Tancred, Prince of Galilee
Tancred was a Norman
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 leader of the First Crusade
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

 who later became Prince of Galilee and regent of the Principality of Antioch
Principality of Antioch
The Principality of Antioch, including parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria, was one of the crusader states created during the First Crusade.-Foundation:...

. Tancred had a great-grandfather with the same name, Tancred of Hauteville
Tancred of Hauteville
Tancred of Hauteville was an 11th-century Norman petty lord about whom little is known. His historical importance comes entirely from the accomplishments of his sons and later descendants...

, however since both Tancreds were from a place named Hauteville
-Places in France:* Hauteville, a former commune in the Ain département, part of Hauteville-Lompnes*Hauteville, Aisne, in the Aisne département*Hauteville, Ardennes, in the Ardennes département*Hauteville, Marne, in the Marne département...

, they may be confused.

Early life

Tancred may refer to:* Tancred Tancred of Hauteville** Tancred of Hauteville, founder of the Hauteville family** Tancred, Prince of Galilee, a leader of the First Crusade...

 was a son of Emma of Hauteville
Emma of Hauteville
Emma of Hauteville was a daughter of Robert Guiscard and Alberada of Buonalbergo. According to Ralph of Caen, she married Odo the Good Marquis and had two sons: Tancred and William, both of whom participated in the First Crusade. Tancred became Prince of Galilee and William died in the Holy Land...

 and Odo the Good Marquis
Odo the Good Marquis
Odo was a Norman nobleman of the First Crusade who ruled over an unknown region of France. He went on to marry Emma of Hauteville and sired two sons, one of whom went on to become Tancred, Prince of Galilee.-Early life:...

. His maternal grandparents were Robert Guiscard
Robert Guiscard
Robert d'Hauteville, known as Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria, from Latin Viscardus and Old French Viscart, often rendered the Resourceful, the Cunning, the Wily, the Fox, or the Weasel was a Norman adventurer conspicuous in the conquest of southern Italy and Sicily...

 and Guiscard's first wife Alberada of Buonalbergo
Alberada of Buonalbergo
Alberada of Buonalbergo was the first wife of Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia , whom she married in 1051 or 1052, when he was still just a robber baron in Calabria....

. Emma was also a sister of Bohemund of Taranto
Bohemund I of Antioch
Bohemond I , Prince of Taranto and Prince of Antioch, was one of the leaders of the First Crusade. The Crusade had no outright military leader, but instead was ruled by a committee of nobles...


First Crusade

In 1096, Tancred joined his maternal uncle Bohemund on the First Crusade, and the two made their way to Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

. There, he was pressured to swear an oath to Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus, promising to give back any conquered land to the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. Although the other leaders did not intend to keep their oaths, Tancred refused to swear the oath altogether.

He participated in the siege of Nicaea
Siege of Nicaea
The Siege of Nicaea took place from May 14 to June 19, 1097, during the First Crusade.-Background:Nicaea , located on the eastern shore of Lake İznik, had been captured from the Byzantine Empire by the Seljuk Turks in 1081, and formed the capital of the Sultanate of Rüm...

 in 1097, but the city was taken by Alexius' army after secret negotiations with the Seljuk Turks. Because of this, Tancred was very distrustful of the Byzantines. Later in 1097, he captured Tarsus and other cities in Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

 and assisted in the siege of Antioch
Siege of Antioch
The Siege of Antioch took place during the First Crusade in 1097 and 1098. The first siege, by the crusaders against the Muslim city, lasted from October 21, 1097, to June 2, 1098. The second siege, against the crusaders who had occupied it, lasted from June 7 to June 28, 1098.-Background:Antioch...

 in 1098.

In 1099, during the assault on Jerusalem, Tancred, along with Gaston IV of Béarn
Gaston IV of Béarn
Gaston IV was viscount of Béarn from 1090 to 1131. He was called "le Croisé" due to his participation in the First Crusade....

, claimed to be the first Crusader to enter the city on July 15. However, the first crusader to enter Jerusalem was Ludolf of Tournai, and he was followed by his brother Englebert. When the city fell, Tancred gave his banner to a group of the citizens who had fled to the roof of the Temple of Solomon. This should have assured their safety, but they were massacred, along with many others, during the sack of the city. The author of the Gesta Francorum (Deeds of the Franks) records that, when Tancred realised this, he was "greatly angered". When the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

 was established, Tancred became Prince of Galilee.

