The 12th century was a difficult period for the Middle East. The Franks owned the Holy Land. They did not always get along with the local people. In 1138 a child was born in the city of Tikrit. The boy was named Yusuf. At the age of fourteen, he went to Aleppo to be trained as a soldier. The boy wanted to join the army of his uncle. Despite being small and weak, Yusuf learned quickly. His ambition and hard work helped him to achieve this goal. Yusuf took part in many military campaigns and won lots of battles. The young man took the name Saladin when he became vizier of Egypt and commander of the Syrian and Egyptian armies. He managed to take Jerusalem back from the Franks. Nowadays Saladin is remembered both as a strong ruler and a good man.
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