Latin Kingdom of
Jerusalem was a crusader state established in the
Southern Levant by
Godfrey of Bouillon
Godfrey of Bouillon in 1099 after the First
Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until
1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the
Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods. The
sometimes so-called First Kingdom of
Jerusalem lasted from 1099 to
1187, when it was almost entirely overrun by Saladin. After the
subsequent Third Crusade, the kingdom was re-established in Acre in
1192, and lasted until that city's destruction in 1291, except for a
brief two decades in which
Frederick II of Hohenstaufen
Frederick II of Hohenstaufen reclaimed
Jerusalem back into Christian hands after the Sixth Crusade. This
second kingdom is sometimes called the Second Kingdom of
the Kingdom of Acre, after its new capital. Most of the crusaders who
settled there were of French origin.
1 Geographic boundaries
First Crusade and the foundation of the kingdom
3.3 Edessa, Damascus, and the Second Crusade
3.4 Civil war
3.5 Byzantine alliance and invasion of Egypt
3.6 Loss of
Jerusalem and the Third Crusade
3.7 The Kingdom of Acre
Crusade and Frederick II
War of the Lombards
War of the Lombards and the Barons' Crusade
Crusade of Louis IX
3.11 War of Saint Sabas
3.13 Fall of Acre
4 Life in the early kingdom
4.1 Crusader society and demographics
4.5 Art and architecture
4.6 Government and legal system
6 See also
8.1 Primary sources
8.2 Secondary sources
At first the kingdom was little more than a loose collection of towns
and cities captured during the crusade, but at its height in the
mid-12th century, the kingdom encompassed roughly the territory of
modern-day Israel, Palestine and the southern parts of Lebanon. From
the Mediterranean Sea, the kingdom extended in a thin strip of land
Beirut in the north to the
Sinai Desert in the south; into modern
Syria in the east, and towards
Egypt in the west.
Three other crusader states founded during and after the First Crusade
were located further north: the
County of Edessa
County of Edessa (1097–1144), the
Principality of Antioch
Principality of Antioch (1098–1268), and the County of Tripoli
(1109–1289). While all three were independent, they were closely
tied to Jerusalem. Beyond these to the north and west lay the states
of Armenian Cilicia and the Byzantine Empire, with which
a close relationship in the twelfth century. Further east, various
Muslim emirates were located which were ultimately allied with the
Abbasid caliph in Baghdad. The fragmentation of the Muslim east
allowed for the initial success of the crusade, but as the 12th
century progressed, the kingdom's Muslim neighbours were united by Nur
ad-Din Zangi and Saladin, who vigorously began to recapture lost
Jerusalem itself fell to
Saladin in 1187, and in the 13th
century the kingdom was reduced to a few cities along the
Mediterranean coast. In this period, the kingdom was ruled by the
Lusignan dynasty of the Kingdom of Cyprus, another crusader state
founded during the Third Crusade. Dynastic ties also strengthened with
Tripoli, Antioch, and Armenia. The kingdom was soon increasingly
dominated by the
Italian city-states of Venice and Genoa, as well as
the imperial ambitions of the Holy Roman Emperors. Emperor Frederick
II (reigned 1220-1250) claimed the kingdom by marriage, but his
presence sparked a civil war (1228-1243) among the kingdom's nobility.
The kingdom became little more than a pawn in the politics and warfare
Mamluk dynasties in Egypt, as well as the
Mongol invaders. As a relatively minor kingdom, it
received little financial or military support from Europe; despite
numerous small expeditions, Europeans generally proved unwilling to
undertake an expensive journey to the east for an apparently losing
Baibars (reigned 1260-1277) and al-Ashraf
Khalil (reigned 1290-1293) eventually reconquered all the remaining
crusader strongholds, culminating in the destruction of Acre in 1291.
The kingdom was ethnically, religiously, and linguistically diverse,
although the crusaders themselves and their descendants were an elite
Catholic minority. They imported many customs and institutions from
their homelands in Western Europe, and there were close familial and
political connections with the West throughout the kingdom's
existence. The kingdom also inherited "oriental" qualities, influenced
by the pre-existing customs and populations. The majority of the
kingdom's inhabitants were native Christians, especially Greek and
Syriac Orthodox, as well as
Shi'a Muslims. The native
Christians and Muslims, who were a marginalized lower class, tended to
speak Greek and Arabic, while the crusaders, who came mainly from
France, spoke French. There were also a small number of
According to the Jewish writer Benjamin of Tudela, who travelled
through the kingdom around 1170, there were 1,000
Nablus, 200 in
Caesarea and 300 in Ascalon. Since sets a lower bound
for the Samaritan population at 1,500, since the contemporary Tolidah,
a Samaritan chronicle, also mentions communities in Gaza and Acre.
Benjamin of Tudela
Benjamin of Tudela estimated the total Jewish population of 14 cities
in the kingdom to be 1,200, making the Samaritan population of the
time larger than the Jewish, perhaps for the only time in history.
See also: Timeline of Jerusalem
First Crusade and the foundation of the kingdom
Main article: First Crusade
First Crusade was preached at the
Council of Clermont
Council of Clermont in 1095 by
Pope Urban II, with the goal of assisting the
Byzantine Empire against
the invasions of the Seljuk Turks. However, the main objective quickly
became the control of the Holy Land. The Byzantines were frequently at
war with the Seljuks and other Turkish dynasties for control of
Anatolia and Syria. The
Sunni Seljuks had formerly ruled the Great
Seljuk Empire, but this empire had collapsed into several smaller
states after the death of
Malik-Shah I in 1092. Malik-Shah was
succeeded in the Anatolian
Sultanate of Rûm
Sultanate of Rûm by Kilij Arslan I, and in
Syria by his brother Tutush I, who died in 1095. Tutush's sons Fakhr
al-Mulk Radwan and
Syria amongst emirs antagonistic towards each other,
as well as Kerbogha, the atabeg of Mosul. This disunity among the
Anatolian and Syrian emirs allowed the crusaders to overcome any
military opposition they faced on the way to Jerusalem.
Egypt and much of Palestine were controlled by the Arab Shi'ite
Fatimid Caliphate, which had extended further into
Syria before the
arrival of the Seljuks. Warfare between the Fatimids and Seljuks
caused great disruption for the local Christians and for western
pilgrims. The Fatimids, under the nominal rule of caliph al-Musta'li
but actually controlled by vizier al-Afdal Shahanshah, had lost
Jerusalem to the Seljuks in 1073; they recaptured it in 1098 from
the Artuqids, a smaller Turkish tribe associated with the Seljuks,
just before the arrival of the crusaders.
After the successful siege of
Jerusalem in 1099, Godfrey of Bouillon,
leader of the First Crusade, became the first ruler of the Kingdom of
The crusaders arrived at
Jerusalem in June 1099; a few of the
neighbouring towns (Ramla, Lydda, Bethlehem, and others) were taken
Jerusalem itself was captured on July 15. On 22 July, a
council was held in the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre to establish a
king for the newly created Kingdom of Jerusalem. Raymond IV of
Godfrey of Bouillon
Godfrey of Bouillon were recognized as the leaders of the
crusade and the siege of Jerusalem. Raymond was the wealthier and more
powerful of the two, but at first he refused to become king, perhaps
attempting to show his piety and probably hoping that the other nobles
would insist upon his election anyway. The more popular Godfrey did
not hesitate like Raymond, and accepted a position as secular leader.
Although it is widely claimed that he took the title Advocatus Sancti
Sepulchri ("advocate" or "defender" of the Holy Sepulchre), this title
is used only in a letter that was not written by Godfrey. Instead,
Godfrey himself seems to have used the more ambiguous term princeps,
or simply retained his title of dux from Lower Lorraine. According to
William of Tyre, writing in the later 12th century when Godfrey had
become a legendary hero, he refused to wear "a crown of gold" where
Christ had worn "a crown of thorns".
Robert the Monk
Robert the Monk is the only
contemporary chronicler of the crusade to report that Godfrey took the
title "king". Raymond was incensed and took his army to forage
away from the city. The new kingdom, and Godfrey's reputation, was
secured with the defeat of the
Fatimid Egyptian army under al-Afdal
Shahanshah at the
Battle of Ascalon
Battle of Ascalon one month after the conquest, on
August 12, but Raymond and Godfrey's continued antagonism prevented
the crusaders from taking control of Ascalon itself.
There was still some uncertainty about what to do with the new
kingdom. The papal legate
Daimbert of Pisa
Daimbert of Pisa convinced Godfrey to hand
Jerusalem to him as
Latin Patriarch, with the intention to set up
a theocratic state directly under papal control. According to William
of Tyre, Godfrey may have supported Daimbert's efforts, and he agreed
to take possession of "one or two other cities and thus enlarge the
kingdom" if Daimbert were permitted to rule Jerusalem. Godfrey did
indeed increase the boundaries of the kingdom, by capturing Jaffa,
Haifa, Tiberias, and other cities, and reducing many others to
tributary status. He set the foundations for the system of vassalage
in the kingdom, establishing the
Principality of Galilee
Principality of Galilee and the
County of Jaffa. But his reign was short, and he died of an illness in
1100. His brother Baldwin of Boulogne successfully outmanoeuvred
Daimbert and claimed
Jerusalem for himself as "king of the
Jerusalem". Daimbert compromised by crowning Baldwin in Bethlehem
rather than Jerusalem, but the path for a secular state had been
laid. Within this secular framework, a Catholic church hierarchy
was established, overtop of the local Eastern Orthodox and Syriac
Orthodox authorities, who retained their own hierarchies (the
Catholics considered them schismatics and thus illegitimate; and vice
versa). Under the
Latin Patriarch, there were four suffragan
archdioceses and numerous dioceses.
During Baldwin I's reign, the kingdom expanded even further. The
Latin inhabitants increased, as the minor crusade of 1101
brought reinforcements to the kingdom. Baldwin repopulated Jerusalem
Franks and native Christians, after his expedition across the
Jordan in 1115. With help from the
Italian city-states and other
adventurers, notably King Sigurd I of Norway, Baldwin captured the
port cities of Acre (1104),
Beirut (1110), and
Sidon (1111), while
exerting his suzerainty over the other crusader states to the north
– Edessa (which he had founded in 1097 during the crusade), Antioch,
and Tripoli, which he helped capture in 1109. He successfully defended
against Muslim invasions, from the Fatimids at the numerous battles at
Ramla and elsewhere in the southwest of the kingdom, and from Damascus
Mosul at the
Battle of al-Sannabra in the northeast in 1113.
As Thomas Madden says, Baldwin was "the true founder of the kingdom of
Jerusalem", who "had transformed a tenuous arrangement into a solid
feudal state. With brilliance and diligence, he established a strong
monarchy, conquered the Palestinian coast, reconciled the crusader
barons, and built strong frontiers against the kingdom's Muslim
The funeral of Baldwin I from the book: Les Passages d'outremer faits
par les Français contre les Turcs depuis Charlemagne jusqu'en 1462.
