Abbildungen der Seite

doge of Venice, offered them the galleys whole force of the Greek empire to the of the republic; but the Crusaders, on conquest of Palestine, and distribute two their arrival in that city, found themselves hụndred thousand marks of silver among too poor to pay even half the sum de- | the crusading army. The offer was acmanded. Every means was tried to raise cepted, with a proviso on the part of some money; the Crusaders melted down their of the leaders, that they should be free to plate, and ladies gave up their trinkets. abandon their design, if it met with the Contributions were solicited from the faith-disapproval of the pope. But this was ful, but came in so slowly as to make it not to be feared. The submission of the evident to all concerned, that the faithful schismatic Greeks to the see of Rome of Europe were outnumbered by the pru- was a greater bribe to the potiff than the dent. As a last resource, Dandolo offered utter annihilation of the Saracen power in to convey them to Palestine at the expense Palestine would have been. of the republic, if they would previously The Crusaders were soon in movement aid in the recapture of the city of Zara, for the imperial city. Their operations which had been seized from the Venetians were skillfully and courageously directed, a short time previously by the king of Hun- and spread such dismay as to paralyze the gary. The Crusaders consented, much to efforts of the usurper to retain possession the displeasure of the pope, who threat of his throne. After a vain resistance, he ened excommunication upon all who should abandoned the city to its fate, and fled no be turned aside from the voyage to Jeru- | one knew whither. The aged and blind salem. But notwithstanding the fulmina- | Isaac was taken from his dungeon by his tions of the Church, the expedition never subjects, and placed upon the throne ere reached Palestine. The siege of Zarathe Crusaders were apprised of the flight was speedily undertaken. After a long of his rival. His son, Alexius IV., was and brave defense, the city surrendered at afterward associated with him in the sovediscretion, and the Crusaders were free, reignty. if they had so chosen it, to use their swords But the conditions of the treaty gave against the Saracens. But the ambition offense to the Grecian people, whose prelof the chiefs had been directed, by unfore- ates refused to place themselves under the seen circumstances, elsewhere.

dominion of the see of Rome. Alexius After the death of Manuel Comnenus, at first endeavored to persuade his subjects the Greek empire had fallen a prey to in- to admission, and prayed the Crusaders to testine divisions. His son, Alexius II., remain in Constantinople until they had had succeeded him, but was murdered after fortified him in the possession of a throne a short reign by his uncle Andronicus, who which was yet far from secure. He soon seized upon the throne. His reign also became unpopular with his subjects; and was but of short duration. Isaac Angelus, breaking faith with regard to the subsidies, a member of the same family, took up he offended the Crusaders. War was at arms against the usurper, and having de- length declared upon him by both parties ; feated and captured him in a pitched battle, by his people for his tyranny, and by his had him put to death. He also mounted former friends for his treachery. He was the throne only to be cast down from it. seized in his palace by his own guards and His brother Alexius deposed him, and thrown into prison, while the Crusaders to incapacitate him from reigning, put out were making ready to besiege his capital. his eyes, and shut him up in a dungeon. The Greeks immediately proceeded to the Neither was Alexius III. allowed to re election of a new monarch ; and looking main in peaceable possession of the throne ; about for a man of courage, energy, and the son of the unhappy Isaac, whose name perseverance, they fixed upon Alexius also was Alexius, fled from Constantinople, Ducas, who, with almost every bad quality, and hearing that the Crusaders had under- was possessed of the virtues they needed. taken the siege of Zara, made them the He ascended the throne under the name most magnificent offers if they would after- of Murzuphlis. One of his first acts was ward aid him in deposing his uncle. His to rid himself of his youngest predecessor offers were, that if by their means he was -a broken heart had already removed the reëstablished in his father's dominions, he blind old Isaac, no longer a stumblingwould place the Greek Church under the block in his way—and the young Alexius authority of the pope of Rome, lend the was soon after put to death in his prison.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

