The Fief of Tibnīn between the Muslims and the Crusaders 1229-1266 / 583-664

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2014
24 Pages, Grade: 12


Tibnīn between the Muslims and the Crusaders 1229-1266/ 583- 664

Ahmed Sheir*

This chapter is a study of the political and military situation of Tibnīn under Muslim rule 1187-1229/ 583- 625 and Latin rule 1229-1266/ 625-664. The first part of this chapter studies Tibnīn under Ayyubid rule 1187-1229/ 583- 625. The German crusade 1197-98 against Tibnīn and the impact of the Fifth Crusade 1218-1221 on Tibnīn will be discussed as well. The second part of this chapter deals with Tibnīn under the Crusader rule of 1229- 1266/ 625- 664. It will examine the issues involving the struggle for Tibnīn between the Teutonic Knights and Alice of Tibnīn in 1229. Additionally, the military and political role of Tibnīn and its rulers will be studied.

Keywords: Crusades, Latin East, Tibnīn, German crusade, Teutonic Knights, Muslims,

Ayyubid, Frederick II, Philip of Montfort.

Tibnīn “تبنين”, lies in Jabal Amil (Arabic:جبلعاملJabal ʿĀmil), a mountainous region of southern Lebanon,[1] between Damascus and Tyre.[2] Geographically, it belonged to Upper Galilee (Galīl).[3] Tibnīn is an Arabic equivalent to the Latin name, Toron, which the Crusaders captured, when they came to the Levant. Hugh Saint-Omer, the first lord of Tibnīn in the age of the Crusades , ordered the castle of Tibnīn, which he named Toron, to be built on the high steep of the mountain between (1103-1105/496-499).[4]

I- Tibnīn under the Ayyubid Rule 1187-1229/ 583- 625

The Muslims recovered Tibnīn on July 12th, 1187/ 18 of Jumada I 583. This was described by Ibn-Shaddād as follows: "It was an impregnable castle which needed a long siege to conquer."[5] After the fall of Tibnīn, Sultan Ṣalaḥ al-Dīn turned to the northern cities and his brother, al-͑Adil, remained in Tibnīn to contain the Crusaders at the city of Tyre and to control the commercial road. The Muslims’ forces at Tibnīn managed to seize the fortress of Kerak and the other neighboring cities.[6] It is notable that Tibnīn played an important role in the launch of raids against the city of Tyre, a role similar to the one it had previously played in the fall of Tyre to the Crusaders in 1124.

The Islamic troops at Tibnīn joined the Islamic army to take possession of the fortress of Saqīf at Ārnon, situated between Tibnīn and Sidon, in 1189/ Jumada I 585. The Crusaders fortified at Tyre were mobilized to fight these forces, but were defeated. However, large numbers of Crusaders re-assembled at a bridge between Tyre and Sidon to counterattack the Muslim forces. Ṣalaḥ al-Dīn consulted with his men and they agreed to attack the assembled Frankish troops, but when the Ayyubid forces progressed to the bridge, the Crusader forces returned to Tyre. Ṣalaḥ al-Dīn ordered his army to return to their camp at Tibnīn, in order to prepare themselves for the march toward Acre and to complete the construction of its walls.[7] According to Ibn-Shaddād, the Sultan ordered Prince al-Farāḥ to return with his forces to Tibnīn,[8] which indicates that Tibnīn was the main Muslim camp from which they organized their military activities in this region.

