Godfrey of Bouillon

Godfrey of Bouillon (French: Godefroy, Dutch: Godfried, German: Gottfried, Latin: Godefridus Bullionensis; 18 September 1060 – 18 July 1100) was a French nobleman[1][2] and one of the pre-eminent leaders of the First Crusade. He was the first ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem from 1099 to 1100. He avoided using the title of king, choosing instead that of princeps.[3] Older scholarship is more fond of another title, that of Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri (Defender of the Holy Sepulchre),[4] a secondary title which is still preferred by the Catholic Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.[5][6]

Godfrey of Bouillon
Godfrey of Bouillon, from a fresco painted by an anonymous master at Castello della Manta in northern Italy, around 1420
Defender of the Holy Sepulchre
Reign22 July 1099 – 18 July 1100
SuccessorBaldwin I (as King of Jerusalem)
Duke of Lower Lorraine
Reign1089 – 1096
SuccessorHenry I
Bornc. 1060
Boulogne, Kingdom of France
Died18 July 1100 (aged 3940)
Jerusalem, Kingdom of Jerusalem
HouseHouse of Flanders
FatherEustace II of Boulogne
MotherIda of Lorraine

The second son of Eustace II, Count of Boulogne, Godfrey became Lord of Bouillon (from which he took his byname) in 1076 and secured his rights to the Duchy of Lower Lorraine in 1087 as a reward to his service to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV during the Great Saxon Revolt.

Godfrey and his brothers Eustace III and Baldwin of Boulogne joined the First Crusade in 1096. He saw minor action at Nicaea, Dorylaeum and Antioch, before playing a key role during the successful Siege of Jerusalem in 1099. Raymond IV of Toulouse declined the offer to become king of Jerusalem, and Godfrey accepted the rulership instead. He refused the title of king, however, as he believed that he ought not wear "a crown of gold" where Jesus Christ had worn "a crown of thorns". Godfrey secured his kingdom by defeating the Fatimids at Ascalon a month later, bringing the First Crusade to an end.

Godfrey only ruled Jerusalem for one year before his death in 1100. He was succeeded by his brother Baldwin, who was crowned the first king of Jerusalem.