Bohemond and The Byzantines

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Title: Bohemond and The Byzantines The Political Career of Bohemond of Taranto, 1096-1108
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Weber, Kate
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2010
Publication Date: 2010


Subjects / Keywords: Bohemond
First Crusade
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theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
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Abstract: This thesis focuses on the southern Italian Norman Bohemond of Taranto and his relations with the Byzantines from 1096-1108. Scholars have tended to consign his career to failure, emphasizing his inability to conquer the Byzantine Empire in his final years; this thesis, however, attempts to reassess Bohemond�s relationship with the Byzantines in light of his unique sense of opportunism, and to show that negative judgments of his career are too simplistic. My argument relies heavily on primary sources, particularly the chronicles covering the period of the First Crusade: the Gesta Francorum, and the chronicles of Raymond of Aguilers, Fulcher of Chartres, Albert of Aachen, Ralph of Caen, Orderic Vitalis, and William of Tyre. I also make extensive use of Anna Comnena�s Alexiad. Using these sources, I analyze three episodes in Bohemond�s relations with the Byzantines: in chapter one, Bohemond�s interactions with the emperor Alexius at the start of the First Crusade; in chapter two, the siege of Antioch and the subsequent struggle for control of the city; in chapter three, Bohemond�s aggressive policy toward the Byzantines after the First Crusade. My analysis expands upon the idea, proposed by recent scholars, that Bohemond was operating out of opportunism rather than well-formed ambition.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kate Weber
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2010
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Benes, Carrie

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Material Information

Title: Bohemond and The Byzantines The Political Career of Bohemond of Taranto, 1096-1108
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Weber, Kate
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2010
Publication Date: 2010


Subjects / Keywords: Bohemond
First Crusade
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: This thesis focuses on the southern Italian Norman Bohemond of Taranto and his relations with the Byzantines from 1096-1108. Scholars have tended to consign his career to failure, emphasizing his inability to conquer the Byzantine Empire in his final years; this thesis, however, attempts to reassess Bohemond�s relationship with the Byzantines in light of his unique sense of opportunism, and to show that negative judgments of his career are too simplistic. My argument relies heavily on primary sources, particularly the chronicles covering the period of the First Crusade: the Gesta Francorum, and the chronicles of Raymond of Aguilers, Fulcher of Chartres, Albert of Aachen, Ralph of Caen, Orderic Vitalis, and William of Tyre. I also make extensive use of Anna Comnena�s Alexiad. Using these sources, I analyze three episodes in Bohemond�s relations with the Byzantines: in chapter one, Bohemond�s interactions with the emperor Alexius at the start of the First Crusade; in chapter two, the siege of Antioch and the subsequent struggle for control of the city; in chapter three, Bohemond�s aggressive policy toward the Byzantines after the First Crusade. My analysis expands upon the idea, proposed by recent scholars, that Bohemond was operating out of opportunism rather than well-formed ambition.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kate Weber
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2010
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Benes, Carrie

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2010 W3
System ID: NCFE004345:00001

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BOHEMOND AND THE BYZANTINES: THE POLITICAL CAREER OF BOHEMOND OF TARANTO, 1096 1108 BY KATE WEBER A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the spons orship of Carrie Bene! Sarasota, Florida April, 2010


ii CONTENTS List of Figures iii List of Abbreviations iv INTRODUCTION 2 Chapt er 1. Bohemond in Constantinople 15 Chapter 2. Bohemond at Antioch 38 Chapter 3. Bohemond's Crusade 62 CONCLUSION 83 BIBLIOGRAPHY 88


iii LIST OF FIGURES 1. Map of the Byzantine Empire 1 2. Map of the routes taken by the crusaders 14 3. Table of the arrival dates of the leaders 17 4. Table of important events at Antioch 41 5. Map of Antioch in 1104 59 6. Map of Antioch in 1105 60 7. Map of Antioch in 1112 61


iv LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS In this thesis, I will refer to the following primary sources in my footnotes in this manner: The Work Abbreviated as Albert of Aachen's Historia Ierosolimitana Albert of Aachen The Anonymous Gesta Franco rum et a liorum Hierosolimitanorum Gesta Francorum Fulcher of Chartres' Historia Hierosolymintana Fulcher of Chartres Orderic Vitalis' Historiae ecclesiasticae libri tredecim Orderic Vitalis Raymond of Aguilers' Historia Franco rum qui ceperunt Iherusalem Raymond of Aguilers Ralph of Caen's Gesta Tancredi in expeditione Hierosolymitana Ralph of Caen William of Tyre's Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum William of Tyre


1 Map 1: Ma p of the Byzantine Empire. From Gregory, A History of Byzantium 259.


2 INTRODUCTIO N In 1104, Bohemond, the Norman Italian ruler of Antioch, found himself facing a double threat to his independent principality in the form of the Turks and the Byzantines, at the expense of whom he had originally carved out his territory. Unable to counter that threat through his own resources, he decided to go back to the West for reinforcements. He left Antioch in the charge of his nephew Tancred and, as the story goes, spread a rumor that he had died. Then he had himself placed in a wooden coffin and loa ded onto a ship, which promptly sailed for Rome. Thus Bohemund [sic] was carried across the sea as a corpse, for to all appearance he was a corpse to judge by the coffin and the demeanor of his companionsand inside he was lying stretched out dead for the time being, but for the rest inhaling and exhaling air through unseen holes. This took place at sea ports; but when the boat was out at sea, they gave him food and attention; and then afterwards the same lamentations and trickeries were repeated. And to ma ke the corpse appear stale and odiferous, they strangled or killed a cock and placed it with the corpse. And this smell seemed to those who are deceived by outward appearance to be that of Bohemund's body; and that villain Bohemund enjoyed this fictitiou s evil all the more; I myself am astonished that he being alive could bear such a siege of his nostrils, and be carried about with a dead body. And from this I have learnt that the whole barbarian nation [i.e., the Franks] is hard to turn back from any und ertaking upon which they have started, and there is nothing too burdensome for them to bear when they have once embarked upon difficult tasks of their own choice. 1 The tale comes from Byzantine princess and historian Anna Comnena. If she makes Bohemond se em every bit the crafty villain, it is because at that stage in his career he was, at least with respect to the Byzantines. Twenty years after his first encounter with the Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus, Bohemond continued to be a source of irritation to the Byzantine Empire. Over the course of his career, however, he had not consistently been an aggressor toward the Byzantines; depending on where he saw the 1 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 297 8. Unfortunately, I have yet to come across a scho lar who accepts the story as anything other than a tall tale.


3 best opportunities for personal advancement, he was either an ally or an enemy. Opportunism was one of Bohemond's defining qualities. He was skilled at turning whatever situation in which he found himself to his advantage, no matter how dire. His contemporaries and modern scholars alike remark upon his ambition, but his opportunism receives less atte ntion. Bohemond probably inherited his ambition from his infamous father, Robert Guiscard, who spent the early 1080s taking on the Byzantine Empire. His opportunism, on the other hand, may have resulted from his unstable political position in his native s outhern Italy. Bohemond was born sometime between 1050 and 1058 to the southern Italian Norman Robert Guiscard (duke of Apulia and Calabria, 1059 1085) and his first wife Alberada, another Norman. 2 Guiscard divorced Alberada in 1058 due to supposed consan guinity, and married Sichelgaita, sister of the Lombard prince of Salerno. 3 Therefore, although Bohemond was Guiscard's eldest son, he was not his heir; that distinction went to Bohemond's younger half brother, Roger Borsa. Bohemond's lack of patrimony inf ormed his actions throughout his early years in Italy and eventually inspired him to set out on the First Crusade. Bohemond began to make a name for himself during his father's campaigns against the Byzantine Empire from 1081 to 1085. The empire was unstab le at this time, due to the encroachment of the Turks and problems with the economy. The Byzantines were desperate enough in the 1070s to try to make an alliance with the southern Italian Normans; Guiscard and Emperor Michael VII (r. 1071 1078) arranged a marriage treaty 2 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 5. Guiscard, the sixth son of the Norman Tancred de Hauteville and oldest of the sons by Tancred's second wife Fressenda, had arrived in southern Italy around 1046. He started out his career as a brigand but by 1059 had been invested by the papacy with the dukedom of Apulia and Calabria; Loud, The Age of Robert Guiscard 110 11 and 188. 3 Loud, The Age of Robert Guiscard 127.


4 between Michael's infant son Constantine and one of Guiscard's daughters. 4 However, Michael was deposed in 1080 a perfect pretext for war, which Guiscard exploited, using an imposter Michael to win the approval of Pope Gregory VII (r. 1073 1085) for his planned attack. 5 In March 1081, Guiscard put his son Bohemond in command of an advance force with the instructions to ravage the Balkan coast near Avlona and then attack Corfu. 6 In the spring of 1081, Alexius Comnenus usurped the throne to b ecome the new Byzantine emperor. Guiscard and Bohemond would contend with his forces during their invasion of the Balkans. These battles were "crucial in forming [Bohemond's] attitude towards Byzantium and vice versa." 7 Bohemond had inherited his father's ambitious nature, and Guiscard's assault on the Byzantine Empire most likely motivated by a desire for conquest of the entire Byzantine Empire provided a template for Bohemond's future interactions with the Byzantines. 8 After a victory against Alexius outside of Durazzo, the capture of the city, and a march through the interior of the Balkans, Guiscard was forced to return to Italy to put down rebellions by his vassals and to aid Pope Gregory VII against Henry IV. Bohemond, as Guiscard's second in comma nd, was left in control of the army. 9 At first, Bohemond acquitted himself well. He met Alexius in battle twice and defeated him both times, forcing Alexius to retreat to Constantinople in order to raise a 4 Loud, The Age of Robert Gu iscard 210 12. 5 Ibid., 214. 6 Ibid.; Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 11. 7 McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium, 1071 1112," 442. 8 Loud, The Age of Robert Guiscard 217. McQueen ("Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 33 9 40) suggests that Guiscard was trying to carve out lands in Albania, but says he was too politically savvy to imagine that he could actually become emperor. 9 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 15 7.


5 new army. 10 Then Bohemond turned inland toward Th essaly and besieged Larissa in 1083. This time, Alexius knew better than to engage Bohemond's forces in a pitched battle, and instead "harassed his enemy through guerrilla tactics" aimed at disrupting supplies and encouraging desertions. 11 Bohemond had no c hoice but to break off the siege and retreat from Thessaly. He was forced into a total withdrawal from the Byzantine Empire by the defection of his men, to whom the Byzantines offered employment and good pay, and by the loss of Durazzo and Castoria to the Byzantines. 12 In spite of this failure, Bohemond accompanied Guiscard when he renewed his attack on the Byzantines in October 1084. Guiscard was able to retake Corfu, but disease broke out while the army was in winter quarters; Bohemond became ill and had to sail back to Italy to seek treatment at Salerno. 13 When Guiscard set out again in spring, he, too, contracted the disease and died of it in 1085. His death put an end to the campaign, and the Normans returned to Italy. 14 Upon the death of Robert Guiscard, Bohemond's half brother Roger Borsa inherited his father's title and lands, while Bohemond was left without an inheritance. Guiscard may have intended for him to have the lands captured from the Byzantine Empire, but as the expedition had failed, this was no consolation. 15 Bohemond's only option was to take lands from his half brother, which he set about doing in 1087. Bohemond captured Oria, in southern Italy, and attacked the areas around Taranto and Otranto, forcing Roger to come to terms with him by gra nting him Oria, Taranto, Otranto, 10 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 18 9. 11 Loud, The Age of Robert Guiscard 219. 12 Ibid.;Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 21 2. 13 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 22 3. 14 Loud, The Age of Robert Guiscard 223. 15 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 24.


6 Gallipoli, and the lands held by their cousin Geoffrey of Conversano as fiefs. In 1089, Bohemond managed to get Bari, "the richest and most important city in Apulia," from Roger in a trade for Cosenza, which Bohemond had c aptured. 16 In spite of now controlling much of Apulia and some parts of Calabria albeit in the name of his half brother Bohemond was not satisfied. When rumors of Roger Borsa's death reached him in 1093, he quickly seized Roger's fortresses in Calabria, sup posedly so that he could act as regent for Roger's heirs; however, Roger was not dead, and their uncle, Roger of Sicily (Guiscard's younger brother) intervened, forcing Bohemond to give back what he had taken. 17 Up to 1096, Bohemond seemed resigned to the fact that he would not be able to gain much power and territory in southern Italy. 18 Sometime between 1095 and 1096, he learned about Pope Urban II's preaching of the First Crusade, and on the way to help his uncle Roger and half brother Roger Borsa in a s iege against Amalfi, he seized the opportunity to gain a ready made army for the expedition. 19 He encountered a group of crusaders on their way East, saw that they had no commander, and put himself in charge, affixing the symbol of the cross to his clothes. Then, upon arriving at the siege, he made it known to the knights in the armies of the two Rogers that he was going on crusade, and asked them to join him. They did so in such numbers that the Rogers were forced to lift their siege for lack of knights. 20 B y stealing the knights from armies of his uncle and half brother, he became the leader of a sizeable and experienced force. One scholar suggests 16 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Pri nce of Antioch 28. 17 Ibid., 33. 18 McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 243 4. 19 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 35. 20 Geoffrey Malaterra, The Deeds of Count Roger of Calabria and Sicily and of His Brother Duke Robert Guiscard 2 04.


7 that he could not raise a large enough army from his own lands and so resorted to this trick; whatever his moti vation, it was clear that Bohemond began the First Crusade in an opportunistic fashion. 21 The East offered opportunities for advancement that were conspicuously lacking in Italy. This thesis argues that Bohemond demonstrated a unique sense of opportunism t hroughout his independent interactions with the Byzantines between 1096 and 1108 Scholars have tended to consign his career to failure, emphasizing his inability to conquer the Byzantine Empire in the last years of his life over all that he had done previ ously. For example, Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia a reference book published in 2004 to which one would turn if one wanted to know who Bohemond was and how he influenced the events of his era, ends its entry on Bohemond with a final judgment of him as a "restless but ultimately futile Norman prince." 22 More recently, scholars have acknowledged the unfairness of this condemnation of Bohemond's career. When discussing the Treaty of Devol, the agreement Bohemond made with Alexius in 1108 that, on paper at le ast, made him a vassal of the emperor and returned Antioch to Byzantine control (discussed below in chapter three), W. B. McQueen points out that "t oo much tacit emphasis has been placed on the humiliation of Devol, which tends to paint the picture of Bohe mond spending the last years of his life in Italy a broken man. 23 By contrast, this thesis attempts to assess Bohemond's relationship with the Byzantines in light of his opportunism, and to show that judgments of this sort in addition to those of scholars like Ralph Bailey Yewdale and Jean Flori, who ascribe even wilder ambitions to Bohemond than wanting to conquer the Byzantine Empire are too simplistic. 21 Shepard, "When Greek Meets Greek," 242. 22 Kleinhenz et al, Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia 2.134. 23 McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 472.


8 I rely heavily on primary sources, of which there are many for the period covered. The anonymous Ges ta Francorum et a liorum Hierosolimitanorum (finished before 1104, some of it possibly in 1098), Raymond of Aguilers' Historia Francorum qui ceperunt Iherusalem (completed around 1102), and parts of Fulcher of Chartres' Historia Hierosolymintana (1100 1127) were all completed during or not long after the First Crusade. 24 All three of these accounts were written by eyewitnesses to the First Crusade, and for this reason I consider them most reliable. Three other main sources exist for the time of the First Cru sade: Albert of Aachen's Historia Ierosolimitana (sections pertaining to the First Crusade written around 1102), Orderic Vitalis' Historiae ecclesiasticae libri tredecim (sections relevant to the First Crusade composed around 1135) and Ralph of Caen's Gest a Tancredi in expeditione Hierosolymitana (1112 1118). While not eyewitnesses, all three chroniclers relied on interviews with participants in the crusade, and in the case of Orderic, on a version of the Gesta Francorum reworked by Baudry of Dol. 25 This s econd group of sources, in addition to Fulcher of Chartres, are particularly useful for the decade following the First Crusade. Orderic and Albert were writing from the West, but Fulcher and Ralph were both in the East at that time Fulcher in Jerusalem, an d Ralph in Antioch. These two were, therefore, in a good position to report on the doings of the Christians in the Latin States. For this period I have also used, though sparingly, William of Tyre's Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum written during the 1170s and 1180s. It adds a few details that are not recorded elsewhere, but due 24 Riley Smith, The Idea of Crusading 60 1; Raymond of Aguilers, introduction, 7; Fulche r of Chartres, introduction, 20 25 Albert of Aachen, introduction, xxvi; Orderic Vitalis, introduction, 5.xv; Ralph of Caen, introduction, 3 and 6. Ralph not only interviewed the vassals of Bohemond and Tancred, but also Bohemond and Tancred themselves (6)


9 to the late date of its composition and its reliance on written sources, it is not nearly as useful a source as the others. 26 I have also made extensive use of Ann a Comnena's Alexiad (written in the 1140s). This is the only true Eastern source I have used, as the scope of this paper does not include Bohemond's relations with the Turks. Anna wrote the Alexiad over forty years after the events surrounding the First Cr usade. 27 She was a young teenager in the last years of the eleventh century and thus not exactly a reliable eyewitness, but like the other chroniclers, she interviewed eyewitnesses when she could. Perhaps more importantly, she also had access to the imperia l archives in Constantinople. 28 Predictably, her work has a significant pro Byzantine bias, because she wrote her epic history in part to absolve her father Alexius of any blame for his handling of the First Crusade, particularly his handling of the Western ers who managed to carve out territories in the East. 29 Alexius is the hero of Anna's history, and his enemies in particular Robert Guiscard and Bohemond are characterized as foils to him. Anna treats Bohemond as a wily villain throughout her work, depictin g him as her father's chief and well matched adversary. Anna's bias may be the most obvious out of all these sources, but the Western writers have their own preoccupations. Most of the chroniclers of the First Crusade based their works around some leading figure. Raymond of Aguilers was the chaplain of Raymond of Toulouse, and Fulcher of Chartres became the chaplain of Baldwin of Boulogne during the expedition; their chronicles are understandably partial to their 26 William of Tyre, introduction, 1.23. 27 Paul Magdalino, "The Pen of the Aunt: Echoes of the Mid Twelfth Century in the Alexiad ," 15. 28 Ruth Macrides, "The Pen and the Sword: Who Wrote the Alexiad ?", 70. 29 Magdalino, "The Pen of the Aunt," 24 5.


