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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 413



407 DESTRUCTION OF ASCALON. disposition and his princely character. The proud Saladin disdained to sully his honour by making reprisals upon the unarmed prisoners at his side ; he simply refused to give up the money or the cross, and sent the prisoners back to Damascus. Which was the Paynim, and which the Christian then ? In the first week of September the Franks determined to march upon Ascalon, and, having provided for the safety of Acre, set off in that direction. El Afdhal, who was in command of the advanced guard, intercepted them on their road, and managed to divide them into two parties. He then sent off an express to his father Saladin, requesting him to come to his assistance, but the officers of the Sultan represented to him that the army was not yet prepared to move ; the opportunity was therefore lost, and the Franks were enabled to pass on to Caesarea. The Muslims, however, shortly afterwards started in pursuit, and on the 11th of September they came up with the enemy, and a bloody battle was fought by the Nahr el Casb near Cesarea. The next day both armies moved off to Arsiif ; a battle took place on the road, and the Franks retired with considerable loss into the town, while the Muslims encamped on the banks of the river 'Aujeh. In a few days they again fought their way along the coast, and on the 19 th of September the Christian army succeeded in reaching Jaffa, while the* Sultan with his troops encamped at Eamleh on the afternoon of the same day. Here he waited for the heavy baggage, and when this arrived, in charge of his brother, El ''Adii, he moved on to Ascalon. A council of war was immediately held, at which it was decided to destroy the fortifications of thelast named town. As the Franks were in possession of Jaffa, which lies about half way between Ascalon and Jerusalem, it was clearly impossible to defend both towns without the maintenance of an overwhelming force in each,


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