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For other uses see Saladin (disambiguation). ict with the Muslim powers of the region. Saladin has
become a prominent gure in Muslim, Arab, Turk and
Kurdish culture.[7] In 1193 he died in Damascus, having
al ad-Dn Ysuf bin Ayyb (Arabic:
given much of his wealth to his subjects. Saladin is buried
, Kurdish: , in a mausoleum adjacent to the Umayyad Mosque.
Turkish: Selahaddin Eyyubi) (1137/1138 March
1193), better known in the Western world as Saladin,
was the rst Sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of
the Ayyubid dynasty. A Muslim of Kurdish origin,[4][5][6] 1 Early life
Saladin led the Muslim opposition to the European
Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, Saladin was born in Tikrit. His personal name was
his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Hejaz, Yusuf"; Salah ad-Din is a laqab, a descriptive epi-
Yemen and other parts of North Africa. thet, meaning Righteousness of the Faith.[8] His fam-
Originally sent to Fatimid Egypt by his Zengid lord Nur ily was of Kurdish ancestry,[4] and had originated from
ad-Din in 1163, Saladin climbed the ranks of the Fatimid the city of Dvin in medieval Armenia.[9][10] The Rawadid
government by virtue of his military successes against tribe he hailed from had been partially assimilated into
Crusader assaults on its territory and his personal close- the Arabic-speaking world by this time.[11] In 1132 the
ness to the caliph al-Adid. When Saladins uncle Shirkuh defeated army of the Imad ad-Din Zengi, the Lord of
died in 1169, al-Adid appointed Saladin vizier, a rare Mosul, found their retreat blocked by the Tigris River op-
nomination of a Sunni Muslim to such an important po- posite the Tikrit fortress where Saladins father, Najm ad-
sition in the Shia Muslim-led caliphate. During his term Din Ayyub served as the warden. Ayyub provided ferries
as vizier Saladin began to undermine the Fatimid estab- for the army and gave them refuge in Tikrit. Mujahed
lishment, and following al-Adids death in 1171 he took al-Din Bihruz, a former Greek slave who had been ap-
over the government and realigned the countrys alle- pointed the military governor of northern Mesopotamia
giance with the Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate. In for his service to the Seljuks had reprimanded Ayyub
the following years, he led forays against the Crusaders for giving Zengi refuge and in 1137, banished Ayyub
in Palestine, ordered the successful conquest of Yemen from Tikrit after his brother Asad al-Din Shirkuh killed a
and staved o pro-Fatimid rebellions in Upper Egypt. friend of Bihruz in an honour killing. According to Baha
ad-Din ibn Shaddad, Saladin was born the same night his
Not long after the death of Nur ad-Din in 1174, Saladin
family left Tikrit. In 1139, Ayyub and his family moved
personally led the conquest of Syria, peacefully entering
to Mosul where Imad ad-Din Zengi acknowledged his
Damascus at the request of its ruler. By mid-1175, Sal-
debt and appointed Ayyub commander of his fortress in
adin had conquered Hama and Homs, inviting the ani-
Baalbek. After the death of Zengi in 1146, his son, Nur
mosity of his former Zengid lords, who had been the of-
ad-Din, became the regent of Aleppo and the leader of
cial rulers of Syria. Soon after, he defeated the Zengid
the Zengids.[12]
army in battle and was thereafter proclaimed the Sultan
of Egypt and Syria by the Abbasid caliph al-Mustadi. Saladin, who now lived in Damascus, was reported to
He made further conquests in northern Syria and Jazira, have a particular fondness of the city, but information
escaping two attempts on his life by the Assassins, be- on his early childhood is scarce. About education, Sal-
fore returning to Egypt in 1177 to address issues there. adin wrote children are brought up in the way in which
By 1182, Saladin completed the conquest of Syria after their elders were brought up. According to one of his bi-
capturing Aleppo, but ultimately failed to take over the ographers, al-Wahrani, Saladin was able to answer ques-
Zengid stronghold of Mosul. tions on Euclid, the Almagest, arithmetic, and law, but
this was an academic ideal and it was study of the Qur'an
Under Saladins personal leadership, the Ayyubid army
and the sciences of religion that linked him to his
defeated the Crusaders at the decisive Battle of Hat-
contemporaries.[12] Several sources claim that during his
tin in 1187, leading the way to the Muslims re-capture
studies he was more interested in religion than joining
of Palestine from the Crusaders who had conquered it
the military.[13] Another factor which may have aected
88 years earlier. Though the Crusader Kingdom of
his interest in religion was that during the First Cru-
Jerusalem would continue to exist for an extended pe-
sade, Jerusalem was taken in a surprise attack by the
riod, its defeat at Hattin marked a turning point in its con-
Christians.[13] In addition to Islam, Saladin had a knowl-


edge of the genealogies, biographies, and histories of the the Zengid central force returned to the oensive; Saladin
Arabs, as well as the bloodlines of Arabian horses. More joined in from the rear.[17]
signicantly, he knew the Hamasah of Abu Tammam by The battle ended in a Zengid victory, and Saladin is cred-
heart.[12] He also spoke Kurdish, and likely Turkish as ited to have helped Shirkuh in one of the most remark-
well.[14] able victories in recorded history, according to Ibn al-
Athir, although more of Shirkuhs men were killed and
the battle is considered by most sources as not a total
2 Early expeditions victory. Saladin and Shirkuh moved towards Alexandria
where they were welcomed, given money, arms and pro-
vided a base.[18] Faced by a superior Crusader-Egyptian
force who attempted to besiege the city, Shirkuh split
his army. He and the bulk of his force withdrew from
Alexandria, while Saladin was left with the task of guard-
ing the city.[19]

3 In Egypt
Main article: Saladin in Egypt

3.1 Emir of Egypt

Equestrian statue of Saladin in the Citadel, Damascus, Syria

Saladins military career began under the tutelage of

his uncle Asad al-Din Shirkuh, an important military
commander under Nur ad-Din, Emir of Damascus and
Aleppo, member of the Turkic Zengid dynasty and the
most inuential teacher of Saladin. In 1163, the vizier to
the Fatimid caliph al-Adid, Shawar, had been driven out
of Egypt by rival Dirgham, a member of the powerful
Banu Ruzzaik tribe. He asked for military backing from
Nur ad-Din, who complied and in 1164, sent Shirkuh to
aid Shawar in his expedition against Dirgham. Saladin, at
age 26, went along with them.[15] After Shawar was suc-
cessfully reinstated as vizier, he demanded that Shirkuh
withdraw his army from Egypt for a sum of 30,000 dinars,
but he refused insisting it was Nur ad-Dins will that he
remain. Saladins role in this expedition was minor, and it Saladins battles in Egypt
is known that he was ordered by Shirkuh to collect stores
from Bilbais prior to its siege by a combined force of Cru- Shirkuh engaged in a power struggle over Egypt with
saders and Shawars troops.[16] Shawar and Amalric I of the Kingdom of Jerusalem,
After the sacking of Bilbais, the Crusader-Egyptian force in which Shawar requested Amalrics assistance. In
and Shirkuhs army were to engage in a battle on the 1169, Shawar was reportedly[20] assassinated by Saladin, and
desert border of the River Nile, just west of Giza. Sal- Shirkuh died later that year. Nur ad-Din chose a suc-
adin played a major role, commanding the right wing of cessor for Shirkuh, but al-Adid appointed Saladin to re-
the Zengid army (Muslim Dynasty of Oghuz Turk ori- place Shawar as vizier.
gin), while a force of Kurds commanded the left, and The reasoning behind the Shia caliph al-Adids selec-
Shirkuh stationed in the center. Muslim sources at the tion of Saladin, a Sunni, varies. Ibn al-Athir claims
time, however, put Saladin in the baggage of the centre that the caliph chose him after being told by his advis-
with orders to lure the enemy into a trap by staging a false ers that there is no one weaker or younger than Sal-
retreat. The Crusader force enjoyed early success against adin, and not one of the emirs obeyed him or served
Shirkuhs troops, but the terrain was too steep and sandy him. However, according to this version, after some bar-
for their horses, and commander Hugh of Caesarea was gaining, he was eventually accepted by the majority of
captured while attacking Saladins unit. After scattered emirs. Al-Adids advisers were also suspected of attempt-
ghting in little valleys to the south of the main position, ing to split the Syria-based Zengid ranks. Al-Wahrani
3.2 Sultan of Egypt 3

