Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: qualm, Psalms 5:5-6, 7, 12, Luke 6:6-11, Martyrs of Japan, Fourth Crusade

Monday, September 10, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
qualm, Psalms 5:5-6, 7, 12, Luke 6:6-11,  Martyrs of Japan, Fourth Crusade

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our Spirit...it's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  qualm   qualm  [kwahm]

Origin:  [Old English cwealm  death or plague; related to Old High German qualm  despair, Dutch kwalm  smoke, stench]

1. an uneasy feeling or pang of conscience as to conduct; compunction: He has no qualms about lying.
2. a sudden feeling of apprehensive uneasiness; misgiving: a sudden qualm about the success of the venture.
3. a sudden sensation or onset of faintness or illness, especially of nausea.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 5:5-6, 7, 12

5 Boasters cannot stand their ground under your gaze. You hate evil-doers,
6 liars you destroy; the violent and deceitful Yahweh detests.
7 But, so great is your faithful love, I may come into your house, and before your holy temple bow down in reverence of you.
12 It is you who bless the upright, Yahweh, you surround them with favour as with a shield


Today's Gospel Reading - Luke 6:6-11

On a Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach, and a man was present, and his right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching him to see if he would cure somebody on the Sabbath, hoping to find something to charge him with. But he knew their thoughts; and he said to the man with the withered hand, 'Get up and stand out in the middle!' And he came forward and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, 'I put it to you: is it permitted on the Sabbath to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy it?' Then he looked round at them all and said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were furious and began to discuss the best way of dealing with Jesus.

 • Context: This passage presents Jesus who cures a man with a withered hand. Different from the context of chapters 3 and 4 in which Jesus is alone, now here he is surrounded by his disciples and the women who go around with him. Therefore, here we have Jesus always moving. In the first stages of this journey the reader finds different ways of listening to the Word of Jesus on the part of those who follow him and which, definitively, it could be summarized in two experiences, which recall, in turn, two types of approaches: that of Peter (5,1-11) and that of the centurion (7,1-10). The first one encounters Jesus who invites him after the miraculous catch to become a fisherman of men; then he falls on his knees before Jesus: «Leave me, Lord, I am a sinful man” (5, 8). The second one does not have any direct communication with Jesus: he has heard people speak very well about Jesus and he sends his envoys to ask for the cure of one of his servants who is dying; he is asking for something not for himself, but for a person who was a favourite of his. The figure of Peter expresses the attitude of the one who, discovering himself a sinner, places all his acts under the influence of the Word of Jesus. The centurion, showing solicitude for the servant, learns to listen to God. Well, between these itineraries or attitudes which characterize the itinerant journey of Jesus, is placed the cure of the man who presents the withered hand. This event of the miracle takes place in a context of debate or controversy: the ears of corn picked on the Sabbath and on the act of curing on a Saturday, precisely the withered hand. Between the two discussions there is the crucial role played by the Word of Jesus: “The Son of man is master of the Sabbath” (6, 5). Continuing with this passage we ask ourselves which is the sense of this withered hand? It is a symbol of the salvation of man who is taken back to the original moment, that of creation. The right hand, then, expresses human acting. Jesus then, gives back to this day of the week, Saturday, the deepest significance: it is the day of joy, of the restoration and not of limitation. What Jesus shows is the Messianic Saturday and not the legalistic one: the cures that he does are signs of the Messianic times, of restoration, of the liberation of man.

• The dynamic of the miracle. Luke places before Jesus a man who has a withered hand, dry, paralyzed. Nobody is interested in asking for his cure and much less the one concerned. And just the same, the sickness was not only an individual problem but its effects have repercussion on the whole community. But in our account we do not have so much the problem of the sickness as that of the aspect that it was done on Saturday. Jesus is criticized because he cured on Saturday. The difference with the Pharisees is in the fact that they on Saturday do not act on the basis of the commandment of love which is the essence of the Law. Jesus, after having ordered man to get in the middle of the assembly, formulates a decisive question: “Is it permitted on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil?” The space for the answer is restricted: to cure or not to cure, or rather, to cure or to destroy (v.9). Let us imagine the difficulty of the Pharisees: it is excluded that evil can be done on Saturday or lead man to damnation, and even less to cure because help was permitted only in case of extreme need. The Pharisees feel provoked and this causes aggressiveness in them. But it is evident that the intention of Jesus in curing on Saturday is for the good of man and in the first place, for the one who is sick. This motivation of love invites us to reflect on our behaviour and to found it on that of Jesus who saves. Jesus is not only attentive to cure the sick person but is interested also in the cure of his enemies: to cure them from their distorted attitude in their observance of the Law; to observe Saturday without freeing their neighbour from their misery and sickness is not in accordance with the will of God. According to the Evangelist, the function of Saturday is to do good, to save, like Jesus has done during his earthly life.

Personal questions• Do you feel involved in the words of Jesus: how do you commit yourself in your service to life? Do you know how to create the necessary conditions so that others may live better?
• Do you know how to place at the centre of your attention and of your commitment every person and all their requirements?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites, www.ocarm.org.


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Martyrs of Japan

Feast Day:  September 10
Patron Saint: n/a

The Martyrs of Japan were Christians who were persecuted for their faith in Japan, mostly during the 17th century.

Christianity in Japan

The Christian martyrs of Nagasaki. 16-17th century Japanese painting.
The shogunate and imperial government at first supported the Catholic mission and the missionaries, thinking that they would reduce the power of the Buddhist monks, and help trade with Spain and Portugal. However, the Shogunate was also wary of colonialism, seeing that in the Philippines the Spanish had taken power after converting the population. The government increasingly saw Roman Catholicism as a threat, and started persecuting Christians. Christianity was banned and those Japanese who refused to abandon their faith were killed.

On February 5, 1597, twenty-six Christians—six European Franciscan missionaries, three Japanese Jesuits and seventeen Japanese laymen including three young boys—were executed by crucifixion in Nagasaki. These individuals were raised on crosses and then pierced through with spears.

Persecution continued sporadically, breaking out again in 1613 and 1630. On September 10, 1632, 55 Christians were martyred in Nagasaki in what became known as the Great Genna Martyrdom. At this time Roman Catholicism was officially outlawed. The Church remained without clergy and theological teaching disintegrated until the arrival of Western missionaries in the nineteenth century.

