Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Moises Maimonides!

Maimonides's full Hebrew name was Moshe ben Maimon (Hebrew: משה בן מימון‎) and his Arabic name was Abu Imran Mussa bin Maimun ibn Abdallah al-Qurtubi al-Israili (أبو عمران موسى بن ميمون بن عبد الله القرطبي الإسرائيلي). However, he is most commonly known by his Greek name, Moses Maimonides (Μωυσής Μαϊμονίδης). All of these names literally mean "Moses, son of Maimon." Several Jewish works call him Maimoni (מימוני). However, most Jewish works refer to him by the Hebrew acronym of his title and name — רבי משה בן מימון (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon‎) — thus, among Jews he is known as רמב"ם (the Rambam)

Maimonides was born in 1135 in Córdoba, Spain. His year of birth is disputed, with Shlomo Pines suggesting that he was born in 1138. He was born during what some scholars consider to be the end of the golden age of Jewish culture in Spain, after the first centuries of the Moorish rule. At an early age, he developed an interest in the exact sciences and philosophy. In addition to reading the works of Muslim scholars, he also read those of the Greek philosophers made accessible through Arabic translations. Maimonides was not known as a supporter of mysticism.

He voiced opposition to poetry, the best of which he declared as false, since it was founded on pure invention - and this too in a land which had produced such noble expressions of the Hebrew and Arabic muse. This Sage, who was revered for his saintly personality as well as for his writings, led an unquiet life, and penned his classic works with the staff of the wanderer in his hand. Maimonides studied Torah under his father Maimon, who had in turn studied under Rabbi Joseph ibn Migash.

The Almohades from Africa conquered Córdoba in 1148, and threatened the Jewish community with the choice of conversion to Islam, death, or exile.Maimonides's family, along with most other Jews, chose exile. For the next ten years they moved about in southern Spain, avoiding the conquering Almohades, but eventually settled in Fez in Morocco, where Maimonides acquired most of his secular knowledge, studying at the University of Al Karaouine. During this time, he composed his acclaimed commentary on the Mishnah in the years 1166-1168.

Following this sojourn in Morocco, he lived briefly in the Holy Land, before settling in Fostat, Egypt, where he was physician of the Grand Vizier Alfadhil and Sultan Saladin of Egypt, and also treated Richard the Lionheart while on the Crusades. He was considered to be the greatest physician of his time, being influenced by renowned Islamic thinkers such as Ibn Rushd and Al-Ghazali. He composed most of his œuvre in this last locale, including the Mishneh Torah. He died in Fostat, and was buried in Tiberias (today in Israel). His son Avraham, recognized as a great scholar, succeeded Maimonides as Nagid (head of the Egyptian Jewish community); he also took up his father's role as court physician, at the age of eighteen. He greatly honored the memory of his father, and throughout his career defended his father's writings against all critics. The office of Nagid was held by the Maimonides family for four successive generations until the end of the 14th century.

Maimonides was a devoted physician. In a famous letter, he describes his daily routine: After visiting the Sultan’s palace, he would arrive home exhausted and hungry, where "I would find the antechambers filled with gentiles and Jews ... I would go to heal them, and write prescriptions for their illnesses ... until the evening ... and I would be extremely weak."

He is widely respected in Spain and a statue of him was erected in Córdoba by the only synagogue in that city which escaped destruction, and which is no longer functioning as a Jewish house of worship but is open to the public.
Further information: History of the Jews in Egypt#Arab Rule (641 - 1250)

Maimonides was one of the most influential figures in medieval Jewish philosophy. A popular medieval saying that also served as his epitaph states, From Moshe (of the Torah) to Moshe (Maimonides) there was none like Moshe.

Radical Jewish scholars in the centuries that followed can be characterised as "Maimonideans" or "anti-Maimonideans." Moderate scholars were eclectics who largely accepted Maimonides's Aristotelian world-view, but rejected those elements of it which they considered to contradict the religious tradition. Such eclecticism reached its height in the 14th-15th centuries.

The most rigorous medieval critique of Maimonides is Hasdai Crescas' Or Hashem. Crescas bucked the eclectic trend, by demolishing the certainty of the Aristotelian world-view, not only in religious matters, but even in the most basic areas of medieval science (such as physics and geometry). Crescas's critique provoked a number of 15th century scholars to write defenses of Maimonides. A translation of Crescas was produced by Harry Austryn Wolfson of Harvard University, in 1929.

The 13 principles of faith
Main article: Jewish principles of faith

In his commentary on the Mishna (tractate Sanhedrin, chapter 10), Maimonides formulates his 13 principles of faith. They summarized what he viewed as the required beliefs of Judaism with regards to:

1. The existence of God
2. God's unity
3. God's spirituality and incorporeality
4. God's eternity
5. God alone should be the object of worship
6. Revelation through God's prophets
7. The preeminence of Moses among the prophets
8. God's law given on Mount Sinai
9. The immutability of the Torah as God's Law
10. God's foreknowledge of human actions
11. Reward of good and retribution of evil
12. The coming of the Jewish Messiah
13. The resurrection of the dead

These principles were controversial when first proposed, evoking criticism by Rabbi Hasdai Crescas and Rabbi Joseph Albo, and were effectively ignored by much of the Jewish community for the next few centuries. ("Dogma in Medieval Jewish Thought," Menachem Kellner). However, these principles became widely held; today, Orthodox Judaism holds these beliefs to be obligatory. Two poetic restatements of these principles (Ani Ma'amin and Yigdal) eventually became canonized in the "siddur" (Jewish prayer book).

Legal works
A recent newly corrected version of Mishneh Torah, Maimonides's main work of Halakha
Main article: Mishneh Torah

With Mishneh Torah, Maimonides composed a code of Jewish law with the widest-possible scope and depth. The work gathers all the binding laws from the Talmud, and incorporates the positions of the Geonim (post-Talmudic early Medieval scholars, mainly from Mesopotamia).

While Mishneh Torah is now considered the fore-runner of the Arbaah Turim and the Shulchan Aruch[citation needed] (two later codes), it met initially with much opposition[citation needed]. There were two main reasons for this opposition. Firstly, Maimonides had refrained from adding references to his work for the sake of brevity; secondly, in the introduction, he gave the impression of wanting to "cut out" study of the Talmud[12], to arrive at a conclusion in Jewish law. His most forceful opponents were the rabbis of Provence (Southern France), and a running critique by Rabbi Abraham ben David (Raavad III) is printed in virtually all editions of Mishneh Torah. However, it was recognized as a monumental contribution to the systemized writing of Halakha. Throughout the centuries, it has been widely studied and its halakhic decisions have weighed heavily in later rulings.

An oft-cited legal maxim from his pen is: "It is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death." Maimonides argued that executing a defendant on anything less than absolute certainty would lead to a slippery slope of decreasing burdens of proof, until we would be convicting merely "according to the judge's caprice." His concern was maintaining popular respect for law, and he saw errors of commission as much more threatening than errors of omission.

Through the Guide for the Perplexed and the philosophical introductions to sections of his commentaries on the Mishna, Maimonides exerted an important influence on the Scholastic philosophers, especially on Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus. He was himself a Jewish Scholastic. Educated more by reading the works of Arab Muslim philosophers than by personal contact with Arabian teachers, he acquired an intimate acquaintance not only with Arab Muslim philosophy, but with the doctrines of Aristotle. Maimonides strove to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy and science with the teachings of the Torah.

The principle which inspired his philosophical activity was identical with the fundamental tenet of Scholasticism: there can be no contradiction between the truths which God has revealed, and the findings of the human mind in science and philosophy. Maimonides primarily relied upon the science of Aristotle and the teachings of the Talmud, commonly finding basis in the former for the latter. In some important points, however, he departed from the teaching of Aristotle; for instance, he rejected the Aristotelian doctrine that God's provident care extends only to humanity, and not to the individual.

Maimonides was led by his admiration for the neo-Platonic commentators to maintain many doctrines which the Scholastics could not accept. For instance, Maimonides was an adherent of "negative theology" (also known as "Apophatic theology".) In this theology, one attempts to describe God through negative attributes. For instance, one should not say that God exists in the usual sense of the term; all we can safely say is that God is not non-existent. We should not say that "God is wise"; but we can say that "God is not ignorant," i.e. in some way, God has some properties of knowledge. We should not say that "God is One," but we can state that "there is no multiplicity in God's being." In brief, the attempt is to gain and express knowledge of God by describing what God is not; rather than by describing what God "is."

The Scholastics agreed with him that no predicate is adequate to express the nature of God; but they did not go so far as to say that no term can be applied to God in the affirmative sense. They admitted that while "eternal," "omnipotent," etc., as we apply them to God, are inadequate, at the same time we may say "God is eternal" etc., and need not stop, as Moses did, with the negative "God is not not-eternal," etc. In essence what Maimonides wanted to express is that when people give God anthropomorphic qualities they do not explain anything more of what God is, because we cannot know anything of the essence of God.

Maimonides' use of apophatic theology is not unique to this time period or to Judaism. For example, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and Maximus the Confessor, Eastern Christian theologians, developed apophatic theology for Christianity nearly 900 years earlier. See Negative theology for uses in other religions.

He agrees with "the philosophers" in teaching that, man's intelligence being one in the series of intelligences emanating from God, the prophet must, by study and meditation, lift himself up to the degree of perfection required in the prophetic state. But here, he invokes the authority of "the Law," which teaches that, after that perfection is reached, there is required the "free acts of God," before the man actually becomes a prophet.

Maimonides wrote on theodicy (the philosophical attempt to reconcile the existence of a God with the existence of evil in the world). He took the premise that an omnipotent and good God exists. He adopts the Aristotelian view that defines evil as the lack of, or the reduced presence of a God, as exhibited by those who exercise the free choice of rejecting belief.

Maimonides answered an inquiry concerning astrology, addressed to him from Marseille. He responded that man should believe only what can be supported either by rational proof, by the evidence of the senses, or by trustworthy authority. He affirms that he had studied astrology, and that it does not deserve to be described as a science. The supposition that the fate of a man could be dependent upon the constellations is ridiculed by him; he argues that such a theory would rob life of purpose, and would make man a slave of destiny. (See also fatalism, predestination.)

In "Guide for the Perplexed" Book III, Chapter 28[15], Maimonides explicitly draws a distinction between "true beliefs," which were beliefs about God which produced intellectual perfection, and "necessary beliefs," which were conducive to improving social order. Maimonides places anthropomorphic personification statements about God in the latter class. He uses as an example the notion that God becomes "angry" with people who do wrong. In the view of Maimonides (taken from Avicenna) God does not actually become angry with people, as God has no human passions; but it is important for them to believe God does, so that they desist from sinning.

Maimonides distinguishes two kinds of intelligence in man, the one material in the sense of being dependent on, and influenced by, the body, and the other immaterial, that is, independent of the bodily organism. The latter is a direct emanation from the universal active intellect; this is his interpretation of the noûs poietikós of Aristotelian philosophy. It is acquired as the result of the efforts of the soul to attain a correct knowledge of the absolute, pure intelligence of God.

The knowledge of God is a form of knowledge which develops in us the immaterial intelligence, and thus confers on man an immaterial, spiritual nature. This confers on the soul that perfection in which human happiness consists, and endows the soul with immortality. One who has attained a correct knowledge of God has reached a condition of existence which renders him immune from all the accidents of fortune, from all the allurements of sin, and even from death itself. Man, therefore is in a position not only to work out his own salvation and immortality.

The resemblance between this doctrine and Spinoza's doctrine of immortality is so striking as to warrant the hypothesis that there is a causal dependence of the latter on the earlier doctrine. The differences between the two Jewish thinkers are, however, as remarkable as the resemblance. While Spinoza teaches that the way to attain the knowledge which confers immortality is the progress from sense-knowledge through scientific knowledge to philosophical intuition of all things sub specie æternitatis, Maimonides holds that the road to perfection and immortality is the path of duty as described in the Torah and the rabbinic understanding of the oral law.

Religious Jews not only believed in immortality in some spiritual sense, but most believed that there would at some point in the future be a messianic era, and a resurrection of the dead. This is the subject of Jewish eschatology. Maimonides wrote much on this topic, but in most cases he wrote about the immortality of the soul for people of perfected intellect; his writings were usually not about the resurrection of dead bodies. This prompted hostile criticism from the rabbis of his day, and sparked a controversy over his true views.

Rabbinic works usually refer to this afterlife as "Olam Haba" (the World to Come). Some rabbinic works use this phrase to refer to a messianic era, an era of history right here on Earth; in other rabbinic works this phrase refers to a purely spiritual realm. It was during Maimonides's lifetime that this lack of agreement flared into a full blown controversy, with Maimonides charged as a heretic by some Jewish leaders.

Some Jews at this time taught that Judaism did not require a belief in the physical resurrection of the dead, as the afterlife would be a purely spiritual realm. They used Maimonides's works on this subject to back up their position. In return, their opponents claimed that this was outright heresy; for them the afterlife was right here on Earth, where God would raise dead bodies from the grave so that the resurrected could live eternally. Maimonides was brought into this dispute by both sides, as the first group stated that his writings agreed with them, and the second group portrayed him as a heretic for writing that the afterlife is for the immaterial spirit alone. Eventually, Maimonides felt pressured to write a treatise on the subject, the "Ma'amar Tehiyyat Hametim" "The Treatise on Resurrection."

Chapter two of the treatise on resurrection refers to those who believe that the world to come involves physically resurrected bodies. Maimonides refers to one with such beliefs as being an "utter fool" whose belief is "folly".

If one of the multitude refuses to believe [that angels are incorporeal] and prefers to believe that angels have bodies and even that they eat, since it is written (Genesis 18:8) 'they ate', or that those who exist in the World to Come will also have bodies—we won't hold it against him or consider him a heretic, and we will not distance ourselves from him. May there not be many who profess this folly, and let us hope that he will go no farther than this in his folly and believe that the Creator is corporeal.

However, Maimonides also writes that those who claimed that he altogether believed the verses of the Hebrew Bible referring to the resurrection were only allegorical were spreading falsehoods and "revolting" statements. Maimonides asserts that belief in resurrection is a fundamental truth of Judaism about which there is no disagreement, and that it is not permissible for a Jew to support anyone who believes differently. He cites Daniel 12:2 and 12:13 as definitive proofs of physical resurrection of the dead when they state "many of them that sleep in the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to reproaches and everlasting abhorrence" and "But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days."

While these two positions may be seen as in contradiction (non-corporeal eternal life, versus a bodily resurrection), Maimonides resolves them with a then unique solution: Maimonides believed that the resurrection was not permanent or general. In his view, God never violates the laws of nature. Rather, divine interaction is by way of angels, which Maimonides often regards to be metaphors for the laws of nature, the principles by which the physical universe operates, or Platonic eternal forms. [This is not always the case. In Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah Chaps. 2-4, Maimonides describes angels that are actually created beings.] Thus, if a unique event actually occurs, even if it is perceived as a miracle, it is not a violation of the world's order.

