Amalric of Jerusalem

Amalric
Amalrich1.jpg
King of Jerusalem
Reign1163–1174
Coronation1163
PredecessorBaldwin III
SuccessorBaldwin IV
Born1136
Died11 July 1174(1174-07-11) (aged 38)
Jerusalem, Kingdom of Jerusalem
SpouseAgnes of Courtenay
Maria Komnene
IssueBaldwin IV of Jerusalem
Sibylla of Jerusalem
Isabella I of Jerusalem
HouseHouse of Anjou
FatherFulk of Jerusalem
MotherMelisende of Jerusalem

Amalric (Latin: Amalricus; French: Amaury; 1136 – 11 July 1174) was King of Jerusalem from 1163, and Count of Jaffa and Ascalon before his accession. He was the second son of Melisende and Fulk of Jerusalem, and succeeded his older brother Baldwin III. During his reign, Jerusalem became more closely allied with the Byzantine Empire, and the two states launched an unsuccessful invasion of Egypt. Meanwhile, the Muslim territories surrounding Jerusalem began to be united under Nur ad-Din and later Saladin. He was the father of three future rulers of Jerusalem, Sibylla, Baldwin IV, and Isabella I.

Older scholarship mistook the two names Amalric and Aimery as variant spellings of the same name, so these historians erroneously added numbers, making Amalric to be Amalric I (1163–74) and King Aimery (1197–1205) to be "Amalric II". Now scholars recognize that the two names were not the same and no longer add the number for either king. Confusion between the two names was common even among contemporaries.[1]

Youth

Amalric was born in 1136 to King Fulk, the former count of Anjou who had married the heiress of the kingdom, Melisende, daughter of King Baldwin II. After the death of Fulk in a hunting accident in 1143, the throne passed jointly to Melisende and Amalric's older brother Baldwin III, who was still only 13 years old. Melisende did not step down when Baldwin came of age two years later, and by 1150 the two were becoming increasingly hostile towards each other. In 1152 Baldwin had himself crowned sole king, and civil war broke out, with Melisende retaining Jerusalem while Baldwin held territory further north. Amalric, who had been given the County of Jaffa as an apanage when he reached the age of majority in 1151, remained loyal to Melisende in Jerusalem, and when Baldwin invaded the south, Amalric was besieged in the Tower of David with his mother. Melisende was defeated in this struggle and Baldwin ruled alone thereafter. In 1153 Baldwin captured the Egyptian fortress of Ascalon, which was then added to Amalric's fief of Jaffa (see Battle of Ascalon).

Amalric married Agnes of Courtenay in 1157. Agnes, daughter of Joscelin II of Edessa, had lived in Jerusalem since the western regions of the former crusader County of Edessa were lost in 1150. Patriarch Fulcher objected to the marriage on grounds of consanguinity, as the two shared a great-great-grandfather, Guy I of Montlhéry, and it seems that they waited until Fulcher's death to marry. Agnes bore Amalric three children: Sibylla, the future Baldwin IV (both of whom would come to rule the kingdom in their own right), and Alix, who died in childhood.

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