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No Zeros, No Way!

Florence bans the use of those newfangled Hindu-Arabic numerals. The abacists (meaning "those who write in the dust") are resisting the concept of a zero and decimal places introduced to Europe almost a century earlier by Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa. Since God is everywhere, the idea of "nothing" is so foreign to them that it is seen as unnatural. Mathematics takes one in the shorts for now. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Computer programmers will recognize Fibonacci numbers as that sequence of 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc. since it was an elementary "first computer program" project for most of us in college. And Fibonacci numbers can be found everywhere... like the branching of a tree or the growth of a rabbit population or bee population... or Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" OR THE STOCK MARKET with something called Fibonacci retracements. Florence is known as "the cradle of the Renaissance" but someone forgot to "burp the baby" today. [3][4][5][6][7]

John I of Holland is Down for the Count

Put on your detective hats. Here are the facts: in 1296 John I of Holland is 13 years old and the new Count of Holland. He is the son of Count Floris V of Holland, recently deceased in a plot to kidnap him, organized by King Edward I of England. Shortly thereafter King Edward has Young John come to England to educate him and to marry his daughter, Elizabeth, two years John's senior. Young John returns to Holland in 1297, without his new wife and tries to rule Holland through a regent who is neutral toward England. His regent is killed by a mob. Young John's wife finally shows up, arriving with King Edward, himself. John's new regent is a cousin, John II of Avesnes. Young John I drops dead shortly thereafter... of bad water ... at age 15. John II of Avesnes becomes the new Count. Does anyone suspect anything? [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The death of John I ends a great line of leaders for Holland but Holland is already well on its way. They will become the financial center of the universe in time. And as much as I'd like to suspect King Edward I of England of murdering John I, I really suspect John II. He had the most to gain and John II had little love for England so I don't think he was in a conspiracy with King Edward.

Marco Polo Pops Out a Popular Travelogue from Prison

Marco Polo is captured at sea in battle while captaining a Venetian galley ship against Genoa. He is thrown in prison and dictates his famous "Travels of Marco Polo" from his prison cell to a fellow prisoner, Rustichello of Pisa who is actually a romance novelist. In this same year peace breaks out between Genoa and Venice and Marco Polo is released. His book, "The Travels of Marco Polo" or "The Description of the World" is received with skepticism by scholars but it will become popular and make him famous. It will also make the Silk Road popular, the road that the Black Plague will travel along to decimate Europe in the mid-1300s but for now all is well. [10] [11] [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Marco Polo's accounts sound like a lot of hooey, but it is all we have to go on from a European perspective during that period. What is clear is that the 13th century has been a century of growth and prosperity but famine is coming, a mini Ice Age and the Silk Road will be the path of the Black Plague. Hindsight is so clear. What must those people have been thinking then?

See Also


  1. "The Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages: Leonardo Fibonacci", Norman F. Cantor, general editor, Viking Penguin, 1999, p.167
  2. Abacus, Wikipedia
  3. Fibonacci_numbers. N.N. Vorob'ev (originator), Encyclopedia of Mathematics.
  4. Scientists find clues to the formation of Fibonacci spirals in nature by Lisa Zyga, May 1, 2007
  5. Fibonacci retracement, Wikipedia
  6. Fibonacci Retracements, StockCharts, Chart Analysis (using examples of PetsMart and Target stock fluctuations)
  7. The Da Vinci Code (Film), in the film the curator writes a Fibonacci sequence in his own blood as a clue
  8. The history of Holland and the story of its ancient Capital and Residence Dordrecht, Part 2 by L. C. Geerts
  9. John I, Count of Holland, Wikipedia
  10. Marco Polo and His Travels, from the Silkroad Foundation, 2000.
  11. The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian by Marco Polo, translated and edited with notes, by Colonel Henry Yule, 1871
  12. The Description of the World, by Marco Polo, translated and annotated by A.C. Moule & Paul Pelliot, 1938
  13. The Travels of Marco Polo, Wikipedia

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