Year 9 SOSE (Time Capsules)
Source 1: From De Expugatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum:
The Capture of Jerusalem by Saladin, 1187
The Holy City of Jerusalem was besieged on September 20. It was surrounded on every side by unbelievers, who shot arrows everywhere into the air. They were accompanied by frightening armaments and, with a great clamor of trumpets, they shrieked and wailed, “Hai, hai.” The city was aroused by the noise and tumult of the barbarians and, for a time, they all cried out: “True and Holy Cross! Sepulchre of Jesus Christ’s resurrection! Save the city of Jerusalem and its dwellers!”
The battle was then joined and both sides began courageously to fight. But since so much unhappiness was produced through sorrow and sadness, we shall not describe all the Turkish attacks, by which, for two weeks, the Christians were worn down.... During this time it seemed that God had charge over the city, for who can say why one man who was hit died, while another wounded man escaped? Arrows fell like raindrops, so that one could not show a finger above the ramparts without being hit. There were so many wounded that all the hospitals and physicians in the city were hard put to it just to extract the missiles from their bodies. I myself was wounded in the face by an arrow which struck the bridge of my nose. The wooden shaft has been taken out, but the metal tip has remained there to this day. The inhabitants of Jerusalem fought courageously enough for a week, while the enemy settled down opposite the tower of David.
Saladin… ordered the engines to be constructed and ballistas to be put up. He likewise ordered olive branches and branches of other trees to be collected and piled between the city and the engines. That evening he ordered the army to take up arms and the engineers to proceed with their iron tools, so that before the Christians could do anything about it, they would all be prepared at the foot of the walls. The cruelest of tyrants also arrayed up to ten thousand armed knights with bows and lances on horseback, so that if the men of the city attempted a foray they would be blocked. He stationed another ten thousand or more men armed to the teeth with bows for shooting arrows, under cover of shields and targets. He kept the rest with himself and his lieutenants around the engines.
When everything was arranged in this fashion, at daybreak they began to break down the comer of the tower and to attack all around the walls. The archers began shooting arrows and those who were at the engines began to fire rocks in earnest.
The men of the city expected nothing of the sort and left the city walls without guard. Tired and worn out, they slept until morning, for unless the Lord watch the city, he labors in vain who guards it. When the sun had risen, those who were sleeping in the towers were startled by the noise of the barbarians. … Aroused, they hastened through the city as bravely as they could, but they were powerless to repulse the Damascenes from the walls, either with spears, lances, arrows, stones, or with molten lead and bronze.
The Turks unceasingly hurled rocks forcefully against the ramparts. Between the walls and the outer defenses they threw rocks and the so-called Greek fire, which bums wood, stone, and whatever it touches. Everywhere the archers shot arrows without measure and without ceasing, while the others were boldly smashing the walls.
Saladin and his army fought the battle fiercely for a few days and triumphed. The Christians were failing so by this time that scarcely twenty or thirty men appeared to defend the city walls. No man could be found in the whole city who was brave enough to dare keep watch at the defences for a night, even for a fee of a hundred besants .With my own ears I heard the voice of a public crier between the great wall and the outer works proclaiming (on behalf of the lord Patriarch and the other great men of the city) that if fifty strong and brave sergeants could be found who would take up arms voluntarily and keep guard during the night over the comer which had already been destroyed, they would receive five thousand besants. They were not found....
Meanwhile, they sent legates to the King of Syria, begging him to temper his anger toward them and accept them as allies, as he had done for others. He refused …Saladin had taken counsel and laid down these ransom terms for the inhabitants of Jerusalem: each male, ten years old and over, was to pay ten besants for his ransom; females, five besants; boys, seven years old and under, one. Those who wished would be freed on these terms and could leave securely with their possessions. The inhabitants of Jerusalem who would not accept these terms, or those who did not have ten besants, were to become booty, to be slain by the army’s swords. This agreement pleased the lord Patriarch and the others who had money ....
