‘His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.’ JOB XLI, 24
King Baldwin’s intervention at Tripoli in 1109 revealed him as the chief potentate of the Frankish East. He had won his position by patient and arduous industry and by boldness of enterprise. When he arrived in Jerusalem, against the allied opposition of the Patriarch Daimbert and the Prince of Antioch, it was to inherit an empty treasury and a scattered dominion, made up of the central mountain-ridge of Palestine, the plain of Esdraelon and a few outlying fortresses set in a hostile countryside, and a tiny army of lawless, arrogant knights and untrustworthy native mercenaries. The only organized body in the kingdom was the Church; and within the Church there were two parties, Daimbert’s and Arnulf’s. Godfrey’s central administration had been conducted by his household, which was small and ill-suited to govern a country. The barons to whom border castles had been entrusted were left to rule their territories as they pleased.
Baldwin saw that the most pressing danger was of a Moslem attack before his state could be set in order. Believing that the best defence is to take the offensive, he started out, before he had even settled the urgent question of his relations with Daimbert or had himself assumed the crown, on a campaign to awe the infidel. His exploits at Edessa and his victory at the Dog River had given him a terrible reputation, from which he sought to profit. Barely a week after his arrival at Jerusalem he marched down to Ascalon and made a demonstration in front of its walls. But the fortress was too strong for his little army to attack; so he moved eastward to Hebron and thence down into the Negeb to Segor, in the salt land at the southern tip of the Dead Sea, burning villages as he went, and on through the wilderness of Edom to Mount Hor, and its ancient monastery of St Aaron, by Petra. Though he made no permanent settlements in the region, his progress cowed the Arabs. For the next few years they refrained from infiltrating into his territory.
He returned to Jerusalem a few days before Christmas. The Patriarch Daimbert had had time to reflect on his situation. He bowed to the inevitable; and on Christmas Day, 1100, he crowned Baldwin King of Jerusalem. In return, he was confirmed in the Patriarchate.
In the early spring of 1101 Baldwin heard that a rich Arab tribe was passing through Transjordan. At once he led a detachment across the river and fell by night on its encampment. Only a few of the Arabs escaped. The majority of men were slain in their tents, and the women and children were carried off into captivity, together with a great hoard of money and precious stuffs. Amongst the captives was the wife of one of the sheikhs of the tribe. She was on the point of bearing a child; and when Baldwin learnt of her condition, he gave orders that she should be released with her maid-servant, two female camels and a good supply of food and drink. She gave birth successfully by the wayside, where her husband soon found her. Deeply moved by Baldwin’s courtesy he hurried after him to thank him and to promise that some day he would repay him for his kindness.
News of the raid added to Baldwin’s fame. In March embassies came to Jerusalem from the coastal cities, Arsuf, Caesarea, Acre and Tyre, bearing valuable gifts; while Duqaq of Damascus sent to offer the sum of fifty thousand gold besants for the ransom of the captives that Baldwin had made at the battle of the Dog River. Baldwin’s most pressing financial problem was thereby solved.
1101: Capture of Arsuf and Caesarea
Their tribute did not long benefit Arsuf or Caesarea. In March a Genoese squadron was sighted off Haifa, and on 15 April it put in at Jaffa. Amongst the passengers was Maurice, Cardinal-Bishop of Porto, sent out as Legate by Pope Paschal. Hitherto Baldwin had been dependent for sea-power on the small Pisan fleet that had accompanied the Pisan archbishop, his enemy Daimbert, to the East. An alliance with the Genoese, chief rivals of the Pisans, suited him better. He hurried down to Haifa to greet them and to receive the Legate, and took their leaders with them to spend Easter at Jerusalem. There they made an agreement to serve him for a season. Their payment was to be one-third of all the booty that might be captured, of goods as well as of money, and a street in the bazaar quarter of every conquered town. As soon as the pact was signed, the allies moved against Arsuf, Baldwin by land and the Genoese by sea. Resistance soon broke down. The authorities of the town offered to capitulate on condition that the inhabitants might emigrate safely with their families and their possessions to Moslem territory. Baldwin accepted their terms. They were escorted by his troops to Ascalon. Baldwin then garrisoned the town, after assigning their share to the Genoese.
From Arsuf the allies went to Caesarea, whose siege began on 2 May. The garrison, relying on its old Byzantine walls, refused to surrender; but on 17 May it was taken by assault. The victorious soldiers were given permission to pillage the city as they pleased; and the horrors of the sack shocked even their own leaders. The cruellest massacre took place in the Great Mosque, which once had been the synagogue of Herod Agrippa. Many of the citizens had taken refuge there and begged for mercy. But they were butchered, men and women alike, till the floor was a lake of blood. In all the city only a few girls and young infants were spared, and the chief magistrate and the commander of the garrison, whom Baldwin himself saved in order to obtain good ransom-money. The ferocity was deliberate. Baldwin wished to show that he would keep his word to all that came to terms with him. Otherwise he would be pitiless.
Baldwin had only time to divide the booty according to his pact and to install a Frankish garrison before the news came to him that an Egyptian army had entered Palestine.
The Fatimid vizier, al-Afdal, was eager to avenge the disaster at Ascalon, two years before, and had fitted out an expedition under the command of the Mameluk, Sa’ad ed-Daulah al-Qawasi. It reached Ascalon in mid-May and advanced as far as Ramleh, hoping, perhaps, to penetrate to Jerusalem while Baldwin was still occupied at Caesarea. Baldwin hastened with his forces to Ramleh; whereupon Sa’ad fell back on Ascalon to await reinforcements. After fortifying Ramleh, Baldwin set up his headquarters at Jaffa, so as to be able to watch the Egyptians’ movements and at the same time keep in touch with his maritime communications. Apart from a short visit to Jerusalem for administrative purposes in July, he remained at Jaffa all through the summer. At the end of August an intercepted letter told him that new detachments had reached the Egyptians and that they were preparing to march on Jerusalem.
1101: First Battle of Ramleh
On 4 September Sa’ad moved his forces slowly up to the outskirts of Ramleh. Two days later Baldwin held a council of war and decided to attack at dawn, without waiting to be attacked. He had only two hundred and sixty horsemen and nine hundred infantrymen; but they were well armed and experienced; while the huge army of the Egyptians, which he estimated at eleven thousand horsemen and twenty-one thousand infantry, was lightly armed and untrained. He divided his troops into five corps, one under a knight called Bervold, the second under Geldemar Carpenel, lord of Haifa, the third under Hugh of Saint-Omer, who had succeeded Tancred as Prince of Galilee, and the fourth and fifth under himself. Inspired by the presence of the True Cross, by a stirring sermon delivered by Arnulf of Rohes, and by a special absolution given by the Cardinal-Legate, the Franks marched out to Ramleh and at sunrise fell on the Egyptians, near Ibelin, south-west of the town.
Bervold led the attack; but his troops were mown down by the Egyptians and he himself slain. Geldemar Carpenel hurried to his rescue, only to perish also with all his men. The Galilean corps followed; but they made no effect on the Egyptian masses. After heavy losses Hugh of Saint-Omer extricated his men and fled towards Jaffa, pursued by the Egyptian left. It seemed that all was lost. But King Baldwin, after publicly confessing his sins before the True Cross and then haranguing his company, mounted on his brave Arab charger, Gazelle, galloped at the head of his knights into the heart of the enemy. The Egyptians, confident of victory, were taken by surprise. After a brief struggle their centre turned and fled; and the panic spread to their right. Baldwin, forbidding his men to stop to pillage corpses or to sack the enemy camp, chased them to the walls of Ascalon. Then he rallied his men and retired to divide the spoils won on the battlefield.
