Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
IV: Byzantium and the Crusades, 1081-1204, pp. [unnumbered]-151 PDF (14.1 MB)
148 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II and in the early summer of 1189 he renewed the treaty which Andronicus had made with Saladin, probably in 1185. Frederick prepared to take the offensive against Isaac, who had no diplomatic finesse and mishandled the situation. Philippopolis and Adrianople were occupied by the Germans, who then approached Constantinople. Frederick had already written to his son Henry telling him to bring a fleet to attack the city by sea. Constantinople awaited its fate, fearing that, like Thessalonica, it would be captured and looted. Isaac had no option but to accept Frederick's terms, and in February 1190 he agreed to the treaty of Adrianople, which granted the Germans transport and shipping and Byzantine hostages. Thus Barbarossa had very nearly anticipated events of 1204; he had certainly demonstrated the weakness of the Byzantine government. Meanwhile he crossed into Asia Minor and shortly afterwards his untimely death removed a dangerous enemy. His western fellows in the Third Crusade, Richard the Lion-hearted of England and Philip Augustus of France, reached the Holy Land, but achieved little for the Christian cause there. But an event of significance for eastern Mediterranean politics in the later Middle Ages was Richard's conquest of the strategic island of Cyprus, then under the independent control of the Byzantine, Isaac Comnenus. From Richard it passed first to the Templars, and then in 1192 to Guy of Lusignan and his dynasty. Temporarily freed from the German danger, Isaac hastened to retrieve the position in the Balkans. In the autumn of 1190 he defeated the Serbs and came to terms with Stephen Nemanya. The "grand zupan" was allowed to retain certain of his conquests and was given the title of sebastocrator and the emperor's niece Eudocia as wife for his son Stephen. Though Isaac could not subdue the Serbian ruler as Manuel had done, in true Byzantine fashion he did at least try to retain him in the hierarchy of princes under the "Roman" basileus. Bulgaria proved more difficult to tame and Byzantine expeditions were defeated. Isaac was undertaking a fresh campaign with Hungarian help when his brother Alexius III deposed and blinded him, and ascended the throne on April 8, 1195. Isaac has been, perhaps unfairly, denounced as "utterly ineffectual".35 Faced with contemporaries of the caliber of Frederick Barbarossa, Henry VI, Stephen Nemanya, Peter and Asen, and Saladin, he could not hope to hold his own. But unwise and impetuous and shortsighted as he was, particularly in his internal policy, his military expeditions and his diplomatic activity do at least show 35 Runciman, Crusades, II, 429.
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