Battle of Antioch (1098)

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Battle of Antioch (1098)
Part of the First Crusade
Kerbogha Antiochie.jpg
An illustration of Kerbogha besieging Antioch, from a 14th-century manuscript in the care of the Bibliothèque nationale de France
Date28 June 1098
Antioch (present-day Antakya, Turkey)
Result Decisive Crusader Victory

Seljuk Empire

Commanders and leaders
Bohemond of Taranto
Raymond IV of Toulouse
Adhemar of Le Puy
Godfrey of Bouillon
Robert II of Normandy
Robert II of Flanders
Hugh of Vermandois
Eustace III of Boulogne
Baldwin II of Hainaut
Tancred of Hauteville
Rainald III of Toul
Gaston IV of Béarn
Anselm of Ribemont
Janah ad-Dawla
Arslan-Tasch of Sindjar
Qaradja of Harran
Watthab ibn-Mahmud
Balduk of Samosata
Soqman ibn Ortoq
Ahmad ibn-Marwan Surrendered
~20,000 ~35,000-40,000[2][3]
Casualties and losses
Light, relatively few Heavy, most of the army

The Battle of Antioch (1098) was a military engagement fought between the forces of the Crusaders of Antioch and a Turkish coalition led by the Emir Kerbogha of Mosul as a part of the First Crusade. Kerbogha's goal was to reclaim Antioch from the Crusaders and affirm his position as a regional power.

The conflict begins[edit]

As the starving and outnumbered Crusaders emerged from the gates of the city and divided into six regiments, Kerbogha's commander, Watthab ibn Mahmud, urged him to immediately strike their advancing line.[4] However, Kerbogha was concerned a preemptive strike might only destroy the Crusader's front line and may also significantly weaken his own forces disproportionately. However, as the Franks continued to advance against the Turks, Kerbogha began to grasp the severity of the situation (he previously underestimated the size of the Crusading army), and attempted to establish an embassy between him and the Crusaders in order to broker a truce.[5] However, it was too late for him, and the leaders of the Crusade ignored his emissary.

Battle manoeuvres[edit]

Kerbogha, now backed against a corner by the advancing Franks, opted to adopt a more traditional Turkish battle tactic. He would attempt to back his army up slightly in order to drag the Franks into unsteady land, while continuously pelting the line with horse archers, meanwhile making attempts to outflank the Franks. However, Bohemond was ready for this, and he created a seventh division of Crusaders led by Rainauld of Toul to hold off the attack. Soon, many Emirs began to desert Kerbogha. Many of the Crusaders were also encouraged by the presumed visions of St. George, St. Mercurius, and Saint Demetrius among their ranks.[6] Finally, Duqaq of Damascus deserted, spreading panic among the ranks of the Turks. Soqman the Ortoqid and the Emir of Homs, Janah ad-Daula, were the last loyal to Kerbogha, but they too soon deserted after realizing the battle was lost. The whole Turkish army was now in complete disarray, all fleeing in different directions; the Crusaders chased them as far as the Iron Bridge, slaying many of them. Kerbogha would go on to return to Mosul, defeated and stripped of his prestige.


  1. ^ France 1996, p. 261
  2. ^ Asbridge 2004, p. 204
  3. ^ Rubenstein 2011, p. 206
  4. ^ Jonathan Simon Christopher Riley-Smith; Jonathan Riley-Smith (1 April 2003). The First Crusade and Idea of Crusading. Continuum. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-8264-6726-3.
  5. ^ Runciman, Steven (1951–52). A History of the Crusades I: The First Crusade. Penguin Classics. pp. 204–205. ISBN 978-0-141-98550-3.
  6. ^ Runciman, Steven (1951–52). A History of the Crusades I: The First Crusade. Penguin Classics. pp. 204–205. ISBN 978-0-141-98550-3.