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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 177

throne - no matter how legitimate his claim - would arouse only hostility
among Greeks. 
 At Corfu Alexius confirmed his agreements, and, in all probability, undertook
to give Crete to Boniface. Here too, the leaders had to face new dissension.
A large group of the barons - perhaps half of the total - who had opposed
the diversion to Constantinople now withdrew from the host and set up camp
by themselves, intending to send over to Brindisi and secure ships to take
them direct to Syria. Boniface and the counts and a number of high barons,
accompanied by the bishops and abbots and by the young Alexius, went to the
camp of these "deserters", and besought them with tears not to
break up the host in this way. Finally the recalcitrants yielded; they would
stay with the expedition until Michaelmas (September 29), on the solemn assurance
that at any time after that date, on two weeks' notice, they would be supplied
with ships to transport them to Palestine. 
 Leaving Corfu on the eve of Pentecost (May 24, 1203), the fleet set sail
for Constantinople. It skirted the Morea, entered the Aegean Sea, and made
its first landing on the island of Euboea (Negroponte), whence some of the
galleys and transports detoured to the island of Andros and forced the inhabitants
to recognize young Alexius and pay him tribute. The rest of the ships proceeded
to Abydus on the Asiatic shore at the mouth of the Dardanelles, and occupied
it without resistance. Taking advantage of the spring harvest, the host took
wheat on board. A week later, after the other vessels had come up, the reunited
fleet passed through the Dardanelles and the Sea of Marmara, and anchored
off the abbey of St. Stephen, seven miles south of Constantinople, now in
full view. Having foraged on the Marmara islands, the fleet passed so close
to the walls of the capital that some of the defenders opened fire. It then
landed and disembarked men and horses at Chalcedon on St. John's day, June
24, just a month after the departure from Corfu. From Chalcedon the crusaders
set out by land for Scutari (Chrysopolis), a league to the north, while the
ships followed along the shore. 
 At Scutari, foraging parties raided the land around for provisions, and
the crusaders had their first encounter with the armed forces of emperor
Alexius III, when a scouting party of some eighty knights attacked and put
to flight a much larger body of Greek troops that had been stationed to watch
their movements. An envoy from Constantinople now arrived at the camp at
Scutari with a message from the emperor. He demanded to know what they were

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