King Baldwin IV Versus Saladin

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The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Crusade that occurred in the eastern Baltic area in the years 1182-1187. The knowledge available today regarding this Crusade is from accredited historian William of Tyre’s Chronicle of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He serves as a great source because he mentored Baldwin IV, one of the kings of Jerusalem at the time (Hamilton 8). He also was the archbishop and chancellor of Tyre, which proves his religious devotion and integrity.

Saladin, a great ruler over the Muslim kingdom, prompted the Crusade. He occupied both Egypt and Syria by force. Through his aggressive occupation, Saladin “ …united the Muslim kingdom not only in theory but also in fact” (Madden, 67). After stabilizing his role as a sultanate, Saladin sought to pursue jihad against Christians. Around this time, Amalric, king of Jerusalem, attempted to take Egypt through crusades to halt the unification of Muslims. His call to battle was not supported by other Christian forces. The Hospitallers and the Byzantines did not follow through, thus making his attempt a failure. To make matters worse, Amalric died from dysentery soon after, leaving his thirteen-year-old child with leprosy, Baldwin IV, as king. Baldwin IV could not effectively lead due to his health, so he required a regent to administer the kingdom. Quickly, many factions fought over the opportunity to lead Jerusalem. Before his death, he appointed Raymond of Tripoli to administer in his place. As soon as Raymond left the kingdom, chaos began. Guy of Lusignan invaded and became King of Jerusalem in his place. Furious, Raymond fled and joined Saladin to formally declare war on Jerusalem.

The war was short as a result of the stability of the Muslim kingdom under Saladin versus the unstable and unreliable Christian powers. The Crusader states, obviously in crisis, called for help, but did not receive any. The west was fighting wars of their own and faced unrest between England and France. The Byzantines, instead of helping the Levant, made peace with Saladin under fear of invasion. Thankfully, Raymond of Tripoli came to his senses and rejoined the Kingdom of Jerusalem to fight the Muslim Forces. Raymond wished to garrison the kingdom, forcing Saladin to approach. Guy of Lusignan disagreed, and chose to hastily send a majority of his troops after Saladin to chase him away. Saladin prepared for this approach and ambushed his thirsty and exhausted army. “The Horns of Hattin marked the greatest defeat in crusading history” (75). “Two years later, all that remained to the Christians were the cities of Tripoli, Antioch, and Tyre” (76). Saladin conquered Christian troops, leaving Jerusalem unable to defend from invasion, so Saladin entered with ease.

Saladin had a clear mission to take Jerusalem to regain a significant place in Islamic worship. He had the army, united under one faith and cause, to carry it out. He faced a disorganized opponent who was rash and unprepared. The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a failure.”

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