|Manuel I Comnenus, Emperor of the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire|
On the one hand, the Kingdom of Jerusalem evidently enjoyed excellent intelligence of enemy movements, and on the other the King’s subjects were capable of a rapid response. The extent to which the Christians had reliable intelligence networks inside Saladin’s empire is something almost completely overlooked or neglected in most studies of the crusader kingdoms. Good intelligence is, of course, by its very nature almost invisible. Furthermore, it was only in the second half of the last century that spy thrillers became popular and the importance of intelligence widely recognized. For most of human history, spies have been despised as somewhat unsavory (not to say dishonorable) creatures, whose services were used but not valued. This may explain why no Christian chronicle highlights or even acknowledges the fact that the Christian kingdoms did have access to intelligence from inside the Muslim world. There were two important sources of this intelligence. First and foremost, traders who, we know, did travel across the cultural and religious borders of the age almost irrespective of the state of hostilities. Second, and perhaps even more important, were the large communities of Christians who lived in both Egypt and Syria at this time.
|Medieval Caravan on the Silk Road|
|Hollywood's Portrayal of a Frankish Army carrying the True Cross into Battle; "The Kingdom of Heaven"|
A divided kingdom,