Talk:Battle of Arsuf

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Good articleBattle of Arsuf has been listed as one of the Warfare good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
January 12, 2013Good article nomineeListed
Did You Know
A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on August 14, 2007.
The text of the entry was: Did you know ...that Richard I's army of Crusaders encountered Saladin's archers, tarantulas, and heat exhaustion on their march to the Battle of Arsuf?
On this day...Facts from this article were featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "On this day..." column on September 7, 2004, September 7, 2005, September 7, 2006, September 7, 2007, September 7, 2008, September 7, 2009, September 7, 2010, September 7, 2013, September 7, 2016, September 7, 2019, and September 7, 2022.

Implications of future Muslim victory[edit]

I removed the following sentence from the heading paragraph: "Despite losing the day, Saladin learned valuable lessons about Richard which would help him in later battles." This sentence seems to imply that Richard would eventually be defeated by Saladin in a battle, which did not happen. In the final battles of the Third Crusade outside of Jaffa, Saladin was again utterly defeated by the Crusaders. Indeed, Saladin did not win a single victory in the Third Crusade. The only "victory" Saladin achieved, if any, was passive in that Richard chose not to besiege Jerusalem. -TrueCross

I also removed the link to the "Treaty of Ramla" from the results section, since the treaty would not be drawn up until the end of the Crusade long after Arsuf. After Arsuf Richard would deprive Saladin of more castles and cities before Ramla's agreement, in which Saladin was forced to accept Richard's conquests. -TrueCross —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:18, 7 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I also removed the following ending paragraph since it is highly ambiguous and speculaive:

"In terms of the impact of Arsuf on the conduct of the rest of the conflict, the victory in a sense worked against the favour of the crusaders: the loss motivated Saladin to make an important shift in strategies. Saladin realized that Richard was a very capable commander and that it would be extremely difficult to defeat him in another pitched battle. From this point onward, Saladin shifted to a strategy of avoiding direct pitched battle with Richard's main forces in favour of harassing the crusader forces to wear down their strength, a strategy that ultimately succeeded in calling him to the negotiating table."

All primary sources indicate that Saladin was forced to avoid direct battle because his troops were generally afraid of Richard following Arsuf. Saladin's goal was not to bring Richard to the 'negotiating table', it was to drive Richard's army out of the Holy Land and reclaim all the cities taken during Richard's Crusade. The treaty was an uneasy agreement for Saladin as much as it was for Richard. -TrueCross

Saladin's response parag[edit]

"As the Crusader army made camp on the far side of the river at Caesarea, Saladin was making his own dispositions. He had planned to place his army by the old Roman roads further into the interior, allowing him to to attack in any direction as the occasion presented itself. But the coastal advance of the Crusaders compelled him to follow on a parallel course. As the first light harassing attacks failed to have the intended effect these were stepped up in intensity, becoming mini-battles in the process. When Richard's army approached Caesarea on 30 August the rear guard, commanded by Hugh III of Burgundy, came under serious onslaught, cutting it off from the rest of the army for a time. Richard managed to rally the troops, as the whole of the army cried Sanctum Sepulchrum adjuva (Help us, Holy Sepulchure)."

A few problems.

  1. I'm not aware of a river at Caesarea, although I could have a faulty memory and it's possible there was one, but there is no longer.
  2. Chronologically, the parag skips back and forth - it starts with the Crusaders at Caes., but then they're just approaching
  3. The logic of Saladin's thinking isn't apparent. The southward parallel movement could equally be achieved along the Roman roads that went "in any direction". I can't work out what's intended.

Excellent work btw by all concerned - this article's so much improved. It could do with some citations though. --Dweller 11:45, 10 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"Arsuf was an important victory; but unlike Saladin's early triumph at the Horns of Hattin it was far from decisive" contradicts the claim of a decisive victory in the battle box. --Dweller 11:49, 10 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Can anyone help me "find" this river. I seriously doubt it was "at" Caesarea. More likely it was between the Roman roads "in the interior" and Caes. itself. But I'm reticent to amend based on my OR. --Dweller 12:23, 10 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Another contradiction[edit]

"With the Saracens still intact, Richard decided that the prudent action would be to secure his flank by taking and fortifying Jaffa, thus interrupting the advance on Jerusalem." yet the Lead states that Jaffa was his aim. --Dweller 12:42, 10 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, that's a problem. Jaffa was always a target for the Crusade. It would have been unreasonable to attack Jerusalem while Jaffa remained in Muslim hands, since Jaffa is the closest port to Jerusalem. Indeed, during the First Crusade Jaffa was the only port city that the Crusaders bothered to take specifically for this reason. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:21, 7 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
 Will someone please fix the casualty figures in table.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:13, 4 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply] 

