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By Candia was still holding out against the invaders. The same year the Ottomans gained another reinforcement to continue their siege. The Venetian blockade on the Dardanelle led to series of naval battles between the two forces, and although the Venetians won some great victories, there was no change in the situation at Candia. The city was heavily bombarded throughout the next 16 years.

In the Ottomans won a decisive naval battle and ended the life of a great Venetian captain. Despite heavy losses on the Ottoman side, the siege continued.


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In again, new Ottoman reinforcements arrived on Crete. The came in the winter, with the Grand Vizier himself overseeing the siege. The last phase of the siege of Candia began and in the next 28 months over 70, Ottoman soldiers died during attempts on the walls, along with about 38, of the siege workers. The defenders lost over 29, lives continuously repelling the never-ending attacks of the Ottomans.

In a peace treaty was offered from the Ottomans, who suggested the Venetians keep half of Crete, but the defenders refused. Venice was eager to break the siege with the reinforcements they had coming and keep the entire island. Furthermore, they knew that the Ottoman court was in turmoil and politically unstable. Their hope was that the Cretan war would soon be over. Lines of ships lay drawn up in dockyards, while others sat bobbing and bumping at anchor, ready to sail.

Yet the shortfall of holy warriors condemned dozens of these vessels to ghostly inactivity. Dandolo had to act: he summoned the leaders of the crusade and bluntly demanded the money due to him. Robert of Clari suggests that this was coupled with a threat. The doge exclaimed:.

Lords, you have used us ill, for as soon as your messengers made the bargain with me I commanded through all my land that no trader should go trading, but that all should help prepare this navy. So they have waited ever since and have not made any money for a year and a half past.

Instead, they have lost a great deal, and therefore, we wish, my men and I, that you should pay us the money you owe us.

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The Siege Of Venice by J Keates -

And if you do not do so, then know that you shall not depart from this island before we are paid, nor shall you find anyone to bring you anything to eat or to drink. The Devastatio Constantinopolitana, an anonymous eye-witness account of the expedition written by a Rhineland crusader, paints a grim picture of conditions on the barren Lido: trapped, for day after day on the dull, flat sandbar; bored, hungry and condemned to wait on the decisions of their commanders.

The author emphasised the suffering of the poor and their sense of being exploited by the crusade leadership—regardless of whether they were French or Venetian. These feelings of tedium and powerlessness, as well as the difficulties of survival, are representative of the lot of the average crusader and reveal how arduous such expeditions were. The Devastatio also mentions that many crusaders deserted and either travelled home or went south to Apulia.

The result was that the dead could barely be buried by the living. Other writers record that some crusaders managed to make the short journey over to Venice and acquire food; and Robert of Clari maintained that the doge continued to provide food and drink because he was such a worthy man. However—and as an illustration of the difficulties in raising money for such expeditions—many were unable to do so. Perhaps they had hoped that a wealthy lord would take them under his patronage as quite often happened on crusade , or else they believed that the general fund, including the sums raised by the papal taxes, would contribute towards their expenses.

For some men, the initial attraction of the crusade had paled and the enthusiasm to recover the Holy Land was becoming an increasingly distant and ephemeral dream when set against the day-to-day needs of survival. Cardinal Peter Capuano tried, unsuccessfully, to intervene with the Venetians and to persuade them to be patient with the crusaders. He also attempted to streamline the expedition. Further discussion was clearly needed. The French acknowledged that the Venetians had fulfilled their side of the bargain in good faith, and that the problem lay with the crusaders.

Again, Villehardouin was refusing to acknowledge his own responsibility in the original estimate of the numbers and was trying to deflect blame for this increasingly grotesque mistake. With insufficient money to pay the Venetians, the nobles faced the grim prospect of the expedition collapsing before it had even begun. They fretted over the injury to their honour and lamented the continuing danger to the Holy Land. Some men were ready to abandon the arrangement with Venice entirely and argued that they, as individuals, had paid the agreed sum for their passage and, if the Venetians were unwilling to take them to the Levant, then they would sail from elsewhere or, as Villehardouin suspected, simply return home.

