Geoffrey de Villehardouin

Then came to the camp, as envoy, a baron, Otho of La Roche by name, belonging to the Marquis Boniface of Montferrat. He came to speak of a marriage that had been spoken of aforetime between the daughter of Boniface, the Marquis of Montferrat, and the Emperor Henry; and brought tidings that the lady had come from Lombardy, whence her father had sent to summon her, and that she was now at Salonika. Then did the emperor take council, and it was decided that the marriage should be ratified on either side. So the envoy, Otho of La Roche, returned to Salonika.

The host sojourned thus for three weeks in that island, which was very rich and plenteous. And while they sojoumed, there happened a misadventure fell and grievous.

Then did the barons mount their horses, and led the young man, with great rejoicings, into the city, to his father; and the Greeks opened the gate to him, and received him with very much rejoicing and great feasting. The joy of the father and of the son was very great, because of a long time they had not seen one another, and because, by God's help and that of the pilgrims, they had passed from so great poverty and ruin to such high estate.

Then was it proclaimed throughout the host by the Marquis Boniface of Montferrat, who was lord of the host, and by the barons, and by the Doge of Venice, that all the booty should be collected and brou-ht together, as had been covenanted under oath and pain of excommunication. Three churches were appointed for the receiving of the spoils, and guards were set to have them in charge, both Franks and Venetians, the most upright that could be found.

Now let us leave speaking further (for the nonce), of those at Constantinople, and return to the Marquis Boniface of Montferrat. The marquis had gone, as you have heard, towards Salonika, and then ridden forth against Leon Sgure, who held Napoli and Corinth, two of the strongest cities in the world. Boniface besieged both cities at once. James of Avesnes, with many other good men, remained before Corinth, and the rest encamped before Napoli, and laid siege to it.

Johannizza., King of Wallachia and Bulgaria, had with him all his power, and he occupied the whole land; and the country, and the cities, and the castles held for him; and his Comans over-ran the land as far as Constantinople. Henry the regent of the empire, and the Doge of Venice, and Geoffry the Marshal, were still at Rodosto, which is a three days' journey from Constantinople. And they took council, and the Doge of Venice set a garrison of Venetians in Rodosto - for it was theirs. And on the morrow they put their forces in array, and rode, day by day, towards Constantinople.

When the Count was buried, Matthew of Montmorency, Simon of Montfort, Geoffry of Joinville who was seneschal, and Geoffry the Marshal, went to Odo, Duke of Burgundy, and said to him, " Sire, your cousin is dead. You see what evil has befallen the land overseass We pray you by God that you take the cross, and succour the land overseas in his stead. And we will cause you to have all his treasure, and will swear on holy relics, and make the others swear also, to serve you in all good faith, even as we should have served him."

At that time Theodore Lascaris, who held the land on the other side of the straits towards Turkey, was at truce with the Emperor Henry; but that truce he had not kept well, having broken and violated it. So the emperor held council, and sent to the other side of the straits, to the city of Piga, Peter of Bracieux, to whom land had been assigned in those parts, and with him Payen of Orléans, and Anseau of Cayeux, and Eustace, the emperor's brother, and a great part of his best men to the number of seven score knights.

Then did they sail from the port of Corfu on the eve of Pentecost (24th May), which was twelve hundred and three years after the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. And there were all the ships assembled, and all the transports, and all the galleys of the host, and many other ships of merchants that fared with them. And the day was fine and clear, and the wind soft and favourable, and they unfurled all their sails to the breeze.

The new emperor went oft to see the barons in the camp, and did them great honour, as much as he could; and this was but fitting, seeing that they had served him right well. And one day he came to the camp, to see the barons privily in the quarters of Count Baldwin of Hainault and Flanders. Thither were summoned the Doge of Venice, and the great barons, and he spoke to them and said: " Lords, I am emperor by God's grace and yours, and you have done me the highest service that ever yet was done by any people to Christian man.

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