Battle of Hattin (July 4th, 1187)
A confrontation between Saladin’s troops and Christian army that ended with decisive defeat for the latter. A large chunk of the Crusading states’ and Knight Templars’ military force was swept away and this was a loss they simply couldn’t afford. Consequently Jerusalem and the other Christian strongholds fell like dominoes after the defeat.
King Guy of Lusignan and his closest subordinates are usually blamed for this disaster and there are certainly ground for this accusation. At least the ineptitude the king showed during the episode is just unbelievable. The whole thing began with a siege of Tiberias by Saladin’s army. Among the besieged was the wife of count of Tripoly and king and his council thought that a rescue mission was in order. The count, Raymond III, adviced strongly against such an action since he thought that this is just an attempt to lure Christian army out in the desert. Being familiar with the territory he argued that marching through the arid and rugged area in the heat of Summer would be absolute madness. Raymond also felt that his wife was in no real danger due to Saladdin’s famous chivalry. The count was outvoted though and council decided that Christian army shall march in full force to aid the besieged city.
Just before departure the king had some qualms though and after some pondering he decided to overturn the decision. This wasn’t the end of story though, since Guy changed his opinion once again after parlouring with his closest cronies. Eventually the honor “demanded” that Christian army marched out to meet Saladin’s forces.
The rest is history. Muslim troops harassed their enemies constantly, “rescue mission” ran almost out of water and consequently changed their course towards Hattin horns. The final battle was fought on the slopes of the hill where most of the Guy’s soldiers and Knight Templars were killed. King Guy was captured, but Saladin spared him due to his status. Count Raymond III also survived the disaster. In the end of the battle he led a cavalry charge against Muslim lines that allowed him pass through. One could speculate that this has something to do with friendly relations that the count had with Saladin ;).
One could also add, that Raymond’s trust in Saladin’s chivalry wasn’t futile, since count’s wife was allowed to leave Tiberias unharmed with all her possessions after the city was captured .