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Bohemond I (3 March 1111) was the
Prince of Taranto The Principality of Taranto was a state in southern Italy created in 1088 for Bohemond I, eldest son of Robert Guiscard, as part of the peace between him and his younger brother Roger Borsa after a dispute over the succession to the Duchy of Ap ...
from 1089 to 1111 and the
Prince of Antioch Prince of Antioch was the title given during the Middle Ages to Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) ...
from 1098 to 1111. He was a leader of the
First Crusade The First Crusade (1096–1099) was the first of a series of religious wars, or Crusades, initiated, supported and at times directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The objective was the recovery of the Holy Land from Muslim conqu ...
, which was governed by a committee of
nobles Nobility is a normally ranked immediately below and found in some societies that have a formal . Nobility has often been an that possessed more acknowledged and higher than most other classes in society. The privileges associated wi ...
.Thomas Asbridge, ''The First Crusade, A New History'', pp57-59 The
Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of Normandy, descended from ...

Norman
monarchy he founded in
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
arguably outlasted those of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...
and of
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...
.God's War – Christopher Tyerman


Early life


Childhood and youth

Bohemond was the son of
Robert Guiscard Robert Guiscard (; Modern ; – 17 July 1085) was a Normans, Norman adventurer remembered for the Norman conquest of southern Italy, conquest of southern Italy and Sicily. Robert was born into the Hauteville family in Normandy, went on to become ...

Robert Guiscard
, Count of Apulia and Calabria, and his first wife,
Alberada of Buonalbergo Alberada of Buonalbergo was a duchess of Apulia as the first wife of Robert Guiscard Robert Guiscard (; Modern ; – 17 July 1085) was a Norman adventurer remembered for the conquest of southern Italy and Sicily. Robert was born into the Haut ...
. He was born between 1050 and 1058—in 1054 according to historian John Julius Norwich. He was baptised Mark, possibly because he was born at his father's castle at
San Marco ArgentanoSan Marco Argentano is a town and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides many of the basic civil fu ...
in
Calabria it, Calabrese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demogr ...

Calabria
. He was nicknamed Bohemond after a legendary giant. His parents were related within the degree of kinship that made their marriage invalid under
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure dis ...
. In 1058, Pope Nicholas II strengthened existing canon law against consanguinity and, on that basis, Guiscard repudiated Alberada in favour of a then more advantageous marriage to
SikelgaitaSikelgaita (also ''Sichelgaita'' or ''Sigelgaita'') (1040 – 16 April 1090) was a Lombard princess, the daughter of Guaimar IV, Prince of Salerno Image:Italy 1000 AD.svg, The Principality of Salerno in Italy around 1000 This page is a list of ...
, the sister of Gisulf, the
Lombard The term Lombard refers to members of or things related to Lombardy (man) it, Lombarda (woman) lmo, Lombard (man) lmo, Lombarda (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 ...
Prince of Salerno Image:Italy 1000 AD.svg, The Principality of Salerno in Italy around 1000 This page is a list of the rulers of the Principality of Salerno. When Prince Sicard of Benevento was assassinated by Radelchis I of Benevento, Radelchis in 839, the people o ...
. With the annulment of his parents' marriage, Bohemond became a bastard. Before long, Alberada married Robert Guiscard's nephew, Richard of Hauteville. She arranged for a knightly education for Bohemond. Robert Guiscard was taken seriously ill in early 1073. Fearing that he was dying,
SikelgaitaSikelgaita (also ''Sichelgaita'' or ''Sigelgaita'') (1040 – 16 April 1090) was a Lombard princess, the daughter of Guaimar IV, Prince of Salerno Image:Italy 1000 AD.svg, The Principality of Salerno in Italy around 1000 This page is a list of ...
held an assembly in
Bari Bari ( , ; nap, label= Barese, Bare ; lat, Barium; grc, Βάριον, translit=Bárion) is the capital city of the Metropolitan City of Bari The Metropolitan City of Bari ( it, Città Metropolitana di Bari) is a Metropolitan cities of Italy, ...

