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When, a week after the fall of Jerusalem, the crusaders met to choose a king for the new kingdom, one after another of the greater princes refused the proffer of a barren and laborious honor. Godfrey of Bouillon, upon whom the choice at last fell, had been foremost in the capture of the Holy City; but otherwise there was little in his early career in the West or as a leader of the Crusade to mark him out. His selection was indeed rather in the nature of a compromise, as that of one who was equally acceptable to French and Germans. Nevertheless, in the piety with which he refused the royal title and desired to be styled only Baron of the Holy Sepulchre, and in the high purpose which he showed in his brief reign, there was much to justify the glamour which has gathered about his name. From the next generation onwards he was linked with Arthur and Charlemagne as one of the three Christian heroes who made up the number of the nine noblest. Romance has converted History to find in Godfrey the typical hero of the Crusade.

Had Godfrey presumed to style himself King of Jerusalem his title would have been no more than an empty show, for as yet the crusaders held little but the Holy City and the places which they had captured on their way thither. Still, his victory over the Egyptian invaders at Ascalon in the first months of his reign secured for the moment the southern frontier of the intended kingdom. This was followed by at least the show of submission from Acre and other cities of the coast, and immediately before his death, on 18 July 1100, Godfrey had secured the Christians in the possession of Jaffa, a necessary port for the Italian traders, upon whom the fighting Franks in Syria were always in great measure to depend. Thus early do we find the religious enthusiasm of the crusader interwoven with commercial enterprise. Godfrey’s endeavors had, however, been hampered by the ambitions of other crusading nobles, and in particular of Raymond of Saint Gilles. Commercial rivalry and princely jealousies were to be the bane of the Frankish settlers in Palestine, and already they began to cast their shadow on the infant kingdom.

Later historians and lawyers found in Godfrey the creator alike of the material kingdom and of its theoretical institutions. But the actual conquest of the land was the work of his first three successors, and it was only by a slow process that the institutions of the kingdom grew to something like the theoretical perfection with which the jurists of the next age invested them. At its widest extent the kingdom of Jerusalem properly so called reached from Al-Arish on the south to the Nahr-Ibrahim just beyond Beirut on the north. For the most part its eastern boundary was formed by the valley of Jordan; but in the extreme north the small district of Banias lay beyond the river Litani, and on the south an extensive territory on the east of the Dead Sea reached for a brief time to Elim on the Gulf of Aqabah. The whole region of Frankish rule was, however, much greater. Immediately to the north the county of Tripoli formed a narrow strip along the coast as far as the Wadi Mahik, near the modem Bulunyas. Beyond it the principality of Antioch reached to the confines of Cilicia, and at one time even included the city of Tarsus; on the east at its greatest extension its territory came within a few miles of Aleppo; it was the earliest and on the whole the most permanent conquest of the Franks, who held the city of Antioch for 170 years. Finally, in the extreme north-east was the county of Edessa, the capital of which was the modern Urfah; the eastern limits of the county were never well defined, and here a small body of Frankish lords held rule for less than half a century over a mixed population of Armenians and Syrians.

Edessa had been conquered by Godfrey’s brother Baldwin in 1097. When Baldwin was called to the throne of Jerusalem, he gave his county to his kinsman and namesake Baldwin du Bourg. Baldwin II in his turn succeeded to the kingdom in 1118, and gave Edessa to Joscelin of Courtenay, after whom his son Joscelin II maintained a precarious rule till 1144. But if the hold of the Franks on Edessa was precarious it was none the less important, for the county formed a strong outpost against the Muslims of Mesopotamia, and its loss meant a serious weakening of the defensive strength of the Frankish dominion.

Antioch was secured as a principality by Bohemond at the time of its capture in 1097. In July 1100 Bohemond was taken prisoner by the Turks near Marash. After over two years’ captivity he was released early in 1103, only to suffer a disastrous defeat at Harran in the following year. He then crossed the sea to seek aid in the West, and never returned to his principality. Bohemond’s nephew Tancred governed Antioch during his uncle’s captivity, and again for eight years from 1104 to 1112. He was one of the foremost of the early crusaders, and the virtual creator of his principality by constant warfare against the Greeks on the north and the Muslims on the south. Tancred's successor was his nephew Roger Fitz-Richard, a less vigorous ruler, who was slain in battle with Il-Ghazi near Atharib in 1119. The government of Antioch was then assumed by Baldwin II of Jerusalem during the minority of the son of Bohemond. When Bohemond II came from Italy in 1126, he married Baldwin’s second daughter Alice, but reigned only four years; after his death Antioch was again in the king’s hands till a husband was found in 1136 for Bohemond’s daughter Constance in the person of Raymond of Poitou.

Tripolis had been marked out as a county for Raymond of Saint Gilles; but when he died in 1103 only a beginning of conquest had been made. The city of Tripoli was not captured till 1109, when the county was secured to Raymond's son Bertram. Three years later Bertram was succeeded by his son Pons, whose reign lasted five and twenty years.

Some brief account of the three great fiefs has seemed needful before we could discuss the relation of their rulers to their nominal overlord at Jerusalem. In theory the Prince of Antioch, the Counts of Edessa and Tripolis, all owed fealty to the king at Jerusalem as their suzerain. The king on his part had to give them his aid and protection in case of need. Thus Baldwin I went to the aid of Baldwin of Edessa against the Turks in 1110, and Baldwin II was called in by Roger of Antioch when hard pressed by Il-Ghazi in 1119. Also it was the king who had to intervene in the disputes of his feudatories, as for instance between Bertram of Tripoli and Tancred in 1109, and again between Tancred and the Count of Edessa next year. The reality of the royal authority was shown even more clearly when Baldwin II intervened in the affairs of Antioch after the death of Roger, and Fulk after the death of Bohemond II. But though Baldwin and Fulk both assumed for a time the government of the principality as part of their kingly duty, neither desired to find an opportunity for an extension of their personal power, and they were glad when the choice of a new prince relieved them of an onerous charge. Geographical conditions did not favor the concentration of power under a central authority. The long and narrow territory of the Franks was affected by a diversity of interests between the component parts, and this was shown not only in the disputes of the great feudatories between themselves but also in their attitude to their suzerain. If it served their own advantage the Frankish princes were ready to seek Musulman aid against their Christian rivals, and even against the king himself. However incontestable the king's rights might be in theory, in practice his authority was under normal conditions limited. The Prince of Antioch and the Counts of Edessa and Tripoli were virtually sovereigns in their own states.