10 subjects. Albert of Aachen focuses on Godfre y of Bouillon at the expense of the other leaders, especially Bohemond, whom he tends to portray as weaker than Godfrey. 30 Ralph of Caen, as the title of his work suggests, wrote primarily about Tancred, Bohemond's nephew. He, too, presents Bohemond as a le sser figure, partly to make Tancred look better, and partly, it seems, because of hindsight colored by Bohemond's failed attempt to defeat the Byzantines in 1107 1108 a campaign in which Ralph took part as Bohemond's chaplain. 31 There are other sources for the years of the First Crusade and the later decade, but I have chosen to rely on the ones listed above for their availability and the variety of interpretations they provide. I particularly favor the Gesta Francorum for the events of the First Crusade. N ot only is it an eyewitness account, but it was written by a knight in Bohemond's army who was actually a participant in the battles he describes. Both Raymond of Aguilers and Fulcher of Chartres were clerics, and so experienced the crusade from a rather d ifferent perspective, though both used the Gesta Francorum as a reference. 32 Although some scholars believe that the Gesta Francorum was intentionally altered to serve as propaganda for Bohemond in 1106, I side with Emily Albu in disagreeing with that theor y. As she points out, Bohemond is not treated with reverence all the way through the work, nor is he made to appear heroic at the expense of other leading figures. 33 30 For ex ample, pages 219 221, 295, and 329. A typical example is this one from page 295: "And Bohemond would have been defeated, and his men, except that Christians flocked from the whole city," Christians' meaning the other crusading leaders. 31 Ralph of Caen, in troduction, 2 3. 32 Gesta Francorum introduction, x. 33 Albu, The Normans in Their Histories 177 8.


11 Until the 1970s, the main scholarly source for information on Bohemond and his interactio ns with the Byzantine Empire was Ralph Yewdale's biography of Bohemond, originally a PhD dissertation published as a book in 1924. Since then, however, there has been renewed interest in Bohemond's life. Scholars such as Jonathan Shepard, John France, W. B McQueen, Thomas Asbridge, Ralph Johannes Lilie, and Jean Flori have taken a closer look Bohemond's career, and in particular his relations with the Byzantine Empire. Rather than assuming that Bohemond arrived at Constantinople in 1096 with a firm plan to carve out a principality and from there take over the Byzantine Empire, 34 these modern historians have adopted a more nuanced view of Bohemond's motivations and desires. Shepard and McQueen, in particular, have examined Bohemond's initial interactions with the emperor Alexius Comnenus in 1096 in light of the precedent set by Norman mercenaries in Byzantine service, and concluded that Bohemond truly did begin the First Crusade as a willing ally of the Byzantine Empire. Building upon this view, this thesis wi ll expand upon the idea that Bohemond was operating out of opportunism rather than well formed ambition. Bohemond's opportunism is a thread running throughout the modern scholarship, but rarely receives more than a mention in passing; this thesis will gath er that thread and pull it out so that it may be examined on its own. Bohemond's opportunistic tendencies are more important than scholars have given them credit for, as they inform his interactions with the Byzantines and affect how one views the end of h is career. 34 Yewdale ( Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 44) believes that Bohemond had designs on Antioch from the time he arrived in Constantinople in 1096, and suggests that at that point he might even have harbored intentions to take over the Byzantine Empire eventually.


12 This thesis is not a biography of Bohemond, dealing with every known episode in his life. 35 Nor is it a broader exploration of Byzantine Norman relations, or Byzantine relations with the West in general, nor a study of the First Crusade, although the majority of the thesis does deal with events during that expedition. Much scholarship has been done on that topic, and the historiography is extensive. 36 Rather, I h ave tried to examine the effect of Bohemond's opportunism on three separate stages of h is interactions with the Byzantines from 1096 onward. Accordingly, this thesis is divided into three chapters. Chapter one argues that Bohemond's interactions with the emperor Alexius at the start of the First Crusade namely the oath he and the other crusa ders took to Alexius, Bohemond's request to be made domestikos and his role as liaison between Alexius and the crusaders were driven by his opportunism. Chapter two analyzes the role Bohemond's opportunism played in his shift away from his Byzantine ties during the siege and battle of Antioch and the subsequent struggle for control of the city. Chapter three evaluates the effect of Bohemond's opportunistic tendencies on his aggressive policy toward the Byzantine Empire in the years after the First Crusade, focusing on his efforts to raise an army in 1105 1106 for a crusade against the Byzantines, and on the signing of the Treaty of Devol in 1108 and its aftermath. The chapters show Bohemond's shift of attitude with respect to the Byzantines, from ally in ch apter one, to independent agent in chapter two, 35 Yewdale and Flori have already covered that territory. 36 The standard works are: S. Runciman's A History of the Crusades (Cambridge, 1952 4); also u seful are Jonathan Riley Smith's The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (Pennsylvania, 1986), John France's Victory in the East: A Military History of the First Crusade (Cambridge, 1994), Thomas Madden's The New Concise History of the Crusades (Maryla nd, 2005), and Thomas Asbridge's The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land (London, 2010).


13 to aggressor in chapter three. This shift was brought on by his opportunism, his perception of how he might best gain personal advancement.


14 Map 2: The Routes of the Leaders of the First Crusade. Richards, The Crusades 40.


15 CHAPTER 1: Bohemond in Constantinop le When the Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus sent to Pope Urban II in 1095 asking for Western military support against the encroaching Seljuk Turks, he surely could not have envisaged the nature of the Western response. He had expected mercenaries, men whom he could absorb into the Byzantine army; instead, he found himself dealing with individual armies made up of knights, foot soldiers, and a slew of non combatant pilgrims, all motivated to some degree by a desire to free Jerusalem from the infidel. 1 These groups were headed by great lords, or magnates, and loosely organized. 2 Though scholars speak of these groups in terms of armies, the magnates or leaders were not commanders set above loyal troops; they could rely upon the members of their househol ds that had accompanied them on crusade, and on those knights that they took into their employ once the crusade was well underway, but it was common for men to shift allegiances from one army to another depending upon the leaders' resources, and no one lea der was in a position to set himself above the rest. 3 These leaders hailed primarily from France, though one was a German duke, and of course Bohemond was from southern Italy. The main leaders of the First Crusade were Godfrey of Bouillon (duke of Lower L otharingia), Hugh of Vermandois (the brother of the king of France, also called Hugh the Great), Raymond of Saint Gilles (Count of Toulouse), the papal legate AdhŽmar of Le Puy, Count Robert II of Flanders, Duke Robert Curthose of Normandy (the elder son o f William the Conqueror), Count Stephen of Blois, and Bohemond of Taranto. Beneath these leaders were lesser lords, two of 1 France, Victory in the East 110. 2 Riley Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading 58. 3 Ibid., 76 and 79.


16 whom in particular play important roles in the crusade narratives: Tancred, nephew of Bohemond, and Baldwin, brother of Godfrey of Bo uillon. Hugh of Vermandois was the first of the leaders to begin the march toward Constantinople. He took the route through Italy in 1096 and by October of that year he was in Byzantine territory. He was shipwrecked, aided by the Byzantine governor of Dura zzo, and taken to Constantinople, where he was kept "under virtual house arrest," though treated well. 4 The groups headed by Robert of Normandy, Robert of Flanders, and Stephen of Blois followed the same route and journeyed together during much of the marc h to Constantinople. Robert of Flanders crossed from Bari to Durazzo despite being advised against it due to the lateness of the year, but Robert of Normandy and Stephen of Blois wintered with their groups in southern Italy, where they could expect hospita lity from their Norman kin. 5 4 France, Victory in the East 102; Richard, T he Crusades 42. 5 France, Victory in the East 102 3. The North French leaders were all related through blood and marriage: Stephen of Blois was married to Adela, daughter of William the Conqueror and sister of Robert Curthose; Adela and Robert's mother w as the aunt of Robert of Flanders. Robert of Flanders' grandmother, also called Adela, was the aunt of Hugh of Vermandois; Ibid., 83


17 Leader Arrival in Byzantine Territory Arrival in Constantinople 6 Hugh of Vermandois October 1096 November 1096 Godfrey of Bouillon November 1096 December 1096 Robert of Normandy April 1097 May 1097 Robert of Fland ers Winter 1096 Unknown (he had no chronicler traveling with his army, so details on his movements are scarce.) Stephen of Blois April 1097 May 1097 Raymond of Toulouse February 1097 April 1097 Bohemond of Taranto November 1096 April 1097 6 All information from France, Victory in the East 102 6. Dates for when the leaders actually set out for the East are n ot clear in all cases. The leaders seem to have left during the second part of 1096.


18 The North French armies had little trouble during their marches to Constantinople, but the groups of Godfrey of Bouillon and Raymond of Toulouse had a more difficult time. Godfrey traveled along the same route that the People's Crusade had previously taken; h is journey went well up until the time he was within Byzantine territory and nearing Constantinople. Having learned of Hugh's "house arrest" and convinced that his fellow magnate was a prisoner, he sent envoys demanding Hugh's release. When this did not ha ppen, and when Godfrey's army was denied food at Adrianople, he permitted his troops to plunder the surrounding areas. This continued until Byzantine envoys were sent to clear up the matter of Hugh's supposed captivity. 7 Raymond's army, the largest of all seems to have had the most trouble on the march. His group which included the papal legate, AdhŽmar of Le Puy passed through Croatia, where the inhabitants frequently attacked them. By the time they reached Byzantine lands, it was February, not the best time for a large army to be traveling due to the difficulty of procuring enough food. Byzantine troops sent to escort the army to Constantinople violently thwarted efforts to plunder the lands, and continued to harass the army even after Raymond had been s ummoned to Constantinople to meet with Alexius. 8 Bohemond's march was peculiar in that it took a rather long time to reach Constantinople, even though he arrived in Byzantine lands in November of 1096. He and his men had few problems with the Byzantin es along the way; upon crossing the river Vardar, Byzantine escorts attacked them and were routed, but aside from this incident, his journey went surprisingly smoothly. He was traveling in lands where he had fought not 7 France, Victory in the East 105 6. 8 Ibid., 104 5.


19 much more than a decade before, yet h is army was more or less left in peace. It is not clear why Bohemond set such a slow pace. The relaxed speed of the march was surely intentional, for he was familiar with the roads. 9 He did not allow his men to ravage the areas through which they were marc hing, and at least on one occasion when the inevitable plundering did take place, he made sure that the stolen animals were returned. 10 The slow march, taken in conjunction with his careful control of his army's foraging activities, indicates that he was do ing his best to reduce his group's appearance of an invading force and that he was well aware of the suspicions that Alexius was surely harboring over the arrival of a former antagonist of the Empire. Bohemond's actions throughout his stay in Constantinopl e suggest that he was not operating with any empire conquering plan in mind, but rather was trying to get whatever he could out of the situation, and was looking to the Byzantines for opportunities for personal advancement. Though the crusading armies arrived at different times and were ferried as quickly as could be managed into Asia Minor so as to avoid all the groups gathering together, the sheer number of crusaders gave the impression of an invasion. 11 Faced with such a disorganized and potentially destructive mass of foreigners, Alexius decided to exact an oath from each leader as a means of controlling the situation. Orderic Vitalis cites Alexius' fear that the crusaders would join together to assault the city as the emperor's reason for making th em take the oath, but it seems more likely that Alexius was striving to fit them into the familiar mercenary role. 12 Anna Comnena states the terms of the oath, 9 France, Victory in the East 107. 10 Gesta Francorum 8 and 10. 11 Richard, The Crusades 44 5. 12 Orderic Vitalis, 5. 49; France, Victory in the East 115.


20 as taken by Godfrey of Bouillon, as follows: "whatever towns, countries or forts he managed to take which had formerly belonged to the Roman Empire, he would deliver up to the Governor expressly sent by the Emperor for this purpose." 13 By having the crusaders swear to hand over any lands they captured from the Turks, Alexius managed to turn an unwiel dy situation into one that would benefit him and would ensure (or so he assumed) that the actions of the crusaders would not "prejudice the interests of the empire." 14 Western sources tend to portray the oaths of the leaders in a negative light, most li kely out of hindsight with respect to the non arrival of Byzantine aid expected during the siege of Antioch in 1098. 15 The Gesta Francorum reports that the oath was part of the emperor's plan "to entrap these Christian knights by fraud and cunning" and that the "elders of Constantinople," not Alexius himself, devised the oath. The crusading leaders are depicted as being suspicious and refusing to take the oath at first; the anonymous author admits, albeit somewhat skeptically, that the leaders must have been "constrained by need" and so were forced into swearing fealty. 16 Raymond of Aguilers is not as explicit in condemning the oath itself, but he describes Alexius' initial negotiations with Raymond of Toulouse as "most fraudulent and abominable treachery" and records Raymond's refusal to swear the oath that the others had sworn. 17 Ralph of Caen describes the oath taken by Bohemond as "a yoke that commonly is called homage" and depicts 13 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 261. 14 Pryor, "The Oaths of the Leaders," 124. 15 Alexius and his army had been traveling toward Antioch to aid the suffering crusaders, but meeting the deserter and former crusading leader Step hen of Blois en route, they grew convinced that there was absolutely no hope for the crusaders. Alexius therefore turned back. The crusaders were in dire straits at the time, enduring famine and contending with the approach of a sizeable Turkish relief for ce; when they learned of Alexius' retreat after the defeat of said relief force, they were understandably upset; Gesta Francorum 62 5; Albert of Aachen, 313; Raymond of Aguilers, 74 16 Gesta Francorum 11 12. 17 Raymond of Aguilers, 22 3.


21 Bohemond as being seduced into taking the oath by promises of riches and land 18 On the other hand, Fulcher of Chartres and Albert of Aachen allow markedly less anti Byzantine sentiment to seep into their versions of the oaths of the leaders. 19 Because so much of the anti Byzantine sentiment running through these works is colored b y Alexius' perceived betrayal at Antioch in 1098, it is difficult to determine exactly how the crusaders saw the oath to the emperor and how they might have actually reacted. Fulcher of Chartres' chronicle is the most neutral on the issue, and his take on the situation seems to be the clearest. He says that "it was essential that all establish friendship with the emperor since without his aid and counsel we could not easily make the journey, nor could those who were to follow us by the same route." 20 Thus ne cessity prompted a pragmatic assessment of the situation, including the realization that in order to move forward, the leaders needed to enter into an agreement with Alexius. The precise nature of that agreement is an area of some debate among scholars. T he root of the problem is that Anna and the Western sources use differing terms when describing the oath. Anna refers to the oath as "the oath of fidelity" and "the customary oath of the Latins"; the Gesta Francorum terms it "an oath of fealty"; Orderic Vi talis mentions "an oath securing [Alexius'] life and dignity" and suggests that homage was done; Raymond of Aguilers speaks of homage when discussing Raymond's oath, as does Ralph of Caen; and Albert of Aachen describes Bohemond becoming "the emperor's man before taking the oath. 21 Both the Gesta Francorum and Orderic Vitalis mention 18 Ralph of Caen, 31. 19 Fulcher of Chartres, 79 80; Albert of Aachen, 90 1. 20 Fulcher of Chartres, 80. 21 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 264 and 266; Gesta Francorum 11; Orderic Vitalis, 5.49 51; (he differentiates between Raymond's oath and the oaths of the rest of the leaders by saying that Raymond's oath did not involve homage, implying that the others did), Raymond of Aguilers, 24; Ralph of Caen, 31; Albert of Aachen, 90 1.


22 that Alexius swore a counter oath, promising, in the Gesta 's case, to accompany the crusaders, to provide them with naval support as well as ground forces, to furnish them with supplies "both by land and sea" and to "not cause or permit anyone to trouble or vex our pilgrims on the way to the Holy Sepulchre." 22 Because of the differing descriptions of what was sworn in the sources, scholars cannot agree on whether or not the Byz antines and crusaders understood the oaths in the same way, and particularly whether or not homage was done According to some scholars, an oath with homage would be a rather more serious undertaking than a simple promise to protect a lord's life and honor The majority of the sources imply that the leaders swore an oath complete with homage; however, some scholars see a definite distinction between fealty and homage, and it is possible that what the crusaders swore was fealty alone, as scholar J. H. Pryor asserts. The act of homage, becoming the actual vassal of the lord, nearly always involved the granting of land in return, Pryor argues, and the crusading leaders would have been loath to accept another lord without permission from their previous ones, fea ring repercussions at home. 23 Pryor dismisses Anna's terminology when discussing the oaths on the grounds that, in addition to not being present when the leaders swore their oaths, she did not have access to sources that necessarily had a firm understanding of the Latin culture while she was composing the Alexiad Likewise, the authors of the crusading chronicles did not use identical words when describing the oaths because they were not present and what they recorded is "merely camp understanding." 24 Alexius may very well have taken a counter oath, but 22 Gesta Francorum 12; Orderic Vitalis, 5. 51. 23 Pryor, "The Oaths of the Leaders," 115 6. 24 Ibid.,112 3 a nd 127.