Bari
. She persuaded Robert's vassals who were present to proclaim her eldest son, the thirteen-year-old
Roger Borsa Roger Borsa (1060/61 – 2/22/1111) was the Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of ...
, Robert's heir, claiming that the half-Lombard Roger would be the ruler most acceptable to the Lombard nobles in Southern Italy. Robert's nephew,
Abelard of Hauteville Abelard of HautevilleHis name is ''Abélard'' in French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is ...
, was the only baron to protest, because he regarded himself Robert's lawful heir.


Byzantine wars

Bohemond fought in his father's army during the rebellion of
Jordan I of Capua Jordan I ( it, Giordano) (after 1046 – 1091), count of Aversa Aversa () is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ...
,
Geoffrey of ConversanoGeoffrey the Elder (died September 1100) was an Italo-Norman nobleman. A nephew of Robert Guiscard through one of his sisters, he was the count of Conversano from 1072 and the lord of Brindisi and Nardò from 1070, until his death. According to Goff ...
and other Norman barons in 1079. His father dispatched him at the head of an advance guard against the Byzantine Empire in early 1081 and he captured Valona (now
Vlorë Vlorë ( , ; sq-definite, Vlora) is the third most populous city of the Republic of Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europ ...
in Albania). He sailed to
Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch ...

Corfu
, but did not invade the island since the local garrison outnumbered his army. He withdrew to
Butrinto Butrint ( el, Βουθρωτόν and Βουθρωτός, ''Bouthrōtón'', la, Buthrōtum) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from ...

Butrinto
to await the arrival of his father's forces. After Robert Guiscard arrived in the latter half of May, they laid siege to Durazzo (present-day
Durrës Durrës ( , ; sq-definite, Durrësi) is the second most populous city of the Republic of Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern ...

Durrës
). The
Byzantine Emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse ...
Alexios I Komnenos Alexios I Komnenos ( grc-gre, Ἀλέξιος Ά Κομνηνός, – 15 August 1118), Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisatio ...

Alexios I Komnenos
came to the rescue of the town but, on 18 October, his army suffered a crushing defeat. Bohemond commanded the left flank, which defeated the Emperor's largely
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression ...
"
Varangian Guard The Varangian Guard ( el, Τάγμα τῶν Βαράγγων, ''Tágma tōn Varángōn'') was an elite unit of the Byzantine Army The Byzantine army was the primary military body of the Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as ...
". The Normans captured Durazzo on 21 February 1082. They marched along the
Via Egnatia (Neapolis) Image:Via Egnatia Radozda.JPG, Remains of Via Egnatia near Radozda The Via Egnatia (Greek language, Greek: ''Egnatía Hodós'') was a Roman road, road constructed by the Ancient Rome, Romans in the 2nd century BC. It crossed Illyri ...

Via Egnatia
as far as
Kastoria Kastoria ( el, Καστοριά, ''Kastoriá'' ) is a city in northern Greece in the modern regions of Greece, region of Western Macedonia. It is the capital of Kastoria (regional unit), Kastoria regional unit, in the Geographic regions of Greece ...

Kastoria
, but Alexios's agents stirred up a rebellion in Southern Italy, forcing Robert Guiscard to return to his realm in April. He charged Bohemond with the command of his army in the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
. Bohemond defeated the Byzantines at
Ioannina Ioannina ( el, Ιωάννινα ' ), often called Yannena ( ' ) within Greece, is the capital and largest city of the Ioannina regional unit and of Epirus sq, Epiri rup, Epiru , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Hist ...

Ioannina
and at Arta, taking control of most of
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
and
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...

Thessaly
; however, the six-month siege of
Larissa Larissa (; el, Λάρισα, , ) is the capital and largest city of the Thessaly modern regions of Greece, region in Greece. It is the fifth-most populous city in Greece with a population of 144,651 according to the 2011 census. It is also capita ...

Larissa
was unsuccessful. Supply and pay problems (and the gifts promised to deserters by the Byzantines) undermined the morale of the Norman army, so Bohemond returned to Italy for financial support. During his absence, most of the Norman commanders deserted to the Byzantines and a Venetian fleet recaptured Durazzo and Corfu. Bohemond accompanied his father to the Byzantine Empire again in 1084, when they defeated the Venetian fleet and captured Corfu. An epidemic decimated the Normans and Bohemond, who was taken seriously ill, was forced to return to Italy in December 1084.