In this view, any dead who are resurrected must eventually die again. In his discussion of the 13 principles of faith, the first five deal with knowledge of God, the next four deal with prophecy and the Torah, while the last four deal with reward, punishment and the ultimate redemption. In this discussion Maimonides says nothing of a universal resurrection. All he says it is that whatever resurrection does take place, it will occur at an indeterminate time before the world to come, which he repeatedly states will be purely spiritual.

He writes "It appears to us on the basis of these verses (Daniel 12:2,13) that those people who will return to those bodies will eat, drink, copulate, beget, and die after a very long life, like the lives of those who will live in the Days of the Messiah." Maimonides thus disassociated the resurrection of the dead from both the World to Come and the Messianic era.

In his time, many Jews believed that the physical resurrection was identical to the world to come; thus denial of a permanent and universal resurrection was considered tantamount to denying the words of the Talmudic sages. However, instead of denying the resurrection, or maintaining the current dogma, Maimonides posited a third way: That resurrection had nothing to do with the messianic era (here in this world) nor to do with Olam Haba (עולם הבא) (the purely spiritual afterlife). Rather, he considered resurrection to be a miracle that the book of Daniel predicted; thus at some point in time we could expect some instances of resurrection to occur temporarily, which would have no place in the final eternal life of the righteous.

Maimonides was trained as a physician in Cordoba and in Fez. He later practiced his profession in Egypt, probably in 1166 or 1167, after the death of his brother who had supported him, and did so for the remainder of his life. He gained widespread recognition and became a court physician to the Grand Vezier Alfadil, then to Sultan Saladin, after whose death he remained a physician to the royal family. In his writings he described many conditions including asthma, diabetes, hepatitis, and pneumonia, and emphasized moderation and a healthy life style. His treatises became influential for generations of physicians. He was knowledgeable about Greek and Persian medicine, and followed the principles of humorism in the tradition of Galen, however, did not blindly accept authority but used his own observation and experience. Frank, however, indicates that in his medical writings he sought not to explore new ideas but to interpret works of authorities so that they could become acceptable. Maimonides displays in his interactions with patients attributes that today would be called intercultural awareness and respect for the patient's autonomy.

The Oath of Maimonides is a document about the medical calling and recited as a substitute for the Oath of Hippocrates. The Oath is not to be confused with a more lengthy Prayer of Maimonides. These documents may not have been written by Maimonides, but later. The Prayer appeared first in print in 1793 and has been attributed to Marcus Herz, a German physician, pupil of Immanual Kant.

Maimonides remains the most widely debated Jewish thinker among modern scholars. He has been adopted as a symbol and an intellectual hero by almost all major movements in modern Judaism, and has proven immensely important to philosophers such as Leo Strauss; and his views on the importance of humility have been taken up by modern humanist philosophers, like Peter Singer and Iain King. In academia, particularly within the area of Jewish Studies, the teaching of Maimonides has been dominated by traditional, generally Orthodox scholars, who place a very strong emphasis on Maimonides as a rationalist. The result of this is many sides of Maimonides's thought, for example his opposition to anthropocentrism, have been obviated. There is some movement in postmodern circles, e.g. within the discourse of ecotheology, to claim Maimonides for other purposes. Maimonides's reconciliation of the philosophical and the traditional has given his legacy an extremely diverse and dynamic quality.

Seljuk Turks!

The Seljuq (also Seljuq Turks[1], Seldjuks, Seldjuqs, Seljuks; in Turkish Selçuklular; in Persian: سلجوقيان Ṣaljūqīyān; in Arabic سلجوق Saljūq, or السلاجقة al-Salājiqa) were a Turco-Persian Sunni Muslim dynasty that ruled parts of Central Asia and the Middle East from the 11th to 14th centuries. They set up an empire known as Great Seljuq Empire that stretched from Anatolia through Persia and was the target of the First Crusade. The dynasty had its origins in the Turcoman tribal confederations of Central Asia and marked the beginning of Turkic power in the Middle East. After arriving in Persia, the Seljuqs accepted the Persian culture and language[, and played an important role in the development of the Turko-Persian tradition which features "Persian culture patronized by Turkic rulers." Today, they are remembered as great patrons of Persian culture, art, literature, and language and are regarded by some as the cultural ancestors of the Western Turks – the present-day inhabitants of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.

Prior to the ninth century, hordes of Turks had crossed the Volga River into the Black Sea steppes. Originally, the House of Seljuq was a branch of the Qinik Oghuz Turks who in the 9th century lived on the periphery of the Muslim world, north of the Caspian and Aral sea in their Yabghu Khaganate of the Oghuz confederacy,[16] in the Kazakh Steppe of Turkestan.[17] In the 10th century the Seljuqs migrated from their ancestral homelands into mainland Persia, in the province of Khurasan, where they mixed with the local population and accepted the Persian culture and language in the following decades.

The "Great Seljuqs" were heads of the family; in theory their authority extended over all the other Seljuq lines, although in practice this often was not the case. Turkish custom called for the senior member of the family to be the Great Seljuq, although usually the position was associated with the ruler of western Persia.

* Tugrul I (Tugrul Beg) 1037–1063
* Alp Arslan bin Chaghri 1063–1072
* Jalal ad-Dawlah Malik Shah I 1072–1092
* Nasir ad-Din Mahmud I 1092–1093
* Rukn ad-Din Barkiyaruq 1093–1104
* Mu'izz ad-Din Malik Shah II 1105
* Ghiyath ad-Din Muhammad/Mehmed I Tapar 1105–1118

Muhammad's son Mahmud II succeeded him in western Persia, but Sanjar, the governor of Khurasan from 1097 and the senior member of the family, becomes Great Seljuq sultan

The Oghuz take control of much of Khurasan, with the remainder in the hands of former Seljuq emirs


The rulers of western Persia, who maintained a very loose grip on the Abbasids of Baghdad. Several Turkish emirs gained a strong level of influence in the region, such as the Eldiduzids.

* Mahmud II 1118–1131
* Da'ud (in Jibal and Iranian Azerbaijan) 1131
* Tuğrul II 1131–1134
* Mas'ud 1134–1152
* Malik Shah III 1152–1153
* Muhammad II 1153–1160
* Suleiman Shah 1160–1161
* Arslan Shah 1161–1174
* Tugrul III 1174–1194

Tugrul III killed in battle with the Khwarazmshah, who annexes Hamadan

Kerman was a province in southern Persia. It ruled also Umman between 1053-1154

* Qawurd 1041–1073
* Kerman Shah 1073–1074
* Sultan Shah 1074–1075
* Hussain Omar 1075–1084
* Turan Shah I 1084–1096
* Iran Shah 1096–1101
* Arslan Shah I 1101–1142
* Mehmed I (Muhammad) 1142–1156
* Toğrül Shah 1156–1169
* Bahram Shah 1169–1174
* Arslan Shah II 1174–1176
* Turan Shah II 1176–1183
* Muhammad Shah 1183–1187

Muhammad abandons Kerman, which falls into the hands of the Oghuz chief Malik Dinar. Kerman finally annexed by Khwarezmid Empire in 1196.

Alp Arslan humiliating Emperor Romanos IV after the Battle of Manzikert. From a 15th-century illustrated French translation of Boccacio's De Casibus Virorum Illustrium.

* Abu Sa'id Taj ad-Dawla Tutush I 1085–1086
* Jalal ad-Dawlah Malik Shah I of Great Seljuq 1086–1087
* Qasim ad-Dawla Abu Said Aq Sunqur al-Hajib 1087–1094
* Abu Sa'id Taj ad-Dawla Tutush I (second time) 1094–1095
* Fakhr al-Mulk Radwan 1095–1113
* Tadj ad-Dawla Alp Arslan al-Akhras 1113–1114
* Sultan Shah 1114–1123

To the Artuqids

Sultans/Emirs of Damascus:

* Aziz ibn Abaaq al-Khwarazmi 1076–1079
* Abu Sa'id Taj ad-Dawla Tutush I 1079–1095
* Abu Nasr Shams al-Muluk Duqaq 1095–1104
* Tutush II 1104
* Muhi ad-Din Baqtash 1104

Damascus seized by the Burid Toghtekin

Seljuq sultans of Rûm (Anatolia) 1077–1307

The Kharāghān twin towers, built in 1053 in Iran, is the burial of Seljuq princes.
The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm in 1190, before the Third Crusade

* Kutalmish 1060–1077
* Suleyman Ibn Kutalmish (Suleiman) 1077–1086
* Dawud Kilij Arslan I 1092–1107
* Malik Shah 1107–1116
* Rukn ad-Din Mas'ud 1116–1156
* Izz ad-Din Kilij Arslan II 1156–1192
* Ghiyath ad-Din Kaykhusraw I 1192–1196
* Suleyman II (Suleiman) 1196–1204
* Kilij Arslan III 1204–1205
* Ghiyath ad-Din Kaykhusraw I (second time) 1205–1211
* Izz ad-Din Kaykaus I 1211–1220
* Ala ad-Din Kay Qubadh I 1220–1237
* Ghiyath ad-Din Kaykhusraw II 1237–1246
* Izz ad-Din Kaykaus II 1246–1260
* Rukn ad-Din Kilij Arslan IV 1248–1265
* Ala ad-Din Kayqubad II 1249–1257
* Ghiyath ad-Din Kaykhusraw III 1265–1282
* Ghiyath ad-Din Mesud II 1282–1284
* Ala ad-Din Kayqubad III 1284
* Ghiyath ad-Din Mesud II (second time) 1284–1293
* Ala ad-Din Kayqubad III (second time) 1293–1294
* Ghiyath ad-Din Mesud II (third time) 1294–1301
* Ala ad-Din Kayqubad III (third time) 1301–1303
* Ghiyath ad-Din Mesud II (fourth time) 1303–1307

The Seljuq line, already having been deprived of any significant power, effectively ends in the early fourteenth century

Soliman The Great !

Suleiman I (Ottoman Turkish: سليمان Sulaymān, Turkish: Süleyman; almost always Kanuni Sultan Süleyman) (27 April 1494/1495/6 November 1494 – 5/6/7 September 1566), was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent[1] and in the East, as the Lawgiver (in Turkish Kanuni; Arabic: القانونى‎, al‐Qānūnī), for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system. Suleiman became a prominent monarch of 16th century Europe, presiding over the apex of the Ottoman Empire's military, political and economic power. Suleiman personally led Ottoman armies to conquer the Christian strongholds of Belgrade, Rhodes, and most of Hungary before his conquests were checked at the Siege of Vienna in 1529. He annexed most of the Middle East in his conflict with the Persians and large swaths of North Africa as far west as Algeria. Under his rule, the Ottoman fleet dominated the seas from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

At the helm of an expanding empire, Suleiman personally instituted legislative changes relating to society, education, taxation, and criminal law. His canonical law (or the Kanuns) fixed the form of the empire for centuries after his death. Not only was Suleiman a distinguished poet and goldsmith in his own right; he also became a great patron of culture, overseeing the golden age of the Ottoman Empire's artistic, literary and architectural development.

In a break with Ottoman tradition, Suleiman married (as his fourth wife) a harem girl, Roxelana, who became Hürrem Sultan; her intrigues as queen in the court and power over the Sultan have become as famous as Suleiman himself. Their son, Selim II, succeeded Suleiman following his death in 1566 after 46 years of rule.
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Suleiman was born in Trabzon along the coast of the Black Sea, probably on 6 November 1494. His mother was Valide Sultan Aishe Hafsa Sultan or Hafsa Hatun Sultan, who died in 1534. At the age of seven, he was sent to study science, history, literature, theology, and military tactics in the schools of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul. As a young man, he befriended Ibrahim, a slave who later became one of his most trusted advisers. From the age of seventeen, young Suleiman was appointed as the governor of first Kaffa (Theodosia), then Sarukhan (Manisa) with a brief tenure at Edirne . Upon the death of his father, Selim I (1465–1520), Suleiman entered Istanbul and acceded to the throne as the tenth Ottoman Sultan. An early description of Suleiman, a few weeks following his accession, was provided by the Venetian envoy Bartolomeo Contarini: "He is twenty-five years of age, tall, but wiry, and of a delicate complexion. His neck is a little too long, his face thin, and his nose aquiline. He has a shade of a moustache and a small beard; nevertheless he has a pleasant mien, though his skin tends to pallor. He is said to be a wise Lord, fond of study, and all men hope for good from his rule. His turban is also excessively large." Some historians claim that in his youth Suleiman had an admiration for Alexander the Great. He was influenced by Alexander's vision of building a world empire that would encompass the east and the west, and this created a drive for his subsequent military campaigns in Asia and in Africa, as well as in Europe.

Upon succeeding his father, Suleiman began a series of military conquests, eventually putting down a revolt led by the Ottoman-appointed governor of Damascus in 1521. Suleiman soon made preparations for the conquest of Belgrade from the Kingdom of Hungary—something his great-grandfather Mehmed II had failed to achieve. Its capture was vital in eliminating the Hungarians who, following the defeats of the Serbs, Bulgarians and Byzantines, remained the only formidable force who could block further Ottoman gains in Europe. Suleiman encircled Belgrade and began a series of heavy bombardments from an island in the Danube. With a garrison of only 700 men, and receiving no aid from Hungary, Belgrade fell in August 1521.

News of the conquest of one of Christendom's major strongholds spread fear across Europe. As the ambassador of the Holy Roman Empire to Istanbul was to note, "The capture of Belgrade was at the origin of the dramatic events which engulfed Hungary. It led to the death of King Louis, the capture of Buda, the occupation of Transylvania, the ruin of a flourishing kingdom and the fear of neighbouring nations that they would suffer the same fate…"

The road to Hungary and Austria lay open, but Suleiman diverted his attention to the Eastern Mediterranean island of Rhodes, the home base of the Knights Hospitaller, whose activities as pirates near Asia Minor and the Levant had posed a perennial problem to Ottoman interests. In the summer of 1522, taking advantage of the navy he inherited from his father, Suleiman dispatched an armada of some 400 ships whilst personally leading an army of 100,000 across Asia Minor to a point opposite the island. Following a siege of five months with brutal encounters, Rhodes capitulated and Suleiman allowed the Knights of Rhodes to depart. They eventually formed their new base in Malta.

As relations between Hungary and the Ottoman Empire deteriorated, Suleiman resumed his campaign in Eastern Europe and on 29 August 1526, he defeated Louis II of Hungary (1506–26) at the Battle of Mohács. In its wake, Hungarian resistance collapsed and the Ottoman Empire became the pre-eminent power in Eastern Europe. Upon encountering the lifeless body of King Louis, Suleiman is said to have lamented: "I came indeed in arms against him; but it was not my wish that he should be thus cut off while he scarcely tasted the sweets of life and royalty."

