Sunday, 28 April 2013

Once upon a time in the Outremer - The death of Conrad of Montferrat,

"[T]he Frankish marquis, the ruler of Tyre, and the greatest devil of all the Franks, Conrad of Montferrat — God damn him! — was killed" (Ibn al-Athir, around 1200)

28 April 1192: On his way home after dining with his friend Philip, Bishop of Beauvais, Conrad of Montferrat, King of Jerusalem, was murdered by two Assassins in Acre.


François-Édouard Picot: “Conrad of Montferrat” (1843)


Born in the 1140s in the Italian Piedmont and related to Frederick Barbarossa, Louis VII of France and Leopold of Austria, Conrad first served the Byzantine Emperor with decisive action that kept Manuel I Comnenos on the throne. After Saladin's victory in the Battle at the Horns of Hattin in 1189 plunged the Crusader kingdom into turmoil, Conrad traveled to his fathers besieged city of Tyre, organised the defences and kept one of the last footholds the Crusaders had in the Outremer.

Conrad immediately landed in the hotbed of Outremer politics and was finally acclaimed King of Jerusalem by marriage to Isabella, the sister-in-law of his predecessor, the completely incompetent Guy of Lusignan, who lost the Battle of Hattin in the first place and was carted off to Cyprus by the Barons of the Outremer after Saladin had released him. Guy, as a liege man of Richard I of England en route to the Holy Land already, had the support of Coeur de Lion - who had no interest in a strong local potentate who already had begun to negotiate with Saladin.

Assassins in Action - here: the murder of the Seljuk vizier Nizam al-Mulk


So it is at least possible that Richard contracted the Assassins who murdered Conrad. The King of Jerusalem for a year left an ambiguous image in receptional history, usually being a murderous villain and powermonger, which he probably wasn't.


More on:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrad_of_Montferrat