Succession crisis

Robert Guiscard died at
Cephalonia Kefalonia or Cephalonia ( el, Κεφαλονιά), formerly also known as Kefallinia or Kephallenia (), is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece and the 6th largest island in Greece after Crete, Euboea, Lesbos, Rhodes and Chios. It i ...
on 17 July 1085.
Orderic Vitalis Orderic Vitalis ( la, Ordericus Vitalis; 16 February 1075 – ) was an Historians in England during the Middle Ages, English chronicler and Benedictine monk who wrote one of the great contemporary chronicles of 11th- and 12th-century Norman ...
,
William of Malmesbury William of Malmesbury ( la, Willelmus Malmesbiriensis; ) was the foremost English historian of the 12th century. He has been ranked among the most talented English historians since Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also kno ...
and other contemporaneous writers accused his widow, Sikelgaita, of having poisoned Robert to secure Apulia for her son, Roger Borsa, but failed to establish her guilt. She persuaded the army to acclaim Roger Borsa his father's successor and they hurried back to Southern Italy. Two months later, the assembly of the Norman barons confirmed the succession, but Bohemond regarded himself his father's lawful heir. He made an alliance with Jordan of Capua, and captured Oria and
Otranto Otranto (, , ; scn, label=Salentino Salentino is a dialect of the Sicilian language spoken in the Salento peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border wh ...

Otranto
. Bohemond and Roger Borsa met at their father's tomb at Venosa to reach a compromise. Under the terms of their agreement, Bohemond received Taranto, Oria, Otranto,
Brindisi Brindisi ( , ; scn, label= Brindisino, Brìnnisi; la, Brundisium; grc, Βρεντέσιον, translit=Brentésion; cms, Brunda) is a city in the region of Apulia it, Pugliese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , ...

Brindisi
and
Gallipoli The Gallipoli peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical bod ...
, but acknowledged Roger Borsa's succession. Bohemond renewed the war against his brother in the autumn of 1087. The ensuing civil war prevented the Normans from supporting
Pope Urban II Pope Urban II ( la, Urbanus II;  – 29 July 1099), otherwise known as Odo of Châtillon or Otho de Lagery, was the head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christia ...

Pope Urban II
, and enabled the brothers' uncle,
Roger I of Sicily Roger I ( it, Ruggero I, Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental co ...

Roger I of Sicily
, to increase his power. Bohemond captured Bari in 1090 and before long, took control of most lands to the south of
Melfi Melfi (: ) is a town and ' in the of the , in the Southern Italian region of . Geographically, it is midway between and . In 2015 it had a population of 17,768. Geography On a hill at the foot of , Melfi is the most important town in Basilicat ...

Melfi
.


First Crusade

In 1097, Bohemond and his uncle Roger I of Sicily were attacking
Amalfi Amalfi (, , ) is a town and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a local administrative division of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern It ...

Amalfi
, which had revolted against Duke Roger, when bands of crusaders began to pass on their way through
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
to Constantinople. It is possible that Bohemond had religious reasons for joining the First Crusade. It is equally likely that he saw in the First Crusade the chance to gain a lordship in the Middle East. Lilie details that Bohemond's "father's second marriage deprived him of future prospects," in Norman Italy. While he was well known as a warrior, Bohemond's lordship in Italy was small. Geoffrey Malaterra bluntly states that Bohemond took the Cross with the intention of plundering and conquering Greek lands. Another reason to suspect Bohemond's religious zeal is the supposed embassy Bohemond sent to
Godfrey of Bouillon Godfrey of Bouillon (, , , ; 18 September 1060 – 18 July 1100) was a French nobleman and one of the pre-eminent leaders of the First Crusade The First Crusade (1096–1099) was the first of a series of religious wars, or Crusades, initia ...

Godfrey of Bouillon
, a powerful Crusade leader, asking him to join forces to sack Constantinople. While Godfrey declined his offer, taking Constantinople was never far from Bohemond's mind, as seen in his later attempt to take over the Byzantine Empire. He gathered a Norman army, which would have been one of the smaller crusade forces with 500 knights and about 2,500-3,500 infantry soldiers, alongside his nephew
Tancred Tancred or Tankred is a masculine given name of Germanic languages, Germanic origin that comes from ''thank-'' (thought) and ''-rath'' (counsel), meaning "well-thought advice". It was used in the High Middle Ages mainly by the Normans (see French Ta ...

