Post-classical history



‘In those days there was no king in Israel.’ JUDGES XVIII, 1

The goal had been reached. Jerusalem was recovered to Christendom. But how was it to be preserved? What was to be its government? The question over which every Crusader must have pondered in private could not now be deferred. It seems that public opinion, remembering that the Crusade had been planned by the Church for the glory of Christ, felt that the Church should have the ultimate authority. Had Adhemar of Le Puy still been alive there is no doubt that he would have been expected to plan the constitution and to name its officers. He was beloved and respected, and he knew Pope Urban’s wishes. Probably he envisaged an ecclesiastical state under the Patriarch Symeon, with himself as papal legate to act as his adviser, and with Raymond of Toulouse as lay protector and commander of its armies. But we cannot claim to describe his intentions; for they had perished with him. Pope Urban had, indeed, unknown as yet to the Crusade, appointed a legate to succeed him, Daimbert of Pisa. But Daimbert proved to be personally so ambitious and at the same time so easily influenced that he cannot be regarded as an interpreter of papal policy. There was no one left with the Crusade whose advice would be unquestionably obeyed.

Intrigues for the Throne

On 17 July the leaders met together to deal with immediate matters of administration. The streets and houses had to be cleared of corpses, whose disposal must be arranged. Quarters within the city had to be allotted to the soldiers and the pilgrims. Preparations must be made to meet the coming Egyptian counter-attack. It was also discussed whether Tancred should be allowed to keep all the treasure, which included eight huge silver lamps, that he had taken from the Dome of the Rock. Then someone raised the question of the election of a king. The clergy at once protested. Spiritual needs came first. Before a king could be elected a Patriarch must be appointed, who would preside over the election. William of Tyre, writing nearly a century later when the monarchy was fully accepted, regarded this, archbishop though he was, as a scandalous attempt of the Church to go beyond its rights. But it was only resented at the time because its promoters were unworthy churchmen. A Patriarch was needed. Had Symeon still been living, his rights would have been respected. Adhemar had approved of him; and the Crusaders remembered gratefully the gifts that he had sent to them to Antioch. But no other Greek or Syrian ecclesiastic would have been acceptable. None, indeed, was there to put in a claim; for the higher Orthodox clergy of Jerusalem had followed the Patriarch into exile. A Latin must be elevated to the see; but amongst the Latin clergy there was now no one outstanding. After Adhemar’s death, William of Orange had been the most respected of the bishops. But he had died at Maarat an-Numan. The most active ecclesiastic now was a Norman-Italian, Arnulf, Bishop of Marturana. He proposed that his friend Arnulf Malecorne of Rohes, Robert of Normandy’s chaplain, should become Patriarch and he himself would be rewarded by the archbishopric of Bethlehem. Arnulf of Rohes was not undistinguished. He had been tutor to William the Conqueror’s daughter, the nun Cecilia, and she had induced her brother Robert to engage him and to promise him a bishopric. He was an excellent preacher and a man of letters but he was considered to be very worldly, and he was remembered as the enemy of Peter Bartholomew. Moreover the whole transaction looked like a Norman plot. The southern French clergy, supported, no doubt, by Raymond of Toulouse, would not co-operate; and the proposal to elect the Patriarch before the king was abandoned. The episode was not as important as William of Tyre believed. As the sequel showed, public opinion still backed the Church against the secular power.

The next days were spent in intrigues about the appointment to the throne. Of the great princes that had set out from Constantinople, only four now were left with the Crusade; Raymond of Toulouse, Godfrey of Lorraine, Robert of Flanders and Robert of Normandy. Eustace of Boulogne had always played a shadowy role behind his brother Godfrey; and Tancred, for all his prowess, had few followers and was considered to be little more than Bohemond’s poor relation. Of these, Raymond was the most formidable candidate. His age, his wealth, his experience and his long association with Adhemar were assets that no one else commanded. But he was unpopular with his colleagues. He had shown too often and too arrogantly that he regarded himself as the secular leader of the Crusade. His policy of friendship with the Emperor was greatly disliked, even by many of his own following. His few months as unquestioned commander had not been successful; the fiasco at Arqa and the disavowal of the Holy Lance had damaged his prestige; and, though his personal courage and energy were not doubted, he had not brought off any great victory as a soldier. As a king, he would be overbearing and autocratic but would not inspire confidence in his generalship nor in his politics. Of the others, Robert of Flanders was the ablest. But he was known to wish to return to his home as soon as Jerusalem was secure. Robert of Normandy was well liked and commanded prestige as the head of the Norman race. But he was not a formidable character; and he too was inclined to return to Europe. There remained Godfrey. As Duke of Lower Lorraine he had in the past filled a higher post than any of his colleagues. He had not been a very efficient duke; and his behaviour at Constantinople had shown him to possess the suspicious obstinacy of a weak and un-intelligent man. But his failings as a statesman and an administrator were unknown to the Crusaders, who saw him to be a gallant and godly man and a devoted servant of their cause. It was said that when the electors made inquiries about the private lives of each leader, Godfrey’s entourage had no fault in him to report save for an excessive fondness for pious exercises.

