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Geoffrey de Villehardouin

Be it known to you that eleven hundred and ninety-seven years after the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the time of Innocent Pope of Rome, and Philip King of France, and Richard King of England, there was in France a holy man named Fulk of Neuilly - which Neuilly is between Lagni-sur-Marne and Paris - and he was a priest and held the cure of the village. And this said Fulk began to speak of God throughout the Isle-de-France, and the other countries round about; and you must know that by him the Lord wrought many miracles.

When the Greeks who were in the host with Johannizza - the same who had yielded themselves up to him, and rebelled against the Franks - when they saw how he destroyed their castles and cities, and kept no covenant with them, they held themselves to be but dead men, and betrayed. They spoke one to another, and said that as Johannizza had dealt with other cities, so would he deal with Adrianople and Demotica, when he returned thither, and that if these two cities were destroyed, then was Roumania for ever lost.

Thus did the city surrender to the mercy of the Doge, on condition only that all lives should be spared. Then came the Doge to the counts and barons, and said to them: " Signors, we have taken this city by the grace of God, and your own. It is now winter, and we cannot stir hence till Eastertide; for we should find no market in any other place; and this city is very rich, and well furnished with all supplies. Let us therefore divide it in the midst, and we will take one half, and you the other."

The Emperor Henry and the host of the French encamped before the city; and the foraging parties overran the land and captured oxen, and cows, and beeves in great plenty and other beasts. And those from Adrianople, who had brought their chariots with them, and were poor and illfurnished with food, loaded their chariots with corn and other grain; and they found also provisions in plenty and loaded with them, in great quantities, the other chariots that they had captured.

Then did they bethink themselves of a very good device; for they enclosed the whole camp with good lists, and good palisades, and good barriers, and were thus far stronger and much more secure. The Greeks meanwhile came on to the attack so frequently that they gave them no rest, and those of the host drove them back with great force; and every time that the Greeks issued forth they lost heavily.

Now we will leave off speaking of the host before Constantinople, and speak of those who sailed from other ports than Venice, and of the ships of Flanders that had sojoumed during the winter at Marseilles, and had all gone over in the summer to the land of Syria; and these were far more in number than the host before Constantinople. Listen now, and you shall hear what a great mischance it was that they had not joined themselves to the host, for in that case would Christendom have been for ever exalted.

The marquis then took leave, and went towards Salonika with his people, and with his wife; and with him rode the envoys of the emperor; and as they went from castle to castle, each, with all its lordship, was restored to the marquis on the part of the emperor. So they came to Salonika, and those who held the place for the emperor surrendered it. Now the governor, whom the emperor had left there, and whose name was Renier of Mons, had died; he was a man most worthy, and his death a great mischance.

Thus they waited till it was night; and when it was night the Doge of Venice left the camp, as had been arranged, and Geoffry the Marshal formed the rear-guard. And they departed at foot pace, and took with them all their people mounted and dismounted, the wounded as well those who were whole-they left not one behind. And they journeyed towards a city that lies upon the sea, called Rodosto, and that was full three days' journey distant. So they departed from Adrianople, as you have heard; and this adventure befell in the year of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ twelve hundred and five.

The other year after that right worthy man Fulk had so spoken of God, there was held a tourney in Champagne, at a castle called Ecri, and by God's grace it so happened that Thibaut, Count of Champagne and Brie, took the cross, and the Count Louis of Blois and Chartres likewise; and this was at the beginning of Advent (28th November 1199). Now you must know that this Count Thibaut was but a young man, and not more than twenty-two years of age, and the Count Louis not more than twenty-seven.

Then did Henry take council with his barons, and their decision was that they would go to the city of Bizve, which was a fair city, and strong. So they did as they had devised, and came to Bizye, and encamped before the city on the eve of the feast of our Lord St. John the Baptist, in June (23rd June 1206).

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