Under Charles V and his brother Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, the Habsburgs reoccupied Buda and took Hungary. As a result, in 1529, Suleiman once again marched through the valley of the Danube and regained control of Buda and in the following autumn laid siege to Vienna. It was to be the Ottoman Empire's most ambitious expedition and the apogee of its drive towards the West. With a reinforced garrison of 16,000 men, the Austrians inflicted upon Suleiman his first defeat, sowing the seeds of a bitter Ottoman-Habsburg rivalry which lasted until the 20th century. A second attempt to conquer Vienna failed in 1532, with Suleiman retreating before reaching the city. In both cases, the Ottoman army was plagued by bad weather (forcing them to leave behind essential siege equipment) and was hobbled by overstretched supply lines.

By the 1540s a renewal of the conflict in Hungary presented Suleiman with the opportunity to avenge the defeat suffered at Vienna. Some Hungarian nobles proposed that Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria (1519–64), who was ruler of neighbouring Austria and tied to Louis II's family by marriage, be King of Hungary, citing previous agreements that the Habsburgs would take the Hungarian throne if Louis died without heirs. However, other nobles turned to the nobleman John Zápolya who, being supported by Suleiman, remained unrecognized by the Christian powers of Europe. In 1541 the Habsburgs once again engaged in conflict with the Ottomans, attempting to lay siege to Buda. With their efforts repulsed, and more Habsburg fortresses captured as a result,Ferdinand and his brother Charles V were forced to conclude a humiliating five-year treaty with Suleiman. Ferdinand renounced his claim to the Kingdom of Hungary and was forced to pay a fixed yearly sum to the Sultan for the Hungarian lands he continued to control. Of more symbolic importance, the treaty referred to Charles V not as 'Emperor', but in rather plainer terms as the 'King of Spain', leading Suleiman to consider himself the true 'Caesar'.

With his main European rivals subdued, Suleiman had assured the Ottoman Empire a powerful role in the political landscape of Europe.

As Suleiman stabilized his European frontiers, he now turned his attention to the ever present threat posed by the Shi'a Safavid dynasty of Persia (Iran). Two events in particular were to precipitate a recurrence of tensions. First, Shah Tahmasp had the Baghdad governor loyal to Suleiman killed and replaced with an adherent of the Shah, and second, the governor of Bitlis had defected and sworn allegiance to the Safavids. As a result, in 1533, Suleiman ordered his Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasha to lead an army into Asia where he retook Bitlis and occupied Tabriz without resistance. Having joined Ibrahim in 1534, Suleiman made a push towards Persia, only to find the Shah sacrificing territory instead of facing a pitched battle, resorting to harassment of the Ottoman army as it proceeded along the harsh interior. When in the following year Suleiman and Ibrahim made a grand entrance into Baghdad, its commander surrendered the city, thereby confirming Suleiman as the leader of the Islamic world and the legitimate successor to the Abbasid Caliphs.

Attempting to defeat the Shah once and for all, Suleiman embarked upon a second campaign in 1548–1549. As in the previous attempt, Tahmasp avoided confrontation with the Ottoman army and instead chose to retreat, torching Azerbaijan in the process and exposing the Ottoman army to the harsh winter of the Caucasus. Suleiman abandoned the campaign with temporary Ottoman gains in Tabriz and the Azerbaijan region of Iran, a lasting presence in the province of Van, and some forts in Georgia.

In 1553 Suleiman began his third and final campaign against the Shah. Having initially lost territories in Erzurum to the Shah's son, Suleiman retaliated by recapturing Erzurum, crossing the Upper Euphrates and laying waste to parts of Persia. The Shah's army continued its strategy of avoiding the Ottomans, leading to a stalemate from which neither army made any significant gain. In 1554, a settlement was signed which was to conclude Suleiman's Asian campaigns. It included the return of Tabriz, but secured Baghdad, lower Mesopotamia, the mouths of the river Euphrates and Tigris, as well as part of the Persian Gulf. The Shah also promised to cease all raids into Ottoman territory.

Having consolidated his conquests on land, Suleiman was greeted with the news that the fortress of Koroni in Morea (the modern Peloponnese) had been lost to Charles V's admiral, Andrea Doria. The presence of the Spanish in the Eastern Mediterranean concerned Suleiman, who saw it as an early indication of Charles V's intention to rival Ottoman dominance in the region. Recognizing the need to reassert the navy's preeminence in the Mediterranean, Suleiman appointed an exceptional naval commander in the form of Khair ad Din, known to Europeans as Barbarossa. Once appointed admiral-in-chief, Barbarossa was charged with rebuilding the Ottoman fleet, to such an extent that the Ottoman navy equalled in number those of all other Mediterranean countries put together. In 1535 Charles V won an important victory against the Ottomans at Tunis, which together with the war against Venice the following year, led Suleiman to accept proposals from Francis I of France to form an alliance against Charles. In 1538, the Spanish fleet was defeated by Barbarossa at the Battle of Preveza, securing the eastern Mediterranean for the Turks for 33 years until the defeat at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

East of Morocco, huge territories in North Africa were annexed. The Barbary States of Tripolitania, Tunisia, and Algeria became autonomous provinces of the Empire, serving as the leading edge of Suleiman's conflict with Charles V, whose attempt to drive out the Turks failed in 1541. The piracy carried on thereafter by the Barbary pirates of North Africa can be seen in the context of the wars against Spain. For a short period Ottoman expansion secured naval dominance in the Mediterranean. Ottoman navies also controlled the Red Sea, and held the Persian Gulf until 1554, when their ships were defeated by the navy of the Portuguese Empire. The Portuguese had taken Ormus (in the Strait of Hormuz) in 1515 and would continue to vie with Suleiman's forces for control of Aden, in present-day Yemen.

In 1542, facing a common Habsburg enemy, Francis I sought to renew the Franco-Ottoman alliance. As a result, Suleiman dispatched 100 galleys under Barbarossa to assist the French in the western Mediterranean. Barbarossa pillaged the coast of Naples and Sicily before reaching France where Francis made Toulon the Ottoman admirals naval headquarters. The same campaign had seen Barbarossa attack and capture Nice in 1543. By 1544, a peace between Francis I and Charles V had put a temporary end to the alliance between France and the Ottoman Empire.

Elsewhere in the Mediterranean, when the Knights Hospitallers were re-established as the Knights of Malta in 1530, their actions against Muslim navies quickly drew the ire of the Ottomans who assembled another massive army in order to dislodge the Knights from Malta. The Ottomans invaded in 1565, undertaking the Great Siege of Malta, which began on May 18 and lasted until September 8, and is portrayed vividly in the frescoes of Matteo Perez d'Aleccio in the Hall of St. Michael and St. George. At first it seemed that this would be a repeat of the battle on Rhodes, with most of Malta's cities destroyed and half the Knights killed in battle; but a relief force from Spain entered the battle, resulting in the loss of 30,000 Ottoman troops.

Whilst Sultan Suleiman was known as "the Magnificent" in the West, he was always Kanuni Suleiman or "The Lawgiver" to his own Ottoman subjects. As the historian Lord Kinross notes, "Not only was he a great military campaigner, a man of the sword, as his father and great-grandfather had been before him. He differed from them in the extent to which he was also a man of the pen. He was a great legislator, standing out in the eyes of his people as a high-minded sovereign and a magnanimous exponent of justice". The overriding law of the empire was the Shari'ah, or Sacred Law, which as the divine law of Islam was outside of the Sultan's powers to change. Yet an area of distinct law known as the Kanuns (canonical legislation) was dependent on Suleiman's will alone, covering areas such as criminal law, land tenure and taxation. He collected all the judgments that had been issued by the nine Ottoman Sultans who preceded him. After eliminating duplications and choosing between contradictory statements, he issued a single legal code, all the while being careful not to violate the basic laws of Islam. It was within this framework that Suleiman, supported by his Grand Mufti Ebussuud, sought to reform the legislation to adapt to a rapidly changing empire. When the Kanun laws attained their final form, the code of laws became known as the kanun‐i Osmani, or the "Ottoman laws". Suleiman's legal code was to last more than three hundred years.

Suleiman gave particular attention to the plight of the rayas, Christian subjects who worked the land of the Sipahis. His Kanune Raya, or "Code of the Rayas", reformed the law governing levies and taxes to be paid by the rayas, raising their status above serfdom to the extent that Christian serfs would migrate to Turkish territories to benefit from the reforms. The Sultan also played a role in protecting the Jewish subjects of his empire for centuries to come. In late 1553 or 1554, on the suggestion of his favorite doctor and dentist, the Spanish Jew Moses Hamon, the Sultan issued a firman formally denouncing blood libels against the Jews.

Furthermore, Suleiman enacted new criminal and police legislation, prescribing a set of fines for specific offences, as well as reducing the instances requiring death or mutilation. In the area of taxation, taxes were levied on various goods and produce, including animals, mines, profits of trade, and import-export duties. In addition to taxes, officials who had fallen into disrepute were likely to have their land and property confiscated by the Sultan.

Education was another important area for the Sultan. Schools attached to mosques and funded by religious foundations provided a largely free education to Muslim boys in advance of the Christian countries of the time.[38] In his capital, Suleiman increased the number of mektebs (primary schools) to fourteen, teaching children to read and write as well as the principles of Islam. Children wishing further education could proceed to one of eight medreses (colleges), whose studies included grammar, metaphysics, philosophy, astronomy, and astrology.

Higher medreses provided education of university status, whose graduates became imams or teachers. Educational centers were often one of many buildings surrounding the courtyards of mosques, others included libraries, refectories, fountains, soup kitchens and hospitals for the benefit of the public.


Under Suleiman's patronage, the Ottoman empire entered the golden age of its cultural development. Hundreds of imperial artistic societies (called the Ehl-i Hiref, "Community of the Talented") were administered at the Imperial seat, the Topkapı Palace. After an apprenticeship, artists and craftsmen could advance in rank within their field and were paid commensurate wages in quarterly annual installments. Payroll registers that survive testify to the breadth of Suleiman's patronage of the arts, the earliest of documents dating from 1526 list 40 societies with over 600 members. The Ehl-i Hiref attracted the empire's most talented artisans to the Sultan's court, both from the Islamic world and recently conquered territories in Europe, resulting in a blend of Islamic, Turkish and European cultures. Artisans in service of the court included painters, book binders, furriers, jewellers and goldsmiths. Whereas previous rulers had been influenced by Persian culture (Suleiman's father, Selim I, wrote poetry in Persian), Suleiman's patronage of the arts had seen the Ottoman Empire assert its own artistic legacy.

Suleiman himself was an accomplished poet, writing in Persian and Turkish under the nom de plume Muhibbi (Lover). Some of Suleiman's verses have become Turkish proverbs, such as the well-known Everyone aims at the same meaning, but many are the versions of the story. When his young son Mehmed died in 1543, he composed a moving chronogram to commemorate the year: Peerless among princes, my Sultan Mehmed.

In addition to Suleiman's own work, many great talents enlivened the literary world during Suleiman's rule, including Fuzuli and Baki. The literary historian E. J. W. Gibb observed that "at no time, even in Turkey, was greater encouragement given to poetry than during the reign of this Sultan".[41] Suleiman's most famous verse is:
Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, built by Mimar Sinan, Suleiman's chief architect.


The people think of wealth and power as the greatest fate,
But in this world a spell of health is the best state.
What men call sovereignty is a worldly strife and constant war;
Worship of God is the highest throne, the happiest of all estates.

Suleiman also became renowned for sponsoring a series of monumental architectural developments within his empire. The Sultan sought to turn Istanbul into the center of Islamic civilization by a series of projects, including bridges, mosques, palaces and various charitable and social establishments. The greatest of these were built by the Sultan's chief architect, Mimar Sinan, under whom Ottoman architecture reached its zenith. Sinan became responsible for over three hundred monuments throughout the empire, including his two masterpieces, the Süleymaniye and Selimiye mosques—the latter built in Edirne in the reign of Suleiman's son Selim II. Suleiman also restored the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the Jerusalem city walls (which are the current walls of the Old City of Jerusalem), renovated the Kaaba in Mecca, and constructed a complex in Damascus.

Suleiman was infatuated with Hürrem Sultan, a harem girl of Ruthenian origin. In the West foreign diplomats, taking notice of the palace gossip about her, called her "Russelazie" or "Roxelana", referring to her Slavic origins. The daughter of an Orthodox Ukrainian priest, she was enslaved and rose through the ranks of the Harem to become Suleiman's favourite. Breaking with two centuries of Ottoman tradition,a former concubine had thus become the legal wife of the Sultan, much to the astonishment of observers in the palace and the city.[46] He also allowed Hürrem Sultan to remain with him at court for the rest of her life, breaking another tradition—that when imperial heirs came of age, they would be sent along with the imperial concubine who bore them to govern remote provinces of the Empire, never to return unless their progeny succeeded to the throne.

Under his pen name, Muhibbi, Suleiman composed this poem for Roxelana:

"Throne of my lonely niche, my wealth, my love, my moonlight.
My most sincere friend, my confidant, my very existence, my Sultan, my one and only love.
The most beautiful among the beautiful…
My springtime, my merry faced love, my daytime, my sweetheart, laughing leaf…
My plants, my sweet, my rose, the one only who does not distress me in this world…
My Istanbul, my Caraman, the earth of my Anatolia
My Badakhshan, my Baghdad and Khorasan
My woman of the beautiful hair, my love of the slanted brow, my love of eyes full of mischief…
I'll sing your praises always
I, lover of the tormented heart, Muhibbi of the eyes full of tears, I am happy."


Pargalı İbrahim Pasha was the boyhood friend of Suleiman. Ibrahim was originally Greek Orthodox and when young was educated at the Palace School under the devshirme system. Suleiman made him the royal falconer, then promoted him to first officer of the Royal Bedchamber. Ibrahim Pasha rose to Grand Vizier in 1523 and commander-in-chief of all the armies. Suleiman also conferred upon Ibrahim Pasha the honor of beylerbey of Rumelia, granting Ibrahim authority over all Turkish territories in Europe, as well as command of troops residing within them in times of war. According to a 17th century chronicler, Ibrahim had asked Suleiman not to promote him to such high positions, fearing for his safety; to which Suleiman replied that under his reign no matter what the circumstance, Ibrahim would never be put to death.

Yet Ibrahim eventually fell from grace with the Sultan. During his thirteen years as Grand Vizier, his rapid rise to power and vast accumulation of wealth had made Ibrahim many enemies among the Sultan's court. Reports had reached the Sultan of Ibrahim's impudence during a campaign against the Persian Safavid empire: in particular his adoption of the title serasker sultan was seen as a grave affront to Suleiman.

