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CHAP. dom from the important service; and the more generous
ambition of Dandolo was eager to secure the inestimable benefits of trade and dominion that might accrue to his country. 52 Their influence procured a favourable audience for the ambassadors of Alexius; and if the magnitude of his offers excited some suspicion, the motives and rewards which he displayed might justify the delay and diversion of those forces which had been consecrated to the deliverance of Jerusalem. He promised, in his own and his father's name, that as soon as they should be seated on the throne of Constantinople, they would terminate the long schism of the Greeks, and submit themselves and their people to the lawful supremacy of the Romish church. He engaged to recompense the labours and merits of the crusaders, by the immediate payment of two hundred thousand marks of silver; to accompany them in person to Egypt; or, if it should be judged more advantageous, to maintain, during a year, ten thousand men, and, during his life, five hundred knights, for the service of the Holy Land. These tempting conditions were accepted by the republic of Venice; and the eloquence of the doge and marquis persuaded the counts of Flanders, Blois, and St. Pol, with eighty barons of France, to join in the glorious enterprise. A treaty of offensive and defensive alliance was confirmed by their oaths and seals; and each individual, according to his situation and character, was swayed by the hope of public or pivate advantage ; by the honour of restoring an exiled monarch ; or by the sincere and probable opinion, that their efforts in Palestine would be fruitless and unavailing, and that the acquisition of Constantinople must precede and prepare the recovery of Jerusalem. But they were the chiefs or equals of a valiant band of freemen and volunteers, who thought and acted for themselves; the soldiers and clergy were divided ; and, if a large majority subscribed to the alliance, the numbers and arguments of the dissidents were strong and respectable.53 The boldest hearts were appalled by the report of the naval power and impregnable strength of Constantinople, and their apprehensions were disguised to the world, and perhaps to themselves, by the more decent objections of religion and duty. They alleged the sanctity of a vow, which had drawn them from their families and homes to the rescue of the holy sepulchre ; nor should the dark and crooked councils of human policy divert them from a pursuit, the event of which was in the hands of the Almighty. Their first offence, the attack of Zara, had been severely punished by the reproach of their conscience
52 Nicetas (in Alexio Comneno, I. iii. c. 9,) accuses the doge and Venetians as the first authors of the war against Constantinople, and considers only as a KUHL UTES Lupati, the arrival and shameful offers of the royal exile.
53 Villehardouin and Gunther represent the sentiments of the two parties. The abbot Martin left the army at Zara, proceeded to Palestine, was sent ambassador to Constantinople, and became a reluctant witness of the second siege.
and the censures of the pope ; nor would they again imbrue chař. their hands in the blood of their fellow-christians. The apostle LX. of Rome had pronounced ; nor would they usurp the right of arenging with the sword the schism of the Greeks and the doubtfal usurpation of the Byzantine monarch. On these principles or pretences, many pilgrims, the most distinguished for their valour and piety, withdrew from the camp ; and their retreat was less pernicious than the open or secret opposition of a discontented party, that laboured, on every occasion, to separate the army and disappoint the enterprise.
Notwithstanding this defection, the departure of the fleet Voyas and army was vigorously pressed by the Venetians, whose zeal from Zara for the service of the royal youth concealed a just resentment tinople, to his nation and family. They were mortified by the recent April 7--* preference which had been given to Pisa the rival of their trade; they had a long arrear of debt and injury to liquidate with the Byzantine court; and Dandolo might not discourage the popular tale, that he had been deprived of his eyes by the emperor Manuel, who perfidiously violated the sanctity of an ambassador. A similar armament, for ages, had not rode the Adriatic: it was composed of one hundred and twenty flat-bottomed ressels or palanders for the horses; two hundred and forty transports filled with men and arms; seventy storeships laden with provisions; and fifty stout galleys, well prepared for the encounter of an enemy. 54 While the wind was favourable, the sky serene, and the water smooth, every eye was fixed with wonder and delight on the scene of military and naval pomp which overspread the sea. The shields of the knights and squires, at once an ornament and a defence, were arranged on either side of the ships ; the banners of the nations and families were displayed from the stern ; our modern artillery was supplied by three hundred engines for casting stones and darts; the fatigues of the way were cheered with the sound of music; and the spirits of the adventurers were raised by the mutual assurance, that forty thousand Christian heroes were equal to the conquest of the world.55 In the navigation36 from Venice and Zara, the fleet was successfully steered by the skill and experience of the Venetian pilots ; at Durazzo the confederates first landed on the territories of the Greek empire : the
54 The birth and dignity of Andrew Dandolo gave him the motive and the means of searching in the archives of Venice the memorable story of his ancestor. His brevity seems to accuse the copious and more recent narratives of Sanudo (in Muratori, Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. xxii.) Blondus, Sabellicus, and Ramnusius.
