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Urbs Capta The Fourth Crusade and its Consequences
La IV Croisade et ses consequences
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THE IMPACT OF THE FOURTH CRUSADE IN THE WEST: THE DISTRIBUTION OF RELICS AFTER 1204
The English canon lawyer Gervase of Tilbury, writing about ten years after the fall of Constantinople, presents a review of how all the great cities of the world are eventually brought down: among the fallen is Constantinople, which "has recently been despoiled of her treasures by the Gauls and the Italians. "' Gervase, well informed and cosmopolitan, does not present this as a triumph of all the Latin West, despite the fact that he was writing for Otto IV, the man whom he regarded as the rightful emperor. Forty years later, the xenophobic St. Albans chronicler Matthew Paris was equally emphatic. The province of Canterbury objected to papal taxation, he said, not only because it could not afford it, but because it "is for the use of the French, who persecute us and our people, for the conquest of the empire of the Greeks. "2 In Matthew, perhaps, jealousy at the cultural and political dominance of Louis lX's kingdom was reinforced by the belief that, ultimately, it was the French who were the chief beneficiaries of Constantinople's Christian heritage.
It may well have been true that Urban IV felt as if spears had pierced his heart when he heard that the Byzantines had recaptured Constantinople in 1261, but the fact was that throughout their history the Latin states in Greece were always associated in the popular mind with sectional and regional interests rather than the cause of Latin Christendom as a whole? Not unexpectedly, therefore, the impact of the Fourth Crusade in the West was felt most strongly in those regions which had supplied the bulk of the armies, and for people in those places the most evident consequence of this link was the dramatic appear- ance in their cathedrals, churches, and monasteries of relics on an unprecedented scale. Gervase's perception was confirmed by the fundamental studies of Paul Riant, published in the 1870s, in which he identified eight main areas as recipients. Five of these were in "France" in the medieval sense of north of the Loire, that is, Picardy, Burgundy, Blois, Champagne, and the Ile-de-France, and three were outside, two of which were the adjacent regions of Flanders and the Rhineland, and one the subalpine region of northern Italy, of which Venice was naturally the most important. ' Although the actions of indi-
* University of Reading. 1. GERVASE OF TILBURY, Otia Itnperialia. Recreation: for an Emperor, ed. and trans. BANKS, S.
E., and BtNNs, J. W., Oxford Medieval Texts, Oxford, 2002, pp. 402-403. This regional focus is confirmed by the decision of the barons to ask for help in the spring, 1205. According to Villehar- douin, they sent to Rome, France, and Flanders; see GEOFFREY OF VILLEHARDOUIN, La Conquete de Constantinople, ed. FARAL, E., vol. II, Paris, 1939, para. 388, pp. 196-197.
2. MA-rnuEwv PARU, Chronica Majora, IV, ed. LUARD, H. R., Rolls Series 57, London, 1877, p. 597.
3. See BARBER, M., Western Attitudes to Frankish Greece in the Thirteenth Century, in Latins and Greeks in the Eastern Mediterranean after 1204, ed. HAhttLToN, B., ARBEL, B., and JACOBY, D., London, 1989, pp. 111-128.
4. RL, %N7, P., Exuviae Sacrae Constantinopolitanae, I, Geneva, 1877, p. xxiv; RiArrr, P., Des depouilles religieuses enlerees ä Constantinople an Xllle siecle par les Latins, Paris, 1875, p. 72.
