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1204 AD: What Really Happened (Crusades)
Athens News ^ | 3-9-2004 | Judith Herrin

Posted on 03/09/2004 4:26:36 PM PST by blam

1204: What really happened?

When Saladin retook the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem for Islam in 1187,Pope Innocent III declared a new crusade to recapture it. But the crusaders ran into financial difficulties and took advantage of Greek imperial in fighting to raise money. The scheme was a disaster, laying Constantinople to waste, gutting its churches and sending many of its citizens into slavery in Europe. The crusaders never went on to Jerusalem, but calcified the mistrust between eastern and western Christendom

IN THE history of crusading, the idea that Christians should unite against Muslims for the defence of the Holy Places of Palestine was fundamental. The Byzantine ruler, Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118), may have considered that the defence of his empire against Turkish raids was as important, and the crusaders may have been just as interested in establishing their own western kingdoms and duchies. But they both supported the principle of military cooperation to ensure Christian access to the places rendered holy by Christ's life on earth. To the Muslims, however, the Prophet Muhammad's association with Jerusalem meant that it was the third holiest shrine in Islam, one they were prepared to defend by holy war.

During the century that elapsed between the First and the Fourth Crusade (1098-1204), relations between the Christians became deeply strained. Despite Manuel I's elaborate reception of the leaders of the Second Crusade in Constantinople in 1147, the indigenous population of the Byzantine Empire expressed its hostility to the western crusading forces that passed through on their way to the East. Later, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa generated extreme anxiety in Byzantium by his call for a campaign against the perfidious Greeks. His death at Konya brought the overland campaign of the Third Crusade to an end, while the naval expeditions of the English king, Richard I the Lionheart, and King Philip II of France failed to make a significant improvement in the situation of Jerusalem.

These meetings of East and West brought out differences between the Christian forces allied against the infidel Turks. Language was a basic problem: few Greeks knew Latin, and even fewer westerners knew Greek. Although the cooperation of Christians against the forces of Islam should have built trust, differences in church ritual, the wording of the creed, the consecrated bread offered in the mass and clerical celibacy divided Latin from Greek. During the twelfth century, Emperor Manuel I (1147-80) increased the number of Latins employed at the imperial court, where they served as translators and ambassadors. Growing western influence was also clear from the emperor's delight in the sport of jousting, wearing trousers and selecting western princesses as wives of the leading men of the imperial family.

All these matters provoked a reaction in Byzantium, where such western influence was resented. It was accompanied by a grudging appreciation of the fighting capacity and bravery of western fighters. Whether mounted or on foot, the Franks (as most westerners were called by the Greeks) were admired for their strength.

This can be traced from Anna Komnene's description of Bohemond, her father's enemy but a handsome, courageousman, to Niketas Choniates' appreciation of Conrad of Montferrat. Choniates makes an unflattering comparison between effeminate, cowardly Byzantines and their broad-shouldered, brave and daring Latin counterparts.

Ambiguous feelings accumulated as continuing Byzantine requests for western military help against the Turks were matched by fears that the crusaders might become covetous and might attack the Queen City of Constantinople. Some western knights who witnessed the wealth of the empire, particularly the churches with their relics and the markets of the great metropolis, expressed this jealousy. In addition, Magnus of Reichersberg denounced the Byzantine policy of making truces with the Turks in Asia Minor as treacherous and hostile to western forces, which only tried to support the Christian kingdoms of the East Mediterranean.

A further factor in relations between East and West was the privileged position of Venetian traders in Byzantium. By a series of treaties concluded in 992 and expanded in 1082, Venice was bound to bring military and naval assistance to the empire in return for favourable trading conditions. Venetians maintained settlements in most significant ports within the western parts of the empire, and in Constantinople they controlled an entire quarter with its own church and warehouses. Within this special alliance, Venice participated in the crusading movement only when it could maintain or expand the republic's commercial interests in East Mediterranean trade. Thus in 1100 a Venetian fleet assisted King Godfrey of Jerusalem in the capture of Haifa, in return for important commercial concessions. Again in 1123, when the Egyptian fleet attacked Jaffa, Venice sent a strong fleet to pursue them, and after a major naval victory, it stayed on to reduce the port of Tyre. The Venetians made an agreement with the king of Jerusalem, arranging the division of the booty which would result from the capture. In this way, Venice enriched its merchants while assisting the crusading kingdom.

