Post-classical history

Inab, Battle of (1149)

A major defeat of the Franks of Antioch under Prince Raymond of Poitiers at the hands of Nūr al-Dīn, Muslim ruler of Aleppo.

After the failure of the attempt to capture Damascus by the Second Crusade (1148), Nūr al-Dīn intensified his attacks on the southern part of the principality of Antioch. In the summer of 1149, he assembled a force of some 6,000 cavalry from his own troops and those of Unur, ruler of Damascus, and moved to besiege Inab, one of the main Antiochene strongholds east of the Orontes. Raymond marched to its relief with a smaller force, which included a band of Assassins under their leader, the Kurd ‘Alī ibn Wafā, and the Muslims fell back, having initially overestimated their opponents’ numbers. While ‘Alī counseled a withdrawal, Raymond’s vassals pressed for an advance. On 28 June Raymond’s troops camped on low ground in the plain between Inab and the marshes east of the Orontes, and during the night Nūr al-Dīn, now apprised of the Frankish strength, surrounded their positions.

The next day (29 June), the Franks tried in vain to fight their way out of encirclement; almost all were captured or killed, including Prince Raymond, whose skull Nūr al-Dīn had mounted as a trophy of victory. Antioch was now left without a ruler, as Raymond’s son Bohemund III was still a minor. In the course of the summer Nūr al-Dīn was able to capture all of the remaining Antiochene strongholds east of the Orontes, including Artah, Harenc (mod. Harim, Syria), and Apamea (mod. Afamīyah, Syria); his victory at Inab brought him huge renown in the Muslim world and constituted a major milestone in his career.

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