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The King of Car Parks *

King Edward the 4th of England has been dying since Easter so he names a regent for his young son, the Prince of Wales, until he comes of age. That regent is Richard, the Duke of Gloucester. He is a man with a deformity... a bent spine due to scoliosis. Although the deformity is severe, he can hide it well enough with clothing. The king finally dies, but before the Prince can be crowned, King Edward's marriage is ruled as illegitimate so that his son is no longer eligible to be king. Richard is named king in his stead but his kingship will be short. He will be killed in battle two years later. Shakespeare will write a play entitled Richard the 3rd and will place in the king's mouth those famous last words, "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" In fact, what the king will get is an axe to the back of the head. His burial place will remain unknown until 2012 when ground penetrating radar will reveal a skeleton under a parking lot in Leicester. DNA evidence will prove that it's him. As of 2014 people are still fighting over where his final resting place will be. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I am reminded of the movie "The Good-Bye Girl" (1977) starring Richard Dreyfus who plays a poor, unknown actor preparing for the lead role in a production of Richard the 3rd. He finds that the apartment he recently rented is still occupied by an out-of-work dancer played by Marsha Mason. It's a romantic comedy and still very good. [8]

The First Flemish Revolt

Last year the Duchess Mary of Burgundy fell off of her horse and died of her injuries, leaving her young son, Philip the Fair, to rule over Flanders. Since he is so young, Philips's father, Archduke Maximilian of Austria, has tried to rule as regent from afar but he has met with strong resistance. Many of the Flemish (though certainly not all) prefer a local regency since Phillip the Fair is actually living in Flanders. As happens during these times, the debate has spun out of control. It's become personal: brother against brother, husband against wife. Ghent has issued it's own coins in the name of Philip the Fair and the Flemish cities unilaterally form their own regency. Thus begins the First Flemish Revolt. Maximilian attempts to negotiate but he is busy with troubles elsewhere. He won't send an army into Flanders until 1485. Meanwhile, the Flemish will continue insult, annoy and completely fail to cooperate with the Archduke. [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is important to understand how power and factionalism worked in an age without the strong central control of a modern government. For one thing... there were courts but there were no police. Local order was maintained by local people who had the muscle, personal charisma, or money to coerce others into compliance. This resulted in factionalism, meaning that people sometimes fought with each other for local control... physically fought. It wasn't all the time but factions sometimes flew out of control and in the end, violence was the result. This was preferred by the locals over intermittent central control by a distant army. The point to remember is that factionalism means something different than what we mean today. Today modern political factions usually don't call for violence in the streets. When they do, they are calling back to a method of local control that is ages old. When they join factions from other cities or towns in violence, they are "in league" with other factions. It's back to the 1400s.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1483, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Jones, Dan (September 25, 2012). The History of Britain (in 15 minutes): from Stonehenge to the Credit Crunch. TheTimes.co.uk. Retrieved on 10 December 2014. “... and the most famous skeleton ever found beneath a Leicester car park -- Richard III.”
  2. Richard III of England - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 11 December 2014.
  3. Staff writer (February 03, 2013). Richard III dig: 'R' marks the spot where skeleton found in Leicester car park. Leicester Mercury. Retrieved on 11 December 2014. “The spot where a skeleton was found in August was next to a car parking space marked with an 'R'.”
  4. Fricker, Martin. "Writer reveals intuition led archaeologists to King Richard III's remains", Daily Record, Trinity Mirror, February 05, 2013. Retrieved on 11 December 2014. “Edinburgh-based Philippa Langley was researching a play on the king, known as Crookback because of his deformed spine, when she had a hunch she was standing on his grave. She funded a dig of the site -- a council car park in Leicester.” 
  5. Staff writer (February 4, 2013). BBC News - Richard III dig: DNA confirms bones are king's. bbc.com. Retrieved on 11 December 2014. “His skeleton had suffered 10 injuries, including eight to the skull, at around the time of death. Two of the skull wounds were potentially fatal.”
  6. Kennedy, Maev (February 4, 2013). Richard III: DNA confirms twisted bones belong to king | UK news | The Guardian. TheGuardian.com. Retrieved on 11 December 2014. “There was an audible intake of breath as a slide came up showing the base of his skull sliced off by one terrible blow, believed to be from a halberd, a fearsome medieval battle weapon with a razor-sharp iron axe blade weighing about two kilos, mounted on a wooden pole, which was swung at Richard at very close range.”
  7. Scoliosis - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 11 December 2014.
  8. The Goodbye Girl (1977) - IMDb. imdb.com (2014). Retrieved on 11 December 2014.
  9. Haemers, Jelle (June 22, 2009). Factionalism and state power in the Flemish Revolt (1482-1492). biomedsearch.com. Retrieved on 11 December 2014. “Although they had no fixed political program, as present-day political parties do, factions were driven by political and economic interests on the one hand, and ideology and religion on the other. For historical research has pointed out that not only money, power, and status, but also ideological and religious ideas were the motivating forces for political involvement by factions.”
  10. Flemish revolts against Maximilian of Austria (First Revolt) - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 10 December 2014.

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