Who constituted the electors is unknown. Probably they were the higher clergy and such knights as were tenants-in-chief to the princes of the Crusade. The crown was first offered to Raymond; but he refused it. His refusal has surprised historians, so obvious was his ambition to lead the Crusade. But he realized that the offer did not have the sincere support of the majority of the Crusaders and that his colleagues would never in fact submit to his authority. Even his own soldiers, anxious to return to Europe, declared themselves to be against his acceptance. He therefore announced that he would not wish to be king in Christ’s holy city, hoping thus to make it impossible for anyone else to become king. The electors then turned with relief to Godfrey, who was known to be favoured by Robert of Flanders and Robert of Normandy. Godfrey, after some show of unwillingness, accepted the power but asked to be excused from wearing the title of a king. He would be called Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri, the dedicated defender of the Holy Sepulchre.

Godfrey’s Triumph

Raymond considered that he had been tricked. But Godfrey was certainly sincere when he declined to wear a crown in the city where Christ had worn a crown of thorns. His chief asset was that his piety corresponded with the piety of the average Crusader. He never rid himself of the conviction that the Church of Christ should be the ultimate ruler of the Holy Land. It was only after his death and after the bulk of the pilgrims had gone home, leaving behind a colony mainly made up of adventurers and practical men of affairs, that a king could be crowned in Jerusalem.

Raymond took Godfrey’s victory very badly. He possessed the Tower of David, and he refused to yield it to the new ruler, saying that he intended to remain in Jerusalem to celebrate the following Easter there, and meantime the Tower would be his residence. After Robert of Flanders and Robert of Normandy had both remonstrated with him, he agreed to leave it in the care of the Bishop of Albara till a general council of the Crusade should settle the case. But soon after he had moved out, the bishop, without waiting for a judicial decision, handed it over to Godfrey. The bishop excused himself before Raymond, saying that he was defenceless and obliged to give way; but Raymond of Aguilers himself saw the great stacks of arms that the faithless prelate took with him when he moved to a house near the Holy Sepulchre. He may have been encouraged in his action by those of Raymond’s men who were anxious to induce their master to return to France. In his rage Raymond at first announced that he would at once return home. He left Jerusalem, but went down with all his troops to the valley of the Jordan. Obedient to the instructions given him by Peter Bartholomew at Antioch, he led his men, each carrying a palm-leaf, from Jericho to the river. When he returned the whole company, reciting prayers and psalms, bathed in the holy stream and dressed themselves in clean garments; ‘though why the holy man told us to do all this’, remarked Raymond of Aguilers, ‘we do not yet know’. Unwilling to return to the scene of his humiliation at Jerusalem, Raymond then set up his camp at Jericho.

Godfrey and his Colleagues

Raymond’s failure to secure the crown weakened his followers. When the clergy assembled on 1 August to elect a Patriarch the opposition of the Provencals to Arnulf of Rohes was ineffectual. Secure in the support of the Lorrainers and the Normans of France and Italy, the Bishop of Marturano was able to persuade the majority in the assembly to appoint Arnulf. In vain Raymond of Aguilers and his friends pointed out that the election was un-canonical, as Arnulf was not even a subdeacon, and that his morals were such that rhymes had been made about them in the army. The general public welcomed his enthronement. As a politician Arnulf was moderate. If the clergy had expected him to dictate to Godfrey, they were disappointed. Conscious, perhaps, that he did not carry the weight to be the ruler of Jerusalem, he restricted his activities to ecclesiastical affairs. There his aim was to latinize the see. With Godfrey’s approval he installed twenty canons to hold daily services at the Holy Sepulchre, and he provided the church with bells to call the people to prayer — the Moslems had never permitted the Christians to use them. Next, he banished the priests of the eastern rites who had held services in the church. For then, as now, it contained altars belonging to all the sects of oriental Christendom, not only Orthodox Greeks and Georgians but also Armenians, Jacobites and Copts. The local Christian population had eagerly returned to Jerusalem on the morrow of the Latin conquest; but now they began to regret the change of masters. When they had been ejected from the city by Iftikhar, certain of the Orthodox priests had taken with them the holiest relic of the Church of Jerusalem, the major portion of the true Cross. They were unwilling to hand it over now to a pontiff who ignored their rights. It was only by the use of torture that Arnulf forced its guardians to reveal where they had hidden it. But, though their resentment was growing, the native Orthodox Christians had no choice but to accept the Latin hierarchy. Their own higher clergy were scattered; and it never occurred to them to appoint their own bishops and Patriarch in opposition to the Latins. There was as yet no schism between eastern and western Orthodoxy in Palestine, though Arnulf had taken the first steps towards making it inevitable. The heretic churches, who had enjoyed tolerance under the Moslems, found that the Latin conquest began for them a period of eclipse.

Godfrey’s relations with the colleagues that had hitherto supported him deteriorated after his elevation. For some reason he soon offended Robert of Normandy; and Robert of Flanders grew cooler towards him. Tancred had gone off meanwhile to Nablus, whose inhabitants had sent to Jerusalem surrendering themselves into the Crusaders’ hands. Possibly in order to prevent his usual practice of taking all the booty for himself, he was accompanied by Godfrey’s brother, Eustace of Boulogne. They were well received there; but it seems that they obtained no loot.

