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

XVIII: The rise of Saladin, 1169-1189,   pp. 562-589 PDF (13.3 MB)

Page 566

additional manpower. Saladin, on the other hand, judging from the former
competition for Egypt and the attempt on Damietta in 1169, and probably informed
of the tenor of Amairic's negotiations with the Byzantine emperor in 1171,
seems to have been convinced that for the time being, at least, the main
point of danger lay in Egypt. He was more conscious also than Nür-ad-Din
could be of the dangers arising from the hostility of the former Fã~imid
troops and their readiness to join with the Franks. In his view, therefore,
it was his first duty to build up a new army strong enough to hold Egypt
in all contingencies, and to spend what resources he could command on this
 It was also largely for reasons of internal security that he sent troops
to occupy the hotbeds of Fa~imid activity on the upper Nile and in the Yemen,
although the ambition of his elder brother Turan-Shãh had some share
in the second of these expeditions. How real the danger was to Saladin is
shown by the fact that to the end of his life the defense of Egypt against
sudden attack remained one of his constant preoccupations. Nevertheless,
the continuous expansion of his influence and military power, which by 1171
already equalled, if it did not even exceed, the forces at Nürad-Din's
disposal, might well have made Nür-ad-Din uneasy, and there was some
talk of his intention to go down to Egypt himself. Saladin's good faith was,
however, evidenced by an expedition against the bedouins of Kerak in 1173,
in order to safeguard communications with Syria, and for the moment Nür-ad-DIn
was content to send a controller to audit and report on Saladin's finances
and military expenditure. Whatever further plans he may have had in view
were cut short by his death on May 15, 1174. 
 The chief officers of NUr-ad-DIn's army at once entered into competition
for the guardianship of his young son al-Malik a~Salili. Saladin could not
remain indifferent to this outbreak of rivalries, but for the time being
took no action beyond acknowledging as-Sãlili as his suzerain. In
June Amalric laid siege to Banyas, but Saladin, having received warning from
Constantinople to expect an attack by the Sicilian fleet, was unable to move.
It was not until the end of July that the naval assault on Alexandria was
made and beaten off, and in the meantime affairs in Syria had taken a grave
turn. The emirs of Damascus had made a separate peace with Jerusalem on payment
of tribute; Nür-adDin's nephew at Mosul had invaded and annexed all
his provinces beyond the Euphrates; and in -August the eunuch Gumushtigin,
having secured the person of a~-~älili, established himself at 

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