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Stefan's Florilegium

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A series of daily articles on period history by Sir Balthazar of Endor. (humor)

NOTE: See also the files: timeline-art, calenders-msg, med-calend-art,
Charlemagne-art, Isabella-art, Otto-T-Great-art, St-Hildegard-msg, Lamoral-art,
Joan-of-Arc-art, Margery-Kemp-msg.

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NOTICE -

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that
I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some
messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with
seperate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes
extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were
removed to save space and remove clutter.

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I
make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the
individual authors.

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these
messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this
time. If information is published from these messages, please give
credit to the orignator(s).

Thank you,
Mark S. Harris AKA: Lord Stefan li Rous
mark.s.harris@motorola.com stefan@florilegium.org
************************************************************************

From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates@realtime.net>
To: <ansteorra@ansteorra.org>
Subject: ANST - EuroBoys Overseas
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 17:17:19 -0500

for your enjoyment, the following post is shared as it was received
from a close bro'(origional posted on a "family" elist), with
specific permission granted from the author, Sir Balthazar, a rather
infamous, ex-pat ansteorran ...

'wolf

Dear Folk,

Today, June 14, back in 1191 Phillip II ordered a full out attack on
the Moslem held city of Acre. It failed. I mean we had French and
English and whomsoever they could scrape together just a waling and a
bashing on this fortress city. Death and destruction all around.
Salah ad-Din's (better known to the West as Saladin)troops held.

Now the battle actually had been going on since June 6th. Richard I,
the Lionheart, had arrived on the scene and Phil was kind of anxious to
show him what French troops could do. Phil and Rick were best friends
and some say lovers. Still, they were competing kings of great
countries. Phil's dad was Louis VII whom Eleanor of Aquitaine had
divorced to marry Henry II (Rick's dad). Did Phil hate / envy Rick just
a little because Ellie went over to Hank? Boy! in anycase, that was
some close kinship.

The name Acre in Hebrew is sort of "Akko" and in Ancient Greek
"Ptolemais." There's probably about 50,000 folk there now. It is north
of Mt. Carmel in NW Israel. Acre is a seaport town which made it
crucial for the crusaders. The best way to get supplies was from the
sea. Avoiding those pesky Moslem raiding parties and the heat of the
desert was essential. Acre was first taken by the crusaders in 1104.

Salah ad-Din had been consolidating Moslem power since the 1170s when
he took Egypt and Syria. In 1183 he took the town of Aleppo which
served notice to the crusaders he was for real. On May 1, 1187 he beat
the Hospitlers and Templars at Nazareth. Losing that holy ground must
have stung badly.

The major battle of the 2nd Crusade took place on July 4, 1187 in a
stretch of desert and sand hills called the Horns of Hattin. The
Hospitlers and Templars were led into a dry and dangerous camp. The
crusaders went into a trap that was to crush the flower of chivalry
for years. Templars getting beheaded, kings being ransomed. Ugly stuff.

Anyway, the third crusade was started around 1189. Phil and Rick were
there. After over a month of siege, Acre fell to the crusaders. Salah
ad-Din decided that making nice was the crafty thing to do. In 1192
the crusaders and the great Moslem leader concluded a peace treaty, The
Peace of Ramala. The crusaders got a strip of land along the coast. The
Moslems pretty much got the rest. Phil went home. Rick went towards
home but got captured along the way (see Robinhood legends about
Prince John). Salah ad-Din eventually died. Hey, we all do.

So what is the lesson here? Patience and broadsword win the city?
Things never work out the way you plan? Soldiers die so that kings can
sip sherbert in the shade? Watch out for lack of drinkable water?

I like that last one. Watch out for lack of water. I am also a firm
believer of "don't go in nobody strange's 'hood and act Billy Badass."
See, the Moslems knew the turf; those blue-eyed EuroBoys did not.
Reminds me about a story about Vietnam which will have to wait.

Peace, Love, and Fight Yer Own Damned Wars,
Ells


From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates@realtime.net>
To: <ansteorra@ansteorra.org>
Subject: ANST - Ides of June
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 17:19:00 -0500

another from Sir.B.
'wolf
---------------
Dear Folk,

Today June 15th is the anniversary of so many things – overwhelmingly
important things. So if you do not feel like going to work, you have
ample excuses. I will give you three.

On this day in 1215 The Magna Carta was signed by John Lackland of
England. You may remember John as the youngest of Henry II’s sons. He
is generally portrayed as a greasy, sniveling coward. Fact is that John
has such an ill-repute in England that no heir to the throne since has
been named John. John came to the throne originally as Prince John who
was just sitting in for his noble brother Richard I, the Lionheart.

When Rick was heading back from the Third Crusade in 1192 he had the
misfortune to be captured by Leopold, Duke of Austria. Leo was no fool,
he sent Rick in chains to Emperor Henry VI. Meanwhile, Saladin, his old
enemy and friend, died. It took over a year for Prince John to get
together enough money to ransom his brother Rick. Say what you will,
John did send the money by Western Union and Rick did go free.

Now when someone else is in charge of the house for awhile, you find
that things have changed. Rick was kind of miffed that John had lost
lots of French dirt. First thing out of the chute, Rick heads up folks
from England to go whomp up on the French. Rick never did stay long in
England. In fact he married Berengaria of Navarre (May 12, 1191) when
he was on his way to the Crusade. Eleanor had dragged the poor girl all
the way to Cyprus to marry her warrior son. Queen B never even set one
dainty foot on Albion. She probably would not have liked it there
anyway. Food was horrid. Rick finally got his at a small French castle
called Chalus. Took a crossbow bolt in the shoulder, it got infected,
he died (March 1199).

John became king and needed a queen. He married a sprightly lass named
Isabella of Angoulem. The blushing bride was 12 years old at the time.
When not cavorting and raising taxes John did much to subdue the Welsh
and the Scots and the Irish. Made sure that all Englishmen practiced
with the Welsh longbow. Yea!

Anyway, John got cornered by his barons. At a place called Runnymeade
he signed a piece of parchment granting rights of governance to his
barons. This did nothing for the common folk directly, mind you. This
Magna Carta John repudiated as soon as he got free of the rather
well-armed barons. Of course, the barons declared an unpleasantness
against John (the First Baronial War 1215-1217) which went on until
William Marshall put them down. Bill Marshall was called upon to
protect John’s son Hank III after John’s passing (Oct 19, 1216).

Some say that the Magna Carta was the beginnings of democracy in
England. To me it shows that you can get folks to sign just about
anything if you have a nice sharp broadsword and the will to use it.
Anyway, happy Magna Carta Day!

On a similar note, on this day in 1381 Wat Tyler died thus putting an
end to Wat Tyler’s Rebellion. Here was a man of the people. The pass
phrase, which I stole for my ending of "Long Lankin," was "When Adam
delved and Eve spun, who were the gentlemen?" Essentially, somewhere
along the line we were equal; what happened? Where did we get these
kings? Good question. Someday I will tell you about the origins of
"government."

Finally, and I know this is getting long, on June 15th, 1648, Margret
Jones of Charlestown, Massachusetts Colony, was the first person in the
New World to be executed for witchcraft. I cannot celebrate that but
will say that with the present political realities of certain Texas
governors, she certainly will not be the last.

So that is the news for today in the trenches, in the Debil’s Ditch.
Be kind to each other. Love your enemy and drive him nuts.

Your chronicler,
Ells


From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates@realtime.net>
To: <ansteorra@ansteorra.org>
Subject: ANST - Musing on June 20th
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 13:28:50 -0500

Dear Folks,

Today, June 20th, is the anniversary of "al Hajira," the flight. It is
the start of the Moslem era. Happened 622 CE. So happy birthday, Moslem
calendar! It is also our Prince John Lackland’s birthday (1189).
Quite a combination.

We have already kind of mused on Johnny, the throne, his child bride,
his brothers, and mother. So we will just wish John well wherever he
is.

I am no Moslem scholar so forgive me if I muddle things up. Mohammed
was born on August 20, 570 CE. I know, the date was not exact and I
... further historical musings passed along from Sir Balthazar, an
illustrious (infamous?) ex-pat ansteorran.

'wolf


Dear Folks,

Today, June 20th, is the anniversary of "al Hajira," the flight. It is
the start of the Moslem era. Happened 622 CE. So happy birthday, Moslem
calendar! It is also our Prince John Lackland’s birthday (1189). Quite
a combination.

We have already kind of mused on Johnny, the throne, his child bride,
his brothers, and mother. So we will just wish John well wherever he
is.

I am no Moslem scholar so forgive me if I muddle things up. Mohammed
was born on August 20, 570 CE. I know, the date was not exact and I
have not done his chart to rectify iit. I do like that it puts hi still
in Leo and right on the Virgo cusp. His dad, Abdallah, died right after
Mohammed was born. Then his mom passed away when Mohammed was only six.
Poor kid. He was farmed out to his uncle Abu-Talib who set the boy to
watching the sheep and goats. Lots of shepherds in that region. Guess
he grew strong and bored out on the hillsides. Probably threw rocks
at birds, made up his own songs, whatever.

When Mohammed was 25 he married a rich widow, Khadeejah, who was 15
years his senior. She bore him six children all of whom, save Fatimah
his beloved daughter, died very young. Let’s face it, Khadeejah was
forty when she married Mohammed. Her biological clock was alarming
pretty strongly.

Things turned around pretty heavily in 612 CE. Mohammed got a call, he
said, from the Angel Gabriel. It was not an easy message; these sorts
seldom are. He had to go kick butt and put all the heathen tribes on
the path of monotheism. It is oft cited as proof of the Divinity of the
Message that Mohammed was able to convince his wife of its reality.
Think of that: he has a vision and his wealthy, older wife believed
him.

Mohammed’s tribe had controlled Mecca with its magickal and holy spot
the Kaaba. Some say that the Kaaba is a meteorite, a very large one. I
like that, myself. The desert tribes had been leaving bits of offerings
at this shrine for centuries. Mohammed decided, with the aid of his
holy visitor, that these pagans had to get right with Allah (God of
Abraham and Moses.) Mohammed converted a whole bunch of folks: his
father-in-law, his slave, other tribe members. They grew in number and
irritation until in 622 CE, June 20th, the folks of Mecca kicked them
out, "The Flight." Mohammed went to Medina to gather strength and to
preach his message.

Eight years later, in 630 CE, Mohammed and his band returned to Mecca,
smashed the pagan idols around the Kaaba, and essentially won the
religious war. Okay, I skipped some bloody spots. Go back and read them
yourself. Mohammed went to his heaven in 633 CE. He was taken off with
a fever for those of you who always want to know about such things. And
yes, I did read that he also suffered with epilepsy throughout his
life.

What lessons do we have here? Marry a rich widow and convince her of
your message? He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day?
I think my lesson is iconoclasts (idol breakers) are usually revered
only after they are dead. And what of the Kaaba which those heathens
idolized? Oh, the Moslems now circle around it as a holy activity
during their pilgrimage to Mecca. Hey, idol makers can always
outstrip idol breakers.

A Billy Idol fan myself,
Ells


From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates@realtime.net>
To: <ansteorra@ansteorra.org>
Subject: ANST - Musing on June 24, Unto the Pure All is Pure
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000 12:07:33 -0500

todays musings from Sir Balthizar covers a area of long-time
intertest to myself and a historical incident that i've mentioned
before - the Albigensian Crusade .. he provides some more information
for those interested in such things.

pay particular attention to supposed origions of the term "kill them
all and let god sort them out" (documentation anyone ????) and one of
my particular favorites, "better an infidel than a heretic" (we of
the heretical faith just can't get no respect ... grin w/fangs)

'wolf


Dear Folk,

On this day June 24, 1209, the crusade against the Albegensians (The
Cathari) started out from Lyon, France. It took over 35 years to wipe
out these evil heretics. The crusade against them, to show them the
light, was lead by such notables as Simon de Montford and Domingo De
Guzman.

You might remember Domingo for a couple of things. One, he was so good
in the military and such a great soul, he was canonized as St. Dominic.
All those nifty Dominicans who lead the Inquisition were his folk!
Remember the Singing Nun? Her song “Dominic” was in praise of him. Oh,
the second was from his famous quote. As the final Cathar city was
about to fall, one of Domingo's subordinates wondered how they would
separate the Catholics from the non-Catholics, to which Domingo replied
with "Kill them all, let God sort them out" And you thought we came
up with that in Vietnam!

The Cathari were a horrid lot. They must have been for the pope to
declare a crusade against them. This was in the middle of all that
fighting in the Holy Land. The pope decides to go whomp up on some
folks in Southern France instead. As one of the Church fathers was
heard to remark, “Better an infidel than a heretic.”

Cathari, means "pure" in Greek. Branded heretics by the Church, little
remains to speak of them today, other than Inquisition records. Their
writings were destroyed along with their earthly bodies. Guess the
good guys won.

Some of their heresies that we know of included the belief in a spirit
of the land, then known as Oc, which was that of tolerance and personal
liberty. They also believed in a duality, a fight between Good and
Evil. That was an obvious error because we all know everything,
including Dominic De Guzman, is Good. They also held women as equals,
and are credited with being responsible for Courts of Love,
troubadours, the Grail Legends. We also know the revered the Gospel of
John, used caves for initiation, were in touch with the power of stone
(tellurgic currents), and used the pentacle. There is also some
evidence they believed in reincarnation.

It is one thing for an old guy to decide to renounce the world and
become a monk. It is quite another thing for entire villages to do so.
These folks were led by vegetarians who did not have sex! And they did
not believe in the authority of popes or kings. They preached a
reformation of Christianity and the harsh feudal laws. These folks
were subversive to the very fabric of their society.

The supposed end of all this piety and disobedience to established
government and church came at Montségur, a castle in Southern France.
Below Montségur lies a peaceful meadow, its name, "Field of the
Burned". In March, 1244, 205 Cathars were burned alive on the site,
rather than renounce their creed. They marched singing and willingly
into that fire. Funny, the crusaders failed to find the supposed
wealth of the Cathari.

Are there any lessons to be learned here? Grasshopper’s always wrong in
argument with chicken? Fire nicely destroys heretics and their
doctrine? Yes, Janet Reno, you can put your hand down. Be one badass
dude and you can become a saint? Some treasure is not visible to the
profane eye? I think I shall go with a now-Buddhist monk, Leonard
Cohen, on this one: ”Myself I’ve yearned for love and light but must
It come so cruel and oh so bright?”

History is written by the winners and sometimes the whiners,
Ells


From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates@realtime.net>
To: <ansteorra@ansteorra.org>
Subject: ANST - Musing on June 26th, Oh Ricky, You're So Fine! (part I)
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 17:49:35 -0500

todays installement from Sir B. ... convoluted medieaval royal
politics and a opinion that will probably irk more than a few ...
care to guess which one (g)

'wolf

Dear Folk,

On June 26, 1483, Richard Duke of Gloucester took the English throne
As Richard III. He became the last Plantaganet and arguably the last
medieval king of England.

Now some of you out there are saying “Whoopie-turtle, another stinking
king!” Okay, you might be right. Ricky III is interesting, though. The
play that Shakespeare (or somebody) wrote of that title is one great
slam-dunk of a king. In the play, we find Ricky engineering the deaths
of two little kids, his brother George, and few others. Kills one enemy
and tricks that dead guy’s wife into marrying him. Tragically-cool
king stuff.

Ricky came to power finally within the last two years of the War of
Roses (1455-85), thirty years of civil war which had just wasted
England. A guy by the name of Dick York, you may remember him from
"Bewitched," thought that Hank VI was not very smurfy and also did
not have as much right to the throne as he did. Dick was directly
descended from Eddie III (remember poor Eddie II? Well, Eddie III was
his son.). Dick York and his second son Edmund were killed by Hank VI’s
wife Margaret (actually her forces but Maggie of Anjou was no slouch
when it came to hammering on) in 1460. Hank was pretty mellow. Some
say a little dotty. That is the rep you get when you just don’t like
killing.

Hank VI was a Lancaster (sort of the Hatfields of the drama) descended
from Hank Bolingbroke who murdered Dick II, grandson of Eddie III back
in 1399. The McCoys were the Yorks. With Dick York out of the way, it
looked like the next one to pick up the banner was Dick York’s eldest
son, Eddie IV. Eddie lost no time in running Maggie back to France
and locking up good, but spacey Hank VI (for his own safety).

Eddie kept the peace, his peace but a peace ne’ertheless, until 1469.
How it got broken is interesting.

Poor Eddie IV, he screwed things up when he went and fell for a
commoner. The whole War of the Roses thing was about whom was more
kingly. Nothing like diluting the claim to the throne. Okay, Lizzie
Woodville was rich and a babe but had some really tacky relations --
not as bad as some of our presidents, but close. Eddie and Lizzie got
together just as Warwick was off trying to arrange a marriage of
Eddie IV to the sister of the French king.

Warwick, who was Eddie’s cousin, had raised George and Ricky as
children. Warwick had two daughters and no sons and was kind of looking
to cement his royal way of life. George (Eddie's bro.) even married the
eldest daughter Isabel without Eddie’s knowledge or consent. Eddie hit
the roof. Then he had to go embarrass Warwick again in front to the
French.

What have we gotten from this so far? Although we may be very kingly,
there are always folks who fancy themselves our betters? When you marry
a lady, you tend to marry her whole family? I think I find that no
matter how nice you tend to be and how loyal, someone in power can
forget your feelings entirely.

This is getting long. How about I continue this later? Say “yes.”
(Part II tomorrow)

Getting ready to watch "Looking for Richard," again,
Ells


From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates@realtime.net>
To: <ansteorra@ansteorra.org>
Subject: ANST - Musing on June 28th; :Lancing a Lot
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 15:30:46 -0500

todays missive from Sir.B. .... crusade!, space rocks, & spear of
destiny stuff

'wolf


Dear Folk,

On this date June 28, 1098 just outside of Antioch in the Holy Land was
fought the most deciding battle of 1st Crusade, The Battle of the
Lance. Pretty interesting story mixing faith, religion, and good old
fashioned slaying.

The 1st Crusade was fought from 1095 to 1100; this was June of 1098.
The Europeans were stalled inside of Antioch. The Moslems lead by a
dude named Kerbogha (hey, when you have a name like that, you don’t
need a last name. It was like Madonna or Prince or Iman.) were also not
feeling too well. Distention within the ranks was the order of the day.
Some things happened to turn the tide for the European guys: a vision
- -- actually a series of them – an archeological "find" and a meteor.

On June 10th a poor peasant by the name of Peter Bartholomew, the
servant of a member of Count Raymond of Tolouse’s army, came before
Count Ray and Bishop Adhemar. Okay, here is this ragamuffin coming into
these rich and buff dudes, he wants to tell them of his dreams, right.
He told them that St. Andy (patron saint of Scotland you might recall)
had been giving him some inside dope. St. Andy said that the spear that
those nasty Romans used to poke Jesus in the side on the original Good
Friday was buried beneath the church (St. Pete’s) in Antioch. Bless
Ray’s heart, he believed that poor servant. Bishop Addie was less
Than enthusiastic.

You know that is the role of the established clergy, after all: not to
believe peasants when they say they have had mystical experiences. I
think it might be that like guys who become cops -- wanting to make the
world good and safe -- get burned out and become cynical, so do church
folk. They remove themselves from the very urge which put them in there
in the first place. Maybe not. Forgive that aside. I just had this
inspiration.

Anyway, Bishop Addie sat on his hands about this until a priest
approached him. The priest essentially told him the same thing (this
time probably in Latin which makes everything sound good.) Addie
decided to believe and gave the go ahead for a small church renovation
project. Put up the cones and ropes and watch your step!

On June 14th, the Crusaders saw a meteor fall on the Moslem camp. It
seemed like a good omen: God throwing fireballs and all. So, the very
next day a group of diggers headed for St. Pete’s. Count Ray was there,
of course Pete Bartholomew, and a historian Ray of Aguilers. I am sure
they brought some other guys to help with the heavy work. And it was
heavy work, and hot, and nasty. People took turns. Count Ray got tired
and left. Pete Bartholomew jumped into the hole and in a few seconds he
gave a yell. He had found the lance. Who would have doubted it would be
Pete? Ray Aguilers said he witnessed it still being in the ground. So
there, you doubters!

Everyone was jazzed. Okay, Bishop Addie still did not believe any of
this but knew when to keep quiet. Whatever the case, the Crusaders
knew that they had better get a move on soon. The Moslems were rumored
to be in disarray. The Crusaders were running out of Ding-Dongs and Big
Macs. Those horses were starting to look like barbecue material. The
Euro-dudes set the date of going out and doing something as June
28th.

When the day came, they duct taped the Holy Lance to a pole at the head
of the army. Kerbogha was in the middle of a very disagreeable staff
meeting when word came that the Crusaders were looking fine and in
line. Turkish Moslems decided that there’s no place like home and
split. When Dukak (great Klingon name) of Damascus trucked, every
home boy had business elsewhere.

The Crusaders normally would have just pillaged and raped there at the
Moslem camp but they were on a "Holy Mission." Instead they ran the
fleeing Turks down and got medieval on their buttocks. Many a Turk
saw Allah that day, June 28, 1098, The Battle of the Lance.

You might ask "What happened to the Lance then?" That is a long story.
Suffice it to say that Charlemagne supposedly carried into battle.
Adolph Hitler supposedly took the same from a museum in Austria. It got
returned after WW II. And if it hasn’t been lost, stolen, or sold, it
is there to this day.

What have we learned from this? Meteors are good omens for some but bad
for others? Bishops are more likely to believe priests than peasants? I
like to think that it does not matter so much if something is "big R"
Real as it does that people think it is.


From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates@realtime.net>
To: <ansteorra@ansteorra.org>
Subject: ANST - Musing on June 26th Oh Ricky, You're So Fine (Part II)
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 13:43:49 -0500

2of2 from Sir B. put them together, read in depth, and try to keep
the politics straight ... pure headache material

enjoy

'wolf


Dear Folk,

Thank you for your patience.

Where were we then? Ah yes, Eddie IV was on the throne, now married to
Elizabeth Woodville, the beautiful widow of a rather common knight.
Eddie’s brother George Duke of Clarence married Warwick’s elder
daughter, Isabel, and Eddie was hacked. No consideration there for
Eddie embarrassing Warwick on his mission to France. Ricky is now
Duke of Gloucester.

Warwick was very peeved at Eddie. In 1469 Warwick did a little channel
surfing and found himself allied with Maggie of Anjou, the Xena of the
Lancastrians, and her son Edward Lancaster. What is worse, Warwick
talked his new son-in-law George Duke of Clarence into switching sides
and deserting his brothers. Warwick even married up his other daughter,
the lovely Anne, to Edward Lancaster to seal the deal. Warwick tried to
bring Ricky over but Ricky stayed loyal to his brother Eddie. Good
lad.

You have to hand it to Warwick, he did things right. He came back
across the channel and kicked York butt. Eddie and Ricky fled off to
Burgundy. Warwick sprang Hank VI, the old king, from the slammer and
set him up as king. Admittedly we do not know if Hank VI even knew he
had been deposed for awhile.

Eddie and Ricky did not just sit there drinking Burgundy dry. Everyone
knows that burgundy is fairly sweet anyway. I once tried drinking
Canada Dry and almost drowned. Eddie and Ricky came back and beat on
old Warwick. George Clarence switched sides, again. Surprised?
Meanwhile Warwick and Edward Lancaster (married to Anne Warwick) got
themselves acutely and chronically deceased. By 1471 Eddie was back
in the saddle for good.

It seemed important to make sure the Lancasters stayed down so Eddie
ordered Hank VI to see his primary care physician at a special York
HMO. Hank expired of “natural causes” – over abundance of iron I
hear. Shed a tear.

During the unpleasantness, Lizzie went off and had a son by Eddie. They
named him Eddie (as in Eddie V). Later on they had another son whom
they dubbed Ricky York (after his uncle); aw.

Ricky asked his brother Eddie’s permission to marry the widow Anne.
Anne was pretty darned rich being one of the heirs of Warwick and the
Neville’s fortune. George claimed he was Anne’s protector. Somehow
Eddie never trusted George again after those trips across the channel.
Ricky got to marry his childhood sweetheart, Anne. I know, you saw
Richard III and think that Anne was some helpless pawn in the clutches
of the ruthless Ricky. Maybe that is true but they did know each
other pretty darned well..

George somehow was not smart. One of the words on the street was that
he had obtained some evidence that Eddie and Lizzie’s wedding wasn’t
legit. He was “discreetly” showing this evidence to
one-person-at-a-time. Eddie arrested George and was going to quietly
try him for treason. Ricky actually pleaded for his brother’s life.
Lizzie’s kin were very hacked at George, of course, and at Ricky for
muddying up a perfectly good lynching. In 1478, just after Isabel’s
death, Eddie did the right thing by his bride and had George see that
doctor of his.

Not much happened in the next few years until 1483. Richard and Anne
lived sweetly together in their childhood home. All was cool and the
kingdom prospered. Of course in April 1483, Eddie IV died. In his will
he named Ricky to be guardian of Eddie V and protector of the realm.
Lizzie’s folk, the Woodvilles, worried about being sent back to the
trailer courts decided to just take care of little Eddie V themselves.
Ricky got wind of it, drove down to London and grabbed the boy from
those yokels.

Then within a week that evidence that George had gotten hold of
suddenly surfaced. Seems that Edward IV was really already betrothed
and could not have legitimately married Lizzie. Whoops! That makes
Eddie V and Ricky York born on the wrong side of the tapestry, so to
speak. While embarrassing, that did mean that the only one with claim
to the throne was Ricky. He took over with the wishes of Parliament
and the people of England. Mostly.

Two years does not seem like a long time for anything. Ricky III got to
be king only for two short years. On August 22, 1485 the last Lancaster
Henry (VII) Tudor’s forces met Ricky III at the battle of Bosworth
Field. Remember the “a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse” scene?
Hank Tudor only won because the Stanleys betrayed Ricky at the last
minute. Ricky III perished himself there. Hank did not even fight in
the battle. Coward!

Tudor was from an illegitimate line, himself, but he did win that
battle, sort of. Who killed those two sons of Eddie IV? It may well
have been Ricky but it may have also been Hank Tudor. With all this
legitimizing of bastard kids, Eddie’s kids were much better claimants
to the throne. For that matter, there were at least ten others with
better claim to the throne. Somehow those folks all died, must have
been in the same HMO, within a few years of Hank VII’s ascension.
Puzzling evidence.

Hank tried to look a little more presentable by marrying Eddie IV’s
eldest daughter, Lizzie York. From this line we get Hank VIII, a
pleasant guy who had some dysfunctional marriages, and his daughter
Lizzie I, the Virgin Queen. Gee whiz, Shakespeare was writing about the
time of Lizzie’s reign. Isn’t it interesting that Ricky III, the guy
killed by Lizzie’s grandfather, was portrayed as such a bad guy?
Hunchback and everything. History is a bit confused as to if Ricky was
deformed but it made great theatre. Look what Disney did with Victor
Hugo.

So ends the War of the Roses and the short reign of Ricky III. Hero,
villain, or just this guy? You decide. What have we learned with all
of this? You might be careful of channel surfing when someone else is
trying to watch? Following your uncle’s advice might not be so hot?
Some bastards shouldn’t be king but some wind up being one anyway?
Marrying your childhood sweetheart is worth the wait? Write flattering
things about your patron’s family? I don’t know, I think I’ll stick
with “History is written by the winners.”

And yes, “Looking for Richard” is simply wonderful. Go rent it and see
Al Pacino deconstructing “Richard III.” Wynona Rider, you were luscious
as Anne. I would stab myself if you asked it, too. Kevin Spacey was
very deep and crafty as Buckingham. The whole thing is worth owning.
Buy a copy and give it to you local theatre group.

As always, forward to whomever but keep my name and email on it.
Maybe Wynona will want to get in touch.

Go out and do something historical,
Ells


From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates@realtime.net>
To: <ansteorra@ansteorra.org>
Subject: ANST - Musing on June 29 -- Wrasslin' with Saracens
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 23:45:48 -0500

Sir B's daily musing tends to the alchemical ....

'wolf


Dear Folk,

On June 29, 1315, the "Doctor Illuminatus", philosopher, poet, and
theologian, Raymond Lully (Lull or Lulle) went to heaven while trying
to convert the Moors over in Tunis. Ray was born somewhere between 1232
and 1236 in Majorca, Spain. He was a smart-aleck poet who hung-out at
the court of King Jim of Aragon where his dad was seneschal (sort of
master of ceremonies & head waiter.) Suddenly Ray left court and
became a hermit. This gets good.

The story is that Ray was courting, against her will, the very married
Donna Ambrosia Eleanora Di Castello. Isn’t that a great name! Ambrosia
Eleanora, wow! Ray was following a tad closely. Okay, he was stalking
her. She could not sneeze without Ray saying "God bless you!" He wrote
her some very hot verses which had a somewhat different effect than he
thought. Ambrosia sent Ray a note to come meet her in private. Ray was
there before the ink was dry. Ambrosia told him that since he had
written such torrid verses about her beauty, he should see more of
them. Stop there for a moment, dear reader. Think. What is going to
happen next? The dear and virtuous "Lady A" drew aside her garments and
revealed one side of her body which had been nearly eaten away by
cancer. Needless to say, Ray had an epiphany. Epiphany, you know, like
when you realize that Certs is a candy mint and a breath mint? Ray went
and lived in a hut on a hill for six years after that. Later he
hooked up with the Order of St. Francis

Ray developed a passion which was ultimately to lead to his death: the
urge to convert Moslems to Catholicism. He studied Arabic, founded a
school in Majorca to teach Arabic and Chaldean especially to those
heading to the Holy Land. God had given him a mission: to get himself
all buffed up to go theologically wrestle with the heathen across the
straits.

He invented a computer of sorts, a mechanical contrivance, a logical
machine, he called the "Ars Generalis Ultima" or the "Ars Magna." This
machine was to prove or disprove logical arguments thus putting
philosophy majors out of a job and causing attendance at coffee houses
to plummet. He spent a good deal of time tinkering with this and wrote
extensively about it. Obviously this proto-computer nerd was not
dating very much.

Ray ran into an alchemist named Arnold of Villa Nova. Arnie taught Ray
alchemy and the secret of transmuting and multiplying metals. Now, I
know you probably think that anyone who tells you they can turn lead
into gold is most likely out to steal your chickens. Brethren and
cistern, you are probably right.

A small word about the science of alchemy. You alchemists just hush up
and go stir something, okay? There are really at least two types of
this operation: lead into gold, I mean. The first is what you are
thinking – give me some lead and I will presto-change-o make it into
gold. That is the outer work. The inner work is the transmutation of
the lead in your heart to gold. Spiritual stuff, right? Ray claimed
and demonstrated that he could do the first. You decide for yourself.
I wasn’t there.

Okay, alchemists can rejoin the party.

Ray received summons from Eddie II -- remember him and his bad end –
and Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland. Eddie promised Ray that if
Ray would only make some gold for him, Eddie would go whomp up on the
Moslems. Ray was overjoyed, as you can imagine. Ray got assigned some
rooms in the Tower of London where he converted fifty thousand pounds
weight of quicksilver (mercury), lead, and tin into pure gold. This
was, in turn, coined into six million nobles, each worth about three
pounds sterling (in 1928). Shoot! I don’t know how much money that
would be today but I would bet Darva Conger (sp?) would want to date
him.

Of course, Eddie did not use the gold for any such crusade. Ray figured
out that he was only a bird in a gilded cage and doggone it! he had
supply the gilding. Ray did send instructions up to Bob the Bruce on
how to do the lead into gold thing. There is no record about anyone up
there doing it, though. As Ray was sneaking out of London, or leaving
with discretion as I like to think of it, he cursed Eddie. Said that he
hoped nothing good would come to him. Probably even wished him
"Personal Growth." Folks, that is a might nasty curse. It ranks up
there with the Chinese "May you live in interesting times." Don’t go
wishing Personal Growth on anyone unless you are prepared to weather
it yourself. Mirror spells are all the rage these days.

Anyway, Ray sailed off to meet with his true calling – wrasslin’ with
the Saracens – and his death in 1315. He went to Egypt, they were
amused; Jerusalem, they were less than receptive; and finally Tunis.
When I say he got stoned, understand this was a bummer of a head rush.
Ray got to go ask God "Why?" and the Saracens probably were sorry
later. We don’t know.

There was a movement afoot to have Ray made a saint. The Catholic
church figured that Ray was too involved with mixing theology and
mysticism and should just be forgotten. Sigh. Ray did write over 300
books. Wonder if Stephen King is close?

What is the point of all of this? Don’t chase after cars (or ladies)
because you might catch one? Beware of Moslems offering to get you
stoned? Kings might say one thing but...? No, we already did that
number. How about computer nerds wind up making all the gold?


