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Jerusalem: Dark and Satanic

Outremer, the crusader kingdom, and its capital Jerusalem entered a golden age during the 1130s. Simon Sebag Montefiore portrays its extraordinary cast of kings, queens, conquerors and criminals.

A 12th-century French map of Jerusalem showing the main religious sites and crusaders chasing out the infidel.
A 12th-century French map of Jerusalem showing the main religious sites and crusaders chasing out the infidel.

Outremer, literally ‘overseas’, was the French term given to the crusader states, including the Principality of Antioch, the County of Edessa and the Kingdom of Jerusalem, that were established following the First Crusade of 1096-99. A golden age was to follow. Commanded by their constable, Eustace of Grenier (in the absence of Baldwin, who had become the third King of Jerusalem in 1118), the Jerusalemites defeated an invading army of Egyptians at the Battle of Yibneh in early 1123. In 1124 Baldwin was ransomed from the clutches of the Artuqids, the Turkish rulers of northern Syria, and on April 2nd, 1125 the entire city turned out to welcome him home. Baldwin’s imprisonment had concentrated his mind on the succession. His heiress was his daughter Melisende (1105-61), whom he now married to the powerful Fulk, Count of Anjou (c. 1089-1143), descendant of the depraved crusader Fulk the Black (972-1049) and son of Fulk the Repulsive (1043-1109).

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