Joscelin I, count of Edessa

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Joscelin de Courtenay, 1st count of Edessa

Also Known As: "2nd Josselin de Courtenay 1st count of Edessa"
Birthplace: Courtenay, Loiret, France
Death: 1131 (54-64)
Crusader Fortress of Kaysun, Mesopotamia
Place of Burial: Templeholysepulc,,, Holy Land
Immediate Family:

Son of Joscelin I, seigneur de Courtenay and Elisabeth de Montlhéry
Husband of NN Mistress; Beatrice d'Arménie and Maria di Salerno, d'Antiochia
Father of Gelduin; Joscelin II, count of Edessa and Stephania (zakonnica) de Courtenay, Abbess
Brother of Hodierne de Courtenay; Ermengarde Vaindelmonde de Joigny; Miles (Milo) de Courtenay, seigneur de Courtenay and Geoffrey de Courtenay
Half brother of N.N. de Courtenay and Étienne de Courtenay

House: Courtenay
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Joscelin I, count of Edessa

Joscelin of Courtenay (or Joscelin I) (died 1131), Prince of Galilee and Lord of Turbessel (1115–1131) and Count of Edessa (1119–1131), ruled over the County of Edessa during its zenith, from 1118 to 1131. He maintained the large and unstable borders through his martial prowess.

He was the son of Joscelin I, Lord of Courtenay, born in 1034, and wife Isabella (or Elizabeth), daughter of Guy I of Montlhéry. He arrived in the Holy Land during the Crusade of 1101 after the First Crusade, and entered into the service of his relative Count Baldwin II, who invested him with the lordship of Turbessel. In 1104 he was captured at the Battle of Harran. By 1113, he had carved out a semi-autonomous state around Turbessel to the west of the Euphrates, where the land was prosperous, while Baldwin II controlled the territory east of the Euphrates around Edessa itself, which was depopulated and continually harassed by the Turks. That year, Baldwin dispossessed him of Turbessel, and Joscelin travelled to Jerusalem, where he was given the title of Prince of Galilee.

In 1118, Baldwin II succeeded Baldwin I as king of Jerusalem. Despite their former hostility, Joscelin fully endorsed Baldwin II, over the candidacy of Baldwin I's brother Eustace III of Boulogne. Joscelin was rewarded with the County of Edessa.

As count, he was taken prisoner along with Baldwin II in 1123. He were rescued with the help of fifty Armenian soldiers, who, disguised as merchants, infiltrated the fortress where the prisoners were kept, killed the guards and hoisted a Christian flag; Joscelin then left but the king stayed in the fortress which soon was besieged and after some time reclaimed by the Muslims.

After returning to Edessa he was able to enlarge the territory of the county, and in 1125 he participated in the Battle of Azaz, a Crusader victory against the atabeg of Mosul, who were led by Il-Burzuki.

In 1131, during the siege of a small castle north-east of Aleppo, a sapper's mine collapsed and Joscelin was gravely injured. Shortly thereafter, he received word that emir Ghazi II Danishmend was marching against the fortress town of Kaysun. When Joscelin's own son, the future Joscelin II, refused to aid the town, he commanded that his own army should decamp and Joscelin was borne on a litter before the army. When Ghazi heard of Joscelin's approach, perhaps mistakenly believing him already dead, he lifted the siege and retreated, and thus the warrior prince won a final battle before dying shortly thereafter on the roadside.

Joscelin married an Armenian noblewoman named Beatrice, daughter of Constantine I of Armenia. Beatrice was the mother of his son Joscelin II. In 1122, after Beatrice had died, Joscelin married Maria of Salerno, sister of Roger of Salerno, Prince of Antioch.