Tancred
's force of 2,000 men. What contributed to the Norman army's reputation as a great fighting force was their experience fighting in the East. Many Normans had been employed as mercenaries by the Byzantine Empire. Others like Bohemond had experience fighting the Byzantines and Muslim groups in the East fifteen years prior with Robert Guiscard. Bohemond crossed the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest ...

Adriatic Sea
to Constantinople along the route he had tried to follow in 1082–1084 when attacking the Byzantine Empire. He was careful to observe the correct attitude towards Alexios along this route, which was mainly keeping his soldiers from plundering Byzantine villages en route to Constantinople. When he arrived at Constantinople in April 1097, he took an oath of homage to Emperor Alexios, which he demanded from all crusade leaders. It's not clear what exact negotiations Bohemond and Alexios made concerning Bohemond governing part of the Eastern Byzantine Empire Alexios hoped the crusaders would reclaim. Alexios had no reason to trust Bohemond enough to give him a position at the time, but hinted that he could get a position by proving his loyalty. Bohemond's best chance at gaining a favorable position was to be loyal to Alexios, which he attempted to prove while the crusaders were camped around Constantinople. Bohemond, proficient in Greek, was able to be a conduit between Alexios and the crusade leaders. Bohemond also attempted to prove his loyalty by convincing other crusade leaders to take the oath of homage to Alexios. From Constantinople to Antioch, Bohemond was a stand out among the leaders of the
First Crusade The First Crusade (1096–1099) was the first of a series of religious wars, or Crusades, initiated, supported and at times directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The objective was the recovery of the Holy Land from Muslim conqu ...
. Bohemond's reputation as an effective strategist and leader came from his fighting experience in the Balkans when he took charge of his father's army against Emperor Alexios (1082–1085). There Bohemond became familiar with various Byzantine and Muslim strategies, including an encircling strategy used by Turkish forces at the siege of Nicaea. Mounted archers would encircle the crusader force, who would be unable to retaliate using close combat weaponry. Bohemond's familiarity with this Eastern strategy allowed him to adapt quickly leading to crusader victories through Antioch. The Emperor's daughter,
Anna Comnena Anna Komnene ( gr, Ἄννα Κομνηνή, Ánna Komnēnḗ; 1 December 1083 – 1150s), commonly Latinized as Anna Comnena, was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the conti ...

Anna Comnena
, leaves a portrait of him in her
Alexiad 222px, ... and the Crusaders Council The Alexiad ( el, Ἀλεξιάς, Alexias) is a medieval historical and biographical text written around the year 1148, by the Byzantine princess Anna Komnene, daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos. It wa ...
. She met him for the first time when she was fourteen and was seemingly fascinated by him, leaving no similar portrait of any other Crusader prince. Of Bohemond, she wrote:
Now the man was such as, to put it briefly, had never before been seen in the land of the Romans, be he either of the barbarians or of the Greeks (for he was a marvel for the eyes to behold, and his reputation was terrifying). Let me describe the barbarian's appearance more particularly – he was so tall in stature that he overtopped the tallest by nearly one cubit, narrow in the waist and loins, with broad shoulders and a deep chest and powerful arms. And in the whole build of the body he was neither too slender nor overweighted with flesh, but perfectly proportioned and, one might say, built in conformity with the canon of Polycleitus... His skin all over his body was very white, and in his face the white was tempered with red. His hair was yellowish, but did not hang down to his waist like that of the other barbarians; for the man was not inordinately vain of his hair, but had it cut short to the ears. Whether his beard was reddish, or any other colour I cannot say, for the razor had passed over it very closely and left a surface smoother than chalk... His blue eyes indicated both a high spirit and dignity; and his nose and nostrils breathed in the air freely; his chest corresponded to his nostrils and by his nostrils...the breadth of his chest. For by his nostrils nature had given free passage for the high spirit which bubbled up from his heart. A certain charm hung about this man but was partly marred by a general air of the horrible... He was so made in mind and body that both courage and passion reared their crests within him and both inclined to war. His wit was manifold and crafty and able to find a way of escape in every emergency. In conversation he was well informed, and the answers he gave were quite irrefutable. This man who was of such a size and such a character was inferior to the Emperor alone in fortune and eloquence and in other gifts of nature.
Bohemond saw the opportunity to use the crusade for his own ends at the siege of Antioch. When his nephew Tancred left the main army at
Heraclea Cybistra Heraclea Cybistra ( grc, Ἡράκλεια Κύβιστρα), or simply Heraclea or Herakleia (Ἡράκλεια), also transliterated as Heracleia, was a town of ancient Cappadocia Cappadocia (; also ''Capadocia''; grc, label=Ancient Greek, ...
and attempted to establish a footing in
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
, the movement may have been already intended as a preparation for Bohemond's eastern principality. Bohemond was the first to take up a position before Antioch (October 1097) and he played a considerable part in the
siege A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from la, sedere, lit=to sit. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characteri ...

