Tancred, Prince of Galilee
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. (December 2011)
In 1096, Tancred joined his maternal uncle Bohemond on the First Crusade
, and the two made their way to Constantinople
. There, he was pressured to swear an oath to Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus
, promising to give back any conquered land to the Byzantine Empire
. Although the other leaders did not intend to keep their oaths, Tancred refused to swear the oath altogether. He participated in the siege of Nicaea
in 1097, but the city was taken by Alexius' army after secret negotiations with the Seljuk Turks
. Because of this, Tancred was very distrustful of the Byzantines.
In 1097 the Crusaders divided their forces at Heraclea Cybistra
and Tancred entered the Levant by passing south through the Cilician Gates
He displayed the skills of a brilliant tactician by seizing five of the most important sites in Cilicia Pedias, which included the ancient cities of Tarsus
, the great emporium at Mopsuestia
, and the strategic castles at Sarvandikar
The last three settlements were annexed to the Principality of Antioch. During their fourteen-year occupation of Anazarbus the Crusaders built the magnificent donjon atop the center of the fortified outcrop. At Sarvandikar, which controlled the strategic Amanus Pass, Tancred imprisoned Raymond of Saint-Gilles
He assisted in the siege of Antioch
in 1098. One year later, during the assault on Jerusalem
, Tancred, along with Gaston IV of Béarn
, claimed to have been the first Crusader
to enter the city on July 15. However, the first crusader to enter Jerusalem was Ludolf of Tournai, and he was followed by his brother Englebert. When the city fell, Tancred gave his banner to a group of the citizens who had fled to the roof of the Temple of Solomon
. This should have assured their safety, but they were massacred, along with many others, during the sack of the city. The author of the Gesta Francorum
(Deeds of the Franks) records that, when Tancred realised this, he was "greatly angered". When the Kingdom of Jerusalem
was established, Tancred became Prince of Galilee.
Regent of Antioch
In 1100, Tancred became regent of Antioch when Bohemond was taken prisoner by the Danishmends
at the Battle of Melitene
. He expanded the territory of the Latin principality by capturing land from the Byzantines, although, over the next decade, Alexius attempted, unsuccessfully, to bring him under Byzantine control. In 1104, he also took control of the County of Edessa
when Baldwin II
was taken captive after the Battle of Harran
. After Baldwin's release in late 1108, he had to fight Tancred (probably early 1109) to regain control of the county; Tancred was eventually defeated and returned to Antioch. After Harran, Bohemond returned to Europe to recruit more Crusaders, again leaving his nephew as regent in Antioch
. Tancred's victory over Radwan of Aleppo
at the Battle of Artah
in 1105 allowed the Latin principality to recover some its territories east of the Orontes River
In 1108, Tancred refused to honour the Treaty of Devol
, in which Bohemond swore an oath of fealty to Alexius, and for decades afterwards Antioch remained independent of the Byzantine Empire. In 1110, he brought Krak des Chevaliers
under his control, which would later become an important castle in the County of Tripoli
. Tancred remained regent in Antioch in the name of Bohemond II
until his death in 1112 during a typhoid
epidemic. He had married Cecile of France
, but died childless.
The Gesta Tancredi
is a biography of Tancred written in Latin
by Ralph of Caen
, a Norman who joined the First Crusade and served under Tancred and Bohemond. An English translation was co-published in 2005 by Bernard S. Bachrach and David S. Bachrach.
- ^ Tomaschek, W. (1891). Zur historischen Topographie von Kleinasien im Mittelalter. Vienna: Sitzungsberichte der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. p. 86.
- ^ Edwards, Robert W. (1987). The Fortifications of Armenian Cilicia: Dumbarton Oaks Studies XXIII. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University. pp. 67, 69–70, 199–200, 216. ISBN 0-88402-163-7.
- ^ Matthew of Edessa, Recueil des historiens des croisades, Documents arméniens, vol. 1, reprint: Farnborough, 1967, p. 57.
- ^ Smail, p. 28
- Edwards, Robert W., The Fortifications of Armenian Cilicia: Dumbarton Oaks Studies XXIII, Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University (1987). ISBN 0-88402-163-7
- Robert Lawrence Nicholson, Tancred: A Study of His Career and Work. AMS Press, 1978.
- Peters, Edward, ed., The First Crusade: The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres and Other Source Materials, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998)
- Smail, R. C. Crusading Warfare 1097–1193. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, (1956) 1995. ISBN 1-56619-769-4
- Ferdinandi, Sergio (2017). La Contea Franca di Edessa. Fondazione e Profilo Storico del Primo Principato Crociato nel Levante (1098-1150). Pontificia Università Antonianum - Rome. ISBN 978-88-7257-103-3.
Last edited on 20 February 2021, at 23:00
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