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Several invasions of Egypt were launched. The Egyptians repelled the invaders but the resources consumed in defending their home turf prevented them from defending Palestine. The last Fatimid stronghold in Palestine, Ascalon, fell in 1. With Egypt in disarray and the Seljuks under increasing pressure from the Ghaznavids and the Turkish Kara Khitai tribes, Crusader rule in Jerusalem went unchallenged for almost a century.
The task of defending against European military invasions had to be organized from northern Iraq and eastern Anatolia. Maudud, a Seljuk officer from Mosul, was the first to take up the challenge. Travel Agent Cms on this page. But Fatimid assassins murdered Maudud in 1. Another Turkish officer, Zengi, continued Maududs work.
Zengi was a first rate soldier, a man of righteousness, fairness and piety. He ruled with firm justice, making no distinction between a Turk and a non Turk. Zengi inflicted a crushing defeat on the invaders, forcing the Germans and the Franks to withdraw. But two events took place that delayed the task of expelling the Franks from Jerusalem. His son Nuruddin pursued Zengis work with even greater vigor.
A man of extraordinary ability, Nuruddin organized a systematic campaign to expel the Crusaders from West Asia. Nuruddin was a man of piety, bereft of prejudice, of noble disposition. The unsettled military conditions provided ample opportunities for capable persons and non Turkish soldiers rose rapidly through the army.
Among them were two officers, Ayyub and Shirkuh, the uncle of Salahuddin. Systematically, Nuruddins officers brought all of northern Iraq, eastern Syria and eastern Anatolia under their control. Damascus was added in 1. With the resources of these vast territories behind him, Nuruddin was ready to challenge the Crusaders in Palestine and fight for control of Egypt.
The key to Palestine lay in Egypt. As long as the Fatimids ruled Egypt, coordinated military action against the Crusader kingdoms was not possible. The race to Egypt was of great immediacy. One of them invited the Franks to intervene in Egypt.
The other appealed to Nuruddin. Nuruddin prompted dispatched Shirkuh to Cairo. Two years later Shirkuh returned to Egypt with his nephew Salahuddin. This time he was successful in establishing his authority in the Nile Delta. Mustadi, the last Fatimid Caliphwas forced to appoint Shirkuh as his vizier. Consequently, the Nubians departed; but returned in and were again driven off. This time, Egyptian forces advanced from Aswan and captured the Nubian town of Ibrim.
Saladin sent a gift to Nur ad-Din, who had been his friend and teacher, 60, dinars, "wonderful manufactured goods", some jewels, and an elephant. While transporting these goods to Damascus, Saladin took the opportunity to ravage the Crusader countryside. He did not press an attack against the desert castles, but attempted to drive out the Muslim Bedouins who lived in Crusader territory with the aim of depriving the Franks of guides.
The Ayyubids held a council upon the revelation of these preparations to discuss the possible threat and Saladin collected his own troops outside Cairo. On 15 May, Nur ad-Din died after falling ill the previous week and his power was handed to his eleven-year-old son as-Salih Ismail al-Malik. His death left Saladin with political independence and in a letter to as-Salih, he promised to "act as a sword" against his enemies and referred to the death of his father as an "earthquake shock".
He could also take it upon himself to annex Syria before it could possibly fall into the hands of a rival, but he feared that attacking a land that formerly belonged to his master—forbidden in the Islamic principles in which he believed—could portray him as hypocritical, thus making him unsuitable for leading the war against the Crusaders.
Saladin saw that in order to acquire Syria, he either needed an invitation from as-Salih, or to warn him that potential anarchy could give rise to danger from the Crusaders. The emir prepared to unseat all his rivals in Syria and the Jazira, beginning with Damascus. In this emergency, the emir of Damascus appealed to Saif al-Din of Mosul a cousin of Gumushtigin for assistance against Aleppo, but he refused, forcing the Syrians to request the aid of Saladin, who complied.
