Ars Bellica

Battle of Hattin

4 July 1187

The Crusaders defeat decreed the end of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Islamic reconquest of much of Palestine.



Guy of Lusignan (Poitou, 1150 - Nicosia, 1194)

Guy of Lusignan

Guy of Lusignan was a french crusader Knight. Because of marriage he became consort King of Jerusalem and led the Crusader Kingdom to disaster at the battle of Hattin in 1187.
Son of count Hugh VIII of Lusignan, was born in a region at the time belonging to the Duchy of Aquitaine, ruled by Queen Eleanor of England along with the third son Richard and her husband Henry II.
Guy left the homeland and arrived in Jerusalem between 1174 and 1180. His brother Amalric, in 1174, married the daughter of Baldwin of Ibelin and had access to the Royal Court of Jerusalem. Upon him fell early protection of Agnes of Courtenay, divorced mother of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, the County of Jaffa and Ascalon and remarried with Reginald of Sidon.
According to some sources (as William of tyre) Agnes was concerned that his political rivals, led by Raymond of Tripoli, were determined to exert more control over the Court of Jerusalem, making pressure to the Princess Sibylla, daughter of Agnes, agree to marry a man of their choice. Playing in advance, Agnes warned the King, her son, by opponents plans and convinced him of the opportunity to give married Sibylla to Guy of Lusignan.
Guy and Sibylla were hastily joined in marriage on Easter Sunday, 1180, apparently to prevent a coup of Raymond's faction who tried to force Sibylla's marriage with Baldwin of Ibelin, Amalric of Lusignan's brother-in-law, or with some other noble ally. From the marriage with the sister of the King, Guy also gained the title of count of Jaffa and Ascalon and bailli of Jerusalem (Regent during King's absence). The couple had two daughters, Alice and Mary. At the time, Sibylla already had a son, Baldwin, by her first husband William Longsword of Montferrat.
Ambitious as it was, Guy convinces King Baldwin to make him Regent in early 1182. But the relationship of trust between him and the King was short-lived: the Kingdom of Jerusalem lived a period of truce with Saladin, whom Guy, along with Reginald of Chatillon, launched repeated provocations. The reaction was expected, but the Guy on the battlefield wasn't measured up, especially during the siege of Krak. The episode helped shut down the King's confidence in him, to the point that between late 1183 and 1184 Baldwin IV tried stubbornly to obtain the annulment of the marriage between Guy and his sister, which showed that the King take care about Sybil. Baldwin had wanted a loyal brother-in-law, and was therefore highly annoyed by the headstrong temperament and often disobedient of Guy. In recent years, Sybil remained relegated to Ascalon, but maybe not against her will.
Failed attempting to force her sister and heir to his will and away from Guido, the King and the High Court has resolved to change the line of succession, placing the small Baldwin earlier than his mother Sibylla. In addition, established a process with the task to identify the rightful heir as Sybil and the other sister Isabella, whom Baldwin and the High Court recognized equal rights of succession. Guido was essentially kept on the fringes of the Royal family and this remained until 1186, when the accession of his wife.
In 1185, Baldwin IV, already ill, died of leprosy, and his nephew Baldwin V became King. At just seven years due to a not good health, the young King died just one year later, in the summer of 1186. Guy and Sibylla came to Jerusalem for the funeral, accompanied by an armed escort that Guy put to garrison the city. While Raymond III of Tripoli, who wanted to defend at all costs its influence, initiated talks to convene the Supreme Court with the support of the Dowager Queen Maria Comnena, Sibylla was crowned Queen by Patriarch Eraclius of Jerusalem.
Reginald of Chatillon let reaching to him a wide popular support by stating that she was "li plus apareissanz et plus dreis heis dou rouame" ("the most evident and rightful heir of the Kingdom). With the manifest support of the Church, Sibylla was undisputed sovereign.
However, must to be clarified the position of Guy: before his coronation, Sibylla had agreed with domestic opponents at the Court that would have nullified his own marriage to Guy as to meet their requirements, provided that they had complete freedom in choosing the next wife. But just by virtue of their right to choose a new husband, with great astonishment of the rival faction, Sibylle married again. With a gesture of great symbolic significance, the Queen removed the Crown from his head and put it in the hands of her husband, allowing him to crown by himself.
The first and most immediate urgency to deal with the new rulers was the need to keep under control Saladin's advance. In 1187, against the advice of Raymond III, Guy tried to break the siege of the Muslims on the city of Tiberias, but his forces were surrounded and cut off water supplies. On 4 July, Jerusalem's army was completely annihilated in what in history is remembered as the battle of Hattin. Guy was one of the very few prisoners captured by enemies after the battle, together with his brother Godfrey, Reginald of Chatillon and Humphrey of Toron.
While Guy remained imprisoned in Damascus, Sibylle faced the defense of Jerusalem, but on 2 October, the city fell into the hands of Saladin. So the Queen begged his enemy to release her husband, who was in fact delivered in 1188. Guy and Sibylla sought refuge in Tyre, the only city remaining in Christian hands thanks to the Defense opposed by Conrad of Montferrat, younger brother of Sibylla's first husband.
Guy of Lusignan in 1194 died without heirs and was buried in Nicosia, in the Church of the Templars. He was succeeded by his brother Amalric, who had the Crown from the Emperor Henry VI. The descendants of the House of Lusignan, continued to hold the throne of Cyprus until 1474.

