Lordship of Chios

The Lordship of Chios was a short-lived autonomous lordship run by the Genoese Zaccaria family. Its core was the eastern Aegean island of Chios, and in its height it encompassed a number of other islands off the shore of Asia Minor. Although theoretically a vassal of the Byzantine Empire, the Zaccaria ruled the island as a practically independent domain from its capture in 1304 until the Greek-Byzantines recovered it, with the support of the local Greek population, in 1329.

Lordship of Chios
Autonomous lordship under Byzantine suzerainty

Capital Chios
40°38′N 22°57′E / 40.633°N 22.950°ECoordinates: 40°38′N 22°57′E / 40.633°N 22.950°E
Government Feudal lordship
 •  1304–1307 Benedetto I Zaccaria
 •  1314–1329 Martino Zaccaria
Historical era Middle Ages
 •  Established 1304
 •  Reconquest by the Byzantines 1329
 •  Capture of Chios by the Genoese 1354
Today part of  Greece


The lordship was founded in 1304, when the Genoese noble Benedetto I Zaccaria captured the Byzantine island of Chios. Benedetto, who was already lord of Phocaea on the coast of Asia Minor, justified his act to the Byzantine court as necessary to prevent the island's capture by Turkish pirates. The Byzantine emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos, impotent to intervene militarily, accepted the fait accompli and granted him the island as a fief, initially for a period of 10 years, but which was then renewed at five-year intervals.[1][2] Benedetto died in 1307 and was succeeded in Chios by his son, Paleologo Zaccaria. When he died childless in 1314, the island passed to Martino and his brother, Benedetto II.[2] Chios was a small but wealthy domain, with an annual income of 120,000 gold hyperpyra. Over the next few years, Martino made it the core of a small realm encompassing several islands off the shore of Asia Minor, including Samos and Kos.[3] Martino, with his small army and fleet, achieved considerable successes against the Turkish pirates, and won praise by his Latin contemporaries, the Pope, and Philip II, the titular Latin emperor of Constantinople, who in 1325 named him "King and Despot of Asia Minor".[4][5]

Despite Martino's ties to the Latin Emperor, while Andronikos II reigned relations with the Byzantine Empire remained good, and the lease of Chios was renewed in 1324. At the same time, however, Martino's behaviour became increasingly assertive, and in ca. 1325 he ousted his brother as co-ruler of Chios.[6] In 1328 the young and energetic Andronikos III Palaiologos succeeded his grandfather on the Byzantine throne. One of the leading Chian nobles, Leo Kalothetos, went on behalf of the Chian population to meet the new emperor and his chief minister, John Kantakouzenos, to propose a reconquest of the island. Andronikos III readily agreed, and, finding a pretext in Martino's unauthorized construction of a fortress, sailed with a large fleet against him.[7] Martino barricaded himself in his castle, but after witnessing the defection of the native Greek population, and the surrender of his brother, he too decided to capitulate. Benedetto II was initially offered to govern the island in the emperor's name, but his demand to receive the same autonomy and rights as his brother was unacceptable to Andronikos III, and Kalothetos was named instead.[3][8]

Chios returned to Byzantine control where it remained until 1346, when the Genoese Simone Vignose captured it, taking advantage of the Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347. The island became the seat of the Maona di Chio e di Focea company, and fell under the rule of the Giustiniani family, who held it until 1566, when it finally capitulated to the Ottoman Empire.



  1. ^ Nicol 1993, p. 113.
  2. ^ a b Miller 1921, pp. 287–289.
  3. ^ a b Nicol 1993, pp. 171–172.
  4. ^ Nicol 1993, pp. 142–144, 171.
  5. ^ Miller 1921, pp. 289–290.
  6. ^ Miller 1921, pp. 290–291.
  7. ^ Miller 1921, p. 291.
  8. ^ Miller 1921, pp. 292–294.


