WI: Michael VIII loses and dies at Pelagonia

In 1259, Michael VIII, soon to become the first emperor of the Palaiologos dynasty, fought an alliance of the Despotate of Epirus, Kingdom of Sicily, and the Principality of Achaea, against the Empire of Nicea led by Michael VIII. The Nicaeans sent a deserter to the enemy side to feed them false info, and got the Epirotes to leave the battle. The Niceans won, allowing for the reconquest of Constantinople from the Latins and the restoration of the Byzantine Empire. What if the Epirotes were not convinced by the bluff, and the Niceans lost, with Michael VIII being killed? Could the Latin Empire survive longer? Who will retake Constantinople? What happens to the Latin principalities to the south? What happens with Charles I of Anjou?
 
Assuming the Nikaeans are indeed defeated that badly, yes, the Latin Empire could absolutely survive longer. Constantinople had held before against the combined might of Bulgaria and Nicaea, and the greeks were only ever able to retake it through subterfuge; Rather conveniently, around the same time of the battle of Pelagonia, the bulgarians were undergoing a pretty brutal civil war and losing ground at all sides. If the Nicaeans are thrown back over the Marmara, I could see the latins reclaiming large parts of thrace and perhaps advancing a bit into Bulgaria, as the Nicaeans would OTL when they took advantage of the conflict, allowing themselves to get together some breathing room as opposed to just being confined to The Great City.
As for Achaia and the other Latin principalities, I think they're going to be fine. Achaia was more or less at it's peak of power around the time of Pelagonia, and it's decline only really started as a result of it; as part of the peace treaty, the Latins had to hand over a couple of castles in the southeast, which later became the foundation for the Principality of Morea, which is for sure butterflied in this scenario. Since Epirus is also on the backslide and Athens hasn't really risen to prominence, I could see them taking a prominent position in the region, especially after Charles takes power and begins looking to expand his dominion in the Aegean. Considering he wanted to launch an expedition to retake Constantinople historically, I see no reason why he wouldn't support a resurgent Imperium Romaniae from his base in Achaia, especially when he would have an opportunity to take the imperial crown since the imperial branch of Courtenay failed in the male line only slightly before his death; His heirs would be in a very, very strong position, as long as the Sicilian Vespers can somehow be butterflied or stopped.

Now that I think about it, that would be a good way to do an Anjou wank. If you'd rather do a Latin Empire wank, I for one would play around with Henri d'Flandres; If he was not assassinated in 1216 he probably would have had another twenty, thirty years, and considering his talent as both a ruler and a general, he would almost certainly put them in an incredibly strong position for the future, assuming a secure succession also.

EDIT: Oh, I forgot to address your question about who would retake Constantinople. I honestly couldn't tell you. Too many butterflies. Bulgaria or Serbia later on might have half a chance, or a resurgent Sultanate of Rum (If Nikaea sustains a disaster on this scale, One would think they would pounce, no?)
Could just be that nobody does.
 
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