Thursday, June 18, 2015

History: The Year is 1593

I've uploaded year 1593 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Cosmos: A Spacetime Inquisition -- Father Bruno is a saint to science but less than a saint to his own religion. The TV science show Cosmos tries to criticize the Church for killing its science saint but the accusation wears a little thin.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service -- Christopher Marlowe may have faked his own death... in service to the Queen... and William Shakespeare.

The Pirate Queen Meets the Queen of England -- Grace O'Malley is a merchant Queen and some people might say... pirate. She is entertaining, though.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Inquisition

After supporting Copernicus, writing a number of controversial books on science and commenting on the nature of the universe (and dark mysticism) Father Giordano Bruno has returned to Italy. Unfortunately a few of his books have come under the scrutiny of the Inquisition and they are ... unhappy. He is extradited to Rome and spends several months in prison, awaiting the Inquisition to charge him. His trial begins in December and it will continue on-and-off for the next 7 years. It will not end well for Father Bruno. After declining several opportunities to recant the religious passages in his books he will accept the final judgement of the Pope. The Pope will judge him to be a heretic and Father Bruno will be burned at the stake. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The TV science show "Cosmos: a Spacetime Odyssey" implied that Father Bruno was put to death because of science, but that is an exaggeration. The trial never mentioned scientific issues. He died because he stood up for his personal understanding of God... not his scientific teachings. Given the Reformation conflict at the time, the Catholic and Protestant churches were more concerned with religious conformity than how many alien races could dance on a pin. The Cosmos TV show implied that Father Bruno rejected religion. Far from it, but science needs its saints and sinners as much as any church. I resent when the facts must be sacrificed on the altar of science, though. Life is not black or white, on or off. One can be both religious and scientific. The two disciplines can overlap in a few places if we will stop fretting so much. [4]

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

The famous playwright, Christopher Marlowe, dies in a knife fight over the payment of the bill after dining with friends. (With friends like these, who needs enemies?) His killer is brought to justice and then let go. Odd. There is one more thing you need to know. The Late Mr. Marlowe was a spy for the Queen of England and so was the man who killed him. Very odd. Every government has an intelligence service run by people with very few scruples and a lot of initiative. In the court of Queen Elizabeth the 1st, the job of a spy is to uncover assassination plots and thwart religious fanatics planning the general massacre of Protestants. (That is a REAL possibility, by the way.) The Queen is willing to pay for good intelligence and good agents. Since playwrights are always hobnobbing with the aristocracy, they have the perfect cover for a spy. Shortly after Marlowe's death, William Shakespeare becomes prominent in the theater. Conspiracy theorists wonder if Marlowe faked his own death and took up the identity of William Shakespeare. We'll never know. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Spies were common in those days (and perhaps in the modern day as well). Theaters were located in the seedy side of town but frequented by the aristocracy, often attending in masks or disguises. Clergy were hidden by their church members to avoid being killed by their religious opponents, but that hidden network of ritual provided a built-in network for spies. Merchants, bankers and legally sanctioned fences for stolen goods (now called pawn shops) allowed military information to be passed along at several levels of society. Frankly, the Spanish Armada could not have been thwarted without a vigorous English and Dutch spy network. It's not a conspiracy when two of the greatest financial centers are building spy networks. It's simple self-interest. If a bank makes a war loan to a government then that bank will want to provide the information needed for his client to win the war. Occam's Razor applies. The simple explanation is usually the correct one. [15]

The Pirate Queen Meets the Queen of England

Grace O'Malley is chieftain of the O'Malley clan in Ireland. After the death of her merchant father, Grace has inherited a considerable fleet of merchant ships... sometimes known as pirate ships depending on what they are doing at the time, but let's not quibble. As long as everyone gets their cut, all is well, but an English governor has gotten greedy. After taxing Grace's cargo on trade ships coming into his territory, Grace's sons think that turnabout is fair play. They waylay ships coming from that territory, extract a "tax" and then disappear. Unfortunately her two sons and her half-brother are captured by this English governor so Grace O'Malley petitions the Queen of England to get this governor off of her back. There is no truth to the rumor that Grace was carrying a dagger under her dress in order to murder the Queen. The dagger was for defensive purposes only. [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
People just love stories about Grace O'Malley. She is a pip! There was the time when she needed to sneeze so an English woman lent her a lace hanky. Grace sneezed into the pitiful little piece of cloth and then, to the shock of all, she threw the hanky into the fire. Apparently Irish handkerchiefs are all "disposable." It was unfortunate that more didn't come of that visit with Queen Elizabeth, though. Elizabeth removed the English governor but restored him to his position later on. Obviously Grace was not being taken seriously. She continued to agitate and foment rebellion. Grace O'Malley died around the same time that Queen Elizabeth did although the exact circumstances are in dispute.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1593, Wikipedia.

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