siege
, in gathering supplies, beating off Radwan of
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
's attempt to relieve the city from the east, and connecting the besiegers on the west with the
Genoese Genoese may refer to: * a person from Genoa * Genoese dialect, a dialect of the Ligurian language * Republic of Genoa (–1805), a former state in Liguria See also

* Genovese, a surname * Genovesi, a surname * * * * * Genova (disambiguati ...

Genoese
ships which lay in the port of St Simeon. Due to his successful efforts Bohemond was seen as the actual leader of the siege of Antioch, rather than the elected leader
Stephen of Blois Stephen (1092 or 1096 – 25 October 1154), often referred to as Stephen of Blois, was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britai ...
, who would soon leave the siege, claiming illness. Bohemond was able to make a deal with
Firouz Firouz was a wealthy Armenians, Armenian Christians, Christian convert to Islam and armor maker who held a high post in Yaghi-Siyan's Seljuk Turks, Seljuk Turkish government during the Crusades. Notably, he also served as a spy for Bohemond I of An ...

Firouz
, one of the commanders of the city wall to end the siege of Antioch. However, he did not press to end the siege until May 1098 when learning of the approach of
Kerbogha Qiwam al-Dawla Kerbogha ( tr, Kürboğa), known as Kerbogha or Karbughā, was atabeg of Mosul during the First Crusade The First Crusade (1096–1099) was the first of a series of religious wars, or Crusades, initiated, supported and at ti ...
with a relief army to aid Antioch. He then proposed to the other crusade leaders that the leader to take Antioch should be put in charge of the city as Alexios' representative Tetigus had left in February 1098. Firouz led Bohemond's force up the walls of Antioch, allowing the Norman troops to infiltrate and ultimately capture the city. The Crusaders' troubles were not over, however, as Kerbogha started his own siege on the newly crusader held Antioch. Bohemond was credited as the general and creator of the battle plan used to defeat Kerbogha by
Raymond of AguilersRaymond of Aguilers was a participant in and chronicler of the First Crusade (1096–1099). During the campaign he became the chaplain of Count Raymond IV of Toulouse, the leader of the Provençal army of crusaders., vol. IV, p. 1009. His chronicl ...
. Running very low on food and supplies Bohemond took the initiative in his strategy to leave the city and attack Kerbogha's forces, leading to a victory for the crusaders. Bohemond then wanted to take control of Antioch for himself, but there were some problems he had to face first. Raymond of Toulouse, a prominent crusade leader, did not want to hand Antioch over to Bohemond. Raymond claimed that Bohemond and other leaders would be breaking their oath to Alexios, which was to give any conquered lands to the Byzantine Empire. Bohemond argued that because Alexios had failed to come to the crusader's aid at Antioch that the oath was no longer valid. Bohemond set himself up as the Prince of Antioch, and no Latin crusader or Byzantine force came to take it from him. Raymond of Toulouse decided to give up Antioch to Bohemond in January 1099, as the other crusaders moved south to the capture of Jerusalem. After the fall of Jerusalem to the crusaders, Bohemond went to Jerusalem at
Christmas Christmas is an annual festival commemorating Nativity of Jesus, the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people Observance of Christmas by country, around the world ...

