War in History http://wih.sagepub.

com/

The Siege of Antioch: A Study in Military Demography
Bernard S. Bachrach War In History 1999 6: 127 DOI: 10.1177/096834459900600201 The online version of this article can be found at: http://wih.sagepub.com/content/6/2/127.citation

Published by:
http://www.sagepublications.com

Additional services and information for War in History can be found at: Email Alerts: http://wih.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Subscriptions: http://wih.sagepub.com/subscriptions Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Permissions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav

>> Version of Record - Apr 1, 1999 What is This?

Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

The Siege of Antioch: A Study in Military Demography
Bernard S. Bachrach
For most of the twentieth century, scholars have followed the estimates for troop strengths based on the methods developed by the prolific and very influential German military historian Hans Delbruck. It was Delbrtck's conviction that medieval armies in general, and the armies of the First Crusade in particular, were very small in absolute terms and especially as compared to those of the ancient world and the postmedieval period.1 In part, Delbrtick's partiality toward small numbers was a vigorous reaction against the cut-and-paste tradition of his predecessors and contemporaries, who rather uncritically recorded the numbers they found in medieval chronicles regardless of how fantastically large these figures may have been.2 Curiously, Delbrfck was not similarly disturbed when chroniclers provided numbers for effectives in particular combat situations that were absurdly small. In sustaining Delbrtick's methods and views, a modern consensus has put the combined military forces of the First Crusade at a maximum of about 35 000 effe ctives.3 Indeed, Delbruick observed that 'two sets' of numbers were to be found in the sources. There were, of course, the 'traditional exaggerH.

Delbrfck, GescAhiche der Kriegskumt im RAhmen der politischen C(escAicAte (6 vols,
as

Berlin, 1900-1936), of which vol. iii is relevant here. This volume is now available H&story of the Art of War Within the Framework of Political History, trans. Wj. Renfroe (Westport, CT, 1982), and for the convenience of the reader this version will be

cited throughout. Detailed arguments in defence of small numbers for the first Crusade are to be found in H. Delbrfick's review of H. von Sybel, C1eschichte des enten Kreu=Tes, 2nd rev. edn (Leipzig, 1981) in Historische Zeitschrtft XLVII (1882), pp. 423-8. These calculations were essentially reinforced by 0. Heermann, Die GefecAtsfhrung abendlandiscer Heere im Orient in der Epoche des enten Kemumges (Marburg, 1887), pp. 101-2%, and esp. the chart on p. 127. Regarding Delbrack's influence, see e.g. C. Oman, History of the Art of War in the Middle Ages, 2nd edn (2 vols, 1924, repr. New York, 1964) I" pp. 231-55; F. LIlt, LArt militaire et Us armies au moyen dge et dam le Proche-Orient (2 vols, Paris, 1946) I" pp. 134-6; J. Prawer, Histoim du royamme latin de Jrualem, trans. C. Nahon (2 vols, Paris, 1969)i, p. 204; R.C. Smail, Crusading Warfaw, 1097-1193 (Cambridge, 1967), pp. 910; and P. Contamine, La gurre au moyen dge, 4th edn (Paris, 1994), pp. 152-6. 2 Smail, Crusading Warfaw, pp. 1-17, provides an excellent general review of the literature both pre- and post-Delbrflck. The state of the question is summarized by Contamine, La gucrre au moyen dge, pp. 152-6.

War in History 1999 6 (2) 127-46

0968-3445(99)WTH1840A © 1999 Amold

Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

128

Bernard S. Bachrach

ations' previously mentioned. These figures were provided by medieval monkish chroniclers who are assumed to have had little interest in the kind of military realities that modern scholars find to be important. However, the second set of numbers, which, by comparison with those previously mentioned, were in general very small, were usually to be found in the works of the very same monkish chroniclers who had provided the large and thus putatively unreliable figures. Delbrfck and those who have followed him have as a matter of course rejected the large numbers, but rather uncritically tend to accept the small ones.4 In 1968 Karl Ferdinand Werner vigorously chided medievalists for uncritically accepting the arguments put forth by Delbruick: in contrast to the extraordinary mistrust of critical efforts which accompany every attempt to establish a greater troop strength, it must be emphasized that the effective scholar does not gain distinction simply because he estimated the smallest possible number for any army but because his methods bring him closer to the truth and, in addition, he can prove his point.5 Werner went on to show, for example, that Charlemagne could put in the field armies of 35 000 to 40 000 effectives for specific campaigns. In addition, he demonstrated that Charlemagne could raise combined armies in excess of 100 000 men from throughout his empire, excluding Italy, for several simultaneous offensive campaigns beyond the frontiers of the regnum Francorum. Of these effectives at least 30 000 were heavily armed horsemen. Finally, Werner evaluated upward in a significant manner the order of magnitude of the armies commanded by the Saxon monarchs who succeeded the Carolingians as the rulers
of Francza Onrentalis.6 Werner's call to re-evaluate the methods and controlling assumptions employed by Delbruick and his disciples has helped to revitalize research in medieval military demography. The methods that Werner advocated in his own effective and now widely accepted arguments regarding the size of the military forces led by Charlemagne and the Saxon rulers of the East Frankish kingdom, mentioned above, serve as models upon which questions that had been considered closed for
4 Delbrflck, Art of War Iii, p. 219. See e.g. the methodological assumptions in S. Runciman, A History of the Crusades (3 vols, 1951-4) Is p. 336, who, after condemning 'Every medieval historian' who 'invariably indulges in wild and picturesque exaggeration whenever he has to estimate numbers that cannot easily be counted', avers, 'But when they are dealing with smaller numbers the chroniclers need not be entirely distrusted, though they like to give a round figure that can only be approximate. From their evidence we can make certain deductions.' 5 K.F. Wemner, 'Heeresorganization und Kriegsfflhrung im deutschen K6nigreich des 10. und 11. Jahrhunderts', Settimane di studio del Centro Italiano sulalto medioevo XV(1) (Spoleto, 1968), pp. 813-14, for the quotation. 6 qp. cit., pp. 791-843. It is important in this context to note that P. Contamine, La gwre au moyen dge, pp. 102-3, 118-20, fully accepted Werner's calculations and radical revisions. Contamine has not reversed this position - see 4th edn (Paris,

1994).

War

in History 1999 6

(2)

Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

The Siege of Antioch

129

generations now have been reopened. Indeed, each and every number, for which there is a textual reference, must be evaluated critically, whether the number at issue is absurdly large or just as absurdly small. It no longer may be assumed that big numbers are impossible because they are too big and small numbers are to be accepted because they are not too big.7 One very important area of research in medieval military demography that thus far that has remained untouched by Werner's revisionist arguments is the Crusades. Thus, for example, in 1994 John France, after going over all of the sources and the numbers once again for the First Crusade, concluded: 'the army at its greatest would be around the 50 000-60 000 mark including non-combatants.'8 France, like Delbrtick, dismisses truly large numbers, 100 000 or more, as fantastic because it is assumed, pnima facie, that the medieval world could not sustain forces of such magnitude. Indeed, the fact that during the ancient world and in many of the non-industrialized states of the premodern era in Europe large forces were sustained with primitive technology is regarded as of no consequence. Delbrfck argued that the later Roman and medieval economies were autarkic, and large armies simply could not be supported because of the inferior productive and distributive capacity of the type of economy which existed for a millennium in Western Europe. In general, he was wrong both about the nature of the medieval economy and about the size of medieval armies.9 Once Delbruck's controlling assumptions regarding the primitive
7

