Kingdom of Jerusalem

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Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem ( Book of Arms Livro do Armeiro-Mor , 1509)

The Kingdom of Jerusalem was one of four Crusader States in the Holy Land . It existed from 1099 to 1291.



The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Other Crusader States , 1135

The Kingdom of Jerusalem came into being after the conquest of Jerusalem by the army of the First Crusade on July 15, 1099 . Among the leaders who were ready to stay, Raymond von Toulouse and Gottfried von Bouillon could be considered rulers . Raimund refused the royal crown first offered to him on the grounds that he did not want to wear the royal crown in the city in which Jesus Christ had worn the crown of thorns. Gottfried also refused a coronation, but declared himself ready to take over the rule. As the ruler of the newly established Crusader state, Gottfried was mostly called princeps ("prince"), but rarely also advocatus sancti sepulchri ("protector" or "Vogt of the Holy Sepulcher"). After Gottfried's death in July 1100, his brother Baldwin I took over the rule and was crowned king in Bethlehem .


The kingdom soon pursued a policy of equalization that was also beneficial to the Muslims. This policy took into account the fact that the remaining Franks (as the Europeans were called by the Muslims) were not numerically strong enough to rule the country without cooperation with the locals (be it Christians, Jews or Muslims).

Baldwin I expanded the kingdom to include the port cities of Acre , Sidon and Beirut and also gained sovereignty over the other crusader states in the north: the Principality of Antioch , the County of Edessa and the County of Tripoli . During his reign, the country's Latin population grew steadily and a Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem was appointed. The Italian maritime republics of Venice , Pisa and Genoa began to play an essential role in the empire: after their fleet had supported the conquest of the port cities, they were allowed to set up autonomous trading offices without any obligation to pay taxes or military service. The now developing Asian trade brought the kingdom considerable prosperity even without these taxes.

Baldwin died in 1118 without an heir; he was followed by his cousin Baldwin II , Count of Edessa. He, too, was a capable regent, during whose time - although he was repeatedly taken into Muslim captivity - the borders of the kingdom were expanded. In 1124 the city of Tire was conquered.

On the defensive

When Baldwin II died in 1131, his son-in-law Fulko of Anjou was his successor, who almost immediately after his accession to the throne faced a new and dangerous enemy, the Atabeg Zengi of Mosul and Aleppo . While Fulko managed to keep Zengi out of the country during his reign, went under the rule of his young son Baldwin III. and the reign of his mother Melisende lost the county of Edessa due to the now less great political stability.

This in turn led to the fiasco of the Second Crusade , in which - contrary to the ideas of the Jerusalem nobles - the crusader kings Louis VII of France and Conrad III. of Germany decided not to attack Zengi's son Nur ad-Din in Aleppo , who had followed his father in 1146, but the peaceful Emir of Damascus .

A short time later, Baldwin III took over. personally ruled, although his mother tried unsuccessfully to maintain control of the empire. Like his predecessors, Baldwin III was also. a capable king. After a long siege, he captured Ashkelon from the Fatimids in 1153 , the last Egyptian outpost on the Palestinian coast. At the same time, however, the situation of the crusaders became critical when Nur ad-Din conquered Damascus and thus brought the whole of Muslim Syria under his rule.

Saladin on a contemporary dirham copper coin

Balduin III. died in 1162 under mysterious circumstances. His successor was his brother Amalrich I , whose reign determined a constant battle with Nur ad-Din and his commander Saladin for control of Egypt. Although supported by the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I , he did not succeed in conquering Egypt in the end. Amalrich's and Nur ad-Din's deaths in 1174 ensured Saladin's superiority. In the first years of his reign, Amalrich issued the so-called Assise sur la ligece (see Haute Cour of Jerusalem ), which was supposed to protect aftervasals from arbitrary acts by their liege lords, and at the same time served to bind these subordinate vassals to the king, since he was now (at least formal) could demand obedience from them, and not just from his direct feudal people.

Amalrich's successor was his young son Baldwin IV , who fell ill with leprosy at an early age . During his reign, the kingdom began to disintegrate from within, when factions behind Balduin's cousin Raymond III. of Tripoli and his brother-in-law Guido of Lusignan . In addition, Saladin was threatening the Crusader states from outside the whole time . The increasingly brazen provocations by Rainald of Chatillon finally provided Saladin with a legitimate reason to take military action against the kingdom.

