Walter Scott, The Talisman, the Crusades, Richard I of England and Saladin: Myths, Legends and History
by Ibn Warraq
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8 / Part 9 / Part 10 / Part 11 / Part 12 / Part 13 / Part 14 / Part 15 / Part 16 / Part 17 / Part 18 / Part 19 / Part 20 / Part 21 / Part 22 / Part 23 / Part 24 / Part 25 / Part 26 / Part 27 / Part 28 / Part 29 / Part 30 / Part 31 / Part 32 / Part 33 / Part 34 / Part 35 / Part 36 / Part 37
Lyons and Jackson go even further and quote Western sources which tell us that Saladin, “that patron of prostitutes whose power was among stews, his campaigns in taverns, his studies among dice and garlic, is suddenly lifted up; he sits among princes and is even greater than princes”. 
As for the putative lack of ambition on the part of Saladin, Ehrenkreutz argues that such a picture is very unlikely: “In view of Saladin’s intimate association with his immediate family it is difficult to imagine him unaffected by their military and political ambitions….Had he resented the atmosphere of political pressures and intrigues, he need not have entered military service in Aleppo. As it was, his meritorious performance attracted the eye of the stern sultan, who set him right on the same path taken by other members of his family”.[p.33]
Saladin was sent on the Egyptian expedition. “The intervention in Egypt was not regarded as a minor operation but as a hazardous campaign with no place for novices or lukewarm participants. Only experienced officers and troops deserved the distinction of taking part in the expedition. Had Saladin shown any aversion to military and political activities, he need not have joined the expeditionary force. Had Saladin not been militarily and politically competent, he could hardly have been included in the officer staff. The selection of Ayyub’s son [Saladin] to participate in that difficult and dangerous military operation suggests that at age twenty-six, Saladin enjoyed the reputation of a trustworthy and competent warrior”. [p. 33]
SALADIN IN EGYPT.
According to Ehrenkreutz it did not take Saladin long to establish, in Egypt, a reputation as “a man of trust, of intrepid action, who accepted bloody extermination as a political tool”. Saladin’s promotion to the vizirate of Egypt involved “a series of political maneuvers among a number of pressure groups”. The political scene in Cairo was complicated and dangerous, thus “the elevation of Saladin to the vizirate once again revealed his reputation of being an experienced, trustworthy, and ambitious leader of men”. Essentially, Saladin’s political behaviour, pace Lane-Poole and Gibb, “did not differ in spirit and methods from that of other medieval military leaders”.
SALADIN’S BLOODY SUPPRESSION OF THE REBELLION OF THE BLACK SUDANESE SOLDIERS.
When Sudanese soldiers rose in arms against the new vizir, that is, Saladin, and his people, Saladin suppressed the rebellion with a ferocity that is breathtaking, and belies his later reputation as a man of generosity and clemency:
“While the battle was raging in the Bain al-Qasrain area [of Cairo, between the Sudanese and Saladin’s troops], Saladin proceeded with a gruesome measure against the mutinous Sudanese. With only women and children left in the Sudanese barracks outside the Zuwayla Gate, Saladin’s soldiers suddenly appeared and set fire to the entire area.” When the Sudanese started to retreat, Saladin’s troops burned house after house sheltering the fleeing Sudanese. After two days of fighting the Sudanese agreed to surrender “if Saladin would offer them a safe-conduct. Their request was granted on condition that they promise to leave Cairo. The defeated and disarmed Sudanese marched out and set up their camp in Giza, where- in cynical violation of the safe-conduct pledge- they were massacred in cold blood by Shams al-Dawlah, Saladin’s brother. Only a small fraction of the original slave guard regiments survived the blood bath, and escaping to Upper Egypt, they were hunted down by Shibab al-Din al-Harimi who was assigned that mission by Saladin himself”.
 Malcolm C. Lyons and D.E.P. Jackson, Saladin. The Politics of the Holy War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982 [Canto (Paperback) Edition, 1997] p.32
To be continued.