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The Fourth Crusade, 1202-04

1. Origins of the Fourth Crusade

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the origins of the Fourth Crusade, focusing in particular on: (i) the work of Pope Innocent III and his papal legates, Soffredo and Peter of Capua, to get the ball rolling on a crusade to recapture Jerusalem; (ii) the negotiation of a contract with Venice to provide shipping of horses and men to the east – in exchange for 85,000 marks; (iii) the stated aim of the crusade – the conquest of Alexandria, then Cairo, and then Jerusalem – and the reasonableness of these aims; (iv) the problems that arise when less than half the expected number of crusaders arrive at Venice, meaning they are unable to fulfil the terms of the contract; and (v) the solution suggested by Venice: a campaign against the city of Zara on the Dalmatian coast.


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 - Origins of the Fourth Crusade [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

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

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