Christmas
1099 to fulfill his crusade vows. While there he took part in the installation of
Dagobert of Pisa Dagobert (or Daibert or Daimbert) (died 1105) was the first Archbishop of Pisa and the second Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem after the city was captured in the First Crusade. Early life Little is known of Dagobert's early life, but he is thought to ...
as
Patriarch The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, ...

Patriarch
of Jerusalem, perhaps in order to check the growth of Godfrey and his knights of
Lorraine Lorraine , also , , ; LorrainLorrain may refer to: * Claude Lorrain (1600–82), a 17th-century French artist of the baroque style * Lorrain language Lorrain is a dialect (often referred to as patois) spoken by a minority of people in Lo ...
's power in the city. By submitting to the patriarch Bohemond made connections to Jerusalem, who could be an ally against future attacks on Antioch, and to keep in the good graces of the Pope. While Bohemond had the fine territory, strategic position, and army necessary to found a principality in Antioch, he had to face two great forces—the Byzantine Empire, which claimed the whole of his territories, and the strong Muslim principalities in the north-east of
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
. Against these two forces he would ultimately fail.


Wars between Antioch and the Byzantine Empire

By 1100, the town of
Malatia Malatya ( hy, Մալաթիա ''Malat'ya''; ku, Meletî) is a large city in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia ...
, which guarded one of the
Cilician Gates Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literar ...
through the
Taurus Mountains The Taurus Mountains (Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Gr ...
, had been captured by an
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
n soldier of fortune. He received reports that the
Danishmend Gazi Danishmend Gazi, full name Danişmend Gümüştegin Ahmed Ibn Ali Taylu et-Türkmanī ( fa, دانشمند احمد غازی), Danishmend Taylu, or Dānishmand Aḥmad Ghāzī (died 1085), was the founder of the beylik of Danishmends. After the ...
of
Sivas Sivas (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation wi ...

Sivas
was preparing an expedition to capture Malatia. The Armenians sought help from Bohemond. Afraid to weaken his forces at Antioch, but not wishing to avoid the chance to extend his domain northwards, in August 1100 Bohemond marched north with only 300 knights and a small force of foot soldiers. Failing to send scouting parties, they were ambushed by the Turks and completely encircled at the
Battle of Melitene In the Battle of Melitene in 1100, a Crusader force led by Bohemond I of Antioch was defeated in Malatya, Melitene in eastern Anatolia by Danishmend Turks commanded by Gazi Gümüshtigin. After acquiring the Principality of Antioch in 1098, Boh ...
. Bohemond managed to send one soldier to seek help from but was captured. He was laden with chains and imprisoned in Neo-Caesarea (modern
Niksar Niksar, historically known as Neocaesarea (Νεοκαισάρεια), is a city in Tokat Province, Turkey. It was settled by many empires, being once the capital city of the province. Niksar is known as "Çukurova of the North-Anatolia" due to it ...
) until 1103. Emperor Alexios was incensed that Bohemond had broken his oath made in Constantinople and kept Antioch for himself. When he heard of Bohemond's capture, he offered to redeem the Norman commander for 260,000 dinars, if Danishmend Gazi would hand the prisoner over to Byzantium. When
Kilij Arslan I Kilij Arslan ( 1ca, قِلِج اَرسلان; fa, , Qilij Arslān; tr, I. Kılıç Arslan or ''Kılıcarslan'', "Sword Lion") (‎1079–1107) was the Seljuq Sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical m ...
, the
SeljukSeljuk may refer to: * Seljuk (warlord) (died c. 1038), founder of the Turko-Persian Seljuk dynasty in the Middle East and central Asia * Seljuq dynasty (c. 950–1307), the dynasty founded by Seljuk * Seljuk Empire (1051–1153), a medieval empire ...
overlord of Danishmend Gazi, heard of the proposed payment, he threatened to attack unless given half the ransom. Bohemond proposed instead a ransom of 130,000 dinars paid just to Danishmend Gazi. The bargain was concluded, and Gazi and Bohemond exchanged oaths of friendship. Ransomed by Baldwin of Edessa, he returned in triumph to Antioch in August 1103. His nephew Tancred had taken his uncle's place for three years. During that time, he had attacked the Byzantines, and had added Tarsus,
Adana Adana () is a major city in southern Turkey. The city is situated on the Seyhan River, inland from the north-eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the administrative seat of the Adana Province and has a population of 1.77 million. Ada ...

