Old Rus’ literature and art reflected the capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders, in particular, in the Tale on the taking of Tsargrad by the Crusaders.The most likely author of this work, the oldest version of which has survived as part of the Older Version of the First Novgorod Chronicle, is the Novgorod Boyar Dobrynya Yadreykovich (later Archbishop Anthony). A close associate of the Galician-Volhynian prince RomanMstislavich, Dobrynya spent several years in Constantinople on his behalf and witnessed the devastation of the Byzantine capital by the Latins in April 1204. The close relationship with the Galician-Volhynian prince explains why Dobrynya paid attention to the prince’s brother-in-law - the German king Philip of Swabia - and his role in organizing the Fourth Crusade.The author of the Tale expressed the „Ibellin“ point of view, i.e. he attempted to take off the German king the responsibility for the devastation of Constantinople. He was familiar with the details of the escape of Prince Alexios (the future emperor Alexios IV) from the Byzantine capital to King Philip and used characteristic German vocabulary (place names and personal names). All this suggests that the Russian scribe used informations from a well-informed German source. Dobrynya’s informer could be one of King Philip’s supporters, Bishop of Halberstadt Konrad von Krosigk, who participated in the siege of Constantinople in 1203-1204.
© 2017 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston