Kerboga's siege of Antioch, 5-28 June 1098

Only two days after the end of the crusaders siege of Antioch, the crusaders found themselves besieged in the city by Emir Kerboga of Mosul, at the head of a 75,000 strong army. The crusaders found themselves in dire straights, with the citadel of Antioch still in Muslim hands, and supplies very short. Crusader morale collapsed, while the Byzantine army, marching to garrison Antioch, turned back after hearing of Kerboga's arrival, incidentally weakening the Byzantine claim to Antioch, only lost to them thirteen years before. At this point, a 'miracle' occurred. Peter Bartholomew, a preacher accompanying the crusade, claimed to have had a vision revealing the presence of the Holy Lance, the lance which had pierced the side of Christ on the cross, buried under a church in the city. After a great deal of digging, something just presentable as the Lance was discovered, and presented to the army. The leaders of the crusade, who must have been aware that another Holy Lance was on display in Constantinople, where they had been taken to see the relics, did not speak out, but there was still doubt, and Peter undertook the ordeal of fire. He only survived a few days, but this was long enough for most, and the morale of the crusaders recovered. On 28 June they sortied from the city, and won the battle of the Orontes, defeated Kerboga, and saving the crusade. Seeing this, the garrison of the citadel surrendered, and Antioch was secured.
Bradbury, Jim, The Medieval Siege , Boydell Press, 2002, 378 pages. A much needed survey of the most important form of warfare in the middle ages, a period that saw far more sieges than battles.
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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.
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Crusades Subject Index - Books on the Middle Ages

How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (2 April 2001), Antioch, Kerboga's siege of, 5-28 June 1098,

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