Episode 227 – Just Take the Damn City

Political makeup of Anatolia c1130 AD

John II Komnenos is finally free to campaign in Anatolia. If he can keep the Turks quiet then he can make it to Antioch where his real goal lies. But once there will he risk outraging Latin opinion by assaulting the city or will he negotiate a deal to bring the city back into the Empire?

Period: 1127-1138

Pic: John does battle with the defenders of Shaizar while Raymond and Joscelin sit, inactive, in their camp. French manuscript, 1338

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Categories: Podcast | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Episode 227 – Just Take the Damn City

  1. David Thompson

    Were these areas John was proposing to take over independent areas that weren’t supported by the larger Muslim powers in the area? I can’t see the crusaders being able to hold it for very long, although as you mention it would have given the Romans a buffer state for a while. I wonder if all this focus on Antioch was worth it. I was under the impression that once the Islamic powers took Antioch it became a bit of a backwater. I wonder if there was a plan in place to use Antioch as a defensive bulwark to secure the Southern frontier and paint “Anatolia purple” or if it was a goal in and of itself.

    • Those cities were definitely supported by other Muslim powers. But in theory if you took them then the Crusaders would control most of Syria. They would then have the Syrian desert as something of a buffer against armies from Mosul and elsewhere.

      Antioch was seen as key to
      a) recruiting and controlling the Latins
      b) recruiting and controlling the Armenians
      c) surrounding and controlling the Turks
      The fact that it wasn’t on the plateau and could be resupplied by sea made it an ideal base to work from. And it was a major ideological and religious concern that a Latin Patriarch was operating from the Empire’s 2nd city.

      The fact that Antioch was a backwater in the Caliphate is just part of the ebb and flow of geopolitics. The whole frontier zone with Byzantium was something of a backwater after the construction of Baghdad.

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