Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem

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Baudouin I de Boulogne, roi de Jérusalem

Also Known As: "Baldwin I"
Birthdate: (55)
Death: April 2, 1118 (51-59)
Al Arish, Egypt
Place of Burial: Jerusalem, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Eustace II, count of Boulogne and Ida de Boulogne
Husband of Godehaut (Godechilde) de Tosny, Queen Of Jerusalem; Adelaide del Vasto, signora di Savona and Arda
Brother of Ida de Boulogne; Eustace III, count of Boulogne; Godfrey de Boulogne; Godefroy IV de Bouillon / Duc de Basse - Lotharinge & Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre; William de Boulogne, of france and Belgium and 4 others

Occupation: Graaf van Edessa van 1098 tot 1100 en koning van Jeruzalem van 1100 tot 1118, Rey de Jerusalen Conde de Edesa, Chanoine, Chevalier, Comte, de Verdun, d'Edesse, 1098/1100, Roi, de Jérusalem, 1100
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About Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem

BAUDOUIN de Boulogne (-Al-Arish 2 Apr 1118, bur Jerusalem, Church of the Holy Sepulchre).  "Godefridi et Balduini" are named as sons of "Ida comitisse Boloniensis" in the latter's charter for the soul of her husband[26].  His birth date range is estimated on the basis of his being knighted [before 1086].  William of Tyre and the Chronicle of Baldwin III both record him as brother of Godefroi and Eustache[27].  Albert of Aix, on the other hand, calls him "uterine brother" of Duke Godefroi[28].  As there is no indication of a second marriage of their mother, this isolated indication that the brothers may not have shared the same father should probably be dismissed.  It is probable that Baudouin was youngest of the brothers: he is always referred to after his brother Godefroi, and it is unlikely that Eustache would have succeeded to the paternal inheritance if he had been younger than Baudouin.  Canon at Cambrai, Reims and Liège, he left the church to become a knight probably before 1086 when, together with his brother Eustache, he organised military support for their brother Godefroi who was besieged at Stenay.  Baudouin was granted the county of Verdun in 1095 by Richer Bishop of Verdun, to whom Godefroi had surrendered the county while raising funds for his participation in the crusade.  It is likely that he was recognised, although not formally, as his brother Godefroi's heir to the duchy of Lower Lotharingia[29].  Baudouin and his first wife, having left with his brother on crusade, were given to Kálmán King of Hungary as hostages to guarantee the army's safe passage through his territory[30].  While marching across Cilicia, Baudouin took control of Tarsus, recently captured from the Turks by Tancred, nephew of Bohémond of Apulia[31].  Baudouin later relieved the Armenian population of Edessa, and established control over the town in Feb 1098, which provided the Lotharingian crusading contingent with a vital fresh source of supplies and income.  Baudouin was adopted as son and heir by Thoros Lord of Melitene and Edessa, who was immediately overthrown and murdered.  He was installed as BAUDOUIN Count of Edessa 10 Mar 1098.  With the treasure found in Edessa, he was able to extend his territories considerably by purchasing the neighbouring emirate of Samosata from the Turkish Emir Balduk[32].  Receiving news of the death of his brother Godefroi, Baudouin arrived in Jerusalem [9] Nov 1100, and was crowned BAUDOUIN I King of Jerusalem by Patriarch Daibert at the church of the Nativity, Bethelehem, on Christmas Day 1100[33].  During his reign, the Muslim coastal cities and the inland border area of Transjordan were gradually conquered.  He captured Arsuf (1101), Caesarea (1101), Acre (1104), Sidon (1110), and Beirut (1110).  Baudouin was taken ill while campaigning against the Fatimids in Egypt.  He appointed his brother Eustache as his heir to the crown of Jerusalem on his death bed, with Baudouin du Bourq as second choice if his brother declined.  m firstly (in England [1090/1096]) [as her second husband,] GODECHILDE de Tosny, [repudiated wife[34] of ROBERT de Beaumont-le-Roger Comte de Meulan,] daughter of RAOUL III de Tosny Seigneur de Conches & his wife Isabel de Montfort l'Amaury (-Germanicea, Cilicia Oct 1097).  