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

XIII: The Growth of the Latin States, 1118-1144,   pp. 410-447 PDF (15.6 MB)

Page 418

reached Aleppo, however, the stricken leader died, November 3, 1122. Meanwhile
Baldwin had returned to Antioch. 
 The military advantages and opportunities presented to the Franks by the
illness of their redoubtable adversary, tl-Ghãzi, were presently negatived
by the capture of the Frankish hammer, J oscelin. Upon his return from Zardanã,
Belek laid siege to Edessa, but, finding the resistance too stout, retired.
The Franks, apparently fearing that Belek would return, sent some of their
number to Bira (Birejik) to report Belek's activities to Joscelin. That leader,
who had taken as his second wife Maria of Salerno, the sister of Roger of
Antioch, and had received ~Azaz as a dowry, was spending the night at Bira
with its lord Galeran of le Puiset, who had been granted it by Baldwin in
1117. Urged on by Galeran, who was alarmed by Belek's presence in his territory,
Joscelin with a hundred knights sought to surprise the Artukid. Belek, however,
learned of their plan and, preferring an ambush to a pitched battle, stationed
his forces at a marshy spot near Sarüj. The Frankish cavalry traversing
this area were soon hopelessly mired, whereupon the Moslems, launching a
merciless hail of arrows, captured Joscelin, Galeran, and twenty-five to
sixty knights on September 13, 1122. After vainly demanding the surrender
of Edessa, Belek imprisoned his two noble captives together with the other
Frankish prisoners in the fortress of Kharput northeast of Edessa. Belek's
good fortune was soon increased, for tl-Ghãzi bequeathed his estates
as well as the care of his sons Sulaimãn and Timurtash to his nephew.
 In the face of the several disasters which had overtaken the north Syrian
Franks, Baldwin undertook a vigorous counteroffensive against the Moslems
in the autumn of I 122 and launched an attack on the Aleppan territories
near Tall Qabbasin north of the town of al-Bãb (Bãb Buzã~ah)
in October. The Moslems garrisoned at Buzã'~ah hastened forth, but
suffered a total defeat at the hands of the Franks. Then, apprised of tl-GhãzI's
death, Baldwin ravaged the valley of Buza~ah, reduced to submission and collected
tribute from the citizenry of al-Bäb, and laid siege to Bãlis.
Upon the approach of Belek's forces, Baldwin returned to the valley of Buza~ah
and invested Bir. That town capitulated and Baldwin took its garrison to
 The precarious condition of the leaderless county of Edessa also occupied
Baldwin's attention. Assuming the rule of the county, he repaired at once
to Edessa and placed the city under the command of a garrison commanded by
Geoffrey the Monk, lord of Marash, until the fate of Joscelin should be ascertained.

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