Battle of Hattin: The Battle took place on July 4, 1187 in The Kingdom of Jerusalem, between the Crusaders and the forces of Saladin at the foot of Mt. Hittin, an extinct volcano caldera surrounded by twin peaks just west of Tiberias with a fantastic view eastward towards Mt. Arbel and the Sea of Galilee.
Guy of Lusignan became king of Jerusalem in 1186 after the death of Baldwin V. The Kingdom of Jerusalem was at the time divided between Guy, Sibylla (Baldwin V’s mother), Raynald of Châtillon, Gerard of Ridefort, the Knights Templar; and the “nobles’ faction”, led by Raymond III of Tripoli, who had been regent for the child-king Baldwin V.
In May 1187 Saladin assembled the largest army he had ever commanded, around 30,000 men including 12,000 cavalry before crossing the River Jordan on June 30. The opposing Crusader army amassed at Sephory consisting of 20,000 men, including all 1,200 knights from Jerusalem and Tripoli and 50 from Antioch.
On July 2, Saladin, who wanted to lure Guy into moving his army away from their encampment by the springs at Sephory, led a siege of Raymond’s fortress of Tiberias while the main Muslim army remained in between. The fortress fell the same day. Saladin’s troops stormed the city killing the opposing forces and taking prisoners.
Raymond‘s wife Eschiva was besieged in the citadel. As the attack on that structure began, news was received by Saladin that Guy was moving his army eastward. The Crusaders had taken the bait.
Guy’s decision to leave his water sufficient assembly point at Sephory, was the result of a Crusader war council held the night of July 2. Raymond argued that a march to Tiberias was exactly what Saladin wanted. Sephory was a stronghold that the Crusaders could defend. In response to this argument, Raymond was accused of cowardice by Gerard and Raynald. The latter influenced Guy to attack immediately.
Guy ordered his army to march against Saladin which is exactly what Saladin had planned, for he knew that he could defeat the crusaders only in a field battle rather than by besieging their fortifications. By the time the Crusaders reached the footsteps of Mt. Hittin from Sephory, they were exhausted, thirsty and many collapsed on the way from dehydration.
During the struggle, the Crusader rearguard was forced to a standstill by continuous attacks, thus halting the whole army on the arid plateau. The crusaders were forced to make camp surrounded by the Muslims. They had neither water nor any hope of receiving supplies or reinforcements. Guy hoped that his army could force its way the following morning to the Spring of Hattin.
Throughout the night the Muslims further demoralized the crusaders by beating drums and chanting. They set fire to the dry grass around the crusaders’ camp, making their throats even drier. The crusaders were now thirsty, demoralized and exhausted.
Finally the armies under Saladin captured or killed the vast majority of the Crusader forces, removing their capability to wage further battles. As a direct result of the battle, Muslims once again regained control of the Holy Land and re-conquering Jerusalem. This defeat prompted the 3rd Crusade, led by King Richard I, which began 4 years after the Battle of Hattin.