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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 599

581. It was in August ii8z that a combined land and seaoperation against
Beirut was thwarted by the appearance of Baldwin's relief army. 
bound for Mecca; and Saladin left Egypt for the north in May i i8z.~ Pushing
through Syria and Mesopotamia, he was able to capture Sinjar and Amida (Diyarbakir).
As he turned south again, Aleppo and Uarim fell to his arms in June 1183.
With Egypt, Damascus, and Aleppo in his possession, the encirclement was
complete. Mosul still resisted, but Iconium (Konya) was friendly and, as
we have seen, the fear of a diversion from Byzantium had been removed by
Manuel's death. 
 This triumphal campaign had been carried forward without serious hindrance
on the part of the Latins. That they understood the gravity of the situation
is clear, for in February 1183 an extraordinary tax for defense was decided
upon in Jerusalem. Meanwhile an exceptionally large concentration of troops
assembled at ~affuriyah, a village near Tiberias. In this vulnerable area
on the border an attack by Saladin was expected. While the army remained
in readiness at ~affuriyah, king Baldwin's illness took a sharp turn for
the worse. He summoned all the barons and, in the presence of his mother
and the patriarch, made Guy of Lusignan bailli. For himself he reserved only
the royal dignity, the city of Jerusalem, and an annual revenue of one thousand
gold pieces. Guy was further required to promise neither to seek the crown
while the king lived nor to alienate any of the king's castles or cities
of the public domain. 
 Although the barons were then commanded to swear fealty to Guy, many made
no attempt to conceal their resentment. William of Tyre, as might be expected,
echoes the view that Guy was utterly unfit for the task thrust upon him.
Moreover, his explicit mention of the presence of Agnes and Heraclius, together
with his intimation that Guy had obligated himself to a number of knights
by unwise promises, lends support to the conclusion that the court party,
or at least its principal members, had regained their ascendancy over the
king. At any rate, the renewal of dissension came at a most inopportune time.
 Toward the end of September Saladin, who had left Aleppo and returned to
Damascus, crossed the Jordan and plundered Baisan. The main body of his army
then encamped at LAin Jalut, leaving bands of skirmishers to reconnoiter
elsewhere. The Christian army, numbering according to William of Tyre thirteen
hundred knights and fifteen thousand foot, probably the largest ever assembled
up to that time, moved from ~affurIyah to al-FUlah closer to Saladin. 

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