Thread Reader
Aristocratic Fury

Aristocratic Fury

Nov 25
16 tweets

25 November is anniversary of the battle of Montgisard fought in 1177. Crusaders managed to achieve a very important victory. Led by 16-year-old King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, the forces of Kingdom of Jerusalem and Templars defeated a large Muslim army led by the famed Saladin.

This battle happened following Saladin's invasion of Kingdom of Jerusalem. He attacked at the time when this crusader state was particularly vulnerable and poorly defended. But he would ultimately make a mistake that would lead to disastrous defeat.
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was at that time led by 16-year-old King Baldwin IV who suffered from leprosy and was nicknamed "the Leper". Despite this sickness and having use of only one hand, Baldwin IV personally commanded troops and participated in fighting.
Baldwin IV also planned to take the war to Saladin by invading Egypt. In 1177 Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders, arrived to the Holy Land. Together with the help of the Byzantines, the crusaders were supposed to invade Egypt in an ambitious plan.
But ultimately the plan failed and Philip decided to join the expedition of Raymond III of Tripoli to besiege the fortress of Hama in Syria. Many crusaders from the Kingdom of Jerusalem joined him which left the crusader territories poorly guarded. This lured Saladin to invade.
Saladin assembled a large army for his invasion. He saw an opportunity due to so many of enemy forces joining the crusading in the north. Destroying the Kingdom of Jerusalem for good was a possibility. Meanwhile Baldwin IV left Jerusalem and headed to Ascalon with his knights.
Saladin's army numbered around 21-26,000 men. It seemed too large of an army for the depleted crusaders to deal with and they avoided confrontation. Saladin also didn't expect an attack and let his men pillage and raid the enemy territory, spreading his army over a large area.
But by doing this Saladin made a crucial mistake and gave his enemies an opportunity for one desperate attempt to attack him. With Saladin's army spread out and disorganized, the crusaders decided to try and force a battle, sensing that this was their best chance.
The Leper King Baldwin IV left Ascalon and marched along by the seashore. He was joined by the Templars from Gaza led by grand master Odo of St Amand. They finally caught Saladin and his disorganized army near a hill called Montgisard where a fierce battle would soon ensue.
The crusader force numbered 375 knights, 80 Templars and a few thousand infantrymen, archers and turcopoles. Despite their small numbers, they saw a good opportunity against scattered Saladin's army that struggled to get into formation and was in disarray.
The crusaders were highly motivated for this battle. They brought with them the relic of the True Cross. King Baldwin IV, who was weakened from leprosy, was helped from his horse and dropped to his knees before the cross, praying in front of his army to inspire his men.
The crusaders took the aggressive approach, trying to inflict maximum possible damage to the Muslim army before it assembled together in a proper formation. In this they were successful as they managed to break the Muslim lines. Baldwin himself was in the thick of fighting!
The heavy cavalry of the crusaders consisting of crusader knights and Templars proved devastating! Saladin's personal bodyguard fought bravely but could not resist the onslaught either. Saladin was forced to flee on a racing camel to save his life.
A further disadvantage for the Muslims was that their forces were tired from plundering and campaigning. Many were cut down trying to flee. Crusaders viciously pursued the fleeing defeated soldiers and Saladin's army was badly battered, suffering huge casualties.
This defeat badly damaged Saladin's reputation. But he would learn from his mistakes and return. Meanwhile the victory was of existential importance for Kingdom of Jerusalem and ensured its survival. The courage of the young Leper King Baldwin IV was greatly praised!
If you're interested in Saladin and how he developed his tactics I suggest you the book from friend @Byzantine Emporia !…
Byzantine Emporia

Byzantine Emporia

The full version of 'Saladin the Strategist' is finally out! Ten detailed topographic maps have been added (here is the battlefield of Hattin). It will go up to full price in a few days, get it now if you haven't already! Link:
Aristocratic Fury

Aristocratic Fury

Knights, mercenaries and ancient battles. Exploring the culture of warrior aristocracy and bringing the history of middle ages and renaissance back to life!
Follow on Twitter
Missing some tweets in this thread? Or failed to load images or videos? You can try to .