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Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The Empire of Nicaea (1204-1261)

Social and economic conditions in the empire of Nicaea 

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The friendly relations with Venice did not last long, and under Vatatzes the Republic of St. Mark was hostile to Nicaea. At that time Vatatzes had some difficulties with the former imperial governor of the island of Rhodes, Leon Gabalas, who, soon after 1204, had styled himself Lord of the Cyclades, and even Caesar. When Vatatzes opened hostilities against him, Leon, unable to protect the island with his own forces, made an offensive and defensive alliance with Venice, which broke down the treaty concluded with Theodore I Lascaris. In the treaty of 1234 between Leon Gabalas and Venice the latter was granted vast commercial privileges. In this very interesting document Leon Gabalas called himself dominus Rhode et Cicladum insularum Kaessarus Leo Gavalla, lord of Rhodes and the Cyclades, Caesar Leo Gavalla. Vatatzes sent an expedition to Rhodes and the island became the possession of the Emperor of Nicaea.

Just before the taking of Constantinople the Genoese gained the upper hand over their Venetian rivals when, in 1261, Michael Palaeologus signed the treaty of Nymphaeum. According to this treaty the Genoese obtained commercial supremacy in the Levant. After the restoration of the Byzantine Empire Michael Palaeologus continued his friendly relations with the Genoese

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