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in 2011 with funding from 

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Joseph Francois Michaud. 


a 3S'etD ambition. 





714 Broadway. 

OCT 2 4 1949 


BOOK iy..>->4.jD. 1195-1198. 


The empire of Saladin divided among his successors — The civil wan 
thence arising — Dynasty of the Ayoubites — Extensive empire of Afdhal, 
soa of Saladin — His civil contests — Alaziz, sultan of Egypt, takes arms 
Egainst his) Atxttner — Nazr-Allah, vizier of the sultan Afdbai — Maiek- 
Adel — Civil commotions of Palestine — Agitated s^a fi of the Christian 
colonies — Bohemond III. governor of Antioch, toVeu Tisoner — Hospi- 
tallers and Templars — Pope Celestine III. instigatec tne fourth crusade-- 
Henry VI., emperor of Germany, engages to assist — Diet of Worms- 
Hostilities at Ptolema'is — Death of Henry of Champagne — Jaffa captared 
bj the Mussulmans — Siege and battle of Berytus — Malek-Adel defeated 

-Fallandus, the Sicilian historian — Henry VI. of Germany conquers 
Naples and Sicily — Progress of his arms in Palestine — The Saracens 
defeated — Death of Henry VI. — Massacre of the garrison of Jaffa — St. 
Martin — Causes of the failure of this crusade, and its mischievous con- 
st quences — Cruel character of Henry VI pp. 1—35 

BOOK X.— A.D. 1198-1204. 

Rousseau's opinion of the Crusaders — Enthusiasm and valour of th« 
Christian troops — Causes which led to the fifth crusade — Instigated by 
Pope Innocent III. — His quarrel with Philip of France — Dtath of 
Richard I. of England — Preaching of Foulkes in favour of the v'l'usade 
— Thibault IV., count of Champagne, engages in the crusade — Louis, 
count of Chartres — Preaching of Martin Litz — Villehardouin, marslial 
of Champagne — Baldwin, count of Flanders — Commercial greatness of 
Venice — Dandolo, the doge of Venice — He engages to assist tlie Cru- 
saders — Gauthier de Brienne — Sums advanced by Venice — Death and 
character of Thibault — Count ie Bar — Death of Eude III , duke of 


Burgundy — ^Boniface, marquis of Montferrat, elected jommander of the 
crusade — Famine in Egypt and Europe — Death of Foulkes — Pecuniary 
exactions of Venice — Revolt of the city of Zara — Dandolo's address to 
the Venetians in favour of the Crusaders — Isaac, emperor of Constan- 
tinople, dethroned — Siege of Zara — The Abbot de Ce-rnay — Quarrels 
between the Venetians and the Prench Crusaders— Address of Philip of 
Swabia to the French barons — Policy of Malek-Adel — Refiroaches of 
Innocent III. against the Crusaders at Zara — Character of the emperor 
Alexius — Capture of Corfu— Conquests of the younger Alexius, son of 
Isaac — Description of Constantinople — Besieged by the Crusaders — The 
Varangians — Speeohes of Rossi and Conon de Bethune — Capture of 
Constantinople — Alexius dethroned — Isaac and his son Alexius restored 
to the sovereignty — The Crusaders become the allies of the Greeks, and 
the protectors of the Greek empire — Their communications with the 
pope pp. 36-99. 

BOOK XI.— A.D. 1198-1204. 

Character of the Greeks — Position of Alexius the young«r — His pro- 
posals to the Crusaders — Disputes between the Greeks and cne Latins on 
articles of faith — Contentions with the Bulgarians — Contlagration of 
Constantinople — Imbecility and bigotry of the emperor Isaac — Statue of 
Mivierva destroyed — Insurrectionary spirit in Constantinople — Famine in 
Egypt — Contests between the Greeks and the Latins — Greek fire — 
Treachery of Mourzouffle — He murders young Alexius, and ascends the 
throne — Character of Alexius — Mourzoufile's contests with the Latins- 
Is dethroned — Death of Isaac — Lascaris chosen emperor — Abandons the 
city — Constantinople taken possession of, and plundered by the Latins — 
Destruction of the works of art — Statues of Bellerophon, Hercules, and 
Helen, destroyed — Reverence for reHcs and images — Fanaticism of 
Martin Litz — Fragment of the " true cross" — Virtues of Dandolo, the 
doge of Venice — Baldwin, count of Flanders, elected emperor of Con- 
stantinople — The conquered lands distributed among the Crusaders — 
Thomas Morasini elected patriarch of Constantinople — Correspondence 
between Baldwin and the pope— Death of Marguerite of Flanders, wife of 
Baldwin — Conquests of Leo Sguerre — Michael Angelus Comncnus gains 
the kingdom of Epirus — Lascaris proclaimed emperor at Nice — Mour- 
zouffle captured and executed — Column of Theodosius — Quarrels between 
Boniface, marquis of Montferrat, and Baldwin — Boniface invades Greece 
■ — The Greeks rebel against the domination of the Latins — Victories of the 
Bulgarians — Defeat and Massacre of the Latins - Bravery of Henry of 
Hainault — Incidents of Baldwin's life — Death of Dandolo — Boniface is 
slain — Characters of the Greeks and the Franks — Their different his- 
torians — Disputes respecting the sovereignty of Cyprus — Death oi 
Gauthier de Brienne — Policy of Innocent III. — Knowledge of Greeli 
diffused in the West — Refinement of the Venetians, and commercial great 
ness of Venice pp. 100-184. 


BOOK XII.— A.D. 1200*1215. 


Famine in Egypt, and its frightful consequences — Destructive earth* 
|uake — Saadi, the Persian post — Earthquake and famine in Palestine 
— Agitated state of Palestine — Death of Amaury, king of Jerusalem — 
Death of Bohemond III, — Pope Innocent III. stimulates the western 
world to the deliverance of the Holy Land — State of Palestine and 
Jerusalem — John of Brienne accepts the young queen of Jerusalem 
in marriage — Agitated state of Europe — Malek-Adel renews hostilities 
against the Christians — John of Brienne takes possession of Ptolemais — 
First dawnings of the Reformation — The Albigeois, the Vaudois, and 
other reforming sects— Papal crusade against them — Spain at war with 
the Saracens and Moors — Cardinal de Cour^on preaches the crusade — 
Philip Augustus king of France, and John king of England, engage in 
the crusade — Dominant spirit and political contentions of Pope Inno- 
cent III. — Battle of Bouvines — The pope assembles the council of 
Lateran, and stimulates all Europe to the holy war — His death and 
character — Censius Savelli chosen pope, under the title of Honorius III. 
— He urges the crusade — Andrew II., king of Hungary, engages in it- 
Paganism of Prussia in the thirteenth century — Political state of Palestine 
— The throne of Syria abdicated by Malek-Adel — Melik-Kamel, the 
sultan of Cairo — Mount Tabor — PoUtical state of Hungary — Her king 
returns from Palestine — The tower of Damietta captured by the Cru- 
saders — Death and character of Malek-Adel — Decline of the empire 
of the Ayoubites — Cardinal Pelagius instigates the prosecution of the 
crusade, and proceeds to Egypt — Panic amongst the Mohammedans — 
Conspiracy to dethrone the sultan of Cairo — Battle before the walls of 
Damietta — Piety of St. Francis — The Mohammedans propose conditions 
of peace — Damietta captured, and the inhabitants destToyed by famine — 
The city assigned to John of Brienne — His speech against the invasion of 
Egypt — Obstinacy of Cardinal Pelagius — The Mohammedans burn the 
fleet of the Crusaders on the Nile, and compel them to capitulate — Melik- 
Kamel enters into a treaty of peace, by which Damietta is surrendered to 
the Mussulmans — Death of Philip Augustus of France — John of Brienne 
revisits Europe — Oppressions of the Christians of Palestine — Tho 
Georgians — Invasions of the Tartars — Marriage of Frederick II., emperor 
of Germany, with the heiress of the king of Jerusalem — Acknowledged 
to be king — Persecutions of the Albigeois — Contests with the Moors in 
Spain — War of factions in Italy — The Guelphs and Ghibellines — Frederick 
of Germany engages in the holy war, sets sail, and returns to Otranto— 
Gregory IX. succeeds Pope Honorius — His rage against Frederick of Gei- 
many—Frederick arrives at Ptolemais, and concludes a treaty with Melik- 
Kamel — Death of Conraddin, sultan of Damascus— Frederick acknow- 
ledged king of Jerusalem — Hostility of the Christians — He quits Pales- 
tine for Europe — His victories in Lombardy — Excommunicated by Gre- 
gory IX. — Treaty with his holiness — The pope determines on renewing 
the holy war — Thibault V., king of Navarre, and Pierre de Dreux, en- 
Kage in it — Council of Tours for promoting the cause of the Crusadert--i 




Deaths of Peter and of Robert Courtenay— Decline of the Latin empir« 
in Constantinople — John of Brienne called 'o the throne — His death — 
Baldwin, his son-in-law, driven from the thione— Frederick of Germany 
excommunicated — He invades Italy and besieges Rome — Desolating civil 
war — Death of Melik-Kamel — Agitated state of Palestine— Battle oi 
Gaza— Death of Gregory IX. — Richard, duke of Cornwall, joins the 
Crusaders at Ptolemais, but soon returns to Italy — Pope Celestine IV. — 
Disturbances in the reign of Innocent IV. — Pilgrims buy off their vows 
— Wretched state of Palestine — Political pretensions of the popes — State 
of Europe — General reflections on the crusades — Songs of the Trouba- 
dours — Leprosy in the West — Crusades against Prussia and the Albigeois 
• -The sanguinary wars in the name of religion pp. 185—311. 

BOOK XIII.— A.D. 1242-1245. 


The Tartars of the middle ages — Their history and conquests — Gengis- 
kkan, the Tartar chief — Temugin — Presier John — Khan of the Karaites 
—Conquest of China, Carismia, and other extensive countries in Asia 
and Europe, by Gengiskhan — His death — Victorious career of Octa'i, 
khan of the Tartars — Hungary conquered — The warriors of Carismia 
join the sultan of Cairo, and capture Jerusalem — The Mohammedans 
of Syria defeated by the Carismians, and Damascus captured — The 
Carismians rebel against the sultan of Cairo — They are defeated and 
dispersed — Barbarous hordes of the Comans— Distress of the Christians 
— Valeran, bishop of Berytus — Innocent IV., at the council of Lyons 
determines on the seventh crusade, and excommunicates Frederick, em- 
peror of Germany — Cardinals first clothed in scarlet — Louis IX., king 
of France, recovers from a dangerous malady, and determines on pro- 
secuting the seventh crusade against the infidels — The illustrious names 
engaged in it — Blanche, the queen-mother — Agitated state of Germany 
and Italy — Frederick of Germany deposed by the pope — Civil contests 
thence arising — The nobles of France form a league to resist the exactions 
of the pope — Louis makes extensive preparations for the holy war — The 
earl of Salisbury, and Haco king of Norway, engage in it — Ameliorated 
state of society resulting from the crusades — Louis embarks and arrives 
at Cyprus — Pope Innocent IV. takes charge of his kingdom — Mar- 
guerite, wife of Louis — Archambault de Bourbons — Siear de Joinville — 
Antioch ravaged by the Turcomans — Louis receives an embassy from the 
Tartar prince, Ecalthai — Political discord among the Mohammedans — 
Family of the Ayoubites — Malek-Salek Negmeddin, sultan of Egypt- 
Military and political state of Egypt at the time of the crusade — Louis IX. 
and the Christian forces arrive before Damietta — His address to the C.rv - 
saders — He besieges Damietta — Fakreddin, the Egyptian leader — Louia 
attacks and defeats the infidel troops — Damietta captured — Negociationi 
with Negmeddin — Livre Tournois — Bravery of the Bedouin Arabs — 
Sidon captured by the Mohammedans pp. 312-392, 


BOOK XIV.— A.D. 1248-U'55. 

Alphonse count of Poictiers, and Hugh Lebrun count of Angoulem^ 
engage in the holy war — Opposition of Henry III. of England to hii 
oarons and the pope — Raymond, count of Thoulouse — Count d'Artois— 
Death of Negmeddin — Beauty and genius of Chegger-Eddour, sultana 
of Egypt — Scharmesah captured by the Crusaders — Fakreddin takes the 
command of the Egyptian forces — Treachery of the Mamelukes — Military 
operations on the canal of Aschmoum — Terrific effects of the Greek fire 
— Fakreddin slain, and the Saracens defeated — Rashness of Count 
d'Artois, and his death — Battle of Mansourah — The Crusaders defeated 
by the Mamelukes — The earl of Salisbury, Robert de Vair, and other 
illustrious warriors slain — Continued contests with the Egyptians, and 
3vere losses of the Crusaders — Instances of devoted heroism and indi- 
vidual bravery — The Crusaders exposed to famine and pestilence, and the 
Saracens victorious — The canal of Mehallah fatal to the Crusaders — ■ 
Sufferings and losses of the Christian army — Guy du Chatel, Gaucher de 
Chatillon, and other distinguished Crusaders slain — Louis attempts to 
regain Damietta — Is defeated, and surrenders as a prisoner of war — His 
entire army annihilated by the Saracens — Sieur de Joinvillo taken prisoner 
—Agonizing situation of Marguerite, queen of Louis — 30,000 Crusaders 
massacred, or taken into slavery — Religious resignation of Louis — He 
enters into an abject treaty for his ransom — Revolt of the Mamelukes — 
Death of Almoadan — Octa'i, chief of the Mamelukes— The emirs of 
Egypt — Chegger-Eddour elected sultana of Egypt, and Ezz-Eddin 
Aybek the governor — Extinction of the Ayoubite dynasty — Damietta 
delivered up to the Mussulmans — Ransom paid for Louis — Consternation 
in France on hearing of his capture — He arrives at Ptolemais — Deli- 
berates with his knights as to their future operations — The Syrians refuse 
to acknowledge the authority of the Mamelukes — Civil commotions in 
Egypt — Chegger-Eddour marries Ezz-Eddin, and yields her regal autho- 
rity — Death of Frederick II. of Germany — Conrad, his successor, ex- 
communicated — Jacob of Hungary — "Pastors" — Pope Innocent IV. 
urges the preaching of a fresh crusade— Singular message of the " Old 
Man of the Mountain" to Louis — A visit to his court — Cities of Pales tim 
fortified by Louis — War between the sultans of Cairo and Damascus — 
Treaty between them, and hostilities resumed against the Christians — The 
Turcomans surprise Sidon, and slaughter the inhabitants — Belinas pil- 
laged by the Crusaders — Pious devotedness of Louis — He fortifies Sidon 
• — Death of Blanche, queen-regent of France — Louis quits Palestine, and 
arrives at Paris — Excellence of Joinville's history — On the character and 
misfortunes of Louis — Damietta destroyed by the Mussulmans, and the 
mouth of the Nile filled with stones — Rise and fall of the Mamelukes- 
Hospital of Quinze-Vingts — The Tartars and Moguls — " Assizes of 
Jerusalem"— Characters of Frederick II. of Germany and Pope Inno- 
cent IV. — Fapal crusade against Eccelino de Romano .... pp. 393-4 93< 






A.D. 1195—1198. 

"When we cast a retrospective glance over the periods we 
have described, we congratulate ourselves upon not having 
lived in those times of war and trouble ; but when we look 
around us, aaid reflect upon the age of which we form a part, 
we fear we have little reason- to boast over the epochs com- 
monly termed barbarous. During twenty-five years a revo- 
lution, born of opinions unknown to past ages, has pervaded 
cities, agitated nations, and shaken thrones. This revolution 
has for auxiliaries war and victory ; it strengthens itself with 
all the obstacles that are opposed to it ; it is for ever born 
again from itself, and when we believe we can perceive the 
end of its ravages, it re-appears more terrible and menacing 
than ever. At the moment in which I resume the account 
of the Crusades,* the spirit of sedition and revolt, the 
fanaticism of modern doctrines, which seemed to slumber, 

* The author wrote the history of the fourth, fifth, and sixth crusades 
during the last usurpation of Buonaparte. [How easily an observant 
reader may tell when a book was published — the above note was 'loubt- 
less, written after Buonaparte's failure. — Trans.] 



all at once awake, and again tkreaten the world with mi. 
versal disorder ; nations which tremble for their liberty anc 
their laws, are aroused, and spring up in arms ; a coalitior 
of all kings and of all nations, a general crusade is formed 
not to defend the tomb of Christ, but to preserve that which 
Europe possessea of its ancie^^ civilization. It is amidst 
the rumours of a new revolutio i, of a formidable war, that 
I am about to describe the revolutions and wars that dis- 
tiu-bed the East and the West in the mida ^ ages. May I, 
whilst deploring the calamities of my couiijry, profit by the 
events of which I am a witness, and bj ^he frightful spec- 
tacle which is before my eyes, to paint with greater truth 
the passions and the troubles of a remote age, and revive 
in the hearts of my contemporaries a love of concord and 

The death of Saladin was followed by that which almost 
always is to be observed in the dynasties of the East, — a reign 
of agitation and trouble succeeding a reign of strength and 
absolute power. In these dynasties, which have no other 
support but victory, and the all-powerful will of a single 
man, as long as the sovereign, surrounded by his soldiers, 
commands, he is tremblingly obeyed ; but as soon as lie has 
closed his eyes, his people precipitate themselves towards 
license with the same ardour that they had yielded to ser- 
vitude ; and passions, long restrained by the presence of the 
despot, only blaze forth with the greater violence when there 
remains nothing of him but a vain remembrance. 

Saladin gave no directions respecting the order of succes- 
sion, and by this want of foresight prepared the ruin of his 
empire. One of his sons, Alaziz,* who commanded in 
Egypt, caused himself to be proclaimed sultan of Cairo ; 
another f took possession of the sovereignty of Aleppo, and 
a third of the principality of Amath.J Malek-Adel, the 
brother of Saladin, assumed the throne of Mesopotamia, 
and the countries in the neighbourhood of the Euphrates. 

* Almelik-Alazoz, Emad-eddin Otsman. We have given the names 
»f the Mussulman princes as the greater part of our historians write 
them ; we shall take care to point out in notes how they are pronounced 
by Arabian authors. 

t Alemelek Almansour, Nassir-eddin Mohammed. 

X Almelek Aladd Seif-eddin Aben-beer Mohammed. 


The principal emirs, and all the princes of the race of the 
Ayoubites, made themselves masters of the cities and 
provinces of which they held the command.* 

Afdhal,t eldest son of Saladin, was proclaimed sultan of 
Damascus. Master of Syria, and of the capital of a vast empire, 
sovereign of Jerusalem and Palestine,^ he appeared to have 
preserved something of the power of his father ; but all feD 
into disorder and confusion. The emirs, the old companions 
of the victories of Saladin, endured with reluctance the 
authority of tlie young suitan. Several refused to take 
the oath of obedience, § drawn up by the cadis of Damascus ; 

* Aboulfeda and some other Arabian historians point out sufficiently 
succinctly the division that the Ayoubite princes made of the vast provinces 
that formed the empire of Saladin. This empire included Syria, Egypt, 
almost all Mesopotamia, and even a great portion of Arabia. 

Aziz, as we have said, established himself in Egypt ; Afdhal and Thaher 
shared Syria between them, one reigning at Damascus, and the other at 
Aleppo. Adel retained, as his part, the cities situated beyond the 
Euphrates, which composed the eastern provinces, that is, Mesopotamia 
proper. To these three great divisions were attached several feudatory 
princes, who governed as fiefs various cities of the empire. Hamah, 
Salamiak, Moanah, and Mambedj belonged to Mansour ; it was from this 
branch that issued the celebrated Aboulfeda : the family of Chirkoiih was 
established at Emessa ; Thaher, son of Saladin, enjoyed Bosra; Amdjed, 
great-grandson of Ayoub, was prince of Balbek ; Cheizer, Abou Coba'is, 
Sahyoun, Tell-Bacher, Kaubeb, Adjloun, Barin, Kafar-Tab, and Famieh 
were possessed by various emirs who had served in the armies of Saladin. 

As to Yemen, a province of Arabia, in which Touran-chah established 
himself, the family of the Ayoubites reigned there till 1239. 

f Almelek Alafdhal, Nour-eddin Ali. 

X At the death of Saladin Jerusalem came into the possession of 
Afdhal, his son, who gave it in fief to the emir Azz-eddin Djerdik. Aziz 
becoming master of Damascus, the holy city fell into the hands of another 
emir, Ilm-eddin Caisser ; to him succeeded Aboulhedj, the favourite of 
Adel ; for in the division that this prince and his nephew Aziz made of 
Egypt and Syria, Palestine remained in the power of Adel. Aboul-Hedj 
was in his turn re,placed by the famous emir Aksankar-el-Kebir, and he 
by Me'imoun, 1197. When the empire became re-united under the 
dominion of Adel, his son Moaddhem had Damascus, of which Palestine 
and Jerusalem were dependencies. 

§ This is the text of the oath, as it has been preserved by an histo- 
rian : — " I, such a one, devote myself entirely from this moment to the 
service of the sultan Elmelek Alnaser Salak-eddin, as long as he shall 
live. I swear to consecrate my life, my property, my sword, and my 
powers to the defence of his empire, and to be always obedient to his 
orders. I swear to observe the same engagements after him to his so« 


others consented to take it, but on condition that their fiefa 
should be secured to them, or that new ones should be 
bestowed upon them. Far from labouring to reduce the 
power of this haughty soldiery, Afdhal neglected the duties 
of his throne for the pleasures of debauchery, to which he 
gave himself up entirely, abandoning the welfare of his 
empire to a vizier,* who rendered him odious to the 
Mussulmans. The army demanded the dismissal of the 
vizier, whom they accused of having usurped the authority of 
the prince: the vizier, on his part, advised his master to 
banish the seditious emirs. The weak sultan, who only saw 
with the eyes of his minister, annoyed by the presence and 
complaints of a discontented army, dismissed from his ser- 
vice a great number of soldiers and emirs, who went among 
all the neighbouring princes, complaining of his ingratitude, 
and accusing him of forgetting, in the bosom of idleness 
and effeminacy, the holy laws of the prophet and the glory 
of Saladin. 

The greater number of them, who went into Egypt, 
exhorted Alaziz to take arms against his brother. The 
sultan of Cairo gave ear to their advice, and under the pre- 
tence of avenging the glory of his father, conceived the 
project of possessing himself of Damascus. He assembled 

and heir Almelek Alafdhal. I swear to submit myself to him, to fight for 
his empire and states with my life, my wealth, my sword, and my troops. 
I swear to obey him in everything ; I devote myself to him inwardly and 
outwardly, and I take God for a witness of this engagement." 

* This vizier was named Nasr-allah, and bore the surname of Dhia- 
eddin, ' the splendour of religion ;* he was brother of the celebrated his- 
torian Ibn-Elatzir, author of the Tarikh Kamel, and himself cultivated 
letters with success. The study of most of the sciences occupied his 
youth, and his memory was adorned with the most beautiful passages of 
••the ancient and modern poetry of his nation. Saladin had given him as 
vizier to his son, and Nasr-allah proved by his conduct that he was worthy 
of the honour. If he committed faults as a minister, he at least honoured 
his character by remaining faithful to his master, sharing his misfortunes, 
and foUowiui^ him into exile. After remaining some time at Samosata, 
whither Afdhal was banished, he came to Aleppo, and entered into the 
service of Thaher, who reigned there ; and becoming dissatisfied with hia 
conduct, he quitted the court, and retired to Mossoul, where he took up 
his residence. He died at Bagdad in 1239, whilst fulfilling a diplomatic 
mission with which the prince of Mossoul had charged him. Nasr-allah 
left several literary works, the nomenclature of which is contained in th« 
biography of Ibn-Khilcan. 


his forces, and marclied into Syria at the head of an army. 
At the approach of danger, Afdhal invoked assistance from 
the princes that reigned over the countries of Aniath and 
Aleppo. Soon a formidable war blazed forth, into which 
was dragged the whole of the family of the Ayoubites 
Alaziz laid siege to Damascus. The hopes of an easy con 
quest animated his emirs, and made them believe that they 
were fighting in a just cause; but as they at first had bu 
little success, and as victory seemed every day to fly furthei 
from their banners, the war began to appear to them unjust. 
At first they murmured ; then they revolted from Alaziz, 
and at length rejoined the troops of Syria. The sultan of 
Cairo, upon being thus abandoned, was obliged to raise the 
siege disgracefully, and return into Egypt. The sultans of 
Damascus and Aleppo pursued him across the desert, with 
the design of attacking him in his capital. Afdhal, at the 
head of a victorious army, soon carried terror to the banks of 
the Nile. Alaziz was about to be dethroned, and Egypt to be 
conquered by the Syrians, if the brother of Saladin, guided 
by a policy, whose motive might be easily divined, had not 
opposed the authority of his counsels to the arms of the 
conqueror, and re-established peace in the family of the 

The princes and emirs respected the experience of Malek- 
Adel, and allowed him to be the arbitrator of their differ- 
ences. The warriors of Syria and Egypt, accustomed to 
see him in camps, looked upon him as their leader, and 
followed him with joy to battle ; whilst nations, that he had 
often astonished by his exploits, invoked his name in their 
reverses and dangers. The Mussulmans now perceived 
with surprise that he had been in a manner exiled in 
Mesopotamia, and that an empire, founded by his valour, 
was abandoned to young princes who bore no name among 
warriors : he himself grew secretly, indignant at not having 
received due recompense for his labours, and was aware of 
all that the old soldiers, he had so often led to victory, might 
one day do to further his ambitious views. It was important 
to his designs that too much of the empire should not be in 
the same hands, and that the provinces should remaui for 
some time longer shared by two rival powers. The peace 
which he had brought about could not be of long duration 


and the discord ever on the point of break'ng out among 
his nephews, must soon offer him an opportunity of reaping 
tne rich harvest of the vast heritage of Saladin. 

Afdhal, warned by the dangers he had run, resolved to 
change his conduct. Hitherto he had scandalized all faith- 
ful Mussulmans by his intemperance in the use of wine. 
Aboulfeda, who was descended from the family of Saladin,* 
says, in his history, that the sultan of Damascus, during the 
early years of his reign, passed his life amidst banquets and 
indulgence, taking delight in nothing but listening to songs 
and composing verses. On his return from Egypt, Afdhal 
exhibited an entire alteration in his manners ; but he only 
fell from one excess into another ; he was now constantly at 
prayers, or employed in the most minute practices of the 
Mussulman religion ; but, in his excessive devotion, as in, 
his dissipated life, he was perfectly inattentive to the duties 
of a monarch, and submitted himself, without reserve, to 
the counsels of the same vizier who had already nearly cost 
him his dominions. " Then," says Aboulfeda, " complaints 
against him were heard from all quarters, and tongues that 
had been loud in his praise became silent." 

Alaziz thought this opportunity favourable for again 
taking up arms against his brother ; and Malek-Adel, per- 
suaded that war was most likely to minister to his ambition, 
no longer advocated peace, but placed himself at the head of 
the army of Egypt. Having intimidated by his threats, or 
won by his presents, the principal emirs of Afdhal, he at 
o^ce took possession of Damascus in the name of Alaziz, 
and soon governed as sovereign the richest provinces of 

Every day fresh quarrels broke out among the emirs and 
princes ; all those who had fought with Saladin, thought the 
mom.ent was come at which to put forth and establish their 
pretensions ; and the princes who still remained of the family 
of Noureddin began to entertain hopes of regaining the 
provinces wrested from the unfortunate Attabeks by the son 
of Ayoub. All the East was in a state of fermentation. 

* M. Am. Jourdain las published a curious account of Aboulfeda and 
his family, the materif.xS for which were supplied by the works themselvef 
of this historian : it is printed in the fourteenth volume of Les Annalei 
des Voyages, &c. of M. Malte Brun. 


Bloody divisions desolated Persia, a prey to the various 
claims of the feeble remains of the race of the Seljoucides. 
The empire of the Carismians, which conquest was every 
day extending, threatened at the same time the capital of 
Corosan and tlie city of Bagdad, in which the pontiff of the 
Mussulman religion lived in perpetual fear. Eor a long 
time the caliphs had been unable to take any active part in 
the events that changed the face of Syria ; and the only 
authority they possessed was exercised in consecrating tho 
victories of the triumphant party, whoever that might be. 
Afdhal, driven from Damascus, called in vain upon the 
caliph of Bagdad for protection ; all that shadow of power 
could afford him was a recommendation to exercise patience, 
and an assurance " that his enemies would have to render an 
account to God of what they had done.^' 

Among the rivalries that convulsed the Mussulman states, 
Malek-Adel met with no obstruction to his projects ; the 
troubles and disorders which his usurpation gave birth to, 
even the wars undertaken against him, all contributed to the 
consolidation and extension of his unjustly-obtained power. 
It became evident that he must soon unite under his sway 
the greater part of the provinces conquered by Saladin. 
Thus was verified, for the second time within a few years, 
tlie observation of an Arabian historian, who expressed 
himself in the following words when speaking of the suc- 
cession of Noureddin: " The greater fart of the founders 
of empires have not been able to leave them to their posterity.^' 
This instability of power is not a thing to be wondered at 
in countries where success renders everything legitimate, 
where the caprices of fortune are frequently laws, and 
where the most formidable enemies of an empire founded 
by arms, are the very men whose bravery has assisted in 
raising it. The historian we have quoted, deplores the revo- 
lutions of military despotism, without duly searching for the 
natural causes of them ; and can explain so many changes 
only by referring to the justice of God, always ready to 
punish, at least in their children, all who have employed vio- 
lence or shed the blood of man to attain empire. 

Such were the revolutions which, during many years, 
fii; tated the Mussulman states of Syi'ia and Egypt. The 
fourth crusade, which we are about to desoribCj and in whiclj 


i' le Christians might have greatly profited by the troubiea 
of the East, only served to reunite the scattered members 
of the empire of Saladin. Malek-Adel owed the progress of 
his power not only to the divisions of the Mussulmans, but 
to the spirit of discord that reigned among the Christians. 

After the departure of the king of England, as was 
always the case at the termination of every crusade, the 
Christian colonies, surrounded by perils, advanced more 
rapidly to their fall. Henry of Champagne, charged with 
the government of Palestine, disdained the title of king, as 
he was impatient to return to Europe, and looked upon his 
kingdom as a place of exile. The three military orders, 
detained in Asia by their vows, constituted the prmcipal 
strength of a state which but lately had had all the warriors 
of Europe for its defenders. Guy of Lusignan retired to 
Cyprus, took no more interest in the fate of Jerusalem, and 
had full occupation in keeping himself on his new throne, 
shaken by the continual revolts of the Greeks and threatened 
by the emperors of Constantinople. 

Bohemond III., grandson of Raymond of Poictiers, and 
descended, in the female line, from the celebrated Bohemond, 
one of the heroes of the first crusade, governed the prin* 
cipality of Antioch and the county of Tripoli. Amidst the 
misfortunes that afflicted the Christian colonies, the sole aim 
of this prince was the extension of his dominions, and every 
means appeared to him good and just that could forward his 
designs. Bohemond pretended to have claims to the prin- 
cipality of Armenia ; and employed by turns force and 
stratagem to get possession of it. After several useless 
attempts, he succeeded in decoying into his capital Rupin 
of the Mountain, one of the princes of Armenia, and detained 
him prisoner. Livon, the brother of Rupin, determined to 
take signal vengeance for such an outrage ; and, under the 
pretence of treating for peace, invited Bohemond to repair 
to the frontiers of Armenia. The two princes engaged by 
oath to come without escort or train to the place of confer- 
ence j but each formed a secret design of lading a snare f:,r 
his adversary. The Armenian prince, better seconded by 
either his genius or fortune, remained conquerc r in this dis- 
graceful contest. Bohemond was surprised, loaded with 
chains, and carried away to a fortress of Lesser i\j'2iienia 


Tlie war was instantly renewed with fury ; the people cd 
botli Armenia and Antioch rushed to arms, and the coun • 
tries aiid cities of the two principaHties were speedily bl 
turns invaded and ravaged. At length peace became desir- 
able, and after some disputes upon the conditions, the prince 
of Antioch was sent back to his states, and E^upin of the 
Mountain was restored to the nations of Armenia. By an 
agreement entered into by the two princes, Alice, the daugh- 
ter of E/Upin, married the eldest son of Bohemond. This 
union promised to be the pledge of a durable peace ; but 
the germ of so many divisions still subsisted ; the two par- 
ties retained a strong feeling of the outrage they had re- 
ceived ; and every treaty of peace becoming a fresh subject 
of discussion, war was always ready to be rekindled. 

In another direction, ambition and jealousy set at variance 
the orders of the Temple and St. John. At the period of 
the third crusade, the Hospitallers and the Templars were as 
powerful as sovereign princes ; they possessed in Asia and 
Europe villages, cities, and even provinces.* The two orders, 
rivalling each other in power and glory, attended far less to 
the defence of the holy places than to the augmentation of 
their own renown and riches. Every one of their immense 
possessions, every one of their prerogatives, the renown of 
the knights, the credit of the leaders, all, even to the trophies 
of their valour, were for them subjects of rivalry, and, at 
length, this spirit of discord and jealousy produced an open 
war. A French gentleman, established in Palestine, pos- 
sessed, as a vassal of the Hospitallers, the castle of Margat, 
situated towards the frontiers of Arabia. The Templara 
pretended that this castle belonged to them, and took pos- 
session of it by main force. Bobert, — that was the name of 
the gentleman, — carried his complaints to the Hospitallers, 
who immediately flew to arms and drove the Templars from 

* The Hospitallers then possessed within the limits of Christendom 
nineteen thousand manors; the Templars had only nine thousand. Mat- 
thew Paris expresses himself thus : — Habent insuper Templarii in Chris, 
tianitate novem millia maneriorum ; Hospitalii vero novem decern, prseter 
cmoliimenta et varios proventus ex fraternitatibus et pra^dicationibus pro- 
venientes, et per privilegia sua accrescentes. — Matth. Paris, ad annum 
1244, in Henry III., lib. xi. p. 615- A manor in the middle ages wot 
the labour qf one plough. 


the castle. Erom that time the kniglits of the 1 wo ( rdera 
never met without provoking each other to tlie combat 
most of the Franks and Christians always taking a part in 
the quarrel, some for the order of St. John, others for that 
of the Temple. The king of Jerusalem and the most pru- 
dent of the barons made many useless attempts to restore 
peace ; and several Christian princes endeavoured in vain to 
reconcile the two rival orders. The pope himself had much 
difficulty in getting his sacred mediation to be accepted : and 
it was only after long debates that the Holy See, sometimes 
armed with evangelical thunders, sometimes employing the 
paternal language of the head of the Church, terminated, by 
its wisdom and supreme ascendancy, a contest which the 
Hsnights themselves would have prefer'red deciding with 
Mword and lance. 

During these fatal divisions none thought of defending 
themselves against the general enemy, the Saracens. Onci 
c f the most melancholy consequences of the spirit of faction 
is, that it always leads to a lamentable indifference for the 
comraon cause. The more violently the parties attacked 
each other, the less perception they seemed to have of the 
daiigcrs that threatened the Christian colonies ; neither the 
knights of the Temple or of St. John, nor the Christians of 
Ant;io'*,h or Ptolema'ie, ever thought of asking for succour 
again»c the infidels ; and history does not say that one per- 
son wj£S sent from the East to make Europe aware of the 
griefs r»f Sion. 

The situation of the Christians in Palestine was besides so 
uncertain and perilous, that the wisest could form no idea oi 
coming events, or dare to adopt a resolution. If they 
appealed afresh to the warriors of the West, they broke the 
truce made with Saladin, and exposed themselves to all the 
resentment of the infidels ; if they respected treaties, the 
truce might be broken by the Mussidmans, ever ready to 
profit by the calamities which fell upon the Christians. In 
this state of things, it appeared difficult to foresee a new 
crusade, which was neither called for by the wishes of the 
Christians of Asia, nor promoted by the interests of Europe. 
In fact, when we cast our eyes over the Christian colonies 
of the East, as they are described to us in these unhappy 
times, and see the spirit of ambition and discord displacing 


m all hearts the holy spirit of the Grospel, we cannot won iei: 
that Christendom took so little interest in their fate. Again, 
wlien contemporary history represents to us these colonies a 
prey to license and division, and destitute of everything that 
could render them flourishing, we can scarcely believe that 
tiie West was again likely to lavish its wealth and its blood 
to support and defend them. But the great name of Jeru- 
salem still produced a powerful effect upon the minds of all ; 
the remembrance of the first crusade still aroused the enthu- 
siasm of Christians ; and the veneration for the holy places, 
which appeared to grow weaker in the kingdom of Christ 
itself, was yet cherished beyond the seas and in the principal 
countries of the West. 

Celestine III. had, by his exhortations, encouraged the 
warriors of the third crusade ; and, at the age of ninety, 
pursued with zeal all the projects of his predecessors ; 
ardently wishing that the last days of his pontificate should 
be illustrated by the conquest of Jerusalem. After the 
return of Kichard, the news of the death of Saladin had 
spread joy throughout the West, and revived the hopes of 
the Christians. Celestine wrote to all the faithful to inform 
them that the most formidable enemy of Christendom had 
ceased to live ; and, without regarding the truce made by 
Bichard Coeur de Lion, he ordered his bishops and arch- 
bishops to preach a new crusade in their dioceses.* The 
sovereign pontiff promised all who would take the cross the 
same privileges and the same advantages as in the preceding 
crusades. The profanation of the holy places ; the oppression 
under which the faithful of the East groaned ; the ever- 
increasing insolence and audacity of the Saracens — such were 
the motives by which he supported his holy exhortations. 
Ho addressed himself particularly to the bishops of England, 
and commanded them to use every persuasion to induce 
Richard again to take up arms against the infidels. 

Richard, although returned, had never- laid aside the cross, 

* We possess two letters written by Celestine to Hubert, archbishop of 
Canterbury, to engage him to preach the crusade. The pope commands 
the archbishop to employ ecclesiastical censures against those who, aftei 
taking the cross, delayed their departure for the Holy Land ; and to re- 
quire such as could not possibly set out, to send, at their own expense 
one or two men .o fight against the infidels. 


the symbol of pilgrimage ; and it might be supposed he still 
mtended to repair again to the Holy Land ; but, scarcely 
escaped from an unjust captivity, taught by his own experi- 
ence how great were the difficulties and perils of a distant 
enterprise, his thoughts and time were engrossed by his 
endeavours to remedy his losses, to defend or aggrandize his 
states, and to be on his guard against the insidious attempts 
of Philip Augustus. His knights and barons, whom ho 
himself exhorted to resume the cross, professed, as he did, a 
warm devotion for the cause of Jerusalem ; but they could 
not make up their minds to return to a country which had 
been to them a place of suffering and exile. 

Although the appearance of the preachers of the crusade 
everywhere inspired respect, they had no better success in 
^France, where, only a few years before, a hundred thousand 
warriors had been roused by the summons to defend the holy 
places. If the fear of the enterprises of Philip was sufficient 
to detain Richard in the West, the dread of the vindictive 
and jealous disposition of Richard exercised the same influ- 
ence over Philip. The greater number of his knights and 
nobles followed his example, and contented themselves with 
sliedding tears over the fate of Jerusalem. The enthusiasm 
for the crusade was communicated to only a small number of 
warriors, amongst whom history names the count de Mont- 
fort, who afterwards conducted the cruel war against the 

From the commencement of the crusades, Germany had 
aever ceased to send its warriors to the defence of the Holy 
Land. It deplored the recent loss of its armies, destroyed 
or dispersed in Asia Minor, and the death of the Emperor 
Frederick, who had gained notliing but a grave in the plains 
of the East ; but the remembrance of so great a disaster did 
not extinguish in all hearts the zeal for the cause of Jeru- 
salem. Henry YL, who occupied the imperial throne, had 
aot partaken, as the kings of France and England had, the 
perils and reverses of the last expedition. Unpleasant 
remembrances or fears of his enemies in Europe could have 
no effect in preventing him from joining in a new enterprise, 
or deter him from a holy pilgrimage which so many illus- 
trious examples seemed to point out as a sacred duty. 

Although tl is prince had been excommunicated by the 


xlolj See, only the preceding year, the Pope sent an embassy 
to him, charged with the duty of recalHng to his mind the 
example of his father Frederick, and urging him to assume 
the cross. Henry, who sought every occasion to conciliate 
the head of the Church, and who likewise entertained vast 
projects in which a new crusade might be very serviceable, 
received the envoy of Celestine with great honours. 

Of all the princes of the middle ages, no one evinced more 
ambition than Henry VI. ; his imagination, say historians 
was filled with the glory of the Caesars, and he wished to be 
able to say with Alexander, all that my desires can embrace 
helongs to me. Tancred, a natural son of William II., king 
of Sicily, chosen by the Sicilian nobility to succeed his 
father, was recently deceased ; and the emperor, who had 
espoused Constance, the heiress of a throne founded by 
Norman Crusaders, and desirous of establishing his claims, 
judged that the time was come to carry out his designs and 
achieve his conquests. The expedition of which the Holy 
See desired him to be the leader, was exceedingly favourable 
to his ambitious projects ; when, promising to defend Jeru- 
salem, he only thought of the conquest of Sicily ; and the 
conquest of Sicily had no value in his estimation but as 
opening the road to Greece and Constantinople.* At the 
same time that he professed entire submission to the will of 
the head of the Church, he endeavoured to form an alliauce 
with the republics of Grenoa and Venice, promising them the 
spoils of the conquered ; but in his mind he nourished the 
hope that he should one day overthrow the Italian republics 
and lower the authority of the Holy See, and upon their 
remains revive, for himself and his family, the empire of 
Augustus and Constantino. 

Such was the prince to whom Celestine sent an embassy, 
and whom he wished to persuade into a holy war. After 
having announced his intention of taking the cross, Henry 
convoked a general diet at Worms, in w^uch he himself 
exhorted the faithful to take up arms for the defence of 
the holy places. Since Louis VII., king of France, who 

* This reminds us of the plans of conquest laid down by Pyrrhus, 
king of Epirus, — and of the traveller, who intended to perambulate the 
globe, — that he naight, at the end of his wanderings, plant cabbages m 
Hanover . — Trans. 


harangued liis subjects to induce them to join in the crusade 
Henry was the only monarch that had mingled his voic*. 
with that of the preachers of the holy war, to make his sub 
jects acquainted with the sufferings and complaints of tht. 
Church of Jerusalem. His eloquence, celebrated by the 
historians of his time, but a'jove all, the spectacle presented 
of a great emperor himself preaching a holy war against the 
infidels, made a profound impression upon the multitude of 
liis auditors.* After this solemn address, the most illus- 
trious of the prelates assembled at Worms ascended the 
evangelical pulpit to keep up the rapidly increasing en- 
thusiasm of the faithful ; during eight hours nothing was 
heard but the groans of Sion and the city of God. Henry, 
surrounded by his court, assumed the symbol of the Cru- 
saders; a great number of Grerman nobles followed his 
example, some to please Grod, and others to please the em' 
feror. Among those who took the oath to combat the 
Saracens, history names Henry duke of Saxony ; Otho mar- 
quis of Brandenburgh ; Henry count palatine of the E-hine ; 
Herman landgrave of Thuringia ; Henry duke of Brabant • 
Albert count of Apsburg; Adolphus count of Schwemburg; 
Henry count of Pappenhein, marshal of the empire ; the duke 
of Bavaria; Frederick, son of Leopold, duke of Austria; 
Conrad marquis of Moravia; Valeran de Limbourg ; and 
the bishops of Wurtzburg, Bremen, Yerdun, Habbastadt, 
Passau, and E-atisbon.f 

The crusade was preached in all the provinces of Ger- 
many, and the letters of the emperor and the pope kindled 
the zeal of the Christian warriors everywhere ; never had an 
enterprise against the infidels been undertaken under more 
favoui'able auspices. As Germany undertook the crusade 
almost singly, the glory of the German nations seemed as 
much interested in this war as religion itself. Henry was 

* All the facts relative to the preaching of this crusade are to be found 
in Roger de Hoveden, Matthew Paris, Godfrey Moine, William of New- 
bridge, Otho of St. Blaise, and Arnold of Lubeck. The latter gives the 
most details ; he does not fail to tell us that forty burgesses of Lubeck 
took the cross on this occasion. 

t The long lists of ,he names and titles of the Crusaders may at first 
appear tiresome to the reader ; but as each name represents a territory o- 
an estate, the lists an\ in fact, tlie best means of becoming thoroughlf 
acquainted fith the ej^tent of this astonishing mania. — Teans. 


to command the holy exj)edition ; and the Crusaders, full oi 
confidence and liope, were preparing to follow him to the 
East. But Henry entertained other views ; several nobles 
of his court, some who penetrated his secret designs, and 
others who believed they oftered him prudent advice, con- 
jured him to remain in the West, and direct the crusade 
from the bosom of his dominions ; and Henry, after a sligh 
resistance, yielded to their prayers, and gave his whole 
attention to the hastening of the departure of the Cru- 

The emperor of Germany placed himself at the head of 
forty thousand men and took the route for Italy, where 
everything was prepared for the conquest of Sicily ; the 
remainder of the Crusaders were divided into two armies, 
which, proceeding by different roads, were to meet in Syria. 
The first, commanded by the duke of Saxony and the duke 
of Brabant, embarked at ports of the German Ocean and 
the Baltic ; the second crossed the Danube, and directed its 
march towards Constantinople, whence the fleet of the 
Greek emperor Isaac was to transport it to Ptolema'is. To 
this army, commanded by the archbishop of Mayence and 
Valeran de Limbourg, were joined the Hungarians, who 
accompanied their queen Margaret, sister to Philip Augustus. 
The queen of Hungary, after having lost Bela her husband, 
had made a vow to live only for Christ, and to end her days 
ii4 the Holy Land. 

The Crusaders under the command of the archbishop of 
Mayence and Valeran de Limbourg, were the first to arrive 
in Palestine. Scarcely were they landed when they ex- 
pressed their desire and resolution to begin the war against 
the infidels. The Christians, who were then at peace with 
the Saracens, hesitated to break the truce signed by E-ichard, 
and were, further, unwilling to give the signal for hostilities 
before they could open the campaign with some hopes of 
success. Henry of Champagne and the barons of Palestine 
represented to the German Crusaders the danger to which 
an imprudent rupture would expose the Christians of the 
East, and conjured them to wait for the army of the dukes 
of Saxony and Brabant, But the Germans, full of con- 
fidence in then ovn strength, were indignant at having 
obstacles thrown in jhe way of their valour by vain scruples 


and chimerical alarms ; thej were astonished that the Chris* 
tians of Palestine should thus refuse the assistance sent tc 
them by Providence itself, and added, in a tone of anger and 
•jontempt, that warriors of the West were not accustomed 
to defer the hour of battle, and that the pope had not in- 
duced them to take up arms and the cross to remain in a 
state of shameful inactivity. The barons and knights of the 
Holy Land could not listen to such injurious speeches with- 
out indignation, and replied to the German Crusaders that 
they had neither solicited nor wished for their arrival ; that 
they were better acquainted than the northern warriors of 
Europe with what was advantageous to the kingdom of 
Jerusalem ; that they had without any foreign succour 
braved the greatest perils, and that when the proper mo- 
ment should arrive they knew how to prove their valour 
otherwise than by words. Amidst such warm debates the 
minds of both parties became daily more exasperated, and 
the most cruel discord thus prevailed among the Christians 
before war was declared aajainst the infidels. 

All at once the Grerman Crusaders marched out in arms 
from Ptolema'is, and commenced hostilities by ravaging the 
lands of the Saracens. At the first signal of war the Mus- 
sulmans gathered together their forces ; and the danger that 
threatened them putting an end to their discord, from the 
banks of the Nile and from the remotest parts of Syria 
crowded hosrs of warriors but lately armed against each 
other, but who now, assembled under the same banners, 
acknowledged no other enemies but the Christians. 

Malek-Adel, towards whom all Mussulmans turned their 
eyes when the defence of Islam ism was the question, marched 
from Damascus at the head of an army and repaired to Jeru- 
ealem., where all the emirs of the adjoining provinces came 
to take his orders. The Mussulman army, after dispersing 
the Christians who had advanced towards the mountains of 
JSTuplouse, laid siege to Jaffa. 

In the third crusade much importance had been attached 
to the conservation of this city. Bichard Coeur de Lion had 
fortified it at great expense, and when that prince returned 
to Europe he left a numerous garrison in it. Of all the 
maritime places, Jaffa was nearest to the city which was 
the rbiect of the wishes of the faithful; if it remained in 


the hands of the Christians, a road was always open for them 
to Jerusalem, and the means of laying siege to that place 
were rendered more easy ; but if it fell into the power of the 
Mussulmans, it gave them proportionate advantages for the 
defence of the holy city. 

When it w'as known at Ptolemais that the city of Jaffa 
was threatened, Henry of Champagne, with his barons and 
knights, immediately took arms to defend it, and joined the 
German Crusaders, giving all their energies to the prosecu- 
tion of a war which they found could now no longer be or avoided. The three military orders, with the 
troops of the kingdom, were about to set forward on their 
march, when a tragical accident once more plunged the 
Christians in grief, and retarded the effects of the happy 
harmony which had been re-established at the approach of 
peril. Henry of Champagne, leaning against a wdndow of 
his palace, at which he had placed himself to see his army 
defile from the city, the window all at once gave way, and 
in its fall precipitated him with it.* The unfortunate prince 
expired in sight of his soldiers, who, instead of following 
him to battle, accompanied him to his grave, and lost several 
days in celebrating his funeral obsequies. The Christians of 
Ptolemais were still weeping the death of their king, when 
the misforture they dreaded increased their grief and con- 
sternation ; the garrison of Jaffa having attempted a sortie, 
had fallen into an ambuscade, and all the warriors that com- 
posed it were either killed or taken prisoners. The Mus- 
sulmans entered the city almost without resistance, and 
twenty thousand Christians were put to the sword. 

These disasters had been foreseen by all who had dreaded 
the breaking of the truce ; but the barons and knights of 
Palestine lost no time in vain regrets, or in the utterance of 
useless complaints, and looked with eager impatience for the 
arrival of the Crusaders who had set out from the ports of 
the Ocean and the Baltic These troops had stopped on the 

* Roger de Hoveden gives this account of the death of Henry of 
ChaiTipagne. Arnold of Lubeck says that this prince had placed himself 
at a window to take the air. The same Arnold adds that many thought 
that God had punished Henry for the regret he had evinced oa the arrival 
of the Germans, whom he envied the glory of delivering the kingdom oi 

Vol. II.— .2 


coast of Portugal, where they had defeated the Moors, and 
taken from them the city of Silves. Proud of their triumph 
over the infidels, they landed at Ptolemais at the moment 
the people were lamenting the loss of Jaffa and crowding to 
the churches to implore the mercy of Heaven. 

The arrival of the new Crusaders restored hope and joy 
to the Christians, and they resolved to lose no time, but to 
march at once against the infidels. The army left Ptolemais 
and advanced towards the coast of Syria, whilst a nume- 
rous fleet kept along shore, loaded with provisions and 
warlike stores. Tin Crusaders, without seeking the army 
of Malek-Adel, lai(? siege to Berytus. 

The city of Berytus, at an equal distance between Jeru- 
salem and Tripoli, by the commodiousness of its port, its 
large population, and its commerce, bad become the rival of 
Ptolemais and Tyre. The Mussulman provinces of Syria 
acknowledged it as their capital, and it was in Berytus that 
the emirs, who contended for the lordship of the neighbour- 
ing cities, came to display the pomp of their coronations. 
After the taking of Jerusalem, Saladin was here saluted 
sovereign of the city of God, and crowned sultan of Da^ 
mascus and Cairo. The pirates, who infested the seas, 
brought to this city all the spoils of the Christians ; the 
Mussulman warriors there deposited the riches acquired by 
conquest or brigandage ; and the Prank captives, made in 
late wars, were crowded together in the prisons of Berytus ; 
so that the Christians had powerful motives for endeavouring 
to get possession of this place, and the Mussulmans had no 
less urgent ones for defending it. 

Malek-Adel, after having destroyed the fortifications of 
Jaffa, advanced with his army as far as the mour tains of 
Anti-Libanus, on the route to Damascus ; but on hearing 
of the march and determination of the Crusaders, he crossed 
the mountains on his left, and drew near to the coast : the 
two armies met on the plain watered by the river Elev thera, 
between Tyre and Sidon. The trumpets soon sounded to 
battle ; the army of the Saracens, which covered an immense 
space, endeavoured at first to surrc md the Pranks, and 
then to get between them and the coast ; their cavalry pre- 
cipitated itself b} turns on the flanks, the van, and the rear 
of the Christians The Christians closed their battalions. 


and on all sides presented impenetrable ranks. Whilst theit 
enemies showered arrows and darts upon them, their lances 
and swords were bathed in the blood of the Saracens. They 
fouglit with different arms, but with the same bravery and 
fury. The victory remained for a long time uncertain ; the 
Christians were several times on the point of losing the 
battle ; but their obstinate valour at length triumphed over 
all the resistance of the Mussulmans, and the sea-coast, the 
banks of the river Eleuthera, and the declivities of the 
mountains were covered with dead. The Saracens lost a 
great many of their emirs. Malek-Adel, who displayed, 
during the whole of this day, the skill of a great captain, 
was wounded on the field of battle, and only owed his safety 
to flight. All his army was dispersed ; some fled towards 
Jerusalem, whilst others hurried along the road to Da- 
mascus, whither the news of this bloody defeat carried 
consternation and despair.* 

In consequence of this victory, all the cities on the coast 
of Syria, which still belonged to the Mussulmans, fell into 
the power of the Christians ; the Saracens abandoned Sidon, 
Laodicea, and Giblet. When the Christian fleet and army 
appeared before Berytus, the garrison was surprised, and 
did not venture to ofter any resistance. This city contained, 
say historians, more provisions than would have sufficed 
for the inhabitants during three years ; two large vessels, 
add the same chronicles, could not have contained the bows' 
arrows, and machines of war that were found in the city of 
Berytus. In this conquest immense riches fell into the 
hands of the victors, but the most precious reward of their 
triumph doubtless was the deliverance of nine thousand 
eaptives, impatient to resume their arms, and avenge the 
outrages of their long captivity. The prince of Antioch, 
who had joined the Christian army, sent a dovef to his 

* We possess a very precious monument upon the battle of Sidon ; it 
is a letter from the duke of Saxony, written to the archbishop ot Cologne. 
The duke was present at the battle. 

t Arnold, who gives an account of this message of the dove, appearsJ 
CO fear that it will not be believed. This is the manner in which he ex- 
presses himself in the third chapter : — Hie quid-dam dicturus sum non 
ridiculum, sed ridicule a gentibus tractum, qui quoniam sapientiores filiig 
iucis in generatione sua sunt, multa excogitant, quae nostrates non nove- 
rantf nisi forte ab eis didicerint. Solent enim ex antes ad queelibet 


capital to announce to all the inhabitants of the principalitj 
the miraculous victory gained by the soldiers of the cross. 
In all the Christian cities tlianks were offered up to the 
Grod of armies. The historians, who have transmitted to ua 
the account of these glorious events, in order to paint the 
transports of the Christian people, content themselves with 
repeating these words of holy writ : " Then Sion leaped with 
joy, and the children of Judah were filled with delight.^'* 

Whilst the Crusaders were thus pursuing their triumphs 
in Syria, the emperor Henry VI. took advantage of all the 
means and all the powers that the crusade had placed in his 
hands, to achieve the conquest of the kingdoms of Naples and 
Sicily. Although, in the course of his victories, he unceasingly 
invoked religion, humanity, and justice, he only listened to 
the dictates of his ambition ; and, tormented by the sentiment 
of an implacable revenge, he was neither touched by the 
miserv of the conquered, nor the submission of his enemies. 
All wno had shown any respect or any fidelity for the family 
of Tancred, were cast by his orders into dungeons, or 
perished in horrible tortures, which he himself had invented. 
The army he led but too well seconded his gloomy and 
savage policy ; the peace which the conquerors boasted of 
having restored to the people of Sicily, caused them more 
evils, and made more victims than war itself. Falcandus, 
w^ho died some years before this expedition, had deplored 
beforehand, in his history, the misfortunes that were about 
to desolate his country. He already saw the most flourish- 
ing cities and the rich country of Sicily laid waste by tlie 
irruption of the barbarians. " Oh ! unfortunate Sicilians," 
cried he, " it would be less frightful for you still to endure 
the tyrants of old Syracuse, than to li\e under the empire 
of this savage nation, which advances to invade your terri- 
tory, and plunge yon into all the horrors of misery and 
slavery." * 

negotia secum exportare columbas, quae domi aut ova aut puUos noviter 
habent creates, et si in via forte accelerare volunt nuncium, scriptas literas 
sub umbilico columbse subti'iter ponunt, et earn avolare permittunt. 
Quae cum ad suos foetus properat, celeriter amicis desideratum nuncium 

* Tlie picture of Falcandus is perfectly prophetic, and describes events 
exactly like those which came after him. We will quote the most curious 
passages : — lutueri mihi jam videor turbulentas barbarorum acieSy eo qua 


Nevertheless, these pitiless soldiers wore the crosses of 
pilgrims ; and their emperor, although not yet relieved 
from his excommunication, arrogated to himself glory as the 
first of the soldiers of Christ. Henry VI. was considered 
as the head of the crusade, and supreme arbiter of the 
aifairs of the East. The king of Cyprus offered to become 
his vassal ; Livon, prince of Armenia, begged the title of 
king of him. The emperor of Grermany having no more 
enemies to dread in the West, gave his whole attention 
to the war against the Saracens, and, in a letter addressed 
to all the nobles, magistrates, and bishops of his empire, 
exhorted them to hasten the departure of the Crusaders. 
The emperor undertook to keep up an army of fifty thou- 
sand men for one year, and promised to pay thirty ounces of 
gold to every one that should remain under his banners till 
the end of the holy war. A great number of warriors, 
seduced by this promise, entered into an engagement to 
cross the sea, and fight against the infidels. Henry had no 
further need of them for his own conquests, and therefore 
pressed their departure for the East. Conrad, bishop of 

fernntur impetu irruentes, civitates opulentas etloca diufcurna pace florentia 
roetu concutere, caede vastare, rapinis atterere, et foedare luxuria. Ingerit 
se iiiihi, et lachrymas a nolente futurse species calamitatis extorquet. 
Occurrunt hinc cives aut resistendo gladiis intercepti, aut se dedendo 
misera servitute depress!. lUinc virgines in ipsis parentum conspectibus 
constupratae : matronae post varia et preciosa capitis, colli, et pectoris 
ornamenta direpta, ludibrio habitse et defixis in terra oculis inconsola- 
biliter deplorantes, venerabile foedus conjugii foedissimse gentis libidine 
violari. Nee enim aut rationis ordine regi, aut miseratione deflecti, aut 
re'igione terreri Theutonica novit insania, quam et innatus furor exagitat, 
et rapacitas stimulat, et libido praecipitat. Haec autem in Apulia vici- 
nisque provinciis geri, licet horrendum ac triste sit facinus, et multo cum 
moerore deflendum, utcunque tamen tolerabile putaretur, si in cispharinis 
tantum partibus barbarorum immanitas desseviret. Servire barbaris 
jam cogetur antiqua ilia Corinthiorum nobilitas qui patriis olim reiictis 
sedibus, in Siciliam transuentes, et urbi eonstruendae locum idoneum 
perquirentes, tandem in optima et pulcherrima pai'te Siciliae inter in- 
sequales portus moenia sua loco tutissimo const ruxeiunt. Quid tibi nunc 
prodest philosophorum rjuondam floruisse doctrinis, et poetarum ora 
vatifici fontis nectare proluisse ? satius tibi quidem esset ac tutiiis, Sicu- 
lorum adhuc tyrannorum saevitiam pati, quam barbarae foedaeque gentis 
tyrannidem experiri. Vae tibi fons Celebris et prseclari nominis Aretbusa, 
quae ad banc devoluta est miseriam, ut quae poetarum solebas carmina 
modulari, nunc Theutonicoruni ebiietatem mitiges, et eorcm servias 
foeditati. — See Kistoria Sicula, ap. Muratori, vol. vii. 


HilcLesheim, chancellor of the empire, whose counsels in t'rie 
wars of Sicily had but too well aided the ambition and bar- 
barous policy of his master, was charged w^th the iask of 
leading the third army of the Crusaders into Syria. 

The arrival of so powerful a reinforcement in Palestine 
rekindled the zeal and enthusiasm of the Christians, and it 
might be expected that they would signalize their arms by 
some great enterprise. The victory they had recently gained 
in the plains of Tyre, the taking of Berytus, Sidon, and 
Griblet, had struck the Mussulmans with terror. Some of 
the leaders of the Christian army proposed to march against 
Jerusalem. "That city," said they, "cannot resist our 
victorious arms ; her governor is a nephew of Saladin, who 
endures with impatience the authority of the sultan of 
Damascus, and has often appeared disposed to listen to the 
propositions* of the Christians." Most of the barons did 
not, however, partake in this hope, and placed no confidence 
in the words of the Mussulmans. It was well known that 
the infidels, after the departure of Bichard Coeur de Lion, 
had very considerably augmented the fortifications of Jeru- 
salem ;t that a triple wall, and ditches of great depth, must 
render this conquest more perilous, and particularly more 
difficult, than in the time of Godfrey of Bouillon. Winter 
was approaching ; the Christian army might be overtaken by 
the rainy season, and forced to raise the siege in face of the 
army of the Saracens. These considerations determined the 
Crusaders to put off" the attack of the holy city to the 
following year. 

It is not impertinent to remark here, that in the Chris- 
tian armies they were constantly talking about Jerusalem, 

* Roger de Hoveden says that the Mussulman prince of Jerusalem 
had offered to deliver the city up to the Franks, and even to become a 
Christian. If the Mussulman prince had really made such a proposition, 
we cannot easily guess why the Christians should not have accepted it. 
But Roger is the only historian that mentions this perfectly incredible 
circumstance : Oriental historians are silf\it. 

f Otho of St. Blaise says, that after the first crusade the Saracens had 
fortified Jerusalem : — I'agani sum ma industria civitates et castella quae 
obtinuerunt, muniverunt, et prsecipue Hyerusalem, duplici muro ante- 
murali opposito, et fossatis profundissimjs cingentes, inejcpugnabilem 
reddiderunt, dato Christianis securissimo conductu visendi sepulcrum 
Domiuicum, quastus gratia. — See 0th. de Si, Blaise ap. Urtii collect. 


but that tlie leaders as constantly directed their efforts and 
their arms to the acquisition of other conquests. The holy 
city, situated far from the sea, contained within its walls no 
other treasures but religious relics and monuments. The 
maritime cities of Asia could boast of more worldly wealth, 
and held out far greater advantages to the conquerors ; they 
afforded, likewise, more easy communication with Europe ; 
and if the conquest of Jerusalem sometimes tempted the 
piety and devotion of the pilgrims, that of cities bordering 
upon the sea, constantly kept awake the ambition of the 
maritime and warlike nations of the West. 

All the sea-coast from Antioch to Ascalon belonged to the 
Christians ; the Mussulmans having only been able to keep 
possession of Thoron. The garrison of this fortress fre- 
quently made incursions into the neighbouring countries, 
and by continual hostilities, intercepted the communication 
between the Christian cities. The Crusaders resolved that 
before they set out for Jerusalem, they would lay siege to 
the castle of Thoron. This fortress, built by Hugh de Saint- 
Omer, in the reign of Baldwin IL, was situated at some 
leagues from Tyre, on the summit of a mountain, between 
the chain of Libanus and the sea. It was only accessible 
across steep rocks, and by a narrow way bordered by preci- 
pices. The Christian array had no machines sufficiently 
lofty to reach the heights of the walls, and arrow^s or stones 
hurled from the foot of the mountain, could not injure the 
besieged ; whilst beams and fragments of rock precipitated 
from the ramparts, made dreadful havoc among the besiegers. 
In the early attacks, the Saracens ridiculed the vain efforts 
of their enemies, and witnessed, almost without danger to 
themselves, prodigies of valour, and the most murderous in- 
ventions of the art of sieges, exercised ineffectually against 
their walls. But the almost insurmountable difficulties that 
might have been supposed likely to arrest the progress of 
the Christians, only redoubled their ardour and courage.* 
They every day made fresh attacks, each day seeming to in- 
crease their efforts, and their obstinate bravery was seconded 
by newly-invented machiudiS of war. AVith incredible labour, 

* Arnold of Lubec enters mo.;t fully into the details of this siege : this 
historian is almost our only guide in this part of our narrative. We have 
found some useful documents in the continuator of Tabary. 


they dug out the earth, and made themseives a way acrass 
the rocks ; whilst some Saxons, who had workea in the mines 
of Rammesherg, were employed in opening the flank of the 
mountain. The Crusaders at length reached the bottom of 
the ramparts of the fortress ; the walls, the foundations of 
which they demolished, began to shake in various parts, 
without being struck by the ram, and their fall, whicli 
seemed delayed by a miracle, filled the besieged with dread. 

The Mussulmans now losing all hope of defending them- 
selves, proposed to capitulate ; but such was the disorder of 
the Christian army, with its multitude of leaders, that not 
one of them durst take upon himself to listen to the pro- 
posals of the infidels. Henry, palatine of the Khine, and 
the dukes of Saxony and Brabant, who enjoyed great con- 
sideration among the Grermans, coidd enforce obedience from 
none but their own soldiers. Conrad, chancellor of the em- 
pire, who represented the emperor of Grermany, might have 
been able to exercise beneficial power; but, weakened by 
disease, without experience in war, always shut up in his 
tent, he awaited the issue of the contest, and did not even 
deign to be present at the councils of the princes and 
barons. When the besieged had come to the determination 
to capitulate, they remained several days without knowing 
to which prince it would be most proper to address them- 
selves, and when their deputies came to the Christian camp, 
their propositions were heard in a general assembly, in which 
the spirit of rivalry, short-sighted zeal, and blind enthusiasm 
held much greater empire than reason and prudence. 

The Saracens, in their speech, confined themselves to im- 
ploring the clemency of their conquerors ; they promised to 
abandon the fort with all their wealth, and only asked Hfe 
and liberty as the price of their submission. The suppliant 
attitude of the Saracens must have touched the pride of the 
Christian warriors ; religion and policy united to procure a 
favourable answer to the proposals that were made to them, 
and the greater part of the leaders were disposed to sign the 
capitulation. But some of the most ardent could not see 
without indignation that it was wished to obtain by treaty 
th'^t wliich they must soon gain by force of arms. " It is 
necessary," said they, " that all oui* enemies should be struck 


with terror ; and if the garrison of this place perish by the 
Bword, the affrighted Saracens will not dare to wait for ua 
either in Jerusalem or the other cities still in their poa 

As their advice was not adopted, these ardent and incon- 
siderate soldiers resolved to employ every means to interrupt 
the negotiation, and whilst re-conducting the deputies to 
the fortress, sail to them : " Defend yourselves, for if you 
surrender to the uhristians, you ivill all perish in torturesP 
In addition to this, they addressed the Christian soldiers, 
and informed them, with accents of anger and grief, that a 
disgraceful peace was about to be concluded with the 
enemies of Christ. At the same time, such of the leaders 
as inclined towards peace, spread themselves through the 
camp, and represented to the army that it was useless, and 
perhaps dangerous, to purchase by new contests that which 
fortune, or rather Providence itself, offered to the Crusaders. 
Among the Christian warriors, some yielded to the counsels 
of moderation, others were unwilling to trust to anything 
but the sword ; such as preferred victory to peace, ran to 
arms, and they who accepted the capitulation, retired to 
their tents. The camp, in which some remained in inaction 
and repose, whilst others prepared for battle, presented, at 
the same time, an image of peace and war : but in this 
diversity of opinions, amidst so strange a spectacle as the army 
then presented, it was easy to foresee that they would very 
soon be unable either to treat with enemies or fight them. 

The capitulation was, notwithstanding, ratified by the 
principal chiefs and by the chancellor of the empire. The 
hostages the Saracens were to send were looked for in the 
camp, and the Crusaders fancied they could see the gates of 
the castle of Thoron thrown open to them ; but despair had 
all at once changed the resolutions of the Saracens. When 
the deputies to the Christian camp reported to their com- 
panions in arms what they had seen and what they had 
heard ; when they told them of the menaces that had been 
made to them, and of the divisions that existed among the 
enemies, the besieged forgot that their vvalls were in ruins, 
that they wanted both arms and provisions ; that they had to 
defend themselves Ojgainst a victorious army ; and they swor« 



rather to die than treat with the Crusaders. Instead of 
sending hostages, they appeared in arms upon the ramparts, 
and provoked the besiegers to renew the contest. The 
Christians resumed the labours of the siege, and recom- 
menced tlieir attacks ; but tlieir courage grew weaker every 
day, whilst, in the same proportion, despair seemed to in- 
crease the bravery of the Mussulmans. The besieged 
laboured without intermission in repairing their machines 
and rebuilding their walls ; sometimes the Christians were 
attacked in the subterranean passages they had dug, and 
perished, buried under masses of loosened earth ; whilst 
arrows and stones were constantly showered upon them 
from the ramparts. Frequently the Saracens succeeded in 
surprising some of their enemies, whom they carried ahve 
into the place, and then slaughtered without mercy; the 
heads of these unfortunate prisoners were exposed upon the 
walls, and afterwards hurled by the machines into the camp 
of the Christians. The Crusaders ap^ yared to have sunk 
into a sort of dejection or apathy; some still fought and 
remembered their oaths ; but others remained indifferent 
spectators of the dangers and death of their brethren. 
Many added the scandal of the most depraved morals to 
their indifference for the cause of Grod. There might be 
seen, says an historian, men who had quitted their wives to 
follow Christ, forgetting all at once the most sacred duties, 
and attaching themselves to vile prostitutes ; in fact, the vices 
and disorders of the Crusaders were so disgraceful, that the 
authors of the old chronicles blush whilst they retrace the 
picture of them. Arnold of Lubec, after having described 
the corruption that reigned in the camp of the Christians, 
appears to ask pardon of his reader ; and, cnat he may not 
be accused of writing a satire, he takes care to add that he 
does not recall such odious remembrances to confound the 
pride of men, bvt to warn sinners, and touch, if possible, 
the hearts of his brothers in Christ.* 

Fame soon brought to the ears of the Jhristians that the 
kingdoms of Aleppo and Damascus were in arms, that Egypt 
had assembled an army, and that Malek-Adel, followed by a 

* After describing the corruption of the Crusaders, Arnold adds :— 
Veniam non peto, non enim ut quempiatn confundftm, hate scribo, ged 
dilectos in Cbristo monso. 


numberless multitude of warriors, was advancing by creed 
marches, impatient to avenge his late defeat.* 

At this news, the leaders of the crusade resolved to raise 
the siege of Thoron ; and to conceal their retreat from the 
enemy, they did not blush to deceive their own soldiers. On 
the day of the Purification of the Virgin, whilst the Chris- 
tians were engaged in the offices of devotion, the camp waa 
informed, by sound of trumpet, that it was intended to make 
a general assault on the morrow. The whole army passed 
the night in preparations for the fight ; but, at break of 
day, they learnt that Conrad and most of the leaders had 
quitted the army and taken the road to Tyre. The men 
assembled in groups round their tents to ascertain the truth, 
and made inquiries of each other with the greatest inquietude. 
The blackest forebodings took possession of the minds of the 
Crusaders ; as if they had been conquered in a great battle, 
their only thought was flight. Nothing had been prepared 
for the retreat, no order had been given ; no man saw any- 
thing but his own danger, or listened to any advice but that 
suggested by his fear ; some loaded themselves with every- 
thing valuable they possessed, whilst others abandoned even 
their arms. The sick and wounded dragged themselves 
along with pain in the steps of their companions ; such as 
could not walk were abandoned in the camp. The confusion 
was general ; the soldiers marched pele-mele with the bag- 
gage ; they knew not what route to take, and many lost 

* Oriental historians say little of the siege of Thoron ; the continuator 
of Tabary expresses himself thus : — " The Franks attacked Tebnyn 
(Thoron), and made breaches on various sides. When Malek-Adel learnt 
this, he wrote to Melic-Alaziz, sultan of Egypt, to desire him to come in 
person ; ' for if you do not come,' said he, * we shall not be able to protect 
the frontier country.' Alaziz then came with his troops. As to the Mus- 
sulmans who were in the castle, when they saw the breaches made in their 
walls, and they had no hope but defending themselves at the point of the 
sword, many among them surrendered to the Franks, and demanded a 
safeguard for themselves and their property, offering to deliver up the 
castle. The command was given to the priest Kandelard (Conrad), a, 
German ; but a Frank of the Sahel (coast of Syria^ said to the Mussul- 
mans, ' If you give up the fortress, these men will make you prisoners, 
and will kill you : preserve your own days then.' The Mussulmans left 
them as if to give up the fortress ; but when they had re-ascended, they 
persisted in defending themselves, and fought in despair, so that they kept 
the castle till the arrival of Melic-Alaziz at Ascalon." 


themselyes in the mountains ; nothing was heard but criea 
and groans, and, as if Heaven wished to denote its anger at 
this disorder, a frightful tempest came on ; fierce lightning 
rent the clouds, the thunder rolled in awful peals, and 
torrents of rain inundated the country.* In their tumul- 
tuous flight, not one of the Crusaders ventured to turn his 
eyes to that fortress which, but a few days before, had offered 
to surrender to their arms : their terror was not abated till 
they beheld the walls of Tyre. 

The army being at last re-assembled, it became a genera* 
inquiry, " What was the cause of the disorder they had 
experienced ?" Then a new delirium took possession of the 
Christians ; mistrust and mutual hatred succeeded to the 
panic terror of which they had been the victims ; the most 
grave suspicions were attached to actions the most simple, 
and gave an odious meaning to words perfectly innocent. The 
Crusaders reproached each other, as with wrongs and proofs 
of treachery, with all the evils they had suffered or feared 
to suffer. The measures that an improvident zeal had coun- 
selled, as well as those that had been dictated by necessity 
and prudence, were the work of perfidy without example. 
The holy places, which so lately the Crusaders had contem- 
plated with apparent indifference, now occupied their every 
thought ; and the most fervent reproached the leaders with 
introducing none but profane views into a holy war ; with 
having sacrificed the cause of God to their own ambition, 
and with having abandoned the soldiers of Christ to the 
fury of the Saracens. The same Crusaders proclaimed 
loudly, that God had been unfavourable to the Christians, 
because those whom he had appointed to lead the defenders 
of the cross, disdained the conquest of Jerusalem. Our 
readers may remember that after the siege of Damascus, in 
the second crusade, some Templars and Germans were 
accused of avarice, and of having sacrificed the zeal and 
bravery of the Christian warriors. Accusations quite as 
serious were renewed on this occasion, and with equal 
bitterness. If we are to believe the old chronicles, Malek- 
Adel had promised several leaders of the Christian army a 

* Nee inter ista defuit spiritus procellse, tonitruis et coruscationibus, et 
pluviarum inundationibus et grandine de coelo fugientes mfestanda.-^ 
Arnold Lub. cap. 5. 


great Qimber of pieces of gold to engage them to raise the 
siege of Thoroii ; and the same chronicles add, that when 
the Mussulman prince paid them the sum agreed, he gave 
them nothing but false gold, — a worthy price of their cupidity 
and treachery.* The Arabian historians give no sanction to 
these odious accusations ; but such was the spirit of animosity 
which then reigned among the Christian warriors, that they 
were judged with more severity by their brethren and com- 
panions in arms than by their enemies. 

At length the rage of discord was carried so far that the 
Germans and the Syrian Christians would not remain under 
the same colours ; the former retired to the city of Jaifa, the 
ramparts of which they restored, and the latter returned to 
Ptolemais. Malek-Adel, willing to profit by these divisions, 
marched tow^ards Jaifa, and oifered the Germans battle. A 
severe conflict took place at a short distance from the city. 
The duke of Saxony and the duke of Brabant both perished 
in the melee, f The Crusaders lost a great number of their 
bravest warriors ; but the victory was in their favour. After 
a triumph which was due to their arms alone, the pride of 
the Germans knew no bounds ; and they treated the Chris- 
tians of Palestine with the greatest contempt. " We have,'* 
said they, " crossed the seas to defend their country ; and, far 
from taking any part in our labours, these warriors, without 
either gratitude or courage, abandoned us in the hour of 
peril." The Christians of Palestine, on their side, re- 
proached the Germans with having come into the East, not 

* Otho de St. Blaise appears convinced that the Templars had received 
money to betray the cause of the Christians. He expresses himself as 
follows : — Nam sicut fertur, quidam de militibus Templi, a paganis cor- 
rupti pecunia, animam Conradi cancellarii, qui in hac ipsa obsidione prae- 
cipue clarebat, cum quibusdam aliis inflexerunt, eisque auri maximo 
pondere collocato, obsidionem solvere persuaserunt ; sicque vendito 
Christo tradito paganis per castellum, sicut olim Judseis, recesserunt. 
Nee tamen de pretio taliter acquisito aliquod emolumentum, sicut nee 
Judas de triginta argenteis, consecuti sunt. Si quidem pretio corrupt!, 
corruptum a pfiganis aurum metallo sophistico, auro in superficie colorato 
receperunt ; sicque in opprobrium sempiternum cum notu infamise merito 
consecuti sunt. — See 0th. de St. Blaise, in the collection of Urtius. 

t We are astonished to find so little concerning this crusade in the 
continuator of William of Tyre. He speaks of this battle and of the 
division among the Christians, but without any circumstaHce worthy o! 
being communicated to our readers. 


to fight but to command ; not to assist their brethren, but 
to impose a yoke upon them more insupportable than that 
of the Saracens. " The Crusaders," added they, " only 
quitted tie West to make a pleasurable military progress 
into Syria ; they there found peace, but they left war behind 
them ; like those birds of passage that announce the season 
of storms and tempests," 

In these fatal divisions nobody had sufficient credit and 
power to restrain angry spirits, or reconcile discordant 
opinions The sceptre of Jerusalem w^as in the hands of a 
woman ; the throne of Godfrey, so often shaken, was desti- 
tute of support ; the empire of religion and law was every 
day fading away, and violence alone possessed the privilege 
of making itself respected. Necessity and force were the 
only powers that commanded obedience ; whilst the license 
and corruption that prevailed among the people, still called 
the people of God, made such frightful progress, that we are 
tempted to accuse contemporary authors and ocular wit- 
nesses of employing great exaggeration in their recitals. 

In this state of decline, amidst such shameful disorders, 
the most wise and prudent of the prelates and barons 
thought the best step they could adopt would be to give an 
able and worthy leader to the Christian colonies, and they 
entreated Isabella, the widow of Henry of Champagne, to take 
a new husband, who might consent to be their sovereign. 
Isabella, by three marriages, had already given Palestine 
three kings. They proposed to her Amaury, who had 
recently succeeded duy de Lusignan in the kingdom of 
Cyprus. An Arabian historian says that Amaury was a wise 
and prudent man, who loved God and respected humanity. 
He did not fear to reign, amidst w^ar, troubles, and factions, 
over the poor remains of the imfortunate kingdom of Jeru- 
salem, and came to share with Isabella the vain honours of 
royalty. Their marriage was celebrated at Ptolemais, with 
more pomp, say historians, than the posture of affairs 
warranted. Although this marriage might not remedy all 
the evils under which the Christians laboured, it at least 
afforded them the consolatory hope that their discords would 
be appeased, and that the colonies of the Eranks, when 
better governed, might gather some fruit from so many 
victories gained over the infidels. "3ut news which arrived 


from the "West, soon spread fresh grief through the kingdom, 
and put an end to the barren exploits of the holy war. 
Amidst the festivities which followed the marriage ana 
coronation of Amaury, the death of the emperor Henry YI. 
was announced.* The election of a new head of the empire 
would most probably produce a violent contest in Germany ; 
and every one of the German princes or nobles then in 
Palestine, naturally turned his attention to that which he 
had to hope or fear in the events preparing in Europe : they 
determined in return immediately into the West. 

The court de Montfort and several other French knights 
had but recently arrived in the Holy Land, and earnestly 
entreated the German princes to defer their return. The 
pope likewise, on receiving intelligence of the death of 
Henry VI., wrote to the leaders of the Crusaders, to im- 
plore them to finish their good work, and not to abandon 
the cause of Christ ; but neither the prayers of the count 
de Montfort nor the exhortations of the pope could detain 
the Germans, impatient to return to their country. Of so 
many princes who had left the West to secure a triumph to 
the cause of God, the queen of Hungary alone was faithful 
to her vows, and remained with her knights in Palestine.f 
On quitting Syria, the Germans contented themselves with 
leaving a garrison in Jaffa. A short time after their depar- 
ture, whilst celebrating the feast of St. Martin with every 
excess of drunkenness and debauchery, this garrison was 
surprised and massacred by the Saracens. J Winter was 

* Arnold of Lubec says that the news of the death of the emperor of 
Germany arrived before the siege of Thoron ; but it is not probable that 
the Crusaders, who were suddenly so anxious to return to the West on 
account of the troubles that threatened Germany, should have under- 
taken the siege of Thoron after hearing of a death which must give rise 
to great events in Europe. Henry died in the month of September, 
1196 ; the siege of Thoron was begun nearly at the same time; thus the 
Crusaders could not be informed at that period of a circumstance which 
made them so suddenly renounce the holy war. 

f Le Pere Maimbourg bestows the greatest praise upon the widow of 
Bela. " This example," says he, " makes apparent that which has often 
been seen in other princesses, that heroic virtue is not at all dependent on 
sex, and that it is possible to make up for weakness of temperament and 
body by greatness of soul and strength of mind." 

X FuUer, an English historian, speaks of this disaster at great length. 
k* his work is scarce, I will tianslate the passage from it relative to thii 


approaching; neither party could keep the field; discord 
reigned equally among Christians and Mussulmans ; ard both 
sides were desirous of peace, because they were incapable of 
carrying on the war. The count de Montfort concluded 
with the Saracens a truce for three years. Thus terminated 
this crusade, w^hich only lasted a few months, and was really 
nothing but a pilgrimage for the warriors of the West. The 
victories of the Crusaders rendered the Christians masters 
of all the coasts of Syria ; but their precipitate departure 
destroyed the fruits of their conquests. The cities they had 
obtained w^ere left without defenders, and almost without 

This fourth crusade, in which all the powers of the West 
miscarried in an attempt upon a little fortress of Syria, and 
which presents us with the strange spectacle of a holy war 
directed by an excommunicated monarch, furnishes the his- 
torian with fewer great events and a smaller number of 
great misfortunes than the preceding expeditions. The 
Christian armies, which made but a transient visit to the 
East, experienced neither the famine nor the diseases that 
had proved so fatal to the former enterprises. The foresight 
and attention of the emperor of Germany, who had become 
master of Sicily, provided for all the wants of the Crusaders, 
whose exploits were intended to assist his ambitious projects, 
and whom he considered as his own soldiers. 

crusade, in which the impartial reader will find the gross misrepresenta- 
tions of a violent enemy of the Crusaders. " In this war," says he, " we 
may contemplate an episcopal army which might have served for a synod ; 
or, more truly, it offers us a picture of the Church militant. Many 
captains returned home secretly, and when the soldiers wanted to fight, 
the officers went away : what remained of this army fortified themselves 
in Jaffa. The feast of St. Martin, that great saint of Germany, fell at 
this time. This holy man, a German by birth, and bishop of Tours in 
France, distinguished himself eminently by his charity. The Germans 
changed his charity for the poor into excess for themselves, observing the 
11th of November in such a manner that it ought no longer to be call«.d 
a saint's day, but a day of festivity. Drunkenness reduced them to such 
a state, that the Turks, falling upon them, killed more than twenty thou- 
sand of them. This day, which the Germans write in red letters in their 
calendai's, takes its colour from their own blood, and ag their camp was a 
slaughter-house, the Turks were their butchers. We may compare them 
to the oxen of St. Martin, which differ little from droves of drunkards.'' 
— Nicol. Fuller, b. ii. chap. xvi. p. 133. [I really cannot «ee that old 
Fuller is so very widely wrong. — Tran.s.] 


The German warriors that composed the Christ:' an armies 
had not the requisite qualities to secure the advantages of 
victory.* Always ready to throw themselves blindly into 
danger ; quite ignorant that it is possible to ally prudence 
with courage ; listening to nothing but the violence of their 
own passions, and recognising no law but their own will ; 
obedient to leaders of their own nation, and despising all 
others ; full of an indomitable pride, which made them dis- 
dain the help of their allies and the lessons of experience, 
such men could neither make peace nor war. 

When we compare these new Crusaders with the com- 
panions of Richard or Godfrey, we find in them the same 
ardour for fight, the same indifference for danger ; but we 
find them very deficient in that enthusiasm which animated 
the first soldiers of the cross at the sight of the holy places. 
Jerusalem, which had never ceased to be open to the devo- 
tion of the faithful, no longer beheld within its walls that 
crowd of pilgrims which, at the commencement of the holy 
wars, repaired thither from all parts of the West. The pope 
and the leaders of the Christian army forbade Crusaders to 
enter the holy cit}'- without having conquered it ; and they, 
who did not always prove so docile, obeyed the prohibition 
without pain. More than a hundred thousand warriors that 
had left Europe for the purpose of delivering Jerusalem, 
returned to their homes without having entertained perhaps 
one thought of visiting the tomb of Christ, for which they 
had taken up arms. The thirty ounces of gold promised by 
the emperor to all who should cross the sea to fight the 
infidels, very much increased the number of the Crusaders ; 
this was not the case in former expeditious, in which the 
crowd of soldiers of the cross was influenced principally by 
religious motives. More religion than politics had entered 
into the other holy wars ; in this crusade, although it had 
been directly promoted by the head of the Cluu-ch, and was 
to a considerable extent directed by bishops, we may safely 
say there was more of politics than religion. Pride, ambi- 

* This is the picture of the Germans in the chronicle of Usperg : — 
Bellicosi, crudeles, expensarum prodigi, rationis expertes, voluntatem 
pro jure habentes, ensibus invicti ; in nuUis, nisi horainibus su* gentia 
confidentes ; ducibus suis fidelissimi, et quibus vitam citiiis quam fidem 
posses auferre. 


tion, jealousy, the most disgraceful passions of tlie human 
heart, did not make an effort, as in the preceding expedi- 
tions, to cover themselves with a religious veil. The arch- 
bishop of Mayence, the bishop of Hildesheim, with most of 
the other ecclesiastics who took the cross, attracted no ad- 
miration for either their wisdom or piety, or distinguished 
themselves by any personal quality. Conrad, the chancellor 
of the empire, on his return to Europe, was followed by 
the suspicions which had been attached to his conduct 
during the holy war ; and when, a long time after, he was 
slain by several gentlemen of Wurtzburg, who conspired 
against him, the people considered his tragical death as a 
punishment from Heaven. 

Henry YI., who had preached the crusade, only viewed 
this distant expedition as a means and an opportunity for 
increasing his power and extending his empire ; whilst the 
West put up prayers for the success of a holy war, of 
which he was the life and soul, he prosecuted an impious 
war, desolated a Christian people for the purpose of subject- 
ing them to his laws, and threatened the empire of Greece.* 
The son of Tancred was deprived of his sight, and cast into 
prison, and the daughters of the king of Sicily were carried 
away into captivity. Henry's barbarities were so excessive, 
that he irritated his neighbours, and created enemies in his 
own family. When he died, a report prevailed in Europe 
that he had been poisoned ; the nations that he had ren- 
dered miserable could not believe that so many cruelties 
could remain unpunished, and they asserted that Provi- 
dence had employed the wife of the emperor to be his 
executioner, and to avenge all the calamities he had inflicted 
upon the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. At the approach 
of death, Henry remembered that he had persecuted Kichard; 
that he had detained a prince of the Crusaders in chains, 
in spite of the solicitations of the father of the faithful ; 
and he hastened to send ambassadors to the king of 

* The Latin and Greek chronicles both describe the cruelties of 
Henry VI. in Sicily. Nicetas, in his history, makes a long enumerafcioa 
of the punishments invented by the emperor of Germany, and says that 
Greece was on the eve of seeing all the evils that afflicted Sicily fall u; on 
her t'lrritory, when Henry VI. was removed, as if by an extraordinary 
iuierposition of Providence. 


England, charged with the task of making him a solemn 
reparation for so great an outrage. After his death, as he 
had been excommunicated, it was thought necessary to 
address the sovereign pontiff to obtain permission to bury 
him in the Holy Land ; and the pope coolly replied, that 
they were at liberty to bury him among Christians, but before 
they did so, they must offer up many prayers to mitigate the 
anger of God. 

In taking possession of the boaat\£al and rich territories 
of Italy by perfidy and violence, Henry prepared for that 
unfortunate country a series of revolutions, to be renewed 
from age to age. The odious war he had made against the 
family of Tancred, naturally gave birth to other wars 
injurious to his own family,* In removing so far from 
Germany with his armies, Henry afforded opportunity lor 
the formation of powerful parties, which, at his death, dis- 
puted the imperial sceptre with some success, and at length 
gave rise to a war in which the principal states of Europe were 
involved. Thus, whilst the other holy wars had contributed 
to maintain or establish public peace in Europe, this fourth 
crusade produced divisions among the states of Christendom, 
without at all diminishing the power of the Saracens, and 
only served to introduce trouble and confusion into many 
kingdoms of the West. 

* We shall see in the end that Sicily cost Frederick II., but particularly 
young Conrad, the last prince of the family of Swabia, much embarrass* 
meat and many misfortunes. 



A.D. 1198—1204. 

" Christian troops,^^ says J. J. E-or.sseau, in his " Contrat 
Social," "are, as tliey say, excellent; I deny it; show me 
such ; for my part, I know no Christian troops T The events 
we have just related, and those vi^e are about to make known, 
will, there is no doubt, suffice to refute this strange paradox 
of J. J. Rousseau. The author of the " Social Contract " 
does not dissemble, it is true, the objections that may be 
made to him from the history of the crusades ; but, ever 
faithful to his system, and taking no account of historical 
truths, he answers, that " the Crusaders, far from heing Chris- 
tians, were citizens of the Church ; that they fought for their 
spiritual country, which the Church had rendered temporal 
nobody knows howT Strange abuse of reasoning, which con- 
founds the sense of words, and refuses the title of Christians 
to those who fought in the name of Christ ! In representing 
the Crusaders as citizens of the Church, Eousseau doubt- 
less, meant to say that the popes were the origin of the 
crusades, and that the soldiers of the cross defended the 
temporal power of the popes. AV^e at once reply that the 
crusades owed their birth and growth to the religious and 
warlike enthusiasm that animated the nations of the West 
tti the twelfth century, and that without this enthusiasm, 
which was not the M^ork of the heads of the Church, the 
)reachings of the Holy See would not have been able to 
vollect a single army under the banners of the cross. "We 
aiay further add that, during the holy wars, the sovereign 
|>'Ontiirs were frequently driven from E/ome and despoiled of 
tlieir states, and t)iat "they did not summon the Crusaders? 


fco tlie defence of the power or temporal country of the 
Church, Not only were the Cnisaders not always the blind 
instruments of the Holy See, but they sometimes resisted 
the will of the popes, and yet in their camps were no less 
models of valour united vnth Christian piety. No doubt, 
the leaders were often seduced by ambition, the love of 
glory, and a passion for war ; but religion, well or ill under- 
stood, acted upon the greater number; the Christian reli- 
gion which they defended, or believed they defended, by 
inspiring them with a desire for the blessings of heaven and 
a contempt for life, elevated them above all perils, and 
enabled them to brave death on every occasion. Here is 
the whole truth ; but this truth is too simple for such as 
disdain common routes, and cannot form a judgment upon 
human affairs without displaying all the parade of a proud 
and austere philosophy. For ourselves, who are persuaded 
that true philosophy consists in studying the human 
heart and the spirit of societies, not in vain theories, but in 
the faithful history of past ages ; we will not refute bril- 
liant sophisms by long arguments ; but to show in all its 
splendour the valour of Christian soldiers, we will content 
ourselves with pursuing our recital, and making known with 
impartiality the labours, the reverses, and the victories of 
the soldiers of the cross.* 

The departure of the German Crusaders plunged the 
eastern Christians into grief and consternation ; the colonies, 
when left to their own resources, were only protected by 
the truce concluded between the count de Montfort and 
Malek-Adel. The infidels had too great a superiority over 

* Our excellent author has conceived a kind of parental affection foi 
the crusades, which makes him blind to their defects. If we speak of the 
spirit of Christianity, certainly the philosopher of Geneva has the advan- 
tage of him, as his own pages show. Divested of their mundane motives, 
the crusades were little else than '' a savage fanaticism." There was, at 
least, as much religious merit in the Mussulmans, who fought to defend 
their faith. A philosopher may deduce beneficial results from the cru- 
sades, particularly to Europe ; but he will be much puzzled to prove that 
that which we now consider a truly Christian spirit, influenced many of 
the warriors that carried them out, or the churchmen that promoted them. 
The Inquisition and the crusade against the Albigeois were of the same 
age, and the principal agents ir. them equally prostituted the name of 
religion in their horrors. — Trans 


their enemies to respect, for any length of time, a treaty 
which they considered as an obstacle to the progress of 
their power. The Christians, threatened by new perils, again 
turned their eyes to the West. The bishop of Ptolemais, 
accompanied by several knights, embarked for Europe, in 
order to solicit the aid of the faithful. The vessel in which 
he embarked had scarcely quitted the port, when it was 
swallowed up by the waves, and the bishop and every person. 
of his suite perished. Other ships, that set sail a short time 
afterwards, were surprised by the tempest, and forced to 
return to the port of Tripoli ; so that the prayers and 
complaints of the Christians of Palestine could not reach 
the ears of their brethren of the AYest. Nevertheless, the 
afflicting news of the situation of the feeble kingdom of 
Jerusalem soon became generally known ; some pilgrims, 
escaping from the perils of the sea, described, on their 
return, the triumphs and threats of the Saracens ; but in 
the state of Europe at that moment, nothing could be more 
difficult than to induce nations to undertake a new crusade. 
The death of the Emperor Henry VI. divided the princes 
and prelates of Germany, and Philip Augustus was stiU at 
war with Kichard of England. One of the sons of Bela, 
king of Hungary, who pretended to take the cross, only 
assembled an army to agitate the kingdom, and get posses- 
sion of the crown. Amidst the fierce contentions that 
disturbed Europe, the Christian people seemed to have 
forgotten the tomb of Christ: a single man was touched 
with the misfortunes of the faithful of the East, and was not 
without hope of alleviating them. 

Innocent III., at the age of thirty- three, had recently 
gamed the suffrages of the conclave.* At a period of life 
in which the passions are generally masters, devoted to the 
most austere retirement, constantly occupied wdth the study 
of holy books, and ready at all times to crnfound new here- 
sies by the force of reason, the successor of St. Peter shed 
tears on being informed of his elevation ; but when seated 
on the pontifical throne. Innocent all at once exhibited a 
new character : the same man, who had appeared to dread 

* We have a life of Innocent III. which extends to the thirteenth year 
of his pontificate. This life, Gesta Innoceniii, is the more valuable frMoa 
Veing written by a contemporary. 


tilie splendour of a lofty position, became most eager, by anj 
means^ to increase his power, and displayed all the ambition 
and inflexible obstinacy of Grregory VII. His youth, which 
promised him a long reign ; his ardour in the defence of jus- 
tice and truth ; his eloquence, his knowledge, his virtues, 
which drew upon him the respect of the faithftd, ail united 
to give birth to the hope that he would assure the triumph 
of religion ; and that he would one day accomplish the pro- 
jects of his predecessors. 

As the power of the pope was founded upon the progress 
of the faith and the holy enthusiasm of the Christians, 
Innocent gave his first attention to the suppression of the 
dangerous innovations and imprudent doctrines that began 
to corrupt his age and menace the sanctuary ; he parti- 
cularly endeavoured to re-animate tlife ardour for the cru- 
sades : and, to master the minds of kings and nations, to 
I'itlij all Christians, and make them concur in the triumph 
of the Church, he spoke to them of the captivity of Jeru- 
salem ; he pointed to the tomb of Christ, and the holy 
places profaned by the presence and the domination of 

In a letter* addressed to the bishops, the clergy, the 
nobles, and people of ].^ance, England, Hungary, and Sicily, 
the sovereign pontifi" made known t})c will, the menaces, and 
the promises of G-od. " Since the lamentable loss of Jeru- 
salem," said he, " the Holy See has never ceased to cry 
towards Heaven, and to exhort the faithful to avenge the 
injury done to Christ, thus banished from his heritage. 
Formerly Uriah would not enter into his house, or see his 
wife, whilst the ark of the Lord was in the camp ; but now 
our princes, in this pubhc calamity, abandon themselves to 
illegitimate amours ; immerse themselves in voluptuousness ; 
abuse the blessings that God has given them ; and pursue 
each other with implacable hatred ; only thinking of re- 
venging their own personal injuries, they never consider 
that our enemies insult us, saying: ' Where is your Ood, 
who cannot deliver himself out of our hands? We have pro- 
faned your sanctuary^ and the 'places in which you pretend 

* We may consult, for the preachings of this crusade, the letters of 
Innocent III. Some details will be found in Roger de iloveden, 
Matthew Paris, &c. &c. 


your superstition liad its hirth ; we have crushed the arms of 
the M'ench, the Mnglish, the Germans, and subdued a second 
time the proud Spaniards : what remains then for us to do t 
to drive out those you have left in Syria, and to penetrate into 
the West to efface for ever both your name and your memory^ " 
Assuming then a more paternal tone : " Prove," cried Inno« 
cent, " that you have not lost your courage ; be prodigal, in 
the cause of God, of all you have received from him ; if, on 
an occasion so pressing, you refuse to serve Christ, what 
excuse will you be able to offer at his terrible tribunal ? If 
God died for man, shall man fear to die for his God ? Will 
he refuse to give up his transitory life and the perishable 
goods of this world for him who lays before us the treasures 
of eternity ?" 

Prelates were at the same time sent through all the coun- 
triey of Europe, to preach peace among princes, and exhort 
them to unite against the common enemies of God. These 
prelates, clothed in the full confidence of the Holy See, were 
to engage cities and nobles to equip, at their own expense, 
for the Holy Land, a certain number of warriors, to serve 
there during two years at least. They promised remission 
of sins,* and the special protection of the Church f to all 
that would take up the cross and arms, or would contribute 
to the equipment and support of the soldiers of Christ. To 
receive the pious tribute of the faithful, boxes were placed 
in ail the churches. At the tribunal of penitence, the 
priests were ordered to command all sinners to concur in 
tlie holy enterprise ; no error could fina grace before God, 
without the sincere will of participating in the crusade ; 
zeal for the deliverance of the holy places appeared to be at 
that time the only virtue the pope required of Christians, 
and even charity itself lost some of its value, if not exercised 
in promoting the crusades. As the Church of Rome was 
reproached with imposing upon the people burdens to which 

* Villehardouin expresses himself thus when speaking of the indul- 
gences of the pope : — For ce cil pardon fut issi grand, si s'en emeurent 
mult ii cuers des genz, et mult s'en croisierent, porce que li pardon ne si 
grand. (The pardon was so great that the hearts of people were moved, 
and many took the cross because the pardon was so great, or complete.) 

f Gretser has spoken at great length of the indulgences graoted to the 
Crusaders. — De Cruce, vol. iii. b. ii. c. 3. 


%'ke only applied the tip oflier own finger^ tlie pope exhorted 
the heads of the clergy, and the clergy themselves, to set an 
example of devotedness and sacrifices. Innocent ordered 
liis gold and silver plate to he melted to defray the expenses 
of the holv war, and would allow none hut 'vessels of wood 
and clay to be seen on his table wlnlst the crusade lasted. 

The sovereign pontift' was so satisfied of the zeal and 
piety of the Christians, that he wrote to the patriarch and 
king of Jerusalem, to announce to them the coming suc- 
cours from the West. He neglected nothing that could 
augment the numbers of the soldiers of Christ ; he addressed 
himself to the emperor of Constantinople, and reproached 
him with indifference for the deliverance of the holy places. 
The emperor Alexius endeavoured, in his answer, to show 
his zeal for the cause of religion ; but he added that the 
time of deliverance was not yet arrived, and that he feared to 
oppose himself to the will of God, irritated by the sins of 
tlie Christians. The Greek prince adroitly reminded him of 
the ravages committed in the territories of the empire by 
the soldiers of Frederick, and conjured the pope to direct 
his reproofs against those who, feigning to labour for Jesus 
Christ, acted against the will of Heaven. In his corre- 
spondence with Alexius, Innocent III. did not at all conceal 
his pretensions to universal empire, and spoke in the cha- 
racter of sovereign arbiter of tlie kings of the East and 
West. He applied to himself these words addressed to 
Jeremiah : " I have placed thee over the nations and over 
the kingdoms, to pull up and scatter, to edify and to plant." 
AVhen speaking of the power of the popes and that of 
princes, he compared the one to tlie sun, which lights the 
universe during the day, and the other to the moon, which 
lights the earth during tlie night. 

The pretensions that Innocent put forth, and the haugh- 
tiness with which he sought to establish them, were, no 
doubt, injurious to the effect of his exhortations, and must 
have weakened the zeal of the Christian princes whom he 
wished to persuade to undertake the crusade. The princes 
and bishops of Germany were divided betwee'i Otho of 
8axony and Philip of Swabia ; the sovereign pontiff pro- 
nounced strongly for Otho, and threatened with the thun- 
ders of the Church all who assisted the opposite party. Id 
Vol. II.— 3 


tlie dissensions occasioned by this momentous affair, some 
availed themselves of the opportunity to gain the favour of 
the pope, and others to secure themselves from the effects of 
his anger ; but all Germany being engaged in the quarrel, 
nobody took the cross. 

One of the pope's tegates, Peter of Capua, succeeded in 
re-establishing peace betwern E/ichard Coeur de Lion and 
Philip Augustus, llichard, who was desirous of conciliating 
the good-will of the Holy See, constantly promised to equip 
a fleet and collect an army to go and make war against the 
infidels. He proclaimed a tournament in his capital, in the 
midst of which he called upon the barons and knights to 
/ollow him into the East ; but all these demonstrations, the 
sincerity of which was very suspicious, remained unproduc- 
tive. It was not long before war again broke out between 
France and England ; and Richard, who on all occasions 
repeated his vow of combating the infidels, was killed in a 
petty quarrel with Christians. 

Philip Augustus repudiated Ingeburge, daughter of the 
king of Denmark, to marry Agnes de Meranie. The sove- 
reign pontiff, in a letter addressed to the faithful, strongly 
censured princes who gave themselves up to illegitimate 
amours ; he ordered Philip Augustus to take back Inge- 
burge, and as Philip refused to obey, the kingdom of France 
was placed under an interdict. During several months all 
religious ceremonies were suspended ; th-e pulpits of the 
Gospel ceased to give forth the holy word ; church bells and 
the voice of prayer were silenced ; Christian burial was 
refused to the dead ; the sanctuary was closed against the 
faithful ; a long mourning veil seemed to hang over cities 
and plains, from which the Christian religion was banished, 
and which might almost be fancied to be invaded by the 
Saracens. Although such as took the cross were exempt 
from the interdict, the spectacle which France presented 
discouraged and saddened its inhabitants. Philip Augustus, 
irritated against the pope, showed very little disposition to 
revive their zeal ; and the clergy, whose influence might have 
had a powerful effect, had less reason to deplore the captivity 
of Jerusalem than the unhappy state of the kingdom. 

At length a cure of Neuilly-sur-Maine began to fill France 
with the fame of his eloquence and his miracles. Foulques 


Kad at first led a very dissipated life, but, touched with sin- 
cere repentance, he was not satisfied with expiating his 
irregularities by penitence, but became desirous of bringing 
back all sinners to the paths of salvation, 'and travelled 
through the provinces endeavouring to awaken in the people 
a contempt for the things of this life. God, to try him, 
permitted that, in his early sermons, Foulques- should be 
exposed to the ridicule of his auditors ; but the trutlis he 
uttered soon obtained a marvellous ascendancy over all that 
came to hear him. Bishops invited him to preach in their 
dioceses ; he received everywhere extraordinary honours, and 
both people and clergy flocked out to meet him, as if he had 
been an envoy of God. Eoulques, says the chronicle o^ 
St. Victor, had nothing remarkable in his vestments or man- 
ner of living ; he travelled on Jiorsehach, and ate that which 
was given to him. He preached sometimes in churches, at 
others in public places, and not unfrequently amidst the 
excitement of tournaments. His eloquence was simple and 
natural; safe, by his ignorance, from the bad taste of his 
age, he neither astonished his auditors by the vain subtleties 
of the schools, nor by an absurd mixture of passages from 
the Scriptures and profane quotations from antiquity. His 
words, from being unadorned by the erudition then so much 
admired, were the more persuasive, and found their way more 
directly to the heart.* The most learned preachers ranked 
themselves among his disciples, and declared that the Holy 
G-host spoke by his moutli. Animated by that faith which 
performs prodigies, he enchained at his pleasure the passions 
of the multitude, and caused to resound, even in the palaces 
of princes, the thunders of evangelical denunciations. "^ At his 
voice, all that had enriclied themselves by fraud, brigandage, 
or usury, hastened to restore that which they had unjustly 

* The Chronicle of St. Victor speaks thus of Foulques de Neuilly : — 
Et verba ejus quasi sa^ittge potentis acutae, homiiium prava corda 
consuetudine obdurata penetrarent et ad lacrymas et poenitentiam amo- 

t If we may believe contemporary chronicles, Foulques addressed 
Richard Coeur de Lion, and said to him, — " You have three daughters to 
dispose of in marriage, Avarice, Pride, and Luxury." " Well," replied 
Richard, " I give my pride to the Templars, my avarice to the monks of 
Citeaux, and my luxury to the bishops." This anecdote is quoted by 


acquired ; libertines confessed their sins, and devoted theai 
selves to the austerities of penitence ;* prostitutes, following 
the example of Madeline, deplored tlie scandal of their lives, 
cut oif their hair, exchanged their gaudy apparel for hair- 
cloth and mean garments, and made vows to sleep upon 
ashes and die in retirement. In sliort, the eloquence of 
!Foulques of Neuilly eifected such miracles, that contempo- 
raries speak of him as of anotlier St. Paul, sent for the con- 
version of his age. One of them even goes so far as to say 
that he dares not relate all he knows of him, fearing the in- 
credulity of men.f 

Innocent III. cast his eyes upon Eoulques of Neuilly, and 
confided to him the mission that, fifty years before, had been 
given to St. Bernard. The new preacher of the crusade 
himself assumed the cross at a general chapter of the order 
of Citetiux. At the sound of his voice, the zeal for the 
holy war, which had appeared extinct, blazed out again in all 
parts. In every city he passed through, the people crowded 
to listen to him ; and all who were in a condition to bear 
arms, took the oath to combat the infidels. 

