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The Crusades, Templars & the Holy Grail => the Crusades => Topic started by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:05:36 am

Title: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:05:36 am

The Battle of Hattin, from a medieval manuscript
Date July 4, 1187
Location Hattin, near Tiberias
Result Decisive Ayyubid victory
Ayyubids Kingdom of Jerusalem
Saladin Guy of Lusignan #,
Raymond III of Tripoli,
Balian of Ibelin
Est. 30,000 Est. 20,000 including 2,000 knights
Unknown Heavy; less than 3,000 men escaped
[hide]Ayyubid-Crusader War, 1177–1187
Montgisard - Jacob's Ford - Kerak – Cresson – Hattin – Jerusalem

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:06:16 am
The Battle of Hattin (also known as "The Horns of Hattin" after a nearby hornlike geographical feature, and the figurative horns upon which the losing crusader forces were impaled) took place on Saturday, July 4, 1187, between the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and the forces of the Ayyubid dynasty.

Muslim armies under Saladin completely defeated the crusaders, and the results of this signifigant battle helped the Muslims to take back control of Jerusalem from the military forces of some military Western European Christians, who had invaded the Middle East from Europe roughly one hundred years before

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:07:55 am



The battle took place in the Galilee near Tiberias in present day Israel. The battlefield, near the town of Hittin, had as its chief geographic feature a double hill (the "Horns of Hattin") beside a pass through the northern mountains between Tiberias and the road from Acre to the west. The Darb al-Hawarnah road, built by the Romans, served as the main east-west passage between the Jordan fords, the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean coast.

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:09:02 am

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:10:40 am


Guy of Lusignan became king of Jerusalem in 1186, in right of his wife Sibylla, after the death of Sibylla's son (and Guy's stepson) Baldwin V. The Kingdom of Jerusalem was at this time divided between the "court faction" of Guy, Sibylla, and relative newcomers to the kingdom such as Raynald of Chatillon, as well as Gerard of Ridefort and the Knights Templar; and the "nobles’ faction", led by Raymond III of Tripoli, who had been regent for the child-king Baldwin V and had opposed the succession of Guy. Raymond left Jerusalem for Tripoli. The situation was so tense that there was almost open warfare between Raymond and Guy, who wanted to besiege Tiberias, a fortress held by Raymond through his wife Eschiva, Princess of Galilee. War was avoided through the mediation of Raymond's supporter Balian of Ibelin.

Meanwhile, the Muslim states surrounding the kingdom had been united during the 1170s and 1180s by Saladin. Saladin had been appointed vizier of Egypt in 1169 and soon came to rule the country as sultan. In 1174 he imposed his rule over Damascus; his authority extended to Aleppo by 1176 and Mosul by 1183. For the first time, the Kingdom of Jerusalem was encircled by Muslim territory united under one ruler. The crusaders defeated Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard in 1177, and in the early 1180s there was an uneasy truce between the two sides, which was broken by the raids of Raynald on Muslim caravans passing through his fief of Oultrejordain. Raynald also threatened to attack Mecca itself.

When Guy became king, Raymond made a separate truce with Saladin, and in 1187 allowed the sultan to send an army into the northern part of the kingdom. At the same time, an embassy was on its way from Jerusalem to Tripoli to negotiate a settlement between Raymond and Guy. This embassy was defeated at the Battle of Cresson on May 1, by a small force under the command of Saladin's son. Raymond, wracked with guilt, reconciled with Guy, who assembled the entire army of the kingdom (essentially a levée en masse) and marched north to meet Saladin.

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:17:19 am

Siege of Tiberias

After reconciling, Raymond and Guy met at Acre with the bulk of the crusader army. According to the claims of some European sources, it consisted of 1,200 knights, possibly as many as 20,000 foot soldiers, and a large number of mercenaries (including Turcopoles and other Muslims) hired with money donated to the kingdom by Henry II of England. Also with the army was the relic of the True Cross, carried by the Bishop of Acre, who was there in place of the ailing Patriarch Heraclius.

On July 2 Saladin, who wanted to lure Guy into moving his army out from Sephoria, personally led a siege of Raymond’s fortress of Tiberius while the main Muslim army remained at Kafr Sabt. The garrison at Tiberius tried to pay Saladin off, but he refused, later stating that "when the people realized they had an opponent who could not be tricked and would not be contented with tribute, they were afraid lest war might eat them up and they asked for quarter. . . . But the servant gave the sword dominion over them." The fortress fell the same day. A tower was mined and, when it fell, Saladin's troops stormed the breach killing the townspeople and taking prisoners. The town was then plundered and burnt.

Holding out, Raymond's wife Eschiva was besieged in the citadel. As the mining was begun on that structure, news was received by Saladin that Guy was moving the Frank army east. The Crusaders had taken the bait.

Guy's decision to leave the safety of his defenses was the result of a Crusader war council held the night of July 2nd. Though reports of what happened at this meeting are biased due to personal feuds among the Franks, it seems Raymond argued that a march from Acre to Tiberias was exactly what Saladin wanted while Sephoria was a strong position for the Crusaders to defend. Furthermore, Guy shouldn't worry about Tiberias, which Raymond held personally and was willing to give up for the safety of the kingdom. In response to this argument, and despite their reconciliation (internal court politics remaining strong), Raymond was accused of cowardice by Gerard and Raynald. The latter influenced Guy to attack immediately.

Guy thus ordered the army to march against Saladin at Tiberias, which is indeed just what Saladin had planned, for he had calculated that he could defeat the crusaders only in a field battle rather than by besieging their fortifications.

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:18:55 am

The battle

The crusaders began their march from Sephoria on July 3. Raymond led the vanguard; Guy the main army; and Balian, Raynald, and the military orders made up the rearguard. The crusaders were almost immediately under harassment from the Muslim skirmishers on horseback.

By noon on that day the Frankish army had reached a spring at the village of Turan some six miles from Sephoria. Here, according to Saladin, "The hawks of the Frankish infantry and the eagle of their cavalry hovered around the water."

It was still nine miles to Tiberias. Therefore, with only a half day of marching time remaining, any attempt to leave this sure water source to seek that objective the same day, all while under the constant attack of Saladin’s army, would be foolhardy. (In 1182 the Frankish army had only advanced 8 miles in a full day in face of the enemy and in 1183 Guy had managed but six miles in a similar situation, taking a full day.) But, as Saladin wrote, "Satan incited Guy to do what ran counter to his purpose." That is, for unknown reasons, Guy set out that very afternoon, marching his army forward, seeming to head for Tiberias.

