900 years ago, one of the most famous and fascinating rulers of the Middle Ages was born: Frederick of Hohenstaufen, who would be the first emperor of his name. He is known more commonly by his nickname “Barbarossa” – Redbeard. While not nearly all of his enterprises succeeded, the sheer amount of them – and how close he came in fulfilling even his highest ambition – leaves the modern onlooker in awe.
May 23, 1618 was not a good day for Count von Martinitz. Neither was it for Count Slavata, nor for Councillor Fabricius. The three were assailed by an angry mob of the Bohemian Estates and thrown out of a window of Prague Castle. Miraculously, all three of them survived the fall of about 20 meters. European peace, however, did not survive. The Thirty Years’ War which resulted from the attempted lynching ranks high among the bloodiest conflicts in European history. This article will take examine how this relatively small act of violence could trigger such a long and intense war and what made this war different from others before and after. All the while, games about the Thirty Years’ War will be discussed.
130 years ago, the German Empire was ruled by three emperors (kaisers) in quick succession. The old emperor, William I, died at age 91. His son Frederick (III) was already suffering from laryngeal cancer and died after only 99 days as emperor. He was succeeded by his son William (II), the best-known German emperor who would continue to rule until monarchy was abolished in Germany at the end of World War I. The three men stand for three distinctly different visions for their country. Let’s look at each of them in turn – William I, Frederick III, and William II.