Post-classical history


Aintab (mod. Gaziantep, Turkey) was a fortress in the Frankish county of Edessa, a strong defensive site on major lines of communication between the city of Edessa (mod. Şanlıurfa, Turkey) and the West and between Marash (mod. Kahramanmaraş, Turkey) and Turbessel (mod. Tellbasar Kalesi, Turkey).

The impressive surviving citadel, on a partly artificial high mound, is mostly late Mamlûk work but was important in the Frankish period. During the First Crusade (1096-1099) the crusader Baldwin of Boulogne marched past Aintab in the winter of 1097-1098, and it was certainly under Frankish control from 1116. It was attacked by Zangi’s general Sawār in early 1136. In 1151 it was transferred to Byzantine control by Beatrix, wife of the captive Count Joscelin II of Edessa, but it was taken shortly afterward by Mas‘ûd I, Saljûq sultan of Rûm. Captured by Nûr al-Din in 1155, Aintab was one of the last of the Zangid fortresses to be taken by Saladin in his campaign against Aleppo in 1183, and thereafter the town expanded greatly under the rule of the Ayyûbids andMamlûks.

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