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warlike and watchful enemies, ready to imprcre the first opportunity for their destruction. Yet at this time, under the leadership of a man of even ordinary capacity, order might have been restored, and the Christian rule perpetuated in the Holy Land. But this opportunity for consolidating their power was soon lost; for, in 1186, the throne was usurped by Guy of Lusignan, who had many enemies, and at least one powerful rival. Among the petty rulers at this time were Count Raymond of Tripolis, and Raynald of Chatillon, Lord of Kerak and other castles, and who had associated with him a large number of Knights Templars. Raymond was a bitter enemy and rival of the king, and had even entered into negotiations with Saladin, and received aid from him. Notwithstanding the situation among the Franks* was such as to invite attack, a truce had been concluded with the Sultan, which might have been followed by a period of repose. But this peace was soon terminated, and that too by the Christians; for the reckless Raynald of Kerak, disregarding the compact with the Sultan, fell upon and plundered a large caravan of merchants passing from Damascus to Arabia, imprisoning the women and children, and massacreing many of the men. Enraged at this, Saladin swore a solemn oath to put Rayn death with his own hands, should he ever get him into his power; and immediately commenced making immense preparations for avenging this brcach of faith on the part of the Franks; and in response to his call hosts of the swarthy and fierce warriors of
* A general name applied to Europeans by the Turks.
the Crescent were soon assembled at Damascus from all parts of the empire.
BATTLE OF HATTIN-MASSACRE OF THE KNIGHTS TEM
Mount HATTIN, on the slopes of which the great battle was fought, is sixty-five miles north-by-eåst from Jerusalem, and twenty-four miles east-south east of Acre; and is nearly on a line between Tabor and Ilermon.
The dire intelligence of the preparations of Saladin for war, soon reached the Christian princes, and induced them to cease their strife, and unite at once for mutual defence. They established their rendezvous at the fountain of Sefûrieh, fifteen miles south-east of Acre, where were soon assembled the most chivalric host which had ever fought against the Saracens in the Holy Land. The Hospitalers and Templars came with many troops from their castles; Raymond, with his forces from Tiberias and Tripolis; Raynald, with a train of knights from Kerak and Shobek; other barons from Sidon, Antioch, and Cesarea, and the king from Jerusalem, with a host of knights and hired troops, altogether making an army of over 50,000 men.
The position chosen by the Christians was a good one, and had water and other resources in abundance. They were also inspired by the presence of the Holy Cross, which had been bronght from Jerusalem by the Bishops of Ptolemaïs and Lydda. Thus prepared, the army waited the approach of the Saraceng for over a month, when suddenly the hosts of Saladin appeared on the west side of the Jordan, swooped around the northern end of Lake Tiberias, and thence, southerly, down its west side to the heights north of the village of Tiberias; where they encamped, in the hope of drawing the Franks from their position. Light detachments had preceded the main army; these penetrated to the neighborhood of Nazareth-to Jezreel, and Mount Gilboa, laying waste the land with fire and sword. Upon finding that the Franks did not advance, Saladin sent a detachment of light troops and took possession of Tiberias, the residence of Count Raymond, whose wife, with her children, retired to the castle. On the 3d of July, intelligence of the capture of Tiberias reached the Christian camp. The king immediately called a council of war, to decide upon the measnres to be pursued. At first a large majority were for marching at once for the deliverance of Tiberias; but Raymond, although of all others personally the most interested, advised to remain where they were, fortify their camp, and act on the defensive; as experience had taught him that the Fabian policy was the most successful against Saladin. Here, in their fortified position, with abundance of resources of all kinds, they had every reason to hope for complete success against the attacks of the undisciplined hordes of the Sultan; but if they marched on Tiberias, they would expose themselves to constant attacks of myriads of Saracenic cavalry, in a region without water, under the burning heat of summer, where, harassed and exhausted, their retreat might be cut off. This advice was unanimously approved by the king,