Subject: ANST - Musing on June 30 -- Stick and stones will break my whatevers
Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2000 16:10:34 -0500
From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates@realtime.net>
To: <ansteorra@ansteorra.org>

- -----Original Message-----
From: Ellsworth Weaver [mailto:astroweaver@yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 01, 2000 02:35

Dear Folk,

On this date June 30, three major things happened. One occurred in
1520 in Mexico, one in 1559 in France and one in 1908 in Siberia. I
know, I normally do not talk about things as recent as 1908 but it
all fits together somehow. Maybe.

Let’s talk about 1520 Mexico. The Spaniards had landed in the New (to
them) World in 1492 or so. The first place they colonized was Cuba.
The Spaniards were intent on bringing enlightenment and slavery to the
natives and gold back home to Spain. Seemed fair to them. You have to
remember that the Spaniards had been paying a heavy price to fight
the Moors they had so recently kicked out of their country. Those
Americans were infidels as well. So it figures they should have to
pay for their conversion.

The Americans did not take well to slavery. They inconveniently just
died instead of picking cotton, digging gold, burping babies.
Governor Diego de Velazquez de Cuellar decided that there were hardier
stock folk on the mainland and sent expeditions out of Cuba to bring back
slaves, gold, and Big Macs. Henry de Cordoba went to the Yucatan in
1517. John Boy de Grijalva went to Veracruz where he heard about some
folk called Aztecs.

The third expedition, led by Hernan Cortez, managed to conquer these
Aztecs in less than three years. He landed in what is now Veracruz
with 11 ships, about 600 men, 16 horses, and a few very light cannon.
Strangely enough, some of the Americans were sick of the Aztecs and
decided that the Spanish were an improvement. See what comes from
remote management: heartache! These disgruntled Americans walked
beside Cortez and showed him the way to Tenochtitlan (what the Americans
called it before the Spaniards taught them it is Mexico) arriving in
November 1519. It was pretty cool that the Aztec priests led by their
ruler Montezuma II had been having visions of the god Quetzalcoatl as
a white dude coming across the sea. Hey, their visions were right on
the money.

Some folk say that the Spaniards led in technology. I disagree. The
Aztecs had breastplates and woven underarmor which could stop
anything except a very close direct hit by a bullet. They had swords
made out of wood – just like the SCA – but the edges had obsidian
embedded in them. Diaz, a historian of the expedition said he saw
one of these composite swords cut a horse’s head off. Think of the
amount of strapping and duct tape you would have to put on that to
make it safe for tourneys! OSHA would not allow it, that is for sure.
Obsidian spear points so sharp you could shave with them. And Cortez
had, what? 600 guys in his whole army. All it would have taken is
for each Aztec to pick up one rock each and heave it at a Spaniard.

The Spaniards under Cortez especially were trying to be diplomatic.
Okay, stealthy. They were not allowed by Cortez to rape or plunder.
Really. Montezuma and his people set no store in gold. They used it
for funerary offerings but that was about it. Montezuma gave gold freely
when the Spaniards told him that it was the only thing they could
eat. Crafty Spaniards. The Aztecs offered gifts that were hot items to
them: feathers, special sandals like Montezuma wore, even incense
made from the ambassador’s own blood. High culture stuff which the
Spaniards just could not relate to.

The falling out came over religion. The Spaniards insisted on having
a cross and a statue of Mary on the holiest of grounds. The Aztecs let
them. But the Spaniards started dissing the Aztec gods and ancestors
of the king.

On the night of June 30-July 1, 1520, you knew I was getting back to
that date, known as "la noche triste" (the night of sadness),
Montezuma and the boys did a Popeye and said "We’ve had all we can
stands and we can’t stands no more!" Maybe they got wise that Cortez
was not exactly a god. They broke into the holy place, set fire to
the cross. No one ever found out what happened to the statue of Mary.
They generally raised heck and beat on the Spaniards and their Indian
allies. Cortez decided to vacation somewhere cooler. The following
summer, however, the Europeans, accompanied by thousands of Indian
mercenaries, sacked and besieged Tenochtitlan. Their capital in ruins
and their emperor dead, the Aztecs finally collapsed. Cortez named
his conquest New Spain and sent out expeditions to set up Spanish
"cultural centers" over the continent. Pedro de Alvarado conquered
(1523-24) the regions of Guatemala and El Salvador, which together
then constituted much of Central America. The Native American population
dropped from approximately 11 million to under 1 million in less than 20
years.

On this date in 1559, king Henry II of France had a tourney-related
injury. A wooden shaft of a lance splintered on impact and the sharp
pointy-thingy went right through his visor. Ouch! It entered his eye.
He died in agony 10 days later. Test question time: who was Hank II’s
grieving widow? Do you remember from the other day? If you said Kate
de Medici, you are absolutely right. Those of you who guessed Isabella
Adjani were off by a generation. Isabella played her daughter
Margaret de Valois. This untimely end (he was only 40) of a French
monarch led to the banning of all such jousts. No second amendment
for these guys (pronouced "gise")! Tourneys were a way for knights not
otherwise engaged in war to go around the country looking studly,
challenging the locals, and picking up prize money. Well, that had to
stop, right then. End of an era. Sniff.

1908, Siberia. Cue the X-Files music. Something happened in a region
known as Tunguska. Something knocked the trees down. Not one or two
but hundreds of square miles of huge trees tossed down. To this day no
one knows exactly why. It is in a very remote area of Siberia. Mosquitos
as big as horses, bogs as deep as the horse manure I generate. Anyway,
something went boom. Loudly. Was it a mini-black hole? A meteor
exploding just before touch down (there was no crater)? A UFO
carrying "The Black Oil" to infect Krycheck and Mulder? Beats me.
Sure is strange. Bet a lot of squirrels got themselves deceased that day.

What do all of these have in common? Hmm. Well, let us see. Even if
you are the king of a mighty nation or a big ass tree, you can fall?
Wooden thingies are dangerous? OSHA probably would not approve of any
of the three? The fall of anything can still be a mystery and generate
unanswerable questions? When someone asks you if you are a god, say
yes? I think mom said it best, "It’s all fun and games until somebody
gets an eye put out."

As always, you may forward these things to anyone you want provided
my name and email address are on it.

Be careful out there,
Ells


From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates@realtime.net>
To: <ansteorra@ansteorra.org>
Subject: ANST - FW: Musing on July 2 -- Three Kings
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2000 13:57:48 -0500

- -----Original Message-----
From: Ellsworth Weaver [mailto:astroweaver@yahoo.com]

Dear Folk,

On this day July 2, at least three things happened. Probably a heck of
a lot of great other things but shall we talk about at least these
three and the three kings they affected?

I am sure most of you remember from an earlier date my talking about
Hank VI, Lancaster king of Jolly Old England. It was noted that Hank
was a nice guy but was a lousy king. He really did not do much toward
keeping order, stability and prosperity in his realm. Instead he was
caught up in things like Bible study and trying to decide the rules for
kids painting on scrolls. Now I want to tell you about another guy who
opposed Hank -- Jack Cade – and his rebellion. For on this date, the
rebellion spread into London.

Jack might have been Irish, we really don’t know. What we do know is
that he sometimes went by the name of John Mortimer and fought for
France against England during the Hundred Years War. With what England
had been doing to Ireland since King John’s time, who could blame
him?

In May 1450, Jack and some local boys decided that the nobles were
taking peasants’ land, stealing folks blind, taxing and pillaging,
forcing folks to work for nothing (we call that slavery), and the
incredibly corrupt courts which were letting all this go on. Jack
Cade’s Rebellion, as it became known, trounced the government force at
Sevenoaks, Kent, too. Huzzah! As mentioned previously, Jack entered
London to the cheers of most. His boys forced the London authorities to
condemn and execute both the sheriff of Kent and his father-in-law, the
lord chamberlain under King Hank. King Hank was hurried out of the way
to safety of Coventry. Heavy duty stuff. Everybody was ready to go back
to business as usual but Jack pushed things too far. More violence
erupted and the good London folk thought that was bad for business. You
know how revolutions can get in the way of the tourist trade.

The rebellion was soon in chains. Most of his men accepted pardons and
some offered concessions by King Hank. One little whoopsy: Jack Cade
was pardoned as John Mortimer. On July 12th, 1450. the new sheriff of
Kent, deciding to rectify things and take advantage of the opportunity
offered by that error, hunted down and killed Jack near Heathfield in
Sussex.

Now you might say that Jack Cade died in vain (or in Sussex) but that
rebellion sort of catalyzed the events which led to the rise of Dick
York (Edward IV and Richard III’s dad) and the War of the Roses. Not
only were Hank and the Lancasters of less noble blood, they were lousy
administrators the Yorks could and did charge. So, thanks, Jack.

July 2 also marks the anniversary of the Battle of Marston Moor (1644)
in the first English Civil War (1642 - 1646). This was a battle
between the forces of Parliament and the Royalists (supporters of King
Chuck I) in England. Marston Moor was a wild and windswept place about
6 miles west of York. The folks from Parliament were lead by Lord
Fairfax. The Royalists by the 1st Earl of Newcastle. The situation in
the war had been swinging both ways for awhile until the Scots got
involved. Let’s step back for a sec and look at the cause of this
unrest.

Chuck Stuart I was a great believer of the "Divine Right of Kings."
What he took that to mean is that sure he had some responsibilities but
he was king because God willed it so. Anyone questioning the king’s
right to sit his throne was, in essence, a heretic. Cool position if
you can get everybody to go along with it. Remember that Chuck came
from the Scottish Stuarts who gave England King James (yes, the guy who
commission the Bible to be translated) right after Lizzie I died
childless. Okay, we all know Lizzie probably was Francis Bacon’s mom
but...oh, I wasn’t supposed to tell you that, was I? Forget about that,
okay? Anyway, these nice Scottish folk were heavy into religion and
being king.

Problem was we had had so many other rebellions against bad rule there
in England from King John and his baron’s war to Jack Cade. The Divine
Right thing just was not flying, especially not with the Parliament
Who had gotten stronger under Lizzie.

Back to Marston. Newcastle was aided by Prince Rupert and they were
opposed by the Parliament forces aided by the Scots. Now you might ask
why the Scots were fighting against the Stuarts who were Scottish. The
answer is a long one but suffice it to say Scots like fighting
everybody second only to fighting other Scots. Besides Chuck had gotten
himself too far away from Scottish ways. He was pretty darn Frenchified
to the mind of many a single malt drinker. Prince Rupert and Newcastle
decided that being holed-up in York was not a good idea and decided to
head out of town where they could commence to mash and bash these
upstarts.

It was nasty and darkening when the Royalist forces finally got to the
site. Raining. It was obviously too nasty to fight, the ground was all
slippery and unsafe. Probably best just to pitch a tent and relax until
morning. Darn it! Nobody told Fairfax and the Parliamentarians (what a
wuss name! hard to even fit on a uniform much less as a battle cry.)
Fairfax and company fell upon the Royalists. Slaying was the order of
the evening. Rain and bad weather eventually did not bother any further
6000 late human beings. Most of the dead were Royalists, especially
their officers and experienced troops. The Royalists decided York was
not such a fun place and left quickly.

Two years later Chuck I surrendered to the Scots. The Scots turned
around and sold Chuck to Parliament for 400,000 pounds. That is a ton
o’money even today. Chuck made an escape to the Isle of Wight in
November 1647. The Scots switched sides to fight for Chuck in order to
get some English property in July 1648. Oliver Cromwell beat the Scots
at the Battle of Preston in August 1648. King Chuck lost his crown
and what was holding it January 30th, 1649. Sigh.

I cannot let today go by without noting the passing of a sweetheart of
a guy named Michel in 1566. He was born 14th December 1503 near
Avignon. He was a clairvoyant, an astrologer, a doctor of medicine, a
cosmetician, and a considerable historian. His grandfather, a Jew,
taught him Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and astrology / astronomy. He even had
some luck at treating plague victims. Obviously a bad guy. Michel (Mike
to us who knew him) did lose his wife and kids to the plague and his
father-in-law sued him to recover the dowry he had put up. And you
thought that unfair legal suits are new. He also upheld the heretical
viewpoint that the earth orbited the sun (this was 100 years before
Galileo, by the way.)

A chance remark caused Mike a bit of trouble. He told an "artist"
casting some bronze statue of the Virgin that the artist "was making
devils." He meant it as a critique of the artwork not because he wasn’t
down with the BVM, honest. Because of his astrology and because his
family had been Jewish until pious Christians with swords and other
devices convince them to see the light, the Inquistion did think they
ought to torture him a might to see if they could get him back in
line. Mike took off and hit the road. Sort of staying out of churches.

Queen Kate de Medici could not get enough of him. Mike predicted her
hubby’s death, Hank II with the splintered lance (remember?) and that
all her sons would be king. Well, he missed on one of them, Frank
snuffed before he could inherit. It is said that Hank II was not much
interested in Mike’s predictions. However, later on Kate even gave Mike
a title of Physician in Ordinary, which carried with it a salary and
other bennies.

Sadly though, Mike passed away on this date July 2 leaving behind the
12 volumes of prophecies covering thousands of years into his future.
No other prophet since has covered such a large span of time. His book
The Centuries contains 965 quantrains written in the latter part of his
life. Oh, most folks called Mike by his Latinized last name:
Nostradamus.

What have we learned? Divine rights of kings only work when all the
folks believe it? In-laws should be outlawed? Scotsmen can attack at
night and may switch sides to boot? Stay out of churches if you are an
astrologer? Always make sure they spell your name right in the papers
and on the papers? I think I like: Kings who do not pay attention get
whacked.

Don’t you get whacked out there. I need the audience. Send me your
impressions, comments, praise, room keys. And when you forward these,
and I know you will, please be gentle and keep my name and email on it.
Thanks.

Celebrate your interdependence,
Ellsworth

BTW See "Chicken Run" -- funnier than you would believe.


From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates@realtime.net>
To: <ansteorra@ansteorra.org>
Subject: ANST - FW: Musing on July 3 -- Mary Meetings
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 01:46:10 -0500

- -----Original Message-----
From: Ellsworth Weaver [mailto:astroweaver@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, July 03, 2000 19:36

Dear Folk,

Two quick ones today both united by a common thread, I guess. You
decide.

On July 3, 1518, in La Rue aux Ours, Paris, France, a drunken soldier
accidentally struck a portrait of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The painting
bled. Just like on X-Files, the portrait bled. Obviously the soldier
was sorry. He was drunk. He was promptly arrested, tried for heresy,
and burned at the stake.

On July 3, 1616 Bernardine (aka Bernardino) Realino went to his reward
with the words "Mary and Jesus" on his lips. Bernie was born of a noble
family in Capri, Italy in 1530. He was pretty much taught by his mom,
who did an excellent job by the way. He went off to U. of Bologna,
don’t ask what the school cafeteria served, to study medicine. After
three years of those sandwiches he decided to switch his major to
law. Indigestion can do that, sour a person.

He got his doctorate and got tapped to be an auditor and lieutenant
general of Naples a year later. He also was Mayor of Felizzano, Italy;
Judge; Head tax collector in Alesandria, Italy; Mayor of Cassine,
Italy;. Mayor of Castelleone, Italy; Superintendent of the fiefs of the
marquis of Naples. Golden boy, indeed. What on earth could stand in
the way of such a politician?

Her name was Mary. Yes, that same one. She appeared to him in a vision.
He found himself out on an 8 day retreat with the Jesuits (lawyer,
Jesuits, now there is a connection!) It did not take him long to join
the Society of Jesus. Within a few years he was teaching and preaching
and ministering. He especially was nice to the poor and to the galley
slaves. He even is said to have a small pitcher of wine which did not
run out until everyone was completely wasted. Cool miracle. Because of
this and a few other miracles plus his devotion to the poor, galley
slaves, and peace (he used his voice to stop several vendettas) in 1947
he was declared a saint. His Saint's Day was yesterday. Guess the 3rd
was taken. I'd take the fifth on that but there we are with the
alcohol again.

What have we learned? That a meeting with Mary can change the course of
one’s life? That Jesuits are a perfect place for lawyers? Hurt the lady
and you are in trouble? How about, the Great Spirit says that wine
makes us clumsy and stupid and I am enough of both? Just a personal
testimonial. *G*

Be careful with the wine this holiday, my friends.

Go see "The Patriot." Great movie and the Smithsonian did the
authenticity part.

Looking for my flintlock,
Ells


From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates@realtime.net>
To: <ansteorra@ansteorra.org>
Subject: ANST - FW: Musing on July 4th, A Short Stroll to Tiberius
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 01:50:45 -0500

- -----Original Message-----
From: Ellsworth Weaver [mailto:astroweaver@yahoo.com]

Dear Folk,

On this day, July 4, 1187 Saladin, Commander of the Faithful, met with
the kings, knights and assorted royalty of the Latin East Kingdom (the
Holy Land) at a small hill called The Horns of Hattin. The meeting was
unfortunate. It did not have to happen. There had been a truce, you
see. Saladin was honoring it. The crusaders had difficulty keeping
their part of the bargain. What had been a bargain turned very
expensive.

