Military Review

Combat operations Renault de Chatillon. Part one

Nowadays, few people know the name of this figure of the Middle Ages, and those who know about him, in the majority (following science fiction writer Cyril Bulychev) consider this rather ambiguous person to be the “bastard No. XXUMX in the Middle East”. Renault de Chatillon or in another reading of Reynald de Chatillon (1-1124 years of life, the ruler of Transjordan in 1187-1177) is usually described as an adventurer, a knight-robber and moral degenerate, contrasting him with Saladin, who is usually described as “a noble person, a charitable, degenerate, and a degenerate, opposing him to Saladin, who is usually described as a“ noble person ”, who is described as“ honorable ”by a charitable person, a“ generous person ”, a charitable person, a charismatic degenerate, contrasts him with Saladin, who is usually described as“ a noble man, a charitable person, a moral degenerate, opposing him to Saladin, who is usually described as a “noble person”, who is described as a “noble person”, a charitable person who is a generous person, a charitable, degenerate, and a degenerate, opposing him to Saladin, who is usually described as a “noble person”. ".

A unique lifetime portrait of Saladin, written around 1185, hr. and preserved in the work of Ismail Al-Jazari. (Image source: https://upload. 28.jpg).

However, the desire to blacken Prince Reno goes back to his medieval opponents and on closer examination turns out to be a set of propaganda clichés taken from Muslim chronicles. At the same time, his European Christian contemporaries did not find anything “demonic” or “vile” in his actions or in his appearance. Moreover, European Christian eyewitnesses saw in him a very worthy, one might say, brilliant military leader, and one of the most principled and skillful opponents of Saladin.

Combat operations Renault de Chatillon. Part one

Not a single lifetime image of Renault de Chatillon survived, but he could well look that way - it is known that he loved to combine European weapons with Bedouin’s attire, and his warriors, like the Templars, fought in white surcoats with red crosses.
(Image source:

Renault de Chatillon was born in France to the family of a middle-class knight; in 23, he took part in the crusade of King Louis VII, remained in Syria and gained favor with Raimund de Poitiers, ruler of the principality of Antioch. After the death of the old prince, a tall, beautifully built, physically very strong knight and obviously very charismatic (his description was preserved, for example, in the work of such an eminent chronicler as Wilhelm of Tire) twirled the affair with his young widow and soon married her, suddenly becoming, thus Prince-Regent of Antioch (with the eldest son of the deceased ruler).

It would seem, well, what else is needed for happiness? However, the adventurous life of this man, as it turned out, was just beginning. The Byzantine emperor Manuel Comnenus (1118-1180, on the throne with 1143), who was the supreme overlord of the principality of Antioch, pulled him into confrontation with Cilician Armenia, promising to generously pay for military expenses. As a result, the Prince Regent, who seriously invested in military spending (including even taking a loan from usurers), the Byzantines simply “threw”, without paying anything. Angry Renault de Chatillon decided to take revenge for the perfidy of the Byzantines, and in an unusual way. And then the first time showed his leadership talent - he very skillfully carried out not only land, but also amphibious operations, and the nearest Byzantine possession to the principality of Reno was Cyprus. In deep secrecy, the count prepared several ships, loaded the soldiers on them and, choosing the time when the Byzantine squadron was not nearby, carried out a daring operation, landed on this island. The output was more than compensated for the entire debt, and the squadron of the Antiochian consort triumphantly returned to the harbor of Lattakia (yes, the one that is still functioning and famous in modern Russia thanks to the Syrian express train).

Crusader states and their opponents in the Levant in the XII century.
(Image source:

However, the emperor Manuel Comnenus did not at all consider the "incident settled"; he gathered a large army and marched on Antioch. The war was only repaid through the mediation of King Baldwin III of Jerusalem (on the throne in 1143-1163), but Reno was forced to return the booty and perform the process of begging for forgiveness.