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viduals spread them further, they were not in the same concentrations. Thus in the south, for example, Peter Capuano, the papal legate, took relics to his own region around the Bay of Naples, particularly to Amalfi and Gaeta, as well as bringing others for the pope, while in the north an unknown English priest from East Anglia was responsible for the arrival of two fingers of St. Margaret at St. Albans and for the acquisition of a fragment
of the True Cross by the small Cluniac priory of Bromholm in Norfolk. ' Some spines from the Crown of Thorns even found their way to Bergen in Norway, although these were originally a gift from Philip III of France to King Magnus VI, and had not come directly from the East 6
Context is important here, for the dispatch of relics to the West was a well-established practice. The legend of Charlemagne's pilgrimage to Jerusalem, accepted as fact in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, described how he had visited Constantinople and had returned with many relics which he had distributed to churches throughout his kingdom? Crusaders and pilgrims had been involved since at least the 1090s. Robert 11, count of Flanders, en route to Constantinople and Jerusalem during the First Crusade, had traveled no further than southern Italy, when he received from his sister Adela, at that time married to Roger Borsa, duke of Apulia, hair from the Virgin Mary and bones from Sts. Matthew and Nicholas. These he sent back to his wife, Clementia, who, in turn, had a church built specifically to house them at Watten. The church was endowed with various possessions and, in October 1097, was consecrated by Lambert, bishop of Arras, delegated to do this by Manasses II, archbishop of Reims, his metropolitans In these circumstances the trans- lation of the relics of Constantinople would have seemed to many quite natural: after all, as William of Malmesbury said, St. Helena had brought the True Cross there from Jerusalem, relics of the Apostles, prophets, martyrs, confessors, and virgins had been ac- cumulated over time, while the emperors themselves had brought the bodies of the saints there "from every region. " After 1204, therefore, it was obvious to writers like Otto of St. Blaise that the relics should be removed from the care of the Greeks, whose behavior had shown that they were no longer acceptable keepers of these precious objects. Divine justice was evident, for the city had fallen, not to infidels, but to fellow Christians who were God's chosen guardians and beneficiaries. " It is not, therefore, surprising to find that a crusader knight, Dalmas of Sercey, and his companion Ponce of Bussiere were able to convince themselves that taking the head of St. Clement from the monastery of St. Mary Peribleptos was an acceptable way of fulfilling their crusade vows, especially as, despite their best efforts, contrary winds had prevented them from sailing on to Jerusalem. "
See EBERSOLT, J., Orient et Occident. Recherches stir les influences byzantines et orientales en France avant et pendent les croisades, Paris, 1954, pp. 82-91, for the reception of specific objects, especially in northern France.
5. See, for example, the Amalfitan charter of I1 October 1208, organizing future offerings relat- ing to the body of St. Andrew; RIANT, Exuviae, I, no. xxxv, pp. 89-94. For the story of Bromholm, together with relevant texts from Roger of Wendover and Ralph of Coggeshall, see WoRnMALD, F., The Rood of Bromholm, Journal of the Warburg Institute 1,1937-1938, pp. 31-45.
6. RIANT, Exuviae, II, Geneva, 1878, p. 4. 7. Chroniques des Coates d'Anjou, ed. MARCHEGAY, P., and SALMON, A., vol. I, Societe de
l'histoire de France, Paris, 1856, p. 28. 8. Epistulae et chartae ad historian priori belli sacri spectantes, ed. HAOENn1EYER, H., Innsbruck,
1901, no. vtl, pp. 142-143. 9. WILLIAM OF MALMESBURY, Gesta Regum Anglorum, vol. I, ed. and trans. MYNORS, R. A. B.,
completed by THOMSON, R. M., and WtrtraRBorroMM, M., Oxford, 1998, pp. 626-629. 10.0170 OF SAINT BLAISE, Chronicon, in MGH, SS, XX, p. 332. 11. RIANT, Exuviae, 1, pp. 133-134. The account given by Rostang of Cluny.
