Robert of Clari was a knight from Picardy who took part in the Fourth Crusade, which ended with the capture of Constantinople in 1204. Robert seems to have returned to France in 1205, since although his work contains references up to the date of 1216, the events between 1205 and 1216 are summed up very briefly in what serves almost as an epilogue to his story. His chronicle is one of the few accounts we have where we see military events being discussed from the point of view of an ordinary soldier.
Here beginneth the history of them that took Constantinople, and presently we will tell you who they were and for what cause they went thither. It came to pass, what time Pope Innocent was Pontiff of Rome, and Philip was King of France (another Philip there was, who was Emperor of Germany), and the year was the twelve hundred and third or fourth year of the Incarnation, that there was a certain priest, Master Fulk by name, who was of Neuilly, a parish that lay in the Bishopric of Paris. This priest was a right worthy man and a right good clerk, and he went about throughout the lands preaching the cross and many folk followed him, because he was so worthy a man that God wrought very great miracles in his behalf; and much substance did this priest obtain to carry to the holy land beyond the sea.
Then there took the cross Thibaut, Count of Champagne; and Baldwin, Count of Flanders, and Henry his brother; and Lewis, Count of Blois; and Hugh, Count of Saint-Pol; and Simon, Count of Montfort, and Guy his brother.
And now will we name to you the bishops that went thither. Thither went Bishop Nevelon of Soissons, who shewed himself there a right worthy man and valiant in all commands and in all times of need; and Bishop Warnier of Troyes; and the Bishop of Halberstadte in Germany; and Master John of Noyon, who was chosen Bishop of Acre. Thither also went the Abbot of Loos in Flanders, who was of the monks of the order of Citeaux (this abbot was a very wise man and most worthy), and other abbots and clerks so many that we cannot name them all to you.
And of the barons that went thither we cannot name all to you, but a part of them we can name. Thither went, from Amienois, my Lord Peter of Amiens, that fair knight and worthy and valiant; and my Lord Enguerrand of Boves, with his three brothers (one was called Robert, another Hugh, and their other brother was a clerk); Baldwin of Belvoir; Matthew of Wallincourt; the Advocate of Bethune, and Conon his brother; Eustace of Canteleu; Anseau of Cayeux; Repier of Trit; Wales of Frise; Girard of Manchecourt, and Nicholas of Mailly; Baldwin Cavarom; Hugh of Beauvais; and many other knights of high estate, both Flemings and men of other lands, not all of whom can we name to you; and thither, too, went my Lord James of Avesnes.
Thither also went, from Burgundy, Odo of Champlitte, and William his brother, who had many men in the host; and there were others from Burgundy, so many that we cannot name them all to you. And from Champagne went thither the Marshal; and Ogier of Saint-Cheron; and Macaire of Sainte-Menehould; and Clerembaut of Chappes; and Miles of Brabant; these were of Champagne.
Next, there went thither the Castellan of Coucy; Robert of Ronsoi; Matthew of Montmorency, who shewed himself there a right worthy man; Ralph of Aulnoy, and Walter his son; Giles of Aulnoy; Peter of Bracheux, that worthy knight and bold and valiant; and Hugh his brother. And those that I name to you here were of the Isle of France and of Beauvaisis.
And from Chartrain went thither Gervais of Chatel, and Hervee his son; and Oliver of Rochefort; and Peter of Alost; and Payen of Orleans; Peter of Amiens, a good knight and a worthy and one that wrought there many deeds of prowess; and Thomas his brother, a clerk, who was Canon of Amiens; Manasses of Lille in Flanders; and Matthew of Montmorency, the Castellan of Corbie.
Now there were so many other knights of the Isle of France, and of Flanders, and of Champagne, and of Burgundy, and of other lands, that we cannot name them all to you, all valiant knights and worthy; and these that we have named here were the richest men, and they bore banners; nor have we named all those that bore banners.
And of those that wrought there the most deeds of prowess and of arms, both rich men and poor, we can name to you a part: Peter of Bracheux, who was, of both poor men and rich, he who wrought most deeds of prowess; and Hugh his brother; and Andrew of Urboise; and my Lord Peter of Amiens, that worthy knight and fair; and Matthew of Montmorency; and Matthew of Wallincourt; and Baldwin of Belvoir; and Henry, the brother of the Count of Flanders; and James of Avesnes : these were they of the rich men who wrought there the greatest deeds of arms. And of the poor men: Bernard of Aire, and Bernard of Somergen; Eustace Heumont, and his brother; Gilbert of Vismes; Wales of Frise; Hugh of Beauvais; Robert of Ronsoi; Alard Maquereau; Nicholas of Mailly; Guy of Manchecourt; Baldwin of Hamelincourt; William of Embreville; Aleaume the Clerk of Clari in Amienois, who was a right worthy man and wrought there many deeds of hardihood and of prowess; Aleaume of Sains, and William of Fontaines (and they whom we have named here were they that wrought there the most deeds of arms and of prowess) ; and many other good folk, both knights and footmen, so many thousands that we know not the number thereof.
Chapter 2: HOW COUNT THIBAUT OF CHAMPAGNE WAS CHOSEN LEADER OF THEM THAT TOOK THE CROSS; OF HIS DEATH; AND OF THE DEATH OF MASTER FULK
Then came together all the counts and high barons who had taken the cross. And they summoned all the men of high estate that had taken the cross; and when they were all assembled they took counsel among themselves, whom they would make their captain and lord, until they chose Count Thibaut of Champagne and made him their lord. Then they departed, and went each one to his own land.
And no long time thereafter Count Thibaut died; and he left fifty thousand pounds to them that had taken the cross and to him who after himself should be captain and lord of these, to make such use thereof as they themselves should de–sire. Thereafter also died Master Fulk, whereby they of the cross suffered grievous loss.
Chapter 3: HOW THE MEN OF THE CROSS SENT MESSENGERS TO THE MARQUIS OF MONTFERRAT
When the men of the cross knew that the Count of Champagne, their lord, was dead, and Master Fulk also, then were they very sad and sorrowful and sore distressed; and they all came together on a certain day to Soissons, and they took counsel among themselves what they should do and whom they would make their captain and lord, until they agreed among themselves that they would send for the Marquis of Montferrat in Lombardy. Thither they sent right good messengers for him. The messengers made ready and went to the marquis. When they were come thither they spoke to the marquis and said to him that the barons of France sent him greeting and that they bade and besought him, in God’s name, to come and speak with them on a day that they named to him. When the marquis heard this he marveled much that the barons of France had summoned him; but he made answer to the messengers that he would take counsel in the matter, and on the morrow he would let them know what he would do concerning it. And he did the messengers much honour.
When the morrow was come, the marquis said that he would go and speak with them at Soissons on such a day as they had named to him. Then the mes–sengers took their leave and went their way; and the marquis made offer to them of his horses and of his jewels, but they would take none of these.
And when they were returned they made known to the barons what they had done. Then the marquis made ready for his journey, and he passed through the mountains of Mont-Joux and came into France to Soissons. And he made known aforehand to the barons that he was coming, and the barons went forth to meet him and did him great honour.
Chapter 4: HOW THE MARQUIS WAS MADE LEADER OF THE MEN OF THE CROSS
When the marquis was come to Soissons he asked the barons wherefore they had summoned him. And the barons had taken counsel, and they said to him: “Lord, we have summoned you because the Count of Champagne, our lord, who was our master, is dead; and we summon you, as being the worthiest man that we knew and the one that could bring the best counsel to our undertaking – God guide it! So we all beseech you, in God’s name, to be our lord and, for the love of God, to take the sign of the cross.”
And after these words the barons kneeled down before him, and they said to him that he should not trouble himself to seek substance, for that they would give to him a great part of the substance that the Count of Champagne had left to the men of the cross. The marquis said that he would take, counsel in the matter; and when he had taken counsel he said that, for the love of God and to succour the land beyond the sea, he would take the cross. And the Bishop of Soissons straightway made ready and gave him the cross. And when he had taken it, they gave him, of the substance which the Count of Champagne had left to the men of the cross, five and twenty thousand pounds.
Chapter 5:THE MEN OF THE CROSS TAKE COUNSEL TO WHAT LAND THEY WILL PROCEED; AND THEY AGREE TO SEND MESSENGERS TO ENGAGE A FLEET
Thereafter, when the marquis had taken the cross, he spoke to the barons. “My lords,” quoth the marquis, “whither will ye proceed, and into what land of the Saracens will ye wish to go?” Then the barons answered that to the land of Syria they would in no wise go, for there could they gain no advantage; but they had purposed to go to Babylon, or to Alexandria, into the very midst of the infidels, where they could gain the most advantage, and it was in their mind to hire a fleet which should carry them all thither together. Then said the marquis that this counsel was good and that he fully agreed to it, and that they should send good messengers, of the wisest of the knights among them, either to Pisa, or to Genoa, or to Venice; and to this counsel did all the barons agree.
Chapter 6: HOW THE MESSENGERS CAME TO GENOA, TO PISA, AND TO VENICE, SEEKING A FLEET; AND OF THE BARGAIN THAT THEY STRUCK WITH THE DOGE OF VENICE
Then they fixed upon their messengers. They all agreed that my Lord Conon of Bethune go thither, and the Marshal of Champagne. Then, when they had agreed upon their messengers, the barons withdrew, and the marquis departed to his own land and the others also, every one of them. And the messengers were bidden to hire vessels to carry four thousand knights and their accoutrements and an hundred thousand footmen. The messengers made ready for their journey, and they went straight on their way until they came to Genoa. And they spoke to the Genoese and told them what they were seeking; but the Genoese said that they could in no wise aid them. Then they went on to Pisa, and they spoke to them of Pisa. And these made answer to them that they had not so many vessels nor could they aid them in any wise.
Then they went on to Venice, and they spoke to the Doge of Venice, and they said that they were bidden to seek to hire passage for four thousand knights and their accoutrements and for an hundred thousand footmen. When the Doge heard this he said that he would take counsel in the matter, for in so weighty an undertaking good counsel should be taken.
Then did the Doge summon all the high counsellors of the city, and he spoke to them and showed them what had been demanded of him. And when they had fully taken counsel, the Doge answered the messengers and said to them: “Sirs, we will gladly strike a bargain with you and we will find you a suf–ficient fleet, for an hundred thousand marks, if ye will, with this condition: that I myself shall go along with you, and half of the men of all Venice who are able to bear arms; and with the stipulation that we shall have the half of all the gains that shall be made there. Furthermore, we will furnish you with fifty galleys at our own cost, and one year from the day that we shall name to you we will bring you to that land that ye shall choose, whether ye will go to Babylon or to Alex–andria.”
When the messengers heard this they answered that an hundred thousand marks was too much; and they spoke together until they made a bargain for four–score and seven thousand marks, and the Doge and the Venetians swore that they would abide by the bargain. Then the Doge said that he desired to have five and twenty thousand marks as earnest-money, for to begin the preparation of the fleet, and the messengers made answer that he should send back other messengers with them to France and that they would gladly cause the five and twenty thou–sand marks to be paid to these. Then did the messengers take their leave and de–parted homeward. And the Doge sent with them a nobleman of Venice to receive the earnest-money.
Chapter 7: HOW THE DOGE COMMANDED THE FLEET TO BE MADE READY
Then did the Doge cause a ban to be cried throughout all Venice, that no Venetian should be so bold as to undertake any traffic, but that all should help in making ready the fleet; and so they did. And they began to prepare the goodliest fleet that ever yet was seen.
Chapter 8: HOW THE MESSENGERS CAME TO FRANCE AND RENDERED AN ACCOUNT OF THEMSELVES
When the messengers came into France they let it be known that they were come. Then were all the barons that had taken the cross bidden to come to Corbie. And when they were all assembled there, the messengers told what they had accomplished. When the barons heard it they were right glad and right well did they approve what the messengers had done; and they paid much honour to the messengers of the Doge of Venice, and they gave them of the moneys of the Count of Champagne and of the moneys that Master Fulk had obtained; also, did the Count of Flanders add thereto of his own moneys so much that the whole came to five and twenty thousand marks. And these were delivered to the mes–senger of the Doge of Venice, and there was given to him a goodly escort to go with him even unto his own land.
Chapter 9: HOW THE PILGRIMS WERE BIDDEN ASSEMBLE AT EASTERTIDE AND GO THEIR WAYS TO VENICE
Then was word sent throughout all the lands to them that had taken the cross, that they should all make ready at Eastertide to go to Venice betwixt Pente–cost and August, without fail; and so did they. And when Eastertide was past, they all came thither. And full many were the fathers and mothers, the brothers and sisters, the wives and children, that were sore grieved for their loved ones.
Chapter 10: HOW THE PILGRIMS CAME TO VENICE AND LODGED IN THE ISLE OF SAINT NICHOLAS
When the pilgrims were all assembled in Venice and saw the goodly fleet that had been made ready, the goodly ships, the great dromonds, the transports for carrying the horses, and the galleys, greatly did they marvel at these and at the great riches that they found in the city. And when they saw that they could not in any wise all lodge in the city, they took counsel together that they would go and lodge in the Isle of Saint Nicholas, which was wholly encompassed by the sea and lay a league distant from Venice. Thither did all the pilgrims go, and there they pitched their tents and lodged as best they could.
Chapter 11: HOW THE DOGE COMMANDED THE HALF OF THE VENETIANS TO GO WITH THE PILGRIMS; HOW THEY DETERMINED THE MATTER BY LOT; AND HOW THEY DEMANDED OF THE PILGRIMS THE FULFILLMENT OF THEIR AGREEMENTS. OF THE LEVY THAT THE PILGRIMS MADE, AND THE OUTCOME THEREOF
When the Doge of Venice saw that the pilgrims were all come, then sum–moned he all those of his own land of Venice. And when they were all come, then did the Doge command that the half of them should dispose themselves and make themselves ready to go in the fleet with the pilgrims. When the Venetians heard this, some rejoiced, others said that they could not go thither; nor could they come to any agreement how the half of them could go thither. But at last they resorted to lots; for they made, two by two together, two lumps of wax, and in the one lump they put a writing. Then came they to the priest and gave them to him; and the priest made the sign of the cross over them, and he gave to each one of the two Venetians one of these lumps, and he of the twain that had the lump with the writing, he must needs go in the fleet. Thus they made their division.
And when the pilgrims had lodged themselves in the Isle of Saint Nicholas, then went forth the Doge and the Venetians to speak to them. And they demanded of them the fulfillment of the agreement concerning the fleet that they had caused to be prepared. And the Doge said to them that they had done ill in that they had asked, through their messengers, that the Venetians should make ready a fleet for four thousand knights and their accoutrements and for an hundred thousand foot; whereas, of these knights, there were scarce more than a thousand, since the rest had gone to other harbours, and of these hundred thousand footmen, there were scarce more than fifty or sixty thousand. “Wherefore we desire,” said the Doge, “that ye pay us the sums promised, which were agreed upon with us.”
When the men of the cross heard this they spoke together, and they agreed among themselves that each knight should give four marks, and for each horse four, and each serjeant of horse two marks, and that he who should give the least amount should give one mark. When they had gathered these moneys they paid them to the Venetians; but there yet remained to pay fifty thousand marks.
When the Doge and the Venetians saw that the pilgrims had paid them no more than this they were sore distressed, so that the Doge said unto them: “Sirs,” (quoth he) “ye have served us ill; for so soon as your messengers had made agreement with me and with my people, I gave commandment throughout my whole land that no merchant should undertake any traffic, but should help make ready this fleet; and they have ever since bided their time, nor have they got any gain this year and a half past. Nay, rather have they suffered great loss; and for this reason my men desire, and I also, that ye pay the moneys which ye owe us. And if ye do not so, know then that ye shall not remove yourselves from this island until we shall have been paid, nor shall ye find any one to fetch you aught to drink or to eat.”
But the Doge was a right worthy man, and, for all that he had said, he ceased not to suffer both drink and meat a plenty to be fetched to them.
Chapter 12: HOW THE PILGRIMS MADE YET ANOTHER LEVY; AND HOW THEY REACHED AN ACCORD WITH THE DOGE AND THE VENETIANS
When the counts and the other men of the cross heard that which the Doge had said, they were exceeding sad and sore distressed. And they made yet another levy, and they borrowed such moneys as they could of them that they believed might have any. And these they paid to the Venetians; but when they had paid them there yet remained to pay six and thirty thousand marks. And they said to them that they were utterly bereft, and that the host was much impoverished of this levy that they had made, and that they could procure no more moneys to pay them, but that they had scarce wherewithal to maintain their own host meanly. When the Doge saw that they were utterly unable to pay all these moneys, nay, rather, that they were in exceeding sore straits, he spoke to his people and said thus to them: “Sirs,” (quoth he) “if we let these people go unto their own country, we shall ever be esteemed wicked men and deceivers. But let us straightway go to them and let us say to them that if they will render us these six and thirty thou–sand marks, which they owe us, out of the first conquests that they shall make and shall have for division, then will we set them over the sea.”
The Venetians approved that which the Doge had said. Then went they to the pilgrims, there where they were lodged. And when they were come thither the Doge said unto them: “Sirs,” (quoth he) “we have taken counsel together, I and my people, to the effect that if ye will promise us loyally to pay us those six and thirty thousand marks that ye owe us, from the first conquests that ye shall make on your account, then will we set you over the sea.”
When the men of the cross heard that which the Doge had said to them and showed them, then were they right glad, and they fell at his feet for joy, and they promised that they would be very fain to do that which the Doge had advised them. And such rejoicing did they make that night that there was none so poor that he made not a great illumination, and they carried on the tips of their lances great torches of candles round about and within their lodgings, so that it seemed that all the host was one bonfire.
Chapter 13: HOW THE PILGRIMS MADE YET ANOTHER LEVY; HOW THE DOGE PROPOSED THAT THE PILGRIMS GO AGAINST ZARA; AND OF THE SETTING FORTH OF THE FLEET
Thereafter came the Doge to them, and he said to them: “Sirs, it is now winter, and we could not pass over the sea; nor is it I that have been lax in the matter, for I would have set you over long ere now, but ye yourselves have been lax therein. But let us make the best of the matter” (quoth the Doge). “There is a city near at hand; Zara” is the name thereof. They of that city have done us much hurt, and I and my men wish to avenge ourselves of them, if we can. And if ye will trust me, we will go thither this winter and abide there until about Eastertide; and by then we shall have made ready our fleet, and we will go thence beyond the sea, with God’s help. And the city of Zara is a right goodly city, and full of all manner of riches!”
The barons and the men of high estate that had taken the cross agreed to that which the Doge had said; but not all the men of the host knew of the plan –none save the men of highest estate. Then did they all in common prepare for their voyage and make their fleet altogether ready. And they put forth to sea. And each of the men of high estate had his own ship for himself and his people, and his own transport to carry his horses; and the Doge of Venice had with him fifteen galleys, all at his own cost. The galley wherein he himself was, was all vermilion-coloured, and it had a pavilion stretched above it of vermilion samite, and there were four silver trumpets which sounded before him, and timbrels is that made a most joyful noise. And all the men of high estate, and clerks and lay–men, both small and great, made so great a rejoicing at their setting forth that never yet had such rejoicing and such an armament been seen or heard. And the pilgrims caused the priests and the clerks to go up into the castles of the ships, who chanted the “Veni Creator Spiritus.” And all, both great and small, wept for fullness of heart and for the great gladness that they had.
And when the fleet set forth from the haven of Venice, and . . . .[missing line in the manuscript] dromonds, and the rich ships, and so many other vessels, that it was the goodliest thing to behold that ever hath been since the beginning of the world. For there were full an hundred pair of trumpets, both silver and brass, which all sounded for the departure, and so many timbrels and tabours and other instruments that it was a fair marvel to hear.
But when they were come forth upon the sea, and had spread their sails and hoisted their banners upon the castles of the ships, and their ensigns, then verily did it seem that the whole sea was all as warm, and that it was all ablaze with the ships that they were steering and the great rejoicing that they made.
Then they went their way until they came unto a city the name whereof was Pola. There went they on land, and refreshed themselves. And they tarried there a little time, until they were well refreshed and had bought fresh victuals to put in their ships. Thereafter did they put forth to sea again. And if they had made great rejoicing and revel before; now made they as great or greater; so that the folk of the city marveled much at the great rejoicing, and at the great fleet, and at the great pomp that they manifested. And they said (and this was in very deed the truth) that never had so fair a fleet, nor one so magnificent, been seen or assembled in any land, as was gathered there.
Chapter 14: HOW THE PILGRIMS AND THE VENETIANS WENT AGAINST ZARA; HOW THEY ATTACKED IT IN DESPITE OF THE POPE’S BAN; AND HOW THEY TOOK THE TOWN AND DIVIDED IT
So the pilgrims and the Venetians sailed until they came to Zara on the night of the feast of Saint Martin. When the men of the city of Zara saw the ships and the great squadrons coming, then were they sore afraid; and they caused the gates of the city to be shut, and they armed themselves as best they could, as if to defend themselves. When they were armed, the Doge spoke to all the notable men of the host, and said to them, “Sirs, this city hath done much evil both to me and to my people; fain would I avenge myself thereof. So I beseech you that ye come to mine aid.” And the barons and notable men answered and said to him that they would aid him gladly.
