Kingdom of Heaven: History vs. Hollywood
The Crusades were a series of military campaigns encouraged by the church and pope to capture the Holy Land (Jerusalem) from Muslim hold. They were carried out during the 11th through the 13th centuries. There were a series of at least 6 crusades, some of which were directed at other European countries rather than Muslim countries. Kingdom of Heaven is a movie that deals with the 12th century crusaders. The movie takes place between the 2nd and 3rd Crusades and outlines the life of a blacksmith, Balian of Ibelin, who chooses to grant his father's wish to follow other Crusaders to free Jerusalem from Salah al Din's hold. Parts of the movie have been altered, but there are events that remain historically accurate. Things such as siege weapons, King Baldwin IV, and Knights Templar escaped the Hollywood modification. The use of weapons by the Muslims to capture or destroy castles is very evident in the movie. The Muslims used weapons like trebuchets, battering rams, and long ladders. They used the trebuchets to fling large fiery balls of fire into the castle, battering rams to break down walls and doors, and ladders to climb the walls. The Crusaders used the technique of throwing oil on the enemy then setting fire on them. King Baldwin IV is also displayed correctly in the movie. He was a leper well liked by his people and constantly tried to defend Jerusalem, his kingdom, against the attacks of Salah al Din. Later his trip to Kerak weakened him and he died in the year 1185. The Knights Templar were also portrayed correctly. They did fight in the Crusades against the Muslims and helped Christians along the way from Europe to Jerusalem. Their cross, too, was accurate. Some parts of the film that were inaccurate were Balian of Ibelin and the castles, among others. Balian was not a blacksmith and his romance with Sybilla was entirely fictional. He was, in fact, the son of Barisan of Ibelin (renamed Godfrey in the film), and...
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