Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 February 2021
The chapter focuses on Manuel's early reign, 1391–94. Manuel's participation in the Ottoman campaign is discussed at length, focusing on his relationship with Bayezid I and on the literary, political and autobiographical features of his letters from the campaign. His anti-Islamic work, the Dialogue with a Persian is analysed at length with regard to its theological content, literary features and Manuel's representations of himself and the Ottomans. Manuel's marriage to Helena Dragas, his relations with his nephew and rival John VII, the birth of the future John VIII are other topics that are covered. His governing style, political strategies and preoccupation with finances is extensively discussed through exploration of Manuel's official documents and Venetian Senate resolutions. The chapter ends with Manuel and Bayezid's clash in Serres in 1394, the commencement of the blockade of Constantinople and his later narration of these events.