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Battle of Hattin

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Ceneca
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« 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 Raymondís 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.

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