Possible Duplicate: Why did Saladin show kindness to Richard I?

"When Richard falls sick at the siege of Acre in 1192, Saladin not only sends his personal physician Maimonides over to treat him, he sends ice to help him fight the fevers and certain healing fruits. When Richard’s horse is killed during battle, and the English king finds himself on foot facing the entire Muslim army, the Muslims let him walk by their entire phalanx without attacking. Later, Saladin sends him two fresh mounts so he will not be at a disadvantage,” wrote Michael Hamilton Morgan in Lost History.

My question is, why was it so important for Saladin to treat Richard so generously?

What was the end-benefit of his generousness?

Wasn't it a tactical mistake?

  • 2
    Sending fruits and physicians was not a tactical action; it was a strategic action.
    – MCW
    Mar 29, 2013 at 12:13
  • 6
    ...and if Saladin should end up losing, how will he be treated? You don't necessarily follow rules of war just to be nice. You do it for the benefit of you and yours. For a somewhat similar incident from WWII, see the Charlie Brown and Franz Steigler incident.
    – T.E.D.
    Mar 29, 2013 at 12:38
  • Saladin won in the end, did he not? Could he have won sooner by being more bloody minded, possibly. Would he have enjoyed the power, influence, prestige and adulation in the period after the crusades, probably not.
    – BOB
    Feb 27, 2015 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


Saladin abided by a code of chivalry, for which he was renowned among Muslims and Christians alike. While in the short run this could sometimes look unwise (as in your example), in the long run this insistence on warrior ethics was very beneficial for Saladin who acquid a reputation of a just ruler. This meant for instance that his enemies could surrender to him with honour, instead of fighting to the last.

  • Did that actually happen (e.g. was there a subsequent example of enemies surrendering when they would have otherwise fought)?
    – DVK
    Mar 31, 2013 at 16:38
  • @DVK: Saladin made what we would nowadays call a "frenemy" of Richard. They each became the other's "favorite" opponent.
    – Tom Au
    Apr 3, 2013 at 18:53