Sybilla

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Sybilla, Queen of Jerusalem, was the daughter of Amalric I. On the death of the child-king Baldwin V, she was one of the clear heirs to the throne, the other being her sister Isabella. The main obstacle to Sybilla's accession was her husband, Guy of Lusignan, who was disliked by the nobility. She was therefore offered the crown on the condition that he would divorce Guy and choose a new consort.

At her coronation, however, when asked to name her consort, it was Guy whom she named. Raymond of Tripoli, who had been Baldwin's regent, led a challenge, apparently supporting Isabella and her husband, Humphrey of Toron. He ought, perhaps to have consulted Humphrey, who was step-son to Raynald of Chatillon, who supported Guy, and who refused to take the crown, and swore fealty to Guy and Sybilla. Raymond left the realm, returning to Tripoli, and Isabella's step-uncle, Baldwin of Ibelin (popularly supposed to have been the true power behind Isabella), went to Antioch rather than remain under Sybilla.

Guy was Sybilla's second husband, and far from the popular choice. She had first married William Longsword of Montferrat but he soon died. Their posthumous son was King Baldwin V. Left widowed, she became a dynastic prize, since her brother, King Baldwin IV suffered leprosy and was unlikely to have a child of his own. Philip, Count of Flanders, arriving in the Holy Land in 1177, and demanded that she marry one of his vassals, thus giving him control of the Crusader kingship. The Jerusalem nobility rebuffed huim, and he left to campaign in Antioch. She was said to be smitten with the elderly Baldwin of Ibelin but unable to marry him because he was variously in Muslim captivity, and in Byzantium at the count of Emperor Manuel. This story may, however, be the product of Ibelin romance, as they sought to gain power within the kingdom.
In 1180 Sybilla was married to Guy of Lusignan (who had links to the crowns of both England and France and was thought able to call for more crusaders to support the kingdom). She bore him 2 daughters, before Baldwin IV's death. When Baldwin V died abruptly within a year, no-one particularly wanted a long vacancy on the throne, whilst foreign monarchs debated the succession, and the choice fell between Sybilla and her younger sister Isabella.


Once Queen, Sybilla's main concerns were resisting the attacks of the Muslim leader Saladin, and the plots of the pro-Isabella party at her court. She was crowned in 1186, and sent Guy to lead her armies, alongside Raymond of Tripoli. They failed, however, to collaborate, and at the battle of Hattin (July 1187), the armies of Jerusalem were routed and Guy captured. By September Jerusalem itself was beseiged and in October the city capitulated, Sybilla being allowed to escape to Tripoli.

Saladin then released Guy (rating him a far less efficient general than others in the Crusaders' ranks). He rejoined his queen, and they marched to Tyre, to be refused entrance by Conrad of Montferrat, William's brother, on the basis that her accession had been contrary to the declared will of Baldwin IV. They then turned their attention to the Muslim-held city of Acre outside which, in June 1190 Sybilla and both of her daughters perished. Her death also extinguished any claim Guy had to the throne. Hearing of the approach of the Third Crusade, he left Palestine and went to Cyprus to swear fealty to Richard I. When it became clear that, despite Richard's support, Guy had lost the kingdom, he settled instead for Cyprus, which he purchased from the Templars, who had bought it from Richard, who had deposed the self-styled king, Isaac Comnenus. Technically Guy was only Lord of Cyprus, but on his death in 1194, he was succeeded by his brother Amalric, who received a royal crown from the Holy Roman Emperor.