The Byzantines and Saladin, 1185-1192: Opponents of the Third Crusade
Brand, Charles M.
Speculum, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Apr., 1962)
On the eve of the Third Crusade the chief Christian state in the East joined with Saladin, sultan of Egypt and Syria, to further their common interests, which involved opposition to the Latins in the Holy Land. To the West this conjunction appeared to be a violation of the tie of religion and a break with tradition, because from the moment of the irruption of Mohammed’s followers from the Arabian peninsula warfare between Byzantines and Muslims had been almost continuous. In the eleventh century the Muslim Seljuks deprived the Eastern Empire of much of Anatolia. After the First Crusade Byzantium co-operated with the Westerners in the hope of establishing a protectorate over the crusader states in Syria and securing aid against the persistent Muslim encroachment upon its eastern frontiers. Yet Andronicus, last of the Comneni, and Isaac Angelus, his successor, reversed this policy, allied themselves with the crusaders’ mightiest opponent, and even strove to eliminate Latin power from the Orient.