Neither the internal development of the medieval state nor the international politics of medieval Europe can be explained without constant reference to class distinctions. First, there is a sharp line dividing each state horizontally and marking off the privileged few from the unprivileged many, the rulers from the ruled. Below the line are the traders, artisans, and cultivators of the soil; above it the landlords, the officeholders, and the clergy. If an industrial community, here and there a Milan or a Ghent, succeeds in asserting political independence, the phenomenon is regarded as anomalous and revolutionary; still graver is the head-shaking when mere peasants, like the Swiss, throw off what is called their natural allegiance. And such cases of successful rebellion are rare. It is true that in England, in France, and in the Spanish kingdoms there are privileged towns which receive the right of representation in national assemblies; but this concession to the power of the purse is strictly limited; the spokesmen of the burgesses are not invited to express opinions until asked for subsidies or military aid. Government is the affair of the King and the privileged classes. But again there is a division within the privileged classes, a vertical line of cleavage between the various grades of the lay and clerical aristocracies. The prelate and the baron, the knight and the priest, harmonious enough when it is a question of teaching the unprivileged their place, are rivals for social influence and political power, are committed to conflicting theories of life. The ecclesiastic, enrolled in an order which is recruited from every social grade, makes light of secular rank and titles; he claims precedence over every layman; he holds that it is the business of the Church to command, of princes to obey. The lay feudatory, born into a hereditary caste of soldiers, regards war as the highest vocation for a man of honour, is impatient of priestly arrogance, and believes in his heart that the Church ought not to meddle with politics. It would be a mistake to think of the two privileged classes as always at strife with one another and their social inferiors. But the great wars of Pope and Emperor, the fourteenth-century revolts of French and English peasants, are not events which come suddenly and unexpectedly; each such outbreak is like the eruption of a volcano, a symptom of subterranean forces continually in conflict. The state of peace in medieval society was a state of tension; equilibrium meant the unstable balance of centralising and centrifugal forces. And this was one reason why wars, condemned in the abstract by the Church, were frequently regarded with favour by sober statesmen and by idealists. In more ways than one a successful war might serve to heal or salve the feuds of rival classes. It offered an outlet for the restless and anarchic energies of feudalism; sometimes it ended in conquests with which the landless could be permanently endowed. It might offer new markets to the merchant, a field of emigration to the peasant, a new sphere of influence to the national clergy. Better still, it might evoke common sentiments of patriotism or religion, and create in all classes the consciousness of obligations superior to merely selfish interests.

Such statecraft may perhaps seem rude and barbarous to us. The idea of a nation as a system of classes, and of national unity as a condition only to be realised when all classes combine for some purpose extraneous to the everyday life of the nation, is foreign to our thought. We believe that by making war upon class privileges we have given to the State a less divided and more organic character. We maintain that the State exists to realise an immanent ideal, which we express by some such formula as "the greatest good of the greatest number." But we are still so far from a reconciliation of facts with theories that we must hesitate before utterly condemning the medieval attitude towards war. In place of classes we have interests, which are hard to unite and often at open variance. Our statesmen balance one interest against another, and consider war legitimate when it offers great advantages to the interests most worth conciliating. Nor have we yet succeeded in giving to the average citizen so elevated a conception of the purpose for which the State exists that he can think of national policy as something different from national selfishness. It is easier to criticise the enthusiasts who urged medieval nations to undertake "some work of noble note," remote from daily routine, than it is to discover and to preach a nobler enterprise on behalf of a less visionary ideal. It helps us to understand, though it does not compel us to accept, the medieval theory, when we find modern poets and preachers glorifying war as a school of patriotism or of national character.

