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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 Marmara and the Aegean. But the emir Chaka of Smyrna (Izmir), the most menacing of the empire’s enemies, had been murdered in 1092 by his son-in-law, the Selchukid Kilij (or Kilich) Arslan, at the emperor's instigation. Kilij Arslan himself, established at Nicaea and calling himself sultan (Arabic, sultan) was alarmed by the growing power of the Danishmendid dynasty farther to the east and of the emir Hasan of Cappadocia. It was the emperor’s aim to follow the traditions of Byzantine diplomacy and play off the Turkish princes against each other until the Christians could collect a force strong enough to deal them a deadly blow. In the meantime it was essential to avoid any premature and precipitate attack that might frighten the Turks into union.

The first crusaders to reach Constantinople presented a problem to the emperor’s police rather than to his politicians. In the middle of July 1096, Walter Sans-Avoir (“the Penniless”) arrived before the capital at the head of two or three thousand French peasants. This was the vanguard of the huge disorganized rabble that the preaching of Peter the Hermit and his fellows had urged eastward. As the preceding chapter has indicated, the Peasants’ or People’s Crusade had not been willing to wait while the princes organized their expeditions; and Walter and his Frenchmen had been more impatient even than Peter the Hermit, whom they had left at Cologne. Walter had had trouble with the Byzantine authorities when he entered the empire at Belgrade, but by the time that he approached Constantinople his company was satisfactorily controlled by the imperial police. The visitors were established in a camp in the suburbs. There they were joined by a stream of pilgrims from Italy, who had crossed the Adriatic from Apulia and had tramped along the Via Egnatia to Constantinople.

Peter the Hermit and the main body of the People's Crusade, which now included thousands of Germans, arrived at Constantinople about a fortnight after Walter, on August 1. Their passage across the Balkans had been turbulent and unfortunate; but the emperor considered that they had been sufficiently punished for their misdeeds and had sent Peter while he was still at Adrianople a gracious message of forgiveness. There seems to have been amongst the Byzantines a sympathetic interest in these humble, enthusiastic pilgrims who had left their homes to fight for Christendom. In spite of their lawlessness they were well received. The emperor himself was eager to see Peter, who had already acquired an almost legendary renown. Peter was summoned to the palace, where he was given handsome presents and good advice. Peter’s expedition was not at all impressive from a military point of view. Alexius therefore urged him strongly to wait till the organized armies of the crusading princes arrived.

Peter was impressed by the emperor’s counsel, but his followers were more impatient; and in the meantime they alienated sympathy by endless acts of violence. Hardly were they settled in a camp in the suburbs before they began to raid the neighboring villages, breaking into farms and villas and even stealing the lead off the roofs of churches. They were too numerous to be easily controlled by the police. The authorities decided that the sooner they were conveyed across the Bosporus and settled in some camp farther away from the great city, the better. On August 6 the whole expedition, Peter’s and Walter’s men as well as the Italians, was conveyed across the straits and began to march down the road that ran eastward along the shore of the Sea of Marmara, to Nicomedia. It was an unruly journey. Houses and churches along the way were pillaged. At Nicomedia, which had lain deserted since it had been raided by the Turks a few years before, a quarrel broke out between the Germans and Italians on the one hand and the Frenchmen on the other. The former broke away from Peter's leadership and elected their own chief, a petty Italian noble called Reginald. But they continued to march in conjunction. Probably on the emperor's instructions, they rounded the head of the Gulf of Nicomedia and went westward along its southern shore toward Helenopolis, at the mouth of the Dracon, to a fortified camp by the coast, called by the Byzantines Cibotus and by the Franks Civetot or Civitot. It had been constructed by Alexius a few years previously to house his English mercenaries and seemed a suitable resting place for the expedition till the other crusaders arrived. The district was fertile, and it was easy to keep in touch with the camp by sea from Constantinople.

Unfortunately Civetot was close to the Turkish frontier; and the proximity of the “infidel” proved too great a temptation to the impatient crusaders. They began to raid the villages in the immediate neighborhood, which were inhabited by Christian Greeks. Then they ventured into Turkish territory. Peter, remembering the emperor's advice, tried vainly to restrain them. He no longer had any authority over the Germans and Italians, and even his own Frenchmen turned from him to follow the more dashing leadership of Geoffrey Burel. In the middle of September a large party of Frenchmen penetrated as far as the gates of Nicaea, sacking the villages on the outskirts, rounding up the flocks and herds that they found, and torturing and massacring the villagers, who were Christians, with appalling savagery. They were even said to have roasted babies on spits. The Turkish troops sent out from the city to oppose them were driven back. They returned to Civetot laden with booty.

Their success roused the jealousy of the Germans, who set out in force a few days later under Reginald, and marched past Nicaea, pillaging as they went but sparing Christian lives, till they came to a castle called Xerigordon. They surprised it and finding it well stocked with provisions decided to hold it as a center from which to raid the countryside. On hearing the news Kilij Arslan sent out a strong expedition from Nicaea which arrived before the castle on September 29 and invested it. After the summer the castle cisterns were dry, and the only well was outside the walls. The besieged Germans were soon desperate from thirst. After eight days of misery Reginald surrendered on receiving a promise that his and his friends’ lives would be spared if they renounced their faith. All those that remained true to Christianity were slaughtered. Reginald and his fellow apostates were sent into captivity in the east.

The first news to reach Civetot from Xerigordon told of its capture by the Germans; and it was followed by a rumor, sedulously put around by two Turkish spies, that Nicaea too had been taken. The Turks hoped thus to lure the eager crusaders out into ambushes that they had prepared. The trick would have succeeded had not a messenger arrived to tell the true story of Reginald’s fate and to warn that the Turks were massing. The excitement in the camp turned into panic. Peter the Hermit set sail at once for Constantinople to beg for additional help from the emperor. Without his restraining influence the crusaders decided to attack the Turks at once. Walter Sans-Avoir persuaded them to await Peter’s return; but when Peter delayed at Constantinople, Walter and his friends were overruled by Geoffrey Burel, who shared the general impatience. It was arranged that the whole armed force of the expedition should march out at dawn on October 21.

