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Saladin, the great twelfth century Middle East leader, not only created an empire, but also reduced the Crusader presence in the Holy Land. In a comprehensive manner and clear prose, Peter Gubser describes how Saladin rose to power, conquered lands, governed peoples, and raised armies. In addition, he clearly addresses Saladin’s imperial motives, a combination of ambition and devotion to the ideal of unity in Islam.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-669-5
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Apr 15,2010
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 467
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60724-669-5
$170.05
$102.03

Saladin, the great Muslim leader of the twelfth century, generated far-reaching change in the Middle East. During his life, he profoundly altered the region’s landscape in religious, political, geographic and ethnic terms. In the West, he is famous for sharply curtailing the Crusader presence in the region, but also for the chivalrous and honorable way he dealt with adversaries and neighbors. In Muslim lands, he is well known – even lionized – for his success vis-à-vis the Crusaders.

Saladin’s achievements in other spheres also notably influenced the course of Middle East history. First, by eliminating Fatimid rule in Egypt as he built his own Ayyubid Empire, he deracinated Shia Islam from that important part of the region. Second, Saladin built a new empire from Egypt, North Africa, and Yemen to the Levant, Syria, Iraq and parts of Anatolia. Third, the Seljuk Turks had ruled large sections of the Middle East. With the ascendancy of Saladin, who was of Kurdish heritage, the role of the Seljuk Turks declined, to be replaced by a more varied group – Kurds, Arabs, Turks, and others – but with a unifying Muslim identity.

The portrait that emerges is that of a complex, humane but hardly sentimental warrior-king with both great talents and inherent flaws, one whose rightful place in history may be closer to conquerors who also built, like Alexander the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte, than to those like Genghis Khan, who merely conquered.

Saladin, the great Muslim leader of the twelfth century, generated far-reaching change in the Middle East. During his life, he profoundly altered the region’s landscape in religious, political, geographic and ethnic terms. In the West, he is famous for sharply curtailing the Crusader presence in the region, but also for the chivalrous and honorable way he dealt with adversaries and neighbors. In Muslim lands, he is well known – even lionized – for his success vis-à-vis the Crusaders.

Saladin’s achievements in other spheres also notably influenced the course of Middle East history. First, by eliminating Fatimid rule in Egypt as he built his own Ayyubid Empire, he deracinated Shia Islam from that important part of the region. Second, Saladin built a new empire from Egypt, North Africa, and Yemen to the Levant, Syria, Iraq and parts of Anatolia. Third, the Seljuk Turks had ruled large sections of the Middle East. With the ascendancy of Saladin, who was of Kurdish heritage, the role of the Seljuk Turks declined, to be replaced by a more varied group – Kurds, Arabs, Turks, and others – but with a unifying Muslim identity.

The portrait that emerges is that of a complex, humane but hardly sentimental warrior-king with both great talents and inherent flaws, one whose rightful place in history may be closer to conquerors who also built, like Alexander the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte, than to those like Genghis Khan, who merely conquered.

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Contributor Biography

Peter Gubser

Dr. Peter Gubser, author of many books and articles on the Middle East, spent his professional life working for international nongovernmental organization. He holds a D.Phil. from Oxford University, St. Antony’s College; an M.A. from the American University of Beirut; and a B.A. from Yale University. He gives talks and seminars at professional, academic, civic, and governmental institutions in the United States and abroad, and served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. Over the years, Dr. Gubser travelled in all the lands that Saladin conquered for his empire.

