*Analyzes the relationship between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, as well as their relationships with their parents, allies, and enemies.
*Includes a Bibliography for further reading.
"It is equally true that [Saladin's] generosity, his piety, devoid of fanaticism, that flower of liberality and courtesy which had been the model of our old chroniclers, won him no less popularity in Frankish Syria than in the lands of Islam." - René Grousset
"We, however, place the love of God and His honour above our own and above the acquisition of many regions." - Richard the Lionheart
Saladin is widely considered one of the greatest generals in history and one of the most famous leaders of the Middle Ages, but he remains a paradox, both in personal and in historical terms. A military genius, he first served other generals and was overshadowed, late in life, by his greatest rival, Richard I of England. He was far more admired by his Christian enemies, who extolled his chivalry, than some of his Muslim rivals, who fought him for control of Egypt and Syria in the 12th century. His Christian enemies continued his name long after it was forgotten in the Middle East, only to spark a revival of his reputation in Arab culture in the 20th century.
Revered as the flower of Arab culture, he was really a Kurd who nearly destroyed it. Taught to Egyptian children as a native born Egyptian hero, he was, in fact, Egypt's conqueror, the man who destroyed its native dynasty and suppressed the local Shi'ite sect. Praised for his mild temper and mercy, he made it his mission in the last decade of his life to destroy the Frankish states created by the First Crusade in 1099. The most powerful man in the Levant for the last ten years of his life, he died a virtual pauper after giving away his personal fortune to the poor. Having united almost all of the Levant under one rule, he left it as divided as before. He founded a dynasty that was eventually destroyed by slaves.
The enduring figure of the Middle Ages is the chivalrous knight, who played the role of hero across much of Europe and was equal parts courage and valor. Nobody played a more defining role in casting the popular image of medieval knights than Richard the Lionheart, one of the most famous English kings and crusaders. In many respects, it was ironic that Richard became one of the central characters of the Middle Ages, and his very popular legacy today belies centuries of controversy.
As one of the strongest knights of his age, Richard was also considered a flower of chivalry and greatly admired as a model of what it meant to be a knight, both in his lifetime and afterward. But as the son of the most famous power couple of the age - Henry II of England (1133-89) and Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122/24-1204) - and an expansionist noble contesting over land with other expansionist nobles, he also had many enemies. These enemies portrayed Richard as evil incarnate, at the same time his admirers were portraying him an emblem of virtue. As with all such great and controversial figures, the real Richard lay somewhere in between.
Fighting the Third Crusade chronicles the historic lives of the two famous leaders, and it analyzes their influential and enduring legacies. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Saladin and Richard the Lionheart like you never have before, in no time at all.