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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT. Saladin. Prince of Chivalry

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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT.
Saladin. Prince of Chivalry
page 57



back the Crusaders until he came to his greatest achievement, the conquest of Edessa. This, " the Eye of Upper Mesopotamia," happened to be under the rule of Count Joscelin II, who was more disposed to seek out the pleasures of life than to observe the duties of governorship. During his absence from the city Zenghi, masking his purpose by the siege of an unimportant town, suddenly descended upon the city, defended only by paid mercenaries, and forced its strong walls by unremitting assaults. December 23, 1144 his soldiers poured through the breach they had made, intoxicated with joy and burning to avenge the injuries the Mohammedan world had suffered from the lords of the city. Zenghi was not one of the Moslem warriors who restrained their followers from the glut of victory, and there was no hindrance to the merciless conquerors as they fell upon the vanquished. Into the churches, overturning altars and crosses, cutting down monks and priests ; into the homes, slaying right and left, and sparing only the young men for future slavery^ and the young girls for the harems; into the bazaars, plundering right and left — it looked as though the great city would become a shambles. Fortunately, Zenghi arrived before the ruin was complete. The sight of the beauty of the city, of its wide streets and noble buildings, overwhelmed him. To allow these to become the abiding place of desolation would be a crime. So the word went forth and the mad troopers were checked. The youths and the maidens were freed, the property


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