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25/10/2007

Frankish rule in Laconia

Prefectural Administration of Lakonia

During the fall of Constantinople to the Franks in 1204, two cities were flourishing in Laconia, Lacedaemonia and Monemvasia, the first of which was taken by the Franks in 1207 and the second handed over, by treaty and under conditions, in 1249 to William de Villehardouin. After improving the fortifications at Monemvasia, de Villehardouin built another three fortresses: Mystras, Maini and Lefktro. The Franks also built the castle of Passavas, where they founded a baronetcy, as at Lacedaemonia and Geraki. After the battle of Pelagonia in 1259, William de Villehardouin was captured by John Palaiologos and forced in 1262 to hand over the castles of Mystras, Maini and Monemvasia to gain his freedom. Many clashes then followed between the Franks and the Byzantines, with de Villehardouin triumphant in the end. After his death in 1278, Laconia passed to the Palaiologians who, with Mystras as the seat, founded the Despotate of Morea. For two centuries, until 1460, Laconia and the greater part of the Peloponnese were ruled by the Palaiologians.

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