The First Crusade: The Call from the East.
Before moving on to The Talisman and the Third Crusade, I should like to refer to Peter Frankopan’s thesis unfurled in his recent book (published in 2012), The First Crusade: The Call from the East.  Frankopan argues that the real origins of the First Crusade have not been properly understood. The attention of historians has almost universally concentrated “on Pope Urban II, his rousing speech at Clermont and the galvanising of the knighthood of Europe”. But in reality, “the catalyst for the expedition to Jerusalem was not the Pope, but another figure entirely: the call to arms issued by Urban was the result of a direct appeal for help from the emperor of Constantinople, Alexios I Komnenos, in the east….[B]y the mid-1090s, [Alexios] was losing his political authority and the Byzantine Empire was reeling from violent incursions on all sides. In 1095, Alexios sent envoys to Urban II, with an urgent message. Finding the Pope at Piacenza, they ‘implored his lordship and all the faithful of Christ to bring assistance against the heathen for the defence of this holy church, which had now been nearly annihilated in that region by the infidels who had conquered her as far as the walls of Constantinople’.  Urban reacted immediately, declaring that he would head north, to France, to gather forces to aid the emperor. It was this appeal from Alexios that triggered the First Crusade”. 
The back cover of Frankopan’s book has some very impressive endorsements from well-known historians, including Christopher Tyerman, an expert on the Crusades whom I have already cited. Here is Tyerman’s blurb: “Peter Frankopan’s reassessment of the Byzantine contribution to the origins and course of the First Crusade offers a compelling and challenging balance to traditional accounts. Based on fresh interpretations of primary sources, lucidly written and forcefully argued, [this book] will demand attention from scholars while providing an enjoyable and accessible narrative for the general reader.”
Though Anna Komnene’s The Alexiad makes no direct reference to Alexius’ appeal to the Pope, it is clear from her account that the Emperor had already put in place procedures and provisioning plans so that everything was ready by the time the Crusaders reached Byzantium. He was thus not caught by surprise. 
Scott does not make any allusions to Alexius’ call for help to the Pope. However, another great historian, even though he had perhaps slightly fewer primary sources available to him, does, surprisingly, discuss it. Edward Gibbon in Chapter LVIII of his great work writes:
So popular was the cause of Urban, so weighty was his influence, that the council which he summoned at Piacentia was composed of two hundred bishops of Italy, France, Burgundy, Swabia, and Bavaria. Four thousand of the clergy, and thirty thousand of the laity, attended this important meeting; and as the most spacious cathedral would have been inadequate to the multitude, the session of seven days was held in a plain adjacent to the city. The ambassadors of the Greek emperor, Alexius Comnenus, were introduced to plead the distress of their sovereign and the danger of Constantinople, which was divided only by a narrow sea from the victorious Turks, the common enemies of the Christian name. In their suppliant address they flattered the pride of the Latin princes; and, appealing at once to their policy and religion, exhorted them to repel the Barbarians on the confines of Asia, rather than to expect them in the heart of Europe. At the sad tale of the misery and perils of their Eastern brethren, the assembly burst into tears: the most eager champions declared their readiness to march; and the Greek ambassadors were dismissed with the assurance of a speedy and powerful succour. The relief of Constantinople was included in the larger and most distant project of the deliverance of Jerusalem; but the prudent Urban adjourned the final decision to a second synod, which he proposed to celebrate in some city of France in the autumn of the same year. The short delay would propagate the flame of enthusiasm; and his firmest hope was in a nation of soldiers, still proud of the pre-eminence of their name, and ambitious to emulate their hero Charlemagne, who, in the popular romance of Turpin, had achieved the conquest of the Holy Land. 
 Peter Frankopan. The First Crusade: The Call from the East. Cambridge [Mass.]: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012.
 Frankopan is quoting the contemporary Chronicon of Bernold of Constance. Bernold of Constance [c. 1054–1100] was a chronicler and writer of tracts, and a defender of the Church reforms of Pope Gregory VII. The latter part of Bernold’s Chronicon is a concise record of contemporary events by an intelligent observer in the Papal camp.
 Ibid., pp.6-7.
 Frankopan op.cit., p.513 footnote 14.
 Edward Gibbon. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London: 1788, Vol. VI, Chapter LVIII
To be continued.