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

XII: The Crusade of Frederick II,   pp. 429-462 PDF (20.5 MB)

Page 452

the military orders that the ban was to remain despite the emperor's arrival.
At the same time he admonished them to have no part in the emperor's Syrian
 A sharp division in the crusading army was inevitable. While the German
and Sicilian knights stood firmly behind the emperor, the common soldiers,
even some Germans, were moved by the religious implications of the expedition
and adhered to the papal party, as did the patriarch Gerald, the Templars,
and the Syrian bishops. The Pisan and Genoese inhabitants of Syria, doubtless
recalling the bungling leadership at Damietta and their resulting commercial
losses, supported the emperor, as did the Teutonic Knights, under Hermann
of Saiza. The English, including the clergy, wavered in their loyalties,
at first supporting the emperor but shifting to the papal party. It was this
impossible situation which Frederick endeavored to overcome through a clever
move. He gave nominal command of various units of the expedition to faithful
adherents who were free of the embarrassments of the papal ban: 
Hermann of Saiza, Richard Filangieri, and Odo of Montbéliard.86 This
made it possible for the crusaders to avoid jeopardizing their own position
in the eyes of the curia. 
 Frederick was not in a position to seek a victory through the force of arms.
His army was small. Already he was committed to diplomatic rather than military
action in his relations with the sultan of Egypt. Since 1226 he had been
fully informed of developments in Syria through diplomatic exchanges with
al-Kãmil. Indeed his friendly relations with the emir Fakhr-ad-Din,
begun in 1226, had continued; from the autumn of 1227 until the emperor's
arrival in Acre, Thomas of Acerra had carried on the negotiations. We do
not know exactly what al-Kämil had promised, nor whether al Mu'azzam's
death in the previous November had changed his arrangements. At least during
the initial stages of the negotiations, Frederick probably hoped to regain
the conquests made by Saladin in Syria, and thus to reestablish the kingdom
as it had been before the battle of Hattin. The Arabic sources mention specifically
 85 Richard of San Germano (MGH, SS., XIX), p. 354; Huillard-Bréholles,
III, 83 ff. The choice of Reginald, who even at that time was engaged in
combatting the invading forces of the curia in Sicily, indicates how little
the emperor was disposed to permit the papal claims in Sicily to be injected
into the discussion. Diplomatically, the choice of Reginald would doubtless
have destined the negotiations to failure even had the pope been otherwise
disposed to a reconciliation. See also Ernoul, Chronique, p. 462. 
 86 The assumption of Schirrmacher, Kaiser Friedrich der Zweite, II, 183,
that the pope ordered this arrangement is untenable. For not only would the
pope have chosen leaders other than the most faithful of Frederick's followers,
but Frederick himself would not have submitted willingly, even meekly, to
having the army taken from his command by order of the pope. See Kestner,
Kreuz. Fried., p. 43, n. 2. 

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