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Milton V. Anastos

Constantinople and Rome

A Survey of the Relations between the Byzantine and the Roman Churches.

M. Anastos, Aspects of the Mind of Byzantium (Political Theory, Theology, and Ecclesiastical Relations with the See of Rome), Ashgate Publications, Variorum Collected Studies Series, 2001. ISBN: 0 86078 840 7.

20. The Fourth Crusade and the sack of Constantinople in 1204

Moreover, these disputes, denunciations, and excommunications only rarely affected the masses of the people, who were for the most part unaware of what was going on. What really caused the final cleavage between East and West was the series of conflicts between the Latins and the Greeks that developed in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries. These were engendered primarily
by the aggressiveness of the Normans in Italy, Sicily, and Greece in the latter part of the eleventh century,(198) by the extraordinary commercial privileges granted by the Byzantine emperors to Latin traders in Constantinople, which impoverished the Greeks at the same time that they enriched the Latins,(199) and, finally, by the cruelty, barbarity, and rapacity of the Crusaders in the years between 1095 and 1204.(200)

The Latins, on their part, felt that Byzantium was insufficiently grateful for the military aid which they had rendered against the Turks. But the numerous injuries, public and private, suffered by the Greeks in their dealings with the Crusaders culminated in the supreme villainy of the Fourth Crusade, the inhuman sack of Constantinople in 1204, and the subsequent Latin occupation of the capital city and other Greek lands. These grim experiences erased any feeling of gratitude that might have arisen, and created an anti-Latin sentiment which proved to be ineradicable. To make matters worse, Pope Innocent III, though at first properly shocked at the diversion of the Fourth Crusade from its ostensible purpose of waging war against the infidel, and horrified by reports of the criminal behaviour of the Crusaders in Constantinople, finally acquiesced in the Latin conquest, and rejoiced at the opportunity it afforded of Latinising the entire Church.(201)

Of course, the Greeks themselves were not completely guiltless, and the long-suppressed resentment and hatred of the Latins as aggressors and despoilers exploded during the disorders that took place in 1182 at the time Alexius II was forced to yield the throne to Andronicus Ι (1182-85). As a result, the Latin quarter of Constantinople was burned down, many Latins who could not escape to their ships were murdered, Latin churches were profaned, many Latins were imprisoned or sold into bondage, and the papal legate was decapitated and his head tied to the tail of a dog. The Latin fleet to which the refugees fled then exacted a bloody reprisal, and in 1185 William II, King of Sicily, captured Thessalonike, the second city of the Empire, and put its inhabitants to the sword.(203)

But the worst of these episodes and the one that provoked the most bitterness and animosity took place in April 1204,(204) after the Latin capture of Constantinople, which was the wealthiest, the most beautiful, and the most venerated city in Christendom. As such it afforded unparalleled opportunities for plunder and rapine, of which its conquerors took full advantage. For three days the Crusaders were permitted by their leaders to indulge themselves in unrestrained rape, pillage, and depredation.(205) Villehardouin, a contemporary Latin historian, reports that, in the siege of the city, the Latins burned down more houses than there were in the three largest cities of France, and Pope Ιnnocent ΙΙΙ (1198-1216) says that "these defenders of Christ" bathed in the blood of Christians, and gave themselves up publicly to the most shameful lust, which spared neither mothers of families, nor virgins, nor nuns.

Not satisfied with the vast treasures they stole from private houses and imperial palaces, they looted churches, desecrated the most holy of objects, (206) dismembered the great altar, ambon ("pulpit"), and iconostasis of the Church of Hagia Sophia, and distributed its gold and silver ornaments as souvenirs. They pried off the jewels and precious stones from reliquaries and sacred vessels and used the latter as dishes and drinking cups. The Church of Hagia Sophia itself was defiled by the vilest sacrilege, when the Crusaders entered it mounted upon mules and horses, which slipped on the polished stone floor and befouled the church with their blood and excrement. Α prostitute sat in the patriarch's throne and provided lewd entertainment with ribald songs and indecent dances.

The Crusaders spared no one, old or young, male or female, humble or powerful. Soldiers, leaders, and clergy all stole whatever they could, wherever they found it, save that the Abbot Martin of Pairis, out of piety, would take no plunder except from ecclesiastical establishments. After three days, the indiscriminate, unorganised larceny was brought to a halt, and gave way to methodical, systematic spoliation conducted officially by the Latin governing powers themselves, who relentlessly sought out the riches which their hapless victims had concealed, and resorted to torture and violence whenever necessary to expedite the search.