23 the crusaders would have understood it as "fealty given in return for faithful support of the expedition" rather than any part of homage. 25 The opposing view presents the oaths sworn as quite serious and forma l, and believes that homage was indeed performed. Scholars who take this view argue that the concepts of fealty and homage in the late eleventh century were not fixed, but rather fluid. 26 The leaders' bond to Alexius "was clearly for a specific set of circu mstances and would have made little difference to their lords in the west," and moreover, liege homage had yet to gain full social acceptance. 27 Scholars on this side agree that Alexius took a counter oath, which, in Shepard's words, "would have made it eas ier for the Crusaders to regard their arrangement with Alexius as a bilateral treaty instituting military cooperation, even though they had done homage to him." 28 Ultimately, all these terms had yet to become codified, and would not begin to be so until the thirteenth century; words like "fealty", "homage", and "liege homage" meant different things to different people in different contexts during this period. Scholars may spend much time debating the nature of the crusaders' oath, but the fluidity of the ter ms makes the undertaking somewhat futile. The crusaders themselves, coming from different areas in the West, presumably brought their own experiences with the methods and language of "feudal" relationships to the oath taking and probably did not come to a unified understanding. 29 25 Pryor, "The Oaths of the Leaders," 128. 26 Shepard, "When Greek meets Greek," 229; Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche ,110 11; France, Victory in the East 116. 27 France, Victory in the East 116. 28 Ibid., 117; Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 111; Shepard, "W hen Greek meets Greek," 235. 29 Reynolds, Fiefs and Vassals 269. Reynolds discusses the relations between Godfrey and Alexius as reported by Albert of Aachen and concludes that "it is difficult to see how Albert, let alone the crusaders themselves in the 1 090s, could have had in mind all the connotations that historians associate with the word [vassalage] and ceremony [homage]. For Albert a vassalus was probably a subordinate or servant whose entry into service was characteristically marked by a rite involv ing joined hands Beyond that, the nature of the relation is quite unclear: rites involving hands were used in many circumstances" (405). While the


24 Scholars also disagree on whether or not the Byzantines understood Western feudal customs properly. Pryor's general argument is that they did not ; the Byzanti ne concept of faithfulness, or pistis was not the same as the feu dal oath, and in his view the Byzantines saw the crusaders as "having entered into relations of service and loyalty to the empire in general terms." 30 The Byzantines were at least somewhat familiar with the significance of Western oaths but "may not have un derstood the resultant relationship in the same way as Westerners did," as Shepard claims. 31 On the other hand, it is also possible that Alexius "knew something of western society and was determined to cast the arrangement in the most solemn form possible," a view that France takes. 32 However, it seems safe to assume, given the varied terminology the crusaders used to describe the proceedings and the imprecise definitions of such terms at the time, that the Byzantine understanding of the oaths was yet again d ifferent. 33 Given these disagreements, it is hardly surprising that scholars cannot come to a consensus over the nature of Bohemond's individual oath to Alexius. The primary sources are contradictory. Anna Comnena and Albert of Aachen specifically mention Bohemond taking the oath, but neither of them suggests that Bohemond's oath was any different from the other leaders' oaths. Anna does stress Bohemond's eagerness to take the oath, being motivated by his lack of status (he was not in possession of much lan d or English terms for "feudal" relations are discussed here, the original Latin terms are equally problematic, since they were no more regularized at this time than their translated eqivalents. 30 Pryor, "The Oaths of the Leaders," 124. On page 121 he describes pistis as "one of the most common words used in the context of relations of followers, dependents, servant s, and retainers to masters or lords within Byzantine society." 31 Shepard, "When Greek meets Greek," 229. 32 France, Victory in the East 115. 33 Kazhdan, "State, Feudal, and Private Economy in Byzantium," 90 and 94 5. He states on page 90, "the Byzantines were baffled by the hierarchical structure of the Crusaders' armies, and on the other hand Western observers emphasized nonhierarchical composition of Byzantine society. On page 94 he specifies some of these "quasi feudal" relationships: "some inherited from classical antiquity, such as philos friend; some formed parallel to Western terms, such as anthropos (i.e., homo the man); and finally some directly borrowed from the Western vocabulary for instance lizios a version of Latin ligius (i.e., vassal).


25 very many troops, nor did he have a vast amount of money) and his planned treachery. 34 Albert, however, reports that Bohemond was hesitant to so much as meet with Alexius, requiring Godfrey's diplomatic intervention to enter into negotiations with the emperor, and that only after several such meetings was Bohemond convinced to take his oath. 35 Most scholars accept Anna's version of events with respect to Bohemond's willingness to swear the oath; however, Shepard goes beyond this acceptance and proposes that Bohemond did liege homage to the emperor, the only leader to do so. His evidence rests on a phrase in the 1108 Treaty of Devol made between Bohemond and Alexius (to be discussed in chapter three) that nullifies all aspects of the 1097 oath save one: "This resurrected clause stated that Bohemond was servantand liege man'of the emperor." 36 Based on this clause, Shepard argues that Bohemond swore a stronger oath than the other leaders, entering into a close relationship with the emperor. Pryor disagree s, seeing in the Treaty of Devol clear evidence that Bohemond became Alexius' vassal in 1108, but emphasizing his belief that this was the first time any such homage had been done and that the oath in 1097 was something completely different. 37 Anna's wor ding supports Shepard's reading, at least on the surface, but when one takes Pryor's argument about Anna's inconsistent language when speaking about swearing fealty into account, as well as his assertion that this is the first instance of the use of the te rm ligius in Greek form, Shepard's theory becomes less credible. 38 There is also the conspicuous lack of any mention of liege homage in the Western sources to be considered. Shepard explains this absence by assuming that Bohemond kept it secret, and 34 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 266. 35 Albert of Aachen, 89 91. 36 Shepard, "When Greek meets Greek," 237. 37 Pryor, "The Oaths of the Leaders," 131. 38 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 349; Pryor, "The Oaths of the Leaders," 131.


26 that if word of the arrangement had leaked out, the chroniclers kept silent of their own accord, "on grounds censorious or compassionate, or a combination of the two." 39 While this is possible, it seems a stretch. If Bohemond had sworn a different oath, surely Ann a would have recorded it in the section detailing his initial interactions with Alexius after his arrival in Constantinople. Such a serious undertaking would have made his later oath breaking all the worse, and would have enabled her to paint him as an eve n greater villain. Shepard's overall argument that Bohemond and Alexius had a special relationship does, however, appear to hold up in spite of the necessary reliance on Anna's version of events, in which everything Bohemond does is related to his suppose d ultimate goal of taking over the Byzantine Empire. Bohemond's swiftness in agreeing to take the oath suggests that he was amenable to entering into some form of Byzantine service. Although Albert of Aachen reports the opposite, his report is dubious in t his instance due to his tendency to make Bohemond look bad in favor of Godfrey, Albert's protagonist. This amenability gets further support from Anna's account of what Bohemond did next his request to be given the military office of "Great Domestic of the East," or domestikos Bohemond's desire to be made domestikos demonstrates that he was looking for opportunities to gain prominence within Byzantine employ, as so many Normans had done before him. Anna Comnena is the only chronicler to mention this r equest: Therefore when Bohemund demanded the office of Great Domestic of the East, he did not gain his request, for he was trying to out Cretan a Cretan.' For the Emperor feared that if he gained power he would make the other Counts his 39 Shepard, "When Greek meets Greek," 239 40


27 captives and brin g them round afterwards to doing whatever he wished Further, he did not want Bohemund to have the slightest suspicion that he was already detected, so he flattered him with fair hopes by saying, The time for that has not come yet; but by your energy and reputation and above all by your fidelity it will come ere long.' 40 No Western sources for the period of the First Crusade mention the request, rendering it potentially problematic due to Anna's biases toward her father and against the Westerners, particul arly Bohemond, which makes her text an often unreliable source. However, its absence can be explained in many ways. The source closest to Bohemond, the Gesta Francorum has been seen by some scholars as full of interpolations and extractions aimed at formi ng the work into pro Bohemond propaganda that was circulated during the period of 1105 1106 while Bohemond was attempting to drum up support for his anti Byzantine crusade. 41 If there is any truth to this, then the domestikos request may have been included in the original narrative, but removed later. 42 In a similar vein, Western sources composed after the fact may have deliberately kept any mention of the request out of their chronicles due to a sense of honor, because Alexius' failure to come to the aid of the crusaders while they were besieged at Antioch, coupled with the disaster of the crusade of 1101, stirred up anti Greek sentiment in the last couple of years of the eleventh century and the beginning of the twelfth. 43 Perhaps Bohemond himself suppressed rumors of his request; it would have hardly made sense for him to report that the emperor denied him (albeit in vague terms) a prominent military office. One final possible reason that the request did not make it into the Western sources is that the 40 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 267. 41 See Chapter Three, below. 42 For example, Flori ( BohŽmond d'Antioche 94) thinks that the intent of the Gesta Francorum is to glorify Bohemond and to justify his conquest of Antioch 43 The armies of the crusade of 1101 wer e intended to reinforce those who took part in the First Crusade. Although led by former crusaders who had not yet fulfilled their vows (such as Stephen of Blois), these armies were massacred one after another by the Turks they encountered. The only lastin g gain made during this crusade was the establishment of the county of Tripoli; Richard, The Crusades, 72 5.


28 Byzant ine army had a rather different structure than those in the West, and other crusaders might not have understood the significance behind the office of domestikos Bohemond's request for the office of domestikos makes sense and seems credible given the prec edent set by previous Normans who had sought employment in the Byzantine army. The Byzantines periodically encouraged revolts among Robert Guiscard's vassals; when these revolts failed, dissatisfied Normans would find their way into the Byzantine army. Joc elin of Molfetta, for instance, led a failed revolt in 1064, entered into Byzantine service, and actually commanded a relief force sent in 1071 to defend Bari against the besieging Normans. 44 There were many such Norman mercenaries by the 1070s, including t he infamous Roussel of Bailleul, 45 and after the failure of Robert Guiscard's attempt to take over Byzantine lands in the Balkans and his death in 1085, more Normans went over to the Byzantines. Bohemond's half brother Guy was one of these, and he was in go od military standing with the emperor at the time of the First Crusade, if his presence in the army Alexius led toward Antioch in 1098 is any indication. 46 Therefore, Bohemond's asking for an office in the Byzantine army was by no means unprecedented. In m aking this cheeky request (or, as Anna would have it, "demand"), Bohemond had nothing to lose, but several things to gain. Exactly what those were has been an area 44 McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 434 and 436. 45 Roussel of Bailleul led the western mercenaries at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, though true to Norman form, he refused to fight when he saw that the Byzantines were losing, and he went on to rebel against them by conquering lands in Byzantine controlled Armenia. Alexius, a young man at the time and not yet emperor, contrived to have him captured by the Turkish leader Tutush and then handed over to his custody. Anna relates how Alexius feigned having Roussel blinded in punishment, instructing Roussel to cry out in pain as the executioner lowered his iron. She also reports, on page twelve, that a cousin of Alexius, upon seeing the seemingly blinded Roussel, "upbraided [Alexius] for taking the sight of such a noble fellow and a downright hero, whom he ought to have left unpunished. After his imprisonment in Constantinople, Rouss el was given another position of military leadership it seemed his reputation was such that even his rebellion couldn't earn him the enmity of the Byzantine leadership; McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 436 37; Anna Comnena, Alexiad 7 12. 46 McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 436 and 445; Gesta Francorum 64 5.


29 of debate among scholars. Flori and Yewdale, speculating that Bohemond was already plotting at this point to take over the entire Byzantine Empire, believe that the request fits in with his "designs upon the Empire," as Yewdale puts it. 47 Bohemond asked for the title because he wished to have a powerful military force at his disposal in order to g ain a principality for himself and try to seize the empire as others had done that is to say, after the Byzantine fashion of usurpation. 48 While no scholar seems to doubt that Bohemond intended to use the First Crusade as a means of advancing his position i n the world, the evidence that his ambitions extended at this time to Constantinople and the Byzantine throne is slim. It seems more likely that Bohemond had smaller, more specific goals in mind. He may have wanted to gain a position of power over the r est of the crusading armies, and being domestikos "commander of the imperial forces in Asia," would have allowed him to do just that. 49 He might even have been seeking to secure an "alternative career" if the First Crusade fell apart, as Shepard suggests. 50 Bohemond's concerted efforts to keep his troops from excessive plundering during the march to Constantinople could provide evidence that he was already considering asking to be made domestikos and that he was eager to "enter imperial employ at this stage. 51 Bohemond's request of Alexius shows not that he was planning to take over the empire and feeling out possibilities to enact this 47 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 44. Yewdale goes further on page 135 and suggests that ultimately Bohemond's plans included "nothing less than th e formation of a powerful Asio European empire" and that once Bohemond had "the resources of the Greek Empire at his disposal, there was seemingly no limit to the possibilities of conquest: beyond Antioch lay Aleppo, and beyond Aleppo lay Bagdad. This wil d speculation has no basis in firm fact. 48 Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 105. One of these others was Alexius himself; see Anna Comnena, Alexiad Book II. 49 France, Victory in the East 116; Shepard, "When Greek Meets Greek," 201. 50 Shepard, "When Greek meet s Greek," 201. 51 McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 452.


30 eventual attack, but rather that he was trying to get whatever advantage he could out of his situation at the time. Two chr onicles those of Albert of Aachen and Orderic Vitalis do not mention anything about the domestikos position, but do present Bohemond's actions upon his arrival at Constantinople as those of a potential conqueror rather than a man trying to make the best im pression possible on the emperor. By contrast with the above interpretations, this would imply that Bohemond already had thoughts of taking over the Byzantine Empire. Both sources assert that Bohemond tried to convince other crusaders (Godfrey, in Albert's case) to attack Constantinople, and that those he was trying to convince rebuffed him and forced him to take a more peaceful approach. 52 While on the surface such a move may seem to fit Bohemond's opportunism, it directly contradicts the Gesta's descriptio n of Bohemond's efforts to keep his men in line in order to prevent angering Alexius. 53 France attempts to explain Bohemond's sudden reversal of course after his overtures to Godfrey by saying that Bohemond "changed tack" and, understanding that Alexius was trying to fit the crusaders into the mercenary mold as much as possible, asked for the office of domestikos 54 The version told in the Gesta Francorum seems the most reliable in this instance; Bohemond may have been wily, but he had nothing to gain by anta gonizing Alexius, who must have already doubted Bohemond's true business in the Byzantine Empire. Alexius' response to Bohemond, placating in its terms and very carefully neither outright denying Bohemond the office nor making any concrete promises, indic ates that the two men were engaged in a game of politics. Each was doing his best to avoid 52 Albert of Aachen, 83; Orderic Vitalis, 5.47 9. 53 Gesta Francorum 8, 10. 54 France, Victory in the East 116.


31 alienating the other or overcommitting himself. Even before Bohemond made his request, Alexius had lavished him with riches an entire roomful, according to Anna's re port. 55 Given that Anna was trying to make her father look as though he had the entire situation in Constantinople under control during the arrival of the crusading armies, one would expect her to have reported that her father outright denied Bohemond's re quest, since he supposedly had the foresight to know that the Norman was untrustworthy; instead, she resorted to prefacing Alexius' ambiguous response with the explanation that Alexius did not want Bohemond to guess that the emperor knew his evil plans. A more convincing interpretation of Alexius' motivation in keeping Bohemond's hopes up is that Alexius saw that Bohemond a known entity among unruly Westerners could be useful in helping to control the other crusaders. Shepard points out that Alexius prefer red to maintain direct lines of communication and command with several leaders" of the crusading armies and so would never have granted Bohemond the office of domestikos fearing that the Norman might, as Anna suggests, plot against him with the other lead ers. 56 However, Bohemond probably seemed like "one of the few elements making for order and discipline in an essentially anarchic rabble" to Alexius, and as such was useful and ought to be kept as content as possible. 57 There does not seem to be any compelli ng evidence to support the theory that Bohemond began to consider his tie s to the emperor less useful than they were worth in response to Alexius' vague refusal to grant him the title of domestikos as McQueen argues 58 Certainly Bohemond's later 55 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 266. 56 Shepard, "When Greek meets Greek," 249. 57 Ibid., 260. 58 McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 452.


