Bohemond of Taranto

This is a book about someone, I have no knowledge of. For me , the Crusades were about Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. Yet the book says Bohemond as one of the most remarkable soldiers of the Middle Ages, and led the first crusade.

From the very first paragraph in this book, we hear that Bohemond was hugely ambitious and was always looking to achieve there seemingly impossible.

The book paints Bohemond as the most experienced officer in the Crusader army. Bohemond is a Norman, but had vast experience fighting in Italy, the Balkans, and the Middle East.

It must be said early on, that this book, will take time to read as there is a lot going on in the Regions and lots of resources to pull from. The author does a great job keeping it all together. I did have to keep flicking back every now and again.

We start with the Norman invasion of the Balkans around 1081, so not long after William’s successes in England, but these seem to be a different set of Normans, from Italy.

The Sources used to track the whereabout of Bohemond and his exploits are from Anna Komnena – who I have read about before, and her series of Books the Alexiad.

This book tries to examine the strategies and tactics deployed by Bohemond as he fought different a number of different opponents, on different landscapes – yet had deployed different tactics to win. He appears a flexible and capable tactician.

We see Bohemond was not afraid to fight and used all the resources (Blockades, fortifications and harrassment) at his disposable to defeat his opponents. He is painted as a daring commander but not a reckless one.

This is a great book if you want to look at how War was conducted during this period. It is also a great look at a seemingly forgotten military commander.

You can buy the book here from Pen and Sword books.

Please note I was not paid to write this review but was sent a review copy of the book. All comments are my own, and the publishers have not amended the review in any way.