This reading serves to highlight the cultural, religious and societal outlooks of the people of Jerusalem during a time of intense battle against the armies of Saladin in the 12th century. It covers the lives of the people living in Jerusalem during this time. Providing an outlook at a governmental body which existed during that time and the relationship it enjoyed with its citizens. It particularly shows the differences between the hierarchies which were prevalent and the economic woes of ordinary citizens as well as providing an outlook into the culture, rule of law and the rights enjoyed by everyday citizens.
It further goes on to give a glimpse into the technology of the time and the economic system which governed this land. This selection is noteworthy since it chronicles the extraordinary victory of Saladin’s forces over Jerusalem which had been under the rule of the Christians for 89 years. It provides an insight into the relationships and outlooks of the Christians at the time towards the Muslim. How they truly misunderstood their religion and their motives and saw them as savages.
The eventual change in perceptions of the Islamic religion by the Christians was as a direct result of this victory. It was a tremendous influence on western perceptions of Muslims at the time. The relations between the two religious forces eventually led to a peace treaty being made between Saladin and Richard during the Third Crusade. It is shocking however, to see how prone to violence this culture and civilization is in order to meet their goals.
Not only that there is also a blatant economic disparity between those in power and ordinary citizens. It comes to a point where when Saladin offers the freedom of these individuals for a mere pittance. The ordinary citizens cannot even afford it, while those in power seem to have wealth in excess, enough to offer a hundred Besants for each soldier to lay down their lives but refusing to do when the time came for them to pay their ransom. This event is so reminiscent of life in today’s society.
It not only shows how the politics of the time served to keep the rich and powerful above those lower in status much like today. It also shows how the misconceptions of the Christian people towards the Islamic Religion lead to several conflicts between them. My personal fascination with this culture and civilization is not only due to the detailed tactics which governed the battle or the intricate politics which seem so pervasive in that society. Rather, I enjoyed reading the perceptions of an ordinary Christian who lived as a citizen in the city of Jerusalem.
It’s quite incredible that these citizens despite knowing the corruption and greed emphasized by their rulers continued to support their rule simply because of their enmity against the Muslims. They are not even willing to consider that their conquerors may offer them a better life under their rule. It truly shows the public opinion towards Islam at the time and how they perceived it as being against God. Despite its riveting account the selection does raise one concern, regarding how the material is presented.
It seems that the way the battle is written has a bias against the cause of the Muslim forces. Thus, the reading does not provide an impartial perspective on this conflict and is thoroughly one sided. References Stevenson, J. , & Brundage, J. (1997). Medieval Sourcebook:De Expugatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum: The Capture of Jerusalem by Saladin, 1187. Retrieved June 15, 2009, from Fordham University: http://www. fordham. edu/halsall/source/1187saladin. html
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