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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT. Saladin. Prince of Chivalry

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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT.
Saladin. Prince of Chivalry
page 65



of the goods of others. Consequently, not popular with their neighbors, for which condition they seemed to care not a whit. Ignorant, and unused to the ways of civilization, living largely a pastoral life when they were not raiding the Armenians or Persians, yet noted for their sense of honor and their hospitality. Saladin's family belonged to the Rawadiya clan, and had their ancestral home in a village near Dovin, a town of some importance near Erivan in Trans-Caucasia. A Moslem chronicler alleged he could trace the family history back through thirty-three generations to Adam, but Saladin himself, although pride of ancestry was a dominant characteristic of the Kurds, confessed he knew none of his forbears beyond his grandfather, Schadi ben Meronan. If ever the fates seemed unpropitious, they must have had that appearance to the family of the future Sultan at the time of his birth, which occurred in the year 532 of the Mohammedan calendar, or sometime between 1137 and 1138 of our own. Banished on the very night of his arrival from the place where they had been all-powerful, with no refuge in sight, the future of this babe in a world torn with savage war and dissension, must have looked dark indeed. Had any one then ventured to predict that this homeless infant would one day be the pride of Islam, and famous throughout the world, there would have been a sarcastic smile on the grim face of his uncle Shirkuh, if not on that of Ayub, his less temperamental father. Not that either of them was hopeless of improve


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