Page 1355

1355 THE CRUSADES-THE KINGDOM OF JERUSALEM.

subjugation, made an effort to regain their

independence. In 1525 they revolted and

went to war, but the conflict resulted in

a still further eclipse of their fortunes. East

Prussia was reduced to a duchy, and bestowed by Sigismund. on the Grand Master,

Albert of Brandenburg. The Order became the shadow of its former glory, and,

after a precarious existence of three centuries, was finally abolished by Napoleon

in 1809.

Let us, then, return to the, course of

political events in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. When, in 1118, Baldwin du Bourg

succeeded his cousin, Baldwin, on the

throne, he was indebted for his elevation

to the influence of his powerful kinsman,

Joscelyn de Courtenay. This distinguished

nobleman had gone to Asia Minor with the

Count of Chartres in the wake of the First

Crusade, and had settled at Edessa. Afterwards he was taken prisoner by the Turks,

but, after five years, he escaped from his

captors, and received from Baldwin a province within the limits of Edessa. In the

course of time he and his patron quarreled,

and Joscelyn, being grievously maltreated,

retired to Jerusalem. Here he lived at

the time of the death of Baldwin. He

and Baldwin du Bourg now made up their

quarrel, and, when the latter became a candidate for the throne, Joscelyn favored

his election, with a view of securing for

himself the Principality of Edessa. The

arrangement was carried out, and, when Baldwin II. came to the throne of Jerusalem, De

Courtenay was rewarded with his kinsman's

duchy.

Edessa proved to be a stormy inheritance.

From the first, Prince Joscelyn had to fight

for the maintenance of his authority. The

Saracens on the side of the Euphrates were

full of audacious enterprises, and the utmost efforts of the Christians were necessary to keep them at bay. Such, however,

were the warlike energies of the veteran De

Courtenay, that, during his lifetime, the

Moslems were unable to break into his dominions. At the last he met his fate in a

manner becoming the hero of the church

militant. While laying siege to a fortress

near the city of Aleppo, the aged warrior

was crushed beneath the ruins of a wall;

and, when recovered from the debris, was found to be fatally injured. He was, however, conveyed to Edessa, and there awaited

the hour of doom. His son, who also bore

the honored name of Joscelyn, was' named

as his successor, and to him the dying governor looked for the defense of the realm.

But the youth was lacking in the soldierly

vigor of the father; and, when the latter

summoned him to go on the instant to the

defense of a stronghold which had been attacked by the Saracens, the younger De

Courtenay replied that he feared his forces

were insufficient. Indignant at hearing such

a word as fear from the lips of his son, the

bruised and mutilated old Crusader ordered

himself to be carried on a litter to where the

Saracens were besieging his town. Learning

of his approach, the enemy broke up their

camp and fled. Whereupon, looking up into

heaven from his couch, the chivalrous De

Courtenay expired in unclouded content.

Events soon showed that the date of

his death was a dark day for the Principality of Edessa. The younger Joscelyn

was a mediaeval rouge. Without regard

to the interests of the government or the

glory of war, he gave himself up to a life

of sensual pleasure. Seeking a luxurious

retreat on the banks of the Euphrates, he

surrounded his court with others like-minded

with himself, and gave free reign to appetite. Such measures as were essential

for the safety and welfare of the Principality were drowned in the pleasures of

abandonment.

At the same time, when the government

of Edessa was thus falling into incompetent hands, a great prince appeared among

the Moslems. This was the warrior Sanguin, sultan of Mossul. By successful campaigns, he had already added Aleppo and

other Syrian cities to his dominions. After

thus strengthening his borders, he turned his

attention to Edessa, and eagerly longed for

an opportunity to measure swords with

that degenerate city. As soon as he learned

of the character and aptitudes of the young

De Courtenay, he lost no time in setting

out on a campaign against the almost defenseless capital of the Christian duchy. While

Joscelyn was holding high carnival on the

Euphrates, the sobering intelligence was

borne to his ears that a powerful Saracen army

had already encamped before Edessa. It is