, , , , , ,

Siege of Antioch.

Siege of Antioch.

In late Summer 1097 the crusaders crossed into Syria1. Between battle, starvation and desertion, their numbers were by now diminished to about half of those who had set out from Constantinople. But now the route was guarded by one of the greatest fortified cities of the Near East: Antioch.
The city was founded in 300 BC, and by Roman times was the 3rd biggest city in the Roman Empire, with a population of 300,000. It was the headquarters of the great Christian apostle St Paul, and was in fact the place where the term ‘Christian’ was invented. Antioch had formidable walls built by Byzantine emperor Justinian in 560 AD. The city fell to the Muslims in 638 AD but was recaptured by the Byzantines in 969. Then in 1085, just 12 years prior to the arrival of the crusaders, it was taken by the Seljuk Turks who now controlled the whole of Anatolia, Syria and Mesopotamia.