THE ORGANIZATION OF THE KINGDOM Before we turn to describe the second crusade, which the loss of Edessa provoked, and to trace the fall of the kingdom, which the second crusade rather hastened than hindered, we may pause at this point to consider the organization of the Frankish colonies in Syria. The first question which arises is that of the relation of the kingdom of Jerusalem to the three counties or principalities of Antioch, Tripoli and Edessa, which acknowledged their depend ence upon it. The degree of this dependence was always a matter of dispute. The rights of the king of Jerusalem chiefly appear when there is a vacancy or a minority in one of the principalities, or when there is dissension either inside one of the principalities or between two of the princes. On the death of one of the princes without heirs of full age, the kings of Jerusalem were entitled to act as regents. as Baldwin II. did twice at Antioch, in IIIo and 1130; but the kings regarded this right of regency as a burden rather than a privilege, and it is indeed characteristic of the rela tion of the king to the three princes, that it imposes upon him duties without any corresponding rights. It is his duty to act as regent ; it is his duty to compose the dissensions in the principality of Antioch, and to repress the violences of the prince towards his patriarch (1 154) ; it is his duty to reconcile Antioch with Edessa, when the two fall to fighting. The princes on their side acted independently: if they joined the king with their armies, it was as equals doing a favour ; and they sometimes refused to join until they were coerced. They made their own treaties with the Mo hammedans, or attacked them in spite of the king's treaties; they dated their documents by the year of their own reign, and they had each their separate laws or assizes. There was, in a word, co ordination rather than subordination ; nor did the kings ever attempt to embark on a policy of centralization.
The relation of the king to his own barons within his immediate kingdom of Jerusalem is not unlike the relation of the king to the three princes. In Norman England the king insisted on his rights; in Frankish Jerusalem the barons insisted on his duties. The circumstances of the foundation of the kingdom explain its char acteristics. As the crusaders advanced to Jerusalem, says Ray mund of Agile (c. xxxiii.), it was their rule that the first-comer had the right to each castle or town, provided that he hoisted his standard and planted a garrison there. The feudal nobility was thus the first to establish itself, and the king only came after its institution—the reverse of Norman England, where the king first conquered the country, and then plotted it out among his nobles. The predominance of the nobility in this way became as charac teristic of feudalism in the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem as the supremacy of the Crown was of contemporary feudalism in Eng land; and that predominance expressed itself in the position and powers of the high court, in which the ultimate sovereignty resided. The kingdom of Jerusalem consisted of a society of peers, in which the king might be prirnus, but in which he was none the less sub ject to a punctilious law, regulating his position equally with that of every member of the society. In such a society the election of the head by the members may seem natural; and Godfrey and the first two Baldwins were elected in this way. But the concep tion of the equality of the king and his peers in the long run led to hereditary monarchy; for if the king held his kingdom as a fief, like other nobles, the laws of descent which applied to a fief applied to the kingdom, and those laws demanded heredity. Yet the high court, which decided all problems of descent, would naturally intervene if a problem of descent arose, as it frequently did, in the kingdom; and thus the barons had the right of decid ing between different claimants, and also of formally "approving" each new successor to the throne. The conception of the kingdom as a fief not only subjected it to the jurisdiction of the high court; it involved the more disastrous result that the kingdom, like other fiefs, might be carried by an heiress to her husband; and the proximate causes of the collapse of the kingdom in 1187 may be found in this fact and the dissensions which it occasioned.
