Latin Empire-Byzantine Wars (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Byzantine recovery of capital and lands from crusaders. Result: Empire of Nicea recovers Constantinople and reestablishes the Byzantine Empire; Latin Empire ends.
Bitterness and mistrust grew in the twelfth century between the Greek Christians of the Byzantine Empire and the Latin Christians of Western Europe as the closer contact of the Crusades showed them how much they had come to diverge culturally.
In 1202, the knights gathered at Venice to participate in the Fourth Crusade (1198-1204) found that they could not pay for the ships to take them to their planned target of Egypt. A pretender to the Byzantine throne offered to give them the money for the ships if they would make him emperor. In June, 1203, a crusading army composed half of feudal knights and half of Venetian citizen-sailors appeared by ship at Constantinople. The current emperor fled without fighting in July, and the Byzantines accepted the pretender. In January, 1204, he was killed by a court conspiracy, and the crusaders decided to seize the city for themselves. On April 13, 1204, after a few days of unsuccessful assault, they got in through an undefended postern gate, and the upper classes simply fled, leaving the common people to surrender.
The crusaders elected Baldwin of Flanders the new emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople. Meanwhile, two Byzantine nobles fled in opposite...
(The entire section is 763 words.)
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