Saladin, the Kurdish founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty, conquered Jerusalem in 1187 and repelled the Crusaders. Though he was later defeated by England's Richard I, Saladin's great skill and honourable conduct would become enshrined in European as well as Muslim lore. Sir Hamilton Gibb, Oxford University's formidable Orientalist scholar, was an admirer of Saladin. He produced this short biographical account by drawing from two chronicles written by well-placed contemporaries of the legendary leader. Meticulously annotated, Gibb's classic is an essential reference for historians as well as an excellent introduction to a fascinating historical figure.
Sir Hamilton Gibb (1895 - 1971), a former professor of Arabic at University of London, University of Oxford and Harvard University, is one of the father figures of Islamic Studies in the West. He was also Director of Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies. His most famous publications include Whither Islam? A Survey of Modern Movements in the Muslim World (1973), Arabic Literature (1926), The Legacy of Islam (1931) and Modern Trends in Islam (1947).