Several holy orators were associated with Foulques of 
Neuilly; Martin Litz, of the order of Citeaux, in the 
diocese of Bale, and on the banks of the Ehine : Herloin, a 
monk of St. Denis, took his cause through the still wild 
countries of Bretagne and the lower Poitou ; and Eustace^ 
abbot of Flay, crossed the sea twice, to awaken the enthu- 
siasm and holy ardour of the provinces of England. 

These pious orators were not all endowed with the same 
eloquence ; but all were animated by the most ardent zeal. 
The profanation of the holy places, the evils suflered by ih^ 
Eastern Christians, and the remembrance of Jerusalem, 
imparted the most lively interest to their discourses, anu 

* The Latin history of the diocese of Paris thus designates the pros- 
titutes — Multae mulierculse quae corpore quoestum faciebant. 

f Alberic, Rigord, Otho of St. Blaise, James of Vitri, the manuscript 
chronicle Autore Radulfo Coggehalensi, the Chronicle of Brompton, and 
Marin Saiiul, have kft particulars of the life of Foulques. The Ecde- 
siasiical History of Fleury, vol. xvi., has collected all the materials •8<at- 
tered about in the old chronicles. The Abbe Lebeuf, in bis Historj/ oj 
Paris, quotes a Life of Foulques, 1 vol. in 12mo. Paris, 1620, whibh we 
have in vain endeavoured to procure. 


touched all hearts.* Such was the spirit spread through 
Europe, that simply to mention the name of Christ, or to 
speak of the city of God, held in captivity by the infidels, 
melted auditors to tears, and gave birth to transports of 
enthusiasm. The people everywhere evinced the same piety 
and the same feelings ; but the cause of Christ still wanted 
the example and courage of princes and nobles. As a cele- 
brated tournament liad been proclaimed in Champagne, at 
which the boldest warriors of France, Grermany, and Flan- 
ders were expected to be present, Foulques repaired to the 
castle of Ecry-sur-Aisne,t wliich was the rendezvous of the 
knights. His eloquence procured attention to the complaints 
of Sion, even amidst tlie profane and violent amusements of 
chivalry ; when Foulques spoke of Jerusalem, knights and 
barons neglected their jousts, the shivering of lances, or 
high feats of arms ; they became insensible of the presence 
of dames and demoiselles, who accorded the prizes to valour ; 
and turned a deaf ear to the gay minstrels who celebrated 
la prouesse acJietee et vendue au fer et a V acier. All took 
the oath to fight against the infidels ; and it must have been 
surprising to see numerous defenders of the cross come 
forth from these warlike festivals that were so severely re- 
prehended by the Church. 

Among the princes and lords who enrolled themselves in 
the crusade, the most conspicuous were Thibault IV., count of 
Champagne, and Louis, coiuit of Chartres and Blois, both 
relations of the kings of France and England. The father 
of Thibault had followed Louis YII. to the second crusade, 
and his elder brother had been king of Jerusalem. Two 
thousand five hundred knights owed him homage and military 
service, and the nobility of Champagne excelled in all the 

* The monk Gunther gives some account of this sermon in the history- 
he has left us of the conquest of Constantinople. The monk Gunther 
bestows the warmest praise upon Martin Litz, who was his abbot, and 
gives curious details of the sermons of the latter. He puts into the mouth 
of the preacher of the crusade a discourse in which we find the same 
reasons, and almost the same words, as in all the discourses of those who 
had previously preached holy wars ; it is probable that the people were 
more afl'ected by the spirit that reigned in Europe than by the eloquence 
of the orators. — See Gunther, in the Collection of Canisius- 

t The castle of Eery was situated on the river Aisne, not far from 
Chateau Porcien. 


noble exercises of arms.* The marriage of Thibault witli 
the heiress of Kavarre brought to his standard a great 
number of warriors from the countries bordering on tlie 
Pyrenees, Louis, count of Chartres and Blois, reckoned 
among his ancestors one of the most illustrious chiefs of the 
first crusade, and was master of a province abounding in 
warriors of name. After the example of these two princes, 
the following distinguished leaders took the cross : — The 
count of St. Paul, the counts Gauthier and Jean de Brienne, 
Manasses de I'lsle, Kenard do Dampierre, Mathieu de 
Montmorency, Hugh and Robert de Boves, d' Amiens, 
Benaud de Boulogne. Geoffrey de Perche, E-enaud de Mont- 
mirail, Simon de Montfort, M'ho had just signed a treaty 
with the Saracens, but was no less ready on that account to 
take an oath to fight against them ; and Geoffrey de Ville- 
hardouin,t marshal of Champagne, who has left us an account 
of this crusade in the unadorned language of his time. 

Among the ecclesiastics, history names Nivelon de Che- 
risi, bishop of Soissons •; Gamier, bishop of Langres ; the 
abbot of Looz, and the abbot of Veaux-de-Cernai. The 
bishop of Langres, who had been the object of the censures 
of the pope, expected to find in the pilgrimage to the Holy 
Land, an opportunity of reconciling himself with the Holy 
See. The abbot of Looz and the abbot of Yeaux-de-Cernai 
were both remarkable for their piety and learning ; the former 
full of wisdom and moderation, the latter animated by a holy 
enthusiasm and an ardent zeal, which afterwards he but too 
strongly displayed against the Albigeois and the partisans of 
the count of Thoulouse. 

When the knights and barons returned to their homes, 
bearing a red cross upon their baldrics and their coats of 

* The author of a History of Jerusalem, who wrote in the twelfth 
century, says, when speaking of the Champenois : — Et qufedam pars 
Francise, quae Campania dicitur, et cum regio tota studiis armorum 
floreat, hsec quodam militise privilegio singularius excellit et praecellit ; 
hinc martia pubes potetiter egressa, vires quse in tyrociniis exercitaverat, 
in hostem ardentius exerit, et imaginaria bellorum prolusione proposita, 
pugnans animos acJ verum martem intendit. 

t The name of Villehardouin took its origin from a village or castle of 
the diocese of Troye, between Bar and Arcy ; the elder branch, to which 
the historian belonged, only subsisted to 1400 ; the younger, which ac- 
quired the principality of Achaia, merged in the family of Savoy. Ducange 
has left a -ery long historical notice of the genealogy of this family. 


mail,* tliey aroused by their presence the enthusiasm of 
their vassals and brothers in arms. The nobility of Flanders, 
after the example of those of Champagne, were anxious to 
prove their zeal for the recovery of the holy places. Baldwin, 
who had taken the part of Richard against Philip Augustus, 
sought beneath the standard of the cross an asylum against 
the anger of the king of France, and swore, in the church of 
St. Donation of Bruges, to go into Asia to combat the 
Saracens. Mary, countess of Flanders, sister of Thibault, 
count of Champagne, would not live separated from her 
husband ; and although she was still in the flower of her 
youth, and was several months advanced in her pregnancy, 
took an oath to follow the Crusaders beyond the seas, and to 
quit a home she was doomed never to see again. The 
example of Baldwin was foUow^ed by his two brothers,t 
Eustace and Henry, count of Sarbuck ; by Canon de Bethune, 
w^hose piety and eloquence were held in high estimation, and 
by Jacques d'Avesnes, son of him who, under the same name, 
had made himself so famous in the third crusade. Most of 
the knights and barons of Flanders and Hainault also took 
the oath to share the labours and perils of the holy w^ar. 

The principal leaders first met at Soissons, and afterwards 
at Compiegne. In their assembly, they gave the command 
of the expedition to Thibault, count of Champagne. It was 
decided also that the Crusaders should repair to the East by 
sea ; and, in consequence of this determination, six deputies 
were sent to Yenice,t in order to obtain from the republic 
the vessels required to transport the men and horses. 

The Venetians were at that period in the highest state of 
their greatness and prosperity. Amidst the convulsions that 

* Complures tatita pontificii indulgentissimi gratia iiiecti, et Fulconis 
persuasionibus excitati, rubram crucem amiculo, quo dexter humerus 
tegitur, certatim consuere. — Rhammisii(S de Bell. Constant, lib. i. 

t Rhamnusius gives a very minute list of the knights and barons that 
took the cross. Le Pere d'Outreman likewise gives a very extensive list. 
In the notes that accompany the history of Villehardouin, Ducange has 
left us many curious particulars upon the knights and barons of Flanders 
and Champagne who took jart in this crusade. 

X Villehardouin has preserved the names of the six deputies. The 
Count Thibault named two : Geoffrey of Villehardouin, Miles of Brabant. 
Baldwin of Flanders, two others : Canon de Bethune, and Alard de 
Maqueriaux ; and the count of Blois, two : Jean de Friaise and Gauthier 
de Goudonville. 


had preceded and followed the fall of tlieHoman power, rhese 
industrious people had taken refuge in the islands that 
border the extremity of the Adriatic (rulf ; and, placed upon 
the waves, had directed all their views to the empire of the 
sea,* of which the barbarians took no heed. Venice was at 
first under the dominion of the emperors of Constantinople ; 
but, in proportion with the decline of the Grreek empire, the 
republic acquired territory, strength, and splendour, which 
necessarily produced independence. From the tenth century, 
palaces of marble had replaced the humble huts of fishermen, 
scattered over the island of the Eialtc. The cities of Istria 
and Dalmatia obeyed the sovereigns of the Adriatic Sea. 
The republic, become formidable to the most powerful 
monarch, was able, at the least signal, to arm a fleet of a 
hundred galleys, which it employed suc^cessively against the 
G-reeks, the Saracens, and the Normans. The power of 
Venice was respected by all the nations of the West ; and 
the republics of Genoa and Pisa in vain contended with her 
for the domination of the seas. The Venetians remembered 
with pride these words of Pope Alexander III., when the 
republic had protested against the emperor of Germany, 
who presented a ring to the doge, saying, " Espouse the sea 
with this ring, that posterity may know that the Venetians 
have acquired the empire of the tuaves, and that the sea has 
been subjected to them as a woman is to her husband.^' 

The fleets of the A^enetians constantly visited the ports of 
Greece and Asia ; they transported pilgrims to Palestine, 
and returned laden with the rich merchandise of the East. 
The Venetians entered into the crusades with less eagerness 
and enthusiasm than other Christian nations, but knew well 
how to profit by them for their own interests ; whilst the 
warriors of Christendom were fighting for glory, for king- 
doms, or for the tomb of Christ, the merchants of Venice 
fought for counting-houses, stores, and commercial privi- 
leges ; and avarice often made them undertake that which 
other nations could not have been able to efiect but by an 
excess of religious zeal. The republic, which owed all its 
prosperity to its commercial relations, sought without scruple 

* Innocent III. said of the republic of Venice : Quae non agriculturia 
inservit, sed navigiis potius et mercimoniis estintenta. — See the first book 
of the Collection of the Letters of Innocent. 


the friendship and protection of the Mussulman powers of 
Syria and Egypt ; and often, even when all Europe was 
arming against the infidels, the Venetians were accused of 
supplying the enemies of the Christian nations with both 
arms and provisions. 

When the deputies of the Crusaders arrived at Venice, the 
republic had for doge Dandolo, so celebrated in its annals. 
Dandolo had for a length of time served his country in 
important missions, and in tlie command of its fleets and 
armies ; now, placed at the head of its government, he watched 
over its liberties and the operations of its laws. His 
labours in war and peace, his useful regulations of the money 
currency, with his administration of justice and public 
security, deservedly procured him the esteem and gratitude 
of his fellow-citizens. He had acquired the powder of mas- 
tering, by words, the passions of the multitude, even in the 
stormy disputes of a republic. 

Nobody was more skilful in seizing a favourable opportu- 
nity, or in taking advantage of the least circumstance for the 
furtherance of his designs. At the age of ninety, the doge 
of Venice exhibited no symptoms of senility but virtue and 
experience.* Everything that could save his country aroused 
his activity and inflamed his courage ; with the spirit of 
calculation and economy which distinguished his compatriots, 
Dandolo mingled passions the most generous, and threw an 
air of grandeur over all the enterprises of a trading people. 
His patriotism, always sustained by the love of glory, ap- 
peared to possess something of that sentiment of honour, and 
that chivalric greatness ofsoul which formed the predominant 
characteristic of his age. 

Dandolof praised with warmth an enterprise that appeared 

* Nicetas says in his history, that Dandolo was styled " The Prudent of 
the Prudent." 

f Several historians say that Dandolo was blind, and that the emperor 
Manuel Comnenus had deprived him of sight during an abode he made at 
Constantinople. One of his descendants, Andre Dandolo, says merely 
in his history that his ancestor was shortsighted (visu debilis). The part 
of the story connected with Manuel Comnenus appears to be a fable. 
Historians differ as to the age of Dandolo : Ducange, at the period of the 
crusade, gives him ninety -four years. Gibbon does not doubt of his 
blindness, though he has no faith in its having been caused by Manuel ; 
but he certainly assigns to him actions that could scarcely be performed 



glorious to him, and in whicli the interests of his country 
were not opposed to those of religion. The deputies re- 
quired vessels to transport four thousand five hundred 
knights and- twenty thousand foot, with provisions for the 
Christian army for nine months. Dandolo promised, in the 
name of the republic, to furnish the necessary provisions and 
vessels, on condition that the Crusaders should engage to 
pay the Venetians the sum of eighty-five thousand silver 
marks.* As he v/as not willing that the people of Venice 
should be unconnected with the expedition of the French 
Crusaders, Dandolo proposed to the deputies to arm, at the 
expense of the republic, fifty galleys, and demanded for his 
country half of the conquests that might be made in the 

The deputies accepted without hesitation the more in- 
terested than generous proposals of the doge. The condi- 
tions of the treaty were first examined in the doge's coun- 
cil,t composed of six patricians ; it was afterwards ratified in 
two other councils,]: and at last presented for the sanction 
of the people, who then exercised supreme power. § 

A general assembly was convoked in the church of St. 
Mark, and when the mass of the Holy Ghost had been cele- 
brated, the marshal of Champagne, accompanied by the other 
deputies, arose, and addressing the people of Venice, pro- 
nounced a discourse, the simple and unafiected expressions 
of which paint, better than we possibly can, the spirit and 
feelings of the heroic periods of our history. |j '^ The lords 

by a blind man. He does not believe the accounts of his very advanced 
age, saying, — " It is scarcely possible that the powers of mind and body 
should support themselves at such an age." — Trans. 

* Weight of Cologne or Geneva. See the terms of the treaty. 

f The Venetians undertook, in the treaty, to distribute to each indi- 
vidual of the army of the Crusaders, six setiers of bread, corn, wheat, or 
vegetables, and half a pitcher {demi-cruche) of wine ; for each horse three 
bushels, Venetian measure, and water in sufficient qu" fltities. We are 
not able to value the six setiers of corn, or the half-pitcher of wine, having 
no means of ascertaining the Venetian measures. 

X The original treaty may be seen in the Chronicle of Andrew Dandolo, 
pages 325, 328 of vol. xii. of Muratori. 

§ From the thirteenth century the aristocracy began at Venice to get 
the better of the democracy. — See History of Venice, by Laugier. 

11 Several authors have thought that Villehardouin could not write ; and 
they found their opinion upon what he himself says, — " /, who dictated 


and barons of Prance, the most higli and tlie most powerful; 
have sent us to you to pray you, in the name of God, to 
take pity on Jerusalem, which the Turks hold in bondage , 
they cry to you for mercy, and supplicate you to accompany 
them to avenge the disgrace of Jesus Christ. They have 
made choice of you, because they know that no people that 
b^ upon the sea have so great power as your nation. They 
;_ave commanded us to throw ourselves at your feet, and not 
tc rise until you shall have granted our request, until you 
shall have had pity on the Holy Land beyond the seas." At 
these words the deputies were moved to tears,* and feeling 
it no degradation to humble themselves in the cause of 
Christ,t they fell upon their knees and held up their hands 
in a supplicating manner towards the assembly of the people. 
The strong emotion of the barons and knights communicated 
itself to the Venetians, and ten thousand voices replied as 
one, " JVe grant your request.''^ The doge, ascending the 
tribunal, praised highly the earnestness and loyalty of the 
Prench barons, and spoke with enthusiasm of the honour 
Grod conferred upon the people of Venice m choosing them 
from amongst all other nations,J to partake in the glory of 
the most noble of enterprises, and associate them with the 
most valiant of warriors. He then read the treaty entered 
into with the Crusaders, and conjured his assembled fellow- 
citizens to give their consent to it in the forms ordained by 

this work.'* However that may be, the history of Villehardouin has been 
pronounced by learned men to be a model of the language that has 
ceaaed to be French. In the sixteenth century the language of the 
marshal of Champagne was already not understood ; his history was 
turned into modern French by Blaise de Vigenere towards the end of the 
sixteenth century ; this translation has itself become so old as to ^e now 
scarcely intelligible. The new version that Ducange made of it in the 
eeventeenth century still bears an impression of antiquity, which preserves 
something of the naivete of the original. We shall often have occasion 
to quote Villehardouin ; but we shall only quote the ancient versions, and 
sometimes from a translation we have ourselves made, alwajs endeavouring 
to preserve as far as possible the sim])licity of the old language. 

* Gibbon says, " A reader of Villehardouin must observe the frequent 
tears of the marshal and his brother knights ; they weep on every occasion 
of grief, Jov, or devotion.'' — Trans. 

f Maintenant li six messagers s'ageneuillent a la pies mull plorant.— 
Villehardouin, lib. i. 

% Persuasum omnes habent,solos Venetos man, Galloa terrA praepo* 
tsentes esse. — Rhamn. lib. i. 


the laws of the republic. Then the people arose, and cried 
TN-ith an unanimous shout, " We consent to it."" All the in- 
habitants of Venice were present at this meeting ; an im- 
mense multitude covered the place of St. Mark and filled the 
neighbouring streets. Religious enthusiasm, love of coun- 
try, surprise and joy were manifested by acclamations so 
loud and general, that it might be said, according to the ex- 
pression of the marshal of Champagne, " that the world was 
about to engage in one common conjiictr 

On the morrow of this memorable day, the deputies of the 
barons repaired to the palace of St. Mark, and swore on 
their swords and the Gospel, to fulfil all the engagements 
they had made. The preamble of the treaty recalled the 
faults and the misfortunes of the princes who had to that 
time undertaken the deliverance of the Holy Land, and 
praised the wisdom and prudence of the French lords and 
knights, who neglected nothing to assure the success of an 
enterprise full of difficulties and perils. The deputies were 
charged to endeavour to cause the conditions they had 
sworn to to be adopted by their brothers in arms the barons 
and knights,by the whole of theirnation, and if possible, by 
their sovereign lord the king of France. The treaty was 
written on parchment and sent immediately to Rome, to 
receive the approbation of the pope ; and, full of confidence 
in the future, as well as in the alliance they had contracted, 
the French knights and the patricians of Venice exchanged 
the most touching protestations of friendship.* The doge 
lent the barons the sum of ten thousand silver marks, and 
the latter swore never to forget the services the republic 
had rendered to Jesus Christ. " There were then shed," 
says Villehardouin, "many tears of tenderness and joy." 

The government of Venice was a new spectacle for the 
French nobles ; deliberations of the people were perfectly 
unknown to them, and must have struck them with asto- 
nishment. On the other side, the embassy of the knights 
and barons could not fail to flatter the pride of the Vene- 
tians ; the latter felicitated themselves upon being thus ac- 
knowledged as the greatest maritime nation, and, never 

* Vigenere, the translator of Villehardouin, informs us that in his 
time the treaty between the Venetians and the French, concluded in. tlia 
moi^th of April, 1201, was still preserved in the Chancery of Venice. 


Beparjiting their glory from their commercial interests, re^ 
joiced at having made so advantageous a bargain. The 
knights, on the contrary, only thought of honour and the 
cause of Christ ; and although the treaty was ruinous to the 
Crusaders, they bore back the news to their companions in 
a_mis with the greatest joy and satisfaction.* 

The preference given to the Venetians by the Crusaders 
naturally excited the jealousy of the other maritime powers 
of Italy ; thus the French deputies, upon going to Pisa and 
Grenoa to solicit the aid of the two republics in the name of 
Jesus Christ, met with a cold reception and a perfect indif- 
ference for the deliverance of the holy places. 

The account of what had taken place at Venice, and the 
presence of the' barons, did not fail, however, to arouse the 
enthusiasm of the inhabitants of Lombardy and Piedmont ; 
a great number of them took the cross and arms, and pro- 
mised to follow Boniface, marquis of Montferrat, to the Holy 

The marshal of Champagne, whilst crossing Mount Cenis, 
met Grauthier de Brienne, who had taken the cross at the 
castle of Eery, and was on his way to Apulia. He had mar- 
ried one of the daughters of Tancred, last king of Sicily. 
Followed by sixty knights of Champagne, he was going to 
endeavour to make good the claims of his wife, and conquer 
the kingdom founded by the Norman knights. The marshal 
Villehardouin and Gauthier de Brienne congratulated each 
other upon the brilliant prospects of their expeditions, and 
promised to meet again in the plains of Egypt and Syria. 
Thus the future presented nothing to the knights of the 

* The author of the History of the Republics of Italy recapitulates thus 
the sum that was due to the Venetians by the Crusaders : — 

For four thousand five hundred horses, at four"! ,q -^^-^ 

marks per horse J ' 

For the knights, at two marks per knight 9,000 

For twenty thousand foot-soldiers, at two marks ~| .^ t\nn. 

persoldier / ^^'^^^ 

For two squires per horse, nine thousand squires. . 18,000 

Total marks 85,000 

fiigl ty-five thousand marks of silver are equal to four millions twf 
hun»lred and fifty thousand francs. 


cross bat victories and trophies ; and the hope of conquenng 
distant kingdoms redoubled their ardour. 

When the deputies arrived in Champagne, they found 
Thibault dangerously ill. The prince was so delighted at 
learning the success of their embassy, that, heedless of the 
disease that had confined him to his bed, he insisted upon 
putting on his armour and mounting on horseback ; but "this 
was great pity and misfortune," says Yillehardouin ; " for the 
malady increased, and gathered such strength, that he declared 
his will, took leave of his friends, and got no more on horse- 
back." Thibault, the model and hope of the Christian knights, 
died in the flower of his age, deeply regretted by his vassals 
and companions in arms. He deplored before the barons 
the rigorous destiny that condemned him thus to die without 
glory, at the moment that he was about to gather the palms 
of victory or of martyrdom in the plains of the East ; he 
exhorted them to perform the vow he had made to Grod to 
deliver Jerusalem, and left them all his treasures to be em- 
ployed in this holy enterprise. An epitaph in Lftlin verse, 
which still exists, celebrates the virtues and pious zeal of 
Count Thibault, recalls the preparations for his pilgrimage,* 
and terminates by saying, that this young prince found the 
heavenly Jerusalem, when about to seek the earthly Jerusalem. 

After the death of the count of Champagne, the barons 
and knights who had taken the cross, assembled to choose 
another leader, and their election fell upon the count de Bar 
and the duke of Burgundy. The count de Bar refused to 
take the command of the Christian army. Eudes III., duke 
of Burgundy, still mourned the death of his father, who had 
died in Palestine after the third crusade, and could not be 
induced to quit his duchy to undertake the pilgrimage to the 
East. The refusal of these two princes was a subject of 
scandal for the soldiers of the cross ; and contemporary his- 
tory informs us that they afterwards repented of the indif- 
ference they had evinced for the cause of Christ.f The duke 

* Thibault was buried in the church of St. Stephen of Troyes ; his 
epitaph finishes with these verses : — 

Terrenam quserens, ccelestem repperit urbem ; 
Dum pvocul hsec potitur, obviat ille dorai. 

t The History q<' Burgundy hy Courtepee and Beguillet has here com. 


of Eurgundy, who died within a few years, was desirous of 
taking the cross on his bed of death, and, to expiate his 
fault, sent several of his warriors into Palestine. 

The knights and barons then offered the command to 
Boniface, marquis of Montferrat.* Boniface belonged to a 
family of Christian heroes ; his brother Conrad had rendered 
himself famous by the defence of Tyre, and he himself had 
already fought many times against the infidels : he did not 
hesitate m complying with the wishes of the Crusaders. He 
came to Soissons, where he received the cross from the 
hands of the cure of Neuilly, and was proclaimed leader of 
the crusade in the church of Notre Dame, in the presence 
of the clergy and the people. 

Two years had passed away since the sovereign pontift' 
had ordered the bishops to preach the crusade in their 
dioceses. The situation of the Christians of the East be- 
came every day more deplorable ; the kings of Jerusalem 
and Armenia, the patriarchs of Antioch and the holy city, 
and the grand masters of the military orders, addressed day 
after day their complaints and lamentations to the Holy See. 
Touched by their prayers. Innocent again exhorted the faith- 
ful, and conjured the Crusaders to hasten their departure; 
warmly censuring the indifterence of those who, after having 
taken the cross, appeared to be forgetful of their vow. The 
Christian father, above all, reproached the ecclesiastics with 
their tardiness in paying the fortieth part of their revenues, 
destined to the expenses of the holy war : " and you and we," 
said he, "and all persons supported by the goods of the 
Church, ought we not all to fear that the inhabitants of 
Nineveh should appear against us at the day of judgment, 
and pronounce our condemnation ? for they were made peni- 
tent by the preaching of Jonas ; and you, not only you have 
not rent your hearts, you have not even opened your hands 
to succour Christ in his poverty, and repulse the opprobrium 
with which the infidels load him." The epoch of a holy war 

mitted a great error in making Eudes III. set out on the crusade, and 
take a part in the capture of Constantinople. 

* Villehardouin makes thus the eulogy of Boniface, marquis of Mont- 
ferrat : — " The marquis Boniface is, as every one knows, a very valoroiis 
prince, and most esteemed for knowledge of war and feats of arms of any 
one at the present day living.'' 


being for Christians a season of penitence, the sovereign 
pontiff proscribed, in his letters, sumptuousness in living, 
splendour in dress, and public amusements ; and although 
tiie new crusade had been first preached at the tournament 
of Eery, tournaments were in the number of diversions and 
spectacles forbidden to all Christians by the holy father 
during the space of five years. 

To reanimate the courage and confidence of those who 
had taken the cross. Innocent told them of the new divisions 
that had sprung up among the Mussulman princes, and of 
the scourges with which God had recently afflicted Egypt. 
" God," cried the pontiff, " has struck the country of Babylon 
with the rod of his power ; the Nile,* that river of Paradise, 
which fertilizes the land of the Egyptians, has not had its 
accustomed course. This chastisement has given them up 
to death, and prepared the triumph of their enemies." The 
letters of the pope had the desired effect. The marquis of 
Montferrat went into France, towards the autumn of the 
year 1201, and the whole winter was devoted to preparations 
for the holy war. These preparations were unaccompanied 
by disorder, and the princes and barons refused to receive 
under their banners any but disciplined soldiers and men 
accustomed to the use of the lance and the sword. Some 
voices were raised against the Jews, whom they desired to 
force to contribute to the expenses of the holy war ;t but the 
pope took them under his protection, and threatened all who 
made attempts upon their lives or Kberty with excommuni- 

* At the same time that Egypt experienced all the horrors of famine, 
Richard of St. Germain and the Chronicle of Fossa-Nova (see Muratori) 
say that a great dearth was felt in Italy and Spain ; one of them adds that 
this year, 1202, was known under the name of " annus famis." Mezerai 
speaks of this famine, which was felt in France, and attributes it to the war 
Ihen carried on between Philip and Richard. " The two kings," says he, 
"pillaged the lands, pulled up their vines, cut down the trees, cut the 
harvest whilst unripe, and destroyed more cities and towns in one day 
than had been built in ages. Famine followed these horrible ravages, 
says an author ; so that many of the richest were reduced to beg their 
bread, and finding none to give it to them, ate grass and burrowed in the 
ea^th for roots." 

t The pr>"'e was satisfied with liberating the Crusaders from the 
usurious debcs which they owed to the Jews. At tha period all interest 
upon money lent was considered usury 


Eefore tliey left their homes, the Crusaders had to deplore 
the loss of the holy orStor who had awakened their zeal and 
animated their courage. Foulques fell sick, and died in hia 
parish of Neuilly. Some time before, loud murmurs had 
been heard respecting his conduct, and his words had ceased 
to exercise their accustomed power over the minds of his 
auditors. Foulques had received considerable sums of money 
destined for the expenses of the holy war, and as he was 
accused of appropriating these to his own use, the more 
money he amassed, says James of Vitri,* the more con- 
sideration and credit he lost. The suspicions attached to 
his conduct were not, however, generally credited. The 
marshal of Champagne informs us, m his history, that the 
knights and barons were deeply affected by the death of the 
cure of Neuilly. Foulques was buried in the church of his 
parish with great pomp ; his tomb, a monument of the piety 
of his contemporaries, attracted, even in the last century 
the respect and veneration of the faithful.f 

With the earliest days of spring the Crusaders prepared 
to quit their homes, " and knew," says ViUehardouin, " that 
many tears were shed at their parting, and at taking leave 

* Jacques of Vitri, when speaking of the suspicions and murmurs that 
arose against Foulques of Neuilly, expresses himself thus : — Et crescente 
pecunia, timor et reverentia decrescebant. 

t The Abbe Lebeuf, in his History of the Diocese of Paris, vol. vi. 
p. 20, gives us a description of the tomb of Foulques of Neuilly, which 
was still standing in the last century. ** The tomb of Foulques, the 
famous cure of this place about the year 1200, is in the nave, before the 
entrance to the choir, built of stone a foot and a half high. It is the 
work of the age in which this pious personage died. Foulques is repre- 
sented in relief upon the monument, clothed as a priest, his head bare, 
having the tonsure on the top, and the hair so short that the whole of his 
ears is visible. A book is laid upon his breast, which he does not hold, 
as his hands are crossed above, the right placed upon the left. His 
chasuble and his manipule represent the vestments of his times. He has 
under him a kind of footstool, cut in the stone, and two angels in relief 
incense his head, which is placed towards the west ; for, after the ancient 
manner, his feet are pointed to the east, or the altar. It is not true, as 
has been said, that this tomb is incensed, nor has it any arms. He is 
called in ihe country Sir Foulques, and sometimes Saint Sire Foulques. 
There is a tradition that the canons of St. Maur formerly endeavoured to 
carry it away ; but the immobility of the car with which this story is 
adorned, tells us what degree of faith may be attached to it." M. I'Abbe 
Chastelain names his death, in his Universal Martyrology, as having 
taken "^lace on the 2nd of March, 1201, and qualifies him as venerable. 


of their relations and friends." The count of Flanders, the 
counts of Blois and St. Paul, followed by a great number of 
riemisli warriors and their vassals ; the marshal of Cham- 
pagne, accompanied by several Champenois knights, ad- 
vanced across Burgundy, and passed the Alps to repair to 
Venice. The Marquis Boniface soon joined them, bringing 
with him the Crusaders of Lombardy, Piedmont, Savoy, and 
the countries situated between the Alps and the lihone. 
Venice also received within its walls the warriors from the 
banks of the E-hine, some under the command of the bishop 
of Halberstadt, and others under that of Martin-Litz, who 
had persuaded them to take arms, and still continued to 
animate them by the example of his virtues and piety. 

When the Crusaders reached Venice,* the fleet that was 
to 4:ransport them into Asia, was ready to set sail : they were 
at first received with every demonstration of joy ; but amidst 
the festivities that followed their arrival,t the Venetians 
called upon the barons to redeem their word, and pay the 
sum agreed upon for transporting the Christian army ; and 
then it was that, with deep grief, the barons became a,ware 
of the absence of a great number of their companions in 
arms. Jean de Nesle, chatelain of Bruges, and Thierri, son 
of Philip, count of Elanders, had promised Baldwin to bring 
to him, at Venice, Marguerite, his wife, and a chosen band 
of Flemish warriors : they did not keep their appointment, 
for having embarked upon the ocean, they had directed their 
course to Palestine. Kenaud de Dampierre, to whom Thi- 
bault, count of Champagne, had left all his treasures to be 
employed in the voyage to the Holy Land, had embarked with 
a great number of Champenois knights at the port of Bari, 
The bishop of Autun, Gilles, count of Ferez, and severa- 
other leaders, after having sworn upon the Gospel to join 
the other Crusaders, had set out from Marseilles, and others 
from Genoa. Thus half the Crusaders did not come to 

* Villeliardouin says, when speaking of the arrival of the Crusaders at 
Venice, " No nobler people were ever seen, nor better appointed, nor 
more disposed to do something good for the honour of God and the 
service of Christendom." 

f Upon the sojourn of the Crusaders at Venice, Gesta Innocentii^ 
Villehardouin and Ducange, Sanuti, Herold, D'Outreman, Fleuiy, His- 
ioire Eccleniasiique, vol. xviii., I'Abbe Langier, &c &c., iray be con- 


\remce, whicli had been agreed upon as the general rendez- 
vous of the Cijistian army : " by which," says Villehardoum, 
" they recei zed great shame, and many misadventures after- 
wards befeL them in consequence of it." 

This breach of faith might prove very injurious to the 
enterprise ; but what most grieved the princes and barons 
assembled at Venice, was the impossibihty of fulfilling their 
engagements with the republic without the concurrence of 
their unfaithful companions. They sent messengers into all 
parts to warn the Crusaders that had set out, and to implore 
them to join the main army ; but whether most of the pil- 
grims were dissatisfied with the agreement entered into with 
the Venetians, or whether it appeared to them more con- 
venient and safe to embark at ports in their own vicinity, a 
very small number of them could be prevailed upon to repair 
to Venice. Those who were already in that city, were neither 
sufficiently numerous nor sufficiently rich to pay the pro- 
mised amount, or fulfil the engagements made in their names. 
Although the Venetians were more interested in the crusade 
than the French knights, as they possessed a part of the cities 
of Tyre and Ptoleraais, which they were going to defend, they 
were unwilling to make any sacrifice, and the barons, on 
their side, were too proud to ask any favour, or to solicit the 
Venetians to change or moderate the conditions of the 
treaty. Each of the Crusaders was required to pay the 
price of his passage. The rich paid for the poor ; soldiers 
as well as knights being eager to give all the money they 
possessed, persuaded, they said, that Grod was powerful 
enough to return it to them a hundred-fold, when it should 
please him. The count of Elanders, the counts of Blois 
and St. Paul, the marquis of Montferrat, and several other 
leaders despoiled themselves of their plate, their jewels, and 
everything they had that was most valuable,* and only re- 
tained their horses and arms. Notwithstanding this noble 
sacrifice, the Crusaders still were indebted to the republic a 
sum of fifty thousand silver marks. The doge then assembled 
the people, and represented to thc"! that it was not honour- 
able to employ too much rigour , and proposed to demand 

* Then might be seen so many beautiful and rich vessels of gold and 
silver heaped up here and there, and carried to the hotel of the duke as 
pari of their payment. — J' Hi hardouin. 


of the Crusaders the assistance of their army for the ropubhc, 
until they could discharge their debt. 

The city of Zara had been for a length of time under the 
dominion of the Venetians ; but thinking the government of 
a king less insupportable than that of a republic, it had 
given itself up to the king of Hungary, and, under the pro- 
tection of a new master, braved the authority and menaces 
of Venice. After having obtained the approbation of the 
people, Dandolo proposed to the Crusaders to assist the re- 
public in subduing a revolted city, and promised to put off 
the entire execution of the treaty until God, by their 
common conquests, should have given them the means of 
fulfilling their promises. This proposition was received with 
much joy by the greater part of the Crusaders, who could 
not support the idea of being unable co keep their word ; the 
barons and knights deemed it prudent to conciliate the Vene- 
tians, who were so serviceable to them in carrying out their 
enterprise, and thought they did but little to pay their debts 
by an affair in which they should expend nothing but their 

Some murmurs, however, arose in the Christian army; 
many of the Crusaders recollected the oath they had taken 
to fight the infidels, and could not make up their minds to 
turn their arms against a Christian people. The pope had 
sent the Cardinal Peter of Capua to Venice, to deter the 
pilgrims from an enterprise which he termed sacrilegious. 
" The king of Hungary had taken the cross, and by doing so 
had placed himself under the especial protection of the 
Church ; and to attack a city belonging to him was to dee.are 
themselves enemies of the Church itself." Henry Dandolo 
braved menaces and reproaches that he deemed to be unjust. 
" The privileges of the Crusaders," said he, " could not 
screen the guilty from the severity of laws divine and human. 
Crusades were not undertaken to promote the ambition of 
kings or protect rebellious nations.* The pope had not the 
power to enchain the authority of sovereigns, or turn the 

* The Venetians might have said, and no doubt did. say on this occa- 
sion, that the king of Hungary had taken the cross many years before, 
and had done nothing yet toward? the fulfilment of his vow. Andrew did 
not set out for Palestine till many years after the <?aking of Constan- 


Crusaders aside from a legitimate enterprise ; from a wai 
made against revolted subjects, against pirates whose bri- 
gandage perilled the freedom of the seas, and jeopardized the 
safety of pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land." 

To complete his conquest over all scruples, and dissipate 
all fears, the doge resolved to associate himself with the 
perils and labours of the crusade, and to engage his fellow- 
citizens to declare themselves the companions in arms of the 
Crusaders. The people being solemnly convoked, Dandolo 
ascended the pulpit of St. Mark, and demanded of the assem- 
bled Venetians permission to take the cross. " Seigneurs,'* 
said he to them, " you have made an engagement to concur 
in the most glorious of enterprises ; the warriors with whom 
you have contracted a holy alliance, surpass all other men in 
piety and valour. For myself, you see that I am laden with 
years, and have need of repose ; but the glory that is pro- 
mised to us restores me courage and strength to brave all the 
perils, to support all the labours of war. I feel by the 
ardour that leads me on, by the zeal which animates me, that 
nobody will merit your confidence, nobody will conduct you 
so well as the man you have chosen as head of your republic. 
If you will permit me to fight for Jesus Christ, and allow my 
son to perform the duties you have confided to me, I will go 
and live or die with you and the pilgrims." 

At this discourse, his whole auditory was much afiected, 
and the people loudly applauded the resolution of the doge. 
Dandolo descended from the tribunal, and was led in triumph 
to the foot of the altar, where the cross was attached to his 
ducal cap. A great number of Venetians followed his 
example, and swore to die for the deliverance of the holy 
places. By this skilful policy, the doge completely won the 
Crusaders, and placed himself, in a manner, at the head of 
the crusade. He soon found himself sufficiently powerful to 
deny the authority of the cardinal of Capua, who spoke in 
the name of the pope, and pretended to have a right to direct 
the holy war, in his character of legate of the Holy See. 
X)andolo told the envoy of Innocent, that the Christian army 
stood in no need of leaders to conduct it, and that the legates 
of the sovereign pontiff ought to content themselves with 
edifying the Crusaders by their examples and discourbes. 

This bold, free language very much astonished the Erencb 


barons, accustomed to respect tlie will of the Holy See ; but 
the doge, by taking the cross, had inspired them with a con- 
fidence nothing could shake. The cross of the pilgrims was, 
for the Venetians and French, a pledge of alliance, a sacred 
tie, which united all their interests, and made of them, in a 
manner, but one same nation. From that time no one 
listened to those who spoke in the name of the Holy See,* 
or persisted in raising scruples in the minds of the Cru- 
saders. The barons and knights showed the same zeal and 
ardour for the expedition against Zara as the Venetians 
themselves. The army of the Crusaders was ready to 
embark, when there happened, says Villehardouin, " a great 
wonder, an unhoped-for circumstance, the strangest that ever 
was heard of."t 

Isaac, emperor of Constantinople, had been dethroned by 
his brother Alexius. Abandoned by all his friends, deprived 
of sight, and loaded with irons, this unhappy prince lan- 
guished in a dungeon. The son of Isaac, named also Alexius, 
who shared the captivity of his father, having deceived the 
vigilance of his guards and broken his chains, had fled into 
the West, in the hope that the princes and kings would one 
day undertake his defence, and declare war against the 
usurper of the imperial throne. Philip of Swabia, who had 
married Irene, the daughter of Isaac,;J; received the young 
prince kindly ; but he was not then in a position to under- 
t[ike anything in his favour, being fully engaged in defending 
himself against the arms of Otho and the menaces of the 
Holy See. Young Alexius next in vain threw himself at the 
feet of the pope, to implore his assistance. AVhether the 
pontiff saw in the son of Isaac only the brother-in-law oi 

* The monk Gunther does not at all spare the Venetians, and re- 
proaches them bitterly with having diverted the Crusaders from their holy 
enterprise. The pious resolution of the leaders of the crusade, says he, 
was subverted by the perfidy and wicked artifices of these masters of the 
Adriatic, — fraude et nequitia Venetorum. 

f With the true spirit of an antiquary, M. Michaud delights in throwing 
a character of the "olden time" into the language of Villehardouin, 
which is in a degree effective in the French, but is with much diftculty 
conveyed into English. — Trans. 

X Irene, the daughter of Isaac, had been affianced to William, son of 
Tancred, king of Sicily ; being taken into Germany, with the rest of the 
family of Tancred, she had married Philip of Swabia. 


Pliillp of Swabia, then considered an enemy to the court of 
Kome, or whether all his attention was directed towards the 
East, he gave no ear to the complaints of Alexius, and seemed 
to dread countenancing a war against Grreece. The fugitive 
prince had in vain solicited most of the Christian monarch s, 
when he was advised to address himself to the Crusaders, the 
noblest warriors of the West. The arrival of his ambassadors 
created a lively sensation at Venice ; the knights and barons 
were impressed with generous pity by the account of his 
misfortunes ; they had never defended a more glorious cause. 
To avenge injured innocence, to remedy a great calamity, 
stirred the spirit of Dandolo ; and the proud republicans, 
whose head he was, feelingly deplored the fate of a fugitive 
emperor. They had not forgotten that the usurper preferred 
to an alliance with them one with the Grenoese and Pisans ; 
it appeared to them that the cause of Alexius was their own, 
and that their vessels ought to bear him back to the ports of 
Greece and Byzantium. 

Nevertheless, as everything was prepared for the conquest 
of Zara, the decision of this business was deferred to a more 
favourable opportunity ; and the fleet, with the Crusaders on 
board, set sail amidst the sounds of martial music and the 
acclamation of the whole population of Venice. Never had 
a fleet so numerous or so magnificently equipped been seen 
in the Adriatic Grulf. The sea was covered vdth four 
hundred and eighty ships ; the number of the combatants, 
horse and foot, amounted to forty thousand men. After 
having subdued Trieste and some other maritime cities of 
Istria that had shaken off* the yoke of Venice, the Crusaders 
arrived before Zara on the 10th day of November, 1202, the 
eve of St. Martin. Zara,* situated on the eastern side of the 
Adriatic Grulf, sixty leagues from Venice, and five leagues 
north of Jadera, an ancient Roman colony, was a rich and 
populous city, fortified by high walls, and surrounded by a 

* Villehardouin aud Gunther give very circumstantial details of the 
siege of Zara, and of the debates that followed it. (See also, on the 
subject of these debates, the letters of Innocent.) The Abbe Fleury, in 
the sixteenth volume of his Ecclesiastical History, displays sufficiently the 
spirit that then actuated the Crusaders. M. Lebeau, in the twentieth 
volume of the History of the Lower Empire, and the Abb^ Laugier, in 
the second volume of liis History of Venice, say a great deal concerning 
the siege of Zara. 


sea studded with rocks. The \dng; of Hungary had sent 
troops to defend it, and the inhabitants had sworn to bury 
themselves beneath the ruins of the place rather than 
surrender to the Venetians. At the sight of the ramparts of 
the city, the Crusaders perceived all the difficulty of the 
enterprise, and the party opposed to this war again ventured 
to murmur. The leaders, however, gave the signal for the 
assault. As soon as the chains of the port were broken, and 
the machines began to make the walls shake, tlie inhabitants 
forgot the resolution they had formed of dying in defence of 
their ramparts, and, filled with dread, sent deputies to the 
doge, who promised to pardon them on account of their 
repentance. But the deputies charged with the petition for 
peace, met with several Crusaders among the besiegers, who 
said to them, " Why did you surrender ? you have nothing 
to fear from the French ?" These imprudent words rekindled 
the war ; the deputies, on their return, announced to the 
inhabitants that all the Crusaders were not their enemies, 
and that Zara would preserve its liberty if the people and 
soldiers were willing to defend it. The party of the mal- 
contents, whose object was to divide the army, seized this 
opportunity for revi™g their complaints ; the most ardent 
amongst them, insinuating themselves into the tents of the 
soldiers, and endeavouring to disgust them with a war which 
they termed impious. 

Gruy, abbot of Yaux do Cernai, of the order of Citeaux, 
made himself conspicuous by his endeavours to secure the 
failure of the enterprise against Zara ; everything that could 
divert the march of the Crusaders from the route to the holy 
places,* was, in his eyes, an attack upon religion. The most 
brilliant exploits, if not performed in the cause of Christ, 
co'ild command neither his esteem nor his approbation. The 
aboot of Cernai was deficient in neither subtlety nor elo- 
quence, and knew how to employ both prayers and menaces 
effectively ; he had that influence over the pilgrims that au 

* Katona, in his Histoire Critique desRois de Hongrie, expresses him- 
self with bitterness against the Crusaders, and relates facts very little 
favourable to the Venetians and French who laid siege to Zara. Arch- 
deacon Thomas, one of the historians of Hungary, does not spare the 
Venetians, whom he accuses of tyranny, and who made, he says, their 
maritime power detested by all the excesses of violence and injustice. 


mflexible mind and an ardent, obstinate character always 
obtains over the multitude. In a council, he arose, and 
forbade the Crusaders to draw their swords against Chris- 
tians, and was about to read a letter from the pope, when he 
was interrupted by threats and cries. 

Amidst the tumult which followed in the council and the 
army, the abbot of Cernai would have been in danger of his 
life, if the count de Montfort, who partook his sentiments, 
had not drawn his sword in his defence. The barons and 
knights could not, however, forget the promise they had 
made to fight for the republic of Venice ; nor could they 
think of laying down their arms in presence of an enemy 
that had promised to surrender, and who now defied their 
attacks. The greater the efi'orts of the count de Montfort 
and the abbot of Cernai to interrupt the war, the more they 
conceived their honour and glory to be engaged to continue 
the siege they had begun. Whilst the malcontents were 
giving vent to their scruples and complaints, the bravest of 
the army proceeded to the assault. The besieged, w^hose 
hopes were built upon the divisions among their enemies, 
placed crosses upon the walls, persuaded that this revered 
sign would protect them more effectually than their machines 
of war ; but they were not long in finding that there was no 
safety for them except in submission. On the 5th day of the 
siege, without having ofi^ered their enemies any serious 
resistance, they opened their gates, and only obtained from 
the conqueror liberty and life. The city was given up to 
pillage, and the booty divided between the Venetians and 
the Erench. 

One of the results of this conquest was a fresh quarrel in 
the victorious army, in which more blood flowed than had 
been shed duriug the siege. The season being too far 
advanced to allow the fleet to put to sea, the doge proposed 
to the Crusaders to winter at Zara. The two nations occu- 
pied different quarters of the city ; but as the Venetians 
had chosen the handson\est and most commodious houses, 
tiie French loudly prochiimed their dissatisfaction. After a 
few complaints and many threats, they had recourse to 
arms, and eveiy street became the theatre of a conflict ; the 
inhabitants of Zara beheld with delight the sanguinary dis- 
putes of their coiiqaerors. The partisans o:^ the abbot of 
Vol. II.— 4 


Ceruai applauded in secret the deplorable consequences of 
a war they had condemned ; whilst the doge of Venice and 
t]ie barons employed every eflbrt to separate the com- 
batants. Their prayers and threats at first had no effect in 
appeasing this horrible tumult, which was prolonged to the 
middle of the night. On the morrow, all the passions that 
divided the army were near breaking out with increased 
fury. Whilst interring their dead, the French and Vene- 
tians renewed their disputes and menaces. The leaders 
were, for more than a week, in despair of being able to 
calm the irritated spirits of their followers, and reunite the 
soldiers of the two nations. Scarcely was order re-esta- 
blished when a letter was received from the pope, who 
disapproved of the capture of Zara, ordered the Crusaders 
to renounce the booty they had made in a Christian city, 
and to engage themselves, by a solemn vow, to repair the 
injuries they had inflicted. Innocent reproached the Vene- 
tians bitterly with having seduced the soldiers of Christ 
into this impious and sacrilegious war. This letter from 
the pope was received with respect by the French, with 
disdain by the Crusaders of Venice. The latter openly 
refused to bow to the decisions of the Holy See ; and to 
seciire the fruits of their victory, began to demolish the 
ramparts of Zara. The French barons could not endure the 
idea of havmg incurred the anger of the pope, and sent 
deputies to Rome to endeavour to mitigate the displeasure 
of his holiness, and solicit their pardon, alleging that they 
had only obeyed the law of necessity. The greater part of 
them, though fully determined to retain all they had ob- 
tained, promised the pope to restore their spoils : they 
undertook, by a solemn act, addressed to all Christians, to 
repair the wrongs they had done, and to merit by their 
conduct pardon for past errors.* Their submission, far 
more than their promises, disarmed the anger of the i)ope, 

* We feel bound to present the text of this oath : — B. Fland, et Hain., 
L. Blesen et Clar. et H. S. P. comites, Oddo de Chanliet, et W, frater 
ejus, omnibus ad quos litterae istse pervenerint, salutem in Domino. 
Notum fieri volumus, quod super eo quod apud JaJeram incurrimus ex- 
communicationem apostolicam, vel incurrisse nos timemus, tarn nos quam 
successores nostros sedi apostolicos obligamus, quod Ad mandatum ejus 
satisfactionem curabimus exhibere. Dat. apud Jaderam, anno Domini 
1203, mense Apriiis. 


who replied to them with mildness, and commanded the 
.eaders to salute the knights and pilgrims, giving t'rem 
absolution and his benediction, as to his children. He 
exhorted them, in his letter, to set out for Syria, witJiout 
tK/rning to the right or the left ; and permittmg them to 
cross the sea with the Venetians, whom he had just excom- 
municated^* hut only ftrom necessity^ and with hitterness of 
heart. If the Venetians persisted in their disobedience, the 
sovereign pontiff advised the barons, when they arrived in 
Palestine, to separate themselves from a people reproved of 
God, for fear of bringing a malediction upon the Christian 
army, as formerly Achan had brought down the divine 
wrath upon the Israelites. Innocent promised the Cru- 
saders to protect them in their expedition, and to watch 
over their wants during the perils of the holy war. " In 
order that you may not want provisions," said he to them, 
" we win write to the emperor of Constantinople to furnish 
you with them, as he has promised ; if that be refused to 
you which is refused to none, it will not be unjust, if, 
after the example of many holy persons, you. take provisions 
wherever you may find them ; for it will be known that you 
are devoted to the cause of Christ, to whom all the world 
belongs." t These counsels and these promises, which so 
completely reveal to us the spirit of the thirteenth century 
and the policy of the Holy See, were received by the knights 
and barons as evidence of the paternal goodness of the 
sovereign pontiff: but the face of things was about again to 
change ; and fortune, which sported with the decisions of 
the pope as well as those of the pilgrims, was not long in 

* The pope adds, whilst speaking of the Venetians : " Excommunicated 
as they are, they still remained tied by their promises ; and you are not 
the less authorized to require the performance of them ; it is further a 
maxim of right, that in passing over the land of a heretic or an excom- 
municated person, you may buy or receive necessary things from him. 
Moreover, excommunication denounced against the father of a family, 
does not prevent his household from communicating with him." 

f This permission to live by pillage, even in a friendly country, is 
remarkable, particularly as the pope pretends to authorize it by examples 
from Scripture. — Fleury, Hint. EccL book Ixxv. 

Innocent, in giving the Crusaders permission to take provisions wherever 
they may find them, adds, '' I'rovided it be with the fear of God, v.ithout 
doing injury to any person, and with a resolution to make restitution." 


giving an entirely new lirection to the events of ine 

Ambassadors from Philip of Swabia, brother-in-law of 
young Alexius, arrived at Zara, and addressed the council 
of the lords and barons, assembled in the palace of the doge 
of Venice. " Seigneurs," said they, " the puissant king of 
the Romans sends us to recommend to you the young 
prince Alexius, and to place him in your hands, under the 
safeguard of God. We do not come for the purpose of 
turning you aside from your holy enterprise, but to offer 
you an easy and a certain means of accomplishing your 
noble designs. We know that you have only taken up 
arms for the love of Christ and of justice ; we come, there- 
fore, to propose to you to assist those who are oppressed by 
unjust tyranny, and to secure at oiice the triumph of the 
laws of religion and humanity : we propose to you to turn 
your victorious arms towards the capital of Greece, which 
groans under the rod of an usurper, and to assure yourselves 
for ever of the conquest of Jerusalem by that of Constanti- 
nople. You know, as well as we do, how many evils, our 
fathers, the companions of Godfrey, Conrad, and Louis the 
Young, suffered from having left behind them a powerful 
empire, the conquest and submission of which would have 
become a source of victories to their arms. What have you 
not now to dread from this Alexius, more cruel and more 
perfidious than his predecessors, who has gained a throne by 
parricide, who has, at once, betrayed the laws of religion and 
nature, and whose only means of escaping from the punish- 
ment due to his crime is by allying himself with the Sara- 
cens ? We will r.ot tell you how easy a matter it would be 
to wrest the empire from the hands of a tyrant hated by his 
subjects, for your valour loves obstacles and delights in 
dangers ; nor will Wc spread before your eyes the riches of 
Byzantium and Greece, for your generous souls aim at 
nothing in this conquest, but the glory of your arms and 
the cause of Jesus Christ. 

" If you overturn the power of the usurper in order that 
the legitimate sovereign may reign, the son of Isaac pro- 
mises, under the faith of oaths the most inviolable, to main- 
tain, during a year, both your fleet and your army, and to 
pay jQu two hundred thousand silver marks towards the 

H1ST0E,Y Oi" THE CliUSAi>ES. 6J 

expenses of the war. He will accompany you in person ir 
the conquest of Syria or I^gypt ; and ii' you think proper^ 
will furnish ten thouiHaud men, as his pcrtion of the arma- 
ment ; and, moreover, will maintain, during tho whole of his 
life, five hundred knights in the Holy Land. But that 
which must weigh above all other considei'ations, with 
warriors and Christian heroes, is that Alexius is willing to 
swear, on the holy Gospel, to put an end to the heresy 
which now defiles the empire of the East, and to subject the 
Greek Church to the Church of Kome. So many advantages 
bemg attached to the enterprise proposed to you, we feel 
confident you will listen to our prayers. We see in Holy 
Writ that God sometimes employed men the most simple 
and the most obscure to make known his will to his chosen 
people ; on this occasion, it is a young prince he has ap- 
pointed the instrument of his designs ; it is Alexius that 
Providence has commissioned to lead you in the way of the 
Lord, and to point out to you the road you must follow 
to render certain the triumph of the armies of Jesus 

This discourse made a strong impression upon a great 
number of the knights and barons, but it did not command 
the suffrages of the whole assembly. The doge and the 
lords dismissed the ambassadors, telling them they woidd 
deliberate upon the proposals of Alexius. Warm debates 
then ensued in the council ; those that had been averse to 
the siege of Zara, among whom the abbot of Yaux de Cemai 
was still conspicuous, opposed the expedition to Constanti- 
nople with great vehemence ; they were indignant that the 
interests of God should be placed in the balance against 
those of Alexius ; they added that this Isaac, whose cause 
they were called upon to defend, was himself an usurper, 
elevated by a revolution to the throne of the Comnenas ; 
that he had been, during the third crusade, the most cruel 
enemy of the Christians, the most faithful ally of the Turks ; 
as for the rest, the nations of Greece, accustomed to the 
change of masters, supported the usurpation of Alexius 
witlout murmuring, and the Latins had not quitted their 
homes to avenge the injuries of a people that reaUy did not 
call upon them for aid. 

The same orators further said, that Philip of Swabia 


exhorted the Crusaders to assist Alexius, but was content 
himself with making speeches and sending ambassadors ; 
they warned the Christians not to trust to the promises of a 
young prince, who engaged to furnish armies, and had not a 
single soldier ; who oifered treasures, and possessed nothing ; 
who, besides, had been brought up amongst the Grreeks, and 
would, most likely, some day turn his arms against his 
benefactors. "If you are so sensible to misfortune," added 
they, " and impatient to defend the cause of justice and 
humanity, listen to the groans of our brethren in Palestine, 
who are menaced by the Saracens, and who have no earthly 
hope but in your courage." They moreover told the Cru- 
saders, that if they wished for easy victories and brilliant 
conquests, they had but to turn thf'ir eyes towards Egypt, 
the population of which was at that moment devoured by a 
horrible famine, and which the seven plagues of Scripture 
yielded up to the arms of the Christians almost without 

The Yenetians, who had cause of complaint against the 
emperor of Constantinople, were not at all affected by these 
arguments, and appeared much more inclined to make war 
upon the Grreeks than the infidels ; they were anxious to 
destroy the warehouses of their rivals the Pisans, now estab- 
lished in Greece, and to see their ships crossing the straits 
of the Bosphorus in triumph. Their doge nourished a keen 
resentment on account of some personal offence ; and to 
inflame the minds of his compatriots, he magnified all the 
wrongs inflicted by the Grreeks on his own country and the 
Christians of the West. 

If ancient chronicles may be believed, Dandolo was im- 
pelled by another motive, which he did not avow before 
the Crusaders. The sultan of Damascus, made aware of a 
Christian army being assembled at Venice, and terrified at 
the crusade that was preparing, had sent a considerable 
treasure to the republic, to engage it to divert the Crusaders 
from an expedition into the East. Wliether we yield faith 
to this account, or whether we consider it as a fable invented 
by hatred and party spirit, such assertions, collected by 
contemporaries, at least prove that violent suspicions were 
then entertained against the Venetians by the di.ssatisfied 
Crusaders, and particularly by the Christians of Syria, justly 


fjritated at not being assisted by the soldiers of tie cross.* 
Nevertlieless, we feel bound to add that the majority of tha 
French Crusaders stood in no need of being stimulated by 
the example or speeches of the doge, to undertake a war 
against the Grreek empire. Even those who opposed the 
new expedition the most strongly, as well as all "the other 
Crusaders, entertained an inveterate hatred and a sovereign 
contempt for the G-reeks ; and the discussions had only the 
more inflamed the general mind against a nation considered 
inimical to the Christians. 

Several ecclesiastics, having at their head the abbot of 
Looz, a personage remarkable for his piety and the purity 
of his manners, did not accord in opinion with the abbot of 
Yaux de Cernai, and maintained that there was much dan- 
ger in leading an army into a country devastated by famine ; 
that Greece presented much greater advantages to the Cru- 
saders than Egypt, and that there could be no doubt that 
the conquest of Constantinople was the most certain means 
of securing to the Christians the possession of Jerusalem. 

* We find in the continuator of William of Tyre the following circum- 
stance : — Malek-Adel being informed that the Crusaders were assembling 
at Venice, conceived great uneasiness regarding their ulterior designs. 
He called together the heads of the Christian clergy at Cairo, and an- 
nounced to them that a new expedition was preparing in Europe, and that 
they must provide themselves with horses, arms, and provisions. The 
bishops, to whom he addressed himself to obtain the succour of which he 
stood in need, replied that their sacred ministry did not allow them to 
fight. "Well," answered Malek-Adel, ** since you cannot fight your- 
selves, you must provide me with men to fight in your place." He then 
demanded of them an account of the lands they possessed, and ordered 
that these lands should be sold ; and the money produced by this confis- 
cation was sent to Venice, to corrupt the leaders of that republic, and to 
engage them to divert the Crusaders from an expedition into Egypt or 
Syria. Malek-Adel at the same time promised the Venetians all sorts of 
privileges for their trade in the port of Alexandria. This singular cir- 
cumstance, related at first, as we have said, by the continuator of William 
of Tyre, is to be found also in Bernard Thesaurarius, and in the Chronicle 
of St. Victor. Marin. Sanut, it is true, passes it by in silence, and con- 
tents himself with saying that Malek-Adel went into Egypt and there 
collected a treasure. But it may be observed that Marin. Sanut was a 
Venetian, and had a good reason not to report all the details of a fact 
which was not to the glory of bis country. Bernard when relating it, adds : 
— Qualiter autem hujus rei effectus fuerit in opinione patenti multorum 
est, si legantur quae Veneti cum baronibus ipsis peregerunt, detrahendo 
eos ad obsidionem Jadrie, et delude Constantinopolim. 


These ecclesiastics were particn'Tly fascinated by the hope 
of one day seeing the Grreek Chu:\.h united to that of Eome, 
aod they constantly announctjd _i their discourses the ap- 
proaching period of concord and peace among all Cliristian 

Many knights contemplated with satisfaction the prospect 
of the union of the tw^o churches, likely to be brought about 
by their arms ; but they yielded further to motives not less 
powerful over their minds ; they had sworn to defend inno- 
cence and the rights of the oppressed, and they believed 
they performed their duty in embracing the cause of Alexius. 
Some of them, without doubt, who had heard of the vast 
wealth of Byzantium, might believe that they should not 
return from such a brilliant undertaking empty handed ; but 
such was the spirit of the lords and knights, that by far the 
greater number were attracted by the mere prospect of the 
perils, and still more by the wonders of the enterprise. 
After a long deliberation, it was decided in the council 
of the Crusaders that the proposals of Alexius should be 
accepted, and that the Christian army should embark for 
Constantinople at the commencement of spring. 

Before the siege of Zara, the report of the armament of 
the Crusaders, and of an expedition against Grreece had 
reached the court of Byzantium. The usurper of the 
throne of Isaac immediately sought for means to avert the 
storm about to fall upon his states, and hastened to send 
ambassadors to the pope, whom he considered the arbiter of 
peace and war in the West. These ambassadors were 
ordered to declare to the sovereign pontiff that the prince 
who reigned at Constantinople was the only legitimate 
emperor ; that the son of Isaac had no right to the empire ; 
that an expedition against Greece would be an unjust enter- 
prise, dangerous, and adverse to the great designs of the 
crusade. The pope, in his reply, did not at all seek to calm 
the fears of the usurper, but told his envoys that young 
Alexius had numerous partisans among the Crusaders, 
because lie had made a promise to succour the Holy Land 
in person, and to put an end to the rebellion of the Greek 
Church. The pope did not approve of the expedition 
against Constantinople ; but, by speaking in the way he did, 
he thought that tlie sovereign who then reigned over Greece 


might be induced to make the same promises as the fugitive 
prince, and would be more able to fulfil them ; he conceived 
a hope that they might treat advantageously, without having 
recourse to the sword, and that the debates concerning the 
empire of the East would be referred to his supreme tribu- 
nal. But the elder Alexius, whether he was persuaded that 
he had sufficiently interested the pope in his cause, or w^he- 
ther he deemed it most prudent not to appear alarmed, or^ 
in short, whether the prospect of a distant danger could not 
remove his habitual indolence, sent no more ambassadors, 
and made not the least exertion to pre[ are against the inva- 
sion of the warriors of the West. 

In another direction, the king of Jerusalem and the 
Christians of Palestine never ceased to give vent to their 
complaints, and to implore the assistance that the head of 
the Church had promised them. The pope, much affected 
by their prayers, and always zealous for the crusade he had 
preached, renewed his efforts to direct the arms of the Cru- 
saders against the Saracens. He sent the cardinals, Peter 
of Capua, and Siifred, into Palestine, as legates of the Holy 
See, to revive the courage of the Christians, and announce 
to them the approaching departure of the army of Crusa- 
ders ; but when he learnt that the leaders had determined 
upon attacking the empire of Constantinople, he poured 
upon them the most bitter reprimands, and reproached them 
with looking hehind them, as Lot's wife had done. " Let 
none among you," said he, " flatter himself that he may be 
allowed to invade or plunder the lands of the Greeks, under 
the pretence that the empire is not sufficiently submissive, 
or that the emperor has usurped the throne of his brother ; 
whatever crime he may have committed, it is not for you to 
constitute yourself the judge of it : you did not assume the 
cross to avenge the injuries of princes, but that of God." 

Innocent finished his letter without bestowing his bene- 
diction upon the Crusaders ; and, to frighten them from 
their new enterprise, threatened them with the maledictions 
of Heaven. The barons and knights received the remon- 
strances of the sovereign pontiff with respect ; but did not 
at all waver in the resolution they had formed. 

Then the opponents of the expedition to Constantinople 
renewed their complaints, and employed no sort of modera* 



tion in their discourses. The abbot of Vaux de Cernai, the 
abbot Martin Litz, one of the preachers of the crusade, the 
count de Montfort, and a great number of knights employed 
every effort to shake the determination of the army ; and 
when they found they could not succeed, resolved to leave 
them, some to return to their homes, and others to take the 
route to Palestine. Those who abandoned their colours, and 
those who remamed in tlie camp, mutiuilly accused each 
other with betraying the cause of Chi-ist.* E'ive hundred 
soldiers having thrown themselves on board a vessel, were 
shipwrecked and all swallowed up by the waves ; many 
others, in crossing lilyria, were massacred by the savage in- 
habitants of that country. These perished ciu-sing the am- 
bition and errors which had turned the Christian army aside 
from the true object of the crusade ; whilst those who 
remained faithful to their standards, deplored the tragical 
death of their companions, saying among themselves : " The 
mercy of the Lord has remained ivith us ; evil he to them who 
stray from the way of the Lord^ 

The knights and barons regretted in secret that they had 
not been able to obtain the approbation of the pope, but 
were persuaded that, by means of victories, they should jus- 
tify their conduct in the eyes of the Holy See ; and that the 
father of the faithinl would recognise in their conquests 
the expression of the will of Heaven. 

The Crusaders were upon the point of embarking, when 
young Alexius himself arrived at Zara. His presence 
created a fresh enthusiasm for his cause ; he was received 
amidst the sounds of trumpets and clarions, and presented 
to the army by the marquis of Montferrat,t whose elder 
brothers had been connected by marriage and the dignity of 
Caesar, with the imperial family of Constantinople. The 
barons hailed yoinig Alexius as emperor, with the greater 
joy, that they hoped his future grandeur would be the work 

* The marshal of Champagne lets no opportunity escape for blaming 
with bitterness those who abandoned the army of the Crusaders. 

f A double alliance and the dignity of Caisar had connected the two 
elder brothers of Boniface with the imperial family. Reinier of Mont- 
ferrat had married Mary, daughter of the emperor Manuel Comnenus ', 
Conrad, who had dt fended Tyre before the third crusade, was married to 
Theodora Angela, sister of the emperors Isaac and Alexius. 

HISTOllY or Tali CRUSADES. 73 

of their hands. Alexius took arms to break the chains of 
his father, and they admired in him a most touching model 
of Christian piety: he w^as about to combat usurpation, tc 
punish injustice, and stifle heresy, and they looked upon him 
as -an envoy of Providence. The misfortunes of princes 
destined to reign affect us more sensibly than those of other 
men ; in the camp of the Crusaders, tlie soldiers talked over 
the story of Alexius among themselves, and they pitied his 
youth, and deplored his exile and tlie captivity of Isaac. 
Alexius, accompanied by the princes and barons, went con- 
stantly among the soldiery, and replied by demonstrations 
of the warmest gratitude to the generous interest the Cru- 
saders evinced in his favour. 

Animated by sentiments which misfortune inspires, and 
which not unfrequently terminate with it, the young prince 
was lavish of vows and protestations, and promised even 
more than he had done by his envoys, without thinking that 
he placed himself under the necessity of failing in his word, 
and drawing upon himself, one day, the reproaches of his 

The Crusaders, however, renewed every day their vow to 
place young Alexius on the throne of Constantinople ; and 
Italy and the whole West rung with the fame of their pre- 
parations. The emperor of Byzantium appeared to be the 
only person ignorant of the war declared against his usurped 
power, and slept upon a throne ready to crumble from under 

The emperor Alexius, like the greater part of his prede- 
cessors, was a prince without \drtues or character ; when he 
deposed his brother, he allowed the crime to be committed 
by his courtiers, and when he was upon the tlirone he aban- 
doned to them the charge of his authority. He was lavish 
of the treasures of the state, to secure pardon and oblivion 
for his usurpation; and, to repair his finances, he sold jus- 
tice, ruined liis subjects, and plundered the merchant ships 
fcliat traded between Eamisa and Constantinople. The 
usurper scattered dignities and honours with such profusion, 
that no one thought himself honoured by them, and there re- 
mained in his hands no true reward for merit. Alexius hac! 
associated his wife Euphrosyne with himself in the sovereign 
authority, and she filled the empire with her intrigues, and 


scandalized the court by the laxity of her morals. Under 
bis reign the empire had been several times menaced by the 
Bulgarians and the Turks ; Alexius occasionally visited the 
army, but he never faced the enemy. "Whilst the Bulga- 
rians were ravaging his frontiers, he employed himself in 
levelling hills, and tracing gardens on the shores of the 
Propontis. Abandoned to a shameful effeminacy, he dis- 
banded a part of his army ; and fearing to be disturbed in 
liis pleasures by the din of arms, he sold the sacred vases, 
and plundered the tombs of the Greek emperors, to purchase 
peace of the emperor of Germany, who had become master 
of Sicily. The empire had no navy left ; the ministers had 
sold the rig2;ing and equipments of the vessels, and the 
woods that might have furnished timber for new ships, were 
reserved for the pleasures of the pilnce, and guarded as 
strictly, says Nicetas, as those formerly consecrated to the 

Such numbers of conspiracies never were heard of ; under 
a prince who was rarely visible, the government appeared to 
be in a state of interregnum ; the imperial tlirone was as an 
empty seat, which every ambitious man aspired to occupy. 
Devotedness, probity, bravery, were no longer held in esteem 
by courtiers or citizens. jSTothing was deemed worthy of 
public approbation or reward but the invention of a new 
pleasure or the fiibrication of a fresh impost. Amidst this 
general depravity, the provinces knew nothing of the em- 
peror but by tlie exaction of taxes ;t and the army, without 

* The army was no longer to be dreaded by the emperors as it had 
been in the early days of the empire ; but it was no more an object of fear 
to its enemies than to its master. A modern historian, M. Sismondi, 
•finds in the government of the Greek empire a complete and incon- 
testable evidence of the natural and necessary effects of the worst of 
governments. The ancients were acquainted with scarcely any medium 
between liberty and despotism. The governmen*^ of Constantinople had 
retained, up to the middle of the middle ages, all which characterized the 
def^potism of the ancients, although we must allow that this despotism was 
sometimes tempered by religion and the influence of the patriarchs of 

f Lebeau, in his History, describes at length the decline of the Greek 
empire and the vices of the emperors. Gibbon, a much more enlightened 
observer, sometimes neglects important details connected with this peri'<>d, 
and in his latter volumes, too often forgets t"/ie Greeks to speak of the 


iiscipline and without pay, had no leaders capable of com- 
manding it. Everything announced an approaching revolu- 
tion in the empire ; and the peril was the greater from no 
one having the courage to foresee it. The subjects of Alexius 
rever dreamt of obtruding truth upon the imperial ear; 
birds, taught to repeat satires, alone interrupted the silence 
of the people, and published from the roofs of houses, and 
in the high streets, the scandals of the court and the dis- 
grace of the empire. 

The Grreeks, at the same time superstitious and corrupt, 
still preserved some remembrances of ancient Greece and 
old E;Ome ; but these remembrances, instead of creating a 
noble, emulative pride, only nourished in their hearts a puerile 
vanity, and their history, of which they were so vain, only 
served to render more striking their own degradation and 
their empire's too evident decay. The voice of patriotism 
was never heard, and no influence was obeyed but that of 
the monks placed at the head of affairs of all kinds, who 
attracted and preserved the confidence of both people and 
prince by frivolous predictions and senseless visions. The 
Grreeks wasted their time in vain disputes, which enervated 
their character, increased their ignorance, and stifled their 
patriotism. At the moment the fleet of the Crusaders was 
about to set sail, Constantinople was in a state of ferment 
with discussing the question whether the body of Jesus 
Christ, in the Eucharist, is corruptible or incorruptible; 
each opinion had its partisans, whose defeats or triumphs 
were, by turns, loudly proclaimed — and the threatened em- 
pire remained without defenders. 

The Venetians and Erench left Zara, and the isle of Corfu 
was appointed as the place of meeting for the whole fl.eet.* 
When they landed on the shores of Macedon, the inhabitants 
of Duras brought young Alexius the keys of the city, and 
acknowledged him as their master. The people of Corfu 

barbarous nations of the East and West that had shared the wrecks of the 
Roman empire. 

* We may consult, for an account of this expedition, the marshal of 
Champagne, Gunther, and some passages of Nicetas. Rhamnusius has 
only made a pompous paraphrase of Villehardouin. Lebeau and the 
A.bbe Laugier say a great deal of the events we are relating. This expe- 
dition of the Crusaders has been splendidly described by the historian 


were not tardy in following this example, and received the 
Crusaders as liberators : the acclamations of the Grreek 
people, in the passij2:e of the Latins, was a happy augury 
for the success of their expedition. 

The island of Corfu, the country of the Phoenicians, so 
celebrated by the shipwreck of Ulysses and by the gardens 
of Alcinoiis, afforded the Crusaders pasturage and abundance 
of provisions. The fertility of the island induced the leaders 
to remain there several weeks ; but so long a repose did not 
fail to produce evil consequences in an army supported by 
enthusiasm, to which no time for reflection should have been 
allowed, and, amidst indulgence and idleness, the complaints 
and murmurs of the siege of Zara broke out again. 

They learnt that Gauthier de Brienne had conquered 
Apulia and the kingdom of Naples. This conquest, 
effected in a few months, by sixty knights, inflamed the 
imagination of the Crusaders, and furnished the malcon- 
tents with a fresh opportunity for blaming the expedition to 
Constantinople, the preparations for which were immense, 
tlie perils evident, and the success uncertain. " Whilst we 
are going," said they, "to exhaust the resources of the West 
in a useless enterprise, in a distant war, Gauthier de Brienne 
has made himself master of a rich kingdom, and is preparing 
to fulfil the promises he has entered into with us to deliver 
the Holy Land ; wh}^ shoidd we not demand vessels of him ? 
why should we not set out for Palestine with him ?" These 
speeches prevailed over a great number of the knights, who 
were ready to separate themselves from the army. 

The chief malcontents had already assembled in a secluded 
valley to deliberate upon the means of executing their pro- 
ject, when the leaders of the army were warned of their 
plot, and immediately united all their efforts to prevent the 
fatal consequences of it. The doge of Yenice, the count of 
Planders, the counts of Blois and St. Paul, the marquis of 
Montferrat, and several bishops clothed in mourning habits, 
with crosses borne before them, repaired to the valley in 
which the malcontents were met. As soon as they, from a 
distance, perceived their unfaithful companions, who were 
deliberating on horseback, they alighted, and advanced to- 
wards the place of assembly in a suppliant manner. The 
instigators of the desertion, seeing the leaders and prelates 


of the army coining thus towards them, suspended their 
deliberations, and themselves dismounted from their horses. 
The parties approached each other ; the princes, counts, and 
bishops threw themselves at the feet of the malcontents, 
and, bursting into tears, swore to remain thus prostrated till 
the warriors who wished to abandon them, had renewed the 
oath to follow the army of the Christians, and to remain 
faithful to the standard of the holy war. " When the others 
saw," says Villehardouin, an ocular witness, " when they saw 
their liege lords, their dearest relations and friends thus 
cast themselves at their feet, and, so to say, cry to them for 
mercy, they were moved with great pity, and their hearts 
were so softened, they could not refrain from weeping, and 
they told them that they would consider of it together 
(^Qioils s'en amseraient par ensemhle).^^ After having retired 
for a moment to deliberate, they came back to their leaders, 
and promised to remain with the army until the beginning 
of autumn, on condition that the barons and lords would 
swear upon the Grospel to furnish them at that period with 
vessels to convey them to Syria. The two parties engaged 
themselves by oath to perform the conditions of the treaty, 
and returned together to the camp, where nothing now was 
spoken of but the expedition to Constantinople. 

The fleet of the Crusaders quitted the island of Corfu 
under the most happy auspices ; the historians who have 
described its progress through that archipelago, so full of 
remembrances of antiquity, have not been able to refrain 
from employing the language of poetry. The wind was 
favourable, and the sky pure and serene ; a profound calm 
reigned over the waves ; three hundred vessels of all sizes, 
with their colours floating from their sterns, covered an im- 
mense space ; the helmets and cuirasses of thirty tliousand 
warriors reflected the rays of the sun ; now were heard 
sounding over the waters the hy mns of the priests, invoking 
the blessings of Heaven ; and then the voices of the soldiers, 
soothing the leisure of the voyage with warlike scngs; and 
the braying of trumpets and neighing of horses, mingled 
with the dashing of oars, resounded from the coasts of the 
Peloponnesus, which presented tliemselves to tlie eyes of the 
pilgrims. The Crusaders doubled Cape Matapan, known 
formerly as Tenara, and passed before the heights of Malea, 


without dread of tlie rocks so much feared hy ancient navi- 
gators. iS^ear Cape IVIalea they met two vessels returning 
from Palestine, in which were many Flemish pilgrims. At 
sight of tlie Venetian fleet, a soldier on board one of the 
two ships, slipped down a rope, and bade adieu to his com- 
panions, saying : " I leave you all I have on hoard, for I a/tn 
going loitli people ivho intend to conquer kingdoms. ^^* 

The Crusaders landed at several islands they fell in with 
on their passage ; the inhabitants of Andros and Negro- 
pont came out to meet Alexius, and acknowledged him as 
their emperor. It w^as the period of harvest, and the land 
presented, everywhere, a spectacle of the richest abundance. 
The enjoyment of a beautiful climate, the satisfaction at the 
submission of the Greeks, so many riches, so many wonders, 
so many unknown regions, all daily increased the enthusiasm 
of the Crusaders. At length the fleet arrived at the entrance 
of the Bosphorus, and cast anchor in the port of St. Stephen, 
three leagues from the capital of the Grreek empire. 

Then the city of Constantinople, of which they were 
about to effect the conquest, broke full upon the view of 
the Crusaders ;t bathed on the south by the waves of the 
Propontis, on the east by the Bosphorus, and on the north 
oy the gulf that serves as its port, it presented a spectacle 
dt once magnificent and formidable. A double enclosiu'e of 
walls surrounded it in a circumference of more than seven 
leagues ; a vast number of splendid buildings, whose roofs 
towered above the ramparts, appeared to proclaim the queen 
of cities. The shores of the Bosphorus to the Euxine and 

* Villehardouin. 

t It would be difficult to give a very exact idea of the city of Constan- 
tinople as it was at the period of this crusade. Among the travellers who 
have described this capital at a time nearer than our owti to the middle 
ages, we ought to remark Peter Gilles and Grelot, who saw Constanti- 
nople, the one in the reign of Francis I., and the other in the reign of 
Louis XIV. Their description has furnished those who came after them 
with many documents. Revolutions, wars, the Turks, and fires chango 
every day the aspect of this city, which was already much altered in the 
times of the travellers we have named. Ducange, in his Christiana Con- 
stantinopolis , and Banduri, in his Imperium Orientale, have collected all 
the information of the old travellers and the Greek historians. Among 
modern travellers Constantinople, Ancient and Modern, by the English- 
man Dallaway, and Le Voyage de la Propontide, by M. Lechavalier, may 
be consulted with advantage. 


to the Hellespont, resembled an immense faubourg, or on€ 
continued line of gardens. The cities of Chalcedon and 
Scutari, built on the Asiatic sliore, and Galata, placed at 
the extremity of the gulf, appeared in the distance, and 
crowned the immense and magnificent picture which lay 
before the warlike hosts of the Crusaders. 

Constantinople, situated between Europe and Asia, be- 
tween the Archipelago and the Black Sea, joins together the 
two seas and the two continents. In the times of its splendour, 
it held at its pleasure the gates of commerce open or shut ; 
its port, which received the vessels of all the nations of the 
world, deserved to be termed by the Greeks, the g^olden horn, 
or the horn of abundance. Like ancient E-ome, Constantinople 
extended over seven ascents, and, like the city of Romulus, 
it sometimes bore the name of the city of the seven hills ; 
in the times of the crusades, its walls and its towers were 
compared to those of Babylon ; its deep ditches were con- 
verted at will into a large and rapid lake, and the city could, 
at the least signal, be surrounded by waters, and separated 
from the continent. 

The monarch who founded it reigned over all the known 
nations of the w^orld, and in the execution of his designs he 
had the advantage of making the arts and sciences of Greece 
concur with the genius and power of the Eomans. Not 
content with employing the beautiful marbles of the isles of 
the Archipelago, he caused materials to be transported from 
the extremities of Europe and Asia; all the cities of the 
Romau empn^e, Athens, and E-ome itself, were spoiled of 
their ornaments to embellish the new city of the Caesars. 
Several of the successors of Constantino had repaired the 
edifices that were crumbling into ruins, and had erected 
fresh monuments in Constantinople, which in its temples, 
upon its public places, and around the walls, everywhere re- 
called the memory of twenty glorious reigns. The city was 
divided into fourteen quarters ; it had thirty-two gates ; it 
contained within its bosom circuses of immense extent, five 
hundred churches, among which St. Sophia claimed atten- 
tion as one of the wonders of the world ; and five palaces, 
which tliemselves looked like cities in the midst of the great 
city. More fortunate than its rival Eome, the city of Con- 
Btaiitine had never beheld the barbarians within its walls ; it 


preserved with its language the depository of tlie master- 
pieces of antiquity, and the accumulated riches of the East 
and the West. 

It would be difficult to paint the enthusiasm, the fear, the 
surprise that took possession of the minds of the Crusaders 
at the aspect of Constantinople.* The leaders landed, and 
passed one night in the abbey of St. Stephen. This night 
was employed in anxious deliberation upon what they had to 
do ; at one time they resolved to land upon the isles ; then 
they deternnned to make a descent upon the continent. In 
the very same instant tliey drew back in terror and gave 
themselves up to a wild joy ; they could not come to any 
fixed determination, but changed their plans and their pro- 
jects a thousand times. At daybreak Dandolo, Boniface, 
Baldwin, and the count de Blois ordered all the standards 
of the army to be unfurled ; the escutcheons and coats of 
arms of the counts and knights were ranged along the ves- 
selSjt to display the military pomp of the West and recall t® 
the warriors the valour of their ancestors. The signal was 
given to the fleet, which entered into the canal, and, driven 
on by a favourable wind, passed close to the walls of Con- 
stantinople. An immense population,;}: who only the day 
before were ignorant of the arrival of the Latins, crowded 
the ramparts and covered the shore. The warriors of the 
West, clad in complete armour, § stood erect upon the decks 

* Having cast anchor, such as had never been there before began to 
contemplate this beautiful and magnificent city, the equal to which they 
thought could not be found in the whole world. When they perceived 
those high walls and large towers so near to each other, with which it was 
furnished all round, and those rich and superb palaces and churches rising 
above all, and in such great number, that they could not easily believe 
they saw them with their eyes ; together with the fine situation of the 
city, in its length and breadth, which of all other cities was the sove- 
reign, &c. — Villehardouin. 

f Ducange, in his observations upon Villehardouin, gives a very 
learned note upon the arms and escutcheons which the vNarriors of the 
middle ages caused to be ranged on board their vessels, and which served 
them as battlements to shelter them from all the arrows of the enemy. 

X The Greek historian Nicetas says, that the navigation of the Cru- 
saders had been so favourable and so rapid, "that they arrivtd in the 
port of St. Stephen without being perceived by anybody." 

§ Nicetas, speaking of the Crusaders, says they were almost all as taL 
as their spears. 


of their vessels ;* some stones and arrows were .linnclied from 
the towers and fell upon the ships : " there was no heart," 
says Yillehardoum, " so bold as not to- he moved ; for never 
vras so great an affair undertaken." Every warrior turned his 
eye towards his sword, thinking the time \vas come m which 
to make use of it. The Crusaders fancied that in the croM^d of 
spectators they beheld the defenders of Constantinople ; but 
the capital of the empire was only deteiided by the memory 
of its past glory, and by the respect of the nations ignorant 
of its weakness. Of true soldiers the imperial army only 
mustered two thousand Pisaus, who despised the Grreeks, 
and the troop of Varangians, niercep.ary soldiers from the 
northern parts of Europe, with whose origin and country the 
Grreeks themselves were scarcely acquainted .f 

The Crusaders made a descent upon the Asiatic shore of 
the Bosphorus, pillaged the city of Chalcedon, and esta- 
blished themselves in the palace and gardens in which the 
emperor Alexius had so long forgotten his own dangers and 
those of his empire. At the approach of the Venetian fleet, 
this prince had retreated to Constantinople, where, like the 

* Nicetas says, among the Venetian vessels there was one so large that 
it was called the World. 

f The Varangians, who were in the service of the Greek emperors, 
have given rise to many discussions among the learned. Villehcirdouin 
says that the Varangians were English and Danes. The count de St. 
Pol, in a letter written from Constantinople, calls them English, Livo- 
nians, Dacians. Other historians call them Celts, Germans. The word 
Varangians appears to be taken from an English word waring,^ which 
means warrior ; this word is met with in the Danish, and several other 
tongues of the north of Europe. Ducange thinks the Varangians came 
from Danish England, a small province of Denmark, between Jutland 
and Holstein. M. Malte Brun, in the notes that accompany the History 
oj" Russia, by Levesque, thinks the Varangians drew their recruits from 
Scandinavia ; that some came from Sweden by Norvogorod and Kiow, 
others from Norway and Denmark by the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. 
We still possess a dissertation upon the Varangians by M. de Villoison, 
in which we find more learning than criticism. The most probable opinion 
is that of Ducange and M. Malte Brun. We have but one observation 
to make, which is, that it is probable the Varangians were not members of 
the Roman church ; if they followed the Greek religion, may we not 
believe that they belonged to the nations of the North, among whom it 
had been introduced ? 

• ■ An Englishman is rather at a loss to tell where our author finds thii 
ivord. Johnson derives war from werre — old Dutch. — Trans. 


last king of Babylon, he continued to live amidst pleasurea 
and festivities, without reflecting that lie had been judged, 
and that his hour was nearly come. His courtiers, in the 
intoxication of the banquet, celebrated his power and pro- 
claimed him invincible ; amidst tlie pomp that surrounded 
him, and which appeared to him a rampart against the 
attacks of his enemies, he, in his speeches, insulted the sim- 

Elicity of the Latins, and believed he had conquered them 
ecause he had called them barbarians. 
When he saw the Crusaders masters of his palace and gar- 
dens, he began to entertain some degree of fear, and sent an 
Italian named E-ossi, with orders to salute the lords and 
barons. " The emperor my master," said the envoy ot 
Alexius, " knows that you are the most puissant and most 
noble princes among those who do not wear crowns ; but he 
is astonished that you should have come to bring war into a 
Christian empire. Rumour proclaims that your design is to 
deliver the Holy Land from the yoke of the Saracens ; the 
emperor applauds your zeal, and solicits the honour of being 
associated with yoiu' enterprise ; he is ready to assist you 
with all his power. But if you do not quit his states, he 
shall feel obliged to direct against you the forces he would 
wilhngly have employed in your cause and in that of Christ. 
Accept, then, the generous offers that he makes to you by 
me ; but do not believe that this pacific language is dictated 
by fear. The emperor Alexius reigns over Grreece by the 
love of his people as well as by the will of God ; with one 
single word he could gather around him innumerable armies, 
disperse your fleet and your battalions, and close against 
you for ever the routes to the East." 

The envoy of the emperor thus terminated his speech 
without naming either Isaac or young Alexius. Conon de 
Bethune,* who answered for the leaders of the army, was 
astonished that the brother of Isaac should dare to speak as 
master of the empire, and that he had not thought fit to 
attempt to justify a parricide which had roused the in- 
dignation of all Christian nations. " Go and tell your 

* Le Pere d'Outreman speaks thus of Conon de Bethune : Vir domi 
militiieque nobilis et foecundus ir; paucis. — Constantin. Belg. lib. iii. Ville- 
hardouin says that Conon de Bethune ** was a wise knight and well- 
epokeu. ' ' 


inairfcer," said the orator of the Crusaders, aac«-»'e{?«iiit( tlit 
emperor's envoy, " go and tell him, tliat th.*? '^arth we tread 
upon does not belong to him, but that it is the heritage of 
the prince you see seated amongst us. If he be desirous of 
knowing the motive that brings us hither, let him ask his 
own conscience, and remember the crimes he has committed. 
A usurper is the enemy of all princes ; a tyrant is the enemy 
of the whole human race. He w^ho sent you has but one 
means of escaping the justice of Heaven and of men ; that 
is, to restore to his brother and his nephew the throne ho 
has wrested from them, and implore the pity of those same 
princes towards whom he has been so merciless. In that 
case we promise to add our prayers to his supplications, and 
to procure for him, with his pardon, the means of passing 
his life in a repose far preferable to the splendour of an 
usurped sovereignty ; but if he is not willing to act justly, if 
he is inaccessible to repentance, tell him we disdain his 
threats as we do his promises, and that we have no time to 
waste in listening to ambassadors." This vehement reply 
was an actual declaration of war, and left the emperor no 
hope of either seducing or intimidating the Crusaders. The 
lords and barons were, however, astonished that the Grreeks 
took no notice of young Alexius, and that the cause they 
came to promote found no partisans in the city of Consfcau- 
tinople. They resolved to ascertain the inclinations of the 
people. A galley, on board of which was the son of Isaac, 
was brought close to the walls of the capital;* Boniface and 
Dandolo held up the young prince, whilst a herald-at-arms 
repeated in a loud voice these words : — " Behold the heir of 
the throne ; acJcnovAedge your sovereign ; have pity on him and 
on yourselves.''^ The Greeks assembled n the rampar'^8 
remained motionless ; some answered by insulting language, 
others maintained a sullen silence. Whilst the Crusaders 
vrere thus making a last attempt to preserve peace, the 
most horrible tumult rt signed in the interior of the city. 
The presence of the Latiiis irritated the multitude ; they 
assembled in the public places ; they excited each other to 

* Thus went they sailing along by the side of the walls, where '•.hey 
fihowed Alexius to the Greeks, who from all parts flocked to the mole : 
Sieurs Gn*eks, behold your natural lord, of that there is no doubt, ^c. &c. 
— Ville/iardouin, book iii 


vengeance; the people ran to the quarter of the Frank^ 
demolished several houses, and gave the rest up to pillage. 
A. great number of Latins, threatened with loss of life, 
immediately sought an asylum in the camp of the Crusaders. 
Their presence, their accounts, their complaints, fired the 
easily kindled indignation of the knights and barons. From 
that moment the leaders saw no hopes but in the chance of 
war and in the protection of the Heaven that had confided 
to their hands the cause of nmocence and misfortune. 

Eighty knights succeeded in putting to flight a numerous 
body of troops that the emperor had sent across the Bos- 
phorus. " The Grreek commanders," says Nicetas, " were 
more timid than deer, and did not dare to resist men whom 
they called exterminating angels^ statues of hronze, whicli 
spread around terror and death." The Crusaders, however, 
had great cause to fear that the Greeks, recovered from their 
first panic, might become aware of the small number of 
their enemies, and succeed in overwhelming them by their 
multitudes ; they resolved, therefore, to take advantage of 
the fear they had inspired, and gave their whole attention to 
forward the preparations for attacking enemies that had 
provided nothing for their defence. 

The Christian army assembled at Chrisopolis (Scutari*), 
and beheld full in front of them the capital of the Grreek 
empire. After having put to flight some troops sent out to 
follow their march or skirmish with them, the leaders 
mounted on horseback and deliberated in full assembly, on 
the plan of action best to be pursued. They decided that the 
army should cross the canal of the Bosphorus, and encamp 
under the walls of Constantinople. " Then," says Villehar- 
douin, " the bishops and the clergy addressed their remon- 
strances to all those of the camp, exhorting them to confess 
themselves, and make their testaments, for they did not 
know the hour at which it might please God to call them, 
and do his will by them ; which they did very willingly, and 
with great zeal and devotion." AVlien all was ready, and the 
Crusaders had invoked the protection of Heaven by their 
prayers, the signal for departure was given ; the war-horses, 
saddled and covered with their long caparisons, were em- 

* It was nearly at this period that the city of Chrisopolis began to be 
called Scutari. The name of Scutari is employed by Vill< hardouin. 


barked in tlie flat-bottomed boats ; the kniglits stood erect 
near their horses, helm on head and Jance in hand; the 
remainder of the troops went on board the large ships, each 
of which was towed by a galley. The army of the Greeks, 
commanded by the emperor in person, was drawn up iu 
battle array on the opposite shore, and appeared disposed to 
dispute thepassage of the Crusaders. All at once the vessels 
.\eaved their anchors to the sounds of trumpets and clarions. 
Every soldier, with his eyes fixed on Constantinople, swore 
to conquer or die. On approaching the shore, the barons 
and knights cast themselves into the sea, fully armed, and 
contended for the honour of first gaining the strand occupied 
by the Greeks. The archers and foot-soldiers followed the 
example of the knights ; in less than an hour the whole ai'my 
was on the other side of the Bosphorus, and looked about 
m vain for an enemy over a plain they had so recently seen 
covered with arms and warriors. The army of Alexius took 
to flight ; and, if we may believe a letter of the count de 
St. Pol, the swiftest arrows of the Latins could scarcely 
overtake a few of the fugitives. The Crusaders, following up 
their advantage, found the caoip of the Greeks aband)^ ed, 
and plundered the tents of the emperor, without meeting 
TTith one of his soldiers, 

Night surprised them in the midst of their bloodless 
victory ; and on the morrow they resolved to attack the 
fortress of Galata, which, erected upon a hill, commajided 
the port of Constantinople. From break of day the Greeks 
rushed in crowds to anticipate and surprise the Latins. At 
the first shock, Jacques d'Avesnes was woimded grievously, 
and placed Tiors de combat ; the sight of his wound highly 
incensed the Flemish warriors, who precipitated themselves 
with fury into the melee. The Greeks were not able to 
withstand the impetuous attack of their enemies, and took 
to flight in great disorder ; some, hoping to find an asylum 
in the ships in the port, perished in the waves, whilst others 
fled bewildered to the citadel, into which the conquerors 
entered with the conquered. Whilst the French thus got 
possession of Galata, the Venetian fleet, which was drawn u}) 
in line of battle before Scutari, turned its prows towards the 
port of Constantinople. The entrance of the gulf was 
defended by an enormous cliaiu of ii'on, and by twenty 


gaiieys, wliich constituted the whole niivy of the empire. 
The resistance of the Greeks was obstinate ; but a vessel of 
extraordinary size, assisted by a favourable wind, struck the 
extended chain violently m its passage, and divided it with 
enormous shears of steel, which opened and shut by the 
operation of a machine.* The galleys of the Greeks were 
soon taken, or dispersed in fragments on the face of the 
waters, and the whole of the Venetian fleet rode in triumph 
into tlie port : it was then the Greeks were able to per- 
ceive what they had to dread from the invincible courage of 
these barbarians, who had till that period been the object of 
their contempt. 

Tlie French, masters of Galata, divided their army into 
six great battles or divisions. Baldwin, who had under his 
orders a great numbar of archers and crossbow-men, led the 
van. The rear was composed of Lombards, Germans, and 
Pranks, from countries near the Alps, commanded by the 
marquis of Montferrat. The other four divisions, in which 
were ranged the crusaders from Champagne, Burgundy, and 
the banks of the 8eiue and the Loire, had at their head 
Henry, brother of Baldwin, the counts of St. Pol and Blois, 
and Matthew de Montmorenci. 

This army advanced f towards tlie west of the city, without 
meeting with a single foe in its passage, and encamped 
between the gate of BlachernaB and the tower of Bohe- 

The Greeks, in a single battle, had lost the empire of tho 
sea, and had no longer the power to defend the approach to 
their capital. The Venetian fleet cast anchor near the 
moutli of the river Barbysses. J The Venetians, masters of 

* The breaking of the chain of the port, according to ise account of 
Nicetas, spread the greatest consternation among the Greeks ; and mis- 
fortune, says the historian of Byzantium, assumed so many different 
forms, and produced so surprising a number of afflicting images, that no 
mind is able to conceive them. 

f For the first siege we may profitably consuLt the Letter of the Cru- 
saders to the Pope ; the History of Villehardouin ; Nicetas, Reign oj 
Alejcius ; the Chronicle of Dandolo; the War of Constantinople, by 
D'Outreman, Rhamnusius de Bell. Constantinop . &-o. &c. 

% The name of Barbysses is ;.t present unknown to the Turks, wV' 
tall this river Kiathaua ; tlie Greeks call it KarLuricos, names which, ^, 
6oth la.if.'juage.s, remind us of tne paper-uuUs that are at its mouth. 


fche port, were secure from all surprise, and had no cause tfl 
fear being overpowered by numbers. If the whole army had 
been united on board the fleet, there is very little doubt it 
would have more easily triumphed over the efforts and 
multitudes of the G-reeks, and it was the advice of the doge 
that such should be the plan ; but the knights and barons 
could not be prevailed upon to fight on an element with 
which they were unacquainted ; and they answered (we quote 
Villehardouin), tliat they could not act so well upon the sef. 
as they could upon the land, where they could have their 
horses and their arms. Their army, which did not muster 
twenty thousand men under its banners, attacked without 
fear a city, which, according to the account of some his- 
torians, contained a million of inhabitants, and more than 
two hundred thousand men able to bear arms. 

Before they began the assault, the Crusaders deemed it 
proper once more to invite the Greeks to make peace, by 
receiving the son of Isaac as emperor ; and several barons 
drew near to the walls, crying with a loud voice that there 
was still time to listen to justice. Young Alexius was 
surrounded by the Latin leaders, and his presence among 
them explained sufficiently clearly the meaning of the words 
addressed to the inhabitants of Constantinople. Their only 
reply was hurli^ig stones and javelins at the Crusaders ; the 
people of Byzantium had been persuaded that yoang Alexius 
came for the purpose of changing the manners, religion, and 
laws of Grreece. 

History ought to add here, that since the intrigues of 
ambition and the caprices of fortune had enjoyed the privi- 
lege of bestowing masters upon them, the Greeks beheld 
with indifference the successions of power or the changes of 
their princes ; the Greek nations had not forgotten that it 
was a revolution that lifted the family of Isaac to the impe- 
rial throne. With the impressions this family had left in 
their minds, the misfortunes and prayers of Alexius did not 
move them sufficiently to declare in his favour, or take 
arms to support his cause ; since they were obliged to 
choose between two new princes, he who was reigning 
amongst them appeared preferable to him who implored their 

From that time the attention and eff'orts of the Crusadew 

Vol. II.— 5 


were solely directed to the prosecution of their perilous 
enterprise. Their camp, placed between the gate of Bla- 
chenise, and the castle of Bohemond, occupied but a very 
small space before wails many leagues in extent. Every day 
the Greeks made sorties ; the country round was covered 
with the soldiers of the enemy ; the army of the besiegers 
appeared to be themselves besieged by troops that were 
unceasingly renewed. Day and night the Crusaders were 
Tinder arms, and had neither time to take their food nor 
refresh themselves by sleep. They had only provisions for 
three weeks, and could look for safety to nothing but a 
speedy victory ; nevertheless, they continued to fill up the 
ditches, and make their approaches to the ramparts. Ba- 
listas, catapultas, rams, everything that could carry destruc- 
tion and death into the city, were employed to second tl'.e 
bravery and indefatigable ardour of the besiegers ; without 
cessation, enormous masses fell with fearful crash frori the 
tops of the walls ; and such was the surprising power of the 
machines of war then in use, that the houses and palaces of 
Constantinople were often shaken to their foundations by 
stones launched from the camp of the Latins.* 

After ten days of labour and fighting, the Crusaders deter- 
mined to storm the city. On the morning of the 17th of 
July, 1203, the trumpets and clarions sounded the signal ; 
the count of Flanders, who commanded the attack, passed 
through the ranks, and directed the attention of his knights 
to the ramparts of Constantinople, as the road which tvould 
conduct them to an eternal glory. The army was immedi- 
ately in motion, and every machine was directed against the 
walls. One tower, which had fallen in with a great crash, 
appeared to ofier a passage to the troops of Baldwin. 
Ladders were planted, and the most intrepid contended for 
the honour of entering first into the city ; but, this time, 
numbers prevailed over valour. A host of Oreeks, encou- 
raged by the presence of the Varangians and Pisans, hastened 
to the rampart, and overturned the ladders. Fifteen Frank 

* Nevertheless the superh palaces were ruined by the ston«« of an 
extraordinary size that the besiegers launched with their machines, and 
they were themselves terrified by the heavy masses that the Romans 
rolled upon them from the walls. — Nicetas, Hist, of A''ixim Comnenus^ 
book ill. 


warriors, braving stones, beams, and torrents of Grreek fire, 
alone were able to maintain themselves on the walls, and 
yielded only after fighting with desperate valour. Two of 
these intrepid warriors were led to the emperor, who 
watched the fight from the windows of the palace of Bla- 
chernae. Alexius had ceased to despise tile Latins ; and, in his 
fright, he had such an idea of their courage, that the sight of 
the two prisoners appeared to him a victory. 

At the same time the Venetians attacked the city by sea. 
Dandolo ranged his fleet in two lines ; the galleys were in 
the first rank, manned by archers, and laden with machines 
of war ; behind the galleys advanced the large vessels, upon 
which were constructed towers exceeding the loftiest of the 
walls of Constantinople in height. At daybreak the con- 
test began between the city and the fleet ; the Greeks, 
armed with the Grreek fire, the Venetians, covered with their 
armour, the ramparts and the vessels charged with a thou- 
sand destructive instruments, cast from one to the other, by 
turns, terror, fire, and death. The incessant dashing of the 
oars, the shocks of the vessels against each other, the cries 
of the sailors and combatants, the hissing of the stones, 
javelins, and arrows, the Grreek fire darting along the sea, 
seizing on the ships and boiling upon the waves, presented 
altogether a spectacle a thousand times more fearfid than 
that of a tempest. Amidst this horrible tumult, Henry 
Dandolo was heard : standing erect in his galley, he excited 
his troops, and, with a terrible voice, threatejied to hang 
every man that did not land. The orders of the intrepid 
doge were soon executed. The men of his galley took him 
in their arms and bore him swiftly to the shore, the standard 
of St. Mark floating over him. At sight of this, the efforts 
of the crews of the other galleys were redoubled, all struck 
the shore, and the soldiers rushed forward to follow their 
venerable leader. The vessels, which had hitherto remained 
motionless, now advanced and placed themselves between 
the galleys, so that the whole fleet was extended in a 
line before the walls of Constantinople, and presented to the 
terrified Greeks a formidable rampart raised upon the 
waters. The floating towers lowered their draw-bridges 
upon the ramparts of the city, and whilst, at the foot of the 
walls, ten thousand arms planted ladders and battered with 


rams, on the summit a fearful conflict was maintained ■witL 
sword and lance. 

AL at once the standard of St. Mark appeared upon one 
of the towers, planted by an invisible hand ; upon seeing 
this the Venetians uttered a loud shout of joy, persuaded 
that their patron saint fought at their head ; their courage 
proportionately increased with the terror and despair of 
their enemies ; the most intrepid cast themselves on to the 
walls, and soon twenty-five towers were in their possession. 
They pursued the Greeks into the city ; but fearing to fall 
into some ambush or be overwhelmed by the people, crowds 
of whom filled the streets and covered the public places, 
they set fire to the houses as they came to them on their 
passage. The conflagration extended rapidly,* and drove 
before it the terrified and trembling multitude. Whilst the 
flames, preceding the conquerors, spread devastation on 
their path, and the greatest disorder prevailed in Constan- 
tinople, Alexius, pressed by the cries of the people, mounted 
on horseback, and ordered a sortie of the troops, by three 
different gates, to attack the French, who were less fortunate 
in this day's fight than the Venetians. 

The army conducted by the emperor was composed of 
sixty battalions ; clothed in all the marks of imperial dignity, 
Alexius rode along the ranks, animated his soldiers, and 
promised them victory. At his approach, the Crusaders 
abandoned the ramparts, and di'ew up in line of battle 
before their camp.f Villehardouin admits that the bravest 
knights w^ere, for a moment, seized with fear. Dandolo, 
who saw the danger in which the French were placed, aban- 
doned his victory, and flew to their aid. But all the Cru- 
saders united, could not have resisted the imperial army, if 
the Grreeks, but more particularly their leaders, had shown 
a spark of coiu'age. The troops of Alexius would not ad- 

* The historian of Byzantium says, with regard to this fire, that so 
lamentable a spectacle was capable of producing floods cf tears sufficiently 
abundant to have extinguished the conflagration. 

f The marshal of Champagne describes to us the order of battle of the 
Latins, as it was drawn up according to the tactics of the middle ages. 
The Crusaders issued from their camp divided into six bodies ; they ranged 
themselves before their palisades. The knights were on horseback, their 
sergeants and esquires were behind them close to the quarters of theii 
horses ; the crossbow-men and archers were in front. 


ranee nearer than within bow-shot, and contented themselves 
with showering a multitude of arrows from a safe distance. 
The son-in-law of the emperor, Lascaris, of whose courage 
the Grreeks and even the Latins boast, demanded with loud 
cries that the Crusaders should be attacked in their intrench- 
ments ; but he could not prevail upon Alexius, surrounded 
by base courtiers who endeavoured to communicate their 
own alarms to him, and assured him that he had done enough 
for his glory in showing himself to his enemies. The em- 
peror, without having fought, ordered a retreat to be sounded, 
and his numerous troops, who still bore the name of E;omaus, 
and before whom the eagles of E.ome were carried, returned 
with him into Constantinople. 

Every quarter of the capital resounded with lamentations 
and groans ; the Greeks were more terrified at the cowardice 
of their defenders, than by the bravery of then* enemies ; 
the people accused the army, and the army accused Alexius. 
The emperor mistrusting the Greeks and dreading the Latins, 
now only thought of saving his own life : he abandoned his 
family, his friends, his capital ; he embarked secretly in the 
darkness of night, and fled to seek a retreat in some obscure 
corner of his empire. 

When daylight informed the Greeks that they had no 
longer an emperor, the disorder and excitement of the city 
became excessive ; the people assembled in the streets, and 
freely discussed the errors and deficiencies of their leaders, 
the infamy of the favourites, and their own misfortunes. 
ISTow Alexius had abandoned his power, they remembered 
the crime of his usurpation, and a thousand voices were 
raised to invoke the anger of Heaven upon his head. 
Amidst the confusion and tumult, the wisest were at a loss 
what part to take, when the courtiers rushed to the prison 
in which Isaac languished, broke his chains, and led him in 
triumph to the palace of BlachernsD. Although bli^^d, he 
was placed upon the throne, and, whilst he believed himself 
to be still in the hands of his executioners, his ears were 
saluted with the unexpected accents of flattery ; on seeing 
him again clothed in the imperial purple, the courtiers for 
the first time became affected by misfortunes he no loDger 
endured. All denied having been partisans of i.iexius, and 
related what vows they had put up for Ids cause. They next 


sought out the wife of Isaac, whom they had forgotten, and 
who had lived in a retreat to which no one knew or had 
inquired the road during the preceding reign. 