It was a fatal mistake. When Saladin arrived from the taking of Tiberias, and after the Frankish army left Turan, the Muslims began their attack in earnest. Saladin sent the two wings of his army around the Frankish force and seized the spring at Turan, thus blocking the Frankish line of retreat. This maneuver would give Saladin his victory.

In the ensuing struggle the Frankish rearguard was forced to a halt by continuous attacks, thus halting the whole army on the plateau. The crusaders were thus forced to make camp surrounded by the Muslims. They now had no water nor any hope of receiving supplies or reinforcements.

Behe ad-Din summarizes the situation of the Frankish army:

They were closely beset as in a noose, while still marching on as though being driven to death that they could see before them, convinced of their doom and destruction and themselves aware that the following day they would be visiting their graves.
On the morning of July 4 the crusaders were blinded by smoke from fires that Saladin’s forces had set to add to the Frankish army’s misery, through which the Muslim cavalry pelted them with 400 loads of arrows that had been brought up during the night. Gerard and Raynald advised Guy to form battle lines and attack, which was done by Guy's brother Amalric. Raymond led the first division with Raymond of Antioch, the son of Bohemund III of Antioch, while Balian and Joscelin III of Edessa formed the rearguard. While this was being arranged, five of Raymond's knights defected to Saladin and told them of the dire situation in the crusader camp.

Thirsty and demoralized, the crusaders broke camp and changed direction for the springs of Hattin, but their ragged approach was attacked by Saladin's army which blocked the route forward and any possible retreat. Count Raymond launched two charges in an attempt to break through to the water supply at the Sea of Galilee. The second of these saw him cut off from the main army and forced to retreat. Most of the crusader infantry had effectively deserted by moving on to the Horns of Hattin. Guy attempted to pitch the tents again to block the Muslim cavalry, but without infantry protection the knights' horses were cut down by Muslim archers and the cavalry was forced to fight on foot. Then they too retreated to the Horns.

Now the crusaders were surrounded and, despite three desperate charges on Saladin's position, were eventually defeated. An eyewitness account of this is given by Saladin’s son, al-Afdal. It is quoted by Ibn al-Athir:

When the King [Guy] reached the hill with that company, they launched a savage charge against the Muslims opposite them, forcing them to retreat to my father [Saladin]. I looked to him and saw that he had turned ashen pale in his distress and had grasped his beard. . . . Then the Muslims returned to the attack against the Franks and they went back up the hill. When I saw them retreating with the Muslims in pursuit, I cried out in joy: "We have beaten them." But the Franks charged again as they had done before and drove the Muslims up to my father. He did what he had done before and the Muslims turned back against them and forced them back up the hill. I cried out again: "We have beaten them." My father turned to me and said: "Be silent. We shall not defeat them until that tent [Guy’s] falls." As Saladin spoke these words, the red tent of the King fell.

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:28:13 am

Horns of Hittin, 2005, as viewed from the east.

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:29:41 am


The Muslims captured the royal tent of King Guy, as well as the True Cross after the Bishop of Acre was killed in the fighting. Prisoners included Guy, his brother Amalric II, Raynald, William V of Montferrat, Gerard de Ridefort, Humphrey IV of Toron, Hugh of Jabala, Plivain of Botron, Hugh of Gibelet, and many others. Perhaps only as few as 3,000 Christians escaped the defeat. The anonymous text De Expugnatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum Libellus claims that Raymond, Joscelin, Balian, and Reginald of Sidon fled the field in the middle of the battle, trampling "the Christians, the Turks, and the Cross" in the process, but this isn't corroborated by other accounts and reflects the author's hostility to the Poleins.

The exhausted captives were brought to Saladin's tent, where Guy was given a goblet of iced water as a sign of Saladin's generosity. When Guy passed the goblet to his fellow captive Raynald, Saladin allowed the old man (Raynald was about 60) to drink but shortly afterwards said that he hadn't offered water to Raynald and thus wasn't bound by the Muslim rules of hospitality. When Saladin accused Raynald of being an oath breaker, Raynald replied that "kings have always acted thus." Saladin then executed Raynald himself, doing so after Raynald refused conversion to Islam, beheading him with his sword. Guy fell to his knees at the sight of Raynald's corpse but Saladin bade him to rise, saying, "Real kings do not kill each other." The True Cross was fixed upside down on a lance and sent to Damascus. Several of Saladin’s men now left the army, taking Frankish prisoners with them as slaves.

On Sunday, July 5th, Saladin traveled the six miles to Tiberias and, there, Countess Eschiva surrendered the citadel of the fortress. She was allowed to leave for Tripoli with all her family, followers, and possessions. Raymond of Tripoli, having escaped the battle, died of pleurisy later in 1187.

On Monday, July 6th, two days after the battle, the captured Templars and Hospitallers were given the opportunity to convert to Islam. According to Imad al-Din,

only a few accepted, although those that did became good Muslims.
The executions were by beheading. Saint Nicasius, a Knight Hospitaller venerated as a Christian martyr, is said to have been one of the victims.[1] Guy was taken to Damascus as a prisoner and the others were eventually ransomed.

By mid-September Saladin had taken Acre, Nablus, Jaffa, Toron, Sidon, Beirut, and Ascalon. Tyre was saved by the fortuitous arrival of Conrad of Montferrat. Jerusalem was defended by Queen Sibylla, Patriarch Heraclius, and Balian, who subsequently negotiated its surrender to Saladin on October 2 (see Siege of Jerusalem).

News of the disastrous defeat at Hattin was brought to Europe by Joscius, Archbishop of Tyre, as well as other pilgrims and travelers. Plans were immediately made for a new crusade; Pope Gregory VIII issued the bull Audita tremendi, and in England and France the Saladin tithe was enacted to fund expenses.

The subsequent Third Crusade, however, didn't get underway until 1189, being made up of three separate contingents led by Richard Lionheart, Philip Augustus, and Frederick Barbarossa.

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:30:34 am

Legends and fiction and nonfiction

According to the chronicler Ernoul, news of the defeat caused Pope Urban III to die of shock.

The battle, and much of the background of the conflict, is depicted in the novel The Brethren by Sir Henry Rider Haggard. Although the battle itself was not shown, the aftermath, including the execution of Raynald, was depicted in the 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven.

The Battle of Hattin is able to be played in Stronghold Crusader for the PC. The level is called Battle of Hattin, Battle on the Hill.

