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Portrait of Saladin

Portrait of Saladin



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Artist Illustrates How Famous Historical Figures Would Look Like Today (18 Pics)

Becca Saladin is a graphic designer who started a unique project titled Royalty Now where she reimagines famous historical figures as modern day people. She started the project a little over a year ago and has gained over 222k followers on her Instagram page since. We have featured some of Becca’s works before, and now the artist is back with 18 more amazing works.

The artist says she has been sketching and painting since she was a child, and that her mother would do art and science projects with her. Both of Becca’s parents read a lot to her and she says that’s what sparked her interest in history as well. “The first book my dad read to me about history was a fictionalized young adult version of the Anne Boleyn story. I became obsessed with Tudor history after that,” shared the artist. “I also loved Pompeii, ancient Egyptian mummies, and anything else that helped me feel close to the people of the past. I think that is why I enjoy making the recreations so much.”

Becca says that the idea for this specific style of art she does now came after she saw a portrait of Anne Boleyn and thought how she would look today since she doesn’t look very lifelike in the portraits that remain of her. “I saw someone else on Reddit try something similar with Tudor wives and I’d seen the recreations of Roman statues,” said the artist. “I’ve always loved Photoshop and what a powerful tool it is, so I decided to try and recreate some of my own and then just kept going.”

Check out Becca’s amazing works in the gallery below!


‘The Life and Legend of the Sultan Saladin’ Review: A Portrait of a Champion

Until the 21st century, Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (Righteous of the Faith Joseph, son of Ayyub), known in Europe as Saladin, was probably the most famous Muslim in Western culture after the Prophet Muhammad himself. The historical reputation of Saladin (1137-93) rests on a few celebrated achievements, each recounted and analyzed in Jonathan Phillips’s learned and engaging biography. He created a new Near Eastern empire that united Egypt with Syria, in the process suppressing the heretical (to orthodox Sunni Muslims) Shiite Fatimid caliphate in Cairo (1171) he recaptured Jerusalem for Islam (1187), defeating Christian rulers who had held the city since the First Crusade in 1099 and he resisted the massive Third Crusade (1188-92) led, in part, by Richard the Lionheart.

Saladin’s legendary status was burnished early on by elaborate Western fantasies that emphasized his supposed chivalric qualities of bravery and mercy, and in later fictions from Walter Scott’s “The Talisman” (1825) to the movie “Kingdom of Heaven” (2005), which similarly portray him as a worthy opponent. These depictions employ Saladin as a sophisticated, tolerant, just and generous cipher, intended to contrast with Western leaders’ supposed narrow-minded aggression or myopic enthusiasm. This anachronistic rebranding of an archenemy into an icon of praiseworthy rule is only equaled, perhaps, by the admiration some have for Napoleon Bonaparte.

In the Islamic world, Saladin’s actual achievements were also, if less tendentiously, refashioned to create a lasting portrait of a champion of Muslim tradition and power, a hero who successfully overcame heretics and infidels. The image of Saladin as the ideal pious Quranic leader remained a potent symbol in regional public memory, serving as an abiding challenge to politically divisive or corrupt local rulers. As Western powers encroached on the eastern Mediterranean over the last two centuries, he also came to be seen as the epitome of resistance for proponents of Arab unity and independence, from secularists such as Gamal Nasser, Hafez Assad or Saddam Hussein to the religious radicals of the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda and Islamic State.

Thus there are two Saladins, the 12th-century ruler and the equally historical subsequent political and literary invention. Not the least virtue of “The Life and Legend of the Sultan Saladin” is Mr. Phillips’s wide-ranging scrutiny of both. Saladin’s achievements as a Kurdish mercenary captain who founded an empire are startling on any scale—the result of skill and luck, as well as the fluid political and social setting of the 12th-century Near East, which Mr. Phillips captures well.

Inevitably Saladin has inspired many previous scholarly biographies, most recently a rich investigation of evidence by Anne-Marie Eddé (2008), translated from the French by Jane Marie Todd in 2011. Unlike his predecessors, however, Mr. Phillips is not an Arabist he is a professor of history at Royal Holloway, University of London. Nonetheless, aided by existing translations and new ones (not least those of his former research pupil Osman Latiff), Mr. Phillips has fruitfully extended the range of Arabic source material to create a rounded portrait of Saladin’s world, often sketched in sharp, unexpected detail.


Here’s What Julius Caesar And Others Would Look Like Today (30 Pics)

Becca Saladin
Community member

Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by historical facts and archaeology. I think humans perceive the past as a series of events something like a movie that we can&rsquot really feel or touch. I believe the things that bring us closer to the past are those that truly humanize us - the bodies from Pompeii, the perfectly preserved Inca mummies, the personal objects of long-gone historical figures, and more.

