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Raymond III of Tripoli (1140 1187) was Count of Tripoli from 1152 to 1187 and Prince of Galilee and Tiberias in right of his wife Eschiva. He succeeded his father Raymond II, who had been killed by the Hashshashin, in 1152, when he was twelve. His mother, princess Hodierna of Jerusalem, daughter of King Baldwin II, ruled as regent until Raymond came of age three years later.

In 1160, Byzantine emperor Manuel Comnenus was seeking a wife from the crusader states. The two candidates presented to him were Raymond's sister Melisende, and Princess Maria of Antioch. At first, Melisende was chosen. However, Manuel's ambassadors heard the rumours that Melisende (and Raymond himself) might have been fathered by someone other than Raymond II, and the marriage was called off; Manuel married Maria instead. Melisende later entered a convent, where she died fairly young.

In 1164 Raymond and Bohemund III of Antioch marched out to relieve Harim, which was under siege by Nur ad-Din. The crusader army was defeated in the ensuing battle on August 12; Raymond, Bohemund, Joscelin III of Edessa, Hugh VIII of Lusignan, and others were taken captive and imprisoned in Aleppo. Raymond remained in prison until 1173, when he was ransomed for 80,000 pieces of gold.

In 1174 Amalric died and was succeeded by his son Baldwin IV, who was still too young to rule on his own and furthermore was suffering from leprosy; Miles of Plancy, seneschal of the kingdom, claimed the regency, but Raymond soon arrived and demanded to be named bailli, or regent, as the closest male relative of the king (he was a first cousin of Amalric). In this he was supported by the major barons of the kingdom, including Humphrey II of Toron, Balian of Ibelin, and Reginald of Sidon. Soon Miles was assassinated in Acre and Raymond was invested as bailli.

As regent, he appointed William of Tyre chancellor of Jerusalem in 1174 and archbishop of Tyre in 1175. He retired as bailli when Baldwin IV came of age in 1176, having arranged for Baldwin IV's sister Sibylla of Jerusalem to marry William Longsword of Montferrat. William died in 1177 while Sibylla was pregnant with the future Baldwin V.

Raymond's own position amid these tensions was difficult and controversial. As the king's nearest relative in the male line, he had a strong claim to the throne himself. However, although his wife had had several children by her first husband, he had no children of his own to succeed him; this seems to have held him back from advancing himself as king. Instead, he acted as a power-broker, working closely with the Ibelins and attempting to influence the marriages of the princesses.

In 1179 Raymond attempted a coup, and began to march on Jerusalem with Bohemund III, to force the king to marry his sister to a local candidate of his own choosing, Baldwin of Ibelin, Balian's older brother. To counter this, the king hastily arranged her marriage to Guy of Lusignan, younger brother of Amalric, the constable of the kingdom. A foreign match was essential to bring the possibility of external military aid to the kingdom. With the new French king Philip II a minor, Guy's status as a vassal of the King and Sibylla's first cousin Henry II of England - who owed the Pope a penitential pilgrimage - was useful.

By 1182, Baldwin IV, increasingly incapacitated by his leprosy, named Guy as bailli. Raymond contested this, but when Guy fell out of favour with Baldwin the following year, he was re-appointed bailli and was given possession of Beirut. Baldwin came to an agreement with Raymond and the Haute Cour to make Baldwin of Montferrat, Sibylla's son by her first marriage, his heir, before Sibylla and Guy. The child was crowned co-king as Baldwin V in 1183 in a ceremony presided by Raymond. It was agreed that, should the boy die during his minority, the regency would pass to "the most rightful heirs" until his kinsmen - the Kings of England and France and Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor - and the Pope were able to adjudicate between the claims of Sibylla and Isabella. These "most rightful heirs" were not named.

William of Tyre described Raymond as

"a man of slender build, extremely spare, of medium height and swarthy complexion. His hair was straight and rather dark in color. He had piercing eyes and carried his shoulders very erect. He was prompt and vigorous in action, gifted with equanimity and foresight, and temperate in his use of both food and drink, far more than the average man. He showed munificence towards strangers, but towards his own people he was not so lavish. He was fairly well-lettered, an accomplishment which he had acquired while a prisoner among the enemy, at the expense of much effort, aided greatly, however, by his natural keenness of mind. Like King [Amalric I], he eagerly sought the knowledge contained in written works. He was indefatigable in asking questions if there happened to be anyone present who in his opinion was capable of answering."

Among Muslim authors, Ibn al-Athir remarked that "Among the Franj of that time, there was no wiser or more courageous man than the lord of Tripoli."

Ibn Jubair stated that he had "remarkable intelligence and astuteness."

(based on wikipedia)

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