Suleiman's suspicion of Ibrahim was worsened by a quarrel between the latter and the Minister of Finance Iskender Chelebi. The dispute ended in the disgrace of Chelebi on charges of intrigue, with Ibrahim convincing Suleiman to sentence the Minister to death. Before his death however, Chelebi's last words were to accuse Ibrahim of conspiracy against the Sultan.[54] These dying words convinced Suleiman of Ibrahim's disloyalty,and on 15 March 1536 Ibrahim's lifeless body was discovered in the Topkapi Palace.

Suleiman's two wives had borne him eight sons, four of whom survived past the 1550s. They were Mustafa, Selim, Bayezid, and Jihangir. Of these, only Mustafa was not Hürrem Sultan's son, but rather Gülbahar Sultan's ("Rose of Spring"), and therefore preceded Hürrem's children in the order of succession. Hürrem was aware that should Mustafa become Sultan her own children would be strangled. Yet Mustafa was recognised as the most talented of all the brothers and was supported by Pargalı İbrahim Pasha, who was by this time Suleiman's Grand Vizier. The Austrian ambassador Busbecq would note "Suleiman has among his children a son called Mustafa, marvellously well educated and prudent and of an age to rule, since he is 24 or 25 years old; may God never allow a Barbary of such strength to come near us", going on to talk of Mustafa's "remarkable natural gifts".

Hürrem is usually held at least partly responsible for the intrigues in nominating a successor. Although she was Suleiman's wife, she exercised no official public role as her contemporary in England, Anne Boleyn, had done. This did not, however, prevent Hürrem from wielding powerful political influence. Since the Empire lacked any formal means of nominating a successor, succession usually involved the death of competing princes in order to avert civil unrest and rebellions. In attempting to avoid the execution of her sons, Hürrem used her influence to eliminate those who supported Mustafa's accession to the throne.

Thus in power struggles apparently instigated by Hürrem, Suleiman had Ibrahim murdered and replaced with her sympathetic son-in-law, Rustem Pasha. By 1552, when the campaign against Persia had begun with Rustem appointed commander-in-chief of the expedition, intrigues against Mustafa began. Rustem sent one of Suleiman's most trusted men to report that since Suleiman was not at the head of the army, the soldiers thought the time had come to put a younger prince on the throne; at the same time he spread rumors that Mustafa had proved receptive to the idea. Angered by what he came to believe were Mustafa's plans to claim the throne, the following summer Suleiman summoned him to his tent, stating he would "be able to clear himself of the crimes he was accused of and would have nothing to fear if he came".

Mustafa was confronted with a choice: either he appeared before his father at the risk of being killed; or, if he refused to attend, he would be accused of betrayal. In the end, Mustafa chose to enter his father's tent, confident that the support of the army would protect him. Busbecq, who claims to have received an account from an eyewitness, describes Mustafa's final moments. As Mustafa entered his father's tent, Suleiman's Eunuchs attacked Mustafa, with the young prince putting up a brave defence. Suleiman, separated from the struggle only by the linen hangings of the tent, peered through the chamber of his tent and "directed fierce and threatening glances upon the mutes, and by menacing gestures sternly rebuked their hesitation. Thereupon, the mutes in their alarm, redoubling their efforts, hurled Mustafa to the ground and, throwing the bowstring round his neck, strangled him."

Jihangir is said to have died of grief a few months after the news of his half-brother's murder.[59] The two surviving brothers, Bayezid and Selim, were given command in different parts of the empire. Within a few years, however, civil war broke out between the brothers, each supported by his loyal forces.

With the aid of his father's army, Selim defeated Bayezid in Konya in 1559, leading the latter to seek refuge with the Persians along with his four sons. Following diplomatic exchanges, the Sultan demanded from the Persian Shah that Bayezid be either extradited or executed. In return for large amounts of gold, the Shah allowed a Turkish executioner to strangle Bayezid and his four sons in 1561, clearing the path for Selim's succession to the throne seven years later. On 5/6 September 1566,[61] Suleiman, who had set out from Istanbul to command an expedition to Hungary, died before an Ottoman victory at the Battle of Szigetvár in Hungary.

Suleiman I's conquests were followed by continuous territorial expansion until the Empire's peak in 1683

At the time of Suleiman's death the Ottoman Empire, with its unrivaled military strength, economic riches and territorial extent, was the world's foremost power. Suleiman's conquests had brought under the control of the Empire the major Muslim cities (Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Damascus, and Baghdad), many Balkan provinces (reaching present day Croatia and Austria), and most of North Africa. His expansion into Europe had given the Ottoman Turks a powerful presence in the European balance of power. Indeed, such was the perceived threat of the Ottoman Empire under the reign of Suleiman that ambassador Busbecq warned of Europe's imminent conquest: "On [the Turks'] side are the resources of a mighty empire, strength unimpaired, habituation to victory, endurance of toil, unity, discipline, frugality and watchfulness... Can we doubt what the result will be?...When the Turks have settled with Persia, they will fly at our throats supported by the might of the whole East; how unprepared we are I dare not say."[64] Even thirty years after his death "Sultan Solyman" was quoted by the English author William Shakespeare as a military prodigy in The Merchant of Venice.

Suleiman's legacy was not, however, merely in the military field. The French traveler Jean de Thévenot a century later bears witness to the "strong agricultural base of the country, the well being of the peasantry, the abundance of staple foods, and the pre-eminence of organization in Suleiman's government". The administrative and legal reforms which earned him the name Law Giver ensured the Empire's survival long after his death, an achievement which "took many generations of decadent heirs to undo".

Through his personal patronage, Suleiman also presided over the Golden Age of the Ottoman Empire, representing the pinnacle of the Ottoman Turks' cultural achievement in the realm of architecture, literature, art, theology and philosophy.[3][67] Today the skyline of the Bosphorus, and of many cities in modern Turkey and the former Ottoman provinces, are still adorned with the architectural works of Mimar Sinan. One of these, the Süleymaniye Mosque, is the final resting place of Suleiman and Herenzaltan: they are buried in separate domed mausoleums attached to the mosque.

Who was Ruy Diaz De Vivar?

Ruy Díaz de Vivar (c. 1040, Vivar, near Burgos – July 10, 1099, Valencia), known as El Cid Campeador, was a Castilian nobleman, a gifted military leader and diplomat who, after being exiled, conquered and governed the city of Valencia. Rodrigo Díaz was educated in the royal court of Castile and became the alférez, or chief general, of Alfonso VI, and his most valuable asset in the fight against the Moors.

The name "El Cid" comes from the Spanish article El, and the dialectal Arab word سيد sîdi or sayyid, which means "Lord". The title Campeador comes from campidoctor, a medieval Latin word roughly meaning "master of military arts", so El Cid Campeador translates as "The lord, master of military arts". He is considered the national hero of Spain.

The Cid was born circa 1040 in Vivar, also known as Castillona de Bivar, a small town about six miles north of Burgos, the capital of Castile. His father, Diego Laínez, was a courtier, bureaucrat, and cavalryman who had fought in several battles. Despite the fact that El Cid's mother's family was aristocratic, in later years the peasants would consider him one of their own. However, his relatives were not major court officials; documents show that El Cid's paternal grandfather, Lain, only confirmed five documents of Ferdinand I's, his maternal grandfather, Rodrigo Alvarez, certified only two of Sancho II's, and the Cid's own father confirmed only one. This seems to indicate that El Cid's family was not composed of major court officials.

El Cid was educated in the Castilian royal court, serving the prince and future king Sancho II, the son of King Ferdinand I. When Ferdinand died in 1065, Sancho continued to enlarge his territory, conquering both Christian and the Moorish cities of Zamora and Badajoz.

As a young adult in 1057, Rodrigo fought against the Moorish stronghold of Zaragoza, making its emir al-Muqtadir a vassal of Sancho. In the spring of 1063, he fought in the Battle of Graus, where Ferdinand's half-brother, Ramiro I of Aragon, was laying siege to the Moorish town of Graus which was in Zaragozan lands. Al-Muqtadir, accompanied by Castilian troops including the Cid, fought against the Aragonese. The party would emerge victorious; Ramiro I was killed and the Aragonese fled the field. One legend has said that during the conflict El Cid killed an Aragonese knight in single combat, giving him the honorific title of "El Cid Campeador".

Campeador is the Old Spanish version of the Latin campi doctor or campi doctus; the term can be found in writings of late Latinity (4th – 5th century) and can be found in some inscriptions of that era. After that period it became rare, although still sometimes found in the writings of the less educated writers of the Middle Ages. The literal significance of the expression campi doctor is "master of the military arts", and its use in the period of the late Roman Empire appears to have signified only one who instructed new military recruits. But it was in current usage when El Cid was still alive, and was applied to Rodrigo by a member of his circle in an official document promulgated in his name in 1098.

Much speculation abounds about Sancho's death. Most say that the assassination was a result of a pact between his brother Alfonso and his sister Urraca ; some even say Alfonso and Urraca had an incestuous relationship. In any case, since Sancho died unmarried and childless, all of his power passed to his brother Alfonso — the very person against whom he had fought.

Almost immediately, Alfonso was recalled from exile in Toledo and took his seat as king of León and Castile. He was deeply suspected in Castile, probably correctly, for being involved in Sancho's murder. According to the epic of El Cid, the Castilian nobility led by the Cid and a dozen "oath-helpers", forced Alfonso to swear publicly in front of Santa Gadea (Saint Agatha) Church in Burgos on holy relics multiple times that he did not participate in the plot to kill his brother. This is widely reported as truth but contemporary documents on the lives of both Alfonso VI of Castile and Leon and Rodrigo Diaz do not mention any such event. The Cid's position as armiger regis was taken away, however, and it was given to the Cid's enemy, Count García Ordóñez. Later in the year Alfonso's younger brother García returned to Galicia under the false pretenses of a conference.
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During his campaigns, the Cid often ordered that books by classic Roman and Greek authors on military themes be read in high-pitched, loud voices to him and his troops, both for entertainment and inspiration before battle. El Cid's army had a novel approach to planning strategy as well, holding what might be called brainstorming sessions before each battle to discuss tactics. They frequently used unexpected strategies, engaging in what modern generals would call psychological warfare — waiting for the enemy to be paralyzed with terror and then attacking them suddenly, distracting the enemy with a small group of soldiers, etc. (El Cid used this distraction in capturing the town of Castejón as depicted in "The Poem of the Cid") El Cid had a humble personality and frequently accepted or included suggestions from his troops. He remained open to input from his soldiers and to the possibility that he himself was capable of error. The man who served him as his closest adviser was his kinsman, Alvar Fáñez de Minaya.

Taken together, these practices imply an educated and intelligent commander who was able to attract and inspire good subordinates, and who would have attracted considerable loyalty from his followers including those who were not Christian. It is these qualities, coupled with El Cid's legendary martial abilities, which have fueled his reputation as an outstanding battlefield commander.

El Cid was married in July 1075 to Alfonso's kinswoman Jimena of Oviedo The Historia Roderici calls her daughter of a Count Diego of Oviedo, a person unknown to contemporary records, while later poetic sources name her father as an otherwise unknown Count Gomez de Gormaz. The marriage was probably on Alfonso's suggestion[citation needed], a move that he probably hoped would improve relations between him and El Cid; although we are told[who?] that when the Cid laid eyes on her he was enamored by her beauty. Together El Cid and Jimena had three children. Their daughters Cristina and María both married high nobility; Cristina to Ramiro, Lord of Monzón, grandson of García Sánchez III of Navarre via an illegitimate son; María, first (it is said) to a prince of Aragon (presumably the son of Peter I) and second to Ramón Berenguer III, count of Barcelona. El Cid's son Diego Rodríguez was killed while fighting against the invading Muslim Almoravids from North Africa at the Battle of Consuegra (1097).

His own marriage and that of his daughters increased his status by connecting El Cid to royalty; even today, living monarchs descend from El Cid, through the lines of Navarre and Foix. El Cid is an ancestor to the monarchies of France and Britain, as well as every other monarchy in Europe, through his daughter Cristina's son, king García Ramírez of Navarre, as well as most of their nobility and even many of the people, which once considered him one of their own.

El Cid was a cultivated man, having served Alfonso as a judge. He kept in life a personal archive with copies of the letters he mailed and important diplomas he signed as part of his co-operation in the king's administration.

In the Battle of Cabra (1079), El Cid rallied his troops and turned the battle into a rout of Emir Abd Allah of Granada and his ally García Ordóñez. However, El Cid's unauthorized expedition into Granada greatly angered Alfonso, and May 8, 1080, was the last time El Cid confirmed a document in King Alfonso's court. This is the generally given reason for El Cid's exile, although several others are plausible and may have been contributing factors: jealous nobles turning Alfonso against El Cid, Alfonso's own animosity towards El Cid, an accusation of pocketing some of the tribute from Seville, and what one source[citation needed] describes as El Cid's "penchant" towards insulting powerful men.

However, the exile was not the end of El Cid, either physically or as an important figure. In 1081, El Cid, now a mercenary, offered his services to the Moorish king of the northeast Al-Andaluz city of Zaragoza, Yusuf al-Mutamin, and served both him and his successor, Al-Mustain II.

O'Callaghan writes:

At first he went to Barcelona where Ramón Berenguer II (1076-1082) and Berenguer Ramón II (1076-1097) refused his offer of service. Then he journeyed to Zaragoza where he received a warmer welcome. That kingdom was divided between al-Mutamin (1081-1085) who ruled Zaragoza proper, and his brother al-Mundhir, who ruled Lérida and Tortosa. El Cid entered al-Mutamin's service and successfully defended Zaragoza against the assaults of al-Mutamdhir, Sancho I of Aragón, and Ramón Berenguer II, whom he held captive briefly in 1082.

In 1086, the great Almoravid invasion of the Iberian Peninsula through and around Gibraltar began. The Almoravids, Berber residents of present-day Morocco and Algeria, led by Yusuf ibn Tashfin,were asked to help defend the Moors from Alfonso. The great Battle of az-Zallaqah took place on Friday, October 23, 1086, at Sagrajas (in Arabic, Zallaqa). The Moorish Andalusians, including the armies of Badajoz, Málaga, Granada and Seville, defeated a combined army of León, Aragón and Castile.


"The Andalusians encamped separately from the Murabitun [Almoravids]. The Christian vanguard (Alvar Fañez) surprised the Andalusian camp before dawn; the men of Seville (Al-Mutamid) held firm but the remaining Andalusians were chased off by the Aragonese cavalry. The Christian main body then attacked the Murabitun, but were held in check by the Lamtuma, and then withdrew to their own camp in response to an outflanking move by ibn Tashufin. The Aragonese returned to the field, didn't like what they saw, and started a withdrawal that became a rout. The Andalusians rallied, and the Muslims drove Alfonso to a small hill. Alfonso and 500 knights escaped in the night to Toledo."

Terrified after his crushing defeat, Alfonso recalled the best Christian general from exile — El Cid. It has been shown that the Cid was at court on July 1087; however, what happened after that is unclear. There is an urban legend that El Cid's ghost is still present in Vivar and in Burgos.

