|Ruler:||al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf I (Saladin)|
|Reigned:||1169-1193 AD (564-589 AH)|
|Date of Issue:||1187 AD (583 AH)|
|Obverse:||'Square in circle" type. Kalima around square. Caliph's name (al-Nasir) and titles.|
|Reverse:||Bismillah around square including mint and date. Inside square: "The defending king, Honour of the world and of the faith". (second part is Saladin's laqab)|
|Comment:||NB Saladin and the Caliph are both "al-Nasir"|
Saladin was the first ruler of the Ayyubid dynasty. He is best known in the West for his battles with Richard I, the Lionheart. He was born into a prominent Kurdish family, and shortly after he was born, his father, Najm ad-Din Ayyub, took his family to Aleppo. There, his father entering the service of 'Imad ad-Din Zangi ibn Aq Sonqur, the powerful Turkish governor in northern Syria. Saladin's career began when he joined the staff of his uncle Asad ad-Din Shirkuh, an important military commander under Nur al-Din. During three military expeditions led by Shirkuh into Egypt to prevent its falling to the Latin-Christian (Frankish) rulers of the states established by the First Crusade, a three-way struggle developed between Amalric I, the Latin king of Jerusalem, Shawar, the powerful vizier of the Egyptian Fatimid caliph, and Shirkuh. In the last of these military expeditions Saladin, together with his uncle, approached the walls of Cairo on January 2nd, 1169, causing the Franks, who had the city under siege, to retreat. Saladin then lured the untrustworthy Shawar into an ambush on January 18th, killing him. His uncle, Shirkuh then became vizier. However, he also died unexpectedly on the 23rd of March. Subsequently, Saladin became vizier to the last Fatimid caliph (who died in 1171), earning him the title al-Malik al-Nasir ('the prince defender'), and therefore his relations and successors were all given this title. It took Saladin, or more properly, Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (meaning Righteousness of Faith, Joseph, Son of Job), only a few more years to became the sole master of Cairo and the first Ayyubid sultan of Egypt in 1174. Saladin soon moved out of Egypt and occupied Damascus and other Syrian towns, though Egypt continued to be a base of his operations.
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