Soon after their departure an Egyptian embassy reached Jerusalem, to reproach the Franks for their breach of faith and to order them to leave Palestine. It was followed by the news that the Egyptian army, under the command of the vizier, al-Afdal himself, had crossed into Palestine and was advancing on Ascalon. Godfrey therefore sent to Tancred and to Eustace, telling them to descend into the maritime plain and report on the movements of the enemy. They hastened down towards Caesarea, then turned southward to Ramleh. On their way they captured several scouts sent ahead by the Egyptians; and from them they extracted information about the numbers and the disposition of the vizier’s forces. Gathering that al-Afdal was waiting for his fleet to join him with additional supplies and that he did not expect the Franks to attack him, they sent to Godfrey to urge that the Crusaders should take him by surprise. Godfrey at once mustered his army and called upon his colleagues to join him. Robert of Flanders responded to the summons; but Robert of Normandy and Raymond, who was still in the Jordan valley, answered that they would wait till the news was confirmed. It was only after their own scouts had been sent to discover what was happening that they consented to move.

The Victory at Ascalon

On 9 August Godfrey set out from Jerusalem with Robert of Flanders and all their men. The Patriarch Arnulf accompanied them. When they arrived at Ramleh and met with Tancred and Eustace, the Bishop of Marturano was hastily ordered back to Jerusalem to announce how dangerous was the situation and to urge every fighting man to join the army. Robert of Normandy and Raymond were convinced by now, and left Jerusalem on the 10th. Only a tiny garrison remained behind in the city, where Peter the Hermit was instructed to hold services and processions of intercession, at which Greeks and Latins alike should pray for the victory of Christendom. Early on the nth the whole host of the Crusaders assembled at Ibelin, a few miles beyond Ramleh. They advanced at once into the plain of Ashdod, where at dusk they discovered and rounded up the herds that the Egyptians had brought to feed their troops. After a brief night’s rest they emerged into the green and fertile plain of al-Majdal, just to the north of Ascalon, where the vizier’s army was encamped. They formed their battle-array in the dim light of dawn, with Raymond on the right, by the sea, the two Roberts and Tancred in the centre and Godfrey on the left; and as soon as the ranks were ordered they charged into the Egyptian army. Al-Afdal was taken entirely by surprise. His scouting was at fault; and he had not expected the Franks to be so near. His men put up hardly any resistance. In a few minutes they were fleeing in panic. A large company took refuge in a sycamore grove, where they were burnt to death. On their left flank Raymond drove great numbers into the sea. In the centre Robert of Normandy and Tancred penetrated into the heart of their camp; and Robert’s bodyguard captured the vizier’s standard and many of his personal belongings. The vizier himself, with a handful of officers, managed to escape into Ascalon and there took a ship to return to Egypt. In a few hours the victory was complete; and the Crusaders’ possession of Jerusalem was assured.

The booty taken by the victors was immense. Robert of Normandy bought the vizier’s standard for twenty silver marks from the Norman that had captured it, and presented it to the Patriarch Arnulf. The vizier’s sword was sold to another prince for sixty bezants. Bullion and precious stones were found in huge quantities amongst the Egyptian luggage; and a vast amount of armaments and of beasts fell into the Crusaders’ hands. On Saturday, 13 August, a triumphal procession returned to Jerusalem laden with spoil. All that could not be carried with them was burnt.

The significance of the victory was fully realized. But while it ensured that the Egyptians could not recover the territory that they had lost, it did not mean that at once all Palestine would be occupied by the Franks. The Egyptian navy still commanded the coasts and offered protection to the seaports. Godfrey had hoped to follow up the battle by the capture of Ascalon; whose garrison knew that it could not be held against the united forces of the Crusade. But the massacre at Jerusalem had not been forgotten. The Moslems in Ascalon had no wish to suffer a similar fate. They knew that the only survivors at Jerusalem had been those that had surrendered to Raymond of Toulouse, whose reputation for chivalry therefore stood high. They sent now to the Crusader camp, saying that they would give up the city to him alone. Godfrey, deeply suspicious of Raymond since the affair of the Tower of David, refused to recognize any terms of surrender that did not give himself the town. Raymond was angry and humiliated, and at once began to move northward with all his men; and Robert of Normandy and Robert of Flanders were so shocked by Godfrey’s pettiness that they too deserted him. Without their help Godfrey could not venture to attack Ascalon, which was thus lost to the Franks for more than half a century.

The little town of Arsuf next offered to surrender to Raymond. But again Godfrey refused to honour any such agreement; and again Raymond moved angrily away. Godfrey’s friends declared that Raymond even encouraged the garrison of Arsuf to hold out against Godfrey, whose weakness he carefully emphasized to them.

By the end of August Raymond and the two Roberts had decided to leave Palestine. Both the Duke of Normandy and the Count of Flanders were now eager to return home. They had done their Christian duty and could consider that their vows had been fulfilled. In spite of the recent quarrels Godfrey’s heart sank to see them go. At their farewell interview with him he besought them when they reached Europe to do everything possible to urge soldiers to come out east to fight for the Cross, reminding them how precarious was the position of those that were staying in the Holy Land. Early in September they began their journey north-ward up the coast. Raymond accompanied them. But in his case the departure was not so definite; for he had sworn to remain in the East. He had lost Jerusalem; but there was no reason why he should not now copy the examples of Bohemond and of Baldwin and found his own principality. The territory that could offer him most scope was central Syria, safely distant from both the Turks and the Egyptians, and mainly in the hands of the unwarlike Banu ‘Ammar. He could hope, too, to have the support of Byzantium.

