Yet 1204, although undoubtedly a cataclysm for Constantinople and Constantinopolitans, was a date of significance for more than a single city and its citizens, since western ambitions were by no means limited to the acquisition and sack of the capital of the Byzantine Empire. One member of the crusade, Geoffrey of Villehardouin, describing the Franco-Venetian fleet as it set sail from Corfu after meeting with the young Alexios Angelos, explicitly comments that the decision to divert from the original route planned for the expedition was a decision inseparable from a desire for territorial gains.4 Reinforcing his point in another passage, the same author relates the story of the fleet’s encounter, as it rounded the southern tip of the Peloponnese and made its way up towards the Bosporos, with two vessels returning from Syria. On board one of these vessels was a sergeant who decided to abandon the spoils he had already amassed and jump ship, so as to join Boniface de Montferrat and his companions in their venture. When interrogated regarding his conduct, the sergeant, according to Villehardouin, stated that he had acted as he had done because it seemed to him that the men commanded by Boniface ‘were likely to win lands’ for themselves.5 Certainly, already on the eve of the second attack on Constantinople, an agreement had been hastily drawn up and signed in the crusader camp, whose provisions included the appointment of a commission to decide how the entirety of the territories ruled by the city were to be carved up and allotted to the different participants in the siege.6 Once Constantinople had been captured that commission duly got to work using tax records and other material. Moreover, even as the 12 men laboured to produce a document, the Partitio Romaniae, that would formalize arrangements, 7 the first actual foray into the western regions of the former empire was already being undertaken by crusader and its repercussions on the Greek literary world’) delivered at the Oxford Byzantine Studies Seminar in 2005.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Identities and Allegiances in the Eastern Mediterranean after 1204|
|Publisher||Taylor and Francis|
|Number of pages||38|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2016|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities(all)