Lordship of Oultrejordain or Oultrejourdain (Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 for "beyond the Jordan") was the name used during the Crusades for an extensive and partly undefined region to the east of the Jordan river, an area known in ancient times as Edom
Edom or Idumea was a historical region of the Southern Levant located south of Judea and the Dead Sea. It is mentioned in biblical records as a 1st millennium BC Iron Age kingdom of Edom, and in classical antiquity the cognate name Idumea was used to refer to a smaller area in the same region...

 and Moab
Moab is the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over...

. It was also referred to as Transjordan.

Geography and demography

Oultrejordain extended southwards through the Negev Desert to the Gulf of Aqaba
Gulf of Aqaba
The Gulf of Aqaba is a large gulf located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. In pre twentieth-century and modern sources it is often named the Gulf of Eilat, as Eilat is its predominant Israeli city ....

 (Ile de Graye, now Pharaoh's Island
Pharaoh's Island
Pharaoh's Island refers to an island in the northern Gulf of Aqaba off the shore of Egypt's eastern Sinai Peninsula.-History:In the 12th century, Crusaders defending the route between Cairo and Damascus controlled by the nearby city of Aqaba, in Jordan, built a citadel on the small island, which...

). To the north and east (the ancient Gilead
In the Bible "Gilead" means hill of testimony or mound of witness, , a mountainous region east of the Jordan River, situated in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is also referred to by the Aramaic name Yegar-Sahadutha, which carries the same meaning as the Hebrew . From its mountainous character...

) there were no real borders — to the north was the Dead Sea
Dead Sea
The Dead Sea , also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface. The Dead Sea is deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world...

 and to the east were caravan
Caravan (travellers)
A caravan is a group of people traveling together, often on a trade expedition. Caravans were used mainly in desert areas and throughout the Silk Road, where traveling in groups aided in defence against bandits as well as helped to improve economies of scale in trade.In historical times, caravans...

 and pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

 routes, part of the Muslim
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 Hijaz. These areas were also under the control of the sultan of Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, and by custom the two opponents rarely met there, for battle or for other purposes.

Before 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...

 Oultrejordain was controlled by the Fatimids of Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, whose representatives (originally very few, if any at all) withdrew when the Crusaders arrived. The various tribes there quickly made peace with the Crusaders. The first expedition to the area was under 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...

 in 1100. Baldwin also invaded again in 1107 and 1112, and built Montreal
Montreal (Crusader castle)
Montreal is a Crusader castle on the eastern side of the Arabah, perched on the side of a rocky, conical mountain, looking out over fruit trees below...

 in 1115 to control the Muslim caravan
Caravan (travellers)
A caravan is a group of people traveling together, often on a trade expedition. Caravans were used mainly in desert areas and throughout the Silk Road, where traveling in groups aided in defence against bandits as well as helped to improve economies of scale in trade.In historical times, caravans...

 routes, which provided enormous revenue to the kingdom. The crusaders also controlled the area around Petra
Petra is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma'an that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited...

, where they set up an archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

ric under the authority of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
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...


There were very few Christians in Oultrejordain, most of the inhabitants being Shiite Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 nomads. Many of the Syrian Christians who lived there were transplanted to Jerusalem in 1115 to fill up the former Jewish quarter (the Jews had been either killed or expelled). The other Christians who lived in Oultrejordain were nomadic or semi-nomadic and were often distrusted by the Crusaders.

Crusader Lordship of Oultrejordain

According to John of Ibelin
John of Ibelin (jurist)
John of Ibelin , count of Jaffa and Ascalon, was a noted jurist and the author of the longest legal treatise from the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He was the son of Philip of Ibelin, bailli of the Kingdom of Cyprus, and Alice of Montbéliard, and was the nephew of John of Ibelin, the "Old Lord of Beirut"...

, it was one of the four major Vassals of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Vassals of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Crusader state of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, created in 1099, was divided into a number of smaller seigneuries.-Introduction:According to the 13th century jurist John of Ibelin the four highest barons in the kingdom proper were:* the Count of Jaffa and Ascalon...

