Lordship of Negroponte

The Lordship of Negroponte was a crusader state established on the island of Euboea (Negroponte) after the partition of the Byzantine Empire following the Fourth Crusade.



According to the division of Byzantine territory (the Partitio terrarum imperii Romanie), Euboea was awarded to Boniface of Montferrat, King of Thessalonica. Boniface in turn ceded the island as a fief to the Flemish noble Jacques d' Avesnes, who fortified Chalkis. After his death in mid-1205 however, the island was ceded to three Veronese barons: Ravano dalle Carceri, Giberto dalle Carceri and Pecoraro da Mercanuovo. They divided the island into three baronies: the northern, based at Oreoi (terzero del Rio), the southern, ruled from Karystos (terzero di Caristo), and the central portion, ruled from Chalkis (terzero della Clissura), which served also as overall capital of the island (città de' Lombardi). This division became known as the "triarchy", and the barons became known as the terzieri. By 1209 however, Ravano had established himself as sole master of Euboea, styling himself as dominus insulae Nigropontis.

Having allied himself with an unsuccessful Lombard rebellion against the Latin Emperor, Henry of Flanders, Ravano was eager to find a powerful protector. Thus, in March 1209, he signed an alliance with Venice, which recognized Venetian overlordship and gave the Venetians significant commercial privileges. In May, however, in an act of political balancing, Ravano also acknowledged his vassalage to the Latin Empire.

Succession disputes

However, already after the death of Ravano in 1216, his heirs disagreed over the succession, allowing the Venetian bailli to intervene as a mediator. He partitioned the three baronies in two, creating thus a hexarchy. In 1255 however, the death of Carintana dalle Carceri, triarch of Oreoi and wife to William II of Villehardouin, nominal overlord of Negroponte, led to the so-called "War of the Terciers of Euboea" (Guerre des terciers de l'Eubée), which involved Achaea and Venice. On 14 June 1256, Guglielmo da Verona and Narzotto dalle Carceri, Carintana's heirs, repudiated their allegiance to William and pledged themselves to Venice. William responded by capturing Chalkis, which the Venetians retook in 1258. The war ended in the battle of Karydi in 1259, where William defeated the Duke of Athens, Guy I de la Roche, who had allied himself with the rebellious triarchs. Finally, in August 1259, Doge Reniero Zeno negotiated a peace, followed by a treaty in 1262, which recognized William's suzerainty over the island.

Byzantine interlude

By that time, however, the Empire of Nicaea had established itself as the foremost power in the area of the former Byzantine Empire, reconquering several territories from the Latins. Its successes culminated in the recapture of Constantinople in 1261 and the reestablishment of the Byzantine Empire, whose energetic ruler, Michael VIII Palaeologus, sought to reconquer the remaining Latin principalities in southern Greece. To this end, he accepted the services of Licario, an Italian renegade, who had his base near Karystos. Under Licario's command, Byzantine troops soon conquered most of Euboea, except Chalkis. After the departure of Licario sometime after 1280 however, with Venetian aid, the island gradually returned to Latin control. By 1296, Bonifazio da Verona had completely expelled the Byzantines from Euboea.

Later history

In 1317 however, Karystos fell to the Catalan Don Alfonso Fadrique, vicar-general of the duchy of Athens and illegitimate son of Frederick III of Sicily. In 1319, a peace treaty was signed between Venice and Don Alfonso, whereby he retained Karystos, which the Venetians acquired in 1365. When the last triarchs, Niccolo III dalle Carceri and Georgio III Ghisi, died in 1383 and 1390 respectively, they left their territories to Venice, which thus established complete predominance over the island. Nevertheless, the triarchic system was maintained, with Venetian families appointed to the positions of terzieri, while the Venetian podesta resided at Chalkis. Venice's rule lasted until 1470, when Sultan Mehmed II campaigned against Chalkis. With the fall of the city on 12 July, the whole island came under Ottoman control.

List of Lords of Negroponte

First triarchy (Chalkis)

dalle Carceri family:

Catalan occupation (1317-1319)

Sommarippa family (under Venice):

  • Maria II Sanudo (1383-?), with her husband:
  • Gaspar Sommarippa (1383-?)
  • Krousino I Sommarippa (1430-1462)
  • Domenico Sommarippa (1462-1466)
  • Giovanni Sommarippa (1466-1468)
  • Krousino II Sommarippa (1468-1470

Ottoman conquest (1470)

Second Triarchy (Karystos)

dalle Carceri family:

Byzantine rule (1276-1296)

da Verona family:

Catalan rule:

Direct Venetian rule (1365-1410)
Zorzi family (under Venice):

  • Niccolo II Zorzi (1410-1436)
  • Niccolo III Zorzi (1436-1440)
  • Jacob II Zorzi (1440-1447)
  • Antonio I Zorzi (1447-1470)

Ottoman conquest (1470)

Third Triarchy (Oreoi)

  • Pecoraro da Mercanuovo (1205-1209)

dalle Carceri family:

  • Ravano dalle Carceri (1209-1216) succeeded by his sons
  • Marino I delle Carceri (1216-1255) and
  • Rizzardo dalle Carceri (1216-1220) succeeded by his daughter
  • Carintana dalle Carceri (1220-1255), succeeded by
  • Guglielmo I da Verona (1255-1268) and
  • Narzoto dalle Carceri (1255-1264) son of Marino I, succeeded by his son
  • Marino II dalle Carceri (1264-1278)
  • Guglielmo II da Verona (1268-1275), son of Guglielmo I, succeeded by his brother
  • Giberto II da Verona (1275-1278)

Ghisi family:

  • Alicia della Carceri (1278-1296), with her husband
  • Giorgio I Ghisi (1279-1315)
  • Bartolomeo II Ghisi (1315-1341)
  • Giorgio II Ghisi (1341-1352)

Venetian rule (1352-1358)

  • Bartolomeo III Ghisi (1358-1384)
  • Giorgio III Ghisi (1384-1390)

Giustiniani family (under Venice) (1390-1470)
Ottoman conquest (1470)


it: Signoria di Negroponte

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