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Since March, 1169, Saladin had virtually become the ruler of Egypt, although nominally he acted as Vizier to the Caliph El-Adid, who was the last of the Fatimite line, and who died Sept. 13, 1171, three days after his deposition. The student is referred to the biography of Saladin by Mr. Stanley Lane Poole, 1878. Chap, viii gives a full account of Cairo as at 1170 and is accompanied by a map.

On the approach of the army towards Cairo, the vizier set fire to the ancient city of Fostât, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the invaders, and it burned continually for fifty days. El-Adid now sought aid of Nur ed-Din, who, actuated by zeal against the Franks, and by desire of conquest, once more despatched Shirkuh.

Nureddin's army, in which Saladin held a subordinate command, by a timely arrival on the scene forced the Franks to retreat, and the Saracens were acclaimed as deliverers. The nominal ruler of Egypt at that time was El-Adid, the Fatimite Caliph, and he made Saladin his Vizier, little thinking that that modest officer would soon supplant him.

El-Abbas was worsted by his rival, Tataë, and fled to Syria with a large sum of money; but he fell into the hands of the Crusaders, was returned to Tataë, and crucified. The last of the Fatimite caliphs, El-Adid, in 555 a.h., was raised to the throne by Tataë, but his power was merely the shadow of sovereignty.