King Fulk of Jerusalem (1131–1143)

King Fulk of Jerusalem or Count Fulk of Anjou V, later Fulk, King of Jerusalem. He was the grandfather of Henry II, ruler of England and France. Fulk was born between 1089 and 1092 in Angers, Pays de la Loire in France. He was the son of father Count Fulk IV of Anjou and mother Bentrade de Montfort. In 1092 Bentrade later left her husband and went to marry  King Philipe I  de France, despite  never officially obtaining a divorce from Fulk’s father. Fulk became count of Anjou after his father died in 1109; in 1110, he married Erembourg of Maine. He had a daughter Matilda and a son Geoffrey of Anjou. Fulk was a gentle and pious man, although said to have an embarrassingly bad memory for names and faces. 

Fulk  went  on  a  Crusade  in  1119  or  1120;  his  involvement  with  the  Knights  Templar  began  during  this expedition to the Holy Land, including the stipend of two Knights. He returned to France in late 1121 and was planning to go back to Angiers in 1127. He received a group of ambassadors from King Baldwin II of Jerusalem in 1127. While, Baldwin had no male heir  to  the  throne,  he  had  chosen  his  daughter  Melisende  to  rule  Jerusalem  upon  his  death.  However,  Baldwin needed a powerful lord to marry her and safeguard his daughter’s inheritance. Fulk  was  good  nominee,  because  he  was  a  wealthy  crusader,  an  experienced  military  commander  and  a widower, as his wife Erembourg had died in 1126. Fulk, however, did not immediately agree to Baldwin’s terms and insisted on not only being the consort of the Queen. Rather, he wanted to be King of Jerusalem in his own right. Baldwin reflected Fulk’s proposal and accepted it.

His relations with the Templars, and his marriage to Melisende. He came not by conflict, but from political relations.

Once he and Baldwin came to an agreement, Fulk gave the county seat of Anjou to his son Geoffrey and went to Jerusalem. He and Melisende married on 2 June 1129. Their son Baldwin III was born in 1130. The couple became joint rulers after Baldwin II died in 1131. Fulk brought French influences to the kingdom. For example: he allowed countrymen from Anjou to settle in Jerusalem. Other Crusader states from the North of possible invasions from Fulk to their territory. These states included the Principality of Antioch or the County of Tripoli. The leaders  of  the  Crusade  states  saw  Fulk  as  illegitimate  for  possible  reasons:  They  saw  him  as  less powerful then Baldwin, Fulk didn’t follow Baldwin’s orders on the throne, and he was not from Jerusalem, he was from far away. In 1136, Fulk and Melisene’s second son, Amalric I, was born. 

After Baldwin’s death, Fulk quickly took sole control of the governance of Jerusalem, excluding Melisende. The second  Generation of Jerusalem Christians on the whole supporting  the  Queen’s family, including her cousin Hugh II of le Puiset. He was very devoted to the Queen and saw Fulk as a rival. In 1134, Fulk accused Hugh of infidelity with Melisende. Hugh rebelled in protest and secured the city of Jaffa. He resisted Fulk’s army until the Patriarch, the Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem intervened the Conflict.  •  This was called the revolt of Hugh of Jaffa. Later, a peace treaty was signed; Hugh was exiled for four years. When Hugh was assassinated in his exile, Fulk or his supporters were accused, but there was no concrete proof to show their involvement. The  scandal  was  enough  for  those  who  supported  the  Queen  to  initiate  a  palace  coup  and  take  over  the government. Fulk’s supporters were terrorized in the palace, and the king was unable to fight back. This resulted in Queen Melisende’s direct control over the government from 1136 onwards. 

Fulk aimed to secure Jerusalem’s northern borders; in particular his greatest concern was the rise of Atabeg Zengi of Mosul, a Turkish King of the north Zengrid dynasty. In 1137, Fulk was defeated in a battle at Barin by Zengi. He subsequently allied himself with Mu’in ad-Din Unar,  the  vizier  of  Damascus,  as  the  vizier  was  threatened  by  Zengi  as  well.  Fulk  captured  the  fort  of Banians, in the north lake of Tiberias and then secured the northern border. Fulk also strengthened the southern borders; fortresses were built in Kerak to the south of the Dead Sea. And have connection with Jerusalem to the Red Sea. Fulk also had forts built in the south – west in order to overpower the Egyptian fortresses at Ascalan. The city was  a  base  to  launch  frequent  raids  on  the  Kingdom  of  Jerusalem.  His  plan  was  to  neutralize  the  threat against the Egyptian Fatimids. In 1137 and 1142, the Byzantine emperor John II Comnenus arrived in Syria attempting to impose control over the crusader states His arrival was ignored by Fulk, who declined an invitation to meet the emperor in the capital city. Because of being against John’s assertion of authority. He was willing to cooperate with non-Christian empires to succeed in his goals, including Adin Unur, leader of Damascus.  

In 1143, as the king and queen holidayed in Acre, Fulk died in a horse riding accident. When carried back to the city, he lay unconscious for three days before dying. He was buried in the church of the Holy Sepulch in Jerusalem. Melisende mourned him privately and publicly, despite the previous conflict in their marriage. Queen Matilda of Jerusalem succeeded to the throne, which was later taken by her son Baldwin III. 


Conder (C. R.), The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, New York, 2011.

Tyerman (Ch.), God's War: A New History of the Crusades, Harvard University Press, 2006.

Melisende of Jerusalem (1131–1153)

Melisende was probably born around 1109, the eldest daughter of Baldwin II, count of Edessa, and his wife Morphia. Baldwin became king of Jerusalem in 1118, and named Melisende heiress to the kingdom in 1127 after it was apparent that he would have no male heir.

Melisende and Fulk’s marriage was celebrated in early June 1129, and at that time her father the king endowed them with the cities of Acre and Tyre to be held during his lifetime.

Through Melisende, the status of heir to the throne was transmitted to Fulk. Their marriage must have been a grand occasion of celebration in the kingdom, and all of the important barons and churchmen would have been present.  Within a few months of the wedding, Melisende became pregnant with the couple’s first child and heir, the future Baldwin III, who was born in 1130.  

Baldwin II died on August 21, 1131, and he was mourned with “great pomp and ceremony.”  He was buried in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, next to his predecessors at the foot of Mt. Calvary known as Golgatha.  On September 14, Holy Cross Day (an important feast day in the crusader kingdom), Fulk and Melisende were “solemnly crowned and consecrated, according to custom, in the Church of the Sepulcher of the Lord, by William, patriarch of Jerusalem, of happy memory.”

One of the most interesting developments at this time during Fulk and Melisende’s reign was an alliance between Jerusalem and Damascus.  Zengi, the leader of Aleppo, had entered the territory of Damascus with a hostile army and Mu’īn ad-Din Unur, the Muslim ruler there, appealed to the crusaders for aid against this common enemy who threatened all of them.  Not only did Unur agree to pay for the campaign, but he also promised to restore the city of Banyas, which had been conquered from the Christians some years before but had come to be held by Zengi.  He also promised to ensure the treaty with noble hostages, relatives of his army commanders.

Fulk and Melisende agreed to the treaty’s terms, but not before lengthy deliberations with the barons and clerics in the High Court were held.  After the hostages had arrived, Fulk’s army marched out to join the Damascenes accompanied by Patriarch William and, although Zengi retreated, the two armies began a fierce siege of Banyas, where the prince of Antioch and the count of Tripoli and their forces joined them as well.  The city surrendered in 1140 and keeping his word, Unur handed it over to the crusaders.  Patriarch William and Fulcher, archbishop of Tyre, who was also present chose Adam, the archdeacon of Tyre, to be the city’s bishop, and then it was returned to its former Lord Renier de Brus, the constable of the kingdom.

