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Middle Ages

The envoys came before the Emperor Isaac, and the emperor and all those about him did them great honour. And the envoys said that they desired to speak to him privily, ,on the part of his son, and of the barons of the host. And he rose and entered into a chamber, and took with him only the empress, and his chancellor, and his dragoman (interpreter) and the four envoys.

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."

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 a parliament assembled, and the commons of the host declared that an emperor must be elected, as had been settled aforetime. And they parliamented so long that the matter was adjourned to another day, and on that day would they choose the twelve electors who were to make the election. Nor was it possible that there should be lack of candidates, or of men covetous, seeing that so great an honour was in question as the imperial throne of Constantinople.

The marquis would have given him land and possessions so that he might remain with him, but he would not, and spoke to William of Champlitte, who was his friend, and said: " Sir, I come from a land that is very rich, and is called Morea. Take as many men as you can collect, and leave this host, and let us go and conquer that land by the help of God.

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