See e.g. several recent articles with bibilography by B.S. Bachrach, 'Some Observations on the Military Administration of the Norman Conquest', in RA. Borwn, ed., Anglo Norman Studies VIII (Woodbridge, 1986), pp. 1-25; 'Angevin Campaign Forces in the Reign of Fulk Nerra, Count of the Angevins (987-1040)', Francia XVI (1989, appeared in 1990), pp. 67-84; 'The Hun Army at the Battle of Chalons (451): An Essay in Military Demography', in K. Brunner and B. Merta, eds, Ethnogenese und Ubefrieferung: Angewandte Methoden der EruhmittelalefoncAung (Vienna, 1994), pp. 59-67; and with R. Aris, 'Military Technology and Garrison Organization: Some Observations on Anglo-Saxon Military Thinking in Light of the Burghal Hidage', Technology and Cultuw XXXI (1990), pp. 1-17. J. France, Victory in the East: A Milita?y History of the First Crusade (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 123-42, and p. 142 for the quotation. J. FloPi, TUn probl&me de m6thodologie: la valeur des nombres chez les chroniqueurs du moyen ige, ai propos des effectifs de la premiere croisade', Le Moyen Age XCIX (1993), pp. 398-422, examines the numbers proffered in a non-random selection of narrative sources as a statistical group and concludes (p. 422): 'Ces nombres ne son pas non plus fantaisistes ou totalement deconnect6s de la realite objective, ni surtout de la r6alit6, v6cue, ressentie, traduite par la mentalit6 contemporaine aux evenements relat6s.' FloPi, however, does not deal with the epistolary evidence treated here in a historical manner, and thus there is no need to employ his methods. His purpose is to illuminate the mtalitt of the chroniclers, while mine is to estimate the order of magnitude of a particular military force within a particular time frame in a given geographical area. See the two studies by B.S. Bachrach, 'Logistics in Pre-Crusade Europe', in J A. Lynn, ed., Feeding Man: Logtics in Westem Warfaw ftom the Middle Ages to the Present (Boulder, CO, 1993), pp. 57-78; and 'Medieval Military Demography and the Methods of Hans Delbrflck', in D. Kagan, ed., Circle of War (Woodbridge, 1999), pp. 3-20.

War in History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

130

Bernard S. Bachrach

nature of the medieval economy and its necessary relation to the size of armies are eliminated, each event and its sources must be evaluated individually. However, before going to the sources, it isnecessary to clear the brush of other misleading assumptions and generalizations. For example, France accepts the notion, now popular among historians of mentali, that 'medieval people were not good at numbers'.10 This is probably true, but it is also irrelevant to the matter at hand. It is clear that throughout early medieval Europe the functionaries who staffed government bureaucracies were rather good at recording numbers.11 Indeed, they were educated to do these things.12 The government officials in England who, for example, drew up documents such as the burghal hidage and Domesday Book, the latter less than a decade before the first Crusade was set in motion, were exceptionally good
France, Victwoy in the East, p. 124. See e.g. J. Durliat, Les Finances publiques de Diochtien aux carolingiem (284-889) (Sigmaringen, 1990). Note the review by B.S. Bachrach in Francia XIX (1992, appeared 1993), p. 205; R. McKitterick, The Carolingiam and the Written Word (Cambridge, 1989), reviewed by B.S. Bachrach in Journal of Interdisciplinayy History XXI (1990), pp. 321-3; J. Percival, 'The Precursors of Domesday: Roman and Carolingian Land Registers', in P. Sawyer, ed., Domesday Book: A Reassessment (London 1985), pp. 5-27; and R.H.C. Davis, 'Domesday Book: Continental Parallels', in J.C. Holt, ed., Domesday Studies: Novocentay Conference, Royal Historical and Institute of British Geographers: Winchster 1966 (Woodbridge, 1987), with the review article by B.S. Bachrach, 'The Novocentenary of Domesday Book', Alion XX (1988), pp. 450-55. 12 It should be noted that arithmetical skills of an elementary nature were well
developed in the context of the so-called 'finger calculus' which is also called the 'Calculus of Victorius'. This technique, which is based upon the use of the finger joints in a manner that appears not dissimilar in several ways to the use of an abacus, was widely diffused throughout early medieval society, and provided the opportunity for a broad spectrum of calculations well into the many thousands. See the discussion by E. Alf6ldi-Rosenbaum, 'The Finger Calculus in Antiquity and in the Middle Ages: Studies on Roman Game Counters I, Frahmittelalterlichen Studien V (1971), pp. 1-9; and the additional remarks in Dhuoda, Manuel pour mon fils ed. and trans. P. Rich6 (Paris, 1975), pp. 294-5, nn. 5, 6. At a higher level of society, it was certainly fortunate but hardly accidental that arithmetical skills of a rather complicated nature were taught to the young men destined for royal service. For example, the often discussed 'Propositions for Sharpening Youth', associated with Alcuin but surely going back at least to Bede and probably earlier but which were widely diffused throughout the West, illustrate a level of numeracy and a capacity to handle interesting number problems that few contemporary high-school students in the United States, in any case, could be expected to solve. It may be noted, in addition, that many of the practice problems found in 'Propositions' evidence an application to military matters. Alcuin, 3 Propositiones ad acuendos juvenes, chs 4, 9, 13, 19, 27, 28, 29, 32,3, 34, 52, 53, provides situations that would have logistic and military related value. Cf. A. Murray, Reason and Society in the Middle Ages, corr. edn (Oxford, 1985), pp. 153, 155, 164, who provides most of the relevant facts regarding this text; but his interpretation, at least in so far as we might understand the capabilities of men in the early medieval world to make practical use of arithmetic for military purposes and particularly with regard to logistics, is far wide of the mark. This is not to say that the men and boys who studied Alcuin's text and its subsequent additions were in any sense mathematicians, but arithmetic is all that was required. Of course, it must be made clear that a universally numerate society was as unnecessary for the solution of the Crusaders' logistic problems as it was for the compilation of Domesday Book by William the Conqueror's bureaucrats.

l

War

in

History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

The Siege of Antioch

131

at numbers.13 What is important is the fact that there were available a sufficient number of numerate men in government service to get done whatever job was at hand for leaders such as William the Conqueror, Count Baldwin of Flanders and their contemporaries. Whether or not large numbers of peasants were any good at doing their sums was not relevant then to organizing the logistics of the Crusade or counting effectives, and should not be considered relevant today in our evaluation of the numeracy that was required for mustering and counting A second generalization by France is also misleading in the context of developing a sense of the order of magnitude of armies during the First Crusade. He writes, 'most people in most eras are pretty bad at estimating large numbers of people.'15 This too is ostensibly an accurate observation. However, it isnot original, nor does it permit us to generalize that during the Middle Ages everyone in all contexts was 'pretty bad at estimating large numbers of people.' Military commanders such as William the Conqueror had certain men on his staff who were capable, in general, of making rather sound estimates regarding large numbers of people. For example, William's staff very satisfactorily maintained about 14 000 men and perhaps 3000 or more horses in the Norman camp at Dive-sur-Mer for several months during the summer and early autumn of 1066. This effort required all kinds of complicated estimates for food, shelter and equipment which an fond depended on a reasonably accurate estimate of the order of magnitude of William's troops.16 A third assumption that requires examination is the frequent warning that 'round numbers' and especially 'large round numbers' found in the sources must be treated cautiously.17 This is a rhetorical conceit and of no significance in dealing with the realities of medieval military
1

