The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Tancred
TANCRED, tăng'krĕd, soldier and Crusader: b. about 1068; d. 5 Dec. 1112. His father was a Sicilian or Italian marquis named Odo or Ottobonus; his mother the sister of the celebrated Norman, Robert Guiscard, whose eldest son, Bohemond, was the friend and brother-in-arms of Tancred. (See Guiscard). In 1096 the two heroes embarked for Epirus, and thence marched to Macedonia. At the siege of Nicæa (1097) Tancred first appears among the heroes who directed the course of events, and he also took a conspicuous part in the battle of Dorylæum (July 1097). He now advanced, with Godfrey's brother Baldwin, over the Taurus toward Jerusalem. Tancred first pentrated through the passes of the mountains, and obtained possession of Tarsus by capitulation. The perfidious conduct of Baldwin caused a quarrel between him and Tancred, but it terminated in the reconciliation of the chiefs, who now joined the main army which was then marching upon Antioch. On the march to Jerusalem, Tancred had command of the advance guard, and he was the first to storm the walls of the town. During the scenes of horror which attended the capture of Jerusalem (July 1099) he conducted himself with humanity. The Sultan of Egypt advanced to attempt the recovery of Jerusalem, but was totally defeated by Godfrey of Bouillon and Tancred before Ascalon (12 August). Tancred captured Tiberias, besieged Jaffa and, after the death of Godfrey, endeavored to effect the election of Bohemond as king of Jerusalem; but the unworthy Baldwin obtained the throne. Tancred subsequently conducted the defense of Antioch, and after Bohemond's death in 1111 obtained that principality. He is represented by Tasso in the ‘Jerusalem Delivered’ as a brilliant and blameless hero. He is also celebrated in Rossini's opera ‘Tancredi’ (1813). Consult Guizot, ‘Collection des Memoires-Gesta Tancredi’; Delabarre, ‘Histoire de Tancrède’ (1822).