Moreover, Tibnīn was the headquarters of the Muslim army for its military operations against the Crusaders at the city of Tyre. In July 189/Jumada II 585, Ṣalaḥ al-Dīn was informed that some Crusader soldiers and knights had gone to collect firewood near Tibnīn. He therefore planned to set an ambush for these Crusader forces. On 8 Jumada II, Ṣalaḥ al-Dīn ordered the forces of Tibnīn to launch an attack against Crusader troops near Tibnīn and they also made a plan to lead them into an ambush. At the same time, Ṣalaḥ al-Dīn asked his troops at the Acre camp to attack simultaneously from the south. The Muslim forces enthusiastically engaged with the Crusaders in a real battle and they continued fighting until sunset. When Ṣalaḥ al-Dīn heard about this, he sent reinforcements to support them. Eventually, the Latin soldiers were defeated and withdrew, returning to Tyre.[9]

Tibnīn remained an important strategic location to fight the Crusaders until the departure of the leader of the Third Crusade, King Richard I of England[10] from the Levant to England in 1192. Acre and the coastal cities, from Tyre to Jaffa, were recaptured by Richard I according to the treaty of Ramla in September 1192/ 588, and Tibnīn remained in Muslim hands.[11] Ṣalaḥ al-Dīn ordered the repair of the castle of Tibnīn and all the other castles of Galilee,[12] because they were extremely important for confronting the Crusaders at Acre, which by then had become the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in the Levant as well as the other coastal cities.

Ṣalaḥ al-Dīn died in March 1193, and his state was divided between his sons and his brother, al- ͑Adil. Tibnīn was among the possessions of the elder son of Ṣalaḥ al-Dīn, al-Malik al-Āfḍl (1193-96/ 589-92), who ruled Damascus, Jerusalem, Tibnīn and the coastal cities.[13] There were disputes between al-Āfḍl and his brother, al-‘Azīz of Egypt, in 1194. Although their uncle, al- ͑Adil, managed reconciliation between them, the dissension rekindled between them in 1195.[14] al- ͑Adil and al-Āzīz of Egypt made an alliance against al-Āfḍl of Damascus in June 1196 and they controlled Damascus in July. al- ͑Adil governed Tibnīn, Damascus, and other cities, and al-Āfḍl of Egypt became Sultan of the Ayyubids.[15]

German Crusade of 1197- 98 and the siege of Tibnīn

Prince Osama of Beirut launched several intermittent attacks against the Crusaders and their caravans. When the Crusaders complained to al- ͑Adil and al-Āzīz, they did nothing, so the Crusaders sent to Western Europe saying" If you did not rescue us, Muslims would be taken all our lands."[16] For this reason and due to the disputes between the Ayyubids, the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI was encouraged to dispatch a Crusade against the Muslims in the Levant.

The German Crusade came to the Levant in 1197. When they arrived at the city of Acre, Henry the count-Palatine was appointed as the leader of the German forces.[17] Meanwhile, al-͑Adil marched to attack Jaffa[18] and recovered it on 12th September 1197/ 27th Shawwal 593.[19] Henry of Champagne, King of Jerusalem (29th July 1166 – 10th September 1197) died and Amaury I of Lusignan of Cyprus succeeded him and married his widow, Isabella, Queen of Jerusalem. Amaury I of Lusignan united the two kingdoms and became King of Jerusalem and Cyprus.[20] He led the Crusaders and German forces to protect Jaffa, but it had already fallen to al-͑Adil’s forces. Amaury I and the German troops captured Beirut in October as a compensation for the loss of Jaffa[21] and they marched to attack the city of Jerusalem. On the way to Jerusalem, they besieged the city of Tibnīn on 28th November 1197/ 10th Muharram 594.[22]

German and Crusader troops attempted to demolish the walls of the city of Tibnīn, but the Islamic forces in the city resisted them. al-͑Adil demanded that his nephew al-͑Aziz, Sultan of Egypt, come to help them, so al-͑Aziz marched to rescue al-͑Adil at Tibnīn. In addition, the other Ayyubid princes marched to defend Tibnīn against this German-Crusader attack,[23] but the forces in the city were not able to hold out against the crusader attacks any longer. They sent messengers to the German troops offered the surrender of Tibnīn and released the five hundred Christian captives at the fortress of Tibnīn in return for an assurance of the Muslims’ safety (al-Āmān).[24]

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Map 1: The Crusade of 1197-98 against Tibnīn (Toron), in Setton, vol. 2, p. 123.