THE IMPACT OF THE FOURTH CRUSADE IN THE WEST 327
A major aim of such translations was to draw in pilgrims and their alms: in northern France in the lands between the Loire and the Escant in Flanders there had been an active questing policy-since at least 1050.11 The dispatch of relics on fund-raising tours was a method mainly employed by cathedrals and monasteries rather than churches like Watten, which would have relied upon a more local base, but it does suggest an increasing profes- sionalization of the process. By the 1 120s, the commercialization of the relic business had become sufficiently common in, the monastic world for St. Bernard to direct one of his characteristic tirades against it. In his Apologia to William of St. Thierry, he railed against the monastic practice of using relics to attract donations. It is noticeable that he was acutely aware of the importance of presentation. "Byes are fixed on relics covered with gold and purses are opened. " Significantly, though, he did concede that, unlike abbots, bishops had some excuse, in that they needed to "stimulate the devotion of carnal people with material ornaments because they cannot do so with spiritual ones. ""
By 1204 crusaders and pilgrims had been passing through Constantinople in consider- able numbers for more than a century, and Italian (especially Venetian) merchants had been familiar with the city for four centuries. '' Many had recent knowledge of at least some of the relics there, which surpassed those of all other places in quality and quantity. In 1171 King Amalric of Jerusalem, in the course of a visit to the city designed to culti- vate Byzantine support for his projects in Egypt, was shown many of these relics, notably those from the Passion, including the cross, nails, lance, sponge, reed, crown of thorns, shroud, and sandals. 15 There were clearly losses in the period immediately before 1204, especially during the sack; nevertheless, large quantities remained. Baldwin I, who liked to play the part of a Roman emperor distributing largesse, boasted to Innocent III that in Constantinople relics were to be found in such inestimable numbers that it did not seem that there were as many in the whole of Latin Christendom. 16 Most of these relics were taken to the West quite soon after 1204, although their diffusion continued throughout the thirteenth century. Riant's table of commemorative feasts, which were almost always set on the anniversary of the reception of the relic, covers a period extending to 1380, but of the eighty-seven which he lists, forty-six were established between 1205 and 1213, with another fourteen of unknown date. 17
Riant divided the consignments into three parts. The first two he designated official and private, which together produce a total of 317 items, of which 217 were sent between 1204 and 1213. More problematical is his third category, which he describes as "objects of Byzantine provenance, " the attribution and dates of which are not clearly established, but which he presumably believed also emanated from the actions of the crusaders of
12. See HE. toT, P., and CHASTATG, M: L., Quetes et voyages de reliques au profit des dglises francaises du Moyen Age, RHE 59,1964, pp. 790-815.
13. RuDOt. PH, C., The "things of greater importance. " Bernard of Clairvaux's Apologia and the Medieval Attitude toward Art, Philadelphia, 1990, pp. 278-281.
14. See GEARY, P. J., Furta Sacra. Thefts of Relics in the Central Middle Ages, Princeton, N. J., 1978, p. 106.
15. WILLIAM of TYRE, Chronicon, ed. HUYGENS, R. B. C., CCCM 63A, Turnhout, 1986, bk. 20.23, pp. 944-945.
16. RtArrr, Depouilles, p. 14. 17. RiAtrr, Eruviae, H, pp: 289-302. For RIANT, I, p. clxxi, the watershed was in 1247, when,
"because of the urgent necessity of the empire, " Baldwin II ceded to Louis IX all the relics of the Boukoleon, which had been sent back to the West between 1239 and 1247 for the Sainte-Chapelle; ibid., H, no. txxtx, pp. 133-135.
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1204. These add a further ninety-four items, of which at least seventy-six appear to have been sent between 1204 and 1213. The number of individual items was considerably greater than this in that some were assembled into packages, described as containing di- verse relics, or, a number of items from a particular saint, or various martyrs, confessors, and virgins. Once in the West, these would certainly have been broken up and distributed to additional recipients. "
Mostly the crusaders looked in the obvious places, primarily in Haghia Sophia and in the palaces of Blachernai and of Boukoleon, 19 where they generally found what they wanted. Unless they were seeking relics which related to the specific dedication of their home church, the most valuable were those which best reflected trends in the West. Overwhelmingly this meant items relating to the New Testament; a bone from the ram sacrificed by Abraham, received at the abbey of Anchin, and a fragment of the rod of Moses, which went to Soissons, are almost the only representatives of the Old Testament. The rise in interest in the humanity of Christ, together with the associated spread of the Marian cult, meant that parts of the True Cross were most coveted; 20 indeed, despite the predominance of bishops and abbots in relic gathering, it does seem as if they felt obliged to satisfy a demand among the laity by cutting up the wood of the Cross, and dividing it among what the Annals of Cologne describes as the nobiles. These then returned to their native lands and distributed the pieces to local churches and monasteries. " As well as the True Cross, relics connected with the Passion of Christ, the life of the Virgin Mary, and the bodily parts of the disciples and the contemporary saints John the Baptist and Stephen were much in demand. Riant lists items connected with the Passion of Christ, including fragments of the crown of thorns, the lance, the sponge, the stone of the sepulcher, the shroud, linen with holy blood, Christ's tears and blood, together with the reed or fistula. Interest in his infancy is reflected in the acquisition of the knee of St. Simeon by Notre- Dame in Paris and of Simeon's body by the Venetians, where it was destined for the church dedicated to him. Equally, key events in Christ's ministry were evoked by the foot of St. Martha, sister of Lazarus and Mary, which went to the abbey of St. Auchin, and part of the head of Mary Magdalene, taken to Halberstadt. Drops of the Virgin's milk, her mantle, veil, and pieces of her clothes, as well as fragments of her sepulcher, together with the head of St. Anne, her mother, fueled the already intense interest in Mary. Ten of the disciples are represented, which perhaps also explains the importance of the linen used for washing their feet at the Last Supper, acquired by St. Louis for the Sainte- Chapelle. Just as important were the contemporary saints John the Baptist, Paul, Mark, and Barnabas.
