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Balian of Ibelin

Holy Land Revealed

Balian of Ibelin, also known as Balian of Nablus, was a prominent medieval knight and nobleman who played a significant role in the history of the Crusader states during the 12th century. His life was marked by his involvement in key events, including battles and negotiations, that shaped the destiny of the Crusader kingdoms in the Holy Land. Here is an overview of Balian of Ibelin:

Early Life and Background:

Balian was born around 1143 in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, a Crusader state established after the First Crusade’s capture of Jerusalem in 1099.

He came from the noble House of Ibelin, known for its loyalty and service to the Crusader cause.

Second Crusade
Second Crusade

Participation in the Crusades:

Balian of Ibelin became a prominent figure during the late 12th century, marked by a series of conflicts between the Crusaders and Muslim forces, particularly under the leadership of Salah ad-Din (Saladin).

He participated in various campaigns and battles during the Second and Third Crusades.

Battle of Montgisard
Battle of Montgisard 1177

Role in the Battle of Hattin:

Balian’s most famous involvement came during the Battle of Hattin in 1187. This battle was a turning point in the Crusader-Muslim conflict and led to the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin.

Balian was among the Crusader leaders who fought in the Battle of Hattin and was taken captive by Saladin after the Crusader’s defeat.

Guy of Lusignan
Guy of Lusignan

Balian of Ibelin – Negotiations for Jerusalem:

While in captivity, Balian emerged as a key negotiator between the Crusaders and Saladin.

His negotiations with Saladin allowed for the safe evacuation of the remaining Christian inhabitants of Jerusalem, sparing them from harm and death.

Crusader Strategy And Tactics 

Return to the Holy Land:

After his release, Balian returned to the Holy Land and defended the remaining Crusader territories.

He became a prominent figure in the Kingdom of Jerusalem during the tumultuous years following the loss of Jerusalem.

Balian of Ibelin – Guardianship of Jerusalem:

In 1189, Balian assumed the role of regent and defender of Jerusalem when the city was briefly recaptured by the Crusaders.

He faced the challenge of safeguarding the city’s inhabitants and defending it against further Muslim attacks.

Siege of Jerusalem 1187

Legacy and Historical Significance:

Balian of Ibelin is remembered as a brave and skilled knight who played a crucial role in the events surrounding the Battle of Hattin and the subsequent negotiations with Saladin.

His actions in ensuring the safe evacuation of Jerusalem’s Christian population demonstrated courage and compassion.

In conclusion, Balian of Ibelin’s life and actions epitomize the complexities and challenges faced by the Crusader states in the Holy Land during the 12th century. His role as a knight, negotiator, and defender of Jerusalem during a tumultuous period in Crusader history has left a lasting legacy, making him a notable figure in the history of the Crusades. For more about Balian, go to Wikipedia.


Hi! My name is Arik, an Israeli native who dedicated his life to sharing my passion for the Holy Land with those interested in knowing more about this incredible piece of land. I’m the Chief Guide at ‘APT Private Tours in Israel’.

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