large armies.14

4

5
6

17

See e.g. Bachrach and Avis, 'Military Technology and Garrison Organization', pp. 117; and J. Campbell , Some Agents and Agencies of the Late Anglo-Saxon State', in J.C. Holt, ed., Domesday Studies: Novocentay Conference, Royal HistoThcZa and Institute of Britsh Geographrs: Winchster 1966 (Woodbridge, 1987), pp. 201-18. These observations should not be construed to suggest that I believe that peasants in pre-Crusade Europe were not able to calculate e.g. the bushels of seed grain they needed to save from the harvest each year in order to do the next year's planting, nor am I arguing that they were unable to count their pigs, sheep, chickens and eggs. Indeed, I would venture to hypothesize that peasants were able to do enough adding and subtracting, and, indeed, even perhaps some dividing and multiplying, to deal with the various 'quantitative' problems they encountered in order to survive and even sometimes to prosper from year to year. Of course, finding evidence to support such a presumably radical hypothesis may well be rather difficult, and is certainly beyond the scope of this paper. However, the survival of various sorts of finger-calculation systems among early modem peasants might be a good place to start. See the literature cited by Alf6ldi-Rosenbaum, 'The Finger Calculus', pp. 1-9. France, Victony in the East, p. 124. This point is also made by Flori, 'Un probleme de m6thodologie', p. 410. B.S. Bachrach, 'Military Administration of the Norman Conquest'; and J. Gillingham, 'William the Bastard at War', in C. Harper-Bill, C. Holdsworth and J.L. Nelson, eds, Stud-s in AIedieva Historny pented to R Alen Brown (Woodbidge, 1989), pp. 141-58. France, Victony in the East, p. 125.

War in History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

132

Bernard S. Bachrach

demography, or for that matter with any form of demography. Estimates of the order of magnitude of large armies and even often of relatively small ones are traditionally made in round numbers (e.g. UN army numbers in the Gulf War were reported as reaching half a million) throughout the history of Western civilization, and the same is true for mass casualty figures in both war and in natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes.18 Indeed, large numbers such as 61 472, whether provided in a medieval source or a modern newspaper account, are more likely to raise the reader's suspicions than is a round number such as about 60 000. Even a modern commander on the eve of combat is unlikely to have the exact count to the last man of the forces he is about to lead into battle.19 Medieval Europe is certainly not an exception. For example, Fulcher of Chartres, who was an eyewitness to much of importance that occurred during the First Crusade, observed, 'The truth regarding the number of the dead or wounded in this or any other battle cannot be determined.' By this he means that the exact number cannot be ascertained, 'because', he continues, 'large numbers can only be estimated'.20 Indeed, estimates are traditionally rounded off so as toavoid giving the potentially misleading appearance that the figure being provided is something more precise than an estimate of an order of
magnitude. We have dwelt sufficiently on the methodological flaws propagated by Delbruick and his posterity. It is now time to see if we can ascertain the order of magnitude of the Crusader armies. First, however, it is necessary to look at the pre-Crusade background and ask three important questions: (1) Were the responsible authorities, i.e. the military decision-makers, during the Middle Ages generally aware of the order of magnitude of the forces that they commanded? (2) Was whatever information that was available to the military commanders, however reliable or unreliable such data may have been, accessible over time to those contemporaries, some of whom were eyewitnesses, and to near contemporaries who subsequently wrote about the events under consideration here? (3) Is it likely that any of these authors, whose accounts have survived, conveyed conscientiously, at least on occasion, whatever more or less accurate information that they may have acquired first-hand or
Un probl&me de m6thodologie', pp. 400-08, has some interesting observations regarding round numbers within his statistical framework. Giangreco, Casualty Projections for the U.S. Invasions of Japan, l 945-1 946: Planning and Policy Implications', Journal of Milita?y Histoyy LXI (1997), pp. 521-8 1, provides a myriad insights into problems of making estimates, even for modem military forces. See pp. 522-9 for interesting historical background. 20 Fulcher of Chartres, Histoia III ch. 43, para. 1 (Eutchei Carnotems Htorria Himsolymitana (1095-1127), ed. C. Winters (Heidelberg, 1913).

8Floori

19 D.M.

Way in History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

The Siege of Antioch

133

from knowledgeable participants, from documents or from some combination of the above? The first question must obviously be answered in the affirmative. During the half-millennium prior to the first Crusade, there is an abundance of evidence to demonstrate that military commanders and their staffs accurately estimated the order of magnitude of their forces. Indeed, medieval commanders and their staffs worked out the details for the transportation of large numbers of troops and arranged to supply their men in a satisfactory manner for months at a time. To think otherwise on an aprior basis or in face of the surviving evidence is not to cast doubt upon medieval numeracy but to undermine any notion of modern common sense.1 By contrast, arguments based upon errors or putative errors made by medieval commanders can hardly be assumed to be evidence for normal behaviour. The second question must also be answered in the affirmative. Unlike many modern societies, which often classify information as top secret for decades and even generations, there is no noteworthy evidence for post hoc efforts to restrict the availability of military information during the Middle Ages in general, and following the First Crusade in particular.22 In addition, many of the men who wrote about military events during the Middle Ages had a background of service in the famzlia of magnates who held military commands of various types. Some of the chroniclers of the First Crusade were military men who participated in one or another aspect of this immense and lengthy ml itary operation.23 The third question, in principle, may also be answered in the affirmative. For example, a short list of large round numbers may be made for convenience in support of this generalization: (1) 6000 men put into the field by Hugh Capet in 991.24 (2) 1000 levies drawn from the city of Angers for expeditionary service during the mid-eleventh century.25
See e.g. several articles by B.S. Bachrach: 'On the Origins of William the Conqueror's Horse Transports', Technology and Culture XXVI (1985), pp. 505-31; 'Medieval Siege Warfare: A Reconnaissance', Journal of Milita?y History LVIII (1 994), pp. 119-33; and 'Anthropology and Early Medieval Histo-ry: Some Problems', Cithara XXXIV (1994), pp. 3-10. 22 P.O. Long and A. Roland, 'Military Secrecy in Antiquity and Early Medieval Europe: A Critical Reassessment', History and Technology XI (1994), pp. 259-90. For general background, see F. Dvomnik, Origins of Intelligence Services (New Brunswick, NJ, 1974). A great deal more research is required on this very important topic. 23 J. Riley-Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (Philadelphia, 1986), pp. 6061, provides brief accounts of the backgrounds of the men who wrote accounts of the first Crusade. 24 See Richer, Histoire de France, ed. and trans. R. Latouche (Paris, 1937) iv, ch. 79; and Bachrach, 'Angevin Campaign Forces in the Reign of Fulk Nerra', pp. 73-4. 25 Fulk le R6chin, Fragmentum historiae Andegavemis, p. 237, in CAroniques des comtes dAnjou et des seigneurs d Amboise, ed. L. Halphen and R. Poupardin (Paris, 1913); B.S. Bachrach, Fulk Nerra the Neo-Roman Comul, 987-1040 (Berkeley, 1993), pp. 153-4.
21

