Kingdom of Heaven : What's Jerusalem worth? Nothing? Everything?

What's Jerusalem worth? Nothing? Everything?

I didn't quite understood the reply of Saladdin to Orlando Bloom. Can any1 explain?

Re: What's Jerusalem worth? Nothing? Everything?

First off, the real-life Saladin was a conventionally very devout Sunni Muslim whose entire career as a warlord had been build on jihad, first against Shia Muslims and then against Western Christians. He would no more have said 'Jerusalem is worth nothing' than he would have said 'Mecca is worth nothing.'

Therefore, the 'nothing' part has to mean something like:

'Look, you and I are both 21st-century agnostics speaking for Ridley Scott, and like all rational people we know that no Holy Place is worth anything.'

The 'everything' part presumably means:

'But our followers are all benighted 12th-century people who do think Jerusalem is desperately important, so it means everything that I've managed to take it from you.'

Re: What's Jerusalem worth? Nothing? Everything?

Yeah, it's called art. Shakespeare did it as well. Use history to examine the present. A good chunk of sci-fi is the same way.

If you want to learn about history, stick to non-fiction history books. Or documentaries.

Re: What's Jerusalem worth? Nothing? Everything?

The drawback is that if your fiction presents the 12th century as essentially the same as the present, and 12th-century people with the same (non-)beliefs as present-day people, then 'using history to examine the present' is precisely what it cannot do.

Oh, and btw, Shakespeare didn't do it. His history plays were genuinely meant to be taken as history.

Re: What's Jerusalem worth? Nothing? Everything?

I couldn't have explained it better myself. That is exactly what he was saying.

Re: What's Jerusalem worth? Nothing? Everything?

I thought about that line quite a bit and came up with this conclusion.

What is Jerusalem worth? Nothing. The land by itself isn't, no natural resources to use as great commodity, nothing like that.

Everything, religiously speaking its worth the whole world.


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Re: What's Jerusalem worth? Nothing? Everything?

Sounds like some kool-aid.

Warlords, like popes and kings, were puppet masters. They had to use religion because people were firmly tied to those puppet strings.

Saladin was shrewd but like all political leaders, certainly no cookie cutter zealot. Leaders know that holy sites are stones and metals that are one man's treasure and another's trash. Control over the puppets is what matters.

Jerusalem meant nothing to him personally. It means everything to the puppets so he must take the strings. One of the minor characters demonstrated this pressure on him when he reminded Saladin that he promised to retake it.

Re: What's Jerusalem worth? Nothing? Everything?

You don't know any of that. It isn't even particularly likely; it's extremely commonplace for people to subscribe sincerely and fervently to any belief that not merely justifies them in doing what benefits them, but actually makes it meritorious.

Besides, some of the people who knew him best - several of whom were extremely bright guys - recorded their firm conviction that he was not merely a deeply devout Sunni Muslim but a sincerely zealous jihadi. I'll take their knowledge of him over your prejudices any time.

Re: What's Jerusalem worth? Nothing? Everything?

It means that taking Jerusalem really in the practical sense meant absolutely nothing, but politically, as a matter of pride, it meant everything to retake it. Saladin knew, just like Balien, that the future was uncertain, just as history had shown with the Romans. So it really didn't mean anything other than to end the conflict.