|1224||Capture of Thessalonica||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Outcome:||The Byzantines of the Despotate of Epirus took Thessaloniki from the Latins||December 1224|
|War & Enemy:||
|The Battlefield|| Location:
Modern Thessaloniki, Northern Greece
| Modern Country:
|The Byzantines(emperor: John III Doukas Vatatzes)||The Enemies|
|Commander:||Emperor Theodore Komnenos Doukas of Epirus||King Demetrius of Montferrat of Thessalonica|
|Background story:||Initially in the service of Emperor Theodore I Laskaris of Nicaea, Theodore Komnenos Doukas joined his half-brother Michael I in Epirus in c. 1210. Michael had founded the so called Despotate of Epirus in 1205. The Despotate was one of the Byzantine Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire which were formed after the conquest of Constantinople by the "Latin" crusaders in 1204.
When Michael was murdered, Theodore took his place and embarked on a policy of aggressive expansion after allying himself with Serbia and the Albanian clans. Taking advantage of the temporary weakness of Bulgaria and the Latin Kingdom of Thessalonica, Theodore seized most of Macedonia (including Ohrid) and Thessaly in c. 1216. In 1217, when the new Latin Emperor Peter II of Courtenay attempted to cross through Epirus to reach his lands, Theodore defeated and captured him. In 1220 he took Beroia, and in 1221 Serres and Drama, tightening the noose around Thessalonica.
The Latin kingdom of Thessalonica was founded by Marquis Boniface of Montferrat who took the city in the division of the spoils after the conquest of Byzantium. Boniface married Margaret of Hungary, the widow of Emperor Isaac II Angelos. He named their son Demetrius who is the patron saint of Thessaloniki. The kingdom, most of the time of its existence, was a vassal state of the Latin Empire.
At the time of the attack by the Epirotes, the head of the kingdom was Demetrius of Montferrat, but the most powerful man was his half-brother and his regent William of Montferrat.
Theodore Komnenos Doukas had gradually captured all the fortified positions around Thessalonica and the city was actually in a state of siege before 1222 (although it does not seem that this was a typical siege, with attacks on the walls). William of Montferrat decided to lead a "crusade" to the relief of the city. Before the main force of this crusade reached Thessalonica, however, Theodore forced the surrender of the city in December 1224, probably with the help of the local Barons.
King Demetrius, together with the Latin archbishop, fled to the court of Emperor Frederick II (of the Holy Roman Empire) in Italy.
|Aftermath:||The ambitious Theodore was crowned Byzantine Emperor but he was not recognized as such by the rest of the Greeks and was soon overthrown at Klokotnitsa.|