Happy Fourth of July and Hattin Day

Obviously today is the Fourth of July, Independence Day here in the United States. But around these internet parts it’s also the anniversary of the catastrophic Crusader defeat at Hattin, which led directly to Saladin’s conquest of Jerusalem and can therefore plausibly be considered the end of the briefly successful portion of the entire Crusading enterprise. Enjoy!

and that's the way it was

Happy Independence Day to my US readers (which seems to be most of you)!

I wasn’t planning on writing today, but then I remembered that today is also the 828th anniversary of the Battle of Hattin, the 1187 Crusader defeat that all but guaranteed that Jerusalem would fall to the Ayyubid army under the command of Saladin (which it did, not quite 3 months later, on October 2). Islamic history is one of the things we do around here, so we should say something about this important battle.

I want to preface this, as I should probably do whenever I write about the Crusades, with the usual caveat about being Euro-centric when it comes to history. European history overstates the importance of the Crusades to the rest of the world, and since European history has shaped how history is taught in the post-colonial Islamic world, that means the significance of…

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