1311

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Removing the King's Power, Rather than Removing the King

Last year King Edward II of England was faced with a dilemma: accept restrictions on his power or die at the hands of the barons. Today the King signed the Ordinances of 1311 that will work similar to the Oxford Provisions of 1258. A committee will review the King's expenditures and require a clean sweep of the administration. Unfortunately it is easier to pass a law that it is to make it work. A few of the King's friends will be shown the door, but the underlying bureaucracy will remain. The Ordinances will be repealed in 11 years but one ordinance will remain: all monies shall go through the Office of the Exchequer. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
As you can imagine, the Office of the Exchequer becomes a very powerful office. Other parts of the government end up reserving rooms located in the Office of the Exchequer including many barons and judges. It is considered a good place to keep secrets. One can speculate as to a possible conspiracy, but it is strictly circumstantial. The Office must have survived because it served the purposes of everyone.

Inquisition by the Numbers

Bernardo Gui is the Inquisitor of Toulouse (France) and he has developed an method of extracting confessions from suspected heretics that is the very model of... efficiency and various other words starting with the letter "E". He has even written his method down for all to admire. His work will become so famous he will be portrayed in the movie: "The Name of the Rose" starring Sean Connery and a very young, Christian Slater. [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
An example of an inquisition can be chilling. The pious actually wished to be caught and corrected.


Inquisitor: I ask whether the body there is of the Lord who was born of the Virgin, hung on the cross, arose from the dead, ascended, etc.

And you, sir, do you not believe it?

Inquisitor: I believe it wholly.

I believe likewise.

Inquisitor: You believe that I believe it, which is not what I ask, but whether you believe it.

If you wish to interpret all that I say otherwise than simply and plainly, then I don't know what to say. I am a simple and ignorant man. Pray don't catch me in my words.

Inquisitor: If you are simple, answer simply, without evasions.

Willingly.

Inquisitor: Will you then swear that you have never learned anything contrary to the faith which we hold to be true?

(Growing pale) If I ought to swear, I will willingly swear.

Inquisitor: I don't ask whether you ought, but whether you will swear.

If you order me to swear, I will swear.

Inquisitor: I don't force you to swear, because as you believe oaths to be unlawful, you will transfer the sin to me who forced you; but if you will swear, I will hear it.

Why should I swear if you do not order me to?

Inquisitor: So that you may remove the suspicion of being a heretic.

Sir, I do not know how unless you teach me.

Inquisitor: If I had to swear, I would raise my hand and spread my fingers and say, "So help me God, I have never learned heresy or believed what is contrary to the true faith."

Then trembling as if he cannot repeat the form, he will stumble along as though speaking for himself or for another, so that there is not an absolute form of oath and yet he may be thought to have sworn. If the words are there, they are so turned around that he does not swear and yet appears to have sworn. [9]

It's a Downhill Battle All the Way

The Catalan Company is a group of mercenaries "easier to hire than they are to dismiss" as the historian John Norwich puts it. Duke Walter V of Brienne has hired them to subdue Athens. With that task done, the Company wants their pay, but Duke Walter outnumbers the Company by more than 3 to 1. Walter leads his attack with 700 Frankish knights but gets bogged down in the soft soils around the River Cephissus. The Company is lightly armed and mobile. Only two knights survive. The Catalan Company takes Walter's duchy from him and rule it until 1379. [10] [11] [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Lesson learned: PAY YOUR PEOPLE. When you pay someone to destroy others efficiently, remember that they can destroy you too... just as efficiently. Don't give them a reason to do so. Live up to your agreements and pray that they will live up to theirs.

See Also

References

  1. Edward II of England: The Ordinances of 1311, everyhistory.org, 2013 [last update]
  2. Henderson, Robert. The Ordinances Of 1311, from England Calling, 2014 [last update]
  3. Tout, Thomas Frederick. The Place of the Reign of Edward II in English History, New York: Longmans, Green & Company. 1914. pp. 28-29, 51-57. (BOOK)
  4. Edward II of England: War with the Barons - Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org, 2014 [last update]
  5. Ordinances of 1311 - Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org, 2014 [last update]
  6. Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster - Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org, 2014 [last update]
  7. Bernard Gui - Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org, 2014 [last update]
  8. The Name of the Rose - Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org, 2014 [last update]
  9. Internet History Sourcebooks Project: Bernard Gui: Inquisitorial Technique, from H. C. Lea, trans., A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1887), Vol. 1, pp. 411-414.
  10. Muntaner, Ramón. Chronicle, translated by Lady Goodenough, Cambridge, Ontario: In Parenthesis Publications. 2000. (PDF)
  11. Norwich, John Julius (John J. Norwich, bio). Byzantium: Volume 3: Decline and Fall. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1995. p. 272. (BOOK)
  12. Walter V, Count of Brienne - Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org, 2014 [last update]
  13. Battle of the Cephissus - Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org, 2014 [last update]

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