War to the knife was now declared be- Jewels, velvets, silks, and every luxury of tween the Greeks and the Franks; and attire, with rare wines and fruits, and early in the spring of the year 1204 prep- valuable merchandise of every description, arations were commenced for an assault also fell into their hands, and were bought upon Constantinople. The French and by the trading Venetians, and the proceeds Venetians entered into a treaty for the distributed among the army. Two thoudivision of the spoils among their soldiery ; sand persons were put to the sword; but for so confident were they of success, that had there been less plunder to take up the failure never once entered into their calcu- / attention of the victors, the slaughter lations. This confidence led them on to would in all probability have been much victory; while the Greeks, cowardly as greater. treacherous people always are, were para- The carnage being over, and the spoil lyzed by a foreboding of evil. It has distributed, six persons were chosen from been a matter of astonishment to all his among the Franks and six from among torians, that Murzuphlis, with the repu- the Venetians, who were to meet and elect tation for courage which he had acquired, an emperor, previously binding themselves and the immense resources at his disposal, by oath to select the individual best qualitook no better measures to repel the onset fied among the candidates. The choice of the Crusaders. Their numbers were wavered between Baldwin, Count of Flanas a mere handful in comparison with ders, and Boniface, Marquis of Montferrat, those which he could have brought against but fell eventually upon the former. He them; and if they had the hopes of plun- was straightway robed in the imperial der to lead them on, the Greeks had their purple, and became the founder of a new homes to fight for, and their very existence dynasty. He did not live long to enjoy as a nation to protect. After an impetuous his power, or to consolidate it for his sucassault, repulsed for one day, but renewed | cessors, who, in their turn, were soon with double impetuosity on another, the swept away. In less than sixty years the Crusaders lashed their vessels against the rule of the Franks at Constantinople was walls, slew every man who opposed them, brought to as sudden and disastrous a and, with little loss to themselves, entered termination as the reign of Murzuphlis : the city. Murzuphlis fled, and Constan- and this was the grand result of the fifth tinople was given over to be pillaged by Crusade. the victors. The wealth they found was Pope Innocent III., although he had enormous. In money alone there was suf- looked with no very unfavorable eye upon ficient to distribute twenty marks of silver these proceedings, regretted that nothing to each knight, ten to each squire or ser- | had been done for the relief of the Holy vant at arms, and five to each archer. | Land; still, upon every convenient occa

sion, he enforced the necessity of a new His successor encouraged the Crusade, Crusade. Until the year 1213, his ex- though he refused to accompany it ; and hortations had no other effect than to keep the armament continued in France, Engthe subject in the mind of Europe. Early land, and Germany. No leaders of any in the spring of 1213, a more extraor importance joined it from the former coundinary body of Crusaders was raised in tries. Andrew, King of Hungary, was the France and Germany. An immense num-only monarch who had leisure or inclinaber of boys and girls, amounting, accord- tion to leave his dominions. The dukes ing to some accounts, to thirty thousand, / of Austria and Bavaria joined him with a were incited by the persuasion of two considerable army of Germans, and marchmonks to undertake the journey to Pales- | ing to Spalatro, took ship for Cyprus, and tine. They were no doubt composed of from thence to Acre. the idle and deserted children who gen- The whole conduct of the king of erally swarm in great cities, nurtured in Hungary was marked by pusillanimity and vice and daring, and ready for anything. / irresolution. He found himself in the The object of the monks seems to have Holy Land at the head of a very efficient been the atrocious one of inveigling them army; the Saracens were taken by surinto slave-ships, on pretence of sending prise, and were for some weeks unprepared them to Syria, and selling them for slaves to offer any resistance to his arms. He on the coast of Africa. Great numbers defeated the first body sent to oppose him, of these poor victims were shipped at and marched toward Mount Tabor with Marseilles ; but the vessels, with the ex- the intention of seizing upon an important ception of two or three, were wrecked on fortress which the Saracens had recently the shores of Italy, and every soul perished. constructed. He arrived without impediThe remainder arrived safely in Africa, ment at the mount, and might have easily and were bought up as slaves, and sent off taken it; but a sudden fit of cowardice into the interior of the country. Another came over him, and he returned to Acre detachment arrived at Genoa; but the without striking a blow. He very soon accomplices in this horrid plot having afterward abandoned the enterprise altotaken no measures at that port, expecting gether, and returned to his own country. them all at Marseilles, they were induced Tardy reinforcements arrived at interto return to their homes by the Genoese. vals from Europe ; and the Duke of Aus

