|Uta von Ballenstedt in Naumberg Cathedral, ca. 1250|
In late 1177 Maria Comnena, the Dowager Queen of Jerusalem, made a surprise second marriage to Balian d’Ibelin, the younger brother of the Baron of Ramla and Mirabel. Although it is recorded that Maria had the explicit consent of the king for this marriage, there is no reason to suppose this marriage was imposed on her. The very fact that the candidate was the younger brother of a local baron from a parvenu family makes it all the more likely that he was her choice; otherwise she could have rejected him as far beneath her dignity — with the full backing of the Byzantine Emperor. No one, much less the weakened Baldwin IV, would have risked a break with the Byzantine Emperor over a marriage that brought no apparent advantages to the crown.
|Kerak Castle in Oultrejourdain as it looks today.|
In a stormy session the barons unanimously refused to accept Guy de Lusignan as regent — not even to go to the relief of their wives, the Dowager Queen, the Queen Mother and the Princesses of Jerusalem. That is quite a resounding vote of “no-confidence” in the incompetent but arrogant Guy de Lusignan! Baldwin IV, now completely lamed and going blind with leprosy, had to take up the reins of government himself and lead the royal army to the relief of Kerak. Salah-ad-Din retreated before King; Maria — and Isabella — were reunited with Balian.
|Jerusalem from the south.|
and the struggle for Jerusalem