BOHEMOND’S LEADERSHIP WAS THE KEY TO THE CAPTURE OF ANTIOCH [70]

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BOHEMOND’S LEADERSHIP WAS THE KEY TO THE CAPTURE OF ANTIOCH [70]

The sources both oppose and support the interpretation that Bohemond’s leadership was the key to the capture of Antioch on the 4th of June 1098. Although sources A and D challenge the statement, sources B, C and E mostly defend Bohemond.

Some of the sources suggest that it was God who helped the crusaders to cope with the suffering during the siege and therefore, it was the strength of their belief that was responsible for the successes at Antioch, rather than Bohemond’s leadership. This was because it helped the people to persevere through the months of suffering before the city was taken. Both sources A and D promote this, stating that the Crusaders were “working for God” and were “consoled” by him, indicating the importance of their beliefs.

Another argument against Bohemond is that the crusaders felt that the support of their god in battle made them a formidable force that managed to, against the odds, take over Antioch and defeat Kerbogha’s army. Both sources A and D support this, along with small sections of sources C and E, describing God’s support through the discovery of the holy lance as a “pledge to victory”, that filled the remaining crusaders with “strength to fight manfully against the enemy”.

My own knowledge supports the interpretation that absolute faith could have been the force that led to the takeover of Antioch. It is evident from other resources that very nearly everyone during this period feared and revered some form of God and when Peter Bartholomew’s vision lead to the discovery of the ‘holy lance’ on the 14th of June 1098, it inspired vigour in many Crusaders, as they saw it as a sign of the absolute support of God. This revitalization of faith in the people, may have led to the surprising success against Kerbogha’s relieving army.

However, the provenance of the sources has to be considered when deciding on the reliability of the argument against the importance of Bohemond in the takeover of Antioch. Both of these sources were written after the takeover of Jerusalem on the 15th of June in 1099, when the authors would have considered Bohemond a

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