The barons of the Latin East wanted to establish peace with al-͑Adil in exchange for giving al-͑Adil Beirut and his giving them Jaffa, but the German forces and Archbishop Conrad insisted that the city surrender without any conditions.[25] The walls of the city fell, and the German troops tried to take the city, but the Muslims steadily held out and defended the city until the arrival of the relief from Egypt. Once more, representatives of the Tibnīn families offered to surrender the city without any conditions and to give back the Latin hostages, asking only for their lives in exchange. Shortly after, the Muslims sent forth the hostages but postponed the surrender of the castle till the morning.[26] In the meantime, while the German forces were waiting to enter the city of Tibnīn, a number of Islamic soldiers and knights were coming from Egypt to rescue Tibnīn.[27]

On September 28th, 1198, the German Emperor Henry VI died, the news of his death reaching the German army at Tibnīn. The imperial chancellor in the Levant became disturbed, especially, when he learned of the crisis of 1198 that had broken out in Germany.[28] The German forces became extremely frightened and wanted to return home,[29] so they withdrew from Tibnīn to the city of Tyre. The Islamic forces under the leadership of al-͑Adil and his nephew continued to pursue them. Eventually, al-͑Adil and the Crusaders held a truce for three years.[30] Therefore, the German Crusade did not succeed in taking control of Jerusalem and Tibnīn.

The opinion of Saeīd Ashour was that the march of the German crusade to the Levant without the leadership of the German Emperor Henry IV was the main reason for the failure of this Crusade to recover Tibnīn and Jerusalem. This Crusade also increased the conflict between the Muslims and the Crusaders in the Levant, although the Latin kingdom was extremely weak because of lacking strong leadership.[31] Steven Runciman mentions that the German Crusade was extremely unsuccessful, and did not do anything to "restore the German prestige". However, it recovered Beirut for the Crusaders and left the Teutonic Knights to become a permanent German institution in the Latin East henceforth.[32]

From the Islamic aspect, this crusade revealed al-͑Adil as a wise Muslim ruler, who could unite the Islamic armies under his leadership. In spite of the disputes between the sons of Ṣalaḥ al-Dīn, they responded to the call of al-͑Adil to rescue Tibnīn. Because of the important role of Egypt in defending the Islamic cities in the Levant, as well as its active opposition of the Crusader progress in the Levant, Europe and the Pope called for a crusade against Egypt.[33]


*Ahmed Mohamed M. Sheir, MA, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, January 2014, Germany. Currently, Lecturer of Medieval History, Faculty of Arts, Damanhour University,

[1] Mohamed Jabir al-Ṣafā, Tārīkh Jabal ʿĀmil {History of Jabal Amil }( Beirut: nd), p. 24; Ali al-Zein, Llbaḥth an Tārīkhanā fi Lebnān {Search for our History in Lebanon} ( Beirut: 1973), p. 25

[2] Yàkut al- Hamawy, Mu‘egam al-Buldān {Lexicon countries}, ed.Farid Abdel Aziz El Gendy, vol 2 (Beirut, 1990), p. 14.

[3] Mathias Piana, "The Crusader Castle of Toron: First results of its Investigation,” Crusades: the Journal of society for the studyof the crusades and Latin East 5, (2006), p.173.

[4] William of Tyre, A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea, Trans. E. A.Bacock and A.C.Krey, Vol I (New York,1943), 469 ; Denys Pringle, Secular Buildings in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem (Cambridge: Cambridge university press,1997), p.102 .

[5] Bahaa al-Din Ibn-Shaddād, al-Nāwadir al-Sūlṭanīah wa al-Maḥāsin al-Yūsofīah (the Biography of Salah al-Din), ed. Jamal al- īn al-Shīal (Cario: Maktabat aL-Khndjy, 1994), p. 132.

