Hanan Isachar/Corbis

The battle of the Horns of Hattin, west of the Sea of Galilee, on July 4, 1187, was the most decisive and humiliating defeat of the Christian armies. The army of Saladin, or Salah al-Dun Yusuf ibn Ayyub, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty and sultan of Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Palestine (1137–1193) decimated the Crusader army. Saladin had begun with an attack on Tiberias. The Christian army, numbering about 15,000, left their camp at Sepphoris in order to relieve Tiberias. The road from Sepphoris to Tiberias went through the hills near Hattin, where after a night without water the Christian soldiers were forced into the Horns—the two large outcroppings of a volcanic crater seen in the photo—and were systematically slaughtered. Saladin spared some of the Christian leaders, however. The Battle of the Horns of Hattin marked the end of the Crusaders’ hold on most of the Holy Land, paved the way for Saladin’s recapture of Jerusalem and prompted the Third Crusade.