Latin Empire of Constantinople

Constantinople, Latin Empire of

Constantinople, Latin Empire of, 1204–61, feudal empire established in the S Balkan Peninsula and the Greek archipelago by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade (see Crusades) after they had sacked (1204) Constantinople; also known as the empire of Romania (not to be confused with the modern nation Romania). Its secular and ecclesiastic governments were carefully divided among the Crusaders and their Venetian creditors. It was on both sides of the Dardanelles; its rulers were also suzerains of the kingdom of Thessalonica, the principality of Achaia, and other fiefs. Baldwin I, Henry of Flanders, Peter of Courtenay and his wife, Yolande, Robert of Courtenay, John of Brienne, and Baldwin II were rulers. The empire declined immediately after its creation, being beset by the Greek emperors of Nicaea (see Nicaea, empire of) and despots of Epirus (see Epirus, despotate of), by the Bulgars under Ivan II (Ivan Asen), by the Turks, by discord among the Westerners, and by Greek resistance. In 1222, Thessalonica fell to the despot of Epirus. By 1224 the Nicaean Emperor John III had recovered Asia Minor. Constantinople, nearly captured by Ivan Asen in 1234, fell to Emperor Michael VIII in 1261. Venice, however, retained possession of most of the Greek isles, the duchy of Athens passed under Catalan rule, and Achaia stayed in the hands of the Villehardouin family until 1278.


See W. Miller, The Latins in the Levant (1908, repr. 1964); D. E. Queller, ed., The Latin Conquest of Constantinople (1971).

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References in periodicals archive ?
In April 1204, the Fourth Crusade army captured Constantinople and installed Count Baldwin of Flanders and Hainaut emperor of what modern historians call the Latin empire of Constantinople, which lasted until 1261.
Until the murder of Alexius IV their hopes might have been realised, but after this they were trapped, Ironically, in the long run, the need to support the new Latin Empire of Constantinople against Byzantine counter-attacks proved a drain on the crusading resources of the West, and by 1261 Constantinople was again in Greek hands.
Crusaders, allied with Venice, took advantage of internal Byzantine strife to seize and plunder Constantinople in 1204, establishing their own Latin Empire of Constantinople. Emperor Michael Palaeologus VIII recaptured Constantinople from the Latins in 1261 and founded the Palaeologan dynasty, which ruled the empire until 1453.