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:32:05 am
Medieval Sourcebook:
De Expugatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum:
The Battle of Hattin, 1187


[Adapted from Brundage] Amid mutual hatred and distrust within their own ranks, the Latin barons faced the renewed Moslem attack. Raymond III of Tripoli and his friends stood opposed to the Latin King and his coterie. Raymond had, in fact, made an alliance with Saladin in order to protect the county of Tripoli against the possibility of Moslem invasion. Yet in this extremity, under grave pressure from the other Latin princes, Raymond and his party yielded and prepared to join the Christian army in defense of the Holy Land. Such a belated reunion, however, could not erase the distrust and bitterness engendered by recent events within the Latin states. By late June, 1187 the armies of the Latin King had assembled to face Saladin's onslaught.

In the year of the Lord's incarnation 1187, the King of Syria [Saladin] gathered together an army as numerous as the sands of the seashore in order to wage war on the land of Juda. He came up to the Jaulan, across the [Jordan] River, and there made camp.

The King of Jerusalem [Guy de Lusignan]t also gathered his army from all of Judea and Samaria. They assembled and pitched camp near the springs at Saffuriyah. The Templars and Hospitallers also assembled many people from all their castles and came to the camp. The Count of Tripoli [Raymond III of Tripoli] likewise rose up with all his people, whom he collected from Tripoli and Galilee and came into the encampment. Prince Reginald of Montreal [Reginlad de Chatillon] also came with his people, as did Balian of Naples [Balian d'Ibelin] with his, Reginald of Sidon [Reginlald Garnier] with his, and the lord of Caesarea in Palestinel [Walter Garnier] with his. Not a man fit for war remained in the cities, towns, or castles without being urged to leave by the King's order. Nor was this host sufficient. Indeed, the King of England's treasure [note: King Henry II of England had a few years earlier donated a considerable sum of money for the defense of the Holy Land. His treasury, which had been placed at the disposal of the military order, was now broken open and used to hire mercenaries to help throw back Saladin's attack.] was opened up and they gave a fee to everyone who could bear a lance or bow into battle. The army was quite large: 1,200 knights, innumerable Turcopoles, and 18,000 or more infantry. They gloried in their multitude of men, the trappings of their horses, in their breastplates, helmets, lances, and golden shields, but they did not believe in God, nor did they hope in the salvation of him who is the protector and savior of Israel. Rather, they were taken up with their own thoughts and became vain.

They sent to Jerusalem to ask the Patriarch to bring the Holy Cross with him to the camp . . . so that they might become bearers and keepers of the Lord's cross…..

Meanwhile, the Syrians crossed the Jordan. They overran and laid waste the area around the springs of Cresson, from Tiberias to Bethany . . . up to Nazareth and around Mount Tabor. Since they found the region deserted by men, who had fled out of fear of them, they set fire to the threshing floors and put everything they found into the flames. The whole region flamed in front of them like a ball of fire. Not satisfied even with this, they ascended the holy mount to the sacred spot on which our Savior, after the appearance of Moses and Elias, showed his disciples Peter, James, and John the glory of the future resurrection in his transfiguration. The Saracens defiled this place....

After these advance parties had wrought their destruction, Saladin and his whole army crossed the river. Saladin ordered his forces to push on to Tiberias and besiege it. On Thursday, July 2, the city was surrounded by archers and the battle was joined. The Countess [Eschiva, wife of Raymond III of Tripoli] and the Galileans, since the city was not fortified, sent messengers to the Count and King with the news: "The Turks have surrounded the city. In the fighting, they have pierced the walls and are just now entering against us. Send help at once or we shall be taken and made captive."

The Syrians fought and won. When the Galileans saw they could not hold out, they yielded the ramparts and the city. They fled before the pagans into the castle, though the city was taken and burned. But since the King of Egypt [Saladin] heard that the Christian army was approaching against him, he was unable to besiege the castle. He said: "So be it! They are my prisoners."

Toward evening on Thursday, July 2, the King of Jerusalem, after he bad heard the Galileans' letter, called together all the leaders of the army so that they might give council concerning the action to be taken. They all advised that at dawn they should march out, accompanied by the Lord's cross, ready to fight the enemy, with all the men armed and arrayed in battle formation. Thus arrayed they would relieve the city of Tiberias. The Count of Tripoli, when he heard this, spoke: "Tiberias is my city and my wife is there. None of you is so fiercely attached, save to Christianity, as I am to the city. None of you is so desirous as I am to succor or aid Tiberias. We and the King, however, should not move away from water, food, and other necessities to lead such a multitude of men to death from solitude, hunger, thirst, and scorching heat. You are well aware that since the heat is searing and the number of people is large, they could not survive half a day without an abundance of water. Furthermore, they could not reach the enemy without suffering a great shortage of water, accompanied by the destruction of men and of beasts. Stay, therefore, at this midway point, close to food and water, for certainly the Saracens have risen to such heights of pride that when they have taken the city, they will not turn aside to left or right, but will head straight through the vast solitude to us and challenge us to battle. Then our men, refreshed and filled with bread and water, will cheerfully set out from camp for the fray. We and our horses will be fresh; we will be aided and protected by the Lord's cross. Thus we will fight mightily against an unbelieving people who will be wearied by thirst and who will have no place to refresh themselves. Thus you see that if, in truth, the grace of Jesus Christ remains with us, the enemies of Christ's cross, before they can get to the sea or return to the river, will be taken captive or else killed by sword, by lance, or by thirst. But if, which God forbid, things were perchance to go against us, we have our ramparts here to which we could flee. . . ."But the saying of wisdom: "Woe to the land whose King is a child and whose citizens dine in the morning "' [Eccles. 10:6] was fulfilled in them. For our young King followed youthful counsel, while our citizens, in hatred and jealousy, ate their neighbors' meat. They departed from the advice which would have saved them and others. Because of their foolishness and simple­mindedness they lost land, people, and selves.

On Friday, July 3, therefore, they marched out by troops, leaving behind the necessities of life. The Count of Tripoli was in the first rank, as befitted his dignity. The others followed on his left or right, according to the custom of the realm. The royal battalion and the battalion of the Holy Cross followed and, because of the lay of the land, the Templars came last, for they were the army's rear guard.

They marched to Saffuriyah so that, as was said before, they could go on to Tiberias. Three miles from the city they came to a hamlet called Marescallia. At this place they were so constrained by enemy attacks and by thirst that they wished to go no further.