Baldwin brought with him an Armenian wife, traditionally named Arda
(although never named such by contemporaries), whom he had married to
gain political support from the Armenian population in Edessa, and
whom he quickly set aside when he no longer needed Armenian support in
Jerusalem. He bigamously married Adelaide del Vasto, regent of Sicily,
in 1113, but was convinced to divorce her as well in 1117; Adelaide's
son from her first marriage, Roger II of Sicily, never forgave
Jerusalem, and for decades withheld much-needed Sicilian naval
Baldwin died without heirs in 1118, during a campaign against Egypt,
and the kingdom was offered to his brother Eustace III of Boulogne,
who had accompanied Baldwin and Godfrey on the crusade. Eustace was
uninterested, and instead the crown passed to Baldwin's relative,
probably a cousin, Baldwin of Le Bourg, who had previously succeeded
him in Edessa. Baldwin II was an able ruler, and he too successfully
Fatimid and Seljuk invasions. Although Antioch was
severely weakened after the
Battle of Ager Sanguinis
Battle of Ager Sanguinis in 1119, and
Baldwin himself was held captive by the emir of
1122–1124, Baldwin led the crusader states to victory at the Battle
of Azaz in 1125. His reign saw the establishment of the first military
Knights Hospitaller and the Knights Templar; the earliest
surviving written laws of the kingdom, compiled at the Council of
Nablus in 1120; and the first commercial treaty with the Republic of
Venice, the Pactum Warmundi, in 1124. The increase of naval and
military support from Venice led to the capture of Tyre that year. The
Jerusalem was further extended over Edessa and Antioch,
where Baldwin II acted as regent when their own leaders were killed in
battle, although there were regency governments in
Jerusalem as well
during Baldwin's captivity. Baldwin was married to the Armenian
noblewoman Morphia of Melitene, and had four daughters: Hodierna and
Alice, who married into the families of the Count of Tripoli and
Prince of Antioch; Ioveta, who became an influential abbess; and the
eldest, Melisende, who was his heir and succeeded him upon his death
in 1131, with her husband Fulk V of Anjou as king-consort. Their son,
the future Baldwin III, was named co-heir by his grandfather.
Edessa, Damascus, and the Second Crusade
Main article: Second Crusade
Fulk was an experienced crusader and had brought military support to
the kingdom during a pilgrimage in 1120. He brought
Jerusalem into the
sphere of the Angevin Empire, as the father of
Geoffrey V of Anjou
Geoffrey V of Anjou and
grandfather of the future Henry II of England. Not everyone
appreciated the imposition of a foreigner as king. In 1132 Antioch,
Tripoli, and Edessa all asserted their independence and conspired to
prevent Fulk from exercising the suzerainty of
Jerusalem over them. He
defeated Tripoli in battle, and settled the regency in Antioch by
arranging a marriage between the countess, Melisende's niece
Constance, and his own relative Raymond of Poitiers. Meanwhile, in
Jerusalem, the native crusader nobles opposed Fulk's preference for
his Angevin retinue. In 1134 Hugh II of
Jaffa revolted against Fulk,
allying with the Muslim garrison at Ascalon, for which he was
convicted of treason in absentia. The
Latin Patriarch intervened to
settle the dispute, but an assassination attempt was then made on
Hugh, for which Fulk was blamed. This scandal allowed Melisende and
her supporters to gain control of the government, just as her father
had intended. Accordingly, Fulk "became so uxorious that...not
even in unimportant cases did he take any measures without her
knowledge and assistance."
Fulk was then faced with a new and more dangerous enemy: the atabeg
Zengi of Mosul, who had taken control of
Aleppo and had set his sights
Damascus as well; the union of these three states would have been a
serious blow to the growing power of Jerusalem. A brief intervention
in 1137–1138 by the Byzantine emperor John II Comnenus, who wished
to assert imperial suzerainty over all the crusader states, did
nothing to stop the threat of Zengi; in 1139
Damascus and Jerusalem
recognized the severity of the threat to both states, and an alliance
was concluded which halted Zengi's advance. Fulk used this time to
construct numerous castles, including Ibelin and Kerak. After the
death of both Fulk and Emperor John in separate hunting accidents in
1143, Zengi invaded and conquered Edessa in 1144. Queen Melisende, now
regent for her elder son Baldwin III, appointed a new constable,
Manasses of Hierges, to head the army after Fulk's death, but Edessa
could not be recaptured, despite Zengi's own assassination in
1146. The fall of Edessa shocked Europe, and a Second Crusade
arrived in 1148.
After meeting in Acre in June, the crusading kings Louis VII of France
Conrad III of Germany
Conrad III of Germany agreed with Melisende, Baldwin III and the
major nobles of the kingdom to attack Damascus. Zengi's territory had
been divided amongst his sons after his death, and
Damascus no longer
felt threatened, so an alliance had been made with Zengi's son Nur
ad-Din, the emir of Aleppo. Perhaps remembering attacks launched on
Damascus in previous decades,
Damascus seemed to be the
best target for the crusade, rather than
Aleppo or another city to the
north which would have allowed for the recapture of Edessa. The
subsequent Siege of
Damascus was a complete failure; when the city
seemed to be on the verge of collapse, the crusader army suddenly
moved against another section of the walls, and were driven back. The
crusaders retreated within three days. There were rumours of treachery
and bribery, and Conrad III felt betrayed by the nobility of
Jerusalem. Whatever the reason for the failure, the French and German
armies returned home, and a few years later
Damascus was firmly under
Nur ad-Din's control.
The failure of the Second
Crusade had dire long-term consequences for
the kingdom. The West was hesitant to send large-scale expeditions;
for the next few decades, only small armies came, headed by minor
European nobles who desired to make a pilgrimage. The Muslim states of
Syria were meanwhile gradually united by Nur ad-Din, who defeated the
Principality of Antioch
Principality of Antioch at the
Battle of Inab
Battle of Inab in 1149 and gained
Damascus in 1154. Nur ad-Din was extremely pious and during
his rule the concept of jihad came to be interpreted as a kind of
counter-crusade against the kingdom, which was an impediment to Muslim
unity, both political and spiritual.
Tower of David
Tower of David in
Jerusalem as it appears today
In Jerusalem, the crusaders were distracted by a conflict between
Melisende and Baldwin III. Melisende continued to rule as regent long
after Baldwin came of age. She was supported by, among others,
Manasses of Hierges, who essentially governed for her as constable;
her son Amalric, whom she set up as Count of Jaffa; Philip of Milly;
and the Ibelin family. Baldwin asserted his independence by mediating
disputes in Antioch and Tripoli, and gained the support of the Ibelin
brothers when they began to oppose Manasses' growing power, thanks to
his marriage to their widowed mother Helvis of Ramla. In 1153 Baldwin
had himself crowned as sole ruler, and a compromise was reached by
which the kingdom was divided in two, with Baldwin taking Acre and
Tyre in the north and Melisende remaining in control of
the cities of the south. Baldwin was able to replace Manasses with one
of his own supporters, Humphrey II of Toron. Baldwin and Melisende
knew that this situation was untenable. Baldwin soon invaded his
mother's possessions, defeated Manasses, and besieged his mother in
Tower of David
Tower of David in Jerusalem. Melisende surrendered and retired to
Nablus, but Baldwin appointed her his regent and chief advisor, and
she retained some of her influence, especially in appointing
ecclesiastical officials. In 1153, Baldwin launched an offensive
against Ascalon, the fortress in the south from which
armies had continually raided
Jerusalem since the foundation of the
kingdom. The fortress was captured and was added to the County of
Jaffa, still in the possession of his brother Amalric.
Byzantine alliance and invasion of Egypt
Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus, who became a close ally of the
Kingdom of Jerusalem.
With the capture of Ascalon the southern border of the kingdom was now
secure, and Egypt, formerly a major threat to the kingdom but now
destabilized under the reign of several underaged caliphs, was reduced
to a tributary state. Nur ad-Din remained a threat in the east, and
Baldwin had to contend with the advances of Byzantine emperor Manuel I
Comnenus, who claimed suzerainty over the Principality of Antioch. In
order to bolster the defences of the kingdom against the growing
strength of the Muslims, Baldwin III made the first direct alliance
with the Byzantine Empire, by marrying Theodora Comnena, a niece of
emperor Manuel; Manuel married Baldwin's cousin Maria. As William
of Tyre put it, it was hoped that Manuel would be able "to relieve
from his own abundance the distress under which our realm was
suffering and to change our poverty into superabundance".
When Baldwin died childless in 1162, a year after his mother
Melisende, the kingdom passed to his brother Amalric, who renewed the
alliance negotiated by Baldwin. In 1163 the chaotic situation in Egypt
led to a refusal to pay tribute to Jerusalem, and requests were sent
to Nur ad-Din for assistance; in response, Amalric invaded, but was
turned back when the Egyptians flooded the Nile at Bilbeis. The
Shawar again requested help from Nur ad-Din, who sent
his general Shirkuh, but
Shawar quickly turned against him and allied
with Amalric. Amalric and
Shirkuh both besieged
Bilbeis in 1164, but
both withdrew due to Nur ad-Din's campaigns against Antioch, where
Bohemond III of Antioch
Bohemond III of Antioch and
Raymond III of Tripoli
Raymond III of Tripoli were defeated at
the Battle of Harim. It seemed likely that Antioch itself would fall
to Nur ad-Din, but he withdrew when Emperor Manuel sent a large
Byzantine force to the area. Nur ad-Din sent
Shirkuh back to
Shawar again allied with Amalric, who was defeated at the
Battle of al-Babein. Despite the defeat, both sides withdrew, but
Shawar remained in control with a crusader garrison in Cairo.
Amalric cemented his alliance with Manuel by marrying Manuel's niece
Maria Komnene in 1167, and an embassy led by
William of Tyre
William of Tyre was sent
Constantinople to negotiate a military expedition, but in 1168
Bilbeis without waiting for the naval support
promised by Manuel. Amalric accomplished nothing else, but his actions
Shawar to switch sides again and seek help from Shirkuh.
Shawar was promptly assassinated, and when
Shirkuh died in 1169, he
was succeeded by his nephew Yusuf, better known as Saladin. That year,
Manuel sent a large Byzantine fleet of some 300 ships to assist
Amalric, and the town of
Damietta was placed under siege. However, the
Byzantine fleet sailed with enough provisions for only three months.
By the time that the crusaders were ready supplies were already
running out and the fleet retired. Each side sought to blame the other
for the failure, but both knew that they could not take
the other's assistance: the alliance was maintained, and plans for
another campaign in
Egypt were made, which ultimately were to come to
In the end, Nur ad-Din was victorious and
Saladin established himself
as Sultan of Egypt.
Saladin soon began to assert his independence from
Nur ad-Din, and with the death of both Amalric and Nur ad-Din in 1174,
he was well-placed to begin exerting control over Nur ad-Din's Syrian
possessions as well. Upon the death of the pro-western Emperor
Manuel in 1180, the Kingdom of
Jerusalem lost its most powerful ally.
The subsequent events have often been interpreted as a struggle
between two opposing factions, the "court party", made up of Baldwin's
mother, Amalric's first wife Agnes of Courtenay, her immediate family,
and recent arrivals from Europe who were inexperienced in the affairs
of the kingdom and who were in favour of war with Saladin; and the
"noble party", led by Raymond of Tripoli and the lesser nobility of
the kingdom, who favoured peaceful co-existence with the Muslims. This
is the interpretation offered by William of Tyre, who was firmly
placed in the "noble" camp, and his view was taken up by subsequent
historians; in the 20th century, Marshall W. Baldwin, Steven
Runciman, and Hans E. Mayer favoured this interpretation.
Peter W. Edbury, on the other hand, argues that William, as well as
the thirteenth-century authors who continued William's chronicle in
French and were allied to Raymond's supporters in the Ibelin family,
cannot be considered impartial. Although the events were clearly a
dynastic struggle, "the division was not between native barons and
newcomers from the West, but between the king's maternal and paternal
Miles of Plancy was briefly bailli or regent during Baldwin IV's
minority. Miles was assassinated in October 1174, and Count Raymond
III of Tripoli, Amalric's first cousin, became regent. It is highly
probable that Raymond or his supporters engineered the
assassination. Baldwin reached his majority in 1176, and despite
his illness he no longer had any legal need for a regent. Since
Raymond was his nearest relative in the male line with a strong claim
to the throne, there was concern about the extent of his ambitions,
although he had no direct heirs of his own. To balance this, the king
turned from time to time to his uncle, Joscelin III of Edessa, who was
appointed seneschal in 1176; Joscelin was more closely related to
Baldwin than Raymond was, but had no claim to the throne himself.
As a leper, Baldwin could have no children and could not be expected
to rule much longer, so the focus of his succession passed to his
sister Sibylla and his younger half-sister Isabella. Baldwin and his
advisors recognised that it was essential for Sibylla to be married to
a Western nobleman in order to access support from European states in
a military crisis; while Raymond was still regent, a marriage was
arranged for Sibylla and William of Montferrat, a cousin of Louis VII
France and of Frederick Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor. It was
hoped that by allying with a relative of the western emperor,
Frederick would come to the kingdom's aid.
