Byzantine scholars and Italy

A complaint made against the Palamites by their opponents was that they condoned the advance of the Turks. Although not strictly true, it caught a new development: the willingness of Greeks, as individuals or as communities, to throw in their lot with the marauding Turks. As often as not this led to assimilation and conversion to Islam. This contrasted with the obstinacy with which the Greeks retained their religion in lands ruled by Latins. The difference is best explained by the conditions of conquest. The Ottoman conquest was a traumatic business, where resistance brought destruction and enslavement, while cooperation offered material benefits. The Latin conquest was far less brutal, but more humiliating, because of the subjection of the mass of the population which was Greek and Orthodox to a ruling class that was Latin and Catholic. The Latin regimes in the Levant were anxious to ensure that this division remained intact, because it was a guarantee of dominance. Equally, it suited the Greeks. It furthered the social dominance of the Orthodox Church and it created an ascendancy, which was able to mediate between the two communities thanks to its access to the Latin ruling class. In Venetian Crete there was interchange on the religious level: Greeks and Latins worshipped in and were patrons of the same churches, and on special occasions participated in the same celebrations. However, Greeks were discouraged from becoming Latin priests and vice versa. The Latin authorities in the Levant were suspicious of union, because it threatened the delicate balance of communities upon which effective rule depended. 42

42 F. Thiriet, 'La situation religieuse en Crète au début du XVe siècle', B 36 (1966), 20112; J. Gill, 'Pope Urban V (1362-1370) and the Greeks of Crete', OCP 39 (1973), 461-8; S. McKee, Uncommon dominion: Venetian Crete and the myth of ethnic purity (Philadelphia: University ofPennsylvania Press, 2000), 100-32; M. Georgopoulou, Venice's Mediterranean colonies: architectureandurbanism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 165-91; J. Richard, 'Culture franque et culture grecque: le royaume de Chypre au XVe siecle', BF11 (1987), 399-415.

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