Today in Middle Eastern history: Saladin takes Jerusalem (1187)

and that's the way it was

There are plenty of things wrong with Ridley Scott’s 2005 Crusades epic Kingdom of Heaven. He makes a total hash out of the history of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, for example — contrary to the film, Sybilla (d. 1190) and Guy of Lusignon (d. 1194) seem to have been pretty happily married, Balian of Ibelin (d. 1193) wasn’t a heroic agnostic outsider but was instead a believing Christian who was deeply enmeshed in divisive court politics, and Scott eliminates King Baldwin V from the story altogether (the director’s cut, which includes all the Baldwin V scenes they shot and then cut from the film, is a better movie because Sybilla’s actions actually make some sense). There’s never really a great explanation for why Scott’s Balian, who goes from blacksmith to nobility, suddenly learns how to find water in the desert better than any Bedouin and has a better grasp…

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