Amalric I of Jerusalem

Amalric I of Jerusalem

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Amalric I of Jerusalem (1136 – 11 July 1174) was King of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

 1163–1174, and Count of Jaffa and Ascalon before his accession. Amalric was the second son of Melisende of Jerusalem
Melisende of Jerusalem
Melisende was Queen of Jerusalem from 1131 to 1153, and regent for her son between 1153 and 1161 while he was on campaign. She was the eldest daughter of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem, and the Armenian princess Morphia of Melitene. She was named after her paternal grandmother, Melisende of...

 and Fulk of Jerusalem
Fulk of Jerusalem
Fulk , also known as Fulk the Younger, was Count of Anjou from 1109 to 1129, and King of Jerusalem from 1131 to his death...

. He was the father of three rulers of Jerusalem, the eldest Sibylla
Sibylla of Jerusalem
Sibylla of Jerusalem was the Countess of Jaffa and Ascalon from 1176 and Queen of Jerusalem from 1186 to 1190. She was the eldest daughter of Amalric I of Jerusalem and Agnes of Courtenay, sister of Baldwin IV and half-sister of Isabella I of Jerusalem, and mother of Baldwin V of Jerusalem...

, the second Baldwin IV
Baldwin IV of Jerusalem
Baldwin IV of Jerusalem , called the Leper or the Leprous, the son of Amalric I of Jerusalem and his first wife, Agnes of Courtenay, was king of Jerusalem from 1174 to 1185. His full sister was Queen Sibylla of Jerusalem and his nephew through this sister was the child-king Baldwin V...

, and the third Isabella I, who ruled after the Siege. He was also the father of two other children: one, with his first wife Agnes de Courtenay
Agnes of Courtenay
Agnes of Courtenay was the daughter of Joscelin II of Courtenay by his wife Beatrice , and the mother of king Baldwin IV of Jerusalem and queen Sibylla of Jerusalem.-Dynasty:...

, a child named Alix, who suffered an infant death, and the other with his second wife Maria Comnena, a stillborn.

Youth


After the death of Amalric's father, the throne passed jointly to his mother Melisende and his older brother Baldwin III
Baldwin III of Jerusalem
Baldwin III was king of Jerusalem from 1143 to 1163. He was the eldest son of Melisende and Fulk of Jerusalem, and the grandson of Baldwin II of Jerusalem.-Succession:...

. Melisende did not step down when Baldwin came of age, and by 1150 the two were becoming increasingly hostile towards each other. In 1152 Baldwin had himself crowned sole king, and civil war broke out, with Melisende retaining Jerusalem while Baldwin held territory further north. Amalric, who had been given the County of Jaffa as an apanage when he reached the age of majority in 1151, remained loyal to Melisende in Jerusalem, and when Baldwin invaded the south, Amalric was besieged in the Tower of David
Tower of David
The Tower of David is an ancient citadel located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem.Built to strengthen a strategically weak point in the Old City's defenses, the citadel that stands today was constructed during the 2nd century BC and subsequently destroyed and rebuilt by,...

 with his mother. Melisende was defeated in this struggle and Baldwin ruled alone thereafter. In 1153 Baldwin captured the Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian fortress of Ascalon
Ashkelon
Ashkelon is a coastal city in the South District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, south of Tel Aviv, and north of the border with the Gaza Strip. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age...

, which was then added to Amalric's fief of Jaffa (see Battle of Ascalon).

Amalric married Agnes of Courtenay
Agnes of Courtenay
Agnes of Courtenay was the daughter of Joscelin II of Courtenay by his wife Beatrice , and the mother of king Baldwin IV of Jerusalem and queen Sibylla of Jerusalem.-Dynasty:...

 in 1157. Agnes, daughter of Joscelin II of Edessa, had lived in Jerusalem since the western regions of Edessa
Edessa, Mesopotamia
Edessa is the Greek name of an Aramaic town in northern Mesopotamia, as refounded by Seleucus I Nicator. For the modern history of the city, see Şanlıurfa.-Names:...

 were lost in 1150. Patriarch Fulcher
Patriarch Fulk of Jerusalem
Fulk or Fulcher of Angoulême was the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1146 to his death in 1157.Fulk came from Angoulême. According to William of Tyre, he was "religious and God-fearing, possessed of little learning, but a faithful man and a lover of discipline." In France he had been abbot of...

 objected to the marriage on grounds of consanguinity
Consanguinity
Consanguinity refers to the property of being from the same kinship as another person. In that respect, consanguinity is the quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person...