Reynald of Chatillon, former Prince of Antioch, had been imprisoned by
Saladin’s mentor Nur ad-Din for 16 years. He was not fond of his Moslem
brethren. In fact, Reynald had cut down darned near a whole forest in
Moab to build boats. He tried them out in the Dead Sea, little sea
trials, and then put wheels on them and ported them to Aqaba on the Red
Sea. Of course he meant only nice things with these boats, sort of
spreading brotherhood and peace up and down the coast. Okay, he was not
above helping a boat that was too heavily laden with cargo to lighten
its load. And he was only organizing a welcome wagon for the folks in
Mecca when he landed that contingent of knights nearby. Honest. Saladin
sent the Egyptian fleet to go persuade Reynald to get out of the
neighborhood. Saladin, completely misunderstanding Reynald’s ways,
vowed that Reynald would never be forgiven. This was in 1182.

1183 found Saladin besieging Kerak, Reynald’s stronghold. How the story
is told, it was inconveniently during a wedding party Reynald was
hosting for his wife’s son, Humphrey of Toron, and the Princess
Isabella. Well, the party went on because the guests had all arrived
and it was already catered. Lady Stephanie, Reynald’s wife, in a
gesture worthy of a lady from Texas sent down some food and dainties
for Saladin. Really! Saladin was moved to ask in which wing the
newlyweds were having their honeymoon. He then ordered his artillery
not to bother the new bride and groom. Awww.

Flash forward, 1187. There had been another truce and another breaking
of it (guess whom by?) Yup! Reynald raided a caravan traveling along
the neutral area. Saladin complained to the king but no one really
listened or said they were sorry. Saladin’s recon party found some
Templars and Hospitallers out near Galilee and killed a grunch of them
including the Master of the Hospitallers and the Marshal of the
Templars. The aggrieved Christians decided it was war.

The Christians mounted up a force of about 20,000 men including 1500
knights, a bit of the True Cross, and a nifty treasure in a treasure
box sent to Jerusalem as an "I’m sorry" gift by Hank II of England.
This was because Hank’s men had killed Tom Beckett, Archbishop of
Canterbury, a couple of years before. The Latins decided to open the
treasure (under the care of the Templars) and spend it on hiring some
mercenary muscle. Saladin must have had a couple of thousand more
guys even so and a whole lot more smarts.

On June 30, 1187, Saladin sent half of his troops to besiege the
citadel at Tiberius, home of Raymond of Tripoli (nice guy and former
protector of the king of Jerusalem). Raymond was with the army at the
time but his wife, Countess Eschiva was holding the fort. The other
half of his troops Saladin led into Galilee to a point about 6 miles
west of the Sea of Galilee. He camped where there was water.
Important point.

Even though Mrs. Raymond, the Countess, was being harassed by Moslems,
Ray told the army not to go. He knew it was nasty ground between where
they were and Tiberius. They would have to march through Galilee in the
summer and the heat with no chance of water for a long, long while.
Reynald, we do remember him, and the new Master of the Temple, Gerard
of Ridfort, called Ray a sissy, a wuss, and a Saracen sympathizer.
King Guy of Jerusalem decided to go. Ray went with him, dragging his
heels. This was July 3rd.

It was only 15 miles from where they started to the Sea of Galilee as
the crow flies. Unfortunately for King Guy and his troops, no one knew
how to fly crows. Up and down the hot and very dusty hills and rift
valley. They were in chain mail in July. It was hotter than Texas and
drier than Baylor. Ray’s prediction about no water was right. Top that
all off, Saladin sent some young Turkish lads who were good with bows
just to make the folk feel welcome. Shoot a few at the end of the
column and then ride away.

The Templars were tired. They persuaded King Guy to make camp just
beside a hill, The Horns of Hattin, named because of the small twin
peaks which kind of look like horns. Too bad David Lynch did not know
about this or his TV show might have been called something else. Ray
was still doing his Eeyore routine. He is quoted as saying "Alas, Lord
God, the battle is over. We have been betrayed unto death. The Kingdom
is finished." Now this was on July 3rd. Ray was right, of course.

Saladin decided to make things a little more unpleasant for his foes,
he had his boys at dawn of July 4th set some fires on the dry grass of
the hillside. No one had any antihistamines nor any water to take them
with. Wave after wave of those Turks with bows rode forward, shot, and
rode back. The French infantry broke ranks and climbed the hill,
leaving the rest to their fate. The bishop of Acre was killed and the True
Cross was captured. During part of the chaos, Ray and some of his guys
road their horses over their own troops, over the Turks, and over the
True Cross to get out.

King Guy and his nobles, tired and thirsty and beaten on, were steadily
pushed up the hill to surround the king’s red tent. Then there was
charge and counter charge: the French and Turks back and forth.
Finally, Saladin and his son watched the red tent fall. It was over.

The king and some of his nobles surrendered and survived. Saladin made
good his promise and personally executed Reynald of Chatillon. Huzzah!
About time, says I. All the Templars and Hospitaller knights were
beheaded. The kingdom was lost. Its entire field army was gone, so was
The True Cross. Saladin’s army took the remainder of the Latin boys
off to the slave markets in Damascus. The price of a Christian slave
dropped so low that one of them was sold for a shoe. By August almost
the entire Holy Land was Moslem. Tiberias did fall but Saladin was nice
to Countess Eschiva and let her leave. Thought you might be relieved
to hear that.

What have we learned? Sticks and stones may break my bones but arrows
sure annoy me? Folks may call you chicken but it really should not make
you do stupid things? Even holy relics will not protect one from rank
stupidity? I would quote something that Kim Stanley Robinson said,
"All of politics is about water."

Well, fools are blowing up the strawberry fields behind me in memory of
Saladin, Mel Gibson, or maybe Reynald. Take care of each other. I am
going to take a shower. As always, if you want to forward these things,
keep my email and name intact. Who knows, a nice Countess might want
to hold my fort. *S*

Love your enemies and drive them nuts,
Ells


Subject: Musing on July 7 -- How Does Your Bloody Garden Grow?
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 15:35:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

On this date July 7, 1553 Mary Tudor spent the day hiding in Sawston
Hall. She was hiding from the Duke of Northumberland. What was she
doing?

You may recall from yesterday that Mary was the daughter of Hank VIII
and Catherine of Aragon. (One of my readers complained that I was using
too many nicknames. See, I am cutting back.) She was his first child.
If he had loved her just a little more, she might not have earned the
sobriquet (more Laurel-sounding than "nickname") of "Bloody Mary." She
had Cardinal Wolsey as a godfather which sort of led her to becoming a
strong and (dare I say fanatic? No) fervent Catholic.

Guess how Mary felt when Hank dumped her mom? Well, how would you feel?
On top of all of that daddy dearest was now head of his own church.
Mary was rather outspoken which did not help to increase how dad felt
about her. Hank did not take feedback very well. He even separated Mary
from her mom.

Mary’s new stepmom was that enchanting (in perhaps more ways than one)
Anne Boleyn. Talk about your fairytale wicked stepmother! Anne did not
like Mary one bit. The felines were mutual. Anne occasionally let it
slip that maybe Mary and her mom were going to be shortened by Hank’s
axeman. Then she would say, "Whoopsy! Did I say that out loud?" and
giggle embarassedly. Nothing like playing "flip-a-kitty" to raise a
normal, healthy daughter. Yes sir, it was nothing like that at all.

Ex-queen Kate passed on from natural causes. Hey, I wasn’t there. Anne
got a taste of her own medicine when Hank told her she needed a close
haircut. See what happens being so nasty to folks? This was in 1536.
Mary got another new stepmom, Jane Seymour. Mary was only 20 and
already had three moms. Jane, may she rest in peace, gave Hank what he
wanted – a boy – but died giving birth to him in 1542. That was a
shame, too, because Jane really seemed to like Mary.

When Hank finally died in 1547, young Eddie took the throne. Six years
later, he died. Wow! It was not healthy being a Tudor, by marriage or
by birth. Incidentally, no one told Mary about Eddie’s death on July 6,
1553 for a couple days. Any guesses why?

We get back to Duke of Northumberland. He was Lord President of the
Council, bunch of guys advising the young Eddie about how to rule.
Remember, Eddie was 5 when he took the throne and only 11 when he died.
Other folks were ruling here. Northumberland fixed things with the
ailing young king to disinherit both Mary and Lizzie (Anne’s kid) in
favor of this wonderful gal named Lady Jane Grey. Jane, strangely
enough, was Northumberland’s own daughter-in-law. Jane was about 16 at
the time, and a Protestant. She ruled for only 9 days as Queen.

Mary ducked Northumberland who was searching for her. I think he wanted
to console her or otherwise ease her pain on the loss of Eddie. Sure.
Mary got herself to London and was declared Queen. Northumberland
decided that discretion being the better part of staying alive, went
and kissed her hand. Smart move.

Although her advisors told her to whack both Northumberland and Jane,
she nixed it. She did give the Catholic bishops back their Sees. When
Mary did the crowning bit in Westminster, it was a September ceremony
to die for, she let it be known that the throne was kind of cold and
lonely. She got engaged to Phillip II of Spain. Her mom was Spanish,
the Spaniards were getting very rich off in the New World. What was the
problem?

A smallish revolution was whipped up by Sir Thomas Wyatt and company in
1554. They did not really like the restoration of Catholicism and
worse, having a Spaniard sitting on the English throne. Mary’s forces
easily crushed the rebellion and had everybody with it executed, that
also meant Lady Jane Grey. Can’t say she did not warn her.

Strangely enough, that did not shut up the folk. Doggone it, those
peasants and nobles just did not quit. Mary put into effect things
known as Heresy Laws. Essentially, you speak against Mary and the
Church, you die. You know, we take a lot of freedoms for granted. Those
of you who wish to live in the Middle Ages, think on that for a second:
Heresy Laws. How long would any of us live? (end of sermon) In four
years, 277 folks in England learned to be very quiet. They were burned
to death in the name of peace. Mary thought she was doing the right
thing.

Mary did not have skittles and beer at her home either. Although she
was in love with hubby Phil, when he found out that she could not give
him a boy child, he left her. He hated the English and Bennie Hill, I
think. Mary was sick a lot with dropsy (an accumulation of lymph in the
tissues). Phil never missed a chance to dis her in public about that or
anything else. The last of Mary's life was just depressing for her as
the first. She died at St. James's Palace in London in 1558, at the age
of 42. I think she was relieved.

Anything to learn here? Be careful of those wishing to console you?
Grasshopper is always wrong in argument with chicken? Be careful what
you wish on others because it may come to you? No matter how many folk
you burn, you still may not be happy? Not many foreigners appreciate
English cooking or comedy? How about a family that slays together...
no, never mind.

Thanks for those well wishes. You folks are just wonderful. Some of
you, at least. As always, if you want to forward this or any of the
musings, just keep my name and email intact.

And a big happy birthday to a certain, unnamed poet whom I dearly love
but will not embarrass.

I spell my name,
J. Ellsworth Weaver III

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
TRV – Sebastian Yeats
(some people call me Maurice)


Subject: Musing on July 9 -- Janey Short and Sweet
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2000 10:23:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folks,

Today on July 9, 1553 a sixteen year old girl learned her childhood
sweetheart had died three days before and that by his will she was
queen. She promptly fainted. She was reputed to be the most intelligent
woman in her country second only to her half-sister. She was Lady Jane
Grey: the nine day queen.

Lady Jane was born in October, bet she was a Libra, 1537. Her mom,
Frances, was the daughter of Hank VIII’s younger sister, Mary (no, not
Bloody Mary nor Mary Queen of Scots. Mary was a grand old name.) Jane
had two sisters, Katherine and Mary (see, another Mary) who was BTW a
dwarf. Janey was quite a catch, too. I mean she was petite (made Vanna
White look like Arnold) with long dark auburn hair, very innocent,
strongly Protestant, and pretty darned rich after a bit. Most of the
contemporary portraits I have seen of her may have been of Catherine
Parr. They all show a heart-shaped face with a strong chin and large
eyes.

Janey was not very loved by her parents and spent most of her early
life studying, and playing with her sisters. That all changed when she
was ten. In 1547 she moved to the household of Catherine Parr (the last
wife and widow to Henry VIII). Hank was ailing big time. He was
grotesquely overweight, crazy, consumptive, and mean. Kate Parr was
Hank’s only widow. None of his other wives survived him. Pretty
indicative of that old Tudor charm. Things had been looking up for
Janey. She was at court and really liked young king Eddie VI. They even
had the exact same birthday. Maybe there was romance. Eddie was
betrothed to Mary Queen of Scots but Scotland was acting up so that
marriage was not going to be. Did Eddie think Janey was a bundle? You
bet! But Fate had other things in store. Eddie had consumption,
tuberculosis, the same disease that took off his dear daddy.

Eddie was only nine when he took the throne and so was ruled by others
more than he ruled. The most obnoxious of the "advisors" was a guy
named John Dudley the Earl of Warwick. This Dudley-Do-Wrong weaseled
his way into getting himself named Duke of Northumberland. He ran the
country even though he had no official title to do so and was acquiring
real estate like Ted Turner. Lots of the land he was taking was from
the Catholic Church. Remember that they were no longer the Church of
State. When Eddie was diagnosed with that inevitably fatal disease (in
those days) Northumberland got Eddie to see things his way. He
convinced Eddie that his Sis Mary, a Catholic from a dissolved
marriage, and Sis Elizabeth (Lizzie I), from an adulterous witch, were
both illegitimate.

Dudley had his candidate in the wings, Janey. Janey’s mom, Frances, had
just become rich since she inherited becoming the Duchess of Suffolk as
the "sweating sickness" (probably influenza) had taken off all the
other heirs. Dudley and Janey’s parents "persuaded" (read: beaten)
Janey to marry Guilford Dudley – the name says it all, doesn’t it? --
on May 21st of 1553. June 21st Eddie named her his next in line. What
an unexpected wedding gift for a childhood sweetheart. Janey did not
know anything about this. I think she would have been horrified. We do
know that less than a month later, July 9th she was astounded to the
extent of fainting.

Janey was supposed to be queen. Guess that Dudley thought then his son
would be king. Funny how that works out. When Janey was persuaded to
put on the Crown, she made it clear that Guilford was not king. So
there! Well, nine days laterJaney yielded up the Crown to Mary. Mary
felt she had to put Janey in the Tower. It did seem like Mary intended
to set Jane free. Mary realized that Jane was a pawn, however her
execution was necessary because as long as she was alive she would be
threat to Mary. She could be used as a pawn by those wishing to see
Protestantism regain power. Janey had admitted she was wrong in
accepting the Crown, but denied that she was innocent of any
wrongdoing. John Dudley, Northumberland, was found guilty of treason on
August 20, and executed on August 22. Lady Jane and her husband were
tried and convicted of high treason on November 14, "to be burnt alive
or beheaded, as the queen shall please" and beheaded on February 12,
1554; Janey’s abusive dad was beheaded on February 23.

Mom Frances was very good friends with Mary I and avoided the headsman.
She quickly married a man half her age and settled down out of the
political arena. Elizabeth, after she succeeded Bloody Mary, kept
Sister Katherine Grey at court just for security purposes. Kate Grey
was married to Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, in a secret ceremony
and soon had a child. They were ordered separated in the Tower, yet she
became pregnant once more and had two sons in total. She died when she
was 27. Her husband lived to be 83.

Janey, you were wonderful and I mourn your death.

What have we learned from this unfortunate story? Kids should not be
allowed to rule? Real estate agents are wont to hang out with kings
(sorry, Ms. Bening)? Some people just lose their heads trying to get
ahead? I think I like kings may say but biology rules the day. I just
made that up. *G*

Well, go out and make someone a king yourself. Careful what you create
out there. Remember Dr. Frankenstein.

Forward these to whomever but keep my name and email address intact.

Love and laughter,
Ells


Subject: Musing on July 10 -- Silent like an Orange
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2000 14:07:29 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

On July 10, 1584, William of Orange who was known as "The Silent" was
killed by a fanatic. Why was this Orange sliced? Why was he known as
"The Silent?"