Thus conceived as the holder of a great fief, the king had only the rights of suzerain over the four great baronies and the 12 minor fiefs of his kingdom. He had not those rights of sovereign which the Norman kings of England inherited from their Anglo Saxon predecessors, or the Capetian kings of France from the Carolings ; nor was he able, therefore, to come into direct touch with each of his subjects, which William I., in virtue of his sov ereign rights, was able to attain by the Salisbury oath of io86. Amalric I. indeed, by his assise sur la ligece, attempted to reach the vassals of his vassals ; he admitted arriere-vassaux to the haute tour, and encouraged them to carry their cases to it in the first instance. But this is the only attempt at that policy of immediatisation which in contemporary England was carried to far greater lengths; and even this attempt was unsuccessful. No real alliance was actually formed between the king and the mesne nobility against the immediate baronage. The body of the ten ants-in-chief continued to limit the power of the Crown : their consent was necessary to legislation, and grants of fiefs could not he made without their permission. Nor was the Crown only limited in this way. The duties of the king towards his tenants are prominent in the assizes. The king's oath to his men binds him to respect and maintain their rights, which are as prominent as are his duties ; and if the men feel that the royal oath has not been kept, they may lawfully refuse military service (gager le roi), and may even rise in authorized and legal rebellion. The system of military service and the organization of justice corresponded to the part which the monarchy was thus constrained to play. The vassal was bound to pay military service, not, as in western Europe, for a limited period of 4o days, but for the whole year— the Holy Land being, as it were, in a perpetual state of siege. On the other hand, the vassal was not bound to render service, unless he were paid for his service ; and it was only famine, or Saracen devastation, which freed the king from the obligation of paying his men. The king was also bound to insure the horses of his men by a system called the restor: if a vassal lost his horse otherwise than by his own fault, it must be replaced by the Treasury (which was termed, as it also was in Norman Sicily, the secreturn)'. But the king had another force in addition to the feudal levy—a force of soudoyers, holding fiefs, not of land, but of pay (fiefs de Along with these soudoyers went another branch of the army, the Turcopuli, a body of light cavalry, recruited from the Syrians and Mohammedans, and using the tactics of the Arabs; and an infantry was found among the Armenians, the best soldiers of the East, and the Maronites, who furnished the kingdom with archers. To all these various forces must be added the knights and native levies of the great orders, whose masters were practically independent sovereigns like the princes of Antioch and Tripoli; and with these the total levy of the kingdom may be reckoned at some 25,000 men. (For the history of the orders see the articles on the TEMPLARS ; ST. JOHN OF JERUSALEM, KNIGHTS OF ; KNIGHTS, and the TEUTONIC ORDER.) But the strength of the kingdom lay less, perhaps, in the army than in the magnificent fortresses which the nobility, and especially the two orders, had built ; and the most visible relic of the crusades to-day is the towering ruins of a fortress like Krak (Kerak) des Chevaliers, the fortress of the Knights of St. John in the principality of Tripoli. These fortresses, garrisoned not by the king, as in Norman Eng land, but by their possessors, could only strengthen the power of the feudatories, and help to dissipate the kingdom into a number of local units.
'The holders of fiefs both held fiefs of land and received pay ; the paid force received pay only. An instance of the latter is furnished by John of Margat, a vassal of the seignory of Arsuf. He has 200 bezants along with a quantity of wheat, barley, lentils and oil ; and in return he must march with four horses (Rey, Les Colonies franques en Syrie p. involved. Like the high court, the court of burgesses also had its assizes—a body of unwritten legal custom'.
The independent position of the burgesses, who assumed a po sition of equality by the side of the feudal class, is one of the pe culiarities of the kingdom of Jerusalem. It may be explained by reference to the peculiar conditions of the kingdom. Burgesses and nobles, however different in status, were both of the same Frankish stock, and both occupied the same superior position with regard to the native Syrians. The commercial motive, again, had been one of the great motives of the crusade ; and the class which was impelled by that motive would be both large • and, in view of the quality of the Eastern goods in which it dealt, exceptionally lAs was noticed above, there were apparently separate assizes for the three principalities, in addition to the assizes of the kingdom. The assizes of Antioch have been discovered and published. The assizes of the kingdom itself are twofold—the assizes of the high court and the assizes of the court of burgesses. (1) The assizes of the high court are preserved for us in works by legists—John of Ibelin, Philip of Novara and Geoffrey of Tort—composed in the 13th century. We possess, in other words, law-books (like Bracton's treatise De legibus), but not laws—and law-books made after the loss of the kingdom to which the laws belonged. There are two vexed questions with regard to these law books. (a) The first concerns the origin and character of the laws which the law-books profess to expound. According to the story of the legists who wrote these books—e.g., John of Ibelin—the laws of the kingdom were laid down by Godfrey, who is thus regarded as the great yoµONT' s of the kingdom. These laws (progressively modified, it is admitted) were kept in Jerusalem, under the name of "Letters of the Sepulchre," until 1187. In that year they were lost ; and the legists tell us that they are attempting to reconstruct par oir dire the gist of the lost archetype. The story of the legists is now generally rejected. Godfrey never legislated: the customs of the kingdom gradually