Bohemond II of Antioch
|Bohemond II of Antioch|
A coin of Bohemond II
Bohemond II (1108–1130) was the Prince of Taranto and Prince of Antioch from 1111. He was the son of the founder of the principalities, Bohemond I, and Constance, daughter of Philip I of France. Taranto was lost to Roger II of Sicily in 1128.
When his father Bohemond I died, absent from Antioch, Bohemond II was a child living in Apulia. His cousin Tancred took over the regency of Antioch until he died in 1112; it then passed to Roger of Salerno, with the understanding that he would relinquish it to Bohemond whenever the latter arrived. Roger, however, was killed at the Battle of Ager Sanguinis in 1119, and the nobles of Antioch invited King Baldwin II of Jerusalem to govern the Principality.
In 1124, at the age of sixteen, he reached his majority. He spent the next two years attending to affairs of state in the Mezzogiorno. Finally, in October 1126, after his eighteenth birthday, he finally left Apulia for Antioch. According to William of Tyre, he reached an agreement beforehand with his cousin William II, Duke of Apulia, that whichever of them died first, would leave his lands in Italy to the other. This is flatly contradicted by Alexander of Telese, who states that Bohemond left his lands under the governance of the Pope, and by Romuald of Salerno, who states that the regency of Taranto went to a relative of Bohemond's, Alexander, Count of Conversano. To whomever the principality of Taranto was left or promised, as part of his agreement to come to Antioch, Bohemond also married Baldwin II's daughter Alice. According to Matthew of Edessa Baldwin supposedly also promised him the crown of Jerusalem, but Matthew might be confusing Alice with her elder sister Melisende of Jerusalem, who also married a westerner, Fulk V of Anjou, around the same time.
In 1127, Bohemond besieged and captured Kafartab, killing all the inhabitants. He also attacked Shaizar, and Usamah ibn-Munqidh supposedly met the prince himself in battle (and frightened him off, if Usamah is to be believed). The next years of his rule were marked by conflicts with Joscelin I of Edessa and skirmishes in the northern border. Both Bohemond and Joscelin attacked Aleppo individually, but refused to cooperate in a larger siege against the city. Roger of Salerno had given away territory to Joscelin, but Bohemond did not consider these donations legitimate as they had been made without his authority, even though he had been a minor at the time. The dispute came to open conflict between Antioch and Edessa, with Joscelin allying with the Muslims against Bohemond. The Latin Patriarch of Antioch placed an interdict over the County of Edessa.
In 1128, his cousin Roger II invaded and conquered Taranto, claiming it as the heir of William II of Apulia. Being away, Bohemond could do nothing to prevent this. That year, Baldwin II marched north to mediate in the dispute, and Joscelin abandoned his claims. Meanwhile, the atabeg Zengi consolidated his power over Aleppo and Mosul and the crusaders would never again have a chance to impose their authority over Aleppo.
After the dispute was settled, Bohemond joined Baldwin II in attacking Damascus. Though the crusaders were tactically victorious at the Battle of Marj al-Saffar in 1126, they failed to capture Damascus. Bohemond then turned to the north to recover Anazarbus and other territories lost to the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Leo I, Prince of Armenia allied with the Danishmend Emir Gazi Gümüshtigin against him, and Bohemond's army was lured into an ambush in February 1130 near Mamistra. Bohemond died in the struggle, and his blond head was embalmed, placed in a silver box, and sent as a gift to the caliph.
From his marriage to Alice, only one daughter, Constance of Antioch survived. Alice took over the regency of Antioch for two-year-old Constance, until Baldwin II forced her to relinquish it to Joscelin. Both Baldwin II and Joscelin died some months later.
William of Tyre describes him as "rather tall and of fine figure. He had blond hair and well-made features. His whole bearing plainly showed the prince to those who did not know him. His conversation was agreeable and easily won the favor of those who listened to him. He was of a generous nature and, like his father, truly magnificent."
Usamah ibn-Munqidh calls him ibn-Maymun, the "son of Bohemond."
- Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (1984)
- WT XIII.XXVI, pp. 598-601, and Runciman (1978), Vol. 2, p. 183
- Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, vol. II: The Kingdom of Jerusalem. Cambridge University Press, 1952
- Fulcher of Chartres, A History of the Expedition to Jerusalem, 1095-1127, trans. Francis Rita Ryan, ed. Harold S. Fink, 1969
- William of Tyre, A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea, trans. E.A. Babcock and A.C. Krey. Columbia University Press, 1943
- Philip K. Hitti, trans., An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades; Memoirs of Usamah ibn-Munqidh (Kitab al i'tibar). New York, 1929
- Houben, Hubert (translated by Graham A. Loud and Diane Milburn). Roger II of Sicily: Ruler between East and West. Cambridge University Press, 2002
|Prince of Taranto
|Prince of Antioch