July 4 is the greatest day of the year for our nation. For the Kingdom of Jerusalem, not so much. On that day in the year 1187, the crusader army was lured into a pitched battle near the Horns of Hattin and annihilated by Muslim forces under the Kurdish-born Saladin. Jerusalem had been seized in 1099 in the First Crusade, and the Crusaders established control over an extensive area of Holy Land coastline. Their conquest of Jerusalem was followed by what has been reported as a bloody, flaming massacre of the city's Muslim and Jewish inhabitants, though historians are not unanimous about this version of events. Saladin had been successful in uniting Muslim territories under his leadership, though the conflict prior to 1187 was a standoff. Even though his forces outnumbered the Crusaders in early 1187, Saladin was not confident he could beat them if they remained in a secured position. His stratagem of attacking the city of Tiberias to draw the Crusaders out into the open worked. His forces were able to cut the Crusader army from their source of water and surrounded them. Although it contains fictional characters, eliminates or combines other actual persons, and barely scratches the surface of the complex rivalries, shifting alliances and dynastic marriages among the Crusaders which led to their downfall, the beautiful movie "Kingdom of Heaven" has a generally accurate depiction of Saladin's merciful treatment of the Jerusalem populace following the subsequent surrender of the undermanned city by Balian (who unlike the young Orlando Bloom was well into his forties by that time and had not been a blacksmith in Europe retrieved by his father). Saladin's victories led to the Third Crusade, headed by the absentee English King Richard the Lionhearted, Phillip II of France and the HRE Frederick Barbarossa, who would never be mistaken for Michael Phelps.