July 5, 2020

Memoirs or Chronicle of the Fourth Crusade part 32

It belongs to Ws nephew, who sits upon a throne among us, and is the son of his brother, the Emperor Isaac. But if he is willing to throw himself on the mercy of his nephew, and to give Mm back his crown and empire, then we will pray his nephew to forgive him, and bestow upon him as much as will enable him to live wealthily. And if you come not as the bearer of such a message, then be not so bold as to come here again.” So the envoy departed and went back to Constantinople, to the Emperor Alexius.

The Crusaders Show the Young Alexius to the People of Constantinople, and Prepare for the Battle

The barons consulted together on the morrow, and said that they would show the young Alexius, the son of the Emperor of Constantinople, to the people of the city. So they assembled all the galleys. The Doge of Venice and the Marquis of Montferrat entered into one, and took with them Alexius, the son of the Emperor Isaac; and into the other galleys entered the knights and barons, as many as would.

They went thus quite close to the walls of Constantinople and showed the youth to the people of the Greeks, and said, “Behold your natural lord; and be it known to you that we have not come to do you harm, but have come to guard and defend you, if so be that you return to your duty. For he whom you now obey as your lord holds rule by wrong and wickedness, against God and reason. And you know full well that he has dealt treasonably with him who is your lord and his brother, that he has blinded his eyes and reft from him his empire by wrong and wickedness. Now behold the rightful heir.

If you hold with him, you will be doing as you ought; and if not we will do to you the very worst that we can.” But for fear and terror of the Emperor Alexius, not one person on the land or in the city made show as if he held for the prince. So all went back to the host, and each sought his quarters.

On the morrow, when they had heard mass, they assembled in parliament, and the parliament was held on horseback in the midst of the fields. There might you have seen many a fine war-horse, and many a good knight thereon. And the council was held to discuss the order of the battalions, how many they should have, and of what strength. Many were the words said on one side and the other. But in the end it was settled that the advanced guard should be given to Baldwin of Flanders, because he had a very great number of good men, and archers and crossbowmen, more than any other chief that was in the host.

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