THE ANTIOCH HISTORY

HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES A HOLY WAR

From the eleventh through the fifteenth centuries, Christians from Western Europe were pitted in a series of Holy Wars against their Islamic, Pagan, and even other Christian neighbors. This course offers a multi-faceted overview of military, political, religious and cultural aspects of the Crusades, useful in several contexts.  

The story of the Crusades actually begins centuries before the First Crusade was launched in AD 1096. When the centre of the Roman Empire shifted East, to Constantinople, it began to grow a new culture which would become known as Byzantium. However, the Church had begun to develop with Rome as its centre, and the churches of the East turned to Constantinople rather than the developing Papacy in Rome. The first Popes were warlike and power-hungry, however, and they wanted the entire Christian world under their control. Then, during the latter half of the first millennium AD, the teachings of Islam began to spread throughout North Africa and Asia Minor at an alarming pace. The Popes of Rome, fearful that this new religion would displace them from their still-tenuous position, needed a way to suppress this new, peaceful religion coming out of the East.

 

FIRST CRUSADE

Pope Urban II (1088-1099) was responsible for assisting Emperor Alexus I (1081-1118) of Constantinople in launching the first crusade. He made one of the most influential speeches in the Middle Ages, calling on Christian princes in Europe to go on a crusade to rescue the Holy Land from the Turks. In the speech given at the Council of Clermont in France, on November 27, 1095, he combined the ideas of making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with that of waging a holy war against infidels.

"Deus vult! (God wills it) became the battle cry of the Crusader.

"The day after Urban's speech, the Council formally granted all the privileges and protections Urban had promised. The red cross was taken as the official sign of the pilgrims, and Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy was chosen as papal legate and the spiritual leader of the expedition."

The First Crusade was the most successful from a military point of view. Accounts of this action are shocking. For example, historian Raymond of Agiles described the capture of Jerusalem by the Crusaders in 1099:

Some of our men cut off the heads of their enemies; others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one's way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small matters compared to what happened at the temple of Solomon, a place where religious services ware ordinarily chanted. What happened there? If I tell the truth, it will exceed your powers of belief. So let it suffice to say this much at least, that in the temple and portico of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins.

Some of the results of the first crusade were not expected. Alexus I thought that the Byzantine territories would be returned to him and the Eastern Empire, but instead the European conquerors established four independent Latin kingdoms. In addition, three military orders Hospitallers, Templars, and Teutonic Knights came into power. The stated purpose of these orders was to protect pilgrims and holy sites.

Early in their occupation of Mideastern lands, crusaders founded military orders of knighthood. First, the Templars wearing red crosses on white, founded in 1191 to protect pilgrims. Soon after, The Hospitallers wearing white crosses on black, attached to the ancient Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. Later, as a "break-away group" from The Hospittalers, was formed the Teutonic Knights wearing black crosses on white, with headquarters in Acre, port city of Haifa, now the Israeli Northern Capitol.

 

The Teutonic Order was founded in 1190 during the siege of Acre, when a hospital brotherhood was established to care for the many sick German crusaders. It was given a building after the conquest of the city, and in 1198 was turned into a military-monastic order on the model of the Hospitallers of Saint John and the Templars. This creation reflected the growing involvement of the Hohenstaufen dynasty in the Holy Land.

Teutonic Knights side with Hospitallers and barons in Acre against the Templars in 1209 which becomes the origin of long-standing opposition between the Templars and Teutonic Knights. In 1217 Frederick II Hohenstaufen granted the Teutonic Knights the same status as the Templars and Hospitallers in the Kingdom of Sicily. In 1220 Pope Honorius III gave privileges to the Teutonic Knights; as an order, they now were on the same level as the Templars and the Hospitallers. In 1226 the "Golden Bull of Rimini" from Frederick II for the Teutonic Knights giving them wide-ranging authority in the name of the empire in Prussia. In 1319 the Teutonic Knights' headquarters moved from Venice to Prussia. In 1410 Lithuanian-Polish forces defeated the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Tannenberg, Prussia, halting the Teutonic Knights’ eastward expansion along the Baltic and hastening their decline.

The Hospitallers later retreated from Islamic forces to Cyprus, Rhodes, various Italian towns, In 1530 Pope Clement VII (1478-1534) granted them perpetual fief of the Island of Malta for annual rent of a falcon. The Knights of Malta eventually surrendered to Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) in 1798 and disbanded.

 

THE HAUTEVILLE (ALTAVILLA) DYNASTY

FOUNDER OF ANTIOCH

Bohemond I of Antioch was one of the most fascinating and controversial figures of the First Crusade. He was originally the prince of Otranto, but in the wake of the conquest of Antioch during the First Crusade he took control of the city and became known as Bohemond of Antioch.

 Bohemond I, also spelled Bohemund or Boamund, (c. 1058 – 3 March 1111), Prince of Taranto Prince of Antioch, was one of the leaders of the First Crusade as he led the whole Crusader army until the conquest of Antioch. 

Bohemond was born in San Marco Argentano, Calabria, as the eldest son of the NormanRobert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria, and his first wife Alberada of Buonalbergo. He was christened "Mark" at his baptism, but was nicknamed Bohemond (after the legendary giant Buamundus gigas), by his father due to his size as an infant. 

The Norman monarchy he founded in Antioch survived those in both England and Sicily.

Son of Robert who, encouraged by his dad, developed seriously wider geographic ambitions than Puglia, and had a go early on at subduing Greece on his way to doing the same to Constantinople.  However this failed and it was to be the 90s before the big fell Bohemond, at that stage attacking Amalfi with Uncle Roger met up with groups heading out for the First Crusade. 

