You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

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

2. The Rise of Saladin, 1168-86

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we trace the rise of Saladin from the death of Shirkuh in 1168 to the brink of the Siege of Jerusalem in 1187, focusing in particular on: (i) Saladin's background, his early life, his service in Egypt under Shirkuh, and his elevation to commander of Nur ad-Din's forces in Egypt following the death of Shirkuh in 1168; (ii) Saladin's unwillingness to do what Nur ad-Din wanted (a concerted attack on the Kingdom of the Jerusalem) and the potential reasons for Saladin's refusal; (iii) Saladin's consolidation of power in Egypt, including his purge and reform of the army, his abolition of the Shia Muslim caliphate, and his strengthening of the region's revenues; (iv) the response of Saladin to the death of Nur ad-Din in 1174, including his acquisition of Damascus, the territories belonging to Nur ad-Din's heirs, and the cities of Aleppo (1183) and Mosul (1186); (v) Saladin's defeat at the Battle of Montgisard (1177); (vi) Saladin's position in 1186, and his (as yet unfulfilled) promise that he would lead a great jihad against the Franks; and (vii) Saladin's personality, in particular the question of whether he was genuinely committed to jihad, or whether his apparent commitment to jihad was a cover for more material aims.


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 - The Rise of Saladin, 1168-86 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Morton, N. "The Crusader States and the Fall of Jerusalem, c.1160-87 – The Rise of Saladin, 1168-86." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

Image Credits