Regent of Antioch

In 1100, Tancred became regent of Antioch when Bohemund was taken prisoner by the Danishmends
The Danishmend dynasty was a Turcoman dynasty that ruled in north-central and eastern Anatolia in the 11th and 12th centuries. The centered originally around Sivas, Tokat, and Niksar in central-northeastern Anatolia, they extended as far west as Ankara and Kastamonu for a time, and as far south as...

 at the Battle of Melitene
Battle of Melitene
In the Battle of Melitene in 1100, a Crusader force led by Bohemond I of Antioch was defeated by Danishmend Turks commanded by Malik Ghazi Gumushtekin.After acquiring the Principality of Antioch in 1098, Bohemond allied himself with the Armenians of Cilicia...

. He expanded the territory of the Latin principality by capturing land from the Byzantines, although, over the next decade, Alexius attempted, unsuccessfully, to bring him under Byzantine control. In 1104, he also took control of the County of Edessa
County of Edessa
The County of Edessa was one of the Crusader states in the 12th century, based around Edessa, a city with an ancient history and an early tradition of Christianity....

 when Baldwin II
Baldwin II of Jerusalem
Baldwin II of Jerusalem , formerly Baldwin II of Edessa, also called Baldwin of Bourcq, born Baldwin of Rethel was the second count of Edessa from 1100 to 1118, and the third king of Jerusalem from 1118 until his death.-Ancestry:Baldwin was the son of Hugh, count of Rethel, and his wife Melisende,...

 was taken captive after the Battle of Harran
Battle of Harran
The Battle of Harran took place on May 7, 1104 between the Crusader states of the Principality of Antioch and the County of Edessa, and the Seljuk Turks. It was the first major battle against the newfound Crusader states in the aftermath of the First Crusade marking a key turning point against...

. After Baldwin's release in 1107, he had to fight Tancred to regain control of the county; Tancred was eventually defeated and returned to Antioch. After Harran, Bohemond returned to Europe to recruit more Crusaders, again leaving his nephew as regent in Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

. Tancred's victory over Radwan of Aleppo at the Battle of Artah
Battle of Artah
The Battle of Artah was fought in 1105 between Crusader forces and the Seljuk Turks. The Turks were led by Fakhr al-Mulk Radwan of Aleppo, while the Crusaders were led by Tancred, Prince of Galilee, regent of the Principality of Antioch...

 in 1105 allowed the Latin principality to recover some its territories east of the Orontes River
Orontes River
The Orontes or ‘Āṣī is a river of Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.It was anciently the chief river of the Levant, also called Draco, Typhon and Axius...


After fighting between Antioch and Shaizar
Shaizar, Shayzar or Saijar was a medieval town and fortress in Syria, ruled by the Banu Munqidh dynasty, which played an important part in the Christian and Muslim politics of the crusades.- Early history :...

 in 1108, the Frankish and Muslim overlords exchanged gifts, according to Usamah ibn Munqidh
Usamah ibn Munqidh
Majd ad-Dīn Usāma ibn Murshid ibn ʿAlī ibn Munqidh al-Kināni was a medieval Muslim poet, author, faris , and diplomat from the Banu Munqidh dynasty of Shaizar in northern Syria...

. Tancred received the gift of a horse from the ruling family of Shaizar. The Christian leader admired the handsome youth who delivered the animal, a Kurd named Hasanun. Tancred promised him that, if he ever captured the young man, he would free him. Unfortunately, the regent of Antioch had a cruel streak. When the lad fell into his hands a year later, Tancred broke his promise, imprisoning and torturing him, and putting out his right eye.

In 1108, Tancred refused to honour the Treaty of Devol
Treaty of Devol
The Treaty of Devol was an agreement made in 1108 between Bohemond I of Antioch and Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, in the wake of the First Crusade. It is named after the Byzantine fortress of Devol in Macedonia...

