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ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Edwin Pears
Venetians and Crusaders take Constantinople (1204)
Plunder of the Sacred Relics

Part of Constantinople on the web section of Elpenor's history resources [15 Pages]













Page 2

    The leaders of both crusaders and Venetians withdrew their forces to the Galata side. The assault had failed, and it became necessary at once to determine upon their next step. The same evening a parliament was hastily called together. Some advised that the next attack should be made on the walls on the Marmora side, which were not so strong as those facing the Golden Horn. The Venetians, however, immediately took an exception, which everyone who knew Constantinople would at once recognize as unanswerable. On that side the current is always much too strong to allow vessels to be anchored with any amount of steadiness or even safety. There were some present who would have been very well content that the current or a wind—no matter what—should have dispersed the vessels, provided that they themselves could have left the country and have gone on their way.

    It was at length decided that the two following days, the 10th and 11th, should be devoted to repairing their damages, and that a second assault should be delivered on the 12th. The previous day was a Sunday, and Boniface and Dandolo made use of it to appease the discontent in the rank and file of the army. The bishops and abbots were set to work to preach against the Greeks. They urged that the war was just; that the Greeks had been disobedient to Rome, and had perversely been guilty of schism in refusing to recognize the supremacy of the Pope, and that Innocent himself desired the union of the two churches. They saw in the defeat the vengeance of God on account of the sins of the crusaders. The loose women were ordered out of the camp, and, for better security, were shipped and sent far away. Confession and communion were enjoined, and, in short, all that the clergy could do was done to prove that the cause was just, to quiet the discontented, and to occupy them until the attack next day.

    The warriors had in the mean time been industriously repairing their ships and their machines of war. A slight, but not unimportant, change of tactics had been suggested by the assault on the 9th. Each transport had been assigned to a separate tower. The number of men who could fight from the gangways or platforms thrown out from the tops had been found insufficient to hold their own against the defenders. The modified plan was, therefore, to lash together, opposite each tower to be attacked, two ships, containing gangways to be thrown out from their tops, and thus concentrate a greater force against each tower. Probably, also, the line of attack was considerably shorter than at the first assault.

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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