The Siege of Edessa


Karawansaray Publishers Type Serial component part

Place of publication


Date of publication



Medieval Warfare, Vol. VII, Issue 1


Much like how the common foot soldier is often outshone by the mounted knight, so too are miners often overlooked in favour of more visually impressive siege engines. Mining, however, was the most effective means of breaching fortified masonry throughout the medieval period. Even the counterweight trebuchet and subsequent early bombards were no match for a team of skilled sappers. In the middle of the twelfth century, Imad al-Din Zengi, lord of Mosul and Aleppo, brought the resources of northern Syria and the Jazira to bear against the Crusader city of Edessa. Employing a range of contemporary siege tactics, it would once again prove to be the picks of his humble miners that would deliver the city to him, and unknowingly spark the Second Crusade.