Post-classical history

§ Baldwin II Becomes Regent of Antioch

And so Baldwin the Prince took possession of Antioch. My uncle and father (may God have mercy upon them both) had him under a great obligation to them dating from the time when he was the prisoner of Nur al-Dawla Balak (may God have mercy upon him). After Balak was killed, Baldwin came into the possession of Timurtash,217 who brought him to us in Shay-zar so that my uncle and my father (may God have mercy upon them both) might act as middlemen in ransoming him. They both treated him [121] kindly. Now, when Baldwin took control, we owed the lord of Antioch an indemnity, but Baldwin exempted us from paying it.218 Moreover, we gained a certain influence in Antioch.

§ Bohemond II Arrives and Becomes Lord of Antioch

And so Baldwin was occupying himself with his own affairs – and one of our messengers was there with him – when a ship arrived at al-Suwaydiya,219 carrying a youth dressed in shabby clothes. He came into the presence of Baldwin and made him know that he was the son of Bohemond.220 Baldwin therefore ceded Antioch to him and went out of the city, pitching his tents outside the town. That messenger of ours who was there with him swore to us that he (that is, King Baldwin) bought the fodder for his horses that very night in the marketplace, while the official granaries of Antioch were full of grain. Baldwin then returned to Jerusalem.

§ Bohemond II Misses an Opportunity

That devil, the son of Bohemond, turned out to be a great affliction for our people. One day, he encamped against us at the head of his army and pitched his tents. We had already ridden out to face them, but not a single one of them attacked us. They just remained in their tents, while we remained in the saddle on an elevated spot from which we could observe them, with the Orontes between us. So my cousin Layth al-Dawla Yahya (may God have mercy upon him) left our group and went down to the Orontes – we assumed he was going to water his horse. But he waded into the water, crossed over and headed for a band of Franks standing near their tents. As he approached them, a single knight came down towards him. The two now charged at each other, but they both swerved away from the spear-thrust of the other. I immediately sped towards them with some of my young peers. The rest of the band now came down and the son of Bohemond and his army also took to their horses and poured down on us like a torrent. In the meantime, my cousin’s horse had been wounded by a spear-blow.

The vanguard of our cavalry soon met [122] theirs. Now, in our troops there was a Kurdish man named Mika’il, who came fleeing before the vanguard of the enemy cavalry, and behind him was a Frankish knight who was sticking close to him in pursuit. The Kurd was running right in front of him, howling and screaming at the top of his lungs. So I intercepted the Frank, who turned away from that Kurdish horseman and darted off my path, heading for some horsemen in a group of our men positioned beyond us along the river. I went in hot pursuit, struggling to make my charger catch up with him so I might thrust my spear into him. But I could not catch up. That Frank did not look back at me until he reached our horsemen, although I pursued him, his only desire being those assembled horsemen. My companions now attacked his charger and pinned him down with their spear-thrusts, but his comrades followed after him and they outnumbered us. So now the Frankish knight turned back, his charger on its last legs, and met his comrades and ordered them all to withdraw. And so he went back, accompanied by his comrades. That knight was none other than the son of Bohemond, the lord of Antioch. Being still a boy, his heart had become filled with terror. If he had just left his comrades behind, they would have routed us and chased us all the way back to town.

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