Wars of conquest were less frequent in the Middle Ages than we might expect, and were usually waged on a small scale. Their comparative infrequency, in an age of militarism, must be explained by reference both to current morality and to economic conditions. For an attack upon a Christian power it was necessary that some just cause should be alleged. Public opinion, educated by the Church to regard Western Christendom as a single commonwealth, demanded that some respect should be shown to the ordinary moral code, even in international relations. Furthermore the medieval state, loosely knit together and bristling with isolated fortresses, showed in defeat the tenacious vitality of the lower organisms, and could not be entirely reduced without an expenditure, on the invader's part, which the methods of medieval state-finance were powerless to meet. Edward I failed to conquer the petty kingdom of Scotland; and the French provinces which were ceded to Edward III escaped from his grasp in a few years. The profitable wars were border wars, waged against the disunited tribes of Eastern Europe, or the decadent Moslem states of the Mediterranean. And such wars were of common occurrence, sometimes undertaken by the nationalities most favourably situated for the purpose, sometimes by self-expatriated emigrants in search of a new home.

Thanks to the teaching of the Church, a large proportion of the border wars were converted into Crusades for the propagation of the faith or the extermination of the unbeliever or the defence of holy places. Often enough the religious motive was introduced as an afterthought, and gave a thin veil of respectability to operations which it would otherwise have been difficult to excuse. In some cases, however, those who enlisted as the soldiers of the Church were sacrificing their material interests for the good, as they supposed, of their own souls and the Christian commonwealth. There was nothing essentially Christian in this spirit of self-devotion; it had long been epidemic in the Mohammedan world, and accounts for the most successful encroachments of Islam upon Europe and the Eastern Empire. The impulse affected Western Christendom for a relatively short period of time, only once or twice producing movements at all commensurable with those which had emanated from Arabia, Asia Minor, and Africa, and leading to no conquests that can rank in magnitude with the caliphates of Bagdad, Cordova, and Cairo. But the Christian Crusade is in one sense more remarkable than the Mohammedan Jehad. Western Europe had long ago emerged from the nomadic stage, and even the ruling classes of Western Christendom, cosmopolitan as they may seem to us, were attached to their native soil by many ties. If the upheaval was smaller in the West than in the East, the material to be set in motion was more stubborn and inert, the prizes to be held before the eyes of the believer were more impalpable and dubious. There were ventures near at hand for which the Church could find volunteers without the slightest difficulty. But those which she was more particularly bent on forwarding were distant, hazardous, and irksome; the majority of the men who went on her great Crusades had no prospect of any temporal advantage. In the end those enterprises to which she gave her special countenance proved the least successful. It was not in the Eastern Mediterranean but in Spain, in Lower Italy, and in Central Europe, that the frontiers of Western Christendom were permanently advanced. For the historian, however, the failures have an interest not inferior to that of the more productive enterprises.

The age of border wars and border colonies begins long before the appearance of a true crusading spirit. In German history the movement of expansion dates from Henry the Fowler; when he captured Brandeburg (928) and annexed the heathen tribes between the Elbe and Oder, he inaugurated a policy of settlement and colonisation which the German Margraves of those regions were to pursue, slowly and methodically for more than two hundred years. In its later stages the policy was sometimes assisted by Crusaders; from the first it made many converts to Christianity, and was furthered by the foundation of frontier sees and churches subject to the German archbishops of Hamburg and Magdeburg. But the men who directed the policy were purely secular and selfish. The greatest of them, Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony from 1142 to 1180, and Albert the Bear, Margrave of Brandenburg from 1134 to 1170, concentrated their energies upon the development and extension of their principalities, exploited the Slavs, plotted against one another and their Christian neighbours, neglected national interests, and frankly made the Church the instrument of their ambitions. Yet in the craft of state-building they showed exceptional sagacity, enlisting as their allies the traders of the Baltic, the peasants of North Germany and the Low Countries. Under their rule and that of their most successful imitators, the Teutonic Knights in Prussia, cities such as Lubeck (founded 1143) and Dantsic (colonised 1308) became centres of German trade and culture; while the open country in the basins of the Elbe and Oder was covered with newly settled villages of German immigrants. The effects of this colonisation have extended far beyond the lands immediately affected and the limits of medieval history. The new colonies laid the foundations of modern Prussia and modern Saxony. To their existence is due the connection of Poland and Bohemia with the state system of medieval Europe, and the consequent division of the Slavonic peoples into a western and an eastern group; the westward expansion of the Russian Empire was forestalled and prevented by these early pioneers of German and of Roman influence. Only less important was the German advance along the Danube, from the river Inn to Vienna and the Hungarian frontier, which was mainly directed by successive heads of the family of Babenberg (971-1246), first as Margraves and afterwards as Dukes of Austria. The Hapsburg power, like that of the Hohenzollerns, is partly an inheritance from medieval frontiersmen who drove a German wedge into the heart of a Slavonic territory.

