Humphrey IV of Toron

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The marriage of Humphrey and Isabella.

Humphrey IV of Toron (c. 1166 – before 1197) was the lord of Toron, Kerak, and Oultrejordain in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.


He was the son of Humphrey III of Toron and Stephanie of Milly, heiress of Oultrejourdain, and grandson of Humphrey II, constable of Jerusalem. He was also a stepson of Stephanie's second and third husbands Miles of Plancy and Raynald of Châtillon. Humphrey's sister Isabella was married to Ruben III of Armenia. Humphrey IV became lord of Toron when his grandfather Humphrey II died of wounds after saving King Baldwin IV's life at Banias in 1179.

In 1180 he became betrothed to Isabella of Jerusalem, daughter of Amalric I and half-sister to Baldwin, under the agreement that Toron would become a royal territory. This was arranged by the king to repay his debt of honour to Humphrey II, and to remove Isabella from the political camp of her stepfather, Balian of Ibelin. She does not seem to have been allowed to contact with her parents after this. In November 1183 the teenage Humphrey and the eleven-year-old Isabella were married in the fortress of Kerak (the seat of the lordship of Oultrejourdain), which was besieged by Saladin shortly afterwards. Humphrey's mother convinced Saladin not to bombard the tower in which the newly married young couple were lodged, although he continued to besiege the rest of the fortress; Kerak was eventually relieved by King Baldwin IV.

In 1186, when Baldwin V died, Humphrey's stepfather Raynald tried to convince him to claim the throne in right of Isabella, whom her mother Dowager Queen Maria Comnena and the Ibelin faction wanted to crown as soon as possible. However, Humphrey, who was then about twenty, chose to support Guy of Lusignan, husband of Isabella's half-sister Sibylla, to whom Humphrey swore fealty. Reluctantly, Raynald and the other nobles followed his support, as did the Ibelins, even though Guy, who had arrived in Outremer after 1177, had previously been deprived of the regency by his dying brother-in-law Baldwin IV due to his conduct at the 1183 siege of Kerak.

Guy proved to be an ineffective king, and Saladin conquered most of the kingdom in 1187. Humphrey was captured at the Battle of Hattin that year, but was released and returned to Kerak to prepare for its defence. He was captured again when Kerak fell in 1189, but was again set free.

The barons of Jerusalem had only begrudgingly accepted Guy as king because of the lack of a rival candidate (due to Humphrey's diffidence), and after the fall of Jerusalem they turned against him. Sibylla's death in 1190, during the siege of Acre in the Third Crusade, deprived Guy of his legal claim to the throne. Isabella was now the rightful queen, but Humphrey remained loyal to Guy, who was still determined to remain king.

Isabella's mother Maria, stepfather Balian and other prominent nobles, including Reginald of Sidon, now supported Conrad of Montferrat, Baldwin V's uncle, whose arrival in 1187 had saved the city of Tyre and, indeed, the kingdom. They determined that Isabella should be divorced from Humphrey in order to marry Conrad. Isabella protested because Humphrey had always been kind to her. Despite this, she was abducted from her husband and pressed by her mother to agree to an ecclesiastical annulment, on the grounds that she had married Humphrey when underage and had been coerced by the will of her half-brother King Baldwin IV. Humphrey was challenged to a trial by combat by Guy of Senlis, the Butler of France, over the issue of Isabella's consent to the marriage, but he refused to fight for her - possibly because she had indeed been under twelve years of age. Even Humphrey's sympathisers, such as the author of the Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi regarded him as weak and rather effeminate.

Ubaldo Lanfranchi, Archbishop of Pisa (who was Papal legate), and Philip of Dreux, Bishop of Beauvais, (a kinsman of Conrad), annulled Humphrey's marriage to Isabella. Conrad then married her himself on 24 November 1190, despite claims of bigamy (his second wife was still alive in Constantinople, but she had probably divorced him; his first wife had died before 1186). He claimed the throne of Jerusalem through her, with the support of the Ibelins and other barons. However, Isabella compensated Humphrey by restoring to him Toron, Chastel Neuf and other territories held by his grandfather and father.

Humphrey soon allied himself with Richard I of England, first in the capture of Cyprus and then against Saladin. As Humphrey was fluent in Arabic, he was able to negotiate with Saladin on Richard's behalf. In 1192, when Conrad was assassinated by the Hashshashin, Humphrey, along with Richard and various others, was suspected of involvement, although this is unlikely. Isabella was then married off to Henry II of Champagne.

Humphrey probably died soon after this, and the lordship of Toron was claimed by his sister Isabella (married to Ruben III of Armenia) and her issue, rex iunior of Armenia prince of Antioch, and eventually the claim to the lordship was inherited by the Montfort family, lords of Toron and Tyre.

Humphrey in fiction[edit]

Humphrey has appeared in several novels of the Crusades. In Graham Shelby's The Knights of Dark Renown and The Kings of Vain Intent, he is depicted as a young romantic hero, in a doomed relationship with Isabella. In Manuel Mujica Láinez's historical fantasy El unicornio (The Wandering Unicorn), he is portrayed as an effeminate homosexual, burdened by the expectation of living up to his grandfather's heroic reputation.

He appears briefly in the 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven alongside his stepfather Raynald of Châtillon at Kerak. He had a more substantial, but historically inaccurate, role in an early draft of the script, in which he was depicted as being brought over from France in the 1180s (in reality he lived his entire life in Outremer), and being murdered by Guy of Lusignan after swearing allegiance to him.

Preceded by
Humphrey II
Lord of Toron
1179–1183, 1190–before 1197
Succeeded by
Royal Domain (1183–1190) Isabella of Toron, after 1197 (Islamic occupancy)