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Geoffrey de Villehardouin

Now let us for this present speak of them no further, but speak of the pilgrims, of whom a great part had already come to Venice. Count Baldwin of Flanders had already arrived there, and many others, and thither were tidings brought to them that many of the pilgrims were travelling by other ways, and from other ports. This troubled them greatly, because they would thus be unable to fulfil the promise made to the Venetians, and find the moneys that were due.

Then Johannizza left Wallachia with all his hosts, and with a great host of Comans who joined themselves to him, and entered Roumania. And the Comans overran the country up to the gates of Constantinople; and he himself besieged Adrianople, and erected there thirty-three great petraries, which hurled stones against the walls and the towers. And inside Adrianople were only the Greeks and Peter of Radinghem, who had been set there by the emperor, with ten knights.

During this time, a company of good and trustworthy men issued (from the camp) to guard the host, for fear it should be attacked, and the foragers searched the country. In the said company were Odo of Champlitte, of Champagne, and William his brother, and Oger of Saint-Chéron, and Manasses of l'Isle, and Count Girard, a count of Lombardy, a retainer of the Marquis of Montferrat; and they had with them at least eighty knights who were good men and true.

While the Emperor Alexius was away on this progress, there befell a very grievous misadventure; for a conflict arose between the Greeks and the Latins who inhabited Constantinople, and of these last there were many. And certain people-who they were I know not-out of malice, set fire to the city; and the fire waxed so great and horrible that no man could put it out or abate it.

The Emperor Mourzuphles, when he heard that they thus advanced against him, did not dare to abide their coming, but remained always two or three days' march in advance. So he fared forward till he came near Messinopolis, where the Emperor Alexius was sojourning, and he sent on messengers, telling Alexius that he would give him help, and do all his behests. And the Emperor Alexius answered that he should be as welcome as if he were his own son, and that he would give him his daughter to wife, and make of him his son.

Then the Emperor Baldwin and the Doge of Venice, and Count Louis took counsel together, for they saw they were losing the whole land. And they settled that the emperor should tell his brother Henry, who was at Adramittium, to abandon whatsoever conquests he had made, and come to their succour.

Now let us leave speaking of Henry, the Regent of the empire, and speak of Johannizza, the King of Wallachia and Bulgaria, who had taken Seres, as you have already heard, and killed by treachery those who had surrendered to him. Afterwards he had ridden towards Salonika, and sojoumed thereby a long while, and wasted a great part of tfle land. The Marquis Boniface of Montferrat was at Salonika, very wroth, and sorrowing greatly for the loss of his lord the Emperor Baldwin, and for the other barons, and for his castle of Seres that he had lost, and for his men.

Thus did Count Louis and the other barons wend their way to Venice; and they were there received with feasting and joyfully, and took lodging in the Island of St. Nicholas with those who had come before. Goodly was the host, and right worthy were the men. Never did man see goodlier or worthier. And the Venetians held a market, rich and abundant, of all things needful for horses and men.

Before this assault began, on the Saturday morning, there came a messenger flying to Constantinople. He found the Emperor Henry in the palace of Blachernae, sitting at meat, and spoke to him thus: "Sire, be it known to you that those at Cibotos are being attacked by land and sea; and if you do not speedily deliver them, they will be taken, and but dead men."

The next day after, the Emperor Alexius sent an envoy with letters to the counts and to the barons. This envoy was called Nicholas Roux, and he was a native of Lombardy. He found the barons in the rich palace of Scutari, where they were holding council and he saluted them on the part of the Emperor Alexius of Constantinople, and tendered his letters to the Marquis of Montferrat-who received them.

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