War in History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

134

Bernard S. Bachrach

(3) 14 000 soldiers transported by William to England in 1066.26 In short, it is fair to observe that there is no basis for believing that those whose task in society it was to deal with numbers, as contrasted to the population in general, suffered from fundamental innumeracy. Secondly, there were no noteworthy government restrictions concerning access to information regarding military demography that may have impinged upon those who desired to report such figures. Finally, writers in pre-Crusade Europe frequently reported rather large round numbers in specific contexts concerning military matters, and did so within a demonstrably accurate order of magnitude. A figure of exceptional consequence regarding the military demography of the First Crusade, and the one upon which this study will concentrate, is provided in a letter written jointly by Symeon, the patriarch of Jerusalem, and Bishop Adhemar of le Puy, the commander-in-chief of the entire crusade who was appointed to his position of leadership by the pope. This letter was composed toward the end of October 1097 on the Byzantine-held island of Cyprus, i.e. about a week after Adhemar oversaw the establishment of the Crusader siege camp for the investment of the great fortress-city of Antioch. The two prelates address generally, in what clearly was to be a circular letter, the inhabitants of the northerly regions of Christian Europe in order to make clear the expedition's need for reinforcements and to encourage many more soldiers to take the Cross. The patriarch and the bishop wrote: 'We have 100 000 mounted troops (equites) and other well-armed men (lovicati), but what of it? We are few in comparison with the pagans.'27 John France is the only recent scholar to examine this letter with regard to its possible value for the study of military demography. In discussing this 100 000 estimate as well as a plethora of other numbers, France airs the usual non-relevant caveats regarding 'large numbers', 'round numbers', medieval innumeracy and the general difficulty found in estimating large numbers. However, he stresses yet another and rather contradictory point in regard to his own doubts about large numbers. Thus, he comments forthrightly on the authoritative nature of the letter as a source, and makes clear that it cannot be summarily dismissed as a mere fantastic exaggeration.28 Since Adhemar was the commander-in-chief of the Crusade, one of his letters, which provides an estimate of the size of the forces under

CAmnique de Saint Maixent ed. and trans. J. Verdon (Paris, 1979), an. 1066; and the discussion by Bachrach, 'Military Administration of the Norman Conquest', pp. 3-4. 27 The text of this letter is found in H. Hagenmeyer, ed., Die Kreuzugslniefe am den Jahen 1088-1100 (Innsbruck, 1902), no. VI (p. 141-2); Hagenmeyer also provides a discussion regarding the date and location (pp. 59-61). France, Victory in the Eta pp. 209-10, is certainly correct in making it clear that the joint letter was sent from Cyprus after the establishment of the siege encampment at Antioch. Cf. the translation of this letter by A.C. Krey, The First Crusade (Princeton, NJ, 1921), p. 132. 28 France, Victory in the East, pp. 124-5.
26

War

in

History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

The Siege of Antioch

135

his command, must be assumed to be authoritative unless proven otherwise. Indeed, France recognizes that the 100 000 figure 'may be a serious estimate'. In addition, he also makes it very clear that he understands that Adhemar was making a request for reinforcements. Therefore, France correctly observes concerning the letter that the bishop of le Puy 'must have been anxious not to pitch the figure too high or too low lest he discourage people from coming'.29 In further examining the plausibility of the 100 000-man estimate, France notes that in a separate and later letter the Patriarch Symeon uses this same figure of 100 000 well-armed men.30 In addition, France points out: 'Raymond of Aguilers says that at the start of the siege of Antioch the army had 100 000 armed men (armatorum). 31 These three accounts are closely connected. Bishop Adhemar co-authored one letter with Symeon, who wrote the other, and Raymond of Aguilers, as a follower of Count Raymond of Toulouse, may be considered to have been in the mouvance of Bishop Adhemar. Thus France, not unreasonably, is willing to consider the figure of 100 000 well-armed men to have been 'some sort of quasi-official estimate of numbers at the start of the crusade'.32 How this figure of 100 000 well-armed fighting men that two sources, the joint letter and Raymond of Aguilers, specifically associate with the commencement of the siege at Antioch in late October 1097 is transmogrified by France into 'some sort of quasi-official estimate of numbers at the start of the crusade' (my emphasis) remains a mystery. Obviously, this figure is specifically located not at the start of the Crusade but at the start of the siege of Antioch. However, France does conclude cautiously: 'As such [i.e. a quasi-official estimate at the start of the crusade] it is likely to be an overestimate...' The only reason France seems to adduce for this conclusion is that the estimate 'does not include the number of non-combatants'. By contrast, as pointed out above, France believes that the army at its assumed greatest size, i.e. at the start of the Crusade, should be estimated at about the 50 000-60 000 mark including non-combatants.34 Thus, starting with a consensus-based maximum figure of 35 000 effectives, which France does not reject, he would seem to be arguing that the number of non-combatants should be put at somewhere between 15 000 and 25 000 men, women and children, i.e. on average an increase in the total number of mouths to feed of about
29
31

30 For

p. ct., p. 125. Symeon's letter, see Hagenmeyer, Kreuzzugsbriefe no. IX (p. 147); and the discussion by France, Victoy in the East p. 128.

Raymond of Aguilers,

Le

Liber

mlatofr 4 istoire des croisades (Paris, in the East, p. 128.
Gp. cit., p. 129.
G. cit.,
p.

de Raymund dAguiers, ed. J. and L. Hill, in Documents 1969), p. 48; and the discussion by France, Victoy

32
33

129.
War in History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

3'

Gp. cit., pp. 123-42.

136

Bernard S. Bachrach

50 per cent over the base figure for effectives. This seems a bit high to me, i.e. one woman, child or priest for every two soldiers. If such a ratio is applied to the figure provided by Adh6mar, Raymond and Symeon, then the total population of Christians connected to the crusading force for the siege of Antioch at the commencement of the siege for which Adh&mar had some sort of overall logistic responsibilities would be about 150 000. However, France's estimates regarding the number of camp followers, whether at the siege of Antioch or at the start of the Crusade, are speculative in nature, and any extrapolation of his percentages to the figures provided in the letter discussed above simply builds one guess upon another.35 There is no reasonn, pnma facie, to reject the estimate of 100 000 wellarmed effectives mentioned in Adh6mar's letter. Nor for that matter is there any reason not to believe that there were perhaps some 20 000 or so non-combatants connected in various ways to the besieging army, although this number seems rather large to me. Adh6mar's letter surely may be considered an official document and not a narrative source of the type that Fulcher of Chartres attacks for 'the shamelessness of lying' when treating numbers.36 Indeed, Adhemar and Symeon report in the letter that the council of crusaders had just met.37 This meeting had been undertaken ostensibly in order to establish the strategy that would be used for the siege of Antioch.38 Obviously, 'the clerics, bishops, monks, dukes, counts, and bonz laici',39 who had recently sat with their commander-in-chief in council, were very well positioned to provide reasonably accurate estimates of the numbers of men who served in their respective commands. Each commander in this context would have been required only to deal with the comparatively small numbers of his own contingent. For the bishop's staff to ascertain at the council a total for the entire army based upon a collection of the particular estimates of each commander, even taking into consideration the awkwardness of doing arithmetic with Roman numerals, merely required simple addition and thus was hardly a feat of higher mathematics. Indeed, the establishment of a new siege encampment, where everything was to be organized from the ground up, was the ideal time to make the quantitative estimates that would be required not only for logistical purposes
G C+. cit., p. 129. This is not to deny the existence of Christian camp followers at Antioch. Even a cursory perusal of the sources makes clear that there were camp followers, and I am prepared to believe that they were not inconsiderable in number. However, at present I see no way to create a formula by which to estimate such numbers. 36 Fulcher, Htorria Iii, ch. 43, para. 1. It must be emphasized that each and every number must be examined individually without any preconceptions in order to ascertain if it is plausible. Heermann, Die Gefechtsfitrung abendldndischer Heere, pp. 101-27, and esp. the chart on p. 127, provides access to a vast array of numbers but manifests a preference for small ones. 37 Hagenmeyer, Kretz-zugsbriefe no. VI (pp. 141-2). 3' Raymond of Aguilers, Liber, pp. 46-7. 3' Hagenmeyer, Kretz-zugsbriefe no. VI (pp. 141-2).

