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

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

Page 203

a series of setbacks. Ioannitsa and his Greek allies had seized both Demotica
and Adrianople, where the new Venetian rulers were allegedly mistreating
their Greek subjects. Thrace rose in revolt. Abandoned by most of his men,
Renier of Trit and a small force retired into the castle of Stenimaka, deep
in Bulgaria. Baldwin did not wait for the return of the Latins summoned from
Asia Minor in the emergency, but laid siege to Adrianople. Ioannitsa came
with a large force to relieve the siege. The Kuman archers inflicted such
heavy punishment upon the Latins that orders were issued that henceforth
nobody should be lured away from the main battle line. But at the very next
Kuman advance, count Louis of Blois forgot the injunction and pursued the
Kuman horsemen. Emperor Baldwin followed him. Louis was killed, and Baldwin
captured. Leaving lamps and fires lighted in their tents, at Dandolo's suggestion,
the remnants of the Latin armies slipped away at night. Many set sail for
the west in panic. Baldwin's brother Henry, arriving from Asia Minor with
the needed reinforcements, rushed on ahead of the Armenian foot-soldiers
he had brought, and these were massacred with their families by the Greeks.
The remaining Latins named Henry regent of the empire. Soon afterwards the
aged Dandolo died (May 1205). 
 Henry appealed for aid to Innocent III, who instructed him to make peace
with Ioannitsa (not an easy thing to do), and threatened Ioannitsa with a
great phantom army of Latins that would come to aid Constantinople. The pope
also asked Ioannitsa to free Baldwin. But the armies from the west did not
come. In the summer of 1205 the Kumans, who could not bear the heat, withdrew,
and Ioannitsa moved westward against Boniface's kingdom of Thessalonica.
Henry strove vainly to reconquer Thrace. At Philippopolis the Paulicians
of the city offered to yield it to Ioannitsa; so Renier of Trit emerged from
his castle and burned down the Paulician quarter. The Greeks of the city
made common cause with Renier's Latins, and thus forced Ioannitsa to besiege
a city he had expected to take without effort. Infuriated at what he chose
to regard as Greek treachery, Ioannitsa burned Philippopolis and massacred
the Greek population. Throughout the winter and spring of 1205-1206 he pursued
a campaign of frightfulness in Thrace, destroying most of the towns, exterminating
the Greek inhabitants, and taking the sobriquet of Romaioktonos, slayer of
"Romans", to proclaim himself the counterpart of the Byzantine
emperor Basil II Boulgaroktonos. To keep Ioannitsa away, the frightened Greeks
of Demotica and Adrianople agreed to accept as their lord Theodore Branas,

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