«The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World edited by Angeliki E. Laiou and Roy Parviz Mottahedeh published by Dumbarton Oaks ...»
A. Provisioning Major challenges were posed by the large size of the crusading armies. According to the most recent estimates, the Peasant Crusade had around 20,000 participants; the main armies at Nicaea counted approximately 50,000 to 60,000 members including noncombatants. Many had already died on the way to Constantinople. The Crusade of 1101, for which there are huge contemporary estimates, must have been larger.17 No ﬁgures are J. France, Victory in the East: A Military History of the First Crusade (Cambridge–New York, 1994), 142, and ` ´ J. Flori, “Un probleme de methodologie: La valeur des nombres chez les chroniqueurs du Moyen Age: A pro´´ ` ` pos des eﬀectifs de la premiere Croisade,” Moyen Age 99 (1995): 399–422. J. Heers, Liberer Jerusalem: La premiere Croisade (1095–1107) (Paris, 1995), does not give estimates. On the Crusade of 1100–1101, see J. L. Cate, “The Crusade of 1101,” in K. M. Setton, ed., History of the Crusades, vol. 1, The First Hundred Years, ed. M. W. Baldwin (Madison, Wisc., 1969), 343–67.
Cate, “The Crusade of 1101,” 351.
[ 162 ] Byzantine Trade given for the French and German armies of the Second Crusade, but combined they must have been as large as those of the First Crusade. For the army of Frederick I Barbarossa, we have the ﬁgure of 100,000, which includes 20,000 mounted troops.18 In terms of the problems of provisioning, we might compare these ﬁgures with the most recent and persuasive estimates of the size of the Komnenian army on campaign, which is approximately 15,000 to 20,000 men, thus much smaller than the Crusaders’ armies.19 One must also take into account the length of time the Crusaders spent on Byzantine soil;
thinking only of the Balkans, I have estimated an average of two to two and a half months for most of the armies of the First Crusade, except for those of Raymond of Toulouse and Bohemond, which took ﬁve and a half to six months. The passage of most of the armies, including the Peasant Crusade, was swift: the comparison to locusts, found in both Anna Komnene and Orderic Vitalis,20 seems apposite. The armies of the Second Crusade took two and a half to three months. But that of Frederick Barbarossa spent almost nine months on Byzantine soil, mostly in southern Bulgaria and Thrace, heavily taxing the resources of the area. As these numbers suggest, the problems of provisioning were ubiquitous; as for questions of exchange, those arose on the ground, and, during the Second and Third Crusades, formed a part of the negotiations for safe passage.
As is well known, the First Crusade was too amorphous and disorganized for formal arrangements to have been made beforehand to assure provisioning, although by 1101 agreements were indeed concluded as the Lombard army was about to enter Bulgaria.21 Provisions do not seem to have been brought as far as the Byzantine Empire, although one of the chroniclers mentions that the Crusaders carried some provisions with them;22 these undoubtedly were exhausted before the Crusaders left Western Europe. The Crusaders also brought money and marks of silver with them, presumably to be used to buy provisions.23 The problem of provisioning was recurrent during the passage of the armies of the First Crusade and of the subsequent two. The army of Raymond of St. Gilles, passing through Dalmatia, could get neither safe-conduct nor commercium until it reached Skoutari, where, in January 1097, Raymond made a pact with the local ruler (Vodin), giving him much money so that the army would be allowed to buy provisions, although Vodin’s promises seem to have remained a dead letter.24 The Crusaders were certainly expected, by the Byzantine authorities, to buy their food: Alexios I, as soon as he heard of the Crusade, had sent generals to Durazzo and Avlona to ensure that there would be panegyreis (the Latin term is usually mercatum or necessarium negotium)25 in all the lands along the France, Victory in the East, 136.
´ ` J.-C. Cheynet, “Les eﬀectifs de l’armee byzantine aux Xe–XIe siecle,” CahCM 38 (1995): 319–35, at 331–32.
Alexiade 10.5.7, ed. B. Leib (with P. Gautier), 4 vols. (Paris, 1939–76), 2:208; Orderic Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History, ed. and trans. M. Chibnall, 6 vols. (Oxford, 1969–80), 5.30.
Albert of Aix, Historia Hierosolymitana, RHC, HOcc 4 (Paris, 1879), 559; Orderic Vitalis, 5:327.
Roberti Monachi Historia Iherosolimitana, RHC, HOcc 3 (Paris, 1866), 744, on Bohemond.
