1st Edition

Baldwin of Bourcq Count of Edessa and King of Jerusalem (1100-1131)

By Alan V. Murray Copyright 2022
    280 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    280 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Awarded the Verbruggen Prize 2022 for the best book on medieval military history.

    Baldwin of Bourcq left his home in France in 1096 to join the great crusade summoned by Pope Urban II for the liberation of the holy sites and Christian peoples of Syria and Palestine from the domination of the Muslim Turks. In 1100 he became ruler of the Franco-Armenian county of Edessa. In 1118 he succeeded to the kingdom of Jerusalem. In just over two decades this younger son of a minor French count had become one of only a dozen kings in Western Christendom. To defend the principalities of Outremer against their Turkish and Egyptian enemies he travelled thousands of miles and led his troops in over two dozen campaigns. He spent two extended periods in Turkish captivity, yet he outlived almost all of his fellow crusaders, and died leaving the succession to his kingdom secure.

    This is the first biography in any language of a remarkable man. Drawing on a wide range of narrative and documentary sources, it gives an account of Baldwin’s ancestry and life from his first recorded appearance up to his death in 1131. It explains the complex and shifting geopolitics of the principalities of Outremer and the Muslim territories around them, and explores Baldwin’s character as a ruler and leader in war, the significance of his wide-ranging kinship network, and the succession to the kingdom of Jerusalem.

    Baldwin of Bourcq will appeal to students, teachers and researchers in Medieval History, especially Crusade Studies and Military History.


    Part I: Crusader (1096-1100)

    1. Origins and Ancestry

    2. The First Crusade

    Part II: Count of Edessa (1100-1118)

    3. The Franks on the Euphrates

    4. From Expansion to Defeat (1100-1108)

    5. Recovery and Consolidation (1108-1118)

    Part III: King of Jerusalem (1118-1131)

    6. The Kingdom of Jerusalem and Its Enemies

    7. From Accession to Coronation (1118-1119)

    8. Between Jerusalem and Antioch (1120-1123)

    9. The Years of Crisis (1123-1124)

    10. Liberty and Restoration (1125-1126)

    11. New Horizons (1127-1129)

    12. Final Conflicts (1129-1131)



    Alan V. Murray is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds. He is the author of The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: A Dynastic History, 1099–1125 (2000) and The Franks in Outremer: Studies in the Latin Principalities of Syria and Palestine, 1099-1187 (2015), as well as over 60 articles on the crusades and the Latin settlements in Outremer.

    "Murray’s biography is the first in any language on Baldwin of Bourcq, a man who rose from humble origins as a knight to become the King of Jerusalem and, for a brief period, the temporary ruler of much of the Latin East. Baldwin of Bourcq had a remarkable career, and Murray’s highly detailed and enjoyable volume is a remarkable work ideal for scholars, students, and the general reader alike."
    -Stephen Donnachie, Royal Studies Journal

    Alan Murray’s Baldwin of Bourcq has been awarded De Re Militari: The Society for Medieval Military History’s Verbruggen Prize, 2022.