The Attack On Constantinople By The Fourth Crusade

In the old ages 1203 and 1204, the Fourth Crusade was diverted from its intended finish of Egypt, foremost to the Christian metropolis of Zara and so to the Byzantine capital of Constantinople. Both metropoliss were looted and the Crusaders killed fellow Christians. For centuries, this episode has been considered one of history ‘s greatest bloopers ; the bagging and coup d’etat of one of the largest Christian metropoliss on Earth by an ground forces purportedly dedicated to stomping out the enemies of Christianity. The inclination of recent scholarship sing the Fourth Crusade has been either to fault or support an person, e.g. Boniface of Montferrat, or a cabal of the Crusader forces, e.g. the Venetians, for the recreation that resulted in the poke of Constantinople. Important historiographers as Alfred Andrea and Ilona Motsiff[ 1 ], Joseph Gill,[ 2 ]Donald E. Queller and Gerald W. Day[ 3 ], Thomas Madden[ 4 ], Michael Angold[ 5 ]and Jonathan Harris[ 6 ]hold all discussed several different readings of the recreation of the Fourth Crusade every bit good as who is to fault for this.

Four chief primary beginnings have been studied over and over once more in order for an accurate account to be given. First, “ The Deeds of Innocent III ” translated and completed by James M. Powell in 2004.[ 7 ]The 2nd primary beginning is written in 1215 by Gunther, a monastic at the monastery of Pairs, in defence of the actions of his archimandrite Martin who accompanied the ground forcess of the Fourth Crusade. The 3rd major primary beginning is Geoffrey de Villehardouin ‘s narrative “ On the Conquest of Constantinople ” , which has two features: ( a ) defensive attitude and ( B ) violent anger towards Crusaders. The 4th primary beginning is besides a narrative by Robert of Clari ; “ La Conquete de Constantinople. ” Robert of Clari was a lower degree knight and participant and that makes Robert ‘s work potentially valuable, and rare. With both the cognition of the historical facts around the Fourth Crusade – the recreation to Zara and its gaining control on the 24th of November 1202 and Constantinople ‘s gaining control on 12th April 1204 – and the survey of primary beginnings, it is possible to get down exemplifying the importance of the motivations that finally resulted in deviating the Campaign to the capital of Byzantium.

Boniface, Marquis of Montferrat and secular caput of the Crusade, seems the best figure to get down with non merely because of his place of power over the other secular leaders, but besides because of his hostility towards Constantinople, which occurred because Boniface and his brother were closely involved in personal businesss in Constantinople prior to the Fourth Crusade.[ 8 ]While analyzing Boniface ‘s function in the recreation of the Crusade cogent evidence can be found that before the Crusade of all time had any fiscal trouble with the Venetians the elected caput of the endeavor was already in favor of the cause of immature Alexius.[ 9 ]Furthermore, Boniface, even old to the exclusion of his military personnels at Zara, was already cognizant that the Pope was against any recreation of his Campaign that would ensue in the gore of fellow Christians. Boniface is besides guilty for converting his fellow Lords, who were on the Crusade for their ain redemption, to back up him on the besieging of Constantinople ; a major Christian metropolis. Therefore, as Chris Brayer argues: “ Boniface acknowledged that Innocent III ‘s place negates any possibility that his purpose in taking the Cross was inspired by faith, since he proceeded to deviate the Crusade anyway. Besides, his support of the cause of Alexius in the face of that same place indicates that his subterranean motivations against Constantinople were surely paramount in his credence of the place as secular caput of the Crusade. ”[ 10 ]Harmonizing to what has been mentioned so far Boniface of Montferrat had doubtless strong motivations for deviating the Fourth Crusade.

However, one should non merely fault Boniface, since the greedy Venetians and their Doge Enrico Dandolo besides had strong motivations in deviating the Crusade. Historians Queller and Day advert the long tradition of Venetians in helping old Crusades, an statement that “ culminates with the Doge and many of his topics taking the cross themselves. ”[ 11 ]However, this statement proves to be uneffective, merely because – harmonizing to Andrea and Motsiff – Venetians refused to recognize the apostolic official emissary Peter Capuano as anything more than a simple churchman.[ 12 ]Gill adds to the statement of Andrea and Motsiff, back uping that the Venetians destroyed the apostolic prohibition of exclusion, placed on them before Zara, and besides that they attempted to be absolved from the exclusion after the autumn of Constantinople.[ 13 ]The Venetians ‘ motivations, merely like Boniface ‘s, had nil to make with faith or redemption since they knew that their onslaughts on Zara and Constantinople were done contrary to the Pope ‘s wants. Evidence clearly shows that “ the Venetians were utilizing deplorable conditions as a bargaining tool to deviate the reformers to Zara ”[ 14 ], if non to Constantinople.

