Baldwin IV of Jerusalem

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Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (1161–16 March 1185[1]), called the Leper or the Leprous, the son of Amalric I of Jerusalem and his first wife, Agnes of Courtenay, was king of Jerusalem from 1174 to 1185. His full sister was Queen Sibylla of Jerusalem and his nephew through this sister (who succeeded him) was the child-king Baldwin V. He had a half sister through his father's second marriage, the princess Isabella of Jerusalem, and a younger brother who was the child of both his parents but who died in infancy.[citation needed]


Early life

Baldwin spent his youth in his father's court in Jerusalem, having little contact with his mother, Agnes of Courtenay, Countess of Jaffa and Ascalon, and later Lady of Sidon, whom his father had been forced to divorce.[citation needed] Baldwin IV was educated by the historian William of Tyre (later Archbishop of Tyre and Chancellor of the kingdom), who made a disturbing discovery about the prince: he and his friends were playing one day, attempting to injure each other by driving their fingernails into each other's arms, but Baldwin felt no pain. William immediately recognized this as a sign of serious illness, but it was not conclusively identified as leprosy until a few years later: the onset of puberty accelerated his disease, in its most serious lepromatous form.[citation needed]

Baldwin's father died in 1174 and the boy was crowned at the age of thirteen, on 15 July that year. In his minority the kingdom was ruled by two successive regents, first Miles of Plancy, though unofficially, and then Raymond III of Tripoli, his father's cousin. In 1175, Raymond III, the acting king of Jerusalem, made a treaty with Saladin.[citation needed]

As a leper, Baldwin was not expected to reign long or produce an heir, and courtiers and lords positioned themselves for influence over Baldwin's heirs, his sister Princess Sibylla and his half-sister Princess Isabella. Sibylla was being raised by her great-aunt Ioveta in the convent of Bethany, while Isabella was at the court of her mother, the dowager queen Maria Comnena, in Nablus.[citation needed]

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