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The Graveyard Crusade: Sacking Alexandria

For the last few years King Peter the First of Cyprus (and the titular King of Jerusalem) wants to go on a Crusade but he can't afford it so he has spent his time raising money and talking allies into joining him. This year he launches his attack on Alexandria, Egypt but he goes about it in a different way. Instead of attacking the ports, he lands his ships near a graveyard and comes at the city from an unexpected direction. The tactic works and his troops sack the city, but King Peter can't hold it. His allies abandon him, taking their loot back home. King Peter returns to Cypress rather than moving on to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Ottomans move their capital to Adrianople near the border of Greece... 120 miles into Europe. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It seems that King Peter really wants to free the Holy Land from Muslim rule, but it has been a very long time since a Crusade was anything more than an excuse for plundering neighboring countries. That probably explains why King Peter's allies returned to Europe after the sacking of Alexandria. All they wanted was the loot. In 1494 there will be a different King who will look back with nostalgia on these days of the great Crusades and decide to go on his own Crusade. When he finally commits, the city-states of Italy will collapse before him. King Charles the Eighth of France... a complete knucklehead... will have one thing going for him that the Italians won't: he will want to win... not loot... win, and it will cause a revolution in warfare. [4]

Black Death: Ghosts of Purges Past

The panic that ensued during the Black Death is over for now. The people who had expelled the Jews for the Plague, shifted their blame to the leadership and then to the clergy. Now the Jews have returned. As the historian, Barbara Tuchman put it, "Homeless ghosts, the Jews filtered back from eastern Europe, where the expelled had gone." The tax records show that 65 Jewish families have established themselves in Erfurt, Germany. The Jewish community of Erfurt had been founded in the eleventh century and was a thriving community until it was expelled in 1349. The city will expel the Jews once again in 1458. [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Is it any wonder that the "Wandering Jew" has become a stereotype? It is difficult to understand why the Jews return except, perhaps, that people become adjusted to torment and injustice. In the Middle Ages the Jewish people fill an important niche in society. It is a risky business being a merchant or banker. These are occupations that are denigrated and mistrusted, but strange as it seems, the Jews are allowed by law to hold certain occupations so as to free the Christians from such terrible work. However, those Christians in the know realize how vital those roles are in society. Certain things must happen to keep society going and the only way they can get done is if Jews do them... or the Knights Templar but they were disbanded as a group long before this time. (FYI... in case anyone is feeling uncomfortable with this subject, remember that Alex Shrugged is an Orthodox Jew.... so his opinions, right or wrong, are not the product of prejudice against Jews. )

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1365, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. (Barbara Tuchman, bio). A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. Ballantine, 1979. pp. 539-543. (BOOK) quote="Wishing to make sure of their immense booty, his followers insisted on sailing away with their gains, leaving Lusignan without enough forces to exploit his victory, or even hold it. Alexandria had to be given up."
  2. Alexandrian Crusade - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update] quote="The Alexandrian defensive force occupied itself fighting in the area around the western harbor, while the "real" force, including cavalry, made landfall elsewhere in the city, apparently hiding in a graveyard, undetected by the defenders."
  3. Peter I of Cyprus - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Boot, Max. War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History. New York: Gotham Books. 2006. pp. 1-6. (BOOK)
  5. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. (Barbara Tuchman, bio). A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. Ballantine, 1979. pp. 115-116. (BOOK) quote="Homeless ghosts, the Jews filtered back from eastern Europe, where the expelled had gone."
  6. Erfurt: Middle Ages - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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