‘Ye . . . have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you.’ EZEKIEL XI, 12
The failure of the Second Crusade marked a turning-point in the story of Outremer. The fall of Edessa completed the first stage in the renascence of Islam; and the gains of Islam were confirmed by the pitiful collapse of the great expedition that was to have restored Frankish supremacy.
Amongst the chief reasons for this failure had been the difference in habits and outlook between the Franks resident in the East and their cousins from the West. It was a shock for the Crusaders to discover in Palestine a society whose members had in the course of a generation altered their way of life. They spoke a French dialect; they were faithful adherents of the Latin Church, and their government followed the customs that we call feudal. But these superficial likenesses only made the divergences more puzzling to the newcomers.
Had the colonists been more numerous they might have been able to keep up their occidental ways. But they were a tiny minority in a land whose climate and mode of life was strange to them. Actual numbers can only be conjectural; but it seems that at no time were there as many as a thousand barons and knights permanently resident in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Their non-combatant relatives, women and old men, cannot have numbered much more than another thousand. Many children were born, but few survived. That is to say, apart from the clergy, who numbered a few hundreds, and the knights of the Military Orders, there can only have been from two to three thousand adult members of the Frankish upper classes. The combined population of the knightly classes in the Principality of Antioch and the counties of Tripoli and Edessa was probably about the same. These classes remained on the whole racially pure. In Edessa and Antioch there was some intermarriage with the local Greek and Armenian aristocracy; both Baldwin I and Baldwin II had, when Counts of Edessa, married Armenian wives of the Orthodox persuasion, and we are told that some of their nobles followed their example. Joscelin I’s wife and the wife of Waleran of Birejik were Armenians of the separated Church. But farther south there was no local Christian aristocracy; the only eastern element was the Armenian blood in the royal family and the house of Courtenay and, later, the descendants, royal and Ibelin, of the Byzantine Queen, Maria Comnena.
The class of the ‘sergeants’ was more numerous. The sergeants were in origin the fully armed infantry of Frankish stock, who settled on the lords’ fiefs. As they had no pride of birth to maintain, they married with the native Christians; and by 1150 they were beginning to form a class ofpoulains already merging with the native Christians. By 1180 the number of sergeants was estimated at little more than 5000; but we cannot tell what proportion remained of pure Frankish blood. The ‘sodeers’ or mercenary soldiers probably also claimed some Frankish descent. The ‘Turcopoles’, raised locally and armed and trained after the model of the Byzantine light cavalry, whose name they took, consisted partly of native Christians and converts and partly of half-castes. There was perhaps a difference between the half-castes who spoke their fathers’ tongue and those that spoke their mothers’. The Turcopoles were probably drawn from the latter.
Map 4. Jerusalem under the Latin Kings.
Except in the larger towns, the settlers were almost all of French origin; and the language spoken in the kingdom of Jerusalem and the principality of Antioch was the langue d’oeil, familiar to the northern French and the Normans. In the County of Tripoli, with its Toulousain background, thelangue d’oc was probably employed at first. The German pilgrim, John of Wurzburg, who visited Jerusalem in about 1175, was vexed to find that the Germans played no part in Frankish society, although, as he claimed, Godfrey and Baldwin I had been of German origin. He was delighted when at last he found a religious establishment staffed exclusively by Germans.
The towns contained considerable Italian colonies. The Venetians and the Genoese each possessed streets in Jerusalem itself. There were Genoese establishments, guaranteed by treaty, in Jaffa, Acre, Caesarea, Arsuf, Tyre, Beirut, Tripoli, Jebail, Lattakieh, Saint Symeon and Antioch, and Venetian establishments in the larger of these towns. The Pisans had colonies in Tyre, Acre, Tripoli, Botrun, Lattakieh and Antioch, the Amalfitans in Acre and Lattakieh. These were all self-governing communes, whose citizens spoke Italian and did not mingle socially with their neighbours. Akin to them were the establishments owned by Marseilles in Acre, Jaffa, Tyre and Jebail, and by Barcelona in Tyre. Except in Acre, these merchant colonies numbered none of them more than a few hundred persons.
Native Christians, Moslems and Jews
The vast majority of the population was composed of native Christians. In the kingdom of Jerusalem these were of mixed origin, most Arabic-speaking, and carelessly known as Christian Arabs, almost all members of the Orthodox Church. In the County of Tripoli some of the inhabitants were members of the Monothelete sect called the Maronites. Farther north the indigenous inhabitants were mostly Monophysites of the Jacobite Church, but there were very large colonies of Armenians, almost all of the Separated Armenian Church, and, in Antioch, Lattakieh and Cilicia, considerable groups of Greek-speaking Orthodox. In addition there were in the Holy Land religious colonies of every Christian denomination. The monasteries were mainly Orthodox and Greek-speaking; but there were also Orthodox Georgian establishments, and, especially in Jerusalem itself, colonies of Monophysites, both Egyptian and Ethiopian Copts and Syrian Jacobites, and a few Latin groups who had settled there before the Crusades. Many Moslem communities had emigrated when the Christian kingdom was set up. But there were still Moslem villages round Nablus; and the population of many districts that were conquered later by the Franks remained Moslem. In northern Galilee, along the road from Banyas to Acre, the peasants were almost exclusively Moslem. Farther north, in the Buqaia, the Nosairi mountains and the Orontes valley there were heretical Moslem sects acknowledging Frankish rule. Along the southern frontier and in Oultrejourdain there were nomad Bedouin tribes. Massacres and the fear of massacre had greatly reduced the number of Jews in Palestine and Christian Syria. Benjamin of Tudela was distressed to see how small their colonies were when he visited the country in about 1170. In Damascus alone they were more numerous than in all the Christian states. But at some time during the twelfth century they purchased the monopoly of dye-making from the Crown; and glass manufacture was largely in their hands. A small Samaritan community lived on at Nablus.
These various communities formed the basis of the Frankish states; and their new masters did little to disturb them. Where natives could prove their title to lands they were allowed to keep them; but in Palestine and Tripoli, with the exception of estates owned by the native churches, the landowners had almost all been Moslems who had emigrated as a result of the Frankish conquest, leaving large territories in which the new rulers could install their compatriot vassals. It seems that there were no free villages left, such as had existed in earlier Byzantine times. Each village community was tied to the land and paid a portion of its produce to the lord. But there was no uniformity about this proportion. Over the greater part of the country where the villagers followed a simple mixed agriculture the lord probably expected enough produce to feed his household and hispoulains and Turcopoles who lived grouped round the castle; for the native peasant was not fitted to be a soldier himself. In the rich plains agriculture was run on a more commercial basis. Orchards, vineyards and above all sugar-cane plantations were exploited by the lord, and the peasant probably worked for little more than his keep. Except in the lord’s household there was no slave labour, though Moslem prisoners might temporarily be used on the King’s or the great lords’ estates. The villagers’ dealings with their lord were conducted through their headman, called sometimes by the Arabic name of rais, sometimes by a latinized form regulus. On his side the lord employed a compatriot as his factor or drogmannus (dragoman), an Arabic-speaking secretary who could keep the records.
