The byzantine emperor Manuel, already since 1420, had distributed the territory of his empire among his seven sons… Ioannis was the successor in Constantinople, Theodoros bishop of Pelopponese, the center being Mystras and ruler of those areas which were part of the byzantine empire (the rest of the areas belonged to the Frankish principality of Moreas or Venice), Adronikos ruled in Thessaly (and Thessaloniki), Constantinos got in the first hand, the area of Euxinos and the other three who were underage got areas after the coming of age. The resignation of Theodoros whose intention was to become a monk and the surrender of his administrative area to Andronikos’ son, who had the same name, and, in the meantime, lost his administrative area, as it was occupied by the Turks, as well as the liberation by Constantinos of many areas of Peloponnese from the remnants of the Frankish rule altered the areas of distribution. The last decade, before the enslavement to the Turks, from the brothers, Ioannis ruled in Constantinople, Constantinos and Thomas had shared the areas of Peloponnese and Dimitrios along with Andreas ruled small areas in the suburbs of Constantinople. After Ioannis death and the enthronement of Constantinos his administrative area in Peloponnese was given to his brother Dimitrios, whereas Thomas kept his own administrative areas.
In February 1424, after the death of the emperor of Byzantium, Manuel, he was succeeded by his first son Ioannis. The last one signed a treaty with the sultan Murat II, the father of the later ruler of Constantinople to which it was foreseen the definite surrender to the Turks of the occupied by them areas in Macedonia and Thrace as well as the payment by the emperor of Byzantium of high tribute.
Muratt in December 1446, campaigned to Peloponnese which at that time with the initiatives and military actions of the bishop Constantinos had become part of the domain of Palaiologos. After the invasion he occupied the wall that Constantinos had erected at Isthmos and occupied the majority of the areas of Corinth and Achaia. After the unsuccessful attempt of occupation of Patras they signed peace by which Peloponnese would pay tribute to the Turks.
In 1450, after the death of the emperor Ioannis and with the consent of Muratt, Constantinos went on the throne where from he descended dead three years later while fighting at the walls of Constantinople against Moameth B, the heir of Murat who had passed away the same year as the emperor Ioannis.
In October 1458, Moameth who was in Athens that had been surrendered to the head of the Turkish troops Omar, son of Tourouhan Bey, sent messengers to the bishops of Peloponnese to vow for the peace that had been agreed and asked the hand of Dimitrios daughter. The bishops agreed so that they gave the North Peloponnese (Corinth and Achaia) to Moameth. After three months, the brothers Dimitrios and Thomas started a civil war for the redistribution of the rest of the part of Peloponnese. Amongst the hostilities is the siege by Thomas of Zarnata and Kalamata which belonged to Dimitrios and from the last one Leontari and Akova which belonged to Thomas. After many battles against each other, to which the Albanians of Peloponnese allied once with the one and once with the other and the occupation of Leontari by Dimitrios with the contribution of the Turk pasha Xamza who was in Omar’s place, they made peace. The turmoils and conflicts led Moameth who was in military operations at Skopia to replace the Turk Pasha Xamza with Sagano Pasha. The last one invaded Peloponnese and scattered the troops of the two brothers who started again the conflicts between them. Thomas occupied many areas in Messinia and Laconia and invaded Kalamata. Following he asked for a meeting with the Sultan but there was no agreement as he didn’t have the possibility to pay the tax asked by the last one. For this reason, Moameth invaded again Peloponnese in April 1460. Dimitrios came back to the camp of the Sultan, surrendered Mystras in exchange of the future incomes that would come from other areas. The sultan then occupied Kastritsi (today Kastori), Liontari and Gardiki in North Taygetus and cruelly massacred the defendants over there. The news disturbed the byzantine masters of the other castles and led them to thoughts of surrender. Thomas in the mean time with his family escaped to Kalamata wherefrom with a ship he arrived to Corfu. The sultan after the successful outcome of the operation in North Taygetus arrived to West Peloponnese and occupied the ports Navarino (Pylos) and Arcadia (Kyparissia) and transferred the inhabitants to Constantinople to live there whereas he sent to the east side of Peloponnese Isa, the grandson of Evrenos Pasha who had before decades leaded the invasion of the first Turkish troops to Peloponnese, in order to occupy Monemvasia and to take the wife and the daughter of Dimitrios who were there. The guard of Monemvasia Nicolaos Palaiologos handed the women but not the town. The sultan ordered Saganos Pasha to occupy the rest of the castles of the area, whereas he spied the ports of Methoni and Koroni which belonged to the Venetians and with landings he captured the inhabitants of those areas. Following he headed North and occupied Egio, Kalavryta, Karytaina and Salmeniko. Due to the difficulty to occupy the last castle and the violation of the terms of his surrender, the Sultan replaced Sagano Pasha and brought back to his place Xamza. Form the two bishop brothers Dimitrios who had signed a treaty with Moameth got from him as an honour and residence the town Aino (peninsula of Kallipoli). Thomas from Corfu sent an ambassador (the lord Ralli) to the Sultan and proposed him to get East Peloponnese. His proposition was not accepted and that’s why he left for Italy taking with him the head of saint Andreas. Monemvasia was an object for exchange of Thomas with the Pope and finally it was given by him to the Venetians.
