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1395 THE CRUSADES-FALL OF THE CROSS.

of the city, whom they regarded as having

instigated the outrage, they obliged them

to seek shelter in the camp of the Crusaders.

The circumstances of the deposition and

murder of Isaac and his son Alexius in a

conspiracy headed by Angelus Ducas, surnamed Mourzoufle, and the assumption of

the crown by the latter; the wrath of the

Crusaders on learning of what was done;

the second siege of Constantinople; the

capture and pillage of that city; the desecration of the churches; the overthrow of

the Greek Empire, and the establishment

of a Latin dynasty in the capital of the

Eastern Caesars, have already been narrated in the Ninth Book of the preceding

Volume. As soon as this work was accomplished, the Western revolutionists set

about the partition of the spoils of an empire. As to the vacant throne of Constantinople, the same was conferred on Baldwin,

count of Flanders. The new emperor-elect

was raised on a buckler by the barons and

knights and borne on their shoulders to the

Church of St. Sophia, where he was clothed

with imperial purple. The Marquis of Montferrat was rewarded with Macedonia and

Greece and the title of king. The various

provinces of the Empire in Europe and Asia

were divided among the barons who commanded the Crusaders, but not until three-eighths of the whole, including Crete and

most of the archipelago, had been set aside

for the Republic of Venice.

As soon as the division of the territorial

and other spoils had been effected, the barons

and knights departed with their respective

followers to occupy their provinces. As

to the two fugitives, Alexius Angelus and

Ducas Mourzoufle, both usurpers and both

claiming the Imperial dignity, the former

soon fell into the power of the latter, and

was deprived of his eyes; while Mourzoufle

himself was seized by the Latins, tried and

condemned, and cast headlong from the

lofty summit of the Pillar of Theodosius.

A new claimant hereupon arose in the person of Theodore Lascaris, who, possessing

more of the qualities of heroism than any

of his predecessors of the preceding century,

obtained the lead of the anti-Latin parties

in the East, and became a formidable obstacle

to the progress and permanency of the Latin Empire. Thus, in a marvelous manner,

unforeseen alike by Christians and Moslems,

the original purpose of the Fourth Crusade

was utterly abandoned and forgotten. The

impulse of the movement expired west of

the Bosphorus; and the blows of the chivalrous barons and knights of France and

Italy fell upon the heads of the Byzantine

Greeks instead of the crests of the warriors

of Islam.

The interval between the Fourth and Fifth

Crusades was noted for the extraordinary

spectacle of an uprising among the boys

and children of France and Germany. In

the spring of 1212 a French peasant boy

by the name of Stephen began to preach a

Crusade to those of his own age. The appeal was directed to both sexes. Heaven

had ordained the weak things of this world

to confound the mighty. The children of

Christendom were to take the Holy Sepulcher from the Infidels! Another peasant

boy named Nicholas took up the refrain in

Germany and mustered an army of innocents

at Cologne. Around the fanatical standards

of these two striplings was gathered a great

multitude of boys and girls who, in rustic

attire, and with no armor more formidable

than shepherds' crooks, set out under the

sanction of a royal edict to battle with the

Moslems of Syria. Embarking from Marseilles under the lead of a few pious fools,

older but no wiser than themselves, they came

to a miserable end by shipwreck on the island

of San Pietro. Such was the so called Children's Crusade-one of the strangest and

most absurd spectacles recorded in history.

There still remain to be recounted the

annals of the last four movements of Christendom against the Turks. The conquest

of the Greek Empire was effected in the

year 1204. Never was there to all human

seeming a more unfortunate diversion of

an enterprise than that which turned the

Fourth Crusade against Constantinople instead of Jerusalem. The condition of the

Islamite dominion in the East was at this

juncture precisely such as to invite a renewal of the eSorts of the Christians for

the recovery of the Holy City. Egypt was

dreadfully scourged with pestilence and famine. Syria was rent with the disputes and

turmoils of the successors of Saladin. Every

circumstance seemed favorable to the