The Sack of Louchébem

The City has been besieged and taken by many armies, often on alternate days, but only one such conquest is ever referred to as “the Sack”. This was exceptional not for the size of the armies or for the length of their engagement — the War of Bridges, indeed, was greater by both measures — but by the number of the besiegers and the besieged who betrayed their own number, and by the ruthlessness of the invaders once they had breached the gates. Almost all of what is now the New City was built on the rubble and ashes left by the Sack: indeed, some scholars hold that the Old City itself is not an ancient citadel around which the New City was built, but rather the only quarter of the city which was not destroyed.

The Sack casts its shadow over the history of the City in another way: records of the time before it are scarce. Many were destroyed in the fires, and also, it is said, out of shame and bitterness on behalf of the traitorous and the betrayed. The most signal omission, of course, is the cause for which the City was attacked.

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