Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
II: Byzantium and the Crusades, 1261-1354, pp. [unnumbered]-68 PDF (9.6 MB)
38 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES But all was for naught. The union of the two churches was accomplished only on paper. Most Greeks insisted that, since the four eastern patriarchs had been unrepresented at Lyons and since no later council had pronounced it ecumenical, Lyons was nothing but a "robber council." Thus for them the act of union subscribed to by pope and emperor was invalid. Far more basic than this legal techni cality, however, was the deep-seated emotional aversion of the Greeks for anything Latin. Near civil war resulted upon the return of Michael's envoys to Constantinople. Violently rejecting the results of Lyons, the Byzantine populace believed that effective union with the Latins would corrupt the purity of their faith. Worse, they insisted that if the faith were corrupted, Constantinople, the city "guarded by God," would itself be doomed because of the loss of divine favor. The unionist patriarch John Beccus acutely reflected this feeling when he wrote, "Men, women, the old and the young consider the peace [with the west] a war and the union a separation."26 Even the idea of a cooperative effort by Greeks and Latins to recover Jerusa lem was derided by the people. The Virgin, the protectress of Constantinople, would never, the Byzantines believed, sanction an expedition against territories rightfully belonging to themselves if it were launched in alliance with Latin "heretics." Yet in courting the pope Michael had at least achieved his imme diate aim. The act of union proclaimed at Lyons acted as a powerful brake to the aspirations of Charles of Anjou. With the Greeks again apparently reconciled to the Roman church, any expedition Charles launched against Byzantium would not be regarded as a true crusade. Rather, in the eyes of Gregory at least, it would be a fratricidal war between two "Catholic princes," a war which, instead of promoting a crusade against the Moslems, would actually weaken the Christians. With Byzantium in effect now a kind of papal protectorate, Charles, as a vassal of the pope, could hardly contravene Gregory's orders to desist. 27 Negotiations moved forward regarding the question of a crusade. Shortly after the signing of union at Lyons the papal legate to Constantinople, Bernard Ayglier, abbot of Monte Cassino, returned to Rome with a report that Byzantine ambassadors charged with discussion of the crusade would soon follow.28 The imperial envoys, 26. Pachymeres, V, 23; V, 14; VI, 23 f.; III, 11; VI, 24 (CSHB, I, 401 ff., 379 ff., 482 ff., 192—193, 489 ff.). 27. Geanokoplos, Emperor Michael, chap. XII. On Charles's career see also S. Runciman, The Sicilian Vespers (Cambridge, 1958). 28. Geanakoplos, Emperor Michael, pp. 285—286.
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