32 actions as a liaison between the crusaders and Alexius give no hint of his disenchantment with his new found Byzantine connection. Bohemond's obvious willingness to cooperate with the Byzantine emperor suggests that he continued to think opportunistically after f ailing to gain the position of domestikos The Western sources provide no indication of any disaffection on his part with his Byzantine ties at this stage; to the contrary, he seems to have used his relationship with the emperor to gain prominence among th e crusading leaders. The first of Bohemond's active roles in the service of Alexius was that of "hostage" in the tense negotiations between Raymond of Toulouse and Alexius, having been nominated for the position by Alexius himself. Raymond of Aguilers is the only prominent source to mention this episode and Bohemond's role in it but as he was traveling with Raymond of Toulouse's army and focuses his work on the count, one may assume that his information is accurate in this instance. 59 He explains Raymond' s anger with the emperor: after Raymond was summoned to Constantinople to treat with the emperor, imperial soldiers attacked his army because his men were plundering the Byzantine lands in the Balkans through which they were passing Raymond therefore accu sed Alexius of treachery and "summoned the emperor on charges of betraying the crusaders." 60 Alexius disputed the charge, blaming Raymond's troops for ravaging towns and expressing incredulity that his men had truly come to blows with Raymond's, but he neve rtheless "promised he would make amends to the Count," and brought Bohemond 59 Peter Tudebode does record the incident, but his text has been judged as a plagiarism of the Gesta Francorum with bits of Raymond of Aguiler's chronicle thrown in for good measure; introduction to Raymond of Aguilers, 4. 60 Raymond of Aguilers, 22 3.


33 into the negotiations as a hostage to do so. As Raymond of Aguilers relates, "They came to judgment, and the Count, contrary to justice, was compelled to free his hostage." 61 Tho ugh no details about the "precise form or legal status of the arbitration procedure" are given, Bohemond's role as hostage was intended to ensure that Alexius would make whatever amends were awarded. Shepard assumes that there were third party arbitrators involved, "whoever they may have been," and says that the hostage was meant to be someone "for whose well being [Alexius] was publicly supposed to care." 62 Bohemond's role does not appear to have been a trivial position. 63 It shows that Alexius and Bohemond had some amount of trust between them; more than that, it highlights Bohemond's unique position among the leaders. He alone of the crusading leaders took on "active roles and responsibilities," as Shepard says, roles that would increase in importance as t ime passed. 64 If Bohemond had acted as a man in the emperor's service during his time as hostage, he identified himself even more clearly as a Byzantine ally in his next role. By compelling both Raymond of Toulouse and his own nephew Tancred to swear oath s to Alexius, Bohemond was acting more or less as Alexius' "right hand man." 65 According to the Gesta Francorum and Raymond of Aguilers, Raymond of Toulouse refused to take an oath to the emperor as the other leaders had done out of residual ire over the at tack on his men. Indeed, he was more amenable to exacting revenge on the imperial army than to making an agreement with Alexius. Though the other leaders urged him to remain peaceful, it was Bohemond's threats that finally convinced Raymond to take an 61 Raymond of Aguilers, 24. 62 Shepard, "When Greek meets Greek," 205. 63 Ibid., Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 103. Flori terms Bohemond's role in these negotiations "essentiel." 64 S hepard, "When Greek meets Greek," 215. 65 Ibid., 206 7. Shepard amusingly describes Bohemond as "Alexius' heavy'."


34 abbr eviated version of the oath the other leaders had taken. 66 As the Gesta Francorum relates, "the valiant Bohemond said that if Count Raymond did any injustice to the emperor, or refused to swear fealty to him, he himself would take the emperor's part." 67 Ray mond of Aguilers similarly says that Bohemond "pledged his support to Alexius in case Raymond took action against him or if the Count longer excused himself from homage and an oath." 68 The other crusaders had tried to pressure Raymond into making peace with Alexius, but only Bohemond threatened to support Alexius, presumably militarily, if Raymond refused to cooperate. 69 His actions went beyond merely trying to remain on good terms with Alexius; Bohemond had, at this point, clearly identified himself with the emperor's interests and was surely operating under the assumption that a Byzantine alliance would allow him the best possible chances for personal advancement. It is curious, then, that only the Western sources recount Raymond of Toulouse's issues with A lexius and Bohemond's involvement as mediator of sorts. Anna is completely silent on the subject. While any examples of Bohemond pretending to behave himself while actually plotting the downfall of the empire might seemingly be welcome in her narrative, he r positive bias with regard to Raymond provides a simple explanation. Anna, writing with the benefit of hindsight, presents Raymond as an ally of the emperor from the first. The uneasy start to his relationship with Alexius would not have fit in with her d epiction of his loyalty in opposition to the wily deceitfulness of Bohemond. 70 66 Gesta Francorum ,13; Raymond of Aguilers, 24. 67 Gesta Francorum 13. 68 Raymond of Aguilers, 24. Raymond ended up swearing fealty but not hom age, limiting his oath to a promise "that he would not, either through himself or through others, take away from the Emperor life and possessions." 69 Ibid. 70 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 267 8.


35 Bohemond's cooperation with Alexius led him to compel Tancred to swear an oath, as well, though it does not seem that he had to resort to threats. Anna does serve as a source in this case. After the capture of Nicaea, Bohemond, enticed by the promise of further gifts, urged the crusaders who had not yet taken the oath to go to the emperor at Pelecanus before starting toward Antioch. There Alexius reminded the crusad ing leaders of their oaths and exacted new oaths from those such as Tancred who had managed to avoid swearing fealty the first time around. Anna relates that Tancred protested, and even tried to start a fight with one of the emperor's kinsmen, but was brou ght into line by Bohemond. 71 Ralph of Caen says that Bohemond, "whether he wished to or not, swore that he would bring Tancred's hands to do homage to the king [Alexius], and that Bohemond would not remain safe or leave until he had done this." The result w as the same: Tancred, through Bohemond's intervention, took his oath to Alexius. 72 That Bohemond would go out of his way to take the emperor's wishes into consideration before those of his own kinsman shows that Bohemond believed there was benefit in mainta ining good relations with Alexius even as he and the others were setting out in the direction of Antioch. Between the time he compelled Raymond to take the oath at Constantinople and Tancred to do the same at Pelecanus, Bohemond assumed his most active an d liaison like role yet: that of "quartermaster", or procurer of supplies with the additional responsibility for distribution for the crusaders while they were besieging Turk held Nicaea. Bohemond's troops had gone on ahead to Nicaea with Tancred at the e nd of April 1097 (as had the armies of most of the other leaders), leaving Bohemond in Constantinople to 71 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 275 6. 72 Ralph of Caen, 34 and 40 2.


36 negotiate with Alexius over supplies. 73 The crusaders were short of food at the start of the siege, a situation that Bohemond was able to remedy through these negotiations. The Gesta Francorum discussing the situation at Nicaea, says that before Bohemond arrived, "we were so short of food that a loaf cost twenty or thirty pence, but after he came he ordered plenty of provisions to be brought to us by sea so goods poured in both by land and sea, and all Christ's army enjoyed great abundance." 74 This role of provisions supplier required Bohemond to interact closely not only with Alexius, but with other Byzantine officials as well, and it has been suggested that a knowledge of the Greek language facilitated these interactions. 75 The fact that he stayed behind to ensure the delivery of supplies for the crusaders points to his good relations with the Byzantine administration and possibly to his rising prominence among the leaders. Hunger was always a concern during sieges, and the crusading leaders would not have left Bohemond behind to negotiate for necessary supplies if they did not deem him up to the task. Though he may not have been made domestikos and thus head of the crusading forces, it appears that he found some degree of advancement among the crusading leaders through his connection to Alexius and the Byzantines. 76 Thus far, his ties to the Byzantines were indeed proving advantageous. Opportu nism seems to have been Bohemond's driving motivation in his interactions with Alexius and the Byzantines while in Constantinople. From the very first, when he entered into Byzantine lands with his group of crusaders, he showed himself 73 Fr ance, Victory in the East 122. 74 Gesta Francorum 14; Orderic Vitalis, 5.51 and 53. Orderic says that Raymond of Toulouse also negotiated for supplies, but Raymond of Aguilers does not corroborate the story, and France points out on page 122 that Raymond arrived at Nicaea after the supplies were replenished. 75 Shepard, "When Greek meets Greek," 213 and 251. 76 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 45.


37 mindful of the poten tial advantages offered by a policy of friendship toward the Byzantines. While other of the armies experienced difficulties with the Byzantines due to plundering, Bohemond made sure to keep his followers in line. Upon reaching Constantinople, his dealings with Alexius were cordial, and he took his oath to the emperor without delay or complaint. While he did not succeed in gaining advancement through being made domestikos nevertheless he continued to position himself as an ally. In doing so he did more than simply remain on good term with Alexius, but rather acted in Alexius' interests, even on his behalf in the instances of his role as hostage and his actions in compelling Raymond and Tancred to swear their oaths. In acting as the supply liaison between Ale xius and the crusaders, he was able to achieve some level of prominence among the crusading leaders, given that food supplies during a siege were extremely important and such an arrangement would not have been left to just anyone. His Byzantine connection had provided him benefit in that instance, and his role in getting Tancred to swear the oath to Alexius at Pelecanus, after the siege of Nicaea, makes it clear that as he started on the road to Antioch he continued to view the relationship he had forged wi th Alexius and the Byzantines as advantageous.


38 CHAPTER 2: Bohemond at Antioch When the crusaders reached Antioch, however, Bohemond's situation started to change. During the siege of Antioch, his loyalties began to disengage from the Byzantines and shift to the city of Antioch itself. This was a gradual process, perhaps inspired by his growing prestige among the other crusaders as he proved himself to be an able and effective military leader. He demonstrated that he was capable of adapting to fo reign terrain and enemy tactics, and saved the crusading army from disaster more than once. The crusaders' first major encounter with the Turks after Nicaea, for example, was at the battle of Dorylaeum, where the crusading army could easily have been des troyed. The army found itself split into two parts, with Bohemond and his forces among the smaller vanguard. 1 The Turks attacked the vanguard while the main army was too far away to help; Bohemond ordered his foot soldiers to establish a camp and his knigh ts to ready themselves for battle, and his quick thinking aided the crusaders in their defense. He and Robert of Normandy led the knights and managed to hold off the Turks for several hours, until the rest of the crusading army could arrive to help. 2 Luck and the ability of Bohemond and Robert to impose discipline upon their forces enabled the crusaders to avoid destruction. It was during the siege of Antioch, however, that Bohemond's military skills truly shone. The Turks fought in ways that were foreign to the crusaders, and it took several 1 France, Victory in the East 170. Though the sources do not agree on the reason for this split, France suggests that the size of the army and the fact that there was no single commander in charge of it all contributed to the gap between the groups. 2 Gesta Francorum 18 9; France, Victory in the East 180 1.


39 encounters before the crusading army began to adapt their tactics accordingly. 3 Bohemond was integral to this adaptation. At the end of December 1097, a time when supplies were low, Bohemond and Robert of Flanders led a foraging expedition into the lands around Antioch. They were surprised by an enemy force that was coming to the aid of the Turks in Antioch; the Turks managed to encircle Robert's knights, but the knights broke out of the trap with the aid of Bohemond's rearguard and emerged victorious when the enemy decided to withdraw. 4 The expedition itself was a failure, and the knights returned without enemy plunder. Nevertheless, the crusaders had maintained enough discipline to survive the attack, and Bohemond h ad experienced at first hand the usefulness of a reserve force in the rear for preventing encirclement by the enemy. 5 Bohemond would go on to make such a reserve force the central part of his plans during subsequent major engagements, for both of which he was named sole commander of the crusading forces. During one important battle against the Turks in February of 1098, he led the available knights by night in an ambush, turning the Turks' tactics against them. Bohemond had chosen the place for battle betw een the Orontes river and the lake of Antioch and in doing so had ensured that the crusaders' flanks would be protected against Turkish encirclement by natural defenses. He personally commanded the reserve squadron, and sent it in just as the Turks seemed about to break through the crusader lines; the Turks were routed. 6 Bohemond used the same tactics when the 3 Turkish tactics aimed at destroying the cohes ion of the opposing army. They used mounted archers to harry the crusaders from a safe distance, refusing to present a fixed target that would allow for a massed cavalry charge, which was the standard Western tactic; showers of arrows would send the enemy into a state of confusion and provoke an early and ineffective charge. Feigned flight was used to lead enemy forces into ambushes. Their greater mobility allowed them to encircle their enemy and attack from every direction; Smail, Crusading Warfare 78 82. 4 France, Victory in the East 239 41; Raymond of Aguilers, 34. 5 France, Victory in the East 240 1. 6 Ibid. 245 and 250; Smail, Crusading Warfare 171.


40 crusading army broke out of Antioch on the twenty eighth of June to do battle with a large relief force led by the Turkish commander Kerbogha of Mosu l. 7 The crusaders chose Bohemond to command the army; they had given the title of overall commander to Stephen of Blois during the late spring, but he had deserted in early June. 8 Bohemond used natural defenses to help protect the army's flanks, and once again commanded the reserve force at the rear; again, he was able to send in his reserve at the right moment, with the result that the Turks fled in retreat. 9 Bohemond may have been taking Byzantine advice when he developed these means of counteracting Tur kish tactics, but it was he who came up with the plans of attack and put them into action. 10 His impressive victories during the siege and battle of Antioch have earned him the praise of scholars as the most skillful commander of the First Crusade. 7 The Gesta Francorum describes Kerbogha as the "commander in chief of the army of the sultan of Pe rsia" on page 49 (Persia meaning the Turks) and devotes a peculiar and lengthy section to a conversation Kerbogha supposedly has with his mother about the dangers of doing battle with Christian forces (53 6). None of the other Turkish leaders is singled ou t in such a way. 8 Fulcher of Chartres, 74; Raymond of Aguilers, 59; Gesta Francorum 63. 9 Smail, Crusading Warfare 173 4; Rice, "Bohemund as Tactical Innovator," 6. 10 Smail, Crusading Warfare 202; Rice, "Bohemund as Tactical Innovator," 4


41 Dates 11 Important Events Leading up to and During the Siege/Battle of Antioch 19 June 1097 Nicaea surrenders (to the Byzantines) 26 June The crusaders set out from Nicaea 1 July Battle of Dorylaeum 21 October Crusaders arrive at Antioch 30 December Fo raging battle ; beginning of supply problems and food shortages 9 February 1098 12 Important battle against a Turkish relief force from Aleppo ; Bohemond made commander for the conflict Late spring Election of Stephen of Blois as overall commander of the cr usading army 2 June Stephen of Blois deserts having never gotten a chance to exercise his authority 13 2 3 June Capture of Antioch 6 June Kerbogha's main army arrives at Antioch 10 June Many crusaders desert 14 June The Holy Lance is discovered 20 Ju ne Bohemond is chosen to command the crusading army in its breakout of Antioch 28 June Crusaders break out of Antioch and engage Kerbogha's forces in battle 11 Dates fro m France, Victory in the East 164, 171, 220 279. 12 Date from Smail, Crusading Warfare 118. 13 Fulcher of Chartres, 97, Raymond of Aguilers, 59.


42 Bohemond's increasing military prestige during the months spent besieging Antioch probably contributed to his eventual conclusion that he no longer needed his connection to the Byzantines. Neither the Western sources nor Anna Comnena pinpoint an exact moment at which he came to that decision, but they do suggest that he began to break away from his Byzantine ties around February 1098, when the imperial representative, Tatikios who had been sent with the crusaders by Alexius to ensure that they fulfilled their oath abandoned the siege of Antioch. Tatikios' departure came at a time of famine a nd desertions, when morale was low and the news of an approaching Turkish relief force sent it plunging even lower. His detachment of Byzantine troops was not large, but it did not need to be, for his purpose "was not primarily military but political": his job was to make sure that the crusaders remained loyal to their oaths and to manage the details of taking over whatever cities they captured. In addition, he could aid in the procurement of supplies. 14 He was close to the emperor and represented imperial a uthority; he was also a very physical reminder of the oaths the leaders had sworn to turn all captured cities over to the Byzantines. The Western sources and Anna Comnena disagree on the cause for Tatikios' disappearance from the siege. The Western sou rces portray Tatikios as a perfidious coward whose intention right from the start was flight. Raymond of Aguilers says that Tatikios fabricated a story about the approach of Alexius' army and, making the excuse that he would join it to urge the Byzantine r einforcements to hurry, Tatikios "broke camp, abandoned his followers, and left with God's curse; by this dastardly act, he brought eternal shame to himself and his men." 15 Raymond also reports that before Tatikios left, 14 France, "Departure of Tatikios," 139. 15 Raymond of Aguilers, 37.


43 he gave "two or three cities, Tursol Mamistra, and Adana" to Bohemond. 16 Albert of Aachen tells a similar story, explaining that from the very moment he pitched camp, Tatikios was "all the time intending to flee." 17 The Gesta Francorum goes so far as to label Tatikios "our enemy," who falsely promised to bring supplies to the starving crusaders. 18 Anna Comnena gives a very different version, blaming Tatikios' departure almost entirely on Bohemond's machinations. Since Bohemond "did not wish to cede Antioch to Taticius [sic] according to the oa th he had previously sworn to the Emperor, but rather longed for it himself," he "planned a wicked plan which would force Taticius to remove himself from the city against his will." 19 In Anna's account, Bohemond tells Tatikios that the other leaders had hea rd a rumor that Alexius was somehow involved with the approaching Turkish army, and that they, believing it, were plotting to kill Tatikios because of his connection to Alexius. 20 Anna adds that "considering the severe famineand also because he despaired o f taking Antioch, Taticius departed, embarked on the Roman [Byzantine] fleet which was in the harbour of Sudi, and made for Cyprus." 21 Directly afterward, she claims, Bohemond made clear to the other leaders his intentions to gain Antioch for himself; she p rovides a simple motive behind his role in Tatikios' departure. This thesis has already remarked upon Anna's bias against Bohemond, and she obviously wishes to depict him as plotting to take over Antioch from a very early stage. 16 Raymond of Aguilers, 37. 17 Albert of Aache n, 201 and 311 13. 18 Gesta Francorum 34 5. 19 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 278. 20 Ibid. Anna confuses her chronology here, naming the Muslim army as that of Kerbogha when it really belonged to Ridwan of Aleppo. Kerbogha's army did not appear until June, another critical point in the siege marked by starvation and desertion. 21 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 278.


