Baldwin III of Jerusalem

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Baldwin III
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King of Jerusalem
Reign25 December 1143 – 10 February 1163
Coronation 25 December 1143
Predecessor Melisende
Successor Amalric I
Born1130
Died10 February 1163(1163-02-10) (aged 33)
Beirut, Lebanon
Burial
Spouse Theodora Komnene
House House of Anjou
Father Fulk of Jerusalem
Mother Melisende of Jerusalem

Baldwin III (1130 – 10 February 1163 [1] ) was King of Jerusalem from 1143 to 1163. He was the eldest son of Melisende and Fulk of Jerusalem. He became king while still a child, and was at first overshadowed by his mother Melisende, whom he eventually defeated in a civil war. During his reign Jerusalem became more closely allied with the Byzantine Empire, and the Second Crusade tried and failed to conquer Damascus. Baldwin captured the important Egyptian fortress of Ascalon, but also had to deal with the increasing power of Nur ad-Din in Syria. He died childless and was succeeded by his brother Amalric.

King of Jerusalem

The King of Jerusalem was the supreme ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Crusader state founded by Christian princes in 1099 when the First Crusade took the city.

Civil war war between organized groups within the same sovereign state or republic

A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region or to change government policies. The term is a calque of the Latin bellum civile which was used to refer to the various civil wars of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC.

Byzantine Empire Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".

Contents

Succession

Baldwin III was born in 1130, during the reign of his maternal grandfather Baldwin II, one of the original crusaders. This made him the third generation to rule Jerusalem. Baldwin's mother Princess Melisende was heiress to her father, Baldwin II King of Jerusalem. Baldwin III's father was Fulk of Anjou, the former Count of Anjou. King Baldwin II died at the age of 60 when his grandson was a year old, which led to a power struggle between Melisende and Fulk. Melisende asserted her right to rule as successor to her father, and Melisende and Fulk reconciled and conceived a second child, Baldwin III's brother Amalric. Baldwin III was 13 years old when his father Fulk died in a hunting accident in 1143, and Baldwin III was crowned as co-ruler alongside his mother, echoing Melisende's own crowning alongside her father as his heir. Yet Baldwin showed little interest in the intricacies of governance.[ citation needed ]

First Crusade Crusade from 1095 to 1099 that captured Jerusalem and established the Crusader States

The First Crusade (1095–1099) was the first of a number of crusades that attempted to recapture the Holy Land, called for by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095. Urban called for a military expedition to aid the Byzantine Empire, which had recently lost most of Anatolia to the Seljuq Turks. The resulting military expedition of primarily Frankish nobles, known as the Princes' Crusade, not only re-captured Anatolia but went on to conquer the Holy Land, which had fallen to Islamic expansion as early as the 7th century, and culminated in July 1099 in the re-conquest of Jerusalem and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Baldwin II of Jerusalem king of Jerusalem

Baldwin II, also known as Baldwin of Bourcq or Bourg, was Count of Edessa from 1100 to 1118, and King of Jerusalem from 1118 until his death. He accompanied his cousins, Godfrey of Bouillon, and Baldwin of Boulogne, to the Holy Land during the First Crusade. He succeeded Baldwin of Boulogne as the second count of Edessa when his cousin left the county for Jerusalem. He was captured at the Battle of Harran in 1104. He was held first by Sökmen of Mardin, then by Jikirmish of Mosul, and finally by Jawali Saqawa. During his captivity, Tancred, the Crusader ruler of the Principality of Antioch, and Tancred's cousin, Richard of Salerno, governed Edessa as Baldwin's regents.

With a woman and a child ruling Jerusalem, the political situation was somewhat tense; the northern crusader states of Tripoli, Antioch, and Edessa increasingly asserted their independence, and there was no king to impose the suzerainty of Jerusalem as Baldwin II or Fulk had done. In the Muslim world, Zengi ruled northern Syria from the cities of Mosul and Aleppo, and desired to add Damascus in the south to his control. In 1144, Zengi captured Edessa, which shocked the Western world and led to the Second Crusade.

County of Tripoli

The County of Tripoli (1109–1289) was the last of the Crusader states. It was founded in the Levant in the modern-day region of Tripoli, northern Lebanon and parts of western Syria which supported an indigenous population of Christians, Druze and Muslims. When the Christian Crusaders – mostly Frankish forces – captured the region in 1109, Bertrand of Toulouse became the first Count of Tripoli as a vassal of King Baldwin I of Jerusalem. From that time, the rule of the county was decided not strictly by inheritance but by factors such as military force, favour and negotiation. In 1289 the County of Tripoli fell to Sultan Qalawun of the Muslim Mamluks of Cairo. The county was absorbed into Mamluk Egypt.

Principality of Antioch former country

The Principality of Antioch was one of the crusader states created during the First Crusade which included parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria. The principality was much smaller than the County of Edessa or the Kingdom of Jerusalem. It extended around the northeastern edge of the Mediterranean, bordering the County of Tripoli to the south, Edessa to the east, and the Byzantine Empire or the Kingdom of Armenia to the northwest, depending on the date.

County of Edessa

The County of Edessa was one of the Crusader states in the 12th century. Its seat was the city of Edessa.

This crusade did not reach Jerusalem until 1148, and in the meantime Zengi was assassinated in 1146. He was succeeded by his son Nur ad-Din, who was just as eager to bring Damascus under his control. To counter this, Jerusalem and Damascus had made an alliance for their mutual protection. However, in 1147 Nur ad-Din and Mu'in ad-Din Unur, the governor of Damascus, made an alliance against Jerusalem, as the kingdom had already broken the treaty by allying with one of Unur's rebellious vassals. Baldwin marched out from Jerusalem and attempted to capture the Muslim fortress Bosra, but Nur ad-Din arrived with his army and forced the Crusaders to withdraw. As the Crusaders marched back toward their own territory they were attacked by Nur ad-Din's cavalry, but Baldwin III's generalship combined with the martial prowess of his knights managed to throw off the Muslim assault. Later, Jerusalem's truce with Damascus was restored.

Assassination murder of a prominent person, often a political leader or ruler

Assassination is the act of killing a prominent person for either political, religious or monetary reasons.

Mu'in ad-Din Unur al-Atabeki was the Turkish ruler of Damascus in the mid-12th century.

Cracked billon coinage issued during the reign of Baldwin III (1143-1163). The coin depicts the Tower of David on the reverse. Cracked coin of Baldwin III (1143-1163).jpg
Cracked billon coinage issued during the reign of Baldwin III (1143-1163). The coin depicts the Tower of David on the reverse.

Second Crusade

In 1148 the crusade finally arrived in Jerusalem, led by Louis VII of France, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Conrad III of Germany. Baldwin held a council at Acre in 1148 to decide on a target; control of Aleppo in the north would allow the crusaders to restore Edessa to Christian control, but capturing Damascus in the south would limit the power of the Zengids and add to Jerusalem's power and influence. Damascus was also considered more important in the history of Christianity than Aleppo and Edessa. Baldwin agreed to the plan to attack Damascus, but the ensuing siege ended in defeat after only four days. The city fell under Nur ad-Din's control in 1154, and the loss of a Muslim counterweight to Nur ad-Din was a diplomatic disaster.

Louis VII of France King of France

Louis VII, called the Younger or the Young, was King of the Franks from 1137 to 1180, the sixth from the House of Capet. He was the son and successor of King Louis VI, hence his nickname, and married Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe. The marriage temporarily extended the Capetian lands to the Pyrenees, but was annulled in 1152 after no male heir was produced.

Eleanor of Aquitaine 12th-century Duchess of Aquitaine and queen-consort of France and England

Eleanor of Aquitaine was queen consort of France (1137–1152) and England (1154–1189) and duchess of Aquitaine in her own right (1137–1204). As a member of the Ramnulfids rulers in southwestern France, she was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages. She was patron of literary figures such as Wace, Benoît de Sainte-Maure, and Bernart de Ventadorn. She led armies several times in her life and was a leader of the Second Crusade.

Conrad III of Germany King of Germany

Conrad III was the first King of Germany of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. He was the son of Duke Frederick I of Swabia and Agnes, a daughter of the Salian Emperor Henry IV.

By 1149 the crusaders had returned to Europe, leaving behind a weakened Jerusalem. Nur ad-Din took advantage of the crusader defeat to invade Antioch, and Prince Raymond was killed in the subsequent Battle of Inab. Baldwin III hurried north to take up the regency of the principality. Raymond's wife, Constance, was Baldwin's cousin through his mother and heiress of Antioch by right of her father. Baldwin unsuccessfully tried to marry her to an ally. Also in the north, Baldwin was unable to help defend Turbessel, the last remnant of the County of Edessa, and was forced to cede it to Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus in August 1150. He evacuated Turbessel's Latin Christian residents despite being attacked by Nur ad-Din in the Battle of Aintab. In 1152 Baldwin and his mother were called to intervene in a dispute between Baldwin's aunt Hodierna of Tripoli and her husband Count Raymond II. When the matter was settled, Hodierna was about to return to Jerusalem with them, when Raymond was suddenly murdered by the Hashshashin. Baldwin remained behind to settle the affairs of Tripoli, while Hodierna took up the regency for her young son Raymond III.

Battle of Inab

The Battle of Inab, also called Battle of Ard al-Hâtim or Fons Muratus, was fought on 29 June 1149, during the Second Crusade. The Zengid army of Atabeg Nur ad-Din Zangi destroyed the combined army of Prince Raymond of Antioch and the Hashshashin of Ali ibn-Wafa. The Principality of Antioch was subsequently pillaged and reduced in size as its eastern border was pushed west.

Constance of Antioch Princess of Antioch

Constance of Hauteville (1128–1163) was the ruling Princess of Antioch from 1130 to 1163. She was the only child of Bohemond II of Antioch by his wife, Alice of Jerusalem. Constance succeeded her father at the age of two, after he fell in battle, although his cousin, Roger II of Sicily, laid claim to Antioch. Her mother assumed the regency, but the Antiochene noblemen replaced her with her father, Baldwin II of Jerusalem. After he died in 1131, Alice again tried to take control of the government, but the Antiochene barons acknowledged the right of her brother-in-law, Fulk of Anjou, to rule as regent for Constance.

Turbessel is a fortress and bronze-age tumulus in south-eastern Turkey, near the village of Gündoğan in the district of Oğuzeli, within Gaziantep Province.

Civil war

By 1152 Baldwin had been of age to rule by himself for seven years, and he began to assert himself in political affairs. Though he had not previously expressed an interest in the administration of the country, he now demanded more authority. He and his mother had become increasingly estranged since 1150, and Baldwin blamed the constable Manasses for interfering with his legal succession. In early 1152 Baldwin demanded a second coronation from Patriarch Fulcher, separate from his mother. The patriarch refused and as a kind of self-coronation Baldwin paraded through the city streets with laurel wreaths on his head.

Baldwin and Melisende agreed to put the matter before the Haute Cour , or royal council. The Haute Cour returned a decision that would divide the kingdom into two administrative districts. Baldwin would retain Galilee in the north, including the cities of Acre and Tyre, while Melisende held the richer Judea and Samaria, including Nablus and Jerusalem itself. Supporting Melisende in the south were Manasses, and Baldwin's younger brother Amalric, who held the County of Jaffa within Melisende's jurisdiction. Neither Baldwin nor Melisende were pleased with the decision, as Baldwin wanted to rule the entire kingdom and realized it would divide the country's resources, but in order to prevent a civil war Melisende agreed to the compromise.

Within weeks of the division Baldwin launched an invasion of the south. Manasses was defeated at the castle of Mirabel and exiled, and Nablus fell quickly as well. To prevent further violence, Jerusalem opened its gates to Baldwin. Melisende and Amalric sought refuge in the Tower of David. Throughout the siege the church negotiated with Baldwin. The peace that was settled allowed for Melisende to hold Nablus for life, with a solemn oath by Baldwin not to disturb her peace. Baldwin named his supporter Humphrey II of Toron as the new constable.

By 1154 mother and son were reconciled, as Baldwin was astute enough to realize his mother's expertise in statecraft. He was getting power on his nobles to make kingdom more strong. [2] Though she was "retired", she maintained great influence in court and government affairs, acting as regent for Baldwin while he was on campaign.

Recovery

During the civil war, Nur ad-Din had been busy consolidating his control of Damascus following the death of Mu'in ad-Din. With Syria united under one ruler, Jerusalem could only expand its influence to the south, towards Egypt. Egypt was weakened by civil wars as well, after the succession of a series of young Fatimid caliphs. Around 1150 Baldwin refortified Gaza to place some pressure on the nearby Egyptian outpost of Ascalon, and in 1153 Baldwin successfully besieged and captured Ascalon itself [3] . This secured the border with Egypt, although it would later lead to aggressive campaigns against Jerusalem's southern border. Ascalon was added to Amalric's fief of Jaffa, creating the double County of Jaffa and Ascalon. In 1152 Baldwin also defeated an Ortoqid invasion of the kingdom from northern Syria.

In 1156 Baldwin was forced to sign a treaty with Nur ad-Din. However, in the winter of 11571158 Baldwin led an expedition into Syria, where he besieged Shaizar. The expedition was forced to withdraw when a dispute arose between Thierry, Count of Flanders and Raynald of Châtillon, the new husband of Constance of Antioch, both of whom wanted Shaizar for themselves. Baldwin was, however, able to capture Harim, a former territory of Antioch, and in 1158 he defeated Nur ad-Din himself.

Byzantine alliance

Baldwin's modest recovery garnered him enough prestige to seek a wife from the Byzantine Empire. In 1157 he sent Humphrey of Toron to negotiate with Emperor Manuel, and it was decided that Baldwin should marry Theodora, Manuel's niece. The alliance was more favourable to Byzantium than Jerusalem, as Baldwin was forced to recognize Byzantine suzerainty over Antioch, and if Theodora were to be widowed she would be provided the city of Acre. Though Theodora personified the Byzantine-Jerusalem alliance, she was not to exercise any authority outside of Acre. The marriage took place in September 1158, when Baldwin was 28 years old and Theodora only 13.

Relations between Jerusalem and Byzantium improved and in 1159 Baldwin met with Manuel in Antioch. The two became friends, with Manuel adopting western clothes and customs and participating in a tournament against Baldwin. Manuel personally attended to Baldwin when the king was thrown from his horse during the tournament. Later in 1159 Baldwin became regent of Antioch once more, after Raynald of Châtillon had been captured in battle. This offended Manuel, who considered Antioch imperial territory, and the emperor strengthened his ties to the principality in 1160 by marrying Princess Maria, Baldwin's cousin. Baldwin himself suggested Manuel marry another cousin, Melisende of Tripoli, preferring not to see such a close relationship between Byzantium and Antioch.

Death

Queen Melisende died in 1161, and Baldwin died in Beirut on 10 February 1163. It was rumoured that he had been poisoned in Antioch by pills given to him by his Syrian Orthodox doctor. "As soon as the king had taken the pills," says William of Tyre, "he was seized with a fever and dysentery which developed into consumption from which he was never able to obtain relief or help." On the way home Baldwin remained in Tripoli for a few months, and then continued to Beirut where he finally succumbed to his illness. As William says, "For eight successive days, while the funeral procession moved from Beirut to Jerusalem, lamentation was unrestrained and grief was renewed almost hourly." Theodora, now queen-dowager, retired to Acre. She was still only 16 years old; their marriage was childless. Baldwin was succeeded by his brother, Amalric I.

Personal characteristics

William of Tyre knew Baldwin personally and gives a lengthy description of the king:

Baldwin was well educated, well spoken, and exceptionally intelligent. Unlike his father he had an excellent memory. He spent much of his spare time reading history and was knowledgeable in the jus consuetudinarium of the kingdom, later collected by lawyers like John of Ibelin and Philip of Novara as "the assizes of Jerusalem". He respected church property and did not burden them with taxes. He was friendly to people of all classes, and "voluntarily offered an opportunity of conversing with him to anyone who wished it or whom he casually met. If an audience was requested, he did not refuse it." As a young man he enjoyed dice and other games, and carried on affairs with married women, but as an adult he "became changed for the better", as William says, and remained faithful to Theodora. He was popular and respected by all of his subjects, and even had the respect of his enemy Nur ad-Din, who said of Baldwin's death, "the Franks have lost such a prince that the world has not now his like."

Ancestors

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References

  1. Malcolm Barber, The Crusader States (Yale University Press, 2013), p. 217.
  2. "...In 549/1154 Nur al-Dln ZengI, whose father's conquest of Edessa had set off the crusade, seized Damascus as a result of it. He then organized a state devoted to the prosecution of the war against the Kingdom of Jerusalem.2 At the same time Baldwin III asserted his power over his nobles, making the kingdom more dangerous to its rivals". Cambridge University Press, 1999, page 213.
  3. "...With his new freedom of action Baldwin conquered Ascalon in 548/1153" Cambridge University Press, 1999, page 213

Sources

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Fulk and Melisende
King of Jerusalem
1143–1163
(with Melisende , 1143–1153)
Succeeded by
Amalric I