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Colonizing ChristianityGreek and Latin Religious Identity in the Era of the Fourth Crusade$
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George E. Demacopoulos

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823284429

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823284429.001.0001

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Robert de Clari

Robert de Clari

(p.13) Chapter 1 Robert de Clari
Colonizing Christianity

George E. Demacopoulos

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines Robert de Clari's The Conquest of Constantinople, which is the lone surviving firsthand account of the Fourth Crusade composed by a rank-and-file Frankish soldier who participated in the endeavor. The Conquest of Constantinople offers an eyewitness account of nearly every stage of the expedition in a chronological order—its planning, the detour to Zara, the decision to travel to Constantinople, and, of course, the siege and plunder of the city. Throughout the chronicle, Robert provides a running commentary about his sojourn in the East that includes biting criticisms of both the local population and the crusade leaders who exploited their soldiers. The chapter then offers a careful reading of key aspects of Robert's text that underscore its colonial condition. Robert's assertion of crusader virtue, coupled with the denigration of Greek wickedness, serves as the primary mechanism for justifying the subjugation and humiliation of fellow Christians. The chapter also analyzes the sexual politics undergirding Robert's account.

Keywords:   Robert de Clari, Constantinople, Fourth Crusade, crusade leaders, colonization, crusader virtue, Greek wickedness, Christians, sexual politics

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