While there were many more martyrs, the first martyrs came to be especially revered, the most celebrated of which was Paulo Miki. The Martyrs of Japan were canonized by the Roman Catholic Church on June 8, 1862 by Blessed Pius IX and are listed on the calendar as Sts. Paul Miki and his Companions, commemorated on February 6. Originally this feast day was listed as Sts. Peter Baptist and Twenty-Five Companions, Martyrs, and commemorated on February 5.

Drawn from the oral histories of Japanese Catholic communities, Shusaku Endo's acclaimed novel Silence provides detailed accounts of the persecution of Christian communities and the suppression of the Church.
It is not known how many Christians were executed in Japan as records were either destroyed or not kept. 

The 26 Martyrs of Japan

The Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan (日本二十六聖人 Nihon Nijūroku Seijin) refers to a group of Christians who were executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597 at Nagasaki.

On August 15, 1549, St. Francis Xavier (later canonized by Gregory XV in 1622), Fr. Cosme de Torres, S.J. (a Jesuit priest), and Fr. John Fernandez arrived in Kagoshima, Japan, from Spain with hopes of bringing Catholicism to Japan. On September 29, St. Francis Xavier visited Shimazu Takahisa, the daimyo of Satsuma (containing the city of Kagoshima), asking for permission to build the first Catholic mission in Japan. The daimyo agreed in hopes of creating a trade relationship with Europe. Within a year, however, he relented on this promise and made it illegal for people to convert.

A promising beginning to those missions—perhaps as many as 300,000 Christians by the end of the sixteenth century—met complications from competition between the missionary groups, political difficulty between Spain and Portugal, and factions within the government of Japan. Christianity was suppressed. By 1630, Christianity was driven underground.

The first Martyrs of Japan were canonized in 1862. They are commemorated on February 5 when, on that date in 1597, twenty-six missionaries and converts were killed by crucifixion. Two hundred and fifty years later, when Christian missionaries returned to Japan, they found a community of Japanese Christians that had survived underground.

205 Martyrs of Japan (1597–1637)

They are also known as Alfonso Navarrete Benito, Pedro of Avila, Carlo Espinola, Ioachim Diaz Hirayama, Lucia de Freitas, and 200 Companion Martyrs of Japan. Among them are:
  • Bl. Caius of Korea
  • Bl. Thomas Tsugi – killed 1627
Beatified 7 May 1867.

The Great Martyrdom of Nagasaki (1622)

After the Shogun decided that Christianity needed to be suppressed, the Christian teachers were ordered to leave the country. They did so, however, a few decided to sneak back in, including the Augustinian Father Pedro de Zuiniga and the Dominican Father Luis Florez. They went on board a ship from Manila captained by a Japanese Christian named Joachim. The vessel, however, was captured and plundered by the Dutch who reported to the Japanese (into whose custody they were given) that there were Catholic priests on board. They were imprisoned in Hirato; however, they (along with a number of other Christians) broke out of prison with the help of another Dominican father from Manila.

All the prisoners were recaptured, and the emperor ordered the governor of Nagasaki to burn alive Captain Joachim with his entire officers and crew, the two priests, and all the other monks in this and other prisons (both foreigners and Japanese), as well as all the wives and children of those who had previously been martyred.

The governor then proceeded to Hirato and examined the prisoners. He questioned them about whether they were Christians, where they were born and when they were baptized. He instructed them to renounce Christianity, and that the Emperor had given him a promise that if they did so, their lives would be spared. They repeatedly refused to renounce the faith. Therefore, the governor ordered the captain and the two priests to be burned alive, and for ten sailors to be beheaded . The three to be burned asked for what reason they were being killed, and when upon being told they were being executed for illegally seeking to spread the Christian faith in Japan, they rejoiced for being able to die for Christ .

They were executed in Nagasaki on August 19th 1622. The sailors were first beheaded, as the three were made ready for burning. Before they were burned, Joachim began preaching to the crowd that had come to watch. He was ordered to stop, but he asked what greater pain they could inflict upon him that than which they were already going to do. The fire was then set and Joachim continued to preach as he was being burned .

The heads of the three were removed and placed upon a board as a public warning. The bodies were left where they were for several days, and large crowds of Japanese Christians arrived, venerating them. The guards beat them. The son of Álvaro Manrique de Zúñiga, marqués de Villamanrique (viceroy of New Spain) obtained a relic of Pedro de Zuniga , to whom he was related.

The governor of Nagasaki then retrieved 52 prisoners from Omura, including 21 monks, some of whom had been imprisoned for many years in very cruel conditions. At the same time, he also summoned an additional 30 prisoners in Nagasaki. The governor ordered all of them to be sentenced to death by beheading. This execution order also included the prisoners' children .

On the day of execution (September 10th 1622), prisoners carried crosses in their hands, while singing hymns praising God and condemning Japanese gods, and many of the crowd that came to watch them included Christians, with reportedly crying and wailing by those who recognized the priests who had converted them. The priests in answer to this, told the crowd that God would give them other teachers and that they needed to keep their faith until death .

There were two groups of executions: one by burning and the other by beheading. Four Japanese lay Christians who had entertained priests in their houses, as well as twenty-five priests and monks (European and Japanese) were issued a stake where he/she was to be burned. Each priest kissed the stake he was given many times, and their example was followed by the Japanese Christians. The twenty-five priests and monks (in their order of execution) were:
  • Father Carlos Espinola, SJ (from Genoa)
  • Father Fray Angel Ferrer, OP
  • Father Fray Joseph de S. Jacinto, OP
  • Father F. Jacinto, OP
  • Father Sebastian Ouimura, SJ (Japanese from Hirado, a Christian for thirty years and the first Japanese ordained priest in 1602)
  • Father Fray Pedro de Avila, OFM
  • Father F. Ricardo de S Ana, OFM
  • Father Fray Alonso de Mena, OP
  • Father Fray Francisco de Morales, OP
  • Brother Fray Vicente, OFM
  • Brother Fray Leon, (Japanese)
  • Brother Antonio Fugia, SJ
  • Brother Gonzalo Fusay, SJ
  • Brother Pedro Zampo, SJ
  • Brother Miguel, SJ (Japanese)

The next eight are not known, but they were all Japanese and the first four of the eight belonged to the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). The last two were Brother Tome Agascin and Brother Luis Cavarato (Japanese). Insufficient stakes were present, so an additional Jesuit brother named Iuan Chacoco was instead beheaded.

