Memoirs or Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople
by Geoffrey de Villehardouin
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Geoffrey de Villehardouin [b.c.1160-d.c.1213]:

Memoirs or Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople

Geoffrey de Villehardouin [b.c.1160-d.c.1213]: Memoirs or Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople, trans. Frank T. Marzials, (London: J.M. Dent, 1908)



Be it known to you that eleven hundred and ninety-seven years after the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the time of Innocent Pope of Rome, and Philip King of France, and Richard King of England, there was in France a holy man named Fulk of Neuilly - which Neuilly is between Lagni-sur-Marne and Paris - and he was a priest and held the cure of the village. And this said Fulk began to speak of God throughout the Isle-de-France, and the other countries round about; and you must know that by him the Lord wrought many miracles.

Be it known to you further, that the fame of this holy man so spread, that it reached the Pope of Rome, Innocent*; and the Pope sent to France, and ordered the right worthy man to preach the cross (the Crusade) by his authority. And afterwards the Pope sent a cardinal of his, Master Peter of Capua, who himself had taken the cross, to proclaim the Indulgence of which I now tell you, viz., that all who should take the cross and serve in the host for one year, would be de-

[note: Innocent III, elected Pope on the 8th January 1198, at the early age of thirty seven, Innocent III was one of the leading spirits of his time-in every sense a strong man and great Pope. From the beginning of his pontificate he turned his thoughts and policy to the recovery of Jerusalem. ]


livered from all the sins they had committed, and acknowledged in confession. And because this indulgence was so great, the hearts of men were much moved, and many took the cross for the greatness of the pardon.


The other year after that right worthy man Fulk had so spoken of God, there was held a tourney in Champagne, at a castle called Ecri, and by God's grace it so happened that Thibaut, Count of Champagne and Brie, took the cross, and the Count Louis of Blois and Chartres likewise; and this was at the beginning of Advent (28th November 1199). Now you must know that this Count Thibaut was but a young man, and not more than twenty-two years of age, and the Count Louis not more than twenty-seven. These two counts were nephews and cousins-german to the King of France, and, on the other part, nephews to the King of England.

With these two counts there took the cross two very high and puissant barons of France, Simon of Montfort*, and Renaud of Montmirail. Great was the fame thereof throughout the land when these two high and puissant men took the cross.

[note: Simon de Monfort - the same one who later crushed the Albigensians and the father of the "English" Simon de Montfort who defeated the royal army at Lewes and was killed at Evesham in 1265].

In the land of Count Thibaut of Champagne took the cross Garnier, Bishop of Troyes, Count Walter of Brienne, Geoffry of Joinville*, who was seneschal of the land, Robert his brother, Walter of Vignory, Walter of Montbliard, Eustace of Conflans, Guy of Plessis his brother, Henry of Arzillires, Oger of Saint-Chron, Villain of Neuilly, Geoffry of Villhardouin, Marshal of Champagne, Geoffry his nephew, William of Nully, Walter of Fuligny, Everard of Montigny, Manasses of l'Isle, Macaire of Sainte-Menehould, Miles the Brabant, Guy of Chappes, Clerembaud his nephew, Renaud of Dampierre, John Foisnous, and many other right worthy men whom this book does not here mention by name.

[note: Geoffry de Joinville - the father of the chronicler Joinville.]

With Count Louis took the cross Gervais of Chtel Herve his son John of Virsin, Oliver of Rochefort, Henry of Mont-


reuil, Payen of Orlans, Peter of Bracietix, Hugh his brother, William of Sains, John of Frialze, Walter of Gaudonville, Hugh of Cormeray, Geoffry his brother, Herve of Beauvoir, Robert of Frouville, Peter his brother, Orri of l'Isle, Robert of Quartier, and many more whom this book does not here mention by name.

In the Isle-de-France took the cross Nevelon, Bishop of Soissons, Matthew of Montmorency, Guy the Castellan of Coucy, his nephew, Robert of Ronsoi, Ferri of Yerres, John his brother, Walter of Saint-Denis, Henry his brother, William of Aunoi, Robert Mauvoisin, Dreux of Crcssonsacq, Bernard of Moreuil, Enguerrand of Boves, Robert his brother, and many more right worthy men with regard to whose names this book is here silent.

At the beginning of the following Lent, on the day when folk are marked with ashes (23rd February 1200), the cross was taken at Bruges by Count Baldwin of Flanders and Hainault, and by the Countess Mary his wife, who was sister to the Count Thibaut of Champagne. Afterwards took the cross, Henry his brother, Thierri his nephew, who was the son of Count Philip of Flanders, William the advocate of Bthune, Conon his brother, John of N1e Castellan of Bruges, Renier of Trit, Reginald his son, Matthew of Wallincourt, James of Avesnes, Baldwin of Beauvoir, Hugh of Beaumetz, Grard of Mancicourt, Odo of Ham, William of Gommegnies, Dreux of Beaurain, Roger of Marck, Eustace of Saubruic, Francis of Colemi, Walter of Bousies, Reginald of Mons, Walter of Tombes, Bernard of Somergen, and many more right worthy men in great number, with regard to whom this book does not speak further.

Afterwards took the cross, Count Hugh of St. Paul. With him took the cross, Peter of Amiens his nephew, Eustace of Canteleu, Nicholas of Mailly, Anscau of Cayeaux, Guy of Houdain, Walter of N1e, Peter his brother, and many other men who are unknown to us.

Directly afterwards took the cross Geoffry of Perche, Stephen his brother, Rotrou of Montfort, Ives of La Jaille, Aimery of Villeroi, Geoffry of Beaumont, and many others whose names I do not know.



Afterwards the barons held a parliament at Soissons, to settle when they should start, and whither they should wend. But they could come to no agreement, because it did not seem to them that enough people had taken the cross. So during all that year (1200) no two months passed without assemblings in parliament at Compigne. There met all the counts and barons who had taken the cross. Many were the opinions given and considered; but in the end it was agreed that envoys should be sent, the best that could be found, with full powers, as if they were the lords in person, to settle such matters as needed settlement.

Of these envoys, Thibaut, Count of Champagne and Brie, sent two; Baldwin, Count of Flanders and Hainault, two; and Louis, Count of Blois and Chartres, two. The envoys of the Count Thibaut were Geoffry of Villehardouin, Marshal of Champagne, and Miles the Brabant; the envoys of Count Baldwin were Conon of Bthune' and Alard Maquereau, and the envoys of Count Louis were John of Friaise, and Walter of Gaudonville.

To these six envoys the business in hand was fully committed, all the barons delivering to them valid charters, with seals attached, to the effect that they would undertake to maintain and carry out whatever conventions and agreements the envoys might enter into, in all sea ports, and whithersoever else the envoys might fare.

Thus were the six envoys despatched, as you have been told; and they took counsel among themselves, and this was their conclusion: that in Venice they might expect to find a greater number of vessels than in any other port. So they journeyed day by day, till they came thither in the first week of Lent (February 1201).


The Doge of Venice, whose name was Henry Dandolo* and

[note: That Henry Dandolo was a very old man is certain, but there is doubt as to his precise age, as also as to the cause of his blindness. According to one account he had been blinded, or all but blinded, by the Greeks, and in a treacherous manner, when sent, at an earlier date, on an embassy to Constaritinople-whence his bitter hostility to the Greek Empire. I agree, however, with Sir Rennell Rodd that, if this had been so, Villehardouin would scarcely have refrained from mentioning such an act of perfidy on the part of the wicked Greeks. (See p. 41 of Vol 1of Sir Rennell Rodd's Princes of Achaia.) It is hardly to be imagined that he would keep the matter dark because, if he mentioned it, people would think Dandolo acted throughout from motives of personal vengeance. This would be to regard Villehardouin a- a very astute controversial historian indeed.]


who was very wise and very valiant, did them great honour, both he and the other folk, and entertained them right willingly, marvelling, however, when the envoys had delivered their letters, what might be the matter of import that had brought them to that country. For the letters were letters of credence only, and declared no more than that the bearers were to be accredited as if they were the counts in person, and that the said counts would make good whatever the six envoys should undertake.

So the Doge replied: " Signors, I have seen your letters; well do we know that of men uncrowned your lords are the greatest, and they advise us to put faith in what you tell us, and that they will maintain whatsoever you undertake. Now, therefore, speak, and let us know what is your pleasure."

