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Battle of Montgisard

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Author Topic: Battle of Montgisard  (Read 158 times)
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« on: September 23, 2007, 04:01:36 am »

In 1177 the Crusader kingdom was facing the prospect of a succession crisis. King Baldwin IV was a leper and could not leave an heir. His sister Sibylla had been left widowed and pregnant by William of Montferrat, and the nobles of the kingdom began to seek another suitable husband. At the same time, Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders, arrived on pilgrimage, and demanded that Sibylla be married off to one of his vassals. Philip and Baldwin also planned an alliance with the Byzantine Empire for a naval attack on Egypt; but none of these plans came to fruition.

Meanwhile, Saladin planned his own invasion of the kingdom from Egypt. Learning of Saladin's plans, Baldwin IV left Jerusalem with, according to William of Tyre, only 375 knights to attempt a defense at Ascalon, but Baldwin was blockaded there by Saladin, who, again according to William of Tyre, had 26,000 men. Accompanying Baldwin was Raynald of Chatillon, lord of Oultrejordain, who had just been released from captivity in Aleppo in 1176. Raynald was a fierce enemy of Saladin, and was the effective commander of the army, with King Baldwin too ill to command it personally. Also with the army were Odo de St Amand, master of the Knights Templar, Baldwin of Ibelin, his brother Balian, Reginald of Sidon, and Joscelin III of Edessa. Another Templar force attempted to meet Baldwin at Ascalon, but they were also besieged at Gaza.

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