Article overhauled[edit]

I have thoroughly overhauled the article, rewriting much of it, and have introduced a much higher level of citation. Unfortunately, I have had to remove some interesting details which were not supported by my available sources. Why do people go to the effort of writing prose without using inline citations? It isn't particularly difficult to add them. Urselius (talk) 09:04, 8 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Battle of Arsuf/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: HueSatLum (talk · contribs) 23:51, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I will review. Some issues:

  • More links are needed; entire sections are without links
  • The lead is overall too short; per WP:LEADLENGTH, it should be "two or three paragraphs".
  • I am not sure why "Sultan" links to Ayyubid dynasty.
  • "Mt. Carmel" → "Mount Carmel"
  • Add a {{convert}} for distances
Links: Items are in general only linked once in an article, the lower down an article you get the sparser are the links, as repetitions of terms and referents occur.
Lead: extended it to two paras.
Sultan: There is a difficulty here - you can talk of "King of England" but Saladin held Egypt and Syria in a sort of personal union, and there isn't a geographic or political entity called "Sultanate of Egypt and Syria" to refer to, just the dynasty. I have rearranged the sentence, it's a bit clunky but probably reasonable.
That's fine, I just wouldn't expect that to link there. HueSatLum 01:23, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mt.: OK, done
Distances: No idea how to this, I'm just a writer and I'm a computer-phobe.
 Done HueSatLum 01:23, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (reference section): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    Plenty of references.
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
    Covers all aspects of the battle.
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
    Neutrally written.
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
    Very stable.
  6. It is illustrated by images and other media, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free content have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
    Images are all free.
  7. Overall:
    Quite well-written and informative. HueSatLum 01:23, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Many thanks for your help. Urselius (talk) 08:25, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The inline citations refer to "Ambroise" - but which book in which edition/translation?

  • Ambroise, The History of the Holy War, translated by Marianne Ailes, Boydell Press, 2003.


From Template:Infobox military conflict "result – optional – this parameter may use one of several standard terms: "X victory", "Decisive X victory" or "Inconclusive". The choice of term should reflect what the sources say. In cases where the standard terms do not accurately describe the outcome, a link to the section of the article where the result is discussed in detail (such as "See the 'Aftermath' section") should be used instead of introducing non-standard terms like "marginal" or "tactical" or contradictory statements like "decisive tactical victory but strategic defeat". It is better to omit this parameter altogether than to engage in speculation about which side won or by how much." Aozyk (talk) 23:16, 10 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Egad! Yet another Wiki-legalist! Urselius (talk) 07:10, 11 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Itinerarium explains how the charge wasn't deliberated but I couldn't find where it explains the alternative outcome. Would you mind point it out for me? Aozyk (talk) 09:30, 17 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Certainly. Please remember that this was written in Latin almost a millennium ago, modern military concepts and terminology, such as "decisive battles", did not exist. Also the writer, in order to show his Latin erudition, uses flowery language. Below, I will quote the relevant section of the Itinararium with an interpretation in modern language of all the most relevant statements; these will be interspersed within the text, defined by enclosure in square brackets.

"A countless multitude of the Turks would have perished, if the aforesaid attempt had been orderly conducted; but to punish us for our sins, as it is believed, the potter’s wheel produces a paltry vessel instead of the grand design which he had conceived [the "aforesaid attempt" is a charge contemplated by the leaders of the rear of the army - the author is stating that the Turks would have been utterly defeated had the charge been "orderly conducted" i.e. as had been planned by the leaders]. For while they [the leaders] were treating of this point [discussing organising a charge], and had come to the same decision about charging the enemy, two knights, who were impatient of delay, put everything in confusion. It had been resolved by common consent that the sounding of six trumpets in three different parts of the army should be a signal for a charge, viz., two in front, two in the rear, and two in the middle, to distinguish the sounds from those of the Saracens, and to mark the distance of each. If these orders had been attended to, the Turks would have been utterly discomfited ["utterly discomfited" here means 'totally ruined' or 'destroyed']; but from the too great haste of the aforesaid knights, the success of the affair was marred [i.e. the premature charge was greatly less successful than a planned charge would have been, had it been undertaken as and when directed by Richard's orders]." Urselius (talk) 10:55, 17 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for the clarification. I read the cited passage but somehow the exact phrase had eluded me. Aozyk (talk) 21:36, 24 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
seriously what is wrong with you. A fellow editor tries to resolve a dispute by consulting the relevant guidelines -- "Egad! Yet another Wiki-legalist!". "almost a millennium ago, modern military concepts and terminology, such as 'decisive battles', did not exist". Uses uncited "anonymous translations" instead of secondary references. This has got to be one of the best-studied eras of medieval military history. Simply consult the plethora of scholarly publications. --dab (𒁳) 10:12, 18 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hello Dbachmann, you seem to be merely picking a fight with me. Why? Urselius (talk) 13:06, 18 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


regarding these two edits:

  • history painting != "historical painting"
  • "RichardSaladin.jpg" is just a filename chosen by "Captian Blood" in 2006. The image has nothing to do with either Richard or Saladin.

Thank you. --dab (𒁳) 10:00, 18 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No idea???? In my world, obviously not identical with that of Wikipedia, the construct "History painting" does not exist. A genre of painting should use an adjective - i.e. 'mythological painting' as opposed to 'mythology painting'. You cannot paint a mythology, but you can paint a mythological scene; likewise, you cannot paint history, but you can paint a historical scene.Urselius (talk) 12:52, 18 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just noticed I did not address your second point. It is obvious, from other contemporary images, that the figure on the right represents a 'Saracen'. The figure on the left exhibits the royal blazon of England. The blazon does not show any heraldic 'difference', such as a label as would be exhibited by a king's son, or the descendant of a king's younger son. As such, it unambiguously indicates that the figure represented is a ruling king of England. The only king of England to fight against Saracens while king, was Richard I. Edward I went on Crusade, but as Prince of Wales, other royal princes also served on Crusade, but they all would exhibit heraldic difference. The figure on the left must represent Richard I. Urselius (talk) 15:12, 10 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do not cite primary sources for statements made in Wikipedia's voice. You can cite them as primary sources, but for analysis rely on secondary publications. The Itinerarium should be discussed, but it is very easy to do this based on scholarly literature. There is no need to rely on the 2001 translation directly. The translation can be used to cite excerpts, but to make reference to the text, just use one of the editions.

If you want to cite the Itinerarium, your foremost job is to cite book and chapter, so people will know where to find your passage regardless of the edition they are using. E.g. the estimate of "Christians 100,000; Turks 300,000" is in Itinerarium 4.16 (book 4, chapter 16). You can still cite an edition for convenience, as in "Stubbs (1864) p. 259".

You cannot use the Itinerarium to give a range of "25,000 to 300,000" in the infobox. What you can do is cite a scholarly publication commenting on the 300k figure and summarize what it has to say about it. The 25k figure is cited to "Lev, pp. 115–22; Parry & Yapp, pp. 100–101; Smail, p. 83": congratulations, you have given a choice of 11 pages from three publications instead of just stating whose estimate this is. It is nice that at least we do have a "reference", but it would be ever so convenient to actually state which is the source for which statement. --dab (𒁳) 10:48, 18 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Someone, not me, placed the modern combatant numbers in the infobox. I would prefer just 'unknown' myself. I put the Itinerarium numbers in just to draw attention to the lack of reliable figures. I imagine that the modern figures were essentially scholarly guesses in the first place. Certainly, the primary sources imply a that the Ayyubid force was considerably larger than that of the crusaders. Indeed, the whole course of the battle suggests the scenario of a smaller, but quite potent, army awaiting a chance to strike back at a larger one. Some of your comments on the Itinerarium are too obscure for me to follow, I resent being given jobs to do in what is merely a hobby. Urselius (talk) 12:51, 18 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Of the nine instances of citation to primary sources in the text of the article: 2 are directly flagged as coming from the source, 3 are direct quotations of the source and 4 are additional to secondary source citations. In no instance is material from primary sources employed in what could possibly be construed as "Wikipedia's voice". For comparison there are 37 citations of secondary sources in the text.Urselius (talk)
Regarding primary sources, they tend to be used in Wikipedia to provide quotes, and to add a level of detail that secondary sources may have elided over. There is an important difference between, on the one hand, simply describing something written in a primary source, and, on the other hand, putting your own interpretation on a passage from a primary source. Darwin says in the Origin of Species, "I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of any one". This is from a primary source, it would be an absurdity to have to search through Thomas Huxley's writings to find some mention of Huxley considering that Darwin held this view, before it could be mentioned. WP:PRIMARY has to be treated within a logical framework; sometimes a primary source can be used in a straightforward and unambiguous manner, with no element of personal interpretation intruding. Urselius (talk) 19:31, 18 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]