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Conquest of Egypt by

A.D. 11631169

vested in the purchase of a private estate. His favourite Sultana sighed for some female object of expense: “Alas,” replied the king, “I fear God, and am no more than the treasurer of the Moslems. Their property I cannot alienate; but I still possess three shops in the city of Hems: these you may take, and these alone can I bestow." His chamber of justice was the terror of the great and the refuge of the poor. Some years after the sultan's death, an oppressed subject called aloud in the streets of Damascus, “O Noureddin, Noureddin, where art thou now? Arise, arise, to pity and protect us!” A tumult was apprehended, and a living tyrant blushed and trembled at the name of a departed monarch.

By the arms of the Turks and Franks, the Fatimites had the Turks. been deprived of Syria. In Egypt the decay of their character

and influence was still more essential. Yet they were still revered as the descendants and successors of the prophet; they maintained their visible state in the palace of Cairo; and their person was seldom violated by the profane eyes of subjects or strangers. The Latin ambassadors 45 have described their own introduction through a series of gloomy passages, and glittering porticoes; the scene was enlivened by the warbling of birds and the murmur of fountains; it was enriched by a display of rich furniture and rare animals; of the Imperial treasures, something was shown, and much was supposed; and the long order of unfolding doors was guarded by black soldiers and domestic eunuchs. The sanctuary of the presence-chamber was veiled with a curtain ; and the vizir, who conducted the ambassadors, laid aside his scymetar, and prostrated himself three times on the ground ; the veil was then removed; and they beheld the commander of the faithful, who signified his pleasure to the first slave of the throne. But this slave was his master; the vizirs or sultans had usurped the supreme administration of Egypt; the claims of the rival candidates were decided by arms; and the name of the most worthy, of the strongest, was inserted in the royal patent of command. The factions of Dargham and Shawer 46 alternately expelled each other from the capital and country; and the weaker side implored the dangerous protection of the Sultan of Damascus, or the king of Jerusalem, the perpetual enemies of the sect and monarchy of the Fatimites. By his arms and religion the Turk was most formidable ; but the Frank, in an easy direct march, could advance from Gaza to the Nile; while the intermediate situation of his realm compelled the troops of Noureddin to wheel round the skirts of Arabia, a long and painful circuit, which exposed them to thirst, fatigue, and the burning winds of the desert. The secret zeal and ambition of the Turkish prince (First ex: aspired to reign in Egypt under the name of the Abbassides; but Egypt) the restoration of the suppliant Shawer was the ostensible motive of the first expedition; and the success was entrusted to the emir Shiracouh,47 & valiant and veteran commander. Dargham was oppressed and slain ; but the ingratitude, the (A.D. 1164) jealousy, the just apprehensions, of his more fortunate rival, soon provoked him to invite the king of Jerusalem to deliver Egypt from his insolent benefactors. To this union, the forces (Bilbeys of Shiracouh were unequal; he relinquished the premature for three conquest; and the evacuation of Belbeis, or Pelusium, was the condition of his safe retreat. As the Turks defiled before the enemy, and their general closed the rear, with a vigilant eye, and a battle-axe in his hand, a Frank presumed to ask him if he were not afraid of an attack? “It is doubtless in your power to begin the attack,” replied the intrepid emir, “but rest assured that not one of my soldiers will go to paradise till he has sent an infidel to hell." His report of the riches of the land, the effeminacy of the natives, and the disorders of the government, revived the hopes of Noureddin; the caliph of Bagdad applauded the pious design; and Shiracouh descended (Second exinto Egypt a second time with twelve thousand Turks and Egypt eleven thousand Arabs. 47 Yet his forces were still inferior to the confederate armies of the Franks and Saracens; and I can discern an unusual degree of military art in his passage of the Nile, his retreat into Thebais, his masterly evolutions in the battle of Babain, the surprise of Alexandria, and his marches (Battle of and counter-marches in the flats and valley of Egypt, from the

45 From the ambassador, William of Tyre (l. xix. c. 17, 18) describes the palace of Cairo. In the caliph's treasure were found, a pearl as large as a pigeon's egg, & ruby weighing seventeen Egyptian drams, an emerald a palm and a half in length, and many vases of crystal and porcelain of China (Renaudot, p. 536).

