Joscelin II, Count of Edessa

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Joscelin II de Courtenay, Count of Edessa

Birthdate: (57)
Birthplace: of, Antioch, Syria, Palestine
Death: circa 1159 (49-65)
Immediate Family:

Son of Josselin II de Courtenay, 1st count of Edessa and Beatrice d'Arménie
Husband of Beatrice de Courtenay
Father of Agnès de Courtenay; Isabelle de Courtenay and Josceline III (IV) de Courtenay
Half brother of Gelduin and Stephania (zakonnica) de Courtenay, Abbess

Occupation: 2nd Count of Edessa
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Joscelin II, Count of Edessa

Joscelin II of Edessa (died 1159) was the fourth and last ruling count of Edessa.

The young Joscelin was taken prisoner at the Battle of Azaz in 1125, but was ransomed by Baldwin II, king of Jerusalem. In 1131, his father Joscelin I was wounded in battle with the Danishmends, and Edessa passed to Joscelin II. Joscelin II refused to march the small Edessan army out to meet the Danishmends, so Joscelin I, in his last act, forced the Danishmends to retreat, dying soon after.

Joscelin II ruled the weakest and most isolated of the Crusader states. In 1138 he allied with Antioch and Byzantine emperor John II Comnenus to attack Zengi, atabeg of Aleppo, although Zengi defeated them. Back in Antioch, sentiment against the Byzantine Empire, which John was trying to extend into the northern Crusader states, led to a riot, engineered by Joscelin. John was forced to return home.

In 1143 both John II and Fulk of Jerusalem died, leaving Joscelin with no powerful allies to help defend Edessa. In 1144 Zengi invaded and captured Edessa itself. Joscelin fled to Turbessel, where he held the remnants of the county west of the Euphrates. When Yarankash, a Frankish slave, assassinated the violent, cruel, brutal, and drunk Zengi in September 1146, Joscelin managed to recapture Edessa in October 1146 and held it briefly thereafter, but with no help from the other Crusader states, the city was again lost in November, as Joscelin's expedition was driven out by Zengi's son Nur ad-Din. The Second Crusade, called in response to the fall of Edessa, eventually shifted its focus to Damascus. In 1150 whilst on route to Antioch, where he was looking to enlist help, Joscelin was taken prisoner by a group of brigands who then sold him to Nur-ed-Din. Joscelin was taken to the city of Aleppo where he was led before a hostile crowd and publicly blinded. He spent the remaining nine years of his life in captivity in a Muslim prison. He eventually died in the dungeons of the Citadel of Aleppo in 1159.

His daughter Agnes of Courtenay married Amalric I of Jerusalem. After her divorce from Amalric, she held the lands and incomes of the County of Jaffa, while Joscelin's son Joscelin III held the nominal title Count of Edessa, being in reality the lord of a small seigneurie near Acre.

Joscelin II's grandchildren Baldwin IV and Sibylla were in turn monarchs of Jerusalem, as was his great-grandson Baldwin V.

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Joscelin II, Count of Edessa's Timeline

of, Antioch, Syria, Palestine
Age 28
Courtenay, Loiret, France
Age 31
Age 31
Έδεσσα, Κεντρική Μακεδονία, Ελλάς
Age 57