Gui De Lusignan

Gui DE Lusignan king of Jerusalem, and first king of Cyprus, was born about 1140. He belonged to an ancient family of Limousin, which had distinguished itself in the first crusades. In 1180 he married Sibylla, the sister of Baldwin IV, king of Jerusalem, the widow of William of Montferrat. That princess brought him in dowry Ascalon and Joppa, and Baldwin, who had been attacked with an incurable disease, conferred upon Gui the government of the kingdom of Jerusalem. But his incapacity and pride made him unbearable to the lords, who disputed over the feeble remains of the Frankish power in the East. Baldwin soon began to regret his choice, and in 1183 took back the power from Gui de Lusignan to give it to the count of Tripolis. This gave occasion for a new civil war within the kingdom, which lasted till the death of Baldwin IV, in 1185. He had for his successor Baldwin V, a child of six years, the son of Sibylla and of William of Montferrat; but the youth died in 1186, shortly after his uncle, probably of poison administered to him by Gui. Having become heiress to the throne of Jerusalem, the sister of Baldwin IV announced her intention. of separating from her husband, and of giving the crown to the most worthy of the French lords. She published the divorce in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; Heraclius, patriarch of Jerusalem, pronouncing the separation. Sibylla, after having taken back the crown, gave it to Gui de Lusignan, and thus disgusted most of the French lords. Soon afterwards again Gui showed incapacity. Saladin, with his troops, continually invaded the country, and on the morning of July 4, 1187, threw himself with his Mohammedans upon a small body of Christian soldiers, who were encamped about the hill Hattin, near Lake Tiberias. Gui, with Reynold of Chftillon and other commanders were taken prisoners. Gui bought his liberty by restoring Ascalon to Saladin, and Jerusalem capitulated October 2, 1187. Thus ended the Latin kingdom founded by Godfrey de Bouillon, after a duration of eighty-nine years. The only use that Gui made of his title of King of Jerusalem was in ceding it to Richard, in 1192, as a price of sovereignty over the island of Cyprus, which that prince had taken from the small Greek tyrant Isaac Comnenus; he also bound himself to pay back the twenty-five thousand marks which the Templars had given to Richard. Cyprus was devastated and nearly deserted; Gui peopled it again by drawing colonists from Armenia and Antioch. He also offered an asylum to a great number who fled from the domination of the Mohammedans in Palestine. After a peaceful reign of two years he died, in 1194, and transmitted his crown to his brother Amaury. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.

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