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Rather than try and get all of the information I can find on Saladin into this writeup, I'm going to give an account of the highlights which may cause the reader to be further interested in this fascinating man, and some ideas where to go to get further information. The information in this node seems likely to be all that most casual readers would like, so there's some tension between brevity and completeness.

Saladin (full name Salah al-Din Yusuf bin Ayub, according to www.templarhistory.com) was a Muslim general during the Crusades. I'm also told by user kto9 that he was a Kurd (confirmed by numerous websites). What makes him such a fascinating figure is that he is renowned for his intelligence, kindness, mercy, and virtue, even in the accounts of his opponents. In an age of such rampant intolerance and barbaric treatment of one's foes, to be viewed positively by your enemies seems to me an astounding feat.

He organized the retaking of much of the holy land (including the October 7, 1187 capture of Jerusalem from the Christians after having dealt the Christian armies in the area a crushing blow at Hattin on July 4 of that year--my thanks to the Encyclopedia Brittanica for the dates), which caused Christendom to respond with a vigorous Third Crusade, led by King Richard I the Lion-Heart of England. Though they did take back the highly defensible port city of Acre after an extremely drawn-out siege, the Christians failed to regain Jerusalem, thwarted by Saladin's forces.

Probably a military genius ranking alongside Hannibal and Erwin Rommel, Saladin remains one of the most captivating characters that people just don't tend to hear much about. The Saladin was also a variety of tank in FASA's Mechwarrior gaming universe. Some other places you might want to check out regarding Saladin are:
  • http://www.templarhistory.com/saladin.html
  • http://i-cias.com/e.o/saladin.htm - The Encyclopedia of the Orient
  • http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/11364.html
  • Any of several related pages at Fordham's Internet Medieval Sourcebook - http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook.html

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