School Vzmakh, 2010, Saint-Petersburg

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Academic writing

in English by

Eugene Gluzman

Guy of Lusignans’ role in the fall of

Jerusalem kingdom

(AC 1183-1192)

School Vzmakh, 2010, Saint-Petersburg.




Guy of Lusignan as the bailli of Jerusalem (1183-1186)………………………………………………….

Guy of Lusignan as the king of Jerusalem (1186-1187)………………………………………………….

The fall of Jerusalem kingdom (1187-1192)…………




In this introduction I would like to present you the topic of my academic writing, explain why it is actual and deserves research. In this work I will often talk about everything which is connected to the crusades, so I firstly would like to say some words about them.

The first crusade, as the history says, was the campaign that lasted from 1096 till 1099 year. It started because of Arabians aggression to Christians, especially pilgrims from Europe or the Byzantine empire. As the result, crusaders seized control of Jerusalem and founded the Jerusalem kingdom and two states which were vassal to it - the Antioch principality and the county of Edessa. In 1144 began the actions that led to the fall of kingdom. In my research I investigate the role of Guy Lusignan, the last king of Jerusalem, in the fall of this kingdom – up to 1992 (in this year the crusaders’ army failed to return Jerusalem, which was seized by Muslims in 1189, and left the Holy Land). Now some words about the structure of my work.

In the first chapter I will tell you about the Jerusalem kingdom politics from 1144 (the fall of Edessa County) to 1183 (the year Guy Lusignan became the Jerusalem bailli). In the second chapter I explore the time period from 1183 to 1186 – this is the time of Guys’ balliage. In chapter three I continue to research 1186 and 1187 years (since Guy became the Jerusalem king and up to Hattin battle, which was the critical moment of the opposition if Christians and Muslims). And then, in the fourth and the last chapter I tell about 1187-1192 years. In this years Jerusalem itself has fallen and this period ended when Richard the Lionheart left Holy Land with his crusaders. The aim of my research is to uncover Guy Lusignans’ role in the fall of Jerusalem kingdom.

This topic is actual because the crusade movement in the Holy Land has lain a great trace in all medieval history. The time period I investigate is one of the most important periods in the history of crusades. Exactly in this years the political advantage in Holy Lands passed to the Muslims and the Jerusalem, which was the holy symbol for all Christians, was lost.

That is all I wanted to say as an introduction to my research.*

*I will write all the most important analysis necessary for the work in italics.

Jerusalem kingdom politics in 1144-1183

The period of Jerusalem’s fall began far before Guy started to play any role in its life. The Jerusalem kingdom’s politic around 1144 followed not the right goal – its aim was to lower Byzantine power in Asia, despite the right way was to rely on it in defeating muslims. This blind politic led to that, firstly weakened and pushed deep into Asia, muslims regained power and again became a threat to the Christians. One of the most powerful muslim emirs Mosula Imad-ad-Din Zengi began to be a serious danger for the Edess county. King Fulk died in 1143 in a hunting accident. In 1144 Zengi started a campaign against Jerusalem kingdom, which ended with the siege of Edessa and the fall of the Edessa county.

Queen Melisende, now regent for her elder son Baldwin III, appointed a new constable, Manasses of Hierges, to head the army after Fulk's death, but Edessa could not be recaptured, despite Zengi's own assassination in 1146. The fall of Edessa shocked Europe, and a Second Crusade arrived in 1148.

After meeting in Acre in June, the crusading kings Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany agreed with Melisende, Baldwin III and the major nobles of the kingdom to attack Damascus. Zengi's territory had been divided amongst his sons after his death, and Damascus no longer felt threatened, so an alliance had been made with Zengi's son Nur ad-Din, the emir of Aleppo. Perhaps remembering attacks launched on Jerusalem from Damascus in previous decades, Damascus seemed to be the best target for the crusade, rather than Aleppo or another city to the north which would have allowed for the recapture of Edessa. The subsequent Siege of Damascus was a complete failure; when the city seemed to be on the verge of collapse, the crusader army suddenly moved against another section of the walls, and was driven back. The crusaders retreated within three days. There were rumors of treachery and bribery, and Conrad III felt betrayed by the nobility of Jerusalem. Whatever the reason for the failure, the French and German armies returned home, and a few years later Damascus was firmly under Nur ad-Din's control. With Syria in the east now united, the kingdom's attention was turned towards the much weaker Fatimid Egypt in the west.

The failure of the Second Crusade had dire long-term consequences for the kingdom. The West was hesitant to send large-scale expeditions; for the next few decades, only small armies came, headed by minor European nobles who desired to make a pilgrimage. The Muslim states of Syria were meanwhile gradually united by Nur ad-Din, who defeated the Principality of Antioch at the Battle of Inab in 1149 and gained control of Damascus in 1154. Nur ad-Din was extremely pious and during his rule the concept of jihad came to be interpreted as a kind of counter-crusade against the kingdom, which was an impediment to Muslim unity, both political and spiritual.

