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
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
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