Disaster of 1187

After Baldwin's death in 1185 and a brief reign of his minor nephew Baldwin V , Guido von Lusignan took over the throne and proved to be a disastrous ruler. His close ally Rainald von Chatillon , the lord of Oultrejordain and the fortress of Kerak , provoked Saladin to an open war, which ended in the devastating defeat in the Battle of Hattin on July 4, 1187, also because the Templars did not follow the strategy of the count wanted to fight from Tripoli. In this battle the Frankish armed forces were almost completely wiped out, the surviving knights of the order, who represented the most important military potential of the kingdom, were massacred by Saladin's soldiers. Over the next few months, Saladin overran the entire kingdom with almost no resistance, with the exception of the port city of Tire, which was defended by the able newcomer Conrad of Montferrat . Jerusalem was lost, although the Saracens behaved in a disciplined manner in taking the city and the feared massacre of the Christian population did not materialize - a clear contrast to the behavior of the Christian conquerors of Jerusalem in 1099.

Rump state around Akkon (1189–1291)

The fall of Jerusalem shocked the Europeans and led to the Third Crusade , in which Richard the Lionheart , the King of England , recaptured the Syrian coastal cities from Tire to Jaffa, especially Acre ( Battle of Acre ), and a treaty with Saladin in 1192 after the Battle of Arsuf lock. Konrad von Montferrat married Isabella , the daughter of Amalrich I , and was made king of the rump state, but was murdered by the assassins a short time later . Isabella remarried, Henry II of Champagne , who became the new king.

Friedrich II. (Left) meets Al-Kamil (right)

For the next hundred years, the Kingdom of Jerusalem led an existence as a small state, the core of which was the cities of Acre, Tire and Sidon on the Syrian coast. The participants in the Fourth Crusade did not even reach the Holy Land , but instead conquered and sacked Constantinople , the capital of the Orthodox- Christian Byzantine Empire, in 1204 . Plans were made to retake Jerusalem from Egypt, but the Damiette Crusade in 1217 failed.

In February 1229, Emperor Frederick II , who was King of Jerusalem due to his marriage to Isabella II , the heiress of the empire, succeeded in negotiating the city with the Ayyubids - Sultan al-Kamil ( Peace of Jaffa ). However, the agreement only lasted 15 years. The treaty did not give the kingdom enough land to defend the city. In addition, all noteworthy fortifications in Jerusalem were razed before the handover. The Ayyubids recaptured the city in 1244. As a result, King Ludwig IX. of France the Sixth Crusade . This remained militarily inconclusive, but triggered political power struggles on the other side, which resulted in the overthrow of the cultivated Ayyubids by the Mamluks , which are characterized by fanaticism and militarism . Constructive diplomacy has not been possible since then. The fall of Outremer was only a matter of time.

In the later years, the crusaders placed their hopes in the Mongolian Ilkhan , who were said to have sympathies with Christianity. However, the Mongols, who had invaded Syria several times and were undefeated until then, were defeated for the first time in open field battle at ʿAin Dschālūt on September 3, 1260 . The Mamluks victory was decisive. They now took revenge on the practically defenseless kingdom and gradually conquered its cities. Even the unsuccessful Seventh Crusade (1270–1272) could not reverse this development. As the last city of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Acre fell into the hands of the Mamluk sultan Chalil in 1291 . From then on, the Christians had a difficult time in the Middle East, as the fanatical Mamluks treated the conquered far less humanely than Saladin 100 years earlier. In 1302 the last remnant of the crusader states was lost with the fortress of Aruad .

Life in the Kingdom of Jerusalem

When the first Latin generations grew up in the kingdom, they began to see themselves as Orientals rather than Europeans. They learned Greek , Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages, married Greek or Armenian women , and rarely also baptized Muslims. The population that emerged from these relationships were, on the one hand, the Poulains and the Turkopolans . They essentially provided the kingdom's armed forces, as the Muslim population was not used for military service. In order to avoid conflicts because of religious affiliation, people often lived together in cohabitation , which was particularly popular among the Catholic clergy. The most prominent example of this was Heraclius of Caesarea († 1191), the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem , whose mistress, well-known in the city, was jokingly addressed as "Frau Patriarch".

The kingdom had essentially adopted the feudal structures of contemporary Western Europe, but with some important differences. The most important was that the national territory had little arable land; Since ancient times the Levant had an urban economic structure, which led the nobility to live in Jerusalem and other large cities, although they were, as usual, large landowners.

As in Europe, the nobles were vassals of the king and had vassals themselves. The older research opinion that royalty was inherently weak is being questioned in more recent research - at least for the first few decades of its existence. In fact, the crown domain was quite extensive and the king had some significant legal remedies. However, the source situation with regard to an assessment of the position of the king is problematic, since we only have sources from a later time, when the power of the kingship had already decreased significantly.