Around this time, the Cid, with a combined Christian and Moorish army, began maneuvering in order to create his own fiefdom in the Moorish Mediterranean coastal city of Valencia. Several obstacles lay in his way. First was Ramón Berenguer II, who ruled nearby Barcelona. In May 1090, the Cid defeated and captured Berenguer in the Battle of Tébar. Berenguer was later ransomed and his son Ramón Berenguer III married the Cid's youngest daughter Maria to ward against future conflicts.

Along the way to Valencia, El Cid also conquered other towns, many of which were near Valencia, like Castejón and Alucidia.

El Cid gradually came to have more influence on Valencia, then ruled by al-Qadir. In October 1092 an uprising occurred in Valencia inspired by the city's chief judge Ibn Jahhaf and the Almoravids. The Cid began a siege of Valencia. A December 1093 attempt to break failed. By the time the siege ended in May 1094 the Cid had carved out his own principality on the coast of the Mediterranean. Officially the Cid ruled in the name of Alfonso; in reality, the Cid was fully independent. The city was both Christian and Muslim, and both Moors and Christians served in the army and as administrators. In 1096 Valencia's nine mosques were converted into churches; Jérôme, a French bishop, was appointed archbishop of the city.

El Cid died afterwards in 1099. His wife, Jimena ruled in his place for three years until the Almoravids besieged the city. Unable to hold it, she abandoned the city. Alfonso ordered the city burned to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Almoravids. Valencia was captured by Masdali on May 5, 1102 and would not become a Christian city again for over 125 years. Jimena fled to Burgos with her husband's body. Originally buried in Castile in the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, his body now lies at the center of the Burgos Cathedral.

Babieca or Bavieca was El Cid's warhorse. Several stories exist about the Cid and Babieca. One well-known legend about the Cid describes how he acquired the white stallion. According to this story, Rodrigo's godfather, Pedro El Grande, was a monk at a Carthusian monastery. Pedro's coming-of-age gift to El Cid was his pick of a horse from an Andalusian herd. El Cid picked a horse that his godfather thought was a weak, poor choice, causing the monk to exclaim "Babieca!" (stupid!) Hence, it became the name of El Cid's horse. Another legend states that in a competition of battle to become King Sancho's "Campeador", or champion, a knight on horseback wished to challenge the Cid. The King wished a fair fight and gave the Cid his finest horse, Babieca, or Bavieca. This version says Babieca was raised in the royal stables of Seville and was a highly trained and loyal war horse, not a foolish stallion. The name in this instance could suggest that the horse came from the Babia region in León, Spain. In the poem Carmen Campidoctoris, Babieca appears as a gift from "a barbarian" to the Cid, so its name could also be derived from "Barbieca", or "horse of the barbarian".

In either case, Babieca became a great warhorse, famous to the Christians, feared by El Cid's enemies, and loved by the Cid, who allegedly requested that Babieca be buried with him in the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña[citation needed]. His name is mentioned in several tales and historical documents about El Cid, including "Cantar de mio Cid" ("The Lay of the Cid").

A weapon traditionally identified as El Cid's sword, Tizona, can still be seen in the Army Museum (Museo del Ejército) in Madrid. In 1999, a small sample of the blade underwent metallurgical analysis which confirmed that the blade was made in Moorish Córdoba in the eleventh century and contained amounts of Damascus steel[citation needed].

In 2007 the Autonomous Community of Castile and León bought the sword for 1.6 million Euros, and it is currently on display at the Museum of Burgos.

Starting in the 12th century the legend of El Cid has been perpetuated in chronicles and ballads. Until the 14th century his life was told in the form of epic poems, each time with more attention to his youth imagined with much creative liberty, as can be observed in the late Mocedades de Rodrigo, in which are mentioned how in his youth he ventures to invade France, so eclipsing the exploits of the French chansons de geste. The new compositions presented a conceited nature much to the liking of the times but were contradictory to the moderate and prudent style of Cantar de mio Cid.

His youth and his love of Jimena were also subjects in the Spanish Romanceros. These anonymous short poems were based upon the epic poetry, which preserved the memory of El Cid in the late Middle Ages and created new literary episodes on the topic. The feats of El Cid are one of the many sources for Don Quixote's early inspiration: though his steed Rocinante is less than capable, Don Quixote believes him to be better than Babieca.

Many works have been written about El Cid. The oldest of the preserved manuscripts is the three-part Castilian cantar de gesta Cantar de Mio Cid, also called The Lay of the Cid, The Song of My Cid, or Poema de Mio Cid. It keeps a realistic tone while not exactly following the historical truth.

The exploits of El Cid are the topic of the Carmen Campidoctoris, a Latin text that predates the Cantar de Mio Cid. Here we find the only description about the shield of the Cid. According to the poem, it has a "fierce shining golden dragon" depicted on it.

The French playwright Pierre Corneille wrote the tragicomedy Le Cid in 1636, based on the play of Guillén de Castro, Las Mocedades del Cid. Jules Massenet's 1885 opera Le Cid was based on Corneille's play. It is a favorite of Plácido Domingo, who has sung the role of Rodrigue (Rodrigo) many times since first performing it at Carnegie Hall in 1976.

The English poet Robert Southey wrote "The Chronicle of the Cid" in English. This work, written in 1808, is a translated blend of three Spanish sources: Chronica del famoso cavallero Cid Ruydiez Campeador, Poema del Cid, and Romances del Cid. El Cid is mentioned in Canto III of The Cantos of Ezra Pound: as he arrives at Burgos Cathedral and later, alluding to his capture of Valencia.

Guy Gavriel Kay's "The Lions of Al-Rassan" is a fairly recent work of speculative fiction loosely based on Rodrigo.

There have been modern-day films about El Cid, such as El Cid (1961, starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren) and the animated El Cid: La Leyenda (2003). In the early 1980s there was an animated series called Ruy, el Pequeño Cid (Little Cid no Boken), portraying the fictional adventures of El Cid as a child.

Computer games set in medieval Europe sometimes feature El Cid. Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion featured a six-level campaign based on the exploits of El Cid, including his exile from Castile, his conquest of Valencia and his legendary posthumous battle. He also appears as a warrior in the Anachronism card game and as the rebel leader of Valencia in Medieval: Total War and Medieval II. In the latter case, his appearance is also an in-joke homage to Sid Meier, creator of the Civilization series. Also in the game Crusader Kings, he appears as Rodrigo de Vivar at the court of King Sancho II of Castile. Most instalments of the Final Fantasy series also feature a character named Cid, as well as some having swords named after El Cid directly. Final Fantasy XII specifically has a character named El Cid Margrace, along with the traditional Cid. The bard in the original Bard's Tale was named El Cid.

The El Cid Statue overlooks the Plaza de Panama, facing south toward the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. This 23-ft (7-m) tall bronze equestrian sculpture was dedicated in 1930 as a symbolic guardian of Balboa Park. Three other statues were made from the same mold — one stands in the court of the Museum of the Hispanic Society in New York City; anothes stands on Plaza de España, Valencia (Spain), near the oldest known church in the city- San Vicent de la Roqueta; the other is in Seville, Spain. The statue is attributed to Anna Hyatt Huntington and dated 1927.

Cid Harbour, in the Whitsunday Islands, on Australia's Great Barrier Reef was named in his honour. It is overlooked by Bavieca Hill.

Isabel Allende made El Cid one of the ancestors of the De La Vega family and thus a direct ancestor to El Zorro in her novel Zorro. This revelation explains a reference in Johnston McCulley's original story that Diego Vega had 'the highest blood' among the Californios.

Julio A. Garcia, a prominent attorney in Laredo, Texas, was referred to as "El Cid" because of his grassroots political activities.

Abderraman I

Abd Ar-Rahman ibn Mu'awiya ibn Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik (en árabe, عبدالرحمن بن معاوية بن هشام بن عبد الملك), conocido como Abderramán I o Abd al-Rahmán I al-Dājil (الداخل: el que entra o el Inmigrado) (Damasco, marzo de 731 - Córdoba, 788) fue un príncipe de la dinastía omeya que tras diversos azares se convirtió en el primer emir independiente de Córdoba en 756.

La situación interna del Emirato no permitió a Abderramán I dirigir las habituales aceifas a los territorios cristianos del norte. Su reinado de treinta y dos años transcurrió entre luchas internas para sofocar la resistencia del anterior emir, Yusuf al-Fihrí, y de sus hijos, de los sirios partidarios de los abbasíes y de los bereberes asentados en la Península.

Nieto de Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, el décimo califa omeya, e hijo del príncipe Mu'awiya y una concubina berebere de la tribu Nafza,Abderramán nació en un monasterio del entorno de Damasco. Cuando el califa Marwan II fue derrotado y muerto en el año 750 en Egipto y se instauró la nueva dinastía de los abbasíes, el joven omeya tenía menos de veinte años. Fue uno de los escasos miembros de la dinastía que consiguieron escapar a la matanza de Abú Futrus.

Junto con su hermano Yahya se refugió junto con tribus beduinas en el desierto. Los abasidas persiguieron a sus enemigos sin piedad; los soldados mataron a su hermano, y él se salvó huyendo primero a Palestina y Siria y después al norte de África, el refugio común para aquellos que querían escapar de los abasidas.

En la confusión general producida por el cambio de dinastía, África había caído en manos de caciques locales, antiguos emires o tenientes de los califas omeyas, que ahora buscaban independencia. Después de un tiempo Abderramán descubrió que su vida estaba amenazada y huyó aún más lejos hacia el oeste, refugiándose entre las tribus bereberes de Mauritania (en la tribu de los Nafza a la que pertenecía su madre). En medio de estos peligros mantuvo sus ánimos gracias a su confianza en una profecía de su tío abuelo Maslama, según la cual él restablecería la fortuna de su familia. Fue seguido por algunos partidarios de los omeyas.

El joven Abderramán, acompañado por su leal vasallo Badr, y después de atravesar todo el norte de África, llegó a Ceuta en 755, y desde allí envió un agente a la Península Ibérica para buscar los apoyos de otros clientes de la familia, descendientes de los conquistadores de la Península Ibérica, que eran numerosos en la provincia de Elvira, actualmente Granada. El país estaba en un estado de confusión debido al débil liderazgo del Emir Yusef, una simple marioneta en manos de una facción, y estaba dividido por las tensiones tribales entre árabes y los conflictos raciales entre éstos y los bereberes. Esto dio a Abderramán la oportunidad que no había encontrado en África. Bajo invitación de sus partidarios llegó a Bitruh Riyäna (Playa Burriana) en Nerja, al este de Málaga, en septiembre de 755. En el Castillo de Turrush, Algarinejo (Granada),y apoyado por los mozárabes de la fortaleza, reclutó un pequeño ejército con el cual asaltar posteriormente el poder.

Durante un tiempo Abderramán se dejó guiar por sus seguidores, que eran conscientes de los riesgos de su empresa. Yusef comenzó negociaciones, y ofreció a Abderramán una de sus hijas en matrimonio y tierras. Esto era mucho menos de lo que el príncipe esperaba conseguir, pero probablemente se habría visto forzado a aceptar la oferta si la insolencia de uno de los mensajeros de Yusef, uno de los antiguos habitantes de la Península Ibérica, no hubiera ultrajado a uno de los jefes leales a la causa omeya, llamado Obeidullah, mofándose de su incapacidad de escribir bien en árabe. A causa de esta provocación Obeidullah sacó su espada.

Durante 756 Abderramán apoyado por tropas sirias, yemeníes y bereberes luchó una campaña en el valle del Guadalquivir, que terminó el 16 de mayo, con la derrota de Yusef fuera de Córdoba. Las tropas de Abderramán eran muy débiles ya que él era casi el único que montaba un buen caballo de guerra; no tenía bandera, y se improvisó una con un turbante verde y una lanza. El turbante y la lanza se convirtieron en la bandera de los omeyas españoles. Se proclamó emir independiente de Al-Ándalus en Archidona y los abasidas de Bagdad perdieron este territorio. Poco después Abderramán entró triunfante en Córdoba con su espléndido caballo blanco, el día del 'Aid al-Kabir (commemoración del sacrificio de Abraham). Inmediatamente después liberó de la esclavitud a una visigoda conversa al Islam a la que desposó. Ella fue la madre de Hisham I.yy

El largo reinado de 32 años transcurrió en una lucha para traer a sus anárquicos árabes y bereberes al orden. Nunca habían pretendido tener un maestro, y se resistieron a su mandato, que se fue haciendo cada vez más duro. En 759 aplastó una rebelión encabezada por el antiguo emir, que acabó con la ejecución de éste. En 763 tuvo que luchar en las mismas puertas de su capital con rebeldes que actuaban por cuenta de los abasidas venciéndoles, como señal de victoria cortó las cabezas de los líderes rivales, las llenó con sal y alcanfor y las envió como desafío al califa del este.

También hizo frente a los reinos cristianos, primero exigiendo tributo al Reino Astúr-leonés, que se tuvo que ver obligado a pagar por el potencial omeya, y luego manteniendo la marca norte de la península al conquistar Zaragoza luchando contra los francos de Carlomagno. La retirada de los francos provocó el ataque de los vascones en Roncesvalles. Siempre tuvo un gran ejército, compuesto en su mayoría de bereberes.

Su territorio estuvo muy bien organizado gracias a la eficacia de su ministros, gobernadores en las siete provincias del emirato, caldíes, jueces de las ciudades y el consejo coránico, que procuraba la integración de las diferentes etnias bajo las leyes de Mahoma, como los muladíes (cristianos conversos), mozárabes (cristianos que pagaban tributo extra por permanecer en territorio musulmán) y los judíos, plenamente integrados. Además siempre tuvo 4 ó 5 asesores que le aconsejaban en cada decisión difícil.Entre dichos asesores se encontraba su antiguo vasallo Badr, al que nombró jefe del ejército, y con el que guardaba una cierta amistad.

Ordenó que no se rezase jamás por los abasidas de Bagdad. Fue proclamado príncipe de los creyentes. En las monedas no se hacía ninguna mención a Bagdad y tan solo reflejaban el año en curso y el nombre de Al-Ándalus. Fomentó los cultivos e introdujo la palmera en la península Ibérica. Según la tradición todas las palmeras de España descienden de una palmera que plantó Abderramán I con sus propias manos en el jardín de su palacio de Córdoba.

En 785 decidió aprovecharse el material de una basílica visigoda dedicada a San Vicente para iniciar la construcción de la mezquita de Córdoba, que quedaría para la posteridad como símbolo del esplendor de la España musulmana.

Tuvo tres hijos legítimos que pretendían sucederle, Suleimán, Hisham y Almondzir. Abderramán tomó la decisión de elegir él el sucesor siguiendo una antigua traición oriental. Escogió a Hisham, por ser el más parecido a él tanto en carácter como físicamente, dejándole un legado inmenso.