Fulk’s death in November of 1143 dramatically altered Melisende’s political life and the future of the kingdom’s monarchy.  Her political power and authority as queen were to grow far beyond that which she had enjoyed after her second son Amalric was born.  William of Tyre recorded the circumstances of Fulk’s tragic accident.  Visiting Acre with Fulk, Melisende of Jerusalem had proposed a trip outside the city to a place that had many springs.  The king and queen had ridden together with the royal escort and a party of servants.  Along the way, the group surprised a hare, which fled from its burrow and aroused shouts and attention.  Fulk grabbed his lance, joined the other men in the hunt, and urged his horse on recklessly.  Suddenly, his horse stumbled and fell, throwing him onto the ground where his heavy saddle struck his head and crushed his skull.  The members of his escort who had joined him in the pursuit rushed to his aid but it was too late.  

Melisende and the rest of the train caught up quickly and were horrified by the sight. The queen “tore her garments and hair and by her loud shrieks and lamentations gave proof of her intense grief.  Flinging herself upon the ground she embraced the lifeless body.  Tears failed her through continual weeping; frequent sobs interrupted her voice as she tried to give expression to her grief; nor could she do justice to it, although she cared for naught save to satisfy her anguish.  The people of the household also manifested their grief by tears, words, and aspect and gave plain proof of great sorrow.”

They bore Fulk to Acre, and still unconscious, he died three days later on November 10.  He was buried in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher next to his predecessors at the foot of Mt. Calvary.  As Fulk and Melisende’s son Baldwin was only thirteen years old at this time and Amalric only ten, “the royal power passed to the Lady Melisende, a queen beloved of God, to whom it belonged by hereditary right.”

Thus, Melisende took over the government but, as William of Tyre emphasized, did not do so as regent for her eldest son.  Future events would demonstrate that she took up her new role at the death of her husband because she knew it was her responsibility to do so as the kingdom’s reigning queen.  Through her unexpected widowhood, she gained an extraordinary amount of independence.  She would make the most of it and do whatever she would have to in order to protect it.  It is no surprise, then, that she did not remarry, even though the pressure to do so must have been great.

During the feast of the Nativity, 1143, “Baldwin [III] was solemnly anointed, consecrated, and crowned, together with his mother, in the church of the Sepulcher of the Lord.  The ceremony was conducted by William, patriarch of Jerusalem, before the customary assemblage of the princes and all the prelates of the church.”

Crowned at his mother’s side, he was, however, under the legal age to rule.  Melisende was required to rule alone until Baldwin came of age and could rule with her.  Nevertheless, despite her sacred status and abilities, because she was a woman, she was immediately forced to cope with the limitations of her gender.  Alone for the first time, she had the added responsibilities of controlling and administering the crown’s offices and fiefs as well as defending the crusader states from the constant threats of invasion from Zengi, the leader of Aleppo, and the other neighboring Muslim powers.  Although she marshaled and directed the kingdom’s army as the reigning monarch, she did not lead it herself.  By 1144, she appointed and deputized her cousin Manasses of Hierges, who had recently arrived in the East, as constable of the kingdom.  Owing his new prestigious position to her, Manasses would loyally lead the kingdom’s military affairs for her.  

Melisende and the kingdom’s first challenge was at hand because the crusader lands were all facing a dangerous threat from the still undefeated Zengi, who had laid siege to the city of Edessa “during the interval between the death of King Fulk and the elevation of Baldwin to the throne.”

It is very likely that Zengi and the rest of the Muslim world viewed Melisende’s throne in the Latin Kingdom as empty or as if the kingdom was in a period of interregnum.  The timing was perfect for the prosecution of a jihad to restore the lands taken by the crusaders back to Islam, and Zengi would be the most successful Muslim warrior to present himself as a leader for such an endeavor.


Hamilton (B.), "Medieval Women", in, Women in the Crusader States: The Queens of Jerusalem. Oxford: Ecclesiastical History,ed. by. Derek Baker, Oxford, 1978.

Gaudette (H.), The Second Crusade: The War Council of Acre, 1148, March 2009.

Baldwin II of Jerusalem (1118–1131)

King Baldwin II of Jerusalem, or Baldwin II of Edessa, or Baldwin of Bourcq was the son of Hugh, count of Rethel, and his wife Melisende, daughter of Guy I of Montlhéry. He had two younger brothers, Gervase and Manasses, and two sisters Matilda and Hodierna. He left his own family behind to follow his cousins on the First Crusade in 1096.

Baldwin, Count of Edessa:

Baldwin of Boulogne became the first count of Edessa, while Baldwin of Bourcq entered the service of Prince of Antioch, acting as an ambassador between Antioch and Edessa. Baldwin of Boulogne was elected king of Jerusalem upon the death of Godfrey, and Baldwin of Bourcq was appointed count of Edessa. In 1101 Baldwin married Morphia of Melitene, the daughter of the Armenian prince Gabriel of Melitene.

In 1102 Baldwin and Tancred (his nephew) assisted King Baldwin against the Egyptians at Ascalon. 1104 the Seljuk Turks invaded Edessa and with help from Antioch, Count Baldwin met them at the Battle of Harran. The battle was a failure and Count Baldwin was captured; Tancred became regent of Edessa while he was away. Tancred and Bohemund preferred to ransom their own Seljuk prisoners for money rather than an exchange them for Baldwin, so the count remained in captivity in Mosul until 1108 when he was ransomed for 60,000 dinars by Joscelin of Courtenay. Tancred refused to restore Edessa to him, but with the support of the Kurds, Arabs, Byzantines, and even the Seljuks, Tancred was forced to back down.

Baldwin II King of Jerusalem:

After the death of Baldwin I in 1118, the crown was offered to the king's elder brother Eustace III, but Joscelin of Courtenay insisted that the crown be passed to Baldwin of Bourcq, despite Count Baldwin having exiled Joscelin from Edessa in 1113. Baldwin of Edessa accepted and was crowned king of Jerusalem as Baldwin II on Easter Sunday, 14 April 1118. Almost immediately, the kingdom was simultaneously invaded by the Seljuks from Syria and the Fatimids from Egypt. By showing himself ready and willing to defend his territory, Baldwin forced the Muslim army to back down without a battle. 1119, the crusader Principality of Antioch (crusader state) was invaded, and Baldwin hurried north with the army of Jerusalem. Roger of Salerno, prince of Antioch, would not wait for Baldwin's reinforcements, and the Antiochene army was destroyed in a battle the crusaders called Ager Sanguinis (the Field of Blood).

Although it was a crushing blow, Baldwin helped Antioch recover and drove out the Seljuks later that year. Baldwin called the Council of Nablus in 1120, where he probably established the first written laws for the kingdom, and extended rights and privileges to the growing bourgeois communities. In 1122 Joscelin, who had been appointed count of Edessa when Baldwin became king, was captured in battle. Baldwin returned to the north to take over the regency of the county, but he too was taken captive by the Ortoqids while patrolling the borders of Edessa in 1123, and was held captive with Joscelin. Eustace Grenier acted as regent in Jerusalem, and at the Battle of Yibneh defeated an Egyptian invasion hoping to take advantage of the king's absence. Baldwin and Joscelin escaped from captivity with help from the Armenians in 1124. In 1125 Baldwin assembled the knights from all the crusader territories and met the Seljuks at the Battle of Azaz. Although the Seljuk army was much larger, the crusaders were victorious, d they restored much of the influence they had lost after the Ager Sanguinis. Baldwin attempted to take Damascus in 1126 with the help of the Templars, but the attempt was pushed back by Emir Toghtekin.

