almost all of the formerly Islamic territory; the Frankish cavalry was crushed at Ói††n and Jerusalem was triumphantly retrieved for Islam. By 584/1188 only Frankish Tyre, Tripoli and Antioch held out. Shortly thereafter, however, the forces of the Third Crusade, headed by Richard Lion-Heart, reestablished the Latin presence along the major part of the Syro-Palestinian coast, to pose a constant military and moral challenge to the princes of the Ayy¨bid confederation. Syrian unity was very short lived. Upon his death in 589/1193, Saladin bequeathed the empire he had painstakingly put together to seventeen of his sons, brothers and nephews, who had previously served him as army-generals and administrators. They all became princes in a confederation of autonomous principalities of varied size and importance. In subsequent generations, the cohesion of this confederation depended, to a large extent, on the authority of the reigning head of the clan, who was usually situated in Cairo. He was the only prince to formally carry the title ‘sultan’ (sul†ån). His other special prerogatives included the vow of alliance, the striking of coins in his name, and the mention of his name in Friday noon sermons throughout the Ayy¨bid domains.6 The rulers of other principalities usually used the title malik (pl. mul¨k). Constantly shifting alliances, conicting interests and a very mobile, mostly free-born and at least partially independent military elite undermined the confederation’s stability.7 Individual rulers occasionally pursued their interests by contracting with the Franks, the Khwarizmians, the Seljuks and the Mongols—against their siblings. But other forces worked to moderate inter-Ayy¨bid conicts, and end them, more often than not, in agreements and territorial adjustments. These included external threats, the interest in stability of the caliph in Baghdad and of local forces, intermarriage and familial solidarity. As for the relationship with the Franks, Saladin’s heirs usually preferred peaceful co-existence and rehabilitation to continued crusades and jihåd. The nal overthrow of Frankish rule in Palestine was to come only at the end of the seventh/thirteenth century, at the hand of the Maml¨ks. Rebels from within the Ayy¨bid army, and powerful enemies from without, put an end to the confederation. In 648/1250, in Cairo, Maml¨k conspirators murdered the son and heir of al-Íåliª Ayy¨b
See Humphreys, From Saladin, 365–369. Humphreys, “Politics,” 159, 164.