Post-classical history

Boudonitza

A castle and associated settlement in central Greece, situated southeast of the pass of Thermopylae and the Boiotian plain. Boudonitza was founded by the Pallavicini family from Parma in the years after 1204 when they were granted a mar- quisate from Boniface of Montferrat, the ruler of Thessa- lonica. It guarded both the pass and the Malian Gulf to the north and also protected an important harbor used in the 1330s for the import of corn from Wallachia.

The castle is built on the site of a Byzantine fortress and consists of two circuit walls and a central keep. The town, known as Mendenitsa, grew up around the fortress and was also surrounded by a wall. It provides evidence of the movement of population by Western settlers after 1204. The town was the seat of a Latin bishop, a suffragan of the archbishop of Athens.

The overlordship of the marquisate passed from the rulers of Thessalonica to the princes of Achaia either in the early days of the Frankish conquest or in the 1240s. About that time (possibly in 1248), according to Marino Sanudo Torsello, William II of Achaia sent an army of 11,000 men to relieve Boudonitza from an attack by the Epirote Greeks under Michael II Doukas. The marquis of Boudonitza was numbered among the twelve peers of Achaia, and it was only during the Catalan occupation of Athens that the marquisate was reckoned a dependency of Athens. The marquis survived the battle of Halmyros, and his castle successfully resisted a Catalan attack in 1311. However, it was only by coming to terms with the Catalans that the marquisate survived intact. The Pallavicini family held it until 1335, when the marquisate was ceded to the Venetian family of Zorzi in order to enhance the protection of Venetian Negroponte against the Catalans. The Zorzi were displaced when the town and castle fell to the Turks in 1414.

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