And the envoys answered: " Sire, we would that you should assemble your council; and before your council we will declare the wishes of our lords; and let this be tomorrow, if it so pleases you." And the Doge replied asking for respite till the fourth day, when he would assemble his council, so that the envoys might state their requirements.

The envoys waited then till the fourth day, as had been appointed them, and entered the palace, which was passing rich and beautiful; and found the Doge and his council in a chamber. There they delivered their message after this manner: " Sire, we come to thee on the part of the high barons of France, who have taken the sign of the cross to avenge the shame done to Jesus Christ, and to reconquer Jerusalem, if so be that God -will suffer it. And because they know that no people have such great power to help them as you and your people, therefore we pray you by God that you take pity on the land overseas and the shame of Christ, and use diligence that our lords 'have ships for transport and battle."

" And after what manner should we use diligence?


said the Doge. " After all manners that you may advise and propose," rejoined the envoys, " in so far as what you propose may be within our means." " Certes," said the Doge, " it is a great thing that your lords require of us, and well it seems that they have in view a high enterprise. We will give you our answer eight days from to-day. And marvel not if the term be long, for it is meet that so great a matter be fully pondered."


When the term appointed by the Doge was ended, the envoys returned to the palace. Many were the words then spoken which I cannot now rehearse. But this was the conclusion of that parliament: " Signors," said the Doge, " we will tell you the conclusions at which we have arrived, if so be that we can induce our great council and the commons of the land to allow of them; and you, on your part, must consult and see if you can accept them and carry them through.

" We will build transports* to carry four thousand five hundred horses, and nine thousand squires, and ships for four thousand five hundred knights, and twenty thousand sergeants of foot. And we will agree also to purvey food for these horses and people during nine months. This is what we undertake to do at the least, on condition that you pay us for each horse four marks, and for each man two marks.

[note: The old French term is vuissiers, and denotes a kind of vessel, flat-bottomed, with large ports, specially constructed for the transport of horses. T. Smith translates "palanders," but I don't know that " palander" conveys any very clear idea to the English reader.]

"And the covenants we are now explaining to you, we undertake to keep, wheresoever we may be, for a year, reckoning from the day on which we sail from the port of Venice in the service of God and of Christendom. Now the sum total of the expenses above named amounts to 85,000 marks.

"And this will we do moreover. For the love of God, we will add to the fleet fifty armed galleys on condition that, so long as we act in company, of all conquests in land or money, whether at sea or on dry ground, we shall have the half, and you the other half. Now consult together to see if you, on your parts, can accept and fulfil these covenants."


The envoys then departed, and said that they would consult together and give their answer on the morrow. They consulted, and talked together that night, and agreed to accept the terms offered. So the next day they appeared before the Doge, and said: " Sire, we are ready to ratify this covenant." The Doge thereon said he would speak of the matter to his people, and, as he found them affected, so would he let the envoys know the issue.

On the morning of the third day, the Doge, who was very wise and valiant, assembled his great council, and the council was of forty men of the wisest that were in the land. And the Doge, by his wisdom and wit, that were very clear and very good, brought them to agreement and approval. Thus he wrought with them; and then with a hundred others, then two hundred, then a thousand, so that at last all consented and approved. Then he assembled well ten thousand of the people in the church of St. Mark, the most beautiful church that there is, and bade them hear a mass of the Holy Ghost, and pray to God for counsel on the request and messages that had been addressed to them. And the people did so right willingly.


When mass had been said, the Doge desired the envoys to humbly ask the people to assent to the proposed covenant. The envoys came into the church. Curiously were they looked upon by many who had not before had sight of them.

Geoffry of Villehardouin, the Marshal of Champagne, by will and consent of the other envoys, acted as spokesman and said unto them: " Lords, the barons of France, most high and puissant, have sent us to you; and they cry to you for mercy, that you take pity on Jerusalem, which is in bondage to the Turks, and that, for God's sake, you help to avenge the shame of Christ Jesus. And for this end they have elected to come to you, because they know full well that there is none other people having so great power on the seas, as you and your people. And they commanded us to fall at your feet, and not to rise till you consent to take pity on the Holy Land which is beyond the seas."


Then the six envoys knelt at the feet of the people, weeping many tears. And the Doge and all the others burst into tears of pity and compassion, and cried with one voice, and lifted up their hands, saying: " We consent, we consent I " Then was there so great a noise and tumult that it seemed as if the earth itself were falling to pieces.

And when this great tumult and passion of pity - greater did never any man see-were appeased, the good Doge of Venice, who was very wise and valiant, went up into the reading-desk, and spoke to the people, and said to them: "Signors, behold the honour that God has done you; for the best people in the world have set aside all other people, and chosen you to join them in so high an enterprise as the deliverance of our Lord!

All the good and beautiful words that the Doge then spoke, I cannot repeat to you. But the end of the matter was, that the covenants were to be made on the following day; and made they were, and devised accordingly. When they were concluded, it was notified to the council that we should go to Babylon (Cairo), because the Turks could better be destroyed in Babylon than in any other land; but to the folk at large it was only told that we were bound to go overseass. We were then in Lent (March 1201), and by St. john's Day, in the following year-which would be twelve hundred and two years after the Incarnation of Jesus Christ-the barons and pilgrims were to be in Venice, and the ships ready against their coming.

When the treaties were duly indited and sealed, they were brought to the Doge in the grand palace, where had been assembled the great and the little council. And when the Doge delivered the treaties to the envoys, he knelt greatly weeping, and swore on holy relics faithfully to observe the conditions thereof, and so did all his council, which numbered fifty-six persons. And the envoys, on their side, swore to observe the treaties, and in all good faith to maintain their oaths and the oaths of their lords; and be it known to you that for great pity many a tear was there shed. And forthwith were messengers sent to Rome, to the Pope Innocent, that he might confirm this covenant-the which he did right willingly.

Then did the envoys borrow five thousand marks of silver, and gave them to the Doge so that the building of the ships


might be begun. And taking leave to return to their own land, they journeyed day by day till they came to Placentia in Lombardy. There they parted. Geoffry, the Marshal of Champagne and Alard Maquereau went straight to France, and the others went to Genoa and Pisa to learn what help might there be had for the land overseass

When Geoffry, the Marshal of Champagne., passed over Mont Cenis, he came in with Walter of Brienne, going into Apulia, to conquer the land of his wife, whom he had married since he took the cross, and who was the daughter of King Tancred. With him went Walter of Montbliard, and Eustace of Conflans, Robert of Joinville, and a great part of the people of worth in Champagne who had taken the cross.

And when he told them the news how the envoys had fared, great was their joy, and much did they prize the arrangements made. And they said, " We are already on our way; and when you come, you will find us ready." But events fall out as God wills, and never had they power to join the host. This was much to our loss; for they were of great prowess and valiant. And thus they parted, and each went on his way.

So rode Geoffry the Marshal, day by day, that he came to Troyes in Champagne, and found his lord the Count Thibaut sick and languishing, and right glad was the count of his coming. And when he had told the count how he had fared, the count was so rejoiced that he said he would mount horse, a thing he had not done of a long time. So he rose from his bed and rode forth. But alas, how great the pity! For never again did he bestride horse but that once.

His sickness waxed and grew worse, so that at the last he made his will and testament, and divided the money which he would have taken with him on pilgrimage among his followers and companions, of whom he had many that were very good men and true-no one at that time had more. And he ordered that each one, on receiving his money, should swear on holy relics, to join the host at Venice, according as he had promised. Many there were who kept that oath badly, and so incurred great blame. The count ordered that another portion of his treasure should be retained, and taken to the host, and there expended as might seem best.

Thus died the count; and no man in this world made a better end. And there were present at that time a very


great assemblage of men of his lineage and of his vassals. But of the mourning and funeral pomp it is unmeet that I should here speak. Never was more honour paid to any man. And right well that it was so, for never was man of his age more beloved by his own men, nor by other folk. Buried he was beside his father in the church of our lord St. Stephen at Troyes. He left behind him the Countess, Ws wife, whose name was Blanche, very fair, very good, the daughter of the King of Navarre. She had borne him a little daughter, and was then about to bear a son.


When the Count was buried, Matthew of Montmorency, Simon of Montfort, Geoffry of Joinville who was seneschal, and Geoffry the Marshal, went to Odo, Duke of Burgundy, and said to him, " Sire, your cousin is dead. You see what evil has befallen the land overseass We pray you by God that you take the cross, and succour the land overseas in his stead. And we will cause you to have all his treasure, and will swear on holy relics, and make the others swear also, to serve you in all good faith, even as we should have served him."