In Jerusalem, the crusaders were distracted by a conflict between Melisende and Baldwin III. Melisende continued to rule as regent long after Baldwin came of age. She was supported by, among others, Manasses of Hierges, who essentially governed for her as constable, her son Amalric, whom she set up as Count of Jaffa, Philip of Milly, and the Ibelin family. Baldwin asserted his independence by mediating disputes in Antioch and Tripoli, and gained the support of the Ibelin brothers when they began to oppose Manasses growing power, thanks to his marriage to their widowed mother Helvis of Ramla. In 1153 Baldwin had himself crowned as sole ruler, and a compromise was reached by which the kingdom was divided in two, with Baldwin taking Acre and Tyre in the north and Melisende remaining in control of Jerusalem and the cities of the south. Baldwin was able to replace Manasses with one of his own supporters, Humphrey II of Toron. Baldwin and Melisende knew that this situation was untenable. Baldwin soon invaded his mother's possessions, defeated Manasses, and besieged his mother in the Tower of David in Jerusalem. Melisende surrendered and retired to Nablus, but Baldwin appointed her his regent and chief advisor, and she retained some of her influence, especially in appointing ecclesiastical officials. In 1153, Baldwin launched an offensive against Ascalon, the fortress in the south from which Fatimid Egyptian armies had continually raided Jerusalem since the foundation of the kingdom. The fortress was captured and was added to the County of Jaffa, still in the possession of his brother Amalric.

With the capture of Ascalon the southern border of the kingdom was now secure, and Egypt, which had formerly been a major threat to the kingdom but was now destabilized under the reign of several underaged caliphs, was reduced to a tributary state. Nur ad-Din remained a threat in the east, and Baldwin had to contend with the advances of Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus, who claimed suzerainty over the Principality of Antioch. In order to bolster the defences of the kingdom against the growing strength of the Muslims, Baldwin III made the first direct alliance with the Byzantine Empire, by marrying Theodora Comnena, a niece of emperor Manuel; Manuel married Baldwin's cousin Maria.

When Baldwin died childless in 1162, a year after his mother Melisende, the kingdom passed to his brother Amalric I, who renewed the alliance negotiated by Baldwin. In 1163 the chaotic situation in Egypt led to a refusal to pay tribute to Jerusalem, and requests were sent to Nur ad-Din for assistance; in response, Amalric invaded, but was turned back when the Egyptians flooded the Nile at Bilbeis. The Egyptian vizier Shawar again requested help from Nur ad-Din, who sent his general Shirkuh, but Shawar quickly turned against him and allied with Amalric. Amalric and Shirkuh both besieged Bilbeis in 1164, but both withdrew due to Nur ad-Din's campaigns against Antioch, where Bohemond III of Antioch and Raymond III of Tripoli were defeated at the Battle of Harim. There seemed every chance that Antioch itself would fall to Nur ad-Din. Emperor Manuel immediately sent a large Byzantine force to the area, and Nur ad-Din retreated. Manuel paid the ransom to release Bohemond from captivity. Neither Amalric nor Nur ad-Din could ignore Egypt. Shirkuh was sent back to Egypt in 1166 and Shawar again allied with Amalric, whom was defeated at the Battle of al-Babein. Despite the defeat both sides withdrew but Shawar remained in control with a crusader garrison in Cairo. Amalric cemented his alliance with Manuel by marrying Manuel's niece Maria Komnene in 1167, and an embassy led by William of Tyre was sent to Constantinople to negotiate a military expedition, but in 1168 Amarlic pillaged Bilbeis without waiting for the naval support promised by Manuel. Amalric accomplished nothing else, but his actions prompted Shawar to switch sides and seek help from Shirkuh. Shawar was promptly assassinated, and when Shirkuh died in 1169, he was succeeded by his nephew Yusuf, better known as Saladin. That year, Manuel sent a large Byzantine fleet of some 300 ships to assist Amalric, and the town of Damietta was placed under siege. Due to a failure of the Crusaders and the Byzantines to cooperate fully a chance to capture Egypt was lost. The Byzantine fleet sailed only with enough provisions for three months. By the time that the crusaders were ready supplies were already running out and the fleet retired. Each side sought to blame the other for failure, but both knew that they depended on each other: the alliance was maintained, and plans for another campaign in Egypt were made, which ultimately were to come to naught.

In the end, Nur ad-Din was victorious and Saladin established himself as Sultan of Egypt. Saladin soon began to assert his independence from Nur ad-Din, and with the death of both Amalric and Nur ad-Din in 1174, he was well-placed to begin exerting control over Nur ad-Din's Syrian possessions as well. With the death of the pro-western Emperor Manuel in 1180, the Kingdom of Jerusalem lost its most powerful ally.