They were going to pass through a confined, rocky area in order to reach the Sea of Galilee, which was a mile away. For this reason the Count sent word to the King: "We must hurry and pass through this area, so that we and our men may be safe near the water. Otherwise we will be in danger of making camp at a waterless spot." The King replied: "We will pass through at once.

The Turks were meanwhile attacking the army's rear, so that the Templars and the others in the rear were barely able to struggle on. Suddenly the King (a punishment for sin) ordered the tents to be pitched. Thus were we betrayed to our death. The Count, when he looked back and saw the tents pitched, exclaimed: "Alas, Lord God, the battle is over! We have been betrayed unto death. The Kingdom is finished!"

And so, in sorrow and anguish, they camped on a dry site where, during the night, there flowed more blood than water The sons of Esau [the Muslim army] surrounded the people of God [Crusaders] and set fire to the desert [brush] round about them. Throughout the night the hungry and thirsty men were harassed further by arrows and by the fire's heat and flames. . . . That night God indeed gave them the bread of tears to eat and the wine of compunction to


At length . . . after the clouds of death bad opened, light dawned on a day of sorrow and tribulation, of grief and destruction. When day bad dawned, the King of Syria forsook the city of Tiberias and with his whole army came up to the camping ground to give battle to the Christians. He now prepared to at tack our men.

Our men formed their battle lines and hurried to pass through this region in the hope that when they had regained a watering place and had refreshed themselves, they could attack and fight the foe more vigorously. The Count moved out to take the spot which the Turks had already begun to approach.

When our men were arrayed and grouped in battle formation the infantry were ordered to take positions facing the enemy's arrows, so that the infantry would be protected from an enemy charge by the knights' lances. Thus, with each providing protection for the other, they would both be safe.

By this time the Saracens had already arrived. The infantry, banded together in a single wedged­shaped formation, clambered at full speed to the very summit of a high mountain, leaving the army to its fate. The King, the Bishop, and others sent word, begging them to return to defend the Lord's cross, the heritage of the Crucified, the Lord's army, and themselves. They replied: "We are not coming because we are dying of thirst and we will not fight." Again the command was given, and again they persisted in their refusal.

The Templars, Hospitallers, and Turcopoles, meanwhile, were engaged in a fierce rear guard action. They could not win, however, because enemies sprang up on every side, shooting arrows and wounding Christians. When they had gone on for a little bit, they shouted to the King, asking for some help. The King and the others saw that the infantry were not going to return and that they themselves could not hold out against the Turkish arrows without the sergeants. Accordingly, by the grace of the Lord's cross, they ordered the tents to be put up, in order to block the Saracen charges and so that they could hold out more easily. The battle formations were, therefore, broken up. The units gathered around the Holy Cross, where they were confused and intermixed here and there. The men who were with the Count of Tripoli in the first group saw that the King, the Hospitallers, the Templars, and everyone else were jumbled together and mingled with the Turks. They also saw that there was a multitude of the barbarians between themselves and the King, so that they could not get through to return to the Lord's cross. They cried out: "Those who can get through may go, since the battle is not going in our favor. We have now lost even the chance to flee." Meanwhile, thousands and thousands of Syrians were charging at the Christians, shooting arrows and killing them.

In the meantime, the Bishop of Acre, the bearer of the Lord's cross, was mortally wounded. He passed on the task of bearing the cross to the Bishop of Lydda. A large group of pagans charged on the infantry and pitched them from the top of the steep mountain to whose summit they had previously fled. They destroyed the rest, taking some captive and killing others. . . .

Upon seeing this the Count and his men, who had been riding onward, together with Balian of Naples, Reginald of Sidon, and the other half­castes, turned back. The speed of their horses in this confined space trampled down the Christians and made a kind of bridge, giving the riders a level path. In this manner they got out of that narrow place by fleeing over their own men, over the Turks, and over the cross. Thus it was that they escaped with only their lives.

The Saracens gathered around the Lord's wooden cross, the King, and the rest, and destroyed the church. What more can be said? The Saracens triumphed over the Christians and did with them as they pleased. . . . What can I say? It would be more fitting to weep and wail than to say anything. Alas! Should I describe with impure lips how the precious wood of the Lord, our redeemer, was seized by the damnable hands of the damned? Woe to me that in the days of my miserable life I should be forced to see such things....

The next day Prince Reginald of Montreal was killed. The Templars and Hospitallers were ransomed from the other Turks and were killed. Saladin gave orders that the Countess and the men who were in the citadel of Tiberias might leave the fort and that, having accepted the security of life, they might go in peace where they wished. Thus it was done. The city was relinquished. Saladin moved in. After the citadel had been fortified, he went to Saffuriyah. On the site where the Christian army had formerly camped, the King of Syria ordered his tents to be pitched.... He remained there for several days, gleefully celebrating the victory. He divided the heritage of the Crucified, not among the heirs, but rather among his execrable emirs and leaders, giving to each his proper portion.



De Expugatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum, [The Capture of the Holy Land by Saladin], ed. Joseph Stevenson, Rolls Series, (London: Longmans, 1875), translated by James Brundage, The Crusades: A Documentary History, (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1962), 153-159
Copyright note: Professor Brundage informed the Medieval Sourcebook that copyright was not renewed on this work. Moreover he gave permission for use of his translations.

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:37:16 am



Belvoir Castle

One of the few castles from the twelfth century to survive unaltered is Belvoir, perched on the edge of the Jordan valley within sight of the southern end of the Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee). Over 1600 feet below in the valley, cars and lorries on the Israeli side of the river look like toys. Yet every movement for miles in each direction, particularly any activity at the important crossing point on the Jordon could clearly seen from the ramparts.(ABC:82)

For one to get into the castle one has to walk along the side of a deep ditch that has been hewn out of solid rock, to the main gate on the eastern side. The knights favored the bent approach. There is a left angle turn within the gatehouse followed by two to the right the end of a short, covered passage; it meant that if the defendering Hospitallers had second thoughts about your business or if you were a foe, they could fire into the passage through arrow slits or douse you in boiling oil. These arrow slits were called murder holes.(ABC:82)

In the outer ward of the castle one might be surprised to find a steam bath and a huge vaulted cistern to feed it. The water was channelled from the castle roofs. It is even more remarkable when one realises that this area was barracks for the mercenaries. The inner court lies behind a second line of defence that mirrors the outer walls.

