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

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

Page 372

weapon, the navy, was being used to protect Sicily from the Angevins. In
the circumstances, he conducted a remarkably skillful campaign. He delayed
Philip as long as he could at the line of the Pyrenees, bitt refused to risk
a pitched battle when his position was turned. Philip advanced rapidly through
Catalonia, but was halted again at the strongly fortified position of Gerona.
The French army wasted the summer in besieging this town; illness and incessant
raids by Peter's troops diminished its strength. By early September Peter
was able to recall his fleet to the western Mediter ranean, where it almost
annihilated the ships in the service of France. Since Philip's army was supplied
largely by sea, this blow forced him to retreat. He withdrew most of his
army safely, but he himself died at Perpignan on October 5, 1285. 
 The new king of France, Philip IV ("the Fair"), had probably opposed his
father's decision to engage in the crusade. In any case, the events of 1285
must have convinced him that the attack on Aragon was futile. He did enough
talking about the crusade to gain a new three-year grant of tenths from the
French clergy, but he did not repeat the invasion of Aragon. He was quite
ready to make peace, and eventually a settlement was reached in which Charles
of Valois was indemnified for his claim to Aragon by receiving the county
of Anjou from his cousins of Naples. 
 The popes were less willing to face facts. For the rest of the century they
continued to support the Angevins with men and money, and at one point a
quarrel between the heirs of Peter III gave them great hopes of regaining
Sicily for their favored dynasty. In the end, however, they had to accept
the division of the kingdom. Sicily remained in the hands of a younger branch
of the Catalan Aragonese royal family, while the descendants of Charles of
Anjou ruled at Naples. No strong power was left in Italy, either to oppress
or to protect the states of the church. This was not an unmixed blessing,
as the turmoil of the fourteenth century was to demonstrate, but at least
it removed the need for large-scale political crusades. 
 In spite of the failure of the crusade against Aragon, the papacy had, on
the whole, achieved its political objectives. Both the empire and the mainland
half of the kingdom of Sicily had been taken away from the unfriendly Hohenstaufens
and placed in the hands of rulers who were obedient to the church. Both the
empire and the kingdom had been so weakened that they could not threaten
the papal states, even if they were to fall again under the control of enemies.
But the church had paid a high price for this political victory. It is not
fair to blame the disunity of Germany and Italy 

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