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Byzantium and the Crusader States 1096–1204$

Ralph-Johannes Lilie

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198204077

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204077.001.0001

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(p.309) Appendix IV The Alliance of the Franks with Byzantium for the Conquest of Egypt (AD 1165–1177)

(p.309) Appendix IV The Alliance of the Franks with Byzantium for the Conquest of Egypt (AD 1165–1177)

Byzantium and the Crusader States 1096–1204
Oxford University Press

Hitherto the Frankish-Byzantine alliance for the conquest of Egypt has been examined only with respect to its chronology while the motives of the participants and the background to the alliance have remained, to a great extent, obscure. In particular, the question why Amalric moved against Egypt in 1168 without even waiting for the return of his envoy William of Tyre, who had been sent to Constantinople to conclude the treaty of alliance with Byzantium, has not yet been cleared up, nor has the King's conduct in 1169 on the joint expedition against Damietta. The most important question seems to be, what caused Amalric to set out alone in 1168? Röhricht leaves this open. Chalandon supposes that the King did not wish to divide the anticipated spoils. Runciman puts the chief blame on the barons who did not wish to wait for Byzantium and more or less forced the King to set out; Mayer sees in the treaty with Byzantium the decisive impulse that made Amalric ready ‘for a new adventure’ in which the vassals made a premature start in order to exploit the favourable situation.1

The solution of the problem depends on establishing when the combined undertaking against Egypt was decided upon. We have shown already that the impetus for the alliance proceeded from Jerusalem,2 probably as early as 1165 when Amalric was seeking a Byzantine princess as his wife.3 This is of critical importance since, if Jerusalem proposed an alliance in 1167–8, Amalric's behaviour would be inexplicable, unless the hypothesis of Runciman (and Mayer) that the nobility set out on the unilateral advance of 1168 against the King's wish were accepted. This supposition must be rejected, as we shall show. Moreover the political situation then makes the offer of an alliance in 1167–8 (p.310) improbable. At this point, the Franks in Egypt had achieved such a strong position that to some extent they controlled the country and could reasonably hope to subdue it completely in the foreseeable future. To this end, further Byzantine help was hardly necessary and Amalric's whole behaviour in 1168–9 argues that he did not wish for Byzantine troops and ships in order to make a conquest. It was different in 1165. It is true that the Franks were already in Egypt, but they had gained no serious advantages and, above all, Nur ad-Din's victory at Harim in 1164 had shown how vulnerable was the north flank of the crusader states if the King of Jerusalem remained with his troops in Egypt.4 That Amalric clearly recognized the danger of the situation is shown by his embassy to Constantinople, in which he sought a Byzantine wife. However, Manuel at first did not respond but handled the affair in a dilatory manner. Only in 1167, after a stay of two years in Constantinople, did the envoys return to Jerusalem with a Byzantine princess and, presumably, also with the Emperor's agreement to an alliance against Egypt.5 What caused this change of mind in Byzantium? The answer may be sought in the West. In 1167, the German Emperor, Frederick I Barbarossa, had suffered a decisive defeat before Rome. We know that at this time Manuel was striving to curb German influence in Italy. We know too that, amongst other weapons, Manuel made use of propaganda. Thus the recognition of Manuel as sole Emperor, of the West as well as of the East, was the subject of negotiations. In such a matter, Byzantine support for the crusaders in their fight against the infidels would have been a splendid argument, since at the same time, and unsuccessfully, the Western Emperor was fighting the Church of Rome.6 In addition, his victory in this year over Hungary allowed Manuel to deploy his forces against more distant objectives. And, finally, Egypt now appeared to be an easy prize. So, in 1167, the Emperor agreed to a marriage alliance and declared his interest in the alliance against Egypt.7 But, in the mean time, the situation in Egypt had changed. The Franks had had great successes and a final conquest of Egypt appeared now to be obtainable even without Byzantine help. Nevertheless, the offer could not very well have been refused without putting the good understanding with the Emperor at risk and this understanding was necessary for the conquest of Egypt. Only the alliance with the Greeks protected the rear of the Franks during an offensive to the south, as the battle of Harim in 1164 had amply demonstrated.8 But for the Eastern Empire to be established in Egypt appeared (p.311) in 1168 to be highly undesirable; the Byzantine position in the crusader states was already very strong without this. The Prince of Antioch had taken the feudal oath to the Emperor in 1165, a Byzantine patriarch was in residence in Antioch, and, in Jerusalem, Byzantine influence was becoming noticeably stronger, not least because of Amalric's marriage with the Greek Maria.9 If Byzantium now were to be established in Egypt, an encirclement of the crusader states might threaten to strangle the Franks. Consequently, Amalric's problem was to prevent such a Byzantine foothold in Egypt without, on the other hand, so angering Byzantium that the defensive alliance which guarded the crusaders' rear against Nur ad-Din was endangered.

