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Mystras Timeline

Mystras Timeline

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  • 1249

    William II of Villehardouin founds Mystras.

  • 1259

    Battle of Pelagonia: Manfred of Sicily and William II of Villehardouin are defeated by the Empire of Nicaea. William is forced to cede the castles of Mystras, Maina, and Monemvasia.

  • 1262

    Mystras is retaken by the Byzantines.

  • c. 1289

    The Byzantines move the provincial capital of the Morea from Monemvasia to Mystras.

  • 1349 - 1460

    Mystras is the capital of the semi-autonomous Byzantine Despotate of the Morea.

  • 1361

    Matthew Kantakouzenos moves to Mystras.

  • 1380 - 1383

    Matthew Kantakouzenos rules as despot of the Morea.

  • 1383 - c. 1384

    Rebellion of Demetrios Kantakouzenos against the Palaiologos Dynasty in the Morea.

  • 1383 - 1407

    Theodore I Palaiologos reigns as despot of the Morea.

  • 1407 - 1443

    Rule of Theodore II Palaiologos, despot of the Morea.

  • c. 1407 - 1452

    George Gemistos Plethon lives at Mystras.

  • 1408

    Visit of Manuel II Palaiologos, Byzantine emperor, to Mystras.

  • 1415

    Visit of Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos to Mystras.

  • 1449

    Constantine XI Palaiologos is crowned as the last Byzantine emperor in Mystras.

  • 1460 - 1461

Peribleptos Monastery, Mystras

The Peribleptos Monastery (Greek: Μονή Παναγίας Περιβλέπτου ) is a late Byzantine-era monastery in Mystras, Greece. It was probably built in the mid-14th century by the first Despot of the Morea, Manuel Kantakouzenos, [1] and named after one of the most celebrated monasteries of Byzantine Constantinople. [2] The frescos in the main church, dating between 1348 and 1380, are a very rare surviving late Byzantine cycle, are crucial for the understanding of Byzantine art. [3] It is named after St. Mary of Peribleptos, of Byzantine, Constantinople (Istanbul). The Monastery is built into the side of a cliff with a cave supporting the structure. This architectural style is known as the Mystras style and is prevalent in several churches and monasteries in the area, this style is typified by a resemblance to a castle. It is constructed of squared stones with inlaid tiles. The complexity and unique variations of the shape of the structure of the exterior create an interior surface inside the monastery that lends itself to the ethereal quality of the frescoes covering the walls. These have been described as "delicate and subdued" in [4] Byzantine Architecture and Decoration (Hamilton 194-95)

Map of Mystras

Mystras is the best thing I saw (so far) in Greece. The city from the Middle Ages is plastered against a mountain near Sparta. It's December, but it looks like fall: brown trees, fresh but chilly air, some dark clouds. The entrance gate to Mystras welcomes you in true medieval style: I knew at once I was going to like it here.

What remains of the city are its churches, a monastery, some walls and roads. The steep, cobbled streets are mostly genuine, and give the feeling of actually walking there in the 14th century. The roads were narrow then, so narrow the edges of building were removed to leave more space for passers-by. Of course there were shops then, markets and handicraft businesses. It would be great to be able to time travel on this spot.

The focuspoints are the Byzantine churches of Mystras. They were restored, both in- and outside. Frescoes, with a lot of dark blue colours, have come to the surface. The red round or octagonal roofs stand out between the now brown and green trees that surround this site. You can only walk around this scenery openmouthed.

The Third Rome - A Byzantine Timeline

On the tenth of January, 1544, a haunted, bedraggled figure approached the gates of Corinth -- a threadbare man, tired, his face lined, his hands calloused -- and sought succour from the Roman commander there.

Though he was the former Despot Demetrios' man, the governor of Corinth -- one Matthew Palaiologos Asen -- was a dependable sort well respected for his skill both as a warrior and an administrator. Despite his association with the Emperor's treacherous uncle, Asen had managed to retain his position in Corinth -- no small thanks to the efforts of Manuel Laskaris, who had argued the man's cause to Antigonos tirelessly -- and now it was he who was presented with this ragged wanderer.

The ragged wanderer, however, was none other than George Sphrantzes. Sphrantzes had been Constantine XI's most faithful of companions -- 'My brother's favourite hound,' Demetrios had once remarked acidly -- and had fought during the Siege of Constantinople. On the last day, Sphrantzes had been inspecting the city's defences on his master's command, and had thus been saved from the carnage of the Emperor's last stand. Sphrantzes had been captured and sold as a slave in those bleak days that had followed but -- silver-tongued and still rich -- bought his freedom and had made the journey to the Morea, half-a-beggar.

Sphrantzes drank thirstily and ate greedily, inquiring after Thomas the Despot -- whom he sought to serve -- and much rejoicing when he learned that the young Emperor, Antigonos, was enthroned safely behind the walls of Mystras.

The Despot Thomas, Asen informed Sphrantzes, had once again taken up residence in Patras, although most of the Emperor's household -- Theophilos the tutor, Rhangabes the giant, the squadron of magnificent horsemen that had sailed from Naxos -- had travelled down to Mystras to attend upon Antigonos.

Sphrantzes was now outfitted with fresh clothing and a horse and set off across the Morea, bound for Mystras, where he would swear himself to his former master's son. Sphrantzes had been Constantine's chief ambassador, but he had also played a part in Antigonos' education and although duty had moulded him into a man of war, he was, much like Theophilos Palaiologos, a man more suited for gentle pursuits.

But Sphrantzes hurried journey held another gift: the presence of his son, John. John had been one of the children who had accompanied Antigonos to Naxos, a year past now, and was now -- according to Asen at least -- attending upon the Emperor in Mystras. Sphrantzes had another living child, a daughter named Thamar, who had remained in Constantinople and survived the Siege but the Turks had made her a slave and Sphrantzes had found himself unable to locate her.

Sphrantzes reunion with the Emperor and his son was tear-filled but joyous. He swore himself to the Emperor and wept over the death of Constantine, unashamed of his years before the packed court, and lamented that he had not died besides the man. He recounted to Antigonos and his attendees the days in the immediate aftermath of the Siege how he, injured, had been tended to by the Ottomans and then sold into slavery, how the city's churches had already begun to be reconsecrated into mosques -- something that was greeted with hisses of breath and godly proclamations -- and how Mehmed, curse his name, had made Constantinople his new capital.

Sombre silence followed. Antigonos, enthroned, his hands bunched into fists that whitened his knuckles, dreamed of vengeance. He accepted Sphrantzes into his service and absolved him of any guilt he might feel and then, immediately, asked the man to leave.

The Morea would not -- could not -- stand alone against the Sultan and his hordes. Sphrantzes would first head to Rome and appeal to the Pope for aid and then, on a year-long journey, would visit the cities of Italy and the kingdoms of Europe, imploring their leaders to send men to the Emperor's side.

Antigonos, meanwhile, visited the lords of the Morea and preached unity. The charming, dashing young Emperor won over the hearts of men easily. The sons and daughters of these lords were welcomed into the Emperor's service and soon Mystras was bustling and clamouring with young boys and girls who would, Antigonos' advisors hoped, form the basis of the army that retook Constantinople.

In 1455, a host of Hungarians, some five thousand strong, arrived overland in the Morea. The Hungarians had long been opponents of Islamic expansion and now they came to make a stand with the Roman Emperor. They were led by John Hunyadi -- an experienced commander and statesmen -- and his sons, Ladislaus and Matthias. Hunyadi, much like Sphrantzes, expressed his regret over the death of the Emperor and the fall of Constantinople, and vowed that he would not make the same mistake with Antigonos and the Morea.

In order to strengthen the bonds of friendship and alliance between the Hungarians and the Romans, Antigonos arranged that his cousin Helena be betrothed to Hunyadi's elder son, Ladislaus.

Finally, it seemed that the Morea had found her salvation.

And then news came from Corinth.

Mehmed had roused himself from Constantinople and entered the Morea.


And then news came from Corinth.

Mehmed had roused himself from Constantinople and entered the Morea.


Dark Angel

Above the ruined walls of Corinth, smoke clotted the skies. Ottoman cannons thundered and sent plumes of smoke spilling across the plains. Carrion birds circled, black and ominous. Surrounding the city was a sea of tents, siegeworks and men a veritable horde of heathens and their indentured Christian slave-warriors, all mastered by the young man they were calling the Conqueror.

Asen, Corinth's hard-nosed governor, had denied Mehmed's offer of honourable surrender. He had proven his worth a dozen times since -- holding the wall until the wall became a field of strewn rubble and then, after Mehmed's crack infantry brigades had poured into the city proper, he had turned the streets into a labyrinth fraught with deadends and kill-zones -- but had now been forced back into the Acrocorinth. The Acrocorinth was perhaps the Morea's strongest of fortresses sitting atop a huge spur of rock, protected by three circuit walls, and within these walls lay a spring of water. It was, Mehmed knew, almost impossible take.