Now the men of Zara knew full well that the men of Venice hated them. Therefore had they procured a letter from Rome to the effect that whosoever should make war upon them or should do them any hurt would be excommunicated. And they sent this letter by trusty messengers to the Doge and to the pil–grims who had come thither. When the messengers came to the host, then was the letter read before the Doge and before the pilgrims. When the letter was read and the Doge had heard it, he said that not for all the Pontiff’s excommunication would he refrain from avenging himself on them of the city. Thereupon the mes–sengers went their ways.
Then spoke the Doge a second time to the barons, and he said to them, “Sirs, be it known to you that not in any wise would I refrain from avenging myself of them, not for the Pontiff himself!” And he besought them that they might aid him. The barons made answer all that they would aid him gladly – all save Count Simon of Montfort and my Lord Enguerrand of Boves. These said that they would in no wise go against the commandment of the Pontiff nor did they at all desire to be excommunicated. So they turned away, and went to Hungary to abide there through the winter.
When the Doge saw that the barons would aid him he caused his engines to be set up to assault the city, until they of the city saw that they could not hold out against them; then they came to terms and surrendered the city to them. Then did the pilgrims and the Venetians enter therein; and they divided the city into two halves, so that the pilgrims had the one half thereof and the Venetians the other.
Chapter 15: HOW A CONTENTION AROSE BETWEEN THE VENETIANS AND CERTAIN OF THE PILGRIMS; AND HOW THEY ALL OBTAINED ABSOLUTION FROM THE POPE
Thereafter it chanced that a great contention arose betwixt the Venetians and the baser sort amongst the pilgrims, which lasted a full night and half a day. And so great was this contention that scarcely were the knights able to separate them. But when they had separated them, they established so good a peace be–tween them that never thereafter did they fall out one with the other.
Then the notable men who had taken the cross, and the Venetians, spoke together concerning the excommunication wherewith they had been banned because of the city that they had taken, until they took counsel among themselves to send to Rome to obtain absolution. And they sent thither the Bishop of Soissons and my Lord Robert of Boves, who obtained from the Pontiff letters whereby all the pilgrims and all the Venetians were absolved. When they had their letters, then did the bishop return as speedily as he could, but my Lord Robert of Boves returned not with him but went his ways beyond the sea, straight from Rome.
Chapter 16: HOW THE PILGRIMS LOST HEART IN THEIR UNDERTAKING
In the mean time, while the men of the cross and the Venetians abode there that winter, they considered that they had made great expenditure, and they spoke together and said that they could in no wise go to Babylon, nor to Alexandria, nor to Syria, since they had neither victuals nor substance wherewith to go thither; for already had they spent well-nigh all that they had, both in the sojourn that they had made there and in the great payments that they had made for the fleet. And they said that they could in no wise go thither; and if they should go thither, they would accomplish nothing there, for they had neither victuals nor substance wherewith to sustain themselves.
Chapter 17: HOW THE DOGE ENCOURAGED THE PILGRIMS; AND OF THE OCCASION WHEREOF THE MARQUIS TOLD THEM OF GOING AGAINST CONSTANTINOPLE
The Doge of Venice perceived right well that the pilgrims were not at ease; and he spoke to them, and said to them: “Sirs, in Greece is there a very rich country, and abounding in all good things; if we could find a reasonable occasion for going thither and getting victuals in that country, and other things, until we should be fully restored, this would seem to me a good counsel, and so might we in sooth go on beyond the sea.”
Then arose the marquis and said: “Sirs, I was last year at Yuletide in Germany, at the court of my Lord the Emperor. And there saw I a young man who was brother to the wife of the Emperor of Germany. And this young man was the son of the Emperor Isaac of Constantinople, from whom one of his own brothers had taken away the empire by treachery. Now whosoever could have this youth” (quoth the marquis), “he could right easily go to the land of Constantinople and get victuals and other things, for this youth is the rightful heir thereto.”
Chapter 18: OF THE EMPEROR MANUEL COMNENUS AND OF HIS DEALINGS WITH THE FRANKS
And now will we leave off telling you of the pilgrims and of the feet, and we will tell you of this young man and of the Emperor Isaac, his father, how they fared before.
There was an emperor in Constantinople whose name was Manuel. And he was a right worthy man, this emperor, and richest of all the Christians who ever were, and the most bountiful; nor ever did any one ask of him aught of that which was his (one who was of the religion of Rome and who could speak with him) that he caused not an hundred marks to be given him. Thus have we heard men testify concerning him.
This emperor loved the Franks much, and much did he trust them. One day it came to pass that the people of his land and his counselors chide him sore, even as they had chidden him many a time before, because he was so bountiful and loved the Franks so exceedingly. And the emperor made answer to them, “There be but two persons who ought to give, God and I. But if ye so counsel, I would dismiss the Franks, and all of them that are of the religion of Rome who are about me and my army.”
And the Greeks were right glad thereat and said, “Ali, lord! Now will ye act right well, and right well will we serve you.”
And the emperor commanded that all the Franks should depart, and the Greeks were passing glad thereat. Thereafter the emperor bade all the Franks, and the others whom he had dismissed, come and speak with him privately. And so did they. And when they were come, then said the emperor unto them, “Sirs, my people leave me not in peace except I give you no gifts and drive you forth of my land. But do ye all depart together, and I will follow you, both I and all my people; and so see ye to it that ye are in such and such a place” (which he named unto them), “and I will send you word by my messengers that ye are to go your ways; but ye shall send me answer that ye will not go, for all me or my people, but rather ye shall make a great show of attacking me; then shall I see how my people prove themselves.”
And all this they did. And when they had departed the emperor summoned all his people and followed them. And when he drew near to them he bade them straightway go their ways and take themselves forth of his lands; and they who had counseled the emperor to drive them forth of his land were right glad, and they said to the emperor, “Lord, if they will not straightway go their ways, give us leave that we slay them all!”
And the emperor answered, “Gladly!”
And when the emperor’s messengers came to the Franks they delivered them their message most arrogantly, that they should straightway go their ways. And the Franks made answer to the messengers and told them that they would not go, not for all the emperor and his people. The messengers returned and reported what the Franks had answered. Then did the emperor bid his people arm themselves and help him to attack the Franks; and they all armed themselves, and they went against the Franks. And the Franks advanced to meet them, and they had ordered well their battalions. And when the emperor saw that they were advancing against him and against his people, to combat them, then said he to his people, “Sirs, be mindful now to acquit yourselves well! Now can ye well avenge yourselves of them!”
And when he had said this, the Greeks were filled with great fear of the Latins (for men do call all those of the religion of Rome, Latins), and the Latins made great feint of attacking them. When the Greeks saw this they turned and fled, and they left the emperor all alone. When the emperor saw this, then said he to the Franks: “Now come ye back again, and I will give you more than ever yet I have given!”
And he led back the Franks, and when they were come back, then summoned he his people, and he said to them, “Sirs, now can it well be seen whom one ought to trust. Ye fled away, when ye ought to have aided me, and ye left me all alone, and if the Latins had so wished, they might have cut me all in pieces. But now do I command that no one of you be so bold or so daring that he ever again speak of my bounty, nor of the love that I bear to the Franks; for verily do I love them and trust them more than you, and therefore will I give them more than I have yet given them!”
And the Greeks were never thereafter so bold that they durst speak thereof.
Chapter 19: HOW THE EMPEROR MANUEL BETROTHED HIS SON TO THE SISTER OF KING PHILIP OF FRANCE
This Emperor Manuel had a very fair son by his wife, and he purposed to make for him as high a marriage as he could; and by the advice of the Franks he sent word to Philip, the King of France, that he should give his sister in mar–riage to this his son. And the emperor sent his messengers to France, who were very notable men; and they journeyed thither in very rich array, nor ever yet had men been seen to journey in richer or more magnificent array than did these, so that the King of France and his people marveled at the magnificence that the messengers displayed.
When the messengers came to the king, then told they him the word that the emperor sent him. And the king said that he would take counsel in the matter. And when the king took counsel concerning it, then did his barons advise that he send his sister to so noble a man and so rich a man as was the emperor. Then did the king make answer to the messengers that he would gladly send his sister to the emperor.
Chapter 20: HOW KING PHILIP’S SISTER JOURNEYED TO CONSTANTINOPLE; AND HOW THE EMPEROR’S KINSMAN, ANDRONICUS, OFFERED VIOLENCE TO QUEEN THEODORA OF JERUSALEM
Then did the king accoutre his sister most richly and send her with the messengers to Constantinople, and much people with her. And they rode and jour–neyed without resting until they came to Constantinople. And when they were come thither, then did the emperor show the damsel great honour, and he had great joy both of her and of her people.
In the mean time, when the emperor had sent for this damsel, he also sent elsewhere across the sea a certain kinsman of his, Andronicus by name, for Queen Theodora of Jerusalem, who was his sister, that she might come to the crowning of his son and to the feast. The queen put to sea with Andronicus, to come to Constantinople. But when they had gone some long way upon the sea, what did Andronicus do but begin to lust after the queen, who was his own cousin, and lie with her by force. And when he had done this, he durst not return again to Constantinople, but he took the queen and brought her by force to Konieh,” to the Saracens. And there he abode.
Chapter 21: HOW THE EMPEROR MANUEL DIED; HOW ANDRONICUS, BY CRAFT AND VIOLENCE, MADE HIMSELF EMPEROR; AND OF THE AD–VENTURES OF THE YOUTH ISAAC ANGELUS
When the Emperor Manuel got word that Andronicus had dealt thus with his sister, he was sore grieved thereat; nevertheless, for all this did he not forego his purpose to make high festival and to crown his son and the damsel. But no great time thereafter the emperor died.
When Andronicus, the traitor, heard tell that the Emperor Manuel was dead, he sent word to Manuel’s son, who was now emperor, and besought him in God’s name to lay aside his displeasure, and he persuaded him that this was but a lie that had been told against him; so that the emperor, who was but a lad, laid aside his displeasure and sent for him. And so this Andronicus came back, and was ever about the lad, until the lad made him bailiff of all his land; and he waxed exceeding proud because of the bailiwick that he held.
And it came to pass, no long time thereafter, that he seized the emperor by night and murdered him, and his mother also. When he had done this he took two very great stones and caused them to be bound about their necks and then he let them be cast into the sea. Thereafter he caused himself by force to be crowned emperor. When he was crowned, he seized all those of whom he knew that they took it in evil part that he should be emperor, and he put out their eyes, and grievously entreated them, and caused them to die an evil death. And he took all the fair women that he found, and lay with them by force; and he took the empress to wife, who was the sister to the King of France; and he wrought so many and so great iniquities that never any other traitor or murderer wrought such as he wrought.
When he had wrought all these iniquities, he enquired of one of his master bailiffs who helped him to bring about all these calamities, if there were left any of them who took it in evil part that he should be emperor. And this man answered him that he knew of none such, save that it was said that there were three goodly youths who were of the house that was called the House of Angelus; and they were notable men, but by no means rich, rather, poor men, nor had they any great power. When the Emperor Andronicus heard that there indeed were three youths of that house he commanded that bailiff of his, who was a most wicked man and a traitor, even as he himself was, to go and take them and hang them or cause them to die an evil death. The bailiff went forth to take these three brethren, but he took only one of them and the two escaped. As for him who was taken, they put out his eyes; afterward he became a monk. The two others fled, and the one of them went into a land that is called Wallachia; the name of this one was Isaac. And the other went to Antioch and was taken by the Saracens in a foray that the Christians made.
He who fled to Wallachia was in such straits there that he could not sustain himself, and at last, because of dire poverty, he returned to Constantinople and hid himself in the house of a widow woman in that city. Now he possessed not a chattel in the world save a mule and one manservant; and this servant, with the mule, trafficked in wines which the beast carried about, and in other things, whereby his master Isaac and he did live. At length came tidings to the emperor, the traitor Andronicus, that the man was indeed come back to the city. Then commanded he his bailiff, who was sorely hated of all the people because of the evils that he wrought every day that he should go and take this Isaac and hang him. Accordingly, this man mounted his horse one day, and took much people with him, and went his way to the house of the good woman. And when he was come thither he caused them to call at the door, and the good woman came forth and wondered much what he desired; until at last he commanded that she should lead forth him that was hidden in her house. And the good woman answered and said, “Ah, lord! By God’s grace, there is no man hidden therein!”
And he commanded her yet again that she should cause him to come forth; else, if she did not so, he would seize them both. When the good woman heard that, she was filled with great fear of this devil who wrought so much evil, and she went into the house and came to the young man and said to him, “Ah, fair Sir Isaac! Ye are indeed a dead man! For here is the emperor’s bailiff, and much people with him, who are come to seek you for to use you despitefully and to slay you!”
The young man was sore dismayed when he heard these tidings; nevertheless, he came forth, for he was in no wise able to save himself from going out to the bailiff. Then what did he do but take his sword and put it underneath his surcoat. And he went forth of the house and came before the bailiff and said to him: “Sir, what is your pleasure?”
And the bailiff answered him most despitefully and said to him: “Thou foul varlet ! Now shalt thou be hanged!”
So Isaac saw that, will he, nill he, he must perforce go with them; but right fain would he avenge himself on some one of them. And he drew as nigh as he might to the bailiff, then drew he his sword and smote the bailiff in the middle of his head, so that he clove it clean down to the teeth.
Chapter 22: OF THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF ISAAC; AND HOW HE WAS CROWNED EMPEROR
When the sergeants and the folk that were with the bailiff saw how the young man had thus cloven the bailiff asunder, they fled away. When the young man saw them fleeing, he took the horse of the bailiff whom he had slain and mounted it, yet holding fast his sword, which was all bloody. And what did he do then but set out on his way to go toward the Minster of Saint Sophia. And as he was going his way he cried mercy to the folk that were along the streets, who were all sore affrighted because of the hubbub that they had heard; and the young man said to them, “Sirs, by God’s grace, slay me not! For I have put to death that devil and murderer, who hath brought all manner of shame on them of this city and on others!”
When he came to the Minster of Saint Sophia he gat himself up upon the altar and embraced the cross, because he would safeguard his own life. Then the shouting and the hubbub waxed very great in the city, for so went the shouting up and down the whole city that everywhere therein it was known how Isaac had slain this demon and murderer. When they of the city knew this they rejoiced greatly thereat, and they ran, every one for himself, toward the Minster of Saint Sophia, for to see this young man who had wrought this bold deed. And when they were all gathered there, then began they to say one to another, “This is a valiant fellow and a bold, for that he hath ventured so bold a deed!”
And then said the Greeks one to another, “Let us seize the occasion! Let us make this young man emperor!”
And thus did they all agree among themselves. Then sent they for the Patri–arch, who at that very season was in his palace, that he should come and crown a new emperor whom they had chosen. When the Patriarch heard this he said that he would do noting of the sort, and he began to say, “Sirs, ye do ill! Be ye at peace! Ye do not well at all, ye that have undertaken such a thing. If I should crown him, then would the Emperor Andronicus put me to death and hew me all in pieces!”
And the Greeks answered him that, if he would not crown him, then would they cut off the Patriarch’s head; so that the Patriarch, by force and because of the fear that was in him, came down from his palace and went to the minster, where Isaac was standing, in a very mean robe and very mean garments, for that selfsame day had the Emperor Andronicus sent his bailiff and his people to take and to destroy him. Then did the Patriarch array himself, and he crowned him with all speed and haste, whether he would or no. When Isaac was crowned, then did the tale thereof spread all up and down the city, until Andronicus knew it and knew that Isaac had slain his bailiff, nor even yet could he ever believe it until he sent thither his own messengers. And when his messengers came thither, then saw they that it was indeed true; and they went straightway back to the emperor and said, “Lord, it is all true!”
Chapter 23: HOW ANDRONICUS SOUGHT TO FLEE FROM THE CITY
When the emperor knew that this was true he arose and took many of his people with him and went even to the Minster of Saint Sophia, through certain passages that led from his palace even to the minster. When he was come to the minster, then did he go on until he was over the vaults of the minster, and he saw him who had been crowned. And when he saw him, he was sorely grieved thereat; and he enquired of his people if there was any of them that had a bow. And they brought him one, and an arrow. And Andronicus taketh the bow, and he bent it, and he thought to pierce Isaac, who had been crowned, through the midst of the body. But as he bent it, the bowstring burst in twain, and he was sorely vexed and troubled thereat. So back went he to his palace, and then said he to his people that they should go and shut the gates of the palace and should arm themselves and defend the palace. And thus they did. And in the mean time he went forth of the palace and came to a secret postern-gate, and thereby went he out of the city. And he went on board a galley, and certain of his people with him; and he put out to sea, for he desired not that the people of the city should take him.
Chapter 24: HOW ISAAC REWARDED THE FOLK THAT HAD MADE HIM EMPEROR
Thereafter, the people of the city went to the palace and brought the new emperor with them. And they took the palace by force, and they led the emperor within it. And then they seated him on the throne of Constantine; and after he was seated on the throne of Constantine, they did reverence to him, even as to an holy emperor. The emperor was very glad of the great honour that God had this day bestowed upon him, and he said to the people, “Sirs, now behold the great marvel of this great honour which God hath bestowed upon me; for in that very day that they sought to take me and destroy me, in that selfsame day am I crowned emperor! And because of the great honour that ye have done me, I give you all the treasure that is in this palace and in the Palace of Blachernae.”
When the people heard this they were all exceeding glad because of the great gift that the emperor had given them; and they went and brake into the treasury and found there so much gold and silver that it was in sooth a marvel. And they divided it amongst themselves.
Chapter 25: OF THE CAPTURE AND THE SHAMEFUL DEATH OF ANDRONICUS
Now on that same night when Andronicus fled, there arose so great a tempest on the sea, and so great a storm of wind and of thunder and of lightning, that neither he nor his people knew whither they were going; and at last the storm and the blast drove them back again to Constantinople, nor did they know a word of it. But when they saw that they were come back to land and could not proceed on their way, then said Andronicus to his people, “Sirs, look and see where we are.”
And they looked and saw plainly that they were returned to Constantinople; therefore said they to Andronicus: “Lord, we are dead men! For we are come back again to Constantinople!”
When Andronicus heard this he was so sore dismayed that he knew not what to do, and he said to his people, “Sirs, for God’s sake take us elsewhere, away from this place!”
And they answered that they could not proceed on their way, even though one were to cut off their heads. And when they saw that they could not on any wise proceed on their way, they took Andronicus, the emperor, and brought him to a tavern, and they hid him behind the wine-butts. The tavern-keeper and his wife regarded closely these people, and it was in their mind that they were of the people of the Emperor Andronicus. At last, by chance, the tavern-keeper’s wife went about amongst the wine-butts for to see that they were stopped tight, and looking round about her, lo, she espied Andronicus sitting behind the wine-butts in all his imperial vestments; and she knew him right well. So back came she to her lord, and she said to him, “Lord, Andronicus, the emperor, is hidden here within!”
When the tavern-keeper heard this he sent a messenger to a certain nobleman who dwelt hard by in a great palace, whose father Andronicus had put to death; moreover, he had ravished the wife of this nobleman. When the messenger was come thither he said to this nobleman that Andronicus was in the house of the tavern-keeper. And the man was rejoiced thereat; and he took certain of his people and went to the tavern-keeper’s house and seized Andronicus and brought him to his own palace.
And when the morrow came, early in the morning, the nobleman took Andronicus and led him away to the royal palace into the presence of the Emperor Isaac. When Isaac saw him he said to him, “Andronicus, wherefore hast thou in such fashion betrayed thy lord, the Emperor Manuel; and wherefore didst thou murder his wife and his son; and wherefore hast thou been so fain to do evil to those who were displeased because thou went emperor; and wherefore didst thou seek to have me taken?”
And Andronicus answered him, “Hold thy peace!” (quoth he) “for I would not deign to answer thee!”
When the Emperor Isaac heard that he would not deign to answer him, he summoned many of the men of the city to come into his presence. And when they were in his presence, the emperor said to them, “Sirs, behold, here is Andronicus, who hath done so much evil both to you and to others. I myself could, me seemeth, in no wise do such justice to him as ye all would desire; but I release him to you, to do with him what ye will.”
Then were the men of the city right glad, and they took him; and some said that he should be burned; and others, that he should be boiled in a caldron that he might live longer and suffer more; and others, that he should be drawn and quartered; so that they could not agree amongst themselves by what death or what torture they might destroy him. But there was there a certain wise man, who said, “Sirs, if ye would trust me, I would show you how we might avenge ourselves right well of him. I have at home a camel, which is the foulest beast and the most bedunged and ugliest in the world. Now we will take Andronicus, and we will strip him stark naked, and we will bind him to the camel’s back in such fashion that his face shall be against its rump, and we will lead him from one end of the city even unto the other. Thus will all they, both men and women, whom he hath wronged, be able to avenge themselves right well.”
