Raymond II, Count of Tripoli

Raymond II
Raymond IITripoli.jpg
His seal
Count of Tripoli
Reign1137–1152
PredecessorPons
SuccessorRaymond III
Bornc. 1116
Died1152 (aged 35–36)
Tripoli
SpouseHodierna of Jerusalem
IssueRaymond III
Melisende
HouseHouse of Toulouse
FatherBertrand of Tripoli
MotherCecile of France
ReligionCatholicism

Raymond II (Latin: Raimundus; c. 1116 – 1152) was count of Tripoli from 1137 to 1152. He succeeded his father, Pons, Count of Tripoli, who was killed during a campaign that a commander from Damascus launched against Tripoli. Raymond accused the local Christians of betraying his father and invaded their villages in the Mount Lebanon area. He also had many of them tortured and executed. Raymond was captured during an invasion by Imad ad-Din Zengi, atabeg of Mosul, who gained the two important castles of Montferrand (at present-day Baarin in Syria) and Rafaniya in exchange for his release in the summer of 1137.

Since his army proved unable to secure the defence of the eastern borders of his county, Raymond granted several forts to the Knights Hospitaller in 1142. The sudden death of his father's uncle, Alfonso Jordan, Count of Toulouse, during the Second Crusade gave rise to gossips which suggested that Raymond had poisoned him, because Alfonso Jordan had allegedly wanted to lay claim to Tripoli. Alfonso Jordan's illegitimate son, Bertrand of Toulouse, actually seized the fortress of Araima in the County of Tripoli in 1149, but Raymond recaptured it with the assistance of Muslim rulers. Raymond ceded the castle to the Knights Templar.

The marriage of Raymond and his wife, Hodierna of Jerusalem, was unhappy. Her sister, Melisende of Jerusalem, came to Tripoli to put an end to their conflict. Hodierna preferred to leave Tripoli for Jerusalem along with her sister and Raymond escorted them for a short distance. On his way back to Tripoli, a group of Assassins stabbed him at the southern gate of the town. He was the first Christian ruler to be murdered by the Assassins.

Early life

He was the elder son of Pons, Count of Tripoli and Cecile of France.[1] The date of his birth is unknown, but William of Tyre noted that Raymond was "adolescent" when his father died, implying that he was at least fifteen in 1137.[2] He and his younger brother, Philip, were mature enough to sign their father's charters in the early 1130s.[3] Historian Kevin J. Lewis argues that Raymond "could easily have been in his early twenties" in 1137, suggesting that he was born around 1116.[2] Lewis also states that Raymond was most probably betrothed to Hodierna, who was a younger daughter of Baldwin II of Jerusalem, "as early as 1127".[4]