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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 600

No attack was made, however, and after a week of unimportant maneuvers, Saladin,
finding it impossible to obtain adequate provisions, withdrew. Fle regained
Damascus on October 13. Two great armies had faced each other and had not
risked a decisive engagement. 
 There are two possible explanations of the campaign of 1183. One, which
has been developed at some length, approves the crusaders' strategy and further
insists that they did precisely what they should have done four years later
at Hattin. The campaign was, in this view, a success. The limited Christian
forces had not been depleted; yet Saladin had been forced to withdraw. No
such interpretation was accepted by the contemporary historian, William of
Tyre. Although he cautiously disclaims more than hearsay information and
admits that a difficult military situation existed, he strongly intimates
that personal quarrels immobilized this great Christian army. A number of
barons, he suggests, were unwilling to have Guy, whose baiiiage they opposed,
receive the credit for a victory. Hence a glorious opportunity was wasted.b0
 Probably there is truth in both explanations. The waiting strategy had succeeded
in frustrating a possible attack. Moreover, it must be remembered that Saladin's
control over the disparate elements of the Moslem Levant was recently won
and depended on constant vigilance and continued success. Armies could not
be kept in the field indefinitely. Soldiers were also farmers and merchants
and had to return to their fields and shops. On the other hand, it is possible
that Saladin could better afford to be patient than the crusaders. Certainly
his strength remained undiminished during the subsequent critical years.
 At any rate, there is no denying the poisonous nature of the dissension
in Jerusalem. Shortly after the campaign of 1183, the king came to the conclusion
that Guy's incapacity had been amply demonstrated. In November he removed
Guy from the procuratorship, specifically denied his rights of succession
to the throne and, in the presence of the clergy and the barons, had his
five-year-old nephew crowned and anointed. Among those present were Bohemond
of Antioch, Raymond of Tripoli, Reginald of Sidon, Baldwin of Ramla, and
Balian of Ibelin. Balian held the child, the future Baldwin V, on his shoulder.
There followed in the next few weeks an unedifying quarrel between Baldwin
IV and Guy, the details of which need not con' ° William of Tyre, XXII,
27, and cf. Grousset, Croisades, II, 723 if. 

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