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Latin Greece

Latin Greece

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Historical Overview Section

The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261. The Latin Empire was intended to supplant the Byzantine Empire as titular successor to the Roman Empire in the east, with a Western Catholic emperor enthroned in place of the Orthodox Byzantine emperors. Baldwin IX, Count of Flanders, was crowned the first Latin emperor as Baldwin I on 16 May 1204.

The Latin Empire failed to attain political or economic dominance over the other Latin powers that had been established in former Byzantine territories in the wake of the Fourth Crusade, especially Venice, and after a short initial period of military successes it went into a steady decline. Weakened by constant warfare with the Bulgarians and the Greek successor states, it eventually fell to the Empire of Nicaea under Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos in 1261. The last Latin emperor, Baldwin II, went into exile, and the imperial title survived, with several claimants to it, until the 14th century.

The initial campaigns of the crusaders in Asia Minor resulted in the capture of most of Bithynia by 1205, with the defeat of the forces of Theodore I Lascaris at Poemanenum and Prusa. Latin successes continued, and in 1207 a truce was signed with Theodore, newly proclaimed Emperor of Nicaea. The Latins inflicted a further defeat on Nicaean forces at the Ryndakos river in October 1211, and three years later the Treaty of Nymphaeum (1214) recognized their control of most of Bithynia and Mysia.

The peace was maintained until 1222, at which point the resurgent power of Nicaea felt sufficiently strong enough to challenge the Latin Empire, by that time weakened by constant warfare in its European provinces. At the battle of Poemanenum in 1224, the Latin army was defeated, and by the next year Emperor Robert of Courtenay was forced to cede all his Asian possessions to Nicaea, save Nicomedia and the territories directly across Constantinople. Nicaea turned also to the Aegean, capturing the islands awarded to the Empire. In 1235, finally, the last Latin possessions fell to Nicaea.

Unlike in Asia, where the Latin Empire faced only an initially weak Nicaea, in Europe it was immediately confronted with a powerful enemy: the Later Bulgarian tsar Kaloyan. When Baldwin campaigned against the Byzantine lords of Thrace, they called upon Kaloyan for help. At the Battle of Adrianople on 14 April 1205, the Latin heavy cavalry was lured into an ambush by Kaloyan's troops, and Emperor Baldwin was captured. He was imprisoned in the Bulgarian capital Tărnovo until his death later in 1205. Luckily for the new Latin Emperor, Henry of Flanders, Kaloyan was killed a couple of years later (1207) during a siege of Thessalonica, and the Bulgarian threat conclusively defeated with a victory the following year, which allowed Henry to reclaim most of the lost territories in Thrace until 1210, when peace was concluded with the marriage of Henry to Maria of Bulgaria, tsar Kaloyan's daughter.

At the same time, another Post latin Conquest Byzantine state, the Despotate of Epirus, under Michael I Komnenos Doukas, posed a threat to the Empire's vassals in Thessalonica and Athens. Henry demanded his submission, which Michael provided, giving off his daughter to Henry's brother Eustace in the summer of 1209. This alliance allowed Henry to launch a campaign in Macedonia, Thessaly and Central Greece against the rebellious Lombard lords of Thessalonica. However, Michael's attack on the Kingdom of Thessalonica in 1210 forced him to return north to relieve the city and to force Michael back into submission.

In 1214 however, Michael died, and was succeeded by Theodore Komnenos Doukas, who was determined to capture Thessalonica. On 11 June 1216, while supervising repairs to the walls of Thessalonica, Henry died, and was succeeded by Peter of Courtenay, who himself was captured and executed by Theodore the following year. A regency was set up in Constantinople, headed by Peter's widow, Yolanda of Flanders until 1221, when her son Robert of Courtenay was crowned Emperor. Distracted by the renewed war with Nicaea, and waiting in vain for assistance from Pope Honorius III and the King of France Philip II, the Latin Empire was unable to prevent the final fall of Thessalonica to Epirus in 1224. Epirote armies then conquered Thrace in 1225-26, appearing before Constantinople itself. The Latin Empire was saved for the time by the threat posed to Theodore by the Bulgarian tsar Ivan II Asen, and a truce was concluded in 1228.

After Robert of Courtenay died in 1228, a new regency under John of Brienne was set up. After the disastrous Epirote defeat by the Later Bulgarians at the Battle of Klokotnitsa, the Epirote threat to the Latin Empire was removed, only to be replaced by Nicaea, which started acquiring territories in Greece. Emperor John III Doukas Vatatzes of Nicaea concluded an alliance with Bulgaria, which in 1235 resulted in joint campaign against the Latin Empire, and an unsuccessful siege of Constantinople the same year. In 1237, Baldwin II attained majority and took over the reins of a much-diminished state. The Empire's precarious situation forced him to travel often to Western Europe seeking aid, but largely without success. In order to gain money, he was forced to resort to desperate means, from removing the lead roofs of the Great Palace and selling them, to handing over his only son, Philip, to Venetian merchants as a guarantee for a loan.