* [Shāwar had been governor of Upper Egypt, Dirghãm the chief of the guard; both became vezīrs.]

pedition to



pedition to

. A.D. 1167)

al Babain)

*? (Asad ad-Din Abū l-Harith Shirkūh ( = Lion of the Faith, Father of the Lion, Mountain Lion).)

tis (So William of Tyre; but Ibn al Athir gives the total number as 2000.]


tropic to the sea. His conduct was seconded by the courage
of his troops, and on the eve of action a Mamaluke 48 exclaimed,
“If we cannot wrest Egypt from the Christian dogs, why do we
not renounce the honours and rewards of the sultan, and retire
to labour with the peasants, or to spin with the females of the
harem ?Yet after all his efforts in the field,'' after the
obstinate defence of Alexandria 50 by his nephew Saladin, an
honourable capitulation and retreat concluded the second enter-
prise of Shiracouh; and Noureddin reserved his abilities for a

third and more propitious occasion. It was soon offered by the (Amalric ambition and avarice of Amalric, or Amaury, king of Jerusalem, reigned, A.D. 1162 who had imbibed the pernicious maxim that no faith should be 73]

kept with the enemies of God.504 A religious warrior, the great master of the hospital, encouraged him to proceed; the emperor of Constantinople either gave, or promised, a fleet to act with the armies of Syria ; and the perfidious Christian, unsatisfied with spoil and subsidy, aspired to the conquest of Egypt. In

this emergency the Moslems turned their eyes towards the (Third ex- sultan of Damascus ; the vizir, whom danger encompassed on pedition to Egypt.

all sides, yielded to their unanimous wishes, and Noureddin A.D. 11689)

seemed to be tempted by the fair offer of one third of the [Fustat revenue of the kingdom.50b The Franks were already at the gates Nov. 1168) of Cairo; but the suburbs, the old city, were burnt on their

approach ; they were deceived by an insidious negotiation; and their vessels were unable to surmount the barriers of the Nile. They prudently declined a contest with the Turks in the midst of an hostile country; 50c and Amaury retired into Palestine, with

48 Mamluc [mamlūk], plur. Mamalic [mamālīk), is defined by Pocock (Prolegom. ad Abulpharag. p. 7), and d'Herbelot (p. 545), servum emptitium, seu qui pretio numerato in domini possessionem cedit. They frequently occur in the wors of Saladin (Bohadin, p. 236, &c.); and it was only the Bahartic (Bahri; that is, of the river; they are opposed to the Burji (of the fort) Mamlūks who succeeded them] Mamalukes that were first introduced into Egypt by his descendants [namely by the Sultan Al-Sālih (1240-1249), who organized Turkish slaves as a bodyguard).

49 Jacobus a Vitriaco (p. 1116) gives the king of Jerusalem no more than 374 [leg. 370] knights. Both the Franks and the Moslems report the superior numbers of the enemy; a difference which may be solved by counting or omitting the unwarlike Egyptians.

50 It was the Alexandria of the Arabs, a middle term in extent and riches de tween the period of the Greeks and Romans, and that of the Turks (Savary, Lestzes sur l’Egypte, tom. I. p. 25, 26).

30X (Acc. to William of Tyre, Amalrio was personally unwilling to undertake the invasion.]

60b (This offer was made on the occasion of the first expedition.]
50c [They did not decline the contest, but the Turks evaded them.)



A.D. 1171

the shame and reproach that always adhere to unsuccessful injustice. After this deliverance, Shiracouh was invested with a robe of honour, which he soon stained with the blood of the unfortunate Shawer. For a while, the Turkish emirs condescended to hold the office of vizir; but this foreign conquest precipitated the fall of the Fatimites themselves; and the bloodless change was accomplished by a message and a word. The caliphs had been degraded by their own weakness and the tyranny of the vizirs: their subjects blushed, when the descendant and successor of the prophet presented his naked hand to the rude grip of a Latin ambassador; they wept when he sent the hair of his women, a sad emblem of their grief and terror, to excite the pity of the sultan of Damascus. By the command of Nou-End of the reddin, and the sentence of the doctors, the holy names of caliphs. Abubeker, Omar, and Othman were solemnly restored; the caliph Mosthadi, of Bagdad, was acknowledged in the public prayers as the true commander of the faithful; and the green livery of the sons of Ali was exchanged for the black colour of the Abbassides. The last of his race, the caliph Adhed,1 who survived only ten days, expired in happy ignorance of his fate; his (Sept. 13) treasures secured the loyalty of the soldiers, and silenced the murmurs of the sectaries; and in all subsequent revolutions Egypt has never departed from the orthodox tradition of the Moslems. 62

The hilly country beyond the Tigris is occupied by the pas- Reign and toral tribes of the Curds; 53 & people hardy, strong, savage, im- of Saladin. patient of the yoke, addicted to rapine, and tenacious of the 1198 government of their national chiefs. The resemblance of name, situation, and manners seem to identify them with the Carduchians of the Greeks; 54 and they still defend against the

A.D. 1171.

