Bohemond I (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Bohemond was one of the leaders of Europe’s most successful Crusade to the Holy Land and the founder and first prince of Antioch.
Bohemond I was the firstborn son of Robert Guiscard, the most successful of that small band of eleventh century Norman adventurers who reclaimed southern Italy and Sicily from Byzantine, Italian, and Muslim forces. By the time of his death in 1085, Guiscard had become Duke of Apulia and Calabria, overlord of Sicily (then being subdued by his younger brother Roger), and vassal, ally, and protector of the pope.
Guiscard’s first wife, a Norman woman named Alberada, gave birth to their son Bohemond in the early 1050’s, perhaps 1052. While Bohemond was still a small boy, Guiscard had his marriage to Alberada annulled so that he could make a more advantageous union with Sigelgaita, sister of the Prince of Salerno. Little else is known about Bohemond’s early years, except that he probably learned to read and write Latin and that he certainly learned the art of war as his father’s apprentice. Bohemond grew to be a very tall, broad-shouldered, muscular man with a slightly stooped carriage. He had fair skin, yellow hair, and blue-gray eyes.
In 1081, Guiscard and Bohemond attempted the conquest of the Byzantine Empire, which then dominated the southern Balkans and Greece. On the eve of the invasion, Bohemond’s stepmother deprived him of...
(The entire section is 2243 words.)
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