, in which Bohemund swore an oath of fealty to Alexius, and, for decades afterwards, Antioch remained independent of the Byzantine Empire. In 1110, he brought Krak des Chevaliers
Krak des Chevaliers
Krak des Chevaliers , also Crac des Chevaliers, is a Crusader castle in Syria and one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world. The site was first inhabited in the 11th century by a settlement of Kurds; as a result it was known as Hisn al Akrad, meaning the "Castle of the...

 under his control, which would later become an important castle in the County of Tripoli
County of Tripoli
The County of Tripoli was the last Crusader state founded in the Levant, located in what today are parts of western Syria and northern Lebanon, where exists the modern city of Tripoli. The Crusader state was captured and created by Christian forces in 1109, originally held by Bertrand of Toulouse...

. Tancred remained regent in Antioch in the name of Bohemund II
Bohemund II of Antioch
Bohemond II was the Prince of Taranto and Prince of Antioch from 1111. He was the son of the founder of the principalities, Bohemond I, and Constance, daughter of Philip I of France. Taranto was lost to Roger II of Sicily in 1128....

 until his death in 1112 during a typhoid epidemic. He had married Cecile of France
Cecile of France
Cecile of France was a daughter of Philip I of France and Bertrade of Montfort. The Historia Regum Francorum Monasterii Sancti Dionysii names "Philippum et Florum et filiam unam" as children of "Philippus rex [et] Fulconi Rechin Andagavorum comiti uxorem", specifying that the daughter married...

, but died childless.

The Gesta Tancredi
Gesta Tancredi
Gesta Tancredi in expeditione Hierosolymitana , usually called simply Gesta Tancredi, is a prosimetric history written in laconic Latin prose and episodes of verse by a certain Ralph of Caen...

is a biography of Tancred written in Latin by Ralph of Caen, a Norman who joined the First Crusade and served under Tancred and Bohemund. An English translation was co-published in 2005 by Bernard S. Bachrach and David S. Bachrach.

Tancred in fiction

Tancred appears as a character in Torquato Tasso
Torquato Tasso
Torquato Tasso was an Italian poet of the 16th century, best known for his poem La Gerusalemme liberata , in which he depicts a highly imaginative version of the combats between Christians and Muslims at the end of the First Crusade, during the siege of Jerusalem...

's 16th-century poem Jerusalem Delivered
Jerusalem Delivered
Jerusalem Delivered is an epic poem by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso first published in 1581, which tells a largely mythified version of the First Crusade in which Catholic knights, led by Godfrey of Bouillon, battle Muslims in order to take Jerusalem...

, in which he is portrayed as an epic hero and given a fictional love interest, the pagan warrior-maiden Clorinda. He is also loved by the Princess Erminia
Princess Erminia was a character in the epic poemLa Gerusalemme liberata by Torquato Tasso. In this tale she falls in love with the Christian knight Tancred, and betrays her people to aid him. Once she discovers that Tancred is in love with Clorinde, however, she returns to join the Muslims...

 of Antioch. Portions of Tasso's verses were set by Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi – 29 November 1643) was an Italian composer, gambist, and singer.Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two individual styles of composition – the...

 in his 1624 dramatic work Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda
Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda
Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda is an operatic scena for three voices by Claudio Monteverdi, although many dispute how the piece should be classified. The piece has a libretto drawn from Torquato Tasso's La Gerusalemme Liberata , a Romance set against the backdrop of the First Crusade...

. He also appears in one of the scenes in Imre Madách
Imre Madách
Imre Madách de Sztregova et de Kelecsény was a Hungarian writer, poet, lawyer and politician. His major work is The Tragedy of Man . It is a dramatic poem approximately 4000 lines long, which elaborates on ideas comparable to Goethe's Faust...

's The Tragedy of Man. He also appears as a character in Tom Harper's "Siege of Heaven" and is depicted as a violent psychopath. His portrayal is similar although slightly more humorous in Alfred Duggan
Alfred Duggan
Alfred Duggan was an English historian, archeologist and best-selling historical novelist during the 1950s. Although he was raised in England, Duggan was born Alfred Leo Duggan in Buenos Aires, Argentina to a family of wealthy landowners of Irish descent. His family moved to England when he was...

's novel Count Bohemond.

Contrary to popular opinion, Rossini's opera "Tancredi
Tancredi is a melodramma eroico in two acts by composer Gioachino Rossini and librettist Gaetano Rossi, based on Voltaire's play Tancrède...

" is not about Tancred Prince of Galilee; the opera story takes place in 1005 whereas Tancred was born in 1072.


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