This campaign did not have kings and money to reach Egypt. And although Pope Innocent III equipped the ship and donated a tithe of income to the Vatican, other European rulers were reluctant to give the rest …
In the spring of 1201, Count Thibault, commander of the Fourth Campaign and a member of the royal family of France, agreed with the best naval power – Venice, about landing in Egypt. Negotiations are conducted by Doge Dandolo himself.
The republic is ready to transport 30,000 cavalry and infantry for 85,000 marks in silver on 200 ships, this is the entire cargo fleet of Venice. In addition, he will prepare 50 battle galleys for the war with the Egyptian fleet in exchange for half the booty.
The count undertook to pay 85,000 marks in three installments per year. Crusader leaders have clearly overestimated their strength and support for Europe …
85,000 marks in silver is twice the annual income of the King of France. But dad approved the contract, and Count Thibault died. The most famous of all, Thibault burned for the Jerusalem cause. But now he was replaced by the Margrave Boniface. The wise Italian does not care about the suffering of the Francs of the Holy Land, he is a great friend of Germans and gold.
At first everything is glorious. The camp of the crusaders is determined on the island of Lido half an hour by sea from Venice itself. The ruler of Venice, Doge Dandolo regularly feeds the crusaders and, fulfilling his part of the deal, builds a giant fleet for 30,000 crusaders. But part of the knights parted, part decided to get on their own. And in the end, a little more than 10,000 gathered on the island.
But the contract must be fulfilled. Venice threw all the energy and money on this campaign. There are 9,000 crew sailors in the bay of unnecessary ships breaking through, half of the Venetians hired for a year. But there is no promised money. Having sold valuables, all golden dishes and silver goblets, the crusaders remained owed Venice 34,000 marks.
This is a dead end and a huge scandal. Doge Dandolo faces shame, and Venice goes bankrupt. No supplies to the crusaders anymore, transportation denied. Under the July heat, the army of the Fourth Campaign is suffering from hunger on the island. Here comes the new commander Margrave Boniface. With a plan that should suit everyone.
It is known that the Fourth Crusade formed unsightly because of greed and religious hostility. This is too primitive and completely wrong. Just in 1202, the stars formed at once. An accident launched a cycle of black souls.
The beginning of the XIII century. The Vatican is weak. Power over the kings is ghostly, the crusades are unsuccessful. The main opponent of the pope is the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the highest post of Europe. And in the East there is a stronger ruler, and this is Bazileus, the emperor of the Byzantine Empire.
The only heiress of Rome and the creator of Christianity itself in the person of its first emperor – Constantine the Great. It was the Byzantine emperors who built the Holy Sepulcher and preserved Christian values. Where grimy Europeans before them.
Two empires together. They fought the Norman kingdom in Sicily, then tried to divide Italy, overcoming the machinations of the pope. For the pope, the transformation of the Vatican into a vassal allotment of emperors is the end.
Season the boiling pot and the competition of religions. German emperors repeatedly set the Orthodox Church as an example, where secular power is higher than the power of a priest. Orthodoxy hits the Vatican in the most intimate place.
By the beginning of the Fourth Crusade, the Pope temporarily saddled the Germans. The throne of the emperor is empty, the heirs of Barbarossa are fighting for him. And the main enemy of the pope – the king of southern Germany and Tuscany, Philip of Swabia is excommunicated. Only the Greeks remain intact …
In the relations of the two empires, there is also a black stripe. In 1195, Emperor Isaac Angel was overthrown by his brother and the usurper sat on the Byzantine throne. Isaac is blinded and thrown into prison with his son Alexei. What does the Germans care about?
But there is a matter – the wife of King Philip of Swabia, the daughter of the deposed emperor. Italian merchants bring her father’s letters calling for revenge at all costs. And the highlight of the program will be the flight of the crown prince to the West.
Arriving in Germany, Alexey prays to Philip to go on a campaign against Constantinople, his wife presses the king in bed. The Swabian king of the army is not equal to the Byzantine. But such a force is on the island of Lido. But the crusaders do not attack Christians. Arrogant Franks will send the Germans a forest, pope excommunicated Philip and no one will follow him.
Unprincipled Margrave Boniface takes the place of the leader of the IV campaign. And it runs between the Vatican and Germany as an intermediary in the negotiations of enemies. Finally, the pope agrees to attack Constantinople. A new crusade plan arrives in Venice.
The republic did not have to be persuaded, but Doge Dandolo sets a condition. First, the crusaders must take Zara on the Croatian coast as repayment of the debt. Former Venetian city, overrun by the Hungarian king.
Boniface does not mind. In October 1202, the Fourth Crusade army joyfully boarded the ships, not knowing anything. Great sin and great luck await the crusaders. Already lost their Cross.