And all agreed to that which that man had told them. And they took Andronicus and bound him even as the man had devised. And as they were leading him adown the city, then came those that he had wronged; and they stabbed him and pricked him, some with knives, and others with daggers, and yet others with swords. And they cried, “Twas thou didst hang my father! ‘Twas thou didst ravish my wife!”
And the women whose daughters he had taken by force tare his beard and wrought such other indignities on him that when they were come to the other end of the city there was no flesh whatsoever left upon his body. Then took they his bones and cast them into a draught-house. In such wise did they avenge themselves of the traitor.
And after the day that Isaac became emperor, it was portrayed upon the portals of the minster how Isaac was made emperor by a miracle, and how Our Lord was laying the crown upon him on the one side and Our Lady on the other; and how the angel cut the string of the bow wherewith Andronicus sought to shoot him, because, said they, his house bore the surname of Angelus.
Chapter 26: HOW THE EMPEROR ISAAC PROCURED THE ENLARGEMENT OF HIS BROTHER FROM THE HANDS OF THE SARACENS
Thereafter there laid hold on him a great longing to see his brother, who was in captivity in the land of the heathen, therefore did he take messengers and send them to seek his brother. And they sought him until they learned in what place he was held in captivity, then went they thither. When they were come thither and when the Saracens heard that the young man was brother to the Emperor of Constantinople, then did they esteem him much more precious because of that, and they said that they would not give him up without great ransom. So the messengers gave them as much gold and silver as they demanded. And when they had redeemed him they returned to Constantinople.
Chapter 27: HOW THE EMPEROR ISAAC SAW AGAIN HIS BROTHER ALEXIUS; AND HOW HE MADE HIS BROTHER BAILIFF OF HIS LAND
When the Emperor Isaac saw his brother he was exceeding glad of him and made great rejoicing over him; and he also was right glad in his turn, because his brother was emperor and because he had won the empire by his might. This young man was called Alexius. And it was not long thereafter that the emperor, his brother, made him bailiff of his land and commander thereof. Then did he wax so proud of this bailiwick that he had, that the people of all the empire spoke very ill of him; but they feared him because he was brother to the emperor and because the emperor so loved him.
Chapter 28: OF THE TREACHERY OF THE ELDER ALEXIUS; AND HOW THE YOUNG ALEXIUS, HIS NEPHEW, WAS SAVED FROM IT
Thereafter it chanced one day that the emperor went hunting in his forest; and what did Alexius, his brother, do, but come into the forest where the emperor was and seize him treacherously and put out his eyes. Thereafter, when he had done this, he caused him to be cast into prison, albeit none knew a word thereof. And when he had done this, back came he to Constantinople and caused it to be noised abroad that the emperor, his brother, was dead; and he had himself crowned emperor by force.
But when the tutor of the Emperor Isaac’s son knew that the child’s uncle had betrayed his father and made himself emperor by treachery, what did he do but take the child and cause him to be carried into Germany, to his sister, who was wife to the emperor of Germany; for he desired not that the child’s uncle should have him put to death, and the child was more the rightful heir than was Alexius, his uncle.
Chapter 29: HOW ALL THESE THINGS CONCERNED THE MEN OF THE CROSS AND THEIR UNDERTAKING
Now have ye heard how Isaac fared, and how he became emperor, and how his son came into Germany – he for whom the men of the cross and the Venetians had sent by counsel of the Marquis of Montferrat, their master (even as ye have heard before in this history, that they might have occasion to go to the land of Constantinople). Now will we tell you concerning this child, and concerning the men of the cross, how they sent for him, and how they went against Constantinople, and how they took it.
Chapter 30: HOW THE MEN OF THE CROSS SENT MESSENGERS FOR THE YOUNG MAN ALEXIUS
When the marquis had said to the pilgrims and to the Venetians that whosoever should possess the child of whom we have spoken heretofore, he would have good occasion to go unto Constantinople and get provision for them there, then did the men of the cross accoutre two knights right richly and well, and they sent them into Germany for this young man, that he might come to them. And they sent him word that they would help him to gain that which was his right.
When the messengers were come to the court of the Emperor of Germany, where the young man was, then did they tell to him the word which they had been charged to tell. When the young man heard this and understood the message which the notable men of the cross had sent him, he was right glad thereat and made great rejoicing over it, and he spoke the messengers fair and told them that he would take counsel in the matter with the emperor, his brother-in-law. When the emperor heard this thing he answered the young man that good fortune had indeed befallen him, and he exhorted him to go thither, and he told him that he would never possess any part of his heritage save that he got it through the help of God and of the men of the cross.
Chapter 31: HOW THE MESSENGERS BROUGHT THE YOUNG MAN TO THE PILGRIMS IN THE ISLAND OF CORFU
The young man perceived clearly that the emperor was giving him good counsel. Therefore he did array himself in as goodly fashion as he could, and he departed with the messengers. But before either the young man or the messengers were come to Zara, the fleet had already sailed away to the isle of Corfu, for Eastertide was already past. But when the fleet weighed anchor to go thither they left behind two galleys to await the messengers and the young man. And the pilgrims abode in the isle of Corfu until the young man and the messengers came thither. When the young man and the messengers came to Zara they found the two galleys that had been left behind for them; so put they forth to sea and in due season came to Corfu, where the fleet was. When the men saw that the youth was coming they all went out to meet him, and saluted him, and did him much honour. And when the young man saw how the men of high estate were honouring him, and all the host of the fleet which was there, then was he glad as no other man ever was. Then did the marquis come forth and take the young man and lead him with him into his own tent.
Chapter 32: OF THE BARGAIN THAT THE YOUNG MAN ALEXIUS STRUCK WITH THE PILGRIMS
When the youth was there, then came together all the high barons and the Doge of Venice into the marquis’ tent; and they spoke of one thing and of another, until at last they asked him what he would do for them if they would make him emperor and if they would cause him to wear the crown of Constantinople. And he answered them that he would do whatever they might desire. Thus they spoke together, until at last he said that he would give to the host two hundred thousand marks, and that he would maintain the fleet for one year at his own cost, and that he would go beyond the sea with them, with all his forces, and that he would maintain all the days of his life ten thousand men-at-arms in the land beyond the sea, at his own cost, and that he would give to all those of the host who should depart from Constantinople, for to go beyond the sea, provision for one full year.
Chapter 33: HOW THE PILGRIMS WERE IN TWO MINDS WHETHER TO GO TO CONSTANTINOPLE; WHY THE MARQUIS WAS EAGER TO GO AGAINST IT TO AVENGE HIMSELF ON THE EMPEROR; OF THE TREASON THAT THE EMPEROR HAD DEVISED AFORETIME AGAINST THE MARQUIS’ BROTHER; OF THE BROTHER’S DEPARTURE FOR THE HOLY LAND; OF THE THINGS THAT HAD HAPPENED THERE BEFORE HIS COMING; AND HOW GUY OF LUSIGNAN BECAME KING OF JERUSALEM
Then were summoned all the barons of the host and the Venetians; and when they were all assembled, the Doge of Venice arose and spoke to them thus: “Sirs,” (quoth the Doge) “now have we a reasonable occasion to go to Constantinople, if ye approve it; for we have the rightful heir.”
Now there were some that would not by any means agree to go to Constantinople, but said, “Bah! What have we to do in Constantinople? We have our pilgrimage to make, and thus is it our purpose to go to Babylon or to Alexandria. And our fleet is bound to accompany us only one year, and already the half of that year is past!”
And others said, on the other hand: “What have we to do in Babylon or in Alexandria, since we have neither victuals nor substance wherewith to go thither? Better were it for us, ere we go thither, to gain provision and substance by some reasonable occasion, than to go yonder to die of hunger. Then shall we be able to obtain some advantage; and he offered to come with us and to maintain our army and our navy yet a whole year at his own cost!”
Now the Marquis of Montferrat was more eager than any other that was there to go against Constantinople, because he desired to avenge himself of a wrong which the Emperor of Constantinople who now held the empire had done him.
Now will we here leave off speaking of the army, and we will tell you of the wrong because of which the marquis so hated the Emperor of Constantinople. It so befell that the Marquis Conrad, his brother, took the cross and went beyond the sea, and he took two galleys and went by way of Constantinople. And when he was come to Constantinople he spoke to the emperor and the emperor welcomed him and greeted him.
Now at this time a certain nobleman of the city had besieged the emperor in Constantinople, so that the emperor durst not go out from thence. When the marquis saw this he enquired wherefore it was that the man had thus beleaguered him and that he durst not contend against the man. And the emperor answered that he possessed neither the heart of his people nor their aid, wherefore he was unwilling to combat the man. When the marquis heard this he said that he would aid him in the matter, if he so wished; and the emperor said that so did he wish and that he would be exceeding thankful for his aid.
Then the marquis told the emperor that he would call upon all them of the religion of Rome, to wit, all the Latins that were in the city, and he would have them with him in his company, and with these he would go forth to battle and form the vanguard; and that the emperor should take all his own people and follow after him. So the emperor summoned all the Latins of the city. When they were all come, the emperor commanded them all to arm themselves; and when they were all armed and the marquis had caused all his own people to arm themselves, then did the marquis take all these Latins with him and ordered his battalion as best he could. And the emperor also was fully armed, and his people with him. Then what did the marquis do but set forth on his way before, and the emperor followed after. But so soon as the marquis was outside the gates with all his battalion, lo, the emperor went and caused the gate to be shut behind him.
But so soon as Branas (for he it was had beleaguered the emperor) saw that the marquis was coming on resolutely to attack him, he rose up – both he and his people – to go against the marquis. And as they were coming on, what did Branas do but thrust in his spurs and put himself ahead of all his people, about a stone’s throw, that he might make haste to charge against the battalion of the marquis. When the marquis seeth him coming he pricketh to meet him, and he smiteth him, at the first blow, in the eye, and struck him dead with that blow. Then smiteth he on the right hand and on the left, both he and his people, and they slay many of the foe. And when these saw that their lord was dead they began to be confounded, and they turned about and fled.
When the emperor, the traitor, who had caused the gates to be shut behind the marquis, saw that they were fleeing, then went he forth out of the city with all his people and began to pursue them that fled. And they gat much booty there, the marquis and others, both horses and other things a plenty. In this wise did the marquis avenge the emperor of him who had beleaguered him.
And when they had routed the foe they returned again to Constantinople, both the emperor and the marquis. And after they were returned and had laid aside their arms, then did the emperor thank the marquis right heartily for that he had so well avenged him of this his enemy. But the marquis asked him wherefore he had caused the gates to shut behind him.
“Bah! All is well now!” quoth the emperor.
“Now-yea!” quoth the marquis, “through God’s providence!”
And no very long time thereafter the emperor and his fellow traitors contrived a great treachery against the marquis, for he was desirous that the marquis should be destroyed. Howbeit, an aged man, who knew of this thing, had compassion on the marquis, and he came to the marquis most honourably and said to him, “Sir, for God’s sake get you hence out of this city! For if ye tarry here until the third day from this, the emperor and his fellow traitors have contrived a great plot whereby they will seize you here and cause you to be destroyed.”
When the marquis heard these tidings he was by no means at ease. So cometh he that very night and biddeth his galleys be made ready, and he putteth out to sea, ere it is yet day, and departeth thence. Nor did he stay his course until he was come unto Tyre.
Now it had already come to pass, or ever yet that whole land was lost [to the Christians], that the King of Jerusalem died, and all the kingdom of Jerusalem was indeed lost; nor was there any other city that still held out, save Tyre and Ascalon. And the king that had died had two married sisters: a knight, my Lord Guy of Lusignan, had wedded the elder, to whom the kingdom had escheated; and my Lord Humphrey of Thoron had the younger. And on a certain day there came together in Jerusalem all the high barons of the land, and the Count of Tripoli, and the Temple, and the Hospital in Jerusalem, to the temple. And they said among themselves that they would divorce my Lord Guy from his wife, because the kingdom had escheated to his wife, and that they would give her another husband who would be more competent to be king than was my Lord Guy. And so did they. They divorced them; but when they had divorced them, then could they never agree to whom they should marry her, until at last they left the whole matter to the queen, who had been wife to my Lord Guy. To her, then, did they deliver the crown, and she should give it to whomsoever she desired to be made king.
Then they came together again on another day – all the barons, and the Temple, and the Hospital; and there also was the Count of Tripoli, who was the goodliest knight in the land, and who verily thought that the lady would give him the crown. And there too was my Lord Guy, he that had had the queen to wife. When, therefore, they were all come together, the lady held up the crown, and she looked this way and that. Then she espieth him who had been her husband, and she went forward and set the crown on his head. Thus did my Lord Guy become king.
But when the Count of Tripoli saw this, he was so grieved that he departed unto his own land, even unto Tripoli, in high dudgeon.
Chapter 34: HOW KING GUY GAVE BATTLE TO THE SARACENS AND WAS TAKEN CAPTIVE; HOW HE PURCHASED HIS ENLARGEMENT; AND HOW THE MARQUIS CONRAD AND THE MEN OF TYRE DEFIED HIM
Not long thereafter the king gave battle to the Saracens, and he was taken captive, and all his people routed, and the land was so utterly lost that there was now not a city that held out, save only Tyre and Ascalon. And when Saladin saw that he held the land in his hand he came to the King of Jerusalem, whom he was keeping in captivity, and he said to him that if he would cause Ascalon to be given up to him, then would he let the king go, and a great part of his people also. And the king answered him, “Only lead me now thither, and I will cause it to be given up to you.”
And Saladin led him thither. When they were come thither, then the king spoke to them of the city and told them that they should give up the city, for such was his will. And they came and delivered the city to him. When Saladin had the city in his hand, then did he let the king go, and a part of his people with him; and the king, being escaped from captivity, departed with such of his people as he had and came to Tyre.
And now, while the king had been accomplishing these things, the marquis in the mean time had all the men of Tyre, and the Genose who were there, both in full accord with him. And they had all sworn fealty to him and vowed by holy relics that they would hold in all things to him as their lord, and he, that he would help them to defend the city. And the marquis had found so great a famine in the city that one measure of corn (of the measure of that city) was sold for an hundred bezants, which would not amount to more than a setier and a half at Amiens.
When the king came to Tyre, then his serjeants began to cry: “Open ye! Open ye the gate! Lo, the king cometh !”
And they that were within the city answered that they should not enter. Likewise the marquis came to the walls and said that the king should not enter.
“Bah!” quoth the king. “How so! Am I not in sooth lord and master of them that are within?”
“As God liveth,” quoth the marquis, “neither lord nor king are ye, nor shall ye enter here! For ye have brought us all to shame and utterly lost the land; furthermore, so great is the famine here within that if ye and your people should come in, the whole city would perish of hunger. And I would rather,” quoth the marquis, “that ye should perish, both ye and your people, who are of no great use, than that we who are within should perish, or the city itself.”
When the king perceived that he could not enter there, he turned about and departed toward Acre, and he went up into a little hill and encamped there. And there was it that the King of France and the King of England found him.
And while the marquis was in Tyre, in the midst of the great dearth which prevailed there, God sent them great comfort, in that a merchant came thither who brought a shipload of corn; and he offered the corn at ten bezants which had been at an hundred. So was the marquis greatly rejoiced thereat, and all they of the city. And all the corn was kept and purchased in the city.
Chapter 35: HOW SALADIN LAID SIEGE TO THE CITY OF TYRE
But after a brief space cometh Saladin and laid siege to Tyre, both by land and by sea, so that neither victuals nor any other thing could enter the city, and he abode there until the dearth was once more as great in the city as it had been before.
Chapter 36: OF THE GRIEVOUS DEARTH THAT AFFLICTED THEM OF TYRE; AND HOW ONE OF THE GENOESE DEVISED A PLAN FOR THEIR RELIEF
When the marquis saw that the dearth was so great in the city and that they could not get comfort or relief from any quarter, then did he summon all the men of the city and the Genoese also whom he had there, and he spoke to them and said, “Sirs” (quoth he), “we are undone unless God take pity on our plight, for the dearth is so great in this city that there is scarcely any meat or corn wherewith we may any longer sustain ourselves, nor can any relief come either by land or by sea. In God’s name, if there be any one of you that knows how to offer counsel in this case, let him offer it!”
Then stood forth a Genoese and said, “If ye would trust me” (quoth he), “I would give you good counsel.”
“Now, what counsel?” quoth the marquis.
“I will tell you,” quoth the man. “We have here within this city ships and galleys and barges and other vessels, and I will tell you what I will do. I will take four galleys with me, and I will have them manned with the fittest people that we have, and I will put forth to sea before daylight, as if I were seeking to escape hence. And so soon as the Saracens shall perceive me, they will not take the time to arm themselves, but rather they will have such haste to pursue and to overtake me that they will arm themselves not at all; rather will they all press hard after me. But ye shall very carefully have caused all your other vessels and barges and galleys to be filled with the fittest people that ye have; and when ye shall see them all pressing hard after me, and when they shall be well under way, then shall ye loose all your vessels and press hard after them, but I will turn back. On this wise will we give them battle. Thus will God give us counsel, if so please Him.”
To this counsel were they all agreed, and they did all things even as this man had devised.
Chapter 37: HOW THE MEN OF TYRE UTTERLY DISCOMFITED THE SARACENS; AND OF THE GRIEF AND RAGE OF SALADIN THEREAT
When day was near at hand, and this man had right well equipped his galleys, and all the other vessels were likewise well armed, then what did he do but set forth to sea a little before the day. Now the deep sea harbour was inside the walls of the city of Tyre, within which ships departed from the city or landed there. And he setteth forth on his course and beginneth to move on apace. When he was a little space away and the Saracens perceived him, then had they such haste to follow him that never at all did they arm themselves but let go all their hundred galleys and began to chase him. When the galleys were well under way, then did the men of the city press hard after them, but he whom the Saracens were chasing turned back. Then did the Tyrians engage the Saracens, who were all unarmed, and they slew many of them and put them to rout, so that of all those hundred galleys never a one escaped save two which the Tyrians did not take.
And Saladin beheld all this, and he made great moan, and plucked his beard, and tare his hair for grief, the while he saw his people cut to pieces before his eyes; nor could he help them. And after he had thus lost his fleet he broke camp and departed.
In this wise was the city still held by the marquis, and King Guy was yet in that little hill, toward Acre, where the King of France and the King of England had found him.
Chapter 38: HOW KING GUY AND HIS WIFE DIED AND HOW THE MARQUIS CONRAD BECAME KING OF JERUSALEM; OF HIS DEATH; AND OF THE TAKING OF ACRE
It was not long after this that King Guy died, and his wife also. So the kingdom escheated to the wife of my Lord Humphrey of Thoron, who was sister to the queen. Then did they go and take away his wife from my Lord Humphrey and give her to the marquis. Thus was the marquis made king; thereafter he had a daughter by her. And afterward was the marquis slain by the Assassins.” Then took they the queen and gave her to Count Henry of Champagne. And afterward was Acre besieged and taken.
Chapter 39: HOW THE PILGRIMS ENQUIRED OF THE BISHOPS WHETHER IT WERE A SIN TO GO AGAINST CONSTANTINOPLE AND HOW THE BISHOPS SAID THAT IT WAS A WORK OF MERIT
Now have we recounted to you the wrong because of which the Marquis” of Montferrat hated the Emperor of Constantinople, and wherefore he desired and planned more eagerly to go to Constantinople than did all the others; so then, we will return to our former matter.
When the Doge of Venice had said to the barons that now had they a good occasion to go to the land of Constantinople and that he approved it well, then were all the barons agreed among themselves. Thereafter they made enquiry of the bishops whether it would be a sin to go thither, and the bishops answered that this was in no wise a sin, but rather a good work of great merit; for now that they had the rightful heir, who had been disinherited, they could well aid him to obtain his right and to take vengeance of his enemies. Then did they cause the young man to swear on holy relics that he would hold fast to the covenant which he had made with them before.
Chapter 40: HOW THE PILGRIMS SET FORTH ON THEIR VOYAGE AND HOW THEY CAME AT LAST TO CONSTANTINOPLE
Then did all the pilgrims and the Venetians agree together to go thither. Then they prepared their fleet and made ready for their voyage and put out to sea. So they sailed until they came to an harbour which is called Abydus, and which lay full an hundred leagues distant from Constantinople. Now this harbour was in the place where once stood Troy the Great, at the entering in of the Strait of Saint George. Thence they rowed and sailed, all up the Strait of Saint George, until they were come within a league of Constantinople. Then they waited one for another until all the vessels were gathered together. When all the fleet and all the vessels were come together, then they decked and adorned their vessels in such fair fashion that it was the goodliest thing in the world to look upon. And when they of Constantinople saw this fleet, which was coming in such goodly array, they looked upon it with wonder, and they mounted upon their walls and upon their housetops to behold this marvel. And they of the fleet also looked upon the greatness of the city, which was so long and so broad, and they in their turn marveled exceedingly thereat. Then they passed on and went into harbour at Chalcedon, beyond the Strait of Saint George.
