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Since Baldwin III left no children, he was succeeded by his younger brother, Amalric I (1163-1174). Totally unlike his brother in temperament and character, Amalric, nevertheless, possessed qualities which made him an admirable king. He was a man of medium height and, despite his habitual moderation in food and drink, excessively fat. He was more fond of active amusements like the chase, than the performances of minstrels. But he was singularly gifted intellectually and enjoyed reading and discussion with such men as William of Tyre. In fact, it was at his request that William, then archdeacon, commenced that record of the king's doings which he later expanded into a full-fledged history. Brave, even daring, in battle, cool and decisive in command, well informed on the strategic problems of the orient, Amalric was well suited to that military leadership so necessary to a Levantine ruler.

With all his accomplishments, Amalric did not inspire the affection or popularity which his brother had enjoyed. He lacked Baldwin's affability and was inclined to be taciturn and sometimes arbitrary. Married women were not safe from his advances. Clergy complained that he illegally violated their rights and properties. Excessive taxes, never popular, he justified on the grounds of military necessity. Amalric's succession to the throne was not unopposed. The clergy and people together with a few magnates approved, but a number of barons expressed objection, presumably because of the king's wife, Agnes of Courtenay, whom they declared to be unworthy. Although no specific complaints were mentioned, it is true that in later years Agnes was to prove herself an accomplished intriguer and to exert a sinister influence on the affairs of the realm. Widow of Reginald of Marash, and sister of Joscelin III, she was related to Amalric; and a former patriarch, Fulcher, had opposed the marriage in the first place. Evidently Amalric regarded the barons' opposition as serious, for he promptly obtained an annulment from the patriarch, Amalric of Nesll, and the papal legate, the cardinal John. Their two children, Baldwin and Sibyl, were recognized as legitimate and their succession rights guaranteed. The appointment of Miles of Plancy as seneschal also aroused antagonism. Miles was to marry Stephanie, widow of Humphrey of Toron, and thus control the fief of Montreal (1173-1174). Although the king may have felt it necessary to appease the magnates in order to assure his succession to the throne, legislation enacted in the first year of his reign strengthened his position measurably. By his Assist sur la ligece he required all rear vassals to render liege homage to the king directly. Thus the power of the tenants-in-chief was lessened since rear vassals could now seek redress in the king's court. So long as a strong king stood at the center of this system, in fact so long as Amalric lived, this legislation fortified royal power in a manner more reminiscent of the Norman rulers of England than of their Capetian confrères. Amalric also appears to have established two new courts for maritime litigation, the Cour de la Fonde and the Cour de la Chaîne. Indeed, Amalric's role in the legal development of Jerusalem is evidenced by a number of significant references to his name in the Assises of the kingdom. These matters will receive more extended treatment in a later volume.

The foreign policy of Amalric, largely a series of attempts to conquer Egypt, had been foreshadowed by Baldwin III when he captured Ascalon. And it was logical that Amalric, who had been entrusted with the government of Ascalon, should be interested in the south. The combination of circumstances which had motivated Baldwin still existed. The union of Aleppo and Damascus under Nur-ad-Din made the whole matter more urgent. For if Egypt fell into the power of the Syrian Sunnite Moslems, the Latin states would be encircled. Add to these strategic considerations the immense commercial value of Egypt with its great port of Alexandria, and it is not difficult to understand why Amalric persistently pushed southward.

Unfortunately for the success of Amalric's ventures, Nur-ad-Din, as we have seen in an earlier chapter, was equally concerned over developments in Egypt. Moreover, the atabeg was able not only to intervene directly in Egypt, but also to hamper Latin action by creating diversions along the frontiers of the kingdom and the northern states. Indeed, these border attacks were often costly to the Franks. The heavy losses thus sustained must be considered in any estimate of Amalric's Egyptian policy.

The king's first venture was in September 1163. Taking as a pretext the non-payment of tribute promised in the time of Baldwin III, Amalric crossed the isthmus of Suez and besieged Bilbais. Only by cutting dikes were the Egyptians able to force a withdrawal. Meanwhile, Shavar, a former vizier recently ejected from Cairo by his enemies, had persuaded Nur-ad-Din to support his cause. Accordingly, in April 1164 an expeditionary force under the Kurdish emir Asad-ad-Din Shirkuh set out with Shavar for Egypt. At the same time the atabeg provided an important diversion by continuing operations on the frontiers of northern Syria. As a consequence, Shirkuh reached Cairo safely and Shavar was restored to power (May 1164).

