Who’s watched the movie Kingdom of heaven with the stunning Orlando Bloom 😛 ? Do you remember a man who he fought against?
Well that man was known as Saladin or Salah ad-Din. Born in 1137 (some sources say 1139 but lets stick to 37) was the first sultan of Egypt & Syria along with the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty – who were Sunni muslims of Kurdish origin.
Now, through his competent strategies and success in the military he was praised by many in the government and courts. It was rare for a Sunni to become a vizier however, after the death of Al-adid ( Fatimid caliph) he was nominated as the successor.
Saladin conquered several cities and countries beginning with his raids against crusaders in Palestine, followed by his conquest of Yemen. Nur ad-Din the ruler of Syria had a very timely death (by this I mean it came in Saladin’s favour as Nur ad-Din seeked to wage war against Saladin for his refusal to send money, troops & supplies).
This in turn made it an easy stride for Saladin who took over Syria. Not long after, he defeated the Zengid (muslim dynasty of Oghuz Turks) of Egypt he was declared the sultan of both Egypt & Syria.
Shall we talk marriage? – hmm . So Saladin married a lady called Ismat ad-Din Khatun – who was the daughter of a regent. Supposedly she was known to have “courage beyond that of most women”. Sadly Ismat never had any children. Saladin was unaware of her death until three months after because he too was suffering from an illness – he kept writing her letters in those months (bless him, now where are the letter writing guys these days?).
But wait, there was another wife ( you cheeky thing) named Shamsa who bore him many sons. It’s a little peculiar as it states he was married at 14 – so im assuming that Shamsa was his first wife.
Oh my goodness hold on (15 mins later) – just did a bit of research and Saladin had 17 sons. Blimey – hope Shamsa was able to keep fit and slim after that , bless her (probably not all her children though).
Furthermore, he had two assassination attempts by a group of individuals known as Nizari Ismailis ( have no idea who they are – it’s some sort of sect and I shall have to read more into it) . But he survived them didn’t he. 9 lives or what?
Saladin’s greatest triumph over the European Crusaders came at the Battle of Hattin in 1187, which paved the way for Islamic re-conquest of Jerusalem and other “Holy Land” cities in the near east. He crossed Jordan, attacked Tiberias, capturing the town and besieging the castle. Soon after the crusaders were in desperate need of water. Saladin and his army had camped outside and had the only access hence war was most definitely in his favour. The exhausted Christian army fought to the best of their capacity but it wasnt enough. Saladin’s enemy were routed, capturing King Guy, along with Reynald of Chatillon and most of the great barons of the kingdom, as well as capturing the Holy Cross. The prisoners were all well treated, apart from Reynald of Chatillon, whom Saladin felt such hatred towards, he personally beheaded ( would not want to get on the wrong side of him now)!
A quote I found about Saladin :
Notwithstanding the differences in beliefs, the Muslim Saladin was respected by Christian lords, Richard especially. Richard once praised Saladin as a great prince, saying that he was without doubt the greatest and most powerful leader in the Islamic world. 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
I will do another post one day about the crusades, if you find this interesting 🙂 Yes I kept it short & sweet because I don’t want to sound like a boring historian ❤
Thankies to the tweep for suggesting this topic 🙂