The history of these German colonies often reminds us how naturally such business ventures came to be regarded as a species of crusade. In 1147 a large body of German pilgrims, enlisted for the Second Crusade, were allowed to fulfil their vows by serving against the Slav in the armies of Saxony and Brandenburg. The Babenberg dukes, grown weary of their monotonous work on the Danube, roamed eastward to conquer Egypt or Palestine, westward to exterminate the Albigensians of Languedoc and the infidels in Spain. And when we turn from Germany to the Spanish peninsula, the alliance between religious fervour and commercial enterprise is still more striking. The Christian reconquest of Spain and Portugal began two or three generations before the Council of Clermont; but, from the first, the southward advance against the rulers of Cordova foreshadows the age of the Crusades. In Spain, as in the German marks, the pioneers of Christendom were often ruffianly, and always fought with an eye to the main chance. Among them are mere desperadoes like the Cid Campeador (d. 1099), who serves and betrays alternately the Christian and the Moorish causes, founds a principality at the expense of both religions, but is finally claimed as a hero and a martyr by his native Castile, because he has the good fortune to die in her allegiance. Many conquistadores of more reputable character settled down contentedly amongst a tributary and unconverted Moorish population, whose manners and vices they adopted. But in Spain the racial antipathies of Moors and Christians were always aggravated by religious zeal. Several times it seemed as though Spanish Christianity was in danger of complete extinction. In the tenth century two great rulers of Cordova, Abderrahman III and Al Mansur, drove back the Castilians to the northern mountains and raided the inmost recesses of the Christian territories. Somewhat later the Wild Berber hordes of the Almoravides and the Almohads, crossing from Africa to usurp the Ommeiad dominions and carry on the holy war with greater energy, aroused new fears and provoked in the threatened kingdoms a fanaticism equal to their own. The Spanish Christians appealed for help to their northern neighbours; armies of volunteers from Normandy, from Aquitaine, and from Burgundy, poured over the Myrenees to strike a blow for the Cross against the Crescent, and incidentally to gain rich spoils or found a colony. The movement was early taken under the patronage of Rome. Gregory VII offered papal commissions to the immigrants, on condition that they would hold their conquests as vassals of the Holy See (1073). And thenceforth each new enterprise against the Moors was officially recognised as a service to the Catholic Church.