55 Villebardouin, No. 62. His feelings and expressions are original ; he often Feeps, but he rejoices in the glories and
perils of war with a spirit unknown to a sedentary writer.
$ In ibis' voyage, almost all the geographical names are corrupted by the Latins. The modern appellation of Chalcis, and all Eubæa, is derived from its Euripus, Eoripo, Negri-po, Negropont, which dishonours our maps (d'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, tom. i. p. 263.)
CHAP. isle of Corfu afforded a station and repose ; they doubled with
out accident the perilous cape of Malea, the southern point of Peloponnesus or the Morea; made a descent in the islands of Negropont and Andros; and cast anchor at Abydus on the Asiatic side of the Hellespont. These preludes of conquest were easy and bloodless; the Greeks of the provinces, without patriotism or courage, were crushed by an irresistible force ; the presence of the lawful heir might justify their obedience ; and it was rewarded by the modesty and discipline of the Latins. As they penetrated through the Hellespont, the magnitude of their navy was compressed in a narrow channel ; and the face of the waters was darkened with innumerable sails. They again expanded in the basin of the Propontis, and traversed that placid sea, till they approached the European shore, at the abbey of St. Stephen, three leagues to the west of Constantinople. The prudent doge dissuaded them from dispersing themselves in a populous and hostile land; and, as their stock of provisions was reduced, it was resolved, in the season of harvest, to replenish their storeships in the fertile islands of the Propontis. With this resolution, they directed their course; but a strong gale, and their own impatience, drove them to the eastward ; and so near did they run to the shore and the city, that some volleys of stones and darts were exchanged between the ships and the rampart. As they passed along, they gazed with admiration on the capital of the East, or, as it should seem, of the earth; rising from her seven hills, and towering over the continents of Europe and Asia. The swelling domes and lofty spires of five hundred palaces and churches were gilded by the sun and reflected in the waters; the walls were crowded with soldiers and spectators, whose numbers they beheld, of whose temper they were ignorant ; and each heart was chilled by the reflection, that, since the beginning of the world, such an enterprise had never been undertaken by such a handful of warriors. But the momentary apprehension was dispelled by hope and valour ; and every man, says the marshal of Champagne, glanced his eye on the sword or lance which he must speedily use in the glorious conflict.57 The Latins cast anchor before Chalcedon ; the mariners only were left in the vessels ; the soldiers, horses, and arms, were safely landed ; and, in the luxury of an imperial palace, the barons tasted the first fruits of their success. On the third day, the fleet and army moved toward Scutari, the Asiatic suburb of Constantinople; a detachment of five hundred Greek horse was surprised and defeated by fourscore French knights; and in a halt of nine days, the camp was plentifully supplied with forage and provisions.
57 Et sachiez que il ne ot si hardi cui le cuer ne fremist (c. 67,).... Chascuns regardoit ses armes......que par tems en aront mestier (c. 68.) Such is the honesty of courage.