Agricultural production was controlled by the feudal Muslim system (the iqta ), which was not affected by the crusaders. While the Muslims were sometimes persecuted in the cities (they were even forbidden to stay in Jerusalem), they lived in the countryside no differently than before. The rais , the head of their community, was a kind of vassal of the local (Christian) landlord, whose almost permanent absence, however, gave them a high degree of autonomy. He produced the food for the crusaders, but, unlike in Europe, was not obliged to contribute to military service. As a result, the country's army was rather small and was recruited from the cities' European families.

The urban composition of the country, combined with the presence of Italian traders, meant that the country's economy lived far more from trade than from agriculture. Palestine, a region in which the trade routes had always crossed, now began to discover the routes to Europe for themselves. European goods, for example textiles from Northern Europe, found their way to Asia, while Asian goods were transported to Europe. The Italian Maritime Republics not only made enormous profits from this trade, but were influenced by the contact well into the Renaissance of later centuries.

Since the nobles lived mainly in Jerusalem, they had a much greater influence on the king than in Europe. The bishops and the high nobility formed the Haute Cour , one of the first parliaments to which the election of the new king was incumbent, the financial endowment of the ruler and the raising of the army.

The way of life of the European descent residents of Outremer was very different from life in Europe. It was more oriental. Europeans who had lived for a long time in the Levant or were born there adopted the customs and way of life of the locals, which often aroused incomprehension and resentment among the church authorities and newcomers from Europe. In addition to the spices and cosmetic articles unknown in Europe, the baths frowned upon by the church and a more relaxed way of life, there was also better medical care thanks to the very capable Muslim doctors.

The kingdom was a "colonial society"; In other words, due to the small number of European residents (who were called "Franks"), it was dependent on immigration from Western Europe, but this took place only irregularly and in no way sufficiently. The problem of insufficient supplies for the army was resolved to some extent by the establishment of the Knightly Orders . The Knights Templar and the Knights of St. John were formed (as a military formation) in the early years of the kingdom and often represented the nobles in the country. Their headquarters were in Jerusalem, but their members often lived in large castles outside, and they bought up the land that other nobles could no longer cultivate. The orders of knights were subordinate to the Pope and not to the King, they were essentially - like the trading posts - autonomous and exempt from military service, although they actually took part in every major battle. These medals gave the kingdom additional military clout, but they often caused confusion and disagreement at the political level, which was ultimately to be fatal for the crusader states. One of the most important sources for life in the Kingdom of Jerusalem from a Christian point of view is William of Tire , from a Muslim point of view Ussama Ibn Munqidh .

