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

II: The Third Crusade: Richard the Lionhearted and Philip Augustus,   pp. 44-85 PDF (16.9 MB)

Page 46

William III, marquis of Montferrat; Roger de Mowbray, lord of Thirsk in Yorkshire;
and many another baron, knight, and sergeant were captured. Large numbers
of Christians were slain in the battle, and Saladin slaughtered all the rank
and file of the Temple and Hospital who fell into his hands. The True Cross,
borne in the midst of the host by a succession of prelates, came into the
possession of the "infidels". In mustering his army to meet Saladin's
invasion king Guy had drained his fortresses of their garrisons. Except for
Raymond III, count of Tripoli, Reginald, lord of Sidon, and Balian of Ibelin,
who had escaped from the field of Hattin, the realm of Jerusalem was leaderless.1
Acre fell almost at once, and Saladin soon conquered most of the other towns
and castles. By the end of 1187 the only important towns still holding out
were Tyre, Tripoli, and Antioch. 
 Tyre was saved by a stroke of chance - the fortuitous arrival of an able,
vigorous soldier of high rank. Conrad of Montferrat, eldest surviving son
of marquis William, and uncle of the young king Baldwin V of Jerusalem, had
started for the Holy Land in 1185. Conrad had stopped in Constantinople and
entered the service of Emperor Isaac II Angelus. When he learned of the threatened
invasion of the kingdom of Jerusalem, he obtained the emperor's leave to
go to Palestine. The ship bearing him and his small band arrived at Acre
after its capture by Saladin. Fortunately for the Franks Conrad discovered
the state of affairs before he landed, and promptly sailed up the coast to
Tyre. He found that city about to surrender. The commander of the town, lacking
both garrison and supplies, had agreed with Saladin on terms of capitulation.
But the citizens took heart from Conrad's arrival, delivered the city to
him, and prepared to defend it under his leadership.2 Tyre became the refuge
for the inhabitants of the places captured by Saladin during the following
months, for the sultan's conquest of the kingdom of Jerusalem was no orgy
of bloodshed. Although Saladin was fully capable of savage cruelty, he preferred
to be merciful - especially when mercy paid. The towns of the kingdom were
leaderless and had almost no soldiers, but they were strongly fortified.
The inhabitants were discouraged by the loss of the leaders and troops, and
were willing to surrender in exchange for their lives. Saladin's troops were
horsemen who felt at home only in the open field and had no taste for attacking
fortifications. Hence it was good policy 
 1 Bahã'-ad-Din, pp. 113-114; Eracles, pp. 65-67; Gesta, II, 12, 22.
For details see volume I of the present work: chapters XVIII and XIX, map
14, and the supplementary list of towns and fortresses in the gazetteer.
 2 Eracles, pp. 15-16, 73-76; Bernard le Trésorier, pp. 179-182. Baldwin
V died in 1186. 

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