Post-classical history

Ramla, First Battle of (1101)

A battle between King Baldwin I of Jerusalem and an Egyptian army commanded by Sa‘ad al-Dawla al-Qawā- misi, fought as part of concerted attempts between 1099 and 1105 by al-Afdal, the vizier of Egypt, to regain the Fātimid possessions in Palestine lost to the army of the First Crusade in 1099.

The Egyptian army reached the Fātimid city of Ascalon (mod. Tel Ashqelon, Israel) in mid-May 1101 and advanced on Ramla, but retreated to Ascalon when Baldwin arrived with relieving forces. From May to August, there was a stalemate while the Egyptian army awaited reinforcements, and Baldwin was content to wait upon developments. On 4 September the Egyptians advanced upon Ramla. Baldwin had only 260 cavalry and 900 infantry at his disposal. He divided this force into five divisions and then attacked. The fighting was very fierce. The first two Frankish divisions were completely destroyed, and the third, suffering heavy losses, broke and fled back to Jaffa (mod. Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel), pursued by the Egyptian left wing. Baldwin, commanding the reserve division, attacked and broke the Egyptian center, and the entire Egyptian army then fled back to Ascalon, pursued so closely by the Frankish army that most of the Egyptian force was subsequently destroyed.

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