Amalric was succeeded by his young son, Baldwin IV, who was discovered at a very young age to be a leper. The subsequent events have often been interpreted as a struggle between two opposing factions, the "court party", made up of Baldwin's mother, Amalric's first wife Agnes of Courtenay, her immediate family, and recent arrivals from Europe who were inexperienced in the affairs of the kingdom and who were in favour of war with Saladin; and the "noble party", led by Raymond of Tripoli and the lesser nobility of the kingdom, who favoured peaceful co-existence with the Muslims. This is the interpretation offered by William of Tyre, who was firmly placed in the "noble" camp, and his view was taken up by all subsequent historians; in the 20th century, Marshall W. Baldwin, Steven Runciman, and Hans E. Mayer were influential in perpetuating this interpretation. Peter W. Edbury argued that William, as well as the thirteenth-century authors who continued William's chronicle in French and were allied to Raymond's supporters in the Ibelin family, cannot be considered impartial. Although the events were clearly a dynastic struggle, "the division was not between native barons and newcomers from the West, but between the king's maternal and paternal kin."

Miles of Plancy was briefly bailli or regent during Baldwin IV's minority. Miles was assassinated in October, 1174, and Count Raymond III of Tripoli, Amalric's first cousin, became regent. It is highly probable that Raymond or his supporters engineered the assassination. Baldwin reached his majority in 1176, and despite his illness he no longer had any legal need for a regent. Since Raymond was his nearest relative in the male line, with a strong claim to the throne, there was concern about the extent of his ambitions, although he had no direct heirs of his own. To balance this, the king turned from time to time to his uncle, Joscelin III of Edessa, who was appointed seneschal after he was ransomed in 1176; Joscelin was his closest male relative, but had no claim to the throne himself.

As a leper Baldwin could have no children and could not be expected to rule much longer so the focus of his succession passed to his sister Sibylla and his younger half-sister Isabella. Baldwin and his advisors recognised that it was essential for Sibylla to be married to a Western nobleman in order to access support from Europe in a military crisis; while Raymond was still regent, a marriage was arranged for Sibylla and William of Montferrat, a cousin of Louis VII and of Frederick Barbarossa. It was hoped that by allying with a relative of the emperor, Frederick would come to the kingdom's aid. Jerusalem looked again towards the Byzantine Empire for help, and Emperor Manuel was looking for a way to restore his empire's prestige after his defeat at the Battle of Myriokephalon in 1176; this mission was undertaken by Raynald of Châtillon, who, like Joscelin of Edessa, had recently been released from Muslim captivity. After William of Montferrat arrived in 1176, he fell ill and died in June 1177, leaving Sibylla widowed and pregnant with the future Baldwin V. Raynald was then named regent.

Soon afterwards, Philip of Flanders arrived in Jerusalem on pilgrimage; he was Baldwin IV's cousin, and the king offered him the regency and command of the army, both of which Philip refused, although he objected to the appointment of Raynald as regent. Philip then attempted to intervene in the negotiations for Sibylla's second husband, and suggested one of his own retinue, but the native barons refused his suggestion. In addition, Philip seemed to think he could carve out a territory of his own in Egypt, but he refused to participate with the planned Byzantine-Jerusalem expedition. The expedition was delayed and finally cancelled, and Philip took his army away to the north.

Most of the army of Jerusalem marched north with Philip, Raymond III, and Bohemond III to attack Hama, and Saladin took the opportunity to invade the kingdom. Baldwin proved to be an effective and energetic king as well as being a brilliant military commander: he defeated Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard in September 1177 despite being greatly outnumbered and having to rely on a levee-en-masse. Although Baldwin's presence despite illness was inspirational, the military decisions were made by Raynald.

Hugh III of Burgundy was expected to come to Jerusalem and marry Sibylla, but Hugh was unable to come to the east due to the political unrest in France in 1179–1180 following the death of Louis VII. Meanwhile, Baldwin IV's stepmother Maria, mother of Isabella and stepmother of Sibylla, married Balian of Ibelin. At Easter in 1180, Raymond and his cousin Bohemond III of Antioch attempted to force Sibylla to marry Balian's brother Baldwin of Ibelin. Raymond and Bohemond were King Baldwin's nearest male relatives in the paternal line, and could have claimed the throne if the king died without an heir or a suitable replacement. Before Raymond and Bohemond arrived, Agnes and King Baldwin arranged for Sibylla to be married to a Poitevin newcomer, Guy of Lusignan, whose older brother Amalric of Lusignan was already an established figure at court.Internationally, the Lusignans were useful as vassals of Baldwin and Sibylla's cousin Henry II of England. Baldwin betrothed eight-year-old Isabella to Humphrey IV of Toron, stepson of the powerful Raynald of Châtillon, thereby removing her from the influence of the Ibelin family and her mother.

