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Fulk (V)
Fulk marries Queen Melisende
King of Jerusalem
Reign 1131-1143
Predecessor Fulk IV
Successor Geoffrey V
Count of Anjou
Reign 1106–1129
Spouse Ermengarde of Maine
Melisende of Jerusalem
Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou
Sibylla, Countess of Flanders
Matilda, Duchess of Normandy
Elias II, Count of Maine
Baldwin III of Jerusalem
Amalric I of Jerusalem
House House of Anjou
Father Fulk IV of Anjou (1043–1109)
Mother Bertrade de Montfort (c.1070-1117)
Born 1089/92
Died 13 November 1143
Burial Church of the Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem

Fulk (1089/1092 in Angers – 13 November 1143 in Acre), also known as Fulk the Younger, was Count of Anjou (as Fulk V) from 1109 to 1129, and King of Jerusalem from 1131 to his death. He was also the paternal grandfather of Henry II of England.


Count of Anjou

Fulk was born in Angers between 1089 and 1092, the son of Count Fulk IV of Anjou and Bertrade de Montfort. In 1092, Bertrade deserted her husband and bigamously married King Philip I of France.

He became count of Anjou upon his father's death in 1109, at the age of approximately twenty. In that year, he married Erembourg of Maine, cementing Angevin control over the County of Maine.

He was originally an opponent of King Henry I of England and a supporter of King Louis VI of France, but in 1127 he allied with Henry when Henry arranged for his daughter Matilda to marry Fulk's son Geoffrey of Anjou. Fulk went on crusade in 1120, and became a close friend of the Knights Templar. After his return he began to subsidize the Templars, and maintained two knights in the Holy Land for a year.

Crusader and King

By 1127 Fulk was preparing to return to Anjou when he received an embassy from King Baldwin II of Jerusalem. Baldwin II had no male heirs but had already designated his daughter Melisende to succeed him. Baldwin II wanted to safeguard his daughter's inheritance by marrying her to a powerful lord. Fulk was a wealthy crusader and experienced military commander, and a widower. His experience in the field would prove invaluable in a frontier state always in the grip of war.

However, Fulk held out for better terms than mere consort of the Queen; he wanted to be king alongside Melisende. Baldwin II, reflecting on Fulk's fortune and military exploits, acquiesced. Fulk abdicated his county seat of Anjou to his son Geoffery and left for Jerusalem, where he married Melisende on 2 June 1129. Later Baldwin II bolstered Melisende's position in the kingdom by making her sole guardian of her son by Fulk, Baldwin III, born in 1130.

The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the other Crusader states (in shades of green) in 1135 AD, during the reign of Fulk.

Fulk and Melisende became joint rulers of Jerusalem in 1131 with Baldwin II's death. From the start Fulk assumed sole control of the government, excluding Melisende altogether. He favored fellow countrymen from Anjou to the native nobility. The other crusader states to the north feared that Fulk would attempt to impose the suzerainty of Jerusalem over them, as Baldwin II had done; but as Fulk was far less powerful than his deceased father-in-law, the northern states rejected his authority. Melisende's sister Alice of Antioch, exiled from the Principality by Baldwin II, took control of Antioch once more after the death of her father. She allied with Pons of Tripoli and Joscelin II of Edessa to prevent Fulk from marching north in 1132; Fulk and Pons fought a brief battle before peace was made and Alice was exiled again.

In Jerusalem as well, Fulk was resented by the second generation of Jerusalem Christians who had grown up there since the First Crusade. These "natives" focused on Melisende's cousin, the popular Hugh II of Le Puiset, count of Jaffa, who was devotedly loyal to the Queen. Fulk saw Hugh as a rival, and it did not help matters when Hugh's own stepson accused him of disloyalty. In 1134, in order to expose Hugh, Fulk accused him of infidelity with Melisende. Hugh rebelled in protest. Hugh secured himself to Jaffa, and allied himself with the Muslims of Ascalon. He was able to defeat the army set against him by Fulk, but this situation could not hold. The Patriarch interceded in the conflict, perhaps at the behest of Melisende. Fulk agreed to peace and Hugh was exiled from the kingdom for three years, a lenient sentence.

However, an assassination attempt was made against Hugh. Fulk, or his supporters, were commonly believed responsible, though direct proof never surfaced. The scandal was all that was needed for the queen's party to take over the government in what amounted to a palace coup. Author and historian Bernard Hamilton wrote that the Fulk's supporters "went in terror of their lives" in the palace. Contemporary author and historian William of Tyre wrote of Fulk "he never attempted to take the initiative, even in trivial matters, without (Melisende's) consent". The result was that Melisende held direct and unquestioned control over the government from 1136 onwards. Sometime before 1136 Fulk reconciled with his wife, and a second son, Amalric was born.

Securing the borders

Jerusalem's northern border was of great concern. Fulk had been appointed regent of the Principality of Antioch by Baldwin II. As regent he had Raymund of Poitou marry the infant Constance of Antioch, daughter of Bohemund II and Alice of Antioch, and niece to Melisende. However, the greatest concern during Fulk's reign was the rise of Atabeg Zengi of Mosul.

In 1137 Fulk was defeated in battle near Barin but allied with Mu'in ad-Din Unur, the vizier of Damascus. Damascus was also threatened by Zengi. Fulk captured the fort of Banias, to the north of Lake Tiberias and thus secured the northern frontier.

Fulk also strengthened the kingdom's southern border. His butler Paganus built the fortress of Kerak to the south of the Dead Sea, and to help give the kingdom access to the Red Sea, Fulk had Blanche Garde, Ibelin, and other forts built in the south-west to overpower the Egyptian fortress at Ascalon. This city was a base from which the Egyptian Fatimids launched frequent raids on the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Fulk sought to neutralise this threat.

In 1137 and 1142, Byzantine emperor John II Comnenus arrived in Syria attempting to impose Byzantine control over the crusader states. John's arrival was ignored by Fulk, who declined an invitation to meet the emperor in Jerusalem.

The death of Fulk, as depicted in MS of William of Tyre's Historia and Old French Continuation, painted in Acre, 13C. Bib. Nat. Française.)


In 1143, while the king and queen were on holiday in Acre, Fulk was killed in a hunting accident. His horse stumbled, fell, and Fulk's skull was crushed by the saddle, "and his brains gushed forth from both ears and nostrils", as William of Tyre describes. He was carried back to Acre, where he lay unconscious for three days before he died. He was buried in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Though their marriage started in conflict, Melisende mourned for him privately as well as publicly. Fulk was survived by his son Geoffrey of Anjou by his first wife, and Baldwin III and Amalric I by Melisende.

According to William, Fulk was "a ruddy man, like David... faithful and gentle, affable and kind... an experienced warrior full of patience and wisdom in military affairs." His chief fault was an inability to remember names and faces.

William of Tyre described Fulk as a capable soldier and able politician, but observed that Fulk did not adequately attend to the defense of the crusader states to the north. Ibn al-Qalanisi (who calls him al-Kund Anjur, an Arabic rendering of "Count of Anjou") says that "he was not sound in his judgment nor was he successful in his administration." The Zengids continued their march on the crusader states, culminating in the fall of the County of Edessa in 1144, which led to the Second Crusade (see Siege of Edessa).


In 1110, Fulk married Ermengarde of Maine (died 1126), the daughter of Elias I of Maine. Their four children were:

  1. Geoffrey V of Anjou, father of Henry II of England.
  2. Sibylla of Anjou (1112–1165, Bethlehem), married in 1123 William Clito (div. 1124), married in 1134 Thierry, Count of Flanders.
  3. Alice (or Isabella) (1107–1154, Fontevrault), married William Adelin; after his death in the White Ship she became a nun and later Abbess of Fontevrault.
  4. Elias II of Maine (died 1151)

His second wife was Melisende, Queen of Jerusalem

  1. Baldwin III of Jerusalem
  2. Amalric I of Jerusalem


  • Orderic Vitalis
  • Robert of Torigny
  • William of Tyre
  • Medieval Women, edited by Derek Baker, the Ecclesiastical History Society, 1978
  • Payne, Robert. The Dream and the Tomb, 1984
  • The Damascus Chronicle of Crusades, trans. H.A.R. Gibb, 1932.

Historical Fiction

  • Judith Tarr, "Queen of Swords", A Forge Book, Published by Tom Doherty LLC., 1997
Preceded by
Fulk IV
Count of Anjou
1106 – 1129
Succeeded by
Geoffrey V
Preceded by
William Rufus
Count of Maine
1110 – 1126
Preceded by
Baldwin II
King of Jerusalem
1131 – 1143
With: Melisende of Jerusalem
Succeeded by
Melisende and Baldwin III

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FULK, king of Jerusalem (b. 1092), was the son of Fulk IV., count of Anjou, and his wife Bertrada (who ultimately deserted her husband and became the mistress of Philip I. of France). He became count of Anjou in 1109, and considerably added to the prestige of his house. In particular he showed himself a doughty opponent to Henry I. of England, against whom he continually supported Louis VI. of France, until in 1127 Henry won him over by betrothing his daughter Matilda to Fulk's son Geoffrey Plantagenet. Already in 1120 Fulk had visited the Holy Land, and become a close friend of the Templars. On his return he assigned to the order of the Templars an annual subsidy, while he also maintained two knights in the Holy Land for a year. In 1128 he was preparing to return to the East, when he received an embassy from Baldwin II., king of Jerusalem, who had no male heir to succeed him, offering his daughter Melisinda in marriage, with the right of eventual succession to the kingdom. Fulk readily accepted the offer; and in 1129 he came and was married to Melisinda, receiving the towns of Acre and Tyre as her dower. In 1131, at the age of thirty-nine, he became king of Jerusalem. His reign is not marked by any considerable events: the kingdom which had reached its zenith under Baldwin II., and did not begin to decline till the capture of Edessa in the reign of Baldwin III., was quietly prosperous under his rule. In the beginning of his reign he had to act as regent of Antioch, and to provide a husband, Raymund of Poitou, for the infant heiress Constance. But the great problem with which he had to deal was the progress of the atabeg Zengi of Mosul. In 1137 he was beaten near Barin, and escaping into the fort was surrounded and forced to capitulate. A little later, however, he greatly improved his position by strengthening his alliance with the vizier of Damascus, who also had to fear the progress of Zengi (1140); and in this way he was able to capture the fort of Banias, to the N. of Lake Tiberias. Fulk also strengthened the kingdom on the south; while his butler, Paganus, planted the fortress of Krak to the south of the Dead Sea, and helped to give the kingdom an access towards the Red Sea, he himself constructed Blanche Garde and other forts on the S. W. to overawe the garrison of Ascalon, which was still held by the Mahommedans, and to clear the road towards Egypt. Twice in Fulk's reign the eastern emperor, John Comnenus, appeared in northern Syria (1137 and 1142); but his coming did not affect the king, who was able to decline politely a visit which the emperor proposed to make to Jerusalem. In 1143 he died, leaving two sons, who both became kings, as Baldwin III. and Amalric I.

Fulk continued the tradition of good statesmanship and sound churchmanship which Baldwin I. and Baldwin II. had begun. William of Tyre speaks of him as a fine soldier, an able politician, and a good son of the church, and only blames him for partiality to his friends, and a forgetfulness of names and faces, which placed him at a disadvantage and made him too dependent on his immediate intimates. Little, perhaps, need be made of these censures: the real fault of Fulk was his neglect to envisage the needs of the northern principalities, and to head a combined resistance to the rising power of Zengi of Mosul.

His reign in Jerusalem is narrated by R. Rohricht (Geschichte des Konigreichs Jerusalem, Innsbruck, 1898), and has been made the subject of a monograph by G. Dodu (De Fulconis Hierosolymitani regno, Paris, 1894). (E. BR.)

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