Lead-in story: Well, its rare for me to get ****ed off in a game especially for ahistorical reasons but I did - just quit and started over. Playing as Aragon (early), was still a tiny empire in the late 1300s - basically already lost but I was soldiering on - with one overriding large empire (Egypt) in the game. All the remaining Christian kingdoms were at war with them (except me - no way to reach them) until they had a rebellion and I was able to take the province (Just expanded my naval presence enuf turn before). Next turn, they attacked me. So what happens, The Papacy attacks me. That was just way overboard - they had absolutely nothing to gain by that. So now, the observation from the next game ---
Decided after two failed attempts with Aragon that I had to risk an early war with the Arabs so I attacked with a smaller and less capable army but with a much better commander, Lord El Cid. It was a bridge attack - they had tons of archers - I had few - I was mostly auxiliary cavalry (precisely because they had so many archers) - not at all good for a bridge attack so I withdrew (and el Cid died of old age the next turn). Well, I re-enforced a bit then attacked again. My ally Spain did the same (but with a larger army - see peasants do have their uses) so I expected to be boxed in by larger neighbors once again. Wouldn't have mattered anyway as the AI attacked me nullifying my attack and Spain easily defeated their remaining forces in Cordoba. I totally crushed their army (there was an undefended bridge that my cavalry and a lone spear unit took advantage of allowing wholesale slaughter of their archers and surrounding their units on the bridge. The AI didn't anticipate Spain but that move would have saved Cordoba for an army in Morocco about to enter there. But wither way - the AI would have thwarted me from taking Cordoba as Spain would have done so. Bah - maybe I should try England as I won't be at war with the Alms for long (no border - no ships). Being boxed in for several centuries can be a bit boring - better to lose early and hope for better early luck next time, I think.