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RUIN OF THE PELOPONNESUS.
quence of the change, much of the internal trade of the A.D. country was annihilated. The value of produce in the 1350-1400. interior was depreciated, on account of the increased cost of its transport to the point of exportation ; the sale in some distant provinces became impossible ; roads, bridges, and other material requisites of civilisation, fell to ruin ; property ceased to yield any rent to the signors ; many castles in the poorer districts were abandoned, and a few foot-soldiers guarded the walls of others, from which, in former days, bands of horsemen in complete panoply might be seen to issue at the slightest alarm. The extent of the change which a single century had produced in the state of Greece became apparent when the Othoman Turks invaded the country. These barbarians found the Morea peopled by a scanty and impoverished population, ruled by a few wealthy and luxurious nobles—both classes equally unfit to oppose the attacks of brave and active invaders. The condition of the Frank portion of the Morea was even more degraded, morally, than it was financially impoverished and politically weakened. The whole wealth of the country flowed into a few hands, and was wasted in idle enjoyments; while the vested capital that supplied a considerable portion of this wealth was sensibly diminishing from year to year. The surplus revenue which the principality of Achaia, even in its latter days, contributed to the treasury of its princes, after deducting the sums required for payment of the permanent garrisons maintained in the fortresses of the state, and the expenses of the civil administration, amounted to one hundred thousand gold florins. This, therefore, was what we term, in modern language, the civil list of the sovereign of Achaia towards the end of the fourteenth century; and it is more than Otho, the present king of Greece, succeeds in extracting from the whole Hellenic soil south of the Ambracian and Malian gulfs, though, with reference to the revenues of the country he governs,
chap. viii. king Otho has the largest civil list of any European $ 7. monarch.1
The Franks had now ruled the greater part of the Peloponnesus for two centuries ; and the feudal system which they introduced was maintained in full vigour for sufficient time to admit of its effects on civilised communities living under the simpler system of personal rights, traced out in the Roman law, being fully developed. The result was that the Franks were demoralised, the Greeks impoverished, and Greece ruined.
The study of the feudal government in Greece offers much that is peculiarly worthy of an Englishman's attention, since it supplies an illustration of a state of things resembling, in many points, the condition of society that resulted from the Norman Conquest. The fate of England and Greece proved very different. No inconsiderable share in the causes that produced the discordant results are to be attributed to the discipline of the private family, and to the domestic and parish life of the two countries. Order and liberty grew up in the secluded districts of England, as well as in the towns and cities; self-respect in the individual gradually gained the reverence of his fellow-citizens ; society moved forward simultaneously, and bore down gradually the tyranny of the Norman master, the rapacity of the monarch, and the jobbing of the aristocracy. The spirit of liberty never separated from the spirit of order, so that in the end it achieved the most difficult task in the circle of politics—it converted the rulers of the country to liberal views. In Greece, on the other hand, anarchy and slavery demoralised all
I This amount is given in the memoir of the barons of Achaia, who invited Jayme II. of Majorca to invade the principality in 1344.-Ducange, Histoire de Constantinople, ii. 375, edit. Buchon. Muntaner, 522, note to Buchon's translation of 1840. The domains of the prince were immense at a later period. In 1391 the barons possessed fiefs with 1904 hearths, the prince with 2320. This enumeration can hardly be assumed as a guide for determining the total of the population, nor perhaps even the relative extent of country occupied by the parties, since the prince was lord of the populous fiefs of Clarentza and Saint-Omer.-Buchon, Recherches et Matériaux, 296.
FEUDAL SYSTEM IN GREECE AND ENGLAND.
classes of society, and involved the ruling class and their chAP. VIII. subjects in common destruction.
