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when the house he was living in was blown up by a teensy bit of

gunpowder. Even stranger, while King Hank was not found in bed, he was

found outside strangled to death. Must have tripped over a clothesline

on the way out of the explosion. Who could have done such a monstrous

deed? Some folks think it was James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell. Bothwell

had been a sort of close friend for Mary since Jimmy raised that

earlier rebellion and then when Rizzio was so rude as to die.

Did Mary know of this in advance? There were some letters and sonnets

allegedly written by Mary to Bothwell found in a wee casket. The

"evidence" was in the nature of "Gee, it would be a bad thing if King

Hank were to be blown up. Got any gunpowder, My Dearest Bothwell?" That

correspondence’s originals "disappeared" and their copies were not very

believable. Still...

Did Mary dig Bothwell? You bet! He divorced his wife and married Queen

Mary in a Protestant ceremony. Again, the Scots were scandalized. Never

did want poor Mary to have any fun. The Scots revolted; Mary took the

field; Mary lost. On June 15, 1567 Mary’s forces were defeated at

Carberry Hill. She left Bothwell to his own devices, surrendered

herself to the rebels, and signed an abdication in favor of her son (by

King Hank) James VI.
While she was on her island prison, she gave still birth to a pair of

twins by Bothwell. She escaped, raised another 6000 men and was

promptly defeated by her Brother Jimmy. Seeing no other way out, she

ran south to take refuge at the court of her cousin Elizabeth I of

Lizzie wasted no time in imprisoning Mary. Some folks, Roman Catholics

mostly, thought Mary should be queen of England right after Mary I

(Tudor) died in 1558.There were many plots to spring Mary from jail.

Mary’s page, Tony Babington, plotted to whack Lizzie. He got found out

and Mary took a major fall for it. Lizzie had her tried for treason.

Mary lost the trial, was sentenced to death on October 25, 1586. Lizzie

hemmed and hawed until February 1587 when she decided that Mary was too

dangerous to live. Remember that Lizzie was Henry VIII and Anne

Boleyn’s daughter. She knew how to make hard decisions.
Mary tried to be a good sport about it all, was nice to everyone

including her headsman. It took three blows to sever her head. A few

moments later, her body appeared to move. Everyone was freaked until

they found out that Mary’s little terrier, Geddon, was hiding under her

corpse. They took him away and cleaned everything up. I am sure they

did not hurt the dog. They did burn everything like the chopping block,

her Bible, and most all the things with poor Mary's blood on it.
Some other factoids: Mary was probably much prettier than her

portraits, she was almost six feet tall, she was a Sagittarius (tad

impulsive and playful), was the first woman to play golf in public

(caught heck for going a round right after Darnley’s murder), Lizzie

and Mary never met, Darnley had syphilis (his skull has recently been

examined), Bothwell died mad and in chains.

Mary and Darnley’s son, little James VI, not only was King of Scotland

but later was crowned as James I of England after his second cousin,

Elizabeth I, died.
What have we learned from all of this? None of Kate de Medici’s kids

every had a happy life? You can search for your spouse’s murderer on a

golf course? Nah! Nobody would believe that. It is not always good to

be the king? Marrying your cousin may be okay in West Virginia but is a

little out there in Scotland? Pay attention to portents and signs? This

one is for Brother Jimmy Stuart,: "When you swim in a creek and an Earl

bites your cheek, that’s a Moray!" Put down that club right now!
Go now and find something royal to do. If it lifts yer kilt to forward

these pitiful few words to others, leave my name and sig upon them so

you are not blamed.
Simmering up a big steamin' bowl of haggis,

J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor

AS – Polyphemus Theognis

TRV – Sebastian Yeats

Subject: Musing on July 30th -- Freddie goes to Antioch

Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 10:41:35 -0700 (PDT)

