Bound Volume Number


Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2015

Capstone Advisor

Samantha Herrick, Associate Professor of History

Honors Reader

Dennis Romano, Professor of History

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component



Fourth Crusade, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Geoffrey de Villehardouin, Robert of Clari

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

History of Religion | Medieval History


The Fourth Crusade, a war called to recapture Jerusalem, ended in disaster for the Christian city of Constantinople and the city of Jerusalem remained untouched by the crusading host. The fact that a war called to protect Christians in the Middle East and to recapture the city of Jerusalem for God resulted in the sacking of one of the largest Christian cities has led to much scholarly investigation into what exactly caused this to transpire. For the better part of a millennium scholars have sought answers to significant questions and have produced a variety of explanations for why the crusade ultimately failed. These theories range from conspiracy to random chance but debate still rages on between scholars about possible answers to these long deliberated questions. This study will relies mainly upon the primary sources of some of the crusaders who were a part of the crusade and some of their contemporaries for evidence to support this claim. Geoffrey de Villehardouin along with some of his contemporaries, such as Robert of Clari, recorded their knowledge and experience of the Fourth Crusade and are the main primary sources used for this study. This study also makes extensive use of secondary literature, such as the work of Thomas Madden and Donald Queller, regarding both the Fourth Crusade itself and the theories that have been conceived to explain both its diversion and ultimate failure. The purpose of this study is to try to provide conceivable answers to these long discussed questions by looking at the crusade using a different technique that combines certain aspects of noted scholars’ analyses with a style of looking at the crusade by dividing it into separate periods of time. By analyzing the Fourth crusade with this method the study aims to provide possible explanations for certain major events by analyzing specific internal dynamics and leadership transitions that this study claims to be responsible, to some degree, for both the diversion and ultimate failure of the Fourth Crusade. The goal of this study is to prove that internal dynamics that include: the changing goals of the leadership, desertions, polarization of the crusading party, and justifying actions as a means to an end, along with leadership transitions are at least partially responsible for both the diversion and ultimate failure of the Fourth Crusade.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



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