University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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

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

Page 315

long desired to have a tower built opposite the fortified bridge; but materials
were lacking. On March 4 a fleet put in at St. Simeon manned by Englishmen
and carrying a number of Italian pilgrims. It had called at Constantinople,
where it had taken on board a number of siege materials and mechanics and
had found the exiled English prince, Edgar Atheling, who took command.5 On
the news of its arrival both Raymond and Bohemond, neither trusting the other,
went down to meet it and to escort the men and material to the camp. Two
days later, as they returned heavi ly laden, they were ambushed by some of
Yaghi-Slyan's troops. The Franks fled in panic, leaving their loads in the
enemy's hands. A few stragglers reached the camp, and said that Raymond and
Bohemond were killed. Godfrey at once planned to go to the rescue, but was
attacked by Turks of the garrison, who hoped to clear the way for the raiders
to return into the city. He held the attack; and suddenly Raymond and Bohemond
came up, with the remnant of their forces. Their arrival enabled Godfrey
to drive the Turks back into the city. The Franks then fell on the raiders
and routed them, recovering all the lost material. The Turkish losses were
very heavy. That night the Turks crept out to bury their dead in the Moslem
cemetery across the river. They were unmolested; but next morning the Franks
dug up the corpses for the sake of the ornaments that they had on them. 
 With their new material the princes first constructed a fortress at the
mosque by the Moslem cemetery, opposite the fortified bridge. They called
it "the Mosque" or La Mahomerie. It was put under Raymond's control. Next,
a tower was built close outside the Gate of St. George, and given to Tancred
to garrison. Thenceforward the only access to and from the city was over
the steep slopes of Mount Silpius or through the narrow Iron Gate. Food convoys
could no longer easily reach the garrison. 
 As spring advanced the besiegers found it easier to obtain pro visions,
while starvation began to be felt inside the city. But Yaghi-Slyan did not
despair, for he learned that Kerbogha, atabeg of Mosul and the Moslem soldier
with the greatest reputation, was gathering his forces. Other Moslem powers
were prepared to let the Franks have Antioch. In March an embassy reached
the camp from the Fãtimid caliph of Egypt. Alexius had advised the
Franks to make friends with the Egyptians, who hated the Turks and 
  Ordericus Vitalis, Historia ecciesiastica (ed. A. Le Prevost, vols., Paris,
1838—1855), IV, 70—72, says that Edgar was with the fleet. C.
W. David, Robert Curthose (Cambridge, Mass., 1920), PP. 236—237, denies
his presence as he was still in Scotland in 1097. But he may well have joined
the fleet at Constantinople. 

Go up to Top of Page