As “God of the Sea”, at least according to Greek mythology, Poseidon sent the dreaded sea monster Cetus to flood the entire kingdom of Aethiopia (the widely accepted birthplace of today’s anatomically modern man). Seems Cassiopeia, wife of king Cepheus of Ethiopia, got a little carried away boasting that she and her daughter, Andromeda, were more beautiful than the Nereids, the nymph-daughters of the sea god Nereus. I guess there was more than one sea god.
Stay with me; yes, there are a cast of characters to muddy the beautiful Mediterranean waters of Jaffa, apparently once part of the kingdom of Aethiopia, but keep treading water. We’re not far from the shore now.
Any good story requires enough twists and turns to keep us all guessing to the end. Who would have guessed Perseus, the son of Zeus, would come along, slay the sea monster Cetus, save Andromeda and eventually take her as his bride.
Yep; it’s all Greek to me, too. Suffice it to say, Jaffa’s port city figures prominently in history, undoubtedly because of its strategic location between Asia, Africa and Europe.
Walking the streets of old Jaffa,
The Arabs conquered Jaffa in 636 CE. Richard the Lion-Hearted had his turn in 1191 during the Crusades until the Egyptian Mamluks, the slave warriors of medieval Islam who overthrew their masters, defeated the Mongols and established a dynasty that lasted three hundred years, stepped in in 1268. Napoleon came through in 1799 on his quest to seize Egypt and undermine Britain’s access to its trade interests in India. Napoleon captured the town in what became known as the Siege of Jaffa. His armies ransacked the area, killed scores of the local inhabitants, and ordered the massacre of thousands of imprisoned Muslim soldiers.
No wonder our walk through old Jaffa was so exhausting; in typical Holy Land fashion, there was more history (and rocky steps) than I could handle.
We'll catch up tomorrow.