Antonio I Acciaioli was the illegitimate son of Nerio I Acciaioli and in 1405,
after conflict with other local leaders, he became the leader of Athens.
He accomplished the recognition of his State by the Venetians, while at the
same time developed relations with Florence, the Byzantine Empire and the
Ottoman Empire. His time of rule is characterized as a period of prosperity
for the city since Antonio I Acciaioli strengthened commerce and the reconstruction
of Athens. At the same time, he allowed the Greeks to participate in the Administration
and all official documents were written in the Greek language. He died in 1435.
Walter V of Brienne assumed the governance of Athens in 1308 after the death of his cousin,
Guy II de la Roche. He had the blessing of the King of Naples and strived to expand the borders
of his rule to Thessaly. His means to achieving his goal were the mercenaries of the Catalan Company
– who quickly conquered the regions reaching as far as Dimitriada and Zitouni.
However, the delay of payment to the mercenaries by Walter V of Brienne led them to attack their
former employer. In the Battle of Halmyros at the river Cephissus that took place on March 11, 1311,
Walter lost his life and the Catalans ruled and assumed the duchy of Athens –
opening a new chapter in the history of the city.
Michael Choniates was born in 1140 and was the archbishop of Athens from the period 1182 – 1204.
He was a man of letters and his works resulted as an invaluable source
for the state of the times.
The archbishop worked for the education of his clergy and their spiritual development,
while at the same time lightening the huge tax burden that they were obliged to pay.
He fled to Ceos after the siege of Athens by the Venetians.
Michael Choniates went to great lengths to pressure the ruler of Epirus, Theodore Komnenos
Doukas, to free Athens – but his efforts failed. He died in 1220 at the Monastery of Agios
Ioanni in Nicaea.
Nerio Acciaioli was the leader of Corinth and the offspring of a Florentine banking family.
In 1385, he overtook the city of Athens and, in 1388, the Acropolis. His policy in regards
to the local residents could be characterized as benevolent in light of the fact that he
allowed the Orthodox to practice their religion freely and gave two seats on the city
council to Greeks as notaries.
The above actions greatly eased internal strife. As far as his foreign policy was concerned,
he fortified his power through arranged marriages and alliances. He died in 1394.
The Burgundian nobleman Otto de la Roche was the Duke of Athens and Thebes following the
distribution of the lands of the Byzantine Empire by the Crusaders. He established his
headquarters at the Acropolis and – either through alliances or through fighting with
various other leaders – expanded his power as far as Argolis, Corinthia and Livadeia.
Otto de la Roche dismissed the Orthodox archbishop and assigned as the Roman-Catholic
archbishop, his fellow countryman, Verardo.
Otto de La Roche also transformed the Parthenon into a Roman-Catholic church. Later came
the conflict with the Pope regarding the ownership of certain church estates. This opposition,
however, ceased a little before the danger of spreading the policy of the ruler of Epirus,
Theodore Komnenos Doukas. In 1225, Otto de la Roche abandoned Athens and returned to the west –
leaving as his successor his nephew, Guy de la Roche.