Wolf’s hair, exposed digits, and Muslim holy men: The Libellus de expugnatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum and the conte of Ernoul

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Abstract

The Libellus de expugnatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum, an anonymous, contemporary account of the fall of the kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187 written in Latin prose, displays several narrative parallels with the various Old French continuations of William of Tyre’s Historia. The similar versions of Count Raymond III of Tripoli’s speech on the eve of the Battle of hattin that are furnished in these texts highlight the connection particularly strongly. Close analysis of this and other points of textual correspondence establishes that the author of the Libellus probably drew on an embryonic form of the vernacular account (conte) that Ernoul, a squire in the service of Balian of Ibelin, composed to present his master’s role in the events of 1187 in the best possible light. Demonstrating this link challenges us to reassess our understanding of the composition of the Libellus and the early influence of Ernoul’s chronicle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95–112
Number of pages18
JournalViator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Balian of ibelin
  • Battle of hattin
  • Chronique d’ernoul
  • Crusades
  • Medieval jerusalem
  • Old French historiography
  • Ralph of coggeshall
  • Saladin
  • Third crusade
  • William of tyre

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