44 In this instance, however, her version seems credible. Bohemond may not have begun the siege of Antioch with the firm idea of gaining possession of the city and casting off his Byzantine ties for good, but as he distinguished himself throughout the siege and his "personal stock and authority grew," it does appear that "his immediate reliance on Alexius' patronage lessened." 22 Removing the local representative of imperial authority would have provided more chances for his opportunism to come into play. The majority of scholars favor Anna's interpretation over that of the Western sources for the reason that the actions attributed to Bohemond fit with his character, and make sense given his desire to gain control of Antioch. The most straightforward explanation is that Tatikios' presenc e "posed a serious threat to the Norman leader's plans," since once Antioch was captured it would have to be given into Byzantine control. 23 Other arguments involve more speculation. It is possible that Alexius still trusted Bohemond at this point, believin g that he had effectively secured Bohemond's loyalty through the oath and gifts while the leaders were in Constantinople, and that the emperor had told Tatikios to consider Bohemond as reliably bound to Byzantine interests. 24 In that case, Bohemond's warnin g to Tatikios would have seemed credible, and in granting Bohemond the three cities, Tatikios would have been acknowledging Bohemond's supposed position as the best defender of the interests of the empire, as Flori phrases it. 25 22 Shepard, "When Greek Meets Greek," 261. 23 McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 454. 24 Shepard, "When Greek Meets Greek," 198 9. 25 Ibid., 26 7; Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 144. My translation. Though most scholars agree that Tatikios did grant the three Cilician cities to Bohemond, it is not clear how significant the action was. Yewdale ( Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 62) claims that the cities were already under Norman control, since Tancred had captured Mamistra and Adana in September and October of 1097, and France ("Departure of Tatikios," 146) says that the grant was Tatikios' way of making "a last effort to impress upon the leaders


45 This interpretation is not universally accepted. Alexius may have cautioned Tatikios "that Bohemond was the man to watch," France argues, and may even have advised Tatikios to play Bohemond and Raymond of Toulouse off each other in a divide and conquer strategy, a common Byzantine method for dealing with "barbarians." 26 Tatikios may have "felt that Bohemond's warnings conveyed something of the general mood of the army, and decided that his usefulness was at an end," but his real reasons for believing Bohemond's words lay in his isol ation from "his other possible ally," Raymond of Toulouse, with whom he was at odds over strategy. 27 However, this interpretation relies heavily on Anna's account of the pleasant relationship between Raymond and Alexius in Constantinople, a relationship tha t was unlikely given the difficulties between Raymond and the Byzantines during his stay there. Not every scholar gives credence to Anna's version of events, however. Lilie dismisses Anna's version of events as sounding "very like a melodrama with Bohemond cast as the villain" and rejects the idea that Bohemond was seeking control of Antioch relatively early in the siege. 28 Yewdale claims that Bohemond wanted Tatikios to return, since the crusading army was stretched thin and needed its forces to stay togeth er, and uses Raymond of Aguilers' statement about the grant of the three cities as evidence of a guarantee of Tatikios' good faith regarding his return. In spite of his previous statements that Bohemond desired control of Antioch from 1096 onward, Yewdale is curiously hesitant at this point to ascribe to him designs on Antioch before May 1098. He only the leg itimate position of his master" since he did not have the resources to take over the captured cities in the name of Alexius. 26 France, "Departure of Tatikios," 142 and 144. 27 Ibid., 145. The strategy debate was over whether to continue the siege in spite of dire circumstances, or whether to winter in nearby fortresses where supplies would be easier to come by and engage in a blockade. Tatikios proposed the blockade option, but was opposed by Raymond of Toulouse, who offered to pay for any of his knights' h orses that were killed in foraging expeditions; Raymond of Aguilers, 36 7. 28 Lilie, Byzantium and the Crusader States 36 and 32.


46 reluctantly allows, "for the sake of argument," that Bohemond desired control of the city, and points out that this is "a theory for which there is no conclus ive evidence." 29 Even Anna admits that the shortage of supplies and the seeming hopelessness of the situation contributed to Tatikios' abandonment of the siege, and it seems likely that the truth of the matter lies somewhere between these different interp retations. Bohemond would have benefited from Tatikios' departure in ways beyond the obvious freedom to pursue his own interests, regardless of whether or not he already had the specific goal of claiming Antioch. If Tatikios were to return with supplies or reinforcements, as the Western sources have him promise to do, then Bohemond would continue to be in the emperor's good graces and could possibly, given his supposed possession of the three Cilician cities, even "resume his former role as liaison officer and play a part in the organization of the provisioning," maintaining his Byzantine ties for a while longer until they could bring him no further benefit. 30 If Tatikios failed to return, then Bohemond would be able to "pose as a commander who had been espec ially assiduous in keeping faith with the emperor and who was now especially wronged," a position that could serve to strengthen his claim that he was no longer committed to the oath he had sworn at Constantinople. 31 Bohemond had displayed the same sort of desire to keep his options open during his stay in Constantinople, particularly in his request to be made domestikos Considering that his decision to cooperate with Alexius in the first place probably rested on having a backup plan in the event that the c rusade fell apart or did not provide him 29 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 62. Confusingly, this somewhat contradi cts Yewdale's assertion ( 44 ) that Bohemond li kely "had already fixed his ambitions upon the possession of Antioch" while in Constantinople in 10 96, and its reiteration on 49 and 55. 30 Shepard, "When Greek Meets Greek," 271; Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 146. 31 Shepard, "When Greek Meets Greek," 272.


47 with the opportunities for advancement that he desired, this interpretation of his motives in dealing with Tatikios seems credible. The evidence does not indicate at what point Bohemond definitively decided to cast off his ties to Alexius and the Byzantines. Given his previous behavior, however, it seems likely that he had a hand in the departure of Tatikios. Like his request to be made domestikos and his readiness in taking the oath to Alexius, such an action would have allowed him to keep his options open. The crusaders were in a dire situation; the siege had reached a point of crisis; and Bohemond, as his actions in May and June would show, was certainly not averse to turning such grim and chaotic conditions to hi s advantage. He most likely realized that his Byzantine ties were no longer benefiting him as they had earlier, and seizing the opportunity, he took the chance to provide himself with more room to fulfill his ambitions however undefined they may have been at that moment in time. The departure of Tatikios from Antioch may have marked the beginning of Bohemond's realization that his fortune did not lie with the Byzantines. By early summer of 1098, however, it seems clear that he had resolved to ab andon those ties. Some time prior, he had won the trust of a Turkish tower guard called Firuz, and by May he was ready to engineer the betrayal of the city. He went before a meeting of the leaders and proposed that the city should go to whichever leader co uld manage to capture it or "engineer its downfall by any means." 32 Both Anna Comnena and the Western sources agree on the nature of Bohemond's suggestion, but the Western sources differ somewhat on whether or not the leaders 32 Gesta Francorum 44. Both Anna Comnena ( Alexiad 278) and Ralph of Caen (89) claim that the tower guard was an Armenian, though the Gesta Albert of Aachen, and Raymond of Aguilers call him a Turk.


48 accepted it immediately. The Ge sta Francorum probably the most reliable source for this period, since its author participated in the capture of the city says that the others "refused and denied him, saying, This city shall not be granted to anyone, but we will all share it alike; as we have had equal toil, so let us have equal honour.'" 33 By contrast, Ralph of Caen reports that "no one was opposed. Everyone agreed that the city should go to him, whoever that might be, who gained entry," whereupon Bohemond revealed his plans to a few of t he leaders. 34 Albert of Aachen says that Bohemond revealed to Godfrey of Bouillon, Robert of Flanders, and Raymond of Toulouse that he had gained the friendship of the tower guard through bribing him with money and gifts, and that the guard was prepared to let the crusaders into the city through one of his towers; the three leaders "rejoiced with great joy, and with complete goodwill they promised the city to Bohemond, and they associated the other nobles likewise as voluntary participants in Bohemond's gift and grant." 35 Raymond of Aguilers records that "all the princes with the exception of the Count [of Toulouse] offered Antioch to Bohemond in the event it was captured," although his chronology is flawed, as he places this promise in February. 36 The Gesta F rancorum 's version of the proposal, taken with Raymond of Aguilers' statement that Raymond of Toulouse refused to cooperate with the agreement, strongly suggests that the other leaders of the crusade were reluctant to promise control of the city to Bohemon d. However, the situation changed late in May, when news arrived of the approach of a vast Turkish relief force, led by Kerbogha of Mosul. Bohemond presumably reiterated his request to be granted the city if he could enable its fall, because 33 Gesta Francorum 44 5. 34 Ralph of Caen, 90. 35 Albert of Aachen, 271 3. 36 Raymond of Aguilers, 37.


49 the matter was taken up a second time by the leaders and approved, "on the condition that if the emperor come to our aid and fulfil all his obligations which he promised and vowed, we will return the city to him as it is right to do. Otherwise Bohemond shall take it int o his power." 37 Anna records Bohemond asking to control the city "until such time as the man who is to take it over from us arrives from the Emperor," putting the concern of the leaders into his mouth 38 This may seem a departure from Anna's usual depiction of Bohemond as a self serving scoundrel, but it is not. In having him make this concession to the leaders, Anna shows Bohemond making false promises and being manipulative in order to get what he wants. The evidence, as represented by the leaders' stipulat ion in the Gesta Francorum suggests that Bohemond's colleagues were indeed troubled by the implications their promise to Bohemond might have for their oaths to the emperor; it is by no means out of character for Anna's Bohemond to use this concern to his advantage. Bohemond brought about the betrayal of the city on the night of the second of June Knights and foot soldiers from his army and those of Raymond, Godfrey of Bouillon, and Robert of Flanders participated in the infiltration and sacking of Antioc h. The Turkish garrison in the citadel resisted and could not be forced out, although the rest of the city was in crusader hands by the third of June. 39 The first part of Kerbogha's army arrived the very next day, followed by the rest on the sixth of June, and the crusaders found themselves in a reverse crisis situation. Trapped between the enemies in the citadel and the Turkish army that was now besieging the former besiegers, they managed to hold out despite starvation and desertions (including that of Ste phen of Blois soon after the 37 Gesta Francorum 45. 38 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 278. 39 Raymond of Aguilers, 48.


50 capture of the city) until June twenty eighth. It was at this point that the crusader army, fortified by the discovery of the purported Holy Lance, 40 broke out of the city under Bohemond's command and made a desperate and succes sful attack on Kerbogha's much larger and better equipped force. 41 Once the crusaders had won the battle of Antioch and subsequently taken back the citadel from the Turks, Bohemond began to assert his claim on the city. First, he ensured that his banner w as flown from the top of the citadel. Raymond of Toulouse had been guarding the citadel during the battle and had ordered the amir in charge of the surrendering garrison to hoist his banner, but some of Bohemond's men caught him at it and forced the amir t o take it down. Bohemond then handed his own banner to the amir, accepted the surrender of the Turks, and sent some of his men into the citadel to act as the new garrison. 42 Then, according to Raymond of Aguilers, Bohemond, "conceiving mischief by which he brought forth sin, seized the higher towers and forcibly ousted the followers of Godfrey, the Count of Flanders, and the Count of Saint Gilles from the citadel with the excuse that he had sworn to the Turk who had delivered Antioch that only he would posse ss it." 43 In addition, he wanted Raymond, AdhŽmar the papal legate, and Godfrey to give up "the castle and gates of Antioch" that they had been protecting. Raymond of Toulouse was the only one to refuse. 44 According to Albert, Raymond was "always insatiable in his acquisitiveness" and had "attacked that tower which was close 40 Peter Bartholomew, a Provenal non combatant, had visions of Saint Andrew directing him to where the Holy Lance was buried in the ch urch of Saint Peter within Antioch and there uncovered the relic; Gesta Francorum 59 60 and 65; Raymond of Aguilers, 57. Fulcher of Chartres and Ralph of Caen were both skeptical of the authenticity of the Lance; Fulcher (100 1) reports that Peter Barthol omew died of burns sustained during a trial of faith to determine whether or not the Lance was real and Ralph (118 121) accuses Peter of having planted an old spearhead in the church in order to deceive the crusaders. 41 See France, Victory in the East 27 8 297. 42 Gesta Francorum 71. 43 Raymond of Aguilers, 65. 44 Ibid.


51 to the bridge on the Orontesand garrisoned it with his followers, and forced this part of the city to submit to his authority." 45 Raymond's refusal to give up his positions in Antioch was only the beginning of a drawn out, bitter quarrel between Bohemond and the count of Toulouse over control of the city. Bohemond's opportunistic bid for Antioch had delivered the city from the Turks, and his subsequent actions suggest that he had reache d the conclusion that his connection to the Byzantines had outlived its usefulness. His connection to his fellow crusaders also began to falter; although the Turks had been ousted from Antioch, the presence of Bohemond's colleagues, particularly Raymond, m eant that his position there was far from secure. From this point on, Bohemond's ties would be primarily to Antioch, and his position would threaten the future of the First Crusade itself. The second half of 1098 was a time of confusion and division for the crusaders. The crusading army was exhausted after the siege and battle of Antioch and needed the summer to regain its strength and direction. Unfortunately, at the beginning of August the papal legate, AdhŽmar of Le Puy, died of illness; he was, in Fra nce's words, "the only one of the leaders to personify the ideological goal of the expedition the liberation of Jerusalem," and his loss created a "moral vacuum" in the leadership of the crusade. 46 The uncertainty of the leaders over the future of the crus ade comes through in the letter several of them addressed to Pope Urban II in September of 1098. In this letter, reproduced by Fulcher of Chartres, the leaders relate the events at Antioch and then ask the pope to come take up the leadership of the expedit ion: 45 Albert of Aachen, 341. 46 France, Victory in the East 303.


52 Therefore we ask and ask again that you, our most dear father, come as father and head to the place of your predecessorand use us as your obedient sons in carrying out all things properly; and that you eradicate and destroy by your authority and ou r strength all heresies of whatever kind. 47 The crusade had never had an overall leader, and only during the siege and battle of Antioch had the crusaders operated under the direction of a single military commander. The great magnates were in charge of t heir own armies, but none outranked the rest, and decisions were made through councils. As the strife between Raymond and Bohemond would show, these councils were no longer adequate for keeping the expedition on track. 48 Although Bohemond acted as if he wer e the undisputed lord of the city, he did not have complete control of his territory. He did have a considerable amount of influence in Antioch: in July 1098, for example, he issued a charter to the Genoese fleet, granting them a church, a warehouse, and o ther buildings in Antioch in return for naval support; their only condition in return was that they would not aid Bohemond against Raymond of Toulouse. 49 The fact that the Genoese entered into such a treaty suggests that Bohemond had a greater amount of aut hority in the city than Raymond. 50 However, Raymond's possessions were not insignificant. They included the palace of Yaghi Siyan, a tower by the Bridge Gate, the fortified bridge over the Orontes river, and a fortified mosque a 47 Fulcher of Chartres, 111. Flori ( BohŽmond d'Antioche 180) reports that there are other versions of this letter that include a postscript, supposedly by Bohemond, denouncing the perfidy of Alexius and the Byzantines, but he concludes that it is impossible to know whether this addition was made in 1098 or as part of the anti Byzantine propaganda circulating in the West around 1107. 48 There had been problems between Bohemond's men and Raymond's since before the capture of Antioch. Ralph of Caen (117) reports that the southern Italian Normans and the Provenals came to blows over supplies during foraging missions, and relates that th e finding of the Holy Lance was a point of contention between the two sides because the Normans were skeptical of the relic's authenticity. Ralph even claims (121) that affairs between Bohemond and Raymond became so tense during the months after the battle of Antioch that Raymond was contemplating having Bohemond murdered. 49 Shepard, "When Greek meets Greek," 274; France, "Crisis of the First Crusade," 284. 50 France, "Crisis of the First Crusade," 284.


53 portion of the city that gav e Raymond command of the roads to the supply ports of St. Symeon and Alexandretta. 51 Bohemond needed a favorable judgment from the council of leaders in order to complete his conquest. Considerations of the oaths that Bohemond and the other leaders had s worn to the emperor played a prominent part during the leaders' deliberations over who should control the entirety of the city. According to the Gesta Francorum Raymond refused to give up his positions "because he was afraid of breaking his oath to the em peror." 52 Raymond of Aguilers elaborates on Raymond's protest, citing not fear but respect for the oath the leaders had sworn "upon the Cross of the Lord, the crown of thorns, and many holy relics that we would not hold without the consent of the Emperor an y city or castle in his dominion." 53 The other leaders, unwilling to commit perjury, could not come to a decision. 54 Bohemond's claim clearly made them uncomfortable, and the fact that the arguments against Bohemond's possession of the city revolved around t he oaths suggests that Bohemond's stance, though not stated outright in the sources, directly opposed what he had sworn to Alexius and thus directly opposed Byzantine interests. The sources present the leaders as ambivalent toward the Byzantines at this p oint. On the one hand, the leaders did not agree on whether to support Bohemond's claim to Antioch and its inherent violation of the oath to Alexius. 55 They were not willing to offend Alexius by siding with Bohemond; during the summer they had sent Hugh of Vermandois to Constantinople so that he might ask Alexius to come and take over the city, and the sources suggest that their cautious attitude toward the problem of the 51 Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioc h 37. 52 Gesta Francorum 76; Raymond of Aguilers, 75. 53 Raymond of Aguilers, 74 5. 54 Raymond of Aguilers, 74 5; Albert of Aachen, 341 55 Raymond of Aguilers, 74 5; Gesta Francorum 75 6.


