The theme of this contribution is Paragraph 42 in Section IV of Sylvester Syropoulos’s Memoirs in which he describes, not without some criticism, the practical arrangements for the Greek contingent in Ferrara.1 Syropoulos presents a negative picture of how the Greeks were treated in Ferrara, focusing on unsatisfactory food, inadequate accommodation and alleged Ferrarese profiteering. His depiction is often taken at face value.2 Syropoulos’s text raises three issues: how the Greeks’ expenses were to be met, how they were to be lodged and fed, and how they were to be treated by local merchants and tax officials. First, Syropoulos mentions disagreement between the emperor John VIII and ‘the pope’s people’ over the daily allowance due to the Greeks: the ‘pope’s people’ wanted to pay this in kind, in bread, meat, fish and wine, according to an agreement between the pope and the marquis of Ferrara, but the emperor wanted payment in coin, scaled according to rank. The second aspect is the allegation, tinged with resentment, of meanness directed at the authorities: merchants doubled their prices; the marquis provided lodgings for all, but beds only for members of the patriarch’s household; and the contrast between the open-handedness the Greeks had experienced in Venice (‘the Venetians had … offered florins before even being asked’), and the slowness of payments in Ferrara. The third aspect is the implication that the marquis used the occasion of the council for some revenue-raising as, according to Syropoulos, he doubled the normal customs rates and collected more revenue. These three elements correspond, roughly, to the three relationships that I want to examine here, relationships that created the political and financial context within which the council took place: relations between the city government of Ferrara and the lord of the city, Marquis niccolò d’Este, between niccolò d’Este and the pope, and between Ferrara and Venice.