wrote that Saladin was selected because of the reputation 3.2 Sultan of Egypt
of his family in their generosity and military prowess.
Imad ad-Din wrote that after the brief mourning pe-
riod of Shirkuh, during which opinions diered, the
Zengid emirs decided upon Saladin and forced the caliph
to invest him as vizier. Although positions were com-
plicated by rival Muslim leaders, the bulk of the Syrian
rulers supported Saladin because of his role in the Egyp-
tian expedition, in which he gained a record of military
Inaugurated as Emir on 26 March, Saladin repented
wine-drinking and turned from frivolity to assume the
dress of religion. Having gained more power and inde-
pendence than ever before in his career, he still faced the
issue of ultimate loyalty between al-Adid and Nur ad-Din.
Later in the year, a group of Egyptian soldiers and
emirs attempted to assassinate Saladin, but having al-
ready known of their intentions, thanks to his intelli-
gence chief Ali bin Safyan, he had the chief conspira-
tor, Naji, Mu'tamin al-Khilafathe civilian controller of
the Fatimid Palacearrested and killed. The day after,
50,000 black African soldiers from the regiments of the Saladin as depicted on a dirham coin, ca. 1190
Fatimid army opposed to Saladins rule along with a num-
ber of Egyptian emirs and commoners staged a revolt. According to Imad ad-Din, Nur ad-Din wrote to Sal-
By 23 August, Saladin had decisively quelled the upris- adin in June 1171, telling him to reestablish the Ab-
ing, and never again had to face a military challenge from basid caliphate in Egypt, which Saladin coordinated two
Cairo.[23] months later after additional encouragement by Najm ad-
Din al-Khabushani, the Sha'i faqih, who vehemently op-
Towards the end of 1169, Saladin, with reinforcements
posed Shia rule in the country. Several Egyptian emirs
from Nur ad-Din defeated a massive Crusader-Byzantine
were thus killed, but al-Adid was told that they were killed
force near Damietta. Afterward, in the spring of 1170,
for rebelling against him. He then fell ill, or was poi-
Nur ad-Din sent Saladins father to Egypt in compliance
soned according to one account. While ill, he asked Sal-
with Saladins request, as well as encouragement from
adin to pay him a visit to request that he take care of
the Baghdad-based Abbasid caliph, al-Mustanjid, who
his young children, but Saladin refused, fearing treachery
aimed to pressure Saladin in deposing his rival caliph, al-
against the Abbasids, and is said to have regretted his ac-
Adid.[24] Saladin himself had been strengthening his hold
tion after realizing what al-Adid had wanted.[28] He died
on Egypt and widening his support base there. He be-
on September 13 and ve days later, the Abbasid khutba
gan granting his family members high-ranking positions
was pronounced in Cairo and al-Fustat, proclaiming al-
in the region; he ordered the construction of a college for
Mustadi as caliph.[29]
the Maliki branch of Sunni Islam in the city, as well as
one for the Sha'i denomination to which he belonged in On 25 September, Saladin left Cairo to take part in a joint
al-Fustat.[25] attack on Kerak and Montreal, the desert castles of the
Kingdom of Jerusalem, with Nur ad-Din who would at-
After establishing himself in Egypt, Saladin launched
tack from Syria. Prior to arriving at Montreal, Saladin
a campaign against the Crusaders, besieging Darum in
however withdrew back to Cairo as he received the re-
1170.[26] Amalric withdrew his Templar garrison from
ports that in his absence the Crusader Leaders had in-
Gaza to assist him in defending Darum, but Saladin
creased their support to the traitors inside Egypt to attack
evaded their force and fell on Gaza instead. He destroyed
Saladin from within and lessen his power especially the
the town built outside the citys castle and killed most
Fatimid who started plotting to restore their past glory.
of its inhabitants after they were refused entry into the
Because of this, Nur ad-Din went on alone. [30]
castle.[27] It is unclear exactly when, but during that same
year, he attacked and captured the Crusader castle of During the summer of 1173, a Nubian army along
Eilat, built on an island o the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. with a contingent of Armenian refugees were reported
It did not pose a threat to the passage of the Muslim navy, on the Egyptian border, preparing for a siege against
but could harass smaller parties of Muslim ships and Sal- Aswan. The emir of the city had requested Saladins assis-
adin decided to clear it from his path.[26] tance and was given reinforcements under Turan-Shah
Saladins brother. Consequently, the Nubians departed,
but returned in 1173 and were again driven o. This
time Egyptian forces advanced from Aswan and captured

the Nubian town of Ibrim. Saladin sent a gift to Nur When as-Salih was removed to Aleppo in August, Gu-
ad-Din who had been his friend and teacher, 60,000 di- mushtigin, the emir of the city and a captain of Nur ad-
nars, wonderful manufactured goods, some jewels, an Dins veterans assumed guardianship over him. The emir
ass of the nest breed, and an elephant. While transport- prepared to unseat all of his rivals in Syria and al-Jazira,
ing these goods to Damascus, Saladin took the opportu- beginning with Damascus. In this emergency, the emir
nity to ravage the Crusader countryside. He did not press of Damascus appealed to Saif al-Din (a cousin of Gu-
an attack against the desert castles, but attempted to drive mushtigin) of Mosul for assistance against Aleppo, but he
out the Muslim Bedouins who lived in Crusader territory refused, forcing the Syrians to request the aid of Saladin
with the aim of depriving the Franks of guides.[31] who complied.[34] Saladin rode across the desert with 700
On 31 July 1173, Saladins father Ayyub was wounded in picked horsemen, passing through al-Kerak then reach-
ing Bosra and according to him, was joined by "emirs,
a horse-riding accident, ultimately causing his death on 9
August.[32] In 1174, Saladin sent Turan-Shah to conquer soldiers, and Bedouinsthe emotions of their hearts to
be seen on their faces.[35] On 23 November, he arrived
Yemen to allocate it and its port Aden to the territories of
the Ayyubid Dynasty. in Damascus amid general acclamations and rested at his
fathers old home there, until the gates of the Citadel of
Damascus were opened to him four days later. He in-
stalled himself in the castle and received the homage and
4 Acquisition of Syria salutations of the citizens.[34]

4.1 Capture of Damascus

In the March of 1174, Nur ad-Din returned to Baghdad
in the wake of an intense earthquake which many histo-
rians claim was one of the most destructive ones in his-
tory. He was a ruler of the people and so he returned
the moment he heard of the calamity. Also, some of his
enemies were taking advantage of his absence and this
may have played a role in his decision to return. During
the next weeks, all of his attention was focussed on his
people to the extent that he ignored the danger to himself
from the traitors and Hassan bin Sabahs Group who were
supported by Crusaders. At the end of April 1174, the
rst hint of trouble started as Nur ad-Din complained of
pain in his throat after being poisoned. Despite the best
eorts of his physicians, his health deteriorated until he
died on 15 May 1174. Nur ad-Dins power was handed
to his eleven-year-old son as-Salih Ismail al-Malik by a
group of powerful nobles who wanted to control his em-
pire. His death left Saladin without a powerful ally in
his war against Crusaders and in a letter to As-Salih, he
promised to ght against his enemies even if they claimed
to be muslims unless he and his supporters refrained from
allying themselves with Crusaders against Nur ad-Dins
19th-century depiction of a victorious Saladin, by Gustave Dor.
In the wake of Nur ad-Dins death, Saladin faced a di-
cult decision; he could move his army against the Cru- Leaving his brother Tughtigin as Governor of Damas-
saders from Egypt or wait until invited by as-Salih in cus, Saladin proceeded to reduce other cities that had
Syria to come to his aid and launch a war from there. belonged to Nur al-Din, but were now practically inde-
He could also take it upon himself to annex Syria be- pendent. His army conquered Hamah with relative ease,
fore it could possibly fall into the hands of a rival, but but avoided attacking Homs because of the strength of its
he feared that attacking a land that formerly belonged citadel.[36] Saladin moved north towards Aleppo, besieg-
to his masterwhich is forbidden in the Islamic princi- ing it on December 30 after Gumushtigin refused to abdi-
ples he believedcould portray him as hypocritical and cate his throne.[37] As-Salih, fearing capture by Saladin,
thus maling it unsuitable for leading the war against the came out of his palace and appealed to the inhabitants not
Crusaders. Saladin saw that in order to acquire Syria; to surrender him and the city to the invading force. One
he either needed an invitation from As-Salih or to warn of Saladins chroniclers claimed the people came under
him that potential anarchy could rise danger from the his spell.[38]
Crusaders.[33] Gumushtigin requested from Rashid ad-Din Sinan,
4.2 Dispute with the Assassins 5

