Robert of Normandy (1051-1134)

    Robert of Normandy  or Robert duke of Normandy or Robert Curthose (1087–1106) and one of the leaders of the First Crusade (1096–1099).

    Born around 1154, the eldest son of William I of England and Matilda of Flanders, Robert was the subject of unflattering  portraits  by  the  chroniclers  Orderic  Vitalis  and William of Malmesbury, who revealed that his father nicknamed  him  Curthose because he was short and plump.

    Robert of Normandy, son of William the Conqueror, set out with nearly all his nobles. To raise money for the expedition, he mortgaged his duchy to his brother, William Rufus of England, for ten thousand silver marks, a sum which that impious monarch raised by stripping the churches of their plate and taxing their clergy. Robert was companioned by Stephen of Blois, whose castles were " as many as the days of the year," and by Robert of Flanders, "the lance and sword of the Christians."


Douglas (D. C.), William the Conqueror, University of California Press, 1964.

Crouch (D.), The Normans, The History of a Dynasty, New York, 2002.

Raymond of Saint-Gilles (1041- 1105)

Raymond of Saint-Gilles or Raymond of Toulouse, one of the leaders of the First Crusade (1096–1099) and later first count of Tripoli (1102–1105).

Raymond was born around 1041, the second son of Pons II, count of Toulouse, and Almodis of La Marche. Raymond inherited the lordship of Saint-Gilles (situated at the mouth of the Rhône), as well as lands in Provence; to these he was able to add an inheritance from his cousin Bertha, consisting of the marquisate of Gothia and the county of Rouergue. On the death of his childless elder brother William IV (1094), Raymond was the ruler of a vast aggregate of territory; he had already taken the title of count of Toulouse. His first marriage  (probably  dissolved  on  the  grounds  of consanguinity) produced one son, Bertrand (later count of Tripoli); around 1080 he married his second wife, Matilda, daughter of Roger I of Sicily. His third marriage, to Elvira, daughter of Alfonso VI of Castile, may well have been contracted in 1088 on the occasion of a campaign conducted by several French lords in Spain against the Almoravids, in which Raymond probably took part.

Raymond in The First Crusade:

Raymond of Toulouse led a second army composed of the men of Languedoc. He was the most opulent and haughty of the chieftains, as well as the most experienced in years and war. He had fought by the side of the Cid in Spain, and was haloed in popular estimate with some of the glory of that great knight. Alfonso VI. of Castile had not hesitated to bestow upon him his daughter Elvira, who shared with her husband the hazard of the expedition. One hundred thousand warriors followed in Raymond's train as he took the cross. With him went Bishop Adhemar of Puy , the papal legate, who, in the name of the Holy Father, was the spiritual head of the combined expeditions.

Raymond and Alexius:

Raymond, unlike Bohemond, Godfrey, and Robert of Flanders, would  take no oath to the Emperor. " Be it far from me," were the words of his proud humility, " that I should take any lord for this way save Christ only, for whose sake I have come hither. If thou art willing to take the cross also, and accompany us to Jerusalem, I and my men and all that I have will be at thy disposal." While at Constantinople Raymond received news that during his absence the Emperor's troops had attacked his men. In his wrath it is said that he invited the other Latin chiefs to join him in the sack of Constantinople. Bohemond, however, was staunch to the Emperor, and even gave himself as a hostage that Alexius would recompense the count if it should prove true that the Imperial troops had done him injury. Godfrey, too, refused to bear arms against a brother Christian, and so Raymond had to endure his wrong as best he might. Nothing could induce him to become the Emperor's liegeman, but at last he swore to do Alexius no harm to his life or honour, and not to suffer any such wrong to be done by another. " But when he was called on to do homage," says Raymond of Agiles, " he made answer that he would not, even at the peril of his life. For which reason the Emperor gave him few gifts." Yet Raymond's oath proved of better worth than that of those who had sworn more. Anna Comnena perhaps writes by the light of later events, but her words are very precise, and apparently refer to this time: "One of the Crusaders, the Count of St. Gilles, Alexius loved in a special way, because of his wisdom, sincerity, and purity of life ; and also because he knew that he preferred honour and truth above all things."


Hill (J. H.) and Hill (L. L.), Raymond IV, count of Toulouse. Syracuse, Syracuse University Press, 1962.