1322 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.
crown, with his head in it, seemed to be
pressed flat between a Turkish shield and a
Christian buckler. Beyond the Bosphorus
was the flaming Crescent. Over the Hungarian forest was seen the portentous shadow of
the coming Cross.
The Greek Emperor, with something of
the old-time craftiness of his race, perceived
that the Crusaders were really adventurers.
He knew that the Franks, and especially the
Normans, had just one class of friends-those who had nothing; and one class of enemies-those who had something. He understood that these greedy descendants of the Northmen would discover in the luxurious capital of the East every thing which was calculated
to excite their cupidity; and what robber in
the presence of spoil ever failed to find a
cause of quarrel?
The situation was in the highest degree
critical. The armies at the disposal of Alexius were made up of mercenaries. At all
times such forces are notoriously disloyal, or
rather the motive of loyalty is altogether
wanting in such a soldiery. To match the
hired barbarians of the Eastern Empire
against the mail clad warriors of Godfrey
and Raymond was like setting curs on mastiffs. So the Emperor fell back on craft and
Meanwhile the several crusading armies
took up their march for the East. For a
while affairs went well. By and by, however, Hugh of Vermandois, leader of the
French Knights, having set out with the
Pope's banner and blessing, was wrecked
on the coast of Epirus. In this catastrophe Alexius perceived his opportunity. He
ordered Count Hugh to be seized, brought
to Constantinople, and held as a hostage.
By this means he hoped to make King Philip
of France, a brother of the prisoner, dependent upon his pleasure respecting the
future conduct of the Crusade. Count
Hugh was also held as a pledge for the
future good conduct of the Franks while
traversing the territories of the Empire.
The chivalrous Godfrey was deeply in