Still, even in Spain, the tendency was for material ambitions to gain the upper hand. All classes in the Christian kingdoms benefited by the wresting of a new province from the infidel. The nobles received new fiefs; the burghers flocked into the cities evacuated by the Moors, or were encouraged, by large grants of privileges, to build new cities; round the cities clustered communities of peasants, who joyfully exchanged the barren security of the northern uplands for the risks and the prizes of the river valleys. No kings were so popular as those who planned and carried to a successful conclusion these ventures for the common good. One such ruler, James the Great of Aragon, has left us in his memoirs a faithful and instructive account of the use to which he and his subjects turned one of these so-called Crusades. At six years of age he had succeeded to a divided kingdom and the shadow of a royal prerogative. At fourteen he began a hard struggle, for the mastery of his rebellious barons and cities, which lasted five years and earned for him more credit than substantial success. When at length the rebels sued for peace, he was obliged to grant it without exacting compensation; the Crown remained as poor after the victory as before it. A little later he conceived the idea of attacking the Moors in the Balearic Isles, "either to convert them and turn that kingdom to the faith of our Lord, or else to destroy them." He propounded his plan to the Cortes (1229); and in a moment dissension was changed to harmony, civil indifference to loyal enthusiasm. The barons said that to conquer a Saracen kingdom set in the sea would be the greatest deed done by Christians for a hundred years. They would give an aid, they would find contingents, they would serve in person; always on the understanding that each should share in the spoils proportionately to the size of his contingent. The Archbishop of Tarragona, speaking for the clergy, said that now at last his eyes had seen the salvation of the Lord. He could not serve; he was too old for that; but his men and his money were the King's for this sacred undertaking, and he would gladly give a dispensation to any bishop or abbot who would go with the King; always provided that the clerical Crusaders were to share in the booty on the same terms as the laymen. To the same purpose, with the same stipulation, spoke the trading-cities. The expedition was a brilliant success. Majorca was reduced by the efforts of the whole expedition; Minorca capitulated without a struggle; and the Archbishop of Tarragona, by special licence from the King, conquered Ivica for himself. But the Moors were neither extirpated nor converted. Those of Majorca became the tenants of the Crusaders between whom that island was divided. Those of Minorca paid an annual tribute to the King. In both islands they were guaranteed the use of their native customs and religion. Surveying the Crusade many years after it was completed, James expresses the highest satisfaction with the results. From Minorca he receives not only the agreed tribute, but whatever else he chooses to demand. As for Majorca, the Lord has so increased it that it produces twice as much as in the days of Moorish rule.

We are now in a position to understand the complex nature of the motives which animated the preachers, the generals, and the soldiers of the Crusades; for these enterprises are a continuation on a greater scale of the German, Spanish, and Norman wars of conquest.

Like the wars of Spain, the Crusades were suggested by fears of a Mohammedan advance; the signal for the First Crusade was given by the successes of the Seljuk Turks under Alp Arslan and Malik Shah (1071-1092). These uncivilised and fanatical usurpers of the caliphate of Bagdad overran the whole of Asia Minor and of Syria in twenty years; they dealt a heavy blow to the Eastern Empire on the field of Manzikert (1071), and founded in Asia Minor the sultanate of Roum; they established smaller principalities in Syria. The rulers of Constantinople sent urgent appeals for help to the West; and pilgrims returning from the Holy Places complained loudly of the insults and persecutions by which the conquerors manifested their hostility to the Christian faith. Gregory VII, immediately after his election, was moved to plan an expedition for the defence of the Eastern Empire, which he justly regarded as the bulwark of Europe against Islam. He issued a general appeal to the princes of Europe for help and personal service; he even proposed to accompany the relieving force. But Gregory, though not without imagination, lacked the power of firing popular enthusiasm, and aroused mistrust by the admission that he intended using the Crusade in the first instance against the Normans of Lower Italy. Few volunteers were forthcoming, and his own energies were diverted to another channel by the outbreak of the War of Investitures. It was left for Urban II to revive Gregory's project, in another and more popular form, at a moment when Henry IV seemed a beaten and a broken man, and the unity of the Seljuk power had been shattered by the death of Malik Shah. In reality the danger from the Turks was then a thing of the past; but, even if Urban was correctly informed of their weakness, it needed little knowledge of history to warn him that one aggressive movement of Islam only died away to be succeeded by another. Like Gregory, he desired to strengthen the Eastern Empire; but his plan was new - to found a Latin state in Palestine for the defence of Jerusalem and the south-east Mediterranean. As with the First Crusade, so with the Second and the Third; each was a response to new victories of Mohammedan princes. The Second Crusade (1147) was proclaimed in consequence of the fall of Edessa, the north-east outpost of the Latin Kingdom. The Third (1189) was designed to recover Jerusalem and to cripple the sultanate of Egypt, which, under Saladin, seemed on the eve of absorbing not only Syria, but also Asia Minor and the Euphrates valley. The signal failure of an expedition for which armies were raised by the Emperor, the Kings of France and England, and many lesser princes, left the power of Egypt an object of almost superstitious awe. The Fifth Crusade (1217) and the Seventh (1248) expended their best energies in fruitless and disastrous descents on the Nile Delta.

