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  • Peter Straka

Do you know Baldwin IV of Jerusalem: The Courageous Leper King?

I recently learned about King Baldwin IV who fascinates me a lot. He became king as a young boy and fought his biggest battle at the age of 16. He was a very ill boy but also very dedicated to his role as king of Jerusalem. I will tell you a bit about his life and achievements.


Baldwin IV was a fascinating figure in the history of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He lived and reigned in the 12th century. Baldwin was born 1161. His short reign, was characterized by his courage and determination, earning him the enduring moniker of the "Leper King." He was only 13 years old when his father died and he became King Baldwin IV, but he had a lot of responsibility ruling over a kingdom that held immense historical and religious significance. Jerusalem, a city revered by Christians, Muslims, and Jews, was at the heart of his realm.

One of the most striking aspects of Baldwin IV's life was his battle with leprosy, a disease that

afflected him from a young age. His illness caused a physical challenge, he experienced a lot of pain.

Nevertheless Baldwin was a very strong ruler and was very intelligent. Throughout his reign, Baldwin IV had to defend the Kingdom of Jerusalem from external threats. He had to contend with powerful adversaries, including the renowned Muslim military leader Saladin. He inspired his troops by leading battles even though he was really ill. One of the most important battles during Baldwin IV's reign was the Battle of Montgisard in 1177. Despite being outnumbered, Baldwin and his forces achieved a stunning victory against Saladin's army. This victory demonstrated not only Baldwin's military acumen but also his dedication to protecting his kingdom at all costs. Baldwin IV's reign was also marked by his efforts to secure the kingdom's future through diplomacy and alliances. He wanted to ensure the continuity of the Kingdom of Jerusalem by designating his sister, Sibylla, as his heir. This move aimed to provide stability and prevent conflicts over the succession. Sadly Baldwin IV's health continued to deteriorate, and he faced increasing challenges in carrying out his duties as king. In 1183 he had to appoint his sister Sibylla's son, Baldwin V, as co-king as his health got worse. Baldwin IV passed away in 1185, leaving behind a legacy of courage and determination that continues to be celebrated today.

Baldwin IV of Jerusalem stands as a testament to the strength of the human spirit. His reign may have been short, but his indomitable will, his commitment to his kingdom, and his remarkable courage in the face of adversity have secured his place as one of the most inspiring figures in the history of Jerusalem and the Crusader states.

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