Wednesday, April 30, 2014

House of Luxemburg’s Triumph

Featuring Thomas Carlyle

Previously on The House of Hohenzollern Established in Brandenburg

Time: 1411
Place: Berlin, Germany

He had for Empress a sister of Burggraf Friedrich's; which high lady, unknown to us otherwise, except by her tomb at Heidelberg, we remember for her brother's sake. Kaiser Rupert--great-grandson of that Kur-Pfalz who was Kaiser Ludwig's elder brother--is the culminating point of the Electors Palatine; the highest that Heidelberg produced. Ancestor of those famed Protestant "Palatines"; of all the Palatines or Pfalzes that reign in these late centuries. Ancestor of the present Bavarian Majesty; Kaiser Ludwig's race having died out. Ancestor of the unfortunate Winterkönig, Friedrich, King of Bohemia, who is too well known in English history--ancestor also of Charles XII of Sweden, a highly creditable fact of the kind to him. Fact indisputable: a cadet of Pfalz-Zweibrück (Deux-Ponts), direct from Rupert, went to serve in Sweden in his soldier business; distinguished himself in soldiering; had a sister of the great Gustaf Adolf to wife; and from her a renowned son, Karl Gustaf (Christiana's cousin), who succeeded as King; who again had a grandson made in his own likeness, only still more of iron in his composition. Enough now of Rupert Smith's-vise; who died in 1410, and left the Reich again vacant.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Herodotus Examines the Pyramids

Previously in Herodotus

125. This pyramid was made after the manner of steps, which some call "rows" and others "bases": and when they had first made it thus, they raised the remaining stones with machines made of short pieces of timber, raising them first from the ground to the first stage of the steps, and when the stone got up to this it was placed upon another machine standing on the first stage, and so from this it was drawn to the second upon another machine; for as many as were the courses of the steps, so many machines there were also, or perhaps they transferred one and the same machine, made so as easily to be carried, to each stage successively, in order that they might take up the stones; for let it be told in both ways, according as it is reported. However that may be, the highest parts of it were finished first, and afterwards they proceeded to finish that which came next to them, and lastly they finished the parts of it near the ground and the lowest ranges. On the pyramid it is declared in Egyptian writing how much was spent on radishes and onions and leeks for the workmen, and if I rightly remember that which the interpreter said in reading to me this inscription, a sum of one thousand six hundred talents of silver was spent; and if this is so, how much besides is likely to have been expended upon the iron with which they worked, and upon bread and clothing for the workmen, seeing that they were building the works for the time which has been mentioned and were occupied for no small time besides, as I suppose, in the cutting and bringing of the stones and in working at the excavation under the ground?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Brandenburg Pawned

Featuring Thomas Carlyle

Previously on The House of Hohenzollern Established in Brandenburg

Time: 1387
Place:  Berlin, Brandenburg

No end of troubles to Sigismund, and to Brandenburg through him, from this sublime Hungarian legacy. Like a remote fabulous golden fleece, which you have to go and conquer first, and which is worth little when conquered. Before ever setting out (1387), Sigismund saw too clearly that he would have cash to raise: an operation he had never done with, all his life afterward. He pawned Brandenburg to cousin Jobst of Mähren; got "twenty thousand Bohemian gulden"--I guess, a most slender sum, if Dryasdust would but interpret it. This was the beginning of pawnings to Brandenburg; of which when will the end be? Jobst thereby came into Brandenburg on his own right for the time, not as tutor or guardian, which he had hitherto been. Into Brandenburg; and there was no chance of repayment to get him out again.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The House of Hohenzollern Established in Brandenburg

Featuring Thomas Carlyle

Time:  1380
Place:  Berlin, Brandenburg

Blog’s Preface:
The Hohenzollern family had gotten rich and were ready to make their move into nobility by the late 1300’s.  Meanwhile in Berlin, the Elector Charles IV died.  Carlyle, in his own pictorial style describes the subsequent complications by which the Hohenzollerns got hold of the region.  They would eventually rule all of Germany and plunge the world into World War I but first they had to start.

Now begins Thomas Carlyle: