The Greek Reaction after 1204

Let us sum up very briefly the last events of the Fourth Crusade. On the 24th of June 1203, the Fleet appeared before Constantinople. The attack began at once. Galeta was taken and the famous chain which closed the entrance to the Golden Horn was cut, so that the warships were able to menace the walls of the Queen of Cities, on the banks of that inlet, while the Knights launched an assault from the land. The bodyguard of the Varangians offered a gallant resistance but the city fell on July 17th. Alexios III, the Usurper, had fled with the State Treasury. The Crusaders, as they promised, put on the throne the blind Isaac and his son Alexios, called the IV, their protégé. But, naturally, the new Government was not in a position to pay the 200,000 marks nor to bring about the submission of the Byzantine Church, and the disgruntled populace rose in rebellion against the two rulers who had become mere puppets in the hands of the Latins. In January 1204, young Alexios was slain, his father again imprisoned, soon to die in his jail. The National party created a new Emperor, Alexios V, of the Dukas family, surnamed Mourtzouphlos, which means “the man with the joining eyebrows”. Alexios was a son-in-law of the usurper Alexios III, and husband of Princess Eudokia, whose first husband had been the Serbian Prince Stephen. This Greek revolution maded a new siege necessary, but before beginning it, the Crusaders proper and the Venetians concluded the famous treat of partition of March 1204, which we possess: the terms were: election of a Latin Emperor by a Committee of six Franks and six Venetians. The elected Emperor was to rule over one fourth of the Byzatine territory. Out of the remaining three-fourths, one half would belong to the Venetians, and the other half would be cut up into a certain number of feuds (sic?) for the benefit of outstanding Knights.

The second attack took place on April 13th, Constantinople was taken again, and Alexios V fled just as his father-in-law had fled. This was the first capture of Constantinople by purely foreign elements, since the day of its refoundation by Constantine I. The scenes of massacre and pillage were undescribable; since the world was created, such a booty was never gained in any city, says Villehardouin, and the eye-witness, Nicetas Chroniates, says: “Even the Sarrazines are kind and merciful, compared with those people, who had the cross of Christ on their shoulders”.

Then the victors proceeded to the election and partition which had been agreed to Boniface of Montferrat should have become Emperor, but his energy and influence were feared, probably both by his eventual vassals and by the Venetians, and the Doge Dandolo succeeded in discarding him, just as in 1099 Raymond de St. Gille had to give way to the less prominent Godfrey of Bouillon. One elected Beaudouin count of Flanders and Hainaut, who was crowned on May 16th in Sainte Sophie, while the new Patriarch was the Venetian Thomas Morosini. Beaudouin’s imperial demesne was to be the land on both sides of the straits, but a very limited stretch of land, just North Western Asia Minor, and in Europe only Thrace, with a few major islands. Boniface was offered the rest of Asia minor, but he would have to conquer it back from the Turks, and he preferred Macedonia. He took for himself Thessalonica and founded there a short-lived Latin kingdom of Macedonia and Thessaly. Venice was very clever in her barter for she too obtained some important alterations of the original treaty. She had been offered the Peloponnesus and the Northwestern provinces of Greece. But being conscious of her continental limitations, and of the fact that her strength lay on the sea, she took instead only Durazzo in Albania, Corone and Methone (Coron et Modon) on the Peloponnesian coast, almost all the islands in the Aegean sea, the most important of which was naturally Crete. They got some ports on the Marmora sea, and the most prominant city in the hinterland, Andrinople. The Republic received also a lot of parcels, in Constantinople and everywhere; one immediately sees that the aim was to possess as much as could be defended by the Navy or by the other partitioning forces. In Constantinople for instance, Venice got three-eighths and the Emperor himself five-eighths, the official title of the Doge became: Lord of a fourth and half of a fourth of the whole Empire of Romania (“Dominus quartae et dimidiae partis Romaniae”). Moreover, the Doge did not have to take any oath of allegiance to the Emperor. The Republic controlled all the seaways from Venice to Constantinople, the straits, the harbours on the Sea of Marmora, and almost half the Capital itself including Sainte Sophie, where the patriarch was enthroned. The real profiteer was Venice. On the whole, she retained her useful possessions until the XVIth century, and lost her last Aegean islands only in 1715, whereas the Latin Kingdom of Thesaaionica in 1222, the Latin Empire of Constantinople in 1261! And the last traces of the Latin occupation in the Peloponnesus disappeared a few years before the capture of Constantinople by the Turks.

The reason for the weakness of the Latin states in Thrace and Macedonia was naturally in part its feudal character, but only in part. One could indeed say that that system was really made to suit the geographical conditions of Greece with its numerous natural districts, so well closed-in by mountains, and where the castle system of the westerners added to already impregnable natural strongholds, formidable defences [sic], which seemed to secure forever the tenure of that “terre de conquête” by a handful of knights and their descendents, not to speak of the immense physical superiority of that type of man over the more refined but less warlike Greeks. (An interesting passage in Nicetas about the humble and subservient Greeks and their enslavers). The main reason for the rapid downfall of the Latin Kingdom and the Latin Empire was the incredible ignorance of their founders about the real political and social conditions in the Balkan Peninsula, and still more perhaps in Asia Minor. Beaudouin and Henri his brother, seem to have forgotten about Asia Minor. They probably thought that the Greeks there would need the powerful arm of the knights to protect them from the Turks. They could not imagine that a handful of refugees would succeed in transferring the greek Empire to Nicaea, which had been the Capital of a Turkish Sultanate at the time of the first Crusade. And it is true that one of the greatest miracles or paradoxes in History is the foundation of that Empire of Nicaea, which under the leadership of great men Theodore I Lascaris, John Vatatzès, Theodore II Lascaris and finally Michael Palaeologos, who repulsed both the seldjouks and the Latins, reoccupied a great part of the Balkan Peninsula, and recaptured Constantinople in 126l. This miracle was due to the fact that the population of Western Asia Minor, a Mediterranean country belonging to the Aegean world, and geographically different from the Central Plateau, was thoroughly Greek, full of national feeling strengthened by hatred both religious cad political, and was largely composed of the most warlike elements of the Greek population of the interior, the sons of the Akrites of yore. That was unknown to our forefathers. But their greatest surprise was the turmoil in the Balkans proper. This may be forgiven to them, for even those who had taken part in the Norman expedition of 1185 and in the IIIrd Crusade found themselves confronted with an entirely new Balkan situation. They thought that the Peninsula was simply a part of the Greek Empire. Now, under the last Emperors, new states had come into existence there. It was only in 1186 that the two brothers, Peter and Asen had revived the old Bulgarian kingdom, in an altogether new form. A population, whose very name appears for the first time in documents of the XIth century, the Wallachians, probably formed more than half the total papulation in Southern Bulgaria, in Thassaly, and even in Albania and Macedonia. They felt themselves as the descendants of the Roman stock of the colonists of Trojan and of the Romanized Dacians and Bessi of yore. They spoke a Latin idiom, identical with the Roumanian dialect of Macedonia, and for some reason or other their number immensely increased between 900 and 1200. Peter and Asen themselves were Wallachians, and in the letters of their successor Kalojan to Innocent III, they stress their Roman origin, and call themselves Imperatores Bulgarorum et Blacorum. But the name of the Bulgarians was a kind of artificial revival. There had never been any Wallachian state in thy Balkans. The only powerful state which strongly opposed the Byzantine Empire from the VIIth until the beginning of the XIth century was the Bulgarian Kingdom of Kerum,under Symen, and ultimately Samuel. Even Basil II, when he succeeded in conquering that kingdom, had respected and preserved its name and even that of the Bulgarian patriarchate of Ochrida. Therefore, when the Wallachians started their rebellion in 1186, they had to make use of that historical memory. Naturally, they appealed also to the Macedonian Slavs who had never ceased to call themselves Bulgarians. But a third national element contributed to form what is called the New Bulgarian Empire. Masses of Turkish invaders who had crossed the Danube, the Kumans or Polovtzi gave Peter and Asen thousands of able fighters. The western sources call these peoples: Blas (Blos in the Chanson de Roland), Bougres et Coumains. The kings of this new Empire were first the two brothers, who in 1187 or 1188 obtained from Isaac Angelos the whole country between the Balkans and the Danube. Their capital was Tirnovo, where Asen was crowned as a Tsar by the new Bulgarian archbishop. The Cathedral Church was called after Saint Demetrius, the Patron-Saint of Thessalonica, who was reported to have left his faithful city in 1195, when it was defiled by the Normans to take refuge in Tirnovo. In 1190, Isaac, the Emperor was beaten by the Bulgars in the Balkan defiles. In 1196/7 Asen and Peter were slain by rebellious boyars abetted by Byzantion, and Emperor Alexios III succeeded for a while in supporting against the national Bulgrarian movement two Bulgarian chieftains: Dobromiv and Chrysos (the Prince of the Strymon or Strouma region) and Franko, governor of Philippopoli, and murderer of Asen. But those two pro-Byzantine chiefs were soon disposed of by the National party and the intelligent and refined Kalojan, who had long been a hostage in Byzantine hands, was the great king of the new dynasty (1197). He addressed himself to the West for recognition, wrote repeatedly to the Pope even before the Fall of Constantinople, and in November 1204, a Cardinal sent by Innocent crowned Kalojan in Tirovo. This was the man whom the Crusaders immediately after the conquest found in legitimate possession of a large part of the territory which they had divided into two parts. That was not all. Along with the new Bulgarians, the Serbs had considerably increased their possessions and influence. They had long been, under the Comnenes, allies of the Empire. But under Manuel, the Zupan Stefan Nemanja rose in rebellion against the Emperor. He had to acknowledge himself, after a defect, the “homme lige” of Manuel, but that submission was by no means final. Later on, about 1182, and 1183, Neemanja [sic] allied with the Hungarians founded the. independence of the Serbian state. Under Isaac, taking advantage of the Bulgarian rebellion, the Serbs hailad Barbarossa in Nis at the beginning of the IIIrd Crusade, and in 1190 a formal treaty of peace brought the official acknowledgment of Serbia by Byzantion. But Isaac feigned to consider the Serbian ruler a Byzantine official and gave his niece Eudokia in marriage to Stephen, the second son of the old Nemanja. The old man in 1197 became a monk on Mount Athos, where the youngest son Sabas had already been living an ascetic life for several years. That agreement could have secured Serbia’s loyalty by Vukan, Nemanja’s eldest yon revolted against Stephen (he was not content with his Principality in Montenegro) and occupied the throne with the support of the Catholic clergy and of the Hungarian army. In other words, he submitted himself and his church to the King of Hungary and to the Pope (1203). And when Stephen succeeded in regaining his scepter, it was due to Bulgarian help. One sees that on the eve of the IVth crusade the new Bulgarian kingdom, allied to the rising strength of another Slavonic state, Serbia, was the real arbiter of the Balkans.

But the Greeks, however, had not finished their historical role on the Peninsula.

In Epirus, a cousin of Emperor Isaac II, Michael Angelos, illegitimate son of John Angelos Dukas, who assumed in addition to this name the more famous name of the Comnene, was proclaimed Arta despot of Epirus, and that second Greek state became the direct foe of the Latin Kingdom of Thessalonica and brought about its fall.

Moreover, everywhere in the Balkans, the Greek or hellenized population, all important in the towns and in the flat country of Thrace, started a moral resistance against the Frankish invaders and were ready to ally themselves with them against the hated Latins. They never accepted the Latin Emperor as their legitimate ruler, and still less the Venetian Patriarch, whom they considered with his clean-shaven cheeks, his gloves of pig hide, the golden rings on his fingers as the abomination of desolation (τò βδέλνγμα τής έρημώσεως). The unexpected alliance of Bulgarians and Greeks took place early in 1205, when on April 14th, a Latin army was beaten near Andrinople by Koumans, Blaks and Bougres. Emperor Baldwin remained in the hands of the Bulgarian King Kalojan and died in captivity. One year after the Capture of Constantinople, it was clear to all eyes that the Latin Empire was to be very short-lived. The Bulgarian danger which had been ignored, compelled the Latins to withdraw completely from Asia Minor, and Theodore Lascaris could at leisure organize at Nicaea his new Constantinople. His prestige was great at once, and his Patriarch was so universally recognised as the Oecumenical one that in 1219 Saint-Sabas of Serbia requested and received from him the dignity of Autocephal Archbishop of Serbia. While recognizing definitely Orthodox Byzantium as the source of true Christianity, even when that Byzantion was Byzantion in exile, the Serbians gave the Oriental mother church a proof of faithfulness which is the more moving because Sabas is a saint, Politically, they were clever enough to counterbalance this act of ecclesiastical allegiance by asking the Pope for tha Royal Crown and Stephen Neemanja [sic], the first-crowned, became King 13 years after the Bulgarian Kalojan, in 1217.