I&rsquove always thought how incredible it would be to see historical events and the famous people the way they actually happened and the way they actually looked. I started Royalty Now in February of 2019, simply as a way for me to see my favorite historical figure, Anne Boleyn, as a woman of modern times. I wanted to know if she could come to life from the few pale, flat portraits we have of her. I started the account to satisfy my own curiosity about what those interesting people of the past would look like if they were standing right in front of me. I&rsquom incredibly thankful for the support and interest the account has received, and can&rsquot wait to see what happens next with other historical people.


Site where Crusader King Richard the Lionheart Defeated Saladin Found at Last

Where exactly did Richard the Lionheart defeat Saladin during the famous Battle of Arsuf? A key 12th century battleground from the Third Crusade appears to have been identified, thanks to one enterprising archaeologist in Israel.

Dr Rafael Lewis knew of the dramatic conflict via historical records, but wanted to push further for an actual location where the Crusaders and Muslims locked swords. Sharon Plain, an approx 56 mile stretch of Israel’s Coastal Plain, is where he believes the fighting took place. The Jerusalem Post describes it as “a highly congested and intensely populated environment” that “might not appear significant in any way” due to the march of progress across the centuries.

19th century portrait of Richard the Lionheart by Merry-Joseph Blondel

Despite evidence being largely obscured, Dr Lewis employed a combination of research and environmental detective work to crack the colder than cold case. He looked at aerial photos, together with historic texts and maps in order to bring events to life. Relying on his mind’s eye and keen archaeological senses, he gradually beat a path to the Plain. In an offbeat move he also used environmental studies, mixing a palette of both the archaeological and elemental.

1568 portrait of Saladin by
Cristofano dell’Altissimo

Measuring the amount of sunlight King Richard’s men would have had – as they worked their way along the coast before being intercepted by Saladin’s forces – proved crucial in narrowing down potential sites. The Post mentions “factors such as at what time of the day the sun would be high enough in the sky to be out of the archers’ eyes.” The article adds that “movements of the moon, the temperature and humidity and the winds direction were also taken into consideration.”

19th-century depiction of the Battle of Arsuf

Eventually Dr Lewis found his attention being drawn to “a specific area between Herzliya, Kibbutz Shefayim and the villages of Rishpon, Kfar Shmaryahu, modern Arsuf and Arsuf-Kedem”, according to the Post. This destination wasn’t exactly ripe for excavation, owing to the nature of uncovering historical warzones. Quoted by the Post, Lewis explains, “the area of battlefield archaeology focuses on events that last only a few hours or at most a few days, whose sites are therefore challenging to investigate archaeologically.”

The battlefield as it looks today: Israel’s Sharon Plain. (Rafael Lewis)

Nevertheless, when he got his metal detector out and ventured onto the field, he discovered various intriguing finds that seem to match up with the period. Artifacts included a couple of arrowheads from the late 12th/early 13th centuries, as well as a horseshoe. “I was very surprised we found anything at all due to the modern development in the area” Lewis tells Haaretz.

His research has now been published as part of a monograph, alongside other academics, on the subject of medieval excavations in Apollonia (Arsuf in the Kingdom of Jerusalem). Apollonia is the Ancient Greek name for what used to be a city on a cliff. The Sharon Plain lies north east of Apollonia’s ruins.

Richard the Lionheart marches towards Jerusalem. James William Glass (1850).

The Third Crusade (1189 – 1192) began when An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub, or Saladin, wrestled back Jerusalem from Christian control in 1187. King Richard I, aka “The Lionheart”, travelled there as part of an alliance with Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and Phillip II of France. Richard’s forces took the city of Acre, before moving south along the coast with the intention of seizing the port city of Jaffa.

“Wary of the lessons of Hattin, where Saladin had defeated the Christians by cutting them off from water sources and fragmenting their army, Richard marched slowly,” writes Haaretz, “keeping his forces in a tight battle formation and planning frequent stops to rest from the summer heat and the almost constant harassment by Muslim troops.” The Mediterranean also gave them protection on the right side, where their fleet could be called upon to assist if they got into difficulty.

According to accounts, Saladin attacked Richard’s rear guard on September 7th, 1191. Here a certain amount of discipline was apparently lost. Some of the Lionheart’s men were hot-headed and charged the enemy against their King’s orders. The battle stopped at the tree line of an oak forest, into which Saladin’s men had retreated. It’s believed had the Crusaders followed them into the hills then a more decisive victory would have been won, rather than simply besting and seeing them off.

