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Vassals of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
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Vassals of the Kingdom of Jerusalem

The Crusader state of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, created in 1099, was divided into a number of smaller seigneuries. There were also three other major Crusader states, the County of Edessa, the County of Tripoli, and the Principality of Antioch, which were not part of the kingdom and did not technically owe any feudal services (they often gave military service but just as often did not). According to the 13th century jurist John of Ibelin the four highest barons in the Kingdom were the Count of Jaffa and Ascalon, the Prince of Galilee, the Lord of Sidon, and the Lord of Oultrejordain. There were also a number of independent seigneuries, and some land held under direct royal control, such as Jerusalem itself, Acre, and Tyre. Unlike in Europe, seigneuries in the Kingdom of Jerusalem tended not to be hereditary, at least in the early years.

Table of contents
1 County of Jaffa and Ascalon
2 Principality of Galilee
3 Lordship of Sidon
4 Lordship of Oultrejordain
5 Other seigneuries

County of Jaffa and Ascalon

The County of Jaffa (including Ascalon after 1153) was usually held directly by the royal family of Jerusalem or by one of their relatives. Jaffa was fortified by Godfrey of Bouillon in 1100, and unsuccessfully claimed by Daimbert of Pisa, the first Patriarch. When Hugh II rebelled against King Fulk in 1134 the county was divided into a number of smaller holdings, and Jaffa itself became a royal domain. It passed in and out of royal control until 1221, and passed to the Ibelin family around 1250, until the fall of Acre in 1291.

A number of seigneuries were vassals to the Count of Jaffa:

Lordship of Ramla

Ramla was briefly ruled by the bishop of Ramla and Lydda, until 1101. It is unknown when Ramla became a separate seigneury, although there was an important Baldwin of Ramla who owned large amounts of land there in the early years of the kingdom. In 1126 Ramla became part of Jaffa, and a separate lordship was created after Hugh II's revolt in 1134, with Baldwin II as lord (although Baldwin I was not a lord in his own right). It was later a part of the Lordship of Ibelin.


Lordship of Ibelin

Ibelin was also created out of Jaffa around 1134 and given to Balian of Ibelin. It was centred around the castles of Ibelin and Ramleh. Lord Balian of Ibelin maried Maria Comnena, widow of King Amalric I, and the Ibelins became the most powerful noble family of the kingdom, later ruling over Beirut.


Lordship of Mirabel

Mirabel was separated from Jaffa after the revolt in 1134 and also given to Balian of Ibelin, although it was separate from Ibelin.


Principality of Galilee

The Principality of Galilee was established, at least in name, in 1099 when Tancred of Hauteville was given Tiberias, Haifa, and Bethsan by Godfrey of Bouillon. In 1101 Baldwin I limited Tancred's power by giving Haifa to Galdemar Carpenel, and Tancred was forced to give up the principality and become regent in Antioch. The Principality was destroyed by Saladin in 1187, although the title was used by the heirs of the titular kings of Jerusalem in Acre afterwards.


The Principality also had its own vassals, the Lordships of Beirut, Nazareth, and Haifa, which often had their own sub-vassals.

Lordship of Beirut

Beirut was captured in 1110 and given to Fulk of Guines. It was one of the longest-lived seigneuries, surviving until the final collapse of the kingdom in 1291, although only as a tiny strip on the Mediterranean coast surrounding Beirut. It was important for trade with Europe, and had its own vassals within the Principality of Galilee.


The sub-vassals of Beirut were:

Lordship of Banias

Banias was given to Baldwin II by the Assassins in 1128. Baldwin gave it to Renier Brus, who also ruled the lordship of Assebebe, which was eventually merged with Banias. Renier's daughter married Humphrey II of Toron, who became lord of Banias around 1148. He sold parts of Banias and Chastel Neuf to the Knights Hospitaller in 1157. Banias was merged with Toron until it fell to Nur ad-Din in 1164, and when it was recovered it became part of the Seigneury of Joscelin III of Edessa (see below).


