Principality of Antioch

Principality of Antioch

Infobox Former Country
native_name =
conventional_long_name = Principality of Antioch
common_name = Principality of Antioch
continent = moved from Category:Asia to the Middle East
region = the Middle East
country = Palestine
era = High Middle Ages
status =
event_start = First Crusade
year_start = 1098
date_start =
event_end = Conquered by Baibars
year_end = 1268
date_end =
p1 = Fatimid Caliphate
flag_p1 = Fatimid flag.svg
s1 = Mamluk
flag_s1 = Mameluke_Flag.svg‎

image_map_caption = The Principality of Antioch in the context of the other states of the Near East in 1135 AD.
capital = Antioch
common_languages = Latin, Old French, Italian (also Arabic and Greek)
religion = Roman Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy, Syrian Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism
government_type = Monarchy
leader1 = Bohemond I
year_leader1 = 1098-1111
leader2 = Bohemond VI
year_leader2 = 1252-1268
title_leader = Prince
legislature =

The Principality of Antioch, including parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria, was one of the crusader states created during the First Crusade.


While Baldwin of Boulogne and Tancred headed east from Asia Minor to set up the County of Edessa, the main army of the First Crusade continued south to besiege Antioch. Bohemond of Taranto led the siege, beginning in October, 1097. With over four hundred towers, the city was almost impenetrable. The siege lasted throughout the winter, with much suffering among the Crusaders, who were often forced to eat their own horses, or, as legend has it, the bodies of their fellow Christians who had not survived.

thumb|The_Siege of Antioch, from a medieval miniature painting.] However, Bohemond convinced a guard in one of the towers, a former Christian named Firouz, to let the Crusaders enter the city. He did so on June 3, 1098, and a massacre of the Muslim inhabitants followed. Only four days later, a Muslim army from Mosul led by Kerbogha arrived to besiege the Crusaders themselves. Alexius I Comnenus, the Byzantine emperor, was on his way to assist the Crusaders, but turned back when he heard the city had already been retaken.

However, the Crusaders were withstanding the siege, with help from a mystic named Peter Bartholomew. Peter claimed he had been visited by St. Andrew, who told him that the Holy Lance, which had pierced Christ's side as he was on the cross, was located in Antioch. The cathedral of St. Peter was excavated, and the Lance was discovered by Peter himself. Although Peter most likely planted it there himself (even the papal legate Adhemar of Le Puy believed this to be the case), it helped raise the spirits of the Crusaders. With the newly discovered relic at the head of the army, Bohemond marched out to meet Kerbogha, who was miraculously defeated — miraculously, according to the Crusaders, because an army of saints had appeared to help them on the battlefield.

There was a lengthy dispute over who should control the city. Bohemond and the other Italian Normans eventually won, and Bohemond named himself prince. Bohemond was already prince (allodial lord) of Taranto in Italy, and he desired to continue such independence in his new lordship; thus he did not attempt to receive the title of Duke from the Byzantine Emperor (in whose name he had taken an oath to fight), nor any other title with deep feudal obligations, such as count. Meanwhile, an unknown epidemic spread throughout the Crusader camp; Adhemar of Le Puy was one of the victims.

Early history

Bohemond was captured in battle with the Danishmends in 1100, and his nephew Tancred became regent. Tancred expanded the borders of the Principality, taking the cities of Tarsus and Latakia from the Byzantine Empire. Those cities along with other territory were lost after the Battle of Harran when Baldwin II was captured. Bohemond was released in 1103, but left Tancred as regent again when he went to Italy to raise more troops in 1105. He used these troops to attack the Byzantines in 1107, and when he was defeated at Dyrrhachium in 1108 he was forced by Alexius I to sign the Treaty of Devol, which would make Antioch a vassal state of the Byzantine Empire upon Bohemond's death; Bohemond had actually promised to return any land that was reconquered when the Crusaders passed through Constantinople in 1097. Bohemond also fought Aleppo with Baldwin and Joscelin of the County of Edessa; when Baldwin and Joscelin were captured, Tancred became regent in Edessa as well. Bohemond left Tancred as regent once more and returned to Italy, where he died in 1111.

