Since Salic Law was not adopted in Achaea, women could also inherit the fiefs. On the other hand, all vassals owed the Prince four months service in the field and four months garrison duty every year, retiring after the age of sixty, but only if a replacement could be provided. This put the principality on constant war footing.
Indeed, the knights of Achaea enjoyed a considerable reputation both in the Levant and in Western Europe. With the Byzantine recovery of the region around Mystras after , however, the rapid extinction of the original families and the expansion of Achaean influence across Frankish Greece , the initial organization of the Principate changed. By the time the principality's laws, the Assizes of Romania , were codified in the s, the peers of the Prince were: the Duke of Athens , the Duke of Naxos , the Triarchs of Negroponte , the Margrave of Bodonitza , the Count palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos , the barons of Patras, Matagrifon and Kalavryta, as well as the marshal of the principality.
The most important secular and ecclesiastical lords participated in the council of the "Grand Court", which was presided over by the Prince. The council had great authority, and its decisions were binding for the Prince. The Principality's higher officials were the chancellor , the Prince's chief minister, the marshal , the constable , the treasurer, the protovestiarius , in charge of the Prince's personal treasury, and the pourveur des chastiaux , who was responsible for the replenishment of the castles.
The Principality also produced a unique set of laws, the "Assizes of Romania", which combined aspects of Byzantine and French law, and became the basis for the laws of the other Crusader states. Several Byzantine titles such as logothetes and protovestarius continued in use, although these titles were adapted to fit the conceptions of Western feudalism.
The Byzantine pronoia system was also adapted to fit Western feudalism; peasants paroikoi technically owned their land, but military duties and taxes that they had not been subject to under the pronoia system were imposed on them by their new French lords. The Frankish barons were subjected to heavy military obligations. They had to serve four months each year with the Principality's army and further four months of guard duty on various castles. Geoffrey I was succeeded by his son Geoffrey II , who ruled until his death in By confiscating the ecclesiastical taxes, in the years he built himself a powerful castle at Chlemoutsi , near modern Kyllini , which he used as his main residence.
Because of this, he came into conflict with the Catholic Church, and was briefly excommunicated by the Pope. William was a poet and troubadour , and his court had its own mint at Glarentza , and a flourishing literary culture, using a distinct form of spoken French.
After Michael recaptured Constantinople in , William was released in in return for Mistra and much of Laconia, which became a Byzantine province the nucleus of the future Despotate of the Morea , as well as an oath of allegiance to the Emperor. However, soon after his release, William broke his oath of allegiance, and begun seeking alliances with and help from various Western nations.
Despite his successes at Prinitza and Makryplagi, the war with the Byzantines had taken a toll on Achaean resources, and their empire remained a looming threat. A proposal to marry William's elder daughter Isabella to Andronikos , eldest son of Michael VIII, was strongly opposed by the Achaean nobility, who had no desire to come under Byzantine rule.
But Manfred fell under Papal sanction and was killed in , when Charles of Anjou conquered his kingdom. Charles was now ascendant in Italy, and William and Baldwin came to terms with him in the Treaty of Viterbo In return for the military aid and funds they so greatly needed, Charles obtained the suzerainty over Achaea from Baldwin, and the Principality itself from William. The latter was to retain the Principality for life, and it was to pass to his daughter, Isabella, who was to marry one of Charles' sons.
These were hard terms, essentially detaching Achaea from the Latin Empire and making it a dependency of the Kingdom of Sicily. Nonetheless, William fulfilled his obligations, leading an Achaean force to aid Charles against the invasion of Conradin at the Battle of Tagliacozzo , and bringing Isabelle to Italy to marry Charles' son Philip in However, after the death of William in , the seeds of a calamitous succession dispute were laid. In the normal course of events, Achaea would have passed to a cadet branch of the House of Anjou. However, his son-in-law Philip had died in without an heir, and a reversionary clause in the Treaty of Viterbo provided that the Principality would go to Charles of Anjou, rather than Isabelle, should this occur.
A renewed commitment by Charles to retake the Latin Empire Treaty of Orvieto , was forestalled by the War of the Sicilian Vespers , and this struggle with the Crown of Aragon consumed the remainder of his life.