Salah ad-Din (Tikrit, 1138 - Damascus, March 3, 1193)


Saladin, or more correctly Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub, was a Kurdish Sultan and commander, one of the greatest strategists of all time and founder of the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt, Syria and Hijaz.
As a young man, Saladin studied with brilliant results both legal matters as those of literature, according to a pattern that prevailed during the Islamic era, for which who was called upon to govern had to show up with a great "cognitive equipment" to his subjects. Despite his scholarly education, he entered under the service of the zengid family in northern Syrian-Iraqi area from Jazira. With his father Ayyub and with his uncle Shirkuh, acquired an excellent military preparation, although it seems that he would prefer to study.
He was sent by Nur al-Din ibn Zanki (Nur ad-Din) following his uncle in the Palestinian Theatre, where fighted Crusaders, Fatimids, Seljuks and a varied number of local lords.
In 1168 he was sent in Egypt, where a serious crisis had broken out under the Fatimid imams (Shia-isma 'ili faith), which could easily take advantege the "Crusader" of Jerusalem Amalric or basileus Manuel I Komnenos. The Caliph al-Adid appointed Saladin vizier (Prime Minister), but in 1171, Saladin deposed the same Caliph, ending the Shiite dynasty which had ruled from the 10th century. The Egypt became Sunni and enfranchised by the service of the Seljuk atabeg (Turks). Saladin became Sultan and began a new dynasty, named after his father, took the Ayyubid name.
At Nur ad-Din's death, he was officially a vassal (although quite ambiguous) and began his own work of conquest of Syro-Palestinian area.
Saladin attacked the Kingdom of Jerusalem and, thanks to foolish aggressive mania of the Kingdom's Regent, Guy of Lusignan and Raynald of Châtillon, Humphrey II of Toron and of new Patriarch Heraclius, Archbishop of Caesarea (who had managed to frustrate the policy of the deceased leper King of Jerusalem, Baldwin IV, oriented to an agreement with the Muslim forces of the area), he conquered Syria. The army of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Holy City moved north to counterattack, was destroyed during the battle of Hattin (July 4, 1187), in which both were captured King Guy, both the Templar Master, that were used as hostages to be released in exchange for the delivery of strongholds. The relic of the true cross, carried in battle by the Crusaders as a miraculous sign, was captured and it traces were lost. Saladin decapitated by his hand Raynald of Châtillon, in fulfilment of a solemn vow made earlier to avenge a caravan of Muslim pilgrims headed to Mecca and ruthlessly executed by Raynald. All the Hospitallers and Templars captured were killed, because their rule forbade pay ransoms for their release and required freed to return to the Warriors just fight.
The road to Jerusalem was now open for Saladin; he laid siege to the city but did not need to capture it: its defender, Balian of Ibelin, had the wisdom to negotiate an honorable surrender in exchange for an ordered evacuation of the approximately 16,000 Christian inhabitants, which were taken out and embark without suffering losses. Saladin entered triumphantly in the October 2, 1187.
Under his attacks fell other Christian cities of Outremer, as Jaffa, Beirut and Acre, the latter reconquered by the Christians, became a major centre of resistance against the Muslim advance for other 90 years. Defeated by Richard the Lionheart at Arsuf had with the Plantagenet King good relationship but the King of England did not remain in the Holy Land long enough to show his undoubted military quality.
Saladin ruled with energy and efficiency the Egypt, Syria and Yemen, keeping under control the two main Holy cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina.
Dante Alighieri placed, centuries after Saladin's death, the muslim leader between brave non-Christians of Limbo, to testify his enduring reputation as a righteous man and knightly virtues. This is not to say, of course, that Saladin did not work with the typical hardness of his time toward his adversaries, but he averted free cruelty.