grand-master of the Assassins of Syria, who were al- and declared him Sultan of Egypt and Syria. The Bat-
ready at odds with Saladin since he replaced the Fatimids tle of Hama did not end the contest for power between
of Egypt, to assassinate Saladin in his camp.[39] On 11 the Ayyubids and the Zengids, with the nal confronta-
May 1175 a group of thirteen Assassins easily gained ad- tion occurring in the spring of 1176. Saladin had gathered
mission into Saladins camp, but were detected immedi- massive reinforcements from Egypt while Saif al-Din was
ately before they carried out their attack by Nasih al-Din levying troops among the minor states of Diyarbakir and
Khumartekin of Abu Qubays. One was killed by a gen- al-Jazira.[45] When Saladin crossed the Orontes, leaving
eral of Saladin and the others were slain while trying to Hama, the sun was eclipsed. He viewed this as an omen,
escape.[38][40][41] To deter Saladins progress, Raymond but he continued his march north. He reached the Sultans
of Tripoli gathered his forces by Nahr al-Kabir where Mound, c. 25 km from Aleppo, where his forces encoun-
they were well placed for an attack on Muslim territory. tered Saif al-Dins army. A hand-to-hand ght ensued
Saladin later moved toward Homs instead, but retreated and the Zengids managed to plow Saladins left wing,
after being told a relief force was being sent to the city driving it before him, when Saladin himself charged at
by Saif al-Din.[42] the head of the Zengid guard. The Zengid forces pan-
icked and most of Saif al-Dins ocers ended up being
Meanwhile, Saladins rivals in Syria and Jazira waged a
propaganda war against him, claiming he had forgotten killed or capturedSaif al-Din narrowly escaped. The
his own condition [servant of Nur ad-Din]" and showed Zengid armys camp, horses, baggage, tents and stores
no gratitude for his old master by besieging his son, rising were seized by the Ayyubids. The Zengid prisoners of
in rebellion against his Lord. Saladin aimed to counter war, however, were given gifts and freed. All of the booty
this propaganda by ending the siege, claiming he was de- from the Ayyubid victory was accorded to the army, Sal-
fending Islam from the Crusaders; his army returned to adin not keeping anything himself.[46]
Hama to engage a Crusader force there. The Crusaders He continued towards Aleppo which still closed its gates
withdrew beforehand and Saladin proclaimed it a vic- to him, halting before the city. On the way, his army took
tory opening the gates of mens hearts.[42] Soon after, Buza'a, then captured Manbij. From there they headed
Saladin entered Homs and captured its citadel in March west to besiege the fortress of A'zaz on 15 May. Several
1175, after stubborn resistance from its defenders.[43] days later, while Saladin was resting in one of his captains
Saladins successes alarmed Saif al-Din. As head of the tents, an assassin rushed forward at him and struck at his
Zengids, including Gumushtigin, he regarded Syria and head with a knife. The cap of his head armour was not
Mesopotamia as his family estate and was angered when penetrated and he managed to grip the assassins hand
the dagger only slashing his gambesonand the assailant
Saladin attempted to usurp his dynastys holdings. Saif
al-Din mustered a large army and dispatched it to Aleppo was soon killed. Saladin was unnerved at the attempt on
his life, which he accused Gumushtugin and the Assassins
whose defenders anxiously had awaited them. The com-
bined forces of Mosul and Aleppo marched against Sal- of plotting, and so increased his eorts in the siege.[47]
adin in Hama. Heavily outnumbered, Saladin initially at- A'zaz capitulated on 21 June, and Saladin then hurried
tempted to make terms with the Zengids by abandoning his forces to Aleppo to punish Gumushtigin. His assaults
all conquests north of the Damascus province, but they were again resisted, but he managed to secure not only a
refused, insisting he return to Egypt. Seeing that con- truce, but a mutual alliance with Aleppo, in which Gu-
frontation was unavoidable, Saladin prepared for battle, mushtigin and as-Salih were allowed to continue their
taking up a superior position on the hills by the gorge of hold on the city and in return, they recognized Saladin as
the Orontes River. On 13 April 1175, the Zengid troops the sovereign over all of the dominions he conquered. The
marched to attack his forces, but soon found themselves emirs of Mardin and Keyfa, the Muslim allies of Aleppo,
surrounded by Saladins Ayyubid veterans who crushed also recognised Saladin as the King of Syria. When the
them. The battle ended in a decisive victory for Saladin treaty was concluded, the younger sister of as-Salih came
who pursued the Zengid fugitives to the gates of Aleppo, to Saladin and requested the return of the Fortress of
forcing as-Salihs advisers to recognize Saladins control A'zaz; he complied and escorted her back to the gates
of the provinces of Damascus, Homs and Hama, as well of Aleppo with numerous presents.[47]
as a number of towns outside Aleppo such as Ma'arat al-
4.2 Dispute with the Assassins
After his victory against the Zengids, Saladin proclaimed
himself king and suppressed the name of as-Salih in Saladin had by now agreed truces with his Zengid ri-
Friday prayers and Islamic coinage. From then on, he or- vals and the Kingdom of Jerusalem (latter occurred in
dered prayers in all the mosques of Syria and Egypt as the the summer of 1175), but faced a threat from the Ismaili
sovereign king and he issued at the Cairo mint gold coins sect known then as the "Assassins" led by Rashid ad-Din
bearing his ocial titleal-Malik an-Nasir Yusuf Ayyub, Sinan. Based in the an-Nusayriyah Mountains, they com-
ala ghaya the King Strong to Aid, Joseph son of Job; manded nine fortresses, all built on high elevations. As
exalted be the standard. The Abbasid caliph in Bagh- soon as he dispatched the bulk of his troops to Egypt, Sal-
dad graciously welcomed Saladins assumption of power adin led his army into the an-Nusayriyah range in August

Saladin assured the protection of caravan routes that allowed

Saladin ended his siege of the Ismaili ("Assassins") fortress of
travel to distant lands.
Masyaf, which was commanded by Rashid ad-Din Sinan, under
uncertain circumstances in August 1176
he had much to organize and supervise in Egypt, namely
1176. He retreated the same month, after laying waste fortifying and reconstructing Cairo. The city walls were
to the countryside, but failing to conquer any of the forts. repaired and their extensions laid out, while the construc-
Most Muslim historians claim that Saladins uncle, the tion of the Cairo Citadel was commenced.[51] The 280
governor of Hama, mediated a peace agreement between feet (85 m) deep Bir Yusuf (Josephs Well) was built on
him and Sinan.[48][49] Saladins orders. The chief public work he commissioned
outside of Cairo was the large bridge at Giza, which was
Assassins feared him when he attacked their hideout. He intended to form an outwork of defense against a poten-
had his guards supplied with link lights and had chalk tial Moorish invasion.[53]
and cinders strewed around his tent outside Masyaf
which he was besiegingto detect any footsteps by the Saladin remained in Cairo supervising its improvements,
Assassins.[50] According to this version, one night Sal- building colleges such as the Madrasa of the Sword Mak-
adins guards noticed a spark glowing down the hill of ers and ordering the internal administration of the coun-
Masyaf and then vanishing among the Ayyubid tents. try. In November 1177, he set out upon a raid into Pales-
Presently, Saladin awoke to nd a gure leaving the tent. tine; the Crusaders had recently forayed into the terri-
He saw that the lamps were displaced and beside his bed tory of Damascus, so Saladin saw the truce as no longer
laid hot scones of the shape peculiar to the Assassins with worth preserving. The Christians sent a large portion
a note at the top pinned by a poisoned dagger. The note of their army to besiege the fortress of Harim north of
threatened that he would be killed if he didn't withdraw Aleppo, so southern Palestine bore few defenders.[53] Sal-
from his assault. Saladin gave a loud cry, exclaiming that adin found the situation ripe and marched to Ascalon,
Sinan himself was the gure that had left the tent.[50] which he referred to as the Bride of Syria. William of
Tyre recorded that the Ayyubid army consisted of 26,000
Another version claims that Saladin hastily withdrew his soldiers, of which 8,000 were elite forces and 18,000
troops from Masyaf because they were urgently needed were black soldiers from Sudan. This army proceeded to
to fend o a Crusader force in the vicinity of Mount raid the countryside, sack Ramla and Lod, and dispersed
Lebanon.[49] Assassins sought to form an alliance with themselves as far as the Gates of Jerusalem.[54]
him, consequently depriving the Crusaders of a potent
ally against him.[51] Viewing the expulsion of the Cru-
saders as a mutual benet and priority, Saladin and Sinan 5.1 Battles and truce with Baldwin
maintained cooperative relations afterwards, the latter
dispatching contingents of his forces to bolster Saladins The Ayyubids allowed King Baldwin to enter Ascalon
army in a number of decisive subsequent battlefronts.[52] with his Gaza-based Templars without taking any pre-
cautions against a sudden attack. Although the Crusader
force consisted of only 375 knights, Saladin hesitated to
5 Return to Cairo and forays in ambush them because of the presence of highly skilled
generals. On 25 November, while the greater part of the
Outremer Ayyubid army was absent, Saladin and his men were sur-
prised near Ramla in the battle of Montgisard. Before
After leaving the an-Nusayriyah Mountains, Saladin re- they could form up, the Templar force hacked the Ayyu-
turned to Damascus and had his Syrian soldiers return bid army down. Initially, Saladin attempted to organize
home. He left Turan Shah in command of Syria and left his men into battle order, but as his bodyguards were be-
for Egypt with only his personal followers, reaching Cairo ing killed, he saw that defeat was inevitable and so with a
on 22 September. Having been absent roughly two years, small remnant of his troops mounted a swift camel, riding

all the way to the territories of Egypt.[55] lying his troops and charged at the Crusaders. The en-
Undiscouraged by his defeat at Tell Jezer, Saladin was gagement ended in a decisive Ayyubid victory, and many
prepared to ght the Crusaders once again. In the spring high-ranking knights were captured. Saladin then moved
of 1178, he was encamped under the walls of Homs, and to besiege the fortress, which fell on 30 August 1179.
a few skirmishes occurred between his generals and the In the spring of 1180, while Saladin was in the area of
Crusader army. His forces in Hama won a victory over Safad, anxious to commence a vigorous campaign against
their enemy and brought the spoils, together with many the Kingdom of Jerusalem, King Baldwin sent messen-
prisoners of war, to Saladin who ordered the captives to gers to him with proposals of peace. Because droughts
be beheaded for plundering and laying waste the lands and bad harvests hampered his commissariat, Saladin
of the Faithful. He spent the rest of the year in Syria agreed to a truce. Raymond of Tripoli denounced the
without a confrontation with his enemies.[56] truce but was compelled to accept after an Ayyubid raid
on his territory in May and upon the appearance of Sal-
adins naval eet o the port of Tartus.[59]

