Humphrey IV of Toron

Humphrey IV of Toron

A crowned man puts together the hands of a crowned man and a crowned woman

Marriage of Humphrey and Isabella of Jerusalem
Lord of Toron
Reign 1179–1180
Predecessor Humphrey II of Toron
Successor Acquired by the Crown
Spouse(s) Isabella of Jerusalem
Noble family Toron
Father Humphrey II of Toron
Mother Stephanie of Milly
Born c. 1166
Died 1198
Religion Roman Catholic

Humphrey IV of Toron (c. 1166 – 1198) was a leading baron in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He inherited the Lordship of Toron from his grandfather, Humphrey II of Toron, in 1179. He was also heir to the Lordship of Oultrejourdan through his mother, Stephanie of Milly. He renounced Toron on his engagement to the half-sister of Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, Isabella, in 1180, because Baldwin wanted to prevent him from uniting two large fiefs. Humphrey married Isabella in Kerak Castle in autumn 1183. Saladin, the Ayyubbid sultan of Egypt and Syria, laid siege to Kerak during the wedding, but Baldwin IV and Raymond III of Tripoli relieved the fortress.

After the death of Baldwin IV's nephew and successor, the child Baldwin V of Jerusalem, in summer 1186, the barons who did not want to acknowledge the right of Baldwin V's mother, Sybilla, and of her husband, Guy of Lusignan, to inherit the kingdom, decided to proclaim Humphrey and his wife king and queen. However, Humphrey, who did not want to reign, deserted them and did homage to Sybilla and Guy. He was captured in the Battle of Hattin, in which Saladin imposed a crushing defeat on the united army of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187. His mother offered the surrender of the fortresses of Oultrejordain to Saladin in exchange for Humphrey's release. Although the garrisons of Kerak and Montréal refused to surrender, Saladin set Humphrey free. Kerak only fell to Saladin's troops in late 1188, Montréal in early 1189.

After the death of Sybilla in autumn 1190, most barons of the realm (including Isabella's stepfather, Balian of Ibelin) wanted to give Isabella in marriage to Conrad of Montferrat, a successful military leader. The marriage of Humphrey and Isabella was annulled, although they protested against the decision. Humphrey joined the retinue of Richard I of England during Richard's crusade in 1191–1192. Since Humphrey was fluent in Arabic, he conducted negotiations with Saladin's brother, Al-Adil, on Richard's behalf.

Early life

Humphrey was the son of Humphrey, heir to Humphrey II of Toron, and Stephanie of Milly.[1] He was born in about 1165.[2] Humphrey was still a child when his father died around 1173.[3][4] Before long, Humpherey's mother inherited the Lordship of Oultrejourdan.[4] She married Miles of Plancy, Seneschal of Jerusalem, but he was murdered in October 1174.[5][6] Next year, she married Raynald of Châtillon.[7] Humphrey inherited the Lordship of Toron from his grandfather who died of wounds received in the Battle of Banyas on 22 April 1179.[8]

Baldwin IV of Jerusalem's eight-year-old half-sister, Isabella, was betrothed to Humphrey in October 1180.[9] Humphrey's stepfather, Raynald of Châtillon, and Isabella's stepfather, Balian of Ibelin, were prominent figures of the two groups of barons in the Kingdom of Jerusalem.[9][10] According to the marriage contract, Humphrey renounced his inherited domains (Toron, Banias and Chastel Neuf) in exchange for a money fief of 7,000 bezants in favor of Baldwin IV.[9][11] This provision of the marriage contract suggests that the king wanted to pretend Humphrey from uniting two large fiefs, Toron and Oultrejourdan.[12] Baldwin IV granted Toron or its usufruct to his mother, Agnes of Courtenay, around 1183.[13][14]

Saladin, who had united Egypt and Syria under his rule, invaded the Kingdom of Jerusalem in September 1183.[15] Humphrey commanded the forces of Oultrejourdain, dispatched by Raynald of Châtillon to join the united army of the kingdom.[16] Saladin's soldiers ambushed and almost annihilated his troop at Mount Gilboa.[16] Saladin's campaign ended with his withdrawal on 7 October, because he could not persuade the main army to join battle.[17]


