The Empire of Romania (Latin: Imperium Romaniae), more commonly known in historiography as the Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople, and known to the Byzantines as the Frankokratia or the Latin Occupation, was a feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261. The Latin Empire was intended to supplant the Byzantine Empire as the titular Roman Empire in the east, with a Western Roman Catholic emperor enthroned in place of the Eastern Orthodox Roman emperors.
Baldwin IX, Count of Flanders, was crowned the first Latin emperor as Baldwin I on 16 May 1204. The Latin Empire failed to attain political or economic dominance over the other Latin powers that had been established in former Byzantine territories in the wake of the Fourth Crusade, especially Venice, and after a short initial period of military successes it went into a steady decline. Weakened by constant warfare with the Bulgarians and the unconquered sections of the empire, it eventually fell when Byzantines recaptured Constantinople under Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos in 1261. The last Latin emperor, Baldwin II, went into exile, but the imperial title survived, with several pretenders to it, until the 14th century.
Empire of Romania
The Latin Empire with its vassals (in yellow) and the Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire (in red) after the Treaty of Nymphaeum in 1214.
|Common languages||Latin, Old French (official)|
|Religion||Roman Catholic (official)|
Greek Orthodox (popular)
|Government||Feudal Christian Monarchy|
|John of Brienne (regent)|
|Historical era||High Middle Ages|
|1204 est.||339,000 km2 (131,000 sq mi)|
|1260 est.||22,000 km2 (8,500 sq mi)|
|Today part of||Turkey|
The original name of this state in the Latin language was Imperium Romaniae ("Empire of Romania"). This name was used based on the fact that the common name for the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire in this period had been Romania (Ῥωμανία, "Land of the Romans").
The names Byzantine and Latin were not contemporaneous terms. They were invented much later by historians seeking to differentiate between the classical period of the Roman Empire, the medieval period of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the late medieval Latin Empire, all of which called themselves "Roman." The term Latin has been used because the crusaders (Franks, Venetians, and other westerners) were Roman Catholic and used Latin as their liturgical and scholarly language. It is used in contrast to the Eastern Orthodox locals who used Greek in both liturgy and common speech.
After the fall of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade, the crusaders agreed to divide up Byzantine territory. In the Partitio terrarum imperii Romaniae, signed on 1 October 1204, three eighths of the empire — including Crete and other islands — went to the Republic of Venice. The Latin Empire claimed the remainder and exerted control over:
The Doge of Venice did not rank as a vassal to the Latin Empire, but his position in control of three-eighths of its territory and of parts of Constantinople itself ensured Venice's influence in the Empire's affairs. However, much of the former Byzantine territory remained in the hands of rival successor states led by Byzantine Greek aristocrats, such as the Despotate of Epirus, the Empire of Nicaea, and the Empire of Trebizond, each bent on reconquest from the Latins.
The crowning of Baldwin I (16 May 1204) and the establishment of the Latin Empire had the curious effect of creating three simultaneously existing entities claiming to be successors of the Roman Empire: the Latin Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and the remnants of the Byzantine Empire (the direct successor of the ancient Roman Empire). None of these polities actually controlled the city of Rome, which remained under the temporal authority of the Pope.
The initial campaigns of the crusaders in Asia Minor resulted in the capture of most of Bithynia by 1205, with the defeat of the forces of Theodore I Laskaris at Poemanenum and Prusa. Latin successes continued, and in 1207 a truce was signed with Theodore, newly proclaimed Emperor of Nicaea. The Latins inflicted a further defeat on Nicaean forces at the Rhyndakos river in October 1211, and three years later the Treaty of Nymphaeum (1214) recognized their control of most of Bithynia and Mysia.
