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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years
(1969)

XIX: The decline and fall of Jerusalem, 1174-1189,   pp. 590-621 PDF (10.8 MB)


Page 619

Cli. XIX THE DECLINE AND FALL OF JERUSALEM 619 22 AbU-Shãmah (RHC,
Or., IV), pp. 361—363, quoted in Grousset, Croisades, II, 827. AtAcre
Saladin apparently offered to allow merchants to remain on payment of the
usual 
in return for an exchange of prisoners. Saladin's troops were tired from
long campaigning, and the month of Rama~ãn was approaching when according
to Moslem tradition no fighting should occur. It was agreed that if in seven
months no help came from his fellow Christians, Bohemond would surrender
Antioch. 
 Meanwhile, in the southern part of the kingdom of Jerusalem, hunger finally
forced the heroic garrison of Kerak to capitulate. Al-Malik al-'Adil received
the message from the nearly starved garrison and gave them free egress (November
ii88). Shortly afterward (April—May 1189), Krak de Montréal
and a few other smaller places surrendered, and Humphrey was given his liberty.
Saladin himself had left Damascus (November 7) where he had rested a month,
and joined al-Malik al-'Adil at Safad, where they besieged the fort. On December
6 the garrison capitulated and was permitted to go to Tyre. Belvoir gave
in on January 5, 1189. Of the great castles in the kingdom only Belfort remained.
Held by Reginald of Sidon, it commanded the route from Tyre to Damascus and
was considered impregnable. Saladin arrived on May 5, 1189, but the siege
was interrupted by the first Latin counterattack at Acre. (The castle was
not to surrender until April 22, 1190.) The fall of Belvoir completed two
years of triumphant campaigning. The kingdom of Jerusalem was entirely conquered
with the exception of Belfort and Tyre. In the county of Tripoli, the city
of Tripoli, one tower in Tortosa, two small Templar castles, and the great
Hospitaller fortress of Krak des Chevaliers held out. Only Antioch and al-Marqab
remained of the principality of Antioch. 
 In disposing of the conquered territories Saladin was both merciful and
statesmanlike. He was anxious to lay the foundations for the future and to
disrupt normal economic and social life as little as possible. Above all
he hoped to avoid giving occasion for another crusade. Moreover, he well
understood the importance of preserving as far as possible the economic prosperity
of the ports. In laying down conditions for the surrender of Acre, for example,
he offered attractive terms to the merchants, evidently hoping to induce
them to remain. Most of them, however, departed and the rich stocks they
abandoned were left to the mercies of the conquerors. In Latakia, also, a
port in the principality of Antioch, Saladin's chancellor, ' Imad-ad-DIn,
describes with sorrow the deliberate destruction by "our emirs" of a once
beautiful city.22 Itis permissible to suppose that Saladin shared his feelings.


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