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Reformed Christianity and the End of the World As We Know It *

Despite any laws supporting religious freedom, there is a war going on between the Catholic establishment and Protestant radicals. Currently, (Catholic) Spain is running the Netherlands. As the (Catholic) Church of Saint Lawrence nears completion, Reformed Christians (or Calvinists) rise up to deface the church images and throw down the statues they perceive as objects of worship prohibited by the Bible. Even though the (Catholic) Council of Trent has prohibited the worship of images, apparently the Calvinists think the edict does not go far enough because the Council of Trent does not prohibit the images themselves. The word "iconoclast," comes from the Greek, meaning "image breaker" and the Reformed Christians take that literally. Ten thousand men with torches move north as the Eighty Years' War is ready to kick off... almost. The property damage to Catholic Church property will be severe but unlike similar demonstrations in France, the loss of life will be less. It will not be zero, though. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The original Reformed Christians (or Calvinists) were not wild-eyed peasants. A large contingent of them were noblemen [6]. John Calvin was a scholar who studied the Scriptures with a view to detail that appealed to the nobility. His followers had a reputation as being "purists" or "puritans" meaning those who adhered strictly to the tenets of their religion regardless of which religion they were following. Thus there were Catholic "puritans" as well. Over time the Puritans became a distinguishable religious group. In the modern day, one distinguishable Reformed Christian is James Wesley Rawles, the author of "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It." He calls himself a "five point Calvinist," and he is a past guest of The Survival Podcast, Episode 1242. [7]

Yo, Ho, Ho... Pieces of Eight and the US Dollar

King Philip the 2nd of Spain began making changes to the coinage this year. The Spanish doubloon has been in use for a few years now, but the King introduces a silver coin worth 8 reals (ray-ahls). It will be called "pieces of eight" because the coin was often cut into pieces. One side of the coin has a cross stamped on its face making it easier to cut the coin evenly. The King also introduces a gold coin worth 16 silver reals (ray-ahls) which is half a Spanish doubloon. It's not really a new coin but it has its weight changed. These coins and the Spanish doubloon will be the coins of commerce for centuries to come. They will also serve as the basis for the US dollar, but that's another story. [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
With a new King of Spain, new coinage had to reflect that fact. The pieces of eight was changed in weight in 1598 and called the Spanish dollar. This was done to simplify the exchange into German thalers (which is where we get the word "dollar"). The Spanish dollar was used in the United States as legal tender until 1857. Since the dollar was based on a "pieces of eight" coin, you get the slang term for a quarter... "two bits". This term was still in use in the 1960s though the term was frowned upon. Some people still use a tune and rhythm but many forget the little phrase that goes along with it..."Shave and a haircut... two bits.". Once proper US coinage was available in 1857, using foreign coinage in commerce (and the terminology that went along with it) was frowned upon by the public... but perhaps not in barbershops. Collecting such coins was fine. [11]

