Drest Mac Macbeatha, was the second born son of King Macbeatha and Queen Ingegerd of Scotland, he was the first king of Jerusalem and technical sovereign of the crusader states. His reign from 1099-1119, helped shape the course of crusader history for the next several centuries

Drest I, King of Jerusalem

Early Life

Drest was born in 1069, the year his father Macbeatha became King of Scots, the second son of the new king, and the grandson of the previous king Macbeth, Drest came from a royal background, his grandmother Gruoch and maternal great-grandfather Boite, add to that royal lineage. He has been described as a strong lad, tall with fair hair, and a muscular build. Not a lot is known of his early life, for he was not expected to become a king, in fact, it is not quite known what was expected of Drest, his older brother Macbeth was treated as his father's unofficial heir, and his younger brother Macbeatha was sent into the church at a young age. It seems, that Drest was treated as a spare, and was also trained to be a soldier.

Drest I, King of Jerusalem
King of Jerusalem

Reign 1099-1119
Successor Drest II
Consort Doada of Atholl
Issue Drest II (King of Jerusalem)

Oengus (Lord of Beirut) Malcolm (Seneschal of Jerusalem)

Full name
Drest Mac Macbeatha
Regnal name
Drest I
Posthumous name
Drest The Great
House House of Moray
Father Macbeatha mac Macbeth
Mother Ingegerd Haraldsdotter
Born Drest Mac Macbeatha
Inverness, Moray, Scotland
Died 1119
Religion Chiristianity
Indeed, it appears a lot of work went into ensuring that he was good at fighting, and martial matters, perhaps because his older brother was more concerned with political affairs. Regardless, it seems from the time he was ten or eleven, Drest was spending time training with the commanders of his father's household guard, and by the time he was fourteen he could defeat three men at once at any given time.

The political situation within Scotland was an ever changing beast, and when his father invaded Strathclyde in revenge for the harrowing of Angus, Drest and his brother Macbeth accompanied their father on his war path, with both men bloodying themselves in battle. Drest is noted as slaying one Cullen, bastard of the King of Strathclyde. Following his acclamation within the royal army, Drest was married to Doada of Atholl, daughter of the Thane of Aberfeldy. This marriage might well have occurred to ensure that the territory of Atholl which had once belonged to the House of Dunkeld remained within the crown's jurisdiction.

In a charter dated from around 1093, Drest is named as a member of the Cenn Armait's band, meaning that he was part of the force responsible for training and arming men for the king's service. It seems that, the king had recognised Drest' potential for fighting and command and intended to hone it and make sure his son was there ready to take over once Fearchar Og died. 1096 saw further recognition come to Drest, when his father named him Thane of Garioch, an overseer to legal matters in a province that had sometimes caused trouble for the House of Moray. What records that survive indicate that he did a good job, and managed to gain the respect of the local lords.

The Crusade

In 1096, the First Crusade was called by Pope Urban to relieve the Holy Land from Muslim occupation. King Macbeatha, being the only king who felt secure enough to travel to the holy land, came forth with some thousands of Scotsmen and travelled with Drest, leaving Macbeth as regent in his absence. As Macbeatha was the only king to come on the crusade, he was given the holy oil by the pope and assumed full command over the crusader forces, and through some skillful negotiation avoided swearing fealty to the Byzantine empire.

Over the course of the next three years, Drest and the Scottish forces under his command would demonstrate great ability and skill. During the Siege of Nicea it was Drest and the men under his command that led to the death of the Turkish defenders and later the defeat of Kilij Arslan. His skill there helped contribute to an overall Crusader victory. Other examples of Drest's smartness and willingness to fight were demonstrated during the battles of Antioch and Jerusalem, and when the Crusaders finally took Jerusalem, Drest was hailed as a hero of the war alongside his father, King Macbeatha.

Following victory at Ascalon, a meeting was called to decide the fate of Jerusalem and the other Crusader States, after much discussion and legal wrangling, it was decided that Drest be chosen as the king of Jerusalem. Due to some arguments with the Papal legate to the Holy City, Drest was crowned in Bethlehem and not the city itself. However, he soon set up his home within the Holy City soon after his coronation.

Reign as King

Whilst they might have held Jerusalem and certain other areas such as the County of Edessa and Antioch, there were still threats to the newly established Crusader states, and whilst Drest sent out word for his wife and children to come and join him, he set about making sure his kingdom was secure. In early 1100, Drest marched out to confront an Egyptian army that was trying to threaten the southern part of his kingdom, the enemy host was defeated, and Drest returned to sort of a few issues with the new Patriarch of Jerusalem Dagobert of Pisa, who had also crowned him the year before. The issues were mainly around the fact that Drest had been raised in the Gaelic Church and whilst there were not all too many differences, the manner of their interpretation of scripture and certain practices conflicted with Roman Catholic interpretation, eventually through one way or another Drest ended the confrontation and resumed securing his borders.

In the years that followed, Drest captured Arsuf and Caesarea, with assistance from a Genoese fleet. In return the Genoese were granted trading quarters in these towns, and an archbishopric was established in Caesarea. He also defeated another Egyptian host at the battle of Ramlah, and during the second battle of Ramlah where through bringing extra infantry with him, Drest managed to stave off a complete defeat and managed to weaken the Egyptian army enough to make their defeat at the battle of Jaffa, all that more resounding. After some serious negotiations with Genoa, a fleet came and aided Drest in his siege of Acre, which saw the city fall in 1105. A princedom was set up in Galilee, and Drest managed to capture Tripoli and Beirut in the years that followed. Further victories came to King Drest when at the battle of Harran, Baldwin, Count of Edessa managed to turn a potential defeat into a great victory, opening the gates for the Crusaders to Syria Proper. Battles were fought from 1104 to 1110, with Drest leading the charge, commanding from either atop a horse or on foot, the man became a feared rival for the Seljuks and their allies within the region. the Antiocheans led by Bohemond and Tancred swept through Aleppo defeating the Emir there claiming territory left and right whilst Baldwin swept up Assyria, defeating all resistance he faced. At their head, and planning all of this was King Drest, being hailed as the Great even during his own reign. He was present when Damascus fell in 1110, and sat on the throne of the Emir a great smile on his face.

His list of conquests were endless, and for most of his reign he was in his saddle riding to battle defeating one enemy after another, as more and more of the holy land fell under his sway. The time spent at war, made him good friends with Baldwin Count of Edessa, as well as with Tancred who had held Tripoli before his death, and various other nobles who had come during the first crusade as well as subsequently. When his wife and children came to Jerusalem in the early 12th century, they were greeted as true royalty and parades and feasts were held for many days and weeks after their arrival.

One area where Drest struggled in his role as king, was in his relationship with the Byzantine Emperors. His father had managed to make the emperor at the time of the first crusade not enforce that oath of fealty, however, once Macbeatha was gone, there were times when the Emperor considered himself the head of the crusader states and demanded fealty. It never came to war, but once or twice, it seemed as if it might, and it took the intervention of the Patriarch of Jerusalem to prevent them from actually coming to blows.

Drest fell ill in late 1117 whilst preparing for another campaign against Egyptian forces, and as such had to abandon the plans, slowly his condition worsened, and eventually he passed away in early 1119, aged fifty. He left behind his wife Doada, as well as three sons.

Marriage and Issue

Drest was married to Doada of Atholl, daughter of the Thane of Aberfeldy, they had three sons.

Drest II (1095-1135) King of Jerusalem

Oengus, Lord of Beirut (1096-1125)

Malcolm, Seneschal of Jerusalem (1105-1155)

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