, as the two shared a great-great-grandfather, Guy I of Montlhéry
Guy I of Montlhéry
Guy I was the second lord of Bray and the second lord of Montlhéry. He was probably the son of Thibaud of Montmorency, but some sources say that his father was named Milo. Thibaud may instead have been his grandfather....

, and it seems that they waited until Fulcher's death to marry. Agnes bore Amalric three children: Sibylla
Sibylla of Jerusalem
Sibylla of Jerusalem was the Countess of Jaffa and Ascalon from 1176 and Queen of Jerusalem from 1186 to 1190. She was the eldest daughter of Amalric I of Jerusalem and Agnes of Courtenay, sister of Baldwin IV and half-sister of Isabella I of Jerusalem, and mother of Baldwin V of Jerusalem...

, the future Baldwin IV
Baldwin IV of Jerusalem
Baldwin IV of Jerusalem , called the Leper or the Leprous, the son of Amalric I of Jerusalem and his first wife, Agnes of Courtenay, was king of Jerusalem from 1174 to 1185. His full sister was Queen Sibylla of Jerusalem and his nephew through this sister was the child-king Baldwin V...

 (both would come to rule the kingdom in their own right), and Alix, who died in childhood.

Succession


Baldwin III died on 10th February 1163 and the kingdom passed to Amalric, although there was some opposition among the nobility to Agnes; they were willing to accept the marriage in 1157 when Baldwin III was still capable of siring an heir, but now the Haute Cour
Haute Cour of Jerusalem
The Haute Cour was the feudal council of the kingdom of Jerusalem. It was sometimes also called the curia generalis, the curia regis, or, rarely, the parlement.-Composition of the court:...

refused to endorse Amalric as king unless his marriage to Agnes was annulled. The hostility to Agnes, it must be admitted, may be exaggerated by the chronicler William of Tyre
William of Tyre
William of Tyre was a medieval prelate and chronicler. As archbishop of Tyre, he is sometimes known as William II to distinguish him from a predecessor, William of Malines...

, whom she prevented from becoming Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is the title possessed by the Latin Rite Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem. The Archdiocese of Jerusalem has jurisdiction for all Latin Rite Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Cyprus...

 decades later, as well as from William's continuators like Ernoul
Ernoul
Ernoul is the name generally given to the author of a chronicle of the late 12th century dealing with the fall of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.-Biography:Ernoul himself is mentioned only once in history, and only in his own chronicle...

, who hints at a slight on her moral character: "car telle n'est que roine doie iestre di si haute cite comme de Jherusalem" ("there should not be such a queen for so holy a city as Jerusalem"). Nevertheless, consanguinity was enough for the opposition. Amalric agreed and ascended the throne without a wife, although Agnes continued to hold the title Countess of Jaffa and Ascalon and received a pension from that fief's income. Agnes soon thereafter married Hugh of Ibelin
Hugh of Ibelin
Hugh of Ibelin was an important noble in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.Hugh was the eldest son of Barisan of Ibelin and Helvis of Ramla. He was old enough to witness charters in 1148, as was his younger brother Baldwin of Ibelin, which suggests he was born c. 1130-1133, as the male age of...

, to whom she had been engaged before her marriage with Amalric. The church ruled that Amalric and Agnes' children were legitimate and preserved their place in the order of succession. Through her children Agnes would exert much influence in Jerusalem for almost 20 years.

Conflicts with the Muslim states



As a Crusader state Jerusalem was constantly in a state of war. Since the failure to defeat the Zengids during the Second Crusade
Second Crusade
The Second Crusade was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098...

 in 1147, the northern frontier was exposed to Nur ad-Din, whose own power continued to grow from his bases in Mosul
Mosul
Mosul , is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate, some northwest of Baghdad. The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial...

, Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

, and later Damascus when that city fell under his control. Jerusalem lost influence to Byzantium in northern Syria when the Empire imposed its suzerainty over the Principality of Antioch
Principality of Antioch
The Principality of Antioch, including parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria, was one of the crusader states created during the First Crusade.-Foundation:...

, although Byzantium was increasingly beset by its own conflicts, particularly with the Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 in Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

.

The main theatre of conflict of Amalric's reign was Fatimid
Fatimid
The Fatimid Islamic Caliphate or al-Fāṭimiyyūn was a Berber Shia Muslim caliphate first centered in Tunisia and later in Egypt that ruled over varying areas of the Maghreb, Sudan, Sicily, the Levant, and Hijaz from 5 January 909 to 1171.The caliphate was ruled by the Fatimids, who established the...

 Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, which was suffering from a series of young caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

s and civil wars. The crusaders had wanted to conquer Egypt since the days of Baldwin I
Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Baldwin I of Jerusalem, formerly Baldwin I of Edessa, born Baldwin of Boulogne , 1058? – 2 April 1118, was one of the leaders of the First Crusade, who became the first Count of Edessa and then the second ruler and first titled King of Jerusalem...

, and even Godfrey of Bouillon
Godfrey of Bouillon
Godfrey of Bouillon was a medieval Frankish knight who was one of the leaders of the First Crusade from 1096 until his death. He was the Lord of Bouillon, from which he took his byname, from 1076 and the Duke of Lower Lorraine from 1087...

 had promised to cede Jerusalem to the Patriarch
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is the title possessed by the Latin Rite Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem. The Archdiocese of Jerusalem has jurisdiction for all Latin Rite Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Cyprus...

 Dagobert of Pisa
Dagobert of Pisa
Dagobert was the first Archbishop of Pisa and the second Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem after it was captured in the First Crusade.-Early life:...

 if he could capture Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

. The capture of Ascalon by Baldwin III made the conquest of Egypt more feasible, and the Knights Hospitaller
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

 began preparing maps of the possible invasion routes.

Invasions of Egypt



Amalric led his first expedition into Egypt in 1163, claiming that the Fatimids had not paid the yearly tribute that had begun during the reign of Baldwin III. The vizier, Dirgham, had recently overthrown the vizier Shawar
Shawar
Shawar was a ruler of Egypt, the vizier, from December 1162 until he was assassinated in 1169. He is best known for being part of the three-way power struggle during the Crusades between the Christian King Amalric I of Jerusalem and Shirkuh, a Syrian general and uncle of the man who was to become...

, and marched out to meet Amalric at Pelusium
Pelusium
Pelusium was a city in the eastern extremes of Egypt's Nile Delta, 30 km to the southeast of the modern Port Said. Alternative names include Sena and Per-Amun , Pelousion , Sin , Seyân , and Tell el-Farama...

, but was defeated and forced to retreat to Bilbeis
Bilbeis
Bilbeis is an ancient fortress city on the eastern edge of the southern Nile delta in Egypt.The city played a role in the machinations for control of the Fatimid vizierate: first in 1164, when Shirkuh was besieged in the city by the combined forces of Shiwar and Amalric I of Jerusalem for three...

. The Egyptians then opened up the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 dams and let the river flood, hoping to prevent Amalric from invading any further. Amalric returned home but Shawar fled to the court of Nur ad-Din, who sent his general Shirkuh
Shirkuh
Asad ad-Din Shirkuh bin Shadhi , also known as Shêrko or "Shêrgo" was an important Kurdish military commander, and uncle of Saladin....

 to settle the dispute in 1164. In response Dirgham sought help from Amalric, but Shirkuh and Shawar arrived before Amalric could intervene and Dirgham was killed. Shawar, however, feared that Shirkuh would seize power for himself, and he too looked to Amalric for assistance. Amalric returned to Egypt in 1164 and besieged Shirkuh in Bilbeis until Shirkuh retreated to Damascus.

Amalric could not follow up on his success in Egypt because Nur ad-Din was active in Syria, having taken Bohemund III of Antioch
Bohemund III of Antioch
Bohemond III of Antioch , also known as the Stammerer or the Stutterer, was Prince of Antioch from 1163 to his death. He was a son of Constance of Antioch by her first husband Raymond of Poitiers...

 and Raymond III of Tripoli
Raymond III of Tripoli
Raymond III of Tripoli was Count of Tripoli from 1152 to 1187 and Prince of Galilee and Tiberias in right of his wife Eschiva.-Early life:...

 prisoner at the Battle of Harim
Battle of Harim
The Battle of Harim was fought on 12 August 1164 between the forces of Nur ad-Din Zangi and a combined army from the County of Tripoli, the Principality of Antioch, the Byzantine Empire and Armenia...

 during Amalric's absence. Amalric rushed to take up the regency of Antioch and Tripoli and secured Bohemund's ransom in 1165 (Raymond remained in prison until 1173). The year 1166 was relatively quiet, but Amalric sent envoys to the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 seeking an alliance and a Byzantine wife, and throughout the year had to deal with raids by Nur ad-Din, who captured Banias
Banias
Banias is an archaeological site by the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi, located at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights...

