Bohemond and the Capture of Antioch

When the citadel of Antioch surrendered a week later', it was
decided to postpone the march on Jerusalem until November.
There is no cause for surprise in this. Rest was required after
the recent hardships. The season of the year was unfavorable.
The conditions in Antioch may be judged from the epidemic
which raged there for three months, from September to
November. It carried off hundreds among the knights alone.
But we may credit the leaders with another motive. It was
time to decide who should guard and maintain the northern
province. Baldwin's position in Edessa was undisputed. But
was Antioch to be given to Alexius or left in the hands of
Bohemond ? There was reason to suppose that the emperor's
action or inaction before the 1st of November would clear the
way for a decision of this embarrassing question.

If Alexius had been on the spot it may be assumed that he
would have received possession of Antioch and Cilicia. As
parts of the empire at a recent date they were to be restored to
him, according to agreement, provided he assisted the crusaders
in their enterprise. Bohemond's claim was subordinate to this.
Before the capture of Antioch he had astutely obtained a
provisional acknowledgment of his title, on the assumption that
Alexius might not join the Latins or might not give all the help
that he had promised. In June Latin fugitives met a Greek
army on the way to Antioch and painted the situation of their
recent comrades so darkly that the emperor marched back to
Constantinople. This was Bohemond's opportunity. After
Kerboga's defeat he exercised authority as the acknowledged
ruler of Antioch. Raymond of Toulouse, Bohemond's bitter
enemy, was evidently the only whole-hearted supporter of the
emperor. He alone refused to withdraw his men from the posts
which they occupied in Antioch. Still it was agreed to send an
embassy to Constantinople to ascertain the emperor's intentions,
and possibly a majority of the Latin chiefs may have hoped
that he would join them in November. Meantime, during the
summer, Bohemond and Tancred strengthened their position in
Cilicia and in the neighborhood of Antioch Raymond was
disabled for a time by illness but after his recovery captured
El-bara. Godfrey helped to secure his brother's authority in the
district of Tell Bashir and spent much of his time in Baldwin's
territory, coming and going to Antioch as occasion required.

The disputes regarding the lordship of Antioch reached a
crisis in November when the march to Jerusalem should have
been resumed. No communication had come from the emperor.
Bohemond demanded full possession of the town, and Raymond
opposed him. The Lorraine chiefs stood neutral. Time passed
and those of the rank and file whose chief object was the
delivery of Jerusalem grew restless. They had come for Christ's
sake, they said, and would start with him as their leader.

Toward the end of November Bohemond and Raymond
came to a partial understanding. They agreed to lay siege to
Marat en-numan which had been attacked already without
success in July. It is uncertain which of the other leaders took
part in the enterprise; Robert of Flanders was one. The
movement was probably represented as the beginning of the
march on Jerusalem. It is not likely, however, that the
agreement between Bohemond and Raymond went so far
Raymond may have thought that the movement would hasten
a united march on Jerusalem, while Bohemond may have
calculated that the siege would postpone it further. Raymond
invested Mara on the 26th of November. He was accompanied
by large numbers of those who chafed at the delay of the
crusading chiefs. Bohemond joined the besiegers on the 28th
soon after the first assault. The town was captured on the nth
of December. Then all the old disputes revived. Raymond wished
to give Mara to his protegé the bishop of El-bara.
Bohemond would not agree. Regarding the march to Jerusalem
Bohemond argued that it should be postponed until after Easter.
Raymond hesitated. Then in response to urgent entreaties, he
announced that he would start in fifteen days. The Norman
prince mocked at this but had reason to be satisfied. He
returned to Antioch. Only Robert of Normandy and Tancred,
of the other leaders, joined Raymond, in spite of his persuasions.
The multitude of pilgrims who tore down the walls of Mara
when they heard of the proposal to garrison the city and postpone
the march on Jerusalem, did not add greatly to the strength of
his army. The town was burned before the Latins started south,
on the 13th of January. From that time Bohemond was lord of
Antioch.