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KA

OF THE

UNIVER 14

W

OF

CALIFOR

the Crescent were soon assembled at Damascus from all parts of the empire.

BATTLE OF HATTIN-MASSACRE OF THE KNIGHTS TEM

PLARS.

MOUNT HATTIN, on the slopes of which the great battle was fought, is sixty-five miles north-by-east from Jerusalem, and twenty-four miles east-south east of Acre; and is nearly on a line between Tabor and IIermon.

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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 Sefûrich, 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 Shõbek; 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.

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The position chosen by the Christians was a good and had water and other resources in abundance. They were also inspired by the presence of the Holy Cross, which had been brought from Jerusalem by the Bishops of Ptolemaïs and Lydda. Thus prepared, the army waited the approach of the Saracens 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 measures 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,

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