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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 527

Ch. XVI THE CAREER OF NTJR-AD-DIN 527 or pulpit destined for the Aq~â
mosque in Jerusalem after its recovery. The work wasfinished only after his
death, but was duly installed in Jerusalem by Saladin. 
 For already, although he had built up a powerful war machine to be used
against the crusaders, his ambitions had implicated him in a series of operations
in the north which were to lead him into conflict with the Moslems of Anatolia
instead. On the death of Toros of Cilicia in ii68, his brother Mleh, who
held Cyrrhus as a fief from NUr-ad-DIn, invaded Cilicia with the support
of a contingent from Aleppo, which remained in his service and assisted him
to drive out the Templars and Greeks from the fortresses and, in 1173, the
cities which they held in Cilicia. An expedition organized by Amalric after
his return from Constantinople in 1171 was interrupted by NUr-ad-Din's attack
on Kerak, and Mleh remained master of Cilicia until Nür-ad-Din's death.
 During these events in Cilicia the Selchükid Kilij Arslan had been
actively breaking up the Dãnishmendid principalities and annexing
their territories, Albistan, Caesarea (Kayseri), and Ankara. In 1170 or 1171
he attacked Melitene (Malatya), but was repulsed, owing to the intervention
of the Artukid Nür-ad-Din of Ui~n Kaifã. He then attacked the
last Dãnishmendid stronghold, Sebastia, whose prince appealed to Nür-ad-Din.
In the spring of 1173 he set out from Damascus, and after capturing Marash
and Behesni, joined forces in August or September with Mleh and the troops
of Melitene, and marched on Qalcat ar-Rum, on the Euphrates north of Bira.
At this point Kilij Arsian sent overtures for peace. The precise terms of
the agreement are uncertain; according to some sources Kilij Arsian consented
to restore Ankara and Sebastia to their princes, and Nür-ad-Din sent
the former vizir of Mosul, ~Abd-al-MassIh, with a contingent of his own troops
to garrison Sebastia, but these returned to Aleppo on the news of his death.
 On his return, Nür-ad-DIn made a leisurely journey to Damascus, where
shortly afterwards he fell seriously ill, and died on May 15, 1174, leaving
only a minor son as his heir. Almost instantaneously the territorial and
military organization which he had built up with so much labor fell to pieces.
But, in contrast to his father Zengi, he had by his life and conduct laid
the foundations for that moral unification of Moslem forces on which alone
a real political and military unity could be reared. It is ironical that
the great name and reputation which he left was to prove one of the major
obstacles to the efforts of his true successor, Saladin, to resume his task
and bring it to fruition. 

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