Meanwhile Hugh of Saint-Omer had arrived at Jaffa, to report that the battle was lost. The Queen and her court were waiting there. Hearing of the disaster and believing that the King was dead, they sent a messenger at once to the only man that they thought could help them now, to Tancred at Antioch. Next morning an army came into sight. They thought that it was the Egyptians; and great was their rejoicing when they discerned the Frankish banners and recognized the King. A second messenger was dispatched to Antioch, with the news that all was well; and Tancred, who had been prepared, with some relish, to set out for the south, was told that he could stay at home.
For the moment the danger was averted. The Egyptians had suffered heavy losses and were not disposed to renew the campaign that season. But the resources of Egypt were enormous. Al-Afdal had no difficulty in equipping a second army that should continue the struggle next year. In the meantime Baldwin received the visit of the princes that had survived the Anatolian Crusades of 1101. Led by William of Aquitaine, Stephen of Blois and Stephen of Burgundy and the Constable Conrad, and accompanied by various barons from the Low Countries and by Ekkehard of Aura and Bishop Manasses, most of whom had come by sea to Antioch, they reached the neighbourhood of Beirut in the early spring of 1102. To ensure their safe passage through enemy country Baldwin sent an escort to meet them there and to convey them to Jerusalem. After celebrating Easter at the Holy Places the leaders prepared to return home. William of Aquitaine safely embarked for Saint Symeon at the end of April; but the ship in which Stephen of Blois and Stephen of Burgundy, with several others, had taken their passage was driven ashore by a storm off Jaffa. Before another ship could be found to accommodate them, there was news that a fresh Moslem host was marching up from Egypt. Owing to this fateful mishap they remained to assist in the coming struggle.
1102: Second Battle of Ramleh
In mid-May 1102 the Egyptian army, consisting of some twenty thousand Arabs and Sudanese, under the command of the Vizier’s own son, Sharaf al-Ma’ali, assembled at Ascalon and moved up towards Ramleh. Baldwin had made his preparations. An army of several thousand Christians waited at Jaffa; and the Galilean garrisons were ready to send detachments when required. But Baldwin’s scouts misled him. Believing the Egyptians to be a small body of raiders he decided to destroy them himself without calling upon his reserves. He had with him at Jerusalem his friends from the West, Stephen of Blois, Stephen of Burgundy, the Constable Conrad, Hugh, Count of Lusignan and various Belgian knights. He proposed to them to set out with his cavalry to finish off the job. Stephen of Blois ventured to suggest that it was a rash undertaking; a better reconnaissance would be desirable. But nobody even listened to Stephen, remembering his cowardice at Antioch. He joined his comrades without further complaint.
On 17 May King Baldwin set out with some five hundred horsemen from Jerusalem. They rode gaily, with little order. When they came out into the plain and suddenly saw before them the vast Egyptian army, Baldwin realized his mistake. But there could be no turning back. They were already seen, and the Egyptian light cavalry was riding up to cut off their retreat. Their only chance was to charge headlong into the enemy. The Egyptians, believing at first that this must be the vanguard of a greater army, nearly gave up before the impact; but when they saw that no other force followed, they rallied and closed in on the Franks. Baldwin’s ranks broke. A few knights, led by Roger of Rozoy and Baldwin’s cousin, Hugh of Le Bourg, cut their way through the Egyptian host and reached the safety of Jaffa. Many, such as Gerard of Avesnes and Godfrey’s former chamberlain, Stabelon, were killed on the field. But King Baldwin himself and his chief comrades made their way into the little fortress of Ramleh, where they were surrounded by the Egyptian army.
Nightfall saved them from immediate attack. But the defences of Ramleh were pitiable. Only one tower, built by Baldwin the previous year, might possibly be held; and into that they crowded. In the middle of the night an Arab came to the gate and asked to see the King. He was admitted and revealed himself as the husband of the lady to whom Baldwin had shown courtesy during his raid on Transjordan. In gratitude he warned the King that the Egyptian assault would begin at dawn and that he must escape at once. Baldwin took his advice. However much he may have regretted the desertion of his comrades — and he was not a man with a highly developed sense of honour — he saw that on his own preservation depended the preservation of the kingdom. With a groom and three other companions he slipped out on horseback, through the enemy lines, trusting his Gazelle to take him to safety. During the same night, Lithard of Cambrai, Viscount of Jaffa, and Gothman of Brussels separately made their escape. Gothman, though severely wounded, managed to reach Jerusalem, where he brought tidings of the disaster but counselled resistance; for he believed that Baldwin was still alive.
Early next morning the Egyptians stormed over the walls of Ramleh, and piled faggots round the tower in which the knights had taken refuge. Rather than perish in the flames, the Frankish chivalry charged out at the enemy, with the Constable Conrad at their head. But there was no escape. They were all hewn down on the spot or captured. Conrad’s bravery so impressed the Egyptians that they spared his life. He and more than a hundred of his companions were sent in captivity to Egypt. Of the other leaders Stephen of Burgundy, Hugh of Lusignan and Geoffrey of Vendome were killed in the battle, and with them died Stephen of Blois, who thus by his glorious death redeemed his reputation. The Countess Adela could sleep content.
The Queen and the Court were once more at Jaffa. There Roger of Rozoy and his fellow-fugitives told them of terrible defeat. They feared that the King had fallen with all his knights, and they made plans to flee by sea while there was still time. But on 20 May the Egyptian army came up to the city walls and the Egyptian fleet approached over the southern horizon. Their worst fears seemed realized when an Egyptian soldier brandished before them a head that was recognized as the King’s, but which was, in fact, that of Gerbod of Winthinc, who greatly resembled him. At that moment, as though by a miracle, a little ship was seen sailing down from the north with the King’s own standard at the mast-head.
1102: King Baldwin at Jaffa
On his escape from Ramleh, Baldwin had made for the coast, in an attempt to reach the army at Jaffa. But Egyptian troops were scouring the countryside. For two nights and two days he wandered through the foothills north of Ramleh, then hastened across the plain of Sharon to Arsuf. He arrived there on the evening of the 19th, to the astonished delight of its governor, Roger of Haifa. That same evening the troops of Galilee, eighty picked knights, under Hugh of Saint-Omer, who had hurried south on the news of the Egyptian advance, joined him at Arsuf. Next morning Hugh marched south with his men, to try to break his way into Jaffa, while Baldwin persuaded an English adventurer called Goderic to take him on his ship through the Egyptian blockade. To cheer his court, Baldwin hoisted his standard. The Egyptians noticed it, and at once sent ships to intercept him. But a strong north wind was blowing, against which the Egyptians could not get under weigh, while it carried Baldwin swiftly into harbour.
At once he set about reorganizing his forces. Before the Egyptians had entirely closed in round the city he broke his way out to meet Hugh of Galilee’s company and to take them within the walls. Next, he sent up to Jerusalem to summon all the men that could be spared from there and from Hebron. A local monk was found who was ready to take the message through the enemy lines. He left Jaffa under darkness, but it took him three days to reach Jerusalem. When he confirmed that the King was alive, there was great rejoicing. A troop of some ninety knights and rather more mounted sergeants was collected and was fortified by a piece of the True Cross. It hastened down to Jaffa. The knights, better mounted and better armed, forced their way into the town; but the sergeants were driven into the sea. They abandoned their horses there and swam round into the harbour. Meanwhile, Baldwin wrote to Tancred and to Baldwin of Edessa, to report his heavy losses and to ask for reinforcements.