Nunca llegó a perder ninguna batalla ante ninguno de sus enemigos y en sus últimos años, Abderramán tuvo que lidiar con una sucesión de conspiraciones de palacio, que reprimió enérgicamente. A pesar de ello, fundó la dinastía que aseguró el control omeya de España hasta 1031.

Es posible que después de sofocada la rebelión de los moriscos en el siglo XVI fueran a establecerse en la región de Valencia parte de los descendientes Omeyas que quedaron y hubieran sido obligados a cristianizarse o a salir deportados desde el puerto de Alicante en 1609.

Who was Saladin?

Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb (Arabic: صلاح الدين يوسف بن أيوب‎) (c. 1138 - March 4, 1193), better known in the Western world as Saladin (Arabic: صلاح الدين الأيوبي‎), was a Kurdish Muslim who became the Sultan of Egypt and Syria. He led Muslim opposition to the European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, he ruled over Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Hejaz, and Yemen. He led the Muslims against the Crusaders and eventually recaptured Palestine from the Kingdom of Jerusalem after his victory in the Battle of Hattin. As such, he is a notable figure in Arab, Kurdish, Turkish, Iranian, and Muslim culture. Saladin was a strict practitioner of Sunni Islam. His generally chivalrous behavior was noted by Christian chroniclers, especially in the accounts of the siege of Kerak in Moab.

Saladin was born in Tikrit, Iraq. His family was of Kurdish background and ancestry,[2][3] and had originated from the city of Dvin, in Medieval Armenia.[4][5] His father, Najm ad-Din Ayyub, was banished from Tikrit and in 1139, he and his brother Asad al-Din Shirkuh, moved to Mosul. He later joined the service of Imad ad-Din Zengi who made him commander of his fortress in Baalbek. After the death of Zengi in 1146, his son, Nur ad-Din, became the regent of Aleppo and the leader of the Zengids.

Saladin, who now lived in Damascus, was reported to have a particular fondness of the city, but information on his early childhood is scarce. About education, Saladin wrote "children are brought up in the way in which their elders were brought up." According to one of his biographers, al-Wahrani, Saladin was able to answer questions on Euclid, the Almagest, arithmetic, and law, but this was an academic ideal and it was study of the Qur'an and the "sciences of religion" that linked him to his contemporaries.[6] Several sources claim that during his studies he was more interested in religion than joining the military.[7] Another factor which may have affected his interest in religion was that during the First Crusade, Jerusalem was taken in a surprise attack by the Christians.[7] In addition to Islam, Saladin had a knowledge of the genealogies, biographies, and histories of the Arabs, as well as the bloodlines of Arabian horses. More significantly, he knew the Hamasah of Abu Tammam by heart.

Saladin's military career began when his uncle Asad al-Din Shirkuh, an important military commander under Nur ad-Din, started training him. In 1163, the vizier to the Fatimid caliph al-Adid, Shawar, had been driven out of Egypt by rival Dirgham, a member of the powerful Banu Ruzzaik tribe. He asked for military backing from Nur ad-Din, who complied and in 1164, sent Shirkuh to aid Shawar in his expedition against Dirgham. Saladin, at age 26, went along with them.[8] After Shawar was successfully reinstated as vizier, he demanded that Shirkuh withdraw his army from Egypt for a sum of 30,000 dinars, but he refused insisting it was Nur ad-Din's will that he remain. Saladin's role in this expedition was minor, and it is known that he was ordered by Shirkuh to collect stores from Bilbais prior to its siege by a combined force of Crusaders and Shawar's troops.

After the sacking of Bilbais, the Crusader-Egyptian force and Shirkuh's army were to engage in a battle on the desert border of the Nile River, just west of Giza. Saladin played a major role, commanding the right wing of the Zengid army, while a force of Kurds commanded the left, and Shirkuh stationed in the center. Muslim sources at the time, however, put Saladin in the "baggage of the center" with orders to lure the enemy into a trap by staging a false retreat. The Crusader force enjoyed early success against Shirkuh's troops, but the terrain was too steep and sandy for their horses, and commander Hugh of Caesarea was captured while attacking Saladin's unit. After scattered fighting in little valleys to the south of the main position, the Zengid central force returned to the offensive; Saladin joined in from the rear.

The battle ended in a Zengid victory, and Saladin is credited to have helped Shirkuh in one of the "most remarkable victories in recorded history", according to Ibn al-Athir, although more of Shirkuh's men were killed and the battle is considered by most sources as not a total victory. Saladin and Shirkuh moved towards Alexandria where they were welcomed, given money, arms, and provided a base.[11] Faced by a superior Crusader-Egyptian force who attempted to besiege the city, Shirkuh split his army. He and the bulk of his force withdrew from Alexandria, while Saladin was left with the task of guarding the city.

Shirkuh engaged in a power struggle over Egypt with Shawar and Amalric I of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, in which Shawar requested Amalric's assistance. In 1169, Shawar was reportedly assassinated by Saladin and Shirkuh died later that year.[13] Nur ad-Din chose a successor for Shirkuh, but al-Adid appointed Saladin to replace Shawar as vizier.

The reasoning behind the Shia al-Adid's selection of Saladin, a Sunni, varies. Ibn al-Athir claims that the caliph chose him after being told by his advisers that "there is no one weaker or younger" than Saladin, and "not one of the emirs obeyed him or served him". However, according to this version, after some bargaining, he was eventually accepted by the majority of emirs. Al-Adid's advisers were also suspected of attempting to split the Syria-based Zengid ranks. Al-Wahrani wrote that Saladin was selected because of the reputation of his family in their "generosity and military prowess". Imad ad-Din wrote that after the brief mourning period of Shirkuh, during which "opinions differed", the Zengid emirs decided upon Saladin and forced the caliph to "invest him as vizier". Although positions were complicated by rival Muslim leaders, the bulk of the Syrian rulers supported Saladin due to his role in the Egyptian expedition, in which he gained a record impeccable military qualifications.

Inaugurated as vizier on March 26, Saladin repented "wine-drinking and turned from frivolity to assume the dress of religion". Having gained more power and independence than ever before in his career, he still faced the issue of ultimate loyalty between al-Adid and Nur ad-Din. The latter was rumored to be clandestinely hostile towards Saladin's appointment and was quoted as saying, "how dare he [Saladin] do anything without my orders?" He wrote several letters to Saladin, who dismissed them without abandoning his allegiance to Nur ad-Din.

Later in the year, a group of Egyptian soldiers and emirs attempted to assassinate Saladin, but having already known of their intentions, he had the chief conspirator, Mu'tamin al-Khilafa—the civilian controller of the Fatimid Palace—killed. The day after, 50,000 black African soldiers from the regiments of the Fatimid army opposed to Saladin's rule along with a number of Egyptian emirs and commoners staged a revolt. By August 23, Saladin had decisively quelled the uprising, and never again had to face a military challenge from Cairo.

Towards the end of 1169, Saladin—with reinforcements from Nur ad-Din—defeated a massive Crusader-Byzantine force near Damietta. Afterward, in the spring of 1170, Nur ad-Din sent Saladin's father to Egypt in compliance with Saladin's request, as well as from encouragement from the Baghdad-based Abbasid caliph, al-Mustanjid, who aimed to pressure Saladin in deposing his rival caliph, al-Adid.[18] Saladin himself had been strengthening his hold on Egypt and widening his support base there. He began granting his family members high-ranking positions in the region and increased Sunni influence in Cairo; he ordered the construction of a college for the Maliki branch of Sunni Islam in the city, as well as one for the Shafi'i denomination to which he belonged in al-Fustat.

After establishing himself in Egypt, Saladin launched a campaign against the Crusaders, besieging Darum in 1170.[20] Amalric withdrew his Templar garrison from Gaza to assist him in defending Darum, but Saladin evaded their force and befell on Gaza instead. He destroyed the town built outside the city's castle and killed most of its inhabitants after they were refused entry into the castle.[21] It is unclear exactly when, but during that same year, he attacked and captured the Crusader castle of Eilat, built on an island off the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. It did not pose a threat to the passage of the Muslim navy, but could harass smaller parties of Muslim ships and Saladin decided to clear it from his path.

According to Imad ad-Din, Nur ad-Din wrote to Saladin in June 1171, telling him to reestablish the Abbasid caliphate in Egypt, which Saladin coordinated two months later after additional encouragement by Najm ad-Din al-Khabushani, the Shafi'i faqih, who vehemently opposed Shia rule in the country. Several Egyptian emirs were thus killed, but al-Adid was told that they were killed for rebelling against him. He then fell ill, or was poisoned according to one account. While ill, he asked Saladin to pay him a visit to request that he take care of his young children, but Saladin refused, fearing treachery against the Abbasids, and is said to have regretted his action after realizing what al-Adid had wanted.[22] He died on September 13 and five days later, the Abbasid khutba was pronounced in Cairo and al-Fustat, proclaiming al-Mustadi as caliph.

On September 25, Saladin left Cairo to take part in a joint attack on the desert castles of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Kerak and Montreal with Nur ad-Din who would attack from Syria. Prior to arriving at Montreal, Saladin withdrew, realizing that if he met Nur ad-Din at Shaubak, he would be refused return to Egypt because of Nur ad-Din's reluctance to consolidate such massive territorial control to Saladin. Also, there was a chance that the Crusader kingdom—which acted as a buffer state between Syria and Egypt—could have collapsed had the two leaders attacked it from the east and the coast. This would have given Nur ad-Din the opportunity to annex Egypt. Saladin claimed he withdrew amid Fatimid plots against him, but Nur ad-Din did not accept "the excuse".

During the summer of 1172, a Nubian army along with a contingent of Armenian refugees were reported on the Egyptian border, preparing for a siege against Aswan. The emir of the city had requested Saladin's assistance and was given reinforcements under Turan-Shah—Saladin's brother. Consequently, the Nubians departed, but returned in 1173 and were again driven off. This time Egyptian forces advanced from Aswan and captured the Nubian town of Ibrim. By now, seventeen months after al-Adid's death, Nur ad-Din did not take any action regarding Egypt, but expected some return for the 200,000 dinars he allocated to Shirkuh's army which seized the country. Saladin paid this debt in 60,000 dinars, "wonderful manufactured goods", some jewels, an ass of the finest breed, and an elephant. While transporting these goods to Damascus, Saladin took the opportunity to ravage the Crusader countryside. He did not press an attack against the desert castles, but attempted to drive out the Muslim Bedouins who lived in Crusader territory with the aim of depriving the Franks of guides.

On July 31, 1173, Saladin's father Ayyub was wounded in a horse-riding accident, ultimately causing his death on August 9.[26] In 1174, Saladin sent Turan-Shah to conquer Yemen to allocate it and its port Aden to the territories of the Ayyubid Dynasty. Yemen also served as an emergency territory, to which Saladin could flee in the event of an invasion by Nur ad-Din.

In the early summer of 1174, Nur ad-Din was mustering an army, sending summons to Mosul, Diyarbakir, and al-Jazira in an apparent preparation of attack against Saladin's Egypt. The Ayyubid dynasty held a council upon the revelation of his preparations to discuss the possible threat and Saladin collected his own troops outside Cairo. On May 15, Nur ad-Din died after falling ill the previous week and his power was handed to his eleven-year-old son as-Salih Ismail al-Malik. His death left Saladin with political independence and in a letter to as-Salih, he promised to "act as a sword" against his enemies and referred to the death of his father as an "earthquake shock".

In the wake of Nur ad-Din's death, Saladin faced a difficult decision; he could move his army against the Crusaders from Egypt or wait until invited by as-Salih in Syria to come to his aid and launch a war from there. He could also take it upon himself to annex Syria before it could possibly fall into the hands of a rival, but feared that attacking a land that formerly belonged to his master—which is forbidden in the Islamic principles he followed—could portray him as hypocritical and thus, unsuitable for leading the "holy war" against the Crusaders. Saladin saw that in order to acquire Syria, he either needed an invitation from as-Salih or use the excuse that potential anarchy and danger from the Crusaders could rise.

When as-Salih was removed to Aleppo in August, Gumushtigin, the emir of the city and a captain of Nur ad-Din's veterans assumed guardianship over him. The emir prepared to unseat all of his rivals in Syria and al-Jazira, beginning with Damascus. In this emergency, the emir of Damascus appealed to Saif al-Din (a cousin of Gumushtigin) of Mosul for assistance against Aleppo, but he refused, forcing the Syrians to request the aid of Saladin who complied.[29] Saladin rode across the desert with 700 picked horsemen, passing through al-Kerak then reaching Bosra and according to him, was joined by "emirs, soldiers, Turks, Kurds, and Bedouins—the emotions of their hearts to be seen on their faces."[30] On November 23, he arrived in Damascus amid general acclamations and rested at his father's old home there, until the gates of the Citadel of Damascus were opened to him four days later. He installed himself in the castle and received the homage and salutations of the citizens.

Leaving his brother Tughtigin as Governor of Damascus, Saladin proceeded to reduce other cities that had belonged to Nur ad-Din, but were now practically independent. He gained Hamah with relative ease, but avoided Hims because of the strength of its citadel.[31] Then he moved north towards Aleppo, besieging it on December 30 after Gumushtigin refused to abdicate his throne.[32] As-Salih, afraid of Saladin, came out of the palace and appealed to the inhabitants not to surrender him and the city to the invading force. One of Saladin's chroniclers claimed "the people came under his spell".

Gumushtigin requested from Rashid ad-Din Sinan, grand-master of the Assassins who were already at odds with Saladin since he replaced the Fatimids of Egypt, to assassinate Saladin in his camp.[34] A group of thirteen Assassins easily gained admission into Saladin's camp, but were detected immediately before they carried out their attack. One was killed by a general of Saladin and the others were slain while trying to escape.[35][33] To make the situation more difficult for him, Raymond of Tripoli gathered his forces by Nahr al-Kabir where he was well-placed for an attack on Muslim territory. He later moved toward Hims, but retreated after being told a relief force was being sent to the city by Saif al-Din.

Meanwhile, Saladin's rivals in Syria and Jazira waged a propaganda war, claiming he had "forgotten his own condition [servant of Nur ad-Din]" and showed no gratitude for his old master by besieging his son, rising "in rebellion against his Lord". Saladin aimed to counter this propaganda by departing the siege to claim he was defending Islam from the Crusaders; his army returned to Hama to engage a Crusader force there. The Crusaders withdrew beforehand and Saladin proclaimed it "a victory opening the gates of men's hearts".[36] Soon after, Saladin entered Hims and captured its citadel in March 1175, after stubborn resistance from its defenders.