18. RiANT, Depouilles, pp. 177-203. The definition of a relic in itself presents problems, as can be seen by Riant's choice of title. The figures given here include a wide range of items, some of which might more accurately be described as precious objects used in the Christian cult.
19. ROBERT OF CLARm, La conquete de Constantinople, ed. LAUER, P., Les classiques francais du Moyen Age, Paris, 1924, paras. 82-85,87-88, pp. 81-84; GORDON, J., The Novgorod Account of the Fourth Crusade, Byz. 43,1973, pp. 309-310.
20. Indeed, the unprecedented pilgrimage access to the holy places for most of the 12th century, itself a result of the success of the First Crusade, made a significant contribution to these attitudes, so it is not surprising to find that crusaders, ecclesiastical and lay, were interested in relics which had a bearing on the stories found in the Gospels. See HAMILTON, B., The Impact of Crusader Jerusalem on Western Christendom, CHR 80,1994, pp. 712-713.
21. Annales Coloniensis Maximi, in MGH, SS, XVII, p. 812.
THE IMPACT OF THE FOURTH CRUSADE IN THE WEST 329
Most of the other saints are martyrs, of whom there are at least twenty-nine male and eight female, ranging from prominent New Testament figures, most importantly St. Stephen, to the third- and fourth-century victims of Roman persecution. Apartfrom these, there are nine early Christian bishops and church fathers, three popes, and two of the charismatic fourth-century anchorites, Sts. Antony and Paul the Hermit. In addition, there is the curious case of St. Helen of Athyra who, initially unknown, ultimately bene- fited from her uniqueness22 Parts of these holy persons included heads (and portions thereof), hair, teeth, a chin, a jaw, ribs, fingers, a knuckle; elbows, arms, legs, feet, and even an eyebrow (that of John the Baptist),. which went to Clairvaux.
Two French bishops, Gamier of Trainel, bishop of Troyes, and Nivelon of Cherisy, bishop of Soissons, offer good case histories which demonstrate how this process worked. Troyes was one of the key cities in the annual round of fairs in the county of Champagne; through it passed routes to the Rhone valley, Lyons, and the Mediterranean and to the Low Countries and the Channel. Like several contemporary churches in northern France, in 1188 the cathedral was severely damaged by fire, and at some time in the early thirteenth century work was started on a new building, evidently influenced by the new develop- ments in style and construction characteristic of the region around the year 1200. Heavy reliance was placed on income from alms to finance this, stimulated by a series of grants of indulgences from 1213 onwards23 Troyes already had a good store of relics, but the acquisitions of Gamier of Tralnel gave the collection a huge boost. Gamier was one of the six electors who had represented the crusaders in May 1204, when Baldwin was chosen as emperor. Shortly after the city was taken, Peter Capuano appointed him custodian of the relics, which, in theory, the crusaders were required to deposit in a central place. It was a role he performed with some zeal, blocking those like the Burgundian priest Walon of Dampierre, when he tried to obtain relics for his own church24 This did not prevent Gamier from making his own selection. Early in 1205 he sent the cathedral the head of St. Philip, probably by means of his chaplain, Peter, a canon of St. Martin of Troyes, who is known to have taken another of his acquisitions, part of the head of St. Victor, to Peter of Corbeil, archbishop of Sens, in which province Troyes was suffragan. As at Soissons, this served to spread the relics over a wider area, since, sometime before 1222, the arch- bishop, responding to an appeal from John the German, the abbot, donated it to the abbey of St. Victor in Paris? Although the evidence is indirect, it does seem as if the chrono- logy of the early stages of the rebuilding at Troyes can be quite closely linked to the arrival and publicizing of relics. It is now known, for example, that the base of the radiat- ing chapels of the choir, which was the starting point for the work, was begun before what was the previously accepted date of 1208 26 Thereafter, the employment of outside masters (more expensive than the local men used initially) first in 1210 and again in the 1220s suggests either that funds were available or were expected to be in the near future. 27
22. See GEARY, P. J., Saint Helen of Athyra and the Cathedral of Troyes in the Thirteenth Century, Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 7,1977, pp. 149-168.