As the preparations for execution were conducted. Father Espinola asked one of the mothers (named Isabel Fernandez) being beheaded where her son was. The mother (whose husband had been a martyr, and therefore she was set for execution) lifted the five year-old child (named Ignacio) in her arms and answered Father Espinola
Father, here is my son. I will offer him to God; he will become a martyr with me.'

The Japanese first beheaded the thirty men and women from Nagasaki, as well as twelve of their children (all of them under 10 years of age). The reason for beheading before lighting the fire, was in order to dishearten those to be burned. For the same purpose, the wood was set up so that there was distance between the wood that was initially lighted and the wood that rested under those tied to the stakes (up to 18 feet), thus giving the martyrs more time to think about their approaching painful deaths. The burning took place over several hours, and it was claimed that Father Ouimura lasted three hours alive.

After the end of the burning, many local Christians (estimated up to 50,000 in the vicinity of Nagasaki) attempted to gather relics, but they were beaten by the guards. In order to prevent the collection of relics, the guards also destroyed the bodies by burning them to ashes, and the ashes were then taken to sea and scattered into the water

On the following day (September 11th) the Sacristan Gaspar Contengan Doxico, companion of Father Camillo Constancio, was beheaded along with two children of martyrs (one 7 years old, the other 10 years old), as well as a Christian who had been caught by gathering relics at night along with his entire family in Omura.

On September 12th, fifteen more Christians were executed in Omura. This included Father Fray Tomas de Sumarrega (OP), Father Fray Apolinar Franco (OFM), a Japanese laywoman caught praying among the bodies, as well as several more Japanese Christians.

Ten more were martyred at Iquinotima, together with Brother Augustin Onda (SJ). Father Camilo Constancio (SJ) was burnt alive on September 15th at Firando, while English and Dutch ships were anchored at harbour.

On September 23rd, six farmers were executed in Nagasaki. Three of them were burned (father, wife and son) because Iacinto Dominico was found at their house, and three were beheaded .

On October 2nd, nine more were executed in Nagasaki, including three children. One of them was tortured was seven days in order to get him to denounce the priests. After failing to get his cooperation, the executioners slit his back and poured molten lead into the wound, after which they burned him along with his entire family and scattered the ashes to the sea.

The following year on May 27th, two Christians were executed in Hirato. One of them had hosted Father Camilo, and the other had transported him by boat to various places for his missionary work. An old man of 85 years of age on June 2nd had heavy rocks tied to his feet and was thrown into the sea. On the following day (June 3rd), another companion and helper of Father Camilo was executed . Another was executed on June 8th for the same reason. On July 26th two more Christians were executed for refusing to lend their horses to help transport the bodies of those killed. Another was later martyred for this same reason, there was also a martyrdom in a small farmers' village, along with two others charged with assisting those that were martyred .

The last martyr to be recorded in this wave was on November 1st. Father Pedro Paulo Navarro (SJ), had preached in Japan for thirty-six years, and he was burnt alive along with his guide, and Brother Dionysio and Brother Pedro Sandayo (both Jesuits).

Jesuit fathers and others who had successfully fled to the Philippines wrote reports which led to a pamphlet that was printed in Madrid in 1624 "A Short Account of the Great and Rigorous Martyrdom, which last year (1622) was suffered in Japan by One Hundred and Eighteen Martyrs' .

16 Martyrs of Japan (1633–1637)

They are also known as Lawrence Ruiz, Dominic Ibáñez de Erquicia, James Kyushei Tomonaga, and 13 companions, Philippines, martyrs in Japan. They are:
  • St. Lorenzo Ruiz – killed 1637, one of the Thomasian Martyrs
  • Antonio Gonzalez, one of the Thomasian Martyrs
  • Domingo Ibáñez de Erquicia
  • Jacobo Kyushei Gorobioye Tomonaga de Santa María
  • Francis Shoyemon
  • Jordan Ansalone
  • Lazarus of Kyoto
  • Luke Alonso
  • Marina of Omura
  • Magdalene of Nagasaki
  • Matthew Kohiyoye
  • Michael de Aozaraza
  • Michael Kurobioye
  • Thomas Rokuzayemon
  • Vincent Shiwozuka
  • William Courtet
Beatified February 18, 1981. Canonized 18 October 1987.


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Today's Snippet :  Fourth Crusade

The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and sacked the Christian (Eastern Orthodox) city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire). This is seen as one of the final acts in the Great Schism between the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church, and a key turning point in the decline of the Empire and of Christianity in the Near East.  The crusaders established the Latin Empire (1204–1261) and other "Latin" states in the Byzantine lands they conquered. Byzantine resistance in unconquered sections of the empire such as Nicaea, Trebizond, and Epirus ultimately liberated the capital and overthrew the crusader states.


Ayyubid Sultan Saladin had conquered most of the Frankish Kingdom of Jerusalem, including the ancient city itself, in 1187. The Kingdom had been established 88 years before after the capture and sack of Jerusalem by the First Crusade. The city was sacred to both Christians and Muslims and returning it to Christian hands had been the express purpose of the First Crusade. Saladin's was a Muslim dynasty, and his incorporation of Jerusalem into his domains shocked and dismayed the Catholic countries of Western Europe. Pope Urban III literally died of the shock. The Crusader states had been reduced to three cities along the sea coast, Tyre, Tripoli, Antioch.

