Fifth Crusade, Filangeri and Frederick II

Al-Kamil (right) and Frederick II signed a tre...

The crusaders, led by Richard FilangieriHenry IV, Duke of Limburg, and Hermann of SalzaGrand Master of the Teutonic Knights, arrived in the east late in 1227, and while waiting for the emperor they set about refortifying Sidon, where they built the sea castle, and Montfort, which later became the headquarters of the Teutonic Knights. The Ayyubids of Damascus did not dare attack, as al-Mu’azzam had suddenly died not long before. Frederick finally arrived on the Sixth Crusade in September 1228, and claimed the regency of the kingdom in the name of his infant son.

Frederick immediately came into conflict with the native nobles of Outremer, some of whom resented his attempts to impose Imperial authority over both Cyprus and Jerusalem. The Cypriot nobles were already quarrelling amongst themselves about the regency for Henry I of Cyprus, who was still a child. The High Court of Cyprus had elected John of Ibelin as regent, but Henry’s mother Alice of Champagne wished to appoint one of her supporters; Alice and her party, members or supporters of the Lusignan dynasty, sided with Frederick, whose father had crowned Aimery of Lusignan king in 1197.
At Limassol, Frederick demanded that John give up not only the regency of Cyprus, but also John’s own lordship of Beirut on the mainland. John argued that Frederick had no legal authority to make such demands and refused to give up either title. Frederick then imprisoned John’s sons as hostages to guarantee John’s support for his crusade.
John did accompany Frederick to the mainland, but Frederick was not well-received there; one of his few supporters was Balian, Lord of Sidon, who had welcomed the crusaders the year before and now acted as an ambassador to the Ayyubids. The death of al-Mu’azzam negated the proposed alliance with al-Kamil, who along with his brother al-Ashraf had taken possession of Damascus (as well as Jerusalem) from their nephew, al-Mu’azzam’s son an-Nasir Dawud.
However, al-Kamil presumably did not know of the small size of Frederick’s army, nor the divisions within it caused by his excommunication, and wished to avoid defending his territories against another crusade. Frederick’s presence alone was sufficient to regain Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and a number of surrounding castles without a fight: these were recovered in February 1229, in return for a ten-year truce with the Ayyubids and freedom of worship for Jerusalem’s Muslim inhabitants.
The terms of the treaty were unacceptable to the Patriarch of Jerusalem Gerald of Lausanne, who placed the city under interdict. In March, Frederick crowned himself in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but because of his excommunication and the interdict Jerusalem was never truly reincorporated into the kingdom, which continued to be ruled from Acre.
Meanwhile, in Italy, the Pope had used Frederick’s excommunication as an excuse to invade his Italian territories; the papal armies were led by Frederick’s former father-in-law John of Brienne. Frederick was forced to return home in 1229, leaving the Holy Land “not in triumph, but showered with offal” by the citizens of Acre.

War of the Lombards and the Barons’ Crusade

Coronation of Maria of Montferrat and John of Brienne, King of Jerusalem and Latin Emperor of Constantinople

Nevertheless, Frederick sent an Imperial army in 1231, under Richard Filangieri, who occupied Beirut and Tyre, but was unable to gain control of Acre. John’s supporters formed a commune in Acre, of which John himself was elected mayor in 1232.

With the help of the Genoese merchants, the commune recaptured Beirut. John also attacked Tyre, but was defeated by Filangieri at the Battle of Casal Imbert in May 1232.

On Cyprus, King Henry I came of age in 1232 and John’s regency was no longer necessary. Both John and Filangieri raced back to Cyprus to assert their authority, and the imperial forces were defeated at the Battle of Agridi on June 15. Henry became undisputed king of Cyprus, but continued to support the Ibelins over the Lusignans and the imperial party. On the mainland, Filangieri had the support of Bohemund IV of Antioch, the Teutonic Knights, the Knights Hospitaller, and the Pisan merchants. John was supported by his nobles on Cyprus, and by his continental holdings in Beirut,Caesarea, and Arsuf, as well as by the Knights Templar and the Genoese.