Pope Innocent III. does not seem to tria, now the chief leader of the expedition, have been aware that the causes of this had still sufficient forces at his command juvenile Crusade were such as have been to trouble the Saracens very seriously. It stated; for, upon being informed that num- / was resolved by him, in council with the bers of them had taken the cross, and were other chiefs, that the whole energy of the marching to the Holy Land, he exclaimed, Crusades should be directed upon Egypt, “ These children are awake while we the seat of the Saracen power in relationsleep!” He imagined, apparently, that ship to Palestine, and from whence were the mind of Europe was still bent on the drawn the continual levies that were recovery of Palestine, and that the zeal brought against them by the sultan. Daof these children implied a sort of reproach mietta, which commanded the river Nile, upon his own lukewarmness. Very soon and was one of the most important cities afterward, he bestirred himself with more of Egypt, was chosen as the first point of activity, and sent an encyclical letter to attack. The siege was forthwith comthe clergy of Christendom, urging them to menced, and carried on with considerable preach a new Crusade. As usual, a num- energy, until the Crusaders gained posber of adventurous nobles, who had noth- session of a tower, which projected into ing else to do, enrolled themselves with the middle of the stream, and was looked their retainers. At a Council of Lateran, upon as the very key of the city. which was held while these bands were While congratulating themselves upon collecting, Innocent announced that he this success, and wasting in revelry the himself would take the Cross, and lead time which should have been employed in the armies of Christ to the defense of his turning it to further advantage, they resepulcher. In all probability he would have ceived the news of the death of the wise done so, for he was zealous enough ; but Sultan Saphaddin. His two sons, Camhel death stepped in, and destroyed his project. I and Cohreddin, divided his empire between

them. Syria and Palestine fell to the The climate either weakened the frames share of Cohreddin, while Egypt was con- or obscured the understandings of the signed to the other brother, who had for Christians ; for, after their conquest, they some time exercised the functions of lieu- lost all energy, and abandoned themselves tenant of that country. Being unpopular more unscrupulously than ever to riot and among the Egyptians, they revolted against debauchery. John of Brienne, who, by him, giving the Crusaders a finer oppor- | right of his wife, was the nominal sovereign tunity for making a conquest than they of Jerusalem, was so disgusted with the had ever enjoyed before. But, quarrel. pusillanimity, arrogance, and dissensions some and licentious as they had been from of the chiefs, that he withdrew entirely time immemorial, they did not see that the from them and retired to Acre. Large favorable moment had come ; or seeing, bodies also returned to Europe, and Carcould not profit by it. While they were dinal Pelagius was left at liberty to blast reveling or fighting among themselves, the whole enterprise whenever it pleased under the walls of Damietta, the revolt him. He managed to conciliate Jo'ın of was suppressed, and Camhel firmly estab- | Brienne, and marched forward with these lished on the throne of Egypt. In con- combined forces to attack Cairo. It was junction with his brother Cohreddin, his only when he had approached within a few next care was to drive the Christians from hours' march of that city that he discov. Damietta, and for upward of three months ered the inadequacy of his army. He they bent all their efforts to throw in sup- turned back immediately; but the Nile plies to the besieged, or draw on the had risen since his departure, the sluices besiegers to a general engagement. In were opened, and there was no means of neither were they successful; and the reaching Damietta. In this strait, he sued famine in Damietta became so dreadful for the peace he had formerly spurned, and, that vermin of every description were happily for himself, found the generous thought luxuries, and sold for exorbitant brothers, Camhel and Cohreddin, still will. prices. A dead dog became more valuable ing to grant it. Damietta was soon afterthan a live ox in time of prosperity. Un- ward given up, and the cardinal returned wholesome food brought on disease, and to Europe. John of Brienne retired to the city could hold out no longer for abso- | Acre, to mourn the loss of his kingdom, lute want of men to defend the walls. imbittered against the folly of his pre

Cohreddin and Camhel were alike in- , tended friends, who had ruined where they terested in the preservation of so impor- | should have aided him. And thus ended tant a position, and, convinced of the certain the sixth Crusade. fate of the city, they opened a conference The seventh was more successful. Fredwith the crusading chiefs, offering to yielderic II., Emperor of Germany, had often the whole of Palestine to the Christians vowed to lead his armies to the defense upon the sole condition of the evacuation of Palestine, but was as often deterred of Egypt. With a blindness and wrong- from the journey by matters of more pressheadedness almost incredible, these advan- | ing importance. Cohreddin was a mild tageous terms were refused, chiefly through and enlightened monarch, and the Christhe persuasion of Cardinal Pelagius, antians of Syria enjoyed repose and toleraignorant and obstinate fanatic, who urged tion under his rule: but John of Brienne upon the Duke of Austria and the French was not willing to lose his kingdom withand English leaders, that infidels never out an effort; and the popes in Europe kept their word ; that their offers were were ever willing to embroil the nations deceptive, and merely intended to betray. for the sake of extending their own power. The conferences were brought to an abrupt No monarch of that age was capable of termination by the Crusaders, and a last rendering more effective assistance than attack made upon the walls of Damietta. Frederic of Germany. To inspire him The besieged made but slight resistance, with more zeal, it was proposed that he for they had no hope ; and the Christians should wed the young Princess Violante, entered the city, and found, out of seventy daughter of John of Brienne, and heiress thousand people, but three thousand re- of the kingdom of Jerusalem. Frederic maining: so fearful had been the ravages consented with joy and eagerness. The of the twin fiends, plague and famine. princess was brought from Acre to Rome

