What was the Siege of Sidon (1110)?

Introduction

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.

Background

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

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.

Aftermath and Legacy

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.

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.

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