Wednesday, February 18, 2015

History: The Year is 1522

I've uploaded year 1522 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Luther Bible New Testament -- The New Testament translation from Martin Luther in the new High German. He is right to do so even if the Catholic Church was doing everything else correctly. I talk about the need for regular translations or learning how to translate yourself.

The Headhunting Hospitallers and Tax Incentives -- The Knights of St. John have hired away an engineer to help them fortify Rhodes. In the end they lose to the Turks and the Turks allow them to leave but offer tax incentives for the natives to remain.

The Poor Barons' Revolt and the Problem with Change -- Society is changing its behavior and this has caused a problem for the barons who have no way to tax people who aren't doing what they used to do.

The Luther Bible New Testament

The New Testament portion of the Luther Bible is published this year. It is a translation into the new High German directly from the Hellenistic Greek. Thousands of copies are printed and distributed within weeks due to the printing press that has spread primarily through what is modern day Germany. This translation will contribute to the normalization of High German into it's modern form just as the popularity of Dante's Inferno prompted the standardization of modern Italian. Martin Luther had disappeared for a year but he has come back with a vengeance. He believes that the Latin translation of the Bible (Saint Jerome's Bible) has been influenced by Church doctrine so a fresh translation is needed. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Every Bible translation is influenced by the current understanding of religious doctrine in order to make it comprehensible to the reader. That is why Martin Luther's translation was needed in the 1500s. Even if you trust that the official Church was as careful and honest as possible in 1522, the Latin translation was over a thousand years old by that time. Translations are required from the original every few decades as the understanding of words change. The alternative is translating them yourself. I'd recommend that as best practice. Using a concordance is a reasonable compromise. Even if you trust your clergy's understanding of the Bible, having this skill keeps the clergy on their toes so that they will remain trustworthy. Or as the old Russian proverb goes... "Trust but verify!" FYI: Ronald Reagan is famous for using the same proverb when negotiating with the Soviet Union.[4]

The Headhunting Hospitallers and Tax Incentives

The engineer Gabriel Martinengo is lured away from his current job for better pay with the Hospitallers (The Knights of St. John) in order to build up the defenses of Rhodes. Rhodes is an island off the coast of present day Turkey and has become a thorn in the side of the Ottoman Turks but after the penetration of the impenetrable walls of Constantinople, the Knights have rethought their defenses. Bastions are star-like structures whose walls present themselves at an angle to siege-cannon fire. (Think of the Pentagon that did not collapse even though a plane flew into it.) Bastions also eliminate dead zones where sappers can hide to undermine defensive walls. Gabriel has many good ideas for defense and he is so impressed by the Knights that he joins their order. Unfortunately his fortifications won't be enough. Rhodes will fall by the end of the year and the Turks will allow the Knights to sail to Crete with their weapons and banners. [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
As always with these history segments, official dates will vary depending on the Julian or Gregorian calendar so I tend to use vague terms like "end of the year". The Hospitallers refused to give up earlier in the year mostly because they had killed so many Turks that they could not believe that the Turks would let the Knights go unmolested. In the end, starvation forced the Knights to accept terms and the Turks kept their word. Several thousand natives from the island went with the Knights even though the Turks had suspended taxes on the island for 5 years. Apparently tax incentives were in use even then.

The Poor Barons' Revolt and the Problem with Change

Martin Luther has really tipped over the tea table. The lesser nobles, knights and poorer barons have taken up his cause for various reasons. To be fair, some of them are willing to put their lives on the line. Others... not so much but the upshot is the same. They believe that the Catholic Church in combination with the Holy Roman Emperor are taking advantage of them and the peasantry. The knights foment rebellion and encourage the peasants to rise up and claim their rights. While the peasants certainly could use the help, they distrust the knights almost as much as they distrust the Emperor. The Poor Barons' Revolt will fail but it will set the stage for the German Peasants' War in 1524. It will be a bloody encounter. [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is an underlying problem here that cannot be fixed by religion or civil rights. Society has been changing it's structure, moving toward city living, semi-industrial jobs like weaving and less farming. New star-like fortifications called bastions surround the cities, making siege warfare preferable over a direct attack. Knights are no longer needed. Since the tax system in Germany is a muddle there are only limited ways for the lesser nobles to make money. This is the same problem that many modern governments face as the behavior of its citizenship changes. For example, the roads are maintained with a gas tax but as the people buy more fuel efficient cars, or even electric cars, the road maintenance funds are starved out... all because old laws aren't flexible enough to change as people and technology change and government is not sensible enough to plan further ahead than the next election. Bridges collapse, potholes grow like tribbles and we muddle along.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1522, Wikipedia.

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