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

XVIII: The rise of Saladin, 1169-1189,   pp. 562-589 PDF (13.3 MB)

Page 565

Ch. XVIII THE RISE OF SALADIN 565 2 On the Egyptian campaign of Amairic see
above, chapter XVII, pp. 557—558. 
of the Selchükid sultans, the swOrn enemies of the Fãtimids,
and adherence to the Sunnite sect did not necessarily imply political recognition
of the ~Abbãsids. Now, however, the ~Abbãsids were reasserting
their sovereignty against the Selchukids; and the jihad movement in Syria,
born of a revival of Sunnite orthodoxy, had placed itself under their banner.
There could be no effective union with Egypt except on these terms. Saladin
was consequently bound by his own principles to restore Egypt to the ~Abbãsid
allegiance, but it was necessary to prepare the ground for the change. 
 The main danger lay in the Egyptian army, composed of several regiments
of white cavalry and some 30,000 Sudanese infantry. Saladin immediately began
to build up his own army at the expense of the Egyptian officers, and when
a revolt of the blacks broke out he already had enough regular troops of
his own to decimate them and to drive them out of Cairo into upper Egypt,
where his brothers, in the course of the next five years, gradually crushed
their resistance. The white troops made no move and seem to have cooperated
with Saladin in repelling Amairic's attack on Damietta (i 169), and in the
raid on Gaza and the subsequent capture of Ailah in December 1170.2 But Nür-ad-Din
was pressing him to take the decisive step of proclaiming the cAbbãsid
caliphate in Egypt, and at length in June 1171 sent him a. formal order to
do so, at the same time notifying the ~Abbãsid caliph himself of his
action. The order was obeyed, with no immediate outward disturbances. On
al-~Açlid's death shortly afterwards the members of the Fãtimid
house were placed in honorable captivity and the sexes separated, so that
it should die out in the natural course of time, and the immense treasures
of their palaces were shared between Saladin's officers and Nür-ad-DIn.
 The good relations which had subsisted up to this point between NUr-ad-Din
and Saladin, however, gradually grew strained. Some suspicion may have been
aroused by Saladin's failure to assist his suzerain during the expedition
to Krak de Montréal (ash- Shaubak) in October 1171, whatever good
reasons he may have put forward for his withdrawal. In the following year
his gift to Nür-ad-Din from the Fã~imid treasures was found insufficient.
At bottom, the causes of the strain lay more probably in a divergence of
political views. NUr-ad-Din regarded Syria as the main battlefield against
the crusaders, and looked to Egypt firstly as a source of revenue to meet
the expenses of the jihad, and secondly as a source of 

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