And yet, the young Sultan had seized Constantinople with ferocity alone. He had broken Corinth's outer walls in a matter of weeks -- bombarding them unceasingly, mercilessly, undermining them, storming them with his veterans -- and would not be deterred.

Nonetheless, the Sultan sent another emissary up the hill to the gates of the Acrocorinth and offered a peaceful surrender. Asen reportedly shouted back that he would 'rather eat the leather of his boots than sell his soul to the Devil,' and sent the emissary tumbling down the hill, chased by a flurry of arrows.

Asen was gambling with fate. The Acrocorinth was virtually impregnable, but Asen knew that the entirety of Mehmed's land-wasting cannons would be brought against the walls. He was now counting upon the arrival of the Emperor and his army.

Before Corinth's outer walls had been breached, a messenger had arrived from Mystras promising aid Antigonos, it was said, was gathering together a host of Romans to confront his father's killer. Asen just had to hold out. It was the 3rd of February, 1455.

Mehmed, most humiliatingly, claimed himself to be the true Emperor of the Romans. Mehmed now ordered Karaja Pasha, the commanding officer of his European army, to take the Acrocorinth at all costs. It was a gruelling prospect. Even with the resources afforded to him -- the fifty or so cannons, the twenty thousand men, the fleet of sleek galleys that lay in Corinth's captured harbour -- Karaja was plagued by doubt.

The Conqueror then tasked another of his officers -- Zaganos Pasha, a tall, intimidating Albanian convert who was noted for his intelligence and his cruelty -- to ride into the Morea, with some four thousand cavalry, and bring the surrounding lands into submission. What followed was a brief, bloody reign of terror the thunder of hooves, the blaring of horns, the hissing of blades through the air.

Meanwhile, only twenty two miles away, the young Emperor was encamped in Nemea. Although his advisors -- particularly Theophilos and Rhangabes -- had pleaded with him to remain behind in Mystras, Antigonos had refused. Antigonos had mustered some twelve thousand men including Hunyadi's force of Hungarians. His uncle Thomas was leading two thousand out of Patras. Krokodeilos Kladas, a lord of the Morea, was on the road with a further nine hundred.

But how long could Antigonos wait? His spies reported that Mehmed outnumbered him but much like his father, Antigonos had never shirked from a challenge. On the site where Heracles reportedly slew the Nemean Lion, Antigonos called a council of war.

With Theophilos standing at one shoulder and Rhangabes at the other, Antigonos now made his intentions known come the next morning, the army at Nemea would make for Corinth. A squadron of six hundred horsemen under the command of Rhangabes and Ladislaus Hunyadi would form the van. He would, he declared to his captains, see this foreign interloper, this heathen dog, this slayer of his father, struck down. The Turks would rue the day they entered the Morea.

This was greeted with a ragged cheer. The men shared wine and tales and Antigonos retired to his pavilion.

The next morning, the 7th, the Christian host stirred itself. It was a cool morning in the Morea, dewdrops clinging to mail shirts and glistening upon the helmets puffs of silvery breath racing from between chattering teeth, and Antigonos now gave a speech -- no doubt written by the great word-smith Theophilos -- that mentioned, in the short, blunt, rude language that soldiers appreciated, his father Constantine, the brave and stiff defence of Constantinople, the misery that had been dealt upon the Romans after Mehmed had taken the city. Then, with a grin that was full of youth, he turned his attention to the Sultan's wives ridiculing them, telling his soldiers that surely they must have the faces and senses of donkeys to have laid with Mehmed.

He would water the ground with Ottoman blood, Antigonos pressed. He invoked God and together the army prayed those of the Eastern Christianity and the Western. The young Emperor implored them to find strength in one another and in their faith and then, just after eleven o'clock, the army lurched into a march.

It was a two-day tramp to Corinth. What did Antigonos feel on that journey? Excitement -- only the youthful, only the untested, felt excitement about the prospect of battle -- apprehension, surely, for he was advancing upon the man who had sacked his boyhood home and seen his parents slain, a man who was only ten years his elder and had yet accomplished so much more.

Even as Antigonos approached, Mehmed's hosts continued to assail the Acrocorinth with zealous, bloody-minded determination. Throughout the pale wintery days and the gloomy nights, Mehmed's bombardment continued.

Now news of the Emperor's march reached the Sultan. Invigorated, ready to see the last of the Romans humbled, he prepared his hosts for battle. He had defeated the father and now, he would defeat the son.


Aboriginal Australians

The original inhabitants of New Holland were the Aboriginal tribes who arrived in Australia about 40,000 to 60,000 years ago. Before European settlement there were an estimated 250,000 Aboriginal people in the region.

The Wodi Wodi people are the original custodians of the Illawarra region of South Nieuw Amsterdam. Speaking a variant of the Dharawal language, the Wodi Wodi peoples lived across a large stretch of land which was roughly surrounded by what is now known as Campbelltown, Shoalhaven River and Moss Vale. The Bundjalung people are the original custodians of parts of the northern coastal areas.

There are other Aboriginal peoples whose traditional lands are within what is now New Holland, including the Wiradjiri, Gamilaray, Yuin, Ngarigo, Gweagal, and Ngiyampaa peoples.

1788 English settlement and Dutch annexation

In 1770 Lieutenant James Cook was the first European to visit New Holland when he conducted a survey along the unmapped eastern coast of the continent of Australia. In his original journal(s) covering the survey, in triplicate to satisfy Admiralty Orders, Cook first named the land "New Wales", after Wales. However, in the copy held by the Admiralty, he "revised the wording" to "New Holland". In one of his early landings in April 1770 at Botany Bay, modern day New Holland, Cook was met with resistance from elders and warriors from the Gweagal tribe inhabitants. It is assumed that the shield in the British Museum today was recovered during this violent encounter. Rodney Kelley, descendant of Gweagal warrior Cooman, highlights that the overpowering weaponry that Cook's crew held is represented in the musket shot hole in the front of the recovered shield. The first British settlement was made by what is known in Australian history as the First Fleet this was led by Captain Arthur Phillip, who assumed the role of governor of the settlement on arrival in 1788 until 1792.

After years of chaos and anarchy after the overthrow of Governor William Bligh, a new governor, Lieutenant-Colonel (later Major-General) Lachlan Macquarie, was sent from Britain to reform the settlement in 1809. However, the British government in London couldn't care less about the broken colony. During this time, the Dutch began to colonize what is now Wilhelmina and were looking to control the British holdings in New South Wales.

After the Dutch government sent a treaty to Britain asking for the annexation of New South Wales, the British government agreed and ceded the colony to the Dutch. The Dutch renamed the colony New Holland and appointed Prince Frederick of Orange-Nassau as governor. During his time as governor, Prince Frederick commissioned the construction of roads, wharves, churches and public buildings, sent explorers out from Sydney and employed a planner to design the street layout of Nieuw Amsterdam.

Dutch colony

During the 19th century, large areas were annexed into the Colony. During the time of the Dutch annexation, New Holland only occupied the lands around Botany Bay and present-day Nieuw Sydney. During this time, the colony took its current shape through treaties with Native tribes and the British colonists. Following the Treaty of Waitangi, William Hobson declared Dutch sovereignty over New Zealand in 1840. In 1841 it was separated from the Colony of New Holland to form the new Colony of New Zealand, which was eventually annexed by Britain.

Charles Darwin visited Australia in January 1836 and in The Voyage of the Beagle (chapter 19 of the 11th edition) records his hesitations about and fascination with New Holland, including his speculations about the geological origin and formation of the great valleys, the aboriginal population, the situation of the convicts, and the future prospects of the country.


Mystras (also Mistra, Mystra and Mistras Greek: Μύστρας , Μυζηθράς Mizithras or Myzithras in the chronicle of Morea ) was a fortified town in Morea (the Peloponnesus), on Mt. Taygetos, near ancient Sparta. It lies approximately eight kilometres west of the modern town of Sparti.

Mystras became the seat of the Latin Despotate of Morea, a vassal state of the Latin Principality of Achaea, established in 1205 after the conquest of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. Prince William II Villehardouin, a grand-nephew of the Fourth Crusade historian Geoffrey of Villehardouin, built a palace there in 1249.

The Latin despotate was retaken in 1262 by Michael VIII Palaeologus after the recapture of Constantinople in 1261, when John Palaeologus, Michael's brother, ransomed William to the other Latin princes. It remained the capital of the despotate of Morea, ruled by relatives of the Byzantine emperor, although the Venetians still controlled the coast and the islands. Mystras and the rest of Morea became relatively prosperous after 1261, compared to the rest of the empire. Under the despot Theodore it became the second most important city in the empire after Constantinople, and William II's palace became the second residence of the emperors.

