baldwin tyre amalric archbishop
WILLIAM, archbishop of Tyre, was doubtless a native of the Holy Land. He was perhaps born about 1137; but this is a mere inference from his own statement that he was still pursuing his studies "across the seas" when Amalric came to the throne (17th February 1163), and did not return till late in 1166 or early in 1167. As a child he had seen Ralph, the patriarch of Antioch, who died about 1141-42 ; he remembered the fall of Edessa (December 1144); and he seems to call himself a contemporary historian from the accession of Baldwin III., an event which he dates 10th November 1142 (Hist. Rep. Transmarin., xvi., pref., and xix. 4, 12). Unfortunately the chapter (xix. 12) which relates to his own early life has been excised or omitted from every MS. of his great work now extant, - a remark which holds good, not only for the original Latin, but also for the 13th-century French translation. William was appointed archdeacon of Tyre at the request of Amalric on 31st August 1167. Next slimmer he was despatched on an embassy to the emperor Manuel, At the time of the disastrous campaign against Damietta (October - December 1169) he had to take refuge at Rome from the "unmerited anger " of his archbishop. About 1170 he was appointed tutor to Amalric's son Baldwin, afterwards Baldwin IV. A very few months after Baldwin's accession William was made chancellor of the kingdom (a. October 1174), and less than ,a year later (13th June 1175) was consecrated archbishop of Tyre. The former office he still held in 1182. He belonged to the commission which negotiated with Philip of Flanders in 1177; and in the following October (1178) lie was one of six bishops sent to represent the Latin Church of the East at the Lateran Council (19th March 1179). He returned home by way of Constantinople, where he stayed seven months (October 1179 - April 1180) with Manuel. This is his last authentic appearance in history ; but we know from his own works that he was writing his History in 1182 (xix. 20), and that it breaks off abruptly at the end of 1183 or the beginning of 1184. Some fifty years later his first continuator accused Heraclins, patriarch of Jerusalem, of having procured William's death at Rome. This story, however, seems to be pure legend ; nor perhaps is much more credit to be attached to the theory that identifies him with the archbishop of Tyre sent over to Europe to preach a new crusade in 1188. It is true that Matthew Paris speaks of Henry IL's receiving the cross from the hands of "Willelmus episcopus Tyrensis "; but more contemporary writers omit the Christian name, while others write it Josce or Joscius.
If not the greatest, William of Tyre is at least among the greatest, of mediaeval historians. His Historia Berzon in Portilms Transmarinis Gestamtm is the main authority for the Latin kingdom of the East between 1127, where Fulcher of Chartres leaves off, and 1184, where Ernoul takes up the narrative. It was translated into French in the 13th century, or possibly- before the end of the 12th. A little later it was united to Ernoul's chronicle or that of Bernard the Treasurer, and continued in more than one form to 1249, 1261, or 1275. In this shape the combined histories form the Livia d'Outremer quoted by Joinville (exvii. § 77), - the standard mediaeval account of the exploits of the Frankish warriors in the East. William's own work consists of twenty-two books and a fragment (one chapter and a preface) of book xxiii. It extends from the preaching of the first crusade by Peter the Hermit and Urban H. to the end of 1183 or the beginning of 1184. Like William's other work, the Historic de Orientalibus Prineipibus, it was undertaken at the request of Amalric, who was himself a lover of history and supplied the author with Arabic MSS. ; but, whereas the latter-book (now unfortunately lost) was mainly based upon the writings of a certain " Seith, the sou of Patrick (Patrieii), patriarch of Alexandria," of the Historic Transmarina its author remarks, "ln this work we have had no guide, whether Greek or Arab, but have had recourse to traditions only, save as regards a few things that we have ourselves seen." The " traditions " here spoken of must be taken to include the Gesta Frameorum of Tudebode, Raymund of Agiles, Fulcher of Chartres, and, above all, Albert of Aix. It is only with the accession of Baldwin I., even if so early as this, that William's claim to originality can fairly be sustained ; and even here his narrative, till towards the close of book xiii., is based upon that of Fulcher. From this point William of Tyre is indebted to no other historian. Of the remaining books too are devoted to the reign of Flak (xiv.-xv.), three to that of Baldwin (xvi.-xviii.), two to that of Amalric, and the rest to that of Baldwin 11'.
No mediaeval writer, except perhaps Giraldus Cambrensis, possesses William's power of delineating the physical and mental features of his heroes. Again, very few had his instinctive insight into what would be of real value to future ages : genealogy, topography, archaeology, social life (political and ecclesiastical), military matters and naval, all find a due exposition in his pages. It is hardly too much to say that from his work alone a fairly detailed map of the Levant, as it was in the 12th century, might be constructed ; and it is impossible to praise too highly the scrupulous fidelity with which he defines nearly all the technical terms (whether relating to land or sea) of which he makes use. His chief fault is in the matter of chronology, where indeed he is not unfrequently at discord with himself. In the later books his information, even as regards what was taking place beyond the Nile or the Euphrates, as well as in Europe, is singularly exact. Nor slid he consider any trouble too severe if by its means lie might attain to the truth. Though a man of great learning and almost certainly acquainted with Arabic and Greek, he is as ready to enliven his pages with a country proverb as to embellish them with quotations from Cicero, Virgil, Ovid, or Plato. He was a prelate of pious character, inclined to see the judgment of God on the iniquities of his fellow-countrymen in every disaster that overtook Isis native land and every Saracen success.