La Conquête De Constantinople


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The Covenant With the Doge of Venice


When mass had been said, the doge desired the envoys to humbly ask the people to assent to the proposed covenant. The envoys came into the church. Curiously were they looked upon by many who had not before had sight of them.

Geoffroy de Villehardouin, the marshal of Champagne, by will and consent of the other envoys, acted as spokesman and said unto them, "Lords, the barons of France, most high and powerful, have sent us to you; and they cry to you for mercy, that you take pity on Jerusalem, which is in bondage to the Turks, and that, for God’s sake, you help to avenge the shame of Christ Jesus. And for this end they have elected to come to you, because they know full well that there is no other people having so great power on the seas as you and your people. And they commanded us to fall at your feet, and not to rise till you consent to take pity on the Holy Land which is beyond the seas."

Then the six envoys knelt at the feet of the people, weeping many tears. And the doge and all the others burst into tears of pity and compassion, and cried with one voice, and lifted up their hands, saying, "We consent, we consent!" Then was there so great a noise and tumult that it seemed as if the earth itself was falling to pieces.

And when this great tumult and passion of pity — greater did never any man see — were appeased, the good doge of Venice, who was very wise and valiant, went up into the reading-desk and spoke to the people and said to them, "Signors, behold the honor that God has done you; for the best people in the world have chosen you to join them in so high an enterprise as the deliverance of our Lord!"

All the good and beautiful words that the doge then spoke, I cannot repeat to you. But the end of the matter was that the covenants were to be made on the following day; and made they were, and devised accordingly. When they were concluded, it was notified to the council that we should go to Babylon,1 because the Turks could better be destroyed in Babylon than in any other land; but to the folk at large it was only told that we were bound to go overseas. We were then in Lent (March, 1201), and by St. John’s Day, in the following year — which would be twelve hundred and two years after the Incarnation of Jesus Christ — the barons and pilgrims were to be in Venice and the ships ready against their coming.

1 Villehardouin, , ch. vi, secs. 26–30.

1 By "Babylon" must be understood Cairo. It seems that Egypt, at this time the center of the Moslem power, was to be the first point of attack.


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Chicago: "The Covenant With the Doge of Venice," La Conquête De Constantinople in Readings in Early European History, ed. Webster, Hutton (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1926), 377. Original Sources, accessed June 19, 2024,

MLA: . "The Covenant With the Doge of Venice." La Conquête De Constantinople, in Readings in Early European History, edited by Webster, Hutton, Boston, Ginn and Company, 1926, page 377. Original Sources. 19 Jun. 2024.

Harvard: , 'The Covenant With the Doge of Venice' in La Conquête De Constantinople. cited in 1926, Readings in Early European History, ed. , Ginn and Company, Boston, pp.377. Original Sources, retrieved 19 June 2024, from