Professor Jonathan Phillips
University of London
Saladin: Life and Legend – From the Medieval Age to the 21st Century
April 6 2014; 16.00-18.00
Conference Room 2001 Floor 20 Eshkol Tower
The Sultan Saladin remains one of the most iconic figures of the medieval age. As the man who recovered Jerusalem from the crusaders in 1187 he became the hero of Sunni Islam. Intriguingly, in the course of his clash with Richard the Lionheart and the Third Crusade he became hugely admired in the Christian West, in large part because of his reputation for generosity and courtesy. Many centuries after his death, Saladin continues to be an immensely potent symbol of religious and military resistance to the West. His image also endures in aspects of contemporary culture such as ballet, television cartoons and pop songs. This lecture will review Saladin’s career and look at how his reputation was formed and preserved over the centuries, considering the influences of his legacy in both the Islamic world and the West. It will also challenge the frequent assertion that he was almost entirely forgotten in the Near East until 1898 when Kaiser Wilhelm’s visit to the region supposedly prompted a revival of interest in his career and legacy.
Professor Jonathan Phillips ,Professor of Crusading History, Royal Holloway, University of London He has studied with Professor Peter Jackson (Keele University) and was a doctoral student of Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith. He has published several books on the crusades, including The Second Crusade: Extending the Frontiers of Christendom (Yale, 2007) and Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades (London, 2009), the latter which has been translated into six other languages. He is a frequent contributor to television and radio programmes on the crusades. He is also the Head of the History Department at Royal Holloway, University of London.