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Marco Polo and the Missing Malaysian Airliner

As he lay dying in his home in Venice, his friends and relatives ask him to say that it was all a mistake. "I have not told half of what I saw," he replies and passes away at the age of 69. His famous book, "The Travels of Marco Polo," became controversial but quite popular. His book will inspire Christopher Columbus to find a easier road to the Far East and he will carry a copy of "The Travels" on his voyage across the Atlantic and make notes in the margins. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
As I was researching I found a connection between Marco Polo and the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 mystery. Netflix has been producing an original series on Marco Polo and one of their martial arts stuntmen was on the flight. Ju Kun was making a quick hop home to spend some time with his family. He is presumed dead. Aside from Marco Polo, he was the stunt double for Jet Li in many of his movies.[5] [6]

The Defender of Peace

In a struggle for power between Pope John XXII and the Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV, the Pope has excommunicated the Emperor. Seeking support, the Emperor calls upon Marsiligio of Padua to find some scriptural or logical way to thwart the Pope's excommunication. The result is a document entitled "Defensor Pacis," The Defender of Peace. This document lays out the power of Kings over the Church and relegating the Pope to a lesser role along with several other ideas designed to reduce the power of the Pope over the King. Naturally, the Pope will reject this document. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Amazingly the Emperor was not destroyed by the Pope's excommunication as earlier rulers had been so in a sense this document worked. Marsiligio of Padua had recently learned Aristotelian logic and fell in love with it as most people do who look into it. The Pope wasn't too happy with it though. [13]

First Witch to Be Burned at the Stake

Petronilla is the handmaid of a woman who has recently lost her husband... the fourth one, in fact, who reported that he had the strangest suspicion that his wife was poisoning him. The authorities want to talk to Petronilla and after a vigorous interrogation, Petronilla admits she and her mistress, Dame Alice Kyteler, are witches who use magic spells on sticks of wood and fly. This admission causes Dame Alice to flee to parts unknown. Petronilla de Meath will have the dubious distinction of being the first to be burned at the stake in Ireland for witchcraft. This brings to mind the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and 1693 but those convicted of witchcraft were hung... not burned. [14] [15] [16] [17]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The burning of witches was considered and act of mercy, a way to save the soul of the witch. As such, many women accused of witchcraft were grateful to be caught and burned. [18] Torture was part of the old Roman justice system and although they had eliminated trial by fire and trial by drowning, they still had the rare "trial by combat" amongst aristocrats. Torture was expected. The expectation was somewhat similar to the rubber hoses used in the American justice system of the early 1900s. It was unpleasant but depending on the crime, it was expected. [19]

See Also


  1. Marco Polo. HISTORY.com (A&E Television Networks, LLC), 2014 [last update]
  2. Rosenberg, Matt. Marco Polo-Biography of Marco Polo, about.com, 2007-Aug-19 [last update]
  3. Bréhier, Louis. "Marco Polo." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 18 Mar. 2014.
  4. Marco Polo Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story, Biography.com (A&E Television), 2014 [last update]
  5. Fleming, Jr, Mike. 'Marco Polo' Crew Mourns Ju Kun; Asst Martial Arts Choreographer Is Among Missing On Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Yahoo Movies, 2014-Mar-10.
  6. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Marsiligio of Padua. Defensor Pacis (Conclusions). Internet History Sourcebooks Project. Fordham.edu, 1324.
  8. Simpson, Scott R. A Critique of the Defender of Peace, webcitation.org, 2002
  9. Salembier, Louis. "Marsilius of Padua." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 17 Mar. 2014.
  10. Louis IV (Ludwig IV), Holy Roman Emperor - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. Defensor pacis - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  12. Marsilius of Padua - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. Adler, Mortimer J., Aristotle for Everyone: Difficult Thought Made Easy. New York: Macmillan. 1978. (BOOK)
  14. 1324: Petronilla de Meath, the first Irish woman burned for heresy. ExecutedToday.com, 2011-Nov-3.
  15. Dwyer, Finbar. (author of "Witches, Spies & Stockholm Syndrome: Life In Medieval Ireland") Special: Ireland's first Witchburning. Irish History Podcast, 2011-Aug-11. (PODCAST)
  16. Alice Kyteler - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  17. Salem witch trials - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  18. Burke, James. The Day the Universe Changed (TV Series) - Wikipedia, Episode 10: "Worlds Without End, Changing Knowledge, Changing Reality". BBC Science and Features. 1985. Time Mark: 6:67 to 12:27. (TV SERIES)
  19. Frank Buccieri (1936: judge allows rubber hose beating) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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