Raymond III of Tripoli was a crusader, living here and there in Jerusalem and Tripoli. His life was connected to some of the main characters of that time.

Throughout history, Raymond has been portrayed as a hero and also as a villain at times. Here we take into account each aspect of his short life and bring you the life story of Raymond III of Tripoli in detail.

Raymond of Tripoli

History is full of personalities that greatly impacted the course of this world through their small contributions. King Raymond of Tripoli is one such personality. Even though he was never in the spotlight of events, he always had a move. Before diving deep into his actions as a crusader and a warrior, we must first look at his origin and early life.

Origin of Raymond of Tripoli

Raymond was born to Raymond II, Count of Tripoli, and Hodierna of Jerusalem. He was the only son of the couple who also had a daughter named Melisende. Raymond II ruled Tripoli from 1137 to 1152, and during his time, he was a part of many scandals and betrayals. Raymond III was born in 1140, and from a young age, he saw his parents as influential and active political agents.

Due to some unfortunate events, Raymond II of the County of Tripoli was brutally assassinated when he and his family were on their way to Jerusalem. Raymond III witnessed his father getting butchered when he was still a young boy, and this event influenced Raymond’s life greatly and affected his decision-making and trust in others.

King Baldwin IV

At the same time, King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem was also in Tripoli. Baldwin IV was the son of Melisende, the Queen of Jerusalem, and also the blood sister of Hodierna. Knowing what had happened to his cousins and his aunt, he called the widowed family back to town. He and the court paid homage to their late Count, Raymond II.

Baldwin was adamant about making Raymond III the new Count of Tripoli, but as he was underage, he had to wait according to the court. King Baldwin IV also took the throne at a very young age after his father died. He had high hopes for Raymond III so he ignored the court’s wishes and made Raymond the new Count of Tripoli.

Baldwin took Raymond under his wing and gave him all the knightly education he could. Raymond attended many courts in Jerusalem as the Count of Tripoli. Raymond and Baldwin, both rulers of important jurisdictions, became close allies and, some might even say, brothers.

Life as a Crusader

Raymond fought bravely in the eyes of his enemies and stood fearlessly. He was short-tempered at times, which led him to destroy his hard work and reputation. Nevertheless, he took part in some of the most important battles in the region and also played a big role in the conservation of rightful rule in Jerusalem.

Raymond’s First Charter

After successfully gaining the necessary education under Baldwin of Jerusalem, Raymond was now ready to lead his state. In 1155, Raymond reached maturity and also decided to extend his borders. His biggest enemies were Muslim fighters in the north of Syria.

Due to a natural calamity, a major earthquake struck the north of Syria in 1157, giving Raymond an evil idea. He suggested to Baldwin that this might be the best time to attack, as the Muslims were already in a predicament and had their guards down. So Baldwin of Jerusalem, Raynald of Châtillon, and Raymond of Tripoli joined forces to destroy all signs of Muslims in North Syria and take the area under Crusader rule.

This siege was the start of a long fight. The crusaders were eventually successful in taking control of the area after a year in 1158. This was the first big siege led by the idea and planning presented by Raymond III of Tripoli.

Raymond King of Tripoli and Nur ad-Din

Raymond’s sister, Melisende, was promised to the widowed Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos. Raymond spared no expense in the marriage of his only sister, as he wanted her wedding to be as extravagant as it could be. As she was going to be an empress, their mother Hodierna and their aunt, Melisende, spent a fortune on buying the rarest of stones for Melisende of Tripoli, but Manuel backed out of marrying Melisende at the last minute.

Knowing this, Raymond set out to destroy the Byzantine Empire with his army and allies. On the way there, he also attacked some Muslim Pilgrims. He and his friends were captured by Nur ad-Din, a Turkish fighter who was defending Syria. He was taken to Aleppo where the Turkish fighter demanded a heavy ransom from him, but the ransom was so huge that Raymond could never pay it alone.

It is reported that the ransom was to be paid in exactly 80,000 gold pieces, but Raymond could only pay 20,000. Baldwin of Jerusalem and the Knights Hospitaller came to Raymond’s rescue. The ransom was paid in installments but paid nevertheless. In the meantime, a new Muslim fighter had risen who was taking the crusaders’ land one by one.

Raymond of Tripoli and Saladin

While Raymond was in captivity, his land and army were going to waste because they did not have a leader and were losing hope. Saladin, a Kurd who was going to be the first sultan of both Egypt and Syria, was set on destroying the crusaders and their armies. He toppled their lands one by one and took control. The main seat of crusader rule was Jerusalem at that time, and he was advancing heavily towards it.

Saladin took control over Jerusalem and ousted most of the crusaders in 1187. He laid the famous siege of Jerusalem and the crusaders had to back down. Before this siege, many territorial and religious battles had been fought between Saladin and the crusaders. Raymond III of Tripoli was part of many of these battles.

As Jerusalem was taken and Tripoli was going to be next, Raymond surrendered to Saladin and signed a treaty of peace and allegiance. Raymond did this in good faith, as he saw the destruction Saladin’s army had caused and wanted to save his people.

Saladin granted him and Tripoli immunity against the siege. This treaty was later seen as a sign of weakness and Raymond was labeled as a traitor.

This allegation was the death of Raymond III of Tripoli, who died without leaving someone to carry his name.

Raymond and the Kings of Jerusalem

When King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem made Raymond III the Count of Tripoli by going against the court, Raymond swore his allegiance to Baldwin. Raymond became a loyal friend and servant of the Crown of Jerusalem. Baldwin also trusted Raymond greatly, and soon after Baldwin developed worrying signs of leprosy, the talk of succession began. Guy of Lusignan, the husband of Baldwin’s sister, wanted the throne for himself.

Baldwin could not let that happen, so instead he named Guy’s son, Baldwin V, the next King of Jerusalem. Baldwin IV had planned earlier that in case of his early death, Raymond III of Tripoli would serve as regent to Baldwin V until he became of age. Unfortunately, Baldwin IV died when Baldwin V was still underage. Raymond acted as the regent and started training Baldwin V to be the new King of Jerusalem.

Raymond played a very important role in keeping order and peace among the aspirants of the throne after Baldwin IV died. He made sure that his late King’s wishes were fulfilled and that the rightful heir was given the throne.

Legacy of Raymond III of Tripoli

Many kings, generals and counts kept Raymond in high regard. He was an intelligent man, with much care and respect for his people and position. If only the people of those times understood Raymond and his feelings, he would have lived for longer. He would have not gone into shame and hid from the world for saving his people and Tripoli.

Conclusion

Here are the main points we discussed about Raymond III of Tripoli in the article above:

  • Raymond III was born in 1140 to parents that were influential and active political agents.
  • Raymond III was the son of Raymond II and Hodierna of Jerusalem.
  • Raymond III was made the Count of Tripoli after his father was assassinated.
  • King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem made Raymond III the Count of Tripoli and took him under his wing.
  • Raymond III was an intelligent and quick-witted warrior.
  • He fought many important crusader wars against Muslims.
  • Raymond fought bravely in the eyes of his enemies and stood his ground fearlessly.
  • He signed a peace treaty with Saladin in Jerusalem to save Tripoli and his people.
  • Many people labeled him as a traitor for signing the peace treaty which was the cause of his death.

Raymond III lived a memorable and adventurous life. He played a vital role in the history of the world and left a shining legacy in his wake.

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