The Fiefs of the Kingdom
Though there was little change in the lives of the peasants, the kingdom of Jerusalem was superficially reorganized according to the pattern of fiefs that we call ‘feudal’. The royal domain consisted of the three cities of Jerusalem, Acre and Nablus and, later, the frontier town of Daron, and the territory around them. It had occupied a larger proportion of the kingdom, but the first kings and especially Queen Melisende were lavish in the gifts of land that they made to friends and to the Church and the religious Orders. Further portions might be temporarily alienated as dowers for widowed queens. The four chief fiefs of the kingdom were the County of Jaffa, usually reserved for a cadet of the royal house; the principality of Galilee, which owed its grandiose title to Tancred’s ambition; the Seigneurie of Sidon; and the Seigneurie of Oultrejourdain. The holders of these fiefs seem to have had their own high officers in imitation of the King’s. So also did the Lord of Caesarea, whose fief was almost as important, though it ranked with the twelve secondary fiefs. After Baldwin II’s reign tenure was based on hereditary right, females succeeding in default of the direct male line. A tenant could only be evicted by a decision of the High Court after some gross misdemeanour. But he owed the King, or his superior lord, a fixed number of soldiers whenever it was required of him; and it seems that there was no time-limit to their service. The Count of Jaffa, the Lord of Sidon and the Prince of Galilee owed a hundred fully armed knights, and the Lord of Oultrejourdain sixty.
The size of the fiefs was variable. The secular fiefs had been set up by conquest and formed solid blocks of land. But the estates of the Church and the Military Orders, which had grown chiefly through charitable gifts and bequests or, in the case of the Orders, from strategical convenience, were scattered throughout the Frankish territories. The unit in which estates were measured was the village, or casal, or, very rarely, a half or a third of a village; but villages also varied in size. Round Safed, in northern Galilee, they seem to have averaged only forty male inhabitants, but we hear of larger villages round Nazareth and smaller villages round Tyre, where, however, the general population was thicker.
Many of the lay-lords also owned money-fiefs. That is to say, they were granted a fixed money revenue from certain towns and villages and in return had to provide soldiers in proportionate numbers. These grants were heritable and almost impossible for the King to annul. As with the landed fiefs he could only hope that the possessor would die without heirs, or at least with only a daughter, for whom he had the right to choose a husband or to insist on the choice of a husband out of the three candidates that he proposed.
The royal cities were obliged to produce soldiers, according to their wealth. Jerusalem was scheduled for sixty-one, Nablus for seventy-five and Acre for eighty. But they were provided not by the bourgeoisie but by the nobility resident in the city, or owners of house-property there. The leading ecclesiastics also owed soldiers in respect of their landed estates or house-property. The bourgeoisie paid its contribution to the government in money taxes. Regular taxes were levied on ports and exports, on sales and purchases, on anchorage, on pilgrims, on the use of weights and measures. There was also the terraticum, a tax on bourgeois property, of which little is known. In addition there might be a special levy to pay for some campaign. In 1166 non-combatants had to pay ten per cent on the value of their movables; and in 1183 there was a capital levy of one per cent on property and debts from the whole population, combined with two per cent on income from the ecclesiastical foundations and the baronage. Beside the produce that their villages had to provide, every peasant owed a personal capitation-tax to his lord; and Moslem subjects were liable to a tithe or dime which went to the Church. The Latin hierarchs continually tried to extend the dime to apply to Christians belonging to the heretic churches. They did not succeed, though they forced King Amalric to refuse an offer made by the Armenian prince Thoros II to send colonists to the depopulated districts of Palestine by their insistence that they should pay the dime. But even with the dime the Moslems found the general level of taxation lower under the Franks than under neighbouring Moslem lords. Nor were Moslems excluded from minor governmental posts. They, as well as Christians, could be employed as customs-officers and tax-collectors.
It is impossible to give a precise account of the constitution of the Frankish states because at no moment was there a fixed constitution. Customs developed or were modified by particular pronouncements. When later lawyers produced such compilations as the Livre au Roi or the Assises de Jerusalem, they were attempting to find out where definite decisions had altered accepted custom rather than to lay down an established governmental code. There were local variants. The Prince of Antioch and the Counts of Edessa and Tripoli normally had little trouble from their vassals. The King of Jerusalem was in a weaker position. He was the Lord’s Anointed, the accepted head of the Franks in the East, with no rival after Baldwin I had demolished the pretensions of the Patriarchate. But, while the lords of Antioch and Tripoli could hand on their power by the accepted rules of hereditary succession, the kingship was elective. Public feeling might support a hereditary claim. In 1174 Baldwin IV was accepted without question to succeed his father, though he was only thirteen years old and a leper. But the confirmation by election was needed. Sometimes the electors made their terms, as when Amalric I was obliged to divorce his wife Agnes before they would allow him the crown. When the natural heir was a woman there were further complications. Her husband might be elected as King; but it seems that he was regarded as deriving his rights through her. In the case of Queen Melisende and her son Baldwin III no one quite knew what was the juridical position; and the whole constitutional problem was disastrously illustrated after Baldwin V’s death in 1186.
The King was at the apex of the social pyramid, but it was a low apex. As the Lord’s Anointed he commanded some prestige. It was high treason to do him an injury. He presided at the High Court, and he was commander-in-chief of the forces of the realm. He was responsible for the central administration and he appointed its officials. As his vassals’ suzerain he could prevent them from alienating their lands, and he could choose husbands for their heiresses. Having no superior lord to consider, he could make grants as he pleased from his own domain, though, like his nobles when they alienated lands, he usually associated his wife and children in the grant, lest there should be some later complaint over the widow’s dower or the son’s inheritance. But there the royal power ended. The royal revenues were restricted and were reduced by over-generous gifts. The King was always short of money. He was at the head of the kingdom but he was under the law of the kingdom; and the law was represented by the High Court. The High Court consisted of the tenants-in-chief of the realm, the lords who owed allegiance direct to the Crown. Leading ecclesiastics attended in virtue of their landed holdings, and foreign communities who possessed land in the kingdom, such as the Venetians or Genoese, sent representatives. Distinguished visitors might be invited to be present, though they did not form part of the Court and had no vote in it.