The dispute between the two factions in the kingdom affected the election of a new Patriarch in 1180. When Patriarch Amalric died on 6 October 1180, the two most obvious choices for his successor were William of Tyre and Heraclius of Caesarea. They were fairly evenly matched in background and education, but politically they were allied with opposite parties, as Heraclius was one of Agnes of Courtenay's supporters. The canons of the Holy Sepulchre asked the king for advice, and Heraclius was chosen through Agnes' influence. There were rumors that Agnes and Heraclius were lovers, but this information comes from the partisan 13th-century continuations of William of Tyre's history, and there is no other evidence to substantiate such a claim.

At the end of 1181, Raynald of Châtillon raided south into Arabia, in the direction of Medina, although he did not make it that far. It was probably around this time that Raynald attacked a Muslim caravan. The kingdom had a truce with Saladin at the time, and Raynald's actions have been seen as an independent act of brigandage; it is possible that he was trying to prevent Saladin from moving his forces north to take control of Aleppo, which would have made strengthened Saladin. In response to this, Saladin attacked the kingdom in 1182, but was defeated. King Baldwin, although quite ill, was still able to command the army in person. Saladin attempted to besiege Beirut from land and sea, and Baldwin raided Damascene territory, but neither side did significant damage.

In 1183 a general tax was levied throughout the kingdom, which was unprecedented in Jerusalem and almost all of medieval Europe to that point. It helped pay for larger armies for the next few years. More troops were certainly needed, since Saladin was finally able to gain control of Aleppo, and with peace in the north he could focus on Jerusalem in the south. King Baldwin was so incapacitated by his leprosy that it was necessary to appoint a regent, and Guy of Lusignan was chosen, as he was Baldwin's legal heir and the king was not expected to live.

From this chapter we could see that in 12th century in Jerusalem kingdom always was a struggle for the throne. Kingdom lords usually acted in their own interests, they have always been divided into political camps. There was no centralized power in the kingdom. Now that we know about condition on the Jerusalem kingdom political arena we could move to Guy of Lisignan and the role he played in its fall which began in 1144. This is the year he starts to be the person who is responsible for all kingdoms’ actions – its formal bailli and real ruler.

Guy of Lusignan as the bailli of Jerusalem and the succession crisis

Now I would like to start analyzing the exact role of Guy in the fall of kingdom. This chapter shows the worst, in my opinion, period in his rule. This is the period of lost opportunities and worthless strategy.

Guy of Lusignan (c. 1150 – 18 July 1194) was a Poitevin knight, son of Hugh VIII of the prominent Lusignan dynasty. The Lusignan family originated in Poitou near Lusignan in western France in the early 10th century. By the end of the 11th century, they had risen to become the most prominent petty lords in the region from their castle at Lusignan. In the late 12th century, through marriage and inheritance, a cadet branch of the family came to control the Kingdoms of Jerusalem and of Cyprus. He was king of the crusader state of Jerusalem from 1186 to 1192 by right of marriage to Sibylla of Jerusalem, and of Cyprus from 1192 to 1194. Having arrived in the Holy Land in the 1170s, Guy rose to prominence within the royal courts of Baldwin IV before marrying Sybilla in 1180 to prevent a political incident within the kingdom.

There were too opposing parties. One consisted of almost all local nobles and was led by Raymond of Tripoli, while another party consisted of newcomers, who mainly went to Holy Land with Guy, and was supported by Agnes of Courtenay and Raynald of Shatilion. As I mentioned in 1183king health was weak so he made Guy the Jerusalem bailli. In autumn 1183 the muslims were such a great danger that he had to reinforce the army as soon as possible.

The Christian army gathered its forces near the Sephurian springs. There were almost 16,5 thousand. Two armies confronted each other but no one wanted to strike first. In the end Saladin just turned his army to Damascus and left the battlefield.

Guy is usually blamed of losing such an opportunity to strike Saladin. But, it is a debated question – even if Christians won the battle it would be a great loss of people of Jerusalem kingdom which was a great problem. In that time there weren’t enough people to protect borders and fight – Jerusalem wasn’t totally independent and relied on its western patrons. So, without a crusade, there was no possibility to fast recover people, and Saladin, even beaten, would gather new forces soon and invade the unprotected kingdom. Saladin was also forced to sign a peace treaty. But barons from the opposing party started to spread gossips of that Guy follows the wrong strategy and has to be dismissed.

Guys party wanted to act aggressively, wait for western reinforcements and to strike while the enemy is weak. But king listened to another party and liked passive strategy more. This was one of the reasons for a break between king and Guy Lusignan. Despite good personal attitude Guy was dismissed.

