THUS the winter of 1202-3 passed slowly away, in discontent among the Crusaders, in smouldering suspicion against their chiefs, and in animosity towards the Venetians. Suspicion was in the air--suspicion by the Crusaders that they were to be made the tools of Venice in the future as they had already been in the immediate past--a new suspicion also that Philip of Swabia, King of the Romans, was about to unite with Dandolo against the Pope of Rome, that their own leader, Boniface, had already betrayed them, sold them as an army to assist his kinsman Philip in fighting against the head of the Church. The proof of treachery was not complete, but sufficient was known to justify the suspicion and to account for the uneasiness. The soldiers who had been carried away from their native countries on a wave of religious enthusiasm, who had come out to fight for God and His cause, had already violated their oaths, and felt themselves powerless to get out of the trap into which they had been led.
Leaving the Crusaders at Zara, I propose now to narrate the facts which justified the suspicion of the army, and to attempt to point out what was the plot against the object which the Crusaders had in hand.
Before doing so it is necessary to call attention to the reasons which are assigned by contemporary writers for the two circumstances which marked the diversion of the fourth crusade from its intended purpose. The two circumstances were, first, the attack upon Zara, and, second, the expedition to Constantinople.