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)
Ch. IV BYZANTIUM AND THE CRUSADES 149 him attempting to retrieve Byzantine prestige in the Balkans with Hungarian assistance, or trying to safeguard Byzantine interests in the east by coming to an understanding with Saladin. Indeed Isaac's negotiations with Saladin reveal the essential rift between the Latins and Greeks and the futility of hoping for any measure of unity in the Christian ranks. Isaac's successor, Alexius III Angelus, ruled from April 8, 1195, to July 17-18, 1203. His weakness and greed lost the empire what little prestige it still enjoyed, and played directly into the hands of the western and Balkan powers. Already in 1195 Barbarossa's son the German emperor Henry VI, now ruler of Sicily, had demanded from Isaac II the cession of the Greek territory occupied by the Normans under William II of Sicily. The marriage of his brother Philip of Swabia to Irene, the daughter of the deposed Isaac II, provided Henry with a fresh weapon which he did not hesitate to use in his bold policy of attack. Henry planned a new crusade to conquer Constantinople and the empire before passing on to Syria and Palestine. Alexius in his fear tried to meet Henry's demands for heavy tribute, by levying what was known as the "German" tax, though this would doubtless have afforded only a temporary breathing space. Henry, in spite of papal opposition, continued to strengthen his position and was recognized by the rulers of Cyprus and of Cilician Armenia. The danger was averted only by his unexpected death in 1197. Meanwhile Byzantine weakness had been further exposed by the advances made by Serbia and Bulgaria, both of which now judged it expedient to turn to Rome and to Hungary rather than to Constantinople. In both countries Constantinople had opportunities to extend its influence, but failed to do so. Stephen of Serbia, who was married to Alexius III's daughter Eudocia, in vain sought Byzantine help against his brother Vukan, who succeeded in temporarily gaining control of the government in 1202 with papal and Hungarian help, though only at the price of acknowledging Rome's supremacy and Hungary's suzerainty. The "ban" (ruler) of Bosnia, Kulin, strengthened his position by similar action. In Bulgaria civil war had broken out, and the throne was gained by Ioannitsa (Kaloyan), who had lived in Constantinople as a hostage. But even he, significantly, looked to Rome and not to Byzantium, and in 1204 he was crowned king by the Bulgarian archbishop Basil, who had just been consecrated primate by Innocent III's legate, cardinal Leo.
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