When they might have won national independence, after their warfare with the Swabian emperors, they let the golden opportunity slip. Pampered with commercial prosperity, eaten to the core with inter-urban rivalries, they submitted to despots, renounced the use of arms, and offered themselves in the hour of need, defenceless and disunited to the shock of puissant nations.
Until 1127, however, the Mahommedans of northern Syria were disunited among themselves.
According to the prevailing traditions, Saul at his death had left North Israel disunited and humiliated.
The conversion of Lithuania deprived the Order of its mission: the union of Lithuania to Poland robbed it of the security which it enjoyed while they were disunited, and gave new strength to Poland, a constant enemy to the Order which had deprived it of any outlet on the Baltic. Internally, too, the Order suffered.
Thus the Shiite caliphate became extinct: in the mosques of Cairo the name of the caliph of Bagdad was now used; and the long-disunited Mahommedans at last faced the Christians as a solid body.