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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 170

and in any case hated the Greeks. The Venetians were also deeply concerned
with the growing influence of Genoa at Byzantium. <44> Even before
the Venetians had been cleared of treason, scholars were shifting the blame
for the diversion to Philip of Swabia and Boniface of Montferrat: Philip's
kinship with Isaac and the young Alexius, the traditional Norman-Hohenstaufen
hostility toward Byzantium, Boniface's family claim to Thessalonica and honors
in the Byzantine empire, and Boniface's loyalty to Philip were alleged to
be the underlying motives. Innocent III too was declared to be involved in
the secret diplomacy. 
 For so important a project as the diversion of the crusade to be carefully
plotted in advance, all agree, one must shake Villehardouin's testimony that
the young Alexius landed in Italy as late as August 1202, since, if he really
arrived as late as that, there would have been no time to hatch the plot,
Villehardouin is correct, and one must accept the theorie du hasard. As a
matter of fact, however, we have a good deal of evidence tending to show
that the young Alexius arrived in the west not in August 1202, but sometime
in 1201. If this is accepted, a plot becomes highly plausible but not absolutely
certain. <45> 
 44 L. de Mas Latrie, Histoire de l'ile de Chypre, I (Paris, 1861), 162-165,
was the first to level the charge against the Venetians, basing it upon the
accusation made by the anti-Venetian Syrian source, Ernoul (Chronique, pp.
344-346). See also R. Cessi, "Venezia e la quarta crociata," Archivio
veneto, LXXXI (1952), 1-52. Karl Hopf, "Griechenland im Mittelalter
und in der Neuzeit; Geschichte Griechenlands vom Beginn des Mittelalters
bis auf unsere Zeit," Allgemeine Enzyklopadie der Wissenschaften und
Kunste, ed. J. S. Ersch and J. G. Gruber, section I, part 85 (Leipzig, 1867),
p. 188, and elsewhere dated the hypothetical treaty so positively in 1202
that it was assumed he had discovered the document; see also L. Streit, Venedig
und die Wendung des vierten Kreuzzugs gegen Konstantinopel (Anklam, 1877).
The decisive refutation of the charge came with the article by G. Hanotaux,
"Les Vénitiens ont-ils trahi la chrétienté en 1202?"
Revue historique, IV (1877), 74-102. But the myth persisted, and is often
accepted by later writers, e.g. Alice Gardner, The Lascarids of Nicaea (London,
1912), p. 41. It is a surprise, however, to find it in Steven Runciman, A
History of the Crusades, III (Cambridge, 1954), 113. For Venetian jealousy
of Genoa, see J. K. Fotheringham, "Genoa and the Fourth Crusade,"
The English Historical Review, XXV 
(1910), 20-57. 
 45 The first to put the blame on Philip and Boniface were E. Winkelmann,
Philipp von Schwaben, I (Berlin, 1873), 296, 525 ff.; and P. Riant, "Innocent
III, Philippe de Souabe, et Boniface de Montferrat," Revue des questions
historiques, XVII (1875), 321-374, and XVIII (1875), 5-76. Supporting Villehardouin
and the theorie du hasard in opposition to these scholars were V. Vasilievskii,
"Kriticheski i bibliograficheski zametki," Zhurnal Ministerstva
Narodnago Prosvieshcheniya, CCIV (1879), 337 ff.; J. Tessier, La Quatrieme
croisade (Paris, 1884); W. Norden, Der vierte Kreuzzug im Rahmen der Beziehungen
des Abendlandes zu Byzanz (Berlin, 1898) and Das Papsttum und Byzanz (Berlin,
1903), pp. 152 ff.; and Kretsch mayr, Geschichte von Venedig, I, 483. But
P. Riant returned to the subject in another article, "Le Changement
de direction de la quatrième croisade," Revue des questions historiques,
XXIII (1878), 71-114, and reaffirmed his earlier arguments. W. Heyd, Histoire
du commerce du Levant, tr. Furcy Raynaud, I (Leipzig, 1885, reprinted 1936),
265 ff., accepts the date 1201 for Alexius's appearance in the west. So also
do P. Mitrofanov, "Izmienenie v napravlenii chetvertago krestovago pokhoda,"
Vizantiiskii vremennik, IV (1897), 461-523, and E. Gerland, "Der vierte
Kreuzzug und seine Probleme," Neue Jahrbucher fur das klassische Altertum,

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