To this view of the Crusades, as a business of high political importance, the best of the laymen who led the Christian armies were sincerely attached. Many others, equally sincere but governed more by sentiment than reason, were moved by the desire to see the Holy Places and secure them as the common property of Christendom. But the most pertinacious and successful of the commanders went eastward, as their kinsmen went across the Elbe or the Alps or the Pyrenees, to carve out for themselves new principalities at the expense of Byzantine or Saracen, it did not matter which. Naturally the sovereign princes who took the Cross do not fall into this category. For them an expedition might be either an adventure, or the grudging fulfilment of a penance, or a bid for the esteem of their subjects; but it was often a conscious sacrifice of self-interest and national interests to a higher duty. However low their motives, it would not have paid them to turn aside from the task enjoined upon them by European opinion. Even Frederic II, the least Christian of Crusaders, who only accomplished his vow to put the Pope his adversary in the wrong, fulfilled his undertaking to the letter before he ventured to return. But a Crusade controlled by men of lower rank tended to be a joint-stock company of freebooters. For every Crusade the Pope was, to a certain point, responsible. He issued the appeal, he tuned the pulpits; he invited contributions from the laity and exacted them from the national churches; he provided for the enforcement by ecclesiastical censures of all Crusading vows. In the choice of leaders, and in the preliminary councils of war, he had a claim to be consulted. One or more of his legates normally accompanied the armies. But, if the generals chose to ignore his suggestions and to override his representatives, after the march had once begun he was powerless. Usually, it is true, his views would appeal to the rank and file, exempt as they were from the temptations presented to their leaders. But the Common soldiers could only leave the host if they had the means of paying for themselves the expenses of the homeward journey. Often they protested against the uses to which their arms were put; but very seldom were they able to enforce a change of policy.

These general statements may be illustrated from the First and Fourth Crusades.

Godfrey of Bouillon and his fellow-leaders, when they passed through Constantinople (1097), did homage to the Emperor Alexius for any lands that they might conquer. The transaction may not have been voluntary; this homage was the price demanded for a safe-conduct through the Greek dominions. But later events proved that the chief Crusaders were resolved not to hold their conquests as fiefs from the Holy See, for which they were nominally fighting. As they drew near to the Holy Land, it became clear that the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre was a subordinate consideration with them. At Tarsus and at Antioch there were fierce disputes between rival claimants to the conquered territories. Baldwin separated from the main army to found a seignory for himself at Edessa. Bohemund remained behind, when Antioch was once assigned to him, for fear that any rival should rob him of his prize. Raymond of Toulouse turned aside to reduce Tripoli, and was with the greatest difficulty constrained to continue the march. The final result of a war in which the loss of men must be reckoned by tens of thousands was the establishment of the four states of Jerusalem, Edessa, Antioch, and Tripoli. To extend the boundaries of these colonies, and to consolidate them under the suzerainty of the Crown of Jerusalem, was the work of their rulers for the next eighty years. These princes were esteemed as champions of the Cross; to assist them in the defence of their territories the military orders of the Temple and the Hospital were founded under the sanction of the Church; apart from the great relieving expeditions, such as those of 1101 and 1147 and 1189, annual fleets of soldier-pilgrims arrived to take part in the operations of the year. But there is little to show that either the Kings of Jerusalem or their great vassals ever justified their position by pursuing an unselfish policy. That the dominions which they ruled were imperfectly colonised cannot be made a reproach against them; only for knights and merchants had the Holy Land any attractions. But the inevitable weakness of the Frankish states was aggravated by their feuds and reciprocal ill-faith.