Chapter 41: HOW THE EMPEROR ENQUIRED OF THE PILGRIMS WHAT THEY WERE SEEKING; HOW THEY DEMANDED THAT HE ABDICATE HIS OFFICE; HOW THEY OF THE CITY WOULD NOT RECOGNIZE ISAAC’S SON AS THEIR LORD; AND HOW THE PILGRIMS PREPARED TO ATTACK THE CITY
When the Emperor of Constantinople knew this he sent to them, by good messengers, asking them what they were seeking there and wherefore they were come thither; and likewise he sent them word that if they desired any of his gold or of his silver he would send it to them right willingly. When the nobles heard this they made answer to the messengers that they desired nothing of his gold or of his silver; rather, they desired that the emperor should abdicate his office, for that he held it neither by right nor by law. And they sent word to him that they had the rightful heir with them, to wit, Alexius, son of the Emperor Isaac.
Then the messengers answered and said that the emperor would do noting of the sort; then went they their ways.
Thereafter the Doge of Venice spoke to the barons and said to them: “Sirs, I would fain counsel you that ye take ten galleys, and that ye put the young man in one of them, and people with him, and that they go under a truce to the seashore of Constantinople, and that they ask the folk of the city whether they will acknowledge the youth as their lord.”
And the men of high estate answered that this would be indeed a good thing to do. So they made ready the ten galleys, and the youth, and armed men a plenty with them; and they rowed until they were come hard by the walls of the city. Then did they row back and forth, and they showed the youth called Alexius to the people and enquired of them if they would recognize him as their lord. And they of the city made answer that by no means did they recognize him as their lord, and that they knew not who he was. And they that were in the galleys with him (the youth) said that this was the son of Isaac, the emperor that had been. And those within the city answered yet again that they knew noting concerning him. Then did these come back again to the host and make known what answer had been given them.
Then was word sent throughout the host that all should arm themselves, both great and small. And when they were all armed, then did they shrive themselves and partake of the sacrament, for greatly did they doubt whether ever they would come nigh Constantinople. Thereafter they ordered their squadrons, both ships and transports and galleys. And the knights went on board the transports with their horses, and they set forth upon their way. And they let sound trumpets of silver and of brass, as many as an hundred pair of them, and tabours and timbrels in great number.
Chapter 42: HOW THEY OF THE CITY MADE READY TO RESIST THE ATTACK
When the people of the city saw this great fleet, and heard the sound of the trumpets and the tabours, which made great noise, then did they arm themselves every one, and they went up upon the housetops and upon the towers of the city. Then in sooth did it seem to them that all the sea and the land trembled and that the whole sea was covered with ships. And in the mean time the emperor had caused his people to come, all armed, to the seashore for to defend it.
Chapter 43: HOW THE PILGRIMS TOOK THE SEASHORE OF CONSTANTINOPLE
When the men of the cross and the Venetians saw the Greeks who were come down to the seashore all armed against them, then spoke they together, and at last the Doge of Venice said that he would go first, with all his people, and that he would seize the shore, with God’s help. Then took he his ships and his galleys and his transports and put himself before the host, in the very front thereof; and next they took their crossbowmen and archers and sent them ahead in barges to clear the shore of the Greeks. When they had ordered themselves on this wise, then went they forward toward the shore. And when the Greeks saw that the pilgrims would not, for any fear of them, forbear to come to the shore, and when they saw them drawing yet nearer to them, then did they fall back, nor durst they await them any longer. So the fleet came to land, and when they were landed, forth came the knights out of the transports, all mounted; for the transports were built in such fashion that they had doors, which were easily opened, and a bridge was thrust out whereby the knights could come forth to land all mounted.
When the fleet had landed and the Greeks who had drawn back saw that the host had all come forth, then were they sore distressed. Now were they but a rabble, those Greeks who had come down to defend the shore and had boasted to their emperor that never should the pilgrims come to land so long as they were there.
When the knights were come forth from the transports they began to chase these Greeks, and they chased them as far as a bridge which stood nigh the end of the city, and above this bridge was a gate, through which the Greeks passed inward and fled into Constantinople.
And when the knights were returned from chasing the Greeks they spoke together, and the Venetians said that their vessels were by no means in safety unless they were inside the harbour. And they took counsel how to get them within the harbour. Now the harbour of Constantinople was firmly closed with a very thick chain, which was made fast on the one side within the city and on the other to the Tower of Galata. This tower was very strong and right easy to defend, and it was right well garrisoned with defenders.
Chapter 44: HOW THE TOWER OF GALATA WAS TAKEN; AND OF THE BEGINNINGS OF THE ASSAULT UPON THE CITY
By the advice of the notable men, this tower was invested, and at last it was taken by storm; but from end to end of the chain were galleys of the Grecians who were helping to defend the chain. But when the tower was taken and the chain broken, then did the vessels enter within the harbour and were brought into safety; and they took the galleys from the Greeks who were within the harbour, and certain ships also. And when their own ships and all their other vessels were brought inside the harbour in safety, then the pilgrims and the Venetians came together and took counsel amongst themselves how they might besiege the city. And at last they agreed between them that the Franks should invest the city by land, and the Venetians by sea. And the Doge of Venice said that he would cause engines to be built upon his ships, and ladders wherewith they could attack the walls. Then they armed themselves, the knights and all the other pilgrims, and went on to pass over a bridge which lay some two leagues away; nor was there any other road whereby to go to Constantinople within less than four leagues of that place, save only this bridge. And when they came to the bridge, certain Greeks came thither who disputed the passage as long as they could, until at last the pilgrims drove them back by force of arms and so passed over.
And when they were come to the city, the men of mark encamped there and pitched their tents in front of the Palace of Blachernae, which was the emperor’s; and this palace was at the very end of the city. Then did the Doge of Venice cause most marvelous engines to be made, and right goodly ones; for he had them take the spars which support the sails of the ships, which were full thirty fathoms in length, or more, and these he caused to be firmly bound and made fast to the masts with good cords, and good bridges to be laid on these and good guards alongside them, likewise of cords; and the bridge was so wide that three armed knights could pass over it abreast. And the Doge caused the bridge to be so well furnished and covered on the sides with sailcloth and other thick stuff, that those who should go up the bridge to make an assault need have no care for crossbow bolts nor for arrows. And the bridge projected so far forward beyond the ship that the height of the bridge above the ground was full forty fathoms or more. And each one of the transport ships had a mangonel, which continually hurled missiles against the walls and into the city.
When the Venetians had made ready their ships, even as I have told you, here, the pilgrims on the other hand, who were attacking by land, had their petraries so well trained that they hurled missiles and shot arrows clean into the emperor’s palace. And they that were inside the palace likewise hurled and shot in their turn, even to the tents of the pilgrims. Then they spoke together, the pilgrims and the Venetians, and they determined on the morrow to attack the city at once by land and by sea. And when the morrow came, early in the morning, whilst the Venetians were making themselves ready and ordering their vessels and drawing ever nearer to the walls to begin their assault, and when the pilgrims likewise on their side had ordered their people, lo, the Emperor of Constantinople, Alexius, came forth from the city by a gate which is called the Roman Gate, with all his people under arms; and there did he order his people and he drew up seventeen battalions, and in these seventeen battalions there were numbered wellnigh an hundred thousand horsemen. Then sent he the more part of these seventeen battalions around the flank of the Frankish host, and the rest he kept with himself. And all the footmen of the city that were able to bear arms he caused to come forth and he ranged them from end to end of the walls, between the host of the Franks and the walls. When the Franks saw themselves thus hemmed in round about by these battalions they were sore dismayed; but they drew up their own battalions, and these made but seven battalions of some seven hundred knights, for more than these had they none; also, of these seven hundred, there were fifty that were on foot.
Chapter 45: HOW THE PILGRIMS ORDERED THEIR BATTALIONS; AND OF THE USE THAT THEY MADE OF THE GROOMS AND THE KITCHEN-KNAVES
After this, when they had ordered their people on this wise, then the Count of Flanders asked for the first battalion, and it was granted to him; the second battalion had the Count of Saint-Pol and my Lord Peter of Amiens; the third battalion had my Lord Henry, the brother of the Count of Flanders, and the Germans. And then they settled it that the serjeants of foot should follow the battalions of horse, so that three companies or four followed one battalion of horse, and each one of the battalions had those of its own country behind it. Thereafter, when they had drawn up the three battalions that were to fight against the emperor, then did they draw up the four others which should guard the host; so that the marquis, who was lord of the host, had the rearguard and guarded the host behind, and Count Lewis had the other next after it, and they of Champagne had the third, and the Burgundians the fourth; and these four battalions did the marquis guard.
And next they took all the fellows that guarded the horses, and all the kitchen-knaves who could bear arms, and these they attired in quilted trappings and in saddlecloths and armed them with copper pots and with pestles large and small, so that they were so hideous and so horrible that the common crowd of the emperor’s footmen, who were standing outside the walls, had great fear and horror of them when they beheld them. And these four battalions that I have already named to you guarded the host, for fear lest the emperor’s battalions, which were all about the host, should harm or harry the host or the tents; and the grooms and kitchen-knaves were placed toward the city, over against the emperor’s footmen that were drawn up beneath the walls. And when the emperor’s footsoldiers saw our common folk so hideously accoutred, they had so great fear and so great horror of them that they durst not so much as move or come toward them, nor ever on that side had the host any need of a guard.
Chapter 46: HOW THE VENETIANS FOUGHT FIERCELY AND SET FIRE TO A PART OF THE CITY
Next was it ordered that the Count of Flanders and the Count of Saint-Pol and my Lord Henry, who had the three battalions, should attack the emperor; moreover, it was strictly forbidden that, for any need that they might have, the other four should remove from their places until they should see that the others had so good as lost everything, that they might not be surrounded or assailed by the battalions that stood round about the host.
In the mean time, whilst the Franks were drawn up in this fashion, the Venetians, who were on the sea, did not forget themselves; but they drew their ships up hard by the walls, so that they easily mounted the walls of the city by means of the ladders and the bridges which they had built upon their ships. And they discharged their bolts and shot their arrows and let their mangonels hurl missiles, and they fought exceeding fiercely until they set fire to the city; so that there was consumed thereof a portion as large as the city of Arras. Yet durst they not scatter themselves nor venture into the city, for they were too few men, nor would they have been able to endure there; so, rather, they withdrew again to their ships.
Chapter 47: OF THE EXPLOITS IF THE COUNT OF FLANDERS, THE COUNT OF SAINT-POL, AND MY LORD PETER OF AMIENS
The noblemen who were on the other side, who were to attack the emperor, had brought it about that from each battalion two of the most valiant men that were known there – and wisest – were chosen, and that whatsoever these commanded was done: if these commanded, “Thrust!” then they thrust, and if they commanded, “Charge!” then they charged.
The Count of Flanders, who had the vanguard, rode the first of all at full speed to meet the emperor; and the emperor was fully the fourth part of a league distant from the Count of Flanders, and he bade his battalion ride to meet the count; and the Count of Saint-Pol and my Lord Peter of Amiens, who had the next battalion, rode up a little way alongside; and my Lord Henry of Hainault and the Germans, who had the third battalion, rode after them; nor was there a horse that was not covered with emblazoned trappings or with silken cloth over all its other housings. And three companies, or four, or five, of serjeants of foot followed each one of the battalions, at the tails of the horses; and they rode so well ranged and close pressed that there was none so rash as to dare ride before another.
And the emperor rode toward our people with full nine battalions, nor was there one of these battalions wherein there were not three thousand horsemen, or four, or five, so great were they. And when the Count of Flanders had left the host full two crossbow shots behind, his counsellors said to him: “Lord, ye do not at all well to go thus to attack the emperor so far away from the host; for if ye fight there and have any need of help, they who guard the host will not be able to help you. But if ye will trust us in the matter, ye will turn back to the palisades of the camp, and there will ye await the emperor more safely if he be willing to fight.”
So the Count of Flanders turned back to the palisades of the camp, even as he had been advised, and the battalion of my Lord Henry also. But neither the Count of Saint-Pol nor my Lord Peter of Amiens would turn back; rather, they remained in the midst of the field, all quietly, with all their people. But when the battalion of the Count of Saint-Pol and that of my Lord Peter of Amiens saw the Count of Flanders turning back, then said they all together that the Count of Flanders was doing a most shameful thing in that he turned back, who had the vanguard. And they cried all together, “Lord! Lord! The Count of Flanders turneth back! And since he turned back, he left to you the vanguard. Now let us take it, in God’s name!”
And the barons agreed together and said that they would take the vanguard. But when the Count of Flanders saw that neither the Count of Saint-Pol nor my Lord Peter of Amiens would turn back at all, he sent them word by messenger and besought them that they would turn back. And my Lord Peter of Amiens sent back word to him that they would not turn back one step. And the Count of Flanders sent word yet again by two messengers that, for God’s sake, they should not bring this shame upon him but should turn back, for thus had he been advised to do. And the Count of Saint-Pol and my Lord Peter of Amiens sent back word yet again to him that on no account whatsoever would they turn back. Then came my Lord Peter of Amiens and my Lord Eustace of Canteleu, who were master leaders of the battle, and said: “Sirs! Ride ye forward in God’s name, at full speed!”
And they began to ride forward at full speed, and all they of the host who had remained behind began to cry after them, “See! See! The Count of Saint-Pol and my Lord Peter of Amiens will en–gage the emperor! Lord God!” they began to shout and to cry, “Lord God! Be Thou this day the defender of these and of all their company! See! They have the vanguard which the Count of Flanders ought to have! Lord God, lead them to safety!”
And the ladies and damsels of the palace had gone up to the windows, and other folk of the city, both ladies and damsels, had climbed the walls of the city and were watching the battalion as it rode on, and the emperor on the other side. And they said one to another that it seemed as if our warriors were angels, such goodly men were they, and armed in such goodly fashion, and their horses capari–soned with such goodly trappings.
Chapter 48: OF THE MEETING OF THE TWO HOSTS; AND HOW THE EMPEROR’S ARMY FLED
When the knights of the battalion of the Count of Flanders saw that the Count of Saint-Pol and my Lord Peter of Amiens would on no account turn back, then came they to the count and said to him, “Lord, ye are doing a most shameful thing in that ye bestir not yourself! Know ye, then, that unless ye ride forward we will not hold with you any longer!”
When the Count of Flanders heard this he pricked his horse with the spurs, and all the rest after him, and they pricked on their way until they overtook the battalion of the Count of Saint-Pol and my Lord Peter of Amiens; and when they had overtaken it, then rode they on beside them, all abreast, and the battalion of my Lord Henry rode behind.
And the battalions of the emperor and our own battalions had by now drawn so near together that the emperor’s crossbowmen were shooting into the midst of our people, and our own crossbowmen likewise into the midst of the emperor’s people, and there remained but one hillock to climb betwixt the emperor and our battalions, and the emperor’s battalions were ascending it on the one side and ours on the other. And when our people came to the top of the hill and the emperor saw them, he halted, and all his people also; and they were so dismayed and confounded because our battalions were riding thus abreast against them that they knew not what counsel to take. In the mean time, as they stood there thus confounded, the other battalions of the emperor, which had been sent around the host of the Franks, withdrew themselves and went back and all joined themselves with the emperor in the valley. And when the Franks saw all the emperor’s battalions thus joined together, they stood stock-still on the top of the hillock and wondered what the emperor meant to do. And the counts and the chief men of the three battalions sent messengers the one to the others, to take counsel what they should do, and whether they should advance clean up to the emperor’s host, or not. And they found none to counsel that they go thither; for they were far away from the host, and if they fought there where the emperor was, they who were guarding the host could no longer see them or, if need be, bring them any help. And on the other hand, there lay betwixt them and the emperor a great canal, a great conduit, through which water went to Constantinople, which if they should cross, they would suffer great loss of their men. And for this reason they found none to counsel that they go thither.
In the mean time, the while the Franks were thus speaking together, to and behold, the emperor went himself back into Constantinople. And when he was come thither, most bitterly was he reproached both by the ladies and by the damsels and by one and another of his people, for that he had not attacked folk so few in number as were the Franks, with so great a multitude as he was leading.
Chapter 49: HOW THE PILGRIMS AND THE VENETIANS SOUGHT NEWS EACH OF THE OTHER AFTER THE BATTLE
When the emperor had thus turned back, then back went the pilgrims to their tents and laid aside their arms; and when they had laid them by, the Venetians, who had crossed over in ships and in barges, came to ask tidings of them, and they said, “By our faith! We had heard tell that ye were fighting against the Greeks, and we feared greatly for you, so came we to you.”
And the Franks answered them and said, “By our faith! Thanks to God, we have done well! For we went to meet the emperor, and the emperor durst not close with us!”
And the Franks in their turn asked tidings of the Venetians, and these said, “By our faith!” (quoth they). “We have attacked fiercely, and we have en–tered the city over the walls, and set fire to the city so that much of the city was burned.”
Chapter 50: HOW A GREAT MURMURING AROSE IN THE CITY AGAINST THE EMPEROR
And whilst the Franks and the Venetians were thus speaking together, there arose a great murmuring in the city; and the folk of the city said to the emperor that he should deliver them from the Franks, who had besieged them, and that if he would not fight these, then would they go after the young man whom the Franks had brought with them and would make him emperor and their lord.
Chapter 51: OF THE FALSE PROMISE AND THE FLIGHT OF THE EMPEROR
When the emperor heard this he promised them that he would fight the Franks on the morrow; but when it drew nigh to midnight, away fled the emperor out of the city with as much people as he could take with him.
Chapter 52: HOW THEY OF THE CITY SOUGHT THE YOUNG ALEXIUS; HOW HE WAS BROUGHT TO THE PALACE; HOW ISAAC AND HIS WIFE WERE RELEASED FROM PRISON; HOW ISAAC WAS SEATED ON THE IMPERIAL THRONE; HOW MOURZUPHLES WAS RELEASED AND MADE MASTER BAILIFF TO THE EMPEROR; AND OF THE REQUEST THAT THE SULTAN OF KONIEH MADE TO THE FRANKS AND HOW THEY REFUSED TO AID HIM
And when the morrow came, in the morning, when they of the city learned that the emperor had fled, what did they do but come to the gates and open them. And they went forth to the host of the Franks and asked and enquired for Alexius, Isaac’s son. And it was made known to them that in the tent of the marquis they would find him. When they came thither they found him indeed. And these his friends made great celebration over him and very great rejoicing, and they gave great thanks to the barons and said that they had done right well and had shown great valour who had acted on this wise; and they told them that the em–peror had fled, and that they should come into the city and into the palace, as into that which was their own.
Then came together all the high barons of the host, and they took Alexius, Isaac’s son, and led him to the palace with great rejoicing and much pomp. And when they were come to the palace they caused Isaac, his father, to be delivered from prison, and Isaac’s wife also, whom his brother, who had held the empire, had caused to be put there. And when Isaac was forth of the prison he had very great joy of his son, and he fell on his neck and kissed him, and he gave great thanks to the barons who were there and said that, first by God’s help and then by theirs, he was now forth of his prison. Then were brought in two golden thrones, and they set Isaac on the one and Alexius his son on the other, at his side; and Isaac was established in the imperial seat.
Then said they to the emperor, “Lord, here within there lieth in prison a man of high birth – Mourzuphles is his name – who hath been there full seven years. If your will be such, it were well that he be delivered from prison.”
Then was Mourzuphles delivered from prison, and thereafter the emperor made him his master bailiff (whereof the emperor had but ill recompense, even as I will tell you presently). Now it came to pass, after the Franks had brought these things about, that the Sultan of Konieh heard tell how the Franks had thus done. So came he for to speak with them, there where they were yet encamped without Constantinople, and he said to them, “Verily, sirs,” (quoth he) “ye have shown great valour and great prowess, who have conquered so great a thing as is Constantinople, which is the capital of the world, and have set the rightful heir of Constantinople again in his seat and have crowned him emperor.” (For they were wont to say in that country that Constantinople was the capital of the world.)
“Sirs,” quoth the Sultan, “I would fain beg you for a certain thing which I will tell you. I have a brother, younger than I, who has treacherously robbed me of my land and of my seigniory of Konieh, whereof I was lord and whereto I am the rightful heir. Now if ye would help me to conquer my land and my seigniory, I would give you a very great abun–dance of my substance, and I would cause myself to be baptized, and all those that are subject to me, if I might have my seigniory again and if ye would help me.”
And the barons answered that they would take counsel in the matter. Then were summoned the Doge of Venice and the marquis and all the high barons, and they came together in a very great council. But all the counsel that they took could not bring them to do that which the sultan required of them. And when they came away from the council they made answer to the sultan that they could not do that which he required, for that they yet had their agreements to fulfill with the emperor, and that it would be dangerous to leave so great a thing as Constantinople in such case as it now was, wherefore they durst not leave it. When the sultan heard this he departed, sore displeased.