. John, writing in the 13th century, called it a lordship, but it may have been treated as a principality in the 12th century. It was established after the expedition of Baldwin I, but due to the relative size and inaccessibility of the area, the lords of Oultrejordain tended to claim some independence from the kingdom. With its mostly undefined borders, it was one of the largest seigneuries. Baldwin I may have given it away to Roman of Le Puy in 1118, but it probably remained under royal control until 1126 when Pagan the Butler was created lord (1126–1147). There was also a tradition that the ruler of Oultrejordain could not hold any other positions in the kingdom at the same time, so they were somewhat cut off from political life. Around 1134 a revolt occurred against King Fulk
Fulk of Jerusalem
Fulk , also known as Fulk the Younger, was Count of Anjou from 1109 to 1129, and King of Jerusalem from 1131 to his death...

 under Hugh II of Le Puiset
Hugh II of Le Puiset
Hugh II of Le Puiset was a crusader knight and Count of Jaffa, who revolted against King Fulk in 1134.-Arrival in the kingdom:...

, count of Jaffa
County of Jaffa and Ascalon
The double County of Jaffa and Ascalon was one of the four major seigneuries comprising the major crusader state, the Kingdom of Jerusalem, according to 13th-century commentator John of Ibelin.-History:...

, and Roman of Le Puy (who was possibly lord of Oultrejordain). They were defeated and exiled. In 1142, Fulk built the castle of Kerak
Kerak Castle is a large crusader castle located in Kerak in Jordan. It is one of the largest crusader castles in the Levant.Construction of the castle began in the 1140s, under Pagan, the butler of Fulk of Jerusalem. The Crusaders called it Crac des Moabites or "Karak in Moab", as it is frequently...

 (Crac des Moabites), replacing Montreal as the Crusader stronghold in the area. Other castles in Oultrejordain included Safed and Subeibe. Toron
Toron, now Tibnin or Tebnine in southern Lebanon, was a major Crusader castle, built in the Lebanon mountains on the road from Tyre to Damascus....

, near Tyre, and Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

, in Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

, were not located in Oultrejordain, though they were sometimes ruled by the same people, usually through marriage.

In 1148 the lord of Oultrejordain was involved in the decision to attack Damascus during the Second Crusade
Second Crusade
The Second Crusade was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098...

, despite the truce between Jerusalem and Damascus that was vital to the survival of the kingdom and especially the lordship. The crusade ended in defeat and the security of the lordship diminished as a result.

Maurice of Oultrejordain left the lordship to his daughter Isabella (c. 1125–1166) and her husband Philip de Milly, lord of Nablus, who was compelled to resign Nablus in order to be recognized as ruler of Oultrejordain. After Isabella died, Philip (who ruled Oultrejordain 1161–1168) became a warrior-monk and finally Grand Master of the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

. Meanwhile, their son-in-law Humphrey III of Toron, son of the royal constable Humphrey II
Humphrey II of Toron
Humphrey II of Toron was lord of Toron and constable of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.Humphrey had become lord of Toron sometime before 1140, when he married the daughter of Renier Brus, lord of Banias . Through this marriage Banias was added to Toron...

, had become ruler of Oultrejordain in right of his wife, their daughter Stephanie de Milly. Stephanie's later husbands also became lords of Oultrejordain in turn.

Raynald of Châtillon
Raynald of Chatillon
Raynald of Châtillon was a knight who served in the Second Crusade and remained in the Holy Land after its defeat...

, formerly Prince of Antioch
Principality of Antioch
The Principality of Antioch, including parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria, was one of the crusader states created during the First Crusade.-Foundation:...

 through his wife Constance
Constance of Antioch
Constance of Antioch was the only daughter of Bohemund II of Antioch by his wife Alice, princess of Jerusalem. She was also Princess regnant of the Principality of Antioch from 1130 to her death.-Early life:...

