How did the Muslim world change in response to the Crusader Kingdom?



  • Population in the near east was extremely diverse- the Muslim world was split between Sunni and Shia orthodoxies. This Muslim disunity allowed for the success of the first crusade. The second crusade saw the Muslim forces preparing to unite whilst the Latin were sharply divided. Zengi and Nur ad Din, both atabegs of Mosul- it was these two who chiefly spearheaded the Arab counter-attack against the west in the period 1130-75.
  • Greatest Muslim leader was Saladin- profoundly orthodox Kurd, brought Egypt back and gave the Muslim world a new prestige in the 1180s which was to challenge and destroy the crusader kingdom in 1187.
  • 1095- Arab world was a myriad of tribal and racial components. Whenever Muslims brought a sizeable army to the battlefield, they could gain victory (Battle of Field of Blood 1119 and Battle of Inab 1149)
  • But until the Muslim world was united under one leader with a coherent strategy, any victory would be sustainable- this was Saladin, but he did build on the considerable achievements of Nur ad-Din, Zengis son. 
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How Nur ad-Din developed the notion of the jihad

  • ·         Personality- religious warrior, very different from his father, Zengi, had a patronage for religious teachings etc…
  • ·         He founded 20 of 40 religious schools during his reign.
  • ·         Cultivated the image of a just ruler
  • ·         1161- he took the hajj and rebuilt the walls of the city of Medina, declaring his new power in Islam.
  • ·         Hajj- Pilgrimage to Mecca in Arabia (where Muhammad proclaimed the new Islamic religion
  • ·         Wanted to relocate the al-Aqsa mosque to Jerusalem when it had been recaptured- a statement of political and religious ambition.
  • ·         Forced to concentrate resources in Syria so that he could consolidate his power before extending it.
  • ·         Jihad was integrated into his policies- he regularly demanded support for renewals of the holy war. Offered Unity under the nominal authority of the Sunni Caliph of Baghdad, whose permission was sought for each conquest and annexation.
  • ·         By his death he had raised the rep of the Jihad as a real concept of political and military power against the Christian West. Saladin succeeded Nur ad-Din.
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Military Achievements of Nur ad-Din

  • ·         Victory against Prince Raymond of Antioch at the Battle of Inab in 1149- this confirmed the Muslim hold over Edessa and the surrounding region
  • ·         1160s- Nur ad-Din began to threaten the Crusader Kingdom with seriousness.
  • ·         Main Rival- King Almalric and Egypt- this prompted Almalric’s appeals to the West for aid.
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Struggle for Egypt

  •   Shia Fatimid dynasty was in decline and had lost Jerusalem in 1099 and Ascalon in 1153 to  the Crusaders
  •   Egypt was wealthy and would pay for troops and provide food for whoever governed it.
  •   If Crusaders did not conquer Egypt then Nur ad-Din would, uniting the Shia Muslims with the  Sunni in Syria- encircling the Christian kingdom.
  •  1163-1169- he led 5 campaigns into Egypt but without success
  •  When he was invading Egypt, Nur ad-Din could attack Outremer in the north, which happened  in 1164 when Almalric attacked Bilbais- Nur ad-Din took towns from Antioch and eventually  took the kingdom itself in 1164
  • 1167- Nur ad-Din’s general,  Shirkuh, led an assault on Egypt, prompting an Egyptian-  Christian alliance
  • Shia Caliphate was desperate to fight off Shirkuh’s Sunni invasion that he paid the Christians 400,000 dinars to remain in Egypt until the threat from Nur ad-Din’s army had subsidised
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Conquest of Egypt

·         Two armies clashed at the battle of Beben, neither had the decisive victory, but Shirkuh managed to capture Alexandria

·         Amalric lead siege to the city and it fell to the crusaders later in 1167- a truce was arranged and both armies left Egypt

·         1168- Amalric invaded Egypt again but was outmanoeuvred by Shirkuh

·         Caliph assassinated in January 1169 and Egypt fell to Nur ad-Din- major blow to the Crusader kingdom

·         It meant future crusades from the west would have to invade Egyptian resources which were now in the hands of Sunni Muslims

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Death of Nur ad-Din and King Amalric

·         Amalric set about planning another invasion of Egypt

·         Encouraged by the dissent within Egypt brought about by Saladin who deposed the Shia Caliph in 1171 and refused to join Nur ad-Din to fight crusaders in 1173

·         1174- Nur ad-Din dies leaving Syria leaderless and Egypt unstable

·         Amalric secured naval support from Sicilians who put a fleet to sea

·         JULY 1174- Amalric dies of dysentery- his successor was Baldwin IV 13 years old with leprosy

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How far was Saladin able to unite the Muslim world

·         1174- both worlds were in a state of flux and potential disarray

·         Saladin grouped and energised Islam faster and more effectively than Christians- they had a divided nobility and enfeebled resources

·         Saladin’s policy of championing the Sunni orthodoxy gave him the respect he needed

·         1175- the Caliph of Baghdad invested him with the government of Egypt, Yemen and Syria

·         1176- married Nur ad Din’s widow

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How did Saladin restore Muslim Unity?

·         Saladin rose to power first by defying Nur ad-Din and then by assuming Nur ad-Din’s status as leader of the jihad

·         He ruled Turkish military elite and he had to be the orthodox leader

·         Public displays of religious devotion and personal piety were prominent features in his style as ruler

·         He was a target of two assassination attempts by the Shia assassins in 1175

·         Saladin’s role sat uneasily with the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia and of Iran and never warmly received by caliphs of Baghdad

·         Seen as a threat by many as he expanded his base in Egypt into Syria- some thought he used the concept of jihad as a tool for personal gains (politically and militarily) 

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Battle of Montgisard

·         Crusader kingdom planned another invasion of Egypt in 1177, involving forces from the Outremer, Byzantium and Philip of Flanders’ troops- nothing came of it due to the participants being unable to decide who would rule Egypt once it was captured

·         Saladin attacked the Kingdom but was caught by surprise at Montgisard by a crusader army led by Baldwin IV

·         Battle showed weaknesses of Saladin even with combined forces of Egypt and Syria behind him

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Castle at Jacob’s Ford

·         1178- crusaders built a castle at Jacob’s Ford- 30 miles from Damascus – highly aggressive towards Damascus

·         Partly supervised by King Baldwin IV

·         Housed 80 Templars and 900 footsoldiers

·         Saladin offered to buy of the Crusaders with 100,000 dinars but was turned down

·         August 1179- Saladin marched to the castle and captured it in 5 days

·         Saladin could not follow up on his success because of an epidemic  and drought in Syria

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Saladin takes Mosul and Aleppo

·         Saladin was still not the supreme leader of Islam he needed to be in order to destroy the Outremer once and for all

·         Truce with the kingdom was arranged from 1180, in the summer 0f 1182 Saladin’s forces were defeated and his blockade of the port of Beirut was thwarted

·         Death of Nur ad-Din’s son, ruler of Mosul, gave Saladin the opportunity he needed to march into the town

·         1183- forced Aleppo to surrender to him- he was now the true champion of Islam

·         1185 Saladin forced Mosul to recognise him as overlord and his prestige was at its height- just as the kingdom of Jerusalem was about to plunge into dissent, dispute and total division

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How attitudes between east and west change in the

·         Crusaders in early decades of the new kingdom often established alliances with Muslim factions- they needed the military and economic support of the indigenous populations and could not afford to over tax or treat them harshly for fear of rebellion

·         Defeat at the Field of Blood 1119- Prince Roger of Antioch and large numbers of Antioch nobility were killed, this was a turning point

·         Attitudes after the 2nd crusade continued to harden

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