We shall not recount in full detail the complicated events which followed. Not only Baldwin, but also Boniface (in 1207) fell a victim of the Bulgarians. But Kalojan himself was killed by Saint Demetrios’s spear, when he failed to take Salonica in 1207.

Probably all the Latin conquests would have been lost in a few months or years if the new Empire had not had at least one great man Henry, brother of Baldwin (1206-1216), whose life and reign deserve our full admiration, and who showed a great moderation and a humane adroitness in his treatment of his Greek subjects.

The only question was whether it was the Bulgarians, or the Emperors of Nicaea, or the Despots of Epirus, who were to wipe out the Westerners. The two Greek states shared first in the reconquest, but Theodore Angelos, the brother of Michael, (dead in 1215) retook Thessalonica and was crowned as Emperor in the city of Saint Demetrius in 1222. He had a kind of Patriarch, the Patriarch of Ochrida, Demetrios Chomatianos. Demetrios had protested, in 1220, and again in 1223, against the step taken by the Patriarch of Nicaea, who, discarding the right of the Church of Ochrida, had bestowed the dignity of Archbishop of Serbia on Saint Sabas. But that very rivalry between the Eastern and Western Greek state churches, is a proof of the strength of the Greek reaction. For some time, the result of that conpetition was a doubtful one. Theodore Angelos seemed more energetic than Theodore Lascaris, whose beginnings had been very slow and difficult.As a matter of fact, it was only in 1208 that Theodore Lascaris took the title of Emperor and that the Patriarch was anointed. Henry, the IInd Latin Emperor, had concluded in 1207 an armistice for two years with Nicaea. But Nicaea had to fight the Seldjouks of Konia, who had given an interested hospitality to the former Emperor Alexios III, In 1210, Theodore Lascaris beat the Turks and captured the ex—Emperor. In 1214, the important Treaty of Nymphaion near Smyrna between Theodore Lascaris and Henry of Constantinople fixed the frontier between the Latin and the Greek Empire. The Latins kept only the Northwestern corner of Asia Minor.

Theodore Angelos, starting from Thessalonica, seized a good portion of Thrace, where he found and repelled troops from Nicaea, and was bold enough to try to occupy Constantinople.

