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Nur-ad-Din Mahmud succeeded his father Zengi at Aleppo in mid-September of 1146, he was a young and hitherto, apparently, inexperienced man, who was now faced with the task of establishing himself. He was surrounded by actual or potential enemies and rivals, and there were jealousies between his emirs. The division of Zengi’s principality seemed to dissipate at one stroke all the gains made in the past twenty years, except for the capture of Edessa. Unur at Damascus had lost no time in compelling Zengi’s governor, Najm-ad-Din Aiyub, to surrender Baalbek, in detaching Homs from Aleppo, and even in gaining over al-Yaghisiyani at Hamah. After the repulse by Shirkuh, who had also accompanied Nur-ad-Din to Aleppo, of a raid by Raymond, a more serious threat presented itself in Joscelin’s attempt to recapture Edessa. In this crisis, Nur-ad-Din showed for the first time what he was made of; he raced to its defense, not only to counter the crusaders, but also to forestall his brother Saif-ad-Din of Mosul, and prevented any future attempts of the kind by destroying its Armenian and Jacobite population.

This striking success over the Franks had in all probability a considerable effect in consolidating Nur-ad-Din’s position. For he had still to reach a direct settlement with his brother at Mosul, whose liberty of action was hampered for the time being by the rising of the Artukid princes Timurtash and Alp Arslan, and their recovery of their former possessions in the north. That there were some tensions between Aleppo and Mosul seems to be indicated by a number of small details, such as Nur-ad-Din’s refortification of Qalat Najm, guarding the bridge over the Euphrates on the Harran-Aleppo road; and it would appear that one of the main stabilizing factors in the situation was the friendship between the Mosul vizier Jamal-ad-Din and the Kurdish emir Shirkuh, who made it their aim to maintain the two principalities separate but in close alliance. Whether, as Ibn-al-Athir asserts, the two brothers, with many precautions, met outside Aleppo and came to a friendly agreement, or not, it is clear that Saif-ad-Din accepted the situation. Nur-ad-Din had, in fact, gained the support not only of the regular regiments of Aleppo but also of the Yuruk Turkoman tribes who had recently migrated into northern Syria, and was already able at the time of the attack on Edessa to put an army of 10,000 horsemen in the field. So powerful a force not only guaranteed his independence against his brother, though it would appear that Saif-ad-Din was regarded formally as Nur-ad-Din’s suzerain during his lifetime, but also convinced Unur of the advantages of a reconciliation with him. In the following March the two Syrian princes were united by Nur-ad-Din’s marriage with Unur’s daughter; al-Yaghisiyani at Hamah returned to his former allegiance; and the alliance was signalized by joint operations in May against the Franks in the Hauran, where a rebel governor, Altintash, had sought assistance from Jerusalem.

Back in the north, Nur-ad-Din prepared to defend himself against a more powerful rival. The Selchukid sultan of Rum (central Anatolia), Masud (1116-1155), now at peace with Manuel, was turning his arms southwards and engaging the northern garrisons of Antioch. Nur-ad-Din joined in, to occupy the fortresses in the Afrin valley south of Azaz and on the eastern fringe of the Amuq depression, followed, in spite of Raymond’s attempted counter-attack, by the capture of Hab and Kafarlatha, which guarded the passage from the Rugia valley to the plain of Aleppo. But before the end of 1147 the news of the approaching Second Crusade brought operations to an end, as all parties in Syria awaited, in hope or fear, what it might bring.

How far, even yet, the Moslem princes were from the conviction of a common cause against the "infidel" is shown by the absence of any consultations or arrangements for mutual defense. It was not until the decision to attack Damascus became known that Unur sent out appeals for assistance. The panic caused at Aleppo and Damascus by the early reports of the vast host on the way had already been alleviated by the disasters in Asia Minor, and was even giving place to some degree of confidence when the forces actually engaged in the campaign were found to be so much smaller than had been expected. In the interval Saif-ad-Din had joined forces with Nur-ad-Din and begun to move southwards, but had advanced no farther than Homs when the siege of Damascus was abandoned July 28. There can be little doubt that their prospective intervention was a factor in the decision to do so, yet the ultimate consequence was to drive a still deeper wedge of suspicion between Aleppo and Damascus.

