Raynald of Châtillon

Raynald of Châtillon

Raynald of Châtillon (also Reynaud, Renaud, Reynald, Reynold, Renald or Reginald of Chastillon) (c. 1125 – July 4 1187) was a knight who served in the Second Crusade and remained in the Holy Land after its defeat. He ruled as Prince of Antioch from 1153 to 1160 and through his second marriage became Lord of Oultrejordain. He was a controversial character in his own lifetime and beyond.


Raynald's origins are obscure; Du Cange believed he was from Châtillon-sur-Marne, but according to Jean Richard, he was a son of Hervé II of Donzy, and he inherited Châtillon-sur-Loing sometime before joining the Second Crusade in 1147. Other sources, however, say he was a second son of Henri I de Châtillon, Lord of Châtillon-sur-Loing, and wife Ermengarde de Montjay, dame and heiress of Montjay [ [http://web.genealogie.free.fr/Les_dynasties/Les_dynasties_celebres/France/Dynastie_de_Chatillon.htm web.genealogie ] ] . In the east, he entered the service of Constance of Antioch, whose first husband had died in 1149. She married Raynald in secret in 1153, without consulting her first cousin and liege lord, Baldwin III of Jerusalem. Neither King Baldwin nor Aimery of Limoges, the Latin Patriarch of Antioch, approved of Constance's choice of a husband of such low birth.

In 1156 Raynald claimed that the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus had reneged on his promise to pay Raynald a sum of money, and vowed to attack the island of Cyprus in revenge. When the Latin Patriarch of Antioch refused to finance this expedition, Raynald had the Patriarch seized, stripped naked, covered in honey, and left in the burning sun on top of the citadel. When the Patriarch was released, he collapsed in exhaustion and agreed to finance Raynald's expedition against Cyprus. Raynald's forces attacked Cyprus, ravaging the island and pillaging its inhabitants.

The Emperor Manuel I Comnenus raised an army and began a march into Syria. Faced with a much larger and more powerful force, Raynald was forced to grovel, barefoot and shabby, before the emperor's throne for forgiveness. In 1159 Raynald was forced to pay homage to Manuel as punishment for his attack, promising to accept a Greek Patriarch in Antioch. When Manuel came to Antioch later that year to meet with Baldwin III, King of Jerusalem, Raynald was forced to lead Manuel's horse into the city.

Soon after this, in 1160, Raynald was captured by the Muslims during a plundering raid against the Syrian and Armenian peasants of the neighbourhood of Marash. He was confined at Aleppo for the next seventeen years. As the stepfather of the Empress Maria, he was ransomed by Manuel for the extraordinary sum of 120,000 gold dinars (500 kg of gold-worth of 12 500 000 US $ today) in 1176.

Rise to prominence

Raynald served as Baldwin IV's envoy to Manuel and, because his wife Constance had died in 1163, was rewarded with marriage to another wealthy widow, Stephanie, the widow of both Humphrey III of Toron and Miles of Plancy and the heiress of the lordship of Oultrejordain, including the castles Kerak and Montreal to the southeast of the Dead Sea. These fortresses controlled the trade routes between Egypt and Damascus and gave Raynald access to the Red Sea. He became notorious for his wanton cruelty at Kerak, often having his enemies and hostages flung from its castle walls to be dashed to pieces on the rocks below.

In November 1177, at the head of the army of the kingdom, he helped King Baldwin defeat Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard; Saladin narrowly escaped. In 1181 the temptation of the caravans which passed by Kerak proved too strong and, in spite of a truce between Saladin and the king, Raynald began to plunder. Saladin demanded reparations from Baldwin IV, but Baldwin replied that he was unable to control his unruly vassal. As a result, war broke out between Saladin and the Latin kingdom in 1182. In the course of the hostilities, Raynald launched ships on the Red Sea, partly for piracy, but partly as a threat against Mecca and Medina, challenging Islam in its own holy places. His pirates ravaged villages up and down the Red Sea, before being captured by the army of Al-Adil I only a few miles from Medina. Although Raynald's pirates were taken to Cairo and beheaded, Raynald himself escaped to the Moab. Saladin vowed to behead Raynald himself, and at the end of the year Saladin attacked Kerak, during the marriage of Raynald's stepson Humphrey IV of Toron to Isabella of Jerusalem. The siege was raised by Count Raymond III of Tripoli, and Raynald was quiet until 1186.

That year he allied with Sibylla and Guy of Lusignan against Count Raymond, and his influence contributed to the recognition of Guy as king of Jerusalem, although Raymond and the Ibelins were attempting to advance the claim of his stepson Humphrey's wife Princess Isabella. Humphrey remained loyal to his stepfather and Guy.

Later in 1186 Raynald attacked a caravan travelling between Cairo and Damascus, breaking the truce between Saladin and the Crusaders. Saladin sent troops to protect a later caravan (in March 1187) in which his sister was returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca. Later writers (such as the 13th century "Old French Continuation of William of Tyre" and the "Latin Continuation of William of Tyre") conflated these two incidents, claiming erroneously that Saladin's sister, aunt, or even mother, had been taken prisoner, but this is contradicted by Arabic sources, such as Abu Shama and Ibn al-Athir. King Guy chastised Raynald in an attempt to appease Saladin, but Raynald replied that he was lord of his own lands and that he had made no peace with Saladin. Saladin swore that Raynald would be executed if he was ever taken prisoner.

Raynald's death

In 1187 Saladin invaded the kingdom, defeating the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin. The battle left Saladin with many prisoners. Most prominent among these prisoners were Raynald and King Guy, both of whom Saladin ordered brought to his tent. The chronicler Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani, who was present at the scene, relates:

King Guy was spared and was taken to Damascus for a time, then allowed to go free.

