October 2, 1187 – Jerusalem fell to Saladin.

This was the culmination of Saladin’s extensive invasion of the Kingdom of Jerusalem after his great victory at the Battle of Hattin months earlier.

The Holy City was nearly empty of soldiers and was mostly defended by women, youths, children, the sick, and the elderly. Nevertheless, these people but up a heroic defense, prepared to die rather than let the city fall. They were led by a knight of great virtue, Balian de Ibelin.

Although his army was enormous, Saladin had difficulty taking the city. Balian eventually negotiated a surrender, managing to ransom the lives of many of the city’s inhabitants. Balian offered himself as a hostage if only Saladin would release those who were too poor to pay their ransom, but Saladin refused.

Unfortunately, several thousand women and children were taken into slavery by Saladin’s army, as described by Saladin’s servant and biographer Imad ad-Din in his account of the event. Nevertheless, Balian’s efforts spared many from this wretched fate. Jerusalem’s fall would rouse the whole of Latin Christendom, and result in the calling of the Third Crusade.

The feature film “Kingdom of Heaven” was not particularly accurate, but it was an attempt to capture some historical events. the Director’s Cut is a completely different movie and is excellent – one of my favorite movies ever despite the inaccuracies.

5 COMMENTS

  1. “KOH” is a good movie, both the original and the director’s cut. Some of the best actual sword and shield fighting since “The Warlord” with Charlton Heston.

    As to Jerusalem, sad Jerusalem, oh how much better the world would have been if we’d have been able to hold it. Dammit. And the defense is the perfect example of the role of the weak in a defensive situation. They almost handed Saladin his ass. Almost. Sooooo close. Soooo very close.

    And then the vaunted Richard the Lionhearted couldn’t take the city. What a putz.

  2. Yes the director’s cut was significantly better.
    However, as to historical accuracy…there may have been a history book somewhere in the building in which the script was written. That’s pretty close by Hollywood standards.

  3. Still a great movie. One of my take-aways:

    “A King may move a man, a father may claim a son, but remember that even when those who move you be Kings, or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God, you cannot say, “But I was told by others to do thus.” Or that, “Virtue was not convenient at the time.” This will not suffice. Remember that.”

    We are witnessing the direct defiance of this wisdom with every putz characterless politician who operates as if they are special…all of them have sold their souls thinking they can escape ultimate judgement. There will be a reckoning, albeit likely not in this earth.

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