A castle built of stones on a cliff near a settlements
Kerak Castle (at present-day Al-Karak in Jordan)

Humphrey married his bride in Kerak Castle in autumn 1183.[18] During the wedding, Saladin laid siege to the fortress to take vengeance of a plundering raid that Raynald of Châtillon had made on the Red Sea in February.[19] According to a version of Ernoul's chronicle, 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.[20] Kerak was eventually relieved on 4 December by Baldwin IV and Raymond III of Tripoli.[21]

The dying Baldwin IV, who had disinherited his sister, Sybilla, and her husband, Guy of Lusignan, in favor of her six-year-old son, Baldwin V in March 1183, nominated Raymond of Tripoli regent his successor.[22] The High Court of Jerusalem also decreed that if Baldwin V died, the Pope, the Holy Roman Emperor, and the Kings of France and England were to decide whether Sybilla or Isabella was entitled to succeed him.[23] Baldwin IV died in March 1185, Baldwin V in next summer.[24][25]

Unwilling claimant

Sybilla's maternal uncle, Joscelin III of Courtenay, persuaded Raymond of Tripoli to leave Jerusalem to hold an assembly for the barons of the realm in Tiberias.[26][27] After the regent departed to Tiberias, Joscelin invited Sybilla and Guy of Lusignan to Jerusalem.[26][27] As soon as Raymond realized that Joscelin had deceived him, he summoned the High Court to Nablus.[28] With the exception of Humphrey's stepfather, Raynald of Châtillon, who went to Jerusalem, all barons of the realm (including Humphrey) hurried to Nablus.[28][27] They sent messengers to Jerusalem, reminding Sybilla, Guy of Lusignan and their supporters of the decision of the High Court about the succession of Baldwin V.[28][29] Ignoring their messages, Heraclius, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, crowned Sybilla queen and she put the crown on her husband's head.[30] Before long, on Raymond of Tripoli's proposal, the barons at Nablus decided to proclaim Isabella and Humphrey queen and king against Sybilla and Guy.[30]

Raymond and his supporters were willing to march against Jerusalem, but Humphrey had no desire for the crown.[30][31] He secretly left Nablus during the night and rode to Jerusalem to meet Sybilla.[30] She initially refused him, but after Humphrey told her his intention, she accompanied him to her husband.[32] Humphrey swore fealty to Guy, putting an end to the conspiracy for Humphrey's and Isabella's coronation.[33] All the barons but Raymond of Tripoli and Baldwin of Ramleh hurried to Jerusalem to do homage to Sybilla and Guy.[33] Guy granted Toron and Chastel Neuf (two domains that Humphrey had abandoned in 1180) to Joscelin of Courtenay in 1186, stipulating that should Joscelin restore the two estates to Humphrey, he would receive the compensation that Humphrey had received for them.[34]

Battle of Hattin

Humphrey's stepfather, Raynald of Châtillon, plundered a caravan moving from Egypt to Syria in early 1187, claiming that the truce between the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Saladin did not cover his Lordship of Oultrejourdan.[35] After Guy of Lusignan could not persuade Raynald to pay a compensation, Saladin proclaimed the jihad (or holy war) against the Kingdom of Jerusalem.[35][36] Saladin's army crushed the united forces of the kingdom in the Battle of Hattin on 4 July 1187.[37][38]

Humphrey also participated in the battle.[39] He fell into captivity in the battlefield, similarly to most commanders of the Christian army.[39][40] Saladin spared their lives, with the exception of Châtillon (whom he personally beheaded) and the knights of the Military Orders (who were massacred by fanatics).[41] Saladin sent his prisoners to Damascus and conquered the Christian towns and fortresses one after another.[42][43]

Two castles in Oultrejordan, Kerak and Montréal, were among the few fortresses that resisted.[44] In October, Humphrey's mother, Stephanie of Milly, promised to persuade the garrisons at the two fortresses to surrender if Saladin released Humphrey.[45] Saladin accepted her offer and allowed Humphrey to join her.[45] However, the defenders refused to surrender and Humphrey returned to Damascus.[45] Before long, Saladin again set Humphrey free, without demanding ransom.[45] Saladin's troops could only seize Kerak before the end of 1188, and Montréal some months later.[46]


