FEBRUARY 2017

FEBRUARY  2017
The same old bullshit, for 2 hundred years. First it was the Catholics - German, Italian and Irish - and then Asians, and then Jews. Whose next?

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Friday, April 01, 2016

APRIL FOOL


I don’t approve of practical jokes. I see nothing humorous in having my shoes set afire while I am  wearing them. And dribble glasses are not only not practical they are also not funny - especially on “April Fools Day”, when every glass is a dribble glass and every shoe is a potential combustion chamber. And it turns out that this celebration of sociopathic behavior was invented by the French, a nation without humorous inclinations since Moliere slipped on a banana peel in 1673. But the story of April Fool’s Day began over a century before that comedic-tragic event, when in 1564 King Charles IX decided to follow Pope Gregory’s suggestion and begin the calendar on January rather than April. Why the French originally celebrated New Years Day on April 1st, I have no idea.
Now, in the 16th century, France had only one road. It came out of Paris, turned left, looped all the way around the city and re-entered on the other side of town. This tragic design error,(the world’s first Traffic Circle) made communication with the majority of the nation difficult (and introduced the phrase “Out-of-the-Loop”), and when combined with the French telephone system - which was in no better shape in the 16th century than it is today - meant that a lot of peasants never got the King’s memo concerning the calendar adjustment.
So as they had every year, thousands of these ill-informed peasants journeyed to Paris during the last week of March and on what they thought was New Year’s Eve, gathered in Bastille Square to say bonjour to 1565 and watch the guillotine drop on 1566. In unison they gleefully chanted, “Cing, quartre, trios, deux, un” and…No guillotine. No satisfying plop of a head into the basket. No Champagne corks popping. No red faced Anderson Cooper, no naked Kathy Griffith. Instead of cheers and shouts of glee, mass ennui broke out among the masses. Now anyone who has experienced the Parisian version of “good manners” can imagine what came next; the locals mocked the bewildered peasants and made them feel like complete Americans,…ah, I mean,fools. But the way they did it makes the word “odd” seem inadequate.
For reasons beyond understanding the Parisians snuck up behind their confused country cousins, surreptitiously stuck a paper fish to the bumpkin’s backs and then shouted in a loud voice, “Poisson d’Avril!”, which translates as “April Fish!”, and then collapsed in raucous laughter and shouts of “tres bien.”
Why would they shout “April Fish!”? I have no idea. But, perhaps the first Parisian to label his victim an "April Fool” immediately received a mouth full of fist, while calling the victim an "April Fish” confused him just long enough so that the prankster could escape.
I have long thought that this uncharacteristic outbreak of French “humor” was actually inspired by Charles’ Italian Queen, Catherine de Medici, who was already famous throughout Europe for her gastronomical gags,  such as her duck a la cyanide with a hemlock sauce. Only a Medici could see the humor in humiliating the people who handled your food.
But however it started, the Parisians knew a good time when they saw it and they sent peasants on “fool’s errands”, and tricked peasants with “fool’s tales”, until every April 1st, France reverberated with gales of laughter and shouts of “Poisson d’Avril!”  Ah, good times. But eventually the Parisian bullies grew bored with taunting the unresponsive peasants and in 1572 they shifted their attentions to the Huguenots. But by then the tradition of humiliating people for your own amusement on the first day of April had become generally popular. And like Disco music and Special Federal Prosecutors, once invented some institutions have proven impossible to stop.
This holiday for the humor-impaired spread around the globe with the new calendar like a fungus, infecting and evolving a little in each newly afflicted nation. The Germans added the “Kick Me” sign, and a second day which they called “Taily Day”, to further enjoy the frivolity of bruised buttocks. Ahh, those Germans.
In Portugal, today’s innocent victim is hit with flour, sometimes while it is still in the bag - the flour not the victim. In Scotland the target is humiliatingly referred to as an “April Gawk” (?!), in England as a “Noodle” and in Canada as an “American.” I would have expected mental health professionals to call for a stop to this public insanity but evidently they are too busy setting their patients’ shoes on fire.
Not even a war could snap the world out of this cruel insanity. In what may have been the first time a practical joke qualified as a war crime, on April 1, 1915 a French pilot buzzed the German trenches and dropped a huge bomb, which bounced. Four years later the citizens of Venice awoke on April 1, to discover their sidewalks littered with cow manure, the "gag" of a visiting Englishman, Horace de Vere Cole, with too much time on his hands and too much money in his pockets. But then what can you expect from a man who would honeymoon on April Fool's day? Bad humor moved into the electronic age in 1957 when BBC Television News broadcast a report about the successful and bountiful Swiss harvest of spaghetti.  On April Fool's Day in 1992, National Public Radio in the United States, broadcast the announcement that Richard Nixon was coming out of retirement to run again for President, under the slogan, "I didn't do anything wrong and I won't do it again."
Some years later, ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Company, carried a report that the nation was about to switch to "Metric Time". The next morning would begin at midnight, but each minute would be made up of 100 milidays, each hour of 100 centedays, and each day would consist of 20 decadays. It is alleged that  the following morning nobody in Australia showed up for work on time, but it is unclear if that was because the April Fools joke worked, or merely because everybody in Australia still had a hangover, mate  
Admit it; there is no defense against April Fool tomfoolery, except a preemptive strike. So button up your top button, zip up your pants, tie your shoes and look out for that cat. Load up your water gun, warm up your fart cushion and repeat after me; “Poison d’Avril, sucker!”
Funny, huh?
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