Before the northern princes could set out, unexpected help arrived. In the last days of May a fleet of two hundred ships, mostly English, and filled with soldiers and pilgrims from England, France and Germany, sailed in Jaffa roads, with the help of the wind, through the Egyptian blockade. They provided Baldwin with the additional men that he needed. On 27 May he led his army out against the enemy. The details of the battle are unknown. It seems that the Egyptians vainly tried to lure him on and then encircle him, and that eventually a charge of the heavy Frankish cavalry broke their ranks and sent them fleeing in panic. After a few hours the whole Egyptian force was in headlong flight to Ascalon, and their camp, with all its booty, was in Christian hands.
Baldwin and his kingdom had been saved by a series of accidents, in which the Christians, not unnaturally, saw the hand of God. Not least of these accidents was the incompetent strategy of the Egyptians. A small detachment of their troops could have captured Jerusalem immediately after the battle of Ramleh without seriously weakening the encirclement of Jaffa. But the vizier al-Afdal was losing his grip. His son Sharaf was weak and ill-obeyed. Rivalry between his various lieutenants paralysed his movements. Next summer his father sent out a new expedition, by sea and land. But while the fleet sailed up to Jaffa, the land forces refused to advance beyond Ascalon, as its commander, the mameluk Taj al-Ajam, was jealous of the admiral, the qadi Ibn Qadus. Taj al-Ajam was subsequently imprisoned for his disloyalty; but the harm was done. The best opportunity for the reconquest of Palestine was missed.
1101: Baldwin and Daimbert
Tancred and Baldwin of Le Bourg, when they heard of the plight of Jerusalem, made their arrangements to set out as soon as possible for the south. With them came William of Aquitaine, who had been at Antioch when King Baldwin’s letter arrived. They travelled all together up the Orontes valley, past Homs, and down the upper Jordan, in such force that the local Moslem authorities made no attempt to stop their passage. They reached Judaea towards the end of September. Baldwin by now was no longer in urgent need of their help; but their presence enabled him to attack the Egyptian army at Ascalon. The skirmishes were favourable for the Christians; but they did not venture to assault the fortress.
The meeting of the Frankish potentates was of use to Baldwin for other reasons. Tancred had intended to give his help on his own terms; but in fact he enabled Baldwin to solve his most difficult internal problem. The Patriarch Daimbert had crowned Baldwin on Christmas Day, 1100; but he had done so unwillingly, and Baldwin knew it. It was necessary for Baldwin to control the Church, for the Church was well organized, and it was to the Church, not to the lay authorities, that pious sympathizers from the West gave donations and legacies. Daimbert’s elevation to the Patriarchate had been doubtfully legal, and complaints had been laid at Rome. At last Pope Paschal sent out a legate, Maurice, Cardinal-Bishop of Porto, to inquire into the situation. He arrived in time for Easter, 1101; and at once Baldwin accused Daimbert of treachery before him, showing him the letter that Daimbert had written to Bohemond on Godfrey’s death, calling on Bohemond to oppose Baldwin’s succession by force if need be. He moreover declared that Daimbert had tried to assassinate him on his journey southward. However false that latter charge might be, the letter was incontrovertible. Maurice forbade Daimbert to take part in the Easter ceremonies, which he performed alone. Daimbert, fearful for his future, sought out Baldwin and knelt in tears before him begging for forgiveness. But Baldwin was adamant, till Daimbert murmured that he had three hundred besants to spare. Baldwin always needed ready-money. He secretly accepted the gift, then went to the legate to announce magnanimously that he would forgive Daimbert. Maurice, a man of peace, was delighted to effect a reconciliation.
After some months Baldwin again needed money, and applied to Daimbert; who gave him two hundred marks, saying that that was all that the Patriarchal coffers contained. But clerics belonging to Arnulf’s party told the King that in fact Daimbert was concealing vast hoards. It happened that a few days later the Patriarch gave a sumptuous banquet in honour of the Legate, whose support he was assiduously cultivating. Baldwin burst in upon them and harangued them on their luxurious living when the forces of Christendom were starving. Daimbert angrily answered that the Church could use its money as it pleased and that the King had no authority over it, while Maurice anxiously tried to appease them both. But Baldwin could not be silenced. His early training as a priest enabled him to quote canon law; and his eloquence was such that Maurice was impressed. He induced Daimbert to promise to pay for a regiment of horsemen. The sums, however, were never paid, despite Baldwin’s incessant demands. In the autumn of 1101 an envoy came from Prince Roger of Apulia with a gift of a thousand besants for the Patriarch. A third was to be devoted to the Holy Sepulchre, a third to the Hospital and a third to the King for his army. Daimbert rashly kept the whole for himself. But the terms of the gift were known. When the King made complaint, the legate could no longer support Daimbert, who was declared deprived of the Patriarchate. He retired to Jaffa, where he spent the winter, and in March he went on to Antioch. His old friend Tancred received him gladly and gave him the charge of one of the richest churches in the city, that of St George. Baldwin meanwhile kept the Patriarchate vacant, on the plea that Rome must be informed; and his officials raided the Patriarchal treasury, where they found that Daimbert had concealed twenty thousand besants. Maurice acted as locum tenens; but his health had been shattered by these scandals. He died in the spring of 1102.
1102: The Deposition of Daimbert
When Tancred came south in the autumn to rescue Baldwin, he announced that his terms were the restitution of Daimbert; and Daimbert accompanied him. Baldwin was most accommodating. But at that moment a new papal legate arrived, Robert, Cardinal of Paris. The King therefore insisted that matters must be regularized by the session of a Synod, under Robert’s presidency. Tancred and Daimbert could not refuse. A council temporarily reinstated the latter till a full investigation could be heard. Tancred therefore joined his troops to the King’s for the campaign against Ascalon. Soon afterwards the Synod was held in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The legate presided, assisted by the visiting Bishops of Laon and Piacenza; and all the Palestinian bishops and abbots attended, as well as the Bishop of Mamistra, from Tancred’s territory. The accusations against Daimbert were made by the prelates of Caesarea, Bethlehem and Ramleh, inspired by Arnulf of Rohes. They declared that on his journey to Palestine in 1099 at the head of his Pisans, he had attacked fellow-Christians in the Ionian Islands, that he had sought to provoke a civil war between King Baldwin and Prince Bohemond, and that he had kept for himself money given him for the welfare of pilgrims at the Hospital and for the soldiers of Christ. The charges were undeniably true. The Cardinal-Legate had no option but to declare Daimbert unworthy of his see and to depose him. Tancred could not object to so canonical a procedure. He had to admit defeat. Daimbert accompanied him back to Antioch and was re-established in the Church of St George till he could find an opportunity to go to Rome. He had shown himself a corrupt and miserly old man; and his departure was unregretted in Palestine. His appointment as Legate had been the one great error committed by Pope Urban II.
Arnulf of Rohes, who had been Baldwin’s willing adjutant in the whole affair, was too wily to attempt to take Daimbert’s place. Instead, when the legate asked for a candidate for the Patriarchate, the Palestinian bishops suggested an aged priest from Therouannes, called Evremar. Evremar, who had come East with the First Crusade, was known for his piety and his charity. Though he was a compatriot of Arnulf’s he had taken no part in his intrigues but was universally respected. The legate was delighted to consecrate so blameless a cleric; and Baldwin was satisfied, knowing Evremar to be a harmless old man who would never venture to take part in politics. Meanwhile Arnulf could continue to make his own plans without hindrance.
