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The produce of their labours, except for what was needed for their bare subsistence, went to the lord. They could be transferred from lord to lord. A free girl who married a serf became a serf; but a serf's daughter who with the lord's permission married a free man thereby won her freedom. As usually happens in a colonizing society, the authorities at the top were benevolent and considerate towards their native subjects. It was the invaders of lesser rank who were contemptuous and arrogant towards the Greeks.

Religious centres such as the communities on Mount Athos were particularly vociferous in their horror. No evidence has survived of the reaction in the Peloponnese; but it is difficult to believe that the local Orthodox, clergy and laity alike, who had suffered under the domination of the Latin Church, would have welcomed its return. The Emperor did his best to enforce his will, soon imprisoning and penalizing his chief opponents; but his decrees proclaiming the Union were disregarded. Priests who subscribed to it were deserted by their congregations.

If the young Prince were to die without issue the principality was to pass to the head of his family, not to any second husband of the legitimate heiress, nor, if she died too, to her sister. The arrangement was against feudal customary law; and the Prince was not altogether happy about it. He was believed to have made a will before his death in which his younger daughter Margaret was reinstated in the succession. But for the moment the friendship of King Charles was very valuable to him. Charles showered him with gifts and was always ready to send supplies of corn across the sea whenever the principality, ravaged by the wars, was in danger of famine.

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Ancient Survivals in Ossetic by Ilya Gershevitch


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