The failure of the Second Crusade, coupled with the curious incident that followed in September, when Raymond II of Tripoli called in the united forces of the Zengids and Damascus to dislodge the son of Alfonso Jordan from the castle of al-Arimah, was utilized by Nur-ad-Din to attack the Frankish castles in central Syria. He then turned north to raid the lower reaches of an-Nahr al-Aswad, in order to counter a raid by Raymond of Antioch into Selchukid territory. In spite of a reverse at Yaghra, due to the jealousy of Shirkuh at the favor shown by Nur-ad-Din to his minister Ibn-ad-Dayah, he continued his operations towards Apamea in the following spring, while Unur, calling in the Turkomans, harassed the kingdom until an armistice was signed in May 1149.

Relieved from further anxiety in the south, Unur was able to answer Nur-ad-Din’s appeal for reinforcements in the north, and the combined armies, some 6,000 strong, set out to besiege Inab, on the borders of the Rugia valley. Raymond of Antioch, hastening to its defense and forced by his barons to engage the superior Moslem forces, was disastrously defeated June 29 and himself killed in the battle.

This, the most spectacular of Nur-ad-Din’s victories over the Franks, and coming at this early stage in his career, seems to have been the turning-point in his own conception of his mission and in the history of Moslem Syria. In the eyes of all Islam he had become the champion of the faith, and he now consciously set himself to fulfill the duties of that role. His first task was to deal with the heretics within his gates. On first occupying Aleppo he had shown some indulgence towards the Shiites, but in the last months of 1148, he had perhaps already begun to take measures against them and to break up their leadership. The Assassins of Masyaf were making common cause with the Franks; their chief, Ali ibn-Wafa, had contributed to the reverse at Yaghra and was killed on the Frankish side at Inab. But negative measures were not enough; the new counter-crusade was henceforth to be placed under the banner of orthodoxy, and Nur-ad-Dlin gave active encouragement to all the elements that could contribute to the revival of the faith, by the foundation of schools, mosques, and sufi convents, and to the unity of popular feeling, by the service of preachers, poets, and romancers. It entered into his political ambitions also. The campaigns soon to be opened against Damascus were preceded and accompanied by poetic denunciations and pointed demonstrations of the injury done to the cause of Islam by tile alliance of its political chiefs with the Franks. Later on, it was to range him against the Fatimids of Egypt. Whatever part private ambition may have had in his policy, it cannot be questioned that in the twenty-five years that lay ahead of him he was to go far towards creating the general unity and even exaltation of spirit amongst the Moslems of Syria of which Saladin was to reap the benefit after him.

For the moment he set himself to make the most of his victory at Inab, and even hoped to seize Antioch in its temporary state of defenselessness. Foiled in these hopes by the patriarch Aimery and the speed of Baldwin’s advance to its support, he rejoined al-Yaghisiyani, whom he had previously detached to invest Apamea. After its surrender, he returned to the north and seized Harim and all the remaining castles east of the Orontes before concluding an armistice with Antioch. Masud, the sultan of Rum, also joined in the scramble for spoils, and having captured Marash, Sam, and Duluk, laid siege to Tell Bashir and appealed to Nur-ad-Din for assistance.

But Nur-ad-Din’s interest at this moment lay in a different direction. On August 28 Unur of Damascus had died, and a violent struggle broke out between the prince Abak and rival parties among his officers. Before Nur-ad-Din could seize the opportunity to intervene, however, his brother Saif-ad-Din Ghazi of Mosul died also (September 6). On receipt of this news Nur-ad-Din rode hell-for-leather toward Mosul with a small party of followers, and reached and occupied Sinjar. A faction in the army of Mosul was favorable to his interest, but Ali Kuchuk and the vizier set up a younger brother, Qutb-ad-Din Maudud, as their prince, and when Nur-ad-Din was joined by the Artukid Kara Arslan, the Mosul forces marched out to give battle. The fratricidal strife was finally averted by the vizier, who persuaded Nur-ad-Din to surrender Sinjar in return for the surrender to him of Homs and Rahba.