Daimbert did not despair. When his protector Bohemond went to Italy in 1105 he accompanied him and proceeded to Rome to lay his grievance before the Pope. Paschal was cautious at first; but after some delay he decided, probably under Bohemond’s fatal influence, to support him. Baldwin was required to send to Rome to answer Daimbert’s charges. But the King, probably because he knew that Bohemond had the Pope’s ear, took no notice. Paschal therefore cancelled Daimbert’s deposition, which, he said, was due to the interference of the civil power. Fortunately, the Pope’s folly was amended by the hand of God. Daimbert, as he prepared to set out in triumph to resume his patriarchal throne, fell seriously ill. He died at Messina on 15 June 110.
1112: Arnulf elected Patriarch
The troubles of the patriarchate were not over. Baldwin grew dissatisfied with Evremar. Probably he realized that the Church was too important an organization to be allowed to remain in the hands of a nonentity. He needed an efficient ally at its head. When Evremar had heard of Daimbert’s official reinstatement, he set out himself for Rome. He arrived there to find his rival dead, with his own complaints against the civil power. But when the news of Daimbert’s death reached Palestine, Arnulf hurried to Rome to act for the King there. Paschal now inclined towards Evremar; but he understood that the case was more complicated than he had thought. He entrusted it to the Archbishop of Arles, Gibelin of Sabran, an ecclesiastic of immense age and vast experience. In the spring of 1108, Gibelin arrived in Palestine, whither both Evremar and Arnulf had preceded him. He saw that Evremar was unfitted for the position and that no one wished for his restitution. He therefore declared the see vacant and held a synod to appoint a successor. To his embarrassed delight, Baldwin proposed that he should be the candidate. He accepted; and Evremar was consoled with the Archbishopric of Caesarea, which had fortunately fallen vacant.
Gossip said that Arnulf had persuaded the King to choose Gibelin because of his age. The Patriarchate would soon be vacant again. And, indeed, Gibelin only lived for four more years: and on his death Arnulf was, at last, elected without opposition to his throne.
Arnulf was, from Baldwin’s point of view, an ideal Patriarch. In spite of trouble later on over the King’s remarriage, and in spite of the hatred of many of his subordinates, he maintained his position. He was undoubtedly corrupt. When his niece Emma made a satisfactory marriage with Eustace Gamier, he endowed her with a valuable estate at Jericho which belonged to the Holy Sepulchre. But he was active and efficient, and devoted to the King. Thanks to him, the unworkable scheme envisaged by most of the participants in the First Crusade, by which Jerusalem should be a theocracy, with a monarch merely as a minister for defence, was finally and utterly abandoned. He saw to it that the whole Church in Palestine shared his views, even deposing the canons of the Holy Sepulchre whom Godfrey of Lorraine had appointed, because he did not trust their loyalty. When the kingdom was expanded by conquest, he fought hard to see that the civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction coincided, against the opposition of Pope Paschal, who, with his disastrous predilection for the Norman princes of Antioch, defended the historical but impracticable rights of the Antiochene see. Arnulf was not an estimable person, but he was a valuable servant of the kingdom of Jerusalem. Its great historian, William of Tyre, execrated his memory and besmirched his name, unfairly, for he did much to consolidate the work of the First Crusade.
To Arnulf also, and to his master King Baldwin, must be given the credit of the good relations that were established between the Latin hierarchy and the native Christians. During his first tenure of the Patriarchate in 1099, Arnulf had ejected the eastern sects from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and had despoiled them. But Daimbert was a worse enemy. His policy was to banish all the native Christians not only from the Church itself but from their monasteries and establishments in Jerusalem, whether they were Orthodox, like the Greeks and the Georgians, or heretics, like the Armenians, the Jacobites and the Nestorians. He also offended local propriety by introducing women to serve in the Holy Places. Because of these enormities all the lamps in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre went out on the eve of Easter, 1101, and the Sacred Fire would not descend from heaven to light them again till the five dispossessed communities prayed together that the Franks might be forgiven. Baldwin took heed of the lesson. He insisted that the wrongs of the natives should be righted. The keys of the Sepulchre itself were restored to the Greeks. Thenceforward he seems to have enjoyed the support of all the Christians of Palestine. The higher clergy were all Franks, though there were Greek canons at the Holy Sepulchre. The Orthodox natives accepted this; for their own higher clergy had left the country in the troubled years just before the Crusade. The Latin hierarchs were never liked; but local Orthodox monasteries carried on without hindrance, and Orthodox pilgrims that visited Palestine during the days of the Frankish kingdom found no cause for complaint against the lay powers either on their own behalf or on behalf of their native brothers. The heretic Churches seem to have been equally content. It was very different from the position in the Frankish states of northern Syria, where both Orthodox and heretic alike resented the Franks as oppressors.
1103: Siege of Acre
The Egyptian defeat at Jaffa in 1102, and the fiasco of the expedition in the spring of 1103 did not entirely exhaust al-Afdal’s efforts. But it took him longer to raise another army. Baldwin used the respite to strengthen his hold on the Palestinian sea-coast. Though he possessed the towns on the coast from Jaffa up to Haifa, Moslem marauders haunted the roads between them, in particular round the slopes of Mount Carmel. Even the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem was unsafe, as the pilgrim Saewulf noted. From the Egyptian-held ports of Tyre and Acre pirates would slip out to intercept Christian merchantmen. In the late autumn of 1102 the ships that were transporting home the pilgrims whose coming had saved Baldwin at Jaffa in May were driven ashore by storms at various parts of the coast, some near Ascalon and some between Tyre and Sidon. The passengers were either all slain or sold in the slave-markets of Egypt. In the spring of 1103 Baldwin, who still had some of the English ships to assist him, undertook the siege of Acre. The garrison was about to surrender to him when twelve Fatimid galleys and a large transport from Tyre and Sidon sailed into the port, laden with men and with engines for firing Greek fire. Baldwin had to raise the siege. Later in the summer Baldwin attempted to clear Mount Carmel of its robbers. He was only partly successful; for in a skirmish he was severely wounded in the kidneys; and for a while they despaired of his life. While he lay sick in Jerusalem there was news of the double expedition of Taj al-Ajam and Ibn Qadus. But Taj al-Ajam’s refusal to advance beyond Ascalon obliged Ibn Qadus to attempt the siege of Jaffa alone. His efforts were half-hearted. As soon as Baldwin had recovered sufficiently to lead an army down to the coast, the Egyptian fleet sailed away.
Next May the Genoese armada of seventy galleys which had helped Raymond of Toulouse to capture Jebail sailed into Haifa. Baldwin met its leaders there and secured their alliance for the reduction of Acre, promising the usual fee of one-third of the booty and commercial privileges and a quarter in the bazaar. The allies began the siege on 6 May. The Fatimid commander, the mameluk Bena Zahr ad-Daulah al-Juyushi, put up a stubborn resistance; but he received no aid from Egypt. After twenty days he offered to capitulate, on terms similar to those granted at Arsuf. Such citizens as wished could leave safely with their movable belongings; the others would become subjects of the Frankish king. Baldwin for his part accepted and kept to these terms, even allowing a mosque to be reserved for his Moslem subjects. But the Italian sailors could not bear to see so much wealth escape them. They fell on the emigrants, slaying many and robbing them all. Baldwin was furious. He would have attacked the Genoese to punish them had not the Patriarch Evremar arrived and patched up a reconciliation.