The booty was so enormous that no one could estimate its value, but all agreed that never before had a single city yielded up such treasures. Fortunately, many of the Crusaders prized the works they had stolen,(207) and, for years, ship after ship, heavily ladened, carried off their loot to Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, and England, where many of the objects thus acquired in 1204 and in the succeeding years of the Latin occupation can still be seen in churches, museums, and private collections. So numerous were the chalices, censers, cups, enamels, jewels, ivories, embroideries, and richly ornamented reliquaries (the last of which were reputedly heavy with the blood of Christ, fragments of the True Cross, relics of the saints, and other objects of devotion) that special treasuries were built to house them.

Perhaps the most notable of these was the Treasury of the Church of St. Mark in Venice, whose wealth still dazzles tourists in Venice. But many of the most precious objects, including vast quantities of manuscripts, ancient sculptures, revered icons, sparkling stones, gold and silver beyond price, and fabulous stuffs of all sorts were inadvertently or deliberately destroyed by wanton hands. Worse still, a large proportion of the most valuable possessions of the Treasury of St. Mark in Venice was confiscated and destroyed by the Republic of Venice in 1795 to provide funds for its war chest, so that the wondrous Treasury as it is now constituted is only a pitiful fragment of a once far more glorious collection.

The Byzantine historian Nicetas,(208) whose eyewitness account is one of our most important sources for the history of the Fourth Crusade, contrasts the rapacity and intemperateness of the Latins in 1204 with the mild behaviour of the Muslims, who contented themselves, after their capture of Jerusalem, with imposing a moderate tax on the Latins there, but refrained altogether from violence and spoliation. It was for this reason that in the last days of the Empire the great majority of the people preferred, as the historian Dukas put it,(209) to fall into the hands of the Turks rather than of the Latins.


198. - Cf., e.g., Chalandon and Gay, οpp. citt. in note 180 above.

199. - On this vast subject Ι note the following: Freddy Τhiriet, La Romanie vénitienne au moyen age (Bibliothèque des Ecoles françaises d'Athènes et de Rome, 193 [Paris, 1959]); idem, Régestes des déliberations du sénat de Venise concernant la Romanie, 2 vols. (Paris, 1958-59); S. Borsari, "L'espansione economica fiorentina nell'Oriente cristiano sino alla metà del trecento," Rivista Storica Italiana, 70 (1958), 477-507; Walter Heinemeyer, "Die Vertrage zwischen dem oströmischen Reiche und den italischen Städten Genua, Pisa und Venedig vom 10. bis 12. Jahrhundert," Archiv für Diplomatik, 3 (1957), 79-161; Luigi R. Lanfranchi, Famiglia Zusto (Fοnti per la storia di Venezia, Sez. 4, Archivi privati [Venice, 1955]); Robert S. Lopez and Irving W. Raymond, Medieval trade in the Mediterranean world: Illustrative documents, translated with introductions and notes (New York, 1955); idem, "The trade of medieval Europe: The South," in Cambridge economic history of Europe, 2 (Cambridge, Eng., 1952), 257-354, n.b. 304 ff., bibliography, 537-56, n.b. 543 ff.; idem, Storia delle cοlοnie genovesi nel mediterraneo (Βοlοgna, 1938); G. Luzzatto, Studi di storia economica veneziana (Padua, 1954); Α. Lombardo and R. Marozzo della Rocca, Νuovi documenti del commercio veneto dei secoli ΧΙ-ΧΙΙΙ (Monumenti storici pubblicati dalla Deputazione di storia patria per le Venezie, N.S. 7 [Venice, 1953]); Steven Runciman, "Byzantine trade and industry," in Cambridge economic history, 2 (Cambridge, Eng., 1952), 86-118, n.b. 98 ff., bibliogr. 529-36; J. Danstrup, "Manuel I's coup against Genoa and Venice in the light of Byzantine commercial policy," ClMed, 10 (1949), 195-219; Ε. C. Skrzhinskaya, "The Genoans in Constantinople in the fourteenth century" (in Russian), VizVrem, 1 = 26 (1947), 215-34; C. Marinescu, "Contribution a l'histoire des relations économiques entre l'Empire byzantin, la Sicile et le royaume de Naples de 1419 à 1453," SBN, 5 (1939), 209-19; Β. Dudan, Il dominio veneziano di Levante (Βοlοgna, 1938); Αllan Evans, Francesco Balducci Pegolotti: La pratica della mercatura (Cambridge, Mass., 1936): composed ca. 1340 by a Florentine merchant, who drew heavily upon his experiences in Cyprus; G. Sabatini, L'espansione di Pisa nel Mediterraneo fino alla Meloria (Florence, 1935); Ε. Byrne, Genoese shipping in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries (Cambridge, Mass., 1930); G. Ι. Bratianu, Recherches sur le commerce génois dans la Mer Noire au xiii siècle (Paris, 1929); Heinrich Kretschmayr, Geschichte von Venedig, 1 (Gotha, 1905), 178 ff., 448 f., 474 ff; 2 (1920), passim; R C. Hodgson, Venice in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries: Α sketch of Venetian history from the conquest of Constantinople to the accession of Michael Steno, 1204-1400 (London, 1910); Adolf Schaube, Handelsgeschichte der romanischen Völker des Mittelmeergebiets bis zum Ende der Kreuzzüge (Munich-Berlin, 1906); Hippolyte Noiret; Documents inédits pour servir à l'histoire de la domination vénitienne en Crète de 1380 à 1485 (Bibliothèque des Ecoles françaises d'Athènes et de Rome, 61 [Paris, 1892]); W. Heyd, Histoire du commerce du Levant au moyen âge, trans. Furcy Raynaud (Leipzig, 1923); G. L. F. Tafel and G. Μ. Thomas, Urkunden zur alteren Handels- und Staatsgeschichte der Republik Venedig, 1-3 (Fontes rerum Austriacarum, Abt. 2, vols. 12-14 [Vienna, 1856-57]); Karl Ηopf Geschichte Griechenlands vom Beginn des Mittelalters bis auf unsere Zeit (Ersch-Gruber, Allgemeine Εnzyklopädie der Wissenschaften und Künste, 85-86 [Leipzig, 1867-68, being reprinted]): poorly arranged, partly obsolete, but still of value.