The peace was maintained until 1222, when the resurgent power of Nicaea felt sufficiently strong to challenge the Latin Empire, by that time weakened by constant warfare in its European provinces. At the battle of Poimanenon in 1224, the Latin army was defeated, and by the next year Emperor Robert of Courtenay was forced to cede all his Asian possessions to Nicaea, except for Nicomedia and the territories directly across from Constantinople. Nicaea turned also to the Aegean, capturing the islands awarded to the empire. In 1235, finally, the last Latin possessions fell to Nicaea.
Unlike in Asia, where the Latin Empire faced only an initially weak Nicaea, in Europe it was immediately confronted with a powerful enemy: the Bulgarian tsar Kaloyan. When Baldwin campaigned against the Byzantine lords of Thrace, they called upon Kaloyan for help. At the Battle of Adrianople on 14 April 1205, the Latin heavy cavalry and knights were crushed by Kaloyan's troops and Cuman allies, and Emperor Baldwin was captured. He was imprisoned in the Bulgarian capital Tarnovo until his death later in 1205. Kaloyan was murdered a couple of years later (1207) during a siege of Thessalonica, and the Bulgarian threat conclusively defeated with a victory the following year, which allowed Baldwin's successor, Henry of Flanders, to reclaim most of the lost territories in Thrace until 1210, when peace was concluded with the marriage of Henry to Maria of Bulgaria, tsar Kaloyan's daughter.
At the same time, another Greek successor state, the Despotate of Epirus, under Michael I Komnenos Doukas, posed a threat to the empire's vassals in Thessalonica and Athens. Henry demanded his submission, which Michael provided, giving off his daughter to Henry's brother Eustace in the summer of 1209. This alliance allowed Henry to launch a campaign in Macedonia, Thessaly and Central Greece against the rebellious Lombard lords of Thessalonica. However, Michael's attack on the Kingdom of Thessalonica in 1210 forced him to return north to relieve the city and to force Michael back into submission.
In 1214 however, Michael died, and was succeeded by Theodore Komnenos Doukas, who was determined to capture Thessalonica. On 11 June 1216, while supervising repairs to the walls of Thessalonica, Henry died, and was succeeded by Peter of Courtenay, who himself was captured and executed by Theodore the following year. A regency was set up in Constantinople, headed by Peter's widow, Yolanda of Flanders, until her death in 1219. Her son Robert of Courtenay being absent in France, the regency passed first to Conon de Béthune, and after his death shortly after, to Cardinal Giovanni Colonna, until 1221, when Robert of Courtenay arrived in Constantinople. Distracted by the renewed war with Nicaea, and waiting in vain for assistance from Pope Honorius III and the King of France Philip II, the Latin Empire was unable to prevent the final fall of Thessalonica to Epirus in 1224. Epirote armies then conquered Thrace in 1225–26, appearing before Constantinople itself. The Latin Empire was saved for a time by the threat posed to Theodore by the Bulgarian tsar Ivan II Asen, and a truce was concluded in 1228.
After Robert of Courtenay died in 1228, a new regency under John of Brienne was set up. After the disastrous Epirote defeat by the Bulgarians at the Battle of Klokotnitsa, the Epirote threat to the Latin Empire was removed, only to be replaced by Nicaea, which started acquiring territories in Greece. Emperor John III Doukas Vatatzes of Nicaea concluded an alliance with Bulgaria, which in 1235 resulted in a joint campaign against the Latin Empire, and an unsuccessful siege of Constantinople the same year. In 1237, Baldwin II attained majority and took over the reins of a much-diminished state. The empire's precarious situation forced him to travel often to Western Europe seeking aid, but largely without success. In order to gain money, he was forced to resort to desperate means, from removing the lead roofs of the Great Palace and selling them, to handing over his only son, Philip, to Venetian merchants as a guarantee for a loan.
By 1247, the Nicaeans had effectively surrounded Constantinople, with only the city's strong walls holding them at bay, and the Battle of Pelagonia in 1258 signaled the beginning of the end of Latin predominance in Greece. Thus, on 25 July 1261, with most of the Latin troops away on campaign, the Nicaean general Alexios Strategopoulos found an unguarded entrance to the city, and entered it with 800 troops only, restoring the Byzantine Empire for his master, Michael VIII Palaiologos.