Billy was a German count who had come by a French principality, Orange,
and some land in the Netherlands as an inheritance. He was pretty good
friends with Emperor Chuck V. Chuck’s son was the infamous Spanish guy
Phil II. Remember he had married Bloody Mary I, jilted her, and then
later put together a fleet of ships -- called them his Armada -- to
take England away from Lizzie I? True, same guy. Phil later married one
of the daughter of Kate de Medici and Hank II of France. Isn’t it
interesting how this all links together?

Anyway, the Netherlands belonged to Spain at the time. The Spaniards
believed that anyway. The Netherlands was a hotbed of Protestantism
(although some of the Protestant beds were cold) and Phil II had
instituted what he thought were needed reforms. Most of them revolved
around whacking Protestants. The Dutch did some armed revolving
themselves. Billy Orange was sent to France to arrange a treaty of
truce. The king of France thought Billy was pro-Catholic and in the
pocket of Chuck and his son so he kind of spilled the beans about how
he knew Phil was going to essentially wipe out all those Protestants.
Billy was like a tar baby: he didn’t say nothing he just sat there and
listened; thus, his nickname "The Silent." Billy supported freedom of
religion and notified the rest of the boys what was up. Forewarned and
all of that.

Phil II sent in the Duke of Alba and things got really low in the Low
Countries. Billy’s eldest son, Philip William, got abducted and hauled
away to Spain. Alba played dragoon and killed most everyone who even
looked non-Catholic. He beheaded the Counts of Egmont and Homes. This
eventually po’d the Dutch such that they fought back. We now call it
the Eighty Years War. Billy (who would be played by Mel Gibson if this
were a movie) and his brothers sold their plates and jewels to raise
money to kick out the Spanish. It was tough guerrilla fighting. Billy
lost most of his early battles and two of his brothers got themselves
killed.

Billy parked his wife, Anna, safely in Germany with his folks during
the fighting. Anna got bored at her in-laws’ place and became a
general nuisance. Billy’s folks got tired of her and her public
nastiness. She moved to Cologne, the big city, and lead a wild life.
When she got drunk, she beat and berated her staff. She threw
outrageous parties. Ripped right through any money they had left.

Anna had a rather public affair with Johannes Rubens. Eventually she
moved in with him. In 1571 Rubens was arrested. Anna said they had done
nothing wrong even though she was very obviously pregnant. Note: Billy
had not been home with her in a long time. This was 400 years before
soap operas, remember. Anna broke down, told Billy to just go ahead and
kill her and her Johnny. Hey, it was within the law of the time. Billy
said no and told Rubens to scram. Anna gave birth to Peter Paul Rubens,
the rather famous painter. She also gave birth to Ruben’s daughter
Christina. Billy had enough and had the marriage annulled. You know it
was just as well. Anna had really gone around the bend. The staff kept
knives away from her, she was delusional, and raged horribly.

In 1573 Billy became an official Protestant. He remarried twice. And of
course, the Catholics never forgave him. In fact, one stabbed him to
death on this day 1584. Anna had left Billy and her country something
precious, Billy’s son Maurits of Orand-Nassua. Maurits lead the troops
which finally got rid of the Spanish from the Low Country in 1600.
Their sovereignty was finally recognized 48 years later in the Treaty
of Westphalia.

Christina was taken care of by Billy’s family. They even found her a
nice German count to marry.

What have we to learn from this? Softly, softly, catchee monkey? Don’t
try to force your religion on anyone? Better to remain silent and be
thought a fool, than open your mouth and be proven one? How about, no
matter how good you are in battle, you got to take care of business at
home? Like Elvis’ ring used to say: TCB.

Remember, you cannot measure beliefs, only actions, folks. As always if
you forward this or any of my humble missives, make sure you keep my
name and sig. intact.

Your chronicler,
Ellsworth Weaver

SCA -- Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS -- Polyphemus Theognis
TRV -- Sebastian Yeats


Subject: Musing on July 11 -- I got spurs that jingle-jangle-jingle!
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 20:10:43 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

On July 11, 1302, an elite cavalry force approached an untrained
militia mostly made up of guildsmen, weavers. The results of that day
spelled eventual victory for the weavers but death for Scots and
Templars and loss for the Jews. This is the date of The Battle of the
Golden Spurs.

The French king. Philip "the Fair" (meaning "good looking" not about
his willingness to share) had long coveted the wealth of Flanders. The
place was mostly owned and run by guilds, independent of any throne or
crown. The most influential of these were the weavers’ guilds. They
made the fine linen cloth and lace.

Philip had been fighting with the English, led by Eddie I
("Longshanks"). Phil had even kidnapped, assassinated and bought a
Catholic pope or two. All of this warring and work on Church
beautification had sapped the treasury of the French. No money, no war.
Simple as that. So, where could a good-looking, studly kind of king get
some spending cash? Look to the merchants! You ask them first and if
they refuse to pay the insurance – "shame if some clumsy knight were to
wander into your shop and set fire to your loom, Monsieur Devreese" –
then you have to go send out some collectors. These knightly guys were
led by the French commander, the Duc d’Artois. Along with them came
Pierre Flotte and Raoul de Nesles. More about these three in a sec.

On June 11th, the elite of the French chivalry, mounted of course, came
riding toward the city Kortrijk (Courtrai in French) in Flanders. The
weavers and friends were standing their ground (the only dry spot
around) on Groeninge field. The surrounding area was muddy and mucky.
The French cavalry charged but got bogged down. The weavers with their
bill hooks and bowmen calmly opened them up like crawfish at a
Draconian (that's in Louisiana, ya'll) feast. Same results. Raoul saw
that the battle was lost but plunged into it as a sort of suicide rush.
He had decided better a dead hero than having to live with defeat. Duc
d’Artois was stabbed by a lay brother from the Ter Doest abbey in
western Flanders Guillaume Vansaeftingen. Great name, right? Several
folks afterwards wanted his name tattooed on their chests; none
survived the ordeal. Pierre Flotte, French lawyer and teacher, also
died in the fray.

Pierre Flotte is not as remembered as his star pupil, Guillaume de
Nogaret, who upon his mentor’s death became king Phil the Good
Looking’s chief advisor and favorite badman. Any RL Templars out there?
Okay, I know my Masonic friends are. Reason I asked was that Nogaret
was the one who led the arrest of the Templars that Friday Oct 13,
1307.

Why is it called the Battle of the Golden Spurs? Those danged weavers
cut off the spurs of the French knights and tacked the rowels up in in
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw church in Kortrijk. Kind of pretty decoration.
Unfortunately, French troops came back in 1382 during the Battle of
Westrozebeke and took the spurs away. How rude! The spurs which are in
the church today are fake ones but don’t tell anyone and everyone will
still dig it.

With no army, Phil had to knock off feuding with Eddie I. That suddenly
meant that Eddie could devote all his efforts to whomping on the Scots.
In fact William Wallace (remember "Braveheart"?) was forced out of
Phil’s court and back to Scotland. Wallace was betrayed to Longshanks
within three years.

With no money, Phil had to figure another place or places to squeeze.
He had two ready sources at home: the Jews and the Templars. Phil
"nationalized" (stole) all Jewish property and kicked them out of the
country. Eddie over across the channel had done a similar thing. Phil
was in hock up to his good looking eyebrows to the Templars. Hmmm.
Maybe he could arrest them and steal all the Templar treasure. You tell
me if you think he found it all. Some of the Templars made it over to
Scotland to fight against Eddie. Seemed only right. St. Clair
(Sinclair) is a name you might want to look up yourselves in that
aspect.

What have we learned? A strong army with get you through times with no
money better than money will get you through times without an army? I
don’t think so. Cavalry is just not the answer in every situation?
Don’t go to other people’s back yard and act tough? Didn’t we have that
somewhere before? It is dangerous to loan money to a king? I think the
best thought is "Don’t mess with the Weavers!" *G*

Wobbling but not falling down,
J. Ellsworth Weaver (tee-hee)

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
TRV – Sebastian Yeats

As always if you forward these, leave my name and sig attached. You saw
what happened to Duc d’Artois and his Frenchy boys. Grrrrr!


Subject: Musing on July 12: Wonderin' Where the Lions are
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 21:54:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

On this day July 12, 1174 a cowardly lion was captured, a lion-hearted
father was spanked, and a flying lion was lost.

William the Lion became king of Scotland when his brother Malcolm IV,
known as "Malcolm the Maiden," died at the tender age of 24. Okay the
name was for real, Malcolm was a pious and effeminate youth, grandson
of the mighty King David I of Scotland. Malcolm was the cousin of
England's ruler, Henry II, father of Richard the Lionheart. Small
matter that Hank II had promised – during his knighting ceremony at
the hands of King David, for heavens sake – to never, ever mess with
Scotland. Hank with his shark-like appetite wanted all that land above
his kingdom. So Hank talked, bullied, cajoled, whatever, poor Malcolm
the Maiden out of all Scottish possessions in England and even the
Scottish principalities of Cumbria and Northumberland. Needless to say,
Malcolm was not well-liked at home after that.

William was known as William "the Lion," not because he was some brave
hearted fellow (no Mel Gibson he), but because he had the distinction
of putting a lion rampant on the national standard of Scotland as a
substitute for the dragon which had formerly been there. William sort
of wanted to do the right thing: he resolved to get back the lands that
Hank II had swindled brother Malcolm out of. He decided to invade
England across the border and just do a little sacking, burning,
raping, pillaging, and slaughtering. Test the waters, so to speak.

Willie’s army was just outside of Alnwick. There are two stories as to
where Hank was at the time. The best histories show that he was off
fighting in France; the most poetic one says he was doing penance,
including being lashed by some monks at Canterbury, for having Thomas a
Becket whacked. You decide. The English barons heard about the border
raids and met together in York (NE Britain). The barons knew they had
to do something right smartly before the Scots got to liking raiding
and killing Englishmen. That sort of thing gets out of hand quickly.
There were only 400 knights and barons at York but they decided it
might be enough. They rode all night long to Alnwick. They got there
just at daybreak. It was a misty, moisty morning that 12th of July and
the English were afraid they might ride right into the middle of the
Scottish camp by mistake. That would be embarrassing. They halted.

The mist suddenly cleared. There on a meadow before them the English
army saw a small party of horsemen tilting – just kind of horsing
around. The English wasted no time in riding down and taking a
prisoner. He looked a little cleaner than the others and he sure did
try to resist. After the barons got this struggling knight back onto
English soil, imagine their surprise when they found out they had
snagged Willie the Lion, King of Scotland. Oh, there must have been
medieval high-fiving and shouting and all sorts of cavorting when they
opened that dude’s lid and looked in. "Got ourselves a king there,
Dudley!"

Hank was overjoyed. He had some slick lawyers draw up papers
essentially saying that to get the king back, Scotland had to be deeded
over to Hank. Almost to Hank’s surprise, Willie signed the papers. To
seal the deal, Willie gave up castles of Edinburgh, Sterling, Berwick,
Roxburgh, and Jedburgh. All of those fortresses were then staffed by
Hank’s English troops. Willie got to go home but it wasn’t to a free
and independent land anymore.

There is an old Scottish saying "Tis sweet to die for one’s country."
Willie the Lion just never believed it. He traded his country for his
life. The Lion Rampant which flew so proudly for a short while was
surrendered to a king who let some monks whip him.

Any lessons here? Don’t let your maidens go wrestle with sharks? It is
one thing to claim to be a lion, it is quite another to act like one?
Dungeon stones with English cooking and beer can be strong persuaders?
How about: no matter who you are, horse-play leads to tragedy?

I’ll tell you how Scotland got its land back sometime soon. As always,
forward these musing to whomever you think will like them and laugh.
Leave my name and sig on them lest you be made to eat English cooking.

You can’t hide those lion eyes,
J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
TRV – Sebastian Yeats


Subject: Musing on July 13 -- Open Channel Dee
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000 10:42:52 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

Happiest of Solar Returns (birthday anniversaries, sort of) to a
mathematician, an alchemist and an astrologer to queens, . Was he a
scoundrel or a dupe? A fool or wiser than any of us? You decide for Dr.
John Dee was born on this date, July 13, 1527.

Dee was a whiz kid. At fifteen he entered Cambridge U and was made an
Underreader (staff at low pay) before he graduated. After Cambridge, he
decided to get some more education (wise move) and went over to the
Continent (1547 - 1550). He wowed them in Paris with lectures on the
recently dug up works of Euclid. Wasn’t that a golden age: Euclid
getting a packed houses? When he got back home, he was recommended to
Queen Mary Tudor. She hired him as her astrologer (see: Nancy Reagan
wasn’t the first, after all) but that gig turned sour when he was
accused of being a magician. I guess it was that rabbit that kept
popping out of his hat.

While in the slammer, he met Elizabeth Tudor (the future Lizzie I).
Lizzie was being held in protective custody by her half-sis, Bloody
Mary. Dee and Lizzie were both in rather scary straits, smart folk,
young, well educated – nerds in trouble. My confidential sources do not
tell me how close they became but it was a lifelong friendship that
they struck up. Later on when Lizzie was queen, she gave John money
and protected him from charges of witchcraft. Pretty important meeting
they had, I would say.

Dee not only did Lizzie’s astrological advice (he even picked out the
date for her coronation) but also gave advice on navigation to English
pilots who were exploring the New World. He taught Lizzie how to
interpret mystic writings. Said she was a very avid pupil. Dee had an
enormous library (over 4000 books) of very rare tomes which he rescued
from the Protestants set on burning them all. Many of these books had
been in the Roman Catholic Church monasteries of the which had been
dissolved in England during the Reformation.

In 1564, Dee published his most important book, the Monas
Hieroglyphica, (One Hieroglyph). He said that there was a primal symbol
which incorporated the blue print of all of reality. Drop this symbol
upon the lake of possibilities and all matter and energy would organize
into a Universe very much like this one (with a few less Starbucks and
Blockbuster Videos, though). What this symbol looked like, I am not
quite sure. It was not the thing used by the Artist formerly known as
Prince. If any of you have a good copy of it, scan it in and send it to
me. *G* Just wonder if it would cause the Internet to crystallize out.
Al Gore would just have to reinvent it then.

In 1581 Dee’s life took another strange turn. He was praying and was
visited by the angel Uriel (played by Christopher Walken.) Uriel told
him there was a mission for Dee. Uriel dropped off an egg-shaped
crystal, Dee later called it his "shew-stone," which Dee was to use to
talk with the dead and with angels. It was a sort of psychic cellular
phone. BTW, can anyone tell me why I have this unreasonable wish to
grab cell phones away from people and smash them to little plastic
bits? I am just afraid I shall succumb to temptation some day. Maybe I
need to see Dr. Dee about this. But I digress.

Just like so much of technology, the shew-stone was a bit touchy, not
fully beta-tested. Dee found that he had little or no luck in using it.
As William Burroughs might say, "He was an unworthy vessel." He had to
hire others to look into it and tell him what they saw. Dee wrote it
all down.

The most enterprising of these seers was Edward Kelley. Kelley had been
a lawyer and a ventriloquist. Oh, he actually had had his ears cropped
(ouch!) for being a counterfeiter before he met Dee. That Kelley had
also been accused of necromancy – using dead bodies for magickal
divination – did not deter lovable old Dr. Dee from hiring the
morally-impaired. From Kelley, Dee learned that through the crystal
angelic beings were attempting to teach Dee the Enochian language which
was spoken by angels and Adam and Eve when they lived in the Garden of
Eden. It appears that Dee and Kelley were trying to contact the ancient
ones, the Watchers, known in the Bible as the Nephelim.

Small aside about Enochian. Some of my sources think either Dee or
Kelley were improvising this as they went along. Some think Dee had an
ancient copy of the Book of Enoch in Ethiopian which he could not
translate and so just made up some stuff sounding like it. One source
speculates that it really was a code that Dee used as a spy on the
Continent for Queen Lizzie. That is a cool thought: former cell block
mates, now Royal Astrologer and Queen, sending encrypted spy messages
back and forth. I rather like that.

Dee and Kelley had to leave England because the preachers really were
down on anything which smacked of magick. These guys were as bad as the
Harry Potter books, at least. A mob destroyed much of Dee’s books. Dee
and Kelley toured Poland and Bohemia from 1583-1589, giving magic shows
and mystifying princes. Wow! I wish I had a tee shirt from that road
tour. In 1595, Kelley got busted in Prague by the Emperor Rudolf II for
wizardry and sorcery. He tried to escape but fell to his death. Dee
returned home to a quiet life protected by Queen Lizzie. He was
appointed a warden of Christ’s College in Manchester and even got a
small stipend from the Queen.

In the last dies of his life he was reduced to telling fortunes and had
to sell his books one by one to have something to eat. He died in 1608
in Mortlake, England. His work is still regarded highly by modern
alchemists, and may have been very influential upon the mind of Adam
Weishaupt, father of the Bavarian Illuminati. But that, as they say, is
another story.

