Raymond of Toulouse

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Raymond of Toulouse sometimes called Raymond of St Gilles (1041 or 1042 – 1105) was one of the leaders of the First Crusade. His titles included Count of Toulouse, Duke of Narbonne, and Margrave of Provence.

In 1096 Raymond was one of the first noblemen to take the cross in response to the call for Crusade from Urban II, however raising money and troops took him a considerable amount time and he was one of the last Crusaders to lead his force into Constantinople. There, faced with a demand to swear allegiance from Emperor Alexius I (backed by his rival Bohemund of Taranto) he balked and very nearly went to war with Byzantium; bloodshed was avoided only through the intercession of the bishop Adhemar of Le Puy. Later, however, Raymond would become one of the few supporters of Alexius among the Crusaders.

He participated in the sieges of Nicaea and Antioch under command of Bohemund, but became increasingly hostile to his commander, mostly over competing claims to the captured city of Antioch. This tension grew until the two leaders could barely cooperate and at the siege of Maarat al-Numan in 1098 the infighting between the two lords paralyzed the army so badly that their own troops rebelled, destroying the garrison's walls in an effort to force a compromise.

This infighting undermined Raymond's prestige with the army, although he served with distinction in the siege and conquest of Jerusalem. Afterwards the Kingdom of Jerusalem was established and Raymond was offered the throne -- he piously declined on the grounds that he "would not call himself a King in Christ's city." The throne was offered to Godfrey of Bouillon who likewise refused to call himself a King in Jerusalem... instead inventing the title "Defender of the Holy Sepulchre", much to Raymond's chagrin.

Despite this, Raymond fought in the Battle of Ascalon shortly afterwards, and then returned to Constantinople, capturing Bohemund's city of Laodicea on the way, an act which endeared him to Alexius I, who was at the time engaged in fighting his former ally.

Raymond also participated in the Crusade of the Faint-Hearted, although he was defeated in the Battle of Mersivan. He was later imprisoned, not by the Turks, but by Tancred, nephew of Bohemund, who released him only on a promise of peace. Upon his release, he promptly attacked Tancred, a campaign which ultimately led to the siege of Tripoli. Raymond died during the siege of Tripoli in 1105, and his army withdrew.