Her parentage is specified by Orderic Vitalis, who also records her two marriages and her brothers Roger and Ralph[35].  According to the Complete Peerage[36], her first marriage is "highly improbable" as Godechilde was still a young girl when she married Baudouin de Boulogne in 1096, although it cannot be dismissed entirely as infant marriages were by no means unknown at the time.  Orderic Vitalis makes no mention of any annulment of her alleged first marriage: it is possible that it went no further than a contract of betrothal.  She left with her husband on crusade in 1096 as William of Tyre and Albert of Aix record the death of "Gutueram" wife of Baudouin Count of Edessa at Maresia, and her burial there, Albert of Aix specifying that the couple had been married in England[37].  m secondly ([1098/1100], repudiated [1102/08]) secondly [ARDA], daughter of TAPHNUZ [Tafroc] Ruler of Marash [Armenia] & his wife --- (-Constantinople after 1117).  William of Tyre records Count Baudouin's second marriage with the daughter of Tafroc, although he does not name her[38].  According to Murray, her name is not given in any medieval sources but has been applied to her in "modern scholarship"[39].  According to Rüdt-Collenberg[40], Arda was the daughter of Thoros, brother of Constantine Lord of Vaghka and Partzerpert, but the primary source on which this is based has not yet been identified.  The marriage was arranged as part of her future husband's policy of integration with the Armenian population after his installation as count of Edessa[41].  Her father promised a dowry of 60,000 bezants on her marriage, of which only 7,000 bezants was paid.  She joined her husband in Jerusalem after his accession as king, but was repudiated on the grounds of alleged adultery and obliged to become a nun at the convent of St Anne at Jerusalem.  She was subsequently allowed to join her father in Constantinople where, according to William of Tyre, "she took to evil ways"[42].  Her date of death is not known, but she presumably died after 1117 as, according to Albert of Aix, her existence at that date provided her husband with the grounds for repudiating his third wife Adelaida del Vasto[43].  m thirdly (Acre Sep 1113, repudiated 1117) ADELAIDA del Vasto, widow of ROGER I Count of Sicily, daughter of MANFREDO del Vasto Marchese di Savona [Monferrato] & his wife --- ([1072]-Palermo 16 Apr 1118, bur Patti, Convent of San Salvatore).  Fulcher of Chartres specifies that King Baudouin married the widow of Roger Count of Sicily and names her "Adelaidis" in a later passage[44].  Albert of Aix records the marriage of King Baudouin to the widow of "Roger Duke of Sicily brother of Bohémond", describing in detail the magnificence of her suite[45].  Her origin is proved by Malaterra who records the marriage of "comes Rogerus" and "Adelaydem…neptem Bonifacii…Italorum marchionis, filiam…fratris eius", dating the event to 1089[46].  According to Houben[47], she was "barely 15" on her first marriage, although if this is correct her assumed birth year would be earlier or later than [1072] depending on the actual year of the marriage.  As a condition of her second marriage, she insisted that her son by her first marriage, Roger Count of Sicily, would become heir to Jerusalem if the second marriage produced no other heir[48].  The illness of the childless King Baudouin I during the winter 1116-17 made his death without a successor seem likely.  Arnoul de Choques, Patriarch of Jerusalem, who could not envisage the possibility of the crown of Jerusalem passing to the count of Sicily, obliged the king to repudiate Adelaida because he was still married to his second wife, and also on grounds of consanguinity[49], presumably motivated principally by the realisation of the potential succession crisis if the arrangement concerning Roger of Sicily was not terminated.  Queen Adelaida returned to Sicily in Spring 1117[50].  Fulcher records her death in Sicily in April immediately after recording the death of King Baudouin[51].  The Annales Siculi record the death in 1118 of "Adelasia regina Ierosolimitana mater regis Rogerii"[52].