Once he was reinstated, Shavar proved recalcitrant and refused to pay a tribute which had been promised Shirkuh. The latter thereupon seized Bilbais and the entire province of Sharqiya to the east of the delta. Accordingly, Shavar, following a precedent set by his former enemies, appealed to the Franks, promising military support and financial aid. Since a number of crusaders arrived from Europe about this time, Amalric felt able to equip an invasion army without seriously depleting the kingdom's defenses. He therefore took counsel with his barons, put Bohemond III of Antioch in charge of the realm, and set out a second time for Egypt. Junction with Shavar was made and Shirkuh was besieged in Bilbais. After three months (August-October, 1164) the city's fall seemed near. But Amalric had learned of formidable attacks in northern Syria by Nur-ad-Din and proposed to Shirkuh that both abandon their projects. Nearly at the end of his resources, Shirkuh agreed and returned to Syria. Thus an otherwise promising campaign ended in a stalemate owing partly to the king's overly optimistic judgment regarding the strength of the northern frontiers. Notwithstanding, prompt action had preserved the independence of Egypt.

Nur-ad-Din's activities which had so alarmed Amalric had commenced with a siege of Harim and an invasion of the plain of Buqaiah southwest of Krak des Chevaliers. Forces composed of Greeks and Armenians from Cilicia and a number of Latin knights from the northern states at first routed the invaders. But not long after, Nur-ad-Din was able to divide the Christian troops and captured Bohemond III of Antioch, Raymond III of Tripoli, Constantine Coloman, Greek governor of Cilicia, Hugh of Lusignan, and Joceslin III, titular count of Edessa. Harim fell to the atabeg on August 12, 1164. Captured flags and the heads of fallen Christians were sent to Shirkuh with instructions to exhibit them on the walls of Bilbais to frighten the besiegers. Harim had been a bastion potentially menacing to Aleppo. Its capture opened the way for a Moslem invasion of Antioch.

Whether or not Nur-ad-Din could have taken Antioch is a question. Certainly its defenses were weakened and its ruler was a captive. But the atabeg countered the urgings of his own officers by pointing out that in an emergency the Franks would summon Byzantine aid. No such misgivings prevented him from attacking farther south. Moreover, since the king and the bulk of the Latin troops were still in Egypt, and Bohemond and other leaders were in captivity, the kingdom was vulnerable. After circulating a rumor that he would attack Tiberias, Nur-ad-Din besieged Banyas, the important stronghold some miles north of the city. Probably because of incompetence, although treason was suggested, the defenses failed and Banyas fell to the atabeg.

As soon as the king reached Jerusalem from Egypt and learned further details of the situation, he hastened northward accompanied by Thierry of Alsace, who had returned to the orient. Defenses were set in order, and arrangements were made for the liberation of Bohemond III in the summer of 1165. In Tripoli Raymond III had been able to designate Amalric as regent. Indeed, the king held the bailliage of Tripoli for the ten years of the count's captivity. Thus Amalric's forthright action and Nur-ad-Din’s fear of Byzantine intervention restored the balance of power in northern Syria.

In January 1167 the persistent Shirkuh set out once again to recoup his fortunes in Egypt. Amalric heard of his preparations and summoned an important assembly at Nablus where he publicly outlined the danger which threatened the kingdom. Indeed his words so moved the hearers that they voted a ten per cent tax. Since a preliminary expedition into the southern desert failed to intercept Shirkuh, the king reassembled his forces at Ascalon. On January 30 a Christian army marched a third time toward Egypt and reached Bilbais without incident. Thence they moved south past Cairo and camped near Fustat (Babylon). At first Shavar, apparently unaware of Shirkuh's movements, doubted Amalric’s intentions. Indeed, he received from Shirkuh an invitation to unite against the foes of Islam. But on learning more of the Turkish advance, he elected to renew his engagements with Amalric in a formal treaty. In addition to the annual tribute, the sum of four hundred thousand gold pieces, half to be paid at once, was agreed upon as adequate compensation to the Franks. The king, on his part, pledged himself not to leave Egypt until Shirkuh and his army had been destroyed or driven from the country. Hugh of Caesarea was chosen to head a delegation to ratify the treaty with the caliph.