Jerusalem looked again
Byzantine Empire for help, and Emperor Manuel was looking
for a way to restore his empire's prestige after his defeat at the
Battle of Myriokephalon
Battle of Myriokephalon in 1176; this mission was undertaken by
Raynald of Châtillon. After William of Montferrat arrived in
1176, he fell ill and died in June 1177, leaving Sibylla widowed and
pregnant with the future Baldwin V. Raynald was then named regent.
Soon afterwards, Philip of Flanders arrived in
pilgrimage; he was Baldwin IV's cousin, and the king offered him the
regency and command of the army, both of which Philip refused,
although he objected to the appointment of Raynald as regent. Philip
then attempted to intervene in the negotiations for Sibylla's second
husband, and suggested one of his own retinue, but the native barons
refused his suggestion. In addition, Philip seemed to think he could
carve out a territory of his own in Egypt, but he refused to
participate with the planned Byzantine-
Jerusalem expedition. The
expedition was delayed and finally cancelled, and Philip took his army
away to the north.
Most of the army of
Jerusalem marched north with Philip, Raymond III,
and Bohemond III to attack Hama, and
Saladin took the opportunity to
invade the kingdom. Baldwin proved to be an effective and energetic
king as well as being a brilliant military commander: he defeated
Saladin at the
Battle of Montgisard
Battle of Montgisard in September 1177 despite being
greatly outnumbered and having to rely on a levee-en-masse. Although
Baldwin's presence despite his illness was inspirational, direct
military decisions were actually made by Raynald.
Hugh III of Burgundy was expected to come to
Jerusalem and marry
Sibylla, but Hugh was unable to leave
France due to the political
unrest there in 1179–1180 following the death of Louis VII.
Meanwhile, Baldwin IV's stepmother Maria, mother of Isabella and
stepmother of Sibylla, married Balian of Ibelin. At Easter in 1180,
Raymond and his cousin
Bohemond III of Antioch
Bohemond III of Antioch attempted to force
Sibylla to marry Balian's brother Baldwin of Ibelin. Raymond and
Bohemond were King Baldwin's nearest male relatives in the paternal
line, and could have claimed the throne if the king died without an
heir or a suitable replacement. Before Raymond and Bohemond arrived,
Agnes and King Baldwin arranged for Sibylla to be married to a
Poitevin newcomer, Guy of Lusignan, whose older brother Amalric of
Lusignan was already an established figure at court.
Internationally, the Lusignans were useful as vassals of Baldwin and
Sibylla's cousin Henry II of England. Baldwin betrothed eight-year-old
Isabella to Humphrey IV of Toron, stepson of the powerful Raynald of
Châtillon, thereby removing her from the influence of the Ibelin
family and that of her mother.
The dispute between the two factions in the kingdom affected the
election of a new Patriarch in 1180. When Patriarch Amalric died on 6
October 1180, the two most obvious choices for his successor were
William of Tyre
William of Tyre and Heraclius of Caesarea. They were fairly evenly
matched in background and education, but politically they were allied
with opposite parties, as Heraclius was one of Agnes of Courtenay's
supporters. The canons of the
Holy Sepulchre asked the king for
advice, and Heraclius was chosen through Agnes' influence. There were
rumours that Agnes and Heraclius were lovers, but this information
comes from the partisan 13th-century continuations of William of
Tyre's history, and there is no other evidence to substantiate such a
At the end of 1181,
Raynald of Châtillon
Raynald of Châtillon raided south into Arabia, in
the direction of Medina, although he did not make it that far. It was
probably around this time that Raynald also attacked a Muslim caravan.
The kingdom had a truce with
Saladin at the time, and Raynald's
actions have been seen as an independent act of brigandage; it is
possible that he was trying to prevent
Saladin from moving his forces
north to take control of Aleppo, which would have strengthened
Saladin's position. In response,
Saladin attacked the kingdom in
1182, but was defeated at Belvoir Castle. King Baldwin, although quite
ill, was still able to command the army in person.
Beirut from land and sea, and Baldwin raided Damascene
territory, but neither side did significant damage. In December 1182,
Raynald launched a naval expedition on the Red Sea, which made it as
far south as Rabigh. The expedition was defeated and two of Raynald's
men were actually taken to
Mecca to be executed in public. Like his
earlier raids, Raynald's expedition is usually seen as selfish and
ultimately fatal for Jerusalem, but according to Bernard Hamilton it
was actually shrewd strategy, meant to damage Saladin's prestige and
In 1183 a general tax was levied throughout the kingdom, which was
Jerusalem and almost all of medieval Europe to that
point. The tax helped pay for larger armies for the next few years.
More troops were certainly needed, since
Saladin was finally able to
gain control of Aleppo, and with peace in his northern territories he
could focus on
Jerusalem in the south. King Baldwin was so
incapacitated by his leprosy that it was necessary to appoint a
regent, and Guy of
Lusignan was chosen, as he was Baldwin's legal heir
and the king was not expected to live. The inexperienced Guy led the
Frankish army against Saladin's incursions into the kingdom, but
neither side made any real gains, and Guy was criticized by his
opponents for not striking against
Saladin when he had the chance.
In October 1183 Isabella married Humphrey of
Toron at Kerak, during a
siege by Saladin, who perhaps hoped to take some valuable prisoners.
As King Baldwin, although now blind and crippled, had recovered enough
to resume his reign and his command of the army, Guy was removed from
the regency and his five-year-old step-son, King Baldwin's nephew and
namesake Baldwin, was crowned as co-king in November. King Baldwin
himself then went to relieve the castle, carried on a litter, and
attended by his mother. He was reconciled with Raymond of Tripoli and
appointed him military commander. The siege was lifted in December and
Saladin retreated to Damascus.
Saladin attempted another siege in
1184, but Baldwin repelled that attack as well, and
Nablus and other towns on the way home.
In October 1184, Guy of
Lusignan led an attack on the
from his base in Ascalon. Unlike Raynald's attacks on caravans, which
may have had some military purpose, Guy attacked a group that was
usually loyal to
Jerusalem and provided intelligence about the
movements of Saladin's troops. At the same time, King Baldwin
contracted his final illness and Raymond of Tripoli, rather than Guy,
was appointed as his regent. His nephew Baldwin was paraded in public,
wearing his crown as Baldwin V. Baldwin IV finally succumbed to his
leprosy in May 1185.
Meanwhile, the succession crisis had prompted a mission to the west to
seek assistance. In 1184, Patriarch Heraclius travelled throughout the
courts of Europe, but no help was forthcoming. Heraclius offered the
"keys of the Holy Sepulchre, those of the
Tower of David
Tower of David and the
banner of the Kingdom of Jerusalem", but not the crown itself, to both
Philip II of
France and Henry II of England; the latter, as a grandson
of Fulk, was a first cousin of the royal family of Jerusalem, and had
promised to go on crusade after the murder of Thomas Becket. Both
kings preferred to remain at home to defend their own territories,
rather than act as regent for a child in Jerusalem. The few European
knights who did travel to
Jerusalem did not even see any combat, since
the truce with
Saladin had been re-established. William V of
Montferrat was one of the few who came to his grandson Baldwin V's
Baldwin V's rule, with Raymond of Tripoli as regent and his
great-uncle Joscelin of Edessa as his guardian, was short. He was a
sickly child and died in the summer of 1186. Raymond and his
supporters went to Nablus, presumably in an attempt to prevent Sibylla
from claiming the throne, but Sibylla and her supporters went to
Jerusalem, where it was decided that the kingdom should pass to her,
on the condition that her marriage to Guy be annulled. She agreed but
only if she could choose her own husband and king, and after being
crowned, she immediately crowned Guy with her own hands. Raymond had
refused to attend the coronation, and in
Nablus he suggested that
Isabella and Humphrey should be crowned instead, but Humphrey refused
to agree to this plan which would have certainly started a civil war.
Humphrey went to
Jerusalem and swore allegiance to Guy and Sibylla, as
did most of Raymond's other supporters. Raymond himself refused to do
so and left for Tripoli;
Baldwin of Ibelin also refused, gave up his
fiefs, and left for Antioch.
Jerusalem and the Third Crusade
Main article: Third Crusade
17th-century interpretation of Guy of
Lusignan (right) being held
Saladin (left), clad in a traditional (Islamic) royal
garment, painted by Jan Lievens.
The Near East, c. 1190, at the outset of the Third Crusade.
Raymond of Tripoli allied with
Saladin against Guy and allowed a
Muslim garrison to occupy his fief in Tiberias, probably hoping that
Saladin would help him overthrow Guy. Saladin, meanwhile, had pacified
his Mesopotamian territories, and was now eager to attack the crusader
kingdom; he did not intend to renew the truce when it expired in 1187.
Before the truce expired, Raynald of Chatillon, the lord of
Oultrejourdain and of
Kerak and one of Guy's chief supporters,
Saladin was massing his troops, and attacked Muslim
caravans in an attempt to disrupt this. Guy was on the verge of
attacking Raymond, but realized that the kingdom would need to be
united in the face of the threat from Saladin, and Balian of Ibelin
effected a reconciliation between the two during Easter in 1187.
Kerak again in April, and in May, a Muslim raiding
party ran into the much smaller embassy on its way to negotiate with
Raymond, and defeated it at the
Battle of Cresson
Battle of Cresson near Nazareth.
Raymond and Guy finally agreed to attack
Saladin at Tiberias, but
could not agree on a plan; Raymond thought a pitched battle should be
avoided, but Guy probably remembered the criticism he faced for
avoiding battle in 1183, and it was decided to march out against
Saladin directly. On July 4, 1187, the army of the kingdom was utterly
destroyed at the Battle of Hattin. Raymond of Tripoli, Balian of
Ibelin, and Reginald of
Sidon escaped, but Raynald was executed by
Saladin and Guy was imprisoned in Damascus.
Over the next few months
Saladin easily overran the entire kingdom.
Only the port of Tyre remained in Frankish hands, defended by Conrad
of Montferrat, the paternal uncle of Baldwin V, who had coincidentally
arrived just in time from Constantinople. The fall of Jerusalem
essentially ended the first Kingdom of Jerusalem. Much of the
population, swollen with refugees fleeing Saladin's conquest of the
surrounding territory, was allowed to flee to Tyre, Tripoli, or Egypt
(whence they were sent back to Europe), but those who could not pay
for their freedom were sold into slavery, and those who could were
often robbed by Christians and Muslims alike on their way into exile.
The capture of the city led to the Third Crusade, launched in 1189 and
led by Richard the Lionheart, Philip Augustus and Frederick
Barbarossa, though the last drowned en route.
Guy of Lusignan, who had been refused entry to Tyre by Conrad, began
to besiege Acre in 1189. During the lengthy siege, which lasted until
1191, Patriarch Heraclius, Queen Sibylla and her daughters, and many
others died of disease. With the death of Sibylla in 1190, Guy now had
no legal claim to the kingship, and the succession passed to Sibylla's
half-sister Isabella. Isabella's mother Maria and the Ibelins (now
closely allied to Conrad) argued that Isabella and Humphrey's marriage
was illegal, as she had been underage at the time; underlying this was
the fact that Humphrey had betrayed his wife's cause in 1186. The
marriage was annulled amid some controversy. Conrad, who was now the
nearest kinsman to Baldwin V in the male line, and had already proved
himself a capable military leader, then married Isabella, but Guy
refused to concede the crown.
When Richard arrived in 1191, he and Philip took different sides in
the succession dispute. Richard backed Guy, his vassal from Poitou,
while Philip supported Conrad, a cousin of his late father Louis VII.
After much ill-feeling and ill-health, Philip returned home in 1191,
soon after the fall of Acre. Richard defeated
Saladin at the Battle of
Arsuf in 1191 and the Battle of
Jaffa in 1192, recovering most of the
coast, but could not recover
Jerusalem or any of the inland territory
of the kingdom. It has been suggested that this may have actually been
a strategic decision by Richard rather than a failure as such, as he
may have recognized that
Jerusalem in particular was in fact a
strategic liability as long as the crusaders were obligated to defend
it, as it was isolated from the sea where Western reinforcements could
arrive. Conrad was unanimously elected king in April 1192, but was
murdered by the
Hashshashin only days later. Eight days after that,
the pregnant Isabella was married to Count Henry II of Champagne,
nephew of Richard and Philip, but politically allied to Richard. As
compensation, Richard sold Guy the island of Cyprus, which Richard had
captured on the way to Acre, although Guy continued to claim the
Jerusalem until his death in 1194.
The crusade came to an end peacefully, with the Treaty of Ramla
negotiated in 1192;
Saladin allowed pilgrimages to be made to
Jerusalem, allowing the crusaders to fulfill their vows, after which
they all returned home. The native crusader barons set about
rebuilding their kingdom from Acre and the other coastal cities.
The Kingdom of Acre
For the next hundred years, the Kingdom of
Jerusalem clung to life as
a tiny kingdom hugging the Syrian coastline. Its capital was moved to
Acre and controlled most of the coastline of present-day
southern and central Lebanon, including the strongholds and towns of
Jaffa, Arsuf, Caesarea, Tyre, Sidon, and Beirut. At best, it included
only a few other significant cities, such as Ascalon and some interior
fortresses, as well as suzerainty over Tripoli and Antioch. The new
king, Henry of Champagne, died accidentally in 1197, and Isabella
married for a fourth time, to Aimery of Lusignan, Guy's brother.
Aimery had already inherited
Cyprus from Guy, and had been crowned
king by Frederick Barbarossa's son, Emperor Henry VI. Henry led a
crusade in 1197 but died along the way. Nevertheless, his troops
Sidon for the kingdom before returning home in
1198. A five-year truce was then concluded with the Ayyubids
Syria in 1198.
Ayyubid empire had fallen into civil war after the death of
Saladin in 1193. His sons claimed various parts of his empire:
az-Zahir took control of Aleppo, al-Aziz Uthman held Cairo, while his
eldest son, al-Afdal, retained Damascus. Saladin's brother Al-Adil
Sayf ad-Din (often called "Saphadin" by the crusaders) acquired
al-Jazira (northern Mesopotamia), and al-Adil's son al-Mu'azzam took
possession of Karak and Transjordan. In 1196, al-Afdal was driven out
Damascus by Uthman. He returned when Uthman died in 1198, but was
opposed by al-Adil, who occupied the Citadel of Damascus. Al-Adil also
conquered Cairo in 1200 and banished al-Afdal from
Damascus in 1201.
He proclaimed himself Sultan of
Egypt and Syria, entrusting Damascus
to al-Mu'azzam and al-Jazira to his other son al-Kamil.
Meanwhile, schemes were hatched to reconquer
Jerusalem through Egypt.
Crusade was planned after the failure of the Third, but it
resulted in the sack of
Constantinople in 1204, and most of the
crusaders involved never arrived in the kingdom. Aimery, however, not
knowing of the diversion to Constantinople, raided
Egypt in advance of
the expected invasion. Both Isabella and Aimery died in 1205 and
again an underage girl, Isabella and Conrad's daughter Maria of
Montferrat, became queen of Jerusalem. Isabella's half-brother John of
Ibelin, the Old Lord of
Beirut governed as regent until 1210 when
Maria married an experienced French knight, John of Brienne. Maria
died in childbirth in 1212, and
John of Brienne
John of Brienne continued to rule as
regent for their daughter Isabella II.
Crusade and Frederick II
Frederick II (left) meets al-Kamil (right).
Nuova Cronica by Giovanni
Villani (14th century).
Fourth Lateran Council
Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 called for a new, better-organized
crusade against Egypt. In late 1217
Andrew II of Hungary
Andrew II of Hungary and Leopold
VI, Duke of Austria arrived in Acre and, along with John of Brienne,
raided territory further inland, including Mount Tabor, but without
success. After the departure of the Hungarians, the remaining
crusaders set about refortifying
Caesarea and the Templar fortress of
Château Pèlerin throughout the winter of 1217 and spring of
In the spring of 1218 the Fifth
Crusade began in earnest when German
crusader fleets landed at Acre. Along with King John, who was elected
leader of the crusade, the fleets sailed to
Egypt and besieged
Damietta at the mouth of the Nile in May. The siege progressed slowly,
and the Egyptian sultan al-Adil died in August 1218, supposedly of
shock after the crusaders managed to capture one of Damietta's towers.
He was succeeded by his son al-Kamil. In the autumn of 1218
reinforcements arrived from Europe, including the papal legate
Pelagius of Albano. In the winter the crusaders were affected by
floods and disease, and the siege dragged on throughout 1219, when
Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi arrived to attempt to negotiate a truce. Neither
side could agree to terms, despite the
Ayyubid offer of a thirty-year
truce and the restoration of
Jerusalem and most of the rest of the
former kingdom. The crusaders finally managed to starve out the city
and captured it in November.
Al-Kamil retreated to the nearby fortress
of al-Mansurah, but the crusaders remained in
Damietta throughout 1219
and 1220, awaiting the arrival of
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II,
while King John returned to Acre briefly to defend against
al-Mu'azzam, who was raiding the kingdom from
Damascus in John's
absence. Still expecting the emperor's imminent arrival, in July 1221,
the crusaders set off towards Cairo, but they were stopped by the
rising Nile, which al-Kamil allowed to flood by breaking the dams
along its course. The sultan easily defeated the trapped crusader army
and regained Damietta. Emperor Frederick had, in fact, never left
Europe at all.
After the failure of the crusade, John travelled throughout Europe
seeking assistance, but found support only from Frederick, who then
married John and Maria's daughter Isabella II in 1225. The next year,
Isabella died giving birth to their son Conrad IV, who succeeded his
mother to the throne although he never appeared in the east. Frederick
had reneged on his promise to lead the Fifth Crusade, but was now
eager to cement his claim to the throne through Conrad. There were
also plans to join with al-Kamil in attacking al-Mu'azzam in Damascus,
an alliance which had been discussed with Egyptian envoys in Italy.
But after continually delaying his departure for the Holy Land,
including suffering an outbreak of disease in his fleet, he was
Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX in 1227. The crusaders, led not by
Frederick but by his representatives Richard Filangieri, Henry IV,
Duke of Limburg, and Hermann of Salza, Grand Master of the Teutonic
Knights, arrived in the east late in 1227, and while waiting for the
emperor they set about refortifying Sidon, where they built the sea
castle, and Montfort, which later became the headquarters of the
Teutonic Knights. The Ayyubids of
Damascus did not dare attack, as
al-Mu'azzam had suddenly died not long before. Frederick finally
arrived on the
Sixth Crusade in September 1228, and claimed the
regency of the kingdom in the name of his infant son.
Frederick immediately came into conflict with the native nobles of
Outremer, some of whom resented his attempts to impose Imperial
authority over both
Cyprus and Jerusalem. The Cypriot nobles were
already quarrelling amongst themselves about the regency for Henry I
of Cyprus, who was still a child. The High Court of
Cyprus had elected
John of Ibelin as regent, but Henry's mother
Alice of Champagne
Alice of Champagne wished
to appoint one of her supporters; Alice and her party, members or
supporters of the
Lusignan dynasty, sided with Frederick, whose father
had crowned Aimery of
Lusignan king in 1197. At Limassol, Frederick
demanded that John give up not only the regency of Cyprus, but also
John's own lordship of
Beirut on the mainland. John argued that
Frederick had no legal authority to make such demands and refused to
give up either title. Frederick then imprisoned John's sons as
hostages to guarantee John's support for his crusade.
John did accompany Frederick to the mainland, but Frederick was not
well-received there; one of his few supporters was Balian, Lord of
Sidon, who had welcomed the crusaders the year before and now acted as
an ambassador to the Ayyubids. The death of al-Mu'azzam negated the
proposed alliance with al-Kamil, who along with his brother al-Ashraf
had taken possession of
Damascus (as well as Jerusalem) from their
nephew, al-Mu'azzam's son an-Nasir Dawud. However, al-Kamil presumably
did not know of the small size of Frederick's army, nor the divisions
within it caused by his excommunication, and wished to avoid defending
his territories against another crusade. Frederick's presence alone
was sufficient to regain Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and a number
of surrounding castles without a fight: these were recovered in
February 1229, in return for a ten-year truce with the Ayyubids and
freedom of worship for Jerusalem's Muslim inhabitants. The terms of
the treaty were unacceptable to the Patriarch of
Jerusalem Gerald of
Lausanne, who placed the city under interdict. In March, Frederick
crowned himself in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but because of
his excommunication and the interdict
Jerusalem was never truly
reincorporated into the kingdom, which continued to be ruled from
Meanwhile, in Italy, the Pope had used Frederick's excommunication as
an excuse to invade his Italian territories; the papal armies were led
by Frederick's former father-in-law John of Brienne. Frederick was
forced to return home in 1229, leaving the
Holy Land "not in triumph,
but showered with offal" by the citizens of Acre.
War of the Lombards
War of the Lombards and the Barons' Crusade
Maria of Montferrat
Maria of Montferrat and John of Brienne, King of
Latin Emperor of Constantinople
Nevertheless, Frederick sent an Imperial army in 1231, under Richard
Filangieri, who occupied
Beirut and Tyre, but was unable to gain
control of Acre. John's supporters formed a commune in Acre, of which
John himself was elected mayor in 1232. With the help of the Genoese
merchants, the commune recaptured Beirut. John also attacked Tyre, but
was defeated by Filangieri at the Battle of Casal Imbert in May
On Cyprus, King Henry I came of age in 1232 and John's regency was no
longer necessary. Both John and Filangieri raced back to
assert their authority, and the imperial forces were defeated at the
Battle of Agridi on June 15. Henry became undisputed king of Cyprus,
but continued to support the Ibelins over the Lusignans and the
imperial party. On the mainland, Filangieri had the support of
Bohemund IV of Antioch, the Teutonic Knights, the Knights Hospitaller,
and the Pisan merchants. John was supported by his nobles on Cyprus,
and by his continental holdings in Beirut, Caesarea, and Arsuf, as
well as by the
Knights Templar and the Genoese. Neither side could
make any headway, and in 1234 Gregory IX excommunicated John and his
supporters. This was partly revoked in 1235, but still no peace could
be made. John died in 1236 and the war was taken up by his son Balian
Beirut and his nephew Philip of Montfort.
Meanwhile, the treaty with the Ayyubids was set to expire in 1239.
Plans for a new crusade to be led by Frederick came to nothing, and
Frederick himself was excommunicated by Gregory IX again in 1239.
However, other European nobles took up the cause, including Theobald
Count of Champagne
Count of Champagne and King of Navarre, Peter of Dreux, and Amaury
VI of Montfort, who arrived in Acre in September 1239. Theobald was
elected leader of the crusade at a council in Acre, attended by the
most of the important nobles of the kingdom, including Walter of
Brienne, John of Arsuf, and Balian of Sidon. The arrival of the
crusade was a brief respite from the Lombard War; Filangieri remained
in Tyre and did not participate. The council decided to refortify
Ascalon in the south and attack
Damascus in the north.
The crusaders may have been aware of the new divisions among the
Ayyubids; al-Kamil had occupied
Damascus in 1238 but had died soon
afterwards, and his territory was inherited by his family. His sons
al-Adil abu Bakr and as-Salih Ayyub inherited
Egypt and Damascus.
Ayyub marched on Cairo in an attempt to drive out al-Adil, but during
his absence al-Kamil's brother as-Salih Isma'il took over Damascus,
and Ayyub was taken prisoner by an-Nasir Dawud. The crusaders,
meanwhile, marched to Ascalon. Along the way, Walter of Brienne
captured livestock intended to resupply Damascus, as the Ayyubids had
probably learned of the crusaders' plans to attack it. The victory was
short-lived, however, as the crusaders were then defeated by the
Egyptian army at Gaza in November 1239.