Mystras was also the last centre of Byzantine scholarship the Neoplatonist philosopher George Gemistos Plethon lived there until his death in 1452. He and other scholars based in Mystras influenced the Italian Renaissance, especially after he accompanied the emperor John VIII Palaeologus to Florence in 1439.

The last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI, was despot at Mystras before he came to the throne. Demetrius, the last despot of Morea, surrendered the city to the Ottoman emperor Mehmed II in 1460. The Venetians occupied it from 1687 to 1715, but otherwise the Ottomans held it until 1832, when it was abandoned by King Otto for the newly rebuilt Sparta.

In 1989 the ruins, including the fortress, palace, churches, and monasteries, were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Demetrios Palaiologos (Premysloides Dynasty)

Governor of Morea
July 10, 1368 – April 4, 1411

Imperial Senator of Morea
November 11, 1372 – January 14, 1410

Demetrios Palaiologos was one of most capable government official and governors of Arcadius II, Valerianus II and Valerianus III, personal friend of Arcadius II and Valerianus III, imperial senator and politician in post-Dark Age history.

He had vital role in reconstruction and restoration of Morea after Dark Age.

Demetrios Palaiologos was son of Antiochus Palaiologos, son of Octavius Palaiologos and thus great-grandson of Theodore Palaiologos, another very capable and talented government official during reign of Emperor Romanos V.

Antiochus wanted to sent Demetrios in to military training, but last mention about Antiochus is from September 1348, when he hastly asked governor of Greece, Nicodemus, for permission to leave Imperial Province of Greece (Nicodemus answer is not known).

Demetrios returning in 1359, when he at age of joined School of Scribes in Athens, local prestigeous school for administrators and clerks focusing on languages, diplomacy, legal code, Roman Law, commerce and administrative.

In 1364, passed exams with excellent degree and joined Marcus Terebius administrative in Morea. He was assigned to made report about situation in Morea. Report was firstly published in 1627. Based on Imperial Census of 1345, Demetrios written in his report this summary:

"Morea is in state ot total collapse, corruption and misery. Agricultural production is only tenth of 1345 level. Trade and commerce virtually cease exist. Total volume of trade exchange within Morea ports decreased from 40,000 tonns per year to 100 tonns per year (in better years). Of six ports, only two are still active. Population decreased from 124,899 to 17,306. Most of them living in half abandoned and ruined Mystras. Of 57 villages and towns, 49 are abandoned, rest partly abandoned. Woods are plagued by bandits and rebels, which preventing restoration of woodcutting and timber trade. Morea is heavily taxed by so-called Restoration Tax and so about third of their very low income is sent to imperial treasury, which with terrible corruption of remaining government officials, preventing any possibility of restoration, reconstruction and repopulation of Morea."

In secret appendix, Demetrios Palaiologos accused (with documents and proofs) Marcus Terebius for corruption and embezzlement of government property. In 1365, Demetrios was recall and lost all positions because of this, but in 1367, he was summoned to Constantinople on meeting with Emperor Arcadius II, who was pleasantly surprised by Demetrios capabilities and boldness.

Arcadius informed Demetrios that Marcus (and 75 other government officials) will be arrested for corruption and executed, as Arcadius initiated anti-bureaucratic and anti-corruption campaign in top ranks. He also asked Demetrios to candidate to governor position. After short hestitation, Demetrios accepted proposal and in Winter 1367, he joined Merchant Union, as he was supporter of free trade, industrialism and legalism.

Because of depopulation, election in Summer 1368 was simple direct election of two candidates.

  • Imperial Faction
  • Merchant Union
  • Ultraconservatives
  • Populares
  • Optimates
  • Liberal Party

Election caused some problems, as both candidates were Demetrios, but Komnenos very soon left Morea and returned to judicial career, include campaigns and hunts against corrupted officials.

On July 10, 1368, Demetrios Palaiologos was appointed as newly elected governor of Morea.

Administration of Morea

Demetrios Palaiologos implemented radical reforms and policy to reorganize and rebuilding Morea. First of his very controversial reforms was so-called "Scattered Tax". It was tax collected from people living outside of city Coron. City of Coron was designed as new capital city of province and this "Scattered Tax" had to "persuade" people to move from semi-abandoned villages and isolated towns, in to the Coron. To prevent rebellion and unrests, Demetrios borrowed 500,000 Hp ($25 million) from Palaiologos banking guilds to provide financial support to farmers and villagers moving to Coron.

At first, civilians and citizens were dissatisfied with this policy, but very soon, they found out that policy prevented bandit raids, as it was much easier to target village with few dozens to hundreds peasants, than to attack town with thousands people.

Second reform was foundation of Morea Guard. During "Governors Assembly" (irregular meeting event between Emperor and imperial governors), Demetrios asked for special permission to form own militia, because Imperial Army was overloaded with missions, tasks and combat in other parts of provinces, where banditism was worse, or provinces more imporant and valued. Emperor Arcadius II accepted on the condition that militia will be commanded by Emperor appointed officer and Emperor choosen "Spaniard". Mercenary commander from Hispania, who was experienced warrior, but who was known only under his nickname "Spaniard". Spaniard commanded, organized and trained Morea Guard, while Demetrios borrowed another money to arming militia (80,000 Hp/$4,000,000) and was able to form militia of 1,000 mediocre trained, poor armed, but well organized militiamen.

Third reform was "Scavengers Groups". Demetrios Palaiologos formed groups of so-called Scavengers to collect any and all resources, clothes, food, construction materials, weapons, tools and other supplies from abandoned towns and villages and under protection of Morea Guard, transport them in to Coron for rebuilding city. Scavengers Groups were important in restoration policy and supplied Coron with dozens tonns of food and other vital materials and supplies.

Meanwhile, "Guards" raided many bandit camps, killed numerous bandits, but also had high casualties. They lost 357 troops and killed about 944 bandits and rebels.

Fourth reform was economic reorganization, as Demetrios de facto forced peasants to became fishers, at least for first few years. In 1371, three years after start of his tenure, Coron was still impoverished, but living fishermen town with nearly 18,000 civilians and citizens (most of them living in harsh conditions, as homeless, in nearly ruined houses or quickly reconstructed houses), who produced 3,000 tonns of fishes (however, only about thousand was sent in to markets, most were consumed by locals). To improve production, Demetrios ordered building ponds, which increased fish production and he also initiated production of fish oil as another source of finances for Coron.

In 1373, Coron port was expanded, so ships sailing between various parts of Empire, could stop here for resupplying and rest. Corona collected fee 0.5 Hp per ton of ship cargo and yearly collected between 30,000-50,000 Hp. Two years later, Demetrios repaid most of debts and called engineers and surveyors to search in local mountains for ore.

In 1377, "Golden Age of Morea" has began, when surveyors found out coal deposits in Arcadia mountains in central Morea. After long and harsh negotiations, Demetrios Palaiologos failed in attempts to reach monopoly of coal mining on Morea, but Imperial Government granted Morea shares from coal production profits. About 7% of all profits were granted to Morea administrative. More important, demand for coal was high, because of weapons and armor production, gun powder production and introduction of more advanced blast furnaces. However, mining did not meant end of fishery or port services. Most of miners were slaves, or gathered miners from other provinces and only small portion of miners were Moreans.

As display of thanks, about 300 troops of Morea Guard were sent in to Arcadius Campaign of Caucasus, where they participated on victorious siege of Tbilisi.

Since 1378, because of financial relief, Demetrios Palaiologos focused on rebuilding infrastructure, restoring routes and trails, reconstruction projects, restoring administrative and bureaucracy and summoning civilians and citizens from other parts of Empire to Morea. With natural born, population of Morea increased from 18,000 in 1371 to 47,000 in 1379 (exclude slaves and miners from other provinces).

Coal production reached in 1380 about 8,000 tonns and was important for proto-industrialization of Athens and Southern Greece.

Aside of mining, population boom allowed Demetrios to restore timber production, build furniture workshops and export various goods and products from Morea. His policy follow industrialization sentiment of Merchant Union and Commercial Council of Morea, which represented wealthiest artisans, merchants and producers, was granted large portion of political power over Morea and their members were in Demetrios administrative and governor council.

Since 1384, governor elections of Morea were dismissed as Demetrios was sole candidate with overwhelming support. However, in 1386, group of ambitious former nobles and locals started conspiracy to enthrone him as King of the Morea. He ordered arrest and execute all conspirators and declared that he will step down, when he reach 60 years and also announced that he will not promote any of his relatives, to participate in election, as he was staunch supporter of meritocratic bureaucracy and not hereditary aristocracy.

Both Demetrios attempts to restore Corinth Canal construction (in 1386 and 1398) were unsuccessfull. Instead, during this period, Demetrios Palaiologos builded about 300km of paved roads through Morea to Athens and other places to improve trade and transport.

