Bohemond of Taranto

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Bohemond and the Patriarch Daimbert return to Apulia in 1104. Miniature from a 13th century edition of the Histoire d'Outremer .

Bohemond of Taranto ( also: Boemund, Bohemond, Bohemond I, Bohemond of Antioch, etc.) (* 1051 / 52 , † 7. March 1111 ) from the Norman noble family Hauteville was from 1085 Prince of Taranto , from 1096 one of the leaders of the First crusade and from 1098 Prince of Antioch .


Bohemond was the eldest son of Robert Guiskard and his first wife Alberada von Buonalbergo (Aubrée de Bonauberge). He was probably born in San Marco Argentano in Calabria . Actually baptized Marcus, his father, after hearing a story about a giant Buamundus , named his child Bohemond , who was huge from birth.

He took part in his father's Greek campaign (1080-1085) against Alexios I , and led the Normans during his father's return to southern Italy (1082-1084) to Thessaly , where he was finally repulsed by Alexios.

Principality of Taranto

After his father's death (1085) Bohemond was Taranto invested , but not with the more lucrative Apulia , which his half-brother Roger Borsa received.

First crusade

In 1096, Bohemond and his uncle Roger I attacked Amalfi , which had risen as groups of crusaders passed through Italy en route to Constantinople . Bohemond joined them in the autumn of this year with its own contingent, crossed the Adriatic into what is now Albania at the end of October and moved east via the old Via Egnatia . He arrived in Constantinople on April 10, 1097. His army, now under his nephew Tankred, lost discipline, plundered in many places and did not arrive in Constantinople until half a month later, on April 26, 1097. Emperor Alexios had the Normans and his army crossed to Asia Minor after taking an oath demanding that the conquered territories be surrendered to Constantinople. After crossing Asia Minor and the Battle of Dorylaum, Bohemond was the de facto leader of the First Crusade .

Prince of Antioch

As a politician, Bohemond was determined to harness the Crusaders' enthusiasm for his own ends. He was the first to take position before Antioch (in October 1097) and played a major role in the siege of the city . Antioch was conquered by treason on June 2, 1098, but only the victory over Kerboga's large relief army in a subsequent second siege secured the possession of the city, which Bohemond subsequently claimed as a separate principality against Raymond IV of Toulouse . Bohemond stayed in Antioch while the rest of the crusaders made their way south to siege Jerusalem .

It was not until the end of 1099 that he made a pilgrimage together with Baldwin from Boulogne to Jerusalem, thereby fulfilling his crusade vows. In December 1099 he was officially enfeoffed with the principality of Antioch by the apostolic legate and patriarch of Jerusalem Daimbert of Pisa .

After the death of Godfrey of Bouillon on July 18, 1100, Bohemond was offered the crown of Jerusalem . The acceptance became impossible for him, however, because in the same year he got into the captivity of the Danischmenden - Emir Danischmend Ghazi , from which he could only be ransomed in 1103 with the help of Gregorios Taronites . After an unsuccessful undertaking against Hârran (see Battle of Harran ), which thwarted his plans to expand his territory to the east, Bohemond returned to Italy in 1104 to raise an army.


On his journey through Europe in 1106 he won the hand of Konstanze, the daughter of the French king Philip I. Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis described the wedding as follows:

Bohemond came to France to get the hand of Mr. Ludwig's younger sister Konstanze by all means, a young woman of extraordinary upbringing, elegant appearance and beautiful face. So great was the reputation of the kingdom of France and Mr. Ludwig for bravery that even the Saracens were alarmed at the prospect of this wedding. It was not promised because she had broken the agreement with Hugo, Count of Troyes, and wished to avoid another unsuitable game. The prince of Antioch was experienced and rich in both gifts and promises; he fully deserved the marriage, which was celebrated with great pomp by the bishop of Chartres in the presence of the king, Mr. Ludwig and many archbishops, bishops and nobles of the empire.

With Konstanze he had two sons. The elder, Bohemond II (* 1108, † 1130), became his heir and successor. The younger, Johann (* before 1111; † 1115/1120), died young in Apulia.

Battle against Byzantium

Blinded by this success, Bohemond decided not to use his army to defend Antioch against the Greeks who had attacked him after Harran from Cilicia , but to attack them directly. He turned against Dyrrhachion , but Alexios I, supported by Venice , proved too strong, so that Bohemond had to submit to the humiliating Treaty of Devol in 1108 , in which he recognized the Byzantine emperor as feudal lord.

Bohemond died in 1111 without returning to the east and was buried at Canosa in Apulia .

See also: History of Taranto


The anonymous Gesta Francorum , written by one of Bohemond's followers, and Anne Komnene's Alexiade are the primary sources of Bohemond's life.

  • Bernhard Kugler : Boemund and Tankred, princes of Antioch. A contribution to the history of the Normans in Syria. Fues, Tübingen 1862, ( digitized version ).
  • Lothar von Heinemann : History of the Normans in Lower Italy and Sicily up to the extinction of the Norman royal family. Volume 1. Pfeffer, Leipzig 1894, ( digitized version ).
  • Reinhold Röhricht : History of the Kingdom of Jerusalem (1100–1291). Wagner, Innsbruck 1898, ( digitized version ).
  • Reinhold Röhricht: History of the First Crusade. Wagner, Innsbruck 1901, ( digitized version ).
  • Ralph Bailey Yewdale: Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch. University Press, Princeton NJ 1924 (Princeton NJ, University, Dissertation, 1917).
  • Steven Runciman : History of the Crusades. Special edition in one volume without references to sources and literature, 28. – 32. Thousands of the total print run. CH Beck, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-406-39960-6 .
  • Alexios G. Savvides, Benjamin Hendrickx (Eds.): Encyclopaedic Prosopographical Lexicon of Byzantine History and Civilization. Volume 2: Baanes - Eznik of Kolb. Brepols Publishers, Turnhout 2008, ISBN 978-2-503-52377-4 , pp. 124-127.

Web links

Commons : Bohemond of Taranto  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ordericus Vitalis : Historia ecclesiastica , Book XI, Chapter XII: "Marcus quippe in baptismate nominatus est; sed a patre suo, audita in convivio joculari fabula de Buamundo gigante, puero jocunde impositum est."
  2. Cf. Runciman: History of the Crusades. 1995, p. 74.
  3. Ralph-Johannes Lilie: Byzantium and the Crusades . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2004, p. 42-43 .
  4. Cf. Runciman: History of the Crusades. 1995, p. 148 ff.
  5. Cf. Runciman: History of the Crusades. 1995, p. 292.
predecessor Office successor
–– Prince of Taranto
Bohemond II.
–– Prince of Antioch
Bohemond II.