Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Montgisard (1177)

and that's the way it was

Although he’s well-regarded as a military leader for having retaken Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187, Saladin’s military career was certainly not without its setbacks. He appears, for example, to have been mostly outclassed as a battlefield commander by Richard the Lionheart during the Third Crusade, though Richard’s practical limitations in terms of men and materiel, as well as pressures from back home, prevented that Crusade from achieving its ultimate goal of capturing Jerusalem again. And then there’s the 1177 Battle of Montgisard, in which Saladin’s first attempt at capturing Jerusalem was decisively ended in what is now central Israel by an outnumbered Crusader army under King Baldwin IV. Baldwin is one of the most remarkable of all the Crusaders in my humble opinion–after all, they didn’t call him the “Leper King” for kicks. That he survived long enough to rule Jerusalem at all is pretty incredible; that…

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