University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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)

Page 38

 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
 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. 

Go up to Top of Page