The now famous collection “They made History”, published by Glénat Editions, deals with one of the great figures of medieval history and more precisely of the Crusades: Saladin (his real name Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub). The opportunity to popularize with dignity this complex history of the medieval Middle East, certain fundamentals of which still weigh on the geopolitics of the region today.
The "They Made History" collection goes from crusade to jihad!
The collection "They made History" draws up a series of comic book biographies of figures considered emblematic of History, from Vercingetorix to Genghis Khan and from Napoleon to Jaurès ... The history of the Crusades had already been discussed at Through the biography of Saint Louis, it is now through the key figure of Saladin allowing to approach another period of the “Frankish” presence in the Middle East, but also to grasp a Muslim vision of the situation. As for Saint Louis, the scenario was developed by Mathieu Mariolle. He collaborates with the historian Julien Loiseau, lecturer in History of Islam at the University of Montpellier-3 and author of various works on the 15th century or the Mamluks. This scenario makes it possible to quickly evoke the youth of the character, but especially to evoke his rise since his rule of Egypt on behalf of Nur al-Din until his apotheosis of the year 1187 when he beats the crusaders in Hattin and seizes Acre and especially the holy city of Jerusalem! But the scenario continues until the death of Saladin allowing to evoke the last more difficult years when the Sunni leader must deal with the comeback of the Crusaders led in particular by Richard the Lionheart. For lack of reliable sources on the character, thought, interiority of the sovereign, the choice was made to treat the subject through the prism of a history-battle. The fact remains that this prism remains very coherent in attempting to identify the founder of a warrior empire. This works all the better in that in reality the scenario is not just a series of battles, but seeks to explain the political complexity of the situation with a Middle East that is being torn apart by Christian “Franks” from the United States. Church of Rome, Byzantine Orthodox Christians, Sunni Caliphate and Shia Caliphate. Breaking the Manichean vision of a war of religion "Christians / Muslims", this comic allows to evoke the internal difficulties to Islam through the will of Saladin to eradicate the Shiism, to establish the religious unity. as a policy of a vast group of Egypt, Syria, Palestine and Upper Mesopotamia: a sine qua non for having the forces necessary for jihad against the Crusaders.
In addition to his participation in the screenplay, historian Julien Loiseau has also produced an eight-page dossier that perfectly concludes the comic. This file evokes the difficulties which arise in terms of sources to treat such a character, but also makes a small historical synthesis of our knowledge on Saladin. Everything, very illustrated, based on maps and a chronology, makes the subject fascinating and very accessible to the neophyte. Finally, for the curious who wishes to deepen the question some bibliographical references are recommended.
Ultimately, we have here a very good comic book fruit of the successful collaboration between the world of comics and that of historical research. As usual, this collection allows everyone to combine the pleasure of an epic comic book and the intellectual contribution of the rigorous study of a historical character. A very successful popularization!
Get the "Saladin" comic book.
Scenario: Mathieu Mariolle & Julien Loiseau
Drawing: Roberto Meli
File: Julien Loiseau