One of the most influential men in young Gilbert’s life was William Miller. A neighbour of the Bagnanis’ in Rome, Miller was a prominent Greek medieval historian who also contributed political articles as a foreign correspondent to the Morning Post newspaper in London. Miller was interested particularly in the evidence for the western crusaders or ‘Latins’ in the east, so much so that his two major publications, among hundreds, were The Latins in the Levant. A History of Frankish Greece (1204-1566) and Essays on the Latin Orient, which had just appeared.
At least as early as 1919, Gilbert was asking Miller for his opinion on the latest developments at the peace conference negotiations in Paris, but Miller, writing from Tuscany, feared that his letters might be opened and preferred reluctantly to ‘defer the question till we can meet on your comfortable divan.’ Within weeks of arriving in Greece, Gilbert would reveal a thorough comprehension of Greek politics, embark upon political journalism and develop a burgeoning interest in evidence for western Latins in the East. Although Miller was pro-Venizelos, Gilbert nevertheless remained non-partisan in his articles.
While awaiting della Seta’s arrival, Gilbert made so many visits to the Greek Foreign Office that he speculated the porter must have thought him to be a diplomat on a secret mission. Gilbert sent a note to Miller providing a detailed analysis of the political status of Mt Athos, which he had gleaned from the Greek Foreign Office. No wonder della Seta felt he had to keep Gilbert fully occupied with studying archaeology!
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