Battle of Ramla (1102)

Battle of Ramla
Part of the Crusades
Two-hundred-knights-attack-twenty-thousand-saracens.jpg
Two Hundred Knights Attack Twenty Thousand Saracens. Illustration by Gustave Doré (1877)
Date17 May 1102
LocationRamla, border line between Crusaders and Fatimids (modern Israel)
ResultFatimid victory
Belligerents
 Fatimid Caliphate Kingdom of Jerusalem
Commanders and leaders
Sharaf al-Ma'aliArmoiries de Jérusalem.svg Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Blason Blois Ancien.svg Stephen of Blois 
Strength
Modern estimates:
3,000–5,000[1]
Contemporary sources:

20,000
200 knights[2]
Casualties and losses
UnknownNearly 200

The second Battle of Ramla (or Ramleh) took place on 17 May 1102 between the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Fatimids of Egypt.[3]

Background

The town of Ramla lay on the road from Jerusalem to Ascalon, the latter of which was the largest Fatimid fortress in Palestine. From Ascalon the Fatimid vizier, Al-Afdal Shahanshah, launched almost annual attacks into the newly founded Crusader kingdom from 1099 to 1107. It was thrice the case that the two armies met each other at Ramla.

Egyptian armies of the period relied on masses of Sudanese bowmen supported by Arab and Berber cavalry. Since the archers were on foot and the horsemen awaited attack with lance and sword, an Egyptian army provided exactly the sort of immobile target that the Frankish heavy cavalry excelled in attacking. Whereas the Crusaders developed a healthy respect for the harass and surround tactics of the Turkish horse archers, they tended to discount the effectiveness of the Egyptian armies. While overconfidence led to a Crusader disaster at the second battle of Ramla, the more frequent result was a Fatimid defeat. "The Franks never, until the reign of Saladin, feared the Egyptian as they did the armies from Muslim Syria and Mesopotamia."[4]