Baldwin I of Jerusalem, formerly Baldwin I of Edessa, born Baldwin of Boulogne (French: Baudouin de 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. He was the brother of Godfrey of Bouillon, who was the first ruler of the crusader state of Jerusalem, although he refused the title of 'king' which Baldwin accepted.

Early life

Baldwin was a son of Eustace II of Boulogne and Ida of Lorraine (daughter of Godfrey III, Duke of Lower Lorraine), and the younger brother of Eustace III of Boulogne and Godfrey of Bouillon. As the youngest brother, Baldwin was originally intended for a career in the church, but he had given this up around 1080; according to William of Tyre, who lived later in the 12th century and did not know Baldwin personally: "in his youth, Baldwin was well nurtured in the liberal studies. He became a cleric, it is said, and, because of his illustrious lineage, held benefices commonly called prebends in the churches of Rheims, Cambrai, and Liège." Afterwards he lived in Normandy, where he married Godehilde (or Godvera) de Toeni, daughter of Raoul de Conches of a noble Anglo-Norman family (and formerly betrothed wife of Robert de Beaumont). He returned to Lorraine in order to take control of the county of Verdun (previously held by Godfrey).

First Crusade

In 1096 he joined the First Crusade with his brothers Godfrey and Eustace III of Boulogne, selling much of his property to the church in order to pay for his expenses. His wife Godehilde (or Godvera) also accompanied him. This was the second movement of crusaders; the first, the People's Crusade, had been composed of the lower classes and caused much destruction on their march before being destroyed in Asia Minor. When Godfrey passed through Hungary, King Coloman demanded a hostage to ensure their good conduct, and Baldwin was handed over until his companions had left Hungarian territory.

After entering Byzantine territory, there were a few skirmishes with the Greeks, who had also suffered from the People's Crusade. Baldwin commanded a detachment of troops which captured a bridge in the vicinity of Constantinople. After reaching the city, the mass of troops could not be restrained from pillaging the surrounding territory, and Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus was forced to provide a hostage in order to restore peace. The hostage, his son the future emperor John II Comnenus, was entrusted to the care of Baldwin. According to Anna Comnena, Baldwin reprimanded one of his soldiers who dared to sit on Alexius' throne in Constantinople.

Baldwin accompanied his brothers as far as Heraclea in Asia Minor, where he broke away from the main body of the crusaders with Tancred to march into Cilicia. Tancred was surely seeking to capture some land and establish himself as a petty ruler in the east, and Baldwin may have had the same goal. During his absence his wife fell ill and died at Marash, which meant that Baldwin could no longer depend on his wife's lands for support. Some historians have suggested that his entire strategy changed from that point, others believe that the change happened earlier.

In September of 1097 he took Tarsus from Tancred, and installed his own garrison in the city, with help from a fleet of pirates under Guynemer of Boulogne. Tancred and Baldwin's armies skirmished briefly at Mamistra, but the two never came to open warfare and Tancred marched on towards Antioch. After rejoining the main army at Marash, Baldwin received an invitation from an Armenian named Bagrat, and moved eastwards towards the Euphrates, where he occupied Turbessel.

Count of Edessa

Baldwin of Boulogne entered Edessa in February 1098. He was welcomed by the Armenian clergy, who welcomed the end of tutelage to Constantinople. Another invitation came from Thoros of Edessa, where Baldwin was adopted as Thoros' son and successor. When Thoros was assassinated in March of 1098, Baldwin became the first count of Edessa, although it is unknown if he played any role in the assassination. He ruled the county until 1100, marrying Arda, the daughter of Thoros of Marash, and acting as an ambassador between the crusaders and Armenians.