What have we learned from Dr. Dee (and Mr. Kelley)? Friends help
friends move, but real friends help friends move bodies? Just because a
being is disincarnate does not make it wise or benevolent? Be careful
to whom you show magic tricks and always, always emphasize they are
*tricks*? Lawyers can be unreliable mouthpieces, especially for the
dead? I like the Girl Scout song "Make New Friends but Keep the Old."

As always, forward these to whomever might be amused but keep my name
and sig attached. You don’t want I should send Uriel over to hit you
with a shew-stone, believe me.

Doing something magickal every day,
J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
TRV – Sebastian Yeats


Subject: Musing on July 14 -- Just a hypothetical question
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2000 21:38:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

What if you and I wanted to take over a country and make it our own
playground? Say the country was ruled by a line of kings (but had very
few poor serfs or slaves), had lots of money (most of it in the hands of
businessmen and women), well-fed, religious, and by-in-large happy. How
could we get rid of the nobility, church, and middle class? In the
meantime, can we make ourselves rich and in the driver's seat? Let's
pretend.

First thing is we need to find someone else to apparently lead this
take over. Unsuccessful coups get conspirators whacked. It would also
help if that person "leading" had some money. Causes cost gold. That
done, we need some dire grievances, thing that the king and company
have done to "wrong" the people. Keep it below 9 so folks can remember
them. If we can artificially introduce some nice food shortages, that
will surely hack off folks.

We might want to recruit some members who are not quite the upper-upper
crust but would like to be. Tell them how we know they are the ones who
should be running things: barons, marquis, knights. We will
indoctrinate them through a secret club; tell them it is death to
anyone who talks. Convince them that they shall be the new kings soon.
We can tell them that religion is what has been holding them back.
Substitute "reason" for religion. Make each feel like they are secret
MENSA members. We are going to be doing some serious bloodletting so we
had best preach that whatever we do is okay as long as it winds up
doing it for the right cause. Teach extremism in pursuit of "liberty"
(or libertinism) is no vice. Speaking of vice, teach that the only vice
is not doing exactly what you want right then. Get more money from
them. Remember, once we accomplish what we want, these dupes get
whacked. On the top there is only room for thee and me. Oh and,
Darling, you are looking a tad pale.

You know, once we convince folks that the king and church have been
holding them back, we might teach that national borders are part of the
same conspiracy to keep man in chains. We could get really lucky and
franchise this out to other places. Alexander the Great was so crude in
his strong arm tactics. Don't you think.? We can let others do all of
this for us.

We need something symbolic, an action, to get the ball rolling. How
about we "liberate" some political prisoners? It does not have to be
more than say seven but we can make a media event of it. Fact is, we
could just spring some counterfeiters and a couple demented dudes. No
prob. We would need something easy to attack, nothing with real
guards. Don't worry, we would not have our moneyed gentry doing that
attacking. We could hire some thugs from out of town, maybe from other
countries; get them from the rough trade in a sea port. If in the
process we can get weapons from this prison, all the better. When we
tell others of this, we can say it was "the people" who arose to throw
off the chains of oppression. I like that a lot! What is really funny,
after all this is over, they would probably make a national holiday out
of this action.

Well, that was a fun exercise. Nobody would be so immoral as to ever do
such a thing. No one would be dumb enough to fall for that. And lest I
forget: Happy Bastille Day!

Let us breath together,
Ellsworth Weaver

SCA - Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS - Polyphemus Theognis
TRV - Sebastian Yeats


Subject: Musing on July 15 -- St. Swithin's Day
Date: Sat, 15 Jul 2000 15:49:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

I hope it is not too late to wish you happy St. Swithin’s Day. Did it
rain where you were? If it did, you can expect rain for the next forty
days. Wow! I think we are pretty safe from that in central California
but who knows? This is also the day that a medieval pope said that
Jews were forever damned to servitude and hell for crucifying Jesus.
Since he died on July 16th (not on the same year,) I think we can wait
for Innocent III.

Swithin was a smart Saxon, ‘cause he knew all the Angles. *Ba-dum-dum!*
Sorry, I have been wanting to use that for awhile. It is out of my
system now, promise. He was born in Wessex, England sometime around 800
CE. He was educated in the monastery of Winchester where he was
ordained a priest. Swithin was in pretty tight with the royal family.
He became chaplain and advisor to King Egbert of the West Saxons
(Wessex, remember?) and was put in charge of tutoring Egbert’s son,
Ethelwulf. When Egbert went to the royal court in the sky to meet the
board of directors, Ethelwulf became king. King Ethelwulf (would that
name get by any herald’s office today?) named Swithin to be the bishop
of Winchester (Oct 30, 852 CE.)

We don’t know much about Swithin. He was said to be an okay guy, built
some churches, did some missionary work, knew the Scriptures. When the
West Saxon’s decided they did not like Ethelwulf, Swithin stood by him
(856 CE). On his deathbed Swithin begged that he should be buried
outside the north wall of his cathedral where passers-by should pass
over his grave and raindrops from the eaves drop upon it. Isn't that
sweet? Really. At least his grave would be low maintenance.

More than a century later (931) his body was moved with great pomp to a
shrine within the new church erected by Bishop Ethelwulf (note the name
and connection?). A number of miraculous cures took place (nobody today
is sure exactly who or what got cured) and Swithin was canonized by
popular acclamation. In 1093 his remains were again trucked over to the
new church built by Bishop Walkelin. The shrine was destroyed and the
relics scattered in 1538. Guess he is at peace now.

The bit about the forty days of rain is curious. Some folks say it is
because it is almost impossible to get rain there in the middle of
July. Others say that it did rain for forty days when they were first
moving his bones back in 931. Here is the rhyme:

St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.

Well, that is proof enough for me! Makes him sort of a saintly
groundhog. He is the Patron Saint of Winchester Cathedral. There is
even an orchid named for him.

What have we learned from St. Swithin? Remember to go home from the
dance with the fellow who brought you? Some folks will always want to
mess with you, even after you are dead? Plan for your burial plot to
cost your loved ones less? How about if you are autocratting an outdoor
event (tournament, feast, wedding, picnic), St. Swithin might be a good
guy to include in your prayers? I know I will remember that. That and
"never take a herald on a picnic." (Old saying but a wise one.)

As always, if you decide to spread these pearls of wisdom or
foolishness, please keep my name and sig attached lest it rain for
forty days on your parade.

It can’t rain all the time,
J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
TRV – Sebastian Yeats


Subject: Musing on July 16th -- I'm Innocent, I Tell You!
Date: Sun, 16 Jul 2000 11:12:29 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

On this day July 16, 1216 one of the greatest medieval popes went to
find out if what he had been preaching was righteous or just plain
mean. Lotario de’ Conti, son of a count, nephew of a pope, was Innocent
III.

Lotario was born around the year 1160 in Anagni, Italy. Well, it was
not quite Italy in those days; there were many feuding and occupied
city-states. His dad, Trasimund, was count of Segni. Lotario was a
nerd: studied everything he could, hung out in Rome, Paris and Bologna.
He became a lawyer specializing in church law. His uncle, Pope Clement
III, made Lotario a cardinal. That meant he was able to elect popes and
was in line to become one. After Uncle Clement there came Celestine III
and then in Feb 22, 1198, Lotario was made pontiff himself. Pontiff
means bridge builder. Interesting.

Innocent III supported kicking the Germans out of Italy. The Holy Roman
Empire was none of the three at the time. The Germans and Swabs were
battling for control of it. Otto IV, when he finally won the crown,
continued the repression of the Church. Fredrick II (son of the late
emperor Henry VI), who defeated Otto IV, had been Innocent’s ward so
you would think that Freddie would be delighted in returning the favor
of guarding the Church. Freddie turned out to be a tad forgetful or
maybe Innocent wasn’t as innocent as his name. We will probably follow
up on his story in a different musing.

Innocent was pope during the reigns of Philip of France, Richard the
Lionheart and King John Lackland of England. When John needed to get
his country out of excommunication (a dire strait for a Roman Catholic
country) and a baronial rebellion, he made England a fief of the
Vatican. Pedro II of Aragon did likewise. Think on that: Innocent III
was sovereign lord not just over the Vatican, the whole of the Roman
Catholic Church, the kingdoms of Aragon, and England. Not too shabby!
He became the Judge Judy of his time and had many tough cases brought
before him. Innocent even declared the Magna Carta null and void
because it was extorted from his vassal by the threat of violence.

Remember when we mused on the Cathari and the Albigensian crusade? Yup,
it was Innocent who declared the need for it. He encouraged Dominic de
Guzman to kill all those heretical folk. He recognized Dominic’s
warrior friars as an order. To ensure everyone was on the same page of
the Daily Missal, so to speak, he made a rule at the Fourth Lateran
Council that all Catholics had to receive communion at least once a
year, preferably on Easter. To give him his due, Innocent also
recognized the spiritual craziness of Francis of Assisi as Divinely
inspired.

Innocent III also had that divine crusading spirit against the Moslems.
There was heathen to whack! He believed that the Church should be in
charge of crusades not worldly kings. He ruled a husband did not even
have to get his wife’s permission to go on crusade. He sent the call to
barons and knights, telling all the Christian kings to kiss and make up
for just a second so that their people might be released to follow the
pope’s summons. Richard and Philip did declare a five year truce.
Unfortunately Richard took that crossbow bolt which "elected" Prince
John who promptly restarted the war.

The rest of the fourth crusade did not do much better. The Venetians,
who were supposed to be simply ferrying the troops, played politics
right heavily. Well, there was a significant lack of turn out for the
crusade. Money promised the Venetians just did not show. The crusaders
who were camped on the Lido, a small island outside of town, were
running up enormous bills. As a relief, the Venetians struck a bargain:
if the crusaders did a little contract job or two for them, the debt
could be postponed until real looting and pillaging down in the Holy
Land began. Seemed like a small request. The crusaders wound up
attacking the Catholic city of Zara (under the king of Hungary, himself
a dedicated crusader) and then sacking the Greek Orthodox city of
Constantinople. In both cases Pope Innocent told them not to do it, but
business is business. You know? Those battles await telling another
day, I fear. Innocent excommunicated the crusaders. Knowing that those
Moslems for the most part would remained unwhacked, King Aimery of
Jerusalem signed a six year peace treaty with Saladin.

It was while trying to get another crusade going that Innocent III died
at Perugia on July 16, 1216.

What have we learned from all of this? If you kill lots of folks, it
helps if you call yourself Innocent? The folks who build the weapons
and transports of war often are the ones who wind up directing it? In
this world the smart and talented rise to the top but it helps to have
an uncle in the business? No battle plan ever survives first contact
with the enemy? I think I like: it is bad luck to tell husbands to
disregard the wished of their wives.

As always, please forward these scribblings to whomever you like. Do
keep my name and sig. intact. Remember what happened to the folk in
Zara.

As innocent as any pope,
J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA — Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
TRV – Sebastian Yeats


Subject: Musing on July 17th -- You Can't Go Back to Constantinople
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 19:23:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

Today on July 17, 1203, the mostly French forces of the Fourth Crusade
(remember Innocent III and his crusade?) landed in Constantinople and
took the city / state without any resistance. Sounded like a good idea
at the time even though the Pope opposed it. Was this wrong?

You might remember that the Fourth Crusade was stalled out in Venice.
The expected crowds of crusaders and their money did not appear. The
Venetians told the crusaders it was time to pay up for all the victuals
and boats. The only thing the crusaders had was muscle, and plenty of
it. The first contract hit the crusaders did for the Venetians was to
attack a Roman Catholic city, Zara, which belonged to the king of
Hungary. Teach him to mess with the Venetians!

The second hit was in the nature of restoring a deposed emperor to his
throne in Constantinople. Isaac Angelus had been kicked off the throne
by his brother Alexius III. The lack of brotherly love was pretty
evident in that Alexius III had Isaac blinded and put in prison.
Fortunately for Isaac, his son (also named Alexius) had escaped and was
now looking for help. Hey, the Venetians had this ready group of buff
guys with broadswords. What was Alexius, the young dude, offering for
help? Nothing too shabby! He offered the Venetians 200,000 silver
marks, an army of 10, 000 Greeks to fight in the Middle East for a
year, and 500 knights (maintained by Constantinople) to be a permanent
force for the Christians in the Holy Land. Sounded really good. Sort of
a win-win deal.

The crusader fleet (boats by Venice, of course) got to the Bosphorus on
June 24th. Alexis III and his mercenaries who were holding the fort at
Constantinople took a good look at all that armor flashing up on deck
as French folk did one armed pushups and decided to leave. On July
17th. 1203 those crusaders entered the town bearing Alexius and freeing
his dad. August 1st saw them both crowned Emperor. End of story, right?
Happy ending, everybody go home! Not quite.

There was another tiny stipulation to the contract -- hardly worth
mentioning, really. Okay, all the folks of Constantinople who had
formerly been Greek Orthodox now were Roman Catholics. Just like that
-- presto-chango! -- they were all now subject to Pope Innocent III.
There was also that matter of 200,000 marks. New Emperor Alexius ponied
up the first installment but his people wondered where anyone was going
to come up with a single extra penny. Guess they were a tad miffed
about the religious conversion without their permission. Hard is the
lot of an emperor, I want to tell you! Somehow a bit of tussling got
out of hand and a part of the city got itself burned down.

In return, the Greeks thought to help give the Venetian fleet a warm
welcome by filling some boats up with all sorts of combustibles (pitch,
logs, shavings, copies of the movie "Ishtar"), set the sails toward the
Venetian fleet at anchor, and set fire to the ships. Some sailor, awake
on the deck, saw the drifting flame weapons and alerted the rest. A
brave and desperate crew of Venetians met with the Greek gifts,
grappled them and rowed them out to sea. Extra rations of grog for
those sailors, I’m buying.

Another revolution in January of 1204 put the other faction -- led by
the son-in-law of the deposed Alexis III (the brother-blinder) – back
on the throne. The crusaders saw that Constantinople politics were just
too Byzantine for them and decided the heck with it. It was time to
slice and dice.

The crusaders essentially took everything that was not securely
fastened and most of things that were. The haul included two hunks of
the True Cross (each as big as a man’s thigh), the Spear of Destiny,
two nails from the crucifixion, a vial of Jesus’ blood, Christ’s tunic,
his crown of thorns, the foot of St. Cosmas, another piece of the True
Cross, more Jesus’ blood, "quite a bit of St. John," gold, jewels,
ancient manuscripts. The whole place looked like Macy’s the day before
Christmas.

The "Latin Emperors of Constantinople" then began with a looting and
killing. Baldwin IX was their first ruler. He got himself crowned in
St. Sophia (now Hagia Sophia, a mosque) all done up regally. They
renamed their Latin kingdom "Romania" which included parts of Turkey
and Greece. The exiled Greeks set up housekeeping in Nicaea on the
Asian mainland and waited. Somehow, all of this did not help the
relations between the Orthodox church and the Roman one. I wonder if
the Greeks are still angry about this?

What have we learned from all of this? It is one thing to promise the
moon but quite another to deliver it? The same armed folks who put you
in power can just as easily put themselves in the same spot? Converting
folks to a different religion is best done with tuna hot dish, hot
coffee and their permission? I think I will go back to my time in the
Army and say it is always, always a good idea to post a fire watch.

As always, forward these to those friendly forces out there. Do keep my
name and sig. attached.

Losing my religion,
J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA -- Sir Balthazar of Endor
(http://www.surfari.net/~2thpix/sca/tarnmist.html)
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
(http://www.ancientsites.com/users/THEOGNIS_POLYPHEMUS)
TRV– Sebastian Yeats
(http://www.thereadersvine.com/users/YEATS_SEBASTIAN)


Subject: Musing on July 18th -- By Hooke or by Crook
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000 11:40:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

Today, July 18, 1635, in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England, was born
the greatest experimental scientist of the seventeenth century. His
interests spanned mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology,
geology, architecture, and naval technology. He collaborated or
corresponded with scientists as diverse as Christian Huygens, Antony
van Leeuwenhoek,, Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton.
Yet, with all that, we do not have a picture of him nor a very good
idea of his life. His name was Robert Hooke.

Bob Hooke was educated at Westminster, and Christ Church, Oxford, and
in 1665 became professor of geometry at Gresham College, a post which
he occupied till his death. He is still known by the law which he
discovered, that the tension exerted by a stretched string is (within
certain limits) proportional to the extension, or, in other words, that
the stress is proportional to the strain. How many of us can say "amen"
to that? I thought so!