It is one of the ironies of history that the honor of retaking the old Greek Capital was withheld from the Macedonian Emperor, and kept in store for the Asiatic one, only through the medium of the Bulgarians. The new so-called Bulgarian Empire, powerful as it was, had the same inferiority and inferiority-complex as the old one. This must be explained in a few words: the Khan or King of the Bulgarians, had ever since the beginnings of the state cherished the ambition of becoming the ruler of Constantinople. But that aim was too high and could never be reached, even by the greatest Bulgarian Kings, because they never adopted, as so many foreigners and vassals of Byzantion did, the ideals of Byzantine civilization. They stuck to their old tradition, which was that of a Turkish horde. They changed several times their language, adopting finally Slavonic, and, along with it, the vulgar form of colloquial Greek, in which many of their historical records engraved on stone are preserved. Sometimes the Kings, individually, learned high Greek: this is the case of Symeon, and perhaps also Kalojan, but both remained half-Barbarians. And, moreover, their population feared the sea, and had never a navy or even a commercial fleet. So they remained to the last an agricultural people, who did not care for harbours, and they could never gain a foothold in the large Greek cities of Andrinople or Thassalonica. Their historical mission would have been to organize the Balkan hinterland and to expand North of the Danube. But the ambition and amour-propre of their Tsars repeatedly diverted them in the wrong direction, and all their endeavours were futile. Even now, when the circumstances were so favorable for them, their greatest victories did not bring any real profit to them. However, the great Tzar Ivan Asen II (1218-1271), now Syméon, allied himself with the Latins, and undertook to beat back the Emperor of Thessalonica. Two years ago, in the Church of the Forty Martyrs at Tirnovo, I saw on a column the triumphal inscription of Asen about his victory of Klokotnitza, on the Maritza river, where he vanquished and took prisoner the Emperor of the Greeks. The text is extremely interesting, because of the naive pride it expresses, (1230). Asen now styled himself, the Emperor of the Bulgarians and the Greeks. He boasts he has occupied all countries from Odrin to Drač that is, from Adrianople to Durazzo). He adds: only Tsarigrad (Constantinople), remained in the hands of the Franks, with the neighbouring cities. “”But these also,” continues the Tsar, “obeyed to my Majesty, for they had no other Emperor but me, and they lived according to my will for Cod had ordered it so.” In fact, since 1228, after the death of Robert de Courtenay, there was only his younger brother, still a child, Baldwin II who had become engaged to the Bulgarian Princess Helen, the daughter of the Tsar, and even Asen considered himself as the guardian and regent of the Latin Empire. But that engagement had only a transitory political significance, the Latins in Constantinople as soon as the peril from Thecsalonica was over, repudiated the barbarian’s protectorate, and Asen, reversing his policy, allied himself with the Emperor of Nicaea. His daughter, instead of marrying a Latin Emperor, became the wife of the heir of the Nicaean throne, Theodore II (Treaty ofGallipoli, 1235), an important date for, on this occasion, the archbishop of Tirnovo was recognized as the Bulgarian Patriarch, with the consent of the Four Orthodox Patriarchates of the East.

The prestige of Byzantion was never so great as after the fall of Constantinople. And it is surely an admirable spectacle to see first the Serbian archbishop Sabas, in 1217 and second, the Bulgarian archbishop of Tirnovo in 1235 renewing their allegiance to the Byzantine Church in exile at Nicaea.

The alliance between Greeks and Bulgarians, which led even to a common siege of Constantinople, was broken and renewed, and the result of all these waverings was to slacken the impulse of the heterogeneous conglomerate which was the New Bulgarian state, less than ever conscious of its real mission, aim and scope. It is striking to note how that congenital defect of the Bulgarians has doomed to fruitlessness their real qualities, their courage and stubbornness. After Asen’s death (1241), their decay set in. And the only Greek Emperor left, the glorious Vatatzès, invaded Macedonia, where the Epirote Manuel was content with the title of Despot, and recognized the sovereignty of Nicaea. You will ask how is it possible that the Turks in Asia Minor left in peace that apparently tiny Greek state in Western Anatolia? This was due to a fortuitous but very important huge event, the great invasion of the Tatars of the Golden Horde which not only subdued Orthodox Russia for more than two centuries, but raided Poland, Bohemia, Hungary, reaching even the shores of the Adriatic sea, and on their way back forcing Bulgaria to pay a tribute. It would seem that in the Balkans, the new scourge of God had stricken only to weaken one of the obstacles to the Greek revival, Bulgaria. But in Asia Minor, the invasion of the Tatars was still more providential: the Sultan of Iconium, trembling before all Christiana and Moslems, allied himself with Vatatzès in 1243, and, as a recent historian said, “How could the petty states in Asia Minor and on the Balkans resist an enemy whose rule extended from Central Europe to the Pacific Ocean?” But the Tatars were not directly interested in Balkan affairs, and, in 1246, Joannes Vatatzes, at the head of a small but brilliant Greek army, hailed everywhere by the Greek population, and by some of the mixed elements which composed the so-called Bulgarian one, reconquered Thrace and Macedonia from the Upper Maritza to the Vardar. Then, he proceeded to liquidate the Western Greek State. He entered Thessalonica without striking a blow. The Despotate proper remained under a Michael II, but limited to Thessaly and Epirus. The old Theodore Angelos, the former Emperor of Salonica, who was Bulgaria’s prisoner since 1230, died in a jail at Nicaea. So Vatatzes had doubled the extension of his state, he had also devoted himself to better the administration and to rebuild the organization of the Akrites. He created new military estates and, as the best Byzantine Emperors, recruited warlike Barbarians which he settled at his frontiers in Thrace and Macedonia as well as in the Meander valley and in Phrygia. Every century had had its Barbarians fit for Byzantine military service. Vatatzès recruited and settled in Asia and in Europe masses of Koumans, not only those Koumans who had mingled with the Wallachians and Bulgarians, but Koumans driven back in flocks by the great invasion of the Tartars. It is not astonishing that this Emperor also improved agriculture and invented economic autarchia. Vatatzès forced Asia Minor, under his control, to become self-sufficient, founding and encouraging also manufacture. He was himself a successful amateur farmer. He once presented his wife with a chaplet of pearls, purchased from the sale of eggs on his estates! He was annoyed to see his subjects wearing luxurious clothes which had been produced by Italians and other foreigners, and issued an edict to protect the manufacturing industry of the provinces for which even the Turks now provided a market.