Saladin's successes alarmed Saif al-Din. As head of the descendants of Zengid, including Gumushtigin, he regarded Syria and Mesopotamia as his family estate and was angered when Saladin attempted to usurp their holdings. Saif al-Din mustered a large army and dispatched it to Aleppo whose defenders anxiously had awaited them. The combined forces of Mosul and Aleppo marched against Saladin in Hama. Heavily outnumbered, he initially attempted to make terms with the Zengids by abandoning all conquests north of the Damascus province, but they refused, insisting he return to Egypt. Seeing that a confrontation was unavoidable, Saladin prepared for battle, taking up a superior position on the hills by the gorge of the Orontes River. On April 13, 1175, the Zengid troops marched to attack his forces, but soon found themselves surrounded by Saladin's Ayyubid veterans who annihilated them. The battle ended in a decisive victory for Saladin who pursued the Zengid fugitives to the gates of Aleppo, forcing as-Salih's advisers to recognize his control of the provinces of Damascus, Hims, and Hama, as well as a number of towns outside Aleppo such as Ma'arat al-Numan.

After his victory against the Zengids, Saladin proclaimed himself king and suppressed the name of as-Salih in the Friday prayers and Islamic coinage. From then on, he was ordered to be prayed for in all of the mosques of Syria and Egypt as the sovereign king and he issued at the Cairo mint gold coins bearing his name—al-Malik an-Nasir Yusuf Ayyub, ala ghaya "the King Strong to Aid, Joseph son of Job; exalted be the standard". The Abbasid caliph in Baghdad graciously welcomed Saladin's assumption of power and declared him "Sultan of Egypt and Syria"

The Battle of Hama did not end the contest for power between the Ayyubids and the Zengids, the final confrontation occurring in the spring of 1176. Saladin had brought up his forces from Egypt and Saif al-Din was levying troops among the minor states of Diyarbakir and al-Jazira.[40] When Saladin crossed the Orontes, leaving Hama, the sun was eclipsed and despite viewing this as an omen, he continued his march north. He reached the Sultan's Mound, 15 miles (24 km) from Aleppo, where his forces encountered Saif al-Din's army. A hand-to-hand fight ensued and the Zengids managed to overthrow Saladin's left wing, driving it before him, when he himself charged at the head of the Zengid guard. The Zengid forces panicked and most of Saif al-Din's officers were killed or captured—he himself narrowly escaped. The Zengid army's camp, horses, baggage, tents, and stores were taken by the Ayyubids. The Zengid prisoners, however, were given gifts and freed by Saladin and all of the booty of his victory were handed to the army, not keeping a thing for himself.

He continued towards Aleppo which still closed its gates to him, halting before the city. On the way, his army took Buza'a, then captured Manbij. From there they headed west to besiege the fortress of A'zaz on May 15. A few days later, while Saladin was resting in one of his captain's tents, an assassin rushed forward at him and struck at his head with a knife. The cap of his head armor was not penetrated and he managed to grip the assassin's hand—the dagger only slashing his gambeson—and the assailant was soon killed. Saladin was unnerved at the attempt on his life whom he accused Gumushtugin and the Assassins of plotting, and so increased his efforts in the siege.

A'zaz capitulated on June 21, and Saladin then hurried his forces to Aleppo to punish Gumushtigin. His assaults were again resisted, but he managed to secure not only a truce, but a mutual alliance with Aleppo, in which Gumushtigin and as-Salih were allowed to continue their hold on the city and in return, they recognized Saladin as the sovereign over all the dominions he conquered. The emirs of Mardin and Keyfa, the Muslim allies of Aleppo, also recognized Saladin as the King of Syria. When the treaty was concluded, the younger sister of as-Salih came to Saladin and requested the return of the Fortress of A'zaz; he complied and escorted her back to the gates of Aleppo with numerous gifts.

Saladin had by now agreed truces with his Zengid rivals and the Kingdom of Jerusalem (summer of 1175), but faced a threat from the Assassins led by Sinan. Based in the al-Nusayri Mountains, they had nine fortresses atop high elevations. As soon as he dismissed the bulk of his troops to Egypt, Saladin led his army into al-Nusayri range in August 1176, but retreated the same month, after laying waste to the countryside, but failing to conquer any of the forts. Most Muslim historians claim that Saladin's uncle mediated a peace agreement between him and Sinan.[43] However, the latter's panegyrist claims Saladin departed due to fears for his own life at the hands of the Assassins. He had chalk and cinders strewed around his tent outside Masyaf—which he laid a siege against—to detect any footsteps by the Assassins and had his guards supplied with link lights.

According to his version, one night, Saladin's guards noticed a spark glowing down the hill of Masyaf and then vanishing among the Ayyubid tents. Presently, Saladin awoke from his sleep to find a figure leaving the tent. He then saw that the lamps were displaced and beside his bed laid hot scones of the shape peculiar to the Assassins with a note at the top pinned by a poisoned dagger. The note threatened that he would be killed if he didn't withdraw from his assault. Saladin gave a loud cry, exclaiming that Sinan himself was the figure that left the tent. As such, Saladin told his guards to settle an agreement with Sinan.[44] Realizing he was unable to subdue the Assassins, he sought to align himself with them, consequently depriving the Crusaders of a secret weapon.
y
After leaving the al-Nusayri Mountains, Saladin returned to Damascus and had his Syrian soldiers return home. He left Turan Shah in command of Syria, and left for Egypt with only his personal followers, reaching Cairo on September 22. Having been absent roughly two years, he had much to organize and supervise in Egypt, namely fortifying and reconstructing Cairo. The city walls were repaired and their extensions laid out, while the construction of the Cairo Citadel was commenced.

The 280 feet (85 m) deep Bir Yusuf ("Joseph's Well") was built on Saladin's orders. The chief public work he commissioned outside of Cairo was the large bridge at Giza, which intended to form an outwork of defense against a potential Moorish invasion.

Saladin remained in Cairo supervising its improvements, building colleges such as the Madrasa of the Sword Makers and ordering the internal administration of the country. In November 1177, he set out upon a raid into Palestine; the Crusaders had recently forayed into the territory of Damascus and so Saladin saw the truce was no longer worth preserving. The Christians sent a large portion of their army to besiege the fortress of Harim north of Aleppo and so southern Palestine bared few defenders.[46] Saladin found the situation ripe, and so marched to Ascalon, which he referred to as the "Bride of Syria". William of Tyre recorded that the Ayyubid army consisted of 26,000 soldiers, of which 8,000 were elite forces and 18,000 were black slave soldiers from the Sudan. This army proceeded to raid the countryside, sack Ramla and Lod, and dispersed themselves as far as the Gates of Jerusalem.

The Ayyubids did allow King Baldwin to enter Ascalon with his Gaza-based Templars without taking any precautions against a sudden attack. Although the Crusader force consisted only of 375 knights, Saladin hesitated to ambush them due to the presence of highly-skilled generals. On November 25, while the greater part of the Ayyubid army was absent, Saladin and his men were surprised at Tell Jezer, near Ramla. Before they could form up, the Templar force hacked the Ayyubid army down. Initially, Saladin attempted to organize his men into battle order, but as his bodyguards were being killed, he saw that defeat was inevitable and so with a small remnant of his troops mounted a swift camel, riding all the way to the territories of Egypt.

Not discouraged by his defeat at Tell Jezer, Saladin was prepared to fight the Crusaders once again. In the spring of 1178, he was encamped under the walls of Hims and a few skirmishes occurred between his generals and the Crusader army. His forces in Hama won a victory over their enemy and brought the spoils, together with many prisoners of war to Saladin who ordered the captives to be beheaded for "plundering and laying waste the lands of the Faithful". He spent the rest of the year in Syria without a confrontation with his enemies.

Saladin's intelligence services reported to him that the Crusaders were planning a raid into Syria. As such, he ordered one of his generals, Farrukh-Shah, to guard the Damascus frontier with a thousand of his men to watch for an attack, then to retire avoiding battle and lightning warning beacons on the hills on which Saladin would march out. In April 1179, the Crusaders led by King Baldwin expected no resistance and waited to launch a surprise attack on Muslim herders grazing their herds and flocks east of the Golan Heights. Baldwin advanced too rashly in pursuit of Farrukh-Shah's force which was concentrated southeast of Quneitra and was subsequently defeated by the Ayyubids. With this victory, Saladin decided to call in more troops from Egypt; he requested 1,500 horsemen to be sent by al-Adil.

In the summer of 1179, King Baldwin had set up an outpost on the road to Damascus and aimed to fortify a passage over the Jordan River, known as Jacob's Ford, that commanded the approach to the Banias plain (the plain was divided by the Muslims and the Christians). Saladin had offered 100,000 gold pieces for Baldwin to abandon the project which was peculiarly offensive to the Muslims, but to no avail. He then resolved to destroy the fortress, moving his headquarters to Banias. As the Crusaders hurried down to attack the Muslim forces, they fell into disorder, with the infantry falling behind. Despite early success, they pursued the Muslims far enough to become scattered and Saladin took advantage by rallied his troops and charged at the Crusaders. The engagement ended in a decisive Ayyubid victory and many high-ranking knights were captured. Saladin then moved to besiege the fortress which fell on August 30, 1179.

In the spring of 1180, while Saladin was in the area of Safad, anxious to commence a vigorous campaign against the Kingdom of Jerusalem, King Baldwin sent messengers to him with proposals of peace. Due to droughts and bad harvests hampering his commissariat, Saladin agreed to a truce. Raymond of Tripoli denounced the truce, but was compelled to accept after an Ayyubid raid in his territory in May and upon the appearance of Saladin's naval fleet off the port of Tartus.

In June 1180, Saladin held a reception for Nur al-Din Muhammad, the Artuqid emir of Keyfa, at Geuk Su, in which he presented him and his brother Abu Bakr gifts, valued at over 100,000 dinars according to Imad al-Din. This was intended to cement an alliance with Artuqids and to impress other emirs in Mesopotamia and Anatolia. Previously, Saladin offered to mediate relations between Nur al-Din and Kilij Arslan II—the Seljuk Sultan of Rum—after the two came into conflict. The latter demanded Nur al-Din return the lands given to him as a dowry for marrying his daughter when he received reports that she was being abused by him and was used to gain to Seljuk territory. Nur al-Din requested assistance from Saladin, but Arslan refused.

After Nur al-Din and Saladin met at Geuk Su, the top Seljuk emir, Ikhtiyar al-Din al-Hasan, confirmed Arslan's submission, after which an agreement was drawn up. Saladin was enraged to receive a message from Arslan soon after, complaining of more abuses against his daughter. He threatened to attack the city of Malatya, saying it is two days march for me and I shall not dismount [my horse] until I am in the city". Alarmed at the threat, the Seljuks pushed for negotiations. Saladin felt the Arslan was right to care for his daughter, but Nur al-Din had taken refuge with him, and therefore he could not betray him. It was finally agreed that the woman would be sent away for a year and that if Nur al-Din failed to comply, Saladin would abandon his support for him.

Leaving Farrukh-Shah in charge of Syria, Saladin returned to Cairo at the beginning of 1181; According to Abu-Shama, he intended to spend the fast of Ramadan in Egypt and then make the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. For an unknown reason he apparently changed his mind about the pilgrimage and was seen inspecting the Nile River banks in June. He was again embroiled with the Bedouin; he removed two-thirds of their fiefs to use as compensation for the fief-holders at Fayyum which he intended to take over. The Bedouin were also accused of trading with the Crusaders and so their grain was confiscated and they were forced to move westward. Later, warships were waged against Bedouin river pirates who were plundering the shores of Lake Tanis.

In the summer of 1181, Saladin's former palace administrator Qara-Qush led a force to arrest Majd al-Din—a former deputy of Turan-Shah in the town of Zabid in Yemen—while he was entertaining Imad ad-Din at his estate in Cairo. Saladin's intimates accused him of misappropriating the revenues of Zabid, but Saladin himself replied there was no evidence against him. He realized the mistake and had Majd al-Din released in return for a payment of 80,000 dinars to him and other sums to Saladin's brothers al-Adil and Taj al-Muluk Bari. The controversial detainment of Majd al-Din was a part of the larger discontent associated with the aftermath of Turan-Shah's departure from Yemen; although his deputies continued to send him revenues from the province, centralized authority was lacking and internal quarrel arose between the Izz al-Din Uthman of Aden and Hittan of Zabid. Saladin wrote in a letter to al-Adil: "this Yemen is a treasure house... We conquered it, but up to this day we have had no return and no advantage from it. There have been only innumerable expenses, the sending out of troops... and expectations which did not produce what was hoped for in the end."

Saif al-Din died in June and his brother Izz al-Din inherited leadership of Mosul.[56] On December 4, the crown-prince of the Zengids, as-Salih, died in Aleppo. Prior to his death, he had his chief officers swear an oath of loyalty to Izz al-Din, as he was the only Zengid ruler strong enough to oppose Saladin. Izz al-Din was welcomed in Aleppo, but possessing it and Mosul put too great of a strain on his abilities. He thus, handed Aleppo to his brother Imad al-Din Zangi, in exchange for Sinjar. Saladin offered no opposition to these transactions in order to respect the treaty he previously made with the Zengids.

On May 11, 1182, Saladin along with half of the Egyptian Ayyubid army and numerous non-combatants left Cairo for Syria. On the evening before he departed, he sat with his companions and the tutor of one of his sons quoted a line of poetry: "enjoy the scent of the ox-eye plant of Najd, for after this evening it will come no more." Saladin took this as an evil omen and he never saw Egypt again.[58] Knowing that Crusader forces were massed upon the frontier to intercept him, he took the desert route across the Sinai Peninsula to Ailah at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Meeting no opposition, Saladin ravaged the countryside of Montreal, whilst Baldwin's forces watched on, refusing to intervene.[59] He arrived in Damascus in June to learn that Farrukh-Shah had attacked the Galilee, sacking Daburiyya and capturing Habis Jaldek, a fortress of great importance to the Crusaders. In July, Saladin dispatched Farrukh-Shah to attack Kawkab al-Hawa. Later, in August, the Ayyubids launched a naval and ground assault to capture Beirut; Saladin led his army in the Bekaa Valley. The assault was leaning towards failure and Saladin abandoned the operation to focus on issues in Mesopotamia.

Kukbary, the emir of Harran, invited Saladin to occupy the Jazira region, making up northern Mesopotamia. He complied and the truce between him and the Zengids officially ended in September 1182.[61] Prior to his march to Jazira, tensions had grown between the Zengid rulers of the region, primarily concerning their unwillingness to pay deference to Mosul.[62] Before he crossed the Euphrates River, Saladin besieged Aleppo for three days, signaling that the truce was over.

Once he reached Bira, near the river, he was joined by Kukbary and Nur al-Din of Keyfa and the combined forces captured the cities of Jazira, one after the other. First, Edessa fell, followed by Saruj, then ar-Raqqah, Karkesiya and Nusaybin.[61] Ar-Raqqah was an important crossing point and held by Qutb al-Din Inal, who had lost Manbij to Saladin in 1176. Upon seeing the large size of Saladin's army, made little effort to resist and surrendered on the condition that he would retain his property. Saladin promptly impressed the inhabitants of the town by publishing a decree that ordered a number of taxes to be canceled and erased all mention of them from treasury records because "the most miserable rulers are those whose purses are fat and their people thin". From ar-Raqqah, he moved to conquer al-Fudain, al-Husain, Maksim, Durain, 'Araban, and Khabur—all of which swore allegiance to him.

