Christian Society and the Crusades, 1198-1229

By Edward Peters | Go to book overview

I. The Fourth Crusade, 1202-1207

1. Selections from the Chronicles of Villehardouin, Robert de Clari, Gunther, and Nicetas

The following selections from the several chronicles which describe the Fourth Crusade illustrate the wide range of views which even contemporaries had of the remarkable events which occurred between 1202 and 1207. Villehardouin and Robert de Clari offer the views of westerners of high and low rank, Gunther illustrates the craze for relics which possessed the crusaders once inside Constantinople, and the brief selection from Nicetas illustrates the Byzantine impression of the fall of the city.

Geoffrey of Villehardouin was born around 1155. He was connected by birth and marriage with many of the nobility of Champagne, participated in the tournament of Ecry in 1199, and went to Venice to negotiate with the Venetians for the transportation of the members of the Fourth Crusade. Having participated in the sieges of Zara and Constantinople, Villehardouin remained in the newly founded Latin Empire and was given estates in the Peloponnesus. He died around 1213. His point of view in his narrative is uniformly an aristocratic one, and his is the best account of at least the "official" attitude of the Crusaders during their remarkable adventures on the Adriatic and the Bosphorus. The best modern edition of Villehardouin is that of Edmond Faral, Villehardouin: La Conquête de Constantinople, 2 vols. ( Paris, 1938). There is a complete English translation by Sir Frank Marzials , Memoirs of the Crusades by Villehardouin and De Joinville ( New York, 1958). See also Jeannette M. A. Beer, Villehardouin: Epic Historian ( Geneva, 1968).

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Christian Society and the Crusades, 1198-1229
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Editor's Note vii
  • Introduction ix
  • I - The Fourth Crusade, 1202-1207 1
  • II - Crusade and Council, 1208-1215 25
  • III - The Fifth Crusade, 1217-1222 48
  • IV - The Emperor's Crusade, 1227-1229 146
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