He and his wife were present at the camp of the crusaders who besieged Acre when Sybilla of Jerusalem and her two daughters died in 1190.[47][48] Most barons of the realm regarded Humphrey's wife as Sybilla's lawful heir, stating that Guy of Lusignan lost his claim to rule after his wife and their children died.[47][49] However, they also regarded Humphrey as unsuitable for ruling the kingdom, especially because he had refused to claim the throne against Sybilla and Guy in 1186.[47][49] They preferred Conrad of Montferrat, a crusader leader who had prevented Saladin from occupying Tyre.[50][49]

Isabella's stepfather, Balian of Ibelin, was one of Conrad's supporters.[47] He and his partisans decided that the marriage of Isabella and Humphrey should be annulled.[47] The marriage was childless.[51] The contemporaneous Itinerarium Regis Ricardi described Humphrey around 1190 as "more like a woman than a man, gentle in his dealings and with a bad stammer".[2] Isabella's mother, Maria Comnena, entered Isabella's tent, forcing Isabella to leave with her.[52]

Maria Comnena also swore that Baldwin IV had forced her daughter to marry Humphrey at the age of eight.[49] Ubaldo Lanfranchi, Archbishop of Pisa (who was Papal legate), and Philip of Dreux, Bishop of Beauvais, annulled Humphrey's marriage to Isabella.[49][53] During an inquiry about the two prelates' decision that Pope Innocent III ordered, a group of knights who were present at the proceedings stated that both Isabella and Humphrey had protested against the decision.[54] Baldwin of Forde, Archbishop of Canterbury, forbade Isabella to marry Conrad, stating that both Isabella and Conrad would commit adultery if they married, but he died.[49][53] Conrad of Montferrat married Isabella on 24 November 1190.[49][53]

Last years

Humphrey was among the barons who accompanied Guy of Lusignan, who did not renounce the kingdom, to meet Richard I of England in Limassol in Cyprus in May 1191.[55] Along with Guy, Humphrey did homage to Richard.[52] Richard dispatched Humphrey, who was fluent in Arabic, to open negotiations with Saladin's brother, Al-Adil, in Lydda (now Lod in Israel), but no agreement was reached, although Richard offered the hand of his sister, Joan, to Al-Adil and the Holy Land as her dowry.[56]

Two men murdered Conrad of Montferrat in Tyre on 28 April 1192.[57] Although one of them confessed that Rashid ad-Din Sinan, head of the Assassins, had sent them to kill Conrad, Humphrey was one of the suspects whom contemporaneous sources accused of hiring the assassins.[58] Modern historians unanimously say that Humphrey was innocent, pointing out that his "career was not notable for displays of initiative in any case".[59] The widowed Isabella married Henry II, Count of Champagne in Acre on 5 May 1192.[60]

Humphrey died in 1198, shortly after the marriage of his ex-wife, Isabella, and Aimery of Lusignan, King of Cyprus.[54] Humphrey's patrimony, Toron, was restored to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, in accordance with the treaty of Al-Kamil, sultan of Egypt, and the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, in 1229.[61] The domain was seized by Maria of Antioch, who was the great-granddaughter of Humphrey's sister, Isabella of Toron.[62]