6 Domestic aairs
In June 1180, Saladin hosted a reception for Nur al-Din
Muhammad, the Artuqid emir of Keyfa, at Geuk Su,
in which he presented him and his brother Abu Bakr
presents, valued at over 100,000 dinars according to Imad
al-Din. This was intended to cement an alliance with the
Artuqids and to impress other emirs in Mesopotamia and
Anatolia. Previously, Saladin oered to mediate rela-
tions between Nur al-Din and Kilij Arslan IIthe Seljuk
The battleeld at Jacobs Ford, looking from the west bank to the Sultan of Rumafter the two came into conict. The lat-
east bank of the River Jordan ter demanded Nur al-Din return the lands given to him as
a dowry for marrying his daughter when he received re-
Saladins intelligence services reported to him that the ports that she was being abused and used by him to gain
Crusaders were planning a raid into Syria. He ordered Seljuk territory. Nur al-Din requested Saladin mediate
one of his generals, Farrukh-Shah, to guard the Damas- the issue but Arslan refused.
cus frontier with a thousand of his men to watch for an
attack, then to retire, avoiding battle, and to light warn-
ing beacons on the hills, after which Saladin would march
out. In April 1179, the Crusaders led by King Baldwin
expected no resistance and waited to launch a surprise
attack on Muslim herders grazing their herds and ocks
east of the Golan Heights. Baldwin advanced too rashly in
pursuit of Farrukh-Shahs force, which was concentrated
southeast of Quneitra and was subsequently defeated by
the Ayyubids. With this victory, Saladin decided to call
in more troops from Egypt; he requested al-Adil to dis-
patch 1,500 horsemen.[57]
In the summer of 1179, King Baldwin had set up an out-
post on the road to Damascus and aimed to fortify a pas-
sage over the Jordan River, known as Jacobs Ford, that
commanded the approach to the Banias plain (the plain
was divided by the Muslims and the Christians). Saladin Ibn Jubayr a famous traveler from Al-Andalus is known to have
had oered 100,000 gold pieces for Baldwin to aban- met Saladin in Cairo after the abdication of the Fatimids.
don the project, which was peculiarly oensive to the
Muslims, but to no avail. He then resolved to destroy After Nur al-Din and Saladin met at Geuk Su, the top
the fortress, called Chastellet and manned by the Tem- Seljuk emir, Ikhtiyar al-Din al-Hasan, conrmed Arslans
plars, moving his headquarters to Banias. As the Cru- submission, after which an agreement was drawn up. Sal-
saders hurried down to attack the Muslim forces, they adin was later enraged when he received a message from
fell into disorder, with the infantry falling behind. De- Arslan accusing Nur al-Din of more abuses against his
spite early success, they pursued the Muslims far enough daughter. He threatened to attack the city of Malatya,
to become scattered, and Saladin took advantage by ral- saying, it is two days march for me and I shall not dis-

mount [my horse] until I am in the city. Alarmed at the

threat, the Seljuks pushed for negotiations. Saladin felt
that Arslan was correct to care for his daughter, but Nur
al-Din had taken refuge with him, and therefore he could
not betray his trust. It was nally agreed that Arslans
daughter would be sent away for a year and if Nur al-Din
failed to comply, Saladin would move to abandon his sup-
port for him.[60]
Leaving Farrukh-Shah in charge of Syria, Saladin re-
turned to Cairo at the beginning of 1181. According to
Abu Shama, he intended to spend the fast of Ramadan in
Egypt and then make the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in the Isometric laser scan data image of the Bab al-Barqiyya Gate
summer. For an unknown reason he apparently changed in the 12th century Ayyubid Wall. This fortied gate was con-
his plans regarding the pilgrimage and was seen inspect- structed with interlocking volumes that surrounded the entrant in
ing the Nile River banks in June. He was again embroiled such a way as to provide greater security and control than typical
city wall gates.
with the Bedouin; he removed two-thirds of their efs to
use as compensation for the ef-holders at Fayyum. The
Bedouin were also accused of trading with the Crusaders
and consequently, their grain was conscated and they put too great of a strain on his abilities. He thus, handed
were forced to migrate westward. Later, Ayyubid war- Aleppo to his brother Imad al-Din Zangi, in exchange
ships were waged against Bedouin river pirates who were for Sinjar. Saladin oered no opposition to these trans-
plundering the shores of Lake Tanis.[61] actions in order to respect the treaty he previously made
with the Zengids.[64]
In the summer of 1181, Saladins former palace admin-
istrator Qara-Qush led a force to arrest Majd al-Din On May 11, 1182, Saladin along with half of the Egyp-
a former deputy of Turan-Shah in the Yemeni town of tian Ayyubid army and numerous non-combatants left
Zabidwhile he was entertaining Imad ad-Din at his es- Cairo for Syria. On the evening before he departed,
tate in Cairo. Saladins intimates accused Majd al-Din he sat with his companions and the tutor of one of his
of misappropriating the revenues of Zabid, but Saladin sons quoted a line of poetry: enjoy the scent of the ox-
himself believed there was no evidence to back the al- eye plant of Najd, for after this evening it will come no
legations. He had Majd al-Din released in return for a more. Saladin took this as an evil omen and he never
payment of 80,000 dinars. In addition, other sums were saw Egypt again.[63] Knowing that Crusader forces were
to be paid to Saladins brothers al-Adil and Taj al-Muluk massed upon the frontier to intercept him, he took the
Buri. The controversial detainment of Majd al-Din was desert route across the Sinai Peninsula to Ailah at the
a part of the larger discontent associated with the after- head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Meeting no opposition, Sal-
math of Turan-Shahs departure from Yemen. Although adin ravaged the countryside of Montreal, whilst Bald-
his deputies continued to send him revenues from the wins forces watched on, refusing to intervene.[65] He ar-
province, centralized authority was lacking and internal rived in Damascus in June to learn that Farrukh-Shah
quarrel arose between Izz al-Din Uthman of Aden and had attacked the Galilee, sacking Daburiyya and captur-
Hittan of Zabid. Saladin wrote in a letter to al-Adil: this ing Habis Jaldek, a fortress of great importance to the
Yemen is a treasure house ... We conquered it, but up to Crusaders. In July, Saladin dispatched Farrukh-Shah to
this day we have had no return and no advantage from it. attack Kawkab al-Hawa. Later, in August, the Ayyubids
There have been only innumerable expenses, the sending launched a naval and ground assault to capture Beirut;
out of troops ... and expectations which did not produce Saladin led his army in the Bekaa Valley. The assault
what was hoped for in the end.[62] was leaning towards failure and Saladin abandoned the
operation to focus on issues in Mesopotamia.[66]
Kukbary (Gkbri), the emir of Harran, invited Sal-
7 Imperial expansions adin to occupy the Jazira region, making up northern
Mesopotamia. He complied and the truce between him
and the Zengids ocially ended in September 1182.[67]
7.1 Conquest of Mesopotamian hinterland
Prior to his march to Jazira, tensions had grown between
Saif al-Din had died earlier in June 1181 and his brother the Zengid rulers of the region, primarily concerning their
Izz al-Din inherited leadership of Mosul.[63] On Decem- unwillingness to pay deference to Mosul.[68] Before he
ber 4, the crown-prince of the Zengids, as-Salih, died crossed the Euphrates, Saladin besieged Aleppo for three
in Aleppo. Prior to his death, he had his chief ocers days, signaling that the truce was over.[67]
swear an oath of loyalty to Izz al-Din, as he was the only Once he reached Bira, near the river, he was joined by
Zengid ruler strong enough to oppose Saladin. Izz al-Din Kukbary and Nur al-Din of Hisn Kayfa and the com-
was welcomed in Aleppo, but possessing it and Mosul bined forces captured the cities of Jazira, one after the
7.3 Fight for Mosul 9

