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TitleSaladin The Great.pdf
TagsSufism Saladin Shia Islam Sunni Islam Byzantine Empire
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Table of Contents
                            Table of Contents
Foreword: On Leadership
CH1: A Tale of Two Conquests
CH2: Saladin’s World
CH3: Rise to Power
CH4: The Sultan
CH5: Victory and Beyond
CH6: The Siege of Acre
CH7: Showdown at the Holy City
CH8: War and Peace
CH9: The Sultan's Last Days
CH10: Remembering Saladin
Further Reading
Web Sites
Picture Credits
About the Author
Document Text Contents
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Saladin moved quickly to follow up on his stunning victory.

Splitting his forces, he marched on the most important and

dangerous Christian strong point in all Palestine, Tyre. Tyre

possessed a large garrison and was protected by gigantic,

well-constructed walls. The cityÕs commander, moreover,

was one of the ablest of the Frankish leaders, Conrad of

Montferrat. Conrad respected Saladin but did not fear him,

and he was determined to deny the sultan control of Tyre.

Saladin knew that a direct assault on the city would fail and that

a prolonged siege would be difficult and counterproductive, so

he tried a bit of persuasion, only to find Conrad unimpressed.

Saladin had ConradÕs father, who had been captured at Hattin,

brought to the city walls in chains; there he threatened to kill

the elderly man if Conrad did not yield. The FrankÕs reply

shocked and disappointed Saladin. ÒTie him to the stake. What

do I care?Ó shouted Conrad from the walls. ÒI shall be the first

to shoot him. For he is old and worthless.Ó Conrad then picked

up a crossbow and launched a bolt at his own father. Saladin

shook his head and pronounced Conrad to be despicable and

Òvery cruel,Ó but he got the message; Tyre would fall only after

much bloodshed and time. Time was one thing the sultan did

not have. Saladin gathered his army together and moved on,

leaving Tyre in Christian hands.

SaladinÕs fortunes improved a bit after Tyre. One by one the

other cities fellÑCaesarea, Jaffa, Arsuf. Finally, Saladin stood

before Ascalon. An ancient city, Ascalon was the gateway to

Egypt. Its possession would provide a secure trade and com-

munications link between Egypt and Syria, the two halves of

SaladinÕs realm. The sultan needed Ascalon badly and quickly if

he wanted to maintain the momentum of his campaign. The

city, however, held out. Ascalon rejected all of SaladinÕs

demands for surrender. Even hauling the unfortunate Guy out

of prison and having him ask for the city gates to be opened did

no good. AscalonÕs defenders merely laughed at GuyÕs pleading,


Page 60

notwithstanding the fact that their surrender would purchase

his freedom. Faced with such defiance, Saladin reluctantly

ordered his engineers to begin undermining Ascalon’s walls.

Digging replaced dealing, but the memory of Alexandria

haunted the sultan. Though on the outside this time, Saladin

still detested sieges and the privation they brought. Luckily for

him, Ascalon’s leaders found the prospect of bombardment,

starvation, and massacre equally unappealing. Soon after the

work began on bringing down the city’s walls, the elders

opened their gates and came out begging for mercy. The

gateway to Egypt surrendered.

One siege had been averted, but another greater one

loomed ahead. Jerusalem’s defenders would surely resist more

vigorously than their compatriots at Ascalon. Ascalon’s value

lay only in its geographic location, but Jerusalem was the

Holy City, the city of Christ. To give it up without a fight would

be to give up the heart of Christianity. Saladin recognized the

significance of Jerusalem to the Christians, so he chose to offer

the people of the city very liberal terms of surrender before

marching on it. The sultan cordially received an embassy from

Jerusalem while camped outside Ascalon and demonstrated his

legendary generosity. Saladin promised a siege but not a serious

one. The Muslim army would take up positions around

Jerusalem, according to the plan he outlined, but daily life

within its walls could proceed unmolested. Farmers supplying

the city with food could continue to till their fields and feed

Jerusalem’s population without fear. In return, the city had to

agree to surrender without armed resistance if no Frankish

army came to its rescue by the following spring. Saladin

furthermore assured them that the citizens of Jerusalem would

not be harmed.

Much to his surprise and chagrin, the men rejected all of

Saladin’s terms out of hand. Rather than give Jerusalem to the

Muslims, the ambassadors swore that they and their colleagues

would “die in defense of the Lord’s sepulcher, for how could we


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2: Leonard de Selva/ Corbis
13: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
18: Archivo Iconographico, S.A./ Corbis
21: Archivo Iconographico, S.A./ Corbis
24: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
29: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis
32: Archivo Iconographico, S.A./ Corbis
36: K.M. Westermann/Corbis
41: Bettmann/Corbis
45: Bettmann/Corbis
50: Richard T. Nowitz
53: Historical Picture Archive/Corbis
57: Michael Masan Historic


61: Corbis
65: Bettmann/Corbis
68: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
71: Gianni Dagli Orti/ Corbis
75: Hierophant Collection
78: Historical Picture Archive/Corbis
81: Paul A. Souders/Corbis
85: Historical Picture Archive/Corbis
89: Bettmann/Corbis
92: David Rubinger/Corbis
98: Bettmann/Corbis
101: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
105: Corbis


Cover: Hierophant Collection
Frontis: SEF/Art Resource. NY

Page 119


JOHN DAVENPORT holds a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut and
currently teaches at St. Raymond School in Menlo Park, California. He lives
in San Carlos, California, with his wife, Jennifer, and his two sons, William
and Andrew.


ARTHUR M. SCHLESINGER JR. is the leading American historian of our time. He
won the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Age of Jackson (1945) and again for a
chronicle of the Kennedy administration, A Thousand Days (1965), which also
won the National Book Award. Professor Schlesinger is the Albert Schweitzer
Professor of the Humanities at the City University of New York and has
been involved in several other Chelsea House projects, including the series

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