September 30, 2021
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Battle of Hattin
⟶ Updated 26 Nov 2018 ⟶
List of edits
Saladin marched to Transjordan to meet Egyptian forces
The Franks had little reaction to Saladin's spring raids
al Afdal led spying & raiding parties across Jordan, tested Tiberias’s defences.
Keukburi led mounted assault force of 7000 to scout Franks muster point at Saffuriya.
Small party of Templars & Hospitallers travelling through Galilee led by their Masters decided to attack. 130 Latin knights, 300 infantry killed/captured. Templar Master, Gerard de Ridefort escaped. Master of Hospital killed.
Saladin marched to Hauran. Advanced to Ashtara, a day’s march from Sea of Galilee. Joined by Taqi al-Din, returned from N Syria.
Saladin drilled for discipline & efficiency, creating 3 main contingents: 1. Under Taqi al Din (right flank) 2.Under Keukburi (left flank) 3.Under Saladin (central force)
Saladin crossed Jordan, invaded Palestine.
Saladin set trap: Dawn assault on weakly defended town of Tiberias. Only citadel held out, Raymond of Tripoli’s wife, Eschiva, trapped inside.
Saladin left a small force at Tiberias. Marched to block Franks’ path in open plateau of Kafr Sabt. Ordered wells in region to be filled in. Ensured own water supply from spring of Kafr Sabt, ferried on camelback from Jordan valley below.
Saladin’s contingent blocked Franks’ advance. Keukburi’s & Taqi al-Din took Turan & block a Latin retreat. Franks now surrounded on Horns of Hattin.
Dawn: Saladin let Franks continue east. Waited sun to dehydrate them. Burned scrubland. Harrassed Franks with skirmishers
Noon: bombarded with arrows. Opened gaps in Frankish flanks. Taqi al-Din’s forces parted to defuse Raymond’s charge.
Saladin called Guy & Reynald to his tent. Offered Guy an iced julep. Guy passed it to Reynald. Saladin, speaking through interpreter said: ‘You did not have my permission to give him drink, and so that gift does not imply his safety at my hand.’ Then turned to Reynald, berrating him for sins. Saladin offered conversion to Islam. Reynald refused. Saladin rose to face him & struck off his head. Guy was led away to captivity.
100-200 Templars & Hospitallers brought before Saladin. Some accepted final offer of conversion to Islam - rest set upon by scholars & Sufis to murder them (some could not do it, some did a bad job). Erected triumphal dome on Horns of Hattin.
Guy amassed Christian army at Saffuriya (one of largest hosts ever assembled beneath the True Cross) Issued general call to arms due to huge size of Saladin’s army. Left Palestine’s fortresses garrisoned by bare minimum of soldiers. Yet heavily outnumbered. If lost battle, Kingdom undefended.
Guy learned of siege of Tiberias. Raymond advised caution: avoid confrontation with so large a force even at cost of fall of Tiberias with his wife inside. Time would make S’s force dissolve then they could recapture Galilee and pay ransom for Eschiva. Reynald & Gerard advised: ignore treacherous Raymond. Cowardly action shameful. Immediately move to relieve Tiberias. Some say Guy initially decided to stay put but was persuaded overnight by Gerard to change mind. Main factor in decision to march ou
Noon: Franks paused at village of Turan. Minor spring inadequate to quench thirst of whole army. Yet Guy continued to march eastwards. Underestimated Saladin’s manpower.
Near dusk, Guy hesitated - Asbridge says a full frontal assault may have let them break through to water but Guy pitched camp in entirely waterless indefensible position. Asbridge calls this ‘an admission of defeat’. Surrounded so close by Muslims could talk to them, desperate thirst.
Smoke made some knights & infantry surrender. Arrows meant panicking infantry lost formation. Raymond launched charge at Taqi al-Din to NE. Let through: Raymond, Balian of Ibelin & small group of knights escaped. Reduced Latins’ morale. Franks charged in desperation - Guy beat path N to higher ground on Horns of Hattin. Rallied troops to True Cross, pitched royal red tent, prepared knights for charge at Saladin to try to make his banner fall. Twice came close to Saladin, but then their red tent fel
Battle of Hattin
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