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Christian Church. There is a story that the man who arrested James

became a convert after hearing James speak at his trial and was

executed with him.

Jim was a fisherman, as was his brother John. James with John and Simon

Peter were called "The Sons of Thunder." They were a pretty fiery

group: the trio wanted to burn down the Samaritans when they refused to

let Jesus and them in to preach. James or his mother asked Jesus to

share his cup with James. Jesus agreed. Maybe that cup had a tad more

symbolism than James realized. James was one of the first martyrs. He

is the patron saint of hatmakers, rheumatoid sufferers, and laborers.
Today is also the anniversary of the end of the 1st Council of Nicaea

in 325 CE. Three hundred eighteen delegates got together under the

direction of Constantine the Great to unify Christianity. Constantine

was not a Christian, he was more of someone who wanted to make folks

get along (and to take credit for it.)
How about some highlights, as I see it, from these early church

fathers’ minds? Well, you probably know the Nicaean Creed off the top

of your head. So we will do the lesser known canons. First off, if you

cut off your own daddy parts, you should not be let into or let stay in

the clergy. That sort of thing was right out. Of course if someone else

did it to you against your will, it did not count. There had been way

too many folks converted and immediately made clergy or bishops. The

council thought converts ought to wait and be checked out more

thoroughly. Not a bad idea. Whoops! The synod also thought that the

clergy should not have ladies living with them in a carnal or suspicion

of carnal way. There were many rules about making bishops and how to

keep a unity in things like excommunication. There was a section about

letting Cathars come back into the church if they would behave. It had

a nice section about how to handle folks who leave the military to

become Christian, have "run back like dogs to their own vomit" to the

military and then want to be Christians again. Love that colorful

simile! There is a small section about not stealing the good folks from

one area to become clergy in your area. It tells the church leaders not

to loan money for interest (wonder if that is still in force?) And it

says that folks should pray to the Lord standing not kneeling.

The council did draft up a letter to the Egyptians slamming the impiety

and lawlessness of Arius and his followers. You are dying to ask,

aren’t you? Okay, Arius had some concepts that grated: Jesus was made

from unmade things, before he was begotten he was not, Jesus was

capable of doing good and evil, and that he could not know God

perfectly. The Counsel did ask for mildness for the folks Arius led

astray. I am sure none of you would lapse into such impiousness. Would

hate to think of some guys in long robes coming around to whack you.

What have we learned from this? Sometimes it might be a great learning

experience to ask to share everything with someone? Don’t say that

someone can do both good and evil unless you catch it on videotape?

Bishops should not be married, they have enough trouble? Dogs come back

to their own vomit like lifers wear uniforms? How about "To please the

Goddess and amaze her, shave off your schween with a rusty razor?" Big

clue, modern pagans think that folks who cut off their daddy parts are

probably too crazy to be good pagans. If they fall for that saying,

pagans don’t want them and neither did the early Christian church.
On a much happier note, the fondest birthday wishes to Pat Metzler --

lovely, witty, a student of North American Indian artifacts, and mother

to my best friend. Pat is at least 21 but I am sure she is much younger

than I am. Either that or she has a portrait put away in an attic

somewhere which is growing very old. Pat, I am very glad you were born.
As always, if you want to enlighten and annoy your otherwise studious

friends by sending them these poor musings, go ahead. Just make sure to

keep my name and sig intact.
Looking for suspiciously carnal ladies,

J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor

AS – Polyphemus Theognis

TRV – Sebastian Yeats

Subject: Musing on July 26 -- Drink to Me only with Thine Eyes

Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 20:46:21 -0700 (PDT)

From: Ellsworth Weaver

Dear Folk,
On this day July 26, 811 the Emperor was returning home after sacking

and burning the town Pliska, the capital city of the descendants of an

Asiatic nomad people. Pretty easy victory. Guess it would be a slow

ride back through those mountains up ahead.

The Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I had been the finance minister of the

Empress Irene (r.797 - 802). Irene was a swell mom. She was regent for

her son, Constantine VI, on the Eastern Roman Imperial Throne. She had

been too busy to worry about wars and such. There was this big

religious battle (non-lethal) about whether or not it was cool to have

holy paintings (icons). Empress Irene was in the thick of it. She

supported the idea of having nice pictures around; she was what was

called an anti-iconoclast. Icon is a sacred picture, clast means to

tear down. She was against ripping down the paintings.
You might think that she was a great Empress because of this

religiosity. She had a courtesy crusade telling folks to be nice and

leave the pictures alone. She also made sure that those pictures were

only painted by authorized illuminators, of the designated age, and

using nontoxic paints. Her son acted up a bit and was not at all

courteous so she did what any right thinking artistic and scientific

mom would do: she had him blinded and deposed. So there!
Of course, Charlemagne (more on him another time) saw her actions as

reason enough to have himself crowned Emperor (in 800) somewhere away

from Byzantium. Not a very courteous man either, if you ask me.
In 802 CE, Nicephorus (notice that the first four letters spell

"nice?") deposed Empress Irene. She died off in exile a year later. Now

Nicephorus I, he improved the treasury, revised taxation, and

vigorously asserted imperial authority over the church. Hey,

Constantine I called the Council of Nicaea, maybe kings and emperors

could rule the church. This policy and his appointment of St.

Nicephorus (different guy, same name, sucking up?) to the patriarchate

of Constantinople kind of led to a conflict with Theodore of Studium ,

whom he exiled in 809.
Theodore of Studium was an interesting guy. He was eventually made a

saint, too. He lived from 759–826. He saw himself as a Byzantine

Greek monastic reformer. As an abbot he was early exiled for opposing

the marriage of young Emperor Constantine VI to his mistress Theodota.

She was a sweet girl, too. In 799 he entered the Studium monastery,

which he reformed and made the model monastery of the Byzantine rite.

He was exiled again in 809 for two years after long quarrels with

Nicephorus I, and then by Leo V when he opposed him (814). Fellow spoke

his mind.
Now on to the other guys, the Bulgars. They gave their name to Bulgaria

and Hungary. Yes, they were the remnants of Attila the Hun’s folks.

Attila died in 453 CE. They found that they rather liked it the wild

reaches of what is now Bulgaria. When not hiring themselves out as

strong arms for the Byzantines against the Goths, they were free lance

running amuck in Thrace. Fact is, they were the wild bunch of that

area. The Byzantines were perfumed and polished, the Bulgars were

leather and horsehide.

The Bulgars established their own independent kingdom between the

Balkan Mountains and the lower Danube plus parts of modern day Romania

under Khan Isperich (643-701). Under Khan Terbelis they defeated the

Byzantines at Anchialus in 708. There was a brief alliance with

Byzantium in 718 when a Bulgarian army helped defeat the invading Arab

armies at Adrianople. You know those alliances never lasted though.

The Emperor Constantine V gained the upper hand over the Bulgars in the

wars of 755-772 with victories at Marcellae 759 and Anchialus 763.

However, by the end of the century Kardam of the Bulgars was once again

forcing Byzantium to pay tribute. The army of this period relied

heavily on Slav infantry armed with either javelin or bow. Usually only

a third of the force would be the effective Bulgar cavalry.

Meanwhile, Byzantium was being squeezed into a smaller and smaller

sphere by the Arabs and Khazars on their eastern borders. The next

squeeze came again from the Bulgars. The 9th Century Bulgars under Khan

Krum raided westwards into Croatia and Serbia as well as southwards.

Emperor Nicephorus I decided that he had had just about enough and

decided to raid and punish the Bulgars. On a punitive mission,

Nicephorus led his men to Pliska, the Bulgarian capital city. He

destroyed the town, set fire to it, killed the inhabitants (who were

rather scarce). So, those Bulgars properly spanked, the Emperor and his

merry men went safely home. Well, until they got to a mountain pass on

this day July 26, 811. Khan Krum with the Bulgar army were waiting in

the passes. The troops were shown as much mercy as the town of Pliska.

