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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT. Saladin. Prince of Chivalry

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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT.
Saladin. Prince of Chivalry
page 37



almost invariably filled with distinction—seized the opportunity to declare themselves independent, and became kings in their own right. In fact, it was this splitting up of the realm of Malek Shah, and the mutually destructive wars which accompanied it, which made possible the success of the Crusaders. Had the whole country been united under one strong ruler there would have been little chance for the Christian invaders. It was because they had found the attractions of the cities they had captured, such as Edessa and Antioch, so alluring, that the march to Jerusalem had been so long delayed by the leaders of the First Crusade. Antioch, one of the great cities of the ancient world, and favored at one time for the capital of the eastern part of the Roman empire as against remoter Alexandria, although it had lost its one-time commanding position, was still a beautiful city, with echoes of its evil reputation as the center of dissolute pleasures, and surrounded by charming gardens and orchards. It still had noble palaces; and the worldfamous beauty of Daphne, its island center, was not entirely gone. It made a splendid resting place for soldiers who had passed through almost unbearable hardships, and a convenient center from which to make foraging expeditions into the surrounding country. Edessa, likewise one of the most ancient cities, and carrying its cultural history back to Babylonian times, had been in Christian hands in the later Roman period, and its cathedral, with a magnificent vaulted ceiling


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