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600,000. Truly, had popular writers read the narratives of the Croises, instead of theorizing on the subject, they would have found that pecuniary considerations had little to do in the matter. The Venetians, with a careful eye to their own interests, further agreed to equip fifty galleys for the love of God,' on condition 'that all the conquests we make by sea or land shall be divided 'equally between us.' After some farther deliberation, ' more than ten thousand people were assembled at the Church of St. Mark,' where, after the mass of the Holy Ghost, to implore God to 'inspire them to do His pleasure, the envoys arose, and Geoffrey Villehardouin thus spoke :

Lords, the most high and powerful barons of France, have sent us to Venice, to pray you to look with pity on the holy city, which is in bondage to the infidels, and for God's sake to join them in avenging the wrongs of Jesus Christ. They turn to you, because they know of none so powerful on the seas, so they have enjoined us to kneel at your feet, until you have granted their prayers, and had compassion on the land over the sea.' The six envoys then fell on their knees, with many tears, and the duke and the people waved their hands, and cried aloud with one voice,- We consent, we consent.' The noise and tumult was so great, that it seemed as though the earth shook; and when that great and heart-moving cry, which exceeded all human experience, had ended, the duke mounted the pulpit, and spoke to the people, saying 'Behold, lords, the honour which the Lord hath put upon you, in disposing the bravest warriors on earth to seek your alliance in so high an enterprise."

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So the treaty was ratified with many tears,' and then they sent to the Pope to confirm it. The reader will observe how spontaneous all this was. Nobles conferring together, forming plans, entering into treaties, with as much independence as the founders of any society in the present day. Geoffrey returned to Troyes, where he found his lord, Count Thibaut, sick; but so rejoiced was the enthusiastic young man at the success of the envoys, that he called for his horse, to ride forth, which for a long time 'past he had not done. So he arose from his bed, and mounted his horse for the last time: for his sickness so continued to increase, that at length he made his testament, and soon 'breathed his last.' This was a great loss, for the count had been appointed leader, and when, after his death, two other great men refused the office, the affliction of the pilgrims was very 'deep.' The Marquis of Montserrat was at length urged, with 'many tears,' to take the leadership, which he having assented to, Master Fulke, the holy man, conducted him to church, and 'placed the cross on his shoulder.' The pilgrims now set forth to Venice, but on arriving there found that many had drawn

THE EXPEDITION TO CONSTANTINOPLE.

89

pack, and many had gone to other parts. Ha! what a curse 'that was, for then had Christendom been exalted, and the land ' of the infidels been subdued!' remarks Villehardouin. The leaders then found that they could not raise the entire sum promised, although they gave up all the money they had; indeed, 'you might see numbers of rich vessels of gold and silver carried 'to the duke's palace, to make up the necessary payments.' Dandolo then suggested that the remaining sum be remitted, on the Croises undertaking to aid the republic in reducing Zara, which had revolted. Then they all assembled in St. Mark's, and the Doge addressed the people, saying, that although a very old man (he was between eighty and ninety), yet

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Knowing no one more capable of guiding and commanding you than myself, who am your lord, if it be your pleasure that I should take the cross to watch over and direct you, and leave my son in my place to protect our country, I will cheerfully go, and live and die with you, and with the pilgrims. The Venetians cried aloud, with one voice-'We beseech you, in God's name, to go with us.' Much pity was felt, and many tears shed among the people of the country and the pilgrims, because this brave old man who had so much need of rest, both on account of his great age, and inasmuch as he was nearly blind, his sight having been injured by a wound in the head, and yet was of such undaunted courage. Ha! how little did they resemble him who skulked to other parts to avoid danger! The duke, descending from the pulpit, walked to the high altar, and cast himself on his knees with holy tears before it, while the Cross was placed in his cap that it might be better seen.'