Adana
and Massissa in
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
to his uncle's territory; he was now deprived of his lordship by Bohemond's return. During the summer of 1103, the northern Franks attacked Ridwan of Aleppo to gain supplies and compelled him to pay tribute. Meanwhile, Raymond of Toulouse had established himself in
Tripoli Tripoli (; ar, طرابلس, ; ber, ⵜⵔⵢⴱⵓⵍⵙ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals ...
with the aid of Alexios, and was able to check the expansion of Antioch to the south. Early in 1104, Baldwin and Bohemond passed Aleppo to move eastward and attack
Harran Ḥarrān, also known as Carrhae, was a major ancient city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclop ...

Harran
. Whilst leading the campaign against Harran, Bohemond was defeated at Balak, near
Raqqa Raqqa ( ar, ٱلرَّقَّة, ar-Raqqah, also , and ) is a city in Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَ ...
on the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land Between the Rivers"). O ...
(see
Battle of Harran The Battle of Harran took place on May 7, 1104 between the Crusader states The Crusader states were feudal polities created by the Latin Catholic leaders of the First Crusade The First Crusade (1096–1099) was the first of a series ...
). The defeat was decisive, making the great eastern principality which Bohemond had contemplated impossible. It was followed by a Greek attack on Cilicia and, despairing of his own resources, Bohemond returned to Europe for reinforcements in late 1104. It is a matter of historical debate whether his "crusade" against the Byzantine empire was to gain the backing and indulgences of Pope
Paschal II Pope Paschal II ( la, Paschalis II; 1050  1055 – 21 January 1118), born Ranierius, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denomination ...
. Either way, he enthralled audiences across France with gifts of relics from the Holy Land and tales of heroism while fighting the infidel, gathering a large army in the process.
Henry I of England Henry I (c. 1068 – 1 December 1135), also known as Henry Beauclerc, was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. Alfred styled himself ...

Henry I of England
famously prevented him from landing on English shores, since the king anticipated Bohemond's great attraction to the English nobility. His newfound status won him the hand of
Constance Constance may refer to: Places *Konstanz Konstanz (, , locally: ; also written as Constance in English) is a with approximately 83,000 inhabitants located at the western end of in the south of . The city houses the and was the residence o ...
, daughter of the French king,
Philip IPhilip I may refer to: * Philip I of Macedon (ruled 640–602 BC) * Philip I Philadelphus (1st century BC) * Philip the Arab (c. 204–249), Roman Emperor * Philip I of France (1052–1108) * Philip I (Archbishop of Cologne) (1130 – 13 August 1191 ...

Philip I
. Of this marriage wrote
Abbot Suger Suger (; la, Sugerius; 1081 – 13 January 1151) was a France, French abbot, statesman, and historian. He was one of the earliest patrons of Gothic architecture, and is widely credited with popularizing the style. Life Suger's family orig ...

