Page 1371

1371 THE CRUSADES-FALL OF THE CROSS.

himself, and a host of nobles and knights were

made prisoners. The scene that ensued well

illustrates the spirit and temper of the crusading epoch and the character of war and

victory in the twelfth century.

Hardly had the dust and noise of the battle passed when the captives were led into the

presence of Saladin. With a smile the great

Islamite received the trembling king, and after

the manner of the East tendered him a cup

of cold water. Moved either by fear of poison

or by the desire to include another with

himself in the friendly act, he of Lusignan accepted the cup, but passed it to Chatillon.

Thereupon the rage of Saladin shot up like a

flame. He declared that so far from Reginald's

sharing his clemency he should then and there

embrace Mohammedanism or die like a dog.

It was the Christian robber's time to show his

mettle. He haughtily spurned the condition

of escape by apostasy. Thereupon the sultan

drew his cimeter and with one blow struck off

his head.

It appears that Saladin rightly appreciated

the character of the Templars and Hospitallers.

While he was all courtesy to the king-poltroon as he was-he was all severity towards

the Knights. To them he now presented the

same alternative which he had put before the

audacious Reginald. Not a man of them

blanched in the presence of his fate. They

could die, but apostatize never. Their vows

of knighthood and loyalty to the Cross were

stronger than all the bonds of kindred, all the

ties of affection, all the hopes of mortality.

To them the Prophet was Antichrist, and his

religion the gateway to hell. The two hundred and thirty captive Knights stood fast in

their integrity, and were all beheaded.

The battle of Tiberias shook the kingdom

to its center. Nearly all the fortresses had

been emptied of their garrisons to make

up the inadequate army which had met its

fate in the North. Saladin was in no wise

disposed to rest on a single victory. Tiberias

itself fell into his hands and then Cesarea,

Acre, Jaffa, and Beyrut went down in succession. Tyre was for the present saved from

capture by the heroic defense made by her

inhabitants, led by the son of the captive

Marquis of Montferrat.

Finding himself delayed by the obstinacy

of the Tyrians, Saladin abandoned the siege

and pressed on to Jerusalem. Sad was the plight of the city. Fugitives from all parts

of Palestine had gathered within the walls,

but there was no sense of safety. The queen

was unable to conceal her own trepidation, to

say nothing of the defense of her capital; and

when the enemy encamped before the walls

there were already meanings of despair within.

None the less, there was a show of defense.

The summons of the sultan to surrender was

met with a defiant refusal. The garrison

made several furious sallies, and fourteen days

elapsed before the Turks could bring their

engines against the ramparts. Then, however, the courage of the besieged gave way

and they sought to capitulate. But Saladin

was now enraged, and swore by the Prophet

that the stains of that atrocious butchery

of the Faithful, done by the ancestors of

the then Christian dogs in the City of David,

should now be washed out with their own

impure blood. At first he seemed as relentless as a pagan in his rage; but with the subsidence of his passion he fell into a more

humane mood, and when the Christians

humbly put themselves at his mercy, he dictated terms less savage than his conquered

foes had reason to expect. None of the inhabitants of Jerusalem should be slaughtered.

The queen, with her household, nobles,

and knights, should be conveyed in safety

to Tyre. The common people of the city

should become slaves, but might be ransomed at the rate of. ten crowns of gold

for each man; five, for each woman; one, for

each child. Eagerly did the vanquished submit, and the Crescent was raised above the

Holy City.

Thus, in 1187, fell Jerusalem. The fierce

nature of Saladin relaxed under the influence of his victory, and he began more fully

than before to manifest that magnanimity

of which he was capable. By the concurrent testimony of the Christian and Mohammedan writers, his conduct was such as

to merit the eulogies which posterity has

so freely bestowed. It appears that no drop

of blood was shed after the capitulation. Instead of butchering ten thousand of the inhabitants within ^he precincts of the Temple

as the Crusaders had done in 1099, he spared

all who submitted. The frightened queen

was treated with consideration. As she and

her train withdrew through the gates of the

city, weeping after the manner of women