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[[File: Kingdom of Heaven 3.jpg|200px|thumb|left|The aftermath of the Battle of Hattin from a medieval manuscript]]
==The historicity of the main characters==
The hero of the movie is Balian who is played by the English actor Orlando Bloom. The screenwriter loosely based this character on a real-life character. In the movie Balian is a young blacksmith who decides to go on Crusade when he meets his natural father, who is a knight and who is played by Liam Neeson. In the movie Balian is shown as a very humble young man who goes on Crusade to help to secure his wife’s salvation after her suicide. The character played by Bloom was based on Balian of Ibelin's and he was a member of the nobility. He was definitely not a lowly blacksmith. Rather he was the legitimate son of his father Barsian of Ibelin <ref> William of Tyre, A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea. E. A. Babcock and A. C. Krey, trans (Columbia, Columbia University Press, 1943), p 114</ref>. The motion picture gives Balian’s father the name of Godfrey of Ibelin which is incorrect. In the movie Godfrey played by Liam Neeson recognized Balian as his son and before he dies he knights his son. The knighting of an illegitimate son would not have been legally possible in the Middle Ages without some dispensation from a monarch or the Catholic Church. Ridley Scott introduces Balian as living in France, but his origins are not known, and his family may actually have been Italian. The character is also shown as making his way to the Holy Land and he did make this journey at some time. His father in the motion picture is shown to be a crusader and this was indeed the case. The motion picture shows Godfrey of Ibelin as a noble knight who went on Crusade for religious reasons. In fact, Balians father was one of the most powerful lords in the Crusader States and he ruled the County of Jaffa (modern Israel) and was a vassal of the King of Jerusalem <ref> William of Tyre, p 201</ref>. In the movie we see Balian going on crusade with his father who died before arriving in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. In fact, it seems likely that Balian had been living in the Crusader kingdom since he was a young man. He was not the only son of Barsian of Ibelin and was in reality his youngest son. Balian was given a large area of land and a castle by his father and he too became a vassal of the King of Jerusalem <ref>William of Tyre, p 212<ref>. This meant that he would have been very familiar with the culture and politics of the region. In the movie the main character is portrayed as a young man however at the time of the event shown, he was a mature man. The movie does correctly show that in the 1180s that Balian was a major figure in the politics of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He was very involved in the power struggles that greatly weakened the realm. In the movie the hero is shown as struggling to save the Kingdom from various factions who were only interested in power. In reality Balian was quite Machiavellian and sought to increase his own power and influence at the expense of his rivals. However, the movie does accurately shown that the character played by Bloom was a great and a brave knight. In the movie he is portrayed as a great swordsman and a brave leader. The commander of the Christian garrison of Jerusalem during the Ayyubid army, was indeed Balain and he provided to be a brilliant commander, as portrayed by the British Director. He was able to beat off countless attacks by the Muslims as in the 2005 motion picture. In the movie we seen Balian and Saladin reaching a negotiated settlement that ended the bloody siege. This was actually the case and the Christian did agree to surrender the city on terms in 1187. In one of the most memorable scenes we see the main character as leading the Christians safely out of Jerusalem as he hands it over to Saladin. This actually happened and the Muslims did allow the garrison and the Christian population to leave the city unmolested. In the movie after the surrender of Jerusalem to the Muslim Sultan that he returns to Europe with Sybilla. In one scene he is shown as living happily as a blacksmith in his native village and refusing the entreaties of English knights to go on the Third Crusade. In fact, after the fall of Jerusalem Balian stayed in the region and he became one of the leaders of the Crusader states. He actually participated in the Third Crusades and was a key advisor to the legendary Richard the Lionheart. Scott shows the main character as having good relations with Muslim and indeed in real-life Balian of Ibelin had a good relationship with Saladin.
[[File: Kingdom of Heaven 2.jpgFile.png|200px|thumb|left| Balian of Ibelin surrendering Jerusalem to Saladin from a 15th century manuscripts]]
== Sibylla of Jerusalem==
In the movie we see Balian having a passionate affair with Sibylla of Jerusalem. She was a real-life character and a sister of one King of Jerusalem and later became Queen of the Kingdom, for a brief time ref>Bernard Hamilton, "Women in the Crusader States: The Queens of Jerusalem", in Medieval Women, edited by Derek Baker. (London, Ecclesiastical History Society, 1978), p 17</ref>. She was a very powerful woman and had great influence among the Crusaders. This is captured in the movie and especially in the performance of Eva Green. In real life she was married to Guy de Lusignan (1150-1194). Balian did not have an affair with Sibylla as shown in the movie. They did not return to Europe and live in a remote village as shown in the climax of the 2005 work. Balian was married to a Byzantine Princess and Sibylla remained married to Guy and did not leave him, in fact she died of an epidemic while campaigning with Guy in 1190, dying at the age of thirty <ref> William of Tyre, p. 178</ref>. The love affair between Sibylla of Jerusalem and Balian is a complete fiction.
== Guy de Lusignan==
The ‘bad’ guy in the movie is the nobleman Guy de Lusignan. He was a real-life historical character and one who was very important in the history of the Crusades. In Scott’s movie he was an evil man, and this was pretty much the case. He had been expelled from France for murder and he had had fled to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Guy later married Sibylla as shown in the movie. In the motion picture he is shown as very anti-Muslim and aligning with the fanatical Knights Templers <ref> Runciman, p 212</ref>. Scott’s movie shows him and his allies treacherously attacking a caravan of Muslims and slaying, every man, woman, and child and this prompted Saladin to invade the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which was a disaster for the Crusaders. This is a historical fact and Guy’s massacre of innocent Muslims did provoke Saladin and this led to the ultimate capture of Jerusalem by the Muslims <ref>Runciman, p 213</ref>. The movie shows Balian and Guy as implacable enemies and this is only partially true. The men in real life had a complex relationship and were at times enemies but occasionally also allies. Guy was captured and later released by Saladin as shown in the movie. In the finale of the scene there is a great duel between Balian and Guy. The hero is shown as defeating his enemy and utterly humiliating him and Scott suggests that Guy was a broken man who was utterly disgraced. The duel probably did not take place and there are no records of Balian and Guy engaging in hand to hand combat. Moreover, Guy after the fall of Jerusalem had a claim on the kingship of the Crusader states through his wife Sybilla. He began a civil war in a desperate bid to become king but was defeated and was forced to flee from the Holy Land. However, this rather unpleasant character was very fortunate. He was able to seize control of the island of Cyprus and become its Lord. Indeed, he established a dynasty and his successors ruled the islands as kings, until the coming of the Ottomans in 1476 <ref> Edbury, Peter. The Kingdom of Cyprus and the Crusades, 1191–1374 (Cambridge, 1991), p 22 </ref>.