Kingdom of Heaven - KINGDOM OF JERUSALEM

An unnamed medieval artist, likely working in France, created this illumination of Godfrey becoming head of the newly created Kingdom of Jerusalem. The manuscript is maintained by the British Library where it is known as Yates Thompson 12 f. 46. Public Domain. Click on the image for a full-page view.


Even contemporary French accounts tell us the slaughter in Jerusalem was merciless. The writer of Gesta Francorum ("Deeds of the Franks") says:

They killed all the Saracens and the Turks they found, they killed everyone whether male or female.

Raymund of Aguiles, a French eyewitness, records:

Some of our men (and this was more merciful) cut off the heads of their enemies; [as they had done after the battle at Nicea]; others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames.

Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one’s way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small compared to what happened at the Temple of Solomon, a place where religious services are normally chanted.

What happened there? If I tell the truth it will exceed your powers of belief. So let it suffice to say this much, at least, that in the Temple and porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins.

Thus was born the Latin/Frankish Kingdom of Jerusalem.

It included the city (pictured here is the Church of the Sepulchre) plus surrounding territory, along the shore of the Mediterranean, from Gaza to Beirut. To the north, three fiefs were established: the county of Tripoli, the principality of Antioch and the county of Edessa.

A kingdom needs a king, and that position was offered to Godfrey who refused the title. He assumed responsibilities as Duke or Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre.

Not long after he died, likely of plague. Baldwin, his brother, succeeded him as King Baldwin I.

Pope Urban, dead two weeks after the Crusader victory, would have been appalled - it is said - by the carnage. When Christians in Europe heard the news of Jerusalem’s capture, they were ecstatic about the victory but shocked by reports of violence.

Jews and Muslims would never forget the bloodbath. Later, when wiser Christian rulers attempted to secure the Kingdom by overtures to their Muslim neighbors, the massacre “always stood in the way of true friendship.” (Karen Armstrong, Holy War, page 180.)

The stage was set for a ferocious Crusader-Muslim battle at the Horns of Hattin.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2005

Updated Last Revision: Mar 13, 2016

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"KINGDOM OF JERUSALEM" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2005. Jan 23, 2020.
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