Henry II, Count of Bar was
killed and Amaury of Montfort captured. The crusaders returned to
Acre, possibly because the native barons of the kingdom were
suspicious of Filangieri in Tyre. Dawud took advantage of the Ayyubid
victory to recapture
Jerusalem in December, the ten-year truce having
Although Ayyub was Dawud's prisoner, the two now allied against
al-Adil in Egypt, which Ayyub seized in 1240. In Damascus, Isma'il
recognized the threat of Dawud and Ayyub against his own possessions,
and turned to the crusaders for assistance. Theobald concluded a
treaty with Isma'il, in return for territorial concessions that
Jerusalem to Christian control, as well as much of the rest
of the former kingdom, even more territory than Frederick had
recovered in 1229. Theobald, however, was frustrated by the Lombard
War, and returned home in September 1240. Almost immediately after
Theobald's departure, Richard of Cornwall arrived. He completed the
rebuilding of Ascalon, and also made peace with Ayyub in Egypt. Ayyub
confirmed Isma'il's concessions in 1241, and prisoners taken at Gaza
were exchanged by both sides. Richard returned to Europe in 1241.
Although the kingdom had essentially been restored, the Lombard War
continued to occupy the kingdom's nobility. As the Templars and
Hospitallers supported opposite sides, they also attacked each other,
and the Templars broke the treaty with the Ayyubids by attacking
Nablus in 1241. Conrad proclaimed that he had come of age in 1242,
eliminating both Frederick's claim to the regency and the need for an
imperial guardian to govern in his place, although he had not yet
turned 15, the age of majority according to the customs of Jerusalem.
Through Conrad, Frederick tried to send an imperial regent, but the
anti-imperial faction in Acre argued that Jerusalem's laws allowed
them to appoint their own regent. In June the Haute Cour granted the
regency to Alice of Champagne, who, as the daughter of Isabella I, was
Conrad's great-aunt and his closest relative living in the kingdom.
Alice ordered Filangieri to be arrested, and along with the Ibelins
and Venetians, besieged Tyre, which fell in July 1243. The Lombard War
was over, but the king was still absent, as Conrad never came to the
east. Alice was prevented from exercising any real power as regent by
Philip of Montfort, who took control of Tyre, and Balian of Beirut,
who continued to hold Acre.
Crusade of Louis IX
The Ayyubids were still divided between Ayyub in Egypt, Isma'il in
Damascus, and Dawud in Kerak. Isma'il, Dawud, and al-Mansur Ibrahim of
Homs went to war with Ayyub, who hired the Khwarazmians to fight for
him. The Khwarazmians were nomadic Turks from central Asia, who had
recently been displaced by the
Mongols further to the east and were
now residing in Mesopotamia. With Ayyub's support they sacked
Jerusalem in the summer of 1244, leaving it in ruins and useless to
both Christians and Muslims. In October, the Khwarazmians, along with
the Egyptian army under the command of Baibars, were met by the
Frankish army, led by Philip of Montfort, Walter of Brienne, and the
masters of the Templars, Hospitallers, and Teutonic Knights, along
with al-Mansur and Dawud. On October 17 the Egyptian-Khwarazmian army
destroyed the Frankish-Syrian coalition, and Walter of Brienne was
taken captive and later executed. By 1247, Ayyub had reoccupied most
of the territory that had been conceded in 1239, and had also gained
control of Damascus.
A new crusade was discussed at the Council of Lyon in 1245 by Pope
Innocent IV. The council deposed Frederick II, so no help could be
expected from the empire, but King Louis IX of
France had already
vowed to go on crusade. Louis arrived in
Cyprus in 1248, where he
gathered an army of his own men, including his brothers Robert of
Artois, Charles of Anjou, and Alphonse of Poitiers, and those of
Cyprus and Jerusalem, led by the
Ibelin family John of Jaffa, Guy of
Ibelin, and Balian of Beirut. Once again the target was Egypt.
Damietta was captured without resistance when the crusaders landed in
June 1249, but the crusade halted there until November, by which time
the Egyptian sultan Ayyub had died and had been succeeded by his son
Turanshah. In February, the crusaders were defeated at the Battle of
Robert of Artois
Robert of Artois was killed. The crusaders were
unable to cross the Nile, and, suffering from disease and lack of
supplies, retreated towards
Damietta in April. They were defeated
along the way at the Battle of Fariskur, with Louis being taken
captive by Turanshah. During Louis' captivity,
overthrown by his
Mamluk soldiers, led by the general Aybak, who then
released Louis in May in return for
Damietta and a large ransom. For
the next four years Louis resided in Acre, and helped refortify that
city along with Caesarea, Jaffa, and Sidon. He also made truces with
the Ayyubids in Syria, and sent embassies to negotiate with the
Mongols, who were beginning to threaten the Muslim world. before
returning home in 1254. He left behind a large garrison of French
soldiers in Acre, under the command of Geoffrey of Sergines.
In the midst of these events,
Alice of Champagne
Alice of Champagne had died in 1246 and
had been replaced as regent by her son King Henry I of Cyprus, for
whom John of
Jaffa served as bailli in Acre. During Louis IX's stay in
Acre, Henry I died in 1253, and was succeeded in
Cyprus by his infant
son Hugh II. Hugh was technically regent of
Jerusalem as well, both
for Conrad and for Conrad's son
Conradin after Conrad died in 1254.
Jerusalem were governed by Hugh's mother Plaisance of
Antioch, but John remained bailli for Hugh in Acre. John made peace
Damascus and attempted to regain Ascalon; the Egyptians, now
ruled by the
Mamluk sultanate, besieged
Jaffa in 1256 in response.
John defeated them, and afterwards gave up the bailliage to his cousin
John of Arsuf.
War of Saint Sabas
In 1256 the commercial rivalry between the Venetian and Genoese
merchant colonies broke out into open warfare. In Acre, the two
colonies disputed possession of the monastery of Saint Sabas. The
Genoese, assisted by the Pisan merchants, attacked the Venetian
quarter and burned their ships, but the Venetians drove them out. The
Venetians were then expelled from Tyre by Philip of Monfort. John of
Arsuf, John of Jaffa, John II of Beirut, the Templars, and the
Teutonic Knights supported the Venetians, who also convinced the
Pisans to join them, while the Hospitallers supported the Genoese. In
1257 the Venetians conquered the monastery and destroyed its
fortifications, although they were unable to expel the Genoese
completely. They blockaded the Genoese quarter, but the Genoese were
supplied by the Hospitallers, whose complex was nearby, and by Philip
of Montfort who sent food from Tyre. In August 1257, John of Arsuf
tried to end the war by granting commercial rights in Acre to Ancona,
an Italian ally of Genoa, but aside from Philip of Montfort and the
Hospitallers, the rest of the nobles continued to support Venice. In
June 1258, Philip and the Hospitallers marched on Acre while a Genoese
fleet attacked the city by sea. The naval battle was won by Venice,
and the Genoese were forced to abandon their quarter and flee to Tyre
with Philip. The war also spread to Tripoli and Antioch, where the
Embriaco family, descended from Genoese crusaders, were pitted against
Bohemond VI of Antioch, who supported the Venetians. In 1261 the
Patriarch, Jacques Pantaleon, organised a council to re-establish
order in the kingdom, though the Genoese did not return to Acre.
It was during this period that the
Mongols arrived in the Near East.
Their presence further east had already displaced the Khwarazmians,
and embassies had been sent by various popes as well as Louis IX to
ally or negotiate with them, but they were uninterested in alliances.
Baghdad in 1258, and
Damascus in 1260,
destroying both the
Abbasid caliphate and the last vestiges of the
Ayyubid dynasty. Hethum I of Armenia and
Bohemond VI of Antioch
Bohemond VI of Antioch had
already submitted to the
Mongols as vassals. Some of the
Nestorian Christians, including Kitbuqa, one of the generals at the
Baghdad and Damascus, but despite this, the nobles of Acre
refused to submit. As the kingdom was by now a relatively unimportant
Mongols paid little attention to it, but there were a few
skirmishes in 1260: the forces of Julian of
Sidon killed the nephew of
Kitbuqa, who responded by sacking Sidon, and John II of
also captured by the
Mongols during another raid. The apparently
Mongol conquest was stalled when Hulagu, the Mongol
commander in Syria, returned home after the death of his brother
Möngke Khan, leaving
Kitbuqa with a small garrison. The Mamluks of
Egypt then sought, and were granted, permission to advance through
Frankish territory, and defeated the
Mongols at the Battle of Ain
Jalut in September 1260.
Kitbuqa was killed and all of
Mamluk control. On the way back to Egypt, the
Qutuz was assassinated by the general Baibars, who was far less
favourable than his predecessor to alliances with the Franks.
Fall of Acre
Arsuf had died in 1258 and was replaced as bailli by Geoffrey
of Sergines, Louis IX's lieutenant in Acre. Plaisance died in 1261,
but as her son Hugh II was still underage,
Cyprus passed to his cousin
Hugh of Antioch-Lusignan, whose mother Isabella of Cyprus, Alice of
Champagne and Hugh I of Cyprus' daughter and Hugh II's aunt, took over
the regency in Acre. She appointed as bailli her husband Henry of
Antioch (who was also Plaisance's uncle), but died in 1264. The
regency in Acre was then claimed by Hugh of Antioch-
Lusignan and his
cousin Hugh of Brienne, and Hugh II died in 1267 before he reached the
age of majority. Hugh of Antioch-
Lusignan won the dispute and
succeeded Hugh II on
Cyprus as Hugh III. When
Conradin was executed in
Sicily in 1268, there was no other Hohenstaufen heir to succeed him,
and Hugh III inherited the Kingdom of
Jerusalem as well in 1269. This
was disputed by another branch of the
Lusignan family: Maria of
Antioch, daughter of Bohemond IV of Antioch and Melisende of Lusignan
(herself a daughter of Isabella I and Amalric II), claimed the throne
as the oldest living relative of Isabella I, but for the moment her
claim was ignored. By this time, the Mamluks under
Baibars were taking
advantage of the kingdom's constant disputes, and began conquering the
remaining crusader cities along the coast. In 1265,
Haifa and Arsuf, and Safad and
Toron in 1266. In 1268 he
Jaffa and Beaufort, and then besieged and destroyed
Krak des Chevaliers, Syria. UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hugh III and
Baibars made a one-year truce after these conquests;
Baibars knew that Louis IX was planning another crusade from Europe,
and assumed that the target would once again be Egypt. But instead the
crusade was diverted to Tunis, where Louis died.
Baibars was free to
continue his campaigns: in 1270 he had the Assassins kill Philip of
Montfort, and in 1271 he captured the Hospitaller and Teutonic Knights
Krak des Chevaliers
Krak des Chevaliers and Montfort Castle. He also
besieged Tripoli, but abandoned it in May when Prince Edward of
England arrived, the only part of Louis IX's crusade to arrive in the
east. Edward could do nothing except arrange a ten-year truce with
Baibars, who nevertheless attempted to have him assassinated as well.
Edward left in 1272, and despite the Second Council of Lyon's plans
for another crusade in 1274, no further large-scale expedition ever
arrived. Hugh III's authority on the mainland began to break down; he
was an unpopular king, and Beirut, the only territory left outside of
Acre and Tyre, started to act independently. Its heiress, Isabella of
Ibelin (widow of Hugh II), actually placed it under Baibars'
protection. Finding the mainland ungovernable, Hugh III left for
Cyprus, leaving Balian of
Arsuf as bailli. Then in 1277, Maria of
Antioch sold her claim to the kingdom to Charles of Anjou, who sent
Roger of San Severino to represent him. The Venetians and Templars
supported the claim, and Balian was powerless to oppose him. Baibars
died in 1277 and was succeeded by Qalawun. In 1281 the ten-year truce
expired and was renewed by Roger. Roger returned to Europe after the
Sicilian Vespers in 1282, and was replaced by Odo Poilechien. Hugh III
attempted to re-assert his authority on the mainland by landing at
Beirut in 1283, but this was ineffective and he died in Tyre in 1284.