1105: Third Battle of Ramleh
The possession of Acre gave Baldwin what he sorely needed, a harbour that was safe in all weathers. Though it was more than a hundred miles from the capital, it at once became the chief port of the kingdom, replacing Jaffa with its open roadstead. It was moreover the chief port through which merchandize from Damascus was shipped to the West; and its conquest by the Franks did not interrupt this traffic, to which the Moslems still resident in Acre gave encouragement.
In the summer of 1105 the vizier al-Afdal made a final attempt to reconquer Palestine. A well-equipped army of five thousand Arab horsemen and Sudanese infantry, under his son Sena al-Mulk Husein, assembled at Ascalon at the beginning of August. Profiting by the lessons of their previous failures, the Egyptians decided to ask for the co-operation of the Turkish rulers of Damascus. In 1102 or 1103 Damascene help would have been invaluable. But Duqaq of Damascus had died in June 1104 and his family disputed the inheritance with his atabeg Toghtekin, while Ridwan of Aleppo came south to seek a share of it. Toghtekin first placed Duqaq’s one-year-old son Tutush on the throne, then replaced him by Duqaq’s twelve-year-old brother, Irtash. Irtash soon suspected his guardian’s intentions, and fled to the Hauran, whose leading emir, Aytekin of Bosra, gave him asylum. From Bosra he appealed to King Baldwin, who invited him to Jerusalem. Under these circumstances Toghtekin was glad to help the Egyptians but could not venture to send a large force to join them. He sent his general Sabawa south with thirteen hundred mounted archers. In August the Egyptian army moved up into Palestine, where the Damascene troops joined it, after having come down through Transjordan and across the Negeb. Baldwin was waiting at Jaffa. When the Egyptian fleet hove into sight he took up a position on the inevitable battlefield of Ramleh. Jaffa was kept under the command of Lithard of Cambrai, with three hundred men. With Baldwin was the young Damascene pretender, Irtash, and the whole of the rest of the Frankish troops in Palestine, the garrisons of Galilee, Haifa and Hebron as well as the central army, five hundred horsemen and two thousand infantry. At Baldwin’s request the Patriarch Evremar came down from Jerusalem with one hundred and fifty men that he had recruited there and with the True Cross.
The battle took place on Sunday, 27 August. At dawn the Patriarch rode up and down in front of the Frankish lines, in his full robes, the Cross in his hand, giving his blessing and absolution. Then the Franks attacked. A counter-attack by the Damascene Turks nearly broke their ranks; but Baldwin, taking his standard into his own hands, led a charge that scattered them. The Egyptians fought more bravely than usual; but their left wing had gone off in a vain attempt to surprise Haifa, and returned too late. By evening the Moslems were beaten. Sabawa and his Turks fled back to their own land, and the Egyptians retreated on Ascalon, whence their commander, Sena al-Mulk, hurried back to Cairo. Their losses had been heavy. The governor of Ascalon was slain, and the ex-commanders of Acre and Arsuf captured and later ransomed at a high price. Fulcher of Chartres could not help regretting that Sena al-Mulk had escaped, because of the rich ransom that he would have commanded. But the Frankish losses also were heavy. After pillaging their camp Baldwin did not further pursue the Egyptians. Nor did he continue his support of the young Prince Irtash, who retired disconsolate to ar-Rahba on the Euphrates. The Egyptian fleet sailed back to Egypt, having achieved nothing except the loss of some ships in a storm.
1106-8: Attacks on the Moslem Coastal Cities
This third battle of Ramleh ended the last large-scale attempt of the Fatimids to reconquer Palestine. But they still were dangerous to the Franks; and a smaller raid in the autumn of 1106 nearly succeeded where their greater armies had failed. That October, when Baldwin was engaged on the Galilean frontier, some thousand Egyptian horsemen suddenly attacked a pilgrim camp between Jaffa and Arsuf and massacred its inhabitants. They then rode on Ramleh, which was defended only by eight knights, who were easily overwhelmed. The governor of Jaffa, Roger of Rozoy, went out against them but fell into an ambush and only extricated himself by flying headlong back to Jaffa. So hotly was he pursued that forty of his foot-soldiers were caught outside the gates and slain. Next, the Egyptians rode up towards Jerusalem, and attacked a small castle, Chastel Arnaud, that Baldwin had not quite completed to guard the road. The workmen surrendered, but were killed, with the exception of their commander, Geoffrey, Castellan of the Tower of David, who was taken off to be ransomed. But by now Baldwin had heard of the raid and marched south in force. The Egyptians retired to Ascalon.
The following year an Egyptian expedition nearly captured Hebron, but was driven off by Baldwin in person; and in 1110 the Egyptians penetrated to the walls of Jerusalem, only to retire at once. Similar raids on a lesser scale took place from time to time during the next ten years, rendering life unsafe for Christian settlers and pilgrims in the coastal plain and in the Negeb; but they became little more than reprisals for Baldwin’s own raids into Moslem territory.
Baldwin therefore felt free to continue his attempt to expand the kingdom. His chief objectives were the coastal cities, Ascalon in the south and Tyre, Sidon and Beirut in the north. Both Ascalon and Tyre were strong fortresses with a large permanent garrison; their reduction would need careful preparation. In the spring of 1106 the presence in the Holy Land of a large convoy of English, Flemish and Danish pilgrims induced Baldwin to plan an expedition against Sidon. The governor of Sidon, learning of this, hastened to send the King an enormous sum of money. Baldwin, always in need of money, accepted the gift; and for two years Sidon was left in peace.
In August 1108 Baldwin marched out again against Sidon, with the support of a squadron of sailor-adventurers from various Italian cities. The governor at once hired the support of the Turks of Damascus for thirty thousand besants, while a powerful Egyptian squadron sailed up from Egypt and defeated the Italians in a sea-battle outside the harbour. Baldwin was obliged to raise the siege. Thereupon the Sidonians refused to admit the Turks into the city, fearing, with some reason, that Toghtekin had designs on it. The governor even refused to pay the promised besants. The Turks threatened to summon back Baldwin; but when he showed signs of returning they agreed to retire, with nine thousand besants as compensation.
Next summer Baldwin assisted Bertrand of Toulouse to capture Tripoli; and in return, early in 1110, Bertrand sent men to help Baldwin attack Beirut. Genoese and Pisan ships were at hand to blockade the town; and Tripoli provided them with a convenient base. Fatimid ships from Tyre and Sidon tried in vain to break the blockade. The siege lasted from February till mid-May, when the governor, despairing of further help, fled by night through the Italian fleet to Cyprus, where he gave himself up to the Byzantine governor. The city that he had abandoned was taken by assault on 13 May. The Italians conducted a general massacre of the inhabitants before Baldwin could restore order.