On his return to Syria Nur-ad-Din, after sending Shirkuh to join the sultan Masud at Tell Bashir, negotiated the raising of the siege on payment of tribute by Joscelin. His ally, the Artukid Kara Arslan, was engaged during the autumn and winter months in conquering the fortresses of Joscelin's Armenian vassals on the upper Euphrates, including Gargar. But Nur-ad-Din himself was mainly preoccupied with the affairs of Damascus. On the pretext of punishing the Franks for their raids on the Hauran he demanded reinforcements from its prince. The prefect, Muaiyid-ad-Din Ibn-as-Sufi who had by now established his control of the city, pleaded the treaty with Jerusalem. In the spring of 1150 Nur-ad-Din marched south, encamped outside the city, and repeated his demand for a thousand men to join him in an expedition to relieve Ascalon and Gaza. Although it is evident from the language of the Damascus chronicler that the popular sympathies lay with Nur-ad-Din, the prefect, no doubt remembering the former occasion when Damascus troops were sent under Sevinj to cooperate in the "holy war" with Nur-ad-Din’s father, refused the request in peremptory terms; but in the face of Nur-ad-Din’s threats he agreed to recognize Nur-ad-Din’s suzerainty, though without admitting him into the city.

During his absence in the south, his Turkoman troops remained actively engaged against the territories of Tell Bashir and succeeded in capturing Joscelin. Instantly, the county was invaded from three sides. The Artukid Timurtash of Mardin seized Samosata and Bira, with other fortresses; the Selchukid sultan Masud reappeared before Tell Bashir and was joined by Nur-ad-Din, who had already captured Azaz. On the transfer of Tell Bashir to the Greek emperor Manuel; the siege was raised, but the two Moslem forces vigorously harassed the Franco-Armenian garrison and population on their evacuation to Antioch. During his withdrawal Masud seized Kesoun, Behesni, Raban, and Marzban, while Nur-ad-Din occupied in the course of the same autumn and winter Tall Khalid, Cyrrhus, and Ravendan. Early in the next year (1151) his general Hassan of Manbij renewed the siege of Tell Bashir, and with its surrender on July 12 the former county of Edessa was extinguished.

Nur-ad-Din’s absence in the north brought little relief to Damascus, where, in addition, the internal conflict was still unappeased. During the autumn of 1150 his Turkomans were sent to detach the province of Hauran and fought a pitched battle with a detachment of Damascene troops. In the spring of 1151 he again encamped outside the city and though he deprecated the shedding of Moslem blood, his forces engaged in skirmishes with the local forces and the villages of the Ghufah were plundered by the undisciplined followers of both sides. This attack on Damascus was the more pointed in that the Egyptian vizier Ibn-as-Sallar, perhaps taking Nur-ad-Din’s protestations of a desire to relieve the growing pressure on Ascalon at their face value, had in May 1150 sent an embassy to him to arrange for a joint attack on the Franks and had received his promise to participate. But when, in the following spring, the Egyptian fleet attacked the Syrian coastal towns from Jaffa to Tripoli, Nur-ad-Din remained inactive.

On the approach of the Franks in June, he withdrew to az-Zabadani and sent a squadron to the Hauran, which subsequently engaged the Franks there and forced them to retire. He then resumed the siege of Damascus early in July and cut off its supplies, but held firmly to his decision not to engage in regular hostilities with its troops and citizens. Before the end of the month a fresh agreement was reached between the parties, the negotiators including Shirkuh on the one side and his brother Najm-ad-Din Aiyub on the other. The agreement was duly ratified in October by a ceremonial visit of the prince Abak to Aleppo, when he was formally recognized as Nur-ad-Din’s lieutenant in Damascus.

Even yet, however, Nur-ad-Din was not satisfied. The Damascenes still regarded themselves as bound by their treaty with Jerusalem, and the Yuruk Turkoman irregulars, with or without the knowledge or consent of Nur-ad-Din, continued to operate in the districts of Damascus. In December 1151 they inflicted heavy losses on the Frankish garrison of Banyas and were engaged in consequence by the forces of Damascus; but Aiyub at Baalbek had almost immediately to take measures against a reprisal raid by the Franks in the Biqa valley. While Nur-ad-Din, in the fol­lowing spring, was engaged in the north, where he seized Tortosa and Yaljmur, Abak strengthened himself by restoring his control over the Hauran, which had been shaken by the Turkomans.