Why did Saladin choose to strike so openly at that point? Dr Lewis’s research suggests it may have been a misjudgment based on the geography. “Saladin did not believe that Richard was marching towards Jaffa” he explains to the Post, “but that at that point he and his troops were going to turn inland in the direction of Jerusalem”.

The Third Crusade concluded not with an epic battle but a peace treaty. Now, after centuries underground, fresh details of this important battle are being brought to the surface.

Steve is a writer and comedian from the UK. He’s a contributor to both The Vintage News and The Hollywood News and has created content for many other websites. His short fiction has been published by Obverse Books.


This Is What Killed Medieval Sultan Who Conquered Jerusalem During the Crusades

What killed the sultan Saladin, who famously unified the Muslim world during the 12th century, recaptured Jerusalem from the Christians and helped spark the Third Crusade? Until now, it was a mystery. But by sifting through clues on Saladin's medical symptoms written more than 800 years ago, a doctor may have finally determined what illness felled the mighty sultan.

It was typhoid, said Dr. Stephen Gluckman, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, announced today (May 4) at the 25th annual Historical Clinicopathological Conference at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Experts at the conference diagnose a historical figure every year, and past diagnoses have featured Lenin, Darwin, Eleanor Roosevelt and Lincoln.

Gluckman cautioned that a definitive diagnosis will probably never be known, given that Saladin lived before the age of modern diagnostic tools. But typhoid &mdash an illness that people contract when they ingest food or water that's contaminated with the bacterium Salmonella typhi &mdash seems to fit the bill, he said. [Tiny & Nasty: Images of Things That Make Us Sick]

Saladin is an iconic figure who played a pivotal role in the history of Europe and the Middle East.

"He's certainly one of the most important Muslim leaders in the era of the Crusades in the Middle Ages," Tom Asbridge, a professor of medieval history at Queen Mary University of London, told Live Science.

Former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970) was obsessed with Saladin, as was former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein (1937-2006), who famously had postage stamps featuring his face next to Saladin's, and even sponsored children's books featuring Saladin and himself, said Asbridge, who also spoke at today's conference.

Saladin, born in 1137 or 1138 in Tikrit, in what is now modern-day Iraq, was part of a mercenary Kurdish family. He fought with his uncle, an important military leader, against the Egyptian Fatimid Caliphate, a religious dynasty that ruled from 909 to 1171. But when his uncle died in 1169, Saladin replaced him at the age of 31 or 32, Asbridge said. After triumphing in battle, Saladin was appointed both commander of the Syrian troops in Egypt and vizier of the Fatimid caliph, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

In 1187, Saladin's army famously conquered the holy city of Jerusalem, ousting the Franks, who had taken it 88 years before during the First Crusade. His actions led to the Third Crusade (1189-1192), which ended in a stalemate between Saladin and his adversaries, including the king of England, Richard I, better known as Richard the Lionheart, Asbridge said.

However, after a mysterious fever and two-week illness, Saladin died in 1193 at age 55 or 56. Aides tried to save him with bloodletting and clysters (an old-fashioned word for enemas), to no avail.

Gluckman had few details upon which to make the diagnosis, but he was able to rule out several illnesses. Plague or smallpox probably didn't kill Saladin, he said, because those diseases kill people quickly. Likewise, it probably wasn't tuberculosis, because the records didn't mention breathing problems. And it likely wasn't malaria, because Gluckman couldn't find any evidence that Saladin was shaking from chills, a common symptom of the disease.

But the symptoms did fit with typhoid, a disease that was very common in that region at that time, Gluckman said. Symptoms of typhoid include high fever, weakness, stomach pain, headache and loss of appetite. The bacterial condition still exists today every year, about 5,700 people in the United States (75 percent of whom get the illness abroad) and 21.5 million people worldwide come down with the bacterial infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Today, antibiotics are prescribed for people with typhoid, but, of course, those weren't available during the 12th century, Gluckman said. Still, there is cause for concern going forward, as antibiotic resistance among typhoid bacteria is growing, Gluckman added.

"In most infections, there is [antibiotic] resistance," Gluckman said. "The tried-and-true drugs are less effective these days." However, certain antibiotics still work against typhoid, he said.


  • Graphic designer Becca Saladin, from Dallas, researched the portraits and statues of famous historical figures
  • She used photo manipulation and digital painting techniques to create her modern-day portraits of figures
  • Among famous figures are Mona Lisa, Henry VIII, Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, Queen Victoria and Anne Boleyn

Published: 22:01 BST, 28 January 2020 | Updated: 22:06 BST, 28 January 2020

Ever wondered what Mona Lisa would look like if she was around today? Or how about Henry VIII?