In 1390, Demetrios initiated project of "Morea Fortress", heavily fortified base for Imperial Army to improve defense capabilities of Morea. His cousin, Supreme Stratégos Marius Palaiologos, supervise construction and fortification of the base and in 1397, Morea Fortress hosted garrison of 2,500 troops and cavalry.

In 1394, Morea was visited by Ibn Khaldun, who praised local development, improvements and successes and participation of Morea on overall imperial economy, but criticized too strong state and governor influence on economics and also criticized local high taxes. Ibn Khaldun remarks on Morea participation frustrated many Moreans, include Demetrios, because coal mining production in Morea were not counted in Morea economy, but in Greece economy and because of that, Morea was still officially mid-income province, rather than high-income province.

In 1396, Demetrios Palaiologos presented petition to Emperor Valerianus III to change counting of mining production and transfer it in to Morea economic value. Emperor accepted and in 1397, economy of Greece officially fall by 6%, while economy of Morea increased by 17%, but it was mostly statistical change. However, Morea reached self-confidence to new expansion and improvements.

Forge of Iron and Coal Collegium of Morea, 1390. Similar forges supplied markets in Morea and southern Greece.

Year later, people of Morea feasted to celebrate 30-years of Demetrios governorate and Emperor Valerianus III participated on feast, where he praised Demetrios role and called him "good friend and great servant of our Empire".

In 1403, Morea was still depopulated in comparison to pre-Dark Age era, but it had higher economic output and higher income per capita, than it that time. Population reached 92,000 in 1407 and 100,000 in 1409, year before Demetrios left position of senator and two years before leaving position of governor.

In this time, Demetrios appointed many young, but capable and well educated officials, merchants, experts and engineers to many management positions. His last goal in his position was to secure continuation of his policy and prosperity of Morea.

In 1410, Moreans elected Janis Ardapis as new senator of Morea and in 1411, Demetrios left governor position and Morean elected Nicolaos Vatatzes to governor position. In last years of his life, Demetrios focused on charity and building social services on Morea. He financed building three orphanages for children of miners, six local clinics and two schools (School of Arts and School of Labour focused on artisanry, trade and production).

Abilities [ edit | edit source ]

The Lady of Spells could cast any spell ever known at maximum level, one offensive and one defensive spell per minute. The only exceptions to this were if she cast wish, time stop, alter reality, or gate, which required enough concentration that no other spell could be cast in combination. ΐ] ⎜] She could shape change at will and could grant other creatures spell knowledge by touching them. ⎜] She controlled and provided the Weave, allowing (relatively) safe access to the power of raw magic to mortal spellcasters and magical craftsmen. Γ] ⎜]


Sparta was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the Eurotas River in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. Around 650 BC, it rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Greece.

Given its military pre-eminence, Sparta was recognized as the overall leader of the combined Greek forces during the Greco-Persian Wars. Between 431 and 404 BC, Sparta was the principal enemy of Athens during the Peloponnesian War, from which it emerged victorious, though at great cost of lives lost. Sparta's defeat by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC ended Sparta's prominent role in Greece. However, it maintained its political independence until the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC. It then underwent a long period of decline, especially in the Middle Ages, when many Spartans moved to live in Mystras. Modern Sparta is the capital of the Greek regional unit of Laconia and a center for the processing of goods such as citrus and olives.

Sparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which completely focused on military training and excellence. Its inhabitants were classified as Spartiates (Spartan citizens, who enjoyed full rights), mothakes (non-Spartan free men raised as Spartans), perioikoi (freedmen), and helots (state-owned serfs, enslaved non-Spartan local population). Spartiates underwent the rigorous agoge training and education regimen, and Spartan phalanges were widely considered to be among the best in battle. Spartan women enjoyed considerably more rights and equality to men than elsewhere in the classical world.

Sparta was the subject of fascination in its own day, as well as in the West following the revival of classical learning. This love or admiration of Sparta is known as Laconism or Laconophilia. At its peak around 500 BC the size of the city would have been some 20,000 – 35,000 free residents, plus numerous helots and perioikoi (“dwellers around”). At 40,000 – 50,000 it was one of the largest Greek cities however, according to Thucydides, the population of Athens in 431 BC was 360,000 – 610,000, making it unlikely that Athens was smaller than Sparta in 5th century BC. The French classicist François Ollier in his 1933 book Le mirage spartiate ("The Spartan Mirage") warned that a major scholarly problem regarding Sparta is that all the surviving accounts of Sparta were written by non-Spartans who often presented an excessively idealized image of Sparta. Ollier's theory of the "Spartan mirage" has been widely accepted by scholars.

The Undying Empire: A Trebizond Timeline

The lamps have gone out in Georgia, and we will not see them lit again in the lifetimes of many.

Not much to say about the future of Georgia in the next 50-100 years beyond what's been said already except that it will probably be terrible for the Georgians themselves. Not sure how far the Nogai Khan will actually manage to get - there's an assassin after him, and still a lot of mountainous regions between here and Trebizond - but the future warlordism is already out of the bag.

As mentioned by some others in prior, this may well be the seeds of Trebizond subsuming Georgia in the coming centuries. Even if we outrule the idea of a direct conquest of fractured Georgian principalities (which could also happen), it wouldn't be hard at all for the empire to establish vassalage over the exiled Georgian royal line and gradually restore their territories under Komnenian suzerainty. The mentioned friendship between the Ponts and Kartvelians in the narrative of the story could imply this, though just as easily (assuming nationalism or something like it emerges, which isn't a necessity a by any means) it could imply the Trapezuntines restoring Georgia as an ally in the future.

None of that is probably relevant in the near term, though - the very much still threatening Nogai forces, to say nothing of the Karamanids, are of greater narrative import in the here and now. I do expect David will be forced to draw either more heavily or fully on those bandon reserves mentioned earlier, and while I think it prevents anything resembling a Karamanid conquest of Trebizond, the war will still probably be terrible.









The lamps have gone out in Georgia, and we will not see them lit again in the lifetimes of many.

Not much to say about the future of Georgia in the next 50-100 years beyond what's been said already except that it will probably be terrible for the Georgians themselves. Not sure how far the Nogai Khan will actually manage to get - there's an assassin after him, and still a lot of mountainous regions between here and Trebizond - but the future warlordism is already out of the bag.



If I may ask, what would the quote "I will be your champion." be in French?


To hell with it, I'm running out of time.

Part XLV: An Overview of the Balkans (1500-1520)

The Balkan Peninsula in 1520 was radically changed from what it had been a mere two decades before. The Ottoman Empire, which had once dominated the region and projected power far beyond its geographical limits, had been severely reduced by a bloody civil war between the sultan and his vizier, and was essentially ripe for the picking for any power strong enough to take advantage. The Moreotes, previously beset by corruption and internal strife, had managed to reform and were now in a much stronger possession both internally and externally, having defeated the Thessalians in a regional conflict, effectively switching the positions of the two rival states. The Venetians, who had once seemed to be on the verge of being driven from the region, had consolidated their Italian holdings and now were ready to face down the Turks once again. Albania had managed to finally reunify under Jozë the Great, while Epirus is a Moreote vassal in all but name. The Danubian principalities threw off the Ottoman yoke during the civil war, and now are unified under Moldovan rule, presenting a united front against their enemies to both the north and south. Finally, the Hungarians and Serbs loom over the Peninsula, seemingly ready to drive the Turks from Europe for once and for all.

The largest and most devastating of the conflicts which had wracked the Balkans during the first two decades of the 16th Century was the Second Ottoman Civil War, fought over the increasing power of Greek Muslims within the imperial chancellery and pitting the sultan and his grand vizier against each other. After six years of bloody war, the grand vizier had emerged victorious after Mehmed III fell in battle trying to storm the walls of Salonika it was a Pyrrhic victory. In Europe, where the bulk of the conflict was fought, the constant marching of armies had caused waves of famines and disease outbreaks to ravage the countryside, in addition to the hundreds of Greek villages that had been massacred by the Turks, and vice versa. Nearly a million people were dead, a benchmark that would be hit and eclipsed by the anti-Turk purges that would follow the conflict, as the vengeful Greek militias slew any Turk they found. Not only did this devastate the imperial bureaucracy by killing hundreds of thousands of tax payers and potential recruits, it also caused a massive refugee problem. Turks and Turkmen fleeing reprisal killings stampeded across the Epirote and Albanian borders, while waves of Greeks fled south into Thessalia or sailed across the Aegean to safety in the Morea or in Venetian-held islands and thousands of Slavs fled into Hungarian Serbia or crossed the Danube into Wallachian and Moldovan territory. These population movements would have long-lasting impacts, but none of them were more immediately apparent than the territorial changes which had occurred during the national schism. The Greeks of Bithynia had risen up and, with the help of the Trapezuntines, proclaimed the restoration of the Empire of Nikaia, which subsequently entered into personal union with the aforementioned Greek empire. The Neo-Rûmites[1] had overrun most of Ottoman Anatolia and driven the Turkmen who lived there into eastward exile, while the minor Greek states had expanded inland at the expense of the Sublime Porte. Ebülhayr Paşa was unable to reverse any of these losses given the weakened state of his, I mean Mustafa III’s, realm, and so could do little but glare ominously at the western states.