In a remarkable passage, William of Tyre describes the amazement and wonder of the Frankish delegation as they saw for the first time the caliph's magnificent palace, lavishly but exquisitely decorated. “They were led past fish pools, cages of strange birds and animals, through even more beautifully appointed buildings to the caliph's presence. There, to the consternation of all present and to the embarrassment of the caliph, Hugh insisted that the contract be sealed in the Frankish manner by each party holding the bare hand of the other. After considerable hesitation, the caliph offered his gloved hand. Still Hugh refused. At length the caliph, whom Hugh later described as of an extremely generous disposition, consented and repeated after him the words in good faith, without fraud or deceit”.

The following days were spent in various attempts to make contact with Shirkuh’s army which had, meanwhile, successfully crossed the Nile, and camped at Giza across the river from Fustat and Cairo. After a month of stalemate broken only by minor engagements, Shirkuh moved rapidly southward at night. Amalric crossed the river, pursued his enemy, and made contact at al-Babain (March 18, 1167). Apparently the Christians were out­numbered. Nevertheless, Shirkuh hesitated to give battle and was only persuaded to do so by his more warlike officers, among whom was his nephew Saladin (Salab-ad-Din). In the ensuing engagement many Christian knights were killed or captured and a great deal of equipment taken, but the survivors retreated in good order. Moreover, when Amalric counted his forces he discovered only one hundred men lost as against an estimated fifteen hundred for the Moslems.

After the battle Shirkuh marched to Alexandria, where the citizens welcomed him, but where he was soon besieged by the Christian army. All means of entrance or exit were carefully guarded and a fleet blocked all river traffic. After about one month had elapsed and conditions within the city had deteriorated, Shirkuh managed to lead a small force secretly past the king into upper Egypt. Amalric at first pressed south in pursuit, but was dissuaded by the advice of an Egyptian nobleman who pointed out that Alexandria was in desperate straits and close to surrender. Accordingly, reinforced by another contingent from the kingdom, the Christians began bombarding the city and making repeated assaults. Saladin, whom Shirkuh had left in command, desperately tried to stem the growing tide of defeatism and secretly informed his superior of the critical conditions within the city. At length Shirkuh, after one or two unsuccessful raids, decided to sue for peace. Arnulf of Tell Bashir, one of the Latin captives, was sent to negotiate with Amalric. The king was not unwilling to end hostilities. His own losses had been serious, and he was again concerned about Nur-ad-Din's movements in the north. It was agreed, therefore, that both armies would return prisoners, evacuate Egypt, and leave Shavar in possession of power. Shirkuh, disconsolate over his failures, reached Damascus in September 1167. The Christian army was permitted to "tour" Alexandria before departing for Palestine. The men marveled at the city's magnificence and wondered that so small an army could shut up a city with so many able to bear arms. Amalric reached Ascalon in August 1167.

Before leaving Alexandria, Amalric had accorded the courtesies of war to Saladin, for whom he provided an escort, and, according to his original agreement with Shavar, raised his flag on Pharos island. Shavar also agreed again to an annual tribute and to the installation of a Frankish commissioner and guard in Cairo. Shirkuh had not been destroyed, but for the moment the Latins were in the ascendant in Egypt.

If the events of the early years of Amalric's reign demonstrated the weakness of Egypt, they also brought into clear focus the precarious nature of Frankish defenses in northern Syria. As a consequence, the position of the Byzantine emperor Manuel Comnenus took on added significance. Indeed, he held the balance of power in the Levant, and the Latins, though fearful of the emperor's designs on Antioch, were coming to realize their dependence on his support. An ambitious ruler, whose far-reaching plans envisaged a reconciliation with Rome and an extension of Byzantine power westward as well as to the east and south, Manuel on his part showed a marked willingness during this period to cooperate with westerners. It was not long before these developments that Manuel had married Maria, sister of Bohemond of Antioch, and somewhat later that Bohemond married the emperor's niece, Theodora.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Bohemond should have hastened to Constantinople shortly after his release from captivity. When he returned with gifts which perhaps enabled him to pay off his ransom, he was accompanied by a Greek patriarch, Athanasius, whom he installed in Antioch. Aimery, the Latin patriarch, placed the city under an interdict and took refuge in the castle of Qusair some miles to the south. And although the Latin clergy continued their protests which were supported by pope Alexander III, and echoed by the Jacobite Christians, Athanasius remained in Antioch until 1170 when he lost his life in an earthquake. Evidently Bohemond was sufficiently appreciative of Byzantine assistance to risk the opposition of his subjects.

