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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

II: Byzantium and the Crusades, 1261-1354,   pp. [unnumbered]-68 PDF (16.6 MB)

Page 36

 One very important figure was still lacking in Charles's alliance, the pope.
As spiritual head of Christendom his sanction was indis pensable if Charles's
expedition was to be blessed as a crusade. Moreover, as the pope was Charles's
direct feudal overlord for Sicily, his approval was all the more necessary
for a Greek campaign. For the next fifteen years Charles and Michael were
to pit their for midable diplomatic talents against each other, each in the
aim of winning the papacy to his side. Michael VIII continued his policy
of holding out the bait of union to the popes. Under Urban's successor Clement
IV, moreover, he again brought up the question of a crusade to the Holy Land.
But this time Michael offered to participate personally in the expedition
as well as to enlist the support of the strategically situated Christian
king of Cilician Armenia, Hetoum I. He assured the pope that with the participation
of the Greeks, Latins, and Armenians, the Mamluks of Egypt were sure to be
defeated. In exchange Michael asked the pope to provide him with guarantees
that Byzantium would not be attacked by Latins while he himself was away
on the crusade.21 The negotiations between em peror and pope, which had progressed
far, were suddenly brought to a halt in 1268 by the death of Clement. 
 Clement's demise removed the chief obstacle to Charles's plans for a Greek
expedition, and the Angevin monarch now began anew to muster his forces.
Michael, however, agilely responded by sending appeals to the brother of
Charles, Louis IX of France. Realizing Louis's unfaltering desire to lead
a crusade to the Holy Land, Michael shrewdly pointed out to the French king
that an attack upon Constantinople by Charles would adversely affect Louis's
own plans for a crusade. "If the forces of both Charles and Michael are set
at war with each other," Michael told the king, "neither can contribute to
the security of your own expedition." Envoys from Michael appeared before
Louis's camp in Tunisia during the latter's ill-starred crusade in North
Africa in 1270, bearing splendid gifts and hoping to enter into direct negotiations.
Before anything could be discussed Louis succumbed to the plague and Michael
once again had to face an unrestrained Charles of Anjou.22 Only an act of
fate, a storm 
 21. E. Jordan, ed., Les Registres de Clement IV (1265—1268) (Paris,
1893; repr. 1945), no. 1201, p. 404; A. L. Tautu, ed., Acta Urbani lV, Clementis
lV, GregoriiX (1261—1276) 
(Vatican City, 1953), no. 25, pp. 7 1—72. 
 22. Jordan, Registres de Clement IV, no. 1201, p. 404. Also L. Bréhier,
"Une Ambassade byzantine au camp de Saint Louis devant Tunis," Mélanges
offerts a M. Nicolas lorga (Paris, 1933), p. 140; Pachymeres, V, 9 (CSHB,
I, 362—364); 0. Raynaldus (Rinaldi), Annales ecclesiastici, ad ann.
1270, no. 33; Geanakoplos, Emperor Michael, pp. 224—227. See also volume
II of this work, pp. 509—5 18. 

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