War

in

History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

The Siege of Antioch

137

in order to sustain operations against Antioch but also for the deployment of units. In short, Bishop Adhemar had the opportunity, at the above-mentioned council, to obtain figures for the order of magnitude of the army that would be dealing with the siege of the great fortresscity of Antioch. It should be mentioned in this context, moreover, that at the start of the siege, Adhemar and the other commanders had accepted the responsibility to provide garrisons for some 200 towns and strongholds, which were located in the region of Antioch as well as considerably further afield, and which, in general, the crusaders already had taken from the Muslims)'0 In addition, the Emperor Alexius had promised the crusaders that he would send an imperial army to participate in the siege of Antioch.i1 Despite the cynicism later exhibited by various chroniclers on this matter, it is clear that the crusader army as a whole, and not only its leaders truly expected this imperial force to arrive at any time. In addition, when Adhemar met with the patriarch on Cyprus, prior to sending theirjoint letter, he was in a position to gain more specific information regarding the strength of potential Byzantine reinforcements. Further, before the siege of Antioch was actually begun, the leaders of the Crusade also had received 'reports' that reinforcements were on their way from France to Antioch.43 Finally, it is likely that Adhemar counted Tancred's considerable force based at Alexandretta as part of the totals that he recounted in his letter.44 We do not know the number of effectives that the emperor promised for the siege, nor do we know how many troops were reported as being sent to Antioch from France. However, some of the Crusade leaders, at least, would seem to have been sufficiently well informed regarding the putative order of magnitude of the expected reinforcements as to advocate delaying the siege until this help arrived.45 It may perhaps be suggested that Bishop Adh6mar, in making his troop estimates regarding the size of crusading army prior to the actual commencement of
40 Raymond of Aguilers, Liber, pp. 46-8, for the general picture. Alexander of Ribemont, writing in Nov. 1097, puts the number of civitates and castella at 200 (Hagenmeyer, Kreuzugsb&riefe no. VII (p. 145) ) and Stephen of ]lois, towards the end of the siege of Antioch, gives the figure of civitates and castra at 165 (op. cit., no. XI (p. 151) ). This leads to the conclusion that the rigours of the siege required the abandonment of some positions and the recall of troops to the Antioch for the prosecution of the siege. A ludicrously low average figure of 25 men per garrison would amount to 5000 men detached from the army for such duty, as a whole, at the time the siege of Antioch commenced. Cf. France, Victory in the East, p. 133. 41 Raymond of Aguilers, Liber, p. 47; Gesta Erancorum et Aliorum Hierolimitanorum, ed. R. Hill (London, 1962) vi, ch. 16. 42 Raymond of Aguilers, Liber, p. 47, should be read in connection with pp. 55-6. See also Cssta Francoum vi, ch. 16. 43 Raymond of Aguilers, Liber, p. 47. 44 Runciman, Histony of the Crusades, pp. 217-18, discusses the various groups that were thought to be coming to aid in the siege of Antioch. 4 Raymond of Aguilers, Librf, p. 46, for the Crusade leaders and p. 54, regarding Tatikios, the representative of the Emperor at Antioch, who also consistently advised waiting for reinforcements.

War in History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

138

Bernard S. Bachrach

the siege of Antioch, for the letter discussed above, was, in fact, counting on 'futures'. That is, he did not simply add up the number of effectives provided to him by the various commanders in the council that had recently met. Rather, he added to the number of forces encamped at Antioch the number of imperial troops that Emperor Alexius had promised, the number of reinforcements that were reported as coming from France, those garrisons troops already stationed in various strongholds and Tancred's troops at Alexandretta in order to arrive at the figure of 100 000 effectives.46 As John France has acknowledged, despite his defence of the traditional view for small crusader armies, the commander-in-chief had a need for accurate information because he 'must have been anxious not to pitch the figure too high or too low lest he discourage people from coming'.47 An exaggeration by Bishop Adhemar of the number of well-armed effectives 'available' for the siege of Antioch to an order of magnitude of several hundred per cent, as we have seen France calculate the numbers, would surely have been rejected as absurd by experienced and well-informed generals.48 Men such as the English king, William Rufus, who very likely was one of the projected recipients of Adh6mar's 'letter to the northern Christians', undoubtedly would have had a very sound idea of the order of magnitude of the potential troops strengths of the crusaders. Indeed, he played a major role in financing the contingent that was led to the Holy Land by his brother, Duke Robert, and was in negotiations to finance an army that was to be led by Duke William of Aquitaine.49 If William Rufus, for example, was to endorse Bishop Adh6mar's plea for reinforcements, he had to be sure that the commander-in-chief of the Crusader army was not an idiot who did not grasp even the fundamental order of magnitude of his own effective troop strength. Any discussion of the accuracy of Adh6mar's estimate of crusader troop strength for the siege of Antioch must address, au fond, a question that no scholar previously has investigated. Was it logistically possible to sustain a force of some 100 000 people in siege camps outside the walls of Antioch toward the latter part of October of 1097?50 If a force of this size could not be supplied, then obviously the information provided in the letter must be rejected or modified downward to the level of support that could be provided. If, however, it was technically
46

Cf. Raymond of Aguilers, Liber, p. 48, who says that the forces actually deployed at Antioch at the start of the siege numbered 100 000 men.

France, Victwy in the East, p. 125. 4a J. Riley-Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (London, 1986), p. 65, Cf. describes the Crusader force at Antioch as A horde of around 40 000 men and women. 49 See F. Barlow, William Rufm (Berkeley, CA, 1983), for a good general biography. It is worth noting that contemporaries considered the military abilities of William Rufus to be superior to those of his father, William the Conqueror. 50 F. Lot, L Art militaire I, pp. 129-30, rejected all large numbers a priori; but cf. Flori, 'Un probl&me de m&thodologie', p. 420, who takes Lot to task for his unsupported assumptions.
47

War

in

History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

The Siege of Antioch

139

possible to carry out the supply of a force of some 100 000 men and their camp followers, then those who would reject the estimate provided in the commander-in-chiefs letter must assume the burden of proof for doing so. In this context, it isof more than heuristic value to recall that Alexander the Great kept field armies of this size in top fighting condition for a great deal longer than the nine months that Adh6mar's forces spent at Antioch.f1 In addition, exceptionally large Roman and Phoenician armies were also maintained under adverse conditions for lengthy periods of time.52 Finally, the primitive technology of the pre-industrial early modern era did not keep armies of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries absurdly small.53 Indeed, Vienna was besieged in 1529 by a force of 125 000 men who had far fewer logistic assets than the crusaders enjoyed at Antioch in 1097.5' The crusaders at Antioch, by contrast with Alexander, could, for example, very easily be supplied by water. They controlled the port of Saint Symeon, only 27 km from the walls of Antioch and several km closer to their siege camps. They also controlled the auxiliary ports at Latakia and Alexandretta.55 Indeed, it isvery likely that 'English' fleets captured these ports on the orders of Emperor Alexius several months prior to the establishment of the siege of Antioch, but in anticipation of the siege and for the explicit purpose of providing supplies that the emperor subsequently promised to the crusaders for the siege.56 The Crusaders' allies had full control of the sea lanes in this part of the eastern Mediterranean.57 The Byzantines had a major naval and military base on Cyprus under

