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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 100

the land of Jerusalem, and that he was not, out of pride, or any ambition,
designing evil against any Christian king whatever, including the king of
Greece. This, however, was only on the condition that he [Isaac] supply for
the army trustworthy guidance and an adequate market, as he had repeatedly
promised. Should this not be the case . . . he was prepared to fight against
false Christians who waylay the pilgrims of Christ, as well as against pagans,
and would make his way with his men by the sword." 10 Frederick could
count if need be upon the support, not only of the Serbs, but also of their
rebel allies against Byzantium, the Bulgars and Vlachs led by Asen and his
brother Peter, who likewise 'with letters and envoys, influenced his majesty
in his favor by proper deference and the promise of loyal aid against his
 The march from Nish to Sofia, where the army arrived on August 13, was a
repetition of the one from Branits to Nish. Greek hostility had already increased
the retaliatory German pillage of the countryside to such an extent that,
at Nish, Frederick had had to take steps to halt it. But the army, newly
organized in its four divisions, continued to be harassed 'through the rough
and wild paths of the forests' by 'ambushes and raids of enemy Greeks and
Vlachs, instigated, as is known, by Isaac, the emperor of the Greeks.' The
column of duke Berthold was attacked by 'the bandits. . . . They immediately
engaged them like men, and cut down more than forty in a great slaughter.
We saw twenty-four of them, who had been tied to the tails of horses and
brought back to camp, hung on one gibbet, like wolves, head downwards.' Frederick
of Berg, the advocate, became expert in shooting snipers out of the trees.
'He then fastened [them] to the [trees] more firmly than [they] had hitherto
clung to [them], but with a noose.' Young Frederick, the emperor's son, 'executed
by disgraceful hanging' a great many of the Bulgarian bandits he had taken.
German knights were stimulated to heroic feats by such opportunities. 'It
happened that a certain knight who was so sick that he had been carried in
a litter for a long time, found when the bandits broke out, that his spirit
was renewed. . . . He boldly sprang from his bed, and, fighting manfully,
gave one of them to the edge of the sword and turned the rest to flight;
yet as soon as they scattered in flight his pain returned and again he lay
down on his bed.' But despite the German resistance, 'the culprits . . .
followed beside us over the mountain-slopes and plagued us by nocturnal pillage,
through the whole of the Bulgarian forest.' When, moreover, the 
 10 Ansbert, pp. 30-31. 

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