Kingdom of Heaven - DEFEAT for GUY DE LUSIGNAN

Matthew Paris, who died in 1259, created this illumination which depicts Guy de Lusignan and Saladin fighting over the "Sacred Cross" (crux sancta ) during the 1187 battle at the Horns of Hattin. Guy and his Frankish forces lost both the battle and the cross. The original illumination—known as Corpus 26, fol. 140r—appears in Corpus 26, a significant work which Matthew Paris created for St Albans Abbey. Click on the image for a full-page view.


About 150 of the best Christian knights continued to bravely resist the inevitable. Pitching their tents above the village of Hattin, they dug in on the high ground. Saladin kept an eye on those tents. He knew that one belonged to the King, Guy de Lusignan.

With his father at the time, seventeen-year-old al-Malik al-Afdal later recalled when the last tent fell:

I was at my father’s side during the battle of Hittin, the first I had ever seen. When the king of the Franj found himself on the hill, he and his men launched a fierce attack that drove our own troops back to the place where my father was standing. I looked at him. He was saddened; he frowned and pulled nervously at his beard. Then he advanced, shouting “Satan must not win!” The Muslims again assaulted the hill. When I saw the Franj retreat under the pressure of our troops, I screamed with joy. “We have won!”

But the Franj attacked again with all their might, and once again our troops found themselves grouped around my father. Now he urged them into the attack once more, and they forced the enemy to retreat up the hill. Again I screamed, “We have beaten them!”

But my father turned to me and said, “Silence! We will have crushed them only when that tent on the hill has fallen!” Before he had time to finish his sentence, the king’s tent collapsed. The sultan then dismounted, bowed down and thanked God, weeping for joy.

King Guy, among others, was captured. One of Saladin’s advisors, Imad al-Din al-Asfahani, was present at his questioning:

During this time, Guy was gasping with thirst, his head dangling as though he were drunk, his face betraying great fright. Salah al-Din spoke reassuring words to him, had cold water brought, and offered it to him.

Guy’s life was spared, but Renaud de Châtillon (whose raid on the Damascus-bound caravan had set in motion a series of bad events) lost his head by the sword of Saladin.

A few days later, all the prisoners of war who were Templars and Hospitallers (monk-soldiers) were summoned to appear before the sultan. Everyone except the Templar Grand Master, Gerald of Ridefort, was killed in cold blood. In his history of Saladin, Imad ad-Din wrote:

On that day I saw how he killed unbelief to give life to Islam and destroyed polytheism to build monotheism.

Although alive, Guy would not lead the Franks in the coming fight for Jerusalem. That role would be filled by a knight who had escaped the Horns of Hattin: Balian of Ibelin.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2005

Updated Last Revision: Sep 04, 2018

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"DEFEAT for GUY DE LUSIGNAN" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2005. Feb 21, 2020.
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