That Amalric, even at the beginning of 1168, was still thinking of a conquest of Egypt without Byzantium is demonstrated by his alliance with Pisa.10 The pressure for this came from Jerusalem, which shows that Amalric wished for such an alliance. The value of Pisa for Jerusalem, however, lay exclusively in the fleet that Pisa could deploy. If Amalric had seriously considered an alliance with Byzantium, an alliance with Pisa would have been absurd since Byzantium also possessed a fleet quite adequate for the conquest of Egypt. Pisa would no longer have been necessary. Furthermore, like Byzantium, the Pisans would claim their share of the spoils. The Franks' share would thus have been even less.11

The conclusion of this treaty shows that it was Amalric who was interested in a conquest of Egypt without Byzantium. If the King had set out in 1168 merely because of pressure from his barons there would hardly be any explanation of why, at the beginning of that same year, he had concluded a treaty with the same object and confirmed it in the following year by the grant of privileges. His subsequent action confirms this. In order to get together the troops necessary for such a conquest, the King granted a series of fiefs in Egypt (which was still to be conquered), the most important of these being the town of Bilbeis, which was to go to the Hospitallers.

Here it is the date that is important. All the three privileges date from a period when negotiations with Byzantium were still in progress—13 August, September, and 11 October. The greater part of the other grants about which we learn from the well-informed Abu Shama were conferred between 5 and 20 October.12 The King, according to Abu Shama, made these grants at a Diet (p.312) of the Kingdom which necessarily preceded the expedition. That, however, makes impossible the pressure of the barons implied by Mayer. It is not conceivable that they not only could convince a Diet of the Kingdom against the King's wishes, but, also against the King's wish, could get the expedition under way immediately and, finally, compel the King to reward their participation with promises of large fiefs. Furthermore, the King paid with promises that he could keep only if he conquered Egypt without Byzantium. At all events he did not yet know what Manuel might require.13

But that means that before autumn 1168 the nobility could not possibly have mounted a campaign against the King's will. It would have been easy for Amalric to allow such an undertaking to fail on the question of payment, for hardly a single vassal would have set out without appropriate assurances. Mayer's further theses are no more tenable. He supposes that Amalric broke off the undertaking because it had become clear to him that a conquest of Egypt would benefit only the vassals since fulfilling the promises of rich fiefs would have left hardly anything over for the King. In addition, he would not have wished to break the alliance with Byzantium.14 But this does not make (p.313) sense! The promises of fiefs to the vassals did not lose their validity but remained binding, as Mayer himself shows by the example of the promise to the Hospitallers. Indeed, they threatened to become even more extensive since at least the largest promise was bound up exclusively with participation in the expedition of 1168, which means that the King, in the event of a repetition, would have to add to promises already given.

The illogicality of Mayer's theses becomes immediately evident when we summarize them. The King negotiated with Byzantium. The vassals discovered this and, out of fear of losing the Egyptian fiefs promised to them, forced an immediate expedition. Amalric did not wish this to take place but gave way under pressure. He summoned a Diet at which, against his opposition and, incidentally, that of some of the nobility,15 the campaign was decided upon. Eventually he financed the undertaking with large promises of fiefs, which could be kept only if Egypt were conquered without Byzantine participation. Only on the march did he realize this problem, treated secretly with the Egyptians, and then returned to Jerusalem, whereupon his own vassals accused him of betrayal. The entire piece of double dealing was nevertheless futile for the promises of fiefs made in 1168 remained in force for the future.

When we reflect that the vassals, in any case, could not mount such a campaign against the King's will and that, on the other hand, the King, by breaking off the undertaking, gave the vassals the sharpest possible affront, then Amalric's conduct, as understood by Mayer, is contradictory in itself. It is, indeed, completely inexplicable and makes the King appear quite incapable. When we further reflect that, at the beginning of 1168, Amalric was already negotiating with the Pisans on an alliance against Egypt, the political line the King was following is evident, though supported by the barons of Jerusalem only to a limited extent. Amalric wished to conquer Egypt, but without Byzantium, since he rejected the idea of the Greeks being established in Egypt and, moreover, did not wish to share the anticipated booty.