Chapter 53: HOW THE BARONS VISITED THE EMPRESS OF FRANCE
Thereafter, when the barons had brought Alexius into the palace, they made enquiry concerning the sister of the King of France, who was called the Empress of France, if she were yet alive. And they told them, yea, and that she was married, for a nobleman of the city, Branas by name, had taken her to wife, and that she dwelt in a palace hard by. Thither went the barons for to see her, and they saluted her and promised to render her much service; but she treated them most discourteously and was sore vexed that they had come thither and that they had crowned this Alexius. Nor would she herself speak to them, but, rather, bade an interpreter speak for her. And the interpreter said that she knew not a word of French. But Count Lewis (he was her cousin) found favour with her.
Chapter 54: OF THE KING OF NUBIA AND HIS ADVENTURES
Thereafter it came to pass one day that the barons went to divert themselves in the palace, for to see Isaac and the emperor his son. And when the barons were within the palace, lo, there came thither a king whose flesh was all black, and he had a cross in the middle of his forehead, which had been made with an hot iron. This king sojourned in a very rich abbey in the city, where that Alexius that had been emperor had commanded that he should be and that he should be lord and master thereof so long as he desired to sojourn there.
When the emperor saw him coming he rose up to meet him and did him much honour. And the emperor enquired of the barons, “Know ye now” (quoth he) “who this man is?”
“Nay, lord,” quoth the barons.
“By my faith!” quoth the emperor. “This is the King of Nubia, who is come on a pilgrimage to this city.”
And they bade the interpreters speak to him, and they caused these to ask him where his own land was. And he made answer to the interpreters, in his own tongue, that his land was yet an hundred days’ journey beyond Jerusalem, and from thence had he come to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage; and he said that when he departed from this land he brought full three score of his countrymen with him, but when he came to Jerusalem there were but ten of them left alive, and when he was come from Jerusalem unto Constantinople he had but two yet living. He said, furthermore, that he wished to go on a pilgrimage to Rome, and from Rome to Saint James, and then return thence to Jerusalem, if he might live so long, and then die there. And he said that all they of his land were Christians, and when a child had been born there, it was baptized, and a cross was marked in the middle of its forehead with an hot iron, even such a mark as he himself bore. And the barons looked upon this king with great amazement.
Chapter 55: HOW THE BARONS LODGED WITHOUT THE CITY FOR FEAR OF THE GREEKS
Thereafter, when the barons had crowned Alexius, even as I have told you, it was determined that my Lord Peter of Bracheux, both he and his people, should abide in the palace with the emperor; then, after this, the barons determined how they themselves should lodge; for they durst by no means abide in the city because of the Greeks, who were traitors; rather, they went and lodged beyond the harbour, over against the Tower of Galata, and they lodged there all together in certain houses which were there. And they removed their fleet and brought it to land in front of them, and they went into the city when they would. And when they would go by water they passed over in barges, and when they would go on horse–back they passed over the bridge. Then, when they were lodged, they took coun–sel together, both the Franks and the Venetians, how they would cause some fifty fathoms’ length of the walls of the city to be raised; for they feared that they of the city would revolt against them.
Chapter 56: HOW ALEXIUS WAS SOLEMNLY CROWNED EMPEROR; AND HOW THE BARONS DEMANDED THEIR PAY
Thereafter, on a certain day all the barons assembled in the emperor’s palace and demanded of the emperor the fulfillment of their agreements; and he answered that he would certainly keep his word, but that he wished first to be crowned. So then they set and fixed a day to crown him. And on that day was he crowned in state, as emperor, with the consent of his father, who agreed freely thereto. And when was crowned, the barons asked again for their pay. And he told them that he would pay them right willingly what he could; and he paid to them then some hundred thousand marks. And of these hundred thousand marks did the Venetians receive half, for they were to have the half of the conquests; and of the fifty thousand marks which remained there were paid to them thirty and six thousand marks, which the Franks were yet owing to them on their fleet; and with the other twenty thousand marks that remained discharge was made to all them that had lent of their substance for the payment of their passage.
Chapter 57: OF THE CONQUESTS THAT WERE MADE BY ALEXIUS AND THE PILGRIMS
Thereafter the emperor besought the barons, telling them that outside Constantinople he possessed nothing, and that but little would it boot him if he possessed noting else, for his uncle held all the cities and castles which ought to be his own. Wherefore he besought the barons to help him conquer some of the land round about, then would he gladly give them yet more of what was his. Then they answered that this were they right fain to do, and that all they who wished to get themselves gain should go thither. So thither then went full half of the men of the host with Alexius, and the other half remained in Constantinople to receive the payment, and Isaac remained there to make payment to the barons.
And Alexius departed with the host, and he conquered from that land full a score of cities and some two score castles, or more; and Alexius, the other emperor, his uncle, fled ever before him. And the Franks were with Alexius for the space of three full months. And in the mean time, the while Alexius was making this incursion, they of Constantinople caused their wall to be built up again, stronger and higher than it was before; for the Franks had caused some fifty fathoms’ length thereof to be raised after they had taken the city, because they were afraid lest the Greeks should revolt against them.
And when the barons who had tarried behind to receive the payment saw that Isaac was paying them nothing, then sent they word to the other barons that had gone with Alexius, that they should come back, since Isaac was paying them nothing, and that they should all return before the feast of All Saints. When the barons heard this, they told the emperor that they would go back, and when the emperor heard that, he said that he too would go back, since they were going, for he durst not trust the Greeks. So back came they to Constantinople, and the emperor went away to his palace, and the pilgrims to their lodgings beyond the harbour.
Chapter 58: HOW ALEXIUS AND THE FRANKS FELL OUT ONE WITH THE OTHER
Thereafter came together the counts and the other noblemen and the Doge of Venice and the emperor. And the Franks demanded their pay of the emperor, and the emperor answered that he had expended so much in the ransom of his city and his people that he had not wherewithal to pay them; but let them grant him yet another term, and within that space he would provide means whereby to pay them. This they granted him; but when the term was past, he paid them nothing. And yet once again did the barons demand their pay. And again did the emperor ask yet another respite, and it was granted him.
In the mean time, his vassals and his people and likewise that Mourzuphles whom he had brought out of prison came to him and said to him: “Ha! Sire, ye have already paid them too much! Pay them nothing more! Ye are now fully ransomed, so much have ye paid them. Bid them depart and dismiss them from your land!”
And Alexius listened to this counsel, so would he pay them nothing. And when this term of grace also was past and the Franks perceived that the emperor was paying them nothing, then did all the counts and other noblemen of the host assemble and go to the emperor’s palace and demand their pay anew. And the emperor answered them that he could not pay them in any wise whatsoever, and the barons answered him that unless he himself paid them, then would they take for themselves so much of what was his that they would be paid.
Chapter 59: HOW THE DOGE OF VENICE WENT AND SPOKE WITH ALEXIUS
On these words the barons departed from the palace and returned to their lodgings, and when they were returned they took counsel together what they would do. And at last they sent back two knights to the emperor and demanded of him yet again that he send them their pay. And he made answer to the messengers that he would pay them nothing, for that he had already paid them too much, and that he was not one whit afraid of them; rather, he commanded them to depart and to quit his land. And let them know well that unless they quitted it betimes forsooth, then would he cause them great annoy.
Thereupon the messengers went back and made known to the barons what the emperor had answered them. The barons, when they hear this, took counsel what they would do; until the Doge of Venice said that he would go and speak to him. So he took a messenger and sent word to him that he should come and speak with him above the harbour. And the emperor came thither on horseback, but the Doge bade four galleys be manned, and he went on board one of them and bade the three others go with him to guard him. And he spoke to the emperor and said thus: “Alexius, what thinkest thou to do?” (quoth the Doge). “Mind thyself that we have delivered thee out of a grievous captivity and have made thee lord and crowned thee emperor. Wilt thou not hold at all” (asked the Doge) “to our agreement, nor fulfill any more of them?”
“Nay!” quoth the emperor. “I will fulfill no more of them than I have fulfilled!”
“Wilt not?” quoth the Doge. “Naughty lad! We have raised thee off the dunghill, and on the dunghill will we cast thee back again! I disown thee! And know thou of a surety that I will work on thee all the evil that is in my power from this day forward!”
Chapter 60: HOW THE GREEKS TRIED TO BURN THE FLEET; AND OF THE GRIEVOUS DEARTH THAT PREVAILED IN THE HOST
On these words the Doge took himself thence and went back. Then came together all the counts and all the other noblemen of the host, and the Venetians, for to take counsel what they would do. And the Venetians said that they could not possibly make their ladders or their engines on their ships because of the weather, which was too keen (for this was the season betwixt the feast of All Saints and Yule).
In the mean time, whilst they were thus all discouraged, what did the emperor and the traitors that were about him do but contrive a great treachery; for they wished . . . .[the next four lines in the manuscript are blank] they seized the ships within the city by night, and they caused them all to be filled with very dry wood, and pieces of swine’s fat amongst the wood; then set they fire to them. And when it drew nigh unto midnight, and the ships were well ablaze, and the wind was blowing very fresh, then did the Greeks loose the burning ships for to burn the fleet of the Franks, and the wind drove them apace toward the fleet. When the Venetians were aware of this, up they sprang and entered their barges and their galleys, and they wrought so well that, by God’s grace, their fleet took never a hurt.
Nor was more than a fortnight again past, when the Greeks once more did the same thing. And when the Venetians were again aware of them, they went yet again against them; and right well did they defend their fleet against this fire, so that never, by God’s grace, did they take any harm of it, save one merchant ship which was come thither; this one was burned.
And the dearth waxed so great in the host that a firkin of wine sold for twelve shillings, or fourteen shillings, or fifteen shillings at times; and a hen, for twelve shillings; and an egg, for two shillings. But of biscuit was there no such dearth, but they had sufficient thereof to maintain their host for a season.
Chapter 61: HOW THE GREEKS STRENGTHENED THEIR WALLS AND THEIR TOWERS; AND OF THE PLOT THAT MOURZUPHLES MADE TO DESTROY ALEXIUS THAT HE MIGHT HIMSELF BE EMPEROR
In the mean time, whilst they were wintering there, the men of the city fortified themselves right well and caused their wall to be raised again, and their towers; and they caused to be built atop these towers of stone goodly wooden towers; and these wooden towers did they overlay well on the outside with good planks and cover them over with good hides, so that they had no dread of the ladders or ships of the Venetians. And the walls were full three score feet in height, and the towers an hundred. And they had some two score petraries ranged within the city, from end to end of the walls, in those places where it was thought that assault would be made. And it was no great wonder if they accomplished all this, for leisure had they a plenty for it.
In the mean time the Greeks (they that were traitors to the emperor) and Mourzuphles, whom the emperor had brought out of prison, came together one day and devised a great treason; for they wished to set up another emperor than this one, who would deliver them from the Franks, since Alexius seemed not good enough to them. And at last Mourzuphles said, “If ye” (quoth he) “would trust me, I would so well deliver you from the Franks and from the emperor that ye would never more have dread of them.”
And they said that if he could indeed deliver them from these, they would make himself emperor. And Mourzuphles promised that he would deliver them within eight days. So they agreed that they would make him emperor.
Chapter 62: HOW MOURZUPHLES PUT TO DEATH ALEXIUS AND HIS FATHER, AND HOW THE BARONS RECEIVED THE TIDINGS THEREOF; HOW MOURZUPHLES COMMANDED THE PILGRIMS TO DEPART; AND HOW THE PILGRIMS DEFIED HIM
Then went Mourzuphles forth, nor did he forget himself, but took officers with him; and he entered by night into the chamber where his lord the emperor, who had brought him out of prison, was sleeping; and he bade a noose be cast about his neck and caused him to be strangled, and his father Isaac also. And when he had done this, back came he to them that should make him emperor, and told them all. And they went and crowned him and made him emperor.
Now when Mourzuphles was become emperor, the rumour ran throughout the city: “Is it so? Is it not so? Mourzuphles is emperor, and hath murdered his lord!”
Then a letter was shot with an arrow into the host of the pilgrims, which said that Mourzuphles had done thus. When the barons knew this, then one said that it were a shame that they should care because Alexius was dead, since he would never hold to his agreements with the pilgrims; but others said that it grieved them that he had died in this manner. Thereafter no great time passed ere Mourzuphles sent word to the Count of Flanders, to Count Lewis, to the marquis, and to all the high barons, that they should get them thence and quit his land; and let them know of a surety that he was now emperor, and that he would attack them within eight days and slay them all. When the barons heard this word that Mourzuphles sent them, they answered, “Who?” (asked they). “Hath he who hath treacherously murdered his lord by night sent us such word?”
And they sent back word that now they defied him; and let him be on his guard against them, for never would they abandon the siege until they should have avenged him whom Mourzuphles had murdered, and should have taken Constantinople, and should have full quittance of the agreements that Alexius had made with them.
Chapter 63: OF THE MEASURES OF DEFENCE THAT MOURZUPHLES TOOK
When Mourzuphles heard this he commanded the walls to be right well guarded, and the towers likewise, and that hoardings be placed on them, so that the Greeks should not be in danger from the assaults of the Franks. And these things they did right well, so that the walls and the towers were stronger and more easily defended than before.
Chapter 64: OF JOHN THE WALLACH
It came to pass thereafter, in those days when Mourzuphles the traitor was emperor, and the host of the Franks was so poor, as I have recounted to you before, and whilst they were diligently making ready their ships and their engines for the assault, that John the Wallach sent word to the high barons of the host that if they would crown him king, to be lord over his land of Wallachia, he would hold his kingdom from them, and would come to their aid to help take Con–stantinople, with an hundred thousand men at arms.
Now Wallachia is a land that belonged to the emperor’s domains, and this John was a groom of the emperor, who kept one of the emperor’s studs; so that whensoever the emperor sent for three score horses, or an hundred, this John sent them to him. And he himself came every year to court, before he fell out of favour at the court. But at last it chanced one day that he came thither and that a certain eunuch, one of the emperor’s doorkeepers, did an unseemly thing to him, for he smote him with a scourge full in the face; whereof he suffered great pain.
And because of this unseemly thing that was done to him, John the Wallach departed in high dudgeon from the court and went back to Wallachia. And Wallachia is a mighty land that is all compassed about by mountains, so that one can neither enter it nor come out thence save one single pass.
Chapter 65: HOW JOHN THE WALLACH MADE HIMSELF MASTER OF HIS PEOPLE AND WON THE FRIENDSHIP OF THE COMANS; OF THE CUSTOMS OF THE COMANS; AND HOW JOHN THE WALLACH RECEIVED HIS CROWN FROM ROME
When John was come thither, then began he to draw to himself the notable men of Wallachia, as one who was a rich man and had some power; and he be–gan to make promises and gifts to one and to another; and thus did he, until all they of that country were subject to him and he was become lord over them. And when he was become their lord, then did he turn to the Comans; and so wrought he, by one means and by another, that he became their friend and they were all in his service and he was become, as it were, their liege lord.
Now Comania is a land which bordered on Wallachia, and I will tell you what manner of people these Comans are. They are savage folk, who plough not, neither do they sow; nor have they but nor house, but they have tents of felt, in which habitations they hide themselves, and they live on milk and cheese and flesh. And in summer time are so many flies and gnats there that they scarce venture themselves forth of their tents ere the winter. But in winter they come forth of their tents and of their country, when they desire to make their forays. And we will tell you what they do. Every one of them hath some ten horses, or twelve, and these have they so trained that the beasts follow them whithersoever they wish to lead them; and they mount now one, now another. And every one of these horses, when they are journeying, hath a little sack hanging at its muzzle wherein is its fodder, and it eats while it follows its master; nor do they break their journey by night or by day. And so swiftly do they travel that in one night and one day they go six common day’s journeys, or seven, or eight. Nor ever, so long as they are going, do they burden themselves with anything or take aught before they begin to return. But when they begin to return, then do they gather booty, and seize men, and take all whereon they can lay their hands. Nor ever will they go otherwise armed save that they wear garments of sheepskin and carry bows and arrows with them. Nor put they any trust in any thing save in the first beast that they meet in the morning; and he that meeteth the beast putteth his trust in it all that day, whatsoever beast it be. These Comans did John the Wallach have in his service, and he came every year to ravage the lands of the emperor, even so far as Constantinople itself. Nor had the emperor power enough so that he could defend himself against him.
Now when the barons of the host had heard the word that John the Wallach sent them, they said that they would take counsel in the matter. And when they had taken counsel (and in sooth it was an evil counsel!), they answered that neither with him nor with his help had they any concern; and let him know of a surety that they would trouble him and work him evil if they could. But for all this did he make them pay right dear thereafter! And this was a sore shame and grievous pity.
But when he had failed of his purpose with them, then did he send to Rome for his crown, and the Pontiff sent a cardinal for to crown him. Thus was he crowned king.
Chapter 66: OF THE ADVENTURES THAT BEFELL MY LORD HENRY OF ANGRE; HOW HE OVERCAME MOURZUPHLES; AND HOW THE ICON WAS LOST
Now will we tell you of another adventure which befell my Lord Henry, the brother of the Count of Flanders. During that time when the Franks had laid siege to Constantinople, it chanced that my lord Henry – both he and they of his company – were by no means very rich. Nay, they had great lack of victuals and of other things, until they were put in mind of a city called Philae, which lay at ten leagues’ distance from the host. This city was very rich and very opulent; so what did my lord Henry do but make ready for the road and depart from the host with nine and twenty knights and serjeants of horse not a few, going privately by night so that scarce any of the folk knew thereof. When he came to the city he did what he was come to do, and he tarried there one day. But in the mean time, when he went thither, he was spied upon and report of him was borne to Mourzuphles. When Mourzuphles knew this he bade as many as four thousand men at arms take horse, and he took with him the Icon – an image of Our Lady which the Greeks call by that name – which the emperors take with them whensoever they go forth to battle. And so great confidence have they in this Icon that they verily believe that no one who carried it into battle can be beaten (and because Mourzuphles did not carry it rightfully, we believe, was he discomfited).
And the Franks had already sent their booty to the host. And Mourzuphles waited for them on their return, and when he was come within a league of our people he lay in wait with his folk and laid his ambushes. And our people knew not a word of this, but they were returning apace, nor knew they aught of this snare. When the Greeks saw them, they cried out, and our Franks looked one at another. When they saw the Greeks they were sore afraid, and loudly did they begin to call on God and Our Lady; and they were so dismayed that they knew not what counsel to take but said one to another, “By our faith! If we flee now we are all dead men; better doth it become us to die defending ourselves than to flee.”
Then they halted and stood still. And they took some eight crossbowmen that they had with them and set these before themselves. And the Emperor Mourzuphles, the traitor, and the Greeks came toward them very swiftly and smote them fierce and fell; but, through God’s mercy, never a one of the Franks did they unhorse.
When the Franks saw the Greeks thus rushing upon them from every side, they let fall their lances and drew the knives and daggers that they had and began to defend themselves right hardily, and they slew many of them. And when the Greeks saw that the Franks were discomfiting them thus, they began to be discouraged and turned about and fled. But our Franks overtook them and slew many of them, and many they kept for ransom and great gain gat they thereby.
And they chased the Emperor Mourzuphles more than half a league, for they ever thought to take him; but he and they of his company hasted so that they let fall the Icon, and his imperial cloak, and the ensign with the Icon, which was all of gold and set with rich and precious stones; and it was so beautiful and rich that never was aught else seen so beautiful and rich. When the Franks saw this they left off the chase, and were most exceeding glad; and they took the image and bar it away with very great joy and rejoicing.
And in the mean time, whilst they were yet fighting, came tidings to the host that they were contending with the Greeks, and when they of the host heard these tidings they hastened away toward my lord Henry for to succour him. But when they came thither, the Greeks were already fled and our Franks were bringing in their spoils and were bearing along the Icon, which was so beautiful and rich, as I have told you. And when they drew near to the host, then did the bishops and the clerks who were in the host go forth in procession to meet them; and they received the Icon with great joy and rejoicing, and it was put in the keeping of the Bishop of Troyes. And the bishop bare it into the midst of the host, to a church whither they were wont to repair, and the bishops sang and made great rejoicing over it. And after that day on which it was taken, the barons all agreed that it should be given to Citeaux, and thereafter it was carried thither.
But when Mourzuphles came back to Constantinople he gave out that he had routed and discomfited my lord Henry and his people; but certain of the Greeks enquired, all unwittingly, “Where is the Icon? And the ensign?”
But others said that these had been put away in a safe place.
And so did the rumours go back and forth, until the Franks learned how Mourzuphles had in this wise caused it to be believed that he had discomfited the Franks. And what did the Franks do then but arm a galley, and take the Icon and lift it very high up in the galley, and the ensign of the empire also, and row this galley, with the Icon and the ensign, from end to end of the walls, so that they that stood upon the walls, and many other folk of the city, saw it and perceived clearly that these were the emperor’s ensign and his Icon.