200. - At present, the best survey of the subject is that of Steven Runciman, Α history of the Crusades, 3 vols. (Cambridge, Eng., 1951-54). Of the new history, edited by Kenneth Setton of the University of Pennsylvania, now in progress, only the first volume, ed. Marshal W. Baldwin (Philadelphia, 1955), has appeared. Ι have assembled here the titles of a few of the more interesting works dealing with the Crusades, the Latin occupation, and their effect upon Byzantium. The chief sources have been published by the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres in the Recueil des historiens des croisades, 16 vols. (Paris, 1841-1906; a reprint has been announced to begin in 1960): Assises (2 vols.), Documents arméniens (2), Historiens grecs (2), Historiens occidentaux (5), Historiens orientaux (5). See Ρaul Alphandery, la chréetientée et l'idée de croisade, ed. Α. Dupront, 2 vols. (Paris, 1954-59); Nikolaos Β. Tomadakes, "The orthodox priests during the Venetian occupation and their ordination" (in Greek), Kretika Chronika, 13 (1959), 39-72; J. J. Bouquet, "Remarques sur l'idéee de croisade dans l'expédition d'Amadée de Savoie à Constantinople," Βulletin annuel de la Fondation Suisse, 7 (Paris, 1958), 17-33; Ε. Α. R. Brown, "The Cistercians in the Latin Empire of Constantinople and Greece, 1204-1276," Traditio, 14 (1958), 63-120; Laetitia Boehm, " 'fiesta Dei per Francos'-oder 'fiesta Francorum'? Die Kreuzzüge als historiographisches Problem," Saeculum, 8 (1957), 43-81; R. Fedden and J. Thomson, Crusader Castles (London, 1957); Francesco Gabrieli, Storici arabi delle crociate (n.p., 1957): excerpts translated; R. C. Smail, Crusading warfare (1097-1193) (Cambridge, Eng., 1956); Claude Cahen, Ρaul Lemerle, Ρaul Rousset, Steven Runciman, Michel Villey, "L'idée de croisade," in Relazioni del Χ Congresso int. di sc. st., 3 (cited in note 1 above), 543-652; Anatole Frolow, Recherches sur la déviation de la IVe Croisade vers Constantinople (Paris, 1955); cf. idem, on the same subject, RHR, 147 (1955), 50-61; Georgios Kolias, "Τhe foreign policy of Alexius the First Comnenos (1081-1118)" (in Greek), Athena, 59 (1955), 241-88; Ε. Frances, "Sur la conquête de Constantinople par les Latins," BS, 15 (1954), 21-26; Girolamo Golubovich, Biblioteca bio-bibliografica della Terra Santa e dell'Oriente francescano, 5 vols. (Quaracchi, 1906-27): on 1215-1400; the fourth series (Studi) of the same work includes Martiniano Roncaglia, Storia della provincia di Terra Santa, 1, Francescani in Oriente durante le Crociate (sec. xiii) (Cairo, 1954), and 2, Les Frères Mineurs et l'église grecque orthodoxe au xiii siecle (1231-1274) (Cairo, 1954); Ρ Ιoanou, "Das Haus Lusignan von Kypros, Kreuzzugsgedanke und religiöse Politik," L'Orient syrien, 3 (1954), 42-51; Ch. Thouzellier, "Hérésie et croisade au xiie siècle," RHE, 49 (1954), 855-72; R. L. Wolff, "Mortgage and redemption of an emperor's son: Castile and the Latin Empire of Constantinople," Speculum, 29 (1954), 45-84; idem, "Politics in the Latin Patriarchate of Constantinople, 1204-1261," DOP, 8 (1954), 225-303; idem, "The organization of the Latin Patriarchate of Constantinople, 1204-1261: Social and administrative consequences of the Latin conquest," Traditio, 6 (1948), 33-60; Η. Beumann, "Kreuzzugsgedanke und Ostpolitik im hohen Mittelalter," HistJb, 72 (1953), 112-32; Giles Constable, "The Second Crusade as seen by contemporaries," Traditio, 9 (1953), 213-79: with full bibliography; Apostolos Bakalopulos, "Contribution to the history of Thessalonike during the Venetian occupation (1423-1430)" (in Greek), in Tornos Konstantinu Ηarmnenopulu (Thessalonike, 1952), 122-49; Peter Charanis, "Arms of the medieval crusades and how they were viewed by Byzantium," ChHist, 21 (1952), 123-34; Roberto Cessi, "Venezia e la quarta crociata," Archivio veneto, 5. S., 48-49 (1951), 1-52; René Grousset, L'empire du Levant, 2d ed. (Paris, 1949); idem, Histoire des croisades, 3 vols. (Paris, 1934-36): now largely superseded; Jean Longnon, L'Empire latin de Constantinople et la Principauté de Morée (Paris, 