|1259||Battle of Pelagonia (Battle of Kastoria)||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Outcome:||A Byzantine victory that led to the recapture of Constantinople||September 1259|
|War & Enemy:||
Latins & Greeks
|The Battlefield|| Location:
The exact location is unknown. Probably near modern Kastoria, Greece or maybe near Bitola in FYROM
| Modern Country:
|The Byzantines(emperor: John IV Laskaris)||The Enemies|
|Commander:||sebastocrator Theodore Doukas||Michael II Despot of Epirus, William II of Achaea|
|Forces:||6000||Unknown but more than the Nicaeans|
|Background story:||Nicaean emperor Theodore II Laskaris died in 1258 and was succeeded by the young John IV Laskaris, under the regency of Michael Palaiologos, (later an emperor) who was determined to restore the Byzantine Empire and recapture all of the territory it held before the Fourth Crusade.
In 1259, William II Villehardouin married Anna Komnene Doukaina (also known as Agnes), daughter of Michael II of Epirus, cementing an alliance between the Despotate of Epirus and the Principality of Achaea against Nicaea. They also allied with the German Manfred of Sicily who sent them 400 knights.
In 1259, the Nicaeans invaded Thessaly and in September the Achaean and Epirote army marched north to meet them. The Nicaeans were led by the sebastocrator Theodore Doukas, the brother of Michael II of Epirus. According to the Chronicle of Moreas, the Nicaean force consisted of the main Byzantine army, with Turkish mercenaries, 2,000 Cumans, 300 Germans, 13,000 Hungarians, and 4,000 Serbs, and some Vlachs. There were supposedly 27 cavalry divisions, although all of these numbers are probably exaggerated. The real number of the Nicaean forces is estimated around 6,000. Theodore also gathered all the local peasants and their flocks and placed them on the hilltops, so that from far away they might appear to be part of the army.
The night before the battle Michael of Epirus deserted -possibly after a quarrel- and fled leaving the Franks of Achaea to fight alone.
On the next day, the Frankish knights attacked the German mercenaries under the duke of Carinthia on the Nicaean side. The duke was killed in the fight. The Hungarian archers then killed all the Achaean horses, leaving the knights effectively defenseless. The Achaean foot soldiers fled and the knights surrendered; prince William fled as well and hid under a nearby haystack where he was soon captured. Theodore brought him to John Palaiologos (brother of Michael VIII) who was the leader of the expedition, and William was forced to give up strategic fortresses in Achaea (including Mystras) before he was set free.
|Noteworthy:||The commanders of the two rival armies, Theodore Doukas and Michael II were brothers|
|Aftermath:||The Principality of Achaea, which had become the strongest French state in Greece in the aftermath of the 4t Crusade, was now reduced to Nicaean vassalage. The Greek victory led directly to the recapture in Constantinople in 1261.|