The Banquet of Vows

In 1453 the Duke of Burgundy and his knights dramatically pledged themselves to crusade against the Turkhut with many face-saving qualifications. By Dorothy Margaret Stuart.

When Constantinople fell before the army of Mohammed 11 in the year 1453, Frederick III, the newlycrowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, summoned his princes and hegemen to a solemn conclave at Ratisbon " to debate," in the words of a contemporary chronicler, " upon what should be done for the protection of Christendom." The spirit that had inspired the crusades, the splendid and futile spirit of chivalry, was not yet dead, and more than fifty years later Frederick's successor, Maximilian, strove to revive it. Godefroy de Bouillon was not forgotten, and a son of John the Fearless ruled Burgundy ; but it was only four years since Pope Nicholas V had ended the long schism of the double pontificate, and Europe was torn by internal wars that left her rulers scant leisure for chivalric dreams.

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