BLOODY JACK Chapter Ten

I believe the staid and proper London Times would never have mentioned the brutal murders of aged working class prostitutes had not the screaming headlines of their “tabloid” competition not been so insistent – and popular. But the Times joined the feeding frenzy with their story dated Saturday, 1 September, 1888. “Another murder of the foulest kind was committed in the neighborhood of Whitechapel in the early hours of Yesterday morning, but by whom and with what motive is at present a complete mystery....”
In contrast the left leaning Daily News shared every detail with their middle class readers. They reported, “ A shocking murder...a woman lying in Buck's row...with her throat cut from ear to ear. The body...was also fearfully mutilated...” This latter statement was printed as fact even before the autopsy was reported. “The police have no theory...except that a sort of "High Rip" gang exists in the neighborhood which, "blackmailing" women who frequent the streets, takes vengeance on those who do not find money for them...The other theory is that the woman...was murdered in a house...(then) afterwards ...deposited in the street. Color is lent to this by the small quantity, comparatively, of blood found on the clothes, and by the fact that the clothes are not cut. If the woman was murdered on the spot where the body was found, it is almost impossible to believe that she would not have aroused the neighborhood by her screams...”
But it was the popular London Star which was the most relentless, and with the largest circulation. The editor asked on the front page, “Have we a murderous maniac loose in East London?...Nothing so appalling, so devilish, so inhuman...has ever happened outside the pages of (Edgar Allen)  Poe...In each case the victim has been a woman of abandoned character, each crime has been committed in the dark hours of the morning...each murder has been accompanied by hideous mutilation. In the...case...of the woman Martha Turner...no fewer than 30 stabs were inflicted. The scene of this murder was George-yard, a place appropriately known locally as "the slaughter-house."
The Metropolitan Police were not even certain the crimes were connected. But the Star harbored no such doubts, pointing out that the crimes were all “...committed within a very small radius. Each of the ill-lighted thoroughfares to which the women were decoyed to be foully butchered are off-turnings from Whitechapel-road, and all are within half a mile.” 
The newspaper went on to point out, “This afternoon at the Working Lads' Institute (above)...Mr. Wynne E. Baxter opened the inquest...The desire that no time should be lost in tracing the perpetrator of the atrocity prompted the Coroner to commence his investigation as early as possible...there was a great amount of morbid interest displayed in the inquiry.” Almost all of it by the tabloid London press.
Presiding over the demi-trial was South-East Middlesex Coroner Mr. Wayne E. Baxter (above),  refreshed from his August vacation. He was a consummate professional, a stickler for formalities, but balanced this by his attire at the inquest - white and checked trousers, a “dazziling white” vest, a “crimson scarf and dark coat.” I am tempted to suggest the witnesses must have shouted to be heard over his clothing. And Mr. Baxter's inquest began far ahead of the August one for Martha Tabram, because the very first witness , at 6:30 the afternoon of 1 September, 1888, offered a positive identification of the victim.
Edward Walker had not seen his 42 year old daughter, Mary Ann (above), for more than two years. But he had no doubt that she was lying in the Montague Street Morgue, identifying her by the scar on her forehead. Twenty-two years earlier he had given her in marriage to William Nichols, but after five children, she and William had separated, for which Edward blamed her husband. But at the same time, he admitted he “had not been on speaking terms with her.” He added, “She had been living with me three or four years previously, but thought she could better herself, so I let her go.”
The truth came out when Baxter asked if Mary Ann was a sober woman. Walker responded, “Well, at times she drank, and that was why we did not agree.” But he would go no further, denying that she had might have been a prostitute, saying, “I never heard of anything of that sort...I never heard of anything improper.” And when Baxter suggested “She must have drunk heavily for you to turn her out of doors?”, Edwards insisted, “I never turned her out. She had no need to be like this while I had a home for her.” He reminded the jury, “She has had five children, the eldest being twenty-one years old and the youngest eight or nine years. One of them lives with me, and the other four are with their father.” The father of the victim closed his testimony by saying, “I don't think she had any enemies, she was too good for that.”
