Saladin

Sultan / Military Leader

Born: 1138
Died: 1193
Birthplace: Takrit, Mesopotamia (now Iraq)
Best known as: The man who took back Jerusalem

Name at birth: Salah ad-Din Al-Ayyubi

Revered as a hero of Islam, Saladin united Arab forces and recaptured the holy city of Jerusalem from Christian Crusaders in the 12th century A.D. Of Kurdish origin, Saladin became the vizier of Egypt in 1169 and then took full control of the country in 1171; he later built the famed Citadel in Cairo. His conquest of Jerusalem in 1188 prompted the Third Crusade, led by Richard I of England; Richard's forces defeated Saladin in several battles, but could not retake Jerusalem. Saladin and Richard signed an armistice in 1192, and the two are often linked in histories of the era.

Extra credit: Saladin's successors in Egypt are known by his family name: the Ayyubids... His court physician was the famous Jewish philosopher and rabbi Maimonides... Other leaders of Egypt featured on Who2 include Cleopatra, Khufu and Anwar al-Sadat.

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