Baldwin II’s daughter Hodierna of Tripoli, 1137

Note: this one should have been posted before the Second Crusade entries.

Hodierna, Baldwin’s third daughter, didn’t marry until she was about 25 (in 1137). It’s not clear why she stayed home so long when her sister Alice was married off at 16. It may have just been a lack of opportunity; no Prince Bohemund was on the horizon, and they didn’t want her to “marry down.” Hodierna’s husband Raymond II of Tripoli, who was in some ways the boy next door, was only 20.

Raymond II didn’t know what to do with the strong-willed, independent wife he had taken on. They say he tried keeping her in seclusion, but rumors still spread that her first baby was not fathered by Raymond. There were no serious questions raised when a boy was born, since he was a badly-needed heir, but the rumors about little Melisende persisted for years.

There’s an odd assassination episode during the Second Crusade, with Hodierna’s name mixed in. The youngest son of First Crusader Raymond of Toulouse came as a commander, but he died suddenly at Caesarea.  The circumstances of the young Count’s death in 1148 must have been highly suspicious. At the time, people said he had been poisoned. It’s interesting that when Baldwin I died at Muslim-held Caesarea, they didn’t take seriously the notion that he’d been poisoned. But this time, rumors spread that a woman had been behind the poisoning. Some said Queen Melisende of Jerusalem had arranged it at the request of Hodierna.

The Tripoli marriage seems to have been difficult straight through. By 1152, the couple had separated. Hodierna’s sister Queen Melisende came to Tripoli as mediator, but in the end, everyone agreed that it would be best if Hodierna and her daughter just went to Jerusalem for a while. After they were gone, assassins killed Raymond II. Historians seem to think that they were probably Nizari Ismaili agents who targeted a Christian ruler (not their usual) because he had given so much land and money to the Order of the Hospital knights, including the Krak des Chevaliers.

Hodierna went back to Tripoli to help her young son Raymond III rule until he was declared an adult at age 15, a few years later. Unlike her sister Alice, she didn’t try to wrest power from him. But in 1160, she suffered a great humiliation. The Byzantine Emperor made a tentative plan to marry her daughter Melisende, and Tripoli began taxing and gathering to give her a good dowry. While they were doing this, however, those old rumors about Hodierna’s lovers came to the Emperor’s ears. He began stalling until a year had passed, and next thing they knew, he had quietly married Alice’s granddaughter Maria, instead.

Raymond III took revenge by plundering Cyprus, then a Byzantine stronghold. But there was no real way to fix what had just happened. Melisende’s dowry collection stopped, and she quietly entered a convent. Hodierna lived long enough to sit at her oldest sister’s deathbed, then she too passed away in 1164. It doesn’t look like she had any grandchildren, so her line ended. Her older sisters’ descendants, though, more than pulled their weight in the “colorful independence” category.

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