parentage.9 At a different level, they seem to have influenced the Byzantine theologian Nikephoros Blemmydes, who was prepared to concede on the basis of Greek patristic texts that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father through the Son. This represented a shift towards the Latin insistence on the double procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son (filioque).10 By the end of the period of exile there was, thanks mainly to the friars, a new spirit of reconciliation abroad.
Discussions with the Latins were always intended to bring the recovery of Constantinople closer. But this happened by sheer chance in July 1261, when a small Nicaean force took the City by surprise. It might seem that -with Constantinople recovered - there was no longer a political purpose to dialogue with the Latin Church. However, the new Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos (1259/61-82) assessed the situation differently. He reckoned that there was always the danger of western intervention unless the restored empire received papal recognition.11 To this end - and with Franciscan help -he made contact with the papacy within a year of his triumphal entry into Constantinople. It was a necessary first step to re-establishing his empire on the international stage, but ultimately it proved his undoing, because it led to church union with Rome, which in turn produced the progressive alienation of both church and people.
Why Michael Palaiologos was unable to carry them with him remains a pertinent question. From the outset he encountered opposition to his rule. This was more or less inevitable. He was a usurper and had to face the hostility of those attached to the old Laskarid dynasty. But it went deeper than this. He sought to restore the imperial office as the focus of Byzantine society and identity. This meant reversing developments that occurred during the period of exile. It brought the emperor into conflict with the church, which saw its independence eroded by his autocratic stance. It was this far more than any unionist negotiations that was for much of his reign the real issue: that is, until the emperor's unionist policy came to be seen not only as central to his reassertion of imperial power, but also as a threat to the Orthodox core of the Byzantine identity. At the end of his life Michael Palaiologos wrote two autobiographical pieces. They reveal complete bewilderment at the lack of gratitude for the benefits he had bestowed on his people. Had he not
9 R. L. Wolff, 'The Latin Empire and the Franciscans', Traditio 2 (1944), 213-37.
10 J. Munitiz, 'A reappraisal of Blemmydes' First Discussion with the Latins', BSl 51 (1990), 20-6, where he shows that Blemmydes changed his position over the procession ofthe Holy Spirit.
11 D. J. Geanakopolos, Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus and the West 1258-82: a study in Byzantino-Latin relations (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1959).
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