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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 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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