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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

III: Byzantium and the Crusades, 1354-1453,   pp. 69-103 PDF (16.6 MB)

Page 70

son Manuel, then a child of seven, to the papal court to be educated by the
pope in the Latin faith. The emperor went so far as to pledge that, should
these promises for some reason not be fulfilled, he would himself abdicate
the throne. In that case control of the empire would be left to the papal
ward, Manuel, or if he were still a minor, to the pope.3 
 Not surprisingly, Innocent replied enthusiastically to this astonish ing
letter. No less understandably, he apparently had some reserva tions about
the seriousness of the proposals, for in his reply he made no reference to
anything specific; rather, in general but warm terms, he praised the imperial
sentiments. At the same time he wrote letters to the Byzantine patriarch
Callistus and to the principal Greek bishops, while dispatching two nuncios
to Constantinople, one of them the famous Carmelite Peter Thomas.4 Though
the pope him self was guarded in his approach, news of the proposals was
received in other western quarters with distrust mixed with gratification.
Characteristically, Philip of Mézières, a propagandist for
the crusade in the court of king Peter of Cyprus, wrote, "The news of John
V's desire for conversion was very difficult to believe, because it had been
so long that the Greeks were separated from the church, and because in previous
negotiations they had so often deceived the Roman church."5 
 Wishing nevertheless to capitalize on the opportunity offered, Innocent
made' overtures to Venice, Genoa, the king of Cyprus, and the Hospitallers
of Rhodes in order to secure ships to send to Constantinople, but he failed
in his efforts. No one would furnish the contingents requested; papal plans
were also set back by the hostil ities of the Venetian-Hungarian war. As
for the Byzantine emperor, seeing no help forthcoming from Rome, he was obliged
to write to Innocent that he was in no position to win the Greek populace
over to his policy,6 since their inherent suspicions were now magnified by
the west's failure to send military aid. Negotiations for union were ended
for several years. 
 Yet the case for Greco-Latin rapprochement found its defenders also in the
west. And the thought planted in the mind of the pope by 
William Adam now sought to "Latinize" the Greeks, forcibly or otherwise,
by compelling 
many to learn Latin (Geanakoplos, Byzantine East and Latin West, p. 2, note
3, and p. 103, note 74). 
 3. Halecki, op. cit., pp. 31 ff. 
 4. lorga, Philippe de Mezieres, pp. 137—138; at Constantinople Peter
Thomas instructed John in the Catholic faith. 
5. Smet, Life of Saint Peter Thomas, p. 74. 
6. Iorga, loc. cit. 

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