Chapter 67: OF THE WRATH OF THE GREEKS AT THE LOSS OF THE ICON; AND HOW MOURZUPHLES PROMISED TO RECOVER IT
When the Greeks saw this, then came they to Mourzuphles and began to cry shame upon him and sorely to upbraid him because he had lost the ensign of the empire and the Icon, and because he had made them to believe that he had discomfited the Franks. And when Mourzuphles heard this he excused himself as best he could and began to say: “Now be ye not at all dismayed, for I shall make them to pay right dear, and well will I avenge myself of them!”
Chapter 68: OF THE PLAN WHICH THE PILGRIMS AND THE VENETIANS DEVISED FOR THE CHOOSING OF AN EMPEROR AND A PATRIARCH, FOR THE JUST DIVISION OF THEIR CONQUESTS, AND FOR THE MAINTAINING OF ORDER
Thereafter it came to pass that all the Franks and all the Venetians came together for to take counsel how they should proceed, and what they should do, and whom they might make emperor if they should take the city; until they agreed amongst themselves that they would take ten Franks, of the most worthy men of the host, and ten Venetians, likewise of the most worthy men that were known among them, and that whatsoever these twenty should decide, that should be observed: with the understanding that if the emperor were one of the Franks the patriarch should be one of the Venetians. And it was decreed that he who should be emperor should have the fourth part of the empire and the fourth part of the city in his demesne, and that the other three parts should so be apportioned that the Venetians should have the one-half thereof and the pilgrims the other, and that all should be held from the emperor.
When they had resolved all this, then they caused all the men of the host to swear on holy relics that all the booty of gold and of silver and of new cloth, of the value of five shillings or more, they would deliver to the host for just apportioning, save only tools and victuals; and that they would do no violence to a woman nor despoil her of any cloth that she wore; for whosoever should be convicted of this would be put to death. And they made them swear on holy relics that they would not lay hand on monk, nor clerk, nor priest, save only it were to defend themselves, nor would they break into any church or minster.
Chapter 69: HOW THE FRANKS AND THE VENETIANS REPAIRED AND EQUIPPED THEIR FLEET
Thereafter, when all this had been done, and when Yuletide was already past and the beginning of Lent was nigh, then did both the Franks and the Venetians repair and put in order again their ships; and the Venetians caused the bridges of their ships to be rebuilt, and the Franks caused certain other engines to be built, which were called “cats” and “carcasses,” and “sows” for sapping the walls. And the Venetians took timber from the houses and covered their ships there–with, joining the planks together and then covering them with vine-cuttings, so that the petraries could not break or shatter their ships.
And the Greeks strongly reinforced their city within; and without, they caused the bretesses, which were on the top of the towers of stone, to be covered over with good hides; nor was there a bretesse that had not seven storeys, or six, or five at the least.
Chapter 70: HOW THEY MADE READY TO ASSAULT THE CITY
Thereafter it came to pass upon a Friday, about ten days before Palm Sunday, that the pilgrims and the Venetians had prepared their ships and their engines and made ready for the assault. And they ranged their ships one alongside another, and the Franks caused their engines to be put on board barges and galleys and set on their way to go toward the city; and the fleet stretched over a full league of front. And all the pilgrims and the Venetians were fully armed.
And there was a hillock within the city, in that part where the assault was to be made, which could easily be seen from the ships over the top of the walls, so high was it. And to this hillock was Mourzuphles the traitor come, the emperor, and some of his people with him. And he had bid them pitch there his scarlet tents, and he caused his silver trumpets to be sounded, and his timbrels, and made great ostentation; so that the pilgrims could easily see him, and Mourzuphles could easily look down into the ships of the pilgrims.
Chapter 71: OF THE UNSUCCESSFUL BEGINNING OF THE ASSAULT; AND OF THE BOASTING OF MOURZUPHLES
When the fleet must needs come to land, then took they goodly cables and drew up their ships so nigh as they could to the walls. And the Franks caused their engines to be trained – their cats, their carcasses, and the sows for sapping the walls – and the Venetians went up on the bridges of their ships and violently stormed the walls, and the Franks likewise attacked them with their engines. When the Greeks saw that the Franks were thus assailing them, then they made haste to hurl huge bolts at the engines of the Franks, and they began to break and to crush and to shatter all these engines, so that never a man durst remain within or beneath these engines; nor could the Venetians, on the other hand, reach the walls or the towers, so lofty were they. Nor ever, on that day, were Venetians or Franks able to do any mischief either to the walls or to the city.
When they saw that they could do them no hurt, then were they very sad and withdrew themselves. And when the Greeks saw them drawing back, then began they to hoot and to shout right lustily; and they went up upon the walls and let down their breeches and showed them their buttocks.
When Mourzuphles saw that the pilgrims had turned back, then he made haste to sound his trumpets and his timbrels and to make as great a show as he could; and he summoned his people and began to say, “Behold, sirs. Am I not a good emperor? Never yet have ye had an emperor so good! Have I not done well? Now have we no more cause for concern; I will cause them all to be hanged and put to shame.”
Chapter 72: HOW THE BISHOPS ASSURED THE PILGRIMS YET AGAIN THAT IT WAS A WORK OF MERIT TO FIGHT THE GREEKS
When the pilgrims saw these things they were sore distressed and exceeding sad, and they went back to their lodgings on the other side of the harbour. And when the barons were come back and had disembarked from their ships, then they gathered together; and they were much cast down and said that it was because of their sin that they had been able to do nothing nor had wrought any mischief on the city. But at last the bishops and the clerks of the host spoke together and adjudged that the battle was a righteous one, and that they ought in sooth to attack the Greeks; for in olden time they of the city had been obedient to the religion of Rome, but now were they disobedient thereto, since they said that the religion of Rome was of none account, and that all they who believed in it were dogs. And the bishops said that for this reason the Greeks ought to be attacked, and that this was no sin, but rather was it a good work and of great merit.
Chapter 73: HOW SERMONS WERE PREACHED THROUGHOUT THE HOST; AND HOW THE EVIL WOMEN WERE DRIVEN OUT
Then was it cried throughout the host that all should come to the sermons – both Venetians and all and sundry – on Sunday, in the morning. And so did they. Then did the bishops preach sermons throughout the host – the Bishop of Soissons, the Bishop of Troyes, the Bishop of Halberstadt, Master John Faicete, and the Abbot of Loos – and they showed the pilgrims that the battle was a righteous one, for that the Greeks were traitors and murderers, and that they were faithless, since they had murdered their lawful lord, and that they were worse than Jews. And the bishops said that they absolved, in the name of God and of the Pontiff, all those that should attack the Greeks. And the bishops commanded the pilgrims all to confess themselves and freely to partake of the sacrament; and let them not be at all afraid to attack the Greeks, for these were God’s enemies. And an order was given that they should seek out and remove all the light women from the host, and send them very far away from the host; so they caused all these to he nut into a chin anal sent away far from the host.
Chapter 74: OF THE CONTINUATION OF THE FIGHTING; AND OF THE VALIANT DEEDS OF ANDREW OF URBOISE AND PETER OF BRACHEUX
Thereafter, when the bishops had preached and had shown the pilgrims that the battle was a righteous one, then did all freely confess themselves and receive the sacrament. And when Monday morning came, then did all the pilgrims array themselves right well and arm themselves, and the Venetians also, and they mended the bridges of their ships and their transports and their galleys, and they ranged these side by side and set out to go forward and attack the city. And the fleet had a front a full league in length. And when they were come to land and had drawn as nigh to the walls as they could, they cast anchor. And when they were at anchor they began to attack fiercely and to discharge arrows and hurl missiles and to throw Greek fire at the towers. But the fire could not take hold there because of the hides wherewith the towers were covered. And those within the city were defending themselves right sturdily and were discharging some three score petraries, and at every discharge they were hurling stones upon the ships; but the ships were so well covered with timber and with vine-cuttings that these did them no great mischief, though the stones were so large that one man could not lift one from the ground.
And Mourzuphles the traitor was standing on his hillock and causing his trumpets to sound, and his timbrels, and making great display; and he was en–couraging his men and saying, “Go thither! Come hither!” and sending them wheresoever he saw that the need was the greatest. And there were not in all the fleet above four or five ships that could reach the towers, so high were these. And every storey of the wooden towers that were built above the towers of stone, of which there were some five or six or seven, was also garrisoned with men at arms who were defending the towers.
And so did they continue the assault, until the ship of the Bishop of Soissons fell foul of one of these towers by a miracle of God, even as the sea, which is never quiet, bare it on. And on the bridge of the ship were a Venetian and two armed knights. And so soon as the ship hath fallen foul of this tower, the Venetian layeth hold with hands and feet, as best he can, and getting himself at last within the tower. When he was within, and when the men at arms who were in this storey – English, Danes, and Greeks, who were keeping guard there – when these espied him, then rushed they upon him with axes and swords and cut him all in pieces. And as the sea bare the ship forward again, again did she fall foul of the tower; and when she was thus afoul of it, what did one of the two knights do – Andrew of Dureboise was his name – but lay hold with feet and hands to the tower until he gat himself up inside it, upon his knees. But when he was inside, upon his knees, the foe fell upon him with axes and with swords and smote him sore; but since he wore his armour, thanks be to God, they wounded him not; for so was God guarding him, who would not consent that the Greeks should longer endure or that this man should die. Nay, rather, it was God’s will, because of their treason and because of the murder that Mourzuphles had committed and because of their faithlessness, that the city should be taken and that they should all be put to shame. For the knight rose up on his feet, and when he was on his feet he drew his sword. When these saw him on his feet again, so dumfounded were they, and so greatly afraid, that they fled thence into the other storey underneath. And when they that were in this other storey saw that those from above them were fleeing, then did they quit this storey also, nor ever durst they remain there any longer.
And the other knight came in after the first, and after him came in folk a plenty. And when they were within, they took strong ropes and stoutly lashed that ship to the tower, and when they had made her fast, there came in yet other folk a plenty. But when the sea again bare the ship backward, then did the tower quake so violently that it seemed certain that the ship must pull it down, so that perforce, because of this fear, it behooved them to cut the ship adrift.
And when they that were in the other storeys beneath saw that the tower was filling with Franks, then were they so greatly afraid that never a one of them durst remain there, but they forsook the whole tower. And Mourzuphles indeed saw all this, but he encouraged his people and sent them thither where he saw that the chiefest assault was made.
In the mean time, when this tower had been taken by such a miracle, the ship of my Lord Peter of Bracheux fell afoul of another tower; and when it had fallen foul thereof, then began they that were upon the bridge of the ship to storm this tower so exceeding fiercely that, by a miracle of God, this tower also was taken.
Chapter 75: OF THE DEEDS OF PROWESS THAT WERE PERFORMED BY MY LORD PETER OF AMIENS
When these two towers had been taken, then were they garrisoned with our own men; and these remained in the towers, nor durst they remove thence because of the great multitude of folk that they saw on the wall round about them and inside the other towers and below the walls, which was a fair marvel, so many were there of them.
When my Lord Peter of Amiens saw that they that were within the towers moved not themselves, and when he perceived the purpose of the Greeks, what did he do but come down on foot to the land – he and his people with him – in a little space of ground that lay betwixt the sea and the wall. When they were come down thither, they looked before them and espied a false postern gate, the doors whereof had been taken away and the gateway itself walled up anew. And thither he came, having with him some ten knights and three score men at arms. And there was a certain clerk, Aleaume of Clari by name, who was a right good man in all times of need and was ever the first in all the assaults wherein he was engaged. And at the taking of the Tower of Galata had this clerk Derformed more deeds of prowess with his own body, one by one, than had all others of the host save only my Lord Peter of Bracheux. For he it was that outdid all others, of both high and low degree, for never was there one among them that wrought so many deeds of arms or acts of prowess as did Peter of Bracheux.
Now when they were come to this postern gate they began to hack away at it right valiantly; but so thick flew the bolts and so many were the stones hurled down from the walls that it seemed in all likelihood they would be buried in the stones, so many were there cast at them. And they that were below had shields and targes wherewith they covered those that were hacking at the postern gate. And from above were cast down upon them pots of boiling pitch, and Greek fire, and very great stones, so that it was a miracle of God that they were not all destroyed, so many hardships did my Lord Peter and his people suffer there, and such multitude of grievous perils. Yet did they hack away at that postern gate with axes and good swords, with timbers and bars and picks, until at last they made a great breach therein. And when this postern was pierced through, then looked they through it and saw so many folk, both of high and of low estate, that it seemed that half the world were there; wherefore they durst not venture to enter there.
Chapter 76: OF THE VERY VALIANT DEED OF ALEAUME THE CLERK
But when Aleaume the Clerk saw that none dare enter there, he sprang forward and said that he would go in. Now there was present a knight, his brother, Robert of Clari by name, who forbade him and said that he should by no means go in. And the clerk said that he would do so, and he gat himself in on his hands and feet. And when his brother saw this, he took him by the foot and began to drag him toward himself; but at last, despite his brother, whether his brother would or would not, the clerk went in. And when he was within, a multitude of the Greeks fell upon him, and they that were upon the walls began to cast down great stones at him. When the clerk saw this, he drew his knife and rushed upon them and made them to flee before him like cattle.
Then cried he to them that were without, to my Lord Peter and his people, “Sirs, enter boldly! For I see that they are utterly confounded and are fleeing away.”
When my Lord Peter heard this he and his people, who were without then did my Lord Peter and his people come in. And there were not more than nine knights with him; nevertheless, there were some three score men at arms with him, and they were all on foot inside the walls.
And when they were within and they that were standing upon the walls in that place beheld them, then were these so greatly terrified that they durst not tarry in that place, but abandoned a great portion of the wall and fled, every man for himself.
And the Emperor Mourzuphles, the traitor, was very near at hand, less than a stone’s throw away; and he caused his silver trumpets to sound, and his timbrels, and made an exceeding great noise.
Chapter 77: HOW MY LORD PETER ENCOURAGED HIS MEN
And when Mourzuphles saw my Lord Peter and his people, who were on foot within the city, then he made a great pretence of falling upon them and of spurring his horse, and he came about half-way up to them. When my Lord Peter saw him coming, he began to hearten his people and to say, “Now, sirs, let us acquit ourselves well! Then shall we already have won the battle. Lo, yonder cometh the emperor! See to it that there be not one that dared to draw back, but bethink you now to acquit yourselves well!”
Chapter 78: HOW CONSTANTINOPLE WAS TAKEN
When Mourzuphles the traitor saw that they would in no wise flee, he halted, and then he turned back to his tents. And when my Lord Peter saw that the emperor had turned back, he sent a troop of his men at arms to a gate that stood hard by and commanded it to be broken in pieces and opened. And these men went and began to beat and to drive in this gate with axes and with swords until they brake the iron bolts, which were very strong, and the bars, and opened the gate. And when the gate was opened and they that were without saw this, then they brought up their transports and led forth their horses and mounted them, and they began to ride apace into the city through the midst of the gate. And when the Emperor Mourzuphles, the traitor, saw them, then had he so great fear that he left his tents, and his jewels in them, and fled forth into the city, which was very great, and long, and broad. For they say there that the circuit of the walls covered full nine leagues, so great a compass have the walls that surround the city, and within hath the city a length of two French leagues and a breadth of two. And so did my Lord Peter of Bracheux get Mourzuphles’ tents and his cof–fers and his jewels that he left behind.
Now when they who were defending the walls saw that the Franks were entered into the city and that the emperor had fled, they durst tarry no longer but fled away, every man for himself.
When the city had been taken in this manner and when the Franks were therein, they all remained quiet. Then did the high barons come together and take counsel amongst themselves what they should do; until they let it be cried throughout the host that none should be so foolhardy as to venture into the city, for there was danger in going thither that stones would be cast down upon them from the palaces, which were very great and high, or that they would be slain in the streets, which were so exceeding narrow that they could not defend themselves therein, or that fire would be hurled down on their backs and they would be burned. And because of such hazards and perils they durst not set foot there–in nor scatter themselves about; rather, they all remained quiet where they were. And the barons agreed upon this plan: that if the Greeks desired to fight on the morrow (who numbered an hundred times as many men able to bear arms as did the Franks), then would they arm themselves on the morrow morn, and order their battalions, and await them in certain squares which lay open before them in the city; but if these desired not to fight, yet would not yield up the city, then would the Franks observe from which quarter the wind was blowing, and would hurl fire adown the wind, and so burn them. Thus would they take them by force. To this plan did all the barons agree.
And when eventide was come, the pilgrims laid aside their armour, and re–posed themselves, and supped; and they lay there that night before their fleet and within the walls.
Chapter 79: HOW MOURZUPHLES FLED FROM CONSTANTINOPLE; HOW LASCARIS WAS MADE EMPEROR AND FLED LIKEWISE
But when it drew near to midnight and the Emperor Mourzuphles, the trai–tor, knew that all the Franks were in the city, then had he great fear nor durst he tarry there any longer, but he fled away at midnight or ever one knew a word thereof. When the Greeks saw that their emperor had fled away, then they pitched upon a certain nobleman of the city, Lascaris by name, straightway that selfsame night, and made him emperor. And when he was made emperor he durst not remain there, but he gat himself on board a galley before it was yet day and crossed over beyond the Strait of Saint George and went on to Nicaea the Great, which is a goodly city. There did he abide, and he was lord thereof and emperor.
Chapter 80: HOW THE MEN OF THE CROSS TOOK UP THEIR ABODE IN CONSTANTINOPLE
But when came the morrow, early in the morning, lo, priests and clerks in all their vestments – English and Danes were they, and folk of other nations – came forth in procession to the host of the Franks, and cried them mercy, and let them know all things that the Greeks had done. And they said that all the Greeks had fled away and none remained in the city save only poor folk. When the Franks heard this they were all rejoiced thereat; and immediately thereafter they caused it to be cried throughout the host that none should take up his abode there until it should have been decided in what manner they would take them. Then came together the noblemen, the rich men, and took counsel amongst themselves (and neither the lowly folk of the host nor the poor knights wist a word thereof) how they might take the best habitations of the city. And straightway began they to deal treacherously with the lowly folk and to show them bad faith and ill comradeship – for which they paid thereafter right dear, as we will tell you presently. So did they send and seize all the best habitations and the richest ones of the city, so that they had already seized all these or ever the poor knights or the lowly folk of the host were aware thereof. And when the poor folk were made aware thereof, they went then, every man for himself, and took whatsoever they chanced upon; for places enough did they find there, and places a many did they take, and many yet remained, for the city was very great and abundantly peopled.
And the marquis took the Palace of the Lion’s Mouth, and the Minster of Saint Sophia, and the houses of the Patriarch; and the other noblemen, like the counts, took the richest palaces and the richest abbeys that could be found there; howbeit, after the city was taken no mischief was done to poor or to rich. Nay, he departed who desired to depart, and who so desired, remained; but the richest men departed from the city.
Chapter 81: OF THE DIVISION OF THE SPOIL
Thereafter, a command went forth that all the substance of the body be brought to a certain abbey which was within the city. Thither was the substance brought, and they chose ten noble knights from amongst the pilgrims, and ten Venetians who were reputed to be honourable men, and set them to guard this substance. And when the booty was brought thither, which was so rich and contained such wealth of gold and of silver and of cloth of gold, and so many rich jewels, that it was a fair marvel to behold the great riches that had been brought thither – then, never since the world was established was so great wealth, or so noble, or so magnificent, either seen or won – no, not in the days of Alexander, or of Charles the Great, or before, or after. Nor do I believe, of my own knowledge that in the fifty richest cities of the world could there be so much wealth as was found in the body of Constantinople. For the Greeks also bore witness that two-thirds of all the wealth of the world was in Constantinople, and that the other third was scattered throughout the world.
But those selfsame ones who ought to have guarded this wealth took the jewels of gold and whatsoever else they desired, and robbed the spoil. And of the rich men did every one take either jewels of gold, or silken cloth of gold, or whatsoever liked him best, and carried them away. In this wise did they begin to steal the treasure, so that no division thereof was ever made amongst the commonalty of the host, nor amongst the poor knights, nor amongst the men at arms, who had all helped to win it – save only of the coarser silver, such as silver ewers that the ladies of the city carried to the baths. But all the rest of the treasure which remained to divide was carried away in such base fashion as I have told you; nevertheless, the Venetians had their half thereof. So the precious stones, and all the greater treasure which remained to divide, went such base ways as we shall presently describe to you.