Daimbert of Pisa

With Raymond and the Roberts marched most of their men. A few stayed behind from each army, to settle in Palestine. But, to balance them, a number of Godfrey’s men, including Baldwin of Le Bourg, returned northward under the banner of the Count of Flanders. Tancred and his small following remained in Palestine.

The journey northward was achieved without difficulty. The Moslem governors of the coastal cities hastened to supply the army with provisions as it passed by. In mid-September it reached Tortosa, which was still held by a garrison of Raymond’s men, and moved on to Jabala. There the leaders heard news that greatly shocked and disquieted them.

Shortly before his death Pope Urban had appointed a legate to take the place of Adhemar in Palestine. His choice fell upon Daimbert, Archbishop of Pisa. Urban knew his fellow-Frenchmen well, but with the Italians he made mistakes. Daimbert had been an energetic archbishop and was known to be interested in the holy war. The Pope had therefore sent him in 1098 to be his legate at the court of King Alfonso VI of Castile. There Daimbert had shown himself full of zeal and competent in his efforts to organize the Church in the lands conquered from the Moors. But there were rumours that his administration had not been free of corruption, and in particular he had kept for himself a large proportion of the treasure sent by King Alfonso to the Pope. In spite of his vigour it was clear that he was vain, ambitious and dishonest. In appointing him legate in the East Urban went far to undo his own policy.

Daimbert set out from Italy before the end of 1098. He was accompanied by a Pisan fleet, equipped by the municipality of Pisa. No doubt he hoped, by his influence over the Pisans, to use them to establish his own position, while they on their side saw how useful his help would be to obtain them concessions. They formed a lawless company. On their way eastward they indulged in profitable raids on the islands of the Heptannese, Corfu, Leucas, Cephalonia and Zante. News of their outrages soon reached Constantinople; and the Emperor sent out against them a fleet commanded by Taticius, who had not been back for many months from Antioch, and the Italian-born sailor, Landulf. The Byzantines attempted to intercept the Pisans as they sailed past Samos, but arrived too late, and failed also to catch them up off Cos. Eventually the fleets came into sight of each other off Rhodes. The Byzantines tried to force an action, and captured a Pisan ship, with a kinsman of Bohemond on board; but a sudden storm blew up and enabled the Pisans to slip away. Next, the Pisans tried to make a landing on the Cypriot coast, but were driven off with some loss by the Byzantine governor, Philocales. They then sailed across to the Syrian coast, while the Byzantine fleet put into Cyprus.

Since the departure of his colleagues to Jerusalem, Bohemond had been occupied in consolidating himself in Antioch. He had little to fear from the Turks at present. His main occupation was with the Byzantines. The Emperor, he knew, would never forgive him; and so long as the Emperor possessed the best fleet in eastern waters and the port of Lattakieh, just to the south of his territory, he could not feel secure. About the end of August he decided to bring matters to a head and marched to attack Lattakieh. But without sea-power he could do nothing. The fortifications were strong; and the garrison could be supplied and reinforced from Cyprus. The arrival off the coast of a Pisan fleet which had no cause to like the Byzantines was therefore very timely; and he hastened to come to terms with Daimbert and the Pisan captains, who promised him every assistance.

Bohemond and Daimbert at Lattakieh

The Emperor had ordered his admiral to punish acts of piracy committed by the Latins, but he wished to avoid an open breach. Taticius was uncertain how he should deal with this new development. After consulting with the governor of Cyprus, he asked the Byzantine general Butumites, who was in Cyprus, probably in order that he might act as an ambassador-at-large in the East, to cross to Antioch and interview Bohemond. But Bohemond was intransigent; and the embassy achieved nothing. Butumites returned to Cyprus and set sail with Taticius and the main fleet for Constantinople, to report on the situation and receive further instructions. Off Syce, on the west Cilician coast, many of the Byzantine ships were wrecked in a fierce tempest; but the admiral’s own squadron was able to proceed on the voyage. The Pisan ships then moved into position to blockade Lattakieh from the sea.

At this point Raymond and the two Roberts arrived at Jabala. That Raymond should be horrified by the events at Lattakieh was natural. He disliked anything that Bohemond might do; and his policy was one of alliance with Byzantium. But his colleagues were equally distressed. However much they had deplored some of the Emperor’s actions, they realized the necessity for some collaboration between eastern and western Christians; and they were faced with the problem of conveying their armies back to Europe, a task that would be almost impossible without Byzantine help. It was also particularly unsuitable that the new papal legate to the East should start his legature by an action that the bulk of the eastern Christians would bitterly resent. Daimbert was summoned to the camp at Jabala. Faced by the angry remonstrances of the leaders, he saw his mistake and called off the Pisan fleet. Without its help and with his colleagues angry against him, Bohemond was forced to abandon the siege. Raymond then entered Lattakieh, accompanied by the two Roberts, with the full consent of the inhabitants, and hoisted his standard on the citadel, side by side with that of the Emperor. The governor of Cyprus, informed of these developments, announced his approval and offered to provide free transport to take Robert of Flanders and Robert of Normandy to Constantinople, on the first stage of their homeward voyage. The offer was gratefully accepted. The two Roberts sailed safely to Constantinople, where they were well received by the Emperor. They refused his suggestion that they should stay on in the East in his service; and after a short visit they continued their journey to the West. We do not know how many of their men sailed with them. Some may have taken passages in Genoese ships direct for Italy. Raymond remained at Lattakieh.

