Demands from Byzantine commanders for more forces. Siege of Brindisi

Summary:
 
Dates:
1156 
old woman crushed by stone at Brindisi (Anonyma 17009)
  • A little woman strutting in Brindisi, she was hit on the head by a stone from a Byzantine siege-engine and every bone in her body was broken. Such cases led to low morale and to the surrender of the city (:) Kinnamos 160.23-161.11
Skaramangas, Byzantine soldier at Brindisi (Anonymus 17082)
  • When a Sicilian ship wished to flee, he held it back long enough for others to capture it, despite blows from its sailors, emulating Kynegeiros (:) Kinnamos 163.19-164.3
Enchelys (Angelo?), jousting champion at Brindisi (Enchelys 17001)
  • Responded to Thomas 17002'’s challenge as champion of Brindisi; the two jousted; both pierced the other’s armour causing minor flesh wounds, whereupon they separated (:) Kinnamos 159.19-160.15
Ioannes Doukas, military commander in Italy (Ioannes 17010)
  • When a deserter brought news to Brindisi of the approach of William 4016'’s troops, he commanded the fleet, while Ioannes 17011 and Robert 17001 commanded the mercenaries and Italian allies, advancing against them by land, for mutual assistance (:) Kinnamos 162.3-18
  • Seeing that the Byzantines feared the bigger Sicilian fleet (despite the advantage of the narrow harbour), he forged a letter from Manuel 1 that reinforcements were arriving, making the troops anxious that the newcomers should not share their victory (:) Kinnamos 162.21-163.10
  • Holding Brindisi but not its citadel, he divided the army, part to watch the citadel and part to forage; took Halitzion; the foragers saw the Normans driving away horses from pasturers, pursued them, captured many, and recovered the horses (:) Κελτοί Kinnamos 161.11-23
  • Took Ostuni and marched to Brindisi (Day before Easter [14 April 1156]:Πάσχα γὰρ τῇ ἑξῆς Χριστιανοῖς ἦν) Kinnamos 159.7-160.15
  • Defeated the Sicilians in Brindisi harbour by a combined land-sea attack with losses of more than 2,000, including 4 grounded ships with their crews (:) Kinnamos 163.10-164.3
  • During his attack on Brindisi stones were not thrown at strong walls but used for indiscriminate killing inside (eg. Anonyma 17009) which demoralised the populace, who opened the gates to him, leaving the citadel intact (:) Kinnamos 160.15-161.12
  • Crisis division in Byzantine leadership: to return defensively to Bari or to keep recent gains? the attack on Brindisi citadel failed when the collapse of the towers also harmed the attackers; the citadel garrison was saved from surrender by William 51'’s approach (:) Kinnamos 165.16-166.14
  • When the Sicilians at Bosco attacked his camp he spoke to his men; the battle was fierce and going badly till his own deeds inspired the Byzantines to victory; with many enemy killed and in flight, he soon captured Bosco and returned to Bari (:) Kinnamos 149.22-150.17
  • Wrote to Manuel 1, talking of success but warning that William 51 was gathering forces; though proud of achieving much with few resources, he asked for a larger force to avoid the shame of failure (:) Kinnamos 158.5-159.7
  • Returned to the assault on the citadel of Brindisi using a “tortoise” to undermine part of its outer wall and destroy it by means of fire, but its defenders retreated to the inner wall (:) ἣν χελώνην καλεῖν ἔθος ἐστί Kinnamos 164.3-21
Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (Manuel 1)
  • Sent a fleet to reinforce the Italian expedition, with Alan and French cavalry, under the overall command of Ioannes 17011 (:) Μασαγέται τε καὶ Γερμανοί Kinnamos 148.1-7
Robert of Bassonville, nephew of Roger II of Sicily (Robert 17001)
  • Whether through greed or real need he asked Michael 62 for a loan of 10,000 gold pieces; Michael offered 4,000 as a gift but no more; he was offended and left the camp, but after Michael'’s death he approached Ioannes 17010, got the loan and came back (:) Kinnamos 152.2-10
  • When a deserter brought news to Brindisi of the approach of William 4016'’s troops, he commanded the mercenaries and Italian allies, advancing against them by land, while Ioannes 17010 commanded the fleet, for mutual assistance (:) Kinnamos 162.3-18
Sycheren, Italian nobleman at Brindisi (Sycheren 17001)
  • Was captured outside Brindisi but his captor did not know who he was, so he was released for a ransom (:) Kinnamos 161.23-162.2
Thomas, Byzantine champion at Brindisi (Thomas 17002)
  • Rode armed on to the battlefield, challenging a champion of Brindisi to fight him; Enchelys 17001 presented himself and they jousted; each pierced the other’'s armour causing minor flesh wounds, whereupon they separated (:) Kinnamos 159.19-160.15
William I, king of Sicily (William 51)
  • Hearing of the departure from Brindisi of Robert 17001 and the knights of the March (of Ancona?) who unsuccessfully demanded double pay, he decided on a direct assault (:) Kinnamos 165.8-16
  • His major preparations for war on land and sea were announced by Ioannes 17012 to Manuel 1 in a letter, which asked for reinforcements (:) ὁ Σικελίαν ληστεύων Kinnamos 158.17-21