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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 178

doing in his land, since they were supposed to be on their way to recover
the Holy Sepulcher; if they were in need, he would gladly give them provisions
for their journey, but if they harbored any hostile intentions toward him
or his empire, he would destroy them to a man. The crusader spokesman, Conon
of Béthune, answered that Alexius III was a traitor and usurper, and
demanded his surrender to his nephew, whom, Conon said, the crusaders would
try to persuade to treat him gently. 
 After sending back this defiance, the leaders decided to appeal to the people
of Constantinople to acknowledge their protégé. The galleys
set out from the harbor of Scutari, one of them bearing the young Alexius,
Boniface, and Dandolo, and sailed as close as they could to the sea walls,
while those on board shouted out to the crowds thronging the shore and the
walls that they were come to help the people of Constantinople overthrow
their tyrant and restore their rightful lord. The demonstration failed, as
the only response was a shower of missiles. 
 So the leaders now made preparations for an attack, mustering their forces
(probably something over 10,000) in the plain outside Scutari in seven "battles"
or divisions, each containing as far as possible men of the same region and
each commanded by one of the counts or high barons, On July the fleet crossed
the Bosporus; the French repulsed a Byzantine force and made a landing at
Galata, across the Golden Horn from Constantinople. The next day the French
stormed and captured Galata's principal defense work, a great tower. The
Venetian fleet broke the harbor chain that closed the opening of the Golden
Horn, and moved in, sinking or capturing the few Byzantine galleys stationed
there as a defending force. <57> They now wanted to concentrate the
attack against the sea walls from the waters of the Golden Horn; but the
French preferred to fight on land, and agreed to time their assault to coincide
with the Venetian action. So the French forces now marched inland from Pera
along the shore of the Golden Horn until they came to the little stream at
its upper end. Over this they threw a bridge, then crossed and established
their camp outside the land walls of the city near the Blachernae palace,
at the angle between the land walls 
 57 On the topography of Constantinople, see A. M. Schneider, Byzanz, Istanbuler
Forschungen herausgegeben von der Abtheilung Istanbul des Archaologischen
Instituts des deutschen Reiches, vol. VIII (Berlin, 1936); supplemented to
some extent by R. Janin, Constantinople byzantine, Archives de l'orient chrétien,
IV (Paris, 1950). The treatment of A. van Milligen, Byzantine Constantinople:
The Walls of the City and Adjoining Historical Sites (Lon don, 1899) is still
valuable for its special subject. The large map of the land walls by "Misn"
(Nomides), Xa'prrjs~ twv TEIXWV /LEOaLWvLK9)s KWVCTaV-TLVOUITO'AEUJS(:(<see
image>) (Constantinople, 1945) is also extremely useful. 

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