The below maps guide you through the world that the author of the Siège d’Antioche presents to us. This world is very different from the world that modern people like to imagine, and many of the places and characters mentioned in the poem are (semi-)fictitious. To learn more, click on the various Place Profiles below, or go to the People tab above.
n.b. The maps are works-in-progress, and the Project will expand them as we take in more geographic data from further laisses. All geographic coordinates are approximate.
Map 1 shows the translated names of regions, cities, and caputs that the poet mentions in the text of the Siège d’Antioche. While certain regions (e.g. “France,” “Spain”) may share their names with modern nation-states, they did not function as modern countries do and their medieval boundaries were very different than their modern ones. Some names (e.g. “Babylon,” “Syria”) carried connotations that had more to do with the Bible or the classical past than with the geographic reality of the Middle Ages. You will see that certain centers of political, economic, or cultural power are absent from the poem, while other places, obscure in the present-day, feature prominently in the poet’s story. To understand the terms that the poet used to describe the world, and the importance of various places during the medieval period, see the detailed descriptions below.
Cities and caputs (i.e. a castle or town at the heart of a lord’s territory) are marked with red dots and labels. Regions are labeled, where possible, near their most important cities. You can toggle between these labels by using the boxes in the top left-hand corner. For ease of reading, use the zoom function in the lower left-hand corner. Only a fraction of the total number of places in the poem have been plotted so far.
Map 2 plots the origins of the various characters who appear throughout the poem. To see the names and home place of each character, scroll over the red dots. When possible, the names of crusaders are given as they appear in the appendices of Jonathan Riley-Smith’s The First Crusaders, and their most important caputs are listed as their places of origin (e.g. the dot for Raymond of St Giles appears at Toulouse, the caput of his county). While the crusaders of the poem tend to be real, identifiable historical figures, it is much more difficult to discuss the origins of the various Saracen characters. The poet includes a mix of real Muslim opponents of the crusade, fictionalized versions of real historical figures, invented characters, and characters borrowed from works of contemporary fiction. In the case of real historical opponents of the crusade, we have chosen to list the translated names that appear in the Siège d’Antioche rather than the original Arabic or Turkic forms of their names. For these characters, we have given the places of origin as they appear in the poem, whatever their origins might have been in historical reality (thus, in spite of some contemporary evidence that the historical betrayer of Antioch was an Armenian Christian, we have given Antioch as Pirrus’s home). If the poet does not tell us a character’s home, or if it is not possible to identify a character’s origin on the map (because the place is either unknown or fictional), their dot appears wherever they are first mentioned. When multiple characters are from the same place, the dots are stacked vertically, so Antioch (where many of the Saracens enter the story) has a disproportionately large number of dots stacked above it.
The box in the upper left-hand corner allows you to toggle between the character origin dots and hexagons that show you how frequently the poet directly mentions characters from different places. The more laisses in which one or more characters from a certain place appear, the darker the hexagon appears. The slider on the upper right-hand corner allows you to select the sequence of laisses upon which the hexagons draw. Thus, you can compare different sections of the poem to see which region’s characters are the most prominent during various key moments.
Map 2 currently displays the characters who appear in Laisses 132-145.
Map 3 traces the narrative action of the Siège d’Antioche through space alongside the action of a similar verse account of the crusade, the Chanson d’Antioche. Currently, the map only shows where the events of Laisses 132-145 of the Siège take place (i.e. entirely around Antioch), but as the Project processes more geographic information, it will be possible to see how much narrative time the Siège author spends in each place compared to the Chanson author. The darker the hexagon, the more time each author spends in a place (the number of laisses set in each place appears above the hexagon). In some cases, it has been necessary to make a judgment about where the bulk of a laisse is set, because the author moves between different places within the laisse. To see the labels for each hexagon, scroll over the dots. For ease of reading, you can toggle between the Siège and Chanson by using the boxes in the upper left-hand corner.