More than a hundred years elapsed before another expedition of this kind started for the East. The Second Crusade, inspired by St. Bernard acting as the half-reluctant spokesman of the Holy See, was ill-organised, ill-directed, and so disastrous a failure that it was followed by a perceptible reaction against the idealistic policy of which it was the outcome. It revealed to Europe the inefficiency of forces raised with more regard to the pious motives than to the efficiency of the recruits, and laid bare the calculating selfishness of the Latin principalities. But the principal leaders, Louis VII of France and the Emperor Conrad II, could not be charged with insincerity. They made gross mistakes, but were faithful to the purpose with which they set out. Similarly in the Third Crusade, though part of the failure can be directly attributed to the national jealousies of the various contingents, and to the quarrels of Richard I with the more important of his colleagues, the recovery of Jerusalem remained from first to last the dominants object of the army. There were cases of petulance, of unnecessary meddling in the squalid disputes of the Latin settlers, of readiness to depart on the first honourable excuse. But there was no disposition to make the pilgrimage a commercial undertaking. It was otherwise in 1203 when the soldiers of the Fourth Crusade set out from Venice, leaving behind them the papal legate and openly defying the injunctions of Innocent III, whose appeal to Christendom was nominally the warrant for their venture.

No kings sailed with them; from the first the movement had been in the hands of turbulent feudatories, inspired by chivalry rather than religion. Their leader, Boniface of Montferrat, the patron of all the troubadours and knights-errant of the South, was a sworn friend of the Pope's worst enemy, Philip of Suabia, the brother and successor of the Emperor Henry VI. Boniface had been elected to the command without the sanction of the Pope; and from an early date was in league with Philip to turn the Crusade against Constantinople. This plan was for a time concealed from the army, in which a majority of the common soldiers were bent upon recovering the Holy Sepulchre. But the nobles, with whom lay the last word, were ready for whatever adventure the course of events might suggest. Their original hope was to conquer Egypt, - an infinitely more tempting prey than Palestine, where the chief fruits of any success would be claimed by the remnants of the standing garrison. To obtain ships from Venice they undertook on her behalf the siege of Zara; their first feat of arms was the conquest of a Christian city, the only offence of which was that it disputed the Venetian supremacy in the Adriatic. At Zara they were invited by Philip's envoys to attack Constantinople, to overthrow the Emperor Alexius III, and to substitute for him another Alexius, son of the deposed Isaac Angelus and brother-in-law to Philip. The proposal received enthusiastic support from the Venetians, whose great commercial interests in the Greek capital had been often assailed by the fanaticism of the city-populace. The Venetians held the key of the situation, since, if they withdrew their transports, the army could neither go forward nor return in safety; and the nobles, who needed little persuasion, were able to convince the more earnest pilgrims that Philip's offer must of necessity be accepted, though Alexius III was on friendly terms with the Pope and had been expected to assist the Crusade. To palliate the flagrant treachery a promise was exacted from the pretender that, when installed as Emperor, he would help in the conquest of Egypt with men, money, and supplies.

On July 17th, 1203, the army entered Constantinople, after a short siege. Alexius III escaped by flight and Alexius IV was installed in his place. Still the Crusaders lingered in a city the outward splendour of which appealed irresistibly to their imagination and their avarice. The winter, they said, was approaching, and their candidate far from secure upon the throne; they would wait for the spring. Before that date, and in spite of their countenance, he had fallen before a nationalist rebellion (January 1204); and the army hailed the opportunity of reuniting the Greek Church to Rome and partitioning the Greek Empire among themselves. An agreement was made with the indispensable Venetians for the election of a Latin Emperor, to be endowed with one-fourth of the provinces; the booty of Constantinople and the remaining lands of the Empire were to be divided equally between the Venetians and the remaining leaders. For the second time Constantinople was carried by storm; a fire destroyed a large part of the city; and the Crusaders completed the devastation by three days of indiscriminate plunder and massacre. Neither the treasures of the churches nor the priceless monuments and statues of the public places were spared. The sum-total of the booty was thought to be equal to all the wealth of Western Europe; but when it came to the official division all that the knights obtained was twenty marks apiece; ten were the portion of a priest, and five of a foot-soldier. The other articles of the treaty, which had been referred for form's sake to the Pope, were executed without awaiting his reply. The Venetian candidate, Count Baldwin of Flanders, was elected to the Empire and received the Asiatic provinces. Boniface of Montferrat obtained, as a solatium, the kingdom of Thessalonica, embracing roughly the modern provinces of Thessaly and Macedonia; his followers were allowed to establish themselves by degrees in Central Greece and the Morea. The Venetians took the islands of the Ionian Sea, the Cyclades, and Aegina and Negropont; the provinces of Albania, Acarnania, and Aetolia; the city of Adrianople with the adjacent territories, and other possessions of less note.