After taking testimony from slaughter-house worker Henry Tompkins, who said he had heard nothing on the morning of the murder, the inquest moved on to Police Constable John Neil (above), badge number 97J. He related his discovery of the body, and its transfer to the morgue. Upon arrival there, Neil testified he had begun an inventory of the victim's property - no money but “a piece of comb and a bit of looking-glass...(and) an unmarked white handkerchief...in her pocket”. Shortly afterward, the attendants discovered the victim had been disemboweled, and everything came to a halt until the doctor had arrived.
Dr. Llewelkyn (above) noted his discovery of the body at about 4:00 in the morning, giving time of death at “no more than half an hour” before that. Then, he said, he released the body and returned home. But, 
About an hour later I was sent for by the Inspector to see the injuries he had discovered...the abdomen was cut very extensively.” After briefly recording the injuries, the busy doctor had returned to his duties, until 11:00 the next morning, 1 November, when he did a full post-mortem examination.
I found (the body) to be that of a female about forty or forty-five years. Five of the teeth are missing, and there is a slight laceration of the tongue. On the right side of the face  (above) there is a bruise running along the lower part of the jaw...On the left side of the face there was a circular bruise, which also might have been done by the pressure of the fingers.
On the left side of the neck, about an inch below the jaw, there was an incision (above) about four inches long and running from a point immediately below the ear. An inch below on the same side...was a circular incision terminating at a point about three inches below the right jaw. This incision completely severs all the tissues down to the vertebrae. The large vessels of the neck on both sides were severed. The incision is about eight inches long. These cuts must have been caused with a long-bladed knife, moderately sharp, and used with great violence. No blood at all was found on the breast either of the body or clothes.” Dr. Llewelkyn found no injuries between the neck and the lower abdomen.
Down the left side of the lower abdomen, running into pubic area, the doctor found “ a wound running in a jagged manner (above) . It was a very deep wound, and the tissues were cut through.” The tissues being the vagina, , bladder and lower intestines. “There were several incisions running across the abdomen. On the right side there were also three or four similar cuts running downwards...The wounds were from left to right, and might have been done by a left-handed person. All the injuries had been done by the same instrument.” And with that disturbing information, Corner Baxter adjourned the inquest until Monday.
The Sunday newspapers were going to splash these bloody details all over the city. And the killer, who ever and where ever he was, must have enjoyed reading them, if he could read English. But the tabloid papers had a noble justification for printing such gory details – the political destruction of Sir Charles Warren, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (above). The Star quoted “A portly superintendent of police” who supposedly said, "Yes, it's true enough...Sir Charles seems to think a soldier and a policeman the same thing. Why we could not carry out our duties but for our long training.”
The Star also quoted an anonymous Detective Inspector as admitting, “...Sir Charles...is not popular ....There is too much of the military about him, and he is a tyrant...” The Star's reporter asked, “The men would be glad to see Sir Charles going?" “Yes”, the detective supposedly answered, “very glad, and it is the rumor in the Yard that he is going....he is destroying the force here with his military notions."
So Commissioner Warren (above), who was on vacation in France, was now being blamed for the inability of the police to catch a criminal the Victorian world never imagined existed. 
To a population unaware of the subconscious mind, his crimes were inexplicable. His motives were invisible. He was a mad man who looked and acted sane on most days, a serial killer who was not interested in “high rip” protection rackets or even petty thefts, the usual crimes that trip up murderers. He did not know and did not want to know his victims. He was a predator who blended in among his prey until the moment he struck them down. He was, or soon would be, Jack the Ripper.
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Sunday, March 27, 2016