There were also important relations between the emperor and Jerusalem. Following his separation from Agnes, Amalric had sent a delegation to Constantinople. And shortly before the close of the recent Egyptian campaign, Hernesius, archbishop of Caesarea, and Odo of St. Amand, the king's marshal, returned bringing with them Maria Comnena, daughter of John, Manuel's nephew, and protosebastos. Amalric met the party at Tyre, and he and Maria were married there on August 29,1167, just after his return from Egypt.

In the following months a plan for a joint Franco-Byzantine military expedition to conquer and partition Egypt was elaborated. It is possible that the project was first proposed by Amalric. But Manuel's interest in the Egyptian situation is evident and the first discussions of which we have certain knowledge resulted from the visit of two imperial envoys in the summer of 1168. A formal treaty of alliance was drawn up and William, who had recently been named archdeacon of Tyre, accompanied the envoys on the return journey. He was empowered to ratify the agreement in the emperor's presence. Since the negotiations were deemed urgent, William was taken to the emperor's military headquarters in Serbia, His mission was successfully accomplished and he set out for Palestine on October 1, 1168. Before William reached home, however, Amalric had already started again for Egypt.

What prompted the king to proceed without Byzantine aid and to break his agreements with Shavar is not clear. Although in retrospect it is easy to understand William of Tyre's disappointment, and to agree that the venture was a mistake, it is difficult to believe that Amalric would have jeopardized the Latin predominance in Egypt without adequate reason. Moreover, there are certain possible explanations. It appears that the tribute which Shavar had agreed to pay seemed even less palatable to the Egyptians after the immediate danger had past. More irritating was the presence of the Frankish commissioner and guard who, apparently, behaved with inexcusable insolence. As a consequence, certain negotiations were commenced between Cairo and Damascus, and disquieting rumors reached Jerusalem. An immediate invasion, opposed by the Templars under Philip of Milly, was vigorously urged by their Hospitaller rivals under Gilbert of Assailly. A warlike and greedy element among the barons, perhaps unwilling to contemplate a division of Egypt with the Greeks, added its pressure. It appears that the king withstood this pressure for a while, but the decision was ultimately made and the army set out for Egypt in October 1168.

Undeterred by the pleadings of Shavar's emissaries the Christian army entered Egypt and took Bilbais on November 4. A shocking slaughter followed, and captives were taken indiscriminately. Many of the victims were native Christians. The siege of Cairo was commenced on November 13, but, according to William of Tyre, not pressed energetically because the king only wanted to force a money payment. It is however, possible that Amalric realized that the city would resist to the end rather than suffer the fate of Bilbais. Further, on November 12, Shavar had inaugurated a scorched earth policy by ordering that Fustat be burned. The conflagration lasted fifty-four days, a horrible example of what might happen in Cairo. Thus a kind of haggling between the king and Shavar continued. The latter paid one hundred thousand dinars as ransom for his son and nephew, who had been captured, and gave hostages for the payment of another one hundred thousand. Accordingly Amalric withdrew to at-Majariyah and then proceeded to Siryaqus about sixteen miles northeast of Cairo. Meanwhile, a Christian fleet appeared at the entrance to the Nile and occupied Tinnis. Further progress was blocked by Egyptian ships and before Humphrey of Toron and a detachment of the king's army could seize the opposite shore, rumors of Shirkuh's approach reached the king and he ordered the fleet home.

Amalric then hastily returned to Bilbais, left a guard, and on December 25 marched out to intercept Shirkuh. But Shirkuh successfully crossed the Nile. Since Amalric knew that his enemies could now easily be reinforced, he elected to abandon the project entirely. By January 2,1169, the army was on its return journey. Shirkuh, who was generously supported by Nur-ad-Din, was able, therefore, to reach Cairo unhindered. There he was welcomed by the caliph and the citizens. Shavar was assassinated (January 18, 1169), and Shirkuh became vizier. Within two months, however, he had died and was succeeded by his nephew, Saladin. By August of the same year the young Kurd had replaced a number of the caliph's officials, dispossessed Egyptian landowners and substituted Syrians, massacred the caliph's negro guard, and, in short, made himself master of Egypt.

These events produced a revolution in the balance of power in the Levant. The Frankish protectorate over Egypt with all its advantages, economic as well as political, was ended. To all intents and purposes Moslem Egypt and Syria were united, and there began that encirclement of the Christian states which in future years was to prove so disastrous.

The gravity of the situation was well understood in Jerusalem, and early in 1169 ambassadors and letters were sent to Europe. Western princes were too occupied with their own concerns, and the ambassadors returned without accomplishing anything. Fortunately for the Latins, Manuel Comnenus was still anxious to fulfill his part of the agreement arranged by William of Tyre in September 1168. Indeed, the fleet and equipment which arrived at Acre in September 1169 were more imposing than had been stipulated, and restored Christian command of the sea.

