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Crusade in Antiochia in 1097-1098 – the Christian warriors reach Antiochia

The cause of the crusades is the westwards agatation of Islam in the cortage of the appearance of the prophet Mohammed. Islamic warriors conquered wide parts of Arabia and areas all around the southern Mediterranean Sea in the 7th and 8th century. They determined the talents in Palestine about several centuries. At the same time religious fanatics in Europe generated the urge to release Jerusalem, the holy city. It is interesting to note that the religious mania increasingly came from the so-called "representatives of Christianity" 1000 years ago. We look at Al Qaeda and Islamic fanatics with abhorrence and forget the bloody Christian history. The representatives of the Christian faith overrode incredibly brutally regardless of innocents. If the pope appeals for peace in the world today, he does this with blood of his predecessors in the hand. The papacy was a regular warmonger for centuries. It would lasts too long to explain this in detail here. Now to the history of the 1st crusade in Antiochia:

The first crusaders reached the northern border of Syria in October 1097. At that time the governor of Antiochia - named Yagi Siyan - got to know from it and was immediately in worry that he can not hold the city with his few soldiers. During the years before there were quarrel and disucssions between the Seljuk princes in the different cities of Syria over and over again, so he could not easily count on help from the outside. Kerbogas of Mosul should help the city of Antiochia in the course of 1098.

He was especially worried about the 14-kilometres-long city wall. This wall was hardly to be defended and in the city the Seljuks were a minority. The prevailing number of inhabitants were Christians of the most different religious directions. To prevent an uprising in the city of the Christians, he expelled all priests, monks, but also all Christian men of the city (16.10.1097). At the same time he asked men of the surrounding cities for help against the crusader's army. He sent letters all the way to Mosul and Bagdad. With many he bumped into refusal, indeed, later came help from Mosul and also from Damascus.

The crusader's army left Marasch and came along on the way after the south on 16./17.10.1097. The first crusaders, Robert of Normandy, 1000 knights and 2000 infantry, reached th Orontes in the north on 20.10.1097. Now Antiochia was afar 2-3 march hours. The bridge above the Orontes before Antiochia was strongly fastened. From here up to 100 archers could fire at every attacker. Hence, the crusaders could not simply capture this bridge. Besides, more than 700 riders from Antiochia reached the bridge, so that the first battle developed on both sides of the river. The whole army reached the Orontes few days later and then, in a short fight, the bridge and the river were crossed. Besides, the knights swam with horses across the river, which is deep at only few places. The siege of the city by the crusaders began at the next day.

On account of the size of the city wall even the big crusader's army could not enclose the city completely, so that the siege lasted very long without success. Gates were not guarded about months, so that partial food supplies could be organised for Antiochia and the exchange in information was possible. There were outbreaks and raids on the supplies of the crusader's army over and over again. There was a famine with the besieged and the besiegers during the winter 1097/1098 which demanded numerous victims. The crusaders had properly plundered the surroundings of the city in October and November, so that in winter the stocks were hardly. Several golden pieces had to be raised for a bread. Hence, leather was cooked and sheets were eaten in the city. The food situation of the crusaders made amends only in the spring. When in summer appeared that an Arabian army was on the way to circumvent the crusaders, the crusaders had to act and conquer the besieged city. This succeeded by assistance of a gate alerter who helped the crusaders to reach a part of the wall. The whole city was conquered by the crusaders in the course of the day and the Muslim inhabitants were killed cruelly.

The crusaders were even besieged in the city few weeks later, because Kerbogas reached the city. Because the crusaders founded hardly food in the conquered city, there were bottlenecks after a short time. A decisive battle with Kerbogas had to go here.

The decisive battle around Antiochia began on 28.6.1098. The crusaders came from the city and deployed to the battle. They could derogate the rows of Kerboga with their armoured knights relatively fast, so that these fled fast. The crusaders won the city and new city man became Boemund of Taranto. During the battles of the crusaders religious elements with the Christians played a big role. Thus, a holy spear was led in the battle. White knights with figures from the Bible appeared to some etc. …

The crusade remained in Antakya up to 1.11.1098. All together the siege of the city and the defence of the army of the Kerbogas from Mosul has lasted about a year. They could have moved in the direction of Palestine further in late summer, however, they preferred the autumn to escape the dryness and heat. To supply this big army, raids in the surroundings had to be undertaken. Besides, other, smaller cities, were besieged and attacked. Also the farmers from the surroundings were plundered completely. The crusaders conquered Jerusalem at the end of thw year 1099. With it the first crusade became a „success“. There were more than 500,000 deads.

Learn more about the history of Antakya in our e-book publications!

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