Tag Archive | Classic Literature

“Truces and Treaties, 1176-1181” Saladin And The Crusades, from Lane-Poole, Part III, Chapter X


Excerpt from Chapter X: “…How it happened is not clear, but this much is certain, that on the 25th of November, 1177, in the absence of the greater part of his army, Saladin’s men were surprised at Tell Jezer, near Ramla, and before they could form up, the knights were hacking them down. At first the Sultan retired fighting, and tried to get his men into order of battle; but his bodyguard was cut to pieces around him, and he was himself all but taken prisoner. Seeing that the day was lost, he turned at last, and mounting a swift camel rode for his life. A remnant of his troops escaped with him, and throwing away armour and weapons, and leaving the wounded to their fate, fled under cover of night pell-mell to Egypt, where they arrived after great privations.  Of the rest of the army that had marched so gleefully to the despoiling of the Holy Lands, few survived. Famine, cold, and heavy rains completed what the sword began. Never had Saladin’s arms known such disaster…”

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“The Conquest of Syria, 1174-1176” Saladin And The Crusades, from Lane-Poole, Part III, Chapter IX


Excerpt from Chapter IX: “…Now, for the first time, Saladin asserted his independence, proclaimed himself King, and suppressed the name of es-Salih in the prayer and coinage. This year (1175) he was prayed for in all the mosques of Syria and Egypt as sovereign lord, and he issued at the Cairo mint gold coins in his own name: “el-Melik en-Nasir Yusuf ibn Ayyub, ala ghaya,” “The King Strong to Aid, Joseph son of Job; exalted be the Standard!”

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“Saladin at Cairo, 1171-1173” Saladin And The Crusades, from Lane-Poole, Part II, Chapter VIII


Excerpt from Chapter VIII: “…Insurrection and intrigue…troubled the serenity of Egypt. A number of Egyptians and Sudanis, and even some of the Turkman officers and troops, joined in the conspiracy; the Kings of Sicily and Jerusalem were engaged to assist by promises of gold and territory; and preparations were a-foot for a combined attack by sea and land, in which Saladin was to be enmeshed. Fortunately the whole plan was betrayed to the intended victim by a divine to whom the conspirators had unwisely confided their secret. Saladin waited until his information was fully confirmed, and then swooped down upon the plotters, seized the leaders…and had them all crucified on the 6th of April, 1174. The revolting Egyptians and black slaves were exiled to Upper Egypt.”

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Illustration: Gold coin of Saladin struck at Alexandria in A.H. 579 (A.D. 1183-4)


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“Vezir of Egypt, 1169-1171” Saladin And The Crusades, from Lane-Poole, Part II, Chapter VII


Excerpt from Chapter VII: “… Saladin had been dragged to Egypt against his will, foreseeing nothing but misery; and now the very step he had tried to avoid was to lead him to the pinnacle of fame. The Prophet indeed said truly, “God will make men wonder when they see folk hauled to Paradise in chains.” In such happy bonds was Saladin led to the throne. The Fatimid Caliph chose him from among all the Syrian captains to be the successor of his uncle, and on the 26th of March, 1169, three days after Shirkuh’s death, he was invested with the mantle of vezir and decorated with the title el-Malik en-Nasir, “The King Strong to aid”…”

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“The Conquest of Egypt, 1164-1169” Saladin And The Crusades, from Lane-Poole, Part II, Chapter VI


Excerpt from Chapter VI: “…The arrival of Nur-ed-din upon the scene of Syrian politics, especially after his conquest of Damascus, introduced a highly disturbing influence. The King of Syria and the King of Jerusalem were now rival powers: neither could allow the other to increase his strength by the annexation of Egypt, and thus to acquire a vantage-ground from the south. Each coveted the delta of the Nile, and each watched his rival with jealous vigilance. The Egyptian vezirs, the real governors of the country, fully alive to the possibilities of the situation, set themselves to coquet with both parties, and to play off one against the other. In the end they carried the game too far, and gave Saladin an opportunity which he did not neglect.”

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“Saladin’s Youth, 1138-1164” Saladin And The Crusades, from Lane-Poole, Part II, Chapter V


Excerpt from Chapter V: “…The great opportunity seemed to have come. The Franks were discredited and dismayed after the miserable collapse of the Second Crusade; Mesopotamia was quiet under the magnanimous rule of Zengy’s eldest son; the indomitable Anar, who had repeatedly withstood the great Atabeg himself, was dead, and in his stead had risen Ayyub, whose brother was Nur-ed-Din’s trusted marshal; and already the Prince of Damascus had humbly paid homage to the King of Aleppo. If ever the hour had struck for the realising of Zengy’s dream of a Syrian empire, centered at Damascus, it was now.”

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“The Fall of Edessa, 1127-1144” Saladin And The Crusades, from Lane-Poole, Part I, Chapter IV

Excerpt from Chapter IV: “…Zengy at the head of his men charged the enemy again and again, shouting the words of the Prophet, “Take a taste of Hell!” The Crusaders were utterly routed: “the swords of God were sheathed in the necks of his foes,” and few indeed escaped to tell of the field of shambles. They turned to fly, but what could avail when…the “Martyr” [Zengy] plunged through a sea of blood, cleaving heads and laying bones bare, till the field was covered with mangled corpses and severed limbs. Only those escaped who hid under the heaps of slain, or “mounted the camel of night.”

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