The Latins were overjoyed and obviously impressed by the Byzantine preparations. But since Amalric had to reorganize his forces after the previous Egyptian expedition and post sufficient troops to guard against any action by Nur-ad-Din, prompt attack with the element of surprise was impossible. Byzantine food supplies, for some unexplained reason not sufficiently provided for, began to run short, and it was found necessary for the Greek troops to disembark at Acre and march overland with the Latins. On October 15, 1169, the combined armies left Ascalon and after nine days reached Pelusium near the sea on the eastern branch of the Nile where the fleet had preceded them. They were ferried across the Nile add by following the shore of Lake Manzala reached Damietta two or three days later.

Since Saladin had evidently not expected attack at this point, the city was inadequately defended. William of Tyre insists that a quick attack could have succeeded, and it appears that Saladin was worried. But there was a delay of three days. Moreover, although the river was blocked by an iron chain, it was open above the city. Thus Damietta was speedily reinforced by boats from the south. A full siege was, as a consequence, necessary, and the Christians had to construct war machines with considerable labor. At length a huge engine of seven storeys was built. But the defenders, now constantly reinforced, fought back with skill and bravery. Meanwhile, taking advantage of a strong onshore wind, the Moslems launched a fire boat which was blown into the Byzantine fleet riding at anchor in close array. Six ships were burned, and a disaster was averted only by the prompt action of Amalric, who roused the crews.

As the siege was prolonged food ran short in the Christian camp. Torrential rains added to the discomfort. Finally, Andronicus, commanding the Byzantine forces, proposed a desperate all-out assault. Amalric was opposed, holding that the city's defenses were too strong and needed further battering by the machines. Although he had been directed to obey Amalric, Andronicus made preparations to attack alone. But before he had started, the king's messengers informed him that negotiations for withdrawal had begun. After a few days of fraternizing, during which the Christian were permitted to enter Damietta and trade as they pleased, war machines were burned and the withdrawal commenced. The Latin and Greek troops reached Ascalon on December 21, 1169. Less fortunate was the fleet. A violent storm wrecked many ships, and others were deserted by sailors who feared the emperor's wrath. Disappointment accentuated the mutual recriminations of Latins and Greeks as each blamed the other for the expedition's failure.

Although it was not apparent at the time, the failure of the combined Franco-Byzantine expedition of 1169 marks a turning point in Levantine history. Had Amalric not acted on his own in 1168, the alliance might have prevented the union of Egypt and Syria. With more careful preparation — and in the matter of food, the Byzantines were possibly to blame — the combined forces could perhaps have defeated Saladin before he consolidated his hold over Egypt. As it turned out, no other joint expedition was undertaken and the final victory lay with Saladin.

Although the Christian failure strengthened Saladin's position in Egypt, communication between Syria and Egypt was still endangered by Frankish possessions in the south, especially the fortresses of Kerak or Krak des Moabites, sometimes mistakenly termed by the crusaders Petra Deserti, and Krak de Montreal (ash-Shaubak). Moreover, a temporary lull in hostilities resulted from the terrible earthquakes of June 1170. A large part of northern Syria, both Christian and Moslem, was devastated; thousands were killed; and many churches and castles destroyed. But in December 1170 Saladin attacked Darum and Gaza. The outer defenses of Darum were breached. A number of persons, including women and children, refugees from the surrounding country, were killed at Gaza. Saladin, evidently unwilling to risk an engagement with the royal army, withdrew to Egypt on its approach.

Early in 1171 Amalric summoned the high court to discuss the critical problems which now faced the kingdom. Although Frederick, archbishop of Tyre, had not yet returned from the embassy of 1169, it was agreed that another appeal to western rulers should be made. Europe remained uninterested in the plight of the Holy Land. Frederick finally returned having accomplished nothing, and his companion, Stephen of Sancerre, on whose assistance the king had counted and who had been chosen as a prospective son-in-law, left after six months of disgraceful conduct. Indeed, there is no further mention of the European legation, and the members of the high court realized that their only salvation lay in again securing Byzantine aid. The king insisted on leading an embassy to Constantinople himself. He set sail from Acre on March to with an impressive retinue and ten galleys.

