Sunday, November 30, 2014

History: The Year is 1481

I've uploaded year 1481 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Buying a New Sultan -- Two brothers fight over the throne of the Ottoman Empire so one brother tries to buy the other off. After the other brother is captured by the Christians, the new Sultan pays the Pope to keep his brother prisoner. It was a lot of money. A whole lot. I also talk about how things get more expensive for those with less money.

Columbus: A Fortunate Mistake -- Christopher Columbus receives a letter including a map of the world that is WRONG but it spurs him on to organize a voyage west to Asia. I also talk about the Moon launch in the 1960s and the reasons why we try things and not just think about doing things.

Buying a New Sultan

Before Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror of the Ottoman Empire dies, he tells his Grand Vizir that he wants his younger son, Cem, to rule instead of his older son, Bayezid. When the Sultan dies, the Grand Vizir moves the Sultan's body to Constantinople to give the younger son the opportunity to get there first to claim the throne but Bayezid shows up and is crowned king. The fighting begins. Bayezid offers to buy the throne from his half-brother to the tune of $436,000 in modern currency. Cem turns the deal down. After a fierce battle, Cem is captured by Christians and turned over to the Pope who threatens to release Cem if the Ottomans should attack the Christians. Bayezid pays the Pope 120,000 crowns (equivalent to the Pope's entire revenues in a year), the Spear of Longinus (that was used to pierce the side of Jesus as he hung from the cross) 100 slaves and an annual payment of 45,000 ducats which is around $6 million dollars (as of November 2014). Problem solved. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is obvious that the Ottoman Turks have a lot of money on hand. A lack of good financing was the chronic problem of the Eastern Roman Empire. The old Greek Emperor began under-capitalized and could never pay his bills. He would debase his currency which spurred the creation of the Venetian Ducat and the Florin as a standard of payment. (It's like demanding that international transactions be paid in dollars which can be difficult to come by if your local currency is being debased on a weekly basis.) When the word gets out that you don't pay your bills, things get MORE expensive... not less. That is because there is a real possibility that one might not get paid, so the risk gets built into the price. Even though the Ottoman Turks are covering the same basic region that the Eastern Roman Empire once did, their costs are a lot less and they are on the upswing. People are willing to back a winner and they will offer a discount to reap those rewards.

Columbus: A Fortunate Mistake

There is no "flat earth society" amongst the educated at this time. Most people believe that the Earth is a sphere but they disagree as to how big a sphere it is. Christopher Columbus believes that the Earth is 18,000 miles in circumference. (It is actually, around 24,900 miles measured along the equator.) The scientist and mapmaker, Paolo Toscanelli, is firmly in the camp that believes that Asia is just a hop, skip and a jump away, so he writes a letter to the Portuguese who have been looking for a route around Africa and a second letter to Christopher Columbus including a map that shows Cathay (that is, China) just 3,000 miles west of Europe. Columbus is convinced that the voyage is worth trying. The Portuguese will disagree and turn down Columbus's proposal but they will pass him on to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain. [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This is where science gets it really, really WRONG but it turns out better than one could expect. It's sort of like going to the Moon in a redesigned ICBM missile guided by a computer that is less powerful than a kid's pocket calculator. What kind of knucklehead would do that? Well... the United States did that in the 1960s because it was competing with the Soviet Union over which political system was best for mankind. The science of the the 60s was not advanced, but the attempt to reach the Moon spurred research that has changed our lives today. In 2014, going to the Moon should be a cake walk. President Obama has set a goal for Mars, but so far, the USA can't even send people into near orbit any more. Despite all we can do as a survival community one thing is certain... this ball of dirt has an expiration date. Setting aside a belief in man-made global warming or a religious end-of-days scenario, the end is not near. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not in our lifetimes. Not even in our great, great grandchildren's lifetimes but SOME time. We explore the unknown because ultimately, TRYING TO DO SOMETHING is substantially different from THINKING about doing something. [10] [11] [12] [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1481, Wikipedia.

No comments:

Post a Comment