Arda of Armenia
Arda was the wife of King Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Baldwin I of Jerusalem, formerly Baldwin I of Edessa, born Baldwin of Boulogne , 1058? – 2 April 1118, was one of the leaders of the First Crusade, who became the first Count of Edessa and then the second ruler and first titled King of Jerusalem...

. She was the first Queen consort
Queen consort
A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king. A queen consort usually shares her husband's rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant's political and military powers. Most queens in history were queens consort...

 of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

, as Baldwin's brother and predecessor Godfrey of Bouillon
Godfrey of Bouillon
Godfrey of Bouillon was a medieval Frankish knight who was one of the leaders of the First Crusade from 1096 until his death. He was the Lord of Bouillon, from which he took his byname, from 1076 and the Duke of Lower Lorraine from 1087...

 was unmarried.

Her name is unrecorded in contemporary sources, but since the 17th century she has been traditionally called Arda. She was the daughter of a minor Armenian noble named Thathoul (or Thoros
Thoros of Marash
Thoros of Marash was the father of Arda of Armenia, the first queen consort of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.Thoros' allowing Baldwin I of Jerusalem, who was then Count of Edessa to marry his daughter gave Baldwin a legitimate claim to Edessa since it was within the traditional area of Armenia.Thoros...

), lord of Marash. Baldwin married her in 1097 after the death of his first wife, Godehilde, who had travelled with him on the First Crusade
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

. Thoros promised 60,000 bezant
Bezant is a medieval term for a gold coin from the Byzantine Empire, which term is derived from the Greek name Βυζάντιον for the relatively minor city which in the 4th c. became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, renamed Constantinople by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great...

as a dowry
A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

. This was a politically convenient marriage, as Baldwin was the first Count of Edessa
County of Edessa
The County of Edessa was one of the Crusader states in the 12th century, based around Edessa, a city with an ancient history and an early tradition of Christianity....

, a crusader state carved out of Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

n territory in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...


Baldwin succeeded his brother as King of Jerusalem
Kings of Jerusalem
This is a list of kings of Jerusalem, from 1099 to 1291, as well as claimants to the title up to the present day.-Kings of Jerusalem :...

 in 1100, but Arda did not immediately accompany him south; she travelled by sea and arrived probably in 1101. In 1105 Baldwin had the marriage annulled, supposedly because Arda had been unfaithful, or, according to Guibert of Nogent
Guibert of Nogent
Guibert of Nogent was a Benedictine historian, theologian and author of autobiographical memoirs. Guibert was relatively unknown in his own time, going virtually unmentioned by his contemporaries...

, because she had been rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

d by pirates on the way to Jerusalem. In reality, Thoros had paid very little of the dowry, Arda had produced no children, and an Armenian wife was less useful in Jerusalem than in Edessa. Fulcher of Chartres
Fulcher of Chartres
Fulcher of Chartres was a chronicler of the First Crusade. He wrote in Latin.- Life :His appointment as chaplain of Baldwin of Boulogne in 1097 suggests that he had been trained as a priest, most likely at the school in Chartres...

, the chronicler closest to Baldwin, does not mention the matter at all, which likely means that Baldwin had no legitimate reason to annul the marriage. Instead, he simply forced Arda to enter the monastery of Saint Anne
Saint Anne
Saint Hanna of David's house and line, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ according to Christian and Islamic tradition. English Anne is derived from Greek rendering of her Hebrew name Hannah...

. Arda later demanded to be released and went to Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, where her father had fled when his lands were taken over by Edessa.

In 1112 Baldwin sought to marry Adelaide del Vasto
Adelaide del Vasto
Adelaide del Vasto was the third wife of Roger I of Sicily and mother of Roger II of Sicily, as well as Queen consort of Jerusalem due to her later marriage to Baldwin I of Jerusalem, as his third wife.-Family:She was the daughter of Manfred del Vasto Adelaide del Vasto (Adelasia, Azalaïs) (c....

, widow of Roger I of Sicily
Roger I of Sicily
Roger I , called Bosso and the Great Count, was the Norman Count of Sicily from 1071 to 1101. He was the last great leader of the Norman conquest of southern Italy.-Conquest of Calabria and Sicily:...

 and Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 for Roger II
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria , then King of Sicily...

. The marriage was arranged, although Baldwin was legally still married to Arda. Patriarch
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is the title possessed by the Latin Rite Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem. The Archdiocese of Jerusalem has jurisdiction for all Latin Rite Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Cyprus...

 Arnulf of Chocques
Arnulf of Chocques
Arnulf Malecorne of Chocques was a leader among the clergy during the First Crusade, and was Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1099 and from 1112 to 1118....

 was deposed for having supported the marriage, but was reinstated by Pope Paschal II
Pope Paschal II
Pope Paschal II , born Ranierius, was Pope from August 13, 1099, until his death. A monk of the Cluniac order, he was created cardinal priest of the Titulus S...

 in 1116, on condition that the marriage was annulled; Baldwin agreed and then attempted to bring Arda back from Constantinople. Arda never returned, and Baldwin died in 1118. The dates of Arda's birth and death are unknown.


  • Bernard Hamilton, "Women in the Crusader States: The Queens of Jerusalem", in Medieval Women, edited by Derek Baker. Ecclesiastical History Society, 1978.
  • Alan V. Murray, The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: A Dynastic History, 1099-1125. Prosopographica and Genealogica, 2000.

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