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Tamerlane: The Shadow of God is Dead

After taking Syria and killing the Ottoman Sultan, Tamerlane turns back toward China, but he has developed a fever that has turned serious. One of his titles is "The Shadow of God" probably referring to his role as visiting God's justice upon a misguided world but this Islamic jihad has come to an end. Tamerlane's dream of reuniting the Mongol Empire has fallen to dust. The Shadow of God is dead. He is buried in Kabul.

My Take by Alex Shrugged
History has judged Tamerlane to be the personification of evil but it is instructive to hear what he thought of himself...

"I am not a man of blood; and God is my witness that in all my wars I have never been the aggressor, and that my enemies have always been the authors of their own calamity." -- Timur, after the conquest of Aleppo (shortly after he buried 4,000 Armenians alive and murdered 1 million Hindus in India.) [1]

Hardly any evil person in history ever thought himself evil while he was doing it.

Women of the Renaissance: The City of Ladies

The men laughed when Christine de Pizan wrote a book on French military tactics that suggested that the military should be maintained only for defense yet her books remained popular and they were even translated into English. However, today she is best known for her book on women's rights: The Book of the City of Ladies. She begins her book about women by reacting to another book about women... written by a man. She takes this man's writing apart... exposing his ignorance of the character of ladies by using gentle words...

...just the sight of this book, even though it was of no authority, made me wonder how it happened that so many different men and learned men among them--have been and are so inclined to express both in speaking and in their treatises and writings so many wicked insults about women and their behavior.

She is not a whiner. She's a winner. She will also produce a manual of education for women entitled The Treasure of the City of Ladies and both books are in print in the modern day. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Christine de Pizan is promoting education amongst women... and frankly... women are dependent upon men for the lessons. Most noblewomen of the Middle Ages can read and write but they are not doing much of either compared to the modern day. Books are expensive mostly because they are copied by hand. That is why the Gutenberg Press will revolutionize the world. It will bring new ideas to the reader at a low enough price. There is not a lot of casual reading and writing going on even amongst men. Fictional stories exist but they are ... novel. There is a hunger for recreational reading, but until such books get cheaper, they are also going to be scarce.

In a Word: Bedlam

The priory of St. Mary of Bethlehem was established in 1247. It's purpose was to collect money to support the Crusades but by the 1300s St. Mary's became a hospital for the poor. The name of the hospital was contracted from "St. Mary of Bethlehem" to "Bethlem Hospital" and by 1405 it was converted to a mental hospital. Bethlem Royal Hospital remains a mental hospital to this day, but in the Middle English of 1405 is was pronounced "Bedlem" with an "e". By 1525 that turns into Bedlam Hospital with an "a" and the name of the mental hospital will eventually morph into the modern sense of the word for "bedlam": a state of chaos, noise and confusion. [7] [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Words for good things sometime turn into words for bad things. The word "Bethlehem" itself is Hebrew for "The House of Bread". I was amazed that the name had been converted into something so strange like "bedlam". A friend of mine went to Bethlehem in 2013 and felt quite welcome but her father told me that she had left the tour group and there was definitely an element of danger in her wandering off that way. He was greatly worried but she came back OK. The general rule is... stick with the tour group in order to avoid the bedlam of Bethlehem.

Whiskey Invented. The Chief Drops Dead

The earliest documented case of whiskey being served dates from this year... Christmas time... actually. An Irish chieftain was imbibing a little too much and dropped dead... either from alcohol poisoning or suffocating on his own vomit. He has a name but no need to mention it. He is only famous for this one thing and it killed him. [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
During the Middle Ages, alcohol was called aqua vita meaning "the water of life". It turned out to be aqua mortis... "the water of death" for this poor fellow. [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1405, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Timur: Legacy - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  2. León, Vicki. Uppity Women of Medieval Times. Berkley: Conari Press. 1997. p. 214-215. (BOOK) quote="The most enduring book she left may be The Book of the City of Ladies, a universal history of women, which exemplified what Pizan saw as the female affinity for learning. She also wrote a military manual; despite her much chuckled-over remarks that armies should be maintained only for defense, the book was widely popular and was even translated into English."
  3. Ross, Sarah Gwyneth. (bio: assistant professor of history at Boston College) End Notes: An Educated Lady: In the 15th Century, Men Read Christine de Pizan. Boston College Magazine. Winter 2010. (REPRINT FROM BOOK) Note: This article is an excerpt from the book The Birth of Feminism by Sarah Gwyneth Ross. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 2009. quote="...The knight teaches his daughters to read so that they can better distinguish good from evil and avoid sexual transgression. He has no interest in teaching them to write, that skill presumably being irrelevant to safeguarding their virtue. Christine's conception of education for women was broader, and strikingly more progressive: Her principal argument was that women have the same aptitudes as men, and thus the right to the same education."
  4. Pizan, Christine de. Richards, Earl Jeffrey. (translator) The Book of the City of Ladies. New York: Persea Books. 1982. pp. 1-2. (BOOK) quote="But just the sight of this book, even though it was of no authority, made me wonder how it happened that so many different men and learned men among them--have been and are so inclined to express both in speaking and in their treatises and writings so many wicked insults about women and their behavior."
  5. Christine de Pizan - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. The Book of the City of Ladies - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster Inc. 1991. ISBN=9780877796039. pp. 40-41. (BOOK)
  8. Bethlem Royal Hospital - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  9. Bedlam - The Free Dictionary. 2014 [last update]
  10. Mageoghagan, Conell. The Annals of Clonmacnoise; Being Annals of Ireland, From the Earliest Period to A. D. 1408. (Translated Into English A. D. 1627). 1627. (BOOK)
  11. Whiskey - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  12. Aqua vitae - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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