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tion of his religious convictions,30 and speeches exhorting the Byzantines
to unite with the Latins or other Christians against the Ottomans,31 are
invaluable sources that portray different aspects of the political climate of
the Byzantine Empire in the second half of the fourteenth century. The
correspondence of Manuel Kalekas (d. 1410), who was a pupil of Kydones,
as well as a Catholic convert and a supporter of ecclesiastical union like
his teacher, is of importance, too, in this respect.32 Another contemporary
of Manuel Kalekas who lived into the late 1430s and wrote letters, poems,
26 On Demetrios Kydones, see R.-J. Loenertz, “D´m´trius Cydon`s. I: De la naissance a l™ann´e
ee e e
`
1373,” OCP 36 (1970), 47“72 and “D´m´trius Cydon`s. II: De 1373 a 1375,” OCP 37 (1971), 5“
ee e `
39; F. Tinnefeld (trans.), Demetrios Kydones, Briefe, vol. i/1 (Stuttgart, 1981), pp. 4“52; F. Kianka,
“Demetrius Cydones (c.1324 “ c.1397): intellectual and diplomatic relations between Byzantium and
the West in the fourteenth century,” unpublished PhD thesis, Fordham University (1981); F. Kianka,
“Byzantine“Papal diplomacy: the role of Demetrius Cydones,” The International History Review 7
(1985), 175“213; F. Kianka, “Demetrios Kydones and Italy,” DOP 49 (1995), 99“110.
27 Demetrios Kydones, “Apologie della propria fede: I. Ai Greci Ortodossi,” ed. G. Mercati, in Notizie
di Procoro e Demetrio Cidone, Manuele Caleca e Teodoro Meliteniota ed altri appunti per la storia della
teologia e della letteratura bizantina del secolo XIV (Vatican City, 1931), p. 401, lines 39“45; trans. by
F. Kianka, “The Apology of Demetrius Cydones: a fourteenth-century autobiographical source,”
ByzSt 7/1 (1980), 70, n. 82.
28 Kydones“Loenertz, vol. ii, pp. 452“3 (Appendix E.1); cf. R.-J. Loenertz, “D´m´trius Cydon`s,
ee e
citoyen de Venise,” Echos d™Orient 37 (1938), 125“6.
29 Kydones“Loenertz, vols. i“ii. 30 Mercati (ed.), Notizie, pp. 359“435.
31 “Oratio pro subsidio Latinorum” and “Oratio de non reddenda Callipoli,” both in PG 154, cols.
961“1008, 1009“36; cf. Malamut, “Les discours de D´m´trius Cydon`s,” pp. 203“19.
ee e
32 See Kalekas“Loenertz.
13
The topic and the sources
and other short works was John Chortasmenos.33 He served as a scribe in
the patriarchate of Constantinople and was a champion of Orthodoxy, in
contrast to both Kydones and Kalekas. The monk Joseph Bryennios, too,
was an ardent supporter of Orthodoxy, whose writings, like those of his
contemporary Chortasmenos, are of particular interest not only as re¬‚ec-
tions of the anti-unionist position, but also on account of the information
they bear on social conditions in the late Byzantine capital.34
The writings of Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos occupy a signi¬cant
place among the literary sources of the late fourteenth and early ¬fteenth
centuries. Since Manuel II™s views and policies regarding the foreign polit-
ical and religious orientation of the Byzantine state are discussed in detail
throughout the book, they will not be dealt with here. Suf¬ce it to say
that his letters and the funeral oration which he composed for his brother
Theodore I (d. 1407) are rich in historical information, the latter speci¬-
cally on the Morea, while his “Discourse of Counsel to the Thessalonians”
is a short but important text that reveals the political tendencies of the
citizens of Thessalonike in the 1380s.35
About Thessalonike another group of literary sources exist that are of
a different nature than those discussed so far. These are the homilies of
the metropolitans Isidore Glabas (1380“96) and Symeon (1416/17“29).36
The aristocratic origin and high rank of nearly all the aforementioned
authors may have already prompted suspicions about whether the attitudes
re¬‚ected in their writings were held by Byzantine society at large or whether
these represent the views of a limited circle of intellectuals who had little
understanding of or interest in the beliefs held by the common people of
Byzantium. Evidence from homiletic literature provides a partial remedy to
this fundamental problem since the preachings of the clergy were directed
at the entire society and can therefore be expected to be more representative
33 Johannes Chortasmenos (ca.1370“ca.1436/37). Briefe, Gedichte und kleine Schriften; Einleitung, Regesten,
Prosopographie, Text, ed. H. Hunger (Vienna, 1969).
