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)
Ch. III THE CRUSADES OF FREDERICK I AND HENRY VI 103 suspicions. It only strengthened the position of those in the army who were anxious to continue the war, to attack Constantinople itself, and to be done once and for all with the infuriating tactics of hypocritical Greeks. The German envoys were received with tears of joy by the whole German army. 'Even the emperor could not restrain himself from tears.' On the following day they were permitted to tell 'to the assembled princes, clergy, and knights, the pitifully sad story of how they were shamefully taken prisoner, robbed, starved, mocked, and insulted in various ways.' Isaac had had the effrontery to give their stallions to the envoys of Saladin, then in Constantinople. Nicetas, patriarch of Constantinople, 'that pseudo-apostle', had called the crusaders 'dogs' in one of his sermons, and had made the inflammatory offer of absolution for their wholesale murder, as later reported by Frederick to Henry in the letter already quoted.'15 The Byzantine embassy, deliberately snubbed by the Germans, had been kept from coming to any agreement by its instructions to raise the question of protocol. The Germans, indeed, after all that had happened could not believe their ears when the Byzantine chancellor, the head of the delegation, began to read the letter of Isaac demanding further German hostages, and, in order to facilitate a speedy continuance of the German march, promising the 'provision of a market and the passage of the Hellespont [Dardanelles] between the cities of Abydus and Sestus'. 'For that contemptible Greek, with his usual pride, lyingly proclaimed himself to be the 'emperor of the Romans', and our most serene august lord himself to be not emperor of the Romans but only 'king of Alamannia' [Germany].' This was too much even for Frederick. He sprang to his feet and instructed the Byzantine envoys in the western view of the history of the Roman empire. 'It is greatly to be wondered at,' he said, 'why my brother, your lord and emperor.. should usurp this futile and undeserved title, and should glory foolishly in an honor which is, by all odds, not his, for clearly he understands that I am 'Frederick the ever-august emperor of the Romans' both in name and in fact.' He then spoke his mind upon how Isaac had 'robbed my faithful envoys, noblemen, Christ's pilgrims and crusaders, of their property, taken them prisoner and jailed them, tormented them with hunger, and insulted them in various ways. . . . Unless,' he concluded, 'he restores what he took from my envoys, and makes suitable satisfaction for the injury he put upon them without cause, and unless in his letter 15 Ibid., pp. 48-49.
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