Such was his pleasure that he refused. And be it known to you that he might have done much better. The envoys charged Geoffry of Joinville to make the self-same offer to the Count of Bar-le-Duc, Thibaut, who was cousin to the dead count, and he refused also.

Very great was the discomfort of the pilgrims, and of all who were about to go on God's service, at the death of Count Thibaut of Champagne; and they held a parliament, at the

beginning, of the month, at Soissons, to determine what they should do. There were present Count Baldwin of Flanders and Hainault, the Count Louis of Blois and Chartres, the Count Geoffry of Perche, the Count Hugh of Saint- Paul, and many other men of worth.

Geoffry the Marshal spake to them and told them of the offer made to the Duke of Burgundy, and to the Count of Bar-le-Duc, and how they had refused it. " My lords," said he, " listen, I will advise you of somewhat if you will


consent thereto. The Marquis of Montferrat* is very worthy and valiant, and one of the most highly prized of living men. If you asked him to come here, and take the sign of the cross and put himself in place of the Count of Champagne, and you gave him the lordship of the host, full soon would he accept thereof."

[note: Boniface, Marquis of Montferrat, was one of the most accomplished men of the time, and an approved soldier. His little court at Montferrat was the resort of artist and troubadour. His family was a family of Crusaders. The father, William of Montferrat, had gone overseass and fought valiantly against the infidel. Boniface's eldest brother, William of the Long Sword, married a daughter of the titular King of Jerusalem, and their son became titular king in turn. Another brother, Conrad, starting for the Holy Land, stopped at Constantinople, and did there such good service that the Greek emperor gave his sister to him in marriage; but afterwards fearing the perfidy of his brother-in-law, Conrad fled to Syria, and there battled against Saladin. Yet another brother, Renier, also served in the Greek Empire, married an Emperor's daughter, and received for guerdon of his deeds the kingdom of Salonika. Boniface himself had fought valiantly against Saladin, been made prisoner, and afterwards liberated on exchange. It was no mean and nameless knight that Villehardouin was proposing as chief to the assembled Crusaders, but a princely noble, the patron of poets, verrsed in state affairs, and possessing personal experience of Eastern warfare. I extract these details from M. Bouchet's Notice].

Many were the words spoken for and against; but in the end all agreed, both small and great. So were letters written, and envoys chosen, and the marquis was sent for. And he came, on the day appointed, through Champagne and the Isle-de-France, where he received much honour, and specially from the King of France, who was his cousin.


So he came to a parliament assembled at Soissons; and the main part of the counts and barons and of the other Crusaders were there assembled. When they heard that the marquis was coming, they went out to meet him, and did him much honour. In the morning the parliament was held in an orchard belonging to the abbey of our Lady of Soissons. There they besought the marquis to do as they had desired of him, and prayed him, for the love of God, to take the cross, and accept the leadership of the host, and stand in the place of Thibaut Count of Champagne, and accept of his money


and of his men. And they fell at his feet, with many tears; and he, on his part, fell at their feet, and said he would do it right willingly.

Thus did the marquis consent to their prayers, and receive the lordship of the host. Whereupon the Bishop of Soissons, and Master Fulk, the holy man, and two white monks whom the marquis had brought with him from Ws own land, led him into the Church of Notre Dame, and attached the cross to his shoulder. Thus ended this parliament, and the next day he took leave to return to his own land and settle his own affairs-telling them all to settle their own affairs likewise, for that he would meet them at Venice.

Thence did the marquis go to attend the Chapter at Citeaux, which is held on Holy Cross Day in September (14th September 1241). There he found a great number of abbots, barons and other people of Burgundy; and Master Fulk went thither to preach the Crusade. And at that place took the cross Odo the Champenois of Champlitte, and William his brother, Richard of Dampierre, Odo his brother, Guy of Pesmes, Edmund his brother, Guy of Conflans, and many other good men of Burgundy, whose names are not recorded. Afterwards took the cross the Bishop of Autun, Guignes Count of Forez, Hugh of Bergi (father and son), Hugh of Colemi. Further on in Provence took the cross Peter Bromont, and many others whose names are unknown to us.

Thus did the pilgrims make ready in all lands. Alas! a great mischance befell them in the following Lent (March 1202) before they had started, for the Count Geoffry of Perche fell sick, and made his will in such fashion that he directed that Stephen, his brother, should have his goods, and lead his men in the host. Of this exchange the pilgrims would willingly have been quit, had God so ordered. Thus did the count make an end and die; and much evil ensued, for he was a baron high and honoured, and a good knight. Greatly was he mourned throughout all his lands.


After Easter and towards Whitsuntide (June 1202) began the pilgrims to leave their own country. And you must

know that at their departure many were the tears shed for


pity and sorrow, by their own people and by their friends. So they journeyed through Burgundy, and by the mountains of Mont-joux (? Jura) by Mont Cenis, and through Lombardy, and began to assemble at Venice, where they were lodged on an island which is called St. Nicholas in the port.

At that time started from Flanders a fleet that carried a great number of good men-at-arms. Of this fleet were captains John of Nle, Castellan of Bruges, Thierri, who was the son of Count Philip of Flanders, and Nicholas of Mailly. And these promised Count Baldwin, and swore on holy relics, that they would go through the straits of Morocco, and join themselves to him, and to the host of Venice, at whatsoever place they might hear that the count was faring. And for this reason the Count of Flanders and Henry his brother had confided to them certain ships loaded with cloth and food and other wares.

Very fair was this fleet, and rich, and great was the reliance that the Count of Flanders and the pilgrims placed upon it, because very many of their good sergeants were journeying therein. But ill did these keep the faith they had sworn to the count, they and others like them, because they and such others of the same sort became fearful of the great perils that the host of Venice had undertaken.

Thus did the Bishop of Autun fail us, and Guignes the Count of Forez, and Peter Bromont, and many people besides, who were greatly blamed therein; and of little worth were the exploits they performed there where they did go. And of the French failed us Bernard of Moreuil, Hugh of Chaumont, Henry of Araines, John of Villers, Walter of Saint-Denis, Hugh his brother, and many others, who avoided the passage to Venice because of the danger, and went instead to Marseilles-whereof they received shame, and much were they blamed-and great were the mishaps that afterwards befell them.


Now let us for this present speak of them no further, but speak of the pilgrims, of whom a great part had already come to Venice. Count Baldwin of Flanders had already arrived there, and many others, and thither were tidings brought to


them that many of the pilgrims were travelling by other ways, and from other ports. This troubled them greatly, because they would thus be unable to fulfil the promise made to the Venetians, and find the moneys that were due.

So they took counsel together, and agreed to send good envoys to meet the pilgrims, and to meet Count Louis of Blois and Chartres, who had not yet arrived, and to put them in good heart, and beseech them to have pity of the Holy Land beyond the sea, and show them that no other passage, save that from Venice, could be of profit.

For this embassy they made choice of Count Hugh of Saint-Paul and Geoffry the Marshal of Champagne, and these rode till they came to Pavia in Lombardy. There they found Count Louis with a great many knights and men of note and worth; and by encouragements and prayers prevailed on many to proceed to Venice who would otherwise have fared from other ports, and by other ways.

Nevertheless from Placentia many men of note proceeded by other ways to Apulia. Among them were Villain of Neuilly, who was one of the best knights in the world, Henry of Arzillires, Renaud of Dampierre, Henry of Longchamp, and Giles of Trasegnies, liegeman to Count Baldwin of Flanders and Hainault, who had given him, out of his own purse, five hundred livres to accompany him on this journey. With these went a great company of knights and sergeants, whose names are not recorded.

Thus was the host of those who went by Venice greatly weakened; and much evil befell them therefrom, as you shall shortly hear.


Thus did Count Louis and the other barons wend their way to Venice; and they were there received with feasting and joyfully, and took lodging in the Island of St. Nicholas with those who had come before. Goodly was the host, and right worthy were the men. Never did man see goodlier or worthier. And the Venetians held a market, rich and abundant, of all things needful for horses and men. And the fleet they had got ready was so goodly and fine that never did Christian man see one goodlier or finer; as well galleys


as transports, and sufficient for at least three times as many men as were in the host.

Ah ! the grievous harm and loss when those who should have come thither sailed instead from other ports! Right well if they had kept their tryst, would Christendom have been exalted, and the land of the Turks abased! The Venetians had fulfilled all their undertakings, and above measure, and they now summoned the barons and counts to fulfil theirs and make payment, since they were ready to start.