  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • List of Maps (page 11)
  • Acknowledgments (page 13)
  • Introduction (page 15)
    • Saladin and his Times (page 15)
    • Notes on Early Arabic Sources (page 16)
    • Notes on Transliteration and Translation (page 18)
  • Chapter One: The Middle East in Saladins Time (page 19)
    • The Spread of Islam (page 21)
    • Sunni and Shia Islam (page 23)
    • The Shia Moment in Medieval Times (page 29)
    • Turkish Ascendancy in the Middle East (page 31)
    • State and Society (page 33)
    • Ethnic and Religious Groupings (page 38)
    • Islam and Christian Europe (page 41)
  • Chapter Two The Early Years: 1138…1164 (page 51)
  • Chapter Three: Conquest of Egypt: 1164…1170 (page 59)
    • First Military Expedition to Egypt: 1160…1164 (page 61)
    • Second Military Expedition to Egypt: 1166…1167 (page 65)
    • Third Military Expedition to Egypt: 1168…1169 (page 73)
    • Saladins Rise to Power: 1169 (page 78)
    • Saladin, the Man (page 82)
    • Saladins First Year in Power: 1169…1170 (page 88)
  • Chapter Four: Consolidation of Power in Egypt: 1170…1174 (page 95)
    • Saladins Armed Forces (page 95)
    • 1170…1172 (page 102)
    • Economy and Society (page 112)
    • 1173…1174 (page 118)
  • Chapter Five: Independent Empire: 1174…1176 (page 133)
  • Chapter Six: Expansion and Consolidation from Egypt to Iraq: 1176…1182 (page 151)
    • Egypt: 1176…1178 (page 151)
    • Syria, Palestine, and the Upper Euphrates: 1178…1180 (page 158)
    • Upper Euphrates and Iraq: 1180 (page 167)
    • Egypt: 1181…1182 (page 169)
  • Chapter Seven: Eastern and Northern Empire Completed: 1182…1186 (page 177)
    • Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon: 1182 (page 177)
    • Iraq, Upper Euphrates, and Syria: 1182…1183 (page 181)
    • Palestine, Transjordan, and Damascus: 1183…1185 (page 196)
    • Mosul: 1185…1186 (page 209)
    • Syria: 1186 (page 217)
  • Chapter Eight: Battle of Hattin: 1187 (page 221)
    • Crusader Politics (page 221)
    • Battle of Hattin (page 236)
    • Aftermath (page 243)
  • Chapter Nine: Jerusalem Recaptured: 1187 (page 251)
    • Jerusalem (page 251)
    • Muslim Reaction to the Conquests (page 261)
  • Chapter Ten: Defeat and Conquests: 1187…1189 (page 269)
    • Failed Siege of Tyre: 1187 (page 269)
    • Crusaders Reorganize in Europe: 1187…1189 (page 272)
    • More Frankish Fortresses and Towns Fall:1188…1189 (page 277)
    • Chapter Eleven: The Crusaders Respond: 1189…1191 (page 297)
      • Acre Besieged: 1189…1190 (page 297)
      • Emperor Frederick Barbarossa: 1189…1190 (page 314)
      • Acre Besieged: 1190…1191 (page 318)
    • Chapter Twelve: Kings Philip and Richard and the Fall of Acre: 1190…1191 (page 337)
      • Kings Philip and Richard: 1190…1191 (page 338)
      • Acre Recaptured: 1191 (page 343)
      • Massacre of the Acre Garrison: 1191 (page 354)
    • Chapter Thirteen: Stalemate: 1191…1192 (page 359)
      • Combat and Diplomacy on the Coastal Plain: 1191 (page 359)
      • Richards Advance on and Retreat from Jerusalem: 1191…1192 (page 377)
      • Politics and Negotiations: 1192 (page 380)
      • Jerusalem Again: 1192 (page 389)
      • Diplomacy, Battle, and Agreement: 1192 (page 396)
    • Chapter Fourteen: Back to Damascus: 1192…1193 (page 413)
      • Jerusalem, Beirut, and Damascus: 1192…1193 (page 413)
      • The Ayyubids After Saladin (page 418)
    • Chapter Fifteen: Saladin: an Assessment (page 421)
    • Maps (page 435)
    • Bibliography (page 441)
    • Index of Authors (page 447)
    • Index of People (page 451)
    • Index of Places (page 461)