SALADIN 1138 -
THE CAPTURE OF JERUSALEM 1187
xxxxxAs we have seen, Jerusalem was captured by the First Crusade in 1099 (W2). Its re-
xxxxxAs we have seen, the capture of Jerusalem from the Muslims in July 1099 (W2) was the culminating triumph of the First Crusade. The cross replaced the Muslim crescent, the infidels were mercilessly slaughtered, and the Holy places wrested from their grasp. It was a triumph for militant Christendom. But less than ninety years later, Jerusalem was again in the hands of the Muslims, and it was destined to remain so for the next 730 years. It was not until December 1917, in fact, during the First World War, that the city was captured by British troops, the climax of a successful campaign against the Turks in the Middle East.
xxxxxThe recapture of Jerusalem by the Muslims in 1187 was due in large part to the political as well as the military genius of one man -
xxxxxHis campaign started in the summer of 1187. Declaring a Holy War, he utterly defeated a large Christian force at the Battle of Hattin, overrun Tiberias and Acre, reached the gates of Jerusalem by September, and took the city after a siege lasting just twelve days. Those Christians who survived the attack were allowed to leave and take refuge in the coastal town of Tyre on payment of a ransom -
xxxxxSaladin, the most famous of Muslim soldiers, was born into a prominent Kurdish family and grew up in northern Syria. His military career began when he joined the staff of his uncle Asad-
Siege of Jerusalem: image from Chronique d’Emoul et de Bernard le Trésorier, late 15th century – British Library, London. Saladin: by the Florentine painter Cristofano dell’Altissimo (1525-