51

See D.W. Engels, Alexander the

Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army (Berkeley,

CA, 1978), regarding the size of Alexander's armies and the logistic problems that
he faced and overcame. 52 See P.A. Brunt, Italian Manpowerp 225 BC-AD 14 (Oxford, 1971), pp. 312-417, with special attention to the numbers of effectives recruited from Italy alone. b See J. Lynn, 'Food, funds, and fortresses: resource mobilization and positional warfare in the campaigns of Louis XCV', in Lynn, Feeding Man pp. 137-59. C. Duffy, Siege Warfaw: The Fortress in the Early Modem World, 1494-1660 (London, 1979), p. 201, for the siege of Vienna. France, Victony in the East, pp. 210-19. 56 France (op. cit., pp. 215-20) develops the evidence but does not seem to appreciate the full impact of what he has found. Runciman, Hstory of the Crusades i, pp. 199, 201, 217-18, 227-8, 238, 255, 338. I hope to take a position on the putative role of Edgar Atheling in the First Crusade some time in the near future. 5 France, Victony in the East, p. 21 0, n. 46, is rightly sceptical of the argument put forth by A. Lewis, Naval Power and Trade in the Meditraneano 500-1100 (Princeton, NJ, 1951), pp. 225-49, that Byzantine naval power was in decline at this time. That power was very probably increasing in an absolute sense: see H. Ahrweiler, Byzance et la mer (Paris, 1966). However, Lewis is also correct in regard to the relative power of Byzantium because of the growth in naval power of the Italian cities. In short, Western Christian naval forces were rapidly coming to be a major force in the Mediterranean. War in History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

140

Bernard S. Bachrach

the command of the island's governor, Eustathius Philocales.58 In addition, the island would seem to have served as an offshore headquarters of sorts for the Crusade as well as an entrepot for storing supplies. Indeed, the decision by the crusaders to take the coastal route south toward Jerusalem rather than the Damascus road would seem to have been conditioned by the fact that Alexius had made clear that he would use Cyprus as the base to which he would send the supplies that he had promised to the Westerners.59 In addition, Patriarch Symeon of Jerusalem was enjoying what would appear to have been a very pleasant exile on the island, and he and his court seem to have lacked for nothing. In fact, Symeon sent exceptionally lavish gifts from Cyprus to the crusaders who were preparing to capture Antioch.6i Not long after the siege was established formally at Antioch, Bishop Adhemar visited the patriarch on Cyprus. The letter, discussed above, which requested reinforcements from those dwelling in the northerly regions of Europe, is generally agreed to have been sent after that meeting between the two prelates and probably from the island itself.61 In addition, there is reason to believe that the patriarch may have played a role in helping to provision the crusaders at Antioch.62 There were ships available at Saint Symeon not only for the commander-in-chief to visit Cyprus. For example, William Peter, one of Count Raymond of Toulouse's more important functionaries, was sent from Antioch to Cyprus by his commander for the purpose of securing food shipments from the island for the Aquitanian contingents engaged in the siege.63 Indeed, it is estimated that William Peter traveled some 340 miles in a period of six months for the specific purpose of obtaining supplies for the Aquitanians.64 In this context, the evi8 As part of gaining control of the easter Mediterranean the Byzantines recaptured Cyprus in 965 only four years after they captured Crete. See J. Pryor, Geography, TecAnology, and War: Studies in the Maritime Histony of the Meditranean, 649-1571 (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 102-10; and the review by B.S. Bachrach in Technology and Culture XXXI (1990), pp. 183-5. Eustathius had sufficient troop strength and naval assets available to him on Cyprus to take over the port at Latakia from Duke Robert of Normandy and to place a Byzantine garTison there. See the discussion by Runciman, Historny of the Crusades i, p. 255. 9 See France, Victony in the West, pp. 209-10. 60 Albert of Aix, Historia Hiemsolymitana, 489, in Recueil des Aistoriem des croisades: historiens occidentaux (5 vols, Paris, 1844-95), iv. 61 Hagenmeyer, Kretz-zugsbriefe no. VI (pp. 141-2); France, Victoy in the East, p. 209. 62 Albert of Aix, Historia Hiemsolymitana, p. 489, is seen by Runciman, Histoy of the Crusades i, p. 222, to indicate that the patriarch played a regular role in supplyng the crusaders. 63 Raymond of Aguilars, Liber, pp. 68-72. 64 Count Raymond's need to have his agents deal directly with either Byzantine government functionaries or private merchants on Cyprus and at other ports for the purpose of supplying his Aquitanian forces was probably due more to the continuing conflicts between the crusade's leaders than to any breakdown of the logistic capability of the merchants who were supplying the crusaders. In this context, it is clear that Count Raymond expected that his agents would be able to purchase the foodstuffs required, and that William Peter would not have any difficulty in arranging for their shipment to Antioch. To put it another way, this was not a foraging operation that required the count's military support but a fairly simple

War

in

History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

The Siege of Antioch

141

dence is clear that ships could sail from Cyprus or, indeed, from any place else to Saint Symeon at any time of the year. For example, a Genoese fleet is reported to have landed at Saint Symeon on 15 November and an English fleet arrived at the port very early in March.65 Only one merchant ship of rather moderate size, i.e. carrying only 100 tons,66 was required to land at the port of Saint Symeon each day, in order to provide well in excess of the 1.7 kg of milled wheat required to meet the calorific requirements of 100 000 men encamped at Antioch. Indeed, such a schedule of daily landings leaves some 30 tons of surplus wheat each day, to be used for providing bread for the camp followers or for horses or as a reserve.67 A force of 100 000 effectives, or perhaps even a total population of 120 000, required around 100 tons of milled wheat per day, and that quantity could be supplied by a single ship of modest size. Once the cargo was landed at Saint Symeon, however, 200 carts and 400 carthorses were required to haul 100 tons of wheat over the old Roman road from the port of Saint Symeon to the siege camp at Antioch. The journey required a full day's travel. Thus, if 100 tons were to be transported from Saint Symeon to Antioch each day by land a total of 400 carts and a minimum of 800 horses were required.68 Indeed, it is clear that wagons or carts as well as pack-horses were used to facilitate logistic operations between the port at Saint Symeon and the siege encampments at Antioch, but if any schedules were kept they have not survived.69 One contemporary, however, speaks to the ability of the crusaders to bring boats up the Orantes river from the port of Saint Symeon to Antioch itself.70 Since the Orantes was navigable and ran through the crusader siege camps in the environs of Antioch to the port at Saint

business operation. Cf. Riley-Smith, The Firt Crusade, p. 60. 65 Raymond of Aguilers, Liber, p. 49; Caffaro, De liberatione civitatum orientis, in Recueil des Aistoriens des croisades: Aistoriers occidentaux v, pp. 49-50; and Hagenmeyer, Kreu=ugsbriefe no. XVII (pp. 165-7). 66 During the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries cargo ships in the Mediterranean were expected to carry loads in the 95-470-ton range. A capacity of 600 tons would seem to have been an upper limit by the mid-thirteenth century. R.W. Unger, The Ship in the Medieval Econonzy, 600-1600 (London, 1980), pp. 123-6. 67 Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, pp. 123-6; and Bachrach, 'Military Administration of the Norman Conquest', pp. 1 l-1 2, for men and pp. 12-13, regarding horses. For additional information concerning horses, see B.S. Bachrach, 'Animals and Warfare in Early Medieval Europe', Settimane di studio del Centro Italiano di Studi suIlalto Medioevo xxxi(l) (Spoleto, 1985), pp. 707-64; repr. in B.S. Bachrach, Armies and Politics in the Early Medieval West (London, 1993), with the same pagination. 68 Bachrach, 'Animals and Warfare', pp. 716-26. If wagons were used instead of carts, the number of vehicles could be reduced to about 180 per day, with a concomitant reduction in the number of draft horses required. 69 France, Victwoy in the East, pp. 254-5, discusses the famous example of the supply column led by Bohemund that was attacked by the Muslims. 70 Fulcher, Historra I, ch. 11, pam. 4.

