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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
(1969)

VI: The Latin Empire of Constantinople, 1204-1261,   pp. 186-233 PDF (13.5 MB)


Page 202

202 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II 
be my fault."<12> Ioannitsa had already tried to make friends
with the Latins, who had contemptuously rejected his advances. He there fore
entered into relations with Greek nobles in Thrace, possessing troops of
their own, whom the Latins had also rebuffed. The folly of this Latin policy
was compounded by their rejection of the offer of an alliance from the Selchükid
sultan in exile, Kai-Khusrau I, who was soon afterward restored to power
in Iconium. 
 Yet the consequences of the folly did not manifest themselves at once. The
first campaigns of the Latins, in the autumn and winter of 1204-1205, were
successful. In Asia Minor, though set back at Brusa, parties of crusaders
won notable victories over Lascaris, obtained the alliance of the Armenians
of the Troad, seized strong points, and captured the blinded Alexius V Mourtzouphlus.
They forced him to climb the great sculptured column in the forum of Theodosius
and to jump to his death from the top: "For a high man, high justice",
as Dandolo put it in a grim jest. <13> Indeed, one of the scenes carved
on the column showed an emperor falling from the summit; so that an old prophecy
was now fulfilled. The Latins henceforth called the column "Mourtzouphlus's
leap". On the European mainland, Renier of Trit took possession of his
dukedom of Philippopolis. Reinforcements from Syria arrived in Constantinople.
From Thessalonica, Boniface of Montferrat struck south through Thessaly to
Thebes and Athens, building a castle on the bridge across the channel to
Euboea, and, at Corinth, driving the local magnate, Leo Sgourus, into the
citadel. The impetus of the campaign wore itself out in the sieges of Corinth
and Nauplia. A nephew of the historian and marshal, the younger Geoffrey
of Villehardouin, landed at Modon (Methone), and the conquest of the Morea
was begun. Marco Sanudo, nephew of the doge, seized the island of Naxos,
key to the Cyclades, and two years later, in a second expedition, conquered
the islands left unassigned by the partition treaty, most of which were thereafter
held as fiefs from him. Sanudo himself eventually received from the Latin
emperor Henry the title of duke of the Aegean Sea (Ai'yaiov 7reAayos', "Archipelago"),
and held his fief "on a freer tenure than any baron in Romania".
<14> 
 Despite these Latin successes, the year 1205 brought the first of 
 12 A. Theiner (ed.), Vetera monumenta Slavorum, I, See R. L. Wolff, "The
'Second Bulgarian Empire', Its Origin and History to 1204," Speculum,
XXIV 167-206. 
 13 Robert of Clan, Conquéte (ed. Lauer), p. 104. 
 14 Text in K. Hopf, "Urkunden zur Geschichte der Insel Andros,"
Sitzungsberichte der k. Wiener Akademie der Wissenschaften, XXI (1856), 243.
For the entire early history of the dukedom, see J. K. Fotheringham, Marco
Sanudo (Oxford, 1915). 


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