Did any crusaders have a problem with sacking Constantinople?

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,624
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#2
Well, there was a problem about delayed payment by the "Byzantines" [let's use this term to make it clear]. Alessio III, escaping with the treasure, didn't help the city to avoid the fury of the crusaders. Alessio IV lost the control of the situation and the sack was unavoidable.

Was there a moral or religious problem about sacking Constantinople?

Sure Normans didn't see it as a problem [and Normans were the backbone of the Crusader forces] and Venetians substantially cared a nut about the Roman Capital which considered Venice a province of the Empire. It was a kind of revenge for Venetians.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,619
#3
Well, there was a problem about delayed payment by the "Byzantines" [let's use this term to make it clear]. Alessio III, escaping with the treasure, didn't help the city to avoid the fury of the crusaders. Alessio IV lost the control of the situation and the sack was unavoidable.

Was there a moral or religious problem about sacking Constantinople?

Sure Normans didn't see it as a problem [and Normans were the backbone of the Crusader forces] and Venetians substantially cared a nut about the Roman Capital which considered Venice a province of the Empire. It was a kind of revenge for Venetians.
There was definitely a conflict in the higher echelon of Crusader leadership mostly concerned with legitimacy with some men who were already 'legitimate' or believed they would have stronger claims if they stayed in good relations with Pope and Byzantine Emperor vs the more ambitious of the Crusader leaders who saw their best option to take what they could grab. The practical minded also might have believed it was necessary after the events which preceded it and if the Byzantines couldn't hold vs the Crusaders then perhaps the Latins were better to be in charge and defending Christendom anyway- not to mention the propaganda and view of many of the soldiers in the Cursader armies was that they had been let down and treated with contempt by the Byzantines which while not entirely true also wasn't totally wrong.

Overshadowing this is the Venetian influence which I don't think anyone can state definitively was crucial or not but played a role not only because Venetians know the city intimately but had influence with certain groups of Byzantines as well as ties with the Crusaders on various terms. The Crusaders might well have decided to attack Constantinople even without Venetian influence but I am fairly confident that without Venetians they probably would not have met with the success they did.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,577
#4
The north-French crusader Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, left the crusade in protest over how it had gotten derailed. He protested when the Venetians first established that it had to take out the trading port of Zara, a competitor to Venice, as payment, and then left the endeavor altogether when it was decided, at Venetian instigation, that it was going to head for Constantinopolis rather than Egypt. He later joined and eventually led the Albigensian Crusade in the south of France.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,624
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#6
The most common problems crusaders had in sacking Constantinople was just the constant sword re-sharpening, and getting blood out of their clothes.
Well substantially ... Medieval mindset wasn't "politically correct". If a city wasn't able to defend its walls, the destiny of its population was easy to predict.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,816
Blachernai
#9
"When Innocent III heard of the conduct of his pilgrims he was filled with shame. He wrote to his legate, "For they who are supposed to serve Christ rather than themselves, who should have used their swords against the infidel, have bathed those swords in the blood of Christians. They have no spared religion, nor age, nor sex, and have committed adultery and fornication in public, exposing matrons and even nuns to the filthiness of their troops." The crusaders too felt no shame: no Latin source even hints at the widespread sexual crimes, and only Gunther of Pairis records the looting of churches." Donald Queller and Thomas F. Madden, The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople, 2nd ed, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997), 198.

One might quibble with Madden and Queller's interpretation - it seems more likely to me that the Latin accounts skipped over the carnage and despoiling of churches precisely because they were ashamed, or at least didn't want to emphasize the embarrassing parts of the story like when grandpa went on crusade, burned some churches, raped some nuns, and was excommunicated as a result...
 
Likes: Matthew Amt
Nov 2010
7,648
Cornwall
#10
The north-French crusader Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, left the crusade in protest over how it had gotten derailed. He protested when the Venetians first established that it had to take out the trading port of Zara, a competitor to Venice, as payment, and then left the endeavor altogether when it was decided, at Venetian instigation, that it was going to head for Constantinopolis rather than Egypt. He later joined and eventually led the Albigensian Crusade in the south of France.

.....thereby murdering and sacking in the Languedoc as he went, to a degree not seen in Constantinople

It' s what 'crusaders' did, lets face it. Maybe it's where he learned it?
 

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