King Baldwin IV has chosen Baldwin V, five-year-old son of Sibilla as his heir. Raymond of Tripoli became the bailli. Joselin of Courtenay from Guys party became the protector of young heir. Dying king wanted Baldwin V not to become a hostage in hands of one of the parties. In 1185, 24 years-old king died, and in 1186 died his heir, Baldwin V. Raymond of Tripoli wasn’t at the funeral which was a real slap in the face of Sibilla. Joselin of Courtenay suspected that Raymond is intriguying (some time ago there appeared a mysterious document, said to be signed by Baldwin IV, where it was written that if the young heir dies the king should be chosen by the Pope, the Holy Roman Empire emperor, English and French monarchs, and before it happens Raymond should be the bailli). Joselin seized control of Acre and Beirut which were Raymonds’ cities.

Sibilla holded the power for a while. Again there were two different parties. Guy, Raynald of Shatilion, Knights Templar, and other barons wanted Sibilla to rule while Raymond of Tripolis’ party and Baldwin of Ibelin wanted dowaging queen Marys’ daughter Elizabeth to rule. The Higher Curia decided to crown Sibilla, on the condition that her marriage to Guy be annulled. She agreed but only if she could choose her own husband, and after being crowned, she immediately crowned Guy with her own hands. Raymond had refused to attend the coronation, and in Nablus he suggested that Isabella and Humphrey should be crowned instead, but Humphrey refused to agree to this plan which would have certainly started a civil war. Humphrey went to Jerusalem and swore allegiance to Guy and Sibylla, as did most of Raymond's other supporters. Raymond himself refused to do so and left for Tripoli; Baldwin of Ibelin also refused, gave up his fiefs, and left for Antioch.

Guy of Lusignan as the king of Jerusalem

After some time Raymond of Tripoli allied with Saladin against Guy and had allowed a Muslim garrison to occupy his fief in Tiberias, probably hoping that Saladin would help him overthrow Guy. Saladin, meanwhile, had pacified his Mesopotamian territories, and was now eager to attack the crusader kingdom; he did not intend to renew the truce when it expired in 1187. Before the truce expired, Raynald of Chatillon, the lord of Oultrejourdain and of Kerak and one of Guy's chief supporters, recognized that Saladin was massing his troops, and attacked Muslim caravans in an attempt to disrupt this. Guy was on the verge of attacking Raymond, but realized that the kingdom would need to be united in the face of the threat from Saladin, and Balian of Ibelin effected reconciliation between the two during Easter in 1187. Saladin attacked Kerak again in April, and in May, a Muslim raiding party ran into the much smaller embassy (which was sent to Raymond to make an alliance) on its way to negotiate with Raymond, and defeated it at the Battle of Cresson near Nazareth.

Raymond, wracked with guilt, reconciled with Guy, who assembled the entire army of the kingdom and marched north to meet Saladin. After reconciling, Raymond and Guy met at Acre with the bulk of the crusader army. According to the claims of some European sources, it consisted of 1,200 knights, a greater number of lighter cavalry, and perhaps 10,000 foot soldiers, supplemented by crossbowmen from the Italian merchant fleet, and a large number of mercenaries (including Turcopoles) hired with money donated to the kingdom by Henry II of England. Also with the army was the relic of the True Cross, carried by the Bishop of Acre.

On July 2, Saladin, who wanted to lure Guy into moving his army away from the springs at Sephoria, personally led a siege of Raymond's fortress of Tiberias while the main Muslim army remained at Kafr Sabt. The garrison at Tiberias tried to pay Saladin off, but he refused, later stating that "when the people realized they had an opponent who could not be tricked and would not be contented with tribute, they were afraid lest war might eat them up and they asked for quarter...but the servant gave the sword dominion over them." The fortress fell the same day. A tower was mined and, when it fell, Saladin's troops stormed the breach killing the opposing forces and taking prisoners.

Holding out, Raymond's wife Eschiva was besieged in the citadel. As the mining was begun on that structure, news was received by Saladin that Guy was moving the Frank army east. The Crusaders had taken the bait.

Guy's decision to leave the safety of his defenses was the result of a Crusader war council held the night of July 2. Though reports of what happened at this meeting are biased due to personal feuds among the Franks, it seems Raymond argued that a march from Acre to Tiberias was exactly what Saladin wanted while Sephoria was a strong position for the Crusaders to defend. Furthermore, Guy shouldn't worry about Tiberias, which Raymond held personally and was willing to give up for the safety of the kingdom. In response to this argument, and despite their reconciliation (internal court politics remaining strong), Raymond was accused of cowardice by Gerard and Raynald. The latter influenced Guy to attack immediately.

This was a fatal mistake, which shows that one of the reasons of Jerusalem fall was the barons’ attitude to each other. Each of them followed their own interests, or, which is somehow better, the interests of the kingdom. This time Raymond acted much wiser than the rest of the war council. Guy was forced to attack Saladin.

