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

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

Page 98

moreover, in offending the aroused crusading spirit of the west, Isaac was
preparing, in ways it is difficult to measure, doom for his state. 
 The succession of incidents which raised the German fury to a pitch was
as follows. As soon as crusaders had entered Byzantine territory at Branits
on July 2, without any formal welcome from Constantinople, the Byzantine
governor 'diverted us from. the public highway and . . . by command of his
lord the emperor of Greece . . . blocked the rocky and non-public road to
which he had led us'. The 'little double-dealing' Greeks were not able to
prevent the opening of this road. As the army advanced through the Bulgarian
forest on July 11 they encountered the ambushes of 'puny Greeks, Bulgars,
Serbs, and half-civilized Vlachs. . . . Many of them, when seized, confessed
that they had been forced to do these things by order of the duke of Branits,
and chiefly because of an edict of the Greek emperor. . . . Day after day
occurred the rout and murder of foragers, and robbery by bandits who made
sallies from the Greek side and incessantly stole horses and pillaged the
carts which were proceeding without military escort.'8 
 Without preparing carefully for the arrival of the German army except for
an edict, unenforced, indicating that it was to be provided with facilities
to purchase supplies and exchange money, Isaac had gone off to Philadelphia
(Alashehir) to deal with the rebel Theodore Mancaphas. The German embassy
to Constantinople was thus obliged to wait outside the city until he returned.
When he did return and learned, as he had every reason to expect, of the
arrival of Germans in Byzantine territory, he ordered his chancellor and
other officials to act as guides for the German army. His arrest and imprisonment
of the German embassy late in June gave him hostages to guarantee the behavior
of the crusading army. Under these circumstances his subordinates drew their
own conclusions, and Isaac himself was apparently content to let matters
take their course. A homeward-bound Hungarian envoy explained to Frederick
that Isaac had had to go to Philadelphia and that, accordingly, he should
not 'wonder over the fact that he had not yet been greeted or honored by
any envoys.' At the same time an envoy of that Greek chancellor who should
have been conducting Frederick's army on its way asserted that Isaac was
'much surprised that Frederick had not yet notified him by accredited envoys
of his approach and that of the army, so that he might have greeted him 
 8 Ansbert, pp. 27-28. 

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