The cost of each man's passage was now levied throughout the host; and there were people enough who said they could not pay for their passage, and the barons took from them such moneys as they had. So each man paid what he could. When the barons had thus claimed the cost of the passages, and when the payments had been collected, the moneys came to less than the sum due-yea, by more than one half.

Then the barons met together and said: "Lords, the Venetians have well fulfilled all their undertakings, and above measure. But we cannot fulfil ours in paying for our passages, seeing we are too few in number; and this is the fault of those who have journeyed by other ports. For God's sake therefore let each contribute all that he has, so that we may fulfil our covenant; for better is it that we should give all that we have, than lose what we have already paid, and prove false to our covenants; for if this host remains here, the rescue of the land overseas comes to naught."

Great was then the dissension among the main part of the barons and the other folk, and they said: " We have paid for our passages, and if they will take us, we shall go willingly; but if not, we shall inquire and look for other means of passage." And they spoke thus because they wished that the host should fall to pieces and each return to his own land. But the other party said, " Much rather would we give all that we have and go penniless with the host, than that the host should fall to pieces and fail; for God will doubtless repay us when it so pleases Him."

Then the Count of Flanders began to give all that he had and all that he could borrow, and so did Count Louis, and the Marquis, and the Count of Saint-Paul, and those who were of their party. Then might you have seen many a fine vessel of gold and silver borne in payment to the palace of the Doge. And when all had been brought together, there


was still wanting, of the sum required, 34,000 marks of silver. Then those who had kept back their possessions and not brought them into the common stock, were right glad, for they thought now surely the host must fail and go to pieces. But God, who advises those who have been ill-advised, would not so suffer it.


Then the Doge spoke to his people, and said unto them:

Signors, these people cannot pay more; and in so far as they have paid at all, we have benefited by an agreement which they cannot now fulfil. But our right to keep this money would not everywhere be acknowledged; and if we so kept it we should be greatly blamed, both us and our land. Let us therefore offer them terms.

"The King of Hungary has taken from us Zara in Sclavonia, which is one of the strongest places in the world; and never shall we recover it with all the power that we possess, save with the help of these people. Let us therefore ask them to help us to reconquer it, and we will remit the payment of the debt of 34,000 marks of silver, until such time as it shall please God to allow us to gain the moneys by conquest, we and they together." Thus was agreement made. Much was it contested by those who wished that the host should be broken up. Nevertheless the agreement was accepted and ratified.


Then, on a Sunday, was assemblage held in the church of St. Mark. It was a very high festival, and the people of the land were there, and the most part of the barons and pilgrims.

Before the beginning of High Mass, the Doge of Venice, who bore the name of Henry Dandolo, went up into the reading-desk, and spoke to the people, and said to them:" Signors, you are associated with the most worthy people in the world, and for the highest enterprise ever undertaken; and I am a man old and feeble, who should have need of rest, and I am sick in body; but I see that no one could command


and lead,you like myself, who am your lord. If you will consent that I take the sign of the cross to guard and direct you, and that my son remain in my place to guard the land, then shall I go to five or die with you and with the pilgrims."

And when they had heard him, they cried with one voice: "We pray you by God that you consent, and do it, and that you come with us! "

Very great was then the pity and compassion on the part of the people of the land and of the pil-rims; and many were the tears shed, because that worthy 0and good man would have had so much reason to remain behind, for he was an old man, and albeit his eyes were unclouded, yet he saw naught, having lost his sight through a wound in the head. He was of a great heart. Ah! how little like him were those who had gone to other ports to escape the danger.

Thus he came down from the reading-desk, and went before the altar, and knelt upon his knees greatly weeping. And they sewed the cross on to a great cotton hat, which he wore, in front, because he wished that all men should see it. And the Venetians began to take the cross in great numbers, a great multitude, for up to that day very few had taken the cross. Our pilgrims had much joy in the cross that the Doge took, and were greatly moved, because of the wisdom and the valour that were in him.

Thus did the Doge take the cross, as you have heard. Then the Venetians began to deliver the ships, the galleys, and the transports to the barons, for departure; but so much time had already been spent since the appointed term, that September drew near (1202).


Now give ear to one of the greatest marvels, and most wonderful adventures that you have ever heard tell of. At that time there was an emperor in Constantinople, whose name was Isaac, and he had a brothor, Alexius by name, whom he had ransomed from captivity among the Turks. This Alexius took his brother the emperor, tore the eyes out of his head, and made himself emperor by the aforesaid


treachery. He kept Isaac a long time in prison, together with a son whose name was Alexius. This son escaped from prison, and fled in a ship to a city on the sea, which is called Ancona. Thence he departed to go to King Philip of Germany, who had his sister for wife; and he came to Verona in Lombardy, and lodged in the town, and found there a number of pilgrims and other people who were on their way to join the host.

And those who had helped him to escape, and were with him, said: " Sire, here is an army in Venice, quite near to us, the best and most valiant people and knights that are in the world, and they are going overseass Cry to them therefore for mercy, that they have pity on thee and on thy father, who have been so wrongfully dispossessed. And if they be willing to help thee, thou shalt be guided by them. Perchance they will take pity on thy estate." And Alexius said he would do this right willingly, and that the advice was good.

Thus he appointed envoys, and sent them to the Marquis Boniface of Montferrat, who was chief of the host, and to the other barons. And when the barons saw them, they marvelled greatly, and said to the envoys: " We understand right well what you tell us. We will send an envoy with the prince to King Philip, whither he is going. If the prince will help to recover the land overseass we will help him to recover his own land, for we know that it has been wrested from him and from his father wrongfully." So were envoys sent into Germany, both to the heir of Constantinople and to King Philip of Germany.

Before this happened, of which I have just told you, there came news to the host which greatly saddened the barons and the other folk, viz., that Fulk, the good man, the holy man, who first preached the Crusade, had made an end and was dead.

And after this adventure, there came to the host a company of very good and worthy people from the empire of Germany, of whose arrival they of the host were full fain. There came the Bishop of Halberstadt, Count Berthold of Katzenelenbogen, Gamier of Borland, Thierri of Loos, Henry of Orme, Thierri of Diest, Roger of Suitre, Alexander of Villers, Ulric of Tone, and many other good folk, whose names are not recorded in this book.



Then were the ships and transports apportioned by the barons. Ah, God I what fine war-horses were put therein. And when the ships were fulfilled with arms and provisions, and knights and sergeants, the shields were ranged round the bulwarks and castles of the ships, and the banners displayed, many and fair.

And be it known to you that the vessels carried more than three hundred petraries and mangonels, and all such engines as are needed for the taking of cities, in great plenty. Never did finer fleet sail from any0port. And this was in the octave of the Feast of St. Remigius (October) in the year of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ twelve hundred and two. Thus did they sail from the port of Venice, as you have been told.

On the Eve of St. Martin (10th November) they came before Zara in Sclavonia, and beheld the city enclosed by high walls and high towers; and vainly would you have sought for a fairer city, or one of greater strength, or richer. And when the pilgrims saw it, they marvelled greatly, and said one to another, " How could such a city be taken by force, save by the help of God himself? "

The first ships that came before the city cast anchor, and waited for the others; and in the morning the day was very fine and very clear, and all the galleys came up with the transports, and the other ships which were behind; and they took the port by force, and broke the chain that defended it and was very strong and well-wrought; and they landed in such sort that the port was between them and the town. Then might you have seen many a knight and many a sergeant swarming out of the ships, and taking from the transports many a good war-horse, and many a rich tent and many a pavilion. Thus did the host encamp. And Zara was besieged on St. Martin's Day (11th November 1202).

At this time all the barons had not yet arrived. Thus the Marquis of Montferrat had remained behind for some business that detained him. And Stephen of Perche had remained at Venice sick, and Matthew of Montmorency. When they were healed of their sickness Matthew of Montmorency came to rejoin the host at Zara; but Stephen of Perche dealt less worthily, for he abandoned the host, and


went to sojourn in Apulia. With him went Rotrou of Montfort and Ives of la jaille, and many others, who were much blamed therein; and they journeyed to Syria in the following spring.*

[note: Literally, "in the passaae of March," i.e. among the pilgrims who periodically started for the (,,y Land in March.]