The High Court
The High Court was fundamentally a court of law. As such it had two main functions. First, it had to elucidate what was the law on particular points. This meant that it passed legislation; for each assise was in theory merely a statement of the law, but in fact was also the definition of a new law. Secondly, it tried those of its members who were guilty of crime and heard cases that they might bring against each other. Trial by peers was an essential feature of Frankish custom; and the King ranked with his tenant-in-chief as primus inter pares, their president but not their master. The theory behind it was that the kingdom had not been conquered by a king but by a company of peers who then elected their king. This theory justified the Court in electing subsequent kings and, in the case of a minority or the King’s captivity, a regent or bailli. The High Court was also consulted on major matters of policy; this was an inevitable development, for without the co-operation of his vassals the King would seldom have been able to carry out his policy. In 1166 the High Court was enlarged to include arriere-vassals, as part of Amalric I’s scheme to find support for the Crown against the chief vassals. In 1162 he had obliged the Court to pass an assise allowing arriere-vassals to appeal against their lords to the High Court, and if the lord refused to answer the summons his tenants could put themselves under the Crown. Though this law provided the King with a useful weapon against the nobility, in the long run it merely added to the power of the High Court and could be used against the King. The Court seems to have heard cases carefully and conscientiously, though the result of trial by battle was accepted as proof. It had no fixed seat but could be summoned by the King wherever was convenient. During the First Kingdom this was usually at Jerusalem or at Acre. The nobles, in their desire to attend, began to neglect their fiefs and to establish residences in either city. But their power as a collective body was weakened by their perpetual quarrels and family feuds, which were intensified and complicated as time went on and almost all the noble houses were connected by intermarriage.
In accordance with the principle of trial by peers, non-noble Frankish settlers had their own cours des bourgeois. These Bourgeois Courts were to be found in every large city. Their president was always the Viscount of the city. There were twelve jurors to each Court, chosen by the lord from his free-born Latin subjects. They acted as judges, though a litigant could engage one of them as counsel. In this case the counsel-juror took no part in the verdict. Jurors were also required to witness any deed or charter made in court. Unlike the practice in the High Court, careful records were kept of all proceedings. The Bourgeois Courts met regularly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, except on feast-days. A case between a noble and a bourgeois was held before the Bourgeois Court. The Bourgeois Court admitted the ordeal by battle and the ordeal by water.
The native communities had at first their own courts for petty cases, under the presidency of the local headman, appointed by the Viscount, where their customary law applied. But during King Amalric I’s reign a Cour de la Fonde was instituted in each of the thirty-three chief market towns. This dealt with commercial questions and took over all cases, even criminal, that involved the native population. It was under a bailli appointed by the local lord and six jurors, two Franks and four natives. Native litigants took the oath each on his own holy book. Moslems could use the Koran; and Moslem visitors admired the fairness of the proceedings. The Cour de la Fonde also registered sales and gifts of all property other than real and was an office for the collection of purchase taxes. There was a right of appeal to the Bourgeois Court whose general procedure it copied. Amalric also set up a Cour de la Chaine in all maritime cities, to cover cases to do with shipping and to be a registry of customs and anchorage dues. Its jurors were drawn from merchants and sailors. In addition, the Italian and Provencal commercial communities had their own consular courts for their internal affairs. The chief feudatories had their own courts ‘baron’ to deal with disputes between their knightly vassals. There were twenty-two of them, as well as four for the King’s domain. Each of these many courts had its clearly defined sphere; but where a case involved litigants of different rank, it was heard in the Court appropriate to the inferior.
Owing to the medieval concept of law which demanded specific laws only when the need arose to define a particular point, the legislative activity of the government seems arbitrary and fitful. Of the laws given in the thirteenth-century Assises de Jerusalem it is probable that six date from Duke Godfrey’s time and another nineteen, of which eleven can be roughly dated, from the period up to 1187.
The administration was in the hands of the chief officers of the household, who were chosen from the tenants-in-chief of the kingdom. First in precedence came the Seneschal. He was master of ceremonies, and as such he carried the sceptre before the King at the coronation; and he was head of the civil service. In particular he was in charge of the treasury, the Secrete, the office into which moneys due to the Crown were paid and from which salaries were taken, and which kept a register of all financial dealings in which the government was involved. The Secrete was a loosely organized bureau, which the Franks took over from the Arabs who in their turn had taken it from the Byzantines. Next after the Seneschal came the Constable, who was greater in actual power. He was head of the Army, under the King, and was responsible for all its organization and administration. At the coronation he carried the King’s banner and held the King’s horse, which became his perquisite. He was responsible for military supplies and military justice. Mercenaries, whether hired by the King or by a lord, were under his special jurisdiction and he saw to it that they were paid properly. If the King or his bailli were absent from a campaign, he had complete control of the expedition. He was assisted by the Marshal, who was his lieutenant in everything. The Chamberlain was in charge of the King’s personal household and finances. On ceremonial occasions he acted as chief Lord-in-Waiting. His was a profitable office, as vassals paying homage were expected to make a gift to him. Certain lands were assigned to the office; but in 1179 the Chamberlain John of Bellesme sold them without apparently causing offence to the King. The functions of the Butler are unknown. His duties were probably purely ceremonial. The Chancellor, as in the West, was always an ecclesiastic, though he was not, as often in the West, the royal chaplain. As head of the chancery, it was his business to draw up and register all charters and to fix the royal seal on them. The chancery remained a records office. As there was no royal justice nor common law, it was never required to issue writs nor set up its own court. Its records seem to have been well kept, though few have survived. The language of the chancery in the twelfth century was Latin. The dating was by the anno Domini and the Roman Indiction, with sometimes the regnal year or the year from the capture of Jerusalem added. The year began at Christmas. The Kings numbered themselves from Baldwin I, regardless of their names. Their title did not at first follow a fixed formula but was eventually standardized as ‘per Dei gratiam in sancta civitate Jerusalem Latinorum Rex’.
The chief local official was the Viscount, who represented the King in the royal cities and the lord in the baronial cities. He collected local taxes and transmitted them to the treasury after taking out what he needed for the expenses of local government. He was responsible for the local law-courts and for keeping order generally in his city. He was chosen from a noble family, but his post was not hereditary. His second in command was known by the Arabic title of mathesep, or sometimes the Master-Sergeant, who had originally been the official responsible for marketing regulations.
