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No Pay. No Way.

German mercenaries have been paid by the Venetians to break up the siege at the Castle Montecchio near Tuscany, Italy but as the Germans come over the horizon, the forces of Verona surrounding the castle, high-tail it and run, abandoning their camp and all of their supplies. The Germans break the siege without a fight, but since they didn't draw a sword, the Council of Venice has refused to pay them. NO FIGHT. NO PAY. So the Germans go on strike. No pay. No way. For the next few weeks if any Veronan force attacked the Venetians, the Germans refused to engage them. The German mercenaries finally agree to arbitration and resume the fight but in the meantime, the Veronans have had the opportunity to bring in the harvest, replenish their stores, and regroup. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Whoever came up with the aphorism "penny wise and pound foolish" must have been thinking of the Council of Venice or almost any government agency. The Council had ALREADY budgeted the money. They got what they wanted, a break in the siege. What were they thinking? Most of the really well-trained and effective armies were mercenaries. You didn't want to round up a bunch of serfs, place a spear in their hands and expect them to fight effectively, so if you were in a war in the Middle Ages and you wanted to win, you hired the best mercenaries you could find and paid them well.... because... IF YOU DIDN'T PAY THEM you became the target.

A Grave Plague

Grave stones of Nestorian Christians found near Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgizstan have inscriptions referring to plague in 1338. The Plague will move into northern India, Kurdistan eventually reaching Constantinople nine years later. The Plague is moving slowly but steadily. Since Issyk Kul is a major hub along the Silk Road, this suggests that the Plague followed the Silk Road until it reached Constantinople and spread quickly from there. Other scholars suggest that the Plague followed the Mongol armies and jumped to Genoan ships when they escaped the Mongol invasion. Ghost ships will be reported as grounding themselves on the coast of Norway. The coastal residents, sensing a commercial opportunity, will board the ships and offload a cargo of death. But that is all in the future. For now, it's a beautiful day on the Black Sea. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The average person of the Middle Ages has a daily, relentless fight with bedbugs and fleas and too much bathing is seen as unhealthy. Also... while fleas are the normal transmission vector for bubonic plague, the Plague can become airborne as PNEUMONIC plague, transmitted from human to human via coughing. Crowded conditions in cold weather just about guarantees infection. This is probably what devastated Europe since the disease did not let up in winter as one would expect with a strictly flea-borne disease.

What is the lesson for the modern day? Keep your body and clothes reasonably clean. Make your home reasonably pest free. When in doubt, quarantine. Even though there are drugs that will fight the Plague today, you don't want this. You don't want this. [7] [8]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1338, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Hindley, Geoffrey. Medieval Siege and Siegecraft, New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2009. pp. 148-149. (BOOK)
  2. Black Death in Asia: Bubonic Plague, Kallie Szczepanski, About.com.
  3. Black Death - Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org, 2014 [last update]
  4. Map:Repubblica di Genova - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update] (PNG Image)
  5. Kyrgyzstan - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Nestorian Christianity - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Orent, Wendy (Wendy Orent, bio). Plague: The Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World's Most Dangerous Disease, Free Press. 2004-May-4. (BOOK)
  8. Power, Eileen Edna. (M.A., D.Lit.) Medieval People. Methuen: Barnes & Noble. 1963. p. 111. (BOOK) quote: "The chief impression left, however, is that the medieval housewife was engaged in a constant warfare against fleas."

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