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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT. Saladin. Prince of Chivalry

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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT.
Saladin. Prince of Chivalry
page 71



the silence of the writers of his time, including his greatest admirers, upon the years of his adolescence. The education of a youth in his position was simple enough. It included a thorough study of the Koran, committing as much of this to memory as his industry and natural retentiveness permitted, training in the elegant use of Arabic, both for speaking and writing, and the understanding and creation of poetry. This, with such physical development as was requisite for a future warrior. As he approached manhood he would be instructed in the use of the sword and the principles of warfare. For relaxation there was always chess on the mental side, horse racing in the public squares, polo (originally imported from Persia) and various forms of the chase. And, again, there was falconry and hunting the lion with coursing leopards, of which the rich kept many in their stables, as the great of England kept hounds. Finally, for the more courageous and venturesome was the greatest of all sports, stalking the king of beasts. Perhaps it is not so certain that young Saladin was the naïve and retiring person he has been made out to be, and possibly there is another and quite different explanation for the fact that such rigid silence as to his growing years was maintained by the biographers of his day. Did they possibly withhold their pens because they wished, with true oriental reticence, to maintain before the world the ideal character of later years, untouched by any spot of youthful frivolity?


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