The Vassal States
The King of Jerusalem claimed suzerainty over all the Frankish states in the East and considered that he was entitled to demand their rulers to send troops to join him on his expeditions. In fact the suzerainty existed only when the King was strong enough to enforce it, and even in theory neither Antioch nor Tripoli was considered to be part of the kingdom. The earlier kings achieved a personal suzerainty over Tripoli. Count Bertrand paid homage to Baldwin I for his lands in 1109. Count Pons endeavoured to renounce his allegiance to Baldwin II in 1122 but was forced to submit by his own High Court. In 1131 he refused to allow King Fulk to pass through his lands but was punished by the King and forced again into submission. From 1164 to 1171 King Amalric was regent of Tripoli for the child Count Raymond III, but this was probably as the boy’s nearest male relative rather than as his overlord. Raymond III, when he grew up, never admitted the suzerainty, though he was the King’s vassal in respect of his wife’s principality of Galilee. During the campaign of 1187 in which he took part as Prince of Galilee his County of Tripoli declared itself neutral. With the County of Edessa the Kings had a personal bond. Baldwin I, when he appointed Baldwin II to succeed him there, took from him an oath of vassaldom, and Baldwin II followed his example with Joscelin of Courtenay. But Joscelin in his later days acknowledged the Prince of Antioch also as his overlord. Antioch was in a different position, Bohemond I admitted no one as his suzerain; nor did the regents Tancred and Roger, both of them appointed by the High Court of the Principality. Baldwin II acted as regent for the young prince Bohemond II from 1119 to 1126, but, it seems, not by legal right but by invitation of the High Court. He was invited again in 1131, with the additional reason that he was grandfather to the young Princess Constance, whose interests appeared to the Court to be endangered by her mother Alice. After his death, when Alice once again tried to seize power, the High Court invited King Fulk to take over the regency in his place. But here again the King was the young Princess’s nearest male relative, as the husband of her aunt. Had there been in the East a male member of the house of Hauteville he would have been selected. Similarly when the King chose a husband for the Princess he was acting at the request of the High Court and not as suzerain. Baldwin II had asked the King of France to select a husband for his heiress Melisende, without any suggestion that he accepted French suzerainty. When the time came for Constance to take a second husband she made her own choice as a sovereign princess. If she asked permission from King Baldwin III it was because her chosen husband Reynald was his vassal. In 1160 the Antiochenes invited Baldwin II to take over the regency; but here again the King was their young Prince’s nearest male relative. The legal position was never clearly defined. Probably the Prince of Antioch regarded the King of Jerusalem as his senior but not as his superior.
Antioch was also distinct from Tripoli and Edessa in its governmental system. Of the Edessene we know little. Such charters as the Count may have issued are lost. Presumably he had a court of his vassals like any great feudal lord; but the position of the county on the very outpost of Christendom prevented any constitutional development. He lived more like one of the Turkish emirs who surrounded him. The Frankish colonists were few, and there were few great fiefs. The Count depended largely on Armenian officials trained in Byzantine methods. Almost perpetual warfare compelled him to act more autocratically than would have been allowed in a more tranquil land. The constitution of the County of Tripoli seems to have resembled that of Jerusalem. The Count had his High Court by whose rulings he was bound. But his title was hereditary not elective, and his personal domains were far larger than those of any of his vassals. Except on one or two grave matters of policy, as when Pons defied the King of Jerusalem, the Count had little trouble from his barons, who, with the exception of the Genoese lords of Jebail, were descended from his ancestors’ Toulousain vassals. The chief officials of the Court had the same titles and functions as those of Jerusalem. The towns were similarly administered by viscounts.
The Principality of Antioch
In the principality of Antioch the institutions superficially resembled those of the kingdom of Jerusalem. There was a High Court and a Bourgeois Court and the same high officials. Antioch had its own Assises, but their general tenour conformed with that of the Assises of Jerusalem. Under the surface there were, however, many differences. The princely title was hereditary, and the High Court only intervened to appoint a regent if need be. The Prince from the outset kept in his own hands the chief towns of the principality and much of its lands and was chary of making grants of territory except in frontier districts. The money-fief suited him better. It seems that jurors appointed by the Prince sat in the High Court and his personal representatives controlled the Bourgeois Courts. For the administration of the towns and the princely domain, the Prince took over the Byzantine system with its competent bureaucracy and its careful means for raising taxes. Antioch, Lattakieh and Jabala had each its Duke, who was in complete charge of the municipality. He was appointed by the Prince and could be dismissed at his pleasure; but during his period of office he seems to have sat in the High Court. The Dukes of Lattakieh and Jabala were often drawn from the native population. The Duke of Antioch was of noble Frankish birth but was aided by a viscount who might be a native. Like their cousins in Sicily, the Princes of Antioch strengthened themselves against the nobility by making use of native-born officials who were entirely dependent upon the princely favour. They had found in Antioch an educated local society, Greek, Syrian and Armenian in origin, surviving from Byzantine times. A further control of the High Court was secured by appointing jurors, as in the Bourgeois Courts, to sit in it to decide on purely legal questions. The Princes inherited the Byzantine system of assessing and collecting taxes; their Secrete had its own bureaucracy and was not dependent for revenue on local courts as in Jerusalem. They directed policy with little regard to the High Court. They made their own treaties with foreign powers. The whole organization of the principality was closer knit and more effective than that of the other Frankish states. Had it not been for constant wars, for minor or captive princes and the substitution of a French for a Norman dynasty, Antioch might have developed a government as efficient as that of Sicily.
The peculiar position of Antioch was further enhanced by its special relationship with the Byzantine Emperor. According to Byzantine theory the Emperor was the head of the Christian commonwealth. Though he never made any attempt to establish suzerainty over the monarchs of the West, he considered eastern Christendom to be his own sphere. Orthodox Christians under the Caliphate had been under his protection, and his obligations to them were recognized by the Moslems. He had no intention of abdicating his duties because of the Frankish conquest. But there was a difference between Antioch and Edessa on the one hand and Jerusalem and Tripoli on the other. The latter two countries had not been part of the Empire since the seventh century, but the former had been imperial provinces within the lifetime of Alexius I. Alexius, when he induced the leaders of the First Crusade to pay him homage, distinguished between former imperial lands, like Antioch, which were to be restored to him, and further conquests, over which he only claimed an undefined suzerainty. The Crusaders failed to keep their oaths; and Alexius was unable to enforce them. Byzantine policy was always realist. After his victory over Bohemond Alexius modified his demands. By the Treaty of Devol he allowed the Norman dynasty to rule at Antioch but strictly as a vassal; and he demanded certain safeguards, such as the installation of a Greek as Patriarch. This treaty formed the basis of Byzantine claims; but the Franks ignored it. Frankish public opinion seems to have been that Bohemond had indeed behaved badly towards the Emperor, but the Emperor had ruined his case by failing to appear in person. When, however, an Emperor did appear in person, his rights were recognized. That is to say, to judge from King Fulk’s advice in 1137, his claim to suzerainty was accepted as being juridically sound when he was in a position to enforce it. If he did not choose to do so, it could be disregarded. There were a few other occasions when the Emperor was treated as overlord, as when the Princess Constance applied to Manuel to choose her a husband. But as his choice was displeasing to her she ignored it. Imperial suzerainty was thus fitful and lightly borne, but the Princes of Antioch and their lawyers were uneasy about it; and it remained a potential limitation to the Prince’s sovereign independence.
