Siege of Shaizar

Siege of Shaizar
Part of the Crusades
Ioannes II Komnenos1138.jpg
John II Komnenos negotiating with the Emir of Shaizar, 13th-century French manuscript
DateApril 28 – May 21, 1138
LocationShaizar, Syria
ResultIncomplete Christian victory
Belligerents
Byzantine Empire
Principality of Antioch
County of Edessa
Knights Templar
Shaizar (Munqidhite Emirate)
Zengids
Commanders and leaders
John II Komnenos
Raymond of Antioch
Joscelin II of Edessa
Sultan ibn Munqidh of Shaizar
Zengi of Mosul and Aleppo
Strength
UnknownUnknown
Casualties and losses
UnknownUnknown

The Siege of Shaizar took place from April 28 to May 21, 1138. The allied forces of the Byzantine Empire, Principality of Antioch and County of Edessa invaded Muslim Syria. Having been repulsed from their main objective, the city of Aleppo, the combined Christian armies took a number of fortified settlements by assault and finally besieged Shaizar, the capital of the Munqidhite Emirate. The siege captured the city, but failed to take the citadel; it resulted in the Emir of Shaizar paying an indemnity and becoming the vassal of the Byzantine emperor. The forces of Zengi, the greatest Muslim prince of the region, skirmished with the allied army but it was too strong for them to risk battle. The campaign underlined the limited nature of Byzantine suzerainty over the northern Crusader states and the lack of common purpose between the Latin[n 1] princes and the Byzantine emperor.

Background

Freed from immediate external threats in the Balkans or in Anatolia, having defeated the Hungarians in 1129, and having forced the Anatolian Turks on the defensive by a series of campaigns from 1130 to 1135, the Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos (r. 1118–1143) could direct his attention to the Levant, where he sought to reinforce Byzantium's claims to suzerainty over the Crusader States and to assert his rights and authority over Antioch. These rights dated back to the Treaty of Devol of 1108, though Byzantium had not been in a position to enforce them. The necessary preparation for a descent on Antioch was the recovery of Byzantine control over Cilicia. In 1137, the emperor conquered Tarsus, Adana, and Mopsuestia from the Principality of Armenian Cilicia, and in 1138 Prince Levon I of Armenia and most of his family were brought as captives to Constantinople.[1][2]

Control of Cilicia opened the route to the Principality of Antioch for the Byzantines. Faced with the approach of the formidable Byzantine army, Raymond of Poitiers, prince of Antioch, and Joscelin II, count of Edessa, hastened to acknowledge the Emperor's overlordship. John demanded the unconditional surrender of Antioch and, after asking the permission of Fulk, King of Jerusalem, Raymond of Antioch agreed to surrender the city to John. The agreement, by which Raymond swore homage to John, was explicitly based on the Treaty of Devol, but went beyond it. Raymond, who was recognized as an imperial vassal for Antioch, promised the Emperor free entry to Antioch, and undertook to hand over the city in return for the cities of Aleppo, Shaizar, Homs, and Hama as soon as these were conquered from the Muslims. Raymond would then rule the new conquests and Antioch would revert to direct imperial control.[3][4]

Other Languages
العربية: حصار شيزر
српски / srpski: Опсада Шазара (1138)