Some three miles out of Civetot the road to Nicaea passed through a narrow wooded valley, by a village called Dracon. There the Turks lay in ambush. As the horsemen in the van entered the valley they fell on them and drove them back on to the infantry behind. In a few minutes the whole Christian army was fleeing in disorder back to the camp, with the Turks on their heels. There followed a general massacre. Hardly a Christian, soldier or civilian, survived, except for a few boys and girls whose appearance pleased the Turks, and a few soldiers who with Geoffrey Burel managed to reach an old castle by the shore, where they improvised defenses. After sundown a Greek with the survivors managed to find a boat and sailed to Constantinople with the news of the disaster. The emperor at once sent a squadron of naval vessels to Civetot. On its approach the Turks retired. The survivors, nearly all severely wounded, were taken off and were settled, deprived of their arms, in a suburb of the capital.

A few days after the collapse of the People’s Crusade in the autumn of 1096 the first of the crusading princes arrived at Constantinople. As we have seen in the preceding chapter, this was Hugh of Vermandois, brother to the king of France. Alexius had by now decided on his policy towards the princes. Hugh was received honorifically and given sumptuous presents. In return Alexius demanded of him a promise to restore to the empire lands that it had owned up till the time of the Turkish invasions and an oath of allegiance for any further lands that he might conquer in the east. It was a reasonable demand. The crusaders might well be expected to help the empire to recover its recent frontiers; and if they wished, as Alexius rightly suspected, to carve themselves principalities farther to the east, it was natural that Alexius, as emperor in the east, should be accepted as overlord. That small states should be sovereign and independent was unthought of at that time; and though some of the crusaders may have envisaged the pope rather than any lay potentate as their suzerain, the claims of the eastern emperor could not be disregarded.

Hugh of Vermandois made no objection to taking the oath. He had only a small following with him; and Alexius saw to it, tactfully but firmly, that he was not allowed liberty of movement. But Hugh bore him no resentment for it and was ready to further his policy.

The next prince to arrive was less amenable. Godfrey of Bouillon, duke of Lower Lorraine, arrived at Constantinople on December 23, with his brothers Eustace of Boulogne and Baldwin, and a large and well-equipped army. Some of his followers had arrived before him; but Godfrey had delayed in Thrace, where his troops had ravaged the countryside, on the news, Godfrey said, that the emperor was keeping Hugh of Vermandois in prison. Two Frenchmen in the emperor's service, Ralph Peeldelau and Roger, son of Dagobert, were able to pacify Godfrey and persuaded him to come on to the capital. He encamped near the head of the Golden Horn.

Alexius at once sent Hugh to Godfrey to ask him to visit the palace and to take the oath of allegiance. Godfrey hesitated. He was suspicious of Hugh’s role. He had probably met some of the survivors of the People’s Crusade, who chose to blame the emperor for their disaster. It may be that, having taken a personal oath of allegiance to the western emperor when he was appointed to Lorraine, he felt that he could not also pay allegiance to a rival emperor. In any case he wished to wait for the other princes, to see what they intended. He would not fall in with Hugh's suggestions.

Alexius was annoyed, and cut off the supplies that he had promised for Godfrey's troops, whereupon Godfrey's brother Baldwin raided the suburbs till the blockade was lifted. Godfrey at the same time agreed to move his camp to Pera, across the Golden Horn, where it would be better protected from the winter winds and more easily watched by the imperial police. For the next three months Godfrey’s army remained there. Discipline was maintained; and Alexius supplied sufficient food. At the end of January 1097, Godfrey was again invited to the palace, but only sent some vassals who would make no promises on his behalf. At the end of March, on the news that other crusader armies were approaching, Alexius brought matters to a head by cutting off supplies once more. Again Baldwin riposted by raiding the suburbs and had a slight success in a skirmish against the emperor’s Pecheneg police. Emboldened by this, Godfrey moved his camp from Pera, which he pillaged, and established himself outside the city walls, by the palace of Blachernae, which he began to attack. It was the Thursday in Holy Week, April 2. The city was unprepared for an onslaught; and Alexius was deeply shocked at having to fight on such a day. He calmed the growing panic of the citizens and drew up his troops. His cavalry made a demon­stration outside the walls, and his archers on the walls fired over the Franks’ heads. Godfrey soon retired, having slain only seven Byzantines. Next morning Hugh of Vermandois went out to make another attempt to induce Godfrey to meet Alexius, but in vain; and when later in the day an imperial embassy went out toward the camp, Godfrey's men at once attacked them. Alexius then sent out seasoned troops to attack the Franks, who turned and fled. Godfrey realized at last that he was no match for the emperor. He agreed to take the oath and to have his men transported across the Bosporus.

On Easter Sunday Godfrey, Baldwin, and their leading vassals all solemnly promised to restore to the empire its recently lost lands and to regard the emperor as overlord for their further conquests. They were then entertained at a rich banquet and rewarded with gifts of money. Immediately afterwards Godfrey’s army was shipped across the straits, and marched from Chalcedon to a camp at Pelecanum, on the road to Nicomedia.

During the next few days a miscellaneous host of crusaders, mainly vassals of Godfrey who had preferred to travel through Italy and along the Via Egnatia, arrived at Constantinople. Their leaders agreed, grudgingly, to take the required oath; and Godfrey and Baldwin were invited to attend the ceremony. It was on this occasion that a boorish knight sat himself down on the emperor’s throne, and was severely reproved by Baldwin.