Alexius wanted Tancred to return the Principality entirely to Byzantium, but Tancred was supported by the County of Tripoli and the Kingdom of Jerusalem; Tancred, in fact, had been the only Crusade leader who did not swear to return conquered land to Alexius (though none of the other leaders, including Bohemond, kept their oaths anyway). Tancred died in 1112 and was succeeded by Bohemond II, under the regency of Tancred's nephew Roger of Salerno, who defeated a Seljuk attack in 1113.

However, on June 27, 1119, Roger was killed at the "Ager Sanguinis" (the Field of Blood), and Antioch became a vassal state of Jerusalem with King Baldwin II as regent until 1126 (although Baldwin spent much of this time in captivity in Aleppo). Bohemond II, who married Baldwin's daughter Alice, ruled for only four short years, and the Principality was inherited by his young daughter Constance; Baldwin II acted as regent again until his death in 1131, when Fulk of Jerusalem took power. In 1136 Constance, still only 10 years old, married Raymond of Poitiers, who was 36.

Raymond, like his predecessors, attacked the Byzantine province of Cilicia. This time, however, Emperor John II Comnenus fought back. He arrived in Antioch in 1138 and forced Raymond to swear fealty to him, but a riot instigated by Joscelin II of Edessa forced him to leave. John had plans to reconquer all the Crusader states, but he died in 1143.

Antioch in the Byzantine Empire

After the fall of Edessa in 1144, Antioch was attacked by Nur ad-Din during the Second Crusade. Much of the eastern part of the Principality was lost, and Raymond was killed at the battle of Inab in 1149. Baldwin III of Jerusalem was technically regent for Raymond's widow Constance until 1153 when she married Raynald of Chatillon. Raynald, too, immediately found himself in conflict with the Byzantines, this time in Cyprus; he made peace with Manuel I Comnenus, however, in 1158, and the next year Manuel arrived to take personal control of the Principality. Henceforth, the Principality of Antioch was to be a vassal of Byzantium until Manuel's death in 1180. Although this arrangement meant that the Principality had to provide a contingent for the Byzantine Army (troops from Antioch participated in an attack on the Seljuk Turks in 1176), it also safeguarded the City against Nur ad-Din at a time when it was in serious danger of being overrun.

Raynald was taken prisoner by the Muslims in 1160, and the regency fell to the Patriarch of Antioch (Raynald was not released until 1176, and never returned to Antioch). Meanwhile, Manuel married Constance's daughter Maria, but as Constance was only nominally in charge of Antioch, she was deposed in 1163 and replaced by her son Bohemond III. Bohemond was taken captive by Nur ad-Din the following year at the Battle of Harim, and the Orontes River became the permanent boundary between Antioch and Aleppo. Bohemond returned to Antioch in 1165, and married one of Manuel's nieces; he was also convinced to install a Greek Orthodox patriarch in the city.

The Byzantine alliance came to an end with the death of the Emperor Manuel in 1180. Suddenly, Antioch was deprived of the Empire's protection, which had been enough to frighten Nur ad-Din away from intervening in the area for the past twenty years. Nevertheless, with help from the fleets of the Italian city-states Antioch survived Saladin's assault on the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187. Neither Antioch nor Tripoli participated in the Third Crusade, although the remnants of Frederick Barbarossa's army briefly stopped in Antioch in 1190 to bury their king. Bohemond III's son, also named Bohemond, had become count of Tripoli after the Battle of Hattin, and Bohemond III's eldest son Raymond married an Armenian princess in 1194. Bohemond III died in 1201.

Bohemond's death resulted in a struggle for control between Antioch, represented by Bohemond of Tripoli, and Armenia, represented by Bohemond III's grandson Raymond-Roupen. Bohemond of Tripoli, as Bohemond IV, took control by 1207, but Raymond briefly ruled as a rival from 1216 to 1219. Bohemond died in 1233, and Antioch, ruled by his son Bohemond V, played no important role in the Fifth Crusade, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II's struggles to take back Jerusalem in the Sixth Crusade, or Louis IX of France's Seventh Crusade.

