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The Attack On Constantinople By The Fourth Crusade

In the years 1203 and 1204, the Fourth Crusade was diverted from its designed destination of Egypt, first to the Religious city of Zara and then to the Byzantine capital of Constantinople. Both places were looted and the Crusaders killed fellow Christians. For centuries, this instance has been considered one of history's ideal blunders; the sacking and takeover of 1 of the major Christian cities on Earth by an army supposedly focused on stamping out the foes of Christianity. The trend of recent scholarship regarding the Fourth Crusade has been either at fault or defend a person, e. g. Boniface of Montferrat, or a faction of the Crusader pushes, e. g. the Venetians, for the diversion that resulted in the sack of Constantinople. Important historians as Alfred Andrea and Ilona Motsiff, Joseph Gill, Donald E. Queller and Gerald W. Day, Thomas Madden, Michael Angold and Jonathan Harris have all reviewed a number of different interpretations of the diversion of the Fourth Crusade as well as who's to be blamed for this.

Four main most important resources have been analyzed over and over again in order for an accurate explanation to be given. First, "The Deeds of Innocent III" translated and completed by James M. Powell in 2004. The second key source is written in 1215 by Gunther, a monk at the monastery of Pairs, in security of the activities of his abbot Martin who supported the armies of the Fourth Crusade. The third major most important source is Geoffrey de Villehardouin's narrative "Over the Conquest of Constantinople", which includes two characteristics: (a) protective frame of mind and (b) violent angriness towards Crusaders. The fourth main source is also a narrative by Robert of Clari; "La Conquete de Constantinople. " Robert of Clari was a lower level knight and participant and that makes Robert's work possibly valuable, and unusual. With both the knowledge of the historical facts across the Fourth Crusade - the diversion to Zara and its own record on the 24th of November 1202 and Constantinople's capture on 12th April 1204 - and the study of primary sources, you'll be able to begin illustrating the importance of the motives that ultimately led to diverting the Crusade to the capital of Byzantium.

Boniface, Marquis of Montferrat and secular brain of the Crusade, seems the best figure to start with not only because of his position of electricity above the other secular leaders, but also because of his antagonism towards Constantinople, which took place because Boniface and his brother were intimately involved in affairs in Constantinople before the Fourth Crusade. While learning Boniface's role in the diversion of the Crusade evidence are available that prior to the Crusade ever endured any financial difficulty with the Venetians the elected brain of the organization was already towards the reason for young Alexius. Moreover, Boniface, even previous to the excommunication of his troops at Zara, had been aware that the Pope was against any diversion of his Crusade that could cause the bloodshed of fellow Christians. Boniface is also guilty for convincing his fellow nobles, who have been on the Crusade because of their own salvation, to support him on the siege of Constantinople; a major Religious city. Thus, as Chris Brayer argues: "Boniface acknowledged that Innocent III's position negates any probability that his intention in taking the Combination was influenced by faith, since he proceeded to divert the Crusade anyways. Also, his support of the reason for Alexius when confronted with that same position signifies that his ulterior motives against Constantinople were certainly paramount in his popularity of the positioning as secular head of the Crusade. " Relating to what has been stated so far Boniface of Montferrat possessed doubtlessly strong motives for diverting the Fourth Crusade.

However, you need to not only blame Boniface, because the greedy Venetians and their Doge Enrico Dandolo also got strong motives in diverting the Crusade. Historians Queller and Day point out the long tradition of Venetians in helping previous Crusades, a disagreement that "culminates with the Doge and many of his subjects taking the combination themselves. " However, this discussion demonstrates to be inadequate, simply because - according to Andrea and Motsiff - Venetians refused to discover the papal legate Peter Capuano as any other thing more when compared to a simple cleric. Gill increases the argument of Andrea and Motsiff, encouraging that the Venetians demolished the papal ban of excommunication, positioned in it before Zara, and also that they attemptedto be absolved from the excommunication after the street to redemption of Constantinople. The Venetians' motives, just like Boniface's, had nothing in connection with religious beliefs or salvation given that they recognized that their disorders on Zara and Constantinople were done unlike the Pope's needs. Evidence clearly shows that "the Venetians were utilizing wretched conditions as a bargaining tool to divert the crusaders to Zara", if not to Constantinople.

