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Becoming the Pope Is a Sunset Job

With a collective sigh of relief, Pope Sixtus the 5th dies of malaria. In his short rule he has brought order back to the Papal States but at a terrible price. It is said that during his reign there were more heads on pikes than melons in the markets. There is new hope for Pope Urban the 7th. He is the first ruler known to ban smoking. He is also well known for his concern for the poor, but 12 days after his election, he dies of malaria. His considerable fortune is distributed to several penniless Roman girls who lack dowries. Then Pope Gregory the 14th is elected in December. He is best known for an easy laugh but not much else. His reign will last for less than a year. Pope Innocent the 9th will be elected toward the end of next year but won't last 2 months. Pope Clement the 8th will be elected in 1592 and a Pope will finally hang around for a few years. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The problem with becoming a Pope in Rome in those days was the malaria and the general problem that a Pope usually comes to his position toward the end of his life. Waiting until old age can be a good way for getting a known and proven person into the position, but it also makes for chaos due to turnover. In the modern day, Pope Benedict the 16th was elected in 2005 at the age of 78. It was a surprise given his age and since he had been driving Church policy since the 1980s he was probably not a vote for abrupt change. When he stepped down, Pope Francis was elected at age 76 yet he seems different. Time will tell what impact he will have on the overall direction of the Catholic Church. [2]

Roanoke Leaves No Forwarding Address

Delayed by that little war with Spain, John White finally returns to the Roanoke colony but finds only a skeleton and the word 'Croatoan' marked on a post. Many of the buildings of the colony have been carried away and the cannons are missing. John White had worked out a distress code to be left behind if the colony had run into any trouble. It was to be the Crusader Cross. If the colonists had enough time to carve 'Croatoan' into a post, they had enough time to carve a Crusader Cross. The Lost Colony of Roanoke remains a mystery into the modern day. [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is no way to know what happened. Some believe that any remaining evidence is underwater now. The logical assumption is that the colony moved elsewhere and died from disease or lack of supplies. They might have also blended in with the local Indian tribes, but that would require more time. I think that is less likely. The actual problem with the Roanoke Colony was that it was underfunded, and under-supported. That left too much to chance. By 1610, England will finally colonize Jamestown, Virginia. [6]

Marriage and Magic Are Nearly the Death of the King *

King James the 6th of Scotland has finally brought his bride home to be crowned Queen Consort. She is Ann of Denmark and she is all of 14 years old. The King is 23, but they won't have their first child until 1594. The King is quite the romantic, though. Ann was supposed to sail to Scotland but during a storm her ship is separated from the convoy and turns back. Having lost track of the ship, the convoy moves on to Scotland where the King waits and frets. After sending ships out to find her, he finally leads a fleet to bring her back himself. He writes letters and songs to her and when he finally finds her, he kisses her in the Scottish way (which, apparently, is not the Danish way.) They are marred there in Denmark and this year she is brought to Scotland to attend her coronation. When the crowns of England and Scotland are finally joined in 1603, Queen Ann will become the 1st Queen of Great Britain. [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
On the way home, yet another storm came up and King James attributed this to some sort of witchcraft or magic. He suspected several men and after torture, a man named John Fain admitted that he plotted to kill the king by means of magic. John Fain was burned at the stake. Regarding the young age of Queen Ann, marriage at this age was not unusual. Marriage was traditionally a long, drawn out process. What we call "an engagement" was actually part of marriage. For arranged marriages, once you signed the contract, or the contract was signed on your behalf if you were underage, you were, at some level, married under religious law, even if you had never met. I know people who have had arranged marriages. It doesn't happen often but it still happens. [8] [9]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1590, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy. Random House. “Within two years, thanks to a reign of terror, Sixtus had restored law and order throughout the papal lands. No fewer than seven thousand brigands were publicly executed; there were, we are told, more heads impaled on spikes along the Ponte Sant'Angelo than melons in the market.” 
  2. Pope Francis - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 June 2015. “Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere and the first non-European pope since the Syrian Gregory III in 741, 1,272 years earlier.”
  3. Roanoke. Conservapedia.com (2015). Retrieved on 7 June 2015. “There are many theories about what happened to the colonists. The three most popular are that they: 1) Were all killed by hostile indians; 2) Killed by the Spanish, who came up from Florida; or 3) Married into one of the Native American tribes and then left. There still exists today an Indian tribe that call themselves 'Croatoans' and most of them have English names.”
  4. John White (colonist and artist) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Roanoke Colony - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Jamestown, Virginia - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 June 2015. “The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. William Kelso says Jamestown 'is where the British Empire began ... this was the first colony in the British Empire.'”
  7. Anne of Denmark - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 June 2015. “The second daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark, Anne married James in 1589 at age 14 and bore him three children who survived infancy, including the future Charles I.”
  8. The Age of Reason Begins: A History of European Civilization in the Period of Shakespeare, Bacon, Montaigne, Rembrandt, Galileo, and Descartes: 1558-1648, The Story Of Civilization. Simon and Schuster. “When a tempest nearly wrecked him on his return from Denmark with his bride, he caused four suspects to be tortured into confessing that they had plotted to destroy him by magic means; and one of them, John Fain, after the most barbarous torments, was burned to death (1590).” 
  9. Strickland, Agnes. Lives of the Queens of England, From the Norman Conquest, Vol. 7 of 16. Longman, Green, Longman, & Roberts. “Anne of Denmark was the first queen of Great Britain; a title which has been borne by the wives of our sovereigns from the commencement of the seventeenth century to the present era. Before, however, she attained this dignity, she had presided fourteen years over the court of Scotland as consort of James VI.” 

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