the amazing life of Godfrey de Bouillon


Godfrey de Bouillon (Boulogne-sur-Mer, Kingdom of France c. 1060 – Jerusalem, Kingdom of Jerusalem July 18, 1100), was a prominent military leader in the First Crusade who ruled Jerusalem after its conquest by the army Crusader under the title of “Defender of the Holy Sepulcher.” He also held the titles of Duke of Bouillon, Margrave of Antwerp and Duke of Lower Lorraine. Godfrey was the son of Eustace II of Boulogne and Ida of Lorraine.

Godfrey de Bouillon
Godfrey de Bouillon

Early years

His uncle Godfrey the Hunchback chose him as heir to Lower Lorraine, but in 1076 Emperor Henry IV only granted him the Mark of Antwerp, keeping to himself the fiefdom of Lower Lorraine (then called Lower Lotharingia), since his uncle He had no direct descendants, that is, a direct male heir. However, Godfrey fought alongside Henry IV both at Elster and in the siege of Rome, and finally in 1082 this granted him the duchy of Lower Lorraine.

This duchy was greatly influenced by the Cluniac reform, and apparently, Godfrey was a very religious person, in this way and although he had fought for the Emperor against the papacy, Godfrey literally sold everything he had and joined the Crusade that Urban II preached at the Council of Clermont. First crusade

Godofredo de Bouillon.

Godofredo, together with his brothers Eustace and Baldwin, left Lorraine in August 1096 in command of an army of 40,000 men, following the so-called “Route of Charlemagne” as it seems that Urban II called the road to Jerusalem (all this according to the chronicle of Roberto de Molesmes). After some trouble in Hungary, where he was unable to stop his men from raiding among the local Christians, they reached Constantinople in November of that year. He was the first crusader to arrive, and thus began the conflicts with the Byzantine emperor Alexios I, since he wanted Godfrey to swear allegiance to the Byzantine Empire, which meant that the cities that were conquered should be returned to this Empire. Godofredo finally carried out the oath of allegiance in 1097, as did the rest of the leaders of the crusade as they arrived.

According to Guillermo de Tiro, Godofredo was “tall, not too tall, but above average. Strong beyond compare, with solid limbs and a robust chest. His features were pleasant, his beard and hair light brown. “[Citation needed]

Godofredo was the first to arrive at the siege of Nicea, and was in the main contingent of the Crusaders, when it was divided into two after the capture of Nicea, a division that had to be carried out to facilitate the provisioning tasks. He helped the vanguard of the army during the battle of Dorilea during the attack carried out by the Seljuk Turks led by Kilij Arslan I, supporting other crusader leaders including Bohemond of Tarentum, thus achieving the final victory, to later go on to sack the camp Seljuk.

In 1099, after the capture of Antioch after a long siege, the crusaders divided into two parts, undecided about the next step to take. Most of the foot soldiers wanted to continue to Jerusalem, but Raymond the most powerful of the princes doubted whether to go ahead or not, Bohemond of Tarentum decided to remain in Antioch as titular prince of this city. After months of waiting, the foot soldiers urged Rayford to continue on the road to Jerusalem, and once he had started on this road, Geoffrey quickly joined them. He took an active part in the siege of this city, and on July 15 he was the first to enter the city, an entry that was followed by a massacre of native Muslims and Christians. On July 22, when Raymond refused to be King of Jerusalem, Godfrey was chosen in his place. Kingdom of jerusalem Main article: Kingdom of Jerusalem

However Godofredo did not want to be crowned king of the city in which Christ had died. In his place he took the title of Sancti Sepulchri advocatus, advocate or defender of the Holy Sepulcher. During his short reign, barely a year, Godfrey was forced to defend the new Kingdom of Jerusalem from the attacks of the Fatimites of Egypt, whom he defeated at the Battle of Ashkelon in August 1099. He also faced opposition from Dagobert of Pisa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and Raymond’s ally, the latter being the one who prevented the taking of Ascalon after this battle.