Lordship of Toron

The castle of Toron was built by Hugh of St. Omer, prince of Galilee, to help capture Tyre. After Hugh's death it was made an independent seigneury, given to Humphrey I in 1107. The lords of Toron tended to be very influential in the kingdom; Humphrey II was constable of Jerusalem and Humphrey IV was married to Isabella, Amalric I's daughter (Toron passed under royal control during their marriage). It was also one of the few to have a hereditary lordship, at least for few decades. The lords of Toron were also connected to the Lordship of Oultrejordain. Toron was later merged with the royal domain of Tyre.


Toron had two vassals of its own, the Lordship of Castel Neuf and the Lordship of Toron Ahmud. Chastel Neuf was built by Hugh of St. Omer around 1105 but was later given to the Hospitallers, until it fell to Nur ad-Din in 1167. Toron Ahmud remained in the Lordship of Beirut until John of Ibelin sold it to the Teutonic Knights in 1261.

Lordship of Nazareth

Nazareth was the original site of the Latin Patriarch, established by Tancred. It was created as a seigneury in Galilee in 1115.

Lordship of Haifa

Haifa was partly an ecclesiastical domain ruled by the Archbishop of Nazareth, and partly created from other lands in the Principality of Galilee.


Lordship of Sidon

Sidon was captured in 1110 and given to Eustace I Grenier.


Lordship of the Schuf

The Schuf was created out of the Lordship of Sidon as a vassal around 1170. It was centred on the Cave of Tyron. Julian of Sidon sold it to the Teutonic Knights in 1256.


Lordship of Oultrejordain

The Lordship of Oultrejordain, consisting of land with an undefined boundary to the east of the Jordan River, was one of the largest and most important seigneuries. Baldwin I attacked the area in 1100, 1107 and 1112, and built Montreal built in 1115 to control the Muslim caravan routes, which provided enormous revenue to the kingdom. Baldwin may have given it away to Roman of Le Puy in 1118, but it probably remained under royal control until 1126 when Pagan the Butler was created lord. The last lord, Raynald of Chatillon, was especially hostile to the Muslims, and was partially responsible for Saladin's invasion of the kingdom. Saladin conquered the area in 1187 and personally executed Raynald at the Battle of Hattin.


Other seigneuries

Lordship of Adelon

This lordship seems to have been created after the centre of the kingdom was moved to Acre, and held some influence under Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.


Lordship of Arsuf

Arsuf (called Arsur by the Crusaders) was captured in 1101 but remained a royal domain until around 1163 when John of Arsur became lord.


Lordship of Bethsan

Bethsan was occupied by Tancred in 1099; it was never part of Galilee, despite its location, but became a royal domain in 1101, probably until around 1120. It occasionally passed back under royal control until new lords were created.


Lordship of Blanchegarde

Blanchegarde was built by King Fulk in 1142, as part of the royal domain, and was ruled by castellans. It became a lordship in 1166, when it was given to Walter I Brisebarre who had been forced to give up Beirut.


Lordship of Caesarea

Caesarea was captured in 1101 and given to the Archbishop of Caesarea. Arpin of Bourges may have been first lord, but the true first lord was probably Eustace I Grenier, who ruled from 1110-1123.


Lordship of Caymont

Caymont was created at an unknown date, and eventually passed into the royal domain.

Lordship of Dera

Little is known about Dera, except that it was created in 1118.

Lordship of Hebron

Hebron was one of the earliest seigneuries created. It had its own vassal, the Lordship of Beth Gibelin, created by Fulk in 1149. Soon afterwards Hebron became a royal domain and Beth Gibelin passed to the Hospitallers. Hebron had been under royal control at various times before 1149.


Lordship of Montgisard

Montgisard was built as a defense against Nur ad-Din, and was the site of a battle against Saladin in 1177.


Lordship of Nablus

Nablus was first captured by Baldwin I, and later seems to have been created as a separate lordship out of part of Oultrejordain.


Lordship of Scandaleon

Scandeleon was built in 1116 as a royal domain. It became a lordship by 1148 when Guy of Scandeleon was created lord.


Lordship of Tyre

Tyre was created as a lordship for Conrad of Montferrat during the Third Crusade.


Seigneury of Joscelin III of Edessa

This seigneury was an unusual creation given to Joscelin III, the nominal count of Edessa, which had been lost long before. It was created around 1176 when Joscelin married Agnes of Milly, and was formed from royal land around Acre. Joscelin's daughters married into the Lusignan family and the land passed to them.