Meanwhile Daimbert had rejoined Bohemond at Antioch. Bohemond knew his man and very soon recovered his influence over him. The legate was anxious to move on to Jerusalem; and Bohemond decided to accompany him. Along with the other Crusaders, Bohemond had taken the vow to worship at the Holy Sepulchre; and his failure to fulfil it was damaging his prestige. The opportunity to make the pilgrimage with Daimbert and thus to ensure his alliance was too good to be missed. There was also the future of Jerusalem to consider. Godfrey was without a natural heir and his health was poor. The papal legate might well control the succession; and it would anyhow be wise to have some personal knowledge of the situation there. It was announced that Daimbert and Bohemond would leave Antioch in the late autumn, in order to be at the Holy City for Christmas.

On hearing the news, Baldwin sent from Edessa to say that he would accompany the pilgrimage. He too needed to fulfil his vow; he felt that he could leave Edessa for a while; and it was obviously in the general interest that the party should be as strong as possible. But he, too, was interested in the succession. He was Godfrey’s brother and next of kin in the East — for Eustace of Boulogne had probably left Palestine in the wake of Robert of Flanders — and he was as ambitious as Bohemond. Bohemond may later have regretted his company. With Bohemond and Baldwin came all their men that could be spared from the defence of their territories and a great number of women. According to Fulcher of Chartres they numbered twenty-five thousand.

Bohemond’s Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

The pilgrims set out early in November. Bohemond and Daimbert followed the coast road, with the Pisan fleet guarding their flank. As they passed by Lattakieh, Raymond refused to help them with provisions. At Bulunyas, a little to the south, they paused to enable Baldwin to catch them up; he had only arrived at Antioch after Bohemond’s departure, but he had been better received by Raymond at Lattakieh. The inhabitants of Bulunyas, Greek Christians who apparently acknowledged the Emperor’s authority, did not welcome the pilgrims’ arrival and were apparently very unhelpful over supplies. When the pilgrims moved on they soon suffered from hunger. Tortosa, which they passed at the end of the month, had reverted into Moslem hands; and the garrison attacked and massacred the stragglers in the rear of the pilgrimage. No food was to be obtained there, nor much at Tripoli, where bread was sold at so dear a price that only the rich could afford it. Some nourishment was extracted from the sugar-cane growing in the neighbourhood of Tripoli; but though it interested the pilgrims as a novelty it was insufficient for their needs. December was unexpectedly cold; and the rain fell ceaselessly. Mortality was high among the aged and the more delicate, and most of the pack-animals perished. But they struggled on, stopping nowhere longer than was essential. In mid-December they reached Caesarea, where they were able to buy food; and on 21 December they arrived at Jerusalem.

Godfrey was glad to see them come. His need for man-power was pressing; and he hoped to persuade many of them to remain in Palestine and occupy the estates that he was now able to offer them. In this he had some success. When Bohemond and Baldwin returned to the north, several knights and their men stayed behind with him. The defeat of the Egyptians at Ascalon had meant that, though the coastal cities, with the exception of Jaffa, were still held by Fatimid governors, protected by the Egyptian fleet, the uplands of Judaea and Samaria had passed right out of their control. The villages there were mainly occupied by Christians, a passive population of small cultivators, forbidden for generations to carry arms and exploited by their Moslem lords whenever the central government was weak. They welcomed at first the change of masters; and by the end of the summer Godfrey’s authority stretched up to the plain of Jezreel on the north and beyond Hebron into the Negeb in the south; though there, in southern Judaea, his control was less complete; for the natives were mainly Moslems, and there was a continuous infiltration of Bedouins from the desert. Hebron, which the Crusaders called St Abraham, was strongly fortified in order to control the district.

Daimbert Becomes Patriarch

Meanwhile Tancred, with a small company of twenty-four knights and their men, had penetrated into Galilee. Galilee had been recently disputed between the Fatimids and Duqaq of Damascus; but Duqaq had not had time to occupy the province since the Fatimid defeat at Ascalon. The local Moslems therefore made no resistance to Tancred. As his small army approached Tiberias, their capital, they fled into Damascene territory. The Christians, who had been in a minority in the town, received him gladly. The Jews, who had a numerous colony there, were more sullen, remembering the fate of their brethren at Jerusalem. Tancred fortified Tiberias, then moved on to the Christian town of Nazareth and to Mount Tabor, and rounded off his conquest by the capture and fortification of Beisan (Scythopolis), which commands the pass from the plain of Jezreel to the Jordan. The Moslems in Galilee hastened to leave the province; and Tancred followed up their departure with a series of brilliant and swift raids, in the style of the Arabs, on the Moslem lands around. These not only brought him and his followers copious booty but they confirmed him in the possession of Galilee. The Christian state was thus enlarged into a solid block of territory cutting off entirely the Fatimid cities of the coast from the hinterland of Transjordan and the Hauran. With the Egyptians unready as yet to take their revenge for Ascalon and with Duqaq of Damascus too deeply involved in family quarrels to risk an aggressive war, Godfrey had no immediate danger to face. It was as well; for with a fighting force that William of Tyre, using the records of the time, estimated at three hundred knights and two thousand infantrymen, he would not have been able to withstand a serious counter-attack. It was, above all, the disunion of the Arabs that permitted the small intrusive state to be established within their lands.

