Saladin and the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem - PDF book by Stanley Lane-Poole

Saladin and the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem

Saladin and the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Saladin and the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem

From introduction:

SALADIN is one of the few Oriental Personages who need no introduction to English readers. Sir Walter Scott has performed that friendly office with the warmth and insight of appreciative genius

 It was Saladin's good fortune to attract the notice not only of the great romancer, but also of King Richard, and to this accident, he partly owes the result that, instead of remaining a dry historical expression, under the Arabic style, of " el-Melik en-Nasir Salah-ed- din Yusufibn Ayy lib" he has become, by the abbreviated name of " Saladin," that familiar and amiable companion which is called a household word. The idea, it is true, is vague and romantic. 

The Talisman has given us a noble portrait of the Sultan whose chivalry and generosity excited the admiration of the Crusaders, but the reader is left in un- certainty as to the history and achievements of the hero, and what he is told in those fascinating pages is not always strictly authentic. On the historical relation of the novel to which Saladin owes so much of his fame something is said at the end of this book. 

The present biography, the first that has been written in English aspires to fill in, from contemporary sources, the details of the picture. It is singular that, so far as English literature is concerned, the character and history of Saladin should have been suffered to remain where Scott left them seventy years ago, and that no complete Life of the celebrated adversary of Richard Coeur de Lion should have been written in our language. 

The materials are abundant, even exhaustive, so far as eastern scholars understood biography. We must not expect the personal details which delight the student of " interviews ": there were no illustrated papers in Saladin's time. But for the essential facts of his life and the qualities of his nature, we have the best possible evidence, rich in extent and faithful in detail. 

The writers of the two chief Arabic records had excellent opportunities of ascertaining the truth, and both were men of learning and high character. Baha-ed-din, who was only seven years younger than Saladin, though he survived him by forty, was an Arab of the celebrated tribe of Asad, born at Mosul on the Tigris in 1 145. He went through the arduous course of study by which Moslems in those days qualified themselves for the judicial office of Kady. 

In the famous Nizamiya college at Baghdad, founded by the great Vezir Nizam-el-Mulk, the friend and schoolfellow of the astronomer-poet Omar Khayyam, Baha-ed-din attended the lectures of the most distinguished professors of the day, men who had wandered, like our own medieval scholars, from university to university, from Spanish Cordova to Tatar Samarkand, teaching and learning as they went. He Preface. v became a professor himself at his native city of Mosul, and his wisdom and judgment so commended him to the Atabeg or ruler of Mesopotamia that he chose him repeatedly to be his ambassador in grave political emergencies.

 Baha-ed-din was at Mosul when Saladin twice laid siege to it in 1182 and 1185; he went on an embassy to Damascus in 1184 when Saladin was so much im- pressed by his ability that he offered him a judgeship, which was loyally declined by the envoy; but they met again at Harran in the spring of 1 186, when Baha-ed-din assisted in drawing up a treaty of peace between his sovereign and Saladin. After making the pilgrimage to Mekka, and to Jerusalem, then newly recovered from the Christians, he visited the Sultan once more, and from that time forth he seldom left his side. 

Entering his service on 28th June 1188, he was present throughout his subsequent campaigns, witnessed The siege Qf Acre from the beginning to the end, accompanied him as he harassed Richard's inarch down the coast, took a prominent part in the engagements at Jaffa in 1192, and was at Saladin's bedside during his fatal illness. After the Sultan's death, he accepted the high dignity of judge of Aleppo, and there he devoted his zeal and his savings to founding colleges and training doctors to be learned in the law.

One of his pupils has left a touching description of the venerable Kady, as he knew him when a heated alcove and heavy furs could not warm the chilled blood of 85; but the old scholar still loved to teach the students who came to him after Friday prayers, when he could no longer vi Saladin. go to the mosque, and when even in his private devotions he could scarcely keep his feet. " He drooped like an unfledged bird for weakness," says his biographer, and in 1234 he died, twoscore years after the events he related in his Life of his master.

 For the last five years of Saladin's career, Baha-ed- din_is an incomparable Authority,_an_eye-witness of what passed, and an intimate friend and counsellor of the Sultan. For the earlier periods, he is less ac- curate and much less detailed, but even here he is able to record several important transactions at first hand, and his familiar intercourse with Saladin and his officers and kinsmen must have supplied him with much of his information. 

He writes it is true, a^an avowed panegyrist, but in his eyes, the King- can do no wrong, he is so frank and guileless in his narrative, and so obviously writes exactly what he saw and thought, that the biography has not suffered by the writer's^ hero-worship. It bears the unmistakable stamp of truth, and its personal bias and oriental hyperbolism are easily discounted. As our sole first-hand witness to the negotiations between Richard I. and Saladin, Baha-ed-din's simple veracity is especially a quality of importance

Oriental names are naturally a stumbling block to western readers, and the use of accents, long marks, dots, and the like, does not seem to be of much assistance to the unlearned. In the present work, therefore, the names are written as simply as possible, and the reader is only asked to pronounce the vowels after the Italian manner.

 Those who are curious as to the more precise transliteration will consult the index, where every name is furnished with the proper accents and distinguishing marks and can be at once converted by the scholar into the Arabic character. In the text, the article el is generally omitted before the well-known names of towns, such as el-Mosul, er- Ramla, and western names are given when familiar, as in the case of Edessa (for er-Ruha), Aleppo (for Halab), and Cairo (for el-Kahira). When a town has two names, one used by the Arabs, the other by the "Franks" or Crusaders, both are given on its first occurrence, and Crusading names are retained so long as the place remained in the hands of the Crusaders.

Tables of contemporary sovereigns and princes in western Asia, of Saladin's family, and of the chief Crusading houses, will help the reader to understand the political situation. The maps are based upon the " Survey of Western Palestine," Thuillier and Rey's " North Syria," and the Arab geographers. Much assistance has been derived from Mr Guy Le Strange's valuable work on Palestine under the Moslems; the notes contributed by Gen. Sir Charles Wilson and Lieut. -Col. Conder, R.E., to the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society's translation of Baha-ed-din have been consulted; but the text of that work, not being directly translated from the Arabic, has not been cited. 

The author is especially indebted to Mr T. A. Archer, not only for ready help in any difficulty that arose in connexion with the Crusading chronicles but also for permission to quote his translation of parts of the Itinerary of King Richard, originally published in his fascinating little book, The Crusade of Richard ., in the series of " English History from Contemporary Writers," edited by Professor York Powell.

 His thanks are also due to Mr E. B. Knobel, late President of the Royal Astronomical Society, for kindly investigating the chronology of the eclipses recorded in the course of Saladin's campaigns, and to the editor of the Quarterly Review for permission to reprint part of an article on " The Age of Saladin."

the book details :
  • Author: Stanley Lane-Poole
  • Publication date: 1898
  • Company: London Putnam

  • Download Saladin and the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem 25 MB

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