Villehardouin, Geoffroi de

Villehardouin, Geoffroi de,

c.1160–c.1212, French historian and Crusader. As marshal of Champagne, he was a leader of the Fourth Crusade (see CrusadesCrusades
, series of wars undertaken by European Christians between the 11th and 14th cent. to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. First Crusade

In the 7th cent., Jerusalem was taken by the caliph Umar.
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), which resulted in the conquest (1204) of Constantinople and the creation of the Latin Empire of Constantinople. Villehardouin, in his De la conquête de Constantinople (first pub. 1585; available in several English editions), described the Crusade and the subsequent struggles of the Latin nobles against their Greek and Bulgarian neighbors, from 1198 to 1207, with vivid detail and disarming frankness. Reliable as a historical source, Villehardouin's account stands as an early masterpiece of French prose. For his services in the Crusade he received the title of marshal of Romania (the name then given to Thrace) and a rich fief in Thrace. His nephew, Geoffroi I de Villehardouin, founded the Villehardouin dynasty in the Peloponnesus.