He was succeeded briefly by his son John II, who died soon after in
1285, and was succeeded by his brother, Hugh III's other son Henry II.
Qalawun captured the Hospitaller fortress of Marqab. Charles
of Anjou also died in 1285, and the military orders and the commune of
Acre accepted Henry II as king; Odo Poilechen refused to recognize
him, but was allowed to hand Acre over to the Templars rather than
Henry directly, and the Templars then handed it to the king. War broke
out between the Venetians and Genoese again in 1287, and Tripoli fell
Qalawun in 1289. Although it was only a matter of time before Acre
also fell, the end of the crusader kingdom was actually instigated in
1290 by newly arrived crusaders, who rioted in Acre and attacked the
city's Muslim merchants.
Qalawun died before he could retaliate, but
his son al-Ashraf Khalil arrived to besiege Acre in April 1291. Acre
was defended by Henry II's brother Amalric of Tyre, the Hospitallers,
Templars, and Teutonic Knights, the Venetians and Pisans, the French
garrison led by Jean I de Grailly, and the English garrison led by
Otton de Grandson, but they were vastly outnumbered. Henry II himself
arrived in May during the siege, but the city fell on May 18. Henry,
Amalric, Otton, and Jean escaped, as did a young Templar named Roger
de Flor, but most of the other defenders did not, including the master
of the Templars Guillaume de Beaujeu. Tyre fell without a fight the
Sidon fell in June, and
Beirut in July.
The crusaders moved their headquarters north to cities such as
Tortosa, but lost that too, and were forced to relocate their
headquarters offshore to Cyprus. Some naval raids and attempts to
retake territory were made over the next ten years, but with the loss
of the island of Arwad in 1302/1303, the Kingdom of
to exist on the mainland. The kings of
Cyprus for many decades hatched
plans to regain the Holy Land, but without success. For the next seven
centuries, up to today, a veritable multitude of European monarchs
have used the title of King of Jerusalem.
Life in the early kingdom
Latin population of the kingdom was always small; although a
steady stream of settlers and new crusaders continually arrived, most
of the original crusaders who fought in the
First Crusade simply went
home. According to William of Tyre, "barely three hundred knights and
two thousand foot soldiers could be found" in the kingdom in 1100
during Godfrey's siege of Arsuf. From the very beginning, the
Latins were little more than a colonial frontier exercising rule over
the native Muslim, Greek and Syriac population, who were more
Jerusalem came to be known as Outremer, the French word
for "overseas", and as new generations grew up in the kingdom, they
began to think of themselves as natives, rather than immigrants.
Although they never gave up their core identity as Western Europeans
or Franks, their clothing, diet, and commercialism integrated much
Oriental, particularly Byzantine, influence. As the chronicler Fulcher
Chartres wrote around 1124,
"For we who were Occidentals now have been made Orientals. He who was
a Roman or Frank has in this land been made into a Galilaean, or an
inhabitant of Palestine. He who was of
Chartres has now
become a citizen of Tyre or Antioch. We have already forgotten the
places of our birth; already these are unknown to many of us or not
mentioned any more."
The crusaders and their descendants often learned to speak Greek,
Arabic, and other eastern languages, and intermarried with the native
Christians (whether Greek, Syriac, or Armenian) and sometimes with
converted Muslims. Nonetheless, the Frankish principalities
remained a distinctive Occidental colony in the heart of Islam.
Fulcher, a participant in the
First Crusade and chaplain of Baldwin I,
continued his chronicle up to 1127. Fulcher's chronicle was very
popular and was used as a source by other historians in the west, such
Orderic Vitalis and William of Malmesbury. Almost as soon as
Jerusalem had been captured, and continuing throughout the 12th
century, many pilgrims arrived and left accounts of the new kingdom;
among them are the English Saewulf, the Russian Abbot Daniel, the
Frank Fretellus, the Byzantine Johannes Phocas, and the Germans John
of Würzburg and Theoderich. Aside from these, thereafter there is
no eyewitness to events in
Jerusalem until William of Tyre, archbishop
of Tyre and chancellor of Jerusalem, who began writing around 1167 and
died around 1184, although he includes much information about the
First Crusade and the intervening years from the death of Fulcher to
his own time, drawn mainly from the writings of
Albert of Aix and
Fulcher himself. From the Muslim perspective, a chief source of
information is Usamah ibn Munqidh, a soldier and frequent ambassador
Jerusalem and Egypt, whose memoirs, Kitab al i'tibar,
include lively accounts of crusader society in the east. Further
information can be gathered from travellers such as Benjamin of Tudela
and Ibn Jubayr.
Crusader society and demographics
Crusaders coin, Acre, 1230.
Crusaders coin, Acre, circa 1230.
The Kingdom at first was virtually bereft of a loyal subject
population and had few knights to implement the laws and orders of the
realm. With the arrival of Italian trading firms, the creation of the
military orders, and immigration by European knights, artisans, and
farmers, the affairs of the Kingdom improved and a feudal society
developed, similar to but distinct from the society the crusaders knew
in Europe. The nature of this society has long been a subject of
debate among crusade historians.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, French scholars, such as E. G.
Rey, Gaston Dodu, and
René Grousset believed that the crusaders and
the native Muslims and Christians lived in a totally integrated
Ronnie Ellenblum claims this view was influenced by French
imperialism and colonialism; if medieval French crusaders could
integrate themselves into local society, then certainly modern French
colonies in the Levant could thrive. In the mid-20th century,
scholars such as Joshua Prawer, R. C. Smail, Meron Benvenisti, and
Claude Cahen argued instead that the crusaders lived totally
segregated from the native inhabitants, who were thoroughly Arabicized
and/or Islamicized and were a constant threat to the foreign
crusaders. Prawer argued further that the kingdom was an early attempt
at colonization, in which the crusaders were a small ruling class, who
were dependent on the native population for survival but made no
attempt to integrate with them. For this reason, the rural
European society to which the crusaders were accustomed was replaced
by a more secure urban society in the pre-existing cities of the
According to Ellenblum's interpretation the inhabitants of the Kingdom
Latin Christians living alongside native Greek and Syriac Christians,
Sunni Arabs, Sufis, Bedouin, Turks, Druze, Jews, and
Samaritans) all had major differences between each other as well as
with the crusaders. Relations between eastern Christians and the Latin
crusaders were "complex and ambiguous", not simply friendly or
hostile. The Turks were the common enemy for everyone, as they were
only very recent arrivals in the Levant, and although they had imposed
their rule prior to the arrival of the crusaders, it is unlikely that
they were thoroughly Islamicized as Prawer and others believed. The
eastern Christians, at least, probably felt closer ties to their
fellow Christian crusaders than to either Turkic overlords or Muslim
Although the crusaders came upon an ancient urban society, Ellenblum
argues that they neither completely abandoned their rural European
lifestyle, nor was European society completely rural to begin with.
Crusader settlement in the Levant resembled the types of colonization
and settlement that were already being practiced in Europe, a mixture
of urban and rural civilization centred around fortresses. The
crusaders were neither totally integrated with the native population,
nor did they segregate themselves in the cities away from the rural
natives, but rather that they settled in both urban and rural areas;
specifically, they settled in areas that had traditionally been
inhabited by the eastern Christians. Areas that were traditionally
Muslim had very little crusader settlement, just as they already had
very few native Christian inhabitants.
Into this mixed society the crusaders adapted existing institutions
and introduced their own familiar customs from Europe. As in Europe
the nobles had their own vassals and were themselves vassals to the
king. Agricultural production was regulated by the iqta, a Muslim
system of land ownership and payments roughly (though far from
exactly) equivalent to the feudal system of Europe, and this system
was not heavily disrupted by the crusaders.
As Hans Mayer says, "the Muslim inhabitants of the
hardly ever appear in the
Latin chronicles", so information on their
role in society is difficult to find. The crusaders "had a natural
tendency to ignore these matters as simply without interest and
certainly not worthy of record." Although Muslims, as well as Jews
and Eastern Christians, had virtually no rights in the countryside,
where they were essentially the property of the crusader lord who
owned the land, tolerance for other faiths was in general no
higher or lower than that found elsewhere in the Middle East. Greeks,
Jews continued to live as they had before, subject to
their own laws and courts, with their former Muslim overlords simply
replaced by the crusaders; Muslims now joined them at the lowest level
of society. The ra'is, the leader of a Muslim or Syriac community, was
a kind of vassal to whatever noble owned his land, but as the crusader
nobles were absentee landlords the ra'is and their communities had a
high degree of autonomy.
Arab-Andalusian geographer and traveler Ibn Jubayr, who was hostile to
the Franks, described the Muslims living under the Christian
crusaders' Kingdom of
Jerusalem in the late 12th-century:
We left Tibnin by a road running past farms where Muslims live who do
very well under the Franks-may Allah preserve us from such a
temptation! The regulations imposed on them are the handing over of
half of the grain crop at the time of harvest and the payment of a
poll tax of one dinar and seven qirats, together with a light duty on
their fruit trees. The Muslims own their own houses and rule
themselves in their own way. This is the way the farms and big
villages are organized in Frankish territory. Many Muslims are sorely
tempted to settle here when they see the far from comfortable
conditions in which their brethren live in the districts under Muslim
rule. Unfortunately for the Muslims, they have always reason for
complaint about the injustices of their chiefs in the lands governed
by their coreligionists, whereas they can have nothing but praise for
the conduct of the Franks, whose justice they can always rely on.
In the cities, Muslims and Eastern Christians were free, although no
Muslims were permitted to live in
Jerusalem itself. They were
second-class citizens and played no part in politics or law, and owed
no military service to the crown, although in some cities they may
have been the majority of the population. Likewise, citizens of the
Italian city-states owed nothing as they lived in autonomous quarters
in the port cities.
There were an unknown number of Muslim slaves living in the Kingdom.
There was a very large slave market in Acre which functioned
throughout the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Although Christians,
both Western and Eastern, were by law prohibited from being sold into
slavery, the native Christians were often indistinguishable from the
Muslim population and the Italian merchants were sometimes accused of
selling them along with Muslim slaves. Slavery was less common
than ransom, especially for prisoners of war; the large numbers of
prisoners taken during raids and battles every year ensured that
ransom money flowed freely between the Christian and Muslim
states. Escape for prisoners and slaves was probably not
difficult, as the inhabitants of the countryside were majority Muslim,
and fugitive slaves were always a problem. The only legal means of
manumission was conversion to (Catholic) Christianity. No Christian,
whether Western or Eastern, was permitted by law to be sold into
Bedouin tribes were considered to be the property of the
king and under his protection. They could be sold or alienated just
like any other property, and later in the 12th century they were often
under the protection of a lesser noble or one of the military
21st century positions on the question of cultural integration or
cultural apartheid remains debated. Interactions between the Franks
and the native Muslims and Christians, though muddled, prevailed on
practical coexistence. Though likely overstated, the accounts of
Usamah Ibn-Munqidh of Shaizar’s travels through Antioch and
Jerusalem described a level of aristocratic exchange elevated above
ethnic prejudice. Contact between Muslims and Christians came on
the administrative or personal level (on the basis of taxes or
translation), not communal or cultural, representative of a
hierarchical lord over subject relationship. Evidence of
inter-cultural integration remains scarce, but evidence of
inter-cultural cooperation and complex social interaction proves more
common. Key use of the word dragoman, literally translator, with
Syriac administrators and
Arabic headsmen represented the direct need
for negotiation of interests on both sides. Comments on
households with Arabic-speaking Christians and a few Arabized
Muslims represent a less dichotomous relationship than the
mid-20th-century historians depicted. Rather, the commonality of
Frankish Christians having non-Frankish priests, doctors, and other
roles within households and inter-cultural communities presents the
lack of standardized discrimination. Jersulamite William of Tyre
complained about a trend to hire Jewish or Muslim medical
practitioners over their
Latin and Frankish counterparts. Evidence
even indicates alterations to Frankish cultural and social customs
regarding hygiene (notorious amongst Arabs for their lack of washing
and knowledge of bathhouse culture), going so far as to ensure water
supplies for domestic use in addition to irrigation.