Succession of Baldwin II:

Baldwin had no sons with Morphia, but four daughters: Melisende, Alice, Hodierna, and Ioveta. In 1129 Baldwin named Melisende his heir, and arranged for her to marry Fulk V of Anjou. Fulk assisted Baldwin with the attack on Damascus. His daughters Alice and Hodierna also married important princes, Bohemund II of Antioch and Raymond II of Tripoli.In 1131 Baldwin fell sick and died on 21 August, and was buried in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Melisende, by law the heir to the kingdom, succeeded her father with Fulk as her co‐ruler. The new queen and king were crowned on 14 September.


Röhricht (R.), Regesta Regni Hierosolymitani (MXCVII–MCCXCI), Innsbruck, 1893.

Mayer (H. E.), 'The Succession to Baldwin II of Jerusalem: English Impact on the East', Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 1982, PP. 531-541.

Hugh of Vermandois (1057-1101)

Hugh of Vermandois. He was the brother of Philip I, king of France (1052-1108). Hugh partook to the first crusade (1096-1099).

Those of the Langue d'Oil had gone before, and under the guidance of Hugh, Count of Vermandois, had been the first of all the Crusaders to take the field. " Hugh," writes a contemporary, " was first to cross the sea to Durazzo, where the citizens took him prisoner, and sent him to the Emperor at Constantinople." How he was released from his captivity we have already seen.

Hugh of Vermandois and the Expeditions of 1101:

Hugh the Great, who had been sent to Constantinople after the fall of Antioch, shared in the disastrous expedition of 1101 and died at Tarsus. The recreant Count Stephen of Blois, driven back to the East by his wife's reproaches, took part in the same expedition, and was slain in the great battle of Ramleh (1102). This expedition, which ended so disastrously for the two French counts, must detain us for a little.

The conquest of Jerusalem kindled a warlike enthusiasm in many hearts which had been cold to the impassioned pleading of Urban and Peter. Amongst those who now took up arms was the powerful Duke William of Aquitaine. Religious feeling had not restrained him from the endeavour to turn Count Raymond's absence on the Crusade to his own profit He is perhaps the first of all the Crusading chiefs who undertook the expedition in the frivolous spirit of the mere adventurer eager for some new thing. The details of this crusade, or series of crusades, are difficult to follow ; but first of all a large and unruly horde of Lombards reached Constantinople, and after some riotous conduct, in the course of which they broke into the palace and killed one of the Emperor's pet lions, crossed the Bosphorus. At Nicomedia they were joined by Conrad the Constable of the Emperor Henry, and the two Stephens of Blois and Burgundy.

¬It was now Whitsuntide, 1101, and the Crusaders, eager to depart, begged Alexius for a guide. He offered them Raymond of St. Gilles, who was present at Constantinople But when the time for departure arrived a feud broke out between the two divisions. Stephen of Blois was for following the old Crusading track through Iconium to Antioch. The Lombards, however, were seized with a wild desire to push across the highlands of Asia Minor to the realm of Chorazan, by which they probably understood Persia or the region of the Lower Tigris. There they hoped to rescue Bohemond from captivity or, happier still, to seize Bagdad itself. Others, among whom was Ekkehard, our chief authority for this expedition, took alarm at a reported speech of the Emperor Alexius, to the effect that he would let the Franks and the Turks devour one another like dogs ; these went by sea from one or other of the Greek ports, and, as Ekkehard says, " Through the Divine mercy, after six weeks we reached the haven of Jaffa."


Archer (T. A.),  The Crusades; the story of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, London, 1894.

Riley-Smith (J.), The First Crusade and Idea of Crusading, New York, 1993.

Murray (A. V.), The Crusades: an encyclopedia, CA : ABC-CLIO, 2006.

Stephen of Blois and his Letters to his wife Adela

    Stephen of Blois spent about two weeks (from c.14-28 May,  1097) in Constantinople. From there he sent Adela a letter, which has since been lost. However, his next letter, which does survive, said that he  was repeating some at least of what he  wrote in the first.  He then crossed the Bosporos and marched to Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey) to join the other Crusader forces already there, arriving on 3 June.

    He wrote his first surviving letter to Adela from Nicaea around 24 June 1097. In it he said that the emperor, Alexios I Comnenos, had received him like a son,  that there was  no  duke or count in the army in whom Alexios had placed more trust or who he had more favored, that the emperor had asked that Stephen send one of their sons  to Constantinople and had promised to  pay him a great honor, and that there was no man alive whose munificence could  compare  to  that  of the  emperor.  Even  Adela's  father, William the Conqueror, could not compare to him:  'In our times, as it seems to us, there was no prince so magnificent in his whole integrity of character. Your father,  my  beloved, gave many and great things, but [compared] to him he was almost nothing.'

Stephen of Blois and Chartres
Letter to his wife Adele (29 March 1098)

    Count Stephen to Adele, his sweetest and most amiable wife, to his dear children, and to all his vassals of all ranks--his greeting and blessing.

    You may be very sure, dearest, that the messenger whom I sent to give you pleasure, left me be before Antioch safe and unharmed, and through God's grace in the greatest prosperity. And already at that time, together with all the chosen army of Christ, endowed with  great  valor by Him, we had been continuously  advancing for twenty-three weeks toward the home of our Lord Jesus. You may know for certain, my beloved, that of gold, silver and many other kind of riches I now have twice as much your love had assigned to me when  I left  you.  For all our princes with  the common  consent  of the whole army,  against  my  own  wishes,  have  made  me  up  to  the  present  time  the  leader,  chief  and director of their whole expedition.

    You have certainly heard that after the capture of the city of Nicaea we fought a great battle with the Turks and by God's aid conquered them. Next we conquered for the Lord all Romania. And we learned that there was a certain Turkish prince Assam, dwelling in Cappadocia; thither we directed our course. All his castles we conquered by force and compelled him to flee to a certain very strong castle situated on a high rock. We also gave the land of that Assam to one of our chiefs and in order that he might conquer the above-mentioned Assam, we left there with him many soldiers of Christ. Thence, continually following the wicked Turks, we drove them through the midst of Armenia, as far as the great river Euphrates. Having left all their baggage and beasts of burden on the bank, they fled across the river into Arabia.

    The bolder of the Turkish soldiers, indeed, entering Syria, hastened by forced marches night and day, in order to be able to enter the royal city of Antioch before our approach. The whole army of God learning this gave due praise and thanks to the Lord. Hastening with great joy to the aforesaid chief city of Antioch, we besieged it and very often had many conflicts there with the Turks; and seven times with the citizens of Antioch and with the innumerable troops coming to its aid, whom we rushed to meet, we fought with the fiercest courage, under the leadership of Christ. And in all these seven battles, by the aid  of  the  Lord  God,  we  conquered  and  most  assuredly  killed  an  innumerable  host  of them. In those battles, indeed, and in very many attacks made upon the city, many of our
brethren and followers were killed and their souls were borne to the joys of paradise.

    We found the city of Antioch very  extensive, fortified with  incredible strength  and almost impregnable. In addition, more than 5,000 bold Turkish soldiers had entered the city, not counting the Saracens, Publicans, Arabs, Tulitans, Syrians, Armenians and other different  races  of  whom  an  infinite  multitude  had  gathered  together  there.  In  fighting against these enemies of God and of our own we have, by God's grace, endured many sufferings  and  innumerable  evils  up  to  the  present  time.  Many  also  have  already exhausted all their resources in this very holy passion. Very many of our Franks, indeed, would have met a temporal death from starvation, if the clemency of God and our money had not saved them. Before the above-mentioned city of Antioch indeed, throughout the whole winter we suffered for our Lord Christ from excessive cold and enormous torrents of rain. What some say about the impossibility of bearing the heat of the sun throughout Syria is untrue, for the winter there is very similar to our winter in the west.