Belvior was completely built after 1168. The ambititious building program nearly bankrupted the order. In the 1170's when Belvior appeared above the Jordan with the true concentric caslte designs, european medieval castle builders were pushing up the central keeps all over England and France.

One can surely see that the Hospitallers chose on purpose to keep this concentric design to accommoddate the separate secular and religious function of the castle. The inner courtyard had its own gate house to defend the inner section. As well it was perfect for the order maintaining its Monastery way of life. The courtyard served as a cloister; a refectory; a dormitory fro the brother knights; a chapter house and chapel.

The Hospitaller castle of Belvoir held out for more than a year after the Battle of Hattin, and Saladin was at that time unable to take either Krak des Chevaliers or Margat.(AEX:194)


Malcolm Billings,The Cross & The Crescent, A History of the Crusades, (New York, 1987)
T.S. Boase, Kingdoms and Strongholds of the Crusaders, (London, 1970)
Andrea Hopkins, Knights, (1990)
Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Atlas of the Crusades, (New York, 1991)
Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades, (New York, 1995)
Stephen Turnbull, The Book of Medieval Knight, (1985)
Jay Williams, Knight of the Crusades, (New York, 1962)
Terence Wise, Osprey Men-at-Arms Series Armies of the Crusades, (London, 1978)
Terence Wise, Osprey Men-at-Arms Series The Knights of Christ,(London, 1984)

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:46:25 am
Chaos in the Kingdom of Jerusalem

The battle of Hattin was the greatest disaster to befall the crusader states, and saw the destruction of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The campaign that led to Hattin was not the first major invasion that had been faced by the crusaders, but it came at a time when the crusaders were especially divided. What limited unity there was was focused on the infant king Baldwin V. In a cruel blow for the kingdom, at the end of August 1186 the king died, aged only nine. Baldwin IV, the previous king, had appointed Raymond of Tripoli to be regent, and the barons had agreed that if the new king were to die young Raymond should remain regent until the Pope, the kings of France and England, and the German Emperor could be consulted on the succession, disputed between Baldwin IV's sister Sibylla, the mother of Baldwin V, and Isabella, daughter of King Amalric I (d.1174). However, Sibylla's faction managed to trick Raymond into travelling to Tiberias, officially to summon the barons of the kingdom together to carry out Baldwin IV's will. Once he was out of the way, they occupied the main ports. The kingdom was split in two. Sibylla, with her widely loathed husband, Guy of Lusignan, held Jerusalem, while Raymond and his allies were based at Nablus. At Jerusalem, Sibylla was crowned Queen, and herself crowned Guy as king. At Nablus the barons briefly planned to crown Princess Isabella and her husband Humphrey of Toron, a plan that had to be abandoned when Humphrey fled to Jerusalem, terrified of the prospect of being crowned. The baronial opposition to Guy collapsed. However, the damage had been done. Baldwin of Ibelin, one of the greater barons, permanently left the kingdom, while Raymond moved into his lands of Galilee and refused to acknowledge Guy.

Reynald of Chatillon

Saladin's final invasion was triggered by the actions of Reynald of Chatillon. Reynald had first arrived in the Holy Land with the Second Crusade, and had decided to stay and make his fortune in the east. His behaviour demonstrated one of the main problems facing the crusader states. The established crusader barons had realised that to survive they needed to live on peaceful terms with their Muslim neighbours for as long as possible. However, to maintain their numbers they needed to attract new crusaders from the west, and these new crusaders were much less willing to live peacefully with the infidels that they had come to fight. Reynald had had an eventful career in the east, and by 1187 he had been lord of Oultrejourdain, on the south eastern edge of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, for over a decade. From his base at Kerak he had repeated broken treaties with Saladin, attacking trade caravans, and once mounting a naval raid into the red sea, attacking the ports of Medina and Mecca. This outrage enraged Saladin, and triggered an unsuccessful invasion of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Now, at the end of 1186, and with the Kingdom in desperate need of a few years of peace to restore order, Reynald committed another outrage. As a huge caravan travelling north from Cairo passed through Frankish lands, under the protection of treaty, Reynald launched an attack on it, killing the guards, stealing the trade goods, and taking the merchants hostage. Saladin first attempted to act within the terms of the treaty, and sent envoys demanding the return of the merchants and their goods, first to Reynald, who ignored them, and then on to King Guy, who listened to them and agreed that they were in the right. However, he was far too dependant of Reynald for his power, and could not take the risk of an attack on his main ally. The envoys returned unsatisfied, and war was now inevitable.
Preparations for war
Once it was clear that war was looming, the weakness and dissention of the crusader states became apparent. Bohemond of Antioch renewed an already existing truce, while Raymond of Tripoli rushed to make a new one. Significantly, this truce was extended to cover this wife's principality of Galilee, actually part of the kingdom of Jerusalem.

The true impact of this division came in April. King Guy summoned his allies and marched into Galilee, hoping to crush all resistance before Saladin could launch his invasion. However, at the same time Saladin's son decided to launch an armed reconnaissance into Palestine. Obeying the terms of their truce, he sent envoys to Raymond to ask for free passage, and with great embarrassment, Raymond had to agree. On 1 May, a force of 7000 mamluk cavalry marched into Galilee, where they encountered the a force of Knights Templers, who despite being hugely outnumbered charged to the attack, and were almost entirely wiped out, with only three escaping. News of this disaster finally healed the split between Raymond and Guy. Raymond renounced his treaty with Saladin, and submitted to Guy, who accepted him with good grace.

in contrast to this chaos, Saladin had been carefully gathering together his army, eventually gathering a force of some 20,000 men, forming the largest army he had ever commanded. Despite their arguments, the crusaders were able to raise a force of almost the same size. At this point there was nothing to suggest that a disaster was about to occur. The crusaders had defeated similar invasions by refusing to risk battle and occupying well supplied positions, while their enemies armies wilted away in the sun. This had happened four years before, and Saladin had been forced to withdraw without battle.