After that, instead of quietly sitting on the throne of Antioch, the prince regent, even without the financial ability to assemble a large army, began to wage a “small war” against the neighboring “Saracen” lands. Here he successfully for several years showed his talent as a master of action with small forces in daring raid operations, bringing the local emirs to a state of “white heat”. However, in the 1161 year (at the age of 37 years), he, with a squad of 120 riders and 500 infantry, still gets surrounded by numerous and mobile Muslim troops. In this battle, two more traits of Renault de Chatillon's character appeared - even after seeing the hopelessness of the situation, he did not abandon his infantrymen and did not run; and, participating in the battle, he fought to the end, not intending to surrender, although in the end he was captured alive.

Fighting squad Crusaders, surrounded by "Saracens".
(Image source:

His winners, knowing that this was the prince-regent of one of the largest states of the Crusaders, and knowing about his courage and competence in military art, asked for a monstrous ransom for his freedom - which he himself and the aristocracy of the principality refused. During the time spent in custody, Prince Reno learned Arabic, learned the Quran and the Sunnah, and learned the traditions and customs of the Muslims well. However, this did not at all lead to his conversion to Islam (on what the jailers insisted, even offering him in this case a large feudal possession), nor added sympathy to this religion. As a result, after long 15 years of imprisonment, Muslims gradually reduced the amount of the ransom — from 300.000 gold dinars to 120.000 — and the prince regent was the last Christian prisoner of knights to leave Aleppo prison. This sum, still gigantic for that era, was collected from various sources, but the king of Jerusalem, Balduin IV, contributed the bulk of it.

There was no point for the prince to return to Antioch - his unfaithful wife died, the legal heir ascended the throne, and Reno entered the service of the ruler of the Jerusalem kingdom. In 1177, he was part of the famous Battle of Montjisar as part of the army of Balduin IV, and, apparently, is one of those military leaders who help the young king win a brilliant victory over a much larger Muslim army. And apparently, Balduin IV never regretted the redemption paid for Renault.

Here, the former consort of Antioch was again lucky - knowing about his talents and abilities for raid operations, the young king makes him the lord of the strategically important principality of Transjordan through marriage with Stefanie de Mille (c.1150-1197), who had already lost two husbands by that time. This princedom (Oultrejordan) covered at that time a large, sparsely populated territory from the Dead to the Red Sea, i.e. modern southern Israel, the land of the biblical tribes of Edom and Moab.

Krak-de-Moab Crusader Castle Ruins, Moabite Stronghold, among the Arabs - Al-Kerak; is currently in Jordan, near the village of Kharakka (Image source:

This lord held a dominant position between Egypt and Arabia, and its 7 castles (the most important of which were Crac de Moab, Mont Royal and Val Muise), lined up from the Dead Sea through Wadi al-Arab to the Gulf of Eilat, reliably blocked the caravan routes between neighboring Muslim regions. The ruler of Jerusalem knew who to appoint there, and the strategic lord was in the hands of a competent commander who had experience in raid operations in deserted areas, and also perfectly aware of local conditions and traditions. The importance attached to the Kingdom of Jerusalem in Transjordan underscores the fact that it was long owned by Stephanie’s father, Baron Phillip de Mille, who became the Grand Master of the Templar Order — that is, apparently random individuals did not control these important lands.

The ruins of the crusader castle of Krak-de-Mont-Real, “The Stronghold on the Royal Mountain”, by the Arabs of Al-Shaubak, are located in 50 km. southeast of the Dead Sea. Currently located in Jordan. (Image source: ).

Traditionally, Renault de Chatillon is considered such a knight-robber, an insane disruptive head, a robber of caravans for profit. In fact, this is absolutely not the case - if he was a madman, then it was precisely the brave in battle, and at the same time a very competent military leader. The fact is that if the newly-made ruler of Transjordan wanted exactly the acquisition of wealth, it would be beneficial for him to continue the peace-loving policy of his predecessors on the throne as a whole - when for a certain fee Muslim merchant and pilgrim caravans could freely pass through the southern part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. However, the "Prince of Keraka" was not just a confidant and one of the best generals of Balduin IV. Based on the available information, it can be stated unequivocally that Renault de Chatillon conducted well-thought-out military operations that were largely coordinated with the King of Jerusalem, which created (by their own admission) very big problems for the economic and military interests of Muslim opponents of the Jerusalem kingdom.

