Talk:Battle of Montgisard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Political correctness[edit]

Society is smothered in Political correctness today. Why did the movie Kingdom of Heaven not include this Battle? I know its not decisive, despite being a costly defeat for the Arabs, but then again, why bother include so many other things?

Because it took place outside of the time frame of the movie? Because there isn't enough info to reconstruct it? Because the writers just didn't feel like it? Who knows? Who cares? Baldwin mentions it, at least. Adam Bishop 09:02, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

did it happen at all?[edit]

Ahem, i have doubts as to whether this battle ever took place: i've read, and am re-reading The Crusades Through Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf, and no mention of it (yet, Mr Maalouf does not tend to skip over the muslims' defeats, that i've noticed); 2nd, i look in this 1957 Britannica, and have not found anything yet: nothing in the Saladin article, nor in the "Baldwin VI" (its main article, and all other references in the index checked), no entry in the index for "Mont Gisard"; no "Mont Gisard" in my french "Petit Larousse" (the equivalent of an english Webster College Edition). Googling "battle Montgisard" returns lots of hits, but i do wonder.
I added a banner requesting sources, and verification. TIA.

--Jerome Potts 10:24, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

This is one of those old articles that we never bothered to give sources for. Of course it happened, though. I don't see it in Maalouf either, and it's not in Gabrieli's Arab Historians of the Crusades, but it is mentioned by Baha ad-Din. Baha says it took place near Ramla, not Montgisard specifically, but Montgisard was just a little castle outside the city of Ramla. William of Tyre mentions it in detail. Steven Runciman notes that it is also mentioned in Ernoul, Michael the Syrian, Abu Shama, and Ibn al-Athir. Malcolm Lyons and D.E.P. Jackson list Imad ad-Din as well, but they question whether it really took place at Montgisard. Bernard Hamilton adds al-Maqrizi as a source. Apparently Roger des Moulins also wrote a letter about it. Of the primary sources I only have Baha ad-Din and William of Tyre handy, but they definitely mention it. Adam Bishop 17:01, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Wow, sounds good. Thank you for the prompt reply. I hope you will find the time to include the refs. Hey, i see no article on Behaeddin; wanna create one? --Jerome Potts 05:29, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I rewrote some of it and added some sources. How is it now? Baha ad-Din does need an article, as does Imad ad-Din...someone will get around to them someday. Adam Bishop 09:53, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Very nice. Thank you. --Jerome Potts 18:35, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
May I add that the identification of Mons Gisardi with Geser or Jezer is probably fortuitous, based on the similarity of the words. Gisardi is a French word, a name, whose origin and meaning I do not know, but it is certainly not a corruption of Geser. Ramla was an administrative district that extended almost up to Ascalon. The battle took place only a few hours' march from Ascalon at most, so it could have not been anywhere near the town of Ramla itself, such as near Gezer. There is a river mentioned, and there is not one flowing by Geser either. Besides, one of the Arab historians mentions that Saladin was preparing to lay siege on a Crusader fortress and there was one standing on al-Safiya, the hill near the village of Menehem that the Arab sources refer to. It has been identified as Blanchegarde, a fort that Saladin eventually destroyed in a later campaign. So unless there were other hills with the name of al-Safiya in the district of Ramla, Montgisard is probably modern Tell es-Safi, near Menehem. One of the roads to Jerusalem begins to traverse the hills at this point, which was probably why the Crusader fort was placed there. If it is true that the Crusaders built a monastery at the location of the battlefield to commemorate their victory, then there is hope future archaeological excavations could locate the battlefield. At least two modern historians have considered Mons Gisardi to be Tell es-Safi itself or a nearby hill.Skamnelis (talk) 03:37, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