1110: Capture of Sidon
During that summer further naval reinforcements reached Baldwin from the West. In 1107 a fleet set out from Bergen in Norway under Sigurd, who shared the Norwegian throne with his two brothers, and, sailing across the North Sea and round by Gibraltar, calling on the way in England, Castile, Portugal, the Balearic Islands and Sicily, arrived at Acre just as Baldwin was returning from the capture of Beirut. Sigurd was the first crowned head to visit the kingdom; and Baldwin received him with great honour, conducting him personally to Jerusalem. Sigurd agreed to help the Franks to besiege Sidon. The allies began the siege in October. Sidon was vigorously defended. The Norwegian ships were nearly dispersed by a powerful Fatimid flotilla from Tyre, but were saved by the arrival of a Venetian squadron, under the command of the Doge himself, Ordelafo Falieri. Meanwhile, the governor of Sidon devised a plan for Baldwin’s assassination. A renegade Moslem in Baldwin’s personal service agreed for a large sum to undertake the murder. But the native Christians in Sidon heard of the plot and shot an arrow with a message fixed on it into the Frankish camp to warn the King. Sidon eventually capitulated on 4 December, on the same terms that had been granted to Acre. The notables of the town left with all their belongings for Damascus; but the poorer folk remained and became subjects of the Frankish king; who promptly levied from them a tax of twenty thousand gold besants. The Venetians were rewarded by the gift of a church and some property at Acre. Sidon was entrusted as a barony to Eustace Gamier, who was already governor of Caesarea, and who soon after consolidated his position by his politic marriage to the Patriarch Arnulf’s niece Emma.
The Franks now controlled the whole of the Syrian coast, with the exception of the two fortresses of Ascalon at the southern end and Tyre in the centre. The governor of Tyre was nervous. In the autumn of 1111 he sent to Toghtekin at Damascus to hire from him for the sum of twenty thousand besants a corps of five hundred archers, and at the same time he asked permission for himself and his notables to send their more valuable possessions to Damascus for their preservation. Toghtekin agreed; and a rich caravan containing the money and the goods set out from the coast. As it had to pass through the country held by the Franks, the Tyrian governor, Izz al-Mulk, bribed a Frankish knight called Rainfred to guide it and to guarantee its safety. Rainfred accepted the terms and promptly informed Baldwin; who fell upon the unsuspecting Tyrians and robbed them of all their wealth. Encouraged by this windfall Baldwin brought up his whole army at the end of November to attack the walls of Tyre. But he had no fleet to help him, apart from twelve Byzantine vessels under the Byzantine ambassador Butumites; and the Byzantines were not prepared to take hostile action against the Fatimids, with whom their relations were good, unless they were given serious compensation. They demanded that Baldwin should in return help them to recover the cities that they had lost to the princes of Antioch. As Baldwin hesitated to commit himself, the Byzantines did no more than supply the Frankish army with provisions. The siege of Tyre lasted till the following April. The Tyrians fought well, burning down the huge wooden siege-towers that Baldwin had constructed; but at least they were reduced to seeking aid from Toghtekin. Before taking this step Izz al-Mulk wrote to the Egyptian court to justify his action. Toghtekin’s first attempt to establish contact failed, as a carrier-pigeon was intercepted by an Arab in Frankish service. His Frankish comrade wished to let the bird go, but he took it to Baldwin. Men were sent in disguise to meet the Damascene ambassadors, who were captured and put to death. But nevertheless Toghtekin advanced on Tyre, surprising a Frankish foraging party and besieging the Franks in their camp while he raided the countryside. Baldwin was obliged to lift the siege and to fight his way back to Acre.
1105: Castles in Galilee
He was equally unsuccessful at Ascalon. He had marched against the fortress immediately after his capture of Sidon. The governor, Shams al-Khilafa, being commercially minded, was weary of all this fighting. He bought an armistice for a sum which he then tried to levy from the people of Tyre, which was under his jurisdiction. His actions were reported to Egypt; and al-Afdal sent loyal troops there with orders to depose him. Shams al-Khilafa, suspecting their purpose, refused to admit them, and even dismissed those of his troops that he suspected of Fatimid sympathies, recruiting Armenian mercenaries in their place. He then went himself to Jerusalem to put himself and his city under Baldwin’s protection. He returned with three hundred Frankish soldiers whom he installed in the citadel. But this treason shocked the Ascalonites. In July 1111, with help from Egypt, they staged a coup d’etat, murdering Shams and massacring the Franks. Baldwin hurried down to rescue his men but arrived too late. Ascalon was to remain a thorn in the Franks’ flesh for another forty years.
A similar attempt to establish a protectorate over Baalbek with the help of the governor, the eunuch al-Taj Gumushtekin, had failed in the spring of 1110. Toghtekin heard of the plot and replaced Gumushtekin by his own son Taj al-Mulk Buri.
Baldwin’s main preoccupation had been to secure for his kingdom an adequate coast-line. But he was also concerned to give it suitable land frontiers and at the same time to take full advantage of its proximity to the great Arab trade-routes from Iraq and Arabia to the Mediterranean and to Egypt. When Tancred had left Palestine for Antioch, Baldwin entrusted the principality of Galilee, which retained the grandiloquent name that Tancred had given it, to his former neighbour in France, Hugh of Saint-Omer; and Hugh had been encouraged in an aggressive policy against the Moslems. His first action was to construct in the mountains, over the road between Tyre and Banyas and Damascus, a castle called Toron, the Tibnin of to-day. Then, in order the better to conduct raids in the rich lands east of the Sea of Galilee, he built another castle on the hills south-west of the lake, called by the Arabs al-Al. These two fortresses were completed by the autumn of 1105; but the second had a short life in Christian hands. Toghtekin of Damascus could not allow such a threat to his territory. At the end of the year, when Hugh was returning to al-Al, heavily laden after a successful raid, the Damascene army fell on him. He was mortally wounded in the battle and his men scattered. Toghtekin was then able without difficulty to take over the castle. Hugh’s brother, Gerard of Saint-Omer, who was seriously ill at the time, did not long survive Hugh. Baldwin therefore gave the fief of Galilee to a French knight, Gervase of Basoches.
Guerrilla warfare continued. In 1106 the Tyrians made a raid against Toron, to coincide with a Damascene raid against Tiberias. Neither raid was successful; and on Baldwin’s approach, the Damascenes sent to his camp to arrange for a short armistice. His gracious and munificent reception of their envoys did much to enhance his reputation among the Moslems. But the truce was brief. In the spring of 1108 Toghtekin again raided Galilee and in a battle outside Tiberias managed to capture Gervase of Basoches, together with most of his staff. He then sent to Baldwin to say that the price for their liberation was the three cities of Tiberias, Acre and Haifa. When Baldwin refused the offer, Gervase was put to death, and his scalp, with its white locks waving, was carried on a pole before the victorious Moslem army. Baldwin then gave back the title of Prince of Galilee to Tancred, but probably administered the principality from Jerusalem. In 1113, after Tancred’s death, when Baldwin of Edessa banished Joscelin of Courtenay from his county, the exile was compensated by the King with Galilee.
1108: Truce with Damascus
At the end of 1108 Baldwin and Toghtekin, both of whose main interests lay elsewhere, made a ten years’ truce, dividing the revenues of the districts of Sawad and Ajlun, that is to say, northern Transjordan, between them. A third was to go to Baldwin, a third to Toghtekin and a third was to remain with the local authorities. The reasons for the truce were probably commercial. Raids were ruining the carrying trade that went through the country; and all parties would benefit by its resumption. The truce was purely local. It did not keep Toghtekin from coming to the help of the Moslem coastal cities, nor did it restrain Baldwin from his attempt to turn Baalbek into a vassal-city. But Arab historians remarked with gratitude that owing to it Baldwin did not invade Damascene land when Toghetin’s defeat by William-Jordan at Arqa would have offered a useful opportunity. The desire for a truce may have arisen on Baldwin’s side as a result of Gervase’s defeat and the consequent danger of raids from Transjordan into Galilee, and on the Moslems’ after two recent raids, one conducted by a newly arrived pilgrim to Palestine, Robert of Normandy’s son, William Cliton, on a wealthy Arab princess who was journeying with all her belongings from Arabia to Damascus, and the other on a merchant caravan bound from Damascus to Egypt. On the first occasion the Franks obtained four thousand camels, and on the second all the merchandise of the caravan, whose survivors were slaughtered later by the Bedouin. The treaty was broken in 1113, when Baldwin invaded Damascene territory.
