The Crusade of Frederick Barbarossa:
[TR] To protect his own interest from the crusaders, the Byzantine
emperor made an alliance with Saladin. This made the former a
greater object of hatred than ever before. In the first crusade,
Alexius had been suspected and detested; Manuel had been openly
blamed for the failure of the second crusade. Now in the third,
no means are too odious to be attributed to the emperor of the
East. In a few years, the hatred accumulated for more than a century
will vent itself in the sack of Constantinople.
1. FREDERICK I TO LEOPOLD OF AUSTRIA
Tageno in Freher SS. p. 410. Latin.
Adrianople, end of November, 1189.
Frederic, by the grace of God, emperor and always august, to,
his beloved kinsman Leopold, duke of Austria, greeting
and all good wishes.
We thought we ought to tell you, because of your love for us,
that our brother, the emperor of Constantinople, although he,
ought to have been bound by brotherly love, has from the very
first violated all the oaths which are known to have been sworn
by his chancellor at Nuremberg, in the presence of the princes
of the empire, in regard to our security on the march, and market
and exchanges. Moreover, he has seized and ignominiously thrown
into prison our ambassadors, the bishop of Müinster, count
Rupert [of Naussau] and Markward, our chamberlain, together with
all their attendants, whom we had sent to confirm the peace and
to arrange for our peaceful march on this expedition of the quickening
cross. At length, however, after long negotiations, grievously
delaying our march until the dangerous winter season, he has sent
back to our excellency the aforesaid ambassadors on the feast
of St. Simon and St. Jude, as if matters had been satisfactorily
arranged, and he has again promised us good markets, the usual
exchanges and an abundance of vessels.
Truly, because the burnt child dreads the fire, we can in the
future have no confidence in the words and oaths of the Greeks.
in order to avoid the stormy winter season, we propose to stay
until spring at Philippopolis and Adrianople, and to cross over
to Constantinople in the favorable season. Therefore, although
we rejoice in a well-equipped army, yet we must seek divine succour
in our prayers. For these reasons we ask and desire of your love,
that in your prayers and pious devotions you commend us and the
whole army of the crusaders to God. In addition we ask of your
prudence to see that the letters which we send to the pope reach
him through your aid and exertions, because you can arrange this
more successfully than anyone else.
2.SIBYLLA, EXQUEEN OF JERUSALEM to FREDERICK
Tageno in Freher, SS. 1, p. 410. Röhricht, Regesta, 681.
To her venerable and most illustrious lord Frederic, by the grace
of God, most victorious emperor of Rome and most friendly champion
of the Holy Cross, Sibylla, formerly queen of Jerusalem, his most
humble servant, greatly humiliated in the name of the Lord.
Spare the humble and conquer the proud. I, your most humble maidservant
as I said above am compelled to tell your highness
and supreme excellency of the grief of the whole city and of the
disgrace of the sacred Christians. For the emperor of Constantinople
, the persecutor of the church of God, has entered into
a conspiracy with Saladin, the seducer and destroyer of the holy
Name, against the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I tell this, which I am indeed not able to say without tears.
Saladin, the aforesaid enemy of Christ, has sent to the Grecian
emperor and the persecutor of the holy Name many presents very
Pleasing to mortals, in order to make a compact and agreement.
And for the slaughter and destruction of the Christians wishing
to exalt the name of God, he sent 600 measures of poisoned grain
and added a very large vase of wine, filled with such a malignant
poison that when he wanted to try its efficacy he called a man
who was killed by the odor alone when the vase was opened.
Along with the rest I am compelled to tell my lord another thing
: the aforesaid emperor, in order to increase our misfortunes
and magnify the destruction of the Christians, does not permit
wheat or other necessary victuals to be carried from his country
to Jerusalem. Wherefore, the wheat which might be sent by himself
and others, is also shut up in the city of Constantinople.
However, at the end of this tearful epistle, I tell you truthfully
that you ought to believe the most faithful bearer of this letter.
For he himself witnesses what he has seen with his own eyes and
heard with his own ears. This is the reason that with my head
bowed to the ground and with bent knees, I ask your Magnificence
that inasmuch as you are the head of the world and the wall of
the house of Israel, you should never believe the Grecian emperor.
Trans in Dana C. Munro, "Letters of the Crusaders", Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European
History, Vol 1:4, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania,
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© Paul Halsall December 1997