See below, 168–69.
J. Hugh and L. Hill, eds., Le “Liber” de Raymond d’Aguilers (Paris, 1969), 37–38; Guillaume de Tyr, Chronique, ed. R. Huygens, CC continuatio mediaevalis 63–63 (Turnhout, 1986), 2.17 (1:182 ﬀ ).
E.g., Orderic Vitalis, 5:31, 33, 43, 49, 69.
Angeliki E. Laiou [ 163 ] way.26 Some Crusaders, especially the excitable Tancred,27 thought it too bad that they should have to buy food—and they took diﬀerent courses of action.28 The emperor, perhaps in response, seems to have made the availability of provisions contingent on the Crusaders’ oath of fealty or friendship, as also happened during the Second and Third Crusades.29 The Byzantine authorities seem to have been conﬁdent that they could provide adequate markets, so much so that Niketas Choniates thought that Manuel Komnenos’ failure to supply adequate markets to the participants of the Second Crusade was deliberate.
Byzantine armies on campaign normally brought some of their provisions with them, or bought them along the way, as long as they were on friendly territory.30 But the Crusader armies, especially those of the Second and Third Crusades, which crossed into the Balkans all together, were much larger than a Byzantine army on campaign. In fact, the passage of the crusading armies taxed the productive resources of the area and most particularly the mechanisms of distribution. It is surprising that the system did not signiﬁcantly break down before the time of Frederick Barbarossa.
The provisioning of the armies of the First Crusade (including that of 1101) on Byzantine territory was carried out in three ways. First, the Crusaders bought food, and a recurrent complaint is that there was no food to be bought or, as in Kastoria, that the inhabitants did not wish to sell, being suspicious of the Crusaders’ motives.31 In the Balkans, in Asia Minor, and also in the Holy Land, much of the provisioning of the crusading army depended on the purchase of food (and fodder for the horses), as William of Tyre makes most clearly evident. Indeed, the fact that various crusading chronicles quote prices, mostly at times of famine, proves that food was bought.32 The second way they found food was from imperial donations—either at times of joint victory or at times of considerable hardship. Alexios I perhaps fed some of the army of Peter the Hermit in Constantinople and promised Hugh of Vermandois not only an adequate market (copiosum mercatum) but also alms for the poor.33 Before the capture of Nicaea, Alexiade 10.5.9 (ed. Leib, 2:209). According to Anna, when Alexios heard of the crusade, he told his ´ `` ` ´ oﬃcials to panhgurei" te dayilei'" ejx aJpasw'n tw'n cwrw'n kata thn oJdon ejxagein. Later, Alexios heard ´ ˆ ` ´ about the arrival of more Crusaders, and again he sent word to ta zwarkh' toutoi" ejrcomenoi" ejpicorhgein ejp∆ aujtv' toutv tetagmenoi", wJ" mh labei'n aujtou" to parapan ejschkenai. Alexiade 10.10.3 (ed. Leib, ´ `` ´ ` ´ ´ 2:228). Orderic Vitalis says that during the passage of the crusaders of Walter Sans-Avoir, the doux and the oﬃcials of Philippopolis allowed them to enter the city “et mercatum concesserunt,” which they had not done before: Ecclesiastical History, 5.31 (this information is found nowhere else, according to the editor’s note).
R. Hill, ed., Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum (London, 1962), 10.
See below, 164.
E.g., Robert the Monk, 744, 748, 749. Also William of Tyre, 2.6, 2.12, 2.14 (1:168–69, 175–77, 178–79).
´ R. Vari, Leonis imperatoris Tactica, 2 vols. (Budapest, 1917–22), 1:225.
Robert the Monk, 745: Bohemond tries to get “forum rerum venalium”; cf. Hill, Gesta Francorum 8:
“quesivimus mercatum.” Cf. Orderic Vitalis, 5.45, 49.
` ` ´ ` ` Among the prices, see Alexiade 11.4.3 (ed. Leib, 3:20): in Antioch, hJ kefalh tou' boo" ejpi trisi crusinoi" stath'rsi ajpempolei'to. On the fact that food was normally purchased as opposed to donated or acquired by raids, see William of Tyre, 1:142, 143, 148, 164–65, 173, 176, 178, 184.
