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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 372

princes were disposed to welcome the Franks as allies. One of them, however,
Toros of Edessa, had been displaced in 1098 in favor of Baldwin of Boulogne.
This was described in an earlier chapter.~ Baldwin thus became count of Edessa,
and his was the first of the Latin states in the east. Moreover, he had subsequently
strengthened his position by marrying Arda, the daughter of an Armenian noble;
and he had conquered Samosata on the Euphrates, about thirty miles northwest
of Edessa, and Sarüj, about the same distance southwest of his capital.
Having consolidated his position Baldwin remained in his principality and
did not rejoin the army of crusaders marching south. 
 North of the Taurus range was the Anatolian plateau. In the western part
the Byzantine emperor, Alexius Comnenus, was expanding his territories at
the expense of the Selchükid sultan, Kilij (or Kilich) Arslan of Iconium
(Konya), who had been greatly weakened by the progress of the crusaders through
his realm in 1097. Eastern Anatolia was held by a powerful Turkish prince,
Malik-Ghazi ibn-Dãnishmend, the. emir of Sebastia (Sivas). So.uth
of the Armenian principalities lay the crusader states of Antioch and Edessa.
East and southeast of Edessa lay Iraq, the main center of Selchükid
power. In its capital, Baghdad, resided the impotent ~Abbãsid caliph,
al-Musta~hir, and his real master, the Selchükid sultan. In 1099 the
latter was Berkyaruk, more concerned with the rivalry of his brother and
eventual successor, Muhammad, than with Syria and Palestine, as we have seen.
 Antioch was at first clearly the strongest of the Frankish states. It extended
northward into Cilicia, eastward to the frontiers of Edessa and Aleppo, and
southward a vague distance into the no man's land of central Syria. The population
was largely Christian 
—Jacobite, Nestorian, Armenian, and Greek Orthodox. In fact this area
had been nominally Byzantine territory as late as io85. The city of Antioch
still retained some of its ancient commercial importance. It was also powerfully
fortified. A major source of the new state's strength lay in its ruler, Bohemond,
one of the ablest of the crusader princes. Many of the Franks had remained
there with him. But Bohemond was also a source of weakness. He was the son
of the Norman adventurer Robert Guiscard, who had wrested much of south Italy
from the Byzantines. Robert and his son had been bold enough to make, in
Albania, a major attack upon the Byzantine empire itself in 1081—1085.
Bohemond was like his father ambitious and crafty. Like most of the Latin

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