JOSCELIN de Courtenay, son of JOSCELIN [I] Seigneur de Courtenay & his second wife Isabelle de Montlhéry (-[Aleppo] 1131, before Oct 1). The Historia of Monk Aimon names "Milonem de Cortiniaco, Joscelinum Comitem Edesse, Gaufridum Chapalii" as the children of "Joscelinum de Cortiaco" and his wife "Elisabeth filiam Milonis de Monte-Letherico"[34]. William of Tyre refers to "Joscelinus de Cortenay vir nobilis de Francia de regione dicitur Gastineis" as "consobrinus" of Baudouin du Bourg Count of Edessa, later Baudouin II King of Jerusalem, when he records Joscelin´s arrival in Edessa in 1102 after being called from France by Baudouin[35]. In a later passage, he specifies that Joscelin´s mother was the sister of Baudouin de Bourg's mother, according to the testimony of her granddaughter concerning the consanguinity between Amaury I King of Jerusalem and his first wife which provided the basis for the annulment of their marriage in 1162[36]. William of Tyre refers to him as "consanguineus" of Count Baudouin when they were both captured the following year[37]. Joscelin arrived in Palestine, probably with the contingent led by Guillaume II Comte de Nevers. On his arrival, Baudouin II Count of Edessa enfeoffed him with land west of the Euphrates, with his capital at Turbessel[38]. In Summer 1103, he took part in the raid against the emirate of Aleppo led by Bohémond I Prince of Antioch and captured Muslimiye. In 1104, he captured Marash[39]. He was captured with Baudouin II Count of Edessa by Soqman, Ortokid Prince of Mardin, after the battle of Harran in 1104, and released in 1107, although he exchanged himself with Baudouin Count of Edessa to ensure the latter's release, but was released again within a few months[40]. Suspected by Count Baudouin of wishing to supplant him as Count of Edessa, he was imprisoned in 1112 and subsequently went southwards where he was enfeoffed as Prince of Galilee [Lord of Tiberias] by Baudouin I King of Jerusalem[41]. Albert of Aix records that Baudouin I King of Jerusalem granted "terram et reditus Tabariæ in beneficio" to "Gozelini de Curtenau…filius…amitæ Baldewini de Burg"[42]. He succeeded in 1118 as JOSCELIN I Count of Edessa, chosen by his predecessor Count Baudouin II shortly after becoming king of Jerusalem. Bar Hebræus records that in A.H. 515 (1121/22) "Balec fils de Behram et petit-fils d'Ortok" captured "Josselin et Keliam, fils de la tante maternelle de Josselin", refused to accept payment of a ransom, and imprisoned them "dans le château de Khartbert", although the same source records in a later passage that "les Francs" captured Khartpert and released the captives[43]. "Gozellus comes Edessanus" confirmed a donation to the church of St. Marie, Josaphat, with the consent of "filii sui abbatis dicti monasterio Gilduino", of "terram Kyaria" by "dominus Galeran comitissæ de Corboil" by charter dated [Jan/Aug] 1126[44], although the garbled description of the donors makes their definite identification difficult. In 1128, he raided villages in Antioch's territory in reprisal for Bohémond II Prince of Antioch's denunciation of the agreement concerning the dowry of Joscelin´s second wife[45]. He died from wounds received in an accident while besieging a small castle north-east of Aleppo[46]. On the other hand, the Histoire Universelle of Vartan le Grand records that "[Josselin le Jeune] seigneur de Hrom-Gla" was captured by Moslems while hunting and taken to Aleppo where he died[47].

m firstly ([1100/04] --- of Armenia, daughter of CONSTANTINE Lord of Vaghka and Partzerpert [Armenia-Rupen] & his wife --- (-before 1120). Her parentage and marriage are confirmed by William of Tyre who names her son "Joscelinus junior, ex sorore Levonis Armeni"[48]. She was known as BEATRICE after her marriage, although the primary source which confirms this name has not yet been identified.

m secondly (1121) MARIE of Antioch, daughter of RICHARD of the Principate Conte di Mottola, Castellaneta e Oria & his wife Altrude ---. William of Tyre names her father but does not give her own name[49]. The primary source which confirms her name has not yet been identified. Her brother Roger Prince of Antioch promised the town of Azaz as her dowry, but Bohémond II Prince of Antioch denounced the agreement[50].

Count Joscelin I & his first wife had one child: 
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Joscelin I, count of Edessa's Timeline

Courtenay, Loiret, France
of, Antioch, Syria, Palestine
of, St. Mary-Major, Jerusalem, Holy Land
Age 59
May 11, 1940
Age 59
May 11, 1940
Age 59
May 11, 1940
Age 59
October 12, 1940
Age 59