.

In 1167, Nur ad-Din sent Shirkuh back to Egypt and Amalric once again followed him, establishing a camp near Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

; Shawar again allied with Amalric as well and a treaty was signed with the caliph al-Adid himself. Shirkuh encamped on the opposite side of the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

. After an indecisive battle, Amalric retreated to Cairo and Shirkuh took his troops to capture Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

; Amalric followed and besieged Shirkuh there, aided by a fleet from Jerusalem. Shirkuh negotiated for peace and Alexandria was handed over to Amalric. However Amalric could not remain there forever, and after exacting an enormous tribute, returned to Jerusalem.

Byzantine alliance


After his return in 1167 he married Maria Comnena, a great-grandniece of Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus. The negotiations had taken two years, mostly because Amalric insisted that Manuel return Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 to Jerusalem. Once Amalric gave up on this point he was able to marry Maria in Tyre on August 29, 1167. During this time the queen dowager, Baldwin III's widow Theodora, eloped with her cousin Andronicus to Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, and Acre reverted back into the royal domain of Jerusalem. It was also around this time that William of Tyre
William of Tyre
William of Tyre was a medieval prelate and chronicler. As archbishop of Tyre, he is sometimes known as William II to distinguish him from a predecessor, William of Malines...

 was promoted to archdeacon
Archdeacon
An archdeacon is a senior clergy position in Anglicanism, Syrian Malabar Nasrani, Chaldean Catholic, and some other Christian denominations, above that of most clergy and below a bishop. In the High Middle Ages it was the most senior diocesan position below a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church...

 of Tyre, and was recruited by Amalric to write a history of the kingdom.

In 1168 Amalric and Manuel negotiated an alliance against Egypt, and William of Tyre was among the ambassadors sent to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 to finalize the treaty. Although Amalric still had a peace treaty with Shawar, Shawar was accused of attempting to ally with Nur ad-Din, and Amalric invaded. The Knights Hospitaller
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

 eagerly supported this invasion and may have even been responsible for convincing the king to do it, while the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 refused to have any part in it. In October, without waiting for any Byzantine assistance (and in fact without even waiting for the ambassadors to return), Amalric invaded and seized Bilbeis. The inhabitants were either massacred or enslaved. Amalric then marched to Cairo, where Shawar offered Amalric two million pieces of gold. Meanwhile Nur ad-Din sent Shirkuh back to Egypt as well, and upon his arrival Amalric retreated.

Rise of Saladin


In January of 1169 Shirkuh had Shawar assassinated. Shirkuh became vizier, although he himself died in March, and was succeeded by his nephew Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

. Amalric became alarmed and sent Frederick de la Roche, Archbishop of Tyre
Archbishop of Tyre
The Archbishop of Tyre was one of the major suffragans of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem during the Crusades and was established to serve the Roman Catholic members of the diocese....

, to seek help from the kings and nobles of Europe, but no assistance was forthcoming. Later that year however a Byzantine fleet arrived, and in October Amalric launched yet another invasion and besieged Damietta
Damietta
Damietta , also known as Damiata, or Domyat, is a port and the capital of the Damietta Governorate in Egypt. It is located at the intersection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile, about north of Cairo.-History:...

 by sea and by land. The siege was long and famine broke out in the Christian camp; the Byzantines blamed the crusaders for the failure and vice versa, and a truce was signed with Saladin. Amalric returned home.

Now Jerusalem was surrounded by hostile enemies. In 1170 Saladin invaded Jerusalem and took the city of Eilat, severing Jerusalem's connection with the Red Sea. Saladin, who was set up as Vizier of Egypt, was declared Sultan in 1171 with the death of the last of the Fatimid dynasty. Saladin's rise to Sultan was an unexpected reprieve for Jerusalem, as Nur ad-Din was now preoccupied with reining in his powerful vassal. Nevertheless, in 1171 Amalric visited Constantinople himself and envoys were sent to the kings of Europe for a second time, but again they were uninterested. Over the next few years the kingdom was threatened by not only Saladin and Nur ad-Din, but also the Hashshashin
Hashshashin
The Assassins were an order of Nizari Ismailis, particularly those of Persia that existed from around 1092 to 1265...

; in one episode, the Knights Templar murdered some Hashshashin envoys, leading to further disputes between Amalric and the Templars.

