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The Principality of Antioch

The County of Tripoli

The Kingdom of Jerusalem

The Kingdom of Cyprus

The Kingdom of Armenia/Cilicia


The Principality of Antioch


Antioch was captured in 1098 by Bohemund of Hauteville originating from Apulia and son of Robert Guiscard. Bohemund founded a principalty independent from Byzantium against the wishes of the Emperor Alexius who had wanted to reunite the territory to the Byzantine Empire. Instead the principalty became a de jure vassal of the Patriarch of Jerusalem and later of Baldwin of Bouillon who had been crowned king by the Patriarch. 

After the fall of Edessa in 1144, Antioch was attacked by Nur ad-Din during the Second Crusade. Much of the eastern part of the Principality was lost, and Raymond was killed at the battle of Inab in 1149. His successor, Raynald, immediately found himself in conflict with the Byzantines, this time in Cyprus; he made peace with Manuel I Comnenus, however, in 1158, and the next year Manuel arrived to take personal control of the Principality. Henceforth, the Principality of Antioch was to be a vassal of Byzantium until Manuel's death in 1180. Although this arrangement meant that the Principality had to provide a contingent for the Byzantine Army (troops from Antioch participated in an attack on the Seljuk Turks in 1176), it also safeguarded the city against Nur ad-Din at a time when it was in serious danger of being overrun.

At his death Raymond III bequeathed the County of Tripoli to Bohemund III.

Bohemond III's death resulted in a struggle for control between Antioch, represented by Bohemond of  Tripoli, and Armenia, represented by Bohemond III's grandson Raymond-Rupen. Bohemond of Tripoli, as Bohemond IV, took control by 1207, but Raymond briefly ruled as a rival from 1216 to 1219.



House of Hauteville

Bohemond I




Roger van Salerno


Baldwin II of Jerusalem


Bohemond II




Baldwin II of Jerusalem


Folco of Jerusalem


Raymond of Poitiers


Baldwin III of Jerusalem


Reginald of Châtillon


Aimery de Limoges patr. Antioch


House of Poitiers

Bohemond III


Princes of Antioch, Counts of Tripoli

Bohemond III


Bohemond IV


Raymond Rupen


Bohemond IV


Bohemond V


Bohemond VI the One-eyed


Mameluk Capture of Antioch 1268

Titulary Princes of Antioch, Counts of Tripoli

Bohemond VI the One-eyed


Bohemond VII




Mameluk Capture of Tripoli 1289

Titulary Princes of Antioch

Philip of Toucy


Marguerite of Lusignan


John I of Lusignan




John II


John III of Coimbra


To Venice

Bohemond died in 1233, and Antioch, ruled by his son Bohemond V, played no important role in the Fifth Crusade, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II's struggles to take back Jerusalem in the Sixth Crusade, or Louis IX of France's Seventh Crusade.

In 1268 the city was captured by the Mameluks and Bohemund VI retired to Tripoli which fell in 1289.

From that time there only have been titulary Princes of Antioch.


The red lion of Antioch


In 13th century sources the arms of Antiochia are described and given as Argent, a lion Gules. Their origin may be in Byzantium of which the Prince of Antioch was a (nominal) vassal.


This Lion may be traced back to Bohemond I who in 1097  blandly requested of Emperor Alexius the office of grand domestic of the east, which would have made him imperial viceroy for all the lands that the crusaders might conquer..”

This is reported by Anna Komnena  in the Alexiade (Book X, H.XI [1])):


“Therefore when Bohemund demanded the office of Grand Domestic of the East, he (Alexius I) did not gain his request, for he was trying to ‘out-Cretan a Cretan’. For the Emperor feared that if he gained power he would make the other Counts his captives and bring them round afterwards to doing whatever he wished. Further he did not want Bohemund to have the slightest suspicion that he was already detected, so he flattered him with fair hopes by saying,  “The time for that has not come yet; but by your energy and reputation and above all by your fidelity it will come ere long.””





of Michael VII Parapinaces.


There is no record that Alexius granted such a request but maybe Bohemund was appeased by the function of a protovestiarios, a high-ranking title bestowed to important aristocrats which, in the 9th -11th centuries were appointed as generals and ambassadors (and that he was). The emblem of rank of a Byzantine count was a lion and of such a protovestiarios a red lion on a white background. This can be seen on a picture of Michael VII Parapinaces where a proedros protovestiarios is depicted dressed in a tunica charged with big medallions enclosing red lions passant. [2]


Such a red lion was probably also adopted by Raymond of Poitiers and the House of Poitiers in general, as a red lion was the arms of the Count of Poitou until the mid-13t century. In Antioch the red lion can be traced back with some certainty to Bohemond IV whose son Henry married Melisende de Lusignan. Their son Hugues III of Cyprus combined the arms of Lusignan with a red lion.


The red lion on a white field can also be found on a stone, today in the Museum of Cairo.


Lion on a stone with traces of red paint

Late 13th  century. H.: 37.5 cm; W.: 40.0 cm. D.: 12.7 cm

Cairo, Museum of Islamic Art, 3796. Purchased 1911.


Touches of red pigment remaining inside the claws and recesses of the floral design on the rump indicate that the animal was once covered with (red) paint.


On a glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London there is also a red lion on a white disc:


Glass beaker with red lion passant

Egypt, 1260-1277 V&A Museum, London, inv nr. 335-1900. Room 131, case 47


Both pieces are attributed to Sultan Baybars of Egypt who captured Antioch in 1268 but his blazon was:  Sable, a lion Argent. Both pieces however may be considerably older and may date before the capture of Antioch in 1268.