34 ¬IwsŸf monaco“ to“ Bruenn©ou t‡ eËreq”nta, vols. i“ii, ed. E. Boulgares (Leipzig, 1768);
vol. iii: T‡ paraleip»mena, ed. T. Mandakases (Leipzig, 1784). On Bryennios, see N. B. Tomadakes,
S…llabov Buzantin¤n melet¤n kaª keim”nwn (Athens, 1961), pp. 489“611; Kalekas“Loenertz,
pp. 95“105.
35 The Letters of Manuel II Palaeologus, ed. and trans. G. T. Dennis (Washington, DC, 1977); Manuel
II, Fun. Or.; “ «O ˜sumbouleutik¼v pr¼v toÆv Qessalonike±v™ to“ ManouŸl Palaiol»gou,” ed.
B. Laourdas, Makedonik† 3 (1955), 290“307.
36 Isidore“Christophorides, vols. i“ii; Isidore“Laourdas; “ ¬ IsidÛrou %rciepisk»pou Qessalon©khv
¾mil©a perª t¦v ‰rpag¦v t¤n pa©dwn kaª perª t¦v mello…shv kr©sewv,” ed. B. Laourdas,
«Ellhnik† 4 (1953), 389“98; Symeon“Balfour. It should be noted that the published homilies of
the metropolitan Gabriel (1397“1416/17) are of a predominantly religious character and not so rich
in historical information: “GabriŸl Qessalon©khv ¾mil©ai,” ed. B. Laourdas, %qhnŽ 57 (1953),
141“78.
14 Introduction and political setting
of the attitudes that prevailed among people of lower social rank. As to
the particular politico-religious outlook of Isidore Glabas and Symeon,
they both were proponents of an anti-Ottoman/anti-Latin position, even
though Isidore, who witnessed the subjection of Thessalonike to Ottoman
domination, adopted in the end a conciliatory attitude towards the Turks,
while Symeon eventually came to accept the city™s transfer to Venetian rule
as an act that prevented its betrayal to the Ottomans.37
From the last decades of Byzantium, a large number of rhetorical, the-
ological, and epistolary works by Byzantine authors have survived which
shed some light on the question of political attitudes in Constantinople
and in the Morea. The issue that preoccupied many intellectuals at this
time was the controversial union concluded at the Council of Florence in
1439. Among works dealing with this issue, those by the anti-unionist lea-
ders George-Gennadios Scholarios and John Eugenikos are very useful.38
We also have a somewhat apologetic account of the Council of Florence
and its aftermath by Sylvester Syropoulos, the grand ecclesiarch of Saint
Sophia in Constantinople, who accepted the Union at Florence, but upon
returning to the capital renounced his act along with many others, includ-
ing Scholarios.39 On the opposite side, the writings of the partisans of
union, most notably of Bessarion and Isidore of Kiev, who both became
cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church, serve as a counterbalance to
the anti-unionists™ views.40 Concerning the Morea, on the other hand, a
letter by Cardinal Bessarion to the Despot Constantine Palaiologos and
two advisory addresses by the eminent humanist and philosopher George
Gemistos Plethon to Emperor Manuel II and to the Despot Theodore II
are of particular interest.41 In these addresses Plethon proposes a reorgani-
zation of the Morean state as a solution to its social, economic, and political


37 For details on the politico-religious stance of Isidore Glabas and Symeon of Thessalonike, see
Part II below. For a recent survey of the metropolitans of Thessalonike in the Palaiologan period, see
G. T. Dennis, “The late Byzantine metropolitans of Thessalonike,” DOP 57 (2003), 255“64.
38 ’uvres compl`tes de Georges (Gennadios) Scholarios, ed. L. Petit, H. A. Siderid`s, and M. Jugie,
e e
8 vols. (Paris, 1928“36) (hereafter Scholarios, ’uvres); John Eugenikos, in PP, vol. i, pp. 47“218,
271“322.
39 ´
Les “M´moires” du Grand Eccl´siarque de l™Eglise de Constantinople Sylvestre Syropoulos sur le concile
e e
de Florence (1438“1439), ed. and trans. V. Laurent (Paris, 1971) (hereafter Syropoulos, “M´moires” ).
e
For an evaluation of Syropoulos™ reliability, see J. Gill, “The ˜Acta™ and the Memoirs of Syropoulos
as history,” OCP 14 (1948), 303“55.
40 Texts published in PP, vols. i“iv.
41 Bessarion, “Kwnstant©nwƒ desp»th‚ t¤‚ Palaiol»gwƒ ca©rein,” in PP, vol. iv, pp. 32“45;
Plethon, “E«v ManouŸl Palaiol»gon perª t¤n –n Peloponnžswƒ pragm†twn,” in PP, vol. iii,
pp. 246“65 and “Sumbouleutik¼v pr¼v t¼n desp»thn Qe»dwron perª t¦v Peloponnžsou,” in
PP, vol. iv, pp. 113“35. For an analysis of these texts, see below, ch. 10, pp. 273ff.
