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

X: The political Crusades of the thirteenth century,   pp. 343-375 PDF (7.1 MB)


Page 371

 Ch. X POLITICAL CRUSADES OF THIRTEENTH CENTURY 371 
attempts to gain the hegemony of northern Italy had worried several popes,
and his hope of conquering Constantinople had for many years been a disturbing
factor in European diplomacy. A reduction in his power could be advantageous
to the papacy, especially as it became clear that Peter of Aragon did not
have the slightest chance of conquering the mainland and renewing Hohen staufen
aggression against the papal states. But Martin took his stand on higher
ground than that of expediency. A papal vassal had been treacherously attacked;
the papal sentence denying Sicily to anyone of Hohenstaufen blood had been
flouted. The Capetian dynasty, the bulwark of the church, had been injured,
and if the injury were not avenged, the French might be less willing to act
as champions of the papacy in the future. Martin did not hesitate to take
extreme measures. Peter was excommunicated in November 1282, and deprived
— in theory — of his kingdom of Aragon on March 21, 1283. 
 Martin hoped at first that these threats, combined with a new counterattack
by Charles of Anjou, would discourage Peter. He soon saw that more force
was needed, and sent a legate to France to organize a crusade against Aragon.
The negotiations followed closely the pattern set by Urban IV in his dealings
with Charles of Anjou. Aragon was to be a papal fief, held by Charles of
Valois, the second son of Philip III ("the Bold") of France, on terms very
like those under which Charles of Anjou had received Sicily. The French clergy,
and those of most dioceses of the old Middle King dom, were to pay Philip
a tenth of their revenues for four years to finance the expedition. Philip
and his followers were to have full crusade privileges. There was some haggling
over terms, and some opposition in the royal council, but in February 1284
Philip ac cepted the throne of Aragon for his son. 
 Philip faced the same financial problem which had annoyed Charles; he needed
large sums of money before the crusade tenths were fully paid. He solved
it more easily, thanks to the strength of the French monarchy. An aid was
paid by his lay and ecclesiastical vassals, and "gifts" were taken from the
towns. His subjects lent him large sums of money, probably on easier terms
than the Tuscan bankers had offered Charles. He hired a large number of ships,
recruited an army of at least 8,ooo men, and was ready to begin his expedition
in the spring of 1285. 
 Peter was in a difficult position. The nobles of Aragon were trying to limit
his power and resented his interest in Sicily; they responded badly when
he called them to arms. His strongest 


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