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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.".
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
name and sig. are attached.
Subject: Musing on July 31st -- Mamluks in Kneeboots
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2000 07:28:21 -0700 (PDT)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Subject: Musing on August 1st -- A Pleasantly Plump King, Scientist, and Teen Bride
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2000 23:04:36 -0700 (PDT)
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.
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.
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?!
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.
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.
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.
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."
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*
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!
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.
Baylor – Brother Nozetradamus