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Middle Ages

Then came Henry Dandolo, the Doge of Venice, who was' an old man and saw naught. And he brought with him as many people as he had, and these were quite as many as the Emperor Baldwin and Count Louis had brought, and he encamped before one of the gates. On the morrow they were joined by a troop of mounted sergeants, but these might well have been better men than they proved themselves to be. And the host [note: meaning here a little obscure.

This dolorous news came to Henry the Regent of the empire, while he was going in procession to the shrine of our Lady of Blachemae, on the day of the feast of our Lady St. Mary Candlemas. And you must know that many were then dismayed in Constantinople, and they thought of a truth that the land was but lost. And Henry, the Regent of the empire, decided that he would place a garrison in Selymbria, which was a two days' journey from Constantinople, and he sent thither Macaire of Sainte-Menehould, with fifty knights to garrison the city.

Now give ear to one of the greatest marvels, and most wonderful adventures that you have ever heard tell of. At that time there was an emperor in Constantinople, whose name was Isaac, and he had a brothor, Alexius by name, whom he had ransomed from captivity among the Turks. This Alexius took his brother the emperor, tore the eyes out of his head, and made himself emperor by the aforesaid treachery. He kept Isaac a long time in prison, together with a son whose name was Alexius. This son escaped from prison, and fled in a ship to a city on the sea, which is called Ancona.

The emperor, with as many men as he possessed, had prepared to go to Adrianople, when tidings came, very grievous, that Escurion, who was admiral of the galleys of Theodore Lascaris, had entered with seventeen galleys into the straits of Abydos, in the channel of St. George, and come before Skiza, where Peter of Bracieux then was, and Payen of Orléans; and that the said Escurion was besieging the city by sea, while Theodore Lascaris was besieging it by land.

The day was fixed on which the host should embark on the ships and transports to take the land by force, and either live or die. And be it known to you that the enterprise to be achieved was one of the most redoubtable ever attempted. Then did the bishops and clergy speak to the people, and tell them how they must confess, and make each one his testament, seeing that no one knew what might be the will of God concerning him. And this was done right willingly throughout the host, and very piously.

Thus did the war begin; and each side did to the other as much harm as they could, by sea and by land. The Franks and the Greeks fought often; but never did they fight, let God be praised therefor I that the Greeks did not lose more than the Franks. So the war lasted a long space, till the heart of the winter.

While the Emperor Baldwin was thus at Salonika, and the land surrendering to his good pleasure and commandment, the Marquis Boniface of Montferrat, with all his people and a great quantity of Greeks who held to his side, marched to Adrianople and besieged it, and pitched his tents and pavilions round about. Now Eustace of Saubruic was therein, with the people whom the emperor had left there, and they mounted the walls and towers and made ready to defend themselves.

Then came tidings that Johannizza, King of Wallachia, was coming upon them to relieve the city. So they set their affairs in order, and it was arranged that Geoffry the Marshal, and Manasses of l'Isle should guard the camp, and that the Emperor Baldwin and all the remainder of the host should issue from the camp if so be that johanizza came and offered battle.

Twelve leagues thence lay the city of Rodosto, on the sea. Tt was very strong, and rich, and large, and very well garrisoned by Venetians, And besides all this, there had come thither a body of sergeants, some two thousand strong, and they had also come to guard the city. When they heard that Napoli had been taken by force, and that Johannizza had caused all the people that were therein to be put to death, they fell in to such terror that they were utterly confounded and foredone.

Then were the ships and transports apportioned by the barons. Ah, God I what fine war-horses were put therein. And when the ships were fulfilled with arms and provisions, and knights and sergeants, the shields were ranged round the bulwarks and castles of the ships, and the banners displayed, many and fair.

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