In the kingdom of Jerusalem properly so called there were four greater baronies, the county of Jaffa and Ascalon (which in later times was an appanage of the royal house), the lordship of Karak and Montreal, the principality of Galilee, and the lordship of Sidon. In addition there were a dozen lesser lords, some of whom, like the lords of Toron, were important enough to play a great part in the history of the kingdom. The royal domain, besides Jerusalem and its immediate neighborhood, included the two great seaports of Tyre and Acre.


The Assises of Jerusalem


The kingdom of Jerusalem, established in a conquered land at the time when the feudalism of Western Europe was at its greatest strength, put into practice in their purest form the theoretical principles of the age. Though the monarchy, elective in its origin, soon became hereditary, the barons never entirely lost their right to a share in the choice of a new king. The king, though by virtue of his office chief in war and in peace, remained always under the restrictions which a fully organized feudal nobility had imposed on him from the start. As Balian of Sidon told Richard Filangieri, who was bailiff of the kingdom for Frederick II: “This land was not conquered by any lord but by an army of crusaders and pilgrims, who chose one to be lord of the kingdom, and afterwards by agreement made wise statutes and assises to be held and used in the kingdom for the safeguard of the lord and other men”. In the Assises of Jerusalem we have indeed the most perfect picture of the ideal feudal state, and they are themselves the most complete monument of feudal law. They do not, however, so much describe the kingdom of Jerusalem as it ever actually existed, as the theoretical ideal of the jurisconsults of Cyprus by whom they were first drawn up in the thirteenth century. John of Ibelin, one of the first of these lawyers, relates that Godfrey, in the early days of the kingdom, by the advice of the patriarchs, princes, and barons, appointed prudent men to make enquiry of the crusaders as to the usages which prevailed in the various countries of the West. Upon their report Godfrey adopted what seemed convenient to form the assises and usages whereby he and his men and his people, and all others going, coming, and dwelling in his kingdom, were to be governed and guarded. The Code thus drawn up was then deposited under seal in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, whence it received the name of Lettres du Sepulcre. The consultation of the Letters was hedged about by elaborate precautions, and the Code (if it ever existed) could not have been really operative. In any case it perished at the capture of Jerusalem in 1187. and the tradition of its existence may well have been invented to give authority to the later Assises. It is certain, however, that during the twelfth century there had grown up a body of usages and customs, the collection and writing down of which in the next age formed the basis of the existing Assises.

There is evidence in the Assises themselves that they were, in part at all events, an adaptation of Western usages to the needs of a conquered land where an ever-present enemy made war almost the normal state. All who owed military service must come when summoned, ready with horse and arms to serve for a full year in any part of the kingdom. Such a provision differed essentially from the feudal customs of the West, but must have been necessary in the East from the earliest times. From the Assises we learn that the king, whose legal title was Rex Latinorum in Hierusalem, had under him great officers, Seneschal, Marshal, Cham­berlain, Chancellor, and others. For the administration of justice there was the High Court at Jerusalem, which was originally intended to have jurisdiction over the great lords, but gradually became in effect the king's Council of State dealing with all political affairs; its powers were extended over the lesser lords of the kingdom proper by Amaury I. The seignorial courts in other places were governed by the customs of the High Court at Jerusalem. In Jerusalem and all towns where the Frankish settlers were sufficiently numerous there were Courts of the Burgesses, presided over by the viscounts, who were sometimes hereditary officers and, like the sheriffs of Norman England, combined financial and judicial functions. The Assise of the Burgesses appears to date from the reign of Amaury I. Other courts were those of the Fonde for commercial matters, of the Chaine for maritime affairs in the ports, and the courts of the Reis for the native Syrians. The whole organization was perhaps more elabo­rate and complete than anything of the kind that then existed in the West.

The Assises of Jerusalem do not survive in the actual shape given to them by John of Ibelin and his contemporary Philip of Novara in the middle of the thirteenth century; for, since they served for the kingdom of Cyprus, they were from time to time revised during the next three hundred years. Yet in the Assises de la Haute Cour we can trace the most ancient and pure expression of French feudalism, and in the Assises de la Cour des Bourgeois we have a faithful picture of life in the Latin kingdom. The principality of Antioch and county of Tripoli had each their own Assises. The short-lived county of Edessa had also, no doubt, its own body of customary law, though it is not unnatural that no trace of it has survived.


Baldwin I (1100-1118)


The kingdom of Jerusalem was fortunate in its early rulers, who were all men with the qualities needed in a youthful state which had to fight for its very existence. Baldwin I was named by his brother Godfrey as his successor and was confirmed as king by the choice of the barons, in spite of some opposition from Daimbert the Patriarch, who asserted the superior claims of the ecclesiastical authority. Baldwin had little of the religious character with which tradition has invested his brother, though William of Tyre described him as looking in his chlamys more like a bishop than a layman. He was a typical knight-errant, eager for adventure, valiant but rash. Nevertheless, though hampered always by lack of money and men, and not always successful in war, he did much to consolidate his kingdom. On the coast, aided by the Genoese and Venetians, he reduced the important ports of Arsuf, Caesarea, Acre, Sidon, and Beirut; on the east he carried his arms beyond Jordan, where in 1116 he built the strong fortress of Montreal. Beyond the limits of the kingdom proper he helped Bertram to win Tripoli in 1109, and gave his aid to Baldwin of Edessa and Tancred of Antioch in their warfare with the Muslim.