In relating the invasion of a great empire, it may seem CHAP: strange that I have not described the obstacles which should LX. have checked the progress of the strangers. The Greeks, in m truth, were an unwarlike people; but they were rich, industrious, and subject to the will of a single man: had that man been capable of fear, when his enemies were at a distance, or of courage when they approached his person. The first rumour of his nephew's alliance with the French and Venetians was despised by the usurper Alexius; his flatterers persuaded him, that in his contempt he was bold and sincere ; and each evening in the close of the banquet, he thrice discomfited the barbarians of the West. These barbarians had been justly terrified by the report of his naval power, and the sixteen hundred fishing-boats of Constantinople, could have manned a feet to sink them in the Adriatic, or stop their entrance in the mouth of the Hellespont. But all force may be annihilated by the negligence of the prince and the venality of his ministers. The great duke, or admiral, made a scandalous, almost a public, auction of the sails, the masts, and the rigging; the royal forests were reserved for the more important purpose of the chase ; and the trees, says Nicetas, were guarded by the eunuchs, like the groves of religious worship.59. From his dream of pride, Alexius was awakened by the siege of Zara and the rapid advances of the Latins : as soon as he saw the danger was real, he thought it inevitable; and his vain
presumption was lost in abject despondency and despair. He suffered these contemptible barbarians to pitch their camp in the sight of the palace; and his apprehensions were thinly disguised by the pomp and menace of a suppliant embassy. The sovereign of the Romans was astonished (his ambassadors were instructed to say) at the hostile appearance of the strangers. If these pilgrims were sincere in their vow for the deliverance of Jerusalem, his voice must applaud, and his treasures should assist, their pious design ; but should they dare to invade the sanctuary of empire, their numbers, were they ten times more considerable, should not protect them from his just resentment. The answer of the doge and barons was simple and magnanimous. “In the cause of honour and justice," they said, “ we. despise the usurper of Greece, his threats, and his offers. Our friendship and his allegiance are due to the lawful heir, to the young prince who is seated among us, and to his father, the emperor Isaac, who has been deprived of his sceptre, his freedom, and his eyes, by the crime of an ungrateful brother. Let that brother confess his guilt, and implore forgiveness, and
58 Eandem urbem plus in solis navibus piscatorum abundare quam illos in toto navigio. Habebat enim mille et sexcentas piscatoria naves...... Bellicas autem sive mercatorias habebant infinitæ multitudiuis et portum tutissimum. Gunther, Hist. C. P. c. 8. p. 10.
69 Καθαπερ ιερεων αλσεων επειν δε και θεοφυτευτων παραδεισαν εφειθοντο τοτωνε. Nicetas in Alex. Comneno, I. iii. c. 9, p. 348,
CHAP. We ourselves will intercede, that he may be permitted to live in
Lx. affluence and security. But let him not insult us by a second mmessage : our reply will be made in arms, in the palace of Con
stantinople." L'assage of
On the tenth day of their encampment at Scutari, the cruphorus, saders prepared themselves, as soldiers and as catholics, for July 6.
the passage of the Bosphorus, Perilous indeed was the adventure ; the stream was broad and rapid ; in a calm the current of the Euxine might drive down the liquid and unextinguishable fires of the Greeks; and the opposite shores of Europe were defended by seventy thousand horse and foot in formidable array.
On this memorable day, which happened to be bright and pleasant, the Latins were distributed in six battles or divisions : the first, or vanguard, was led by the count of Flanders, one of the most powerful of the Christian princes in the skill and number of his cross-bows. The four successive battles of the French were commanded by his brother Henry, the counts of St. Pol and Blois, and Matthew of Montmorency, the last of whom was honoured by the voluntary service of the marshal and nobles of Champagne. The sixth division, the rearguard and reserve of the army, was conducted by the Marquis of Montferrat, at the head of the Germans and Lombards. The chargers, saddled, with their long caparisons dragging on the ground, were embarked in the flat palanders ; 40 and the knights stood by the side of their horses, in complete armour, their helmets laced, and their lances in their hands. Their numerous train of sergeants61 and archers occupied the transports ; and each transport was towed by the strength and swiftness of a galley. The six divisions traversed the Bosphorus, without encountering an enemy or an obstacle ; to land the foremost was the wish, to conquer or die was the resolution, of every division and of every soldier. Jealous of the pre-eminence of danger, the knights in their heavy armour leaped into the sea, when it rose as high as their girdle; the sergeants and archers were animated by their valour and the squires, letting down the drawbridges of the palanders, led the horses to the shore. Before the squadrons could mount, and form and couch their lances, the seventy thousand Greeks had vanished from their sight; the timid Alexius gave the example to his troops; and it was only by the plander of
60 From the version of Vignere I adopt the well-sounding word palander, which is still used, I believe, in the Mediterranean. But had I written in French, I should have preferred the original and expressive denomination of vessiers or huissiers, from the huis, or door, which was let down as a drawbridge ; but which, at sea, was closed into the side of the ship (see Ducange au Villehardouin, No. 14, and Joinville, p. 27, 28, edit. du Louvre.)
61 To avoid the vague expressions of followers, &c. I use, after Villebardouin, the word sergeants for all horsemen who were not knights. There were sergeants at arms, and sergearts at law; and if we visit the parade and Westminster-hall, we may observe the strange result of the distinction (Ducange, Glossar. Latin. Servientes, &c. tom. vi. p. 226-231.)