con¬‚ict between the brothers: Iorga, Notes, vol. iii, p. 256; Thiriet, R´gestes,
e
vol. iii, no. 2835 (Sept. 12, 1450).
97 On the Asanes family in general, see B. Kreki´, “Contribution a l™´tude des Asan`s a Byzance,”
c `e e`
TM 5 (1973), 347“55; Trapp, “Beitr¨ge zur Genealogie der Asanen,” 163“77; I. Boˇilov, “La famille
a z
des Asen (1186“1460). G´n´alogie et prosopographie,” Bulgarian Historical Review 9 (1981), 135“56;
ee
I. Boˇilov, Asanevci (1186“1460). Genealogija i prosopogra¬ja (So¬a, 1985). For Matthew and Paul
z
Asanes discussed below, see PLP, nos. 1508 and 1518.
98 Syropoulos, “M´moires,” II.11, p. 112.
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99 Schreiner, Kleinchroniken, vol. i, Chr. 22/44; Sphrantzes“Grecu, XXIV.9, p. 64; Syropoulos,
“M´moires,” XII.17, p. 570.
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100 Syropoulos, “M´moires,” III.21, p. 182. According to Sphrantzes, however, the envoy sent to the
e
Ottoman court was Andronikos Iagros: Sphrantzes“Grecu, XXIII.8, p. 60. Cf. D¨ lger, Reg., vol. v,
o
no. 3475.
101 Syropoulos, “M´moires,” XI.23, p. 544. 102 Ibid., XII.17, pp. 568“70.
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280 The Despotate of the Morea
friendship of the Sultan would be more advantageous than that of the
Latins.103
In the years that followed, Paul™s son Matthew Asanes was to be fre-
quently seen at the Ottoman court as Despot Demetrios™ envoy. His visit
to Murad II in 1449 has been mentioned above. In 1459, when con-
¬‚icts between Thomas and Demetrios reached another peak, Matthew
again rushed to the Ottomans for military assistance for his brother-in-
law and to negotiate the marriage of his niece Helena (i.e. the daugh-
ter of Demetrios and Theodora) with Sultan Mehmed II.104 In the year
before that he and Nikephoros Loukanes had surrendered Corinth to the
Sultan.105 When Demetrios submitted to Mehmed II in 1460, Matthew
remained in the Despot™s service and fought on his behalf in the Sul-
tan™s campaigns against Mistra, Ainos, and Bosnia. Following Matthew™s
death in 1467, Sphrantzes reports that Demetrios Palaiologos declined
the income (pr»sodov) he had been receiving from the Sultan in order
to be relieved of the military service that was required of him in return
for it.106
While Demetrios found loyal partisans among the Asanes, gathered
around Thomas Palaiologos were several members of the Rhaoul/Rhalles
family, some of whom particularly distinguished themselves in their oppo-
sition to the Despot™s brother and his Ottoman allies. In 1459 the brothers
George and Thomas Rhalles, together with the Despot Thomas, stirred up
the local population in Ottoman-occupied areas of the Morea and orga-
nized an uprising against the Turks, using the Blachernai Monastery in
Clarentza as their base.107 Michael Rhalles Ises, whom Sphrantzes describes
as “¾ pr¤tov Šrcwn to“ ¾spit©ou” of Thomas Palaiologos in the year
1436, lost his life during an unsuccessful Veneto-Greek attack on Patras in

103 Ibid., III.21, p. 182. Cf. Sphrantzes“Grecu, XXIII.8, p. 60.
104 Chalkok.“Dark´ , vol. ii, pp. 224“6; Sphrantzes“Grecu, XXXIX.1, pp. 110“12; Kritob.“Reinsch,
o
III.19, p. 142. Cf. Schreiner, Kleinchroniken, vol. i, Chr. 38/6.
105 Sphrantzes“Grecu, XXXVIII.2, p. 110; Kritob.“Reinsch, III.7, pp. 126“7; Chalkok.“Dark´ , vol. ii,
o
pp. 209“10.
106 Sphrantzes“Grecu, XLIV.2, p. 134. Cf. A. E. Vacalopoulos, “The ¬‚ight of the inhabitants of Greece
to the Aegean islands, Crete, and Mane, during the Turkish invasions (fourteenth and ¬fteenth
centuries),” in Charanis Studies, ed. A. E. Laiou-Thomadakis (New Brunswick, NJ, 1980), p. 280.
On Demetrios™ income, see Stavrides, Sultan of Vezirs, pp. 131“2; ™ Inalc±k, “Ottoman state,” p. 211.
For a Michael Asanes in the service of Despot Demetrios, see PLP, no. 91375.
107 Schreiner, Kleinchroniken, vol. i, Chr. 34/24; vol. ii, pp. 493“4. For a Thomas Rhaoul who was on
the side of Thomas Palaiologos during a con¬‚ict that the latter had with the Despot Constantine
over the fortress of Chalandritza in 1429, see Sphrantzes“Grecu, XIX.9, p. 42. For a George
Rhaoul, archon, who left the Despot Thomas and moved to Modon sometime before December
1458, see Sphrantzes“Grecu, XXXIX.10, p. 114. Cf. Fassoulakis, Family of Raoul-Ral(l)es, nos. 57, 59,
pp. 69“72; PLP, nos. 24061, 24115, 24119.
281
The ¬nal years of the Byzantine Morea (1407“1460)
1466 that was aimed at recovering the city from the hands of the Ottomans.
It appears that after the Despot Thomas™ ¬‚ight from the Morea in 1460,
Michael stayed behind and joined forces with the Venetians against the
Ottomans.108 Following Mehmed II™s conquest of the peninsula, various
members of the Rhalles family remained in the Morea and, like Michael
Rhalles Ises, associated themselves with the Venetians. The names of some
of these aristocrats have been preserved in Venetian documents dating
from the 1460s, which recon¬rm the possessions and privileges they were
previously granted by the Despot(s) of the Morea.109
However, families such as the Asanes and Rhalles who maintained their
loyalty respectively to Demetrios and Thomas Palaiologos, while consis-
tently sharing the political attitudes represented by each Despot towards
the Ottomans and the Latins, were exceptions at this time in the Morea.
The majority of the local magnates behaved quite differently according
to the ¬fteenth-century Byzantine chroniclers. Kritoboulos, for instance,
describes the role they played in the con¬‚ict that erupted between the
Despots in 1459 as follows:

