who was to blame for the sack of Constantinople in 1204?

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Who was to blame for the sack of Constantinople in 1204?

The fourth crusade set out to destroy enemies of the Christians and recapture Jerusalem via Egypt yet none of this was accomplished but instead Christians killed their fellow Christians, in what was one of the worst blunders in history. Blame can be put on many parties with the main being western Christendom whom attacked the city, however the venetians also played apart and there is a possibility that the Byzantines ought such terror upon themselves.

The Crusaders seem to be the most obvious choice when it comes to laying blame as they were the ones who committed such atrocious acts in the name of western Christendom. There are many prior reasons which led to the sacking of the Byzantines capital city. The first of which being the gross miscalculation in the spring of 1202 in which the Crusaders drastically overestimated the amount of troops they could rally for the crusading cause. Thus putting themselves in a very difficult predicament of repaying the venetians. After negotiations it was decided that the Crusading forces would act as the Venetians foot soldiers in order to repay their great debt. This is shown as the Crusaders sack the disputed and Christian lands of Zara under direct orders from Doge Dandelo. Unfortunately the riches of Zara were not satisfactory to repay the venetians completely and after a period of time Constantinople seemed the ultimate choice. The Crusaders can also be blamed as they started the fire in Constantinople in the winter of 1203 and attacked the city in 1204 despite Mourtzouphlos allowing them to leave the city. In contrast, it may be argued that the Crusaders were not actually culpable for their grand miscalculation of required ships. As the number of men who showed up was likely lower due to circumstances that could not be foreseen, such as the death of Thibault of Champagne in the May of 1201. Thibault was a highly influential figure and his upon his death many of his followers likely abandoned his cause. Furthermore, the fire of 1203 was not started because the Crusader were pyromaniacs but instead because they had grown impatient due the delaying of their payments by Alexios I, which was greatly needed in order to pay the Venetians.

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Alternatively, the Venetians can also be blamed as they mastered the art of puppeteering the Crusading force. If it was not for the constant demands on the Crusaders to repay their debts then they may not have been put into the position of having to sack Christian cities, the venetians also aided the crusading army greatly upon the actual sacking of Constantinople. However the Venetians were a commercial people and as such could not have simply forgiven and forgot for not paying their debts. After such a large order placement by the Crusaders for ships that could transport 33,500, the ...

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