Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
XVIII: The Aftermath of the Crusades, pp. [unnumbered]-666 PDF (7.8 MB)
647XVIII THE AFTERMATH OF THE CRUSADES The revival of the crusade as an international movement in the fourteenth century had ended with the disaster of Nicopolis in 1396; the massacre of the flower of the western chivalry by the Turks in Bulgaria had disheartened the princes of Europe in their intermittent struggle for the deliverance of the east. 1 Moreover, the internal conditions of European nations, both political and religious, had already become less and less favorable for united action under the banner of the cross. Nevertheless, in the face of imminent danger during the fifteenth century, some measure of defense had to be undertaken to arrest Ottoman progress. The Orthodox principalities of the Balkans were overrun by the irresistible Turkish armies, and the kingdom of Hungary was increasingly becoming the bulwark of European Christendom. Though western Europe would send occa sional reinforcements to the east, the people of east Central Europe and the Balkans had to shoulder the main burden of the mortal strife against the Turks. Thus in the fifteenth century, two movements ran in parallel lines—both heroic and both hopeless: the Hungarian cru sade and the defense of Constantinople. In the meantime, desperate attempts were made to convert the Greeks to Catholicism and thus rouse the monarchs of the west to save the tottering Byzantine empire from final downfall. But all this was futile, for western assistance to the east remained insignificant and relatively ineffective. Apart from the papal curia, the court of Burgundy became the chief center of crusading propaganda after the tragedy of Nicopolis, in which Burgundian nobles were the principal victims. While they wanted to avenge themselves for past humiliation at the hands of the Turks, most enthusiasts for the cause turned their eyes from the thrones of Europe to the duke of Burgundy as the richest prince in Europe who might lead a successful crusade. Philip the Good aspired 1. See above, chapter I.
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