That same winter, the Despots of the Peloponnesus quarreled, to their own damage,
and made war with each other for the following reason: the grandees who were
under them, men who had domains and large revenues and were over cities and
fortresses, were not content with these but, grasping in thought and malicious in
act, were always aspiring for more. They sought revolution and were rebellious
against each other, made war, and ¬lled all those parts with disorder and uproar.
They even drew the Despots into the confusion, by attacking and disturbing each
other, for ¬rst they would come secretly and accuse the opposite party, as if they
were revealing some unspeakable mystery, and so by lies and slanders against each
other they tried to stir them up against one another and to arm them. Then later,
openly and unashamed, they deserted the one side and went over to the other,
enticing with them their towns and fortresses.110

Among these shifty aristocrats of the Morea, an archon called Nikephoros
Loukanes takes up the ¬rst place. It will be recalled that in August 1458
this man, together with Matthew Asanes, had surrendered Corinth to
108 Sphrantzes“Grecu, XXII.8, XLIII.4“9, pp. 54, 132“4; Schreiner, Kleinchroniken, vol. i, Chr. 34/32;
Sathas, Documents, vol. i, nos. 161 (March 17, 1464) and 175 (Sept. 7, 1466), pp. 241, 258“9;
Spandugnino, De la origine, in Sathas, Documents, vol. ix, p. 161. Cf. Fassoulakis, Family of Raoul-
Ral(l)es, no. 64, pp. 77“9; PLP, no. 24136.
109 Sathas, Documents, vol. v, pp. 30 (Sept. 9, 1465 “ Michael Rhallis Drimys, “gubernator in Brachio
Mayne”), 35“6 (Dec. 29, 1468 “ Matthew Rallis Melikis). For other members of the Morean branch
of the family, see Fassoulakis, Family of Raoul-Ral(l)es.
110 Kritob.“Reinsch, III.19, p. 141; trans. by C. T. Riggs, History of Mehmed the Conqueror, by Kritovoulos
(Princeton, 1954), pp. 149“50.
282 The Despotate of the Morea
Mehmed II.111 According to Sphrantzes, in January 1459 Loukanes, who
was considered to be one of Demetrios Palaiologos™ most outstanding and
trusted men, persuaded Thomas to rise up against his brother and the
Sultan. Sphrantzes adds that Loukanes was supported by Albanians and
the people of the Morea.112 Chalkokondyles provides further evidence for
the complicated and unpredictable nature of Loukanes™ political career,
by writing about his involvement in the Albanian uprising of 1453; his
cooperation with John Asen Zaccaria against the Despot Thomas, who
arrested and imprisoned both of them; and his con¬‚icts with Matthew
Asanes before the surrender of Corinth.113
Other local magnates who played a role in the rivalries of the Despots
include Palaiologos Sgouromalles, the brother of Nikephoros Loukanes™
wife, who surrendered Karytaina to Mehmed II in 1460; a certain
Proinokokokas, who was one of the leading men in Kastritzi; the pro-
tostrator Nicholas Sebastopoulos, who was Demetrios Palaiologos™ mesazon
and brother-in-law; a certain Kydonides, also known as Tzamplakon, who
was the uncle of Despot Thomas™ wife; George Palaiologos, who was
Thomas™ mesazon and cousin; and Manuel Bochales, the son-in-law of
George Palaiologos.114 A closer look at the political career and family ties
of George Palaiologos will con¬rm what has been said about the unreliable
and ¬‚uctuating nature of the attachments these aristocrats had. George
started out as a partisan of the Despot Thomas in Leontarion. Although
under Thomas he held the high post of mesazon, at an unknown date
he left Leontarion with his son-in-law Manuel Bochales and entered the
service of Demetrios in Mistra.115 George was then captured by Thomas™
men during a ¬ght and taken back to his former lord who had him
con¬ned; but he managed to escape and join the Despot Demetrios. In
1459 Demetrios seized the environs of Leontarion and Pidema from his
brother through the agency of George and his son-in-law. A year later,
when Mehmed II conquered Leontarion and Gardiki, all the inhabitants
of these places were put to death except for George Palaiologos, Manuel
Bochales, and the latter™s family. They owed their lives to the kinship ties

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