On the day following the feast of St. Martin, certain of the people of Zara came forth, and spoke to the Doge of Venice, who was in his pavilion, and said to him that they would yield up the city and all their goods-their lives being spared-to his mercy. And the Doge replied that he would not accept these conditions, nor any conditions, save by consent of the counts and barons, with whom he would go and confer.

While he went to confer with the counts and barons, that party, of whom you have already heard, who wished to disperse the host, spoke to the envoys and said, " Why should you surrender your city? The pilgrims will not attack you -have no care of them. If you can defend yourselves against the Venetians, you will be safe enough." And they chose one of themselves, whose name was Robert of Boves, who went to the walls of the city, and spoke the same words. Therefore the envoys returned to the city, and the negotiations were broken off.

The Doge of Venice, when he came to the counts and barons, said to them: "Signors, the people who are therein desire to yield the city to my mercy, on condition only that their lives are spared. But I will enter into no agreement with them-neither this nor any other-save with your consent." And the barons answered: " Sire, we advise you to accept these conditions, and we even beg of you so to do." He said he would do so; and they all returned together to the pavilion of the Doge to make the agreement, and found that the envoys had gone away by the advice of those who wished to disperse the host.

Then rose the abbot of Vaux, of the order of the Cistercians, and said to them: " Lords, I forbid you, on the part of the Pope of Rome, to attack this city; for those within it


are Christians, and you are pilgrims." When the Doge heard this, he was very wroth, and much disturbed, and he said to the counts and barons: "Signors, I had this city, by their own agreement, at my mercy, and your people have broken that agreement; you have covenanted to help me to conquer it, and I summon you to do so."

Whereon the counts and barons all spoke at once, together with those who were of their party, and said: " Great is the outrage of those who have caused this agreement to be broken, and never a day has passed that they have not tried to break up the host. Now are we shamed if we do not help to take the city." And they came to the Doge, and said: " Sire, we will help you to take the city in despite of those who would let and hinder us."

Thus was the decision taken. The next morning the host encamped before the gates of the city, and set up their petraries and manoonels, and other engines of war, which they had in plenty, and on the side of the sea they raised ladders from the ships. Then they began to throw stones at the walls of the city and at the towers. So did the assault last for about five days. Then were the sappers set to mine one of the towers, and began to sap the wall. When those within the city saw this, they proposed an agreement, such as they had before refused by the advice of those who wished to break up the host.


Thus did the city surrender to the mercy of the Doge, on condition only that all lives should be spared. Then came the Doge to the counts and barons, and said to them: " Signors, we have taken this city by the grace of God, and your own. It is now winter, and we cannot stir hence till Eastertide; for we should find no market in any other place; and this city is very rich, and well furnished with all supplies. Let us therefore divide it in the midst, and we will take one half, and you the other."

As he had spoken, so was it done. The Venetians took the part of the city towards the port, where were the ships, and the Franks took the other part. There were quarters


assigned to each, according as was right and convenient. And the host raised the camp, and went to lodge in the city.

On the third day after they were all lodged, there befell a great misadventure in the host, at about the hour of vespers; for there began a fray, exceeding fell and fierce, between the Venetians and the Franks, and they ran to arms from all sides. And the fray was so fierce that there were but few streets in which battle did not rage with swords and lances and cross-bows and darts; and many people were killed and wounded.

But the Venetians could not abide the combat, and they began to suffer great losses. Then the men of mark, who did not want this evil to befall, came fully armed into the strife, and began to separate the combatants; and when they had separated them in one place, they began again in another. This lasted the better part of the night. Nevertheless with great labour and endurance at last they were separated. And be it known to you that this was the greatest misfortune that ever befell a host, and little did it lack that the host was not lost utterly. But God would not suffer it.

Great was the loss on either side. There was slain a high lord of Flanders, whose name was Giles of Landas: he was struck in the eye, and with that stroke he died in the fray; and many another of whom less was spoken. The Doge of Venice and the barons laboured much, during the whole of that week, to appease the fray, and they laboured so effectually that peace was made. God be thanked therefor.


A fortnight after came to Zara the Marquis Boniface of Montferrat, who had not yet joined, and Matthew of Montmorency, and Peter of Bracieux, and many another man of note. And after another fortnight came also the envoys from Germany, sent by King Philip and the heir of Constantinople. Then the barons, and the Doge of Venice assembled in a palace where the Doge was lodged. And the envoys addressed them and said: " Lords, King Philip sends us to you, as does also the brother of the king's wife, the son of the emperor of Constantinople.


"'Lords,' says the king, ' I will send you the brother of my wife; and I commit him into the hands of God-may He keep him from death! - and into your hands. And because you have fared forth for God, and for right, and for justice, therefore you are bound, in so far as you are able, to restore to their own inheritance those who have been unrighteously despoiled. And my wife's brother will make with you the best terms ever offered to any people, and give you the most puissant help for the recovery of the land overseass

" ' And first, if God grant that you restore him to his inheritance, he will place the whole empire of Roumania in obedience to Rome, from which it has long been separated. Further, he knows that you have spent of your substance, and that you are poor, and he will give you 200,000 marks of silver, and food for all those of the host, both small and great. And he, of his own person, will go with you into the land of Babylon, or, if you hold that that will be better, send thither 10,000 men, at his own charges. And this service he will perform for one year. And all the days of his life he will maintain, at his own charges, five hundred knights in the land overseass to guard that land.' "

" Lords, we have full power," said the envoys, " to conclude this agreement, if you are willing to conclude it on your parts. And be it known to you, that so favourable an agreement has never before been offered to any one; and that he that would refuse it can have but small desire of glory and conquest."

The barons and the Doge said they would talk this over; and a parliament was called for the morrow. When all were assembled, the matter was laid before them.


Then arose much debate. The abbot of Vaux, of the order of the Cistercians, spoke, and that party that wished for the dispersal of the host; and they said they would never consent: that it was not to fall on Christians that they had left their homes, and that they would go to Syria.

And the other party replied: "Fair lords, in Syria you will be able to do nothing; and that you may right well perceive by considering how those have fared who abandoned us, and


sailed from other ports. And be it known to you that it is only by way of Babylon, or of Greece, that the land overseas can be recovered, if so be that it ever is recovered. And if we reject this covenant we shall be shamed to all time."

There was discord in the host, as you hear. Nor need you be surprised if there was discord among the laymen, for the white monks of the order of Citeaux were also at issue among themselves in the host. The abbot of Loos, who was a holy man and a man of note, and other abbots who held with him, prayed and besought the people, for pity's sake and the sake of God, to keep the host together, and agree to the proposed convention, in that " it afforded the best means by which the land overseas might be recovered; " while the abbot of Vaux, on the other hand, and those who held with him, preached full oft, and declared that all this was naught, and that the host ought to go to the land of Syria, and there do what they could.

Then came the Marquis of Montferrat, and Baldwin Count of Flanders and Hainault, and Count Louis, and Count Hugh of St. Paul, and those who held with them, and they declared that they would enter into the proposed covenant, for that they should be shamed if they refused. So they went to the Doge's hostel, and the envoys were summoned, and the covenant, in such terms as you have already heard, was confirmed by oath, and by charters with seals appended.

And the book tells you that only twelve persons took the oaths on the side of the Franks, for more (of sufficient note) could not be found. Among the twelve were first the Marquis of Montferrat, the Count Baldwin of Flanders, the Count Louis of Blois and of Chartres, and the Count of St. Paul, and eight others who held with them. Thus was the agreement made, and the charters prepared, and a term fixed for the arrival of the heir of Constantinople; and the term so Fixed was the fifteenth day after the following Easter.


Thus did the host sojourn at Zara all that winter (1202-1203) in the face of the King of Hungary. And be it known to you that the hearts of the people were not at peace, for


the one party used all efforts to break up the host, and the other to make it hold together.

Many of the lesser folk escaped in the vessels of the merchants. In one ship escaped well nigh five hundred, and they were all drowned, and so lost. Another company escaped by land, and thought to pass through Sclavonia; and the peasants of that land fell upon them, and killed many, so that the remainder came back flying to the host. Thus did the host go greatly dwindling day by day. At that time a great lord of the host, who was from Germany, Garnier of Borland by name, so wrought that he escaped in a merchant vessel, and abandoned the host, whereby he incurred great blame.

