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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / The first hundred years

IX: The First Crusade: Constantinople to Antioch,   pp. 280-[307] PDF (10.5 MB)

Page 300

to the neighboring Turkish lords, whom they tried to play off against each
other, that they managed to maintain themselves. They were eager to make
use of the crusaders as allies. 
 Tancred's motive in invading Cilicia was probably pure ambition, a desire
to found quickly his own principality away from the dominating personality
of his uncle Bohemond. But Baldwin of Boulogne was definitely interested
in the Armenian question. He had taken onto his staff an Armenian called
Pakrad, the brother of Kogh Vasil and a former imperial officer, on whom
he relied for advice. Pakrad was concerned with the welfare of the Armenians
nearer the Euphrates, where his family was settled; but when Tancred decided
to set out for Cilicia, Baldwin and Pakrad felt that it would be unwise to
allow any other crusader chieftain to be the first to embark on an adventure
that would involve Armenian interests. 
 When Tancred moved down from the Cilician Gates, he marched straight on
Tarsus, which was still the chief city of the plain. It was held by a small
Turkish garrison, which came out to meet the invaders but was repulsed. The
Greek and Armenian inhabitants of Tarsus made contact with Tancred and promised
him help; but the garrison held firm, until, three days later, Baldwin and
his far greater army were seen approaching. That night the Turks fled under
cover of the darkness, and at dawn the Christians opened the gates to Tancred.
When Baldwin came up later in the morning, Tancred's banners were flying
from the towers. Tarsus should have been restored to the emperor, but, even
had Tancred been minded to abide by the treaty, there was no imperial official
at hand to take over the city. In Baldwin, however, he had a far more dangerous
rival. Baldwin insisted that Tarsus should be transferred to his rule. Tancred,
whose army was hopelessly outnumbered by Baldwin's, was furious but had to
agree. He withdrew his men and moved eastward to Adana. 
 Hardly had he gone before another three hundred Normans, who had decided
to follow him, came down over the pass to Tarsus. Baldwin would not allow
them into the city. They were obliged to camp outside the walls; and during
the night the former Turkish garrison crept up and massacred them to a man.
The disaster was rightly blamed on Baldwin, even by his own followers, and
his position might have been difficult had not news come of the arrival of
a Christian fleet off Longiniada, the nowvanished port of Tarsus at the mouth
of the Cydnus, under the command of Guynemer of Boulogne. 

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