23. MuxxAY, S., Building Troyes Cathedral. The Late Gothic Campaigns, Bloomington - Indianapolis, 1987, p. 15. 24. Rtaxr, Exuviae, I, p. 29; LONGNON, J., Les compagnons de Villehardouin, Geneva, 1978,
pp. 13-15. 25. RmNr, Exuviae, II, no. xLvut, p. 109-110, no. XLIX, p. 110-111; see also I, p. cxxxv. 26. See BONGARTL, N., Die friihen Bauteile der Kathedrale in Troyes, Stuttgart, 1979, p. 122. 27. MuRRAY, Building, pp. 12-15. Indulgences were offered in 1213 and 1215; see BONGARTL,
nos. 10,11, pp. 280-281.
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Nivelon of Cherisy was bishop of Soissons between 1176 and 1207, and is rated by A. Andrea in the top three of pious thieves, along with Bishop Conrad of Halberstadt and Abbot Martin of Pairis28 After the capture of Constantinople, Nivelon had crowned Baldwin as emperor, and at that time he had been given a number of important relics, including the head of St. Stephen, but he also benefited from his friendship with Boniface of Montferrat to acquire further relics from the Boukoleon, which Boniface controlled 29 Many of these he sent back to his diocese, including the head of St. Stephen, which, with other items, was received at the cathedral church at Soissons, the girdle of the Virgin, which went to the nearby nunnery of Notre-Dame, where his niece, Helvide, was abbess, and the forearm of John the Baptist, taken by the abbey of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes 30 It looks as if Nivelon succeeded Gamier as keeper of the relics, since Baldwin's brother, Philip of Namur, petitioned him for a phial of Christ's blood, to be kept at St. Alban in Namur 31 When Baldwin was captured at Adrianople in April 1205, Nivelon was sent back to the West to gather reinforcements, and he took the relics with him. Beneficiaries this time included not only Notre-Dame, but also the Cistercian abbey of Longpont, which gained the head of St. Denis himself. 32 As well as these, a charter of Nivelon, dated 1205, which must belong to the last months of the year since he did not return to Soissons until October, describes how he was received with honor at Chalons-sur-Marne, where the cathedral was dedicated to St. Stephen. Both Soissons and Chalons were suffragans of the province of Reims, and it must have seemed appropriate for the bishop to donate "a forearm of this most glorious first martyr, " which was then placed on the altar of the cathedral, complete with the reliquary in the form of a crystalline vase inscribed with Greek letters. As St. Bernard had known very well, it was assumed that reverence for the relic would attract pilgrims and that this would result in additional alms, "of which half should be expended on the work of this church and half on the building of a bridge for the city. "33 The construction of bridges was vital to the developing commerce of the West, but here it is presented as an essentially charitable act, funded in the same way as other pious enterprises such as hospitals and leper houses. Peter Spufford has described the great increase in the numbers of bridges from the late twelfth century onwards, but stress- es that many were not economically viable from tolls alone but always needed charitable gifts 34 Inevitably there were repercussions, since good bridges were of limited use if the roads were impassable, so the spanning of the Marne at Chalons can be seen as one small
28. ANDREA, A., with WHALEN, B. E., Contemporary Sources for the Fourth Crusade, Leiden, 2000, p. 226. For a short biography, see LONGNON, pp. 117-118.
29. ANDREA, Contemporary Sources, pp. 226-227. 30. RIANT, Exuviae, II, no. iv, pp. 58-60, no. v, p. 60, no. vi, p. 61. 31. RIANT, Exuviae, II, no. xvni, pp. 68-69 (1205). 32. ANONYMOUS OF SOISSONS, Concerning the Land ofJerusalein and the Means by Which Relics
Were Carried to This Clurrch from the City of Constantinople, in ANDREA, Contemporary Sources, pp. 235-238; RiANT, Exuviae, II, no. xvi, pp. 67-68, no. xvu, p. 68.
