Artah

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Artah was a medieval town and castle located 25 miles east-northeast of Antioch, to the east of the Iron Bridge on the Roman road from Antioch to Aleppo.

During the First Crusade, a number of key sites were captured, including Artah, which were key to the success in the Crusaders' siege of Antioch. Ralph of Caen, in his Gesta Tancredi, described Artah as the "shield of Antioch" and Godfrey of Boulogne knew that he could not attack Antioch with Artah still in enemy hands. From Marata, a detachment under Robert of Flanders went in October 1098 to the southwest to capture Artah. Robert's force numbered 1000 armed men. Their mission was aided by the Armenian Christian population that had defeated the Muslim garrison housed there.

After the capture of Antioch, Bohemond, who commanded much of the fighting, took action which marked his breach with the Byzantine Empire and caused a schism between the Greek and Latin churches. John IV, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, was expelled and the Catholic prelate Bernard of Valence, recently appointed Bishop of Artah, was installed in his stead.

Two other major battles occurred at Artah during the Crusades. The first took place in 1105 between the forces of Tancred, Prince of Galilee, and Fakhr al-Mulk Radwan, in which the Crusaders were victorious. The second, or Battle of Harim, was fought in 1164 in which a force of Latins were crushingly defeated by Nur ad-Din Zangi.

Sources[edit]

  • Runciman, Steven, A History of the Crusades, Volume I: The First Crusade and the Foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1951
  • Asbridge, Thomas S., The Creation of the Principality of Antioch, 1098-1130, Boydell & Brewer Ltd., Suffock, 2000 (available on Google Books)