Argent, a lion Gules was used by all titulary princes of Antioch until the end of the Venetian Republic in 1795.


ð See Cyprus.


A short interruption in the use of this emblem consists of the arms granted to Bohemund VI by King Louis of France. “With the king’s consent he quartered his arms, which were gules, with the arms of France, because the king had made him a knight.” [3] At the time (1252) Antioch was still ruled by his mother Luciana of Segni.

For that reason the quartered arms are the arms of the successor in Antioch and in particular of Bohemund who bore, as a prince without any military rank, no blason but the colour of the armed force.

The granting of the semy of France was an unusual favour.


The County of Tripoli


The County of Tripoli was the last of the four major Crusader states in the Levant to be created. The beginnings of the County came in 1102, when Count Raymond IV of Toulouse, one of the chief leaders of the First Crusade, began a lengthy war with the Banu Ammar Emirs of Tripoli (theoretically vassals of the Fatimid caliphs in Cairo), gradually seizing much of their territory and besieging them within Tripoli itself.

Raymond died in 1105, leaving his infant son Alfonse-Jordan as his heir, with a cousin, William-Jordan of Cerdagne, as regent. William-Jordan continued the siege of Tripoli for the next four years, when a bastard son of Raymond IV, Bertrand, who had been acting as regent of Toulouse, arrived in the east, leaving Toulouse to Alfonse-Jordan and his mother, who returned to France. With the mediation of

King Baldwin I of Jerusalem, Bertrand and William-Jordan came to an agreement under which each would keep control of their own conquests, an agreement from which Bertrand got the better part of when he captured Tripoli later that year. When William-Jordan died a few months later, Bertrand became sole ruler. The County of Tripoli continued to exist as a vassal state of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, while within the county itself the Knights Hospitaller were given an autonomous castle in 1142, the famous Krak des Chevaliers.



House of Toulouse

Raymond I de St. Gilles

C. of Toulouse 1102-1105

C. of Tripoli 1102-1105

William of Cerdagne



regent 1105-1109




Raymond II


Raymond III


To the House of  Antioch/Poitiers


Count Raymond III of Tripoli, who reigned from 1152 to 1187, was an important figure in the history of the Kingdom to the south, due to his close relationship to its Kings (his mother Hodierna was a daughter of Baldwin II of Jerusalem) and to his own position as Prince of Galilee through his wife. He acted twice as Regent for the Kingdom, first for the young Baldwin IV from 1174 to 1177, and then again for Baldwin V from 1185 to 1186, and acted as the leader of the local nobility in their opposition to Baldwin IV's Courtenay relations, to the Templars, to Guy of Lusignan, and to Raynald of Chatillon. Raymond argued unsuccessfully in favour of peace with Saladin, but, ironically, it was Saladin's siege of Raymond's Countess in Tiberias that led the Crusader army into Galilee before its defeat at Hattin in 1187, and although Raymond, who was one of the commanders, survived the battle, he died soon afterwards.


2nd Equestrian seal: Arms: a 12-pointed latin cross formy pommelly. L.: s raimv(ndi dvc)is narbone comitis (tolose marchionis p)rovincie. D.: IV. 1204. (Douët d'Arcq. No. 742).

The arms of Raymond de St. Gilles certainly were his arms as a commander of the first crusade. It can be seen on his seal dated 1104 showing [Gules] a latin cross formy pommelly [Or] voided of the field. Later counts seem to have used: Gules, a lion Or. These arms are documented by Matthew Paris at the capture of the true cross by Saladin. Count Raymond III is depicted there helping his king to keep the true cross. On his back is a shield of a yellow lion on a red field.  [4]


Raymond III helping his king recovering the true cross at the battle of Hattin

Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora fol 279.


Le Roy de surie



Seal of Pons of Tripoli

Knight with banner with cross



The emblem of the united principalities of Antioch and Tripoli was a yellow cross on a red field. It is documented by the Wijnbergen roll with the legend: le Roy de surie. [6]  This emblem is the same as the emblem of the Byzantine Empire, as displayed on its banner. [7] The legend refers to the former Roman province of Syria which had its capital at Antioch.

A banner with a crux quadrata was also displayed by Pons of Tripoli as can be seen on his seal. As Tripoli was a vassal of Jerusalem at his reign this cross probably was the cross of Jerusalem (Or, a square cross Argent).


Silver coin: 8-pointed star / square cross. L: BOEMVNDVS COMES CIVITAS TRIPOLI



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© Hubert de Vries 2011-07-21; Updated 2016-12-02



[1]  The Alexiad of the Princess Anna Komnena. Being te history of the reign of her father Alexius I, Emperor of the Romans 1081-1118 AD. Trans. by Elizabeth A.S. Dawes. London, 1967. P. 267.

[2] Michael VII (1060-1078) and his courtiers in the Homilies of Johannes Chrysostomos (Paris Bibl. Nat., Ms Coislin 79, fol. 2r , 11th century).

[3] Joinville and Villehardouin: Chronicles of the Crusades. Penguin Classics. London, 1963 p. 297.

[4] 1187 Matthew Paris Chronica Majora, Cambridge, Corp. Christi Coll. MS 26 fol 279 [140] Saladin Capturing the True Cross, 1187 (2:328) bottom right margin: Salaadinus - Guido rex. Crux sca. The assistant of  Guy with a shield on his back.

[5] From: Archer, Thomas Andrew & Charles Lethbridge Kingsford: The crusades; the story of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. 1894

[6] Adam-Even op.cit. n° 1308

[7] According to the Madrilene Chronicle of  Johan Skylitzes. Palermo, ca. 1150-’75. Bibl. Nacional, Madrid, Vitr. 26-2

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