THE FIRST DAY Chapter Ten

I suppose the young troopers deserved at least one moment of exhilaration. It came just after dawn, about 6:00 am. on Thursday, 25 June, 1863. After the dark, hushed and nervous passage through the Bull Run Mountains, the gray morning light had revealed, in the distance, the canvas tops of a line of Federal supply wagons, white pearls on a string, sparkling in the myriad prisms left by the overnight rain - like presents just waiting to be opened. Stuart unlimbered some artillery and sent a few shells whistling toward the tempting prizes. But within a few moments, federal artillery arrived and began to lob shells at the rebel artillery. And worse, the growing light revealed the dark threatening blue of massed Federal infantry. The brief flicker of rebel hope faded into shadow.
Major General James Ewell Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart was leading 3 brigades of the best light cavalry in the world. First in line were the 1,300 troopers of Lieutenant General John Randolf Chambliss, then the 1,900 men of Lt. General Wade Hampton, with Fitzhugh Lee's 2,000 men bringing up the rear. 
The goal was for these 5,000 men - 4,500 effective s - to make an easy 28 miles a day, covering 110 miles over 4 days to arrive no latter than 29 June, at Hanover Pennsylvania. There Stuart expected to redirect his command to join Brigadier General Richard Ewell's 2nd Corps, which was supposed to be in Carlise, Pennsylvania on that date. As historian Scott Nesbit has written, “Realistically, Lee could not have expected to hear from Stuart until the 28th and quite possibly the 29th...”.
The 40 mile first day's route had been scouted in advance by the diminutive General John S. Mosby. Once through the mountains Stuart had already passed through New Baltimore and Buckland, Virginia. From here he planned to slip between the units of the somnambulist Joe Hooker's army to reach Haymarket, and then to cross the Potomac River at Seneca Ford. From there the cavalry corps would pass west of Washington, D.C., and on to Hanover. There would be plenty of time to destroy railroad bridges, burn supply stores and spar with Federal cavalry. Stuart had already done raids like this twice the year before. And there was no reason not to assume he could do it again. Except...
Except there had been Brandy Station the month before – where union cavalry had come with a hair of capturing “Jeb” Stuart. And just 10 days ago a Rhode Island regiment had surprised Stuart again in Middleburg, Virginia. And now, setting out on a maneuver that required stealth and speed, Stuart found himself, within 15 miles of his starting point at Salem, Virginia, blocked by an entire Federal infantry division and supply trains – on the move. They were not supposed to be there, and they were not supposed to be moving. Mosby had discovered as much the day before, but trapped behind shifting Federal lines, he had been unable to warn Stuart.
Military Historian David Powell described Stuart's options as either a “detour to the southeast in hopes of getting around the Union army; or returning to...fall in behind the Confederate infantry...(at) Williamsport. Either choice would necessitate a delay...”. Being who he was, Stuart chose to double back to Buckland, and wait for Mosby to point a way east, through the Federal army. He waited all day, but Mosby never appeared. That officer assumed Stuart would head west, to join Lee's main body at Williamsport. But whichever choice Stuart made, he was already a day behind schedule.
Before dawn on Friday, 26 June, Stuart led his troopers south and then 20 miles eastward, to the ford over the Occoquan River at Wolf Run Shoals, barely avoiding the Federal Second Corp, which had finished crossing just the day before. Realizing now that the entire Federal army was marching north, Stuart sent a warning to Lee, who was still at Williamsport. But the message never arrived. And because of the Federal cavalry screening the rear of Hanncock's corps, Stuart was forced to inch his way forward, making just 20 miles this day. He was now 2 days behind schedule, and further from the Potomac River than ever. Growing desperate to make up lost time, on Saturday, 27 June, Stuart pushed his men and horses 60 miles to the Potomac – his first troopers crossing the river at 3:00 am. on Sunday, 28 June at Rockville, Maryland. The “Southern Cavalier” was forced to spend the rest of the day letting his men and horses recover from that forced march.