In 1171 Manuel I Komnenos abandoned the established alliance and ordered the arrest of all Venetians within the empire and the confiscation of their property. A fleet was sent to raid the Byzantine cities of the Aegean. But it was unable to do so effectively due to an outbreak of plague, which caused many deaths on board. Alexios II (1180-82) restored the Venetian privileges, but his successor Andronikos I (1182-85) again unleashed anti-western forces in devastating attacks on Venetian persons and property. The immense losses sustained during these outbreaks of anti-western feeling resulted in Venetian claims for compensation were still unsettled in 1203.

In the last two decades of the twelfth century both western and Byzantine forces had reason to be wary of each other. As Christians, they should have united to oppose the Muslims, but non-religious factors often prevented this. In 1187 Saladin recaptured Jerusalem, spared its inhabitants and celebrated the return of the holy sites to Muslim control. It was in order to secure the return of Jerusalem to Christian control that Pope Innocent III preached the Fourth Crusade in 1198. One year later, Emperor Alexios III Angelos (1195-1203), who had replaced his brother Isaac II, sent an embassy to Rome requesting support for an attack on the Turks. The pope responded that the emperor had to contribute to the crusade and that the Eastern Church had to return to the authority of Rome. This threat to the independence of the church of Constantinople coloured all subsequent negotiations between the crusaders and Byzantium.

The role of the Venetians

As is well known, the Frankish leaders of the Fourth Crusade decided to attack the Muslims from Alexandria and requested the help of Venice in transporting their forces across the Mediterranean. This was agreed at considerable expense. But too few crusaders arrived at Venice to pay for the transport, which had been specially constructed. At this point, the doge, Enrico Dandolo, proposed that the crusading force should attack the city of Zara (Zadar), a port on the Adriatic which threatened Venetian maritime control. In this way, the crusaders would gain enough booty to settle their debt to Venice. Although numerous participants protested against attacking a Christian city, and some left the crusade and returned home, Zara was duly captured. The booty was shared according to the plan that had been agreed.

This success encouraged the Venetians in their second proposal, which was to make a slight detour to Constantinople in order to assist young Prince Alexios Angelos in regaining his throne. He had fled from Byzantium after the overthrow and blinding of his father, Isaac II. His claim was well known to the leader of the crusade, Boniface of Montferrat, and to Philip of Swabia, Alexios' brother-in-law, who sent him to Zara to negotiate. Once the idea of restoring Alexios received Enrico Dandolo's enthusiastic support, the crusader force no longer resisted.

Dandolo had lived in Constantinople and had suffered in the attacks of 1182.

His expert knowledge of the city was of inestimable value, as practically none of the crusaders had ever been to the great metropolis of the East. As the doge of Venice, he was now in a position to win great rewards, since the young pretender had promised a huge sum, 200,000 silver marks, as well as his personal participation in the crusade, in return for military support. Alexios had also agreed to make sure that the church of Constantinople came under Roman control, thus meeting the demand of Pope Innocent III. These conditions were so favourable to the western forces that only a few crusaders who wished to proceed straight to Egypt or to the Holy Land rejected the detour.

These were the circumstances which brought the Fourth Crusade to the walls of Constantinople rather than Damietta or Alexandria. After their failure to secure the money promised by Alexios IV, the crusading forces adopted the Venetian procedure already well established. Before attacking a hostile city, it was agreed that the anticipated booty would be divided out between the combatants. But now that they were in front of the capital of an entire empire, they had the whole of Byzantium to apportion between them. In the drawing up of this division of territory recorded in the Partitio Imperii Romaniae, the Venetians were at a great advantage, knowing both the provinces and the capital. They were able to ensure that a large part of Constantinople, the island of Crete and all the ports where they already had settlements and warehouses would become permanently Venetian. The crusaders agreed on the constitution for ruling the empire they had yet to conquer, and their leaders made their claims to different provinces. All the participants were assured of fabulous booty.