Early in 1153 Nur-ad-Din determined to exert his authority once more at Damascus and ordered Abak to join him with the whole of his regular forces in order to relieve the pressure on Ascalon. The combined armies, after capturing Aflis, marched to Banyas, where they split up in disorder and retired (May-June). This was the last straw, and while the disorders broke out afresh in Damascus, and Ascalon fell to the crusading armies, Nur-ad-Din, encamped at Homs, blockaded Damascus by preventing the passage of grain convoys. At the end of March 1154 Shirkuh appeared before the city, but was met with hostility. In April Nur-ad-Din himself arrived, and after brushing aside a show of resistance forced an entrance on April 25 “to the joy of the people, troops, and militiamen”. Abak surrendered and was recompensed with fiefs at Horns, and Shirkuh was invested with the governorship of the city. Baalbek still resisted, Aiyub having been replaced as governor of the citadel before the fall of Damascus by another officer, Dabbak; but in June 1155, after concluding an armistice with the kingdom of Jerusalem for one year, Nur-ad-Din forced its surrender. Aiyub rejoined Nur-ad-Din’s service either before or after this event, and was appointed governor of Damascus with Shirkuh as military commandant.

Immediately after the occupation of Damascus Nur-ad-Din, in addition to reorganizing its defenses, began to apply there also his program of religious revival by the foundation of colleges and convents. Two other institutions of his deserve special note. One was the hospital (Maristan) which long remained one of the most famous of medieval infirmaries. The other was the dar al-adl or palace of justice, whose counterpart he had already instituted in Aleppo, where he himself, during his periods of residence in the city, sat in audience twice a week to deal with complaints, especially against the officers of the army and the administration. The stress which he laid on this part of a ruler’s duties is recognized in the title conferred on him by the caliph, apparently in this same year 1154, of al-malik al-adil "the just king".

With the unification of all Moslem Syria, as well as the former county of Edessa, under his rule, Nur-ad-Din’s military power was now consolidated. Although little direct or detailed information on his military organization is preserved in the sources, it certainly followed the Selchukid feudal system, in which the officers and a number of the regular troops were assigned estates in lieu of pay, on condition of presenting themselves with adequate equipment and provisions for active service when called upon. The officers received estates graduated in size according to their rank, and were required to maintain a corresponding number of troops from their revenues; in the case of general officers placed in command of districts or provinces, these numbered several hundreds. The feudal army thus consisted of the ruler’s own regiments of guards, numbering perhaps some 2,000 under Nur-ad-Din, plus the regiments of his district commanders and vassals. The combined forces of Aleppo and Damascus at Inab amounted, as already noted, to 6,000 horse; and it is probable that the regular armies under Nur-ad-Din’s direct command never much exceeded this figure. When reinforced by the Artukid princes or from Mosul, or by auxiliary bodies of Turkomans or Arab tribesmen, his armies may well have reached 10,000 or even 15,000, exclusive of foot-soldiers and volunteers.

In one feature Nur-ad-Din’s regular forces differed from most of the Selchukid armies, namely in the enrolment of large numbers of Kurds alongside the Turkish mameluks. The brothers Aiyub and Shirkuh were, though the most prominent, by no means the only Kurdish officers who attained high rank under him; and these in turn naturally attracted large numbers of their fellow-countrymen, both as regulars and as auxiliary troops. The local Arab sedentaries and militia, on the other hand, who had played so large a part in Syria during the preceding century, seem to have been suppressed or discouraged, no doubt as potential elements of insubordination. They are scarcely mentioned in the annals of Nur-ad-Diin’s campaigns, and reappear under Saladin only as auxiliary infantry and siege troops.

Shortly after the capture of Baalbek, Nur-ad-Din returned to the north to intervene in the complicated struggle between the Selchukid and Danishmendid princes in Anatolia that followed the death of sultan Masud I in 1155. While his successor Kilij Arslan II engaged and defeated the Danishmendid Yaghi-Basan of Sebastia (Sivas) at Aqserai in September, Nur-ad-Din seized the opportunity to annex Aintab, Duluk, and Marzban, The indignant sultan retaliated by attempting to organize a coalition against him with Toros of Cilicia and Reginald of Antioch, but the only immediate action taken was a raid toward Aleppo by Reginald, who was overtaken and defeated near Harim by Ibn-ad-Dayah in the following spring. In the autumn amicable relations were restored between the two Moslem princes.

