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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 419

fortresses of Tell Bashir and Edessa placed themselves under the king's supervision
and through his efforts were kept in a good state of defense. These effective
administrative and military measures were complemented by Baldwin's peace
treaty with Sulaimãn ibnal-Jabbar of Aleppo on April 9, 1123, which
provided for the surrender of the stronghold of al-Athãrib to the
Franks. Yet Baldwin's task of administration of both Edessa and Antioch was
now a crushing burden, as Grousset points out.8 
 But an even more signal Moslem triumph and Frankish defeat followed Joscelin's
capture, for Baldwin himself became a Saracen prisoner in April 1123. Having
assembled an army to attack Belek, who was then besieging the castle of Gargar,
and to effect the release of Joscelin and Galeran, Baldwin advanced toward
Raban on April 8. Belek was already engaged in plundering operations in this
very area. The rival forces were unaware of each other's presence. The king
encamped at Shenchrig, whereupon Belek, informed of the enemy's nearness,
arranged an ambush and then hurled his forces at the surprised Franks and
effected the capture of Baldwin and his nephew on April i8. After obtaining
the surrender of Gargar from Baldwin, Belek imprisoned his captives in Kharput,
where Joscelin and Galeran were already imprisoned. 
 The royal prisoners presently began to plot escape and succeeded in enlisting
the support of a number of Armenians living around the prison. These, in
turn, communicated with their compatriots in Edessa. Soon fifty soldiers
disguised as merchants departed from Edessa and, proceeding to Kharput, gained
admission to the inner gates of the castle (May 1123). Using as a pretext
an insult which they claimed had been imposed upon them, the conspirators
approached the leader of the guardians of the castle gates. Then, having
drawn knives from their garments and killed him, the rescuers seized spears
and made short work of the Turkish garrison which now sallied forth. Baldwin
as well as the other captives were liberated. But before the rescuers and
rescued could effect an escape, a large Turkish force approached Kharput
and invested it on all sides. The besieged Franks decided that Joscelin should
seek help, and the Edessan leader agreed. Accompanied by three 
 8 Grousset, Croisades, I, 584; William of Tyre, XII, i~ Ibn-al-Qalanisi,
p. i66; Kamalad-Din (RHC, Or., III), p. 635; Sibt Ibn-al-Jauzi (RHC, Or.,
III), p. 564; Ibn-al-Athir (RHC, Or., I), p. 3~. See also Stevenson, Crusaders
in the East, p. 109. LaMonte, Feudal Monarchy, p. 192, observes that "the
kings of Jerusalem were often baillies for one or another of the great counties
[Tripoli and Edessa] during the captivity of the lord of the county or during
a minority. But the bailliage seems to have been held as a result of invitation
by the barons and people of the county rather than by any right derived from
their legal relationship." 

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