The Pope, compelled to recognise accomplished facts, merely demanded three concessions: that the Latin faith should be established as the official religion of the Empire; that the possessions of the Greek Church should be handed over to the Latin clergy; and that the Crusaders should continue their pilgrimage at the end of a year. Only the first of these points was conceded. The Crusade of Innocent III ended, like that of Urban II, in the creation of a string of feudal states and commercial factories. But in 1204 there was hardly the attempt to justify what had been done in the name of religion. The Venetians behaved from first to last as commercial buccaneers; a fickle and frivolous ambition, rather than calculating villainy, characterised their highborn associates. Plainly, these were the only materials available for a Crusade; the collapse of the Crusading policy was near at hand.

A few romantic careers illuminate the monotonously sordid annals of the Latin Empire, threatened from within by the feuds of the rival baronial houses, from without by the Bulgarians, the Greek despots of Epirus, and the Greek Emperors of Nicaea. Henry of Flanders, the second Latin Emperor (1205-1216), the one constructive statesman produced by the Crusade; William of Champlitte, who overran the Morea with but a hundred knights, was hailed by the oppressed Greeks as a liberator, and founded the Principality of Achaea (1205-1209) only to lose it through the treachery of a lieutenant; Niccolo Acciajuoli (+1365), the Florentine banker, who rose to be Lord of Corinth, Count of Malta, and administrator of Achaea - these were men who on a greater stage might have achieved durable renown. But the subject Greeks were not to be Latinised by a handful of energetic seigneurs and merchants; one by one, as opportunities occurred, the provinces of the Latin Empire deserted to the allegiance of Nicaea. Adrianople and Thessalonica were lost in 1222, the Asiatic territories by 1228; in 1261 Michael Palaeologus recovered Constantinople, which was to remain the possession of his family until the capture by the Turks (1453). In Greece and the islands the colonists maintained a foothold long after the fall of the Latin Empire. But the last of the Frankish Dukes of Athens fell, with all his chivalry, fighting against the Catalan Company (1311), a horde of freebooters half-Christian and half-Turkish in its composition. Achaea, after years of ignominious subjection to the Angevins of Naples, was similarly conquered by the Company of Navarre (1380). In a maimed condition the two states survived these calamities; but the Greeks and the Venetians were enabled to absorb the richest parts of the peninsula; the last traces of Frankish blood and institutions were swept away by the Turkish conquerors of the fifteenth century. Before these grim invaders the Venetians and the Knights of St. John, the last representatives of Western power, slowly evacuated the Eastern Mediterranean.

The story of this brilliant and ephemeral episode in the expansion of Europe is closed by the Venetian peace of 1479 with the Sultan, and by the fall of Rhodes, the stronghold of the Knights, before the Turkish arms (1522). But in Malta, down to the commencement of the ninteenth century, might be seen the strange and scandalous spectacle of a Crusading Order, emancipated from the old vows and obligations, yet still allowed to exercise a medieval tyranny in memory of the services which their remote predecessors had rendered to the Cross. The other Orders had vanished, not less ignominiously, at earlier dates. The Templars, who had evacuated Syria to live on their European estates and ply the trade of bankers, were proscribed on charges of heresy, by Pope Clement V (1312), to gratify the brutal greed of a French king. The Teutonic Knights, better counselled by their Grand Master, Hermann of Salza (1210-1239), looked about for a new field of conquest; they found it on the lower Vistula, where they settled with the countenance of the Pope, the Emperor, and the King of Poland to reduce the heathen Slavs. But, embroiled with their Polish protector by their territorial ambitions, they were reduced, after 1466, to narrow boundaries in East Prussia; and hardly a voice was raised in their favour when the last Grand Master, a Hohenzollern by birth, became a Protestant and bequeathed the lands of the Order to his own family (1525).

