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the First Crusade

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Rachel Dearth
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« Reply #135 on: March 02, 2009, 05:22:55 am »

The dispute delayed the crusade even further. Raymond left Antioch to attack Ma'arrat al-Numan, which was captured; Robert took part in this siege as well. Raymond then tried to bribe Robert and the other leaders to follow him instead of Bohemund; Robert was offered six thousand sous, but each attempted bribe was ignored. Raymond continued south to Jerusalem in January, 1099, but Robert and Godfrey remained behind in Antioch until February. They rejoined Raymond's army at the Siege of Arqa. In June, Robert and Gaston IV of Bearn led the vanguard which arrived at Ramla, and with Tancred of Taranto he led an expedition into Samaria to find wood in order to construct siege engines for the Siege of Jerusalem. When Jerusalem was captured on July 15, Robert supported Godfrey's claim over that of Raymond, and on August 9 marched out with him to meet the Fatimid army under al-Afdal Shahanshah which was coming to relieve Jerusalem. Robert formed part of the centre wing in the ensuing Battle of Ascalon, which resulted in a crusader victory. However, Godfrey and Raymond quarrelled over possession of Ascalon, and even Robert could not support Godfrey in this dispute; the city remained uncaptured, although the victory allowed for the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

At the end of August, Robert returned home with Robert Curthose and Raymond. On the way back they captured Latakia, which was returned to the Byzantine emperor, as promised years before. Raymond remained there but both Roberts continued home by way of Constantinople, after declining Alexius' request to stay there in his service. Robert brought back with him a precious relic, the arm of Saint George, a gift from Alexius. The relic was placed in the church of Anchin Abbey in Flanders[1]. After he returned, Robert built the monastery of St. Andrew in Betferkerke, near Bruges. Because of his crusade and the spoils he brought home, he was nicknamed Robert of Jerusalem.

During his absence, Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV had tried to seize imperial Flanders. Robert responded by supporting the revolt of the Commune of Cambrai against the emperor and his supporter, Bishop Gaulcher, and seized a number of castles. Peace was restored in 1102 paid homage to the emperor for imperial Flanders, but after 1105, the new emperor, Henry V, marched on Flanders, with the aid of Baldwin III, Count of Hainaut and an army from Holland. Robert stopped them outside of Douai and a new peace was signed, in which the emperor recognized Robert's claim to Douai and Cambrai.

In 1103 he made an alliance with King Henry I of England, offering 1000 cavalry in exchange for an annual tribute, but when Henry refused to pay, Robert allied with his nominal overlord, Louis VI of France, and attacked Normandy. With the king diverted, Theobald IV of Blois led a revolt of the French barons. Robert led an army against Meaux, but near the city he was fatally wounded, fell of his horse, and drowned in the Marne.

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