Nicephorus was killed. Krum actually had a drinking mug made out of

Nicephorus’ skull. Pretty Goth for a Bulgar!

The next year Krum decided to repay the visit and trucked on to

Constantinople. His forces took the fortress of Mesembria. The next

year the Bulgars did some suburbian renewal and destroyed the outlying

areas of Constantinople. They also took Adrianople. On April 13, 814

while he was just getting ready to go kick some perfumed Byzantine

butt, Khan Krum suffered a burst blood vessel and died.

Skipping lightly ahead, the Bulgars and the Byrzantines fought

throughout the 900s. Victories on either side were quickly followed by

crushing defeats. Khan Samuel (976-1014) reestablished some strength

and independence to the Bulgarian state. Emperor Basil II came back at

him and surprised a fortified Bulgar army at the Kleidon Pass by

climbing over the mountains. This battle was known as Balthista and it

spelled the end of Bulgaria for at least 168 years. Emperor Basil took

15,000 captives. He had his troops separate the captives into groups of

100 men. Under his direction, he had the army blind 99 of each one

hundred and poke out only one eye of the 100th so the hundredth guy

could lead the others home. Talk about brutal! Khan Samuel died of

shock when he saw what had happened to his troops.

What have we learned from this? Sometimes it is wise not forget the

world when other folks want to argue religion? If you are willing to do

the unthinkable (like climbing over mountains) you can win? Hannibal

and General Giap showed us that. Drinking out of a head full of fat can

clog one’s arteries and cause an aneurysm? How about "it is all fun and

games until somebody gets an eye put out?" I know, I know, I’m sorry.

As always, if you give up the right to discard these and forward them

to others, anything you say can be held against you in a court of love

and beauty. Keep my sig and name intact in the forwards.
Happy birthday to Kaiser Sosa whomever you are.
Getting my eyes examined (maybe the rest of my head, too,)

J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor

AS – Polyphemus Theognis

TRV – Sebastian Yeats

Subject: Musing on July 27th -- Sleep, Baby, Sleep

Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 11:13:28 -0700 (PDT)

From: Ellsworth Weaver

Dear Folk,
On this date July 27, seven sleepers awoke, lots of lightly-armed

Gottlanders were put to sleep, a Scottish king who "doth murder sleep"

was defeated, and a gift from the New World arrived in jolly old

There are many stories about folks falling asleep and being revived

years and years later. Rip van Winkle comes to mind. Strangely enough

today is the feast day of seven guys like that: The Seven Sleepers of

Ephesus. The origin of the story seems to be a Symeon Metaphrastes who

wrote down stories about the lives of saints. Variants abound. Here is

the story in short form. Trust me, this is short compared with some.
Ephesus is an ancient town in what is now Turkey. Emperor Decius (249

-251 CE) hated Christians. He came to Ephesus to whomp up on them. He

found seven studly, noble youths and told them get right with Roman

gods or die. No more tuna casserole at the Lutheran potlucks for them.

Decius said, "Think it over and I will be right back."
I guess you probably want to know their names. Right? Just so happens

I’ve got them. Ready? According to Symeon they were: Maximillian,

Jamblichos, Martin, John, Dionysios, Exakostodianos, and Antoninos (or

Max, Jam, Marty, Johnboy, Dion, Kosty, and Tony.) Goodfellas, all. So

what are they going to do? Give up? Hey, they wouldn’t be saint

material if they did. But you already knew that. No, they gave their

skateboards and CD collections to poor folk, kept a few coins for phone

calls and coffee, and then climbed up to a cave on Mount Anchilos to

say their prayers. Decius came back looking for his answer. The boys

were just saying the last of their prayers up in the cave when Decius

Lo and behold, the boys were asleep! How discourteous to not be awake

for their own funerals. Well Decius said, "Let’s just let them sleep

awhile longer. It isn’t a school day, after all." He had his men roll

some big stones over the cave to seal it up. They were buried alive.