For about a century thereafter, the heirs of Baldwin II continued to use the title of Emperor of Constantinople, and were seen as the overlords of the various remaining Latin states in the Aegean. They exercised effective authority in Greece only when actually ruling as princes of Achaea, as in 1333–83.
The empire was formed and administered on Western European feudal principles, incorporating some elements of the Byzantine bureaucracy. The emperor was assisted by a council, composed of the various barons, the Venetian podestà and his six-member council. This council had a major voice in the governance of the realm, especially in periods of regency, when the Regent (moderator imperii) was dependent on their consent to rule. The podesta, likewise, was an extremely influential member, being practically independent of the emperor. He exercised authority over the Venetian quarters of Constantinople and Pera and the Venetian dominions within the empire, assisted by a separate set of officials. His role was more that of an ambassador and vicegerent of Venice than a vassal to the empire.
The Latins did not trust the professional Greek bureaucracy, and in the immediate aftermath of the conquest completely dismantled the Greek economic administration of the areas they controlled. The result was disastrous, disrupting all forms of production and trade. Almost from its inception the Latin Empire was sending requests back to the papacy for aid. For a few years, the major commodities it exported from the surrounding region of Thrace were wheat and furs; it also profited from Constantinople's strategic location on major trade routes. While the empire showed some moderate vitality while Henry was alive, after his death in 1216 there was a major deficit in leadership. By the 1230s, Constantinople - even with its drastically reduced population - was facing a major shortage of basic foodstuffs. In several senses, the only significant export on which the economy of the Latin Empire had any real basis was the sale of relics back to Western Europe which had been looted from Greek churches. For example, Emperor Baldwin II sold the relic of the Crown of Thorns while in France trying to raise new funds.
The elite of the empire were the Frankish and Venetian lords, headed by the emperor, the barons and the lower-ranking vassals and liege lords, including many former Byzantine aristocrats. The bulk of the people were Orthodox Greeks, still divided according to the Byzantine system in income classes based on land ownership.
As with all Latin states, the Orthodox hierarchy was replaced by Roman Catholic prelates, but not suppressed. An expansive Catholic hierarchy was established, under the dual supervision of the Latin archbishop of Constantinople and the Papal legate, until the two offices were merged in 1231. Western Catholic monastic orders, such as the Cistercians, the Dominicans and the Franciscans were established in the empire. The Orthodox clergy retained its rites and customs, including its right to marriage, but was demoted to a subordinate position, subject to the local Latin bishops.
Baldwin I (Dutch: Boudewijn; French: Baudouin; July 1172 – c. 1205) was the first emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople. As Count of Flanders and Hainaut, he was one of the most prominent leaders of the Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the sack of Constantinople and the conquest of large parts of the Byzantine Empire, and the foundation of the Latin Empire. He lost his final battle to Kaloyan, the emperor of Bulgaria, and spent his last days as his prisoner.Battle of Adrianople (1205)
The Battle of Adrianople occurred around Adrianople on April 14, 1205 between Bulgarians and Cumans under Tsar Kaloyan of Bulgaria, and Crusaders under Baldwin I, who only months before had been crowned Emperor of Constantinople, allied with Venetians under Doge Enrico Dandolo. It was won by the Bulgarians, after a successful ambush.Bulgarian–Latin wars
The Bulgarian–Latin wars were a series of conflicts between the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185–1396) and the Latin Empire (1204–61). The wars affected the northern border of the Latin Empire throughout its existence.
The initial expansionist ambitions of the Latin Empire were crushed only one year after its foundation after the Battle of Adrianople in 1205, where its Emperor Baldwin I was captured and most of his knights perished. After that crucial defeat the Latin Empire had to defend itself against Bulgaria and the successor states of the Byzantine Empire, the Nicaean Empire in Asia Minor and the Despotate of Epirus in the Balkans.
As a result of the conflicts the Bulgarian Empire expanded its territory taking control of most of the Balkan Peninsula while the influence of the Latin Empire was reduced to Constantinople and a few towns and islands. With the elimination of the Patriarchate of Constantinople by the Roman Catholic Crusaders, Bulgaria became the centre of the Orthodox Christianity.Empire of Nicaea
The Empire of Nicaea or the Nicene Empire was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek rump states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade. Founded by the Laskaris family, it lasted from 1204 to 1261, when the Nicaeans restored the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople.Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was a Latin Christian armed expedition called by Pope Innocent III. The stated intent of the expedition was to recapture the Muslim-controlled city of Jerusalem, by first conquering the powerful Egyptian Ayyubid Sultanate, the strongest Muslim nation of the time. However, a sequence of economic and political events culminated in the Crusader army sacking the city of Constantinople, the capital of the Greek Christian-controlled Byzantine Empire.
In late 1202, financial issues led to the Crusader army sacking Zara, which was then brought under Venetian control. In January 1203, en-route to Jerusalem, the Crusader leadership entered into an agreement with the Byzantine prince Alexios Angelos to divert the Crusade to Constantinople and restore his deposed father as Emperor. The intent of the Crusaders was then to continue to Jerusalem with promised Byzantine financial and military aid. On 23 June 1203, the bulk of the Crusaders reached Constantinople, while smaller contingents continued to Acre. After the siege of Zara the pope excommunicated the crusader army.
In August, following clashes outside Constantinople, Alexios was crowned co-Emperor. However, in January 1204, he was deposed by a popular uprising. The Crusaders were no longer able to receive their promised payments from Alexios. Following the murder of Alexios on 8 February, the Crusaders decided on the outright conquest of the city. In April 1204, they captured and plundered the city's enormous wealth. Only a handful of the Crusaders continued to the Holy Land thereafter.
The conquest of Constantinople was followed by the fragmentation of the Empire into three rump states centred in Nicaea, Trebizond and Epirus. The Crusaders then founded several Crusader states in former Byzantine territory, largely hinged upon the Latin Empire of Constantinople. The presence of the Latin Crusader states almost immediately led to war with the Byzantine successor states and the Bulgarian Empire. The Nicaean Empire eventually recovered Constantinople and restored the Byzantine Empire in 1261.
The Crusade is considered to be one of the most prominent acts that solidified the schism between the Greek and Latin Christian churches, and dealt an irrevocable blow to the already weakened Byzantine Empire, paving the way for Muslim conquests in Anatolia and Balkan Europe in the coming centuries.Frankokratia
The Frankokratia (Greek: Φραγκοκρατία, sometimes anglicized as Francocracy, lit. "rule of the Franks"), also known as Latinokratia (Greek: Λατινοκρατία, "rule of the Latins") and, for the Venetian domains, Venetokratia or Enetokratia (Greek: Βενετοκρατία or Ενετοκρατία, "rule of the Venetians"), was the period in Greek history after the Fourth Crusade (1204), when a number of primarily French and Italian Crusader states were established on the territory of the dissolved Byzantine Empire (see Partitio terrarum imperii Romaniae).
The term derives from the name given by the Orthodox Greeks to the Western European Latin Church Catholics: "Latins". Most Latins had French (Frankish), Norman, or Venetian origins. The span of the Frankokratia period differs by region: the political situation proved highly volatile, as the Frankish states fragmented and changed hands, and the Greek successor states re-conquered many areas.
With the exception of the Ionian Islands and some isolated forts which remained in Venetian hands until the turn of the 19th century, the final end of the Frankokratia in the Greek lands came with the Ottoman conquest, chiefly in the 14th to 16th centuries, which ushered in the period known as "Tourkokratia" ("rule of the Turks"; see Ottoman Greece).Henry of Flanders
Henry (1176? – 11 June 1216) was the second emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople. He was a younger son of Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut (later Baldwin VIII, count of Flanders), and Margaret I of Flanders, sister of Philip of Alsace, count of Flanders.Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria
Ivan Asen II, also known as John Asen II or John Asan II (Bulgarian: Иван Асен II, [iˈvan ɐˈsɛn ˈftɔri]; 1190s – June 1241) was emperor (or tsar) of Bulgaria from 1218 to 1241. He was still a child when his father, Ivan Asen I–one of the founders of the Second Bulgarian Empire–was killed in 1196. His supporters tried to secure the throne for him after his uncle, Kaloyan, was murdered in 1207, but Kaloyan's other nephew, Boril, overcame them. Ivan Asen fled from Bulgaria and settled in the Rus' principalities.
Boril could never strengthen his rule which enabled Ivan Asen to muster an army and return to Bulgaria. He captured Tarnovo and blinded Boril in 1218. Initially, he supported the full communion of the Bulgarian Church with the Papacy and concluded alliances with the neighboring Catholic powers, Hungary and the Latin Empire of Constantinople. He tried to achieve the regency for the 11-year-old Latin Emperor, Baldwin II, after 1228, but the Latin aristocrats did not support Ivan Asen. He inflicted a crushing defeat on the Empire of Thessalonica, Theodore Komnenos Doukas, in the Battle of Klokotnitsa in 1230. Theodore's empire soon collapsed and Ivan Asen conquered large territories in Macedonia, Thessaly and Thrace.
The control of the trade on the Via Egnatia enabled Ivan Asen to implement an ambitious building program in Tarnovo and struck gold coins in his new mint in Ohrid. He started negotiations about the return of the Bulgarian Church to Orthodoxy after he learnt that the barons of the Latin Empire had elected John of Brienne regent for Baldwin II in 1229. Ivan Asen and the Emperor of Nicaea, John III Vatatzes, concluded an alliance against the Latin Empire at their meeting in 1235. During the same conference, the rank of patriarch was granted to the head of the Bulgarian Church in token of its autocephaly (or independence). Ivan Asen and Vatatzes joined their forces in attacking Constantinople, but Ivan Asen realized that Vatatzes could primarily take advantage of the fall of the Latin Empire and broke off his alliance with Nicaea in 1237. After the Mongols invaded the Pontic steppes, several Cuman groups fled to Bulgaria, causing much destruction in the country during the last years of Ivan Asen's rule.Jacopo Tiepolo
Jacopo Tiepolo (died 19 July 1249), also known as Giacomo Tiepolo, was Doge of Venice from 1229 to 1249. He had previously served as the first Venetian Duke of Crete, and two terms as podestà in Constantinople (1218-1220 and 1224-1227). During his first term, following the capture and mysterious end of Peter of Courtenay, Tiepolo acted as de facto ruler of the Latin Empire, negotiating treaties on behalf of the Empire with Egypt and the Seljuk Turks.Latin Emperor
The Latin Emperor was the ruler of the Latin Empire, the historiographical convention for the Crusader realm, established in Constantinople after the Fourth Crusade (1204) and lasting until the city was recovered by the Byzantine Greeks in 1261. Its name derives from its Catholic and Western European ("Latin") nature. The empire, whose official name was Imperium Romaniae (Latin: "Empire of Romania"), claimed the direct heritage of the Eastern Roman Empire, which had most of its lands taken and partitioned by the crusaders. This claim however was disputed by the Byzantine Greek successor states, the Empire of Nicaea, the Empire of Trebizond and the Despotate of Epirus. Out of these three, the Nicaeans succeeded in displacing the Latin emperors in 1261 and restored the Byzantine Empire.Latin Patriarchate of Constantinople
The Latin Patriarchate of Constantinople was an office established as a result of the Fourth Crusade and its conquest of Constantinople in 1204. It was a Roman Catholic replacement for the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and remained in the city until the reconquest of Constantinople by the Byzantines in 1261, whereupon it became a titular see. The office was finally abolished in 1964.Mongol invasion of the Latin Empire
In the summer of 1242, a Mongol army invaded the Latin Empire of Constantinople. The army, a detachment of the army under Qadan then devastating Bulgaria, entered the empire from the north. It was met by the Emperor Baldwin II, who was victorious in a first encounter but was subsequently defeated.
