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He was a Turk who owed his success to his military talent. In 1098, when he heard that the Crusaders had besieged Antioch, he gathered his troops and marched to relieve the city. By the time he arrived, around June 5-9, the Crusaders had been in possession of the city since 3 June. They were not able to restock the city before Kerbogha, in turn, was besieging the Crusaders in the city.
During the siege, Peter the Hermit was sent as emissary to Kerbogha by the Christian princes in the city, to suggest that the parties settle all differences by duel. Presumably feeling his position secure, Kerbogha did not see this course of action as being in his interest and he declined.
During the siege, inside the city, Peter Bartholomew claimed to have discovered the Holy Lance through a vision. This discovery re-energized the Christian army. At the same time, disagreements and infighting broke out within the Atabeg's army. Kerbogha's mighty army was actually made up of levies from Baghdad and Persia, Palestine and Damascus, and the internal quarrels amongst the Emirs took precedence over any unity against the Franks. The only thing that united his allies was a common fear of Kerbogha's real goal, the conquest of all their lands. If Antioch fell, he would be invincible.
On 28 June, when Bohemond, the leader of the Christian army decided to attack, the Emirs decided to humble Kerbogha and they abandoned him at the critical moment. Kerbogha was taken by surprise because the information he had received was of a weak, disorganized Christian army. Instead, he found himself facing a motivated, unified Christian army so large that Kerbogha's strategy of dividing his own forces was ineffective. He had to retreat, and returned to Mosul a broken man.
- Runciman, Steven. "A History of the Crusades". Cambridge University Press, 1987. page 215
- Bradbury, Jim. "The Routledge Companion to Medieval Warfare". Routledge, 2004. page 55
- Jones, Terry., Ereira, Alan. "Crusades". Penguin Books, 1996. pp.43
- Gesta Francorum:The Defeat of Kerbogha, excerpt online at Medieval Sourcebook, accessed November, 2008.