Several months were spent in Damietta. without delay, and her marriage celebrated

on a scale of great magnificence. Her preme contempt; but when he got well, father, John of Brienne, abdicated all his he gave his holiness to understand that he rights in favor of his son-in-law, and Jeru- was not to be outraged with impunity, and salem had once more a king, who had not sent some of his troops to ravage the papal only the will, but the power, to enforce his territories. This, however, only made the claims. Preparations for the new Crusade matter worse, and Gregory dispatched were immediately commenced, and in the messengers to Palestine forbidding the course of six months the emperor was at faithful, under severe pains and penalties, the head of a well-disciplined army of to hold any intercourse with the excomsixty thousand men. Matthew Paris in-municated emperor. Thus between them forms us, that an army of the same amount | both, the scheme which they had so much was gathered in England; and most of the at heart bade fair to be as effectually writers upon the Crusades adopt his state-ruined as even the Saracens could have ment. When John of Brienne was in wished. Frederic still continued his zeal England, before his daughter's marriage in the Crusade, for he was now king of with the emperor was thought of, praying Jerusalem, and fought for himself, and for the aid of Henry III. and his nobles to not for Christendom, or its representative, recover his lost kingdom, he did not meet Pope Gregory. Hearing that John of with much encouragement. Grafton, in Brienne was preparing to leave Europe, his Chronicle, says, “he departed again he lost no time in taking his own departure, without any great comfort." But when a and arrived safely at Acre. It was here man of more influence in European politics that he first experienced the evil effects appeared upon the scene, the English of excommunication. The Christians of nobles were as ready to sacrifice them Palestine refused to aid him in any way, selves in the cause as they had been in and looked with distrust, if not with abthe time of Caur de Lion.

horrence, upon him. The Templars, HosThe army of Frederic encamped at pitallers, and other knights, shared at first Brundusium; but a pestilential disease the general feeling ; but they were not having made its appearance among them, men to yield a blind obedience to a distant their departure was delayed for several potentate, especially when it compromised months. In the mean time the Empress their own interests. When, therefore, Violante died in childbed. John of Bri Frederic prepared to march upon Jerusaenne, who had already repented of his ab- | lem without them, they joined his banners dication, and was beside incensed against to a man. Frederic for many acts of neglect and It is said that, previous to quitting Euinsult, no sooner saw the only tie which rope, the German emperor had commenced bound them severed by the death of his a negotiation with the Sultan Camhel for daughter, than he began to bestir himself, the restoration of the Holy Land, and that and make interest with the pope to undo Camhel, who was jealous of the ambition what he had done, and regain the honor- of his brother Cohreddin, was willing to ary crown he had renounced. Pope stipulate to that effect, on condition of Gregory IX., a man of a proud, uncon- being secured by Frederic in the possession ciliating, and revengeful character, owed of the more important territory of Egypt. the emperor a grudge for many an act of But before the Crusaders reached Palesdisobedience to his authority, and encour- | tine, Camhel was relieved from all fears aged the overtures of John of Brienne by the death of his brother. He nevermore than he should have done. Frederic, theless did not think it worth while to conhowever, despised them both, and, as soon test with the Crusaders the barren corner as his army was convalescent, set sail for of the earth which had already been dyed Acre. He had not been many days at with so much Christian and Saracen blood, sea when he was himself attacked with the and proposed a truce of three years, only malady, and obliged to return to Otranto, stipulating, in addition, that the Moslems the nearest port. Gregory, who had by should be allowed to worship freely in the this time decided in the interest of John temple of Jerusalem. This happy termiof Brienne, excommunicated the emperor nation did not satisfy the bigoted Chrisfor returning from so holy an expedition tians of Palestine. The tolerance they on any pretext whatever. Frederic at sought for themselves, they were not first treated the excommunication with su- / willing to extend to others, and they

« ZurückWeiter »