Having taken the crusader’s vow and raised an army of thousands, why did Stephen II of Blois forsake the enormous prestige associated with crusading and risk shame and accusations of cowardice by abandoning the First Crusade? Then there is also the fact that the cost of crusading was enormous as crusaders bore most (if not all) of the military and other expenses. Why did he basically throw everything away by leaving?
Stephen was apparently close to his wife Adele, daughter of William the Conqueror and sister of Henry I of England, but even she felt he had not fulfilled his vow. Perhaps regretting what he had done, Stephen did later go on another crusade and was killed in the Holy Land in 1102.
None of the online sources I’ve seen give a clear reason, but I can think of a number of possible ones:
he fell out with other leaders of the crusade
he felt that Antioch, after a lengthy siege, could not be taken and that the crusade was doomed to fail
Wikipedia says he fled the battlefield at Antioch, implying he was coward
he was in poor health after such a long siege in what, to a north European, was a hostile climate
he ran out of money.
Is there any evidence as to which (if any) of the above reasons might be correct.