In the far south of the peninsula, the Palaiologian Empire had finally righted itself after decades of decline. The Despotate of Morea had suffered from many of the problems which had beset and ultimately caused the downfall of the late Byzantine Empire, which had nearly caused the statelet to fall itself. Throughout the 15th Century, it had been beset by revolts by the overtaxed peasantry, the undertaxed nobility and the overpaid Albanian mercenaries who made up a large portion of the despot’s army. It was only with the ascension of Andronikos I in 1512 that these issues would be done away with. Andronikos correctly identified the source of so many of his realm’s problems, namely that the nobility paid next to nothing in taxes, and resolved to move against this issue so that it would not hamper the Despotate’s future. At this time, the nobility were divided into three groups: the Latins, who were feudal vassals of Mystras in every sense of the word the Old Pronoiai, descendants of the Greeks who had helped reconquer the peninsula from the Latins and who were usually the most loyal and the New Pronoiai, who were the descendants of the horde of refugees, many of them nobility, who had poured into the region after the Fall of Constantinople. Over the following years, Andronikos would turn the New Pronoiai against the other two by advancing them domestically and in court at the expense of the others, which soon made them the object of much resentment by the other two groups. Then, in 1514, when he ‘discovered’ a plot against him by the New Pronoiai, the Latins and the Old Pronoiai were more than willing to help him reduce the New Pronoiai, who were almost universally stripped of their titles and land. That these lands and titles were not given to the old nobility but instead to lowborn loyalists went mostly unnoticed. He then did the same with the Latins, only to similarly abandon them in 1518 on the pretext of ‘collusion with the Epirotes’, who held a similar heritage and more importantly were hostile to Mystras due to the events of the War of the Three Leagues. With the nobility thus either crushed or significantly reduced in power and number, he was able to reform the Despotate’ bureaucracy and institute a more balanced tax system, which relieved the burden on many of the perioikoi and allowed the army and navy to be expanded.

Of course, he had not been completely focused on domestic policies. He had also taken the field against the Thessalians in 1513, while their overlords were busy with their civil war. The Thessalians, ruled by Ioannes II, had neglected everything martial except their southern border defenses on the presumption that no-one would be willing to risk the wrath of the Sublime Porte over something so minor as Thessaly. As such, they were caught completely flat-footed when Andronikos led an army of some 7,000 men across the border in the spring of 1513 and blew a hole the size of a small city through their akritai. Before Ioannes could muster a response force, the Moreotes had advanced as far as Lamia, which they quickly reduced with a series of artillery barrages. The two despots met at the field of Philiadona a few weeks later, where the Moreotes outnumbered the Thessalians by two thousand men. The resulting battle was decidedly one-sided, as the Thessalian left routed and fled the field before they had even joined melee with the Moreotes, and were followed by most of the army, which was swiftly ridden down and captured by Andronikos among the captured was Despot Ioannes. Out of a sense of Christian charity (and the desire to not provoke the Ottomans should they manage to pull out of their death spiral) Andronikos only annexed all of Boeotia and Phthotis, instead choosing to impose a crippling amount of tribute payments on the Thessalians to keep them from rebuilding enough to threaten him. He then retired back to Mystras, leaving his cousin Konstantinos to oversee the integration of the new conquests. He also participated in the War of the Three Leagues’ Epirote theater, annexing several villages along the coast after capturing them without a fight.

Further north, Albania had, of all things, stabilized. The massive (comparatively) civil wars which had wracked the small principality since the death of Skanderbeg in the 1460s had prevented Albania from advancing beyond anything other than its lowly state as a Venetian vassal. The many, many noble houses which had been unified by the great Kastoriti had immediately collapsed into infighting, turning Albania from a principality into a confederation of warring fiefdoms that happened to share the same name. More than two dozen kings from a dozen different houses had reigned during the fifty-year-long period of anarchy, and none of them had been able to control the entirety of the small but mountainous entity. The savior of Albania would not come from one of the noble houses but instead from the lowest ranks of society.

Jozë Shkozë[2] was born to a Greek slave woman and an Albanian tenant farmer along the Ottoman border in 1488, a situation that must have seemed like it couldn’t have gotten worse. Then Jozë was kidnapped by Turkish slavers in 1502, almost certainly to wind up dead or slaving away in some far-flung part of the empire. Instead, he managed to escape somewhere in the wilds of Thrake and, with nowhere else to go, managed to lie his way into the Ottoman army. He advanced rapidly through the ranks of the army, proving to have a natural talent for war. He would fight in Ebülhayr Paşa’s campaigns against Epirus and the border wars with the Danubian Principalities and the Karamanids, eventually working his way up to the commander of a unit of two hundred akinji cavalry[3] stationed on the eastern frontier. With the outbreak of the civil war, Shkozë and his men were transferred westward where they spent several years fighting Mehmedist forces in the Albanian borderlands. In 1516, when fighting suddenly shifted westwards, Shkozë was able to convince his and another unit of akinji to desert across the border. Returning to his old haunts, he saw an opportunity to take power in the anarchic Albania. He would ally with Gjon Zevisi, who ruled much of the south, and with their help he would conquer the other Albanian statelets in a four-year-long lightning campaign. By making common cause with many of the minor noble families and local monasteries, he was able to break the power of the major families and remove the threat they posed to his rule. In 1520, he inherited Zenevisi’s lands through marriage to his daughter, an intelligent and capable woman named Afërdita, and finally felt secure enough to proclaim himself Prince of Albania, his capital at Berat.

And, finally, there is Hungary. Once the Christian bulwark of the east, the union of the three kingdoms has fallen upon hard times as of late. No-one with eyes and half a brain could deny that Matthew the Raven was one of the greatest kings of his time, but the succession that he left behind upon his death in 1508 was anything but. He had spent much of his reign involved in centralizing efforts that had steadily eroded the power of the nobility across all three of his kingdoms, but he had failed to take into account that many of the magnates would have a grudge against him when he named his like minded eldest son, Ladislaus VII, as his heir and successor. When Ladislaus took the throne in his own right, his supposed illegitimacy--recall that it was he who was born scant months after the end of Alexandros II of Trapezous’ time in Esztergom--as well as his youth and inexperience made him the target of a conspiracy to elevate Julius Hunyadi, a distant cousin of Ladislaus’, to the throne. When word of this conspiracy reached the king, he attempted to have all of the plotters arrested, but this leaked and several of them were able to escape his grasp. Julius was one of them, and the resulting civil war lasted for three years.

Croatia and Serbia backed Julius the most ardently, as he was an experienced commander and they wished for a strong soldier-king to protect them from the Ottomans, who still loomed large at the time. Because of this, the thick of the fighting took place in Lower Hungary, which like the Ottoman Balkans later would be devastated because of the back-and-forth of armies across its fields. While Ladislaus held the advantage at the beginning of the conflict because of the support of Hungary proper, many of the magnates would defect over to Julius as time wore on. The death blow for the king would come with the defection of the majority of the Black Army to Julius in 1511, as many of their captains believed he would be a better ruler and better paymaster. Recognizing that victory was now beyond his grasp, Ladislaus made preparations to flee with the remnants of the Black Army. He set fire to Eszetergom and Pest as a final act of defiance before withdrawing eastward into Austria, which was still part of the Holy Roman Empire. He appealed to Bogislaw to protect him, his vassal, from the predations of a foreign king, i.e. Julius, and Bogislaw, who had long been troubled by the influence the Hungarians wielded in the region, agreed. Julius was warned away from Austria, and ultimately concluded it wasn’t worth risking his crowns for and halted at the border.