33. MoRTET, J., and DEscHAi. ws, P., Recueil des textes relatifs b l'histoire de l'arcltitecture et ä la condition des arcliitectes en France, an moyen dge XIe-Xllle siecles, 11, Paris, 1929, no. xcvii, pp. 199-201. See DFscIAMPs, A., La relique de Saint Etienne apportee de Constantinople A Chälons- sur-Marne en 1205 par Nivelon de Cherizy, Eveque de Soissons, ä la suite de la We croisade, Revile de Champagne et de Brie 7,1879, pp. 232-233.
34. SPUFFORD, P., Power and Profit: The Merchant in Medieval Europe, London, 2002, pp. 180- 181. On bridges as objects of charity, see BOYER, M. N., Medieval French Bridges. A History, Cambridge, Mass., 1976, pp. 49-60.
THE DIPACf OF THE FOURTH CRUSADE IN THE WEST 331
element in the striking development of the communications network of the Latin West in the thirteenth century. To the people of the region, Nivelon's thefts were a public service, which was doubtless the way he saw it as well 35
For the relics to be effective fund-raisers they needed, of course, to be both convincing and visible. Thus the authentication of relics was taken very seriously. Rostang of Cluny, who wrote up the story of the acquisition of the head of St. Clement by Dalmas of Sercey, took pains not only to provide details of where it was acquired, but also how it could be shown to be genuine. ' Moreover, while many of the departures were furtive, their arrival was quite the opposite, with carefully planned receptions, public opening of the reliquar- ies by designated dignitaries, and a procession into the sanctuary where they were to be exhibited. The preaching of a relevant sermon would be consolidated by the commission- ing of a written account and, in the case of saints new to the region, by the designation of a feast day to provide a focal point. 37 Written accounts describe the translation in such a way as to demonstrate that this was clearly God's will, an element especially important after 1204 because of the circumstances in which some of the relics had been taken 38 A priest from Langres, Walon of Dampierre, is the subject of one of the five surviving examples of this genre of writing from this period. Gamier of Trainel had originally frustrated his efforts because, the account claims, "he had aspired to this for himself. " After Gamier's death, however, Walon had supplicated "with tears" the legate, Peter Capuano, in order to obtain the head of St. Mamas (apparently a Cappadocian martyr who had died in Asia Minor in A. D. 274), since Langres was already a center of devotion to him. After many hazards, both environmental and human, as was necessary in this genre, it was brought back to Langres, where it was received with reverence and honor. 39
Such relics were not, however, simply passive objects of adoration; they were impor- tant because they had power, as can be seen in the following account of the translation of the head of St. Mamas. Once established at Langres, two priests were appointed "to protect and show the reliquaries and collect the offerings of the faithful. " Their presence was probably also necessary in order to record any miracles which occurred at the site, for such lists were frequently compiled in this way. Nevertheless, they were not there all the time, and one day
a crowd of pilgrims impudently came in, indeed, were invited in by another priest, in order to show the pilgrims the head of the glorious, martyr. And, as can be read in the Book of Kings concerning Osan, 10 whose hand was withered when he touched the ark of the Lord in an inappropriate way, thus the right hand of the priest became withered, so that he was not able to raise it to his mouth without the use of force, and thus he
35. This does not necessarily mean that they were all proud of the way that the relics had been obtained in the first place. See ANDREA, A., Conrad of Kosigk, Bishop of Halberstadt, Crusader, and Monk of Sittichenbach: His Ecclesiastical Career, 1184-1225, Analecta Cisterciensia 43,1987, pp. 63-69.
36. RtANF, Exuviae, 1, pp. 135-137. 37. RtANr, Depouilles, pp. 72-76. 38. Most strikingly, in the account of GUNTHER OF PAtats; see The Capture of Constantinople.
The Hystoria Cwutantinopolitana of Gunther of Pairis, ed. and trans. ANDREA, A., Philadelphia, 1997, p. 66.
39. RtANr, Eruviae, I, pp. 22-34. 40. Apparently a reference to the story of Uzza, who, the oxen having stumbled while carrying
the Ark of the Covenant, put out his hand to steady it and was killed by divine will: 1 Chronicles 13: 7-10.