54 possession of Antioch had not changed. 56 On the other hand, the sources also show a mark ed increase in anti Byzantine sentiment during this time. Alexius had failed to appear before Antioch with a relief army while the crusaders were facing annihilation by Kerbogha's forces. 57 There was definite disagreement over what the leaders owed to Alexi us. Raymond of Aguilers reports that they "became so violent that they almost took up arms" over the issue, and the very fact that they were unwilling to give their support to Raymond's stance of honoring the oath above all else suggests that they did not condemn Bohemond's decision to ignore the oath. 58 It is particularly interesting that Raymond of Toulouse, who had not been on the best of terms with the Byzantines throughout his stay in Constantinople and had only reluctantly sworn an abbreviated form of the oath taken by the other leaders, should base his main argument for keeping Antioch out of Bohemond's hands on loyalty to Alexius. Before this point, he had not expressed any markedly pro Byzantine sentiments. However, siding with Alexius was the best w ay to challenge Bohemond's claim to Antioch, since it gave Raymond the moral high ground and enabled him to discomfit the other leaders with the fear of perjury 59 56 Gesta Francorum 72. The Gesta reports that "Hugh went, but he neve r came back. The Byzantines made no response to the request. 57 En route with his army, the emperor had encountered the deserting Stephen of Blois, who informed him that the crusaders were surely doomed; under the assumption that the crusaders had been des troyed by the Turks, Alexius decided to turn around; Gesta Francorum 63 5; Raymond of Aguilers, 75; and Albert of Aachen, 313. Albert of Aachen (341 343) depicts Alexius as a coward, "trembling and terrified" at the news of the crusaders' plight, and clai ms that the reason Hugh was sent to Constantinople was to tell Alexius that the leaders were no longer bound by their oaths, "because at the prompting of fearful and fugitive men [Alexius] lied about all the things he had promised. This seems to be Albert 's own bias seeping through, because earlier (341) he plainly stated that the other leaders (minus Raymond) had no desire to rule Antioch, "for they did not want to violate the treaty and solemn promise they had made to the emperor of Constantinople." 58 R aymond of Aguilers, 75. Raymond says on the same page that Godfrey and Robert of Flanders "secretly favored Bohemond's possession" of Antioch but were unwilling to voice their support out of fear of perjury. 59 France, "Crisis of the First Crusade," 291 2; Lilie, Byzantium and the Crusader States 50.


55 The troubles between the crusaders over Antioch continued as they began to expand their focu s beyond the immediate city Raymond, for instance, was not above carving out his own territories in the area around Antioch without regard to the Byzantines: he had captured the city of Albara in September and had not only garrisoned it, but had set up hi s own bishop there. 60 Even after Raymond and Bohemond had made "a peace of discord," on the condition that Bohemond accompany the crusaders from Antioch when they finally set out, Bohemond continued to act with the goal of complete control over Antioch fore most in his mind. 61 The compromise was more discord than peace; the leaders had been unable to come to a decision about Bohemond's claim on Antioch, and the power struggles between Bohemond and Raymond did not cease. Before leaving the city, Bohemond fortif ied his positions with new men and fresh supplies, and Raymond did likewise for his positions. 62 Most of the crusading army including Bohemond then continued southward to besiege Ma'arrat, near the city of Albara that Raymond of Toulouse had managed to c apture earlier. The siege of Ma'arrat was dominated by Raymond's army, and it is possible that Raymond intended to expand his influence in the area in order to counter Bohemond. 63 The territory in question was "of considerable political and strategic import ance" because it "offered one of only two southern approaches to Antioch" and because Ma'arrat was situated on a road that served as a link between Muslim held Aleppo and the cities of Shaizar and Homs. 64 Bohemond may have seen his own involvement in the si ege as a way of preventing Raymond from establishing any strong 60 Gesta Francorum 75. 61 Raymond of Aguilers, 75; Gesta Francorum 76. 62 Gesta Francorum 76. 63 France, "Crisis of the First Crusade," 294. 64 Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioch 37 8.


56 position in the area. 65 He used the situation to his advantage, taking possession of a few towers upon the fall of the city and refusing to give them up unless Raymond would agree to surrender his positions in Antioch. Raymond did not agree, and the quarrels began once more. 66 In spite of Raymond's efforts, Bohemond eventually outwaited him, taking advantage of Raymond's absence as Raymond and a good part of the army moved on from Ma'arrat to ca st out Raymond's troops from their positions in Antioch. As Albert of Aachen describes it, Bohemond, "whose heart was consumed by very great envy and anger toward Count Raymond," attacked Raymond's troops, expelled them from their holdings, and "in this wa y he gained sole lordship over Antioch." 67 Ralph of Caen attributes the ousting of Raymond's men to Bohemond's nephew Tancred and his forces, who snuck into Raymond's positions with concealed swords and took the soldiers by surprise. 68 Bohemond's strategy of biding his time and stubbornly refusing to compromise any more than necessary eventually proved successful. He had let Raymond do much of the maneuvering, and he managed to turn his one compromise participating in the siege of Ma'arrat into an opportunity to bargain with his rival. When bargaining failed, he returned to waiting, and finally seized the opportunity that presented itself with Raymond's departure from the area. 65 Yewda le, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 76 7. 66 Raymond of Aguilers, 79. Another attempt to broker peace was made at Rugia, when Raymond called the leaders together, but nothing was resolved. At the same time, Raymond offered to take the other leaders into his pay in an effort to move the expedition forward; only Robert of Normandy and Tancred accepted; Raymond of Aguilers, 80; Gesta Francorum 80 1. Eventually the non combatants at Ma'arrat grew so fed up with the delays that they began to tear down the walls o f the city, forcing Raymond to agree to lead the group of crusaders toward Jerusalem; Raymond of Aguilers, 81. 67 Albert of Aachen, 371. 68 Ralph of Caen, 117.


57 Bohemond finally had undisputed lordship over Antioch. He accompanied the forces of Godfrey and Robert of Flanders to Laodicea, but there he left them and returned to Antioch, to stay behind while the rest of the crusading army continued on toward Jerusalem. 69 Through taking advantage of opportunities as they presented themselves, he had found his personal advancement. He had no further use for the Byzantines and no further use for the crusade. The siege of Jerusalem would be conducted without him, and it would not be until late in 1099 that Bohemond managed to arrive in the holy city, thu s completing the pilgrimage aspect of his crusading vow. 70 He was no longer a Byzantine ally or a crusader; he was prince of Antioch. Bohemond's opportunism came to the fore during the time the crusaders spent at Antioch, and as he realized that he would be better able to exploit circumstances without ties to the Byzantines, he started to disengage from this once beneficial alliance. That process began with the departure of Tatikios and ended with the disregarding of his oath the oath he had so eagerly en tered into back in 1097 when he began to treat Antioch as his own city, putting it above all previous loyalties, whether to the Byzantines or to the crusade. In helping to remove the imperial representative from Antioch, Bohemond cleared the way for more advantageous opportunities to arise. He made good use of the absence of Byzantine agents, cultivating the loyalty of the tower guard Firuz through gifts and working toward the cunning capture of Antioch. From the time he secured promises from the leaders t hat the city could be his if he managed to bring about its downfall, it became more and more evident that he no longer valued the oath he had taken to Alexius. His 69 Gesta Francorum 84; Albert of Aachen, 381. 70 Fulcher of Chartres, 129 31.


58 shift from Byzantine ally to an independent agent became clearer as he strove with Raymond f or unopposed control over the city; the leaders, particularly Raymond, brought up the oath to the emperor more than once in deliberations, but Bohemond showed himself perfectly willing to abandon it. He saw Antioch as his to govern, and stubbornly refused to let anything, even the continuation of the crusade, stand in the way of his desire for sole authority. Bohemond was, at this point, no longer a Byzantine ally in any sense of the word. His opportunism, which had proved useful to the Byzantines at the s tart of the First Crusade, was now a definite detriment to their relations. However, he was not precisely an enemy, either. In taking Antioch and eventually gaining full rule of the city, he became an independent entity, operating under his own authority. Alexius seems to have understood this distinction, because he did not bother to send out diplomatic envoys to the region until April 1099, and that mission was only to lodge a formal complaint against Bohemond's actions to the crusading army. 71 The Byzantin es' inaction suggests that they were not certain quite what to make of Bohemond's new status. Alexius, it appears, had decided on an approach of waiting to see what would happen, and letting Bohemond make the first move. 71 Raymond of Aguiler s, 105; Lilie, Byzantium and the Crusader States 43 4.


59 Map 3: Antioch, 1104. Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioch 54.


60 Map 4: Antioch, 1105. Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioch 58.


61 Map 5: Antioch, 1112 (Tancred's expansion after 1107 until his death). Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioch 68.


62 CHAPTE R 3: Bohemond's Crusade From 1099 onward, Bohemond's opportunism led him to become more aggressive toward the Byzantine Empire. Having established himself as the independent ruler of Antioch, he began the process of expanding the borders of his principal ity, starting with an unsuccessful attack on the Byzantine controlled port of Laodicea. 1 He continued this behavior to the point of eventually attempting to conquer the Byzantine Empire instead of continuing to carve out parts at its expense; in this endea vor, he persisted in turning every situation in which he found himself to his advantage, including situations that favored the Byzantines. Throughout the early years of the twelfth century, Bohemond had to contend with the threat to Antioch posed by both the Byzantines and the Turks. From 1099 to 1103, Bohemond and the Byzantines attempted to take territory from one another. The most notable event during this period was Tancred's assumption of the regency of Antioch from 1101 to 1103. Bohemond had been cap tured by the Turks in 1100, and during his absence, Tancred took over the business of seizing lands from the Byzantines. 2 He started with the Cilician cities of Mamistra, Tarsus, and Adana which had at one point been under Bohemond's control, but had been lost to the Byzantines then moved on to 1 Albert of Aachen says that Bohemond's siege was cut short by the arrival of Raymond of Toulouse, Robert of Normandy, and Robert of Flanders, who were on their way back from the successful capture o f Jerusalem. Bohemond had convinced an Italian fleet and the new papal legate Daimbert of Pisa, who had come with the sailors to help him conduct his siege, but the crusading leaders confronted the Italians about their aggression against fellow Christians (the Italians blamed Bohemond for telling them that the people in the city were "entirely bad and really evil," in Albert's words), and the fleet withdrew. This effectively ended Bohemond's siege; Albert of Aachen, 477 83. 2 Ralph of Caen, 157; Albert of Aachen, 525 27. Curiously, Anna fails to mention Bohemond's imprisonment.


63 Laodicea. 3 When Bohemond was finally ransomed in 1103, Tancred reluctantly handed over his conquests and yielded control of Antioch. 4 Tancred's victories against the Byzantines were short lived; throughout 1104 bo th the Byzantines and the Turks re conquered parts of the principality of Antioch, leading to a significant reduction in its territory and threatening its existence. In May 1104, the Turks defeated the combined Christian armies of Antioch and Edessa near H arran. 5 The defeat itself was bad enough, but the resulting loss of Antiochene lands to the Turks was even worse. The emboldened Turks drove out the Latin garrisons of several towns in the area near Ma'arrat, and other towns expelled their garrisons at th e Turks' urging. 6 The Turks also took Artah, the last fortified town to the east of Antioch, a position from which they could make an attack on the city of Antioch itself. 7 Ralph of Caen emphasizes the significance of this loss by attributing these words to Bohemond: "Artah, which had been the shield of Antioch, now stretches the bow and directs the arrows." 8 Nor were the Byzantines any less idle during this period: they reclaimed the Cilician cities of Tarsus, Adana, and Mamistra, and all of Laodicea exc ept the citadel. 9 The pressure on Antioch was intense. Faced with a shortage of men and resources, Bohemond and Tancred decided that Bohemond should go back to the West 3 Ralph of Caen, 159 and 162 63. 4 Ibid., 164, Albert of Aachen, 689. Albert (681 83) claims that Alexius offered to pay a high price for Bohemond's ransom to the Turks, because he "wished [Bohemond] to die either in exile or in perpetual damnation, so that he could no longer harm the emperor's realm with any of his trickery. The Turks refused. Orderic Vitalis (5.355) tells a similar story and says that Alexius hoped to keep Bohemo nd locked up in a Byzantine prison for the rest of his life. 5 Albert of Aachen, 691 95; Ralph of Caen, 165 66. 6 Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioch 55 6. 7 Ibid., 57. Asbridge believes that the Turks took Artah in 1105, but Ralph of C aen makes it clear that this happened earlier, and Yewdale concurs. Ralph of Caen, 168; Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 101. 8 Ralph of Caen, 168. 9 Ibid., 167; Anna Comnena, Alexiad 296 97.


64 for reinforcements, leaving Antioch in Tancred's charge. 10 He set out in the fall of 1 104, reaching Italy in early 1105. 11 Rather than simply gathering a suitable number of reinforcements and sailing back to Antioch, however, he turned the potentially disastrous situation in the principality to his advantage by launching a crusade against th e Byzantines. Bohemond secured papal approval for a war against the Byzantines, turning his expedition from a potentially problematic act of aggression against fellow Christians into a fully sanctioned crusade. According to Bartolf of Nangis' Gesta Franco rum Iherusalem e xpugnantium and the Historia belli sacri the first written around 1108 9 and the second in the 1130s, Paschal II granted Bohemond a papal banner and the presence of a legate, Bruno of Segni, for the duration of a recruiting journey through France. 12 Anna Comnena agrees that Bohemond received the sanction of the pope, relating how he brought a group of Scythian mercenaries captured from the Byzantine army before Paschal II and offered them "as convincing proof that the Emperor Alexius was hos tile to the Christians, as he used unbelieving barbarians and monstrous mounted archers to wield weapons and draw their bows against Christians 13 Scholars agree that Bohemond received papal approval, but they do not agree on whether the pope was aware o f Bohemond's intention to use his crusade against the Byzantines rather than the Muslims. 14 J. G. Rowe argues for the minority that Pope Paschal II was deceived into granting his approval to Bohemond's crusade, and did not 10 Ralph of Caen, 168. 11 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 102. 12 Historia sacri belli CXL CXLII, as cited on page 178 of Rowe, "Paschal II, Bohemund of Antioch and the Byzantine Empire," and Bartolf of Nangis, ch. 65, as cited on page 180 of Rowe, "Paschal II." 13 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 318. 14 Yewdale, B ohemond I, Prince of Antioch 107; Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 154 55; McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 462 63; Rowe, "Paschal II," 182.


65 support a war against the Byzantin e Empire. 15 He suggests that Bohemond, during his audience with the pope, only made a general request for papal approval regarding his efforts to raise an army in France leaving out all of his anti Byzantine rhetoric and that the pope could not deny approva l for a crusade to a hero of the First Crusade, whose actions during that period "were already half swathed in legend." 16 Rowe's own source, Bartolf of Nangis, claims that Bohemond did denounce the Byzantines to the pope, and that the pope told him to gathe r forces for use against Alexius, but Rowe discounts this evidence as most likely coming from some of Bohemond's men who had survived the crusade of 1107 and who only assumed that the army had been given true papal approval. 17 Most scholars, however, do not subscribe to this theory. Yewdale believes that the pope was "not averse to seeing [the crusading movement] used against the Greek Empire," as do Flori and McQueen. 18 Flori argues that Bohemond was so explicit about the goal of his crusade while preachi ng it across France that it seems impossible that that the pope could have ignored it, and questions why Bruno, the papal legate, did not alert Paschal II to Bohemond's intentions if they were so out of line with the approved expedition. 19 McQueen likewise believes that "the expedition's destination was a factor fully realised by all, including Paschal II." 20 Much of McQueen's argument rests on Orderic Vitalis, who claims that while in France, Bohemond "was accompanied by the son of the Emperor Diogenes and o ther eminent Greeks and Thracians, whose suit against 15 Rowe, "Paschal II," 181. 16 Ibid. 17 Bartolf of Nangis, ch. 65, in Rowe, "Paschal II," 181; Rowe "Paschal II," 180. 18 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 108; Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 276 77; McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 462 63. 19 Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 254 55 and 263. 20 McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 463.


