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

XVIII: The Aftermath of the Crusades,   pp. [unnumbered]-666 PDF (7.8 MB)

Page 651

tended to be more favorable to the Christians than to the Moslems, if only
they would set their hearts on the enterprise. Despite all their might, the
Mamluks were divided among themselves, and some of their greater emirs were
in discord with the sultan. The lord of Damascus had even allied himself
with Timur against his own suzer ain in Cairo. On the Turkish side, Germain
found that the Ottoman hold on the Balkans was still precarious, though their
raids had been carried farther into Hungary. The great gulf which had separated
the eastern and western Christians had been temporarily bridged by Eugenius
IV at the Council of Ferrara-Florence in 1438—1439. 5 The time was
now ripe, he felt, for united action between Orthodox and Catholic, while
there was no real love between the Turk and the Egyptian in the Islamic empire.
The Florentine accord would bring with it 200,000 combatants from Cilician
Armenia and 50,000 from Georgia for the aid of the crusading host, in addition
to other reinforcements from the empires of Constantinople and Trebizond,
from the "Jacobites of Ethiopia," Russia, and "Prester John of India." The
Discourse ended with an exhortation to the king of France, whom Germain implored
to follow in the steps of Godfrey of Bouillon and the great St. Louis. But
the king was in the throes of the last phase of the Hundred Years' War, and
the expulsion of the English from France left him no time and means to be
devoted to an uncertain cause in the distant east. 
 In the meantime, another propagandist of a different type emerged in the
person of Manuel Piloti, a Latin native of Crete, who had spent thirty-five
years in the east and witnessed some of the most stirring events in the Islamic
wars in the Levant. In 1396 he had seen the two hundred slaves presented
by Bayazid I to sultan Barkuk of Egypt from among the captives of the battle
of Nicopolis, and records that they had to abjure their faith. Then he had
watched the downfall of Cyprus and the captivity of king Janus with six thousand
men and women of position in 1426.6 Piloti was moved by these and other catastrophes
to espouse the cause of the defense of the oppressed Christian principalities
in the eastern Mediterranean. He wanted to put his long experience in the
realm of the Moslems at the disposal of the Latins of the west to ensure
a successful crusade for the recovery of the Holy Land. Accordingly, he composed
a treatise entitled De modo, progressu, ordine ac diligenti providentia habendis
in passagio 
5. See above, p. 94, and Joseph Gill, The Council of Florence (Cambridge,
6. See above, p. 374, and Sir George Hill, A History of Cyprus, II (Cambridge,
1948), 485. 

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