    When  truly  Caspian  [Bagi  Seian],  the  emir  of  Antioch-that  is,  prince  and  lord-perceived that he was hard pressed by us, he sent his son Sensodolo [Chems Eddaulah] by  name,  to  the  prince  who  holds  Jerusalem,  and  to  the  prince  of  Calep,  Rodoam [Rodoanus], and to Docap [Deccacus Iba Toutousch], prince of Damascus. He also sent into Arabia to Bolianuth and to Carathania to Hamelnuth. These five emirs with 12,000 picked Turkish horsemen suddenly came to aid the inhabitants of Antioch. We, indeed, ignorant of all this, had sent many of our soldiers away to the cities and fortresses. For there are one hundred and sixty-five cities and fortresses throughout Syria which are in our power. But a little before they reached the city, we attacked them at three leagues' distance  with  700  soldiers,  on  a  certain  plain  near  the  "Iron  Bridge."  God,  however, fought for us, His faithful, against them. For on that (lay, fighting in the strength that God gives, we conquered them and killed an innumerable multitude--God continually fighting for us-and we also carried back to the army more than two hundred of their heads, in order that the people might rejoice on that account. The emperor of Babylon also sent Saracen messengers to our army with letters and through these he established peace and concord with us.

    I love to tell you, dearest, what happened to us during Lent. Our princes had caused a fortress to he built before a certain gate which was between our camp and the sea. For the Turks daily issuing from this gate, killed some of our men on their way to the sea. The city of Antioch is about five leagues' distance from the Sea. For this reason they sent the excellent  Bohemond  and  Raymond,  count  of  St.  Gilles,  to  the  sea  with  only  sixty horsemen, in order that they might bring mariners to aid in this work. When, however, they were returning to us with those mariners, the Turks collected an army, fell suddenly upon our two leaders and forced them to a perilous In that unexpected flight we lost more than 500 of our foot-soldiers--to the glory of God. Of our horsemen, however, we lost only two, for certain.

    On that same day truly, in order to receive our brethren with joy, and ignorant of their misfortunes,  we  went  out  to  meet  them.  When,  however,  we  approached  the  above-mentioned gate of the city, a mob of horsemen and foot-soldiers from Antioch, elated by the victory which they had won, rushed upon us in the same manner. Seeing these, our leaders sent to the camp of the Christians to order all to be ready to follow us into battle. In the meantime our men gathered together and the scattered leaders, namely, Bohemond and  Raymond,  with  the  remainder  of  their  army  came  up  and  narrated  the  great misfortune which they had suffered.

    Our men, full of fury at these most evil tidings, prepared to die for Christ and, deeply grieved for their brethren, rushed upon the sacrilegious Turks. They, enemies of God and of us, hastily fled before us and attempted to enter their city. But by God's grace the affair turned out very differently: for, when they wanted to cross a bridge built over the great river Moscholum, we followed them closely as possible, killed many before they reached the bridge, forced many into the river, all of whom were killed, and we also slew many upon the bridge and very many at the narrow entrance the gate. I am telling you the truth, my beloved, and you may be very certain that in this battle we killed thirty emirs, that is princes, and three hundred other Turkish nobles, not counting the remaining Turks and pagans. Indeed, the number of Turks and Saracens killed is reckoned at 1,230, but of ours we did not lose a single man.

    While on the following day (Easter) my chaplain Alexander was writing this letter in great haste, a party of our men lying in wait for the Turks, fought a successful battle with them and killed sixty horse-men, whose heads they brought to the army.

    These which I write to you, are only a few things, dearest, of the many which we have done, and because I am not able to tell you, dearest, what is in my mind, I charge you to do right, to carefully watch over your land, to do your duty as you ought to your children and your vassals. You will certainly see me just as soon as I possibly return to you.


(Before Antioch, March 29, 1098)


Munro, "Letters of the Crusader", Translations and Reprints from the  Original  Sources  of  European  History,  University  of  Pennsylvania History Department, 1898-1912, volume 1, number 4, 5-8.

Stephen of Blois (1045-1102)

    Stephen of Blois (1045-1102) or Stephen Henry, the eldest son  of Count Thibaut of Champagne by  his  first  wife,  was  born between  1045  and  1048.  Sometime between 1080 and 1084 he married Adela, a daughter of William the  Conqueror,  who  was  herself born between  1067 and  1069. Why Stephen did not marry until so late in life is unknown but at the time of their marriage he must already have been in his mid to late thirties while Adela was probably still in her mid teens.? On the one hand,  it is  important to  appreciate that Adela had  been born after William had become King of England in 1066 and that she  was  thus  a king's  daughter,  a porphyrogenita,  not just the daughter of someone  who  later became a  king.  The difference was important. Adela was named for her maternal grandmother, Adela  of France,  daughter  of Robert  II  the  Pious  (996-1031), thus  emphasising  her royal  descent on  both  sides.  For Stephen the marriage was extremely advantageous both for him personally and for his house of Champagne, Blois, Chartres in its internecine struggles with the Capetian royal house and the Counts of Anjou. Their children might hope to wear a crown, as indeed their second son, Stephen, eventually would. On the other hand, although Adela was  the  daughter  of a  king,  her  lineage  could  not  compare  in antiquity to that of Stephen. He could trace his back to Herbert II of Vermandois,  who  had  married  Adela,  a  daughter  of King Robert  I  of France,  and  who  was  himself  directly  descended from  Charlemagne,  even  if by  an  illegitimate  line.  Moreover, Stephen's  house  of Champagne  was  the  most  powerful  noble family  in  Northern France. William the Bastard would not have been unhappy with this marriage.

    Stephen succeeded to his father's counties of Chartres, Blois, Meaux, and Chateaudun in 1089 and as such he became one of the most important barons of the Kingdom of France. According to  Guibert  of Nogent,  he  had  extensive  lands  and  was  very powerful.

    Very little is known about his life before the Crusade, but he appears  to have been a  conventionally pious  man,  like most of the other leaders of the Crusade. Despite some dispute with bishop Ivo  of Chartres,  he  was  apparently  generous  to  the  Church; however,  this  was only normal for a man of his status.  (In  fact the reputations of various Crusader leaders for piety or lack of it in modern scholarship are quite misleading. Godfrey of Bouillon's reputation for  piety  was  a  creation of his  own legend.  Because he became the first ruler of the new Crusader state in Jerusalem, ipso facto a deep religiosity became attributed to him. But in fact the sources  which  we have for him before the Crusade show a man who was frequently in conflict with the Church, even fighting with Emperor Henry IV against Papal forces in Italy. Bohemond of Taranto, on the other hand, has acquired a reputation for lack of any religiosity, largely because he stayed in Antioch after its capture and became its first Prince rather than marching on with the other armies to Jerusalem. But the sources for his life before the  Crusade  show  a  man  who  was  unusually  generous  to  the Church, had close relations with Pope Urban II, and even attended several Church Reform Councils.)