In the following years, Julius would turn his attention southwards, towards the Ottoman holdings in the Balkans. He did not intervene directly during the civil war, as he feared that the warring factions would come together to drive out the foreign invader, but instead spent the time winning the Balkan principalities to his cause, as they too hated the Turks. Several of the other rulers were eager to join battle immediately, but Julius advised caution--both because of fears of Turkish solidarity and because of his own need to deal with the restive magnate sin Hungary who felt that since they had brought him to the throne, he ought to be beholden to them. He hoped to emulate John I’s invasion of the Balkans with the (First) Holy League, and so reached out to many of the other Balkan rulers. The Venetians and Epirotes were busy, for obvious reasons, but the Albanians, newly reunited under Shkozë, and the Moreotes, under Andronikos, were both willing to take up the sword. Moldova, under the skilled and widely-known prince Bogdan the Blind, was in from the start, as he wished to undo the insulting tribute which the Turks had once levied upon his state. The last thing he wished to acquire--a Papal bull of crusade--was short in coming, however. Hyginus was occupied with events in Italy and felt that promulgating such a crusade could weaken his position at a crucial moment by sending the most devout of his followers to die in the Balkans. As such, he did not actually call for a crusade but instead sent a missive allowing Julius to proclaim a crusade himself. In March 1521, the Hungarian king did so, marking the beginning of the War of the Second Holy League.

[1] The Karamanid bey Bayezid II had proclaimed the restoration of the Sultanate of Rûm in 1502, taking the regnal name Kayqubad IV.
[2] This is one of the names proposed as the birth name of Mimar Sinan, a fairly prominent Ottoman general of probably Albanian descent. Whether or not he was an Albanian is unknown--his birth ethnicity is speculated to be everything from Armenian to Greek to Turkish to Albanian--but the argument for Albanianism is the one which I find most convincing.
[3] Akinji were Ottoman light cavalry, primarily used for scouting and gathering supplies.


Part XLVII: The War of the Second Holy League (1521-1522)

As King Julius of Hungary and his allies streamed across the Ottoman Empire’s northern and western frontiers, it seemed as if that venerable dynasty was facing its deathblow. The once-proud state had been devastated by years of civil war, attacks from the east and west, and its coffers and barracks lay fallow. The grand vizier couldn’t muster more than a few thousand men to defend his realm, and its final demise seemed inevitable as hordes of invaders streamed towards the City of the World’s Desire. However, with his back against the wall and little left to lose, Ebülhayr Paşa would use every resource available to him, pulling out all the stops he could to take as many of the Crusaders down with him as he could.

The Ottoman Empire in Europe could be divided into three rough geographic regions, a fact which the Crusaders had taken into account. The Bulgarian plains, stretching across the Danube banks north of the Balkan Mountains, were thinly populated thanks to several decades of constant back-and-forth raiding and the losses of the Second Ottoman Civil War and thus provided a direct route towards the capital that could only be easily halted by the mountains themselves. Further south, the plains of Thrake were the heartland of the Ottoman state and could only be accessed through the passes north and west, and thus could be fairly easily defended. And, of course, the west was dominated by mountains and river valleys that in some ways resembled the rough countries of the Caucasus. Of course, this latter region still played host to a number of independent-minded Vlach bands and hundreds of Turkish brigands and highwaymen who had been forced out of their homes by Ebülhayr Paşa’s purges. The plan, as outlined by the members of the League in the weeks leading up to the invasion, was fairly simple. Julius and Bogdan the Blind would attack into Bulgaria, quickly securing the Danube basin and pushing southwards to the mountains, where they would fight through to the mountains, which they would hold and secure as a launching point for an offensive the next year. Meanwhile, the Albanians and Moreotes would invade the west, hopefully making common cause with the Turkish hold-outs and the Vlachs of the region against the Sublime Porte. If everything went according to plan, then by the end of the year they would have pushed to the eastern edge of the Rhodopes and secured everything west of there, possibly including Salonika as well. As soon as the war began, the Hungarian and Moreote fleets would strike into the Aegean[1], clearing it of Ottoman ships, while the Moldovans would perform a similar strike against Ottoman fleets in the Black Sea, possibly with Trapezuntine help if it could be secured. The goal of this naval offensive was to cut the supply lines between Europe and Asia, which would significantly reduce the amount of food and men the Sublime Porte could raise to fight in the former region and lengthen the time it took to move men from the east into the west. If everything went off without a hitch, a Crusader army would be sitting in Constantinople by the autumn of 1522. It was understandably believed that the Ottomans would be unable to muster enough of an army to pose a serious threat to any of the armies, as they were exhausted from the civil war and what men remained under arms were scattered across the Ottoman realm.

The Ottoman plan was far less well-defined. Ebülhayr Paşa had been caught flat-footed by the Crusader attack, and was left scrambling to muster a response. As Julius and his confederates had suspected, the Ottoman army was in shambles after the civil war, and there were less than 10,000 men scattered across the entirety of the Empire, many of them engaged in struggle against Turkish diehards[2] in the remote and difficult-to-fight-in areas. Even worse, the Ottomans were teetering on bankruptcy because of the loss of tax revenues, so he couldn’t exactly just hire mercenaries to make up for it. The plan which the grand vizier created was panic-driven and uninspiring, but it might be enough to keep his state afloat. His plan was to abandon most of the Bulgarian plains, bar only a few hardened fortresses which could be used to slow down the Crusader advance. The Ottomans would fight on in the west, using the ridges and valleys of the Lower Balkans as defensive bulwarks against the Albanians and the Moreotes, who he (rightfully) saw as the weak links in the alliance against him. While the Crusaders were being slowed down there, he would scrape together as many men as he could by whatever means possible--conscription and rushed training, the ‘borrowing’ of mamluks, taking loans from any available source to raise mercenaries--to meet them on the field of battle. He had little faith in this plan, but he was driven by desperation and a belief that God would stand with him against the infidels. Of course, God helps those who help themselves, so he knew he would have to make the best of a bad situation to receive the favor of the divine. As such, he swallowed his pride and several decades of diplomatic fiascos and wrote to one of his coreligionists….

At sea, the Crusaders were victorious against the Ottomans on a scale that no-one had dared to imagine. Ebülhayr Paşa had sent much of the Ottoman fleet down the coast of the Aegeean to sealift men and supplies from his territories around Smyrne, but had done so just before word of the putting out of large fleets from Moldova and Nafplion reached him. While he desperately tried to recall this armada, they continued to lumber down the coast. The Moreotes and Hungarians quickly caught word of this embarking from sympathetic islanders and they, along with several dozen Hospitaller ships who were glad to have helped in the struggle against the infidels, vectored onto the Ottoman armada. At the Battle of the Aignoussa Strait in late February, the Turkish fleet was caught off-guard and utterly destroyed. As the ships passed between the Aignoussa Islands between Khios and the mainland, a Hungarian fleet appeared in their rear, driving them forward with thunderous cannons. The naval paşa broke off several of his warships to defend against this attack, denuding the rest of the fleet just in time for the Moreote and Hospitaller fleets to appear at the front of the formation. With their forces split, the Turkish transports were ravaged by the combined arms of the Orthodox and the Catholics, with some twenty-seven being sunk, eleven captured and six driven aground on the islands, whence their crews were promptly slaughtered by the islanders or died of thirst some time later. The allies, in comparison, lost only four Hungarian galleys[3], two Moreote galleys, a Moreote galleass and no Hospitaller ships, effectively crippling the Ottoman fleet. The crusaders would then be able to blockade the coasts of the Ottoman Empire to further cripple their economy and ability to move troops. The Moldovans won a smaller battle in the Black Sea quite handily a few weeks later, confining the Ottomans to the Sea of Marmora alone.

Meanwhile, on land, the Crusaders were making swift advances against the forces of the Sublime Porte. The Moldovans had a great deal of experience in forcing crossings of the Danube thanks to their years of raiding against the infidels, and as such were able to secure a half-dozen bridgeheads and fording points across the Great River within a few weeks of the invasion beginning. As such, the commander of the 3,000-strong force of light cavalry and skirmishers that the vizier had sent to delay the advance of the enemy into Bulgaria, Alexandros Paşa, turned his attention against the Moldovans. The Ottoman force attacked and successfully defeated the Moldovan force at Kamaka (OTL Oryahovo), driving them back into the river, but this would prove to be a Pyrrhic victory. While Alexandros Paşa and his men were busy fighting off the Moldovans, they failed to notice or stop the large Serbo-Hungarian army--some 25,000 men under Julius himself--emerging onto the plains from the west. Julius fell upon the Ottoman army like a bolt from on high, routing the Ottomans with heavy casualties and capturing the Paşa himself. With the chief force sent to stop him completely annihilated, Julius and Bogdan would spend the following weeks securing the Bulgarian plains and the passes across the Balkan Range. The Danube essentially acted as a tether, carrying in addition to its usual trading barges the chain of boats that kept the Moldovan and Serbo-Hungarian force fed and stocked. The greatest impact of this was that it allowed the Crusaders to remain free from the pillaging and looting that usually defined military campaigns of this period, which greatly endeared them to the local Bulgarians and gave them a leg up over the Turks. By these manners, the entirety of the Bulgarian plain had been secured within a few months. By the end of July, Julius sat on the northern end of the Gabrovo Pass, mulling over an offensive into Thrake itself.