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grieved for several days. At length, returning, he recognized that he had caused injury to the martyr, since on that same night he had dishonored him by having intercourse with his concubine. And, going humbly to his confessor, he declared his sin openly; afterwards, indeed, having undertaken penance, with tears and reverence, he went to the head, and caused the same hand to touch and sign it, which was at once through the grace of God restored to health 41
This, therefore, was a relic of evident potency, able both to exact vengeance and to heal, vital attributes if its reputation was to spread and draw in crowds. Interest in the Passion of Christ and in the intercessory powers of the Virgin certainly fed the "new spirituality" of the thirteenth century, but the creation of a popular following rested upon much cruder foundations 42
Provenance was closely connected to credibility. This was straightforward if the item was connected to New Testament figures, but was more of a problem for saints little known in the West. Thus, when Troyes received the relics of St. Helen of Athyra (Natura), the potential for attracting pilgrims was much circumscribed by her relative obscurity in the Latin world. So important was this that, in 1215, it was felt worthwhile to send a cleric to Constantinople to find out more. Here the requisite material was conveniently supplied by Angemer of Courbetault, lector of the church of Chalcedon, who was origi- nally from the region of Troyes, but now an immigrant of longstanding, bilingual in Latin and Greek. According to him, her Vita and its prologue were written by St. John Chrysostom, an association which gave her immense prestige. Angemer claimed he had discovered this, along with a feast day of 4 May, through his research in the libraries of Constantinople. " The investment involved in acquiring this information was certainly worthwhile in the long term. As Patrick Geary has shown, relics of famous figures like St. Philip or St. James, although valuable and welcome, were not specific to Troyes, and thus were not capable of creating a cult in the way that St. Helen of Athyra did. As the construction of the cathedral stuttered, first after the storm damage of 1228, and then with failure of funds in the mid-century, the promotion of St. Helen became essential if the project was to stay alive, a connection overtly acknowledged in the story of the saint shown in the stained-glass windows. 44
In some ways the impact of the Fourth Crusade in the West was quite negative: the papacy was unable to persuade the Latin world that the conquest of Constantinople and Athens was part of a divine plan, or, indeed, that it concerned anybody beyond the French and the Italians, which was a further reason to resist papal taxation for the support of the Latins in Byzantium. Tacit recognition of this papal failure can be seen in the frequent linking of aid to Romania and Greece with the more popular goal of the Holy Land, rather than presenting it as an end in itself. However, the diffusion of relics from
41. RIANT, Exuviae, vol. I, pp. 32-33. Cf. the cures and curses emanating from Soissons, ANONYMOUS OF SOISSONS, Concerning the Land of Jerusalem, in Contemporary Sources, ed. ANDREA, pp. 237-238. Overall there was an increasing emphasis on cures rather than punishments from the late 11th century onward. See HEAD, T., Hagiography and the Cult of Saints. The Diocese of Orleans, 800-1200, Cambridge, 1990, pp. 182-183.
42. Cf. GEARY, Saint Helen of Athyra, pp. 163-164, on the "low level of spirituality" of the population of Troyes.
43. See CONSTABLE, G., Troyes, Constantinople, and the Relics of St. Helen in the Thirteenth Century, in Melanges offerts a Rene Crozet, ed. GALLIAS, P., and Riou, Y: J., vol. II, Poitiers, 1966, pp. 1035-1042.
44. GEARY, Saint Helen of Athyra, pp. 155-157,164-166.
THE IMPACT OF THE FOURTH CRUSADE IN THE WEST 333
Constantinople had a much more positive effect, for the pious thieves do seem to have convinced their constituencies that these translations were approved by God, and that the miracles which followed were evident proof of this. At the same time, there were direct economic consequences, since alms from pilgrims helped build and repair cathedrals, churches, and bridges, which in turn had an indirect effect on the road system.
