Post-classical history

The Fourth Crusade 1202-04: The betrayal of Byzantium (Campaign)

The Fourth Crusade 1202-04: The betrayal of Byzantium (Campaign)

The Fourth Crusade was the first and most famous of the 'diverted' crusades, that is, ones diverted from their originally intended target. It was also the first to be directed against a fellow Christian, though Orthodox, state. Initially preached (from 1198 onwards) as a campaign against Ayyubid Egypt, which was correctly seen as the most potent threat to the Latin or 'Crusader' Kingdom of Jerusalem, its first Christian target was the city of Zadar in what is now Croatia. The greater part of the crusading army then attacked the Byzantine capital of Constantinople, again as part of their obligations to Venice. The result was a siege and the first capture of that great city in 1203. This title will highlight all the intrigue, deception, and betrayal of this tumultuous Crusade.

Part I. ORIGINS OF THE CAMPAIGN

Byzantium and its neighbours

Venice and the Crusaders

Constantinople’s hollow empire

Part II. OPPOSING COMMANDERS - Crusader commanders

Byzantine commanders

Part III. OPPOSING FORCES - Crusader forces

Byzantine forces

Part IV. OPPOSING PLANS - Crusader plans

Byzantine plans

Part V. THE CAMPAIGN

Diversion to Zadar

The first assault on Constantinople

Tottering towards confrontation

Second assault and new empire

The Fourth Crusade in the Middle East

AFTERMATH

THE BATTLEFIELD TODAY

FURTHER READING