This battle is also know as the battle of Ascalon. That might be why. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:33, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Nah, the Battle of Ascalon was another, and earlier. --Jerome Potts (talk) 05:05, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Just wondering, there is a comment in the aftermath section that mentions that it was a "difficult battle" for the crusaders, since they lost what was it 1,100 killed and ~ 800 wounded, while the muslims lost 27,000? Ok so let's say the Crusaders had 3,000 infantry. They lost 2/3 of their men, while Saldin lost 90%. Even though the army of Baldwin was 10% the size of saladins, it still lost far fewer men even when considering the percent casualties. Perhaps someone wiser than me can clear this up, but I cannot think of a way to spin this other than that it was a decisive victory for the Crusaders. I'm looking to be contradicted here if possible, since I'm assuming the author had a good reason to interpret the battle as a pyrrich victory. Thanks. (talk) 23:07, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. I read somewhere that the Crusaders had about 7,000 men in total, including knights etc. While percentage wise, Saladin lost many more troops than the Crusaders did, I don't see how it could be classed as anything but a decisive victory - it couldn't be a pyrrhic victory as the main Crusader army wasn't even present at the battle - it was much further north. Most of the Crusaders that fought at Montgisard were levies. ( (talk) 13:12, 15 January 2011 (UTC))


    I'm detecting a Crusader bias here. Anyone with me?  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:04, 7 July 2008 (UTC) 

yes —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gargantu (talkcontribs) 11:07, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm not. If you were to prove your case instead of attempting to be a demagogue on wikipedia, I would be inclined to change my opinion, but as of now, I don't see it. I would like to add that this does appear to be a decisive victory for the crusaders, and in this case, they are worthy of praise for their military skill. There are plenty of examples of Saladin gaining the upper hand on the crusaders. I'm sort of suspecting you think there is a bias because the article does suggest it was a decisive crusader victory, but sir, we cannot rewrite history to conform to political correctness. How else would we learn from it? Thank you for your contribution. (talk) 23:09, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I have toned down the triumphal tone of some of the text, and have added some sources, as requested by the header. Saladin retreated to Egypt, so this was almost certainly a defeat but not enough is known about this battle to draw confident conclusions about the respective casualties or loss of territory - if any.Skamnelis (talk) 03:12, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

The numbers sound like complete bogus[edit]

Someone needs to provide a decent secondary source with thorough research in primary sources to back up the numbers, namely that Saladin lost 23000 out of 26000 men! It simply doesn't add up. First, Saladin had difficulty raising that many men and when he did, it was for major operations. So let's say it was, for sake of argument. In which case, Saladin would've brought up most of his heavy cavalry, which normally did not exceed 10000 - 20000 men at any given time, and were crucial in fending off formidable Latin knights and their irresistible charge. Furthermore, these men were expensive, in not only materiel but also in time invested, just as knights were. They absolutely could not be replaced easily or in speed. For a major operation, Saladin could take anywhere from 10000 to 15000 heavy cavalry with him. And since this was a major operation involving 26000 men and one that involved fighting Latin knights, at least 10000 of them should've been his irreplaceable heavy cavalry. Therefore, if he really did lose 23000 out of 26000 men, his heavy cavalry should've been almost completely wiped out. Which means that his offensive capability almost completely wiped out for foreseeable future, yet not only did he invade Jerusalem again in a few years, but he also had no problem projecting his power into Aleppo and Mosul. What this tells me is that either the total numbers or the number of casualties is grossly inflated. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:58, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

I added several sources for the battle last week. The secondary sources I have seen only mention William of Tyre's numbers. Consequently, the article quotes William of Tyre's numbers, since he is the only primary historian who gives any numbers. In reality, the numbers of combatants on either side are extremely tenuous, as I make clear. Numbers are tenuous in most ancient battles, often inflated by the winning side. Contemporary Christian sources for the Crusades almost never mention numbers of infantry, they refer simply to knights, and even then it is unclear if we are talking of the total number of lancers (knights, mounted sergeants and mounted squires) or just the number of true knights, i.e. the nobility. The numbers of infantry are anyone's guess. It is also unclear where William of Tyre got the figure of 26,000 for Saladin's army. Moreover, it is fairly clear only part of Saladin's army fought in the battle. Contingents had been left blockading Gaza and Ascalon and an unknown number had been in raids towards Arsuf and Lydda with potentially others in more local raids (Ramla), gathering food. It is awkward that numbers have to be given for the two sides in the battle summaries in Wikipedia, especially when one is supposed to only state well established facts.Skamnelis (talk) 03:00, 2 February 2014 (UTC)