The Third Crusade (1189–1192) reclaimed much land for the Kingdom of Jerusalem, including the key towns of Acre and Jaffa, but had failed to take Jerusalem. The Crusade had also been marked by a significant escalation in long standing tension between the Germanic princes of western Catholicism and the Byzantine Empire still centered on Constantinople. The experiences of the first two Crusades had thrown into stark relief the vast cultural differences between the two Christian civilizations. The Latins (as the Byzantines called them because of their adherence to the Latin Rite) viewed the Byzantine preference for diplomacy and trade over war, as duplicitous and degenerate, and their policy of tolerance and assimilation towards Muslims as a corrupt betrayal of the faith. For their part, the educated and wealthy Byzantines saw the Latins as lawless, impious, covetous, blood-thirsty, undisciplined, and (quite literally) unwashed. The leader of the Third Crusade Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa openly plotted with the Serbs, Bulgars, Byzantine traitors, and even the Muslim Seljuqs against the Empire and at one point even sought Papal support for a Crusade against the Orthodox Byzantines. The Third Crusade had also seized the breakaway Byzantine province of Cyprus. But rather than return it to the Empire, Richard I of England sold the island to the Knights Templar.

Barbarossa's army had quickly disintegrated and took ship back to Europe after his death, leaving the English and French, who had come by sea, to fight Saladin. In 1195, Henry VI, son and heir of Barbarossa, sought to efface this humiliation by declaring a new Crusade and in the summer of 1197 a large number of German knights and nobles, including two Archbishops, nine bishops, five dukes and numerous other nobles sailed for Palestine. There they captured Siddon and Beirut, but news of Henry's death along the way, sent many of the leaders quickly back to their estates in Europe. Deserted by their leaders, the rank and file Crusaders panicked before an Egyptian army and fled to their ships in Tyre.

Also in 1195 Byzantine Emperor Isaac II Angelos was deposed by his brother in a palace coup. Ascending as Alexios III Angelos, the new emperor had his brother blinded (a traditional punishment for treason) and imprisoned. Ineffectual on the battlefield, Isaac had been an incompetent ruler who had let the treasury dwindle, outsourced the navy to the Venetians, and distributed military weapons and supplies as gifts to loyalists, fatally undermining the Empire's defense. But the new Emperor was to prove even worse. Anxious to shore-up his position, he bankrupted the treasury. His attempts to secure the support of border commanders undermined central authority. He neglected defense and diplomacy completely and was reduced to plundering Imperial tombs to meet expenses. His chief admiral and brother-in-law of the Empress, Michael Stryphnos, reportedly sold the fleet's equipment down to the nails to enrich himself.

The Crusade Begins

Pope Innocent III succeeded to the papacy in 1198, and the preaching of a new crusade became the goal of his pontificate, expounded in his bull Post miserabile. His call was largely ignored by the European monarchs: the Germans were struggling against Papal power, and England and France were still engaged in warfare against each other. However, due to the preaching of Fulk of Neuilly, a crusading army was finally organised at a tournament held at Écry by Count Thibaut of Champagne in 1199. Thibaut was elected leader, but he died in 1201 and was replaced by an Italian count, Boniface of Montferrat.

Boniface and the other leaders sent envoys to Venice, Genoa, and other city-states to negotiate a contract for transport to Egypt, the object of their crusade; one of the envoys was the future historian Geoffrey of Villehardouin. Genoa was uninterested, but in March 1201 negotiations were opened with Venice, which agreed to transport 33,500 crusaders, a very ambitious number. This agreement required a full year of preparation on the part of the Venetians to build numerous ships and train the sailors who would man them, all the while curtailing the city's commercial activities. The crusading army was expected to comprise 4,500 knights (as well as 4,500 horses), 9,000 squires, and 20,000 foot-soldiers.

The majority of the crusading army that set out from Venice in October 1202 originated from areas within France. It included men from Blois, Champagne, Amiens, Saint-Pol, the Ile-de-France and Burgundy. Several other regions of Europe sent substantial contingents as well, such as Flanders and Montferrat. Other notable groups came from the Holy Roman Empire, including the men under Bishop Martin of the Pairis Abbey and Bishop Conrad of Halberstadt, together in alliance with the Venetian soldiers and sailors led by the doge Enrico Dandolo. The crusade was to be ready to sail on June 24, 1202 and make directly for the Ayyubid capital, Cairo. This agreement was ratified by Pope Innocent, with a solemn ban on attacks on Christian states.

Attack on Zara

As there was no binding agreement among the crusaders that all should sail from Venice, many chose to sail from other ports, particularly Flanders, Marseilles, and Genoa. By 1201 the bulk of the crusader army was collected at Venice, though with far fewer troops than expected: 12,000 instead of 33,500. About 4-5,000 knights and 8,000 foot soldiers showed up. The Venetians had performed their part of the agreement: there lay 50 war galleys and 450 transports—enough for three times the assembled army. The Venetians, under their aged and blind Doge Dandolo, would not let the crusaders leave without paying the full amount agreed to, originally 85,000 silver marks. The crusaders could only pay some 51,000 silver marks, and that only by reducing themselves to extreme poverty. This was disastrous to the Venetians, who had halted their commerce for a great length of time to prepare this expedition. In addition to this about 14,000 men or as many as 20-30,000 men (out of Venice's population of 60-100,000 people) were needed to man the entire fleet, placing further strain on the Venetian economy.

Dandolo and the Venetians considered what to do with the crusade, too small to pay its fee but disbanding it would lead to great shame upon Venice as well as the loss of significant money and trading activities. Following the Massacre of the Latins of Constantinople in 1182, the ruling Angelos dynasty had expelled the Venetian merchant population with the support of the Greek population. These events gave the Venetians a hostile attitude towards Byzantium but it remains unclear if Constantinople was always intended to be the target and the issue remains under fierce debate today. Dandolo, who joined the crusade during a public ceremony in the church of San Marco di Venezia, proposed that the crusaders pay their debts by intimidating many of the local ports and towns down the Adriatic which would culminate in the attack of the port of Zara in Dalmatia. The city had been dominated economically by Venice throughout the 12th century, but had rebelled in 1181 and allied with King Emeric of Hungary and Croatia. Subsequent Venetian attacks were repulsed, and by 1202 the city was economically independent, under the protection of the King.

The Hungarian king was Catholic and had himself agreed to join the Crusade (though this was mostly for political reasons, and he had made no actual preparations to leave). Many of the Crusaders were opposed to attacking Zara, and some, including a force led by the elder Simon de Montfort, refused to participate altogether and returned home. While the Papal legate to the Crusade, Cardinal Peter of Capua endorsed the move as necessary to prevent the crusade's complete failure, Pope Innocent III was alarmed at this development and wrote a letter to the Crusading leadership threatening excommunication.