In that case, why did Amalric conclude the alliance with Byzantium? The (p.314) answer is provided by the King's earlier conduct. Amalric had offered Byzantium the alliance in 1165. Manuel accepted this offer in 1167 and expressly confirmed this by agreeing to a marriage alliance. If Amalric then had suddenly backed down, this would have been a serious snub to the Emperor, which Jerusalem could in no way afford. The defensive alliance with Byzantium secured the kingdom's rear. A possible return to the former posture of confrontation, or even the giving of serious annoyance to the Emperor, might have removed this rearguard, which would have made impossible any further action of the Franks against Egypt and decisively worsened the situation of the crusader states in general.16 In this situation, Amalric evidently resorted to prolonging the negotiations with Byzantium for as long as possible while attempting to conquer Egypt alone. If this attempt had succeeded, the King would have achieved a fait accompli which would have allowed him to get out of the difficulty gracefully. The defensive alliance with Byzantine would not have been endangered since the unwanted offensive alliance would already have been disposed of before it came into force. Since the nobility, apparently, were not united in support of the King's plans, Amalric offered, as inducement, extensive promises of fiefs. He secured the necessary maritime support by the alliance with Pisa. Strictly speaking, the Franks were still bound by a treaty with Egypt, but, in view of the situation, Amalric decided to break the treaty and, in the autumn of 1168, he marched into Egypt.17

The campaign did not go as expected. Although they were able to take Bilbeis, the bloodbath which the Franks inflicted on the unfortunate inhabitants of the city notably stiffened Egyptian resistance. Old Cairo (Fostat) went up in flames and Nur ad-Din was called on for help, which arrived a little later. Amalric realized that he had overestimated his own strength and underestimated the Egyptians' will to resist. He broke off the campaign, though not without demanding a huge sum—two million dinars it is said—for his withdrawal. His vassals went away empty-handed, which understandably incensed them, for the King had tempted them with promises of rich fiefs and now he was the only one to profit from the whole campaign. He was practically accused of treachery to his followers18 but it is hard to see what he could (p.315) otherwise have done. The early retreat left open the possibility of a later attempt and he may also have hoped that Shirkuh, Nur ad-Din's field commander, would likewise withdraw from Egypt. This would have left the field open once more to the Franks.

Viewed with hindsight, it might appear that the Franks wasted the decisive opportunity of conquering Egypt in 1168 and 1169. But such a criticism would be unjust for, to Amalric, the situation seemed quite different. He could not foresee that Shirkuh would succeed in Egypt, still less that Shirkuh's successor Saladin would build on the basis of Egypt an empire to which the crusader states would very nearly fall victim. In 1169 Saladin was still an unimportant subordinate commander who had in no way shown his qualities. Amalric, on the other hand, was at the height of his powers and he could say, with some justification, that the conquest of Egypt was only postponed, not abandoned. He developed his policy accordingly.

One might have expected that, after the set-back of 1168, the King would have decided after all to reach an accommodation with Byzantium. But that was not the case. The situation for Amalric in 1169 was not significantly different from a year before. Byzantine influence in North Syria was unchanged and the establishment of the Greeks in Egypt was undesirable. Furthermore the encirclement of the Kingdom of Jerusalem by Byzantium threatened to stifle the Franks. On the other hand, Jerusalem's own forces were clearly inadequate for a complete conquest of Egypt. So Amalric sent embassies to ask for help in Western Europe19 and, above all, concluded a treaty of alliance with Pisa which was sealed with an extensive privilege.20 The timing and extent of the grants of privilege are also proof that, in 1169, Amalric once more rejected a joint conquest with Byzantium. First and last, he wanted Egypt for the Franks alone.