Saladin Crosses the Jordan

On 1 July Saladin crossed the Jordan. He attacked Tiberias, capturing the town and besieging the castle. Despite strong advice to remain at Acre, Guy was persuaded to march inland towards Tiberias. Even then, not all was lost. On 2 July the crusaders camped at Sephoria, where they had a good water supply and the best of the terrain. Although most of the knights spoke for moving on, Raymond of Tripoli himself, whose wife was defending Tiberias was strongly against such a move, arguing that Saladin would not be able to attack their position, while reinforcements from Antioch were expected, and when the council ended it appeared that he had won the day. Sadly for the crusader cause, Guy was easy to persuade, and after the council broke up the Grand Master of the Temple managed to change his mind. The next day the crusaders marched east along a barren, waterless road, under constant harassment by Saladin's skirmishers, and the crusaders soon suffered from thirst. By mid afternoon the crusaders reached the horns of Hattin, a barren hill top overlooking the village. Despite urgent calls to fight to the lake that afternoon, Guy decided to halt the march. This move has been criticised, but it is likely that the army was too drained to risk a fight. Moreover, the eventual campsite did have a well, and was probably picked for this. Unfortunately, the well was dry. While Saladin and his army spend the night in the well watered valley, the crusaders spent the night in misery on the dry hill top.

Battle is Joined

The battle itself was now something of a foregone conclusion. At dawn on 4 July, the crusader army found itself surround on the hill top. In normal circumstances this move would have been a mistake for Saladin, as the crusader army was quite close to his in numbers, and would have been able to punch a hole in the weakened Muslim cordon, but after a day and a night without water the crusader army had lost much of it's cohesion. The infantry broke from the army and made a desperate attempt to reach water, but failed, and were soon destroyed. The crusader cause was now doomed. The trapped knights fought with great determination, but were steadily forced back towards the summit. An attempt to force a breakthrough led by Raymond of Tripoli was foiled when Saladin's army simply opened a gap to let them through. Stuck on the outside of the battle there was nothing they could do, and so they escaped back to Tripoli. Those left on the hill fought to exhaustion, but eventually were forced to surrender. Saladin's triumph appeared to be complete. He had captured 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, whose foolish raids had led to the defeat, and for whole Saladin felt such hatred that he personally beheaded him.

The Aftermath

Defeat at Hattin saw the effective destruction of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. With the King in his hands, and the army destroyed, Saladin was able to capture city after city. Tiberias surrendered quickly, Acre on 10 June and finally on 2 October, Jerusalem itself surrendered. His only failure was at Tyre, where the strong fortifications had dissuaded him from attacking while morale was low. While a new crusader kingdom of Acre survived for another hundred years, the great days of the king were over. Nicolle, David, The First Crusade 1096-1099: Conquest of the Holy Land , Osprey Campaign Series, vol 132. The Osprey volume for the first crusade. Nicolle had a great depth of knowledge of middle-eastern history, which is reflected in this book.

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:50:11 am
Medieval Sourcebook:
Ernoul: The Battle of Hattin, 1187


Account of the Battle of Hattin, 1187
by a local Frank, "Ernoul", written soon after 1197

Now I will tell you about King Guy and his host. They left the spring of Saffuriya to go to the relief of Tiberias. As soon as they had left the water behind, Saladin came before them and ordered his skirmishers to harass them from morning until midday. The heat was so great that they could not go on so that they could come to water. The king and all the other people were spread out and did not know what to do. They could not turn back for the losses would have been too great. He sent to the count of Tripoli, who led the advance guard, to ask advice as to what to do. He sent word that he should pitch his tent and make camp. The king gladly accepted this bad advice. When (the count) had given him good advice he would never take it. Some people in the host said that if the Christians had gone on to meet the Saracens, Saladin would have been defeated.

As soon as they were encamped, Saladin ordered all his men to collect brushwood, dry grass, stubble and anything else with which they could light fires, and make barriers which he had made all round the Christians. They soon did this, and the fires burned vigorously and the smoke from the fires was great; and this, together with the heat of the sun above them caused them discomfort and great harm. Saladin had commanded caravans of camels loaded with water from the Sea of Tiberias to be brought up and had water pots placed near the camp. The water pots were then emptied in view of the Christians so that they should have still greater anguish through thirst, and their mounts too. A strange thing happened in the Christian host the day they were encamped at the spring of Saffuriya, for the horses refused to drink the water either at night or in the morning, and because of their thirst they were to failt heir masters when they most needed them. Then a knight named Geoffrey of Franc Leuc went to the king and said, `Sire, it is now high time for you to make the poleins with their beards dear to the men of your country (i.e. Poitou)'.[1] It was one of the causes of the hatred between King Guy and the Poitevins and those of this land, that the men of that land sang a song in Jerusalem which greatly annoyed the men of the kingdom. The song went:

Maugré li polein,
Aurons nous roi Poiteven.

[`Despite the poleins,
we shall have a Poitevin king.']

This hatred and scorn led to the loss of the kingdom of Jerusalem.

When the fires were lit and the smoke was great, the Saracens surrounded the host and shot their darts through the smoke and so wounded and killed men and horses. When the king saw the disadvantageous position the host was in, he called the master of the Temple and Prince Raynald and told them to give him their advice. They conselled him that he must fight the Saracens. He ordered his brother Aimery, who was the constable,[2] to organise the squadrons. He organised them as best he could. The count of Tripoli who led the advance guard at their arrival led the first division and was in front. This division included Raymond, the son of the prince of Antioch, with all his company and the four sons of the lady of Tiberias, Hugh, William, Ralph and Otto.[3] Balian of Ibelin and Count Joscelin made up the rear guard. Just as the divisions were being put in position and the battle lines ordered, five knights from the count of Tripoli's division left him and went to Saladin and said, `Sire, what are you doing? Go and take the Christians for they are all defeated'. When he heard these words he ordered his squadron to move forward, and they moved off and approached the Christians. When the king was aware that Saladin was coming against him he ordered the count of Tripoli to charge. It is the right of the barons of the kingdom that when there is a host summoned by the king (ost banie) in their lordship, the baron on whose land the battle is to take place leads the first division and is out in front, and on entering his land leads the advance guard and on leaving leads the rear guard. Because of this the count of Tripoli took the forward position, since Tiberias was his. The count and his division charged at a large squadron of Saracens. The Saracens parted and made a way through and let them pass; then, when they were in the middle of them, they surrounded them. Only 10 or 12 knights from the count's division escaped them. Among those who escaped were the count of Tripoli and Raymond, son of the prince of Antioch, and the four sons of the lady of Tiberias. When the count saw that they were defeated he did not dare go to Tiberias which was only 2 miles away, for he feared that if he shut himself up in there and Saladin found out he could come and take him. He went off with what company he had and went to the city of Tyre. After this division had been defeated the anger of God was so great against the Christian host because of their sins that Saladin vanquished them quickly; between the hours of tierce and nones[4] he had won almost all the field. He captured the king, the Master of the Temple, Prince Raynald, Marquis Boniface, Aimery the constable, Humphrey of Toron, Hugh of Gibelet, Plivain, lord of Botron, and so many other barons and knights that it would take too long to give the names of all of them; the Holy Cross also was lost. Later, in the time of Count Henry (of Champagne, "Lord of the Kingdom of Jerusalem" 1192-7), a brother of the Temple came to him and said that he had been at the great defeat and had buried the Holy Cross and knew well where it was; if he had an escort he would go and look for it. Count Henry gave him his leave and an escort. They went secretly and dug for three nights but could not find anything; then they returned to the city of Acre.