Historian Geoffrey Hindley's The Crusades mentions that in 1202 Pope Innocent III forbade the Crusaders of Western Christendom from committing any atrocious acts against their Christian neighbours, despite wanting to secure papal authority over Byzantium. This letter was concealed from the bulk of the army and the attack proceeded. The citizens of Zara made reference to the fact that they were fellow Catholics by hanging banners marked with crosses from their windows and the walls of the city, but nevertheless the city fell after a brief siege. When Innocent III heard of the sack he sent a letter to the crusaders excommunicating them, and ordered them to return to their holy vows and head for Jerusalem. Out of fear that this would dissolve the army the leaders of the crusade decided not to inform the army of this. In any event, Innocent shortly reconsidered his decision. Regarding the Crusaders as having been blackmailed by the Venetians, he rescinded the excommunications against all non-Venetians in the expedition.

Boniface of Montferrat, meanwhile, had left the fleet before it sailed from Venice, to visit his cousin Philip of Swabia. The reasons for his visit are a matter of debate; he may have realized the Venetians' plans and left to avoid excommunication, or he may have wanted to meet with the Byzantine prince Alexios IV Angelos, Philip's brother-in-law and the son of the recently deposed Byzantine emperor Isaac II Angelos. Alexios IV had recently fled to Philip in 1201 but it is unknown whether or not Boniface knew he was at Philip's court. There, Alexios IV offered to pay the entire debt owed to the Venetians, give 200,000 silver marks to the Crusaders, 10,000 Byzantine professional troops for the Crusade, the maintenance of 500 knights in the Holy Land, the service of the Byzantine navy to transport the Crusader Army to Egypt and the placement of the Eastern Orthodox Church under the authority of the Pope if they would sail to Byzantium and topple the reigning emperor Alexios III Angelos, brother of Isaac II. It was a tempting offer for an enterprise that was short on funds. Doge Dandolo was a fierce supporter of the plan, however in his earlier capacity as an ambassador to Byzantium and someone who knew the finer details of how Byzantine politics worked, it is likely he knew the promises were false and there was no hope of any Byzantine emperor raising the money promised, let alone raising the troops and giving the church to the Holy See. Count Boniface agreed and Alexios IV returned with the Marquess to rejoin the fleet at Corfu after it had sailed from Zara. Most of the rest of the Crusade's leaders, encouraged by bribes from Dandolo, eventually accepted the plan as well. However, there were dissenters; led by Reynold of Montmirail, those who refused to take part in the scheme to attack Christiandom's greatest city sailed on to Syria. The remaining fleet of 60 war galleys, 100 horse transports, and 50 large transports (the entire fleet was manned by 10,000 Venetian oarsmen and marines) sailed in late April 1203. In addition, 300 siege engines were brought along on board the fleet. Hearing of their decision, the Pope hedged and issued an order against any more attacks on Christians unless they were actively hindering the Crusader cause, but failed to condemn the scheme outright.

When the Fourth Crusade arrived at Constantinople, the city had a population of 400,000 people, a garrison of 15,000 men (including 5,000 Varangians), and a fleet of 20 galleys. The main objective of the Crusaders was to place Alexios IV on the Byzantine throne so that they could receive the rich payments he had promised them. Conon of Bethune delivered this ultimatum to the Lombard envoy sent by the Emperor Alexios III Angelos, who was the pretender's uncle and had seized the throne from the pretenders father Isaac II. The citizens of Constantinople were not concerned with the cause of the deposed emperor and his exiled son; hereditary right of succession had never been adopted by the empire and a palace coup between brothers wasn't considered illegitimate in the way it would have been in the West. First the crusaders attacked and were repulsed from the cities of Chalcedon and Chrysopolis, suburbs of the great city. They won a cavalry skirmish in which they were outnumbered, defeating 500 Byzantines with just 80 Frankish knights.

Siege of July 1203

To take the city by force, the crusaders first needed to cross the Bosphorus. About 200 ships, horse transports and galleys would undertake to deliver the crusading army across the narrow strait, where Alexios III had lined up the Byzantine army in battle formation along the shore, north of the suburb of Galata. The Crusaders' knights charged straight out of the horse transports, and the Byzantine army fled south. The Crusaders followed south, and attacked the Tower of Galata, which held the northern end of the massive chain that blocked access to the Golden Horn. As they laid siege to the Tower, the Byzantines counterattacked with some initial success. However, when the Crusaders rallied and the Byzantines retreated to the Tower, the Crusaders were able to follow the soldiers through the Gate, and took the Tower. The Golden Horn now lay open to the Crusaders, and the Venetian fleet entered. The Crusaders sailed alongside Constantinople with 10 galleys to display the would-be Alexios IV, but from the walls of the city the Byzantines taunted the puzzled crusaders, who had been led to believe that the citizens would rise up to welcome young pretender Alexios as a liberator.

On July 11, the Crusaders took positions opposite the Palace of Blachernae on the northwest corner of the city. Their first attempts were repulsed, but on July 17, with four divisions attacking the land walls, while the Venetian fleet attacked the sea walls from the Golden Horn, the Venetians took a section of the wall of about 25 towers, while the Varangian guard held off the Crusaders on the land wall. The Varangians shifted to meet the new threat, and the Venetians retreated under the screen of fire. The fire destroyed about 120 acres (0.49 km2) of the city and left some 20,000 people homeless.

Alexios III finally took offensive action, and led 17 divisions from the St. Romanus Gate, vastly outnumbering the crusaders. Alexios III's army of about 8,500 men faced the Crusader's seven divisions (about 3,500 men), but his courage failed, and the Byzantine army returned to the city without a fight. The unforced retreat and the effects of the fire greatly damaged morale, and the disgraced Alexios III abandoned his subjects, slipping out of the city and fleeing to Mosynopolis in Thrace. The Imperial officials quickly deposed their runaway emperor and restored Isaac II, robbing the Crusaders of the pretext for attack. The Crusaders were now in the quandary of having achieved their stated aim, but being debarred from the actual objective, namely the reward that the younger Alexios had (unbeknownst to the Byzantines) promised them. The Crusaders insisted that they would only recognize Isaac II's authority if his son was raised to co-emperor and on August 1, he was crowned Alexius IV, co-emperor.