1949); idem, "L'organisation de l'église d'Athènes par Innocent III," in Mémorial Louis Petit (Bucharest, 1948), 336-46; Kenneth Μ. Setton, Catalan domination of Athens, 1311-1388 (Cambridge, Mass., 1948); Α. Rubio y Lluch, Diplomatari de l'Orient català (1301-1409) (Barcelona, 1947); R. Janin, "Les sanctuaires des colonies latines à Constantinople," REB, 4 (1946), 163-77; idem, "Les sanctuaires de Byzance sous la domination latine, " Etudes byzantines = REB, 2 (1944-45), 134-84; C. Verlinden, Les empereurs belges du Constantinople (Brussels, 1945); Α. Μ. Schneider and Μ. Nomides, Galata: Topographisch-archäologischer Plan (Istanbul, 1944); R Ρall, "Les croisades en Orient au bas moyen âge: Observations critiques sur l'ouvrage de Μ. Atiya," RHSEE, 19 (1942), 527-83; Η. Grégoire, "The question of the diversion of the Fourth Crusade; or, Αn old controversy solved by a Latin adverb," Βyzantion, 15 (1940-41), 158-66; Ρ Throop, Criticism of the Crusade: Α study of public opinion and Crusade propaganda (Amsterdam, 1940); Α. Atiya, The Crusade in the later Middle Ages (London, 1938); Ε. Dade, Versuche zur Wiedererrichtung der lateinischen Herrschaft in Κonstantinopel im Rahmen der abendländischen Ρolitik, 1261 bis etwa 1310 (Jena, 1938); Leo Santifaller, Beiträge zur Geschichte des lateinischen Patriarchats vοn Konstantinopel (1204-1261) und der venezianischen Urkunde (Historisch-diplomatische Forschungen, 3 [Weimar, 1938)); R. Loenertz, La société des frères pérégrinants: Etude sur l'Orient dominicain, 1 (Institutum historicum FF. Praedicatorum Romae ad S. Sabinae, Dissertationes historicae, 7 [Rome, 1937]), 76-88; Carl Erdmann, Die Entstehung des Kreuzzugsgedankens (Forschungen zur Kirchen- und Geistesgeschichte, 6 [Stuttgart, 1935, reprinted 1955]); V. Laurent, "Les établissements dominicains de Péra-Constantinople," ΕΟ, 34 (1935), 332-49; Emerson Swift, "The Latins at Hagia Sophia," AJA, 2d ser., 39 (1935), 458-74; Ο. van der Vat, Die Αnfänge der Franziskanermissionen und ihre Weiterentwicklung im nahen Οrient und in den mohammedanischen Ländern während des 13. Jahrhunderts (Werl i. Westf, 1934); L. Halphen, "Le rôle des 'Latins' dans l'histoire intérieure de Constantinople à la fin du xiie siecle," in Mélanges Charles Diehl, 1 (Paris, 1930), 141-45; Constantin Marinesco, "Notes sur les Catalans dans l'empire byzantin;' in Mélanges F. Lot (Paris, 1925), 501-13; Β. Altaner, Die Dominikanermissionen des 13. Jahrhunderts (Halberschwerdt, 1924); Anonymi Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolymitanorum, ed. and trans. Louis Bréhier, Histoire anοnyme de la Première Croisade (Paris, 1924), ed. also Beatrice Α. Lees (Oxford, 1924); William Miller, "Greece and the Aegaean under Frank and Venetian domination (1204-1571)," CMH, 4 (1923), 432-77; idem, "The Empire of Nicaea and the recovery of Constantinople," ibid., 478-516; idem, Essays on the Latin Orient (Cambridge, Eng., 1921); idem, The Latins in the Levant: Α history of Frankish Greece (London, 1908); Η. Brown> "The Venetians and the Venetian quarter in Constantinople to the close of the twelfth century;' JHS, 40 (1920), 68-88. On the four parts of the Byzantine Empire which remained independent during the Latin occupation (the "Empires" of Epirus, Nicaea, and Trebizond, together with the Morea, which held out-in some areas-against the Latins until 1248, when Μοnembasia capitulated to Guillaume II Villehardouin, and reverted to Greek control in 1259 after the battle of Pelagonia in Macedonia), the major works are: D. Nicol, The despotate of Epirus (Oxford, 1957); D. Α. Zakythinos, Le despotat grec de Morée (1262-1460), 2 vols. (Paris, 1932-53); Alexander Α. Vasiliev, "The Foundation of the Empire of Trebizond (1204-1222)," Speculum, 11 (1936), 3-37; William Miller, Trebizond: The last Greek empire (London, 1926); Alice Gardner, The Lascarids of Nicaea (London, 1912); Antonios Meliarakes, History of the Empire of Νicaea and the Despotate of Epirus (in Greek) (Athens-Leipzig, 1898); see also relevant articles in the Cambridge Medieval History, vοl. 4 (1923).

