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

XIX: The Decline and Fall of Jerusalem, 1174-1189,   pp. 590-621 PDF (13.0 MB)

Page 595

Rivalry over Antioch, it is true, was now ended, but the strong Byzantine
power in Asia Minor, so long a deterrent against Moslem expansion, was also
 In the following year (ii~~'), at the time of Philip of Flanders' visit
to the Holy Land, a splendid opportunity for separating Egypt from Syria
was lost. Emperor Manuel, whose fleet was still formidable, offered to fulfil
arrangements made previously with Amalric to renew the project of a joint
Latin-Byzantine expedition against Egypt. Unfortunately for the Christian
cause, Philip, after offering all sorts of excuses and causing interminable
delays, flatly refused to participate, and the project was abandoned. Since
Manuel died in i~8o and since, after the death of young Alexius II (I i8o—i
183), the empire was ruled by the violent Andronicus Comnenus (i 183—I
i8~) and the incompetent Isaac Angelus (i i85-.~ 195), both unfriendly to
the crusaders, this was in fact the last opportunity to renew the Byzantine
alliance. A remarkable victory of the royal army under king Baldwin IV at
Mont Gisard temporarily restored Latin morale. Saladin was badly worsted
(November 25, 1177)., But the crusaders were not able permanently to follow
up their victory; and Saladin, who had lost a battle, had by no means exhausted
his resources as the succeeding months were to show. Therefore, despite the
victory of Mont Gisard, the Christians were far from secure. 
 The campaigns of these years have been described in the preceding chapter.4
But it may be well to recall here that they cost the Latins heavily. The
eminent constable, Humphrey of Toron, was mortally wounded, and many distinguished
knights, including Odo of St. Amand, master of the Temple, Hugh of Tiberias,
Raymond of Tripoli's stepson, and Baldwin of Ramla, were captured. Saladin
also captured and destroyed a newly built castle at Jacob's Ford in August
1179. Further, he had, with a reorganized Egyptian fleet, menaced the Frankish
coastal possessions. Ruad, an island off Tortosa in the county of Tripoli,
was seized, and in May ~ i 8o king Baldwin proposed a truce which, because
of the threat of a famine in the Damascus region, Saladin was willing to
accept. Somewhat later in the summer, after sea and land raids, Saladin also
concluded a truce with count Raymond of Tripoli and returned once again to
Egypt where he remained until I 182. The breathing spell was welcome, but
it only postponed the issue. Indeed, it is important to remember that Frankish
security still depended on Moslem disunion. So long as the Aleppans and 
~ Cf. above, chapter XVIII, pp. 567—572. 

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