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the First Crusade

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Rachel Dearth
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« Reply #135 on: March 02, 2009, 05:09:29 am »

First Crusade

In 1096 he joined the First Crusade with his brothers Godfrey and Eustace III of Boulogne, selling much of his property to the church in order to pay for his expenses. His wife Godehilde (or Godvera) also accompanied him. This was the second movement of crusaders; the first, the People's Crusade, had been composed of the lower classes and caused much destruction on their march before being destroyed in Asia Minor. When Godfrey passed through Hungary, King Coloman demanded a hostage to ensure their good conduct, and Baldwin was handed over until his companions had left Hungarian territory.

After entering Byzantine territory, there were a few skirmishes with the Greeks, who had also suffered from the People's Crusade. Baldwin commanded a detachment of troops which captured a bridge in the vicinity of Constantinople. After reaching the city, the mass of troops could not be restrained from pillaging the surrounding territory, and Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus was forced to provide a hostage in order to restore peace. The hostage, his son the future emperor John II Comnenus, was entrusted to the care of Baldwin. According to Anna Comnena, Baldwin reprimanded one of his soldiers who dared to sit on Alexius' throne in Constantinople.

Baldwin accompanied his brothers as far as Heraclea in Asia Minor, where he broke away from the main body of the crusaders with Tancred to march into Cilicia. Tancred was surely seeking to capture some land and establish himself as a petty ruler in the east, and Baldwin may have had the same goal. During his absence his wife fell ill and died at Marash, which meant that Baldwin could no longer depend on his wife's lands for support. Some historians have suggested that his entire strategy changed from that point, others believe that the change happened earlier.

In September of 1097 he took Tarsus from Tancred, and installed his own garrison in the city, with help from a fleet of pirates under Guynemer of Boulogne. Tancred and Baldwin's armies skirmished briefly at Mamistra, but the two never came to open warfare and Tancred marched on towards Antioch. After rejoining the main army at Marash, Baldwin received an invitation from an Armenian named Bagrat, and moved eastwards towards the Euphrates, where he occupied Turbessel.

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