Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
III: The Crusades of Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI, pp. 86-122 PDF (16.5 MB)
118 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II Postponing any announcement of his personal leadership of the crusade until it was clear that circumstances would permit of his going, Henry received the cross privately from bishop John of Sutri in Easter week of 1 This was followed in the diet at Ban on Easter day with a public imperial summons to the crusade. At about the same time Henry announced his own special contribution to the expedition. He was ready to supply a force of three thousand paid mounted troops, half knights and half squires, for the duration of a year. This meant that to the German knights who followed their lords from beyond the Alps would be given a hard central core of mercenary troops under imperial officers. In June Henry left for Germany to promote the recruitment of the German nobility. There soon followed papal legates to inaugurate the preaching of the crusade. By early August pope Celestine III called upon the German clergy to preach the new crusade. Yet Henry's own illness postponed the organization of the movement, and it was, accordingly, not until the fall and early winter that the growing enthusiasm could be organized in formal meetings of the princes. Before leaving Italy for Germany Henry had made his first démarche upon Constantinople preliminary to the organization of the crusading army. It was quite evidently meant to forestall any Byzantine attempts to interfere with the organization of the crusade, and to inform Isaac moreover that the Byzantine empire was expected to contribute to rather than obstruct the expedition. As the new king of the former Norman kingdom of southern Italy and Sicily, Henry demanded the "return" of the Balkan territory which king William II had formerly conquered, from Durazzo (Dyrrachium) to Thessalonica.40 He demanded compensation for damages suffered by his father while in Byzantine territory en route to Palestine. He asked, moreover, that a Byzantine fleet support his own crusade to Palestine. Before negotiations over these demands could be completed, the incompetent Isaac had been deposed and blinded by his brother Alexius III (April 8, 1195).41 Possibilities for further pressure upon the Byzantine empire, for further support of the new crusade, and for an extension of German political influence in the eastern Mediterranean became evident at the diet of Gelnhausen in October 1195, when envoys of Aimery of Lusignan, the new ruler of Cyprus, arrived, offering to do homage to Henry and hold Cyprus as a fief, and requesting that Henry crown him king. Henry accepted homage from one of the 40 See above, chapter I, pp. 36-37. 41 On Alexius III, see below, chapter IV, pp. 148-150.
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