From 1111, after his failure before Tyre, Baldwin was for a time occupied by affairs in northern Syria. He had already made it clear, at Tripoli in 1109, that he intended to be master of all the Frankish East; and events at Antioch and Edessa enabled him to reassert his claim. He could also once more turn his attention to the aggrandizement of his personal domain. He had always been aware that Palestine was open to invasion and infiltration from the south-east, through the Negeb, and that the command of the country between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Akaba was necessary in order to cut off Egypt from the eastern Moslem world. In 1107 Toghtekin had sent a Damascene army into Edom, at the invitation of the local Bedouin, to establish a base from which Judaea could be raided. The Idumaean wilderness contained several Greek monasteries; and one of the monks, a certain Theodore, urged Baldwin to intervene. Baldwin marched down close to the Turkish encampment in the Wadi Musa, near Petra; but he wished to avoid a battle. Theodore therefore offered to go as though a fugitive to Toghtekin’s general, to warn him that a huge Frankish army was at hand. The Turks were alarmed and retreated at full speed back to Damascus. Baldwin then punished the Bedouin by smoking them out of the caverns in which they lived and carrying off their flocks. When he returned northward, he took with him many of the native Christians, who feared reprisals from the Bedouin.
Baldwin returned to the Idumaean country in 1115. He decided that it must be permanently occupied. Coming down from Hebron round the base of the Dead Sea and across the Wadi al-Araba, the stark valley that runs from the Dead Sea towards the Gulf of Akaba, he arrived at one of the few fertile spots in that bleak region, Shobak, on a wooded range between the depression and the Arabian desert. There, almost a hundred miles from the nearest Frankish settlement, he constructed a great castle, in which he left a garrison, well stocked with arms, and to which he gave the name of The Royal Mountain, Le Krak de Montreal. Next year, at the head of his army and with a long train of mules bearing provisions, he plunged farther into unknown Arabia. He revisited Montreal and marched on southward, till at last his weary men reached the shores of the Red Sea, at Akaba. There they bathed their horses in the sea and caught the fishes for which those waters are renowned. The local inhabitants, terrified, took to their boats and fled. Baldwin occupied the town, called by the Franks Aila or Elyn, and fortified it with a citadel. He then sailed across to the little island, the Jesirat Far’un, called by the Franks Graye, where he built a second castle. Garrisons were left in both strongholds. Thanks to them, the Franks now dominated the roads between Damascus and Arabia and Egypt. They could raid the caravans at their ease, and made it difficult for any Moslem army to reach Egypt from the East.
1118: Baldwin invades Egypt
On his return from the shores of the Red Sea, Baldwin marched again against Tyre, but contented himself with setting up a strict blockade of the city from the land. To that end he built a castle at Scandelion, where the coast road begins to climb up the side of the cliff to the pass known as the Ladder of Tyre. Sidon already controlled the approach to Tyre from the north and the castle of Toron from the east. Scandelion completed its encirclement.
Encouraged by his achievements, Baldwin embarked in 1118 on a bolder expedition. Fatimid armies from Ascalon had twice lately conducted successful raids into his territory. In 1113, when he was engaged against the Turks in the north, they had advanced as far as the walls of Jerusalem, pillaging as they came; and in 1115 they almost succeeded in surprising Jaffa. Baldwin’s answer now was to invade Egypt itself. Early in March, after careful negotiations with the sheikhs of the desert tribes, he led a small army of two hundred and sixteen horsemen and four hundred foot-soldiers, well supplied with provisions, from Hebron across the Sinai peninsula, to the Mediterranean coast at Farama, well within the Egyptian frontier, close to the mouth of the Pelusian branch of the Nile. He prepared to take the city by assault, but the garrison had fled in panic. He marched on to the Nile itself; and his men were agape to see the famous river. But there a mortal illness struck him down. He retired back dying towards Palestine.
By his unwearying campaigns and his use of every opportunity King Baldwin had raised his inheritance to be a consolidated state comprising the whole historic province of Palestine. With only Tyre and Ascalon still out of his grasp, he controlled the country from Beirut in the north to Beersheba in the south, with the Jordan as his eastern frontier and with outposts in the far south-east to command the approaches from Arabia. His fellow-Christians in the Frankish East acknowledged his hegemony; and he had won the respect of his Moslem neighbours. His work had ensured that the kingdom of Jerusalem would not easily be destroyed.
Of the internal administration of his kingdom we have very little evidence. Broadly speaking, it was feudal. But Baldwin kept most of the country in his own hands, appointing viscounts as his deputies. Even the greatest of the fiefs, the principality of Galilee, was for some years without its lord. The fiefs were not yet considered to be hereditary. When Hugh of Saint-Omer was killed, it was thought that his brother Gerard would have succeeded to his principality had his health permitted, but his right was not absolute. Baldwin himself evolved a rough constitution for the kingdom. He himself governed through a household that was increasing in size; and his feudatories had their own. To Baldwin were due the arrangements with the Italians in the seaports, who were not obliged to assist on military campaigns, but had to take part in the naval defence of their localities.
Baldwin had made it clear that he intended to control the Church. Once he was sure of its support he treated it generously, freely endowing it with lands conquered from the infidel. His generosity was to some degree mistaken; for the Church was free of the obligation to provide soldiers. On the other hand he expected it to provide him with money.
Frequent incidents showed that Baldwin was popular with the native Christians. Ever since the episode at Easter, 1101, he had been careful to have regard for their susceptibilities. At his courts they were allowed to use their own languages and to follow their own customs; and the Church was not allowed to interfere with their religious practices. In the last years of his reign he encouraged the immigration of Christians, heretic as well as Orthodox, from the neighbouring countries under Moslem rule. He needed an industrious peasant population to occupy the lands left empty in Judaea by the departure of the Moslems. He favoured marriage between the Franks and the natives, for which he himself had set an example. Very few of the barons took local brides; but the practice became common among the poorer Frankish soldiers and settlers. Their cross-bred children were to provide the kingdom later with most of its soldiers.
Baldwin and the Eastern Peoples
Baldwin showed similar affability towards the Moslems and Jews that consented to become his subjects. A few mosques and synagogues were permitted. In the law courts Moslems might swear on the Koran and Jews on the Torah; and infidel litigants could rely on obtaining justice. Intermarriage with Moslems was allowed. In 1114 the Patriarch Arnulf was severely scolded by Pope Paschal for having performed a marriage ceremony between a Christian and a Moslem lady.
Therein Pope Paschal showed once again his misunderstanding of the East. For if the Franks were to survive there, they must not remain an alien minority but must become part of the local world. Baldwin’s chaplain, Fulcher of Chartres, in a lyrical chapter in his History, remarked on the miraculous work of God in turning Occidentals into Orientals. That eastern and western races should blend seemed to him admirable; he saw it as a step towards the union of nations. Throughout the existence of the Crusading states we find the same story. Wise Frankish statesmen in the East followed Baldwin’s tradition, adopting local customs and forming local friendships and alliances, while newcomers from the West brought with them chauvinistic ideas that were disastrous for the country.
