Allen, S. J. and Amt, Emilie, eds., "Letter of Stephen of Blois" in The Crusades: A Reader (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 58-61)
Number of pages of primary source text: 4
Dates: 1098 - 1098
- Translated into English.
- Middle East
- War - Military History
- Nobility / Gentry
- Muslims / Islam
This letter is an account of the Siege of Antioch by one of the principle leaders of the First Crusade, Stephen of Blois. Written in March of 1098 to his wife, Countess Adela of Blois, this letter takes place near the end of the First Crusade. He offers a summary of crusade since the capture of Nicaea and then describes in-depth account of the skirmishes between the Franks and the Turks outside the walls of Antioch. Though the letter is fairly short, it offers an interesting look into a myriad of topics including siege warfare, diplomacy between the Franks and the Fatimid Caliphate, relations between crusaders and those back at home, and the anxieties crusaders, or at least Stephen, faced. In one of the more interesting details of the letter, Stephen claims that he was created sole leader of the crusade, although this is not true. Near the end of his account, Stephen mentions that this letter was actually written by his chaplain, Alexander, and that he only dictated it.
There is a introductory paragraph at the beginning of the letter which fleshes out some of the details on what the crusader army was doing between Nicaea and Antioch, as well as the date the letter was written.