Daimbert and Bohemond as they travelled southward together planned their future policy. Godfrey needed their help. He needed the sea-power provided by the Pisan ships, whose allegiance Daimbert commanded, and he needed as many knights as Bohemond could spare for him. The pilgrims spent Christmas at Bethlehem. As soon as the festivities were over, the newcomers showed their hand. The Patriarch Arnulf, who had many enemies, and whose patron, the Duke of Normandy, was now far away, was deposed on the grounds that his election had been uncanonical; and, on Bohemond’s instigation, Daimbert was elected Patriarch of Jerusalem in his place. There were rumours that gifts made both to Bohemond and to Godfrey had helped on the transaction. Immediately after his enthronization both Godfrey and Bohemond knelt before him and received from him the investiture of the territories of Jerusalem and Antioch.

Bohemond and Baldwin Return to the North

The ceremony was significant; and its meaning was clear. Public opinion amongst the pilgrims had always considered that the Holy Land should be the patrimony of the Church. But Arnulf had not possessed the authority nor the personality to establish any supremacy over the lay powers. Daimbert came out as papal legate, with a prestige derived from his appointment by Pope Urban; and he brought with him the practical asset of a squadron of ships and the vigorous backing of Bohemond. The average Crusader would not deny his claims; and Godfrey, who in spite of his fits of obstinacy was a weak man and felt himself insecure, shared this genuine respect for the Church. He hoped that by acknowledging its suzerainty he put his own position on a proper moral basis and would command its full support in the lay government of the land. He did not as yet know Daimbert. Bohemond’s motives were subtler. The recognition of Daimbert’s suzerainty cost him nothing; for Daimbert would be too far away to interfere in Antiochene affairs. He was glad to ignore the rights of the Patriarch of Antioch, a Greek, whom he suspected as an agent of Byzantium. By formally basing his authority on the chief Latin ecclesiastic in the East he gave an answer that all the Latins would welcome to the claims put forward by the Emperor and could hope for their whole-hearted aid should the Emperor seek to attack him. It was probably on this occasion that he took the title of Prince of Antioch. The title of prince (princeps), attached to a territory, was little known in the West, except in southern Italy, where it was used by certain Norman rulers who had taken over Lombard lands and who admitted no lay overlord other than the see of St Peter. It therefore suited Bohemond perfectly. At the same time his nephew Tancred took the title of Prince of Galilee, probably to show that his suzerain was not Godfrey but the Patriarch. Daimbert was delighted with the homage paid to him. Urban II had probably intended that the Holy Land should become an ecclesiastical patrimony, though he had not wished to upset the existing ecclesiastical arrangements. Doubtless he would have welcomed the succession of a Latin to each of the eastern Patriarchates, if it could be brought about lawfully and peaceably. But we may question whether he would have approved of an action in which the Patriarchate of Jerusalem arrogated to itself authority over the older and historically senior Patriarchate of Antioch. Daimbert was asking for the Patriarchate claims to religious and secular sovereignty in the East as high as any that Pope Gregory VII himself had put forward for the Papacy in the West. The moment was well chosen; for Urban II was dead. News of the accession of Paschal II, who was raised to the pontificate on 13 August, must have reached Jerusalem by the winter. Daimbert was probably acquainted with Paschal, who had preceded him as papal legate in Spain, and knew him to be a man of mediocre ability and little force of character. He was unlikely to make trouble so long as his nominal supremacy was recognized.

Baldwin of Edessa did not pay homage to the Patriarch. Whether he was asked to do so and refused or whether the question was not raised is unknown; but it seems that his relations with Daimbert were not cordial.

When the ceremony was over, Bohemond and Baldwin set off together on New Year’s Day, 1100, to their territories. Most of their followers returned with them; but a number stayed behind and were presented by Godfrey with fiefs in Palestine. Godfrey and Daimbert accompanied the pilgrims to Jericho and the Jordan, where they passed the Feast of the Epiphany, to celebrate the Blessing of the Waters. Then Bohemond and Baldwin turned northward up the valley to Beisan and on to Tiberias. There they decided not to take the coastal road home, but to go straight on, past Baniyas and the Litani valley into Coele-Syria. They met with no opposition till they were well into Coele-Syria, close to the ruins of Baalbek. The district owed allegiance to Duqaq of Damascus, who planned to intercept them there. The column was marching with Bohemond at its head and Baldwin in the rear when the Damascene forces attacked. But Duqaq was more concerned to hurry them out of his territory than to destroy them; and his onslaught was not very vigorous. It was easily driven off; and the Franks continued on their way, coming down to the sea through the Buqaia, and thence taking the coastal road past Tortosa and Lattakieh to Antioch. Before the end of February Baldwin was back in Edessa.

The additions to his armed strength enabled Godfrey to extend his rule over the maritime plains of Palestine. His territory had been cut off from the sea, except for a corridor leading to Jaffa. During the autumn he had attempted to widen this corridor by the capture of the small port of Arsuf to the north of Jaffa. The men of Arsuf, after their offer to surrender to Raymond of Toulouse had been rejected through Godfrey’s interference, thought it wise when Raymond left Palestine to come to terms with Godfrey, to whom they sent hostages. In return they admitted into their town, partly as a resident and partly as a hostage, a knight from Hainault, Gerard of Avesnes. But Godfrey wished for a more direct control; and in the late autumn he marched with a small force to attack the town. His first victim was his friend, Gerard of Avesnes, whom the men of Arsuf promptly bound and hung over the walls fully exposed to the arrows of the assailants. In vain Gerard shouted down to Godfrey begging him to spare him; but Godfrey replied that were it his own brother Eustace hanging there he would still press the assault. Gerard was soon hauled back into the town, transfixed by twelve of his compatriot’s arrows. But his martyrdom was in vain. Godfrey’s men could make no impression against the walls of the town; and the two towers on wheels that he constructed were, one after the other, destroyed by the garrison’s Greek fire. On 15 December he raised the siege. But he left half of his army at Ramleh, with orders to ravage the country round Arsuf and to make it impossible for the citizens to till their fields.