Not long afterwards, a great baron of France, Renaud of Monmirail by name, besought so earnestly, with the countenance of Count Louis, that he was sent to Syria on an embassy in one of the vessels of the fleet; and he swore with his right hand on holy relics, he and all the knights who went with him, that within fifteen days after they had arrived in Syria, and delivered their message, they would return to the host. On this condition he left the host, and with him Herve of Chitel, his nephew, William the vidame of Chartres, Geoffry of Beaumont, John of Frouville, Peter his brother, and many others. And the oaths that they swore were not kept; for they did not rejoin the host.

Then came to the host news that was heard right willingly, viz., that the fleet from Flanders, of which mention has been made above, had arrived at Marseilles. And John of Nle, Castellan of Bruges, who was captain of that host, and Thierri, who was the son of Count Philip of Flanders, and Nicholas of Mailly, advised the Count of Flanders, their lord, that they would winter at Marseilles, and asked him to let them know what was his will, and said that whatever was his will, that they would do. And he told them, by the advice of the Doge of Venice and the other barons, that they should sail at the end of the following March, and come to meet him at the port of Modon in Roumania. Alas! they acted very evilly, for never did they keep their word, but went to Syria, Where, as they well knew, they would achieve nothing.

Now be it known to you, lords, that if God had not loved the host, it could never have held together, seeing how many people wished evil to it!



Then the barons spoke together and said that they would send to Rome, to the Pope, because he had taken the capture of Zara in evil part. And they chose as envoys such as they knew were fitted for this office, two knights, and two clerks. Of the two clerks one was Nevelon, Bishop of Soissons, and the other Master John of Noyon, who was chancellor to Count Baldwin of Flanders; and of the knights one was John of Friaize, the other Robert of Boves. These swore on holy relics that they would perform their embassy loyally and in good faith, and that they would come back to the host.

Three kept their oath right well, and the fourth evilly, and this one was Robert of Boves. For he executed his office as badly as he could, and perjured himself, and went away to Syria as others had done. But the remaining three executed their office right well, and delivered their message as the barons had directed, and said to the Pope: " The barons cry mercy to you for the capture of Zara, for they acted as people who could do no better, owing to the default of those who had gone to other ports, and because, had they not acted as they did, they could not have held the host together. And as to this they refer themselves to you, as to their good Father, that you should tell them what are your commands, which they are ready to perform."

And the Pope said to the envoys that he knew full well that it was through the default of others that the host had been impelled to do this great mischief, and that he had them in great pity. And then he notified to the barons and pilgrims that he sent them his blessing, and absolved them as his sons, and commanded and besought them to hold the host together, inasmuch as he well knew that without that host God's service could not be done. And he gave full powers to Nevelon, Bishop of Soissons, and Master John of Noyon, to bind and to unloose the pilgrims until the cardinal joined the host.



So much time had passed that it was now Lent, and the host prepared their fleet to sail at Easter. When the ships were laden on the day after Easter (7th April 1203), the pilgrims encamped by the port, and the Venetians destroyed the city, and the walls and the towers.

Then there befell an adventure which weighed heavily upon the host; for one of the great barons of the host, by name Simon of Montfort, had made private covenant with the King of Hungary, who was at enmity with those of the host, and went to him, abandoning the host. With him went Guy of Montfort his brother, Simon of Nauphle and Robert Mauvoisin, and Dreux of Cressonsacq, and the abbot of Vaux, who was a monk of the order of the Cistercians, and many others. And not long after another great lord of the host, called Enguerrand of Boves, joined the King of Hungary, together with Hugh, Enguerrand's brother, and such of the other people of their country as they could lead away.

These left the host, as you have just heard; and this was a great misfortune to the host, and to such as left it a great disgrace.

Then the ships and transports began to depart; and it was settled that they should take port at Corfu, an island of Roumania, and that the first to arrive should wait for the last; and so it was done.

Before the Doge, the Marquis, and the galleys left Zara, Alexius, the son of the Emperor Isaac of Constantinople, had arrived together. He was sent by the King Philip of Germany, and received with great joy and great honour; and the Doge gave Mm as many galleys and ships as he required. So they left the port of Zara, and had a fair wind, and sailed onwards till they took port at Duras. And those of the land, when they saw their lord, yielded up the city right willingly and sware fealty to Mm.

And. they departed thence and came to Corfu, and found there the host encamped before the city; and those of the host had spread their tents and pavilions, and taken the horses out of the transports for ease and refreshment. When they heard that the son of the Emperor of Constantinople


had arrived in the port, then might you have seen many a good knight and many a good sergeant leading many a good war-horse and going to meet him. Thus they received him with very great joy, and much high honour. And he had his tent pitched in the midst of the host; and quite near was pitched the tent of the Marquis of Montferrat, to whose ward he had been commended by King Philip, who had his sister to wife.


The host sojourned thus for three weeks in that island, which was very rich and plenteous. And while they sojoumed, there happened a misadventure fell and grievous. For a great part of those who wished to break up the host, and had aforetime been hostile to it, spoke together and said that the adventure to be undertaken seemed very long and very perilous, and that they, for their part, would remain in the island, suffering the host to depart, and that-when the host had so departed-they would, through the people of Corfu, send to Count Walter of Brienne, who then held Brandis, so that he might send ships to take them thither.

I cannot tell you the names of all those who wrought in this matter, but I will name some among the most notable of the chiefs, viz., Odo of Champlitte, of Champagne, James of Avesnes, Peter of Amiens, Guy the Castellan of Coucy, Oger of Saint-Chron, Guy of Chappes and Clerembaud his nephew, William of Aunoi, Peter Coiseau, Guy of Pesmes and Edmund his brother, Guy of Conflans, Richard of Dampierre, Odo his brother, and many more who had promised privily to be of their party, but who dared not for shame openly so to avow themselves; in such sort that the book testifies that more than half the host were in this mind.

And when the Marquis of Montferrat heard thereof, and Count Baldwin of Flanders, and Count Louis, and the Count of St. Paul, and the barons who held with them, they were greatly troubled, and said: " Lords, we are in evil case. If these people depart from us, after so many who have departed from us aforetime, our host is doomed, and we shall make no conquests. Let us then go to them, and fall at their feet, and cry to them for mercy, and for God's sake to have compas-


sion upon themselves and upon us, and not to dishonour themselves, and ravish from us the deliverance of the land overseass

Thus did the council decide; and they went, all together, to a valley where those of the other part were holding their parliament; and they took with them the son of the Emperor of Constantinople, and all the bishops and all the abbots of the host. And when they had come to the place they dismounted and went forward, and the barons fell at the feet of those of the other part, greatly weeping, and said they would not stir till those of the other part had promised not to depart from them.

And when those of the other part saw this, they were filled with very great compassion; and they wept very bitterly at seeing their lords, and their kinsmen, and their friends, thus lying at their feet. So they said they would consult together, and drew somewhat apart, and there communed. And the sum of their communing was this: that they would remain with the host till Michaelmas, on condition that the other part would swear, loyally, on holy relics, that from that day and thenceforward, at whatever hour they might be summoned to do so, they would in all good faith, and without guile, within fifteen days, furnish ships wherein the non-contents might betake themselves to Syria.

Thus was covenant made and sworn to; and then was there great joy throughout all the host. And all gat themselves to the ships, and the horses were put into the transports.


Then did they sail from the port of Corfu on the eve of Pentecost (24th May), which was twelve hundred and three years after the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. And there were all the ships assembled, and all the transports, and all the galleys of the host, and many other ships of merchants that fared with them. And the day was fine and clear, and the wind soft and favourable, and they unfurled all their sails to the breeze.

And Geoffry, the Marshal of Champagne, who dictates this work, and has never lied therein by one word to his know-


ledge, and who was moreover present at all the councils held -he bears witness that never was yet seen so fair a sight. And well might it appear that such a fleet would conquer and gain lands, for, far as the eye could reach, there was no space without sails, and ships, and vessels, so that the hearts of men rejoiced greatly.

Thus they sailed over the sea till they came to Malea, to straits that are by the sea. And there they met two ships with pilgrims, and knights and sergeants returning from Syria, and they were of the parties that had gone to Syria by Marseilles. And when these saw our fleet so rich and well appointed, they conceived such shame that they dared not show themselves. And Count Baldwin of Flanders sent a boat from Ws ship to ask what people they were; and they said who they were.

And a sergeant let himself down from his ship into the boat, and said to those in the ship, " I cry quits to you for any goods of mine that may remain in the ship, for I am going with these people, for well I deem that they will conquer lands. "Much did we make of the sergeant, and gladly was he received in the host. For well may it be said, that even after following a thousand crooked ways a man may find his way right in the end.