During these two years he captured Samosata and Suruç (Sarorgia) from the Muslims, and defeated a conspiracy by some of his Armenian subjects in 1098. During the Siege of Antioch he sent money and food to his fellow crusaders, although he himself did not participate. Kerbogha, the governor of Mosul, was marching to relieve Antioch but first stopped at Edessa, which he besieged for three weeks, to no avail. Kerbogha was later defeated at Antioch and the crusaders established a principality there. Later that year Baldwin had consolidated his power enough that he was able to march out with his brother Godfrey and besiege Azaz where they defeated the forces of Ridwan of Aleppo.

At the end of 1099 he visited Jerusalem along with Bohemund I of Antioch, but he returned to Edessa in January, 1100. After returning to Edessa, Baldwin aided in relieving the siege of Melitene, at which Bohemund was captured by the Danishmends. The Armenian ruler of the city, Gabriel, then recognized Baldwin as overlord of the city.

King of Jerusalem

After Godfrey's death in July of 1100 he was invited to Jerusalem by the supporters of a secular monarchy, led by his kinsman Warner of Grez. He granted Edessa to a cousin, Baldwin of Bourcq, and on the way to Jerusalem he was ambushed by Duqaq of Damascus near Beirut. Duqaq’s troops were defeated and there was no further trouble on the way to Jerusalem, where he arrived at the beginning of November.

In Jerusalem Baldwin was opposed by his old enemy Tancred, as well as the new patriarch, Dagobert of Pisa, who would have preferred to set up a theocratic state while Godfrey was still alive. As soon as he arrived Baldwin set out on an expedition against the Egyptian territory to the south and did not return until the end of December. On 25 December 1100 he was crowned the first king of Jerusalem by the patriarch himself, who had in the meantime given up his opposition to Baldwin, although he refused to crown Baldwin in Jerusalem. The coronation took place instead in Bethlehem.

The struggle between church and state continued into the spring of 1101, when Baldwin had Dagobert suspended by a papal legate, while later in the year the two disagreed on the question of the contribution to be made by the patriarch towards the defence of the Holy Land. The struggle ended in the deposition of Dagobert in 1102.

Expansion of the kingdom

In 1101 Baldwin captured Arsuf and Caesarea, with assistance from a Genoese fleet. In return the Genoese were granted trading quarters in these towns, and an archbishopric was established in Caesarea. In September of that year Baldwin defeated the Egyptians at the Battle of Ramlah, although it was believed in Jerusalem that the crusader army had been defeated and Baldwin had been killed. Tancred was prepared to take up the regency before it was finally reported that Baldwin had been victorious.

In 1102 another battle was fought at Ramlah, with remnants of the Crusade of 1101, including Stephen, Count of Blois, William IX of Aquitaine, and Hugh VI of Lusignan. This time the Egyptians were victorious; Baldwin lost most of his army including Stephen of Blois, but he himself escaped back to Arsuf on his horse (unusual for this period, especially considering the high death rate of horses during the First Crusade and afterwards, the name of the horse has survived: she was called Gazala). He did not want to risk venturing out of the city for fear of being captured by the Egyptians, so he was ferried back to Jaffa by the English pirate Godric of Finchale, and thence secretly to Jerusalem. The Egyptians were still in the field, however, and Baldwin met them again outside Jaffa, and this time was victorious.

In 1103 Baldwin besieged Acre, without success as it was relieved by an Egyptian fleet. That year he also paid the ransom for Bohemund of Antioch, who was still in prison following his defeat at Melitene; Baldwin preferred Bohemund to Tancred, who ruled Antioch as regent, and was also prince of Galilee earlier in Baldwin's reign. In 1104 however Baldwin was assisted by a Genoese fleet and Acre was captured. In 1105 another battle was fought at Ramlah and Baldwin was victorious here as well. In 1109 he acted as arbitrator of a council of the greatest barons outside the walls of Tripoli, and forced Tancred to give up his claim to the city. Soon after, the city fell to the crusaders, forming the nucleus of the County of Tripoli. In 1110 Beirut was added to the territory of Jerusalem, again with help from the Genoese. Baldwin then travelled north to assist Edessa, under siege from Mawdud of Mosul.

