Page 1401

1401 THE CRUSADES-FALL OF THE CROSS:

interdicts of the Pope, he collected a small Squadron and departed for Palestine.

The armament with which the Emperor,

still under the ban, set out on his mission

consisted of only twenty galleys. Those

who had had experience in the long-continued

wars with the Infidels were excited to contempt on witnessing the departure of the

ruler of the German Empire with such a force

on such an expedition. It was not long, however, until their contempt was turned into

wonder at the extraordinary success which

attended the arms of Frederick. Notwithstanding the anathemas of the Pope, and the

unwearied efforts of that potentate to defeat

his plans and cover him with disgrace, the

Emperor made all speed to Acre, and there

with his handful of soldiers prepared for the

reconquest of Palestine. Both the Hospitallers and the Templars, acting under the

commands of the Pope, withheld their support, and Frederick was left with only his

own troops and the Teutonic knights. Such,

however, was the vigor of his movements that

many of the Syrian chivalry were impelled by

a sense of shame, even against the papal interdict, to join their German brethren in their

struggle with the Infidels.

Having made every thing secure at Acre,

Frederick courageously set his forces in

motion toward Jaffa. Contrary to expectation, this stronghold was taken from the

Turks, refortified, and garrisoned. It appears that Frederick, more wise than his

predecessors in the Holy War, had conceived the project of playing off the sultan

of Damascus against his brother of Cairo,

and of gaining through their conflict of interests and ambitions what the other Crusaders had failed to reach-the recovery of

Jerusalem. But before he was able to achieve

any results by this shrewd policy, Coradinus

died and Camel was left without a rival to

contend with the German invaders. Frederick, however, was not to be put from his

purpose. He pressed forward from Jaffa in

the direction of the Holy City) and the Infidels fell back before him. Bethlehem,

Nazareth, and other important places were

taken without a battle, and so great was the

alarm both in Jerusalem and in Damascus

that the sultan made overtures for peace.

Thus, against all expectation (unless it were his own), Frederick found himself in a position to dictate terms almost as favorable

as might have been obtained by the conquerors

of Damietta. Nor has any one ever been

able to discover the nature of the motives

which he was able to bring to bear on the

sultan to secure so favorable a settlement.

It was stipulated that henceforth all Christians should have free access to the Holy

City; that the Mohammedans should approach the temple on Moriah only in the garb

of pilgrims; that Bethlehem, Nazareth, and

other recent conquests should remain to the

Christians; that the peace should not be

broken for a period of ten years.

Great was the wrath of the Pope on hearing of the victory of the excommunicated

prince. The whole power of the Church

was rallied to deny and explain away the

signal success and good fortune of Frederick. The latter, however, was now in a

position to laugh at, if not despise, his enemies. Preferring to consider himself under

the ban, he determined to celebrate his coronation in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Nor durst the Moslems offer any

opposition to the ceremony. The Emperor

accordingly entered the city with his train

of Teutonic Knights and soldiers, and, repairing to the altar, took therefrom the

crown and placed it on his head; for the patriarch of Jerusalem, fearing the Pope, refused

to perform the crowning, nor would the

Templars and Hospitallers be present at

the ceremony. Thus, in the year 1229, the

Fifth and least pretentious of all the Crusades terminated with complete success. The

victorious Emperor returned to Acre, and

then set sail for Europe, followed by the

plaudits of his own countrymen, but jeered

at and scandalized by the papal party throughout Palestine. It had already come to pass

that Rome looked with greater aversion and

hatred upon a heretical and disobedient

Christian than upon the worst of the Infidel

Turks.

Such was the anger of the papal party

against him by whom the restoration of

Christian influence in the Holy Land had

been achieved, that no efforts were made to

conserve the fruits of his conquests. Not

satisfied with this negative policy, the adherents of Gregory began a series of active

aggressions against Frederick, looking to the

undoing of his Imperial title, and the

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