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The Despotate of Epiros 1267-1479

The district of Epiros in north-western Greece became an independent province following the Fourth Crusade and the dismemberment of the Byzantine Empire by the Latins in 1204. It retained its independence despite the recovery of Constantinople by the Greeks in 1261. Each of its rulers acquired the Byzantine titles of Despot, from which the term Despotate was coined to describe their territory. They preserved their autonomy partly by seeking support from their foreign neighbours in Italy. The fortunes of Epiros were thus affected by the expansionist plans of the Angevin kings of Naples and the commercial interests of Venice. Until 1318 it was governed by direct descendants of its Byzantine founder. Thereafter it was taken over first by the Italian family of Orsini, then conquered by the Serbians, infiltrated by the Albanians, and appropriated by an Italian adventurer, Carlo Tocco. Like the rest of Byzantium and eastern Europe it was ultimately absorbed into the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth century. The Despotate of Epiros illuminates part of Byzantine history and of the history of Greece in the Middle Ages.
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Table of Contents

Preface; List of abbreviations; Map: Epiros in the fourteenth century; Introduction; 1. The restored Despotate 1267-1285; 2. Epiros between Italy and Byzantium 1285-1306; 3. French, Byzantines and Venetians in Epiros 1294-1318; 4. The Italian inheritance: the Orsini family 1318-1337; 5. The Byzantine restoration 1337-1348; 6. The Serbian occupation 1348-1359; 7. The Serbian Despotate of Ioannina and the Albanian Despotate of Arta 1359-1384; 8. The Italian restoration: Esau Buondelmonti and Carlo Tocco 1384-1411; 9. The reunited Despotate 1411-1429; 10. The Turkish conquest and the end of the Despotate 1429-1479; 11. The administration and the economy; 12. The church and cultural life; Epilogue; Genealogical tables; Bibliography; Index.

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