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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311

XII: The Crusade of Frederick II,   pp. 429-462 PDF (20.5 MB)

Page 453

restoration of Jerusalem, but add the vague mention of "several other places".
87 After al-Mu'azzam's death, an-Näsir, al-Mu'azzam's son and his heir
as governor of Damascus, endeavored vainly to make peace with his uncle al-Kämil,
who then invaded Syria and took possession of Jerusalem. An-Nãsir
sought aid from his other uncle, al-Ashraf, but the two uncles now joined
in plun dering their helpless nephew, besieging the city of Damascus, and
planning to divide the spoils (early September 1228—May 1229).88 Al-Kämil's
position was now much stronger than when a year before he had appealed to
Frederick for aid. He could now use Jerusalem to bargain with the crusaders
for the greater security of Egypt. He could hardly have been fully aware,
however, of the weakness of Frederick's forces, nor could he fully have comprehended
the seriousness of the singular factional conflict in the ranks of the army
arising from Frederick's excommunication, although he had some knowledge
of these differences. 
 Frederick sent Thomas of Acerra and Balian of Sidon to inform al-Kãmil
of his arrival and to request the fulfillment of the sultan's promises with
respect to Jerusalem. Although receiving the embassy with courtesy, and obviously
seeking to impress them by a cere monial display of his armed forces, al-Kãmil
let his visitors depart without committing himself with regard to their mission.
His acceptance of Frederick's gifts and his own generous presents in return,
including an elephant, ten camels, and ten horses, as well as silks and other
rare stuffs, indicate his desire to maintain friendly relations. Shortly
afterwards Frederick received the ambassadors of the sultan, including his
old friend Fakhr-ad-Din, in his camp at Recordane near Acre. Displaying a
consummate skill in the usages of Arabic diplomacy, Frederick, through his
rare eloquence and extraordinary learning, impressed favorably both al-Kãmil
and his clever representative Fakhr-ad-Din. A1-Maqrizi, the Egyptian historian,
says the emperor was learned in geometry, arithmetic, and other exact sciences,
and reports that Frederick sent several difficult questions on geometry,
the theory of numbers, and mathematics to the sultan, who gave them to men
of great learning for appropriate answers which he returned to the emperor.89
His learning as well as his unorthodox views on religion astonished the Moslems
as they dismayed the Christians. These, together with the secrecy with which
he carried on the negotiations with the 
87 See beiow, chapter XX, pp. 701—703. 
88 Abü-Shãmah, Ar-raudatain (RHC, Or., V), pp. 190—191.
89 A1-Maqrizi, "Histoire d'Egypte," ROL, IX, 528—529. 

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