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The Fortifications of Rhodes and the Martyrs of Otranto

The island of Rhodes is the site of many a famous battle. Currently it is being defended by the Knights Hospitaller, a Christian order established to minister to the poor and sick. Now they fight to defend Christian lands from the Ottoman Turks. Gabriele de Martinengo is one such Knight. He has a talent for designing fortifications and while he is fighting against the Turks, he take a bullet to the head... right in the eye. The bullet passes through and by next week he is ready to fight the Ottomans again. A few months later, the Ottomans move on Naples where 813 Christians are beheaded after the city of Otranto falls and the Christians there refuse to convert to Islam. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Ottoman attack on Naples is sometimes called the Invasion of Italy. I included it here because it was a significant historical event with some relevance today. Those 813 Christians were made into saints by Pope Francis in 2013. I included the story of the fortifications of Rhodes because of the cool story about a guy getting a bullet in the head and he keeps on going. I suspect his eye got hit at an angle so that it exited out the side of his head rather than through the brain although I have no details proving it one way or the other. [4]

The Great Stand on the Ugra River *

Ivan the Young has been named Grand Prince of Moscow by his father, Ivan the 3rd, the Grand Prince of Rus. His father believes in giving his son real responsibilities so that the people can get comfortable with him as a ruler. As the Mongol Golden Horde comes looking for tribute from Moscow, Ivan the Young goes out to meet them with several regiments. The Mongols refuse to engage so it becomes a standoff at the Ulgra River. Meanwhile, Ivan the 3rd pressures the other princes to send reinforcements. As the army builds, the Mongols back off. This marks the final break from Mongol domination and begins Russia's expansion from the Volga / Oka River region westward. By next year the Mongol Golden Horde will break apart after the death of their leader, Ahmed Khan. [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Ivan the Young will die young. His father, Ivan the 3rd, will become one of the longest living of the Russian rulers. He was aggressive, dominating his brothers and eventually gathering all their lands under the rule of "the Tzar" as he styled himself. The break-up of the Golden Horde will free Russia eventually to dominate Crimea and take land away from Lithuania which, at this time, covers a very large region.

Faust is Born but Will He Die?

Nothing is signed in blood but the birth of Johann Faust [FAUWST] occurs around this time. There are a few facts about his life that can be separated from the fictional character of Faust who sells his soul to the devil. He will grow up to be a magician who eventually turns to alchemy, astrology and the medical arts. He will be dismissed from a teaching position because he is sodomizing his students. He will also be listed as a resident of Münster during the Anabaptist Rebellion. It is not clear if he was pro-Calvinist or Anti-Calvinist. He is definitely weird which is why historians initially did not believe he was a real person, but he is real enough. His life will become the subject of two major plays and his character comes up again and again as part of various stories into the modern day. [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The fictional character, Faust, sold his soul to the devil for knowledge and worldly pleasure, but apparently not wisdom. He will be saved due to a technicality. Several elements in the plays will be familiar to everyone such as the signing a contract with the devil in blood, the hubris of a man who thinks he can trick the devil, a good angel and a bad angel each encouraging Faust in their own way. The ending of one play had a very dark ending, but the audience disliked it so much that the author changed it to a happier ending. Too much tragedy is bad for business. [11] [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1480, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. (2009) Medieval Siege and Siegecraft (BOOK), New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 32-33. ISBN 9781602396333. “"This remarkable man [Gabriele de Tadini de Martinengo] had the character of a true hero, physically tough and rich in the quality that validates all others—courage. In the early weeks, his head was pierced by a bullet that entered through the eye socket and, miraculously, exited without having caused mortal damage; within the week he was back at his duties, an inspiration to a now flagging defense."” 
  2. Fortifications of Rhodes - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
  3. Rhodes (city) - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 30 November 2014.
  4. Martyrs of Otranto - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 21 November 2014.
  5. Great stand on the Ugra river - Wikipedia (1480). Retrieved on 2 November 2014.
  6. Oestmoen, Per Inge (February 24, 2001). Mongol History and Chronology from Ancient Times. Retrieved on 2 November 2014. “1480: The Russians stop paying tribute to the remnants of the Mongol rulers of Russia. It will be understood that the Mongols also unified Russia by subjugating all the Russian principalities under one single authority. Thus, the Mongols were the indirect creators of the Russian Empires, both that of the Romanovs and the 20th-century Bolshevik Empire.”
  7. Ivan the Young (Ivan Molodoy) - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 2 November 2014.
  8. Johann Georg Faust - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 21 November 2014.
  9. Faust - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 9 December 2014.
  10. Carlin, Dan. "Prophets of Doom". Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, 22 April 2013. (PODCAST) Length: 4h 28m. Size: 258.13 megabytes. Summary: Murderous millennial preachers and prophets take over the German city of Munster after Martin Luther unleashes a Pandora's Box of religious anarchy with the Protestant Reformation.
  11. Doctor Faustus (play) - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 9 December 2014.
  12. Goethe's Faust - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 9 December 2014.

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