History Files


Middle East Kingdoms

Central Levant States




Christian Counts of Edessa
AD 1098 - 1144

The county of Edessa was different from the other Crusader states in that it was landlocked. Half of the county, including its capital, was located to the east of the Euphrates and therefore was positioned far to the east of the other states. The section west of the Euphrates was controlled from the stronghold of Turbessel, an important outpost in fending off the Seljuq Turks. Neighbouring Edessa to the west was the kingdom of Armenia, while to the north was the Seljuq sultanate of Rum.

In 1098, Baldwin of Boulogne left the main Crusading army which was travelling south towards Antioch and Jerusalem, and went first south into Cilicia, then east to Edessa. There, he convinced its lord, Thoros, to adopt him as a son and heir. Thoros was a Greek Orthodox, and was disliked by his Armenian Orthodox subjects. He was soon assassinated, although it is unknown if Baldwin had any part in this. In any case, Baldwin became the new ruler, taking the title of count (as he had been called in Boulogne).

1098 - 1100

Baldwin I de Boulogne

King of Jerusalem (1100-1118).


Jerusalem is seized from the Seljuq Turks in a bloody fight. An independent Christian kingdom is formed, which is soon headed by Baldwin.


Emir Duqaq of Damascus manages to ambush Baldwin I and his bodyguard at Nahr al-Kalb (just outside Beirut). Baldwin is travelling to Jerusalem to succeed his brother, Godfrey de Bouillon, as king. The Crusaders are caught in a narrow pass which they hold successfully, and Baldwin is soon able to continue his journey.

1100 - 1118

Baldwin II de la Bourg

Cousin. King of Jerusalem (1118-1131).


All lands east of the Euphrates are lost to the Zangids of Mosul.

1118 - 1131

Joscelin I de Courtenay

Lord of Turbessel. Killed in battle

1131 - 1146

Joscelin II de Courtenay

Son. d.1159.


Edessa is conquered by ZangÓ of Aleppo and Mosul (now known as Urfa in Turkey). The loss provokes Pope Eugenius into calling upon Louis VII of France to play his part in defending the Holy Land. The king embarks for Jerusalem in 1147, taking part in the Second Crusade.


Upon the death of ZangÓ of Aleppo, Joscelin briefly recaptures Edessa - for just two months.

1147 - 1149

The Second Crusade fails to recapture Edessa.

1150 - 1159

Joscelin is captured and imprisoned in Aleppo until his death in 1159 when Nur ad-Din conquers the remnants of the county.

1159 - 1200

Joscelin III de Courtenay

Son. Titular count. Lived in, and served kings of, Jerusalem.