Next week, on April 9, Bohemond of Taranto reached the capi­tal, leaving his nephew Tancred in command of his army, a day’s journey from the walls. Bohemond, who had a high reputation as a warrior, was an old enemy of the empire; and Alexius was an­xious how he would behave. He arranged at once for a private audience with him. But Bohemond showed himself correct and even friendly and helpful. He took the oath of allegiance without hesitation. Then he asked for appointment as grand domestic of the east, that is, commander-in-chief of all the imperial forces in Asia. It was an ingenious request. As imperial commander he would be in a position to control the whole allied expedition. He would have authority over all the other potential vassals of the empire, and all the recovered territory would be handed over to him. He could later decide what use to make of his power. It was also an embarrassing request. Alexius distrusted Bohemond but wished to retain his goodwill. He temporized non-committally, saying neither yes nor no. Meanwhile he discussed with Bohemond the help that the empire could most usefully give to the whole crusading expedition. Bohemond's army was summoned to Constantinople and taken at once across the Bosporus, to join Godfrey’s at Pelecanum. Tancred and his cousin, Richard of Salerno, who did not comprehend Bohemond’s game and were unwilling to take the oath to Alexius, slipped through the capital by night. That same day Raymond of St. Gilles, count of Toulouse, arrived and was at once admitted to an interview with the emperor. His army waited behind at Rodosto (Tekirdagh).

Raymond’s journey had been uncomfortable, and his temper was frayed. When he came to the palace and found Bohemond apparently on excellent terms with Alexius, he was suspicious. His aim had been to be considered the lay leader of the expedition, and he felt that Bohemond was his chief rival. There were rumors that Bohemond was to become the imperial commander. If this were true, Raymond by accepting the emperor’s suzerainty might find himself under Bohemond’s orders. He told the emperor that he had come east to do God’s work, and God was now his only suzerain. But he added that if the emperor himself were to lead the imperial forces he would serve under him. The other western princes in vain tried to make Raymond change his mind; and Bohemond even said openly that he would support the emperor should Raymond have recourse to arms. Alexius made no attempt to put pressure on Raymond, but withheld gifts from him. Eventually on April 26, Raymond swore a modified oath promising to respect the life and honor of the emperor and to see that nothing was done, by himself or his men, to the emperor’s hurt. Such an oath of non-injury was often taken by vassals to their overlord in southern France; and Alexius was satisfied with it. As soon as the oath was taken, Bohemond left to rejoin his army in Asia, and Raymond’s army was brought to Constantinople. Raymond took it across the Bosporus two days later, and then returned to Constantinople, to spend a fortnight at the imperial court.

At the end of this visit Raymond and Alexius were on excellent terms. It is possible that Adhémar of Le Puy, armed as legate with the pope’s instructions, made it his business to placate the emperor. But a surer bond was the distrust that both count and emperor felt for Bohemond. Henceforward, though he never took a more definite oath, Raymond was a loyal friend to Alexius, who came to like and respect him.

The fourth great crusading army arrived at Constantinople in May. It was led by Robert, duke of Normandy, and his brother-in-law Stephen, count of Blois. Their cousin, Robert of Flanders, who had started out with them, had hurried ahead and had arrived soon after Bohemond. None of these leaders made any difficulty about taking the oath required by Alexius. Stephen of Blois was particularly pleased and impressed by his reception and the gifts that were made to him, and wrote to his wile a warm eulogy of Alexius. When this last army was across the Bosporus Alexius could breathe again. The huge crusading host had been safely escorted through his European province and past his wealthy capital, with no serious incident apart from the skirmishes with Godfrey’s men. The crusaders were now safely in Asia, ready to fight against the Turks for the recovery of imperial territory; and if they chose later to create buffer states beyond the imperial frontier, they might well add to the security of the frontier, as the emperor's overlordship was apparently assured. But the success of the whole scheme depended on the crusaders keeping their oath, and a clear decision on what was admittedly former imperial territory. It also required that the emperor’s troops should take an active part in the campaign.

The first objective of the crusaders and their imperial ally was Nicaea. Not only was it a city hallowed in Christian history, but it was the capital of the Selchukid potentate, Kilij Arslan ibn-Sulaiman, and it lay on the main military road across Anatolia. Its capture was a necessary preliminary to any advance into Turkish territory. Nicaea, which lay at the eastern end of Lake Ascanius, had been powerfully fortified by the Byzantines, and its fortifications were in good repair. It formed a rough pentagon, its western wall rising straight out of the shallow lake. The inhabitants were still mainly Christian, but it contained a large garrison of Turks as well as the officials of the Selchukid court. The moment for the siege was well chosen. After his easy victory over Peter the Hermit’s rabble, Kilij Arslan was inclined to despise the whole crusading movement and had gone with his main army eastward, to dispute the suzerainty of Melitene (Malatya) with the Danishmendid emir. When he heard that a formidable Christian army was advancing against Nicaea, it was too late for him to bring back his full fighting force to defend it.

Godfrey of Bouillon’s army left Pelecanum on about April 26 and marched to Nicomedia, where it waited for three days, while Bohemond’s army came up, under the command of Tancred, as Bohemond was still at Constantinople, negotiating with the emperor about supplies. They were joined also by Peter the Hermit and the survivors of his party and by a small detachment of Byzantine engineers, with siege machines, under the command of Manuel Butumites. The whole force moved cautiously to Civetot and up through the valley of the Dracon, where the People’s Crusade had perished. Scouts and engineers went ahead to open up the track, which was then marked with wooden crosses. On May 6 the army reached Nicaea. Godfrey encamped outside the northern wall and Tancred outside the eastern, leaving the southern for Raymond's army, which arrived ten days later, on May 16. Bohemond had joined his army two or three days before. Robert of Normandy and Stephen of Blois followed with their troops a fortnight later, on June 3. The arrangements that Bohemond had made with the emperor insured a steady supply of provisions to the crusader camp. Alexius himself moved to Pelecanum, where he was in touch with both Nicaea and his capital.

Messengers, one of whom was intercepted by the crusaders, had been sent by the Turkish garrison to urge Kilij Arslan to rush troops into the city before its investment was complete. But the first Turkish relieving force came too late, a day or two after Raymond’s arrival had blocked the southern gate. After a brief skirmish with Raymond’s troops it withdrew, to await the main Turkish army. When the commanders of the garrison saw its withdrawal, they established contact with the Byzantine general Butumites to discuss terms of surrender. But almost at once news came that Kilij Arslan was not far off; and negotiations were abandoned.

Kilij Arslan was now seriously alarmed. He had not foreseen that the crusading army would be so strong; and he had left his wife and family and much of his treasure in Nicaea. He patched up a truce with the Danishmendids and brought his whole army by forced marches across Anatolia. On May 21 he appeared in the plain before the city and at once attacked Raymond’s army. Raymond was for a time hard pressed, as neither Godfrey nor Bohemond dared leave his section of the walls unguarded. But the Flemish contingent came to his aid. The battle raged all day long; but the Turks could make no headway. In the open ground before the walls the crusaders with their better physiques and better arms outmatched their enemies. Their losses were heavy. Many leading knights, including the count of Ghent, were killed, many others severely wounded. But the Turkish losses were heavier. At nightfall Kilij Arslan led off his troops to retreat into the hills and leave Nicaea to its fate.

The crusaders were elated with their victory. They took delight in catapulting the heads of the Turkish dead into the city; and they discovered with glee the ropes that the Turks had brought for binding the prisoners that they had thought to take. But the fortifications were still formidable, and the besieged garrison fought well. Attempts by Raymond to mine the walls failed. Moreover it was found that supplies and messages were reaching the city by way of the lake. It was necessary to ask Alexius to provide a flotilla to blockade the lake. It seems that Alexius deliberately waited for the westerners to make this request in order that they should realize how essential was his cooperation. He sent a few ships, which he put under the command of Butu­mites, and at the same time added to his military contingent.

Kilij Arslan had told the garrison that it must do as it thought best; he could give no more help. When it saw the emperor's ships and reinforcements, it reestablished contact with Butumites and opened negotiations. But it still played for time, hoping perhaps that the sultan would make another attempt at its relief. Only when it was told, probably by Butumites, that the crusaders were planning a general assault, did it yield.

The assault was ordered for June 19. But when dawn broke the imperial standards were already waving over the city. The Turks had surrendered during the night to Butumites, who had rushed his troops in through the gates that opened on to the lake. The crusader leaders had probably known that negotiations were in progress; but they certainly had not been told of the final stages. They could not, however, disapprove, Nicaea would have had to be restored to the emperor, and it was satisfactory that it should be taken without further loss of life. But they were hurt that they had not been consulted; while their rank and file, who had hoped to pillage the city and hold the Turkish notables for ransom, found themselves robbed of their prey. Alexius had no intention that his future subjects should undergo a sack, nor did he wish unnecessarily to worsen his relations with the Turks. The crusaders were only allowed in small groups into the city, closely watched by the police, while the sultan’s family and nobles were conveyed with all their movable possessions to Constantinople. There the nobles were permitted to ransom themselves. The sultana, the emir Chaka’s daughter, and her children were sent back to Kilij Arslan without a ransom, after some months’ delay.

Such generosity to the “infidel” enemy struck the average crusader, who already felt himself cheated, as treason to Christendom. Alexius was, however, generous to the crusaders themselves. Every soldier was presented with a special gift of food, and their leaders were summoned to Pelecanum and there were given gold and jewels from the sultan’s treasury. Stephen of Blois, who traveled there with Raymond of Toulouse, wrote home to boast of the riches that he had received, and to say that, unlike his comrades, he quite understood that the emperor should not have been able to come in person to Nicaea. In return for the gifts that he made, Alexius insisted that the chief knights who had not yet taken the oath to him should now do so. Tancred demurred and made a truculent scene in the emperor’s presence; but in the end Bohemond persuaded him to comply.

However disappointed they might be over the emperor’s behavior, the crusaders were cheered by the liberation of Nicaea and looked forward to an easy progress to Palestine. Stephen of Blois wrote hopefully to his wife that in five weeks they would be at Jerusalem, unless, he added, they were held up at Antioch. News of the victory was sent to the west and induced many hesitant crusaders there, notably in the Italian cities, to decide to join the movement.

The next problem was to choose the route across Anatolia. The great military road of the Byzantines ran eastward from Nicaea to the Sangarius (Sakarya) valley, which it left at a village called Leucae to go southeast across the hills to Dorylaeum, near the modern Eskishehir. Thence it continued just south of east, by passing Ankara, to Caesarea-Mazaca (Kayseri), then across the Anti-Taurus range to Marash and down the valley to the east of the Amanus range to Antioch. But it was not at the moment practicable; the whole section from Dorylaeum to Caesarea was occupied by the Turks. There was a post-road that led from Dorylaeum to Amorium and thence across the salt desert straight to the Cilician Gates. It was the shortest route, but it led across long waterless tracts of country and was suitable only for swiftly moving cavalry. The third road after passing Dorylaeum skirted the salt desert to the south, past Philomelium (Akshchir) and Iconium (Konya) to Tyana, where it forked, one branch crossing the Cilician Gates and the other turning northeast to join the military road at Caesarea-Mazaca. It was this third road which the crusaders decided to take, probably on the emperor's advice. It went through territory into which the Turks had not yet penetrated in full force, and in the past it had been supplied with wells and cisterns at regular intervals.

Whichever road was taken, the next objective must be Dorylaeum. On June 26 the crusader vanguard began to move from Nicaea, and during the next two days the various divisions of the army followed, accompanied by a Byzantine detachment under the general Taticius, who was to supply the guides. A few crusaders, probably those who were still recovering from wounds, stayed behind at Nicaea, in the emperor's service, and were employed to repair and garrison the fortress.

At Leucae the princes met together to plan the order of the march. It was decided to keep the army in two sections, the one to precede the other at a day’s interval. The first consisted of the Normans of southern Italy and northern France, the troops of the counts of Flanders and Blois, and the Byzantines, the second of the southern French and the Lorrainers and the troops of Hugh of Vermandois. Bohemond was to be military commander of the former and Raymond of the latter force. As soon as the council was over, Bohemond set out with his army, while Raymond and his comrades, who had ridden ahead of their troops, waited for them to come up.

Kilij Arslan was waiting in the hills; and the common danger had induced the Danishmendid emir and Hasan of Cappadocia to bring detachments to join him. On June 30 the Turkish army was encamped in the valley of the river Tembris (Porsuk) when scouts reported that Bohemond’s troops were coming down into the valley of the Bathys a few miles away beyond a low range of hills. The crusaders encamped that evening in the plain. During the night the Turks crept over the hills, and at sunrise they swooped down on to the camp.

Bohemond was ready for an attack. The noncombatants were in the center of the camp, where there were springs; and the women were allotted the task of carrying water up to the front line. Tents were quickly dressed, and knights told to dismount and remain on the defensive. Meanwhile a messenger was sent to the second army, urging it to hurry. One knight, the rude Frenchman who had seated himself on the emperor's throne, disobeyed Bohemond's orders and with his followers charged into the enemy, to be routed with ignominy. The rest of the army patiently awaited the onslaught.

The Turks, whose numbers seemed to be infinite, attacked from all sides, with archers running to the front to discharge their arrows, then making room at once for others. As the hot July morning advanced the Christians wondered how long they could hold out against such a rain of missiles. But Bohemond rode ceaselessly round the lines encouraging them and telling them that flight was impossible and surrender would mean life-long captivity. About midday the vanguard of Raymond’s army appeared, with Godfrey and Hugh in front, and Raymond himself close behind. The Turks, who had thought that they had entrapped the whole Christian army, faltered. Godfrey was able to break through into the camp. Then, when Raymond came up, the united army formed a long front, with Bohemond, Robert of Normandy, and Stephen of Blois on the left, Raymond and Robert of Flanders in the center, and Godfrey and Hugh on the right, and moved forward against the enemy. The Turks were not prepared to meet an offensive, and their ammunition was running out. As they hesitated, suddenly they saw another army coming over the hills behind them. It was Adhémar of Le Puy, at the head of a detachment of southern Frenchmen. He had himself planned this diversion and procured a guide to take him over the mountain paths. Taken by surprise the Turks turned and fled eastward, leaving in their panic their encampment intact. When the victors moved over the hill, they found the tents of the sultan and the emirs undefended and full of treasure.

It was a tremendous and heartening victory, won by the generous cooperation of all the crusaders. They lost some of their best soldiers, including Tancred’s brother, William; and the battle had taught them to respect the Turks as fighters. Indeed, they could not withhold their admiration for the Turks. The anonymous author of the Gesta declared that, if only they were Christians, they would be the finest of races; and he recalled a legend that made Franks and Turks alike the descendants of the Trojans, a legend that justified them both in hostility towards the Greeks. Such praise made the victory seem the greater. But it was hardly needed; for the battle of Dorylaeum permitted the crusade to cross Anatolia. After two days’ repose to recover from the struggle the army set out again, on July 17 taking the road to Philomelium and Iconium. It marched now as one unit, to avoid a recurrence of the risk run at Dorylaeum,

Kilij Arslan had now lost his capital, his tent, and the greater part of his treasure. When he met in his flight some Syrian Turks who had come too late for the battle, he told them that the Franks were stronger and more numerous than he had expected and he could not oppose them. He sent orders out to evacuate the cities along the crusaders’ route, and he and his people took to the hills after ravaging the countryside and blocking the wells.

Taticius and his Byzantines provided the crusade with guides. But their task was not easy. After twenty years of raids and warfare much of the Christian population had moved away. Villages were deserted and fields uncultivated. Bridges and cisterns had fallen into disrepair, and the deliberate “scorched earth” policy of the Turks completed the devastation. The guides themselves could not know the road as it now was, and information was not always available from the sparse population. But whenever things went wrong the guides were suspected by the Franks of treachery. Resentment in the army grew against the Greeks.

After starting out along the road to Iconium, the army soon made a detour, from Polybotus (Bolvadin) to Pisidian Antioch, and thence back to the main road at Philomelium by a track over the bare range of the Sultan Daghi. This was probably because Pisidian Antioch had not been destroyed by the Turks and supplies could be obtained there. From Philomelium the road ran along desolate country between the mountains and the desert. In the heat of high summer there was no vegetation nor any shade. Water was very scarce, with the wells blocked or dry, and the cisterns that they saw all ruined. The horses died in great numbers. Many knights were forced to go on foot, despite their heavy armor. Others rode on oxen. Sheep, goats, and dogs were captured and harnessed to the baggage carts. The men themselves, con­tinually thirsty and unprepared for such heat, vainly chewed thorn bushes. The older pilgrims and the women suffered terribly. Even the leaders’ health began to fail. Godfrey of Bouillon was wounded by a bear when hunting close to the road, and his wounds took long to heal. Raymond fell desperately ill and was even given extreme unction by the bishop of Orange. But the general morale remained high. To Fulcher of Chartres the fellowship of the soldiers and pilgrims, coming from so many different lands and speaking so many different tongues, seemed to be inspired by God.

About the middle of August the army reached Iconium. The town itself was deserted; but the green valley of Meram, in the foothills close to the city, was full of running water and orchards laden with fruit. There the weary crusaders rested and recovered their strength. Both Godfrey and Raymond were restored to health. After about a week the army was able to move on again much refreshed. Taking the advice of some friendly Armenians settled there, the soldiers carried with them sufficient water to last them till their next halting place in the fertile valley of Heraclea (Ereghli).

Near Heraclea a Turkish army was waiting, composed of the troops of the Danishmendids and of Hasan of Cappadocia. The emirs probably hoped by their presence in force to induce the crusade to turn southward over the Taurus mountains and so leave their own possessions untouched. But at the sight of the enemy the Franks at once attacked, led by Bohemond, who personally sought out the Danishmendid emir. The Turks had not wished for a pitched battle and rapidly retired. A comet passed across the sky that night as though in celebration of the victory.