66 the Emperor Alexius for treacherously depriving them of the dignities of their ancestors further stirred up the warlike Franks to fury against him." 21 McQueen posits that Bohemond brought this heir (cert ainly a fake) to the pope, thus removing the "legal, moral and religious problems" of attacking a fellow Christian, since restoring a rightful emperor to the throne in place of a usurper was considered grounds for a just war. 22 There was certainly preced ent for gaining papal approval for war against fellow Christians, reiterated as recently as the 1080s with Robert Guiscard's invasion of the Byzantine Empire. He, too, used a fake claimant to the throne in this case someone pretending to be the deposed emp eror Michael VII in order to gain papal assent for his invasion of the Byzantine Empire. Pope Gregory VII had given his support to Guiscard's attack based on his belief that returning a deposed emperor to the throne constituted a just war. 23 Pope Alexander II, in sanctioning William the Conqueror's invasion of England with a papal banner in 1066, seems to have used similar reasoning, since William's main argument was that Harold's perjury in taking the throne justified the use of force. 24 McQueen's assertion that Bohemond made use of his fake Byzantine heir seems credible in light of these precedents, despite Rowe's logical reminder that people in southern Italy would still remember Guiscard's use of the same ruse and would not be gullible enough to be fooled again. 25 Anna's tale about the Scythian mercenaries, although she places it chronologically on the eve of Bohemond's attack, bears some resemblance to Orderic's report of Bohemond leading around several dissatisfied Greeks, so it seems possible that 21 Orderic Vitalis, 6.70 1. 22 McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 462 63. Romanus IV Diogenes was emperor around the time of the battle of Manzikert in 1071, two emperors before Alexius; Loud, The Age of Robert Guisc ard 210 23 Loud, The Age of Guiscard 210. See Geoffrey Malaterra, The Deeds of Count Roger of Calabria and Sicily and of his Brother Duke Robert Guiscard 144 45. 24 Van Houts, "The Norman Conquest through European Eyes," 832. 25 Rowe, "Paschal II," 185.


67 the two stories each have half of the truth. Each version has Bohemond using a group of people affiliated with the Byzantine Empire to stir up anger against Alexius, and Anna claims that he used these people to persuade the pope to support his cause. Given these details, it seems likely that Paschal II knew that Bohemond's crusade was against the Byzantines, and that he gave his approval nonetheless. It does not seem possible that the pope could have failed to hear about Bohemond's invective against the Byzantine s during his recruiting campaign in France, and it seems even less likely that the papal legate would have remained silent in the face of a radically altered crusade objective. Having secured papal approval, Bohemond traveled to France, where he exploited the underlying hostility toward the Byzantines, his own popularity as a veteran of the First Crusade, and even his own wedding to the daughter of the French king to further his crusade. Both Anna and Orderic Vitalis report that he criticized and vilified Alexius throughout his travels. Anna says that while traveling across Europe, Bohemond was "inveighing bitterly against the Emperor and calling him a pagan and an enemy of the Christians." 26 Orderic, as discussed above, described the "eminent Greeks and Thr acians" who accompanied Bohemond and helped him to press his case against the Byzantines. 27 Bohemond found a receptive audience for his anti Byzantine rhetoric; the Western attitude toward the Byzantines was hostile at this time, on account of Alexius' aban donment of the crusaders at Antioch, the disaster of the crusade of 1101, and difficulties faced by Western pilgrims traveling in the East. 28 26 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 300. 27 Orderic Vitalis, 6.71. 28 Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 255. My translation.


68 Chroniclers of the period, such as Fulcher of Chartres and William of Tyre, make this attitude clear in their wri tings. When discussing Bohemond's invasion of the Byzantine Empire, Fulcher states that Alexius "was at that time strongly opposed to our people. By trickery or open violence he thwarted or tyrannized over the pilgrims going to Jerusalem by land or sea." H e cites this as Bohemond's reason for attacking the Byzantine Empire. 29 William of Tyre blames Alexius for the failure of the 1101 expedition and says that he collaborated with the Turks against the Christians, "putting many obstacles in the way of pilgrim s who desired to pass through his lands on their way to Jerusalem." He, too, claims that these were the reasons for Bohemond's war against the Byzantines. 30 Bohemond used these prejudices to his advantage, doing all he could to spread the image of a corrupt and perverse Byzantine Empire that was an enemy of the Christians and collaborator with the Turks. 31 As part of his anti Byzantine campaigning, some scholars believe that Bohemond used the Gesta Francorum as propaganda. Rowe claims that Bohemond handed o ut copies of the Gesta because the deeds it recounted "reminded the French of the crusading valor of the previous generation" and "recorded for all Bohemund's great contribution to the crusade." Furthermore, he says that the Gesta had been filled with int erpolations meant to "establish the invincibility of Bohemund's claims to the principality of Antioch" and to make Alexius look particularly wicked. 32 Flori for the 29 Fulcher of Chartres, 192. 30 William of Tyre, 1.470 71. 31 Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 255. My translation. 32 Rowe, "Paschal II," 185. The source of t his view of the Gesta 's function is an article by A. C. Krey, in which the author argues that the Gesta Francorum was rewritten by Bohemond's allies in 1106 to make Bohemond appear in a more positive light. He also hypothesizes that Bohemond's popularity d uring his recruiting campaign in France was due to the dissemination of literature (namely the Gesta ) about him by his allies. Krey cites as evidence for his theory the precedent set by the Investiture Contest in using chronicles as propaganda, and the fac t the Gesta was reworked by writers such as Guibert of Nogent,


69 most part agrees with this interpretation, seeing propagandistic opportunities everywhere in the Gesta even in battle narratives. 33 However, while the Gesta does focus on Bohemond, it does not praise him consistently, and the other chroniclers of the First Crusade, such as Raymond of Aguilers and Albert of Aachen, also say negative things about A lexius and the Byzantines. There does not seem to be any convincing reason to assume that the Gesta was altered in order to make it work as propaganda; however, it is not inconceivable that Bohemond might have used it in recounting the major events of the First Crusade to his audiences. That is, of course, merely speculation, as the Western primary sources do not mention the Gesta Bohemond certainly used his fame as a crusader as an aid in recruiting for his expedition. Orderic says that Bohemond, du ring his travels through France in 1106, "was honourably received by both clergy and people" wherever he went, "and related the various adventures in which he had played a part. He reverently laid relics and silken palls and other desirable objects on the holy altars, delighted in the warm welcome given him in monasteries and bishoprics, and thanked God for the kindness of the western peoples." 34 As a result of his self promotion, people flocked to him, even offering to name their children after him; therea fter "his name was popularized in Gaul, although previously it had been virtually unknown to most persons in the west." 35 Baudry of Dol, and Robert the Monk around 1106 1108, which suggested that there were copies circulating around the time of Bohemond's recruiting efforts; Krey, "A Neglected Passage in the Gesta Francorum," 65, 71 4. Krey's evidence seems circumstantial, and I do not find his theory convincing. 33 Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 82, 171. Flori (171) believes that one part of the section in the Gesta describing the battle against Kerbogha's forces at A ntioch, in which saintly warriors appear to aid the crusaders, was used to help Bohemond's recruiting efforts in 1106. See the Gesta Francorum 69. 34 Orderic Vitalis, 6.69. 35 Ibid., 71.


70 The culmination of this popularity was his marriage to Constance, the daughter of the French king Philip I (r. 1060 1108). 36 Orderic r ecords that Bohemond was the one to seek out this marriage alliance, suggesting that his standing as prince of Antioch was sufficiently noble and powerful to make him a desirable match for a French princess. Barely a decade before he had been the least lan ded and least wealthy of the crusading leaders; now he was the veritable hero of the First Crusade, a ruler in his own right, and married into the royal family. He used his lofty status as a recruiting aid, going so far as to co opt his own wedding for the purpose of preaching his crusade. As Orderic relates, he "mounted the pulpit before the altar of the blessed Virgin and Mother, and there related to the huge throng that had assembled all his deeds and adventures, urged all who bore arms to attack the Emp eror with him, and promised his chosen adjutants wealthy towns and castles." He convinced many there, who set off on crusade "like men hastening to a feast." 37 All of his actions, even his own marriage, became opportunities to recruit men to his cause. Thou gh scholars do not entirely agree on what Bohemond intended with his attack on the Byzantine Empire, it seems clear that, having succeeded in recruiting a crusading army, he felt that he was in a position to neutralize one of the two main threat s to his pr incipality. His army was made up of French and Italian knights, though Anna asserts that he also had Germans, men from "Thule" (by which she means Scandinavians), and "Celtiberians." 38 Unlike on the First Crusade, the knights were not accompanied by a vast group of non combatant pilgrims, and Bohemond "allowed no women to cross with 36 Anna records the marriage, and adds that another French princess wa s sent to Tancred to be his wife. Anna Comnena, Alexiad 300. 37 Ibid. 38 Albert of Aachen, 755; Anna Comnena, Alexiad 320.


71 him lest they be an impediment and a burden to the army." 39 This was an invading army, not a mixed mass of knights and common people seeking to free the holiest site in Christen dom from the grip of the infidel. 40 Anna, unsurprisingly, states that Bohemond was "preparing for his attack on the Roman throne" with this army, but most scholars tend to take a slightly more nuanced view regarding Bohemond's goals. 41 Yewdale echoes Anna, pointing out that "from the very first," Bohemond "had planned to attack Alexius from the West, instead of taking his expedition to the East to be used for the defense of Antioch," and presenting his attack as a straightforward attempt to take over the en tire Byzantine Empire. 42 Flori, on the other hand, argues that the goal was to secure Antioch through an outright assault on the Byzantines a defense of Antioch through taking Constantinople and the Byzantine emperorship. 43 This interpretation seems a bit of a stretch, but Flori is not the only scholar to emphasize the continuing importance of Antioch in Bohemond's plans. While Bohemond's anti Byzantine rhetoric and his decision to focus his attack on the city of Durazzo, far from Antioch, suggest that he tr uly did intend to take over the Byzantine Empire, Antioch was probably near the front of his mind. The primary sources unfortunately do not comment on Bohemond's motivations, so it is left to historians to interpret and speculate. The most convincing inter pretations not only take into account Bohemond's desire to conquer the Byzantines definitively, but also his attachment to 39 Fulcher of Chartres, 192. 40 Nevertheless, Yewdale ( Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 115) is adamant that it was a true crusade, with "the usual crusading privileges" given to the participants, and suggests that it was "the first example of the use of the Crusade for political purposes." Flori ( BohŽmond d'Antioche 278) also asserts that the 1107 expedition was a true crusade, with its b road goal being to protect the Christians in the fledgling Latin states. 41 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 311. 42 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 107. 43 Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 273 and 275.


72 Antioch. Based on these interpretations, it seems that Bohemond's assault on the Byzantine Empire was more about neutralizing the thr eat posed to his territory and its expansion than about any imperial ambitions. Lilie believes that if Bohemond had taken his army to the Antioch area, he "would have been able to throw the Byzantines out of Syria," but that such a victory would not have b een a definitive one. On the other hand, attacking "Byzantium itself provided the possibility of defeating the Greek Empire, or at least of so weakening it that it would for a long time present no further danger." 44 It is also possible that Bohemond wanted to create "an eastern power under his aegis, one which would stretch from Durazzo to Antioch," with the goal of turning Antioch into the center of his domain. 45 He would "crush Alexius Comnenus and expand his own territories centered on Antioch." 46 Bohemond and Tancred (operating from the area of Antioch) may even have been coordinating their efforts against the Byzantines; certainly Bohemond's attack from the West presented a great distraction, which would have relieved the pressure on Antioch. 47 Bohemond's motivations were therefore more complex than simple aggression or desire for conquest. The need to protect his principality had sent him back over the sea to the West, and concern for the preservation of Antioch continued to inform his actions. Bohemond a cted opportunistically in raising a crusade against the Byzantine Empire, both in his methods of recruitment and in his deployment of his army. By attacking the Byzantine Empire itself through Durazzo with the unstated intention of taking Constantinople, i t seems that he was attempting to rid himself of the Byzantine 44 Lilie, Byzantium and the Crusader States 74. 45 McQueen, "Re lations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 464 and 471. 46 Ibid., 471. 47 Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioch 137.


73 threat once and for all. This strategy in and of itself was opportunistic, for he must have been conscious of the risk of failure well known to him thanks to his experiences during his father's invasion of the Byzantine Empire in the 1080s and felt that with the strength of a crusading army behind him, that risk was a gamble he was willing to take. The siege of Durazzo lasted from mid October of 1107 until September of the next year. 48 As the siege wore on, food and supply shortages became acute due to the Byzantines, who cut off the supply routes used by Bohemond's army, over both land and sea, and harried the groups of knights sent out on foraging expeditions. Famine encouraged the spread of disease, and there were many desertions to the Byzantine side. 49 The combination of starvation, disease, and desertion created a crisis similar to that which the crusaders had faced at Antioch during critical points in the siege of 1098. In this situation, however, there was no real force upon which to make a desperate charge, for Alexius was too aware of the potential for a Frankish victory in open battle to allow one to occur. As Anna says, he was "anxious to overcome Bohemund by other methods." 50 By Septem ber of 1108, Bohemond had accepted that there was little to be done given the circumstances but sue for peace. 51 48 Fulcher of Chartres, 192. 49 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 327 and 342; Albert of Aachen, 759. It should be pointed out that the Byzantines used the same "guerrilla tactics" of cutting supply lines, harrying foragers, and encouraging desertions during the 1083 portion of Guiscard's campaign (which Bohemond led in his father's absence), resulting in Bohemond having to withdraw; Loud The Age of Robert Guiscard 219. 50 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 332. In addition to attacking any knights who ventured outside of their fortifications to forage, the Byzantines also tried to divide Bohemond's force internally by driving a wedge between Bohemon d and his most trusted leaders. Orderic and Albert record the same, though unlike Anna, who is very clear that Alexius' attempt to make Bohemond's officers look like traitors through planted letters came to nothing, they assert that Bohemond's officers did indeed defect to the Byzantine side, and as a result helped to bring about the failure of the siege and the peace made with Alexius; Anna Comnena, Alexiad 333 34; Orderic Vitalis, 6.103; Albert of Aachen, 759. 51 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 342 43.


74 In spite of the failure of his anti Byzantine crusade, Bohemond continued to get what he could out of unfavorable circumstances. He may have bee n forced into making peace with Alexius, but in the words of Anna, "it is the prerogative of generals not only to deal with swords and fighting but also with treaties." 52 Though aggression had not brought about the desired outcome, Bohemond managed to neutr alize the Byzantine threat through seeking out and signing the Treaty of Devol. The sources for the treaty are problematic, since only Anna details the terms of the treaty, and the Western sources (or, in the case of Fulcher of Chartres, a Western writer s ituated in the East) either gloss over it or fail to mention it entirely Albert speaks of Bohemond being "reconciled to the emperor with an extraordinary quantity and weight of gold and silver, and precious purple," and refers to this reconciliation as Bo hemond's "secret agreement with the emperor," as if it were a bribe of some kind. 53 Orderic depicts Bohemond as resistant to seeking peace, whereas his army begs him to do so and berates him for undertaking the siege in the first place, as it was inspired o nly b y "l ust to ru le in the dominions of another. 54 Bohemond and the army eventually "made peace with the Emperor, who received them and gave [Bohemond's soldiers] free choice of remaining to serve under him or going wherever they liked." 55 Fulcher of Chart res does mention a treaty, but speaks of it in the most general terms. He records that "after a treaty had been discussed through intermediaries and after the emperor with his army had approached Bohemond, they became friends with each other after several conferences." 56 Bohemond 52 Anna Co mnena, Alexiad 332. 53 Albert of Aachen, 759. 54 Orderic Vitalis, 6.103. 55 Ibid. 56 Fulcher of Chartres, 193.


75 "swore to observe peace and loyalty to the emperor in all things" once Alexius had sworn to let the pilgrims pass through his lands without harm. 57 The Western writers would not have had access to material from the imperial archive s as Anna did, and it seems that either they had not heard about what went on during the meetings between Alexius and Bohemond, or they intentionally covered up the details of the treaty in an attempt to gloss over the entire episode. It seems likely that Fulcher, at least, writing in Jerusalem, ought to have had heard something about the nature of the treaty. Certainly Bohemond's defeat was embarrassing, after all his efforts to put together a crusade, so it makes sense that the Western sources say as litt le as possible on the subject. Anna, on the other hand, says a great deal. Scholars regard her version of the treaty as reliable, in spite of her tendency to glorify her father and in doing so to depict Bohemond as his foil. 58 The document she presents is f airly straightforward; it does contain a few verbal flourishes designed to emphasize to its signer the subordinate position he is now in, but the text refrains from excessively humiliating Bohemond. It seems a credible replication of the original Treaty of Devol. While the terms of the treaty strongly favor Alexius, Bohemond is treated as a potential ally to whom concessions are granted rather than as a disgraced opponent. The treaty begins with the nullification of Bohemond's previous oath to the empero r, which he broke by taking control of Antioch; the old oath "must be annulled and not held effective since it is condemned as invalid because of the change of circumstances." 59 In 57 Fulcher of Chartres, 193. 58 Rowe ("Paschal II," 197) believes that Anna's account is quoting directly from "the copy of the original document as i t was preserved in the imperial archives." 59 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 348.