Death


Nur ad-Din died in 1174, upon which Amalric immediately besieged Banias. On the way back after giving up the siege he fell ill from dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

, which was ameliorated by doctors but turned into a fever in Jerusalem. William of Tyre explains that "after suffering intolerably from the fever for several days, he ordered physicians of the Greek, Syrian, and other nations noted for skill in diseases to be called and insisted that they give him some purgative remedy." Neither they nor Latin doctors could help, and he died on July 11, 1174.

Maria Comnena had borne Amalric two daughters: Isabella
Isabella of Jerusalem
Isabella I was Queen regnant of Jerusalem from 1190/1192 until her death. By her four marriages, she was successively Lady of Toron, Marchioness of Montferrat, Countess of Champagne and Queen of Cyprus....

, who would eventually marry four husbands in turn and succeed as queen, was born in 1172; and a stillborn child some time later. On his deathbed Amalric bequeathed Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

 to Maria and Isabella, both of whom would retire there. The leprous
Leprosy
Leprosy or Hansen's disease is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Named after physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions...

 child Baldwin IV succeeded his father and brought his mother Agnes of Courtenay (now married to her fourth husband) back to court.

Physical characteristics


William was a good friend of Amalric and described him in great detail. "He had a slight impediment in his speech, not serious enough to be considered as a defect but sufficient to render him incapable of ready eloquence. He was far better in counsel than in fluent or ornate speech." Like his brother Baldwin III, he was more of an academic than a warrior, who studied law and languages in his leisure time: "He was well skilled in the customary law by which the kingdom was governed – in fact, he was second to no one in this respect." He was probably responsible for an assize
Assise sur la ligece
The Assise sur la ligece is an important piece of legislation passed by the Haute Cour of Jerusalem, the feudal court of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, in an unknown year, but probably in the 1170s under Amalric I of Jerusalem.The Assise formally prohibited the illegal confiscation of fiefs...

 making all rear-vassals directly subject to the king and eligible to appear at the Haute Cour. Amalric had an enormous curiosity, and William was reportedly astonished to find Amalric questioning, during an illness, the resurrection
Resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

 of the body. He especially enjoyed reading and being read to, spending long hours listening to William read early drafts of his history. He did not enjoy games or spectacles, although he liked to hunt. He was trusting of his officials, perhaps too trusting, and it seems that there were many among the population who despised him, although he refused to take any action against those who insulted him publicly.

He was tall and fairly handsome; "he had sparkling eyes of medium size; his nose, like that of his brother, was becomingly aquiline; his hair was blond and grew back somewhat from his forehead. A comely and very full beard covered his cheeks and chin. He had a way of laughing immoderately so that his entire body shook." He did not overeat or drink to excess, but his corpulence grew in his later years, decreasing his interest in military operations; according to William, he "was excessively fat, with breasts like those of a woman hanging down to his waist."
Amalric was pious and attended mass every day, although he also "is said to have absconded himself without restraint to the sins of the flesh and to have seduced married women…" Despite his piety he taxed the clergy, which they naturally opposed.

As William says, "he was a man of wisdom and discretion, fully competent to hold the reins of government in the kingdom." He is considered the last of the "early" kings of Jerusalem
Kings of Jerusalem
This is a list of kings of Jerusalem, from 1099 to 1291, as well as claimants to the title up to the present day.-Kings of Jerusalem :...

, after whom there was no king able to save Jerusalem from its eventual collapse. Within a few years, Emperor Manuel died as well, and Saladin remained the only strong leader in the east.

Ancestry





Sources


  • Bernard Hamilton, "Women in the Crusader States: The Queens of Jerusalem", in Medieval Women, edited by Derek Baker. Ecclesiastical History Society, 1978
  • Steven Runciman
    Steven Runciman
    The Hon. Sir James Cochran Stevenson Runciman CH — known as Steven Runciman — was a British historian known for his work on the Middle Ages...

    , A History of the Crusades, vol. II: The Kingdom of Jerusalem. Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    , 1952
  • William of Tyre
    William of Tyre
    William of Tyre was a medieval prelate and chronicler. As archbishop of Tyre, he is sometimes known as William II to distinguish him from a predecessor, William of Malines...

    , A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea, trans. E.A. Babcock and A.C. Krey. Columbia University Press
    Columbia University Press
    Columbia University Press is a university press based in New York City, and affiliated with Columbia University. It is currently directed by James D. Jordan and publishes titles in the humanities and sciences, including the fields of literary and cultural studies, history, social work, sociology,...

    , 1943