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

XII: The Foundation of the Latin States, 1099-1118,   pp. 368-409 PDF (16.5 MB)

Page 371

who died in 1092. Tutush was killed in battle with his nephew, the sultan
Berkyaruk, son of Malik-Shãh, in 1095. Berkyaruk was thereafter much
more concerned with the rivalry - of his brother Mul~iammad in Iraq and Iran
than with affairs in Syria and Palestine. Ridvan seized Aleppo and aspired
to rule all of Syria, but Dukak seized Damascus. Selchükid affairs in
Syria were therefore, aside from Fãtimid hostility, hopelessly muddled
when the crusaders arrived in 1097, a fact of great importance to the invaders.
After the Franks had come, Ridvan and Dukak continued to be primarily jealous
of each other, and of any real authority to be exerted by the sultan in Baghdad.
They were not disposed to attack the crusaders unless the latter threatened
 The rest of Syria, the region of the coast and the mountains, went its own
way after the death of Tutush. The wealthy seaport towns were generally ruled
by ex-Fã~imid governors who had repudiated Fã~imid political
but not religious authority, and who would call upon Egypt for naval aid
when necessary. In the mountains were the Nusairi ShI'ite sect in the north;
the neoIsmã9lite Shicite Bãtinites (the so-called "Assassins")
in the direction of Aleppo; the Maronites, Syriac-speaking Monothelite Christians,
in Mount Lebanon, and the TDruzes, a Shi'ite sect, around Mount Hermon.3
All three Shi~ite groups hated one another and also the Sunnite Moslems,
but hated Christians more. Shaizar, between Damascus and Aleppo, defended
by an immensely strong fortress, contained a considerable Christian population,
but was ruled by an Arab family, the Banu-Munqidh. Other than the Shi'ite
sects and the Maronites the rural peoples were generally Syrians who had
gone over to Sunnite Islam and to the Arabic language. They hated the Turks
who had recently conquered them. The towns of Syria contained important Christian
elements, JacObite, Nestorian, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian, which grew larger
the farther north one went. These native Christians were disposed to cooperate
with the Franks against the Turks. 
 North of Antioch in the Taurus mountains and their southern foothills lay
a series of Armenian principalities. The Armenians had moved into this region
from their ancient homeland in Greater Armenia around Lake Van in the late
eleventh century as a result of both Byzantine and Turkish pressure. Consequently
~ On the Ismã9lites and the Assassins see above, chapter IV; C. E.
Nowell, "The Old Man of the Mountain," Spe~ulum, XXII ~ 497—519 and
Bernard Lewis, "The Sources for the History of the Syrian Assassins," ibid.,
XXVII (1952), 475—489. 

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