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City of Christian Love

The History and Importance of Nazareth

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Raouf Abujaber

City of Christian Love provides a detailed history of Nazareth from the dawn of the Christian Era until today with special focus on the religious communities found in this sacred city, including both the periods of tension and the periods of profound interreligious partnership and solidarity.

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Chapter Three: Turbulent Times: Crusades, Ayubids (Saladin) and Mamluks, A.D. 1099–1517

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Chapter Three

Turbulent Times

Crusades, Ayubids (Saladin) and Mamluks, A.D. 1099–1517

The end of the tenth century witnessed the disintegration of the Arab Empire. Bilad Al-Sham and Egypt had no central authority that could administer or defend the vast area that belonged to the two regions. Furthermore, the decline in the sea trade in the Mediterranean, which followed the Arab conquest, gave the cities on the caravan routes with their large Muslim habitation a greater importance than the Hellenic cities nearer to the coast. The population in these parts remained Christian in most cases. Towns of special interest like Nazareth and Bethlehem were almost exclusively Christian with Jerusalem having a Christian majority. In A.D. 967 and 968, the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus led his army southward right into the heart of Syria. He marched up the Orontes valley, capturing and sacking, one after the other, the great cities of Shaizar, Hama and Homs and crossing the coast to the suburbs of Tripoli. He then returned northward leaving Turtosa, Jabala and Lattakia in flames behind him while his lieutenants besieged Antioch and Aleppo. The ancient metropolis was taken in October. Aleppo surrendered at the end of the year.1 ← 19 | 20 →

When he was murdered, in that year, he was followed by John Tzimisces to the throne. In 974, the new emperor followed suit and began a campaign against the Arabs in Iraq. In the following spring, he led his forces...

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