Monday, November 3, 2014

History: The Year is 1459

I've uploaded year 1459 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Age of Discovery: The Fra Mauro Map -- The Portuguese order a map from the cartographer Fra Mauro. I also talk about polar routes and how 2d maps can be misleading in a 3d world.

Dracula: Impaling the Ottomans -- Vlad the Impaler earns his name when the Ottomans come to call, looking for their money.

War of the Roses: Driving Queen Margaret -- Queen Margaret seems to be driving this confrontation between York and Lancaster and she is neither. I also talk a little about the act of

Age of Discovery: The Fra Mauro Map

Fra Mauro is a Venetian cartographer and monk who had once been a solider and merchant who had traveled extensively. Now with his commitment to the monastery he has set down roots and opened a mapmakers shop. The Portuguese have been navigating around the world in an attempt to find a way to Far East. Since the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, goods coming from the East over land or sea has become nearly impossible for Christian Europe. The Portuguese efforts to find a way around Africa has spurred them to buy maps from anyone who had any idea what lay beyond the areas labelled "terra incognita" [TAIR-rah in-CAWG-nee-ta] meaning "Unknown Land". Fra Mauro has a better idea than most and his maps are a thing of beauty. He has just delivered a copy to Lisbon that measures 6 feet across. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Fra Mauro's maps are also "upside down" according to convention. Ptolemy [TOHL-eh-mee] used the convention of north being at the top but it is only a convention. Limiting one's self to a specific orientation limits one's thinking. Compare air routes of the 1950s to those of 2000 or later. Air travel was limited by maps until someone looked at a polar orientation of a map (that is, a map looking down on the north or south pole) and realized that some routes would be shorter if the plane flew a polar route. It saves fuel. Also note that a Mercator map (a map split like an orange flattened out) distorts the size of land masses, making Greenland look as big as Africa when in fact Africa is 14 times larger than Greenland. Maps help us in some ways but we must keep their limitations in mind or we can be misled by them. [7] Additional Information: The movie "Apollo 13" (1995) starring Tom Hanks, mentions seeing "the Fra Mauro Highlands," named after the cartographer. That was to be the landing site on the Moon before the rupture of the spacecraft's fuel cells. It's a good movie and still worth seeing.[8] [9] [10]

Dracula: Impaling the Ottomans

The Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror had held Vlad (the 3rd) Dracula hostage for several years to guarantee payment of tribute from his father, Vlad the 2nd but when the father was killed, the Ottomans released the younger Dracula so that he could inherit his lands rather than letting them pass to the Hungarians. This becomes an obvious mistake when the Sultan sends an envoy to Vlad the 3rd to collect the backlog of tribute and the envoy members are returned with their turbans nailed to their heads... presumably because they refused to remove their turbans in the presence of Vlad so Vlad made sure they never would. The Sultan then sends a much larger force... almost all of which ends up impaled to the trees. Thus Vlad Dracula gets his nickname, Vlad the Impaler. He also begins building what is known as "Castle Dracula" this year using slave labor... made up of the people who killed his father and brother. [11] [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Apparently Vlad the Impaler resented his years as a hostage to the Ottomans though he did learn a lot from them concerning warfare. He also became fluent in Turkish which allowed him to infiltrate the Ottoman camps. The name "Dracula" means "Son of the Dragon" which refers to the Order of the Dragon, a knighthood created by the King of Hungary to oppose the Ottoman Turks. The land of Transylvania is now part of modern day Romania and Vlad the Impaler remains a hero there despite his reputation for cruelty. [14] [15] [16]

War of the Roses: Driving Queen Margaret

The uneasy truce between the House of York and the Lancasters (meaning the forces loyal to Queen Margaret and King Henry the 6th) has come to blows in the West Midlands region of Blore Heath, England. Queen Margaret has sent her loyalists but the battle does not go well for them. Her forces must cross a stream and they are beaten back. They make another attempt, perhaps to retrieve their dead but they are caught on both sides of the stream and the leader of the Lancaster forces is killed in heated battle. His second-in-command mounts another attack but it is all for naught. Queen Margaret will lose this battle to Richard of York, causing her to send another army after him. He will flee to Ireland which will support him against King Henry's Act of Attainder. [17] [18]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Richard of York is fighting because King Henry the 6th has issued an act of attainder against Richard... essentially separating (more like confiscating) all of Richard's possessions from him and denying the inheritance of same to his heirs. In anyone's book this would cause a nobleman to think about knocking off the king, but since King Henry is often incapacitated by his mental condition, it seems most likely that Queen Margaret is driving this confrontation. She suspects Richard of wanting the throne of England and because of her suspicions and fears, she is driving the man to that very end.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1459, Wikipedia.

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