It is impossible to give an accurate estimate of the population of the
kingdom. Josiah Russell calculates that all of
Syria had about 2.3
million people at the time of the crusades, with perhaps eleven
thousand villages; most of these, of course, were outside of crusader
rule even at the greatest extent of all four crusader states. It
has been estimated by scholars such as
Joshua Prawer and Meron
Benvenisti that there were at most 120,000
Franks and 100,000 Muslims
living in the cities, with another 250,000 Muslim and Eastern
Christian peasants in the countryside. The crusaders accounted for
15–25% of the total population.
Benjamin Z. Kedar
Benjamin Z. Kedar estimates
that there were between 300,000 and 360,000 non-
Franks in the Kingdom,
250,000 of whom were villagers in the countryside, and "one may assume
that Muslims were in the majority in some, possibly most parts of the
kingdom of Jerusalem…" As
Ronnie Ellenblum points out, there
simply is not enough existing evidence to accurately count the
population and any estimate is inherently unreliable.
William of Tyre
William of Tyre recorded the census of 1183,
which was intended to determine the number of men available to defend
against an invasion, and to determine the amount of tax money that
could be obtained from the inhabitants, Muslim or Christian. If the
population was actually counted, William did not record the
number. In the 13th century, John of Ibelin drew up a list of
fiefs and the number of knights owed by each, but this gives no
indication of the non-noble, non-
The Mamluks, led by Baibars, eventually made good their pledge to
cleanse the entire Middle East of the Franks. With the fall of Antioch
(1268), Tripoli (1289), and Acre (1291), those Christians unable to
leave the cities were massacred or enslaved and the last traces of
Christian rule in the Levant disappeared.
Crusader coins of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Left: Denier in European
Holy Sepulchre (1162–75). Center:
Kufic gold bezant
(1140–80). Right: gold bezant with Christian symbol (1250s). Gold
coins were first copied dinars and bore
Kufic script, but after 1250
Christian symbols were added following Papal complaints (British
The urban composition of the area, combined with the presence of the
Italian merchants, led to the development of an economy that was much
more commercial than it was agricultural. Palestine had always been a
crossroads for trade; now, this trade extended to Europe as well.
European goods, such as the woolen textiles of northern Europe, made
their way to the Middle East and Asia, while Asian goods were
transported back to Europe.
Jerusalem was especially involved in the
silk, cotton and spice trade; other items that first appeared in
Europe through trade with crusader
Jerusalem included oranges and
sugar, the latter of which chronicler
William of Tyre
William of Tyre called "very
necessary for the use and health of mankind." In the countryside,
wheat, barley, legumes, olives, grapes, and dates were grown. The
Italian city-states made enormous profits from this trade, thanks to
commercial treaties like the Pactum Warmundi, and it influenced their
Renaissance in later centuries.
Jerusalem collected money through tribute payments, first from the
coastal cities which had not yet been captured, and later from other
neighbouring states such as
Damascus and Egypt, which the crusaders
could not conquer directly. After Baldwin I extended his rule over
Jerusalem gained revenue from the taxation of Muslim
caravans passing from
Egypt or Arabia. The money economy of
Jerusalem meant that their manpower problem could be partially solved
by paying for mercenaries, an uncommon occurrence in medieval Europe.
Mercenaries could be fellow European crusaders, or, perhaps more
often, Muslim soldiers, including the famous Turcopoles.
Main entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Jerusalem was the center of education in the kingdom. There was a
school in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the basic skills of
reading and writing
Latin were taught; the relative wealth of the
merchant class meant that their children could be educated there along
with the children of nobles – it is likely that
William of Tyre
William of Tyre was
a classmate of future king Baldwin III. Higher education had to be
undertaken at one of the universities in Europe; the development
of a university was impossible in the culture of crusader Jerusalem,
where warfare was far more important than philosophy or theology.
Nonetheless, the nobility and general Frankish population were noted
for the high literacy: lawyers and clerks were in abundance, and the
study of law, history, and other academic subjects was a beloved
pastime of the royal family and the nobility.
Jerusalem had an
extensive library not only of ancient and medieval
Latin works but of
Arabic literature, much of which was apparently captured from Usamah
ibn Munqidh and his entourage after a shipwreck in 1154. The Holy
Sepulchre contained the kingdom's scriptorium and the city had a
chancery where royal charters and other documents were produced. Aside
from Latin, the standard written language of medieval Europe, the
populace of crusader
Jerusalem communicated in vernacular forms of
French and Italian; Greek, Armenian, and even
Arabic were used by
Art and architecture
Melisende Psalter Folio 9v - The Harrowing of Hell
Jerusalem itself the greatest architectural endeavour was the
expansion of the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre in western Gothic style.
This expansion consolidated all the separate shrines on the site into
one building, and was completed by 1149. Outside of Jerusalem, castles
and fortresses were the major focus of construction:
Oultrejordain and Ibelin near
Jaffa are among the numerous
examples of crusader castles.
Crusader art was a mix of Western, Byzantine, and Islamic styles. The
major cities featured baths, interior plumbing, and other advanced
hygienic tools which were lacking in most other cities and towns
throughout the world. The foremost example of crusader art are perhaps
the Melisende Psalter, an illuminated manuscript commissioned between
1135 and 1143 and now located in the British Library, and the sculpted
Nazareth Capitals. Paintings and mosaics were popular forms of art in
the kingdom, but many of these were destroyed by the Mamluks in the
13th century; only the most durable fortresses survived the
Government and legal system
Immediately after the First Crusade, land was distributed to loyal
vassals of Godfrey, forming numerous feudal lordships within the
kingdom. This was continued by Godfrey's successors. The number and
importance of the lordships varied throughout the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries, and many cities were part of the royal domain.
The king was assisted by a number of officers of state. The king and
the royal court were normally located in Jerusalem, but due to the
prohibition on Muslim inhabitants, the capital was small and
underpopulated. The king just as often held court at Acre, Nablus,
Tyre, or wherever else he happened to be. In Jerusalem, the royal
family lived firstly on the Temple Mount, before the foundation of the
Knights Templar, and later in the palace complex surrounding the Tower
of David; there was another palace complex in Acre.
Because the nobles tended to live in
Jerusalem rather than on estates
in the countryside, they had a larger influence on the king than they
would have had in Europe. The nobles, along with the bishops, formed
the haute cour (high court), which was responsible for confirming the
election of a new king (or a regent if necessary), collecting taxes,
minting coins, allotting money to the king, and raising armies. The
haute cour was the only judicial body for the nobles of the kingdom,
hearing criminal cases such as murder, rape, and treason, and simpler
feudal disputes such as recovery of slaves, sales and purchases of
fiefs, and default of service. Punishments included forfeiture of land
and exile, or in extreme cases death. The first laws of the kingdom
were, according to tradition, established during Godfrey of Bouillon's
short reign, but were more probably established by Baldwin II at the
Nablus in 1120.
Benjamin Z. Kedar
Benjamin Z. Kedar argued that the canons of
the Council of
Nablus were in force in the 12th century but had fallen
out of use by the thirteenth. Marwan Nader questions this and suggests
that the canons may not have applied to the whole kingdom at all
times. The most extensive collection of laws, together known as
Assizes of Jerusalem, were written in the mid-13th century, although
many of them are purported to be twelfth-century in origin.
There were other, lesser courts for non-nobles and non-Latins; the
Cour des Bourgeois provided justice for non-noble Latins, dealing with
minor criminal offences such as assault and theft, and provided rules
for disputes between non-Latins, who had fewer legal rights. Special
courts such as the Cour de la Fond (for commercial disputes in the
markets) and the Cour de la Mer (an admiralty court) existed in the
coastal cities. The extent to which native Islamic and Eastern
Christian courts continued to function is unknown, but the ra'is
probably exercised some legal authority on a local level. The Cour des
Syriens judged non-criminal matters among the native Christians (the
"Syriacs"). For criminal matters non-
Latins were to be tried in the
Cour des Bourgeois (or even the Haute Cour if the crime was
The Italian communes were granted almost complete autonomy from the
very early days of the Kingdom, thanks to their military and naval
support in the years following the First Crusade. This autonomy
included the right to administer their own justice, although the kinds
of cases that fell under their jurisdiction varied at different
The king was recognised as head of the Haute Cour, although he was
legally only primus inter pares.
Further information: King of
Jerusalem and Assizes of Jerusalem
After the loss of all territory in the Levant in 1291, there were late
attempts at further crusades, nominally proposing to recapture
Jerusalem, but with the rise of the Ottoman Empire their character was
more and more that of a desperate defensive war rarely reaching beyond
the Balkans (Alexandrian Crusade, Smyrniote crusades). Henry IV of
England made a pilgrimage to
Jerusalem in 1393/4, and he later vowed
to lead a crusade to recapture the city, but he did not undertake such
a campaign before his death in 1413. The Levant remained under
Ottoman control from 1517 until the
Partition of the Ottoman Empire
Partition of the Ottoman Empire in
Fall of Ruad
Fall of Ruad in 1303, the Kingdom of
Jerusalem lost its final
outpost on the Levantine coast, its possession closest to the Holy
Land now being Cyprus. Henry II of
Jerusalem retained the title of
Jerusalem until his death in 1324, and the title continued to
be claimed by his successors, the kings of Cyprus. The title of "king
of Jerusalem" was also continuously used by the Angevin kings of
Naples, whose founder, Charles of Anjou, had in 1277 bought a claim to
the throne from Mary of Antioch. Thereafter, this claim to the Kingdom
Jerusalem was treated as a tributary of the crown of Naples, which
often changed hands by testament or conquest rather than direct
inheritance. As Naples was a papal fief, the Popes often endorsed the
title of King of
Jerusalem as well as of Naples, and the history of
these claims is that of the Neapolitan Kingdom. In 1441, control of
Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples was lost to
Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso V of Aragon and the title
thus was claimed by the kings of Spain, and after the War of the
Spanish Succession both by the
House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon and the House of
Habsburg. The title is still in de facto use by the Spanish Crown,
currently held by Felipe VI of Spain. It was also claimed by Otto von
Habsburg as Habsburg pretender until 1958, and by the kings of Italy
Assizes of Jerusalem
Haute Cour of Jerusalem
History of Palestine
Jerusalem during the Crusader period
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Vassals of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
^ Frank McLynn, "Richard and John: Kings at War," chapter 5, page 118.
^ Arteaga, Deborah L. (2012-11-02). Research on Old French: The State
of the Art. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 206.
^ Benjamin Z. Kedar, "Samaritan History: The Frankish Period", in Alan
David Crown (ed.), The
Samaritans (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1989),
^ Holt 1989, pp. 11, 14–15.
^ Gil 1997, pp. 410, 411 note 61.
^ Holt 1989, pp. 11–14.
First Crusade is extensively documented in primary and secondary
sources. See for example Thomas Asbridge, The First Crusade: A New
History (Oxford: 2004); Christopher Tyerman, God's War: A New History
Crusades (Penguin: 2006); Jonathan Riley-Smith, The First
Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (Pennsylvania: 1991); and the lively
but outdated Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades: Volume 1, The
First Crusade and the Foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
^ Tyerman 2006, pp. 159–160.
^ William of Tyre, A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea, trans. E.A.
Babcock and A.C. Krey, Columbia University Press, 1943, vol. 1, bk. 9,
^ Riley-Smith (1979), "The Title of Godfrey of Bouillon", Bulletin of
the Institute of Historical Research 52, pp. 83–86.