By 1247, the Nicaeans had effectively surrounded Constantinople, with only the city's strong walls holding them at bay, and the Battle of Pelagonia in 1258 signaled the beginning of the end of Latin predominance in Greece. Thus, on July 25, 1261, with most of the Latin troops away on campaign, the Nicaean general Alexios Strategopoulos found an unguarded entrance to the city, and entered it with his troops, restoring the Byzantine Empire for his master, Michael VIII Palaiologos.

Using the army in FoG

  • This army is really a knight delivery system and everything to get them safely into melee is important. an IC can help control the KN, and protect them from shooting.
  • If you give up on the initiative (unless you are taking the seljuk ally) you can try and take the first move to get on the front foot. You still need to make sure the knights have a general to help usher them around the field early on.
  • Control of the terrain is worth a lot with this army, it can have 4 big BGs of MF so getting a lot of terrain, closing down the table and forcing the enemy to come to you isn't such a bad thing - an IC plus maybe some cavalry or LH can even get initiative up to +3 at a pinch.
  • Unusually, dont worry too much about throwing the IC into the fight once you are solidly engaged leading a Knight BG. The Kn are goin to win or lose it for you, make sure their charge counts...
  • Large numbers of Bow can be used to keep LH and smaller numbers of Cv away from the knights. Small numbers of even high quality mounted can't really take on 16 stands of MF bow (and that is especially tough if you have a free group of poor lancers lurking around...).

UK Tournament Results with this army

  • 9/30 Latin Greece w Catalan Britcon Lance and Bow 2010
  • 23/30 Latin Greece w Catalan Britcon Lance and Bow 2010
  • 12 / 12 Latin Greece Chester Doubles 2008 (S&S)

User-contributed links about this army:

Allies

  • Catalan Company - those groovy Almughavars can dominate rough terrain and help channel enemy into the path of your knights.
  • Turk, Seljuk Dates: Before 1265 Swords and Scimitars page 18 Bw/Sw Superior Armoured Cavalry, and Bw/Sw LH or Protected Cavalry to support - fairly standard Arab ally. Possibly involves spending too many points of good quality cavalry in the ally, but they will support the knights quite well on an open field.
  • Cuman Before 1262 Swords and Scimitars page 21 Can be fielded just as lots of Bw/Sw LH, with optional Armoured Cv to stiffen it - good for boosting initiative points through the addition of LH
  • Byzantine, Post Latin Conquest 1204 to 1261 Swords and Scimitars page 46 Drilled average lancers are compulsary, there's LH to support them, but the proper knights are the best bit. - PLC is an interesting addition with up to 8 shooting cavalry and some lancers, which are useful to suport the Kn.


15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

These are crusades era figures - you may want to check out some of the Medieval and Byzantine lists for other suitable figures. You can also see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

Image Image Image Image



Core Troops

Which troops are absolutely needed for this army, and what are your thoughts on how to organise, paint and buy them.

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

Name of Army / Date

  • 1 Turkish Horse Archers LH Unprotected Average Undrilled Bow - Swordsmen - 4
  • 2 Javelinmen LF Unprotected Poor Undrilled Javelins Light spear - - 6
  • 3 Javelinmen LF Unprotected Poor Undrilled Javelins Light spear - - 6
  • 4 Feudal Knights Kn Heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • 5 Feudal Knights Kn Heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • 6 Greek Cavalry Cv Protected Average Drilled - Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • 7 Archers MF Unprotected Average Undrilled Bow - - - 8
  • 8 Archers MF Unprotected Average Undrilled Bow - - - 8
  • 9 Feudal Knights Kn Heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • 10 Catalan Almughavars MF Protected Superior Drilled - Offensive spearmen Spearmen - 8
  • 11 Catalan Almughavars MF Protected Superior Drilled - Offensive spearmen Spearmen - 8
  • Generals are IC + 2xTC and a Catalan Ally TC

The Catalans can either go against enemy RGo, longbow types or in a pinch you can use them as rear support for the knights. The MF bows are there to chase LH around and again the Catalans can support them against nasty things. The few skirmishers are there to delay on a wing if needed

800 AP +3 initiative version

  • 1 Turkish Horse Archers LH Unprotected Average Undrilled Bow - Swordsmen - 4
  • 2 Javelinmen LF Unprotected Poor Undrilled Javelins Light spear - - 6
  • 3 Javelinmen LF Unprotected Poor Undrilled Javelins Light spear - - 6
  • 4 Feudal Knights Kn Heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • 5 Greek Cavalry Cv Protected Poor Drilled - Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • 6 Greek Cavalry Cv Protected Poor Drilled - Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • 7 Feudal Knights Kn Heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • 8 Archers MF Unprotected Average Undrilled Bow - - - 8
  • 9 Archers MF Unprotected Average Undrilled Bow - - - 8
  • 10 Feudal Knights Kn Heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • 11 Catalan Almughavars MF Protected Superior Drilled - Offensive spearmen Spearmen - 8
  • 12 Catalan Almughavars MF Protected Superior Drilled - Offensive spearmen Spearmen - 6

The ideal deployment is something like Kn in the Center flanked by Bw on one side and Catalans on the other. Greeks and Turks lurk around the edges, the turks to slow things down on one wing the Greeks looking for soft things to chase away to get onto flanks. The staggered deployment of Knights keeps the enemy form massing overly against something like the Bw. If that looks to happen deploy Knights outisde the Bow (so bows are in between Knight groups and drop the Catalans into the center).

