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The Sack of Antwerp and Sutton's Law *

Antwerp is the financial capital of Europe. At least it was until now. Don Juan, the half brother of the King of Spain, has been made governor of the Netherlands after his victory over the Ottomans at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. FYI, he saved all of Western Europe from Ottoman rule in a single day. I would have made him King of Candyland if that's what he wanted. What he got was another challenge. Unfortunately the King of Spain went through yet another currency collapse last year. With no credible money to pay the troops, the Spanish troops decide to take their money out of the hide of the locals... in this case, Antwerp. Why? That's where the money is. This isn't about religion. This is about the money. Thousands will die as the city burns. In it's place Amsterdam and London will fill the vacuum as financial centers. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Willie Sutton was on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list for his bank robbing expertise. It is an urban myth that when asked why he robbed banks he replied, "Because that's where the money is," but the myth was turned into a principle called "Sutton's Law" which is: "First, check for the obvious." That applies to history. Although the people of the 1500s are struggling with a few unique problems, there are general principles that apply: You must not only watch out for your enemies, but you must also watch out for your friends.... or "Watch the watchers". And remember the Latin proverb: "Cui bono"... who benefits? In other words... follow the money. [6] [7] [8]

More Information (optional): When Wille Sutton was released from prison, he went straight... straight to the bank. He made a commercial for their new credit card. The tag line was... "They call it the 'face card.' Now when I say I'm Willie Sutton, people believe me."

The Autobiography: The Love of Self and a Promotional Tool

Technically speaking, the first autobiography is written this year by Thomas Whitehorn. Unfortunately, it won't be published so it will have no influence at all, but in 1609, Sir Thomas Bodley will write his autobiography with the catchy title: "The Life of Sir Thomas Bodley, Written by Himself." Sir Thomas will legitimize and greatly influence the genre of the autobiography for one very good reason. He is the man who will save the great library at Oxford now called the Bodleian Library (named for himself) after it had been nearly destroyed by religious factionalism. Sir Thomas's autobiography reads very much like a promotional for the library. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Autobiographies will become popular as a sort of self-promotion or an apology (meaning a defense or justification) for a person's life. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but remember whose purposes are being served. Booker T. Washington wrote, "Up From Slavery: An Autobiography". I recommend it highly. The book is inspirational, character building but he is also promoting the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). Frankly, he was raising money for a vocational school that would eventually became an academic university. Most would agree that his self-promotion was for a good cause, certainly I do, and he was being reasonably straightforward without saying "Donate to Tuskegee!" [16]

The Shakespearean Era Begins with the First PBS

The 1st Shakespearean playhouse is built this year, although Shakespeare is still a boy. It is called, simply, "The Theater." It is an open roof stadium design similar to a cockfighting pit with a covered gallery for the rich that overlooks a paved area and a stage. The poor pay a penny to watch the plays at ground-level and thus are called "the groundlings". "The Theater" has been located outside the London city limits near the brothels. This is due to the increasingly prohibitive regulations and censorship in London. Also the new vagabond laws make the occupation of "actor" the equivalent of a beggar so the acting companies beg local lords to be listed under their service but unpaid. Thus acting companies are named: "The Admiral's Men" or the "The Earl of Leicester's Men" after their sponsors. The Theater begins with plays of an educational variety. It's the first PBS (Public Broadcasting System) of the age. Today, nothing remains of the original Theater except a plaque marking the spot were it once stood. [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
As a boy, William Shakespeare lived nearby and was inspired to begin a writing and acting career at The Theater. In 1599 a dispute with the landlord caused the builder of "The Theater" to dismantle every piece of wood, carry it across the Thames and build the Globe Theater. William Shakespeare moved with it. One thing I didn't mention was that Queen Elizabeth the 1st managed to "federalize" the law regarding censorship, thus taking away the right of local jurisdictions to censor the lines of a play. Thus, you could have a play, "Banned in Boston!" but you could not have a play, "Edited for family content in Boston" unless the playwright wanted it that way.

