Military commander, crusader and statesman. Caesar of the Byzantine Empire 1187, Marquis of Montferrat from 1191 until his death, King of Jerusalem (as Conrad I) by marriage from 1190, confirmed by election 1192. Born in Montferrat (Monferrato), he was active in diplomacy and warfare during his cousin Frederick I Barbarossa's campaigns in Northern Italy. When briefly married to the sister of Byzantine Emperor Isaac Angelos in 1187, he defeated the rebel general Alexios Vranas in battle. Having already taken the cross in 1186, after the death of his nephew King Baldwin V of Jerusalem, he arrived in the kingdom soon after the battle of Hattin. He took command of the city of Tyre, holding it against a siege by Saladin, and sent out the appeals to the West which launched the Third Crusade. He claimed the throne of Jerusalem by marrying the heiress Queen Isabella I in November 1190. However, her sister Sibylla's widower, Guy de Lusignan, refused to concede the kingship, and was supported by Richard I of England. Conrad was supported by Philippe II of France, his cousin-once-removed. The dispute was settled by election in mid-April 1192, which Conrad won decisively. However, days later, before he could be crowned, he was attacked in the street by Assassins, suffering fatal stab wounds, leaving his wife pregnant with the future Queen Maria of Jerusalem.
Bio by: Doc M