The Count of Edessa admitted imperial overlordship in 1137; but Edessa was further from the imperial frontier, and the question was less urgent. Frankish opinion approved of the Countess of Edessa selling the remaining Edessene lands to the Emperor in 1150; but that was because they were obviously untenable against the Moslems. Raymond of Toulouse had been willing to admit the Emperor as suzerain; and his son Bertrand did homage to Alexius for his future county in 1109. Raymond II repeated this homage to the Emperor John in 1137. Raymond III, though he attacked Byzantium in 1151, received help from the Byzantines in 1163, which may have been a gesture by Manuel to show his overlordship. But it may be that this homage was limited to Tortosa and its neighbourhood which traditionally belonged to the territory of Antioch as part of thetheme of Lattakieh.
With the kingdom of Jerusalem Byzantine juridical relations were still less precise. Baldwin III paid homage to the Emperor Manuel at Antioch in 1158; and Amalric visited Constantinople as a vassal, though as a highly honoured vassal, in 1171. Both Baldwin and Amalric regarded Byzantine friendship as being essential to their policy and were therefore ready to make concessions. But it seems that their lawyers never regarded this vassaldom as more than a temporary expedient.
If the King of Jerusalem had any overlord it was the Pope. The First Crusade anticipated a theocratic state in Palestine; and, had Adhemar of Le Puy lived on, some such organization might have been evolved. It was probably this idea that kept Godfrey from accepting a royal crown. Adhemar’s successor Daimbert envisaged a state controlled by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Baldwin I countered by assuming the crown and by making use of Daimbert’s enemies within the Church. It was clear that the Papacy would not approve of an over-powerful Patriarchate in Jerusalem, which might from its special position and its increasing wealth have set itself up, as Daimbert hoped, to be an Oriental equal of Rome. It was thus easy for the King to play off Pope against Patriarch. He was traditionally obliged to pay homage to the Patriarch at his coronation, but he sought confirmation of his title from the Papacy. The vassaldom was little more than nominal and no stricter than that claimed by the Popes over the Spanish kingdoms; but it was useful to the kingdom, for the Popes felt themselves responsible for keeping up supplies of men and money for the Holy Land and for giving diplomatic help whenever it was needed. The Papacy could also be used to put a check on the Patriarchate and to exercise some control on the Military Orders. But on the other hand the Pope might support the Military Orders against the King; and he often intervened when the King attempted to put some curb on the Italian merchant-cities.
The Church in the kingdom was under the Patriarch of Jerusalem. After the initial trouble caused by Daimbert’s ambition, he was in effect a servant of the Crown. He was elected by the Chapter of the Holy Sepulchre, who nominated two candidates of which the King selected one. Under the Patriarch were the four archbishops of Tyre, Caesarea, Nazareth and Rabboth-Moab, and nine bishops, nine mitred abbots and five priors; but certain other abbeys depended directly on the Papacy, as did the Military Orders. The Palestinian Church was immensely wealthy in lands and in money-fiefs. The leading ecclesiastics usually owed sergeant-service rather than knights-service. The Patriarch and the Chapter of the Holy Sepulchre each owed five hundred sergeants, the Bishop of Bethlehem two hundred, the Archbishop of Tyre a hundred and fifty, as did the abbots of Saint Mary Josaphat and Mount Sion. The Convent of Bethany, founded by Queen Melisende for her sister, possessed the whole town of Jericho. In addition the Patriarchate and many of the more celebrated abbeys had been given vast estates all over western Europe, from which the revenues were sent to Palestine. The Church had its own courts, to deal with cases concerning heresy and religious discipline, marriage, including divorce and adultery, and testaments. They followed the usual rules and procedure of the Canon Law Courts in the West.
The territories of Antioch, Tripoli and Edessa, were ecclesiastically under the Patriarch of Antioch. The delineation of the Patriarch’s spheres had given rise to difficulties; for traditionally Tyre was included in the Patriarchate of Antioch, though it formed by conquest part of the kingdom of Jerusalem. Paschal II ruled that Tyre, with its dependent bishoprics of Acre, Sidon and Beirut, should be transferred to Jerusalem. This was done, as it corresponded to political realities. But the attempts of the Patriarchs of Jerusalem to obtain jurisdiction over the three Tripolitan bishoprics of Tripoli, Tortosa and Jabala failed, in spite of fitful support from the Papacy. Raymond of Toulouse seems to have hoped for an autonomous Church in his future county; but his successors admitted the ecclesiastical suzerainty of Antioch. It weighed lightly on them; for they appointed their bishops without interference.
Like his brother of Jerusalem the Patriarch of Antioch was elected by the Chapter but in fact appointed by the secular ruler, who could also secure his deposition. We know that certain Princes paid homage to the Patriarch at their coronation; but it was probably only under exceptional circumstances. Under the Patriarch were the Archbishops of Albara, Tarsus and Mamistra, as well as Edessa. The archbishopric of Turbessel was set up later, with the official title of Hierapolis (Menbij). The number of bishoprics varied according to political circumstances. There were nine Latin abbeys and two priories. The chief monastic establishments were those of Saint Paul and Saint George, where the Benedictines seem to have displaced Greek monks, and Saint Symeon, where the two rites existed side by side. The Antiochene Church was not quite so wealthy as that of Jerusalem; indeed, many Palestinian establishments owned estates in the principality.