201. - Louis Bréhier, Le monde byzantin, 1, Vie et mort de Byzance (Paris, 1948), 368; Walter Norden, Das Papsttum und Byzanz (Berlin, 1903), 182 and passim.

202. - Bréhier, οp. cit., 345 f.

203. - Ostrogorsky, History, 355 f.

204. - Runciman, Α history of the Crusades, 3, 123 ff.

205. - Nicetas Choniates, Historia, CSHB, 757-63 and passim; Heisenberg, Neue Quellen, 1, Epitaphios des Ν. Mesarites (cited in note 49 above), 41-48, esp. secs. 34-36, pp. 45-48; Innocent III, PL, 205, 699-702; Geoffrey de Villehardouin, La cοnquête de Constantinople, ed. Edmond Faral, 2 (Paris, 1939), 52-58; Gunther of Pairis [in Alsace], Ηistοria Constantinopolitana, 19 ff., ed. Comte Riant, Εxuviae sacrae constantinopolitanae, 1 (Geneva, 1877), 104 ff.; German trans. by Erwin Assmann, Gunther von Pairis (Weimar, 1956), 84 ff. Choniates has been translated into German by Franz Grabler, Die Kreuzfahrer erobern Konstantinnopel (Byzantinische Geschichtsschreiber, 9 [Graz, 1958]).

206. - Choniates, op. cit., 758.13-759.15.

207. - Depressingly long lists of this loot were published by Riant, op. cit., 2 vols. (Geneva, 1877-78); idem, Des dépouilles religieuses enlevées a Constantinople au ΧIΙΙe siècle et des documents historiques nés de leur transport en occident (Mémoires de la Société nationale des antiquaires de France, 36 [Paris, 1875]); cf. Silvio G. Mercati, "Santuari e reliquie Costantinopolitane secondo il codice Ottoboniano latino 169 prima della conquista latina (1204)," Rendiconti della Ρontificia Accademia Romana di archeologia, 12 (1936), 133-56.

208. - Οp. cit. , 762, 11 ff.

209. - CSHB, 291.3. Cf. Η. Evert-Kappesowa, "La tiare ou le turban," BS, 14 (1953), 245-57.

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