Euphrosyne, the wife of the fugitive emperor, was accused 
of having endeavoured to take advantage of the troubles of 
Constantinople, to clothe one of her favourites \\'ith the 
purple. She was cast into a dungeon, and reproached with 
alL the evils that had fallen on her country, but most par- 
ticularly with the lengthened miseries of Isaac. Such as 
had been loaded with favours by this princess, were con- 
spicuous among her accusers, and pretended to make a merit 
of their ingratitude. 

In political troubles, every change is, in the eyes of the 
people, a means of safety ; they felicitated themselves upon 
this new revolution in Constantinople ; hope revived in all 
hearts, and Isaac was saluted by the multitude with cries of 
joy and congratidation. Rumour soon carried to the camp 
all that had taken place in the city. At this news the 
council of the barons and knights was assembled in the tent 
of the marquis of Montferrat, and they returned thanks to 
Providence, which in delivering Constantinople, had, at the 
same time, delivered them from the greatest dangers. But 
when they recollected having seen only on the preceding 
day the emperor Alexius surrounded by an innumerable 
army, they could scarcely give faith to the miracle of his 

The camp was, however, soon crowded with a multitude 
of Grreeks, who came to relate the wonders of which they 
had been witnesses. Many of the courtiers who had not 
been able to attract the attention of Isaac, flocked to young 
Alexius, in the hope of securing his first favours; they 
returned warm thanks to Heaven for having listened to the 
ardent vows they had put up for his return, and conjured 
liim, in the name of his country and the empire, to come 
and share the honours and the power of his father. But all 
these testimonies could not persuade the Latins, so accus- 
tomed were they to mistrust the Greeks. The barons kept 
their army in the strictest order, and always prepared for 
battle, and then sent Matthew of Montmorenci, G-eoflrey 
de Villehardouin, and two Venetian nobles to Oonstantirople 
to ascertain the truth. 


The deputies were directed to congratulate Isaac, if he 
had recovered his throne, and to require of hirri the ratificar 
tion of the treaty made with his son. On arriving in Con* 
stantinople, they were conducted to the palace of Blachernae 
between two ranks of soldiers, who, the day before, had 
formed the body-guard of Alexius, and who had just taken 
the oath to defend Isaac. The emperor received the depu- 
ties on a throne sparkling with gold and precious stones, 
and surrounded by all the splendour of Eastern courts. 
" This is the manner," said Villehardouin, addressing Isaac, 
" in which the Crusaders have fulfilled their promises ; it 
now remains with you to perform those that have been made 
in your name. Your son, who is wdth the lords and barons, 
implores you to ratify the treaty he has concluded, and com- 
mands us to say that he will not return to your palace until 
you have sworn to perform all he has promised us." Alexius 
had engaged to pay the Crusaders two hundred thousand 
silver marks, to furnish their army with provisions for a 
year, to take an active part in the perils and labours of the 
holy war, and to reduce the Grreek Church to submission to 
that of Kome. When Isaac heard the conditions of the 
treaty, he could not forbear from expressing his surprise, 
and pointing out to the deputies how difficult it must be to 
perform such promises ; but he could deny nothing to his 
liberators, and thanked the Crusaders for not requiring 
more :* " You have served us so well,'^ added he, " that if we 
were even to give you the whole empire, you would have 
merited it.'''' The deputies praised the frankness and good 
faith of Isaac, and carried back to the camp the imperial 
patents, to which was affixed the seal of gold that confirmed 
the treaty made with Alexius. 

The lords and barons immediately mounted on horseback, 
and conducted young Alexius into Constantinople. The son 
of Isaac rode between the count of Manders and the doge 
of Venice, followed by all the knights, clad in complete 
armour. The people, who so lately had pr-sserved a sullen 

* Certes, voila une capitulation bien etrange, repcwdit I'emperenr, et 
113 voy pas comme elle se puisse accomplir, tant elle est grande et exces- 
sive. Nompourtant vous avez tout fait pour lui et pourmoy, que si I'on 
vous donnerait tout <;et empire entierement, si I'avez vous Vien desuivi. — • 
Villehardouin, book iv. 


silence on beholding him, now crowded around him on hia 
passage, and saluted him. with loud acclamations ; the Latin 
clergy accompanied the son of Isaac, and those of the Greek 
Church sent out their magnificent cortege to meet h"<m. The 
entrance of the young prince into the capital fvas a day of 
festivity for both the Greeks and the Latins ; in all the 
churches thanks were offered up to Heaven ; hymns of 
public rej jicing resounded everywhere ; but it was par- 
ticularly in the palace of Blachernse, so long the abode of 
mourning and fear, that the greatest transports of joy were 
manifested. A father, blind, and immured during eight 
years in a dungeon, clasping in his arms a son to whom he 
owed the restoration of his liberty and crown, presented a 
new spectacle that must have penetrated every heart with 
lively emotions. The crowd of spectators recalled to their 
minds the long calamities of these two princes ; and the 
remembrance of so many evils past, appeared to them a 
pledge for the blessings that Heaven had in store for the 

The emperor, reunited to his son, again thanked the 
Crusaders for the services they had rendered him, and con- 
jured the leaders to establish themselves with their army on 
the othei- side of the Gulf of Chrysoceras. He feared that 
their abode in the city might give birth to some quarrel 
between the Greeks and the Latins, too long divided. The 
barons yielded to the prayer of Isaac and Alexius, and the 
army of the Crusaders took up their quarters in the faubourg 
of Galata ; where, in abundance and repose, they forgot the 
labours, perils, and fatigues of the war. The Pisans, who had 
defended C'onstantinople against the Crusaders, made peace 
with the Yenetians ; all discords were appeased, and no 
spirit of jealousy or rivalry divided the Eranks. The Greeks 
v.'iame constantly to the camp of the Latins, bringing provi- 
^^"ons and merchandise of all kinds. The warriors of the 
West often visited the capital, and were never tired oi 
contemplating the palaces of the emperors, the numerous 
edifices, the master-pieces of art, the monuments consecrated 
to religion, and, above all, the relics of saints, which, accord- 
ing to t^ie marshal of Champagne, were in greater abundance 
U) Constantuiople than in any other "'lace in the world. 


A few days after his entrance iuto Constantinople, Alexius 
was crowned in the church of St. Sophia, and admitted to a 
partition of the sovereign power with his father. The barons 
assisted at his coronation, and offered up sincere wishes for 
the happiness of his reign. Alexius hastened to discharge a 
part of the sum promised to the Crusaders. The greatest har- 
mony prevailed between the people of Byzantium and the 
warriors of the West ; the Greeks appeared to have forgotten 
their defeats, the Latins their victories. The subjects of Isaac 
and Alexius mingled with the Latins without mistrust, and 
the simplicity of the Franks was no longer the subject of their 
raillery. The Crusaders, on their side, confided in the good 
faith of the Greeks. Peace reigned in the capital, and 
seemed to be the work of their hands. They respected the 
two princes they had placed upon the throne, and the em- 
perors retained an affectionate gratitude for their liberators.- 

The Crusaders, having become the allies of the Greeks, 
and the protectors of a great empire, had now no other 
enemies to contend with but the Saracens ; and they turned 
their minds to the fulfilment of the oath they had made on 
taking the cross ; but, ever faithful to the laws of chivalry, 
the barons and knights deemed it right to declare war 
before beginning it. Heralds-at-arms were sent to the 
sultan of Cairo and Damascus, to announce to him, in the 
name of Jesus Christ, in the name of the emperor of Con- 
stantinople, and in the names of the princes and nobles of 
the West, that he would soon experience the valour of the 
Christian nations, if he persisted in holding under his laws 
the Holy Land and the places consecrated by the presence 
of the Saviour. 

The leaders of the crusade announced the wonderful suc- 
cess of their enterprise to all the princes and nations of 
Christendom. AVhilst addressing the emperor of Germany,* 
they conjured him to take part in the crusade, and come 
md place himself at the head of the Christian knights. The 
account of their exploits excited the enthusiasm of the 

* The Crusaders addressed Otho, and not Philip of Swabia, which is 
"Cry stpange, as Philip was the brother-in-law of Alexius ; but il is to be 
nibserved that at this period the pope had declared, in favour of Otho, and 
•ihreatened Philip with the thunders of the Church. 


faithful ; the news, when carried into Syria, spread terror 
among the Saracens, and revived the hopes of the king of 
Jerusalem and the defenders of the Holy Land : so much 
glorious success ought to have satisfied the pride and valour 
of the Crusaders ; but, whilst the world resounded with 
their glory, a?id trembled at the fame of their arms, the 
knights and barons believed they had achieved nothing for 
their own renown, or for the cause of God, until they had 
obtained the approbation of the Holy See. The marquis of 
Montferrat, the count of Flanders, the count of St. Pol, 
and the principal leaders of the army, when writing to the 
pope, represented to him that the success of their enterprise 
was not the work of men, but the work of God. These 
warriors, filled with haughty pride, who had just conquered 
an empire ; who, according to Nicecas, boasted oi fearing 
nothing hut the falling of the heavens, thus bent their vic- 
torious brows before the tribunal of the sovereign pontifi*, 
and protested at the feet of Innocent, that no mundane 
view had directed their arms, and that he must only contem- 
plate in them the instruments Providence had employed in 
accomplishing its designs. 

Young Alexius, in concert with the leaders of the crusaaes, 
wrote at the same time to the pope, to justify his conduct 
and that of his liberators. " We avow," said he, " that the 
principal cause that induced the pilgrims to assist us, was 
that we had promised, with an oath, to recognise the Eoman 
pontiff as our ecclesiastical head, and the successor of St. 
Peter." Innocent III. in replying to the new emperor of 
Constantinople, praised his intentions and his zeal, and 
pressed him to accomplish his promises ; but the excuses of 
the Crusaders were not able to appease the resentment 
which the pope retained on account of their disobedience to 
the counsels and commands of the Holy See. In his answer, 
he did not salute them with his usual benediction, fearing 
that they were again fallen under excommunication, by 
attacking the Greek emperor in spite of his prohibition. If 
the emperor of Constantinople, said he to them, does not 
make haste to do that which he has promised, it will appear 
that neither }iis intentions nor yours have been sincere, and 
that you have added this second sin to that you have already 


eommitted. The pope gave the Crusaders fresh ad^ ice ; but 
neither his counsels nor his threats produced any bettei 
effect than they had done at the siege of Zara : Providence 
was preparing in secret, events that exceeded the foresight 
of the Crusaders, or even that of the Holy See, and which 
would once again change the aim and object of the holy 


A.D. 1198—1204. 

Whew war and revolutions have shaken an empire to its 

foundation, evils arise against which no human wisdom can 
provide. It is then that princes, called to the throne, are 
more to be pitied than their subjects, and that their power 
is more likely to excite commiseration than to awaken the 
ambition or hatred of other men. The people, in the 
extreme of misery, know not what bounds to put to their 
hopes, and always demand of the future more than the. 
future can possibly bring. When they continue to suffer 
irreparable misfortunes, they blame their leaders, by whose 
influence they expected all sorts of prosperity ; the murmurs 
of unjust hatred soon succeed to the acclamations of an irre- 
flective enthup.:asm, and, not unfrequently, virtue itself is 
accused of having caused evils which are the effects of revolt, 
war, or bad fortune. 

Nations themselves, when they have succumbed, and have 
for ever lost their political existence, are not judged with 
less severity or injustice than princes or monarchs : after 
the fall of an empire, the terrible axiom vcd victis, receives 
its application even in the judgment of posterity. Gene- 
rations, quit-B equally with contemporaries, allow them- 
selves to be dazzled by victory, and entertain nothing but 
contempt for co^nquered nations. We shall endeavour, 
whilst speaking of the Greeks and their princes, to guartl 
against the prejudices that history has transmitted to us, 
and when we shaU pronounce a severe judgment upon the 
character and people of Greece, our opinion will be always 
founded upon authentic traditions and the testimony of the 
historians of Byzantium. 

Whilst yoLing Alexius had nothiiig to do but make pro- 
mises and give hmj^-, Iti* n ii>>ii...oTatiiied by the flattering 


mSTOllY or THE V.11USADES. 101 

benedictions of both Glreeks and Crusaders ; bi^t when the 
time arrived for him to perform all he had promised, he met 
with nothing but enemies and obstacles. In the position in 
which his return had placed him, it was extremely difficult 
for him to preserve at the same time the confidence of his 
liberators and the love of his subjects. If, in order to 
fulfil his engagements, the young emperor undertook to 
luiite the Greek Church with the Church of Home ; if, to 
pay that which he owed to the Crusaders, he oppressed his 
people with taxes, he must expect to hear violent murmurs 
arise throughout his empire. If, on the contrary, he re- 
spected the religion of G-reece, if he lightened the excessive 
weight of the imposts, the treaties would remain unexecuted, 
and the throne he had so recently ascended, might be over- 
turned by the arms of the Latins. 

Dreading every day to see the fires of either revolt or 
war kindled, obliged to choose between two perils, after 
having long and earnestly deliberated, he did not dare to 
confide his destiny to the equivocal valour of the Greeks, 
and conjured the barons to become a second time his libe- 
rators. He repaired to the tent of the count of Manders, 
and spoke as follows to the assembled leaders of the 
crusade.* " You have restored to me life, honour, and 
empire, and I have only one thing to desire : that is, to be 
able to perform all the promises I have made you. But if 
you abandon me now, in order to go into Syria, it will be 
impossible for me to find the money, the troops, or the 
vessels I have undertaken to furnish. The people of Con- 
stantinople have received me with joy ; but the frequency of 
revolutions has caused them to lose the habits of submission 
and obedience. The laws of their country, the majesty of 
the throne, no longer inspire them with respect ; a spirit of 
faction reigns in the capital, and throughout the too-long 
agitated provinces. I conjure you then, in the name of 
your own glory, in the name of yom; own interests, to finish 
your work, and render firm the power you have reestablished. 
Winter is approaching, the navigation is perilous, and the 
rains will not permit you to commence the war in Syria ; 
wait then till the spring, when the sea will present fewer 

* This speech is given in its entirety by Villehardouin. 


da-ngers, and war greater success and glorr ; you will then 
have all Greece as auxiliaries in your enterprises ; I shali 
myself be able to keep the oaths that chain me to your 
cause, and accompany you with an army worthy of an 
emperor." At the conclusion of his speech, Alexius pro- 
mised to furnish all that the army would require, and to 
make such suitable arrangements with the doge, that the 
Venetian fleet might remain at the disposal of the Crusaders 
during their abode at Constantinople, and to the end of their 

A council was called to deliberate upon the proposals of 
the young emperor : those who had been desirous of sepa- 
rating themselves from the army at Zara and Corfu, repre- 
sented to the assembly that they had, until that time, fought 
for the glory and profane interests of princes of the earth, 
but that the time was now come for them to fight for 
religion and for Jesus Christ. They were indignant at new 
obstacles being raised to retard the holy enterprise. This 
opinion was warmly combated by the doge of Venice and 
the barons who had embarked their glory in the expedition 
against Constantinople, and could not make up their minds 
to lose the fruit of all their labours. " Shall we," said they, 
" allow a young prince, whose cause we have brought to a 
triumphant issue, to be delivered over to his enemies, who 
are as ours, and an enterprise so gloriously begun, become 
for us a source of shame and repentance ? Shall we allow 
the heresy that our arms have stifled in humbled Greece, 
to reconstruct its impin-e altars, and be again a subject of 
scandal for the Christian church? Shall we leave the 
Greeks the dangerous faculty of declaring against us, and 
allying themselves with the Saracens, to war with the soldiers 
of Christ?" To these weighty motives the princes and 
lords did not disdain to add supplication a^id prayers ; at 
iength their opinion triumphed over an obstinate opposition, 
and the council decided that the departure of the army 
should be deferred until the festival of the Easter of the 
following year. 

Alexius, in concert with Isaac, thanked the Crusaders for 
their favourable determination, and neglectet. u )thing that 
could prove his gratitude to them. Eor the purpose of 
paying the sums he had promised, he exhausted his treasury. 


^increased tlie imposts, and even melted the images ot* the 
saints and the sacred vases. Upon seeing the churches 
despoiled of the sacred images, the people of Constantinople 
were struck v^^ith surprise and terror, and yet had not the 
courage to utter their complaints aloud. Nicetas reproaches 
his compatriots bitterly with having remained quiet specta- 
tors of such sacrilege, and accuses them of having, by their 
cowardly indifference, drawn upon the empire the anger of 
Heaven. The most fervent of the G-reeks deplored, as 
Nicetas did, the violation of their holy places ; but scenes 
much more grievous were soon to be brought before their 

The leaders of the army, influenced by the counsels of 
the Latin clergy and by the fear of the pontiff of E-ome, 
required that the patriarch, the priests, and the monks of 
Constantinople should abjure the errors that separated them 
from the Romish church ; and neither the clergy, nor the 
people, nor the emperor, attempted to resist this demand, 
although it alarmed every conscience and alienated all hearts. 
The patriarch, from the pulpit of St. Sophia, declared, in his 
own name, and in the name of the emperor and the Chris- 
tian people of the East, that he acknowledged Innocent, third 
of that name, as the successor of St. Peter, first vicar of 
Jesus Christ upon earth, pastor of the faithful floch. The 
Grreeks who were present at this ceremony believed they 
beheld the abomination of desolation in the holy place, and 
if they afterwards pardoned the patriarch the commission of 
such a scandal, it was from the strange persuasion in which 
they were, that the head of their church was deceiving the 
Latins, and that the imposture of his words redeemed in 
some sort the crime of blasphemy and the shame of perjury. 

The Greeks persisted in believing that the Holy Ghost 
does not proceed from the Son, and quoted in support of tl eir 
belief, the Creed of Nice ; the discipline of their church 
differed in some points from that of the Church of E-ome ; 
in the early days of the schism it might have been easy to 
effect a reunion, but now the disputes of theologians had 
too much exasperated men's minds.* The hatred of the 

* The Greeks and Latins were divided on three principal points •. first, 
the addition made by the Latin Church to the creed of Constantinople, t« 
declare that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father ; 2nd the refusal 


Greeks and the Latins appeared but too likely to separate 
the two creeds for ever. The law that was imposed upon 
the Greeks only served to promote the growth of their in- 
vincible resistance. Such among them as scarcely krew 
what the subject was of the long debates that had sprung 
up between Byzantium and E-ome, showed no less fanaticism 
and opposition than all the others ; whilst such as had no 
religion at all adopted with warmth the opinions of the 
theologians, and appeared all at once disposed to die for a 
cause which till that time had inspired them with nothing 
but indiflerence. The Greek people, in a word, who believed 
themselves to be superior to all other nations of the earth, 
repulsed with contempt all knowledge that came from the 
"West, and could not consent to recognise the superiority of 
the Latins. The Crusaders, who had changed the emperors 
and conquered the empire, were astonished at not being able 
to change men's hearts likewise ; but, persuaded that every- 
thing must in the end yield to their arms, they employed, in 
subduing minds and opinions, a rigour which only augmented 
the hatred of the vanquished, and prepared the fall of the 
emperors whom victory had replaced upon the throne. 

In the mean time, the usurper Alexius, on flying from 
Constantinople, had found a retreat in the province of 
Thrace ; several cities opened their gates to him, and a few 
partisans assembled under his banner. The son of Isaac 
resolved to seek the rebels and give them battle. Henry of 
Hainault, the count of St. Pol, and many knights, accom- 
panied him in this expedition. At their approach, the 
usurper, shut up in Adrianople, quickly abandoned the city, 
and fled away towards Mount Hemus. All the rebels whu 
had the courage to await them, were either conquered o» 
dispersed. But young Alexius and the Crusaders had a 
much more formidable enemy to contend with : this was th»» 
nation of the Bulgarians. These wild and ferocious people, 

on the part of the Greeks to acknowledge the primacy of the pope ; Srdly 
the pretension of the Greeks that it is not possible to consecrate in the 
Eucharist with unleavened bread. Photius began the schism ; the patriarcL 
Cerularius established it ; this latter wished to be acknowledged as thr 
head of the universal Church instead of the pope. L'Abbe Fleury, in hia 
Hisioire Ecclesiastique , thinks tbat the schism of the Greeks only really 
began at the period the liatins were masters of Constantinople. 


obedient to the laws of Constantinople at the tirrie of the 
first crusade, had taken advantage of the troubles of the 
empire to shake off the yoke of its rulers.* The leader of the 
Bulgarians, Joannices, an implacable enemy of the Greeks, 
had embraced the faith of the Church of E-ome, and declared 
himself a vassal of the sovereign pontiff, to obtain from him 
the title of king. He concealed under the veil of a new 
religion the most vindictive hatred and aspiring ambition, 
and employed the support and credit of the court of E-ome 
to make war against the masters of Byzantium. Joannices 
made frequent incursions into the countries adjoining his 
own territories, and threatened the richest provinces oi the 
empire with invasion. If young Alexius had been guided 
by prudent counsels, he would have taken advantage of the 
presence of the Crusaders to intimidate the Bulgarians, and 
compel them to remain on the other side of Mount Hemus : 
this expedition might have deservedly obtained him the con- 
fidence and esteem of the Greeks, and assured the repose of 
several provinces ; but whether he was not seconded by the 
Crusaders, or that he did not perceive the advantages of such 
an enterprise, he contented himself with threatening Joan- 
nices ; and, without having made either peace or war, after 
receiving the oaths of the cities of Thrace, his sole wish was 
to return to Constantinople. 

The capital of the empire, which had already undergone 
so many evils, had just experienced a fresh calamity. Some 
Flemish soldiers, encouraged by the Latins established in 
Constantinople, had provoked and insulted the Jews in their 
synagogue, and the people had taken up the defence of the 
latter against the aggressors. Both sides had recourse to 
arms, and in the tumult of fight, chance, or malevolence, 
set fire to some neighbouring houses. The conflagration 
extended on all sides, during the night and the following 
day, with a rapidity and violence that nothing could stop or 
confine; the flames meeting from several points, rolled on 
with the swiftness of a torrent, consuming, as if of straw, 
galleries, columns, temples, and nalaces. Erom the bosom 
of this frightful mass of fire issaed fragments of burning 

* The Bulgarians had shaken off the yoke under the first reign of Isaac. 
They had for leaders two brothers, Peter and Asan, who had for successoi 
a third brother, Joannices. 


matter, \^.nicli, falling upon distant houses, reduced them tc 
ashes. The flames, at first impelled by a north wind, were 
afterwards driven back, by a strong change, from the south, 
and poured upon places that had appeared secure from 
danger. The conflagration began at the synagogue, near 
the sea, on tlie eastern side of the city, and extended its 
ravages as far as the church of St. Sophia, on the western 
side, traversing a space of two leagues, and in its course 
including the port, where many ships were consumed upo i 
the waters.* 

During eight days the fearful element continued the de- 
struction ; the crash of houses and towers falling on all 
sides, and the roaring of the winds and flames mingling with 
the cries of a ruined and distracted multitude. The crowds 
of inhabitants rushed over and agiiinst each other in the 
streets, flying before the closely-pursuing fire, some bearing 
their goods and most valuable eflects, others dragging along 
the sick and tlie aged. Such as perished in the conflagration 
were the least unfortunate, for multitudes of others, weeping 
the death of their relations and friends, and the loss of their 
whole worldly property, many of them wounded, some half- 
burnt, wandered about bewildered among the ruins, or were 
huddled together in the public places, without any means ol 
subsistence, or the hope of finding an asylumi. 

The Crusader sviewed the progress of this horrible dis- 
aster from the heights of Gralata, and deplored the calamities 
of Constantinople. A great number of knights lent their 
most earnest endeavour to subdue the raging element, and 
lamented that they had to contend with an enemy against 
which valour was powerless. The princes and barons sent a 
deputation to the emperor Isaac, to assure him how sincerely 
they participated in his sorrow, and to declare that they 
would punish the authors of the conflagration with the 
utmost severity, if they should prove to be among their sol- 
diers. The protestations and assistance which they promptly 
and earnestly offered to the victims, could neither console 
nor appease the Greeks, who, whilst contemplating the ruins 

* Nicetas devotes an entire chapter to the description of this fire. 
Villehardouin, in the fourth volume of his History, speaks thus of it : 
De quoi les pelerins Francais farent mult dolent, et mult en eurenl 
grand nitie. 


and misfortunes of their capital, accused the t\MO emperors, 
and threw out horrible imprecations against the Latins. 

The families of the Franks established at Constantinople, 
who, in spite of persecutions, had remained in the city, 
became again subject to the ill-treatment of the people ; and, 
forced to seek an asylum without the walls, they took refuge 
in the faubourg of Gralata. Their groans and complaints 
revived all the animosity of the Crusaders against the 
G-reeks. Thus everything contributed to inflame the hatred 
of two nations, whom such great misfortunes ought to have 
more closely united, and to rekindle discords that were 
doomed to bring in their train new and incurable calamities. 

When Alexius re-entered Constantinople in triumph, the 
people received him with moody silence ; the Crusaders alone 
applauded victories he had gained over Grreeks ; and his 
triumph, which contrasted so keenly with the public cala- 
mities, and his laurels, gathered in a civil war, only served 
to render him more odious to the inhabitants of his capital. 
He was obliged, more than ever, to throw himself into the 
arms of the Latins ; he passed his days and nights in their 
camp ; he took part in their warlike games, and associated 
himself with their gross orgies. Amidst the intoxication of 
banquets, the Frank warriors treated Alexius with insolent 
familiarity, and more than once they pulled off his jewelled 
diadem to place on his head the woollen cap worn by Venetian 
sailors. The Greeks, who took great pride in the magni- 
ficence of their sovereigns, only conceived the stronger 
contempt for a prince, who, after abjuring his religion, de- 
graded the imperial dignity, and did not blusi to adopt the 
manners of nations that were only known at Cc nstantinople 
mider the name of barbarians. 

Nicetas, whose opinions are not wanting in moderation, 
never speaks of this prince but with a sort of anger and vio- 
lence. According to the historian of Byzantium, "Alexius 
had a countenance resembling that of the exterminating 
angel ; he was a true incendiary ; and far from being afflicted 
by the burning of his capital, he would ha\e wished to seo 
the whole city reduced to ashes." Isaac himself accused 
his son of having pernicious inclinations, and of corrupting, 
himself daily by an intercourse with the wicked ; he was in- 
dignant that tlio name of Alexius should be p-oclaimcd ^/* 

108 niSTOKY OF Till CRT]»ADES. 

court and in public ceremonies, whilst that of Isaac was 
rarely mentioned. In his blind anger, he loaded the young 
emperor with imprecations ; but, governed by a vain jealousy, 
much more than by any proper sentiment of dignity, whilst 
he applauded the hatred of the people for Alexius, he evaded 
the duties of a sovereign, and did nothing to merit the 
esteem of men of worth. Isaac lived retired in his palace, 
surrounded by monlis and astrologers, who, whilst kissing his 
hands still scarred with the irons of his captivity, celebrated 
his power, made him believe that he would deliver Jerusalem, 
that he would plant his throne upon Mount Libanus, and 
would reign over the whole universe. Pull of confidence in 
an image of the Virgin which he always carried with him, 
and boasting of being acquainted, by means of astrology, 
with all the secrets of policy, he could yet imagine, to pre- 
vent sedition, nothing more effective than to have trans- 
ported from the hippodrome to his palace, the statue of the 
wild boar of Calydon, vrhich was considered the symbol of 
revolt and the image of an infuriated people. 

The people of Constantinople, no less superstitious than 
Isaac, whilst deploring the evils of their country, laid the 
blame upon both marble and brass. A statue of Minerva 
which decorated the Square of Constantino, had its eyes and 
arms turned towards the West ; it was believed that she had 
called in the barbarians, and the statue was torn down and 
dashed to pieces by an exasperated mob :* "cruel blindness of 
the Grreeks," cries an historical hel esprit,^ "who took arms 
against themselves, and could not endure in their city 
the image of a goddess who presides over prudence and 
valour ! " 

Whilst the capital of the empire was thus agitated by 
popular commotions, the ministers of Alexius and Isaa*c 
were busied in levying taxes for the payment of the sums 
promised to the Latins. Extravagance, abuses of power, 

* Nicetas gives a sufficiently long description of this statue of Pallas. — 
See the Histoiy of Isaac Angelus, chap. iii. This statue was thirty feet 
high ; its eyes, says the Greek historian, were turned towards the south, 
so that those who were ignorant of the science of angles considered she 
was looking towards the West, and that she invited the nations from the 
"orth of Europe to come to the shores of the Bosphorus. 

•^ Nicetas. 


and mimerous instances of injustice, added still further to 
the public calamities ; loud complaints were proclaimed by 
every class of the citizens. It was at first intended to lay 
the principal burden of the imposts upon the people ; but th« 
people, says Nicetas, arose like a sea agitated by the winds. 
Extraordinary taxes were then, by necessity, laid upon the 
richer citizens, and the churches continued to be plundered 
of their gold and silver ornaments. All the treasures they 
coidd collect were not sufficient to satisfy the insatiable 
desires of the Latins, who began to ravage the country, and 
pillage the houses and monasteries of the Propontis. 

The hostilities and violence of the Crusaders excited the 
indignation of the people to a greater degree than they 
moved that of the patricians and the great. In the course of 
so many revolutions, it is astonishing to find that the spirit 
of patriotism so frequently revives amongst the multitude, 
when it is extinct in the more elevated classes. In a cor- 
rupt nation, so long as revolutions have not broken forth, 
and the day of peril and destruction is not arrived, the 
riches of the citizens is a sure pledge of their devotedness 
and patriotism ; but this pledge is no longer the same at the 
height of danger, when society finds itself in antagonism 
with all the enemies of its existence and its repose ; a for- 
tune, the loss of which is dreaded, is often the cause of 
shameful transactions with the party of the conquerors ; it 
enervates more than it fortifies moral courage. Amidst the 
greatest perils, the midtitude, who have nothing to lose, 
sometimes preserve generous passions that skilfid policy 
may direct with advantage. Unfortunately, the same mul- 
titude scarcely ever obey anything but a blind instinct ; and 
in moments of crisis, become a dangerous instrument in 
the hands of the ambitious, who abuse the names of liberty 
and patriotism. It is then that a nation has no less to com- 
plain of those who are not willing to save her, than of those 
who do not dare defend her ; and that she perishes, the vic- 
tim at once of culpable indifference and senseless ardour. 

The people of Constantinople, irritated against the ene- 
mies of the empire, and urged on by a spirit of fiiction, 
complained at first of their leaders ; and, soon passing from 
complaint to revolt, they rushed in a crowd to the palace of 
the emperors, reproached them with having abandoned thfi 


cause of God and the cause of their country, and demanded^ 
with loud cries, avengers and arms. 

Among tliose who encouraged the multitude, a young 
prince of the illustrious family of Ducas was conspicuous. 
He bore the name of Alexius, a name which must always be 
associated with the history of the misfortunes of the empire : 
in addition, he had obtained the surname of Mourzoti/le, a 
Greek word, signifying that his two eyebrows met together. 
Mourzoufle* concealed a subtle spirit beneath that severe 
and stern air that the vulgar never fail to take for an indica- 
tion of frankness. The words patriotism and liberty, which 
always seduce the people ; the words glory and religion, 
which recall noble sentiments, were for ever in his mouth, 
and only served to veil the machinations of his ambition. 
Amidst a timid and pusillanimous court, surrounded by 
princes, who, according to the expression of Nicetas, had 
(jreater fear of making war against the Crusaders, than stags 
would have in attacking a lion, Mourzoufle was not deficient 
in bravery, and his reputation for courage was quite sufficient 
to draw upon him the eyes of the whole capital. As he 
possessed a strong voice, a haughty look, and an imperious 
tone, he was pronounced fit to command. The more vehe- 
mently he declaimed against tyranny, the more ardent were 
the wishes of the multitude that he should be clothed with 
great power. The hatred that he affected to entertain for 
foreigners, gave birth to the hope that he would one day 
defend the empire, and caused him to be considered the 
future liberator of Constantinople. 

Skilful in seizing every available chance, and in following 
all parties, after having rendered criminal services to the 
usurper, Mourzoufle gathered the rev/ard of them under the 
reign that followed the usurpation ; and he who was every- 
where accused of having been the gaoler and executioner of 
IsaaCjt became the favourite of young Alexius. He neg- 
lected no means of pleasing the multitude, in order to ren- 
der himself necessary to the prince ; and knew how to 
brave, on fit occasions, the hatred of the courtiers, to aug- 

* The continuator of William gives the Greek prince the imme of 

f Lebeau, Histoire du Bas - Emjnre , says that Mourzoufle had been 
employed to put out the ey"»s of Isaac — See Hist. duBas-Emp. liv. xciv 


ment his (.'redit among the people. He was not tardy in 
taking advantage of this double influence to sow the 
seeds of new troubles, and bring about the triumph of his 

His counsels persuaded young Alexius, that it was neces- 
r:ary for him to break with the Latins, and prove himseli 
ungrateful to his liberators, to obtain the confidence of the 
Greeks ; he inflamed the minds of the people, and to make 
a rupture certain, he himself took up arms. His friends 
and some men of the people followed his example, and, led 
by Mourzoufle, a numerous troop rushed from the city, in 
tlie hope of surprising the Latins ; but the multitude, always 
ready to declaim against the warriors of the West, did not 
dare to face them. Mourzoufle, abandoned on the field of 
battle, had nearly fallen into the hands of the Crusaders. 
This imprudent action, that might have been expected to 
ruin him, only tended to increase his power and influence ; 
lie might be accused of having risked the safety of the em- 
pire by provoking a war without th(j means of sustaining it; 
but the people boasted of the heroism of a young prince, 
who had dared to brave the warlike hosts of the Eranks ; 
and even they wlio had deserted him in the fight, celebrated 
his valour, and swore, as he did, to exterminate the enemies 
of their country. 

The frenzy of the Greeks was at its height ; and, on their 
side, the Latins loudly expressed their dissatisfaction. In 
tlie faubourg of Galata, inhabited by the French and Vene- 
tians, as wei] as within the walls of Constantinople, nothing 
was heard but cries for war, and nobody durst speak of 
peace. At this period a deputation from the Christians of 
Palestine arrived in the camp of the Crusaders. The depu- 
ties, the principal of whom was Martin Litz, were clothed 
in mourning vestments, which, with the sadness of their 
aspect, mad(} it sufE.ciently plain that they came to announce 
fresh misfortunes. Their accounts drew tears from all the 

In the year that preceded the expedition to Constantinople 
the Flemish and Champenois Crusaders, who had embarkod 
at the ports of Bruges and Marseilles, landed at Ptolemais. 
At the same time came many English wa^Tiors, commandet? 
by tlie earls of Northumberland, Norwich, and Salisbury. 


and a great number of pilgrims from Lower Brittany, wb.c 
had chosen for leader the monk Helain, one of the preachera 
of the crusade. These Crusaders, when united with those 
who had quitted the Christian army after the siege of Zara, 
became impatient to attack the Saracens, and as the king of 
Jerusalem was averse to breaking the truce made wdth the 
infidels, the greater part of them left Palestine, to fight 
under the banners of the prince of Antioch, who was at 
war with the prince of Armenia. Having refused to take 
guides, they were surprised and dispersed by a body of 
Saracens, sent against them by the sultan of Aleppo ;* the 
few that escaped from the carnage, among whom history 
names two seigneurs de Neuilly, Bernard de Montmirail, and 
Eenard de Dampierre, rem.ained in the chains of the infidels. 
Helain, the monk, had the grief to see the bravest of the 
Breton Crusaders perish on the field of battle, and returned 
almost alone to Ptolemais, to announce the bloody defeat of 
the soldiers of the cross. A horrible famine had, during 
two years, desolated Egypt, and extended its ravages into 
Syria. Contagious diseases followed the famine ; the plague 
swept away the inhabitants of the Holy Land ; more than 
two thousand Christians had received the rights of sepulture 
in the city of Ptolemais, in one single day ! 

The deputies from the Holy Land, after rendering their 
melancholy account, invoked by tears and groans the prompt 
assistance of the army of the Crusaders ; but the barons 
and knights could not abandon the enterprise they had 
begun ; they promised the envoys from Palestine that they 
would turn their arms towards Syria, as soon as they had 
subdued the Greeks ; and, pointing towards the walls of 
Constantinople, said : " This is the road to salvation ; this is 
%e way to Jerusalem.'''' 

Alexius was bound to pay the Latins the sums he had 
j)romised ; if he was faithful to his word, he had to appre- 
hend a revolt of the Gr reeks ; if he did not fulfil his engage- 
ments, he dreaded the arms of the Crusaders. Terrified by 
the general agitation that prevailed, and restrained by a 

* Jacques de Vitrt, Alberic, and the continuator of WilHam of Tyre 
speak of this battle fought between Antioch and Tripoli ; Villehardouin 
likewise makes meotioa of it, and names many knights that were killed ' 
made prisoners. 


double fear, the two emperors remained inactive in tlieir 
palace, without daring to seek for peace, or prepare for war. 

The Crusaders, dissatisfied with the conduct of Alexius,* 
deputed several barons and knights to demand of him 
peremptorily whether he would be their friend or their 
enemy. The deputies, on entering Constantinople, heard 
nothing throughout their passage but the insults and threats 
of an irritated populace. Received in the palace of Bla- 
cherna), amidst tlie pomp of the throne and tlie court,t they 
addressed the emperor Alexius, and expressed the complaints 
of their companions in arms in these terms : " We are sent 
by the French barons and the doge of Venice to recall to 
your mind the treaty that you and your father have sworn 
to upon the Gospel, and to require you to fulfil your pro- 
mises as we have fulfilled ours. If you do us justice, we 
shall only have to forget the past, and give due praise to 
your good faith; if you are not true to your oaths, the 
Crusaders will no longer remember they have been your 
friends and allies, they will have recourse to no more prayers, 
but to their own good swords. They have felt it their duty 
to lay their complaints before you, and to warn you of their 
intentions, for the warriors of the West hold treachery in 
horror, and never make war without having declared it ; we 
offer you our friendship, which has placed you upon the 
throne, or our hatred, which is able to remove you from it ; 
we bring you war with all its calamities, or peace with all 
its blessings : it is for you to choose, and to deliberate upon 
the part you have to take." 

These complaints of the Crusaders were expressed with 
so little respect, that they must have been highly offensive 

* Vigenere, when translating Villehardouin, renders thus the passage 
in which the marshal of Champagne expresses the dissatisfaction of the 
Crusaders, and the ill-conduct of Alexius towards them : — Alexis les 
menait de delai en delai, de respit en respit, le bee dans I'eau, quant au 
principal, et poir le regard de certaines raenues parties, qu'il leur four- 
nissait comme a lesche doigt, formait tant de petites difficultes et chica- 
neries, que les barons commencerent a s'ennuyer. 

t Villehardouin, after having described the court of Alexius, in this 
ceremony naively adds -. Tout c«la se sentait bien sa cour d'un si puissant 
et riche prince. 1'he title of puissant scarcely suited a prince who was 
hearing war declared against him in his own palace ; and the epithet rich 
was hardly more applicable to him, since he could not pay what he had 
promised, and thereby redeem his empire from the greatest danger. 

Vol. II.— 6 


to the ears of the emperors. In this pahxce, which con- 
stantly resounded with the acclamations of a servile court, 
the sovereigns of Byzantium had never listened to language 
so insolent and liaughty. The emperor Alexius, to whom 
this menacing tone appeared to reveal his own helplessness 
and the unhappy state of his empire, could not restrain his 
indignation ; the courtiers fully partook of the anger of 
their masters, and were desirous of punishing the insolent 
orator of the Latins on the spot ;* but the deputies left the 
palace of Blachernse, and hastened to regain the camp of the 

The council of Isaac and Alexius breathed nothing but 
vengeance ; and, on the return of the deputies, war was de- 
cided on in the coiuicil of the barons. The Latins deter- 
mined to attack Constantinople ; nothing could equal the 
hatred and fury of the Greeks ; but fury and hatred 
cannot supply the place of courage : not daring to meet 
their enemy in the open field, they resolved to burn the fleet 
of the Venetians. The Greeks, on this occasion, had again 
recourse to that Greek fire, which had, more than once, 
served them instead of courage, and saved their capital. 
This terrible fire, skilfully hurled or directed, devoured 
vessels, soldiers, and their arms ; like the bolt of Heaven, 
nothing could prevent its explosion, or arrest its ravages ; 
the waves of the sea, so far from extinguishing it, redoubled 
its activity. Seventeen ships, charged with the Greek fire 
and combustible matter, were carried by a favourable wind 
towards the port in which the Venetian vessels lay at anchor. 
To assure the success of this attempt, the Greeks took 
advantage of the darkness of night ; and the port, the 
gulf, and the faubourg of Galata were, all at once, illumined 
by a threatening and sinister light. At the aspect of the 
danger, the trumpets sounded the alarm in the camp of the 
Latins ; the French flew to arms and prepared for the fight, 
whilst the Venetians cast themselves into their barks, and 

* La-desseus bruit se leva fort grand au palais ; et les messagers s'en 
retournuerent aux portes, ou ils monterent habilement a cheval ; n'y ayant 
celui, quand ils fui'ent hors, qui ne se sentit tres heureux et content ea' 
son esprit, voire estonne, d'etre reschappe a si bon marche d'un si mani- 
feste danger ; car il ne tint presque a rien qu'ils n'y demeurassent toua 
morts ou pris. — Villehardov'm, liv. vi. 

HISTORY or rilE CllUSADES. 11«? 

went out to meet vessels bearing within tlieir sides destruc- 
tion and fire. 

The crowd of Greeks assembled on the shore, applauded 
the spectacle, and enjoyed the terror of the Crusaders. 
Many of them embarked in small boats, and rowed out 
upon the sea, darting arrows and endeavouring to carrj^ dis- 
order among the Venetians. The Crusaders encouraged 
each other ; they rushed in crowds to encounter the danger, 
some raising plaintive and piercing cries towards Heaven, 
and others uttering horrible imprecations against the Greeks: 
on the walls of Constantinople, clapping of hands and cries 
of joy resounded, and were redoubled as the vessels covered 
with flames drew nearer. Villehardouin, an ocular witness, 
says that amidst this frightful tumult, nature appeared to be 
in confusion, and the sea about to swallow up the earth. 
Nevertheless, the Venetians, by the means of strong arms 
and numberless oars, succeeded in turning the course of the 
fire-ships wide of the port, and they were carried by the 
current beyond the canal. The Crusaders, in battle array, 
standing on their vessels or dispersed among the barks, ren- 
dered thanks to God for having preserved them from so 
great a disaster ; whilst the Greeks beheld with terror their 
fire-ships consuming away upon the waters of the Propontis, 
without having effected the least injury. 

The irritated Latins could not pardon the perfidy and in- 
gratitude of the emperor Alexius : "It was not enough for 
him to have failed in his engagements and broken his oaths, 
he endeavoured to burn the fleet that had borne him trium- 
phantly to the heart of his empire : the time was now come 
to repress the enterprises of traitors by the sword, and to 
punish base enemies, who were acquainted with no other 
arms but treachery and deceit ; and, like the vilest brigands, 
only ventured to deal their blows in the darkness and silence 
of night." Alexius, terrified at these threats, could think 
of no other resource than that of implcring the clemency of 
the Crusaders. He oftered them fresh oaths and fresh pro- 
mises, and threw the blame of the hostilities upon the fury 
of the people, which he had not the power to restrain. He 
conjured Ins friends, his allies, his liberators, to come and 
defend a throne ready to fall to pieces beneath him, and pro 
posed to give up his own palace to them. 


]V*ourzoufle was directed to convey to the Latins the sup* 
pli' frtions and ofters of the emperor, and, seizing the oppcT- 
tuj ity to augment the alarms and discontent of the multitude, 
he caused the report to be spread that he was going to de- 
liver Constantinople up to the barbarians of the West. On 
learning this, the people assembled tumultuously in the 
streets and public places ; tiie report became general that 
the enemies were already in the city, and all joined m the 
CF}'' that to prevent the greatest calamities, not a moment 
was to be lost ; the empire required a master who was able 
to defend and protect it. 

"Whilst the young prince, seized with terror, shut himself 
up in his palace, the crowd of insurgents flocked to the 
church of St. Sophia to choose a new emperor. 

Since the imperial dynasties had become the playthings 
of the caprice of the midtitude, and of the ambition of 
conspirators, the Greeks made the changing of their sove- 
reigns quite a sport, without reflecting that one revolution 
produces other revolutions ; and, to avoid present calamities, 
rushed headlong into new ones. The most prudent of the 
clerg)'" and the patricians presented themselves at the church 
of St. Sophia, and earnestly endeavoured to prevent the 
evils with which the country was threatened. But it was in 
vain they explained to their excited auditory that by chang- 
ing their master they were sure to overthrow both the throne 
and the empire. " When they asked my opinion," says the 
historian Nicetas, " I was careful not to consent to the de- 
position of Isaac and Alexius, because I felt assured that 
tlie man they would elect in their place woidd not be the 
most able. But the people," adds the same historian, 
" whose only motive of action is passion, — the people, who 
twenty years before had killed Andronicus and crowned 
Isaac, could not endure their own w^ork and live under 
princes whom they themselves had chosen." The multitude 
reproached their sovereign with their misery, \n \ich was the 
bitter fruit of the war ; and with the weakness of their 
government, which was but the result of general corruption. 
The victories of the Latins, the inefficiency of the laws, the 
caprices of fortune, the very will of Heaven, all were 
gathered into one great accusation to be brought against 
those who governed the empire. The distrjrcted crowd 


looked to a revolution for everything ; a change of emperors 
apj. eared to them the only remedy for the ills under which 
they groaned. They pressed, they solicited the patricians 
and senators, — they scarcely knew the names of the men 
they wished to choose as masters ; but any other than Isaac, 
a:nj other than Alexius, must merit the esteem and love of 
the Greeks. To be the wearer of a purple robe, was quite 
enough to entitle a man to ascend the throne of Constantino. 
Home excused themselves on account of age, others from 
alleged incapacity. The people, sword in hand, required 
them to accept the sovereign authority. At length, after 
three days of stormy debate, an imprudent young man, 
named Canabus, allowed himself to be prevailed upon by 
the prayers and threats of the people. A phantom of an 
emperor was crowned in the church of St. Sophia, and pro- 
claimed in Constantinople. Mourzoufle was no stranger to 
this popular revolution. Several historians have thought 
that he promoted the election of an obscure man, to test 
the peril in some sort, and to become acquainted with the 
power and will of the people, in order, one day, to profit by 
it himself. 

Alexius, made aware of this revolution, trembled in the 
recesses of his deserted palace ; he had no hope but in the 
Latins ; he solicited, by messages, the support of the barons ; 
he implored the pity of the marquis of Montferrat ; who, 
touched by his prayers, entered Constantinople by night, 
and came, at the head of a chosen troop, to defend the 
throne and the lives of the emperors. Moui'zoufle, who 
dreaded the presence of the Latins, flew to Alexius, to con- 
vince him that they were the most dangerous enemies he 
had, and told him that all would inevitably be lost if the 
Franks once appeared in arms in the palace. 

When Boniface presented himself before the palace of 
Blachernas, he found all the doors closed ; Alexius caused 
him to be informed that he was no longer at liberty to 
receive him, and conjtu'ed him to leave Constantinople with 
his soldiers. The sight of the warriors of the West had 
spread terror througliout the city ; th^ir retreat revived both 
the courage and fury of the people. A thousand different 
rumours prevailed at once ; the public places resounded "wdth 
complaiiif:s and imprecations ; from moment to moment tha 


crowd became more numerous and the tumult increased. 
Amidst all this confusion and disorder, Mourzoulle never 
lost sight of the prosecution of his designs ; by promises 
and caresses he won over the imperial guard, whilst his 
friends pervaded the capital, exciting the fury and rage of 
the multitude by their speeches and insmuations. An im- 
mense crowd soon assembled before the palace of Blachernse, 
uttering seditious cries. Mourzoufle then presented him- 
self before Alexius : he employed every means to aggravate 
the alarm of the young prince, and, under the pretext of 
providing for his safety, drew him into a secluded apart- 
ment, where his creatures, under his direction, loaded him 
with irons and cast him into a dungeon. Coming forth, he 
boldly informed the people what he had done for the salva- 
tion of the empire ; and the throne, from which he had 
dragged his master, benefactor, and friend, appeared but a 
just recompense for the devotedness of his services : he was 
carried in triumph to the church of St. Sophia, and crowned 
emperor amidst the acclamations of the people. Scarcely 
was Mourzoulle clothed with the imperial purple, than he 
resolved to possess the fruit of his crime in security ; dread- 
ing the caprice of both fortune and the people, he repaired 
to the prison of Alexius, forced him to swallow an empoi- 
soned draught, and because death did not keep pace with his 
impatience, strangled him with his own hands. 

Thus perished, after a reign of six months and a few days, 
the emperor Alexius, whom one revolution had placed upon 
a throne, and who disappeared amidst the storms of another, 
without having tasted any of the sweets of supreme rank, 
and without an opportunity of proving whether he was 
worthy of it. This young prince, placed in a most difficult 
situation, had not the power, and perhaps not the will, to 
rouse the Greeks to oppose the Crusaders. On the other 
side, he had not the tact to employ the support of the Latins 
so as to keep the Greeks within the bounds of obedience ; 
directed hj perfidious counsels, ever vacillating between 
patriotism and gratitude, fearing by turns to alienate his 
unhappy subjects, or to irritate his formidable allies, he 
perished, the victim of liis own weakness a]\d irresolution. 
Isaac Angelus, on learning the tragical end of his son, died 
^f terror and despair ; thus sparing Mourzoufle another par- 


ricide, of which he was not tlie less suspected to be guilty. 
History makes no more mention of Canabus ; the confusion 
was so great that the Greeks were ignorant of the fate of a 
man whom but a few days before they had elevated to the 
rank of their sovereign ; four emperors had been dragged 
^dolently from the throne since the arrival of the Latins, and 
fo rtune reserved the same fate for Mourzoufle. 

In order to profit by the crime that had ministered to his 
ambitious views, the murderer of Alexius formed the project 
of committing another, and to bring about by treachery the 
death of all the principal leaders of the army of the Cru- 
saders. An oiUcer, sent to the camp of the Latins, was 
directed to say that he came on the part of the emperor 
Alexius, of whose death they were ignorant, to engage the 
doge of Venice and the Ereuch nobles to come to the palace 
of Blachernse, where all the sums promised by the treaties, 
should be placed in their hands. The barons at first agreed 
to accept the invitation of the emperor, and prepared to set 
out with great joy ; but Dandolo, who, according to Nicetas, 
deservedly obtained the name of the Prudent of the Pru- 
dent, awakened their mistrust, and pointed out strong rea- 
sons for fearing a fresh perfidy of the Greeks. It was not 
long before they were fuHy informed of the death of Isaac, 
the murder of Alexius, and all the crimes of Mourzoufle. 
At this news the indignation of the Crusaders was strong 
and general ; knights had difficulty in crediting such base- 
ness ; every fresh account made them tremble with horror ; 
they forgot the wrongs of Alexius towards themselves, de- 
plored his unfortunate end, and swore to avenge him. In 
the council, the leaders loudly exclaimed th^.t an implacable 
war must be made against Mourzoufle, and that the nation 
that had cro"WTied treachery and parricide should be punished. 
The prelates and ecclesiastics, more animated than all the 
others, invoked at once the thunders of religion and earthly 
war against the usurper of the imperial throne, and against 
the Greeks, untrue to their sovereign, untrue to God him- 
self. Above all, they could not pardon the subjects of 
Mourzoufle, for willingly remaining plunged in the darkness 
of heresy, and escaping, by an impious revolt, from, the 
domination of the Holy See. They promised all the indul- 
gences of the sovereign pontiff" and all the riches of Greece 


to tlie warriors called upon to avenge the cause of God aii*i 

Whilst the Crusaders thus breathed nothing but war 
against the emperor and people of Constantinople, Mour- 
zoufle was preparing to repel their attacks ; he earnestly 
endeavoured to attach the inhabitants of the capital to his 
cause ; he reproaclied the great with their indifference and 
effeminacy, and laid before them the example of the multi- 
tude ; to increase liis popularity and fill his treasury, he per- 
secuted the courtiers of Alexius and Isaac, and confiscated 
the property of all those who had enriched themselves in 
public oflices.* The usurper at the same time set about 
reestablishing discipline among the troops, and augmenting 
the fortifications of the city ; he no longer indulged in plea- 
sures or allowed himself repose ; as he was accused of the 
greatest crimes, he had not only to contend for empire, but 
for impunity ; remorse doubled his activity, excited his bra- 
very, and proved to him that he could have no safety but in 
victory. He was constantly seen parading the streets, with 
his sword by his side, and an iron club in his hand, animat- 
ing the courage of the people and the soldiers. 

The Grreeks, however, contented themselves with declaim- 
ing against the Crusaders. After having made anotlier 
attempt to burn the fleet of the Venetians, they shut them- 
selves up within their walls, and supported with patience 
the insults and menaces of the Latins. f The Crusaders ap- 
peared to have nothing to fear but famine ; as they began to 
feel the want of provisions, Henry of Hainault, brother of 
the count of Elanders, undertook, in order to obtain sup- 
plies for the army, an expedition to the shores of the Euxine 
Sea ; and, followed by several knights, laid siege to Phdea. 
The city of Philea was the ancient Philopolis, celebrated in 
the heroic ages of antiquity for the palace in which wero 

* Mourzoufle deprived Nicetas of the place of Logothete, to give it to 
his brother-in-law Philocales. Nicetas treats Mourzoufle with mucb 
severity, and among the reproaches he addresses to him, we may remark 
one which suffices to paint the court of Byzantium. The greatest crime 
of the usurper was not that of having obtained sovereignty by parricide, 
but postponing the distribution of his favours. 

f The two attempts to burn the Venetian fleet are descri! ed in a lettex 
of Baldwin to the pope. — See Gesta Innocent. The marsh?! of Cham- 
pagne only mentions the first attempt of the Greeks. 


received Jason and the Argonauts, who, like the French 
kni.P[hts, had left their country, to seek distant adventures 
Old perils. Henry of Hainault, after a short resistance 
from the inhabitants, made himself master of the city, in 
which he met with a considerable booty, and found provi- 
sio"'s in abundance ; the latter he transported by sea to the 

Mourzoufle, being informed of this excursion, marched 
out, by night, with a numerous body of troops, and placed 
himself in ambush on the route which Henry of Hainault 
would take on his return to the camp. The Greeks attacked 
the Crusaders unexpectedly, in the full persuasion that their 
victory would be an easy one ; but the Frank warriors, 
without displaying the least alarm, closed in their ranks, and 
made so firm and good a resistance, that the ambuscadens 
themselves were very quickly obliged to fly. Mourzoufle 
was upon the point of falling into the hands of his enemies, 
and only owed his safety to the swiftness of his horse ; he 
left behind on the field of battle, his buckler, his arms, and 
the standard of the Virgin, which the emperors were accus- 
tomed to have borne before them in all great perils. The 
loss of this ancient and revered banner was a source of 
great regret to the Greeks. The Latins, on their part, 
when they saw the standard and image of the patroness of 
Byzantium floating amongst their victorious ranks, were 
persuaded that the mother of God had abandoned the 
Greeks, and declared herself favourable to their cause. 

After this defeat, the Greeks -became convinced that 
there existed no other means of safety for them but the 
fortification of their capital ; it was much more easy for 
them to find workmen than soldiers, and a hundred thou- 
sand men laboured day and night at the reparation of the 
walls. The subjects of Mourzoufle appeared satisfied that 
their ramparts would defend them, and handled the imple- 
ments of masonry without repugnance, in the hopo that 
they would prevent the necessity for their vsdelding the 
sword or lance. 

Mourzoufle had learnt to dread the courage of his ene- 
mies, and as strongly doubted the valour of his subjects ; 
therefore, before risking any fresh warlike attempts, he 
determined to sue for peace, and demanded an interview 



with the leaders of the Crusaders. The lords and barons 
refused with horror to nave an interview with the usurper 
of the throne, the murderer, the executioner of Alexius ; but 
the love of peace, and tne cause of humanity, induced the 
doge of Venice to consent to listen to the proposals of 
MouTzoufle. Henry Dandolo repaired in his gaUey to the 
point of the gulf, and the usurper, mounted on horseback, 
approached him as near as possible. The conference was 
long and animated. The doge required Mourzoufle to pay 
immediately five thousand pounds' weight of gold, to aid the 
Crusaders in their expedition to Syria, and again to swear 
obedience to the Romish church. After a long altercation, 
Mourzoufle promised to give the Latins the money and 
assistance they demanded; but he could not consent to 
submit to the yoke of the Churcli of Eome.* The doge, 
astonished that, after having outraged all the laws of Heaven 
and nature, he should attach so much importance to reli- 
gious opinions, casting a glance of contempt at Mourzoufle, 
asked him, if the Grreek religion excused treachery and 
parricide ?t The usurper, although much irritated, dissem- 
bled his anger, and was endeavouring to justify his con- 
duct, when the conference was interrupted by some Latin 

Mourzoufle, on his return to Constantinople, convinced 
that he must prepare for war, set earnestly about his task, 
and determined to die with arms in his hand. By his 
orders, the walls and towers that defended the city on the 
side of the port, were elevated many feet. He constructed 
upon the walls galleries of several stages, from which the 
soldiers might launch arrows and javelins, and employ 
balistas and other machines of war ; at the top of each 
tower was placed a drawbridge, which, when levered upon 
the vessels, might aftbrd the besieged a means of pursuing 
their enemies, even to their own fleet. 

*■ Dandolo demanded of Mourzoufle fifty centenaries of gold, which 
nave been valued at 50,000 pounds' weight of gold, or 48,000,000 of 
francs (about i£/2, 000, 000 sterling. — Trans.). Nicetas alone speaks of 
this interview, of which Villehardouin and other historians make no 

f The whole of this interview militates very strongly, as indeed do aU 
the scenes in which the doge is an actar, against the story of his blindness. 


The Crusaders, although supported by their natural 
bravery, could not view all these preparations with indiffer- 
ence.* The most intrepid could not help feeling some 
Inquietude on comparing the small number of the Franks 
with the imperial army and the population of Constanti- 
nople ; all the resources they had till that time found in 
Iheir alliance with the emperors were about to fail them, 
without their having any hope of supplying their place but 
by some miraculous victory : for they had no succour to 
look for from the West. Every day w^ar became more 
dangerous, and peace more difficult ; the time was gone by 
for retreat. In this situation, such were the spirit and 
character of the heroes of this crusade, that they drew fresh 
strength from the very circumstances that would appear 
likely to have depressed them, and filled them with dread . 
the greater the danger, the more courage and firmness they 
displayed ; menaced on all sides, expecting to meet with no 
asylum on either sea or land, there remained no other part 
to take but that of besieging a city from which they could 
not retire with safety : thus nothing could overcome their 
ijivincible bravery. t 

On viewing the towers that the Greeks considered as a 
certain means of safety, the leaders assembled in their 
camp, and shared amongst them the spoils of the empire 
and the capital, of which they entertained no doubt of 
achieving the conquest. It was decided in the council of the 
princes, barons, and knights, that a new emperor should be 
nominated instead of Mourzoufle, and that this emperor 
should be chosen from the victorious army of the Latins. 
The chief of the new empire should possess by right a 
fourth of the conquest, with the two palaces of Blachernae 
and Bucoleon. The cities and lands of the empire, as well 
as the booty they should obtain in the capital, were to be 
distributed among the Franks and Venetians, with the 

* The monuments we have consulted for the second siege of Constan- 
tinople are the History of Villehatdouin, the reign of Mourzoufle in 
Nicetas, the account of Gunther, and the second letter of Baldwin to the 
sovereign pontiff, which is found in the Life of Innocent {Gesta Innocent.). 

f Eidem civitati de qua fugere non audebant, obsidionem ponebant.— 
Gunther. The same Gunther describes the Crusaders as trembling and 
distracted : De victoria tantse multitudinis obtinen la, sive expugnatione 
nrbis nulla eis spes poterat arridere. 


condition of rendering homage to the emperor. In the aair.e 
council regulations were made to assign the proportions of 
the Latin clergy, and of the lords and barons. They regu- 
lated, according to the feudal laws, the rights and duties of 
the emperors and subjects, of the great and small vassals.*' 
Thus Constantinople, under the dominion of the Greeks, 
beheld before its walls a small band of warriors, who, helm 
on head, and sword in hand, abolished in her walls the 
legislation of Grreece, and imposed upon her beforehand the 
laws of the "West. By this act of legislation, which tliey 
derived from Europe, the knights and barons appeared to 
take possession of the empire ; and, whilst making war 
against the inhabitants of Constantinople, might imagine 
that they were already fighting for the safety and glory of 
their own country. 

In the first siege of Byzantium, the Erench had been 
desirous of attacking the city by land, but experience had 
taught them to appreciate properly the wiser counsels of 
the Venetians. They determined, with an unanimous voice, 
to direct all their efforts to an attack by sea. They con- 
veyed into the vessels the arms, provisions, and appoint- 
n-ents of all kinds ; and the whole army embarked on 
Thursday, the 8th day of April, 1204. On the morrow, 
with the first rays of the sun, the lieeb which bore the 
knightg and their horses, the pilgrims and ail they possessed, 
the tents, the machines of the Crusaders, and the destinies 
of a great empire, heaved anchor, and crossed the breadth of 
the gulf. The ships and galleys, arranged in line, covered 
the sea for the space of half a league. The sight of the 
towers and ramparts, bristling with arms and soldiers, and 
covered with murderous machines and long tubes of brass, 
from which poured the Greek fire, did not in the least 
intimidate the warriors of the West. The Greeks had 
trembled with fright at seeing the fleet of the Crusaders in 
motion ; but as they could look for no safety but in resist- 
ance, they appeared disposed to brave all perils in defence of 
their property and their families. 

Mourzoufle had pitched his tents in the part of the city 
ravaged by the fire ; his army was encamped amidst ruins, 

* This treaty, made under the walls of Constantinople, is still pre 
served, and is to be found in Muratoi\ vol. xii. 


and his soldiers had nothing beneath their eyes but melan* 
choly pictures, the sight of which he thought lu^^st neces- 
sarily excite them to vengeance. From the summit of one 
of the seven hills, the emperor was able to view the contest, 
to send succours where he saw they were wanted, and to re- 
animate at every moment the courage of those who defended 
the walls and towers. 

At the first signal, the Grreeks put all their machines in 
full operation, and endeavoured to defend the approach to 
the ramparts ; but several ships soon gained the shore ; the 
ladders are planted, and the walls shake beneath the con- 
tinuous blows of the rams. The attack and defence proceed 
with equal fury. The Grreeks fight with advantage from 
the tops of their elevated towers ; the Crusaders, everywhere 
overpowered by numbers, cannot open themselves a pas- 
sage, and find death at the foot of the ramparts they burn 
to surmount. The ardour for fight, itself, produced dis- 
order among the assailants, and confusion in their fleet. 
The Latins faced all perils, and sustained the impetuous 
shock of the Greeks till the third hour of the evening : " It 
was then," says the marshal of Champagne, " that fortune and 
our sms decreed that we should be repulsed." The leaders, 
dreading the destruction of their fleet and army, ordered 
the retreat to be sounded. When the Grreeks saw the 
Crusaders drawing ofi", they believed that their capital was 
saved ; the people of Byzantium flocked to the churches to 
return thanks to Heaven for so great a victory, and, by the 
excess of their transports, proved how great the fear had 
been with which the Latins had inspired them. 

On the evening of the same day, tiie doge and barons 
assembled in a church near the sea, to deliberate upon their 
future proceedings ; they spoke with deep grief of the check 
they had sustained, and expatiated strongly upon the neces- 
sity of promptly retrieving their defeat.* *' The Crusaders 
were still the same men that had already surmounted the 
ramparts of Byzantium; the Greeks were still the same 
frivolous, pusillanimous nation, that could oppose no other 
arms but those of cunning to those of valour. The soldiera 

* Et la, il eut maintes choses alleguees se trouvant en grand emc^ 
ceux de Tost, pour leur etre ainsi pris ce jour la. — Villehardomi% 
Uv. V. 


of Mourzoufle had been able to resist for one day ; but tbey 
would soon remember that the Latins had conquered them 
jQjany times ; the recollections of the past were sufficient to 
revive the confidence of the one party, and to fiL the others 
with terror. Besides, it was well known that the Greeks 
only contended for the triumph of usurpation and parricide ; 
wliilst the Crusaders fought for the triumph of humanity 
and justice. Grod would recognise his true servants, and 
would protect his own cause." 

These discourses could not reassure all the Crusaders, 
and many proposed to change the point of attack, and make 
a new assault on the side of the Propontis. The Venetians 
did not agree with this opiinon, and dreaded lest the fleet 
should be drawn away by the currents of the sea. Some of 
the leaders despaired of the succes>3 of the enterprise ; and, 
lU their despair, would have been very williag, says an eye- 
witness, "that the winds and the waves should carry them away 
beyond the Archipelago."* The advice of the Venetians was, 
however, adopted ; and the council decided that the attack 
upon Constantinople should be renewed on the same side, 
and at the same point at which the army had been repulsed. 
Two days were employed in repairing the vessels and 
machines ; and on the third day, the 12th of April, the 
trumpets once more sounded the signal for battle. The 
fleet got into motion, and advanced in good order towards 
the ramparts of Constantinople. The Grreeks, who were 
still rejoicing over their first advantage, could scarcely 
believe the approach of the Latins to be reality, and their 
surprise was by no means free from terror. On the other 
side, the Crusaders, who had met with a resistance they had 
not at all expected, advanced with precaution towards the 
ramparts, at the foot of which they had fought in vain. To 
inflame the ardour and emulation of the soldiers, the leaderiit. 
of the Latins had proclaimed, by a herald-at-arms, that he 
that should plant the first banner of the cross upon a tower 
of the city, should receive a hundred and fifty silver marks. 

The combat soon commenced, and was as quickly general ; 

* Et sachez qu'il y en avait qui eussent volontiers desire, que la vague 
et le vent les eussent ravis jusqu'au dela de Tarchipel ; car a tels ne 
chaillait sinon que de parter de la, et aller leur vole droite en lean 
maisons. — Idem. 


the defence was no less vigorous than tlie attack : beamS; 
Btones, javelins were hurled from one side to the other, 
crossed or met in mid-air, and fell with a loud noise on the 
ramparts and the ships ; the whole shore resounded with the 
cries of the combatants and the clashing of swords and 
lances. In the fleet, the vessels were joined together, and 
proceeded two by two, in order that upon each point of 
attack, the number of the assailants might correspond with 
that of the besieged. The drawbridges are soon let down, 
and are covered with intrepid warriors, who threaten the in- 
vasion of the most lofty towers. The soldiers mount in file, 
and gain the battlements ; the opponents seek, attack, and 
repulse each other in a thousand different places. Some, on 
the point of seizing victory, are overthrown b)'' a mass of 
stone : others are consumed by the Grreek fire ; but they who 
are repulsed, again return to the charge, and the leaders 
everywhere set an example by mounting to the assault like 
common soldiers. 

The sun had run half his course, and prodigies of valour 
had not been able to triumph over the resistance of the be- 
sieged, when a strong breeze from the north arose, and 
brought two ships that fought together close under the walls. 
Tlie bishop of Troie and the bishop of Soissons were on 
board of these two vessels, called the Pilgrim and the 
Paradise. Scarcely were the drawbridges lowered, than 
two Frank wan'iors were seen upon one of the towers of 
the city. These two warriors, one of whom was a French- 
man, named D'Urboise, and the other a Venetian, Pietro 
Alberti, drew after them a crowd of their companions, and 
the Grreeks were massacred or took to flight. In the con- 
fusion of the melee, the brave Alberti was slain by a French- 
man, who mistook him for a Greek, and who, on discovering 
his mistake, attempted to kill himself in despair. The Cru- 
saders, excited by the fight, scarcely perceived this sad and 
tragical scene, but pursued the flying, disordered enemy. 

The banners of the bishops of Troie and Soissons were 
planted on the top of the towers, and attracted the eager 
eyes of the whole army. This sight inflames those who are 
Btill on board the vessels ; on all sides they press, they rush 
forwaj'd, they fly to the escalade. The Franks obtain 
possession of four towers : terror prevails among the Greeks, 

128 nisTORT or the ceusades. 

and tlie few who resist are slaughtered at every point they 
endeavour to defend ; three of the gates of the city fall to 
pieces beneath the strokes of the rams ; the horsemen issue 
from the ships with their horses, and the whole army of the 
Crusaders precipitates itself at once into the city.* A (Pierre Bacheux), who preceded his fellows, ad- 
vanced almost alone to the hill upon which Mourzoufle was 
encamped, and the Grreeks, in their fright, took him for a 
giant. Nicetas himself says that his helmet appeared as 
large as a tower ; the soldiers of the emperor could not 
stand against the appearance of a single Frank horseman. 
Mourzoufle, abandoned by his troops, fled: the Crusaders 
took possession of the imperial tents, continued their vic- 
torious course into the city, and put to the sword every 
Grreek they met with. " It was a Jiorrihle spectacle,^'' says 
Villehardouin, " to see women and young children running 
distractedly here and there, tremhling and half dead with 
fright, lamenting ^iteously, and hegging for mercy.'''' 

The Crusaders set fire to the quarter they had invaded,t 
and the flames, driven by the wind, announced to the other 
extremities of the city the presence of an irritated conqueror. 
Terror and despair prevailed in every street of Constan- 
tinople. Some Greek soldiers retired to the palace, whilst 
others, to escape recognition, threw away both their clothes 
and their arms. The people and the clergy took refuge 
in the churches, and the more wealthy inhabitants, in aU 
parts, endeavoured to conceal their most valuable property 
by burying it in the earth. Many rushed out of the city, 
without at all knowing whither to direct their steps.J 

* According to Gunther, the taking of Constantinople was more won- 
derful than all that has been related by Homer and the poets of antiquity. 

"f- Gunther says it was a German count that set fire to the city, — cornea 
Teutonicus; he did it to prevent the Greeks from rallying: — Comes 
Teutonicus jussit urbem in quadam parte succendi, ut Grseci duplici 
laborantes incommode, belli scilicet atque incendii, facilius vincerentur ; 
qucd et factum est, et hoc illi consilio victi penitiis in fugam convertsi 

J The crowd of Greeks fled principally by the Golden Gate M. It 
Chevalier, in his Voyage de la Propontide, informs us that vestiges of 
the Golden Gate are still to be seen within the inclosure of the seven 
towers. This gate was a triumphal arch erected by Theodosius, after hia 
victory ovei Maximus ; it was surmounted by a statue of Victory in bronxe, 


Whilst all were flying before them, the Crusaders were 
in a state of astonishment at their own \ictory. At tlie 
approach of night, they dreaded an ambuscade, and did not 
venture to pursue the conquered enemy further ; the Vene- 
tians encamped within sight of their vessels ; the count of 
Manders, by a happy augury, occupied the imperial tents, 
and the marquis of Montferrat advanced towards the palace 
of BlachernaD. The Latins entertained no idea that the 
conflict was ended, and kept careful watch under the ram- 
paii^e they had invaded and won. 

Mourzoufle went through many quarters of the city, en- 
deavouring to rally the soldiers : he spoke to them of glory, 
he invoked the name of their country, he promised rich re- 
wards for valour : but the voice of patriotism was no longer 
listened to, and neither the love of glory nor the hopes of 
reward could afl'ect men whose whole thoughts were engaged 
in the means of saving their lives. Mourzoufle no longer 
inspired either respect or confidence, and the people, in 
reply to his exhortations, reproached hin^, with his parricide, 
and attributed to him all the calamities of the war. When 
he found himself without hope, it became necessary to en- 
deavour to escape both the pursuit of the conquerors and 
the resentment of the conquered, and he embarked secretly 
01'. the Propontis, with the purpose of seeking an army, or 
rather an asylum, in the mountains of Thrace. When his 
flight became known in Constantinople, his name was loaded 
with maledictions, and, as if it w?s necessary that an em- 
peror should be present at the fall of the empire, a distracted 
crowd flocked to the church of St. Sophia, to choose a new 

Theodore Ducas and Theodore Lascaris solicited the 
suffrages of the assembly, and contended for a throne that 

and ornamented profusely with gold. On the remains of this gate may 
still be read these Latin verses :— 

Theodosi jussis, geraino nee mense peracto, 
Constantinus ovana hsec moenia firma locavit ; 
Tarn cito tarn stabilem Pallas vix conderet arcem. 

Raoul de Dicetto, quoted by Ducange, says that these words were upon 
the Golden Gate : — Quiuido veniet rex flavus occidentalis, ego per meipsam 
apenar. Raoul de Dicetto wrote thirteen years before the taking of 


no longer existed. Lasearis was chosen emperor, but he did 
not dare to assume the imperial crown. This prince ])os» 
sessed both firmness and spirit ; the Grreeks even boasted 
of his skill in war, and he undertook to reanimate their 
courage and arouse their patriotism. " The Latins," said 
he, " are few, and advance with trembling caution into a city 
that has still numberless defenders ; the Crusaders are afraid 
to leave their ships at any distance, as they know they are 
their only refuge in case of defeat : pressed by the approach 
of danger, they have called in the assistance of fire as their 
faithful auxiliary, and conceal their fears behind a rampart 
of flames and a heap of ruins. The warriors of the West 
neither fight for religion, nor their country, nor their pro- 
perty, nor the honour of their families. The Grreeks, on 
the contrary, defend all they hold uiost dear, and must carry 
to the contest every sentiment that can increase the courage 
and inflame the zeal of citizens. If you are still Romans," 
added Lasearis, " the victory is easy ; twenty thousand bar- 
barians have shut themselves up within your walls ; fortune 
has given them up to our arms." The new emperor then 
addressed the soldiers and the imperia.1 guards ; he repre- 
sented to them that their safety was inseparably connected 
with that of Constantinople, that the enemy would never 
pardon being driven back by them several times from the 
ramparts of the capital ; that in victory they would find all 
the advantages of fortune, all the pleasures of life : whilst 
in flight, neither land nor sea could afford them an asylum, 
and that shame, misery, and death itself would follow their 
footsteps everywhere. Lasearis did not neglect to iflatter 
the pride, and endeavour to kindle the zeal of the patricians. 
He reminded them of the heroes of ancient E^ome, and pre- 
sented to their valour the great examples of history. " It 
was to their arms Providence had confided the safety jf the 
Imperial city ; if, contrary to all hopes, the country should 
be subdued, they coidd have but few regrets in abandoning 
life, and would find perhaps some glory in dying on the 
same day on wliich the old empire of the Caesars should be 
doomed to fall." 

The soldiers only replied to his speech by d( manding their 
pay ; the people listened to Lasearis with more surprise than 


confidence, and tlie patricians preserved a gloomy silence, 
sensible to no other feeling but a profound despair. The 
trumpets of the Crusaders were soon heard, and at this 
signal, terror seized even the bravest ; there was no longer 
any idea of disputing the victory with the Latins. Lascaris, 
left alone, was himself obliged to abandon a city which he 
could find no one to assist him in defendini^. Thus Con- 
stantinople, that had beheld two emperors in one night, was 
once again without a master, and presented the image of a 
vessel wdthout a rudder, dashed about by the winds, and 
ready to perish amidst the howling of the tempest. The 
conflagration begun by the Latins, extended to several other 
quarters, and consumed, by the admission of the barons, 
more houses than three of the greatest cities of either 
l^rance or Grermany contained. The fire continued its 
ravages during the whole night, and before day the Cru- 
saders prepared, by the light of its flames, to follow up their 
victory. Eanged in order of battle, they were advancing 
with precaution and mistrust, when their ears were saluted 
with supplicating voices that filled the air with lamentations 
and prayers. Women, children, and old men, preceded by 
the clergy, bearing crosses and images of saints, came in 
procession, to throw themselves at the feet of the conquerors. 
The leaders allowed their hearts to be touched by the cries 
and entreaties of this weeping crowd, and a herald-at-arms 
was ordered to pass through the ranks, and proclaim the 
laws of clemency ; the soldiers were commanded to spare 
the lives of the inhabitants, and to respect the honour of 
women and maidens. The Latin clergy joined their exhor- 
tations with those of the leaders of the army, and threatened 
with the vengeance of the Church all who should abuse vic- 
tory by outraging humanity. 

In the mean time the Crusaders advanced amidst the 
braying of trumpets and the noise of clarions, and their 
banners were soon planted in the principal quarters of the 
city. When Boniface entered the palace of Bucoleon, 
which was supposed to be occupied by the imperial guard, 
he was surprised to find a great number of women, of the 
first families of the empire, whose only defence was their 
groans and tears. Marguerite, daughter of the king of 


Hungary, and wife of Isaac, and Agues, daughter of a king 
of France,* the wife of two emperors, threw themselves at 
the feet of the barons, and implored their mercy. The 
marquis of Montferrat respected their misfortunes, and 
placed them under the protection of a guard. Whilst 
Boniface occupied the palace of Bucoieon, Henry of Hai- 
nault took possession of that of Blachern83 ; these two 
palaces, filled with immense riches, were preserved from 
pillage, and were exempted from the lamentable scenes 
which, during several days, desolated the city of Constan- 

The Crusaders, impatient to gather the treasures they 
had shared beforehand, spread themselves through all the 
quarters of the capital, and carried off, without pity or con- 
sideration, everything that offered itself to their avidity. 
The houses of the poorest citizens were no more respected 
than the mansions of the rich. The Greeks, plundered of 
their property, ill-treated by the conquerors, and turned out 
of their homes, implored the humanity of the counts and 
barons, and pressed around the marquis of Montferrat, cry- 
ing, '■^ Holy Icing marquis, have pity upon us !^^ Boniface was 
touched by their prayers, and endeavoured to recall the Cru- 
saders to some sentiments of moderation ; but the license of 
the soldiers increased with the sight of booty ; the most disso- 
ate and most undisciplined gave the signal, and marched at 

* Agnes, daughter of Louis VII., had been at the age of eight years, 
given in marriage to Alexius Comnenus, the son of Manuel, in 1179. 
After the death of Alexius, his murderer Andronicus usurped the empire 
and married Agnes, but had no children by her. Agnes remained a 
widow at Constantinople to the time of its being taken, when she married 
Branas, who was attached to the party of the Latins. 

t Nicetas speaks of the carnage which followed the taking of Constan- 
tinople. We have quoted the words even of Villehardouin, who does not 
materially contradict Nicetas, The pope in his letters warmly reproached 
the Crusaders on this subject. Gun.ther only carries the number of slain, 
on the entrance of the Crusaders into Jerusalem, to two thousand persons, 
and attributes this slaughter to the Latins established at Constantinople, 
who had great cause of complaint against the Greeks. The same historian 
informs us that the ecclesiastics that followed the army contributed, by 
their discourses, to put an end to the massacre. He does not omit this 
occasion to praise the piety and humanity of Martin Litz, who went 
through the ranks of the victorious army, preaching moderation to the 


their head, and their example led on all the rest : the in- 
toxication of victory had no longer any restraint, — it was 
sensible to neither fear nor pity.* 

When the C^^-usaders discontinued the slaughter, they had 
recourse to every kind of outrage and violence to plunder 
the conquered; no spot in Constantinople was free from 
brutal search. In spite of the frequently-repeated prohibi- 
tions of their leaders and priests, they respected neither the 
modesty of women nor the sanctity of churches. Some 
soldiers and followers of the army plundered the tombs and 
coffins of the emperors ; the body of Justinian, which ages 
had spared, and which presented itself to their eyes in a 
fresh and undecayed state, could not repel their sacrilegious 
hands, or make them respect the peace of the grave ; in 
every temple where a rag of silk shone, or a particle of gold 
glittered, their greedy fingers were stretched out to clutch 
them. The altar of the Virgin, which decorated the church of 
St. Sophia, and which was admired as a masterpiece of art, was 
beaten to pieces, and the veil of the sanctuary was torn to 
rags. The conquerors played at dice upon the marble tables 
which represented the apostles, and got di'unk out of the 
cups reserved for divine service. Horses and mules led into 
the sanctuary, bent beneath the weight of the spoils, and, 
pierced by sword-points, stained with their blood and their 
ordure the vestibule of St. Sophia. A prostitute girl, whom 
Nicetas calls the follower of demons, the priestess of furies, 
mounted the patriarchal pulpit, sang an immodest song, and 
danced in the church, amidsfc a crowd of soldiers, as if to 
insult the ceremonies of religion. 

The Grreeks could not behold these impious scenes without 
trembling with horror. Nicetas, whilst deploring the mis- 
fortunes of the empire and the Grreek Church, declaims 
with vehemence against the barbarous race of the Franks. 
" Here," says he, " is what was promised by that golden 
gorget, that haughty bearing, those elevated eyebrows, that 
closely shaven beard, that hand so ready to shed blood, those 

* There was nothing so difficult, says Nicetas, as to soften the fierce 
temper, appease the anger, or gain the a ections of these barbarians. 
Their bile was so heated, that it only require a word to set it in a blaze ; 
it was a ridiculous undertaking to attempt to render them tractable, a 
folly to speak reason to them. 


:!iostrils breathing anger, that proud eye, that cruel disposi- 
tion, that prompt and hurried utterance." * The historian 
of Byzantium reproaches the Crusaders with having sui*- 
passed the Saracens in barbarity, and reminds them of the 
example of the soldiers of Saladin, who, when masters of 
Jerusalem, neither violated the modesty of matrons and 
virgins, nor filled the sepulchre of the Saviour with bloody 
carcasses, nor subjected Christians to fire, sword, hunger, or 

The country on the shores of the Bosphorus ofiered a no 
less deplorable spectacle than the capital. Villages, churches, 
country-houses were all devastated and given over to pillage. 
A distracted crowd covered the roads, and wandered about 
at hazard, pursued by fear, bending under fatigue, and 
uttering cries of despair. Senators, patricians, the ofisprin^ 
of a family of emperors, strayed homeless about, coverea 
with rags, seeking for any miserable asylum. AVhen the 
church of St. Sophia was pillaged, the patriarch fled away, 
imploring the charity of passengers ; all the rich fell into 
indigence, and inspired nothing but contempt ; the most 
illustrious nobility, the highest dignities, the splendour of 
talents or virtues, possessed nothing to create respect or 
attract admiration. Misery, like inevitable death, effaced 
all distinctions, and confounded all ranks ; the dregs of the 
people completed the spoliation of the fugitives, at the same 
time insulting their misfortunes. A senseless multitude 
rejoiced at the public evils, applauded the degradation of the 
noble and the rich, and called these disastrous days, days of 
justice and equality. 

Nicetas describes his misfortune and his own deplorable 
adventures ; the house he had inhabited under the reign of 
the emperors was consumed by the flames of the second 
conflagration : having retired with his family to another 
houf*e, built near the church of St. Sophia, he s^on found 
himself in danger in this last asylum, and only owed his 
safety to devoted friendship and gratitude. A Venetian 
.uerchant, whom he had saved from the fury of the Grreeks 
before the flight of Alexius, was desirous, in his turn, of 

* This is a very remarkable passage ; it describes the hero of the 
crusades with the pencil of the painter as well as with the pen of the 
historian. — Trans. 


f?avi.Tig his benefactor ; lie armed himself with a sword and a 
lance, assumed the dress of a soldier of the cross, and as he 
(Sjipoke the languages of the West, he defended the entrance 
of the house of Nicetas, saying it was his, the price of his 
blood, shed in fight. This vigilant sentinel at first repulsed 
all aggressors, and braved a thousand perils ; a model of 
fidelity and virtue, amidst the horrid disorders that desolated 

The turbulent crowd of soldiers that filled the streets and 
penetrated everywhere, became indignant that a single house 
should be thus exempt from their brutal searches. The 
despairing Venetian at length came to Nicetas, and told him 
that it was totally out of his power to defend him any longer. 
" If you remain here," said he, " to-morrow, perhaps, you 
will be loaded with chains, and your family become a prey 
to all the violences of the conquerors. Eollow me, and I 
will conduct you out of the gates of Constantinople." 
Nicetas, with his wife and children, followed the faithful 
Venetian : their liberator, in armour, marched at their head, 
and led them as if they were prisoners. 

This unfortunate family proceeded, filled with fear, meeting 
at every step soldiers greedy of pillage, who ill-treated the 
Grreeks they plundered, and threatened every woman with 
insult. Nicetas, and some of his friends who had come to 
join him, carried their children in their arms, the only wealth 
that Heaven had left them ; and defended alone by the pity 
which their despair and misery inspired. They walked 
ogether, placing their wives and daughters in the centre, 
after having advised the youngest to blacken their faces 
with earth. In spite of this precaution, the beauty of one 
young girl attracted the attention of a soldier, and she was 
borne away from the arms of her father, weighed down by 
age and infirmities. Nicetas, touched by the tears of the 
old man, flew after the ravisher, and addressing himself to 
all the warriors he met, he implored their pity, and conjured 
them, in the name of Heaven, the protector of virtue, in the 
name of their own families, to snatch a daughter from dis- 
honour, to save a father from despair. The Frank warriors 
were affected by his prayer, and the unfortunate father 
soon saw his daughter restored to him, the only hope of 
his exile, the last consolation of his grey hairs. Nicetaa 


and his companions in trouble encountered stiH further dan- 
gers, but at length got safely out of Constantinople by the 
Golden Grate, happy at being able to quit a country so lately 
the object of all their affections. The generous Yenetian 
received their blessings, and in return prayed Heaven tc 
protect them in their exile. 

Nicetas, with tears, embraced his liberator, whom he never 
had the good fortune to see again ; then casting a look upon 
Constantinople, upon his unhappy country, he addressed 
to it these touching complaints, which express the griefs of 
his exile, and which he himself has transmitted to us :* — 
" O Queen of Cities, what power has been able to separate 
us from thee ! What consolation shall we find on issuing 
from thy walls, as naked as we issued from the bosom of our 
mothers ! Become the sport of strangers, the companions 
of wild animals that inhabit the forests, we shall never again 
visit thy august domes, and can only fly with terror around 
thee, like sparrows round the spot where their nest has been 

Nicetas arrived with his family at CyHndria, and after- 
wards retired to Nice, where he employed himself in retracing 
the history of the misfortunes of his country. 

Constantinople did not cease to be the theatre of the 
frightful deeds of violence that war brings in its train. 
Amidst the sanguinary sports of victory, the Latins, to 
insult the effeminate manners of the Greeks, clothed them- 
selves in long flowing robes, painted of various colours ; they 
fastened to the heads of their horses linen hoods with their 
silken cords, in which the Orientals dress themselves ; whilst 
others paraded the streets carrying in their hands, instead of 
a sword, some paper and an ink-horn ; thus ridiculing the 
conquered, whom they termed scribes and copyers. 

The Greeks had on all occasions insulted the ignorance of 
the Latins ; the knights, without seeking to retort upon 
their enemies for their affronts, esteemed nothing but the 
trophies of valour and the labours of war, and held in con- 
tempt the quiet occupations of peace. With these disposi- 

* The lamentations of Nicetas are not always natural ; whilst deploring 
the fate of Byzantium he says, " I complained to the walls, that they alone 
should be insensible to calamities, and should remain standing, instead of 
melting away in tears." 



tions it was not likely they should spare the monuments that 
decorated the public places, the palaces, or the edifices of 
Byzantium. Constantinople, which to this period had 
stood erect amidst the ruins of several empires, had col« 
lected within its walls the scattered relics of the arts, and 
was proud to exhibit the masterpieces that had been saved 
from the destruction of barbarous ages. The bronze, in 
which breathed the genius of antiquity, was cast into the 
furnace, and converted into money, to satisfy the greedy 
soldiers. The heroes and gods of the Nile, those of ancient 
Greece and of ancient Eome, the masterpieces of Praxiteles, 
Phidias, and the most celebrated artists, fell beneath tho 
strokes of the conquerors. 

Nicetas, who deplores the loss of these monuments, has 
left us a description, from which the history of art may derive 
some advantage.* The historian of Byzantium informs us 
that in the Place of Constantino stood, before the siege, the 
statue of Juno, and that of Paris oifering to Venus the 
prize of beauty, or the apple of discord. The statue of Juno, 
which had formerly adorned the temple of the goddess at 
Samos, was of so colossal a size, that when it was destroyed 
by the Crusaders, eight harnessed oxen were required to 
drag the gigantic head to the palace of Bucoleon. In the 
same place was erected an obelisk of a square form, which 
astonished the spectator by the multitude and variety of the 
objects it presented to his view. On the sides of this obelisk 
the artist had represented, in basso-relievo, all sorts of birds 
saluting the return of the sun, villagers employed in their 
rustic labours, shepherds playing on their pipes, sheep 
bleating, lambs bounding on the grass ; further on, a tran- 
quil sea and fishes of a thousand sorts, some taken alive, 
others breaking the nets and regaining their deep retreats ; 
at the back of the landscape, naked cupids playing and 
throwing apples at each other ; at the top of the obelisk, 

* The eleventh and twelfth volumes of the Memoirs of the Royal Society 
of Gottingen contain a beautiful work of the illustrious Heyne, upon the 
monuments of art that have existed at Constantinople. In the first 
memoir he gives the nomenclature of the ancient monuments, — Prisca 
Artis Opera. In the second those that were erected under the-emperors 
of Byzantium. In two other memoirs, the same learned author describes 
the loss of these same monuments : De Interitu Operum cum antiques tarn 
\'erioris atatis. 

Vol II.— 7 


which terminated in a pyramidal form, was the figure of a 
woman that turned with the least breath of air, which was 
called the attendant of tJie winds. 

An equestrian statue* ornamented the place of Mount 
Taurus ; the horse appeared to throw up the dust with his 
feet, and outspeed the winds in his course. As the horse- 
man had his arm extended towards the sun, some supposed 
it to represent Joshua, commandmg the star of day to stand 
still, on the plains of Gabaon ; others believed the artist 
»neant to describe Bellerophon mounted on Pegasus. t 

A colossal statue of Hercules,;]: attributed to Lysippus, 
was one of the ornaments of the Hippodrome ; the demigod 
had neither his bow nor his ckib ; he was seated on a bed of 
osier ;§ his left knee bent, sustained his elbow ; his head 
reclining on his left hand ; his pensive looks and air ex- 

* The Bellerophon. This statue is that of Theodosius, showing a 
trophy placed upon a neighbouring column ; it was thus the Pacificator 
was represented : fuit a Deo pacificatoris habitus. Nicetas says that in 
his left hand he held a globe. The statues of the other emperors of Con- 
stantinople present a similar sign, to which a cross is attached. The 
people believed that under the hoof of the left fore foot, was the figure of 
a Venetian or a Bulgarian, or of a man of some other country which had 
no intercourse with tlie Romans. The statue being destroyed by the 
Latins, it was said that the figure of a Bulgarian was found concealed in 
the hoof, crossed by a nail and incrusted in lead. This statue came from 
Antioch in Syria. At the quadrilateral base was a basso-relievo, in which 
the populace, ever superstitious, fancied they beheld the prediction of the 
fall of the empire. They even said that the Russians there represented 
would accomplish the prediction. 

f One of the French translators of Gibbon, of a single statue has made 
two ; he speaks of a statue of Joshua and of another of Bellerophon. It 
is true that this gross error is only met with in one French translation ; 
the English original says that in the opinion of the vulgar, this statue 
passed for' that of Joshua, but that a more classical tradition recognised 
in it that of Bellerophon and Pegasus ; the free and spirited attitude of the 
courser indicating that he trod on air rather than on the earth. 

X Heyne attributes it to Lysippus ; he thinks it is the same as the 
colossal Hercules of Tarentum, which was brought to Rome and placfci in 
the Capitol. From this city it went to Constantinople, with ten other 
statues, under the consulate of Julian and the reign of Constantine, that 
is to say, about 322 ; but it was not till after being exhibited in the Basilic 
that it was placed in the Hippodrome. 

§ Gibbon calls this an osier basket: Michaud says, un lit d^ osier, 
which I have preferred. I can imagine Hercules sitting upon a bed oi 
mattress )f osier, but not upon a basket. — Trans. 


pressing tlio vexation and sorrow caused by the jealousy of 
Eurystheus. Tke shoulders and chest of Hercules were 
broad, his hair was curled, and his limbs were large and 
muscular ; his leg alone exceeded in height the stature of au 
ordinary man. The skin of the Nemean lion, exhibited over 
the shoulders of the son of Alcmena, the erected mane and 
the head of the animal, which might be fancied still to roar 
and terrify the passers by, who stopped to contemplate the 

Not far from the terrible Hercules, was a group of an ass 
and its driver, which Augustus placed in his colony of Nico- 
polis, to perpetuate the remembrance of a singular circum- 
stance that had foretold the victory of Actium to him. 
Near this were the hyena or she-wolf that suckled Romudua 
and Eemus, a monument from the old nations of the West ;* 
the sphinx, with the face of a woman, dragging frightful 
animals behind her ; the crocodile, an inhabitant of the Nile, 
with his tail covered with horrible scales ; a man fighting 
with a lion ; an elephant with his supple trunk ; and the 
antique Scylla, showing before, the features of a woman, with 
large breasts and a deformed figure ; and behind, such 
monsters as those that pursued Ulysses and his companions. 
In the same place was an eagle clutching a serpent in his 
talons, and bearing it away towards the azure vault ; the 
bronze beautifully exhibited the pain of the reptile, and the 
haughty fierceness of the bird of Jupiter. When the sun 
shone on the horizon, the extended wings of the king of the 
air denoted, by lines skilfully traced, the twelve hours of the 

All who, in that gross age, preserved any taste for the 
arts, admired the figure of a young woman, her hair plaited 
on her brow, and gathered into a knot behind, placed upon 
a column of the Circus ; this young woman, as if by enchant- 
ment, bore in her right hand a horseman, whose horse she 

♦ The learned Harris, in his historical Essay upon tie literature and 
arts of the middle ages, thinks that the monument which represented the 
wolf suckling Romulus, was the same as that to which Virgil makeg 
allusion when describing the buckler of JEneas : — 

Illam tereti cervice reflexam 
Mulcere alternos, et corpora fingere lingua. 

u^neid, \ viii. 


held by one foot ; the horseman covered with his cuirass, ano 
the spirited, neighing steed, seemed listening to the warlike 
trumpet, and to breathe nothing but eagerness for the fight. 
Near the eastern boundary of the Circus were represented in 
bronze, the charioteers who had gained prizes, and whose 
triumphs, in times gone by, had often divided the empire 
into two factions ; they appeared standing in their chariots, 
running in the lists, pulling and loosening by turns the reins 
of their coursers, and encouraging them by gesture and voice. 
Not far from this, upon a basis of stone, were several 
Egyptian animals, the aspic, the basilisk, and the crocodile, 
all engaged in mortal combat, — an image of the war made by 
the wicked on each other ; the hideous forms of these 
animals, the rage and pain expressed throughout their bodies, 
the livid poison which seemed to exhale with their bites, 
altogether inspired a feeling of disgust and terror. Another 
masterpiece, made to charm the sight, ought, at least, to 
have touched and disarmed the conquerors. Among the 
statues described by Nicetas, none is more conspicuous than 
a Helen with her charming smile and her voluptuous atti- 
tude ; a Helen, with perfect regularity of features, her hair 
floating at the pleasure of the winds, her eyes full of languor, 
her lips, which even in the bronze were rosy ; her arms, of 
which even the same bronze showed the whiteness ; Helen, 
in short, with all her beauty, and such as she appeared before 
the old men of Ilium, who were ravished at her presence. 

Constantinople contained many other splendid objects 
of art, which preceding ages had admired ; almost all such 
as were of bronze were condemned to perish, the Crusaders 
seeing in these monuments nothing but the metal of which 
they were composed. " That which antiquity had judged," 
says Nicetas, " of inestimable value, became, all at once, a 
common matter ; and that which had cost immense sums, 
was changed by the Latins into pieces of coin of very little 
value !" The statues of marble held out less temptation for 
the cupidity of the conquerors, and received no other injuries 
than such as were inseparable from the tumult and disordera 
of war. 

The Greeks, who appeared so proud of their knowledge, 
themselves neglected the fine arts. The sciences of Greece, 
the profane wisdom of the Academy and the Lyceum, had 


given place among them to the debates of scholastic theology j 
they passed by the Hippodrome with indifference, and held 
nothing in reverence but relics and images of saints. Thesj 
religious treasures, preserved with care in the churches and 
palaces of Byzantium, had, during several ages, attracted the 
attention of the Christian world ; in the days that followed 
the conquest, they tempted the pious cupidity of the Cru- 
saders. Whilst the greater part of the warriors bore away 
the gold, the jewels, the carpets, and the rich stuffs of the 
East, the more devout of the pilgrims, particularly the 
ecclesiastics, collected a booty much more innocent and 
appropriate to the soldiers of Christ. Many braved the 
prohibitions of their leaders and their superiors, and did not 
disdain to employ by turns supplications and menaces, 
stratagem or violence, to procure rehcs that were the objects 
of their respect and veneration. Contemporary history 
relates several examples of this, which serve to make us 
acquainted with the spirit of the pilgrim conquerors of 
Byzantium. Martin Litz, abbot of Paris, in the diocese of 
Bale, entered into a church that had been given up to pillage, 
and penetrated, without being observed, into a retired place, 
where numerous relics Avere deposited, under the guardian- 
ship of a Greek monk.* This Greek monk was then at 
prayers, with his hands raised supplicatingiy towards 
heaven. His old age, his white hairs, his fervent piety, and 
the grief impressed upon his brow, were calculated to inspire 
both respect and pity ; but Martin, approaching the vene- 
rable guardian of the treasures with an angry manner, 
exclaimed in a threatening tone, " Miserable old man, if thou 
dost not instantly conduct me to the place where thy relics 
are hidden, prepare to die on the spot !" The monk, terrified 
by this menace, immediately and tremblingly arose, and 
pointed to a large iron coffer, into which the pious abbot 
eagerly plunged both his hands, and seized everything 

* Cum ergo victores victam, quam jure belli suam fecerant, alacriter 
spoliarent, coepit Martinus abbas de sua etiam praeda cogitare, et ne ipse 
vacuus remaneret, proposuit et ipse sacratas manus suas ad rapiuam 
exteridere. — Gunther. 

The same Guntiier relates how Martin committed violence upon a 
Greek priest to obtain relics from him. When speaking of Martin Lita 
Gunther employs these singular expressions — prcedo sanctus. 


precious that he coiild grasp. Delighted with this conquest, 
lie ran to conceal hi& treasures on board a vessel, and con- 
trived, hy a holy fraud, to keep them for several days from 
the knowledge of the leaders and prelates of the army, who 
had strictly ordered the pilgrims to bring to an appointed 
place all the relics that fell into their hands. 

Martin Litz, at first, returned to the Christians of Pales- 
tine, who had sent him to Constantinople ; and, a short time 
after, came back to Europe, loaded with spoils obtained from 
the clergy of Byzantium. Among the relics he exhibited on 
his return, were, a piece of the true cross, the bones of 
St. John the Baptist, and an arm of St. James. The mira- 
cidous translation of this treasure is celebrated with much 
pomp by the monk Grunther, in whom it created more 
surprise and joy than the conquest of a great empire. If we 
may credit the account of the German monk, angels de- 
scended from heaven to watch over the rehcs of Martin 
Litz. On the route of the holy abbot, the tempests of the 
ocean were silent, pirates were struck motionless, and 
robbers, those pests of travellers, stopped short, seized with 
respect and fear. At length Martin Litz was received in 
triumph at Bale, and the treasures he had preserved through 
so many perils, were distributed the principal 
churches of the diocese. 

Another priest, named Galon de Dampierre, of the diocese 
of Langres, less adroit or less fortunate than Martin Litz, 
had not been able to obtain any share of the spoils of the 
chui'ches ; he went and threw himself at the feet of the 
pope's legate, and implored him, with tears in his eyes, to 
permit him to carry back to his country the head of St.Mames. 
A third ecclesiastic of Picardy, having found the head of 
St. George, and the head of St. John the Baptist, concealed 
among the ruins, hastened to quit Constantinople, and, laden 
with such a rich prize, presented to the cathedral of Amiens, 
his country, the inestimable relics of which Providence had 
made him the possessor. 

The princes and barons did not despise these holy spoils. 
Dandolo, receiving as his share* a piece of the time cross, 

* We have spoken in the early part of the work of the true cross which 
the kings of Jerusalem caused to be borne before them in battle, and 
»vhich was taken by Saladin at the battle of Tiberias ; Saladin refused tc 


whicl). the emperor Constantine was accustomed to have 
borne before him to battle, made a present of it to the 
republic of Venice. Baldwin kept for himself the crown of 
thorns of Christ, and several other relics found in the palace 
of Bucoleon. He sent Philip Augustus, king of France, a 
portion of the true cross, a foot in length ; some of the hair 
of Jesus Christ, when an infant ; and the linen in which the 
Man- God was enveloped in the stable in which he was 

The Greek priests and monks, thus plundered by the con- 
querors, parted with tears from the remains of the saints 
that had been confided to their keeping, and which every 
day cured the sick, made the lame to walk, restored sight to 
the blind, and strength to the paralytic. These holy spoils, 
that the devotion of the faithful had gathered together from 
all the countries of the East, w^ent to illustrate the churches 
of France and Italy, and were received by the Christians of 
tlie West as the most glorious trophies of the victories 
God had enabled the Crusaders to obtain. 

Constantinople fell into the power of the Latins on the 
10th of April, towards the end of Lent. The marshal of 
Champagne, after relating some of the scenes we have 
described, says with great simplicity, " Thus passed the 
splendid festivities of Easter." The clergy called the Cru- 
saders to penitence ; the voice of religion made itself heard 
in hearts hardened by victory ; the soldiers crowded to the 
churches they had devastated, and celebrated the sufferings 
and death of Christ upon the wrecks of his own altars. 

This solemn epoch without doubt inspired some generous 
sentimcDts ; all the Latins were not deaf to the language of 
the charity of the Gospel. We feel bound here to admit 
that the greater part of the knights and ecclesiastics pro- 
tected the liberty and lives of the citizens, and the honour 
of matrons and virgins ; but such was the spirit that then 

deliver it up to Richard, as many f the Crusaders must have k30"tp. 
How then could the true cross be found at Constantinople ? The Grrj";is^s> 
however, were not very nice with respect to the authenticity of their 
relics, and the Christians of the West on this point yielded very fasy 
faith to them. [I cannot but think our author a little out in his criticism 
here : they were but fragments or portions of the cross, at Constantinople 
the Saracens still held the main body of the true cross — ij' true it was. -^ 


possessed tlie warriors, that all the Crusaders allowed them> 
selves to be overcome bj the thirst for booty ; and tlie 
leaders, equally with the soldiers, exercised, without hesita- 
tion or scruple, the right which their victory had given 
them of plundering the conquered. It was agreed that 
all the spoils should be deposited in three churches, 
selected for the purpose ; and the leaders commanded the 
Crusaders to bring, in common, the whole of the booty, and 
threatened with death and excommunication all who should 
abstract anything from the prize of the valour, and the 
recompense due to the labours of the whole army. Many 
soldiers, and even some knights, allowed themselves to be 
led away by avarice, and retained valuable objects that fell 
into their hands. " Which," says the marshal of Cham- 
pagne, " made the Lord to begin to love them less." The 
justice of tlie counts and barons was inflexible towards the 
guilty ; the count of St. Pol ordered one of his knights, who 
had withheld something from the common stock of booty, to 
be hung, with his escutcheon suspended from his neck.* 
Thus the Greeks, plundered by violence, might be present 
at the punishment of some of the ravishers of their pro- 
perty, and might contemplate with surprise the regulations 
of stern equity mingled with the disorders of victory and 
pillage. After the festival of Easter, the Crusaders shared 
the captured riches ; the fourth part of the spoil was set 
aside for him who should be chosen emperor, and the rest 
was divided among the French and the Venetians. The 
Prench Crusaders, who had conquered Zara, to the sole 
advantage of the Venetians, were not the less called upon 
to pay the fifty thousand silver marks they owed to the 
republic ; the amount was deducted beforehand from the 
portion of the booty that belonged to them. In the division 
that was made among the warriors of Lombardy, Germany, 
aud France, each knight had a part equal to that of two 
horsemen, and every horseman one equal to that of two 
foot-soldiers. All the plunder of the Greeks only yielded t 

* Villehardouin, when speaking of the rigorous justice exercised upon 
all who endeavoured to conceal any part of the plunder, says : Et en y eut 
tout plain de pendus. 

f One edition of Villehardouin makes the plunder of Constantinople 
amount to five hundred thousand silver marks, equivalent to twenty-fouj 


four hundred thousand silver marks ; but although this sum 
far exceeded the revenues of all the kingdoms of the "West, 
it did not by any means represent the value of the riches 
accumulated in Byzantium. If the princes and barons, upon 
making themselves masters of the city, had been satisfied with 
imposiug a tribute upon the inhabitants, they might have 
received a much larger sum ; but this pacific manner of 
obtaining wealth agreed neither with their character nor the 
humour they were in. History asserts that the Venetians, 
in this circumstance, offered them some very prudent advice, 
and made propositions that were rejected with scorn. The 
Erank warriors could not condescend to submit the advan- 
tages of victory to commercial calculations ; the produce of 
pillage was always, in their eyes, the most worthy fruit of 
conquest, and the most noble reward of valour. 

When they had thus shared the rich plunder of the 
Eastern empire, the Crusaders gave way to the most extra- 
vagant joy, without perceiving that they had committed a 
great fault in exhausting a country which was about to 
become their own ; they did not reflect that the ruin of the 
conquered might one day bring on that of the conquerors, 
and that they might become as poor as the Greeks they had 
just despoiled. Without regrets, as without foresight, hoping 
everythiug from their own good swords, they set about elect- 
ing a leader who should reign over a people in mourning and 
a desolated city. The imperial purple had still the same 
splendour in their eyes, and the throne, though shaken by 
their arms, was still the object of their ambition. Six 
electors were chosen from among the Venetian nobles, and 
six others from among the French ecclesiastics, to give a 

millions ; if we add to this sum the fifty thousand marks due to the Vene- 
tians, and deducted before the division, and the part which they had in the 
division itself, we shall find the total amount of booty fifty millions four 
hundred thousand francs (about j£"'2, 100, 000. — Trans,). As much, says 
the modern historian who supplies us with this note, perhaps, was appro- 
priated secretly by individuals. The three fires which had consumed more 
than half the city had destroyed at least as much of its riches, and in the 
profusion that followed the pillage, the most precious effects had lost s# 
much of their value, that the advantage of the Latins probably was no* 
equivalent to a quarter of what they had cost the Greeks. Thus we may 
suppose that Constantinople, before the attack, contained 600,000,000 of 
wealth (i£'25,000,000). (What would the plunder of London amount to 
in 1852 ?— Trans.) 


master to Constantinople ; the twelve electors assembled in 
the palace of Bucoleon, and swore, upon the Grospel, to 
crown only merit and virtue. 