76 its place is a new oath, wherein Bohemond pledges to become the emperor's "l iegeman" and to bear arms against the enemies of the Byzantine Empire. 60 In return he is to receive lands from Alexius, to be held for the emperor and in no way independent. First, though, he has to agree to a long list of prohibitions, including: he will not take over any lands that comprise at present or used to comprise the Byzantine Empire; if he does manage to conquer territory from Byzantine enemies, he has to surrender it to whatever Byzantine representative is on hand; he may take over Muslim lands that never belonged to the Byzantine Empire, but they must be held as fiefs for Alexius; he is not allowed to take over any cities surrendered directly to the Empire by the Muslims; he is not to send his army out against anyone unless Alexius directs him t o; he must get his vassals to swear fealty to the emperor; he must accept a Greek patriarch in Antioch in place of the Latin one; and if Tancred refuses to give back the Byzantine lands he holds, Bohemond is to declare war on him. 61 Alexius obviously though t very carefully about how he might best keep Bohemond in check, and endeavored to deny Bohemond any loopholes through which he might continue to take over pieces of the Byzantine Empire. At the same time, Alexius did not want to alienate Bohemond, and g ranted him a variety of territories. In addition to Antioch and some of its surrounding areas though not Laodicea, Tarsus, Adana, or much of the rest of Cilicia, which Alexius removed from Antioch's rule Bohemond received other areas, castles, small towns, and possibly Edessa. 62 Alexius again limited Bohemond by stating that his lands would revert to the 60 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 349. 61 Ibid., 351 54. 62 Ibid., 355 56. There is a lacuna in the text in the area where Edessa is being discussed, so it is impossible to know for certain if Bohemond actually received Edessa itself. Flori ( BohŽmond d'Antioche 284) and Lilie ( Byzantium and the Crusader States 79) believe he did; Asbridge ( The Creation of the Principality of Antioch 98) is not convinced.


77 Byzantine Empire upon his death, save the unnamed dukedom (that might be Edessa), which he could pass on to his heirs, provided they also took an oath to th e emperor. 63 However, he also promised Bohemond two hundred talents as a yearly payment, the title of s ebastus and "a large sum of money." 64 Bohemond did not sit by idly while Alexius dictated terms; in addition to convincing Alexius to grant him lands in c ompensation for the areas taken from Antioch, he worked out fair treatment for his men. 65 He was able to secure a promise from Alexius that the remnants of his army would be allowed to "pass the winter within the Roman dominions and be supplied abundantly w ith all necessaries, and that when the winter was over and they had recovered from their many toils, they should be allowed to go wherever they wanted." 66 The diplomatic give and take implied in the text recalls Bohemond's initial interactions with Alexius in Constantinople at the start of the First Crusade, when he requested the title of domestikos From the way Alexius was willing to provide incentives like the extra lands, yearly payments, an official title, and a direct payment of money, it seems that h e was attempting to treat Bohemond as if everything that had happened between 1097 and 1108 had not in fact occurred as if Bohemond were still an ally who might prove useful to the Byzantine Empire. He could have stripped Bohemond of all of his Eastern pos sessions, but he did not. McQueen has interpreted these actions as a recognition of Bohemond's power and potential threat, asserting that "the Byzantines were seeking to employ his undoubted military prowess in their schemes, a service based 63 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 356. 64 Ibid ., 356 and 359. 65 Ibid., 355. 66 Ibid., 359. Again, when Anna says "Roman," she means "Byzantine."


78 on Antioch; th e key to expansion in Syria." 67 Lilie goes further in claiming that the Normans' military prowess combined with the manpower and resources of the Byzantines "would have been able, had it been realized in fact and not only on paper, to alter the whole course of history in Syria, Palestine, and Asia Minor." 68 While this seems somewhat of an exaggeration, it seems clear that Alexius still wanted Bohemond as an ally, albeit a leashed one. Most scholars agree that the treaty was a potential disaster for Bohemond and Antioch. They stress the dependence of Bohemond's rule on Alexius and the Byzantines, and the impact on him of the loss of the "key strategic and economic regions of Cilicia and Latakia [Laodicea]." 69 Asbridge says that removing those areas would have had the effect of "emasculating the principality" and rendered it "a shadow of its former self." 70 In that same vein, the stipulation in the treaty that the patriarchate of Antioch be changed from Latin back to Greek would have "introduced a significant By zantine counter" to Bohemond's rule. 71 He also points out that many of the territories given to Bohemond in compensation were still under Muslim control, meaning that Bohemond would have to conquer them on his own. 72 Only Lilie argues that the treaty was not as bad for Bohemond as it seemed; he concludes that Bohemond received so much land from the emperor that the situation of Antioch was restored to what it had been in early 1101, before Tancred had managed to capture Laodicea, Tarsus, Adana, and Mamistra i n 67 McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 466. 68 Lilie, Byzantium and the Crusader States 80. 69 Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioch 98. Yewdale ( Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 129) also remarks on the importance of these areas. 70 Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioch 97 8. 71 Ibid., 96. 72 Ibid., 98.


79 Bohemond's absence. 73 Although this is true, Asbridge's assessment seems more convincing. Back in 1097, Bohemond might have been content to hold land for the Byzantines in this way, but at this stage of his career, after he had ruled over his own independ ent principality, he was beyond seeking service with the Byzantines. 74 Given the unfavorable terms of the Treaty of Devol, Bohemond's best option was to take advantage of the treaty's one glaring loophole and depart from the East forever, leaving Antioch in Tancred's capable hands. Though Alexius had been fairly thorough in limiting Bohemond's actions through prohibitions and instructions, he had failed to realize that everything in the treaty rested on Bohemond's returning to Antioch. Bohemond had sworn fea lty to the Byzantines, but his vassals, including Tancred, had not. Without Bohemond to compel them to take oaths, as the treaty had him promise to do, they could safely ignore any Byzantine claims on the city of Antioch and its environs. There was also no provision in the treaty for dealing with the rulers of Antioch after Bohemond, since Alexius had assumed that the principality would be under Byzantine control upon Bohemond's death. 75 In Bohemond's absence, in other words, the treaty was no longer valid. While Pryor claims that the Byzantine Empire used the treaty to exert "a feudal suzerainty in the Latin Frankish feudal sense over the principality," Asbridge questions the credibility of that statement, saying that the treaty's "uselessness as a legal doc ument may be demonstrated by the fact that it was not subsequently cited as the basis or justification of the Byzantine claim to Antioch by the Greek emperors," and goes on to deny that the treaty had a serious effect on Antioch's relationship with the Byz antines 73 Lilie, Byzantium and the Crusader States 79. Bohemond had been captured by the Turks in 1100 and was not ransomed until 1103. For Tancred's capture of the cities, see Ralph of Caen, 158 63. For the capture and ransom of Bohemond, see Fulcher of Chartres, 135 and 175. 74 McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 467. 75 Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioch 99.


80 from that point forward. 76 It had no impact upon Antioch in the short term, certainly, since Tancred was busy reconquering Cilicia after 1108, and he ignored the Byzantine emissaries sent to Antioch to threaten him after Bohemond's death. 77 Alexius c ould not find enough support among the Latin rulers in the area to wage war on Tancred, and then his attention was drawn elsewhere by affairs within the Empire, so Antioch remained unmolested by the Byzantines and free to expand. 78 Orderic says that Bohemo nd "returned sadly to Apulia," a defeated man, and many scholars agree with this assessment of his departure. 79 In light of Bohemond's other actions, however, it seems likely that he was deliberately exploiting the loophole in the Treaty of Devol by returni ng to Italy. Lilie admits that Bohemond may have only been trying to save himself and his men by signing the treaty, and never took it seriously. 80 Flori believes that Bohemond had enough imagination, Norman cunning, and political savvy to understand that n ever returning to Antioch would keep it out of Byzantine hands and would retain an inheritance for his infant son (Bohemond II). 81 He terms Bohemond's departure his "final ruse" used against the Byzantines. 82 By leaving, Bohemond had outmaneuvered the Byzant ines. Although he lost personal control of his principality, Tancred whom he had specifically chosen as regent and whom he knew was entirely capable of expanding Antioch's borders ruled in his stead and continued 76 Pryor, "The Oaths of the Leaders," 130 31; Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioch 99 and 103. 77 Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioch 62 3; Ann a Comnena, Alexiad 362 63. Anna says on page 363 that when the emissaries gave Tancred their message, "that mad and demented barbarian would not listen, even with the tips of his earsand reiterated that, no matter what happened, he would never give up An tioch, not even if the soldiers set to fight against him had hands of fire." 78 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 363 68. 79 Orderic Vitalis, 6.105. 80 Lilie, Byzantium and the Crusader States 81. 81 Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 291. My translation. 82 Ibid., 292. My tra nslation.


81 with the business of carving out more terri tory at the expense of the Byzantines and Turks. 83 Many scholars believe that Bohemond did not give up his dream of conquering the Byzantine Empire after his return to Italy. This view is based on William of Tyre's claim that Bohemond was gathering a fle et with which to attack the Byzantine Empire at the time of his death. 84 Yewdale and McQueen accept William's statement as fact, but it seems somewhat suspect. 85 Anna, whom one would expect to know of such rumors, since she was so well informed about the pre parations of Bohemond's fleet back in 1107, says nothing about Bohemond's activities after his return to Italy. 86 Nor do the other Western sources, which merely mention his death. 87 Bohemond's father, Robert Guiscard, had died in the midst of preparing a fur ther attack on the Byzantines; perhaps William's report of Bohemond's fleet reflects what would be expected of Bohemond given his heritage and his efforts to raise his army for the 1107 crusade, rather than what actually happened. 88 As related in the introd uction to this thesis, Anna Comnena tells a story about how Bohemond faked his own death in order to return to the West for his 1105 1106 crusade recruitment campaign: he had his men seal him up in a coffin along with a dead rooster to provide an authenti c stench of death and sail off with the "body", letting Bohemond out while at sea, but sealing him up again at each port to spread the word of 83 See Map 5. 84 William of Tyre, 1.472. 85 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 133; McQueen, "Relations Between the Normans and Byzantium," 472. 86 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 309 and 319 for Alexius' knowledge of Bohemond's movements with regard to his fleet in 1107. 87 Albert of Aachen, 825; Orderic Vitalis, 6. 105. Anna ( Alexiad 359) places his death six months after he left for Italy, and William of Tyre (472) places it in "the following summer" after he returned. Yewdale ( Bohemond I, Prince of An tioch 133) definitively gives the date as 7 March 1111. 88 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 147.


82 his death In this way, Anna says, he ingeniously escaped the attention of the Byzantines and made it back to Ita ly. 89 Bohemond's departure after signing the Treaty of Devol can be viewed as a less dramatic but no less effective version of that story. His self imposed exile from the East removed him, and his principality, from Byzantine control in one simple yet brill iant move. He was not able, as in Anna's coffin story, to send a mocking letter to Alexius, revealing his ruse and his intention to come back with a conquering army; instead, he left his nephew Tancred to defy Alexius. 90 By signing the Treaty of Devol and t hen taking advantage of its major loophole, Bohemond neutralized the Byzantine threat to Antioch. He might have failed to conquer the Byzantines, but he had successfully defended his principality nonetheless. Bohemond's opportunism remained constant even a s the scope of his ambitions broadened after 1104. He turned the crisis in Antioch into a chance to preach a crusade in the West against the Byzantines, gaining papal approval and taking advantage of his prestige in order to raise his army. He attacked the Byzantine Empire outright, with the presumed intention of winning through to Constantinople a daring move intended to destroy the threat of the Byzantines for good. When his attempt failed, he got what he could out of the negotiations with the Byzantines; by making use of the biggest loophole in the Treaty of Devol, he effectively freed Antioch from the Byzantine threat, achieving a large part of what he had hoped to gain by conquering the Byzantine Empire in spite of his defeat. 89 Anna Comnena, Alexiad 297 98. 90 Ibid., 299.


83 CONCLUSION Bohemond's o pportunism, fueled by his desire to seek advancement beyond his status in southern Italy, motivated all his interactions with the Byzantines from the First Crusade onward, both positive and negative. From his entrance into Byzantine lands in 1096 to the Tr eaty of Devol in 1108, his opportunistic tendencies remained constant even as his loyalties shifted. Bohemond did not begin the First Crusade with plans of conquest. From the moment he set foot in Byzantine territory, he made every effort to appear friendl y, and when the opportunity came to enter into Byzantine service through the oath that Alexius took from each crusading leader, he seized it eagerly. Beyond taking the oath, he demonstrated his willingness to ally himself with the Byzantines by asking for the position of domestikos When refused that, he assumed the most active role of any of the Western leaders while in Constantinople, aiding the negotiations between Alexius and Raymond of Toulouse, ensuring that Raymond and Tancred took their oaths, and a cting as a liaison for supplies between the Byzantines and the crusading army. His behavior in Constantinople demonstrates that he viewed an alliance with the Byzantines as his best chance for personal advancement at that moment, and experienced the benefi ts of that connection when his role as liaison enabled him to distinguish himself among the crusading leaders. During the siege of Antioch, Bohemond's opportunism, which had previously benefited the Byzantines, began to prove detrimental to his relationshi p with them as his loyalties shifted to the city itself. His rising military prestige as the First Crusade progressed prompted him to reconsider the usefulness of his Byzantine connection. The


84 departure of the imperial representative Tatikios provided Bohe mond with more chances to exercise his opportunism, but at the same time allowed him to keep his options open; he was beginning to disengage from his alliance with the Byzantines. By the summer of 1098, it had become clear that he had decided to sever his ties to the Byzantines for good in favor of gaining the principality of Antioch for himself. Having secured the promise of the crusading leaders that he could have control of the city if he could deliver it from the Turks, Bohemond engineered the capture o f Antioch and began to assert his claim on it. This brought him into conflict with Raymond of Toulouse and the other leaders, who were not willing to break their oath to Alexius, and revealed that his attachment to Antioch eclipsed even his connection to t he crusaders. He now envisioned Antioch as his means of personal advancement, and he no longer had any use for his other ties to the Byzantines or his fellow crusaders. From the end of the First Crusade and into the early years of the twelfth century, B ohemond's opportunistic tendencies led him to become a true enemy of the Byzantines. Even though the scope of his ambitions expanded to include the conquest of the Byzantine Empire, his opportunism remained a constant, and informed his actions against the Empire. For example, he turned the precarious situation of Antioch in 1104 into an opportunity to launch a crusade against the Byzantines. After gaining the approval of Pope Paschal II, he took advantage of every occasion to preach his anti Byzantine exped ition, making the most of Western hostility toward the Byzantines and his popularity as a veteran of the First Crusade, and even turning his own royal wedding into a platform for recruiting men to his cause. His attack on the Byzantine Empire itself was am bitious, and although it failed, Bohemond got what he could out of less than favorable


85 circumstances. He saved himself and his army with the Treaty of Devol, and by exploiting the treaty's one major loophole, he prevented the Byzantines from subjecting eit her Antioch or himself to their control Bohemond might have failed to conquer the Byzantine Empire, but his opportunism remained as prominent in his character as ever, and it ensured the survival of Antioch as an independent principality. Many scholars' overall impression of Bohemond's career is that it was a failure. "Impression" is the proper word, because it is difficult to pin down explicit instances of this condemnation. The fact, however, that recent reference books such as Medieval Italy: An Encycl opedia judge his career negatively shows that the view of Bohemond as a failure is widespread. This view seems to have two sources: scholars tend to place heavy emphasis on the events of 1105 to 1108 while neglecting the previous decades of Bohemond's life ; in addition, some ascribe to him fairly wild ambitions. Bohemond's attack on the Byzantine Empire and its aftermath may have been the final major event in his life, but it was hardly the only one. He went from being landless and dispossessed after his fa ther's death to ruling a sizeable portion of Apulia, all taken from his half brother; from there, he used the First Crusade as a means of seeking further advancement in status. During the crusade he proved himself an extremely capable military commander an d essentially saved the entire expedition from collapse during the siege and battle of Antioch. He carved out a principality for himself at the expense of the Byzantines, right in the midst of their Empire. He singlehandedly raised an entire crusade agains t the Byzantines, and while his attack failed, the loss was due more to conditions beyond his control, such as famine, disease, and desertion, than to a major strategic or tactical blunder on his part. The fact that he signed the Treaty of Devol and then v anished


86 from the East ought not to overshadow the rest of his remarkable career, nor should the events surrounding the Treaty of Devol be viewed entirely as failures. Compounding this problem of interpretation, Yewdale and Flori both declare that Bohemond ultimately wished to rule over an empire connecting the West and East, stretching from Apulia to Antioch and beyond. Flori describes this regnum as a Norman Latin empire where Bohemond, as king, would be able to establish a line of princes bearing his nam e. 1 Yewdale, similarly, says that Bohemond intended, after 1104, to establish "a powerful Asio European empire." 2 Such an empire, according to Yewdale, would have made him into "the greatest figure in the Mediterranean world," and would surpass even the bo rders of the Byzantine Empire, for "beyond Antioch lay Aleppo, and beyond Aleppo lay Bagdad [sic]." 3 This speculation seems at once an excuse for Bohemond's failure to conquer the Byzantines and an indictment of his career, since by highlighting those spec tacular things which he did not accomplish, the scholars make the end of his career seem all the more ignoble. There seems no reason to suppose that Bohemond's ambitions were so boundless. Since he and other major figures of his age did not leave behind d iaries detailing their motives and aspirations, speculation is all we have available to us in reconstructing the motivations that set in motion the events recorded in the chronicles. 4 However, speculation needs to be supported by the details of those event s. In Bohemond's case, those details reveal that he consistently acted opportunistically, particularly in his interactions with the Byzantines, and that his ambitions took shape slowly as he gained 1 Flori, BohŽmond d'Antioche 286. 2 Yewdale, Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch 135. 3 Ibid. 4 This makes the Alexiad biases aside, a particularly interesting source, as it focuses on Alexius' (supposed) impressions, thoughts, and motives in dealing with the challenges presented during his reign.


87 status and power. Even in the face of potential disaster a nd defeat he continued to turn every situation to his advantage. The signing of the Treaty of Devol, and Bohemond's departure afterward, should be viewed as just one more instance of his opportunism in action. These events were the culmination of his caree r, but as I hope this thesis has shown, they did not prove its ruin.


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