From the adventures of the Frankish colonists we turn with relief to notice the last expiring flashes of enthusiasm in the armies equipped for their relief. The Germans and Hungarians of the Fifth Crusade (1217) showed more sincerity than worldly wisdom in delegating the chief command to a papal legate, and in following to the bitter end his reckless plan of campaign. Inspired with the hope of expelling Islam from the Eastern Mediterranean, they would neither be content with Damietta, which they conquered, nor with the Holy Land, which was offered in exchange by the Sultan of Egypt. They would have all or nothing, and they lost even Damietta in the end. Their discomfiture by the Nile floods, which they had forgotten to take into their reckoning, was a tragi-comic ending to a campaign in which greed and discord had been expiated by extraordinary daring. St. Louis, in his Crusades of 1248 and 1270, flew in the face of common prudence and was thought a pious fool, even by the barons who were too loyal to disobey his call. But it is such follies that make history something better than a Newgate Calendar of the crimes of common sense. He was no general; his attack on Egypt was foredoomed to failure, and was made more disastrous by neglect of ordinary precautions; that on Tunis, undertaken in the heat of an African summer, ended, as might have been expected, in his own death and the decimation of his followers by disease. Even as an example these expeditions were all but fruitless. Yet, when the worst has been said of the Crusades and those who led them, there are moments in the quixotic career of St. Louis which haunt the fancy and compel our admiration: his bearing when, a captive of the Egyptian Sultan, he refused, even under threats of torture, to barter a single Christian fortress for his freedom; his lonely watch in Palestine, when for three years he patiently awaited the reinforcements that were never sent; his death-bed, when he prayed for strength to despise good fortune and not to fear adversity. Ideals may fade, but the memories of those who realise them are the world's abiding possession.

If we ask what results of a more tangible sort remained from the Crusades, when the service of the Holy Sepulchre had become a legend, and the name of Crusade a byeword for whatever enterprises are most impractical and visionary, the answer must be, that they affected Europe chiefly in a negative sense and through indirect channels. They helped to discredit the conception of the Church militant; they relieved Europe of a surplus population of feudal adventurers; and they accelerated the impoverishment of those other feudal families which took an occasional part in the Holy War. It has never been proved that they led to wholesale emancipation of serfs, or wholesale enfranchisement of towns; though it is true that all such expeditions meant an increased demand for ready money. To Western civilisation they contributed very little, the truth being that there was little to be learned from the Mohammedans in Syria. It is through Palermo and Toledo, where Christianity and Islam met and mixed in peaceful intercourse, that the knowledge of Arab science and philosophy filtered into Europe. The Fourth Crusade was an exception to the general rule; it is no accident that Venetian art and architecture developed rapidly when the republic was brought into close and friendly relations with Constantinople. Through these relations, and through studying the masterpieces brought home by the Crusaders, Venetian artists recovered the antique feeling for pure form, and founded a school which was classical in spirit, Christian only in external and unessential features. The learning and literature which the Eastern Empire inherited from Rome and Athens had no attraction for Venetian merchant princes. But north of the Alps, and especially at Paris, the thirteenth century saw an increasing interest in the Greek language, and in Greek books, so far as they were useful to theologians or scholastic disputants. Politically the Fourth Crusade is memorable for its effect upon the Italian balance of power. It gave Venice an advantage over her commercial rivals, Pisa and Genoa, which she never lost; it gave her also a unique position as an intermediary between East and West; and it placed her at the head of an empire comparable to those of Athens and of Carthage, the great sea-powers of antiquity. But the nation-states of Northern Europe, who had borne the burden and heat of the Crusades, were less affected by them, politically or otherwise, than were the city-states of Italy.