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The Crusader States and the Fall of Jerusalem, c.1160-87

1. Nur al-Din and the Struggle for Egypt, 1149-68

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About this Lecture


In this module, we trace events from the end of the Second Crusade to Nur ad-Din's conquest of Egypt in 1168, focusing in particular on: (i) the strength of each of the three remaining Crusader States at this point: the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch and the County of Tripoli; (ii) the death of Zengi in 1146, and the rise of Nur ad-Din, including his victory at the Battle of Inab (1149) and his conquest of Damascus (1154); (iii) the weakness of the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt in the 1160s, and the attempts by various factions to place their preferred candidate in the position of Vizier; (iv) the events of 1163: the decision of Fatimid Egypt to stop paying tribute to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Amalric's campaign against the Fatimids, and the reestablishment of tribute payments; (v) Nur ad-Din's support in establishing Shawar as Vizier of Egypt, Shawar's betrayal of Nur ad-Din, Shawar's appeal to Amalric I of Jerusalem, and the driving out of Nur ad-Din's forces from Egypt; (vi) the events of 1167: Nur ad-Din's campaign against Fatimid Egypt, the role of Shirkuh, the capture of Alexandria by Shirkuh, its recapture by the Franks, the withdrawal of Shirkuh from Egypt, and the highly advantageous (for Jerusalem) peace treaty concluded by the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Fatimid Egypt; (viii) the events of 1168: Amalric's breaking of the treaty with Fatimid Egypt and his reasons for doing this; the arrival of Shirkuh with a relief army, his taking of power in Egypt and the retreat of the Franks; and (ix) Nur ad-DIn's powerful position at this time, controlling the cities of Aleppo, Damascus and Cairo, and his failure to conduct a decisive strike against the Kingdom of Jerusalem.


In this course, Dr Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent University) explores events in the Holy Land between the end of the Second Crusade and the fall of Jerusalem in 1187. In the first module, we focus on the Turkish commander Nur al-Din, one of the most brilliant generals the Crusaders will ever face, and the struggle for Fatimid Egypt. After that, we think about the rise of Saladin, his conflict with Nur al-Din, and his capture of almost all of Nur al-Din's territories in the 1170s and 1180s. In the third module, we set the stage for the major confrontation between Saladin and the Kingdom of Jerusalem by thinking about the various factors that made Jerusalem particularly weak in this period, before turning in the fourth module to the Battle of Hattin, the fall of Jerusalem, and the launch of the Third Crusade.


Dr Nicholas Morton is a specialist in the history of crusading and the Medieval Mediterranean between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. More recently he has begun to focus specifically upon the theme of inter-faith relations between Christianity and Islam in this region. He has published extensively on topics connected to this subject area, writing a range of monographs and scholarly articles. He is also an editor for the Ashgate series Rulers of the Latin East.

Currently Dr Morton is completing a monograph exploring the First Crusaders' attitudes and behaviour towards the various non-Christian peoples they encountered during their campaign. This will be a highly revisionist work addressing many key scholarly and public orthodoxies surrounding the nature of Christian/Islamic interaction during the crusade.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Morton, N. (2018, August 15). The Crusader States and the Fall of Jerusalem, c.1160-87 - Nur al-Din and the Struggle for Egypt, 1149-68 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Morton, N. "The Crusader States and the Fall of Jerusalem, c.1160-87 – Nur al-Din and the Struggle for Egypt, 1149-68." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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