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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311
(1969)

XIV: The Crusades of Louis IX,   pp. 486-518 PDF (12.7 MB)


Page 489

 Ch. XIV THE CRUSADES OF LOUIS IX 489 
was not unfavorable to the Christians. Saladin's empire had been divided
among heirs who hated one another as only relatives can hate. They were incapable
of uniting against an invader; some of them were even ready to make an alliance
with the crusaders against their rivals. The sultan of Egypt, whose outlying
possessions in cluded the holy places, was a sullen, suspicious tyrant; his
heir had been sent out of the country and was almost unknown to his future
subjects; his slave army of mamluks was becoming conscious of its power and
resentful of a regime of many punishments and few rewards. Farther east the
thunder-cloud of Mongol invasion was about to break over Baghdad. The Syrian
Moslem princes could not face their Christian enemies squarely with this
menace rumbling behind their backs. All in all, the Moslem world was weakened
and divided as it had not been for a century, so weak and divided that even
when Louis went down to unexpected defeat it could not fully exploit the
victory. 
 Louis took the cross in December 1 244. A serious illness was the immediate
occasion for his decision, but the events which had taken place during the
year must have impressed any sincere Christian with the need for a new crusade.
The persistent quarrels of the descendants of Saladin had twice enabled the
Christians to recover Jerusalem and a large part of Galilee, but the equally
persistent quarrels between imperialists and Ibelins, Temple and Hospital,
Acre and Tyre, had prevented any solid reorganization of the recovered territories.
As a result, when the Aiyubid sultan of Egypt formed an alliance with the
Khorezmian bands of northern Syria against a coalition of Syrian princes
and Christians, the inland parts of the kingdom were almost defenseless.
The Khorez mians took Jerusalem, massacred a large part of the garrison,
and destroyed the few remaining fortifications during the summer of 1244.
Then they joined an Egyptian army coming up from the south and inflicted
a complete defeat on the Christian-Syrian Moslem army at Harbiyah, northeast
of Gaza, on October 1 7, 1244. The work of the last two decades was undone.
All that had been gained by the diplomacy of Frederick II in 1229, the crusade
of Theobald of Champagne and Navarre in 1239—1240, and the negotiations
of Richard of Cornwall in 1240—1241 was swept away. The holy city was
lost, and the Christians, still bickering among themselves, were thrown back
to their fortified coastal cities. 1 
 The need was great, but the situation in western Europe was not 
1 See below, chapters XVI and XX. On the Khorezmians, see below, chapter
XIX, pp. 
668—674. 


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