This concluding chapter argues that interpreting the Fourth Crusade as a colonial encounter usefully recalibrates one's understanding of the rapid escalation of Orthodox/Catholic animus that occurred during the thirteenth century. The Fourth Crusade was not simply an episode of medieval warfare; it was not simply an event of political opportunism; nor was it simply an example of conquest and plunder. To be sure, it was all of these things; but from the perspective of Christian history it was also much more. The siege of Constantinople and the formation of the Latin Empire of Byzantium, which followed from it, completely transformed the way that the papacy and many elite Western churchmen viewed the possibility of Greek/Latin unity. From a Western Christian perspective, the goal of Christian unity was now to be pursued and maintained through the military and political occupation of Byzantium. Thus, by situating the Latin Empire of Byzantium within the context of premodern colonialism, one better understands the transformation of Western Christian approaches to Christian unification in the wake of 1204.
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