other. First, Edessa fell, followed by Saruj, then ar- forces encircles the suburb of Banaqusa to the northeast
Raqqah, Karkesiya and Nusaybin.[67] Ar-Raqqah was an and Bab Janan to the west. He stationed his men danger-
important crossing point and held by Qutb al-Din Inal, ously close to the city, hoping for an early success.[71]
who had lost Manbij to Saladin in 1176. Upon seeing Zangi did not oer long resistance. He was unpopular
the large size of Saladins army, he made little eort to with his subjects and wished to return to his Sinjar, the
resist and surrendered on the condition that he would re- city he governed previously. An exchange was negoti-
tain his property. Saladin promptly impressed the inhab- ated where Zangi would hand over Aleppo to Saladin in
itants of the town by publishing a decree that ordered a return for the restoration of his control of Sinjar, Nusay-
number of taxes to be canceled and erased all mention
bin, and ar-Raqqa. Zangi would hold these territories as
of them from treasury records, stating the most miser- Saladins vassals on terms of military service. On June
able rulers are those whose purses are fat and their people
12, Aleppo was formally placed in Ayyubid hands.[72]
thin. From ar-Raqqah, he moved to conquer al-Fudain, The people of Aleppo had not known about these nego-
al-Husain, Maksim, Durain, 'Araban, and Khaburall of
tiations and were taken by surprise when Saladins stan-
which swore allegiance to him.[69] dard was hoisted over the citadel. Two emirs, including
Saladin proceeded to take Nusaybin which oered no re- an old friend of Saladin, Izz al-Din Jurduk, welcomed and
sistance. A medium-sized town, Nusaybin was not of pledged their service to him. Saladin replaced the Hana
great importance, but it was located in a strategic posi- courts with Sha'i administration, despite a promise he
tion between Mardin and Mosul and within easy reach of would not interfere in the religious leadership of the city.
Diyarbakir.[70] In the midst of these victories, Saladin re- Although he was short of money, Saladin also allowed
ceived word that the Crusaders were raiding the villages the departing Zangi to take all the stores of the citadel
of Damascus. He replied Let them... whilst they knock that he could travel with and to sell the remainderwhich
down villages, we are taking cities; when we come back, Saladin purchased himself. In spite of his earlier hesita-
we shall have all the more strength to ght them.[67] tion to go through with the exchange, he had no doubts
Meanwhile, in Aleppo, the emir of the city Zangi raided about his success, stating that Aleppo was the key to the
Saladins cities to the north and east, such as Balis, Man- lands and this city is the eye of Syria and the citadel is its
bij, Saruj, Buza'a, al-Karzain. He also destroyed his own pupil.[73] For Saladin, the capture of the city marked the
citadel at A'zaz to prevent it from being used by the Ayyu- end of over eight years of waiting since he told Farrukh-
bids if they were to conquer it.[70] Shah that we have only to do the milking and Aleppo will
be ours.[74]

7.2 Possession of Aleppo After spending one night in Aleppos citadel, Saladin
marched to Harim, near the Crusader-held Antioch. The
city was held by Surhak, a minor mamluk. Saladin of-
fered him the city of Busra and property in Damascus in
exchange for Harim, but when Surhak asked for more,
his own garrison in Harim forced him out. He was ar-
rested by Saladins deputy Taqi al-Din on allegations that
he was planning to cede Harim to Bohemond III of Anti-
och. When Saladin received its surrender, he proceeded
to arrange the defense of Harim from the Crusaders. He
reported to the caliph and his own subordinates in Yemen
and Baalbek that was going to attack the Armenians. Be-
fore he could move, however, there were a number of
administrative details to be settled. Saladin agreed to a
truce with Bohemond in return for Muslim prisoners be-
ing held by him and then he gave A'zaz to Alam ad-Din
Saladins troops, French manuscript, 1337 Suleiman and Aleppo to Saif al-Din al-Yazkujthe for-
mer was an emir of Aleppo who joined Saladin and the
Saladin turned his attention from Mosul to Aleppo, send- latter was a former mamluk of Shirkuh who helped rescue
ing his brother Taj al-Muluk Buri to capture Tell Khalid, him from the assassination attempt at A'zaz.[75]
130 km northeast of the city. A siege was set, but the gov-
ernor of Tell Khalid surrendered upon the arrival of Sal-
adin himself on May 17 before a siege could take place. 7.3 Fight for Mosul
According to Imad ad-Din, after Tell Khalid, Saladin
took a detour northwards to Ain Tab, but he gained pos- As Saladin approached Mosul, he faced the issue of tak-
session of it when his army turned towards it, allowing ing over a large city and justifying the action.[76] The
to quickly move backward another c. 100 km towards Zengids of Mosul appealed to an-Nasir, the Abbasid
Aleppo. On May 21, he camped outside the city, posi- caliph at Baghdad whose vizier favored them. An-Nasir
tioning himself east of the Citadel of Aleppo, while his sent Badr al-Badr (a high-ranking religious gure) to me-

not an attempt to extend the Crusader inuence into that

sea or to capture its trade routes, but merely a piratical
move.[80] Nonetheless, Imad al-Din writes the raid was
alarming to the Muslims because they were not accus-
tomed to attacks on that sea, and Ibn al-Athir adds that
the inhabitants had no experience with the Crusaders ei-
ther as ghters or traders.[81]
Ibn Jubair was told that sixteen Muslim ships were burnt
by the Crusaders who then captured a pilgrim ship and
caravan at Aidab. He also reported they intended to at-
tack Medina and remove Muhammad's body. Al-Maqrizi
added to the rumor by claiming Muhammads tomb was
going to be relocated to Crusader territory so Muslims
would make pilgrimages there. Fortunately for Saladin,
al-Adil had his warships moved from Fustat and Alexan-
dria to the Red Sea under the command of an Armenian
mercenary Lu'lu. They broke the Crusader blockade, de-
stroyed most of their ships, and pursued and captured
those who anchored and ed into the desert.[82] The sur-
viving Crusaders, numbered at 170, were ordered to be
killed by Saladin in various Muslim cities.[83]
From the point of view of Saladin, in terms of terri-
tory, the war against Mosul was going well, but he still
failed to achieve his objectives and his army was shrink-
ing; Taqi al-Din took his men back to Hama, while Nasir
al-Din Muhammad and his forces had left. This encour-
aged Izz al-Din and his allies to take the oensive. The
Sculpture of Saladin in the Egyptian Military museum in Cairo
previous coalition regrouped at Harzam some 140 km
from Harran. In early April, without waiting for Nasir al-
Din, Saladin and Taqi al-Din commenced their advance
diate between the two sides. Saladin arrived at the city against the coalition, marching eastward to Ras al-Ein
on 10 November 1182. Izz al-Din would not accept his unhindered.[84] By late April, after three days of actual
terms because he considered them disingenuous and ex- ghting, according to Saladin, the Ayyubids had cap-
tensive, and Saladin immediately laid siege to the heavily tured Amid. He handed the city to Nur al-Din Muham-
fortied city.[77] mad together with its stores, which consisted of 80,000
After several minor skirmishes and a stalemate in the candles, a tower full of arrowheads, and 1,040,000 books.
siege that was initiated by the caliph, Saladin intended In return for a diploma granting him the city, Nur al-Din
to nd a way to withdraw without damage to his repu- swore allegiance to Saladin, promising to follow him in
tation while still keeping up some military pressure. He every expedition in the war against the Crusaders, and
decided to attack Sinjar, which was held by Izz al-Dins repairing damage done to the city. The fall of Amid,
brother Sharaf al-Din. It fell after a 15-day siege on De- in addition to territory, convinced Il-Ghazi of Mardin
cember 30.[78] Saladins commanders and soldiers broke to enter the service of Saladin, weakening Izz al-Dins
their discipline, plundering the city; Saladin only man- coalition.[85]
aged to protect the governor and his ocers by sending Saladin attempted to gain the Caliph an-Nasirs support
them to Mosul. After establishing a garrison at Sinjar, he against Izz al-Din by sending him a letter requesting a
awaited a coalition assembled by Izz al-Din consisting of document that would give him legal justication for tak-
his forces, those from Aleppo, Mardin, and Armenia.[79] ing over Mosul and its territories. Saladin aimed to
Saladin and his army met the coalition at Harran in Febru- persuade the caliph claiming that while he conquered
ary 1183, but on hearing of his approach, the latter sent Egypt and Yemen under the ag of the Abbasids, the
messengers to Saladin asking for peace. Each force re- Zengids of Mosul openly supported the Seljuks (rivals
turned to their cities and al-Fadil wrote: They [Izz al- of the caliphate) and only came to the caliph when in
Dins coalition] advanced like men, like women they van- need. He also accused Izz al-Dins forces of disrupt-
ished. ing the Muslim Holy War against the Crusaders, stat-
On 2 March, al-Adil from Egypt wrote to Saladin that ing they are not content not to ght, but they prevent
the Crusaders had struck the heart of Islam. Raynald those who can. Saladin defended his own conduct claim-
de Chtillon had sent ships to the Gulf of Aqaba to raid ing that he had come to Syria to ght the Crusaders, end
towns and villages o the coast of the Red Sea. It was the heresy of the Assassins, and stop the wrong-doing
8.1 Capture of Jerusalem 11