Christian divisions and Muslim Union

The Kingdom of Jerusalem was never strong, as would be the Latin Empire of Constantinople. He was able to grow with a semblance of order, despite its many inconsistencies and contradictions, just thanks to the vacuum power that was created in the Middle East at the time of the first crusade. In fact it succumb at the first impact with a powerful and determined enemy and barely survive for another century as local potentate.
The Christian forces arrived at the battle of Hattin, crucial to the fate of the Crusader kingdoms in the Holy Land, divided and troubled by internal struggles for the succession to the throne of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. With the prestige acquired after led his troops to victory in the battle on a stretcher, the leper King Baldwin IV was able to hold motionless to the Crown the many components of the Kingdom, divided into principalities ruled by descendants of the first Crusader commanders. Several generations later, the names (Bohemond, Raymond Baldwin) were always the same, neither had failed the quarrelsomeness and the lack of respect for the common good which had characterized the first generation of conquerors.
After the death of the sovereign, in 1185, it ignited a fierce struggle for the Regency in the name of the young Baldwin V, and then, after his death the following year, for his succession. The two warring parties were doing a head count Raymond of Tripoli, illustrious family and great experience, and the other Guy of Lusignan, brother of the deceased monarch, really discredited and just arrived from Europe and considered a straw man already by Baldwin. Guy prevailed, endorsed by two prominent characters: Gerard of Ridefort, Grand Master of the Templars, and Raymond's arch enemy and Raynald of Chatillon, a kind of "war criminal" that spend a long time in Muslim prisons.
Just as Christian Party was on the verge of civil war, the Muslim breathed in an atmosphere quite different. Already in the middle of the century the atabeg of Damascus, the Seljuk Nur-ad-Din, had started the process of meeting the various Muslim powers in the Middle East; immediately after him, Kurdish Salah ad-Din, known in the West as Saladin, had finished to complete the task of bringing together under the Sceptre of the Caliph of Baghdad Syrian Emirates and the Fatimid caliphate domains of Egypt, becoming the Sultan. In this way, the Islamic powers of the South and the North is meeting along the desert road Aleppo-Damascus-Amman-Aqaba, surrounding and isolating, in fact, the crusaders territories.
Since 1183 there was an armistice between the two blocks, but Raynald of Châtillon made no scruple in spring 1187, to attack Muslim caravans of pilgrims from his stronghold of Karak. Requests for satisfaction by Saladin, only a pretext to pounce on Palestine, were rejected by the King Guy (who, incidentally, was not able to impose anything to Raynald), and Raymond of Tripoli immediately took the opportunity to distance themselves from the opposing faction; Therefore, along with bohemond of Antioch, dissociated himself from the other barons and signed a unilateral truce with the Sultan.