15
The topic and the sources
problems, upholding as a priority the salvation of the Greek race and of
the empire by its own resources.42
Of¬cial documents constitute another major category of Byzantine
source material in addition to the literary sources already discussed. Among
these, the acts of the patriarchal tribunal of Constantinople,43 despite their
essentially ecclesiastical character, offer important information directly
related to the effects of the Ottoman expansion and to certain aspects
of Byzantine“Ottoman“Italian social and economic relations. Most of this
information bears primarily on Constantinople but is not always restricted
to it since cases from the provinces were also brought to the patriarchal
court from time to time. A second important group of Byzantine docu-
ments, concerned principally with socioeconomic conditions in rural areas,
originate from the archives of Mount Athos.44
The western sources for the period can also be broken down into two
groups as literary and documentary. The ¬rst group includes accounts of
travelers who visited the Byzantine Empire (e.g. Johann Schiltberger, Clav-
ijo, Cristoforo Buondelmonti, Pero Tafur, Bertrandon de la Broqui`re),45e
as well as eyewitness reports about particular events, most notably the
accounts of the fall of Constantinople by the Venetian surgeon Nicol` Bar-
o
baro, the Florentine merchant Jacopo Tedaldi, or Leonardo of Chios, the
Latin archbishop of Mytilene.46 While these narrative sources occasionally
provide useful material, the second category of western sources, archival
and diplomatic documents, have consistently been of utmost signi¬cance,
both in terms of giving general information about the relations of Italian

42 On this last point, see especially PP, vol. iv, p. 130.
43 MM, vol. ii: Acta patriarchatus Constantinopolitani, MCCCXV“MCCCCII (Vienna, 1862). For the
acts dated between 1315 and 1363, the new critical edition with German translation should be
consulted: Das Register des Patriarchats von Konstantinopel, vol. i, ed. H. Hunger and O. Kresten;
vol. ii, ed. H. Hunger, O. Kresten, E. Kislinger, and C. Cupane; vol. iii, ed. J. Koder, M. Hinterberger,
and O. Kresten (Vienna, 1981, 1995, 2001).
44 Actes de l™Athos, vols. i“vi, in VV (1873“1913); Archives de l™Athos, vols. i“xxii (Paris, 1937“2006).
45 The Bondage and Travels of Johann Schiltberger, 1396“1427, trans. J. B. Telfer (London, 1879); Clavijo,
Embassy to Tamerlane, 1403“1406, trans. G. Le Strange (New York and London, 1928); Buondelmonti,
Description des ˆles de l™Archipel, ed. and trans. E. Legrand (Paris, 1897); Pero Tafur, Travels and
±
Adventures, 1435“1439, trans. M. Letts (London, 1926); Le voyage d™Outremer de Bertrandon de la
Broqui`re, ed. Ch. Schefer (Paris, 1892; repr. 1972). On western travel accounts of this period, see
e
M. Angold, “The decline of Byzantium seen through the eyes of western travellers,” in Travel in the
Byzantine World, ed. R. Macrides (Aldershot, 2002), pp. 213“32.
46 Nicol` Barbaro, Giornale dell™assedio di Costantinopoli 1453, ed. E. Cornet (Vienna, 1856); Jacopo
o
Tedaldi, “Informazioni,” in Thesaurus novus anecdotorum, ed. E. Mart`ne and U. Durand, vol. i
e
(Paris, 1717; repr. New York, 1968), cols. 1819“26; Leonardo of Chios, “Historia Constantinopolitanae
urbis a Mahumete II captae per modum epistolae,” in PG 159, cols. 923“44. For these and other
contemporary western accounts of the siege and fall of Constantinople, see also A. Pertusi (ed.), La
caduta di Costantinopoli, vol. i: Le testimonianze dei contemporanei (Verona, 1976).
