The Catalan castle of Levadia
This is the Catalan castle of Livadia. There was a castle in the same location since the early Byzantine years, but it took its final form during the short period of Catalan rule in parts of Greece! But, what were the Catalans doing in Greece.
Here is the story in very few words. In the early 14th century some Catalans had formed a «War Company», called «Companyia Catalana d Orient», under the leadership of Roger de Flor. They were hired by the Byzantine emperror Andronikos B» Palaiologos, as mercenaries to defend the collapsing Byzantine Empire against the Turks. The company departed in 1302 from Sicily with 32 boats and around 2.500 soldiers followed by about 4.000 women and children. The first battle of the «Company» was against the Genovese (about 3.000 of them died). Their first battle against the Turks was successful, causing about 18.000 dead in their enemies lines, starting a «series» of successful battles, mostly in Asia Minor. In 1304, Andronikos, announces Roger de Flor, «Caesar», something that Andronikos» son, Michael, didn?t like at all! When it was time for pay off, he called Roger de Flor to Andrianoupolis, and killed him, hoping that this would dissolve the «War company».
The Catalans wanted revenge and started a fierce expedition in the grounds of the Byzantine Empire, that took the name «Venganza Catalana» (Catalan Revenge). They started killing and looting, almost across the whole region, that today is Greece, from Thrace and Macedonia to Thessaly and Central Greece. They formed a Ducat, called «Ducat of Neopatria», that later became part of the «Crown of Aragonia». Until today, the King of Spain, Juan Carlos A», among many other titles, carries also the typical title of «Duke of Athens and Neopatria» (nothing to do with his Greek wife, Queen Sofia). The Catalan rule was so brutal, that until today, the word «Catalanos» or «Catelanos» is an insult in many regions of Greece.