Towards the seventh decade of the fourteenth century the Turks were the masters of Asia Minor and the peninsula of Callipol in Europe, and were beginning to advance through the Balkan peninsula and threatening to encircle Constantinople. John V Palaeologus put all his trust in the pope.
The fourteenth century was the epoch of the so-called Babylonian Captivity; from 1305 to 1378 the seven popes consecutively occupying the throne of St. Peter had a more or less permanent residence on the Rhone, at Avignon, and were practically dependent on the French kings. The papal appeals to the western rulers for aid against the Turks were fruitless or brought about only small expeditions, sometimes temporarily successful, but of no permanent help. There was no longer any crusading enthusiasm in the West. Also, in the opinion of the west Europeans of that time, the schismatic Greeks were more repulsive than the Muslim Turks. Petrarca wrote: The Turks are enemies, but the Greeks are schismatics and worse than enemies.