Realizing the opportunities for personal power that the crusades presented, Bohemond raised his own army of South Italian Normans and joined in, ending up as Prince of Antioch in the late 1090s.  Antioch though was very much a B team place, and he never cracked the mainstream crusader power base centered on Jerusalem. 

In 1096 Bohemond joined the French forces headed to the Holy Land in what would later become known as the First Crusade. In spite of his previous hostilities with Alexius I, Bohemond ultimately swore an oath to the Emperor while passing through Constantinople on his way to the Holy Land. In 1098 following the capture of Antioch, Bohemond made himself prince of the city. In doing so, he broke his oath to Alexius I to return such re-conquered lands, but he cited the lack of promised assistance from the emperor to argue that the oath was not valid in this case.
 
Bohemond's ascension to ruler of the city of Antioch became a source of controversy during and after the crusade and became the basis for some claims that the crusades were about the conquest and colonization of the Holy Land. Yet this perspective does not take into consideration the numerous cites and areas that were returned to the Byzantine Empire in the wake of military victory by the crusaders.
 
In the year 1100, Bohemond was captured by Muslims and not released until 1103. Returning to Europe, he married the Constance, daughter of Philip I of France and secured support for a crusade against Alexius, by whom he was defeated (1108) and as a result was forced to reaffirm his vassalage to Alexius and  consented to receive his pay, with the title of Sebastos, and promised to cede disputed territories and to admit a Greek patriarch into Antioch.In 1109 he was defeated by the Muslims at Harran. He did not return to Antioch, and his relative Tancred was regent for him.
 
He died without returning to the East, and was buried at Canosa in Apulia, in 1111.

 

ROGER I - COUNT OF SICILY (1031 -1072 - 1101)

 

Youngest son of Tancred, brother of Robert - Invested by brother Robert as Count of Sicily in 1072 though it took several more years for him to establish control of the whole island.  But by the time he did, Roger had a much tighter control over Sicily than his brother did over the stroppy Norman warlords in Southern Italy.  Roger had three wives and 16 legitimate children (mostly daughters), of whom his successor Roger II, born when his dad was 62, was number 15.

 NORMAN KINGS OF SICILY

 

The Kingdom of Sicily (Italian: Regno di Sicilia, commonly abbreviated Regno, Latin: Regnum Siciliae or Sicilie, Aragonese: Reino de Sezilia) was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1861. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy. The Kingdom covered not only the island of Sicily itself, but also the whole Mezzogiorno region of southern Italy. The island was divided into three regions; Val di Mazara, Val Demone and Val di Noto. It was sometimes called the regnum Apuliae et Siciliae until 1282.
 

HOHENSTAUFEN KINGDOM

 

Frederick II, Hohenstaufen
King of Sicily, King of Cyprus and Jerusalem, King of the Romans, King of Germany and Emperor of the Romans

The accession of Frederick, a child who would then become also the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1197, greatly affected the immediate future of Sicily. For a land so used to centralized royal authority, the king's young age caused a serious power vacuum. His uncle Philip of Swabia Markward von Anweiler, margrave of Ancona, regent in 1198. Meanwhile, Pope Innocent III had reasserted papal authority in Sicily, but recognized Frederick's rights. The pope was to see papal power decrease steadily over the next decade and was unsure about which side to back at many junctures moved to secure Frederick's inheritance by appointing.

FREDERICK II

“De arte venandi cum avibus”

 

Frederick II with a falcon, miniature from his treatise, De arte venandi cum avibus; in the Vatican Library (MS. Palat. Lat. 1071).

Courtesy of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Rome

Frederick's  own work De arte venandi cum avibus, a standard work on falconry, based  on his own experimental research, is still admired tod

Frederick was born: December 26, 1194, Jesi, Ancona, Papal States. Frederick II of Swabia, 1194–1250, Holy Roman emperor (1220–50) and German king (1212–20), king of Sicily (1197–1250, and king of Jerusalem (1229–50), son of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI and of Constance, heiress of Sicily. Frederick II was educated in Palermo and his magnificently hegemonic multi-shaped and eminent personality in the 13th century stood out, in the culture and troubled political life of the time. De Stefano, the historian, considers him bold, clever, medieval, modern; certainly he is the most dramatic personage of the 13th century. The Kingdom of SicilyPalermo its prestigious capital, became a hub of organization, science and the arts that was, for many years to illuminate the consciousness of the European peoples. This great king's death marked the beginning of the end of Swabian rule.  

Duke of Swabia (as Frederick VI, 1228–35). A Hohenstaufen and grandson of Frederick I Barbarossa, he pursued his dynasty’s imperial policies against the papacy and the Italian city states; and he also joined in the Sixth Crusade (1228–29), conquering several areas of the Holy Land and crowning himself king of Jerusalem (reigning 1229–43) and Stupor Mundi (Wonder of the World.) He died Dec. 13, 1250, Castel Fiorentino, Apulia, Kingdom of Sicily

Frederick created a secular government, a feat without parallel in the middle ages, with a written constitution that guaranteed the rights of his subjects, be they Christian, Arab, or Jew, and the religious freedom that went along with it correspond to the Norman tradition of law of administration.  
 
In the same spirit, he founded and endowed the University of Naples in 1224 for the study of the sciences. The university graduated scientifically educated civil servants trained in Roman law for administrative functions in government and was instrumental in promoting the development of Roman law and representative institutions in southern Italy. Moreover, he took care that its faculty included Christians, Muslims and Jews, and that all of these languages were taught, together with the laws and literature of these cultures. Equally remarkable considering the times was Frederick's edict ordering religious toleration for Christians, Muslims and Jews throughout his realm.  
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