The privilege for Pisa was drawn up on 17 September, in Acre. At this time, the great Byzantine fleet of more than 200 ships, which Manuel had dispatched in fulfilment of the treaty negotiated by William of Tyre in the previous year, was already at anchor off Cyprus, while an advance contingent had already brought the King the agreed subsidy, since Byzantium was paying for the expedition.21 That Amalric, nevertheless, during precisely these weeks, issued the privilege for Pisa, shows either that the grant of the privilege cannot have been seriously intended or that Amalric did not wish for a combined conquest of Egypt by Greeks and Franks. The latter theory is supported by his conduct during the preparation of the campaign and during the expedition itself. But the extent of the privilege granted to Pisa also underlines this. Together with other concessions, Pisa received payments, rights, and properties in Cairo, Old Cairo, and Rosetta and, in addition, complete freedom from all trading tariffs (p.316) in all the conquests made by Jerusalem in Egypt. This was a very great deal. If Amalric, as it were, wished only to provide for the possible failure of the Frankish-Byzantine undertaking, the extent of the privilege would be difficult to explain. But the theory that the King put the Pisans under an obligation for the future, since he did not expect to achieve his aim in a single campaigning season, also is ill-founded.22 Amalric could not know, in September 1169, how successful the expedition might be. He might be paying the Pisans for help that was no longer necessary, at least, not to the extent that would justify such a wide-ranging privilege. It must also be remembered that in practice the Pisan help would be effective only if the delta were conquered, which, in any case, would fall to Byzantium and not to Jerusalem. For these conquests, however, he could count on the Greeks and it would be pointless to pay for them with privileges which applied to Jerusalem's share of the conquest. But this share, with the exception of Rosetta, lay in the interior where Pisan help was unnecessary. In September 1169, then, the King was in a good negotiating position. The extent of his promises therefore can satisfactorily be explained only if the Pisans knew that Amalric depended on them and they could therefore make extensive demands. This means that, in September 1169, the Pisans must have known, or at least could be fairly confident, that Amalric had no intention of joining with Byzantium for the conquest of Egypt and that therefore he was dependent on their help.

The question remains, did not the Pisans in fact receive their privilege in return for joining the expedition?23 But this supposition must be rejected. The Greek fleet was quite adequate for the planned undertaking. It would have been foolish to reduce the expected gains by sharing with another, and a superfluous, partner in the alliance. In any case it is doubtful whether the Byzantines would have accepted the participation of a Pisan fleet. Moreover, not a single source mentions the presence of a Pisan fleet of whatever size in the Levant in 1169.24

By means of the privilege of September 1169, Amalric not only ensured the help of the Pisan fleet for the invasion of Egypt which he planned, but also made himself independent of the Byzantines in this area. Similarly, the embassies which were sent to the West in the summer of the same year would have applied for support in the conquest of Egypt.25 There was then no room left for (p.317) Byzantium and one can understand that the arrival of the great Byzantine fleet shocked the King not a little, as Nicetas Choniates reports.26 But Amalric could not simply send this fleet home. After all, a treaty had been concluded and Byzantium had even declared itself ready to pay for the whole campaign. It would have been a well-nigh unpardonable affront to the Greek Emperor in such a situation simply to abandon the whole enterprise and it might well have imperilled the alliance with the Greek Empire. Amalric could not risk that, for this alliance, at all events in its ‘defensive’ aspect, was the backbone of Jerusalem's entire foreign policy. Expansion towards Egypt was indeed only possible so long as Byzantium guaranteed equilibrium in North Syria and so freed Frankish forces for the attack on Egypt. This alliance was vitally necessary to Amalric, whereas he did not wish for the offensive alliance. But, after matters had developed in this way, he could not abandon the offensive, without endangering the defensive, alliance. The solution he hit on was to continue the campaign but to drag it out and concentrate only on a single town in Egypt, Damietta, and thus to prolong the whole undertaking so that it had to be broken off without any conclusion. That, too, would greatly incense the Emperor but, if it could be presented with sufficient skill, his anger would be less than if the whole campaign had been abandoned from the beginning.

A different explanation is suggested by Mayer, according to which the Byzantine fleet was too strong. Jerusalem might have wished from Byzantium ‘help, but not a stifling embrace’. In short, Amalric wished to conquer Egypt together with Byzantium but the Byzantine fleet was too strong for his purpose. For this reason he sabotaged the campaign, hoping that Byzantium would later send another fleet which would be weaker and would thus correspond better with the conditions of the treaty.27

This theory is quite unrealistic and is plainly absurd. An official treaty between Amalric and Manuel had been negotiated and ratified. This provided for the division of Egypt, once it had been conquered. Nothing would have been changed in the treaty by a one-sided over-fulfilment of the objective by Manuel. On the other hand—and Mayer overlooks this completely—the Byzantine force could hardly develop into a ‘stifling embrace’ since Amalric had supreme command of the united forces. Thus, in case of doubt, he would have had every possibility of forestalling any independent Byzantine action, as he did successfully at Damietta, to the detriment of the common undertaking.

There is another important consideration. The Byzantines alone would have harvested the fruits of a conquest of Damietta since, as we have seen, the town had been awarded to Byzantium in the treaty. Amalric himself would have derived, at most, indirect advantages from a conquest. This, too, explains the inadequate involvement of the King who, on the other hand, could recoup his losses in the secret negotiations with the Muslims that preceded the withdrawal—not least at the expense of his Greek allies.

