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CHARLES G. ADDISON, ESQ. The history of the Knights Templars, Temple Church, and the Temple

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CHARLES G. ADDISON, ESQ.
The history of the Knights Templars, Temple Church, and the Temple
page 89



vered up to the king, and confined in one of the royal prisons, but his ultimate fate has not been recorded. On the death of Noureddin, sultan of Damascus, (A. D. 1175,) Saladin raised himself to the sovereignty both of Egypt and of 8yria. He levied an immense army, and crossing the desert from Cairo, he again planted the standard of Mahomet upon the sacred territory of Palestine. His forces were composed of twenty-six thousand light infantry, eight thousand horsemen, a host of archers and spearmen mounted on dromedaries, and eighteen thousand common soldiers. The person of Saladin was surrounded by a body-guard of a thousand Mamlook emirs, clothed in yellow cloaks worn over their shirts of mail. In the great battle fought near Ascalon, (Nov. 1, A . D . 1177,) Odo de St. Amand, the Master of the Temple, at the head of eighty of his knights, broke through the guard of Mamlooks, slew their commander, and penetrated to the imperial tent, from whence the sultan escaped with great difficulty, almost naked, upon a fleet dromedary ; the infidels, thrown into confusion, were slaughtered or driven into the desert, where they perished from hunger, fatigue, or the inclemency of the weather.* The year following, Saladin collected a vast army at Damascus ; and the Templars, in order to protect and cover the road leading from that city to Jerusalem, commenced the erection of a strong fortress on the northern frontier of the Latin kingdom, close to Jacob's ford on the river Jordan, at the spot where now stands Djiss'r Beni Yakoob, " the bridge of the sons of Jacob." Saladin advanced at the head of his forces to oppose the progress of the work, and the king of Jerusalem and all the chivalry of the Latin kingdom were gathered together in the plain to protect the Templars arid their workmen. The fortress was erected notwith • WW. T]yr. lib. xxi cap. 20,22, 23. Abulfoda Abulnharadge, Chron. Syr. p. 379.


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