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

V: The Fourth Crusade,   pp. 152-185 PDF (11.7 MB)

Page 166

even for the imperial throne itself. About fifty years old, Boniface apparently
had never been overseas or taken part in any crusading movement. He had,
however, campaigned in Sicily in Henry VT's war with Tancred, and had also
fought a long-drawn-out struggle with the Lombard communes. At his court
chivalry flourished and he patronized Proven├žal troubadours like Peter
Vidal. His own court poet was the troubadour Rambald of Vacqueyras. <37>
 Boniface now appeared at Soissons, and accepted the command which the crusaders
offered him. Villehardouin says that only thereafter did the marquis receive
the cross, in a special ceremony; but there is some evidence <38> that
he may already have taken it in Italy. From Soissons, Boniface proceeded
to Citeaux at the time of the annual chapter of the Cistercians (Holy Cross
day, September 14, 1201). Fulk of Neuilly preached a sermon, and many Burgundians
took the cross. The marquis then went on into Germany to attend the Christmas
court of his suzerain, the German king, the Hohenstaufen Philip of Swabia,
whose loyal friend he was. Philip, brother of the recently deceased emperor
Henry VI, had married Irene, daughter of the Byzantine emperor Isaac Angelus,
and widow of the Sicilian prince Roger, whom Henry VI had conquered. <39>
With his Byzantine bride Philip had acquired the cause of her father Isaac
Angelus, who had been deposed, blinded, and relegated to prison with his
son Alexius in 1195 by his brother, Alexius III Angelus. Moreover, Philip
had inherited from his late brother Henry the traditional enmity toward Byzantium,
which had expressed itself in Henry's great but abortive plan for an expedition
against the Byzantines, a legacy to the Hohenstaufens from their Norman predecessors
in Sicily. When Boniface took command of the crusading armies, new interests
thus found a voice in the leadership. From Germany he went back to Montferrat
to make his final preparations. 
 The covenant between the Venetians and the crusaders had set the date for
the arrival of the host in Venice before the end of April 1202, in order
to permit departure at the time of the summer cross- 
 37 In addition to the work of Usseglio, see D. Brader, Bonifaz von Montferrat
bis zum Antritt der Kreuzfahrt (Berlin, 1907); K. Hopf, Bonifaz von Montferrat
und der Troubadour Rambaut von Vaqueiras, Sammlung gemeinverstandlicher wissenschaftlichen
Vortrage (ed. R. Virchow and F. von Holtzendorff, Berlin, 1877), 12; O. Schultz
[Schultz-Gora] (ed.), Briefe an Bonifaz I. (II.) Markgrafen von Montferrat
(Halle, 1893); Italian version, ed. G. del Noce (Florence, 1898). See the
entry under "Rambaut de Vaqueiras" in A. Pillet and H. Carstens,
Bibliographie der Troubadours, Schriften der Konigsberger gelehrten Gesellschaft
Sonderreihe, vol. III (Halle, pp. 352 ff. 
 38 Gesta, chap. XLVI (FL, CCXIV), cols. xc-xci. 
 39 See above, chapter III, p. 119. 

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