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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311
(1969)

III: The Crusades of Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI,   pp. 86-122 PDF (14.1 MB)


Page 118

118 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES  II 
 Postponing any announcement of his personal leadership of the crusade until
it was clear that circumstances would permit of his going, Henry received
the cross privately from bishop John of Sutri in Easter week of 1 This was
followed in the diet at Ban on Easter day with a public imperial summons
to the crusade. At about the same time Henry announced his own special contribution
to the expedition. He was ready to supply a force of three thousand paid
mounted troops, half knights and half squires, for the duration of a year.
This meant that to the German knights who followed their lords from beyond
the Alps would be given a hard central core of mercenary troops under imperial
officers. In June Henry left for Germany to promote the recruitment of the
German nobility. There soon followed papal legates to inaugurate the preaching
of the crusade. By early August pope Celestine III called upon the German
clergy to preach the new crusade. Yet Henry's own illness postponed the organization
of the movement, and it was, accordingly, not until the fall and early winter
that the growing enthusiasm could be organized in formal meetings of the
princes. 
 Before leaving Italy for Germany Henry had made his first démarche
upon Constantinople preliminary to the organization of the crusading army.
It was quite evidently meant to forestall any Byzantine attempts to interfere
with the organization of the crusade, and to inform Isaac moreover that the
Byzantine empire was expected to contribute to rather than obstruct the expedition.
As the new king of the former Norman kingdom of southern Italy and Sicily,
Henry demanded the "return" of the Balkan territory which king
William II had formerly conquered, from Durazzo (Dyrrachium) to Thessalonica.40
He demanded compensation for damages suffered by his father while in Byzantine
territory en route to Palestine. He asked, moreover, that a Byzantine fleet
support his own crusade to Palestine. Before negotiations over these demands
could be completed, the incompetent Isaac had been deposed and blinded by
his brother Alexius III (April 8, 1195).41 
 Possibilities for further pressure upon the Byzantine empire, for further
support of the new crusade, and for an extension of German political influence
in the eastern Mediterranean became evident at the diet of Gelnhausen in
October 1195, when envoys of Aimery of Lusignan, the new ruler of Cyprus,
arrived, offering to do homage to Henry and hold Cyprus as a fief, and requesting
that Henry crown him king. Henry accepted homage from one of the 
 40 See above, chapter I, pp. 36-37. 
 41 On Alexius III, see below, chapter IV, pp. 148-150. 


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