Post-classical history

Bohemund III of Antioch (d. 1201)

Prince of Antioch (1163-1201), the son of Constance (daughter and heiress of Bohemund II) and her husband, Raymond of Poitiers.

Bohemund III came to the throne of Antioch in 1163, when an aristocratic faction expelled his mother. The principality soon faced an invasion by Nûr al-Dīn in response to an attack on Egypt by King Amalric of Jerusalem. While defending the town of Harenc (mod. Harim, Syria), Bohemund was captured in August 1164, but he was soon released. He then traveled to Constantinople to seek assistance from Emperor Manuel Komnenos. Bohemund returned with a Greek Orthodox cleric, Athanasios, who was to be installed as patriarch of Antioch, probably as a condition of Manuel paying Bohemund’s ransom. An earthquake in 1170 demolished Antioch’s cathedral, crushing Athanasios and allowing the return of the Latin patriarch, Aimery of Limoges.

Bohemund’s first wife was Orgillosa of Harenc; in 1177 he married a relative of Manuel’s named Theodora, but then he put her aside in 1180 to marry his mistress, Sibyl. Patriarch Aimery denounced the marriage as bigamous and again withdrew from the city, while the nobility revolted. Mediation by the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Eraclius, lifted Aimery’s interdict on the city and established a tenuous peace.

Bohemund maintained a truce with Saladin from 1177 to 1187, but in 1188 Saladin captured Laodikeia (mod. Al- Lādhiqīyah, Syria) and a large part of the principality, although another peace agreement preserved the city of Antioch from attack. Bohemund’s interests lay largely in Cilicia and northern Syria, so he participated little in the events of the Third Crusade (1189-1192). A dispute over the stronghold of Baghras (mod. Bagra, Turkey) with Leon II of Cilicia ended in Bohemund’s captivity in 1193. Bohemund acknowledged Leon’s suzerainty and allowed Armenian soldiers into the citadel of Antioch. The citizenry rioted against this imposition, and after they expelled the garrison, established a commune. The mediation of Henry of Champagne, ruler of Jerusalem, led Bohemund to recognize Baghras as Armenian territory and to marry his heir, Raymond, to Leon’s heiress, his niece Alice.

The death of Raymond (1197) left his infant son, Ray- mond-Rupen, as heir to Antioch. However, in 1198 Bohemund III’s second son, Bohemund of Tripoli, expelled his father from the city and was recognized as prince by the commune. Bohemund III regained the city three months later with the help of Leon (king of Cilicia as Leon I from 1198). Despite the papacy’s support for Raymond-Rupen, Bohemund of Tripoli again seized Antioch after his father’s death (April 1201), sparking a civil war for the next twenty- five years over the succession in Antioch.

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