The Military Orders
Long before the end of the twelfth century the secular Church in the Frankish states was completely overshadowed by the Military Orders. Since their establishment they had grown steadily in numbers and in wealth, and by 1187 they were the chief landowners in Outremer. Gifts and purchase continually increased their estates. Many Palestinian nobles joined their ranks; and recruits came in steadily from the West. They answered an emotional need of the time, when there were many men anxious to take up the religious life but wishful still to be active and to do battle for the Faith. And they answered a political need. There was a perpetual shortage of soldiers in Outremer. The feudal organization depended too much on the accidents of family life in the noble houses to provide a replacement for the men that died in battle or of sickness. Visiting Crusaders would fight well for a season or two, but then they returned home. The Military Orders produced a constant supply of devoted professional soldiers who cost the King nothing and who were rich enough besides to build and maintain castles on a scale that few secular lords could undertake. Without their assistance the Crusader-states would have perished far sooner. Of their actual numbers we have only incidental evidence. The Hospitallers sent five hundred knights with a proportionate number of other ranks on the Egyptian campaign of 1158; and the Templar knights taking part in the campaign of 1187 numbered about three hundred. In each case these probably represented knights from the kingdom of Jerusalem alone; and a certain number would have been kept back for garrison duties. Of the two Orders the Hospitallers were probably the larger and the richer; but they were still busily concerned with charitable activities. Their hostel in Jerusalem could house a thousand pilgrims; and they maintained a hospital for the needy sick there that survived the Saracen reconquest. They distributed alms daily amongst the poor with a generosity that astounded visitors. Both they and the Templars policed the pilgrim-routes, taking particular care of the sacred bathing-places in the Jordan. The Templars also distributed alms, but less lavishly than the Hospitallers. Their attention was given more exclusively to military affairs. They were famed for their courage in attack and regarded themselves as being dedicated to offensive warfare. They devoted themselves also to banking and soon made themselves the financial agents for visiting Crusaders; and they were later to win unpopularity by the suspicion of strange esoteric rites; but as yet they were universally esteemed for their bravery and chivalry.
The advantages brought by the Military Orders were balanced by grave disadvantages. The King had no control over them, for their only suzerain was the Pope. Lands that were given to them were held in mortmain; no services were due from them. They refused to let their tenants pay thedimedue to the Church. The knights fought with the King’s armies merely as voluntary allies. Occasionally the King or a lord might put a castle under their temporary control, and they were sometimes asked to act as trustees for a minor. In such cases they were liable for the proper services. The Grand Masters or their deputies sat in the High Court of the kingdom; and their representatives on the High Courts of the Prince of Antioch and the Count of Tripoli. But the advice that they gave there was apt to be irresponsible. If they disliked the official policy they might refuse to co-operate, as when the Templars boycotted the expedition to Egypt in 1158. The perpetual rivalry between the two Orders was a constant danger. It was seldom that they could be induced to campaign together. Each Order followed its own line in diplomacy, regardless of the official policy of the kingdom. We find both Orders making their treaties with Moslem rulers; and the story of the negotiations with the Assassins in 1172 shows the Templars’ readiness to upset an obviously desirable arrangement in the interest of their financial advantages and their frank disdain of the authority of the royal courts. The Hospitallers were throughout more temperate and unselfish; but even with them the Order took precedence over the kingdom.
The Italian Merchant Cities
A similar balance of advantage and disadvantage was shown in the relations between the Frankish states and the Italian and Provencal merchant-cities. The Frankish colonists were soldiers, not sailors. Tripoli and Antioch each later developed a small fleet, and the Orders built flotillas, but the kingdom itself, with its few good harbours and general shortage of timber, never had an adequate naval establishment. For any expedition that involved sea-power such as the conquest of the coastal towns or the campaigns against Egypt, it was necessary to invoke the help of some maritime power. The two great sea-powers of the East were Byzantium and Egypt. But Egypt was always a potential and often a real enemy, and Byzantium was always suspect. The Sicilian fleet could have been useful; but Sicilian policy was untrustworthy. The Italians and southern French were better allies; and their help was further needed to keep open the sea-routes to the West and to transport pilgrims, soldiers and colonists to Outremer. But the merchant-cities had to be paid. They demanded trading facilities and rights, their own quarters in the larger towns, and the complete or partial freedom from customs-dues; and their colonies had to be given extra-territorial privileges. These concessions were not on the whole resented by the Frankish authorities. Any loss in revenue was balanced by the trade that they stimulated; and the royal courts had no wish to have to administer Genoese or Venetian law, especially as cases involving a citizen of the kingdom, or of serious crime, such as murder, were reserved to them. Occasionally there were disputes. The Venetians were at perpetual enmity with the Archbishop of Tyre; and the Genoese had a long quarrel with King Amalric I. In both cases the Papacy supported the Italians, who probably had legal right on their side. But the merchant-cities were out not for the welfare of Christendom but for their own commercial gain. Usually the two interests coincided; but if they clashed the immediate commercial interest prevailed. The Italians and Provencals were therefore unsteady friends for the King. Moreover, the jealousy between the two great Orders was pale beside that between the various merchant-cities. Venice would far sooner help the Moslems than help Genoa or Pisa or Marseilles; and her rivals held similar views. Thus, while the help given by them all was essential in maintaining the existence of Outremer, intrigues and riots between their colonists and their bland readiness to betray the common cause for momentary profit cancelled out much of its value.
To pilgrims in particular they seemed shamefully greedy and un-Christian. The conquest greatly stimulated the pilgrim-traffic; the huge hostel of the Hospitallers was usually full. Despite the original purpose of the Crusade the route across Anatolia was still unsafe. Only a well-armed company could brave its dangers. The average pilgrim preferred to travel by sea. He had to obtain a berth in an Italian ship; and the fares were very high. A number of pilgrims might band together to charter a whole ship, but even so a captain and crew were costly to hire. It was cheaper for a pilgrim from northern France or England to travel in one of the small convoys that sailed yearly from the Channel ports to the East. But that was a long, perilous journey. Atlantic storms had to be faced; there were Moslem corsairs lying in wait in the Straits of Gibraltar and along the African coast. From Oporto or Lisbon to Sicily there were no ports at which water or provisions could be safely obtained, and it was difficult to carry sufficient supplies for the men and horses on board. It was far simpler to go overland to Provence or Italy and there embark in vessels well used to the voyage. For a single pilgrim a berth was found more easily and cheaply in ports in the King of Sicily’s domain; but large parties were dependent on the fleets of the great merchant-cities.