See also


  1. 1 2 Runciman 1989a, p. 396, Appendix III (Genealogical tree No. 4.).
  2. 1 2 Hamilton 2000, p. 161.
  3. Runciman 1989a, p. 396.
  4. 1 2 Hamilton 2000, p. 92.
  5. Runciman 1989a, p. 405.
  6. Hamilton 2000, pp. 90, 92.
  7. Runciman 1989a, pp. 406, 408.
  8. Runciman 1989a, pp. 419, 424.
  9. 1 2 3 Barber 2012, p. 275.
  10. Runciman 1989a, p. 424.
  11. Hamilton 2000, pp. 161–162.
  12. Hamilton 2000, pp. 161-162.
  13. Runciman 1989a, p. 425 (note 1).
  14. Barber 2012, p. 417 (note 71).
  15. Barber 2012, p. 281.
  16. 1 2 Runciman 1989a, p. 438.
  17. Hamilton 2000, p. 190.
  18. Runciman 1989a, p. 440.
  19. Barber 2012, p. 284.
  20. Barber 2012, p. 284, 419.
  21. Runciman 1989a, p. 441.
  22. Runciman 1989a, pp. 439, 443.
  23. Runciman 1989a, p. 443.
  24. Baldwin 1969, p. 604.
  25. Runciman 1989a, pp. 444, 446.
  26. 1 2 Runciman 1989a, p. 446.
  27. 1 2 3 Barber 2012, p. 293.
  28. 1 2 3 Runciman 1989a, p. 447.
  29. Barber 2012, pp. 293–294.
  30. 1 2 3 4 Runciman 1989a, p. 448.
  31. Baldwin 1969, p. 605.
  32. Runciman 1989a, pp. 448–449.
  33. 1 2 Runciman 1989a, p. 449.
  34. Hamilton 2000, p. 162 (note 16).
  35. 1 2 Baldwin 1969, p. 606.
  36. Runciman 1989a, p. 452.
  37. Runciman 1989a, pp. 457–458.
  38. Baldwin 1969, pp. 613–614.
  39. 1 2 Runciman 1989a, p. 459.
  40. Barber 2012, p. 304.
  41. Runciman 1989a, p. 460.
  42. Runciman 1989a, pp. 460–463.
  43. Baldwin 1969, p. 615.
  44. Barber 2012, p. 315.
  45. 1 2 3 4 Runciman 1989a, p. 468.
  46. Runciman 1989a, p. 469.
  47. 1 2 3 4 5 Runciman 1989b, p. 30.
  48. Painter 1969, pp. 65–66.
  49. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Painter 1969, p. 66.
  50. Runciman 1989b, pp. 18, 30.
  51. Hamilton 2016, p. 225.
  52. 1 2 Gillingham 1999, p. 149.
  53. 1 2 3 Runciman 1989b, p. 31.
  54. 1 2 Hamilton 2016, p. 228.
  55. Runciman 1989b, pp. 44–45.
  56. Runciman 1989b, pp. 59–60.
  57. Runciman 1989b, p. 64.
  58. Williams 1970, p. 383.
  59. Williams 1970, p. 384.
  60. Runciman 1989b, p. 66.
  61. Runciman 1989b, p. 187.
  62. Runciman 1989b, p. 205.


  • Baldwin, Marsall W. (1969). "The Decline and Fall of Jerusalem, 1174–1189". In Setton, Kenneth M.; Baldwin, Marshall W. A History of the Crusades, Volume I: The First Hundred Years. The University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 590–621. ISBN 0-299-04844-6. 
  • Barber, Malcolm (2012). The Crusader States. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-11312-9. 
  • Gillingham, John (1999). Richard I. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-09404-6. 
  • Hamilton, Bernard (2000). The Leper King and His Heirs: Baldwin IV and the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64187-6. 
  • Hamilton, Bernard (2016). "Queen Alice of Cyprus". In Boas, Adrian J. The Crusader World. The University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 225–240. ISBN 978-0-415-82494-1. 
  • Painter, Sidney (1969). "The Third Crusade: Richard the Lionhearted and Philip Augustus". In Setton, Kenneth M.; Wolff, Robert Lee; Hazard, Harry. A History of the Crusades, Volume II: The Later Crusades, 1189–1311. The University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 45–85. ISBN 0-299-04844-6. 
  • Runciman, Steven (1989a). A History of the Crusades, Volume II: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East, 1100-1187. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-06163-6. 
  • Runciman, Steven (1989b). A History of the Crusades, Volume III: The Kingdom of Acre and the Later Crusades. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-06163-6. 
  • Williams, Patrick A. (1970). "The Assassination of Conrad of Montferrat: Another Suspect?". Traditio. Fordham University. 26: 381–389. ISSN 0362-1529. 
Humphrey IV of Toron
House of Toron
Born: c. 1166 Died: 1198
Preceded by
Humphrey II
Lord of Toron
Succeeded by
Acquired by the Crown
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