From the Sultanate of Iconium gold and precious cloth poured in and were probably paid for in food stuffs, for the Emperor’s protectionism was directed mainly against Venice. For the Turks, because of the invasion of the Tatars, had been left only the Greek market. One may say that the economic situation of the Emperor of Nicaea was much better than that of the Greek Empire under the Comneni and Angeli.

We have not spoken of the religious question. After the capture of Constantinople, Innocent III, who had so strongly opposed the diversion of the Crusade, tried to make the best of it. But the political weakness of the Latin Empire, and the embittered resistance of the Orthodox population with which, as we have seen, even the Slavs took sides, soon made it clear to Roma that a compulsory union was impossible. And therefore the Popes, recognizing the importance of Nicaea, tried again to come to terms with the Greeks. Vatatzès recognised the political profit he could derive from that attitude, and logically he made his consent depend on the withdrawal of the Pope’s support to the Latin Empire. Here again, Vatatzès was marvellously served by major events in world history, the most powerful and gifted opponent to papal hegemony, Frederick II, was in need of a Christian ally representing with his Church the most venerable traditions of pure Christianity. Behind Vatatzès were all the Orthodox Churches and the four Patriarchates of the East. We have four letters in Greek exchanged between Frederick and Vatatzès. In one of these letters, Frederick writes: “This man who calls himself the Great high Priest, he who every day, and in the presence of all, hurls charges against you and all the Romans, calling by the name of Heretics those most orthodox Romans, from whom the faith of Christ went forth to the world. It is known that that friendship was sealed by wedlock: Vatatzès being a widower sought in marriage a young daughter of Frederick, Constancia, by name, sister of the famous Manfred. The nuptials took place in 1244, but that connection with the powerful Emperor of the West and famous Atheist was only a weapon or a tool in the hands of Vatatzès. After Frederick’s death, he went on negotiating with the Pope, and it cannot be doubted that he did not share the bigoted hatred of his people against the Latin Church. After a long period of religious struggles, one always finds enlightened or sceptical statesmen, ready to compromise as in modern times Henry IV of France with his famous saying: “Paris vaut bien une messe.” That was the case also with Frederick II who had hoped to settle by means of a bloodless compromise the almost two century-long strife of East and West about the Holy Land. Vatatzès probably knew that the real reasons for the schism were originally futile, and his policy was sincerely one of union, if Innocent IV would recognize that the Latin dominion of Constantinople was dying out. In the summer of 1254, the agreement was almost reached, and W. Norden says: “Von diesem Gesichtspunkt aus werden wir in der Abkehr Innozents des Vierten von der Lateinischen Sache zugleich eine Bankrofterklärung der Eroberungspolitik, wie sie auf der vierten Kreuzzuges inauguriert worden war, die Erkenntnis dass diese nur in sehr beschränkten Masse erreicht habe, was in so unendlich viel vollständigerer Weise eine Friedliche Union der Griechischen mit der Römischen Kirche zu bewirken versprach. Welche stellung hätte dieser Papst, der das Deutsch-Römisch Kaisertum vernichtet hatte, einnehmen müssen, wenn es ihm jetzt selbst um den Preis des Verzichtes auf das Lateinische Konstanitinopel, gelungen wäre, auf das Byzantinisch-Griechische seinen Zepter zu beugen! Auch die Stauferherrschaft in Unter Italien, den letzen Rest der Rebellion, durfte er dann hoffen, wie mit Englischer Hilfe von Westen, so mit griechischen von Osten her zu zerschmetteren.”

