The Battle of Hattin

The Battle of Hattin between the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Ayyubid occurred on Saturday, July 4, 1187. The Crusader forces were captured or killed by the Muslim armies ruled by Saladin which removed most of their ability to wage a war.

The Battle of Hattin

Islamic forces became an major military power in the Holy Land , overpowering Jerusalem and several of the Crusader-held cities. The Third Crusade was prompted after several Christian defeats, beginning two years after the Battle of Hattin. The Battle occurred in Isarel near Tiberias. The battlefield had a distinct feature, a double hill, which was between a pass through the northern mountains and the road from Acre. In 1186 Guy of Lusignan became king of Jerusalem, after the death of his wife’s Sybilla’s son Baldwin IV. 

The Kingdom of Jerusalem was divided between the “court faction” of Sybilla, Guy, and  newcomers to the kingdom such as Gerard of Ridefort, Raynald of Chatallan, and the nobles faction whom was lead by Raymond III of Tripoli, whom opposed the succession of Guy. Raymond of Tripolli was not impressed as he watched his barons head towards Jerusalem to make obeisance to Queen Sybilla and King Guy. It was a tense situation and a warfare nearly erupted between Guy and Raymond, whom was wanting to besiege Tiberias. However is was avoided through the mediation of Balian of Ibelin, Raymonds supporter. 

The Muslim states surrounding the kingdom were united during the 1170s and 1180s through Saladin. In 1169, Saladin had been appointed vizier of Egypt and came to rule the country as Sultan. 

The Kingdom of Jerusalem was now encompassed by Muslim territory under one leader. 

At the Battle of Montgisard in 1177, the crusaders defeated Saladin and in the 1180s there was an unstable truce between the two sides, which was eventually broken by the raids of Raynald on Muslim caravans passing his fief of Oultrejordain.

Raymond made a separate truce with Saladin when Guy became king. An embassy went to Tripoli from Jerusalem to negotiate a settlement between Guy and Raymond. At the Battle of Cresson on May 1 this embassy was defeated by a force under the command of Al-Afdal. Raymond was consumed by guilt, and made peace with Guy, who then assembled the whole entire army of the kingdom and headed north to meet Saladin.

Raymond and Guy met with the weight of the crusader army at Acre. Saladin intended to attract Guy into moving his army away from Saffuriya. The garrison at Tiberias attempted to pay Saladin off, but he refused the offer. The fortress fell the same day and a tower was mined, when it fell  Saladin’s army charged the break killing the opposition and took prisoners. Saladin took over Acre, Jaffa, Toron, Nablus, Beirut and Ascalon.

Conrad of Montferrat saved Tyre and Jerusalem was defended by Patriarch Heraclius, Balian and Queen Sibylla, whom negotiated its surrender to Saladin on the 2nd of October. Joscius, Archbishop of Tyre gave Europe the news of the devastating defeat at Hattin. Plans were made for a new crusade by Pope Gregory VIII.

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