$7. Both in England and Greece, the conquest was effected as much by the apathy of the natives as by the military superiority of the conquerors, and in both the feudal system was forced upon the conquered in spite of their efforts to resist it, and their detestation of its principles. Unfortunately we cannot contrast the effects of the system on the very different social condition of the two countries, for the records of the Frank domination in Greece are almost entirely confined to the political history of the country, and afford us but scanty glimpses into the ordinary life of the people. We see few traces of anything but war and violence ; and we are led to the lamentable conclusion that the great result of the power of the Franks in Greece was to extirpate that portion of Byzantine civilisation which existed at its commencement, and to root out all the institutions of Roman law, and the principles of Roman administration, which had so long protected it. The higher and educated classes of Greek society very naturally vanished, as might be expected, where their masters made use of the French language and reverenced the Latin church. In England, the conflict of the Normans and the Saxons prepared the way for the submission of both to the law ; while in Greece the wars of the French and Greeks only prepared the country to seek repose under the shade of Turkish despotism. The Norman Conquest proved the forerunner of English liberty, the French domination the herald of Turkish tyranny. The explanation of the varied course of events must be sought in the family, the parish, the borough, and the county ; not in the parliament, the exchequer, and the central government.
BYZANTINE PROVINCE IN THE PELOPONNESUS RECONQUERED
FROM THE FRENCH.
SECT. 1.-EARLY STATE OF THE BYZANTINE PROVINCE. GOVERN
MENT OF THE DESPOT THEODORE I.
The emperor Michael VIII, no sooner took possession of Misithra, Monemvasia, and Maina, which had been surrendered to him as the ransom for William Villehardoin, then he sent able officers into the Peloponnesus to command these fortresses, with instructions to spare no exertions or intrigues for recovering possession of the whole peninsula --for he hoped with ease to raise such a rebellion of the Greeks as would expel the French from the territory they retained. The Sclavonians of Mount Taygetus, covered by the Byzantine garrison of Misithra, which was made the residence of the principal officers from Constantinople; the Tzakones, finding their communications with the rest of the empire opened by sea, in consequence of the possession of Monemvasia ; and the Mainiates, assisted by the imperial troops in their country -all flew to arms, and drove the French from their territories. The Sclavonians of Skorta were less fortunate, for they were surrounded on every side by French barons, and all the avenues into their mountains were guarded by strong feudal fortresses. Indeed, Akova and Karitena, two of the impregnable holds of the feudal lords of the
WAR OF GREEKS AND FRANKS.
soil, commanded the very heart of their country. After A. D. a vain resistance their power was completely broken. 1264–1268. But the Greeks, though they swept over nearly the whole peninsula in the first tide of national enthusiasm, and displayed the imperial eagle before the palace of the princes of Achaia, at Andravida, were still unable to encounter the French on the field of battle. They received two overthrows—the first at Prinitza, where a small body of French knights and men-at-arms, under John de Katavas, defeated the Byzantine army with great loss. But this disaster did not prevent the advance of the Greeks into the plain of Elis. The second defeat of the imperial troops was more decisive. The armies met at the defile of Makryplagi, and the Byzantine troops were routed with great slaughter. Their generals were taken prisoners, and the commander-in-chief, the granddomestikos Alexis Philes, died in prison ; while Makrinos, the second in command, on being ransomed by his suspicious master, who suspected him of secretly plotting with the prince of Achaia, was deprived of his eyesight as soon as he returned to Constantinople. For five years, (1264 to 1268) the war was prosecuted with varied success ; but at length the exhaustion of both parties induced them to conclude a truce, which was subsequently converted into a permanent treaty of peace. These events have been already noticed in reviewing the history of the reign of William Villehardoin, prince of Achaia.?
It has also been mentioned that, in the year 1341, a number of the French barons offered the sovereignty of Achaia to the Greek emperor.3 The Byzantine throne was at that time occupied by John V., (Paleologos,) and the regency was in the hands of his mother, Anne of Savoy : but John Cantacuzenos, the grand-domestikos,
i Pachymeres, tom. i. p. 138, edit. Rom., confirms the general account of the events recorded by the Chronicles of the Conquest.
? See page 237 of this volume.