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

By Edwin Pears | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII.
FROM CORFU TO CONSTANTINOPLE.

THE expedition left Corfu on the 23rd of May, Whitsun eve. Villehardouin is again in raptures at the beauty of the spectacle presented by the fleet. It looked, says he, like one which could conquer the world. The sails of the vessels dotted the ocean from the shore to the verge of the horizon, so that the hearts of men rejoiced within them. All went well as far as Negroponte and Andros, at which latter island the leaders with young Alexis landed and received the submission of the inhabitants. The Marquis of Montferrat everywhere presented young Alexis to the population, and did his best to make the journey an imperial progress. On arrival at the Dardanelles the leaders and those vessels which had arrived with them waited a week until the galleys and the transports came up. They occupied the time in plundering the neighbouring country and gathering in the harvest, their own stores having run short. Then they sailed again, and on the 23rd of June anchored off the abbey of San Stefano, about twelve miles to the south-west of Constantinople and on the Marmora. The domes and churches, the walls and towers of New Rome were at length in sight. The view from San Stefano is not the most picturesque which can be obtained of the imperial city, but even in these days it is sufficiently imposing. The Crusaders were amazed at the sight before them. They could not have imagined, says Villehardouin, that there could have been in the world a city so rich as that which the high walls and higher towers now before them girt entirely round. No one would have believed that there could have been so many rich palaces and lofty churches if he had not seen it with his own eyes. Nor would

Expedition arrives before Constantinople.

-296-

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