Baldwin II (1118-1131) was his predecessor’s nephew, and came to the throne after nearly twenty years’ experience of Eastern warfare. His first years were occupied with the defense of Antioch and Edessa, and in 1123 he had the misfortune to be taken prisoner by the Turks. When after a year’s captivity at Kharput he purchased his release, he renewed his warfare and in 1125 inflicted a severe defeat on the Emir of Mosul. But the greatest conquest of his reign was the capture of Tyre in 1124, which was accomplished by Eustace Grener, then guardian of the kingdom, with the aid of a Venetian fleet. Baldwin II had married one daughter to the youthful Bohemond of Antioch; for his elder daughter Melisend he found, with the consent of the lords of his kingdom, a husband in Fulk V of Anjou. Fulk had been Count of Anjou since 1109; thus he was a tried ruler; he was also no stranger to the Holy Land, where he had spent a year as a pilgrim in 1120. An Angevin of the Angevins, in character not unlike his grandson Henry II of England, he was well fitted for his new task. Fulk came to Palestine in 1129 and, two years afterwards, on the death of his father-in-law, succeeded to the throne. A reign of thirteen years (1131-1144) was troubled by calls for the king's intervention in the affairs of Tripoli, Antioch, and Edessa, by constant warfare with the Turks, by threatened encroachments of the Greek Emperor, and even by the turbulence of the barons of his own kingdom. Nevertheless it was on the whole a time of progress, and the year of his death may be said to mark the greatest extension of Frankish power in Syria.

Had the first crusaders and their immediate successors been dependent solely on their own efforts, it would be strange that they should have accomplished as much as they did. But we have seen how under Baldwin I and Baldwin II the work of conquest had been aided by Genoese and Venetian fleets. The establishment of the Franks in Palestine had opened a new field to the commercial enterprise of the Italian merchants, whose support was not less helpful to the prosperity of the new realm than the conflicting interests which they introduced were to prove baneful at a later time. Nor was it only the trader who was attracted Eastwards. The spirit of adventure or the zeal for religion brought a steady stream of reinforcements. “God”, wrote Fulcher of Chartres, “has poured the West into the East; we have forgotten our native soil and become Easterners”. Those who stayed settled down to become a source of strength; others who had come but as soldier-pilgrims were sometimes a source of embarrassment, eager to provoke the conflict which was the reason of their coming, reluctant to accept the advice and authority of the lords of the land. Nevertheless it was due to the zeal of these religious adventurers that the great Military Orders, which were to become the mainstay of the Christians in the East, were established.


The Military Orders


There had been a Hospital of St John at Jerusalem for the aid of sick and poor pilgrims since the early years of the eleventh century. Gerard, who was its Master at the time of the First Crusade, was called the devoted servant of the poor; but it was not until after his death that the Order became a military body. The idea of a body of knights sworn to the service of the Cross was first conceived by Hugh de Payen, who in the reign of Baldwin I joined with eight other knights in the task of protecting pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem. They were already under the triple vows of chastity, obedience, and poverty, like regular canons, but it was only when Baldwin II in the first year of his reign gave them a dwelling near the Temple of Solomon that they came to be known as the Knights of the Temple. A little later under Raymond du Puy a similar organization was adopted for the Hospital of St John. The two Orders thus established grew rapidly in wealth and power, and acquired great possessions in Palestine and the West. Already in the reign of Fulk they had begun to be an important element in the military strength of the kingdom, and a generation later the Hospitallers furnished Amaury I with five hundred knights for his Egyptian campaign, and William of Tyre says that in his time the Templars numbered three hundred knights. Wealth and power brought abuses in their train. Even in the twelfth century the pretensions of the two Orders began to be troublesome, and the Templars in particular won an evil name for avarice and arrogance. At a later date the rivalry of the two great Orders became a serious danger. But in their prime they were an efficient military organization, whilst the wealth, which enabled them to maintain a steady flow of reinforcements from the West, gave them always an advantage over the native lords of the land. The minor Orders, like the Teutonic Knights, the Knights of St Thomas of Acre, and the Knights of the Holy Ghost, did not grow up till much later.

The success of the early crusaders was, however, due more to the division of their enemies than to their own valor. It was during the confusion and civil war that followed on the death of the great Seljuq Sultan Malik Shah in 1092, that the First Crusade was launched. No moment could have been more auspicious, and a generation was to pass before the Muslim power was again to be gathered in a single hand. Nevertheless the Frankish conquest was far from complete. Even within the limits of the actual kingdom and its subordinate principalities it was little more than the armed occupation of a land where the old inhabitants still formed the bulk of the population, at all events in the rural districts. Nor was the occupation, such as it was, ever carried far enough to make the conquest secure; Damascus, EmesA, Hamah, and Aleppo were still under the rule of Muslim princes, and there was but a small part of the Christian territory that was beyond the reach of a sudden raid. So long, however, as these cities remained under separate rulers, the Franks also might carry their own raids far and wide, and the balance of success rested with them. The man who was to find a remedy by restoring unity amongst the Musulmans was Imad-ad-Din Zangi, who became Atabeg of Mosul in 1127.

Zangi’s first aim was to establish his rule in Muslim Syria, and within three years he made himself master of Hamah and Aleppo. He was more intent upon the consolidation of Musulman power than on active conquest from the Franks, and though in 1135-6 he made a successful campaign against Antioch, the conquest of Edessa, which he achieved near the close of his career, does not appear to have been an essential aim of his policy. Joscelin of Edessa had been a restless fighter, whose name was a terror in all Musulman lands. So long as he lived, Edessa was a strong outpost of the Christians in the most dangerous quarter. His death in 1131 coincided with the rise of Zangi. His son Joscelin II, though a valiant soldier when he chose, preferred a life of ease to the hardship of frontier warfare. So he left Edessa to the care of unwarlike Armenians and ill-paid mercenaries, and withdrew to the luxurious comfort of his Syrian lordship at Tell-Bashir. For a time Zangi was busy with the attempted conquest of Damascus, which Muin-ad-Din Anar, its ruler, defeated by making common cause with the Franks. When, however, Zangi turned his attention northwards, Edessa fell an easy prey (25 December 1144). To the Muslims it was “the conquest of conquests”, and the first step to the destruction of the Franks. Zangi did not long survive his victory; for within two years he was murdered by some of his own Mamluks. The work which he had begun was continued by his son Nur-ad-Din, who in 1150 captured Tell-Bashir and in 1154 by the conquest of Damascus brought all the Musulman cities of Syria under a single ruler.


