The reign of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (1174-85) has traditionally been seen as a period of decline when, because of the king's illness, power came to be held by those who made the wrong policy decisions. Notably, they ignored the advice of Raymond of Tripoli and attacked Saladin. This book challenges that view, arguing that peace with Saladin was not a viable option; and that the young king, despite suffering from lepromatous leprosy, presided over a society that was (contrary to what is often said) vigorous and self-confident.
Prologue; 1. The sources for Baldwin IV's reign; 2. Baldwin's childhood; 3. The kingdom; 4. The international status of the kingdom; 5. The king's minority; 6. Western aid: William of Montferrat and Philip of Flanders; 7. The victor of mont Gisard; 8. Prince Reynald's initiative; 9. The dying king; 10. The heirs of the leper king; Epilogue; Appendix by Piers Mitchell: an evaluation of the leprosy of king Baldwin IV of Jerusalem in the context of the medieval world; Bibliography.
"Hamilton (Nottingham, emeritus) offers a thorough reassessment of the reign of Baldwin IV, the leper king whose reign is often interpreted as a period of decline leading to the disaster at Hattin two years after Baldwin's death in 1185. This study belongs in all medieval history collections." Choice
"Hamilton deserves major congratulations for helping us to see what an excellent historian can accomplish by a careful reading of the sources and a catholicity of view that encompasses the whole historical fabric, as well as what he recognizes lies beyond the evidence...Hamilton's account will now provide the basis for a new understanding." Historian