The ruins of the crusader fortress Le chateau de Val-Moise, "Castle in the Valley of Moses", the Arabs - Al-Habis; located in 100 km. north of the port of Aqaba, in Wadi Musa. Currently located in Jordan, near the famous city-necropolis of Peter. (Image source:

It can be assumed that Balduin IV and Prince Reno together developed a daring plan to carry out a strategic operation against the state of Saladin. Of course, no documents about this have been preserved, but this confirms a simple fact: during 13 years, from 1174 to 1187, the King of Jerusalem and the lord of Transiordan jointly strengthened the already existing and built new castles and forts, spending on it the amount of 140.000 gold dinars. Agree, this activity in its long-term nature and scope somewhat different from the banal feudal whim? But the assumption that both Jerusalemites simultaneously created a serious defensive line, blocking communication between the three Muslim regions, and a network of resource bases that allowed operations, both against Egypt and against the territory of modern Saudi Arabia.

An important step against Muslim domination in the region was the operation of Renault de Chatillon to seize the port city of Islay (modern Aqaba-Eilat). In December 1170, Saladin’s forces landed on Gray Island (Pharaoh’s Island) from present-day Aqaba and captured a small Crusader fort named after деle-de-Gray. The Muslims expanded the fortress by renaming it to Islay, placed a large garrison there and blocked the exit of the Kingdom of Jerusalem to the Red Sea. Thus, the only Christian port where merchants from Oman, Iran and India could pester with goods of the East was destroyed, and the Egyptian merchant trade monopoly on trade with the ports of the Indian Ocean was restored.

And so, in the year 1181, recalling his experience in the naval operation, the ruler of Transjordan decided to restore the power of the European crusaders over the port of Eilat. He assembled shipbuilders, bought wood and built 5 ships (while somehow keeping secrets from the mass of agents of Saladin!), Who passed the "sea trials" in the Dead Sea. After that, the galleys were dismantled and camels, along with a small army, sent to the Gulf of Eilat. There the ships were re-assembled, and the Muslim fortress-port was besieged (in November 1181 of the year) also from the sea. Let me remind you that we are talking about the events of the XII century, the seemingly dense Middle Ages, and supposedly stupid knights-crusaders.

“Saracens” immediately clearly realized the goal pursued by Renault de Chatillon. Here is how the Muslim chronicler Abu Sham writes about this in the "Book of two gardens in the news of two dynasties": “... Prince Arnod planned to seize the fortress of Ayla, which rises from the bay and blocks the entrance to the sea; penetrate as far as possible into this sea, whose coast borders with their countries. The detachment, which moved along the coast to Hijaz and Yemen, was to block the road for pilgrims performing the hajj and block the entrance to the valley of Mecca. The Franks were going to seize the merchants of Yemen and the merchants of Adan on the sea, to occupy the coast of Hejaz and seize the entire Sanctified Land of the Prophet, inflicting the most cruel of blows on the Arabian Peninsula! ... ” Thus began one of the most daring crusader operations of the Crusaders, whose goal was to march on the lands of modern Saudi Arabia. If Muslims repeatedly set as their goal the seizure of Jerusalem, the Christians for the first time decided to make a trip to Mecca and Medina. According to Arab eyewitnesses, "the world of Middle Eastern Islam froze in horror."