The Second Crusade


In Western Europe the fall of Edessa was recognized as a disaster which threatened the very existence of the Frankish conquest. St Bernard of Clairvaux came forward as the apostle of the Second Crusade, and at his bidding Conrad of Germany and Louis VI of France both took the Cross. Conrad and Louis started independently on their long journey by land in the spring of 1147. Both met with utter disaster in Asia Minor, and it was by sea that the remnant of their hosts reached Syria a year later. Louis went first to Antioch, where Raymond would fain have diverted him to a war against Nur-ad-Din in the north, which was indeed the most dangerous quarter. Conrad had already reached Acre, and when the whole host was at length assembled it was resolved to make the capture of Damascus the object of the war. A siege was begun with good prospect of success. But between the Syrian Franks and their Western allies there were bitter jealousies of which the Saracen emir was quick to take advantage. By specious argument and perhaps by bribes he worked on the Easterners so effectually that the enterprise was abandoned. Conrad presently went home in disgust, and though Louis stayed a little longer he could effect nothing.

To Western Europe the fiasco of the Second Crusade was a keen humiliation. St Bernard found in it “an abyss so deep that I must call him blessed who is not scandalized thereby”. To the Syrian Franks the Crusade had brought no advantage; it had done little to check the growth of Muslim power, but had rather tended to throw Damascus into the arms of Nur-ad-Din. Amongst the Christians themselves it had sown the seed of dissension which was to bear bitter fruit. However, for some years to come Nur-ad-Din was busy with the establishment of his authority in Muslim lands. Meantime the Franks, under the vigorous rule of Baldwin III (1144-1163) and Amaury I (1163-1174), were able to maintain at least the semblance of power. Baldwin III was a boy of thirteen at the time of his father's death, and ruled conjointly with his mother till 1152. The first year of his sole reign was marked by the capture of Ascalon, which for fifty years had been an open sore in the side of the Franks towards Egypt. Four years later he attempted to recover Caesarea on the Orontes, which had been lately taken by Nur-ad-Din. This enterprise, in which Baldwin was assisted by his brother-in-law Theodoric (Thierry) of Flanders, was likely to have proved successful. But Theodoric and Reginald of Châtillon, whom Constance of Antioch had taken for her second husband, both laid claim to the unconquered town; their rivalry led to such hot dissension amongst the crusaders that they abandoned the siege altogether. Baldwin III was more than a mere soldier; he had a high repute for his familiarity with the customary law of his realm, and more than a little of that literary culture which seems to have been a common characteristic of the Frankish nobility. He had sought to strengthen his position by a marriage with the sister of Manuel Comnenus, the Emperor of Con­stantinople, but at his death in 1163 he left no children and was succeeded by his brother Amaury I.

In Syria Nur-ad-Din at Damascus and Amaury at Jerusalem now stood face to face as leaders of the rival races. It was becoming clear that the victory would rest with the one who could make himself master of Egypt. The Fatimite Caliphs at Cairo had sunk to be the puppets of their viziers. In January 1163 the vizier Shawar was expelled by a rival called Dirgham, and fled for aid to Nur-ad-Din. Dirgham unwisely refused to pay the tribute which for some years past had been rendered by Egypt to the King of Jerusalem. Thereupon Amaury made war and defeated Dirgham in battle; but, when the vizier flooded Egypt by breaking the dams of the Nile, he was forced to retire on some sort of composition. Nur-ad-Din perceived his opportunity, and in 1164 sent Shawar back to Egypt with an army under Shirkuh, the uncle of Saladin. Too late Dirgham sought a reconciliation with Amaury. Shawar, however, soon found his tutelage irksome, and in his turn called in the Frankish king. Amaury invaded Egypt in 1167, and was so far successful that a treaty was made under which the Saracens withdrew their army. Next year Amaury was persuaded against his own judgment to break the peace and again invade Egypt. As the king had foreseen, this act threw Shawar once more into the arms of Nur-ad-Din, and the return of Shirkuh forced the Franks to retire from before Cairo. Shirkuh soon found an excuse to put Shawar to death, and became vizier in his place. After only three months he died and was succeeded by Saladin. A renewed attempt by Amaury, with the aid of the Emperor Manuel, to capture Damietta in the autumn of 1169 ended in disaster. Thus was the conquest of Egypt for Nur-ad-Din accomplished by the man who was destined to complete his work in Syria.

Nur-ad-Din and Amaury both died in the summer of 1174. The sons of both—Baldwin IV at Jerusalem, and Salih at Damascus—were mere boys. It was not long before Saladin displaced his master’s heir, and with Syria and Egypt in the hands of the same ruler the Franks were between the nether and the upper millstone. In Saladin the Muslims had obtained a great leader, whose single purpose was the recovery of Jerusalem. But amongst the Christians there was no one with enough authority to repress the mutual jealousies which spoiled all their endeavors. It was only after some dispute that Raymond III of Tripoli (1152-1187) was chosen to be guardian of the kingdom, and as long as he held the position he was hampered by the disputes of rival factions. The troubles of the reign were increased by the fact that Baldwin was a leper, whose disease before his death had crippled him altogether. Baldwin had two sisters: Sibylla, who was married in 1176 to William of Montferrat but lost her first husband within a year; and Isabella, who in 1183 became the wife of Henfrid IV of Toron. The prospect of the king's early death made the marriages of Sibylla and Isabella the sport of political intrigue, in which the chief opposing parties were the lords of the land and the soldiers of fortune from the West. These disputes were to be the undoing of the kingdom.

