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

By Edwin Pears | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV.

THE ASSAULT, CAPTURE, AND PLUNDER OF THE CITY.

THE preparations which the leaders had been pushing on during several weeks were completed by the 8th of April, and that day was chosen for an assault upon the city. A noteworthy change of plan had been made from that which had been acted upon nine months before. Instead of attacking simultaneously a portion of the harbour walls and a portion of the landward walls, Venetians and Crusaders alike directed their efforts against the defences on the side of the harbour. The horses were embarked once more in the huissiers. The line of battle was drawn up; the huissiers and galleys in front, the transports a little behind, and alternating between the huissiers and the galleys. The whole length of the line of battle was upwards of half a league,1 and stretched from the Blachern to beyond the Petrion.2 The Emperor's vermilion tent had been pitched on the hill just beyond the district of the Petrion, where he could see the ships when they came immediately under the walls. Before him was the

Preparations for the attack.

____________________
1
Robert de Clari says it was a league long. (lxx.)--a statement which cannot be true.
2
The Petrion, which is repeatedly mentioned by contemporary writers, was a district built on the slope of a hill running parallel to the Golden Horn for about one-third of the length of the harbour walls eastwards from Blachern. It had apparently been a neglected spot during the early centuries of the history of Constantinople, but had lately come to be the residence of numerous hermits, and he site of several monasteries and convents. A great part is now occupied by he Jewish colony of Balata.-- Du Cange, Cons. Ch. Dr. Mordtmann, of Contantinople, has carefully examined the question, and has published the result of his inquiry in Constantinople. Nicetas says that the ships reached from Blachern to the monastery of Everyetis. This monastery was near, and below the present mosque of Sultan Selim.

-339-

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