|1204: The Capture of Constantinople
- Text in English
William of Tyre
[From Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum translated by E.A. Babcock and A.C.Krey: A History of Deeds Done beyond the Sea, New York, Columbia, University Press, 1943, vol. 2, pp. 461-62.]
During the reign of Manuel, beloved of God, the Latins had found great favour with him -a reward well deserved because of their loyalty and valour. The emperor,
a great-souled man of incomparable energy, relied so implicitly on their fidelity and ability that he passed over the Greeks as soft and effeminate and entrusted important affairs to the Latins alone. Since he held them in such high esteem and showed toward them such lavish generosity, men of the Latin race from all over the world-nobles and men of lesser degree -regarded him as their great benefactor and eagerly flocked to his court. As a result of this eager deference, his affection toward the Latins increased more and more, and he was constantly improving their status.
The Greek nobles, especially the kindred of the emperor, and the mass of the people as well, naturally conceived an insatiable hatred toward this and us was increased by the difference between our sacraments and those of the Greek Church, which furnished an additional incentive to their jealousy. For once having separated insolently from the Church of Rome, in their boundless arrogance they looked upon everyone who did not follow their foolish tradition as a heretic. It was they themselves, on the contrary, who deserved the name of heretic, because they had either created or followed new and pernicious beliefs contrary to the Roman Church and the faith of the apostles Peter and Paul against which "the gates of hell shall not prevail."
For these and other reasons they had for a long time cherished this hatred in their hearts and were ever seeking an opportunity, at least after the death of the emperor, to destroy utterly the hated race of the Latins, both in the city and throughout the entire empire, that in this way they might satisfy their inexorable animosity.