Some scholars want to blame Pope Innocent III for the diversion of the Crusade to Constantinople. Proof provided by all four primary sources brought up initially show no reason to assume that Pope Innocent III ever before needed the Fourth Crusade to lead to such a disaster. Regardless of this, it can be argued that Pope Innocent III made some problems - previous and during the Crusade - that led to its diversion. Through the gathering at Venice, the Pope used soldiers already committed to embarking on the Crusade for papal warfare in Italy. Furthermore, he made mistakes such as interacting with Emperor Alexius III, following the activities done by his nephew, Alexius IV, in France during the summer of 1201 and professionally agreeing to a visit from Alexius IV as well. Justifiably, Alexius III was concerned that the Pope might help his nephew to excommunicate him; a letter to Innocent was then written by Alexius III asking him to avoid the conspiracy. Gill areas that Innocent's reply to the Emperor was "reassuring". Andrea and Motsiff write: "The papal letter was an extremely sly attempt at blackmail. Innocent hoped to convince an definitely frightened Alexius III was that his only anticipation lay down in his subordinating the Greek Chapel to the Roman papacy and in signing up for the crusade against Islam. " The result was that Innocent didn't mention to any of his words to the Crusaders that Constantinople had not been to be attacked for just about any reason. From Innocent's aspect, this should be considered as an omission rather than as direct involvement. On 20 June 1203, he composed to the Crusaders: "Indeed, whatever evil in this and other activities the Emperor and those subject to his jurisdiction have dedicated, it is not that you can pass judgment on the crimes; you did not take on yourselves the image of the Combination to avenge this injury, but rather the shame done to the Crucified to whose honour you have dedicated yourselves in a particular way We wish you to note and We alert you not venially to contravene the sense of the prohibition where We forbade you under pain of excommunication to try and invade or harm lands belonging to Christians" Thus the Pope didn't at all sought the diversion to Constantinople and was committed to the Crusaders' journey to the Holy Land.

Finally, secular and religious leaders is highly recommended guilty in diverting the Crusade to Constantinople. Queller offers a passage that represents the thought of the leaders in favour of the diversion of Constantinople while arguing with Simon de Montfort who was against it: "The opposing party responded that they could complete nothing at all in Syria, for this could be recovered only by heading to Egypt or Greece. Simon, abbot of Loos, a follower of Baldwin of Flanders, earnestly prayed the host to hold mutually and to acknowledge the proposal of the envoys. His pleas and the effect of the greater men finally brought about (the proposal's) adoption, although only twelve of the principle men would affix their signatures to the convention. " They secretly arranged with the Venetians to the excursion to Zara and, disregarding the hazards of the Pope, sacked the city. At Corfu, they attempted to convince an entire army to divert to Constantinople and were naturally successful in doing so at the behest of Boniface of Montferrat. An important fact to mention is that Baldwin of Flanders, one of the original singers of the Treaty of Venice, became Emperor of Constantinople after the sack of the city in 1204. These market leaders are clearly guilty so far as it concerns the attacks against Zara and Constantinople, but it can't be wholly proven that it was their most important intent and not only an unfortunate group of occurrences that led them to do so.

In realization, there are two facts that should be described: (a) nearly everyone involved in the Fourth Crusade was for some reason to blame and (b) there have been pre-existing motives to divert the Crusade to Zara and Constantinople among key market leaders of the Fourth Crusade, such as Boniface of Montferrat and Doge Enrico Dandolo and his Venetians. Indeed, unlike a lot of their fellow Crusaders included, these two information' actions against Constantinople have a reasonable explanation. Reality is that Boniface's and the Venetians' motives seem to be to be the main element factor behind the diversion to Constantinople, but nonetheless not the primary one. If the blame be assigned specifically to those two men? A couple of many other, interior and external, pushes and factors one should consider when wondering who was to be blamed for the diversion of the Fourth Crusade. Some of these were intentional among others not really much. You will want to blame those who possessed given such power to two men - Boniface and Enrico Dandolo - given that they recognized that they - each because of their own reasons - clearly had a whole lot to gain by conquering the Religious city of Constantinople instead of the Holy Land? The unlucky event of the sack of Constantinople in 1204 and the killing of so many fellow Christians by the Crusaders has very complex forces involved with it.

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