, became lord of Oultrejordain by marriage to Stephanie in 1177. He began to claim that the king had no authority in Oultrejordain and acted as a petty king himself. He used his position to attack pilgrims and caravans, and threatened to attack Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

, which resulted in an invasion of the kingdom by Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

 in 1187. Raynald was executed by Saladin himself after the Battle of Hattin
Battle of Hattin
The Battle of Hattin took place on Saturday, July 4, 1187, between the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and the forces of the Ayyubid dynasty....

 on July 4 of that year. By 1189 Saladin had taken all of Oultrejordain and destroyed its castles. In 1229 Jerusalem was briefly recovered by treaty by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

, but the remnant of the kingdom never again controlled territory to the east of the Jordan. The principality was of course claimed by crusader nobles for a long time, the title passing to the line of Isabelle de Toron, daughter of Stephanie, and for several generations belonged to Montfort family, who were lords of Tyre. After the 1350s, when the Montfort line went extinct without close heirs, the hereditary rights presumably passed to the kings of Cyprus who also were descendants of lords of Toron and Tyre.

While under Crusader control, the Bedouin nomads were generally left to themselves, although the king collected taxes on caravans passing through. The land was relatively good for agriculture, and wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

s and olive
The olive , Olea europaea), is a species of a small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin as well as northern Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea.Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the...

s were grown there. Salt
In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

 was also collected from the Dead Sea.

Oultrejordain was also known in Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 as Transjordan, and covered territory that would later become part of the Emirate of Transjordan
The Emirate of Transjordan was a former Ottoman territory in the Southern Levant that was part of the British Mandate of Palestine...

 and the modern country of Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...


Lords of Oultrejordain

  • Roman of Le Puy
    Roman of Le Puy
    Roman of Le Puy was a French nobleman from Le Puy-en-Velay who accompanied Adhemar de Monteil on the First Crusade in the army of Raymond IV of Toulouse....

     (possibly 1118–1126)
  • Pagan the Butler
    Pagan the Butler
    Pagan the Butler was a Crusader lord in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Around 1120, he first appears as the butler of Baldwin II....

  • Maurice of Transjordan (1147–1161)
  • Philip of Milly
    Philip of Milly
    Philip of Milly , also known as Philip of Nablus, was a baron in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the seventh Grand Master of the Knights Templar...

     (1161–1168) and his wife Isabella, daughter of Maurice
    • Stephanie de Milly, daughter and heiress, whose husbands exercised the powers of the lordship:
  • Humphrey III of Toron (1168–1173), first husband of Stephanie
  • Miles of Plancy
    Miles of Plancy
    Miles of Plancy , also known as Milon or Milo, was a noble in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.He was born in Champagne and came to the east in the 1160s, where he served King Amalric I, to whom he was distantly related. Amalric made him seneschal of Jerusalem, and in 1167 he participated in...

     (1173–1174), second husband of Stephanie
  • Raynald of Châtillon
    Raynald of Chatillon
    Raynald of Châtillon was a knight who served in the Second Crusade and remained in the Holy Land after its defeat...

     (1176–1187), third husband of Stephanie.
  • Humphrey IV of Toron
    Humphrey IV of Toron
    Humphrey IV of Toron was the lord of Toron, Kerak, and Oultrejordain in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.-Biography:...

     (1187–1197), son of Stephanie from her first marriage to Humphrey III of Toron, titular prince of Oultrejordain, Lord of Toron
  • Alice of Armenia
    Alice of Armenia
    Alice of Armenia was the eldest daughter of Ruben III, Prince of Armenia and his wife Isabella of Toron. She was heiress of Toron as well as a claimant to the throne of Armenia...

     (1197–1199?), niece of Humphrey, and her husband Raymond of Antioch


In the time of Philip of Nablus, Arabian Petra
Petra is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma'an that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited...

 was a vassal fief under the princes of Oultrejordain.


  • John L. La Monte, Feudal Monarchy in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1100-1291. The Medieval Academy of America, 1932.
  • Jonathan Riley-Smith
    Jonathan Riley-Smith
    Jonathan Simon Christopher Riley-Smith, K.St.J., Ph.D. MA, Litt.D., FRHistS is an historian of the Crusades, and a former Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History...

    , The Feudal Nobility and the Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1174-1277. The Macmillan Press, 1973.
  • Steven Runciman
    Steven Runciman
    The Hon. Sir James Cochran Stevenson Runciman CH — known as Steven Runciman — was a British historian known for his work on the Middle Ages...

    , A History of the Crusades, Vol. II: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East, 1100-1187. Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    , 1952.
  • Steven Tibble, Monarchy and Lordships in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1099-1291. Clarendon Press, 1989.
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