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

III: The Crusades of Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI,   pp. 86-122 PDF (14.1 MB)

Page 104

he Salutes me with due respect by the name of Roman emperor, and unless,
by means of very select hostages, he guarantees me a fair market and money-exchange,
and a secure passage over the sea which is called the Arm of St. George,
he may henceforth by no means presume to send me either envoys or letters.
Let him know that I, in reliance upon divine love, will unhesitatingly cut
my way through with the sword.'16 
 In subsequent correspondence the matter of title was satisfactorily settled.
In a following letter Isaac got to the point of calling Frederick 'the most
excellent emperor of Alamannia', and finally in a third 'the most noble emperor
of ancient Rome', but the new demands of Frederick for very select hostages
to guarantee for the future the fulfillment of the agreement of Nuremberg
enraged him with the knowledge that the surrender of the German envoys had
brought him nothing in return. 
 Meanwhile, in the absence of a settlement, the German army decided to set
up winter quarters in Adrianople, and to continue the war against the Byzantines
by an occupation of Thrace up to the very walls of Constantinople. Indeed,
in the weeks preceding his letter home (November 16) Frederick surrendered
to the demands of the war party in the army, led by duke Berthold of Dalmatia,
demanding an attack on Constantinople. Yet he seemed to think that Isaac
might come to his senses and make possible, for the spring of 1190, a passage
of the straits. Frederick was certainly well aware of the difficulties of
an attack upon Constantinople. The death of William II of Norman Italy and
Sicily, as we saw in an earlier chapter, would make it unlikely that help
could come from that quarter for a long time. Venice, an ally of Isaac, could
be counted on for nothing more than neutrality. The rivalry between Genoa
and Pisa could hardly be quieted by a projected attack on Constantinople
by the Germans. It was not to be expected that the papacy would launch a
campaign against the Byzantines in the west, merely because Barbarossa and
Henry VI wanted it. And if, despite these difficulties, it should come to
an attack upon Constantinople, and this was to be successful, it would be
difficult to prevent the crusade from stopping here. Frederick preferred
to get on with the crusade. An attack on Constantinople, for him at least,
was a last resort after all else had failed. 
 Leaving the bishops of Liege, Passau, Munster, and Toul and the archbishop
of Tarentaise behind to hold Philippopolis, the main 
 16 Ansbert, pp. 49-50. 

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