Three of the principal leaders of the crusade had equal 
claims to the suffrages of the electors. If the purple was to 
be the reward of experience, of ability in council, and of 
services rendered to the cause of the Latins, Henry Dandolo, 
who had been the moving spirit, the very soul of the enter- 
prise, certainly had the first claim to it. The marquis of 
Montferrat, likewise, had titles worthy of great considera- 
tion ; the Latins had chosen him for their leader, and the 
Grreeks already acknowledged him as their master. His 
bravery, proved in a thousand fights, promised a firm and 
generous support to a throne that must rise from amidst 
ruins. His prudence and moderation might give the Latins 
and the people of Grreece reason to hope that, when once 
raised to empire, he would repair the evils of war. The 
claims of Baldwin to the imperial crown were not less 
cogent than those of his concurrents. The count of Flan- 
ders was related to the most powerful monarchs of the West, 
and was descended, in the female line, from Charlemagne. 
He was much beloved by his soldiers, whose dangers he was 
always ready to share ; he had deservedly obtained the 
esteem of the Grreeks, who, even amidst the disorders of 
conquest, celebrated him as the champion of chastity and 
honom'. Baldwin was the protector of the weak, the friend 
of the poor ; he loved justice, and had no dread of truth. 
His youth, which he had already illustrated by brilliant ex- 
ploits and solid virtues, gave the subjects of the new empire 
hopes of a long and happy reign ; the rank he held among 
the warriors, his piety, his intelligence, his love of study and 
learned men, rendered him worthy of ascending the throne 
of Augustus and Constantino. 

The electors at first turned their attention towards the 
venerable Dandolo ; but the republicans of Venice trembled 
at the idea of seeing an emperor among their fellow-citizens : 
"What shall w^e not have to dread," said they, "from a 
Venetian, become m^aster of Greece, and of part of the 
East ? Shall we be subject to his laws, or will he remain 
subject to the laws of our country ? Under his reigi., and 
under that of his successors, who will assure us that Venice^ 


the Queen oi the Seas, will not become one of the cities of this 
empire ?" The Venetians, whilst speaking thus, bestowed 
just eulogiums upon the virtue and character of Dandolo *. 
they added, that their doge, who was approaching the end 
of a life filled with great actions, had nothing left him but 
to finish his days with glory, and that he himself would find 
it more glorious to be the head of a victorious repubhc, than 
the sovereign of a conquered nation. " What E.oman," 
cried they, " would have been willing to lay down the title 
of citizen of Kome, to become king of Carthage ?" 

On terminating their speeches, the Venetians conjured 
the assembly to elect an emperor from the other 
leaders of the army. After this, the choice of the electors 
could only be directed towards the count of Flanders and 
the marquis of Montferrat ; the most wise dreading that 
the one of the two concurrents who should not obtain the 
empire, would be sure to give vent to his dissatisfaction, 
and would desire the fall of the throne occupied by his 
rival. They still remembered the violent debates which, in 
the first crusade, had followed the election of Grodfrey of 
Bouillon ; and the troubles excited in the young kingdom of 
Jerusalem, by the jealous ambition of Raymond de St. 
Grilles. To prevent the effects of such a fatal discord, it was 
judged best to decree, at once, that the prince that should 
gain the suffrages for the imperial throne, should yield to 
the other, under the condition of fealty and homage, the 
property of the island of Candia, and all the lands of the 
empire situated on the other side of the Bosphorus. After 
this decision, the assembly turned their whole attention to 
the election of an emperor. Their choice was for a long 
time uncertain. The marquis of Montferrat at first appeared 
to have the majority of the suffrages ; but the Venetians 
were fearful of seeing upon the throne of Constantinople a 
prince who had any possessions in the neighbourhood of 
their territories, and represented to the assembly that the 
election of Baldwin would be much more advantageous to 
the Crusaders, particularly as it would interest the warlike 
nations of the Flemings and French id the glory and support 
of the new empire. The interests and jealousies of policy, 
and, without doubt, also wisdom and equity, at length 
uiuted all voices in favour of the count of Flandei's. 


The Crusaders, assembled before the palace of Bucoleon^ 
awaited with impatience the decision of the electors. At 
the hour of midnight, the bishop of Soissons came forward 
under the vestibule, and pronounced, in a loud voice, these 
words : " This hour of the night, which witnessed the birth 
of a Saviour of the world, gives birth to a new empire, 
under the protection of the Omnipotent. You have for 
emperor, Baldwin, count of Flanders and Hainault." Loud 
cries of joy arose from among the Venetians and the 
French. The people of Constantinople, who had so often 
changed masters, received, without repugnance, the new one 
just given to them, and mingled their acclamations with 
those of the Latins. Baldwin was elevated upon a buckler, 
and borne in triumph to the church of St. Sophia. The 
marquis of Montferrat followed in the train of his rival ; the 
generous submission, of which he presented an example, was 
ranch admired by his companions in arms, and his presence 
drew scarcely less attention than the warlike pomp that 
surrounded the new emperor. 

The ceremony of the coronation was postponed till the 
fourth Sunday after Easter. In the mean time the m5,rriage 
of the marquis of Montferrat with Margaret of Hungary, 
the widow of Isaac, was celebrated w4th much splendour. 
Constantinople beheld within its walls the festivities and 
spectacles of the West, and, for the first time, the Grreeks 
heard in their churches the prayers and hymns of the 
Latins. On the day appointed for the coronation of the 
emperor, Baldwin repaired to St. Sophia, accompanied by 
the barons and the clergy. Whilst divine service was being 
performed, the emperor ascended a throne of gold, and 
received the purple from the hands of the pope's legate, 
who performed the functions of patriarch. Two knights 
carried before him the laticlavici tunica of the Roman con- 
suls, and the imperial sword, once again in the hands of 
warriors and heroes. The head of the clergy, standing 
before the altar, pronounced, in the Grreek language, these 
words : ".ffe is worthy of reigning ;^^ and all persons present 
repeated in chorus, " /^e is worthy I lie is worthy V The 
Ousaders shouting their boisterous acclamations, the knights 
clad in armour, the crowd of miserable Grreeks, the sanctuary 
despoiled of its ancient ornaments, and decked with foreign 


pomp, presented altogether a spectacle solemn and melan • 
clioly — all the evils of war amidst the trophies of victory 
Surrounded by the ruins of an empire, reflective spectators 
could not fail to remark among the ceremonies of this day, 
that in which, according to the custom of the Greeks, wer» 
presented to Baldwin a little A^ase filled with dust and 
bones, and a lock of lighted flax,* as symbols of the short- 
ness of life and the nothingness of human grandeur. 

Before the ceremony of his coronation, the new emperor 
distributed the principal dignities of the empire among his 
companions in arms. Villehardouin, marshal of Champagne, 
obtained the title of marshal of liomania ; the count de 
St. Pol, the dignity of constable ; the charges of master of 
the wardrobe, great cupbearer and butler, were given to 
Canon de Bethune, Macaire de St. Menehoult, and Mile« de 
Brabant. The doge of Venice, created despot or prince of 
Bomania, had the right of wearing purple buskins, a privi- 
lege, among the Grreeks, reserved for members of the impe- 
rial family. Henry Dandolo represented the republic of 
Venice at Constantinople ; half the city was under his 
dominion and recognised his laws ; he raised himself, by the 
dignity of his character as well as by his exploits, above all 
the princes and all the nobles of the court of Baldwin ; he 
alone was exempt from paying fealty and homage to tho 
emperor for the lands he was to possess. 

The barons began to be impatient to share the cities and 
provinces of the empire. In a council composed of twelve 
of the patricians of Venice and twelve French knights^ all 
the conquered lands were divided between the two nations 
Bithynia, Eomania or Thrace, Thessalonica, all Greece from 
Thermopylae to Cape Sunium, with the larger isles of the 
Archipelago, fell to the share and under the dominion of the 
French. The Venetians obtained the Cyclades and the Spo- 
rades, in the Archipelago ; the isles and the oriental coast of 
the Adriatic Gulf; the coasts of the Propontis and the Euxine 
Sea; thebanks of theHebrus andtheVardas; the citiesof Cyp- 
sedes, Didymatica, and Adrianople ; the maritime countries of 
Thessalonica, &c. &c. Such was at first the distribution of the 

* The ceremony of the lighted flax still takes place at the exaltation of 
the popes ; these words ar3 addressed to them : Sic transit gloria mundL 


territories of tlie empire. But circumstances that could not 
be foreseen, the diversity of interests, the rivalries of ambi- 
tion, all the chances of fortune and of war, soon produced 
great chang-es in this division of dominions. History v^ould 
in vain endeavour to follow the conquerors into the provinces 
allotted to them ; it would be more easy to mark the banks 
of an overflowing torrent, or to trace the path of the storm, 
than to fix the state of the uncertain and transitory posses- 
sions of the conquerors of Byzantium. 

The lands situated beyond the Bosphorus were erected 
into a kingdom, and, with the island of Candia, given to the 
marquis of Montferrat. Boniface exchanged them for the 
province of Thessalonica, and sold the island of Candia to 
the republic of Venice for thirty pounds weight of gold. 
The provinces of Asia were abandoned to the count of Blois, 
who assumed the title of duke of Nice and Bithynia. In 
the distribution of the cities and lands of the empire, every 
one of the lords and barons had obtained domains propor- 
tionate with the rank and services of the new possessor. 
When they heard speak of so many countries of which they 
scarcely knew the names, the Avarriors of the West were 
astonished at their conquests, and believed that the greater 
part of the universe was promised to their ambition. In the 
intoxication of their joy, they declared themselves masters 
of all the provinces that had formed the empire of Constan- 
tino. They cast lots for the countries of the Modes and 
Parthians, and the kingdoms that were under the domina- 
tion of the Turks and Saracens ;* several barons expressed 
a great desire to reign at Alexandria ; others disputed for 
the palace of the sultans of Iconium ; some knights ex- 
changed that which had been assigned to them for new 
possessions, whilst others complained of their share, and 
demanded an augmentation of territory. With the money 

* Nicetas relates all the circumstances of the sharing of the lands of the 
empire. We find in Muratori the treaty for the division which was made 
before the siege ; we do not offer it to our readers, because it is unintel- 
ligible in several places, and cannot shed any light over geography. The 
names of the cities and provinces of the empire are given in a very 
unfaithful and imperfect manner. The Venetians without doubt furnished 
the necessary information for the drawing up of the treaty, but this in- 
formation was very incomplete. 


wliicli arose from the plunder of the capital, the conqueror! 
purchased the provinces of the empire ; they sold, they 
played at dice, for whole cities and their inhabitants. Cor 
stantincple was during several days a market, in which seas 
and their islands, nations and their wealth, were trafficked 
for ; in which the E-oman world was put up to sale, and 
found purchasers among the obscure crowd of the Crusaders. 

Whilst the barons were thus distributing cities and 
kingdoms, the ambition of the Latin clergy was by na 
means idle, but was busy in invading the property of the 
Greek Church. All the churches of Constantinople were 
divided between the French and the Venetians ; they named 
priests of the two nations, to minister in the temples torn 
from the conquered ; and no other religious ceremonies were 
celebrated within the walls of the city but those of the West. 
The leaders of the crusade had agreed among themselves, 
that if the emperor of Constantinople should be chosen 
from the French, the patriarch should be a Venetian. Ac- 
cording to this convention, which had preceded the conquest, 
Thomas Morosini* was elevated to the chair of St. Sophia ; 
priests and Latin bishops were, at the same time, sent into 
the other conquered cities, and took possession of the wealth 
and the privileges of the Greek clergy. Thus the Romish 
worship associated itself with the victories of the Crusaders, 
and made its empire acknowledged wherever the banners of 
the conquerors floated. 

Nothing now opposed the arms of the Crusaders ; all 
trembled before them ; fame wafted everywhere the accounts 
of their exploits and their power ; but, on casting a glance 
into the future the leaders had great reason to fear that the 
retreat or death of their warriors would leave the empire 
they had founded destitute of defenders. The population, 
weakened and dispersed, were not sufficient for either the 
cultivation of the lands or the work of the cities. In this 
conjuncture, the counts and barons, who alwajs expected 
with fear the judgments of the head of the Church, re- 

* The pope would not at first recognise this election, which appeared 
to him a usurpation of the rights of the Holy See ; but as Morosini was an 
ecclesiastic of great merit, Innocent was not willing to choose another. 
Morosini was sent to Constantinople not as if elected by the Crusader^f 
but as if appointed by the pope. 


doubled their submission to the sovereign pontiff, and sought 
his support, in the hope that the Holy See would bring the 
"West to pronounce in their favour, and that at the voice of 
the f[ither of the faithful, a great number of French, Italians, 
and Germans would come to people and defend the new 

After his coronation, Baldwin wrote to the pope, to an- 
nounce to him the extraordinary victories by which it had 
pleased Grod to crown the zeal of the soldiers of the cross. 
The new emperor, who assumed the title of knight of the 
Holy See, recalled to the mind of the sovereign pontiff the 
perfidies and the long revolt of the Grreeks. " We have 
brought under your laws," said he, "that city, which, in 
hatred for the Holy See, would scarcely hear the name of 
the prince of the apostles, and did not afford a single 
church to him who received from the Lord the supremacy 
over all churches." Baldwin, in his letter, invited the vicar 
of Jesus Christ to imitate the example of his predecessors, 
John, Agapetus, and Leo, who visited in person the Church 
of Byzantium. To complete the justification of the pil- 
grims who had made tliemselves masters of the Greek em- 
pire, the emperor invoked the testimony of all the Christians 
of the East. " When we entered into this capital," added 
he, "many inhabitants of the Holy Land, who were there, 
expressed greater joy than any others, and asserted aloud 
that we had rendered God a more agreeable service than if 
we had retaken Jerusalem." 

The marquis of Montferrat at the same time addressed 
a letter to the sovereign pontiff, in which he protested his 
humble obedience to all the decisions of the Holy See. "A3 
for me," said the king of Thessalonica, "who only took up 
the cross for the expiation of my sins, and not to obtain an 
opportunity of sinning with more license under the pretext 
of religion, I submit myself blindly to your will. If you 
judge that my presence in Romania may be useful, I will die 
there, contending against your enemies and those of Christ : 
if you think, on the contrary, I ouglit to abandon these rich 
countries, pay no regard to the wealth or dignities I possess 
there, I am ready to return to the Weat ; for I am not will- 
ing to do anything that will draw upon me the anger of thtf 
sovereign judge." 


The doge of Venice, who till that time had braved with 
so much haughtiness the threats and thunders of the Church; 
acknowledged the sovereign authority of the pope, and 
joined his protestations with those of Baldwin and Boniface. 
To disarm the anger of Innocent, they represented to him 
that the conquest of Constantinople had prepared the deli- 
verance of Jerusalem, and boasted of the wealth of a coun- 
try which the Crusaders had at length brought under the 
laws of the Holy See. In all their letters to the pope or 
the faithful of the West, the conquerors of Byzantiuni. 
spoke of the G-reek empire as of a new land of promise, 
which awaited the servants of Grod and the soldiers of Christ, 

Innocent had been for a long time irritated by the dis- 
obedience of the Crusaders ; in his reply, he reproached 
with bitterness the victorious army of the Latins for having 
preferred the riches of the earth to those of heaven ;* he 
reprimanded the leaders for having exposed to the outrages 
of the soldiers and followers of the army, the honour of ma- 
trons and maidens, and virgins consecrated to the Lord ; for 
having ruined Constantinople, plundered both great and 
small, violated the sanctuary, and put forth a sacrilegious 
hand upon the treasures of the churches. Nevertheless, 
the father of the faithful would not take upon him to fathom 
the judgments of God ; he was satisfied to believe that the 
Greeks had been justly punished for their faults, and that 
the Crusaders were recompensed as the instruments of Pro- 
vidence, as the avengers of divine justice. " Dread," said 
he, " the anger of the Lord ; hope with fear that he will 
pardon fhe past, if you govern the nations with equity ; if 
you are faithful to the Holy See, and, above everything, if 
you entertain a firm resolution to accomplish your vow for 
the dehverance of the Holy Land." 

* Innocent, when speaking of the sack of Constantinople, expresses 
himself thus in his letter; — Quirlam nee religioni, nee setati, nee sexui 
pepercerunt ; sed fornicationes, adulteria, et incestus in oculis omnium 
exercentes, non solum meretriculas et viduas, sed et matronas et virgines 
Deoque dicatas exposuerunt spurcitiis garcionum. The pope is more 
severe towards the Crusaders than Nicetas himself ; the indignation that 
the disobedience of the Crusaders had created, led him to exaggerate their 
faults. The word incestus, applied to warriors who had no family relations 
with the Greeks, alone sei-ves to prove that there is «ore bitterness than 
truth in the letter of Innocent. 


Not witli standing this outward show of anger, tlie sove- 
reign pontiff" was gratitied to the depths of his heart by the 
prayers and submission of the heroes and princes whose ex- 
ploits made the Eastern world tremble. Cardinal Peter of 
Capua had given absolution to the Venetians excommuni- 
cated after the siege of Zara. Innocent at first blamed the 
indulgence of his legate, but finished by confirming the par- 
don granted to Dandolo and his compatriots. The pope 
approved the election of Baldwin, who took the title of knight 
of the Holy See, and consented to recognise an empire to which 
he was to give laws. The more submissive the Crusaders 
showed themselves to his authority, the more plainly it ap- 
peared to him that their conquests must concern the glory 
of Grod and that of the vicar of Christ upon earth. He 
wrote to the bishops of France, that Grod had been willing 
to console the Church by the conversion of heretics ; that 
Providence had humbled the Grreeks, an impious, proud, and 
rebellious people ; and again placed the empire in the hands 
of the Latins, a pious, humble, and submissive nation. The 
sovereign pontifi!* invited, in the name of the emperor Bald- 
win, the French of both sexes and all conditions, to repair 
to Greece to receive lands and riches proportioned to their 
merit and their quality. He promised the indulgences of 
the crusade to all the faithful, who, sharing the glory of the 
Crusaders, should go to defend and promote the prosperity 
of the new empire of the East. 

The pope did not, however, lose sight of the Syrian expe- 
dition, and appeared persuaded that succours sent to Con- 
stantinople must contribute to the deliverance of the holy 
places. The king of Jerusalem implored more earnestly 
than ever, both by letters and ambassadors, the effective 
protection of the Holy See, as well as that if the princes of 
the East. 

The new emperor of Byzantium did not renounce the 
hope of assisting the Christian colonies of Syria ; and to 
raise the courage of his brethren of the Holy Land, he sent 
to Ptolemais the chain of tlie port and the gates of Constan- 
tinople. When these trophies reached Palestine, scarcity, 
famine, and all tlie evils of an unfortunate war ravaged both 
cities and plains. At the news of approaching aid, the people 
of Ptolemais passed at once from excessive grief and de« 


epondency to all the transports of joy. Fame, whilst pub- 
lishing the miraculous conquests of the companions oi 
Baldwin and Boniface, carried the hope of safety into all the 
Christian cities of Syria, and spread terror among the Mus- 
sulmans. The sultan of Damascus had recently concluded 
a truce with the Christians, and trembled lest it should be 
broken, w hen, all at once, he owed his safety to the very 
event that had caused his alarms. 

The greater part of the defenders of the Holy Land, who 
had experienced nothing but the evils of war, became de- 
sirous of partaking of the glory and the good fortune of the 
French and Venetians. They even who had quitted the 
victorious army at Zara, who had so severely blamed the 
expedition to Constantinople, believed that the will of God 
called them to the shores of the Bosphorus, and they aban- 
doned the Holy Land. The legate of the pope, Peter of 
Capua, was drawn away by the example of the other Cru- 
saders, and went to animate with his presence the zeal of 
the Latin clergy, who were labouring for the conversion of 
the Grreeks ; the knights of St. John and the Temple also 
directed their course towards Greece, where glory and rich 
domains were the reward of valour ; and the king of Jeru- 
salem was left almost alone at Ptolema'is, without means of 
making the truce he had entered into with the infidels 

Baldwin warmly welcomed the defenders of the Holy 
Land ; but the joy he experienced at their arrival was much 
troubled by the intelligence of the death of his wife, Mar- 
guerite of Manders. This princess had embarked in the 
fleet of John de Nesle, in the belief that she should meet 
her husband in Palestine ; sinking under the fatigue of a 
long voyage, and perhaps the pains of disappointment, she 
fell sick at Ptolemais, and died at the moment she learnt 
that Baldwin had been crowned emperor of Constantinople- 
The vessel destined to convey the new empress to the shores 
of the Bosphorus only brought back her mortal remains. 
Baldwin, amidst his knights, wept for t}ie loss of a princess 
he had loved tenderly, and who, by her virtues and the 
graces of her youth, he had hoped would be the ornament 
and example of the court of Byzantium. He caused her to he 
buried with great pomp in the same church in which, but a few 


days before, he had received the imperial crown. Thus the 
people of Constantinople witnessed, almost at the same time^ 
the coronation of an emperor and the funeral of an empress ; 
— days of joy and triumph mingled with days of mourning. 
This contrast of the pageantry of death and the pomps of 
victory and of a throne, appeared to offer a faithful image 
of the glory of conquerors, and the future destiny of the 

The emperor and his barons, with all the succours they 
had receivjed from the East, had scarcely twenty thousand 
men to defend their conquests and restrain the people of the 
capital and the provinces. The sultan of Iconium and the 
king of the Bulgarians had long threatened to invade the 
lands contiguous to their states, and they thought that the 
dissensions and subsequent fall of the Greek empire pre- 
sented a favourable opportunity for the outbreak of their 
jealousy and am.bition. The nations of Greece were con- 
quered without being subdued. As in the disorder which 
accompanied the conquest of Byzantium, no other right had 
been acknowledged but that of force and the sword, all the 
Greeks, who had still arms in tlieir hands, were desirous of 
forming a principality or a kingdom. On all sides new 
states and empires sprang up from the bosom of the ruins, 
and already threatened that which the Crusaders had so 
recently established. 

A grandson of Andronicus founded in a Greek province 
of Asia Minor the principality of Trebizonde ; Leo Sgurre, 
master of the little city of Napoli, had extended his do- 
minions by injustice and violence, and, to employ a com- 
parison oftered by Nicetas, he had grown greater, like the 
torrent that swells in the storm and is enlarged by the 
waters of the tempest. A barbarous conqueror, a fierce and 
cruel tyrant, he reigned, or rather he spread terror, over 
Argos and the isthmus of Corinth. Michael- Angelus Com- 
nenus, employing the arms of treachery, gained the kingdom 
of Epirus, and subdued to his laws a wild and warlike people. 
Theodore Lascaris, who, like ^neas, had fled from his 
burning country, collected some troops in Bithynia, and 
caused himself to be proclaimed emperor at Nice, whence 
his family was destined at a future day to return in triumph 
to Constantinople. 


li despair had imparted any degree of courage to tlie twc 
fugitive emperors, they might have obtained a share of tlieir 
OM a spoils, and preserved a remnant of power ; but they had 
not profited by the lessons of misfortune. Mourzoufle, who 
had completed all the crimes begun by Alexius, did not 
hesitate to place himself in the power of his unfortunate 
rival, whose daughter he had married : the wicked sometimes 
take upon themselves the duty of punishing one another. 
Alexius, after having loaded Mourzoufle with caresses, in- 
veigled him into his house, and caused his eyes to be put 
out. In this condition, Mourzoufle, abandoned by his fol- 
lowers, for whom he was now nothing but an object of disgust, 
went to conceal his existence and his misery in Asia ; but on 
his road fell into the hands of the Latins. Beuig led to 
Constantinople, and condemned to expiate his crimes by an 
ignominious death, he was precipitated from the top of a 
column raised by the emperor Theodosius in the Place of 
Taurus. The multitude of Grreeks^that had offered the 
purple to Mourzoufle were present at his tragical end, and 
appeared terrified at a punishment that was much more new 
to them than the crimes for which it was inflicted. After 
the execution, the crowd contemplated with surprise a basso- 
relievo on the column of Theodosius,* which represented a 
king falling from a very elevated place, and a city stormed 
by sea. In these times of troubles and calamities, presages 
were discovered everywhere. Everything, even to marble 
and stone, appeared to have told of the misfortunes of Con- 
stantinople. Nicetas was astonished that such great mis- 
fortunes had not been announced by a shower of blood, or 
some sinister prodigies ; the most enlightened Greeks ex- 
Dlained the fall of the empire of Constantino by the verses 
of poets and sibyls, or by the prophecies of the Scriptures ; 
the common people read the death of tyrants Jtnd their own 
miseries in the looks of statues, and upon the columns that 
remained standing in the capital. 

* Some raodera writers have asserted that the column from which 
Mourzoufle was precipitated is still to be seen at Constantinople : but 
there existed two columns in that city ; one of Theodosius and the otler of 
Arcadius. The first was destroyed by Bajazet, and nothing remains of 
the other but the pedestal, which is in the Avret Baras (the women- 
market). See the Voyage to the Propontis, by M. le Chevalier, who has 
cleared up this fact on the spot. 


The perfidy and cruelty of Alexius did not remain long 
unpunished ; the usurper was obliged to wander from city to 
city, and, not uufrequently, to conceal the imperial purple 
under the garb of a mendicant. Eor a considerable time he 
only owed his safety to tlie contempt in which he was held 
by the conquerors. After having long strayed about in a 
state of destitution, he was given up to the marquis of 
Montferrat, who sent him a prisoner into Italy ; escaping 
thence, he again passed into Asia, and found an asylum with 
the sultan of Iconium. Alexius could not be satisfied to 
live in peace in his retreat, but joined the Turks in an attack 
upon his son-in-law Lascaris, whom he could not pardon for 
liaving saved a wreck of the empire, and reigning over 
Eithynia. As the Turks were beaten, the fugitive prince 
fell at length into the hands of the emperor of Nice, who 
compelled him to retire to a monastery, where he died, 
forgotten by both Grreeks and Latins. 

Thus four emperors were immolated to ambition and 
vengeance : — a deplorable spectacle, and most worthy of 
pity ! Amidst the convulsions and fall of an empire, we 
behold princes of the same family quarrelluig for a phantom 
of authority, snatch from each otlier by turns both the 
sceptre and life, surpass the populace in fury, and leave 
them no crime, no parricide, to commit. 

If we could believe Nicetas, Alexius was a model of 
mildness and moderation ; he never made a woman put on 
mourning for her husband, he never caused a citizen to weep 
for the loss of his fortune. This eulogy of Nicetas throws 
a far greater light upon the nature of the government than 
upon the qualities of the monarch. If it be true that we 
ought to be thankful to despotism for every ill that it has 
not committed, w^e must not forget that Alexius only ob- 
tained the throne by infamous means ; that lie did not redeem 
his parricide by any public virtue ; and tliat the crime of his 
usurpation gave birth to a thousand other crimes, brought 
about a horrible revolution, and caused the ruin of a nation, 
Nicetas treats Mourzoufle with much more severity ; but 
some modern historians, dazzled by a few actions of bravery, 
have undertaken to justify a prince who sacrificed everything 
to his ambition. They have not hesitated to point out to 
us in a cruel, unscrupulous tyrant, a model and a martyr of 


the patriotic virtues, as if love of country was tlie same 
thmg as a boundless love of power, and could possibly ally 
itself with treachery and parricide. 

Whilst the Greek princes were thus making war against 
each other, and quarrelling for the wrecks of the empire, 
the French counts and barons quitted the capital to go and 
take possession of the cities and provinces that had fallen to 
their share. Many of them were obliged to conquer, sword 
in hand, the lands that had been assigned to them. The 
marquis of Montferrat set out on his march to visit the 
kingdom of Thessalonica, and receive the homage of his new 
subjects. The emperor Baldwin, followed by his brother 
Henry of Hainault, and a great number of knights, made a 
progress through Thrace and E-omania, and everywhere on 
his passage, was saluted by the noisy acclamations of a people 
always more skilful in flattering their conquerors than in 
combating their enemies. When he arrived at Adrianople, 
where he was received in triumph, the new emperor an- 
nounced his intention of pursuing his march as far as 
Thessalonica. This unexpected resolution sin-prised the 
marquis of Montferrat, who entertained the desire of going 
alone to his own kingdom. Boniface promised to be faithful 
to the emperor, to be always ready to employ his forces 
against the enemies of the empire ; but he feared the pre- 
sence of Baldwin's army in his cities, already exhausted by 
war, A serious quarrel broke out between the two princes. 
The marquis of Montferrat accused the emperor of wishing 
to get possession of his states ; Baldwin fancied he could 
perceive in the resistance of Boniface the secret design of 
denying the sovereignty of the head of the empire. Both 
loved justice, and were not wanting in moderation ; but now 
one had become king of Thessalonica, and the other emperor 
of Constantinople, they had courtiers, who endeavoured to 
exasperate their quarrel and inflame their animosity. Some 
told Boniface that Baldwin was entirely in the wrong, and that 
he abused a power that ought to have been the reward of 
virtues very different from his. Others reproached the 
emperor with being too generous to his enemies, and, in the 
excess of their flattery, said he was guilty of only one fault, 
and that was of having too long spared an unfliithful vassal. 
In spite of all the representations of the marquis of Mont- 


ferrat, Baldwin led his army into the kingdom of Thessa- 
lonica. Boniface considered this obstinacy of the emperof 
as a flagrant outrage, and swore to take vengeance with hia 
sword. Impelled by passion, he departed suddenly with 
several knights who had declared in his favour, and got 
possession of Didymatica, a city belonging to the emperor. 

The marquis of Montferrat took with him his wife, Mary of 
Hungary, the vddow of Isaac ; and the presence of this prin- 
cess, with the hopes of keeping up the division among the 
Latuis, drew many Grreeks to the banner of Boniface. He 
declared to them that he fought for their cause, and clothed in 
the imperial purple a young prince, the son of Isaac and Mary 
of Hungary. Dragging in his train this phantom of an 
emperor, around whom the principal inhabitants from all 
parts of Eomania rallied, he resumed the road to Adrianople, 
and made preparations for besieging that city. Boniface, 
daily becoming more irritated, would listen to neither the 
coimsels nor the prayers of his companions in arms ; and 
discord was about to cause the blood of the Latins to flow, if 
the doge of Venice, the count of Blois, and the barons that 
remained at Constantinople, had not earnestly employed 
their authority and credit to prevent the misfortunes with 
which the new empire was threatened. Deeply afflicted by 
what they learnt, ^hey sent deputies to the emperor and the 
marquis of Montferrat. The marshal of Champagne, the 
envoy to Boniface, reproached him, in plain terms, with 
having forgotten the glory and honour of the Crusaders, of 
wliom he had been the leader ; with compromising, to gratify 
a vain pride, the cause of Christ and the safety of the empire, 
and preparing day3 of triumph and joy for the Grreeks, the 
Bulgarians, and the Saracens. The marquis of Montferrat 
uas touched by the reproaches of Yillehardouin, who was 
his friend, and who sj)oke in the name of all the Crusaders. 
JFIe promised to put an end to the war, and to submit his 
quarrel with Baldwin to the judgment of the counts and 

In the meanwhile Baldwin had taken possession of Thessa- 
ionica. As soon as he heard of the hostilities of the marquis 
of Montferrat, he hastily marched back to Adrianople. He 
was brooding over projects of vengeance, and threatening to 
repel force by force, and oppose war to war, when he met the 


deputies, who came in the name of the leaders of the 
crusade, to speak to him of peace, and recall to his heart the 
sentiments of justice and humanity. A knight of the train 
of the count of Blois addressed a speech to the emperor, 
that Yillehardouin has preserved, in which our readers will 
be pleased, without doubt, to meet with a picture of the 
noble frankness of the conquerors of Byzantium. " Sire,'* 
said he, " the doge of Venice, the Count Louis of Blois, my 
very honoured lord, and all the barons who are at Constan- 
tinople, salute you as their sovereign, and make complaint 
to God and you against those who, by their evil counsels, 
have created fatal discords. You did, certes, very wrong to 
lend an ear to these perfidious counsellors, for they are our 
enemies and yours. You know that the Marquis Boniface 
has submitted his quarrel to the judgment of the barons ; the 
lords and princes hope that you will do as he has done, and 
that you will not hold out against justice. They have 
sworn, and we are charged to declare so in their name, not 
to suffer any longer the scandal of a war kindled between 

Baldwin did not at first answer this speech, and appeared 
surprised at such language ; but they spoke to him thus in 
the name of the doge of Venice, whose old age he respected, 
and whom he loved tenderly ; in the name of the counts and 
barons, without whose help he could not hope to preserve 
his empire, and, at length, he listened to the united voices 
of reason and friendship. He promised to lay down his 
arms, and repair to Constantinople, to adjust the quarrel 
between him and the marquis of Montferrat. On his arrival, 
the counts and barons spared neither complaints nor 
prayers, and they found him docile to all their connsels. 
The marquis of Montferrat, who very shortly followed him, 
entered the capital with a degree of mistrust ; he was 
accompanied by a hundred knights, with their men-at-arms ; 
but the welcome he received from Baldwin and the other 
leaders completely appcAsed all his resentments, and dissi- 
pated all his misgivings. From that time the re-establish- 
ment of harmony and peace became the sincere object of the 
Crusaders. The doge of Venice, the counts and barons, 
with the most respected of the knights, who reminded the 
masters of the new empire of the redoubtable institution of 

Vol. II.— 8 


the PEERS of the "West, gave judgment in the uaritil that 
was submitted to them, and proDOunced, without appeal, 
between the king of Thessalonica and the emperor of Con- 
stantinople. The two princes swore never to listen again 
to perfidious counsels, and embraced in presence of the 
army, who rejoiced at the return of concord, as they would 
have done at a great victory obtained over the enemies of 
the empire. " Great evil might they have done," says 
Yillehardouin, " who excited this discord ; for if God had not 
taken pity on the Crusaders, they were in danger of losing 
their conquests, and Christianity might have perished." 

As soon as peace was re-established, the knights and 
barons again quitted the capital to pass through the pro- 
vinces, and subdue such as were refractory. The count of 
Blois, who had obtained Bithynia, sent his knights across 
the Bosphorus ; the troops of tlie Crusaders gained several 
advantages over those of Lascaris. Penamenia, Lopada, 
Nicomedia, and some other cities, opened their gates to the 
conquerors, after a feeble resistance. The Latins brought 
under their dominion all the coasts of the Propontis and the 
Bosphorus, as far as the ancient Eolis. Henry of Hainault 
was not idle in this new war ; whilst the warriors of the 
count of Blois were pushing their conquests towards Nice, 
he led his men-at-arms into Phrygia, unfurled his triumphant 
banners in the plains where Troy once stood, fought at the 
same time both Greeks and Turks, in the fields which had 
been trod by the armies of Xerxes and Alexander, and took 
possession of all the country that extends from the Helles- 
pont to Mount Ida. 

At the same time the marquis of Montferrat, now the 
peaceable master of Thessalonica, undertook the conquest of 
Greece.* He advanced into Thessaly, passed the chain of 
mountams of Olympus and Ossa, and took possession of 
Larissa. Boniface and his knights, without fear and without 
danger, passed through the narrow straits of Thermopylae, 
and penetrated into Boeotia and Attiea. They put to flight 

* Claudian has made in his panegyrics of Stilicho, a picture of the in- 
vasion of the Goths in the provinces of Greece. These beautiful countries 
had not been invaded since the third century. The Franks scarcely knew 
how to guaid their conquests better than the barbarians that had pre* 
ceded them. 


Leo Sgurre, who was the scourge of a vast province ; anc 
their exploits might have reminded the Greeks of those 
heroes of the early ages who travelled about the world 
fighting monsters and subduing tyrants. As all the Greeks, 
for so long a time oppressed, sighed for a change, the heroes 
of the crusades were everywhere received as liberators. 
Whilst Boniface was becoming possessed of the beautiful 
countries of Greece, Geoifrey de Villehardouin, nephew of 
the marshal of Champagne, established the authority of the 
Latins in the Peloponnesus. After having driven the troops 
of Michael Comnenus to the mountains of Epirus, he occu- 
pied, without fighting, Coronea and Patras, and met with no 
resistance except in the canton of Lacedsemonia. The 
conquered lands and cities were given to the barons, who 
rendered fealty and homage to the king of Thessalonica and 
the emperor of Constantinople.* Greece then beheld lords 
of Argos and Corinth, grand sieurs of Thebes, dukes of 
Athens, and princes of Achaia. French knights dictated 
laws in the city of Agamemnon, in the city of Minerva,t in 
the country of Lycurgus, and in that of Epaminondas. 
Strange destiny of the warriors of this crusade, who had 
quitted the West to conquer the city and lands of Jesus 
Christ, and whom fortune had conducted into places filled 
with the remembrances of the gods of Homer and the glory 
of profane antiquity ! 

The Crusaders were not allowed to felicitate themselves 
long upon their conquests. Possessors of an empire much 
more difficult to be preserved than invaded, they had not the 
ability to master fortune, who soon took from them all that 
victory had bestowed. They exercised their power with 
violence, and conciliated neither their subjects nor their 
neighbours. Joannice, king of the Bulgarians, had sent an 
ambassador to Baldwin, with offers of friendship ; Baldwin 

* There is in the king's library a manuscript in modern Greek, bearing 
the number 2,898 ; the first part of this manuscript is a romance inverse, 
entitled " Les Amours de Thesee et des Amazones." The second part 
of the manuscript is a poem on the crusades ; all the tenth canto describes 
in detail the conquests of the Franks in Greece. M. Khazis, professor 
of modern Greek, had made a short analysis of this poem. 

f The letters of Innocent speak of the city of Athens, which was no 
longer deilicated to Minerva, but to the holy virgin. — See b. xx. epis. vi. 


replied witli much liauglitiness, and threatened to compel - 
Joannice to descend from his usurped throne. When 
despoiling the Greeks of their property, the Crusaders shut 
out from themselves every source of prosperity, and reduced 
men to M^hom they left nothing but life, to despair. To fill 
up the measure of their imprudence, they received into their 
armies the Greeks, whom they loaded with contempt, and 
who became their implacable enemies. Not content with 
reigning over cities, they were desirous of subjugating 
hearts to their will, and awakened fanaticism. Unjust perse- 
cutions exasperated the minds of the Greek priests, who 
declaimed with vehemence against tyranny, and who, re- 
duced to misery, were listened to as oracles and revered as 

Tlie new empire of the Latms, into which the feudal laws 
had been introduced, was divided into a thousand principali- 
ties or lordships, and was nothing but a species of republic, 
governed with great difficulty. The Venetians had their 
particular jurisdiction, and the greater part of the cities were 
regulated by turns by the legislation of Venice and the code 
of feudalism. The lords and barons had among themselves 
opposite interests and rivalries, which, every day, were likely 
to bring on discord and civil war. The Latin ecclesiastics, 
who had shared the spoils of the Greek Church, did not at all 
conciliate peace by their example, but carried the scandals 
of their dissensions even into the sanctuary. It was their 
constant wish and endeavour to exalt the laws and authority 
of the court of Rome over those of the emperors. Many of 
them had usurped the fiefs of the barons, and as the fiefs 
they possessed were exempted from military service, the 
empire thus became weakened in its natural defences. 

The delicious climate and the riches of Greece, with the 
long sojourn at Constantinople, enervated the courage oi 
the conquerors, and fostered corruption among the soldiers 
of the cross. The nations in the end ceased to respect the 
power and the laws of those whose morals and manners they 
despised. As the Latins had separated, some to go into 
Greece, and others into Asia Minor, the Greeks, who no 
longer beheld great armies, and who had sometimes resisted 
tlieir enemies with advantage, began to fancy that the 
warriors of the West were not invincible. 


In tlieir despair, the conquered people resolved to have 
recourse to arms ; and, looking around them to find enemies 
for the Crusaders, they implored the alliance and protection 
of the king of the Bulgarians. There was formed a widely- 
extended conspiracy, into which all entered to whom slavery 
was no longer tolerable. All at once the storm burst forth 
by the massacre of tho Latins ; a war-cry arose from Mount 
Hemus to the Hellespont ; the Crusaders, dispersed in the 
various cities and countries, were surprised by a furious and 
pitiless enemy. The Venetians and Erench, who guarded 
Adrianople and Didymatica, were not able to resist the 
midtitude of the Grreeks ; some were slaughtered in the 
streets ; others retired in disorder, and, in their flight, 
beheld with grief their banners torn down from the towers, 
and replaced by the standards of the Bulgarians. The roads 
were covered with fugitive warriors, who found no asylum 
in a country which lately trembled at the fame of their 

Every city besieged by the Greeks was ignorant of the 
fate of the other cities confided to the defence of the Latins ; 
communications were interrupted ; sinister rumours prevailed 
in the provinces, which represented the capital in flames, all 
the cities given up to pillage, and all the armies of the 
Franks dispersed or annihilated. The old chronicles, whilst 
speaking of the barbarity of the Greeks, also describe the 
terror that took possession of some of the barons and knights. 
The sense of danger appears to have stifled in their hearts 
every other feeling. In the hour of peril, crusaders aban- 
doned their companions in arms, brothers abandoned 
brothers. An old knight, Eobert. de Trils, who, in spite of 
his grey hairs, had insisted upon following his son to the 
crusade, was besieged by the Greeks in Philippolis ; the city 
was surrounded by enemies, and Robert had but slender 
hopes of safety. Even in such circumstances, his prayers 
and tears could not prevail upon either his son or his son- 
in-law to remain with him. Villehardouin informs us that 
these recreant warriors were slain in their flight ; for God 
would not save those who had refused to succour their own 

When the report of these disasters reached Constantinople, 
Baldwin assembled the counts and barons ; it was deter* 


mined to apply the promptest remedy to so many evils, and 
to put into action all the energies of the empire to stop the 
progress of the revolt. The Crusaders who were engaged 
in warlike expeditions on the other side of the Bosphorus, 
received orders to abandon their conquests, and to return 
immediately to the standards of the main army. Baldwin 
waited for them several days, but as he was impatient to 
begin the war, and wished to astonisii the enemy by the 
promptitude of his proceedings, he set out at the head of 
the knights that remained in the capital, and, five days after 
his departure, appeared before the walls of Adrianople. 

The leaders of the crusade, accustomed to brave all 
obstacles, were never checked or restrained by the small 
number of their own soldiers, or the multitude of their 
enemies. The capital of Thrace, surrounded by impreg- 
nable ramparts, was defended by a hundred thousand 
Grreeks, in whom thirst of vengeance supplied the want of 
courage. Baldwin mustered scarcely eight thousand men 
around his banners. The doge of Venice soon arrived with 
eight thousand Venetians. The Latin fugitives came from 
all parts to join this small army. The Crusaders pitched 
their tents, and prepared to lay siege to the city. Their 
preparations proceeded but slowly, and provisions were 
beginning to fail them, when the report reached them of the 
march of the king of the Bulgarians. Joannice, the leader 
of a barbarous people, himself more barbarous than his sub- 
jects, was advancing with a formidable army. He concealed 
his ambitious projects and his desire for vengeance under an 
appearance of religious zeal, and caused a standard of St. 
Peter, which he had received from the pope, to be borne 
before him. This new ally of the Grreeks boasted of being 
a leader of a holy enterprise, and threatened to exterminate 
the Franks, whom he accused of having assumed the cross 
for the purpose of ravaging the provinces and pillaging thy 
cities of Christians. 

The king of the Bulgarians was preceded in his march by 
a numerous troop of Tartars and Comans, wdiom the hopes 
of pillage had drawn from tlie mountains and forests near 
the banks of the Danube and the Borysthenes. The Comans, 
more ferocious than the nations of Mount Ilemus, drank, it 
was said, tlie blood of their captives, and sacrificed Chris* 


tians on the altars of their idols. Like the warriors of 
Scvthia, accustomed to fight whilst flying, the Tartar hoi-se- 
men received orders from Joannice to provoke the enemy, 
even in their camp, and to endeavour to draw the heavy 
cavalry of the Franks into an ambuscade. The barons were 
aware of this danger, and forbade the Crusaders to quit 
their tents, or go beyond their intrenchments. But such 
was the character of the Erench warriors, that prudence, in 
their eyes, deprived valour of all its lustre, and it appeared 
disgraceful to shun the fight in the presence and amidst the 
scoffs of an enemy. 

Scarcely had the Tartars appeared near the camp, when 
the sight of them made even the leaders themselves forget 
the orders they had issued only the night before. The em- 
peror and the count of Blois flew to meet the enemy, put 
them to flight, and pursued them with ardour for the space 
of two leagues. But all at once the Tartars rallied, and in 
their turn charged the Christians. The latter, who believed 
they had gained a victory, were obliged to defend them- 
selves in a country with which they were unacquainted. 
Their squadrons, exhausted by fatigue, were surprised and 
surrounded by the army of Joannice ; jressed on all sides, 
they made useless efforts to recover their line of battle, but 
had no power either to fly, or resist the barbarians. 

The count of Blois endeavoured to retrieve his fatal im- 
prudence by prodigies of valour ; when seriously wounded 
he was thrown from his horse amidst the enemy's ranks, one 
of his knights raised him up, and wished to draw, him out of 
the onelee : " No," cried this brave prince, " leave me to fight 
and die. God forbid I should ever be reproached with 
having fled from battle." As he finished these words, the 
count of Blois fell, covered with wounds, and his faithful 
squire died by his side. 

The emperor Baldwin still disputed the victory; the 
bravest of his knights and barons followed him into the 
melee, and a horrible carnage marked their progress through 
the ranks of the barbarians. Peter bishop of Bethlehem, 
Stephen count of Perche, Henaud de Montmirail, Mathieu 
de Yalencourt, Bobert de Bon9ai, and a crowd of lords aud 
valiant warriors lost their lives in Csfending their sovereign. 
Baldwin remained almost alone ( the field of battle, aud 


still continued fighting bravely ; but at length, overpowered 
by numbers, he fell into the hands of the Bulgarians, who 
loaded him with chains. The wreck of the army retired in 
the greatest disorder, and oidy owed their safety to the 
prudent bravery of the doge of Venice and the marshal of 
Champagne, who had been left to guard the camp. 

In the night that followed the battle, the Crusaders raised 
the siege of Adrianople, and retook the route to the capital, 
amidst a thousand dangers. The Bulgarians and the Comans, 
proud of their victory, pursued without intermission the 
army they had conquered ; this army, which had lost half of 
its numbers, was in great want of provisions, and had great 
difficulty in dragging along the wounded and the baggage. 
The Crusaders were plunged in a melancholy silence, their 
despair was evident in tlieir actions and on their coun- 
tenances. At Kodosto they met Henry of Hainault, and 
several other knights, who were on their way from the pro- 
vinces of Asia, to join the army of Adrianople. The retreat- 
ing leaders related with tears their defeat and the captivity 
of Baldwin. All these w^arriors, who knew not what it was 
to be conquered, expressed at once their astonishment and 
their grief; they mingled their lamentations and tears, and 
raised their hands and eyes towards heaven, to implore the 
divine mercy. The Crusaders who returned from the shores 
of the Bosphorus, addressed the marshal of Eomania, and 
weeping, said to him : " Order us where the greatest danger 
exists, for we no longer wish to live : are we not sufficiently 
unfortunate in not having come in time to succour our em- 
peror ?" Thus the knights of the cross, though pursued by 
a victorious enemy, were still strangers to fear ; the grief 
caused by the remembrance of their defeat scarcely allowed 
them to be sensible of the perils by which they were 

All the Crusaders, however, did not exhibit this noblo 
degree of courage ; many knights* whom Villehardouin is 

* It is here that for the last time we quote the History of Villehar- 
louin ; we shall perhaps be reproached with having quoted it too often, 
an 1 by that means given too miich monotonj^ to our account. We will 
answer, that the natural relation and expressions of sucli an historian, who 
relates what he has seen and that which he has experienced, have appeared 
to us above all that talent or the art of writing could substitute in theil 


not willing to name, that lie may not dishonour their 
memory, abandoned the banners of the army and fled to 
Constantinople ; they related the disasters of the Crusaders, 
and, to excuse their desertion, drew a lamentable picture of 
the misfortunes that threatened the empire. All the Franks 
were seized with grief and terror, on learning they had nc 
.onger an emperor. The Greeks that inhabited the capital, 
applauded in secret the triumph of the Bulgarians, and their 
ill-concealed joy still further increased the alarms of the 
Latins. A great number of knights, overcome by so many 
reverses, saw no safety but in flight, and embarked hastily 
on board some Venetian vessels. In vain the legate of the 
pope and several leaders of the army endeavoured to detain 
them, threatening them with the anger of Grod and the con- 
tempt of men : they renounced their own glory ; they aban- 
doned an empire founded by their arms, and went to announce 
the captivity of Baldwin in the cities of the AVest, where the 
rejoicings for the first victories of the Crusaders were still 
being celebrated. 

In the mean time, Joannice continued his pursuit of the 
conquered army. The Grreeks, united with the Bulgarians, 
took possession of all the provinces, and left the Latins no 
repose. Among the disasters of which contemporary history 
has left us a deplorable account, we must not forget the 
massacre of twenty thousand Armenians. This numerous 
colony had left the banks of the Euphrates, and established 
themselves in the province of Natolia. After the conquest 
of Constantinople, they declared for the Latins, and when 
the latter experienced their reverses, finding themselves 
menaced and pursued by the Greeks, they crossed the Bos- 
phorus, and followed Henry of Hainault, who was marching 
towards Adria.nople. The Armenians took with them their 
flocks and their families : they drew, in carriages, all that they 
possessed that was most valuable, and had great difiicult}^, 
on their march across the mountains of Thrace, in keep- 
ing up with the army of the Criisaders. These unfortunate 
people were surprised by the Tartars, and, to a man, perished 
beneath the swords of a pitiless conqueror. The Franks 

place. We are pleased at believing, that if our recital has been able 
to interest ©ur readers, we owe a great part of this interest to the mul- 
tiplied quotations from Villehardouin and other contemporary historians. 



wept at the defeat and destruction of the Armenians, 
without being able to avenge them : they had nothing but 
enemies throughout the vast provinces of the empire. 
Beyond the Bosphorus, they only preserved the castle of 
Peges : on the European side, only Eodosto and Selembria. 
Their conquests in ancient Greece were not yet threatened 
by the Bulgarians ; but tliese distant possessions only served 
to divide their forces, Henry of Haiiiault, who took the 
title of regent, performed prodigies of valour in endeavour- 
ing to retake some of the cities of Thrace ; and lost, in 
various combats, a great number of the warriors that re- 
mained under his banners. 

The bishop of Soissons and some other Crusaders, in- 
vested with the confidence of their unfortunate companions 
in arms, were sent into Italy, France, and the county of 
Flanders, to solicit the assistance of tlie knights and barons 
but the succour they hoped for coidd only arrive slowly, ana 
the enemy continued to make rapid progress. The army of 
the Bulgarians, like a violent tempest, advanced on all sides ; 
it desolated the shores of the Hellespont, extended its 
ravages into the kingdom of Thessalonica, repassed Mount 
Hemus, and returned, more numerous and more formidable 
than ever, to the banks of the Hebrus. The Latin empire 
had no other defenders but a few warriors divided among 
the various cities and fortresses, and every day war and de- 
sertion diminished the numbers and strength of the unfor- 
tunate conquerors of Byzantium. Five hundred knights, 
picked warriors of the army of the Crusaders, were attacked 
before the walls of E^usium, and cut to pieces by a countless 
multitude of Bulgarians and Comans. This defeat was not 
less fatal than the battle of Adrianople ; the hordes of 
Mount Hemus and the Borysthenes carried terror every- 
where. On their passage, the country was in flames, and 
the cities aflbrded neither refuge nor means of defence. 
The land was covered with soldiers, who slaughtered all who 
came in their way ; the sea was covered f^'ith pirates, who 
threatened every coast with their brigandage. Constan- 
tinople expected every day to see the standards of the vic- 
torious Joannice beneath its walls, and only owed its safety 
to the excess of evils that desolated all the provinces 
of the empire. 


The king of the Bulgarians did not spare his allies any 
more than his enemies ; he burnt and demolished all the 
cities that fell into his hands. He ruined the inhabitants, 
dragged them in his train like captives, and made them 
undergo, in addition to the calamities of war, all the out- 
rages of a jealous and barbarous tyranny. The Grreeks, who 
had solicited his ass stance, were at last reduced to implore 
the aid of the Latins against the implacable fury of their 
allies. The Crusaders accepted with joy the alliance with 
the Greeks, whom they never ought to have repulsed, and 
re-entered into Adrianople. Didymatica, and most of the 
cities of ^Romania, shook off the intolerable yoke of the 
Bulgarians, and submitted to the Latins. The Greeks, 
whom Joannice had urged on to despair, showed some bravery, 
and became useful auxiliaries to the Latins ; and the new 
empire might have hoped for a return of days of prosperity 
and glory, if so many calamities could possibly have been 
repaired by a few transient successes. But all the provinces 
were strewed with ruins, and the cities and countries were 
without inhabitants. The hordes of Mount Hemus, whether 
victorious or conquered, still continued their predatory 
habits. They easily recovered from their losses ; the losr^es 
of the Franks became every day more irreparable. The 
leader of the Bulgarians sought out everywhere the foes of 
the new empire; and, being abandoned by tte Greeks of 
Komania, he formed an alliance with Lascaris, the implacable 
enemy of the Latins. 

The pope in vain exhorted the nations of France and 
Italy to take up arms for the assistance of the conquerors 
of Byzantium ; he could not awaken their enthusiasm for a 
cause that presented to its defenders nothing but certain 
evils, and dangers without glory. 

Amidst the perils that continued to multiply, the Crusaders 
remained perfectly ignorant of the fate of Baldwin ; some- 
times it was said that he had broken his bonds, and had 
been seen wandering in the forests of Servia ;* sometimes 

* Among the romantic accounts that were circulated concerning Bald- 
win, we must not omit the following : — The emperor was kept close 
prisoner at Terenova, where the wife of Joannice became desperately in 
love with him, and proposed to him to escape with her. Baldwin re- 
jected this proposal, and the wife of Joannice, irritated by his disdain and 


that ho had died of grief in prison ; sometimes thai he had 
been massacred in the midst of a banquet by the king of 
the Bulgarians ; that his mutilated members liad been cast 
out upon the rocks, and that his skull, enchased in gold, 
served as a cup for his barbarous conqueror. Several mes- 
sengers, sent by Henry of Hainault, travelled through the 
cities of Bulgaria to learn the /ate of Baldwin ; but returned 
to Constantinople, without having been able to ascertain 
anything. A year after the battle of Adrianople, the pope, 
at the solicitation of the Crusaders, conjui'ed Joannice to 
restore to the Latins of Byzantium the head of their new 
empire. The king of the Bulgarians contented himself 
with replying, that Baldwin had paid the tribute of nature, 
and that his deliverance was no longer in the power of mor- 
tals. This answer destroyed all hopes of again seeing the 
imprisoned monarch, and the Latins no longer entertained a 
doubt of the death of their emperor. Henry of Hainault 
received the deplorable heritage of his brother with tears 
and deep regret, and succeeded to the empire amidst general 
mourning and sorrow. To complete their misfortunes, the 
Latins had to weep for the loss of Dandolo, who finished his 
glorious career at Constantinople, and whose last looks 
must have perceived the rapid decline of an empire he had 
founded.* The greater part of the Crusaders had either 

refusal, accused him to her husband of having entertained an adulterous 
passion. The barbarous Joannice caused his unfortunate captive to be 
massacred at a banquet, and his body was cast on to the rocks, a prey to 
vultures and wild beasts. 

But people could not be convinced that he was dead. A hermit had 
retired to the forest of Glan9on, on the Hainault side, and the people of 
the neighbourhood became persuaded that this hermit was Count Baldwin. 
The solitary at first answered with frankness, and refused the homage 
they wished to render him. They persisted, and at length he was induced 
to play a part, and gave himself out for Baldwin. At first he had a great 
many partisans ; but the king of France, Louis VIII. , having invited him 
to his court, he was confounded by the questions that were put to him : 
he took to flight, and was arrested in Burgundy by Erard de Chastenai, a 
Burgundian gentleman, whose family still exists. Jane countess of 
Flanders caused the impostor to be hung in the great square of Lisle. — 
See Ducange, Hist, de Constant, book iii. 

* Dandolo was magnificently buried in the church of St. Sophia, and 
his mausoleum existed till the destruction of the Greek empire. Mahomet 
JI. caused it to be demobshed, when he changed the church of St. Sophia 
into 8 mosque. A Venetian painter, who worked during several years in 


perished in battle, or returned to the West. Bcniface, i*» 
an expedition against the Bulgarians of Bhodope, received a 
mortal wound, and his head was carried in triumph to the 
fierce Joannice, who had already immolated a monal-sh ta 
his ambition and vengeance. The succession of Bonifacd 
gave birth to serious disputes among the Crusaders ; "nd the 
kir.gdora of Thessalonica, which had exhibited some splen- 
dcur during its short existence, disappeared amidst tlie 
confusion and the storms of a civil and a foreign war. In 
the brother and successor of Baldwin were united the civil 
and military virtues ; but he could scarcely hope to restore 
a power so shaken on all sides. 

I have not the courage to pursue this history, and describe 
the Latins in the extremes of their abasement and misery. 
On commencing my narration, I said : " JEvil to the con- 
quered ;''^ on terminating it, I cannot refrain from saying: 
" Evil to the conquerors.''^ 

An old empire which moulders away, a new empire ready 
to sink into ruins, such are the pictures that this crusade 
presents to us ; never did any epoch offer greater exploits 
for admiration, or greater troubles for commiseration. 
Amidst these fyiorious and tragical scenes, the imagination 
is excited in the most lively manner, and passes, without 
ceasing, from surprise to surprise. We are at first asto- 
nished at seeinc an army of thirty thousand men embark to 
conquer a countrv which might reckon upon many millions 
of defenders ; a tempest, an epidemic disease, want of pro- 
visions, disunion aniong the leaders, an indecisive battle, all, 
or any of these, might have ruined the army of the Cru- 
saders, and brought about the failure of their enterprise. 
By an unheard-of good fortune, nothing that they had to 
dread happened to them. They triumphed over all dangers, 
and surmounted all obstacles : without having any party 
among the Grreeks, they obtained possession of their capital 
and the provinces ; and, a,t the moment when they saw their 
standards triumuhant ?\\ around them, it was that their 
fortune deserted them^ and their ruin began. A great 
lesson is this, given to nations by Providence, which some- 

the court of Mahomet, on retiirnJ.Ag to liis own cou-Atry obtained from 
fnn sultan the cuirass, the helmet, the spurr, pnd the toga of I>andolo, 
which he presented to the family of this great mati. 


times employs conquerors to chastise both people and 
princes, and then, at its pleasure, destroys the instrument 
of its justice ' There is no doubt that that Providence, 
which protects empires, will not permit great states to be 
subverted with impunity ; and to deter those who wish to 
conquer everything by force of arms, it has decreed that 
victory shall sometimes bear none but very bitter fruits. 

The Grreeks, a degenerate nation, honoured their mis- 
fortunes by no virtue ; they had neither sufficient courage 
to prevent the reverses of war, nor sufficient resignation to 
support them. When reduced to despair, they showed 
some little valour; but that valour was imprudent and 
blind ; it precipitated them into new calamities, and pro- 
cured them masters much more barbarous than those whose 
yoke they were so eager to shake off. They had no leader 
able to govern or guide them ; no sentiment of patriotism 
strong enough to rally them : deplorabla example of a nation 
left to itself, which has lost its morals, and has no confidence 
in its laws or its government ! 

The Franks had just the same advantages over their 
enemies that the barbarians of the north had over the 
Komans of the Lower Empire. In this terrible conflict, 
simplicity of maimers, the energy of a new people for civili- 
zation, the ardour for pillage, and the pride of victory, were 
sure to prevail over the love of luxury, habits formed amidst 
corruption, and vanity which attaches importance to the 
most frivolous things, and only preserves a gaudy resem- 
blance of true grandeur. 

The events we have recorded are, doubtless, sufficient to 
make us acquainted with the manners and intellectual 
faculties of the Greeks and Latins. Two historians, how- 
ever, who have served us as guides, may add by their style 
even, and* the character of their works, to the idea that we 
form of the genius of the two races. 

The Greek Nicetas makes long lamentations over the 
nusfortunes of the vanquished ; he deplores with bitterness 
the loss of the monuments, the statues, the riches which 
ministered to the luxury of his compatriots. His accounts, 
full of exaggeration and hyperboles, sprinkled all over with 
passages from the Scriptures and profane authors, depart 
almost always from the noble simplicity of history, and only 


exhibit a vain affectation of learning. Nicetas, in the excesa 
of his vanity,* hesitates to pronounce the names even of the 
Franks, and fancies he inflicts a piuiishment upon them by 
preserving silence as to their exploits ; when he describes 
the misfortunes of the empire, he can only weep and 
lament ; but whilst lamenting, he is still anxious to please, 
and appears much more interested about his book than his 

The marquis of Champagne does not pique himself upon 
his erudition, but even seems proud of his ignorance. It 
has been said that he could not write, and he himself con- 
fesses that he dictated his history. His narration, void of 
all spirit of research, but lively and animated, constantly 
recalls the language and the noble frankness of a preux 
chevalier. Villehardouin particularly excels in the speeches 
of his heroes, and delights in praising the bravery of his 
companions : if he never names the Glrecian warriors, it is 
because he did not. know them, and did not wish to know 
them. The marshal of Champagne is not affected by the 
evils of war, and only elevates his style to paint traits of 
heroism ; the enthusiasm of victory alone can draw tears 
from him. When the Latins experienced great reverses, he 
cannot weep, he is silent ; and it may be plainly seen he has 
laid down his book to go and fight. t 

There is another contemporary historian, whose character 
may likewise assist us in forming a judgment upon the age 
in which he lived and the events he has related. Grunther, 
a monk of the order of Citeaux, who wrote under the dic- 
tation of Martin Litz, expatiates upon the preachings of 
the crusade, and on the virtues of his abbot, who placed 

* Nicetas did not know whether he ought to give a place in his History 
to the Latins, who were for him nothing but barbarians, but he makes up 
his mind to continue — " when God, who confounds the wisdom of human 
policy, and lowers the pride of the lofty, has struck with confusion those 
who had outraged the Greeks, and delivered them up to people still more 
wicked than tiiemselves." — See the history of that which happened after 
the taking of Constantinople, chap. i. 

t How is it that our author, who is evidently partial to Villehardouin, 
has nejrlected to speak of his skilful -etreat from Adrianople, upon 
which Gibbon bestows such high praise "His masterly retreat of three 
days would have deserved the praise of Xenophon and the ten thousand." 
Sibbon has fine passages on Villehardouin. — Trans. 


himself at tlie head of the Crusaders of the diocese of Bale. 
When the Christian army directs its course towards the 
capital of the Greek empire, Gunther remembers the ordera 
of the pope, and becomes silent ; if he affords us a few 
words upon the second siege of Constantinople, he cannot 
conceal the terror which this rash enterprise creates in him. 
In his recital, the valour of the Crusaders scarcely obtains a 
modest eulogy ; the imagination of the historian is only 
struck by the difficulties and perils of the expedition ; filled 
witli tlie most sinister presentiments, he constantl)'^ repeats 
that there is no hope of success for the Latins. When they 
are triumphant, his fear is changed all at once into admira- 
tion. The monk Gunther celebrates with enthusiasm the 
unhoped-for success of the conquerors of Byzantium, among 
whom he never loses sight of his abbot, Martin Litz, loaded 
witli the pious spoils of Greece. 

AVhen reading the three histories contemporary with the 
expedition to Constantinople, we plainly perceive that the 
first belongs to a Greek brought up at the court of Byzan- 
tium, the second to a Erench knight, and the third to a 
monk. If the two first historians, by their manner of writ- 
ing and the sentiments they express, give us a just idea of 
the Greek nation and the heroes of tlie West, the last may 
also explain to us the opinions and the character of the 
greater part of those Crusaders, who were constantly threat- 
ening to quit the army after it had left Venice, and who, 
perhaps, were only so mindful of the oath they had made to 
go to the Holy Land, because the name alone of Constan- 
tinople filled them with terror. Th^ere were, as may be 
plainly seen, but very few of these timid Crusaders in the 
Christian army, and even these were governed by the gene- 
ral spirit that animated the knights and barons. Other 
crusades had been preached in coiuicils, this crusade was 
proclaimed at tournaments ; thus the greater parts of the 
Crusaders proved more faithful to the virtues and laws of 
chivalry than to the will of the Holy See. These warriors, 
so proud and so brave, were full of respect for the authority 
and judgment of the pope ; but, governed by honour, placed 
between their first vows and their word given to the Vene- 
tians, they often swore to deliver Jerusalem, and were led, 
without thinking of it, to the walls of Constantinople. 


.4.rmed to avenge the cause of Christ, they became subser- 
vient to the ambition of Yenice, to which republic thej 
esteemed themselves bound by gratitude, and overturned 
the throne of Constantinople to pay a debt of fifty thousand 
silver marks. 

The chivalric spiiit, one of the peculiar characteristics of 
this war, and of the age in which it was undertaken, kept 
up in the hearts of the Crusaders ambition and the love of 
glory. In the early days of chivalry, knights declared them- 
selves the champions of beauty and innocence ; at first they 
were appealed to for justice against injuries and robberies; 
but soon princes and princesses, deprived of their rights by 
force, came to demand of them the restitution of provinces 
and kingdoms. The champions of misfortune and beauty 
then became illustrious liberators and true conquerors. 

At the same time that a young prince came to implore 
the Crusaders to assist him in replacing his father upon the 
throne of Constantinople, a young princess, the daughter of 
Isaac, king of Cyprus, despoiled by Kichard Coeur de Lion, 
repaired to Marseilles, to solicit the support of the Cru- 
saders, who were embarking for Palestine. She married a 
-Flemish knight, and charged him with the task of recovering 
her father's kingdom. This Elemish knight, whose name 
liistory does not mention, but who belonged to the family of 
Count Baldwin, when he arrived in the East, addressed him- 
self to the king of Jerusalem, and demanded the kingdom 
of Cyprus of him ; he was supported in his demand by the 
chatelain of Bruges, and the greater part of his companions 
who had taken the cross. Amaury, who had received from 
the pope and the emperor of Grermany, the title of king of 
Cyprus, far from yielding to such pretensions, ordered the 
Elemish knight, John of Nesle, and their companions, to 
quit his dominions. The knights who had embraced the 
cause of the daughter of Isaac, abandoned the idea of re- 
taking the kingdom of Cyprus, and without stopping in the 
Holy Land, turned their steps towards the banks of the 
Euphrates and the Orontes, to seek for other countries to 

Before there was a question of attacking Constantinople, 
we have seen a dangiiter of Tancred, the last king of Sicily, 
espouse a French knight, and transfer to him the char«re of 


avenging her family and establishing her claims to the king- 
dom founded by the Norman knights. Gauthier de Brienne, 
after his marriage, set out for Italy, furnished with a thou- 
sand livres tournois, and accompanied by sixty knights. 
Having received at Ivome the benediction of the pope, he 
declared war against the Germans, then masters of Apulia 
and Sicily ; got possession of the principal fortresses,* and 
appeared likely to enjoy the fruits of his victories in peace, 
when he was surprised in his tent, and fell, , covered with 
wounds, into the hands of his enemies. He was oftered hia 
liberty upon the condition of renouncing his claim to the 
crown of Sicily ; but he preferred the title of king to free- 
dom, and allowed himself to die with hunger rather than 
abandon his right.'* to a kingdom which victory had bestowed 
upon him. 

This spirit of conquest, which appeared so gieneral among 
the knights, might favour the expedition to Constantinople ; 
but it was injurious to the holy war, by turning the Cru- 
saders aside from the essential object of the crusade. The 
heroes of this war did nothing for the deliverance of Jeru- 
salem, of which they constantly spoke in their letters to the 
pope. The conquest of Byzantium, very far from being, as 
the knights believed, the road to the land of Christ, was but 
a new obstacle to the taking of the holy city ; their impru- 
dent exploits placed the Christian colonies in greater peril, 
and only ended in completely subverting, without replacing 
it, a power which might have served as a barrier against the 

The Venetians skilfully took advantage of this disposition 
of the French knights ; Venice succeeded in stilling the voice 
of the sovereign pontiff, who often gave the Crusaders coun- 
sels dictated by the spirit of the gospel. The republic had 
the greatest influence over the events of this war, and over 
the minds of the barons and knights, w^ho allowed tlemselvea 
to be governed by turns by the sentiments of honour and 

* Innocent, to get rid of the neighbourhood of the emperor, demandet? 
of Philip Augustus a knight who might marry a daughter of Tancred, and 
possibly reconquer Sicily. The adveniures and the wars of Gauthier d» 
Btienne are related by Conrad, abbot of Usberg, l^.obert the Monk 
Aibcrii", and, as we have akeady said, by the author of ihe Ac^\ q 


by a desire to win rich dominions, and thus exhibited 
throughout their conduct an inconsistent mixture of gene- 
rosity and avarice. 

The inclination to enrich themselves by victory had, par- 
ticularly, no longer any bounds when the Crusaders had 
once beheld Constantinople ; ambition took the place in 
their hearts of every generous sentiment, and left nothing 
of that enthusiasm which had been the mo^^ng principle oi 
other crusades. No prodigy, no miraculous apparition came 
to second or stimulate the valour of knights to whom it was 
quite suiBcient to point out the wealth of Grreece. In pre- 
ceding crusades, the bishops and ecclesiastics promised the 
combatants indulgences of the Church and eternal life ; but 
in this war, as the Crusaders had incurred the displeasure ot 
the head of the faithful, they could not be supported in 
their perils by the hope of martyrdom ; and the leaders who 
were acquainted with the spirit that animated their followers, 
contented themselves witn oftering a sum of money to 
the soldier that should first mount the ramparts of Con- 
stantinople. AVhen they had pillaged the city, knights, 
barons, and soldiers exclaimed, in the intoxication of their 
joy, — Never was so rich a booty seen since the creation of the 
world ! 

We have remarked that, in the conquest of the provinces, 
every knight wished to obtain a principality ; every count, 
every lord, wished for a kingdom ; the clergy themselves 
were not exempt from this ambition, and often complained 
to the pope of not having been favoured in the division of 
the spoils of the Grreek empire. 

To recapitulate, in a few words, our opinion of the events 
and consequences of this crusade, we must say that the 
Rpirit of chivalry and the spirit of conquest at first gave 
birth to wonders ; but that they did not suffice to maintain 
the Crusaders in their possessions. This conquering spirit, 
carried to the most blind excess, did not allow them to reflect 
that among the greatest triumphs, there is a point at which 
victory and force themselves are powerless, if prudence and 
wisdom do not come to the assistance of valour. 

The Franks, their ancestors, who set out from the North 
to invade the richest provinces of the E-oman empire, were 
better seconded by fortune, but more particularly by their 


own genvis. Respecting the usages of tlie countries tlmt 
submitted to tlieir arms, they only beheld in tlie conquered, 
fellow-citizens and supporters of their own power ; they did 
not create a foreign nation in the midst of the nations they 
had desolated by their victories. The Crusaders, on the 
contrary, evinced a profound contempt for the Greeks, whose 
alliance and support they ought to have been anxious to 
seek ; they wished to reform manners and alter opinions, — 
a much more difficult task than the conquest of an empire, — 
and only met with enemies in a country that might have 
furnished them with useful allies. 

AVe may add that the policy of the Holy See, which at 
iirst undertook to divert the Latin warriors from the expe- 
dition to Constantinople, became, in the end, one of the 
greatest obstacles to the preservation of their conquests. 
The counts and barons, who reproached themselves with 
having failed in obedience to the sovereign pontiff, at length 
followed scrupulously his instructions to procure by their 
arms ^he submission of the Greek Church, the only condition 
on which the holy father would pardon a war commenced in 
opposition to his commands. To obtain his forgiveness and 
approbation, they employed violence again-st schism and 
heresy, and lost their conquest by endeavouring to justify it 
in the eyes of the sovereign pontiff. The pope himself did 
not obmin that which he so ardently desired. The union 
of the Greek and Komah churches could not possibly be 
effected amidst the terrors of victory and the evils of war ; 
the arms of the conquerors had less power than the anathe- 
inas of the Church, to bring back the Greeks to the worship 
of the Latins. Violence only served to irritate men's minds, 
and consummated the rupture, instead of putting an end to 
it. The remembrance of persecutions and outrages, a reci- 
procal contempt, an implacable hatred arose and became 
implanted between the two creeds, and separated them for 

History cannot affirm that this crusade made great pro- 
gi-ess in the civilization of Europe. The Greeks had pre- 
served the jurisprudence of Justinian ; the empire possessed 
wise regulations upon the levying of imposts and the admi- 
riistration of the public revenues ; but the Latins disdained 


these monuments of liuman wisdom and of the experience 
of many ages ; they coyeted nothing the Greeks possessed 
but their territories and their wealth. Most of the knights 
took a pride in their ignorance, and amongst the spoils of 
Constantinople, attached no yalue to the ingenious produc- 
tions of Grreece. Amidst the conflagrations that consumed 
the mansions and palaces of the capital, they beheld with 
indifference large and yaluable libraries given up to the 
flames. It must be confessed, however, that, in these great 
disasters the Muses had not to weep for the loss of any of 
the master-pieces they had inspired. If the conquerors 
knew not how to appreciate the treasures of genius, this 
rich deposit was not to be lost for their descendants. All 
the books of antiquity that were known in the time of 
Eustathius [A. D. 750, Trans.], and of which that learned 
philosopher made the nomenclature some centuries before 
the fifth crusade, enriched France and Italy at the revival of 

We may add that the necessity for both conquerors and 
conquered of intercommunication must have contributed to 
the spreading of the Latin language among the Greeks, and 
that of the Greeks among the Latins.* The people of 

• "We cannot refrain from offering our readers a curious passage from 
an excellent manuscript memoir which M. Jourdain has communicated 
to us, entitled Recherches sur les Anciennes Versions Latines d'Arisioie 
employees par les Ecclesiastiques du 13me Steele. "Two circumstances 
contributed in the thirteenth century to materially spread the knowledge 
of the Greek language in the West, Baldwin, who was placed upon the 
imperial throne, wrote to Pope Innocent III. to beg of him to send to 
him men distinguished by their piety and knowledge, chosen from the 
religious orders and the University of Paris, to instruct his new people in 
the Catholic religion and Latin letters. The pope wrote to several mo- 
nastic orders and to the University of Paris. About the same tinrie Philip 
A-Ugustus founded at Paris, near the mountain St. Genevieve, a Constan- 
tinopolitan college, destined to receive the young Greeks of the most dis- 
tinguished families of Constantinople. The intention of this prince was 
to extinguish in the hearts of these young men the hatred they had im- 
bibed against the Latins, by offering to them all sorts of kind treatment, 
and perhaps also to secure hostages against the fickleness and bad faith of 
the Greeks. "We can conceive that this circumstance contributed power- 
fully in diffusing the knowledge of Greek, not only in France but in all 
the West, for Paris was then the most celebrated school, and almost all 
the men to whom Latin translations from the Greek are attributed, had 

182 HISTORY or Tllji CllUSADEb. 

Greece were obliged to learn the idiom of the clergy of 
Borne in order to make their petitions and complaints known ; 
the ecclesiastics charged by the pope to convert the Grreeka 
could not dispense with the stud-y of the language of Plato 
and Demosthenes, to teach the disciples of Photius the 
truths of the Roman Catholic religion. 

We have spoken of the destruction of the master-pieces 
of sculpture ; we must admit, nevertheless, that some of 
theiQ escaped the barbarism of the conquerors. The Vene- 
tianS; more enlightened than the other Crusaders, and born 
in a city constructed and embellished by the arts, caused 
several of the monuments of Byzantium to be transported 
into Italy. Four horses of bronze,* which, amidst the revo- 
lutions of empires, had passed from Grreece to E-ome, from 
Rome to Constantinople, were sent to decorate the place of 
8t. Mark : many ages after this crusade, they were doomed 
to be carried away from Venice, in its turn invaded by vic- 
torious armies, and again to return to the shores of the 
Adriatic, as eternal trophies of war, and faithful companions 
of victory. 

The Crusaders likewise profited by several useful inven- 
tions, and transmitted them to their compatriots ; and the 
fields and gardens of Italy and France were enriched by 
some plants till that time unknown in the West. Boniface 

studied in that city : we must also assign to the same cause the Latin 
versions of Aristotle made from the Greek and published before St. Thomas. 
Nevertheless, if the Arabs had not previously spread throughout the West 
a taste for the Peripatetic philosophy, it is very doubtful whether the 
relations established between the East and the West by the inauguration 
of Baldwin, would have produced any desire to obtain it from purer 

* Since their restoration to Venice, the history of these three celebrated 
horses has given birth to three dissertations. In one {Narrazione Storica 
(let Quatro Cavalli di Bronzo, &c.). Count Cicognara, president of the 
RoyalAcademyof Fine Arts at Venice, pretends that this monument was cast 
at Rome in the reign of Nero, in commemoration of the victory over Tiri- 
dates, M. Schlegel {Lett era ai Signori Compilatori della Biblioteca 
Italiana) rejects this opinion of the count, and thinks that the four bronze 
horses are from the hands of a Greek statuary of the time of Alexander.— 
Dei Qnatro Cavalli della Basilica di S. Marco. Andre Mustoxidi, a 
very learned young Greek, makes this superb group come from Chios^ 
which was rich in skilful sculptors, and beheves they were transmitted ta 
Rome in the time of Verres, and to Constantinople under Theodosius tha 


sent into his marquisate some seeds of maize, whicli had 
never before been cultivated in Italy : a public document, 
^\hich still exists, attests the gratitude of the people 0/ 
Montferrat. The magistrates received the innocent fruits 
of victory with great solemnity, and, upon their altars, 
called down a blessing upon a production of Greece, that 
would one day constitute the wealth of the plains of Italy.* 

Flanders, Champagne, and most of the provinces of 
France, which had sent their bravest warriors to the cru- 
sade, fruitlessly lavished their population and their treasures 
upon the conquest of Byzantium. We may say that our in- 
trepid ancestors gained nothing by this wonderful war, but 
the glory of having given, for a moment, masters to Con- 
stantinople, and lords to Greece. And yet these distant 
conquests, and this new empire, which drew from Franco i^s 
turbulent and ambitious princes, must have been favoizrable 
to the French monarchy. Philip Augustus must have been 
pleased by the absence of the great vassals of the crown, and 
liad reason to learn with joy that the count of Flanders, a 
troublesome neighbour, and a not very submissive vassal, 
had obtained an empire in the East. The French monarchy 
thus derived some advantage from this crusade ; but the re- 
public of Venice profited much more by it. 

This republic, which scarcely possessed a population of 
two hundred thousand souls, and had not the power to make 
its authority respected on the continent, in the first place, 
made use of the arms of the Crusaders, to subdue cities, of 
which, without their assistance, she could never have made 
herself mistress. By the conquest of Constantinople, she 
enlarged her credit and her commerce in the East, and 
brought under her laws some of the richest possessions of 
the Greek emperors. She increased the reputation of her 
navy, and raised herself above all the maritime nations of 
Europe. The Venetians, though fighting under the banners 
of the cross, never neglected the interests or glory of their 
own country, whilst the French knights scarcely ever fought 
for any object but personal glory and their own ambition. 

* We find in the first volume of an Italian work entitled Storia d'Tncisa 
e del yia celebre suo Marchesato, published at Asti, in 1810, a precious 
monument ; this is ". charter which proves the sending of the seeds of 
maize to a city of Montferrat. This is a very interesting document. 


The republic of Venice, accustomed to calculate the advan- 
tages and expenses of war, immediately renounced all con- 
quests the preservation of which might become burdensome 
and of her new possessions in the East, only retained such 
as she judged necessary to the prosperity of her comme^Te, 
or the maintenance of her marine. Three years after the 
taking of Constantinople, the senate of Venice published an 
edict, by which it permitted any of the citizens to conquer 
the islands of the Archipelago ; yielding to them the pro- 
prietorship of all the countries they might subdue. After 
this there soon appeared princes of Naxos, dukes of Pares, 
and lords of Mycone, as there had been dakes of Athens, 
lords of Thebes, and princes of Achaia ; but these dukes and 
princes were only vassals of the republic. Thus Venice, 
more fortunate than France, made the valour and ambition 
of her citizens subservient to her interests. 



A.D. 1200—1215. 

lir the preceding books, the imposing spectacle has passed 
before oiir eyes of the fall of an old empire, and of the rise 
and rapid decline of a new one. The imagination of man 
loves to dwell upon ruins, and the most sanguinary cata- 
strophes even offer him highly attractive pictures. We have 
reason to fear that our narration will create less interest, 
awaken less curiosity, when, after the great revolutions we 
have described, it will be our duty to turn our attention to 
the petty states the Christians founded in Syria, for the 
safety of which the nations of the West were constantly 
called upon to furnish warlike assistance. 

At the present day, we have great difficulty in compre- 
hending that enthusiasm which animated all classes for the 
deliverance of the holy places, or that powerful interest that 
directed the thoughts of all to countries almost forgotten by 
modern Europe.* During the height of the fervour for 
the crusades, the taking of a city or town of Judea caused 
more joy than the taking of Byzantium ; and Jerusalem was 
more dear to the Christians of the West than their own 
country. This enthusiasm, of which our indifference can 
scarcely form an idea, renders the task of the historian diffi- 
cult, and makes him often hesitate in the choice of the 
events that history has to record : when opinions have 

* It is well v/orthy of remark that it is very little more than a quarter 
of a century since this sentence was written ; and, in that short period, 
what has not science effected ! — the East, of which we were then said to 
be !"0 ignorant, is better known to Europeans than it was at any time 
during the crusades. — Thans. 

\0L. II.— 9 


changed, everything has changed with them : glorj itself 
has lost its splendour, and that which appeared great in the 
eyes of men, seems only fantastical or vulgar ; the historical 
epochs of our annals have become the objects of our most 
sovereign contempt ; and when, without due reference to 
the ages of the holy wars, we wish to submit these extraor- 
dinary enterprises to the calculations of reason, we resemble 
those modern travellers who have only found a dribbling 
rivulet in the place of that famous Scamander, of which the 
imagination of the ancients, and still more, the muse ol 
Homer, had made a majestic river. 

But if we have no longer the task of describing the revo- 
lutions and falls of empires, the epoch of which we are 
about to trace the picture, will still present to us but too 
many of those great calamities with which human life sup- 
plies history : w^hilst Grreece was a prey to all the ravages 
of war, the most cruel scourges desolated both Egypt and 

The Nile suspended its accustomed course, and failed to 
inundate its banks or render the harvests abundant. The 
last year of this century (1200) announced itself, says an 
Arabian author, like a monster whose fury threatened to de- 
vour everything. When the famine began to be felt, the 
people were compelled to support themselves upon the grass 
of the fields and the ordure of animals,* the poor routed up 
cemeteries, and disputed with the worms the spoils of coffins. 
When this awful scourge became more general, the popula- 
tion of the cities and country, as if pursued by a pitiless 
enemy, fled away from their homes in despair, and wandered 
about at hazard from city to city, from village to village, 
n^eeting everywhere with the evil they wished to avoid ; in 
no inhabited place could they step a foot without being 
struck by the appearance of a putrifying carcass, or some 
unhappy wretch on the point of . jcpiring. 

The most frightful efl^'ect of this universal calamity was, 
that the want of Ibod gave birth to the greatest crimes, and 

* The account of this famine, and the disasters by which it was followed, 
is to be found in its details, in Les Relations de I Egypte, translated from 
Abdallatif by M. Letvestre de Lacy. This Arabian author was a skilful 
physician and an erdightened man ; and his recital, which contains many 
extraordinary facts, bears all the characters of truth. 


rendered Bvery man the enemy of his fellows. At the com- 
mencement of the famine n. ich horror was expressed at 
some being reduced to feed upon human flesh, but examples . 
of so great a scandal increased with such rapidity, that it 
was soon sp jken ' of with indifference. Men contending 
with famine, which spared the rich no more than the poor, 
were no longer sensible to pity, shame, or remorse, and were 
restrained neither by respect for the laws, nor by the fear of 
punishment. They came at last to devour each other like 
wild beasts. At Cairo, thirty women, in one day, perished 
at the stake, convicted of having killed and eaten their own 
children. The historian Abdallatif relates a crowd of bar- 
barous and monstrous incidents which make the blood run 
cold with horror, and to which we will not give a place in 
our history, for fear of being accused of calumniating 
human nature. 

The plague soon added its ravages to those of famine. 
God alone, says contemporary history, knows the number of 
those that died with famine and disease. The capital of 
Egypt, in the space of a few months, witnessed a hundred 
and eleven thousand funerals. At length it was found im- 
possible to bury the dead, and the terrified survivors wero 
obliged to be satisfied with casting them over the ramparts. 
The same mortality was experienced at Damietta, Kous, and 
Alexandria. It was at the period of seed-time that the 
plague was at its height ; they who sowed the seed were not 
the same that had ploughed the ground, and they who sowed 
lived not to reap the harvest. The villages were deserted, 
and reminded travellers of those expressions of the Koran : 
" We have mown them all doimi and exterminated them ; one 
cry was heard, and all have perished^ The dead bodies that 
floated on the Nile were as numerous as the bulbous plants 
which, at certain seasons, cover the waters of that river. 
One fisherman counted more than four hundred that passed 
before his eyes in a single day ; piles of human bones were 
met with everywhere ; the roads, to borrow the expression 
of Arabian writers, " Were like a field soivn with dead 
bodies, and the most populous provinces were as a banquet- 
ing -hall for the birds of prey. '^ 

Egypt lost more than a million of its inhabitants ; both 
famine and plague were felt as far as Syria, and the Chris- 


iian cities suffered equally with those of the MussulnLans> 
From the shores of the Ked Sea to the bank^ of the 
Euphrates and the Orontes, the whole country presented 
one picture of desolation and mourning. As if the anger of 
Heaven was not satisfied, it was not long before a third 
calamity, not less terrible, followed in the train of the others. 
A violent earthquake laid waste the cities and provinces that 
famine and plague had spared ;* the shocks resembled the 
motion of a sieve, or that which a bird makes when he raises 
and lowers his wings. The rising of the sea, and the agita- 
tion of the waves presented a horrible appearance ; ships 
were, on a sudden, carried far on to the land, and multitudes 
of fish covered the shore ; the heights of Libanus opened 
and sunk in many places. The people of Syria and Egypt 
believed it to be the earthquake that is to precede the day 
of judgment. Many inhabited places totally disappeared ; 
a vast number of men perished ; the fortresses of Hamathj 
Barin, and Balbec w^ere thrown down ; the only part of the 
city of Naplouse that was left standing was the street of the 
Samaritans ; in Damascus, all the most superb edifices were 
destroyed ; in the city of Tyre only a few houses escaped, 
and the ramparts of Ptolemais and Tripoli were nothing but 
heaps of ruins. The shocks were felt with less violence in 
the territory of Jerusalem, and, in the general calamity, both 
Christians and Mussulmans returned thanks to Heaven for 
having spared in its anger the city of prophets and miracles. 
Such awful disasters ought to have caused the treaties made 
between the barons and the infidels, to be respected. In the 
5fth crusade, the sovereign pontiff urged the Christians to 
take advantage of these calamitous days to invade the 
Mussulman provinces of Syria and Egypt : but if the advice 
of the pope had been followed, if the Christian army on 
leaving Yenice, had directed its march towards the countries 
devastated by pestilence and famine, it is most probable that 
the conquerors and the conquered would have perished to- 
gether. At that period, death, like a formidable sentinel, 
guarded all the frontiers of the Christians and Mussidmans. 
All the scourges of nature became the terrible guardians of 

* The circumstances of this earthquake are related by Abdallatif . the 
Latin historians scarcely name this great calamity. 


provinces, and defended the approaehes and entrances of 
cities better than the neatest armies could have done. 

The Christian colonies, however, began, not to repair their 
losses, but to forget the evils they had suffered. Amaury, 
king of Jerusalem, set his barons an example of wisdom and 
pious resignation. The three military orders, that had ex- 
hausted their treasures to support their knights and soldiers 
during the famine, made a strong appeal, by messengers and 
letters, to the charity of the faithful of the West. The 
Christian cities that had been destroyed by the earthquake 
were rebudt, and the sums amassed by Poulque of Neuillyj 
the preacher of the last crusade, were employed in restoring 
the walls of Ptolemais. As the Christians wanted labourers, 
they set the Mussulman prisoners to work. Among the pri- 
soners condemned to this service, history must not pass by 
the celebrated Persian poet Saadi, who had fallen into the 
hands of the Franks, whilst on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.* 
The author of " The Grarden of E-oses," and several other 
works, destined at a future day to obtain the admiration of 
the East and the West, was loaded with irons, led to Tripoli, 
and confounded with the crowd of captives employed in re- 
building the fortifications of that city. 

The truce which had been concluded with the infidels 
still subsisted; but either pretensions or quarrels daily 
arose that were frequently followed by hostilities. The 
Christians were continually kept under arms, and peace was 
sometimes as abundant in troubles and dangers as an open 
war would have been. There likewise prevailed, at this 
time, great confusion among the Christian colonies, and 
even among the Mussulman powers. The sultan of Damas- 
cus was at peace with the king of Jerusalem, whilst the 
count of Tripoli, the prince of Antioch, with the Templars 
and Hospitallers, were at war with the princes of Hamath, 
Edessa or some emirs of Syria.f Every one, according to his 

* M. Langles has furnished us with this valuable incident, which he 
has taken from the Persian biographer Daulet Chah. The biographer 
adds, that a merchant of Aleppo redeemed Saadi, by paying the Christians 
the sum of ten golden crowns, and he likewise gave the poet another 
hundred as the dowry of his daughter, whom he gave him in marriage. 

f History has great trouble in following the events of this period 
through the cloud of anarchy which reigned everywhere ; and that which 
increases the difficulty is, that the authors j)f our old chronicles were only 


humour, took up or laid down his arms, without any powei 
being sufficiently strong to enforce respect for treaties. 

No great battles were fought, but constant incursions 
upon the territories of enemies were made ; cities were sur- 
prised, countries were ravaged, and great booty obtained. 
Amidst these disorders, which were called Days of Trucey 
the Christians of Palestine had to lament the death of their 
king. Amaury, according to the custom of the faithfuJ, 
went to Ca'ifa, during holy week, to gather palm ; but fell 
sick on his pilgrimage, and returned to Ptoleraais to die. 
Thus the sceptre of the kingdom of Jerusalem again re- 
maijied in the hands of Isabella, who had neither the power, 
nor the ability necessary to govern the Christian states. 
At the same time, one of the sons of Bohemond, prince of 
Antioch, fell under the daggers of assassins sent by the Old 
Man of the Mountains. Bohemond the Third, at a very 
advanced age, was unable to avenge this murder ; and, in 
addition, before he died, had the mortification of seeing war 
break out between his second son, E,aymond, count of 
Tripoli, and Livon, prince of Armenia. The order of the 
Templars, as well as that of the Hospitallers, interested 
themselves in this quarrel, and were opposed to each other. 
The sultan of Aleppo and the Turks from Asia Minor mixed 
themselves with the dissensions of the Christians, and took 
advantage of their divisions to ravage the territory of An- 
tioch.* The Christian states of Syria received no more 
succours from the AVest. The remembrance of the evils 
that had ravaged the countries beyond the seas had damped 
the zeal and the ardour of pilgrims ; the warriors of Europe, 
accustomed to face with coolness all the perils of war, had 
not sufficient courage to brave pestilence and famine. A 
great number of the barons and knights of Palestine, them- 
selves abandoned a land too long laid desolate, some to 

acquainted with the kingdom of Jerusalem, and knew nothing of what 
was going on in the interior of the states. The Arab historians, on the 
contrary, take much more note of the expeditions of the interior than of 
the events that happened at Ptolema'is, situated on the seacoast, and in 
some sort isolated from the rest of Syria. 

* We find few details upon this epoch in the continuator of William of 
Tyre, or the other historians of the middle ages who m'?ntion the Christian 


repair to Constantinople, and others to the kingdoms of the 

Innocent, who had up to this time made vain efforts for 
the deliverance of the holy places, and who could not over- 
come his regret at having seen great Christian armies fridt- 
lessly dissipated in the conquest of Grreece, ptiil did not 
give up his vast designs ; from the beginning of his reign, 
the sovereign pontiff had pointed out the Holy Land to the 
Christian nations, as the road and the way of salvation. 
After the example of his predecessors, he not only called 
piety and virtue in to the defence of the Christian colonies, 
but remorse and repentance. All who came to him to con- 
fess great sins, were allowed but one means of expiating 
their crimes, — crossing the sea to fight against the infidels. 

Among the sinners condemned to this sort of punishment 
history quotes the names of the murderers of Conrad, bishop 
of Wurtzburg and chancellor of the empire,* The guilty 
having presented themselves before the pope, barefooted, 
in drawers, and with halters round their necks, swore in the 
presence of the cardinals, to pass their lives in the practice 
of the most austere mortifications, and to carry arms during 
four years against the Saracens. A knight, named Robert, 
scandalized the whole court of E;ome by confessing in a loud 
voice, that, being a prisoner in Egypt during the famine, he 
had killed his wife and daughter, to feed upon their flesh. 
The pope imposed the most rigorous penances uponKobert, 
and ordered him, to complete the expiation of so great a 
crime, to pass three years in visiting the holy places. 

Innocent endeavoured by such means to keep up the 
devotion of pilgrimages, which had given birth to the crusades, 

* This penitence and that which follows are mentioned by Fleury, in 
the sixteenth volume of his History ; the guilty were condemned, in addi- 
tion to the pilgrimage, to wear neither vair, grey squirrel fur, ermine, nor 
coloured stuffs ; they were never to be pres^nc at public games; after 
becoming widowers, were never to marry again; to walk barefooted and 
be clothed in woollen, and to fast on bread and water on Wednesdays, 
Fridays, Ember-week, and Vigils ; to perform three Lent fasts in the course 
of the year, to recite the Pater Noster a hundred times, and make a hundred 
genuflexions every day. When they came to a city, they were to go to 
the principal church barefooted, in drawers, with halters round their 
mcks and rods in their hands, and there receive from the canons disc'pline, 
&c. &c. 


and might again revive the zeal and ardour for holy wars. 
According to the opinion which the sovereign pontiff 
sought to spread among the faithful, and by which he him- 
self appeared penetrated, this corrupt world had no crimes 
for which God would not open the treasures of his mercy 
provided the perpetrators w^ould take the voyage to the 
East. The people 1 jwever were persuaded that the sins 
and errors of a perverse generation had irritated the God oi 
the Christians, and that the glory of conquering the Holy 
liand was reserved for another and a better age, to a gene- 
ration more worthy of attracting the eyes and the blessings 
of Heaven. 

This opinion of the nations of the "West was very little in 
favour of the Christians of Syria, who were daily making 
rapid strides towards their fall. Isabella, who only reigned 
over depopulated cities, died soon after her husband. A 
son that she had had by Amaury preceded her to the tomb ; 
and the kingdom of Jerusalem became the heritage of a 
young princess, a daughter of Isabella and Conrad, marquis 
of Tyre. The barons and knights that remained in Syria 
were more sensible than ever of the necessity of having at 
their head a prince able to govern them, and immediatelj 
set about choosing a husband for the young queen of Jeru- 

Their choice might have fallen upon one of themselves ; 
but they feared that jealousy would give birth to fresh dis- 
cords, and that the spirit of rivalry and faction would weaken 
the authority of him that should be called upon to govern 
the kingdom. The assembly resolved to seek a king in the 
AV^est, and to address themselves to the country of Godfrey 
and the Baldwins, — to that nation that had furnished so 
many heroes to the crusades, so many illustrious defenders 
ol the Holy Land. 

This resolution of the barons of Palestine had not only 
the advantage of preserving peace in the kingdom of Jeru* 
salem, but also that of arousing the spirit of chivalry in 
Europe, and of interesting it in the cause of the Christians 
of the East. Aimar, lord of Csesarea, and the bishop of 
Ptolemais, crossed the sea, and went, in the name of the 
Christians of the Holy Land, to solicit Philip Augustus to 
•^end them a t^iight or a baron who might save the little 


tkat remained of the unfortunate kingdom of Jerusalem. 
The hand of a young queen, a crown, and the blessings of 
Heaven were the rewards held out to the bravery and de- 
votedness of him who was willing to fight for the heritage 
of the Son of God. The deputies were received with great 
honours at the court of the king of Erance. Although 
the crown they offered was nothing but a vain title, it not 
the less dazzled the imagination of the French knights ; 
their valorous ambition was seduced by the hope of acquir- 
ing great renown, and restoring the throne that had been 
founded by the bravery of Godfrey of Bouillon. 

Among the knights of his court, Philip greatly distin- 
guished John of Brienne,* brother of Gauthier,t who died 
in Apulia with the reputation of a hero arri the title of 
king. In his youth, John of Brienne had been destined for 
the ecclesiastical state ; but, brought up in a family of war- 
riors, and less sensible to the charms of piety than to those 
of glory, he refused to obey the will of his parents ; and as 
his father was inclined to employ force to constrain him, he 
sought a refuge against paternal anger in the monastery of 
Citeaux. John of Brienne was mixed with the crowd of 
cenobites, and gave himself up, as they did, to fasting and 
mortification. The austerities of the cloister, however, 
did not at all assimilate with his growing passion for the 
noble occupation of arms ; and often, amidst prayers and 
religious ceremonies, the images of tournaments and battles 
would distract his thoughts and disturb his mind. One of 
his uncles having found him at the door of the monastery 
in a state very little suited to a gentleman, had pity on his 
tears, took him away with him, and encouraged his natural 
inclinations. From that time the glory of combats entirely 
occupied his thoughts ; and he who had been destined to 
the silence of cloisters and the peace of altars, was not long 
in creating for himself by his bravery and exploits a great 
and widely spread renown. 

At the period of the last crusade, John of Brienne accom- 
panied his brother in his attempt to obtain the kingdom of 

* Son of Erard II., count of Brienne in Champagne, and Agnes 

t The continuator of William of Tyre relates that the barons of Pales- 
tine themselves demanded John of Brienne of the king of France. 



Naples, and saw him perish whilst fighting for a throne that 
was to be the reward of the victor. He had the same foi^ 
tune to guide his hopes, and the same dangers to encounter, 
if he espoused the lieir of the kingdom of Jerusalem. He 
accepted with joy the hand of a young queen, for the pos- 
session of whose states he must contend with the Saracens j 
he charged the ambassadors to return and announce his 
epeedy arrival in Palestine, and, full of confidence in the 
cause he was about to defend, promised to follow them at 
the head of an army. 

"When Aymar of Csesarea and the bishop of Ptolemais 
returned to the Holy Land, the promises of John of Brienne 
raised the depressed courage of the Christians, and, as it 
often hapnens in seasons of misfortune, thej massed from 
despair to the most extravagant hopes. 

It was given out in Palestine that a crusade was in pre- 
paration, commanded by the most povrerful monarchs of the 
West ; and the report of such an extraordinary armament 
produced a momentary terror among the infidels. Malek- 
Adel, who, since the death of Al-Aziz, reigned over Syria 
and Egypt, dreaded the enterprises of the Christians ; and 
as the truce made with the Pranks was on the point of ex- 
piring, he proposed to renew it, oflfering to deliver up ten 
castles or fortresses as a pledge of his good faith and his 
desire for a continuation of peace. This proposal ought to 
have been welcomed by the Christians of Palestme ; but the 
hopes of assistance from the West had banished all mode- 
ration and foresight from the councils of the barons and 
knights. The wiser part of the Christian warriors, among 
whom was the grand master of the order of St. John, were 
of opinion that the truce should be prolonged. They re* 
minded their companions that they had often been promised 
succour from the West, without this succour ever having 
reached the Holy Land ; and that in the very last crusade, 
a formidable army, confidently expected in Palestine, had 
directed its march towards Constantinople. Thej added, 
that it was not prudent to risk the chances of war upon the 
faith of a vain promise ; and that they ought to wait the 
event, before thej^ formed a determination upon which might 
depend the safety" or the ruin of the Christians of the East 
These dit courses were full of wisdom and good sense, bLi 


as the Hospitallers spoke in favour of the truce, tl^e Tem- 
plars, with great warmth, declared for war : such was, like- 
wise, the spirit of the Christian warriors, that prudeiice, 
moderation, or, indeed, any of the virtues of peace, inspired 
them with a sort of disdain ; for them reason was always 
on the side of perils, and only to speak of flying to arms 
was quite sufficient to win all their suffrages The assembly 
of barons and knights refused to prolong the truce made 
with the Saracens. 

This determination became so much the more fatal, frorr. 
the situation of France and Europe, which could scarcely 
allow John of Brienne to entertain the hope of accomplish- 
ing his promise of raising an army for the Holy Land. 

Germany was still agitated by the rival pretensions of 
Otho and Philip of Swabia : John of England laboured 
under the curse of an excommunication, which interdict 
extended to his kingdom. Philip Augustus was busily em- 
ployed in taking advantage of all the troubles that were in 
full action around him ; on one side by endeavouring to ex- 
tend his influence in Germany, and on the other by constant 
efforts to weaken the power of the English, who were mas- 
ters of several provinces of his kingdom. John of Brienne 
arrived at Ptolemais with the train of a king, but he only 
brought with him three hundred knights to defend his king- 
dom ; his new subjects, however, still full of hopes, looked 
upon him no less as a liberator. His marriage was cele- 
brated in the presence of the barons, the princes, and the 
bishops of Ptolemais. As the tri^ce was about to expire, 
the Saracens resumed their arms, and disturbed the festivi- 
ties of the coronation. Malek-Adel entered Palestine at 
the head of an army, and the infidels not only laid siege to 
Tripoli, but threatened Ptolemais. 

The new king, at the head of a small number of faithful 
warriors, created great admiration for his valour in the £eld 
of battle ; but he was not able to deliver the Christian pro- 
vinces from the presence of a formidable enemy. When 
the defenders of Palestine compared their scanty ranks 
with the multitude of their enemies, they sank at once into 
a state of despondency ; and even those who so lately 
Bcorned the thouglits of peace with the inlicels, could not 
muster either strength or courage to oppose to thek" attacks. 


Most of the Frencli knights that had accompanied the new 
king, quitted the kingdom they had come to succour, and 
returned into Europe. The dominions of John of Brienne 
consisted of the city of Ptolemais alone, and he had no 
army to defend even that ; he then began to perceive he had 
undertaken a perilous and difficult task, and that he should 
not be able to contend for any length of time against tlio 
united forces of the Saracens. Ambassadors were sent to 
Rome to inform the pope of the pressing dangers of the 
Christian states in Asia, and once more to implore the sup- 
port of the princes of Europe, and, above all, of the Erencb 

These fresh cries of alarm were scarcely iieard by the 
nations of the West. The troubles which agitated Europe 
at the period of the departure of John of Brienne for Pales- 
tine were far from being allayed, and prevented France 
especially from lending any assistance to the Christian colo- 
nies. Languedoc and most of the southern provinces of the 
kingdom were then desolated by religious wars, which fully 
employed the bravery of the Erench knights and nobles. 

A spirit of inquiry and indocility, which had arisen among 
the faithful, and with which St. Bernard had reproached his 
age, was making alarming progress every day. The most 
holy doctors had already many times expressed their grief 
at the abasement of the holy word, of which every one con- 
stituted himself judge and arbiter, and which was treated, 
said Stephen of Tournay in his letters to the pope, with as 
little discernment as holy things given to dogs, or pearls cast 
at the feet of swine. This spirit of independence and pride, 
joined to the love of paradox and novelty ; to the decline of 
sound studies, and the relaxation of ecclesiastical discipline ; 
had given birth to heresies which rent the bosom of the 

The most dangerous of all the new sects was that of the 
Albigcois,* which took its name from the city of Albi, in 
which its first assemblies had been held. These new sec- 
tarians being unable to explain the existence of evil under a 
just and good Grod, as the Manicheans had done, adopted 
two principles. According to their behef, God had first 

* As Gibbon lias done, I have preferred the real name of this sect t« 
th« Latinized Albiyenses. — Trans, 


cr^.ated Lucifer and his angels ; Lucifer having revolted 
from Grod, was banished from heaven, and produced the 
visible world, over which he reigned. God, to re-establish 
crder, created his second son, Jesus Christ, to be the genius 
of good, as Lucifer had been the genius of evil. Several 
contemporary writers represent the Albigeois in the most 
odious colours, and describe them as given up to all kinds of 
error ; but this opinion must not be adopted in all its rigour 
b}' impartial history. For the honour of human nature we 
feel bound to say, that never did a religious sect dare to 
endeavour to win the approbation of mankind whilst pre- 
senting an example of depravity of morals ; and that in no 
age, among no people, has a false doctrine ever been able to 
lead astray any number of men, without being supported by 
at least an appearance of virtue. 

The wisest and most earnest Christians were at that 
period desirous of a reform in the clergy. " But there 
were," says Bossuet, " vain and proud minds,* full of bitter- 
ness, which, struck by the disorders that reigned in the 
Church, and more particularly among its ministers, did not 
believe that the promises of its eternal duration could 
possibly subsist amongst these abuses. These, become 
proud, and thence weak, yielded to the temptation which 
leads to a hatred of the Church from a hatred of those who 
preside in it ; and as if the malice of man could annihilate 
the work of God, the aversion they had conceived for the 
teachers, made them hate at the same time both the doctrine 
they taught and the authority they had received from God." 

This disposition of men's minds gave the apostles of error 
a most deplorable ascendancy, and multiplied the number of 
their disciples. Among the new sectarians, the most remark- 
able were the Vaudois, or Poor of Lyons, who devoted them- 
selves to a state of idle poverty, and despised the clergy, 
whom they accused of living in luxury and voluptuousness ; 
the Aposfoliques, who boasted of being the only mystical 
body of Jesus Christ"; the JPopeUcains, who abhorred the 
eucharist, marriages, and the other sacraments ; the Aymer- 
istes, whose teachern annouiiccd to the world the future 

* Bossuet, Histoire des Vuriat. vol. ii. L'Abbe Paquet, in his Dic- 
tionnaire des Heresies, and J'leuiy, in his Histoire ]Lcc„4siastique, express 
the same upiuiou. 


establisliment of a purely spiritual worship, and denied the 
existence of a hell or a paradise, persuaded that sin finds m 
itself its own punishment, and virtue its own reward. 

