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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years

XVI: The career of Nur-ad-Din,   pp. 513-527 PDF (20.6 MB)

Page 521

Ch. XVI THE CAREER OF NUR-AD-DIN 521 8 Cf. below, chapter XVII, p. 539, where
the Christian defeat is described as an ambushat Jacob's Ford. 
ad-DIn, preoccupied with measures for the defense of the ruined cities, established
himself near Baalbek and sent out squadrons to deal with these attacks, at
the same time sending an envoy to Egypt to organize cooperation with the
Egyptian forces against the Franks. 
 Encouraged by two successful engagements in April 1157, in which his brother
Nu~rat-ad-DIn severely handled a force of Hospitallers and Templars on their
way to Banyas with supplies, and Shirkflh with a body of Turkomans repulsed
the raiders in the north, Nür-ad-DIn concentrated his armies at the
beginning of May for an assault on Banyas. Retiring before Baldwin's advance,
he counterattacked the Frankish troops in camp at al-Mallãliah on
June 19 and destroyed the greater part, Baldwin himself barely escaping by
flight.8 William of Tyre relates that Nür-ad-Din then returned to the
attack on Banyas, but was forced to retire by the conjunction of the troops
of Antioch and Tripoli with those of the kingdom. It seems more probable,
however, that the reason for his withdrawal was a renewed series of earthquake
shocks which began on July 4 and continued into November, with particularly
serious results in Homs, Hamah, Apamea, and Shaizar, where the whole household
of its Arab princes, the Banu-Munqidh, perished. Having attempted without
success to renew the armistice with Baldwin, he left a force in the field
to protect the territories of Damascus and himself moved north in August
to occupy Shaizar and protect the other cities. By this move he forestalled
the advance of the combined Latin forces, following on the arrival of Thierry
of Alsace, count of Flanders, on the third of his four personal crusades,
and on their concentration at Antioch NUr-adDin took up his position at Inab
in readiness to meet the expected attack. 
 Here he was attacked by a severe illness early in October, and after giving
instructions that in the event of his death his brother Nu~rat-ad-DIn should
be his successor at Aleppo, with Shirküh as his lieutenant at Damascus,
he withdrew to the citadel of Aleppo. Amidst the confusion which followed,
Shlrküh moved south to protect Damascus. The rest of the army was temporarily
disorganized, and the crusaders, reinforced by Toros and his Armenians, advanced
on Shaizar without opposition. But the Assassins of Ma~yaf had long coveted
its possession and seized the opportunity first; their stubborn defense of
the citadel gave time 

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