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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 101

army arrived at Sofia, it was found 'empty and destitute of every satisfaction
for human wants. The tricks and perjury of the Greek emperor and his men
then began to be clearly evident. The perjured emperor had ordered the market
and money-exchange, which had been promised under oath, withdrawn, under
threat of punishment. In addition, there were no signs of the meeting which
not only John [Ducas], his chancellor, but also . . . Alexius, had, a short
time ago, promised to the lord emperor. . . . By order of the emperor . .
. in order to slaughter the pilgrims of Christ and to dishonor God, [they]
had, by renewing its war-towers and defenses, strengthened the ancient pass
of St. Basil.'11 
 With the threat of force Frederick obliged the Byzantine army to withdraw
from before the last Bulgarian pass, 'blocked up by treacherous Greek craft',
leading into the Maritsa valley. 'On 20 August, after burning the machines
of the Greeks, we issued from those manifold and detestable defiles.' On
August 24 they approached Philippopolis, 'empty and abandoned by the Greeks
for fear of us'. On the following day Frederick 'received letters from the
Greek emperor Isaac, full of pride and arrogance and absolutely refusing
us passage. . . .' At the same time Frederick learned of the arrest of his
envoys in Constantinople. 'For the emperor Isaac - in a new and unprecedented
crime, one contrary to the law and usage of all nations, not only of those
which fight for the Christian religion, but even of barbarian ones - had
delivered those sent to him for the sake of peace and friendship to prison,
after stripping them of effects and goods and insulting them in various ways.
He did this to the dishonor of the army of the holy cross and of all Christianity,
since he desired to offer this favor to his friend and confederate Saladin
. . . the enemy of the cross and of all Christians. The whole army was enraged
because of this and thenceforward freely pillaged the property of Greeks
and ruined what was left.'12 On August 26 Philippopolis was occupied. 
 In a letter of August 25 Isaac had refused passage across the Dardanelles
until Frederick sent hostages to Constantinople and promised to surrender
to Byzantium one half of whatever conquests should be made in Syria. The
German emperor, however, had no intention of dealing further with the Greeks
until his arrested ambassadors were returned. He now regarded himself as
freed from the obligations of the agreement made at Nuremberg. The only way
in which Isaac's hand could be forced, Frederick decided, was by war and
plunder, and immediately after their entrance into 
 11 Ibid., 35-37. 12 Ibid., 38-39. 

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