After Decius skeedaddled, some unsung Christian came by and wrote the

boys’ names and their story on the entrance. Hey, they were big rocks!

Years went past, like in a movie when you see the calendar pages being

ripped off pretty quickly. The country became Christian. About 400 CE,

a rich landowner named Adolios had the cave rezoned and opened it up as

a cattle pen. The boys, getting nuzzled by cows, woke up and woke up

hungry. They sent Dion down into town to score some Big Macs and fries

(super-sized). When Dion got to town he was amazed by all the crosses

he saw up on the buildings. Furthermore, the folks down at the burger

places were not much on accepting money coined a couple hundred years

ago. What was up?
Sooner or later the church folk go involved; a bishop and quite a few

hangers-on trucked up to the cave with Dion to see for themselves. Even

the Emperor (now a Christian dude), Theodosius, was sent for. Everyone

heard out the boys, got really happy when they find out that the body

can be resurrected (well, in a few special cases) which made the bishop

right in a long argument he had been having. The boys immediately died

(guess no one thought to bring a bagel or anything) praising God.

Theodosius wanted to build them a golden tomb, really he did, but the

sleepers appeared to him in a dream and told him to just put them in

the ground in the cattle stall. Cool! Cost savings in funeral plans.

The cave is now adorned with precious stones, a great church built over

it, and every year the feast of the Seven Sleepers is kept on July 27.

Macbeth was an actual King of Scotland not just a Shakespearean

character. He lived 1005-57 CE. In 1040 Macbeth became king. His mother

had been a daughter of Kenneth II and Macbeth used this bloodline to

remove Duncan I and declare himself as king. Sometimes removing kings

does take a tad of steel. Forgive him, he is now food for worms.

Scotland prospered under Macbeth (not quite the picture we had, right?)

and he visited Rome in 1050. The remains of Macbeth's hill top fortress

Dunsinane lies just east of Strathearn. In 1054 Malcolm III invaded

with an English army and defeated Macbeth at the Battle of Dunsinane on

July 27, 1054. In 1057 Macbeth was finally murdered by Malcolm.

Macbeth’s son Lulach became king. Malcolm murdered him in 1058. Malcolm

then finally became king of Scotland. He reigned until 1093 when he was

killed during an invasion of England and was succeeded by his brother

Donald Bane. Happy bunch of folks wearing crowns, right?

On July 27, 1361, the Baltic Island of Gottland stood braced for

invasion. Well, they were as braced as they could be. King Waldemar

(IV) Atterdag of Denmark, at war with Sweden, had landed with a large

army of well-equipped German mercenaries and Danish royal troops, and

they were making for the island’s largest town, the prosperous

Hanseatic port of Visby. More about the Hanseatic League on a later

The Swedish defenders, largely made up of a poorly armed peasant

militia, included in their ranks old men, young boys and the lame. A

small number were armed in mail shirts, while even fewer were armed in

antiquated coat of plates armour. Outside of the city walls, the

defenders formed their battle lines and awaited the Danish charge. In

some stories this would be the part where I would tell you about the

defenders having better ground or clever archers. Sorry, this is not

one of those stories.

The battle opened -- like most of the later Middle Ages battles did --

with a murderous shower of crossbow bolts, which played havoc amongst

the lightly armed islanders. That was followed by an equally bloody

hand-to-hand combat that left over 2,000 dead on the field. Most all of

the dead were the Visby homeboys. The corpses were unceremoniously

heaped into five large common graves, several of which were excavated

by the Swedish archaeologist Bengt Thordemann in the early part of the

twentieth century. The 1,185 bodies recovered testified to horrible

effectiveness of medieval weaponry: skulls pierced through by crossbow

bolts, bones crushed and holed by blows of the axe and mace, and even

one unfortunate defender who seems to have had both of his legs hacked

off with a single blow of an axe or greatsword. Yuck!

