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the First Crusade

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Rachel Dearth
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« Reply #45 on: March 01, 2009, 08:41:42 pm »

Capture of Antioch

The siege continued, and at the end of May 1098 a Muslim army from Mosul under the command of Kerbogha approached Antioch. This army was much larger than the previous attempts to relieve the siege. Kerbogha had joined with Ridwan and Duqaq and his army also included troops from Persia and from the Ortuqids of Mesopotamia. The crusaders were luckily granted time to prepare for their arrival, as Kerbogha had first made a three-week long excursion to Edessa, which he was unable to recapture from Baldwin of Boulogne, who had taken it earlier in 1098.

The crusaders knew they would have to take the city before Kerbogha arrived if they had any chance of survival. Bohemund secretly established contact with Firouz, an Armenian guard who controlled the Tower of the Two Sisters but had a grudge with Yaghi-Siyan, and bribed him to open the gates. He then approached the other crusaders and offered to let them in, through Firouz, if they would agree to let him have the city. Raymond was furious and argued that the city should be handed over to Alexius, as they had agreed when they left Constantinople in 1097, but Godfrey, Tancred, Robert, and the other leaders, faced with a desperate situation, gave in to his demands.

Despite this, on June 2, Stephen of Blois and some of the other crusaders deserted the army. Later on the same day, Firouz instructed Bohemund to feign a march out to meet Kerbogha, and then to march back to the city at night and scale the walls. This was done. Firouz opened the gates and a massacre followed. The remaining Christians in the city opened the other gates and participated in the massacre themselves, killing as much of the hated Turkish garrison as they could. The crusaders, however, killed some of the Christians along with the Muslims, including Firouz's own brother. Yaghi-Siyan fled but was captured by some Syrian Christians outside the city. He was decapitated and his head was brought to Bohemund.

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