The siege of Sidon was an event in the aftermath of the First Crusade. The coastal city of Sidon was captured by the forces of Baldwin I of Jerusalem and Sigurd I of Norway, with assistance from the Ordelafo Faliero, Doge of Venice.

Siege of Sidon
Part of the Norwegian Crusade

King Sigurd and King Baldwin ride from Jerusalem to the river Jordan by Gerhard Munthe
Date19 October – 5 December 1110
Sidon, present-day Lebanon
Result Crusader victory
Lordship of Sidon created
Fatimid Caliphate
Commanders and leaders
Governor of Sidon[a]
  • A fleet of ships, strength unknown
Casualties and losses
unknown, but probably minor unknown, but probably large

Background edit

In August 1108, Baldwin I marched out against Sidon, with the support of a squadron of sailor-adventurers from various Italian cities. However, the Egyptian fleet defeated the Italians in a sea-battle outside the harbour.[2] Upon the arrival of additional Turkish horsemen from Damascus, Baldwin decided to lift the siege.

In the summer of 1110, a Norwegian fleet of 60 ships arrived in the Levant under the command of King Sigurd. Arriving in Acre he was received by Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem. Together they made a journey to the river Jordan, after which Baldwin asked for help in capturing Muslim-held ports on the coast. Sigurd's answer was that "they had come for the purpose of devoting themselves to the service of Christ", and accompanied him to take the city of Sidon, which had been re-fortified by the Fatimids in 1098.

The siege edit

Baldwin's army besieged the city by land, while the Norwegians came by sea. A naval force was needed to prevent assistance from the Fatimid fleet at Tyre. Repelling it was however only made possible with the fortunate arrival of a Venetian fleet. The city fell after 47 days.

The Icelandic skald Einarr Skúlason gives the following account.

Sætt frá ek dœla dróttin,
drengr minnisk þess, vinna,
tóku hvast í hristar
hríð valslöngur ríða.
Sterkr braut váligt virki
vals munnlitaðr gunnar,
fögr ruðusk sverð en sigri
snjallr bragningr hlaut fagna.
The Norsemen's king, the skalds relate,
Has ta'en the heathen town of Saet:
The slinging engine with dread noise
Gables and roofs with stones destroys.
The town wall totters too, — it falls;
The Norsemen mount the blackened walls.
He who stains red the raven's bill
Has won, — the town lies at his will.

Aftermath edit

When the city surrendered, King Baldwin gave the same terms of surrender he had previously given to Arsuf and Acre. He allowed safe conduct of passage for those leaving and even allowed some members of the Muslim populace to remain in peace.[3]

By order of Baldwin and the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Ghibbelin of Arles, a splinter was taken off the holy cross and given to Sigurd.

The Lordship of Sidon was created and given to Eustace Grenier, later a constable of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Notes edit

  1. ^ The Fatimids would very often leave the responsibility of defending a city in the hands of a governor, as they did when Jerusalem was taken by the crusaders.

References edit

  1. ^ Store norske leksikon - Sigurd 1 Magnusson Jorsalfare – utdypning (NBL-artikkel)
  2. ^ Steven Runciman (1952). A History of The Crusades. Vol II: The Kingdom of Jerusalem, p. 74. ISBN 978-0-241-29876-3.
  3. ^ The Crusades by Thomas Asbridge, p. 125

Sources edit