On Friday, October 2, this agreement was read out through the streets of Jerusalem, so that everyone might within forty days provide for himself and pay to Saladin the tribute as aforesaid for his freedom. When they heard these arrangements, the crowds throughout the city wailed in sorrowful tones: “Woe, woe to us miserable people! We have no gold! What are we to do? . . .” Who would ever have thought that such wickedness would be perpetrated by Christians? .
But, alas, by the hands of wicked Christians Jerusalem was turned over to the wicked.
Source 2: The Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi
(Description of the journeys and deeds of King Richard)
The writer tells of the peace treaty made between Richard and Saladin.
As his illness became very grave, the King (Richard) despaired of recovering his health. Because of this he was much afraid, both for the others as well as for himself… He chose, as the least inconvenient course, to seek to make a truce rather than to desert the depopulated land altogether and to leave the business unfinished as all the others had done who left the groups in the ships.
The King was puzzled and unaware of anything better that he could do. He demanded of Saif ad-Din, Saladin’s brother, that he act as go-between and seek the best conditions be could get for a truce between them. Saif ad-Din was an uncommonly liberal man who bad been brought, in the course of many disputes, to respect the King for his integrity. Saif ad-Din carefully secured peace terms on these conditions: that Ascalon, which was an object of fear for Saladin’s empire so long as it was standing, be destroyed and that it be rebuilt by no one during three years beginning at the following Easter.[March 28, 1193] After three years, however, whoever had the greater, more flourishing power, might have Ascalon by occupying it. Saladin allowed Joppa to be restored to the Christians. They were to occupy the city and its vicinity, including the seacoast and the mountains, freely and quietly. Saladin agreed to confirm an inviolate peace between Christians and Saracens, guaranteeing for both free passage and access to the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord without the exaction of any tribute and with the freedom of bringing objects for sale through any land whatever and of exercising a free commerce.
When these conditions of peace had been reduced to writing and read to him, King Richard agreed to observe them, for he could not hope for anything much better, especially since he was sick, relying upon scanty support, and was not more than two miles from the enemy’s station. Whoever contends that Richard should have felt otherwise about this peace agreement should know that he thereby marks himself as a perverse liar.
Things were thus arranged in a moment of necessity. The King, whose goodness always imitated higher things and who, as the difficulties were greater, now emulated God himself, sent legates to Saladin. The legates informed Saladin in the hearing of many of his satraps, that Richard had in fact sought this truce for a three year period so that he could go back to visit his country and so that, when he had augmented his money and his men, he could return and wrest the whole territory of Jerusalem from Saladin’s grasp if, indeed, Saladin were even to consider putting up resistance. To this Saladin replied through the appointed messengers that, with his holy law and God almighty as his witnesses, he thought King Richard so pleasant, upright, magnanimous, and excellent that, if the land were to be lost in his time, he would rather have it taken into Richard’s mighty power than to have it go into the hands of any other prince whom be had ever seen.
1. How can we tell that the author of Source 1 was an eye witness to the events he describes?
2. What tactics did Saladin use to attack Jerusalem?
3. In the final few days, how many Christian soldiers were left to defend the walls?
4. How did the city authorities try to defend the hole in the wall near the Tower of David? How successful were they?
5. How did Saladin respond to the Christians’ offer of surrender? Compare this, if you can, to what happened when the crusaders took Jerusalem in the First Crusade.
6. Other sources claim that Saladin allowed the poor of Jerusalem to be ransomed ‘in bulk’ at a ‘discount’ rate. What reasons might the author have for not mentioning this?
7. What does the author think of the authorities who surrendered? What might he think should have happened?
8. What reasons does the author of Source 2 give for King Richard’s decision to make a truce with Saladin? (Look further than just the first paragraph)
9. By the terms of the truce, what do the Christians have to agree to do? What does Saladin promise?
10. Why do you think the author has written the second last paragraph?
11. In the final paragraph of Source 2, what other reason for seeking a truce do Richard’s representatives give Saladin? What does Saladin say in response? What does this say about the attitude of the two commanders to each other?