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History Lessons by Jonathan Gifford

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SALADIN

(1138–1193)

In 1187, the army of Saladin stood outside the walls of Jerusalem. The great city, sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike, had been occupied by Christian Crusaders since 1099. When the Crusaders first entered Jerusalem, they embarked on a terrible massacre of its inhabitants. The mayhem lasted for three full days and shocked the Islamic world, confirming their belief that the Crusaders—also known as Franks, because of the predominance of French troops and leadership—were mere barbarians.

Now, 88 years after the Christian occupation of Jerusalem and the creation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Saladin was poised to recapture the sacred city. He had won a significant victory only two weeks earlier by taking the port of Ascalon, ...

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