By Jan Vandeburie
Paper given at the ISHA Seminar ‘War, Father of All – Warfare in History’, 7-12 June 2010, Nicosia
Introduction: After Saladin assumed military command over Egypt as vizier in 1169, he took the opportunity to take full control of the region when the Fatimid caliph al-Adīd died in 1171. Following the replacement of the Fatimid regime by the Sunni regime of his own family, the Ayyūbids, Saladin looked to expand his territory towards the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He immediately started planning a campaign against the Franks but at the same time did not support Nūr al-Dīn against the Franks which caused tension between them. After the death of Nūr al-Dīn in 1174, Saladin gradually took control of Syria while still proclaiming the Jihād against the Christians occupying Jerusalem. His restructuring of the army is one explanation for his military successes. However, this paper will focus on Saladin’s larger military strategy against the Kingdom of Jerusalem from the moment he had full control over Egypt until the fall of Jerusalem after the Battle of Hattīn in 1187. We will make use of mainly the primary source material to outline the military events on which we will base our analysis.