In the interim, the rule of Achaea devolved upon a series of baillis chosen from the Morean nobility. Not long after his release and coronation in , he granted the Principality to Isabelle of Villehardouin upon her marriage with Florent of Hainaut , in part to redress the grasping application of the Treaty of Viterbo at William's death.
However, he retained feudal overlordship over the Principality, and his grant provided that neither Isabelle nor any daughter who was her heir might marry without his consent. For this period the principality was under a violent succession dispute, which originated from the dispossessed Latin Emperor Baldwin II's gift of the overlordship of Achaea to Charles I of Sicily in return for support in his attempt to reconquer the throne in Constantinople , an action which ignored the rights of the Villehardouin Princes of Achaea. The Angevin kings of Naples subsequently gave Achaea as their fief to a series of their own relatives and creatures, who fought against Princess Margaret of Villehardouin and her heirs.
Charles II of Naples had at first granted the fiefdom of Morea or Achaea to Princess Isabella of Villehardouin from the Villehardouin dynasty , but he deposed her in and granted it to his son Philip I of Taranto , who in transferred it to Matilda or Mafalda, or Maud of Hainaut, heiress of Isabella of Villehardouin, who was married to Louis of Burgundy , titular King of Thessalonica. In she claimed them again without success and then transferred her rights to her daughter Isabelle of Sabran , wife of Ferdinand of Majorca.
The son of Ferdinand and Isabelle, known as James the Unfortunate , was proclaimed prince of the Morea in under the regency of his father, who conquered the principality between and but was defeated and executed by Louis of Burgundy and Matilda in In Louis of Burgundy died and King Robert of Naples deposed Matilda and gave the principality to his brother John of Durazzo , to whom Matilda was briefly married under duress before being imprisoned. From the feudal lords began to recognize the rights of James, and in the recognition was total.
Then John transferred his rights to his sister-in-law, Catherine of Valois , titular Empress of Constantinople, wife of Philip I of Taranto, whose stepson Robert claimed her rights until when she died. In Philip II transferred his rights to his cousin, overlord and former sister-in-law Queen Joan I of Naples , whose third husband James IV of Majorca, when he died in , left her his own claim to the principality, at which point she became more or less uncontested Princess of Achaea.
However, when Joan was imprisoned in Naples in , another, much younger, James, James of Baux , grandson of Catherine and nephew of Philip II, who in had become titular Emperor of Constantinople, used the opportunity and seized Achaea. In the Vicary government began, lasting until , under the Durazzo kings of Naples. Centurione continued to hold the post until , when invasions by the Despots of the Morea, Constantine Palaiologos and Thomas Palaiologos , conquered the heartland of the Principality in Achaea.
Centurione married off his daughter and heiress, Catherine , to Thomas, and retreated to his ancestral Messenian castle. On his death in , this too was seized by the Byzantines. In about , his illegitimate son, John Asen , was the focus of rebellions against the despot Constantine Dragases.
The Byzantine reconquest proved short-lived, however, as in , the Ottomans conquered the Despotate. Ferdinand of Majorca began to claim the Principality from on behalf of his wife Isabelle of Sabran, daughter of Marguerite of Villehardouin, younger daughter of William II and sister to Isabella of Villehardouin. He willed his claim to his wife Joan I of Naples, and after his death she held the title relatively without contest. None of these three had sons and their claim died with Louis. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Crusader principality in southern Greece.
The Latin Empire with its vassals and the Greek successor states after the partition of the Byzantine Empire, c. The borders are very uncertain. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. See also: Princess of Achaea. In Alan V. Murray ed.
The Crusades: An Encyclopedia. Dutton and Company, New York. Crusader states. Successors of the Byzantine Empire after the Fourth Crusade. Princes of Achaea. William I.
Pedro de San Superano Maria Centurione. Frankokratia — Constantinople Thessaloniki Glarentza Patras Athens. Crete Chios Lesbos Rhodes Naxos.
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Achaea was founded in by William of Champlitte and Geoffrey I of Villehardouin , who undertook to conquer the Peloponnese on behalf of Boniface of Montferrat , King of Thessalonica.