- State that originated in 987, when Hugh Capet became king. During the next three centuries French knights played an important and tragic role in Byzantine affairs through the medium of the Crusades (q.v.). French knights made up leading contingents of the First Crusade (q.v.). Louis VII (q.v.) led a major army during the Second Crusade (q.v.). Manuel I Komnenos (q.v.) became enamored with French customs, which hardly enamored him with his subjects. The coup de grace of French influence, so to speak, came when French knights stormed the walls of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade (qq.v.), effectively destroying Byzantium (q.v.). A French nobleman, Baldwin of Flanders (q.v.) became the first emperor of the new Latin Empire (q.v.). Ironically, much later, when a restored Byzantium (q.v.) lost territory to the Ottomans (q.v.), appeals were sent to France. Manuel II Palaiologos (q.v.) even journeyed to Paris in 1400 to beg Charles VI for aid.
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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