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the First Crusade

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Author Topic: the First Crusade  (Read 3857 times)
Rachel Dearth
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« Reply #120 on: March 02, 2009, 05:02:48 am »

Extending his territorial reach

Many of the minor knights and foot soldiers preferred to continue their march to Jerusalem, and they convinced Raymond to lead them there in the autumn of 1098. Raymond led them out to besiege Ma'arrat al-Numan, although he left a small detachment of his troops in Antioch, where Bohemond also remained. As Adhemar had died in Antioch, Raymond, along with the prestige given to him by the Holy Lance, became the new leader of the crusade. Bohemond however, expelled Raymond's detachment from Antioch in January of 1099. Raymond then began to search for a city of his own. He marched from Ma'arrat, which had been captured in December of 1098, into the emirate of Tripoli, and began the siege of Arqa on February 14, 1099, apparently with the intent of founding an independent territory in Tripoli that could limit the power of Bohemond to expand the Principality of Antioch to the south.

The siege of Arqa, a town outside Tripoli, lasted longer than Raymond had hoped. Although he successfully captured Hisn al-Akrad, a fortress that would later become the important Krak des Chevaliers, his insistence on taking Tripoli delayed the march to Jerusalem, and he lost much of the support he had gained after Antioch. Raymond finally agreed to continue the march to Jerusalem on May 13, and after months of siege the city was captured on July 15. Raymond was offered the crown of the new Kingdom of Jerusalem, but refused, as he was reluctant to rule in the city in which Jesus had suffered. He said that he shuddered to think of being called "King of Jerusalem". It is also likely that he wished to continue the siege of Tripoli rather than remain in Jerusalem. However, he was also reluctant to give up the Tower of David in Jerusalem, which he had taken after the fall of the city, and it was only with difficulty that Godfrey of Bouillon was able to take it from him.

Raymond participated in the battle of Ascalon soon after the capture of Jerusalem, during which an invading army from Egypt was defeated. However, Raymond wanted to occupy Ascalon himself rather than give it to Godfrey, and in the resulting dispute Ascalon remained unoccupied. It was not taken by the crusaders until 1153. Godfrey also blamed him for the failure of his army to capture Arsuf. When Raymond went north, in the winter of 1099-1100, his first act was one of hostility against Bohemond, capturing Laodicea from (Bohemond had himself recently taken it from Alexius). From Laodicea he went to Constantinople, where he allied with Alexius I, Bohemond's most powerful enemy. Bohemond was at the time attempting to expand Antioch into Byzantine territory, and blatantly refused to fulfill his oath to the Byzantine Empire.

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