Battle_of_Hattin_Essay - Hist 2321 Professor Strauss...

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Hist 2321 Professor Strauss 10/6/08 The Effects of Morale and Leadership on the Battle of Hattin “In the year of the Lord's incarnation 1187, the King of Syria [Saladin] gathered together an army as numerous as the sands of the seashore in order to wage war on the land of Juda.” 1 This excerpt from “De Expugatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum” describes the deployment of Saladin and his forces shortly before the famous battle of Hattin in 1187, a battle which is said to have heralded the end of the Crusader states. The importance of the Crusader troops’ condition during the battle and the tactics that Saladin took to break their spirit have been greatly stressed. Although the course of the battle did in some ways affect the morale of both the Muslim and Crusader troops, at the end of the day the soldiers in the two armies seem to have remained, for the most part, as they did before the fighting commenced. Therefore, the failure of the Crusaders at the battle of Hattin was caused more by the disunity and collapse of leadership than any slight change in morale amongst the troops. The Muslim army under Saladin that marched out against the army of Jerusalem could have been described as being in rather high spirits. The knowledge that they outnumbered their enemy must have bolstered their morale as they felt comfortable in the presence of great numbers. 2 In addition to great numbers, the Muslim army would be fighting on terrain they were accustomed to and where their hit and run tactics could work effectively. Their comfort with the terrain and the minute exposure to danger that their tactics allowed for would have put the common Muslim soldier at ease just before the battle. The Muslim army had, shortly before setting out against the Army of Jerusalem, just captured all but the citadel of the crusader city of Tiberias. Marching out 1 translated by James Brundage, “De Expugatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum: The Battle of Hattin, 1187,” Medieval Sourcebook, 2 edited and translated by Peter W. Edbury, “The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade: Sources in Translation,” Crusader texts in Translation,
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into battle with a victory at their back the troops would feel confident of their abilities to overcome the Crusader troops, highly invigorated to have a repeat victory. Quite possibly one of the most influential factors on the spirits of the Muslim troops as compared to their Crusader counterparts was the Muslim situation regarding supplies. The Muslim troops throughout their entire campaign had secured water holes and made sure their army was continuously hydrated. 3
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This essay was uploaded on 02/01/2009 for the course HIST 2321 taught by Professor Strauss during the Fall '08 term at Cornell.

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Battle_of_Hattin_Essay - Hist 2321 Professor Strauss...

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