To be continued ...
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  2. Red_Hamer
    Red_Hamer 8 June 2016 07: 13
    those who know about him, for the most part (following the science fiction writer Kir Bulychev), consider this rather controversial personality "bastard No. 1 in the Middle East." Renault de Chatillon or another reading of Reynald de Chatillon (years 1124-1187, ruler of Transjordan in 1177-1187) is customary to characterize as an adventurer, a knight-robber and a moral degenerate, contrasting it with Saladin, who is usually described as “a noble hero of Islam ".
    Indeed, in his film "Kingdom of Heaven" Ridley Scott, and Renault de Chatillon, and showed, and most likely it was on this film that many formed the opinion of him.
    1. bazalt16
      bazalt16 12 June 2016 20: 37
      What have the Crusaders lost there? Nowadays this is a project called Israel
  3. qwert
    qwert 8 June 2016 07: 16
    following the science fiction writer Kir Bulychev) Well, he is not only a science fiction, he is also a professional historian. Although it is precisely as a historian, he is completely impartial and opportunistic. Therefore, you still do not need to believe him as a historian
  4. Korsar4
    Korsar4 8 June 2016 08: 00
    Adventurer. But how beautiful. I read it with pleasure.
  5. baudolino
    baudolino 8 June 2016 08: 05
    Giving moral assessments and restoring the "good name" of characters from such distant times is not a rewarding business. And probably useless. How many outspoken bastards, even by the standards of their time, are listed as "goodies". And some, like Vladimir or Constantine, are recorded as saints.
  6. parusnik
    parusnik 8 June 2016 08: 17
    Thus began one of the most daring raid operations of the crusaders, the purpose of which was to march on the lands of modern Saudi Arabia. Knights of Renault de Chatillon plowed the Red Sea, burning the ports of Hijaz and Yemen, Muslim feluks. They were also seen along the Nubian coast ... Thank you .. look forward to continuing ..
  7. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 8 June 2016 08: 24
    Thanks for the article. I learned a lot. I look forward to continuing.
  8. Penzuck
    Penzuck 8 June 2016 08: 29
    Collapsible ships, collapsible cities ... ships on wheels ... how many more military tricks did history have in store? fellow
  9. King, just king
    King, just king 8 June 2016 08: 54
    It goes well! Farther!
  10. Bashibuzuk
    Bashibuzuk 8 June 2016 09: 01
    Michael, literally fascinated by the story.
    Neither take away nor add - clearly, in the case, with romanticism and without little intelligible, mythical details.
    Indeed, I look forward to continuing.
    Moreover, despite sufficient acquaintance with the work of Cyrus Bulychev, besides the name Reno, I knew nothing else.
    But the materials of Igor Mozheiko did not read at all. Maybe - in vain?
    We are waiting, in general, we are waiting.
    By the way, it’s precisely the actions of this Renault that are much more suitable for the significance of the mythical Belian from the film.
    1. Mikhail Matyugin
      9 June 2016 00: 21
      Thank you all very much ! Continuation (and possibly in several parts) will certainly be, if the Editorial Board permits!

      Unfortunately, the process is not fast, even when there is a lot of material, you need to find the time to convert it into a high-quality form, and then find decent illustrations.

      PSHow many people get the pluses, but nobody put a single author to the poor author. Listen, hurtful, huh?
    2. Reptiloid
      Reptiloid 10 June 2016 14: 59
      Kir Bulychev and Igor Vsevolodovich Mozheiko --- ONE AND THE SAME PERSON !!!
      Mozheiko --- his real name. Under it, he is known as a HISTORIAN, and under the pseudonym Bulychev --- as a science fiction. Moreover, as a historian, he was known much earlier. And when he became a science fiction --- a nickname was needed. Kira is the name of his wife. Bulycheva --- her maiden name. He met her during excavations in Uzbekistan. I have his book:
      Igor Vsevolodovich Mozheiko. 1185 (East - West). Publishing house "Science". Main edition of oriental literature. Moscow 1989.
      And many more of his fantastic books, which I liked to read in my childhood, and now I sometimes re-read them.
  11. Stirbjorn
    Stirbjorn 8 June 2016 10: 49
    For all the controversy of human qualities, the wolf of Kerak was a very interesting person and a dashing adventurer. I join the expectations of the continuation of the story good
  12. ver_
    ver_ 8 June 2016 12: 07
    Quote: qwert
    following the science fiction writer Kir Bulychev) Well, he is not only a science fiction, he is also a professional historian. Although it is precisely as a historian, he is completely impartial and opportunistic. Therefore, you still do not need to believe him as a historian