When he landed at Acre or Tyre or St Symeon, the traveller found himself at once in a strange atmosphere. Beneath the feudal superstructure Outremer was an eastern land. The luxury of its life impressed and shocked Occidentals. In western Europe life was still simple and austere. Clothes were made of wool and seldom laundered. Washing facilities were few, except in some old towns where the tradition of Roman baths lingered on. Even in the greatest castle furniture was rough and utilitarian and carpets were almost unknown. Food was coarse and lacked variety, especially during the long winter months. There was little comfort and little privacy anywhere. The Frankish East made a startling contrast. There were not, perhaps, many houses as large and splendid as the palace built early next century by the Ibelins at Beirut, with its mosaic floors, its marble walls and its painted ceilings, and great windows looking, some westward over the sea, and others eastward over gardens and orchards to the mountains. The Royal Palace at Jerusalem, lodged in part of al-Aqsa Mosque, was certainly humbler, though the palace at Acre was a sumptuous edifice. But every noble and rich bourgeois filled his town-house with similar splendour. There were carpets and damask hangings, elegantly carved and inlaid tables and coffers, spotless bed-linen and table-linen, dinner-services in gold and silver, cutlery, fine faience and even a few dishes of porcelain from the Farther East. In Antioch water was brought by aqueducts and pipes to all the great houses from the springs at Daphne. Many houses along the Lebanese coast had their private supplies. In Palestine, where water was less abundant, the cities had well-organized storage tanks; and in Jerusalem the sewerage system installed by the Romans was still in perfect order. The great frontier-fortresses were almost as comfortably appointed as the town-houses, grim and fierce though life might be outside the walls. They had baths, elegant chambers for the ladies of the household and sumptuous reception halls. Castles belonging to the Military Orders were slightly more austere; but in the great family seats, such as Kerak in Moab or Tiberias, the chatelain lived more splendidly than any king in western Europe.
The clothes of the settlers soon became as Oriental and luxurious as their furnishings. When a knight was not in armour he wore a silk burnous and usually a turban. On campaigns he wore a linen surcoat over his armour, to protect the metal from the heat of the sun, and a kefieh in the Arab style over his helmet. The ladies adopted the traditional eastern fashion of a long under-robe and a short tunic or coat, heavily embroidered with gold thread and maybe with jewels. In winter they wore furs, as did their husbands. Out of doors they were veiled like the Moslem women, but less from modesty than to protect their complexions, which were generously covered with paint; and they affected a mincing gait. But, for all their airs of delicacy and langour, they were as courageous as their husbands and brothers. Many a noblewoman was called upon to lead the defence of her castle in the absence of her lord. The wives of merchants copied the ladies of the aristocracy and often outshone them in the richness of their apparel. The successful courtesans — a class unknown hitherto in western society — were equally gorgeous. Of Paschia de Riveri, the shopkeeper’s wife from Nablus whose charms ensnared the Patriarch Heraclius, the chronicler says that you would have thought her a countess or a baroness from her silks and jewels.
Strange though this luxury seemed to the western pilgrim, it was natural to a visitor from the Moslem East or from Byzantium. The Frankish colonists had inevitably to try to fit into their new environment, and they could not escape contact with their subjects and their neighbours. There was the climate to consider. Winters in Palestine and Syria can be almost as bleak and cold as in western Europe, but they are short. The long, sweltering summers soon taught the colonists that they must wear different clothes, eat different foods and keep different hours. The vigorous habits of the north were out of place. Instead, they must learn native ways. They must employ native servants. Native nurses looked after their children, and native grooms their horses. There were strange diseases about, for which their own doctors were useless; they soon had to rely on native medicine. Inevitably they learnt to understand the natives and to work in with them. In the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the County of Tripoli the absence of a native aristocracy to challenge their rule, once the Moslems had fled, made this easy. Farther north, the Greek and Armenian aristocracy were jealous of them and politics interfered with their mutual understanding; though the Armenians in the end met them half-way and adopted many Frankish habits.
Friendship with the Moslems
Between the Franks and their Moslem neighbours there could never be lasting peace, but there was increasing contact. The revenues of the Frankish states came largely from tolls levied on the trade between the Moslem interior and the coast. Moslem merchants must be allowed to come down freely to the seaports and must be treated fairly. Out of their commercial connections friendship grew. The Order of the Temple, with its great banking activities, was ready to extend its operations to oblige infidel clients and kept officials who could specialize in Moslem affairs. At the same time the wiser statesmen amongst the Franks saw that their kingdom could only last if the Moslem world were kept disunited; and for this purpose diplomatic missions passed to and fro. Frankish and Moslem lords were often received with honour at courts of the rival faith. Captives or hostages often spent years in the enemies’ castles or palaces. Though few Moslems troubled to learn French, many Franks, nobles as well as merchants, spoke Arabic. A few, like Reynald of Sidon, even took an interest in the Arabic literature. In times of war each side appreciated gestures of gallantry and chivalry. In times of peace lords from either side of the frontier would join together in hunting expeditions.
Nor was there complete religious intolerance. The two great Faiths shared a common background. The Moslem chroniclers were as interested as the Christian when relics believed to be of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were discovered at Hebron. Even in times of hostility Frankish pilgrims could penetrate to the shrine of Our Lady of Sardenay in the hills behind Damascus; and the protection given by the Bedouins to the great monastery of St Catherine in the Sinai desert was usually extended to its visitors. Reynald of Chatillon’s brutal treatment of Moslem pilgrims shocked his fellow-believers almost as much as it infuriated Saladin. William of Tyre was ready to pay tribute to Nur ed-Din’s piety, though he disagreed with his creed. Moslem writers often showed admiration of Frankish chivalry.
The atmosphere of the time is best illustrated in the memoirs of the Munqidhite prince Usama of Shaizar. The Munqidhites were a petty dynasty in constant fear of absorption by more powerful co-religionists. They were therefore ready to come to terms with the Franks; and Usama himself spent many years at the courts of Damascus and Cairo when both were in close diplomatic connection with Jerusalem. As an envoy, a tourist and a sportsman Usama often visited Frankish lands, and, though when writing he consigns them all piously to perdition, he had many Frankish friends whose conversation he enjoyed. He was shocked by the crudity of their medicine, though he learnt from them a sure cure for scrofula, and he was astounded by the latitude allowed to their women; and he was embarrassed when a Frankish acquaintance offered to send his son to be educated in western Europe. He thought them a little barbarous, and would laugh about them with his native Christian friends. But they were people with whom he could reach an understanding. The one bar to friendship was provided by newcomers from the West. Once when he was staying with the Templars at Jerusalem and was praying with their permission in the corner of the old Mosque al-Aqsa, a knight roughly insulted him; whereupon another Templar hurried up to explain that the rude man had only just arrived from Europe and did not as yet know any better.
The Orthodox Church
It was indeed the immigrants, come to fight for the Cross and determined to brook no delay, whose crudity continually ruined the policy of Outremer. They were particularly strong in the Church. Not one of the Latin Patriarchs of Jerusalem in the twelfth century was born in Palestine, and of the great ecclesiastics only William, Archbishop of Tyre, to whom the Patriarchate was refused. The influence of the Church was seldom in favour of an understanding with the infidel; and it was even more disastrous in its relations with the native Christians. The native Christians had great influence at the Moslem courts. Many of the best-known Arabic writers and philosophers and almost all the physicians were Christian. They could have formed a bridge between the eastern and western worlds.
The Orthodox communities in Palestine had accepted the Latin hierarchy because at the time of the conquest its own upper clergy were all in exile. The Patriarch Daimbert had attempted to deprive their clergy of their positions at the Holy Sepulchre, but strange events at the ceremony of the Holy Fire in 1101 and the influence of the King had restored Greek canons to the church and had allowed the celebration of the Orthodox rite there. The Crown throughout was friendly to the Orthodox. Morphia, Baldwin II’s queen and Melisende’s mother was an Orthodox princess as were the queens of Melisende’s two sons. The Abbot of St Sabas, the leading Orthodox hierarch left in Palestine, was treated with honour by Baldwin I; and Melisende gave lands to the abbey, which probably owed service to the Crown. The Emperor Manuel was able to maintain a protective interest in the Orthodox, illustrated by the repairs for which he was responsible in the two great Churches of the Holy Sepulchre and the Nativity. The monastery of St Euthymius in the Judaean wilderness was rebuilt and redecorated about the same time, perhaps with his help. But there was no increase in cordiality between the Latin and Greek clergy. The Russian pilgrim, Daniel, in 1104 was hospitably received in Latin establishments; but the Greek pilgrim, Phocas, in 1184, though he visited Latin establishments, had no liking for Latins, except for a Spanish hermit who had at one time lived in Anatolia; and he relates with glee a miracle that discomfited the Latin ecclesiastic whom he calls the ‘intruder’ Bishop of Lydda. It is probable that the attempt of the Latin hierarchy to make the Orthodox pay the dime, together with resentment that their rite was seldom permitted in the great churches of their Faith, lessened the liking of the Orthodox for Frankish rule, and made them ready, once Manuel’s protection had ended, to accept and even to welcome Saladin’s reconquest. In Antioch the presence of a powerful Greek community and political developments had caused an open hostility between Greeks and Latins which seriously weakened the principality.
The Luxury of Outremer
In the kingdom itself the heretic sects were of little importance outside of Jerusalem, where almost all of them kept establishments at the Holy Sepulchre. Daimbert had tried to eject them too, without success. The Crown protected their rights. Indeed, Queen Melisende gave her personal support to the Jacobite Syrians when they had a lawsuit against a Frankish knight. In the County of Tripoli the chief heretic Church was that of the Maronites, the surviving adherents of Monothelete doctrine. With them the western Church acted with rare tact and forbearance; and about 1180 they agreed to admit the supremacy of the Roman See, provided that they might keep their Syriac liturgy and customs; nor did they renounce their heretical doctrine of Christ’s single will. The negotiations, of which too little is known, were ably managed by the Patriarch Aimery of Antioch. The admission of this first Uniate Church showed that the Papacy was ready to permit divergent usages and even doubtful theology, provided that its ultimate authority was recognized.
In the principality of Antioch the separated Armenian Church was powerful and was encouraged by the Princes, who found it a useful counter against the Orthodox; and in Edessa the Armenians, though they were distrusted by Baldwin I and Baldwin II, enjoyed the friendship of the house of Courtenay. Many Armenian bishops came to recognize papal supremacy, and some attended Synods of the Latin Church, forgiving in the Latin doctrines what they thought unpardonable in the Greek. The Jacobite Syrians were at first frankly hostile to the Crusaders and preferred Moslem rule. But, after the fall of Edessa, they became reconciled to the Prince of Antioch, nominally because of a miracle at the tomb of St Barsauma, but actually from a common fear and hatred of Byzantium. The Jacobite Patriarch Michael, one of the great historians of the time, was a friend of the Patriarch Aimery and paid a cordial visit to Jerusalem. None of the other heretic churches was of importance in the Frankish states.
The Franks’ Moslem subjects accepted their masters calmly and admitted the justice of their administration; but they would obviously be unreliable if things went badly for the Christians. The Jews, with good reason, preferred the rule of the Arabs, who always treated them honestly and kindly, if with a certain contempt.
To the contemporary western pilgrim Outremer was shocking because of its luxury and licence. To the modem historian it is rather the intolerance and dishonourable barbarity of the Crusaders that is to be regretted. Yet both aspects can be explained by the atmosphere that reigned there. Life amongst the Frankish colonists was uneasy and precarious. They were in a land where intrigue and murder flourished and enemies lay in wait across the near-by frontiers. No one knew when he might not receive a knife-thrust from a devotee of the Assassins or poison from one of his servants. Mysterious diseases of which they knew little were rife. Even with the help of local doctors, no Frank lived for long in the East. Women were more fortunate than men. They avoided the risks of battle and, owing to better medical knowledge, childbirth was less dangerous there than in the West. But infant mortality was high, especially among the boys. Fief after fief fell into the hands of an heiress, whose inheritance might lure gallant adventurers from the West; but too often great estates lacked a lord at the hour of crisis, and every marriage was a matter of dispute and of plotting. Marriages were often sterile. Many of the toughest warriors failed to father a child. Intermarriage between the few noble families increased personal rivalries. Fiefs were joined and divided with little regard to geographical convenience. There were perpetual quarrels between the next-of-kin.
The social structure that the Franks brought from the West demanded a steady hereditary succession and a maintenance of man-power. The physical decline of the human element was full of danger. Fear made them brutal and treacherous, and uncertainty encouraged their love of frivolous gaiety. As their tenure weakened, their feats and tournaments grew more lavish. Visitors and natives alike were horrified by the extravagance and the immorality that they saw all around them, and the worst offender was the Patriarch Heraclius. But a wise visitor would understand that beneath the splendid surface all was not well. The King, for all his silk and gold, often lacked the money to pay his soldiers. The proud Templar, counting his money bags, might at any moment be summoned to battles more cruel than any that the West had known. Revellers like the wedding guests at Kerak in 1183 might rise from the table to hear the mangonels of the infidel pounding against the castle walls. The gay, gallant trappings of life in Outremer hung thinly over anxiety, uncertainty and fear; and an onlooker might well wonder whether even under the best of rulers the adventure could endure for long.