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

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

Page 621

Toward the Jews Saladin's attitude was less consistent. In Jerusalem he apparently
encouraged Jewish immigration, perhaps hoping that they would prove valuable
allies in the event of a new crusade. In the region of Darbsãk and
Baghras in Antioch, on the other hand, he converted the synagogues into mosques.
 The picture we have briefly presented of the end of a colony is far from
complete and is admittedly drawn from scattered sources. Nevertheless, it
indicates the main outlines of the transformation from Latin to Moslem administration.
Saladin's policy, although not always consistent, nor properly followed by
his subordinates, was at once merciful and statesmanlike. It probably preserved
some of the normal economic li-fe of the captured area, although much must
have been lost. Presumably, it left unmolested the majority of the population,
that is, the Moslems, the Jews, and the native Greek and Syrian Christians.
For the former ruling class, the western Christians,. the Moslem reconquest
was a major catastrophe. Bereavement, loss of home and property, even slavery
must have been the lot of thousands of the less fortunate. The aristocracy,
although they had lost their lands and castles, could always hope for recovery.
A few outposts still remained. The success at Tyre was also encouraging,
but, most of all, Europe now understood well enough the grim prospects of
the Latin Christians who were left in Palestine and Syria. News soon reached
the Holy Land that a new crusade was on its way, with the German emperor
and the kings of France and England, and Latin hopes rose again in the Levant.
Our next volume will begin with the spectacular history of the Third Crusade.

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