  • Miller, William (1921). "The Zaccaria of Phocaea and Chios (1275-1329)". Essays on the Latin Orient. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 283–298.
  • Nicol, Donald MacGillivray (1993). The Last Centuries of Byzantium, 1261–1453. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43991-4.
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Catholic Church in Armenia

Armenian Catholic Church

Catholic Church in Azerbaijan

Catholic Church in Israel

Catholic Church in Iran

Catholic Church in Iraq

Chaldean Catholic Church

Catholic Church in Egypt

Coptic Catholic Church

Catholic Church in Kuwait

Catholic Church in Lebanon

Maronite Church

Catholic Church in Oman

Catholic Church in the Palestinian territories

Catholic Church in the United Arab Emirates

Catholic Church in Saudi Arabia

Catholic Church in Syria

Syriac Catholic Church

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Catholic Church in Turkey

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Duchy of Neopatras

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In February 1341, Pope Benedict XII ordered him to receive some procurators representing the Catalan Grand Company, which wished to return to "the bosom of the mother Church".In 1342, Henry negotiated an alliance between King Hugh IV of Cyprus and the Knights Hospitaler against the Turkish ruler Umur Beg of Aydin. On 2 November 1342, he delivered a papal letter to the doge of Venice, Bartolomeo Gradenigo, asking him to join the league and appointing Cardinal Guillaume Court apostolic legate to Venice. On 31 August, Pope Clement VI officially named Henry his legate for the upcoming crusade against Smyrna, "because of the great and important business [he conducted] in Greece". He was to travel, as commander-in-chief, with the Genoese fleet under Martino Zaccaria, who was named captain-general, but whom Henry had authority to remove if need be. In the summer of 1343, the Duke John I of the Archipelago informed Henry in a letter that he wished to supply a galley to the expedition.On 21 October 1343, Henry was charged with keeping the peace in the Duchy of Athens between the ducal claimant Count Walter VI of Brienne and the occupying forces of the Catalan Company, with whom he had previous experience from 1341. As the crusade dragged on into 1344, Henry wrote to the pope describing its "fortunate progress" and the pope responded, in a letter dated 25 July, by thanking the Hospitaler grand master, Hélion de Villeneuve, for the assistance he was giving the crusade. On 18 September the pope ordered Henry to prevent Zaccaria from re-conquering the Lordship of Chios, which his family had lost to the Byzantines after an internal rebellion. The loss of Chios, the pope thought, would force the Byzantines into an alliance with the Ottomans. After the fall of the harbour of Smyrna on 28 October 1344, Henry established his headquarters there and began restoring the fortifications. Belatedly, on 1 February, Pope Clement congratulated Henry on the victory and on his "virtuously, constantly and intrepidly" leading. He warned about the difficulty of raising funds for the continuance of the crusade, but left the decision on how to proceed to Henry, since the latter, he said, had been taught "in the school of experience". One of the last actions of the patriarch before his death was to lead, with Zaccaria, a fleet of twelve galleys on a successful foray to captured supplies. On their return the Ottomans who had been besieging the citadel retreated.Henry was killed on 17 January 1345. He had intended to celebrate a victory Mass in a former church (perhaps the seat of the metropolis) that the Turks had used as a stable, and which at the time lay between the Christian and Turkish lines. Although Zaccaria objected to the dangerous venture, he was with Henry at the Mass when the Turks under Umur himself attacked the church. While most of those present got to the safety of the harbour citadel, Henry, Zaccaria and the Venetian leader, Pietro Zeno, were killed. Many legends surrounding this event were later current in Italy.

When Umur Beg's brother and successor, Khidr Beg, signed a peace treaty with the crusaders on 18 August 1348, he offered to return the body of Henry of Asti whenever they claimed it.

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He was appointed governor of Phocaea by his uncle Benedetto I and remained in office after his death, when he became governor of the Lordship of Chios. In 1306 Tedisio campaigned in Thasos, where he captured the castle and made the island his fief. In 1307 Benedetto II Zaccaria decided to replace to Tedisio with a new governor.

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Frankokratia (1204–1797)
Major centres
States and territories
Cultural impact

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