‘Until I plant my spear in Byzantium itself’

Bohemond of Antioch’s Rhōmaiōn (Im) Persona(tion)


  • Matthew Carey Salyer United Stated Military Academy, West Point


Bohemond, Alexios I Komnenos, Anna Komnene, Outremer, First Crusade, Siege of Antioch, Apocalypse, Last Emperor, Julian the Apostate, St. Mercurius


Shortly after the First Crusade, Bohemond of Antioch framed his Illyrian campaign against Alexios I Komnenos to Latin audiences as another crusade. In part, Bohemond’s anti-Komnenian rhetoric echoed the language of the “Prince’s Crusade” in 1096, in which numerous participants understood their martial pilgrimage in terms of “Christo-mimesis,” a form of “taking the Cross to follow Christ.” As numerous scholars including Jay Rubenstein point out, though, Bohemond attempted to garner support in Francia for his attack on Constantinople through allusions to the “Last Days.” This article argues that Bohemond’s rhetorical apocalypticism was fundamentally a descriptive technique, not a temporal or theological schema. As such, it was also an inventive, imitative product of transculturation during the First Crusade. Bohemond pastiched Byzantine typologies surrounding the Antichrist’s struggle with the “Last Emperor” – particularly those involving Julian the Apostate and St. Mercurius – with Latin experiences during the Siege of Antioch to depict his own fluid position as intercultural mediator, speaker, and potential power broker. Ultimately, though, the descriptive subject of Bohemond’s “Last Days” rhetoric, inexorably bound to broader cultural narratives of crusading, was its own grand inference – Bohemond speaking.





Carey Salyer, M. (2024). ‘Until I plant my spear in Byzantium itself’: Bohemond of Antioch’s Rhōmaiōn (Im) Persona(tion). Mirator, 23(2), 24–50. Noudettu osoitteesta https://journal.fi/mirator/article/view/130903