A few miles beyond Heraclea the road branched. The shortest route to Antioch led over the Taurus through the great pass of the Cilician Gates, into Cilicia, and then over the Amanus range, through the Syrian Gates, to the Orontes valley. The road was hardly suitable for a large army. As it winds up through the Cilician Gates it is at times so steep and narrow that quite a small hostile force can easily cause havoc to a slow-moving expedition. Cilicia was in Turkish hands; and the climate there in September is at its worst. The Syrian Gates, though less sen­sational than the Cilician, were almost as difficult to cross. On the other hand, the defeat of the Turks at Heraclea opened the alternative road, which led to Caesarea-Mazaca. The Byzantine military road could be joined at Caesarea. From Caesarea it ran over the Anti-Taurus to Marash, through mountainous country, but country held for the most part by Christians, Armenian princelings who were, nominally at least, vassals of the emperor. From Marash to Antioch the road was easy, running over the low, broad pass known as the Amanus Gates. It seems that Taticius and the Byzantines advised the route through Caesarea and Marash, which would have the additional value of reestablishing contact between the emperor and his distant isolated vassals. Tancred and the crusader princes hostile to Byzantium therefore opposed this route; and when they were outvoted, Tancred decided to separate from the main army and lead his own ex­pedition of southern Italians into Cilicia. About September 10 he left the camp by Heraclea with a company of a hundred knights and two hundred infantrymen, and made straight for the Cilician Gates. His example was followed by Godfrey’s brother Baldwin, who, like Tancred, was the landless cadet of a great family and was determined to found a principality in the east. His company was considerably larger than Tancred’s. His cousin, Baldwin of Le Bourg, together with Reginald of Toul and Peter of Stenay and five hundred knights and two thousand infantrymen drawn from the Low Countries and Lorraine, set out with him a few days later. They were too numerous to take the rough track fol­lowed by Tancred to the head of the pass, but kept to the main road, through Tyana and Podandus. Neither party was encumbered by noncombatants. Baldwin’s wife, Godvere of Tosni, and her young children remained with the main army.

While Tancred and Baldwin crossed into Cilicia the other crusading princes moved northeastward. At a village called Augustopolis they caught up with Hasan of Cappadocia’s army and defeated it again, but did not pause to capture a castle of Hasan’s that stood not far from the road. The villages through which they passed were handed over to a local Armenian lord, at his request, to hold under the emperor. They found Caesarea, which they reached at the end of September, quite deserted, but they hurried on at once southeastward to Comana, or Placentia, a prosperous town inhabited by Armenians. The Danishmendid Turks had been laying siege to it, but retired when the crusade approached. Bohemond with some of his knights set out at once in pursuit of them, but, though he followed them for several days, he never established contact. Meanwhile the Armenians of Comana enthusiastically welcomed their rescuers, who asked Taticius to nominate a governor to rule the town for the emperor. Taticius chose Peter of Aulps, a Provencal knight who had in the past served under Guiscard before he entered the emperor's service. It was a tactful appointment and showed that the Franks and Byzantines could still cooperate.

From Comana the road led on to Coxon (Goksun), vhosce Armenian inhabitants were equally friendly. The crusaders remained there for three days, collecting supplies for the passage over the last portion of the Anti-Taurus, which lay just ahead. While they were there, a rumor came that the Turks had abandoned Antioch. Bohemond had not returned from his pursuit of the Danishmendids; so Raymond, without consulting any of his colleagues, sent Peter of Castillon with live hundred knights to ride there at full speed and occupy the city. They reached a castle held by Paulician heretics not far from the Orontes, and there they learnt that the rumor was false. On the contrary, the Turks were pouring in reinforcements, Peter of Castillon returned, to report to Raymond; but one of his knights, Peter of Roaix, with a few comrades went off to the east and, with the help of local Armenians, occupied some forts and villages in the valley of Rugia, towards Aleppo. When Bohemond later returned to the camp and heard of Raymond’ maneuver he was furious. Relations between them grew strained, and most of the princes sympathized with Bohemond.

For some reason unknown to us the crusaders did not take the usual road from Coxon to Marash. Perhaps they learnt that it was ambushed by the Turks. Instead, they took a track to the south, which was at the best of times a difficult path, very narrow and steep as it climbed up and down the gorges that they had to cross. It was now early October, and the rains had begun. For miles the army had to pass along a muddy ledge overhanging precipices. Horses slipped and fell over the edge. Baggage-animals, roped together, dragged each other into the abyss. Riding was impossible. The knights, struggling on foot through the mud, tried to sell their heavy armor to lightly equipped infantrymen or else threw it away in despair. Many more lives were lost on the pass than at the hands of the Turks. It was with great relief that at last the army emerged into the plain before Marash.

In Marash too the population was Armenian, and was commanded by a former imperial official called Tatoul. He was confirmed in his authority by Taticius, and gave the crusade all the help that he could. The army paused three or four days there. Bohemond rejoined it, after his fruitless pursuit of the Danishmendids; and Baldwin came hurrying up from Cilicia, presumably to see his wife, who was dying; nor did her children survive her. On her death, as will presently be discussed, he went off again, towards the east. The main army left Marash on about October 15, along the easy road to Antioch. On October 20 it reached the Iron Bridge across the Orontes, at three hours’ distance from the city.

It was four months since the crusade had left Nicaea. For so large an army, heavily encumbered by noncombatants, traveling in the full heat of the Anatolian summer through barren country that lay open to a mobile and formidable enemy, the achievement was remarkable. Without zeal and a burning faith it could never have been achieved; and it had required the sincere cooperation of the various component parts of the crusade. Except for a growing tension between certain of the leaders, in particular between Bohemond and Raymond, the army had been singularly free from quarrels. In a lyrical passage Fulcher of Chartres lauds the divinely inspired comradeship of the soldiers, coming as they did from so many diverse lands and speaking so many diverse languages. It had required, too, the cooperation of Byzantium. Though many of the soldiers and a few of the leaders were deeply suspicious of the Byzantines and were inclined to blame them for anything that went wrong, as yet relations between the emperor’s representative, Taticius, and the Frankish command were correct if not cordial. Towns captured on the journey had been duly handed back to the emperor’s nominees. Taticius on his side seems to have sent favorable reports back to Constantinople; for when Anna Comnena came later to write her history she must have used such reports, and it is noteworthy that, though she came to loathe Bohemond, she pays tribute to his prowess and the courage of his comrades when she describes the march across Anatolia.