As the greater part of these heretics exhibited a sovereign 
contempt for the authority of the Church, wiiich was the.:, 
the first of all authorities, all those Vv'ho wished to shake off 
the yoke of divine laws, and those even to whom their pas- 
sions rendered the restraint of human laws intolerable, came 
at length to range themselves under the banners of these 
innovators, and were welcomed by a sect anxious to increase 
and strengthen itself, and always disposed to consider as its 
partisans and defenders, men whom society cast from its 
bosom, who dreaded justice, and could not endure established 
order. Thus the pretended reformers of the thirteenth 
century, whilst themselves affecting austerity of manners, 
and proclaiming the triumph of virtue and truth, admitted 
into their bosom both corruption and licentiousness, de- 
stroyed every regulation of authority, abandoned everything 
to the caprice of the passions, and left no bond to society, 
no power to morals, no check upon the multitude. 

The new heresies had been condemned in several councils ; 
but as violence was sometimes employed in executing the 
decisions of the Church, persecution only tended to sour 
men's minds, instead of bringing them back to truth. Mis- 
sionaries and papal legates were sent into Languedoc, to 
convert the misled wanderers from the flock ; but their 
preaching produced no fruit, and the voice of falsehood 
prevailed over the word of God. The preachers of the faith, 
whom the heretics reproached with their luxury, their igno- 
rance, and the depravity of their manners, had neither 
sufficient resignation nor sufficient humility to support such 
outrages, or offer them as a sacrifice to Jesus Christ, whose 
apostles they were. Exposed to the scoffs of the sectarians, 
and gathering nothing from the labours of their missions but 
humiliation and contempt, they accustomed themselves to 
view the people they were sent to convert as personal ene- 
mies ; and a spirit of vengeance and pride, which certainly 
came not from heaven, made them believe it was their duty 
to bring into the right road, by force of arms, all who had 
denied their power or resisted their eloquence. The sove- 
reign pontiff*, whose mind was constantly bent upon the 


Asiatic war, hesitated at ordering a crusade to be preached 
against the Albigeois ; but he was led away by the opinions 
of the clergy, perhaps also by that of his age, and at last 
promised to all Christians who would take up arms against 
the Albigeois the same privileges as those granted to the 
Crusaders against the Saracens.* Simon de Montfort, the 

* Notwithstanding the partiality I naturally feel for an author whose 
work I am translating, and to which task I was led by my admiration of 
it. I cannot allow such opinions of the war against the Albigeois to pass 
unnoticed. A very sensible French historian says: — " The inhabitants 
of these provinces were industrious, intellectual, and addicted to com- 
merce, the arts, and poetry ; their numerous cities flourished, governed 
by consuls with forms approaching to republican ; all at once this beauti- 
ful region was abandoned to the furies of fanaticism, its cities were ruined, 
its arts and its commerce destroyed, and its language cast back into bar- 
barism. The preaching of the first religious reform gave birth to the 
devastation of these rich countries. The clergy were not distinguished 
there, as in France or the northern provinces, by their ardour to improve 
themselves and diffuse knowledge ; they signalized themselves by gross 
disorders, and sank daily into greater contempt. The need of reform 
had been long felt among the people of Provence and many reformers 
had already appeared. For a length of time associations had existed whose 
aim it was to purify the morals and the doctrines of the Church ; such 
were the Paterins, the Catharins, and the Poor of Lyons ; and the greater 
part of these had obtained the sanction of the popes, who considered them 
as so many orders of monks, highly calculated to awaken public devotion. 
But the reforms that were operated extended gradually ; dogmas even were 
attacked, priests were subjected to the insults of the people, and tlie 
domains of the Church were invaded. Such was the state of things when 
the famous Innocent III., at the age of thirty-nine, ascended the pontifical 
throne in 1198. To his great task he brought the talents of an ambitious, 
and the energy of a violent and an inflexible character. This pontiff, who 
dominated over Europe by indulgences arid excommunications, watched 
for and punished with severity every free exercise of thought in religious 
matters ; he w>as the first to feel how serious and threatening for the 
Church of Rome that liberty of mind must be that had already degenerated 
into revolt. He saw with great inquietude and anger the new tendency 
of men's minds in Provence and Languedoc, and proscribed the reformers, 
the most numerous of whom, and who gave their name to all the others, 
were known under the names of Albigeois and Vaudois. Some among 
them were Manicheans, that is to say, admitted the two principles; but 
the greatest number of them profesned doctrines differing but very little 
from those which, three centuries later, were preached by Luther. They 
denied transubstantiation in the sacrament of the Eucharist, rejected con- 
fession, and the Bdcraments of confirmation and marriage, and taxed tbe 
worship of images with idolatry." In this war papacy put forth all its 
most dreaded powers ; indulgert'es to its brutal, mercenary soldiers ■. 
heavet for wholesale slaughterers of their fellow -creatures ; hell for all 


duke of Burgundy, and tlie duke of Nevers obeyed tlie orders 
of the Holy See : tlie hatred wliich this new sect inspired, 
but btill more the facility of gaining indulgences from the 
sovereign pontiff without quitting Europe, drew a great 
number of warriors to the standards of this crusade. The 
Inquisition owes its birth to this war ; an institution at once 
fatal to humanity, religion, and patriotism. Piles and stakes 
appeared on all sides , cities were taken by storm, and their 
inhabitants put to the sword. The violences and cruelties 
which accompanied this unfortunate war have been described 
by those even who took a most active part in them ;* their 
recitals, which we have great difficulty in believing, fre- 
quently resemble the language of falsehood and exaggera- 
tion. In periods of vertigo and fury, when violent passions 
oome in to mislead both opinions and consciences, it is not 
rare to meet with men who exaggerate the excesses to which 

who dared to think when they worshipped, or to breathe a word against 
the veriest nonsense of Romish rites : many instances occurred in which 
the odious doctrine of no faith to be observed with heretics, was unblus-h- 
ingly advanced and cruelly acted upon. I will close my notice of this 
war against men who ventured to entertain a shade of difference in opinion 
from their fellow- Christians and the head of the Church, by a quotation 
that vividly stamps its character. " The Crusaders precipitated them- 
selves in a mass upon the lands of the young viscount de Beziers, took 
his castles and burnt all the men, violated the women and massacred the 
children they found in them ; then, turning towards Beziers, they carried 
it by assault. A prodigious number of the inhabitants of the circumjacent 
country had taken refuge in this city ; the abbot of Citeaux, legate of the 
pope, upon being consulted by the knights as to the fate of these unhappy 
beings, a part of whom only were heretics, replied by these execrable and 
ever-memorable words : ' Kill away ! kill away ! God will take care oj 
his own!'" The crusade against the Albigeois is one of the blackest 
pages in the history of mankind, and ought to be described as such by 
every historian whose disagreeable duty it is to name it. — Trans. 

* The abbot of Vaux-de-Cernai, who signalized himself in the crusade 
against the Albigeois, has left us a history of this period, in which he 
relates with an air of triumph, facts which passed before his eyes, at which 
religion as well as humanity ought to blush. When we have read his 
account, we are persuaded of two things : the first, that he was sincere in 
the excess of his fanatical zeal; the second, that his age thought as he did, 
and did not disapprove of the violences and persecutions of which he so 
candidly exposes the history. Le Pere Langlois, a Jesuit, has written, in 
French, a history of the crusades against the Albigeois. The Histoirt 
Eccle'siastique of Fleury, and V Histoire de la Provina de LanguedcC 
may be consulted with advantage. 


they have given themselves up, and boast of more evil than 
tliey have committed. 

JFor ourselves, the disastrous war against the Albigeoia 
does not enter into the plan of this history, and if we have 
spoken of it here, it was only the better to describe th4 
situation of France at this period, and the obstacles which 
then opposed themselves to all enterprises beyond sea. 
Amidst these constantly increasing obstacles. Innocent III. 
was deeply afflicted at not being able to send succours to 
the Christians of Palestine, his regret being the greater 
from the circumstance that at the very time the Albigeoia 
and the count of Thoulouse were subjected to this frightful 
crusade, the Saracens were becoming more formidable in 
Spain. The king of Castile, threatened by an innumerable 
army, had just called upon all Frenchmen able to bear arms 
to come to his assistance. The pope himself had written to 
all the bishops of France, recommending them to exhort the 
faithful of their dioceses to assist in a great battle which was 
to be fought between the Spaniards and the Moors, about 
the octave of Pentecost (1212). Innocent promised the 
warriors who would repair to Spain, the usual indulgences of 
holy wars ; and a solemn pi'ocession was made at Rome, to 
implore of God the destruction of the Moors and Saracens. 
The archbishops of Narbonne and Bordeaux, the bishop of 
Nantes, and a great number of French nobles, crossed the 
Pyrenees, followed by two thousand knights with their 
squires and serjeants-at-arms. The Christian army met the 
Moors in the plains of Las Navas de Tolosa, and fought a 
battle, in which more than two hundred thousand infidels lost 
either their lives or their liberty. The conquerors, loaded 
with spoils and surrounded by the dead, sang the Te Deum 
on the field of battle : the standard of the leader of the 
Almoades was sent to E-ome as a trophy of the victory 
granted to the prayers of the Christian Church. 

On learning the issue of the battle of Tolosa, the sovereiga 
pontiff", amidst the assembled inhabitants of Home, oflfered 
up thanks to Grod for having scattered the enemies of hia 
people , and at the same time prayed that Heaven in its 
mercy would, in the end, deliver the Christians of Syria aa 
it had just delivered the Christians of Spain. 

The head of the Church renewed his exhortations to tha 


faithful for the defence of the kingdom of Jesus Christ ; h-^ik 
amidst the troubles and civil wars that he himself had ex 
cited, he could gain no attention to the complaints of Jeru* 
salem, and shed tears of despair at the indifference of the 
nations of the West. About this period such a circumstance 
was beheld as had never occurred even in times so abound- 
ing in prodigies and extraordinary events, rifty thousand 
children, in France and Germany, braving paternal authority, 
gathered together and pervaded both cities and countries, 
singing these words : — " Lord Jesus, restore to us your holy 
cross!" When they were asked whither they were going, 
or what they intended to do, they replied, " We are going 
to Jerusalem, to deliver the sepulchre of our Saviour." 
Some ecclesiastics, blinded by false zeal, had preached this 
crusade ; most of the faithful saw nothing in it but the 
inspiration of Heaven, and thought that Jesus Christ, to 
show his divine power, and to confound the pride of the 
greatest captains, and of the wise and powerful of the earth, 
had placed his cause in the hands of simple and timid infancy. 
Many women of bad character, and dishonest men insinu- 
ated themselves amongst the crowd of these new soldiers of 
the cross, to seduce and plunder them. A great portion of 
this juvenile militia crossed the Alps, to embark at the Italian 
ports ; whilst those who came from the provinces of France, 
directed their course to Marseilles. On the faith of a 
miraculous revelation, they had been made to believe that 
this year (1213) the drought would be so great that the 
sun would dissipate all the waters of the sea, and thus an 
easy road for pilgrims would be opened across the bed of 
the Mediterranean to the coasts of Syria. Many of these 
young Crusaders lost themselves in forests, then so abundant 
and large, and wandering about at hazard, perished with 
heat, hunger, thirst, and fatigue ; others returned to their 
homes, ashamed of their imprudence, saying, tJiei/ really did 
not know ivJiy they had gone. Among those that embarked, 
some were shipwrecked, or given up to the Saracens, against 
whom they had set out to fight ; many, say the old chro- 
nicles, gathered the palms of martyrdom, and offered the 
infidels the edifying spectacle of the firmness and courage 
the Christian religion is capable of inspiring at the most 
tender age as well as at th^ more mature. 


Sucl] of these children as reached Ptolemais must have 
created terror as well as astonishment, by naking the Chris- 
tians of the East believe that Europe had no longer any 
government or laws, no longer any wise or prudent men, 
either in the councils of princes or those of the Church. 
Nothing more completely demonstrates the spirit of these 
times than the indiiference with which such disorders were 
witnessed. No authority interfered, either to stop or pre- 
vent the madness ; and when it was announced to the pope 
that death had swept away the flower of the youth of France 
and Grermany, he contented himself with saying, — " These 
children reproach us w ith having fallen asleep, whilst they 
were flying to the assistance of the Holy Land."* 

The sovereign pontifl", in order to accomplish his designs, 
and rekindle the enthusiasm of the faithful, found it neces- 
sary to strike the imagination of the nations vividly, and to 
present a grand spectacle to the Christian world. Innocent 
resolved to assemble a general council at E-ome, to deliberate 
upon the state of the Church and the fate of the Christians 
of the East. " The necessity for succouring the Holy 
Land," said he in his letters of convocation, " and the hope 
of conquering the Saracens, are greater than ever ; we renew 
our cries and our prayers to you, to excite you to this noble 
enterprise. No one can imagine," added Innocent, " that 
God has need of your arms to deliver Jerusalem ; but he 
ofliers you an opportunity of showing your penitence, and 
proving your love for him. Oh, my brethren, how many 
advantages has not the Christian Church already derived 
from the scourges that have desolated her, and desolate her 
still ! How many crimes have been expiated by repentance ! 
How many virtues revive at the fire of charity : How many 
conversions are made among sinners by the complaining 
voice of Jerusalem ! Bless, then, the ingenious mercy, the 
generous artifice of Jesus Christ, who seeks to touch your 
hearts, to seduce your piety, and is willing to owe to his misled 
disciples a victory which beholds in his all-powerful hand," t 

* This crusade of the children is related by so great a number of con- 
temporary authors, that we cannot entertain any doubt of it. We will 
refer to our Appendix the different versions of the ancient chronicles ot 
this singular event. 

t Vetus est hoc artificium Jesus Christi, quod ad suorum salutem 
fidelium diebus istis dignatus est innovare. — Epist. Innocent, 


The pope afterwards compares Jesus Christ banished from 
his heritage, to one of the kings of the earth who might bo 
driven from his dominions. " Where are the vassals," 
added he, " who will not risk their fortunes and their lives 
to restore their sovereign to his kingdom ? Such of the 
subjects and servants of the monarch as shall have done 
nothing foi" his cause, ought they not to be ranked with the 
rebels, and be subjected to the punishment due to revolt and 
treason ? It is thus that Jesus Christ will treat those who 
remain indiiferent to the insults heaped upon him, and refusa 
to take up arms to fight against his enemies." 

To raise the hopes and the courage of the Christians, the 
holy father terminated his exhortation to the faithful, by 
saying, that " the power of Mahomet drew towards its end ; 
for that power was nothing but the beast of the Apocalypse, 
which was not to extend beyond the number of six hundred 
years,* and already six centuries were accomplished." These 
last words of the pope were sustained by the popular pre- 
dictions which were spread throughout the West, and 
created a belief that the destruction of the Saracens was at 

As in preceding crusades, the sovereign pontiff promised 
all who should take arms against the infidels, the remission 
of their sins and the especial protection of the Church. 
Upon so important an occasion, the head of the Christians 
laid open the treasures of divine mercy to all the faithful, in 
proportion to their zeal and their gifts. All prelates and 
ecclesiastics, as well as the inhabitants of cities and coun- 
tries, were invited to raise a certain number of warriors, and 
support them for three years, according to their means. Tke 
pope exhorted princes and nobles who would not take the 
cross, to second the zeal of the Crusaders in every way in 
their power ; the head of the Church demanded of all the 
faithful, prayers ; of the rich, alms and tributes ; of knights, 
an example of courage ; of maritime cities, vessels ; he him- 
self engaging to make the greatest sacrifices. Processions 

* The year 126.S answered to the year 602 of the Hegyra. 

•f Montesquieu foretells the fate of Mahometanism ; not as Innocent 
did, but philosophically. He likewise predicts " that France will fall by 
the sword ;" but whether the sword will be drawn by foreigners or hei 
own sons, he does not say. — Trans. 


^ere to be made every month in all parishes, in order to 
obtain the benedictions of Heaven ; all the efforts, all the 
vows, all the thoughts of Christians were to be directed 
towards the object of the holy war. That nothing might 
divert the faithful from the expedition against the Saracens, 
t^ie Holy See revoked the indulgences granted to those who 
abandoned their homes to go and fight against the Albi- 
geois in Languedoe^ or the Moors on the other side of the 

It is plain that the sovereign pontiff neglected nothing 
that could render the success of the holy enterprise more 
certain. A modern historian justly remarks, that he em- 
ployed every means, even such as were not likely to suc- 
ceed ; for he wrote to the sultan of Damascus and Cairo, 
inviting him to replace the holy city in the hands of the 
servants of the true God. Innocent said in his letter, that 
Grod had chosen the infidels as his instruments of vengeance ; 
that he had permitted Saladin to get possession of Jerusalem, 
in order to punish the sins of the Christians ; but that the 
day of deliverance was come, and that the Lord, disarmed 
by the prayers of his people, was about to restore the heritage 
of Jesus Christ. The sovereign pontiff counselled the sultan 
to avoid the effusion of blood, and prevent the desolation of 
his empire. 

This was not the first time that the head of the Church 
had addressed prayers and warnings to the Mussulman 
powers. Two years before he had written to the sultan of 
Aleppo, in the hope of bringing him back to the way of 
evangelical truth, and making him a faithful auxiliary of the 
Christians. All these attempts, which ended in nothing, 
clearly prove that the pope was perfectly unacquainted with 
the spirit and character of the Mussulmans. The sovereign 
pontiff was not more fortunate when, in his letters, he de- 
sired the patriarch of Jerusalem to use his utmost endea- 
voiu-s to arrest the progress of corruption and licentiousness 
among the Christians of Palestine. The Christians of Syria 
made no change in their morals, and all the passions main- 
tained their reign amongst them ; whilst the Mussulmans 
fortified the holy city that was demanded of them, an'^. 
employed themselves in arming against the attacks of the 
enemies of Islamism. 


Nothing could exceed the ardour and activity of the sove« 
reign ponti/iF. History can scarcely follow him, whilst seek- 
ing in every direction enemies against the Mussulmans; 
appealing, by turns, to the patriarchs of Alexandria and An- 
tioch, and to all the princes of Armenia and Syria. His 
eye took in at one view both East and West. His letters 
and ambassadors passed unceasingly throughout Europe. 
He sent the convocation for the council and the bull of the 
crusade into all the provinces of Christendom; and his 
apostolic exhortations resounded from the shores of the 
Danube and the Vistula to the banks of the Tigris and the 

Commissaries were chosen to make the decisions of the 
Holy See known to all Christians : their mission was to 
preach the holy war, and reform manners ; to invoke at the 
game time the knowledge of the learned and the courage of 
warriors. In many provinces, the mission of preaching the 
crusade was confided to the bishops ; Cardinal Peter Robert 
de Cour^on, w^ho was then in Erance, as legate of the pope, 
received great powers from the Holy See ; and travelled 
through the kingdom, exhorting Christians to take up the 
cross and arms. 

The cardinal de Cour9on had been in his youth the dis- 
ciple of Eoulke of Neuilly, and had gained great celebrity 
by his eloquence. The multitude flocked from all parts to 
hear so distinguished a preacher of the Word, clothed in all 
the splendour of Eomish power. " The legate," says Eleury, 
" had the power of regulating everything that was connected 
with tournaments ; and, which will appear more singular, 
the faculty of granting a certain indulgence to those who 
were present at the sermons in which he preached the cru- 

* Gibbon says : ** Some deep reasoners have suspected that the whole 
enterprise, from the first synod at Placentia, was contrived and executed 
by the policy of Rome. The suspicion is not founded either in matter or 
fact. The successors of St. Peter appear to have followed, rather than 
j7«?Je<Z the impulse of manners and prejudice." With great respect for 
.:iur illustrious historian, I cannot quite agree with him ; the popes were in 
many instances the first to kindle the flame, and were always anxious to 
keep it burning. In the part of our history now before us, it is plain it 
would have gone out but for the great exertions of Innocent. The 
crusades were a powerful engine in the hands of the popes ; they couUI 
aot aft'ord to let them go to decay. — Trans. 


Bade." Faitlifnl to the spirit of tlie religion of Jesus Ckrisfc, 
the cardiual de Conr9on gave the cross to all Christiana 
Avlio asked for it, witliout reflecting that women, children, 
old men, the deaf, the blind, the lame, could not make war 
against the Saracens ; or that an army could not be formed 
as the Grospel composed the feast of the father of the family. 
Tlius this liberty of entering into the holy bands, accorded 
without distinction or choice, only disgusted the barons and 
knights, and cooled the ardour of the common soldiers.* 

Among the orators whom the pope associated with the 
cardifual de Cour^on, one of the most remarkable was James 
of Yitri, whom the Church had already placed in the rank 
of its celebrated doctors. Whilst he preached the crusade 
in the different provinces of France,t the fame of his virtues 
and talents extended even to the East. The canons of 
Ptolemais demanded him of the pope as their pastor and 
bishop ; and the the wishes of the Christians of Palestine 
were immediately granted. James of Yitri, after having 
excited the warriors of the West to take arms, became 
afterwards a witness of their labours, and related them in a 
history which has come down to our times. 

The preaching of the holy war awakened everywhere the 
charity of the faithful. Philip Augustus gave up the 
fortieth part of his territorial revenues towards the expenses 
of the crusade, and a great number of nobles and prelates 
followed his example.;]: As boxes had been placed in all 

* The cardinal de Cour^on was an Englishman by family. He had 
studied at the University of Paris, and from that was connected with 
Lothaire, who became pope under the name of Innocent III. It is to 
this friendship that Peter Robert de Cour9on owed his elevation. There 
is a very long notice of this person by the late M. du Theil, in Les Notices 
des Manuscrits, torn. vi. 

t The continuator of William of Tyre expresses himself thus : — II ot 
en France un clerc qui prescha de la croix, qui avait nom maitre Jacques 
de Vitri ; cil en croisa mult, la. ou il etoit en la predication, I'eslurent 
les chanoines d'Acre, et manderent a I'apostolle (le pape) qu'il lor en- 
voyast pour estre evesque d'Acre ; et sachiez s'il n'ei. eust le commande- 
ment Fapostolle, il ne I'eust mie recu, mais toutes voies passa-t-il outre- 
mer, et fust evesque grand piece, et fist mult de biens en la terre ; mais 
puis recigna-t-il, et retourna en France, et puis fut il cardinal de Rome. 
[As M. Michaud has placed this note all in the text, and has only given 
it to show the curious mode of expression, I have followed his example. 

t Philip granted this fortieth, without reference to the future — absqut 


cliurches to receive tlie alms of the charitable, these almi 
brought considerable sums into the hands of the cardinal 
de Cour9on, who was accused of having appropriated to 
himself the gifts offered to Jesus Christ. These accusationa 
were the more eagerly received, from the legate having taken 
upon him to exercise, in the name of the Holy See, an 
authority which was displeasing to both the monarch and 
his people. The cardinal, without the approbation of the 
king, levied taxes, enrolled warriors, forgave debts, lavished 
both rewards and punishments, and, in a word, usurped all 
the prerogatives of sovereignty. The exercise of such an 
unbounded power was the cause of trouble to all the pro- 
vinces.* To 73revent disorders, Philip Augustus thought it 
necessary to lay down regulations which should' specify to 
the general council, the individual position of the Crusaders, 
and the exemptions and privileges they were to enjoy. 

Whilst the cardinal de Cour9on concinued to preach the 
crusade throughout the provinces of France, the archbishop 
of Canterbury was earnestly engaged in inciting the people 
of England to take up arms against the infidels. During a 
length of time, the kingdom of England had been troubled 
by the violent contentions of the commons, the barons, and 
eyen the clergy, who had taken advantage of the excom- 
municationsf launched by the pope against King John, to 

consuetudine, and upon condition that this voluntary gift should he 
employed wherever the king of England and the barons of the two king- 
doms should think best. — See Le Rec. des Ord. torn. i. p. 31. 

* Tn the royal regulations of Philip Augustus, there is an order relative 
to the debts contracted by the Crusaders as members of a commune. We 
think our readers will not be displeased by the particulars of this order. 
*' As to the Crusaders, members of certain communes, we order," says the 
king, ** that if the commune itself be charged with any levy, whether for 
foot or horse soldiers (I'ost et la chevauchee), the inclosure of the city, 
the defence of the city in the event of a siege, or for any debt that is 
due, and contracted before they took the cross, they shall be held subject 
to the payment of their proportion, equally with the other inhabitants who 
have not taken the cross ; but as to the debts contracted after the period 
at which they shall have taken the cross, the Crusaders shall remain 
exempt, not only until their approaching departure, but until their 
retuHi." — See the Recueil des Ordonnances, Dachery, and the sixth vol. 
of the Notices des Manuscrits, dissertation de M. du Theil sur Robert 
de Cour^on, 

f In the charter granted by King John, that monarch expressly s&^i 


obtain a confirmation of their liberties. The English mo* 
narch, when subscribing the conditions that had been dictated 
to him, had yielded much more to necessity and force, than 
to his own inclinations ; he wished earnestly to retract what 
he had granted, and in order to place his crown under the 
protection of the Church, he took the cross, and swore to go 
and fight against the Saracens. The sovereign pontiff" placed 
faith in the submission and promises of the king of England ; 
and after having preached a crusade against this prince, 
whom he accused of being an enemy of the Church, he em- 
ployed the whole authority of the Holy See, and all the 
thunders of religion in his defence. 

King John had no other motive in taking the cross but to 
deceive the pope, and obtain the protection of the Church ; 
the sign of the Crusaders was assumed by him only as a 
means of preserving his power ; a false and deceitful policy^ 
which was soon unmasked, and, without doubt, assisted 
much in diminishing the public enthusiasm for the holy war. 
The barons of England, in their turn excommunicated by 
the pope, employed themselves in defending their liberties, 
and paid no attention to the holy orators who called upon 
them to embark for Asia. 

The empire of Germany was not less disturbed than the 
kingdom of England. Otho of Saxony, after having been, 
during ten years, the object of all the predilections of the 
Holy See, drew upon himself all at once the implacable 
hatred of Innocent, by putting forth some claims to certain 
domains of the Church, and to the kingdom of Naples and 
Sicily. Not only was he himself excommunicated, but the 
cities even that remained faithful to him w^ere placed under 
an interdict. The sovereign pontiff* opposed Frederick II., 
son of Henry YI., to Otho, in the same manner as he had 
opposed Otho to Philip of Swabia. Germany and Italy 
Yvere immediately in a state of agitation and trouble. 
Frederick, who was crowned king of the Romans at Aix la 
Chapelle, took the cross, from a sentiment of gratitude, and 
with the hope of securing the support of the Holy See in 
ascending the imperial throne. 

Otho meanwhile neglected no means of preserving the 

Aat he grants this charter by the advice of the archbishop of Canterbury, 
of seven bishops, and the pope's nuncio. 

Vol. II.— 10 


empire, and resisting the views and undertakings of the 
court of liome. He made war against the pope, and allied 
himself with all the enemies of Philip Augustus, who had 
declared for Frederick. A formidable league, composed of 
the king of England and the counts of EJanders, Holland, 
and Boulogne, threatened France with an invasion. The 
capital and provinces of that kingdom were already shared 
among the leaders of this league, when Philip gained the 
celebrated battle of Bouvines. This memorable victory* 
secured the independence and honour of the French mo- 
narchy, and restored peace to Europe. Otho, conquered, 
lost his allies, and sunk beneath the thunders o^ the 

The period was now arrived at which the council sum- 
moned by the pope was to meet. From all parts of Europe, 
ecclesiastics, nobles, princes, and the ambassadors of princes, 
repaired to the capital of the Christian world. The deputies 
from Antioch and Alexandria, with the patriarchs of Con- 
stantinople and Jerusalem, came to E-ome to implore the 
support of the nations of Christendom ; the ambassadors of 
Frederick, Philip Augustus, and the kings of England and 
Hungary, in the names of their sovereigns, came to take 
their places in the council. This assembly, which repre- 
sented the universal Church, and in which were nearly five 
hundred bishops and archbishops, and more than a hundred 
abbots and prelates from all the provinces of the East and 
West, took place in the church of the Lateran,t and x^as 
presided over by the sovereign pontiff. Innocent opened 
the council by a sermon, in which he deplored the errors of 
his age and the misfortunes of the Church. After having 
exhorted the clergy and the faithful, to sanctify by their 
morals, the measures he was about to take against heretics 
and the Saracens, he represented Jer.jsalem as clothed in 

* This victory of Bouvines, which had such happj'^ results for the French 
monarchy, will be worthily celebrated in the poem of Philip Aiiguste, by 
M. Perceval de Graud-maison : we cannot sufficiently praise our poets 
who take their subjects from the greatest periods of our antiais. 

t Upon the holding of this council, the Chronicle of Opsberg, the 
monk Godfrey, Matthew Paris, Albert Stadensis, the Chronicle of Fassano, 
and parMcularly the collection of the councils, may be consulted. Fleury 
enters into very o)pious details. — See the sixteenth vol. of tue Histoire 


mouruiiig, exliibitiiig the chains of her captivity, and calling 
upon all the prophets to lend their voices to reach the hearts 
of the Christians. 

" Oh ! ye," said Jerusalem by the mouth of the pontiff, " who 
pass along the public roads, behold, and see if ye have ever 
•vvitnessed grief like mine. Hasten then all, ye that love 
me, to deliver me from the depth of my miseries ! I, who 
was the queen of all nations, am now subjected to a tribute • 
I, who was formerly filled with people, am now left deso* 
late and almost alone ! The roads of Sion mourn, because 
no one comes to my solemnities. My enemies have crushed 
down my head ; all my sacred places are profaned ; the Holy 
Sepulchre, once so splendid, is covered with disgrace ; there, 
where of late the Son of God was adored, worship is now 
offered up to the son of perdition and hell. The children 
of the stranger load me with outrages, and, pointing to the 
cross of Jesus, say to me. Thou hast placed thy trust in vile 
wood; we shall see whether this wood can save thee in the 
hour of danger.''^* 

Innocent after having thus made the mourning Jerusalem 
eloquent, conjured the faithful to take pity on her misfor- 
tunes, and arm for her deliverance. He terminated his ex- 
hortation by these words, which breathe both his grief and 
his ardent zeal : — " My beloved brethren, I give myself up 
entirely to you ; if you think it best, I promise to go in 
person with the kings, princes, and nations ; you shall see if, 
by my cries and my prayers, I shall be able to excite them 
to fight for the Lord, to avenge the insults of the crucified, 
whom our sins have banished from the land wetted with his 
blood, and sanctified with the mystery of our redemption." 

The discourse of the pontiff was listene'^ t::) '^n reliajioua 
silence; but as Innocent spoke o: - l'i5^tn^^, The. 1Rio"^K^ 
same time, and as his oratory was full of allegories, he did not 
at aU succeed in awakening the enthusiasm of the assembly. 
The fathers of the council appeared to be not less afiected 
by the abuses introduced into the Church, than by the re- 
verses of the Christians of the East ; in the first place the 
assembly employed itself in endeavouring to find meaiis to 

* The discourse of the pope is preserved in its enurety in the collection 
Bi the councils. — I^ee the fourth Council of the Lateran. 


reform ecclesiastical discipline, and check tlie progress of 

In a declaration of faith, the council explained the doc- 
trine of Christians, and recalled to their minds the sym- 
bol of evangelical belief. They opposed truth to error, 
persuasion to violence, and the virtues of the Grospel to the 
passions of sectarians and innovators : happy would it then 
have been for the Christian churcli, if the pope had followed 
this example of moderation ; and if, whilst defending the 
eights of religion, he had not forgotten the rights of sove- 
reigns and humanity. By an apostolic decree, proclaimed 
amidst the council. Innocent deposed the count of Thou- 
louse, who was considered the protector of heresy, and gave 
his states to Simon de Montfort, who had fought against, or 
rather slaughtered the Albigeois. 

Innocent could not pardon the count of Tlioulouse for 
having provoked a war which had agitated Christendom, and 
suspended the execution of his designs for the Eastern cru- 
sade. The violent policy of the sovereign pontiff aimed at 
striking terror into all heretics, and encouraging Christians 
to arm for the cause of Jesus Christ and that of his vicar 
upon earth. 

After having condemned the new errors, and pronounced 
the anathemas of the Church against all who strayed from 
the way of the faith, the pontiff and the fathers ol" the 
council gave their attention to the Christians of the East, 
and the means of promptly succouring tlie Holy Land. All 
the dispositions expressed in the bull of convocation were 
confirmed ; it was decreed that all ecclesiastics should pay 
the twentieth of their revenues towards the expenses of the 
crusade ; that the pope and the cardinals should pay the 
tei'3^Ls, the measLsrx.'J that there should be a truce of four 
years among all Christian princes. The coun il launched 
the thunders of excommunication against all princes that 
should molest the march of pilgrims, and against all that 
should furnish infidels with provisions or arms r the sove- 
reign pontiff promised to direct the preparations for the 
war, to contribute tliree thousand silver marka and to sup- 
ply, at his own expense, several vessels for the transport of 
the Crusaders. 

The dec sious of the coiuicil and the speeches of the pope 


made a profound impression upon the minds of the western 
Christians. All the preachers of the holy war were formally 
directed to recall the fiiithful to a sense of penitence, and 
to prohibit dances, tournaments, and public sports ; to re- 
form morals and to revive in all hearts the love of religion 
and virtue. They were commanded, after the example of 
the sovereign pontiff, to make the complaints of Jerusalem 
resound in the palaces of princes ; and to earnestly solicit 
monarchs and nobles to assume the cross, so that the people 
might be induced to do no likewise. 

The decrees concerning the holy wars were published in all 
the churches of the West ; in several provinces, particularly 
in the north of Eiu-ope, the prodigie;:^ and miraculous appa- 
ritions that had excited enthusiasm at the period of the first 
crusades, became common ; luminous crosses appeared 
in the lieavens, and made the inhabitants of Cologne and 
the cities in the vicinity of the Bhiue believe that God 
favoured the holy enterprise, and that the divine power pro- 
mised the defeat and ruin of the infidels to the arms of the 

The orators redoubled their ardour and zeal to engage 
the faithful to take a part in the holy war. From the 
pulpits imprecations were poured forth against the Saracens, 
always accompanied by a repetition of the words of Christ : 
" I am come to establish war." The eloquence of prelates, 
bishops, and pastors had no other aim than summoning all 
Christian warriors to arms. The voices of preachers were 
not the only trumpet-calls ; poetry herself, who had but re- 
cently revived in the southern provinces of France, chose 
the holy expeditions as the themes of her songs ; and the 
profane muse of the troubadours mingled their notes with 
the animated words of the sacred orators. The Pierres 
d'Auvergne, the Ponces de Capdeuil, the Folquets do 
Komano, ceased to sing the love of ladies and the courtesy 
of Itnights, to celebrate in their verses, the sufferings of 
Clirist and the captivity of Jerusalem. " The times are 
come," said they, "in which it will be seen who are the men 
worthy of serving the Eternal. God now calls upon the 
valiant and chivalrous ; they shall be his soldiers for ever, 
who, knowing how to suffer for their faith, and fight, for God, 
shall prove themselves frank, generous, loyal, and brave ; let 


the base lovers of life or seekers for gold remain behind 
God now only calls upon the good and brave. It is his wilj 
that his faithful servants should secure salvation by noble 
feats of arms ; and that glory obtained in fight should open 
to them the gates of heaven."* 

One of the minstrels of the holy war celebrates in hia 
verses the zeal, the prudence, and courage of the head of the 
Church; and to induce the faithful to assume the cross, 
sings: " JVe have a sure and valorous guide, the sovereign 
fontiff InnocentP 

It then began to be hoped that the father of the Chris- 
tians would himself lead the Crusaders, and sanctify the 
Asiatic expedition by his presence. The pope, in the coun- 
cil of the Lateran, had expressed a desire to assume the 
cross, and to go in person to take possession of the heritage 
of Christ ; but the state of Europe, the progress of heresy, 
and, doubtless, also, the advice of the bishops and cardinals, 
prevented the accomplishment of his design. 

As germs of dissension still subsisted between several 
European states, these discords might be prejudicial to the 
success of the holy war ; and the pope sent forth emissaries 
to act as angels of peace ; he himself repairing to Tuscany, 
to appease the quarrels that had broken out between the 
Pisans and Grenoese. His words soothed down aU angry 
passions ; at his voice the most implacable enemies swore to 
forget their disputes, and unite to combat against the Sara- 
cens. His most ardent wishes appeared about to be fulfilled, 
and the whole West, obedient to his sovereign will, was 
ready to precipitate itself upon Asia, when he feU suddenly 
ill, and died, leaving to his successors the care and honour 
of finishing so great an enterprise. 

Like all men who have exercised great power amidst poli- 
tical tempests. Innocent, after his death, was, by turns, 
praised and blamed with all the exaggeration of love and 
hatred. Some said he had been summoned to the heavenly 
Jerusalem, as God wished to reward his zeal for the deliver- 
ance of the holy places ; whilst others had recourse to mira- 

* M. Raynourc'., who has made profound researches into the language 
and poetry of the troubadours, communicated to us this piece of Pierre of 
Auvergnp, with several others which appear to us of great interest, and 
which we will io^rt in our Appendix. 


culous apparitions, and made saints speak in condemnation 
of ILs memory ; sometimes he was seen pursued by a dragon, 
whose purpose was to inflict justice upon him; and at 
others he appeared surrounded by the flames of purgatory. 
Europe had been in a constant state of trouble during his 
pontificate ; there was scarcely a kingdom upon which the 
wrath of the pontifl" had not been poured out ; and so many 
excesses, so many misfortunes had embittered men's minds, 
that it M^as natural they should take a pleasure in believing 
that the vicar of Christ upon earth was expiating in another 
life the crimes of this. Innocent, nevertheless was irre- 
proachable in his manners ; at first he had evinced some 
degree of moderation ; he loved truth and justice ; but the 
unhappy condition of the Church, the obstacles of all kinds 
waiich he met with in his spiritual * government, irritated 
his character, and drove him to the excesses of a violent 
policy ; at length, preserving no propriety or self-command, 
he burst forth with the ever-memorable and reprehensible 
words : " Siuord, sword, spring from the scahhard, and sharpen 
thyself to kill.^'f As he had undertaken far too much, he 
left serious embarrassments to those who might assume the 
reins of power after him ; and such was the situation in 
which his policy had placed the Holy See, that his succes- 
sors were obliged to follow up his maxims, and complete both 
the good and the evil he had begun. From this period, the 
history of the crusades will be incessantly interrupted by 
the quarrels of popes and princes, and we shall follow the 
pilgrims to the Holy Land amidst the clashing of the thun- 
ders launched by the various heads of the Church. 

Censius Savelli, cardinal of St. Lucia, was chosen by tlio 
conclave to succeed Innocent, and governed the Church 
under the name of Honorius III. On the day after his 

* In a dissertation upon the cardinal de Cour9on, M. du Theil has 
undertaken to make the apology of Innocent III. We have the greatest 
respect for this savant ; but he evinces too strong an inclination to justify 
Innocent in all respects ; and an application of the common proyerb, 
** HiJ who proves too much proves nothi7ig," is quite in place here. 

t Innocent pronounced these words against Louis, the son of Philip 
Augustus, whom he had induced to make war against the king of England ; 
and whom he afterwards wished to excommunicate, because this prince 
persisted in continuing a war begun by the commands and advice of the 
Holy See. 


coronation, the new pope wrote to the king of Jerusalem, to 
announce his elevation, and to revive the hopes of the Chris- 
tians of Syria. " Let not the death of Innocent," said he, 
" depress your courage ; altliough I am far from being his 
equal in merit, I will show the same zeal for the deliverance 
of the Holy Land ; and when the season shall arrive, will do 
everything in my power to assist you." A pontifical letter, 
addressed to all bishops, exhorted them to continue to 
preach the crusade. 

In order to secure success to the Oriental expedition, 
Innocent had first endeavoured to re-establish peace in 
Europe ; and certainly the necessity in which the popes 
found themselves at such times, to promote concord among 
nations, was one of the greatest benefits of the holy wars. 
Honorius followed the example of his predecessor, and was 
desirous of calming all discords, even such as owed their 
origin to the pretensions of the Romish see. Louis YIIL, 
son of Philip Augustus, at the solicitation of the pontiff", had 
taken arms against England, and was not willing to renounce 
the project of invading a kingdom so long subjected to the 
anger of the Church. The pope even stooped to supplica- 
tions to disarm the redoubtable enemy of the king of 
England. He hoped that England and Erance, after having 
suspended their hostilities, would unite their efforts for the 
deliverance of the holy places ; but these hopes were never 
accomplished. Henry III. ascended the throne of England 
after the death of John, and took the cross to secure the 
favour of the sovereign pontiff"; but he had no idea of 
quitting his kingdom. The king of Erance, constantly 
occupied with the war against the Albigeois, and perhaps 
also with the secret designs of his ambition, satisfied himself 
with expressing the greatest respect for the authority of the 
Holy See, but took no part in the crusade.* 

* I have observed more than once, that our author is so absorbed in 
the histor/ he has undertaken, that he is somewhat loose in his remarks 
upon that of the nations nearest to him. It was not Ukely that Henry III., 
a boy of nine years old, should take the cross, or that the prudent Pem- 
broke and his other counsellors would allow the forces of an unsettled 
kinedom to be wasted upon such a scheme. The king of France again, 
"/hi he says was constantly occupied in the war against the Albigeois, 
ha'l absolutely nothing to do with that war. The southern provinces 
Buhiected to this calamity were fiefs of the crown of Aragon, and did not 


Most of the bishops and prelates of the kingdom, whom 
the sovereign pontiff had entreated to present an example oi 
devotedness, exhibited much greater eagerness and zeal on 
this occasion than the barons and knights ; many of then? 
took the cross, and prepared to set out for the East. Frede- 
rick, who owed the imperial crown to the protection of the 
Church, renewed, in two solemn assemblies, his oath to make 
war against the Saracens. The example and promises of 
the emperor, whatever doubt might be entertained of their 
sincerity, had a powerful effect over the princes anJ people 
of Germany. The inhabitants of the banks of the B^hine, 
those of Friesland, Bavaria, Saxony, and Norway ; the dukfis 
of A ustria, Moravia, Brabant, and Lemburg ; the counts of 
Juliers, Holland, De Wit, and Loo ; with the archbishop of 
Mayence and the bishops of Bamberg, Passau, Strasburg, 
Munster, and Utrecht, emulatively ranged themselves under 
the banners of the cross, and prepared to quit the Yf est. 

Among the princes who took the oath to fight against the 
Mussulmans, was Andrew II., king of Hungary. Bela, the 
father of the Hungarian monarch, had made a vow to go to 
the Holy Land ; but not having been able to undertake the 
pilgrimage, he had, on his death-bed, required his son to 
accomplish his oath. Andrew, after having taken the cross, 
was for a long time detained in his states by the troubles to 
which his ambition had given birth, and which he had great 
difficulty in suppressing. Gertrude, whom he had married 
before the fifth crusade, made enemies of the whole court 
and nobility by her pride and her intrigues. This imperious 
princess* committed such extraordinary insults against the 
magnates of the kingdom, and inspired them with so violent 
a hatred, that they formed conspiracies against her life, and 

belong at that time to France in any way. Whilst these wars were raging, 
Philip was prudently extending his dominions to the north and north-east. 
— Trans. 

* Bonfinius, the historian of Hungary, says that Gertrude gave up the 
wife of Banc, the chancellor of the kingdom, to the criminal desires of 
her brother. He adds that Banc killed the queen to avenge this injury ; 
but this assertion is contradicted by all historians. The same author 
says that the wife of Andrew was assassinated during his voyage to the 
Holy Land ; but this assertion is as false as the first. Gertrude was 
assassinated on the 18th of September, 1213. — See Palma, Notilia Rer, 
Hung. t. i. 



introduced murderers even into her palace. Disorders and 
misfortunes without number followed these crimes, the 
greatest of which, doubtless, was the impunity of the guilty. 

In such circumstances policy would certainly have pointed 
it out to t'le king of Hungary, as his duty, to remain in his 
own states ; but the spectacle of so many unpunished crimes, 
without doubt, alarmed his weakness, and strengthened his 
desire of getting at a distance from a court filled with his 
enemies. Like his mother, the wadow of Bela,* he expected 
to find in the places consecrated by the sufferings of Christ, 
an asylum against the griefs which beset his life ; the Hun- 
garian monarch might likewise think that the holy pilgrimage 
would make him more respected by his subjects, and that 
the Church, ever armed in favour of royal crusaders, would 
defend the rights of his crown better than he himself could. 
He resolved at length to perform the vow he had made 
before his dying father, and earnestly set about preparations 
for his departure for Syria. 

Andrew then reigned over a vast kingdom, — Hungary, 
Dalmatia, Croatia, Bosnia, Gralicia, and the" province of 
Lodomira obeyed his laws, and paid him tribute ; and 
throughout all these provinces, so lately enemies to the 
Christians, the crusades were preached. Hordes w^andering 
amidst forests, listened to the complaints of Sion, and swore 
to fight against the infidels. Among the nations of Hun- 
gary, who, a century before, had been the terror of the pil- 
grim companions of Peter the Hermit, a crowd of warriors 
eagerly took the cross, and promised to follow their monarch 
to the Holy Land. 

Vessels and fleets for the transport of the Crusaders were 
equipped in all the ports of the Baltic, the ocean, and the 
Mediterranean ; and yet, at the very same time, a crusade 
was being preached against the inhabitants of Prussia, who 
still remained in the darkness of idolatry. Poland, Saxony, 
Norway, and Livonia armed their w\arriors to overthrow the 
idols of paganism on the banks of the Oder and the Vistula, 
whilst the other nations of the West were preparing to make 
war against the Saracens in the plains of Jv daea and Syria. 

The still savage people of Prussia, separated by their 

* Marguerite, (lueen of Hungary, set out for Palestine after the death 
of Bela, her husband — See the ninth book of this History. 


religion and their customs from the other inhabitants of 
Europe, presented in the centre of Christendom, in "^^he 
thirteenth century, a living picture of ancient paganism, and 
of the superstitions of the old nations of the TCorth, Their 
character and their manners are worthy of fixijig the atten- 
tion of both the historian and his readers, fatigued, perhaps, 
by the constant repetition of the preaching of holy wars, 
and the distant expeditions of the Crusaders. 

Much discussion has taken place concerning the origin of 
the ancient inhabitants of Prussia, and we have nothing on 
this head but conjectures and systems. The Prussians were, 
in person, like the Germans ;* blue eyes, a spirited and 
lively look, ruddy cheeks, a lofty stature, a robust form, and 
light hair : this resemblance to the Grermans was produced 
by climate, and not by the mixture of the nations ; the inha- 
bitants of Prussia had more affinity with the Lithuanians, 
whose language they spoke, and whom they imitated in their 
dress. They lived by the chase, fishing, and the flesh of 
their flocks ; agriculture was not unknown to them ; their 
mares trirnished them with milk, their sheep with wool, their 
bees with honey ; in commercial transactions they had very 
little to do with money : to prepare flax and leather, to split 
stones, to sharpen their arms, and to fashion yellow amber, 
constituted the whole of their industry. They marked time 
by knots tied in thongs, and the hours by the words twilight j 
light, dawn, sunrise, evening, the first sleep, &c. The 
appearance of the Pleiades directed them in their labours. 

The months of the year bore the names of the productions 
of the earth, and of the objects presented to their eyes by 

* The Chronicle of Peter Durburg, a priest of the Teutonic order, may 
be consulted on the manners and religion of the ancient Prussians. This 
(chronicle, whose purpose is to describe the conquests of the Teutonic- 
knights, contains several historical dissertations, which appear to us to 
have great merit ; the most curious are, Dissertatio de Diis Veterum 
Prussorum ; Dissertatio de Sacerdotlbus Veterum Prussorum ,- Dissertatio 
de CvltuDeorumy de Nuptiis, de Fanerihvs, de Locis Divino Cultui dicatis, 
Sec. Sic. A Latin disbertation, De Moribus Tartarorum, Lithuanorum, 
et Moschorum, may likewise be consulted. This work contains curious 
details upon the worship and manners of Lithuania and Samogitia, which 
bore a strong resemblance to the worship and manners of the Prussians. 
M. Kotzbue, in his history of the Teutonic knights, has thrown gieat 
light upon the origin of the legislation, and the customs and religion of 
the ancient inhabitants of Prussia. 


eac!i season ; they knew the month of crows, the month ol 
pigeons, that of cuckoos, of the green birch-trees, of the 
Hnden-trees, of corn, of the departure of the birds, of the 
fah of leaves, &c. Wars, the conflagrations of great forests, 
hurricanes, and inundations, formed the principal epochs of 
their liistory. 

The people dwelt in huts built of earth, the rich in houses 
constructed of oak timber ; there was not a city in Prussia. 
Some strong castles appeared upon the hills. This nation, 
though savage, recognised princes and nobles ; he who had 
conquered enemies, and he who excelled in taming horses, 
attained nobility. The lords held the right of life and death 
over their vassals ; the Prussians made no wars for the pur- 
pose of conquering an enemy's country, but solely to defend 
their homes and their gods. Their arms consisted of the 
lance and the javelin, which they handled with much skill. 
The warriors named their chief, who was blessed by the high 
priest ; before going to battle, the Prussians selected one of 
their prisoners of war, fastened him to a tree, and transfixed 
him with arrows.* They believed in omens ; the eagle, the 
white pigeon, the crow, the stork, the bustard, promised 
victory ; the stag, the wolf, the lynx, the mouse, the sight of 
a sick person, or even of an old woman, annomiced defeats 
or reverses ; when presenting their hand, they offered peace ; 
when swearing to treaties, they placed one hand upon their 
breast and the other upon the sacred oak. When victorious, 
they tried their prisoners of war, and the most distinguished 
among them expired at the stake, — a sacrifice to the gods of 
the country. 

Amidst all their barbarous customs, the Prussians had 
the reputation of respecting the laws of hospitality. The 
stranger and the shipwrecked mariner were su^e to find an 
asylum and succour among them ; intrepid in war, simple 
and mild in peace, ^ijrateful but vindictive, respecting misiop- 

* A letter from Pope Honorius to the archbishop of Maience, says that 
there is in Prussia a nation of barbarians, of whom it is said that they kill 
all the girls but one born of each mother ; that they prostitute their 
daughters and wives, immolate captives to their gods, and bathe their 
swords ai.OL lances in the blood of these victims, to bring them success in 
battle —See Raynal, 1218. We refer our readers to our Appendix, fo# 
•Oiae derails upon the manners of the Prussians. 


hme, they had more virtues than vices, and were only 
corrupted by the excess of their superstition. 

The Prussians believed in another life ; they called hell, 
PecMa ; chains, thick darkness, and fetid waters corstituted 
the punishment of the wicked. In the Elysian fields, which 
th(^y called Bogus, beautiful women, banquets, delicious 
drink, dances, soft couches, and fine clothes were the rewards 
of virtue. 

In a place called Remove, arose a flourishing oak, which 
had witnessed the passage of a hundred generations, whose 
colossal trunk contained three images of their principal gods ; 
the foliage daily dripped with the blood of immolated victims; 
there the high priest had established his abode, and there 
administered justice. The priests alone ventured to approach 
this holy place ; the guilty slunk from it trembling. Per- 
Icunas, the god of thunder and fire, was the first among the 
deities of the Prussians ; he had the countenance of an 
angry man, his beard was curled, and his head was surrounded 
with flames. The people called claps of thunder, the march 
or steps of Perkunas. JN'ear the grove of Remove, on the 
banks of a sulphureous spring, an eternal fire burned in 
honour of the god of thunder. 

Near Perkunas, Fotri7npus appeared, in the form of a 
young man, wearing a crown of wheat-ears ; he was adored 
as the god of waters and rivers ; he preserved mankind 
from the scourge of war, and presided over the pleasures of 
peace. By a strange contradiction, they oftered up to this 
pacific divinity, the blood of animals, and that of the captives 
slaughtered at the foot of the oak ; sometimes children were 
sacrificed to him ; the priests consecrated the serpent to him, 
as symbolical of fortune. 

Beneath the shade of the sacred tree, was still another 
idol, called JPycollos, the god of the dead ; he bore the form 
of an old man, with grey hair, hollow eyes, and a pale coun- 
tenance, his head enfolded in a shroud ; his altars were heaps 
of human bones ; the infernal deities were obedient to his 
laws; he inspired both grief and terror. 

A fourth divinity, Curko, whose image ornamented the 
branches of the oak of Remove, furnished mankind with the 
necessaries of life. Every year, at autumnal seed-time, his 
image was renewed ; it consisted of a goat-skin, elevated 

222 HISTORY or the CRrSADES. 

upon a pole eiglit feet high, crowned with biides of corn ; 
the priest sacrificed upon a stone, honey, milk, and the fruita 
of the earth, whilst the youth of both sexes formed a circle 
round the idol. 

The Prussians celebrated several other festivals during 
spring and summer, in honour of the same god ; at the 
spring festival, which took place on the 22nd of March, 
they addressed Curko in these words : " It is thou who hast 
chased away winter, and brought fair and fine days back to 
us ; by thee the gardens and the fields rebloom ; by thee 
the forests and the woods resume their verdure." Tie in- 
habitants of Prussia had a crowd of other gods, whom they 
invoked for their flocks, their bees, the forests, the waters, 
harvest, commerce, the peace of families, and conjugal hap- 
piness ; a divinity with a hundred eyes w^atched over the 
threshold of houses ; one god guarded the yard, another the 
stable ; the hunter heard the spirit of the forest howl amidst 
the tree-tops ; the mariner recommended himself to the god 
of the sea. Laimele was invoked by women in labour, and 
spun the lives of mankind. Tutelary divinities arrested the 
progress of conflagrations, caused the sap of the birch-trees 
to flow, guarded roads, and avrakened workmen and labourers 
before the da"v\Ti of day. The air, the earth, the waters were 
peopled by gnomes or little gods, and with ghosts and 
goblins, which they called arvans. It was believed by all 
that the oak was a tree dear to the gods, and that its shade 
offered an asylum against the violence of men or the assaults 
of destiny. In addition to the oak of E^emove, the Prussians 
had several other trees of the same kind, which they con- 
sidered the sanctuaries of their divinities. They consecrated 
also linden-trees, firs, maples, and even whole forests ; they 
held in reverence fountains, lakes, and mountains ; they 
adored serpents, owls, storks, and other animals : in short, 
in the countries inhabited by the Prussians, all nature was 
fi' led with divinities, and, up to the fourteenth century, it 
might be said of a European nation, as Bossuet said of 
ancient paganism, " Everything there was god, except God 

A long time before the crusades, St. Adalbert had left his 
native country, Bohemia, to penetrate into ,^the forests of 
Prussia, and endeavour to convert the Prussians to Chris- 


fcianity ; bufc his eloquence, his moderation, or his charity, 
could not disarm the fury of the priests of Perkuiias. 
Adalbert died, pierced with arrows, and received the palm 
of martyrdom ; other missionaries shared the same fate ; 
their blood arose against their murderers, and the report of 
their death, togfether with an account of the cruelties of a 
barbarous people, everywhere cried aloud upon the Christiana 
of the North for vengeance. The neighbouring nations 
were constantly entertaining tlie resolution to take arms 
against the idolaters of Prussia. An abbot of the monastery 
of Oliva, more able, and still further, more fortunate than 
his predecessors, undertook the conversion of the pagans of 
the Oder and the Vistula, and succeeded, with the assistance 
of the Holy See, iu getting up a crusade against the wor- 
shippers of false gods ; a great number of Christians took 
the cross, at the summons of the pope, who promised them 
eternal life if they fell in fight, and lands and treasures if 
they trimnphed over the enemies of Christ, The knights of 
Christ and tho knights of the sword, instituted to subdue 
the pagp.ns of Livonia, with the Teutonic knights,, who in 
Palestine rivalled in power and glory the two other orders 
of the Ter:iple and the Hospital, at the first signal flocked to 
the standards of the army assembled to invade Prussia, and 
convert its inhabitants : thir. war lasted more than two cen- 
turies. In this sanguinary struggle, if the Christian religion 
sometimes inspired its cornbatants with its virtues, the leaders 
of this long crusade were much more frequently influenced 
by vengeance, ambition, and avarice. The knights of the 
Teutonic order, whose bravery almost always amounted to 
heroism, remained masters of the country conquered by tlieir 
arms. These victorious monks never edified the people they 
subdued, either by their moderation or their charity ; and 
were often accused before the tribunal of the head of tlie 
Church, of having converted the Prussians, not to make tliem 
servants of Christ, but to increase the number of their own 
subjects and slaves. 

We have only spoken of the people of Prussia, and of the 
wars made against them, to exhibit to our readers a nation 
and customs almost unknown to modern scholars even ; and 
to show how far ambition and a thirst of conquest was able 
to abuse the spirit of the crusades : we hasten to rc'turn to 

224 niSTOEY or the crusades. 

tlie expedition that was being prepared against the 

Germany considered Frederick II. as the leader of the 
war about to be made in Asia ; but the new emperor, seated 
en a throne for a long time shaken by civil wars, dreading 
the enterprises of the Italian republics, and perhaps those 
of the popes their protectors, thought it prudent to defer 
his departure for Palestine. 

The zeal of the Crusaders, however, did not abate, and in 
their impatience they turned their eyes towards the kmg of 
Hungary to take tlie command in the holy war. Andrew, 
accompanied by the duke of Bavaria, the duke of Austria, 
and the German nobles who had taken the cross, set out for 
the East, at the head of a numerous army, and repaired to 
Spalatro, where vessels from Venice, Zara, Ancona, and other 
cities of the Adriatic, awaited the Crusaders, to transport 
them into Palestine. 

In all the countries through which he marched, the king 
of Hungary w^as followed by the benedictions of the people. 
When he approached the city of Spalatro, the inhabitants 
and the clergy came out in prooesr^ion to meet him, and con- 
ducted him to their principal church, where all the faithful 
were assembled to call down the mercy of Heaven upon the 
Christian warriors. A few days after, tlie fleet of the Cru- 
saders left the port* of Spalatro, and set sail for the island 
of Cyprus, at which place were met the deputies of the king 
and the patriarch of Jerusalem, of the orders of the Temple 
and St. John, and of the Teutonic knights. 

A crowd of Crusaders, w^ho had embarked at Brindisi, at 
Genoa, and at Marseilles, preceded the king of Hungary and 
his army. Lusignan, king of Cyprus, and the greater part 
■„f his barons, influenced by the example of so many illus- 
trious princes, took the cross, and promised to follow them 
into the Holy Land. All the Crusaders embarked together 
at the port of Lemisso, and landed in triumph at Ptolemais. 

* Le Pere Maimbourg and most historians make the king of Hungary 
embark at Venice ; but they are unacquainted with the Chronicle of 
Thomas, deacon of Spalatro, who furnishes the fullest details of the passage 
of Andrew II. Into the Holy Land, and his return to his dominions. This 
Chronicle, it is true, contains many doubtful things concerning the crusade, 
and the kingdom of Hungary on the return of Andrew ; bi t it is quite 
W(,rthy of con^i« ice in all that passed at Spalatro. 


An Arabian historian says, that since the time of Saladin 
the Christians had never had so numerous an army in Syria.* 
Thanks to Heaven were offered up in all the churches, for 
the powerful aid it had sent to the Holy Land ; but the joy 
of the Christians of Palestine was quickly troubled by the 
serious difficulty in which they found themselves to procure 
provisions for such a multitude of pilgrims. 

This year (1217) had been barren throughout the richest 
countries of Syria ;t and the vessels from the West had 
only been laden with machines of war, arms, and baggage. 
Deficiency of food was soon felt among the Crusaders, and 
led the soldiers to license and robbery ; the Bavarians com- 
mitted the greatest disorders ; pillaging houses and monas • 
teries, and devastating the neighbouring country ; the leaders 
had no other means of reestablishing order and peace in the 
army, but by giving the signal for war against the Saracens ; 
and, to save the lands and dwellings of the Christians, they 
proposed to their soldiers to ravage the cities and territories 
of the infidels. 

The whole army, commanded by the kings of Jerusalem, 
Cyprus, and Hungary, encamped on the banks of the torrent 
of Cison. The patriarch of the holy city, in order to strike 
the imagination of the Crusaders, and prevent their for- 
getting the object of their enterprise, repaired to the camp, 
bringing with him a portion of the wood of the true cross, 
which he pretended to have been saved at the battle of 
Tiberias. The kings and princes came out, barefooted, to 
meet him, and received with respect the sign of redemption. 
This ceremony rekindled the zeal and enthusiasm of the 
Crusaders, whose ardent desire now was to fight for Christ. 

* "This year," 614 of the Hegyra, says the continuatorof Tabary, ** the 
Franks received succours by sea f^om Rome the great, and other countries 
of the Franks, both west and north. It was the chief of Rome, a prelate 
much revered among the Christians, who directed them ; he sent troops 
from his own country under various commanders, and he ordered the other 
Frank kings either to march in person or send iheir troops." 

f A letter from the master of the soldiers of the Temple, addressed to 
Honorius III., enters into several details respecting the situation of the 
Holy Land at this period. This letter speaks of the scarcity experienced 
in Syria ; the master of the Templars adds, that they could procure no 
horses. " For this reason," said he to the pope, "exhort all who have 
taken the cross, or intend to take it, to furnish themselves with such 
things as they cannot procure here." 


The army crossed the torrent, and advanced towards the 
valley of Jesrael, between Mount Hernion and Mount 
Gelboe, without meeting an enemy. The leaders and sol- 
diers bathed in the Jordan, and passed over the plain of 
Jericho, and along the shores of the great lake of Grenesaretk, 
The Christian army marched singing spiritual songs ; religion 
and its remembrances had restored discipline and peace 
among them. Every object and place they beheld around 
tliem filled them with a pious veneration for the Holy Land. 
In this campaign, which was a true pilgrimage, they made a 
great number of prisoners without fighting a battle, and re- 
turned to Ptolemais loaded with booty. 

At the period of this crusade, Malek-Adel no longer 
reigned over either Syria or Egypt. After having mounted 
the throne of Saladin by injustice and violence, he had de- 
scended from it voluntarily ; the conqueror of all obstacles, 
and having no longer a wish to form, he became sensible of 
the emptiness of human grandeur, and gave up the reins of 
an empire that nobody had the power to dispute with him. 
Melik Kamel, the eldest of his sons, was sultan of Cairo ; 
and Corradin* was sultan of Damascus. His other sons 
had received, as their shares of the empire, the principalities 
of Bosra, Baalbec, Mesopotamia, &c. Malek-Adel, relieved 
from the cares of government, visited his children by turns, 
and preserved peace among them. All he had reserved of 
his past power was the ascendancy of a great renown, and 
of a glory acquired by numberless heroic exploits ; but this 
ascendancy held princes, people, and army in subjection. In 
moments of peril, his counsels became laws : the soldiers 
still considered him as their leader ; his sons as their sove- 
reign arbiter; and all Mussulmans as their defender and 

The new crusade had spread terror among the inj&dels, 
but Malek-Adel calmed their fears by assuring them that the 
Christians would soon be divided an ongst themselves, and 
by telling them that this formidable expedition resembled 
the storms which howl over Mount Libanus, and which dis- 
perse of themselves : neither the armies of Egypt, nor the 
armies of Syria, made their appearance in Judaea ; and the 

* This prinje was named Cheref-Eddin Melik Moaddham. 


Crusaders assembled at Ptolemais were astonished at meet- 
ing no enemy to contend with. The leaders of the Christian 
army had resolved to direct their march towards the banks 
of the Nile ; but winter, which was about to commence, 
would not permit them to undertake so distant an enter- 
prise. To employ the soldiers, whom idleness always seduced 
into license, it was determined to make an attack upon 
Mount Tabor, where the Mussulmans had fortified them- 

Mount Tabor, so celebrated in the Old and New Testa- 
ment, arises like a superb dome amidst the vast plain of 
Galilee. The declivity of the mountain is covered with 
flowers and odoriferous plants ; from the summit of Tabor, 
which forms a level of a league in extent, may be seen, tra- 
vellers say, all the banks of the Jordan, the Lake of Tiberias, 
the Sea of Syria, and most of the places in which Christ 
performed his miracles. 

A church, the erection of which was due to the piety of 
St. Helena, stood on the very spot where the transfiguration 
of Christ took place in presence of his disciples, and for a 
length of time attracted crowds of pilgrims. Two monas- 
teries, built at the summit of Tabor, recalled for centuries 
the memory of Moses and EHas, whose names they bore ; but, 
from the reign of Saladin, the standard of Mahomet had 
floated over this holy mountain ; the church of St. Helena 
and the monasteries of Moses and Elias had been demolished, 
and upon their ruins was raised a fortress, from which 
the Mussulmans constantly threatened the territories of 

It was impossible to ascend Mount Tabor without en- 
countering a thousand dangers ; but nothing intimidated 
the Christian warriors : the patriarch of Jerusalem, who 
marched at their head, showed them the true cross, and 
animated them by his example and his eloquent words. 
Enormous stones rolled from the heights occupied by the 
infidels, who poured down an endless shower of javelins and 
arrows upon all the roads which led to the top of the moun- 
tain. The valour of the soldiers of the cross braved all the 
efforts of the Saracens ; the king of Jerusalem distinguished 
himself by prodigies of bravery, and killed two emirs with 
his own hand. The summit of the mountain being attained, 


the Crusaders dispersed tlie Mussulmans, and pursueu them 
to the gates of their fortress : nothing could resist their 
arnis. But a.I at once several of the leaders began to enter- 
tain suspicions regarding the intentions of the sultan of 
Damascus ; and tlie fear of a surprise acted the more 
strongly on their minds from no one having foreseen it. 
AVhilst the Mussulmans retired filled with terror behind 
their ramparts, a sudden panic seized the conquerors : the 
Crusaders renounced the attack of the fortress, and the 
whole Christian army retreated without effecting anything ; 
as if it had only ascended Mount Tabor to contemplate the 
spot rendered sacred by the transfiguration of the Saviour. 

AVe could scarcely yield faith to the account of this pre- 
cipitate flight, without the evidence of contemporary histo- 
rians;* the ancient chronicles, according to their custom, 
do not fail to attribute to treachery an event they cannot 
comprehend ; it appears to us, however, much more natural 
to suppose that the retreat of the Crusaders was produced 
by the discord and want of foresight which prevailed in all 
their undertakings. f 

This retreat had most fatal results ; whilst the leaders re- 
proached each other with the disgrace of the army and the 
egregious error they had committed, the knights and sol- 
diers sank into a state of discouragement. The patriarch 
of Jerusalem refused from that time to bear the wood of the 
true cross in the van of the Crusaders, as he found the sight 
of it could neither revive their piety nor reanimate their 
courage. The kings and princes who directed the crusade, 
wishing to retrieve so shameful a reverse before they returned 
to Palestine, led the army towards Phoenicia. In this new 

* It is our duty to quote here what is met with in the continuator of 
Tabary, or the false Tabary, relative to this expedition of the Christians : 
"They undertook to besiege the castle of Thour (Tabor), and reached 
the top of the mountain and the foot of the walls. They were very near 
becoming masters of it ; but one of their princes being dead, they retired, 
after having remained seventeen days before the fort." This account is 
quite contrary to that of the western historians, and otherwise bears no 
mark of probability. It is true that the king of Cyprus died during this 
campaign of the Crusaders ; but he died at Tripoli, and more than a month 
after the expedition of Mount Tabor. 

t According to the chronicles of the times, and the report of travellers, 
there is no water on Mount Tabor. It is probable that the want of watet 
prevented the Crusaders from undertaking the siege of the fortress. 


Campaign no exploit signalized their arms beuig winter, ? 
great number of the -soldiers, overcome by cold, remained 
abandoned on the roads, whilst others fell into the hands of 
the Bedouin Arabs. On Christmas eve, the Crusaders, who 
were encamped between Tyre and Sarphat, were surprised 
by a violent tempest ; wind, rain, hail, whirlwinds, incessant 
peals of thunder killed their horses, carried away their tents, 
and scattered their baggage. This disaster completed their 
despondency, and created a belief that Heaven refused them 
its support. 

As they were in serious want of provisions, and the whole 
army could not subsist in one place, they resolved to divide 
themselves into four different bodies till the end of winter. 
This separation, v/hich was made amidst mutual complaints, 
appeared to be the work of discord much more than of 
necessity. The king of Jerusalem, the duke of Austria, and 
the grand master of St. John encamped in the plains of 
Ciesarea ; the king of Hungary, the king of Cyprus, and 
Kaymond, son of the prince of Antioch, retired to Tripoli;* 
the grand masters of the Templars and the Teutonic knights, 
and Andrew d'Avesnes, with the Flemish Crusaders, went 
to fortif}^ a castle built at the foot of Mount Carmel ; the 
otlier Crusaders retired to Ptolemais with the intention of 
going back to Europe. 

The king of Cyprus fell ill and died just as he was upon 
the point of embarking for his own kingdom. The king of 
Hungary was discouraged, and began to despair of the suc- 
cess of a war so unfortunately commenced. This prince, 
after a sojourn of three months in Palestine, thought his 
vow accomplished, and resolved, all at once, to return to his 

The West had doubtless been surprised to see Andrew 
abandon his kingdom, torn by factions, to repair to Syria ; 
and the Eastern Christians were not less astonished at see- 
ing this prince leave Palestine without having done any- 
thing for the deliverance of the holy places. The patriarch 
of Jerusalem reproached him with inconstancy, and employed 
his utmost efforts to retain him beneath the banners of the 

* The unimportant accounts of this period are to be found in the con- 
tinuator of Wiiliara of Tyre and in James of Vitri, who was then bishop 
of Ptolemais. 


cross; but finding Andrew would not yield to his prayei ; 
he had recourse to threats, and displayed the formidab. * 
train of the weapons of the Church. Nothing, however, 
could shake the resolution of the king of Hungary, who 
satisfied himself with not appearing to desert the cause of 
(Christ by leaving half his troops under the command of the 
king of Jerusalem. 

After having quitted Palestine, Andrew remained for a 
long time in Armenia, appearing to forget his own enemies, 
as he had forgotten those of Christ. He came back into 
Europe through Asia Minoi and beheld, whilst passing Con- 
stantinople, the wreck of the Latin empire, which ought to 
have roused him from his pious indolence, and have reminded 
him of his own dangers. The Hungarian monarch, who had 
left his army in Syria, took back with him a number of relics ; 
such as the head of St. Peter, the right hand of the apostle 
Thomas, and one of the seven vases in which Christ changed 
water into wine at the marriage in Cana : his confidence in 
these revered objects made him negligent of the means of 
human prudence ; and, if we may believe a contemporary'' 
chronicle,* w^hen he returned into Hungary, the relics 
which he brought from the Holy Land sufficed for the sup- 
pression of all the troubles of his states, and caused peace, 
the laws, and justice, to flourish throughout his provinces. 
The greater part of the Hungarian historians, however, hold 
quite another language,t and reproach their monarch with 
having dissipated his treasures and his armies in an impru- 
dent and an unfortunate expedition ; the nobility and people 
took advantage of his long absence to impose laws upon 
him, and obtain liberties and privileges which weakened the 
royal power, and scattered the germs of a rapid decay in the 
kingdom of Hungary. 

* The archdeacon Thomas describes with great simplicity the miracles 
effected by the relics of the king of Hungary. 

f One of these historians, Palma, expresses himself thus : — Hsec 
«adem expeditio Hierosolymitana adeo nervos omnes monarchise Hun- 
^aricae absumpsit, ut unius propemodum seculi spatio ad pristinam opu- 
ientiam viresque redire nequiverit. Another historian adds, that the 
long absence of Andrew, and the imbecihty of his son, so completely 
alienated the minds of his subjects, that his return created no joy, and 
that Benedict, the chancellor of Queen YoUande, had difficulty in per- 
suading a few prelates to go out and meet him. 


After tlie departure of the king of Hungary, a great 
number of Crusaders arrived from the ports of Holland, 
France, and Italy. The Crusaders from Eriesland, Cologne, 
and the banks of the Rhine had stopped on the coast of 
Portugal, where they had conquered the Moors in several great 
battles, killed two Saracen princes, .and mounted the ban- 
ners of the cross upon the walls of Alcazar. They described 
the miracles by which Heaven had seconded their valour, 
and the apparition of angels, clothed in resplendent armour, 
who had fought on the banks of the Tagus, in the ranks of 
the soldiers of Christ.* The arrival of tihese warriors, with 
the account of their victories, revived the courage of the 
Crusaders who had remained in Palestine under the com- 
mand of Leopold, duke of Austria; with such a powerful 
reinforcement, nothing was talked of but renewing the war 
against the Mussulmans. 

The project of conquering the banks of the Nile often 
occupied the thoughts of the Christians ; since the idea of a 
war in Egypt had been put forth by the pope himself amidst 
the council of the Lateran, it had been considered as an in- 
spiration from Heaven ; they only thought of the advantages 
of a rich conquest, and the perils of so difficult an enterprise 
appeared of no importance in the eyes of the soldiers of the 

The Christian army, commanded by the king of Jerusa- 
lem, the duke of Austria, and William, count of Holland, 
embarked at the port of Ptolemais, and landed within siglit 
of Damietta, on the northern bank of the second mouth of 
the Nile. The city of Damietta,t situated at the distance 

* The register of Honorius in Rinaldi, and particularly the letter written 
by William of Holland to the pope, may be consulted for the details of 
this campaign against the Moors. William asks permission of the sove- 
reign pontiff to remain in Portugal a year; but this permission was refused 
him by the Holy See, at that time only interested in the crusade oeyond 
the sea. Some details concerning the expedition of the Crusaders in 
Portugal may be found in James of Vitri, and in the monk Godfrey. 

f Savary has rectified an error committed by several learned moderns, 
who have confounded the city of Damietta, fvhich existed in the times of 
the crusades, and which is called Thamiatis by Stephen of Byzantium, 
with the city of that name which exists at present. Aboulfeda informs us 
that the ancient Damietta was set fire to and demolished in the year Gl8 
of the Hegyra, after th« crusade of St. Louis, and that another city, und37 


of a mile from the sea, had a double rampart on the rive J 
side, and a triple wall on the land side ; a tower arose in tlie 
middle of the Nile, and an iron chain, which reached from 
^ie city to the tower, prevented the passage of vessels. The 
city contained a numerous garrison, with provisions ana 
munitions of war for a long siege. Damietta had already 
several times resisted formidable attacks of the ChristiaiTp. 
E-oger, king of Sicily, had made himself master of it in the 
preceding century, but he was not able to retain and defcmd 
it, against the united forces of the Mussulmans. 

The Crusaders arrived before Damietta early in April ; 
having pitched their tents in a vast plain, they had behind 
them lakes and pools abounding in fish of all kinds ;* before 
tliem the Nile, covered with their vessels ; a thousand canals, 
crowned with evergreen papyrus and reeds, intersected the 
lands, and spread Ireshness and fertility around them. In 
the fields which had so lately been the theatre of sanguinary 
contests, no traces of war were to be seen ; harvests of rice 
covered the plains in which Christian armies had perished 
by famine ; groves of oranges and citrons loaded with flowers 
and fruit ; woods of palms and sycamores, thickets of ja^;- 
mines and odoriferous shrubs, with a crowd of plants and 
wonders, unknown to the pilgrims, created the image of an 
earthly paradise, and made them fancy that Damietta must 
have been the first dwelling of man in his state of innocence. 
The aspect of a beautiful sky and a rich climate intoxicated 
them with joy, kept hope alive in their hearts, and held out 
to them the accomplishment cf all the divine promises. In 
their religious and warlike enthusiasm, they beiieved they 
saw Providence prodigal of its miracles for the success of 
their arms ; scarcely had they established their camp on the 
bank of the Nile, when an eclipse of the moon covered the 
horizon with darkness ; and even this phenomenon inflamed 
their courage, as it appeared to them a presage of the greatest 

the same name, was constructed at two leagues from the sea. The asser- 
tion of Aboulfeda agrees in this point with the description of Macuzi. 

* James of Vitri gives a sufficiently particular description of Egypt and 
its productions ; this portion of his history is not unworthy of the perusal 
of the learned, and may give a just idea of the knowledge of geography 
and natural history of the thirteenth century. 


The first attacks* were directed against the tower built in 
fche middle of the Nile ; vessels, in whicli were plac-ed towers, 
ladders, and drawbridges, approached the walls. The soldiers 
who manned them, braving the arrows and murderoua 
machines of the Mussulmans, made several assaults ; but 
prodigies of strength, courage, and skill were useless. The 
l^ost intrepid of the Crusaders, victims of their own rash 
bravery and devotedness, perished, swallowed up by the 
waves, without being able to be succoured or avenged by 
their companions. In all the attacks, nothing could equal 
the impetuous valour of the Western warriors ; but this 
valour was not seconded by either the prudence of the com- 
manders or the discipline of the soldiers ; each nation had 
its leader, its machines of war, its days for fighting ; no order 
governed either attack or retreat ; the soldiers on board the 
vessels wished to manoeuvre them, the sailors would fight. 

The frequent checks they experienced, at length, however, 
taught them prudence : the lightest of their vessels ascended 
the Nile, and returning to cast anchor above the tower built 
in the middle of the river, attacked and broke asunder the 
bridge of boats which united the tower with the city. In- 
dustry likewise lent its assistance to the bravery of the 
Crusaders ; machines of war were invented, of which no 
models had previously existed. An enormous wooden castle, 
built upon two vessels,t joined together by beams and joists, 
was admired as a miraculous invention, and considered as a 
certain pledge of victory. Upon this floating castle was a 
drawbridge, which could be lowered upon the tower of the 
Saracens, and galleries destined to receive the soldiers who 
were to attack the walls. A poor priest of the church of 
Cologne,;]: who had preached the crusade on the banks of the 

* For particulars of the siege of Damietta, James of Vitri, the con- 
tinuator of William of Tyre, Marin Sanut, Matthew Paris, the corre- 
spondence of Honorius in Itaynaldi, Godfrey, and the Monk of Alberic 
may be consulted. We have examined the account attributed to Olivier, 
priest of Cologne, which may be found in the Gesta Dei per Francos, but 
this account is repeated by James of Vitri. The Arabian authors and the 
Chronicle of Ibn-ferat have afforded us great assistance in our labours, 
and have informed us of very important facts of which the Franks and 
their historians were ignorant. 

+ Le Pere Maimbourg gives a long account of this machine, not neces- 
sary to be repeated. 

X This priest, who was named Olivier, afterwards became bishop of 

Vol. II.— 11 


B;hin6, and followed the Christian army into Egypt, was 
charged with the superintendence of the erection of this 
formidable edifice. As the popes in their letters abvays 
advised the Crusaders to take with them to the East men 
skilled in the mechanical arts,* the Christian army was in 
no want of workmen to perform the most difficult labours ; 
the liberality of the leaders and soldiers supplied all the 
necessary expenses. 

The whole army looked with impatience for the moment 
at which the enormous fortress should be brought near to 
the tower on the Nile ; prayers were offered up in the camp 
for the protection of Heaven ; the patriarch and the king of 
Jerusalem, the clergy and the soldiers, during several days, 
submitted to all the austerities of penitence, — all marched 
in procession barefooted to the seashore. The leaders had 
fixed upon the festival of the apostle St. Bartholomew as 
the day for the assault, and the Crucaders were filled with 
hope and ardour. They vied with each other in eagerness to 
be of the assaulting party, for which the best soldiers of each 
nation were selected, and Leopold, duke of Austria, the 
model of Christian knights, obtained the honour of com- 
manding an expedition with which the first success of the 
crusade was connected. 

On the appointed day, the two vessels surmounted by the 
wooden tower received the signal for moving. They carried 
three hundred warriors fully armed ; and an innumerable 
multitude of Mussulmans assembled on the walls contem- 
plated the spectacle with surprise mingled with dread. The 
two vessels pursued their silent course up the middle of the 
river, whilst all the Crusaders, either drawn up in battle- 
array on the left bank of the Nile, or dispersed over the 
neighbouring hills, saluted with loudest acclamations the 
moving fortress which bore the fortunes and the hopes of the 
Christian army. On drawing near to the walls the two 
vessels cast anchor, and the soldiers prepared for the assault. 
"Whilst the Christians hurled their javelins and got ready 

Paderborn and a cardinal of St. Sabina ; it is the same that signed his 
name to the account we have mentioned in a preceding note. 

* Gretser, in his treaty de Cruce, says formally that the popes required 
the commanders of the pilgrims to take with them both agriculturists and 


theii lances and swords, tlie Saracens poured upon tliem 
torrents of Greek fire, and employed every eflbrt to make 
t]ie wooden castle on which their enemies fought a prey to 
the flames. The one party was encouraged by the shouts 
and applauses of the Christian army, the other by the thou- 
sand times repeated acclamations of the inhabitants of Da- 
mietta. Amidst the fight, the machine of the Crusaders all 
at once appeared on fire ; the drawbridge lowered on to the 
walls of the tower wavered and was unsteady ; the flagstaff 
of the duke of Austria fell into the Nile, and the banner of 
the Christians remained in the hands of the Mussulmans. 
At this sight the Saracens uttered the most extravagant 
cries of joy, whilst groans and sounds of grief were heard 
along the shore on which the Crusaders were encamped ; the 
patriarch of Jerusalem, the clergy, the whole army, fell on 
their knees, and raised their supplicating hands towards 

But soon, as if Grod had been favourable to their prayers, 
the flames were extinguished, the machine was repaired, the 
drawbridge was replaced, and the companions of Leopold 
renewed the attack with more ardour than ever. Prom the 
top of their fortress they commanded the walls of the tower, 
and dealt mighty blows with sabre, spear, battle-axe, and iron 
mace. Two soldiers sprang upon the platform upon which 
the Saracens defended themselves ; they carried terror among 
the besieged, who descended tumultuously to the first stage 
of the tower ; the latter set fire to the floor, and endeavoured 
to oppose a rampart of flames between themselves and the 
enemies who rushed down in pursuit of them ; but these 
last efibrts of despair and bravery presented but a vain re- 
sistance to the Christian soldiers. Tlie Mussulmans were 
attacked in all parts of the tower ; and their walls, shaken 
by the machines, appeared to be sinking around them, and 
about to bury them, beneath the ruins : in this hopeless con- 
dition they laid down their arms, and sued to their conquerors 
for life. 

After this memorable victory, the Christians, masters of 
the tower of the Nile, broke the chain which impeded the 
passage of vessels, and their fleet was able to approach close 
to the ramparts of the city. 

About the same time (September, 1217) Malek-Adel, who 


had rendered himself so forniidable to the Christian^ iA<i& 
in the capital of Egypt. He heard before his death of the 
victory which the Christians had gained at Damietta ; and 
the Crusaders did not fail to say that he had sunk under the 
effects of despair, and that he carried with him to the tomb 
the power and glory of the Mussulmans. 

The Christians, in their histories, have represented Malek 
Adel as an ambitious, cruel, and stern prince ; Oriental 
writers celebrate his piety and mildness. An Arabian his- 
torian boasts of his love of justice and truth,* and paints, by 
a single trait, the moderation of tlie absolute monarchs of 
Asia, when he says, " that the brother of Saladin listened 
without anger to that wliich displeased him." 

Historians unite in praising the bravery of the Mussulman 
prince, and the ability he displayed in the execution of all 
his designs. No prince knew better how to make himself 
obeyed, or to give to supreme power that brilliant exterior 
which strikes the imagination of nations, and disposes them 
to submission. In his court, he always appeared surrounded 
with the pomp of the East : his palace was as a sanctuary 
which no one durst approach : he rarely appeared in public ; 
when he did, it was in a manner to inspire fear : as he was 
fortunate in all his undertakings, the Mussulmans had no 
difficulty in believing that the favourite of fortune was the 
favourite of Heaven : the caliph of Bagdad sent ambassadors 
to salute him kin^ of kings. Malek- Adel was pleased to be 
styled in camps Seif Eddinf (the sword of religion), and 
this glorious name, which he had merited by his contests 
with the Christians, drew upon him the love and confidence 
of the soldiers of Islamism. He astonished the East by his 
abdication, as much as he had astonished it by his victories ; 
the surprise he excited only added to his glory as well as to 
his power ; and, that his destiny might in everything be ex- 
traordinary, fortune decreed that when he had descended 

* The Chronicle of Ibn-ferat collects the •'udgnrvents of all the Arabian 
listcrians upon Malek-Adel. These historians all express themselves in 
th^ same manner. The continuator of William of Tyre, who appears to 
aave lived in the East, speaks of the pomp and of the air of majesty which 
were remarked in the brother of Saladin : the latter otherwise treata 
Malek-Adel with great severity. 

t It is under the name of Seif-Eddin, by corruption Saphadin, that 
Malek-Adel is known in our Histories of the Crusades. 


from the throne, he should still remain master. His fifteen 
song, of whom several were sovereigns, still trembled before 
him ; nations prostrated themselves on his passage ; up to the 
very hour in wliich he closed his eyes, his presence, his 
name only, maintained peace in his family and the provinces, 
and order and discipline in the armies. 

At his death the face of everything began to change ; the 
empire of the Ayoubites, which he had sustained by his ex- 
ploits, gave tokens of decline ; the ambition of the emirs, 
lor a long time restrained, broke out into conspiracies 
against the supreme authority ; a spirit of license began to 
be apparent in the Mussulman armies, and particularly 
among the troops that defended Egypt. 

The Crusaders ought to have profited by the death of 
Malek-Adel, and the consequences it was sure to produce, 
by attacking the discouraged Mussulmans without inter- 
mission. But instead of following up their success, after 
they had obtained possession of the Tower of the Nile, they 
all at once neglected the labours of the siege, and appeared 
to have fallen asleep over their first victories. A great 
number of them, persuaded that they had done enough for 
the cause of Christ, only thought of embarking to return 
into Europe. Every vessel that left the port recalled to the 
pilgrims remembrances of home ; and the beautiful sky of 
Damietta, which had inflamed their imaginations at the com- 
mencement of the siege, was not sufficient to retain them in 
a country which they began to consider as a place of exile. 

The clergy, however, warmly censured the retreat and de- 
sertion of the Crusaders, and implored Heaven to punish 
the base soldiers who thus abandoned the standards of the 
cross. Six thousand pilgrims from Brittany, who were return- 
ing to Europe, were shipwrecked on the coast of Italy, and 
almost all perished ; and the ecclesiastics, with the most 
Sirdent of the Crusaders, did not fail to see, in so great a dis- 
aster, a manifestation of divine anger. When the Crusaders 
of Eriesland, after having deserted the banners of the Holy 
Land, had returned into the West, the ocean all at once 
broke through the dykes, and overflowed its customary boun- 
daries ; the richest provinces of Holland were submerged, 
and a hundred thousand inhabitants, with whole cities, dis- 
appeared beneath the waters. Many Christians attributed 


this calamity to tlie culpable retreat of the Frieson and 
Dutch Crusaders. 

The pope beheld with pain the return of the pilgrim de- 
serters from the cause of Christ. Houorius neglected nothing 
to secure the success of a war he had preached ; and he 
every day, both by prayers and threats, pressed the departure 
of those who, after having taken the cross, delayed the 
accomplishment of their vow. 

According to the usual custom of navigators, two periods 
of the year were fixed upon at which it was best to cross the 
sea. The pilgrims almost always embarked in the month of 
March and in the month of September, whether to repair to 
the East or to return to Europe ; which caused them to be 
compared to those birds of passage that change their climate 
at the approach of a new season, and towards the end of 
fine weather.* At each passage, the Mediterranean was 
covered with vessels which transported Crusaders, some re- 
turning to their homes, others going to fight the infidels. 
At the very moment the Christians were deploring the loss 
of the Erieson and Dutch warriors, their spirits were restored 
by seeing Crusaders from Germany, Pisa, Genoa, Venice, and 
several provinces of France, arrive in the camp at Damietta. 

Among the French warriors, history names Herve, count 
of Nevers ; Hugh, count de la Marche ; Miles de Bar-siu*- 
Seine ; the lords John of Artois and Ponce de Crancey ; 
Ithier de Thacy, and Savary de Mauleon ; they were accom- 
panied by the archbishop of Bordeaux, the bishops of 
Angers, Autun, Beauvais, Paris, Meaux, Noyon, &c. Eng- 
land also sent the bravest of her knights into Egypt. Henry 
III. had taken the cross after the council of the Lateran ; 
but as he could not quit his dominions, at that time a prey 
to civil wars and torn by discord, the earls of Harcourt, 
Chester, and Arundel, with Prince 01iver,t were honoured 
with the charge of acquitting, in his name, the vow he had 
taken to fight in the East for the cause of Christ. 

At the head of the pilgrims who arrived at that time in 
Egypt were two cardinals, whom the pope had sent to the 

* A Latin dissertation, by Boeder, entitled De Passagiis, may be coa' 
suited on this subject. 

t I cannot make out who this I rince Oliver was.— -Tra-NS. 


Christian army. Eobert de Cour9on, one of tlie preacliera 
of the crusade, was charged with the mission of inculcating 
the moral precepts of Christ in the camp of the Crusaders, 
md animating the zeal and devotion of the soldiers by his 
eloquence. Cardinal Pelagius, bishop of Albano, was in- 
vested with the entire confidence of the Holy See ; he 
brought with him the treasures that were to defray the ex- 
penses of the war ; the Crusaders from Home and several 
other cities of Italy marched under his orders, and recognised 
him as their military leader. 

Cardinal Pelagius, by his position, was endowed with 
great authority in the Christian army, and his naturally 
imperious character led him to assume even more power than 
he had received from the Holy See. In whatever afiair he 
v/as employed, he acknowledged no equal, and would not en- 
dure a superior. He had been known to oppose the sove- 
reign pontiff in the bosom of the conclave ; he would have 
resisted the most powerful monarchs, even in their own 
councils. Cardinal Pelagius, persuaded that Providence 
meant to make use of him to accomplish great designs, be- 
lieved himself fit for all works, and appointed to aU kinds of 
glory ; when he had formed a determination, he maintained 
it with invincible obstinacy, and was influenced by neither 
obstacles nor perils, nor even by the lessons of experience. 
If Pelagius originated any advice in council, he supported it 
with all the menaces of the court of Rome, and often gave 
cause for a belief that the thunders of the Church had only 
been confided to his hands, that he might secure the triumph 
of his own opinions. 

Pelagius had scarcely arrived in Eg}"pt, when, as legate of 
the pope, he disputed the command of the army with John 
of Brienne. To support his pretensions, he asserted that 
the Crusaders had taken up arms at the desire of the sove- 
reign pontiff*; that they were the soldiers of the Church, 
and ought to recognise no other head than the legate of tho 
Holy See : these assumptions gave great offence to the 
barons and principal leaders. Prom that time it was easy to 
foresee that discord would be introduced by him whose 
mission it was to establish peace ; and that the envoy of the 
pope, charged to preach humility among Christians, wai 


about to ruin everything by his mad presumption.* Cardinal 
de Cour9on died shortly after his arrival. 

The continuator of William of Tyre, whilst deploring the 
death of this legate, who had been remarkable for his mo- 
deration, characterizes, by a single word, the conduct of 
Pelagius, and the consequences that might be expected from 
it, by saying : " Then died Cardinal Peter, and Pelagius lived, 
which was a great pity." 

In the mean time, the approach of danger had reunited 
the Mussulman princes. The caliph of Bagdad, whom James 
of Yitrif styles the pope of the infidels, exhorted the nations 
to take up arms against the Christians. All the sons of 
Malek-Adel, who reigned over the provinces of Syria and of 
Yemen, prepared to march to the assistance of Egypt. The 
sultan of Damascus, after having made several incursions 
into the territories of Ptolemais, gathered together his whole 
army, and resolved to go and defend Damietta. As he had 
reason to fear the Christians might take advantage of his 
absence to seize Jerusalem and fortify themselves in it, he 
caused the ramparts of the holy city to be demolished. He 
also ordered the fortress of Tabor, and all those that the 
Mussulmans held along the coasts of Palestine, to be de- 
stroyed ; a vigorous measure that afflicted the infidels, but 
was calculated to afflict the Christians still more ; as it proved 
to them that they had to contend with enemies animated by 

* In the letter by which Honorius announced to the leaders of the 
srusade the powers he had given to Cardinal Pelagius, his holiness ex- 
presses himself thus : Ut exercitum Domini cum humilitate prsecedens, 
Concordes in concordia foveat, et ad pacem revocet impacatos. 

'I" Calif as papa ipsorum. The continuator of William of Tyre calls the 
caliph the Apostle of the Miscreants. The same historian adds : — *' Apres 
manda (le soudan du Caire) au calife de Baudac, qui apostoille etait des 
Sarrasins, et par Mahomet qu'il le seccurut, et s'il ne le seccurait, il per- 
drait la terra. Car I'apostoUe de Rome y envoyait tant de gent, que ce 
n'etait mie conte ne mesure, et qu'il fait preschier par Payennisme ainsi 
comme faisaient par Chretiente, et envoyat au soudain grant seccurs de 
gent par son preschement." — " The sultan of Cairo afterwards sent to the 
caliph of Bagdad, who was the apostle of the Saracens, and implored him, 
in the name of Mahomet, to assist him, assuring him that if he did not 
assist him, he should lose his dominions. For the apostle of Rome sent 
BO many people that they were beyond all count or measure, and that the 
caliph must order preaching throughout Paganism as was practised in 
Christendom, and he might send the sultan great assistance in cousequenct 
of his preachings." 


despair, and disposed to sacrifice everytliing to secure theii 
own safety. 

The sultan of Cairo encamped in the vicinity of Damietta, 
where he awaited the princes of his family. The garrison 
of the city received every day provisions and reinforcements, 
and was in a condition to resist the Christian army for a 
length of time. The preparations and the approach of the 
Mussulmans at length roused the Crusaders from their state 
of inaction. Animated by their leaders, but more by the 
appearance of danger and the presence of a formidable 
enemy ; still led by the king of Jerusalem, who had resisted 
the pretensions of Pelagius, the Christian soldiers resumed 
the labours of the siege and made several assaults upon th^ 
city on the river side. The winter, which had just set in, 
did not at all prevent their attacks ; nothing could equal the 
heroic constancy with which they braved, during several 
months, cold, rain, hunger, all the fatigues of war, and all 
the rigours of the season. A contagious malady committed 
great ravages in the Christian army : a frightful storm, 
which lasted three days, carried away the tents and the 
baggage of both le&ders and soldiers ; but nothing dimi- 
nished the fury of the contests, which were incessantly 

At length the Christians, having become masters of all 
the western bank of the Nile, determined to cross the river, 
and attack the city on the land side. The passage was 
difficult and dangerous ; the sultan of Cairo had fixed his 
camp on the opposite shore ; the plain on which the Crusa- 
ders wished to pitch their tents was covered with Mussul- 
man soldiers ; an unexpected event removed all obstacles. 

We have spoken of the seditious spirit of the emirs, who, 
since the death of Malek-Adel, had openly shown their am- 
bitious designs and sought to introduce divisions into the 
Mussulman armies. The most remarkable among these 
emirs, was the leader of a troop of Curds, named Emad- 
eddin,* who had taken a part in all the revolutions of Egypt 

* The Chronicle of Ibn-ferat, from which we have drawn that which we 
relate, says that Emad-eddin was the son of Seif-Eddin-aboul-Hassan- Alhekari, suriiamed Ibn-almachtoub (son of the Scarred), 
on account of a wound which had marked his fiice. The same chronicle adda 
that the emir, the son of the Scarred, despised the futile things of kings, 



and Syria. Associated with the destin'.es of tAe sons of 
Ayoiib, this emir had witnessed the rise and fall of several 
Mussulman dynasties, and held in contempt the powers of 
which he knew both the source and the origin. An intrepid 
soldier, a faithless subject, always ready to serve his sove- 
reigns in fight or betray them in a conspiracy, Emad-eddin 
could not ei dure a prince who reigned by the laws of peace, 
or recognise a power which was not the fruit of his intrigues 
or of a revolution. As fortune had always favoured his 
audacity, and as all his treacheries had been well rewarded, 
every fresh revolt augmented his credit and his renown ; an 
enemy to all acknowledged authority, the hope of all who 
aspired to empire, he w^as almost as redoubtable as the Old 
Man of the Mountain, whose menaces made the most 
powerful monarchs tremble. Emad-eddin resolved to change 
the government of Egypt, and conceive^ the project of de- 
throning the sultan of Cairo, and replacing him by another 
of the sons of Malek-Adel. 

Several emirs were drawn into this conspiracy. On the 
day appointed, they were to enter the tent of Melic-Kamel, 
and compel him, by violence, to renounce the supreme 
authority. The sultan was warned of the plot prepared 
against him, and on the eve of the day on which it was to 
be carried into effect, he left his camp in the miadle of the 
night. The next day, at dawn, the conspirators were made 
aware that their designs had been discovered ; they endea- 
voured in vain to draw the soldiers into a revolt ; the greatest 
confusion prevailed throughout the camp ; among the emirs, 
some gathered around Emad-eddin, and swore to follow his 
fortunes ; others, doubtful of the success of his enterprise^ 
remained silent ; many took an oath to defend Melic-Kamel. 
Amidst these debates, the Mussulman army, conscious that 
they were without a leader, feared they might be surprised 
by the Christians. A panic terror all at once seized upon 
the soldiers, who abandoned their tents and their baggage, 
and rushed in the greatest disorder in the traces of their 
fugitive sultan. 

This retreat, of which the Christians could not imagine 
the cause, and which their historians explain by a miracle 

and that most extraordinary circumstances were related of his revolts 
against sovereigns. 


from ^leaven,* opened to them the passage of the Nile. The 
army hastened to cross the river, took possession of the 
Mussulman camp, made an immense booty, and drew near 
to the ivalls of Damietta. 

The panic, however, which had put the Mussulman troops 
to flight, had not at all communicated itself to the garrison 
of the city : this intrepid garrison offered the most vigorous 
resistance, and gave the army of Melic-Kamelf time to re- 
cover from its fright. The sultan of Damascus soon joined 
his brother tlie sultan of Cairo. Emad-eddin and the other 
leaders of the conspiracy were arrested and loaded with 
chains. Order and discipline were reestablished among the 
Saracens, and the Christian army had to contend with all 
the united forces of the infidels, impatient to repair thejr 
check, and recover the advantages they had lost. 

The burning days of summer were approaching: the 
JN^ile, increased by the rains of the tropics, began to issue 
from its bed. The Christian army was encamped under the 
walls of Damietta, having the lake Menzaleh in its rear. 
The Saracens came and pitched their tents at a short dis- 
tance from the camp of the Christians, who, oppressed by 
the consuming heat of the season and the climate, were 
subject every day to the spirited attacks of the infidels. In 
one of these conflicts, the Mussulmans got possession of a 
bridge which the Crusaders had thrown over the Nile ; the 
banks of the river were covered with dead, and the Christian 
army only owed its safety to the heroic bravery of the duke 
of Austria, the king of Jerusalem, and the grand masters of 
St. John and the Temple. Soon after, another battle was 
fought still more bloody than the first. In this fight, as it 
is described by James of Vitri, an ocular witness, not a per- 
son among the Christians was idle : the clergy were at pray- 
ers or attending the wounded ; whilst the women and chil- 
dren carried water, wine, food, stones, and javelins, to the 
combatants. Whirlwinds of scorching dust arose in the air, 
and enveloped the two armies. The cries of the wounded 
and the dying, the sound of the trumpets, and the clashing 

* All the Christian historians of the middle ages, an^ Maimbourg after 
there, appear persuaded that Providence, by a miracle of its will, put tha 
Saracens to flight. 

f Our historians of the crusades name this prince Meledin. 


of arms resounded from tlie neighbouring hills and fi*».)m both 
shores of the Nile. Sometimes the Saracens were put to 
flight, and whole battalions, says James of Yitri, disappeared 
submerged in the Nile, as formerly the armies of Pharaoh 
perished i i the Red Sea. Sometimes the Christians were 
repulsed in their turn, and left a great number of their war- 
riors on tlie field of battle : the carnage lasted during the 
whole day, without either side being able to claim the vic- 
tory. Whilst the two armies were contending with such 
fury on the banks, the Genoese and the Pisans, on board 
their vessels, made an attack upon the ramparts of the city. 
Several of their ships were consumed by the Greek fire, and 
the bravest of their soldiers were crushed beneath the beams 
and stones hurled from the top of the walls. At the approach 
of night the Crusaders returned to their tents, despairing of 
ever being able to subdue the Saracens, and reproaching 
each other with want of courage in this unfortunate day. 

On the morrow fresh disputes arose between the horse 
and foot soldiers,* each of which bodies accused the other 
with having been the cause of the losses the army had ex- 
perienced. These debates became so warm that at length 
the foot and the horse both demanded, with loud cries, to 
be led again to battle, and rushed tumultuously out of the 
camp, to give convincing proofs of their bravery ; the leaders 
could neither restrain nor direct the ardour and impetuosity 
of their soldiers, who fought in disorder, and were repulsed 
by the Saracens after a horrible carnage. 

At this period a holy person, named Prancis of Assise, 
made his appearance in the Christian army, whose reputa- 
tion for piety was spread throughout the Christian world, 
and had preceded him into the East. Prom his earliest 
youth, Prancis had left the paternal roof to lead a life of 
edification. One day, whilst present at mass in a church in 
Italy, he was struck with the passage of the Gospel in which 
our Saviour says, " Take with you neither gold nor silver, 
nor other moneys ; neither scrips for the journey, nor sandals, 

* The infantry must have rendered, during the siege, greater services than 
the cavalry, in defending the intrenchments, mounting to the assault, or 
fighting on board the ships. This dispute alone proves that the infantry 
had made great progress ; for till that time they would not have dared t( 
compare themselves with the cavalry. 


nor staff." Erom that period Francis had held in contem;^! 
all the riches of this world, and had devoted himself to the 
poverty of the apostles ; he travelled through countries and 
cities, exhorting all people to penitence. The disciples who 
followed him braved the contempt of the multitude, and 
glorified themselves with it before Grod : when asked whence 
they came, they were accustomed to answer, " "We are poor 
penitents from Assise." 

Francis was led into Egypt by the fame of the crusade, 
and by the hope of there effecting some great conversion. 
The day preceding the last battle, he had a miraculous pre- 
sentiment of the defeat of the Christians, and imparted his 
prediction to the leaders of the army, who heard him with 
indifference. Dissatisfied with the Crusaders, and devoured 
by the zeal of a mission from God, he then conceived the 
project of securing the triumph of the faith by his eloquence 
and the arms of the Grospel alone. He directed his course 
towards the enemy's camp, put himself in the way of being 
taken prisoner by the Saracen soldiers, and was conducted 
into the presence of the sultan. Then Francis addressed 
Melic-Kamel,* and said to him, " It is Grod who sends me 
towards you, to point out to you the road to salvation.'* 
After these words, the missionary exhorted the sultanf to 

* The continuator of William of Tyre speaks at length of the interview 
between St. Francis and his companion and the sultan of Cairo. St. 
Francis at first proposed to the sultan to renounce Mahomet, under pain 
of eternal damnation. 

f Li soudan dist qu'il avait archevesques et evesques de sa loi, et sans 
eux ne pouvoit-il crier ce qu'ils diraient. Les clercs lui respondirent : 
"Mandez les guerre ;" et ils vinrent a lui en sa tente. Si leur conta ce que 
li clercs li avaient dist ; ils respondirent : " Sire, tu es epee de la loi. Nous 
nous te commandons, de par Mahomet, que tu lor fasse la teste couper.'* 
A tant puient conge, si s'en allerent. Li soudan demora et li dist clercs, 
dont vint li soudan, si lors dist, " Seignors, ils m'ont commande, de par 
lilahomet, et de par la loi, que je vous fasse les testes couper ; mais j'irai 
encontrele commandement," &c. &c. (The sultan — we translate our old 
historian — said he had archbishops and bishops of the law, and without 
them he could not listen to what they had to say. The clerks, St. Francis 
and his companion, answered him, *' Send for them here" — and they 
came to him in his tent. He then related to them what the clerks had 
said, and they answered : " Sire, thou art the sword of the law. We com- 
mand you, by Mahooiet, to order their heads to be cut off." They then 
made their obeisance and went away. The sultan and the said clerkg 
remained. Tlien the sultan came towards them, and said, " Seignors, thef 


embrace tlie Gospel ; 1 e cliallenged in his presence all the 
doctors of the law, and to confound imposture and prove the* 
"Jruih of the Christian religion, offered to cast himself into 
tti.e midst of a burning funeral-pile. The sultan, astonished, 
ordered the zealous preacher from his presence, who ob- 
tained neither of the objects of his wishes, for he did not 
convert the sultan, nor did he gather the palm of mar- 

After this adventure, St. Erancis returned to Europe, 
where he founded the religious order of the Cordeliers, who 
at first, possessing neither churches, monasteries, lands, nor 
flocks, spread themselves throughout the West, labouring 
for the conversion of penitents. The disciples of St. Prancis 
sometimes carried the word of Grod among savage nations ; 
some went into Africa and Asia, seeking, as their master 
had done, errors to. confute and evils to endure ; they fre- 
quently planted the cross of Christ upon the lands of the 
infidels, and in their harmless pilgrimages, constantly re- 
peated the scriptural words. Peace he with you ; they were 
only armed with their prayers, and aspired to no glory but 
that of dying for the faith. 

The Crusaders had been encamped seventeen months 
before the walls of Damietta, and not a single day had passed 
without a murderous conflict. The Mussulmans, although 
they had obtained some advantages, began to lose all hope of 
triumphing over an enemy proof against the evils of war 
and an unhealthy climate. Keport proclaimed the approach- 
ing arrival of the emperor of Germany, who had taken the 
cross, and this news, whilst it sustained the courage of the 
Christians, made the Mussulmans tremble at the idea of 
having to contend with the most powerful of the monarchs 
of the West. Tlie sultan of Damascus, in the name of all 
the princes of his family, sent ambassadors to the camp of 
the Crusaders to ask for peace. He offered to abandon to 
the Franks the city and kingdom of Jerusalem, and only to 
reserve to themselves the places of Krak and Montreal, for 
which they proposed to pay a tribute. As the ramparts and 

have commanded me, by Mahomet, to order your heads to be cut off; but 
I shall act contrary to the commandment," <&c. &c. The historian adds, 
that the sultan offered them presents, which they refused — he ordered 
them refreshment, and sent them back to the Christian army. 


towers of the holy city had been recently destroyed, the 
Mussulmans engaged to pay two hundred thousand dinars 
to re-establish them ; they further agreed to give up all 
Christians made prisoners since the death of Saladin. 

The principal leaders of the Christian army were called 
together to deliberate upon the proposals of the Mussulmans. 
The king of Jerusalem, the Erench barons, the Euglish, 
Dutch, and Germans, were of opinion that the terms should 
be acceded to, and the peace accepted : the king of Jerusa- 
lem would regain his kingdom, and the barons of the West 
would see the happy end of a war that had detained them 
so long from their homes. 

" By accepting the peace they attained the object of the 
crusade, — the deliverance of the holy places. The Christian 
warriors had besieged Damietta during seventeen months, 
and the siege might be still prolonged. Many Crusaders 
daily returned to Europe ; whilst crowds of Mussulman war- 
riors as constantly joined the standards of the sultans of 
Cairo and Damascus. If they should take Damietta, they 
would be but too happy to exchange it for Jerusalem. The 
Mussulmans offered to give, before victory, quite as much as 
they could demand after having subdued them. It was not 
wise to refuse that which fortune offered to bestow upon 
them without conflicts or perils. The effusion of blood 
should be avoided, and they ought to reflect, that victories 
purchased by the death of the soldiers of the cross, were such 
PS were most acceptable to the Grod of the Christians." 

