Welcome back to the third and last part of the Barbarossa miniseries! Now that we’ve looked at Barbarossa’s earlier and later life until his death, one would think we’re done with him. Far from it! Barbarossa had an active afterlife in the memory and myth of those who lived after him.Continue reading
Welcome back to the second part of the Life & Games of Frederick Barbarossa! In the first part, we’ve seen how this fascinating medieval emperor gave everything to establish imperial rule over the Italian cities and the pope in the first 25 years of his reign. In his later years, which are the subject of this post, his style of governance changed – Barbarossa turned from a universalist aiming for the highest goals into a pragmatic politician (who still conducted ambitious projects). These relate to Italy, the stomping ground of his early years as a ruler, to Burgundy and Germany, the western and northern parts of his empire, and finally, even to the Middle East whence he crusaded in the last years of his life.Continue reading
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.
This is the first of three parts on his life & games, dealing with his early life and the rise to emperorship, his first failure and success, and his protracted struggle with the pope and the Italian cities. Future parts will look at Barbarossa’s later life and his legacy.Continue reading
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.
Recently, there has been no hotter theme for board games than Vikings. No matter if you were looking for a light wargame, a classic economic Eurogame or an ameritrash-euro hybrid, Vikings got you covered. After all the raiding, drinking beer and worshipping pagan deities, some of these “men from the north” or “Normans” settled down in the part of modern France which was named after them Normandy. The Viking knack for conquest was however not completely lost. One Norman duke took England for himself in 1066, which did not only give him the kingdom, but also the nickname William the Conqueror. Other Normans went south. One thousand years ago, in the year 1017, a band of mercenaries under the Norman noble Rainulf Drengot arrived in lower Italy to fight for Pope Benedict VIII against the Byzantines. They and their successors would go on to conquer large parts of southern Italy, rule over a multicultural kingdom, and inherit the title of Holy Roman Emperor. Continue reading
On this day 500 years ago, Oct 31, 1517, an unlikely man created a spark of history. When this spark fell on the tinder of renaissance Europe, the conflagration changed the world like few other events before or after. The man was the Augustine monk Martin Luther, and the spark he made were his “95 theses” that began the Reformation and led the fundament for the Protestant faith. Since this breathtaking event merits some broader inspection, I’ll examine it in two parts. Continue reading