The Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles overlooks today the modern districts of Tripoli (in Lebanon), surrounded by densely-constructed, dilapidated apartment buildings that reflect little of the city’s glorious past. But this was not always the case.
The Castle takes its name from Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse – widely known as Raymond de Saint-Gilles – who was among the leading architects of the First Crusade and who, along with Godfrey of Bouillon, Bohemond I, and Baldwin I, invaded in 1097 the lands of Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine, ultimately conquering Jerusalem in 1099.
By 1103 and despite his active involvement in the broader expedition, Saint-Gilles was still without any fiefdom of his own, while the other leaders had already secured and controlled areas of importance: Bohemond was the ruler of the Principality of Antioch, Godfrey was the King of Jerusalem, and Baldwin was the leader of the County of Edessa, before becoming King of Jerusalem after Godfrey’s death. As such, Saint-Gilles focused his attention on Tripoli whose wealth had not been plundered yet by the occidental forces; he camped at the outskirts of the city and declared himself Count of the region. [Read more…]