Battle of Adrianople (1205)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Battle of Adrianople
Part of Bulgarian-Latin Wars
Battle of Adrianople (1205).png
Date April 14, 1205
Location Surroundings of Adrianople
Result Decisive Bulgarian victory and capture of the Latin Emperor Baldwin I
Belligerents
Coat of Arms of the Bulgarian Empire.PNG Second Bulgarian Empire and Cumans Blason Empire Latin de Constantinople.svg Latin Empire
Commanders and leaders
Tsar Kaloyan of Bulgaria Baldwin I of Constantinople
Strength
Around 40,000 bulgarian troops - infantry, cavalry and archers.
Around 14,000 Cuman light and missile cavalry.[1]
Unknown, probably several tens of thousands. Certain number - 300 West European heavy mounted knights, mainly from France.
Casualties and losses
Unknown, light. Several thousand soldiers and almost all of the knights.

The Battle of Adrianople occurred on April 14, 1205 between Bulgarians and Cumans under Tsar Kaloyan of Bulgaria, and Crusaders under Baldwin I, who only months before had been crowned Emperor of Constantinople. It was won by the Bulgarians, who took Baldwin prisoner.

Background[edit]

The armies of the Fourth Crusade deviated from their stated goal of Jerusalem and instead captured and sacked the Christian city of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, in 1204. The Bulgarian kingdom and Byzantine remnants soon united against the newly founded Latin Empire.

The Battle[edit]

The battle was won by the Bulgarians after a skillful ambush using the help of their Cuman and Greek allies. Around 300 knights were killed, including Louis of Blois, Duke of Nicaea and Baldwin was captured and later died in captivity. The Bulgarians then overran much of Thrace and Macedonia. Baldwin was succeeded by his younger brother, Henry of Flanders, who took the throne on August 20, 1206.

The main source document for this battle comes from the Chronicles of Geoffrey de Villehardouin.

Aftermath[edit]

Emperor Baldwin I of Constantinople was captured by the Bulgarians. For some time his fate was uncertain, and in the meanwhile Henry, his brother, assumed the regency. Not until the middle of July the following year was it ascertained that he was dead. The circumstances of Baldwin's death are not exactly known. It seems that he was at first treated well as a valuable hostage, but was sacrificed by the Bulgarian monarch in a sudden outburst of rage, perhaps in consequence of the revolt of Philippopolis, which passed into the hands of the Franks. According to a Bulgarian legend, Baldwin had caused his own downfall by trying to seduce Kaloyan's wife. The historian George Acropolites reports that the Tsar had Baldwin's skull made into a drinking cup, just as had happened to Nicephorus I almost four hundred years before. Tsar Kaloyan wrote to Pope Innocent III, reporting that Baldwin had died in prison. A tower of the Tsarevets fortress of the medieval Bulgarian capital, Veliko Tarnovo, is still called Baldwin's Tower; supposedly, it was the tower where he was interned.

In the aftermath, Bulgaria and Nicean Empire (remains of Byzantine Empire after fall of Constantinople in 1204 - territory was situated in Asia Minor) would form an alliance against the Latin Empire of Constantinople. The war against Kaloyan and Theodore Lascaris continued. In 1207 the Bulgarians attacked and killed Marquis Boniface of Montferrat at Messinopolis. He was beheaded and the head was sent to Kaloyan.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Phillips, Jonathan (2004) The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, London: Jonathan Cape ISBN 0-224-06986-1; p. 289.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 41°40′00″N 26°34′00″E / 41.6667°N 26.5667°E / 41.6667; 26.5667