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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 319

huge stores of food within the city, and they had wantonly de stroyed most
of its wealth. The Christian population, especially the Syrians, were not
reliable. And two great problems lay ahead. First, the vast army of Kerbogha
had to be beaten; and secondly, agreement must be reached about the future
of Antioch. 
 The first task was to cleanse the city. Soldiers and civilians had to clear
the streets and bury the corpses before an epidemic should be started. Then
the defense of the walls had to be allotted among the princes. Meanwhile
Adhémar of Le Puy released the patriarch John from the prison where
Yaghi- Slyan had kept him and restored him to his throne, and the cathedral
of St. Peter was purified and reconsecrated.9 
 Hardly were the crusaders installed in Antioch before Kerbogha arrived.
His army reached the Iron Bridge on June 5 and en camped outside the walls
on June 7. His first action was to take over the citadel from Shams-ad-Daulah
and to place it under his trusted lieutenant Alimad ibn-Marwan. His first
plan was to at tack the city from the citadel; but the crusaders had built
a rough wall isolating the fortress, and they were able to hold it against
a heavy assault launched by, Alimad on June 9. Kerbogha then decided to encircle
the city and starve it into surrender. A cru sader sortie on June 10 was
driven back with heavy losses.b0 
 That night a group of deserters led by Bohemond's brother-inlaw, William
of Grant-Mesnil, broke through the enemy lines and reached St. Simeon. They
told the Genoese ships in the harbor that the crusade was doomed and persuaded
them to carry them to Tarsus. There they joined Stephen of Blois, who had
thought of returning to Antioch when he heard of its capture, but had been
deterred by a distant view of Kerbogha's army. With Stephen they sailed from
Tarsus to Adalia (Antalya) and began to march back across Anatolia. Their
desertion and Kerbogha's close blockade cast gloom over the besieged city.
Food soon was short. A small loaf cost a bezant, an egg two, and a chicken
fifteen. It seemed that the only chance of salvation would be the arrival
of the emperor and the army of Byzantium. 
 It was known that Alexius had started out from Constantinople. His cousin,
John Ducas, had already cleared western Anatolia of the enemy and opened
the road to Adalia. With his rear thus secure, Alexius marched early in June
as far as Philomelium 
  Albert of Aix, IV, 3 (Rj-IC, 0cc., IV, .33), mentions John's reënthronement,
calling him "virum Christianissimum". 
 10 For Kerbogha's expedition, see Cahen, La Syrie du nord, pp. 213—218,
with a good 
summary of the sources. 

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