Godfrey and the Emirs of the Coast

With the arrival of reinforcements Godfrey continued this policy on a larger scale. His men began to raid the hinterland of all the Fatimid cities of the coast, Ascalon, Caesarea and Acre as well as Arsuf, till none of them could obtain any supplies from the countryside. At the same time, with the help of the Pisan sailors, he re-fortified Jaffa and improved its harbour. Ships from all the Italian and Provencal ports, attracted by the prospect of trade with the new state, came there to join the Pisans and to share in their opportunities. With their help, Godfrey was able to blockade the Palestinian coast. It was increasingly difficult for Fatimid ships to bring supplies by sea to the Moslem ports. There was piracy on both sides; but on the whole it was the citizens of these ports that suffered the most.

In mid-March the Egyptians, in answer to an urgent appeal, sent by sea a small detachment to supplement the garrison of Arsuf. Emboldened by this, the men of Arsuf organized a counter-raid against the Franks only to fall into an ambush, in which the greater part of their army was slain. In despair the town now sent an embassy to Godfrey, which arrived at Jerusalem on 25 March, bringing to him the symbolical gift of the keys of their towers and offering to pay an annual tribute. Godfrey accepted their submission and gave the right to receive the tribute to one of his foremost knights, Robert of Apulia. A few days later Godfrey was surprised and delighted when Gerard of Avesnes suddenly appeared at Jerusalem. He had recovered from his wounds and was now sent back by the authorities in Arsuf as a token of their goodwill. Godfrey, whose conscience had been uneasy about him, presented him with the fief of St Abraham, that is to say, Hebron.

Ascalon, Caesarea and Acre were not long in following the example of Arsuf. Early in April their Emirs came together and sent envoys to Godfrey, laden with presents of com and fruit and oil and Arab horses. They offered him a monthly tribute of five thousand bezants if they might be allowed to cultivate their lands in peace. Godfrey accepted their overtures; and soon cordial relations were established between the Moslem cities and their Christian overlord. Various petty Moslem sheikhs of the foothills had already made their submission. While Godfrey was encamped before Arsuf a delegation of them had visited him with gifts of food and had been touched and pleased by the simplicity in which he lived — a simplicity dictated as much by his poverty as his tastes. It fitted with their conceptions of a great but modest warrior, and made their friendship easier to obtain.

The sheikhs of Transjordan were the next to seek an understanding with him. They had been used to sending their surplus produce to the cities of the coast; and the Frankish state cut across their routes. They asked to be enabled to send their caravans across Judaea once more. Godfrey gave his permission, but tried to divert the trade as much as possible to the Christian port of Jaffa. At the same time the Italians were encouraged to intercept, whenever they could, any trade between the Moslem coastal cities and Egypt, to make them dependent on their trade with the Christians. Thus the whole of Palestine began to be integrated into an economic whole, with its overseas connections with Europe. The Frankish policy brought a quick return in wealth and prosperity for the Crusader state.

Raids Across the Jordan

His growing influence amongst his Moslem neighbours encouraged Godfrey to attempt to extend his rule over lands beyond the Jordan. In the land of Suwat, on the east of the Sea of Galilee, there lived an Emir whom the Crusaders called the Fat Peasant. Tancred had raided his land and had induced him to recognize Frankish suzerainty; but the Fat Peasant had shaken off the vassalage as soon as Tancred had departed and had appealed for help to his overlord, Duqaq of Damascus. Tancred therefore appealed to Godfrey. A foothold there might enable the Franks to divert the rich trade of the Jaulan and the Hauran to the ports of Palestine; while the district of Suwat was itself famed for its fertility. Godfrey was eager to join in its conquest. He brought up troops early in May, to combine with Tancred’s in a raid that led them through the Fat Peasant’s territory right into the heart of the Jaulan. As they were returning, laden with booty, Duqaq fell on the rearguard, which Tancred commanded. Godfrey in the van moved on, ignorant of what was happening; and Tancred only extricated himself after losing many of his men and all his share of the loot. But Duqaq did not feel himself strong enough to pursue the Franks. Having made sure that they had left his lands he returned to Damascus. Godfrey went on with his booty to Jerusalem; but Tancred burned for revenge. As soon as he had rested his army at Tiberias and had collected reinforcements he conducted another raid into Damascene territory which was so fierce that Duqaq sent to suggest a truce. In return Tancred dispatched six knights to Damascus with a message that he must either become a Christian or leave Damascus. Furious at the insult, Duqaq retorted to the envoys that they must become Moslems or die. Only one renounced his faith; the five others were slaughtered. Tancred at once asked Godfrey to help him avenge their martyrdom; and Godfrey set off again to join him in a raid more formidable than their first. For a fortnight they devastated the Jaulan, while the Moslems cowered behind the walls of their towns. Duqaq, nervous as ever of committing himself to a campaign, made no attempt to oppose them. The Fat Peasant saw himself deserted by his suzerain and impoverished by the Franks, and agreed once more to accept Tancred as his overlord and to pay him a regular tribute.