It was as well for the harmony of the crusade that its two most turbulent princes had left the main army to seek their fortunes in Cilicia. Cilicia had formed part of the Byzantine empire up till the Turkish invasions. Now the Turks occupied the plain, while the Taurus mountains behind were in the hands of Armenians, refugees who had retreated there from Greater Armenia in the course of the past few decades to escape the Turkish invaders. There were two Armenian principalities in the mountains. To the west of the Cilician Gates was the territory of Oshin, son of Hetoum, with his headquarters at the castle of Lampron, on a spur of the range overlooking Tarsus. Oshin professed loyalty to the emperor, who had given him the title of strategopedarch of Cilicia. He made occasional incursions into the plain and in 1097 took advantage of the Turks’ preoccupation with the crusade to attack Adana and occupy half the town. East of the great pass Constantine, son of Reuben (West Armenian, Roupen), was established. He claimed to be heir of the Bagratid dynasty, and as such was a passionate adherent of the Separated Armenian Church and hostile to Byzantium. His seat was the castle of Partzapert, behind Sis (Kozan). To the east of the Roupenids, along the Anti-Taurus range and into the Euphrates valley, there were other Armenian princelings, of whom the chief were Tatoul, whom the crusade found at Marash, Kogh Vasil (Basil the Robber) to the cast of him at Raban and Kesoun, Gabriel (Armenian, Khoril) farther north at Melitene, and Toros of Edessa (Urfa) across the Euphrates. Tatoul, Gabriel, and Toros were former officials of the empire and Orthodox in religion. Kogh Yasil belonged to the Separated Church. The position of them all was precarious. It was only by paying tribute to the neighboring Turkish lords, whom they tried to play off against each other, that they managed to maintain themselves. They were eager to make use of the crusaders as allies.

Tancred’s motive in invading Cilicia was probably pure ambition, a desire to found quickly his own principality away from the dominating personality of his uncle Bohemond. But Baldwin of Boulogne was definitely interested in the Armenian question. He had taken onto his staff an Armenian called Pakrad, the brother of Kogh Yasil and a former imperial officer, on whom he relied for advice. Pakrad was concerned with the welfare of the Armenians nearer the Euphrates, where his family was settled; but when Tancred decided to set out for Cilicia, Baldwin and Pakrad felt that it would be unwise to allow any other crusader chieftain to be the first to embark on an adventure that would involve Armenian interests.

When Tancred moved down from the Cilician Gates, he marched straight on Tarsus, which was still the chief city of the plain. It was held by a small Turkish garrison, which came out to meet the invaders but was repulsed. The Greek and Armenian inhabitants of Tarsus made contact with Tancred and promised him help; but the garrison held firm, until, three days later, Baldwin and his far greater army were seen approaching. That night the Turks fled under cover of the darkness, and at dawn the Christians opened the gates to Tancred. When Baldwin came up later in the morning, Tancred’s banners were flying from the towers. Tarsus should have been restored to the emperor, but, even had Tancred been minded to abide by the treaty, there was no imperial official at hand to take over the city. In Baldwin, however, he had a far more dangerous rival. Baldwin insisted that Tarsus should be transferred to his rule. Tancred, whose army was hopelessly outnumbered by Baldwin’s, was furious but had to agree. He withdrew his men and moved eastward to Adana.

Hardly had he gone before another three hundred Normans, who had decided to follow him, came down over the pass to Tarsus, Baldwin would not allow them into the city. They were obliged to camp outside the walls; and during the night the former Turkish garrison crept up and massacred them to a man. The disaster was rightly blamed on Baldwin, even by his own followers, and his position might have been difficult had not news come of the arrival of a Christian fleet off Longiniada, the now-vanished port of Tarsus at the mouth of the Cydnus, under the command of Guynemer of Boulogne.

Guynemer was a professional pirate who realized chat the crusade would need naval help. He had collected an armada of Danes, Frisians, and Flemings, and had sailed from the Low Countries early in the spring and was now trying to make contact with the crusade. He was delighted to find himself close to an army under a prince from his native town. He sailed up to Tarsus and did homage to Baldwin, who borrowed three hundred men from him to act as a garrison for Tarsus, apparently under Guynemer as governor. Baldwin then followed Tancred eastward.

Adana was in a state of confusion. Oshin of Lampron held half of the town. Other parts were still occupied by the Turks, who fled when the Normans approached; and a Burgundian knight called Welf, who had probably broken away from Baldwin’s party, had managed to force his way into the citadel. Oshin and Welf both welcomed Tancred, The former was probably glad to extricate himself from a risky adventure. With his approval Welf was confirmed by Tancred in the possession of all the town, while, on Oshin’s advice, Tancred continued eastward to Mamistra (Misis), where there was an Armenian population eager for deliverance from the Turks. He reached Mamistra early in October, The Turks fled before him, and the Armenians opened the gates to him.

Meanwhile Baldwin, having wrecked Tancred’s chance of founding a Cilician principality, had decided to rejoin the main crusading army. He may have had news that his wife was dying; he may have wished to consult his brothers; or he may, on Pakrad’s advice, have considered that his true destiny lay farther east on the Euphrates. While Tancred was at Mamistra, Baldwin came up with his army. His intent was now peaceable, but Tancred was naturally suspicious, and would not let him into the town. Baldwin and his men had to camp on the far side of the river Pyramus (Jeyhan). Tancred’s brother-in-law, Richard of the Principate, could not bear to let Baldwin’s crime at Tarsus go unavenged. He and his friends persuaded Tancred to join them in a surprise attack on the camp. Their army was far smaller than Baldwin’s, which easily repulsed them. After this unedifying conflict both leaders felt ashamed. There was a formal reconciliation where it was agreed that neither party would remain in Cilicia. Baldwin moved hastily on to catch the main crusading army at Marash, while Tancred, after leaving a small garrison at Mamistra, turned southward round the head of the Gulf of Alexandretta to the town of Alexandretta (Iskenderun). He had sent a message to Guynemer at Tarsus to ask for his help, which, now that Baldwin had left the province, was willingly given. With Guynemer’s help Alexandretta was captured, Tancred garrisoned it, then marched over the Amanus mountains to join the crusading army just as it arrived before Antioch.