Baldwin IV in early manhood was able to take an active part in the war. A disastrous defeat in 1179 made the Franks welcome a two years’ truce. When it expired, they had a further brief respite whilst Saladin was busy beyond the Euphrates. Meantime another husband had been found for Sibylla in the person of Guy de Lusignan. Guy was a foreigner, and when in 1183 Baldwin made him his lieutenant the native lords refused to obey one whom they despised as a man “unknown and of little skill in war”. The jealousies were so bitter that an attempt was made to obtain another solution by crowning Sibylla’s little son by her first husband as Baldwin V. The native party then obtained the reappointment of Raymond as regent, whilst Guy withdrew in dudgeon to his county of Ascalon. Guy was supported by the aliens or Western adventurers like Reginald of Châtillon (now lord of Karak), and by the Knights of the Temple and the Hospital. With them the one idea of policy was war, but the native lords, who had more at stake and had acquired the habits and ideas of the East, were not unwilling to make terms with their Muslim neighbors. When Baldwin IV died in 1185, Raymond as regent at once concluded a four years’ truce with Saladin. But the death of the child-king Baldwin V next year gave his opponents their opportunity.

Gerard de Rideford, a French knight who had recently become Master of the Temple, had a personal feud with Raymond of Tripolis. He now conspired successfully to secure the crown for Sibylla and her husband.

The opposite party made an attempt to put forward Henfrid of Toron as a rival candidate. But Henfrid was unwilling, and the majority of the Frankish lords then accepted Guy as king. Raymond, however, withdrew to Tripolis, whilst others held aloof, and it was with difficulty that the outbreak of civil war was prevented. Raymond is alleged to have intrigued with Saladin. It is more certain that Reginald of Châtillon provoked war by a flagrant breach of the truce. On 1 May 1187 a Saracen force crossed the Jordan, and taking the Christians by surprise inflicted a disastrous defeat on the Templars and Hospitallers at Nazareth. For a moment all feuds were hushed and Raymond gave Guy his whole support. Under the influence of Gerard de Rideford, Guy nevertheless rejected the cautious advice of Count Raymond, and on 4 July was compelled to give battle at Hittin on unfavorable terms. That day saw the virtual destruction of the kingdom of Jerusalem. Guy, with many other of the leaders, was taken prisoner. Raymond escaped from the battle only to die of despair a few days later. Of the chief lords there was none alive and free save Balian of Ibelin. One after another the towns and fortresses of the kingdom fell into the hands of the Saracens. Jerusalem was taken by Saladin on 2 October 1187, and within a few months Tyre was the only place of importance in the kingdom that remained in the hands of the Christians.


The fall of Jerusalem


The fall of Jerusalem stirred every heart in Western Europe, and provoked the Third Crusade. All the great princes in turn took the Cross, but the Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, was the first to take the field in May 1189. Marching overland, the German host met with the usual difficulties and delays that attended that route. Frederick himself was accidentally drowned in Cilicia, and it was not till late in 1190 that the remainder of his army reached Syria.

Guy de Lusignan had obtained his freedom in July 1188, and during the next few months gathered a little army at Antioch, with which in the spring of 1189 he marched south to Tyre. But Conrad of Montferrat (brother of Sibylla’s first husband), who held the city, would not admit him. Guy was, however, gradually reinforced by the arrival of knights and soldiers from the West, and in August felt himself strong enough to undertake the siege of Acre. The crusading army continued to grow in numbers, and secured some successes, but could not establish a complete investment. Presently they were themselves invested by a Saracen army, and though food grew scarce within the town the condition of the Christians in their camp was little better. This double siege had lasted eighteen months before Philip of France arrived, and it was not till 8 June 1191 that Richard of England (who had tarried to conquer Cyprus) appeared. Acre was then on the point of falling, and on 12 July the Christians recovered the city, which had of late years almost supplanted Jerusalem as the royal residence, and was the most important port of Palestine.

Quicker progress might have been made before Acre had it not been for the continued feuds of the crusading leaders. Sibylla had died, leaving no children, at the end of 1190. Thereupon the native party induced Isabella to consent to a divorce from Henfrid of Toron and to a marriage with Conrad of Montferrat. Guy on his part was naturally unwilling to resign the crown. He appealed to Richard of England, whilst Conrad obtained the support of Philip Augustus. Eventually, after the fall of Acre a compromise was effected, by which Guy retained the title for life, whilst the succession was secured to Conrad. It was a misfortune for the Christians that their two chief leaders should have taken opposite sides in this quarrel. It helped to revive the national rivalry of the French and English, at a time when the personal dissensions of Philip and Richard were already threatening to wreck the Crusade. “The two kings and peoples”, wrote an English chronicler, “did less together than they would have done apart, and each set but light store by the other”.

Richard was at his best as a crusader with his whole heart in the war. Philip remained the unscrupulous intriguer intent on his own gain. Soon after the fall of Acre the French king found an excuse to go home, though he left part of his followers behind under Hugh, Duke of Burgundy. Richard had now at all events the advantage that there was no one to dispute his place as the foremost leader of the Crusade. In August he marched south, inflicted a severe defeat on Saladin at Arsuf on 7 September, secured Jaffa, and at the end of the year advanced to within twelve miles of Jerusalem. But he was forced to fall back to the coast, where he busied himself with the restoration of Ascalon. The old feuds had broken out with new violence. Most of the French left the army and went back to Acre, where they found open discord between the supporters of Guy and Conrad. The Pisans were in arms for Guy, and the Genoese for Conrad. The French joined forces with the latter, and the English king was compelled to intervene. Richard consented reluctantly to acknowledge Conrad, whilst he consoled Guy with the gift of Cyprus. A month later, in April 1192, Conrad was murdered, and his party then chose Henry of Champagne as king and husband of the widowed Isabella. Henry of Champagne had the fortune to be Richard's own nephew, and this choice restored at least the appearance of unity. In the summer the crusaders again advanced to Bait Nubah, twelve miles from Jerusalem. A bold dash might have recovered the Holy City, but cautious counsels prevailed. Other successes, however, followed, and Saladin began to incline to peace. Richard also was now anxious to return home, and, after a brilliant victory over the Saracens before Jaffa on 5 August, consented to a three years’ truce.

Under the truce the Christians secured a narrow strip of coast from Ascalon to Acre with the right of access to the Holy City. Such a result was entirely out of proportion to the greatness of the effort put forward, or to the halo of glory with which romance has invested the Third Crusade. If we would seek the causes of this failure we should find them in the personal enmities of the great princes, the national rivalries of their followers, and the mutual jealousies of the native lords. That the Third Crusade was not in fact and in history such a fiasco as the Second was due mainly to the personal greatness of the two chief actors: to Richard as the whole-hearted champion of the Cross, and to Saladin as the preeminently wise and just restorer of Muslim power. “Were each”, said Hubert Walter, “endowed with the virtues of the other, the whole world could not furnish such a pair of princes”. The great Saladin died within a few months, in February 1193, and Richard returned to a troubled kingdom and an early grave in the West.


The Franks in Syria


The loss of Jerusalem and the failure of the Third Crusade marked the end of the kingdom as an organized state. Here then we may stop to consider briefly the social life of the Franks in Syria. Outwardly, at all events, the Frankish nobles lived much the same life as their con­temporaries in the West, with like pursuits and like ideals. The great lords dwelt on their fiefs in their castles, the finest of which, like Karak, Sahyun, Krak des Chevaliers, and Markab (the two last belonged to the Hospitallers), were amongst the most splendid monuments of medieval military architecture. But in later days many of them had also their palaces in such towns as Antioch, Tripolis, and Acre. In the second generation most of the Franks had adopted the luxuries, manners, and even the dress of the East. The dwellers in the land established in the intervals of peace friendly relations with their Musulman neighbors, and this association led not only to a change in habits but to a wider culture. This difference of mental attitude contributed almost as much as difference of interest to keep the native lords apart from the Western soldiers and adventurers who had no personal ties in the East. Hut the aristocracy of knights and nobles did not stand alone; there was a large class of burgesses, many of them the offspring of marriages with Syrian women and known as Pullani; they, even more than their rulers, had adopted luxurious habits and, with the growth of commercial interests, had lost their zeal for the war. Amongst the knights there was a class of mere adventurers like Reginald of Châtillon, whose predatory instincts made them a bane to the older settlers. But a worse class were the men of lower rank who had gone on the Crusade to escape the consequences of their crimes and in the East reverted to their evil ways. During the whole period of the kingdom these wastrels were a constant source of danger. Far otherwise were the foreign merchants, “a folk very necessary to the Holy Land”. It has been remarked before how closely commerce and military enterprise were interwoven in Frankish Syria. The foreign trade was almost entirely in the hands of the Italians, and above all of the Genoese, Pisans, and Venetians. All of them had rendered good service in the early days of the kingdom, and all of them had been rewarded with privileges and their special quarters in the towns; hence they acquired a political influence which was to bear evil fruit. From the first there was much commercial rivalry between them, and from the Third Crusade onwards, when the power of the nobles had become less and the impor­tance of the merchants greater, their dissensions were a potent factor in the final downfall of the kingdom. In these ill-assorted strata of separate classes there was little material for a unified nation, and it must not be forgotten that the great mass of the agricultural population still consisted of the ancient inhabitants. The fatal lack of unity was not the least of the causes which prevented the permanence of the Frank colonies.


The ecclesiastical hierarchy 


Of the ecclesiastical hierarchy nothing has yet been said. Under the two Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Antioch there were eight archbishops and sixteen bishops, with numerous abbeys and priories of the Latin rite. If there was more culture amongst the laymen in the East than amongst their kinsmen in the West, much of the work of actual administration rested in the East as in the West on ecclesiastics. The Patriarch Daimbert, at the time of the election of Baldwin I, put forward pretensions of the loftiest character, which, if they could have been established in their entirety, would have made the kingdom a theocratic state. Except for a brief period under Baldwin II when Stephen of Chartres laid claim to Jaffa and Jerusalem, his successors were content to work in harmony with the king. Nevertheless the Latin Church with its privileged position and immunities, supported by the vast wealth which it possessed not only in Syria but in every country of the West, formed a power which was dangerous to the unity of the kingdom. Jacques de Vitry, who was Bishop of Acre in the thirteenth century, roundly charges the clergy of his time with greed and avarice. But, whatever the faults of some, there were great names amongst the churchmen of the East. William of Tyre, archbishop, chancellor, and historian, was preeminent; whilst, amongst lesser names, an English writer must not omit his countryman, Ralph, Bishop of Bethlehem, who was chancellor under Baldwin III and Amaury.

After the Third Crusade the kingdom of Jerusalem was little more than a shadow. For the most part it consisted of a narrow strip along the coast, and such strength as it retained rested upon the possession of the important ports from Jaffa to Beirut, and above all of Acre. Further north the Christians still held a more substantial territory, though Bohemond III of Antioch, the son of Raymond and Constance, was hard pressed by the Christian princes of Armenia. The county of Tripolis gained strength from the presence within its borders of some of the greatest fortresses of the Military Orders. Raymond III, at his death in 1187, left the county to his godson Raymond, son of Bohemond III. But after the death of Bohemond III in 1201 Raymond resigned Tripolis to his brother Bohemond IV, and henceforward the Princes of Antioch were also Counts of Tripolis.


John de Brienne and Frederick II


In the kingdom proper the native lords would have been content to enjoy the small remnant of their former possessions, and it was against their will, when German crusaders came to Acre in 1197, that the war was renewed. In that same year Henry of Champagne died and his widow married for her fourth husband Amaury de Lusignan, who had succeeded his brother Guy as King of Cyprus. The Lusignans ruled prosperously in Cyprus for over three centuries, and from this time the fortunes of the kingdom of Jerusalem were linked closely with the island. The reign of Amaury II witnessed some recovery of territory on the mainland, and more might have been accomplished had not the Fourth Crusade been diverted to the conquest of Constantinople, an ill-advised enterprise which did great injury to the Christian cause in the East. Amaury II died in 1205, and his infant son Amaury III a year later. Then the kingdom of Jerusalem passed to Mary, Isabella’s daughter by Conrad of Montferrat. For Mary a husband was found in John de Brienne, a French knight, who came to Acre in 1210. John, though a man of modest rank, was a skillful soldier, whose incessant raids on Saracen territory did something to stay the waning fortunes of his kingdom. It was in answer to John's appeal that Innocent III in 1216 proclaimed a new crusade. In the autumn of 1217 a great host assembled at Acre. By the advice of King John it was determined to make an expedition to Egypt by sea, and accordingly in May 1218 the crusaders laid siege to Damietta. There they were joined by further reinforcements from the West, including the four English Earls of Chester, Arundel, Salisbury, and Winchester; Robert de Courçon, an English cardinal, also came as one of the Pope’s representatives, though he died within a few weeks of his arrival. The siege lasted over a year, and it was only on 5 November 1219 that the crusaders fought their way into the city. This success brought the Saracens almost to despair. They offered to surrender most of Palestine, if only Damietta were restored to them. But the crusaders refused, in the vain hope that the Emperor Frederick II would come to aid them in the conquest of all Egypt. After long delay, in the summer of 1221 an advance was made towards Cairo. Soon the crusaders found themselves in a perilous position, from which they were glad to purchase their release at the price of the surrender of Damietta. Well might Philip of France say that the men were daft who for the sake of a town had refused the proffer of a kingdom.


John de Brienne had not been responsible for the folly which threw away the fruits of the victory he had planned. In 1222 he went to Europe, where in 1225 he found a husband for his daughter Yolande in the Emperor Frederick II. Frederick soon quarreled with his father-in-law, and dispossessed him of his kingdom, which he claimed for himself in right of his wife. He was already in the throes of his conflict with the Pope, but in 1228 he paid a visit to the Holy Land, where by negotiations with the Sultan Kamil he obtained a partial surrender of Jerusalem, together with Bethlehem and Nazareth. His enemies the Templars found a new grudge against him, in that their great church at Jerusalem was left to the Muslims, and Pope Gregory denounced the treaty as a concession to Belial. Frederick's brief Crusade added only to his own troubles, and it brought little good to his Eastern subjects. The Saracens soon broke the treaty, and reoccupied Jerusalem. Frederick then sent Richard Filangieri to Palestine as his bailiff; Richard fell out with the native lords under John of Ibelin, who called in the King of Cyprus to their aid. After some years of strife, in 1236, when Yolande was dead, Queen Alice of Cyprus, who was a daughter of Henry of Champagne, persuaded the native party to take her then husband, Ralph of Soissons, as bailiff.


Dissensions among the Muslims 


When the Emperor had received the crown of Jerusalem it must have appeared that the kingdom was assured of a powerful protector. But in the issue Frederick’s rule only embittered the old enmities, whilst his quarrel with the Papacy introduced a new cause of discord. The results might have been even more disastrous had it not been for the unsettled condition of the Musulman state. Saladin's brother Adil (Saphadin) was succeeded in 1218 by his son Kamil, whose reign of twenty years was troubled by pressure from the Turks in the north and the Tartars advancing from the east. At Kamil’s death in 1238 his sons fell to civil war, so that the moment was not unfavorable for the new Crusade which was launched next year. In this crusade none of the great princes took part. The chief leader was Theobald, King of Navarre. The French nobles, who were his principal followers, persisted in making a series of desultory raids, which ended in most of them being taken prisoners. Earl Richard of Cornwall, who came to Acre in the following year, was able through his great wealth to procure their release; but the quarrels of the Military Orders prevented any prospect of successful war, and the English earl soon went home. The Templars and Hospitallers continued to dispute as to the relative advantages of alliance with Damascus or Egypt. In the end the former prevailed, and in 1244, by a treaty with Ismail of Damascus, the Franks secured the whole land west of Jordan. There was a brief period of rejoicing in Christendom that all the holy places had at last been recovered. Then Ayyub, the Sultan of Egypt, called to his aid the predatory horde of the Khwarazmian Turks, who fell upon Jerusalem and massacred its inhabitants (23 August 1244). The Muslims of Hamah and Damascus united with the Franks to meet this common danger, but their joint army was utterly defeated by the Khwarazmians and Egyptians under the Mamluk emir, Baibars Bunduqdari, at Gaza on 17 October 1244. This was the greatest disaster that had befallen the Franks since Hittin, and swept away nearly all that had been so painfully recovered in the last fifty years.

The destruction of Jerusalem and the disaster of Gaza led directly to the first crusade of Louis IX. Frederick, who should have been the natural protector of his distant kingdom, was too deeply involved in his own troubles, and Louis was the only one of the great princes of the West who had both the will and the power to help. Though he took the Cross early in 1245, it was not till the end of 1248 that he reached Cyprus, where he spent six months. The ill-omened precedent of years before was followed for the plan of campaign with remarkably similar results. Damietta fell on this occasion, almost without a blow. Then there followed a long delay in waiting for reinforcements, amongst whom there came a small body of English under William Longspear, Earl of Salisbury. When at the end of November 1249 the crusaders began their advance on Cairo, they soon found themselves entangled in the difficulties of the Egyptian Delta. A rash attack on Mansurah on 8 February 1250 ended disastrously. The crusaders could not advance, and when, a few weeks later, sickness and lack of food compelled them to retreat, they found the way blocked by their enemies. In the end Louis and his army were obliged to surrender, and then to purchase their freedom at the price of Damietta and a huge ransom in money. Louis with the remnant of the crusaders reached Acre about the end of May. He spent nearly four years in the Holy Land, and, though not able to attempt any great enterprise, did something to strengthen the Franks by repairing the fortifications of the seaports, and especially of Jaffa, Caesarea, and Sidon.


St Louis in Palestine


Frederick II had died in 1250. During his twenty-five years’ reign the royal power had been virtually in abeyance, or exercised by bailiffs whose authority was disputed by those whom they were supposed to rule. The conflict of interests, political, military, and commercial, amongst the Franks in Syria had thus, through the lack of control, free scope to develope. The native lords, strengthened by their association with the prosperous island kingdom of Cyprus, grew more impatient of an outside authority. The jealousies of the Military Orders, enormously increased in wealth and power and opposed to one another in policy, became more acute. The Italian merchants, on whose commerce the prosperity of the seaport towns, and therefore of the kingdom, depended, gained greater importance and added political disputes to their commercial rivalry. The dislike of the native lords for the rule of the Emperor’ s bailiff had led to bitter strife in 1236, and the rivalry of the two Military Orders went much deeper than the conflict of policies which had crippled the crusades of Theobald of Navarre and Richard of Cornwall. In 1249 there was actually open warfare for a month between the Pisans and Genoese at Acre. The greatest service which Louis IX rendered during his four years’ sojourn in Palestine was that the weight of his authority did something to check dispute. But on his departure the old feuds soon broke out once more. The trouble began with a quarrel between the Venetians and Genoese in 1256, in which all other parties were soon involved. Four years of civil war exhausted the Latin communities at a time when all should have been united to build up the falling state.


Last days of the kingdom 


The title of Frederick to the kingdom of Jerusalem passed ultimately to his grandson Conradin, at whose death in 1268 the line of Yolande came to an end. Up to that time the royal authority had been exercised nominally by bailiffs. On Conradin’s death the succession was disputed between Hugh III of Cyprus and Mary of Antioch. Both claimed to represent Isabella, daughter of Amaury I, the former through Alice, daughter of Henry of Champagne, and the latter through Melisend, daughter of Amaury de Lusignan. The Hospitallers and the Genoese, who had supported Conradin, favored Hugh, who was actually crowned King of Jerusalem at Tyre in 1269 and maintained some show of authority till 1276, when he was forced by the opposition of the Templars to leave Acre. The jealousies of the Italian merchants of Genoa, Pisa, and Venice, and the rivalry of the two great Military Orders, thus again prevented any unity among the Franks at the time when it was most needed.

In 1259 the Tartars had appeared in Syria and threatened Muslim and Christian alike. They were defeated next year by Qutuz, the Sultan of Egypt, who on his return home was murdered by his Mamluks. This double event really sealed the fate of the Franks in Palestine. Baibars Bunduqdari, the victor of Gaza, who now became Sultan, was to prove the most relentless foe that the Christians had had to encounter since the death of Saladin. As soon as he had established his authority in Syria, he set himself to destroy the remnant of Frankish rule. In 1265 Caesarea and Arsuf were taken, and other captures of less importance followed, till in 1268 first Jaffa and then Antioch fell into his hands.

The fall of Antioch was the occasion for the last great Crusade under Louis IX of France and Edward of England. Louis turned aside to attack Tunis, where he died, whilst Edward, thus left to himself, only reached Acre in the spring of 1271. He came in the nick of time to save the city from a threatened attack, but, though during an eighteen months’ stay he achieved a series of minor successes, his Crusade brought only a transient relief. Before he left Palestine Edward procured for the Christians a ten years’ truce, which on its expiration was again renewed by the then Sultan, Qalaun, for a like period. The Franks made but an ill use of this breathing space, and their domestic feuds continued with all the former persistence.

Qalaun was at first disposed to peace, but in 1285, provoked by an attack which the Hospitallers made on a caravan, besieged and captured their great fortress at Markab. In 1289, on a pretext that the treaty had expired, Qalaun appeared before Tripolis. After a month's siege that great city, which was so rich and populous that four thousand weavers are said to have found employment in its factories, was taken and sacked with all the horrors of war. Those who escaped aboard ship took refuge at Acre, as many from other towns and places had done before. Thus, in the expressive words of an English chronicler: “There were gathered in Acre not as of old holy and devout men, but wantons and wastrels out of every country in Christendom who flowed into that sacred city as it were into a sink of pollution”.

Though some minor places like Sidon still remained to the Franks, Acre stood out as their chief stronghold, and it was clear that Acre must soon share the fortune of Tripolis, unless some great deliverance came to it from the West. There was, however, little practical enthusiasm for a new crusade. Pope Nicholas IV and most of the greater princes were more intent on schemes of aggrandizement nearer home, and though Edward of England had never lost his interest in the East he was too deeply engaged in his own affairs to take the Cross once more. The Pope, it is true, sent a force of 1600 mercenaries, for whom the republic of Venice provided shipping. But these mercenaries did more harm than good, and the most effectual assistance was perhaps that which Edward sent by his trusty knight, Sir Otto de Grandison, who, however, brought more money than men.

In the tragedy of Acre all the main causes that had led to the downfall of the kingdom were brought, as it were, to a focus. In Acre during its last days, the legate of the Pope and the bailiffs of the Kings of England, France, and Cyprus, all exercised their authority in independence; whilst the lords of the land, the Military Orders, and the traders of the Italian towns had all their strong towers and quarters fortified, not against the common foe so much as in hostility to their Christian rivals. Thus within the walls of one city there were seventeen separate and distinct communities; “whence”, wrote Villani, “there sprang no small confusion”.

Nevertheless the manifest peril of Acre after the fall of Tripolis restored for the moment some unity of purpose, and all joined in accepting the leadership of Henry of Cyprus, who was also titular King of Jerusalem. Henry made it his first care to conclude a two years' truce. But the old feuds soon broke out again, and when the papal mercenaries arrived they fell through lack of discipline to plundering the Saracen villages. Provoked by this breach of the truce, Qalaun’s son Khalil, who had but lately succeeded as Sultan, took the field early in 1291. Had there been any unity of command in Acre it is just possible that the city might have been saved. But from the first the defence was hampered by the bitterness of the ancient jealousies. The rival parties each fought bravely enough in their own quarter, but would give no help to one another. So when, after a six weeks’ siege, the Saracens began their assault, many, like the King of Cyprus, sailed away in despair. For four terrible days those who remained fought stubbornly, though even in such a crisis the Knights of the Hospital and the Temple could not lay aside their mutual enmity. Acre was finally stormed and taken on 18 May, though the Templars with Otto de Grandison held out for ten days longer in their castle by the waterside. Some of the Christians made good their escape by sea, but many were drowned in the attempt, and far greater number perished by the sword or were carried into captivity.

The fall of Acre was the death-knell of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. One after another, the remaining strongholds of the Franks were abandoned or surrendered, amongst the last to go being Sidon and Beirut about the middle of July. Pope Nicholas IV, whose schemes for the conquest of Sicily had made him half-hearted whilst there was yet time, was stirred by such a disaster to make a vain effort to revive the crusading spirit. But the old enthusiasm lingered only in the visionary ideals of men like Philip de Mezières, and it was a mockery of fate that for centuries to come the phantom title of King of Jerusalem was claimed by princes whose predecessor had failed to defend its reality.