Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / The first hundred years
XIX: The Decline and Fall of Jerusalem, 1174-1189, pp. 590-621 PDF (13.0 MB)
594 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES 1 1183. At least there is no record until then of the appointment of any bailli. During these same years (i 174—I i8o), the diplomatic and military situation grew steadily worse. It will be recalled that the center of interest during Amairic's reign had been Egypt where the collapse of the Fã~irnid caliphate invited outside intervention. Amalric's failure permanently to profit by that opportunity had left the field to Saladin. As the preceding chapter has indicated, Saladin's success in supplanting the caliphate of Cairo had ended, at least in that area, the old Sunnite~Shicite feud which had been an important element in Christian security.~ So long as Nür-adDin had lived, however, his jealousy and suspicion of the young conqueror of Egypt had prevented the political unity of Egypt and Syria. Nür-ad-DIn's death (May 1174), just two months before that of Arnalric, therefore removed one obstacle to Syrian-Egyptian cooperation. Saladin was quick to take advantage of the situation. His capture of Damascus on October z8, 1174, with the resulting political union of Egypt and Syria, was his first step toward encircling the crusaders' states. The old Latin policy of balancing a friendly Damascus against its rivals in Egypt and northern Syria was now largely thwarted. What was worse, Saladin then proceeded from Damascus north against Aleppo, the key to northern Syria. This objective, however, Saladin did not then attain, partly because of Aleppan resistance, partly because of the presence of a Frankish army under Raymond of Tripoli, then bailli. Yet his campaign was otherwise a great success. Before he returned to Egypt in September 1176, he had taken Horns and Hamah and defeated a contingent from Mosul. Somewhat later Baalbek was invested. Further, the caliph of Baghdad now recognized him as ruler of Egypt and Syria. Thus, the crusaders' policy of balancing dissident Moslem states against each other was gradually losing its efficacy in the face of Saladin's Syrian successes. The Near Eastern equilibrium was also seriously upset by the Byzantine defeat at Myriokephalon in September 1176. It had been the emperor Manuel Comnenus's intention to break the Turkish hold in Asia Minor. Instead, his army was routed. The basileus accepted Kilij (or Kilich) Arslan's terms and retreated with the remnants of his troops. Myriokephalon has been compared with Manzikert a century earlier; and, indeed, for the Latin east the defeat was crucial. Militarily, Byzantium never recovered. ~ For further details regarding Saladin's career see above, chapter XVIII.
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