History behind the song Catalan Vengeance

The Grand Catalan Company by Friar Thomas Bacon

Wikipedia: Battle of the Cephissus

from The Grand, Combined Yosef Alaric/Pre-Dawn Leftist "Megafilk" Songbook Volume 1. Tenth Anniversary Edition.

Moses ben Eldad wrote this song based on an actual battle that occurred in Eastern Greece in 1311 and was known as the Battle of Kephissos River. The Catalan Grand Company, mercenary spear with some light cavalry, were evicted in Sicily in 1305 and took service with the Byzantine Emperor.

When the Emperor killed their captain, Roger de Flori, by treachery, the Company turned bandits to ravage the hills of Morea for half a decade. Walter of Brienne, Duke of Athens, led an army to crush the Catalans. True to his training in French Chivalry, he ordered a charge before scouting the terrain, trapping his army in a marsh that had been formed when the Catalans opened an aqueduct and was killed with his followers. The Latin Kingdoms of Greece, leaderless, were soon destroyed and replaced by a government formed by the Catalans.

from Warfare in the Balkans-Medieval-1000 to 1453 (no longer active members.aol.com/_ht_a/balkandave/wbmedivl.htm)

"With Michael's death the new Emperor Andronicus II allowed the army and navy to deteriorate. In 1302 after being defeated by the first arrival of Ottoman forces at Nicomedia he hired the Catalan Company. This was a mercenary company of some 6000 troops led by Roger De Flor.(8) After a successful campaign against the Turks, Roger was murdered by Alans at Adrianople in 1305. The Catalan vengeance resulted in the devastation of Thrace and much of northern Greece. Walter, Duke of Athens employed the company in 1310. However, he failed to pay them and they rebelled. At armies clashed at Kephissos in 1311 when Walter's knights charged into a mire created by the Catalans. The light infantry Almogavars who formed the bulk of the Catalan company destroyed the Latins. They went on to conquer Athens establishing themselves there until its capture in 1388.

(8)The history and organisation of the Catalan Company is set out in Paul Burton's article The Catalan Adventure, Slingshot 192 July 1997 "

(used with permission)

For more information:
Catalan Company (1302-1388 AD)(a wargaming site)

Cathal mac Edan na faeled provided this booklist:

My favorite source on the matter is: The Catalan Vengence by Alfonso Lowe (London, Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1972 ISBN: 0 7100 7323 2.

Others include:

Catalan Domination of Athens, 1311-1388, by Kenneth Meyer Setton.

The Rise of the Aragonese-Catalan Empire, 1200-1350, by Jerome Lee Shneidman

The Problem of a Catalan Mediterranean Empire, 1229-1327, by J. N. Hillgarth.

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