Post-classical history

Artah, Battle of (1164)

A defeat of the Franks of northern Outremer and their allies by Nūr al-Din, Muslim ruler of Aleppo. After Nūr al-Din sent part of his forces to Egypt under his general Shikūh in order to counter the invasion mounted by King Amalric of Jerusalem, he opened up a second front by besieging the town of Harenc, which had been retaken by the Franks in 1158. A large Christian relieving army was assembled from the troops of Bohemund III of Antioch, Raymond III of Tripoli, Joscelin III of Courtenay, and the military orders, together with Armenian and Byzantine contingents, amounting to some 600 knights plus infantry. Nūr al-Din’s numerically superior forces retreated and then gave battle in the plain of Artah on 11 August 1164, his troops employing a feigned flight to split the Christian forces, most of whom were killed or captured. The captives included Bohemund, who was ransomed shortly after, and Raymond and Joscelin, who were to remain prisoners for a decade. Harenc capitulated the day after the battle, and the frontier of Antioch was once more pushed back to the line of the river Orontes.

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