Neither side could make any headway, and in 1234 Gregory IX excommunicated John and his supporters. This was partly revoked in 1235, but still no peace could be made. John died in 1236 and the war was taken up by his son Balian of Beirut and his nephew Philip of Montfort.

Meanwhile, the treaty with the Ayyubids was set to expire in 1239. Plans for a new crusade to be led by Frederick came to nothing, and Frederick himself was excommunicated by Gregory IX again in 1239. However, other European nobles took up the cause, including Theobald IV, Count of Champagneand King of Navarre, Peter of Dreux, and Amaury VI of Montfort, who arrived in Acre in September 1239.

Theobald was elected leader of the crusade at a council in Acre, attended by the most of the important nobles of the kingdom, including Walter of Brienne, John of Arsuf, and Balian of Sidon. The arrival of the crusade was a brief respite from the Lombard War; Filangieri remained in Tyre and did not participate. The council decided to refortify Ascalon in the south and attack Damascus in the north.

The crusaders may have been aware of the new divisions among the Ayyubids; al-Kamil had occupied Damascus in 1238 but had died soon afterwards, and his territory was inherited by his family. His sons al-Adil abu Bakr and as-Salih Ayyub inherited Egypt and Damascus. Ayyub marched on Cairo in an attempt to drive out al-Adil, but during his absence al-Kamil’s brother as-Salih Isma’il took over Damascus, and Ayyub was taken prisoner by an-Nasir Dawud.

The crusaders, meanwhile, marched to Ascalon. Along the way, Walter of Brienne captured livestock intended to resupply Damascus, as the Ayyubids had probably learned of the crusaders’ plans to attack it. The victory was short-lived, however, as the crusaders were then defeated by the Egyptian army at Gaza in November of 1239. Henry II, Count of Bar was killed and Amaury of Montfort captured. The crusaders returned to Acre, possibly because the native barons of the kingdom were suspicious of Filangieri in Tyre. Dawud took advantage of the Ayyubid victory to recapture Jerusalem in December, the ten-year truce having expired.

Although Ayyub was Dawud’s prisoner, the two now allied against al-Adil in Egypt, which Ayyub seized in 1240. In Damascus, Isma’il recognized the threat of Dawud and Ayyub against his own possessions, and turned to the crusaders for assistance.

Theobald concluded a treaty with Isma’il, in return for territorial concessions that restored Jerusalem to Christian control, as well as much of the rest of the former kingdom, even more territory than Frederick had recovered in 1229. Theobald, however, was frustrated by the Lombard War, and returned home in September 1240. Almost immediately after Theobald’s departure, Richard of Cornwall arrived. He completed the rebuilding of Ascalon, and also made peace with Ayyub in Egypt. Ayyub confirmed Isma’il’s concessions in 1241, and prisoners taken at Gaza were exchanged by both sides. Richard returned to Europe in 1241.

Although the kingdom had essentially been restored, the Lombard War continued to occupy the kingdom’s nobility. As the Templars and Hospitallers supported opposite sides, they also attacked each other, and the Templars broke the treaty with the Ayyubids by attacking Nablus in 1241. Conrad proclaimed that he had come of age in 1242, eliminating both Frederick’s claim to the regency and the need for an imperial guardian to govern in his place, although he had not yet turned 15, the age of majority according to the customs of Jerusalem.

Through Conrad, Frederick tried to send an imperial regent, but the anti-imperial faction in Acre argued that Jerusalem’s laws allowed them to appoint their own regent. In June the Haute Courgranted the regency to Alice of Champagne, who, as the daughter of Isabella I, was Conrad’s great-aunt and his closest relative living in the kingdom.

Alice ordered Filangieri to be arrested, and along with the Ibelins and Venetians, besieged Tyre, which fell in July 1243. The Lombard War was over, but the king was still absent, as Conrad never came to the east. Alice was prevented from exercising any real power as regent by Philip of Montfort, who took control of Tyre, and Balian of Beirut, who continued to hold Acre

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