     Stephen and his two fellow leaders marched south across the Alps  into  Italy, where  they  met the  Pope at  Lucca and had  an interview with him and received his blessing. They then went to Rome, where they prostrated themselves and prayed in the Basilica of St. Peter. Then, because it was already late in the year, Stephen and  Robert  of Normandy  wintered  with  Norman  friends  in Calabria.32  They  crossed  from  Brindisi  to  Durazzo  in  Albania at  Easter 1097,  and  then  followed  the  ancient  Via  Egnatia  to Constantinople.


Pryor (J. H.):

"Stephen of Blois: Sensitive New-Age Crusader or Victim of History?", Arts: journal of the Sydney University Arts Association, (20) 1998, PP. 26-74.

Logistics of Warfare in the Age of the Crusades, Ashgate, 2006.

Murray (A. V.), The Crusades: an encyclopedia, CA : ABC-CLIO, 2006.

Asbridge (T.), The First Crusade: A New History,  Oxford University Press, 2004.

The leaders of the First Crusade (The First Crusaders)

    Thus the leaders of the First Crusade were not kings but rather major princes and territorial lords of the high nobility, related in various degrees to the royal  houses  of  Europe.  Some  of  them  controlled  very extensive lordships, like the count of Toulouse, whose possessions were greater than those of the French king. Some of them already had experience fighting  Muslims,  such  as  Raymond  of  Toulouse  in  Spain  and Bohemond in southern Italy. Whether they had fought Muslims or not, all were practiced in the arts of war. It appears that no military commander-in-chief  was  officially  designated.  Indeed,  this  would  hardly have been possible, considering the heterogeneous affiliations of several armies, bound together in highly diverse ways by feudal hierarchies and including also some completely independent nobles. The most that can be said is that the count of Toulouse enjoyed a higher degree of authority, based on his particularly close relations with Urban II. A sign of this prestige is that Raymond appears to have been informed about plans for the crusade at a private meeting with the pope before the Council of Clermont. The selection of the campaign’s spiritual leader is also a sign of  Raymond’s  importance.  The  choice  fell  on  Adhémar  of  Monteil, bishop of Le Puy, which lay within the count of Toulouse’s domains. However,  Raymond  was  culturally  and  linguistically  different  from many  other  crusade  leaders,  who  appear  in  the  sources  as  franci  (in contrast  to  Raymond’s  western  and  southern  French  provinciales). Raymond’s  Provençal  roots  may  have  had  the  long-term  effect  of isolating him from the other princes.

    In the months before their departure, the crusaders took legal and financial  steps  to  place  the  expedition  on  a  secure  footing.  Questions  of inheritance  had  to  be  resolved,  possessions  sold,  goods  mortgaged. Many private documents still survive that shed light on these transactions  and  the  important  role  that  ecclesiastical  institutions  played  in them.  A  great  many  monasteries  and  churches  made  the  money “flow”—sometimes  in  the  most  literal  sense  of  the  word  by  melting down valuable reliquaries—to purchase goods and finance travel. In this preparation or planning phase of the crusade, a multitude of problems arose  at  the  individual  as  well  as  the  collective  level,  especially  with logistics. Later crusaders would have to confront the same issues.


Riley-Smith (J.), The First Crusaders, 1095-1131, Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Asbridge (T.), The First Crusade: A New History,  Oxford University Press, 2004.

Jaspert (N.), "The crusades in the Near East", in The Crusades, ed. by Nikolas Jaspert, New York, 2006.

Robert of Flanders (1065-1111)

    Robert of Flanders or Robert count Flanders (1093–1111) and one of the leaders of the First Crusade (1096–1099).

    Robert was born in the third quarter of the eleventh century, the eldest son of Robert I the Frisian, count of Flanders, and Gertrude of Holland. In 1087 he was entrusted with the government of Flanders when his father undertook a pilgrimage  to  the  Holy  Land.  Around  that  time  he  married Clementia, daughter of Count William I of Burgundy, and in 1093 he succeeded his father as count of Flanders.


James (M. L.), The age of the crusades, New York, 1914.

Archer (T. A.) and Others, The Crusades; The story of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, New York, 1902.

Sources of the First Crusade

    We have excellent sources of First Crusade or the successful expedition of 1096–1099. There are a number  of  crusade  chronicles,  some  composed  by  actual  participants  in  the expedition.  Among  these  eyewitnesses  was  an  anonymous  writer,  probably  a Norman cleric from southern Italy. His "Gesta Francorum" (Deeds of the Franks), in (1100/1101), strongly partial to the Norman prince Bohemond (1050/1058–1111), was widely employed as a source by other authors. Among the “crusader chroniclers” was also a chaplain named Raymond of Aguilers, who sometime between 1099 and 1105 composed a "Historia francorum qui ceperunt Hierusalem" (History of the Franks who conquered Jerusalem) completely from the perspective of Provence. The already-familiar Fulcher of Chartres should also be mentioned in this context.

    These  one-sided  eyewitness  reports  can  be  supplemented  with  the  works  of authors who did not actually take part in the expedition, but rather compiled their own impressions from written and oral sources. We have already encountered two of these, Robert of Rheims and Baldric of Dol. Other important sources of this sort are Guibert of Nogent (d. 1124) source "Dei gesta per francos", completed in (1109), and the work of the educated Norman knight Radulfus (Raoul) of Caen, who was in the service of the Norman prince Tancred and honored his lord in the "Gesta Tancredi" of 1112. Scholars for a long time unjustly discounted the six-book crusade chronicle of Albert, probably a cleric from Aachen. Albert of Aachen’s anecdote-filled  account  is  the  only  one  composed  without  reliance  on  the anonymous Gesta Francorum and gives a perspective significantly different from that of the French chroniclers. He writes favorably of Godfrey of Bouillon, within whose duchy Aachen lay, and Albert’s informants for the most part were members of Godfrey’s force. Besides these various texts we have about twenty letters written by participants in the crusade. These are outstanding sources that report first-hand on the crusaders’ troubles, wishes, and state of mind. And finally, the crusaders produced many documents before their departure. By using all these complementary and sometimes contradictory sources it is possible to create a picture of the crusade waves of 1096 to 1101.


Krey (C.), The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, Princeton, 1921.

Peters (E.), The First Crusade "The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres" and Other Source Materials, University of Pennsylvania Press
, 1998.

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.

Tancred of Hauteville (1075-1112)

Tancred of Hauteville or Tancred of Antioch prince of Galilee (1099–1101) and regent of the principality of Antioch (1101-1103 and 1104–1112).

Tancred was born around 1076, a scion of the Normandynasty of Hauteville in southern Italy. His parents were Odo “the Good Marquis” and Emma, a daughter of Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia and Calabria.

Tancred de Hauteville by his splendid character amply compensated the defects of Bohemond, his kinsman. In history and romance he is celebrated as the type of the perfect soldier:

"Than whom
is no nobler knight,
More mild in manner, fair in manly bloom,
Or more sublimely daring in the fight"

Dissatisfied with even the ideals of Chivalry, Tancred hailed the new lustre that might be given to arms when wielded only in the cause of justice, mercy, and faith, which, perhaps too sanguinely, he foresaw in the crusade. Thus nobly seconded by Tancred, Bohemond took the field with one hundred thousand horse
and twenty thousand foot.