Kings and Regents of Jerusalem

Fellow kings and regents ruling Bailli Remarks
Godfrey of Bouillon
Battle of Dorylaeum (1097)
Siege of Jerusalem (1099)
Battle of Ascalon (1099)
Baldwin I of Boulogne
Crusade of 1101
Battle of Harran (1104)
Siege of Acre (1104)
Balduin II of Bourq
Eustach Garnier (1123)
Wilhelm I of Bures (1123–1124)
Battle of Azaz (1125)
Co-king: Fulk of Anjou (1131–1143)
Balduin III.
Second Crusade (1147–1149)
Siege of Ascalon (1153)
Amalrich I
Baldwin IV the leper
Regent: Miles von Plancy (1174)
Regent: Raymond of Tripoli (1174–1177)
Regent: Guido von Lusignan (1182–1183)
Battle of Montgisard (1177)
Baldwin V
Regent: Raymond of Tripoli (1185–1186)
Co-king: Guido von Lusignan (1186–1190) Battle of Cresson (1187)
Battle of Hattin (1187)
Siege of Jerusalem (1187)
Siege of Acre (1189–1191)
Third Crusade (1189–1192)
Isabella I
Co-king: Conrad I of Montferrat (1192)
Co-king: Henry I of Champagne (1192–1197)
Co-king: Amalrich II of Lusignan (1197–1205)
Henry VI's crusade (1197–1198)
Regent: John of Ibelin (1205–1210)
Co-king: John I of Brienne (1210–1212)
Isabella II
Regent: Johann von Brienne (1212–1225)
Co-king: Emperor Friedrich II. (1225–1228)
Odo von Montbéliard (1223–1227)
Thomas Aquinas (1227–1228)
Crusade of Damiette (1217-1221)
Conrad II
Regent: Emperor Friedrich II. (1228–1243)
Regent: Alice von Champagne (1242–1246)
Regent: Raoul von Soissons (1242–1244)
Regent: Henry of Cyprus (1246–1253)
Regent: Plaisance of Antioch (1253–1254 )
Odo of Montbéliard (1228)
Balian of Sidon (1229–1231)
Garnier l'Aleman (1229–1231)
Richard Filangieri (1231–1242)
Thomas of Aquino (1242–1243)
Odo of Montbéliard (1242–1243)
Balian of Ibelin ( 1246–1247)
Johann von Ibelin (1247–1248)
Jean Fuinon (1248–1249)
Johann von Ibelin (1249–1254)
Crusade of Frederick II (1228–1229)
Lombard War (1229–1243)
Crusade of the Barons (1239–1241)
Battle of La Forbie (1244)
Sixth Crusade (1248–1250)
Government of Louis IX. (1250-1254)
Regent: Plaisance of Antioch (1254–1261)
Regent: Gottfried von Sergines (1261–1263)
Regent: Isabella of Cyprus (1263–1264)
Regent: Hugo of Antioch (1264–1268)
Johann von Ibelin (1254–1256)
Johann von Ibelin (1256–1258)
Gottfried von Sergines (1259–1264)
Hugo von Antiochia (1264)
Gottfried von Sergines (1264–1268)
War of Saint-Sabas (1256-1258)
Hugo I
Claim to the throne by Mary of Antioch , then
anti-king: Charles I of Anjou (1277–1284)
Gottfried von Sergines (1268–1269)
Balian von Ibelin (1276–1277)
Roger von San Severino (1277–1282)
Odo Poilechien (1282–1284)
Prince Edward's Crusade (1271–1272)
John II
Opposing king: Charles I of Anjou (1284–1285) Opposing
king: Charles II of Anjou (1285)
Odo Poilechien (1284-1285)
Henry II
Counter-king: Charles II of Anjou (1285–1286) Odo Poilechien (1285–1286)
Balduin of Ibelin (1286–?)
Amalrich of Lusignan (1289–1291)
Siege of Acre (1291)

Pretenders to the throne of the Kingdom of Jerusalem

After the loss of real power in Jerusalem, the right to the title has been inherited over the centuries. Due to (or despite) the lack of realization of the claims, the number of pretenders to the throne has meanwhile increased to five: two Bourbons , a Wittelsbacher , a Habsburg and an illegitimate line carry the name King of Jerusalem in their name .

Cypriot line

After the fall of the kingdom, Henry II , King of Cyprus 1286–1291, continued to bear the title of "King of Jerusalem". After his death, the title was carried on by his direct heirs, the kings of Cyprus, until they died out in the male line in 1474 . While Katharina Cornaro , mother of the last king and queen from 1474, handed Cyprus over to Venice in 1489 , Charlotte of Cyprus , queen 1458–1460 , inherited the island after her death in 1487 and with it the claim to Jerusalem by will to the House of Savoy , the family of her cousin, second husband and co-regent of Ludwig the Younger , King 1459–1460, † 1482.

Within the Savoy family , the claim was passed on to the extinction of the main line with Karl Felix I , King of Sardinia , † 1831. While Savoy and Sardinia then went to the younger Carignan line , the title of Kingdom of Jerusalem went to Beatrix of Savoy (1792-1840), eldest daughter of his predecessor Victor Emanuel I and wife of the Habsburg Francis IV , Duke of Modena . The further succession:

Neapolitan line

Maria of Antioch, daughter of Bohemond V Prince of Antioch , ceded her (alleged) hereditary claims to Jerusalem in 1277 with the support of the Pope to Charles of Anjou , King of Naples , who then turned himself against Hugo III. of Cyprus , King of Jerusalem since 1269, came into opposition and was able to enforce this claim. The title of King of Jerusalem was inherited from now on in the ruling line of the Kingdom of Naples and its pretenders after the Risorgimento until today. Pedro, Duke of Calabria (born October 16, 1968) has been a pretender since 2015.

Austrian line

When Emperor Charles VI. lost the Kingdom of Naples in 1735 ( Peace of Vienna ), he retained the title of King of Jerusalem. The House of Lorraine with its claims to the inheritance of the House of Anjou (which also held the Neapolitan throne for a time) also carried this title, so that both claims were combined in the House of Habsburg-Lothringen . The title was inherited in the Habsburg family until the end of the Danube monarchy in 1918; see also Grand Title of the Emperor of Austria .

Spanish line

Charles IV , King of Spain 1788–1808, inherited the Spanish crown from his father, but not that of Naples and Sicily; he nevertheless accepted the title of king of Jerusalem. In the family of the Spanish Bourbons, like the Spanish throne, this claim is passed on to today's pretender, King Felipe VI.

