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

X: The First Crusade: Antioch to Ascalon,   pp. 308-341 PDF (10.5 MB)

Page 308

 he city of Antioch lies on the southeastern bank of the river Orontes, some
twelve miles from the sea, in a plain three miles long and a mile and a half
deep, between the river and Mount Silpius. It was surrounded by great fortifications
built by Justinian and repaired by the Byzantines when they reconquered the
city a century before the crusaders arrived. To the northwest the walls rose
out of a marshy ground by the river, but at either end they climbed steeply
up the slopes of Mount Silpius, and to the southeast they ran along the summit
of the ridge to a citadel a thousand feet above the town. Four hundred towers
were built along the walls, each within bowshot of its neighbors. The Gate
of St. Paul, at the northeastern corner, admitted the high road from the
Iron Bridge and Aleppo. At the opposite end of the city the Gate of St. George
admitted the road from the suburb of Daphne and from Latakia. The third great
gate opened straight on to a fortified bridge across the river, carrying
the road to St. Simeon, the port at the mouth of the river, and to Alexandretta
(tskenderun). Smaller gates, those of the Duke and of the Dog, between the
fortified bridge and the Gate of St. Paul, led to the gardens by the river;
and there was a postern, called the Iron Gate, on the edge of the gorge where
a torrent broke through the ram- 
 To the sources mentioned for the preceding two chapters Arabic accounts
must be added. Of these the most important are: Ibn-al-Qalänisi, Dhail
ta'rikh Dimashq [Continuation of history of Damascus] (Arabic text ed. H.
F. Amcdroz, London, 1908; relevant passages tr. H. A. R. Gibb, The Damascus
Chronicle of the Crusades, London, 1932); Kamãl-ad-Din, Zubdas al-ftalab
/1 ta'rllèh ijalab [Chronicle o/ Aleppo] (extracts in RHC, Or., III,
577—690); Ibn-al-Athir, Al-/eãmil fi-t-ta'rikh, (extracts in
RHC, Or., I, 187—744; full Arabic text ed. C. J. Tornberg, i~. vols.,
Leyden-Upsala, 1851—1876), and Ta'rikh ad-daulab al-atãbakiyah
mulük ai-Mau~il [History of the Atabegs of Mosui] (extracts with French
translation, RHC, Or., 11, part z). Tbn-al-Qalãnisi was almost contemporary
with the First Crusade (he wrote his history about i 14o), and as an official
in l)amascus was well informed, but was not much interested in events that
did not concern his native city. Kamal-ad-Din and Ibn-al-Athir wrote rather
more than a century later, but both made careful use of earlier sources now
mainly lost. Of modern works, C. Cahen, La Syrie du nord d l'~poque des croisades
(Paris, 1940), is especially valuable, owing to the author's wide knowledge
and citations from Arabic sources. 

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