Geoffrey of Villehardouin: “On the Conquest of Constantinople”


Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

Related Post Roulette

7 Responses

  1. Avatar Will says:

    This is an excellent post. I’d note that as early as the First Crusade, popular sentiment among the poorer Europeans ran heavily against the Greeks, who were viewed as foreign, schismatic, and possibly in league with the enemy. If I remember correctly, the author of the Gesta Francorum accused the Byzantines of straightforward treachery against the Crusaders:

    “When the Emperor heard that the most honorable man, Bohemund, had come to him, he commanded that he be received with honor and carefully lodged outside the city. When he had been so lodged, the evil Emperor sent for him to come to speak with him in secret. Thither, also, came Duke Godfrey with his brother, and at length the Count of St. Gilles approached the city. Then the Emperor in anxious and fervid rage was pondering some way by which they might seize these knights of Christ adroitly and by fraud. But Divine Grace disclosing (his plans), neither time nor place was found by him, or his men, to do them ill.”

    Which is to say, greed wasn’t the only reason the Crusaders sacked Constantinople.

    • Avatar Paul B says:

      @Will (and Rufus),

      Anybody ever read the Alexiad? I must confess I haven’t, but it’s on my to-read list. From what I gather, the notion of seeing the other side as barbarians wasn’t unique to the “Latins.”

      Also, apropos of canon-blogging, this notion of preemptive absolution reminds me of Guido de Montefeltro and Boniface VIII in the Inferno.Report

      • Avatar Will says:

        @Paul B, I’ve read excerpts, but not the whole thing. Very gossipy, but you do get an idea of how bizarre the whole expedition appeared to Byzantine elites.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        @Paul B, I’ll take another look at it too. I did pick up Usama Ibn Munqidh’s Book of Contemplation, which is an Arab account of the Crusades and what they made of the crusaders. I wanted to post something on that, but found in reading it that I really had to absorb a lot of new concepts and terms, which makes it slow reading.

        Another great book (written later and very fictional) on the topic is Torquato Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered, which is written pretty much in the style of the Aeneid. It’s also extremely entertaining.Report

  2. Avatar Simon K says:

    Reminds me of managing software engineers …Report

  3. Avatar Will says:

    Somebody really should ask Daniel Larison about this stuff. Isn’t he a Byzantine historian?Report