After spending hours researching portraits and statues of famous historical figures, graphic designer Becca Saladin has painstakingly recreated them to give them a makeover for the 21st century.

Becca, 29, from Dallas, Texas, started the project last February and has seen it grow quickly in popularity. Her Instagram account, Royalty Now, has 40,000 followers.

'My purpose really is to keep people's passion for history alive and show them that humans from the past faced the same struggles and triumphs we do today,' says Becca.

'A lot of people reach out just to say how interesting they find it and how it makes history feel closer to them, which is exactly my goal.'

Becca uses photo manipulation and digital painting techniques to create her modern-day portraits, first finding similar-looking stock images before adding the face of the historical figure.

She said: 'It's easy when I have a realistic portrait to work from, such as Henry VIII, or others that clearly show the original hair and eye colour. Contemporary descriptions also help.

'The challenge is in the portrait busts that I create — Julius Caesar, for example.

As this selection shows, the results are bewitching and fun in equal measure…

Enigma that never fades: Brushed up nicely . . . The Mona Lisa (left before transformation and right after) has still got her mysterious smile, but she is much more polished now. What would Da Vinci say?

Hair to the throne: Henry VIII’s (left before transformation and right after) beard remains bang on trend with a definite hipster look about him

Royal revival: Queen Victoria (left before transformation and right after) returns — and is there a hint of Princess Beatrice in her eyes?

Yummy mummy: Egyptian Queen Nefertiti (left before transformation and right after transformation) has a touch of the glamorous Nicole Scherzinger


Portrait of Saladin - History

Saladin or, Saladin Yusuf Ayyub al-Dawinin, was born to Najmuddin Ayubb in 1137 in Mesopotamia. He belonged to a broader Kurdish lineage and was known for his affinity for Sunni Islamic theology. Although Saladin was born in Mesopotamia, he lived there only until he was the age of ten when his family moved to a city near the Nile River. As a young man, Saladin was very astute and very brave. He was poised from a very early age to play a significant role in Islamic society.

Rise to Power

Saladin quickly rose up to become one of the most influential people in northern Africa while developing a strong relationship with the reigning Sultan at the time, Nur-Ad-Din. He would later succeed Nur-Ad-Din after his death and subsequently marry his widow. Although there were many rulers in the region who predated him, he proudly carried the title “Founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty.” Saladin’s kingdom spanned from Egypt to Syria.

Historical studies suggest that Saladin was the most influential Muslim ruler since the Prophet Mohammed. Muslims everywhere viewed him as a great leader, particularly because he unified large Muslim societies in northern African and western Asia. Once Saladin succeeded king Nur, he established a strong military and engaged his enemies in bloody war campaigns. His enemies were also Christian Crusaders who attacked from regions surrounding Jerusalem and the Jordan River.

Although Saladin’s campaigns defended Muslims, he is claimed to have been partial to his allies as well. Once he gained power, he began appointing close friends and family members to senior governmental positions. His brothers and cousins gained stature by becoming governors as well.

Relationships With Neighboring Societies

One of Saladin’s most memorable battles was the Battle of Hattin, which took place in 1187 and pitted his soldiers against those of Jerusalem. This battle’s victory earned him particular recognition in regions as far north as England. Over time, Saladin attempted to expand his empire. It is said that by 1192 he had signed peace treaties with King Philip of France and King Richard of England in order to establish relationships which would span from the Islamic Empire to the borders of northern England.

Saladin’s portrait was inscribed on medieval coins. The “Eagle of Saladin” was named after him and so too was the “Province of Saladin” which is located in today’s Iraq. Saladin was a man of prodigious means. His kingdom had numerous agricultural and mineral resources, and he had large amounts of currency, surely a result of the spoils of war. Saladin’s military was feared, and it is known that if he challenged any kingdom on the battle field he would conquer them. Saladin planned his campaigns carefully, weighed the cost, and instead of relying on Egypt alone as his primary means of support her looked to northern Mesopotamia, Syria, and the Levant coastline.

Saladin and Latin Christianity

Saladin focused most of his efforts defending other Muslims in order to create a homage to the Prophet Mohammed’s life. At one time, his kingdom extended beyond modern day Tripoli and the Middle East, as far as Yemen and Syria. Most of Saladin’s time was spent strategizing how to eliminate political and military control by Western Christians, particularly those who settled in Jerusalem. Islamic warriors saw Roman Catholic Christians as enemies they were to be executed or forcefully converted. Saladin embarked on a holy war–a Jihad–in an effort to capture and control the burgeoning city-states of Western Europe.

