On the morning of July 3, 1187, an army of the Franks settled in Syria, descendents of the crusaders, set forth from the village of Saffariya toward the besieged fortress of Caesarea on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, some four hours' march away.1 The army, perhaps some twenty thousand men strong, comprised the bulk of the Western Christian military power in Syria. Modern estimates of the Christian force vary widely; the figure of twenty thousand comes from Marshall Baldwin. Amin Maalouf gives the Christian muster as a mere twelve thousand; Zoe Oldenbourg proposes upwards of thirty thousand. All agree that the total represented a general muster of all ablebodied men available to the Frankish cause.2*
Whatever the Christians' numbers, none reached Tiberias and few escaped death or capture. Their march was harassed and slowed by Turkish mounted bowmen in the Muslim army of Salahaddin alAibubi Yusuf, known in Western history as Saladin. By the end of the day, the Frankish army had reached only so far as the Horns of Hattin (or Hittin), a rise overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
The Franks made their camp at Hattin. There, through the night, they suffered from smoke blown over them from fires set to windward by the Muslim forces.3 By morning, heat, weariness, smoke, and inadequate provision made the Frankish soldiers ________
*All military manpower figures from this era must be treated with great caution. On the one hand, muster rolls might list all men theoretically obligated to service, not those who actually reported for duty. By the day of battle, an army might be further reduced by sickness, death, and desertions on the march. On the other hand, a major effort like the campaign of Hattin may have attracted armed pilgrims and others who were never officially mustered.
None of the reported totals sound grossly exaggerated. Under the circumstances, we can perhaps accept the median figu...