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Acre, Page Three

Article from the 1911 Encyclopedia

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Battle of Acre

The battle of 1189, fought on the ground to the west of Acre, affords a good example of battles of the Crusades. The crusading army under Guy of Lusignan, king of Jerusalem, which was besieging Acre, gave battle on the 4th of October 1189 to the relieving army which Saladin had collected. The Christian army consisted of the feudatories of the kingdom of Jerusalem, numerous small contingents of European crusaders and the military orders, and contingents from Egypt, Turkestan, Syria and Mesopotamia fought under Saladin. The Saracens lay in a semicircle west of the town facing inwards towards Acre. The Christians opposed them with crossbowmen in first line and the heavy cavalry in second. At Arsuf the Christians fought coherently; here the battle began with a disjointed combat between the Templars and Saladin's right wing. The crusaders were so far successful that the enemy had to send up reinforcements from other parts of the field. Thus the steady advance of the Christian centre against Saladin's own corps, in which the crossbows prepared the way for the charge of the men-at-arms, met with no great resistance. But the victors scattered to plunder. Saladin rallied his men, and, when the Christians began to retire with their booty, let loose his light horse upon them. No connected resistance was offered, and the Turks slaughtered the fugitives until checked by the fresh troops of the Christian right wing. Into this fight Guy's reserve, charged with holding back the Saracens in Acre, was also drawn, and, thus freed, 5000 men sallied out from the town to the northward; uniting with the Saracen right wing, they fell upon the Templars, who suffered severely in their retreat. In the end the crusaders repulsed the relieving army, but only at the cost of 7000 men. (R. A. S. M.)



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