medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture


Balian of Ibelin was a real historical character present at the loss of
Jerusalem to Saladin's forces in 1187; he helped broker the surrender of
the city and the ransoming of the European population after they
capitulated to Saladin's seige. Balian appears in the De Expugnatione
Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum, a partial translation of which is
available at
Most of the other characters in the film -- Baldwin IV, Gui de Lusignan,
his wife Sibylla -- are also historically attested. I've seen an advance
screening, and while it certainly takes significant creative liberties
(most notably in crafting a group of "heroes" who have a very modern
sense of committment to religious pluralism, plus the inevitable
love-interest subplot), like all of Ridley Scott's films, it puts
together a very dense, textured presentation of an alternate world.
Don't expect a documentary, but it's also not another "Braveheart."


Nancy Caciola
History, UC-San Diego


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