Jerusalem Cut Gold Piece
The Crusaders marched their way from Antioch in January of 1099, down the coast heading towards Jerusalem. The towns were abandoned and the gates left open for the Crusaders to enter. A deal was struck with the Emir of Tripoli, allowing the Crusaders to pass through his territory without incident. He even provided an escort.
Reaching the Fatimid Territories, at the Dog River, they met no opposition and as they marched deeper into unsupported territories, they became fearful of running short of supplies as they approached Beirut. But the locals were fearful of Crusader destruction, and offered food and free passage to them to hasten them on their way.
It was the same at Tyre, where the local garrison stayed inside while the Crusaders passed without. They passed through Haifa, under Mount Carmel, to Caesarea. At this point, the discovered a message from the Governor of Acre, calling for the Moslems of Palestine to rise against the Crusaders.
The march continued to Arsuf, turning inland. The town of Pamleh, an Arab town, fled before the crusaders. They passed through Emmaus, without incident, till, on June 7, 1099, they camped before the Gates of Jerusalem.
The City was in the hands of the Fatimid Governor, Iftikhar ad Daulah. The City defenses were good. At news of the Crusaders approach, he poisoned the water outside the City. He ordered all Christians out of the City.
The Crusader forces were not nearly great enough in numbers to monitor the walls of the City. They took up positions where they could be near to the walls, concentrating their forces there, and began the siege. But Iftikhar had ample supplies of food and water.
On June 17th, supplies arrived in the harbor at Jaffa for the Crusaders. They scrounged wood for siege machines from the forest near Samaria, the closest available. The heat was brutal. In July, it was learned an army was on its way to Jerusalem. A vision came to some dedicated Crusaders, in which the late, well respected, Bishop of Le Puy (Adhemar) gave instructions to fast and walk in procession around the walls barefoot for nine days at which time Jerusalem would fall. The procession was led by the Holy Relic of the Lance.
This and the siege machines they completed seemed to bolster the courage of the Crusaders. On July 13-14, the main attack began. Godfrey of Bouillon gained the north wall, and with his brother, Eustace, commanded the troops from there. The Arabs within, seeing their defenses broken, fled to the Temple Dome of the Rock. They surrendered to Tancred. Iftikhar realized by midday that the City was lost. He took refuge in the Tower of David. Iftikhar surrendered to Raymond there, and Raymond allowed him safe passage from the City. They were the only Moslems allowed to leave and live. No Jews were spared either. The Crusaders, in their fury, slaughtered all. Moslems in the Dome, or Jews in their Synagogue, all were killed without regard.
When no one but the Crusaders were left alive, they proceeded to the Holy Sepulcher to give thanks.
It was July 17th, and they gathered to choose a leader. Before news could reach him, Pope Urban II died on July 29th in Rome.
The choice of leader in Jerusalem came down to two, Godfrey and Raymond. Raymond refused, and Godfrey accepted, taking the title of Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri. Godfrey ruled for a year, dying July 1100. His brother, Baldwin, in Edessa, took the position and the title of King. What followed was a line of successions of Kings. Baldwin was married, to the Armenian Princess Arda, but had no children. He died in 1118. His nephew. Baldwin (Le Bourg), was married to Morfia, also an Armenian Princess, and became Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem.
Baldwin II (LeBourg) had three daughters1, leaving no male heir to the throne of Jerusalem. It is interesting to note that, at this time, in the absence of male heirs, lands and titles were passed on by the eldest daughter, or in the absence of any children, the wife. When the heiress married or the widow remarried, these lands and titles were passed on to the husbands line. Women were also made regents of minors, in the instances where the husband dies before his heir is old enough to reign.
Baldwins eldest daughter, Melisende, was unmarried. It was decided that Count Fulk of Anjou, a distant kinsman, to Baldwin II, would make a good choice for her husband. Fulk was nearly forty years old, and a widower, and was familiar with warfare. His son, Geoffrey Plantagenet, had recently married Matilda, heiress to the Norman throne of England. There were lengthy negotiations and, after it was clearly stated that he would inherit the crown of Jerusalem, he married Melisende.
Fulk became King in 1131, on Baldwin's death. He constantly had to keep his kingdom safe from Saracens and the other daughters of Baldwin, who were always trying to improve their positions. He died in 1142, in a hunting accident. He had two sons by Melisende, Baldwin III and Amaury.
Baldwin III was the first king born in the Holy Land and was thirteen years old when he was crowned on Christmas Day in 1142. Baldwin III was a king who understood the people and area where he grew up and also commanded authority and ruled justly. We know much of his reign, as it was one of the best recorded. He died in 1163, leaving no heirs. The throne was passed to his brother Amaury. Though he was a good king, he had difficulty dealing with the people, something his brother never had.
Amaury was convinced that Egypt had to come into the possession of the Crusader Kingdom. Amaury's foe in the endeavor was Nur-ed-Din. Amaury never succeeded. He died in 1174, the same year as Nur-ed-Din. This left his thirteen year old son, Baldwin IV, to rule the kingdom. Not only was the boy to face Nur-ed-Din's successor, Saladin, but he would have to overcome his physical defect as well. He was afflicted with leprosy.
The boy was brave, well educated and withstood the rigors of ruling a hard held country and being seriously ill. He had regents carry out his work when he could not, and when he died in 1185, leaving no heir, his sister Sibylias's son, Baldwin V, became king. But the boy was only five or six years old and sickly. He died the following year. There was a skirmish for control within the court, and Amaury's daughter, Sibylla, and her husband, Guy of Lusignan, took control, with Guy being made king.
The year was 1187, Saladin had enough of broken treaties, renegade Crusader Princes' (see Reginald of Chatillon) attacking Arab caravans and the harassment of his people. Saladin's army started a march on Jerusalem. His army met up with King Guy at the Horns of Hattin on July 4th, 1187. Guy was poorly advised. He was greatly outnumbered but he attacked, and after a long, bloody battle, was taken prisoner. Balian of Ibelin was also captured at this time, but begged permission to return to Jerusalem to look after his ailing wife, the former wife of Amaury. Saladin wasn't heartless, and allowed Balian to go.
Balian arrived in Jerusalem to find chaos. He placed himself in charge, as he was the highest ranking officer. He then proceeded to fortify the city in preparation for a possible siege. Saladin arrived at the Mount of Olives on September 26th. Balian held the city till September 30th, when he and Saladin finally agreed to come to terms and Balian surrendered the city to Saladin. The Crusaders left the city of Jerusalem, their capitol, to the armies of Saladin, thirty days later.
It wasn't until
Richard the Lion-Hearted and the Third Crusade (1189-1192 C.E.) that
a treaty was reached with Saladin and permission was granted for
pilgrimages to Jerusalem. However, this did not allow them to set up
a seat of government there. It was Frederick II, King of Sicily and
Apulia, and the Sixth Crusade (1228-1229 C.E.) who made a treaty with
the Sultan al-Kamil, for the city of Jerusalem. The Sultan was having
trouble with his Arab neighbors and saw the Crusaders as a possible
deterrent to any of his neighbors who may have thought of invading
his territories. By this treaty, Jerusalem was to be restored to the
Crusaders and Frederick II was to be King of Jerusalem, with the
truce to last for about ten years. In reality, it lasted about five
years, until the death of the Sultan al-Kamil, which sparked a civil
war among the Arabs. On July 4th, 1244, the Khwarismiams, mercenary
horsemen from Hauran, led by Sultan as-Salih, broke into Jerusalem,
slaughtering the people and plundering the city. Except for a six
month period in 1300, it would be almost 675 years before a Christian
Army would enter the city again, under General Sir Edmund Allenby, in 1917.
1An interesting historical correction from Maud McInerney, Dept. of English at Haverford College:
"Baudoin II of Jerusalem actually had
4, not 3 daughters.
Melisende, the heiress, Alice (who married Bohemond
II of Antioch and caused a great deal of trouble),
Hodierna who married Raymond II of Tripoli, and Iovetta, who became a nun and
eventually abbess. Some historians think that the reason Iovetta
went into the church rather than marrying some great vassal of her father's
has to do with the fact that she was traded to the Turks as part of
Baudoin's ransom after his capture in 1123 (his second captivity). Even though she was about 5
years old, she was considered unmarriageable, as were
most women who entered Muslim captivity (having been captured was in
some cases grounds for divorce)."