Guy thus ordered the army to march against Saladin at Tiberias, which is indeed just what Saladin had planned, for he had calculated that he could defeat the crusaders only in a field battle rather than by besieging their fortifications. The crusaders began their march from Sephoria on July 3. Raymond led the vanguard; Guy the main army; and Balian, Raynald, and the military orders made up the rearguard.

By noon on that day, the Frankish army had reached a spring at the village of Turan some six miles (10 km) from Sephoria. Here, according to Saladin, "The hawks of the Frankish infantry and the eagle of their cavalry hovered around the water."

It was still nine miles (14 km) to Tiberias. Therefore, with only a half day of marching time remaining, any attempt to leave this sure water source to seek that objective the same day, all while under the constant attack of Saladin's army, would be foolhardy. But, as Saladin wrote, "Satan incited Guy to do what ran counter to his purpose." That is, for unknown reasons, Guy set out that very afternoon, marching his army forward, seeming to head for Tiberias.

When Saladin arrived from the taking of Tiberias, and after the Frankish army left Turan, the Muslims began their attack in earnest. Saladin sent the two wings of his army around the Frankish force and seized the spring at Turan, thus blocking the Frankish line of retreat. This maneuver would give Saladin his victory.

In the ensuing struggle, the Frankish rearguard was forced to a standstill by continuous attacks, thus halting the whole army on the plateau. The crusaders were thus forced to make camp surrounded by the Muslims. They now had neither water nor any hope of receiving supplies or reinforcements.

On the morning of July 4, the crusaders were blinded by smoke from fires that Saladin's forces had set to add to the Frankish army's misery, through which the Muslim cavalry pelted them with 400 loads of arrows that had been brought up during the night. Gerard and Raynald advised Guy to form battle lines and attack, which was done by Guy's brother Amalric. Raymond led the first division with Raymond of Antioch, the son of Bohemund III of Antioch, while Balian and Joscelin III of Edessa formed the rearguard. While this was being arranged, five of Raymond's knights defected to Saladin and told them of the dire situation in the crusader camp.

Thirsty and demoralized, the crusaders broke camp and changed direction for the springs of Hattin, but their ragged approach was attacked by Saladin's army which blocked the route forward and any possible retreat. Count Raymond launched two charges in an attempt to break through to the water supply at the Sea of Galilee. The second of these saw him cut off from the main army and forced to retreat. Most of the crusader infantry had effectively deserted by moving on to the Horns of Hattin. Guy attempted to pitch the tents again to block the Muslim cavalry, but without infantry protection the knights' horses were cut down by Muslim archers and the cavalry was forced to fight on foot. Then they too retreated to the Horns.

Now the crusaders were surrounded and, despite three desperate charges on Saladin's position, were eventually defeated. The Muslim forces had captured the royal tent of King Guy, as well as the True Cross after the Bishop of Acre was killed in the fighting. Prisoners included Guy, his brother Amalric II, Raynald, William V of Montferrat, Gerard de Ridefort, Humphrey IV of Toron, Hugh of Jabala, Plivain of Botron, Hugh of Gibelet, and many others. Perhaps only as few as 3,000 Christians escaped the defeat.

The exhausted captives were brought to Saladin's tent, where Guy was given a goblet of iced water as a sign of Saladin's generosity. When Guy passed the goblet to his fellow captive Raynald, Saladin allowed the old man (Raynald was about 60) to drink but shortly afterwards said that he had not offered water to Raynald and thus was not bound by the Muslim rules of hospitality. When Saladin accused Raynald of being an oath breaker, Raynald replied "kings have always acted thus. I did nothing more." Saladin then executed Raynald himself, beheading him with his sword. Guy fell to his knees at the sight of Raynald's corpse but Saladin bade him to rise, saying, "This man was only killed because of his maleficence and perfidy."

The True Cross was fixed upside down on a lance and sent to Damascus. Several of Saladin's men now left the army, taking Frankish prisoners with them as slaves. Guy was taken to Damascus as a prisoner and the others were eventually ransomed.

By mid-September, Saladin had taken Acre, Nablus, Jaffa, Toron, Sidon, Beirut, and Ascalon. Tyre was saved by the fortuitous arrival of Conrad of Montferrat. Jerusalem was defended by Queen Sibylla, Patriarch Heraclius, and Balian, who subsequently negotiated its surrender to Saladin on October 2 (see Siege of Jerusalem).

News of the disastrous defeat at Hattin was brought to Europe by Joscius, Archbishop of Tyre, as well as other pilgrims and travelers. Rumors tell that Urban III died because of shock when he knew abou the fall of Jerusalem. Plans were immediately made for a new crusade; Pope Gregory VIII issued the bull Audita tremendi, and in England and France the Saladin tithe was enacted to fund expenses.

The subsequent Third Crusade, however, did not get underway until 1189, being made up of three separate contingents led by Richard Lionheart, Philip Augustus, and Frederick Barbarossa.