Muslims move

Painting of the battle from a medieval manuscript

Saladin's movements transformed immediately in a general mobilization in the Islamic world for a "holy war". Its Emirs used to say that "in East, people curses us saying that we stopped fighting the infidels, and started to want to fight Muslims. We must therefore do something that justifies us, and silenced the criticism that we move, " writes Ibn al-Athìr.
Since mid-March, while operating in the area of Damascus, the Sultan asked the Governor of Egypt, his brother al-Adil, to send forces in Syria, while his nephew Taqi al-Din controlled the Aleppo area along the border with Antioch. Then he left his troops under the command of his son al-Afdal and moved south of Busra to protect caravans of pilgrims who travelled to Mecca during the Muslim month of Muharran. The next step of Saladin, in late April, was to make raids on the opposite bank of the River Jordan, which followed the same disorder operations tenor by al-Afdal. The first instinct of Guy of Lusignan and his closer allied, far from taking initiatives against the threat that loomed over the reign, was to punish the "traitor" Raymond, marching against his dominions in Galilee.
Meanwhile, al-Afdal asked to Raymond permission to let pass, through its territory, a contingent of 7000 Mamluks directed in Palestine; the Count, to respect the agreements, found himself forced to agree, with great embarrassment and with many conditions. Informed of the matter by Raymond, Gerard of Ridefort (inappropriately sent by the King to negotiate a reconciliation between the two parties) picked up 130 Knights (one-tenth of heavy forces at the disposal of the Kingdom) 200 turcopoles (Hallows or convelliti) and 400 infantry, with the firm intention of giving battle.
As Jacques de Vitry: "When the Templars were summoned in battle, not asking how many were the enemies, but where they are". The first of May, despite the protests of his subordinates resent, the Grand Master decided to attack Muslims while they were drinking at the springs of Cresson, a few miles from Nazareth, but from this terrible clash only him came alive. However, this massacre helped to reunite Raymond, conscious of the risks to which led over his equivocal policy, to the royal party: after the defeat, the count of Tripoli moved to Jerusalem to make an act of submission to Guy, leaving his wife Eschiva in his stronghold of Tiberias.


The opposing forces

Saladin's forces and his son's ones, joined the May 27, 1187 across the border with the Crusader States, at Tal'Ashtarah, waiting for reinforcements. On the other side of the Jordan, the King gathered the barons of the Kingdom in Acre, decided to gather together all available forces at Seforia, seven kilometres northwest of Nazareth.

Painting Archer
Painting of an Archer-Knight from a Turkish medieval

In June 24 1187, when the Sultan controlled his troops at Tal Tasil nearby the camp of Tal'Ashtarah, could count on an army of "numerous as grains of sand on a beach", we read in "De expurgatione Sanctae per Saladinum": 45,000 men, 12,000 of which were knights who had come from all over the Islamic world. The Sultan's choosen troops were composed of mainly Turkish Mamluks, but also from Iran's Kurds, Armenians and Arabs, almost all ex-slaves trained to arms. Among them, distinguished itself the Mamluk Sultan Regiment with yellow uniforms, bows, maces and the typical ghaddara, a steel rod approximately 80 cm long. There were substantial contingents of Knights and Egyptians footmen, with or without the chainmail and turban, armed with spears and swords, bows and shields the latter; alongside the Sudanese archers, armed with heavy maces, too.
With him were deployed the armies of Syrians and Iraqis emirates, in Aleppo, Mosul, Damascus and Homs, against whom Saladin had fought until a short time before. Among them were the Turks archers-Knights and the heavy cavalry of Arab lineage, impressive in its quilted robes, lamellar armor, and helmets. In addiction to the effective there were auxiliary departments of Mesopotamia, the Turkomans and Kurds mercenaries, the Bedouins and some infantry units of volunteers, muttawiyah.
The Christian conscription, however, led to Seforia from 1200 to 1500 heavily armed knights, which had been provided by feudal vassals and chivalric orders, as the Hospitallers and Templars. There were then some turcopoles departments and officers provided by the city, for a total of 4/5000 light infantry elements. The infantry, which was about 15/18,000, sprang from the full employment of human resources available: "not a man suitable to fight remained in the cities or in the castles".
Most quality troops were mercenaries Crossbowmen who were hired among Europeans and natives - the Maronites in particular were considered excellent archers - thanks to the so-called "Saladin fee" and the money paid by Henry II of England. These undertook to conduct his crusade as atonement for the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket, so meanwhile he provided to finance the Franks in the East. Finally, there were many Christian sailors in Italy defending its economic interests in the cities of the Holy Land and a large number of ordinary citizens armed with sticks and bows.


