University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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

XIII: The Crusade of Theobald of Champagne and Richard of Cornwall, 1239-1241,   pp. 463-486 PDF (13.4 MB)

Page 468

On January 12, 1238, the pope wrote to Peter asking him to reduce the contingent
he expected to lead to Constantinople in August. The bishop of Sees was informed
that the emperor Baldwin II needed money more than troops. On May 14 the
bishop was directed to give Peter at once one third of the funds cdllected
by him for the relief of Constantinople and to pay him the rest when he reached
his destination. Nothing more is heard of this expedi tion until July 5,
1239, when Louis IX sent agents to count the crusaders who had gathered around
the banner of Baldwin.5 Some time later Baldwin set out for Constantinople.
The only barons known to have been with him were Humbert of Beaujeu and Thomas
of Marly. Peter of Dreux was in the host bound for Palestine. 
 During the years 1234 through 1238 pope Gregory had been devoting a large
part of his attention to his plans for the two crusades. But early in 1 239
came a serious diversion in the form of a renewal of his quarrels with Frederick
II: the basic issue between them remained unsolved, as Frederick was resolved
to make himself absolute master of Italy, and the pope felt obliged to support
Frederick's enemies in northern Italy. On March 20, 1239, he excommunicated
 This situation was, to say the least, confusing to the crusaders who were
bound for the Holy Land. The pope was the initiator and patron of the expedition.
Many of the usual ports of departure for Palestine were in Frederick's domains,
and he was the guardian of his son Conrad, the young king of Jerusalem. While
the barons had probably never expected that Frederick would actually lead
their host, his cooperation was extremely important. Hence the crusaders
must have been sadly perplexed when they gathered at Lyons in July 1239.
Matthew Paris, who was no friend to Gregory, states that both the pope and
the emperor asked the barons to postpone the crusade.6 But in a letter of
April 1240 addressed to king Henry III of England, Frederick himself stated
specifically that he had asked the crusaders to wait until he or Conrad could
lead them, and that they had been about to accede to his request, but that
the firm insistence of Gregory had persuaded them to start.7 When Frederick
wrote this letter, the expedition had met a serious reverse, and he may well
have wanted to throw the blame on the pope, whose own letters to the crusaders
have not survived. 
 5 RHGF, XXII, 596. 
6 Matthew Paris, Chronica majora, III, 6 14—616. 
 Ibid., IV, 26—29. 

Go up to Top of Page