University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
(1969)

IV: Byzantium and the Crusades, 1081-1204,   pp. [unnumbered]-151 PDF (14.1 MB)


Page 135

Ch. IV BYZANTIUM AND THE CRUSADES 135 
ranean, and political and economic circumstances, as well as imperial marriages
and friendships, had brought an influx of Latins into all parts of the Byzantine
empire, thus sowing seeds of future trouble. It has even been suggested that
Manuel sought to renew the internal vigor of Byzantium by deliberately introducing
Latin elements into the empire.12 At the same time he was essentially Byzantine:
he would concede nothing to the west insofar as his imperial position was
concerned, for like any true medieval "Roman" emperor he regarded
himself as the heir of a long line stretching back to Caesar Augustus. 
 Manuel's outlook and needs determined his policy at home and abroad. He
had to establish his somewhat unexpected succession to the throne and secure
allies among the western powers. And he even went a step further by aiming
at active rehabilitation of Byzantine authority in the west. His ceaseless
diplomatic moves, like those of other powers interested in the Mediterranean,
were characterized by a fluidity, a readiness to consider offers from any
quarter, a reluctance to close any door, which created a constantly shifting
situation, though the main trends are clearly discernible.13 
 Like Alexius and John, Manuel knew that his interests conflicted with those
of Sicily. At the very start of his reign in 1143 he was apparently willing
to consider a rapprochement with Roger II, who had asked for a Greek princess
to wed his son, but this plan fell through. The first major phase of Manuel's
Italian policy was primarily one of military intervention, and concluded
with his defeat in Sicily in 1158; after this he changed his methods somewhat,
confining himself on the whole to diplomatic weapons. Throughout he sought
to continue his father's alliance with the German ruler, Conrad III, who
shared his hostility to Roger. In 1147 the Second Crusade forced a temporary
suspension of their plans. Conrad had taken the cross and was moving east,
leaving his ally Manuel isolated in the west and exposed to attack, as well
as faced with the passage of crusading armies through his lands. Roger of
Sicily, now hostile to Manuel, was trying to rouse the French king, Louis
VII, and was himself plotting against the Byzantine emperor. Manuel was able
to take little part in the disastrous expedition 14: he was engaged with
Roger, who had attacked Corfu and the Morea (1147) at a time when Manuel
might reasonably be supposed to have concentrated his forces in the east
to aid the 
 12 See Lamma, Comneni e Staufer, passim. 
 13 This lack of any fixed political system is one of the main themes of
Lamma, Comneni e Staufer. 
 14 See volume I, chapter XIV; on Roger's moves, see above, chapter I, pp.
11-15. 


Go up to Top of Page