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The Croises, however, even after the reduction of Zara, were not to proceed to 'that sweet land over the sea,' for 'one of the most marvellous events that has ever been narrated, happened;" this was, the supplication of Alexius Comnenus, the heir of the Greek empire, whose father had been deposed and blinded, and who himself was a fugitive, that this valiant company should afford him aid in reinstating his father on the throne. To this supplication, inasmuch as they were journeying for the love of 'God, and for right, and justice,' they acceded, and turned their victorious prows toward Corfu, where the young prince met them, and,

'Having again embarked, they departed from Corfu on the eve of Pentecost, in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1203, with all the galleys, the palanders, and other ships of war, as well as the merchant-men in their company. The day was bright and cheerful, and the winds soft and favourable, as they spread their sails. And I, Geoffry the marshal of Champagne, who have dictated this, having been present at the matters herein related, and conscious that it contains nothing but truth, bear witness that so glorious a sight had

never been beheld before. Far as our sight could reach, the sea was covered with sails of ships and galleys; our hearts were lifted up, and we thought our armament might undertake the conquest of the world. *** Then they sailed to the city of Abydos, and when they departed together from the port, the whole Hellespont appeared covered with ships, galleys, and palanders, of incomparable beauty. They sailed up the strait, until they reached St. Stephen's abbey, from whence they had the first view of Constantinople. You may think that all who had never before beheld it, would fix their eyes upon that city, which appeared the noblest in the universe. * * * * They scarcely could believe their senses, nor was there any man, however bold, whose heart did not tremble within him. This was no marvel, for never since the creation of the world had such an enterprise been attempted by such a handful of men.'

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No wonder, as they drew nearer, many a one cast his eyes 'upon his arms, well knowing that the time was at hand when he 'should need their help.' The pilgrims landed at Scutari, and soon after came in contact with some 'five hundred Greek 'knights,' but these turned their backs, and were discomfited' at the first shock of the heavy lances of the Western chivalry. The usurping emperor, brother to the deposed one, sent an embassy to the Croises, stating that he much marvels why you -being Christians, and he being also a Christian-are thus come into his territories,' and ending with a truly Greek boast, that if they were twenty times as many, they could not depart without his permission, nor prevent his destroying them. The Croises appointed a 'prudent and eloquent knight' to reply, which he did by charging the emperor with having sinned ' against God and reason' in usurping his brother's throne, and emphatically concluding,- As for messages of this kind, be not 'so rash as to trust yourself hither with them again.' So the barons determined, in true feudal fashion, to show the young prince to his subjects. They rowed before the walls, and, showing the valet to the Greeks, proclaimed, Behold your 'natural lord, and know that we are not come hither to injure 'you, but to preserve and defend you, if you return to your duty. You know how traitorously he has used his lord and brother, 'whom he has sinfully deprived of his eyes and empire: his lawful heir is now before you.' But none of the people, he adds, seemed willing to acknowledge the prince. Indeed, the utter want of high and noble spirit among these degenerate Greeks seems utterly to have confounded the Croises, who we can easily imagine must have felt themselves actually more at home among the haughty, gallant Turks and Saracens, than among the cowardly, falsehood-loving Christians of the Lower Empire.

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THE CAPTURE OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

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It was now resolved that an attack should be made on Galata, and that the Count of Flanders should lead the vanguard:

'And know that it was one of the most daring adventures ever attempted. . . . . At length the knights embarked with their warsteeds, themselves armed from head to foot, their helms laced, their horses housed and saddled. Those who were of less note betook them to the heavy vessels, and the galleys were all armed and prepared. The morning was bright, and the emperor, with his army in great force and array, awaited the pilgrims on the opposite shore. The trumpet sounded, every galley towed a heavier vessel, none asked who were to be foremost, but each one pushed on with all his might. The knights started up from the palanders, and, armed as they were, helm laced, and lance in hand, leaped, baldrick deep, into the sea. The good archers, the good serjeants, and the good cross-bowmen, followed, each company forming on the spot where their vessels touched the ground. The Greeks seemed, at first, determined to oppose them; but, on the first shock of lances, turned their backs, and fled, leaving the landing open; and know that no place was ever more proudly captured! . The emperor fled to Constantinople,

so the barons encamped that night before the tower.'

