Siege of Sidon

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Siege of Sidon
Part of the Norwegian Crusade
Magnussonnenes saga 3 - G. Munthe.jpg
King Sigurd and King Baldwin ride from Jerusalem to the river Jordan by Gerhard Munthe.
Date 19 October - 5 December 1110
Location Sidon, present-day Lebanon
Result Crusader victory
Territorial
changes
Lordship of Sidon created
Belligerents
Flag of Kingdom of Jerusalem.svg Kingdom of Jerusalem
Royal Standard of Norway.svgKingdom of Norway
 Republic of Venice
Fatimid flag.svg Fatimid Caliphate
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Kingdom of Jerusalem.svg Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Royal Standard of Norway.svg Sigurd I of Norway
Republic of Venice Ordelafo Faliero
Fatimid flag.svg Governor of Sidon[1]
Strength
Norwegians:
~ 5,000 men, 60 galleys[2]

Franks:
~ Many crusaders and siege weapons

Venetians:
~ A fleet of ships[3]
Fatimids:
~ Probably only the city's garrison
Casualties and losses
unknown, but probably minor unknown, but probably large

The Siege of Sidon was an event in the aftermath of the First Crusade. The coastal city of Sidon was captured by the forces of Baldwin I of Jerusalem and Sigurd I of Norway, with assistance from the Ordelafo Faliero, Doge of Venice.

Background[edit]

In the summer of 1110 a Norwegian fleet of 60 ships arrived in the Levant under the command of King Sigurd. Arriving in Acre he was received by Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem. Together they made a journey to the river Jordan, after which Baldwin asked for help in capturing Muslim-held ports on the coast. Sigurd's answer was that "they had come for the purpose of devoting themselves to the service of Christ", and accompanied him to take the city of Sidon, which had been re-fortified by the Fatimids in 1098.

The siege[edit]

Baldwin's army besieged the city by land, while the Norwegian came by sea. A naval force was needed to prevent assistance from the Egyptian (Fatimid) fleet at Tyre. Repelling it was however only made possible with the fortunate arrival of a Venetian fleet. The city fell after 47 days.

The Icelandic skald Einarr Skúlason gives the following account.

Sætt frá ek dœla dróttin,
drengr minnisk þess, vinna,
tóku hvast í hristar
hríð valslöngur ríða.
Sterkr braut váligt virki
vals munnlitaðr gunnar,
fögr ruðusk sverð en sigri
snjallr bragningr hlaut fagna.
The Norsemen's king, the skalds relate,
Has ta'en the heathen town of Saet:
The slinging engine with dread noise
Gables and roofs with stones destroys.
The town wall totters too, — it falls;
The Norsemen mount the blackened walls.
He who stains red the raven's bill
Has won, — the town lies at his will.

Aftermath[edit]

By order of Baldwin and the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Ghibbelin of Arles, a splinter was taken off the holy cross and given to Sigurd.

The Lordship of Sidon was created and given to Eustace Grenier, later a constable of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Fatimid would very often leave the responsibility of defending a city in the hands of a governor. As they did when Jerusalem was taken by the crusaders.
  2. ^ Store norske leksikon - Sigurd 1 Magnusson Jorsalfare – utdypning (NBL-artikkel)
  3. ^ The exact number of this fleet is not known.

Sources[edit]