Among other accomplishments, he invented the universal joint, the iris
diaphragm, and an early prototype of the respirator; invented the
anchor escapement and the balance spring, which made more accurate
clocks possible; served as Chief Surveyor and helped rebuild London
after the Great Fire of 1666; worked out the correct theory of
combustion; assisted Robert Boyle in working out the physics of gases;
worked out the physics of elastic materials; invented or improved
meteorological instruments such as the barometer, anemometer, and
hygrometer;

I know, you are probably saying, "Okay, that is all well and good but
what else did he do?" I shall tell you, O jaded ones. Hooke built
himself a compound microscope, a real doozy with more than one lens. He
put everything he could think of under the lens: butterfly wings,
slices of cork, insects of all sorts, sponges, bird feathers. Not only
did he look at them and draw them (this was before cameras), he thought
about them. He published his book _Micrographia_ in 1665 which included
this comment on cork:

". . . I could exceedingly plainly perceive it to be all perforated and
porous. . . these pores, or cells, . . . were indeed the first
microscopical pores I ever saw, and perhaps, that were ever seen, for I
had not met with any Writer or Person, that had made any mention of
them before this."

Catch that word "cells"? He was using it as in jail or monk’s dwelling.
Yup! He named the biological cell. He was looking at what we would call
plant cell walls. Pretty important discovery.

He did not stop there. He turned his microscope on fossils: he was the
first to do so. Until Hooke’s time, folks believed that the earth made
rocks to resemble living things but they were only rocks. Bob Hooke
looked at them and drew a totally different conclusion. He noted close
similarities between the structures of petrified wood and fossil shells
on the one hand, and living wood and living mollusc shells on the
other. He concluded that the shell-like fossils that he examined really
were "the Shells of certain Shel-fishes, which, either by some Deluge,
Inundation, earthquake, or some such other means, came to be thrown to
that place." Hooke observed that many fossils represented extinct
organisms, writing "There have been many other Species of Creatures in
former Ages, of which we can find none at present. . . 'tis not
unlikely also but that there may be divers new kinds now, which have
not been from the beginning." This was 250 odd years before Charles
Darwin.

Astronomy was also where Bob Hooke could make an impact. He was the
first person to build a Gregorian reflecting telescope. He made
important astronomical observations including the fact that Jupiter
revolves on its axis and his drawings of Mars were later used to
determine its period of rotation. In 1666 he proposed that gravity
could be measured using a pendulum. He worked out the orbits of
planets and thought that their motion was due to their positions.
Further, he proposed that it was an effect which varied with the
inverse square of the distance. He sent this conjecture to Isaac
Newton. Hooke could not prove the theory in any demonstrable way, but
Newton did and got the credit. Hooke tried to call him on it but Newton
won. Newton then refused to give any credit to Hooke; he even spread
nasty rumors about Bob’s life and habits.

Bob Hooke died March 3, 1703 in London, England. The bit about no
picture: some folks said he was lean, stooped and just ugly -- I think
those folks were friends of Newton – and so did not want to sit for a
picture. Personally, I think he was just too busy.

So let us tote up what Mr. Robert Hooke gave us: the compound
microscope, watches with compensating springs, reflecting telescope,
theory of combustion, laws of compression of gases, fossils being alive
at one time, law of elasticity, rotation of Jupiter and Mars, gravity
being an inverse square phenomenon, the universal joint (hard to have
automobiles without one), iris diaphragm (need those in cameras), a
face-sucker (excuse me, a respirator), and the biological unit, which
he discovered and named, the cell.

What have we learned about this? There is a lot to do if you just don’t
watch television? Being bent and ugly might free up some time other
folks spend on dating? The stuff we take for granted had to be
discovered or invented sometime? Maybe we had best learn is from Sir
Isaac Newton, plagiarizing is okay as long as you call it research.

As always, you may forward these to any nascent scientists out there.
Just keep my name and sig attached. Sorry about the no killing or
maiming today. I thought some scientific slander would more than
compensate.

Notes:

Yesterday I said that Hagia Sophia is now a mosque. It isn’t. It became
Ayasofia (Turkish), a mosque, in 1453 but is now a museum of Byzantine
art. "Hagia" is Greek for "Holy." Thanks, for the catch to Anne Allen,
wonderful author and classicist.

Mark Somerville, a Scientist himself, notes that Hagia Sophia is still
an engineering marvel with a dome which was built without wooden center
posts. Great stone cutting!

Hey, know anybody whose birthday should be noted but isn't -- maybe
yourself or your sweety? Send me an email and I would be happy to
include a quick birthday greeting in this column on the day of their
birth. Might make a nice keepsake. Maybe not. *G*

Researching thoroughly,
J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
TRV – Sebastian Yeats


Subject: Musing on July 19 -- An Arrow Shirt with that Kilt?
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 13:47:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

On this date July 19, 1333, the English taught the French a lesson in
ballistics which they somehow failed to learn. It was on the approach
to Berwick castle, the French were there as military advisors to the
Scots. The place was Halidon Hill.

Back in 1292, the king of Scotland was John Balliol. He abdicated his
throne (actually was beaten badly in battle) to Edward I of England in
1296. Remember Longshanks? John’s actions were universally despised in
Scotland. He was dubbed "Toom Tabard" (Empty Coat) in derision of his
lack of leadership abilities. Boy, the Scots are hard on their
ineffectual leaders! Some of poor John’s problems did come about due to
a lack of help by the Bruce family but that is another story.

Then in 1332 during an "Anglo-Scots peace," Edward Balliol, John’s son,
sailed with eighty-eight ships from the Humber to Fife and fought his
way to Scone, the spot of royal Scottish coronations. Eddie B.,
claiming his family as still the true royal line, had himself crowned
King of Scotland. There was only one small problem, David (II) Bruce.

You see that with Balliol and his kin out of Scotland, there had been
an uprising or twa. William Wallace led the one in 1297, Robert the
Bruce had carried on that all the way until 1329. So, David II became
king of Scotland. David was a wee lad and Sir Archibald Douglas was his
guardian. Archie Douglas immediately swept Eddie B. out of the country
‘with one leg booted and the other bare’. The puppet-king (Eddie B.)
returned in 1333 leading an English army across the border and laying
siege to Berwick castle.

Edward III joined with Eddie Balliol in the May. By July the two Eds
together with their men set in upon Halidon Hill, a perfect vantage
point giving command of all approaches to Berwick. Edward III was the
grandson of Eddie Longshanks and quite a capable king. Remember his dad
was Eddie II who was executed by Edward III’s mom. Now Sir Archie
Douglas was in Northumberland and made for Berwick to relieve it.

The French told the Scots that they should attack and take out both
those upstart kings at once. Nice of them. A detail or two was
troubling. The only means of attack for the Scots was by working their
way through a bog before clambering up the hillside. The craven English
archers hid in the brambles along with the dismounted English infantry.
As the brave Scots attempted this jaunt the English archers picked off
their targets at ease. Those who did make it up the hill were
slaughtered by the infantry.

By the end of that day July 19, 1333 Sir Archibald, six Scottish
earls, seventy barons, five hundred knights and an unknown number of
spearmen were dead, while England’s dead numbered fourteen. That’s
right, fourteen!

Berwick, of course, fell to the English. In this single battle Edward
III destroyed the major portion of the Scottish army, secured his
northern border (all English kings have worried a touch about that),
and then felt free to go across the channel to tussle with England’s
favorite sparring partner, France. By the way, Edward III did hold onto
that title King of Scotland. He was just allowing Eddie B. to do his
dirty work.

Some have called the Battle of Halidon Hill as the first battle in the
Hundred Years War. The English tried and were incredibly successful
using archers. This lesson, as I said at the beginning, was evidently
not learned by the French. Edward III and his son, The Black Prince,
used the same tactics at Crecy and Poitiers. Henry V used them again at
Agincourt. Same effect. How unchivalric, I must say!

What have we learned from this? Never trust French advisors? Uphill
battles are always a pain? Scotland is a very confusing country but
well worth fighting for? Greatness skips a generation? I prefer:
ballistics takes the worry out of being close; or archery beats Archies
and Frenchies every time.

As always, if you know someone weird who might like these Musings, feel
free to forward them on. Do keep my name and sig. attached. Used to be
a fair hand with a bow, myself.

May St. Sebastian protect you,
J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA -- Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS -- Polyphemus Theognis
TRV -- Sebastian Yeats


Subject: Musing on June 20 -- So Lovely in Angora
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000 05:55:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

On July 20, 1402, was fought a battle which decided the religious fate
of Europe, the control of the Middle East and the area the NATO
recently bombed. It was fought by forces on one side commanded by a man
nicknamed "Lightning" and on the other side led by a guy nicknamed "The
Lame." Hard to know if the good guys won. This is the anniversary of
the Battle of Angora.

The Turks had taken most of what the Latin Eastern Empire called
Romania and were expanding into Europe. On St Vitus day, June 28, 1389,
Prince Lazarus was the supreme commander of the Christian army fighting
against the Turkish Emperor Mourat, who attacked the Serbian lands.
Lazarus was assisted by his son-in-law Vuk and the Bosnian duke Vlatko
Vukovich (gotta love these guys!) The Serbian army was defeated, and
Prince Lazarus, together with a great number of Serbian feudal lords,
were captured and killed. After the battle, the Turkish Sultan got
himself killed – okay, assassinated by a Serb. Now the Serbians still
celebrate this defeat because they at least got to whack the Turkish
bad-guy. Of course, Serbia as an independent nation then was
essentially wiped off the face of the earth.

Sultan Bayezid "The Lightning" (Yildirim Bayezid) Bayezid I became the
next Sultan of the Turks in 1389. He was known as "The Lightning"
because of his studly behavior in battle. An example might serve:
During his sultanate a great army of Crusaders was gathered together to
rout the Turks, reconquer Byzantium end seize Jerusalem. They were
besieging Nighbolou fortress near the Danube and Bayezid arrived to
lift the siege. One night he battled, alone, through the enemy troops
and reached the castle walls. Leaning casually against the wall he
shouted up at the ramparts. Hearing his voice Doghan Bey, the Commander
of the Castle, hurriedly asked what was the matter. "I have come with
my army to relieve you," Bayezid replied. "Do not surrender!" He then
sped back to his headquarters and continued the fight. How’s that for
inspiring?!

Bayezid worked to expand his territory in Asia Minor. He essentially
claimed the whole of what is now Turkey. He seemed afraid of no one and
nothing. There was only slight problems with his dreams of expansion,
that lame guy named Timur.

I have seen his name spelled Timor Lenk, Timurlane, the West called him
Tamerlane. Anyway, he spelled trouble to any of his foes. A spiritual
descendant of Gengis Khan, this Mongol was set on restoring
ruthlessness and brutality to what had become a rather staid bunch of
very cultured, stay-at-home, Islamic guys.

Timur never took up a permanent residence anywhere. He personally led
his almost constantly campaigning forces, enduring extremes of desert
heat and lacerating cold. When not campaigning he moved with his army
according to season and grazing facilities. His court traveled with
him, including his household of one or more of his nine wives and
concubines. Is that a good thing? He thought so. He strove to make his
capital, Samarkand, the most splendid city in Asia, but when he visited
it he stayed only a few days and then moved back to the pavilions of
his encampment in the plains beyond the city.

Timur was, above all, master of the military techniques developed by
Genghis Khan, using every weapon in the military and diplomatic armory
of the day. He never missed an opportunity to exploit the weakness
(political, economic, or military) of the adversary or to use intrigue,
treachery, and alliance to serve his purposes. The man was a genius.
The seeds of victory were sown among the ranks of the enemy by his
agents before an engagement. His horsemen were taught to sing "The Song
that Never Ends" in most excruciatingly high voices. He conducted
sophisticated negotiations with both neighboring and distant powers,
which are recorded in diplomatic archives from England to China. In
battle, the nomadic tactics of mobility and surprise were his major
weapons of attack.

He had been fighting up in Russia and had taken Moscow, spent a year
there just because he could, in 1395. While he was up there, his
southern lands started acting as though Timur would not come back.
Mistake.

In 1398 Timur invaded India. Well, it was just that the Muslim sultans
of Delhi were showing excessive tolerance to their Hindu subjects.
Timur was a consecrated lad. Cannot blame a guy for practicing his
faith. He crossed the Indus River on September 24 and, leaving a
slippery trail of carnage, marched on Delhi. The army of the Delhi
sultan Mahmud Tughluq was destroyed at Panipat on December 17, and
Delhi was reduced to a mass of ruins, from which it took more than a
century to emerge. By April 1399 Timur was back in his own capital. An
immense quantity of spoil was conveyed away; 90 captured elephants were
put to work to carry stones from quarries to erect a mosque at
Samarkand. Allah be praised, it is good to be a Mongol!

Timur set out before the end of 1399 on his last great expedition, in
order to spank the Mamluk sultan of Egypt and the Ottoman sultan
Bayezid I (remember Lightning) for their seizures of certain of his
territories. After restoring his "peace and prosperity" upon
Azerbaijan, he marched on Syria; Aleppo was stormed and was asked for a
small donation for its "liberators" (sacked), the Mamluk army defeated,
and Damascus occupied (1401). Damascus artisans, especially those who
worked in steel, were being corrupted and under-appreciated there.
Timur decided that they would by much safer in the capitol. The
deportation of its artisans to Samarkand did deal a fatal blow to
Damascus prosperity. Sigh, well you just have to break a few eggs to
make an omelet.

In 1401 Baghdad was also taken by storm, 20,000 of its citizens went to
meet their god, and all its monuments were destroyed. After wintering
in Georgia (just south of Atlanta), Timur invaded Anatolia (what we
call Turkey). It was outside of Angora -- the city we now call Ankara
-- that the Lightning and the Lame met in that fateful clash.

Remember Prince Lazarus of Serbia? His son, Despot Stefan (1389-1427)
was an exceptional man; a man fit for his times. A dashing man of war,
letters, and politics, he was the hero of the Battle of Angora, where
he fought as a Turkish vassal for Bayezid, the guy who helped kill his
father. Not once, not twice but three times Stefan led charges against
the Mongol host. The Mongols were justly famous for their light mounted
archers. They won the day. Stefan survived, miraculously. Sultan
Bayezid was taken prisoner but died of "grief" after seven months
imprisonment. He was just 43 years old. His corpse was brought to Bursa
and interred in his mausoleum.

As for Timur, after he destroyed the Turkish army, he went off to
capture Smyrna from the Knights of Rhodes. Having received offers of
submission from the sultan of Egypt (no fool, he) and from John VII
(then co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire with Manuel II Palaeologus),
Timur returned to home to Samarkand (1404) to change horses and to
prepare for an expedition to China. Hey, he was running out of folks to
bring into the Greater Mongol Coprosperity Sphere. He got sick on the
way and died in February 1405. Nothing mammalian could have touched
him; it had to be microbial.

His body was embalmed, laid in an ebony coffin, and sent to Samarkand,
where it was buried in the incredible tomb called Gur-e Amir. When the
Russians opened Timur’s coffin in the 1940s, they found the corpse of a
rather tall Mongol, well-built, but lame in both his right arm and leg.
Just in case you thought he was being slammed with that name. His sons
fought over the vast empire.

The Ottoman Turks took enough time to reorganize after Angora that
Europe finally realized the threat and stopped their advance. We might
all have been Moslem today if that hadn’t happened.

What have we learned from this? A Mongol on the roof is quite a
daunting sight; it may not mean a thing but then, again, it might?
Archery is a great persuader? Two go in, one comes out? Pay your taxes
and no one gets hurt? How about, if you ain’t got your health, you got
nothing?

As always, if you forward these, please leave my name and sig intact.
Got some Mongol friends, myself.

Taking care of my health,
J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA—Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
TRV – Sebastian Yeats


Subject: Musing on July 21st -- Shrewsbury but not Hotspur
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000 23:46:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

On this day, July 21, 1403 (a year and a day from the Battle of
Angora), a rebel alliance of Northumberland, Scotland, and Wales was
met by the king’s force near the border of Wales. It is still
remembered in one of Shakespeare’s great plays, Henry IV part 1. The
town and the battle is known as Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury is not the home of the Guosim Shrews (Guerrilla Union of
Shrews in Mossflower) no matter what any shrew tells you. It is a major
crossing point of the river Severn, a gateway into the often
obstreperous Wales, and a supply base for any expedition going in or
out of Wales. The royal army of Hank IV, Lancaster king, had to take
Shrewsbury before the Percy family and a feisty fighter, Owain Glyn Dwr
(Owen Glendower to the English), could.