The king of Jerusalem and most of the barons spoke thus, 
and endeavoured to bring to their opinion the Italian nobles 
and the body of the prelates, whom Cardinal Pelagius led in 
an opposite direction. The legate of the pope regarded 
himself as the head of this war, and he wished it to continue, 
in order to prolong his power and to procure for him addi- 
tional renown. " He could see nothing in the proposals of 
the enemy but a new artifice to delay the capture of Da- 
mietta, and gain time. The Saracens offered nothing but 
desert countries and demolished cities, which would fall again 
into their power. Their only object was to disarm the 
Ohristians, and furnish them with a pretext for returning 
into the West. Things had gone too far to allow them to 
retreat without dishonour. It was disgracefVil for Christiana 


to renounce the conquest of a city they had besieged seven- 
teen months, and which could hold out no longer. They 
must take possession of it first, and then they should know 
what was best to be done — once masters of Damietta, the 
Crusaders might conclude a glorious peace, and reap all the 
advantages of \'ictory." 

The motives alleged by Cardinal Pelagius were not un- 
reasonable, but the spirit of party and faction reigned in the 
council of the leaders of the crusade. As it always happens 
in similar circumstances, every one formed his opinion not 
upon that which he believed to be useful and just, but upon 
that which appeared most favourable to the party he had 
embraced ; some advised that the siege should be prosecuted, 
because the king of Jerusalem had offered a contrary opinion ; 
others wished the proposed capitulation should be accepted, 
because this capitulation was rejected by the legate of the 
pope. The Christian army exhibited a strange spectacle. 
On one side, John of Brienne and the most renowned war- 
riors were advocates for peace ; on the other, the legate and 
most of the ecclesiastics demanded with great warmth the 
continuation of the war: they deliberated during several 
days without a chance of bringing the two parties to an 
agreement ; and whikt the discussions became more intem- 
perate, hostilities were renewed: then all the Crusaders 
united to prosecute the siege of Damietta. 

The sultan of Cairo employed every means to throw suc- 
cours into the city, and keep up the courage of the garrison 
and the inhabitants. Some Mussulman soldiers, taking 
advantage of the darkness of night, attempted to effect an 
entrance into the place ; a few were able to gain and pass 
through the gates, but by far the greater number were sur- 
prised and massacred by the Crusaders, who kept constant 
and close watch around the walls. 

The news which the sultan, Melic-Kamel, received from 
Damietta, became every day more alarming the Mussulman 
army, not daring to succour the besieged, remained inactive, 
and confined themselves to the defence of their own In- 
trenchments. Communication was soon entirely cut off 
between the place and the camp of the infidels ; some divers 
crossed the Nile through the Christian fleet, attained Da- 
mietta, and returned to inform the sultan that pestilence. 


lamine, and despair reigned throughout the city. The Mus- 
Bulmans had recourse to all sorts of stratagems to convey 
food to the garrison ; sometimes they filled leather sacks 
with provisions, which, being abandoned to the stream of 
the Nile, floated under the ramparts of the city ; at others, 
they concealed loaves in the sheets that enveloped dead 
bodies, which, being borne on by the waters, were stopped in 
their course by the besieged. It was not long before these 
stratagems were discovered by the Christians, and then 
famine began to make horrible ravages ; the soldiers, over- 
come by fatigue and weakened by hunger, had not the 
strength to fight or guard the towers and ramparts. The 
inhabitants, given up to despair, abandoned their houses, 
and fled from a city that presented nothing but images of 
death : many came to implore the pity of the Crusaders. 
The commander of Dam.ietta, whose name history has not 
preserved, in vain endeavoured to keep up the courage of 
the people and the soldiers. To prevent desertion, he caused 
the gates of the city to be walled up ; and from that period 
neither the sultan of Cairo nor the Crusaders were able to 
know what was passing in the besieged place, in which a 
dismal silence reigned, and which, according to the expres- 
sion of an Arabian author, was no longer anything hut a 
closed sepulchre. 

The Christians had placed their machines at the foot of a 
tower, and as they saw no one defending it, the legate, at 
the head of the Italian Crusaders, took advantage of a dark 
and stormy night to penetrate within the first inclosure of 
the walls. The king of Jerusalem and the other leaders 
resolved at the same time to make an assault and enter the 
city, sword in hand. As soon as day appeared, the boldest 
ascended into the tower, which they found deserted, and 
called aloud upon their companions to join them. The 
Christian army applauded their success, and answered by 
shouts of joy ; the soldiers flew to arms, and instantly put 
the rams in motion. The walls were scaled, the gates were 
beaten to pieces, and a passage opened ; the eager Crusaders 
rushed forward with naked swords and ready lances to en- 
coimter the enemy ; but when they penetrated into tn*' 
streets, a pestilential odour enveloped them, and a frightful 
ipectacle made them recoil with hori'or ! The public plares. 


the mosques, the houses, the whole city, were strewed with 
dead ! * Old age, infancy, ripened manhood, maiden beauty, 
matronly grace — all had perished in the horrors of the siege ! 
At the arrival of the Crusaders, Damietta contained seventy 
thousand inhabitants ; of these only three thousand of the 
most robust remained, who, ready to expire, glided like pale, 
fading shadows among tombs and ruins. 

This horrible spectacle touched the hearts of the Cru- 
saders, and mingled a feeling of sadness with the joy their 
victory created. The conquerors found in Damietta immense 
Btores of spices, diamonds, and precious stuffs. When they 
had pillaged the city, it might have been believed, says an 
historian, that the warriors of the West had conquered 
Persia, Arabia, and the Indies. The ecclesiastics launched 
the thunders of excommunication against all wlio secreted 
any part of the booty ; but these menaces had no effect upon 
the cupidity of the soldiers ; all the wealth brought to the 
pubUc stock only produced two hundred thousand crowns, 
which were distributed among the troops of the victorious 

Damietta boasted a celebrated mosque, ornamented by six 
vast galleries and a hundred and fifty columns of marble, 
surmounted by a superb dome, which towered above all the 
other edifices of the city. This mosque, in which, on the 
preceding evening, Mussulmans had lifted their imploring, 
tearful eyes to their prophet, was consecrated to the virgin 
mother of Christ, and the whole Christian army came thither 
to offer up thanks to Heaven for the triumph granted to 
tiieir arms. On the following day the barons and prelates 

* Ingredientibus nobis foetor intolerabilis, spectus miserabilis ; mortui 
vivos occiderunt ; vir et uxor, dominus et servus, pater et filius, se mutuis 
foetoribus interemerunt. Non solum platese erant mortuis plenae, sed in 
domibus et cubiculis et lectis jacebant defuncti ; extincto viro, mulier 
impotens surgere, sublevandi carens subsidio vel sclatione, putritudinem 
non ferens expiravit. Filius juxta patrem, vel e converso ; ancilla juxta 
dominam, vel vice vers^, languore deficiens jacebat extincta ; parvuli 
petierunt panem, et non erat qui frangeret eis. Infantes ad ubera matrum 
pendentes, inter amplexus morientium vocitaoant ; delicati divites, inter 
acervos tritici interierunt fame ; deficientibus cibis, in quibus erant 
nutriti, pepones et allia, cepas et alitilia, pisces et volatilia, et fructus 
arborura, et olera frustra desiderantes. Multitudo vulgi contracta vel 
aaolesliis diutius fetigata deficiens aruit. — J. Vitr. Hist. Or. 1. iii. 


assembled in the same place, to deliberate upon tbeir con- 
quest ; and, bj a unanimous resolution, the city of Damietta 
was assigned to the king of Jerusalem. They then turned 
their attention to the fate of the unfortunate inhabitants 
who had escaped pestilence and famine. James of Yitri, 
when describing the miseries of Damietta, and speaking of 
the horrible famine which swept away so many families 
durijig the siege, sheds tears over the little children who in 
vain asked their dead parents for bread.* The fate of such of 
those as remained alive inspired the virtuous bishop of 
Ptolemais with pity, and he purchased many of them, in 
order to have them baptized and brought up in the Christian 
religion. The pious charity of the prelate, however, could 
only procure them eternal life, for they almost all died after 
having been baptised. All the Mussulmans who had suffi- 
cient strength to work received liberty and bread, and were 
employed in cleansing and purifying the city. Whilst the 
leaders were thus watching over a mourning city, and gave 
their anxious attentions to prevent new calamities, the spec- 
tacle that Damietta presented, and the empoisoned air they 
breathed within its walls, obliged the Christian army to 
return to their camp, and wait for the time at which the 
conquered city might be inhabited without danger. 

"When the news of the taking of Damietta was spread 
through Syria and Upper Egypt, the Mussulman nations, 
seized with terror, flew to their mosques to implore the 
intervention of their prophet against the enennes of Islam- 
ism. The sultans of Cairo and Damascus sent ambassadors 
to the caliph of Bagdad, conjuring him to exhort all true 
believers to take arms to defend the religion of Mahomet. 
The caliph contemplated with grief the calamities about to 
fall upon the princes of the family of Saladin ; but other 
dangers threatened him more nearly. Tartar hordes had 
issued from their mountains, invaded several provinces of 
Persia, and were advancing towards the Euphrates. The 
caliph, far from being able to assist the Mussulmans of Syria 

* M. Michaud is accused by some French critics of being too rhetorical 
—in this instance he has not made his story so effective as he might have 
done. If the reader will turn to the extract from James of Vitri, at the 
foot of the last page, he will find the old chronicler much more powerful 
tJaAn the modern historian — Trans. 


and Egypt by his prayers and exhortaticns, invoked their 
succour to defend his capital, and turn aside the storm ready 
to burst over the whole East. When the Mussulman am- 
bassadors returned to Damascus and Cairo, their accounts 
added new alarms to those which the conquests of the 
Christians had already inspired. 

The Ayoubite princes, however, did not delay endeavouring 
to unite all their efforts against the Crusaders, postponing, to 
a more favourable moment, the defence of the head of 
Islamism. The Mussulman nations had » much greater 
dread of the invasion of the Christians than of the irrup- 
tions of the hordes of Tartary. The conquerors whom 
nations fear the most, are those that desire to change the 
laws and religion of the conquered country. The Tartars, 
whose habits and manners were not formed, easily complied 
with those of the people they subdued ; the Christians, on 
the contrary, only made war to destroy all and enslave all. 
Already rich cities, great provinces, were in their power : 
everything had changed its form under their domination. 
Thus the Mussulman princes and people, from the Euphrates 
to the Red Sea, forgot or neglected the storm which growled 
over Persia and was advancing slowly towards Syria, and re- 
solved to take arms against the Crusaders, who were masters 
of the Nile. 

After the taking of Damietta, the Mussulman soldiers 
who defended Egypt were struck with such excessive fear, 
that, during several days, not one of them durst face a Chris- 
tian soldier. The Egyptian warriors who guarded the for- 
tress of Tannis, built beyond the lake Menzaleh, abandoned 
their ramparts at the approach of a few Crusaders, and thus 
one of the firmest bulwarks of the Mussulman empire fell 
without defence into the hands of the Franks. From that 
time, the Christians had reason to believe they had no more 
enemies on the banks of the Nile ; and, during the rigours 
of winter, many of the pilgrims returned to Europe. Half 
the army took advantage of the March passage to quit 
Egjrpt ; such as remained under the banners of the crusade 
forgot the labours and perils of war, and gave themselves up 
to indulgence and voluptuousness, to all the pleasure which 
the approach of spring, and the fine climate and beautifuJ 
bky of Damietta inspired. 


During tlie leisure of peace, the divisions which had so 
often interrupted the course of the war, soon revived ; the 
taking of Damietta had inflamed the pride of Cardinal 
Pelagius, who, in the Christian army, spoke as a conqueror 
and commanded as a master. The king of Jerusalem was so 
dissatisfied, that he abandoned a city that had been given to 
him, and quitted an army of which he was the head, to 
retire to Ptolemais. 

New Crusaders, however, eager to signalize their valour 
against the Mussulmans, arrived daily. The duke of Bavaria, 
with four hundred German knights and barons, sent by 
Trederick II., landed on the banks of the JSTile. A short 
time afterwards, the Christian army received into its ranks 
Crusaders from Milan, Pisa, and Genoa, and prelates and 
archbishops conducted a crowd of defenders of the cross, 
who came from the various provinces of Germany, and from 
Prance and Italy. The sovereign pontiff had neglected 
nothing to secure the success of the holy war ; he sent 
to Cardinal Pelagius provisions for the army, and a con- 
siderable sum of money, partly from his own treasury, and 
partly from the charity of the faithful of the West.* The 
legate was desirous of profiting by the succours he had just 
received, and proposed to follow up the war, and march 
directly against the capital of Egypt. The clergy adopted 
the advice of Pelagius, but such of the Crusaders as saw 
with disgust a prelate at the head of warriors, refused to 
take up arms. The duke of Bavaria and the barons and 
knights would acknowledge no leader but the king of Jeru- 
salem ; the legate Pelagius was obliged to send deputies to 
Jolm of Brienne, who, pressed \-j the pope himself, was at. 
length prevailed upon, and consented, after an absence of 
several months, to come back and take the command of the 

Whilst the Crusaders remained thus in inaction, all the 
Mussulmans were flying to arms : the sultans of Damascus 
and Aleppo, the princes of Hamah, Balbec, and of Arabia, 
assembled fresh armies. After the taking of Damietta, the 
Bultan of Cairo had retired, with his troops, to the spot where 

* Two letters which Honorius wrote to Pelagius, when sending him the 
money, are still extant* they appear to us to be very curious, and merit 9 
place in our Appendix. 


the two eastern branches of the Nile separate : there he dailj 
beheld troops of Mussulman warriors join his 8tandard, and, 
awaiting a favourable opportunity, he constructed a palace in 
tlic centre of his camp, surrounded by walls. 

The Mussulmans there built houses, baths, and bazaars, 
and the camp of the sultan became a city, called Mansourah, 
which was destined to be celebrated in history by the defeat 
and ruin of the Christian armies. 

As soon as the king of Jerusalem returned to Damietta, 
the leaders of the Crusaders assembled in council, to de- 
liberate upon what they had to do ; the legate of the pope 
was the first to offer his opinion, and proposed to march 
against the capital of Egypt. " We must attack the evil at 
its source, and, in order to conquer the Saracens, destroy the 
foundation of their power. Egypt supplies them with sol- 
diers, provisions, and arms. By taking possession of Egypt, 
we should cut off all their resources. At no period were the 
soldiers of the cross animated by more zeal ; never were the 
infidels more depressed. To lose such an opportunity was 
to betray the common cause. When a great empire was 
attacked, prudence commai^ded the assailants not to lay down 
their arms till they had subdued it ; by stopping after the 
first victory, they exhibited more weakness than moderation. 
The eyes of the whole Christian world were upon the 
army of the Crusaders ; it was not only the deliverance of 
the holy pkces that was looked for from their valour, but the 
death of all the enemies of Christ, the destruction of every 
nation that had imposed a sacrilegious yoke upon the city of 

The bishops, the prelates, and most of the ecclesiastica 
were loud in their applause of the speech of the legate ; but 
John of Brienne, who did not at all partake of their opinion, 
arose, and protesting his devotion to the cause of Christ, 
began by appealing to the assembly, if any one could be more 
interested in the conquests of the Christians in the East, 
than the man who had the honour to be king of Jerusalem. 
Ee then pointed out how imprudent it would be to go up 
tlie JNile at the very moment at which that river was begin- 
ning to overflow, aii d would most likely inundate the roada 
which led to Cairo. " Mark," said he, " all the perils of the 
expedition proposed to you. We are to march into an in> 


known land, tnrougli the midst of an enemy's country : ii 
conquered, there can be no place of asylum for us ; if con- 
querors, our victories will only weaken our army. However 
easy it may be for us to conquer provinces, it will be almost 
impossible for us to defend them. The Crusaders, always 
eager to return to Europe, are incalculably more serviceable 
in gaining battles than in securing the possession of con- 
quered countries. Nobody can suppose, that with the brave 
bands that surround us, we entertain any fear of the Mussul- 
man armies which are gathering together from all parts ; but 
in order to secure our safety, we must not only subdue our 
enemies, we must destroy them — we have not to deal with 
an army, but with an entire nation animated by despair. 
The whole Mussulman race are about to become so many 
intrepid soldiers, impatient to shed their blood in the field of 
battle. But what do I say ? we shall have much less to dread 
from their courage than from their timid prudence. They 
will not fail to shun the fight, and will wait until diseases, 
want, fatigue, discord, the inconstancy of men's minds, the 
overflowing of the Nile, and tlie heat of the climate shall 
have triumphed over our efforts and secured the failure of 
all our enterprises." 

John of Brienne strengthened his opinion by other mo- 
tives, with which his knowledge of the art of war supplied 
him, and terminated his speech by saying, " That Damietta 
and Tannis were powerful enough to restrain the people of 
Egypt ; that it was necessary to recapture the cities they 
had lost, before they thought of conquering countries that 
had never been in their possession ; and that, in short, they 
had not assembled under the banners of the cross to besiege 
Thebes, Babylon, or Memphis, but to deliver Jerusalem, 
which opened its gates to the Christians, and which they 
could fortify against all the attacks of the infidels." 

This moderate and pacific language would well have be- 
come the mouth of an envoy of the pope ; but Pelagius 
listened to the king of Jerusalem with the most evident im- 
patience : he answered, that weakness and timidity screened 
themselves behind the veil of moderation and prudence ; 
that Christ did not summon to his defence such wise and 
far-sighted soldiers, but warriors who sought for battle 
Bather than for reasons, and who could see the glory of an 

256 HiSTOET or the crusades, 

enterprise, and be blind to its dangers. The legate added 
several more reasons to those he had already advanced, and 
expressed them with great bitterness ; at length, led away 
by the heat of the discussion, he threatened all those who 
did not partake of his opinions with excommunication. 
Most of the leaders, and the king of Jerusalem himself, 
fearing to be excommunicated, but dreading much more to 
see the least suspicion cast upon their bravery, at length 
yielded to the obstinate will of Pelagius : the council of the 
barons and the bishops decided that the Christian army 
should leave Damietta, and march against the capital of 

This army, composed of more than seventy thousand men, 
advanced up the banks of the Nile. A numerous fleet, laden 
with provisions, arms, and machines of war, ascended the 
river at the same time. The Christian army passed through 
Tarescour and several other villages, that had been abandoned 
by their inhabitants ; all fled away at the approach of the 
Crusaders, who began to believe they should meet with no 
obstacle to their victories, and celebrated, beforehand, the 
conquest of Memphis and Cairo. The legate of the pope 
exulted in the resolution he had dictated to the Christian 
army ; and, full of confidence in a prediction that had been 
made concerning him in his youth, the presumptuous cardinal 
flattered himself that he was about to overthrow the worship 
of Mahomet ; and indulged in the most insulting railleries 
against those who had been opposed to the war. Without 
fighting a single battle, the Christians gained the extremity 
of the Delta, at the angle formed by the arm of the river 
which descends towards Damietta and the canal of Almon, 
whose waters flow into the sea on the eastern side. The 
Saracens were encamped in the plain of Mansourah, on the 
Apposite bank of the river; the Crusaders halted on the 
hither shore, and their fleet cast anchor as near to them aa 

The sultan of Damascus, and the princes of Aleppo, 
Balbec, Hamah, and Bosra, had united their troops with 
those of the sultan of Cairo. The Nile, whose bank was 
covered with intrenchments, presented a barrier very diffi- 
cult to be overtime. But Melic-Kamel did not dare to 
match himself with the Crusaders ; dreading their rash 


bravery, so accustomed to sport with perils and triumph ovei 
all obstacles. Reports of the arrival of Frederick, and of 
the approach of the Tartars, kept the Mussulmans in a con- 
tinual state of alarm, and made them anxious to terminate a 
A^ar which exhausted their resources, consumed their strength, 
and did not promise them, even in victory, a compensation 
for so many efforts and so many sacrifices. 

Ambassadors were sent to propose peace to the leaders of 
the Christian army : the Mussulmans offered their enemies, 
if they would consent to an entire cessation of hostilities, to 
give up to them Daraietta and its territories, and to restore 
Jerusalem, with all the places of Palestine that had bem 
conquered by Saladin. 

These conditions assured to the Christians all the advan- 
tages of both war and peace. The king of Jerusalem, and 
most of the barons, who saw the difficulties and perils of the 
expedition they had entered upon, listened with as much 
surprise as joy to the proposals of the infidels, and did not 
hesitate to accept them ; but they had absolutely no power 
in the army. The legate, who exercised an arbitrary authority, 
and who was constantly dreaming of conquests, persisted in 
thinking that these pacific proposals were only the effects of 
fear, and that the enemy who sued for peace was the one 
with whom war should be prosecuted with most spirit. 

The ambassadors returned to the camp of the Mussulmans, 
to announce that the Christians refused the peace : their 
account excited indignation, and indignation roused courage. 
When the Ayoubite princes proposed peace, they were in 
possession of ample means to carry on the war with advan- 
tage ; they every day received reinforcements, and their 
camp rapidly assumed a more formidable aspect ; but soon a 
terrible auxiliary, against whose attacks Pelagius had no de- 
fence, came to the assistance of the Mussulmans, and pro 
cured them a complete triumph without either battles oi 

The Christian warriors, who flattered themselves they 
had now only to deal with a conquered enemy, were satisfied 
•^ith surrounding their camp with a ditch and a wall ; the^ 
army remained for several days in this position, without 
making an efibrt either to attack the Saracens or pass the 
Nile. Pelagius, who was constantly promising victory to 
Vol. II.— 12 


Lis soldiers, remained, nevertheless, in a state of inacti "ity 
in his tent. During this period, many of the Crusaders 
grew weary of a war in which no battles were fought; some 
fancied that the cause no longer stood in need of theii 
assistance ; whilst otliers, with more foresight, feared coming 
reverses : more than ten thousand Crusaders abandoned the 
camp and returned to Damietta. 

The Christian army liad been for more than a month in 
face of the enemy, always in expectation of the victories 
that had been promised to them. At length, the overflowing 
of the Nile, in a most alarming manner, disturbed their 
imagined security. The Saracens opened the sluices, and 
filled all the canals of Lower Egypt. The Mussulman fleet, 
which had not been able to ascend the Nile by Damietta, took 
advantage of the canals, and came up with the Christian ships. 
In a single engagement, the vessels of the Crusaders were 
almost all dispersed and consumed by the Greek fire : from 
that moment terror seized upon the Christians, for they were 
in want of provisions, and had neither means nor hopes of 
obtaining any. The Saracens, after having crossed the Nile 
on bridges, occupied all the circumjacent hills. The Chris- 
tian soldiers wandered about the fields at hazard, pursued by 
the waves of the rising river, and by the Mussulmans, whose 
bravery they had so lately held in contempt. The whole 
army was on the point of being submerged or perishing with 
^hunger, and had no hope but in the clemency of an enemy 
with whom they had recently refused to make peace. 

In this extremity, the king of Jerusalem and the principal 
leaders of the Christians sent several of their knights to offer 
the Saracens battle ; but the latter were neither sufficiently 
imprudent, nor sufficiently generous to accept a proposal 
dictated by despair. The Crusaders were exhausted with 
hunger and fatigue ; the cavalry sunk into, and encumbered 
by mud and slime, coidd neither advance nor retreat ; the 
foot-soldiers cast aw~ay their arms ; the baggage of the army 
floated away upon the waters, and nothing was lieard but 
groans and lamentations. " When the Christian warriors,'' 
Bays an Arabian historian, " saw notliing before them but 
death, their minds sank into a state of despondency, ana 
their backs bent beneath the rod of God, to when he all 
yraise !" 


Pelagius must then have been sensible of tl e full extent of 
his error : his project of marching to Cairo had, doubtless, 
something great in it, if it could have been executed; but 
the presumptuous legate disdained all counsels, all lessons of 
experience, and foresaw none of the obstacles he was certain 
to meet with on his route ; he conducted an armj filled with 
discontent ; the soldiers had neither that confidence nor that 
enthusiasm that leads men to braye dangers or cheerfully 
encounter fatigue. The king of Jerusalem, the duke of 
Eavaria, and a great number of the barons were his personal 
enemies, and took very little interest in the success of an 
enterprise of which they had disapproved. 

Amidst the cries and lamentations of an army to which he 
had promised victory, Pelagius was obliged to negotiate for 
peace, and his pride humbled itself so far as to implore the 
clemency of the Saracens. Christian ambassadors, among 
whom was the bishop of Ptolemais, went to propose a capi- 
tulation to the conquerors ; they offered to give up the city 
of Damietta, and only asked for the Christian army liberty 
to return to Ptolemais. 

The Mussulman princes assembled in council to deliberate 
upon the proposals of the Crusaders. Some were of opinion 
they should be accepted ; others declared that all the Chris- 
tians ought to be made prisoners of war. Among those who 
proposed the harshest measures, the sultan of Damascus, an 
implacable enemy of the Pranks, was conspicuous. " No 
treaty can be made," said he, " with warriors without 
humanity and without faith. We should remember their 
barbarities in war and their treachery in peace. Thev armed 
themselves to ravage provinces, to destroy cities, and over- 
throw the worship of Mahomet. Since fortune has placed 
these most cruel enemies of Islamism, these devastators of 
the East, in the hands of the true believers, we ought to im- 
molate them to the safety of the Mussulman nations, and 
take an advantage of our victory that will create a terror 
among the people of the West for ever." 

Most of the princes and emirs, animated by fanaticism 
and vengeance, applauded this violent speech. The sultan of 
Cairo, more moderate, and, doubtless, more prescient than 
the other leaders, dreading likewise the arrival of Prederick 
and the invasion of the Tartars, combated the o])inion of 


the sultan of Damascus, and advised that the capitulation of 
the Franks should be accepted. " All the Franks were not 
comprised in this army now in their power ; othor Crusaders 
guarded Damietta, and might be able to defend it ; the 
Mussulmans had sustained a siege of eight months, tlie 
Ciiristians might hold out as long. It was more advan- 
tageous for the princes of the family of Saladin to return to 
their cities than to retain a few of their enemies in chains. 
If they destroyed one Christian army, the West, to avenge 
the defeat of its warriors, was able to send numberless 
legions into the East. They ought not to forget that the 
Mussulman armies had lost a portion of that spirit of 
obedience and discipline that was the sole guarantee of vic- 
tory ; that they were worn out with fatigue,, and sighed for 
repose. Other enemies than the now disarmed Christians, 
other perils than those they had just escaped, might soon 
hang over both Syria and Egypt.* It was wise to make 
peace at this moment, in order to prepare for fresh contests, 
for new wars, perhaps much more cruel than that which they 
had now an opportunity of terminating with so much glory 
to the Mussulman arms." 

The speech of Melik-Kamel brought back the princes of 
his family to sentiments of moderation.f The capitulation 
was accepted ; the sultan of Cairo sent his own son to the 
camp of the Christians as a pledge for his word. The king 
of Jerusalem, the duke of Bavaria, the legate of the pope, 
and the principal leaders repaired to the camp of the Sara- 
cens, and remained as hostages till the accomplishment of 
the treaty. 

When the deputies of the imprisoned army came to Da- 

* The Chronicle of Ibn-ferat gives some details of this council of the 
Mussulman princes. The Western historians say nothing of it. It is a 
pity that James of Vitri, who was sent to the camp of the Saracens to 
propose the capitulation, should have preserved a profound silence upon 
so important a circumstance. We have several times remarked that the 
Arabian historians, when the Mussulmans experience reverses, content 
themselves with saying, ** God is great ; may God curae the Christians!" 
We find the same inconvenience in the Western historians, who are almost 
always silent wlien the Christians are conquered. 

f "Wf cannot refrain from observing that the deliberations of the Mus- 
sulmans generally end in resolutions of moderation and mercy; and that 
til 'se of tiic C^u^aders have, as often, a very different result. — Trans 


mietta and announced the disasters and captivity of the 
Christians, their account drew tears from the crowd of 
Crusaders who at that time arrived from the West. When 
these same deputies informed them that the city must be 
given up to the infidels, the most intrepid of the Franka 
could not restrain their indignation, and refused to recog- 
nise a treaty so disgraceful to the soldiers of the cross. The 
greatest tumult prevailed throughout the city. Some, filled 
w ith despair, determined to return to Europe, and prepared 
to desert the banners of the cross ; others ran towards the 
ramparts, and getting possession of the towers, swore to 
defend them. 

A few days after, fresh deputies arrived to declare that the 
king of Jerusalem and the other leaders of the army would 
be obliged to give up Ptolemais to the Mussulmans if they 
refused to surrender Damietta. In order to overcome the 
obstinate resistance of those who wished to defend the city, 
and who reproached the imprisoned army with disgracing 
the Christians, they added, that this army, though defeated, 
had obtained a prize worthy of their former exploits, for the 
Saracens had engaged to restore to them the true cross of 
the Saviour, which had fallen into the hands of Saladin at 
the battle of Tiberias. The fear of losing Ptolemais, the 
hope of regaining the cross of Christ, together with the 
speeches of the deputies, brought back the spirit of peace 
and resignation to the minds of the most ardent of the 
Crusaders, and disposed them to the performance of the 
conditions of the treaty. 

In the mean time, the Christian army having lost their 
tents and their baggage, passed many days and many nights 
in a plain covered with the waters of the Nile. Hunger, 
disease, and inundation threatened their entire destruction. 
The king of Jerusalem, then in the camp of the Saracens, 
upon being informed of the horrible distress of the Chris- 
tians, went to conjure Melik-Kamel to have pity on his 
disarmed enemies. The continuator of William of Tyre, 
who is our guide in this part of our history, reports, in his 
old, quaint language, the touching interview between John 
of Brienne and the sultan of Egypt. " The king sat down 
oefore the sultan, and began to weep ; the sultan, on seeing 
the king weep, said, ' Sire, why do j^ou weep ?* * Sire, I 


have good cause,' replied the king, ' for I hehold the people 
whom Grod has confided to me perishing amidst the waters, 
and dying with hunger.' The sultan felt great pity at seeing 
the king weep, and he wept also ; then he sent thirty thou- 
sand loaves to the poor as well as the rich ; and sent the 
same quantity daily during four days." * 

Meiik-Kamel caused the sluices to be closed, and the 
waters rapidly retired from the plain ; as soon as Damietta 
was surrendered to the Mussulmans, the Christian army 
began its retreat. The Crusaders, who owed their liberty 
and lives to the mercy of the Saracens, passed through the 
city which had cost them so many conflicts and so muoh 
labour ; and, weeping, quitted the banks of the Nile, where 
so short a time before they had sworn to make the cause of 
Christ triumphant. They bore away in sadness the wood of 
the true cross, the identity of which they had reason to 
suspect, since it no longer performed miracles, and was not 
for them now the signal o£ victory. The sultan of Egypt 
caused them to be accompanied by his son, who had orders 
to provide for all their wants on their route. The Saracen 
leaders were impatient to get rid of an army that had threat- 
ened their empire ; they could scarcely give credit to their 
own triumph, and some little apprehension was, no doubt, 
mingled with the pity with which their conquered enemies 
inspired them. 

Grreat rejoicings had been made at Ptolemais for the vic- 
tories obtained by the Christians on the banks of the Nile ; 
they believed that they already saw the holy places delivered, 
and the empire of the Saracens destroyed. Consternation 
took place of their joy on seeing the army return. As in 
all the other reverses which their arms had met with, the 
Christians mutually reproached each other with their defeat; 
they accused the leaders of ambition, and the king of Jeru- 
salem of weakness ; the Templars and Hospitallers, who had 

* As translation can scarcely do justice to this touching little morceau, 
I subjoin the original. — Trans. Le roi s'assit devant le soudan, at se 
mist a plorer ; le soudan regarda le roi qui ploroit, et lui dist : " Sire, 
pourquoi plorez vous ?" " Sire, j'ai raison," reponditle roi, " carje vois 1^ 
peuple dont Dex m'a chargie, perir au milieu de I'eve et mourir de faim.'" 
Le soudan eut pitie de ce qu'il vit le roi plorer, si ploraaussi ; lors envoya 
trente mille pains as pauvres et as riches ; ainsi leur eavoya quatre jo\'rs 
d« suite. 


on all occasions set an example of courage and the most 
generous devotedness, were obliged tc make a public apology 
for their conduct. When it became known in the West that 
Damietta had fallen again into the hands of the Saracens, all 
the faithful were afleoted by the deepest grief,* and sought, 
by their prayers, to mitigate the anger of Heaven. Violent 
murmurs arose against the legate Pelagius, and represented 
him to the sovereign pontiff as the author of all the disasters 
of the crusade ; but Honorius was not willing to condemn 
his minister, and reproached Frederick, who had three times 
renewed his vow to fight against the infidels, with having 
remained an idle spectator of an unfortunate war, and with 
having neglected to succour his brethren of the East. 

Frederick, who had sent vessels, provisions, and soldiers 
to the holy war, thought that he had fully performed his part 
m the crusade, and was at first much astonished at the 
reproaches of the Holy See. When the pope threatened 
him with the anger of Heaven and the thunders of Kome, 
he could not restrain his indignation ; in his letters the 
emperor complains bitterly of the tyranny of both Innocent 
and Honorius, and talks of opposing war to war, and ven- 
geance to injustice. After this, Honorius, who acted less 
from the dictates of his own mind than after the policy of 
his predecessors, changed his tone, attempted to justify both 
Innocent and himself, and, employing prayers instead of 
menaces, conjured Frederick to have pity on the Church of 
the East. 

This paternal language appeased Frederick ; in an inter- 
^ew which he had with the pope at Yeroli, the emperor of 
Grermany repeated his vow to repair to Palestine at the head 
of an army. In another assembly, which was held some 
time afterwards at Verona, the pope endeavoured to engage 
Frederick, on account of his own interests ; he proposed to 
him to espouse Yolande, daughter of John of Brienne, and 
heir to the kingdom of Jerusalem. The grand masters of 
the Templars, the Hospitallers, and the Teutonic order, with 
the patriarch and the king of Jerusalem, all summoned to 
Italy to deliberate on the affairs of the crusade, approved of 
a union which would secure them the assistance of a powerful 

* Muratori has preserved a little elegaic poem in Latin, upon th( 
taking of Damietta. — See Script. Rer, Hal. vol. vii. p, 992, 

264} HISTORY or the cetjsades. 

monarcli. Erederick accepted a kingdom which he promised 
to defend, and consented ^o undergo excommunication if he 
failed in his promises. 

After the conference of Verona, King John of Brienne 
visited the principal states of Europe, for the purpose of 
soliciting aid for the Holj Land. At the time of John's 
arrival in Erance, the Erench were mourning the death of 
Philip Augustus. The king of Jerusalem assisted at the 
funeral ceremonies of his master and benefactor, who, at his 
death, had bequeathed three thousand silver marks to the 
defenders of Palestine. After having paid the last duties 
to Phnip, John went first to England, and afterwards to 
Germany, in both of which countries his presence and his 
discourses strongly moved Christians with the misfortunes 
of the Holy Land. 

The emperor Erederick, on his part, made all the requisite 
preparations for an expedition which he was to lead in per- 
son ; he ordered vessels to be constructed in all the ports of 
Sicily for transporting the Crusaders. " Heaven and earth," 
wrote he to the pope, " are witnesses that I desire the suc- 
cess of the Christian arms with my whole soul, and that I 
will neglect nothing that can assist in securing the success 
of the holy enterprise." In all his letters Erederick ex- 
horted the sovereign pontiif to employ every means to aug- 
ment the numbers of the soldiers of Christ. Become, all 
at once, more zealous for the crusade than the pope himself, 
he reproached the court of Eome with being sparing in in- 
dulgences, and with confiding the preaching of the crusade 
to vulgar orators ; he advised the pope to redouble his efforts 
to appease the quarrels of Christian princes, and to compel 
the kings of Erance and England to sign a peace, in order 
that the nobles and people of these two kingdoms might 
take part in the crusade. Erederick not being able to go 
into Germany, sent thither the grand master of the Teu- 
tonic order, with directions to exhort the landgrave of 
Thuringia, the duke of Austria, the king of Hungary, and 
the other princes of the empire, to take the oath to fight 
against the infidels. He undertook to furnish the Crusaders 
with vessels, pro^dsions, arms, and everything necessary for 
the expedition beyond the sea; in short, he displayed so 
much activity, and showed so much ardour and zeal, tliat all 


the attention of the Christians was directed towards him, 
and he was considered as the soul, the moving principle, and 
*}he head of the holy enterprise. 

The Christians of Palestine placed all their hopes in him ; 
the patriarch of Alexandria, in a letter to the pope, said that 
they looked for the emperor of G-ermany on the banks of the 
Nile and the Jordan, as formerly the saints Jiad looked for 
the coming of the Messiah or Saviour of the world. The 
patriarch spoke with grief of the oppression and servitude 
that had been inflicted upon the Christians established in 
Egypt since the last invasion of the Crusaders. The unfor- 
tunate disciples of Christ were not allowed to keep in their 
dwellings either arms or horses, nor even to bear a crucifix 
at the funeral processions of their relations ; a hundred and 
fifteen of their chuixhes had been destroyed since the con- 
quest of Damietta. Oppressed by tributes,* condemned to 
disgraceful labours, banished from their homes, wandering 
around their temples and their altars, they invoked the 
mercy of Heaven and the valour of the warriors of the West 
for their deliverance. 

The report of Frederick's preparations was spread even 
to the remote nations of Georgia ; and the queen of that 
country wrote to the head of the Church of E-ome, that the 
constable of her kingdom and a great number of warriors 
only waited for the arrival of the emperor of Germany, to 
fly to the assistance of Palestine. The Georgians had the 
reputation of being a warlike people, and were dreaded by 
the Mussulmans ; their pilgrims enjoyed the privilege of 
entering Jerusalem without paying the tribute imposed 
ipon other Christians. "When the sultan of Damascus 
caused the ramparts of the holy city to be destroyed, the 
warriors of Georgia swore to avenge the outrage committed 
on the city of God ; but an invasion of the Tartars pre- 
vented them from leaving their own territories.f Since that 

* See the letter of the patriarch of Alexandria, in the Appendix. The 
patriarch, at the end of his letter, gives the pope some remarkable opinions 
upon the manner in which the emperor and the Crusaders were to arrive 
in Egypt. 

t The letter of the queen of Georgia is to be found in the continuator 
of Baronius, under the year 1224. Curious details of the manners of the 
Georgians in the thirteenth century may likewise be found in J^aics or 
Vitri, Hist. Orient. 



period, the hordes of Tartary havmg directed their ravages 
towards other countries, the Crusaders of Caucasus and the 
shores of the Caspian Sea promised to unite themselves in 
the plains of Syria and Egypt, with the Crusaders from the 
banks of the Rhijie and the Danube. 

Frederick, however, was not yet in a position to perform 
his so often repeated promises ; the kingdom of Sicily and 
Kaples contained germs of discord and rebellion; the re- 
publics of Lombardy were openly opposed to the emperor 
of Grermany ; and the Holy See, which observed with anxiety 
the ambitious projects of Frederick upon Italy, encouraged 
all the enemies of a power of which it dreaded the too close 
neiglibourliood. Thus, the policy of the court of !Rome, 
the revolts of Sicily, and the enterprises of the Itahan 
republics, would not allow the emperor to lead his armies 
into Asia. Frederick demanded of the pope the indulgence 
of a delay of two years for the performance of his vow ; 
founding his request upofi the length of time required for 
assembling his armies, and declared that he was not willing 
to begin the war before the expiration of the truce made 
with the Mussulmans ; thus showing much more respect for 
treaties with infidels, than had till that time been common 
among Christians, indeed, more respect than he had himself 
shown. The pope, although much dissatisfied, could not 
refuse the delay the emperor demanded ; he, however, dis- 
sembled his anger, and contented himself with requiring 
fresh promises, which were made, as all the rest had been, 
with the greatest solemnity. 

The new vows of Frederick were strengthened by his 
marriage with the heir of the king of Jerusalem. The mar- 
riage was celebrated at Home, amidst the benedictions of the 
clergy and the acclamations of the pec le ; all the Christians 
of the West heard of it with joy, and this union appeared 
to them to be the most certain pledge of the victories the 
Crusaders would gain over the infidels. John of Brienne, 
who assisted at the ceremony, congratulated liin«elf upon 
having obtained an emperor for a son-m-law and a supporter ; 
but his joy was not of long duration. Frederick, after hia 
marriage, only saw in him the brother of that Grauthier de 
lirienne, who had borne the title of king of Naples and 
Sicilj ; lie considered him as an enemy to his power, a dan* 


gcrous rival, and he disputed tlie possession of the kingdom 
of Jerusalem with him. The pope was secretly pleased at 
this claim or pretension, as he hoped it would promote the 
interests of the crusade. Honorius was delighted to see the 
ambition of the emperor mix itself up with the great designs 
for the execution of which he was so anxious. Frederick 
was therefore acknowledged king of Jerusalem. Thus John 
of Brienne, who had always proved himself the most ardent 
apostle of the holy war, deprived of his crown, and from 
that time a stranger to the affairs of Palestine, was obliged 
to wait in retirement and silence for a favourable opportunity 
to avenge himself on his son-in-law, and recover his kingdom. 

Frederick carried on his preparations for the holy war, 
and appeared more than ever disposed to set out for the 
East. The crusade was preached, in the name of the head 
of the Church, in all the kingdoms of Europe ; the sovereign 
pontiff wrote to the princes to exhort them to suspend their 
divisions and occupy themselves solely with the war beyond 
the sea. 

As hostilities had just been renewed between England and 
France, Honorius ordered Louis VIII. to lay down his arms, 
and threatened him with excommunication, if he did not 
immediately make peace. The king of France, before he 
obeyed the orders of the pope, was desirous of completing 
the conquest of Poitoii; and whilst the thunders of Itome 
were growling over his head, the people and clergy were 
returning Heaven thanks for his victories, in every church 
of his kmgdom. 

The war against the English was not the only obstacle to 
the departure of the French Crusaders for the Holy Land ; 
the exterminating crusade against the Albigeois was still 
going on, and Louis YIII. took a more active interest in it 
than his father Philip had done. "When Louis YIII. had 
concluded a truce with England, he at length resolved tc 
take the cross, and made a vow, not to go and fight against 
the Saracens in Asia, but against the heretics in Languedoc. 
In this crusade the king of France had the double advantage 
of scarcely going out of his own territories, and of making 
conquests that might some day enlarge his kingdom. The 
.ords and barons followed Louis into the southern provinces, 
a/id tlioiiiiht no more about the deliverance of J<)rusalem. 

268 HisTOET^ or the crusades. 

At the same time the envoys of the pope and the empoi'of 
were busy in exhorting the nations of Grermany to succour 
the Christians of Palestine. Their orations, which at first 
had great success, ended by diminishing both confidence and 
enthusiasm. As the pope had recommended the preachers 
to be prodigal of the indulgences of the Church, the people 
beheld with astonishment the greatest criminals take the 
cross, and swear to expiate their sins by the holy pilgrimage. 
They remembered that St. Bernard had called thieves and 
murderers to the defence of Christ ; but opinions and 
morals began to change, and that which had succeeded in 
the preceding century was now only a source of reproach. 
The monk of Upsberg, a contemporary author, informs us 
that the facility granted to the most vicious of mankind to 
redeem their crimes by taking up arms and the cross, only 
served to increase great ofiences, and cool the zeal of the 
true defenders of Christ.* 

The orators who preached the crusade in England gathered 
more fruit from their labours, but owed great part of their 
success to celestial phenomena, which came very opportunely 
to second their eloquence. A luminous crucifix, with the 
marks of the five wounds of the Saviour, appeared suddenly 
in the heavens. This miraculous spectacle greatly inflamed 
the enthusiasm of the people ; and, if we may believe Mat- 
thew Paris, more than sixty thousand English took the 
oath to arm themselves for the deliverance of the tomb of 

Spain was constantly the seat of a sanguinary war 
between the Moors and the Christians ; the one party sup- 
ported by warriors from Africa, the other by knights and 
soldiers from the provinces of Prance, fought battles every 
day without destroying their means of either attack oi 
defence : amidst such wars, in which, by turns, Mahomet 
and Christ were invoked, Spain was not likely to hear or 
attend to the complaints and appeals of Jerusalem. 

Another enthusiasm than that of the crusades, — an ardent 
desire for liberty, — then agitated the finest countries of Italy. 
The greater part of the cities, acted upon by jealousy and 

* The Chronicle of Upsberg attributes the murder of the respectable 
Engelbert, archbishop of Maience, to this indulgence of the preachers of 
the crusade. 


the other passio^is of repubL'cs, were all at war among them- 
selves ; fighting sometimes for territory, and sometimes for 
independence. In all these small states, parties attacked and 
parsued each other with fury, and disputed the exercise ot 
power, sword in hand. Some of the cities, principalities, 
and baronies invoked the authority of the pope, others that 
of the emperor of Germany : the factions of the Gruelpha 
and the Ghibellines troubled every city, and created divisions 
in most families. These discords and civil wars naturally 
turned the attention of Christian nations from the crusades. 
The cities of Lombardy had formed a powerful confe- 
deracy, which gave Erederick continual cause of inq.uietude, 
and detained him in the West ; Honorius employed every 
means in his power to re-establish peace, and direct men's 
minds towards his darling object ; and at last succeeded in 
getting the Lombard republics to join the emperor of Ger- 
many for the deliverance of the holy places. 

Although the people had lost some portion of their enthu- 
siasm for the lioly war, it was still possible to form a redoubt- 
able army, by gathering together all the warriors that had 
taken the cross in the various countries of Europe ; and the 
new Crusaders were ordered to meet at the port of Brindisi, 
where vessels were being prepared to transport them to the 
East. On their arrival in the kingdom of Naples, the em- 
peror of Germany supplied them with provisions and arms ; 
everything was ready, and the pope was about, at length, to 
see his wishes accomplished, and receive the reward of all 
his labours and preachings, when inexorable death deprived 
(>hristendom of its head. 

Gregory IX., who succeeded him, had all the abilities, the 
virtues, and the ambition of Innocent III. In the execution 
of his designs, he feared neither difficulties nor perils; the most 
violent measures had no terrors for his obstinacy or audacity, 
when the triumph of his will was in question. Gregory had 
scarcely ascended the pontifical throne, when the preparations 
for the holy war engrossed all his thoughts, and became tha 
principal object of his active solicitude. 

The Crusaders assembled in Apidia had much to suftei 
from the influences of the climate and the season ; the sove- 
reign pontiff neglected nothing to alleviate their distresses 
and hasten their departure. He exhorted the emperor tc 


embark, by saying to him, " The Lord has placed you in this 
world as a cherubim with a flaming sword, to direct those 
who stray from the way of the tree of life." Frederick at 
length yielded to the prayers of the pope, and sailed frora 
the port of Brindisi with his fleet and army. Prayers were 
being put up for the prosperity of his voyage and the success 
of his expedition, in all the provinces of his empire, when, 
at the end of three days, being attacked by the malady that 
had made such ravages in the Christian army, he retraced 
his course, and landed in the port of Otranto. 

Grregory had celebrated the departure of Erederick as a 
triumph of the Church ; he considered his return as an 
absolute revolt against the Holy See. The little city of 
Agnani, to which the pope had retired, witnessed the rage of 
the pontiif, and beheld the birth of that formidable storm 
which so long disturbed the Christian world. Accompanied 
by the cardinals and several bishops, Grregory repaired to the 
principal church, and having mounted the pulpit, before the 
assembled people, he pronounced a sermon which had for its 
text, " It is necessary that scandals should arise." After 
having called upon the prophets, and spoken of the triumph 
of St. Michael over the dragon, he launched against Frede- 
rick all the anathemas of the Church. 

The emperor at first sent messengers to the pope to ex- 
plain and justify his conduct ; but the inexorable Grregory 
refused to listen to them, and complained to all the sove- 
reigns of Europe, representing Frederick as a faithless and 
perjured prince. He accused him of having consigned his 
wife Yolande to close imprisonment, in which she died of 
grief; of having left the Crusaders to perish with hunger, 
thirst, and heat in the plains of Apulia ; and of having, at 
last, under the frivolous pretext of sickness, violated his oath 
and deserted the banners of Christ, in order to return to tJie 
customary enjoyments of his kingdom. He made him many 
other reproaches ; and in his anger called down upon him 
the maledictions of all Christians. 

Frederick, exceedingly irritated, replied to the avcusations 
of Gregory with much bitterness. In his apology, which 
he sent to all the princes of Christendom, he complained 
strongly of the usurpations of tlie Holy See, and exposed, in 
the most odious colours, the policy and ambitious designs o.f 


the court of Eome. " The Church of Rome," said he, " senda 
legates everywhere, with power to punish, to suspend, and 
excommunicate, not with the designs of spreading the word of 
God, hut to heap up money, and reap that which they have not 
soivn.^^ The emperor reminded the princes, in his letters, of 
the violences which the pope had exercised against the count 
of Thoulouse and the king of England ; he said that the 
domains of the clergy did not now satisfy the ambition of 
the Holy See, and that the sovereign pontiffs wished to lay 
their hands upon every kingdom. Prom that moment open 
war was declared between the pope and the emperor ; neither 
of them possessed a pacific character or a love of quiet ; 
both were animated by boundless ambition, jealous to excess 
of their power, implacable in their revenge, and always ready 
to employ the arms which the Church or fortune placed in 
their hands. Gregory displayed an indefatigable activity, 
leaving his enemies no repose, but pursuing them at the 
same time with the thunders of religion and war. In addi- 
tion to the arms of eloquence, the pontiif did not disdain to 
employ satire ; the manifestoes which he published against 
his adversaries constantly recalled the spirit of the denun- 
ciations made by the prophets. These denunciations, mixed 
with obscure allegories, gave to his words a dark and mys- 
terious tone, which caused him to be considered as the inter- 
preter of angry Heaven. Frederick was neither a less 
able prince nor a less redoubtable enemy : the art of war 
contained no stratagems or secrets w^ith which he was un- 
acquainted; policy dictated no means that he scrupled to 
employ. Endowed with all the gifts of mind, and with a 
keen spirit of raillery, he was as competent to confound his 
enemies in a discussion, as to conquer them in the field of 
battle. Descended, on the female side, from those famous 
Normans who had conquered Sicily and the kingdom of 
Naples, he united, as they had done, courage with subtlety, 
and audacity with dissimulation : to please the court of 
Kome, he had made barbarous laws against heretics ; and, 
now become tlie enemy of the popes, he did not fe£.r to arm 
heretics or Saracens against the court of E-ome. When 
the kingdom of Jerusalem was offered to him, he set no 
great value upon the acquisition ; but he accepted it with 
*oy, in order to increase his popularity in the Chi'istiiir. 


world, and to arm himself, one day, against the sovereign 
pontiiF with a title, which was then held in universal vene- 

A war between such enemies must necessarily prove ter- 
rible, and spread desolation and confusion throughout Chris- 
tendom. Gregory, on his return to Home, repeated his 
excommunications in the church of St. Peter ; Frederick, 
in order to revenge himself, seduced into his party most of 
the Koman nobles, who took up arms, insulted the sovereign 
pontiff at the very foot of the altar, and compelled him to 
abandon the capital of the Christian world. The pope, 
driven from his states, pursued his enemy with more fury 
than ever ; and, availing himself of the formidable authority 
of the Church, he released the subjects of Frederick from 
their oath of fidelity, by reminding them that they could 
owe no obedience to those who opposed themselves to God 
and his saints. On his side, Frederick drove the Templars 
and Hospitallers from the kingdom of Naples, plundered the 
churches, and ill-treated all ecclesiastics whom he suspected 
of being attached to the party of the Holy See. He sent 
troops to ravage the patrimony of St. Peter, and enlisted 
the Saracens established in Sicily, under the banners of a 
Christian prince, to combat the head of the Christian church. 
The E-oman states were ravaged, and given up to the hor- 
rors of war. The eyes of all Europe were fix:ed upon these 
deplorable scenes, and every one seemed to have forgotten 
the holy war. 

The Christians of Palestine, however, never ceased to im- 
plore aid from the West. A letter to the pope from the 
patriarch of Jerusalem, the bishops of CaBsarea and Bethle- 
hem, and the grand masters of the three military orders, 
painted in strong colours the despair into which the Chris- 
tians of the East had fallen, when they learnt that Frederick 
bad deferred his departure. The pope received their com- 
plaints with expressions of sorrow and kindness, and com- 
municated them to the faithful with greater zeal, from their 
furnishing him wdth a fresh opportunity of accusing the 
emperor of Germany. But the nations of the West, occu- 
pied with their own dangers, and terrified at the sight of the 
violent storms that had recently burst forth, were not in the 
least moved by either the lamentations from Palestine oi 


the pressing exhortations of Gregory. In this unfortunate 
position of European affairs, the Christian colonies, aban- 
doned to themselves and their own feeble resources, and a 
prey to the greatest disorders, must have been invaded and 
entirely destroyed, if Providence had not stirred up fresh 
discords among their enemies. 

During the siege of Damietta, the common danger had 
united the children of Malek-Adel ; after victory, ambition 
resumed the place of fear ; and the Ayoubite princes quar- 
relled for the provinces which their union had wrested from 
the power, or saved from the invasion of the Christians. 
Conraddin, sultan of Damascus, dreading the views of 
Melik-Kamel, called Gelaleddin, prince of the vast empire 
of Carismia, to his aid. The sultan of Cairo, in great ap- 
prehension of the consequences of this alliance, turned his 
eyes towards the princes of the West. During several 
years, the report alone of the preparations of Frederick had 
been a source of terror to the Mussulman powers. The 
emperor of Germany was considered, in the East, as the 
head of all the nations of Europe. The sultan of Egypt 
attached the greatest importance to the disarming of a for- 
midable enemy ; and as the complaints of the pope, and the 
report of the discords that had broken out among the Chris- 
tians, had reached his ears, he conceived a hope of finding 
in Frederick a sincere ally and a powerful auxiliary.* 

Melik-Kamel sent presents and ambassadors to the 
emperor of Germany ; he invited Erederick to come into 
the East, and promised to deliver Jerusalem up to him. 
This proposition gave the emperor as much surprise as 
joy : and he, in reply, sent an ambassador into Egypt, to 
ascertain the exact intentions of the sultan of Cairo, and 
offer him his friendship. The envoy of Frederick was 
received at the court of the sultan with the greatest 
honours, and returned to announce to his master that Melik- 
Kamel was ready to favour his expedition to Palestine. 

* These details, unknown to all the historians of the West, are related 
by Abulfeda and the greater part of the Arabian historians who treat ol 
the events of this period. The same authors name the Mussulman envoy 
Fakr-eddin ; they disfigure the name of Frederick's envoy, and say that 
this prince selected for this mission the person who had been hifi 
governor in his chi dhood. 


This negotiation, with whicli the pope and the Christiana 
of the "West were perfectly unacquainted, made Fredericlj' 
determine to follow up the project of the crusade : he had, 
besides, several other motives for not renouncing the 
Eastern enterprise. He knew that John of Brienne was 
on the point of returning to Palestine, and resuming pos- 
session of the kingdom of Jerusalem. The pope continued 
to represent him as the enemy of Christ, and the scourge 
of Christians. To secure the failure of the plan of John 
of Brienne, and, at the same time, reply to the sovereign 
pontiff in a victorious manner, Erederick resolved to embark 
for the Holy Land. He was desirous of proclaiming his 
intention with the greatest pomp ; and caused a magnificent 
throne to be erected in the plain of Barletta, which he 
asceiided in the presence of an immense crowd of spectators. 
In all the splendour of imperial magnificence, he presented 
himself invested with the pilgrim's cross, and announced to 
the assembled people that he was about to set out for Syria. 
In order to give more solemnity to this pompous ceremony, 
and affect the hearts of the multitude, the emperor caused 
his will to be read with a loud voice ; and the barons and 
nobles swore at the foot of the throne, to see that his lasl 
commands should- be executed, if he should chance to loso 
his life, either in the perils of the sea or the wars of thw 

"When the pope learnt this determination of Erederick's, 
he sent ecclesiastics to forbid him to embark. Tlie sove- 
reign pontiff" reproached the emperor with presenting to the 
Christian world the scandal of a crusade directed by a prince 
reproved of God : as the fleet of Erederick consisted of 
only twenty galleys, and as he took with him only six hun- 
dred knights, Grregory reproached him with not having fid- 
fiUed his promises, and compared his imprudent attempts to 
the expedition of a captain of pirates. The emperor did 
not condescend to make any reply to the messengers of the 
pope ; the more opposition the head of the Church gave to 
his departure, the more impatient Erederick appeared to set 
out and accomplish his design : in his indignation, he con- 
gratulated himself at having to brave the anger of the 
Church and the arms of the Saracens at the same time. He 
left the greater part of his army in Sicily ; charging hia 


lieutenant, the duke of Spoleto, to negotiate for peace with 
the pope, but at the same time to carry on the war com- 
menced against the Homan states with unabated vigour. 

When he heard of the departure of the emperor, Gregory 
was in the little city of Assisi, occupied in the canonization 
of St. Francis. During several days, he had simg nothing 
but hymns of hope and joy : " Francis," said he, "had ap- 
peared like the star of morning, like the orb of day, like the 
moon in its splendour." This language of peace, this fes- 
tive pomp, were all at once interrupted by the maledictions 
that the pope pronounced against Frederick : the sovereign 
pontiff repaired to the foot of the altar, and there implored 
Heaven to confound the pride of impious monarchs, and 
frustrate all their sacrilegious enterprises. 

The emperor, notwithstanding, arrived safely on the coast 
of Syria, and was received at Ptolemais by the patriarch, 
the clergy, and the grand masters of the military orders. 
For some days, the Christians of the East viewed him as 
the liberator and the king of Jerusalem ; but a change 
speedily took place. Two disciples of St. Francis, sent by 
the pope, came to announce to the faithfid that they had 
received a prince rebellious to the will of the Church. From 
that moment, contempt, hatred, and mistrust took place of 
respect and submission. They began by perceiving that 
Frederick was followed by only a small number of warriors, 
and that he had not troops enough to render him formidable 
to either the Saracens or the Christians. Nothing was 
talked of in Ptolemais but the excommunication of the 
pope, and the means of withdrawing themselves from obe- 
dience to a heretic prince : never had the deliverance of 
Jerusalem been less thought of. 

At the mom-ent in which Frederick arrived in Syria, 
Conraddm, sultan of Damascus, died ; and the death of this 
prince gave birth to more discords among the Mussulman 
powers. The principality of Damascus was governed by a 
young inexperienced prince ; and the spirit of license and 
insubordination, which had, in the last wars, ^ been already 
observed among the troops of Syria and Egypt, made, every 
day, greater progress, and put all the Mussvilman thrones in 

The sultan of Cairo, when informed of the arrival of 


Fredeiick, came into Palestine, at the head of an army. 
Some asserted that he came to defend Jerusalem, and tc 
fight with the Christians ; but his true design was to take 
advantage of the chances of war, and of the discords which 
everywhere prevailed, to get possession of Damascus, and 
defeat the plans of the enemies that jealousy and ambition 
had raised up against him among the Mussulmans and 
princes of his family. 

The emperor of Germany marched out of Ptolemais, at 
the head of his small army, and directed his course towards 
the mountains of JSTaplouse. He had sent Count Thomas 
de Celano to Melik-Ivamel, to remind him of his promises, 
and to tell him, that, being master of the most vast provinces 
of the West, he was not come into Asia for the purpose of 
making conquests ; that he had no other design but that of 
visiting the holy places, and taking possession of the king- 
dom of Jerusalem, which belonged ro him.* The sultan 
received the ambassador of Frederick with due respect; 
but whether he was ashamed to make peace before he had 
begun the war, or whether he feared to draw upon himself 
the hatred of the Mussulmans, by showing too much defer- 
ence for a Christian prince, he at first made no reply to the 
propositions that were made to him. 

Nevertheless the two princes sent fresh ambassadors, 
charged on both sides to express a desire for peace ; both 
were placed in embarrassing circumstances, being surrounded 
by enemies who blamed their proceedings, and did not allow 
them to publish all their sentiments freely. The Mussul- 
man army from Damascus, encamped in the neighbourhood 
of Jerusalem, watched all the movements of the sultan of 
Egypt, and seemed much more disposed to fight with him 
than to repulse the Christians. The emperor of Germany 
found himself in the presence of two hostile armies, and that 
which he himself commanded inspired him with no more 
confidence than he inspired in it. The Hospitallers and 
Templars had le^'t him, and followed him at a distance ; in 
the camp of the Christians no one durst pronoiu.ce the 

* The perusal of Arabian authors throws great light upvjn this part of 
the history of the crusades ; the continuator of William of Tyre, th« 
letters of the patriarch of Jerusalem, or the correspondence of the pope; 
giv ■ but very incomplete information. 


name of the prince wbo commanded the army. Fredericlj 
had been oblged to withdraw the standard of the empire, 
and his orders were only issued to the soldiers of the cross 
m the name of God and of the Christian republic. 

In this difficult situation, Frederick and Melik-Kamel 
were equally sensible of the necessity for peace, and of the 
danger of commencing war ; tliey therefore gave more em- 
ployment to their ambassadors than to their soldiers ; this 
crusade was nothing but a long negotiation, disapproved of 
by both Christians and infidels. As the two sovereigns 
covered their policy with a veil of profound mystery, it was 
easy for hatred to spread and procure countenance for sinis- 
ter reports. Criminal intentions were discovered in the 
simplest actions. In the Chri-stian army it was conceived 
that Frederick had committed a crime by sending his sword 
and cuirass to the sultan of Cairo, as a pledge of his wish 
for peace. Among the Mussulmans, Melik-Kamel was re- 
proached with seeking an alliance mth the enemies of 
Islamism, by sending to the leader of the Franks an ele- 
phant, some camels, and the rarest productions of Arabia, 
India, and Egypt. The scandal reached its height when the 
emperor received as a present from the sultan of Cairo, a 
troop of girls, brouglit up, according to the custom of the 
Orientals, to sing and dance in the banqueting-hall. 

At length prejudices were carried so far on both sides, 
that Frederick was judged more favourably of by his ene- 
m'.ea than by his own army; and Melik-Kamel would sooner 
have found grace among the Christians than among his own 
troops. The infidels regarded the emperor of G-ermany as a 
prince full of wisdom and moderation ; Abulfeda, and all the 
Arabian authors, have celebrated the qualities and virtues of 
the monarch of the Franks, whilst the continuator of "Wil- 
liam of Tyre only speaks of this prince with bitterness, and 
reports in his history, that all the apostles and other Chris- 
tians had great doubt and great suspicion that he was far 
^'one in infidelity, and warm in his belief in the law of 

Hatred soon broke out in acts of treachery and the most 
odious plots. As the emperor had expressed an intention of 
going to bathe in the waters of the Jordan, the Templars 
addressed a letter to Melik-Kamel, pointing out the meana 


of surprising the head of the Christian array in his pil-' 
grimage : the sultan of Cairo despised such treachery, ind 
sent the letter he had received to Frederick. At the same 
time Melik-Kamel learnt that the sultan of Damascus had 
declared war against him, and would be joined by several 
other Mussulman princes. The sultan of Cairo and the 
emperor of Grermany had carried on their negotiations] 
for peace during several months, but now, pressed on all 
sides by enemies, and surrounded by dangers, even in their 
own camp, they at length resolved to end the matter, and 
conclude a treaty, which would permit them to dispose of 
their forces for their security or for their personal ambition. 
They agreed between themselves, that they would make a 
truce of ten years, and that Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, 
and Thoron should be given up to Frederick or his lieu- 
tenants.* According to the conditions of the treaty, the 
Mussulmans were to retain in the holy city, the mosque of 
Omar and the free exercise of their worship : the princi- 
pality of Antioch and the county of Tripoli were not com- 
prised in the treaty. Tlie emperor of Grermany undertook 
to divert the Franks from every kind of hostility agains> 
the subjects or lands of the sultan of Egypt. 

When the articles of the treaty became known in the two 
camps, the peace was considered by both as impious and 
sacrilegious.t The imauns and cadis, invoking the name of 
the caliph of Bagdad, loudly condemned a truce which con- 
veyed away from the Mussulmans the holy city, which they 

* The Arabian authors who speak of this treaty, say that one of the 
conditions was, that the fortifications of Jerusalem should not be repaired ; 
this condition is not named in the treaty which is found in the continuator 
of Baronius. 

t Quant I'apostelle oi ces nouvelles, si n'en fu mie lies, parce que 
S'empereur etait excommunie, et qu'il li etoit avis qu'il avait fait mauvaise 
paix, parce que les Sarrasins tenaient le temple et per ce ne volut-il sofFrir 
un le S9ut fait par lui, ne que sainte eglise en fit fete, ains recommanda 
par toute Chrestianete qu'on excommuniat I'emperor come renvoye et 
mescreant. — Co7it. of William of Tyre. (When the apostle heard these 
news, he was not at all pleased, because the emperor was excommunicated, 
and he thought he had made a bad pec«ce, as the Saracens were to retain 
the temple. Therefore he was not willing it should be thought he con- 
sented to the peace, or that the Church should offer up thanks for it ; and 
he ordered that the emperor should be excommunicated throughout 
Christendom, as a castaway and an infidel.) 


called tJie house of God, the city of the prophet. The prelates 
and bishops, speaking in the name of the poL "iff of E,ome, 
declaimed vehemently against a treaty which left mosques 
standmg by the side of the Holy Sepulchre, and in some 
sort confounded the worship of Mahomet with that of Christ. 
When the envoy of the emperor of G ermany went to Damas- 
cus, to procure the ratification of the treaty which had been 
concluded, the sultan and his vizier refused to hear him. 
The peace made with the Christians was a subject of afflic- 
tion and scandal for all true believers. One of the most 
celebrated orators of Islamism pronounced the panegyric of 
Jerusalem in the great mosque ; and, when recalling in 
patlietic terms the loss the Mussulmans had experienced, he 
drew tears from all the assembled people. 

The patriarch of Jerusalem placed an interdict upon the 
recovered holy places, and refused pilgrims permission to 
visit the sepulchre of Christ. Jerusalem was no longer, in 
the eyes of Christians, the holy city and the heritage of the 
Son of God ; when the emperor made his public entrance, 
the faithful preserved a sullen and melancholy silence as he 
passed along. Accompanied by the German barons and the 
Teutonic knights, he repaired to the church of the Holy 
Sepulchre, which was hung with mourning, and appeared as 
if guarded by the angel of reprobation ; all the ecclesiastics 
had deserted the sanctuary, and everything wore the air of 
abomination and desolation. Frederick himself took the 
crown, and placing it upon his head, he was proclaimed king 
of Jerusalem without any -eligious ceremony; the images of 
the apostles were veiled ; nothing was seen around the altars 
but swords and lances ; and the sacred vaults gave back na 
sounds but the noisy acclamations of warriors. 

After his coronation, Frederick wrote to the pope and to 
all the princes of the A¥est, that he had reconquered Jeru- 
salem without the effusion of blood ; in his account he en- 
deavoured to enhance the splendour and merit of this vic- 
tory, which must fulfil all the hopes of the Christian world. 
At the same time, the patriarch wrote to Gregory, and all 
the faithful of Christendom, to show them the impiety and 
the disgrace of the treaty Frederick hai just concluded. 
When he heard of the success of the emperor, the sovereign 
pontiff deplored the conquest of Jerusalem as he would have 


deplored its loss, and compared t}\e new king of Judgea to 
tliose impious monarchs whom the anger of God placed up.)H 
the throne of David. 

Frederick was not able to remain long in the holy city, 
which resounded with imprecations against him. He re- 
turned to Ptolemais, where he found only revolted subjectiS 
and Christians scandalized at his successes. The patriarch 
and the clergy placed an interdict upon the city during the 
time the emperor shoidd remain in it ; all religious worship 
was suspended ; the altars were deprived of their ornaments, 
and the crosses, relics, and images of the saints were cast 
upon the ground ; no more bells, no more religious hymns 
were to be heard ; a melancholy silence prevailed in the 
sanctuary, where mass was celebrated in a low voice, and 
with closed doors. The dead were buried in the fields, 
without funeral ceremonies or monumental stones ; every- 
thing, in short, denoted a season of great calamities, and a 
dread of the vengeance of Heaven: it was thus that the 
liberator of Jerusalem was welcomed at Ptolemais. 

It was Passion-week, and this religious period gave addi- 
tional influence to tlie clergy and more solemnity to the 
maledictions of the Cliurch. Prederick found himself obliged 
to negotiate for peace with the Cliristians, as he had done 
with the infidels, and being unable to regain their goodwill 
he still further exasperated them by his violence. He caused 
the gates of the city to be closed, and prohibited the bring- 
ing in of provisions ; he planted archers and arbalatiers in 
every place where they could insult the Templars and pil- 
grims ; and by his orders, mendicant preaching monks were 
dragged from the foot of the altar, and beaten with rods in 
the public places of the city. 

Hatred and vengeance were carried, on both sides, to the 
jrreatest excess. It was impossible for the emperor, sur- 
rounded as he was by enemies, to remain long at Ptolemais, 
in addition to which motive, he daily received letters from 
Europe urging his return. Two formidable armies, under 
the banners of the Holy See, had entered the kingdom of 
Naples, pillaged the cities, ravaged the country, mutilated 
prisoners, and committed all kinds of enormities. These 
armies were under the command of John of Brienne, impa- 
tient to revenge his own injuries, and two Sicilian counts, 


whom the emperor of Germany had driven from the kingdom 
of Naples. 

Frederick at length quitted Palestine and returned to his 
own dominions. As he left Ptolemais, the inhabitants 
clianted hjTnns of deliverance and joy. He accused the 
Templars of having endeavoured to deliver him up to the 
Saracens ; the Templars, on their part, accused him of 
having wished to surrender all the Christian cities to the 
sultan of Cairo : these accusations, and a thousand others, 
dictated by hatred, ought to inspire the historian with great 
and just suspicions. The Christians might have urged 
against Frederick a much more reasonable reproach ; he had 
taken no means to secure his conquest, and they were war- 
ranted in believing that he had only made his triumphal 
entry into Jerusalem with the view of annoying the Holy 
See, and dating a reply to the inculpations of Gregory from 
the holy places : having attained his object, he had deceived 
the faithful, by inviting them to a city that he was disposed 
neither to defend nor fortify. In addition to this, Frederick 
himself felt very little pride in the advantages of which he 
made such a pompous display throughout Europe ; and the 
crusade in which he had taken a part was frequently the 
object of his pleasantries and sarcasms. 

On his return to Italy, he found a much more serious war 
than that he had carried on in Asia. The pope had not only 
levied troops to ravage his states, he had induced the Lom- 
bard republics to take up arms against him. John of 
Erienne, deprived of his title of king of Jerusalem, deter- 
mined to endeavour to be acknowledged emperor, and his 
pretensions were supported by all that was then held most 
sacred, the authority of the Church and the right of victory. 
The presence of Frederick restored courage to his subjects, 
whose fidelity was still unshaken ; he met his enemies in 
several engagements, in which he always gained the advan- 
tage. The army of John of Brienne was dispersed, and the 
pontifical troops quitted all the cities and provinces they had 
conquered, in the greatest disorder. 

The pope, learning that fortune had deserted his banners, 

again had recourse to the thunders of religion, and employed 

the most terrible of its denunciations against Frederick. He 

declared that all were excommunicated who should hold any 

Vol. n.— 13 


kind of commerce "witli the emperor, all who she aid sit at 
his table, be present at his councils, celebrate divine service 
before him, or offer him any mark of attachment or respect- 
Prederick was terrified at this sentence, which was published 
with great solemnity in all parts of Europe, particularly in 
his own dominions; and sent ambassadors to the pope, who, 
in spite of the thunders with which he was armed, dreaded 
the consequences of war, and showed himself disposed to 
receive the submission of an enemy he dreaded. 

After a negotiation of several days, a treaty was made, in 
wdiich the conquered pope dictated laws to his conqueror, 
and appeared, whilst receiving peace, to accord a pardou. 
But in spite of this treaty of peace, the effects of discord 
still subsisted, and were felt even in the East, where debates, 
raised in the name of the Church, had divided men's minds, 
and depressed the general courage ; and where the Christian 
states, for which Europe had taken up arms, remained 
without support and without defence. As Erederick had 
abandoned Jerusalem without fortifying it,* the Christians 
were in constant dread of the invasion of the Mussulman 
peasants, whom the hopes of piDage attracted from the 
mountains of Naplouse. The great bell of the church of 
the Holy Sepulclwe often gave warning of the approach of 
an enemy eager for carnage ; and most of the inhabitants 
retired with their terrified families, some to the fortress of 
St. David, which was still standing among the ruins, and 
others into desert places. 

The patriarch of Jerusalem, the prelates, barons, and 
people of Palestine, who had no longer either a leader or a 
kuig, in vain implored the assistance of the warriors and 
princes of the West : prayers and complaints so frequently 
repeated, had no power to awaken in the hearts of the faith- 
ful either the sentiments of pity or the enthusiasm which 
had so often caused them lo take up arms and the cross. 
They could have no faith in perils that followed so closely 

* Un poi apres que I'emperor se fust parti de la terre de Jerusalem, 
s'assemblerent villains de la terre as Sarrasins, et allerent a Jerusalem 
une matinee, pouroccir les Chretiens qui dedans estoient.— Co«/. de Guill. 
de Tyr. The same author adds that the Christian knights then at Ptole- 
mais came to the assistance of Jerusalem, and that they killed a great 
jRumber of the Mussulmans. 


upon victory; and they despaired of ever being able to 
assure the deliverance of a country which required to be 
delivered so often. 

The pope, however, had not abandoned the project of the 
crusade, and still entertained the hope of reviving the 
ardour and zeal of the Christian warriors by his exiiortations. 
He convoked an assembly at Spoleto, at which EredeTick, 
with the patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, and Jeru- 
salem assisted. It was resolved in this assembly, to renew 
the war in Palestine, notwithstanding the truce concluded 
with the sultan of Cairo. 

Gregory was impatient to accomplish his designs, and 
proclaim the laws of the Church in the rich countries of the 
East ; and, to employ the time till warriors could be gathered 
together, he sent several missionaries across the sea, armed 
with the sword and the word, to endeavour to convert the 
infidels of Syria and Egypt. The sovereign pontiff was so 
persuaded of the success of this pacific crusade, that he 
wrote to the caliph of Bagdad, the sultan of Damascus, 
and the principal Mussulman chiefs, to exhort them to em- 
brace Christianity.* History does not say what the fate 
was of these mendicant preachers in the East ; but the 
caliph of Bagdad and the Mussulman princes did not cease 
to be inveterate enemies to the Christians. Grregory IX. 
was better inspired and more fortunate when he sent sacred 
orators into several of the provinces of the West, to appease 
the troubles and civil wars that were so injurious to the cause 
of religion, and diverted the mind^ of the people from the 
great enterprise of the holy wars. 

The disciples of St. Dominick and St. Francis of Assisi, 
charged yith a mission worthy of the Gospel, pervaded cities 
and countries, preaching peace and concord. Among the 
preachers thus sent to pacify states. Brother John of Vicentia 
made himself conspicuous by the r^iiracles effected by his 
eloquence.f In all the countries he visited, the nobles, the 
peasants, the citizens, and the warriors flocked to listen to 

* The letters addressed by the pope to the Mussulman princes may be 
found in the continuator of Baronius. 

t For the preachings of John of Vicentia consult L* Histoire EccM- 
iinstique, of Fleury, vol. xvii., and L' Histoire des Republiques d'ltalit, 
oy .Sismondi, 


him, and swore to pardon all injuries and terminate all 
quarrels. After liaving -'e-establisbed peace in several cities 
troubled by the spirit cf jealousy, and animated by the 
stormy passions of undefined, ill-understood liberty, he an- 
nounced that he should preach in the plain of Peschiera, .\i: 
the banks of the Adige. All the inhabitants of the neigh- 
bouring cities, headed by their clergy and their magistrates, 
repaired to the place appointed, to listen to the Angel of 
Concord* and the orator of public peace. In the presence of 
more than four hundi'ed thousand auditoi-s. Brother John 
mounted a pulpit elevated in the centre of the plain of 
Peschiera; a profound silence prevailed throughout the 
assembly ; every eye was fixed upon the holy preacher ; his 
words seemed to descend from heaven. He took for his 
text these words of the Scripture : " I give you my peace, I 
leave you my peace." After having drawn a frightful pic- 
ture of the evils of war and the effects of discord, he ordered 
the Lombard cities to renounce their" enmities, and dictated 
to them, in the name of the Church, a treaty of universal 
pacification. At no period had the middle ages presented 
a more sublime and touching spectacle ; the historian of that 
time, who has nothing but troubles and wars to describe, 
ought to be delighted at an opportunity to tell of such an 
imposing and solemn scene, wherem religion recalled assem- 
bled nations to a sense of all that her maxims contain that 
is most consoling and salutary. The discourse of Brother 
John filled his auditory with a holy love of peace, and the 
cities then at war swore, before him, to forget for ever the 
subjects of their long divisions and eternal rivalries. 

These evangelical discourses restored to Italy a few days 
of peace, and gave the Holy See an opportunity of preaching 
a new crusade with success. G-regory addressed pastoral 
instructions to all the bishops and prelates of Christendom. 
In his letters to the French bishops, he applied these words 
of Christ to the holy war : " If any one would come with 
me, let him renounce himself, let him take up my cross and 
follow me." The sovereign pontiff declared all who would 
not employ their utmost efforts to conquer the heritage of 

* This was then a common epithet. St. Thomas Aquinas was called 
the Angel of the School. — Trans. 


Christ, guilty of treason. The circulars of the pope ordered 
all the faithful, of both sexes, to pay a denier per week 
towards the expenses of the crusade. The head of the 
Church compared these alms to those which St. Paul 
solicited for the poor of Jerusalem, and did not fear to 
assert, beforehand, that they would sufEce for the main- 
tenance of the army of Crusaders for ten years. 

The preaching of this crusade was confided to the frater- 
nities of St. Dominick and St. Francis, which had, in Asia, 
missionaries for the conversion of infidels, and in the AVest, 
preachers to re-establish peace among Christians ; the new 
apostles of the holy war received from the pope the power, 
not only to give the cross, but to commute the vow of pil- 
grimage to a pecuniary alms, a practice that had never been 
seen since the beginning of the crusades ; they had likewise 
the faculty of granting indulgences for several days to all 
who came to listen to their sermons. According to the spirit 
of their institutions, the disciples of St Francis and St. 
Dominick lived amidst austerities and penance ; they de- 
voted themselves to poverty, and were bound to furnish a 
constant example of Christian humility ; but, in this in- 
stance, the pope desired they should be received into monas- 
teries and cities with pomp and ceremony ; and that the 
clergy should come out to meet them, with the banners and 
most splendid ornaments of their churches. Whether this 
magnificence changed the simplicity of their manners, or 
that the people did not like to behold men whom they had 
lately seen devoted to evangelical poverty, treated with 
ceremonial pomp, the preachers of the crusade inspired their 
auditors with neither esteem nor respect, and the crowd 
diminished every day. As they received abundant alms, of 
which no one could see the employment, neither the 
solemnity of theii' mission nor the sanctity of their charac- 
ters could screen them from the suspicions and accusations 
o^ the multitude : the murmurs and complaints which arose 
on all sides, at length weakened the authority of their words, 
and assisted in cooling the zeal and devotion of the Chris- 
tians for the holy war. 

The enthusiasm of the people, which Christian eloquence 
could not revive, stood in need of the example of the most 
illustrious princes and warriors. France was then at peace ; 

286 nisTOEY OF the cetjsades. 

tlie war against the Albigeois was drawing towards its end : 
nost of the kuights and barons, reared aicidst battles, could 
not endure rest, and sighed for an opportiuiity of signalizing 
their warlike temperament. They took the oath to go into 
Asia and fight against the Saracens. 

Thibault V., count of Champagne, and king of Navarre, 
son of Tliibaiilt, who died before the fifth crusade, -under- 
took to discharge the vow his father had made to ttie Church 
and to Christ. The king of Navarre was celebrated among 
knights and among troubadours ; his muse, which had sung 
profane loves, now gave voice to the complaints of Jerusalem, 
and awakened, by Christian songs, the ardour of the soldiers 
of tlie cross. " Learn," said he, " that heaven is closed to 
all those who will not cross the seas to visit and defend the 
tomb of God. Yes, all the brave, all who love God and 
glory, will not hesitate to take up the cross and arms. 
Those who prefer repose to honour, those who dread perils, 
will remain alone rii their homes. Jesus Christ, in the day 
of judgment, will say to the one party : ' You, who helped 
me to bear my cross, go to the place in which dwell the 
angels and my mother Mary ;' he will say to the others : 
' You, who have not succoured me, descend to the abode of 
the wicked.' "* - The example and the exhortations ol 
Thibault attracted princes, barons, and knights from all the 
provinces of Erance. 

Pierre de Dreux, duke of Brittany, whom the clergy sur- 
named Mauclerc, because, in his youth, he had abandoned 
the ecclesiastical state, wished to expiate his numerous 
felonies, his unjust wars, his tyranny towards his subjects, 
his perfidies towards his allies, by the holy pilgrimage. 
Hugh IV., duke of Burgundy, the counts of Bar, Ferez, 
Macon, Joigny, Sancoure, and Nevers ; Simon de Montfort, 
Andrew de Vitri, Amaury fils, Geoffrey d'Ancenes, and 
a crowd of barons and knights took the cross, and engaged 
to follow the duke of Brittany and the king of Navarre into 

As the preaching of the crusade had been accompanied 
by several abuses that might prove injurious to the success 

* This poetical exhortation, addressed to all knights, may be found 
printed among the poetry of Thibault. 


of the holy expedition, a council assembled at Tours, em- 
ployed itself in remedying and stopping the evil at its 
source. We have seen, on preceding occasions, that 
preachers of the crusades, by receiving criminals under the 
banners of the cross, had scandalized Christian knights ; 
and crusades, as was seen in the twelfth century, were not 
considered as a means of salvation for the faithful, and as the 
way of the Lord, in which all the world might enter. Great 
criminals no longer found a place in the ranks of the pious 
defenders of Christ. The council of Tours decided that 
Crusaders, arrested by justice, should be transferred to the 
hands of an ecclesiastical judge, who would pay no respect 
to their privileges, and should even take the cross from 
them, if he found them guilty of homicide or any other 
great crime committed against divine and human laws. 

As in other crusades, the people were led into violent 
excesses against the Jews, whom they accused of having 
immolated the God for whom they were going to fight, and 
who retained immense treasures in their hands, whilst the 
Crusaders were obliged to pledge their property to perform 
the voyage to Palestine. In order to stop the course of 
these popular violences, the council forbade any ill-treatment 
of the Jews, either by plundering them of their wealth or 
by doing them personal injury, under pain of heavy eccle- 
siastical censures. 

Another abuse, not less prejudicial to the Crusaders than 
all the others, had been likewise observed.. The preachers 
of the holy wars and many other theologians had permitted 
Crusaders to buy oiF their vow by paying a sum of money 
equal to that which they would have expended in their pil- 
grimage:* this abuse caused great scandal among the faith- 
ful, but the Holy See, which derived considerable sums from 
it, paid no attention to the complaints made on account of 
it in England and many other states of Europe. 

Tlie Crusaders were preparing for their departure, when, 
all at once, a fresh cry of alarm resounded through the 
West. The empire of the Latins, at Constantinople, was 
reduced to the lowest extremity. After the reigns of Bald- 
win of Flanders and his son Henry, the family of Courtenay, 

* Matthew Paris speaks warmly against this abuse, which created much 
iiiuriuuring in England. 


called to the throne, derived nothing from their exaltation 
but the griefs and reverses inseparable from the government 
of an 'empire which is hastening to decay. Peter of Courtenay, 
count of Auxerre, when on his way to take possession of the 
throne of Baldwin, was surprised and massacred in Mace- 
donia, by the orders of Theodore Comnenus, prince of 
Epirus. A short time afterwards, the empress, wlio had 
arrived at Constantinople by sea, died of grief, on learning 
the tragical end of her husband. Robert of Courtenay, 
second son of Peter, only ascended the throne to experience 
the rapid decline of the empire ; conquered in a great bat- 
tle by Vataces, the successor of Lascaris, he lost all the pro- 
vinces situated beyond the Bosphorus and the Hellespont ; 
whilst, on the other side, the prince of Epirus took posses- 
sion of Thessaly and a great part of Thrace. Constantinople, 
threatened by formidable enemies, beheld from its towers 
the standards of the Grreeks of Nice and of the barbarians 
of Mount Hemus, floating near its walls and insulting its 
majesty. Amidst these various disasters, ]Robert died, leav- 
ing, as his only successor, his brother Baldwin, still in his 
childhood. John of Brienne, whom fortune had made, for 
a short period, king of Jerusalem, was called to the totter- 
ing throne of Constantinople, at the moment that the 
G-reeks and Bulgarians, animated by the ardour of pillage, 
were at the gates of the capital. Their fleets penetrated to 
the port, their numerous battalions were preparing to scale 
the ramparts ; but the new emperor fought several battles 
with them, obtained possession of their ships, and dispersed 
their armies. The miraculous victories of John of Brienne 
added {2:reatlv to his renown, but onlv served to diminish hia 
forces : after having defeated his enemies, he found himself 
without an army ; and whilst the poets were comparing him 
to Hector, lioland, and Judas MachabsDus,* he was obliged 

*N'aie, Ector, Roll', ne Ogiers, 
Ne Judas Maahebeus li fiers 
Tant ne fit d'armes en estors 
Com fist li Rois Jehans eel jors 
Et il defers et il dedans 
La paru sa force et ses sens 
Et li hardement qu'il avoit. 

Philip Mouskeif 1274. 


to wait in his capital for succours that had been promised, 
him, and which never arrived. More than eighty years of 
age, lie terminated his active career in contesting with the 
barbarians the remains of a power which had been founded 
by arms, and the miserable wreck of which could only be 
preserved by prodigies of valour. 

The ruins which surrounded him in his last moments 
must have made him sensible of the nothingness of human 
grandeur, and produced sentiments of Christian humility. 
He had passed the early days of his life amidst the auste- 
rities of the cloister. On his deathbed lie laid a&idc the 
imperial purple, and was desirous of breathtn-; his hist sigh 
in tlie habit of a Cordelier. A simple French knijjht, seated 
for some few days upon two thrones, both ready to pass 
away, son-in-law of two kings,* father-in-law of two empe- 
rors, John of Brienne only left, when dying, the remem- 
brance of his extraordinary exploits, and the example of a 
wonderful destiny. Young Baldwin, who had married his 
daughter, and who was to have succeeded him, was unable 
to obtain his inheritance ; and departing as a fugitive from 
his capital, he wandered through Europe as a suppliant, 
braving and enduring the contempt of princes and nations. 
Spectacle worthy of pity ! the successor of the Caesars, 
clothed in the purple, was beheld imploring the charity of 
the faithful, begging for the assistance granted to the lowest 
indigence, and frequently not obtaining that for which he 

Whilst the emperor of the East was thus travelling 
through Italy, Erance, and England, Constantinople was 
left without an army, and sacrificed for the defence of the 
state, even to its relics, the objects of the veneration of the 
people, and the last treasures of the empire. The sovereign 
pontiif was touched w4th the misery and degradation of 
Baldwin, and, at the same time, could not hear without pity 
the complaints of the Latin chiu"ch of Byzantium : he pub- 
lished a new crusade for the defence of the empire of the 

The Crusaders, who were about to set out for the Holy 
Land, were invited to lend their assistance to their brethren 

* John of Brienne married, as his second wife, a da\ighter of the king 
of Arragon. 



'.)f Constantinople ; but tlie prayers and exhortations of the 
Holy See produced bub very feeble effects ; opinions were 
divided ; some wished to defend the empire of the Latins, 
others, the kingdom of, Jerusalem. 

The Trench princes and nobles, however, persisted in 
their resolution of going to fight against the Saracens in 
^sia The barons and knights either pawned or sold their 
}?::.ds to purchase horses and arms, quitted their donjons 
1^.1 their castles, and tore themselves from the embraces of 
their wives. Thibault, their leader and interpreter, bade 
adieu to France in verses which are still extant, and which 
express, at t^t same time, the devotion of a Christian and 
the spirit of chivalry. His muse, at once pious and profane, 
deplores the torments of love, the griefs of absence, and 
celebrates the glory of the soldiers of Christ ; to console 
himself for having loft the lady of his thoughts, the king of 
Navarre invokes the Virgin Mary, the lady of the heavens^ 
and finishes his complaints, by this verse, which so admir- 
ably paints the manners of the time : 

Quand flame perds, Dame me soit aidant.* 

Other troubadours, after the example of the king of 
Navarre, sang the departure of the pilgrims ; they promised, 
in their verses, the indulgences of the crusade to the war- 
riors that would set out for Syria, advising the dames and 
demoiselles not to listen to those that should be left in 
Europe ; for, said they, th^re will remain none but cowards : 
all the brave are going to s-eek glory in the battles of the 
East. Whilst Erance was repeating the songs of the trou- 
badours, and prayers were offered up to Heaven in the 
churches for the success of ^.b^ expeditions, the Crusaders 
from all the provinces of the kingdom commenced their 
march, directing their course towa^^ds the port of Marseilles, 
where vessels waited, to transport them into Asia ; all were 
animated by the most ardent zeal for the deliverau^se of the 
holy places ; but the pope, at whos^ voice they had taken 
up arms, no longer applauded their enthusiasm. Gregory, 
who had made himself a great many formidable enemies ii\ ih^ 

* '♦ My lady lost, holy lady be my aid.''— Trans. 


West, appeared to have forgotten a war he had so warmly 
promoted, and was enth^ely engrossed by his owti dangers. 

Most of the leaders of the crusade were assembled at 
Lyons to deliberate upon the best means of carrying on their 
enterprise, when they received a nuncio from the sovereign 
pontiff, who commanded them to return to their homes. 
Tliis unexpected order from Grregory IX. gave great offence 
to the princes and barons, who told the envoy of the court 
of Rome, that the pope might change his policy, and disap- 
})rove of that Avhich he himself had set on foot ; but that the 
defenders of the cross, they who had devoted themselves to 
the service of Christ, would remain steadfast in their inten- 
tions. " We have made," added they, " all our preparations ; 
we have pledged or sold our lands, our houses, and oiu' goods ; 
we have quitted our friends and our families, giving out our 
departure for Palestine : religion and honour forbid us to 
retrace our steps."* 

As the pope's nuncio wished to speak and uphold the 
authority of the Church, and as he accused the barons of 
betraying the cause they were going to defend, the Chris- 
tian warriors could not restrain their indignation; the 
soldiers and leaders were so exasperated, that they even 
ill-treated the ambassador of the pontiff ; and, but for the 
intercession and prayers of the prelates and bishops, would 
have immolated him to their anger. 

Scarcely had the Crusaders dismissed the pope's nuncio 
with contempt, than deputies arrived from the emperor of 
Germany, equally supplicating them to suspend their march, 
and wait till he had collected his troops, in order to place 
himself at their head. The knights and barons, animated 
by a sincere zeal for the objects of their expedition, could 
not comprehend the meaning of the delays thus attempted 
to be thrown in the way of it, and sighed over the bhndness 
of the powers that wished to turn them aside from the road 
to salvation. The king of Navarre, the dukes of Brittany 
aiid Burgundy, with most of the nobles that had taken the 
cross, persisted in the design of accomplishing their vow, 
and embarked for Syria at the port of Marseilles. 

• See Raynold, Matthew Paris, Alberic, Richard of St. Germain, and 
the Ecclesiastical History of Fleury, regarding this circunr stance. 


A new misunderstanding had broken out between tbo 
pope and Trederick, who were disputing tlie sovereignty of 
Sardinia ; all the passions were soon engaged in this quarrel, 
and armed themselves, by turns, with the vengeance of 
Heaven and the furies of war. Gregory, after having ex- 
communicated Frederick afresh, was determined to attack 
his reputation, and degrade him. in the opinion of his con- 
temporaries. Monitories and briefs from the pope were 
read in all the churches of Europe, in which the emperor 
was represented as an impious man, an accomplice of heretics 
and Saracens, an oppressor of religion and humanity. 
Frederick replied to the accusations of the sovereign pontiff 
by the most violent invectives ; he addressed himself to the 
Komans, to excite them against the Holy See, and called 
upon all the princes of Europe to defend his cause as their 
own.* " Kings and princes of the earth," said he, " look 
upon the injury done to us as your own, hring water to ex- 
tinquisli the fire that has heen kindled in our neighbourhood ; 
a similar danger tlireatcns you." The irritated pope hurled 
all the thunders of the Church against his adversary ; and 
even went so far as to preach a crusade against the emperor, 
saying, " There was more merit in combating a prince who 
w^as rebellious to the successors of St. Peter, than in de- 
livering Jerusalem." Throughout this scandalous contest, 
the Church was allowed to possess nothing that was sacred, 
the authority of princes nothing that was legitimate ; on 
one side, the sovereign pontiff considered all who remained 
faithful subjects to the emperor as the ministers and accom- 
plices of the demon ; on the other, the emperor would not 
acknowledge the pope as the vicar of Christ. At last, 
Gregory promised the imperial crown to any Christian 
prince who w^ould take up arms against the emperor, and 
drag him from his throne : Louis IX., more wise than the 
Church itself, refused the empire which was offered to him 
for his brother ^Robert, and employed earnest but vain en- 
deavours to restore peace to Europe, disturbed by the pre- 
tensions and menaces of the pope. 

They soon came to hostilities ; and Frederick, after having 

* Upon the quarrels of the pope and the emperor, Vltalia Sacra, 
toui. viii., Richard de St. Germain, and particularly Matthew Paris, who 
reports the letters of Frederick, may be consulted. 


gained a great victory over tbe Milanese, and carried terror 
amongst all the republics of Lombardy, marclied towards 
Borne at the head of an army. Gregory, who had no troops 
at all, went through the streets of his capital at the head of 
a procession ; he exhibited to the Romans the relics of th6 
apostles, and, melting into tears, told them he had no means 
of defending this sacred deposit without their assistance. 
The nobility and people, touched by the prayers of the pope, 
swore to die in defence of the Holy See. They set about 
preparations for war, they fortified the city with the greatest 
expedition ; and when the emperor drew near to the gates, 
he saw those same Romans, who, a short time before, had 
embraced his cause against the pope, drawn up in battle- 
array on the ramparts, determined to die in the cause of the 
head of the Church. Frederick besieged the city, without 
being able to get possession of it ; in his anger, he accused 
the Romans of perfidy, and revenged himself by exercising 
horrible cruelties on his prisoners. The hatred enkindled 
between the pope and the emperor soon passed into the 
minds of the people, and the furies of civil war devastated 
the whole of Italy. 

Amidst such general disorder and agitation, the cries and 
prayers of the Christians of Palestine were scarcely audible. 
At the expiration of the truce concluded with Frederick, 
the sultan of Damascus re-entered Jerusalem, and destroyed 
the tower of David and the weak ramparts erected by the 
Christians : this conquest, which revived the courage of the 
Mussulmans, necessarily produced more than proportionate 
despair among the unfortunate inhabitants of the Holy Land. 
Instead of receiving within its walls the innumerable armies 
that fame had announced, Ptolemais only had to welcome 
the arrival of a few unarmed pilgrims, who had nothing to 
relate but the deplorable quarrels of Christian monarclis 
and princes. Most of the communications with the East 
were closed ; all the maritime powers of Italy were contend- 
ing for the empire of the sea ; sometimes in league with the 
sovereign pontiff", sometimes with the emperor. Several of 
the Crusaders who had sworn to go to Couctantinople or 
Ptolemais, took part in the crusade that had been preached 
against Prederick ; others resolved to proceed to Syria by 
land, and almost all perished in the mountains and deserta 

294 Hisroiir or the ciiusAOEs. 

of Asia Minor ; the French lords and princes, who, in spite 
of the orders of the pope, set out for Asia from the porta 
of Provence, were able to hriiig with them into Palestine 
but a very small number of warriors. 

At the period of the arrival of these Crusaders, the East 
was not less troubled than the West. Melik-Kamel, the 
sultan of Cairo, had recently died, and his death became the 
signal for many sanguinary wars among the princes of his 
family, who disputed by turns the kingdom of Egypt, and 
the principalities of Damascus, Aleppo, and Hamah. Amidst 
these divisions, the emirs and the Mamelukes, whose dan- 
gerous support was constantly soiight for, were accustomed 
to dispose of power, and proved themselves more formidable 
to their sovereigns than to the enemies of Islamism. 
Supreme authority seemed to be the reward of victory or of 
skill in treachery ; the Mussulman thrones were environed 
by so many perils, that a sultan of Damascus was seen 
abandoning his sceptre, and seeking retirement, saying, 
" a hawk and a hound afforded him more pleasure than 
empire." The princes', divided among themselves, called 
for the succour of the Carismians and other barbarous 
nations, who burnt their cities, pillaged their provinces, com- 
pleted the destruction of the powers they came to defend, 
arid perfected all the evils that were born of discord. 

The Crusaders might have taken advantage of all these 
tro'ib^ofc, but they never united their forces against the 
enemy they had sworn to contend with ; the kingdom of 
Jerusalem had no government capable of directing the forces 
of the cru:.ade ; the crowd of pilgrims had no tie, no common 
point of interest which could hold them together for any 
length of time under the same standards : scattered troops 
of soldiers were to be seen, but there was nowhere an army ; 
each of the leaders a^id princes followed a plan of his own, 
declared war or proclaimed peace in his own name, and 
appeared to fight ei'tirely for his wn ambition or renown. 

The duke of jjr'ttany, followed by his knio^hts, made an 
incursion into the lands of Damascus, and returned to 
Ptolemais with a rich booty ; the other Crusaders, jealous 
of the succeso -f this expedition, were desirous of distin- 
guishing themselves by exploits, and formed the project of 
attacking the city of Gaza. As they marched without 


order or precaution, tliey were surprised and cut to pieces 
by the Saracens. The duke of Burgimdy, who was at the 
head of this expedition, escaped the pursuit of the con- 
querors ahnost alone, and came back to Ptolemai's, to de- 
plore the loss of his knights and barons, who had all met 
with slavery or death on the field of battle. This reverse, 
instead of uniting the Christians more closely, only increased 
their discords ; in the impossibility of effecting any triumph 
for their arms, they treated separately with the infidels, and 
made peace, as they had made war. The Templars and 
some leaders of the army agreed for a truce with the sultan 
of Damascus, and obtained the restitution of the holy 
places ; on their side, the Hospitallers, with the count of 
Champagne, and the dukes of Burgundy and Brittany, con- 
cluded a treaty with the sultan of Egypt, and undertook to 
defend him against the Saracens who had just given up 
Jerusalem to the Christians. 

After having disturbed Palestine by their disorders, the 
Crusaders abandoned it to return to Europe, and were re- 
placed at Ptolemais by some English, who arrived under 
Kichard of Cornwall, brother to Henry III. Kichard, who 
possessed the tin and lead mines of the county of Cornwall, 
was one of the richest princes of the West : if old chroni- 
cles are to be believed, G-regory had forbidden him to go to 
the East, hoping that he would consent to remain in Europe, 
and would impart a portion of his treasures to the Holy See, 
to procure the indulgences of the crusade. When E-ichard 
arrived before Ptolemais, he was received by the people and 
the clergy, who went out to meet him, singing, " Blessed 
be he who comes in the name of the Lord." This prince 
was the grandson of liichard Cceur de Lion,* whose courage 
and exploits had rendered him so famous in the East. The 
name alone of Hichard spread terror among the Saracens ; 
the prince of Cornwall equalled his ancestor in bravery ; he 
was full of zeal and ardour, and his. army shared his enthu- 
siasm for religion and glory. He prepared to open the 
campaign, and everything seemed to promise success ; but. 

* This is a mistake ; Richard had no legitimate children. Richard, 
duke of Cornwall, who was likewise king of the Roajans, was the son of 
John, Richard's brother. In the same manner Gibbon calls Edward I 
Richard's nephew ; — he was his yr eat -nephew. — Tuans. 

296 HISTORY or the crusades. 

after a marcli of sorao days, and a few advantages obtained 
over tlie enemy, finding himself very ill-seconded by the 
Christians of Palestine, he was obliged to renew the truce 
made with the sultan of Egypt. As the whole fruit of his 
expedition, he could only obtain an exchange of prisoners, 
and permisfc^ion to pay the honours of sepulture to the 
Christians killed at the battle of Gaza, 

Without having seen either the walls of Jerusalem or the 
banks of the Jordan, Eichard embarked for Italy, where he 
found the pope still engaged in the war against Frederick. 
All Europe was in a blaze ; a council convoked for the peace 
of the Church had not been able to assemble ; the emperor 
still besieged the city of E.ome, and threatened the head of 
Christendom. Amidst this general disorder, Gregory died, 
ciu*sing his implacable adversary, and was succeeded by 
Celestine TV., who only wore the tiara sixteen days. The 
war was continued with renewed fury, the Church re- 
mained without a head, and Christ without a vicar upon 
earth ; the cardinals wandered about dispersed ; Erederick 
holding several of them in chains. " The court of Rome," 
says Eleury, " was desolate, and fallen into great contempt." 
This deplorable anarchy lasted nearly two years ; all Chris- 
tendom was loud in complaints, and demanded of Heaven a 
pope able to repair the evils of Europe and the Church. 

The conclave met at length, but the election of Inno- 
cent IV., made amidst trouble and discord, put an end to 
neither the public scandal nor the furies of the war, which 
grieved all true Christians. The new pontift' followed the 
example of Innocent III. and Gregory IX., and soon sur- 
passed all their excesses. Under his pontificate, disorder 
continued increasing, until it had reached its height. The 
Christians of Greece and Palestine were quite forgotten. Mis- 
sionaries in vain perambulated the kingdoms of the West, 
to exhort the faithful to make peace among themselves, and 
turn their arms against the Saracens ; many of these angels 
of peace were proscribed by Frederick, who was, at once, at 
war with the sovereign pontifi", the emperor of the East, and 
all those who, in taking the cross, had sworn to defend 
Kome, or to deliver Constantinople or Jerusalem. We will 
not attempt to describe the violent scenes of which the West, 
but partieidarly Italy, was the theatre. Attention becomes 


fatigued by dwelling long upon the same pictures ; tlie wars 
and revolutions which lend so much life to history finish by 
presenting only a wearisome, twice-told tale ; and thus, like* 
wise, may the reader perceive that the passions have theil 
uniformity and tempests their monotony. 

Each of the preceding crusades had a distinct object, a 
march which could be easily followed, and was only remark- 
able for great exploits or great reverses. That which we 
have just described, which embraces a period of thirty years, 
is mingled with so many different events, with so many 
clashing interests, so many passions foreign to the holy 
wars, that it at first appears to present only a confused pic- 
ture ; and the historian, constantly occupied in relating the 
revolutions of the East and of the West, may with reason 
be accused of having, as a Eiu-opean Christian, forgotten 
Jerusalem and the cause of Christ. 

When we have read the twelfth book of this history, we 
perceive that we are already far from the age that gave birth 
to the crusades, and witnessed their brilliant progress. When 
comparing this war with those that preceded it, it is easy to 
see that it has a different character, not only in the manner 
in which it was conducted, but in the means employed to 
inflame the zeal of the Christians, and induce them to take 
up arms. 

When we observe the incredible efforts of the popes to 
arm the nations of the West, we are at first astonished at 
the small quantity of success obtained by their exhortations, 
their menaces, and their prayers. We have but to compare 
the Council of Clermont, held by Urban, with the Council of 
the Lateran, presided over by Grregory. In the first, the 
complaints of Jerusalem excite the tears and sobs of the 
auditory ; in the second, a thousand different objects intrude, 
to occupy the attention of the fathers of the Church, who 
express themselves upon the misfortunes of the Holy Land, 
without emotion and without pain. At the voice of Urban, 
knights, barons, and ecclesiastics all swore together to go 
and fight against the infidels ; the council became, in a 
moment, an assembled host of intrepid warriors : it was not 


SO at the Coiincil of the Lateran, in wliicli no one took the 
cross, or bluest forth into an expression of that high enthu- 
siasm which the pope desired to awaken in all hearts. 

We have drawn attention, in the course of our recital, to 
the circumstance of pilgrims being permitted by the preachers 
of the holy war to buy oif their vow by paying a sum of 
money ; this mode of expiating sins appeared to be a scan- 
dalous innovation : and the indulgence of the missionaries of 
the holy war, who thus released the faithful from the pil- 
grimage, made them lose a considerable portion of their 
ascendancy. They were not, as formerly, the messengers of 
Heaven ; the multitude no longer endowed them with the 
power of working miracles ; they were even sometimes 
obliged to employ the menaces and promises of the Church 
to draw hearers to their sermons ; in short, at length the 
people ceased to consider them as the interpreters of the 
gospel, and saw in them only the collectors of the dues of 
the Holy See. This sale of the privileges of the crusade, 
purchased at an extravagant price, necessarily checked the 
eifects of all generous passions, and, in the minds of Chris- 
tians, confounded that which belonged to Heaven with that 
which belonged to earth. 

Preceding ages were unacquainted with any other motive 
but religion and its promises.* The companions of Peter 
the Hermit and Godfrey, the warriors who followed Louis 
the Young, Philip Augustus, E-ichard Coeur de Lion, Boni- 
face, and Baldwin of Flanders, could not have possibly be- 
lieved that gold could be made a substitute for the merit 
and glory of the holy war. 

We find another remarkable diiference in the preaching of 
this crusade, — the refusal to admit great criminals under the 
banners of the cross. The astonishment which the enrol- 
ment of a crowd of obsciu'e persons in the holy militia 
caused among the Christian knights, suffices to denote a 
great change in the manners and opinions of the Crusaders. 
The sentiment of honour, which is allied with a love of 

* It appears to be almost incredible that our author should be so blind 
himself, or expect his readers to be so, to the lessons taught by his His- 
tory ! If the early Crusaders could not buy off their pilgrimages, more 
of them were attracted by what they might obtain on earth, than by 
" religion and its Dromises." — Trans. 


glory, and has a tendency to establish listinctions among 
men, appears to have prevailed over tne purely religious 
feeling which inspires humility, acknowledges the equal 
rights of all Christians, and confounds repentance with 
virtue. The crusade, into which none were admitted but 
men of acknowledged bravery and good conduct, ceased, in 
some sort, to be a simply religious war, and began to re- 
semble other wars, in which leaders have the power of 
selecting the soldiers they have to command. 

