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News: Ruins of 7,000-year-old city found in Egypt oasis
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the First Crusade

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Rachel Dearth
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« Reply #210 on: March 02, 2009, 08:40:03 pm »

Conflict with the Crusaders

Al-Afdal misunderstood the Crusaders as Byzantine mercenaries; this misperception caused al-Afdal to conclude that the crusaders would make for natural allies, as each were enemies of the Seljuk Turks. Fatimid overtures for an alliance with the crusaders were rebuffed, and the crusaders continued southward from Antioch to capture Jerusalem from Fatimid control in 1099.

When it became apparent that the Crusaders would not rest until they had control of the city, al-Afdal marched out from Cairo, but was too late to rescue Jerusalem, which fell on July 15, 1099. On August 12, the Crusaders under Godfrey of Bouillon surprised al-Afdal at the Battle of Ascalon and completely defeated him. Al-Afdal would reassert Fatimid control of Ascalon, as the Crusaders did not attempt to retain it, and utilize it as a staging ground for later attacks on the crusader states.

Al-Afdal marched out every year to attack the nascent Kingdom of Jerusalem, and in 1105 attempted to ally with Damascus against them, but was defeated at the Battle of Ramla. Al-Afdal and his army enjoyed success only so long as no European fleet interfered, but they gradually lost control of their coastal strongholds; in 1109 Tripoli was lost, despite the fleet and supplies sent by al-Afdal, and the city became the centre of an important Crusader county. In 1110 the governor of Ascalon, Shams al-Khilafa, rebelled against al-Afdal with the intent of handing over the city to Jerusalem (for a large price). Al-Khilafa's Berber troops assassinated him and sent his head to al-Afdal. The Crusaders later took Tyre and Acre as well, and remained in Jerusalem until the arrival of Saladin decades later.

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