In 1096 Tancred joined his maternal uncle, Bohemund of Taranto, in taking part in the First Crusade (1096–1099) and very soon distinguished himself as one of its chieftains, especially in the fighting at Nicaea (mod. Ωznik, Turkey) and Dorylaion (near mod. Eskiflehir, Turkey), to the point that his uncle gave him the command of a company of knights. He then penetrated into Cilicia, where he clashed with Baldwin of Boulogne, brother of Godfrey of Bouillon, over the possession  of  Tarsos  (mod.  Tarsus,  Turkey).  Tancred rejoined  the  main  armies  at  Antioch  (mod.  Antakya, Turkey), where he played a significant role in the siege and the conquest of the city. After the establishment of Bohemund’s principality at Antioch (1098), Tancred continued toward Jerusalem, joining first Raymond of Saint-Gilles and then Godfrey of Bouillon. Tancred became one of the most important chiefs of Godfrey’s army; in June 1099 he conquered Bethlehem on Godfrey’s behalf and, having joined him  at  the  siege  of  Jerusalem,  he  commanded  raids  to obtain materials for building siege machines and ladders. During  the  conquest  of  the  Holy  City  (15  July  1099), he seized the mosques of the Temple Mount and claimed the lordship of the area.


William of Tyre, A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea, trans. Krey (A. C.) and other, Columbia University Press, 1943.

Fulcher of Chartres, A History of the Expedition to Jerusalem, 1095-1127, University of Tennessee Press, 1969.

Bohemond I of Antioch (1054-1111)

    Bohemond I of Antioch or Bohemond of Taranto marshalled another host. He was son of the famous Robert Guiscard, founder of the Norman kingdom of Naples. Anna Comnena thus describes him: "He was taller than the tallest by a cubit. There was an agree-ability in his appearance, but the agree-ability was destroyed by terror. There was something not human in that stature and look of his. His smile seemed to me alive with threat". The fair annalist recognized Bohemond's inheritance of his great father's prestige and ability, and at the same time of his disposition “to regard as foes all whose dominions and riches he coveted ; and was not restrained by fear of God, by man's opinions, or by his own oaths”.

    Robert Guiscard had died while preparing for an attempt to capture Constantinople. With filial pride, his son Bohemond had also "sworn eternal enmity to the Greek emperors. He smiled at the idea of traversing their empire at the head of an army, and, full of confidence in his fortunes, he hoped to make for himself a kingdom before arriving at Jerusalem". Whea the march of the other crusaders was reported to him, with an ostentation of piety which his subsequent career scarcely justified, Bohemond tore his own elegant mantle into tiny crosses and distributed them to his soldiers, who were at the time engaged in the less glorious attempt of reducing the Christian town of Amalfi.

Quarrel between Raymond and Bohemond:

    In November 1098, the chiefs began to assemble at Antioch. Bohemond was absent at first, and Count Raymond took occasion to protest against the bestowal of the citadel on the Norman chief to his own detriment. The other chiefs feared to offend either of these great lords, and so would make no decision. It seemed that the quarrel would prevent any further advance, when Raymond, with characteristic selfrestraint, offered to waive the question for a time. If Bohemond would join in the march south, the count would leave the dispute to the judgment of their peers, always saving the fealty due to the Emperor. Bohemond agreed, and the two rivals were formally reconciled, although both thought well to fortify such parts of the city as they held. When peace had thus been patched up, the army set out on its march. On Saturday, November 28th, Raymond made an unsuccessful attack on Marra, which, on Bohemond 's arrival next day, was renewed, but again to no purpose. Raymond, who often figures as the engineer among the Crusading chiefs, then built a great wooden castle.  The huge machine overtopped the city walls, and defied all attempts to burn or crush it The defenders of the city were driven from their posts by showers of stones, the Crusaders clambered up the walls, and the Saracens fled in panic. The Crusaders slew without discrimination, " so that there was no corner without a Saracen corpse, and one could scarcely ride through the streets without trampling on the dead bodies" (Dec. 11, 1098).

    The capture of Marra led to a fresh quarrel between Raymond and Bohemond. The Norman mocked at the latest revelations of the Count's Provencal follower, Peter Bartholomew ; he also refused to surrender his portion of the city unless Raymond would relinquish his share of Antioch. Raymond taunted his rival with greed and slackness in the fight ; he wished to bestow Marra as a military fief on the Bishop of Albara. A further cause of discord was soon added. Bohemond urged that the advance to Jerusalem should be postponed till Easter; Christmas was close at hand, Godfrey and many knights were still absent at Edessa. The army, however, was in favour of advance, and with one accord appealed to Raymond to be their leader, if all the other chiefs should fail. After some hesitation Raymond agreed, and named a day for the renewal of the march. Bohemond thereon returned in wrath to Antioch. In the face of these troubles Godfrey was summoned from Edessa, and a conference of the chiefs held. Only a few supported Raymond, although these few included the two Roberts and Tancred. But news of the dispute reached those who were lying sick at Marra, and their indignation


Archer (T. A.), The Crusades: The story of the latin kingdom of Jerusalem, New York, 1902, pp. 79,80.

Murray (A. V.), The Crusades: An Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, Inc, 2006, PP. 175-76.

The Holy Lance

    In this hour of abject despair the besieged were reinspirited by an occasion which is as much the marvel of the psychologist as of the historian. In the prostration of bodily nature through hunger and disease, imagination often tyrannizes the faculties. Man becomes the prey of unrealities; his dreams create a new world, generally of terror, but often of hope. Then it is that the demons and angels of theory materialize into seeming facts. Thus the emaciated men in the beleaguered camp were ready to believe the story of a priest, who related that Christ had appeared to him, denouncing destruction upon His faithless followers, but that at the intercession of the Virgin Mary the Lord was appeased, and promised immediate victory if the soldiers of His cross would once more valiantly endeavor to merit it.

    At the same time two deserters returned to the camp, relating how the Saviour had met them and turned them back from flight. But the crowning miracle was revealed to the priest, Peter Barthelemi. St. Andrew appeared to him and said, “Go to the church of my brother St. Peter in Antioch. Near the principal altar you will find, by digging into the earth, the iron head of the lance which pierced the side of our Redeemer. Within three days this instrument of salvation shall be manifested to His disciples. This mystical iron, borne at the head of the army, shall effect the deliverance of the Christians and shall pierce the hearts of the Infidels.” For two days the people fasted ; on the morning of the third day twelve trusty knights and ecclesiastics dug at the appointed spot, while the multitude remained in silence and prayer about the church. All day long they waited. At midnight there was no response to their expectation. As the twelve ceased their labors, and were bowed in renewed petition around the excavation, Peter Barthelemi suddenly leaped into the hole. In a moment he reappeared bearing a lance-head in his hands. The news spread through the city as if shouted by angels. The effect upon the desponding minds of the soldiers was like the revival of life in the dead bodies of Ezekiel's valley of vision. Some, it is true, shook their heads, or, like Foulcher of Chartres, declared that the lance had been concealed by Barthelemi in the designated place. Whether really credulous, or shrewd enough to try any new expedient, the leaders were loudest in heralding the discovery as miraculous.

    Peter the Hermit was sent to announce to the Moslems the decree of Heaven for their immediate overthrow. Kerbogha, however, proved a match for the zealot in vituperative bravado and religious devotion. He haughtily declared but one condition of his raising the siege, namely, the acknowledgment by the Christians that “Allah is great, and Mohammed is His prophet.” “Bid thy companions,” said he to Peter, “take advantage of my clemency; to-morrow they shall leave Antioch only under the sword. They will then see if their crucified God, who could not save Himself from the cross, can save them from the fate I have prepared for them.” With that he drove Peter and his band of deputies back to their walls.