Both Greek and Latin authors preserve vivid eyewitness accounts of the second siege of 1204: Geoffroy de Villehardouin, Robert of Clari, Gunter of Paris on the western side, and Niketas Choniates, the greatest Byzantine mediaeval historian, on the eastern. Both sides agree that the construction of high scaffolding on ships, from which the westerners could jump down onto the Byzantine sea walls, caused the first breach. Niketas ruefully admits that Emperor Alexios V failed to rally the population and fled. Although new Byzantine leaders came forward, they were unable to prevent the sack of the city. Both sides agree about the extensive looting and devastation, which was increased by fires. Gunter writes: "So great a wealth of gold and silver, so great a magnificence of gems and clothing, so great a profusion of valuable trade goods, so great a bounty of foodstuffs, homes so exceptional and so filled with commodities of every sort" ... that the crusaders "were all suddenly transformed from aliens and paupers into very rich citizens".

Niketas laments: "Constantine's fine city, the common delight and boast of all nations, was laid waste by fire and blackened by soot, taken and emptied of all wealth, public and private, as well as that which was consecrated to God by the scattered nations of the West... the dashing to earth of the venerable icons and the flinging of the relics of the saints ... seizing as plunder the precious chalices and patens ... the outcries of men, screams of women, the taking of captives ... and raping of bodies."

After five days Choniates and his family only escaped from the destruction thanks to a Venetian friend, a wine merchant, who pretended that these Greeks were his booty.

Longterm effects

The Latin occupation of Constantinople had many longlasting effects, not least the removal of many relics, antiquities and treasures to the West.

1204 also confirmed to Pope Innocent and his successors and to western rulers and monks who had participated in the crusades, that the Byzantine imperial government was essentially unstable. Condemnation of its ancient political system went hand in hand with admiration for Byzantium's gold and silver objects, icons, reliquaries and silks.

More significant, the sacrilege of 1204 remained in Byzantine memory and generated a powerful anti-Latin sentiment in the inhabitants of the capital. This prevented all subsequent efforts to reunite the churches of West and East. In 1274 and 1439 as church union was celebrated in Lyons and Florence, the population of Constantinople protested so vigorously that patriarchs were unable to impose its decisions on the capital. This must lie at the base of the principle enunciated in 1453 as Constantinople was about to fall to the Turks: Better the Turkish turban than the pope's tiara. In terms of political domination, the Byzantines preferred to maintain their own theology under Ottoman rule than to suffer union with the church of Rome and western rule.

*Judith Herrin is professor of Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at King's College London, and director of the Centre for Hellenic Studies. She is best known for her books, The Formation of Christendom (London 1989) and Women in Purple (London, 2000). She contributed this article to the Athens News


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 1204; ad; byzantine; christianhistory; churchhistory; constantinople; crusades; godsgravesglyphs; happened; popeinnocent; really; saladin; what

1 posted on 03/09/2004 4:26:37 PM PST by blam
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To: farmfriend

The interior of Agia Sophia's dome. Still Istanbul's landmark, the majestic Byzantine church with all its precious treasures must have awed the crusaders

2 posted on 03/09/2004 4:28:45 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
The crusades are literally, a 1400 year long war going on to this day.
3 posted on 03/09/2004 4:29:55 PM PST by Monty22
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To: blam

Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium, shielded by its walls

4 posted on 03/09/2004 4:30:52 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Mark for later read.
5 posted on 03/09/2004 4:32:20 PM PST by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
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To: blam
I just really enjoy your posts, Blam. Always interesting things you find to share here.
6 posted on 03/09/2004 4:33:16 PM PST by jla
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To: blam
B4L8r
7 posted on 03/09/2004 4:37:57 PM PST by AFreeBird (your mileage may vary)
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To: blam
Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium, shielded by its walls

Some of those walls are still standing. When I visited Istanbul for the first time, about 10 years ago, I saw fragments of the walls, and mistakenly thought they represented recent "urban renewal." No, I was told, those were the original walls, over 1000 years old.

