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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT. Saladin. Prince of Chivalry

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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT.
Saladin. Prince of Chivalry
page 261



men and was topped by a mangonel, the mere sight of which had inspired terror in the defenders as they were moved up close to the walls, was overcome by the ingenuity of a common soldier from Damascus. Throughout the siege new engines of war were being improvised, by both sides, and each of them aroused the greatest dread in the opposing camp, but apparently none was viewed with such fear as these. Even as Saladin had been busy throughout the winter preparing for the renewal of the fighting in the spring, so had the Franks been also, and these great towers were among the products of their industry. As they overtopped the walls of the city and could not be destroyed by the usual methods, there was plenty of foundation for the alarm of the Moslems. " They inspired them with a terror that defies description," declared Beha ed-din, " and they gave up all hope of being able to save the city." The Sultan called together his throwers of naphtha, and promised them great rewards if they destroyed the towers, but all their efforts were in vain. The raw hide, soaked in wine and vinegar, with which these structures were faced could not be started even by the flaming shafts. It seemed indeed that at last the Franks had found an indestructible means of assault. It was then that the young Damascan, a maker of cauldrons in times of peace, offered to set the towers on fire if they would furnish him with certain materials. What these were has not been made known, but his boast was not an idle one. Having boiled his ma


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