Siege Of Antioch

The Siege of Antioch took place during the First Crusade in 1097 and 1098.

The first siege, by the crusaders against the Muslim city, lasted from October 21, 1097, to June 2, 1098. The second siege, against the crusaders who had occupied it, lasted from June 7 to June 28, 1098.

Antioch had been captured from the Byzantine Empire by the Seljuks only very recently, in 1085. The Byzantine fortifications dated from the time of Justinian I and they had recently been rebuilt and strengthened; the Seljuks had taken the city through treachery and the walls remained intact. Since 1088, its Seljuk governor had been Yaghi-Siyan. Yaghi-Siyan was well aware of the crusader army as it marched through Anatolia in 1097, and he appealed for help from neighbouring Muslim states, but to no avail. To prepare for their arrival, he imprisoned the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, John the Oxite, and exiled the Greek and Armenian Orthodox population, although the Syrian Orthodox citizens were permitted to stay.

The crusader army, meanwhile, marched on to Antioch, which lay about half way between Constantinople and Jerusalem. On 20 October 1097 the crusader army set Antioch to a siege which lasted almost eight months, during which time they had to defeat two large relief armies under Duqaq of Damascus and Ridwan of Aleppo. Antioch was so large that the crusaders did not have enough troops to fully surround it, and thus it was able to stay partially supplied.