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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years

XVII: The Latin states under Baldwin III and Amalric I, 1143-1174,   pp. 528-561 PDF (5.9 MB)

Page 532

 With losses sustained in the north, the security of the Latin Levant depended
more than ever on the relations between Jerusalem and those Moslem states,
notably Damascus, which still resisted the southward advance of the Aleppans.
Earlier chapters have described Frankish relations with Damascus; and it
will be recalled that Mu~in-ad-DIn Unur (or Onor), the governor, had allied
with king Fulk. On Zengi's death, Unur had quickly occupied Baalbek and entered
into negotiations with the governors of Homs and Hamah. At the same time
his astute sense of diplomacy had prompted him to appease Zengi's successor.
In March 1147 Unur's daughter married Nflr-ad-DIn. But he had ample reason
to continue his friendly dispositions toward Jerusalem, which a characteristic
loyalty to treaty obligations dictated. It seems obvious too that the most
elementary diplomatic and strategic considerations should have led the Latins
to avoid any actions which might endanger this Levantine balance of power.
Yet this was precisely the error committed by the leaders of the Second Crusade.2
 Our fifteenth chapter has described in detail the Second Crusade of I 147—I
149. To Christian Europe the failure represented a tragic shattering of high
hopes. To the Latin east it was more than a military defeat. Christian prestige
in the orient had been dangerously weakened. The one thing the Moslems feared
most, a powerful expedition from Europe, had arrived and been repulsed. Further,
the breach with Damascus, so long well disposed toward Jerusalem, upset the
Levantine equilibrium and paved the way for the eventual union of Aleppo
and Damascus. 
 After the Second Crusade, the Moslems, emboldened by success and assisted
by continued quarrels in Christian ranks, pressed their advantage and made
new gains in northern Syria. Count Raymond II of Tripoli actually sought
Moslem assistance in dislodging Bertram, grandson of Raymond of St. Gilles,
from al~.cArImah, the citadel of which was destroyed, and Bertram, along
with others, was captured.3 When Raymond of Antioch advanced to thwart NUr-ad-Din's
moves east of the Orontes, a bold attack with a small force won him an initial
advantage. But on the night of 
 2 Even before the Second Crusade, the bellicose elements in the king's council
forced a similar error. In the spring of I 147 the authorities in Jerusalem
accepted the tempting offer of a rebellious emir in the Hauran. The campaign
proved to be a dismal failure redeemed only by the courageous conduct of
Baldwin III and a well disciplin~ed retreat. Cf. Runciman, History of the
Crusades, II, 241—243. 
 ~ Bertram with Languedocian troops from the Second Crusade had besieged
the castle. Raymond had then asked the assistance of Unur, who came with
Nür-ad-Din. Apparently Unur signed a truce with the kingdom in May 1149.
Cf. Runciman, Crusades, II, 287—288. 

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