The host fared forward till it came to Nigra (Negropont). Nigra is a very fair island, and there is on it a very good city called Negropont. Here the barons took council. Then went forward the Marquis Boniface of Montferrat, and Count Baldwin of Flanders and Hainault, with a great part of the transports and galleys, taking with them the son of the Emperor Isaac of Constantinople; and they came to an island called Andros, and there landed. The knights took their arms, and over-rode the country; and the people of the land came to crave mercy of the son of the Emperor of Constantinople, and gave so much of their goods that they made peace with Wm.

Then they returned to the ships, and sailed over the sea; when a great mishap befell, for a great lord of the host, whose name was Guy, Castellan of Coucy, died, and was cast into the sea.

The other ships, which had not sailed thitherward, had entered the passage of Abydos, and it is there that the straits of St. George (the Dardanelles) open into the great


sea. And they sailed up the straits to a city called Abydos, which lies on the straits of St. George, towards Turkey, and is very fair, and well situate. There they took port and landed, and those of the city came to meet them, and surrendered the city, as men without stomach to defend themselves. And such guard was established that those of the city lost not one stiver current.

They sojoumed there eight days to wait for the ships transports and galleys that had not yet come up. And while they thus sojourned, they took corn from the land, for it was the season of harvest, and great was their need thereof, for before they had but little. And within those eight days all the ships and barons had come up. God gave them fair weather.


All started from the port of Abydos together. Then might you have seen the Straits of St. George (as it were) in flower with ships and galleys sailing upwards, and the beauty thereof was a great marvel to behold. Thus they sailed up the Straits of St. George till they came, on St. John the Baptist's Eve, in June (23rd June 1203) to St. Stephen, an abbey that lay three leagues from Constantinople. There had those on board the ships and galleys and transports full sight of Constantinople; and they took port and anchored their vessels.

Now you may know that those who had never before seen Constantinople looked upon it very earnestly, for they never thought there could be in all the world so rich a city; and they marked the high walls and strong towers that enclosed it round about, and the rich palaces, and mighty churches of which there were so many that no one would have believed it who had not seen it with his eyes-and the height and the length of that city which above all others was sovereign. And be it known to you, that no man there was of such hardihood but his flesh trembled: and it was no wonder, for never was so great an enterprise undertaken by any people since the creation of the world.

Then landed the counts and barons and the Doge of Venice, and a parliament was held in the church of St. -


Stephen. There were many opinions set forth, this way and that. All the words then spoken shall not be recorded in this book; but in the end the Doge rose on his feet and said: "Signors, I know the state of this land better than you do, for I have been here erewhile. We have undertaken the greatest enterprise, and the most perilous, that ever people have undertaken. Therefore it behoves us to go to work warily. Be it known to you that if we go on dry ground, the land is great and large, and our people are poor and ill-provided. Thus they will disperse to look for food; and the people of the land are in great multitude, and we cannot keep such good watch but that some of ours will be lost. Nor are we in case to lose any, for our people are but few indeed for the work in hand.

"Now there are islands close by which you can see from here, and these are inhabited, and produce corn, and food, and other things. Let us take port there, and gather the corn and provisions of the land. And when we have collected our supplies, let us go before the city, and do as our Lord shall provide. For he that has supplies, wages war with more certainty than he that has none. "To this counsel the lords and barons agreed, and all went back to their ships and vessels.


They rested thus that night. And in the morning, on the day of the feast of our Lord St. John the Baptist in June (24th June 1203), the banners and pennants were flown on the castles of the ships, and the coverings taken from the shields, and the bulwarks of the ships garnished. Every one looked to his antis, such as he should use, for well each man knew that full soon he would have need of them.

The sailors weighed the anchors, and spread the sails to the wind, and God gave them a good wind, such as was convenient to them. Thus they passed before Constantinople, and so near to the walls and towers that we shot at many of their vessels. There were so many people on the walls and towers that it seemed as if there could be no more people (in the world).

Then did God our Lord set to naught the counsel of the day before, and keep us from sailing to the islands: that counsel


fell to naught as if none had ever heard thereof. For lo, our ships made for the mainland as straight as ever they could, and took port before a palace of the Emperor Alexius, at a place called Chalcedon. This was in face of Constantinople, on the other side of the straits,. towards Turkey. The palace was one of the most beautiful and delectable that ever eyes could see, with every delight therein that the heart of man could desire, and convenient for the house of a prince.

The counts and barons landed and lodged themselves in the palace; and in the city round about, the main part pitched their tents. Then were the horses taken out of the transports, and the knights and sergeants got to land with all their arms, so that none remained in the ships save the mariners only. The country was fair, and rich) and well supplied with all good things, and the sheaves of corn (which had been reaped) were in the fields, so that all-and they stood in no small need-might take thereof.

Thev soioumed thus in that palace the following day; and on the third day God gave them a good wind, and the mariners raised their anchors, and spread their sails to the wind. They went thus up the straits, a good league above Constantinople, to a palace that belonged to the Emperor Alexius, and was called Scutari. There the ships anchored, and the transports, and all the galleys. The horsemen who had lodged in the palace of Chalcedon went along the shore by land.

The host of the French encamped thus on the straits of St. George, at Scutari, and above it. And when the Emperor Alexius saw this, he caused his host to issue from Constantinople, and encamp over against us on the other side of the straits, and there pitched his tents, so that we might not take land against him by force. The host of the French sojourned thus for nine days, and those obtained supplies who needed them, and that was every one in the host.


During this time, a company of good and trustworthy men issued (from the camp) to guard the host, for fear it should be attacked, and the foragers searched the country. In the said company were Odo of Champlitte, of Champagne, and William his brother, and Oger of Saint-Chron, and


Manasses of l'Isle, and Count Girard, a count of Lombardy, a retainer of the Marquis of Montferrat; and they had with them at least eighty knights who were good men and true.

And they espied, at the foot of a mountain, some three leagues distant from the host, certain tents belonging to the Grand Duke of the Emperor of Constantinople, who had with him at least five hundred Greek knights. When our people saw them, they formed their men into four battalions, and decided to attack. And when the Greeks saw this, they formed their battalions, and arrayed themselves in rank before their tents, and waited. And our people went forward and fell upon them right vigorously.

By the help of God our Lord, this fight lasted but a little while, and the Greeks turned their backs. They were discomfited at the first onset, and our people pursued them for a full great league. There they won plenty of horses and stallions, and palfreys, and mules, and tents and pavilions, and such spoil as is usual in such case. So they returned to the host, where they were right well received, and their spoils were divided, as was fit.


The next day after, the Emperor Alexius sent an envoy with letters to the counts and to the barons. This envoy was called Nicholas Roux, and he was a native of Lombardy. He found the barons in the rich palace of Scutari, where they were holding council and he saluted them on the part of the Emperor Alexius of Constantinople, and tendered his letters to the Marquis of Montferrat-who received them. And the letters were read before all the barons; and there were in them words, written after various manners, which the book does not (here) relate, and at the end of the other words so written, came words of credit, accrediting the bearer of the letters, whose name was Nicholas Roux.

"Fair Sir," said the barons, "we have seen your letters, and they tell us that we are to give credit to what you say, and we credit you right well. Now speak as it pleases you."

And the envoy was standing before the barons, and spoke thus: "Lords," said he, "the Emperor Alexius would have you know that he is well aware that you are the best people


uncrowned, and come from the best land on earth. And he marvels much why, and for what purpose, you have come into his land and kingdom. For you are Christians, and he is a Christian, and well he knows that you are on your way to deliver the Holy Land overseass and the Holy Cross, and the Sepulchre. If you are poor and in want, he will right willmgly give you of his food and substance, provided you depart out of his land. Neither would he otherwise wish to do you any hurt, though he has full power therein, seeing that if you were twenty times as numerous as you are, you would not be able to get away without utter discomfiture if so be that he wished to harm you."

By agreement and desire of the other barons, and of the Doge of Venice, then rose to his feet Conon of Bthune, who was a good knight, and wise, and very eloquent, and he replied to the envoy: " Fair Sir, you have told us that your lord marvels much why our signors and barons should have entered into Ms kingdom and land. Into his land they have not entered, for he holds this land wrongfully and wickedly, and against God and against reason. It belongs to Ws nephew, who sits upon a throne among us, and is the son of his brother, the Emperor Isaac. But if he is willing to throw himself on the mercy of his nephew, and to give Mm back his crown and empire, then we will pray his nephew to forgive him, and bestow upon him as much as will enable him to live wealthily. And if you come not as the bearer of such a message, then be not so bold as to come here again." So the envoy departed and went back to Constantinople, to the Emperor Alexius.


