|1205||Battle of Koundouros (Battle of the Olive Grove of Koundouros)||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Outcome:||A decisive victory of the Franks in Peloponnese||spring 1205|
|War & Enemy:||
|The Battlefield|| Location:
The location is not known exactly.It was in an olive grove near Kalamata, in Messenia, in southwest Peloponnese, Greece
| Modern Country:
|The Byzantines(emperor: Theodore I Laskaris)||The Enemies|
|Commander:||Michael Ducas||William of Champlitte|
|Forces:||4000 or 5000||500-700 knights (cavalry only)|
|Losses:||Almost all killed||Rather low|
|Background story:||The Latins of the 4th Crusade conquered Constantinople on 12 April 1204. One of the main leaders of the crusade, Boniface of Montferrat, having lost the opportunity to become Emperor, went on to found the Kingdom of Thessalonica. That autumn, William of Champlitte followed him to Thessalonica but then continued south until he reached the Moreas (Peloponnese). There he was joined by Geoffrey I Villehardouin, who sailed to Modon (Methoni) on his way back from Palestine.
Champlitte and Villehardouin. With a few hundred knights campaigned together to conquer Moreas. They initially captured Methoni with the support of John Kantakouzenos. They occupied the main cities of the western Peloponnese while meeting little resistance. The Greeks of Laconia, Arcadia and Argolis, under Michael I Komnenos Doukas, who at the time was the Byzantine governor of the theme of the Peloponnese, (and later Despot of Epirus) and Michael Kantakouzenos, the son of the then-deceased John Kantakouzenos, tried to stop the Franks at the Olive Grove of Koundouros, near Kalamata.
The battle is described in two sources one of which is the Chronikon of Morea. The Franks were only 700 while the Greeks were 4000 or 5000 (depending on the source). The Franks were all knights (heavy cavalry) while the Byzantine force was mixed -infantry and horsemen.
The Greeks, encouraged by their obvious numerical advantage, attacked first but the better equipped and more experienced Franks killed most of them and won the battle.
|Aftermath:||A decisive battle for the conquest of the Peloponnese by the Franks. There was no serious resistance against them in the Moreas any more. William of Champlitte soon founded the Principality of Achaia, a Frankish state comprising most of the Morea.|