This disaster befell Christendom at a place called the Horns of Hattin (Karnehatin) 4 miles from Tiberias on Saturday 4 July 1187, the feast of St. Martin le Boillant,[5] Pope Urban III (1185-7) governing the apostolic see of the church of Rome, Frederick (I Barbarossa) being emperor in Germany, Philip (II Augustus), son of Louis (VII), king of France, Henry (II) au Cort Mantiau, king of England, and Isaac (II), emperor in Constantinople. the news of it struck the hearts of those faithful to Jesus Christ. Pope Urban who was at Ferrara died of grief when he heard the news. After him (the pope) was Gregory VIII who was of saintly life and only held the (papal) see for two months before he died and went to God. After Gregory came Clement III (1187-91) to whom Archibishop Josias of Tyre brought a truthful account of the news as you will find written below. [6] When Saladin had left the field with great joy and great victory and was in his camp, he ordered all the Christian prisoners who had been captured that day to be brought before him. They brought to him first the king, the master of the Temple, Prince Raynald, Marquis Boniface,[7] Humphrey of Toron, Aimery the constable, Hugh of Gibelet and several other knights. When he was them all together before him he told the king that he would have great joy and would consider himself greatly honoured now that he had in his power such valuable prisoners as the King of Jerusalem, the Master of the Temple and the other barons. He ordered that a syrup diluted with water in a cup of gold be brought. He tasted it, then gave it to the king to drink, saying: "Drink deeply". The king drank, like a man who was extremely thirsty, then handed the cup on to Prince Raynald.[8] Prince Raynald would not drink. When Saladin saw that he had handed the cup to Prince Raynald, he was irrittated and told him: "Drink, for you will never drink again!". The prince replied that if it pleased God, he would never drink or eat anything of his (Saladin's). Saladin asked him: "Prince Raynald, if you held me in your prison as I now hold you in mine, what, by your law, would you do to me?". "So help me God", he replied, "I would cut off your head". Saladin was greatly enraged at this most insolent reply, and said: "Pig! You are my prisoner, yet you answer me so arrogantly?". He took a sword in his hand and thrust it right through his body. The mamluks who were standing by rushed at him and cut off his head. Saladin took some of the blood and sprinkled it on his head in recognition that he had taken vengeance on him. Then he ordered that they carry the head to Damascus, and it was dragged along the ground to show the Saracens whom the prince had wronged what vengeance he had had. Then he commanded the king and the other prisoners to be taken to Damascus, where they were put in prison as was appropriate for them.



1. Geoffrey of Franc Leuc was presumably a member of a family which had been in the Kingdom of Jerusalem from at least as early as the time of Baldwin II, and so was himself a polein, i.e. a man born in the East and not an immigrant. #Return to text at n. 1
2. Aimery of Lusignan, constable of Jerusalem by 1181 and later king of Cypurs and Jerusalem. #Return to text at n. 2
3. The four sons of Eschiva of Tiberias by her first husband. Ralph of Tiberias was later famous as a jurist. #Return to text at n. 3
4. i.e. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. This is probably allegorical, being the period Jesus was on the cross. #Return to text at n. 4
5. St. Martin of Tours is sometimes called "callidus". July 4th , a day noted in this country for other reasons, is celebrated in the Roman Church for the saint's ordination and translation. #Return to text at n. 5
6. This is not in the portion translated here, but to be found in the printed edition of Le Mas Latrie, p. 115. #Return to text at n. 6
7. Boniface of Montferrat is famous for his leadership of the 4th Crusade rather later. Presumably the reference here as elsewhere in the chronicle is to his brother, William 1135-88. #Return to text at n. 7

8. Bernard Hamilton, "The Elephant of Christ: Reynald of Chatillon", Studies in Church History 15 (1978), 97-108 traces the career and impact of the man who has most claim to have brought about the Hattin Campaign and the end of the First Latin Kingdom. #Return to text at n. 8




This translation is taken with very minor amendments from a Beta version made by Peter Edbury c. 1975 of the old edition by Le Mas Latrie, pp. 62-9. For a real scholarly translation from Ruth Morgan's critical edition, see now Peter Edbury, The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade (Scolar Press: Aldershot, Hants., 1996). 

© Translation by Paul Hyams of Cornell University. See his home page/copyright page. Prof   Hyams indicates that the translations are available for educational use. He intends to expand the number of translations, so keep a note of his home page. 


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

Paul Halsall, July 1998

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 04:53:52 am
Battle of the Horns of Hattin.

The Fourth of July, a time for Americans to celebrate their War of Independence from the English in 1776, had an entirely different meaning to medieval Europe. For the Fourth of July, 1187 was to be one of the bloodiest battles of the crusades, the Battle of the Horns of Hattin.

The area is called the Horns of Hattin for the two rocky peaks that raise over the brush covered slopes behind Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee. It was here that Saladin aligned 12,000 of his knights plus an army carrying regular provisions at Tiberius. An army as well mounted and armed as anything that could be assembled by the combined forces of the Templar and Hospitaller orders. On the other side of the battlefield were the crusading forces comprised of 20,000 foot soldiers but only about 1,000 knights. This small by comparison force was only assembled by depleting the forces of many surrounding cities, thus leaving them open to attack.

The Christian army had set out for Tiberias in the early morning hours of July 3rd, leaving in their wake their well watered camp for the dust and dryness of the desert air. They carried with them that Holy relic so many would die for in coming battles, the True Cross, discovered in 326 CE by the mother of Constantine the Great.

As they made the trek in the hot desert sun they found no water to aid their thirst and in the heavy armor must have been near exhaustion. By evening of July 3rd, the crusading army arrived at a plateau below the Horns of Hattin, which jutted into the air 100 feet above them. Even at this resting spot the Templars and other crusading warriors found no water, as the well was dry and the only stream was blocked.