    The Christians ate that night what they deliberately called their last supper in Antioch. With the remnant of bread and wine they celebrated mass. At dawn the city gates were thrown open, and in twelve divisions the host marched out, following the standard of the Holy Lance. The clergy went first, as in the days of Jehoshaphat, singing their faith in coming victory. The words of the psalm, “Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered”, seemed to be answered by invisible hosts on the mountains, who took up the crusaders war-cry of “Deus vult” Excited imaginations saw the mountains filled with the chariots of the Lord, as in the days of Elisha. But to the eye of flesh the Christian host presented a sorry spectacle. Many limped with wounds or trudged slowly from weakness ; most were in rags, many were stark naked. The prancing charger had been changed for a camel or ass, and many a knight was reduced to the condition of a foot-soldier, and shouldered his spear.

    Kerbogha haughtily refused to leave a game of chess he was playing, to listen to what he supposed would be an entreaty for mercy from the entire Christian army, that was coming to throw itself at his feet; but he was soon undeceived. With sudden dash, Count Hugh attacked and cut to pieces two thousand of the enemy who guarded the bridge before the city. The main body of Christians formed against the mountains and, thus shielded from a rear attack, advanced steadily upon the foe. The surprise of Kerbogha did not prevent that experienced soldier from seeing the advantage gained by his assailants. Under flag of truce he proposed to decide the issue by battle between an equal number of braves selected from either side. The enthusiasm of the Christian host forbade' such a limitation of the honor of attaining what seemed to all a certain victory. Heaven gave manifest token of favor in a strong wind, that sped the missiles of the crusaders, while it retarded those of their foes. In vain did Kerbogha storm them in front, while Kilidge-Arslan, having climbed the mountain, attacked their rear. The Turks had fired the bushes to bewilder the Christians, but through a dense smoke there appeared a squadron descending the mountains, led by three horsemen in white and lustrous armor.

    These were recognized as St. George, St. Demetrius, and St. Theodore, the same materialized spirits that had been seen upon the plains of Nicaea. With a superhuman fury and strength, the Christians broke upon the Moslems as a tornado upon a forest, making through the opposing ranks a path of utter destruction. When this breath of heaven had passed one hundred thousand Infidels lay dead upon the field. Fifteen thousand camels, a proportionate number of horses, immense stores of provisions, and priceless treasures enriched the victors. The tent of Kerbogha, capable of covering over two thousand persons, glowing like a vast gem with jewels and tapestries, was taken and sent to Italy, where the sight of it inflamed the greed of new bands of crusaders.

    Those who are disinclined to believe in the heavenly portents that aided the Christians may content themselves with the explanation which the Moslem writers give of their defeat. They relate that the Arabs had quarrelled with the Turks, and retired from the field before the battle; that the latter pursued their coreligionists more bitterly than they fought the common enemy. The credulity of the Christians also abated when they discovered that the camps of Kerbogha were more adorned than fortified. Then, too, they recalled the skill and courage of their own assault, and listened to the thousand stories of the Christians' exploit from the lips of the performers. Pride, if not reason, triumphed over superstition, and the Holy Lance fell into disparagement. A letter from the leaders to Pope Urban, written from Antioch just after this battle acknowledged that the divine weapon “estored our strength and courage”; but the writers are more particular to tell how had learned the tactics of the foe”and, “y the grace and mercy of God, succeeded in making them unite at one point.” ater the Christian host was divided into two parties, who contended violently for and against the credibility of the miracle. Normans and the crusaders from the north of France were rationalistically inclined, while the men from the south adhered to the story as told by their geographical representative, Peter Barthelemi, the priest from Marseilles, who had discovered the sacred symbol. The veracity of Peter was finally subjected to trial by Ordeal. A vast pile of olive-branches was erected A passage several feet in width was left through the middle of the heap. When the wood had been fired, Peter appeared, bearing the Holy Lance. As he faced the flames a herald cried, " If this man has seen Jesus Christ face to face, and if the Apostle Andrew did reveal to him the divine lance, may he pass safe and sound through the flames; but if, on the contrary, he be guilty of falsehood, may he be burned." The assembled host bowed and answered, " Amen." Peter ran with his best speed down the fiery aisle. The furious heat impeded him. He seemed to have fallen, and disappeared amid the crackling branches and smoke. At length, however, he emerged at the other end of the flaming avenue amid the cries of his partisans, " A miracle ! a miracle ! " Yet the test was indecisive, for, while Peter succeeded in running the gantlet, he was terribly burned, and was carried in mortal agony to the tent of Raymond, where a few days later he expired. It is to be noted that from that time the Holy Lance wrought no more miracles, even in the credulity of its most reverent adorers.


Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, Vol. 1, Cambridge University Press, 1987.

James Ludlow, The Age of the Crusades, New York, 1902.

Baldwin of Bouillon, (King Baldwin I (1100-1118))

Baldwin of Bouillon was a participant in the First Crusade (1096–1099) and subsequently  count  of  Edessa  (1097–1100)  and  first  king  of Jerusalem (1100–1118). Baldwin was the third son of Eustace II, count of Boulogne, and Ida of Bouillon, born sometime between 1061 and 1070. He was originally educated for a clerical career and held benefices in the dioceses of Liège, Reims, and Cambrai, but by 1090 he had become a knight and married Godehilde, daughter of the Norman nobleman Ralph of Tosny. When his elder brother Godfrey of Bouillon decided to take part in the First Crusade, Baldwin and his wife accompanied him.

Baldwin played an important role as one of the leaders of Godfrey’s contingent, but when the main crusading armies reached Cilicia in late 1097, he left them, with a military force recruited primarily from his brothers’ followers, evidently intending to conquer lands for himself. He contested the possession of the coastal town of Tarsos with Tancred, but in  early  1098  he  moved  further  east  to  conquer  the  area around  Turbessel  (mod.  Tellbaflar  Kalesi,  Turkey)  and Edessa (mod. fianliurfa, Turkey) in northern Syria, whose Armenian population had risen in revolt against the Turks.

He initially shared the government of the city of Edessa with the Armenian nobleman T‘oros, but soon supplanted him, and by 1100 had extended Frankish rule for over 100 kilometers  (c.  60  mi.)  on  either  bank  of  the  Euphrates.  The county of Edessa-the first Frankish state to be established by  the  First  Crusade-constituted  an  important  buffer against the Turks of the Salj‰q Empire, and was in a position to provide logistical help for the main crusade armies during their campaigns in the environs of Antioch during 1098. As Godehilde had died at Marash in 1097, Baldwin married the daughter of the Armenian prince Taphnuz.

The succession to the kingdom was not allowed to pass undisputed on Godfrey's death. Dagobert of Pisa, who had supplanted Arnulf in the patriarchate, and whose ecclesiastical pretensions were of the loftiest nature, dreamt that in Bohemond he might find a second Guiscard to defend a second Gregory. But the Crusaders at Jerusalem refused to recognise any lord except one of Godfrey's race. They held the Tower of David against the patriarch, and summoned Baldwin of Edessa to come and take possession of his rights. Baldwin accepted the offer, and leaving Edessa to his cousin and namesake, Baldwin du Bourg, started for Antioch on the 26th of September ; thence, despite the opposition of Dukak of Damascus, with whom he had to fight a severe battle in the tortuous passes of Lebanon above Beyrout, he made his way to Jerusalem. The magnificence of his reception in his new capital was only marred by the hostility of Dagobert ; there was, however, no further opposition to his recognition as king. ­But king though Baldwin was in name, he had yet to conquer his kingdom. From the first he had to contend with two great obstacles, lack of money and lack of men. The internal history of his reign is to a large extent the story of how he overcame these difficulties.