For God will doubtless repay us in His own good time. The leadership dug deep into their personal resources to try to bridge the gap between the sum raised and that owed to the doge. He had, as Robert of Clari reported, already spent much of the anticipated payment in the construction and equipping of the fleet and he had also required the Venetians to cease trading for more than a year —with obvious financial consequences. As the man who had led his people in the original negotiations, Dandolo had a duty to ensure that Venice did not lose out.

Furthermore, the doge was a proud man and by leaving a legacy of bankruptcy to his mother city his reputation would be fatally compromised. He was also a canny politician with an appreciation of the wider diplomatic picture. Dandolo argued that if, as they were legally entitled, the Venetians kept what had been paid, but did not take the crusade to the Holy Land because of the overall shortfall, they would provoke widespread ill-feeling across the Christian West.

More pertinently, he would enrage the crusading army on his doorstep. As these were equally unacceptable options, the crusade had to go on and he had to find a way for the crusaders to relieve the debt in full.


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Dandolo suggested that the crisis could be alleviated by the Venetians and the crusaders attacking the city of Zara on the Dalmatian coast, around miles south-east of Venice. Control of Zara had long been an aim of the Venetians and here was an excellent opportunity for them to assert their authority. The doge decided that payment of the debt should be suspended and subsequently, God permitting, the crusaders would be able to win the money they owed by right of conquest. A diversion to Zara would at least start the campaign and move the men away from the environs of Venice itself.

Even worse, Emico was marked with the cross and nominally committed to the same cause as themselves. Dandolo was, therefore, asking the crusaders to direct their energies against a Christian city and, crucially, against a man whose lands—as a crusader—were under papal protection. Was this Venetian empire-building or just an ingenious way to keep the crusade going? The answer is probably both, yet as the campaign unfolded, it was a combination that increasing numbers of crusaders found themselves unable to stomach. The crusade leaders discussed the offer and, according to Robert of Clari, chose not to reveal the plan to go to Zara to the rank and file of the army for fear of an adverse reaction.

As Villehardouin relates the decision to go to Zara, there was some initial dissent from those amongst the leadership who wanted the army to disband anyway, but this was soon overcome and the agreement to besiege the city was quickly concluded. The city of Zara was a wealthy, independent mercantile power compelled to live under the economic shadow of the Venetians. It is properly fortified with a first-class wall and extremely high towers.

On many occasions during the twelfth century it had tried to break free from the supervision of its powerful northern neighbour.

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At the times when they operated under Venetian overlordship, Zaran merchants were given the same privileges in Venice as the native merchants themselves. Zara was also important in providing much of the wood so essential in the construction of the Venetian fleet; the forests of Dalmatia supplied excellent oak—in contrast to the paucity of such material in the Veneto by this time.


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In , however, the Zarans had thrown off Venetian authority and six years later they forged a deal with King Bela III of Hungary to move under his protection. Three Venetian attacks on the city failed, but in the opportunity for the doge to crush his rebellious neighbour and to quell a possible source of disorder during his absence on the crusade was extremely tempting. Around the same time as he advanced this proposal, the doge bound himself ever closer to the crusading cause—ironically, of course, just as he was about to attack a Christian city.

The Siege Of Venice

There, before mass began, he climbed the steps of the lectern and, with the great central dome arching above him, addressed the congregation. Up to this point Dandolo had simply been a commercial contractor, arranging for the transportation of the crusade and acting solely in a business capacity.

But in terms of status and spiritual standing he desired to move forward. After securing a continuity of government—and, of course, the position of his own family—the old man was led down from the lectern towards the high altar under the easternmost dome of the church.

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There he knelt sobbing, before handing over his cotton cap to the churchmen standing there. Perhaps in recognition of his status, they departed from convention and sewed a cross onto his headgear rather than his shoulder. Dandolo wanted everyone to see him as a crusader and this in turn inspired many of his citizens to come forward to take the cross.

