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Raymond of Antioch

Raymund, prince of Antioch (1099-1149), was the son of William VI[?], count of Poitou.

On the death of Bohemund II of Antioch, the principality devolved upon his daughter, Constance, a child of some three years of age (1130). Fulk, the king of Jerusalem, and, as such, guardian of Antioch, was concerned to find a husband for her, and sent envoys to England to offer her hand to Raymund, who was then at the court of Henry I.

Raymund accepted the offer, and stealing in disguise through southern Italy, for fear of apprehension by Roger of Sicily, who claimed the inheritance of Antioch as cousin of Bohemund I, he reached Antioch in 1135. Here he was married to Constance by the Patriarch of Antioch[?], but not until he had done him homage and fealty. The marriage excited the indignation of Alice, the mother of Constance, who had been led by the patriarch to think that it was she whom Raymund desired to wed; and the new prince had thus to face the enmity of the princess dowager and her party.

In 1137 he had also to face the advent of the eastern emperor, John Comnenus, who had come south partly to recover Cilicia from Leo, the prince of Armenia, but partly, also, to assert his rights over Antioch. Raymund was forced to do homage, and even to promise to cede his principality as soon as he was recompensed by a new fief, which John promised to carve for him in the Mahommedan territory to the east of Antioch. The expedition of 1138, in which Raymund joined with John, and which was to conquer this territory, naturally proved a failure: Raymund was not anxious to help the emperor to acquire new territories, when their acquisition only meant for him the loss of Antioch; and John had to return unsuccessful to Byzantium, after vainly demanding from Raymund the surrender of the citadel of Antioch.

There followed a struggle between Raymund and the patriarch. Raymund was annoyed by the homage which he had been forced to pay to the patriarch in 1135; and the dubious validity of the patriarch's election offered a handle for opposition. Eventually Raymund triumphed, and the patriarch was deposed (1139). In 1142 John Comnenus returned to the attack; but Raymund refused to recognize or renew his previous submission; and John, though he ravaged the neighbourhood of Antioch, was unable to effect anything against him. When, however Raymund demanded from Manuel, who had succeeded John in 1143, the cession of some of the Cilician towns, he found that he had met his match. Manuel forced him to a humiliating visit to Constantinople, during which he renewed his oath of homage and promised to receive a Greek patriarch.

The last event of importance in Raymund's life was the visit to Antioch in 1148 of Louis VII and his wife Eleanor, Raymund's niece. Raymund sought to prevent Louis from going south to Jerusalem, and to induce him to stay in Antioch and help in the conquest of Aleppo and Caesarea. Perhaps for this end he acquired an influence over his niece, which was by some interpreted as a guilty intimacy. At any rate Louis hastily left Antioch, and Raymund was balked in his plans. In 1149 he fell in battle during an expedition against Nur ad-Din.

Raymund is described by William of Tyre (the main authority for his career) as handsome and affable; pre-eminent in the use of arms and military experience; litteratorum, licet ipse illiteratus esset, cultor (he caused the Chanson des chétifs to be composed); a regular churchman and faithful husband; but headstrong, irascible and unreasonable, vith too great a passion for gambling (bk. xiv. c. xxi.). For his career see Rey, in the Revue de l'orient latin, vol. iv.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.



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