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

V: The Fourth Crusade,   pp. 152-185 PDF (11.7 MB)

Page 167

ing toward the end of June. In fact, however, the first bands did not leave
the various regions of France until April and May, and others straggled along
throughout June, July, and August. Boniface himself arrived in Venice with
his contingent of Lombards only in the middle of August, and the small bands
of crusaders from Germany put in their appearance at about the same time.
Worse still, a number of the "high men" from the Ile de France,
Burgundy, and Provence decided on their own initiative not to sail from Venice
at all, but to seek transportation overseas for themselves and their men
at other ports, some from Marseilles and some from southern Italy. So when
the leaders in Venice were able to make a muster of the forces at their command,
they found to their dismay that only about a third of the expected 33,500
men had turned up at Venice. The leaders had counted on raising the large
sum of money still owing the Venetians by collecting passage money from the
individual crusaders, but they found that, with only ten or twelve thousand
troops on hand, they could not meet their obligations. After the individual
soldiers had made their contribution, Boniface and the counts and some of
the high barons added what money they could spare from their private funds,
and pledged their gold and silver plate to the Venetian moneylenders, <40>
but in the end they still owed the Venetians some 34,000 marks. Thus the
expedition was threatened with failure before it ever got under way, for
the Venetians were not likely to go on with it unless they received all the
money that was coming to them by the terms of the contract. Villehardouin
lays the blame for the threatened fiasco on those who, as he says, were false
to their oaths and went to other ports. The primary cause, however, was the
excessively high estimate made in the first place by Villehardouin himself
and the other envoys as to the size of the army for which transportation
would be needed. Even if all the defaulting contingents had come to Venice,
they still would not have made up more than half the estimated number of
33,500 men. 
 At this juncture, doge Enrico Dandolo came forward with a proposal that
offered a way out of the impasse. For some time the rulers of Hungary, now
in control of the Croatian hinterland, had been encouraging the towns along
the Dalmatian coast to rebel against Venetian authority, dominant in Dalmatia
for about a  
 40 See the document printed in Tafel and Thomas, Urkunden, I, no. xcv, in
which count Baldwin acknowledges his indebtedness to certain Venetian merchants
in the amount of 118 marks, 3 ounces, with interest. Note also R. Morozzo
and A. Lombardo, Documenti del commercio veneziano nei secoli XI-XIII, I
(Turin, 1940), 542, no. 462. 

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