Maltese line

King James II of Cyprus left a legitimate son, James III. , but also an illegitimate son, Eugene Matteo de Armenia, Baron von Baccari (Tel-Baqqar) in Malta (1474–1523). His descendants, currently the 17th Baron von Baccari, lay claim to the title of Jacob II and thus the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

See also


  • Fulcher of Chartres : A History of the Expedition to Jerusalem 1095-1127 . Translated by Frances Rita Ryan. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville TN 1969.
  • Wilhelm von Tyros : A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea . Translated by Emily Atwater Babcock and AC Krey. Columbia University Press, New York NY 1943.
  • Philip K. Hitti (Ed.): An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades. Memoirs of Usāmah ibn-Munqidh (Kitāb al-Iʿtibār) . Columbia University Press, New York NY 2000, ISBN 0-231-12125-3 , ( Records of Western civilization ).


  • Bernard Hamilton: The Leper King & His Heirs. Baldwin IV and the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al. 2000, ISBN 0-521-64187-X .
  • Carole Hillenbrand: The Crusades. Islamic Perspectives . Routledge, London et al. 2000, ISBN 0-415-92914-8 .
  • PM Holt: The Age of the Crusades. The Near East from the Eleventh Century to 1517 . 3rd imprint. Longman, London et al. 1989, ISBN 0-582-49303-X , ( A history of the Near East ).
  • Benjamin Z. Kedar , Hans Eberhard Mayer , RC Smail (eds.): Outremer. Studies in the history of the Crusading Kingdom of Jerusalem presented to Joshua Prawer . Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Institute, Jerusalem 1982, ISBN 965-217-010-0 .
  • Alan V. Murray, Helen Nicholson: Jerusalem, (Latin) Kingdom of . In: Alan V. Murray (Ed.): The Crusades. To Encyclopedia . 4 volumes (paginated throughout). ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara CA et al. 2006, ISBN 1-57607-862-0 , pp. 662-672.
  • Hans Eberhard Mayer: The chancellery of the Latin kings of Jerusalem . 2 volumes. Hahn, Hannover 1996, ISBN 3-7752-5440-4 , ( writings of the Monumenta Germaniae historica 40).
  • Hans Eberhard Mayer: History of the Crusades . 10th completely revised and expanded edition. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 2005, ISBN 3-17-018679-5 , ( Kohlhammer-Urban-Taschenbücher 86).
  • Hans Eberhard Mayer: Rule and administration in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem (= writings of the historical college . Lectures. Vol. 43). Historical College Foundation, Munich 1996 ( digitized version ).
  • Hans Eberhard Mayer: The crusader states as a multicultural society. Immigrants and minorities in the 12th and 13th centuries (= writings of the Historical College. Colloquia. Vol. 37). Oldenbourg, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-486-56257-6 ( online ).
  • Joshua Prawer: The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. European Colonialism in the Middle Ages . Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1972, ISBN 0-297-99397-6 , (American edition: The Crusaders' Kingdom ).
  • Joshua Prawer: Crusader Institutions . Clarendon Press, Oxford 1980, ISBN 0-19-822536-9 .
  • Jonathan Riley-Smith : The Feudal Nobility and the Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1174-1277 . The Macmillan Press, London et al. 1973.
  • Jonathan Riley-Smith: The First Crusade and the Idea of ​​Crusading . University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA 1991, ISBN 0-8122-1363-7 , ( The Middle Ages ).
  • Jonathan Riley-Smith: Kingdom of Jerusalem . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages . Vol. 5, Col. 356–358 (extensive references to sources and literature).
  • Jonathan Riley-Smith (Ed.): The Oxford History of the Crusades . New edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford et al. 2002, ISBN 0-19-280312-3 .
  • Reinhold Röhricht : Regesta regni Hierosolymitani (1097–1291) . 2 volumes. Wagner, Innsbruck 1893–1904, (Also reprinted: Franklin, New York NY 1960, ( Burt Franklin bibliographical and reference series 24)).
  • Steven Runciman : A History of the Crusades . 3 volumes. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1951-1954.
  • Kenneth Setton (Ed.): A History of the Crusades. 6 volumes. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison WI 1969–1989, ( online here ).
  • Steven Tibble: Monarchy and Lordships in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1099-1291 . Clarendon Press, Oxford et al. 1989, ISBN 0-19-822731-0 .

Web links

Commons : Kingdom of Jerusalem  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files