Saladin (1138-1193)


1138 This seems to be the year Saladin was born, whose real name is very long, al-Malik al-Nasir al-Sultan Salah al-Dinibn Ayub; he was a Kurdish. He was born in Takrit (a place in Mesopotamia), on Tiger shore. Europeanized name of Saladin comes from Salah-al-Din, which could be translated as “Good Policy of Religion”. His father, Ayub, was a governor and his uncle, Sirkuh, was the commander of troops sent to Bagdad, in Egypt, by Abbasid caliph.

During this campaign young Saladin remarked himself, he gave up to religious studies (he believed a brunch of Islam, Sufism) and discovered his passion for guns. In a short time after his uncle had obtained Egypt power this died and his nephew replaced him, as a vizier of the country.

1174 After a series of victories against crusaders, he succeeded to occupy the whole North of Syria that is why this year he was appointed Sultan of Egypt, Syria, Nubia and Yemen.

1176 He came back to Egypt and took care of strengthening the fortifications and of his own comfort, too. It is said that he had a bright yard, literally and figuratively: 700 gold and silver plates, expensive silk, special carpets and many others.

1187 He defeated the new king of Jerusalem, Guy of Lusignan. Chronicles say that hundreds of knights from Hospitaller Order were beheaded and the other part of prisoners was sold as slaves. Christians’ leader himself was taken as a prisoner but his life was spared because Saladin believed that a king must not kill another king. After a short time Muslims conquered Tiberias and Accra (Saint-Jean d’Accre), then Beirut, Sidon and Jaffa.

On September 20th, 1187, Saladin started Jerusalem siege that he would occupy on October 2nd. He behaved as a real knight with Christians, allowed them to leave and rich prisoners to redeem. He gallantly treated the daughters or widows of those who had died on the battlefield.

1193 Saladin died on March 14th, when he was 55 years old, in Damascus, after his health had worsened at the beginning of the year. A hero of Muslims, but also admired by Christians, Saladin was rather a knight in the medieval meaning of the word. Maybe that is why Europeans saw with respect the pagan that had defeated them.



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