The Crusades >> The
First Crusade >> Antioch Awaits
The passage across Anatolia was treacherous, since the Turks had blocked
up the wells and burned the crops. The army reached Iconium in the middle of
August and battled with the Turkish forces near Heraclea later that month.
On September 10th, Tancred and his fellow supporters left the main army in a
dispute over the best route to take (Tancred was convinced that any route
recommended by the Greek guides had to be intentionally misleading).
Baldwin followed him. The main army marched on to Cilician Caesarea,
reaching there at the end of September and going on to Marash in early
October. The weather was growing foul, resulting in the death of Baldwin's
wife, but the locals were Armenians and were friendly to the Crusaders.
The Crusaders arrived in the vicinity of Antioch on October 20, 1097. The
Turkish commander was Yaghi-Siyan, who was supposed to be the vassal of
Ridwan of Aleppo but openly plotted against him with Kerbogha of Mosul. As a
result, when the Franks approached, the anticipated help from Aleppo
vanished. Yaghi-Siyan frantically tried to secure his city, exiling
many of the Greek and Armenian Christians who had heretofore lived in
Antioch peacefully. The emir trusted only the Jacobites, because they hated
both the Greeks and the Armenians. His garrison was not very large; his only
hope was to hold out until a Turkish army might come to his relief.
Crusaders attacked across the Iron Bridge of the Orontes River, easily
carrying the two towers that guarded it. They moved up to the walls of the
city the next day. Bohemond encamped opposite the Gate of St. Paul, Raymond
at the Gate of the Dog to Bohemond's right, and Godfrey further on at the
Gate of the Duke.
The siege of Antioch had begun.