This was the greatest loss through all the crusade history. But even after the capture of Jerusalem it still wasn’t the end of war. Now Acre was the most strategically important city, still under control of muslims. And when many people gave up all hope, it was that Guy showed his real nature. Now independent from any parties because of losing factual kings’ title, having a leak of force he gave all his potential to delay the total fall of kingdom.

The fall of Jerusalem kingdom

This chapter is about the end of this medieval conflict and about Guys role in the last stage of life of Jerusalem kingdom. Also, it is about the third crusade, which failed to reclaim Jerusalem and about actions Lusignan took cooperatively with the crusaders.

In 1188 Guy and some of his knights were released in exchange for Ascalon as a ransom. Releasing Guy, Saladin wanted to create a conflict in kingdom again: talented Conrad of Montferrat, ruler of Tyre, started to gain power, preparing for a counterattack on Muslims. Saladin relied on a civil war… But Guy showed his best side, wrecking Saladins plans.

When Guy was released he didn’t try to prove his rights to Montferrat, but as the first step on the way to reclaim Jerusalem, besieged Acre with few people he had got. He firstly recruited warriors in Tripoli and then came to Tyre to ally with Conrad and the army of Tyre. But he refused to let Lusignan into the city. It was almost a rebel, a slap into Guys face, but he acted wisely and instead of starting a civil war turned to the main goal-defeating Muslims. He successfully besieged Acre in 1189, despite the garrison of Acre was four times bigger than his army.

Conrad joined the Isabellas’ party as an expected heir to the throne. Phillip Augustus, French king, promised Conrad support. In 1990 Sibilla and her two daughters die from dysentery. Isabella marries Conrad, so he could pretend on kings’ place.

News of what was happening in the west were spreading, so the third crusade began. The elderly Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa responded to the call immediately. He took up the Cross at Mainz Cathedral on March 27, 1188 and was the first to set out for the Holy Land in May 1189 with an army of about 100,000 men, including 20,000 knights. Among all the crusaders German army was the main threat for Saladin, but accident changed the situation. Frederick's horse slipped on June 10, 1190, while crossing the Saleph River throwing him against the rocks. He then drowned in the river. After this, most of his army returned to Germany, in anticipation of the upcoming Imperial election.

Henry II of England died on July 6, 1189 following a defeat by his son Richard I (Lionheart) and Philip II. Richard inherited the crown and immediately began raising funds for the crusade. In July 1190, Richard and Philip set out jointly from Marseille, France for Sicily. Philip II had hired a Genoese fleet to transport his army which consisted of 650 knights, 1,300 horses, and 1,300 squires to the Holy Land.

William II of Sicily had died the previous year, and was replaced by Tancred, who placed Joan of England—William's wife and Richard's sister—in prison. Richard captured the capital city of Messina on October 4, 1190 and Joan was released. Richard and Philip fell out over the issue of Richard's marriage, as Richard had decided to marry Berengaria of Navarre, breaking off his long-standing betrothal to Philip's half-sister Alys. Philip left Sicily directly for the Middle East on March 30, 1191, and arrived in Tyre in mid-May. He joined the siege of Acre on May 20. Richard did not set off from Sicily until April 10.

Shortly after setting sail from Sicily, Richard's armada of 100 ships (carrying 8,000 men) was struck by a violent storm. Several ships ran aground, including one holding Joan, his new fiancée Berengaria, and a large amount of treasure that had been amassed for the crusade. It was soon discovered that Isaac Dukas Comnenus of Cyprus had seized the treasure.

The young women were unharmed. Richard entered Limassol on May 6, and met with Isaac, who agreed to return Richard's belongings and send 500 of his soldiers to the Holy Land. Once back at his fortress of Famagusta, Isaac broke his oath of hospitality and began issuing orders for Richard to leave the island. Isaac's arrogance prompted Richard to conquer the island within days.

In 1191 Guy travelled to Limassol, Cyprus, and requested help from Richard in the siege of Acre. After Guy of Lusignan helped Richard to fight Isaac Comnenus, English king agreed to help and on the 8th june in 1191 he joined the siege. At the same time, Conrad gained so much power that the Congress was convened to decide who has to rule in kingdom.

The decision was to leave the title of king to Guy (until his death), but half of all the income must have been given to Conrad, who was proclaimed the factual ruler of the kingdom, still having to obey Guy.

With the help of Richard and Phillip Acre was seized. Philipp returned to France, and Richard continued fighting Muslims. In 1192 Conrad sent Richard a letter, saying that he is going to be crowned. The king answered that the peoples’ opinion is more important then the Congress and agreed. But that evening, after Conrad read the answer he was killed by the Assasins.

Next forceful person, Henry of champagne married dowaging Isabella in 1192. He was nephew to both the English and the French kings, an honest and noble person. So he was a stronger candidate then dead Conrad.