Fall of the Principality

In 1254 Bohemond VI married Sibylla, an Armenian princess, ending the power struggle between the two states, although by this point Armenia was the more powerful of the two and Antioch was essentially a vassal state. Both, however, were swept up by the conflict between the Mameluks and the Mongols. In 1260, under the influence of his father-in-law, the Armenian king Hetoum I, Bohemond VI submitted to the Mongols under Hulagu, making Antioch a tributary state of the Mongol Empire. [Jackson, "Mongols and the West", p. 167] Bohemond and Hetoum fought on the side of the Mongols during the conquests of Muslim Syria, taking together the city of Aleppo, and later Damascus. ["Histoire des Croisades", René Grousset, p581, ISBN 226202569X]

When the Mongols were defeated at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, Baibars began to threaten Antioch, which (as a vassal of the Armenians) had supported the Mongols. Baibars finally took the city in 1268, and all of northern Syria was quickly lost; twenty-three years later, Acre was taken, and the Crusader states ceased to exist.

In the colophons of the Malatia Gospel of 1268 (MS No. 10675), Armenian manuscript illuminator Toros Roslin described the brutal sack of Antioch by Baibars: " this time great Antioch was captured by the wicked king of Egypt, and many were killed and became his prisoners, and a cause of anguish to the holy and famous temples, houses of God, which are in it; the wonderful elegance of the beauty of those which were destroyed by fire is beyond the power of words." [cite book
last = Hazard
first = Harry W.
coauthors = Setton, Kenneth M.
title = A History of the Crusades, Volume IV: The Art and Architecture of the Crusader States
chapter= III: Ecclesiastical Art in the Crusader States in Palestine and Syria
publisher = University of Wisconsin Press
date = September 15, 1977
edition = 1st
pages = p. 137
isbn = 029906820X
] The empty title of "Prince of Antioch" passed, with the extinction of the Counts of Tripoli, to the Kings of Cyprus, and was sometimes granted as a dignity to junior members of the royal house.

Geography and demographics

The Principality of Antioch was, even at its greatest extent, much smaller than Edessa and Jerusalem. It extended around the northeastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea, bordering on the County of Tripoli to the south, Edessa to the east, and the Byzantine Empire or the Kingdom of Armenia to the northwest, depending on the date. It probably had about 20,000 inhabitants in the 12th century, most of whom were Armenians and Greek Orthodox Christians, with a few Muslims outside the city itself. Most of the crusaders who settled there were of Norman origin and/or from southern Italy, as were the first rulers of the principality who surrounded themselves with their own loyal subjects. There were few Roman Catholics apart from the Crusaders who set up the Principality, even though the city was turned into a Latin Patriarchate in 1100.

Princes of Antioch, 1098–1268

*Bohemond I 1098–1111
**"Tancred, Prince of Galilee, regent, 1100–1103; 1105–1112"
*Bohemond II 1111–1130
**"Roger of Salerno, regent, 1112–1119"
**"Baldwin II of Jerusalem, regent, 1119–1126; 1130–1131"
*Constance 1130–1163
**"Fulk of Jerusalem, regent, 1131–1136"
*Raymond of Poitiers 1136–1149 (by marriage)
*Raynald of Chatillon 1153–1160 (by marriage)
*Bohemond III 1163–1201
**Raymond 1193–1194 (regent)
*Bohemond IV 1201–1216
*Raymond-Roupen 1216–1219
*Bohemond IV (restored) 1219–1233
*Bohemond V 1233–1252
*Bohemond VI 1252–1268

Titular Princes of Antioch 1268–1457

*Bohemond VI 1268–1275
*Bohemond VII 1275–1287
*Lucia 1287–c. 1299
*Philip of Toucy c.1299–1300
*"passes to the Kings of Cyprus and Jerusalem"
*Marguerite de Lusignan, d. 1308, sister of Hugh III, last lady of Tyre
*John I (of Lusignan) bef. 1364–1375, third son of king Hugh IV
*John II bef. 1432–1456? as crown prince of king Janus
*John III (of Coimbra) c. 1456–1457, husband of the future queen Charlotte

Family tree of the Princes of Antioch

Vassals of Antioch

Lords of Saone

The Lordship of Saone was centered on the castle of Saone, but included the towns of Sarmada (lost in 1134) and Balatanos. Saone was captured by Saladin from the last lord, Matthew, in 1188.

* Robert "the Leprous" (d. 1119)
* William (1119–1132)
* ?
* Matthew

Great Officers of Antioch

:"Main article": "Officers of the Principality of Antioch"

Like Jerusalem, Antioch had its share of great offices, including constable, marshal, butler, Chamberlain, and chancellor.




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