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First Crusade Military Perspectives - Essay Example

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Whether it was by design or by accident, Christendom could not have chosen a better opportunity to hurl itself on Asia. Feudalism sapped the foundations of the mighty empire of the Seljuk just as it had that of the Carlovingians (Irwin 1998, p. 71). Alp Arslan had bestowed Asia Minor on his cousin Suleiman; Malik Shah gave Syria to his brother Tutush1…
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At the beginning of 1113 A.C., Baldwin, the King of Jerusalem, raided into the seigniory of Damascus. Unable to oppose him single-handed, Toghtakin, the Lord of Damascus, invoked the assistance of Moudud of Mosul (Irwin 1998, p. 75). In July 1113 the combined forces of the Lords of Mosul, Damascus, Sinjar2, and Maridin marched into Palestine. In a battle near Tiberias, the Franks were routed with terrible loss, and a large number of them were drowned in the lake and in the Jordan. In June 11193 they were again defended at a place called al-Balat by Ilgazi, the Lord of Maridin. Even the Egyptians won some successes on the sea coast (p. 77). But the Crusaders had the whole of Europe at their back; the reinforcements which poured in for them from all parts of Christendom, the assasincation of Moudud, who was stabbed by a Batinia after the battle of Tiberias, and the division of the chiefs, all helped them to recover their grounds (p. 78).
Sultan Muhammad died in 511 A.H., and this death was not without effect on the fortunes of the Muslims and Christians. He was succeeded in the over-lordship by his brother Sanjar, the last hero of a heroic race, and in the succession of his private dominions of his son Mahmud.
In 516 A.H. Zangi obtained from Sultan Mahmud the city of Wasit as an appanage, and the post of Commissary4 at Basra. Four year later the government of Mosul and Upper Mesopotamia was conferred on him, with the title of Atabek ("Prince Tutor"5), and he was confirmed in this dignity by the letters patent of the Caliph (p. 80).
In 1128 A.C., on the invitation of the people of Aleppo, who had suffered terribly from the depredations of the Crusaders6, he took possession of their city. Hamah followed the example of Aleppo (p. 81). The following year Zangi routed the Crusaders under the walls of al-Asarib, and captured the castle after a stout resistance. A short truce between Joscelin, the Count of Edessa, "the greatest demon of them all"7, enabled Zangi to take part in the inevitable civil was which broke out on the death of Sultan Mahmud (p. 85).
Atabek Zangi did not long concern himself with the troubles in the East. His great work lay in Syria. The Crusaders were again in ferment; they had received large reinforcements from Europe, and had been joined by a Greek contingent under the personal command of the Emperor John Comnenus. They captured Buzaa, put the sword all the male inhabitants, and carried into captivity the women and children. They they marched upon Shaizar (Casarea), a day's journey from Hamah. The castle of Shaizar, the birthplace of Usamah8, was almost impregnable (Philip 2000).
Usamah's works offer a mesmerizing counterpoint to Christian stories of their own conduct and the responses of their opponents. Actually, Usamah's amity with a number of the Franks set him aside to recover from revengeful insult, and his expressions on the inquisitive thoughts and behavior of the Franks remain a precious resource. Mystifying are the workings of the Maker, the Creator of everything! When one comes to relate cases about the Franks, he cannot but praised God ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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