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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

X: The Kingdom of Cyprus, 1291-1369,   pp. 340-360 PDF (10.3 MB)

Page 355

 Ch. X THE KINGDOM OF CYPRUS, 129 1—1369 355 
 Hitherto Peter had been unable to meet the emperor, Charles IV. For this
purpose he now made his way through Germany to Prague, where Charles was
then in residence in the Hradcany. Here the visitor was received with all
the traditional pomp of the Holy Roman empire and by processions of the entire
clergy. But the emperor assured Peter that he was in no position to support
his guest's plan without the aid of others; he proposed a conference between
himself and Peter with king Casimir III of Poland (whose granddaughter Eliza
beth the emperor had recently married) and king Louis I of Hungary to consider
the possibility of combined action. Cracow was desig nated as the venue of
the meeting, and Peter, unwilling to miss any opportunity to advance his
plans, agreed to this lengthening of his already formidable itinerary. The
conference was held as arranged and Peter gave a brilliant account of himself
at the tourneys held in Cracow, as elsewhere, in his honor. But in other
respects it produced little more than vague promises and expressions of good
will. Some what disheartened, Peter now turned southwest to Vienna, to be
received with distinction by duke Rudolph IV of Austria, and from Vienna
made his way across the Alps back to Venice. He reached Venice in November
1364 and there continued to organize the collection of the force brought
into being by his two years of arduous traveling and pleading. That a force
had been promised and raised at all was due to his initiative and his impassioned
advocacy at the courts of Christendom, but his odyssey had been a heavy drain
on the financial resources of his little kingdom. He sailed for Rhodes, where
the expedition was due to assemble, on June 27, 1365. 
 It will be remembered that Edward I of England had held that in any major
operation against the Saracens, Egypt must be the first point of attack,
a policy later endorsed in the memorial presented to pope Clement V by the
envoys of Peter's great-uncle, the Cypriote king Henry II. The fleet gathered
in Rhodes for the great assault numbered 165 vessels of all sizes, including
3 1 galleys, and to this total Cyprus had contributed no fewer than 108.
Not yet, however, was its objective communicated to the armada as a whole.
Peter shared the views of his great-uncle and the English king, and the objective
he had decided upon was Alexandria, the greatest port of the Mamluk sultan's
realm and the gateway to Cairo, his capital. It was one of the richest cities
of the Mediterranean, a consideration of realistic importance to the leader
of a heterogeneous body of men, of whom some, at all events, had been induced
to join by the sordid lure of loot. But he felt it necessary to keep secret
to the last possible moment plans that would not commend themselves to all
his part- 

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