grew, and were gradually defined, especially under kings like Baldwin III. and Amalric I. If there was thus only a customary and unwritten law (and William of Tyre definitely speaks of a jus consuetudinarium under Baldwin III., quo regnum regebatur), then the "Letters of the Sepul chre" are a myth—or rather, if they ever existed, they existed not as a code of written law, but, perhaps, as a register of fiefs, like the Sicilian Defetarii. Thus the story of the legists shrinks down to the regular myth of the primitive legislator, used to give an air of respectability to law-books, which really record an unwritten custom. The fact is that until the 13th century the Franks lived consuetudinibus antiquis et jure non scripto. They preferred an unwritten law, as Prutz suggests, partly because it suited the barristers (who often belonged to the baronage, for the Frankish nobles were "great pleaders in court and out of court"), and partly because the high court was left unbound so long as there was no written code. In the 13th century it became necessary for the legists to codify, as it were, the unwritten law, because the upheavals of the times necessitated the fixing of some rules in writing, and especially because it was necessary to oppose a definite custom of the kingdom to Frederick II., who sought, as king of Jerusalem, to take advantage of the want of a written law, to substitute his own concep tions of law in the teeth of the high court. (b) The second difficulty concerns the text of the law-books themselves. The text of Ibelin became a textus receptus—but it also became overlaid by glosses, for it was used as authoritative in the kingdom of Cyprus after the loss of the kingdom of Jerusalem, and it needed expounding. Recensions and revisions were twice made, in 1368 and 1531 ; but how far the true Ibelin was recovered, and what additions or alterations were made at these two dates, we cannot tell. We can only say that we have the text of Ibelin which was used in Cyprus in the later middle ages. At the same time, if our text is thus late, it must be remembered that its content gives us the earliest and purest exposition of French feudalism, and describes for us the organization of a kingdom where all rights and duties were connected with the fief, and the monarch was only a suzerain of feudatories. (2) The assizes of the court of burgesses became the basis of a treatise at an earlier date than the assizes of the high court. The date of the redaction (which was probably made by some learned burgess) may well have been the reign of Baldwin III., as Kugler suggests: he was the first native king, and a king learned in the law ; but Beugnot would refer the assizes to the years immediately preceding Saladin's capture of Jerusalem. These assizes do not, of course, appear in Ibelin, who was only concerned with the feudal law of the high court. They were used, like the assizes of the high court, in Cyprus; and, like the other assizes, they were made the subject of investigation in 1531, with the object of discovering a good text. The law which is expounded in these assizes is a mixture of Frankish law with the Graeco-Roman law of the Eastern empire which prevailed among the native population of Syria.
In regard to both assizes, it is most important to bear in mind that we possess not laws, but law-books or custumals—records made by lawyers for their fellows of what they conceived to be the law, and supported by legal arguments and citations of cases. But, as Prutz remarks, Phillip of Novara lehrt nicht die Wissenschaft des Rechts, sondern die des Unrechts: he does not explain the law so much as the ways of getting round it.
prosperous. Finally, when one remembers how, during the first crusade, the pedites had marched side by side with the principes, and how, from the beginning of 1099, they had practically risen in revolt against the selfish ambitions of princes like Count Ray mund, it becomes easy to understand the independent position which the burgesses assumed in the organization of the kingdom. Burgesses could buy and possess property in towns, which knights were forbidden to acquire ; and though they could not intermarry with the feudal classes, it was easy and regular for a burgess to thrive to knighthood. Like the nobles, again, the burgesses had the right of confirming royal grants and of taking part in legisla tion ; and they may be said to have formed—socially, politically and judicially—an independent and powerful estate. Yet (with the exception of Antioch, Tripoli and Acre in the course of the ff3th century) the Frankish towns never developed a communal government : the domain of their development was private law and commercial life.
Degeneration of the Franks.—In describing the organization of the kingdom, we have also been describing the causes of its fall. It fell because it had not the financial or political strength to survive. "Les vices du gouvernement avaient ete plus puissants que les vertus des gouvernants." But the vices were not only vices of the Government : they were also vices, partly inevitable, partly moral, in the governing race itself. The climate was no doubt responsible for much. The Franks of northern Europe at tempted to live a life that suited a northern climate under a south ern sun. They rode incessantly to battle over burning sands, in full armour—chain mail, long shield and heavy casque—as if they were on their native French soil. The ruling population was already spread too thin for the work which it had to do ; and ex hausted by its efforts, it gradually became extinct. A constant im migration from the West, bringing new blood and recruiting the stock, could alone have maintained its vigour ; and such immigra tion never came. Little driblets of men might indeed be added to the numbers of the Franks; but the mass of crusaders either perished in Asia Minor, as in 11o1 and 1147, or found themselves thwarted and distrusted by the native Franks. It was indeed one of the misfortunes of the kingdom that its inhabitants could 'For instance, the abbey of Mount Sion had large possessions, not only in the Holy Land (at Ascalon, Jaffa, Acre, Tyre, Caesarea and Tarsus) but also in Sicily, Calabria, Lombardy, Spain and France (at Orleans, Bourges and Poitiers) .
