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The Duchess of Wonderland

Duchess Margaret, "The Ugly Duchess" of Tirol, controls some strategic lands so Louis V, the Duke of Bavaria, has her previous marriage annulled and marries her himself. It is considered the first civil marriage of the Middle Ages, but it's like buying a car without a clear title. All the paperwork has problems. The new Pope will immediately excommunicate the two of them. Their excommunication will be lifted in a few years and their marriage recognized by the Church but once her husband dies, a series of unfortunate events will leave Margaret without a duchy. She will die in exile in Vienna in 1369.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I was going to call this segment "When Pigs Fly" but that was too harsh. Margaret is certainly a handful but she doesn't deserve the slurs she has received. The nickname "Maultasch", literally means "bag mouth" which suggests "ugly" but contemporary writers call her beautiful so the nickname must be a slur on her character. She accused her ex-husband of impotence which no man likes to hear even if true. Since the Pope excommunicated her, anything goes regarding casting aspersions. Margaret of Tyrol will be mocked as "The Duchess" in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)...
"Thinking again?" the Duchess asked with another dig of her sharp little chin.
"I've a right to think," said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a little worried.
"Just about as much right," said the Duchess, "as pigs have to fly..."

Fiery Joan, the Countess of Flanders

The Countess of Flanders has donned her armor and has taken up the defense of Hennebont. She is the wife of John de Montfort, one of the two main antagonists in the War of the Breton Succession. She sees the enemy encampment outside Hennebont and leads the charge right into the enemy camp! She sets fire to their supplies which may explain her moniker, "Fiery Joan." But that's not the only reason. This isn't a war on women. It is a war FOUGHT by women. She encourages women to cut their skirts and not wait for their men to defend them. When Joan's husband dies she will continue the cause, fighting for her son's right to succession. [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
What a gal! She will end up fighting in hand-to-hand combat with the Spanish trying to board her ship as it crosses the English Channel. She is called a "lioness" in battle but she won't be alone. Next year the Lioness of Brittany, Jeanne de Belleville, leaps onto the scene. She will be one angry woman. [8]

Absolute Monarch

Pope Benedict XII passed in early December... "weighed down by age and wine", [9] but compared to the next pope, Benedict will look like the very model of restraint. Amazingly the Cardinals replace Benedict before the month is out. This is in contrast to their foot-dragging in past voting. Pope Clement VI will take the papacy and announce, "My predecessors did not know how to be pope." Money will pass through his fingers like water and he will rule like an absolute monarch. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
All the great leaders are a mixed bag of good and bad. Even though this new pope is a BIG spender, he is also a big BELIEVER in his Christian mission. He will be the pope of the Black Death and he will minister to the sick while they fall all around him. That counts for something.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1342, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. McMahon, Emily. Propaganda, Patriarchy, and Putrid Portraiture: The Story of Margaret of Tyrol - Unofficial Royalty, 2010-Jun-20.
  2. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991. p. 188. (BOOK)
  3. Margaret, Countess of Tyrol - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. John Henry, Margrave of Moravia - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Louis V, Duke of Bavaria - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Joanna of Flanders - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Hennebont - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Jeanne de Belleville, Pirate or Politician?. James Adams Historic Enterprises (Australia). 2013 [last update](WEBSITE)
  9. Norwich, John Julius. Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy. New York: Random House. 2011. (BOOK)
  10. Weber, Nicholas. Pope Clement VI, The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 28 Apr. 2014.
  11. Peterson, John Bertram. Pope Benedict XII. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 4 May 2014.
  12. Kirsch, Johann Peter. Pope John XXII. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 4 May 2014.
  13. Pope Benedict XII - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  14. Pope Clement VI - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  15. Antipope - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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