Saladin was a benevolent unifier of the Muslim world in the latter part of the twelfth century. He showed mercy to his enemies and loyalty to his allies. His reputation for being a merciful leader made him respected by the Arab world and Europe alike. He is credited for the recapture of Jerusalem from the crusaders who had it in their possession for nearly a century. He single handedly unified the Muslim world so that he could expel the Crusaders. He was skilled in the arts of diplomacy and war.
Rise to Power
Saladin, formally known as Salah Ad-din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub, was born to a Kurdish family near Tikrit in 1138 in present day Iraq. Shortly after being born he and his whole family moved to Aleppo, where his father, Najm Ad-din Ayyub, worked for Zangi, the caliph of Syria. In 1146 after the death of Zangi, Saladin again moved with his family to Damascus where his father worked for Zangi's successor, and where Saladin completed his education.
Saladin was given the usual Arab education for a boy his age. He was taught Arabic grammar, Arab history, mathematics, and science. Saladin was said to be an undistinguished student who was more interested in religious studies then any of the others. In 1152 Saladin was put to work in Nuraldin's law court, for which he worked for eight years.
In 1160, Saladin succeeded his brother as deputy to his uncle Shirkuh who was the military governor of Damascus. Saladin learned much of his military and diplomatic skills from his uncle while in Damascus. In 1166, Shirkuh and Saladin were sent to help defend Egypt from the invading crusaders from the kingdom of Jerusalem. Shirkuh and Saladin led their Syrian army to victory against the Crusaders, thus protecting the...