Post-classical history

§ Roger of Antioch and the Field of Blood

Antioch belonged to a real devil of the Franks called Roger.212This Roger went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, whose lord was Baldwin [119] the Prince.213 Baldwin was then an old man, while Roger was still a youth. Roger said to Baldwin, ‘Let’s make a contract between us. If I die before you, Antioch will be yours, but if you die before me, Jerusalem will be mine.’ So they agreed upon this and bound themselves to it.

Now God (may He be exalted) decreed that Il-Ghazi (may God have mercy upon him) should meet Roger in battle at Danith on Thursday, 5 Jumada al-Ula in the year 513 (14 August 1119),214 and kill him, as well as all of his army. Fewer than twenty of their men made it back to Antioch. So Baldwin travelled to Antioch and took control of it.

Forty days later, Baldwin stationed his battle-lines against Il-Ghazi. Now, when Il-Ghazi used to drink wine, he would be drunk for twenty days. And he took to drink after destroying the Franks and killing them, going on a drunken spree from which he never recovered until the day King Baldwin the Prince arrived in Antioch at the head of his army.

§ Tughdakin Beheads Robert FitzFulk after the Second Battle of Danith

The second battle between these two was a draw. Some Franks defeated some Muslims, and some Muslims defeated some Franks. A number of men from both sides were killed. The Muslims took captive Robert, the lord of Sahyun, Balatunus215and that area. He was a friend of the atabeg Tughdakin, the lord [120] of Damascus at that time, and had been with Il-Ghazi when he joined with the Franks at Apamea when the army of the East arrived under Bursuq.216 This Robert the Leper had said to the atabeg Tughdakin, ‘I don’t know how best to offer you my hospitality. However, I give you permission to use my lands. You may let your horsemen pass through them and they may take whatever they find, as long as you do not kill anyone or take them captive. But animals, money, crops: those they have full permission to take.’

Now, when Robert was taken prisoner – and the atabeg Tughdakin had been present at the battle assisting Il-Ghazi – he set for himself a ransom of ten thousand dinars. So Il-Ghazi said, ‘Take him to the atabeg. Maybe he can frighten him into raising his ransom for us.’

So they took Robert to the atabeg, who was in his tent drinking. When Tughdakin saw Robert approaching, he stood up, tucked the hem of his robe up under his belt, grabbed his sword, ran out and struck off his head. Il-Ghazi sent a messenger to the atabeg to reproach him, saying, ‘We need every single dinar to pay our Turkoman troops. And this man, who had set his ransom at ten thousand dinars, we sent him to you so you could scare him and he might raise his ransom. And you killed him!’

Tughdakin replied, ‘I can’t think of a better way to scare someone.’

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