Despite his fierce struggle against the Christian incursion, Saladin achieved a great reputation in Europe as a chivalrous knight
, so much so that there existed by the fourteenth century an epic poem
about his exploits, and Dante
included him among the virtuous pagan souls
. Saladin appears in a sympathetic light in Sir Walter Scott
's The Talisman
(1825). Despite the Crusaders' slaughter when they originally conquered Jerusalem in 1099, Saladin granted amnesty and free passage to all common Catholics
and even to the defeated Christian army, as long as they were able to pay the aforementioned ransom (the Greek Orthodox
Christians were treated even better, because they often opposed the western Crusaders). An interesting view of Saladin and the world in which he lived is provided by Tariq Ali's novel The Book of Saladin
Notwithstanding the differences in beliefs, the Muslim Saladin was respected by Christian lords, Richard especially. Richard once praised Saladin as a great prince, saying that he was without doubt the greatest and most powerful leader in the Islamic world.
Saladin in turn stated that there was not a more honorable Christian lord than Richard. After the treaty, Saladin and Richard sent each other many gifts as tokens of respect, but never met face to face.