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Antioch Awaits
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  Home >> 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.

The 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.

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