Further attacks on Constantinople

Alexios IV realised that his promises were hard to keep. Alexios III had managed to flee with 1,000 pounds of gold and some priceless jewels, leaving the imperial treasury short on funds. At that point the young emperor ordered the destruction and melting of valuable Byzantine and Roman icons in order to extract their gold and silver, but even then he could only raise 100,000 silver marks. In the eyes of all Greeks who knew of this decision, it was a shocking sign of desperation and weak leadership, which deserved to be punished by God. The Byzantine historian Nicetas Choniates characterized it as "the turning point towards the decline of the Roman state."

Forcing the populace to destroy their icons at the behest of an army of foreign schismatics did not endear Alexios IV to the citizens of Constantinople. In fear of his life, the co-emperor asked the Crusaders to renew their contract for another six months, to end by April 1204. There was, nevertheless, still fighting in the city. In August 1203 the crusaders attacked a mosque (Constantinople at this time had a sizable Muslim population), which was defended by a combined Muslim and Byzantine opposition. Meanwhile, Alexios IV had led 6,000 men from the Crusader army against his rival Alexios III in Adrianople.

On the second attempt of the Venetians to set up a wall of fire to aid their escape, they instigated the "Great Fire", in which a large part of Constantinople was burned down. Opposition to Alexios IV grew, and one of his courtiers, Alexios Doukas (nicknamed 'Mourtzouphlos' because of his thick eyebrows), soon overthrew him and had him strangled to death in January 1204. Alexios Doukas took the throne himself as Alexios V; Isaac also died in January 1204, probably of natural causes.

The crusaders and Venetians, incensed at the murder of their supposed patron, demanded that Mourtzouphlos honour the contract which Alexios IV had promised. When the Byzantine emperor refused, the Crusaders assaulted the city once again. On April 8, Alexios V's army put up a strong resistance which did much to discourage the crusaders.

The Byzantines hurled enormous projectiles onto the enemy siege engines, shattering many of them. A serious hindrance to the crusaders was bad weather conditions. Wind blew from the shore and prevented most of the ships from drawing close enough to the walls to launch an assault. Only five of the wall's towers were actually engaged and none of these could be secured; by mid-afternoon it was evident that the attack had failed.

The Latin clergy discussed the situation amongst themselves and settled upon the message they wished to spread through the demoralised army. They had to convince the men that the events of 9 April were not God's judgment on a sinful enterprise: the campaign, they argued, was righteous and with proper belief it would succeed. The concept of God testing the determination of the Crusaders through temporary setbacks was a familiar means for the clergy to explain failure in the course of a campaign.

The clergy's message was designed to reassure and encourage the Crusaders. Their argument that the attack on Constantinople was spiritual revolved around two themes. First, the Greeks were traitors and murderers since they had killed their rightful lord, Alexios IV. The churchmen used inflammatory language and claimed that "the Greeks were worse than the Jews", and they invoked the authority of God and the pope to take action.

Although Innocent III had again demanded that they not attack, the papal letter was suppressed by the clergy, and the Crusaders prepared for their own attack, while the Venetians attacked from the sea; Alexios V's army stayed in the city to fight, along with the imperial bodyguard, the Varangians, but Alexios V himself fled during the night.

Sack of Constantinople

Capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204
On April 12, 1204, the weather conditions finally favoured the Crusaders. A strong northern wind aided the Venetian ships in coming close to the walls. After a short battle, approximately seventy Crusaders managed to enter the city. Some Crusaders were eventually able to knock holes in the walls, large enough for only a few knights at a time to crawl through; the Venetians were also successful at scaling the walls from the sea, though there was extremely bloody fighting with the Varangians. The crusaders captured the Blachernae section of the city in the northwest and used it as a base to attack the rest of the city, but while attempting to defend themselves with a wall of fire, they ended up burning down even more of the city. This second fire left 15,000 people homeless. The Crusaders completely took the city on April 13.

The crusaders inflicted a horrible and savage sacking on Constantinople for three days, during which many ancient and medieval Roman and Greek works were either stolen or destroyed. The magnificent Library of Constantinople was destroyed. Despite their oaths and the threat of excommunication, the Crusaders ruthlessly and systematically violated the city's churches and monasteries, destroying, defiling, or stealing all they could lay hands on; nothing was spared. It was said that the total amount looted from Constantinople was about 900,000 silver marks. The Venetians received 150,000 silver marks that was their due, while the Crusaders received 50,000 silver marks. A further 100,000 silver marks were divided evenly up between the Crusaders and Venetians. The remaining 500,000 silver marks were secretly kept back by many Crusader knights.

Speros Vryonis in Byzantium and Europe gives a vivid account of the sack:

The Latin soldiery subjected the greatest city in Europe to an indescribable sack. For three days they murdered, raped, looted and destroyed on a scale which even the ancient Vandals and Goths would have found unbelievable. Constantinople had become a veritable museum of ancient and Byzantine art, an emporium of such incredible wealth that the Latins were astounded at the riches they found. Though the Venetians had an appreciation for the art which they discovered (they were themselves semi-Byzantines) and saved much of it, the French and others destroyed indiscriminately, halting to refresh themselves with wine, violation of nuns, and murder of Orthodox clerics. The Crusaders vented their hatred for the Greeks most spectacularly in the desecration of the greatest Church in Christendom. They smashed the silver iconostasis, the icons and the holy books of Hagia Sophia, and seated upon the patriarchal throne a whore who sang coarse songs as they drank wine from the Church's holy vessels. The estrangement of East and West, which had proceeded over the centuries, culminated in the horrible massacre that accompanied the conquest of Constantinople. The Greeks were convinced that even the Turks, had they taken the city, would not have been as cruel as the Latin Christians. The defeat of Byzantium, already in a state of decline, accelerated political degeneration so that the Byzantines eventually became an easy prey to the Turks. The Crusading movement thus resulted, ultimately, in the victory of Islam, a result which was of course the exact opposite of its original intention.

