Sunday, September 9, 2007

Morphia of Melitane

Princess of Armenia and Queen of Jerusalem

Morphia was the daughter of Gabriel, Lord of Melitane. Morphia married Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem (c.1102) when he was Count of Edessa. They were happily married. After the defeat of the Frankish crusaders at Hanun (1104), her husband was captured and imprisoned at Mosel. Edessa was governed by Tancred of Antioch (brother of Bohemond, Prince of Antioch). Baldwin was released from captivity (1109).

The following year (1110), Edessa was besieged by Tancred at the same time the Muslims were invading the county territories. When Baldwin went to Jerusalem to be crowned king, Morphia remained in Edessa (c.1118 - 1119), which was in the process of being handed over to Joscelin of Courtenay. After the threat from attacking Muslims was gone, Morphia eventually made the journey south to Jerusalem with her daughters (Melisende, Alice, Hodierna and Jovetta) and was crowned queen at Bethlehem (Xmas 1119).

Morphia's husband, King Baldwin II journied north to Antioch (1120) where he concluded a peace treaty with the Muslims (1121). He was on his way to Edessa, when he was attacked by Turks (1123) and taken prisoner. Morphia journied north to be near husband during his captivity (c.1124) and was responsible for arranging the terms of his ransom. Her daughter Melisende was married to Fulk of Anjou, and Alice was married to Bohemond II of Antioch.

Morphia died some time before 1129, and was buried in Our Lady of Josaphat, Jerusalem.

~~~ Melisende (first pub: 1998 Women of History)

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