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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 171

 The contemporary Byzantine historian, Nicetas Choniates, who is reliable,
but whose chronology is often difficult to unravel, declares that Alexius
III Angelus had freed his nephew, the young Alexius, from prison and taken
him along on his campaign against a rebellious official, Manuel Camytzes,
in 1201. Early in the campaign (1201), Nicetas says, the young Alexius fled
the imperial camp, boarded a Pisan vessel (which had put into the Marmara
port of Athyra ostensibly for ballast), escaped his uncle's agents by cutting
his hair in western style and dressing in western clothes, and sailed away
to the west, where, Nicetas knew, he turned to his sister Irene and her husband
Philip of Swabia for help. <46> The Gesta Innocentii reports that Boniface
of Montferrat visited Innocent in Rome, at a time after Boniface "was
said to have discussed" with Philip of Swabia a plan to restore the
young Alexius; with him he brought a letter from Philip Augustus, to which
we have the reply, dated March 26, 1202. <47> This would push the alleged
conversations between Boniface, Philip, and the young Alexius back to a date
in 1201, certainly long before the summer of 1202, Villehardouin's date for
the arrival of the young Alexius in the west. 
 Then too, Alexius III Angelus, who was of course fully conscious, once his
nephew had escaped, of the danger that now threatened him, wrote to the pope,
asking for assurances that he would not support Philip of Swabia and the
young Alexius against him, and offering to negotiate for a union between
the Greek and Latin churches, as the Byzantine emperors usually did when
danger threatened. Innocent answered somewhat reassuringly in a letter dated
November 16, 1202. He reminded Alexius III that papal policy opposed Philip
of Swabia and supported his rival Otto IV for the German imperial throne.
Innocent also referred, however, to a visit which the young Alexius had paid
him in Rome; and in so doing used the word olim to describe the period elapsing
since the visit had taken place. It has been cogently argued that the word
XIII (1904), 505-514, an excellent summary of previous scholarship. More
emphasis is put on the role allegedly played by Innocent III in the works
of F. Cerone, "Il Papa e i Veneziani nella quarta crociata," Archivio
veneto, XXXVI (i888), 57-70 and 287-297, and J. Guldner, Uber die Versuche
Papst Innocenz III. eine Union zwischen der abendlandischen und morgen-lándischen
Kirche herbeizufuhren (Tubingen, 1893). See also the two recent articles
by the Soviet historian, M. A. Zaborov, "Papstvo i zakhvat Konstantinopolya
krestonostsami v nachale XIII v.," Vizantiiskii vremennik, n.s., V (1952),
152 ff., and "K voprosu o predistorii chetvertogo krestovogo pokhoda,"
ibid., n.s., VI (1953), 233 ff. 
 46 Nicetas, Historia; De Alexio Angelo, III (CSHB), pp. 711 ff. For the
convincing argument against Faral's dating, see H. Grégoire, "The
Question of the Diversion of the Fourth Crusade," Byzantion, XV (1940-1941),
 47 Gesta, chap. LXXXIII (PL, CCXIV, col. 132). 

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