51 (Al-Adid Abū Mohammad Abd-Allāh, A.D. 1160-71.)

59 For this great revolution of Egypt, see William of Tyre (1. xix. 5-7, 12-31, xx. 5-12), Bohadin (in Vit. Saladin. p. 30-39), Abulfeda (in Excerpt. Schultens, p. 1-12), d'Herbelot (Bibliot. Orient. Abhed, Fathemah, but very incorrect), Renaudot (Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 522-525, 532-537), Vertot (Hist. des Chevaliers de Malthe, tom. i. p. 141-163, in 4to), and M. de Guignes (tom. ii. p. ii. p. 185-215).

5For the Curds, see de Guignes, tom. i. p. 416, 417, the Index Geographicus of Schultens, and Tavernier, Voyages, p. i. p. 308, 309. The Ayoubites [the name Ayyub corresponds to Job] descended from the tribe of the Rawadiæi [Rawadīya), one of the noblest; but, as they were infected with the heresy of the Metempsychosis, the orthodox sultans insinuated that their descent was only on the mother's side, and that their ancestor was a stranger who settled among the Curds.

** See the ivth book of the Ana basis of Xenophon. The ten thousand suffered more from the arrows of the free Carduohians than from the splendid weakness of the Great King.

VOL. VI.-23

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Ottoman Porte the antique freedom which they asserted against the successors of Cyrus. Poverty and ambition prompted them to embrace the profession of mercenary soldiers: the service of his father and uncle prepared the reign of the great Saladin ; * and the son of Job or Ayub, a simple Curd, magnanimously

smiled at his pedigree, which flattery deduced from the Arabian [before 3rd caliphs.58 So unconscious was Noureddin of the impending expedition]

ruin of his house that he constrained the reluctant youth to

follow his uncle Shiracouh into Egypt; his military character (2nd ex

was established by the defence of Alexandria ; and, if we may ped.)

believe the Latins, he solicited and obtained from the Christian general the profane honours of knighthood.57 On the death of Shiracouh, the office of grand vizir was bestowed on Saladin, as the youngest and least powerful of the emirs; but with the advice of his father, whom he invited to Cairo, his genius obtained the ascendant over his equals, and attached the army to his person and interest. While Noureddin lived, these ambitious Curds were the most humble of his slaves; and the indiscreet murmurs of the divan were silenced by the prudent Ayub, who loudly protested that at the command of the sultan he himself would lead his son in chains to the foot of the throne. “ Such language,” he added in private, “ was prudent and proper in an assembly of your rivals; but we are now

above fear and obedience; and the threats of Noureddin shall (a.d. 1174) not extort the tribute of a sugar-cane." His seasonable death

relieved them from the odious and doubtful conflict: his son, & minor of eleven years of age, was left for a while to the emirs of Damascus ; and the new lord of Egypt was decorated by the

55 We are indebted to the Professor Schultens (Lugd. Bat. 1755, 1732, in folio) for the richest and most authentic materials, a life of Saladin (Salāh ad-Din). by his friend and minister the cadhi Bohadin (Bahā ad-Din), and copious extracts froun the history of his kinsman, the Prince Abulfeda of Hamah. To these we may add, the article of Salaheddin in the Bibliothèque Orientale, and all that may be gleaned from the dynasties of Abulpharagius. [Also the articles in the Biographical diotionary of Ibn Khallikān, transl. by the Baron de Slane. Marin's Histoire de Saladin, publ. in 1758, is scholarly and well written. Stanley Lane-Poole, Saladin and the Fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1898, written from the original sources.)

56 Since Abulfeda was himself an Ayoubite, he may share the praise, for imitating, at least tacitly, the modesty of the founder.

57 Hist. Hierosol. in the Gesta Dei per Francos, p. 1152. (Itin. Reg. Ricard., i. c. 3; and cp. the romance L'ordene de chevalerie, in App. to Marin's Hist. de Saladin.] A similar example may be found in Joinville (p. 42, edition du Louvre): but the pious St. Louis refused to dignify infidels with the order of Christian knighthood (Ducange, Observations, p. 70).

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