You see, while the Crusaders were making excellent time in the north, the Albanians and the Moreotes were doing anything but. Both Andronikos and Jozë had hoped that the local irregulars would aid them in their drive against Constantinople, but in truth they did anything but. The Turkish bandits of the western mountains had concluded that while Ebülhayr Paşa hated them and would try to kill them all, the infidels would try to do the same thing and, even worse, try to force them to adopt their heathen faith. As such, many of the Turks and Turkmen had taken up arms against both groups, dramatically slowing the advance of allied forces in the west. Andronikos was forced to contend with constant harassment against his supply lines as he pushed northwards into Thessalia, which forced him to split off large sections of his army to fend off these raiders. Jozë, meanwhile, switched tack entirely and struck directly against the Turkish bandits as well as the Ottoman garrisons of the region itself, using the excellent mobility of his light horsemen and highlander infantry to cordon off regions of the frontier and beat them down, which would, after several months, allow him to clear a path through the border zone into the Ottoman heartland. Because of these delays, the western allies were completely out of position by midsummer, the Moreotes having failed to even reach the Giannitsa swamps west of Salonika, which was their goal for the end of May, while the Albanians had yet to reach the Axios Valley, which was also their goal.

With the western allies utterly failing to hold up their end of the plan, Julius was left to contemplate a strike against Constantinople itself. After all, the Ottomans were quite weak as was, seemingly having devoted all of their forces to holding the western mountains against the Albanians and the Moreotes. If he trusted the plan, then it was entirely possible his weaker allies could be defeated piecemeal, which would allow the forces of the false prophet to turn their full forces to him, making it a much tougher fight than it would be otherwise. He should strike now while the opportunity was available to him and there was nothing between him and the City of the World’s Desire, not wait until the opportunity to achieve the dream of so many kings passed from him. Bogdan was unwilling, feeling that they should wait for the certainty of victory, which Julius considered to be foolhardy at best. The road before them was open! And so, in August 1521, Julius crossed the mountains with his army, bound for the City of Constantine itself.

However, the king had made one fatal miscalculation: There was in fact an Ottoman army present in Thrake, a comparatively small force of 11,000 that Ebülhayr Paşa had scraped together from conscripts, mercenaries and garrison forces. He had managed to secure loans from a number of Armenian banking houses, and with this he had hired several thousand Turkmen from Anatolia to supplement the small force of native troops that he had raised. This was no great army, but it was still an army and a somewhat coherent one that could, under the right circumstances, pose a threat to the Hungarian invasion force. Ebülhayr Paşa was a cagey son-of-a-bitch, and as he anxiously followed the progression of Julius and his army into Thrake, he knew that he had an opportunity for a long-odds victory if he played his cards right. The future of Islam in Europe was riding on the outcome of this campaign, and he was determined to stand strong.

As Julius advanced deep into Thrake, he met surprisingly little resistance. As he advanced, the militias and raiding forces that he had been expecting vanished in full retreat, universally yielding the field of battle to the Crusaders. Across the mountains now, the Hungarians didn’t even try to keep up the Danube supply chain, instead pillaging as they went. This both weakened their own ability to resupply and angered the locals, which led to a revival of the Greek self-defense militias of the civil war, who now fought alongside the Sublime Porte to drive out their coreligionists. Julius was taking minor but constant losses from these raiders, which he effectively ignored in favor of a constant advance. He could smell blood in the water, he wasn’t going to give up now when he was so close to victory. By the time he had reached Edirne, his men were exhausted and considerably fewer in number, as well as surrounded by several hundred angry riders who were determined to achieve revenge for their ruined homes, but he paid this no mind. When word reached him that Ebülhayr Paşa and an army were gathered at Ergenoupoli[4] (OTL Uzunkopru), he decided to engage and try to crush the Ottoman army in hopes that he could advance to and winter before or within the walls of Constantinople.

After several days of maneuvering, the Hungarian and the Greco-Ottoman army met along a ridge line several dozen miles north of Ergenoupoli, with Ebülhayr Paşa holding the defensive position atop the ridge. He knew his force was fragile, and was hoping that the Hungarians would exhaust themselves on uphill charges against his somewhat fortified position, after which they could be ground down by the Turkmen and by the Greek irregulars. Julius, meanwhile, hoped to pin down the Ottoman forces atop the ridge with his center and right, then circle around with his overloaded left to pin them down and crush them[5]. The night before the battle, both armies were comforted by their respective clergy, urging valor to them all.

That dawn, on the morning of September 28, Julius deployed his forces in the pre-dawn chill, hoping to catch the Ottomans off guard with an early morning attack. As the sun split the sky, the Hungarians advanced against the Turkish host, moving quickly up the ridge. However Ebülhayr Paşa had suspected that something like this would happen and so had mustered his men even earlier, successfully catching the Hungarians by total surprise. As the Crusaders plowed into the Ottoman pike hedges, their lines soon descended into chaos. With the sun rising at the Ottoman back, their attackers were severely impaired, and so many of them began to fire wildly with their crossbows and arquebuses. Julius was among his men, rallying them and pushing them forward, where they were beginning to push through the Ottoman center as the demoralized conscripts proved unable to hold against the prime of the Black Army. Ebülhayr Paşa too joined the fray in person, knowing that the crucial moment of the battle was at hand. The air was filled with screams and gunshots and the clamor of battle, making it almost impossible to hear shouted orders, and the Crusaders struggled to see even the men beside them. Under these circumstances, it is entirely understandable that an inexperienced soldier mistook King Julius, who was riding horizontally across the breadth of his army, for an Ottoman commander. The Hungarian monarch was knocked from his saddle by a billhook and dragged under the hooves of his horse until it too was killed and fell upon him, finally killing him. With their leader dead, the Hungarians began to falter, and Ebülhayr Paşa was able to lead his own left into the weak Hungarian right and shatter it, causing them to rout. The rest of the Crusader line soon followed, and Ebülhayr Paşa ordered the horsemen to begin their pursuit. The Serbo-Hungarians would flee in all directions, but only a handful of the 15,000 men who had taken the field that day would escape back across the frontier into Christian lands.

The impacts of Ergenoupoli were immense. The Serbo-Hungarian forces withdrew from their positions south of the Balkans, eventually retreating back across the pre-war border with only a few minor areas along the frontier still holding. As soon as word of Julius’ death reached Krakow, Sigismund the Prussian, who had inherited the titles of Poland Lithuania after Jan Olbracht’s death, proclaimed himself the rightful King of Hungary, Croatia and Serbia and began making preparations for an invasion of the Pannonian lowlands the following spring. Many of the Hungarian magnates also revolted in support of him, as they believed that a distant king across the mountains would be preferable to any other potential ruler. The sudden exit of the Hungarians, who had been the lynchpin of the Second Holy League, caused the organization to crumble. Sensing an opportunity to get while the getting was good, Andronikos sued for peace with the Ottomans. Ebülhayr Paşa was more focused with events playing out elsewhere and so was willing to give up the former Despotate of Thessalia to the Moreotes, an unexpected windfall. The Moldovans, meanwhile, would negotiate with the Ottomans for territorial and commercial gains. The Ottomans were on the upswing but were still quite fragile, so Ebülhayr Paşa didn’t want to risk carrying on such a war indefinitely. The Moldovans would annex several fortresses along the banks of the Danube to secure their control of the river trade, but it was much less than what Bogdan had aspired to before the war began.

However, despite these defections, Albania stood alone against the Ottomans. Even as peace settled over most of the region, the Albanian-Ottoman Wars had just begun….

[1] Hungary (or more accurately, Croatia) had a number of galleys that had been built up to help project power in the Aegean. Albania, in contrast, lacked ports thanks to the extensive Venetian holdings in the area, and so were constricted to wars on land.
[2] Ebülhayr Paşa had never been able to completely secure much of the frontier zone, and many of the Turkish refugees and survivors in the region had taken up the mantle of ghazi to raid against those who they considered to be heretical puppets of the decadent and incompetent Greeks. Some of them picked up the mystical Sufi orders who also opposed the Greeks, and this would be the genesis of Sufism in the Balkans for all intents and purposes.
[3] Hungary had only a few galleys with little experience, and as they were facing the actual warships they took the brunt of the losses in the battle.
[4] The town was named Ergen Kopru by the Turks, but given its majority Greek status and the pro-Greek slant of the regime in Konstantinople, it reverted to a Hellenized version after Ebülhayr Paşa’s victory.
[5] ‘Overloading’ means assigning more forces to one flank than the center and/or other flank, similar to the flank overloading that the Greek hoplites performed during the Classical and Hellenistic Periods.

Site Information

Acrocorinth Castle

Acrocorinth is a typical example of castle architecture built in successive phases, as it was the fortified citadel of both ancient and medieval Corinth.

The first phase in the history of the walls dates to the 7th-6th century BC, which was a time of prosperity for the city of Corinth.

