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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]

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Page 4

    AN INDISCRIMINATE slaughter commenced. The invaders spared neither age nor sex. In order to render themselves safe they set fire to the city lying to the east of them, and burned everything between the monastery of Everyetis and the quarter known as Droungarios.[8] So extensive was the fire, which burned all night and until the next evening, that, according to the marshal, more houses were destroyed than there were in the three largest cities in France. The tents of the Emperor and the imperial palace of Blachern were pillaged, the conquerors making their head-quarters on the same site at Pantepoptis. It was evening, and already late, when the crusaders had entered the city, and it was impossible for them to continue their work of destruction through the night. They therefore encamped near the walls and towers which they had captured. Baldwin of Flanders spent the night in the vermilion tent of the Emperor, his brother Henry in front of the palace of Blachern, Boniface, the Marquis of Montferrat, on the other side of the imperial tents in the heart of the city.

    The city was already taken. The inhabitants were at length awakened out of the dream of security into which seventeen unsuccessful attempts to capture the New Rome[9] had lulled them. Every charm, pagan and Christian, had been without avail. The easy sloth into which the possession of innumerable relics, and the consciousness of being under the protection of an army of saints and martyrs, had plunged a large part of the inhabitants, had been rudely dispelled. The Panhagia of the Blachern, with its relic of the Virgin’s robe, the host of heads, arms, bodies, and vestments of saints and of portions of the holy Cross, had been of no more use than the palladium which lay buried then, as now, under the great column which Constantine had built. The rough energy of the Westerns had disregarded the talismans of the Greek Church as completely as those of paganism. In vain had the believers in these charms destroyed during the siege the statues which were believed to be of ill omen or unlucky. The invaders had a superstition as deep as their own, but with the difference that they could not believe that a people in schism could have the protection of the hierarchy of heaven, or be regarded as the rightful possessors of so many relics.

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/fathers/pears-constantinople-1204.asp?pg=4