Chapter 82: OF THE MARVELS OF CONSTANTINOPLE. OF THE PALACE OF THE LION’S MOUTH
When the city was taken and the pilgrims had lodged themselves, even as I have told you, and when the palaces were taken, then were there found in these palaces riches without number. And how rich was the Palace of the Lion’s Mouth, and how built, I will tell you now. There were, forsooth, within this palace (which the marquis now held) five hundred chambers, which were all joined one to another; and they were all wrought in mosaic work of gold. More–over, there were full thirty chapels there, both large and small; and there was one of these which was called the Holy Chapel, that was so rich and so noble that it contained neither hinge nor socket, nor any other appurtenance such as is wont to be wrought of iron, that was not all of silver; nor was there a pillar there that was not of jasper or porphyry or such like rich and precious stone. And the pave–ment of the chapel was of white marble, so smooth and so clear that it seemed that it was of crystal. And this chapel was so rich that one could not describe to you the great beauty and the great magnificence thereof. Within this chapel were found many precious relics; for therein were found two pieces of the True Cross, as thick as a man’s leg and a fathom in length. And there was found the lance wherewith Our Lord had His side pierced, and the two nails that were driven through the midst of His hands and through the midst of His feet. And there was also found, in a crystal phial, a great part of His blood. And there was found the tunic that he wore, which was stripped from Him when He had been led to the Mount of Calvary. And there, too, was found the blessed crown wherewith He was crowned, which was wrought of sea rushes, sharp as dagger blades. There also was found the raiment of Our Lady, and the head of my Lord Saint John Baptist, and so many other precious relics that I could never describe them to you or tell you the truth concerning them.
Chapter 83: OF THE PALACE OF BLACHERNAE
Now there were yet other holy relics in this chapel, of which we had forgotten to tell you. For there were two rich vessels of gold which hung in the midst of the chapel by two great chains of silver, and in the one of these vessels was a tile, and in the other a towel. And we will tell you whence these relics had come.
There lived of yore, in Constantinople, a certain holy man. And it chanced that this holy man was mending with tiles the roof of a widow woman’s house, for the love of God. And as he was mending it, lo, Our Lord appeared to him and spoke to him; and the good man had a towel girt about him. “Give thither,” said Our Lord, “that towel.”
And the good man yielded it to Him. And Our Lord wrapped His own face therein, so that the likeness thereof was imprinted upon the towel; then gave He it back to him. And He told him that he should carry it away, and lay it on sick folk, and that whosoever had faith therein, he would be cleansed of his sickness. And the good man took it and carried it away. But before he carried it away, when God had given his towel back to him, the good man took it and hid it under a tile until the evening. In the evening, when he went thence, he took the towel; but as he lifted up the tile, he saw the likeness imprinted upon the tile also, even as upon the towel. And he carried away both the tile and the towel, and thereafter were many sick folk healed by them. And these relics hung in the midst of the chapel, even as I have told you.
Now there was also in this chapel another holy relic, for there was to be seen therein a likeness of Saint Demetrius, which was painted upon a board. This likeness gave forth so much oil that it was not possible to remove all the oil that flowed ever downward from this picture.
And there were some twenty of these chapels, and there were some two hundred chambers, or three hundred, which all adjoined one to another, and they were all wrought in mosaic of gold. And this palace was so rich and so magnifi–cent that one could not describe or relate to you the magnificence and richness thereof.
And in the palace of Blachernae also was very great treasure found, and very rich. For here were found the rich crowns that belonged to the emperors who dwelt there aforetime, and their rich jewels of gold, and their rich raiment of silken cloth, and their rich imperial robes, and rich and precious stones, and other riches so great that one could not number the great treasure of gold and of silver that was found in the palaces and in many places elsewhere in the city.
Chapter 84: HAW THE PILGRIMS MARVELED AT THE WONDERS OF THE CITY
Then did the pilgrims gaze upon the greatness of the city, and the palaces, and the rich abbeys, and the rich minsters, and the great wonders that were in the city; and they marveled very greatly thereat, and much did they marvel at the Minster of Saint Sophia and at the riches that were there.
Chapter 85: OF THE MINSTER OF SAINT SOPHIA
Now will I tell you of the Minster of Saint Sophia, how it was built (Saint Sophia, in Greek, signifieth Holy Trinity in our own tongue). The Minster of Saint Sophia was altogether round. And there were on the inside of the minster, all round about, arches which were borne up by great pillars – very rich pillars, for there was not a pillar that was not either of jasper, or of porphyry, or of other rich and precious stones, nor was there one of these pillars that had not some virtue of healing. For one there was that healed a man of the disease of the reins when he rubbed himself against it, and one that healed folk of the disease of the side; and some that healed them of other diseases. Nor was there any door of this minster, or hinge, or socket, or other furnishing such as is wont to be made of iron, that was not all of silver. And the high altar of this minster was so rich that the price thereof could not be reckoned; for the table which lay upon the altar was of gold, and of precious stones all squared and ground, and all fast joined together; which a certain rich emperor caused to be made. And this table was full fourteen feet in length; and about the altar were pillars of silver, which upheld a canopy above the altar, made like to a bell-tower, and all of massive silver. And so rich was it that one could not reckon the price that it was worth.
And the place where the Gospel was read was so rich and so magnificent that we could not describe to you how it was made. Then, adown the minster hung full an hundred lustres, nor was there a lustre that hung not by a great chain of silver, as thick as a man’s arm; and in each lustre were some five and twenty lamps, or more; nor was there a lustre that was not worth full two hundred silver marks.
By the socket of the great door of the minster, which was all of silver, there hung a tube – of what alloy wrought, no man knows – and it was of the size of one of those pipes such as shepherds pipe upon. That tube had this virtue, of which I will tell you. When a sick man who had some disease within his body –as some swelling whereof his belly was swollen within – when such an one put the tube to his mouth, then this tube would lay hold on him, and would suck out all that disease from him, and would make the poison thereof to run out through his throat. And it kept such fast hold on him that it made his eyes to roll and to turn in his head; nor could he release himself there from or ever the tube had sucked all that disease clean out of him. Nevertheless, albeit he that was sickest was longest held by the tube, when a man who was not sick at all put it to his mouth, it held him in no wise whatsoever.
Chapter 86: OF THE GREAT PILLAR THAT WAS BEFORE THE MINSTER OF SAINT SOPHIA AND THE STATUE OF AN EMPEROR THAT STOOD THEREON
Furthermore, in front of the Minster of Saint Sophia there was a thick pillar, having in sooth a thickness of thrice the spread of a man’s arms, and it was full fifty fathoms high. And it was made of marble, and then of copper laid over the marble; and it was very stoutly bound with goodly bands of iron. And above, on the top of this pillar, was a stone some fifteen feet long and as many wide. And upon this stone stood an emperor, cast in copper, on a great copper horse, who was stretching out his hand toward Heathendom. And there were letters graven upon him, which said that he was swearing an oath that the Saracens should never have rest or respite from him. And in the other hand he held a golden apple, and on the apple, a cross. And the Greeks said that this was the Emperor Heraclius. Furthermore, both on the horse’s croup, and on its head, and round about it, were ten aeries of herons, which nested there every year.
Chapter 87: OF THE CHURCH OF THE SEVEN APOSTLES
Furthermore, in another part of the city was another minster, which was called the Minster of the Seven Apostles. And it was said that this minster was yet richer and more magnificent than the Minster of Saint Sophia; and so great riches and such magnificence were therein that one could in no wise describe the half of the richness and magnificence of this minster. And there lay within this minster the bodies of seven apostles; and therein also stood the pillar whereto Our Lord was bound or ever He was put upon the cross. And it was said that there also lay the Emperor Constantine, and Helena, and other emperors a many.
Chapter 88: OF THE GATE OF THE GOLDEN MANTLE
Now in another part of the city was a gate which was called the Golden Mantle. Above this gate was a golden ball, which was made by enchantment; for the Greeks said that never, so long as this ball should remain there, would thunder–bolts fall within the city. And over and above the ball was an image cast in cop–per, which had a golden mantle wrapped about it, and it leaned forward upon one arm, and there were letters graven upon it, which said, “All they” (so spoke the image) “that tarry in Constantinople for one year ought to have a mantle of gold, even as I have.”
Chapter 89: OF THE GOLDEN GATE
In yet another part of the city is another gate, called the Golden Gate. Above this gate were two elephants, cast in copper, which were so huge that it was a fair marvel to behold them. This gate was never opened, save when the emperor re–turned from battle after he had conquered some land. And whenever he thus returned from battle, having conquered some land, then came forth the clergy of the city in procession to meet the emperor; and the gate was opened, and a chariot was brought, which was made like to a four-wheeled waggon and was called a triumphal chariot. And in the midst of this chariot was a high dais, and on the dais was a throne, and round about the throne were four pillars that bare up a canopy that overshadowed the throne, which seemed to be all of gold. So sate there the emperor, upon this throne, wearing his crown; and he came in by this gate and was brought on this chariot, amid great joy and rejoicing, even unto his own pal–ace.
Chapter 90: OF THE EMPEROR’S GAMES
Now in another part of the city was yet another wonder, for there was an open space, hard by the Palace of the Lion’s Mouth, which was called the Em–peror’s Games. This space was full a crossbow-shot and a half in length, and about one in breadth. Round about this open space were thirty or forty tiers of stairs, where the Greeks. went up for to see the games; and there were lodges there, very magnificent and very noble, where sat the emperor and the empress whilst the games were playing, together with other nobles and ladies. And if two games were playing together, then would the emperor and the empress make a wager together that the one of these games would be better played than the other; so, likewise, did all they that were watching the games.
Lengthwise of this space ran a wall, full fifteen feet high and ten feet wide; and on the top of this wall were images of men and of women, of horses, and oxen, and camels, and bears, and lions, and all manner of other beasts, cast in copper, which were so cunningly wrought and so naturally shaped that there is not, in Heathendom or in Christendom, a master so skilled that he could portray or shape images so skillfully as these images were shaped. And these images were wont erstwhile to play, by enchantment; but afterward they played no more at all.
And on these Games of the Emperor did the Franks gaze with wonder when they beheld them.
Chapter 91: OF THE TWO MARVELOUS IMAGES
And now in yet another part of the city was another marvel. There were two images, cast in copper, in the shape of women, most cunningly wrought and naturally, and exceeding beautiful. And neither of the two was less than twenty feet high. And the one of these images was stretching out her hand toward the West, and there were letters written upon her which said, “From out of the West will come they who shall conquer Constantinople.”
And the other image was stretching out her hand toward an unseemly place and saying, “Thither” (so spoke the image) “shall they be thrust forth again.”
These two images were sitting before the Exchange, which was wont erstwhile to be full of wealth; for there were wont to sit the rich money-changers, having before them great mountains of bezants and of precious stones, ere yet the city was taken. But there were not so many of them there, now that the city was taken.
Chapter 92: OF THE PILLARS OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND OF THE CHURCH OF SAINT MARY OF BLACHERNAE
Yet again, in yet another part of the city, was to be seen yet a greater marvel. For there were two pillars; each one of them was, in thickness, thrice the spread of a man’s arms, and each was full fifty fathoms high. And on the top of each one of these pillars dwelt a hermit, in little huts which were there. And there was a passage on the inside of the pillar, whereby one went up thither. And on the outside of these pillars were portrayed and written in prophecy all the happenings that have come to pass in Constantinople or are yet to come. Nor could any happening be known ere yet it had happened; but when it had happened, then went the people thither and mused there, and then did they perceive for the first time and divine the happening. Yea, even the conquest which the Franks made was written and portrayed there, and the ships with which the assault was made where–by the city was taken; nor yet were the Greeks able to see it until it had already come to pass. But after it was come to pass, then went they thither for to muse and to gaze on these pillars; and it was found that the letters which were written on the ships portrayed there declared that from out of the West would come a tall people, shaven with knives of iron, who would conquer Constantinople.
And all these marvels which I have related to you, and still many more which we cannot relate to you, did the Franks find in Constantinople when they had conquered it. Nor do I believe, of my own knowledge, that any man, be he never so skilled in accounting, could number all the abbeys of the city, so many were there of them, both of monks and of nuns, to say nothing of the other minsters in the city. And they counted, in round numbers, some thirty thousand priests in the city, both monks and others.
Of the other Greeks – the high, the lowly, the poor, the rich; of the greatness of the city, of the palaces, and of the other wonders which are therein – will we forbear to tell you further; for no earthly man, though he abode never so long in that city, could number or relate all this to you. And if he were to describe to you the hundredth part of the riches and the beauty and the magnificence which were to be found in the abbeys and in the minsters and in the palaces and in the city itself, it would seem that he was a liar, nor would ye believe him at all.
But among the rest, there was also another of the minsters, which was called the Church of my Lady Saint Mary of Blachernae, within which was the shroud wherein Our Lord was wrapped. And on every Friday that shroud did raise itself upright, so that the form of Our Lord could clearly be seen. And none knows – neither Greek nor Frank – what became of that shroud when the city was taken.
Likewise, there was another of the abbeys, wherein lay the good Emperor Manuel; for never was body born on earth – neither holy man nor holy woman – that lay so richly and magnificently in its tomb as did this emperor. In this abbey, also, was the marble table whereon Our Lord was laid out after He had been taken down from the cross; and there, too, were seen the tears that Our Lady had shed over Him.
Chapter 93: HOW THE PILGRIMS MADE READY TO CHOOSE AN EMPEROR
Thereafter it came to pass that all the counts and all the other nobles came together on a certain day to the Palace of the Lion’s Mouth, which the marquis held, and said one to another that they would elect an emperor, and that they would choose ten men from their own number. And they said to the Doge of Venice that he should choose ten of his people. When the marquis heard this, he wished to place in this number his own men and such as he thought would choose himself for emperor, for he wished to be emperor forthwith. But the barons were by no means agreed that the marquis place his own men there; but, rather, they agreed that none of his men should be of that number. When the Doge of Venice, who was a very wise and worthy man, saw this, he spoke in the hearing of all, and said
“Sirs, listen now to me” (quoth the Doge). “I desire, ere we elect an em–peror, that the palaces be guarded by the common guard of the host, so that, if I myself should be elected emperor, I may go thither straightway without any gainsaying and be seized of the palaces; and in like manner, if the Count of Flanders be chosen, that he may have the palaces with no gainsaying; or if the mar–quis be chosen, or Count Lewis, or the Count of Saint-Pol, or if some poor knight be chosen, that he who is to be emperor may have the palaces with no gainsaying, either on the part of the marquis, or of the Count of Flanders, or of one, or of another.”
Chapter 94: OF THE MANNER OF THEIR CHOOSING AN EMPEROR; AND OF THE PRETENSIONS OF THE MARQUIS OF MONTFERRAT
When the marquis heard this, he could in no wise go counter to it but gave over the palace which he held. Then they went and set as guards in the palaces men of the commonalty of the host, for to guard the palaces.
When the Doge of Venice had spoken after this fashion, he bade the barons choose their ten, for himself would very speedily have his own ten chosen. And when the barons heard this, then did each one wish to put forward his own men. The Count of Flanders wished to put forward his men; likewise, Count Lewis, the Count of Saint-Pol, and the other rich men; so that never in this manner could they agree whom they would put forward or choose. So, then, they set another day to choose these ten; and when that day was come, yet again were they unable to agree whom they would choose. Nay, rather, always did the marquis desire to put forward those that he thought would elect him emperor; for he wished to be emperor, even were it by force.
And this discord endured full fifteen days, nor could they come to any accord. Nor did a day pass, that they did not come together for this business; until, in the end, they agreed that the clergy of the host – the bishops and the abbots who were there – should be the electors. Then, when they had thus come to an agreement, the Doge of Venice went and chose his ten in such a manner as I will describe to you. He called four of those that he deemed the worthiest of his countrymen, and he made them to swear on holy relics that, to the best of their knowledge, they would choose the ten worthiest of their countrymen that were in the host. And these acted in such wise that when they called one of these men he must needs come forward, neither durst he speak or take counsel with any one; rather, they put him straightway into a minster, and in the same way the others, until the Doge had his ten. And when they were all in this minster – the ten Venetians and the bishops – then was sung a Mass of the Holy Ghost, that the Holy Ghost might counsel them and give them wisdom to appoint such a man as should be a good and profitable one for the office.
Chapter 95: HOW COUNT BALDWIN OF FLANDERS WAS CHOSEN EMPEROR
When the Mass had been sung, then came the electors together and spoke together in their council; and they spoke of this one and of that, until the Venetians and bishops and abbots with one accord agreed that it should be the Count of Flanders, and there was never a man of them that gainsaid this choice.
When they were thus agreed together and their council must needs break up, then they charged the Bishop of Soissons with the task of making known their choice. So when they had departed, then all they of the host assembled for to listen and to hear who should be named as emperor. And after they had assembled themselves they all remained very quiet. And the more part greatly feared and suspected that the marquis would be named, and they that held with the marquis greatly dreaded lest another than the marquis be named. And as they all stood there, so quiet, then rose the Bishop of Soissons to his feet and said to them: “Sirs,” (quoth the bishop) “by common consent of you all were we sent to make this election. We have elected such a man as we knew, of our own knowledge, to be fit for the office, and one in whom the imperial power may well be vested, who is mighty to uphold the law and a man of gentle birth and high estate. We will name him to you: he is Count Baldwin of Flanders!”
When this word was heard, then were all the Franks right glad because of it; but certain others were there who were sore displeased thereat, such as they who clave to the marquis.
Chapter 96: HOW COUNT BALDWIN WAS CROWNED EMPEROR
When the emperor was elected, then the bishops and all the high barons and the Franks, who were exceedingly glad because of this, took him and led him away to the Palace of the Lion’s Mouth, amid very great joy and very great rejoicing. And when the nobles were all in the palace, then did they set a day to crown the emperor. And when that day was come [May 1, 1204], they mounted their horses – both the bishops and the abbots and all the high barons, both Venetian and Franks – and went forth to the Palace of the Lion’s Mouth. Thence they brought the emperor to the Monster of Saint Sophia; and when they came to the minster, then was the emperor taken to a place apart, within the minster, and into a chamber there. The he was stripped of his garments, and his shoes taken off his feet; and then they put on him scarlet hose of samite, and over these, shoes that were all set with precious stone above. And then they laid on him the imperial mantle – a manner of vestment was this which reached to his ankles in front, and behind was so long that he girded himself therewith and then it was cast back over the left arm, even as a priest’s maniple. And this mantle was very rich and very magnificent and all laden with rich and precious stones. Thereafter there was laid over this a very rich cloak, which was all laden with precious stones, and the eagles which were upon the other side of it were wrought of precious stones and shone so that it seemed as if the cloak were all alight.
When he was arrayed in this manner, they led him before the altar; and as he was brought before the altar, Count Lewis bare his imperial gonfalon, and the Count of Saint-Pol bare his sword, and the marquis his crown, and two bishops held up the arms of the marquis, who bare the crown, and two other bishops walked beside the emperor. And all the barons were richly arrayed, not was there Frank of Venetian that had not a robe either of samite or of silken cloth.
And when the emperor came before the altar, he kneeled down; then they took from him his cloak and imperial mantle, so he remained in his bare coat. And they loosed from the coat the golden buttons, before and behind, so that he was all naked from the girdle upward, and then did they anoint him. And when he was anointed, they fastened again the coat with the golden buttons, then they laid on him again the imperial mantle, then the cloak was folded over his shoulder. And then, when he was thus arrayed, and two bishops were holding the crown above the altar, came all the bishops; and together they took the crown and blessed it, and made the sign of the cross over it, and set it upon his head. Thereafter was hanged about his neck a very rich stone for an agraffe [brooch], which the Emperor Manuel bought for three score and two thousand marks.
Chapter 97: HOW COUNT BALDWIN WAS SEATED ON THE THRONE OF CONSTANTINE
When they had crowned him, they set him on a high throne, and there he remained until Mass had been sung, holding his sceptre in his hand and in the other hand a golden apple with a little cross above it. And the ornaments that he had upon him were of greater price than the treasure of a rich king. And when he had heard Mass, they brought him a white horse, whereon he mounted; and the barons led him back to his palace of the Lion’s Mouth; and they seated him on the throne of Constantine. Then, when they had set him on Constantine’s throne, all acknowledged him emperor, and the Greeks that were there did him reverence, even as to an holy emperor. Then were the tables set, and the emperor ate, and all the barons in the palace with him. When they had eaten, then the barons departed and all went their ways to their habitations, but the emperor remained in his palace.
Chapter 98: OF THE DIVISION OF THE TREASURE
Thereafter it came to pass one day that the barons came together and said one to another that a partition should be made of the spoil. So was it divided – save only the coarser silver which was there: to wit, the silver ewers that the ladies of the city carried to the baths. And a portion thereof was given to each knight, each serjeant of horse, and to all the other common people of the host, to women, and to children – to every one.
But Aleaume of Clari, the clerk (of whom I have spoken to you before, who was so valiant of his body and wrought such deeds of arms, as we have said before this), said that he wished to have his share as a knight. And some said that it was not right that he should share as a knight; but he said that it was right, for that he also had horse and hauberk, like a knight, and that he had wrought deeds of arms there; yea, more than many a knight had done had he himself wrought. And at last the Count of Saint-Pol adjudged that he should share as a knight, since he had wrought there more deeds of arms and of prowess. For the Count of Saint-Pol bare him witness that the knights, albeit there were three hundred of them, had not wrought such deeds as he, and rightly therefore should he share as a knight. Thereby did this clerk cause it to be adjudged that the clerks should share even as the knights.
