Great Noble Families

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The Royal House

The ruling dynasty of the Kingdom of Jerusalem – now in practice confined to Acre – defies definition.

Very indirectly descended from the great hero of the First Crusade, Godfrey of Bouillon, the line by now combines Lorrainer, Armenian, Angevin, Byzantine and Italian blood. It is also perilously close to extinction – only Queen Isabella and her daughter Maria of Montferrat remain to represent the blood royal. However, they have a powerful champion in Queen Isabella’s new husband, the Count of Champagne.

For a list of all characters belonging or owing allegiance to the Royal House, see Category: Royal House.

The Lusignans

In Gascony, far away in western France, the Lusignan dynasty is well respected, but the same cannot be said of their cadet line in Outremer. The brothers Amalric and Guy de Lusignan were banished by their overlord, Richard, Count of Poitou, for the ambush and murder of Patrick, Earl of Salisbury. They proceeded to rise high in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, some say more due to charm than ability. Amalric married a daughter of the powerful Ibelins and became Constable of Jerusalem; but Guy did better still, winning the hand of the Princess Sibylla. This stellar match elevated the Lusignan family to an effectively royal status, which they never forgot.

Despite King Guy de Lusignan’s short and catastrophic reign, the brothers used an alliance with their former overlord, now King Richard of England, as well as undoubted courage in battle, to stay close to power. Though Guy could not persuade the barons to accept him as ruler of Jerusalem, Richard compensated him with the Kingdom of Cyprus instead. Amalric remains Constable and Count of Jaffa, and another brother, Geoffrey, is Count of Ascalon.

Henry of Champagne favours the Lusignans, but the rest of the baronage (and also, it is rumoured, Queen Isabella) is united in loathing them.

For a list of all characters belonging or owing allegiance to this house, see Category: Lusignan.

The Ibelins

A family of obscure origin – related to the Viscounts of Chartres, they say; upjumped knights from Pisa, nearly everyone else says – the Ibelins have nonetheless lost more wealth than many other barons had to begin with, and are still rich and powerful for all that.

Their current, ageing patriarch, Balian, lord of Caymont, wed Queen Maria Comnena and later defended Jerusalem against Saladin. Allies of the Byzantines, Tripoli, the Hospital, the King of France, and, once, the murdered Conrad of Montferrat, the Ibelins have been unlucky in their causes, but still favour diplomacy and trade. They now loathe the Lusignans, despite or because of having assisted that family’s swift rise; and they have little love for the Temple, King Richard of England, or Henry of Champagne.

For a list of all characters belonging or owing allegiance to this house, see Category: Ibelin.

The Saint-Omers

Well-born and proud of it, the Saint-Omers descend from a Flemish lord who rode with the First Crusade, and count a founding Templar Knight among their forebears. But it is more legal shrewdness than strength at arms that has left them a power still, in the reduced Kingdom. Hugh has inherited his mother’s Principality of Galilee, while Ralph is Seneschal of the Kingdom. Beloved step-sons of the late Count of Tripoli, the Saint-Omer brothers accordingly distrust his enemies the Lusignans, but are politic enough to maintain dealings with them.

For a list of all characters belonging or owing allegiance to this house, see Category: Saint-Omer.

The Greniers

This family also descends from a Flemish knight of the First Crusade, Eustace, an early Constable of Jerusalem.

Their present head is, however, no conventional example of chivalry. The old sire de Beaufort, Renaud Grenier, is celebrated, or infamous, for conversing with the Saracens in their own tongue, and, some say, plotting with Saladin. He is one of the few to have escaped the Sultan’s victory at the Horns of Hattin, and this seems no accident to his enemies. His shrewd marriages have not helped his reputation; first to Agnes of Courtenay, King Amalric's rich and hated cast off wife, then to the fresh maiden daughter of his political allies, the Ibelins. One thing is certain about Renaud – old though he may be, he would stop at nothing to see his fief of Sidon, lost to the Saracens, returned.

For a list of all characters belonging or owing allegiance to this house, see Category: Grenier.

The Courtenays

Once sovereign princes as Counts of Edessa, this family have endured a half-century of terrible fortunes. Distrusted by other nobility of Jerusalem, who saw them as over-proud, and tainted with both foreignness, for their Armenian blood, and failure, they nevertheless gained some influence through the marriage of one of their daughters, Agnes, to a prince and then King of Jerusalem. But that marriage was dissolved, and now even its children, Baldwin IV and Sibylla, are dead.

The last Courtenay patriarch, Joscellin III, tried to gain some influence by a deal with the Lusignans, betrothing both his daughters and heiresses into that family, but when he died, the Lusignans judged the support of a petty estate by no means worth keeping, and broke both espousals. Joint heiresses of Petra, the two ladies of Courtenay are thus left almost powerless and penniless.

For a list of all characters belonging or owing allegiance to this house, see Category: Courtenay.

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