On his return, Sidon was captured with aid from Ordelafo Faliero (who brought a Venetian fleet of 100 ships) and Sigurd I of Norway.[3] In 1111 Baldwin assisted Tancred in besieging Shaizar, and then also besieged Tyre, but was pushed back by a Muslim force under Toghtekin of Damascus. In 1113 Baldwin faced a large invasion by the combined forces of Toghtekin of Damascus and Aksunk-ur of Mosul, and though the kingdom was on the brink of destruction Baldwin was assisted by troops from Antioch and new arrivals of European pilgrims at the Battle of Al-Sannabra.

In 1113 he also married Adelaide del Vasto; he had abandoned his Armenian wife Arda in 1108, on the pretext that she had been unfaithful, or, according to Guibert of Nogent, because she had been raped by pirates on the way to Jerusalem. It is more likely however that she was simply politically useless in Jerusalem, which had no Armenian population. Under the marriage agreement, if Baldwin and Adelaide had no children, the heir to the kingdom would be Roger II of Sicily, Adelaide's son by her first husband Roger I. Technically the marriage to Adelaide was bigamous because Arda was still alive in a monastery in Jerusalem, and it would later cause many problems both for Baldwin and Patriarch Arnulf, who had sanctioned it.

In 1115 he led an expedition into Oultrejordain and built the castle of Montreal. The Syrian Christians who lived in the area were invited to settle in Jerusalem to replenish the population, which had been mostly massacred in 1099. In 1117 he built the castle of Scandalion near Tyre, which was still in Muslim hands. At this point the army in the Kingdom of Jerusalem consisted of only 6,000 men, including 1,000 knights but it was augmented with 5,000 turcopoles.[4]


In 1117 Baldwin fell ill. He was convinced that the sickness was due to his bigamous marriage to Adelaide, and in response Adelaide was sent back to Sicily, much to her disgust. Baldwin recovered, however, and in 1118 he marched into Egypt and plundered Farama. According to Fulcher of Chartres,

"Then one day he went walking along the river which the Greeks call the Nile and the Hebrews the Gihon, near the city, enjoying himself with some of his friends. Some of the knights very skillfully used their lances to spear the fish found there and carried them to their camp near the city and ate them. Then the king felt within himself the renewed pangs of an old wound and was most seriously weakened."

As 17th century historian Thomas Fuller remarked more succinctly, Baldwin "caught many fish, and his death in eating them."

Baldwin was carried back to Jerusalem on a litter but died on the way, at the village of Al-Arish on 2 April. Fulcher of Chartres says "The Franks wept, the Syrians, and even the Saracens who saw it grieved also." His cousin Baldwin of Bourcq was chosen as his successor, although the kingdom was also offered to Eustace III, who did not want it.

Personal life

Fulcher described him as another Joshua, "the right arm of his people, the terror and adversary of his enemies." William of Tyre remarked that he was similar to Saul. Although William did not know him personally like Fulcher did, he left a detailed description of him:

"He is said to have been very tall and much larger than his brother…He was of rather light complexion, with dark-brown hair and beard. His nose was aquiline and his upper lip somewhat prominent. The lower jaw slightly receded, although not so much that it could be considered a defect. He was dignified in carriage and serious in dress and speech. He always wore a mantle hanging from his shoulders…[He] was neither stout nor unduly thin, but rather of a medium habit of body. Expert in the use of arms, agile on horseback, he was active and diligent whenever the affairs of the realm called him."

Baldwin's personal life was controversial. After abandoning Arda and marrying Adelaide it was suspected that he was homosexual, since he had no children with either, nor any from his first wife Godvera. William said that he "struggled in vain against the lustful sins of the flesh."

The Historia Hierosolymitana of Fulcher, who had accompanied Baldwin to Edessa as Baldwin's chaplain, and had lived in Jerusalem during his reign, is the primary source for Baldwin's career.

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Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem's Timeline

April 2, 1118
Age 55
Al Arish, Egypt
Jerusalem, Israel