8 posted on 03/09/2004 4:41:38 PM PST by JoeFromSidney (All political power grows from the barrel of a gun. -- Mao Zedong. That's why the 2nd Amendment.)
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To: jla
"I just really enjoy your posts, Blam. Always interesting things you find to share here."

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoy them.

9 posted on 03/09/2004 4:42:04 PM PST by blam
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To: Monty22
The crusades are literally, a 1400 year long war going on to this day.

It will continue until the Islamofascists and their ideology of imposing Islams religious and gender apartheid on the Darul Harb are totally humiliated in defeat.

THE AGENDA OF ISLAM - A WAR BETWEEN CIVILIZATIONS

10 posted on 03/09/2004 4:44:05 PM PST by USF
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To: USF
Thanks much for the link. It's a must read.

I have a Muslim friend who goes to a mosque that teaches personnel salvation. She has tried to explain to me why this was rare and how it was different from most mosques. After reading this article I understand what she was trying to say.
11 posted on 03/09/2004 5:34:42 PM PST by lizma
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To: Monty22
We are called the infidels by people like Osama Bin Laden.
12 posted on 03/09/2004 5:42:46 PM PST by NotJustAnotherPrettyFace (Michael <a href = "http://www.michaelmoore.com/" title="Miserable Failure">"Miserable Failure"</a>)
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To: blam
Keep a lookout for Cecil B. DeMille's 1935 film on TCM, I have it on tape, one of my faves..

"Summary: DeMille At His Peak!

THE CRUSADES is a film of awesome power with some of the finest costumes, epic battles and all the pagentry expected of the legendary Cecil B. DeMille. Henry Wilcoxon's Richard the Lionheart gives (along with his star turn as Marc Anthony in DeMille's CLEOPATRA the previous year) the greatest performance of his entire career. Mesmerizing in its power, just as effective today as when it was filmed in 1935. A must-see for all who esteem the epic/spectacle genre. Fine performances given by an all-star cast right down to DeMille regulars in supporting roles. They don't get much better than this! (imdb user review)"




http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0026249/
13 posted on 03/09/2004 5:43:25 PM PST by wolficatZ (___><))))*>____)
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To: blam
The immense losses sustained during these outbreaks of anti-western feeling resulted in Venetian claims for compensation were still unsettled in 1203.

Sadly, if Manuel I and Andronikos I had not driven out the Venetians and Alexios IV had paid the money he promised, this horrible atrocity may never have happened. As it was, the Byzantines became known as perfidous and thus unworthy of the sacrifices the crusaders were expected to endure on their behalf.

And really, the Latins made up for this sin later against the Turks. If it wasn't for Latin assistance during the 14th & 15th century, Constantinople would have been taken much sooner than AD 1453.
14 posted on 03/09/2004 6:05:02 PM PST by Antoninus (Federal Marriage Amendment NOW!)
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To: blam
bump to read later
15 posted on 03/09/2004 6:10:19 PM PST by OldCorps
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To: blam


The Theodosian Walls of Constantinople
16 posted on 03/09/2004 6:12:55 PM PST by Antoninus (Federal Marriage Amendment NOW!)
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To: Antoninus
Alexios didn't HAVE the money. It was an absurdly-large amount that the Imperial Treasury could not possibly have covered, and he knew it from the start.

I detest historical revisionists, and always pull for the Outremere - but the Fourth Crusade was a total long-term disaster for the West. Nothing good, and plenty bad came out of it.
17 posted on 03/09/2004 6:17:05 PM PST by horse_doc
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To: blam
Good post!
18 posted on 03/09/2004 6:17:23 PM PST by Frank_2001
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To: horse_doc
Alexios didn't HAVE the money. It was an absurdly-large amount that the Imperial Treasury could not possibly have covered, and he knew it from the start.

Based on the huge amounts of wealth in the city at the time (from the both the Greek and Latin sources), I somehow doubt he couldn't have raised the money. It wouldn't have been the first time Constantinople had paid off a hostile force with an absurd amount of money. Justinian the Great did it several times himself.