Suleiman the Magnificent is Dead

The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman the Magnificent, is considered the greatest military leader of all the sultans. He ruled over a Golden Age of the Ottoman Empire meaning that he supported the arts. He conquered Constantinople, the last of the Eastern Roman Empire. It is now Istanbul. He threatened Vienna and although he was stopped by the Holy Roman Emperor, it was a close thing and an uneasy truce. He dies this year of a heart attack but his troops are mopping up the conquest of Hungary so they ship his body back to Constantinople in secret. He was 71. He is succeeded by Sultan Selim the 2nd... also known as "Selim the Drunkard." Looks like Central Europe is going to catch a break. [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Suleiman the Magnificent really was a great leader, but by modern standards he was not a very nice man. He had his eldest son, Mustafa, killed... mostly due to the intrigues of his favorite wife, Roxelana. Roxelana was not Mustafa's mother, and if he succeeded the throne, all of her sons would be strangled. By starting a rumor that Mustafa wanted to assassinate his father, it was a forgone conclusion what would happen next. Mustafa himself was strangled and that was how Roxelana's son, Selim the Drunkard, came to succeed to the throne. Roxelana was the daughter of a Ukrainian Orthodox priest. She was captured and made part of the Sultan's harem. She eventually became Suleiman's favorite and wielded a great deal of power of her own. [14] [15]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1566, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. 1568: Eighty-four Valenciennes iconoclasts. Executed Today (2015). Retrieved on 26 April 2015. “The so-called Beeldenstorm, or &lquot;Iconoclastic Fury&rquot;, broke in the town of Steenvorde near the southwestern fringe of the Low Countries. (In fact, it's in France in the present day, as is Valenciennes, the site of our titular execution.) On St. Lawrence's Day of 1566 — August 10 — a Calvinist mob invaded a church dedicated to that saint and stripped it of its idolatrous garnishes.”
  2. Beeldenstorm - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 26 April 2015. “On August 10, 1566, the feast-day of Saint Lawrence, at the end of the pilgrimage from Hondschoote to Steenvoorde, the chapel of the Sint-Laurensklooster was defaced by a crowd who invaded the building. It has been suggested that the rioters connected the saint especially with Philip II, whose monastery palace of the Escorial near Madrid was dedicated to Lawrence, and was just nearing completion in 1566.”
  3. iconoclast - definition of iconoclast. The Free Dictionary (2015). Retrieved on 26 April 2015. “French iconoclaste, from Medieval Greek eikonoklastes, smasher of religious images : eikono-, icono- + Greek -klastes, breaker (from klan, klas-, to break).”
  4. Seventeen Provinces - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 26 April 2015. “The Seventeen Provinces arose from the Burgundian Netherlands, a number of fiefs held by the House of Valois-Burgundy and inherited by the Habsburg dynasty in 1482, from 1556 held by Habsburg Spain.”
  5. Alex Shrugged notes: I apologize to the Reformed Christians (or Calvinists) for failing to note the passing of John Calvin in the history segment. I was feeling ill. Since I couldn't do justice to his many accomplishments under the circumstances, I let it pass.
  6. Compromise of Nobles - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 26 April 2015. “In the petition the nobles, who presented themselves as loyal subjects of the king, asked him to suspend the Inquisition and the enforcement of the placards against heresy. They also urged the convening of the States-General so that 'better legislation' could be devised to address the matter.”
  7. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It. Penguin USA, Inc.. 
  8. Zen Pirate Treasure Page. zenseeker.net (2014). Retrieved on 27 April 2015. “Pieces-of-eight (silver, 1497 to 1857): This was the Spanish dollar of its day. It was worth 8 Reales (pronounced ray-ahls) and was frequently cut into pieces (halves, quarters and eighths) to make change, hence the name pieces-of-eight. The cross on the back of the coin makes dividing a bit easier.”
  9. Doubloon - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 April 2015. “The doubloon (from Spanish doblón, meaning 'double') was an eight escudo gold coin. In 1537 eight escudos was set at 27.4680 grams of .92 fine gold (22-carat gold).[1] Doubloons were minted in Spain, Mexico, Peru, and Nueva Granada. The term was first used to describe the golden excelente either because of its value of two ducats or because of the double portrait of Ferdinand and Isabella.”
  10. Currency of Spanish America - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 27 April 2015. “The 1566 reform also provided for a silver 8-real coin, the real de a ocho or peso duro (which had already been minted in Spain in limited number). This coin, 39-40 mm, 27.468 g, containing 25.561 g pure silver, was now struck in the Indies, at Lima from 1568 and at Mexico City from 1572. This coin was commonly known in English as the piece of eight.”
  11. Thaler - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 27 April 2015. “Etymologically, 'Thaler' is an abbreviation of 'Joachimsthaler', a coin type from the city of Joachimsthal (Jáchymov) in Bohemia, where some of the first such coins were minted in 1518. Thal is German for 'valley' - a 'thaler' is a person or a thing 'from the valley'.”
  12. Suleiman the Magnificent - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 April 2015.
  13. Siege of Szigetvár - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 April 2015.
  14. Suleiman the Magnificent Biography. about.com (2015). Retrieved on 27 April 2015. “Suleiman the Magnificent had two official wives and an unknown number of additional concubines. His first wife, Mahidevran Sultan, bore him his eldest son, an intelligent and talented boy named Mustafa. The second wife, a Ukrainian former concubine named Hurrem Sultan, was the love of Suleiman's life, and gave him seven younger sons.”
  15. Roxelana - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 27 April 2015. “According to late 16th-century and early 17th-century sources, such as the Polish poet Samuel Twardowski (died 1661), who researched the subject in Turkey, Hürrem was seemingly born to a father who was a Ukrainian Orthodox priest.”

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