Today in Middle Eastern history: the First Crusade’s lowest point (1098)

and that's the way it was

The successful siege of the city of Maʿarrat al-Nuʿman was the first step along the First Crusade’s coastal march on the way from Antioch to Jerusalem, but that’s not why it’s memorable. Even more important than its strategic position, for the Crusaders, Maʿarra was (or at least they thought it was) a potential source of food, something that had been in short supply during and after the Siege of Antioch. In fact, a Crusader foraging party had tried, and failed, to take the city while they were still besieging Antioch, and the fact that those foragers were prepared to die in a futile effort (the Crusader force was heavily outnumbered, which is something you didn’t want to be when assaulting a fortified city) is a sign of how desperate they were for something to eat.

The subsequent delay in leaving Antioch, owing to a heated dispute between Crusade…

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