800 ap alternate version

  • 3 x TC
  • 6 x LF poor Bow
  • 6 x MF poor Bow
  • 4 x LH Bow SW
  • 6 x LF Avg Bow
  • 6 x LF Avg Bow
  • 8 x MF Avg XBow Prot
  • 8 x MF Avg Bow
  • 4 x HF Avg DefSp? Arm
  • 8 x MF Avg LtSpear? Prot
  • 4 x KN Sup HArm Lance Sw (drilled)
  • 6 KN Sup HArm Lance Sw (undrilled)
  • 6 KN Sup HArm Lance Sw (undrilled)

This list maximises the Kn staying power and allows more of them to go down last (all three BGs are in the last placement) and more importantly the value of adding a general to the fight is maximised as it applies to potentially a six base frontage. The first group has rubbish Bow and light horse to race forwards on the first turn to give me some manouver breathing space. Light and medium foot all gang up into whatever terrain can be found (open difficult hills are best as they dont restrict sight as much but still slow things down). Sometimes the knights are placed with the LF so the LF can act as a ablative and escort the knights into frontal contact vs bow.

800 AP version

  • CinC IC - - - - - - 1
  • Subs TC - - - - - - 3
  • Knights Kn HArm Sup UnDr? - lance Sw 4
  • Knights Kn HArm Sup UnDr? - lance Sw 4
  • Knights Kn HArm Sup UnDr? - lance Sw 4
  • Knights Kn HArm Sup UnDr? - lance Sw 4
  • Cav LH Unprot Avg UnDr? Bow - - 4
  • Xbow MF Prot Avg UnDr? Crossbow - - 6
  • Archers LF Unprot Avg UnDr? Bow - - 6
  • Archers LF Unprot Avg UnDr? Bow - - 6
  • Archers MF Unprot Avg UnDr? Bow - - 6
  • Archers MF Unprot Avg UnDr? Bow - - 6
  • Javelin MF Prot Avg UnDr? - LtSpear? - 8
  • Javelin LF Prot Poor UnDr? - LtSpear? - 6


800 AP version used at Britcon

  • CinC TC - - - - - - 1
  • Subs TC - - - - - - 2
  • Catalan Ally TC---1
  • Archers LF Unprot Poor UnDr? Bow - - 6
  • Archers LF Unprot Poor UnDr? Bow - - 6
  • Javelin LF Prot Poor UnDr? - LtSpear? - 6
  • Archers LF Unprot Poor UnDr? Bow - - 6
  • Turks LH Unprot Avg UnDr? Bow Sw - - 4
  • Archers MF Unprot Poor UnDr? Bow - - 8
  • Archers MF Unprot Poor UnDr? Bow - - 8
  • Greek Cav Cv Prot Avg Dr Lance Sw- - 4
  • Catalan Turcopoles LH Unprot Avg UnDr? Bow Sw - - 4
  • Catalan Almughavars MF Protected Superior Drilled - Offensive spearmen Spearmen - 8
  • Knights Kn HArm Sup UnDr? - lance Sw 4
  • Catalan Almughavars MF Protected Superior Drilled - Offensive spearmen Spearmen - 8
  • Knights Kn HArm Sup UnDr? - lance Sw 4
  • Knights Kn HArm Sup UnDr? - lance Sw 4


900 AP no-allies version

  • 1 Bulgarian Horse Archers LH Unprotected Average Undrilled bow - Swordmen - 4
  • 2 Archers LF Unprotected Average Undrilled bow - - - 6
  • 3 Archers LF Unprotected Average Undrilled bow - - - 6
  • 4 Archers LF Unprotected Average Undrilled bow - - - 6
  • 5 Javelinmen LF Unprotected Average Undrilled Javelins Light spear - - 6
  • 6 Javelinmen LF Unprotected Average Undrilled Javelins Light spear - - 6
  • 7 Spearmen HF Protected Average Undrilled - defensive spearmen - - 8
  • 8 Spearmen HF Protected Average Undrilled - defensive spearmen - - 8
  • 9 Greek Cavalry Cv Protected Average Drilled - Lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 10 Greek Cavalry Cv Protected Average Drilled - Lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 11 Knights Kn Heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 12 Knights Kn Heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 13 Knights Kn Heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 14 Archers MF Unprotected Average Undrilled bow - - - 6
  • 15 Frankish Crossbows MF Protected Average Undrilled Crossbow - - - 8
  • General TC - - - - - - - 1
  • General IC - - - - - - CinC 1
  • General TC - - - - - - - 1
  • General TC - - - - - - - 1

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