King Baldwin I Of Jerusalem Essay Research

King Baldwin I Of Jerusalem Essay, Research Paper

Baldwin of Boulogne I, brother to Godfrey of Boullion, Count of Edessa and King of Jerusalem. Baldwin was one of the eight chief lay leaders of the first Crusade (Setton 21). He died in 1118, which marked an end of an era. Baldwin was the last of the original leaders of the firs Crusade (Setton 408). He founded the first Latin state in the east, the county of Edessa. He founded and transformed Jerusalem into a monarchy state. Helped in the capture of Tripoli. Established the county of Tripoli into the fourth and last state of the east. With only small means at his disposal he accomplished many things, like founding the county Edessa with a few knights. Then he took over Jerusalem after his brother Godfrey, who had left it weak torn by factionalism and surrounded by enemies. He left Jerusalem a strong and powerful state. He revived and maintained commerce with the Moslem who he was there to fight in the first place. He never had a naval fleet but still had coastal conquests and protection. He had sea routes protected to the west by obtaining the help of the Italian Naval Fleet.

The numbered of troops which Baldwin had can be compared to a modern day battalion, which would consist roughly of about 1,200 troops. With a small army by his side he was able to protect his small state and leave it aggressive, helping the Latin states to the north and extending his own territory (Setton 409). Baldwin was known as a conqueror to the day of his death. His worst enemies Al-Afdal of Egypt and Tughtigin of Demascus gave up hope of ever over throwing him.

Before going on the first crusade Baldwin took his time before accepting to go with his brother Godfrey. Since he was the youngest of the three brothers he had no inheritance left to him. He saw this as a great opportunity to go out and conqueror his own land.

In 1096 they arrived in Constantinople, Godfrey was asked to the palace to pledge his alliance to the emperor. Godfrey refused to go and wanted to wait for the rest of the princes to arrive. The Emperor being annoyed did not give the necessary supplies he had promised Godfrey. So Baldwin took it upon himself to raid the suburbs till they were given the supplies that they were promised.

After Constantinople the Crusaders headed to Antioch. On their way to Antioch they found themselves in a situation, the road forked. One way was a short cut to Antioch, but the road was rough and it wasn?t suitable for a large army. Baldwin took charge of a small army, which included his cousin Baldwin of Le Bourg, Reginald of Toul, and Peter of Stenay and five hundred knights and two thousand infantrymen (Setton 296). Baldwin arrived at Tarsus a small county part of Cicilia; a fellow crusader Tancred had already conquered it. Since there was no imperial official to take over the city, Baldwin insisted it be turned over to him (Setton 300). Tancred had no choice but to do as Baldwin wished because his army was outnumbered. After some months Baldwin gave up the city to Guynemer of Boulogne, a pirate who gave naval help to crusaders. Guynemer pledge homage to Baldwin and gave him over three hundred men.

Baldwin headed eastward and soon rejoined the main body of the army at Marash. When the main army went off Baldwin did not go with them. The main Army headed southwest to Antioch, Baldwin headed southeast to Aintab. While he went on southeastward he managed to get in touch with the Armenians and their princes. Everywhere he went he was welcomed with as a liberator. Baldwin with the help of two Armenians who had levied to Baldwin captured two main fortresses between Aintab the Euphraties.

Toros who feared a Turkish army that was on their way to Antioch might come and suppress him invited Baldwin to Edessa (Setton 302). Torso promised to adopt him as his son and make him a partner in government. Baldwin headed to Edessa in February of 1098 with only eighty horsemen. When Baldwin arrived to Edessa he was made co-regent of Edessa. His first action in Edessa was to attack Balduk of Samosata, whose life endangered life in the Eddessan countryside (Setton 303). Since Baldwin?s raids were not successful, he took over a village called St. John near Samosata. The village served as a check for Balduk?s raids.

With his success Baldwin grew more popular among the people. He was informed that there was a plot to over through Toros in favor of him. In March of 1098 Toros was over throughed and Baldwin was instituted as head of government. Baldwin became count of Edessa, to strengthen his position he married Arda daughter of an Armenian noble. He had conquered Somosata northwest of him and Suruj southwest of the capital. Having established himself as count he really had no reason to join the main army. After the death of his brother Godfrey, who was head of the state of Jerusalem. Baldwin saw the opportunity of gaining his brothers inheritance. Baldwin decided to head to Jerusalem to claim what was his. Before he did that he named his cousin Baldwin of Le Bourg his successor.

Baldwin arrived in Jerusalem in the fall of 1100. On December 25 Baldwin was crowned king. He was not crowned king of Jerusalem, but as king of Asia or of Babylon. This was because Daimbert crowned Baldwin in Bethlehem and not in the capital (Setton 352). Daimbert did this so he could hold position of suzerain-lord of Jerusalem. Daimbert wanted to turn Jerusalem into a church-state.

In the spring of 1101 Baldwin showed his power, he conqueror and captured Arsuf and Caesarea. Daimbert in logical position demanded that Baldwin leave the area of Jerusalem and Jaffa (Setton 382). Baldwin retaliated by accusing Daimbert of plotting against his life; this gave Baldwin an excuse to attack Daimbert. Daimbert was defeated and left the city but returned with Tancred. Soon Daimbert was restored to power but only temporarily. But with Baldwin insistence a local Cardinal Robert of Paris promptly decreed Daimberts removal in1102.

The year of 1102 looked promising for King Baldwin, he finally got rid of Daimbert. But the year marked one of the worst defeats King Baldwin had. It was Egypt he was after and he under estimated his Egyptian enemies. The Egyptian army greatly outnumbered the small army of King Baldwin. So King Baldwin fled to Ramla to save himself.

In 1109 Baldwin joined the young Count of St. Gilles against Tancred. He saw this opportunity to expand his power northwards. He saw a way to unit the Franks under the leadership of the regime of Jerusalem (Setton 397). On one side it was Baldwin, Bertram, Baldwin of Le Bourg, and Joscelin. On the other side it was Tancred and William of Jordan. Noticing that he was out numbered Tancred agreed to conciliation. King Baldwin was privileged of hearing the complaints of Baldwin of Le Bourg versus Tancred and Bertram against William of Jordan. Many compromises were worked out. But at the end it was King Baldwin who won out because now he knew that Edessa and Tripoli were dependent of him.

King Baldwin I had become leader of the Franks in Levant although he had no real means to coerce the three other Latin princes. He was suzerain-lord of Tripoli, and granted Edessa to its lord. He was smart enough to know that the franks would stand and die together, and he used it to his advantage. King Baldwin had the moral authority to unit the Franks and lead them, even Tancred joined in against the Turkish peril in the north. When King Baldwin died among all other Latin states, his was the best in dignity power and leadership (Setton 409). The death of Baldwin marked the end of a formative period of these states.

1. A History of The Crusades I, Setton and Baldwin, 1958 University of Pennsylvania

2. A History of The Crusades I, Steven Runciman, 1954 Cambridge University Press


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