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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT. Saladin. Prince of Chivalry

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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT.
Saladin. Prince of Chivalry
page 197



was a Friday, the day when prayers would be ascending from all the mosques to a Prophet who would be sure to use his influence in behalf of his own. He had a splendid army of twelve thousand picked men and he knew the straits in which the folly of the King had plunged his army. All along the march over the hot, stony, waterless road his light-armed horsemen had been harassing the heavily-burdened enemy. The situation was ideal from his point of view. On an open field, in usual fighting, the Franks were almost irresistible. There was a solidity about their ranks which made them practically impenetrable. Protected by heavy armor, both horse and man, the knights were invulnerable to spear and arrow. Practically their only danger was when a horse went down and his heavily-weighted rider fell with him. Often a single knight could beat off a dozen of the enemy, and even the common men-at-arms were far superior to the Moslems, man for man. Then there was the almost contemptuous disregard of the impetuous Saracens, the feeling of superiority and disdain for the Asiatic which has ever marked warfare with Europeans. When individuals fell under the shower of arrows, the ranks closed as though nothing had happened, and whatever movement was under way continued unaffected. Especially the horsemen — knights and squires — went their way with seeming indifference to their assailants. Surrounded by their infantry, there to repel the rapid charges of the Moslem cavalry, they held themselves in reserve until


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