The enthusiasm for the holy wars only re\dvcd at intervals, 
like a fire upon the point of going out of itself; the people 
required some great event, some extraordinary circumstance, 
some striking example of princes or warriors, to induce 
them to take arms against the infidels ; the subtleties of 
theologians, who insisted upon everything being subservient 
to their discussions, contributed to cool the remains of that 
pious and warlike ardour, which, till that time, it had been 
found necessary to moderate and restrain within just limits. 
Disputes were started in the schools upon such questions as 
these : In what case was a Christian exempt from the accom- 
plishment of his vow ? What sum was sufficient to redeem 
a promise made to Christ ? If certain pious exercises could 
be substituted for pilgrimage ? If an heir was bound to 
fulfil the oath of a testator ? Whether the pilgrim who died 
on his way to the Holy Land, had more merit in the eyes of 
God than one who died on his return ? * Whether a wife 
could take the cross without the consent of her husband, or 
the husband without the consent of the wife ? <fec. From 
the moment in which all these questions were solemnly dis- 
cussed, and, upon several points, the opinions of theologians 
diff'ered, enthusiasm, which never reasons, was rendered 
languid by the cold arguments of the doctors ; and pilgrims 
appeared to yield less to the transports of a generous feeling, 
tlian to the necessity of performing a duty or of following 
an established rule. 

This sixth crusade was more abundant in in"trigues and 
scandalous quarrels than in military exploits ; the Christians 
never united all their efibrts against the infidels ; no spirit 
of order presided over their enterprises ; the Crusaders, who 

* Most of these questions may be found in the work of the Jesuit 
Greutzer, which bears for title Da Crnce. 


only beld their mission of tlieir zeal, set out at tlie time 
their will or their fancy selected ; some returned to Europe 
without having faced a Saracen in fight ; others abandoned 
the colours of the cross, after a victory or a defeat ; and fresh 
Crusaders were constantly summoned to defend the con- 
quests or repair the faults of those that had preceded them, 
Although tlie West had counted in this crusade more than 
five hundred thousand of her warriors departing for Palestine 
or Egypt, great armies were rarely assembled on the banks 
of the Mle or the Jordan. As the Crusaders were never 
gathered together in great bodies, they were not subjected 
to famine, or the other scourges that had so fearfully thinned 
the ranks of the early defenders of the cross ; but if they 
experienced fewer reverses, if they were better disciplined, 
we may say that they showed none of that ardour, or of 
those lively passions which men communicate to each other, 
and which acquire a new degree of force and activity amidst 
a multitude assembled for the same cause and under the 
same banners. 

By transferring the theatre of the war to Egypt, the Chris- 
tians no longer had before their eyes, as in Palestine, the 
revered places and monuments, which could recall to them 
the religion and the God they were about to fight for ; they 
had no longer before them and around them the river Jordan, 
Libanus, Thabor, or Mount Sion, the aspect of which had 
so vividly affected the imagination of the first Crusaders. 

When the people of Europe heard the head of the Church 
exhort the faithful to the conquest of Jerusalem, and at the 
same time curse Frederick, the liberator of the holy city, 
the object of the crusade lost its sacred character in the 
uyes of Christians. The emperor of Germany, after his 
return from his expedition, sometimes said, " If God had 
been acquainted with the kingdom of Naples, he never could 
have preferred the barren rocks of Jerusalem to it." These 
sacrilegious words of Frederick must have been a great sub- 
ject of offence to pilgrims ; but, indeed, this prince only sent 
to the Holy Land such of his subjects as he was dissatisfied 
with, or wished to punish. The popes also condemned to 
pilgrimage the great criminals whom society rejected from 
its bosom, which was very repugnant to the manners and 
opinions of the nobles and knights of Europe. As a 


crowning iiiisfortime, the reverses or exploits of the Crusa- 
ders beyond the seas frequently created divisions among the 
princes of the West. From that time, Palestine was no 
longer, in the eyes of the faithful, a land of blessedness, 
flowing with milk and honey, but a place of exile. From 
that time Jerusalem was less considered the city of Grod and 
the heritage of Christ, than a subject of discord, or the 
place in which were born all the storms that disturbed 

In the other crusades, the popes had been satisfied with 
awakening the enthusiasm of pilgrims, and addressing prayers 
to Heaven for the success of the Crusaders ; but in this war, 
the heads of the Church insisted upon directing aU the ex- 
peditions, and commanding, by their legates, the operations 
of the Christian armies. The invasion of Egypt was de- 
cided upon in the Council of the Lateran, without a thought 
of asking the advice or opinions of any of the skilful cap- 
tains of the age. When hostihties began, the envoys of the 
pope presided over all the events of the war ; weakening the 
ardour of the soldiers of the cross, by their ambitious pre- 
tensions, as well as by their ignorance. They let all the 
fruits of victory slip through their hands, and gave birth to 
an injurious rivalry between the spiritual and the temporal 
powers. This rivalry, this reciprocal mistrust, were carried 
so far, that the sovereign pontiff and the emperor of Grer- 
many, by turns, arrested the march of the pilgrims ; the first 
fearing that the Crusaders, on embarking for Palestine, 
would become the soldiers of Frederick; the second, that 
these same soldiers might become the defenders of the 
temporal power of the popes. 

At the period of which we have just retraced the history, 
Ko many crusades were preached at once, that the eyes of 
the faithful were necessarily diverted from the first object of 
these holy expeditions. Called upon to defend so many 
causes, no one could distinguish which was the cause of Grod 
and Jesus Christ ; so many interests presented themselves 
at the same time to the attention of Christians, and were 
recommended to the bravery of warriors, that they gave 
birth to hesitation and reflection ; and these produced in- 
difference. Europe, for a length of time in a state of fer- 
mentation, was undergoing the vague uncertainty of a 


change ; states began to think more of their independence, 
people of their liberty. The passions which politics bring 
forth, took the place of passions of which religion is the 

The sanguinary quarrels of the emperor and the popes 
contributed greatly to the revolution which was brought 
about in men's minds : the motive which animated the heads 
of the Church was not always a religious one ; the emperor 
of Germany and the pontiffs of E/ome had pretensions to 
the domination of Italy, and had been, for a long time, 
engaged in a rivalry of ambition. Grregory could not see 
Trederick master of the kingdom of Naples mthout great 
pain ; and when he pressed him to go into Asia, to make 
war upon the Saracens, he might have been compared to 
that personage of ancient fable, who, in order to get rid of 
his rival, sent him to combat the Chimera. 

Tour popes, although of a difiexent character, finding 
themselves in the same circumstances, pursued the same 
policy. Frederick, by his cruelties, injustice, and extrava- 
gant ambition, often justified the violences of the Holy See, 
of which he was, by turns, the ward, the protector, and the 
enemy ; like his prede "essors, he made no secret of his pro- 
ject of restormg_ the empire of the Csesars ; and, had it not 
been for the popes, it is not improbable that Europe would 
have been brought under the yoke of the emperors of Grer- 

The policy of the sovereign pontiffs, whilst weakening the 
imperial power, favoured, in Grermany, the liberty of cities, 
and the growth and duration of small states ; we do not 
hesitate to add, that the thunders of the Chui'ch preserved 
the independence of Italy, and perhaps that of Erance, 
which was less ill treated by the court of Eome than neigh- 
bouring nations. The Erench monarchy took advantage of 
the troubles that existed on the other side of the Khine, and 
of the interdict set npon England, to repel the invasions of 
the English and G-ermans ; and, at the same time, availed 
itself of the absence of the king of Navarre, the dukes of 
Brittany and Burgundy, with several other great vassals, 
whom the crusade attracted beyond the seas, to increase the 
prerogatives of the royal authority, and extend the limits of 
the kingdom. 


England herself owes sometliing to the authority of the 
popes, who, by overwhelming John Lackland with excom- 
munications, rendered him powerless in his attempts to 
enslave the English people, or to resist the demands of tlie 
barons and the commons. This is a truth which impartial 
history cannot deny or doubt, and which disposes us not to 
a])prove, but to blame with less bitterness, excesses ard 
abuses of power of which all the effects have not been de- 
plorable.* The populace of London, who burn every year 
the efhgy of the pope, would be much astonished if, amidst 
a fanatical delirium, they were told that the army which 
once fought for the independence of Grreat Britain was 
called the army of God and of the Holy Church; if they 
were reminded that the great charter of the Eorest, the first 
monument of British liberty, was the fortunate fruit of the 
menaces and thunders of the Church of liome, and that this 
charter would never have been granted by John, without 
the redoubtable influence and the imperious counsels of the 
sovereign pontiff.f 

Without wishing to justify the domination of the popes, 
we may say that they were led to grasp at supreme power 
by the circumstances in which Europe was placed in the 
eleventh and twelfth centuries. European society, wdthout 
experience or laws, and plunged in ignorance and anarchy, 

* Although this is very like *' damning with faint praise," I cannot see 
how the popes or their abuses are entitled to any mitigation of contempt 
or disapproval -. the beneficial results were the work of Providence, and 
vere never contemplated by the pontiffs. — Trans. 

f King John was a bad prince : he inspired mistrust in his subjects, 
who demanded a pledge of him, and this pledge became the English 
constitution. If France, before the revolution of 1789, had never asked 
her kings for a pledge, it was because none of them had inspired mistrust 
in his people : the best eulogy that can be made upon the kings of France 
is, that the nation had never felt under their government the want of a 
written or guaranteed constitution, and that they were in all times con- 
sidered as the safest guardians of the public liberty. 

[It is scarcely conceivable how a writer of the nineteenth century could 
offer his readers such oi)inions as these (both text and note). Some of 
the best portions of British liberty were obtained from better kings than 
any France had, with the exception of Henry IV., from Louis IX. to the 
end of the monarchy. Our Charles I. and James II. had their faults, 
but they are as " unsunned snow " by the side of nine French monarcha 
out of ten.] — Trans. 


cast itself into the arms of the popes, and believed tliat it 
placed itself under tlie protection of Heaven. 

As nations had no other ideas of civilization than such as 
they received from the Christian rehgion,thc sovereign pon- 
tiffs naturally became the supreme arbiters between rival or 
neighbouring countries ; amidst the darkness which the light 
of the Gospel had a continued and never-ending tendency to 
diminish, their authority must naturally liave been the first 
established and the first recognised ; temporal power stood 
in need of their sanction ; people and kings implored their 
support and consulted their wisdom : they believed them- 
selves authorized to exercise a sovereign dictatorship. 

This dictatorship was often exercised to the advantage of 
public morality and social order ; it often protected the weak 
against the strong ; it arrested the execution of criminal 
plots ; it re-established peace between states ; and it pre- 
served a young society from the excesses of ambition, licen- 
tiousness, and barbarism. When we cast our eyes over 
the annals of the middle ages, we cannot help being struck 
by one of the most beautiful spectacles that human society 
has ever presented, — it is that of Christian Europe recog- 
nising but one religion, having but one law, forming as it 
were but one empire, governed by a single head, who spoke 
in the name of Grod, and whose mission was to make the 
Grospel reign upon earth. 

In the general reflections by which we shall terminate this 
work, we will enter into much greater developments upon 
this head ; we will compare modern Europe with the Europe 
of the middle ages, and we will make it clear that, if we have 
acquired some wisdom in the art of civilization, we are still 
far from having tiu'ned it to the advantage of public liberty : 
nations are at the present day led away by the spirit of the 
French revolution, as they were in the middle ages by the 
spirit of the court of Rome and enthusiasm for the crusades. 
The Erench revolution began by liberal ideas, it was con- 
tinued by victories. The military spirit allied itself with the 
fanaticism of new ideas, as it formerly allied itself with reli- 
gious enthusiasm. On casting a glance over our Europe, 
we are astonished at seeing two contradictory things, which 
should naturally exclude each other ; we see almost every- 
where a tendency to favour the propagation of liberal ideas, 


aiid at the same time an inclination to increase the mass of 
armies ; it is difficult to explain a policy which tends, on the 
one side, to multiply the apostles of liberty, on the other to 
multiply soldiers ; which, by turns, proclaims a principle, and 
raises a regiment ; which speaks, at the same time, of re- 
cruiting, and of a constitution ; which appears never to have 
jaws enough, and yet is insatiable of cannons and bayonets, 
It is easy to foresee the near and distant results of such a 
monstrous amalgamation.* Everything leads us to believn 
that these results, like those of the crusades and the influence 
of the pope in the middle ages, will not turn out entirely for 
the advantage of civilization. 

But without dwelling longer on these distressing reflec- 
tions, we will return to our subject, from which, perhaps, 
we have strayed too long. In the eleventh and twelfth 
centuries, the nations of Europe, subject to the authority 
of St. Peter, were united together by a tie more strong than 
that of liberty. This motive, this tie, which was that of 
the universal Church, for a length of time kept up and 
favoured the enthusiasm for and the progress of holy wars. 
Whatever may have been the origin of the crusades, it is 
certain they never would have been undertaken without that 
unity of religious feelings which doubled the strength of the 
Christian republic. The Christian nations, by the agree- 
ment of their sentiments and their passions, showed the 
world all thab can be done by enthusiasm, which increases 
by communication, and that lively faith, which, spread 
among men, is a miraculous powder, since the Gospel accords 
i: the faculty of moving mountains. In proportion as people, 
united by one same spirit, separated, and ceased to make 
one common cause, it became more difficult to collect toge- 
ther the forces of the West, and pursue those gigantic 
enterprises of which our age can scarcely perceive the 

It may have been observed, that the pontifical authority 
and the enthusiasm for the crusades experienced the same 
V cissitudes ; the opinions and the exaltation of the religious 
spirit which caused men to take up arms, necessarily, at the 

* M. Michaud is here more happy than usual in his political a-nd 
philosophical reflections. We might fancy him prescient of the 2nd of 
Dc(;(Mnl)er. — Trans. 

Vol. 11.— 14 


same time, increased tlie influence of the sovereign pontiffs 
But springs so active and so powerfid coidd not possibly 
last long ; tliey broke by the violence with which they were 

T)ie popes, invested with authority without limit, exer- 
cised that authority without moderation ; and as the abuse 
of power brings on, sooner or later, its own ruin, the empire 
of the sovei eign pontifts finished by declining as other em- 
pires have done. Their fall commenced with their long con- 
tests with i^'rederick ; all Europe was called upon to judge 
their cause ; their power, founded upon opinion, the origin 
of which was entirely religious, lost much of its prestige by 
being given over to the discussions of men of the world. 

At the same time that the sovereign pontifts abused their 
power, the spirit and enthusiasm that had produced the holy^ 
wars were likewise abused. Many Christian princes took 
the cross, sometimes to obtain the protection of the popes ; 
sometimes as a pretext for assembling armies, and enjoying 
the temporal advantages accorded to the soldiers of Christ. 
The leaders of Christendom, without having originated the 
wars of the East, were eager to profit by them ; in the first 
place, to extend their dominions, and in the next to gratify 
violent passions. Erom tliat moment society sought other 
supports than that of the Holy See, and warriors another 
glory than that of the crusades. 

Thibault, king of Navarre, who, in his verses, had preached 
the war beyond the seas, was disgusted at the troubles ex- 
cited in Europe by the heads of the Church, and deplored 
with bitterness a time full of felony, envy, and treachery. 
He accused the princes and barons of being without cour* 
toisie, and reproached the popes with excommunicating 
those who were most in the right (ceux qui avaient le plus 
raison). If a few troubadours still raised their voices to 
exhort Christians to take up the cross and arms, the greater 
part did not partake of their enthusiasm for the holy wars ; 
and beheld nothing in these pilgrimages beyond the seas, 
but the griefs of a long absence, and the rigours of a pious 

In a Tenson* which has come down to us, Eolquet de 

* A dispute upon an affair of gallantry, between two or more trouba- 
dours. — Trans. 


Eomans asks Blaccas, the model of troubadours and ol 
kniglits, wlietlier lie will go to the Holy Land? After 
having answered that he loves and is beloved, and that he 
will remain at home with his ladye-love, (she was countess 
of Provence), Blaccas thus ends his simple song : — 

** Je ferai ma penitence, 
Entre tner et Durance, 
Aupres de son manoir." * - 

** T will perform my penitence 

Between the sea and swift Durance, 
Near to my lady's bower." 

These sentiments belonged to the manners of trouba- 
dours and knights ; but at the time of the first crusades, 
religious ideas were much more mixed up with ideas of 
gallantry ; a poet, invited to take the cross, would not have 
dared to speak of his ladye-love,t without likewise speaking 
of the mercy of God and the captivity of Jerusalem. 

Durmg the other crusades, the religion and morality of 
the Gospel resumed their empire, and spread their benefits 
everywhere ; at the voice of the holy orators. Christians 
became penitent and reformed their morals ; all political 
tempests were laid by the simple name of Jerusalem, and 
the West remained in profound peace. J It was not so at 
the period we have just described ; Europe was perhaps 
never more agitated, or, perhaps, more corrupted than 
during the thirty years which this crusade lasted. 

In the relations between the Christians and Mussulmans, 
little respect had, to this time, certainly, been paid to 
treaties ; but in this crusade, contempt for sworn faith and 
forgetfulness for the laws of nations were carried to an ex- 
treme : signing a truce was a preparation for war ; — the 

* These verses are quoted by M. Raynourd in his grammar of the 
Romance language. 

f We have but to compare the piece of the Proven9al with that of 
Raoul de Courcy, who died in the third crusade. 

i M. Michaud's parental partiality for his elder born makes him very 
oblivious. If we look back to his own account of the morals of the early 
crusades, particularly those of Jerusalem, we caimot see the justice ol 
these remarks. The Crusaders only " remembered to be piou? and peni- 
tent" when they experienced reverses. — Trans. 


Christian armies owed their safety to a treaty of peace ; and 
the sovereign pontiff, far from respecting the conditions of 
it, preached a new crusade against the inlidels. It must be 
allowed, also, that the most solemn treaties were often 
violated by the Mussulmans. The duration of peace de- 
pended solel)^ upon the want of power in both parties to 
resume hostilities with advantage. The least hope of success 
was sufficient to induce them to fly to arms ; the slightest 
circumstance was an excuse for rekindling all the flames of 
war. The continuator of William of Tyre says, with great 
ingenuousness, when speaking of the death of a sultan ol 
Damascus : " When the sultan died, all the truces died 
with him." These words alone are sufficient to give an idea 
of the state of the East during the sixth crusade, and of 
the small degree of respect then entertained for the laws of 
peace and war. 

If, in the preceding crusade, the expedition of the soldiers 
of the cross against Greece did not produce great advan- 
tages to the West, it at least illustrated the arms of the 
Venetians and the French. In the war we have just de- 
scribed, the knights and barons who took the cross, added 
nothing to their glory or their renown. The Crusaders who 
were fortunate enough to revisit their homes, brought back 
with them nothing but the remembrance of most shame- 
ful disorders. A great number of them had nothing to 
show their compatriots but the chains of their captivity ; 
nothing to communicate but the contagious disorders of the 

The historians we have followed are silent as to the ravages 
of the leprosy among the nations of the West ; but the 
testamsnt of Louis VIII., an historical monument of that 
period, attests the existence of two thousand leproseries 
(hospitals for lepers) in the kingdom of Erance alone. This 
horrible sight must have been a subject of terror to the 
most fervent Christians ; and was sufficient to disenchant, in 
their eyes, those regions of the East, where, till that time, 
their imaginations had seen nothing but prodigies and 

Among the abuses then made of the spirit of the cru- 
sades, and the misfortunes they brought in their train, we 


must not forget the civil and religious wars of which France 
and several other countries of Europe were the theatre. In 
their expeditions into tlie East, Christians had become fami- 
liarized with the idea of employing force and violence to 
change men's hearts and opinions. As they had long made 
w^ar against infidels, they were willing to make it, in the 
same manner, against heretics ; they first took up arms 
against the Albigeois, then against the pagans of Prussia ; 
for the same reason, and in the same manner, that they had 
armed themselves against the Mussulmans. 

Modern writers have declaimed ^\ith great vehemence and 
eloquence against these disastrous wars ; but long before the 
age in which we live, the Church had condemned the excesses 
of blind fanaticism.* Saint Augustine, St. Ambrose, the 
fathers of councils, had long taught the Christian world that 
error is not destroyed by the sword, and that the truths of 
the Gospel ought not to be preached to mankind amidst 
threats and violences. 

The crusade against the Prussians shows us all that am- 
bition, avarice, and tyranny can exhibit that is most cruel 
and barbarous ; the tribunal of history cannot judge with 
too much severity the leaders of this war, the ravages and 
furies of which were prolonged during more than a century ; 
but, whilst condemning the excesses of the conquerors of 
Prussia, we must admit the advantages Europe gained by 
their victories and exploits. A nation that had been sepa- 
rated from all other nations by its manners and customs, 
ceased to be a foreigner in the Christian republic. Industry, 
laws, religion, which marched in the train of the conquerors, 
to moderate and remove the evils of war, spread their bless- 
ings among hordes of savages. Many flourishing cities 
arose from amidst the ashes of forests, and the oak of 
Kemove,t beneath the shade of which human victims had 
been immolated, was replaced by churches, in which the vir- 
tues and charity of the Grospel were inculcated. The con- 

* It may be questioned whether the weapons since employed for the 
same purpose, the cunning and the tongue of Jesuits, were not in all 
senses as bad as the sword and lance of the Crusaders. — Trans. 

t The city of Thorn was built on the spot where the consecrated oak 


quests of the Roimms were sometimes more luijust, then 
wars more barbarous ; they procured less advantages to the 
civilized world, and yet they have never ceased to be objects 
of the admiration and eulogy of posterity. 

The war against the Albigeois was more cruel and more 
unfortunate than the crusade directed against the nations of 
Prussia. Missionaries and warriors outraged, by their con- 
duct, all tlie laws of justice and of the religion whoso 
triumph they pretended to aim at. The heretics, naturally, 
sometimes employed reprisals against their enemies ; both 
sides armed with the steel and axe of murderers and 
executioners, humanity had to deplore the most guilty 

When casting a retrospective glance over the annals of 
the middle ages, we are particularly grieved to see sangui- 
nary wars undertaken and carried on in the name of a reli- 
gion of peace, whilst we can scarcely find an example of a 
religious war among the ancients and under the laws of 
paganism.* We must believe that modern nations and 
those of antiquity have, and had the same passions ; but, 
amongst the ancients, religion entered less deeply into the 
heart of man or into the spirit of social institutions. The 
worship of false gods had no positive dogma ; it added no- 
thing to morality ; it prescribed no duties to the citizen ; it 
was not bound up with the maxims of legislation, and existed, 
in some sort, only upon the surface of society. When 
paganism was attacked, or when a change was effected in 
the worship of false gods, the affections, morals, and inter- 
ests of pagan society were not deeply wounded. It was not 
thus with Christianity, which, particularly in the middle 
ages, mixed itself up with all civil laws, recalled man to all 
the duties due to his country, and united itself with all the 
principles of social order. Amidst the growing civilization 
ot Europe, the Christian religion was blended with all the 
interests of nations ; it was, in a manner, the foundation of 

* We may name, among the Greeks, the sacred war undertaken for the 
lands which belonged to the temple of Delphos ; but on reading closely 
the history of this war, it is easy to see that they did not fight for a dogma 
or a religious opinion, as in the wars which, among the moderns have 
had religion for a motive or a pretence. 


all society ; it was society itself : we camiot wonder, then, 
that men were passionate in its defence. Then all who 
separated themselves from the Christian religion, separated 
themselves from society ; and all who rejected the laws of the 
Church, ceased to acknowledge the laws of their country. 
We must consider the wars against the Albigeois and the 
Prussians in this li^fht ; they were rather social wars than 
religiou£ (rars. 



A.D. 1242—1245. 

"When I began this work, I was far from being aware cff 
the task I was imposing upon myself; animated by the in- 
terest of my subject, full of a too great confidence in mj 
own powers, like those villagers who, when they set out for 
the first crusade, fancied every city they saw to be Jerusa- 
lem, I constantly believed I was approaching the end of my 
labours. As I advanced in my career, the horizon expanded 
before me, difficulties multiplied at every step, so that to 
sustain my courage, I have often been obliged to recall to 
my mind the kindness with which the early volumes of this 
history have been received by the public. 

The difficulty did not consist in placing a narrative of the 
holy wars before our readers ; it became necessary to present 
exact ideas of the manners and characters of the nations 
which, in any way, took part in them. We have endea- 
voured to make all the peoples known who have in turn 
passed across the scene : the Eranks, with their soldier- 
like roughness, their love of glory, and their generous pas- 
sions; the Turks and Saracens, with their military reli- 
gion and their barbarous valour ; the Grreeks, with their 
corrupted manners, their character at onoe superstitious and 
frivolous, and their vanity, which with them supplied the 
phice of patriotism : a new nation is now about to offer 
itself to the pencil of history, and mingle Math the events 
of which we are attempting to give the picture. AVe are 
about to say a few words upon the manners and conquests 
of the Tartars in the middle ages. 

The hordes of this nation, at the ])cfiod of the sixth cru- 
sade, had invaded several countries of Asia, and the progress 


of their arms liad a great influence over tlie policy of the 
Mussulman powers of Syria and Egypt, which were then at 
war with the Christians. At tlie time of which we are 
speaking, the fame of their victories filled the East, and 
spread terror even to the most remote countries of Europe. 

The Tartars inhabited the vast regions which lie between 
ancient Emails, Siberia, China, and the Sea of Kamschatka ; 
they were divided into several nations, which all boasted of 
having the same origin ; each of these nations, governed by a 
khan, or supreme leader, was composed of a great number of 
tribes, each tribe commanded by a particular chief, called 
Myrza. The produce of the chase, the milk of their mares, 
and the flesh of their flocks, satisfied the simple wants of the 
Tartars ; they lived under tents with their families ; and 
moveable dwellings, drawn by oxen, transported from one 
place to another their wives, their children, and all they 
possessed. In summer, the whole tribe drew towards the 
northern countries, and encamped upon the banks of a river 
or a lake ; in winter, they directed their course southward, 
and sought the shelter of mountains that could protect them 
from the icy winds of the norlh. 

The Tartar hordes assembled every year, in either autumn 
or spring. In these assemblies, which they called Couraltdi, 
they deliberated on horseback, upon the march of the tribes, 
the distribution of the pasturages, and peace and war. It 
was from the bosom of this tumultuous assembly that issued 
the legislation of the people of Tartarv ; a simple and laconic 
legislation, like those of all barbaroui nations, whose only 
objects are to maintain the power of the leaders, and keep 
up discipline and emulation among the warriors. 

The nations of Tartary acknowledged one Grod, the sove- 
reign of heaven, to whom they offered up neither incense 
nor prayers. Their worship was reserved for a crowd of 
genii, whom they believed to be spread through the air, 
upon the earth, and amidst the waters ; a great number of 
idols, the rough work of their own hands, filled their dweli- 
mgs, followed them in their courses, and watched over their 
flocks, their slaves, and their families. Their priests, brouglit 
up in the practices of magic, studied the course of the stars, 
predicted future events, and employed themselves in abusing 
th(, minds of the people by sorcery. Their religious wor- 



ship, whicli inculcated no morality, had neither softened 
their rude manners nor ameliorated their character, which 
was as boisterous and unkindly as their climate. No monu- 
ment raised under the auspices of religion, no book inspired 
by it, reminded them of deeds of glory, or laid before them 
precepts and examples of virtue. In the course of their 
wandering life, the dead, whom they sometimes dragged with 
them in their waggons, appealed to them an annoying burden, 
and they buried them in haste m retired places; where, covering 
them with the sands of the desert, they were satisfied with 
concealing them from the eyes or the outrages of the living. 

Everything that might fix them to one spot rather than 
another, or lead them to change their manner of living, ex 
cited the animadversion and disdain of these races. Of all the 
ti'ibes that inhabited Mogul Tartary, one alone was acquainted 
with writing, and cultivated letters ; all the rest despised com- 
merce, arts, and learning ; which constitute the true splen- 
dour of polished societies. The Tartars disdained the idea 
of building ; in the twelfth century their vast country con- 
tained but one city,* the extent of which, according to the 
monk E-ubruquis, did not equal that of the little town of 
Saint Denis. Confinius; themselves to the care of their 
flocks, they regarded agriculture as a degrading occupation, 
only fit to employ the industry of slaves or conquered people. 
Their immense plains had never become yellow with harvests 
sown by the hand of man ; no fruit had there ripened which 
he had planted. The spectacle most agreeable to a Tartar 
was the desert, upon which grass grew without cultivatiou 
or the field of battle covered with ruin and ^rnage. 

As the limits of their pastures were under no regulation, 
frequent quarrels necessarily arose among the Tartars .; the 
spirit of jealousy constantly agitated the wanderin^; hordes ; 
the ambitious leaders could endure neither neighbours nor 
rivals. Thence civil wars ; and from the bosom of civil wars 
issued a fully-armed despotism, to support which the people 

* Karakoroum, the residence of the principal branch of the successors 
of Gengiskhan. It is only lately that the true situation of this city has 
been fixed by M. Abel- Rem usat ; it was on the left bank of the Orgon, 
not far from the junction of that river with the Selinga to the south of the 
Lake of Baikal, by the 49° of latitud ; and the 102° of longitude. The 
same country has since been the resid-^ice of the Grand Lama. 

htstout of the cetjsades. 315 

flocked with clieerfuluess, because it promised fhem con 
quests. Tlie entire population was military, to whom figliting 
appeared to be the only true glory, and the most noble 
occupation of man. The encampments of the Tartars, their 
marches, their hunting-parti ?s, resembled military exhibi- 
tions. Habit imparted so m ich ease and firmness to their 
seat on horseback, that they took their food, and even in- 
dulged in sleep, without dismounting. Their bow, of an 
enormous size, announced their strength and skill; their 
sharp steel-headed arrows flew to an immense distance, and 
struck down the bird amidst its rapid career, or pierced 
through and through the bear or tiger of the desert ; they 
surpassed their enemies in the rapidity of their evolutions ; 
they excelled them in the perfidious art of fighting whilst 
flying ; and retreat was often, for them, the signal of victory. 
All the stratagems of war appeared familiar to them ; and as 
if a fatal instinct had taught them all that could assist in 
the destruction of the human race, the Tartars, who built 
no cities, knew how to construct the most formidable 
machines of war, and. were not unacquainted with any means 
that could spread teri\)r and desolation among their enemies. 
In their expeditions, their march was never impeded by the 
inclemency of seasons, the depth of rivers, the steepness of 
precipices, or the height of mountains. A little hardened 
milk, diluted with water, sufiiced for the food of a horseman 
during several days ; the skin of a sheep or a bear, a few 
strips of coarse felt, formed his garments. The warriors 
showed the most blind obedience to their leaders, and, at 
the least signal, were ready to encounter death in any shape. 
They were divided into tens, hundreds, thousands, and tens 
of thousands ; their armies were composed of all that could 
handle the bow or lance ; and what must have caused their 
enemies as much surprise as terror, was the order and dis- 
cipline that prevailed in a multitude that chance seemed to 
have gathered together. According to their military legis- 
lation, the Tartars were never allovv^ed to make peace but 
with a conquered enemy ; he who flea, from battle, or aban- 
doned his companions in danger, was punished with death ; 
they shed the blood of men with the same indiflerence aa 
that of wild animals, and their ferocity added greatly to the 
terror whicli they inspired in thtf r eDterprises. 


The Tartars, in their pride, despised all othei nations, and 
believed that the whole world ought to be subject to them 
According to certain opinions, transmitted from age to age, 
the Mogul hordes abandoned the north to the dead thej left 
behind them in the deserts, and kept their faces constantly 
directed towards the south, which was promised to their 
valour. The territories and the riches of other nations 
excited their ambition ; and, possessing neither territories 
nor riches themselves, they had almost nothing to fear from 
conquerors. JN^ot only their warlike education, but their pre- 
judices, their customs, the inconstancy of their character, 
everything with them seemed to favour distant expeditions 
and warlike invasions. They carried with them neither 
regrets nor endearing remembrances from the countries they 
abandoned ; and if it be true, when we say that country is 
not within the walls of a city, or the limits of a province, but 
in the affections and ties of family, in the laws, manners, 
and customs of a nation, the Tartars, when changing their 
climate, had always their country with them. The presence 
of their wives, of their children ; the sight of their flocks and 
their idols, everyw^here inflamed their patriotism, or love of 
their nation, and sustained their courage. Accustomed to 
consult their own inclinations, and take them for their sole 
rule of conduct, they were never restrained by the laws o. 
morality or by feelings of humanity ; as they had a profound 
indifference for all the religions of the earth, this indifference 
even, which aroused no hatred in other nations, facilitated 
their conquests, by leaving them the liberty of readdy re- 
ceiving or embracing the opinions and creeds of the people 
they conquered, and whom they thus completely subjected 
to their laws. 

In very remote antiquity, the hordes of Tartary had 
several times invaded the vast regions of India, China, and 
Persia, and had extended their ravages even into the West : 
the ambition or the caprice of a skilful leader, excess of 
population, w^ant of pasturage, the predictions of a wizard, 
were quite sufficient to inflame this tumultuous race, and 
precipitate them in a mass upon distant regions. Woe to 
the people whora the Tartars encountered in their passage ! 
At their approach, empires fell w^ith a horrible crash ; nations 
were driven back upon one another, like the waves of the 


sea ; the world was shaken and covered with ruins. History 
has preserved the remembrance of several of their invasions ; 
the most remote posterity will never pronounce without a 
species of terror the names of the Avari, the Huns, the 
Heruli, of all those wandering nations who, some flowing 
from the depths of Tartary, and others dragged in the wake 
of the conquerors or driven before them, poured down upon 
the tottering empire of the E-omans, and divided the spoils 
of the civilized world amongst thom : in the middle ages, 
the wars of the Tartars were compared to tempests, inunda- 
tions, or the bursting forth of volcanoes ; and the resigned 
nations believed that the justice of Grod held these innume- 
rable swarms of barbarians in reserve in the north, to pour 
out his anger upon the rest of the earth, and chastise cor- 
rupted nations by their hands. 

The Tartars never proved themselves more redoubtable 
than luider the reign of Grengiskhan. Temugin, which was 
the first name of the heroic barbarian, was born of a prince 
who reigned over some hordes of ancient Mogulistan.* 
Traditions relate that the seventh of his ancestors was 
engendered in the womb of his mother by the miraculous 
influence of the rays of the sun. At the birth of Temugin, 
his family remarked with joy some coagulated blood in the 
hands of the infant, a sinister presage for the human race, 
in which flattery or superstition saw the future glory of a 
conqueror. Some historians inform us that nothing was 
neglected in the education of Temugin ; others, more worthy 
of faith, afiirm that he could not read; but all agree in 
saying that he wass born for war, and to command a warlike 
people. Endowed with great penetration of mind, and Avith 
a sort of eloquence, knowing how to dissemble in season, 
skilftd in working upon the passions, uniting bravery to a 
boundless ambition, that was never checked by any scruple, 

* M. Petis de Lacroix has published a life of Gengiskhan, according to 
Eastern authors. This history, though fable is sometimes mixed with 
truth, is one of the best works that can be consulted. M. Deguignes, in 
his History of the Huns, has spoken at great length of the Tartars and of 
Gengiskhan ; he announces that he has deviated from the account of Petis 
de Lacroix ; but as he does not always name the sources from which he 
has drawn, he does not inspire perfect confidence for this part of his his- 
tory. We find some details upon Gengiskhan in La Eibliotheque Orien- 
tale of D'Herbelot. 


he had all the quahties and all the vices which lead to empire 
among harbarians, and sometimes even among polished 
nations. His natural propensities developed thenseJves in 
adversity, wliich hardened his character, and taught him U 
brave everything in order to carry out his designs. Trom 
the age of fourteen, despoiled of his paternal heritage, and 
a fugitive with the khan of the Karaites, he sae.inced without 
pain the most holy duties of hospitality to his future gran- 
deur. The khan of the Karaites was known by the laame of 
Prester John among the Chi'istians of the middle ages,* 
who celebrated his conversion to Christianity, and considered 
him as one of the most fervent apostJes of the Gospel, 
which, doubtless, he never had known. He confided the 
care of his states to young Temugm, who insinuated himself 
into the favour of the army, and dethroned his benefactor. 
As he had outraged all the lav/s of morality to usurp empire, 
he violated all the laws of liumanity to maintain himself in 
it. Seventy of his enemies plunged into seventy caldrons 
of boiling water, and the skull of the chief of the Karaites 
enchased in a golden box, announced very plainly what the 
master was whom fortune was about to place over the 
nations of Asia. 

Victory was to achieve what treachery, violence, and in- 
gratitude had begun ; the arms of Temugin and his lieu- 
tenants subdued successively all the hordes whose camps 
arose between the wall of China and the Volga. Temugin 
was the all-powerful leader of many millions of shepherds 
and warriors, impatient to quit their own climate and invade 
the regions of the south. In order to attach the companions 
of his victories to his fortunes, he was desirous of reignuig 
by their suffrages, and called together a couraltai or general 
diet, in which he was proclaimed sovereign of the Moguls. 
The ambition of Temugin did not neglect the iniluence of 
superstition ; he took the title of Gengis, kiiiff of kings, or 
master of the ivorld, and fame gave out that he had received 

* The Chronicles of the middle ages often speak of Prester John. A 
letter written by a prince of this name to Louis VII. has been preserved. 
Seven barbarous princes have been reckoned who bore the name of Prester 
John. The researches made to ascertain the truth would be uninteresting 
nowadays. — See the Precis de la Geographie Universale, by M. Malte 
Brun, torn. i. p. 441. 


f>his pompous title from a prophet who descended from 
heaven upon a white horse. 

Eastern historians have praised Gengiskhan for having 
given laws to nations he had conquered. These laws, the 
aim of which was to maintain the peace of families, and to 
direct the minds of the people towards war, for a length of 
time retained the obedience and the respect of the Moguls. 
As Gengiskhan, in his legislation, acknowledged one God, 
the sovereign of the earth and heaven, and, at the same 
time, permitted all kinds of creeds, some modern writers 
have taken occasion to boast of his religious tolerance. But 
what could be the tolerance of a savage conqueror, who 
caused himself to be styled the son of the sun, the son of 
God ; who himself followed no worship, and to whom all 
religions were equally indifferent, provided they crossed 
neither his ambition nor his pride ? 

The lieutenants and warriors of Gengiskhan had recog- 
nised him with the greater joy, as universal conqueror and 
master of the earth, from the hopes they entertained of en- 
riching themselves with the spoils of all the nations subdued 
by his arms. His first enterprises were directed against 
China, of which ^ .,^.re he had been the vassal. JNTeither 
the barrier of the great wall, nor the ascendancy of know- 
ledge and arts, nor the use of gunpowder, said to be then 
known am :ng the Chinese, was able to defend a flourishing 
empire against the attacks of a multitude, whom the thirst 
for booty and a warlike instinct, urged forward to face perils, 
and rendered invincible. 

The wars we have seen in our days, and of which we de- 
plore the calamities, give nothing but a feeble idea of these 
figantic invasions, in which many millions of men perished 
y sword riud famine. China experienced twice all the evils 
inseparable from a war which appeared to be directed by 
tlie genius of destruction ; and, in the space of a few 
years, the most ancient and the most powerful kingdom of 
Asia, covered with blood and ruins, and deprived of lialf its 
population, became one of the provinces of the new empire 
founded by the shepherds of Mogulistan. 

The conquest of Carismia soon followed that of China ; 
Carismia was close to the frontiers of the Mogul empire, 
and, on onr side extended to the Gulf of Persia, and on the 


other, to the limits of India and Turkistan. Grengis learni 
that a Tartar caravan and three of his ambassadors had been 
massacred in one of the cities of the Carismians. It is easy 
to imagine the effect that this news would produce upon the 
emperor of the Moguls, who himself compared the anger 
of kings to the fire of conflagrations, which the lightest 
wind may light up.* After having fasted and prayed, during 
tliree days and three nights, upon a mountain, where a 
hermit announced to him, the second time, the conquest of 
the whole world, the terrible Gengiskhan commenced his 
march, at the head of seven hundred thousand Tartars. This 
army met that of the Carismians on the banks of the 
Jaxartes ; Mahomet, sultan of Carismia, who had several 
times carried his victorious arms into Turkistan and Persia, 
commanded the host of the Carismians. The plain in which 
this battle w^as fought was covered by twelve hundred thou- 
sand combatants ; the shock was terrific, the carnage horri- 
ble ; victory was adverse to Mahomet, who, from that day, 
together witli his family and the whole of his nation, sunk 
into the lowest abyss of misfortune. 

The cities of Otrar, Bochara, Samarcand, Candahar, and 
Carismia, besieged by an innumerabl*^ multitude, fell in turn 
into the power of the conqueror, and witnessed the extirpa- 
tion of their garrisons and inhabitants. We cannot sup- 
press a feeling of pity when history presents to us, on one 
side, an entire population flying from their devastated homes, 
to seek an asylum in deserts and mountains ; and on the 
other, the family of a powerful monarch dragged into slavery 
or groaning in exile ; and this monarch himself, whose pros- 
perity all Asia had boasted or envied, abandoned by his sub- 
jects, and dying with misery and despair in an island of the 
Caspian Sea. 

The army of Grengiskhan returned to Tartary, loaded with 

* According to what we know of Gengiskhan, we should with difficulty 
believe that, among modern historians he has been able to find panegyrists ; 
but Petis de Lacroix has not been able to avoid the example of most his- 
torians, who generally appear infatuated by the hero whose life they are 
writing. An Arabian historian relates, that on learning the massacre of 
his ambassadors, Gengiskhan was not able to refrain from tears. Here 
Petis de Lacroix is very angry with the Arabian, and reproaches him 
bltteriy with having given the emperor of the Moguls a Jeminine character. 
All others, says he, have given a portrait of him more worthy of a hero. 


the spoils of Carismia: tlie sovereign of the Moguls* ap- 
peared to form the desire of governing his conquests in 
peace ; but the world, agitated by his victories, and always 
eager to bhrow off his y©ke, together with the warlike spirit 
of his nation, to whom he had afforded a glimpse of the 
riches of other people, would not permit him again to enjoy 
repose ; he was on the point of undertaking a third expedi • 
tion against China, which seemed disposed to rebel, wheii 
death put an end to his career. Some historians assert that 
he was struck dead by thunder, as if Heaven had deter- 
mined itself to crush the instrument of its wrath ;t others, 
much more worthy of belief, inform us that the Tartar hero 
died in his bed, surrounded by his children, to whom he re- 
commended to preserve union among themselves, that they 
might achieve the conquest of the w^rld. Octal, the eldest 
of his sons, succeeded him in the en.pire, and, according to 
the custom of the Moguls, the great men assembled and 
said to him, " We wish, we pray, we command you to ac- 
cept of entire power over us." The new emperor answered 
by this formula, which contains the whole spirit of the 
despotic governments of the East : " If you desire that I 
should be your khan, are you resolved to obey me in every- 
thing ; to come when I shall call you, to go where I shall 
send you, and to put to death all those I shall command you 
to kill?" After they had answered "Yes," he said to 
them, " Henceforth my simple word shaU serve me as a 
sword." Such was the government of the Tartars. Octai 
was about to reign over an empire composed of several 
great empires ; his brothers and nephews commanded the 
innumerable armies that had conquered China and Carismia; 
they governed in his name in the north, in the south, and 
the east, kingdoms of which the extent was scarcely known ; 
each of his lieutenants was more powerful than the greatest 

* There have been long disputes upon the terms Mogul and Tartar. 
We think we can make out, amidst much uncertainty, that the Moguls 
originally formed a distinct tribe of the vast countries of Tartary; and 
that the Tartars, being in great numbers in the armies of the conquering 
Moguls, obliterated in a degree the names of their conquerors in the kmg- 
doms of Europe and Asia to which these armies penetrated. 

t Father Gauhil has translated a Chinese history of Gengiskhan ; this 
history yields but little information, and gives no curious details but upon 
the family and the succestors of the conqueror. 

322 HisToiir or the crusades. 

kings of the eartli, and all obeyed him as his slaves, ^^'or 
the first time, perhaps, concord was preserved among con- 
querors ; and this monstrous union eftected tl:e ruui of all 
the nations of Asia : Turkistan, Persia, India, the southern 
provinces of China, which had lO'jjcaped the ravages of the 
first invasion, all that remained of the empire of the Abas- 
eides and of that of the Seljoucides — all fell before the arms 
ot the redoubtable posterity of Grengiskhan. Many of the 
sovereigns whom, in these days of disorder and calamity the 
chance of war hurled from their thrones, had invoked the 
succour of the Moguls, and favoured the enterprises of that 
warlike people against neighbouring or rival powers. For- 
tune enveloped them all in the same ruin, and oriental his- 
tory compares them to the three dervises whose indiscreet 
wishes and prayers reanimated, in the desert, the bones 
of a lion, who sprang up from the bosom of the sand and 
devoured them. 

The conquest of the richest countries of Asia had inflamed 
the enthusiasm of the Tartars to such a degree, that it would 
have been impossible for their leaders to confine them within 
the limits of their own territories, or bring them back to the 
peaceful labours of pastoral life. Octa'i, whether desiroua 
of obeying the paternal instructions, or whether he felt the 
necessity of employing the restless and turbulent activity ot 
the Moguls, resolved to turn his arms towards the West. 
Fifteen hundred thousand shepherds or warriors inscribed 
their names upon the military register ; five hundred thou- 
sand of the most robust were selected for the gi-eat expedi. 
tion ; the others were to remain in Asia, to maintain the 
submission of the vanquished nations, and complete the 
conquests commenced by Gengiskhan. Hejoicings, which 
lasted forty days, preceded the departure of the Mogul 
army, and were as a signal of the desolation they were about 
to spread among the countries of Europe. 

In their rapid course, the Tartars crossed th;.^ Volga, and 
penetrated, almost without obstacle, into Muscovy, then a 
prey to the fury of civil war. The devastation of tlieir 
country, the conflagrations of Kiow and Moscow, and the 
disgraceful yoke that so long oppressed these northern 
regions, were the punishments due to the feeble resistauce 
of the Muscovites. Ai*ter the conquest of Eucisia, the mui- 


fcitude of Moguls, led by Baton, sou of Tuli, directed their 
victorious course towards Poland and the frontiers of Ger- 
many, and repeated, wherever they went, the horrors of 
Attila and his Huns. The cities of Lublin and Warsaw 
disappeared on their passage, and they laid waste both shores 
of the Baltic. In vain the duke of Silesia, the Polish pala- 
tines, and the grand master of the Teutonic order, united 
their forces to arrest the progress of this new scourge of 
Grod ;* the generous defenders of Europe succumbed upon 
the plains of Lignitz, and nine sacks, filled with human 
ears, were the trophy of the victory of the barbarians. The 
Carpathian mountains presented but a feeble barrier to 
these invincible hordes ; and the Tartars soon burst like a 
fearful, tempest over the territories of those Hungarians 
who, two centuries before, had, like them, quitted the deserts 
of Scythia, and conquered the fertile banks of the Danube. 
Bela, king of Hungary, had recently attracted forty thou- 
sand families of Comans into his dominions, who betrayed 
him; the palatines and magnates of the kingdom w^ere 
divided among themselves, and not even the aspect of dan- 
ger could induce them to unite or submit themselves to the 
laws of the monarch. Disobedience, treachery, and discord, 
delivered the whole kingdom up to the furies of a pitiless 
enemy ; the flocks, the harvests, the entire wealth of the 
country, became the prey of the Moguls; half the popula- 
tion was exterminated. Of all the cities of Hungary, only 
three offered an earnest and true resistance, and thus pre- 
served themselves from scenes of carnage and destruction. 
The shepherds of Scythia, who could not read, have left to 
the vanquished the task of describing their conquests, and 
we have great difficulty in crediting the accounts of the old 
Himgarian chronicles, when they describe the unheard-of 
cruelties by which the Moguls disgraced their victories ;t 
but several provinces entirely depopulated and changed into 

* Matthew Paris speaks of the terror which the Moguls spread through 
Europe : his history contains an exhortation to all the nations of the West 
to fly to arms ; each nation is in this history characterized by an honour- 
able and flattering epithet. 

t The reader may consult Thurocsius, vol. i., Rerum Hungaricarum, 
and particularly the Carmen Miserabile of Roger of Hungary, canon of 
Varadiu, who has de.'scribed in poetical prose the disasters of which ho 
jimself was a witness 


deserts, the ruins of two tliousaud cliurclies, fifty destroyed 
cities, the traditions of these great disasters transmitted 
from age to age, and the terror that pervaded Europe, are 
evidences so worthy of faith, that we cannot reject them. 

In the general consternation, it is surprising that the 
Moguls did not direct their arms against the Latin empire ot 
Constantinople, then menaced by the Greeks, and little better 
than a ruin ; but the shepherds of the desert did not employ 
themselves in inquiries concerning the interior revolutions 
of states or of the signs of their decay ; they preserved, as 
did all the nations of Asia, a vague and confused idea of the 
power of the armies of ancient Byzantium, but took little 
heed whether the moment were come to attack it and con- 
quer it. The great advantages which the imperial city derived 
from its position between Europe and Asia, did not at all 
strike the Tartars, w^ho were ignorant of both navigation 
and commerce, and infinitely preferred rich pastures to the 
sumptuous edifices of great capitals. Thus w^e may equally 
believe, either that the city of Constantine was protected on 
this occasion by the memories of its past greatness, or that 
it owed its safety to the contempt and indifi'erence of the 

The Eranks established in Syria enjoyed the same good 
fortune as the Greeks of Byzantium. The armies of the 
Moguls had not yet crossed the Euphrates. 

Whilst the tumult of war and the fall ot empires re- 
sounded from the Yellow Hiver to the Danube, the Christians 
of Palestine, protected by the discords of the Saracens, 
resumed possession of Jerusalem : they were beginning to 
repair the walls of the holy city, and rebuild the churches ; 
and thanked Heaven in peace, for having preserved them 
from the scourges that were devastating the rest of the 
world The Tartars were scarcely aware of the existence or 
the name of a country for which so much blood had been 
spilt, and were not likely to be attracted to the revered but 
barren banks of tlie Jordan, by either the hopes of booty 
or by the remembrances which excited the warlike enthu- 
siasm of the nations of the West, Happy would it have 
been for the Christian colonies, if a people, conquered by 
the Moguls, dri\^en from tlieir own territories, and seek- 
ing an asylum every wliere, had not come to disturb theif 


transient security, and plunge the city of Christ into fresh 

After the death of Mahomet, sultan of Carismia, his sou 
Grelaleddin gathered together an army. The valour which 
he displayed in several battles astonished his enemies, and, 
for a moment, brought back to his standard the sad remains 
of his empire ; fortune favoured his expeditions into Georgia 
and India ; but at last he forgot the lessons of adversity 
amidst the intoxication of pleasures ; he lost all his con- 
quests, and perished miserably among the Curds, where he 
had sought refuge. The Carismian warriors, incessantly 
pursued by the Tartars, abandoned a country they could no 
longer defend, and, under the command of one of their 
leaders named Barbakan, spread themselves through Asia 
Minor and Syria. 

These hordes, banished from their own country, marched, 
sword and torch in hand, and, in their despair, seemed to 
wish to avenge upon other nations the evils they had suf- 
fered from the Tartars. History describes these furious 
bands, wandering along the banks of the Orontes and the 
Euphrates, dragging in their train a multitude of men and 
women that had fallen into iheir hands ; a great number of 
waggons conveyed the spoils of the ravaged provinces they 
passed through. The most brave of them ornamented their 
lances with the hair of those they had immolated in fight. 
Clothed in the produce of pillage, their army presented a 
spectacle at once terrific and ridiculous. The Carismian 
warriors had no resource but in victory, and all the ha- 
rangues of their leaders consisted of these words : Yoic will 
conquer, or you will die. They gave no quarter to their 
enemies on the field of battle ; when conquered themselves, 
they submitted to death without a complaint. Their fury 
spared neither Christians nor Mussulmans ; all they met on 
their passage were their enemies; their approach spread 
terror everywhere, put the distracted peoples to flight, and 
changed cities and towns into deserts. 

The Mussulman powers of Syria several times united in a 
league against the Carismians, and drove them baclf to the 
other side of the Euphrates. But the spirit of rivalry 
which at all times divided the princes of the family ol 
Saladin, soon recalled an enemy always redoubtable notwith- 


standing defeats. At tlie period of whicli we are speakingf^ 
the princes of Damascus, Carac, and Emessa had just formed 
an alliance with the Christians of Palestine ; they not only 
restored Jerusalem, Tiberias, and the principality of Galilee 
to them, but they promised to join them in the conquest ol 
Egypt, a conquest for which the whole of Syria was making 
preparations. The sultan of Cairo, to avenge himself upon 
the Christians who had broken the treaties concluded Avith 
him, to punish their new allies, and protect himself from 
their invasion, determined to apply for succour to the hordes 
of Carismia ; and sent deputies to the leaders of these bar- 
barians, promising to abandon Palestine to them, if they 
subdued it. 

This proposition was accepted with joy, and twenty thou- 
sand horsemen, animated by a thirst for booty and slaughter, 
hastened from the further parts of Mesopotamia, disposed 
to be subservient to the vengeance or anger of the Egyptian 
monarch. On their march they ravaged the territory of 
Tripoli and the principality of Galilee, and the flames which 
everywhere accompanied their steps, announced their arrival 
to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 

Eortifications scarcely commenced, and the small number 
of warriors in the holy city, left not the least hope of being 
able to repel the unexpected attacks of such a formidable 
enemy. The whole population of Jerusalem resolved to fly, 
under the guidance of the knights of the Hospital and the 
Temple. There only remained in the city the sick and a 
few inhabitants who could not make their minds up to aban- 
don their homes and their infirm kindred. The Carismians 
soon arrived, and having destroyed a few intrenchments that 
bad been made in their route, they entered Jerusalem sword 
in hand, massacred all they met, and as, amidst a deserted 
city the conquerors found no victims to glut their vengeance 
with, they had recourse to a most odious stratagem to lure 
back the inhabitants who had taken flight. They raised 
the standards of the cross upon every tower, and set all the 
bells ringing. The crowd of Christians who were retiring 
towards Jaffa, marched on in silence, and advanced but 
slowly; constantly hoping that Heaven would be touched by 
their misery, and, by some miracle, lead them back to the 
homes they had quitted : from time to time, their eyes in- 


voluntarily turned towards tlie holy city. All at once they 
saw the banners of the Cross unfurled, and the sound of the 
sacred brass, which every day called them to prayers, re- 
sounded in their ears. The ntjws soon spread that either 
the barbarians had marched their army in another direction, 
or that they had been repulsed by the Christians who were 
left in the city. They became soon persuaded that God had 
taken pity on his people, and would not permit the city of 
Christ to be defiled by the presence of a sacrilegious horde. 
Seven thousand fugitives, deceived by this hope, returned 
to Jerusalem and gave themselves up to the fury of the 
Carismians, who put them all to the sword. Torrents of 
blood flowed through the streets and along the roads. A 
troop of nuns, children, and aged people, who had sought 
refuge in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, were massacred 
at the foot of the altars. The Carismians finding nothing 
among the living to satisfy their fury, burst open the sepul- 
3hres, and gave the cofiins and remains of the dead up to 
the flames ; the tomb of Christ, that of Grodfrey of Bouillon, 
the sacred relics of the martyrs and heroes of the faith, 
nothing was respected, and Jerusalem then witnessed within 
its walls such cruelties and profanations as had never taken 
place in the most barbarous wars, or in days marked by the 
anger of God.* 

In the mean time, the grand masters of the Templars and 
the Hospitallers, assembled with the patriarch of Jerusalem 
and the nobles of the kingdom, in Ptolemais, endeavoured 
to devise means by which the Carismians might be repulsed 
and Palestine saved. All the inhabitants of Tyre, Sidon, 
Ptolemais, and other Christian cities, able to bear arms, re- 
paired to their standards. The princes of Damascus, Carac, 
and Emessa, whose assistance the Christians implored, united 
their forces, and assembled an army to stop the progress of 
the general devastation. This Mussulman army soon arrived 
in Palestine. Its appearance before the walls of Ptolemais 
raised the courage of the Franks, who, in so pressing a dan- 
ger, appeared to have no repugnance to fight in company 
Tvith the infidels. Almansor, prince of Emessa, who com- 
aianded the Mussulman warriors, had recently signalized 

* See in the Appendix the details which many of the Chronicles give o, 
the ravages of the Carismians in Palestine. 


his valour against the hordes of Carismia. The Christians 
took pleasure iu relating his victories in the plains of 
Aleppo, and on the banks of the Euphrates. He was re- 
ceived iu Palestine as a liberator, and carpets bordered with 
gold and silk were spread upon his passage. " The people,'' 
says Joinville, " considered him as one of tJie best barons of 
par/a nism.^^ 

The preparations of the Christians, the zeal and. ardour 
of the military orders, the barons, and prelates ; the union 
that subsisted between the Franks and their new allies, 
altogether seemed to form a presage of success in a war un- 
dertaken in the names of religion, humanity, and patriotism 
The Christian and Mussulman armies, united under the 
same banners, set out from Ptolemais, and encamped upon 
the plains of Ascalon. The army of the Carismians advancea 
towards Graza, where they were to receive provisions and 
reinforcements sent by the sultan of Egypt. The Eranks 
became impatient to meet their enemies, and to avenge the 
deaths of their companions and brethren massacred at Jeru- 
salem. A council was called, to deliberate upon the best 
mode of proceeding. The prince of Emessa and the more 
wise among tho- barons thought it not prudent to expose the 
safety of the Christians and their allies to the risk of a 
battle. It appeared to them most advisable to occupy an 
advantageous position, and wait, without giving battle, till 
the natural inconstancy of the Carismians, want of provi- 
sions, or discord, might assist in dispersing this vagabond 
raultitude, or lead them into other countries. 

Most of the other chiefs, among whom was the patriarch 
of Jerusalem, did not agree with this opinioa, and could see 
nothing in the Carismians but an undisciplined horde that 
it would be very easy to conquer and put to flight : any 
delay in attacking them would only raise their pride and re- 
double their audacity. Every day the evils of war were in- 
creasing ; humanity and the safety of the Christian colonies 
required that they should promptly put an end to so many 
devastations, and that they should make haste to chastise 
the brigands, whose presence was at once an opprobrium 
and a calamity for the Christians, and all the allies of the 

This opinion, too congenial with the impatient yalour ol 


the Franks, prevailed in the council. It was resolved to 
ma,rch, and offer the enemy battle. 

The two armies met in the country of the ancient Philis- 
tines. Some years before, the duke of Burgundy and the 
king of Navarre, surprised in the sandy plains of Gaza, had 
lost the best of their knights and soldiers. Neither the 
eight of places where the Crusaders had been defeated, nor 
the remembrance of their recent disaster, diminished the 
imprudent ardour of the Christian warriors ; as soon as 
they perceived the enemy, they were eager for the signal for 
battle. The Christian army was divided into three bodies ; 
the left wing, in which were the knights of St. John, waa 
commanded by Grauthier de Brienne, count of Jaffa, nephew 
to king John, and son of that Gauthier who died at the con- 
quest of Naples. The Mussulman troops, under the orders 
of the prince of Emessa, formed the right wing. The 
patriarch of Jerusalem, surrounded by his clergy, with the 
wood of the true cross borne before him, the grand master 
of the Templars with his knights, and the barons of 
Palestine with their vassals, occupied the centre of the 

The Carismians formed their line of battle slowly, and 
some degree of disorder was observable in their ranks. 
Gauthier de Brienne was anxious to profit by this circum- 
stance and attack them with advantage ; but the patriarch 
restrained his valour by a severity not less contrary to the 
interests of the Christians than to the spirit of the Gospel.* 

The count of Jaffa, having been excommunicated for de- 
taining in his hands a castle to which the prelate laid claim, 
asked, before he commenced the. encounter in which he 
might lose his life, to be relieved from his excommunication. 
The patriarch twice rejected his prayer, and refused to 
absolve him. The army, which had received the benedictions 
of the priests and bishops, arising from their knees, awaited 
in silence the signal for battle. The Carismians had formed 
their line and advanced, uttering loud cries and discharging 

* Joinville gives many particulars of this war which he had learnt 
during his sojourn in Palestine. The continuator of Wilham of Tyre may 
likewise be consulted. Matthew Paris has preserved two letters, one from 
the patritirch of Jerusalem, the other from the grand master of the Hos 
pitallers, which describe this battle. 

Vol. li— 15 


a cloud of arrows. Then the bishop of Ham a, in complete 
armour, impatient to signalize his bravery against the 
enemies of the Christians, approached the count of Jaffa, ex- 
claiming, " Let us march, — the patriarch is wrong : I absolve 
you, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost." After having pronounced these words, the 
intrepid bishop of Kama and Gauthier de Brienne, followed 
by his companions in arms, rushed amidst the ranks of 
the enemy, burning to obtain victory or the crown of mar- 

The two armies were soon generally engaged, and mingled 
on the field of battle. The ardour to conquer was equal on 
both sides ; neither the Christians nor their enemies could 
be ignorant that a single defeat must cause their ruin, and 
that their^only safety was in victory. On this account, the 
annals of war present no example of a more murderous and 
obstinate contest ; the battle began with the dawn, and only 
ended at sunset. On the following morning fighting was 
renewed with the same fury ; the prince of Emessa, after 
having lost two thousand of his horsemen, abandoned the 
field of battle, and fled towards Damascus. This retreat of 
the Mussulmans decided the victory in favour of the Caris- 
mians ; the Christians for a long time sustained the repeated 
shocks of the enemy ; but at length, exhausted by fatigue 
and overwhelmed by a multitude, almost all were either 
killed or taken prisoners. This sanguinary battle cost life 
or liberty to more than thirty thousand Christian and 
JMussulman warriors ; the prince of Tyre, the patriarch of 
Jerusalem, and some of the prelates, with great difficidty 
escaped the slaughter, and retired to Ptolemais. Among the 
warriors who regained the Christian cities, there were only 
thirty-three knights of the Temple, twenty-six Hospitallers, 
and three Teutonic knights. 

"When the news of this victory reached Egypt, it created 
a universal joy ; it was annouieed to the people by sound 
of drums and trumpets ; the suAan ordered public rejoicings 
throughout the provinces, and all the public edifices of the 
capital were illumiried during three nights. In a short 
time the prisoners arrived at Cairo, mounted on camels, and 
pursued by the insulting clamours of the multitude. Before 
their arrival, the heads of their companions and brethren 

niSTOET or THE ckusades. 331 

killed at the battle of Gaza were exhibited on the walls. 
This horrible monument of their defeat foreboded all they 
had to fear for themselves from the barbarity of the con- 
querors. They were cast into dungeons, where they were 
abandoned to the mercies of cruel gaolers, and where they 
had the melancholy satisfaction of embracing the barons 
and knights made prisoners in the last crusade. 

Whilst all Egypt was celebrating the victory of Graza, the 
inhabitants of Palestine deplored the death and captivity of 
their bravest warriors. As long as any hope existed of con- 
quering the Carismians with the assistance of the Mussul- 
mans of Syria, their alliance had created neither mistrust 
nor scruple ; but reverses quickly revived prejudices ; the 
last disaster was attributed to divine justice, irritated by 
having seen the banners of Christ mingled with those of 
Mahomet. On the other hand, the Mussulmans believed 
they had betrayed the cause of Tslamism by allying them- 
selves with the Christians ; the aspect of the cross on the 
field of battle awakened their fanaticism and diminished 
their zeal for a cause which appeared to be that of their 
enemies. At the moment of begiiming the fight, the prince 
of Emessa was heard to pronounce these words : " I am 
armed for battle, and yet dod tells me, in the depths of my 
heart, that we shall not be victorious, because we have 
sought the friendship of the Franks," 

The victory of the Carismians delivered up the greater 
part of Palestine to the most redoubtable enemies of the 
Christian colonies. The Egyptians took possession of Jeru- 
salem, Tiberias, and the cities ceded to the Eranks by the 
prince of Damascus. The hordes of Carismia ravaged all 
the banks of the Jordan, with the territories of Ascalon 
and Ptolemais, and laid siege to Jaff*a. They dragged the 
unfortunate Gauthier de Brienne in their train, hoping that 
he would cause a city that belonged to him to open its gates 
to them : this model of Christian heroes was fastened to a 
cross before the walls. Whilst thus exposed to the eyes of 
his faithful vassals, the Carismians loaded him with insults, 
and threatened him with instant death if the city of Jafta 
oft'ered the least resistance. Gautliier, braving death, ex- 
horted the inhabitants and the garrison, with a loud voice. 
to c.3iend themselves to the last extremity. " Your duty," 


cried he, " is to defend a Christian city ; mine is to die for 
you and Jesus Christ." The city of Jaffa did not fall into 
the hands of the Carismians, and Gauthier soon received 
the reward of his generous devotedness. Sent to ^he sultan 
of Cairo, he perished beneath the brutal blows of a furious 
mob, ajid thus obtained the palm of martyrdom for which 
he had wished. 

In the mean time, fortune, or rather the mconstancy of 
the barbarians, came to the assistance of the Franks, and 
delivered Palestine from the presence of an enemy nothing 
could resist. The sultan of Cairo sent robes of honour and 
magnificent presents to the leaders of the victorious hordes, 
pro'posiug to them to crown their exploits by directing their 
arms against the city of Damascus. The Carismians imme- 
diately laid siege to the capital of Syria. Damascus, which 
had been hastily fortified, was able to oppose but a very 
slight resistance to their impetuoub attacks. Having no 
hope of succour, they opened their gates, and acknowledged 
the domination of the sultan of Egypt. It was then that 
the Carismians, inflated by their victory, demanded, in a 
menacing tone, that the lands that had been promised to 
them in Palestine should immediately be given up to them. 
The sultan of Cairo, who dreaded such neighbours, attempted 
to defer the fulfilment of his promise. In the fury which 
his refusal created, the barbarians oflered their services to 
the prince whom they had just despoiled of his states, and 
laid fresh siege to Damascus, in order to deprive the Egyp- 
tians of it. The garrison and the inhabitants defended 
themselves with obstinacy ; the fear of falling into the hands 
of a pitiless enemy supplying the place of courage. All the 
evils that war brings in her train, even famme itself, appeared 
to them a less terrible scourge than the hordes assembled 
under tlieir ramparts. 

The sultan of Egypt sent an army to assist the city, which 
was augmented by the troops of Aleppo and of several of 
the principalities of Syria. The Carismians were conquered 
in two battles. After this double defeat. Oriental history 
scarcely mentions their name, or furnishes us with means Oj. 
following their track. The greater part of those that escaped 
the sword perished with hunger and misery in the countries 
they had devastated ; the most brave and the best disciphner^ 


went to seek an asylum \n the states of the sultan ?f Ico- 
mum: and if faith can oe given to the conjectures cf some 
historians,* they were the obscure origin of the powerful 
dynasty of the Ottomans. 

The Christians of Palestine must have been grateful to 
Heaven for the destruction of the Carismians ; but the losa 
of Jerusalem and the defeat of Graza could not permit them 
to indulge in many joyful sensations. They had lost their 
allios, and could reckon upon nothing but enemies among 
the Mussulmans. The sultan of Egypt, whose alliance they 
had rejected, was extending his dominions in Syria, and his 
power became every day more formidable. The cities which 
the Christians still retained on the coasts of the sea were 
almost all without defenders. The orders of St. John and 
the Temple had ofiered the sultan of Cairo a considerable 
sum for the ransom of his prisoners ; but the sultan refused 
to listen to their ambassadors, and threatened them vnth all 
the terrors of his wrath : these two bodies, formerly so much 
dreaded by the Mussulmans, were no longer able to serve 
the cause of the Christians with any advantage, and were 
compelled to wait, in a state of inaction, till the warlike 
nobility of Europe should come to replace the knights held 
in captivity by the infidels, or swept away on the field of 
battle. The emperor of G-ermany made not the least effort 
to save the wreck of his feeble kingdom ; he had sent several 
warriors to protect his rights in Ptolemais ; but as these 
rights were not recognised, the presence of the imperial 
troops only added to the other scourges that desolated the 
Holy Land, that of discord and civil war. 

Palestine, threatened every day with a fresh invasion, 
could not entertain the smallest hope of being succoured by 
the other Christian states of the East. The Comans, a 
barbarous people from the confines of Tartary, and who 
surpassed the hordes of Carismia in ferocity, ravaged the 
banks of the Orontes, and submitted everything in the 
principality of Antioch to fire and sword; the king of Armenia 
was in dread, at the same time, of the ravages of the Tar- 
tars, and of the aggressions of the Turks in Asia Minor ; 
the kingdom of Cyprus, a prey to factions, had recently been 

* This is the opintjn of M. Deguigues, in his Histoire des Huns 


the theatre of a civil war, and liad reason to fear the incur- 
sions of the Mussulman nations of Syria and Egypt. In 
this deplorable situation, *c might be believed that the king- 
dom of Godfrey was on the eve of perishing entirely, and 
that aD that remained of the Christians in the Holy Land 
would soon share the fate of the Carismians. But, on 
turning their eyes towards the West, the Franks of Palestine 
again felt their hopes and their courage revive ; more than 
cx.?e the Christian states of Syria had owed their safety, and 
even a few days of prosperity and glory, to the excess of 
their abasement and misery. Their groans and complaints 
were seldom heard in vain by the warlike nations of Europe, 
and their extreme distress became almost always the signal 
for a new crusade, the very report of which was enough to 
make the Saracens tremble. 

Yaleran, bishop of Berytus, had been sent into the West 
to solicit the protection of the pope and the assistance of 
princes and warriors. The pope received the envoy of the 
Christians with kindness, and promised his succour to the 
Holy Laud. But the West was at that period agitated by 
troubles : the quarrel that had broken out between the Holy 
See and the emperor of Germany was carried on with an 
animosity that disgraced both religion and humanity. Ere- 
derick IL exercised all sorts of violences against the court 
of Eome and the partisans of the sovereign pontiff; the 
pope, every day more irritated, invoked the arms of the 
Christians against his enemy, and promised the indulgences 
of the crusade to all who would minister to his anger. 

On another side, the Latins established at Constantinople 
were environed b}^ the greatest perils. The emperor Bald- 
win II. , after having conducted a feeble reinforcement to 
his capital, had returned into the West, and was, the second 
time, soliciting the alms and the succours of the faithful to 
Bustain the deplorable remains of his empire, exposed, almost 
without defence, to the attacks of the Greeks and Bulga- 
rians. At the same time, the Tartars continued tc ravage 
the banks of the Danube, and threaten Germany ; their 
barbarous exploits had carried terror to the very extremities 
of Europe ; everywhere the excited imagination of nations 
represented these terrible conquerors as monsters vomited 
u.) bv hell, clothed in hideous forms, and endowed with 


strengtli against which no man was able to contend. The 
deficiency of communication, which did not allow ot exact 
information as to their march, gave birth to the most 
frightful rumours. Fame declared at one time they were 
invading Italy, and immediately afterwards, that they were 
ravaging the banks of the Khine ; every nation dreaded 
their prompt arrival, every city believed they were at ita 

It was amidst this general disorder and consternation, that 
Innocent IV., a refugee at Lyons, resolved to convoke an 
a^cumenic council in that city, to remedy the evils that de- 
solated Christendom in both the East and the West.* The 
sovereign pontiff*, in his letters addressed to the faithful, 
exposed the deplorable situation of the Eomish Church, and 
conjured the bishops to come around him, and enlighten him 
with their counsels. The patriarchs of Constantinople, 
.Antioch, and Aquihea, a great number of prelates and doc- 
tors, with several secidar princes, responded to the invitation 
of the head of the Church. Among the crowd of bishops, 
one alone seemed to attract general attention; this was the 
bishop of Berytus ; his presence, and the grief impressed 
'ipon his brow, reminded the assembly of all the misfortunes 
of the Holy Land. Baldwin IL, emperor of Byzantium, 
created very little less notice ; and his suppliant attitude 
but too plainly showed what the empire founded by the 
sixth crusade had become. 

Most of the Western monarchs had sent their ambassa- 
dors to this assembly, in which the safety and the great 
interests of the Christian world were about to be discussed. 
Frederick in particular, who had so long been the object of 
the anger of the sovereign pontiff", neglected nothing to turn 
aside the thunders suspended over his head, and ministers 
invested with his confidence were commissioned to defend 
him before the fathers of the council. Among the deputies 
of the emperor of Grermany, history names Pierre Desvignes, 
who had written, in the name of Frederick, eloquent letters 
to all the sovereigns of Europe, to complain of the tyi xnny 
exercised by the Holy See ; and T'ladaeus of Suesse, wh ) was 
not prevented by the profession ot arms from employ ii g the 

* Consult Matthew Paris, and the Annales EcclesiasiiqueSy twr far 
Uculars concerning the council of Lyons. 

B36 HiSTOEY or the crusades. 

arts of eloquence, or fathoming the depths of the study of 
laws. The latter had often served his master with glory 
amidst the perils of war, but he had never had an opportu- 
nity of showing so much firmness, courage, and devotion as 
in this assembly, in which the court of Kome was about to 
put forth all its power and realize all its threats. 

Before the opening of the council, the pope held a congre- 
gation in tlie monastery of St. Just, where he had chosen to 
fix his residence. The patriarch of Constantinople exposed 
the deplorable state of his church : heresy had resumed its 
empire in a great part of Grreece, and the enemies of the 
Latin church were advancing to the very gates of Constan- 
tinople ; the bishop of Berytus read a letter, in which the 
patriarch of Jerusalem and the barons and prelates of Pales- 
tine described the ravages of the Carismians, and showed 
that the heritage of Christ was upon the point of becoming 
the prey of the barbarians, if the West did not take arms 
for its defence. The dangers and misfortunes of the Chris- 
tians of the East affected the fathers of the council deeply. 
Thadseus, taking advantage of their emotion, announced that 
the emperor, his master, fully partook of their profoimd grief, 
and that he was ready to einploy all his powers for the de- 
fence of Christendom. Frederick promised to arrest the 
progress of the irruption of the Tartars, to re-establish the 
domination of the Latins in Greece, to go in person to the 
Holy Land, and to deliver the kingdom of Jerusalem ; he 
still further promised, in order to put an end to all divisions, 
to restore to the Holy See all he had taken from it, and to 
repair all wrongs offered to the sovereign pontiff. Such 
lofty promises, made by the most powerful monarch of Chris- 
tendom, created as much joy as surprise in the greater part 
of the bishops ; the whole assembly appeared impatient to 
know what would be the reply of Innocent. The pope 
proved inflexible, and rejected with scorn propositions, as he 
sail, already made several times, and which had no other 
guarantee but the too suspicious loyalty of Frederick. He 
was determined to view the new protestations of the em- 
peror as nothing but a fresh artifice to decei e the Chiu'ch. 
and turn aside the course of its justice. " The axe J'' added he, 
"is already lifted, and ready to cut tJie roots of the tree;^* words 
very ill assorted with the charity of the G-ospel, and which 


plainly sbow tliat Innocent had prepared the solemn pomp of 
a council with less purpose to oppose the foes of Christendom 
than to prepare the fall, and consummate the ruin of hia 
personal enemy. 

The pope held this preparatory sitting in order to make a 
trial of his strength, and to become acquainted with the dis- 
positions of the bishops. A few days afterwards, the coun- 
cil was opened with great solemnity in the metropolitan 
church of St. John ; the so • areign pontiff", wearing the tiara, 
and clothed in pontifical robes, was placed upon an elevated 
seat, having on his right hand the emperor of Constanti- 
nople, and on his left the count of Provence and the count 
of Thoulouse. After having given out the Veni Creator, and 
invoked enlightenment from the Holy Grhost, he pronounced 
a discourse, for the subject of which he took the five griefs 
with which he was afflicted, and compared them to the five 
wounds of the Saviour of the world upon the cross. The 
first was the irruption of the Tartars ; the second, the schism 
of the Greeks ; the third, the invasion of the Holy Land by 
the Carismians ; the fourth, the relaxation of ecclesiastical 
discipline and the progress of heresy ; and the fifth, the 
persecution he endured from Frederick. 

Whilst describing the misfortunes of Christendom, the 
pontiff" could not restrain his tears. His voice, if we may 
believe a contemporary historian, was often stifled by sobs ; 
he conveyed to all hearts the sentiments by which he was 
affected ; but he soon abandoned the language of compassion 
and despair, and assumed that of anger and menace. The 
Tartars, the Carismians, and the Mussulmans, inspired him 
with less hatred than the emperor of Germany, and it was 
for this prince he reserved all the thunders of his eloquence. 
He reproached him, in the most vehement expressions, with 
all the crimes that could draw upon his head the maledic- 
tions of his age, the hatred of his contemporaries, and the 
contempt of posterity. When the pope had pronounced his 
discourse, a profound silence reigned throughout the assem- 
bly ; it appeared to the greater part of the terrified bishops 
that the voice of Heaven had made itself heard for the pur- 
pose of condemning Frederick. : all eyes were turned upon 
the deputies of the emperor, and no one could believe that 
either of them would dare to reply to the interpreter of th« 



anger of Heaven. All at once Thadieiis of Suesse arose, and 
addressed the council, calling upon God, who searches ail 
hearts, to witness that the emperor was faithful to all hia 
promises, and had never ceased to endeavour to serve the 
cause of the Cliristians. He combated all the accusations of 
the sovereign pontiif, and in his reply did not hesitate to 
allege numerous complaints against the court of Rome.* 
The angry pop^ replied from his lofty throne; he again 
accused the emj^ror, and evinced but too great a desire to 
find him guilty : the first sitting of the council, entirely 
occupied with these violent debates, exhibited the unedifying 
spectacle of a contest between the head of the faithful, who 
accused a Christian prince of perjury, felony, heresy, and 
sacrilege ; and the minister of an emperor, who reproached 
the court of E-ome with having exercised an odious des- 
potism, and committed revolting iniquities. 

This contest, the results of which were likely to prove 
equally injurious to the head of the Church and the head 
of the Empire, was prolonged during several days ; it doubt- 
less scandalized all those tliat the pope had not associated 
w4th him in his resentments, and most of the bishops must 
have been afflicted at being thus diverted from the principal 
object of the convocation. 

At length, however, the calamities of the Eastern Chris- 
tians, the captivity of Jerusalem, and the dangers of Byzan- 
tium engaged the attention of the fathers of the council. 
The pope and the assembly of prelates decided that a new 
crusade should be preached for the deliverance of the Holy 
Land and the Latin empire of Constantinople. They re- 
newed all the privileges granted to Crusaders by preceding 
popes and councils, as well as all the penalties directed 
against such as should favour either pirates or Saracens : 
during three years all who should take the cross would be 
exempted from every kind of tax or public ofiice ; but if after 
taking the vow they did not perform it, they inf^urred ex- 
communication. The council recommended to V e barons 
and knights to reform the luxury of their tables and the 
splendour of their dress ; they advised all the faithful, and 
particularly ecclesiastics, to practise works of charity, and to 

* Mitthew Paris affords some very curious details upon the council oi 
Lyons ; Le Pere Labbe may also be consulted. 


arm themselves with all the austerities of penitence against 
the enemies of God. In order to obtain the protection oi 
Heaven by the intercession of the Holy Virgin, the pope 
and the fathers of the council ordered that the octave of the 
Nativity should be celebrated in the church. In several 
councils Christian knights had been forbidden to take part 
in the profane solemnities of tournaments .; the council of 
Lyon renewed the prohibition, persuaded that these military 
festivals might turn aside the minds of the warriors from the 
pious thoughts of the crusades, and that the expenses they 
occasioned would render it impossible for the bravest of the 
lords and barons to make the necessary preparations for the 
pilgrimage beyond the seas. The council ordered that the 
clergy should pay the twentieth part of their revenue, and 
the sovereign pontiif and cardinals the tenth of theirs, to 
provide for the expenses of the holy war. Half of the 
revenues of all non-resident benefices was specially reserved 
for the assistance of the empire of Constantinople. The 
decrees of the council ordered all whose mission it was to 
preach the word of Grod, to urge princes, counts, barons, and 
the corporations of cities, to contribute to the extent of their 
power to the success of the holy war ; the same statutes re- 
commended the clergy to show to the faithful that sacrifices 
offered to the crusade were the surest means of redeeming 
their sins ; but above all they recommended the clergy to 
excite the faithful, in the tribunal of penitence, to multiply 
their offerings, or at least to bequeath in their testaments 
something for the assistance of the Christians of the East. 

It was thus the council declared war against nations 
opposed to the Christians, and prepared means for assuring 
the triumphs of the soldiers of Christ. We are nevertheless 
surprised that the pope said nothing about preaching a 
crusaLi3 against the Tartars, whose invasion he had com- 
pared to one of the wounds of the Saviour on the cross. In 
the state of desolation in which Hungary was then placed, 
none of the bishops of that unfortunate kingdom had been 
able to appear at the council, and no friendly voice was 
raised to direct attention to, or implore favour for the Hun- 
garian nation. The Tartars, it is true, repulsed by the diiko 
of Neustadt, had fallen back from the banks of the Danube ; 
Dut there w as great reason to dread their return : to prevent 


Cresli invasions, the council contented itself with advising 
che Germans to dig ditches and build walls on the roads the 
Tartarian hordes were likely to take. These measures, which 
Lven then must have been known to be insufficient, assist us 
at the present day in forming an opinion of the spirit of im- 
providence and blindness which then presided over political 
councils. Who can fail to be surprised at seeing, in an 
assembly so grave as a council, Europe pressed to lavish its 
treasures and sacrifice its armies for the deliverance of Con- 
stantinople and Jerusalem, whilst the most redoubtable of 
the barbarians were at their doors, and theatening to invade 
their own territories ? 

We may, however, remark, that Frederick himself had 
solicited the powers of Europe to assist him in repelling the 
Tartars ; and the pope took much less interest in succouring 
the empire than he did in endeavouring to wrest it from 
Erederick. Innocent seemed very little disposed to set an 
example of that spirit of concord and charity which the 
council had just recommended to Christian princes ; history 
can but deplore the zeal and ardour he evinced in carrying 
out his projects of vengeance against the emperor of Grer- 
many, at the risk of arousing evil passions, of perpetuating 
discord, and thus giving up the West to the invasion of the 
barbarians. In the second sitting of the council he waa 
preparing to crush his enemy and completely overwhelm 
him with the weight of ecclesiastical power, w^hen Thadseua 
of Suesse demanded a delay of a few days, to allow the em- 
peror to come in person to justify his conduct and demon- 
strate his loyalty. The defender of Frederick hoped that 
the presence of a powerful monarch, by awakening in the 
Blinds of the assembly the respect due to the majesty of 
icings, would bring about the triumph of justice. The pope 
consented, though very unwillingly, to defer the accomplish- 
ment of his menaces ; but the emperor could not condescend 
to appear as a suppliant before an assembly convoked by 
the most implacable of his enemies : he did not come to the 
council, and when the required period of delay had expired, 
the sovereign pontiff took advantage of his absence to re- 
proach him afresh wdth his bad faith, and his resistance to 
the laws of the Church. 


At the moment in which the assembly of the bishops 
tremblingly awaited the terrible sentence, the English am- 
bassadors arose to complain of the agents of the court of 
Kome, whose ambition and avarice were ruining the kingdom 
of England ; they at the same time protested against the 
feudal supremacy which the pope, in consequence of a ces- 
sion made by King John, pretended to exercise over the 
English monarchy and nation. These claims could not 
restrain the ever-boiling anger of the sovereign pontiff. In 
vain Thadaeus again rose to urge that a great number of 
bishops were absent — that several princes had not sent their 
ambassadors to the council ; in vain he declared that he 
should appeal from this to a more numerous and more solemr 
council ; nothing could turn aside the storm or retard the 
hour of vengeance. Innocent at first replied with modera- 
tion to the deputies of England, and even to those of Fre- 
derick ; but soon assuming the tone of a judge and a master, 
" I am," said he, " the vicar of Jesus Christ ; all that which 
I shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, according to 
the promises of the Son of God made to the prince of the 
apostles ; and therefore, after having deliberated upon it 
with our brethren the cardinals, and with the council, I 
declare Frederick attainted and convicted of sacrilege and 
heresy, to be excommunicated and degraded from the em- 
pire ; I absolve from their oaths, for ever, all who have sworn 
fidelity to him ; I forbid any, under pain of excommunica- 
tion incurred by that single fault, to henceforth yield him 
obedience ; to conclude, I command the electors to elect 
another emperor, and I reserve to myself the right of dis- 
posmg of the kingdom of Sicily." 

During the reading of this sentence, the pope and the 
prelates held lighted wax tapers in their hands, and bent 
towards the earth in sign of malediction and anathema. 
The envoys of Frederick retired filled with confusion and 
despair ; Thadaeus of Suesse was heard to pronounce these 
words of the Scripture : " terrible day ! O day of anger and 
calamity .'"A deep and melancholy silence prevailed through- 
out this assembly, into the bosom of which it appeared as if 
the bolts of heaven had just fallen amidst awful peals. The 
pope alone appeared collected, and his countenance was 


radiant with joy ; lie gave out the Te Deum^ as if he had 
obtained a victory over the infidels, and dec'ared that the 
council had terminated its labours. 

Such was the council of L3^ons, too celebrated in the annals 
of the middle ages, which has frequently supplied the enemies 
of religion with a pretext for attacking the judgments of the 
CriL.'ch. The pope in his opening discourse had deplored 
the progress of heresy; bnt always more eager to combat 
I'l") enemies of Hs power than those of religion, he did not 
propose a single measure to arrest the progress of the new 
-:rrors. In this council, w^hich had no tendency to the en- 
lightenment of i he faithful, the majesty of kings was violently 
outraged ; all the maxims of the rights of nations, and all the 
precepts of scriptural charity were in it trampled under foot. 
When Innocent announced the intention of deposing the 
emperor, not a single bishop raised his voice to divert tlie 
sovereign pontiff from this revolting use of his power. The 
real wrongs that Frederick had committed against the 
Church ; the remembrance of the persecutions he had exer- 
cised towards several bishops ; the intention which they be- 
lieved he entertained of plundering the clergy ; the threaten- 
ing language and tone of the pope ; that invincible influence 
under which all feel themselves in a numerous assembly — all 
assisted in preventing any of the bishops from pleading the 
cause of reason or recalling the maxims of the Gospel to the 
mind of the enraged pontiff. Nevertheless the fathers of the 
council, whatever might be their prejudices or their resent- 
ments, did not take part in all the fury of Innocent, and did 
not actively assist in carrying out his acts of injustice and 

The pope did not appeal to tlieir wisdom, and seemed 
afraid to ask their opinions. YT'ithout repeating here that 
^hioh has frequently been said in schools of theology, im.- 
partial history must disapprove of the silent neutrality of the 
council ; but it must at the same time assert that the odious 
decree against Frederick was not an act of the Church ; that 
the bishops and prelates did not give their formal approba- 
tion to it; and that the shame of this great iniquity fails 
entirely upon the memory of Innocent.* 

* We find in the great theology of Tournely (Traitede l^Ffflise, torn, ii.) 
a very learne-i dissertation upon this deposition of the emperor Frederick Jl, 


It was at this deplorable period that the cardinals, by 
order of the pope, clothed themselves for the first time m 

at the first council of Lyons. This theologian asserts that the council 
had nothing at all to do with this great act of authority of Innocent IV., 
and brings several reasons to support his opinion. We will quote some 
of them, leaving our readers to appreciate their value. 

" Whilst all the bulls of the pope, published in council, begin by 
these words : ' We have decreed, with the approbation of the council, 
according to the advice of the sacred council, &c. (sacro approbante 
concilio, ex communi concilii approbatione, statuimus),' we read at 
the head of the bull in question : ' Sentence pronounced against the 
emperor Frederick by the pope, Innocent IV., in presence of the couTicil 
(sacro prsesente concilio),' an essential difference, which is likewise 
observable in the body of the bull, when the sovereign pontiff only speaks 
in his own name, and as holding the piace of Jesus Christ upon earth. 
All the fathers of the council, says Matthew Taris, on hearing the sentence, 
were struck with surprise and horror, sentiments they certainly would 
not have felr if they had had any [)art in the judgment. 

" All the historians of the time attribute this act of authority to the 
pope, without even mentioning the council; and Frederick II., when 
accusing the incompetence of the judge, his partiality, his blindness, and 
his ingratitude, when writing to the kings of France and England and the 
barons of his kingdom on the subject, only complains of the pontiff, and 
does not attach the least reproach to the prelates who composed the 
assembly. The sentence was considered as so completely the work of the 
pope, that the Church, which received the decisions of the council, attached 
little importance to the bull, and that this bull became absolutely a party 
affair. It was rejected, by a great number of the churches of Germany 
and Italy. The kings of France and England considered it as injurious to 
sovereign majesty, and continued to treat Frederick as legitimate emperor. 
It only rendered the wars between the Guelphs and Ghibellines more ac ive 
and more inveterate. 

" The pope said truly that he had deliberated with the fathers of the 
council ; but he adds, that the deliberation turned upon no other object 
but the excommunication of the emperor ; that he did not at all speak of 
the article of the deposition, and that thence came the surprise and horror 
which the prelates manifested 

" It is nevertheless objected that the pope and the fathers of the coun- 
cil, after the reading of the sentence, turned down the waxlights which 
they held and extinguished them, and that afterwards the pope gave out 
the Te Deum, in which the prelates assisted ; but Matthew Paris believes 
that the circumstances are here not exact. He thinks that some priests 
only, attached to the court of Rome, lent themselves to the passion of the 
pope against Frederick, and performed the ceremony of the waxlights, 
which may still further only relate to the excommunication; otherwise 
how can we reconcile this passage of the historian with the surprise and 
horror that were manifested, according to him, in the assembly » the 
reading of the sentence. 

" The pope did not even endeavour to persuade anybody that he wa? 


the scarlet robe, a symbol of persecution, and a sad presage 
of the blood that was about to flow. Frederick was at Turin 
when he heard of his condemnation ; at this news he called 
for his imperial crown, and placing it upon his head, ex- 
claimed in a loud and angry voice, " There it is, and before 
it shall be wrested from me, my enemies shall well know the 
terror of my arms ; let this pontiff tremble, who has broken 
every tie that bound me to him ; he at length permits me 
henceforth to listen to nothing but the dictates of my just 
anger." These threatening words announced a formidable 
contest, and every friend of peace must have been seized 
with terror : the fury which animated the emperor and the 

Bupported by the authority of the council. He declared that he should 
know how to. maintain irrevocably all that he had done relative to 

After having discussed all these points, Tournely raises doubts upon 
the oecumenicity of the tirst council of Lyons 

" The council of Florence," says this theologian, " which makes an 
enunieratiiin of the general councils held before that period, passes by 
that of Lyons in silence, and in fact several countries, as Germany, Italy, 
Spain, Brittany, Sweden, and Poland, had no bishops there; there were 
few prelates from France or England. 

" In the same way the council of Constance, enumerating in a formula, 
that the pope about to be elected was to sign all the oecumenic councils 
which had preceded, only mentions one council of Lyons. Now, this 
could only be the second, for that was very solemn. There were more 
than five hundred bishops at it, as well from the East as the West, and 
the Greeks in it acknowledged the divine filiation." 

Thadseus ot Suesse, representative of the emperor Frederick IL at the 
council of Lyons, and zealous defender of the rights of that prince, appealed 
publicly from this council to a future general and cecnmenic council. One 
of the causes which might, according to Tournely, lead several bishops 
into error, but which will appear very strange at the present day, was, 
that they imagmed the empire really was a feudatory of the court of Rome. 
It is the sovereign pontiff, they say, who crowns the emperor ; he has then 
a particular and special rit^ht over the empire ; he ca.n depose the head ot 
it for a serious matter. Frederick, in his letters to the kings of France 
and England, mentions and combats strongly this ridiculous prejudice, 
and the foolish pretensions of the popes. Gregory IX., in a letter 
addressed to Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, informs him that 
Frederick is engaged by oath to go to the Holy Land, abandoning, if he 
failed in his promise, his states and his person to the sovereign pontiff. 
According to this, the fathers might believe that the deposition was a con- 
sequence of the penalty the prince had incurred as a perjurer. We must 
refer to the ages in which these questions were agitated to ajpreci&te th« 
influence they had upon events. 


pope quickly passed into the minds of the people ; in tho 
provinces of Gt rmany and Italy all llew to arms. Amidst the 
agitation in which the AVest was then plunged, it is probable 
that Jerusalem and the Holy Land would have been quite 
forgotten, if a powerful and highly -revered monarch had not 
placed himself at the head of the crusade which had been 
proclaimed in the council of Lyons. 

The preceding year, at the very moment the nations of the 
West heard of the last misfortunes of Palestine, Louis IX. 
of France fell dangerously ill. The most earnest prayers 
were offered up by the people of his kingdom for the pre- 
eervation of the virtuous monarch. The malady, the attacks 
of which became every day more violent, at length created 
serious alarm. Louis sunk into a mortal lethargy, and the 
intelligence was soon circulated that he was dead. Tho 
court, the capital, the provinces were struck with the deepest 
grief ; nevertheless, the king of France, as if Heaven had not 
been able to resist the prayers and tears of a whole nation, 
recovered, even when apparently at the portals of the tomb. 
The first use he made of speech, after again beholding the 
light, was to ask for the cross and express his determination 
of going to the Holy Land. 

Those who surrounded him considered his return to life 
as a miracle effected by the crown of thorns of Christ, and 
by the protection of the apostles of France ; they cast them- 
selves on their knees to return thanks to Heaven, and in 
the joy they experienced, scarcely paid attention to the vow 
Louis had made of quitting his kingdom and going to fight 
against the infidels in the East. When the king began to 
recover his strength, he repeated his vow, and again asked 
for the cross of the Crusaders.* The queen Blanche, his 

* This great incident in the life of Louis IX. differently, and indeed 
more strikingly, related by most French historians. '* When he felt him. 
self better, to the great astonishment of all, he ordered the red cross to 
be affixed to his bed and his vestments, and made a vow to go and fight 
for the tomb of Christ. His mother, and the priests tnemselves, implored 
him to renounce his fatal design. It was all in vain ; and scarcely was 
he convalescent than he called his mother and the bishop of Paris to his 
bedside, and said to them, ' Since you believe that I was not perfectly 
myself when I pronounced my vows, there is my red cross, which I tear 
from ray shoulders ; I return it to you : but now, tvhen you must perceive 
tkat I am in the full enjoyment of all my faculties, restore to me my crow ; 


mother, tlie princes of his family, and Pierre d'Auvergiie, 
bishop of Paris, then endeavoured to divert him from his 
purpose, and conjured him, with tears in their eyes, to wait 
till he was perfectly restored to health before he directed his 
thoughts to so perilous an enterprise ; but Louis thought he 
was only obeying the will of Heaven. His imagination had 
been forcibly aiFected by the calamities of the Holy Land ; 
Jerusalem given up to pillage, the tomb of Christ profaned, 
were constantly present to his rtiind. Amidst the height of 
a burning fever, he had fancied he heard a voice which came 
from the East, and addressed these words to him : " Kinff of 
France, tliou seest tlie outrages offered to the city of CJirist ; 
it is tJiou 'wJiom Heaven Imth apjiointed to avenge tliem^'* 
This celestial voice resounded still in his ears, and would not 
allow him to listen to the prayers of friendship or the coun- 
sels of human wisdom. Steadfast in his resolution, he re- 
ceived the cross from the hands of Pierre d'Auvergne, and 
caused it to be announced to the Christians of Palestine — 
sending them at the same time succours of both men and 
money — that he would cross the seas as soon as he could 
assemble an army, and had reestablished peace in his 

This information, which conveyed such joy to the Chris- 
tian colonies, spread grief and consternation through all the 
provinces of Prance. The sieur de Joinville expresses warmly 
the regret of the royal family, particularly the despair of 
the queen mother,* by saying, tliat when this princess saw 
her son wearing the cross, slie was struck as fearfully as if 
she had looked upon him dead. The late disasters of Jeru- 
salem had drawn tears from most Christians in the West, 
but without inspiring them, as in the preceding age, with 
any earnest desire of going to fight the infidels. It was im- 
possible to see, in these distant expeditions, anything but 
great perils and inevitable reverses ; and the project of 

for He who is acquainted with all things, knows also that no kind of food 
shall enter into my mouth until I have again been marked with His holy 
sign. ' It is the hand of Heaven,' cried all who were present ; ' its will 
be done.' " (Bonnechose). — Trans. 

* English readers should acknowledge a familiar acquaintance in this 
excellent mother and good queen : she is the Ladi/ Blanche of Shakespear'a 
King John. — Trans. 


recovering tlie city of Grod awakened more alarm than 

The sovereign pontiff, however, sent ecclesiastics into all 
the Christian states with a charge to preach the holy war. 
Cardinal Eudes, of Chateauroux, arrived in France with the 
express commission of publishing and causing to be executed 
the decrees of the council of Lyons respecting the crusade. 
The holy expedition was preached in all the churches of the 
kingdom. Contemporary history scarcely mentions the effect 
of these preachings, and everything leads us to believe that 
those who then took the oath to fight against the Saracens 
were induced to do so more by the example of the king than 
by the eloquence of the holy orators. 

In order to give more solemnity to the publication of the 
crusade, and to excite the ardour of the warriors for the de- 
liverance of the holy places, Louis IX. convoked a parlia- 
ment in his capital, in which were assembled the prelates 
and magnates of the kingdom. The cardinal legate there 
repeated the exhortations addressed by the head of the 
Church to the faithful. Louis IX. spoke after the cardinal 
of Chateauroux, and retraced the picture of the disasters of 
Palestine. " According to the expression of David, an im- 
pious nation has entered into the temple of the Lord; 
blood has flowed like water around Jerusalem ; the servants 
of Grod have been massacred in the sanctuary ; and their 
remains, deprived of sepulture, are abandoned to the birds 
of heaven." After having deplored the miseries of Sion, 
Louis IX. reminded his barons and knights of the example 
of Louis the Young and of Philip Augustus ; he exhorted 
every generous soldier who heard him to take arms, to go 
across the seas, fight against the infidels, and defend the 
glory of Grod and of the French name in the East. I^ouis, 
invoking by turns the charity and the warlike virtues of 
his auditory, endeavoured to awaken in all hearts both in- 
spirations of piety and sentiments of chivalry. There is no 
necessity for repeating what was the effect of the exhorta- 
tions and prayers of a king of France who addressed him- 
self to the honour, and appealed to the bravery of his subjects. 
He had scarcely ceased speaking, when his three brothers, 
Hobert, count c'Artois, Alphonse, duke of Poictiers, and 
Charles, duke of Anjou, took the oath to go and defend the 


heritage of Christ and the French colonies in Asia. QueeD 
Marguerite, the countess d'Artois, and the duchess of Poic- 
tiers, likewise took the cross and resolved to accompany their 
husbands. Most of the bishops and prelates who were pre- 
sent at this assembly, influenced by the discourse of the 
king and the example of the cardinal -legate, did not hesitate 
to enrol themselves in a war for which, it is true, less en- 
thusiasm was showTi than had appeared in a former age, but 
which w^as still termed the ivar of God. Among the great 
vassals of the crown who swore to quit France for the pur- 
pose of fighting the Saracens in Asia, the friends of the 
French monarchy must have numbered, with much joy, 
Pierre de Dreux, duke of Brittany, Hugh, count de la 
Marche, and several other lords whose jealous ambition had 
so long disturbed the kingdom. Quickly after them were 
seen the duke of Burgundy, Hugh de Chatillon, the count 
de St. Pol, the counts of Dreux, Bar, Soissons, Blois, Hhotel, 
Montfort, and Vendome ; the seigneur de Beaujeu, constable 
of Prance, and John de Beaumont, great admiral, and great 
chamberlain ; Philip of Courtenay, Gruy of Planders, Ar- 
chambaud de Bourbon, young Eaoul de Coucy, John of 
Barres, Giiles de Mailly, Bobert de Bethune, and Oliver de 
Thermes. There was not an illustrious family in the king- 
dom that did not supply one hero for the crusade. In the 
crowd of these noble Crusaders, history is gratified in ob- 
serving the celebrated Boileve, who was afterwards provost 
of the traders of Paris, and the sieur de Joinville, whose 
name will for ever appear in the history of Prance by the 
side of that of Louis IX. 

In the assembly of prelates and barons several measures 
were adopted for the maintenance of public peace and the 
preparations for the holy war. An immense number of pro- 
cesses at that period disturbed the peace of families, and 
those processes, of which many were decided by the sword, 
often amounted to actual wars. The tribunals were enjoined 
to terminate all affairs brought before them, and in cases in 
which they could not oblige the parties to acquiesce in a 
definite judgmsnt, the judges were directed to make them 
ewear to a truce of five years. In agreement with the 
authority of the pope, and the decrees of the council of 
Lyons, it was ordered that ecclesiastics should pay to the 


king tlie tenth of their revenues, which created a dissatisfae* 
tiou in tlie clergy that Louis had great trouble in dispelling. 
A proscript, issued by royal authority, in concert with the 
will of the pope, decreed that Crusaders should be protected 
during three years from the pursuits of their creditors, 
reckoning from the day of their departure for the Holy 
Land ; this proscript, which likewise excited much murmur- 
ing, had great effect in determiuing many barons and knights 
to leave the West. 

Louis IX. occupied himself constantly in carrying his 
design into execution, and neglected no means of winning to 
his purpose all the nobility of his kingdom ; his piety did 
not disdain to employ, for what he considered a sacred cause, 
all the empire that kings generally possess over their cour- 
tiers ; he sometimes even lowered himself to seduction and 
trick, persuaded that the sanctity of the crusade would 
excuse everything. After an ancient custom, the kings of 
France, at great solemnities, gave such of their subjects as 
were at court certain capes or furred mantles, with which 
the latter immediately clothed themselves before leaving the 
court. In the ancient comptes (a sort of audits) these capes 
were called livrees (whence, no doubt, our word livery), 
because the monarch gave them (les livrait) himself. Louis 
ordered a vast number of these to be prepared against 
Christmas Eve, upon which crosses were embroidered in 
gold and silk. The moment being come, every one covered 
himself with the mantle that had been given to him, and 
followed the monarch to the chapel. What was their 
astonishment when, by the light of the wax tapers, they at 
once perceived upon all before them, and then upon them- 
selves, the sign of an engagement they had never contracted. 
Such was, however, the character of the French knights, 
that they believed themselves obliged to respond to this 
appeal to their bravery ; aU the courtiers, as soon as divine 
service was ended, joined in the laugh wdth the skilful Jisher 
of men* and took the oath to accompany him into Asia. 

Notwithstanding all these efforts, the publication of the 
holy war created in tlie nation much more sorrow than war^ 
like ardour, and the approaching departure of the monarcli 

* See in oui Appendix this fact related by Matthew Paris. 


afflicted all Erance, Queen Blanche, and the most prudent 
of the ministers, who had at first endeavoured to divert 
Louis IX. from the crusade, repeated their attempts several 
times : resolved to make a last effort, they went to the king 
in a body. The bishop of Paris was at their head, and 
spoke for all ; this virtuous prelate represented to Louis, 
that a vow made in the height of a disease ought not to 
bind him in an irrevocable manner, pai-ticularly if the in- 
terests of his kingdom imposed upon him the obligation of 
dispensing with it. " Everything demanded the presence of 
the monarch in his dominions ; the Poitevins were threat- 
ening to take up arms again ; the war of the Albigeois was 
ready to be rekindled ; the animosity of England was 
always to be dreaded, as it paid little heed to treaties ; the 
M^ars occasioned by the pretensions of the pope and the em- 
peror inflamed all the states adjoining to Erance, and the 
conflagration was not unlikely to extend to that kingdom." 
Many of the nobles to whom Louis had confided the most 
important functions of the state, spoke after the bishop of 
Paris, and represented to the monarch that all the institu- 
tions founded by his wisdom would perish in his absence ; 
that Erance would lose b}^ his departure the fruits of the 
victories of Saintes and Taillebourg, with all the hopes that 
the virtues of a great prince made her entertain. Queen 
Blanche spoke the last. " My son," said she, " if Providence 
has made use of me to watch over your infancy and preserve 
your crown, I have perhaps the right to remind you of the 
duties of a monarch, and of the obligations which the safety 
of the kingdom over which God has placed you imposes upon 
you ; but I prefer speaking to you with the tenderness of a 
motlier. Tou know, my son, that I can have but few days 
to live, and your departure leaves me only the thought of an 
eternal separation : happy still if I die before fame may have 
borne into Europe the intelligence of some great disasters. 
Lp to this day, you have disdained both my counsels and my 
prayers ; but if you will not take pity on my sorrows, think 
at least of your children, whom you abandon in the cradle ; 
they stand in need of your lessons and your assistance ; 
what will beC'Ome of them in your absence ? are they not as 
dear to you as the Christians of the East ? If you were 
BOW in Asia, and were informed tliat your deserted faniilji 


was the sport and prey of factions, you would not fail to 
hasten to us. Well! all these evils that my tenderness 
makes me dread, 3'our departure is most likely to give birth 
to. Eemain then in Europe, where you will have so many 
opportunities of displaying the virtues of a great king, of a 
king the father of his subjects, the model and support of the 
j)rinces of his house. If Christ requires his heritage to be de- 
livered, send yoLii* treasures and your armies into the East ; 
God will bless a war undertaken in his name. But this God, 
who hears me, believe me, never commands the accomplish- 
ment of a vow which is contrary to the great designs of his 
providence. No ; that God of mercy who would not permit 
Abraham to complete his sacrifice, does not pprmit you to 
complete yours, and expose a life upon which so entirely 
depend both the fate of your family and the welfare of your 

On finishing these words, Queen Blanche could not restrain 
her tears ; Louis himself was deeply moved, and threw him- 
self into the arms of his mother ; but soon resuming a calm 
and serene countenance, he said : " My dear friends, you 
know that all Christendom is acquainted with my resolution ; 
during several months the preparations for the crusade have 
been carried on under my orders. I have written to all the 
princes of Europe that I was about to leave my dominions 
and to repair to Asia ; I have announced to the Christians 
of Palestine that I would succour them in person ; I have 
myself preached the crusade in my kingdoms ; a host of 
barons and knights have obeyed my voice, followed my ex- 
ample, and sworn to accompany me into the East. What 
do you now propose to me ? to change my projects publicly 
proclaimed, to do nothing that I have promised to do, or 
that Europe expects of me, and to deceive at once the hopes 
of the Church, of the Christians of Palestine, and of my 
faithful nobility. 

" Nevertheless, as you think that I was not in possession 
of my reason when I took the cross ; well, I give it back to 
you ; there is that cross which gives you so much alarm, and 
which I only took, you say, in a fit of delirium. But now 
that I am in the full enjoyment of my reason I ask it of 
you again, and I solemnly declare that no food shall enter 
my mouth until you have returned it to me. Your reproachej 


and your complaints affect me with the deepest sorrow ; but 
learn to be better acquainted with my duties and your own ; 
aid me in seeking for true glory; second me in the powerful 
cause in which I am engaged, and do not alarm yourselves 
on account of my destiny or that of my family and people. 
The God who made me victorious at Taillebourg will watch 
over the designs and plots of our enemies ; yes, the God 
who sends me into Asia to deliver his heritage, will defend 
that of my children, and pour his blessings upon France. 
Have w^e not still her who was the support of my childhood 
and the guide of my youth, her whose wisdom saved the 
state in so many perils, and wdio, in my absence, will want 
neither courage nor ability to crush factions ? Allow me, 
then, to keep all the promises I have made before God and 
before men ; and do not forget that there are obligations 
which are sacred for me, and ought to be sacred for you — I 
mean the oath of a Christian and the word of a king!" 

Thus spoke Louis IX. : Queen Blanche, the bishop of 
Paris, and the other counsellors of the king preserved a reli- 
gious silence, and from that time only thought of secondmg 
the endeavours the monarch was making to forward the 
execution of an undertaking which appeared to emanate 
from God.* 

The crusade was preached at this time in all the countries 
of Europe ; but as most states were filled with agitation and 
discord, tlie voices of the sacred orators were lost amidst the 
din of factions and the tumult of arms. When the bishop 
of Berytus w^nt into England, to entreat the English 
monarch to succour the Christians of the East, Henry III. 
was fully employed in repelling the aggressions of the king 
of Scotland, and in appeasing the troubles of the country 
of Wales. The barons menaced his authority, and did not 
permit him to engage in a distant w^ar. This prince not 
only refused to take the cross, but forbade the preacliing of 
a crusade in his kingdom. 

* It is Matthew Paris who furnishes us with information relative to 
this attempt to persuade St. Louis. This is the chronicler that throws 
most light upon the events of that period ; such as the council of Lyons, 
the quarrel of Frederick and the pope, and the crusade of the king of 
France. We also find some details in William of Nangis, in Joinvi^, 
»nd in the £ce esiastical Annals of Raynaldi. 


All Germany was in a blaze in consequence of tlie quar- 
rel between the Cliurcb and tbe Empire. After having 
deposed the emperor at the council of Lyons, Innocent IV. 
offered the imperial crown to any one who would take up 
arms against the excommunicated prince, and bring about 
the triumph of the Holy See. Henry, landgrave of Thu- 
ringia, allowed himself to be seduced by the promises of tho 
sovereign pontiff, and was crowned emperor by the arch 
bishops of Mayence and Cologne, and a few other ecclesias- 
tical electors. From that event civil war broke out in aU 
parts ; Grermany was filled with missionaries from the pope, 
with the power of the evangelical word against Frederick, 
whom they styled the most redoubtable of infidels. The 
treasures collected for the equipments of the holy war were 
employed in corrupting fidelity, laying plots, fomenting trea- 
sons, and keeping up troubles and discords ; so that it may 
well be supposed the cause of Christ and the deliverance of 
Jerusalem were entirely forgotten. 

Italy was not less agitated than Germany ; the thunders 
of Eome, so often hurled at Frederick, had redoubled the fury 
of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. All the republics of 
Lombardy were leagued in opposition to the party of the 
emperor ; the threats and the manifestoes of the pope would 
not allow a single city to remain neuter, or leave peace an 
asylum in the countries situated between the Alps and 
Sicily. The missionaries of Innocent employed, by turns, 
the arms of religion and of policy ; after having declared 
the emperor to be a heretic and an enemy to the Church, 
they represented him as a bad prince and a tyrant, and 
dazzled the eyes of the people with the charms of liberty, 
always so powerful a motive upon the nnnds of nations. 
The sovereign pontiff sent two legates into the kingdom of 
Sicily, with letters for the clergy, the nobility, and the peo- 
ple of the cities and country, " We have not been able to 
see without some surprise," wTote Innocent, " that, bur- 
dened as you are, living under the opprobrium of servitude, 
and oppressed in your persons and yoiu' property, you have 
hitlierto neglected the means of securing yourselves- the 
sweets of liberty. Many other nations have presented you 
with an example ; but the Holy See, far from accusing you, 
is satisfied with pitying you, and finds your excuse in tha 
Vol. 11.— id 

354 niSTOiiY OF the celsades. 

fear that must hold possession of your hearts under the yoke 
of a new Nero." On terminating his letter to the Sicilians, 
the pope endeavoured to make them understand that Grod 
had not placed them in a fertile region and beneath a smil- 
ing sky to wear disgraceful chains ; and that by shaking off 
the yoke of the emperor of Germany, they would only 
second the views of Providence. 

Frederick, who had at first defied the thunders of Kome, 
was terrified at the new war declared against him by the 
pope. The interdict placed upon his states, the terrible 
array of the maledictions of the Church, strongly affected 
the minds of the multitude, and might at length shake the 
fidelity of his subjects ; he himself felt his courage forsake 
him ; his party in Italy grew weaker every day ; his armies 
had experienced some checks in Glermany ; many conspira- 
cies had been formed against his life, and amongst the con- 
spirators, he had the grief to find some of his servants 
whom he had loaded with kindnesses. This haughty 
monarch became convinced that he had no course but to 
seek a reconciliation with the Church, and addressed himself 
to Louis IX., whose wisdom and piety rendered him the 
arbiter of sovereigns and nations. Frederick, in his letters, 
promised to abide by the decision of the king of France and 
his barons, and engaged, beforehand, to go in person to the 
conquest of the Holy Land, or to send his son, the king of 
the E/Omans. In order to interest Louis in his cause, the 
emperor offered to supply him with provisions, vessels, and 
everything he should stand in need of in the expedition to 
the East. 

Louis eagerly embraced this opportunity for reestablish- 
ing peace in Europe and assuring the success of the holy 
war. Several ambassadors were sent to the pope at Lyons, 
conjurmg the father of the faithful to listen to the voice of 
mercy rather than to that of anger. The king of France 
had two long conferences with Innocent in the monastery 
of Cluni, and supplicated him afresh to appease by his cle- 
mency the troubles of the Christian world ; but enmity had 
been carried too far to leave any hopes of peace ; it was not 
possible for Innocent and Frederick to pardon each other 
sincerely the outrages they had mutually committed. The 
emperor had spared neitlier threats nor violences against the 


popes ; he did not hate them more for the injuries ne had 
received from them than for those he had done them. On 
the other side, it had for a length of time been determined, 
in the councils of Home, to effect the overthrow of the house 
of Swabia, which was suspected, and with reason, of enter- 
taining the project of invading Italy and establishing the 
seat of imperial domination in the city of St. Peter. This 
policy, embraced with ardour, had assumed all the character 
of a personal vengeance in the mind of Innocent. The 
triumph, even, of the pontiff, whilst flattering his pride and 
ambition, appeared to double his hatred, and the hope of 
completing the ruin of his enemy rendered him implacable. 

In vain the emperor of Germany, overcome by fear rather 
than won by the love of peace, promised to descend from his 
throne, and pass the remainder of his days in Palestine, on 
condition that he should receive the benediction of the pope, 
and that his son Conrad should be raised to the empire. This 
entire abnegation of power, this strange abasement of royal 
majesty, produced no efiect upon Innocent, who did not be- 
lieve, or feigned not to believe, the promises of Frederick ; 
in vain Louis IX., whose mind was incapable of suspecting 
imposture, represented to the pope the advantages that 
Europe, Christendom, and the court of Rome itself might 
derive from the repentance and offers of the emperor ; in 
vain he spoke to him of the vows and the safety of pilgrims, 
of the glory and peace of the Church ; the discourses of the 
holy king were scarcely listened to, and his pious mind could 
not view, without being moved with disgust, this inflexible 
rigour in the father of the Christian world. 

Whilst the report of these discords, upon gaining the 
East, spread joy among the infidels, the unhappy inhabitants 
of Palestine gave themselves up to despair on learning that 
so many untoward events retarded the preparations for the 
crusade. Several messages from the Christians beyond the 
seas were sent to the sovereign pontiff to intercede for a 
prince from whom they hoped for such powerful assistance. 
The patriarch of Armenia wrote to the court of E-ome to 
demand favour for Frederick ; he demanded it in the name 
of the threatened Christian colonies ; in the name of the city 
of (rod, fallen into ruins ; in the name of the sepulclire of 
Christ, profaned by barbarians. The pope made no reply 

S5G niSTOEY or the crusades. 

whatever to tlie patriarch of the Armenians, and appeared 
to have forgotten Jerusalem, the holy sepulchre, and the 
Christians of Syria ; he had, indeed, but one thought, — that 
of carrying on the war against Frederick. Innocent pursued 
his redoubtable eneni}^ even to the East, and endeavoured to 
induce the sultan of Cairo to break his engagements witli 
the emperor of Germany. The sultan of Cairo received, 
with as great joy as surprise, a message which informed him 
so authentically of the divisions that existed among the 
Christian princes ; he answered the pope with a severity full 
of contempt ; and the more he was pressed to be unfaithful 
to the treaties made with Frederick, the more he affected to 
display a fidelity from which he hoped to obtain an advantage 
over the Christian Church. 

It was at this period that the emperor of Germany, urged 
on to despair, in some sort justified the most violent pro- 
ceedings of the court of Home by his conduct. He could 
not pardon Louis IX. for having remained neuter in a 
quarrel that interested all Christendom, and if the Arabian 
historian Tafey may be believed, he sent an ambassador 
secretly into Asia to warn the Mussulman powers of the 
expedition projected by the king of France. Throwing off 
at once the tone of submission to the pope, he resolved to 
repel force by force, and violence by violence. Some suc- 
cesses which he obtained in Germany, raised his courage, 
and completely dissipated all his scruples. He laid siege to 
the city of Parma, at the head of a formidable army. Hor- 
rible cruelties signalized his first triumphs ; the bishop of 
Arezzo, who fell into his hands, with many other prisoners 
of war, were loaded with irons, and handed over to the 
executioner without even the ceremony of a trial. 

In the intoxication of success, Frederick threatened to 
cross the Alps, and attack Innocent within the walls of 
Lyons. Heaven, however, would not permit the execution 
of a project formed by hatred and revenge. The Guelphs 
beat and dispersed the imperial army. Fortune changed, 
and the irresolute character of Frederick changed as sud- 
denly with it. Victory had inflamed his pride and redoubled 
his fury ; a single defeat cast him into despondency, and 
rendered him again accessible to fear. From that time he 
resumed the part of a suppliant to the pope ; from that 


time protestations and prayers seemed to cost bis terrified 
mind no eftbrt. 

As the extent of his empire gave umbrage to the court 0/ 
Rome, Frederick promised to divide his dominions, and giv« 
Sicily to his son Henry, and Germany to his son Conrad. 
He submitted his religious belief to the examination of 
several bishops, and sent their decision to the pope. He 
went at last even so far as to promise to come in person to 
solicit the clemency of Innocent. The sovereign pontiff had 
just caused the count of Holland to be nominated emperor, 
in the place of the landgrave of Thuringia, who had died on 
the field of battle. In this state of things he dreaded less 
the hostilities and angry threats of Frederick, than he did 
his protestations of submission and repentance. The sup- 
plications of princes and nations, who demanded favour for 
a power he wished to destroy, annoyed Innocent ; they 
seemed to accuse him, in the eyes of Christendom, of obsti- 
nacy in his refusal, and without inducing him to renounce 
his policy, only embarrrassed him in the execution of his 

The pope remained constantly inflexible ; but astonished 
Europe began to ask what powerful interest it was that 
commanded all these rigours. Frederick, pursued with so 
much inveteracy, found at length the number and zeal of 
his friends and partisans increase. Grermany, Cologne, 
and several other cities, rejected the decrees of the Holy 
See, and proceeded to violent excesses. The angry pope 
launched all his thunders against the guilty, and by an 
injustice which characterizes these times of discord and ven- 
geance, many of the penalties he pronounced extended to 
the fourth generation. This senseless rage completed the 
alienation of men's minds, and the fanaticism of heresy was 
added to the furies of civil war. 

As the court of Eome, under the imposing pretext of the 
crusade, levied tributes in all the states of Europe to keep 
up the fire of sedition and revolt, so many violences, and so 
much injustice infused dissatisfaction everywhere, and gave 
birth to a spirit of opposition among nations even, that had 
been exempt frem the consequences of the terrible quarrel. 
The commissaries of the Holy See ruined the provinces of 
Fraace ; they pervaded the cities and countries, compelliug 

358 HiSTCET or tue cbusades. 

tbe curates and chaplains of the nobles to sell all their littl« 
property ; they required from all, church dues ; and from reli 
gious communities, now the twentieth for the crusade against 
Constantinople, then the tenth for that of Palestine, and at 
last a contribution towards carrying on the war against the 
emperor. The Trench nobility, stimulated by a feeling of 
patriotism, by the spirit of chivalry which led all the freux 
of that time to enter the lists against iniquity of any kind, 
and perhaps also by the fear of being oppressed in their 
turn, spoke loudly in favour of Frederick, and expressed 
their anger at seeing the kingdom of France a prey to the 
agents of the pope. Just remonstrances were at first made ; 
but in a short time no measures were observed, and they 
proceeded so far as to agitate the question, whether they 
ought to acknowledge a pontiff, whose conduct appeared so 
contrary to the spirit of the Gospel, as the vicar of Jesus 
Christ. The principal French nobles at length formed a 
confederacy against the proceedings of the pope and the 
clergy. Throughout this new struggle, Louis IX., equally 
removed from that sacrilegious impiety which pretends to 
brave everything, and from that superstitious pusillanimity 
which believes itself obliged to suffer everything, managed 
to restrain the excesses of both parties, and maintain peace ; 
the league which was then formed, without embittering 
men's minds, succeeded in enlightening them; it served, 
during the absence of the king, to repress the enterprises of 
the Holy See, and many writers trace to this period the 
origin of those G-allican liberties which have constituted the 
glory of the French clergy up to modern times. 

Nevertheless, Louis IX. was constantly employed in pre- 
parations for his departure. As no other route to the East 
was available but that by sea, and as the kingdom of France 
had no port in the Mediterranean, Louis made the acquisition 
of the territory of Aigues-Mortes, in Provence ; the port, 
choked with sand, was cleansed, and a city large enough to 
receive the crowd of pilgrims was built on the shore. Louis 
at the same time busied himself in provisioning his army, 
and preparing magazines in the isle of Cyprus, where he 
meant to land. Thibaidt, count de Bar, and the sieur do 
Beaujeu, sent into Italy, found everything necessary for the 


provisioning and transport of an army, either in the republic 
of Venice, or in the rich provinces of Apulia and Sicily, 
whither the directions of the emperor Er^derick had pre- 
ceded them. 

The fame of these preparations soon reached Syria, and 
the authors of the times describe the Mussulman powers aa 
struck with terror, and as immediately and earnestly em- 
ployed in fortifying their cities and their frontiers against the 
approaching invasion of the Franks. Such popular rumours 
as were then in circulation that history has deigned to pre- 
serve, accuse the Saracens of having employed perfidious 
means and odious stratagems to avenge themselves upon the 
Christian nations, and ruin their enterprise. It was asserted 
that the life of Louis IX. was in danger from the emissaries 
of the Old Man of the Mountain ; it was reported in cities, 
and the multitude did not fail to give credit to it, that the 
pepper which came from the East was empoisoned ; and 
Matthew Paris, a grave historian, does not hesitate to affirm 
that a great number of persons died of it before this horrible 
artifice was discovered. We may well believe that the policy 
of the time itself invented these gross fables, to render the 
enemies they were about to combat more odious, and that 
indignation might increase and animate the courage of the 
warriors. It is natural also to suppose, that such rumours 
had their origin in popular ignorance, and that they gained 
credit from the opinion that was then entertained of the 
manners and characters of infidel nations. 

Three years had passed away since the king of France 
assumed the cross. He convoked a new parliament at 
Paris, in which he at length fixed the departure of the holy 
expedition for the month of June of the following year 
(1248). The barons and prelates renewed with him the 
promises of fighting against the infidels, and engaged to set 
out at the period assigned, under the penalty of incurring 
ecclesiastical censures. Louis took advantage of the mo- 
ment that the magnates of his kingdom were assembled in 
the name of religion, to require that they should take tlie 
oath of fealty and homage to his children, and to make 
them swear (these are the expressions of Joinville) " that 
ihoj should be h^yal to his family, if any misadventure 


abould befall his person in the holy voyage beyond the 

It was then that the pope addressed a letter to the nobility 
and people of France, in which he celebrated in solemn terms 
the bravery and other warlike virtues of the Trench nation 
and its pious monarch. The sovereign pontiff gave his bene- 
diction to the French Crusaders, and threatened with the 
thunders of the Church all who, having made the vow of 
pilgrimage, deferred their departure. Louis IX., who had 
no doubt requested this warning from the pope, saw with 
joy all the nobility of his kingdom hasten to join his stan- 
dard ; many nobles, whose ambition he had repressed, were 
the first to set the example, for fear of awakening old mis- 
trusts or incurring fresh disgraces ; others, seduced by the 
habitual spirit of courts, declared themselves wdth ardour 
champions of the cross, in the hope of obtaining, not the 
rewards of Heaven, but those of the earth. The character 
of Louis IX. inspired the greatest confidence in all the 
Christian warriors. " If, till this time," said they, " God 
has permitted the crusades to be nothing but a long course 
of reverses and calamities, it is because the imprudence of 
the leaders has compromised the safety of the Christian 
armies ; it is because discord and licentiousness of manners 
have reigned too long among the defenders of the cross : but 
what evils have we to dread under a prince whom Heaven 
appears to have inspired with its own wisdom, — under a 
prince who, by his firmness, has succeeded in suppressing 
every division in his own country, and is about to exhibit to 
the East an example of all the virtues ? " 

Many English nobles, among w^hom were the earls of 
Salisbury and Leicester, resolved to accompany the king of 
Erance, and share with him the perils of the crusade. Ths 
earl of Salisbury, grandson of "Eair Eosamond," who had 
gained by his exploits the surname of " Long Sword," had 
just been stripped of all his possessions by Henry III. In 
order to place himself in a condition to make preparations 
for the war, he addressed himself to the pope, and said to 
him, " Beggar as I am, I have made a vow to perform the 
pilgrimage to the Holy Land. If Prince Eichard, brother 

* Que loyaute ils porteraient a sa famille, si aucune malle chose avenaU 
fe M perionue au saint veage d'outre-mer. 


lo the king of England, has been able to obtain, without 
taking the cross, the privilege of levying a tax upon those 
who have just laid it down, I have thought that I might 
obtain a similar favour; — I, who have no resource but in 
the charity of the faithful." This discourse, which iuforma 
us of a very curious fact, made the sovereign pontifl' smile : 
the earl of Salisbury obtained the favour he asked, and 
deemed it his duty to set out for the East. 

The preachings for the holy war, which had produced but 
little effect in Italy and Grermany, had nevertheless been 
successful in the provinces of Friesland and Holland, and in 
some of the northern kingdoms. Jlaco, king of Norway, 
celebrated for his bravery and exploits, took the oath to 
fight against the infidels ; and the Norwegians, who had 
several times distinguished themselves in the holy wars, 
followed the example of their monarch. Haco, after com- 
pleting his preparations, wrote to Louis IX. to announce 
his approaching departure. He asked him permission to 
land upon the coast of Erance, and to furnish himself there 
with the supplies necessary for his army. Louis made a 
most cordial reply, and proposed to the Norwegian prince to 
share with him the command of the crusade. Matthew Paris, 
who was charged with the message from Louis IX., informs 
us in his History that the king of Norway declined the gene- 
rous offer of the Erench king, persuaded, he said, that har- 
mony could not long subsist between the Norwegians and 
the Erench, — the first, of an impetuous, restless, and jealous 
character, the others, full of pride and haughtiness. 

Haco, after having made this reply, thought no more of 
embarking, and remained quietly in his kingdom, history 
being perfectly unable to discover the motives which pro- 
duced this sudden cliange. It may be believed, that in 
accordance with the example of several other Christian mo- 
narchs, this prince had made use of the crusade as a cloak 
for his political designs. By levying a tax of a third upon 
the revenues of the clergy, he had amassed treasures which 
he might employ in strengthening his power. The army he 
had raised in the name of Christ might minister to his am- 
bition much more effectually in Europe than in the pLiins of 
Asia. The pope, from whom he had received the title of 
king, at first exhorted him to assume the sign of the Cru- 



saders ; but everything leads us to believe that 'je aftervt^arda 
advised him to remain in the West, where he hoped to raise 
in him one more enemy against the emperor of Grermany 
Tlius the king of Norway had promised to go into the East 
in the hope of obtaining the favour and p-rotection of the 
court of Rome ; and to preserve this favoin* and this support, 
he had but one thing to do, and that was to forget his 

Howevcrf this may be, it is certain that the pope, at that 
time, took but very little interest in the success of the 
eastern crusade. We may judge of this by the facility 
with which he liberated so many from their vows of fighting 
against the infidels : he went even so far as to forbid the 
Crusaders from Eriesland and Holland to embark for Pales- 
tine. In vain Louis IX. made some serious remonstrances 
on this head ; Innocent would not listen to him. Engrossed 
by one passion, he found it much more advantageous to 
grant dispensations for the voyage to Syria ; for, on one 
part, those dispensations which were bought with solid 
money, contributed to fill his treasury, and on the other, 
they left soldiers in Europe that he might arm against his 
personal enemies. 

Thus Erance was the only country in which the crusade 
was really an object of interest; the piety and zeal of 
Louis IX. brought back all those whom the indifference of 
the pope had cooled ; and the love of the Erench for their 
king, replacing religious enthusiasm, sufficed for the removal 
of all obstacles. The cities whose liberties the monarch 
had protected, voluntarily sent him considerable sums. The 
farmers of the royal domains, which were then very extensive, 
advanced the revenues of a year. The rich taxed themselves, 
and poured their hoards into the coffers of the king ; 
poverty dropped its mite into the poor-boxes of churches ; 
and we may add, that at that period there was scarcely a will 
made in the kingdom which did not contain some legacy 
towards the expenses of the holy war. The clergy were not 
content with addressing prayers to Heaven for the crusade, 
they paid the tenth of their revenues for the support of the 
soldiers of the cross. 

The barons, nobles, and princes, who equipped themselves 
at \hpvc own expense, imposed taxes on their vassals, and 


found, after the example of the king of France, the money 
necessary for the voyage in the revenues of their domains 
and in the pious generosity of the towns and cities. Many, 
as in other crusades, pledged their lands, sold their property, 
and ruined themselves, to provide means to support their 
Boldiers and knights. They forgot their families, they forgot 
themselves in the sad preparations for departure, and appeared 
never to look forward to the period of return. Many pre- 
pared themselves for the voyage as they would have prepared 
for exile or death ; the most pious of the Crusaders, as if 
they only went to the East to iind a tomb, were particularly 
anxious to appear before God in a state of grace ; they ex- 
piated their sins by penitence ; they pardoned offences, 
repaired the ill they had done, disposed of their goods, gave 
them to the poor, or divided them amongst their natural 

This disposition of men's minds was greatly to the advan- 
tage of humanity and justice ; it imparted generous senti- 
ments to people of property ; whilst, in the wicked, it 
awakened a remorse that was nearly allied to virtue. Amidst 
civil wars and feudal anarchy, a crowd of men had enriched 
themselves by strife, rapine, and brigandage ; religion in- 
spired them with a salutary repentance, and this time of 
penitence was marked by a great number of restitutions, 
which for a moment made the triumphs of iniquity to be 
forgotten. The famous count de la Marche set the example ; 
his conspiracies, his revolts, his unjust enterprises had often 
troubled the peace of the kingdom, and ruined a great 
number of families ; he became desirous of expiating his 
faults ; and to mitigate the just anger of God, he, by his will, 
ordered a complete restitution to be made of all the property 
he had acquired by injustice and violence.* The sieur de 
Join\dlle tells us, with great simplicit}'-, in his History, 
that his conscience did not reproach him with anj^thing 
Berious, but that, nevertheless, he assembled his vassals and 
neighbours to offer them reparation for the wrongs he might 
have done them without knowing it. 

In those days of repentance monasteries were founded 

* We do not observe that this worthy penitent opened his hand and 
relaxed his grasp whilst living ; death-bed repentances and posthumoui 
restitutions art very suspicious affairs. — Trans. 


and treasures lavished on churches : " The most sure means,'* 
said Louis IX., " to avoid perishing like the impious, is 1\ 
love and enrich the place in which dwells the glory of the 
Lord." The piety of the Crusaders was not forgetful of the 
poor and infirm ; their numerous offerings endowed cloisters 
as asylums for want ; hospices, or small convents, for the re- 
ception of pilgrims ; and particularly leper hospitals, which 
were established in all the provinces, the melancholy abodes 
of victims of the holy wars. 

Louis IX. distinguished himself by his liberality towards 
churches and monasteries ; but that which must particularly 
have drawn upon him the blessings of his people, was the 
care he took to repair all injustice committed in the adminis- 
tration of government. The holy monarch knew, that if 
kings are the images of Grod upon earth, they are never 
so truly so as when justice is seated beside them on the 
throne. Eestitution-ofiices, established by his orders in the 
royal domains, were charged with the repairing of all wrongs 
that might have been committed by the agents or farmers 
of the king. In most of the great cities it was the duty of 
two commissaries, one an ecclesiastic, the other a layman, 
to hear and decide upon complaints made against his 
ministers and officers : a noble exercise of the supreme 
authority, which rather employs itself in seeking out the 
unfortunate to assist them, than the guilty to punish them ! 
which watches for the murmurs of the poor, encourages the 
weak, and submits itself to the tribunal of the laws ! It 
was not sufficient for Louis to have established regula- 
tions for the administration of justice, — their execution ex- 
cited his most anxious solicitude. Preachers announced the 
intentions of the king in all the churches, and as if he 
thought himself responsible to God for all judgments pro- 
nounced in his name, the monarch secretly sent holy 
ecclesiastics and good monks to make fresh observations, 
and learn from faithful reporters, if the judges whom he 
believed to be worthy men, w^ere not themselves corrupt. 
The historian pauses complacently over this touching picture ; 
so noble an example presented to the kings of the earth, 
appeared likely to bring down the blessings of Heaven upon 
Saint liouis ; and when we reflect upon the deplorable results 
of this crusade, with the chroniclers of his own time, we 


feel astonished that so many calamities should have been the 
reward of such exalted virtue.* 

The preparations were now carried on with redoubled zeal 
and activity ; all the provinces of France appeared, to be in 
arms ; the people of cities and country had but one thought, 
and that was the crusade. The great vassals assembled their 
knights and troops ; the nobles and barons visited each 
other, or exchanged messengers, in order to settle the day of 
their departure. Relations and friends engaged to unite their 
banners, and place everything in common — money, glory, 
and perils. Devotional practices were mingled with military 
preparations. Warriors were seen laying aside the cuirass 
and sword, and walking, barefooted and in their shirts, to 
visit monasteries and churches, to which the relics of saints 
attracted the concourse of the faithful. Processions were 
formed in every parish ; all the Crusaders appeared at the 
foot of the altars, and received the symbols of pilgrimage 
from the hands of the clergy. Prayers were put up in aP 
churches for the success of the expedition. In families, 
abundance of tears were shed at the moment of departure ; 
and most of the pilgrims, on receiving these last endearments 
of their friends, seemed to feel, more than ever, the value of 
all they were leaving behind them. The historian of Saint 
Louis tells us, that after visiting Blanchicourt and Saint- 
TJrbain, where holy relics were deposited, he would not once 
turn his eyes towards Jomvilie, for his heart was softened at 
the idea of the beautiful castle he was leaving, and of his 
two children. t The leaders of the crusade took with them 
all the warlike youth, and left in many countries nothing 
but a weak and unarmed population ; many abandoned 
castles and fortresses must, naturally, fall to ruins ; much 
flourishing land must be changed into a desert, and a vast 
many families must be left without support. The people, 
no doubt, had cause to regret the nobles whose authority 
was supported by kindnesses, and who, after the example of 

* These calamities were but a portion of God's great la\v of cause and 
effect — they were begun in error and ended in failure. What connection 
is there between Louis' just government of hi-s kingdom and his mad and 
foolish expeditions to the East ? — Trans. 

f II lie voulut oncques retourner ses yeux vers Joinville, pour ce que la 
coeur 1 n attendrit du biau chastel qu'il laissait, et de ses deux enfants. 


Sain'- Louis, loved trutli and justice, and protected tlie weat 
and the innocent ; but there were some whose departure 
was witnessed with gladness ; and more than one town, more 
than one village, rejoiced at seeing the donjon, from which 
they had been accustomed to experience all the miseries of 
servitude, empty and abandoned. 

^ It was an affecting spectacle to see the families of artisans 
and poor villagers lead their children to the barons and 
knights, and say to them : " You will be their fathers ; you 
will watch over them amidst the perils of war and of the 
sea." The barons and knights pro-mised to bring back their 
soldiers to the West, or to perish with them in fight ; and 
the opinion of the people, the nobility, and the clergy, de- 
voted, beforehand, all who should fail in this sacred promise, 
to the anger of God and the contempt of men. 

Amidst these preparations, the most profound calm pre- 
vailed throughout the kingdom. In pH preceding crusades, 
the multitude had exercised great violence against the Jews ; 
but by the firmness and wisdom of Saint Louis, the Jews, 
though depositaries of immense wealth, and always skilful 
in taking advantage of circumstances to enrich themselves, 
were respected among a nation they had plundered, and 
which was now completing its own ruin by the holy war. 
Adventurers and vagabonds were not admitted beneath the 
banners of the cross ; and, upon the demand of Saint Louis, 
the pope forbade all who had committed great crimes to 
take up arms in the cause of Christ. These precautions, 
which had never been observed in former crusades, were 
highly calculated to insure the maintenance of order and 
discipline in the Christian army. Among the crowd that 
presented themselves to go into Asia, artisans and labourers 
met with the best reception, — which is a remarkable circum- 
stance, and clearly proves that views of a wise policy were 
mingled with sentiments of devotion, and that, though the 
ostensible object was the deliverance of Jerusalem, hopes 
were entertained of founding useful colonies in the East. 

At the appointed time Louis IX., accompanied by his 
brothers, the duke of Anjou and the count d'Artois, repaired 
to the abbey of St. Denis.* After having implored the 

* Concerning the departure of Saint Louis, and the facts that follow 
consult William of Nangis, William of Puits, Matthew Paris, Sanuti, &f 


support of the apostles of France, lie received from tlie 
hands of th'j legate the pilgrim's staff and scrip, and that 
oriflamme which his predecessors had already twice unfurled 
before the nations of the East. Louis then returned to 
Paris, where he heard mass in the church of Nctre Dame. 
The same day he quitted his capital, not again to enter it 
before his return from the Holy Land. The people and 
clergy were softened to tears, and accompanied him to the 
abbey of St. Antoine, singing psalms by the way. There 
he mounted on horseback to go to Corbeil, at which place 
the Queen Blanche and Queen Marguerite were to meet 

The king gave two more days to the affairs of his king- 
dom, and confided tlie regency to his mother, whose firmness 
and wisdom had defended and preserved the crown during 
the troubles of his minority. If anything could excuse 
Louis IX., and justify his pious obstinacy, it was his leaving 
his country in profound peace. He had renewed the truce 
with the king of England ; and Germany and Italy were so 
occupied with their own internal discords, that they could 
not give France the least subject for alarm. Louis, after 
having emplo3^ed every precaution against the spirit of dis- 
affection, took with him into the Holy Land almost all the 
powerful nobles that had disturbed the kingdom. The 
county of Macon, sold at the end of the preceding crusade, 
had recently reverted to the crown ; Normandy had escaped 
from the yoke of the English ; the counties of Thoulouse 
and Provence, by the marriage of the counts of Anjou and 
Poictiers, were about to become apanages of the princes of 
the royal family. Louis IX., after he took the cross, never 
ceased in his endeavours to preserve the recent conquests of 
France, to appease the murmurs of the people, and remove 
every pretext for revolt. The spirit of justice, which was 
observable in all his institutions ; the remembrance of his 
virtues, which appeared more estimable amidst the genera!, 
grief caused by his departure ; the religion which he had 
caused to flourish by his example, were quite sufficient to 
maintain order and peace during his absence. 

A.S soon as Louis had placed the administration of his 
kiugdom in other hands, he gave himself up to the exercises 
of piety, and appeared to be no more than the most meek 


of Christians. The dress and attributes of a pilg-im "became 
the only adornments of a powerful monarch. He wore no 
more splendid stuffs, no more valuable furs ; his arms even, 
and the harness of his horses, glittered with nothing but the 
polish of steel and iron. His example had so much influ- 
ence, says Joinville, that on the voyage not a single instance 
of an embroidered coat was seen, either upon the king or 
any one else. When endeavouring to reform splendour in 
equipages or dress, Louis caused the money he had been 
accustomed to expend in these to be distributed to the poor. 
Thus royal magnificence was in him nothing but the luxury 
of charity. 

Queen Blanche accompanied him as far as Cluny. Thia 
^>rincess was persuaded she should never see her son again 
until they met in heaven, and took leave of him in the most 
affectionate manner ; the tears of mother and son bearing 
witness to the truth of their grief at parting. On his way, 
he saw the pope at Lyons, and conjured him, for the last 
lime, to be merciful to Frederick, whom reverses had humi- 
liated, and who implored pardon. After having represented 
the great interests of the crusade, after having spoken in 
the name of the numerous pilgrims who were abandoning 
everything for the cause of Christ, the pious mind of the 
king was astonished to find the pontiff still inexorable. The 
king then directed all his attention to the prosecution of 
his journey. Innocent promised to protect the kingdom 
of ^France against the heretic Erederick and the king of 
England ; the latter of whom he always styled his vassal : he 
witnessed without regret the departure of a prince venerated 
for his love of justice, whose presence in Europe might be 
an obstacle to his policy. The sovereign pontiff had not 
much trouble in keeping his promise of defending the inde- 
pendence and peace of France ; for the discords he excited 
in other states preserved that kingdom from all foreign 
annoyance during the time of the crusade. 

The fleet, which awaited Louis at Aigues-Mortes, was 
composed of twenty-eight vessels, without reckoning those 
that were to transport the horses and the provisions. The 
king embarked, followed by his two brothers, Charles duka 
of Anjou, and llobert count d'Artois, and the queen Mar- 
guerite, who did not dread less the idea of remaining witb 


her mother-in-law than that of living away from her hus- 
band.* Alphonse, count of P:>ictiers, deferred his departurfl 
till the following year, and returned to Paris to assist the 
queen regent with his counsels and authority. When the 
whole army of the Crusaders was embarked, the signal waa 
given, the priests, according to the cistom in maritime ex- 
peditions, sang the Veni Creator, and the fleet set sail. 

JVance had then no marine, the sailors and pilots were 
almost all Spaniards or Italians. Two Genoese performed 
the functions of commanders or admirals. A great part ol 
the barons and knights had never before seen the sea, and 
everything they saw filled them with surprise and dread ; 
they invoked all the saints of Paradise, and recommended 
their souls to God. The good Joinville does not at all dis- 
semble his fright, and camiot help saying : " A great fool is 
he who, having any sin on his soul, places himself in such a 
danger ; for if he goes to sleep at night, he cannot be cer- 
tain he shall not find himself at the bottom of the sea in 
the morning." t 

Louis IX. embarked at Aigues-Mortes, the 25th of 
August, and arrived at Cyprus on the 21st of September. J 
Henry, grandson of Guy of Lusignan, who obtained the 
kingdom of Cyprus in the third crusade, received the king 
of Prance at Limisso, and conducted him to his capital of 
Nicosia, amidst the acclamations of the people, nobility, and 

* Like many good and affectionate mothers, Blanche was very jealous 
of the influence of a young wife over her son. Principally for territorial 
advantages, Louis married Marguerite of Provence, when he was nineteen 
and the princess thirteen. Immediately after the ceremony, Blanche 
separated the newly-married couple and kept them apart for six years, 
under pretext of the youth of the new queen. — Trans. 

f Bien fou celui qui, ayant quelque peche sur son ame, se met en un 
tel danger ; car si on s'endort au soir, on ne sait si on se trouvera le raatin 
au fond de la mer. 

X Michaud has omitted to mention the cause of Louis' unfortunate 
riioice of a rout^, — the residence in Cyprus proving so injurious to the 
army. The mo«t regular and advisable route would have been by Sicily ; 
but after Louis had in vain tried every means of subduing the anger of 
the pope, his superstitious reverence for the head of t}\e Cl-nrch j)revailed 
over even his good sense and his prudence, and he declined stopping in 
Sicily, because that island was part of the dominions of an excommuni- 
cated prince. — Trans. 


A short time after the arrival of the Crusaders, it waa 
decided in a council, that the arms of the Christians should, 
in the first place, be directed against Egypt. The reverses 
that had been met with on the banks of the Nile, in pre- 
ceding wars, did not at all alarm the king of France and liis 
baroDs ; it is even more than probable that Louis, before he 
left his kingdom, had formed tlie design of carrying the war 
into the country from which the Mussulmans drew their 
wealth and their strength. The king of Cyprus, who had 
recently received the title of king of Jerusalem from the 
pope, the more strongly applauded, this determination, from 
its giving himdreasou to hope to be delivered from the most 
formidable of his neighbours, and the most cruel enemy of 
the Christian colonies in Syria. This prince also caused a 
crusade to be preached in his kingdom, for the sake of being 
placed in a condition to accompany the French Crusaders, 
and associate himself usefully in their conquests. He pro- 
posed to the king of France and his barons to wait till he 
had concluded his preparations. " The lords and prelates 
of Cyprus," says William of JSTangis, " all took the cross, 
appeared before Louis, and told him they would go with him 
wherever it should please him to lead them, if he would 
stay till the winter had passed away." As Louis and the 
principal French nobles appeared but little disposed to delay 
their march, the Cypriots spared neither protestations of 
friendship, caresses, nor prayers to detain them. Every day 
was devoted to rejoicings and feastings, in which the nobility 
and wealthy men of the kingdom exhibited the splendour of 
eastern courts. The enchanting aspect of the isle, a coun* 
try rich in all the delicious productions of .nature, particu- 
larly that Cyprus wine which Solomon himself has not dis- 
dained to celebrate, seconded in a powerful manner the 
entreaties and seductions of the court of jSTicosia. It was 
decided tliat the Christian army should not depart before 
the following spring. 

It was not long before they became fuUy aware of the 
error they had committed. Amidst the excessive abundance 
that reigned in their camp, the Crusaders gave themselves 
up to intemperance ; in a country in which pagan fables 
placed the altars of voluptuousness, the virtue of the pil- 
grims was every day exposed to fresh trials ; a protracted 


idleness relaxed the discipline of tlie army, and, to crown 
these evils, a pestilential disease exercised great ravages 
among the defenders of the cross. The pilgrims had to 
lament the death of more than two hundred and fifty knights 
from this calamity. Contemporary chronicles mention among 
the lords and prelates that were victims to it, the counts of 
Dreux and Yendome, Robert, bishop of Beauvais, and the 
brave William des Barres ; the army had likewise to regret 
the loss of the last of the race of the Archambault de Bour- 
bons, whose county became afterwards the heritage of the 
children of Saint Louis, and gave to the royal family of 
Prance a name that it has rendered for ever illustrious in 
the annals of that country. 

A great number of barons and knights were in want of 
money to maintain their troops, and Louis freely opened his 
treasury to them. The sieur de Joinville, who had no more 
than one hundred and twenty livres tournois* left, received 
from the monarch eight hundred livres ; a considerable sum 
in those days. 

Many of the nobles complained of having sold their lands 
and ruined themselves to follow the king to the crasade. 
The liberality of Louis could not possibly satisfy all these 
complainants. A great number of knights, after being 
ruined by the abode in the isle of Cyprus, could not endure 
the idleness they were condemned to, but were anxious to 
set out for Syria or Egypt, hoping to make the Saracens pay 
the expenses of the war. Louis had a great deal of trouble 
to restrain them ; historians agree in saying that he was 
only Tialf obeyed ; therefore, he had much more frequent 
occasion to exercise his patience and evangelical mildness 
than his authority ; and if he succeeded in appeasing all dis- 
cords and suppressing all murmurs, it was less by the ascen- 
aancy of his power than by that of his virtue. 

Diiferences arose between the Greek clergy and the Latin 
clergy of the isle of Cyprus. Louis succeeded in putting 
an end to them. The Templars and Hospitallers appealed 
to him as judge in their constantly revi\4ng quarrels ; he 
made them swear to be reconciled, and to have no other 

* The French had a custom of reckoning sums by twenties: in the text 
of JoimHlle this stands, " six vingts livres touruois." — Trans. 


enemies than those of Christ. Tlie Genoese and Pisans 
resident at Ptolemais, had long and serious disputes, both 
parties having recourse to arms, and nothing appeared able 
to check the fury and scandal of a civil war in a Christian 
city. The wise mediation of Louis reestablished peace. 
Aitho, king of Armenia, and Bohemond, prince of Antioch 
and Tripoli, implacable enemies, both sent ambassadors to 
the king of Prance : he induced them to conclude a truce : 
thus Louis IX. appeared among the nations of the East as 
an angel of peace and concord. 

At this period tlie territory of Antioch was ravaged by 
vagabond bands of Turcomans ; Louis sent Bohemond five 
hundred cross-bowmen. Aitho had just formed an alliance 
vrith the Tartars, and was preparing to invade the states of 
the sultan of Iconium in Asia Minor. As the Armenian 
prince enjoyed a great reputation in the East for skill and 
bravery, many Prench knights, impatient to display their 
valour, left Cyprus for the purpose of joining his standard 
and sharing the fruits of his victories. Joinville, after 
having spoken of their departure, says nothing of their ex- 
ploits, and only informs us of their unhappy destiny by these 
words : " not one of them ever came back."* 

Pame had announced the arrival of Louis throughout all 
the countries of the East, and the news produced a great 
sensation among both Mussulmans and Christians. A pre- 
diction, that was credited in the most distant regions, and 
which missionaries found spread even through Persia, 
announced that a king of the Pranks was destined speedily 
to disperse all infidels and deliver Asia from the sacrilegious 
worship and laws of Mahomet. It was believed that the 
time was now come for the accomplishment of this predic- 
tion. A crowd of Christians hastened from Syria, Egypt, 
and all the countries of the East, to salute him whom Groa 
had sent to fulfil his divine promises. 

It was at this period that Louis received an embassy that 
excited the curiosity and attention of the Crusaders in 
the highest degree ; the marvellous account of it occupies a 
conspicuous place in the chronicles of the middle ages.f 

* Oncques nul d'eux ne revint. 

t Matthew Paris, William of Nangis, said Zanfliet are agreed concerninf 
this embassy. We shall revert to it iu our Appendix. 


This embassy came from a Tartar prince, named Ecalthai,* 
who professed liimself to be converted to the Christian faith, 
and displayed the most ardent zeal for the triumph of the 
Gospel. The head of this deputation, named David, remitted 
to the king a letter filled with sentiments expressed with so 
much exaggeration as ought to have rendered it doubtful ; 
he said that the great khan had received baptism three years 
H ^fore, and that he was prepared to assist the expedition of 
the Erench Crusaders with all his power. The news of this 
embassy soon spread through the army, and from that time 
nothing was talked of but the promised succour of the great 
khan or emperor of the Tartars ; the leaders and soldiers 
flocked to the residence of Louis to see the ambassador of 
the prince Ecalthai, whom they considered as one of the 
first barons of Tartar^. 

The king of Erance interrogated the deputies several 
times respecting their journey, their country, and the 
character and disposition of their sovereign ; and as all he 
heard flattered his most cherished thoughts, he conceived no 
mistrust, and discovered no signs of imposture in their re- 
plies. The Tartar ambassadors were received at his court, 
and admitted to his table ; he himself conducted them to the 
celebration of divine service in the metropolitan church of 
Nicosia, where all the people were edified by their devotion. 

At their departure, the king of Erance and the legate of 
the pope charged them with several lettersf for the prince 
Ecalthai and the great khan of the Tartars. To these letters 
were added magnificent presents ; among which was a scarlet 
tent, upon which Louis had caused to be worked " The 
Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, and 
all the other points of faith." The king wrote to Queen 
Blanche, as did the legate to the sovereign pontiff, to 
announce the extraordinary embassy that had arrived from 
the most distant regions of the East. The propitious news 
of an alliance with the Tartars, who were the:! looked upon 


* Deguignes informs us that the prince Ecalthai was the lieutenant of 
the khan of the Tartars in Asia Minor. 

t Most of the articles which form the correspondence between Christen- 
dom and the Tartars are collected in the book of Moshemius, entitled 
Historia Tartoium Ecclesiastica : the letters of this correspondence do 
not all merit the same attention or the same confidence. 

374 HISTORY or the crusades. 

as the most formidable of all nations, spread joy among the 
people of the West, and increased their hopes of the succesa 
of the crusade. 

Missionaries that were slmi into Tartary by Louis were 
very soon satisfied that the conversion of the great khan was 
notliing but a fable. The Mogul ambassadors had advancea 
many other impostures in their accounts, which has induced 
some learned moderns to think that this great embassy* 
was nothing but a trick, the contrivance of which may be 
attributed to some Armenian monks. However it may be, 
there can be no doubt that the Moguls, who were at war 
with the Mussulmans, might have some interest in con- 
ciliating the Christians, and might be led, from that time, to 
consider the Franks as useful auxiliaries. 

Winter, in the mean time, was drawing towards an end, 
and the period fixed upon for the departure of the French 
Crusaders was approaching. The king of France ordered a 
great number of flat-bottomed boats to be constructed, to 
facilitate the descent of the Christian army upon the coast 
of Egypt. As the Grenoese fleet, in which the French had 
embarked at Aigues-Mortes, had left the port of Lemisso, 
it required considerable trouble to get together, from all 
parts, vessels sufficient to transport the army and the nu- 
merous magazines formed in the isle of Cyprus. Louis IX. 
applied to the Genoese and Venetians established on the 
coast of Syria, who, to the great scandal of the knights and 
barons, showed, in this instance, more cupidity than devo- 
tion, and placed an exorbitant price upon services demanded 
of tnem in the name of Christ. 

At this time Louis received a communication from the 

* M. Abel-Remusat, in his learned Memoir upon the Tartars, explains 
several doubtful circumstances of this embassy ; he examines the opposite 
versions, and does not at all adopt the opinion of M. Deguignes, who 
views the Mogul ambassadors as nothing; but impostors. If it may be 
allowed me, after these two great authorities, to offer an opinion, I should 
-.ay that the arrival of Louis having cfeated & great sensation in the East, 
Ecalthai, governor of all the provinces of Asia, might send emissaries to 
ascertain the designs and strength of the Franks ; and it may be believed 
that these emissaries, to perform their mission with more success, feigned 
several circumstances calculated to increase their credit in the minds of 
the Christians. It appears to us that this opinion may reconcile that 
which is opposite in that of the two writers quoted. 


emperor of Grermany, still pursued by the thunders of Rome. 
This prmce sent provisions to the Crusaders, and expressed 
great grief, in his letters, at being unable to share the perila 
of the holy war. The king of France thanked Frederick, 
and sighed at the obstinacy of the pope, which deprived the 
defenders of the cross of such a powerful auxiliary. 

Preparations were continued with the greatest activity; 
^very day fresh Crusaders arrived, who came from the porta 
of the West, or had passed the winter in the isles of the 
Archipelago, or on the coasts of Greece. All the nobility 
of Cyprus had taken the cross, and were preparing for their 
conflict with the intidels. The greatest harmony prevailed 
between the two nations ; in the Greek as well as the Latin 
churches, prayers were offered up to Heaven for the success 
of the Christian arms ; and throughout the host nothing 
was talked of but the wonders of the East, and the riches 
of Egypt, which they were about to conquer. 

Whilst enthusiasm and joy were thus exuberant among 
the Christian warriors, the grand masters of St. John and 
the Temple wrote to Louis IX., to consult him upon the 
possibility of opening a negotiation with the sultan of Cairo. 
The leaders of these two orders anxiously desired to break 
the chains of their knights who were detained in captivity 
since the defeat of Gaza ; tliey did not otherwise partake 
with the Crusaders their blind confidence in victory ; ex- 
perience of other crusades had taught them that the warriors 
of the West, at first very redoubtable, almost always began 
their wars with splendour, but that afterwards, weakened by 
discord, exhausted by the fatigues of a distant expedition, 
and sometimes led away by their natural inconstancy, they 
only thought of returning into Europe, abandoning the 
Christian colonies to all the furies of an enemy irritated by 
former defeats. According to these considerations, the two 
grand masters would have wished to take advantage of the 
powerful succours from the West, to conclude a useful and 
durable peace. The mode of negotiation presented them 
much greater future advantages than a war, whose chances 
were doubtful, and whose perils might, in tte end, all recoil 
upon them. 

Tlieir pacific message arrived at the moment when nothing 
was spoken of in the Christian army but the conquests they 


were aboat to make ; when all minds were heated by tha 
enthusiasm of glory, and the hope of a rich booty. The 
proposition alone of peace with the infidels was a true sub» 
iect of scandal for these warriors, who believed themselvei 
called upon to destroy, throughout the East, the dommatiou 
and the power of all the enemies of Christ. The general 
surprise and indignation gave credence to the blackest car^- 
hnnnies against the grand master of the Temple, who was 
loudly accused of keeping up a secret intelligence with the 
sultan of Cairo, and of having joined in barbarous ceremo- 
nies to bind this impious union. Louis IX., who did not 
come into the East to sign a treaty of peace and to deliver 
only a few prisoners, shared the indignation of his compa- 
nions in arms, and forbade the grand masters of the Temple 
and St. John to reiterate propositions insulting to the 
Christian warriors, insulting to him. 

The Crusaders, intoxicated with their future success, were 
not aware of half tlie obstacles they were about to encoun- 
ter ; they thought more about the wealth than the strength 
of their enemies ; acquainted with neither the climate nor 
the country to which their wishes were directed, their igno- 
rance redoubled their security, and fed hopes that were 
doomed soon to fade away. 

The leaders of the crusade were particularly sanguine 
with respect to the divisions of the Mussulman princes, who 
were quarrelling for the provinces of S^ria and Egypt : in 
fact, since the death of Saladin, discord had rarely ceased to 
trouble the family of the Ayoubites. But as their dissen- 
sions broke out in civil wars, and as civil wars rendered the 
population more warlike, their empire, which grew weaker 
every day inwardly, often, consequently, became the stronger 
outwardly ; when common danger united the Mussulman 
powers, or that one of those powers mastered the rest, every- 
thing was to be dreaded from an empire always tottering in 
peace, but which seemed to derive Iresh strength from tlie 
animosities and perils of a war against the Christians. 

Malek Saleh Negmeddin, who tlien reigned in Egypt, was 
the son of the sultan Camel, celebrated by the victory gained 
at Mansourah over the army of John of Brienne and the 
legate Pelagius. Driven from the throne by a conspiracy, 
he endeavoured to recover it by arms ; conquered, he fell 


into the chains of liis rival, and profited by the lessons of 
adversity. Ver}^ soon, the esteem in wliich his abilities were 
held ; the hatred which the prince who reigned in his place 
inspired; the want of change, and perhaps a certain par- 
tiality for revolt and treason, recalled him to empire. The 
new sovereign showed himself much more skilful and more 
Fortunate than his predecessors ; he knew how to preserve 
obedience in the provinces ; to maintain discipline in his 
army ; and to keep fear alive among his enemies. He had 
taken advantage of the arms of the Carismians to get pos- 
session of Damascus, and to crush both the Christians and 
their allies. From this period Negmeddin extended his 
conquests upon the banks of the Euphrates, and at length 
gathered imder his laws the greater part of the empire of 

At the moment Louis IX. landed in the isle of Cyprus, 
the sultan of Cairo was in Syria, where he was making war 
, against the prince of Aleppo, and held the city of Emessa in 
siege. He was acquainted with all the projects of the 
Christians, and gave orders for the defence of all the avenues 
of Egypt. When he learnt that the Christian army was 
about to embark, he immediately abandoned the siege of 
Emessa, and concluded a truce with enemies of whom he 
entertained very little dread, to return to his states that 
were threatened with invasion. 

The Orientals considered the Erench as the bravest people 
of the race of the Eranks, and the king of Erance as the 
most redoubtable monarch of the West. The preparations 
of Negmeddin were commensurate with the dread these new 
enemies naturally inspired. He neglected nothing in for- 
tifying the coasts or in provisioning Damietta, which was 
most likely to be the object of the first hostilities. A 
numerous fleet was equipped, descended the Nile, and was 
placed at the mouth of the river ; an army, commanded by 
Eakreddin, the most skilful of the emirs, encamped on the 
coast, to the west of the mouth of the river, at the very 
same point where, thirty-three years before, the army ol 
John of Brienne had landed. 

All these preparations would, no doubt, have been suffi- 
cient to meet the first attacks of the Crusaders, if the sultan 
of Cairo had been able to direct them himself, and command 

Vol. n.— 17 


his troops in person ; but he was attacked by a disease which 
his physicians pronounced to be mortal. In a state of 
things in which everything depended upon the presence and 
life of the prince, the certainty of his approaching end 
necessarily weakened confidence and zeal, cooled the general 
courage, and was injurious to the execution of all the measures 
taken for the d-efence of the country. 

Such w^as the military and political situation of Egypt at 
the time Louis embarked from the ports of the isle of 
Cyprus. Many historians say, that before his departure, 
according to the custom of chivalry, he sent a herald-at-arms 
to tlie sultan Negmeddin, to declare war against him. In 
the early crusades, many Christian princes had in this manner 
addressed chivalric messages to the Mussulman powers they 
were about to attack : it is quite possible that Louis might 
imitate this example ; but the letter attributed to him bears 
no character of truth about it. The same historians add, 
that the sultan of Cairo could not refrain from tears on 
reading the letter of St. Louis. His reply, quoted in Ma- 
krisy, is at least conformable to his known character, and to 
the spirit of the Mussulman princes. He affected to brave 
the unexpected threats and attacks of the disciples of 
Christ ; he referred with pride to the victories of the Mus- 
sulmans over the Christians ; and whilst reproaching the 
king of Trance with the injustice of his aggressions, he 
quoted in his letter this passage from the Koran : — " They 
wlio fight unjustly shall perish." 

This message contained predictions that were but too 
fully realized in the end. There is nothing, however, to lead 
us to believe that any correspondence was then established 
between Louis and the sultan of Cairo. Prudence, at least, 
required the king of Trance to send messengers and emis- 
saries into Egypt, to reconnoitre the state, strength, and 
resources of the country. It is more than probable, that in 
preceding crusades it was not only in obedience to the spirit 
of chivalry, but to ascertain the position of their enemies 
that ambassadors were sent ; we must confess, however, that 
we cannot find in any chronicle of the times evidence of 
their having taken any precaution of this kind. A foresight 
which might bear the slightest association with timidity, 
stratagem, or e'/en policy, was not the least in accordance 


with the character of Louis and his knights. History has 
no hesitation in affirming that the Crusaders, ready at this 
period to embark for Egypt, knew nothing of the countries 
into which they were about to carry their arms, but that 
which they had learnt from the uncertain accounts of common 

The signal of departure was given on the Friday before 
Pentecost; and a numerous fleet, in which embarked the 
French army and the warriors of the isle of Cyprus,* sailed 
gallantly out from the port of Limisso. " This was a thing 
most beautiful to behold," says Joinville ; " for it appeared 
as if the sea, as far as the eye could reach, was covered with 
the sails of vessels, which were to the number of eight hun- 
dred, as well large as small." All at once a wind blowing full 
from the coast of Egypt gave rise to a violent storm, which 
dispersed all the fleet ; and Louis IX., who was forced to 
put back to port, found, with great grief, that at least the 
half of his vessels had been carried by the wind on to the 
coasts of Syria. At this moment of disappointment, how- 
ever, unexpected reinforcements arrived, w^hich restored the 
hopes of Louis and his captains. These consisted of the 
duke of Burgundy, who had passed the winter in the Morea ; 
William of Salisbury, at the head of two hundred English 
knights ; and William of Villehardouin, prince of Achaia, 
who forgot the dangers of the Latin empire of Constanti- 
nople to go and fight the infidels on the banks of the Nile 
and the Jordan. Without waiting for the vessels which the 
tempest had dispersed, they again set sail, and the fieet, mth 
a favourable wind, directed its course towards Egypt. On 
the fourth day, at sunrise, the watch on deck cried, " Land ! 
land !" A sailor, who served as pilot, ascended to the round 
top of the leading vessel, and such was the sentiment which 
the sight of the land inhabited by the infidels inspired in the 
Christians, that this man cried out, " We have nothing to 
do but to recommend ourselves to God ; for here we are, 
before Damietta." These words flew from rank to rank, and 
the whole fleet drew as near as they could to i;he vessel of 
Louis IX. The principal leaders endeavoured to get on 

* No clironicle says that the king of C5T:)rus went with Louis, altliough 
he had taken the ci'oss. This prince is never mentioned in any of the 
events of the war. 


board of it ; the king awaited them in a warlike attitnda 
and exhorted them to offer thanks to God for having brought 
them face to face with the enemies of Jesus Christ. As the 
greater part of the leaders seemed to fear his life would be 
too much exposed in the course of a war which must bo 
teri'ible : " EoUow my example," said he to them ; " leave me 
to brave all perils, and in the midst of the hottest fight neve? 
once think that the safety of the state and the Church re- 
sides in my person ; you yourselves are the state and the 
Church, and you ought to see in me nothing but a man 
whose life, like that of any other, m.ay be dissipated like a 
shadow, when it shall please the Grod for whom we combat." 
Thus Louis forgot himself and his state, and before the 
infidels, the king of France was but a simple soldier of Jesus 

This discourse animated the courage of the barons and 
knights ; orders were given for the whole fleet to prepare 
for action. In every vessel the warriors embraced each 
other with joy at the approach of peril; such as quarrels 
had alienated, swore to forget all divisions and injuries, and 
to conquer or to die together. Joinville says he forced two 
knights, who had been irreconcilable enemies, to make 
peace, by persuading them that their discord might draw 
down the maledictions of Heaven, and that union among 
the Christian soldiers could alone open to them the road to 

Whilst the Crusaders were thus preparing, the Mussul- 
mans neglected nothing for their defence ; their sentinels 
had perceived the Christian fleet, from the walls of Damietta, 
ftnd the news was soon spread through the city ; a bell, 
which had remained in the great mosque since the conquest 
of John of Brienne, gave the signal of danger, and was 
heard on both sides of the river. Four Mussulman galleys 
advanced to reconnoitre the strength of the Crusaders ; 
three of them were sunk, and the fourth, getting back with 
great difficultly to the Nile, announced to the infidels what 
enemies they had to contend with. 

In the mean time the Christian fleet advanced in order of 
battle, and cast anchor within a quarter of a league of the 
coast, at the moment at w"hich the sun had performed half 
his dady course. The shore and sea presented the most im- 


posing spectacle ; the coast of Egypt was lined ivith all the 
powers of the soldan, ivho were people goodly to looh upon 
The sea appeared to be covered with ships, over which 
floated the banners of the cross. The Mussulman fleet, 
laden with soldiers and machines of war, defended the 
entrance of the Nile. Pakreddin, the leader of the infidei 
army, appeared amidst their ranks in a panoply so splendid, 
that Joinville, in his surprise, compares him to the sun. 
The heavens and the earth resounded with the noise of the 
bended horns and the naccaires,* a kind of enormous kettle- 
drum, a thing very frightful to hear, and very strange to the 

All the leaders assembled in council in the king's vessel ; 
some proposed to defer the descent till the vessels which 
had been dispersed by the tempest should rejoin them : "To 
attack the infidels without having all their forces, would be 
to give them an advantage that might greatly elevate their 
pride ; and even if success were certain, it appeared but just 
to wait, that all the Crusaders might have their share of the 
glory they came so far to seek." Some went still further, 
and spoke of the embarrassments and perils of a descent in 
an unknown country ; of the disorders which must accom- 
pany a first attack ; and of the difiiculty of rallying the army 
and fleet, if the obstacles they met with should prove invin- 
cible. Louis IX. did not at all agree with this opinion: 
" We have not come thus far," he said, " to listen coolly to 
the menaces and insults of our enemies, or to remain, during 
several days motionless spectators of their preparations. 
To temporize is to raise their courage, and weaken the 
ardour of the Erench warriors. We have neither road nor 
port, in which we can shelter ourselves from the winds, or 
from the unexpected attacks of the Saracens ; a second 
tempest may again disperse what remains of our fleet, and 
deprive us of all means of beginning the war with a chance 
of success. To-day God offers us victory ; later he will 
punish us for having neglected the opportunity to conquer." 

The majority of the leaders were of the opinion ot 

* This word comes to us from the Arabs, with the instrument which it 
designates. The Arabs pronounce it nakarah. 

t chose epouvantable a ouir et moult etranga auy Franjais.— • 



Louis IX., and it was resolved that the descent should be 
made on the morrow. A strict watch was preserved during 
the night ; a vast number of flambeaux wexe kept burning, 
and vessels were placed near the mouth of the I^ile, to 
observe the motions of the Saracens. 

At daybreak the whole fleet weighed anchor, and tlve 
Mussulmans at the same time got under arms. Their iii»' 
fantry and cavalry occupied the entire shore of the point at 
which they expected the Crusaders to land. 

When the vessels drew near the shore, the Christian war- 
riors got into the barks that accompanied the fleet, and 
ranged themselves in two lines. Louis IX., accompanied 
by tlie two princes his brothers, and his chosen knights, 
placed himself at the right point. The cardinal legate, bear- 
ing the cross of the Saviour, was on his right hand, and in a 
bark in front of him floated the oriflamme of France. 

The count of Jaffa, of the illustrious family of Brienne, 
was at the left point towards the mouth of the Nile ; he ap- 
peared at the head of the knights from the isle of Cyprus 
and the barons of Palestine. He w^as on board the lightest 
bark of the fleet. This boat bore the arms of the counts of 
Jaffa, painted on its poop and prow. Around his standard 
floated banderoles of a thousand colours, and three hundred 
rowers impelled the vessel through the waves like the flight 
of the swallow over the stream. Erard of Brienne, sur- 
rounded by a chosen troop, occupied the centre of the line, 
withBaldwin of Eheims, who commanded a thousand warriors. 
The knights and barons stood erect in their boats, looking 
earnestly at the shore, lance in hand, with their horses beside 
them. In the front and on the wings of the army, a crowd 
of crossbow-men w^ere placed to keep off the enemy.* 

As soon as they were within bowshot, a shower of stones, 
arrows, and javelins was poured at the same instant from the 
shore and from the line of the Crusaders. The ranks of the 
Christians appeared for a moment shaken. The king com- 
manded the rowers to redouble their efforts to gain the 
shore. He himself set the first example ; in spite of the 
legate, who endeavoured to restrain him, he plunged into 
the waves, in full armour, his buckler over his breast, and 
bis sword in hand ; the water being up to his shoulders : the 

♦ An admirable subject for a large historical picture. — Trans, 


vyhole Christian army, after the example of the king, cast 
themselves into the sea, crying, ^^Montjoie! St. Denis !^^ This 
multitude of men and horses, endeavouring to gain tlie shore, 
elevated the waves which broke at the feet of the Saracens ; 
the warriors pressed on, clashing against each other in their 
progress — nothing was heard but the noise of the waves and 
the oars, the cries of the soldiers and tlie sailors, and the 
tumultuous shock of the barks and vessels, which advanced 
in disorder. 

The Mussulman battalions assembled on the shore could 
not stop the French warriors. Joinville and Baldwin of 
Kheims landed the first ; after them came the count of Jaffa. 
They were drawing up in order of battle, when the cavalry 
of the Saracens came pouring down upon them ; the Cru- 
saders closed in their ranks, covered themselves with their 
bucklers, and presenting the points of their lances, checked 
the impetuosity of the enemy. All their companions who 
had reached the shore, immediately formed in rear of this 

Already the oriflamme was planted on the shore ; Louis 
had landed. Without giving the least reflection to the dan- 
ger, he immediately fell on his knees to offer up his thanks 
to Heaven ; and springing up again, filled with fresh ardour, 
called his bravest knights around him. An Arab historian 
relates that the king of the Franks then caused his tent to 
be pitched, which was of a bright scarlet, and attracted all 
eyes. At length, all the army being landed, a sanguinary 
contest began on every part of the coast ; the Saracens and 
Franks, seeking and attacking each other, formed one con- 
flicting mass. Nobody remained inactive ; the two fleets 
quickly became engaged at the mouth of the Nile. Whilst 
the shore and the sea resounded thus with the shock of arms. 
Queen Marguerite and the duchess of Anjou, who remained 
on board a vessel at a distance, awaited in terrible anxiety 
the issue of the double battle ; they offered up fervent 
prayers, and pious ecclesiastics assembled around them, 
joined in holy psalms to obtain the protection of the God of 

The fleet of ihe Saracens was soon dispersed ; many of 
the vessels were sunk, the remainder escaped up the river. 
In the mean time, the troops of Fakreddin, broken in all 
directi'^QS, retired in the greatest confusion; the French 

584 HISTORY or the ceusades. 

pursuing them up to their intrenehments. After a last 
desperate struggle, the Mussulmans abandoned their camp 
and the western bank of the Nile, leaving several of their 
emirs on the field of battle : nothing could resist the French, 
animated by the presence and the example of their king. 

In the course of the battle several messenger pigeons had 
been sent to the sultan of Cairo, whose malady confined him 
in a small town situated between 3])amietta and Mansourah : 
as no answer was received, a report of his death began to 
prevail, and completed the discouragement of the Egyptian 
troops. Many of the emirs were impatient to know, and at 
the same time were doubtful of the fate that awaited them 
under a new reign. Several deserted their standards, and 
by that means augmented the disorder: towards evening 
the whole army dispersed, and the soldiers, abandoned by 
their leaders, thought of nothing but seeking safety in 
flight.* The Crusaders remained masters of the coast and 
of both banks of the Nile ; and this glorious victory had 
cost but little Christian blood, for only two or three knighta 
were killed: of the Erench nobles the armv had only to 
deplore the count de la Marche, who appeared to seek death, 
and, dying thus by the side of his king, expiated, say our 
historians, his numerous treasons and crimes. 

Towards the end of the day, the tents were pitched on the 
field of battle ; the clergy chanted the Te JJeum, and the 
night w\as passed in rejoicings. Whilst the victorious army 
was thus giving itself* up to exultation, the greatest confu- 
sion reigned in Damietta ; the fugitives had passed through 
the city, spreading, as they went, the contagion of the fear 
that pursned them. Eakreddin himself gave no orders for 
the securit;;^'' of the place : the inhabitants expected every 
jistant ^'O see the Erench enter ; some dreaded a sTirprise, 
others feared a siege ; there was no one to reassure them, 
and the darkness of night came on to complete tneu* terror 
and confusion. Eear rendered them barbarous ; tney piti- 

* Upon the battles that preceded the taking of Damietta, and upon the 
taking of that city, Joinville may be consulted, a& the historian that fur- 
nishes the greatest number of details. William of Nangis, Matthew 
Paris, but particularly Guy de Melun, may be read with advantage. We 
have quoted in our text the Arabian authors that have spoken of thew 


lessly massacred all the Christians that were in the city ; the 
troops, on retiring, pilkiged the houses and set fire to the 
public edifices ; whole families abandoned their homes, car- 
rying with them their furniture and movable wealth. The 
garrison was composed of the bravest of the Arab tribe of 
the Benou-Kenaneh ;* but fear gained dominion over them 
a^ well as the rest ; they • abandoned the towers and th-3 
ramparts intrusted to their guardianship, and fled away 
with the army of Fakreddin. Before the dawn of day, the 
city was without defenders, and almost without inhabitants. 

The columns of flame that arose from the bosom of the 
city were soon observed in the Christian camp ; the whole 
horizon was on fire. On the morrow, at daybreak, the sol- 
diers advanced towards the city, all the gates of which they 
found open. They met with nothing in the streets but the 
carcasses of the victims immolated by the despair and fana- 
ticism of the infidels, and a few living Christians, who, 
having contrived to conceal themselves from the murderers 
and executioners, had, in their turn, massacred all the 
Mussulmans whom age and infirmities prevented from flying 
with their compatriots. The soldiers returned to announce 
what they had seen, and could scarcely gain credit from 
their companions. The army advanced cautiously in order 
of battle. • "When they were assured that the city was 
deserted, the Crusaders took possession of it. They em- 
ployed themselves, in the first place, to stop the progress of 
the flames ; then the soldiers spread themselves throughout 
the city, for the purpose of pillaging it, and all that escaped 
the conflagration became the reward of victory. 

In the mean tim.e, the king of Erance, the pope's legate, 

* At this period the national troops had neither the courage nor the 
constancy that the labours of war require. 1'he Arabs, who had entered 
Egypt as conquerors with Amron-Ben-al-As, had disappeared, without 
leaving successors capable of supporting their reputation. There were no 
means of recruiting the army but by slaves bought in the nonh of Asia 
and in Europe, or by wandering Arabs, who, accustomed to a hardy, 
active life, still showed some energy. This latter measure presented 
another advantage. By bringing these nomads under the yoke of military 
discipline, the nations were delivered from the depredations of men who 
lived by war. It was with this motive that the pacha of Egypt of the 
present day has enrolled the Arabs of his states under his banners. — Sm 
ihe Voyage of Belzoni in Egypt and Numidia. 



and the patriarch, of Jerusalem, followed by a crowd of pre- 
lates and ecclesiastics, entered Damietta in procession, and 
repaired to the great mosque, which was once more converted 
into a church, and consecrated to the Holy Virgin, the 
mother of Jesus Christ. The French monarch, the clergy, 
and all the leaders of the army, marched with heads un- 
ccvered and barefooted, singing psalms of thanksgiving, 
and attributing to God all the glory of this miraculous 

The news of this victory was soon spread through all the 
Egyptian provinces. The continuator of Tabary, who was 
then at Cairo, informs us in his History, that this event was 
considered as one of the greatest calamities. All Mussul- 
mans W' ere sunk in despondency and fear ; the most brave 
even despaired of being able to save Egypt. 

Negmeddin was still ill, and unable to mount on horse- 
back ; the defeat of his army, and the victory of the 
Christians, were announced to him by the soldiers and 
inhabitants that had fled from Damietta. He broke into a 
dolent rage against the garrison, and pronounced a sentence 
of instant death upon fifty-four of the most guilty : in vain 
they alleged the retreat of the emir Eakreddin as an excuse ; 
the sultan said they merited death for having feared the arms 
of their enemies more than the anger of their master. One 
Df these, condemned to suffer with his son, a young man of 
.singular beauty, implored the sultan to allow him to die 
first ; the sultan refused even this grace, and the unhappy 
father underwent the agony of seeing his son killed before 
his eyes, ere he himself was handed over to ihe executioner. 
When w^e reflect upon the barbarity of these executions, we 
are astonished that a prince without an army should find 
instruments to execute his wrath, or even that he sliouid 
dare to display it in this frightful manner upon deserters 
and cowards ; but this public and awful exhibition of punish- 
ment, which kept up the belief in the power of the master, 
acted stroDgly upon the minds of the multitude, and assisted 
in bringing back tlie ^'ulgar crowd of the Mussulman sol- 
diery to discipline and order. But it was not thus with the 
])rincipal emirs ; already but little disposed to tremble before 
a sovereign whom they regarded as their own work, and who 
stood in such need of their support. The sultan would 


^lingly have punished Eakreddm, but the circumstances, 
says an Arabian historian, dictated patience. He contented 
himself with addressing a few reproaches to him. " The 
presence of these Pranks," said he to him, "must havt 
something very terrible in it, since men like you cannot 
support it during one whole day." These words created 
more indignation than fear among the emirs that were 
present, and some of them looked at Fakreddin, as if to tell 
him they were ready to sacrifice the sultan ; but the print of 
the cold hand of death was on the brow of the sultan, and 
the sight of a dying man took away the wish to commit a 
useless crime : — deplorable situation of a prince who had 
within a few leagues of him a formidable enemy, that he was 
not able to contend with ; near him traitors, that he did not 
dare to punish ; and who, whilst seeing his authority every 
day diminish, and feeling himself hourly dying, appeared 
to have no salvation to expect for either himself or his 
empire ! 

Diu-ing this time the Crusaders established themselves in 
Damietta without obstacle ; Queen Marguerite and the 
other princesses, with the legate and the clergy, occupied 
the palaces and principal houses ; the rest of the city was 
abandoned to the pilgrims who did not bear arms : the 
towers and ramparts were guarded by five hundred knights, 
and the Christian army was encamped upon the plain on the 
banks of the Nile. In this situation the Crusaders only 
thought of enjoying the fruits of their victory in peace, and. 
appeared to have forgotten that they had still enemies to 
contend with. 

The sultan of Cairo had caused himself to be transported 
to Mansourah, where he endeavoured to rally his army, and 
re-establish discipline among the troops. Whether he had 
recovered from his terror, or that he was willing to conceal 
his alarm and the progress of his malady, he sent several 
messages to Loui« IX, In one of these letters, JSTegmeddin, 
joining menaces to irony, congratulated the king of France 
upon his arrival in Egypt, and asked him at what period it 
would please him to depart again. The Mussulman prince 
added, among other things, that the quantity of provisions 
and agricvdtural instruments with whicli the Crusaders liad 
l>urdeued their vessels, appeared to him to be a useless pre- 

S88 msTORi: or the chusades. 

caution ; and to perform the duties of hospitality towards 
the Pranks, in a manner worthy of himself and them, he 
engaged to supply them with corn during their sojourn in 
his states. TS'egmeddin, in another message, offered the king 
of Erance a general battle on the 25th day of June, in a 
place that should be determined upon. Louis IX. answered 
the first letter of the sultan by saying that he had landed in 
Egypt on the day he had appointed, and as to the day of his 
departure, he should think about it at leisure. With regard 
to the proposed battle, the king contented himself with 
replying, that he would neither accept the day nor choose 
the place, because all days and all places were equally fit for 
fighting M'ith infidels. The French monarch added, that he 
would attack the sultan wherever he should meet with him ; 
that he would pursue him at all times and without inter- 
mission ; and would treat him as an enemy till God had 
touched his heart, and Christians might consider him as a 

Fortune presented King Louis with an opportunity and 
the means of accomplishing his threats. The Crusaders, whom 
the tempest had separated from the fleet, continued to 
arrive every day, and the knights of the Temple and of 
St. John, who had been accused of being anxious for peace, 
joined the banners of the army, and breathed nothing but 
war. They were acquainted with the country, and with the 
best manner of combating the infidels; and ^ith this useful 
reinforcement, the king was able to undertake an expedition 
against Alexandria, or, by obtaining possession of Mansourah, 
render himself master of the route to Cairo. After the taking 
of Damietta^ several of the leaders had proposed to pursue 
the Mussulmans, and take advantage of the terror that tlie 
first victory of the Christians had inspired. But the period 
was approaching at which the waters of the Nile began to 
rise, and the remembrance of tlie overthrow of Pelagius and 
John of Brienne, dispelled the idea of marching against the 
capital of Egypt. Before he pursued his conquests, Louis 
wished to wait the arrival of his brother, the count of Poic- 
tiers, wlio was to euibark wdth the arriere ban of the kingdom 
of Prance. Most historians view in this delay the cause of 
all the evils that afterwards befell the Crusaders. We have 
nothing like suificieut positive documents to test the truth 


sf their opinion ; but Ave may say with certainty, tliat this 
inaction of the Christian army became, from that time, a 
Bouree of most fatal disorders. 

These disorders began to break out when the division took 
place of the booty made at the taking of Damietta. To ani' 
mate the courage of the Crusaders, the treasures of thi« 
city, the entrepot of the merchandises of the East, had often 
been boasted of ; but as the richest quarters had been de- 
stroyed by the conflagration, and as the inhabitants had, 
when they fled, taken their most valuable eflects with them, 
't/he spoils were very far from answering the hopes of the 
victorious army. In spite of the threats of the legate, several 
of the Crusaders had not brought all that fell into thei* 
hands to the common stock. The whole of the booty ob- 
tained in the city only produced the sum of six thousand 
livres tournois,* to be divided among the Crusaders, whose 
surprise and indignation found vent in violent murmurs. 

As it had been determined that no division should be 
made of the provisions, but that they should be preserved in 
the royal magazines, for the support of the army, this reso- 
lution, so contrary to ancient usages, gave birth to loud 
complaints. Joinville informs us that the prud^homme John 
of Valery, whose stern probity and bravery were the admi- 
ration of the whole army, addressed some warm representa- 
tions to the king on this subject. John of Valery alleged 
the laws of the Holy Land, and the custom pursued till that 
time in the crusades ; he mentioned the example of John of 
Srienne, who, at the first conquest of Damietta, had only 
retained one-third of the riches and provisions found in the 
city, abandoning the rest to the general army. This custom 
wm even less consecrated by the holy wars than by the 
feudal laws, according to which every lord carried on the war 
at bis own expense, and by right had a share in all the plunder 
obt Mued from the enemy. But it might be objected, that 
Lo is IX. furnished most of the leaders of the army with 
money, and by that the counts and barons had renounced 

* The livre Tournois was so called from being coined at Tours, and 
was one-fifth less in value than the livre coined in Paris ; thus afterwardi 
the livre Tournois was va'/ued at twenty sous, that of Paris at twenty-five. 
The sum mentioned would thus only amount to little more than i^SOO 
irhicb appears almost impossiblr. — Transb 


the conditions of the feudal compact. This law of the di- 
vision of provisions, wliich had, in fact, been observed in 
preceding crusades, sufficiently accounts for the scarcity 
that had so often desolated the Christian armies. The pioua 
monarch was anxious to avoid evils that were the fruit of 
want of prudence and foresight, and refused to listen to the 
complaints of most of the French nobles. Thus, says Join- 
ville, scarcity continued, and made the people very much 

This spirit of dissatisfaction was quickly joined by other 
disorders, the consequences of which were still more de- 
plorable. The knights forgot, in their fatal inactivity, both 
their warlike virtues and the object of the holy war. The 
riches of Egypt and the East being promised to them, the 
lords and barons made haste to consume, in festivities and 
pleasures, the money which they had obtained from the libe- 
rality of the king, or by the sale of their lands and castles. 
Tlie passion for gaming had got entire possession of both 
leaders and soldiers ; after losing their fortune, they risked 
even their horses and arms. Even beneath the shadow of 
the standards of Christ, the Crusaders gave themselves up 
to all the excesses of debauchery ; the contagion of the most 
odious vices pervaded all ranks, and places of prostitution 
were found even in the close vicinity of the pavilion inhabited 
by the pious monarch of the Erench. 

To satisfy the boundless taste for luxury and pleasure, 
recourse was had to all sorts of violent means. The leaders 
of the army pillaged the traders that provisioned the camp 
and the city ; they imposed enormous tributes upon them, 
and this assisted greatly in bringing on scarcity. The most 
ardent made distant excursions, surprised caravans, devas- 
tated towns and plains, and bore away Mussulman women, 
whom they brought in triumph to Damietta. The sharing 
even of this sort of booty often gave rise to angry quarrels, and 
the whole camp resounded with complaints, threats, and 

One of the most afflicting phases of this picture was, that 
the authority of the king became less respected daily ; as 
corruption increased, the habits of obedience declined ; the 

* Ainsi demeura la besogne, dont maintes gens se tinrent mal satis* 
faits. — Joinville. 


laws were without power, and virtue had no longer any 
empire. Louis IX. met with opposition to his wishes, even 
from the princes of his own family. The count d'Artois, 
a young, ardent, and presumptuous prince, unable to en- 
dure either rivalry or contradiction, proud of his military 
renown, and jealous to excess of that of others, was in the 
habit of constantly provoking the other leaders, and of 
heaping upon them, without motive, the most outrageous 
affronts. The earl of Salisbury, to whom he had behaved 
very ill, complained of him to Louis, and being unable to 
obtain the satisfaction he demanded, in his anger pro- 
nounced those memorable words : " You are then not a Icing, 
if you are unahle to administer justice.^^ This indocility of 
the princes, and the licentiousness of the great, completed 
the disorder ; every day relaxation of discipline was observed 
to increase ; the guarding of the camp, which extended far 
over the plains and along the banks of the Nile, was scarcely 
attended to ; the advanced posts of the Christian army were 
constantly exposed to the attacks of the enemy, without 
being able to oppose any other means of resistance than 
imprudent and rash bravery, which only increased the 

Among the Mussulman soldiers sent to harass the Cru- 
saders, the most successful in their mission were the Bedouin 
Arabs ; intrepid warriors, indefatigable horsemen, having no 
other country but the desert, no other property but their 
horses and arms, the hopes of plunder supported them through 
all toils, and taught them to brave all dangers. With the 
Arabs of the desert were joined some Carismian horsemen, 
who had escaped from the ruin of their warlike nation. 
Accustomed to live by brigandage, both these watched night 
and day, to dog the Christian soldiers, and appeared to 
possess the instinct and activity of those wild animals that 
prowl constantly around the dwellings of man in search of 
their prey. The sultan of Cairo promised a golden bj^zant 
for f very Christian head that should be brought into his 
camp ; sometimes the Arabs and Carismians surprised the 
Crusaders who wandered from the army, and often took ad- 
vantage of the darkness of night to get access to the camp ; 
sentinels asleep on their posts, knights in bed in their tents, 
wt^e struck by invisible hands, and when day appeared to 

392 HISTORY or the crusades. 

lighten the scene of carnage, the barbarians fled along the 
banks of the Nile, to demand their wages of the sultan of 

These surprises and nocturnal attacks had a considerable 
effect in reanimating the courage of the Mussulmans. To 
raise the confidence of the multitude and the army, great 
care was taken to exhibit the heads of the Christians : aU 
captives were paraded about in triumph, and the least ad- 
vantage obtained over the Franks was celebrated through- 
out Egypt. Contemporary historians, led away by common 
exaggeration, taUt of the most trifling combats as memorable 
victories ; and we are astonished, at the present day, to read 
in the history of a period so abounding in great military 
events, that in the month of E-amadan thirty-seven Chris- 
tians were brought in chains to Cairo, that they were 
followed, some days afterwards, by thirty-eight other cap- 
tives, among whom were distinguished five knights. The 
activity of Negmeddin appeared to increase as his end ap- 
proached. He employed the greatest exertions to get to- 
gether all his troops ; was indefatigably attentive in watching 
the movements of the Crusaders, and seldom failed to take 
advantage of their errors. Men were employed night and 
day in repairing the towers and fortifications of Mansourah ; 
the Mussulman fleet, which had ascended the Nile, cast 
anchor immediately in front of the city. Whilst these pre- 
parations were going on, news arrived that the garrison of 
Damascus had taken possession of ihe city of Sidon, belong- 
ing to the Franks, and that the important place of Carac 
had just declared in favour of Negmeddin. This unexpected 
intelligence, the sight of the prisoners, but above all, the in- 
activity of the Christian army, which was attributed to fear, 
completed the dissipation of the terror of the Mussulmans, 
"Whilst new reinforcements were every day arriving in the 
camp of the sultan, the people flocked in crowds to the 
mosques of Cairo and the other cities of Egypt, to invoke 
the protection of Heaven, and return thanks to the Grod of 
Mahomet, for ha\'ing prevented tho Christians from taking 
advantage of their victories. 


A.D. 1248—1255. 

Whilst tlie Christian army was forgetting in its sojourn 
at Damietta both the laws of discipline and the object of 
the holy war, Alphonse, count of Poictiers, prepared to set 
out for the East. All the churches of France still resounded 
with pathetic exhortations addressed to the Christian war- 
riors ; the bishops, in the name of the sovereign pontiff, 
conjured the faithful to second, by means of charity, the 
enterprise against the Saracens ; an apostolic brief, granted 
to the brother of the king not only the tribute imposed 
upon the Crusaders who repurchased their vow, but all tlie 
sums destined by testament to acts of piety, the object of 
which was not distinctly signified. These sums must have 
been considerable, but could scarcely suffice for the expenses 
of an expedition which bore the appearance of another 
crusade. The knights and barons who had not been aifected 
by the example of Louis IX. showed but very little enthu- 
siasm, or else wanted money for so long a voyage. Piety 
and the love of glory were not powerful enough to seduce 
them to join the banners of the holy war. History has pre- 
served an agreement, by which Hugh Lebrun, count of 
Angouleme, consented to set out for the crusade with twelve 
knights, but on the express condition that the count of 
Poictiers should feed them at his own table during the ex- 
pedition ; that he would advance the seigneur Hugh Lebrun 
the sum of four thousand livres ; and should pay him, in 
perpetuity, a pension of six hundred livres tournois. This 
agreement and several other similar ones were innovations 
in the military usages of feudalism, and even in the usages 
consecrated by the holy wars. 

The English nobles, however, were impatient to follow 
the example set tliem by Louis IX. We read in Matthev 


Paris, that the English lords and knights had already sold 
or empawned their lands, and placed themselves entirely at 
the mercy of the Jews ; which appeared to be the pre- 
liminary of a departure for the Holy Land. It is not out 
of place to add here, that this impatience to set out for the 
East, arose less from a rehgious motive than from the spirit 
of opposition that animated the barons against their monarch, 
Henry III., who was accused of being desirous of taking 
advantage of the absence of Louis IX., and did all in his 
power to retain the barons and lords of his kingdom ; and as 
the latter resisted his solicitations with contempt, he resolved 
to employ the influence of the Church ; " so that," says 
Matthew Paris, "like a young child who, having been ill- 
used, goes to its mother to complain, the king of England 
carried his complaints to the sovereign pontiff, adding that 
he proposed to go himself, and lead his barons shortly to the 
Holy Land." Tlie pope, in his replie:;, forbade Henry III. 
to undertake anything against the kingdom of Prance ; but, 
at the same time, he threatened with the thunders of the 
Church, all the knights and baroiis that should leave the 
kingdom against the will of the king. Henry, supported by 
the authority of the pope, ordered the commanders at Dover 
and the other ports to take measures that no Crusader 
should embark. Thus the court of Pome on one side 
preached the crusade, and on the other prevented the de- 
parture of the soldiers of the cross ; which must have 
tended to dissipate all the illusions and annihilate the spirit 
of the holy Wiir. 

Paymond, count of Thoulouse, had likewise taken the 
oath to combat the infidels ; but the inconstancy of his 
character, and the policy of the pope, soon led him into 
other enterprises. His age had seen him, by turns, full of 
zeal for the Church, ardent to persecute it ; the apostle of 
heresy, and the terror of heretics ; sometimes abandoned to 
the furies of revolt, sometimes submissive to servitude ; 
braving the thunders of the court of Pome, afterwards 
seeking the favour of the pontiffs ; pursued by unj ust wars, 
a\id himself declaring war without a motive. At the epoch 
of wliich we are speaking, the count of Thoulouse had given 
UT) ail idea of figliting against the infidels, and was preparing 
to minister to the personal vengeance of Innocent IV., bj 


turning liis arms against Thomas of Savoy, who had recently 
married a daughter of the emperor Frederick, in opposition 
to the commands of the pope. He had already received the 
money necessary for his preparations from the pope, and had 
taken lea-^'e of his daugliter, the countess of Poictiers, about 
to depart for the East, when he fell sick at Milan. From 
that time ail the projects of his ambition faded away, and, 
to borrow the expression of a modern historian, he went into 
another world to learn the result of the incomprehensible 
varieties of his life. 

With him the illustrious house of Thoulouse became 
extinct, a house of which several of the princes had been 
lieroes of the holy wars, others deplorable victims of crusades. 
The county of ThouJouse tlius became a property of the 
family of the king of France, and whilst Louis IX. was 
dissipating his armies and his treasures in vain endeavours 
to make conquests in the East, conquests less brilliant, but 
also less expensive, more useful and more durable, were in- 
creasing the power of the monarchy and extending the limits 
of the kingdom. 

G-ermany, Holland, and Italy, filled with troubles, at that 
time occupied all the attention of Frederick IL, and did not 
allow him to turn his thouglits towards the East. He sent 
the count of Poictiers fifty horses and a quantity of pro- 
visions, delighted, as he said, to seize an opportunity of 
acquitting some of the obligations he had received from 
France ; he put up prayers for the success of the crusade, 
and deeply regretted his inability to take a part in it. 
Frederick had lived as the count of Thoulouse had done, 
and like him, he was soon, in another world, to behold the 
end of his ambition, of the inconstancy of his designs, and 
of the vicissitudes of fortune. 

Although the count of Poictiers was Little favoured by 
circumstances, he finished his preparations and got together 
an army. The new Crusaders embarked at Aigues-Mortes, 
at the moment the news of the taking of Damietta arrived 
in the West. The Christian army expected them in Egypt 
with greater anxiety, from the circumstance of the Sea ol 
Damietta having been, for more than a month, agitated, un- 
ceasingly, by a furious tempest. Three weeks before theil 
arrival, all the pilgrims had put up prayers on their account ; 


on the Saturday of each week they went in procession to the 
seashore, to implore the protection of Heaven in favour of 
the warriors about to join the Christian army. At length, 
after a passage of two months, the count of Poictiers disem- 
barked before Damietta. His arrival not only diffused joy 
and hope among the Crusaders, but permitted them to leave 
their long and fatal state of inactivity. 

Louis IX. assembled the council of the princes and barons, 
to consult them on the line of march most advisable to be 
taken, and upon measures for perfecting the conquest of 
Egypt. Several of the leaders proposed to lay siege to 
A-lexandria: they represented that that city had a com- 
modious port ; that the Christian fleet would there find 
certain shelter ; and tliat they could there procure munitions 
and provisions with great facility : this was the opinion of 
all that had experience in war. The headstrong youth of 
the army, persuaded that they had sacrificed sufficiently to 
prudence, by remaining several months in idleness, main- 
tained that they ought to proceed immediately against Cairo ; 
they thought nothing of the dangers the Christian army 
must encounter in an unknown country, where they must 
expect to meet with enemies irritated by fanaticism and 
despair. The count d'Artois put himself particularly for- 
ward among those who wished them to attack the capital of 
Egypt. " When you wish to kill the serpent," cried he, " you 
ought always first to endeavour to crush his head." This 
opinion, expressed with warmth, prevailed in the council ; 
Louis himself partook of the ardour and hopes of short- 
sighted youth, and the order was given for marching towards 

The army of the Crusaders consisted of sixty thousand 
fighting men, more than twenty thousand of whom were 
horse. A numerous fleet ascended the Nile, laden with pro- 
visions, baggage, and niachines of war. Queen Marguerite, 
with the countesses of Artois, Anjou, and Poictiers, remained 
at Damietta, where the king had left a garrison under the 
command of Olivier de Thermes. 

The Crusaders encamped at Pharescour the 7th of Decern* 
ber ; terror had preceded their triumphant march, and every 

* At this period Louis IX. was but thirty-three yeats old. — Trans 


fching seemed to favour their enterprise. One ciircumstanee, 
of which they were ignorant, would have increased the 
security and joy of the Christian knights if they had known 
of it ; Negmeddin, after having struggled for a long time 
against a cruel malady, was at length dead. This death 
might have produced serious trouble in both the Egyptian 
nation and army, if it had not been carefully concealed for 
several days. After the sultan had breathed his last, the 
Mamelukes guarded the gates of his palace as if he had been 
still living ; prayers were put up, and orders were issued in 
his name : with the Mussulmans, nothing interrupted the 
preparations for defence or attention to the war against the 
Christians. All these precautions were the work of a 
woman — a woman who had been purchased as a slave, and 
had become the favourite wife of Negmeddin. The Arabian 
historians are eloquent in the praise of the courage and 
talents of Chegger-Eddour, and agree in saying, that no 
woman surpassed her in beauty, and no man excelled her in 

After the death of Negmeddin, the sultana assembled the 
principal emirs ; in this council the command of Egypt was 
given to Eakreddin, and they acknowledged as sultan 
Almoadam Touranschah, whom his father had banished to 
Mesopotamia : some authors assert that in this council it 
was resolved to send ambassadors to the king of the Eranks, 
to propose peace in the name of the prince of whose death 
he was still ignorant. The ambassadors, in order to obtain 
a truce, were to offer the Christians Damietta with its 
territories, and Jerusalem with several other cities of Pales- 
tine. It was not probable that this negotiation should 
succeed ; the Christians had advanced too far, and had too 
much confidence in their arms, to listen to any proposition. 

The Christian army pursued its march along the banks of 
the Nile, and entered the town of Scharmesah, without 
meeting any other enemy than five hundred Mussulman 
horsemen. These horsemen at first evinced nothing but 
pacific intentions, and, from the smallness of their numbers, 
they inspired no dread.* Louis IX., whose protection they 

* There is here an apparent contradiction between the version of 
Ducange and that of MM. Melot, SaJlier, and Caperonier : in tlie latter 
•re read that these five hundred Mussuhnans were sent to harass the 


eeemed to implore, forbade tlie Crusaders to attack tliem ; 
but the Mamelukes, abusing the confidence that was placed 
in them, and taking advantage of a favourable opportunity, 
fell all at once upon the Templars, and killed a knight oi 
that order. A cry to arms immediately rung through the 
Prench army, and the Mussulman battalion was assailed on 
all sides : such as did not fall beneath the swords of the 
Crusaders, were drowned in the Nile. In proportion with 
the approach of the Christians to Mansourah, the anxiety 
and terror of the Egyptians increased : the emir Fakreddin 
exposed the dangers of the country in a letter that was read 
at the hour of prayer in the great mosque of the capital. 
After the formula, " In the name of God and of Mahomet his 
prophet, ^^ the letter of Fakreddin began by these words of tlie 
Koran : " Hasten, great and small, the cause of God has need 
of your arms and of your wealth.'''' " The Franks," added the 
emir, " the Franks (Heaven curse them) are arrived in our 
country with their standards and their swords ; they wish to 
obtain possession of our cities and ravage our provinces : 
what Mussulman can refuse to march against them, and 
avenge the glory of Islamism ?" 

Upon hearing this letter read, all the people were melted 
to tears ; the greatest agitation prevailed throughout the 
city of Cairo ; the death of the sultan, which began to be 
known, added greatly to the general consternation ; orders 
were sent to raise troops in all the Egyptian provinces ; war 
was preached in all the mosques, and the imauns endeavoured 
by every means to awaken fanaticism, in order to combat the 
depression of despair. 

The Christian army arrived before the canal Aschmoum 

French army, but there is no mention of a deceit, or ruse de gxierre ; in 
that of Ducange, on the contrary, we find this sentence : " He [the 
sultan] sent to the king, as a ruse, five hundred of his best-mounted 
horsemen, they teUing the king that they were come to assist him, him 
and all his army." We find nothing like this in the edition of MM. 
Melot, Sallier, and Caperonier ; it is probable that this sentence may have 
been interpolated in the manuscript, for we cannot believe that five hun- 
dred Mussulman horsemen could been received as friends in the 
Christian army, who stood in no need of auxiliaries, and who certainly 
did not look for them among the Saracens. We avail ourselves of this 
opportunity to warn our readers that the various editions of Joinville 
yften vary in important circumstances, and that they should at all times 
oe subjected to a very critical examination. 


Theriali on the 19th of December. The Mussulman army 
was encamped on the opposite shore, having the Nile on its 
left, and behind it the city of Mansourah ; close to them, in 
the direction of Cairo, the Saracens had a numerous fleet 
upon the river. That of tlie Christians had advanced to the 
liead of the canal. Evervfching seemed to announce that 
the fate of the war would be decided on this soot. The 
Crusaders marked out their camp in the place in which the 
army of John of Brienne had encamped thirty years before. 
Tlie remembrance of a great disaster ought to have served 
them as a lesson, and, at least, have tempered the excessive 
confidence that the too easy conquest of Damietta had given 

The canal of Aschmoum was of the width of the Seine, 
its bed was deep, and its banks steep. In order to cross it, 
it was necessary that a dike should be constructed : the 
work was begun, but as fast as they heaped up the sand and 
stones, the Saracens dug away the earth in front of the dike, 
and thus removed further back the opposite bank of the 
canal ; in vain the causeway advanced, the Crusaders had 
always the same distance to fill up, and each of the trenches 
dug by the enemy tended to make their labours useless. In 
addition to which, they were night and day interrupted in 
their works, and were constantly exposed to the arrows and 
javelins of the Saracens. 

Although the Mussulman general had fled without fight- 
ing at the first appearance of the Eranks, the chronicles of 
the times speak very highly of his bravery and military 
talents. They add that he had been made a knight by 
Trederick II., and that he bore the arms of the emperor of 
Germanv with those of the sultans of Cairo and Damascus 
upon his escutcheon. These distinctions might draw the 
attention of the multitude ; but that which was for Eakred- 
din a true title of glory is, that he was able, by his speeches 
and his example, to reanimate the courage and confidence of 
a conquered army. 

Scarcely had the Crusaders seated themselves down in 
their camp, and began the works necessary for the passage 
of the Aschmoum, tlian Takreddin sent a party of troops to 
Scharmesah, to attack the rear of the Christian army. The 
Baracens, by this unexpected assault, spr-^.ad disorder and 


terror tlirougli the camp of their enemies. The first advan* 
tage redoubled their audacity, and soon after an assault was 
made upon the Christians, along the whole line of their 
camp, extending from the canal to the Nile. The Mussul- 
mans several times passed the intrenchments of the Crusa- 
ders ; the duke of Anjou, Gruy count of Forest, the sieur 
de Joinville, and several other knights, were compelled to 
exert all their bravery to repulse from their camp an enemy 
whom every fresh combat taught that the French were not 
invincible, and that it was at least possible to stop them on 
their march. 

Conflicts took place every day in the plain and upon the 
river. Several vessels belonging to the Christians fell into 
tlie hands of the Mussulmans ; tne Arabs, constantly prowl- 
ing round the camp, bore away into captivity every man 
that ventured to stray from his colours. As the emir Fak- 
reddin could only learn from the reports of prisoners the 
state and disposition of the Christian army, he promised a 
recompense for every captive that should be brought into his 
tents : all the means that audacity and cunning could sug- 
gest were employed to surprise the Crusaders. It is related 
that a Mussulman soldier having buried his head in a melon 
that had been hollowed out, threw himself into the Nile, and 
swam down the stream. The melon, which appeared to 
float upon the water, attracted the ejes of a Christian war- 
rior, who sprang into the river, and as he stretched out his 
hand to seize the floating melon, he himself was seized and 
dragged away to the camp of the Mussulmans. This anec- 
dote, more whimsical than instructive, is related by several 
Arabian historians, who scarcely say anything of the pre- 
ceding combats. Such are the spirit and character of the 
^eater part of oriental histories, in which the most frivo- 
lous details often take the place of useful truths and impor- 
tant events. 

Whilst the armies were thus in face of each other, the 
Crusaders pursued the work they had begun upon the Asch- 
moum. Towers of wood and machines were constructed, to 
protect the workmen employed in making the dike upon 
which the Christians were to cross the canal. On their side, 
the Mussidmans redoubled their eftbrts to prevent their 
enemies from completing their work. The dike advanced 


but very slowly, and the \sooden towers that liad been con- 
Btructed in front of the causeway, could not defend eitlier 
the workmen or the soMiers against the arrows, stones, and 
fiery darts were being constantly hiunched from tlie 
camp of the Egyptians. Nothing could equal the surprirto 
and terror that tlie siglit alone of the Greek fire caused tlie 
Christian army. i\.ccording to the relation of ocular wit- 
nesses, this redoubtable fire, cast sometimes through a brass 
tube, and sometimes by an instrument that was called the 
yerriere, was of the size of a tun or large cask ; the flaming 
tad, which it drew after it, was many feet in length ; the 
Crusaders imagined they beheld a fiery dragon flying through 
the air ; the noise of its explosion resembled that of thun- 
der, which rolls in repeated peals. When it was launched 
during the night, it cast a lurid splendour over the whole 
camp. At the first sight of this terrible fire, the knighta 
set to guard the towers, ran here and there, like men be- 
wildered ; some called their companions to their aid, whilst 
others threw themselves on tlie ground, or fell on their 
Knees, invoking the celestial powers. Joinville could not 
conceal his fright, and thanked lieaven with all his heart 
when the Greek fire fell at a distance from him. Louis IX. 
was not less terrified than his barons and knights, and when 
he heard ^the detonation of the fire, he burst into tears, 
exclaiming: " Great God! Jesus Christ, protect me and ail 
m,y people ! "* 

" The good prayers and orisons of the king," says his histo- 
rian, " were of great service to us ;" nevertheless, they were 
not able to save the towers and wooden works constructed 
by th.e Crusaders : all were consumed by the flames in sight 
of the Christian army, without their having any power to 
arrest their devastation. This misfortune was a lesson by 
which they ought to liave profited ; tlie Christians ought to 
have perceived that tliey had undertaken an impossible en- 
terprise, and that they ought to seek for some means, more 
eisy and more certain, of crossing the canal. But, unhap- 
pily, the leaders persisted in causing other erections to be 
made, which shared the fate of the first. They thus lost 

* II s'ecriait, pleur;mt a grant larmes : Beau Sire, Dieu Jesus Christ, 
g.irdc ir.oi et toute ma gawt.'^— -J oinviile. 

Vol. II.— 18 


much time, and tlie futility of their atteinT.ts assisted in 
raising the pride and confidence of the Saracens. 

The Mamelukes at this time learned that their new 
sovereign had arrived in Damascus, and that he was hourly 
expected in his capital. This arrival gave them fresh hopes, 
and rendered them more confident of victory. To redouble 
the ardour of his soldiers, Eakreddin often repeated, with a 
tone of assurance, that he should soon go and sleep in thd 
tent of the king of the Franks. 

The Christians had been a month before Aschmoum, ex- 
hausting themselves in useless efforts. Their leaders never 
took the trouble to examine if it were possible to ford the 
canal, or cross it by swimming, as the Egyptian cavalry had 
done. They were beginning to despair, when chance re- 
vealed to them a means of extricating themseh^es from their 
embarrassment, a means tbey might have knowTi mucli 
sooner, if they had had less obstinacy and more foresight. 
A Bedouin Arab came to propose to Imbert de Beaujeu, 
constable of France, to show him, at a distance of half a 
league from the camp, a ford, by which the Crusaders might 
cross without danger or obstacles, to the opposite bank of 
the Aschmoum. After having ascertained that the Arab 
told the truth, they paid him the sum of five hundred golden 
byzants, wdiich he had demanded, and the Christian army 
prepared to profit by this happy but late discovery. 

The king and the princes his brothers, with all the ca- 
valry, began their march in the middle of the night ; ttft 
duke of Burgundy remained in the camp with the infantry, 
to observe the enemy, and guard the m»i?c]iines and the bag- 
gage. At daybreak, all the squadrons that were to cross 
the canal, awaited the signal on the bank. The count 
d' Artois was ambitious of crossing first ; the king, who knew 
the impetuous character of his brother, at first wished to 
restrain him ; but E.obert insisted warndy, and swore upon 
tl\e Gospel, that when he arrived on the opposite shoie, he 
would wait till the Christian army had passed. Louis im- 
prudently placed faith in the promise of a young, fiery, and 
haughty knight, to master his warlike transports, and resist 
ail the temptations of glory on the field of battle. The 
count d' Artois placed himself at the head of the van, 
in which were the Hospitallers, tlie Templars, and the 


English. This van crossed tlie Aschmoum, and put to flight 
tliree hundred Saracen horsemen. At the sight of" the %ing 
Mnssulmans, young Robert was on fire to pursue them. In 
vain the two grand masters represented to him that the 
flight of the enemy wms perhaps notliing but a stratagem, 
and tliat he ought to wait for the army, and follow the orders 
of the king, llobei't fetired to lose an opportunity of tri- 
umphing over the iulidels, and would listen to nothing but 
his ardour for conquest. He rushed on to the plain, sword 
in hand, drawing the whole van after him, and pursuing the 
Saracens to their camp, into which he entered with them. 

Fakreddin, the leader of the Mussulman army, was at the 
moment in the bath, and, after the custom of the Orientals, 
was liaving his beard coloured. He sprang on horseback, 
almost naked, rallied his troops, and resisted for some time ; 
but soon, left almost alone on the field of battle, he was 
surrounded, and died, covered with a thousand wounds. 

The whole Mussulman army fled away towards Man- 
sourah. How was it possible to resist the inclination to 
pursue them ? What was to be feared from enemies that 
abandoned their camp ? Might it not be believed that the 
Saracens fled as they had done at Damietta, and that terror 
would prevent their rallying ? All these thoughts arose in 
the mind of the count d'Artois, and would not permit him 
to wait for the rest of the army to complete his victory. The 
grand-master of the Temple in vain renewed his representa- 
tions ; the young prince replied with great heat to the 
counsels of experience. In his passion he accused the 
Templars and Hospitallers of maintaining an intelligence 
with the infidels, and with wishing to perpetuate a war that 
was advantageous to their ambition. "Thus, then," replied 
the two grand masters, " it would appear that we and our 
knights have abandoned our families and our country, and 
would desire to })ass our days in *i ibreign land, amidst the 
fatigues and perils of war, in order to betray the cause of 
the Chvistian church !" On finishing these words, the master 
of the Templars sternly bade the standard-bearer of his 
order to unfurl tlie banner of battle. The earl of Saiisburv, 
who commanded the Englisli, ventured to speak of the 
danger to which the army would be exposed, thus separated 
from its van ; but the count d'Artois interrupted him by 


Baying, sharply, " Timid counsels do not suitr.s!" Then 
the quarrels that had so often disturbed the discipline of the 
army were renewed, and the heat of debate completely stifled 
the voice of prudence. Whilst they were thus inflaming 
each other, the ancient governor of the count d'Artois, who 
was deaf, and who believed they were preparing for battle, 
never ceased crying, " Ores fi eux, ores a eux !"* (Hurrah ! 
on them! Imrrali! on them !) These words became a fatal 
signal for warriors, urged on at once by anger and impatience 
for victory. The Templars, the English, the French, all set 
forward together, all flew towards Mansourah, and penetrated 
into the city abandoned by the enemy ; some stopped to 
pillage, whilst the others pursued the Saracens along the 
road to Cairo. 

If all the Christian troops had crossed the canal at the 
moment that the count d'Artois entered Mansourah, the 
defeat of the enemy could have been complete. But the 
passage was made with much difficulty and confusion ; and 
when the French army had crossed the Aschmoum, a space of 
two leagues separated it from its van. 

The Mussulmans, who had been driven from their camp, 
at first believed they had fought with all the forces of the 
Crusaders, com.manded by the king of France; but they 
soon became aware of the small number of their enemies, 
and were astonished at having been put to flight. From the 
very bosom of peril and disorder, a skilful leader arose among 
them, whose presence of mind all at once revived their 
courage.t Bibars Bondocdar, whom the Mamelukes had 
recently placed at their head, having perceived the impru- 
dence of the Christians, rallied the Mussuimans, led a part 
of his army bet\^^een the canal and Mansourah, got posses- 
sion of the gates of the city, and, with a chosen part of his 

* This word ores, which was employed to animate the courage of com- 
batants, and which is still in use among the people in several provinces of 
France, may it not be the same as the word hoiira, which the Russians 
employ ? May it not liave been introduced by t