[6] Badr al- īn al-‘Ainī, ‘Iqd al-Jumān fi Tārīkh Āhl al-Zamān (The Necklace of Pears concerning the History of the People of the Time), ed. Mahmud Rizq, vol. 2 (Cairo: Dar al-kutub wa al-wathāiq al-qaūmīah, 2010), p. 107; Abūal- Yaman al-‘Ulaīmy, al-Ānas al-Jalīl Bitārīkh al-Quds wa al-Khalīl { In the History of Jerusalem and Hebron }( Beirut: 1966), p. 355.

[7] al-‘Aynī ‘Iqd al-Jumān, vol. 2, Pp. 118-19; Abū-al-Yaman al-‘Ulaīmy, al-Ānas al-Jalīl, vol.1, p. 357.

[8] Ibn-Shaddād, al-Nawādiral-Sūlṭanīah, p. 158

[9] al-‘Ainī, ‘Iqd al-Jumān, vol. II, Pp. 120-21.

[10] He was the third son of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and was named Richard the Lionheart, due to his fame as a powerful military leader. See: Ralph V. Turner, Richard H. Heiser, The Reign of Richard Lion Heart: Ruler of the Angevin Empire, 1189-1199 (Harlow, Essex: Longman, 2000). Pp. 70-71; Geoffrey Regan, Lion Hearts: Saladin and Richard I (Constable. London: 1998), Pp. 21-31. For more information about the Crusade of Richard I; Cf. Ambroise, The Crusade of Richard Lion-Heart, trans. from old French by Hubert Merton Monte (New York: 1941). Richard I of England was called by the Islamic sources “Malik al-Inkitar ملك الأنكتار which means King of England. Ibn-Shaddād, al-Nāwadir al-Sūlṭanīah, p. 239 ; ‘Izz ad-Din Ibn-al-Athīr, Kītāb al-Kāmil fi al- Tārīkh (The Perfect History or the Collection History), ed. Mohamed Yusuf, vol. 10 (Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-‘Ilmyah, 200 ), p. 204 .

[11] Ibn-Shaddād, al-Nāwadir, p. 347-48; Mahmoud Said Omran, Tārīkh al-Ḥurūb al-alībīah 1095-1291{The History of The Crusades} ( Egypt- Alexandria: Dar al-M ͑arifah al-Jami ͑eīah, 2000), Pp. 183-84.

[12] Piana Mathias, “ The Crusader Castle of Toron,” p. 174.

[13] ‘Imad al- īn al- Ᾱṣfahānī, al-Fatḥ al-Qussī fi al-Fatḥ al-Qudsī(a Chronicle about the Military Activities of Salah

al-Din 583-89/1187-92), ed. Mohamed Subaih (Cario: Dar al-Manār, 200 ), Pp. 328-329; Omran, Tārīkh al-Ḥurūb

al-alībīah, p. 185.

[14] Ibn-al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, vol. 10, p. 243; Omran, al-Ḥurūb al-alībīah, Pp. 186-87.

[15] Ibn-al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, vol. 10, p. 243.

[16] Ibn-al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, vol. 10, p. 246.

[17] Peter W. Ebury, trans., "The Old French Continuation of William of Tyre, 1184-97,"In The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade: Sources in Translation (USA, Ashgate, 2.ed 1998), Pp. 139-40; Ahmed Faraj Sanīūr, “al-Ḥmalāt al-Far ͑aīah al-Ṣalībīah ͑Ala Manṭqat al-Sharq al-Ādna al-Islamy 1095-1198 {The Secondary Crusade Campaigns on the Islamic Near East region}”(Master Thesis, Dmanhour University, Faculty of Arts, Egypt, 2006), p. 234. A large number of impressive German princes had participated in this Crusade. See: Edger N.Johnson, “The Crusade of Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI ,” in Setton, vol. II (Madison, Milwaukee, and London: University of Wisconsin, 1969), p. 120

[18] The city of Jaffa was a nominal subject city of the King of Cyprus, Amaury I Lusignan of Cyprus at that time. However, the King of Jerusalem, Henry I, defended it and asked Amaury I Lusignan to join him in the defense of Jaffa in return for allowing Amaury I to govern the city of Jaffa directly. Amaury agreed and sent one of his men to lead the Crusaders. However, al-͑Adil captured it. Saeīd Ashour, al-Ḥarakah al-Ṣalībīah (The Crusade Movement), Vol.2 (Cairo: 1963), p. 883.

