Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Fall of the City to Sultan Baibars

On the 18th of May 1268 the Crusader period of Antioch came to a devastating end and the city faded into an insignificant village over the next 650 years. The Sultan Baibars achieved this victory and his exulting letter to the count of Tripoli, describing his sack of Antioch, still exists in its original Arabic, and was published by Joseph Toussaint Reinaud (the French orientalist - December 4, 1795 - May 14, 1867) in Histoire des Guerres sous Bibar, in Journ. Asiat - July & Aug. 1827.

"We arrived under the walls of Antioch, at the commencement of the great Ramadan. Atour approach, iIn. troops of the city attempted a sortie; they were defeated, and their commander taken prisoner. Terror shook the soul of the monks. Death came to the besieged on all sides: we took Antioch by the sword on the fourth of the Ramadan. Ah, if you had but seen the knights trampled under the horses feet; the city given up to pillage; your treasures distributed by quintals; the matrons of the city sold, four for a piece of gold; if you had but seen the churches and crosses overthrown; the leaves of the sacred gospels scattered; the sepulchres of the patriarchs trodden down ;. oh! if you had seen the Mussulman, your enemy, marching on the tabernacle and the altar, sacrificing there the religious, the priest and the patriarch ; if you had seen your palace burning in the flames, and the very dead burning in the fire of this world before they could be by that of the other; certainly your soul would have exhaled itself away in sighs; your tears, by their abundance, would have extinguished the devouring fire. This letter congratulates you on your safety, for if you had been there, you should unquestionably have been, now a dead man or a prisoner, or crippled with your wounds. As no one has been saved to apprise you of what has been done, from us you shall learn it. As there is none left to felicitate you upon your escape, we have addressed to you this discourse. You know now what to expect; you need not apply to any other to inform you of the truth. Adieu.'


1 comment:

S. Mansel said...

Greetings,

Thank you for maintaining this blog it has become a valuable tool for my research project on the 1268 siege. Anyway, I stumbled across a site that has photographs from someone who went to Antioch (among other places) in April of 1905, and I thought you might be interested.

Here is the address

http://www.gerty.ncl.ac.uk/photos_in_album.php?album_id=3&start=70

Also I was wondering if you had any plans on musing about the Citadel, I would love to read anything you know about it.

Anyway, thanks again.