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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 653

the west, with emperor Manuel, in December of the same year to beg for more
substantial relief. The marshal of France left behind him John of Chãteaumorand
with a hundred knights. During his "mendi cant pilgrimage" to the west, the
emperor was well received at Venice, Paris, and London.9 He was given generous
promises but failed to secure any concrete result. Relief finally came from
an unexpected direction when Timur defeated the Ottomans in the memorable
battle of Ankara on July 28, 1402, and carried Bayazid into captivity. This
stunning event postponed the fate of the totter ing Greek empire for half
a century; as soon as the news reached Manuel, he hastened back to his metropolis
in order to readjust his policy and cope with the fresh circumstances. 
 Although the moment was most propitious for a passagium gener ale, the west
was not sufficiently responsive to a call for united action on a large scale
and thus lost its only possible chance for saving the empire. Even when the
indefatigable Boucicault decided to resume fighting in the east after his
appointment by Charles VI as governor of Genoa, his campaign was deflected
from European Turkey. First, he found it expedient to defend the interests
of his commune in Cyprus, where the Genoese colony of Famagusta was beleaguered
by king Janus from the land side and by Catalan galleys from the sea. He
succeeded in relieving the city, and a treaty of peace was signed between
Genoa and Cyprus in July 1403.10 Next, as soon as he regained his liberty
of action, he headed for Alexandria, but its impregnable fortifications proved
to be too strong for his modest contingent. So he sailed to the Syrian coast,
where he stormed and pillaged the towns of Tripoli and Beirut, but attempted
in vain to seize Sidon and Latakia. Finally, he was forced to retire to Fama
gusta, always pursued by the Venetian galleys, which betrayed his movements
to the Moslems; it appears that most of the booty which lie collected in
Beirut consisted of Venetian merchandise. His cam paign led in the end to
the outbreak of open warfare between Venice and Genoa. After heavy fighting
at Modon in October 1403, Bouci cault returned to Genoa without ever reaching
Constantinople, and the burden of the defense of the empire and of eastern
Europe fell again on the Hungarians and the impotent Greeks. 
 With the regeneration of Ottoman power under Murad II (1421— 1451),
the Turks resumed their pressure on the imperial city, and the emperors renewed
their efforts at the papal curia for a crusade. The 
9.On all this, see above, chapter III. 
10.See above, pp. 370—371. 

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