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Middle Ages

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.

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 off speaking of those who were at Philippopolis, and of Renier of Trit, who is shut up in Stanimac, and return to Henry, the brother of the Emperor Baldwin, who had sojourned at Pamphyle till the beginning of winter. Then he took council with his men and with his barons; and they decided to set a garrison in a city called Rusium, which was situate at a place rich and fertile in the middle of the land; and the chiefs placed over this garrison were Thierri of Loos, who was seneschal, and Thierri of Tenremonde, who was constable.

Then the Doge spoke to his people, and said unto them:

Signors, these people cannot pay more; and in so far as they have paid at all, we have benefited by an agreement which they cannot now fulfil. But our right to keep this money would not everywhere be acknowledged; and if we so kept it we should be greatly blamed, both us and our land. Let us therefore offer them terms.

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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