Category Archives: Muslim Empire

Acre in 1215

By the time of the Fifth Crusade, the medieval port of Acre was not only the capital of the “Kingdom of Jerusalem,” it pretty much was the kingdom. But if you had to choose one city to pretend was a … Continue reading

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The Spanish Crusade, 1212

During the Third Crusade’s years, power in Spain swung back in the Muslim direction, but by the time of the Fourth Crusade, the Christians were again ascendant. As in the Middle East, the key to not losing was to stop … Continue reading

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al-Jazari’s Book of Ingenious Devices, 1206

In 1206, an engineer named Ismail al-Jazari published a book about inventions. It was a Do It Yourself manual, showing 100 things he had built, with diagrams for how to build them yourself. al-Jazari was the chief engineer in the … Continue reading

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Richard the Lion-Heart in the Holy Land, 1191-2

The weakness of the Crusades was always that its armies did not represent any immigration wave that actually wanted to come live in Palestine or Syria. Turkish migration was real, so its pressure on Anatolia and Syria never let up … Continue reading

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The Siege of Acre, 1188-91

The Crusader royal line had now devolved into a weak, chaotic state from which it never recovered. The leper king left two sisters, with the direction that European kings should decide between them. Although Jerusalem could no longer actually be … Continue reading

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Richard the Lion-Heart sets out, 1188-91

If we had to choose one person to stand for the Third Crusade, without question it is Queen Eleanor’s third son Richard. There isn’t really much to tell, apart from his story. Richard was 32 when his father suddenly died. … Continue reading

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Ahoy the Third Crusade! 1189-1190

They say the current Pope died of a stroke when he heard about the loss of Jerusalem and the True Cross relic. The new Pope Gregory VIII of course began his tenure by proclaiming a new Crusade. Loss of the … Continue reading

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Saladin takes Jerusalem, 1187

Saladin’s siege of Jerusalem was almost an anti-climax to the Battle of Hattin. He had already made a post-battle sweep of the region, seizing Nablus (where the Dowager Queen had been living), Ascalon, Acre, Jaffa, Sidon, and Beirut. In most … Continue reading

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The Jerusalem Family and Saladin, 1177-1187

The rulers of the Crusader kingdoms are difficult to track through this period without careful focus, although they helped by reliably naming the heir of Tripoli “Raymond,” of Antioch “Bohemund,” and of Jerusalem “Baldwin.” Lifespans were short, due not only … Continue reading

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Saladin builds an empire, 1171-1187

  When Saladin became Vizier of Egypt, he was technically the agent of at least two higher powers. One was Nur ad-Din, the ruler of Aleppo, Mosul and Damascus; the other was, of course, the Sunni Caliph in Baghdad, who … Continue reading

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