Bohemund I de Hauteville, count of Taranto, prince of Antioch (c.1057-1111)

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Son of Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia, who had conquered a kingdom for himself in southern Italy. He was present with his father on his invasion of the Byzantine Empire (from 1081), and commanded the Norman armies from 1082 to 1084 while his father was busy in his Italian kingdom, where he was eventually repulsed by Alexius Comnenus. Despite being his fathers oldest son, on Guiscard's death in 1085 he was succeeded by Roger, his son by a second marriage, leaving Bohemund landless. Bohemund's response was to launch an invasion of his brothers lands, and by the time the Pope made peace between the brothers in 1098, Bohemund, as count of Taranto, had conquered most of his fathers lands. By this time, Bohemund had answered Pope Urban's call to arms to save the Holy Land. Although of lower birth than most of the senior crusadors, Bohemund, with Raymond of Toulouse came to be acknowledged as the commanders of the First Crusade. He played a key part in the early part of the crusade. His actions helped saved the crusaders when they were attacked by the Seljuk Turks at the battle of Dorylaeum (1 July 1097). He was then a key player in the siege of Antioch (21 October 1097-3 June 1098), although his blatent desire to keep Antioch as his own principality caused disruption in the crusader camp. The city eventually fell after Bohemund managed to bride one of the defenders to let the crusaders in, but the crusaders soon found themselves besieged within the city they had just captured. Bohemund justified his claim to the city by leading a sortie out against the besieging army, winning the battle of the Orontes (28 June 1098), against much larger numbers and saving the crusade. At this point, he abandoned the crusade and remained in Antioch. The rest of his career was less successfull. After a failed campaign against the moslems of north east Syria, he returned to Europe to gather a new army, where he was received as a crusading hero, and married a daughter of the king of France. Unfortunately, he tried to use his new army against Alexius Comnenus, who was able to defeat him, and forced him to agree to hold Antioch as a vassel of the Empire (1108). After this defeat, Bohemund returned to Italy, where he died three years later, with his fame as a crusader undiminished, despite his later failures.
Nicolle, David, The First Crusade 1096-1099: Conquest of the Holy Land , Osprey Campaign Series, vol 132. The Osprey volume for the first crusade. Nicolle had a great depth of knowledge of middle-eastern history, which is reflected in this book. cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (11 November 2000), Bohemund I de Hauteville, count of Taranto, prince of Antioch (c.1057-1111), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_bohemund1.html

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