Melisende of Arsuf

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Melisende of Arsuf
Lady of Arsuf and Beirut
Arsuf fortress 2.JPG
Arsuf fortress, in Israel, home of the Crusader Lords of Arsuf
Bornbefore 1177
Holy Land
Spouse(s)Thierry d'Orca
John of Ibelin, the Old Lord of Beirut
FatherGuy of Arsuf
ReligionRoman Catholic

Melisende (born before 1177) was the hereditary Lady of Arsuf from 1177 and the second wife of the powerful nobleman John of Ibelin, the lord of Beirut (1179–1236), who led the opposition to Emperor Frederick II when he tried to impose his authority in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Cyprus.

Life and Marriages[edit]

She was born sometime before 1177, the eldest daughter of Guy of Arsuf. Her mother's name is unknown. She had a brother, Jean, Lord of Arsuf who married Helvis de Brie.[1] When Jean died childless, Melisende inherited the lordship of Arsuf.[1][2]

On an unknown date, Melisende married firstly Thierry d'Orca.[1] In 1207, she married secondly John of Ibelin, Lord of Beirut, former Constable of Jerusalem,[1] and Regent in Acre for his half-niece Queen Maria.

Upon their marriage, Melisende passed the lordship of Arsuf to John, increasing his territory in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Beirut was effectively an independent state under his rule, while remaining a vassal of the Sovereign. After rebuilding the city which had been destroyed by the forces of Saladin, during the latter's conquest of the Crusader kingdom, Ibelin constructed a magnificent palace.

John of Ibelin and Melisende had six sons and one daughter:


Melisende died on an unknown date. Her husband John of Ibelin died in 1236 when he was crushed by his horse, while on a military campaign against the Muslims.


  1. ^ a b c d Roll & Tal 1999, p. 14.
  2. ^ Lignages d'Outremer, Marciana MS Francese 20, CC LXXXIX, p.63
  3. ^ a b c d e Lock 2006, p. 490.


  • Lignages d'Outremer, Marciana MS Francese 20, CCLXXXIX, p. 63[full citation needed]
  • Lock, Peter (2006). The Routledge Companion to the Crusades. Routledge.
  • Roll, Israel; Tal, Oren (1999). Apollonia-Arsuf: The Persian and Hellenistic periods. Tel Aviv University Press.
  • Women in Power (1150–1200)[full citation needed]