Post-classical history

Amadeus VI of Savoy (1334-1383)

Count of Savoy (1343-1383), known as the Green Count, who led a crusade against the Ottoman Turks in 1366-1367. Amadeus (Fr. Amedée, It. Amadeo) was the son of Count Aymo of Savoy (d. 1343) and Yolande of Montferrat.

The count’s decision to go on crusade dates from January 1364. It occurred in the wake of the journey to western Europe of King Peter I of Cyprus, after Amadeus had met the crusade propagandist Philippe de Mézières. The threat to Savoy from roaming mercenary companies meant that he was unable to take part in Peter’s crusade, which captured Alexandria in 1365. Amadeus finally set off for Venice in February 1366, although some of his army embarked at Genoa. He arrived at the island of Negroponte (Euboia) off eastern Greece on 2 August.

The plan of the crusade was to expel the Turks from Europe through a joint attack with King Louis I of Hungary and Emperor John V Palaiologos of Byzantium. John had gone to meet Louis to ask for his help, but was taken prisoner by the Bulgarians on his way back. Amadeus sailed to Thrace and on 26 August attacked and captured the Ottoman stronghold of Gallipoli (mod. Gelibolu, Turkey) on the Dardanelles, which served as the Turks’ main crossing point into Europe.

The Savoyards reached Constantinople on 4 September. With financial assistance from the Byzantine empress and naval support from the Genoese, Amadeus led an expedition against the Bulgarians, entering the Black Sea a month later. He seized Sozopolis and Mesembria after a battle on 20 October. Varna, however, was too fortified to be taken by siege; a period of diplomatic exchanges with Sisman ensued in order to secure the release of Emperor John V, and the Savoyards returned to Sozopolis to winter. After his release, John V arrived there on 28 January 1367. The two cousins came back to Constantinople at the beginning of April. By that time Amadeus had spent all his funds and was unable to consider a further campaign against the Turks. He left Pera on 9 June, returning to his lands via Venice and Rome.

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