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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 319



before Cairo, and encouraged Shawer to look on him as one of his best friends, inviting him to enter his camp at all times, and come without escort. And one day, when Shawer, relying on the friendliness of his ally, rode in accompanied only by two or three of his sons and friends, he was seized by the guards of Shirkoh and beheaded, without any resistance being possible. Shirkoh, meantime, was taking a walk on the banks of the Nile, so as to be able to say that he was innocent of the murder. Shawer's sons fled to the caliph. But the caliph could do nothing ; the house of Shawer were all cut off, like the house of Saul ; and the representative of the Fatemites was compelled to acknowledge the servant of his rival as his sultan and vizier, the real master of Egypt. " Oh, blind cupidity of men !" cries William of Tyre ; " all the treasures of Egypt were lying at our feet. . . . There was safety for those .who travelled by sea ; there was trade for those who wished to enrich themselves in Egypt ; there was no enemy for us in the south ; the Egyptians brought us their merchandize, and spent their gold in our country. And now all is changed ; sad are the notes of our harps; the sea refuses us peaceful navigation ; all the countries around us obey our enemies ; every kingdom is armed for our ruin. And the avarice of one man has done this ; his cupidity has covered over .with clouds the clear bright sky which the goodness of the Lord had given us." It was some comfort to the Christians to hear that Shirkoh, a year after his accession to power, was gone out of the world. But a mightier than Shirkoh came after him, his nephew, Saladin. - And now, indeed, the situation of the Christian kingdom was precarious. With the exception of Tyre and tho towns to the north, the kingdom consisted of nothing but Palestine between Tiberias on the north and Ascalon on the south. All the outlying forts, or nearly all, were already


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