Though Godfrey was gaining amongst his Moslem neighbours, within his own dominions his power was declining. With Tancred, the greatest of his vassals, his relations were cordial; but it seems that Tancred, for all his requests for Godfrey’s help, shaped his policy according to his own desires. But, while the Prince of Galilee acted as an independent monarch, Godfrey found his own independence more and more restricted by the suzerain that he had rashly accepted, the Patriarch Daimbert. Daimbert was not content that his lordship should be nominal and theoretical; he wished it to be based on positive power. Godfrey, always diffident before the Church and fearful of losing the aid of the Pisans, did not like to refuse his requests. At Candlemas, 2 February 1100, he handed over to the see of Jerusalem one quarter of the city of Jaffa. Next, Daimbert demanded that he should be given control not only of the whole city of Jaffa but of Jerusalem itself and its citadel, the Tower of David. Godfrey yielded again but, urged perhaps by his outraged knights, he insisted on delay. At a solemn ceremony on Easter Day, 1 April, he endowed the Patriarchate with the two cities, but announced that he would remain in possession of them till his death, or till he should conquer two great cities from the infidel. It was an unsatisfactory solution; for it was not easy to build an organized kingdom round a temporary capital. Godfrey seems to have had no governmental body apart from His own household; nor could he hope to found one now at Jerusalem. Had Daimbert been a great administrator or, like Adhemar, a wise statesman, it is just possible that the hierarchical rule that he envisaged might have endured; but his short-sighted attempt to drive the lay defenders on whom the security of the Christian state was bound to depend out of the capital city would have been disastrous. Even the respite that Godfrey gained only added to the uncertainty of the future. But Providence showed mercy to Jerusalem.

Godfrey’s Last Illness

When he returned to Galilee, about 18 June, from his raid in the Jaulan, Godfrey learnt that a strong Venetian squadron had put into Jaffa. Knowing how useful it would be for the control of the coasts, he hurried down to greet it. From Tiberias he travelled past Acre and Haifa to Caesarea. The Emir, anxious to show respect to his suzerain, invited him to a banquet where he was treated with the utmost honour. From the banquet Godfrey went straight on to Jaffa. He was feeling ill when he arrived, and collapsed when he reached the hostel that he had himself constructed for distinguished visitors. His friends remembered all the fruit that he had eaten at the Emir’s table and whispered of poison. In truth his illness was probably typhoid. Next day he had recovered his strength sufficiently to receive the commander of the Venetian fleet and a bishop that accompanied him, and to discuss the terms on which they would aid the Crusaders. But the effort was too much for him; and he asked his household to convey him up to Jerusalem. In the cooler air of the capital he rallied a little; but he was too weak to conduct business.

Round his sick-bed the politicians wrangled. Daimbert waited impatiently for the moment when he should take over the city. The Venetians were eager to fix up their arrangements. They came in two parties up to Jerusalem to worship at the holy places, the first on 21 June and the second on the 24th; but their commander and their bishop probably remained longer to carry on the negotiations. Hearing of their coming, and of Godfrey’s illness, Tancred hastened south from Galilee. From his sick-room Godfrey deputed his cousin, the Burgundian count, Warner of Gray, to act for him; and he gave his approval to the terms that the Venetians put forward. They were to be allowed to trade freely throughout the Frankish state; they were to receive a church and a market in every town of the state; they were to receive a third of every town that they helped to capture, and the whole of the city of Tripoli, for which they would pay Godfrey a tribute. In return they would give their aid to the Crusaders up to 15 August. Discussions then were held to decide which towns should be attacked that summer. It was agreed that, in spite of the Emir’s treaty with Godfrey, Acre should be the main objective, and Haifa should also be taken. Tancred hoped to secure Acre for his principality; but Godfrey personally promised Haifa to his friend Geldemar Carpenel.

During the first fortnight of July Godfrey seemed a little stronger; and it was thought that he might recover. Plans for the expedition against Acre were pushed ahead. Tancred’s troops joined him at the capital; and Warner of Gray was put in command of Godfrey’s troops. The Patriarch Daimbert then determined to accompany the expedition, in order to show himself as the chief authority in the land and to have a say in any distribution of territory. He distrusted Warner, and he thought it safe to leave Jerusalem when Godfrey was too ill to take any action and all his men were away on the campaign. He never made a worse calculation.

The Patriarch, Tancred and Warner and all their men left Jerusalem on 13 July and marched down to Jaffa to establish liaison with the Venetians. As they approached Jaffa Warner fell suddenly ill. He was clearly in no state to continue on the campaign; so he remained for four days at Jaffa and then was carried back in a litter to Jerusalem. Meanwhile the army marched swiftly northward along the coast; and the Venetian ships prepared to sail up on its flank. But the north wind held them back, and they made little progress.

Warner had hardly arrived in Jerusalem when Godfrey’s weary heart gave out. On Wednesday, 18 July, strengthened by the last rites of the Church, Godfrey, Duke of Lorraine and Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre, sank quietly to his rest. He had been a weak and unwise ruler; but men of every nation had respected him for his courage, his modesty and his faith. In Jerusalem the news of his death was greeted with mourning. For five days he lay in state; then they buried him in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!