Abbot Suger
:
Bohemond came to France to seek by any means he could gain the hand of the ' sister Constance, a young lady of excellent breeding, elegant appearance and beautiful face. So great was the reputation for valour of the French kingdom and of the Lord Louis that even the Saracens were terrified by the prospect of that marriage. She was not engaged since she had broken off her agreement to wed Hugh, count of Troyes, and wished to avoid another unsuitable match. The prince of Antioch was experienced and rich both in gifts and promises; he fully deserved the marriage, which was celebrated with great pomp by the bishop of Chartres in the presence of the king, the Lord Louis, and many archbishops, bishops and noblemen of the realm.
Bohemond and Constance produced a son,
Bohemond II of Antioch Bohemond II (1107/1108 – February 1130) was Prince of Taranto The Principality of Taranto was a state in southern Italy created in 1088 for Bohemond I, eldest son of Robert Guiscard, as part of the peace between him and his younger brother Ro ...
. Bohemond saw the root of his problems in Alexios and Constantinople when it came to preserving the Principality of Antioch. He thought that defending Antioch against Alexios would not be enough, since he was greatly outnumbered by the Byzantine army. Instead, Bohemond decided to go on the offensive and attack the Byzantine Empire at its core in Constantinople. Bohemond was then resolved to use his newly recruited army of 34,000 men not to defend Antioch against the Greeks, but to attack Alexios.W. Treadgold, ''A History of the Byzantine State and Society'', 626 Bohemond took a similar route that was successful for his father in Illyria and Greece. Alexios, aided by the
Venetians Venetian often means from or related to: * Venice, a city in Italy * Veneto, a region of Italy * Republic of Venice (697–1797), a historical nation in that area Venetian and the like may also refer to: * Venetian language, a Romance language sp ...
, proved to be much stronger than when he faced Bohemond and Robert Guiscard in 1082–1084. Alexios was used to Norman battle tactics and their strength, and decided on a war of attrition rather than face them head on. While the Normans laid siege to Dyrrhachium, Alexios blockaded the Norman camp until Bohemond was forced to negotiate. Bohemond had to submit to a humiliating peace, all his ambitions destroyed. Under the Treaty of Devol in 1108, he became the vassal of Alexios with the title of ''sebastos'', consented to receive Alexios' pay, and promised to cede disputed territories and to admit a Greek patriarch into Antioch. Henceforth, Bohemond was a broken man. He died six months later without returning to Antioch. With one last jab at Alexios, by not returning to Antioch the Treaty of Devol became null and void as it only applied to Bohemond himself. Antioch was left in Norman hands with Bohemond's nephew Tancred. Bohemond was buried at Canosa in Apulia, in 1111.


Bohemond I in literature and media

The anonymous ''Gesta Francorum'' was written by one of Bohemond's followers. ''The Alexiad'' of
Anna Comnena Anna Komnene ( gr, Ἄννα Κομνηνή, Ánna Komnēnḗ; 1 December 1083 – 1150s), commonly Latinized as Anna Comnena, was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the conti ...

Anna Comnena
is a primary authority for the whole of his life. A 1924 biography exists by R. B. Yewdale. See also the Gesta Tancredi by Ralph of Caen, which is a panegyric of Bohemond's second-in-command, Tancred. His career is discussed by B. von Kügler, ''Bohemund und Tancred'' (1862); while L. von Heinemann, ''Geschichte der Normannen in Sizilien und Unteritalien'' (1894), and Reinhold Röhricht, R. Röhricht's ''Geschichte des ersten Kreuzzuges'' (1901) and ''Geschichte des Königreichs Jerusalem'' (1898) may also be consulted for his history. The only major biography (of Tancred) that exists in English is "Tancred: a study of his career and work in their relation to the First Crusade and the establishment of the Latin states in Syria and Palestine" by Robert Lawrence Nicholson. Details of his pre-crusade career can found in Geoffrey Malaterra's ''Deeds of Count Roger...''. ''Count Bohemund'' by Alfred Duggan (1964) is a historical novel concerning the life of Bohemund and its events up to the fall of Jerusalem to the crusaders.Evelyn Waugh, "Preface", in Alfred Duggan, ''Count Bohemond'' (Reprint). London : Cassell Military, 2002, pp. 5–7. Bohemond also appears in the historical novel ''Silver Leopard'' by F. Van Wyck Mason (1955), the short story "The Track of Bohemond" in the collection ''The Road of Azrael'' by Robert E. Howard (1979) and in the fantastical novel ''Pilgermann'' by Russell Hoban (1983). The historical fiction novel ''Wine of Satan'' (1949) written by Laverne Gay gives an embellished accounting of the life of Bohemond. The Crusades Series by David Donachie (writing as Jack Ludlow) casts Bohemund as the main protagonist


References


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

*Ghisalberti, Albert M. (ed) ''Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani''. Rome. , - , - {{DEFAULTSORT:Bohemond 01 of Antioch 1050s births 1111 deaths 11th-century Princes of Antioch 12th-century Princes of Antioch Place of birth missing Place of death missing Princes of Taranto, Bohemond 1 People from the Province of Cosenza Italo-Normans Norman warriors Christians of the First Crusade Hauteville family People of the Byzantine–Norman wars Sebastoi