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
Richard the Lionheart’s main concern was to see the terms of Acre’s surrender fulfilled, and accordingly he began pressuring Saladin for a precise timetable for the implementation of the peace settlement’s terms. For Richard, speed was of the essence, for various tactical, and military reasons — ultimately, he risked the collapse of the entire crusade. Saladin knew this, and so he began delaying tactics. The deadline of the first payment of the money — 12 August — passed, and Saladin “began deliberately to equivocate” , and even sought to introduce new conditions into the original deal. Saladin had obviously miscalculated, for Richard marched out of the city with 2,700 Muslim prisoners, who were bound in ropes, and ordered their mass execution in full sight of the Muslim camp.
John Gillingham , formerly professor of medieval history at the London School of Economics, argues that Richard’s act was “a reasoned decision, driven by military expediency”.  Here is Christopher Tyerman’s assessment: “Richard I”s butchery of his Muslim captives was an atrocity not uncommon in war. It was not an act of random sadism, less so, for example, than Saladin’s own execution of the Templars and Hospitallers after Hattin ”¦ Even [BahÄ” al-DÄ«n] Ibn ShaddÄd recognized that Richard’s action contained logic: revenge for Muslim killing of surrendering Christians during the siege of Acre “˜or that the king of England had decided to march on Ascalon”¦and did not think it wise to leave that number in the rear”. Richard and his apologists, and many observers not noted for their sympathy towards him, insisted on the justice of the killings, even their legality. One favourable source declared that, without the agreement with Saladin, the lives of the defeated garrison were forfeit jure belli, “˜under the rights of war–. 
Here are some examples of Saladin’s subsequent reactions taken from the Arabic history of BahÄ” al-DÄ«n Ibn ShaddÄd:
1. “At this camp, [Saladin] was brought two Franks who had been snatched by the advance guard. He commanded their execution and they were slain. Many of our men fell upon them with swords to vent their anger.” 
2. “Another two men taken from the fringes of the enemy host were brought before [Saladin] and they were most cruelly done to death, as he was still in an extreme rage at what had been done to the prisoners at Acre.” [My emphasis — Ibn Warraq] 
What does “cruelly done to death” mean? It means the prisoners were first horribly tortured and mutilated, and then executed. No clemency, humanity, and magnanimity is in evidence here.
3. Another prisoner is ordered to be executed, but this time “he forbade any mutilation”. 
4. Two other Crusader prisoners were ordered executed. 
5. Six more prisoners were ordered executed. 
6. Fourteen Frankish men and one woman were also executed on Saladin’s orders. 
7. In early September, 1191, Saladin ordered that two Franks be beheaded. 
8. On 7th September, one more execution ordered. 
9. On 10th September, two crusaders executed. 
10. On 25 September, Saladin arrived at the town of Ramla. “He viewed the town and viewed its church and the great size of its construction, then ordered its demolition and the demolition of the castle at Ramla.” 
 John Gillingham. Richard I. New Haven:Yale University Press, 2002, pp.166-71; 260-1.
 Thomas Asbridge, op.cit.,p.455.
 To be discussed in part III.
 Tyerman, op.cit.,pp.456-457
 BahÄ” al-DÄ«n Ibn ShaddÄd, op.cit.,p.168
 Ibid., p.169
 Ibid, p.174
 Ibid. p.176
 Ibid, p.177
To be continued.