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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311

III: The Crusades of Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI,   pp. 86-122 PDF (14.1 MB)

Page 102

Philippopolis, the German army began to occupy the surrounding territory.
'We gathered the grape-harvest of that country, pressing out the grapes;
we took fruits from artificial caves, and everyone stored up enough for the
quarters to which he had been assigned.' The emperor indeed 'would have occupied
all Macedonia if the cause of the Crucified . . . had not held him back.'
For the time being, duke Frederick of Swabia, after defeating a Byzantine
army stationed near Philippopolis, was permitted, 'according to the plan
determined on by the emperor and the princes,' together with duke Berthold
of Dalmatia and the greater part of the army 'to assault the exceedingly
rich city called Berrhoea.' It was easily taken. 'When our men were in possession
of the city they found grain and barley, meal, wine, cattle, and sheep in
great abundance and gathered a supply of various garments.' The imperial
marshal, Henry of Kalden, took 'Scribention' (Sopot?). The marshal of the
bishop of Passau took 'Brandoveus' (Voden). 'The strong city called Pernis
[Petrich] surrendered unconditionally. . . . Thus in a short time the army
of Christ and of the holy cross secured the three above-mentioned cities
and about ten castles." 13 
 The negotiations between Frederick and Stephen Nemanya, and the Viach brothers
Asen and Peter, together with the actual occupation of Byzantine territory
by the German army, at length made an impression upon Emperor Isaac. It was
not until late October, however, that he decided to release the German ambassadors,
and proceed with further negotiations concerning the advance of the German
army. The delay only served to intensify German suspicions. It seemed to
them obviously deliberate, and meant, in the interest of Saladin, to postpone
the German crossing of the straits 'until hard winter was upon them'. It
was calculated, they believed, to provide time for Isaac to prepare plans
for the destruction of the German army as it crossed the Dardanelles. For
the Germans had heard that Isaac, 'thinking us ignorant and unsuspecting',
had prepared his Turks and Kumans 'to lay three ambushes for us as we crossed
the straits'. The army was first to be divided for the crossing on the specious
plea that the lack of boats made this necessary. 'When a part of the army
had crossed, attacks were to be made from both the European and Asiatic sides,'
and finally 'while rowing on the sea it was to be surrounded by the galleys
of these same enemies and given to slaughter.'14 
 The return of the ambassadors on October 28, accompanied by an impressive
Byzantine mission, did nothing at all to allay these 
 13 Ansbert, pp. 44-45. 14 Ibid., p. 48, lines 8-15. 

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