Part 11: XI. Martin I, Baldwin VI 1325-1354 A.D.
After the death of Emperor Guiraud, the ascension of King Martin was quick and painless. The peace that his father built stood, and Martin had no trouble establishing his rule. He was, for those following traits, lazy deceitful, just, and wise.
Martin was the eldest of Guiraud's children. He had a younger brother, Baldwin, by King Martin's first wife, and three younger half-brothers by Guiraud's second wife, Lucia. These brothers were named Simoun, Florenc, and Barral.
Simoun was a lad of thirteen, and had many questions.
Ultimately, Simoun becomes quite skeptical of the Church and organized religion, although obviously he keeps these opinions to himself. It would scarcely be healthy for him to voice such doubts in the middle of the Kingdom of God on Earth. Even so, Simoun himself can't help but feel amused by his own doubt. After all, being over thirty years younger then his childless elder brothers he is, in time, destined for the Throne of Christ's Kingdom.
King Martin's rule is just and fair and after only a few years the Kingdom's stability goes up to +2. It's a long, long way from the dark years under King Girard.
Jerusalem's northern neighbor, however, is not fairing so well. The new Byzantine Emperor suffers from constant revolts and large portions of the empire continually break away and are reconquered.
In 1330, young Simoun comes of age. King Martin finds him a bride from Egypt, one of his cousins, a young woman named Elena. Elena is a great-great-great grand daughter of Mad King Charles, while Simoun is a great grandson of Gauthier, Charles' brother.
With both King Martin and his brother Baldwin in their fifties, Simoun is the clear heir-apparent to the Kingdom and is granted a substantial duchy in a peaceful portion of northern Iraq.
By 1331, King Martin has the Kingdom's finances in top shape. He is pulling in just under three hundred gold a month and has built up the Kingdom's reserves to over ten thousand gold. Much money is spent on building improvements across his personal demesne, especially in the Kingdom's crown jewels, Alexandria and Jerusalem. Baghdad is also growing rapidly as a prosperous Christian city and much money is lavished on it as well.
When he had still ruled, Emperor Guiraud had sent his middle boy, Florenc as a foster child to the city of Constantinople. The boy returned to Jerusalem in 1332 as a proud, suspicious, stubborn, prodigy. He had learned many things in the Byzantine capital. He was found a bride in a young woman from Hungary, Orsolya Piast, a woman of such stunning diplomatic skill that she promptly became the Chancellor of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
By 1333, the Byzantine Empire had largely sorted out its waves of revolts and rebellion. Although a few recalcitrant provinces remained independent, the Emperor had reestablished his authority over the vast majority of the Imperial holdings. King Martin sent a letter of congratulations to his northern ally.
The very next year, the Pope crowned Martin as Emperor.
As Emperor, Martin's wise policies continued. Despite constant spending on improvements the Kingdoms' treasury had swollen to over twenty thousand gold by the year 1336.
That summer, at the age of 61, having brought his people both wealth and lasting peace, Emperor Martin quietly passed away.
His younger brother, already 52 himself, became Baldwin VI, King of Jerusalem. He was widely known to be chaste, generous, honest, skeptical, trusting, cowardly, pragmatic, and amiable. Like his elder brother, Baldwin had no children, meaning Duke Simoun was still next in line for the throne.
Whenever a ruler dies, vassals lose a lot of loyalty while the succession sorts itself out. Several of Baldwin's vassals had dropped to zero loyalty. Although they would gain loyalty slowly over the coming months that was still too much of a risk of revolt for King Baldwin's taste. He promptly spent four thousand gold out of the Kingdom's treasury in bribes, gifts, and concessions to shore up the loyalty of many of his vassals.
It was a highly successful strategy. Indeed, regardless of how short it might end up being, Baldwin's reign started off amazingly well. Unlike many of his predecessors, the Pope crowned him as Emperor within just a year or two after he took the throne.
That same year news came that Duke Simoun's wife had given birth to a healthy son named Anselm. But all was not well in that family. Two years later, in 1340, the Duchess Elena gave birth to another son, Balian. But Balian was a sickly, stupid child, suffering from inbreeding. Within a year he would die. Although the Duchess would later give birth to another healthy boy and girl, she would also have two more daughters, one of which would die of her inbreed traits the other who would linger on, horribly brain-damaged and helpless. Despite being distant cousins, their blood was still similar, and although they loved one another, the Duke and Duchess suffered much shame and guilt at the aberrations they had brought into the world.
In 1340, one of Emperor Baldwin's vassals was revealed as a crazed heretic.
(The red jester hat means crazed, the upside down cross, heretic.)
