Melisende and Fulk governed the Kingdom of Jerusalem during a period of significant change which coincided with the rise of Zengi and the subsequent union of Mosul and Aleppo under one ruler, the atabeg’s attempts to control Damascus, and the consolidation of a more coherent and cohesive anti-Frankish campaign from the Muslim forces. This book will provide an extensive survey of Fulk and Melisende’s reign, place their rule within the broader framework of kingship in the Crusader States, and consider the developments that took place under their governance. This volume will begin by addressing the couple’s ’back-history’ - Melisende's role as heiress, Fulk's political and military background in Anjou, and his experiences in the Holy Land before his second marriage - which must have shaped their approach to the government of the Latin East. Later chapters will investigate the dynamics of their political partnership, assess the decisions made in the kingdom of Jerusalem, determine their roles and impact in the internal and external politics and diplomacy, and detail the couple's working relationship through evaluation of their charters - which dealt with diverse matters such as law, donations and the endorsing of transactions. A final section of the book will focus on the memory of their reign and discuss the perceptions of both the king and queen as expressed during their lifetimes in contemporary letters and narrative accounts, and afterwards in later chronicles, charters, and manuscript illustrations down to the end of the thirteenth century. This will explore the gendered depictions of the pair and how well they fitted into the established patterns of gender and power, particularly in the light of Fulk acquiring his title through marriage rather than his own bloodline, and the impact of her husband’s death on expectations of Melisende.
Danielle Park, Royal Holloway University of London, UK