never welcome the reinforcements which came to their aid'. The barons suspected the crusaders of ulterior motives, and of designing to get new principalities for themselves. In any case the native Frank, accustomed to commercial intercourse and dip lomatic negotiations with the Mohammedans, could hardly share the unreasoning passion to make a dash for the "infidel." As with the barons, so with the burgesses: they profited too much by their intercourse with the Mohammedans to abandon readily the way of peaceful commerce, and they were far more ready to hinder than to help any martial enterprise. Left to itself, the native population lost physical and moral vigour. The barons al ternated between the extravagances of Western chivalry and the attractions of Eastern luxury: they returned from the field to divans with frescoed walls and floors of mosaic, Persian rugs and embroidered silk hangings. Their houses, at any rate those in the towns, had thus the characteristics of Moorish villas ; and in them they lived a Moorish life. Their sideboards were covered with the copper and silver work of Eastern smiths and the confection eries of Damascus. They dressed in flowing robes of silk, and their women wore oriental gauzes covered with sequins. Into these divans where figures of this kind moved to the music of Saracen instruments, there entered an inevitable voluptuousness and cor ruption of manners. The hardships of war and the excesses of peace shortened the lives of the men ; the kingdom of Jerusalem had II kings within a century. While the men died, the women, living in comparative indolence, lived longer lives. They became regents to their young children ; and the experience of all mediae val minorities reiterates the lesson—woe to the land where the king is a child and the regent a woman. Still worse were the fre quent remarriages of widowed princesses and heiresses. By the assizes of the high court, the widow, on the death of her husband, took half of the estate for herself, and half in guardianship for her children. Liberae ire cum terra, widows carried their estates or titles to three or four husbands; and as in i5th-century Eng land, the influence of the heiress was fatal to the peace of the country. (See A. Herzog, Die Frau auf den Furstenthronen der 'One must remember that these reinforcements would often consist of desperate characters. It was one of the misfortunes of Palestine that it served as a Botany Bay, to which the criminals of the West were transported for penance. The natives, already prone to the immorality which must infect a mixed population living under a hot sun, the immorality which still infects a place like Aden, were not improved by Kreuz f ahrstaaten, 1919.) At Antioch, for instance, after the death of Bohemund II. in 113o, his widow Alice headed a party in favour of the marriage of the heiress Constance to Manuel of Constantinople, and did not scruple to enter into negotiations with Zengi of Mosul. Her policy failed; and Constance successively married Raymund of Antioch and Raynald of Chatillon. The result was the renewed enmity of the Greek empire, while the French adventurers who won the prize ruined the prospects of the Franks by their conduct. In the kingdom matters were almost worse. There was hardly any regular succession to the throne; and Jerusalem, as Stubbs writes, "suffered from the weakness of hereditary right and the jealousies of the elective system" at one and the same time. With the frequent remarriages of the heir esses of the kingdom, relationships grew confused and family quar rels frequent ; and when Sibylla carried the crown to Guy de Lu signan, a newcomer disliked by all the relatives of the Crown, she sealed the fate of the kingdom.
It may be doubted—though it seems a harsh verdict to pass on a kingdom founded by religious zeal on holy soil—whether the kingdom possessed that moral basis which alone can give a right of survival to any institution or organization. The crusading States had been founded by adventurers who thirsted for gain; and the primitive appetite did not lose its edge with the progress of time. We cannot be certain, indeed, how far the Frankish lords oppressed their Syrian tenants : the stories of such oppres sion have been discredited; and if we may trust the evidence of a Mohammedan traveller, Ibn Jubair, the lot of the Mohammedans who lived on Frankish manors was better than it had been under their native lords'. But the habits of the Franks were none the less habits of lawless greed : they swooped down from their castles, as Raynald of Chatillon did from Krak of the Desert, to capture Saracens and hold them to ransom or to plunder caravans. The lust of unlawful gain had infected the Frankish blood, as it also infected England during the Hundred Years' War; and in either case Nemesis infallibly came. The Muslims might have en dured a State of "infidels" ; they could not endure a State of brigands.