Some bookmans are seeking to fault Pope Innocent III for the recreation of the Crusade to Constantinople. Evidence provided by all four primary beginnings mentioned in the beginning show no ground to believe that Pope Innocent III of all time wanted the Fourth Crusade to ensue in such a catastrophe. In malice of this, it can be argued that Pope Innocent III made some errors – prior and during the Crusade – that resulted in its recreation. During the assemblage at Venice, the Pope used military personnels already committed to shiping on the Crusade for apostolic warfare in Italy.[ 15 ]Furthermore, he made errors such as pass oning with Emperor Alexius III, after the activities done by his nephew, Alexius IV, in France during the summer of 1201 and personally accepting a visit from Alexius IV every bit good. Justifiably, Alexius III was concerned that the Pope might assist his nephew to unchurch him ; a missive to Innocent was so written by Alexius III inquiring him to forestall the confederacy. Gill states that Innocent ‘s answer to the Emperor was “ reassuring ” .[ 16 ]Andrea and Motsiff write: “ The apostolic missive was a really sly effort at blackmail. Innocent hoped to convert an evidently scared Alexius III was that his lone hope ballad in his subordinating the Grecian Church to the Roman pontificate and in fall ining the campaign against Islam. ”[ 17 ]The consequence was that Innocent failed to advert to any of his letters to the Crusaders that Constantinople was non to be attacked for any ground. From Innocent ‘s side, this should be considered as an skip and non as direct engagement. On 20 June 1203, he wrote to the Reformers: “ Indeed, no affair what evil in this and other things the Emperor and those capable to his legal power have committed, it is non for you to go through judgement on their offenses ; you did non take on yourselves the symbol of the Cross to revenge this hurt, but instead the shame done to the Crucified to whose honor you have dedicated yourselves in a particular wayaˆ¦ We want you to bear in head and We warn you non even venially to conflict the sense of our prohibition by which We forbade you under hurting of exclusion to try to occupy or harm lands belonging to Christiansaˆ¦ ”[ 18 ]Therefore the Pope did non by any agencies wanted the recreation to Constantinople and was committed to the Crusaders ‘ journey to the Holy Land.

Finally, secular and spiritual leaders should be considered guilty in deviating the Campaign to Constantinople. Queller provides a transition that describes the idea of the leaders in favor of the recreation of Constantinople while reasoning with Simon de Montfort who was against it: “ The opposing party responded that they could carry through nil in Syria, for it could be recovered merely by traveling to Egypt or Greece. Simon, archimandrite of Loos, a follower of Baldwin of Flanders, seriously prayed the host to keep together and to accept the proposal of the minister plenipotentiary. His supplication and the influence of the greater work forces eventually brought approximately ( the proposal ‘s ) acceptance, although merely 12 of the main work forces would stick on their signatures to the convention. ”[ 19 ]They in secret agreed with the Venetians to the jaunt to Zara and, disregarding the menaces of the Pope, sacked the metropolis.[ 20 ]At Corfu, they attempted to convert an full ground forces to deviate to Constantinople and were evidently successful in making so at the behest of Boniface of Montferrat. An of import fact to reference is that Baldwin of Flanders, one of the original vocalists of the Treaty of Venice, became Emperor of Constantinople after the poke of the metropolis in 1204.[ 21 ]These leaders are clearly guilty every bit far as it concerns the onslaughts against Zara and Constantinople, but it can non be entirely proved that it was their primary purpose and non merely an unfortunate series of events that led them to make so.

In decision, there are two facts that should be mentioned: ( a ) about everyone involved in the Fourth Crusade was in some manner to fault and ( B ) there were preexistent motivations to deviate the Crusade to Zara and Constantinople among cardinal leaders of the Fourth Crusade, such as Boniface of Montferrat and Doge Enrico Dandolo and his Venetians. Indeed, unlike many of their fellow Crusaders involved, these two figures ‘ actions against Constantinople have a logical account. Truth is that Boniface ‘s and the Venetians ‘ motivations seem to be the cardinal factor behind the recreation to Constantinople, but still non the premier one. Should the incrimination be assigned specifically to those two work forces? There are many other, internal and external, forces and factors one should see when inquiring who was to fault for the recreation of the Fourth Crusade. Some of those were knowing and others non so much. Why non fault those who had given such power to two work forces – Winfred and Enrico Dandolo – since they knew that they – each for their ain grounds – clearly had so much to derive by suppressing the Christian metropolis of Constantinople alternatively of the Holy Land? The unfortunate event of the poke of Constantinople in 1204 and the violent death of so many fellow Christians by the Crusaders has really complex forces involved in it.