The barons consulted together on the morrow, and said that they would show the young Alexius, the son of the Emperor of Constantinople, to the people of the city. So they assembled all the galleys. The Doge of Venice and the Marquis of Montferrat entered into one, and took with them Alexius, the son of the Emperor Isaac; and into the other galleys entered the knights and barons, as many as would.

They went thus quite close to the walls of Constantinople and showed the youth to the people of the Greeks, and said,


"Behold your natural lord; and be it known to you that we have not come to do you harm, but have come to guard and defend you, if so be that you return to your duty. For he whom you now obey as your lord holds rule by wrong and wickedness, against God and reason. And you know full well that he has dealt treasonably with him who is your lord and his brother, that he has blinded his eyes and reft from him his empire by wrong and wickedness. Now behold the rightful heir. If you hold with him, you will be doing as you ought; and if not we will do to you the very worst that we can." But for fear and terror of the Emperor Alexius, not one person on the land or in the city made show as if he held for the prince. So all went back to the host, and each sought his quarters.

On the morrow, when they had heard mass, they assembled in parliament, and the parliament was held on horseback in the midst of the fields. There might you have seen many a fine war-horse, and many a good knight thereon. And the council was held to discuss the order of the battalions, how many they should have, and of what strength. Many were the words said on one side and the other. But in the end it was settled that the advanced guard should be given to Baldwin of Flanders, because he had a very great number of good men, and archers and crossbowmen, more than any other chief that was in the host.

And after, it was settled that Henry his brother, and Matthew of Wallincourt, and Baldwin of Beauvoir, and many other good knights of their land and country, should form the second division.

The third division was formed by Count Hugh of St. Paul, Peter of Amiens his nephew, Eustace of Canteleu, Anseau of Cayeux, and many good knights of their land and country.

The fourth division was formed by Count Louis of Blois and Chartres, and was very numerous and rich and redoubtable; for he had placed therein a great number of good knights and men of worth.

The fifth division was formed by Matthew of Montmorency and the men of Champagne. Geoffry the Marshal of Champagne formed part of it, and Oger of Saint-Chron, Manasses of l'Isle, Miles the Brabant, Macaire of Sainte-Menehould, John Foisnous, Guy of Chappes, Clerembaud his nephew, Robert of Ronsoi; all these people formed part of the fifth


division. Be it known to you that there was many a good knight therein.

The sixth division was formed by the people of Burgundy. In this division were Odo the Champenois of Champlitte, William his brother, Guy of Pesmes, Edmund his brother, Otho of la Roche, Richard of Dampierre, Odo his brother, Guy of Conflans, and the people of their land and country.

The seventh division, which was very large, was under the command of the Marquis of Montferrat. In it were the Lombards and Tuscans and the Germans, and all the people who were from beyond Mont Cenis to Lyons on the Rhone. All these formed part of the division under the marquis, and it was settled that they should form the rearguard.


The day was fixed on which the host should embark on the ships and transports to take the land by force, and either live or die. And be it known to you that the enterprise to be achieved was one of the most redoubtable ever attempted. Then did the bishops and clergy speak to the people, and tell them how they must confess, and make each one his testament, seeing that no one knew what might be the will of God concerning him. And this was done right willingly throughout the host, and very piously.

The term fixed was now come; and the knights went on board the transports with their war-horses; and they were fully armed, with their helmets laced, and the horses covered with their housings, and saddled. All the other folk, who were of less consequence in battle, were on the great ships; and the galleys were fully armed and made ready.

The morning was fair a little after the rising of the sun; and the Emperor Alexius stood waiting for them on the other side, with great forces, and everything in order. And the trumpets sound, and every galley takes a transport in tow, so as to reach the other side more readily. None ask who shall go first, but each makes the land as soon as he can. The knights issue from the transports, and leap into the sea up to their waists, fully armed, with helmets laced, and lances in hand; and the good archers, and the good sergeants, and the good crossbowmen, each in his company, land so soon as they touch ground.


The Greeks made a goodly show of resistance; but when it came to the lowering of the lances, they turned their backs, and went away flying, and abandoned the shore. And be it known to you that never was port more proudly taken. Then began the mariners to open the ports of the transports, and let down the bridges, and take out the horses; and the knights began to mount, and they began to marshal the divisions of the host in due order.


Count Baldwin of Flanders and Hainault, with the advanced guard, rode forward, and the other divisions of the host after him, each in due order of march; and they came to where the Emperor Alexius had been encamped. But he had turned back towards Constantinople, and left his tents and pavilions standing. And there our people had much spoil.

Our barons were minded to encamp by the port before the tower of Galata, where the chain was fixed that closed the port of Constantinople. And be it known to you, that any one must perforce pass that chain before he could enter into the port. Well did our barons then perceive that if they did not take the tower, and break the chain, they were but as dead men, and in very evil case. So they lodged that night before the tower, and in the Jewry that is called Stenon, where there was a good city, and very rich.

Well did they keep guard during the night; and on the morrow, at the hour of tierce, those who were in the tower of Galata made a sortie, and those who were in Constantinople came to their help in barges; and our people ran to arms. There came first to the onset James of Avesnes and his men on foot; and be it known to you that he was fiercely charged, and wounded by a lance in the face, and in peril of death. And one of his knights, whose name was Nicholas of Jenlain, gat to horse, and came to his lord's rescue, and succoured him right well, and so won great honour.

Then a cry was raised in the host, and our people ran together from all sides, and drove back the foe with great fury, so that many were slain and taken. And some of them did not go back to the tower, but ran to the barges by which they had come, and there many were drowned, and some escaped.


As to those who went back to the tower, the men of our host pressed them so hard that they could not shut the gate. Then a terrible fight began again at the gate, and our people took it by force, and made prisoners of all those in the tower. Many were there killed and taken.


So was the tower of Galata taken, and the port of Constantinople won by force. Much were those of the host comforted thereby, and much did they praise the Lord God; and greatly were those of the city discomforted. And on the next day, the ships, the vessels, the galleys and the transports were drawn into the port.

Then did those of the host take council together to settle what thing they should do, and whether they should attack the city by sea or by land. The Venetians were firmly minded that the scaling ladders ought to be planted on the ships, and all the attack made from the side by the sea. The French, on the other hand, said that they did not know so well how to help themselves on sea as on land, but that when they had their horses and their arms they could help themselves on land right well. So in the end it was devised that the Venetians should attack by sea, and the barons and those of the host by land.

They sojourned thus for four days. On the fifth day, the whole host were armed, and the divisions advanced on horseback, each in the order appointed, along the harbour, till they came to the palace of Blachernae; and the ships drew inside the harbour till they came over against the self-same place, and this was near to the end of the harbour. And there is at that place a river that flows into the sea, and can only be passed by a bridge of stone. The Greeks had broken down the bridge, and the barons caused the host to labour all that day and all that night in repairing the bridge. Thus was the bridge repaired, and in the morning the divisions were armed, and rode one after the other in the order appointed, and came before the city. And no one came out from the city against them; and this was a great marvel, seeing that for every man that was in the host there were over two hundred men in the city.

Then did the barons decide that they should quarter them-


selves between the palace of Blachernae and the castle of Boemond, which was an abbey enclosed with walls. So the tents and pavilions were pitched-which was a right proud thing to look upon; for of Constantinople, which had three leagues of front towards the land, the whole host could attack no more than one of the gates. And the Venetians lay on the sea, in ships and vessels, and raised their ladders, and mangonels, and petraries, and made order for their assault right well. And the barons for their part made ready their petraries and mangonels on land.

And be it known to you that they did not have their time in peace and quiet; for there passed no hour of the night or day but one of the divisions had to stand armed before the gate, to guard the engines, and provide against attack. And, notwithstanding all this, the Greeks ceased not to attack them, by this gate and by others, and held them so short that six or seven times a day the whole host was forced to run to arms. Nor could they forage for provisions more than four bow-shots' distance from the camp. And their stores were but scanty, save of flour and bacon, and of those they had a little; and of fresh meat none at all, save what they got from the horses that were killed. And be it known to you that there was only food generally in the host for three weeks. Thus were they in very perilous case, for never did so few people besiege so many people in any city.

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