The next five years were filled with anxieties, external and internal, for the preservation of the newly unified kingdom of Syria. In September 1156 began a series of severe earthquakes which repeatedly destroyed cities and fortifications in the northern half of his territories. In spite of the renewal of the truce with Jerusalem on the payment of a tribute of 8,000 Tyrian dinars, it was broken again and again by attempts on the part of the Latins to take advantage of the disordered conditions in the country. Nur-ad-Din, preoccupied with measures for the defense of the ruined cities, established himself near Baalbek and sent out squadrons to deal with these attacks, at the same time sending an envoy to Egypt to organize cooperation with the Egyptian forces against the Franks.

Encouraged by two successful engagements in April 1157, in which his brother Nusrat-ad-Din severely handled a force of Hospitallers and Templars on their way to Banyas with supplies, and Shirkuh with a body of Turkomans repulsed the raiders in the north, Nur-ad-Din concentrated his armies at the beginning of May for an assault on Banyas. Retiring before Baldwin's advance, he counterattacked the Frankish troops in camp at al-Mallahah on June 19 and destroyed the greater part, Baldwin himself barely escaping by flight. William of Tyre relates that Nur-ad-Din then returned to the attack on Banyas, but was forced to retire by the conjunction of the troops of Antioch and Tripoli with those of the kingdom. It seems more probable, however, that the reason for his withdrawal was a renewed series of earthquake shocks which began on July 4 and continued into November, with particularly serious results in Homs, Hamah, Apamea, and Shaizar, where the whole household of its Arab princes, the Banu-Munqidh, perished. Having attempted without success to renew the armistice with Baldwin, he left a force in the field to protect the territories of Damascus and himself moved north in August to occupy Shaizar and protect the other cities. By this move he forestalled the advance of the combined Latin forces, following on the arrival of Thierry of Alsace, count of Flanders, on the third of his four personal crusades, and on their concentration at Antioch Nur-ad-Din took up his position at Inab in readiness to meet the expected attack,

Here he was attacked by a severe illness early in October, and after giving instructions that in the event of his death his brother Nusrat-ad-Din should be his successor at Aleppo, with Shirkuh as his lieutenant at Damascus, he withdrew to the citadel of Aleppo. Amidst the confusion which followed, Shirkuh moved south to protect Damascus. The rest of the army was temporarily disorganized, and the crusaders, reinforced by Toros and his Armenians, advanced on Shaizar without opposition. But the Assassins of Masyaf had long coveted its possession and seized the opportunity first; their stubborn defense of the citadel gave time for disputes to break out between the Frankish leaders, and the enterprise was abandoned.

Meanwhile, in Aleppo itself the Shiites, thirsting to escape from the severe control of Nur-ad-Din, had, after extracting from Nusrat-ad-Din promises in their favor, forced the city gates, and organized a violent demonstration against the governor of the citadel, Ibn-ad-Dayah. But ocular proof that Nur-ad-Din was still alive was enough to quell the disturbance, and Nusrat-ad-Din was dispatched as governor to Harran. The army was still disorganized, however, and during Nur-ad-Din’s long convalescence failed to intervene when Baldwin, with the forces of Antioch and Tripoli, besieged and recaptured Harim in January or February 1158. Shirkuh had lately rejoined Nur-ad-Din at Aleppo, apparently with the object of reorganizing the Zengid forces, but his absence gave an opening to raiders from the kingdom of Jerusalem, who ravaged the country south of Damascus with impunity. In early spring, however, while contingents from Egypt began an extensive series of raids in the south of Palestine, Nur-ad-Din and Shirkuh returned from Aleppo and, after a raid on Sidon by the latter, joined forces in an attack on the stronghold called Habis Jaldak, on the south bank of the Yarmuk river (in May). On Baldwin’s advance to the northeast of Lake Tiberias, where he threatened the Moslem lines of communication, Nur-ad-Din joined battle but suffered a defeat, retrieved only by his personal courage (July 15). His proposals for an armistice having been rejected, Nur-ad-Din remained at Damascus, continuing the negotiations with the Egyptian vizier, but again fell seriously ill at the close of the year.

