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1204: The Capture of Constantinople
- Text in English

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Michael Akominatos

Michael Choniates Laments Sgouros's Seizure of the Peloponnesus

[From Ta Sozomena, Athens, 1880, vol. 2, pp. 169-70 translated by Deno Geanakoplos, Byzantium, Chicago Univ. Press 1984, pp. 372-3]

Alas, but we have been enriched by more evils. It was not enough for us to be tyrannized by foreigners and consigned to the lot of slaves, but this man [Sgouros], allegedly of the same [Greek] people, has added to the great distress we suffer from our injuries. His fire, even before the approach of the Italians, had engulfed many parts of Greece and the Peloponnesus, and its coals still burn after their arrival. Compared to him even the Italians seem blameless. For the evils, which they have caused, seem more benevolent than those caused by this man, our countryman, and to the Romans [Byzantines] the foreigners appear more civilized and on the whole fairer. For example, no one has fled to such a fellow Greek from the cities enslaved by the Italians, since that would be nothing else than fleeing the smoke to fall into the fire. Indeed, as many as are able to escape from this man's garrisons desert to the Latins with a glad heart, as if they were departing from hell itself. And the evidence of events attests to this. For where are so many of the inhabitants of Argos, Hermione, and Aegina? Where are the prosperous citizens of Corinth? Has not everyone departed, unseen and unheard of? But indeed the Athenians and Thebans [under Latin domination] and Chalcidians and those who live along the coast remain at home and have not yet fled their dwellings.

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