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

X: The First Crusade: Antioch to Ascalon,   pp. 308-341 PDF (13.4 MB)

Page 317

emphasized the dangers ahead, in order the better to conceal his plots. 
 His propaganda was highly successful. When it was known that Kerbogha had
raised the siege of Edessa and was continuing his march, there was some panic
in the camp. Deserters slipped away in such numbers that they could not be
stopped. On June 2 a large body of northern French took the road to Alexandretta,
led by Stephen of Blois. Stephen, though he had recently written an optimistic
letter home to announce that he had been elected to a high administrative
post in the army, had now lost his nerve. His departure was to have consequences
that were unexpectedly useful for Bohemond7. 
 Had Stephen waited only a few hours he might have changed his mind. That
same day Firuz sent to Bohemond to say that he was ready to betray the city.
It was later said that he had hesi tated till the previous night, when he
discovered that his wife had been seduced by a Turkish colleague. He now
commanded the tower of the Two Sisters, opposite the tower of Tancred, with
the two adjacent towers and the wall between them. He now urged Bohemond
to assemble the whole crusading army and march eastward as though to intercept
Kerbogha, then bring the army back after dark to his section of the wall,
with scaling-ladders. The garrison's watch would be relaxed, and he himself
would be there to admit them. He would send his son that night as a hostage
and a sign that he was prepared. 
 Now at last Bohemond revealed his plot to his colleagues. Antioch would
be theirs that night, he said. Whatever Raymond may have thought, he and
the other princes gave their support to the scheme. Just before sunset the
Christian army set out osten tatiously towards the Iron Bridge. In the middle
of the night it wheeled back. Bohemond's party reached the Gate of St. George
and the tower of the Two Sisters just before dawn, while the bulk of the
force remained outside the fortified bridge. A ladder was set against the
tower, and sixty knights climbed up. Firüz asked anxiously in Greek
for Bohemond himself, but he need not have worried. The knights took over
the other towers under Firüz's command, then summoned Bohemond. His
ladder broke behind him, but already some of the knights had opened the Gate
  Stephen of Blois had been elected "ductor" (Gesta, IX, 27; ed. Bréhier,
p. 140) or "dictator" (Raymond of Aguilers, xi; RHC, 0cc., III, 258) or "dominus
atque omnium actuum provisor et gubernator" (his own letter in Hagenmeyer,
Epistulae, p. 149). As he certainly was not commander-in-chief, he was presumably
quartermaster general in charge of the administration and commissariat. 

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