    ... Completely in the hole .. Manil Komnin will marry Vladimir’s sister Krasnoye Solnyshko-Mary .. And a son will be born- Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky (the founder of Moscow) - this event happened in 1152 .. He was crucified of his illness in 1185 ..
    Jesus Christ, Andrew became after his crucifixion through the efforts of the Jews ..
    Thus, No Peasantry and Muslims in those days did not bulo.
    It happened in the 15th century ..
    After such punctures, I didn’t even read it completely ... Doctors all ..
    1. Revolver
      Revolver 8 June 2016 18: 21
      Quote: ver_
      Perfectly in the hole.

      And judging by your reaction, even without Vaseline. Sorry. bully
      ALEA IACTA EST 8 June 2016 20: 41
      Moscow was founded in the XNUMXst century BC by the Tartar Khan Yuri (Julius) Caesar.
      Jesus Christ (Ivan Kalita) was killed by the Decembrists in 630.
      1. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 9 June 2016 22: 53
        Correct your involuntary mistakes! It is well known that even before its foundation, Moscow was
        burned to the ground by the Greek commander Alexander Napoleon, nicknamed
        McCaddon, born in Scotland in 701, just once a year before
        uprising of the Templars-Decembrists with Count Pestel-Pilate at the head!
        Which shot Ivan Kalita i.e. I.K. - John the Baptist.
  13. Kibl
    Kibl 8 June 2016 14: 10
    In R. Scott's film "The Kingdom of Heaven", Renault de Chatillon was shown simply as some kind of frostbitten thug.
  14. serverny
    serverny 8 June 2016 15: 08
    Here's how to teach history at school!
    And not the dull memorization of pairs <event>: <date> in isolation from the political and economic realities of the surrounding world, which turned the lessons of history into sheer torment.
    1. Mikhail Matyugin
      9 June 2016 00: 31
      Quote: serverny
      Here's how to teach history at school!

      It seems to me that for this, apparently, one does not need to be a history teacher at school, but to master a number of other professions, and have a certain life experience.

      It is also possible that the material came out (in the opinion of the Dear Community) successful, influenced by the fact that I visited the places where the Renault warriors and their opponents fought, I saw the castles of the former seigneur Ultrazhurden, I know the topography of the region and understand the features conducting combat operations there.

      Maybe one day hands will reach detailed material about the crusader castles in the Middle East, there really is something to see.
  15. Kaetani
    Kaetani 8 June 2016 15: 33
    A very worthy narrative and opening eyes to the story. Thank. Once again I understand how much I don’t know. I look forward to continuing with impatience. Even with bated breath - without false modesty.
  16. Ivan Ivanych
    Ivan Ivanych 8 June 2016 16: 33
    These are the "crusaders" damn it .... But it looks like your hero forgot about the cross ...
  17. Mikhail Matyugin
    9 June 2016 00: 45
    Quote: Ivan Ivanovich
    These are the "crusaders" damn .... And about the cross, it seems, and forgotten your hero.

    Comrade, what are you talking about? If about ammunition, then yes, the Bedouin burnus were often among Renault soldiers, but red crosses were sewn on them as an identification symbol in battle.

    And if you are talking about his religiosity - then even in this part a simple fact is given: Prince Reynald was captured alive in battle, although he was not going to give up, and 15 spent years in captivity among Muslims. Having filled the gigantic amount of the ransom, he was insistently offered to convert to Islam - this meant freedom, money, even power. He REFUSED all this 15 years!

    The simple question is, would you be able to behave this way? I'll tell you honestly - I'm not sure ...

    Even when the "good" jailers obligingly reported that his wife in Antioch was extremely accessible to many stately knights (at the same time, having become a Muslim prince, he could collect any harem according to the law), and the Antiochian nobility repeatedly refused to ransom.