The Percies of Northumberland had helped Hank IV just a few years
before take the English throne from Richard II. They were great
fighters, figured the king owed them a bunch, also figured the king had
gotten uppity and forgotten who had been there at the beginning. See
Hank IV had sort of promised Cumbria (up toward Scotland) to the
Percies but then forgot their promise and deeded it over to a rival
faction.

In June 1403 Sir Henry Percy took about 200 of his men on a ride-about
down to Cheshire from the north country. They were just surveying the
place and looking to see if anyone else wanted to ride with them.
Strangely enough, a band of Welsh archers joined them as well. Harmless
enough. I mean, a guy named Percy cannot be too careful when riding
around. If folks love him and want to protect him, is it his fault? I
say no.

Around July 12th Hank IV happened to be out keeping the peace,
attending Renfaires, kissing babies, judging pudding contests: the
usual kingly stuff. He was in Nottingham when he heard that Percy was
trucking around with a rather large gang of well-armed troops. He
turned his folks to go meet his old friend who seemed to have some
unexpressed aggression. It was only a matter of time before there was
either going to be a group hug or some serious slaying.

Percy was hoping his old buddy Owen Glendower could make the shindig.
Owen sent his regrets. Seems there was a Welsh Scrabble tourney planned
and Owen was entered. Welsh Scrabble is a full-contact contest. The
only vowels are y and w and one must be prepared to kill someone to get
them. Double letter score if the slain is English. So Owen was occupied
and Percies had to make do. Douglas from Scotland was also indisposed.
Sigh.

The armies met in the vicinity of Shrewsbury from opposite directions a
couple of days before. On the night of the 20th, the royal forces set
up on much better ground than the rebels. This was important because
the royals also had more troops. The estimate of the sides range from
60,000 to 14, 000 royals vs. 20,000 to 5,000 rebels. Most agree that
the rebels were outnumbered three to one.

The armies waited for each other, on July 21st, out of bow range while
negotiators tried to get that group hug going. Guess Hank IV finally
got tired of all the talking, saw he had numbers, experience, and
ground over the rebels. He gave the order to advance.

Both sides had archers. Lots of archers. The vanguard of each side
found itself skewered like St. Sebastian within minutes. Heck, a good
longbowman can get 12 arrows a minute up and into an enemy. Think about
that. The sky was dark with goose-quilled arrows. It got to hand to
hand very quickly and there the numbers paid off for the royals. Still
the rebels were giving it a game try until the word went up that
Hotspur (Harry Percy, heir to the Percy tribe) was dead. Things fell
horribly apart. It was a slaughter that chroniclers shuddered to tell.
Thousands fell.

Over three hundred knights were killed outright or died of wounds,
about 20,000 men fell immediately. Several more thousand died later of
wounds. It is reported that 1500 were buried in an unmarked mass grave.
Harry "Hotspur" Percy was decently buried at Whitchurch in Shropshire
but Hank IV was still mad about the whole Percy thing. He had Hotspur
dug back up and put on display to prove he was dead. The kindly king
also then had Hotspur’s remains divided into quarters and ridden around
the country to prove he was dead. By November (whew!) the king allowed
Hotspur’s wife to have what remained for burial.

Three years later, Sir Roger Hussey who lived nearby, had a church of
St. Mary Magdalen erected near the site of the battle where folks could
pray for all the dead. It is still there.

What have we learned? Numbers, location, experience, and archery sure
can make a difference? I keep harping on archery as being important.
Ballistics like arrows and bullets allow men to kill other men at a
distance. Somehow it depersonalizes warfare. So do closed visors, I
guess. Kings sometimes forget promises and get really mad when you
remind them? How about, Scrabble tourneys can make fools of us all?
That goes out to the best Scrabble player I know, Susan Howe.

As always, forward these to whomever but leave my name and sig.
attached.

Thinking Mary Magdalen is a cool saint,
J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
TRV – Sebastian (not a saint) Yeats


Subject: Musing on July 22 -- French Hairdresser Wanted
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 09:51:30 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

July 22nd was St. Mary Magdalen Day. I did my best to celebrate it but
as the old expression goes, I had a headache.

I do not want to step on anyone’s Golden Calf-skin Slippers here. We
all have our own convictions. Just some small note about the sainted
lady. Have you wondered about the name Magdalen? There are at least two
thoughts about it. There was a town, Magdala, right near Tiberias
(remember that short walk the Templars made on July 3-4th?) on the west
shore of the sea of Galilee. There is also a Talmudic expression
meaning “curling women’s hair,” or hairdresser. The Talmud explains
that hairdresser also means adulteress. Meditate upon that for a
second. Is that a kind thing to say about hairdressers? Like Dolly
Parton in "Steel Magnolias" could not have gotten her own boyfriend?
And what about Warren Beatty? Yeah!

So we have a Mary (not the J. guy’s mom) who was either a hairdresser,
adulteress, or a gal from Magdala. Maybe all three. St. Mark also says
she had seven devils cast out of her. Wonder what that looked like? I
mean before the age of special effects, what did a person possessed
look or act like? Probably you would not want to be around them. Surely
you would not want them to curl your hair. Some folks also think this
Mary was the sister to Martha and Lazarus. St. Luke says that Mary
Magdalen followed Jesus and ministered to him. Some also claim it was
this Mary who anointed Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them dry
with her hair. All four of the gospels say she was at the foot of the
cross, saw Jesus laid in the tomb and was the first witness to the
Resurrection. Pretty darned important lady in my opinion.

There is much dispute as to what happened to her next. The Greek
Orthodox church says she went off with the Blessed Virgin Mary to
Ephesus. When she died, her remains were transferred to Constantinople
in 886. There is a French tradition that Mary M., brother Lazarus, and
some other folk went to Marselles and converted the whole of Provence.
Fact is, there is a grotto in La Sainte-Baume which is said to hold the
head of St. Mary Magdalen. Cool place for a pilgrimage, the south of
France. Beats going to Turkey.

I would be remiss if I did not include one other speculation. Michael
Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln in their books (_The Holy
Blood and Holy Grail_ and _The Messianic Legacy_) say that Mary
Magdalen was pregnant when she came to France. Her offspring became the
Merovingian kings of France and are now known as the Priory of Sion
(French spelling of Zion). Yes, they believe that Mary the hairdresser
was pregnant by Jesus, shocking as that may seem. I am not going to
debate these points; just bringing them to your attention.

Now parts of my family are really proud to be descendants of a guy who
fought in the American Revolution. I doubt if there would be any living
with them if they thought they were descendants of Jesus.

So what can we learn from any of this? History is written about folks
long dead by folks with their own axes to grind? The French think that
they are part of the Holy Family? Convictions make convicts? How about
even a hairdresser with seven devils in her can be forgiven and loved?
I think I agree.

As always, if you want to forward these, leave my name and sig.
attached.

Looking for a hairdresser with a few less devils,
J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
TRV – Sebastian Yeats


Subject: Musing on July 23rd -- The Prize of Peace
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 21:02:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

On this day July 23, 1343, Casimir the Great in the town of Kalisz
signed a peace treaty with a band of tough dude knights which gave away
Pomerania and ensured that his country could have a chance at
tranquility, unity, and access to the sea.

Toward the end of the 13th century, Poland was divided into
increasingly small duchies. This division (what we now call
Balkanization) was a hassle for everyone except the dukes who
controlled the parcels. The Catholic church found it to be a bother
because their diocese borders were not the same as the provinces. Every
petty tyrant wanted to be important and make businesses pay extra for
trade. Warsaw did not even belong to Poland. Foreign invaders could
just walk in and take a small duchy and no one would come to their aid.
Who would want to build a town in a place like that? It was a mess.

Don’t get me wrong, there was a real perception of the need to unify.
Problem was, who was going to do it and take credit? Like rival street
gangs, everyone knew outside boys were going to bust their chops but
who should rule the place: Crips? Bloods? Warriors? Baseball Furies?
The Church? Knights? Nobility? Burghers?

While all of this thinking was going on, Gdansk Pomerania was seized by
the Teutonic Knights in the years 1308-1309. The loss of Pomerania and
of Poland's access to the Baltic Sea were ominous events, as they
ushered in a long period of wars between Poland and the Teutonic Order
for the recovery of those territories. As we saw with the former Soviet
Union, access to the sea is a very important thing for any country who
hopes to trade with others at a distance.

During the first few decades of the 14th century, Poland was the
weakest of those sovereign kingdoms facing a constant threat from the
alliance between the Czechs and Teutonic Knights. Ladislaus the Short,
King of Poland, in his struggle to recover Pomerania, took advantage of
the Pope's support and of the alliance with Hungary, but neither a
court trial before the papal envoys, which he won, nor an armed
struggle, brought the desired effect. Sometimes one must think in
different directions.

His son and successor, Casimir [Kazimierz] the Great (1333-1370), one
of the most outstanding Polish rulers, made peace with the Teutonic
Knights on this day in 1343, giving away Pomerania as "an eternal alms"
to them. By giving that, he then could bargain for the recovery of
other lands held by the Order. He also made John of Luxembourg give up
his claim to the Polish crown. Okay, he had to give Silesia on Poland’s
western border over to Bohemia. Nothing comes for free.

Once Poland was at peace, Casimir got to work encouraging new villages
and towns. He promoted trade and helped get some rules for extracting
salt, lead, silver and iron. He established a unified state currency
which just had to help trade. As far as governing, he included lots of
folks on his advisory counsel and actually listened to them! He
actually separated the concept of the crown and the king – something
folks in some medieval recreation groups have yet to understand
completely. He set up border-guarding castles and reformed the army.
Heck, he even sponsored the first Polish university, the Krakow Academy
in 1364.

Toward the end of Casimir’s reign, the population of Poland was about 2
million. The population density increased by at least a factor of 2
from a century or two before. Polish culture diffused to over one
million folks outside its borders. Within the kingdom Jews, Germans,
Ruthenians all lived with native Poles.

Casimir had no lawful son. He concluded a treaty with Louis Angevin,
the King of Hungary, so that when Casimir died the crown went to Louis.
Louis eventually bartered away many privileges to Polish knights (not
the Teutonic ones) in order to secure the recognition of one of his
daughters as an heir. Well, knights need stuff, too. Rather sweet,
actually, that he wanted his daughter to reign.

What have we learned from this? Access to the sea is everything?
Everybody wants to rule Gdansk? Sometimes it pays to think outside the
Czechs? Caring means sharing? How about a country generally does lots
better when it is at peace? King, Rodney said it best, “Can’t we all
just get along?”

As always, if you can find someone not reading these and want those
unfortunates to be enlightened, informed, entertained or just plain
annoyed at spamming their mailbox, go ahead and forward them. Please,
leave my name and sig. attached.

A little over an eighthton knight,
J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
TRV – Sebastian Yeats


Subject: Musting on July24th -- Shaft in Antioch
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 21:38:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpx@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

Today, July 24, marks the deaths of two saints: one who stood up on a
pillar, the other who stood up to the Scourge of God.

Let’s go with the pole sitter or stander first, shall we? Simeon the
Stylite spent thirty-seven years of his life standing on a pillar in
the desert around Antioch. Now some radio DJs think that being up on a
cherry picker an entire weekend is a tough gig! Simeon was not what
anyone would call a very worldly man; you probably know someone a lot
like him in your life. He got religion really hard at a young age. He
was listening to his first sermon, “Blessed are the pure of heart,” and
some Divine force got hold of him. He asked the preacher, and this was
around 400 CE, how to become pure of heart. The preacher answered that
becoming a monk might be the best thing. Simeon signed up but a voice
told him to “dig ever deeper.”

After ten years of monkish life, he got permission to become a hermit.
He built himself a round enclosure and shackled his leg to a pole in
the center so he could not leave. This strange behavior worried the
established church at the time. The bishop of Antioch came out and told
Simeon to quit the chained-for-God bit. Simeon did obey. I think the
bishop and other prelates were worried because Simeon was getting some
good press out of all of this. Folks came by to gawk and then to ask
Simeon advice. God only knows that pretty soon the folks would expect
to see the bishop out there in rags, chained to a post. That would
never do.

It was those crowds who first made Simeon think of living higher up,
out of their reach. Just like at a rock concert, folks that came by
wanted to take a bit of clothing for a souvenir. Simeon did not have a
lot to give them. He built a platform nine feet high on a shaft
(stylos in Greek), to prevent people from grabbing him while he was at
prayer. And he did pray! One biographer, Theoderet, stopped counting
Simeon’s prayerful bows at over 1244 in one session. The nine feet one
was not enough, folks could still interrupt him to ask silly questions
like how did he sleep and where was the nearest clean rest room. So
Simeon kept building up. He built an 18 foot one, a 33 foot one, and
eventually one over 60 feet tall.

As to the visitors’ questions, he slept tied to a pole on the top of
the pillar. Sometimes he slept leaning over a small railing around the
top. He did not sleep or eat much. Clean restrooms were in the gas
station down the street, just like the always are. And no, he did not
get off the pillar to do that. Don’t ask.

So Simeon stood there, talked with God, got as close to Heaven as he
could on Earth. He was sort of a wick on the candle of God. How is that
for a pretty conceit? He was snuffed on this date 459 CE. (Hey, I could
not taper off.)

Now about the other guy who stood up to the Scourge of God. You do know
the title, do you not? That was Attila the Hun. The saint’s name was
Lupus (how’s that, Wolfie?) Lupus, called in French "Loup", was born at
Toul, Gaul. He married the sister of St. Hilary of Arles, but after six
years of marriage they parted by mutual agreement. That was before
California divorce courts. He gave his wealth to the poor instead of
the ex-wife and her lawyers, entered Lerins Abbey under St. Honoratus,
and about 426 CE was named Bishop of Troyes. In 429 CE, he accompanied
St. Germanus of Auxerre to Britain to combat Pelagianism there, and on
his return, devoted himself to his episcopal duties.

I know there are some folks out there who just have to know what
Pelagianism is. Well, it is bad! Stop doing it! Now, are you any better
off? Okay, Pelagianism, in Christian theology, is a rationalistic and
naturalistic heretical doctrine concerning grace and morals, which
emphasizes human free will as the decisive element in human
perfectibility and minimizes or denies the need for divine grace and
redemption. Or, so you think your works will get you into Heaven? Think
again! Can we move along now?

In about 450 CE Attila, King of the Huns, moved his folks into Gaul.
They were cruising, hanging out, demonstrating trick riding and some
archery to the locals. They were a long way from home and wanted
company. This was before USOs which were built just to avoid this kind
of behavior. It is told that when Attila was approaching the town of
Troyes in 453 CE, Lupus got all dolled up in his bishop robes,
vestments and hat and met Attila at the gates. When Lupus asked Mr. A
who he was, Attila told him “Man, they call me ‘The Scourge of God!’”

Lupus looked up at him, blinked his baby-blues at this shaggy, smelly,
rugged, bloody conqueror and said, “Well, if you are the instrument of
God, you can only do what God gives you to do.” This confused Attila.
He spared the town, took Lupus over his saddle and headed out. When
Attila was defeated at Chalons, Lupus was accused of helping him escape
and was forced to leave Troyes. He lived as a hermit for two years and
then was allowed to return to Troyes. Lupus supposedly died on this
date in 478 CE. I don’t know. Maybe Lupus and Attila had more in
common than you might think. Scourges were pretty heavily used by the
more extreme Christians of the day. It said so in one of my books.

So what have we learned here? Some folks get high in rather unusual
ways? A wolf and a Hun can get along pretty well if both set good
boundaries? Pelagianism will get you whacked and then thrown into the
lake of eternal fire? No matter how holy you are trying to be, some
folks just got to ask dumb questions? In a divorce, some folks get the
Hun and some just get the stylos? How about the established church just
will never understand those who talk directly with the Divine Presence?

As always and ever, you want to show these heretical musings to others
(and are relatively unafraid to the lake of fire), go right ahead. Do
keep my name and sig. attached lest you be taken for a Pelagianist.

Looking for a clean restroom in life,
J. Ellsworth Weaver

SCA – Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS – Polyphemus Theognis
TRV – Sebastian Yeats


Subject: Musing on July 25th -- Big Jim and the Creed
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 14:14:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ellsworth Weaver <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

Dear Folk,

Happy St. James the Greater Day! On July 25, 44 CE, James son of
Zebedee was executed by sword due to the decree of King Herod Agrippa
I, they killed him with a sword in an early persecution of the
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 <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

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 <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

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
England.

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
arrived

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
date.

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 <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

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
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
England.

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 <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

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
kingly.

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
duke.

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
Jerusalem.

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 <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

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
Islam.

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 <astroweaver@yahoo.com>
To: 2thpix@surfari.net

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
II).

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

<the end>


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