Amalric's plan matured; the undertaking failed. Research has correctly blamed the King of Jerusalem for this and seen in his behaviour, as in 1168, a well-nigh inexplicable stupidity. But it was not stupidity; the King's policy in these years (p.318) is consistent throughout. If we once more assemble the results of our deliberations, the following picture appears. As we have seen, Amalric, first and foremost, was no friend to the Greeks.28 But he was a realist and thus soon recognized that he needed them. From the start, his main objective had been the conquest of Egypt. At first he believed that, to achieve this, he must secure Byzantium as an ally and so, in 1165, he tried to secure an offensive alliance against Egypt, which he linked with the proposal for a marriage alliance. But Byzantium treated this request in a dilatory fashion and so Amalric remained dependent on his own resources. With these alone he had some success and that strengthened his conviction that he could conquer Egypt even without Byzantium. Moreover, from 1165, Byzantine influence in North Syria was considerably strengthened. Bohemond III of Antioch became the Emperor's vassal, a Greek patriarch resided in Antioch, and, in the Kingdom of Jerusalem also, the Emperor was more active. This is shown by his building activity in these years and the reappearance of Greek clerics at the Holy Sepulchre. From this viewpoint alone, therefore, it is no wonder that Amalric could no longer wish for a Byzantine footing in Egypt in 1167–8, irrespective of the wishes of his nobility, who would have strengthened him in his conviction. The Emperor's friendly embrace threatened to suffocate Jerusalem, should Byzantium become a neighbour of the kingdom, not only in the north, but in the south as well.

When, in 1167, Byzantium suddenly changed direction, agreed to a marriage alliance, and showed an interest in the Egyptian project, Amalric was dumbfounded, for this ran counter to his own plans. But he could not refuse the offer since he needed the alliance with Byzantium to protect his rear. So he dragged out the negotiations and marched into Egypt before they were concluded. If he had succeeded, he would have achieved fait accompli and the Emperor could not have complained. The defensive alliance with Byzantium would not have been endangered since the offensive alliance would have been dealt with before it came into effect. But the King had overestimated his powers and had to withdraw. Even now, however, he still believed he could achieve his goal without Byzantium. He made sure of naval help from Pisa and tried to secure support from the West. In this situation, the great Byzantine fleet appeared in 1169. Amalric could not send it back. The treaty of alliance was scarcely one year old and a breach of it would have greatly angered the Emperor. The King hit on the solution of conducting the campaign in such a way that it would not be successful. Even so, Byzantium would still be snubbed but, with some degree of skill, it would be possible to mollify the Emperor. The logical consistency of Amalric's policy is evident and is certainly not without sense. The only matter of reproach for the King was that he overestimated his own strength and underestimated the powers of resistance of the Egyptians. But subsequent developments in Egypt were not definitely foreseeable in 1168–9 and in 1169 Amalric may well still have believed that it would be possible to conquer the country of the Nile in the next few years.

(p.319) The Emperor was indeed angered by the failure of the joint expedition and he let this be felt. William of Tyre mentions this indignation but he does not explain it. He puts the blame for the miserable outcome on the Greeks, saying that they had been inadequately equipped by the Emperor.29 He could not very well write that, from the beginning, the Franks had had no wish whatever to fulfil the treaty with Byzantium. After all, he himself had led the embassy to Constantinople which completed the treaty of alliance and he would have put himself in a very poor light if he had written the truth. It is quite possible that he himself had been duped by Amalric and had really believed in the seriousness of his embassy, which would explain his anger at the King's behaviour.

In 1170, Amalric made further efforts to realize his plans against Egypt. Once more, embassies went to the West.30 But it was just as important to mollify the Byzantine Emperor, for, without the Greek rearguard in Syria, there would be no secure basis for any proceedings against Egypt. But it was no longer sufficient to send just a single envoy. A larger gesture was necessary and Amalric decided to travel to Constantinople himself; in so doing he must have known that Byzantium would demand its price for the behaviour of the Franks in 1168 and 1169. That he none the less went shows that he must have been prepared, in principle, to pay the price. It is an additional argument that the King took a feudal oath in Constantinople. That was the great gesture which would bring the Emperor once more on to the side of the Franks, above all without any kind of practical effect on internal affairs in Jerusalem. We do not know what was actually negotiated in Constantinople.31 According to William of Tyre, Amalric asked the Emperor for a continuation of the offensive alliance against Egypt.32 Even if this is accurate, Amalric can hardly have negotiated without mental reservations. It would be more likely that Manuel was still interested in a conquest, which the King could hardly refuse. But it came to no such undertaking.

