Book XV.—A.D. 1255-1270.
Book XVI.—A.D. 1291-1396.
Book XVII.—A.D. 1453-1481.
Book XVIII.—A.D. 1571-1685.
LOUIS IX., during his sojourn in Palestine, had not only employed himself in fortifying the Christian cities; he had neglected no means of establishing that union and harmony among the Christians themselves, which he felt would create their only security against the attacks of the Mussulmans: unhappily for this people, whom he would have preserved at the peril of his life, his counsels were not long in being forgotten, and the spirit of discord soon displaced the generous sentiments to which his example and discourses had given a momentary life.
It may have been observed in the course of this history, that several maritime nations had stores, counting-houses, and considerable commercial establishments at Ptolemaïs, which had become the capital of Palestine. Among these nations, Genoa and Venice occupied the first rank: each of these colonies inhabited a separate quarter, and had different laws, besides interests, which kept them at constant variance; the only thing they possessed in common, was the Church of St. Sabbas, in which the Venetians and the Genoese assembled together to celebrate the ceremonies of their religion.
This common possession had often been a subject of quarrel between them; a short time after the departure of St. Louis, discord broke out anew, and roused all the passions that the spirit of rivalry and jealousy could give birth to between two nations which had so long contended for the empire of the sea and pre-eminence in commerce. Amidst this struggle, in which the very object of the contest ought to have recalled sentiments of peace and charity to their hearts, the Genoese and Venetians often came to blows in the city of Ptolemaïs, and more than once, the sanctuary, which the two parties had fortified like a place of war, resounded with the din of their sacrilegious battles.
Discord very soon crossed the seas, and carried fresh troubles into the West. Genoa interested the Pisans in her cause, and sought allies and auxiliaries even among the Greeks, at that time impatient to repossess Constantinople. Venice, in order to avenge her injuries, courted the alliance of Manfroi, who had been excommunicated by the head of the Church. Troops were raised, fleets were armed, and the parties attacked each other both by land and sea; and this war, which the sovereign pontiff was unable to quell, lasted more than twenty years, sometimes to the advantage of the Venetians, as frequently to that of the Genoese; but always fatal to the Christian colonies of the East.