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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years
(1969)

XIV: Zengi and the fall of Edessa,   pp. 448-462 PDF (15.6 MB)


Page 461

Ch. XIV ZENGI AND THE FALL OF EDESSA 461 
Shabakhtan, on the headwaters of the Khabur river, in order to cut communication
between them. On Zengi's return to renew his assault on Amida, Kara Arsian
offered to surrender to Joscelin the fortress of Bibol, north of Gargar,
in return for his assistance. J oscelin at once set out towards the west,
taking with him a strong contingent of his forces, whereupon Zengi, informed
of the temporary weakness of the garrison at Edessa, advanced by forced marches
and encircled it (November 24). Before Joscelin and his outnumbered army
could intervene, Zengi, calling up all his available vassals and auxiliaries,
smothered the defense and broke into the city on December 24. The citadel
fell two days later, and Zengi, first killing all the Franks and destroying
their churches, but sparing the native Christians and their churches to the
best of his ability, gave the city in fief to the commander of his guard,
Zainad-DIn ~AlI Küchük.'3 
 The reactions to this event were almost as widespread in the east as in
the west. By his fortunate conquest Zengi acquired the reputation of a "defender
of the faith", which went far to atone for his defects of character and grasping
policies. The caliph showered on him presents and titles, including that
of al-malik al-mansür, "the victorious king," and the contemporary chronicles
bear witness to the resounding fame of his exploit throughout the Moslem
world. For himself, he energetically prosecuted the advantage he had gained,
cleared Sarüj and other strongholds, and besieged Bira (Birejik), which
guarded the Euphrates crossing to Tell Bashir (March ii~5). 
 At this juncture one of the Selchükid princes in his care, Farrukh-
Shah ibn-Malimüd, seized the occasion of his absence to murder the governor
of Mosul (May 1145) and to proclaim himself ruler. Though the revolt was
put down with ease by the garrison troops, the incident reawakened all his
fears. Hastily ordering ~AlI Küchük to proceed to Mosul, he himself
made first for Aleppo in order to forestall possible repercussions there.'4
On his return to Mosul, he brought the other Selchükid prince, Alp Arslan,
out 
13 Cf., above, chapter XIII, pp. 446—447. 
 14 See Anonymous Syriac Chronicle (in the Corpus scriptorum Christianorum
orientalium, Scriptores Syri, ser. III, vol. XV, ed. J.-B. Chabot, Paris,
1916), tr. 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, p. 287. Zengi had stored two-thirds of his treasure at Aleppo and Sinjar
against the eventuality of a Selchtikid coup at Mosul. Cf. Ibn-al-Athir,
Atãbeks (RHC, Or., II), p. 143. Apparently after Zengi lifted the
siege of Bira, its citizens voluntarily submitted to Artukid suzerainty to
forestall any resumption, but as this was one of the towns ceded by Beatrice
to Manuel in 1150 (cf. below, chapter XVII, p. 534), this suzerainty must
have been merely nominal. 


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