^ Murray, Alan V. (1990), "The Title of
Godfrey of Bouillon
Godfrey of Bouillon as Ruler
of Jerusalem", Collegium Medievale 3, pp. 163–178.
^ Asbridge, pg. 326.
^ William of Tyre, vol. 1, bk. 9, ch. 16, pg. 404.
^ Tyerman, pp. 201–202.
^ Hans Eberhard Mayer, The Crusades, 2nd ed., trans. John Gillingham
(Oxford: 1988), pp. 171–76.
^ William of Tyre, vol. 1, bk. 11, ch. 27, pp. 507–508.
^ Thomas Madden, The New Concise History of the
Crusades (Rowman and
Littlefield, 2005), pp. 40–43.
^ Madden, pg. 43.
^ Mayer, pp. 71–72.
^ Mayer, pp. 72–77.
^ Tyerman, pp. 207–208.
^ Mayer, pp. 83–85.
^ Mayer, pp. 83–84.
^ William of Tyre, vol. II, bk. 14, ch. 18, pg. 76.
^ Mayer, pp. 86–88.
^ Mayer, pg. 92.
^ Jonathan Phillips, The Second Crusade: Extending the Frontiers of
Christendom (Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 216–227.
^ Tyerman, pp. 344–345.
^ Mayer, 108–111.
^ Mayer, pg. 112
^ Madden, pp. 64–65.
^ William of Tyre, vol. II, bk. 18 ch. 16, pg. 265.
^ Tyerman, pp. 347–348; Mayer, pg. 118–119.
^ Mayer, pp. 119–120.
^ Tyerman, pg. 350.
^ Marshall W. Baldwin, "The Decline and Fall of Jerusalem,
1174–1189", in A History of the
Crusades (gen. ed. Kenneth M.
Setton), vol. 1: The First Hundred Years (ed. Marshall W. Baldwin,
University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), pg. 592ff.
^ Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, vol. 2: The Kingdom of
Jerusalem and the Frankish East (Cambridge University Press, 1952),
^ Hans E. Mayer, The
Crusades (trans. John Gillingham, 1972; 2nd ed.,
Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 127–128.
^ Peter W. Edbury, "Propaganda and faction in the Kingdom of
Jerusalem: the background to Hattin", in Crusaders and Moslems in
Syria (ed. Maya Shatzmiller, Leiden: Brill, 1993), pg.
^ Hamilton pg. 158.
^ Hamilton, pg. 93.
^ Hamilton, pp. 105–106.
^ Hamilton, pg. 101.
^ Hamilton, pg. 115.
^ Hamilton, pg. 118.
^ Hamilton, pp. 122–130.
^ Hamilton, pp. 132–136.
^ Hamilton, pp. 150–158.
^ Hamilton, pg. 161.
^ Hamilton, pp. 162–163; Edbury and Rowe, "
William of Tyre
William of Tyre and the
Patriarchal election of 1180",
The English Historical Review 93
(1978), repr. Kingdoms of the Crusaders: From
Jerusalem to Cyprus
(Aldershot: Ashgate, Variorum Collected Series Studies, 1999), pp.
^ Hamilton, pp. 170–171.
^ Hamilton, pp. 174–183.
^ Hamilton, pp. 186–192.
^ Hamilton, pp. 192–196.
^ Hamilton, pp. 202–203.
^ Hamilton, pp. 204–210.
^ Hamilton, pp. 212-216.
^ Hamilton, pp. 216-223.
^ Hamilton, pp. 223-231.
^ Peter W. Edbury, The Kingdom of
Cyprus and the Crusades, 1191-1374
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 4-5.
^ Edbury, Kingdom of
Cyprus and the Crusades, pp. 25-26.
^ Stark, God's Battalions
^ Edbury, Kingdom of
Cyprus and the Crusades, pp. 26-29.
^ Edbury, Kingdom of
Cyprus and the Crusades, pp. 31-33.
^ Riley-Smith, The Crusades: A History (2nd ed., Yale University
Press, 2005), pp. 146-147.
^ Riley-Smith, The Crusades: A History, p. 150.
^ Jean Richard, The Crusades, c. 1071-c. 1291, trans. Jean Birell
(Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 240-241.
^ Riley-Smith, The Crusades: A History, pp. 153-160.
^ Edbury, Kingdom of
Cyprus and the Crusades, pp. 40-41.
^ Edbury, Kingdom of
Cyprus and the Crusades, p. 48.
^ James M. Powell, Anatomy of a Crusade: 1213-1221 (University of
Pennsylvania Press, 1986), pp. 128-135.
^ Thomas C. Van Cleve, "The Fifth Crusade", in A History of the
Crusades (gen. ed. Kenneth M. Setton), vol. 2: The Later Crusades,
1189-1311 (ed. R.L. Wolff and H.W. Hazard, University of Wisconsin
Press, 1969), pp. 394-395.
^ Powell, pp. 137-195.
^ Edbury, Kingdom of
Cyprus and the Crusades, pp. 55-56.
^ a b Edbury, Kingdom of
Cyprus and the Crusades, pp. 57-64.
^ Riley-Smith, The Crusades: A History, 2nd ed., pp. 180-182.
^ Riley-Smith, The Crusades: A History, 2nd ed., p. 182.
^ a b Tyerman, God's War, pp. 725-726.
^ Michael Lower, The Barons' Crusade: A Call to Arms and its
Consequences (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), pp. 159-177.
^ Tyerman, God's War, pp. 770-771.
^ Tyerman, God's War, pp. 784-803.
^ Edbury, Kingdom of
Cyprus and the Crusades, pp. 81-85.
^ Steven Runciman, "The Crusader States, 1243-1291", in History of the
Crusades, vol. 2, pp. 568-570.
^ Runciman, "The Crusader States, 1243-1291", pp. 570-575.
^ Edbury, Kingdom of
Cyprus and the Crusades, pp. 85-90.
^ Edbury, Kingdom of
Cyprus and the Crusades, pp. 92-99.
^ William of Tyre, vol. 1, bk. 9, ch. 19, pg. 408.
^ Fulcher of Chartres, A History of the Expedition to Jerusalem,
trans. Frances Rita Ryan, University of Tennessee Press, 1969, bk.
III, ch. XXXVII.3. pg. 271 (available online).
^ Fulcher, bk. III, ch. XXXVII.4, pg. 271.
^ Many chronicles of individual pilgrims are collected together in the
Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society (London, 1884–); "Recueil de
voyages et mémoires", published by the Société de Géographie
(Paris, 1824–66); "Recueil de voyages et de documents pour servir à
la géographie" (Paris, 1890–).
^ Ronnie Ellenblum, Frankish Rural Settlement in the
Latin Kingdom of
Jerusalem (Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 3–4, 10–11.
^ Joshua Prawer, The Crusaders' Kingdom: European Colonialism in the
Middle Ages (Praeger, 1972), pg. 60; pp. 469–470; and throughout.
^ Ellenblum, pp. 5–9.
^ Ellenblum, pp. 26–28.
^ Ellenblum, pp. 36–37.
^ Prawer, Crusader Institutions, pp. 197, 205.
^ Hans Mayer, "Latins, Muslims, and Greeks in the
Latin Kingdom of
Jerusalem", History 63 (1978), pg. 175; reprinted in Probleme des
Jerusalem (Variorum, 1983).
^ Mayer calls them "chattels of the state"; Hans Mayer, "Latins,
Muslims, and Greeks in the
Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem", History 63
(1978), pg. 177; reprinted in Probleme des lateinischen Königreichs
Jerusalem (Variorum, 1983).
^ Prawer, Crusader Institutions, pg. 207; Jonathan Riley-Smith, "Some
lesser officials in
Latin Syria" (English Historical Review, vol. 87,
no. 342 (Jan., 1972)), pp. 1–15.
^ Pernoud The Crusaders pg. 172.
^ Prawer, Crusader Institutions, pg. 202.
^ Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Feudal Nobility, pp. 62–63.
^ Yvonne Friedman, Encounter between Enemies: Captivity and Ransom in
Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Brill, 2002, throughout.
^ Prawer, Crusader Institutions, pg. 209.
^ Prawer, Crusader Institutions, pg. 214.
^ Tyerman, God’s War, pg 230.
^ Tyerman, God’s War, pg 231.
^ Tyerman, God’s War, pg 234.
^ a b Tyerman, God’s War, pg 235.
^ Tyerman, God’s War, pg 237-8.
^ Josiah C. Russell, "Population of the Crusader States", in Setton,
ed. Crusades, vol. 5, pg. 108.
^ Benjamin Z. Kedar, "The Subjected Muslims of the Frankish Levant",
in Muslims Under
Latin Rule, 1100–1300, ed. James M. Powell,
Princeton University Press, 1990, pg. 148; reprinted in The Crusades:
The Essential Readings, ed. Thomas F. Madden, Blackwell, 2002, pg.
244. Kedar quotes his numbers from Joshua Prawer, Histoire du royaume
latin de Jérusalem, tr. G. Nahon, Paris, 1969, vol. 1, pp. 498,
^ Benjamin Z. Kedar, "The Subjected Muslims of the Frankish Levant",
in Muslims Under
Latin Rule, 1100–1300, ed. James M. Powell,
Princeton University Press, 1990, pg. 148–149; reprinted in The
Crusades: The Essential Readings, ed. Thomas F. Madden, Blackwell,
2002, pg. 244. Kedar quotes his numbers from Joshua Prawer, Histoire
du royaume latin de Jérusalem, tr. G. Nahon, Paris, 1969, vol. 1, pp.
^ Ellenblum, pg. 31.
^ William of Tyre, vol. 2, bk. 22, ch. 23, pp. 486–488.
^ According to Ludolph of Suchem (which seems exaggeration): "In Acre
and the other places nearly a hundred and six thousand men were slain
or taken, and more than two hundred thousand escaped from thence. Of
the Saracens more than three hundred thousand were slain, as is well
known even to this day." —From Ludolph of Suchem, p. 268-272
^ Michaud, The History of the Crusades, Vol. 3, p. 18 ; available
in full at Google Books. Note that in a footnote Michaud claims
reliance on "the chronicle of Ibn Ferat" (Michaud, Vol.3, p.22) for
much of the information he has concerning the Mussulmans.
^ Hans E. Mayer, "Guillaume de Tyr à l'école", in Kings and Lords in
Latin Kingdom of
Jerusalem (Variorum, 1994), pg. V.264; originally
published in Mémoires de l'Académie des sciences, arts et
belles-lettres de Dijon 117 (1985–86).
^ Note the famous example of William of Tyre, Willemi Tyrensis
Archiepiscopi Chronicon, ed. R. B. C. Huygens, Corpus Christianorum,
Continuatio Medievalis, vol. 38 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1986), bk. 19, ch.
12, pp. 879–881. This chapter was discovered after the publication
of Babcock and Krey's translation and is not included in the English
^ For example, King Baldwin III "was fairly well educated", and
"particularly enjoyed listening to the reading of history..." (William
of Tyre, vol. 2, bk. 16, ch. 2, pg. 138.) King Amalric I "was fairly
well educated, although much less so than his brother" Baldwin III; he
"was well skilled in the customary law by which the kingdom was
governed", and "listened eagerly to history and preferred it to all
other kinds of reading." (William of Tyre, vol. 2, bk. 19, ch. 2, pg.
^ William of Tyre, introduction by Babcock and Krey, pg. 16.
^ Benjamin Z. Kedar, On the origins of the earliest laws of Frankish
Jerusalem: The canons of the Council of Nablus, 1120 (Speculum 74,
1999), pp. 330–331; Marwan Nader, Burgesses and Burgess Law in the
Latin Kingdoms of
Cyprus (1099–1325) (Ashgate: 2006),
^ Nader, pp. 28–30.
^ Nader, pp. 158–170
^ Nader, pp. 170–77.
^ Bevan, Bryan (1994). Henry IV. London: Macmillan. p. 32.
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Monarchy and Lordships in the
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Margaliot (Château Neuf)
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