The Fall of Constantinople: Being the Story of the Fourth Crusade

By Edwin Pears | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX.
ARRIVAL IN VENICE.

MANY of the pilgrims had only left home between Easter and Whitsuntide, 1202. The ordinary road taken was over the Mont Cenis and through Lombardy to Venice.

Meantime a fleet had left Flanders for the Mediterranean with a great number of Crusaders. The leaders of this detachment had sworn to Baldwin that they would join the division coming from Venice at the first convenient place after hearing of its whereabouts. Baldwin and the other leaders of the crusade who had already arrived at Venice soon learned with dismay that many pilgrims had gone by other routes to other ports, and that thus it would be impossible to provide the number for whose passage the delegates had undertaken to pay the Venetians. Those present were unable to raise the amount agreed upon. They did their best by sending messengers here and there to persuade the pilgrims to come to Venice, and to point out to them that Venice was the only port from which they could start with a fair prospect of success. Villehardouin was himself sent on such an expedition, and succeeded in persuading Count Louis with a great number of knights and men-at-arms to come to Venice from Padua, where they had been encountered. Others were also brought in to Venice; but a considerable number had already left by other routes before they could be overtaken. Never, says Villehardouin, has a finer army collected than that which was at length gathered at St. Nicolo di Lido, the island where the Crusaders were lodged by the Venetians. No man had seen a finer fleet than the Venetians had prepared. The only fault to be found with it was that it could take an army three

Non- arrival of a considerable number of the Crusaders in Venice.

-241-

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