Tailred of Sicily

Tailred of Sicily the son of Eudes, a Norman baron, and of Emma, the sister of Robert Guiscard, was one of the celebrated heroes of the first Crusade, and was born after the middle of the 11th century. Some chroniclers profess to detail the events of his early life, describing him as the most accomplished youth of his time in athletic and military exercises, and of a wisdom far surpassing that of men of mature years, and as a partisan of his cousin Bohemond in the quarrel with their uncle Roger of Sicily. But the first authentic information respecting him is that he raised a large body of men in Apulia and Calabria, and joined Bohemond, then on his way to the first Crusade. The two cousins landed in Epirus, and first one and then the other made his submission to the Greek emperor Alexis. Tancred's exploits on the way to Syria; his quarrel with Baldwin for the possession of Tarsus, and his subsequent chivalrous forbearance to and rescue of his rival; his wondrous valor before Antioch, where he killed no fewer than 700 infidels, transmitting the heads of seventy to the pope, and receiving a corresponding number of marks of silver in return; his vigorous repulse of the first sortie by the infidels from Jerusalem; his sad and lonely vigil on the Mount of Olives; and his gallantry at the storming of the sacred city, are all detailed by the numerous chroniclers of this epoch in their usual style of extravagant laudation, but with a harmony which speaks favorably for their correct appreciation of his character. He was one of the claimants of the throne of Jerusalem, and was pacified by Godfrey (q.v.), the successful competitor, with the gift of some towns in Palestine, and the principality of Galilee or Tiberias. A brief quarrel with Baldwin, after Godfrey's death, petty combats with the infidels, and occasional wars with the other Christian princes who had settled in Syria and Palestine occupied the remainder of his life, which was brought to a close at Antioch in 1112. Besides his own principality, he governed that of Antioch, belonging to his cousin Bohemond, from 1100. The fiery and energetic, but at the same time pious, sagacious, and forbearing, chief whom the chroniclers present to us has been considerably toned down by Tasso in his Gerusalemme Liberata.

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