Geoffroy de Villehardouin was a French noble born in the middle of the twelfth century who participated in the Fourth Crusade. After the crusade he wrote Chronicles of the Crusades which covers not only the foundation of the Fourth Crusade and events up through the conquest of Constantinople, but the ensuing conflicts after as well. Prior to the crusade he was Marshal of Champagne, and while this did not give him direct experience in war he probably took part in disputes in Champagne. This position probably gave him an administrative and military focus which explains the general statesmanlike tone throughout the book, as well as his choice to describe strategies.
Throughout the book, Villehardouin makes his religiosity clear. This is hardly surprising considering the status of religion in the time period and the fact that Villehardouin is a crusader. The reverence for crusaders among European nobles likely also contributed to his values. Early on, he speaks in the typical vocabulary of the crusades by speaking of acting “in God's name” or “by God's Grace.” More interestingly, he repeatedly relates the days of their events to religious days. He observes that the day of the agreement between the Venetians and the envoys was in Lent, the day the siege of Zara began was Saint Martin's Day, the day of departure from Scutari was Saint John the Baptist's Day, the day Constantinople was taken was the Monday before Palm Sunday, and so on. This suggests the level of importance he attributes to the events of the Fourth Crusade. It is not merely a matter of conquest, personal pilgrimage, or military glory, but something deeply tied to the history and health of Christendom in the eyes of Villehardouin.
Additionally, the repeated use of religious dates shows that Villehardouin perceived the omnipresence of God in human events. The dates not only commemorate religious figures and such but also bring the idea of God's presence to each step of the Fourth Crusade. This displays not only the way that Villehardouin looked at the world, but also the way his audience, the people of medieval Europe, perceived events in a very religious context.
Through most of the chronicle, Villehardouin says that God punishes those who sin and blesses the crusaders with victories. Villehardouin describes that every deserter during the winter of Zara either drowned or was killed in Sclavonia. He also emphasizes that all of those who went to Syria instead of Constantinople did nothing useful because it was not part of God's plan for them to go to Syria. He even describes some of those who were captured or died uselessly in Syria as “one of the best knights in the world” or “one of the most innocent souls alive”. This implies that in Villehardouin's worldview, being of good character is irrelevant if you are not in alignment with the plans of God. Similarly, he is confident that God wanted them to take Zara, otherwise the crusade would have fallen apart due to all those inside...