Manuel, overjoyed though at first surprised, went out of his way to receive and entertain the royal party in a suitable manner. Daily conferences alternated with visits to churches and other places of interest. There were games and musical and dramatic performances ax the circus. The visitors were shown the mast precious relics and presented with costly gifts. Although Greek sources describe Amalric as performing a kind of homage, William of Tyre mentions only that at the initial reception, the king occupied a throne slightly lower than that of the basileus. Presumably, as in 1159, such gestures carried no implication of vassalage in the western feudal sense. At any rate Amalric succeeded, at whatever cost, in persuading the emperor of the necessity and feasibility of subjugating Egypt. As a consequence, the Franco-Byzantine alliance was renewed and put in writing over the seals of both parties. The king returned in July 1171, his mission accomplished, but with no productive results.

Manuel Comnenus, like his father John and his grandfather Alexius, had proved himself an able emperor, pursuing the best interests of his realm with single-minded determination, but his conception of the best method of accomplishing this was both less prudent and less favorable to the Franks than his predecessors’ had been. The unfounded accusations against Alexius and John, the bitter hostility common to Normans of Antioch and Latin Christians of western Europe, the failure to unite Christians of either high or low degree against the Moslems — all these were intensified during Manuel’s reign, with more basis in his own actions than had previously been the case. His obstructionism and other hostile relations with the Second Crusade have been examined in a previous chapter, while we have covered in some detail his ineffective alliance with Amalric against Egypt, as well as his fruitless purchase in 1150 of the remnants of the county of Edessa and the devastation of Cyprus by Reginald and Toros II in 1156.

The recovery before 1150 of the Taurus fortresses by the Roupenid prince Toros had not seriously affected Greek power, but his conquest of Mamistra in 1151 and the rest of Cilicia in 1152 had necessitated the great expedition of 1158, which like John's two decades earlier won great renown but little of permanent value: control of Cilicia for a few years, suzerainty over Antioch effective only during the presence of a Byzantine army, a truce with Nur-ad-Din which postponed the full onslaught of Moslem Syria against the Frankish littoral. His peace in 1161 with the Selchukids of Iconium was more fruitful, but its effects were to be dissipated in 1176 at Myriokephalon, the absolute end of Byzantine control over any part of Anatolia except the coastal cities, since Mleh the Roupenid ex-Templar had reconquered Cilicia in 1173.

To return to Amalric's visit to Constantinople, however, we may note that it marks the climax of his reign. The situation in the Moslem world was serious, but so long as the rift between Nur-ad-Din and Saladin continued, not yet hopeless. The Byzantine alliance should have insured power adequate to break Saladin's hold over Egypt. This project, however, so full of promise was destined never to be carried out. Events beyond the frontiers of Jerusalem and Byzantium delayed the expedition. On Amalric's death in 1174 the alliance lapsed.

Furthermore, in 1171, Saladin, at first reluctantly following Nur-ad-Din's directives, had ordered that at Friday prayers in Egyptian mosques the name of the caliph of Baghdad be substituted for the Shiite, al-Adid. Then, on September 13, al-Adid had died, and no successor was named. The politico-religious revolution which had been thus quietly consummated in Cairo was of tremendous importance. A schism of centuries’ duration which had contributed materially to the security of the Latin states had ended. Only the strained relations between Saladin and Nur-ad-Din prevented the encirclement from being fully effective.

King Amalric's reign was drawing to a close. In the summer of 1173, despite the Byzantine alliance, the king once again sought assistance from the west. Sometime in the fall of 1173 or early in 1174 Raymond III of Tripoli was released from captivity. The king, who had helped procure the ransom money, welcomed him and restored the county over which he had acted as bailli. On May 15, 1174 Nur-ad-Din died and Amalric immediately tried to take advantage of the discord which followed by attacking Banyas. After a short campaign he agreed to a truce. On his return he complained of illness. Neither oriental nor Latin physicians were able to give more than temporary relief and the king died on July 11, 1174, at the age of thirty-eight.

The death of Amalric came at a most unfortunate time for the Latins. It is impossible to say whether, had he lived, he could have averted the eventual union of Damascus and Cairo. In any event the Latins derived no advantage from the death of Nur-ad-Din. Amalric's own death caused the Franco-Byzantine alliance to lapse, and the field was left free for Saladin. Although the historian may thus reproach Amalric for the inopportuneness of his death, he was one of the best kings of Jerusalem, the last man of genuine capacity to hold the reins of government. In the years to come men were to sec the resources of the kingdom — and they were still great — wasted through want of adequate leadership.