The crusader march

East of Seforia, which stood near the last substantial water reserve before the Lake Tiberias, stretched a barren and inhospitable plateau. The evidence suggested to the Franks to wait for Saladin's attack which, moreover, could not count on its extremely heterogeneous, restive and not available to a long stop forces.
In fact, the Sultan moved westward moving his camp at the Golan Heights on June 26, then, on 30, he settle between the Lake and the Christian camp, at Kafr Sat, trying to drive out opponents to Seforia. His next move was, 2 July, attacking Tiberias, with the only purpose, says Ibn al-Athìr, "to move the Franks from their positions to combat them"; the city fell that night and the small garrison left by Raymond to protect the wife took refuge in the Citadel.
In the Christian camp, strategic assessments were deeply influenced by the spirit of faction. Cross the desert area in midsummer was clearly a folly, and at first was given credit to Raymond of Tripoli's opinion that, although the fate of his wife, claimed the passive defense. The night of 2 and 3, however, Gerard of Ridefort persuaded the sovereign reminding him the defeat of Cresson, the dubious reputation of Raymond, the waste of money of the King of England used to recruit mercenaries, and honor that required Knights to save a woman in danger. But above all, the Grand Master reminded to Guy the weight that the Templars had in his election, threatening to withdraw their support to the irresolute King.
The following day the army, dismayed for this sudden strategy change, set out at dawn to the plateau interspersed by thousands of small depressions and wadis, streams formed in the rock and dry in hot weather. A few times in history, a battlefiled would have had a relevant role to the outcome of the battle. The vanguard was led by Raymond, acting as Lord of the territory, while at the Center followed the King Guy and the Bishops of Acre and Lydda, custodians of a portion of the true cross. Closed the convoy the rearguard, with the Templars and Hospitallers, led by Balian of Ibelin, second husband of the Queen Mother, the Byzantine Maria Comnena. In three columns the heavy cavalry was kept at the Center, protected from turcopoles and Crossbowmen, targeted from the beginning by Turkish archers departments and deafened by the roar of the enemy drums that, on both sides, sounded very close to the Christian army.


The battle of Hattin

Come up to the mount Turan, Guy neglected the opportunity to divert towards the near springs and thus, at mid-day, after 18 km, the Crusaders found themselves under the summer heat with empty water bottles, many of the horses killed by Turkish archers and the corsets of the soldiers filled with arrows. In the words of one Muslim chronicler Imad ad-Din, now "the Lions had become a hedgehog".
The long procession began to fall apart. Queued, Gerard was forced to stop his column against the constant attacks of the Muslim's left wing, commanded by Emir Gokbori. Raymond reached the junction of Meskenah, which is still 12 km from Lake, identified the journey too risky for Tiberias along the road to Lubiyah and chose to divert to the North-East: exactly to six kilometres was a rocky hill with two peaks, about thirty metres high, the Horns of Hattin, at which the soldiers could drink and camp for the night.

Hattin - Movements

This movement was anticipated by Saladin, lurking in the hills near Kafr Sat. The Sultan ordered the right wing commanded by Taki al-Din to block the road to the springs, forcing Raymond to camp between Meskenah and Nimrin, where, in the evening, arrived other two columns. The night of July 3 and 4, was marked by the same distressing drum soundtrack, a real torture for Christians, that were surrounded to the point "that could not pass even a cat".
Muslims were stationed on the tree-lined hills: Saladin to Lubyiah, his son in Gokbori in Meskenah and Nimrin. As writes the follower of William of Tyre, Saladin ordered his men to gather brushwood, dry grass, stubble and whatever could be used to light fires, and to erect a fence around the sides. This order was executed completely. In the morning he ordered to light fires. This was done quickly. The fires were burned quickly and made a lot of smoke, and this, in addition to the heat of the Sun, resulted a considerable inconvenience and harm for Christians.
The Turks thrown darts that falling without warning, "as spread swarms of locusts", the Crusader camp and the burning thirst of the Warriors was accentuated by the wear imposed by Saladin, absolute master of strategy: "He ordered to set up camel caravans loaded with water drawn from Lake Tiberias, and the water wineskins were placed near the camp. They were emptied in front of the eyes of Christians, as to hurting them and their horses suffering even more because of thirst", writes the follower of William of Tyre.
The Sultan, meanwhile, took advantage of the lull to reinforce their ranks, let arrive 70 camels with a lot of arrows.