This is not surprising, since the relics were received into an environment which was already favorable. There are two major elements in this. First, among the nobility of the twelfth century there was increasing emphasis on family and lineage, expressed in the creation of genealogies and dynastic histories and the adoption of coats of arms, often in imitation of the monarchy and upper nobility. " In this context, there seems to be a consensus emerging that a motivation common to the great majority of crusaders, what- ever might have been their other reasons for joining an expedition, was the status that participation brought. 46 The family historians of the twelfth century took the opportunity to enhance the prestige of their patrons with stories of the deeds of their ancestors on crusade, which demonstrated both bravery in military exploits and religious devotion in the acquisition of relics for the local church. Thus Lambert of Ardres in his History of the Counts of Guines and Lords of Ardres, written in the decade before the Fourth Crusade, glorifies the exploits of Arnold II, the Old, of Ardres, who was part of the army of Robert of Flanders in the First Crusade. Having fulfilled his vow, he "returned happily and with a swift step and brought back the only thing he wanted to his church at Ardres. He brought, indeed, a sign of the holy victory from Jerusalem, a reliquary more precious than gold and precious stones, namely some of the Lord's beard, some of the Lord's cross, and some of the stone from which the Lord ascended to heaven. But from Antioch he brought a piece of the Holy Lance and relics of St. George the martyr and many other relics of other saints. "47 At the same time a fundamental reason for the remodeling of churches in the twelfth century was to provide better access to relics previously kept in dark and cramped crypts; Suger's new choir at St. -Denis, although now seen as revolutionary, was con- structed for this purpose, not as a precursor to some perceived new style 48 Nevertheless, Suger's architect did inaugurate a new trend, since in order to display the relics more effectively he incorporated a series of large windows into the radiating chapels, an ap- proach which offered huge potential in later churches for the presentation of dramatic and didactic narrative, particularly of the Passion and of the lives and miracles of saints whose relics they preserved. In that sense, the influx of relics at a time when the cathedrals and churches of northern France were being built or rebuilt in unprecedented numbers - it has been estimated that twelve cathedrals and about four hundred churches, as well as many more abbeys, were under construction around the year 120049- must have had a profound effect upon both the planning of these new edifices and the content of decorative schemes seen in sculpture and stained-glass windows. The great monastic centers such as St. -Denis, Corbie, Clairvaux, and Citeaux, which already had a large stock of relics, were perhaps
45. See Deny, G., The Chivalrous Society, trans. POSTAN, C., London, 1977, pp. 149-157. 46. See TyEmtAN, C., Fighting for Christendom. Holy War and the Crusades, Oxford, 2004,
p. 152. 47. Lamberti Ardensis historia cwnitum Ghinensium, ed. HELLER, J., MGH, SS, XXIV, p. 626.
Trans. SHOPKOW, L., LAMBERT OF ARDRES, The History of the Counts of Guines and the Lords of Ardres, Philadephia, 2001, p. 164.
48. See GRANr, L., Abbot Suger of St-Denis. Church and State in Early Twelfth-Century France, London, 1998, pp. 258-260.
49. JAS. tEs, J., Chartres. The Masons Who Built a Legend, London,, 1982, p. 1.
334 MALCOLM BARBER
least affected, but the encouragement to the development of urban churches and more minor monastic houses must have been quite striking, especially where they had close connections to a local family who had been involved in crusading 50
In these circumstances, as ever, opportunists were on hand, and imitation and fraud
appear to have been widespread; 51 here, perhaps, Innocent III, who started it all, should have the last word. It cannot be coincidence that little more than a decade after the fall of Constantinople, the Fourth Lateran Council, in 1215, should issue the following decree: "The Christian religion is frequently disparaged because certain people put saints' relics up for sale and display them indiscriminately. In order that it may not be disparaged in the future, we ordain by this present decree that henceforth ancient relics shall not be displayed outside a reliquary or be put up for sale. As for newly discovered relics, let no one presume to venerate them publicly unless they have previously been approved by the Roman pontiff. "52
50. It might be expected that the impact upon artistic style was equally important, but, despite such high-profile displays as the relics of the Passion at the Sainte-Chapelle, consecrated in 1248, or even secular spoils such as the horses from the Hippodrome set up on the facade of St. Mark's in Venice in the 1250s, art historians understandably have been quite reluctant to commit themselves, for the possible sources of Byzantine artistic influence in the High Middle Ages are so varied. Thus leading authorities have relatively little to say about the subject. For example, Dentus, 0., Byzantine Art and the West, New York, 1970, pp. 180,206, mentions ivories and icons in passing, but does not go beyond the general statement that relics and reliquaries "must have held greater attraction for pious robbers, " which implies that he does not think reliquaries would have had much artistic influence. For a succinct summary of the recent views on this subject, see ANGOLD, M., The Fourth Crusade. Event and Context, London, 2003, pp. 240-247.
51. Fraudsters added to what Patrick Geary calls deflation in the value of relics caused by over- supply: Saint Helen of Athyra, pp. 156-157.
52. Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, I, ed. TANNER, N. P., London, 1990, p. 263 (no. 62).