The King had already offended the Pope, when his conquests along the Syrian coasts had brought into his power towns, notably Sidon and Beirut, whose churches historically belonged to the Patriarch of Antioch. The proper administration of the kingdom demanded that they should be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Jerusalem; and Baldwin thereupon transferred them. The Patriarch of Antioch, Bernard, protested to the Pope against such an uncanonical act. Paschal had in 1110 informed Jerusalem that in view of changed circumstances the historic position could be ignored. In 1112, with his habitual weakness, he veered round and supported the claims of Antioch. Baldwin blandly ignored the Pope’s new decision. In spite of a petulant reproof from Paschal, the bishoprics remained under the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
1113: Baldwin s Marriage with Adelaide
Baldwin himself made one serious lapse with regard to his marriage. He had never much cared for his Armenian bride since the day that her father, terrified of his ruthless son-in-law, had decamped with her promised dowry. Baldwin was fond of amorous adventures; but he was discreet and the presence of a queen at the court prevented him from indulging in his tastes. The Queen also had a reputation for gaiety and had even, it was said, bestowed her favours upon Moslem pirates when she was voyaging down from Antioch to take over her throne. There were no children to bind them together. After a few years, when there was no longer the smallest political advantage to the marriage, Baldwin dismissed her from the Court on the grounds of adultery and obliged her to enter into the convent of St Anne in Jerusalem, which, to salve his conscience, he richly endowed. But the Queen had no vocation for the monastic life. She soon demanded and received permission to retire to Constantinople, where her parents had been living since their ejection from Marash by the Franks. There she abandoned her monastic robe and settled down to taste all the pleasures that the great city provided. Meanwhile Baldwin rejoiced to find himself able to lead a bachelor life once more. But he still needed money; and in the winter of 1112 he learnt that the most eligible widow in Europe was seeking a husband. Adelaide of Salona, Countess-Dowager of Sicily, had just retired from the regency of her county on the coming-of-age of her young son, Roger II. She was immensely rich; and a royal title attracted her. To Baldwin she was desirable not only for her dowry but also for her influence over the Normans of Sicily; whose alliance would help to supply him with sea-power and would act as a counter-weight against the Normans of Antioch. He sent to ask for her hand. The Countess accepted on her own terms. Baldwin was childless. The children of his first wife had died in Anatolia during the First Crusade; and his Armenian Queen had borne him none. Adelaide insisted that if no baby was born of her marriage to Baldwin — and the ages of the bride and bridegroom gave little promise of a baby — the crown of Jerusalem was to pass to her son, Count Roger.
The contract was made; and in the summer of 1113 the Countess set out from Sicily in such splendour as had not been seen on the Mediterranean since Cleopatra sailed for the Cydnus to meet Mark Antony. She lay on a carpet of golden thread in her galley, whose prow was plated with silver and with gold. Two other triremes accompanied her, their prows equally ornate, bearing her military escort, prominent amongst whom were the Arab soldiers of her son’s own bodyguard, their dark faces shining against the spotless white of their robes. Seven other ships followed in her wake, their holds laden with all her personal treasure. She landed at Acre in August. There King Baldwin met her, with all the pomp that his kingdom could provide. He and all his Court were clad in costly silks; and their horses and mules were hung with purple and gold. Rich carpets were laid in the streets, and from the windows and balconies fluttered purple banners. The towns and villages along the road to Jerusalem bore like finery. All the country rejoiced, but not so much at the coming of its new, ageing mistress as at the wealth that she brought in her train.
Despite its gorgeous beginning, the marriage was not a success. Baldwin at once took over the Queen’s dowry, which he used to pay off the overdue wages of his soldiers and to spend on works of fortification; and the money coming into circulation enriched the commerce of the country. But the effect soon wore off; and the disadvantages of the marriage became apparent. Pious folk remembered that Baldwin’s previous wife had never been legally divorced. They were shocked that the Patriarch Arnulf had so willingly performed what was in fact a bigamous marriage ceremony; and Arnulf’s many enemies were quick to make use of this irregularity. Their attack might have been less effective had not all Baldwin’s subjects been angered when they discovered that he proposed to dispose of the succession to the kingdom without consulting his council. Complaints against Arnulf poured into Rome. A year after the royal marriage a papal legate, Berengar, Bishop of Orange, arrived at Jerusalem. When he found that added to the charges of simony against Arnulf there was the certainty that he had condoned and blessed an adulterous connection, he summoned the bishops and abbots of the Patriarchate to a synod and declared Arnulf deposed. But Arnulf could not be disposed of so easily. He saw to it that no successor was appointed and himself went off in the winter of 1115 to Rome. There he used all his persuasive charm on the Pope and the Cardinals, whose sympathies were strengthened by the well-chosen gifts that he made to them. Paschal fell under his influence and repudiated his legate’s decision. Arnulf made one concession; he promised to order the King to dismiss his Sicilian Queen. On those terms the Pope not only declared that Arnulf’s deposition was void but himself presented him with the pallium, thus placing his position beyond all question. In the summer of 1116 Arnulf returned triumphant to Jerusalem.
1118: The Death of Princes
The concession was willingly made; for Arnulf knew that Baldwin, now that Adelaide’s dowry was spent, was half-regretful of his marriage. Nor did Adelaide, used to the luxuries of the palace at Palermo, find the discomforts of Solomon’s Temple at Jerusalem much to her liking. But Baldwin hesitated; he was unwilling to lose the advantages of the Sicilian alliance. He resisted Arnulf’s demands; till in March 1117 he fell seriously ill. Face to face with death he listened to his confessors, who told him that he was dying in a state of sin. He must dismiss Adelaide and call his former wife to his side. He could not carry out all their wishes; for the ex-Queen was not prepared to leave Constantinople, whose gallant pleasures she so richly enjoyed. But when he recovered, he announced the annulment of his marriage to Adelaide. Adelaide herself, shorn of her wealth and almost unescorted, sailed angrily back to Sicily. It was an insult that the Sicilian Court never forgave. It was long before the kingdom of Jerusalem was to receive any aid or sympathy from Sicily.
On 16 June 1117 there was an eclipse of the moon and another on 11 December, and five nights later the rare phenomenon of the aurora borealis flickered through the Palestinian sky. It was a terrible portent, foretelling the death of princes. Nor did it lie. On 21 January 1118 Pope Paschal died at Rome. On 16 April the ex-Queen Adelaide ended her humiliated existence in Sicily. Her false friend the Patriarch Arnulf survived her for only twelve days. 5 April saw the death of the Sultan Mohammed in Iran. On 6 August the Caliph Mustazhir died at Baghdad. On 15 August, after a long and painful illness, the greatest of the eastern potentates, the Emperor Alexius, died at Constantinople. In the early spring King Baldwin returned fever-stricken from Egypt. His worn, overstrained body had no resistance left in it. His soldiers carried him back, a dying man, to the little frontier-fort of el-Arish. There, just beyond the borders of the kingdom which owed to him its existence, he died on 2 April, in the arms of the Bishop of Ramleh. His corpse was brought to Jerusalem, and on Palm Sunday, 7 April, it was laid to rest in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, by the side of his brother Godfrey.
Lamentations accompanied the funeral procession, from Franks and native Christians alike; and even the visiting Saracens were moved. He had been a great King, harsh and unscrupulous, not loved but deeply respected for his energy, his foresight and the order and justice of his rule. He had inherited a tenuous, uncertain realm, but by his martial vigour, his diplomatic subtlety and his wise tolerance he had given it a solid place amongst the kingdoms of the East.