Hattin - Deployment

The main Christian commanders, with the King that was always asking for what to do, resolved to fight, at least to open a gate for the Lake. Low moral, with the few remaining forces and the awareness to risk a sort of suicide, the Christian army resumed the march, towards to the "Horns of Hattin". Some Knights defected to Saladin and advised him to attack immediately, because "they cannot do anything for themselves. They are all already dead", they said. The clash was announced by fires on the North by the muttawiyah warriors, which took advantage of the wind to send smoke directly on Franks, this time not to hinder their march, but to slow down the responsiveness in preview of the battle. The Christian army "had together on the thirst, the heat of the season, the ardor of fire and smoke, and the blaze of battle", wrote Ibn al-Athìr.

Hattin - Muslim Attack and Raymond's attempt

When Muslims attacked, a part of the Christian infantry surrendered before the impact and refuge to the more rugged Hill, only to be caught and exterminated afterwards.

Hattin - Crusader yielding and Raymond charging

Chivalric orders on rearguard were soon isolated from a Gokbori and Saladin's troops joint attack; their charges, now without enough power, broke against the deployment of the Mamluks.
Raymond tried to proceed towards the hills that separated him from the sources, but infantrymen and Crossbowmen which were entrusted to protect the Knights scattered in the desperate search for water, and towards noon the King, was deprived of the infantry. So he decided to camp, with only three tents at the foot of the Hill of Hattin. Instead Raymond, once gathered his troops, he tried one last, desperate charge over the opponent. Once beyond the line count of Tripoli, who had never believed in victory right from the beginning, decided to continue in direction of Tyre.

Hattin - Raymond continues towards Tyre

In the early afternoon, while the isolated Christian infantry on the slope were stranded or captured, the fighting was now centered around the red tent of Guy, completely surrounded and target of continuous assaults of the Turkish archers-horsemen. After the death of Bishop of Acre, guardian of the true cross, followed an attack ordered by Taki al-Din, which earned him the possession of the relic, with its invaluable symbolic importance: "the Muslims seized their Grand Cross" writes Ibn al-Athìr, called "the true cross", where they say there is a piece of wood on which, according to them, was crucified Messiah. This catch was for them one of the most severe blows and made them confident of death and ruin". Another chronicler, Imàd ad-Din writes: "it had stuck in a golden shrine, and crowned with pearls and gems, and kept it prepared for the feast of the passion, for the solemnity of that day. When the priests the cavavan off, and heads (holders) transported, all flocked and fell toward her, nor anyone was lawful stay back, or those who use the eLearning could have to follow it himself. His capture was the most severe for them that the capture of the King, and became a major hit that suffered in that battle."

Hattin - Balian flee

The Knights remained around Guy, no more than 150, found the strength to lead other two charges to threaten directly the Sultan; Ibn al-Athìr brings the testimony of Saladin's son al-Afdal: "I looked at my dad and saw that he was agitated, pale and holding the shield". The second Muslim replica, the young man exclaimed: "we have defeated Them!", but her father shushed him, replying: "Silence, we have not beaten them until will fall the tent of the King". And just then the red tent fell, and that event, sanctioned the end of the battle.