This tower being captured, and the chain which guarded the approach to the city removed, they pressed up the strait; the Venetians, as better accustomed to naval warfare, taking the lead-all in high spirits, although there were in the city at 'least two hundred persons for every single soul in the army.' The scaling-ladders were prepared, though the walls were crowded with the English and Danes (the Varangians of the Greek army), who fought bravely with their battle-axes.

'Now shall you hear of the dauntless valor of the Duke of Venice; who, old and blind as he was, stood upon the prow of his galley, with the standard of St. Mark spread before him, urging his people to push on to shore, on peril of his high displeasure. By wondrous exertions they ran the galley on shore, and, leaping out, bore the banner of St. Mark before him on the land. When the Venetians saw the banner of St. Mark on the land, and that their duke's galley had been the first to touch the ground, they pushed on in shame and emulation ; and the men in the palanders sprang to land in rivalry with each other, and began a fierce assault. And I, Geoffry de Villehardouin, marshal of Champagne, the author of this work, affirm that it was asserted by more than forty persons that they beheld the banner of St. Mark planted upon one of the towers, and none could tell by what hand it was planted there; at which miraculous sight the besieged fled, and deserted the walls, while the invaders rushed in headlong, striving who should be foremost, seized upon twenty-five of the towers, and garrisoned them with their soldiers.'

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The victory was ere long won; and then, 'that same night, the 'emperor, with much treasure, fled, and abandoned the city;' so, by one of those sudden changes which made Constantinople so often resemble the cities of Bagdad or Damascus, the blind emperor Isaac was drawn forth from his dungeon, and arrayed in the imperial robes in the palace of Blachernae; whither a deputation of the Croises proceeded on the following morning, and beheld him attired in such splendour as to dazzle them; and the empress, a most fair lady, the daughter of the King of Hungary, sat beside him.' Our narrator was spokesman on this occasion; and Isaac, it may be readily imagined, consented to whatever was demanded. The barons conducted the young prince to his father; and there was great joy and festivity. Ere long, the Greeks looked anxiously for the departure of the pilgrims; while young Alexius, who knew how much he was bound to them, secretly requested their stay. At this, Nicaetas, the Greek historian, is very wroth, charging him with having 'disgraced the splendour and majesty of the purple,' by his associating with these barbarians'-as though anything could disgrace the purple' more than it had been already by the cruelty, falsehood, and utter negation of all high feeling of his predecessors. Meanwhile, serious disturbances broke out; a fire in the city, too, was attributed to the Franks, and the young prince seems to have taken advantage of this to postpone his payments. So a parliament' assembled, and it was determined to send an embassy to him; and Conon de Bethune, Geoffry de Villehardouin, and Miles de Brabant,' were chosen, with three Venetians:

"These nobles having mounted their horses, their swords girt on, rode together to the palace of Blachernae, though, from the habitual treachery of the Greeks, in no trifling danger. Having alighted at the gate, and entered the palace, they found the two emperors seated on two thrones. Then the wise and eloquent Conon de Bethune spoke: Sir, we are deputed by the Duke of Venice, and by the barons of the host, to remind you of what they have done for you. You and your father have sworn to perform faithfully the covenant you had made with them; your letters patent are in their possession; but though you have been often called upon, you have not fulfilled that treaty as you were bound to do; and we again summon you, in presence of your lords, to perform all that is stipulated between us. If you do so, well; if you refuse, know that, from this hour, they renounce you as their lord and friend, and will pursue you to utter extremity. But they would have you know that treason is not their practice, nor the fashion of their country, nor do they make war on you, or on any one, without first sending an open defiance. This is our errand-decide according to your pleasure.' The Greeks were exceedingly surprised and incensed at this, saying that none before

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