From: Ellsworth Weaver

Dear Folk,
On this day, July 30, 1178 a German, possibly the most kingly of men,

was crowned king of Burgundy. No human could successfully stand against

the man the Italians nicknamed "Red Beard". Must have been a very fiery

personality but I wonder, astrologically speaking, how much water did

he have in his chart.
Frederick was born in 1122 or 1123 to the Hohenstaufen family. He was

named after his dad, who was duke of Swabia.. When his dad passed on in

1147, Freddie took his place as duke. A year earlier (1146) he had

already sort of made the cover of "People" magazine by whomping up on

Duke Conrad of Zahringen. So he had proved himself in battle. In March

of 1152, Freddie was hands-down elected King of Germany. Hey, he was

Freddie took Charles the Great (Charlemagne) as his ideal of what

Germany and the rest of Europe needed. Fact of the matter, Freddie

could have ruled the world, at least he believed, if the rest of the

world would have just known him.

Let’s set the stage a little. Lothar III was crowned emperor of the

Holy Roman Empire by Pope Innocent III in 1133. Conrad and Freddie’s

dad had said they recognized that (took them two years of tussling to

get to that point.) Lothar died in 1137. Conrad, Freddie’s uncle,

stepped into that gap. The Second Crusade (tell you why we are talking

Crusades here in a bit) failed miserably in 1147 just as Freddie became

Freddie married a gal named Beatrice who just happened to be the

heiress to Upper Burgundy. There was this constant push, you see, for

Frederick to become something more than just king. What marriage and

relations could not donate, Freddie felt that arms might. When he

invaded and then destroyed Milan (home of those yummy Milano cookies;

love the ones with double stuff), the Italians gave him a nickname that

stayed with him throughout history, "Red Beard." In Italian it comes

out as "Barbarossa.".

The Pope crowned Frederick I Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Freddie

took that as a signal that it was okay to lay his plans down over

everybody. Many of the city states like those in Lombardy rebelled.

Fact is that Freddie had to fight with just about everyone, including

the Pope. The Vatican rarely lost any long-term wars. Finally, Freddie

and Pope Alexander III made peace in Venice when the Pope decided that

Freddie really and truly understood that an emperor’s business was

domestic affairs and that religious things belonged to the Pope.

Freddie could play nice when pressed.
That settled, Frederick had little to do but to do the right thing and

liberate the Holy Land. That nasty Saladin had been whomping up on the

Latin East for quite some time. In 1187, Saladin wiped out the flower

of the Latin East at the Battle for the Horns of Hattin (we talked

about that on July 4). Freddie wrote him first a stern letter saying:

give those lands back to the Christians or you’ll be sorry. Saladin

wrote him back saying that he would give back a church or two and maybe

even release some Franks (not hotdogs, the crusaders were all called

Frank. It was sort of like "Joe" in WW II.) Well, that was down right

insulting, so Freddie packed up and moved a crusade out.

I think that reports exaggerate the size of Freddie’s army when they

say 100,000 troops. Still, he must have had a grunch of gunchers with

him as they set out from Regensburg in May 1189. Think of that: Freddie

was leaving just as Richard the Lionheart became king of England.

Freddie was about 67 years old and here he is taking off to kill some

heathens. Got to admire that spirit.

The troops under Freddie were well-disciplined. Things were always

tough marching towards the Holy Land. It was hot, and dry, and a very

hungry land. Even so, everyone held together. No one wanted Freddie to

spank them.

On the other side of the ditch, over in Constantinople, Byzantine

Emperor Isaac Angelus was getting a tad worried. Here was an army of

mostly German folk, marching toward his kingdom. Fact is, Isaac had

been fighting with some nice folks in the Balkans (remember the

Bulgars?), while the Turks were pushing into Anatolia (what is now

Turkey), and the Italians were fighting for hunks of Macedonia. Freddie

had passed unmolested through Bulgaria which could only mean that

Freddie was in cahoots with the rebels. Yeah, it was tough for Isaac.

