1295

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Marco Polo from 15 to 40 in One Trip

Marco Polo was 15 when he left Venice for China with his father and uncle to meet Kublai Khan. After years of forced servitude to the Khan, Marco wangles a trip back home by way of escorting the Khan's daughter to Persia to be married. Now Marco is 40 years old and returning to his native Venice, but things have changed. Venice is at war with Genoa, so Marco will join the war commanding a galley. Galleys are essentially very large rowboats with a single sail and small canons mounted all around. They are built for speed and close-in fighting near the coast. Earlier models were built for ramming.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I don't think Marco Polo was completely in servitude to Kublai Khan. He had too many opportunities to slip away and he was given too many critical responsibilities to be untrusted. I've seen some scholars suggest that Marco Polo was hoping that the Khan would convert to Catholicism since he showed an interest. Maybe. The Khan had supported the building of a church in the capital city but there is no evidence he ever converted.

Auld Alliance at Odds with England

In the modern day the "Auld Alliance" refers to various bars and restaurants but in 1295 it means something ominous, the sound of the war. King John Balliol was selected by King Edward I of England to rule over Scotland as his puppet, but King John has set his hand to a mutual defense treaty with France, the country against which King Edward has just declared war. Next year the Scottish War of Independence will begin. King John will be forced to abdicate the throne, accept exile and have the Scottish arms from his "coat of arms" removed. He will thereafter be known as Toom Tabard, meaning "Empty Coat" but there is a man who will take extreme exception to this humiliation. His name is Sir William Wallace... portrayed in film Braveheart. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
My sense is that King John Balliol was not a strong-willed man which was probably why King Edward selected him as King of Scotland in the first place. But even a weak man will give the powers-that-be the middle finger when provoked enough. He signed the treaty with France even though he must have known that King Edward would never stand for it. Regarding the film, Braveheart, I am told the film takes liberties with history but I've not seen it myself.

The First Parliament Convened... The Second Time

King Edward I of England has convened the first English Parliament. However, this is the SECOND such Parliament to have been convened. The first was convened in 1265 while King Henry III and PRINCE Edward I were being held captive by Earl Simon de Montfort during the Second Baron's War. Simon managed to organize an election and convene the Parliament but once Prince Edward escaped and dispatched Simon to his reward, Edward nullified everything. Now he is repeating the work of Simon de Montfort and it's about time. [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It seems strange that King Edward I of England would convene a parliament in a manner virtually the same way that Earl Simon de Montfort did in 1265, but Simon was right and Simon's only crime in Edward's eyes was that he wasn't a real Englishman. This reminds me of the civil rights legislation offered by President Eisenhower (Republican) in 1957. Although the Civil Rights Act of 1957 passed. Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson (Democrat) would severely weaken the law so as to not embarrass the Democrat Party with a negative vote and give the big win on civil rights to the Republicans. As President, Johnson would sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law abolishing most forms of segregation. [14]

See Also

References

  1. Marco Polo Timeline
  2. Venetian Galley, 1500s
  3. Marco Polo by Kallie Szczepanski
  4. Galley - Wikipedia
  5. "Off Armageddon Reef" by David Weber, a nominal science fiction novel that explores the possibility of bringing a medieval civilization into the modern age by first showing them how to make galleys obsolete in war.
  6. The Auld Alliance
  7. The Auld Alliance between France and Scotland
  8. The 5th of July 1295 AD Scotland and France form their 'Auld Alliance'
  9. John Balliol - Wikipedia
  10. Auld Alliance - Wikipedia
  11. William Wallace, Braveheart - Wikipedia
  12. "Reforms of Simon de Montfort (1258-65)", maintained by Jon Roland of the Constitution Society
  13. Model Parliament - Wikipedia
  14. Civil Rights Act of 1957 - Wikipedia

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