of the Muslims. He also promised that if Mosul was grims on the Hajj in 1185. According to the later 13th-
given to him, it would lead to the capture of Jerusalem, century Old French Continuation of William of Tyre, Ray-
Constantinople, Georgia, and the lands of the Almohads nald captured Saladins sister in a raid on a caravan; this
in the Maghreb, until the word of God is supreme and claim is not attested in contemporary sources, Muslim or
the Abbasid caliphate has wiped the world clean, turn- Frankish, however, instead stating that Raynald had at-
ing the churches into mosques. Saladin stressed that all tacked a preceding caravan, and Saladin set guards to en-
this would happen by the will of God, and instead of ask- sure the safety of his sister and her son, who came to no
ing for nancial or military support from the caliph, he harm.
would capture and give the caliph the territories of Tikrit,
Following the failure of his Kerak sieges, Saladin tem-
Daquq, Khuzestan, Kish Island, and Oman.[86] porarily turned his attention back to another long-term
project and resumed attacks on the territory of Izz ad-Dn
(Masd ibn Mawdd ibn Zangi), around Mosul, which
8 Wars against Crusaders he had begun with some success in 1182. However, since
then, Masd had allied himself with the powerful gover-
nor of Azerbaijan and Jibal, who in 1185 began moving
his troops across the Zagros Mountains, causing Saladin
to hesitate in his attacks. The defenders of Mosul, when
they became aware that help was on the way, increased
their eorts, and Saladin subsequently fell ill, so in March
1186 a peace treaty was signed.[87]
In July 1187 Saladin captured most of the Kingdom of
Jerusalem. On July 4, 1187, at the Battle of Hattin, he
faced the combined forces of Guy of Lusignan, King
Consort of Jerusalem, and Raymond III of Tripoli. In this
battle alone the Crusader force was largely annihilated by
Saladins determined army. It was a major disaster for
the Crusaders and a turning point in the history of the
Crusades. Saladin captured Raynald and was personally
responsible for his execution in retaliation for his attacks
Saladin and Guy of Lusignan after Battle of Hattin against Muslim caravans. The members of these cara-
vans had, in vain, besought his mercy by reciting the truce
On 29 September 1182, Saladin crossed the Jordan River between the Muslims and the Crusaders, but Raynald ig-
to attack Beisan, which was found to be empty. The next nored this and insulted the Islamic prophet, Muhammad,
day his forces sacked and burned the town and moved before murdering and torturing a number of them. Upon
westwards. They intercepted Crusader reinforcements hearing this, Saladin swore an oath to personally execute
from Karak and Shaubak along the Nablus road and took Raynald.[88] Guy of Lusignan was also captured. Seeing
a number of prisoners. Meanwhile, the main Crusader the execution of Raynald, he feared he would be next.
force under Guy of Lusignan moved from Sepphoris to However, his life was spared by Saladin, who said of Ray-
al-Fula. Saladin sent out 500 skirmishers to harass their nald, "[i]t is not the wont of kings, to kill kings; but that
forces, and he himself marched to Ain Jalut. When man had transgressed all bounds, and therefore did I treat
the Crusader forcereckoned to be the largest the king- him thus. [89]
dom ever produced from its own resources, but still out-
matched by the Muslimsadvanced, the Ayyubids un-
8.1 Capture of Jerusalem
expectedly moved down the stream of Ain Jalut. After a
few Ayyubid raidsincluding attacks on Zir'in, Forbelet, Saladin had captured almost every Crusader city. Sal-
and Mount Taborthe Crusaders still were not tempted adin preferred to take Jerusalem without bloodshed and
to attack their main force, and Saladin led his men back oered generous terms, but those inside refused to leave
across the river once provisions and supplies ran low.[75] their holy city, vowing to destroy it in a ght to the death
Crusader attacks provoked further responses by Saladin. rather than see it handed over peacefully. Jerusalem ca-
Raynald of Chtillon, in particular, harassed Muslim pitulated to his forces on Friday, 2 October 1187, after
trading and pilgrimage routes with a eet on the Red Sea, a siege. When the siege had started, Saladin was unwill-
a water route that Saladin needed to keep open. In re- ing to promise terms of quarter to the Frankish inhab-
sponse, Saladin built a eet of 30 galleys to attack Beirut itants of Jerusalem. Balian of Ibelin threatened to kill
in 1182. Raynald threatened to attack the holy cities of every Muslim hostage, estimated at 5,000, and to de-
Mecca and Medina. In retaliation, Saladin twice besieged stroy Islams holy shrines of the Dome of the Rock and
Kerak, Raynalds fortress in Oultrejordain, in 1183 and the al-Aqsa Mosque if such quarter were not provided.
1184. Raynald responded by looting a caravan of pil- Saladin consulted his council and the terms were ac-

cepted. The agreement was read out through the streets of

Jerusalem so that everyone might within forty days pro-
vide for himself and pay to Saladin the agreed tribute for
his freedom.[90] An unusually low ransom for the times
(around $50 today) was to be paid for each Frank in the
city, whether man, woman, or child, but Saladin, against
the wishes of his treasurers, allowed many families who
could not aord the ransom to leave.[91][92] Patriarch Her-
aclius of Jerusalem organised and contributed to a collec-
tion that paid the ransoms for about 18,000 of the poorer
citizens, leaving another 15,000 to be enslaved. Saladins
brother al-Adil asked Saladin for a thousand of them for
his own use and then released them on the spot. Most
of the foot soldiers were sold into slavery.[93] Upon the
capture of Jerusalem, Saladin summoned the Jews and
permitted them to resettle in the city.[94] In particular,
the residents of Ashkelon, a large Jewish settlement, re-
sponded to his request.[95]
The elite garrison of Saladins armies during the Siege of Acre.
Tyre, on the coast of modern-day Lebanon, was the last
major Crusader city that was not captured by Muslim
forces. Strategically, it would have made more sense for
Saladin to capture Tyre before Jerusalem; Saladin, how- Hattin and the fall of Jerusalem prompted the Third
ever, chose to pursue Jerusalem rst because of the im- Crusade (11891192), nanced in England by a special
portance of the city to Islam. Tyre was commanded by "Saladin tithe". Richard the Lionheart, King of Eng-
Conrad of Montferrat, who strengthened its defences and land led Guys siege of Acre, conquered the city and ex-
withstood two sieges by Saladin. In 1188, at Tortosa, ecuted 3,000 Muslim prisoners, including women and
Saladin released Guy of Lusignan and returned him to children.[99] Bah' ad-Dn wrote:
his wife, Queen Sibylla of Jerusalem. They went rst to
Tripoli, then to Antioch. In 1189, they sought to reclaim The motives of this massacre are dier-
Tyre for their kingdom but were refused admission by ently told; according to some, the captives were
Conrad, who did not recognize Guy as king. Guy then slain by way of reprisal for the death of those
set about besieging Acre. Christians whom the Musulmans had slain.
Saladin was on friendly terms with Queen Tamar of Geor- Others again say that the king of England, on
gia. Saladins biographer Bah' ad-Dn ibn addd re- deciding to attempt the conquest of Ascalon,
ports that, after Saladins conquest of Jerusalem, the thought it unwise to leave so many prisoners in
Georgian Queen sent envoys to the sultan to request the the town after his departure. God alone knows
return of conscated possessions of the Georgian monas- what the real reason was.[99]
teries in Jerusalem. Saladins response is not recorded,
but the queens eorts seem to have been successful The armies of Saladin engaged in combat with the army
as Jacques de Vitry, the Bishop of Acre, reports the of King Richard at the Battle of Arsuf on 7 September
Georgians were, in contrast to the other Christian pil- 1191, at which Saladins forces,less in number, suered
grims, allowed a free passage into the city with their ban- heavy losses and were forced to withdraw. After the bat-
ners unfurled. Ibn addd furthermore claims that Queen tle of Arsuf, Richard moved his forces towards Ascalon.
Tamar outbid the Byzantine emperor in her eorts to ob- Anticipating Richards next move, Saladin emptied the
tain the relics of the True Cross, oering 200,000 gold city and camped a few miles away. When Richard ar-
pieces to Saladin who had taken the relics as booty at the rived at the city, he was stunned to see it abandoned and
battle of Hattin, but to no avail.[96][97] the towers demolished. The next day when Richard was
preparing to retreat to Jaa, Saladin attacked his army.
After a furious battle, Richard managed to save some of
his troops and retreated to Ascalon. This was the last
8.2 Third Crusade major battle between the two forces. All military at-
tempts and battles made by Richard the Lionheart to re-
It is equally true that his generosity, his piety, devoid of take Jerusalem were defeated and failed. Richard only
fanaticism, that ower of liberality and courtesy which had 2,000 t soldiers and 50 t knights to use in battle.
had been the model of our old chroniclers, won him no With such a small force, he could not expect or hope to
less popularity in Frankish Syria than in the lands of Is- take Jerusalem although he got near enough to see the
lam. Holy City. Saladins relationship with Richard was com-
Ren Grousset (writer)[98] plicated despite their military rivalry. At Arsuf, when

Richard lost his horse, Saladin sent him two replace-

ments. Richard proposed that his sister, Joan of England,
Queen of Sicily, should marry Saladins brother and that
Jerusalem could be their wedding gift.[100] However, the
two men never met face to face and communication was
either written or by messenger. As leaders of their re-
spective factions, the two men came to an agreement in
the Treaty of Ramla in 1192, whereby Jerusalem would
remain in Muslim hands but would be open to Christian
pilgrimages. The treaty reduced the Latin Kingdom to a
strip along the coast from Tyre to Jaa.