    It was precisely after learning of his indomitable fortitude that the King of Jerusalem, Baldwin IV, organized a massive fundraising and ultimately saved him from captivity.
    1. Ivan Ivanych
      Ivan Ivanych 9 June 2016 02: 55
      I mean that nothing has changed for 900 years. Once the "crusaders" controlled the caravan routes, but simply plundered. Modern "crusaders" in the same region control the extraction of hydrocarbons ... and the same mountains of corpses. No one teaches history))
      And the article is very useful, I do not argue.
    2. ver_
      ver_ 9 June 2016 03: 26
      ... idiocy - Islam emerged in the 15th century as a protest against "baptism" into Christianity ..
      Is it really so "difficult" to understand that there was no Mongolia until the 19th century and there were no Mongols, there was no nation and nationality "Tatar" until Mr. Ulyanov Blanca-Lenin, who invented them in 1920 .. And for the Mongol-Tatar invasion. . historians should be disqualified as professionals.
      1. Ivan Ivanych
        Ivan Ivanych 9 June 2016 15: 17
        It seems the colonels should be disqualified in corporals. What nonsense ?!
        1. SergeBS
          SergeBS 12 June 2016 00: 59
          Quote: Ivan Ivanovich
          It seems the colonels should be disqualified in corporals. What nonsense ?!

          Where is at least one skeleton of a "Mongol-Tatar"? With the long-term yoke of "Mongol-Tatars" and a heap of battles, the absence of a skeleton is impossible. That is how the conquest by the Persians can be recorded in the history of Russia. smile
          The problem.
          And when considering the engravings of Europe, where these "Mongol-Tatars" are depicted, it only becomes larger.
          And "Tatar" is generally collective. There are "Crimean Tatars" - Turks + ... There are Kazan - here the devil himself will break his leg, who in essence. Etc. It's like Ukrainians, Belarusians, Russians - all are called Rus (for example). If not tough.
        2. Mikhail Matyugin
          14 June 2016 20: 47
          Quote: Ivan Ivanovich
          It seems the colonels should be disqualified in corporals. What nonsense ?!

          Yes, comrade Ver is generally adequate, but in history he is strongly brought into the "alternative" from Fomenko and Co.
    3. ver_
      ver_ 9 June 2016 03: 26
      ... idiocy - Islam emerged in the 15th century as a protest against "baptism" into Christianity ..
      Is it really so "difficult" to understand that there was no Mongolia until the 19th century and there were no Mongols, there was no nation and nationality "Tatar" until Mr. Ulyanov Blanca-Lenin, who invented them in 1920 .. And for the Mongol-Tatar invasion. . historians should be disqualified as professionals.
      1. ver_
        ver_ 9 June 2016 05: 15
        ..yes - the land of the Slavs will not become scarce sheep and donkeys ..
      2. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 9 June 2016 22: 34
        "There was no nation and nationality" Tatar "until Mr. Ulyanov Blanca-Lenin, who invented them in 1920." ////

        As everyone knows, there has never been Mr. Ulyanov Blanca-Lenin himself.
        He was invented in 1965 by the so-called Leonid Brezhnev - also a semi-mythical figure
        with eyebrows the size of bird wings. About Brezhnev told us in his unpublished diaries
        the legendary Andropov, about which little is known.
        Thus, it is clear that there has never been any Islam, nor Christianity,
        and world history began three days ago. smile
    4. SergeBS
      SergeBS 12 June 2016 00: 50
      Quote: Mikhail Matyugin
      If about ammunition

      I’ll have fun. "Ammunition". One letter "M". And the essay is quite exciting. "Dilute" with artistic details - it will be enough for a story.
  18. Jääkorppi
    Jääkorppi 10 June 2016 10: 27
    Suddenly! Thank you for the article!
  19. smokyrabbit
    smokyrabbit 11 January 2017 08: 57
    We look forward to continuing ...