It appears that, after Amalric's death, Byzantium negotiated with his successor Baldwin IV, and concluded a similar treaty.33 In 1177 a Byzantine fleet of seventy ships once more appeared off Syria in order to prepare for action against Egypt. But on this occasion it came to nothing and the proposal was abandoned from the start. The whole situation cannot be dealt with here. But it appears that, in 1177 also, a section of the nobility of Jerusalem did not wish for a Frankish-Byzantine conquest of Egypt, either because they thought this could be achieved without Byzantium and therefore they did not wish to divide the anticipated spoils, or because they were generally sceptical about the prospects of success.34 It seems that in 1177 the Count of Flanders, who was in Palestine at the time, completely rejected co-operation with the Greeks, though (p.320) his motives for this are not clear. Possibly he had other plans for Egypt, which could only be realized without Byzantium, and Jerusalem could not, or would not, risk the undertaking without him, or against his declared opposition.35

Be that as it may, it is clear that it was primarily the Franks who prevented the success of the alliance, in so far as this might have been possible. This applies equally to 1169 and to 1177. The Frankish-Byzantine alliance for the conquest of Egypt ended when the Greeks went home in 1177. It was not to be renewed. A good opportunity decisively to improve the situation of the crusader states had been squandered by the Franks.


(1) Röhricht, Jerusalem, 337; Chalandon, Comnène, ii. 538 n. 1; Runciman, Crusades, ii. 379 f.; Mayer, Crusades, 122 f.; Mayer, ‘Service’, 145 ff.

(2) Cf. above, Ch. 4, ‘The Frankish–Byzantine Alliance for the Conquest of Egypt’.

(3) The deciding source for this is William of Tyre 20. 4, p. 946, whose statement may once more be quoted here: ‘sunt nonulli qui dicunt, quod super eodem facto prius fuerat a domino rege per nuntios et frequentes epistolas sollicitatus, quod verisimilius est, ut militaribus copiis, dasse quoque et impensis eum juvaret, certas partes turn regni turn manubiarum sub interpositis conditionibus recepturus’ Amalric's last envoys to Manuel of whom we know, before William of Tyre, went to Constantinople in 1165 and came back in 1167 with Amalric's fiancee Maria (Ibid. 20. 1, p. 942). In so far as the sources do not conceal from us possible missions (‘nuntii’) in that time, Amalric must have undertaken negotiations about Egypt already in 1165.

(4) Cf. Mayer, Crusades, 121. In practice only the Frankish-Byzantine alliance had hindered the Atabeg from extending his offensive.

(5) William of Tyre 20. 1, pp. 942 f. Naturally it is also possible that Manuel heard of the Frankish successes in Egypt on the occasion of this embassy and only then for his part decided to take part in this apparently easy conquest. The result is the same.

(6) Cf. above, Ch. 4, ‘The Marriage of Amalric with Maria Comnena’.

(7) This may also explain why Nicetas Choniates 209 f. and Cinnamus 278 regard Byzantium as originator of the undertaking. Cinnamus 237 sees the embassy of 1165, which he places much earlier, only in connection with Antioch. This may explain why both put the beginning of the negotiations in 1168–9, when Byzantium in fact was the determining element, and overlooked, or perhaps did not know about, Jerusalem's earlier approach.

(8) This is further indirect evidence that the impulse to the offensive alliance must originally have come from Jerusalem, as William of Tyre writes. If this had not been the case, but if Byzantium had itself offered the alliance in 1167–8, it would have been relatively easy for Amalric to refuse, with some objection or another. Only if Jerusalem had first sought an alliance against Egypt would the King have been unable to refuse in 1167–8 without running the risk of greatly angering the Emperor. His behaviour in 1168 and 1169 can be understood without contradiction if he really had not wished a Byzantine pact in the conquest of Egypt, but on the other hand could not disavow the Emperor by refusing the offer of an alliance which had originated from Jerusalem.

(9) Cf. above, Ch. 4, ‘Andronicus Comnenus in Antioch and Jerusalem’.

(10) Annates Pisani 45; cf. also Langer, Genua und Pisa, 153–5; Favreau-Lilie, Italiener, 195 ff.