But thereupon Innocent died (1255) and three years later Vatatzès himself disappeared from the States. His greatest triumph perhaps was to have compelled the Pope to revert to the Christian policy and namely to the principle of charity and to the recognition of the justified claims of the Eastern Church. A draft agreement was prepared in 1254, the terms being the following: the Easterners would recognize the primacy of the Pope, and he members of the Greek clergy would take an oath of obedience: the Pope would preside over the Councils. But it was added that the decisions of the Pope should be in agreement with the canons of the Councils. Another concession of the Pope was: the licence of singing at Mass the symbol without the “filioque” addition.

So, even without formal conclusion, the peace was reestablished between the Roman Church and the Greek Empire, the short reign of Theodore II (1254-58) still furthered the work of Tatatzès, the Bulgarians were beaten, Dyrakkion was taken from Epirus and annexed to Nicaea. The crowning victory was left in store for Michael Paleologos, who reconquered Constantinople in 1261, and achieved also at least for a few years the reconciliation with the Roman Church, (Council of Lyons 1274). It was high time for, in spite of all the old Norman plan had been revived by Charles of Anjou, the heir of Manfred and of the Hohenstaufen in Southern Italy and Sicily. This was the most dangerous onslaught on Byzantium. Charles had allied himself with all the enemies of the restored Empire, even with the Greeks of Thessaly, with the Catholic banese, with Serbia and Bulgaria and with Pope Gregory X. It was only the danger which brought about the union at Lyons. But the great triumph: of Michael was to make even that step unnecessary.

He succeeded in organizing against Charles d’Anjou the national Sicilian rebellion of Giovanni of Procida, Palermo, March 31st, 1282. And Michael could write in his autobiography, with justified pride, “if I dared to say that God gave the liberty to the Sicilians, and that he did it through my hands, I would speak the truth.” The old Norman Kingdom, which since Robert Guiscard had been the constant threat to the Greek Empire, and whose policy, handed over as a legacy of hatred, from Guiscard’s successors to the Hohenstaufen, and from the Hohenstaufen to the Angiovines, was destroyed. Peter of Aragon, the ally of Byzantion, landed in Palermo, and was crowned with Manfred’s crown.

The last historian of Byzantium says: “The storm which since twenty years was brewing against the restored Byzantine Empire, was swept away by the Palaeologi’s diplomatic genius.” Let us hope that the genius of Byzantium and the unexhausted strength of the immortal Greek nation will again, in a near Future bring about not only in Palermo, but also in Rome, a national rebellion which will give back their liberty to Sicily and to Italy itself. Let us hope that this will be done with the help of the Catholic Church and of the Gregory’s and Innocent’s, who so often protected Eastern Christianity from the greed of the Western Emperors and from the Italian Duci. Let us hope that once more the glory of Greece will emerge from the Balkan turmoil. Let us rejoice in hailing the heroism of the legitimate heirs of Byzantion, the Hellenes which have never ceased to be the teachers of the Slavs, and for whom Future keeps in store a moral leadership in the Balkans. Let us hope that this last war, which is fought in the old battlefields whose names have been ringing throughout these four lectures will not only reestablish the rights of Liberty, and the Unity of Europe, but also the Unity of the Christian Church, so faithfully advocated on our Belgian soil, under the Presidence of our Archbishop of Malines, Cardinal Mercier, by that eloquent end pious representative of the Church of England, Lord Halifax.