9 Death
See also: Mausoleum of Saladin
Saladin died of a fever on 4 March 1193, at Damascus,

Saladins tomb, near Umayyad Mosque's NW corner.

a third son named, Az-Zahir Ghazi, who later became

Lord of Aleppo.[103] Al-Afdals mother bore Saladin an-
other child in 1177. A letter preserved by Qalqashandi
records that a twelfth son was born in May 1178, while
on Imad al-Dins list, he appears as Saladins seventh son.
Masud was born in 1175 and Yaq'ub in 1176, the latter
Saladins tomb, Damascus, Syria. to Shamsa.[104]

not long after King Richards departure. In Saladins pos-

session at the time of his death, there were one piece of 11 Recognition and legacy
gold and forty pieces of silver.[101] He had given away
his great wealth to his poor subjects, leaving nothing to
pay for his funeral.[102] He was buried in a mausoleum 11.1 Western world
in the garden outside the Umayyad Mosque in Damas-
cus, Syria. Seven centuries later, Emperor Wilhelm II ofIn the nineteenth century, Saladin achieved a great rep-
Germany donated a new marble sarcophagus to the mau- utation in Europe as a chivalrous knight due to his erce
soleum. The original sarcophagus was not replaced, how- struggle against the crusaders and his generousity. Al-
ever. Instead, the mausoleum, which is open to visitors,though Saladin faded into history after the Middle Ages,
now has two sarcophagi: the marble one placed on the he appears in a sympathetic light in Gotthold Ephraim
side and the original wooden one, which covers SaladinsLessing's play Nathan the Wise (1779) and in Sir Walter
Scott's novel The Talisman (1825). The contemporary
tomb. (Muslims are buried in a simple shroud, so if there
view of Saladin originates mainly from these texts. Ac-
are any sarcophagi present, they are usually used for cov-
ering the top of the Islamic burials.) cording to Jonathan Riley-Smith, Scotts portrayal of Sal-
adin was that of a modern [19th-century] liberal Eu-
ropean gentlemen, beside whom medieval Westerners
would always have made a poor showing.[105] Despite
10 Family the Crusaders slaughter when they originally conquered
Jerusalem in 1099, Saladin granted amnesty and free pas-
According to Imad al-Din, Saladin had fathered ve sons sage to all common Catholics and even to the defeated
before he left Egypt in 1174. Saladins oldest son, al- Christian army, as long as they were able to pay the afore-
Afdal, was born in 1170, and Uthman was born in 1172 to mentioned ransom (the Greek Orthodox Christians were
Shamsa who accompanied Saladin to Syria. Saladin had treated even better, because they often opposed the west-

ern Crusaders). An interesting view of Saladin and the

world in which he lived is provided by Tariq Ali's novel
The Book of Saladin.[106]
Notwithstanding the dierences in beliefs, the Muslim
Saladin was respected by Christian lords, Richard espe-
cially. Richard once praised Saladin as a great prince,
saying that he was without doubt the greatest and most
powerful leader in the Islamic world.[107] Saladin in turn
stated that there was not a more honorable Christian lord
than Richard. After the treaty, Saladin and Richard sent
each other many gifts as tokens of respect but never met
face to face. In April 1191, a Frankish womans three-
month-old baby had been stolen from her camp and had
been sold on the market. The Franks urged her to ap-
proach Saladin herself with her grievance. According to
Bah' al-Dn, Saladin used his own money to buy the child

He gave it to the mother and she took it;

with tears streaming down her face, and hugged
the baby to her chest. The people were watch-
ing her and weeping and I (Ibn Shaddad) was
standing amongst them. She suckled it for
some time and then Saladin ordered a horse
to be fetched for her and she went back to The Eagle of Saladin in the Egyptian coat of arms.

At the end of World War I British Commander Gen-

eral Edmund Allenby had succeeded in capturing Dam-
ascus from Turkish troops. According to some sources,
after his triumphal entry into the city, Allenby raised
his sword in salute to the famous statue of Saladin and
proudly declared, Today the wars of the Crusaders are
completed. This quotation was incorrectly attributed to
Allenby, and throughout his life he vehemently protested
against his conquest of Palestine in 1917 having been
called a Crusade. In 1933 Allenby reiterated this stance
by saying: The importance of Jerusalem lay in its strate-
gic importance, there was no religious impulse in this
campaign.[109] The British press continued to celebrate
his victory over the Ottoman Empire by printing cartoons
of Richard the Lionheart looking down on Jerusalem
from the heavens with the caption reading At last my
dream has come true.[110][111]
The Eagle of Saladin in the coat of arms of the Kurdistan Re-
gional Government.
11.2 Muslim world

In 1898 German Emperor Wilhelm II visited Saladins Muslim world, eclipsed by more successful gures such
tomb to pay his respects.[112] The visit, coupled with anti- as Baybars of Egypt.[113]
imperialist sentiments, led nationalist Arabs to reinvent Modern Arab states have sought to commemorate Saladin
the image of Saladin and portray him as a hero of the through various measures, often based on the image cre-
struggle against the West. The image of Saladin they used ated of him in the 19th-century west.[114] A governorate
was the romantic one created by Walter Scott and other centered around Tikrit and Samarra in modern-day Iraq,
Europeans in the West at the time, conveniently ignoring Salah ad Din Governorate, is named after him, as is
Saladins Kurdish ethnicity. It replaced Saladins repu- Salahaddin University in Arbil, the largest city of Iraqi
tation as a gure who had been largely forgotten in the Kurdistan. A suburb community of Arbil, Masif Sala-

haddin, is also named after him. Rawdiya (sic), which is a branch of the great tribe al-
Hadniya": Minorsky (1953), p. 124. The medieval his-
Few structures associated with Saladin survive within torian Ibn Athir, who is a Kurd and therefore his credi-
modern cities. Saladin rst fortied the Citadel of Cairo bility is questionable, relates a passage from another com-
(11751183), which had been a domed pleasure pavilion mander: "... both you and Saladin are Kurds and you will
with a ne view in more peaceful times. In Syria, even not let power pass into the hands of the Turks": Minorsky
the smallest city is centred on a defensible citadel, and (1953), p. 138.
Saladin introduced this essential feature to Egypt.
[5] Humphreys, R. Stephen (1977). From Saladin to the Mon-
Although the Ayyubid dynasty that he founded would gols: The Ayyubids of Damascus, 11931260. State Uni-
only outlive him by 57 years, the legacy of Saladin within versity of New York Press. p. 29. ISBN 0-87395-263-
the Arab World continues to this day. With the rise of 4. Among the free-born amirs the Kurds would seem the
Arab nationalism in the 20th Century, particularly with most dependent on Saladins success for the progress of
regard to the Arab-Israeli conict, Saladins heroism and their own fortunes. He too was a Kurd, after all ...
leadership gained a new signicance. Saladins recap-
[6] Encyclopedia of World Biography on Saladin. Re-
ture of Palestine from the European Crusaders is con- trieved August 20, 2008.
sidered an inspiration for modern-day Arabs opposition
to Zionism. Moreover, the glory and comparative unity [7] Moors Islamic Cultural Home souvenir III, 19701976 Is-
of the Arab World under Saladin was seen as the per- lamic Cultural Home, 1978, p. 7.
fect symbol for the new unity sought by Arab nation-
[8] H. A. R. Gibb, The Rise of Saladin, in A History of the
alists, such as Gamal Abdel Nasser. For this reason,
Crusades, vol. 1: The First Hundred Years, ed. Kenneth
the Eagle of Saladin became the symbol of revolution- M. Setton (University of Wisconsin Press, 1969). p. 563.
ary Egypt, and was subsequently adopted by several other
Arab states (the United Arab Republic, Iraq, Libya, the [9] Bah' al-Dn (2002), p 17.
partially recognised State of Palestine, and Yemen).
[10] Ter-Ghevondyan 1965, p. 218

[11] Tabbaa, 1997, p. 31.