Then was all the coarser silver apportioned, even as I have told you; and the rest of the spoil – the gold, the silken stuffs, of which there was so much that it was a fair marvel – remained to divide. And this was put under the common guard of the host, in the ward of such persons as it was believed would guard it honourably.
Chapter 99: OF THE CONQUESTS OF THE EMPEROR BALDWIN; AND HOW THE MARQUIS OF MONTFERRAT DEFIED THE EMPEROR
It befell, no very great space after this, that the emperor summoned all the high barons, and the Doge of Venice, and Count Lewis, and the Count of Saint–Pol, and all the high nobles, and told them that he desired to go forth and conquer somewhat of the land; and so was it determined that the emperor should go forth. Then was it also determined which ones should remain for a guard to the city. And it was determined that the Doge of Venice should tarry there, and Count Lewis, and their people with them. The marquis, also, tarried there, and he married the wife of Isaac (that had been emperor), who was sister to the King of Hungary. When the marquis saw that the emperor was about to make ready to go forth and conquer lands, he came and demanded of the emperor that he give him the kingdom of Salonika, a land that lay distant a fortnight’s march from Constantinople. But the emperor answered that this land was not his to give, for the barons of the host and the Venetians had the greater share therein. Yet so much of it as appertained to himself, that would he give him right freely and willingly; but the portion that belonged to the barons of the host and to the Venetians could he in no wise give him.
When the marquis saw that he could have none of it he was sorely vexed thereat. Thereafter the emperor went away, whither he had purposed to go, with all his people. And as he came to the castles and the cities, they that were in them yielded themselves to him without any gainsaying, and came out to meet him, bringing their keys; and the priests and clerks came forth in procession to meet him, and received him; and the Greeks all did him reverence, as to an holy emperor. And the emperor set his garrisons in the castles and cities whithersoever he came, until he had fully conquered the land for a space of fifteen days’ march from Constantinople and until he was come within one day’s march of Salonika.
In the mean time, whilst the emperor was thus conquering the land, the marquis had set forth, together with his wife and all his people, to follow after the emperor, so that he overtook the host of the emperor ere the emperor was come to Salonika. And when he had overtaken the host he went and pitched his camp about a league away; and when he had encamped he took messengers and sent them to the emperor and bade him not to enter his land of Salonika, which had been given to him; for let the emperor know well that if he went thither, then would the marquis go no further with him, nor would he any longer cleave to him, but, rather, would turn back again to Constantinople and do the best that he could for himself:
Chapter 100: HOW THE BARONS RECEIVED THE DEFIANCE OF THE MARQUIS
When the barons of the emperor’s company heard the word that the marquis had sent him, then were they very bitter and sore displeased; and they sent word back again to the marquis that neither for him nor for his behest would they for–bear to go on, holding both of no account, for the land was not his.
Chapter 101: OF THE REVOLT OF THE MARQUIS OF MONTFERRAT
When the marquis heard this he turned back, and he went until he came to a city wherein the emperor had put certain of his people to guard the city. This city he took by treachery. When he had taken this city he put therein guards of his own people, and then, when he had done this, he passed on to another city, which was called Adrianople, wherein the emperor had posted certain of his people. And he laid siege to it and set up his petraries and his mangonels to attack the city, but they of the city held out strongly against him. And when he saw that he would not be able to take them by force, he spoke to them that were upon the walls and said to them, “Bah, sirs! And have ye not perceived that here is the wife of Isaac, the emperor?”
Then did he bring forward his wife, and his wife said: “Bah! Have ye not recognized me, that I am the empress? And have ye not recognized my two children, that I had by Isaac, the emperor?”
Then did she bring forward her children. And then a certain wise man of the city made answer, “Yea!” quoth this man. “We have perceived clearly that this was the wife of Isaac and that these were his children.”
“Bah!” quoth the marquis. “Wherefore, then, have ye not recognized one of these children as your lord?”
“I will tell you,” quoth the man. “Get you hence to Constantinople and cause him to be crowned, and when he shall have sat down on Constantine’s throne and we shall have learned thereof, then will we do in the matter that which we ought to do.”
Chapter 102: HOW THE EMPEROR BALDWIN TOOK SALONIKA
In the mean time, whilst the marquis was proceeding in this sort, the emperor went to Salonika and laid siege to it. And after he had laid siege thereto, the host was so poor that there was not bread there to feed more than an hundred men, but of flesh and wine had they a plenty. And the emperor had not long besieged the city until it yielded to him, and when the city had yielded, then was there an abun–dance of all that was needful – both bread and wine and flesh. And then the emperor set his guards there; and since he had no thought to go further, he turned about to go back thence to Constantinople.
Chapter 103: OF THE DEATH OF MY LORD PETER OF AMIENS; AND HOW THE MARQUIS LAID SIEGE TO ADRIANOPLE
But then befell a very great loss and there was very great dole in the host, for my Lord Peter of Amiens, the fair, the valiant, died as they were returning, at a city which was called the White City and lay very nigh to Philippi, where Alexander was born; likewise, there died full fifty knights on this march. And as the emperor was returning he heard tidings that the marquis had taken one of his cities by treachery, and that he had put therein guards of his own people, and that he had laid siege to Adrianople.
Chapter 104: OF CERTAIN DISSENSIONS THAT AROSE AMONGST THE MEN OF THE CROSS
When the emperor and the barons of the host heard this, they were sore vexed and troubled exceedingly; and they threatened the marquis and his people, saying that if they overtook them they would cut them all in pieces, nor would they leave him a living man. When the marquis knew that the emperor was returning, then was he greatly afraid, even as one that had done great naughtiness, so that he scarce knew what counsel to take. But at last he sent word to Constantinople – to the Doge of Venice, to Count Lewis, and to the other barons who had remained there – saying that he would put himself in their ward, and that he would make amends through them for the mischief that he had wrought. And when the Doge and the count and the other barons heard that the marquis was willing to make amends, through them, for the mischief which he had wrought and that which he had essayed, then did they dispatch four messengers to the emperor, sending him word that the marquis had given them this promise and that the emperor should do no harm either to him or to his people.
Chapter 105: HOW THE KNIGHTS AND YOUNG BACHELORS RECEIVED NEWS OF THE UNJUST DIVISION OF THE SPOIL; AND OF THEIR WRATH THEREAT
When the barons and knights of the host heard this, they answered that all this would not avail one whit to keep them from putting the marquis and his people to shame, or from cutting them all in pieces if they could overtake them. And only with great difficulty were they appeased; nevertheless, they granted a truce to the marquis.
Thereafter the barons asked of the messengers tidings of Constantinople, and what was befalling there. And the messengers answered that all was well, and that they had divided the spoil which remained, and likewise the city.
“What!” cried the knights and the young bachelors of the host. “Our spoil have ye divided – for which we suffered great pains and travails, hungerings and thirstings, cold and heat? And this have ye divided without us? Take this!” cried they to the messengers. “Here! Take my gage! For I shall prove you all to be traitors!”
Forth sprang another, and spoke likewise, and another also; for so sorely were they angered that they would have hewn the messengers all in pieces, and it lacked but little that they would have slain them; until the emperor and the nobles of the host brought them to reason and wrought the best concord that they could. And they returned together to Constantinople.
And when they were returned, then was there never one of them was able to come back to his former lodging, for the lodgings which they had left behind no longer remained for them, since the nobles had divided the city and their retinues had taken their lodging elsewhere in the city; so that they of the host must needs seek for themselves habitations distant a league or two leagues from those that they had left.
Chapter 106: OF AN ADVENTURE WHICH BEFELL MY LORD PETER OF BRACHEUX
Now we had forgotten to recount an adventure which befell my Lord Peter of Bracheux. It chanced that the Emperor Henry was with the host, and John the Wallach and the Comans had made an incursion into the emperor’s land. And they had encamped some two leagues or less away from the host of the emperor. And much had they heard told concerning my Lord Peter of Bracheux and his excellent knighthood. And at last they sent word one day to my Lord Peter of Bracheux, by messengers, that they would be very fain to speak with him one day under safe-conduct; and my Lord Peter answered that if he had safe-conduct he would gladly go thither to speak with them. So the Wallachians and the Comans sent good hostages to the emperor’s host, until my Lord Peter should return. Then went my Lord Peter, and three other knights with him; and he rode upon a great horse. And as he drew near to the host of the Wallachs and John the Wallach beheld him coming, then did John go forth to meet him, along with certain noblemen of Wallachia. And they saluted him and welcomed him; but they looked up to him with very great difficulty, for he was an exceeding tall man. And they spoke to him of this thing and of that, and at length they said to him, “Sir, we marvel much at your excellent knighthood, and we wonder much what ye are seeking in this country – ye who are from such far countries and are come hither to conquer lands. For have ye not,” asked they, “lands in your own countries wherewith ye could maintain yourselves?”
And my Lord Peter made answer, “Bah!” (quoth he) “And have ye never heard, then, how Troy the Great was destroyed, or by what strategem?”
“Bah!” answered the Wallachs and the Comans. “Verily have we heard tell of these things; but most likely all this never was!”
“Bah!” quoth my Lord Peter. “Troy belonged to our ancestors, and they who escaped thence came to dwell in that place from whence we are come; and because it belonged to our ancestors are we come hither to conquer lands!”
Thereupon did he take his leave of them and went back.
Chapter 107: HOW FIEFS WERE ESTABLISHED IN THE EAST
When the emperor had returned, and the barons who went with him, having conquered a good part of the land and full three score cities, beside castles and towns, then was the city of Constantinople so divided that the emperor had the fourth part thereof in freehold, and the three other parts were so divided that the Venetians had the one-half of these three parts and the pilgrims the other half. Thereafter was it determined to divide the lands that had been conquered; and first, division was made amongst the counts, and afterward, among the other men of high rank. And it was taken into account who was the richest man and highest in rank, and who had had the most people in his following in the host; and to him was the most land given. There were some to whom were given two hundred knights’ fiefs, and to some were given one hundred, to some three score and ten, to some three score, to some forty, to some twenty, to some ten; and they who received least had seven or six. And the value of the fief was three hundred pounds Angevin. And to each of the noblemen they said, “Ye shall have so many fiefs; and ye, so many; and ye, so many; and therewith shall ye enfeoff your men and those who shall desire to hold in fee from you. And ye shall have this city; and ye, that one; and ye, this other” (and the seigniories that appertained thereto).
When, in this manner, his portion had been given to each one, then did the counts and the other noblemen go forth to view their lands and their cities, and they established there their bailiffs and other guards.
Chapter 108: HOW MOURZUPHLES THE TRAITOR WAS TAKEN CAPTIVE
At last it came to pass one day that my Lord Thierri, brother to the Count of Loos, set forth to view his lands, and as he was going he met one day by chance, in a narrow pass, Mourzuphles the traitor, who was going I know not whither. And he had in his company ladies and damsels and other folk a many, and he rode in pomp and circumstance, like an emperor, with as many folk as was possible. And what did my Lord Thierri do but charge straight on him; and he contrived, he and his people, to seize this emperor by force. And when he had thus taken him, he brought him to Constantinople and gave him over to the Emperor Baldwin. And when the emperor had seen him, he cast him into prison and had him well guarded.
Chapter 109: HOW MOURZUPHLES THE TRAITOR WAS PUT TO DEATH
When Mourzuphles was in prison, the Emperor Baldwin sent one day for all his barons and all the noblest men who were in the land of Constantinople to come to the palace – the Doge of Venice, Count Lewis, the Count of Saint-Pol, and all the others – and they came thither. And when they were come, then did the Emperor Baldwin tell them how he had Mourzuphles in prison; and he asked them what they advised him to do with him. Then some said that he should be hanged, others, that he should be drawn and quartered; but at last the Doge of Venice said that he was a man of too high birth to be hanged.
“But to such a man of high birth,” quoth the Doge, “I will tell you what manner of high justice” shall be done. There are in this city two high pillars, nor is either less than sixty or fifty fathoms high. So let him be made to mount to the top of one of these, and then let him be hurled headlong to the ground!”
Now this was one of those two pillars whereon the hermits dwelt and whereon the fortunes of Constantinople were written, even as I have told you hereto–fore. And to what the Doge said the barons agreed. So was Mourzuphles taken and led to one of these pillars and made to mount the steps which were on the inside thereof. And when Mourzuphles stood at the top, then they pushed him, so that he fell to the ground and was dashed all in pieces. Such was the vengeance that they took on Mourzuphles the traitor.
Chapter 110: HOW PEACE WAS MADE BETWEEN THE MARQUIS AND THE EMPEROR
After the lands had been so apportioned as I have told you, it came about that peace was made between the marquis and the emperor. And the emperor was blamed for this, because he did not call thither all the high barons. None the less did the marquis demand the kingdom of Salonika, and none the less did he have it, for the emperor gave it to him. And when the kingdom was bestowed upon him, then did the marquis depart thither, with his wife and all his people; and when he was come thither he took over the garrisons of that country and was lord and king thereof.
Chapter 111: OF THE DIVISION OF THE CONQUESTS
Afterward, my Lord Henry, the emperor’s brother, demanded the kingdom of Adramyttium, which lay beyond the Strait of Saint George, if he could conquer it; and it was given to him. Then thither went my Lord Henry, with all his people, and conquered a good part of the land. And after that, Count Lewis demanded another kingdom, and it was given to him; and the Count of Saint-Pol demanded yet another, and it was given to him, Next, my Lord Peter of Bracheux asked another kingdom, which lay in the land of the Saracens, toward Konieh, if he could conquer it; and this was granted to him. And my Lord Peter went thither with all his people and conquered this kingdom very easily and became lord thereof.
In this wise did the rich men demand their kingdoms, which had not yet been conquered; and the Doge of Venice and the Venetians had the island of Crete and the Isle of Corfu and the Isle of Modon, and yet others a plenty which they had already coveted.
But a very great loss befell the host, in that the Count of Saint-Pol died but a short time thereafter.
Chapter 112: OF THE VERY GRIEVOUS BATTLE OF ADRIANOPLE; OF THE LOSS OF THE EMPEROR BALDWIN AND OF MANY OTHER MEN OF HIGH ESTATE; AND HOW THESE THINGS WERE BUT GOD’S VENGEANCE FOR THE PRIDE AND THE BAD FAITH THAT THEY HAD SHOWN TOWARD THE POOR MEN OF THE HOST
Then it befell after this that a certain city which the emperor had conquered revolted against him; and the name of this city was Adrianople. Whom the emperor learned thereof lie sent for the Doge of Venice and Count Lewis and the other barons, and he told them that he wished to go and lay siege to Adrianople, which had revolted against him, and desired them to help him conquer this city. And the barons answered that they would be very fain to do this. So the em–peror made ready, and the barons likewise, to go to this city.
When they were come to this city they laid siege to it; and as they were sitting down before it, lo and behold, one day came John the Wallach, both he and the Comans, with a great multitude of folk, into the lands of Constantinople, even as they had done aforetime. And they found the emperor and all his host sitting down before Adrianople. And when they of the host saw the Comans all clad in skins, they suspected them not nor regarded them any more than they would have regarded a band of children. But the Comans and their people came on at full speed and rushed upon the Franks and slew many of them and routed them all in this battle. So was the emperor lost, so that none ever knew what be–came of him; likewise Count Lewis and many another of the noblemen, the number of whom we know not; but of a certainty there were lost there full three hundred knights.
And whosoever was able to escape came fleeing to Constantinople; so came the Doge of Venice fleeing thence, and much people with him. And they left be–hind their tents and their harness, even as they had been sitting before the city; for never durst they turn again in that direction. And great was their discomfiture.
Even in this manner did the Lord God take vengeance on them for their pride and their bad faith which they had shown toward the poor folk of the host, and for the horrible sins that they had committed in the city after they had taken it.
Chapter 113: HOW THEY SENT FOR MY LORD HENRY, THE EMPEROR’S BROTHER
When the emperor was lost through this misadventure, the barons departed, and they remained exceeding sorrowful. Thereafter they came together one day for to choose another emperor. And they sent for my Lord Henry, brother to the Emperor Baldwin that was, to make him emperor, for he was in his own country which he had conquered beyond the Strait of Saint George.
Chapter 114: HOW MY LORD HENRY WAS MADE EMPEROR
When the Doge of Venice and the Venetians saw that the Franks desired to make my Lord Henry emperor, then were they all against it, nor would they suffer it to be unless they should have a certain likeness of Our Lady, which was painted upon a tablet. Now this picture was exceeding rich and was all set with rich and precious stones. And the Greeks said that this was the first likeness of Our Lady that ever was painted or portrayed. And in this likeness had the Greeks so great trust that they adored it above every other thing, and they carried it in procession on every Tuesday; then did the Greeks adore it and give it great gifts. Now the Venetians would on no account suffer my Lord Henry to be made emperor unless first they had this picture; so at last the picture was given to them. Then was my Lord Henry crowned emperor.
Chapter 115: HOW THE EMPEROR HENRY MARRIED THE DAUGHTER OF THE MARQUIS; AND OF HER DEATH
When my Lord Henry was become emperor, then he and the marquis (who was king of Salonika) spoke together; and the marquis gave him his daughter, and the emperor married her; however, the empress lived not very long thereafter, but died.
Chapter 116: HOW THE EMPEROR HENRY SOUGHT THE DAUGHTER OF THE KING OF WALLACHIA IN MARRIAGE
Now it came to pass no very long time after this that John the Wallach and the Comans overran the marquis’ land of Salonika. And the marquis was in his land and fought against these Wallachs and Comans, and he was slain in that battle, and his people all routed. So went John the Wallach, and the Comans, and he laid siege to Salonika. And they set up their engines to assail the city. And the marquis’ wife had remained in the city, and knights and other folk with her who were defending the city. Now there lay within the city the body of my Lord Saint Demetrius, who would never suffer the city to be taken by violence; and there flowed so great an abundance of oil from this holy body that it was a fair marvel. And it came to pass, as John the Wallach was lying one morning in his tent, that my Lord Saint Demetrius came and thrust him through the middle of his body with a lance and slew him. When his own people and the Comans knew that he was dead, they brake camp and returned to their own land. And after this the kingdom of Wallachia escheated to a nephew of John, Borislas by name. This Borislas became thereafter king of Wallachia, and he had a fair daughter. And afterward it came to pass that Henry, who was a right good emperor, took counsel with his barons, what he might do with these Wallachs and Comans, who were ever making war on the empire of Constantinople and had killed Baldwin, his brother. And the barons advised that he should send to this Borislas, who was king of Wallachia, and demand of him that he give him his daughter to wife. But the emperor answered that a wife of so low lineage would he never take. And the barons said: “Sire, this shall ye do! We advise you well that ye come to an agreement with them, for they are the strongest people and the most redoubtable of the empire and of the whole earth!”
And thus spoke the barons, until the emperor sent thither two knights of high birth, and caused them to be richly accoutred, but these messengers went very fearfully into that wild land. Nevertheless, the messengers spoke to this Borislas, until he made answer to them that he would gladly send his daughter to the emperor.
Chapter 117: IN WHAT FASHION THE KING OF WALLACHIA SENT HIS DAUGHTER TO THE EMPEROR
Then did King Borislas cause his daughter to be very richly decked and magnificently adorned, and a multitude of people with her, and sent her to the emperor. And he bestowed on her sixty sumpter-horses, all laden with wealth of gold and silver and silken cloth and rich jewels, nor was there an horse that was not caparisoned with cloth of crimson samite, which was so long that it trailed full seven feet or eight behind each one; and notwithstanding they passed through mire and over grievous roads, yet never one of the samite cloths was frayed, because of their elegance and excellence.
Chapter 118: OF THE MARRIAGE OF THE EMPEROR HENRY AND THE DAUGHTER OF THE KING OF WALLACHIA
When the emperor knew that the damsel was coming he went forth to meet her, and the barons with him, and made great rejoicing over her and her people. And shortly thereafter the emperor married her.
Chapter 119: OF THE DEATH OF THE EMPEROR HENRY
And no great space after this the emperor was summoned to Salonika for to crown the marquis’ son as king, and thither the emperor went. And when he had crowned him (the marquis’ son) he fell sick there, and there he died, which was a very great loss and a very great pity.
Chapter 120: OF THE TRUTH OF ALL THAT HATH BEEN RELATED IN THIS HISTORY
Now have ye heard the truth, in what manner Constantinople was conquered, and in what way Count Baldwin of Flanders became emperor thereof, and my Lord Henry his brother after him; for he who was there and who saw these things and who heard the testimony thereof, Robert of Clari, Knight, hath also caused the truth to be put down in writing, how the city was conquered; and albeit he may not have recounted the conquest in as fair a fashion as many a good chronicler would have recounted it, yet hath he at all times recounted the strict truth; and many true things hath he left untold, because, in sooth, he cannot remember them all.
This work has been republished from Three Old French Chronicles of the Crusades, ed. Edward N. Stone (Seattle, 1939).