In face of the imminent danger to Aleppo implied in the emperor Manuel’s sudden invasion of Cilicia, Nur-ad-Din had the oath of allegiance taken by his officers to his brother Qutb-ad-Din and sent envoys to Mosul to acquaint him with the decision, but before Qutb-ad-Din could arrive with his troops Nur-ad-Din recovered and himself set out towards Aleppo in March 1159. Although Manuel had already opened communications with Nur-ad-Din, his entry into Antioch at the end of March and the subsequent advance of the combined Greek and Latin forces to Imm made it necessary to neglect no precautions. On Nur-ad-Din’s urgent summons the forces of Mosul and contingents from all the vassal and allied principalities in Mesopotamia joined him east of Aleppo, and the city was further strengthened by an outer wall. But Manuel had little reason to desire the destruction of Nur-ad-Din's power, wishing rather to utilize him, negatively, to hold the Latins in check in Syria, and, positively, as an ally against Kilij Arslan in Anatolia. Negotiations were accordingly set in train at the end of May, and in return for Nur-ad-Din's surrender of Bertram of Toulouse, Bertrand of Blancfort, the master of the Temple, and other Frankish prisoners, the alliance was formed and Manuel withdrew to Anatolia, “having earned thanks and praise, and without injuring a single Moslem”.

The immediate advantages which accrued to Nur-ad-Din from this situation were limited to the occupation of Raban, Kesoun, Behesni, and Marash while Kilij Arslan was engaged against the emperor and the Denishmendid Yaghi-Basan, in the course of 1160. During the same year Reginald of Châtillon fell into his hands, captured by Ibn-ad-Dayah on his return from a raid against Aintab in November. But in spite of the confusion which resulted from this in Antioch, Nur-ad-Din seems to have been unable to turn it to profit, and indeed after some raiding, he concluded an armistice with Baldwin. Either before or after this, however, he made an attack on Harim, which was repulsed by a combined force of Latins, Greeks, and Armenians, but succeeded in recovering Arzghan, which had been retaken earlier by Reginald.

The two-year armistice with Baldwin relieved Nur-ad-Din’s anxieties over Damascus and the south, which had been exposed, almost unprotected, to some raiding during his northern campaign in 1160. But the course of events in Egypt set him a new, and even embarrassing, problem. When Shavar, driven out by Dirgam in August 1163, appealed for military assistance to reinstate him, Nur-ad-Din, already burdened with the task of maintaining his extensive territories with relatively small forces, hesitated. Finally, however, he was persuaded to accept the proposal by Shirkuh, “a man of great bravery and strength of character, and impervious to fear”, on the understanding that Nur-ad-Din should receive one-third of the revenues of Egypt, less the pay of his troops. Shirkuh set out late in April 1164 accompanied by his nephew Saladin, and defeated and killed Dirgam under the walls of Cairo in August. Shavar’s failure to observe his engagement led Shirkuh to occupy the province of Sharqiya; the vizier then called on Amalric for assistance on the former terms, and the joint forces of the Latins and Egyptians besieged Shirkuh in Bilbais for three months. At length Amalric agreed to treat; Shirkuh, already hard-pressed, consented to evacuate the town and return to Syria, and his withdrawal in October was followed by that of the Franks.

Amalric’s eagerness to leave Egypt was occasioned by the disasters which Nur-ad-Din, profiting by the engagement of large Latin forces in Egypt, had inflicted on the Franks during his absence. Although his first diversionary raid towards Tripoli had ended in the all-but-total destruction of his force at Krak des Chevaliers (Hisn al-Akrad) in May, he had immediately called for and received substantial reinforcements from Mosul and the Artukid princes of Hisn Kaifa and Mardin, and with these he renewed the attack on Harim. All the available forces from Tripoli and Antioch, together with the Armenians and Greeks from Cilicia, rallied to its defense, but were drawn into battle and totally defeated in the plain of Artah at the beginning of August 1164. Bohemond III, Raymond III of Tripoli, the Greek duke Coloman, and Hugh of Lusignan were among the prisoners.

