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The Fourth Crusade, 1202-04

3. Debating the Fourth Crusade

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About this Lecture


In this module, we explore four theories that attempt to explain why the Fourth Crusade ended up being something so different than what was originally planned, focusing in particular on: (i) the theory that the sack of Constantinople was what the Venetians had planned all along; (ii) the theory that it was all just a series of accidents; (iii) the theory that the Byzantine Empire brought destruction on itself; and (iv) the theory that the sack of Constantinople was what the Pope had planned all along.


In this course, Dr Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent University) explores the Fourth Crusade (1202-04). We begin by thinking about the origins of the Fourth Crusade, focusing in particular on the preparations made by Pope Innocent III, the deal that was struck with the Venetian Republic in 1201, and the consequences of the Crusaders' inability to pay. After that, in the second module, we continue the story as the Crusaders sack two Christian cities, including the capital of the Byzantine Empire itself – Constantinople. In the third module, we ask how it came about that the Fourth Crusade was diverted so far from its original aims, before turning in the fourth module to the longer-term impact of the Fourth Crusade – not least the fragmentation of the Byzantine Empire and widening of the schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.


Dr Nicholas Morton is a specialist in the history of crusading and the Medieval Mediterranean between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. More recently he has begun to focus specifically upon the theme of inter-faith relations between Christianity and Islam in this region. He has published extensively on topics connected to this subject area, writing a range of monographs and scholarly articles. He is also an editor for the Ashgate series Rulers of the Latin East.

Currently Dr Morton is completing a monograph exploring the First Crusaders' attitudes and behaviour towards the various non-Christian peoples they encountered during their campaign. This will be a highly revisionist work addressing many key scholarly and public orthodoxies surrounding the nature of Christian/Islamic interaction during the crusade.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Morton, N. (2018, August 15). The Fourth Crusade, 1202-04 - Debating the Fourth Crusade [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Morton, N. "The Fourth Crusade, 1202-04 – Debating the Fourth Crusade." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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