Medievalists today use the armour carefully excavated to recreate very

early coats of plate. There are several sites which detail the

patterns. Visby these days celebrates medieval days (sort of a large

Renfaire) in early August. I think they are over being mad at the

Danes. I understand that it is just a wonderful time. I’d like to head

to Sweden and check it out sometime.

BTW on this day in 1586 Sir Walter Raleigh brought back the first

tobacco to England from Virginia. All you nicotine-fiends out there,

smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.
What have we learned from all of this? The good guys don’t always win?

Shakespeare sure twisted history to suit his purposes? Tobacco seems

like a fair trade for all the great things we did for the Native

Americans? By the time some guys get back with the food, you could

starve to death? The boys should have sent out for pizza (maybe not

since they stopped with that 30 minutes or less guarantee)? My take on

things? We peasants and other folk should have up-to-date weaponry to

defend ourselves from invaders of all sorts. I do love the 2nd

Amendment to the US Constitution – it covers broadswords, too.
As I usually say at this time, do the right thing: keep my name and

sig. attached when and if you forward these pearls.

Doing that deed without a name,

J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor

AS – Polyphemus Theognis

TRV – Sebastian Yeats

Subject: Musing on July 28th : Gunpowder, Golf and Gals

Date: Sat, 29 Jul 2000 00:02:36 -0700 (PDT)

From: Ellsworth Weaver

Dear Folk,
On this day, July 28, 1565, Mary Stuart decreed that her new husband,

Lord Darnley, should be named and styled "King of Scotland." Somehow

that spelled the end of the marriage.
Mary Stuart, also called Mary, Queen of Scots was born in 1542 to James

V, king of Scotland and his second wife Mary of Guise. She became queen

of Scotland before she was a week old. Aww! She was raised in France

and married to France’s Dauphin (king in-waiting) when she was a

blushing sixteen. Mary insisted on wearing white at her wedding which

set a new trend. Formerly white was the color of mourning. Hubby I, who

became King Frank II, died the next year. Maybe she knew something.

Fact is, her whole life was filled with portents.

Incidentally, anyone out there know who her mother-in-law (Frank’s mum)

was? Let’s see those hands. Yep, Kate de Medici! You got it.

She came back home to Scotland in 1561 to find the place firmly

Protestant. Changed while she was in France. Oh well, Mary coped pretty

well with that. Her half-brother James Stuart became her counselor and

did his best to get her into the Scottish ways of doing things. In

gratitude for his work, she made Jimmy the Earl of Moray. As we have

discussed earlier, the Scots are a wee bit picky about the behavior of

their rulers. Speaking of portents, it is said that when she was

waiting to come home, she saw a fishing boat sink with all its crew

drown. When she landed in Scotland, there was an eclipse.
The subjects found their hackles rising when Mary in 1565 up and

married her cousin, Henry Stewart(hey, the spelling was changed to make

it seem a little more distant), Lord Darnley, and did it in a Roman

Catholic ceremony. She gave him the title King for a wedding gift. Now

there was a giving lady. Half-bro Jimmy was enraged about the marriage

and helped lead a rebellion against her. Mary went out into the field

herself and quelled (nice word for kicking butt) the rebellion herself.
And she lived happily ever after, right? You know me better than that.

Henry wanted more than just being named king, he wanted that title

secured so that if Mary had no kids, the crown would pass to his side

of the family. Oooo, asking a bit much, he was. How safe would Mary

have been if she had said yes?
Mary had a male secretary, Dave Rizzio. He was a good friend and had

the Queen’s ear. He was also a *shudder* Catholic. Henry Stewart

convinced himself that it wasn’t anything wrong with good King Hank, it

was that rat Rizzio. In 1566, King Hank, Brother Jimmy, and a bunch of

Protestant folk, got together to give Rizzio a little good ole Scottish

hazing – a fraternity prank, sort of.-- Rizzio got himself deceased as

a consequence.
Strangely, less than a year later, King Hank was staying sick in bed

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