Western Crusaders: Bold but Dumb

Nicetas Choniates, The Capture of Constantinople:

“Baldwin, then, having become king, left for the western lands, not with the intention of subduing them (for he considered everything easy to conquer ‘wherever I step, I will shake the earth with my spear,’ as he put it, boasting in his regal way that it was of no great difficulty), but so that he could go through friendly lands, saluted before all as the King of the Romans, for the sake of which he did not deem some of the people in the Roman army and political system worth his attention, so he sent them all away at once. This seemed like the right treatment for the other leaders and marshals of the Romans. For they separated manliness from the other kindred virtues and claimed it as their own as though it were innate and habitual to them, and they allowed none of the other races to be compared to them in the works of war. But none of the Graces or the Muses was ever given hospitable treatment by these barbarians. Beyond that, I think that they were by nature savage and possessed of an anger which far outran their faculty of reason.”

Baldwin I of Constantinople.jpg

Βασιλεύσας τοίνυν ὁ Βαλδουῖνος ἐς μέρη ἔξεισι τὰ ἑσπέρια, οὐχ ὡς αὐτὰ χειρωσόμενος (πάντα γάρ οἱ ἁλώσιμα ᾤετο, „πᾷ βῶ καὶ κινήσω τὰν γᾶν τῷ δόρατι” μικροῦ κομπάζων καὶ λίαν ἀγερώχως φθεγγόμενος), ἀλλ’ ὡς διὰ φιλίων χώρων παρελευσόμενος καὶ βασιλεὺς ῾Ρωμαίων ἀναγορευθησόμενος πρὸς παντός, οὗ χάριν οὐδὲ κομιδῆς οἱασοῦν κατηξιώκει τινὰς τῶν ῾Ρωμαίων ἐκ τοῦ στρατιωτικοῦ τε καὶ πολιτικοῦ συντάγματος, ἀλλ’ ἁπαξάπαντας ἀπεπέμψατο. τοῦτο δὲ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις τοῦ στρατοῦ ἡγεμόσι καὶ κόμησι δέδοκτο· τὴν γὰρ ἀνδρείαν τῶν συννόμων ἀρετῶν ἀφορίζοντες καὶ ταύτην ἑαυτοῖς οἰκειοῦντες ὡς συγγενὲς καὶ σύντροφον ἐπιτήδευμα οὐδὲν τῶν ἄλλων ἐθνῶν εἰς ῎Αρεος ἔργα παρασυμβεβλῆσθαι σφίσιν ἠνείχοντο. ἀλλ’ οὐδέ τις τῶν Χαρίτων ἢ τῶν Μουσῶν παρὰ τοῖς βαρβάροις τούτοις ἐπεξενίζετο· καὶ παρὰ τοῦτο οἶμαι καὶ τὴν φύσιν ἦσαν ἀνήμεροι καὶ τὸν χόλον εἶχον τοῦ λόγου προτρέχοντα.

One thought on “Western Crusaders: Bold but Dumb

Leave a Reply