According to his own account, was joined by "emirs, soldiers, and Bedouins—the emotions of their hearts to be seen on their faces. His army conquered Hamah with relative ease, but avoided attacking Homs because of the strength of its citadel. One of Saladin's chroniclers claimed "the people came under his spell". One was killed by one of Saladin's generals and the others were slain while trying to escape.
Saladin later moved toward Homs instead, but retreated after being told a relief force was being sent to the city by Saif al-Din. Saladin aimed to counter this propaganda by ending the siege, claiming that he was defending Islam from the Crusaders; his army returned to Hama to engage a Crusader force there.
The Crusaders withdrew beforehand and Saladin proclaimed it "a victory opening the gates of men's hearts". As head of the Zengids , including Gumushtigin, he regarded Syria and Mesopotamia as his family estate and was angered when Saladin attempted to usurp his dynasty's holdings.
Saif al-Din mustered a large army and dispatched it to Aleppo, whose defenders anxiously had awaited them. The combined forces of Mosul and Aleppo marched against Saladin in Hama. Heavily outnumbered, Saladin initially attempted to make terms with the Zengids by abandoning all conquests north of the Damascus province , but they refused, insisting he return to Egypt.
Seeing that confrontation was unavoidable, Saladin prepared for battle, taking up a superior position at the Horns of Hama , hills by the gorge of the Orontes River. On 13 April , the Zengid troops marched to attack his forces, but soon found themselves surrounded by Saladin's Ayyubid veterans, who crushed them.
The battle ended in a decisive victory for Saladin, who pursued the Zengid fugitives to the gates of Aleppo, forcing as-Salih's advisers to recognize Saladin's control of the provinces of Damascus, Homs and Hama, as well as a number of towns outside Aleppo such as Ma'arat al-Numan. From then on, he ordered prayers in all the mosques of Syria and Egypt as the sovereign king and he issued at the Cairo mint gold coins bearing his official title—al-Malik an-Nasir Yusuf Ayyub, ala ghaya "the King Strong to Aid, Joseph son of Job; exalted be the standard.
The Battle of Hama did not end the contest for power between the Ayyubids and the Zengids, with the final confrontation occurring in the spring of Saladin had gathered massive reinforcements from Egypt while Saif al-Din was levying troops among the minor states of Diyarbakir and al-Jazira. He viewed this as an omen, but he continued his march north.
He reached the Sultan's Mound , c. A hand-to-hand fight ensued and the Zengids managed to plow Saladin's left wing, driving it before him, when Saladin himself charged at the head of the Zengid guard. The Zengid forces panicked and most of Saif al-Din's officers ended up being killed or captured—Saif al-Din narrowly escaped. The Zengid army's camp, horses, baggage, tents and stores were seized by the Ayyubids. The Zengid prisoners of war , however, were given gifts and freed.
All of the booty from the Ayyubid victory was accorded to the army, Saladin not keeping anything himself. On the way, his army took Buza'a, then captured Manbij. From there, they headed west to besiege the fortress of A'zaz on 15 May.
Several days later, while Saladin was resting in one of his captain's tents, an assassin rushed forward at him and struck at his head with a knife. The cap of his head armour was not penetrated and he managed to grip the assassin's hand—the dagger only slashing his gambeson —and the assailant was soon killed.
Saladin was unnerved at the attempt on his life, which he accused Gumushtugin and the Assassins of plotting, and so increased his efforts in the siege. His assaults were again resisted, but he managed to secure not only a truce, but a mutual alliance with Aleppo, in which Gumushtigin and as-Salih were allowed to continue their hold on the city and in return, they recognized Saladin as the sovereign over all of the dominions he conquered.
When the treaty was concluded, the younger sister of as-Salih came to Saladin and requested the return of the Fortress of A'zaz; he complied and escorted her back to the gates of Aleppo with numerous presents.
