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Baldwin I of Edessa

Article from the 1911 Encyclopedia


BALDWIN I., prince of Edessa (1098-1100), and first king of Jerusalem (1100-1118), was the brother of Godfrey of Bouillon. He was originally a clerk in orders, and held several prebends; but in 1096 he joined the first crusade, and accompanied his brother Godfrey as far as Heraclea in Asia Minor. When Tancred left the main body of the crusaders at Heraclea, and marched into Cilicia, Baldwin followed, partly in jealousy, partly from the same political motives which animated Tancred. He wrested Tarsus from Tancred's grip (September 1097), and left there a garrison of his own. After rejoining the main army at Marash, he received an invitation from an Armenian named Pakrad, and moved eastwards towards the Euphrates, where he occupied Tell-bashir. Another invitation followed from Thoros of Edessa; and to Edessa Baldwin came, first as protector, and then, when Thoros was assassinated, as his successor (March 1098). For two years he ruled in Edessa (1098-1100), marrying an Armenian wife, and acting generally as the intermediary between the crusaders and the Armenians. During these two years he was successful in maintaining his ground, both against the Mahommedan powers by which he was surrounded, and from which he won Samosata and Seruj (Sarorgia), and against a conspiracy of his own subjects in 1098. At the end of 1099 he visited Jerusalem along with Bohemund I.; but he returned to Edessa in January 1100. On the death of Godfrey he was summoned by a party in Jerusalem to succeed to his brother.

A lay reaction against the theocratic pretensions of Dagobert, who was counting on Norman support, was responsible for the summons; and in the strength of that reaction Baldwin was able to become the first king of Jerusalem. He was crowned on Christmas Day, 1100, by the patriarch himself; but the struggle of church and state was not yet over, and in the spring of 1101 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 and the triumph of Baldwin (1102).

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This article is from the 1911 edition of an encyclopedia, which is out of copyright here in the U.S. It is in the public domain and you may copy, download, print and distribute this work as you see fit.

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