University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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 174

for the crusaders, they said, would not take part in the assault. At an assembly
of the crusading leaders and the Venetians, abbot Guy of Les Vaux-de-Cernay
arose and forbade the attack in the name of the pope. He was supported in
his opposition by Simon of Montfort and a number of the high barons. The
leaders, however, persuaded the majority of the crusaders that they were
bound to help the Venetians capture the city, although Simon of Montfort
with his followers withdrew some distance from the walls so as to have no
part in the sinful action. After two weeks of siege and assault, Zara surrendered;
the garrison and inhabitants were spared, but the crusaders and Venetians
occupied the city, dividing the booty between them. By this time (November
24, 1202), it was too late to undertake the passage overseas, and the expedition
wintered in Zara. Within three days a major riot broke out between French
and Venetians, ending in many casualties. 
 In mid-December, Boniface of Montferrat arrived. Some two weeks later came
envoys bearing proposals from Philip of Swabia and the young Alexius: if
the armies would help Isaac Angelus and the young Alexius recover the Byzantine
imperial throne, they would bring the empire back into submission to the
papacy. Moreover, they would give 200,000 marks of silver, to be divided
equally between the crusaders and the Venetians, and would also pay for provisions
for the whole expedition for an additional year. The young Alexius would
then join the crusade against the Saracens in person, if the leaders wanted
him to do so, but in any case he would contribute an army of 10,000 Greeks,
and would maintain at his own expense as long as he should live a garrison
of 500 knights to serve in Syria in defense of the Holy Land. 
 At the headquarters of the Venetians, the doge and the leading barons heard
this tempting offer. The next day, at a general assembly of the host, the
lesser men heard the proposals for the first time. The majority of the rank
and file clearly opposed further warfare against Christians, and, supported
by some of the clergy, urged that the armies proceed directly to Palestine.
Many of the important barons shared this view. But even the clergy was divided,
some arguing, like the leaders - whose opinions Villehardouin reflects -
that the only way to recover Jerusalem was to begin the war by the Byzantine
adventure. Despite the divided opinion, the chiefs of the expedition, including
Boniface, Baldwin of Flanders, Louis of Blois, Hugh of St. Pol, and others
- fewer than twenty - signed the agreement accepting the offer of the young
Alexius and pledging the host to intervention at Constantinople. The move

Go up to Top of Page