The next important phase dates to the 4th or the first half of the 3rd century.

In 146 BC the walls were destroyed by the Roman Lucius Mummius.

Justinian is believed to have carried out repair works in the 6th century, and substantial efforts at fortification were made in the Middle Byzantine period (8th-12th c.).

When the castle was taken by the Franks in 1210, its defender Leo Sgouros chose to commit suicide by leaping off the walls on horseback rather than to surrender.

  • 6th cent. BC: First fortification by Corinthians
  • 4th cent. BC: Repaired by the Macedonians
  • 146 BC: Destroyed by invading Romans
  • 44 BC: Repaired by Julius Caesar
  • 6th cent. AD: Renovated by Justinian
  • End 12th cent.: Ruled by Leon Sgouros
  • 1210: Captured by the Franks
  • 1358: property of Niccolo Accaiuoli
  • 1395: In the hands of the Byzantines of the Despotate
  • 1400: Bought by the Knights of St John
  • 1404: Possession of the Despotate of Moreas
  • 1458: Captured by the Ottomans
  • 1687: Occupied and restored by Venetians
  • 1715: Recaptured by the Turks
  • 1827: Surrendered to Greeks


The medieval city’s rocky spur dominates the valley and the modern town of Sparta. Mystra, with its extensive Byzantine ruins rising from its rocky ledges and narrow plateaus, reminds visitors of the stories and deeds of its medieval kings and governors of six to eight hundred years ago.

Founded by the Franks in the mid-13th century, was through time surrendered to the Byzantines, Ottomans and Venetians.

  • 1241: Foundation by the Franks
  • 1262: Surrender to Byzantines
  • 1289: Capital of the Peloponnese region
  • 1349: Capital of the Despotate of Morea
  • 1383: Rule by the Paleologi dynasty
  • 1460: Ottoman conquest
  • 1687: Venetian occupation
  • 1715: Return of the Turks
  • 1770: Brief capture by Maniates in the Orlof events
  • 1821: In Greek hands after the Greek Revolution
  • 1825: Destroyed by Ibrahim pasha
  • 1921: “Prominent Byzantine monument”
  • 1953: Departure of the last inhabitants
  • 1989: World Heritage site


At the heart of Laconian Mani, Vathia strongly resists the passage of time.

Built in a strategic position on top of a hill, this impressive building complex consist of approximately 70 tower-houses. First mentioned in historical sources since the mid-16th century, it had become full of life by the 19th century and by the early 20th century its inhabitants started to leave the settlement. By 1980 it had just a handful of residents and shortly after was completely abandoned. With the help of the Greek state most tower houses were restored.

Koroni Castle

A castle with impressive fortifications at the southwestern end of Peloponnese which existed since the 7th century AD and was completed and reconstructed by the Venetians in the 13th century. The city flourished in the following centuries, but it was constantly in the middle of the long conflict between Venetians and Turks.

Koroni was liberated in 1828 by the French General Nicolas Joseph Maison, after the battle of Navarino.

  • Before 1000 BC.: Ancient Acropolis of Aisini
  • 6th or 7th cent.: Byzantine fortress
  • 1205: Part of the Frankish Principality of Achaea
  • 1209: Under Venetian rule
  • End 13th cent. Recontruction of the castle
  • 1500: Capture by the Turks
  • 1532: Capture by Spanish forces under Andrea Doria
  • 1534: Recapture by the Turks
  • 1685: Under Venetian control again
  • 1715: Return of the Turks
  • 1770: Serious damages during the Orlof events
  • 1828: Libaration by the French general Maison


Niokastro was built in 1573 by the Ottomans to protect Navarino Bay, the only large natural harbor in the west coast of Peloponnese.

On 20th of October 1827, the allied fleet in a show of strength, sailed in Navarino Bay, under the command of three, the British Admiral Sir Edward Codrington, the French Admiral De Rigny and the Russian Count von Heyde, but a shot fired by the Turkish and Egyptian fleet unleashed a battle which had not been intended by the allied governments and which ended in the destruction of more than 2/3 of the Turkish – Egyptian vessels. Their remains can be seen lying on the bottom of the bay when the sea is calm.

The battle gave a decisive new impulse to the Greek war of liberation.

  • 1573: Construction by the Ottomans
  • 1686: Capture by the Venetians
  • 1715: Recapture by the Turks
  • 1770: Short occupation by Russians
  • 1821: In Greek hands after the Greek Revolution
  • 1825: Siege and capture by Ibrahim pasha
  • 1828: Surrender to the French general Maison
  • 1830-1941: Prison
  • 1941-1944: Military headquarters of Axis forces

Patras Castle

The Patras Castle was built around the mid-6th century above the ruins of the ancient acropolis by Byzantine emperor Justinian after the catastrophic earthquake of 551, re-using building material from pre-Christian structures.
The fort remained in constant use thereafter, even until the Second World War.

In the Byzantine period, it was besieged by Slavs, Saracens, Normans and many others, but it never fell. In particular, the successful repulsion of a great siege of 805 AD by the Arabs and the Slavs was attributed to the city’s patron saint, St Andrew.

  • 6th century: Built by Byzantine emperor Justinian
  • 1205: Taken over by the Franks
  • 1278: pawned to the local Latin Archbishop
  • 1408: Leased to the Venetians by the Pope
  • 1430: Taken by Constantine Palaiologos, future Byzantine Emperor
  • 1458: Fell to the Ottomas
  • 1687: Taken by the Venetians
  • 1715: Re-taken by the Ottomans
  • 1828: Handed over by the Ottomans to Greek liberal forces.
  • Following Greek independence, the castle remained in use by the Greek Army until after World War II.

Palamidi Fortress

The fortress was a big and ambitious project, but was finished within a relatively short period from 1711 until 1714. The works were started by Morosini the conqueror of the city and were carried on till the last years of the Venetian occupation (1686 – 1715). It is a typical baroque fortress based on the plans of the engineers Giaxich and Lasalle. In 1715 it was captured by the Turks and remained under their control until 1822, when it was captured by the Greeks.

  • 1711-1714: Building by the Venetians
  • 1715: Capture by Ottommans
  • 1822: Capture by Greek fighters of the Revolution
  • 1840-1926: Prison


Monemvasia is one of the most important medieval fortress-cities of Greece. It is also one of the most beautiful castles in the world.

The town walls and many Byzantine churches remain from the medieval period.

Monemvasia is built in a rock which is a connected with a narrow and unique road to the mainland.

The name Monemvasia means “one-way”.

The town and fortress were founded in 583, during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Mauricius, by people seeking refuge from the Slavic and the Avaric invasion of Greece.

Kalamata Castle

A castle with a rich history on a rocky hill at the NW side of the city of Kalamata.

An ancient acropolis existed on the hill before the Trojan war, and later a Byzantine fortress, but the ruins we observe today are the remains of the castle that was (re)built there in the beginning of the 13th century, during the Frankish occupation.

In the 6th century AD., a church was built in the castle devoted to Virgin Mary. An icon of Virgin Mary in the church became famous as ‘Kalomata’ (meaning ‘beautiful eyes’). This later evolved to ‘Kalamata’ which became the name of the church, the castle and the city.

The ancient acropolis on the rock was founded by the figure of mythology Faris from Argos The city was named Farai or Fares and is mentioned in Iliad as one of the seven cities that Agamemnon offered to Achilles to ease his anger.

  • 1500 BC: Foundation of the ancient acropolis
  • 1205: Construction of the castle by the Franks
  • 1246-1278: Guillaume II de Villehardouin is the lord of the castle
  • 1293: Temporary capture by Byzantine peasants
  • 1382: The knights of Navarra become the overlords
  • 1410: The castle belongs to the Despotate of Mystras
  • 1459: Capture by the Turks
  • 1464: Capture by the Venetians
  • 1540: The Venetians evacuate the castle
  • 1685: The Venetian Morozini occupies it and repairs the castle
  • 1715: Recapture by the Turks
  • 1821: Liberation of Kalamata (23 March)

Methoni Castle

The castle of Methoni -actually a fortified city- is one of the most important and the most beautiful castles in Greece. It was built by the Venetians after 1209 at a strategic location, on a rock penetrating the sea and is separated from the land by an artificial moat.

Nowadays the fortress, even though in ruins, continue to be impressive. The castle of Methoni occupies the whole area of the cape and the southwestern coast to the small islet that has also been fortified with an octagonal tower and is protected by the sea on its three sides. Its north part, the one that looks to land, is covered by a heavily fortified acropolis.


Chlemoutsi is a medieval castle in the northwest of the Elis regional unit, Greece, 6 km south of Kyllini.

It was built by the Crusader rulers of the Principality of Achaea as their main stronghold, and is perhaps the finest fortification of the early Frangokratia period preserved in Greece.

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