Ilan Sztulman

ON THE COVER: These “cannons” along Ashkelon’s shore never fired a shot. They are actually Roman-period granite building columns, reused in the Islamic period to reinforce the Sea Wall. Ashkelon’s strategic location made the city a prime target for the invading Crusaders. In 1191 Saladin, the famed leader of the Moslem defenders, ordered the city and its harbor destroyed lest it be used by the Crusaders for landing even more troops and then threatening Jerusalem. Lawrence E. Stager completes his magisterial history of the city with an account of the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic periods—a time marked by “Eroticism and Infanticide at Ashkelon.”