William of Montferrat, Count of Jaffa and Ascalon

William of Montferrat (early 1140s-1177), also called William Longsword (modern Italian Guglielmo Lungaspada, originally Occitan Guilhem Longa-Espia), was the Count of Jaffa and Ascalon, the eldest son of William V, Marquess of Montferrat and Judith of Babenberg. He was the older brother of Conrad, Boniface, Azalaïs, and Renier, and a cousin of both Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor and Louis VII of France.

The earliest surviving mention of William's epithet, "Longsword", said to refer to his military abilities, and differentiating him from his father, known as "William the Elder", is in the song "En abril, quan vei verdeyar", composed in late 1176-early 1177 by the troubadour Peire Bremon lo Tort:

Chanzos, tu.t n'iras outra mar,
e, per Deu, vai a midons dir
qu'en gran dolor et en cossir
me fai la nuoit e.l jorn estar.
di.m a'n Guilhelm Longa-Espia,
bona chanzos, qu'el li.t dia
e que i an per lieis confortar.

It was rendered into Latin as "Longaspata" by William of Tyre in his "Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum" (written in the early 1180s), whence it has been taken up by historians.

Despite his eligibility as the eldest son of one of the greatest magnates in northern Italy, with many royal and imperial connections and the fair good looks of his family, he did not marry until he was well into his thirties. In 1167, his father had tried to arrange marriages for him and Conrad to daughters of Henry II of England or sisters of William I of Scotland - but these failed, the English match probably because of consanguinity (the boys' mother Judith was related to Eleanor of Aquitaine), the Scottish match because the princesses were already married.

In 1176 William was chosen by Raymond III, count of Tripoli, and Baldwin IV, king of Jerusalem, to marry Baldwin's sister Sibylla. William also gained the County of Jaffa and Ascalon in the marriage. William of Tyre describes him as tall, blond, and handsome; brave, frank and unpretentious, but inclined to eat and drink copiously, though not to the impairment of his judgment.

With the King's consent, William and Reynald of Châtillon gave a grant of land to the new Castilian military order, the Order of Montjoie, commanded by Count Rodrigo Alvarez de Sarria. However, William's activities in Outremer were cut short. He fell ill, probably from malaria, at Ascalon in April 1177, and died there in June, leaving Sibylla pregnant with the future king Baldwin V. His body was taken to Jerusalem and buried at the Hospital of St John.


* [http://centri.univr.it/RM/biblioteca/scaffale/volumi.htm#Walter%20Haberstumpf Haberstumpf, Walter. "Dinastie europee nel Mediterraneo orientale. I Monferrato e i Savoia nei secoli XII–XV", 1995] (external link to downloadable text).
* Hamilton, Bernard. "The Leper King and His Heirs: Baldwin IV and the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem", 2000 ISBN 0-521-64187-X
* [http://brindin.com/potorabr.htm Peire Bremon lo Tort, "En abril, quan vei verdeyar", with translation by James H. Donalson] (external link)
* Runciman, Steven. "A History of the Crusades", 1951-54, vol. 2
* Usseglio, Leopoldo. "I Marchesi di Monferrato in Italia ed in Oriente durante i secoli XII e XIII", 1926

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • County of Jaffa and Ascalon — Vassal of Kingdom of Jerusalem ← …   Wikipedia

  • William of Montferrat — William was the name of several of the marquesses of Montferrat and of some other members of the same dynasties.* William I of Montferrat (d. before 933) * William II of Montferrat * William III of Montferrat (991 – bef.1042), son of Otho I *… …   Wikipedia

  • William Longsword — may refer to:*William I, Duke of Normandy (893 942), second duke of Normandy *William of Montferrat, Count of Jaffa and Ascalon (c. 1140 1177), crusader *William de Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury (1176 1226), illegitimate son of Henry II, loyal …   Wikipedia

  • William V, Marquess of Montferrat — William V of Montferrat (occ./piem. Guilhem , it. Guglielmo ) (c. 1115 ndash; 1191), also known as William the Old to distinguish him from his eldest son, William Longsword, was marquess of Montferrat from c. 1136 to his death in 1191. William… …   Wikipedia

  • Guillaume de Montferrat (1150-1177) — Guillaume de Montferrat (ca 1135/45 † 1177), ou Guillaume Longue Épée (Guglielmo Lungaspada), est un comte de Jaffa et d Ascalon de 1176 à 1177, fils de Guillaume V, marquis de Montferrat et de Judith de Babenberg. Sommaire 1 Famille 2 Biographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Guillaume de montferrat (1150-1177) — Guillaume de Montferrat (ca 1135/45 † 1177), ou Guillaume Longue Épée (Guglielmo Lungaspada), est un comte de Jaffa et d Ascalon de 1176 à 1177, fils de Guillaume V, marquis de Montferrat et de Judith de Babenberg. Sommaire 1 Famille 2 Biographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Azalaïs of Montferrat — (also Adelasia or Alasia) (died 1232), was marchioness and regent of Saluzzo.Azalaïs was one of at least three daughters of William V of Montferrat and his wife Judith of Babenberg. Her brothers included William of Montferrat, Count of Jaffa and… …   Wikipedia

  • Boniface I, Marquess of Montferrat — Boniface of Montferrat ( it. Bonifacio del Monferrato; el. Βονιφάτιος Μομφερρατικός, Vonifatios Momferratikos ), (c. 1150 ndash; 1207) was Marquess of Montferrat and the leader of the Fourth Crusade. He was the third son of William V of… …   Wikipedia

  • Posthumous birth — A posthumous birth is the birth of a child after the death of a parent. [ [http://www.dominican.edu/query/ncur/display ncur.php?id=183 THE ETHICAL AND LEGAL QUAGMIRES OF POSTMORTEM REPRODUCTION] , by Christie Brough, 21st National Conference on… …   Wikipedia

  • Peire Bremon lo Tort — (or Bremonz lo Tortz ; fl. 1177) was a troubadour from the Viennois. Though only two of his pieces (both love songs) survive, his poetry is characterised by Francoprovençalisms. According to his short vida , he was honoured by all the notable men …   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.