When Innocent III heard of the conduct of his pilgrims he was filled with shame and rage, and strongly rebuked them. According to a subsequent treaty, the empire was apportioned between Venice and the crusade's leaders, and the Latin Empire of Constantinople was established. Boniface was not elected as the new emperor, although the citizens seemed to consider him as such; the Venetians thought he had too many connections with the former empire because of his brother, Renier of Montferrat, who had been married to Maria Komnene, empress in the 1170s and 80s. Instead they placed Baldwin of Flanders on the throne. Boniface went on to found the Kingdom of Thessalonica, a vassal state of the new Latin Empire. The Venetians also founded the Duchy of the Archipelago in the Aegean Sea. Meanwhile, Byzantine refugees founded their own successor states, the most notable of these being the Empire of Nicaea under Theodore Laskaris (a relative of Alexios III), the Empire of Trebizond, and the Despotate of Epirus.


Almost none of the crusaders ever made it to the Holy Land, and the unstable Latin Empire siphoned off much of Europe's crusading energy. The legacy of the Fourth Crusade was the deep sense of betrayal the Latins had instilled in their Greek coreligionists. With the events of 1204, the schism between the Church in the West and East was not just complete but also solidified. As an epilogue to the event, Pope Innocent III, the man who had unintentionally launched the ill-fated expedition, thundered against the crusaders thus:
How, indeed, will the church of the Greeks, no matter how severely she is beset with afflictions and persecutions, return into ecclesiastical union and to a devotion for the Apostolic See, when she has seen in the Latins only an example of perdition and the works of darkness, so that she now, and with reason, detests the Latins more than dogs? As for those who were supposed to be seeking the ends of Jesus Christ, not their own ends, who made their swords, which they were supposed to use against the pagans, drip with Christian blood, they have spared neither religion, nor age, nor sex. They have committed incest, adultery, and fornication before the eyes of men. They have exposed both matrons and virgins, even those dedicated to God, to the sordid lusts of boys. Not satisfied with breaking open the imperial treasury and plundering the goods of princes and lesser men, they also laid their hands on the treasures of the churches and, what is more serious, on their very possessions. They have even ripped silver plates from the altars and have hacked them to pieces among themselves. They violated the holy places and have carried off crosses and relics.
Nevertheless, the Pope's negative reaction was short-lived. When the crusaders took the piles of money, jewels, and gold that they had captured in the sack of Constantinople back to Rome, Innocent III welcomed the stolen items and agreed to let the crusaders back into the Church. Furthermore at the Fourth Council of the Lateran the Pope welcomed and recognised to it western (Catholic) prelates from Sees established in the conquered lands—thus recognising their legitimacy over formerly Orthodox areas.

The Latin Empire was soon faced with a great number of enemies, which the crusaders had not taken into account. Besides the individual Byzantine Greek states in Epirus and Nicaea, the Empire received great pressure from the Seljuk Sultanate and the Bulgarian Empire. The Greek states were fighting for supremacy against both Latins and each other. Almost every Greek and Latin protagonist of the event was killed shortly after. Murtzuphlus' betrayal by Alexius III led to his capture by the Latins and his execution at Constantinople in 1205. Not long after, Alexius III was himself captured by Boniface and sent to exile in Southern Italy; he died in Nicaea in 1211. On 14 April 1205, one year after the conquest of the city, Emperor Baldwin was decisively defeated and captured at the Battle of Adrianople by the Bulgarians; he was executed by the Bulgarian Emperor Kaloyan in 1205 or 1206. Two years after that, on 4 September 1207, Boniface himself was killed in an ambush by the Bulgarians, and his head was sent to Kaloyan. He was succeeded by his infant son Demetrius of Montferrat, who ruled until he reached adulthood, but was eventually defeated by Theodore I Ducas, the despot of Epirus and a relative of Murtzuphlus, and thus the Kingdom of Thessalonica was restored to Byzantine rule in 1224.

Various Latin-French lordships throughout Greece—in particular, the duchy of Athens and the principality of the Morea—provided cultural contacts with western Europe and promoted the study of Greek. There was also a French cultural work, notably the production of a collection of laws, the Assises de Romanie (Assizes of Greece). The Chronicle of Morea appeared in both French and Greek (and later Italian and Aragonese) versions. Impressive remains of crusader castles and Gothic churches can still be seen in Greece. Nevertheless, the Latin Empire always rested on shaky foundations. The city was re-captured by the Nicaean Greeks under Michael VIII Palaeologus in 1261, and commerce with Venice was re-established.
In an ironic series of events, during the middle of the 15th century, the Latin Church (Roman Catholic Church) tried to organise a new crusade which aimed at the restoration of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire which was gradually being torn down by the advancing Ottoman Turks. The attempt, however, failed, as the vast majority of the Byzantine civilians and a growing part of their clergy refused to recognize and accept the short-lived near Union of the Churches of East and West signed at the Council of Florence and Ferrara by the Ecumenical patriarch Joseph II of Constantinople. The Greek population, inspired by aversion from the Latins and the Western states, held that the Byzantine civilization which revolved around the Orthodox faith would be more secure under Ottoman Islamic rule. Overall, religious-observant Byzantines preferred to sacrifice their political freedom and political independence in order to preserve their faith's traditions and rituals in separation from the Roman See. In the late 14th and early 15th century, two kinds of crusades were finally organised by the Kingdoms of Hungary, Poland, Wallachia and Serbia. Both of them were checked by the Ottoman Empire. During the Ottoman siege of Constantinople in 1453, a significant band of Venetian and Genoese knights died in the defence of the city.


"O City, City, eye of all cities, universal boast, supramundane wonder, nurse of churches, leader of the faith, guide of Orthodoxy, beloved topic of orations, the abode of every good thing! Oh City, that hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury! O City, consumed by fire..."
Niketas Choniates laments the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders.
The Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople

The prominent medievalist Steven Runciman, writing in 1954, stated that "There was never a greater crime against humanity than the Fourth Crusade." The controversy that has surrounded the Fourth Crusade has led to diverging opinions in academia on whether its objective was indeed the capture of Constantinople. The traditional position, which holds that this was the case, was challenged by Thomas F. Madden and Donald E. Queller in 1977 in their book, The Fourth Crusade.

