County of Edessa
Edessa, located in Armenia, in Celicia, was the most important of the
Armenian cities. On the Euphrates, the population was comprised of the
Armenian faction (Separated Church) of the Eastern Church. It was
actually under the rule of Constantinople, but was in the middle of
the expansion of the Seljuk Empire.
It was overseen by the Armenian Thoros. He had captured it from the
Turks in 1094. Having held it for two years, it was only because of
the inability of the Turks to unite against him.
Tancred saw Edessa as his chance to cut himself a piece of real estate
while his uncle Bohemond was busy with Antioch. But Baldwin of
Bouillon (Godfrey's brother) has his eye on Edessa. His answer was to
aquire it diplomatically.
Baldwin's wife and children had just died in Marash. Baldwin wasted no
time. As Baldwin advanced into Ciecelia, Toros sent an embassy to
Baldwin. Toros was old, barely holding his conquest, and was
childless. The original deal had been to offer Baldwin the opportunity
to serve under him, but Baldwin held out for the big prize. He then
offered Baldwin all of Edessa. Toros would adopt Baldwin, making him
The ceremony is repeated in many accounts, and is amusing in each. The
original ceremony was meant for a child. Adjusted for a grown man,
Toros wore a large shirt, and the two men covered themselves in it,
and rubbed bare chested together. This was then repeated with Toros'
A conspiracy then hatched, where the rivals of Toros plotted a riot
while Baldwin looked away. The mob marched on Toros' palace. Toros
offered to abdicate. Baldwin agreed, but confined him to the palace.
He tried to escape and was killed by the mobs. On March 10th, 1096,
Edessa was given to Baldwin of Boulogne, as the first conquest of the
Count Baldwin l ruled in Edessa till he was asked to be King in
Jerusalem on the death of his brother Godfrey in 1100. His named
successor in Edessa was Baldwin of Le Bourg, a cousin. Baldwin 11
married an Armenian princess, made friends with the Armenian church's
patriarch, and generally did well by his subjects. He shared Edessa
with his kinsman and chief Vassel Joscelin of Courtenay. Both Baldwin
ll and Joscelin were captured by the Turks in 1104. Tancred became
Regent in Edessa, till he gained regency in Antioch again, and he gave
Edessa to his cousin Richard of Selerno (also known as Richard the
Principate). 1104 was a busy year in Edessa.
Baldwin ll gained release in 1108. He demanded the return of Edessa
from Tancred. Tancred refused, as Baldwin would not accept fiefdom.
This led to some border skirmishes and intervention by the
eccleasticies. Edessa was restored to Baldwin ll by the fall of 1108.
Joscelin was returned to his former holdings in Tell Bashin.
Edessa then came under a...