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 Godfrey refused the title of 'king' which Baldwin accepted.
Baldwin was a son of Eustace II, Count of Boulogne and Ida of Lorraine (daughter of Godfrey III, Duke of Lower Lorraine), and the younger brother of Eustace III, Count 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 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 Reims, 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 Lower Lorraine in order to take control of the county of Verdun (previously held by Godfrey).
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 as well as knights, like Walter Sansavoir, and had caused much destruction on their march, although no more than other crusading groups, 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 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
Another invitation came from Thoros of Edessa, where Baldwin was adopted as Thoros' son and successor. When Thoros was assassinated in March 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 1100 Baldwin was invited to Jerusalem by the supporters of a secular monarchy, led by his kinsman Warner of Grez. Baldwin granted Edessa to a cousin, Baldwin of Bourcq. On the way to Jerusalem Baldwin was ambushed by Duqaq of Damascus near Beirut. Duqaq’s troops were defeated and there was no further trouble on the way to Jerusalem. Baldwin arrived in Jerusalem 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, Duke 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. 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.
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.
The nearby Lake Bardawil apparently derives its name from Baldwin.
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 as 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, though he had sons with his first wife, Godvere of Tosni, daughter of Ralph of Tosny. Godvere accompanied her husband, along with their butler, seneschal and chamberlain, on his quest in the First Crusade. 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.
|Ancestors of Baldwin I of Jerusalem|