In 1100 Godfrey managed to impose his authority over several cities on the coast, Acre, Ascalón, Arsuf, Jaffa and Caesarea, although they would not be conquered until after the death of Godofredo (in fact Ascalón would not be conquered until 1153, remaining as the last Fatimid stronghold ). Meanwhile he continued the opposition with Dagobert of Pisa; Godofredo and Bohemundo wanted to be named Latin Patriarch Arnulfo de Chocques while Dagobert wanted to turn Jerusalem into a fiefdom of the Pope. Finally there was a truce between them, reaching the agreement that Jerusalem and Jaffa would pass to the Church when Egypt was conquered, the latter country passing to the secular arm with its capital in Cairo. However, Godfrey died in July 1100 without having conquered Egypt, leaving the problem of who should reign in Jerusalem unsolved. Supporters of a secular monarchy chose Baudouin of Bouillon, Godfrey’s brother, as his successor, and finally Dagobert reluctantly crowned him King of Jerusalem on December 25, 1100.

Death of Godfrey

According to the Arab chronicler Ibn al-Qalanisi: “During the siege of Acre, Godfrey, governor of Jerusalem, was hit by an arrow that caused his death.” [Citation needed] The Christian chronicles do not mention any of this, on the contrary, Albert of Aachen and Ekkerhard of Aura say that Godfrey contracted an illness in June 1100 in the city of Caesarea as a result of which he died. Later it was said that the Emir of that city poisoned him, but apparently this rumor has no basis whatsoever; Guillermo de Tiro, in the chronicle that he would write in century XII does not say anything on this subject. The cause of his death is unknown.

Godfrey in history and legend

Godfrey has been idealized throughout history for having been the first to receive the appointment of regent of the city of Jerusalem. He has been described as the leader of the Crusades, of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and as the legislator of the Assizes of Jerusalem, and also, considered as personification of the ideal of knight, in particular in the group of the Nine of Fame, according to them. named in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (among others by Miguel de Cervantes), namely: (Héctor, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Josué, Judas Maccabeus, King David, King Arthur, Charlemagne and Godofredo de Bouillon). Upon being elected he did not want to be called “king” so he took the title of Sancti Sepulchri Advocatus, since it did not seem correct “to wear the king’s crown where Jesus wore the crown of thorns.” Baudouin, his brother – later Baudouin I of Jerusalem – became the first king of Jerusalem in 1100 upon the death of Godfrey. The legend of Godofredo began shortly after the First Crusade with the chronicler Albert of Aachen, who portrayed him as the prototype of a Christian hero.

The role performed by Godofredo during the First Crusade is also described by the anonymous author of the Gesta Francorum and Raimundo de Aguilers, among others. In fictional literature, Godfrey is the hero of two deed songs, the Song of Antioch and the Song of Jerusalem. Both his family and his early years have been the subject of many legends. The legend of The Knight of the Swan, very famous today for Wagner Lohengrin’s opera, is based on the story of Godofredo’s grandfather, Helias, who arrived in a mysterious swan-shaped boat to defend the Bouillon family and get married. with Godofredo’s grandmother.

In the times of William of Tire in the 12th century, Godfrey was already a legend among the descendants of the Crusaders. It was believed that he was very strong, it was said that he had defeated a bear and also that he had cut off the head of a camel with a single stroke of his sword.

In the Divine Comedy, Dante sees the soul of Godofredo in the sky of Mars next to other Warriors of the faith.

Godofredo is the main character in the epic poem Jerusalem liberated (Gerusalemme liberata, 1575), by Torquato Tasso (1544-1595).

In his native Belgium, a bronze equestrian statue of Godfrey was inaugurated on August 15, 1848 in the Royal Square of Brussels. The monument, which has not been without controversy, was the first equestrian statue in this city.2


This article was automatically translated from the Spanish and Google seems to have handled it reasonably well. It is actually readable for the most part.

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By Translator Mike



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