16 Introduction and political setting
maritime republics with Byzantium and the Ottomans, and in terms of
presenting concrete data on speci¬c individuals. The latter include the
deliberations of the Venetian Senate and other assemblies, summaries of
which have been published by F. Thiriet; various documents from Venice
and Genoa edited by K. N. Sathas, N. Iorga and others; or documents
drawn up by Genoese notaries in Pera.47 In addition, the account book
kept by the Venetian merchant Giacomo Badoer, who was based in Con-
stantinople during 1436“40, is an invaluable document that displays the
commercial ties of many Byzantine aristocrats with Italians and the activi-
ties of a group of Ottoman merchants in the Byzantine capital.48
Finally, there are a number of Ottoman sources that contain some details
unavailable elsewhere and, thus, supplement the information gathered from
Byzantine and western sources. Unfortunately, prior to the mid ¬fteenth
century the Ottoman source material is relatively scarce.49 This is especially
true for archival documents, only a small number of which predate the fall
of Constantinople. As for the literary historical sources, almost nothing
survives from the fourteenth century. Yet, of utmost importance is the
work of the dervish-chronicler As±kpasazade (b. 1392/3?), which, though
¸ ¸
compiled during the last quarter of the ¬fteenth century, draws heavily
upon an authentic fourteenth-century narrative (the menak±bname of Yahsi ¸
Fakih) as well as other early Ottoman historical traditions, while for the
account of events after 1422 its author relies mostly upon his personal
experiences and contacts.50 The chronicle of Nesri, written a little later
¸
47 Thiriet, R´gestes; Thiriet, Assembl´es; Sathas, Documents; Iorga, Notes; G. G. Musso, Navigazione
e e
e commercio genovese con il Levante nei documenti dell™Archivio di Stato di Genova (secc. XIV“XV)
(Rome, 1975); M. Balard, “P´ra au XIVe si`cle. Documents notari´s des archives de Gˆnes,” in
e e e e
´
`
Les Italiens a Byzance. Edition et pr´sentation de documents, ed. M. Balard, A. E. Laiou, and C.
e
Otten-Froux (Paris, 1987), pp. 9“78; A. Roccatagliata, Notai genovesi in Oltremare. Atti rogati a
Pera e Mitilene, vol. i: Pera, 1408“1490 (Genoa, 1982); L. T. Belgrano, “Prima serie di documenti
riguardanti la colonia di Pera,” ASLSP 13 (1877), 97“336 and “Seconda serie di documenti riguardanti
la colonia di Pera,” ASLSP 17 (1884), 932“1003.
48 Badoer. A useful complementary volume containing analytical indexes prepared by T. Bertel`, e
completed and revised by his son G. Bertel`, along with a list of errata, glossary of dif¬cult terms,
e
etc. is now available: see Badoer: Indici.
49 For studies on early Ottoman historiography, see H. ™ Inalc±k, “The rise of Ottoman historiography”
and V. L. M´nage, “The beginnings of Ottoman historiography,” both in Historians of the Middle
e
East, ed. B. Lewis and P. M. Holt (London, 1962), pp. 152“67 and 168“79; C. Kafadar, Between
Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London, 1995),
pp. 90“117.
50 As±kpasazade“Giese; As±kpasazade“Ats±z. On this chronicle and its author, in addition to the works
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
cited in the previous note, see V. L. M´nage, “The Men¯qib of Yakhsh´ Faq´h,” Bulletin of the
e a
School of Oriental and African Studies 26 (1963), 50“4; H. ™ ¯
Inalc±k, “How to read ˜Ash±k Pasha-z¯de™s
a
History,” in Studies in Ottoman History in Honour of Professor V. L. M´nage, ed. C. Heywood and
e
C. Imber (Istanbul, 1994), pp. 139“56; E. Zachariadou, “Histoires et l´gendes des premiers ottomans,”
e
Turcica 27 (1995), 45“89. It should be noted that, as interrelated texts which share much material
17
The topic and the sources
towards the end of the ¬fteenth century, follows As±kpasazade to a large
¸ ¸
extent, but incorporates different sets of early Ottoman traditions as well,
thus offering a certain amount of original and unique information.51 There
also exists an anonymous text, probably by an eyewitness, celebrating
Murad II™s victory over the crusaders at Varna in 1444, which is a signi¬cant
and reliable source that complements the contemporary Christian sources
on the events of 1443“4.52 The history of Mehmed the Conqueror by
Tursun Beg, a high government of¬cial who served the Sultan and who
was presumably present at the siege of Constantinople, is of particular
interest for us because of its detailed account of the city™s conquest.53
Another contemporary source of Mehmed II™s reign, the verse chronicle
of Enveri, also contains some useful details about the siege and conquest
of Constantinople.54 The Ottoman sources utilized in this study have
been helpful above all for checking the accuracy of Byzantine and western
accounts of certain events and for ¬lling some important gaps in the
information provided by Greek and Latin sources; however, one should
hardly expect to ¬nd in them speci¬c references to the political attitudes
of particular individuals or groups within Byzantine society.55
in common with As±kpasazade, the chronicle of Uruc and the anonymous chronicles do not bear
¸ ¸ ¸
additional information relevant to the present study.
51 Mehmed Nesrˆ, Kitˆ b-± Cihˆ n-n¨ mˆ “ Nesrˆ Tˆ rihi, ed. F. R. Unat and M. A. K¨ ymen, 2 vols.
a a ua ¸± a
¸± o
(Ankara, 1949“57). On this chronicle, see V. L. M´nage, Neshr´™s History of the Ottomans: The Sources
e
and Development of the Text (London, 1964).
52 a™ ¨
Gazavˆ t-± Sultˆ n Murˆ d b. Mehemmed Hˆ n. Izladi ve Varna Savaslar± (1443“1444) Uzerinde Anonim

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