Richard seized Arsuf and gained control of part of Jerusalem but couldn’t move further. He signed peace with Saladin asking allowance for pilgrims to visit the Holy Sepulchre.

Richard has to leave Cyprus, as a remote island, to someone, so there was a deal between him, Guy and Henry. Guy became the Cyprus king, Henry paid for this and became the actual Jerusalem king.

Guy became the king of Cyprus on May 1192 swearing allegiance to Richard. Richard left Holy land in October 1192. This was the end of the third crusade, which was the proof of that Jerusalem was lost and wasn’t reclaimed.

This was the last period of Jerusalem fall. Guy showed himself as a wise monarch, acting in the sake of the kingdom. This is the end of my work. There is only the conclusion left.


This is the end of my work. I have learnt that Guy of Lusignan is not a simple person to analyze. He was seriously influenced while he was waiting for his time to come in Lusignan. When he got the power he did a lot of wrong decisions because of his desire of power. First years of his rule made Guy to fight with barons’ banditry and set discipline. This years weren’t years of success for him-he still wasn’t enough powerful person to be independent from selfish nobles of kingdom. The only thing Guy did wrong is that he wasn’t enough authoritative to make his own decisions.

Partly because of barons, partly because of conflicts with rivals, like Raymond of Tripoli, this period of his reign wasn’t better than the period of his baillage. It ended with a disastrous defeat in the Battle of Hattin. Again, it was because of the behavior if the barons. Two days before the battle army stood near the Sephoria springs. Raymonds position was wise, but the people from opposing party used their majority to influence king to attack immediately. Guy had no choice, but to agree.

After Guy was released in 1188 he was in a tough situation – he wasn’t the actual ruler of the kingdom and had a small army. That time, when he became finally independent we could see his own decisions. Instead of fighting Conrad, as Saladin planned, he acted in the interests of the country. In 1189 he besieged Acre, despite he was awfully outnumbered. In 1191 when Conrad and Philipp appeared near Acre, and didn’t let him end the siege, he again didn’t fight for power and tried to help Conrad. He went to Cyprus and found an ally for the kingdom.

Conrad was chosen the actual king, but was assassinated, so he was replaced by Henry of Champagne, who was a better monarch. After several deals Guy became the king of Cyprus and left the kingdom to Henry. In 1192, after signing the peace treaty with Saladin crusaders left Holy Land.

As I worked out it is impossible to blame Guy of Lusignan in the fall of Jerusalem kingdom. As I think he just wasn’t good enough in the beginning of his reign. I think the real reason of the fall of the kingdom is the loose nature of eastern feudal lords of that time. Even in such circumstances Guy acted in the sake of the kingdom. He reclaimed Acre for the Christians – later it will be the last outpost in the Holy Land left by Christians.

I also analyzed if it was possible for Guy to evade some aspects of his rule which worked wrong and were some of them inevitable.

The first thing that weakened the kingdom was the lack of military power in Holy Land. There weren’t enough people to defend borders of the country. If we were talking about a country in the full meaning of this word we could simply decide that the leader or leaders of the country do their work bad.

But it wasn’t a real country – just a kingdom, founded not by settling, but by conquering, consisting of immigrants, pilgrims, Muslims, who were unfaithful to the king’s crown and only few knights and real warriors. These were the noble families with roots deep in Europe and a little amount of new crusaders and knights which moved to Holy land in search of land, power or fame.

So it was the mistake of European patrons of Jerusalem kingdom. Mainly, they had conflicts in their own lands and couldn’t provide forces to their eastern vassals. The only attempt to help Jerusalem was made after the fall of Edessa, reacting into the 2nd crusade, but it was a real fail because of misunderstanding between the French, English and German knights. The third crusade may have helped Jerusalem, but it started too late – now it wasn’t a show of western force – it was a reclaiming attempt.

The second aspect of his rule is his inner politics – it is obvious that it is one of the main reasons of kingdom’s fall. The problem was Guy never held absolute power. He became the king after a series of intrigues. There were two separate opposing parties, both acting not in the country’s interests but for themselves. Guy was just one of powerful barons of the kingdom, even if he bore the title of it’s king. In this case he had no math to Saladin – he was an absolute monarch and used all the resources of his country. And maybe this was a mistake in the beginning of Guy’s rule – it might be a better strategy to concentrate on strengthening his authority instead of being aggressive to Muslims. But such actions in that time could be done only by a real genius politician, whom Guy never was.

All other wrong aspects of his rule lead from this one. His military actions weren’t effective because of his dependence on barons. Economical strength of country depended on relationships with barons too. After he became independent he showed wisdom, determination to the country and all the qualities which a good monarch has. But, what is fundamentally important, not a perfect monarch…

This is the end of my analysis and it is all I wanted to say in conclusion.

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