“[I]mperator iusserat dari mercatum, sicuti erat in civitate”: Hill, Gesta Francorum 2; but he uses mercatum also to mean a market; cf. Robert the Monk, 732: “mercatum eis habere concedebat, quod etiam in civitate erat.” Orderic Vitalis, 5.43; cf. p. 327 on ingentia dona to the leaders of the Crusade of 1101 and p. 335 on shipByzantine Trade Alexios allowed a ship to bring provisions for purchase; but after the fall of that city, he gave to the poor of the army alms, which Stephen of Blois deﬁnes as distributions of food.34 The third way in which the Crusaders found food was plunder. Relatively limited during the First Crusade, at least on Byzantine territory, despite the depredations of Tancred and Bohemond and those of the Lombard participants in the Crusade of 1101,35 it became a way of life when the Crusaders entered Turkish territory. Spoils of war, not quite plunder, were also available, as also were large donations by the rulers of various Muslim towns once the Crusaders had entered Syria and Palestine.
As for the Second and Third Crusades, the matter of provisioning was paramount in the eyes of the Crusader leaders, and in the eyes of the Byzantine emperors it had become, along with safe conduct, the most powerful negotiating tool. In his letter to the pope regarding the crusade of Louis VII, Manuel I Komnenos promised safe passage and markets (and suitable exchange: “forum idoneum, concambium competens”), in exchange for an oath of security for his realm.36 He then sent orders everywhere to have provisions brought to the roads through which the Crusaders would pass.37 The German ´ ` ` ` army too was promised “hospitality” (uJpodoch'" te ajpolauonta" eij" to eijko" kai ´ filofrosunh" th'" allh") in exchange for an oath of friendship.38 The governor of “ ˆ“ Nish, Michael Branas, was ordered to provide “necessities” (proujnoeito hdh tw'n ajnagkaiwn aujtoi", outw prostetagmenon aujtv'), and similarly in Soﬁa. In Soﬁa, at least, ´ ˆ ´ 39 ” it is certain that its governor made sure that Louis VII had the right to buy provisions.40 Manuel forced the French to reconﬁrm their oaths in exchange for market privileges several times: most importantly in Constantinople, where he exacted the oath of homage in return for a promise of guides, fair exchange, and markets everywhere,41 and, later, in Attaleia.42 When arrangements broke down, either by design on the part of the Byzantines or by chance, or because there was not enough food to feed the Crusaders (as in Attaleia), the Crusaders plundered.43 The arrangements with Frederick Barbarossa, as reported by Niketas Choniates, Ansbert and other sources, were almost a point-by-point copy of those made earlier with Conrad and Louis VII—which means that the imperial bureaucracy had learned more
or less what to do, unless it simply means that Choniates is repeating himself. The second eventuality, however, is unlikely, since he had ﬁrsthand knowledge of the later arrangements, and the statements of Odo of Deuil (and Ansbert) and Choniates corroborate each other at several points.44 Once again the quid pro quo was safety for imperial lands in return for markets, although, as is well known, the problem deteriorated into a conﬂict over imperial titles. Once again the emperor appealed to the provincial governors to “transfer goods from the various regions to where the king would pass.”45 In the case of the Third Crusade, promises of safe-conduct and optimi fori were made in Nuremberg in November 1186, and repeated in Nish and Branitsevo. The question of iustum concambium arose in October 1189.46 But arrangements broke down very soon indeed, and the German army—100,000 of them—found its food by plunder, which must have been very painful for the population. Permission to plunder was solemnized by the Treaty of Adrianople in February 1190. According to Choniates, at the time of the Third Crusade, the Turks of Konya also promised safe-passage and provisions, but broke their promises.47 How was this food marketed, and who sold it? In all cases, the emperors gave the original orders, which mandated two courses of action: that markets should be provided to the armies and that provisions should be collected by the governors of the regions.48 William of Tyre, perhaps not entirely trustworthy on this point, adds that Alexios’ edict regarding the army of Bohemond envisaged the death penalty for anyone who disregarded his orders to “iusto precio et equo pondere ducis exercitui quelibet mercimonia venderentur.” His narrative often reiterates that Alexios not only gave the Crusaders the right to buy and sell, but also ordered that the sale be carried out with correct weights and measures and at a just price.49 During the Crusade of 1100–1101, permission was given the Crusaders to buy and sell (“emendi et vendendi”) in Rosa (the Rusa of the First Crusade: Xanthe or Komotini), Panidos, Rodosto, Didymoteichon, “castello...
de Natura,” Selymbria, Adrianople, Philippopolis;50 some of these towns, like Panidos and Rodosto, were major grain markets.