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Arabic: nūr 'ad-dīn 'abū 'al-qāsim mahmūd bni 'imād 'ad-dīn zangī

(1118-1174) Atabeg of Syria, belonging to the Zangid Dynasty. He was a central ruler over Muslim armies that were central in both uniting Muslim territories in a joint battle against the Christian Crusader strongholds in the Middle East.
Nureddin was an unusual character in his time, smart and honest at the same time. To an extent quite unusual before him, he used marketing in promoting himself and his cause. Scribes, poets and historians were brought to him and provided for, with the result that positive stories and sayings of his were spread around all of the Middle East. But it is also clear that Nureddin was a devout Muslim, an honest man and one who did not seek wealth and pleasure instead of the Muslim cause of liberating the Middle East from the Christian states.
Nureddin did have some great successes in his time, both military and political. His takeover of Damascus was a rare case of non-violence. He created alliances inside the city, spread negative information about his opponents, and in the end he even stopped the caravans bringing food into the city. Finally, there was no form of effective opposition, and he could move into town. His propaganda proved to have been honest, though, as the inhabitants were saved, the social structures were preserved and trade and manufacturing was helped by him.
But Nureddin never got to see the eventual fruits of the work he started: the fall of Jerusalem. This was a work that was completed by his Saladin, who first had been working for Nureddin, but who came in opposition to him, following Saladin's takeover as the real ruler over Egypt.
Nureddin's accomplishment reached far beyond the military and political achievements: many mosques were built from the booty collected on his campaigns, as well as a schools, hospitals and caravansaries.


1118 February: Born as the son of the important atabeg Zangi.
1146: Nureddin succeeds his father as atabeg of Aleppo.
— Nureddin and his forces recaptures Edessa after that count Joscelin 2 had captured parts the city.
1149: Invades the military district of Antioch.
1154: Takes over Damascus, hardly with any bloodshed.
1169: After an initial agreement with the vizier of Egypt, Nureddin's general Shirkuh annexes parts of Egypt.
1174 May 15: Dies from illness in Damascus.

By Tore Kjeilen