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Jonathan Phillips

The Life and Legend of the Sultan Saladin

Hay Festival 2019 , 

In 1187, Saladin marched triumphantly into Jerusalem, ending decades of struggle against the Christians and reclaiming the holy city for Islam. Four years later he fought off the armies of the Third Crusade, which were commanded by Richard the Lionheart. A fierce warrior and savvy diplomat, Saladin’s unparalleled courtesy, justice, generosity and mercy were revered by both his fellow Muslims and his Christian rivals. Phillips offers a fresh and captivating look at the triumphs, failures and contradictions of one of the medieval world’s most influential figures. The Crusade historian looks at Saladin’s complicated legacy, examining the ways he has been invoked in the modern age by Arab and Muslim leaders ranging from Nasser in Egypt and al-Assad in Syria to Osama bin Laden.