Alex Shrugged notes: Some of the ideas presented here come from my son who is studying "The Theater" in college. He actually changes his accent when he says "The Theater". It is all in jest. He got an internship at the Santa Fe Opera this summer and his father is proud.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1576, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Sack of Antwerp - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 May 2015. “On 4 November 1576, mutinying Spanish tercios began the sack of Antwerp, leading to three days of horror among the population of the city, which was the cultural, economic and financial center of the Netherlands. The savagery of the sack led the provinces of the Low Countries to unite against the Spanish crown.”
  2. History of the Netherlands - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 14 April 2015. “In a society dependent on trade, freedom and tolerance were considered essential. Nevertheless, the Catholic rulers Charles V, and later Philip II, felt it was their duty to defeat Protestantism, which was considered a heresy by the Catholic Church and a threat to the stability of the whole hierarchical political system. On the other hand the intensely moralistic Dutch Protestants insisted their Biblical theology, sincere piety and humble lifestyle was morally superior to the luxurious habits and superficial religiosity of the ecclesiastical nobility. The rulers' harsh punitive measures led to increasing grievances in the Netherlands, where the local governments had embarked on a course of peaceful coexistence.”
  3. Pacification of Ghent - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 May 2015.
  4. Rudolf II (Holy Roman Emperor). Encyclopedia Britannica (2013). Retrieved on 15 May 2015. “His ill health and unpopularity prevented him from restraining the religious dissensions that eventually led to the Thirty Years' War (1618-48).”
  5. Pacification of Ghent. everyhistory.org (2013). Retrieved on 15 May 2015. “This civil war was mostly fought with mercenary troops on both sides, with Spanish Tercios playing a preponderant role on the royalist side. Because of the dire state of the royalist finances, these Spanish mercenaries went often unpaid. They frequently mutinied, especially after victories, and during such actions they often pillaged nearby towns. This eventually brought disaffection with the Brussels government to a boil in the summer of 1576.”
  6. Cui bono - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 May 2015. “Commonly the phrase is used to suggest that the person or people guilty of committing a crime may be found among those who have something to gain, chiefly with an eye toward financial gain.”
  7. Willie Sutton - 'That's Where the Money Is'. Snopes.com (2015). Retrieved on 15 May 2015. “The earliest print sighting of the coined phrase dates to 15 March 1952, when it appeared in Redlands Daily Facts, a Southern California newspaper. Today it is so commonplace that a handful of social scientists have dubbed the process of considering the obvious first as 'Sutton's Law.'”
  8. Willie Sutton - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 May 2015. “Sutton died in 1980 at the age of 79; before this he had spent his last years with his sister in Spring Hill, Florida. He frequented the Spring Hill Restaurant where he kept to himself.”
  9. Matters of Love: on dangers for Elizabethan poet-songwriters. The Guardian (28 April 2006). Retrieved on 13 May 2015. “A generation before Sir Thomas Bodley composed his Life as a sort of apologia, some time around 1576, a musician and song-writer by name of Thomas Whythorne (the spelling is a variant on the Somerset name Whitehorn) had the idea of collecting his poetic works and linking them by a prose text. In these linking passages he told of his own life and the circumstances that provoked each of the poems.”
  10. Bodley, Thomas Sir. The Life of Sir Thomas Bodley: written by himself, together with the first draft of the statutes of the public library at Oxon. A. C. McClurg & Co.. 
  11. Thomas Bodley. BBC Inside Out (October 6, 2003). Retrieved on 16 May 2015. “Exeter-born Thomas Bodley helped create one of the world's great libraries. But the birth of the Bodleian had as much to do with pilchards as printing.”
  12. Sardine - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 16 May 2015. “Sardines, or pilchards, are common names used to refer to various small, oily fish within the herring family of Clupeidae.”
  13. Bodley and Family. SirThomasBodley.com (2013). Retrieved on 16 May 2015.
  14. Cavendish, Richard (January 2013). Death of Sir Thomas Bodley. History Today. 63. http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/death-sir-thomas-bodley. Retrieved 16 May 2015. "His offer to the vice-chancellor to restore the library was accepted and he set to work to rebuild it, buy books and persuade friends and connections to give books or money. Every benefactor's name was inscribed in large letters in an impressive donations register, which was kept prominently on show in the library and helped to draw in more contributors.". 
  15. Wooden, Warren W. (Winter, 1986). "Sir Thomas Bodley's "Life of Himself" (1609) and the Epideictic Strategies of Encomia". JSTOR. Studies in Philology (University of North Carolina Press) (1): 62-75. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4174230. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  16. Up from Slavery: An Autobiography. Gutenberg.org (FREE E-BOOK) (1902). Retrieved on 17 May 2015.
  17. The Theatre - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 May 2015. “The Theatre was an Elizabethan playhouse in Shoreditch (in Curtain Road, part of the modern London Borough of Hackney), just outside the City of London. It was the second permanent theatre ever built in England, after the Red Lion, and the first successful one.”
  18. PBS - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 17 May 2015. “Founded by Hartford N. Gunn Jr., PBS began operations on October 5, 1970, taking over many of the functions of its predecessor, National Educational Television (NET), which later merged with Newark, New Jersey station WNDT to form WNET. In 1973 it merged with Educational Television Stations.”
  19. Elizabethan Theatres: Red Lion (1567). playshakespeare.com (2015). Retrieved on 17 May 2015. “The construction cost £20, and while it appears to have been a commercial success, the Red Lion offered little that the prior tradition of playing in inns had not offered, and it was too far from its audiences to be attractive (at the time, the area was open farmland) for visiting in the winter. There is little documentary evidence that it survived beyond the summer season of 1567.”
  20. Elizabethan Theatre. Britain Express (2015). Retrieved on 17 May 2015. “Theatre had an unsavory reputation. London authorities refused to allow plays within the city, so theatres opened across the Thames in Southwark, outside the authority of the city administration.”
  21. Richard Hosley (1964). The Origins of the Shakespearian Playhouse. Shakespeare Quarterly. 15. Folger Shakespeare Library in association with George Washington University. pp. 29-39. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2867872. 
  22. Janet S. Loengard (1983). An Elizabethan Lawsuit: John Brayne, his Carpenter, and the Building of the Red Lion Theatre. Shakespeare Quarterly. 34. Folger Shakespeare Library in association with George Washington University. pp. 298-310. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2869889. 
  23. Herbert Berry (1989). The First Public Playhouses, Especially the Red Lion. Shakespeare Quarterly. 40. Folger Shakespeare Library in association with George Washington University. pp. 133-148. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2870815. 
  24. Leonard R. N. Ashley (1980). Reviewed Work: The First Public Playhouse: The Theatre in Shoreditch, 1576-1598 by Herbert Berry. Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance. 42. Librairie Droz. pp. 793-795. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20676275. 
  25. "The Bard's 'first theatre' found", BBC News, BBC, 6 August 2008. Retrieved on 17 May 2015. “He said the open-air theatre was one of London's first dedicated playhouses and it was here that a young William Shakespeare performed as part of The Lord Chamberlain's Men company of players, and had his first plays performed.” 
  26. "Shakespeare's first theatre found", BBC News, 9 March 2009. Retrieved on 17 May 2015. “People were flocking into the theatres and they would have grabbed anything that they could and put it on to please the crowds.” 

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