The surrender of Harim followed in a few days. Nur-ad-Din, anxious to avoid drawing the Greeks into the defense of Antioch, and hoping to utilize the opportunity of Humphrey's absence in Egypt, with Amalric, dismissed the Mesopotamians and made a surprise march on Banyas. The garrison, deprived of all hope of relief, surrendered the castle on October 18, and the victory was signalized by an agreement to divide the revenues of Tiberias. In spite of the failure of Shirkuh'’s expedition to Egypt, therefore, the net result had been to consolidate Nur-ad-Din’s possessions in Syria and to raise his prestige to new heights in the Moslem world.

But the continued evidences of Byzantine interest in Antioch deterred him from further military activities in the north, and led to a rapprochement with sultan Kilij Arslan, to whom he restored Behesni, Kesoun, and Marash in 1166 or 1167. Minor raids were probably undertaken in central Syria, and the Damascus troops under Shirkuh captured two cave strongholds, one near Sidon and the other cast of the Jordan. But on the whole it seems clear that Nur-ad-Din was biding his time, and watching with caution and possibly with anxiety the course of events both as between Latins and Greeks and in Mosul. Here his young and feckless brother Qutb-ad-Din had dismissed and imprisoned the vizier Jamal-ad-Din in the summer of 1163. The removal of his strong and experienced hand had created new tensions at Mosul, which the commandant, Ali Kuchuk, was unable to control. In 1167/1168, now half blind and deaf, he surrendered all his fiefs and governorships, except Irbil, to which he retired and which, on his death shortly afterwards, he left to his son Gokbori as his successor, under the control of his mamluk Mujahid-ad-Din Qaimaz. His place at Mosul was taken by a white mamluk of Zengi's, Fakhr-ad-Din Abd-al-Massib, under whom matters continued to deteriorate.

In January 1167 Shirkuh again invaded Egypt, at the head of a detachment of Nur-ad-Din’s troops, with Turkoman reinforcements. No reason is assigned for this expedition except Shirkuh’s own desire to avenge himself on Shavar. As on the previous occasion, Nur-ad-Din, on Shirkuh’s departure, summoned the aid of Qutb-ad-Din’s forces from Mosul and engaged in widespread raiding and destruction in the territories of Tripoli, capturing al-Munaitirah (Le Moinestre) and destroying Chastel-Neuf (Hunin). Shirkuh's and Amalric's return, and dissensions between the troops of Aleppo and Mosul, brought the campaign to an end, and Nur-ad-Dln made over Raqqa to Qutb-ad-Din, who occupied it on the way back. In the following spring the rebellion of a governor — a rare event in Nur-ad-Din's career — involved an expedition to Manbij to displace him and a personal intervention at Edessa. Barely had he returned to Aleppo in April 1168 when the Uqailid prince of Qalat Jabar, Malik ibn-Ali, was captured by the Kalb Arabs and brought to him as a prisoner. For many months, in spite of promises and threats, the Uqailid refused to surrender his fortress, which withstood alt the assaults of the Aleppo armies, but finally consented to exchange it for Saruj and other fiefs, and it was made over in October to Majd-ad-Din Ibn-ad-Dayah.

With this conquest Nur-ad-Din put an end to the last of the independent principalities in northern Syria and became fully master of the territories to the west of the principality of Mosul. Only a few weeks later he received the urgent appeal from the Fatimid caliph and the vizir Shavar which led to Shirkuh's third and final expedition to Egypt. Its addition, in January 1169, to the list of provinces which acknowledged him as sultan or as suzerain seemed to be the apogee of Nur-ad-Dln's career. But his ambitions were growing with the extension of his power. Many years before, he had been foiled in the attempt to assert his authority over Mosul itself, and he had since watched for an opportunity to achieve this purpose. In 1166 or 1167, the Artukid prince Kara Arslan of Hisn Kaifa on his death had left his son and heir Nur-ad-Din Muhammad under the guardianship of Nur-ad-Din, who sharply intervened to restrain his brother Qutb-ad-Din at Mosul from asserting his suzerain rights over the principality. This protectorate served Nur-ad-Din’s purpose when Qutb-ad-Din died, at the age of forty, in August 1170, and the succession was disputed by his elder son Imad-ad-Din and younger son Saif-ad-Din Ghazi. Hastily assembling a light troop, Nur-ad-Din crossed the Euphrates, invested and reoccupied Raqqa, halted at Nisibin where he was joined by his Artukid namesake and other troops, took Sinjar by force and bestowed it on his nephew Imad-ad-Din, and advanced to Balad on the Tigris. A few days later Mosul surrendered, and Nur-ad-Din, having received the caliphs diploma for the city and its dependencies, reinstated Saif-ad Adin as his vassal, and placed his own mamluk Said-ad-Din Gumushtigin in command of the citadel. After receiving homage from Gokbori and Qaimaz of Irbil, he installed his own governors in the cities of upper Mesopotamia, and returned to Aleppo in March 1171.

