|Pope Urban V|
Count Amedeo made it to Venice, though his funds from the Pope were cut back because he would not be going to the Holy Land itself (though Urban V still blessed the enterprise), this change did help persuade the Venetians to be more cooperative in transporting the Savoyard crusaders and on June 21, 1366 the small army set sail down the Adriatic. Political complications boiled the entire time with the King of Hungary not moving to assist as he had promised and with tensions between the Pope and the Byzantine Emperor John V (a first cousin of Count Amedeo VI) over the papal demand that the Emperor reunite with the Catholic Church in exchange for Latin assistance to his besieged empire. Nonetheless, Count Amedeo forged ahead into the Turkish waters of the Dardanelles, joined by the Emperor’s son-in-law and the Patriarch of Constantinople with a contingent of soldiers. The Emperor himself was, at the time, being held prisoner by the Bulgarians.
The “Green Count” had no papal authorization to make war on the Bulgarians but he could hardly ignore the request for help from his cousin and the Byzantine Empress promised sufficient funding for the expedition to rescue her embattled husband. The “Green Count” made his decision and, leaving loyal Italian troops behind to hold their position in Constantinople, set out in early October across the Black Sea to Bulgaria to find the Emperor. His small army finally landed though exactly where and whether certain cities taken resisted or not is still debated by historians. One fortress that resisted fiercely was Nesebar (or Mesembria) which refused to surrender, forcing the Savoyard troops to take heavy casualties storming the citadel. Then, as was customary at the time, the defenders were put to the sword and the city pillaged. Several more towns were captured afterward until the Savoyard troops had secured control of the Gulf of Burgas.
|The "Green Count" Amedeo VI|
There were more battles against the Turks but as often defensive as opposed to offensive ones and ultimately the Savoyard crusaders were mostly fighting for the means to travel back to Italy. The “Green Count” did his Christian duty off the battlefield as well by trying to patch-up the East-West Schism of Christianity, naturally to no avail. He had brought along a Latin Patriarch of Constantinople but, to avoid offending the Greeks, had put him up in Gallipoli rather than the city of Constantine itself. He was not to stay however as the Latin Patriarch, Paul, set sail with the rest of the Savoyard crusaders when the left in June of 1367, handing their conquered territories over to the Byzantines. The following month the “Green Count” and his remaining crusaders arrived back on Italian shores in Venice to great acclaim.