To a few Christians of his time, Raynald was considered a martyr killed at the hands of the Muslims. However, documentary evidence tends to refute this idealized picture, giving the impression of Reynald as a freebooter and pirate who had little concern for the welfare of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. It could be argued that the successes of the Kingdom were undone in large measure by Raynald's recklessness, which had the effect of provoking needlessly the Muslim states surrounding Outremer.
Saladin, however, acted well in accordance with his own interests. He killed Raynald, his bitter enemy, and spared the life of Guy knowing that to kill him was to end the faction struggle in the remnants of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He kept him in Damascus until he was sure that he would not be able to destroy all of the Kingdom outright. The factional struggle later greatly diminished the potency of the Third Crusade.

Personal life

* Raynald and Constance had one daughter: Agnes de Châtillon, who married king Béla III of Hungary

* From his second marriage with Stephanie de Milly, he had two children: a son, Raynald of Châtillon, who died young, and a daughter, Alix (Alice) de Châtillon, who married Azzo VI d'Este.

Some sources stated that Alix was also a daughter of Constance of Antioch [ [http://web.genealogie.free.fr/Les_dynasties/Les_dynasties_celebres/France/Dynastie_de_Chatillon.htm web.genealogie ] ] , but this is chronologically unlikely, considered the rank of years between the death of Constance (1163) and Alix's marriage with Azzo d'Este (1204) [ [http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/CHAMPAGNE%20NOBILITY.htm#AlixChatillondied1235 Champagne Nobility] ] .

In Literature and Film

* The "Passio Raginaldi principis Antiochae", an account of Raynald's death, was written by Peter of Blois c. 1200.
* Raynald is portrayed in the 1963 Egyptian movie "Al Nasser Salah Ad-Din".
* A largely fictionalized version of Raynald is played by Brendan Gleeson in the 2005 movie "Kingdom of Heaven".
* Raynald is featured as an NPC in the game as one of Saladin's nemeses
* In the novel The Knights of Dark Renown (1969), by author, Graham Shelby, Raynald is depicted as the malevolent 'Red Wolf of Kerak'.
* Appears as a NPC in the computer game "Baldur's Gate 2", in the Bridge District of the city of Amn.
* In the historical Knights Templar Trilogy by the Swedish author Jan Guillou, Raynald is depicted as a scheming, incompetent and selfish villain accelerating the loss of the Holy Land to Saladin.


* Hamilton, Bernard, "The Elephant of Christ: Reynald of Châtillon", "Studies in Church History" 15 (Oxford, 1978), pp. 97-108.
* Hamilton, Bernard, "The Leper King and His Heirs", 2000.
* Maalouf, Amin, "Crusades Through Arab Eyes", 1985.
* Peter of Blois "Petri Blesensis tractatus duo: Passio Raginaldi principis Antiochie, Conquestio de dilatione vie Ierosolimitane", ed. R.B.C Huygens, in "Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis" vol. CXCIV, 2002.
* Richard, Jean, "Aux origines d'un grand lignage: des palladii Renaud de Châtillon", in "Media in Francia: Recueil de mélanges offert à Karl Ferdinand Werner", 1989.
*Runciman, Steven, "A History of the Crusades: Volume 2, The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East" (1952)



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Châtillon-Coligny — Mairie de Châtillon Coligny …   Wikipedia

  • House of Châtillon — The House of Châtillon was a notable French family, with origins in the 9th century and surviving until 1762. The name comes from a county in Champagne, with its capital in Châtillon sur Marne and branches in Saint Pol sur Ternoise, Blois,… …   Wikipedia

  • Reginald of Châtillon — ▪ prince of Antioch Reginald also spelled  Raynald  or  Reynald , French  Renaud de Châtillon  born , Châtillon sur Loing, France died July 4, 1187, Galilee, Palestine [now in Israel]       prince of Antioch (1153–60), one of the leading military …   Universalium

  • Manuel I Komnenos — This article is about the 12th century Byzantine Emperor. For the eldest son of Andronikos I Komnenos and father of Alexios I of Trebizond, see Manuel Komnenos (born 1145). Manuel I Komnenos Emp …   Wikipedia

  • Kingdom of Jerusalem — Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem Regnum Hierosolimitanum Roiaume de Jherusalem Regno di Gerusalemme Βασίλειον τῶν Ἱεροσολύμων مملكة بيت المقدس ממלכת ירושלים ← …   Wikipedia

  • Kingdom of Heaven (film) — Infobox Film name = Kingdom of Heaven image size = caption = director = Ridley Scott producer = Ridley Scott writer = William Monahan narrator = starring = Orlando Bloom Eva Green Jeremy Irons David Thewlis Edward Norton Marton Csokas Liam Neeson …   Wikipedia

  • Guy of Lusignan — Infobox Monarch name = Guy of Lusignan title = King of Cyprus King of Jerusalem caption =Imaginary portrait of Guy of Lusignan by François Edouard Picot, c. 1843. Salles des Croisades , Versailles. reign = King of Jerusalem 1186–1192 King of… …   Wikipedia

  • Saladin — Infobox Monarch name =Ṣalāḥ ad Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb title =Sultan of Egypt and Syria caption =Artistic representation of Saladin reign =1174–1193 coronation =1174 full name =Ṣalāḥ ad Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb predecessor =Nur ad Din successor =Al ˤAzīz… …   Wikipedia

  • Constance of Antioch — Princess of Antioch Tenure 1131–1160 Spouse Raymond of Poitiers Raynald of Châtillon Issue Bohemund III of Antioch Maria, Byzantine Empress …   Wikipedia

  • Baldwin IV of Jerusalem — (1161 ndash;16 March 1185 [ [http://www.thepeerage.com/p823.htm#i8228 The Peerage] ] ), 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… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.