So, in 1460 seven years after the occupation of Constantinople there was the occupation of Peloponnese by the sultan apart from the ports that were occupied by the Venetians. During the campaign there was increased cruelty (hangings, beheadings, physical tortures of fighters and civilians, fires and depopulation of villages and castles) in the military operations.
In spring 1463, Venice declared war to Turkey. The reason was the non surrendering of the servant of Pasha in Athens who left with stolen goods of his master and found refuge to Methoni. Then there was the intrusion of the governor of Peloponnese Isa Pasha, grandson of Ebrenos in Argos and Omar the son of Touraxan in Naupakto, whereas other troops looted Methoni. Then, the inhabitants of the areas of Peloponnese amongst which Sparte and Tainaro rebelled against the sultan after the agreement with the Venetians. The hostilities went on until Isthmos and generally in north and central Peloponnese with the advance through Istmos of Mahmud Pasha. And again with cruelties there was attempted the return of the rebellions to the Turkish rule. The following year the leadership of the military troops was given by the Venetians to the Italian nobleman Sigimundo Malatesta, who besieged the castle of Mystras and occupied the external wall but not the acropolis. The new governor of the Venetian troops Jacobs Varvarigos moved to Patras where he was defeated, imprisoned and butchered whereas his army was moved to Kalamata where he was again defeated. The polemic condition with reduced region of hostilities and moving in space lasted for many years since there was in the meantime a treaty of Venice with the kingdom of Neapoli and the Pope for the constitution of a crusade for the common confrontation of the Ottoman threat in Europe.
On the 26th January 1479 there was signed in Constantinople a treaty amongst Moameth and Venice with a special representative the secretary Ioannis Dorios). With this treaty Venice gave to the Sultan Skodra, Kroia and other Albanian towns and also the mountain areas of Xeimmara and Mani.
All the scattered information about the period from 1463 (maybe earlier) up to 1479, lead to the conclusion that the area of Mani was at that period under the Venetian rule, whereas many politicians and military representatives lived there; their names are mentioned in the Venetians files. However, according to the law and the political administration of each area there were also inhabitants that took part. The locals also took part in military operations of that period against the Turks both in the area of Taygetus and Peloponnese, in general. The participants in the politics and in the relevant political council under the Venetian governor were the so called elders. It seems that these places were taken by the members of the empire family of Trapezounta which at that period had arrived to Oitylo*. Anyway, the military operations of that period also consist of the heroic battles of Krokodeilos Kladas and many other inhabitants of the area in central Peloponnese and finally Mikri Kastania of Taygetus. The disappointment of Kladas for the treaty of surrendering Mani to the Turks resulted to his escape along with many compatriots to Eptanisa where they stayed under Venetian rule. Many of these took part later with bravery and courage to the wars of Venice against the Germans in Italian ground with the name stradiotti (these events were presented in the issue 9-December 1999 of our newspaper).
*Addition to the subject we had mentioned in the issue 128-November 2009.