I know this sounds shameful but Isaac Angelus had cut a deal with

Saladin. Isaac promised Saladin that Freddie’s troops would be held up

as long as possible. Neither wanted all those hearty German tourists

with broadswords staying in their lands. Isaac made sure that food was

elsewhere. Frederick decided to turn his folks down to Thrace where he

knew he could get some sauerkraut and knockwurst. This put the two

Emperors at a deadlock. Isaac imprisoned Freddie’s German envoys.

Freddie decided that Thrace really was part of the Holy Roman Empire

and go ahead kill those envoys, Isaac. Eventually, Isaac could not

stand against Freddie. In February 1190, he agreed to transport the

German troops across the Dardenelles.
Freddie and company took the inland road toward the Holy Land. Konya

fell to the crusaders in May 1190. Their route then took them through

some very dry and hot areas as they trekked the Taurus mountains.

Finally, they emerged at the Calycadnus river near the town of

Seleucia. They were hot, tired, dry, dusty. Freddie was so happy to get

clear of that nasty desert mountain range, he decided that it was a

perfect time for skinny dipping. He plunged into the river and tried to

swim across it. The Calycadnus was a lot colder than it looked, a lot

swifter than it looked, and had a nifty whirlpool. Freddie and the

whirlpool collided. The whirlpool won. Fred was dead.

The crusading army was shattered. Some returned home right away. Others

carried Freddie, pickled in vinegar, to the Holy Land and buried most

of him in St. Peter’s church in Antioch (place where they found the

Spear of Destiny). A few of Freddie’s bones were taken all the way to

What, if anything, have we learned from Freddie? Fighting the church

seldom wins you a seat in heaven? Sometimes guys you deal with have

their own problems and agendas? Not everyone will go along with what

you know is right? A few ambassadors are not an even exchange for a

whole lot of land? Getting pickled sometimes makes travel more

bearable? How about always swim with a buddy? Man, that thing about

swimming in a creek seems to be true!
Happiest of birthdays and birth weeks to a friend, Martin the Warrior.

May your struggles bring you victory.

As always, if you are forwarding these to the Holy Land, make sure my

name and sig. are attached.

Looking for a safe swimmin’ hole,

J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor

AS – Polyphemus Theognis

TRV – Sebastian Yeats

Subject: Musing on July 31st -- Mamluks in Kneeboots

Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2000 07:28:21 -0700 (PDT)

From: Ellsworth Weaver

Dear Folk,
On this day July 31, 1291 an army made of former slaves took Beruit and

put an end to the Crusader presence in Palestine and Syria. These

soldiers were called Mamluks (or Mameluks or Mamelukes) and they are

the reason we still have Islam.

The Mamluks were first recruited (bought, if you will) by the Ayyubids

caliphs of Egypt. They were a mixture of Euro and Asian dudes brought

up from birth to be fighters. Not just gladiators, these guys learned

to fight in formation and to be the ones standing when all the cutting

was done. So the caliphs raised up kiddies as bodyguards, gave them

weapons, trained them, fed them, and what do you think those ungrateful

children did? Well, what would you have done?
Exactly, they threw of the silken shackles and became what they most

despised, the master. One of these slaves, Muez-Aibak, assassinated

the Ayyubid sultan, Al Ashraf Musa, in 1252 and founded the Mamluk

sultanate, which ruled Egypt and Syria for more than two centuries.

These were not effete Egyptians, remember. They were the first bunch of

troops ever to defeat the Mongols in open combat when in 1260, the

Mongols moved against Palestine and Egypt. Alerted by a chain of signal

fires stretching from Iraq to Egypt, the Mamluks were able to marshal

their forces in time to meet, and crush, the Mongols at 'Ayn Jalut near

Nazareth in Palestine. It was their stopping the Mongols which saved

Since the Mamluks had been brought into the fold of Islam, they felt a

deep commitment to that religion. This was reflected in intensive

building in Jerusalem, which has left its mark on the Old City to this

day, particularly around the Temple Mount.

