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Buying a Fort on the Installment Plan

Skanderbeg is a man who served the Ottoman Turks for years but he has broken away from the Ottomans and set himself up in Albania. The Venetians have been using Albania as a buffer zone between themselves and the Ottomans but after a dispute over a the ownership of a particular fort, the Venetians send in a force to protect their interests and thus begins the Albanian-Venetian War. Later the Ottomans will join in against the Albanians. Skanderbeg is a brilliant tactician and knows the Ottomans too well for their liking. By next year Skanderbeg will work out a settlement with the Venetians which will look for all the world like the Venetians are buying the fort from Skanderbeg on the installment plan. It will be an uneasy truce for a while yet. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Skanderbeg is the model hero of the Albanian war of independence which began in 1870 with the Albanian National Awakening and ended after Albania's independence in 1912. Although I've framed this segment as "buying a fort on the installment plan," paying Skanderbeg an annual pension of 1,400 ducats and a tax cut looks more like a bribe by the Venetians to please let them alone. Apparently Skanderbeg was doing really well despite not having a unified force behind him. His mobile tactics allowed him to split up his enemies and attack them in detail.[5]

The Well-Born Pope Is Dead!

Pope Eugene the 4th has passed away two weeks after receiving a unifying vote of confidence from Europe against the Antipope Felix the 5th. This agreement puts to rest the threat of a second schism in the Church. Pope Eugene had been holding court in Florence for years because Rome was utterly ungovernable. With his return to Rome in 1443 he funded a Crusade to push back the Ottoman Turks but instead of conquering the Turks, the Crusaders negotiated a 10-year truce. The Pope released the Crusaders from the treaty and sent them out again. Utterly unprepared for a second war, the Crusaders were destroyed, leaving Europe vulnerable to the Ottomans. Pope Eugene also struck a blow for slavery... designating the enslavement of Africans as a Crusade to bring the Africans to Christendom. Pope Eugene was an unhappy Pope, remarking on his deathbed that he wished he had never left his monastery. He is succeeded by Pope Nicholas the 5th who will bring the city of Rome back into order. [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Most leaders are a mixed bag of good and bad. Pope Eugene was kind to the poor. He managed to stop a second schism in the Church, brought back to the fold various groups that had broken away during the previous schism. He even brought the Greek Church back to the Latin Church. Unfortunately this last unification was more theoretical than real. The agreement with the Greek Church was entirely one-sided in favor of the Latin Church and was probably negotiated that way because the Emperor of the Eastern Empire was desperate for a Crusade to be mounted against the Ottomans. That Crusade ended in disaster so the Latin and Greek Churches split once more. It probably wouldn't have worked in the long run anyway.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1447, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1991. p. 208-209. (BOOK) Quote: "Scanderbeg defeats Murad II, and gains independence for India, Persia, and Afghanistan."
  2. Skanderbeg - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Murad II - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Albanian–Venetian War - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Albanian National Awakening - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1991. p. 208-209. (BOOK) Quote: "Pope Nicholas V (-1455), a renowned scholar."
  7. Pope Nicholas V - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Pope Eugene IV - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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