The Christian Response and Muslim Generosity

In the early years of Saladin’s reign, his military victories came easy. However, over time his kingdom began to face large scale opposition. His Christian neighbors began regrouping and shifting military strategy in an attempt to regain portions of their territories firmly under his control. In the period between 1189 and 1191, Saladin faced significant onslaughts from Christian adversaries to the north.

Saladin was a very generous leader. He ensured that the Muslim people could live a decent life. He shared a significant portion of his riches with his citizens and brave soldiers.

Saladin’s Legacy and Contemporary Art

The role of Saladin in the history of Middle Age Islamic society has been appreciated by interdisciplinary scholars alike. University academics consider the reign of Saladin to be a precursor to the rise of modern Islam as an international, global religion. His role in shaping the regions of Africa and the Middle East collectively is also very significant.

There have been many films made about his life. The movie, Saladin, which premiered in Egypt in 1962, was about the conquest of Jerusalem in 1187. Other films such as Nathan the Wise, which premiered in 1922, and Arn-The Knight Templar, released in Sweden in 2007, glorify the life of Saladin. Western European authors have also played a significant part in celebrating Saladin’s legacy. He has inspired the works of modern poets and has attracted the art of playwrights and directors, of theater and film.

The Death of Saladin

Saladin died in Damascus in 1193. Saladin’s mausoleum has been carefully preserved, and a silver plate which bears his name is situated right above it. Saladin’s legacy is particularly amazing. His influential role in shaping medieval Islamic society still resonates today in art, culture, religion and society.


What Would Historical Royalty Look Like Now?

History is a tricky thing. Not only is it written by the winners, but it’s can also seem so far away and unrelatable that it’s nearly impossible to view it as anything but a collection of stories. You rarely think of historical figures as real people with problems and feeling, to us they’re just these characters who did massive things that might’ve changed the history. But Becca Saladin, a graphic designer, decided it was about time someone challenged that idea. So she decided to use photoshop to see what famous historical figures would look like now.

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She first got the idea when she couldn’t find any good portraits of her favorite historical figure – Anne Boleyn. Anne was the second wife of King Henry VIII, and she was unfairly executed just so that the king could marry again. Anne is often described as vivacious, witty and charming, but her portraits are very pale and flat and fail to showcase her real personality and spirit.

So she sat down and used her photoshop skills to Anne’s advantage and tried to imagine what she would look like if she lived in modern times. Once she was done she realized that’s something she could do with other famous historical figures. After all, even if the portraits are somewhat ok, the setting, the pose, the background and the clothes in them are still so old it doesn’t feel real. That’s how the Instagram account Royalty Now was started. Now she has almost 200K followers and it just keeps growing. Here are some of her works with her respective captions.

Here’s Becca’s version of Anne Boleyn that she posted on Instagram with a caption: “ I hope nobody here will get tired of my Anne Boleyn posts…she is my favorite historical figure so you may get quite a few :) Many people asked me last time I posted Anne if I really thought her features (specifically her lips) were really that delicate – and I don’t think they were. Tudor portraiture often de-emphasized these features, so I modified my finished version to reflect what I think is probably her more likely appearance.”

“Venus from Botticelli’s famous “The Birth of Venus”, painted during the height of the Italian Renaissance. The model for Venus is the gorgeous Simotta Vespucci, one of the artist’s muses. I think she’s one of the most beautiful females ever painted – do you think anyone tops her?”

“Here we are with Genghis Khan, one of the most fascinating rulers in history and the founder of the Mongol Empire. Genghis was also responsible for millions of deaths. This was one that was requested many times over the past week. This is the only portrait of Genghis Khan that was supervised by someone who knew what he looked like – his grandson Khubilai Khan.”

“As most of you know, Abe Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy.”

“This is Madame du Barry – the official mistress of Louis XV after his first love, Madame de Pompadour’s death.”

“Louis XV is lesser known than his predecessor the Sun King and his heir, Louis XVI, but he was the second-longest reigning monarch in French history. “

“This bust of Nefertiti (believed to have been sculpted during her lifetime) is famous for its grace and beauty. Nefertiti lived from approximately 1370 – 1330 BC. She was an Egyptian queen and the wife of Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh. Akhenaten is famous for his attempt to transition Egypt into a monotheistic society (worshipping only the sun god, Aten), instead of a polytheistic one.”


Portrait of Saladin, Salah al-Din Yusuf, painting

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