In 1197, on this day in Messina, his loyal German soldiers discovered a dastardly plot to poison their king, the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI.
Henry VI survives poisoning to command the Fourth CrusadeThe conspirators had hoped to prevent his Crusading Army from sailing to Palestine, but instead he was more determined than ever to efface the humiliation caused by the disintegration of his father's army. Leading a large number of German knights and nobles, including two Archbishops, nine bishops, five dukes, he quickly captured Siddon and Beirut before setting his sites on the ultimate prize, Jerusalem. But for this occupation, he needed massive reinforcement.
Fortunately Pope Innocent III succeeded to the papacy, and the prosecution of the crusade became the primary goal of his pontificate, expounded in his bull Post miserabile. Consequently, he helped Henry by raising further forces particularly from areas within France, and to exercise control over the recalcitrant Crusaders he formalized an agreement to sail en masse from Venice with a solemn ban on attacks on Christian states. This deft move avoided Latin entanglement with the Byzantines who having unwisely chosen to outsource their navy to Venice might otherwise have found themselves on the wrong end of Crusader Steel.