I detest historical revisionists, and always pull for the Outremere - but the Fourth Crusade was a total long-term disaster for the West. Nothing good, and plenty bad came out of it.

Not completely true. If not for the treasures taken back to the West from the sack, some of the greatest relics of our ancient patrimony may have been lost to us forever when the Byzantines were overthrown by the Turks. Including, it is thought, the Shroud of Turin.

I always looked at the Fourth Crusade as the inevitable result of the fatally flawed, hubristic Byzantine foreign policy which continuously treated the Crusaders just like every other ignorant horde of barbarians that had fought in the service of the emperor.

But you're right--long term, it was a disaster for the Christian east and west and dashed any hope of reconciliation.
19 posted on 03/09/2004 6:57:33 PM PST by Antoninus (Federal Marriage Amendment NOW!)
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To: blam; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; A.J.Armitage; abner; adam_az; AdmSmith; Alas Babylon!; ...
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.
20 posted on 03/09/2004 11:06:14 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: farmfriend
Great article. :-)
21 posted on 03/09/2004 11:13:25 PM PST by nopardons
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To: blam
Blam, thanks a lot for your effort in sharing your knowledge. I enjoy your posts all the time. The world would be a better place if people learn from history.
22 posted on 03/10/2004 3:44:29 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: blam; All
Those interested in this thread might also want to check out this one:

The Real History of the Crusades

23 posted on 03/10/2004 5:00:50 AM PST by Fedora
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To: lizma
Thanks! I'm glad you understand the danger Islam presents to world peace.

Oh, btw your friends mosque is probably out of step with mainstream Islamic thinking and the Imam might even be branded an apostate for engaging in "bidah" (innovation, see: http://www.islamonline.net/fatwaapplication/english/display.asp?hFatwaID=107863 ).

Its too bad Muslims don't accept the fact that nobody kills Muslims better than a militant Muslim.

The problem is, even if there are "good Muslims" out there (OK, the term is confusing, by "Good Muslim" I refer to a good person who professes to practice Islam... in reality, they are "Bad" in the Islamic sense because they do not follow all Islams intolerant ideology and the belief in the Islamic "end of days" scenario where, in an enchanted forest type scenario, trees come alive and yell "O Muslim, there is a Jew behind me! Come kill him!" ) they are the enemies of the "true Muslims" who, even if they manage to murder all 5 billion atheists, agnostics, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs etc on the planet, they are then obligated to wage jihad on their own - those they see as the bidahis.

Islam has nothing to offer but eternal killing.

24 posted on 03/10/2004 4:39:39 PM PST by USF
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To: USF
bump
25 posted on 05/04/2004 1:34:32 PM PDT by OldCorps
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To: blam
Better the Turkish turban than the pope's tiara. In terms of political domination, the Byzantines preferred to maintain their own theology under Ottoman rule than to suffer union with the church of Rome and western rule.

Yeah, but who got the booty, hmm?

26 posted on 05/04/2004 1:46:29 PM PDT by skeeter
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To: blam
Bookmarking for tonight.
27 posted on 05/04/2004 1:50:55 PM PDT by BunnySlippers (Must get Moose and Squirrel ... B. Badanov.)
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To: blam
Istanbul was Constantinople.
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople.
So, if you have a date in Constantinople,
She’ll be waiting in Istanbul.
28 posted on 05/04/2004 2:02:42 PM PDT by tnlibertarian (Even old New York, was once New Amsterdam.)
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To: blam

bump


29 posted on 11/06/2006 7:01:11 PM PST by OldCorps
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To: blam

Ping for later.


30 posted on 11/06/2006 7:07:07 PM PST by WWTraveler
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 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Just updating the GGG information (which never got posted), not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


31 posted on 03/02/2013 6:32:17 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: blam

I’ve often wondered what the life of a Templar Knight in the late tenth century would be like. The earliest known example of my surname outside the Domesday Book is found in the Templar Inquisition of 1185. He was in Essex.


32 posted on 03/02/2013 6:42:06 AM PST by RegulatorCountry
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