[19] Arnoldi of Lübeck, Arnoldi Chronica Slavorum, ed. I.M. Lappenbergii, In: M.G.H.R.F.G.H.P., (Germany, Hannover: 1868), p. 199; Edbury, "The Old French Continuation," p. 143.

[20] Corliss K. Slack , Historical Dictionary of the Crusades: Historical Dictionaries of War, Revolution, and Civil Unrest, No. 25 (Lanham, Maryland, and Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2003), p. xxi.

[21] al-‘Aynī ‘Iqd al-Jumān, vol. 3, p. 49; Ashour, al-Ḥarakah al-Ṣalībīah, vol.2, p. 884.

[22] Ibn-al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, vol. 10, Pp. 246-74; Arnoldi of Lübeck, Arnoldi Chronica, p. 205. Arabic and Western narratives mention different dates concerning the arrival of the German Crusade to lay siege to Tibnīn. Arabic sources recount that this was in Ṣafer, and others say that the German forces reached Tibnīn on 16th Muharram 594. Western sources mention that the siege of Tibnīn began on 18th November, 1197/ 10 Muharram 594. As Ahmed Sanīūr points out, the accurate date on which the Crusader and German forces reached Tibnīn was 16th Muharram 594. The reason for this disagreement was that the German forces reached Tibnīn in groups over an entire week. Sanīūr, "al-Ḥmalāt al-Far ͑aīah al-Ṣalībīah," p. 251.

[23] Taqī al- īn al-MaqrīzīAhmed Ibn-Ali, Kitāb al-Sulūk li-M arifa uwal al-Mulūk(Chronicle of Maqrīzī abut History of Medieval Egypt), ed. Muhammad Ata, vol.1 (Beriut, Lebenon: Dar al-Kotob al-‘lmyah, 1997), p. 253; Ibn-al-Athīr , Kītāb al-Kāmil, Vol. 10, p. 247.

[24] Edbury, "The Old French Continuation," p. 144.

[25] Edbury, "The Old French Continuation," p. 144; Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, vol. 2 (USA: Cambridge University Press, 15th ed., 1995), p. 97.

[26] Margaret R. Morgan, La Continuation de Guillaume der Tyre (1184-1197) (paris: 1982), Pp. 195-197; al-‘Ulaīmy, al-Ānas al-Jalīl, p. 399.

[27] Ismā īl ibn- Ali Abū-al-Fidā, al-Mukhtaṣar fi Ākhbār al-Bashar (The Summary of the History of People,vol. 3, ed. Mohammed Zenhom et al (Cairo: Dar al-Mā arif, nd), p. 118; al-‘Ulaīmy, al-Ānas al-Jalīl, p. 399.

[28] Johnson, “The Crusade of Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI,” Pp. 120-21.

[29] Arnoldi of Lübeck, Arnoldi Chronica, Pp. 205, 212; Runciman, The Crusades, vol. III, p. 97.

[30] al-Maqrīzī, al-Sulūk , vol. I, p. 253; Abū-Shāmah, hīl al-Raūḍatīn, ed. Mohammed Zahid Ibn-al-Hassan - Beriut-Lebenon: Dar al-Jīal, ed.2: 197 ), p. 1.

[31] Ashour, al-Ḥarakah al-Ṣalībīah, vol. 2, p. 881.

[32] Runciman, The Crusades, vol. III, p. 97.

[33] Sanīūr, "al-Ḥmalāt al-Far ͑aīah al-Ṣalībīah," Pp. 253-54.

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The Fief of Tibnīn between the Muslims and the Crusaders 1229-1266 / 583-664
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