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

IX: The First Crusade: Constantinople to Antioch,   pp. 280-[307] PDF (10.6 MB)

Page 280

The journeys of the crusaders through the Balkan peninsula gave the emperor
Alexius time to plan his policy toward their leaders when the armies should
arrive at Constantinople. However little he might have wanted an expedition
of the type that was coming, he could see that, if they were carefully directed,
the crusaders could be of great advantage to his empire, which he not unreasonably
regarded as the main bulwark of Christendom. But they must be handled delicately.
In 1096 the empire was enjoying a lull in the Turkish wars. Alexius had not
yet been able to win back much territory, except along the coasts of the
Sea of Mar mara and the Aegean. But the emir Chaka of Smyrna (tzmir), the
most menacing of the empire's enemies, had been murdered in 1092 by his son-in-law,
the Selchükid Kilij (or Kilich) Arsian, at the emperor's instigation.
Kilij Arsian himself, established at Nicaea and calling himself sultan. (Arabic,
sul.tãn), was alarmed by the growing power of the Danishmendid dynasty
farther to the 
 The story of the crusaders' march across Anatolia is covered by the same
Latin sources as for the previous chapter and by Anna Comnena. As the crusade
moved eastward, Armenian sources are more important, in particular, Matthew
of Edessa (extracts in Armenian, with a not always accurate French translation,
in RHC, Arm., I, and a full translation of the Chronique byE. Dulaurier,
Paris, 1858). Matthew wrote before 1140. He hated the Byzantines, about whom
his information is copious but inaccurate. He is more objective about the
Franks, and seems to have obtained information from some Frankish soldiers.
About his own city and compatriots he is reliable. Of Jacobite sources, Michael
the Syrian, patriarch of Antioch, who wrote at the end of the twelfth century,
provides a little information (Chronique de Michelle Syrien, ed. and tr.
J. B. Chabot, 4 vols., Paris, 1899—1910). Bar-Hebraeus copies from
him, and he is supplemented by an anonymous chronicle of which only the first
portions have been properly edited (A. S. Tritton and H. A. R. Gibb, "The
First and Second Crusades from an Anonymous Syriac Chronicle," Journal of
the Royal Asiatic Society, 1933, pp. 69—lol, 273—305). Arabic
sources are of negligible importance until the crusade reaches Antioch. 
 The same secondary sources are valuable as in the preceding chapter, with
the addition of articles by J. Laurent on the Armenians, notably, "Des Grecs
aux croisés: étude sur l'histoire d'1desse," Byzantion, I (iiz),
367—449, and "Les Arméniens de Cilicie," Mélanges Schlum
berger, I (Paris, 1924), 159—i 68. The military history of the march
across Anatolia is covered in C. W. C. Oman, History of the Art of War in
the Middle Ages (2nd ed., 2 vols., London, 1924), an.d F. Lot, L'Art militaire
et les arm.ées du moyen dge, 2 vols. (Paris, 1946). 

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