This spiritual commitment drew the Italians and the Frenchmen into a closer bond than before and helped to intensify a shared aim that would sustain the crusade over the next few years. Some of the crusaders, meanwhile, had yet to come to terms with the prospect of a campaign at Zara and, the longer they considered it, the more unpopular an idea it became.

The notion of a crusade attacking Christian lands was not new. The basic differences between these cases and the Venetian plan was that Zara was a Catholic city. Besieging a city subject to the overlordship of a crusader in this case, King Emico of Hungary would mean conflicting with the papal promise to protect the property of all who took the cross.

It would, therefore, open up the prospect of excommunication for the attackers. It seems that news of the target began to reach the ordinary troops and there were increasing murmurs of dissent. At this point, however, the level of ill-feeling simmered just below the surface and did not prevent the final preparations for setting sail.

When Venice rocked the boat

Villehardouin mentions that more than siege machines were loaded aboard, including equipment and material for constructing towers and ladders—more evidence of how thoroughly the Venetians had prepared the fleet for the invasion of Egypt and an assault on Alexandria. After the long, morale-sapping months on the Lido, real activity gave renewed energy and vigour to the holy warriors. The eye-witness accounts make plain what a magnificent and stirring sight this made—a kaleidoscope of patterns and movement.

Before him stood four trumpeters, while above him flew the banner of St Mark depicting a winged lion; on other ships, drummers set up a relentless, driving beat. Each of the crusading nobles had his own vessel: Baldwin, Louis, Hugh, Geoffrey, Martin of Pairis, Conrad of Halberstadt were all accompanied by their own men. The knights hung their shields, brightly decorated with their own family colours, from the front of their ship and hoisted their banners aloft to top the masts. A dazzling array of flags and pennons fluttered and shimmered in the autumn breeze.

Robert of Clari reported that a hundred pairs of trumpets, of silver and of brass, all sounded at the departure, and he marvelled at the pounding of so many drums and tabors and other instruments. The tumultuous noise generated huge excitement in the crusaders and the explosive array of colour and military strength thrilled everyone and inspired powerful feelings of confidence and anticipation.

Yet this conspicuous display of worldly honour and pride did not exclude the spiritual element of the crusade.

The War of Candia

As the fleet edged out to sea, the ships began to unfurl their sails like a mass of pupating caterpillars, shedding their cocoons and extending their wings. Again, the sense of shared power, of an almost uncontrollable force, seeps out from his writing and conveys the thrill felt by the Christian army. All did not go smoothly for everyone, however. The Viola, one of the largest transport ships, sank. Several French nobles were unable to embark because of ill-health, and one group, led by Stephen of Perche, chose instead to travel to Apulia from where they sailed to the Levant in the spring of More significantly, Boniface of Montferrat claimed that he needed to attend to urgent matters in his homelands and would rejoin the army as soon as he could.

This neatly removed him from participation in the attack on Zara and ensured that the marquis stayed in good standing with the pope. Sailing east from Venice, the crusade passed by the cities of Trieste and Muglia and secured their submission. Spies were ubiquitous in the medieval world and, once the plan became known amongst the crusaders, it was inevitable that the Zarans would discover it soon enough. They prepared to defend themselves. In Rome, meanwhile, Pope Innocent was well aware of this disturbing development from his representative with the crusade, Cardinal Peter Capuano, who had travelled from Venice to the papal court in the late autumn.

The cardinal had some sympathy with the crusaders and appreciated the dreadful dilemma in which they found themselves. For him at least, the greatest priority was to see the crusade carry on. Videos: A more casually danced version, done to reel music. The couple to the left sevens behind the couple to the right and ends with a rise and grind.

The couples sidestep again couples going right go behind and rise and grind again. Pass right shoulders with the person opposite. All take hands and repeat the dance with a new line. Added on