Even though they whipped the crusaders, the Mamluks indirectly fostered

relations between Europe and the Middle East even after the fall of the

Byzantine Empire. The Europeans, loving those luxury items from the

Middle East, had a bad thing for both its raw materials and its

manufactured products, and the people of the Middle East wished to

exploit the lucrative European market. It was sort of like China and

the Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Beirut, smack in the middle of

everything, became the center of intense trading activity. Despite

religious conflicts among the different communities in Lebanon,

intellectual life flourished.

The Mamluks were not just a temporary, steroid-boosted bunch of

bully-boys. They retained control of Egypt until the Ottoman conquest

in 1517. It is said that the Egyptians welcomed the Ottoman Turks into

their country as a relief from the Mamluks. Thought it would be better.

They were, of course, wrong. But that is another story. Mamluks were

still around in Egypt as late as the 1800s.

Oh, wanted to tell you a quick story about a guy named Ignatius. He was

a GQ sort of dude, took good care of his appearance. While he was

helping his Spain defend against the French, a cannon ball shattered

his leg. Now he was strong and did recover but there was this bone

which stuck out beyond the end of his leg (just below the knee.) That

made it hard to wear those slinky long boots that he favored. So he had

the surgeons saw the bone off. It was a major, major painful operation

but he hung with it. He lived on thirty-five years after that. Spent

most of his time being a pious ascetic. You may have heard of the group

he founded: The Society of Jesus. We mostly call them Jesuits. They

became the Catholic Church bureau of internal affairs, watching out for

heresy and infiltrators. Smart folk, the Jesuits. He was Ignatius

Loyola and he died on July 31, 1556, aged sixty-five.
What have we learned from all of this? Slaves should not be armed and

trained to kill? Wars may be based on a lot of different things but

commerce wins the day? Vanity can lead us to do all sorts of painful

things to ourselves? Sometimes it takes a shattering experience to put

us on another path? Maybe, you can roll a pebble down the mountainside

but never know what landslide you are causing. Yep, thanks to the

perceived need for bodyguards, the Europeans got kicked out of the Holy

Land and we still have Islam.

Forward to whomever but leave the name and sig attached.
Piously keeping my leg bones to myself,

J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor

AS – Polyphemus Theognis

TRV – Sebastian Yeats

Subject: Musing on August 1st -- A Pleasantly Plump King, Scientist, and Teen Bride

Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2000 23:04:36 -0700 (PDT)

From: Ellsworth Weaver

Dear Folk,
Happiest of Lughnasad! August 1st is the traditional feast of Lugh or

Lammas. It marks the first harvest of crops in the Celtic wheel of the

year. It is midway between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox. So I

pray for you, especially you, that some of your well-planted crops bear

ripe and wondrous fruit. Tonight, as we were driving home, we passed by

strawberry fields. The season is just over and the fields are now

finished. No one has bothered to tell the last berries which have

ripened in our unseasonably warm sun. The fields send up vapors

redolent beyond the best strawberry preserves you have ever tasted. It

is infinitely passed any strawberry-like artificial scent. Nothing is

like the air of Lughnasad in Oceano. Oh, you wanted history?
The young prince was so nice, gracious and friendly that folks took him

for being a flake. Yet, in his time he became one of the best of kings:

a defender of his people and the church. His name was Louis, as so many

French kings were called. He was Louis VI "the Fat." He died on this

day August 1, 1137. I think a story or two from his life might warm you

a bit to him.

When Louis became king his kingdom was being ravaged by a very

unpleasant knight named Thomas of Marle. Thom had laid waste the

territories of Laon, Rheims and Amiens. He killed both priests and

friars, oh dear. He seized two manors, rich ones, from the abbey of the

nuns of St. John. He grabbed and fortified the castles of Crecy and

Nogent. Those he made into a den of robbers and thieves. From there, he

and his merry band of cutthroats would sally out, take donations, and

return with a pony-keg or two.

The Church of France got pretty darned upset, condemned this stealer of

nun’s property, took away the "gentleman’s" knightly belt in abstentia.