War in History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

142

Bernard S. Bachrach

Symeonj1 grain could more easily and, indeed, considerably more
economically be offloaded onto river boats than onto horse-drawn carts, and thus transported up river without the need to feed and care for many hundreds of draft horses. There is substantial evidence that when the crusaders occupied the region between Saint Symeon and Antioch they acquired a great many boats which previously had been used on the river. Indeed, it seems likely that there was normally a river fleet on the Orantes plying between Saint Symeon and Antioch to supply the needs of the city on a regular basis. The crusaders at Antioch are reported to have had access to so many boats, as might be expected in regard to such an important river and the regular supply of so great a city, that they built a pontoon bridge supported by river craftacross the Orontes to facilitate communications and transportation between various parts of the siege encampment.72 Unfortunately, none of the contemporary or near-contemporary authors who wrote histories of the First Crusade saw it as his task to record in a systematic manner the arrival of vessels carrying supplies for the besieging force to the port of Saint Symeon. In general, not much effort was spent reporting on the role of ships in the Crusade itself.73 Nevertheless, these writers do provide incidental information regarding ships and supplies. Thus, for example, John France, after reviewing the data in detail, was compelled to observe that seaborne 'logistical ... support was essential for the crusaders'. France continued, 'it is hardly possible to believe that without such Byzantine help they could have survived the siege of Antioch.' Indeed, France goes so far as to hypothesize, 'By Christmas 1097 the army had eaten up everything in the immediate vicinity of Antioch ... In these circumstances food brought in by sea was probably a vital element in sustaining the army.'74 In general, there are references to fleets from the three major Italian maritime cities, Venice, Genoa and Pisa, operating throughout the eastern Mediterranean in search of profitable connections.75 Ships
71 The Orontes was navigable up to Antioch even before the Romans introduced massive improvements. See C. Downey, A History of Antioch in Syria ftom Seleuw to the Arab Conquest (Princeton, NJ, 1961), pp. 18, 52-3, and esp. n. 28. 72 Both Raymond of Aguilers, Liber, p. 49, and Fuicher of Chartres, Historra I, ch. 15, para. 6, speak of a plethora of boats available to the crusaders, and of the pontoon bridge they built on boats which they found along the banks of the Orontes river and commandeered for the use of the army. However, the crusaders did not limit themselves to the use ofriver boats for the transportation of supplies. 73 The prejudices, one might even say the chivalric' prejudices, of the men who patronized these authors - and, indeed, the prejudices of many of the authors themselves - go a long way toward explaining why naval operations in general are given such very limited attention. Ships and sailors, like archers and artillerymen, were not to be seen as heroes; if possible they were to be ignored. France, Victoyy in the West, p. 213, comments on the poverty of information concerning the fleets and (p. 218) generously observes, regarding Albert of Aix's treatment of the subject: 'Albert was not generally interested in fleets at all - his sources were apparently men of the army, generally incurious about maritime matters.'
7 7

p. cit., p. 210.

Gp. cit.,
in

pp.

209, 219.

War

History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

The Siege of Antioch

143

from the Byzantine empire are also indicated as playing a role in support of the Crusaders.76 Mention of imperial fleets should be expected because the Emperor Alexius had promised to send supplies to the crusaders.77 In addition, several English fleets are identified at this time operating in the eastern Mediterranean, and these are likely to have been among the 'Western' ships mentioned in the sources as carrying food to Antioch.78 There is even reason to believe that fleets, or at least noteworthy numbers, of ships from Norway, Denmark, Frisia, Flanders and Antwerp were operating in the eastern Mediterannean at this time and helping to provide logistic support for the Crusade.79 Indeed, Greek ships - and by this Raymond of Aguilers undoubtedly means naval assets under the ultimate control of the Byzantine emperor - are depicted operating between Cyprus and the port of Saint Symeon in apparent fulfilment of the promise made by the Emperor Alexius to send supplies to the crusaders.80 However, various writers, such as Ralph of Caen and Raymond of Aguilers, were manifestly hostile to Alexius, and appear loath even to mention, however briefly, that food was sent from Cyprus. They appear not to have wished their readers even to draw the inference that these supplies were sent at imperial direction. It is fair to conclude, however, that imperial logistic support for the crusader forces at Antioch was massively under-recorded by the Western writers, while the incidence of suffering by the Western Christian army was exaggerated both for pietistic purposes and as a means of inculpating the emperor.81 In addition, it must be emphasized that supplies were sent by ship to the
76
occidentaux iv, p. 18; Ordericus Vitalis, Hstoria ix, ch. 4 [vol. v, p. 30]; The Ecclsiastical Htory of Orderic Vitals, ed. and trans. M. Chibnall (6 vols, Oxford, 196979); Raymond of Aguilers, Liber, pp. 134-5. See France, Viectoy in the East, p. 209, for a discussion of the promise made by

Baiudry of Dolt Mtoriajerosolimita, in Recueil des hstoriens des croisades: historiem

77

Alexius. 78 This material is developed in op. cit., pp. 215-20. 7' For a fleet from Norway, see Unger, The Ship in the AMdieval Economy, p.129; and for the others, see France, Victony in the Eta pp. 216-20. 8 Raymound of Aguilers, Liber, pp. 134-5; and France, Victony in the East, p. 209. The crusaders rapidly consumed the immense stock of food that they captured when they took over the region around Antioch. Indeed, they failed to take the elementary precaution of storing surpluses or maintaining herds of livestock. This behaviour may indeed suggest that it was firmly believed that the Emperor would provide the supplies that he had promised. Of course, one can always fall back on the clich6 of tbad leadership' to explain stupid behaviour. Runciman, Hstory of the Crusades i, p. 219, provides a rich picture of the assets acquired by the crusaders. G1 cit., p. 227, comments on the hostility of the sources in this context. See, in 6. more detail, France, Victoy in the Eta p. 210, who notes with surprise the fact that even these supplies are mentioned by the chroniclers. Indeed, it is the payti pKs of these authors that resulted in the downplaying of the Byzantine logistic contribution while at the same time overemphasizing the privation of the crusaders during the siege of Antioch. A great deal of study will be required in the future, similar to the work of W. Goffart, The Narraton of Barbarian Hstoy (550-800): Jordanes Gegogny of Touns Beede and Paul the Deacon (Princeton, NJ, 1988), before the works of these Crusade historians can be used to the greatest effect. See the review article on Goffart's book by B.S. Bachrach in Francia xvii (1990, appeared in 1991), pp. 250-6. War in History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