Saladin had by now agreed truces with his Zengid rivals and the Kingdom of Jerusalem the latter occurred in the summer of , but faced a threat from the Ismaili sect known as the " Assassins ", led by Rashid ad-Din Sinan. Based in the an-Nusayriyah Mountains , they commanded nine fortresses , all built on high elevations.
As soon as he dispatched the bulk of his troops to Egypt, Saladin led his army into the an-Nusayriyah range in August He retreated the same month, after laying waste to the countryside, but failing to conquer any of the forts. Most Muslim historians claim that Saladin's uncle, the governor of Hama, mediated a peace agreement between him and Sinan. Presently, Saladin awoke to find a figure leaving the tent. He saw that the lamps were displaced and beside his bed laid hot scones of the shape peculiar to the Assassins with a note at the top pinned by a poisoned dagger.
The note threatened that he would be killed if he didn't withdraw from his assault. Saladin gave a loud cry, exclaiming that Sinan himself was the figure that had left the tent.
After leaving the an-Nusayriyah Mountains, Saladin returned to Damascus and had his Syrian soldiers return home. He left Turan Shah in command of Syria and left for Egypt with only his personal followers, reaching Cairo on 22 September. Having been absent roughly two years, he had much to organize and supervise in Egypt, namely fortifying and reconstructing Cairo. The city walls were repaired and their extensions laid out, while the construction of the Cairo Citadel was commenced.
The chief public work he commissioned outside of Cairo was the large bridge at Giza , which was intended to form an outwork of defense against a potential Moorish invasion. In November , he set out upon a raid into Palestine; the Crusaders had recently forayed into the territory of Damascus, so Saladin saw the truce as no longer worth preserving.
The Christians sent a large portion of their army to besiege the fortress of Harim north of Aleppo, so southern Palestine bore few defenders. This army proceeded to raid the countryside, sack Ramla and Lod , and dispersed themselves as far as the Gates of Jerusalem.
Although the Crusader force consisted of only knights, Saladin hesitated to ambush them because of the presence of highly skilled generals. On 25 November, while the greater part of the Ayyubid army was absent, Saladin and his men were surprised near Ramla in the battle of Montgisard.
Before they could form up, the Templar force hacked the Ayyubid army down. Initially, Saladin attempted to organize his men into battle order, but as his bodyguards were being killed, he saw that defeat was inevitable and so with a small remnant of his troops mounted a swift camel , riding all the way to the territories of Egypt.
In the spring of , he was encamped under the walls of Homs, and a few skirmishes occurred between his generals and the Crusader army.
His descriptions of ancient warfare are, factual, captivating and superb.
He gets to the underlying motives on both sides. Why the Crusades were successful for a time, and why they were doomed to ultimate failure. He also shows why there is such undying animosity between the followers of the Prophet and the followers of the Nazarene.
Lamb has his personal favorite hero: Saladin, the most chivalrous of enemies, very intelligent and skillful men, with good warfare knowledge, quite learned and, by far, the most important Islam's defender of the Faith. The brilliancy of the exposition of Lamb, his excellent use of terms, and his profound knowledge of the East provides the ambience.
Lamb's books are all factual as he visited each area he writes about. The Crusades is a fast moving novel that underlines the different movements of Europe and Asia fighting. Showing the heroes and villians from both sides. Lamb has the skill to keep himself neutral; nevertheless he gives us the facts and gives the reader the golden opportunity: And that's Lamb's greatest achievement.
He novelizes a subject, but finally it is only a very valid literary resource to lead us to the precise point of human History where the author wants us.
From title, "The flame of Islam", we understand that greed, false piousness, false pride, ignorance; the arrogance of the self-conceited Christian warriors, lustful, bored -perhaps with a tint of real faith-, made the Europeans cross the seas and barren lands to get to Jerusalem, the three-times blessed City. But, from the pages of Lamb we may be able to point out that failure of the enterprise was due, from the 1st Crusade, to jealousy, envy, and the search of personal success.
It was not their main goal to recover The Holy Land. If it had been true, they would have succeeded. Read more Read less. Customers who viewed this item also viewed.