They called upon the King to do something.
And the king was moved by the complaints of this great Church council

and led an army against Sir Thom right quickly. Louis and clergy

marched straight against the castle of Crecy. Although it was

well-fortified, he caught them off-guard and smote them mightily. No

mercy for these brigands. He set fire to the tower. His biographer

said, "None could behold the castle tower flaming like the fires of

hell and not exclaim, ‘The whole universe will fight for him against

these madmen.’" Isn't that a good biographer?!

Hey, the troops were getting into this smiting business. One castle

down, one to go. On to Nogent. Louis got word that not only were those

rascals destroying the commune of Laon, burning the city of Laon, but

darn it, tore up the church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. Sir Thom

of Marle also killed any guy moving. He was so wicked as to cut off

finger of Bishop Gaudin to take his papal ring.

The king got really riled by this news. Finger-cutting is so tacky. He

led his men in and got medieval on Thom and his boys’ buttocks. Any bad

boy he found alive, he hung up and let the birds have their way with

the corpses. Again, king and Church made a dynamic duo.

When he finished off those two castles and got the monastery land back,

he trucked back to Amiens and laid siege to a tower held by a dude

named Adam, another robber of the Church. Took him two years to get

inside but Louis was a thorough king.

Okay, I guess we ought to talk about his weight problem. Yes, he was

gravitationally challenged. He had to be helped onto his horse. French

food can do that to a person. He was arguably the first king of the

Capetian line to have obedience from his barons. Really; most of the

time; well, you know how barons can be.
He fought many battles and never really lost disastrously. He did make

some inroads into Flanders. He did not give up much land at all. He did

go into battle himself even though the armor most have chafed horribly.
Okay, bet you cannot tell me who was is daughter-in-law. Give you a

hint: she was the most eligible bachelorette in Europe. She became

queen not only of France but of England. She gave birth to two notable

kings of England. Think Katherine Hepburn. Yep, Eleanor of Aquitaine,

the lady who brought the Renaissance to England. When the Duke of

Aquitaine died, he entrusted Louis VI with her protection. Louis

married her to his son. She later left him for Henry Plantagenet (Hank

Today also marks the publication of "De corporis humani fabrica libri

vii" August 1, 1543. That seminal book was the best known work of the

father of human anatomy, Vesalius. Vesalius is important because he did

not speculate, he operated. He stole corpses from the gallows to work

upon at night in his room. See why I love him? His work proved the

conjectures of Galen to be absolutely false.
He demonstrated anatomy from town to town. Thank heavens that there was

sort of a ready supply of training aids. Nowadays you dig up one lousy

coffin and folks get really torqued. He secured a teaching post in

Padua where he taught from 1539 to 1546. Cutting up folk, even if they

are already dead criminals was just not accepted in some quarters. Tell

me about it! Fact is, there was a serious lynching party set to turn

Vesalius over to Church authorities. Vesalius burned some of his own

work so as not to get whacked. He decided to go on a pilgrimage to

Jerusalem and received there a message that all was cool in Padua and

"by the way, you have a full teaching load."

Vesalius never returned, unfortunately. The father of scientific

dissection and anatomy died as a result of a shipwreck coming home on

October 15, 1565.
Today is also, by Shakespeare’s telling, Juliet’s birthday. Happy

B-day, Julie-babe! Wasn’t Claire Danes just wonderful in that part? No

offense to Olivia Hussey, either. If either of you ladies are reading

this, my email address is just below my name. *G*

What have we learned from this? It smells great in Oceano tonight?

Sometimes fat folk can be very nice and helpful? Even fictional

characters need birthdays? Sometimes the best thing you can say about

someone is that they did not do too badly as king? How about: the

stupid townspeople know nothing of Science? And they called me mad at

the university, mad I say!

As always, Igor shall pass amongst you to take donations. If you feel

compelled to send these Scientific histories to someone else, bless

your heart. May I have it after you are done using it? Anyway, please

keep my name and sig attached.

Stealing your heart away,

J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor

AS – Polyphemus Theognis

TRV – Sebastian Yeats

Baylor – Brother Nozetradamus

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