­On leaving Edessa Baldwin had only been accompanied by two hundred knights and seven hundred foot, whilst three months later at Jerusalem he could only muster another hundred knights. The Mohammedans themselves do not seem to have ever collected large armies, though they greatly outnumbered the Christians. Thus at Jaffa in noi they were eleven thousand horse and twenty-one thousand foot to two hundred and forty knights and nine hundred foot, and at Ramleh twenty thousand against two hundred. " To all," says Fulcher, " it appears to be a palpable and truly wondrous miracle that we could live among so many millions, making them our subjects and tributaries." Had Baldwin been dependent solely on the French and German soldiers who stayed with him in Palestine, he could not long have held his own. But aggressive operations on a large scale were almost uniformly carried out with the aid of Crusading fleets from Italy, England, or Norway. Thus two hundred ships under Harding the Englishman, 1 Bernhard of Galatia, and Hadewerck the Westphalian, saved Baldwin from the consequences of his rash daring at Jaffa in 1 102.

An English and North German fleet helped him at the siege of Sidon in 1 107, and the fall of that city three years later was due to the asaistance of Sigurd the Norwegian. More important still were the services rendered by the Italians. The Genoese helped in the capture of Caesarea (1101), Tortosa (1102), Acre (1104), Tripoli (1109), and other places. The Pisans fought for Bohemond at Laodicea, and for Raymond's successors at Tripoli. The Venetians, who under their doge had met the dying Godfrey at Jaffa, were present at the siege of Sidon, and were the moving force at the conquest of Tyre in the next reign. All these allies reaped large rewards ; Baldwin granted the Genoese streets in Jerusalem and Jaffa, together with their part of Caesarea, Arstif, and other towns ; the same king promised his Italian confederates one street in the towns they helped to conquer, and a third share of the booty; in 11 24 the Venetians bargained for still higher privileges, and were promised a street, oven, and bath in every city whether belonging to king or noble. ­In his early years Baldwin must have relied very largely on the members of his own and Godfrey's household. The need of supplying these and other mercenaries with money forced the king, on many occasions, to injustice and robbery. The easiest way of procuring funds was by taking tribute of the unconquered towns. Thus Godfrey had received tribute from Ascalon, Caesarea, ancl Arstif ; Baldwin himself raised the siege of Sidon for money in 1 107.

Through his want of money Baldwin was frequently driven to have recourse to promiscuous plunder. In 1108 he made a night attack on the great Egyptian caravan beyond the Jordan, and carried off thirty-two camels laden with sugar, honey, and oil to Jerusalem. On another occasion William, bastard son of Robert of Normandy, brought a like benefit to the royal treasury. Worse still, after promising protection to the men of Tyre as they were carrying their treasures to Damascus for safety, the king adopted the base maxim that "truth need not be kept with unbelievers," and robbed them on the way. In 1113 Baldwin sought to improve his shattered finances in another manner, by marrying Adela, widow of Count Roger of Sicily. Albert of Aix draws a glowing picture of the state in which she reached Acre Her vessels were laden with gold and gems, while her own ship had its mast covered with pure gold. She brought a thousand skilled warriors to aid
in the royal wars, and not content with helping her husband, she gave a thousand marks and five hundred besants to Roger of Antioch. But after three years, finding herself unable to live with the king, she returned home.

­Baldwin's reign was one of continued activity; every year saw him engaged in fresh enterprises, and exploring fresh fields for conquest. His chief dangers lay on the south west and north east of his kingdom. In the former region he had to keep up a perpetual struggle with Ascalon, whence the Egyptian garrison sallied out by land or sea on every opportunity. Even before his coronation Baldwin had been compelled to lead an expedition against the town. In 1101 he had renewed the warfare with the cities of the coast. Chiefly through the valour of the Genoese seamen Cassarea was captured with but short delay. Thence a reported invasion called Baldwin south; it was not, however, for four months that the Egyptians took the field near Jaffa with eleven thousand horse and twenty one thousand foot. To meet this host the king could only muster two hundred and forty knights and nine hundred foot soldiers ; but, says Fulcher, " having God on our side, we did not fear
to attack them." Three times the Christians were driven back, but when the king led out his fifth battalion in person, the Egyptians lost heart and fled before him.


Alan V. Murray, The Crusades: An Encyclopedia, Publisher, ABC-CLIO, 2006.

Archer (T. A.), The crusades: The story of the latin kingdom of Jerusalem, New York, 1902.

Godfrey of Bouillon (1060-1100)

Godfrey of Bouillon, one of the leaders of the First Crusade (1096–1099), and subsequently the first Frankish ruler of Jerusalem (1099–1100) after its capture from the Fatimids.

Godfrey was born in the third quarter of the eleventh century, the second son of Eustace II, count of Boulogne, and decades following his accession, Godfrey was engaged in a relentless struggle to defend his inheritance, and although he was finally made duke of Lower Lotharingia by Henry IV in 1087, he was never able to exercise effective ducal authority.

Godfrey’s decision to take part in the First Crusade was the occasion for the dissolution of his inheritance, since the disposal of his landed territories offered the most effective means of raising funds for the forthcoming expedition, as well as presenting an opportunity to resolve outstanding disputes with his enemies. By the summer of 1096, he had sold his rights in the county of Verdun to the bishop of Verdun and mortgaged the territory of Bouillon to the bishop of Liège, while smaller domains were sold off or donated to the church. Godfrey was accepted as leader by a large number of crusaders from Lower and Upper Lotharingia and northeastern France, including his younger brother, Baldwin, and many other kinsmen and allies. This army left Lotharingia in the middle of August 1096, marching up the Rhine and along the Danube, then through Hungary and the Balkans, arriving at Constantinople in December 1096. There, like most of the other crusade leaders, Godfrey took an oath to the Emperor Alexios I Comnenos, promising to restore to him any former Byzantine territories recaptured by the crusade, and receiving in return a cash subsidy from the imperial treasury (spring 1097).

On 22 July Godfrey was chosen as ruler of Jerusalem by the leading members of the crusade in preference to Raymond of Saint-Gilles, count of Toulouse. To forestall objections by Raymond and others that it was sacrilegious for a king to be crowned in the city where Christ had worn a Crown of Thorns, Godfrey declined to adopt a royal title, taking that of prince (Lat. princeps) and defender of the Holy Sepulchre. The territory under his control consisted of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, and environs, and the coast between Jaffa and Lydda.

Godfrey was the most prominent figure. The chivalric spirit of the middle ages enrolled him among the nine greatest heroes of mankind — Joshua, David, Judas Maccabaeus, Hector, Alexander, Caesar, Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey. He was of noblest lineage. His father was brother-in-law to Edward the Confessor of England, and through his mother, the beautiful and saintly Ida of Lorraine, he inherited the blood of Charlemagne. He was short of stature, but of such prodigious strength that he is reputed to have divided an opponent from helmet to saddle with one blow of his sword.
He was equally endowed with courage and sagacity. In his war against the rival emperor, Rudolph, Henry IV. committed the imperial standard to Godfrey, who, though but a youth of eighteen, honored this charge by penetrating to the presence of Rudolph in the thick of the battle, plunging the spear of the standard through his heart, and bearing it aloft with the blood of victory.

Yet such a deed in that age did not lessen his repute for gentleness and piety. Two ancestral spirits alternated their control of him, if we are to credit the praise given him by an old chronicle of the time : " For zeal in war, behold his father; for serving God, behold his mother." When Rome was besieged by his imperial patron, Godfrey signalized his prowess by being the first to mount the walls. This exploit, however, troubled his tender conscience as a devout Catholic, and when the crusade was proclaimed he sold his lands and devoted himself to the holy war, in attempted expiation of what he had come to regard as his former impious deeds. At the head of ten thousand horse and seventy thousand foot, he set out for the Holy Land. He was accompanied by his two brothers, Baldwin and Eustace.