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

XVIII: The Rise of Saladin, 1169-1189,   pp. 562-589 PDF (10.8 MB)

Page 563

The reign of Saladin is more than an episode in the history of the crusades.
It is one of those rare and dramatic moments in human history when cynicism
and disillusion, born of long experience of the selfish ambitions of princes,
are for a brief period dislodged by moral determination and unity of purpose.
Without this foundation the Moslem armies could never have sustained the
exhausting struggle of the Third Crusade. If that achievement is to be seen
and understood in its historical setting, an attempt must be made to show
how, using — as he had to use — the materials to his hand within
the political circumstances of his age, Saladin triumphed over all obstacles
to create a moral unity which, though never perfectly achieved, proved just
strong enough to meet the challenge from the west. 
 The childhood of ~alãl).-ad-Din Yüsuf ibn-Aiyub (Righteousness
of the Faith, Joseph son of Job) was spent in Baalbek, where his father Aiyub
was governor, first for Zengi and subsequently for the princes of Damascus.
In 1152, at the age of fourteen, he joined his uncle Shirküh at Aleppo
in the service of Nflr-ad-DIn, and was allotted a fief; in I 156 he succeeded
his elder brother Turan- Shah as his uncle's deputy in the military governorship
of Damascus, but relinquished the post after a short time in protest against
the fraudulence of the chief accountant. He rejoined Nür-ad-Din at 
 The fundamental source for this chapter is 4l-barq ash-Sha'mi of Saladin's
secretary dImãd~ad~Din ál-I~fahãni (only vols. III and
V extant in MS.; the others summarized with other contemporary materials
in Ar-rau~latain ["The Two Gardens"] of abü-Shãmah, partially
translated in RHC, Or., IV, V). Baha'-ad-Din's biography of. Saladin (RHC,
Or., III) becomes a direct source only from i i86; for i 187 onwards Clmad_ad_Din's
earlier and shorter work Al-/at~ al-qussi (ed. Leyden, i888) is equally authoritative.
Ibn-al-Athir's narratives in his general history (Al-kãmil, vols.
XI and XII, ed. Leyden, 1851—1853; extracts in RHC, Or., I, II) are
mostly derived from dImãd~ad_Din. A desideratum is a corpus of the
extant docum~nts of al- Qaçli al-Fa~il; there is an incomplete list
in A. H. Helbig, u1l-Q&~1i al-Fã~lil (Leipzig, 1908). S. Lane-Poole's
Saladin and the Fall o/the Kingdom of Jerusalem (London and New York, 1898;
new ed. by H. W. C. Davis, 1926) rests mainly on Ibn-al-Athir and Bahã'-ad-Din.

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