1462

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Compassion and Brutality

Abbeville is a northern French town along the River Somme. Over the years it has come under the rule of the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good. The Duke has turned ill. It is nothing serious, but during the night a messenger enters the town asking for prayers. The townspeople ring the church bells. They drop to their knees in fervent prayer and even prostrate themselves on the ground while the bells toll until dawn. The society of the Middle Ages is capable of deep piety as well as senseless cruelty. Phillip the Good is the same fellow, 10 years ago, who hung the rebels of Ghent whether they surrendered or not. These people will stare in fascination at the burning of witches and the public torture of traitors. Because they believe in a divine law, and that the High Aristocracy are the representatives of Divine will, a breech of the law seems like a thwarting God's will. Therefore the punishment must reflect the seriousness of that defiance. [1] [2] [3]

Further Information: During World War 1, the River Somme will be the location of the bloodiest battle of all time. Over a million men will be wounded or killed in the span of 4 months. [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is a bipolar quality to Middle Ages society due to a Christian veneer of compassion covering a deeper brutality. Under the Protestant Reformation, the Christian compassion will deepen but that base human brutality has remained into the modern day. One should use care before criticizing Middle Ages society. The horrors of Nazi, Stalinist and Maoist atrocities are within living memory. They make most Middle Ages brutality seem like child's play, but only because Middle Ages society lacked the modern tools of warfare.

It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.
-- Robert E. Lee, Commander of the Confederate Army at the Battle of Fredricksburg. [5] [6]

The Last Lesbian Ruler and the Public Domain

Niccolò Gattilusio is the last Lord of Lesbos, a Greek island off the coast of Turkey. The Ottoman Turks see the Greeks as a Christian fifth column and will use any excuse to undermine them. In this case, Niccolò had murdered his older brother, Domenico, so that he could rule the island. The Sultan used this as an excuse to invade but really it was to stop the mercenary pirates that Niccolò had been supporting. Niccolò finally surrenders and converts to Islam. This won't help him for long, though. His sincerity will come into doubt and he will be strangled to death before the year is out. His wife will become part of the Sultan's harem. [7] [8]

Further Information: Lesbos was also the home of the Greek woman poet, Sappho, who wrote love poems about women.

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... I admit "The Last Lesbian Ruler" is a cheap headline. Sue me. Actually... the whole island of Lesbos sued the lesbian community in 2008, asking for an injunction against using the word "lesbian" in a lesbian organization name. They lost their law suit. Protecting one's name when it is used as a brand name is vitally important. For example, if Jack Spirko would agree to let me use his name as part of my organization, there had better be a contract limiting my use and a fee of at least a dollar a year or he could lose control of his name... and I could lose my front teeth! :-) The same can happen for a right-of-way. If my neighbor wants to share my private road on my property, I must charge him an annual fee or I might lose control of the roadway since it will be assumed that since I had not charged him even a dollar for the privilege that I had turned my rights over to the public domain.[9] [10]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1462, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Huizinga, Johan (1985). The Waning of the Middle Ages 13-14. St. Martin's Press. Retrieved on 6 November 2014. “At Abbeville, in 1462, a messenger comes at night, bringing the news of a dangerous illness of the duke of Burgundy. His son requests the good towns to pray for him. At once the aldermen order the bells of the church of Saint Vulfran to be rung; the whole population wakes up and goes to church, where it remains all night in prayer, kneeling or prostrate on the ground, with “grandes allumeries merveilleuses,” while the bells keep tolling. [...] The Church, on the one hand, had inculcated gentleness and clemency, and tried, in that way, to soften judicial morals. On the other hand, in adding to the primitive need of retribution the horror of sin, it had, to a certain extent, stimulated the sentiment of justice.”
  2. Abbeville - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 6 November 2014.
  3. Philip the Good - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 6 November 2014.
  4. Battle of the Somme - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 6 November 2014.
  5. Robert E. Lee - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 6 November 2014.
  6. Battle of Fredericksburg - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 6 November 2014.
  7. Niccolò Gattilusio - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 6 November 2014.
  8. Mehmed the Conqueror - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 6 November 2014.
  9. Lesbos: LGBT Tourism - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 6 November 2014.
  10. Lesbian - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 6 November 2014.

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