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Going! Going! Gone!

Ladislaus the Magnanimous is named after a respected relative but Ladislaus deserves all the respect any murderer could expect. He is one of the bad boys who is making Rome such a dangerous place these days, but he is running low on money so he sells the city of Zadar, Croatia to Venice for 100,000 ducats which is the rough equivalent of $13.79 million dollars. This allows Venice to conquer a city without a fight... and at "fire sale" prices. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Venice must be laughing out loud but Ladislaus is desperate. A few years ago, Florence bought Pisa for 200,000 florins rather than battle it out. The people of Pisa resisted, but in the end they capitulated. [5] In relatively recent history, the United States of America bought a disputed border area from Yuma, Arizona to Las Cruces, New Mexico. The USA paid Mexico cash rather than fight over the disputed area. Given the current border problems between the USA and Mexico, perhaps we should be rummaging through our collective "shoebox" looking for that old receipt. See the Gadsden Purchase of 1854. [6]

Great Schism: A Question of Authority

The Cardinals elected Pope Gregory the 12th on the condition that he seriously pursue the creation of a special council to resolve the split in the Church and to resign if the council decided it would be the correct thing to do. Pope Benedict the 13th agreed to no such thing but they have finally agreed to a council to make a decision. Cardinals, bishops, priors and abbots converge on Pisa. There is discussion, some laughter and even a declaration of war against Pope Benedict. In the end, the Council of Pisa condemns BOTH POPES as heretics and elects A THIRD POPE! Pope Alexander the 5th will hold his office for less than a year. He will die while visiting in Balogna. Murder will be suspected at first but historians doubt it was murder. In any case, the Council of Pisa did nothing to resolve the split in the Church. [7] [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The real questions is... where does the authority come from when a government body must decide to do something? In the United States it is clear... the authority comes from the people. Thus, if government authority comes from the people then the government cannot act with more authority than the people it serves. The same is true with the Council of Pisa. It could not act with more authority than the two Popes had invested in it, yet the Council acted as if they were a super-authority over the Popes. Of course the Popes wouldn't go for that. And it follows that the people should not go along when the government oversteps its authority to act on our behalf.

Starfleet Hits Sri Lanka. Phasers on Stun

The Chinese admiral, Zhen He, has led the Star Fleet (also known as the Galaxy Fleet) on a journey of exploration. He left the Chinese port in 1405 with over 27,000 men, on 62 treasure ships up to 600 feet long (if the reports can be believed) and various support ships. Zhen He has hit Java and various other ports, setting up monuments to himself, interfering with various governments and extracting agreements from them to become vassals. Now his fleet has reached Ceylon/Sri Lanka while a regional ruling family [10] is in the midst of a succession battle. Though they are not in line for the kingship the family is considered the power behind the throne. Kumara is a member of this family and decides to start a war with the Chinese admiral. Zhen He will capture Kumara and take him back to China. Kumara will eventually return humiliated and the family will quickly drop out of the power structure of Sri Lanka. [11] [12] [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The family name of this dynastic family is a mouthful, but in researching this event, I laughed when I discovered how this family became so powerful in Ceylon/Sri Lanka. One of their descendents set up a fort to hold off the tax collectors and it worked! In fact, the location is called Kotte (meaning "fort") and it is now where the modern day Sri Lankan Parliament meets. The late science fiction author of 2001 a Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke lived nearby. [15] [16]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1409, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Tanner, Marcus. Croatia: A Nation Forged in War. New Haven: Yale University Press. 2010. p. 27. (BOOK)
  2. Zadar - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Ladislaus of Naples - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Ducat - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. The Venetian Ducat consists of 0.1107 Troy ounces of gold. The equivalent value in modern dollars is $137.89 as of 2014-Jan-12.
  6. Gadsden Purchase - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Norwich, John Julius. Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy. New York: Random House. 2011. (BOOK) quote="By calling the two rival popes to appear before it--and declaring them contumacious when they refused--it had implied its superiority over the Papacy itself, a principle which neither of the rival pontiffs could have been expected to endorse."
  8. Council of Pisa - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  9. Antipope Alexander V - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Alagakkonara - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. Gernet, Jacques. (translated by Foster, J. R. and Hartman, Charles) A History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge University Press. 1996. p. 401. (BOOK) quote="1409-11: Siam, Malacca, Malabar coast, Ceylon. Cheng Ho opposed the claims of Majapahit to Malacca and erected a stele there. He inflicted a defeat on the royal army in the island of Ceylon."
  12. Zheng He - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. Sri Lanka - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  14. Ming–Kotte War - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  15. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  16. Colombo - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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