Fortunately, the madman only controlled a single county, and Baldwin VI crushed the revolt within a few months.
Interestingly, just a few weeks later, news came of a rare fragment of the true cross that was supposedly at a small church just over the Byzantine border. Unwilling to let such a valuable relic rest in the hand of Orthodox schismatic, the Emperor sent a small group of Templar Knights to steal it for Jerusalem.
Although he risked a small chance at becoming arbitrary, the Emperor gained five thousand gold from the operation, presumably from tithes and donations from the faithful coming to see the relic.
Amazingly, the same thing happened again a few months later, netting Jerusalem another rare relic and five thousand gold! It was hard to believe, but perhaps it was the hand of God, bringing the holy relics of the faithful back to where they truly belonged.
The next year, in 1342, several of the holdings of the Kwarizmain Turks in Persia broke away from their lord and became independent. Baldwin VI was not a warlike man, but this was an opportunity too good to pass up. The campaign was short and simple. Fourteen thousand men from around Baghdad split up and swept through the breakaway Emirates. Within six months they had been annexed to the Kingdom.
Two years later, in 1344, the 15 year old Duke of Oultrejourdain revolts. The boy, Jaume Bouzenos, is known to be lazy and lustful. That he would attempt to fight Emperor Baldwin comes as a great surprise to everyone.
After Oultrejourdain is conquered, the Emperor takes the Ducal title and most of the Ducal lands for himself. He admires, however, the bravery of young Jaume, and allows him to remain as the Count of Kerak alone. A long drop from the once rich lands that Oultrejourdain controlled, but better perhaps then he deserved.
News comes in 1346 that the campaigns of the Kingdom of Leon have spread Christian rule far and wide in northern Africa. Christian holdings are highlighted below. Emperor Baldwin sends and emissary and fine gifts to his fellow ruler at the other end of Europe to congratulate him on his fine conquests and crusading for the Faith.
But the Faith still needs protecting, even back in Jerusalem.
A special Inquisition is formed to root out heretics who have begun to spread in southern Egypt. Fortunately it does not take long for them to get positive results.
That same year, many of the Emperor's vassals approach him and ask him to change the laws of Jerusalem to be more like that of the Byzantine Empire.
Of course such ideas are nonsense! The house of Anjou was chosen by God to rule in Jerusalem. Anyone who suggests otherwise is mad or a heretic. The Inquisition is brought back from Egypt.
Several of the Emperor's vassals become openly rebellious and the Kingdom's stability drops from +2 to 0. Fortunately, however, Baldwin VI is able to dodge getting 'Realm Duress' and the conflict over the succession laws sputters out, crisis averted.
In 1348, Emperor Baldwin is sixty-four years old and surprisingly healthy. His younger half-brother, Florenc, names one of his sons Louis in honor of the Saint, and Baldwin has the boy sent off to be raised in monastery to learn of his illustrious namesake.
But there is also grim news that year. Duke Simoun, the heir to the throne, is dead at the age of thirty-five. The cause of death is uncertain, but it was likely one of the many diseases that curse the eastern lands. The Duke's ten year old son, Anselm now becomes Duke and heir to the Throne of Jerusalem.
A young boy on the throne, surrounded by a scheming regency council and ambitious vassals could be disastrous. Emperor Baldwin knows that he must carry his burden a while longer, for the sake of Jerusalem.
Fortunately, for everyone, he remains strong and vigorous for his age. He also carries on the peaceful policies of his elder brother Martin. By 1353 the gold reserves of the Kingdom have reached thirty thousand, despite heavy spending on improvements. Emperor Baldwin VI also has nearly six thousand prestige and two thousand piety.
The Pope, grateful for all he has done for the Christian Faith sees to it that the Emperor shares in the wealth of the Church.
The next year, 1354, young Duke Anselm is fifteen years old and soon to turn sixteen, reaching his majority. As if this was a sign, the seventy year old Baldwin finally relaxes. He has sat on the throne long enough. The boy, Anselm, is old enough and strong enough now to rule on his own. His work is done.
On a bright summer day in June, Emperor Baldwin VI closes his eyes and begins his final sleep.
The young Anselm is quite unlike many of those who have risen to the Throne of Jerusalem. He is a simple young man, with an ecclesiastical education, whose only real renowned trait is a startlingly real modesty. He is humble before both God and the responsibilities of his position.
He comes to the throne only fifteen years old. If he reigns as long as his uncle Baldwin VI it will be well after the year 1400 before another King sits on the throne of Jerusalem.
For better or worse, the young Anselm must now step out of the shadows and guide the Kingdom of Jerusalem into the future…
(99 years to go...)