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ISBN 960-236-843-8     Pages 388


Though a gifted woman's lifetime recitation, who shone during the golden times of Mystra, the history of a whole era arouses prior to the major historical event of the fall and capture of Constantinople.

Cleopa’s biography, seen from very different angles – depending on the place of every eye witness telling us about the experience they had with her - enables the reader to follow up the history of Moria all the way through its projection as an international center of culture and politics during the first half of the 15th century.

The writer’s respect to the great events of the time – conquering attempts and scopes, royal political and religious intrigues, civil wars, fanaticism, fratricide as well as love passion, with penetrating observation to historical sources (places, historical monuments, written proof and other evidence) make this book, not only pleasant and entertaining to read but also a study on the terms and conditions that dictated the final fall of a great empire, even though it was simply by name an “empire” at the end.

The reader, having this book, will not regret the choice made nor the time spent to read it…


Cleopa Paleologina Malatesta’s emertion

In 1955 excavations at the church of Saint Sophia in Mystra, identified with the monastery of Zoodotis (Lifegiver), and a relevant report in a newspaper, caused this biography of Cleopa Paleologina Malatesta to be written, about which there was plenty to be said.

Cleopa, a relatively frivolous young noble lady from Rimini in Italy, had the good fortune to wed Theodore II Paleologos, brother of emperor John VIII and Constantine XI, who lost his throne with the capture of Poli (Constantinople)

A victim to the ambitions of her family and her cousin, Pope Martin V, who regarded – as many before him – this wedding as a way to expand his religious authority to the East. Cleopa comes to Mystra and her personality contributes to the development of the area and the creation of a golden age when philosophers, painters, architects and all lovers of Art flowed into Mystra where they found the proper place to express themselves.

During those years of cultural rise in Mystra also start the wars for the liberation of Moria, where there were all kinds of Franks infesting the area. Princedoms and principalities of Slavs having taken the Greek nationality, and pure Latins, Venetian colonies, feudalism of religious Orders, such as the Naites, Teftones and Joannites, as well as free-lance companies of fortune hunters and mercenaries, had split Moria amongst them, something which the Paleologos brothers set off to cleanse – quite successfully at the end.

At the same time, apart from the wars in Moria, philosophic and religious sets clash, represented mainly by George Scholarios, later patriarch Gennadios – the first to be appointed to the patriarch throne by Mohammed the Conqueror – and George Gemistos, who was called Plython later, meaning to emphasize his devotion to Plato and his theory, challenging the priest in rivalry.

In all those several conflicts, this obscure lady from Italy, Cleopa, takes a masterful place and manages, thanks to her spirit, character and beauty, to lead or umpire in her new home.

Her course through all that was not unnoticed and people never stopped to remember her with admiration and love; even he himself, George Plython Gemistos, who spoke his excellent monody when she died.

Cleopa’s story and the legend that followed were the spark for this story to be written, paying more attention to history since many times we realize that reality overcomes our imagination…

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