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The Road to Antioch
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  Home >> The Crusades >> The Second Crusade >> The Road To Antioch

It was the middle of February when the remnants of the crusader armies arrived at Attalia. Already there were the survivors of the German forces that had divided from Conrad at Nicaea; they, too, had suffered severely.

Louis decided it would be wisest to travel the rest of the way by sea, so he gave orders to the Byzantine governor at Attalia to round up a fleet. The governor did what he could, but there were far too few vessels to accommodate the entire army. Louis took his own household and as many knights as he could, boarded ships, and set off for Antioch, arriving at the port of Saint Symeon on March 19, 1148.

The rest of the army was left behind at Attalia, to await more ships. The city could not hold all the crusaders, of course, so they were encamped beneath the city walls, where the Turks attacked them repeatedly. The crusaders begged to be taken within the city and the governor relented. He desperately tried to find more ships, but there still were not enough.

At this point, the lords whom Louis had left behind to command the foot now decided that they too preferred the sea route. Most of the remaining knights took the remaining ships and sailed for Antioch, leaving the foot soldiers and the pilgrims to shift for themselves. The governor wanted the crusaders to leave, for their presence brought the Turkish raids, but there was no place safe.

In the end, the crusaders decided to set out on foot for Antioch. They were almost immediately set upon by the Turks, nor did the Byzantines come to their aid. 

The foot soldiers were able to stave off complete annihilation, but fewer than half of them ever reached Antioch, arriving there in late spring.

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