Constantinople was considered as a bastion of Christianity that defended Europe from the advancing forces of Islam, and the Fourth Crusade's sack of the city dealt a possibly fatal blow to this Eastern bulwark. Although the Greeks would go on to retake Constantinople and restore the Byzantine Empire, their power had been seriously weakened in the chaos unleashed by the Crusade, leaving them easy prey for the Ottoman Turks who conquered the city for good in 1453.

Eight hundred years after the Fourth Crusade, Pope John Paul II twice expressed sorrow for the events of the Fourth Crusade. In 2001, he wrote to Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens, saying, "It is tragic that the assailants, who set out to secure free access for Christians to the Holy Land, turned against their brothers in the faith. The fact that they were Latin Christians fills Catholics with deep regret." In 2004, while Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople, was visiting the Vatican, John Paul II asked, "How can we not share, at a distance of eight centuries, the pain and disgust." This has been regarded as an apology to the Greek Orthodox Church for the terrible slaughter perpetrated by the warriors of the Fourth Crusade.

In April 2004, in a speech on the 800th anniversary of the city's capture, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I formally accepted the apology. "The spirit of reconciliation is stronger than hatred," he said during a liturgy attended by Roman Catholic Archbishop Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France. "We receive with gratitude and respect your cordial gesture for the tragic events of the Fourth Crusade. It is a fact that a crime was committed here in the city 800 years ago." Bartholomew said his acceptance came in the spirit of Pascha. "The spirit of reconciliation of the resurrection... incites us toward reconciliation of our churches."

The Fourth Crusade was one of the last of the major crusades to be launched by the Papacy, though it quickly fell out of Papal control. After bickering between laymen and the papal legate led to the collapse of the Fifth Crusade, later crusades were directed by individual monarchs, mostly against Egypt. Only one subsequent crusade, the Sixth, succeeded in restoring Jerusalem to Christian rule, and then only for a short time. The Crusades, as it seems, became politically and economically expedient for Crusaders who were more inclined to follow an ambitious, worldly conscience rather than a spiritual one.


Primary sources

  • Nicetas Choniates, The Sack of Constantinople
  • Robert of Clari, The Conquest of Constantinople (see also excerpts from another translation)
  • The Sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders (excerpts from several contemporary accounts)
  • The Fourth Crusade 1204: Collected Sources (excerpts from several contemporary accounts)
  • Geoffrey de Villehardouin, Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople
  • Pope Innocent III, Reprimand of Papal Legate
  • Chronicle of Morea

Secondary sources

  • "Crusades". Encyclopædia Britannica, 2006.
  • Angold, Michael, The Fourth Crusade, Harlow: Pearson, 2003
  • Charles Brand. Byzantium Confronts the West, 1180–1204, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1968
  • Godfrey, John. 1204: The Unholy Crusade. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980
  • Harris, Jonathan, Byzantium and the Crusades, London: Hambledonm and London, 2003
  • Harris, Jonathan, 'Collusion with the infidel as a pretext for military action against Byzantium', in Clash of Cultures: the Languages of Love and Hate, ed. S. Lambert and H. Nicholson, Turnhout: Brepols, 2012, pp. 99–117
  • Hindley, Geoffrey. The Crusades: A History of Armed Pilgrimage and Holy War. New York, NY: Carroll and Graf Publishers, 2003. New edition: The Crusades: Islam and Christianity in the Struggle for World Supremacy. New York, NY: Carroll and Graf Publishers, 2004.
  • Lilie, Ralph-Johannes. Byzantium and the Crusader States, 1096–1204. Translated by J. C. Morris and Jean E. Ridings. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993; originally published in 1988.
  • Madden, Thomas F. (2003). Enrico Dandolo and the Rise of Venice. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-7317-1.
  • Madden, Thomas F., and Donald E. Queller. The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997
  • Marin, Serban. A Humanist Vision regarding the Fourth Crusade and the State of the Assenides. The Chronicle of Paul Ramusio (Paulus Rhamnusius), Annuario del Istituto Romano di Cultura e Ricerca Umanistica vol. 2 (2000), pp. 51–57.
  • McNeal, Edgar, and Robert Lee Wolff. The Fourth Crusade, in A History of the Crusades (edited by Kenneth M. Setton and others), vol. 2, Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1962
  • Nicol, Donald M. Byzantium and Venice: A Study in Diplomatic and Cultural Relations, Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  • Noble, Peter S. Eyewitnesses of the Fourth Crusade – the War against Alexius III, Reading Medieval Studies v.25, 1999.
  • Phillips, Jonathan. The Fourth Crusade and the sack of Constantinople. New York: Viking, 2004. ISBN 978-0-14-303590-9.
  • Queller, Donald E. The Latin Conquest of Constantinople. New York, NY; London, U.K.; Sydney, NSW; Toronto, ON: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1971.
  • Queller, Donald E., and Susan J. Stratton. "A Century of Controversy on the Fourth Crusade", in Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History v. 6 (1969): 237–277; reprinted in Donald E. Queller, Medieval Diplomacy and the Fourth Crusade. London: Variorum Reprints, 1980.
  • Thomas F. Madden. Crusades: The Illustrated History

Further reading

  • Angold, Michael. The Fourth Crusade: Event and Context. Harlow, NY: Longman, 2003.
  • Bartlett, W. B. An Ungodly War: The Sack of Constantinople and the Fourth Crusade. Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2000.
  • Harris, Jonathan Byzantium and the Crusades. London and New York: Hambledon and London, 2003. ISBN 978-1-85285-298-6.
  • Harris, Jonathan, "The problem of supply and the sack of Constantinople", in The Fourth Crusade Revisited, ed. Pierantonio Piatti, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2008, pp. 145–54. ISBN 978-88-209-8063-4.
  • Kazdhan, Alexander “Latins and Franks in Byzantium”, in Angeliki E. Laiou and Roy Parviz Mottahedeh (eds.), The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 2001: 83–100.
  • Kolbaba, Tia M. “Byzantine Perceptions of Latin Religious ‘Errors’: Themes and Changes from 850 to 1350”, in Angeliki E. Laiou and Roy Parviz Mottahedeh (eds.), The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 2001: 117–143.
  • Nicolle, David. The Fourth Crusade 1202–04: The betrayal of Byzantium, Osprey Campaign Series #237. Osprey Publishing. 2011. ISBN 978-1-84908-319-5