Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse

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Imaginary portrait of Raymond IV of Toulouse, by Merry-Joseph Blondel, 1840s, Salles de Croisades, Versailles

Raymond IV of Toulouse (c. 1041 or 1042 – 1105), sometimes called Raymond of St Gilles, was Count of Toulouse, Duke of Narbonne, and Margrave of Provence and one of the leaders of the First Crusade. He was a son of Pons of Toulouse and Almodis de La Marche. He received Saint-Gilles with the title of "count" from his father and displaced his niece Philippa, Duchess of Aquitaine, his brother William IV's daughter, in 1094 from inheriting Toulouse.

According to an Armenian source, he had lost an eye on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem before the First Crusade, but this statement probably refers to the fact that he was one-eyed (monoculus). He also fought against the Moors in Spain before 1096, and he was the first to join the crusade after Pope Urban II's homily at the Council of Clermont.

Early years[edit]

In 1094, William Bertrand of Provence died and his margravial title to Provence passed to Raymond. A bull of Urban's dated 22 July 1096 names Raymond comes Nimirum Tholosanorum ac Ruthenensium et marchio Provintie Raimundus.

Raymond of Toulouse taking the oath to liberate Jerusalem

The First Crusade[edit]

Raymond was deeply religious, and wished to die in the Holy Land, and so when the call was raised for the First Crusade, he was one of the first to take the cross. The oldest and the richest of the crusaders, Raymond left Toulouse at the end of October 1096, with a large company that included his wife Elvira, his infant son (who would die on the journey) and Adhemar, bishop of Le Puy, the papal legate. He ignored requests by his niece, Philippa (the rightful heiress to Toulouse) to grant the rule of Toulouse to her in his stead; instead, he left Bertrand, his eldest son, to govern. He marched to Dyrrhachium, and then east to Constantinople along the same route used by Bohemond of Taranto. At the end of April 1097, he was the only crusade leader not to swear an oath of fealty to Byzantine emperor Alexius I. Instead, Raymond swore an oath of friendship, and offered his support against Bohemond, mutual enemy of both Raymond and Alexius.

He was present at the siege of Nicaea and the Battle of Dorylaeum in 1097, but his first major role came in October 1097 at the siege of Antioch. The crusaders heard a rumour that Antioch had been deserted by the Seljuk Turks, so Raymond sent his army ahead to occupy it, offending Bohemond of Taranto who wanted the city for himself. The city was, however, still occupied, and was taken by the crusaders only after a difficult siege in June 1098. Raymond took the palatium Cassiani (the palace of the emir, Yaghi-Siyan) and the tower over the Bridge Gate. He was ill during the second siege of Antioch by Kerbogha which culminated in the discovery of the Holy Lance by a monk named Peter Bartholomew.

The "miracle" raised the morale of the crusaders, and to their surprise they were able to rout Kerbogha outside Antioch. The Lance itself became a valuable relic among Raymond's followers, despite Adhemar of Le Puy's skepticism and Bohemond's disbelief and occasional mockery. Raymond also refused to relinquish his control of the city to Bohemond, reminding Bohemond that he was obligated to return Antioch to the court of Emperor Alexius, as he had sworn to do. A struggle then arose between Raymond's supporters and the supporters of Bohemond, partly over the genuineness of the Lance, but mostly over the possession of Antioch.

Extending his territorial reach[edit]

Many of the minor knights and foot soldiers preferred to continue their march to Jerusalem, and they convinced Raymond to lead them there in the autumn of 1098. Raymond led them out to besiege Ma'arrat al-Numan, although he left a small detachment of his troops in Antioch, where Bohemond also remained. As Adhemar had died in Antioch, Raymond, along with the prestige given to him by the Holy Lance, became the new leader of the crusade. Bohemond however, expelled Raymond's detachment from Antioch in January 1099. Raymond then began to search for a city of his own. He marched from Ma'arrat, which had been captured in December 1098, into the emirate of Tripoli, and began the siege of Arqa on 14 February 1099, apparently with the intent of founding an independent territory in Tripoli that could limit the power of Bohemond to expand the Principality of Antioch to the south.

The siege of Arqa, a town outside Tripoli, lasted longer than Raymond had hoped. Although he successfully captured Hisn al-Akrad, a fortress that would later become the important Krak des Chevaliers, his insistence on taking Tripoli delayed the march to Jerusalem, and he lost much of the support he had gained after Antioch. Raymond finally agreed to continue the march to Jerusalem on 13 May, and after months of siege the city was captured on 15 July. Raymond was offered the crown of the new Kingdom of Jerusalem, but refused, as he was reluctant to rule in the city in which Jesus had suffered. He said that he shuddered to think of being called "King of Jerusalem". It is also likely that he wished to continue the siege of Tripoli rather than remain in Jerusalem. However, he was also reluctant to give up the Tower of David in Jerusalem, which he had taken after the fall of the city, and it was only with difficulty that Godfrey of Bouillon was able to take it from him.

Raymond participated in the battle of Ascalon soon after the capture of Jerusalem, during which an invading army from Egypt was defeated. However, Raymond wanted to occupy Ascalon himself rather than give it to Godfrey, and in the resulting dispute Ascalon remained unoccupied. It was not taken by the crusaders until 1153. Godfrey also blamed him for the failure of his army to capture Arsuf. When Raymond went north, in the winter of 1099–1100, his first act was one of hostility against Bohemond, capturing Laodicea from (Bohemond had himself recently taken it from Alexius). From Laodicea he went to Constantinople, where he allied with Alexius I, Bohemond's most powerful enemy. Bohemond was at the time attempting to expand Antioch into Byzantine territory, and blatantly refused to fulfill his oath to the Byzantine Empire.

Crusade of 1101, siege of Tripoli, and death[edit]

Raymond was part of the doomed Crusade of 1101, where he was defeated at Mersivan in Anatolia. He escaped and returned to Constantinople. In 1102 he traveled by sea from Constantinople to Antioch, where he was imprisoned by Tancred, regent of Antioch during the captivity of Bohemond, and was only dismissed after promising not to attempt any conquests in the country between Antioch and Acre. He immediately broke his promise, attacking and capturing Tartus, and began to build a castle on the Mons Peregrinus ("Pilgrim's Mountain") which would help in his siege of Tripoli. He was aided by Alexius I, who preferred a friendly state in Tripoli to balance the hostile state in Antioch. Raymond died on February 28, 1105, before Tripoli was captured.

Spouses and progeny[edit]

Raymond IV of Toulouse was married three times, and twice excommunicated for marrying within forbidden degrees of consanguinity. His first wife was his cousin, and the mother of his son Bertrand. His second wife was Matilda (Mafalda), the daughter of Count Roger I of Sicily. Raymond's third wife was Elvira, the illegitimate daughter of King Alfonso VI of León, the Spanish king who also campaigned furiously against the Moors.

He was succeeded by his nephew William-Jordan, who, in 1109, with the aid of King Baldwin I of Jerusalem, finally captured Tripoli and established the County of Tripoli. William was deposed in the same year by Raymond's eldest son Bertrand, and the county remained in the possession of the counts of Toulouse throughout the 12th century.

Raymond of Toulouse seems to have been driven both by religious and material motives. On the one hand he accepted the discovery of the Holy Lance and rejected the kingship of Jerusalem, but on the other hand he could not resist the temptation of a new territory. Raymond of Aguilers, a clerk in Raymond's army, wrote an account of the crusade from Raymond's point of view.

References[edit]

Attribution
Preceded by
William IV
Count of Toulouse
1094–1098
Succeeded by
Philippa
Preceded by
— TITULAR —
Count of Tripoli
1099–1105