Drama Movie

Arn: Tempelriddaren About the attack in the second half of the movie

The Battle of Mongissa broke out on November 25, 1177, with the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Saladin as the two warring parties. King Baldwin IV of the Kingdom of Jerusalem[1], then 16 years old and suffering from leprosy, led the Christian army to defeat Saladin by a small margin, while the Islamic side suffered huge losses, with only a small number escaping.

Comparison of forces Kingdom of Jerusalem army: 375 knights, 80 Templars, several thousand infantry Saladin: about 30,000 men.

Background In 1177, the Kingdom of Jerusalem faced a crisis on the heir side. Baldwin IV suffered from leprosy and had no offspring. His sister Sibylla[2]’s husband William of Montferrat died of illness, leaving Sibylla a widow but pregnant with a surviving son, and the nobles of the kingdom tried to find her another husband. At this time, Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders, went on a pilgrimage to the Holy City, and he suggested that Sibylla marry one of his bannermen. But the members of the High Council of the Kingdom, led by Baldwin of Ibelin[3], feared that Philip would use this to achieve his goal of controlling the kingdom of Jerusalem, so they turned down Philip’s request. In addition, Philip and Baldwin IV also planned to unite with the Byzantine kingdom to attack Egypt (i.e. Saladin) by sea, but the plan was also unsuccessful. Philip diverted to the Principality of Anjouk.

Meanwhile, Saladin planned to attack the Kingdom of Jerusalem from Egypt. According to William of Tyre, after being informed of Saladin’s plan, Baldwin IV led some 375 knights to try to strengthen the defense of Ascalon, but was stopped there by a detachment of Saladin; and according to William of Tyre, Saladin’s army consisted of 26,000 men. Baldwin IV was accompanied by Raynald of Chatillon, lord of Oultrejordain, who had just been released from Aleppo in 1176 [4]. Raynald was a sworn enemy of Saladin, and because Baldwin IV was seriously ill at the time, he was unable to take command himself, and Raynald effectively led the army on behalf of the king. Also in the army at this time were Odo de St Amand, Grand Master of the Templars, Baldwin of Ibelin, Baldwin of Ibelin’s brother Balian [5], Reginald of Sidon, and Joscelin III of Edzaber. Another Templar army attempted to turn with the king at Ascalon, but was besieged in Gaza.

The course of the battle.Saladin thought that Baldwin IV would not dare to track him down with such a force, so he marched on Jerusalem as planned and attacked Ramallah, Lydda and Assufa. But he made a fatal mistake: he thought that the army of Jerusalem was not a threat, so he spread his forces over a large area to plunder it. But unbeknownst to Saladin, the detachment he had sent to intercept the army of the Kingdom of Jerusalem had not completed its mission, and Baldwin IV’s troops and the Templars were preparing to intercept Saladin’s army midway before it reached Jerusalem.

The Christian army, led by the king, followed the Muslim army along the coast and eventually caught up with it at Monjisa, near Ramallah, to Saladin’s amazement. Saladin’s army was very sleepy after the long march, and the formations were in disarray, and in panic, they hastily formed several lines. The Christian army was silent, and Baldwin IV ordered the erection of the “True Cross”[6] in front of the line, and the king was served to dismount and kneel down before the cross, where he prayed to God for victory and encouraged his army. While Saladin’s army was hastily getting ready, Baldwin had already started his charge with his army.

The army of the Kingdom of Jerusalem quickly charged into the hastily prepared Muslim army, inflicting huge casualties on each other. The king, wrapped in bandages to cover his leprosy wounds, was in the middle of the battle. Saladin’s army was quickly overwhelmed and scattered, but had difficulty escaping the Christian army, and Saladin was able to escape only with a very powerful camel.

Baldwin IV won a great victory by completely destroying the invading Muslim army, capturing Saladin’s provisions, and killing Saladin’s nephew, Ahmad, son of Taqi ad-Din.

Baldwin IV pursued until dusk, and then returned to Ascalon. After being pelted by heavy rain for ten full days and attacked by Bedouins on the way, Saladin fled back to Egypt. Saladin lost almost 90% of his troops, as well as his Mamluk slave close cavalry, and only 10% of his men returned to Egypt with him.

Consequences Saladin, fearing a blow to the alliance between Egypt and the Syrian dependency, spread the word that the Christian army was the actual loser. Baldwin IV did the same in his own favor: on the battlefield of Mongissa, he built a Benedictine monastery in honor of St. Catherine of Alexandria, since November 25 is the anniversary of St. Catherine. But, on the side of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the victory was also based on great casualties. Roger des Moulins, Grand Master of the Hospital Knights [7], reported 1,100 killed and 750 wounded.

Meanwhile, Raymond III of Tripoli[8] and Bohemund III of the Principality of Anjouk joined Philip of Alsace in the conquest of Harim in Syria, the siege of which lasted until 1178. And Saladin’s defeat at Mongissa prevented him from helping to lift the siege of Syria. The relative peace lasted only a year, and in 1179 Saladin began another attack on the kingdom of Jerusalem and won the battle of Marj Ayyun that year. The Battle of Mongissa marked the beginning of a decade-long state of war between the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Saladin, which culminated in the Battle of Hardin in 1187. Like the Battle of Tannenberg for the Teutonic Knights, the Battle of Harding was a turning point for the Templars from strength to strength.

1. Baldwin IV, the King Baldwin played by Edward Norton in the Kingdom of Heaven dynasty.

2. Sibylla, the princess Sibylla, played by Eva Green in Dynasty of Heaven.

3. Baldwin of Ibelin, the brother of Balian of Ibelin. The love between Balian of Ibelin and Sibylla in Dynasty of Heaven actually takes place between Baldwin of Ibelin and Sibylla.

4. Raynald of Chatillon, the Reynald de Chatillon of the Kingdom of Heaven, was not as reckless and ignorant as reflected in the Kingdom of Heaven, judging from his successful command of the army of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

5. Balian, the blacksmith played by Orlando Bloom in the Kingdom of Heaven. In actual history, however, Balian of Ibelin was the son of Barisan of Ibelin (i.e. Godfrey de Ibelin, played by Liam Neeson in Dynasty of Heaven). He also fought in the Battle of Hardin and commanded the battle of Jerusalem.

6. The True Cross. According to Christian history, the True Cross is the cross on which Jesus was crucified and is a Christian relic; it was captured by Saladin at the Battle of Hardin in 1187 and disappeared, but pieces of it were found after the Fourth Crusade in 1204, when the Crusaders captured Constantinople.

7. Roger des Moulins. This man took part in the Battle of Harding in 1187 and was killed in that battle.

8. Raymond III of the Tripoli Burgh. He served as regent during two kings, Baldwin IV and Baldwin V, the posthumous son of Sibylla.

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