Kingdom of Heaven: Was Balian of Ibelin a Reformed? (1)

My friends and I watched Kingdom of Heaven on Saturday. This nice review gives an overall comment of the movie, which I agree with. The movie is pretty true to the facts, but not quite.

After some research, I found that Balian of Ibelin actually existed, but his father was not Godfrey of Ibelin. Godfrey was another man related to the founding of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. It was true that Balian defended Jerusalem after the Battle of Hattin (1187) and negotiated Jerusalem’s subsequent surrender to Saladin in October 1187, but whether he was also involved in defending Kerak and played such an important role as in the movie is questionable. He was not a blacksmith. And he did not marry Sibylla, either. In the movie, it seems that Kerak was the passage to the fall of Jerusalem, but actually Saladin only succeeded to capture Kerak after a long siege in 1189. The great battle was actually the Battle of Hattin, where the army of Jerusalem was annihilated, but the movie chose not to focus on it but instead focus on the siege of Kerak (which in the movie preceded the fall of Jerusalem). The portrayal of Reynald of Chatillon as a reckless and selfish villain, who led the attack of a caravan which broke the truce between the Crusaders and Saladin, was true. The portrayal of Guy de Lusignan as an ambitious king who led the army of Jerusalem into the Battle of Hattin, which became the turning point in the history of the kingdom of Jerusalem, was also true.

to be continued …

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