Thursday, April 23, 2015

History: The Year is 1564

I've uploaded year 1564 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Surprise! The Battle for Absolute Power -- Ivan the Terrible gets his backside kicked in Lithuania so he abdicates his throne. They beg for him back and he returns on the condition of being granted absolute power.

Rats and the King Rodent of Christmas --  Weird rat formations are found and naturally they are considered a bad omen. In fact they creep into "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" ballet which is performed every Christmas.

Oh Baby! A Lot of Famous People are Born -- Galileo Galilei and William Shakespeare to name two.

Surprise! The Battle for Absolute Power

When the war between Livonia and Russia became grim for Livonia, the leadership was dissolved and various duchies were scooped up by Lithuania as per treaty. At this time Lithuania is massive and includes Poland and most of Ukraine. The hope in becoming part of Lithuania was to become so large that Ivan the Terrible would back off, but instead, he has occupied much of Livonia. (FYI... Livonia had a piece of paper to protect them but not Lithuanian troops.) Now Ivan's armies are attacking cites in Lithuania proper. This is a critical error for Ivan. In a surprise attack, Lithuanian forces hit the Russian forces marching near the Ula River. The Lithuanians are vastly outnumbered but the Russians are totally unprepared for battle. A few days later the Lithuanians hit the second of the two Russian armies. Believing that the main host of the Lithuanian army is upon them, the Russians retreat, relinquishing their conquered cities. It is a resounding defeat for the Russians. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
One of Ivan's advisors defects to Lithuania at this time so Ivan's paranoia is at its height. His mental condition was never too stable under the best of conditions. With this defeat he has come unglued and abdicates his throne. The boyar court begs Ivan to return, and he agrees but only on the condition that he be granted absolute power. The court loves this idea. Centuries of oppression under the Russian secret police have just begun. [2]
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
-- Lord Acton [3]
Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat.
-- Donald T. Regan, Chief of Staff under Ronald Reagan, cracking wise at the Girdiron Dinner. [4] [5]

Rats and the King Rodent of Christmas

Rats are found joined at the tail in a bizarre linkage called a "rat king". This collection of rats is joined in various ways. Sometimes their tails are simply tangled together in some foreign substance such as hair or frozen together in ice. Other times their tails are knotted together, either in a tangle or so damaged that scar tissue forms. The phrase "Rat King" existed before this rat phenomenon was discovered. It usually referred to an elderly man who lived on the efforts of his children. Naturally, these rats are seen as an evil omen and old-man parasites are not well-loved either. [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This is like a report of "ball lightening." No one believes it until they see it. Some of these rat kings are on display in museums. A rat king appears in a famous ballet that even children of the modern day will know. "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" ballet is performed every Christmas. It is a fantasy battle between a nutcracker given as a Christmas gift and a seven-headed mouse. My memory of the play does not include any multi-headed mouse but in the original play of 1892 the evil omen of a multi-headed rodent would be obvious to all. I'd like to say that people still believe in omens but I don't want to jinx it. [7] [8]

Oh Baby! A Lot of Famous People are Born

Galileo Galilei
Born in Pisa. Using a telescope, his observations of Jupiter will convince him that the Earth orbits around the Sun. He will come under scrutiny of the Church but he will avoid the worst charges with a lot of CYA memos. [9]
William Shakespeare
Born in Stratford-upon-Avon. He will become one of the greatest poets and playwrights in history. Some people believe he didn't actually write all those plays but this is a fringe hypothesis. [10] [11]
Christopher Marlowe
Born in Canterbury. He will greatly influence Shakespeare and become one of greatest playwrights of the Elizabethan Age. He will also become a spy and die under mysterious circumstances... or perhaps he faked his own death. [12]
Paulo Miki
Born in Japan. He will become a Jesuit and crucified in Nagasaki. He will deliver a sermon from the cross, forgiving his persecutors. The Pope will saint him in 1862 along with several others crucified that day. [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Galileo will also conduct experiments in gravity using cannon balls rolled down a ramp. My son recently built a metal forge similar to the one discussed in the TSP forums. He cast a hand-sized cannon ball, ground and polished it to a mirror finish. I suggested that he reproduce Galileo's experiments and his eyes lit up. (He is a geek like his father.) Galileo showed that formulas used to calculate the path of a cannon ball suffered from too much academic theory and not enough experimentation. Air friction errors must be taken into account when calculating where a cannon ball will land. That's called military R&D and that means money. That was probably why Galileo did the experiments. A man has to eat.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1564, Wikipedia.

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