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.