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)
Ch.V THE FOURTH CRUSADE 185 excesses which the Greeks have not forgotten to this day, and which Innocent III himself bitterly condemned when he heard of them. The Latins defiled Greek sanctuaries, murdered and raped, stole and destroyed the celebrated monuments of the capital. The historian Nicetas Choniates wrote a separate treatise on the statues, which had perished in the terror. <64> When it was over, Boniface of Montferrat ordered all booty brought in for division. Many risked execution in an effort to keep what they had already seized, and much was doubtless concealed. But what was turned in yielded 400,000 marks and 10,000 suits of armor. The humbler knights resented the greed of the leaders, who took all the gold and silk and fine houses for themselves, leaving the poorer men only the plain silver ornaments, such as the pitchers, which the Greek ladies of Constantinople had carried with them to the baths. Sacred relics shared the fate of profane wealth. The Fourth Crusade had come a long way from Ecry, and now terminated without having encountered a single armed Moslem. Indeed, we may regard the momentous events of 1203-1204 as the culmination of an assault of the Latin west upon the Byzantine east that had been intermittently under way for more than a century. Boniface of Montferrat, as ally of Philip of Swabia, had inherited the anti-Byzantine ambitions of Robert Guiscard, Bohemond, the Norman kings of Sicily, and their Hohenstaufen heir, Henry VI, as well as the claims of his own elder brothers, Conrad and Renier. Dandolo was avenging the Byzantine massacre of the Latin residents of Constantinople in 1182, the mass arrest of the Venetians by Manuel Comnenus in 1171 (the bills for this affair had never been settled), and possibly early injuries to himself; these episodes had in turn sprung out of the natural mutual hatred between the Greek population and the pushing, rowdy, shrewd, and successful Italian interlopers in Constantinople, whose privileges and possessions in the capital dated back to the chrysobull of Alexius I of 1082. In the French and German barons of 1204 we may see the successors of all those hosts of crusaders that had poured through Constantinople, with an envious eye to its wealth and a scornful distaste for its inhabitants, since the days of Godfrey of Bouillon, or Louis VII, or Frederick Barbarossa. The sword that had hung precariously over the heads of the Byzantines for so long had fallen at last. 64 See Innocent's letter, an. VIII, no. 133 (FL, CCXV, cols. 710-714); Nicetas's treatise is to be found on pp. 854-868 of the volume of CSHB containing his history. See the famous paraphrase of the passages of Nicetas's history in Gibbon's account of the sack.
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