Fear was among the men and a foreboding sense of doom swept the crusaders. The Count of Tripoli who’s wife was held captive some miles away is said to have jumped from his horse uttering cries of woe to the heavens:

“Lord God, our war is over! we are nothing but dead men-and the Kingdom has come to an end.”

The Crusades Henry Treece The Bodley Head LTD 1962

That evening many of the men could not sleep for need of water. Some, in a foolish move, went down from the plateau to quench their thirst only to be captured and beheaded by Saladin’s men. The Moslems, in an act of torment, then set the dry grasses covering the hill ablaze. As the hot flames licked up the side of the hill, soldiers already parched of thirst and hot from their heavy armor to suffer even more fear then they had already felt.

By morning, Saladin’s men had completely enclosed the crusaders. So secure had they trapped them that a chronicler of the event claimed, “not a cat could have slipped through the net.” The tired crusaders were outnumbered by ten to one and as dawn approached, the Moslem horns blew heralding the coming attack. Before the crusaders lay certain death and they fought that way, charging recklessly into the battle. Seeing the Christians charging, Saladin’s army did not meet the attack but instead opened up his forces allowing the crusaders to charge through. Once in Saladin closed the opening, in the process sealing the crusaders fate.

The Saracen forces then began charging up the hill in endless droves. The Christians fought back silently as more and more of the crusading force met with the death of Saladin’s blades. As the day fought on, there remained but a few hundred Christian knights huddled around King Guy’s tent. Saladin’s son, seeing the small pack of crusaders rallied around Guy’s tent cried out to his father that the infidels had been routed. He was chastised by his father, who said as long as the tent stood the battle had not been won. In the tent, the trembling Guy held onto the True Cross. Another Moslem charge soon brought the tent to the desert dirt.

Saladin’s Mercy

The leaders were then rounded up and taken to Saladin’s camp. The Moslem leader had erected a tent for this special purpose. The common soldiers were sold into slavery. It is said that one Saracen had so many slaves he was willing to trade one for a pair of shoes. As for the Templars, Saladin spared none except for their Grand Master, Gerard de Ridefort. Each Templar and Hospitaller was forced to his knees while Moslem soldiers beheaded them. None complained and each met his death with utter silence and humility, for such was the way of the order. Many other soldiers wishing death rather than a life of slavery in the service of infidels, rushed forth claiming to be Templars.

In Saladin’s tent he spared the Barons by setting a high ransom on all of them. King Guy of Jerusalem, parched of thirst and riddled with fear lied on the ground of the tent when he was offered a bowl of water by Saladin. Guy began drinking the water quenching his dryness. Guy offered the water to Reynald who eyed the water, also being of thirst. Saladin immediately arose knocking the bowl and its contents from the Prince of Antioch’s hands. Moslem hospitality dictated that, if a man ate or drank with you his life was safe in your hands. This seemed to be King Guys salvation and Reynald’s death sentence.

Reynald upset at saladin's behavior defamed the Islamic prophet Mahomet, at which point Saladin drew his sword and in one blow sliced off Reynald’s arm. Almost before the limb could touch the tent floor, a soldier entered and decapitated Reynald. At this point Saladin turned to King Guy of Jerusalem and said, “Have no fear. it is not the custom of kings to kill kings.” King Guy was released the following year from a prison in Nablus a broken man, but perhaps not as broken as the crusaders and Templars who lost the Battle of Hattin.

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 05:06:54 am

The pivotal Battle of Hattin, which ended a  90 year Christian occupation of the holy land, (twice the span of Israel’s existence in modern times). The Christian defeat led to the next (3rd) Crusade. There were 7 in all, spanning some 300 years. In our time the British occupation lasted less than 30 years. Now it’s America’s turn. Who will prevail in the long run?


 Christian prisoners massacred by the Turks after their defeat at Hattin. Those who would not convert to Islam were beheaded. Today the US uses its own brand of 2000lb decapitation strikes to deal with those who will not get with the program in Iraq.

Title: Re: Battle of Hattin
Post by: Ceneca on September 23, 2007, 05:19:09 am
Battle at Hattin Horn in 1187

In spite of the truce signed with Saladin, an adventurer, Renaud de Châtillon, attacked a caravan of Muslim pilgrims of the way from Cairo to Damas. Saladin officially asked the Frankish Lords the return the spoils and the prisoners, but the Lords refused to hear him. Saladin considered this rejection released him from his obligation to respect the truce.

In March, Saladin gathered his troops and walked to Montreal and Kerak, both of which he devastated. He then headed North towards the County of Tripoli. On the way, he met a Frankish detachment on its way to the Court of Raymond III. This detachment was contained, amongst others, the Masters of the Temple (Gerard de Ridefort) and the Hopital (Roger des Moulins).
Taking no notice of the advice of Roger des Moulins, Gerard de Ridefort led the Franks on an assault of Saladin’s force. The Franks were torn to pieces. All the surviving Templars were captured and beheaded. All except the Master, Gerard de Ridefort who managed to flee the carnage.

The Battle

Frankish barons, faced with the danger represented by Saladin, forgot their dissensions and united their forces to face the Muslims.
An army composed of more than 2000 knights and 30000 foot soldiers left Saphoria in the direction of Tiberiade; a city besieged by Saladin.
Saladin learned of the army and decided to confront them. He encountered the Frankish near Miskinah where skirmishes broke out. The Frankish barons decided to leave Tiberiade and entrench themselves around water points near Hattin. But, on the evening of July 3rd, the Muslim army forced a situation where the Franks had to camp 5 km from the springs. Their camp was on the basaltic peak of the Horn of Hattin; an exposed location without water and without shade from the sun.
On the morning of July 4th the Franks mounted several charges to try to break the Muslim line surrounding them. On each occasion they failed. The Franks lost a lot of soldiers and horses during these desperate charges.
Some knights in the rearguard did manage to escape, however the rest of the Frankish army yielded to assaults by Saladin army’s.
Most of the Frankish barons were captured. They were released after payment of a big ransom. The other prisoners, either too proud or too poor to afford the ransom, were sold into slavery. The Templars and Hospitalers captured alive were beheaded immediately.
Saladin considered them dangerous enemies so he ensured they would never again rise up in arms against him.
Only the Master of the Temple, Gerard de Ridefort, escaped the fate of his companions. He was imprisoned.
In addition to the disaster of losing the army, during the battle, Christendom also lost the Real Cross which disappeared forever. After the defeat at Hattin, nearly all the kingdom of Jerusalem fell into the hands of Saladin. All that remained in Christian hands was the city of Tyre, and some strongholds inside the country.