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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
(1969)

VI: The Latin Empire of Constantinople, 1204-1261,   pp. 186-233 PDF (13.5 MB)


Page 200

200 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II 
westerners that it almost surely never occurred to them as a possibility.
But even within the framework of the possible, the Latins, a modern student
comes to feel, failed initially to make the most of the diplomatic and military
opportunities that lay open to them. 
 They repulsed advances from the leaders of the recently founded Vlacho-Bulgarian
state, blessed by Innocent III himself in 1204 before he knew of the fall
of Constantinople; and so they drove these potential allies and dangerous
enemies into the arms of the Greeks. The Latins failed to see the benefits,
which might have accrued, to them from an alliance with the Selchukids of
Rum behind the Greeks in Asia Minor. The only allies the crusaders made,
the Armenian settlers of the Troad, they betrayed and saw exterminated. Because
of their diplomatic ineptitude the Latins found themselves forced to fight
on both sides of the straits at once: against Greeks in Europe and in Asia,
and against the Vlacho-Bulgarian state with its terrifying Kuman auxiliaries
in Europe. The Latins had in sufficient manpower for such operations. Again
and again they had to interrupt an assault that was going well to rush across
the straits to meet a new emergency. Detecting weakness, populations docile
in the face of strength went over to the enemy, so that the Latins could
never be sure that a conquered town would stay conquered, and often had to
conquer it several times. Slow to understand Kuman military tactics, they
repeatedly allowed themselves to be drawn into ambushes, and were slaughtered
by fast-moving horse men who peppered them with arrows. They wasted men in
expensive and long-drawn-out formal sieges. Their enemies had replacements;
they did not. Moreover, from the beginning the Greeks had the services of
Latin auxiliaries, usually their best troops. Some of these may have been
English or Scandinavian mercenaries formerly in Byzantine service, who continued
to fight for the Greeks after the loss of the capital. Others were deserters
from the forces of the Latin empire, dissatisfied with their rewards and
deaf to all papal admonition. 
 The Greeks of the Byzantine Empire within a short time after the loss of
Constantinople had three chief leaders among whom to choose. In April 1204
Trebizond fell to an expedition led by Alexius and David Comnenus, grandsons
of emperor Andronicus I (1182-1185), sponsored by their first cousin once
removed, queen Tamar of Georgia. David Comnenus continued his conquests westward
along the Black Sea coast, taking Oenoƫ and Sinope - assigned by the
partition treaty to Baldwin - and extending the borders of the Trapezuntine
state to Pontic Heraclea. This brought 


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