The encounters probably took place in Thrace, but little can be said about them owing to the paucity of sources. Subsequent relations between Baldwin and the Mongol khans have been taken as evidence by some that Baldwin was captured and forced to make submission to the Mongols and pay tribute. Together with the major Mongol invasion of Anatolia the following year (1243), the Mongol defeat of Baldwin precipitated a power shift in the Aegean world.Pallavicini family
The Pallavicini, Pallavicino, and in former times named "Pelavicino", are an Italian noble family descended from Oberto I (died 1148). The first Pallavicino fief was created by Oberto II, who received it from Frederick Barbarossa in 1162. A number of lines descended from Guglielmo (died 1217), possessor of a series of fiefs between Parma and Piacenza and a descendant of the Lombard Obertenga family (along with the Este, the Cavalcabò and Malaspina). They are:
The Pallavicini of the Latin Empire
descendants of Guglielmo through his sons Guy (also known as Galdo) and Rubino
The Pallavicini of Lombardy
The Pallavicini of Varano
The Pallavicini of Polesine
The Pallavicini of Busseto
The Pallavicini of Ravarano (today part of Calestano)
The Pallavicini - Rospigliosi family of Tuscany and Rome
The Pallavicino of SicilyA second main branch of the family (or perhaps a separate family) was formed by the descendants of Niccolò Pallavicini (alive in 1154), whose origins are doubtful—probably he belonged to the Genoese patriciate—and whose links with the Obertenghi are uncertain:
The Pallavicini of Genoa (patricians of Genoa)Peter II of Courtenay
Peter, also Peter II of Courtenay (French: Pierre de Courtenay; died 1219), was emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople from 1216 to 1217.Siege of Constantinople (1235)
The Siege of Constantinople (1235) was a joint Bulgarian-Nicaean siege on the capital of the Latin Empire. Latin emperor John of Brienne was besieged by the Nicaean emperor John III Doukas Vatatzes and Tsar Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria. The siege remained unsuccessful.Siege of Constantinople (1260)
The Siege of Constantinople in 1260 was the failed attempt by the Nicaean Empire, the major remnant of the fractured Byzantine Empire, to retake Constantinople from the Latin Empire and re-establish the City as the political, cultural and spiritual capital of a revived Byzantine Empire.Treaty of Nymphaeum (1214)
The Treaty of Nymphaeum (Greek: Συνθήκη του Νυμφαίου) was a peace treaty signed in December 1214 between the Nicaean Empire, successor state of the Byzantine Empire, and the Latin Empire, which was established in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade of 1204.Treaty of Viterbo
The Treaty of Viterbo (or the Treaties of Viterbo) was a pair of agreements made by Charles I of Sicily with Baldwin II of Constantinople and William II Villehardouin, Prince of Achaea, on 24 and 27 May 1267, which transferred much of the rights to the defunct Latin Empire from Baldwin to Charles.Yolanda of Flanders
Yolanda of Flanders, Marchioness of Namur (French: Yolande de Hainault; 1175 – August 1219) was Empress of the Latin Empire in Constantinople by marriage to Peter II of Courtenay. She was regent of Constantinople from 1217 to 1219 for her son Philip of Namur, after her spouse Peter II of Courtenay was captured and imprisoned before he could reach Constantinople. She was ruling Marchioness of Namur from 1212 until 1219.