Romanians and Power in the Mediaeval Kingdom of Hungary- The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
6. The Fourth Crusade (1203-1204) or the western method of eradicating the “schism”
A notable change in addressing the problem of confessional and ethnic mi- norities and the treatment of those considered “foreigners” in Central Eu- rope unquestionably occurred after 1204, when the western Christians oc- cupied Constantinople–the most important Christian castle at that time. It was believed then that finally, after 150 years of division, the “schism”1 had been eliminated and the unity of the church had been restored. However, it soon became apparent, both in the West and in the East, that the separa- tion was more acute than ever and that the mutual hatred between the two branches of Christianity had become even deeper and more irreconcilable. Let us see what had actually happened. On 17 July 1203, the western crusaders (knights) were present in Con- stantinople (having been convened by a local political faction), and as of 13 April 1204, the capital of the Eastern world was under the rule of the “Lat- ins”.2 From then on, the names that became entrenched in the public con- sciousness were “Greeks” (used by the westerners for the Byzantines and the Orthodox in general) and “Latins” (used in Eastern Europe for the west- erners). Both had, at that time, demeaning and downright injurious over- tones when they were used by the opposing party. The takeover of Constantinople by armed force was shortly followed by the division of the Byzantine Empire between the conquerors (Venice, the “Latin” barons, and so on)3 and the creation of a new political entity....
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