Saladin proceeded to take Nusaybin which offered no resistance. A medium-sized town, Nusaybin was not of great importance, but it was located in a strategic position between Mardin and Mosul and within easy reach of Diyarbakir.[64] In the midst of these victories, Saladin received word that the Crusaders were raiding the villages of Damascus. He replied "Let them... whilst they knock down villages, we are taking cities; when we come back, we shall have all the more strength to fight them."[61] Meanwhile, in Aleppo, the emir of the city Zangi raided Saladin's cities to the north and east, such as Balis. Manbij, Saruj, Buza'a, al-Karzain. He also destroyed his own citadel at A'zaz to prevent it being used by the Ayyubids if they were to conquer it.

As Saladin approached Mosul, he faced the issue of taking over a large city and justifying the action.[65] The Zengids of Mosul appealed to al-Mustadi, the Abbasid caliph at Baghdad whose vizier favored them. An-Nasir sent Sheikh al-Shuyukh (a high-ranking religious figure) to mediate between the two sides. Saladin arrived at the city on November 10, 1182. Izz al-Din would not accept his terms because he considered them disingenuous and extensive, and Saladin immediately laid siege to the heavily-fortified city.

After several minor skirmishes and a stalemate in the siege that was initiated by the caliph, Saladin intended to find a way to withdraw from the siege without damage to his reputation while still keeping up some military pressure. He decided to attack Sinjar which was now held by Izz al-Din's brother Sharaf al-Din. It fell after a 15-day siege on December 30.[67] Saladin's commanders and soldiers broke their discipline, plundering the city; Saladin only managed to protect the governor and his officers by sending them to Mosul. After establishing a garrison at Sinjar, he awaited a coalition assembled by Izz al-Din consisting of his forces, those from Aleppo, Mardin, and Armenia.[68] Saladin and his army met the coalition at Harran in February 1183, but on hearing of his approach, the latter sent messengers to Saladin asking for peace. Each force returned to their cities and al-Fadil writes "They [Izz al-Din's coalition] advanced like men, like women they vanished."

On March 2, al-Adil from Egypt wrote to Saladin that the Crusaders had struck the "heart of Islam". Raynald de Chatillon had sent ships to from the Gulf of Aqaba to raid towns and villages off the coast of the Red Sea. It was not an attempt to extend the Crusader influence into that sea or to capture its trade routes, but merely a piratical move.[69] Nonetheless, Imad al-Din writes the raid was alarming to the Muslims because they were not accustomed to attacks on that sea and Ibn al-Athir adds that the inhabitants had no experience with the Crusaders either as fighters or traders.

Ibn Jubair was told that sixteen Muslim ships were burnt by the Crusaders who then captured a pilgrim ship and caravan at Aidab. He also reported they intended to attack Medina and remove Muhammad's body. Al-Maqrizi added to the rumor by claiming Muhammad's tomb was going to be relocated Crusader territory so Muslims would make pilgrimages there. Fortunately for Saladin, al-Adil had his warships moved from Fustat and Alexandria to the Red Sea under the command of an Armenian mercenary Lu'lu. They broke the Crusader blockade, destroyed most of their ships, and pursued and captured those who anchored and fled into the desert. The surviving Crusaders, numbered at 170, were ordered to be killed by Saladin in various Muslim cities.

From Saladin's own point of view, in terms of territory, the war against Mosul was going well, but he still failed to achieve his objectives and his army was shrinking; Taqi al-Din took his men back to Hama, while Nasir al-Din Muhammad and his forces had left. This encouraged Izz al-Din and his allies to take the offensive. The previous coalition regrouped at Harzam some 90 miles (145 km) from Harran. In early April, without waiting for Nasir al-Din, Saladin and Taqi al-Din commenced their advance against the coalition, marching eastward to Ras al-Ein unhindered. By late April, after three days of "actual fighting" according to Saladin, the Ayyubids had captured Amid. He handed the city Nur al-Din Muhammad together with its stores—which consisted of 80,000 candles, a tower full of arrowheads, and 1,040,000 books. In return for a diploma granting him the city, Nur al-Din swore allegiance to Saladin, promising to follow him in every expedition in the war against the Crusaders and repairing damage done to the city. The fall of Amid convinced Il-Ghazi of Mardin to enter the service of Saladin, weakening Izz al-Din's coalition.

However, Crusader counter-attacks provoked further responses by Saladin. Raynald of Chatillon, in particular, harassed Muslim trading and pilgrimage routes with a fleet on the Red Sea, a water route that Saladin needed to keep open. In response, Saladin built a fleet of 30 galleys to attack Beirut in 1182. Raynald threatened to attack the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. In retaliation, Saladin twice besieged Kerak, Raynald's fortress in Oultrejordain, in 1183 and 1184. Raynald responded by looting a caravan of pilgrims on the Hajj in 1185. According to the later thirteenth century Old French Continuation of William of Tyre, Raynald captured Saladin's sister in a raid on a caravan, although this claim is not attested in contemporary sources, Muslim or Frankish, rather stating that Raynald had attacked a preceding caravan, and Saladin set guards to ensure the safety of his sister and her son, who came to no harm.

Following the failure of his Kerak sieges, Saladin temporarily turned his attention back to another long-term project and resumed attacks on the territory of ˤIzz ad-Dīn (Masˤūd ibn Mawdūd ibn Zangi), around Mosul, which he had begun with some success in 1182. However, since then, Masˤūd had allied himself with the powerful governor of Azerbaijan and Jibal, who in 1185 began moving his troops across the Zagros Mountains, causing Saladin to hesitate in his attacks. The defenders of Mosul, when they became aware that help was on the way, increased their efforts, and Saladin subsequently fell ill, so in March 1186 a peace treaty was signed.

In July 1187 Saladin captured most of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. On July 4, 1187, he faced at the Battle of Hattin the combined forces of Guy of Lusignan, King Consort of Jerusalem and Raymond III of Tripoli. In this battle alone the Crusader army was largely annihilated by the motivated army of Saladin in what was a major disaster for the Crusaders and a turning point in the history of the Crusades. Saladin captured Raynald de Chatillon and was personally responsible for his execution in retaliation for his attacking Muslim caravans, who when in vain besought his mercy reciting the truce between the Muslims and Crusaders, he insulted their prophet Muhammad before murdering and torturing a number of them. Upon hearing this, Saladin swore an oath to personally execute Raynald.

Guy of Lusignan was also captured. Seeing the execution of Raynald, feared he would be next. But his life was spared by Saladin with the words;

It is not the wont of kings, to kill kings; but that man had transgressed all bounds, and therefore did I treat him thus.

Saladin had almost captured every Crusader city. Jerusalem capitulated to his forces on October 2, 1187 after a siege. Before the siege, Saladin had offered generous terms of surrender, which were rejected. After the siege had started, he was unwilling to promise terms of quarter to the Frankish inhabitants of Jerusalem until Balian of Ibelin threatened to kill every Muslim hostage, estimated at 5000, and to destroy Islam’s holy shrines of the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque if quarter was not given. Saladin consulted his council and these terms were accepted. Ransom was to be paid for each Frank in the city whether man, woman or child. Saladin allowed many to leave without having the required amount for ransom for others.[78][79] Though Saladin’s offer included the poor, several thousand apparently were not redeemed and probably were sold into slavery.

Tyre, on the coast of modern-day Lebanon was the last major Crusader city that was not captured by Muslim forces (strategically, it would have made more sense for Saladin to capture Tyre before Jerusalem--however, Saladin chose to pursue Jerusalem first because of the importance of the city to Islam). The city was now commanded by Conrad of Montferrat, who strengthened Tyre's defences and withstood two sieges by Saladin. In 1188, at Tortosa, Saladin released Guy of Lusignan and returned him to his wife, Queen Sibylla of Jerusalem. They went first to Tripoli, then to Antioch. In 1189, they sought to reclaim Tyre for their kingdom, but were refused admission by Conrad, who did not recognize Guy as king. Guy then set about besieging Acre.

Upon the capture of Jerusalem, Saladin summoned the Jews and permitted them to resettle in the city[81] in particular the Jews of Ashkelon which was a large Jewish settlement responded to his request.

It is equally true that his generosity, his piety, devoid of fanaticism, that flower of liberality and courtesy which had been the model of our old chroniclers, won him no less popularity in Frankish Syria than in the lands of Islam.
—René Grousset (writer)

Hattin and the fall of Jerusalem prompted the Third Crusade, financed in England by a special "Saladin tithe". Richard I of England led Guy's siege of Acre, conquered the city and executed 3000 Muslim prisoners including women and children.[84] Saladin retaliated by killing all Franks captured from August 28 - September 10. Bahā' ad-Dīn writes, "Whilst we were there they brought two Franks to the Sultan (Saladin) who had been made prisoners by the advance guard. He had them beheaded on the spot."

The armies of Saladin engaged in combat with the army of King Richard I of England at the Battle of Arsuf on September 7, 1191, at which Saladin was defeated. All attempts made by Richard the Lionheart to re-take Jerusalem failed. However, Saladin's relationship with Richard was one of chivalrous mutual respect as well as military rivalry. When Richard became ill with fever, Saladin offered the services of his personal physician. Saladin also sent him fresh fruit with snow, to chill the drink, as treatment. At Arsuf, when Richard lost his horse, Saladin sent him two replacements. Richard suggested to Saladin that Palestine, Christian and Muslim, could be united through the marriage of his sister Joan of England, Queen of Sicily to Saladin's brother, and that Jerusalem could be their wedding gift.[citation needed] However, the two men never met face to face and communication was either written or by messenger.

As leaders of their respective factions, the two men came to an agreement in the Treaty of Ramla in 1192, whereby Jerusalem would remain in Muslim hands but would be open to Christian pilgrimages. The treaty reduced the Latin Kingdom to a strip along the coast from Tyre to Jaffa. This treaty was supposed to last three years.

Saladin died of a fever on March 4, 1193, at Damascus, not long after Richard's departure. Since Saladin had given most of his money away for charity when they opened his treasury, they found there was not enough money to pay for his funeral.[86] And so Saladin was buried in a magnificent mausoleum in the garden outside the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria. Seven centuries later, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany donated a new marble sarcophagus to the mausoleum. Saladin was, however, not placed in it. Instead the mausoleum, which is open to visitors, now has two sarcophagi: one empty in marble and the original in which Saladin is placed, made of wood. The reason why he was not placed in the tomb would most likely to have been as a result of respect, and not to disturb Saladin's body.
The tomb of Saladin near the northwestern corner of the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus, Syria.

His fierce struggle against the crusaders was where Saladin achieved a great reputation in Europe as a chivalrous knight, so much so that there existed by the fourteenth century an epic poem about his exploits. Saladin appears in a sympathetic light in Sir Walter Scott's The Talisman (1825). Despite the Crusaders' slaughter when they originally conquered Jerusalem in 1099, Saladin granted amnesty and free passage to all common Catholics and even to the defeated Christian army, as long as they were able to pay the aforementioned ransom (the Greek Orthodox Christians were treated even better, because they often opposed the western Crusaders). An interesting view of Saladin and the world in which he lived is provided by Tariq Ali's novel The Book of Saladin.

Notwithstanding the differences in beliefs, the Muslim Saladin was respected by Christian lords, Richard especially. Richard once praised Saladin as a great prince, saying that he was without doubt the greatest and most powerful leader in the Islamic world.[88] Saladin in turn stated that there was not a more honorable Christian lord than Richard. After the treaty, Saladin and Richard sent each other many gifts as tokens of respect, but never met face to face again.

In April 1191, a Frankish woman's three month old baby had been stolen from her camp and had been sold on the market. The Franks urged her to approach Saladin herself with her grievance. After Saladin used his own money to buy the child, "he gave it to the mother and she took it; with tears streaming down her face, and hugged it to her breast. The people were watching her and weeping and I (Ibn Shaddad) was standing amongst them. She suckled it for some time and then Saladin ordered a horse to be fetched for her and she went back to camp."

A Knight without fear or blame who often had to teach his opponents the right way to practice chivalry.

—An inscription written by Kaiser Wilhelm II on a wreath he lay on Saladin's Tomb.

The name Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn means "Righteousness of Faith", and through the ages Saladin has been an inspiration for Muslims in many respects. Modern Muslim rulers have sought to commemorate Saladin through various measures. A governorate centered around Tikrit and Samarra in modern-day Iraq, Salah ad Din Governorate, is named after him, as is Salahaddin University in Arbil. A suburb community of Arbil, Masif Salahaddin, is also named after him.

Few structures associated with Saladin survive within modern cities. Saladin first fortified the Citadel of Cairo (1175 - 1183), which had been a domed pleasure pavilion with a fine view in more peaceful times. In Syria, even the smallest city is centred on a defensible citadel, and Saladin introduced this essential feature to Egypt.

Among the forts he built was Qalaat al-Gindi, a mountaintop fortress and caravanserai in the Sinai. The fortress overlooks a large wadi which was the convergence of several caravan routes that linked Egypt and the Middle East. Inside the structure are a number of large vaulted rooms hewn out of rock, including the remains of shops and a water cistern. A notable archaeological site, it was investigated in 1909 by a French team under Jules Barthoux.

- Although the Ayyubid dynasty he founded would only outlive him by fifty-seven years, the legacy of Saladin within the Arab World continues to this day. With the rise of Arab nationalism in the Twentieth Century, particularly with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Saladin's heroism and leadership gained a new significance. Saladin's liberation of Palestine from the European Crusaders was taken as the inspiration for the modern-day Arabs' struggle against Zionism. Moreover, the glory and comparative unity of the Arab World under Saladin was seen as the perfect symbol for the new unity sought by Arab nationalists, such as Gamal Abdel Nasser. For this reason, the Eagle of Saladin became the symbol of revolutionary Egypt, and was subsequently adopted by several other Arab states (Iraq, Palestine, and Yemen).

In 1963 an Egyptian film about Saladin was directed by Youssef Chahine and was released, titled Al Nasser Salah Ad-Din. In the 1965 Doctor Who serial The Crusade he was played by Bernard Kay. 2005's Kingdom of Heaven, directed by Ridley Scott, has Saladin portrayed by Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud. In the 2007 Swedish film Arn – The Knight Templar (Arn – Tempelriddaren), Saladin is portrayed by the British Asian actor and supermodel Milind Soman. An animated television series based on Saladin, entitled Saladin: The Animated Series, has been produced in Malaysia and will begin airing in 2009. The crusades from the point of view of Saladin and the Saracens is one of the campaigns in the computer game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings.