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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 304

countryside. He secured the help of a vassal of Toros, Constantine, the Armenian
lord of Gargar. But the expedition was not a success. The Edessan soldiers
were surprised and routed by the Turks. Baldwin, however, with his Franks,
captured a village called St. John near Samosata and installed a Frankish
garrison there, which served as a check on Balduk's raids. The achievement
enhanced his reputation. 
 A few days later the Armenians of Edessa, helped by Constantine of Gargar,
hatched a conspiracy against Toros. Baldwin officially had nothing to do
with it, but the plotters informed him that they intended to dethrone Toros
in his favor, and they clearly knew that they could count on his support.
On Sunday, March 7, a riotous mob marched on the palace. bros was deserted
by his troops, and Baldwin would not come to his rescue. He agreed to abdicate,
merely asking that he and his wife might retire to Melitene, whose prince,
Gabriel, was her father. Baldwin guaranteed him his life, but he was not
allowed to leave the palace. On the Tuesday he tried to escape through a
palace window, but was taken and torn to pieces by the mob. The fate of the
princess is unknown. On Wednesday, March 10, at the invitation of the people
of Edessa, Baldwin formally took over the government. Thus, some months before
the crusade entered Antioch, a Frankish state was formed in the east, to
the envy of all the crusading princes. The news undoubtedly incited Bohemond
to follow suit as soon as he could and determined him to make a bid~for Antioch.22
 Edessa had formed part of the Byzantine empire before the Turkish invasions
and so should have been restored to the emperor. But it was far away. The
only imperial representative there had been Toros, who himself had invited
Baldwin; and Baldwin could further claim that he had taken over the government
not by conquest from the "infidel" but by the wish of the local Christian
population. The emperor Alexius could do nothing about it and did not even
make a formal protest. But the rights of Byzantium were remembered at the
imperial court, to be revived when a better occasion should recur. For the
moment the problem of Edessa was dwarfed by the far more serious problem
of Antioch. 
 22 Fuicher of Chartres, I, xiv—xix (ed. Hagenmeyer, pp. 209—243),
who accompanied Baldwin to Edessa; Albert of Aix, III, 27—25 (RHC,
0cc., IV, 350—357); Matthew of Edessa, Chronique, II, div—dy
(tr. Dulaurier, pp. 219—221). See also Laurent, "Des Grecs aux croisés,"
pp. 428—438. 

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