Roche Family Genealogy Blog

My ramblings and sites while on the quest to trace the Roche family history. If you're on the same quest, join the Roche Genealogy mailing list.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Otho de la Roche, Duke of Athens

Came across Otho and Guy de la Roche in the site prepared by Dan Byrnes - Lost Worlds.

Unfortuntely the information is not attributed to any specific source - so that makes it difficult to validate this information.

1205AD: Crusaders, Duchies of Greece, Conquest of the Morea by William of Champlitte. (Sometimes known as "of Champagne") Earlier, Boniface of Montferrat had done homage to the Emperor re the Kingdom of Salonica, and is made commander-in-chief of the force which will march across Morea and take possession of baronies made possible by the partition. In 1205, one army under Count of Blois and Henry of Flanders, the Emperor's brother, attacked the Greeks in Asia, while the King of Salonica invaded Greece. In time, the title King of Salonica becomes a hollow title. Once the Franks had left, the Greeks of Adrianople rise in revolt, aided by Joannes, King of Bulgaria and Vallachia. Joannes cuts Emperor Baldwin's rescue army to pieces and kills Baldwin. The Bulgarians ravage Greece and the Greeks learn how the cruelty of the Franks can be exceeded. The Franks retreated to Rhedestos. Baldwin's brother, Henry of Flanders, becomes Emperor, crowned 20 August, 1206. In 1205, Otho de la Roche, a Burgundian noble, marches south with the army of Boniface of Montferrat and gains possession of Athens (Lord Athens and Thebes). Shortly, the Burgundian influence at Athens was challenged by a Greek notable, Leo Sgourous, who fought but was forced back to Corinth. Otho de la Roche retains control of Attica and Boetia.

1209AD: Duchies of Greece, Villehardouin becomes "man of the Emperor" and is given office of Seneschal of Romania. Shortly Villehardouin has to negotiate with Venice, then try to outsmart the newly-arriving Robert of Champlitte, cousin of Champlittes already in the area. Meantime, Othon de la Roche encourages the Burgundian influences of France, at the Court of Athens. (Othon marries Isabelle, heiress of Guy de Ray.

1209AD: Duchies of Greece, Henry of Flanders at a small town, Ravenika, calls a high court of his vassals to determine the (French-defined) feudal relations to be transplanted in Greece. Lombards from Italy are trying to make inroads on situations. Thebes is restored to Otho de la Roche. Mark Sanudo is given Naxos as Duke of the Archipelago (of the Aegean). Geoffrey Villehardouin the Younger is made Seneschal of Romania. Raven dalle Carceri has Negroponte.

1225AD: Duchies of Greece: Otho de la Roche Lord Athens resigns government of Athens and Thebes to his nephew Guy, son of Otho's brother, Pons le Ray.

Circa 1264AD: Duchies of Greece: Death of Duke of Athens Guy I de la Roche, who is succeeded by his son John died 1275 (who does not marry). William a brother succeeds John in 1275.

More on the little-known Duchy of Athens: Isabella Villehardouin (died 1311 in Holland) was of "the Duchy of Athens", this Isabella also married Florent II (d.1279) of Hainault and one daughter of Florent II married Guy II (d.1308) de la Roche, Duke Athens. We find amongst the Dukes of Athens (DA), the following: the first Duke of Athens, Guy de la Roche, (d.1263), John (of) Livadio (?) died 1280 succeeded as DA by his brother William; Guy II de la Roche died 1308 was DA; Walter Brienne DA died 1311, Manfred Borrell died young in 1317 was DA; Walter III Brienne died 1333 was DA; William II Borrell DA and Prince Taranto died 1338 was DA; John II Borrell died 1347-48, DA may perhaps be the same as John of Randazzo, DA, (d.1348); Walter II Brienne d. 1356 had failed to recover his duchy of Athens.

1290AD: Duchies of Greece: Death of Duke of Athens William de la Roche, who is succeeded by his son Guy II de la Roche. In 1304, Guy II marries Matilda (Maud) of Hainault, the eleven-year-old daughter of Isabella Villehardouin, Princess of Archaia. Matilda has Kalamata as her dowry.

1308AD: Duchies of Greece: Death of Duke of Athens, Prince Archaia, Guy II de la Roche. Guy earlier has developed a view (unreasonable?) that Philip of Savoy, the third husband of Guy's mother-in-law, Isabelle Villehardouin, holds territories from Guy illegally, so Guy employs mercenaries in the form of ex-members of the Grand Company of Catalans of Cyziko, as led by Fernand Ximines. Guy II has no children and is succeeded as Duke Athens by his cousin, Walter de Brienne. This Walter de Brienne is son of Isabella de la Roche, sister of the Dukes of Athens William and John. Isabella here had married Hugh de Brienne, Count Lecce in the Kingdom of Naples. Walter Brienne the succeeding Duke of Athens continues talks with Fernand Ximines and the Catalan Company, which winters in 1308 at Cassandra. Finlay comments in History of Greece/Trebizond, p. 171, "The expedition of the Catalans in the East is a wonderful instance of the success which sometimes attends a career of rapacity and crime, in opposition to all the ordinary maxims of human prudence". Internal dissension reigned amongst the Catalans, their leaders quarrelled, the chiefs assassinated one another, the troops murdered or banished their generals, yet they won victories. Their leader, Roger de Florez, was assassinated by Greeks. D'Entenza, one of their best chiefs, was murdered by his own troops as the Catalans marched from Gallipoli to Cassandra. Fernand Ximines had to flee. Responsible for some such disturbances was Rocafort, the oldest general in the Grand Company, was finally seized by his own officers, and given to a French admiral who took him to Naples where Rocafort died in prison, starved to death by the Angevines. Other Catalans loyal to Rocafort murdered fourteen army chiefs who had delivered Rocafort to the French. One outcome was that the Catalan Company (about 3500 cavalry and 3000 infantry ) held firmer to certain ideals of Republicanism, and wished to establish permanent territorial dominions in Greece.

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