Hattin - Guy surrounded

In addition to the contingent of Raymond of Tripoli, from Hattin battlefield had escaped only a few Knights of the rearguard under the command of Balian of Ibelin, a total of only 3000. "The massacre and capture were so great aong them that whoever killed him was not believed possible that they caught one, and who saw the prisoners did not believe possible that only one had been killed", wrote Ibn al-Athìr.
Aside the dead, the Chronicle talks about the prisoners, whose number was so high to bring down the prices of the slave market in Damascus, where a man costing as much as a pair of sandals. Almost all the nobles of the Kingdom fell on Muslim hands, starting from the King to his brother, the Constable Almaric, from the masters of the chivalric orders to the major vassals of the Crown. Saladin treated all with courtesy and freed them later, with the exception of the hated Raynald of Châtillon, that was killed by his own hands. The Sultan only got worse on the Knights Templar and Hospitallers, whose religious fanaticism made them predestined victims of holy war: those who not agreed to convert to Islam were martyred by Muttawyah, their Muslim counterparts.
Never the Christian world had met a similar defeat against the Islamic one: neither Manzikert nor the Yarmuk, regardless the consequences, were so relevant defeats on the field. "The Christians of the East had already undergone in past disasters", writes Steven Runciman, "and their kings and princes had already been arrested on other occasions, but then had been taken prisoner by small power brokers looking for modest profits. On the horns of Hattin was annihilated the bigger army that the Kingdom had ever gathered together, the true cross was lost, and the winner was the head of the entire Muslim world ".


The consequences

After the defeat, the Christian territories were almost totally helpless to face the advance of Saladin. The Sultan was conscious to must to take immediately advantage of occupy, before a new crusade, the coastal towns that could serve as a basis for port State control for Western reinforcements. He did soon, indeed. On July 5 he conquered Tiberias, on 10 Acres was stormed, Sidon surrendered on 29 July, Beirut was taken on 6 August and Ascalon on September 4, after a siege, also surrender Gaza. It lasts only Jerusalem.
To organize the extreme defence of the city was Balian of Ibelin, who had managed to escape from Hattin. In the town arrived, especially after Saladin's conquests, about 60,000 people, but only a tenth of these were soldiers; In addition, many Orthodox Christians had reason to expect a more tolerant regime by the Muslims, and Balian couldn't rely on their full cooperation. Balian armed knights all the teens over 15 years and some burghers. In addition, to pay mercenaries, fuse precious metals that adorned the churches.
On 20 September the Sultan arrived outside the walls and deployed its forces to the West, between the square Tower, then called "Tancredi" and the David's one, assuming erroneously that at that point the city was weaker than elsewhere. After some offers of surrender rejected by Balian, Saladin attacked relentlessly the walls during the following five days, often taking advantage of the wind as to catapult on the defenders dust and sand that dazzled them; but the Christians never gave signs of subsiding, indeed they even ventured in sorties outside the walls.

Saladin and Guy of Lusignan
Saladin and Guy of Lusignan after battle (15th century painting)

On 26 September, the Sultan changed front and camped to the North-East, at the Mount of olives, intensifying its 40 launches mangani throughout the industry from posteria della Maddalena Josafat port. The action of the diggers digging tunnels for undermining the ramparts focused on Northeastern-salient that had already seen the entrance of Godfrey of Bouillon in 1099-while a contingent of 10,000 Knights blocked the door of Santo Stefano. After opening a breach, Balian was seen forced to treat and, 2 October, Muslim troops were entering the city.
Saladin granted forty days for citizens to find the ransom money that was secured, and in all that time his troops sorvegliarono the city without committing any act of violence. "Where eighty-eight years before the Franks had shed rivers of blood -still writes Runciman- not even one building was then looted, nor a person". However, it should be specified that, at that time, was quite institutionalized the distinction between the fate to be reserved, respectively, a conquered city fighting, and occupied as a result of negotiation.
The fee, which at the beginning was, it was then changed to collective, to facilitate the huge mass of poorer residents who had taken refuge within the walls; Nevertheless, at the end of the period the Patriarch Heraclius started bringing, under the gaze of the Emirs, scandalized wagons filled with riches of the Church, while about 15,000 poor ended up in chains to be sold as slaves in Damascus.
The fate of the survivors was not benign. In almost all Christian enclaves of the Holy Land, refugees only more of to feed in view of foreseeable sieges were rejected; in Tripoli were accepted only those who were able to fight, and the Egyptian authorities had to threaten to close their ports to Italian ships if they had taken them on board for free.
Saladin pardon Antioch and Tripoli, but failed to win. The latter was therefore the bridgehead for the third crusade, in which the action of Richard the Lionheart, winner in battle on the Sultan but he defeated in strategic terms, was able to reconstitute a territorial core less disjointed, that would have allowed the Frankish Empire to survive yet another century.