(11) In 1168 in fact a Pisan fleet, though small, took part in the expedition, which shows, as does the issue of the document RRH 449 of 18 May 1168, that Amalric was interested in a joint action with Pisa.

(12) RRH 452 (11 Oct. 1168): the town of Bilbeis and other acquisitions in Egypt to the total value of 150,000 bezants for the Hospitallers (exclusively for their participation of 1,000 armed men in the expedition of 1168); RRH 451 a (Sept. 1168): 15,000 bezants for the Abbey of Josaphat from the acquisitions in Egypt if it should be taken; RRH 465 (13 Aug. 1169, dated by Mayer, ‘Service’, 147 f., as 13 Aug. 1168); a grant of 100 knights in Egypt for Paganus of Haifa. Abu Shama 135 reports: ‘En I'année 564, Amaury roi des Francs que la conquete de l'Égypte tentait toujours, s'occupa des moyens d'y pénétrer et de s'en rendre maitre, d'autant plus qu'il en avait découvert les côtés faibles et qu'il connaissait la situation précaire de ceux qui y étaient restéd. II tint un grand conseil où il réunit les rois des Francs aux principaux templiers et hospitallers. Après de longs débats, ceux-ci consentirent à l'accompagner dans son expédition. Amaury manda son ministre, et lui ordonna de délimiter les fiefs à distribuer aux chevaliers et les bourgades où les troupes seraient cantonnées. Dès son arrivée en Égypte, ce roi (que Dieu le maudisse!) avait chargé un de ses offtciers de relever et de lui faire connaitre le nom de tous les villages et les chiffres de leurs rendements.’ AH 564 begins on 5 October. On 11 October Amalric drew up a document in Acre for the Hospitallers. On 20 October the army set out from Ascalon and at the end of the month was before Bilbeis. The distribution of fiefs thus accords in time very well with the privilege for the Hospitallers.

(13) On the planned division see Cinnamus 279: the Hospitallers received, among other things, financial returns in ten Egyptian cities, cf.Favreau-Lilie, Italiener, 202 f. n. 145. Of these cities, as established in Favreau-Lilie, Italiener, 201 f., at least Alexandria, Tana, and Damietta were allocated to the Greeks. In the middle of October 1168 either Amalric did not wish to keep the treaty or its precise terms had not been negotiated. In any event one must proceed from the fact that Byzantium, for its part, would lay claim to the important coastal towns.

(14) Mayer, ‘Service’, 148 ff., esp. 151: ‘Si l'Égypte avait été conquise et si I'on avait tenu les promesses faites, le prix aurait été I'appauvrissement immédiat de la couronne d'Égypte nouvellement créée. II est significant que ce fut justement le responsable des finances qui poussa à ce qu'on ne donnât pas aux vassaux ce que leur avait été promis.’ On the pressure by the barons, who might have feared a reduction of the fiefs they had been promised by reason of an alliance with Byzantium, cf. Ibid.: ‘Et ce sont justement ces arrangements non définitifs de I'été 1168 qui étouffèrent dans l'oeuf les plans faits par le roi pour ses vassaux au sujet de l'Égypte. Plus Byzance s'engagerait lors de la conquête de l'Égypte, plus importante serait la partie du pays exigée par elle, et il serait encore plus difficile pour le roi, avec le territoire restant, de creer les nouveaux fiefs promis.’ At first sight it appears that Abu Shama 136 also testifies to this supposed pressure on the part of the vassals in that he makes Amalric, in a conversation with an envoy of Shawar, assert that he himself is not responsible for the invasion, that it is his vassals alone; that he comes along only to serve as an intermediary between them and the Egyptians: ‘des gens d'outre-mers sont venus chez nous, ont prévalu sur nos determinations et se sont mis en route pour s'emparer de votre pays. Dans la crainte qu'ils n'y reiississent, nous venons à notre tour pour servir de médiateurs entre vous et eux.’ It is evident that this is a purely defensive assertion by Amalric with which the King wished to absolve himself from the odium of treaty-breaking.

(15) On the opposition of the nobility, see William of Tyre 20. 5, pp. 948 f.; Mayer, ‘Service’, 148 f. rejects this statement by William as tendentious. In the 1985 edition of his Geschichte der Kreuzzüge (6th edn. Stuttgart, 1985), 263 n. 61, he rejects—-in an oversimplified and shortened manner—my theory with the contention that this supposes ‘that Amalric not only once as in 1169 but on numerous occasions deliberately cheated without Byzantium noticing’. That is demonstrably mistaken, as Mayer could easily have established for himself by more exact consideration, since, though indeed there were negotiations with Byzantium in 1168, the treaty was not in force at the rime that Amalric set out and so could not have been broken. Neither the Byzantine Emperor nor the King of Jerusalem was so stupid as Mayer here supposes.