144

Bernard S. Bachrach

forces besieging Antioch from other crusader-held ports either directly to Saint Symeon or indirectly through yet other ports.82 It is clear that, for a combination of reasons - such as lack of interest in maritime matters, lack of information and hostility to the empire contemporaries and near-contemporaries did not systematically report the elaborate and well-organized seaborne efforts by the imperial government to supply the crusaders at Antioch. In addition, it can also be said with considerable confidence that no systematic effort was made to list all the caravans bringing supplies overland to Antioch; a few examples, however, did find their way into the sources.83 Further, the forces at Antioch enjoyed considerable success in foraging. Clearly, however, not all foraging efforts were systematically recorded. Indeed, it islikely that not even all the successful efforts were noted.84 Finally, the crusaders succeeded on occasion in interdicting and capturing supplies intended for the enemy troops within Antioch itself.85 Despite what was clearly a massive supply effort, primarily by sea, the crusaders at Antioch, even taking into account the pietistic exaggerations found in the sources, at least occasionally suffered from a lack of supplies. It is very likely that their horses suffered greatly.86 The fact that the supply effort, described above, did not fully succeed surely cannot be taken as evidence for the small size of the crusader force at Antioch. Indeed, any judgement in regard to the size of the army in light of the failure to supply it fully must lead to the conclusion that the force was large rather than small. To put it more simply, it iseasier to supply a small force than it isto supply a large force. On the whole, however, there is absolutely nothing in the record from a logistic perspective that requires scholars to reject the estimate of the order of magnitude of the crusader forces at Antioch provided in an official document by Bishop Adhemar of le Puy who was the commander-in-chief of the army.87 The following points would seem to be clear:

Ralph of Caen, Gesta Tancredi, in Recueil des historiens des croisades: historars occidemtaux v, p. 649; and Bauldry of Dolt Historia, p. 65. 8 Albertus Aquensis, Historia Hiemsolymitana, in Recueil des historiem des croisades: historars occidentaux iv, p. 435; and Gesta Erancorum, ed. Hill, x, ch. 20. See Runciman, Histony of the Crusades I, pp. 221, 229. 84 Riley-Smith, The First Crusade, pp. 66-8, 75, 87,places a great deal of emphasis on foraging. For Runciman, History of the Crusades I, p. 220, it does not appear to have been so important. 85 See op. cit., p. 229, regarding the interdiction and capture of enemy supplies by the
82

crusaders.
86 Regarding the suffering of men and horses, see Riley-Smith, The First Crusade, pp. 33-4, 39, 49,65-9, 71, 73,88-90; and Runciman, History of the Crusades i, pp. 232, 238. 87 Runciman (op. cit., p. 220) who, as we have seen, is generally sceptical concering numbers found in the sources, accepts the account in Gesta Erancorum, ed. Hill, vi, ch. 13, that Bohemund led a force of 20 000 men on a major foraging operation into Muslim territory. If one accepts the small numbers for the Crusader army at Antioch preferred by France and Riley-Smith, then it would seem that Bohemund took vitually the entire force on a foraging expedition.

War

in

History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

The Siege of Antioch

145

(1) Adh6mar very probably had the opportunity to acquire accurate information regarding the order of magnitude of the forces he commanded. (2) Strategic control of the eastern Mediterranean made it possible to deliver great quantities of supplies to Saint Symeon by ship. (3) On average, only one rather moderate-sized ship of 100 tons was required per day to supply the crusader camp with the minimum food needed. Variations on this formula were certainly possible, given the fact that over the centuries much of Antioch's food supply came through the port of Saint Symeon. (4) The crusaders controlled the logistic assets necessary to bring supplies from the port at Saint Symeon to Antioch. In addition, acceptance of Adh6mar's estimate of the order of magnitude of crusader manpower assets at the commencement of the siege at Antioch obviates the need to explain away a plethora of 'difficulties' that arise from assuming that the crusader army was considerably smaller. For example, we do not have to reject the contemporary estimation of the size of the enemy garrison at Antioch which put the number of regulars at almost 20 000 effectives.88 This estimate, moreover, clearly does not include the able-bodied male residents of the city who were trained to do militia service. In addition, we do not have to explain how a putatively small crusader army at the start of the siege,89 which is generally thought to have been significantly and perhaps even massively reduced during the siege through starvation,90 disease,91 desertion92 and combat casualties,93 not only stormed the city of Antioch and captured it but won three major battles in the field and fought a great many minor battles with frequent successes.94 Indeed, at least some of the Muslim armies that the crusaders defeated are agreed by modern scholars to have been very large.95 Further, we do not have to explain away the fact that the crusaders won most of the time with putatively small numbers of troops despite what is generally considered
88 Raymond of Aguilers, Liber, p. 48. Cf. France, Victory in th Eata pp. 223-4, puts the garrison at 4000 because he believes that was the size of the Byzantine garrison. 89 Riley-Smith, The First Crusade, p. 65, at the beginning of the siege puts the entire force at Antioch, including camp followers, at 40 000. 90 G. cit., pp. 33-4, 39, 49, 65-9, 71, 73, 85, 88-90, places great weight on the sources that emphasize the failure of the supply system. 91 France, Victony in the East, p. 139, rightly speaks of 'a steady attrition due to disease and hardship'. See also Riley-Smith, The First Crusade, pp. 59-60. 92 Riley-Smith (op. cit., pp. 59, 61, 67, 71-2, 78-83, 87, 90) finds a great deal of evidence for desertion. France, Victony in the East, pp. 140-42, reviews the coy' treatment by the sources of battlefield losses, but nevertheless does not seem to give the weight it deserves to the observation by Fulcher, Historia Iii, ch. 43, para. 1. RRiley-Smith, The First Crusade, p. 99, recognizes the great military success accomplished by the crusaders at Antioch, as does France, Victoy in the East, pp. 197296. See e.g. France, Victony in the East, p. 293, with specific attention to the forces of

Kerboga.
War in History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011

146

Bernard S. Bachrach

to have been the poor generalship of their military commanders.96 Also, we do not have to explain away how a very small army, relative to its task, subjected to a close siege, that choked off access to all supplies, a fortified city of the massive size (12 km of walls) and the renowned strength of Antioch.97 Finally, we do not have to explain where the crusaders found the substantial human and material resources that were required to build the extensive siege fortifications, traditionally underestimated by modern scholars, with which they very closely blockaded Antioch.9Y In short, the success of the crusaders at Antioch is explained much better by a very large army, perhaps even one that was estimated at the start to be around 100 000, than by a small force.99

Acknowledgements
An earlier draft of this paper was presented at the 30th International Congress on Medieval Studies held at Western Michigan University, Kalalamazoo, 4-7 May, 1995, in a session honouring Donald Queller. I would like to thank various members of the audience at that session for their helpful questions and suggestions.

Unzversity of Minnesota

96 Smail, Crusading Warfaw, p. 202, believes that Bohemund was the only Crusader leader with any military talent. Riley-Smith, The Firt Crusade, p. 91, espouses the position that the crusaders were badly led. 17 For background, see Downey, A Historny of AntiocA; and C. Cahen, La Syrie du nord 4 I'boque des croisade et la principaufftanque dAntioch (Paris, 1940). A good brief sketch is provided by Runciman, Historny of the Crusades i, p. 216. 98 Smail, Crusading Warfaw, pp. 209-10; Runciman, Histony of the Crusades I, pp. 219, 228. Regarding costs, see the preliminary model developed by B.S. Bachrach, 'The Cost of Castle-Building: The Case of the Tower at Langeais, 992-994', in K. Reyerson and F. Powe, eds, The Medieval Castle: Romance and Reality (Dubuque, IA, 1984), pp. 46-62 (four plates). 99 Riley-Smith, The First Crusade, pp. 91-100, seems to argue that the crusaders believed that God gave them victory. It would appear to be Riley-Smith's position that because the crusaders believed this we should as well. This may perhaps be an unfair inference, however, since Riley-Smith does not set out to tell us why the crusaders really' won.

Way in History 1999 6 (2)
Downloaded from wih.sagepub.com at Vytautas Magnus University on November 1, 2011