The Cilician diversion had not been entirely valueless. The presence of Frankish garrisons in the principal towns of eastern Cilicia prevented the district from being used by the Moslems as a base for relieving Antioch and helped to put a wedge between the Syrian and the Anatolian Turks. But it had revealed how precarious was the friendship between the more ambitious princes of the crusade. The natives, Christian and Moslem alike, learned that they could be played off one against another.

Unlike Tancred, Baldwin did not again join the main crusade. He spent only a few days at Marash with his brothers. After his wife had died he set out again eastward, with the Armenian Pakrad to advise him. A smaller company than before traveled with him. Perhaps his brothers would not spare so many men, with the siege of Antioch in view, or perhaps his own popularity had suffered as a result of the affair at Tarsus. He now had only a hundred horsemen. As chaplain he took with him the historian, Fulcher of Chartres. While the main army moved southwest toward Antioch he turned southeastward to Aintab (Gaziantep). As he journeyed he managed, with Pakrad’s help, to get into touch with the Armenians of the neighborhood and their princes. Everywhere the Armenians welcomed him as a liberator. The Syrian Jacobites, who formed the rest of the population, were more doubtful but did not oppose him. The only important Moslem lord of the district, the Turk Balduk, emir of Samosata, made only half-hearted efforts to oppose him. Two local Armenian lords, whom the Latins called Fer and Nicusus, joined their small levies to the Franks. With their help Baldwin captured the two main fortresses between Aintab and the Euphrates, Ravendan and Tell Bashir, known to the Latins as Ravendel and TurbesseL Ravendan was given to Pakrad to hold under Baldwin’s suzerainty and Tell Bashir to Fer.

While Baldwin was at Tell Bashir an embassy reached him from Toros, prince of Edessa. Toros had started his career as an imperial official and had later been one of the chief lieutenants of the Armenian, Philaretus (Filardos), who between 1078 and 1085 had ruled from Cilicia to Edessa. On Philaretus’s death Edessa had been taken by the Turks; but Toros had recaptured it in 1094, and held it as a fief from the Selchukid sultan, whose garrison, however, he had managed to eject. But his position was insecure. As an Orthodox Christian he was disliked both by his Armenian subjects, who were of the Separated Church, and by the Jacobite Syrians. The Turks resented him; and he feared that the great army which Kerbogha, regent (Turkish, atabeg) of Mosul, was planning to bring to the defense of Antioch would suppress him as it passed by. He had, it seems, already invited Baldwin to come to Edessa to serve under him; but Baldwin had no wish to be a mere mercenary. The embassy that Toros now sent was empowered to offer Baldwin the whole heritage of Edessa. Toros would adopt him as his son and at once coop him as partner in the government. It was not what Toros had envisaged; but he was old and childless and desperate. It seemed the best solution. Others of the Armenians were less pleased. Before Baldwin left Tell Bashir, Fer reported to him that Pakrad at Ravendan was plotting against him. Fer was doubtless jealous of Pakrad, who may have done no more than get privately into touch with his brother, Kogh Vasil. But Baldwin was taking no risks. He rushed men to Ravendan to arrest Pakrad, who was tortured to make him confess. He revealed very little and soon escaped, to take refuge with his brother. But it was now clear to the wiser Armenians that Baldwin had come not to liberate them but to build up a dominion for himself.

Early in February 1098, Baldwin left Tell Bashir for Edessa, with only eighty horsemen. Balduk of Samosata, informed of his movements, rushed troops to ambush him where he was expected to cross the Euphrates, probably at Bira (Birejik); but he slipped round them and forded the river a few miles to the north. He arrived at Edessa on February 6, and was welcomed enthusiastically by the whole population. Toros at once formally adopted him as his son at a ceremony whose ritual fascinated the Frankish chroniclers. Baldwin was stripped to the waist, while Toros put on a wide shirt which was passed over Baldwin’s head, and the two of them rubbed their bare chests against each other. The ceremony was then repeated with the princess, Toros’s wife.

Baldwin’s first action as co-regent of Edessa was to attack Balduk of Samosata, whose raids endangered life in the Edessan countryside. He secured the help of a vassal of Toros, Constantine, the Armenian lord of Gargar. But the expedition was not a success. The Edessan soldiers were surprised and routed by the Turks. Baldwin, however, with his Franks, captured a village called St John near Samosata and installed a Frankish garrison there, which served as a check on Balduk's raids. The achievement enhanced his reputation.

A few days later the Armenians of Edessa, helped by Constantine of Gargar, hatched a conspiracy against Toros. Baldwin officially had nothing to do with it, but the plotters informed him that they intended to dethrone Toros in his favor, and they clearly knew that they could count on his support. On Sunday, March 7, a riotous mob marched on the palace. Toros was deserted by his troops, and Baldwin would not come to his rescue. He agreed to abdicate, merely asking that he and his wife might retire to Melitene, whose prince, Gabriel, was her father. Baldwin guaranteed him his life, but he was not allowed to leave the palace. On the Tuesday he tried to escape through a palace window, but was taken and torn to pieces by the mob. The fate of the princess is unknown. On Wednesday, March 10, at the invitation of the people of Edessa, Baldwin formally took over the government. Thus, some months before the crusade entered Antioch, a Frankish state was formed in the east to the envy of all the crusading princes. The news undoubtedly incited Bohemond to follow suit as soon as he could and determined him to make a bid for Antioch.

Edessa had formed part of the Byzantine empire before the Turkish invasions and so should have been restored to the emperor. But it was far away. The only imperial representative there had been Toros, who himself had invited Baldwin; and Baldwin could further claim that he had taken over the government not by conquest from the “infidel” but by the wish of the local Christian population. The emperor Alexius could do nothing about it and did not even make a formal protest. But the rights of Byzantium were remembered at the imperial court, to be revived when a better occasion should recur. For the moment the problem of Edessa was dwarfed by the far more serious problem of Antioch.