(16) This is a further indication that the proposal for an offensive alliance originated from Jerusalem. If in 1167–8 Byzantium had proposed the conquest of Egypt, Amalric could have easily withdrawn from the affair. Only if the plan originated with Jerusalem would such a withdrawal be no longer possible. Moreover, the expedition of 1168, seemingly over-precipitate, involving the breach of the existing treaties with Egypt, suggests that the King was surprised by Manuel's sudden agreement and was forced to a premature commencement, whereby his plan promptly foundered. The account of William of Tyre, who saw in Amalric the originator of the alliance, gains in probability as a result of the sequence of events.

(17) William of Tyre 20. 5, p. 948; this shows clearly that the whole affair was begun somewhat precipitately, which also appears from the weak participation of the Pisans. A Pisan fleet indeed supported the Frankish army but seems to have consisted of only a few galleys, otherwise the Annates Pisani 47 would certainly have described this campaign more exhaustively. None the less this fleet appears to have taken the port of Tanis, see Annates Pisani 47; cf. Favreau-Lilie, Italiener, 198.

(18) William of Tyre 20. 9, pp. 954 f.

(19) Ibid. 20. 12, pp. 959 f.

(20) RRH 467 (17 Sept. 1169), Acre cf. Favreau-Lilie, Italiener, 201 f.

(21) Nicetas Choniates 209 reports that the fleet set out at the beginning of July and then remained off Cyprus inactive for two months because of Amalric's hesitation, which corresponds with the statement of William of Tyre 20. 13, p. 962 that it reached Tyre at the end of September. Then the combined forces set out against Egypt on 15 October. Nicetas Choniates 209 also states that the knights of Jerusalem were paid by Byzantium.

(22) Cf. Favreau-Lilie, Italiener, 204 ff.; the interpretation of Favreau-Lilie (p. 202 n. 145) and Mayer, Kreuzzüge (6th edn.), 263 n. 61 is not dear. The treaty with Pisa and the adjustment of the privilege for the Hospitallers proved ‘irrefutably’ (according to Mayer) that at this time Amalric intended to honour the agreement with Byzantium, they merely prove that the King was clever enough not to commit an open breach of the treaty and to respect Byzantine rights formally. More cannot be proved. Such a formal respect for the treaty would also have been in the interests of the Pisans, who were simultaneously negotiating a renewal of their privilege in Constantinople, cf. Like, Handel und Politik, 76–8, 484. If they succeeded in Egypt they could have easily coped with failure in Byzantium, but it would have been foolish and superfluous to take such a risk beforehand.

(23) This is the opinion of Langer, Genua und Pisa, 157, who is indeed supported entirely by the privilege. The sources mention no such interest.

(24) Cf. Favreau-Lilie, Italiener, 204 f.

(25) William of Tyre 20. 12, pp. 959 f. says explicitly that the development in Egypt occasioned the dispatch of the embassies.

(26) Nicetas Choniates 209 f.

(27) Mayer, ‘Service’, 153; id., Kreuzzüge (6th edn.), 112.

(28) Cf. above, Ch. 4, ‘Frankish Expansion towards Egypt’.

(29) William of Tyre 20. 17, pp. 970 f.

(30) Ibid. 20. 22, pp. 980 f.

(31) We know that a treaty was concluded from Ibid. 20. 24, p. 987; on its form cf. H.-E. Mayer, Das Siegelwesen in den Kreuzfahrerstaaten, Bayerischer Akademie der Wissenschaften, phil.-hist. Klasse, Proceedings, NS 83 (Munich, 1978), 15.

(32) William of Tyre 20. 23, pp. 984 f.

(33) Ibid. 21. 16, p. 1031; cf. Mayer, Siegelwesen, 15 f.

(34) Cf. above, Ch. 4, ‘The Consequences of the Defeat at Myriocephalum’.

(35) This is the assumption of Mayer, ‘King Henry II and the Holy Land’, 725 f. He believes that Philip of Flanders acted on behalf of, or in close contact with, King Henry II of England. The Count had the control of money deposited by Henry II in Jerusalem, but not released, in which naturally the Franks of Jerusalem were extremely interested, so that it was in his power to block the whole undertaking. Mayer agrees that this theory is only a hypothesis which cannot finally be proved. For all that, it has a certain probability.