This expedition to Mosul could be made with the greater impunity since in the summer of 1170, beginning toward the end of June, a further series of earthquakes had laid in ruins a number of cities and their fortifications in northern Syria, including Antioch, Tripoli, Jabala, and Latakia, as well as Aleppo, Hamah, and Homs. Both sides, faced with the necessity of rebuilding their fortresses, agreed to a truce. In the autumn of 1171 this was broken by the seizure of two Egyptian merchant ships at Latakia. Nur-ad-Din in retaliation called up the troops of Mosul and upper Mesopotamia and engaged in a violent raiding campaign in the territories of Tripoli, during which he captured Arqah. Immediately afterwards he arranged with Saladin, now his lieutenant in Egypt, to join him in an attack on Kerak (Krak des Moabites), and in October moved south to meet him there. Saladin set out from Cairo at the end of September, but returned without meeting Nur-ad-Din, who abandoned the siege before the Latins under Humphrey could intervene. In the autumn of the next year he was again engaged against Frankish raiding parties in the Hauran, and sent a counter-raid against Tiberias. Although he was still actively seeking to stimulate public feeling in his territories in favor of the jihad, this was apparently his last contest with the Franks of Syria.

For already, although he had built up a powerful war machine to be used against the crusaders, his ambitions had implicated him in a series of operations in the north which were to lead him into conflict with the Moslems of Anatolia instead. On the death of Toros of Cilicia in 1168, his brother Mleh, who held Cyrrhus as a fief from Nur-ad-Din, invaded Cilicia with the support of a contingent from Aleppo, which remained in his service and assisted him to drive out the Templars and Greeks from the fortresses and, in 1173, the cities which they held in Cilicia. An expedition organized by Amalric after his return from Constantinople in 1171 was interrupted by Nur-ad-Din’s attack on Kerak, and Mleh remained master of Cilicia until Nur-ad-Din’s death.

During these events in Cilicia the Selchukid Kilij Arslan had been actively breaking up the Danishmendid principalities and annexing their territories, Albistan, Caesarea (Kayseri), and Ankara. In 1170 or 1171 he attacked Melitene (Malatya), but was repulsed, owing to the intervention of the Artukid Nur-ad-Din of Hisn Kaifa. He then attacked the last Denishmendid stronghold, Sebastia, whose prince appealed to Nur-ad-Din. In the spring of 1173 he set out from Damascus, and after capturing Marash and Behesni, joined forces in August or September with Mleh and the troops of Melitene, and marched on Qalat ar-Rum, on the Euphrates north of Bira. At this point Kilij Arslan sent overtures for peace. The precise terms of the agreement are uncertain; according to some sources Kilij Arslan consented to restore Ankara and Sebastia to their princes, and Nur-ad-Din sent the former vizier of Mosul, Abd-al-Massih, with a contingent of his own troops to garrison Sebastia, but these returned to Aleppo on the news of his death.

On his return, Nur-ad-Din made a leisurely journey to Damascus, where shortly afterwards he fell seriously ill, and died on May 15, 1174, leaving only a minor son as his heir. Almost instantaneously the territorial and military organization which he had built up with so much labor fell to pieces. But, in contrast to his father Zengi, he had by his life and conduct laid the foundations for that moral unification of Moslem forces on which alone a real political and military unity could be reared. It is ironical that the great name and reputation which he left was to prove one of the major obstacles to the efforts of his true successor Saladin, to resume his task and bring it to fruition.