12 See also [12] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 3

List of Kurdish dynasties and countries [13] Who2 Biography: Saladin, Sultan / Military Leader. Retrieved August 20, 2008.
Sharaf Khan Bidlisi
[14] Northen, 1998, p. 809.
List of rulers of Damascus
[15] Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 67
List of rulers of Egypt [16] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 8
Kingdom of Heaven (lm) [17] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 14
Saladin: The Animated Series [18] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 15

Salladin the Victorious (1963 lm) [19] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 16

[20] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 25

13 Notes [21] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 28

[22] Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 2829

[1] Spevack, Aaron (2014) [2008]. The Archetypal Sunni
Scholar: Law, Theology, and Mysticism in the Synthesis [23] Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 34, 36
of Al-Bajuri. State University of New York Press. p. 44.
ISBN 978-1-4384-5371-2. [24] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 38

[2] Lv, Yaacov (1999). Saladin in Egypt. Brill. p. 131. [25] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 41
ISBN 9004112219.
[26] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 43
[3] Halverson, Jery R.; Corman, Steven R.; Goodall Jr.,
[27] Pringle, 1993, p.208.
H.L. (2011). Master Narratives of Islamist Extremism.
Palgrave Macmillan. p. 201. ISBN 0230117236. [28] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 45
[4] A number of contemporary sources make note of this. [29] Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 4647
The biographer Ibn Khallikan writes, Historians agree
in stating that [Saladins] father and family belonged to [30] Dastan Iman Faroshon Ki by Inayatullah Iltumish, 2011,
Duwin [Dvin]. ... They were Kurds and belonged to the pp. 128134
16 13 NOTES

[31] Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 6062 [69] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 176

[32] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 64 [70] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 177

[33] Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 7475 [71] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 195

[34] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 136 [72] Lane-Poole 1906, pp. 172173

[35] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 81 [73] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 199
[36] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 13 [74] Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 198201
[37] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 137 [75] Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 202203
[38] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 87 [76] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 178
[39] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 138 [77] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 179
[40] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 139 [78] Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 180181
[41] Nicolle 2011, p. 20 [79] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 171
[42] Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 8889 [80] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 184
[43] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 140 [81] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 185
[44] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 141 [82] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 186
[45] Lane-Poole 1906, pp. 141143 [83] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 187
[46] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 144 [84] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 188
[47] Lane-Poole 1906, pp. 144146 [85] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 191
[48] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 148 [86] Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 192194
[49] Willey, 2000, p. 47. [87] Bosworth, 1989, p. 781
[50] Lane-Poole 1906, pp. 149150 [88] Saladin Or What Befell Sultan Yusuf by Beha Ed-din,
[51] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 151 Baha' Al-Din Yusuf Ib Ibn Shaddad, Kessinger Publish-
ing, 2004, p.42, p.114
[52] Willey, 2000, p. 48.
[89] Saladin Or What Befell Sultan Yusuf by Beha Ed-din,
[53] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 153 Baha' Al-Din Yusuf Ib Ibn Shaddad, Kessinger Publish-
ing, 2004, p. 115.
[54] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 154
[90] De Expugatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum (The Cap-
[55] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 155 ture of the Holy Land by Saladin); ed. Joseph Stevenson,
[56] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 156 Rolls Series, (London: Longmans, 1875); translated by
James Brundage, The Crusades: A Documentary History
[57] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 136 (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1962), pp.
[58] Lane-Poole 1906, pp. 157159
[91] Runciman (1990), p 465.
[59] Lane-Poole 1906, pp. 160161
[92] E. J. Brills First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 19131936.
[60] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 148 Brill. 1993. ISBN 978-90-04-09790-2. Retrieved 2014-
[61] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 156

[62] Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 158159 [93] The era of the Second and Third Crusades " The Crusader
states to 1187, Encyclopdia Britannica
[63] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 149
[94] Scharfstein and Gelabert, 1997, p. 145.
[64] Lane-Poole 1906, pp. 164165
[95] Rosso, 2001, p. 6.
[65] Lane-Poole 1906, p. 167
[96] Pahlitzsch, Johannes, Georgians and Greeks in Jerusalem
[66] Lane-Poole 1906, pp. 168169 (10991310)", in Ciggaar & Herman (1996), pp. 3839.

[67] Lane-Poole 1906, pp. 169170 [97] Eastmond (1998), pp. 122123.

[68] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 164 [98] Grousset (1970).

14.2 Secondary sources 17

[99] Richard The Lionheart Massacres, The Saracens, 1191, 14.2 Secondary sources
Beha-ed-Din, his account appears in T.A. Archers The
Crusade of Richard I (1889); Gillingham, John. The Life Bosworth, Cliord (1989). Mahk-Mid. In Van
and Times of Richard I (1973) Donzel, E.; Heinrichs, W.P.; Pellat, Ch. The En-
cyclopaedia of Islam VI. E.J. Brill. ISBN 90-04-
[100] Bishop, Morris (2001). The Middle Ages. Boston, Mass.: 08112-7. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
Houghton Miin Harcourt. p. 102. ISBN 0-618-05703-
X. Gabrieli, Francesco; Costello, E.J. (1984). Arab
historians of the crusades. London: Routledge &
[101] Bah' al-Dn (2002) p 19. Kegan. p. 362. ISBN 978-0-7102-0235-2.
[102] Bah' al-Dn (2002) pp 25 & 244. Gillingham, John (1999). Richard I. Yale English
Monarchs. New Haven: Yale University Press. p.
[103] Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. XI, Ed. P.J. Bearman, T.
378. ISBN 978-0-300-07912-8.
Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Hein-
richs, (E.J. Brill, 2002), 392. Grousset, Ren (1970). The epic of the Crusades. tr.
Lindsay, Nol. New York: Orion Press.
[104] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 135
Lane-Poole, Stanley (1906). Saladin and the Fall of
[105] Riley Smith, Jonathan, The Crusades, Christianity and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Heroes of the Nations.
Islam, (Columbia 2008), p. 67 London: G. P. Putnams Sons. Retrieved 2014-03-
[106] (London: Verso, 1998)
Lyons, M.C.; Jackson, D.E.P. (1982). Saladin: the
[107] Lyons & Jackson 1982, p. 357
Politics of the Holy War. Cambridge University
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[108] Bah' al-Dn (2002), pp. 147148 Lyons & Jackson 1982,
pp. 325326 03-26.
Minorsky, Vladimir (1953). Studies in Caucasian
[109] Phillips, Jonathan (2009). Holy Warriors: A Modern His-
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331. ISBN 978-0-224-07937-2. Nicolle, David (2011). Saladin: The Background,
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[110] Curry, Andrew (8 April 2002). The First Holy War.
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[111] Bundan iyisi am'da kays/Gezi Tatil/Milliyet blog.
Rosso, David (2001). Linas, Eli, ed. Where Retrieved 3 November 2010.
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[112] The Kaiser laid a wreath on the tomb baring the inscrip- medieval times to the present. Jerusalem: Guardian.
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Grousset (1970). Runciman, Steven (1990). A History of the Cru-
sades: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frank-
[113] Riley Smith, Jonathan, The Crusades, Christianity and ish East 11001187 2 (2nd ed.). London: Penguin.
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[114] Madden, Thomas F.: The Concise History of the Crusades; Ter-Ghevondyan, Aram N. (1965).
3rd edition, Rowman & Littleeld, 2013. pp. 201-204.
(The Arab Emirates in Bagratuni
Armenia) (in Armenian). Yerevan: Armenian
Academy of Sciences.
14 Bibliography

14.1 Primary sources 15 Further reading

Bah' al-Dn Ibn Shaddd (2002). The Rare and Ex- Gibb, H.A.R. (1973). The Life of Saladin: From the
cellent History of Saladin. Ashgate. ISBN 978-0- Works of Imad ad-Din and Baha ad-Din. Clarendon
7546-3381-5. Press. ISBN 978-0-86356-928-9. OCLC 674160.
Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani (1888). C. Landberg, ed. Hindley, Georey (2007). Saladin: Hero of Is-
Conqute de la Syrie et de la Palestine par Salh ed- lam. Pen & Sword. ISBN 1-84415-499-8. OCLC
dn (in French). Brill. 72868777.

Husain, Shahnaz (1998). Muslim heroes of the cru-

sades: Salahuddin and Nuruddin. London: Ta-Ha.
ISBN 978-1-897940-71-6. OCLC 40928075.

Reston, Jr., James (2001). Warriors of God:

Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Cru-
sade. New York: Anchor Books. ISBN 0-385-
49562-5. OCLC 45283102.

Scharfstein, Sol; Gelabert, Dorcas (1997). Chroni-

cle of Jewish history: from the patriarchs to the 21st
century. Hoboken, N.J.: KTAV Pub. House. ISBN
0-88125-606-4. OCLC 38174402.

16 External links
Stanley Lane-Poole, The Life of Saladin and the
Fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, in btm format
Rosebault Ch.J. Saladin. Prince of Chivalri

De expugnatione terrae sanctae per Saladinum A

European account of Saladins conquests of the Cru-
sader states. (Latin)
Saladin: The Sultan and His Times, 11381193

Richard and Saladin: Warriors of the Third Crusade


17 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

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