But now their luck changed, or so it seemed. They captured an entire Federal supply train of 125 “best United States model wagons” - pulled by mules, in the words of 54 year old Colonel Richard Lee Tuberville Beal, “..fat and sleek and harness in use for the first time.” The wagons were so desperately needed by the Confederacy, and their cargo of oats so valuable to Stuart's own horses, that Stuart didn't burn them, but took them with him, when he headed north the next morning, Monday, 29 June, 1863.
Having been forced to finally give up his dreams of capturing Richmond – and avoiding a rematch with Robert E, Lee - General Joseph Hooker had, on Wednesday, 24 June, finally begun shifting his Army of the Potomac north. These were the movements which had so disrupted Stuart’s own intentions. But at last Hooker was moving. He was moving slowly, in part,  because of the troops lost when their enlistments expired. had convinced Hooker that Lee now outnumbered him. In desperation, Hooker dispatched his Chief-of-Staff, Major-General Crawford, to Washington to collect 15,000 men from the forts surrounding the capital. General Slough, military governor of Alexandria, ordered his men to ignore the orders. On 25 June, Hooker demanded that Slough be arrested. Slough was not, and Halleck informed Hooker, “No other troops can be withdrawn from the Defenses of Washington.” In his growing frustration, Hooker admitted “I don't know whether I am standing on my head or feet.”
On Friday, 26 June, Hooker had finally moved his headquarters north across the Potomac, but over half of his army was still in Virginia. And so was his mind. That evening he telegraphed Halleck, “Is there any reason why Maryland Heights should not be abandoned...?” Saturday morning he arrived in Harper's Ferry (above) himself, and informed Halleck, “I find 10,000 men here, in condition to take the field.” Hooker wanted Harper's Ferry and the heights abandoned, and those 10,000 men in his army. And he didn't trust Halleck to make the decision. “I beg that this may be presented to the Secretary of War and His Excellency the President.”  In response Halleck dispatched a telegram to the new commander at Harper's Ferry, ordering him to ignore any instructions from Hooker. The telegram was opened and read right in front of "Fighting Joe". And that was the final insult to Hooker's fragile ego.
At 1:00 pm. on Friday, 27 June, Hooker telegraphed Washington, “My original instructions require me to cover Harper's Ferry and Washington...I am unable to comply with this condition with the means at my disposal, and earnestly request that I may at once be relieved from the position I occupy.” To which Halleck replied, “As you were appointed to this command by the President, I have no power to relieve you. Your dispatch has been duly referred for executive action.”
The Hooker had finally hit the fan.
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EASTER SERVICE Part Three

I find it perfectly logical that so much began in Florence. Wool from Europe and dyes from Asian ports met in Tuscany, which was far enough from Rome that religious strictures against profits could be stretched, and in a region so poor the nobility, the only people with any money, were willing to experiment with capitalism. A cultural and economic “rinascità”, or renaissance was set off. And riding the first wave in 1378 was Salvestro de'Medici, the black sheep of his clan.
Salvestro led the popolo minuto, the little people, the unskilled Ciompi textile workers in demanding the right to form their own guilds. Their rulers, the popolo grasso, the fat ones, initially gave in, but a month later, when the workers followed one of their own, Michele di Lando, in storming the Palazzo Vecchio, the textile makers closed their shops, and Salvestro remained silent. Within days hunger forced the unpaid workers to surrender. But the Medici family had established their reputation as defenders of the common man, while not abandoning their wealthy neighbors. And thanks to Salvestro they built a great fortune by using that populist image.
And on the heartless application of violence. One hundred years later, on Sunday, 26 April 1478, as soon as  Lorenzo Medici escaped from the cathedral, he dispatched forces to retrieve his brother's mutilated body, left to bleed out on the cathedral floor. From a second story window of his home Lorenzo then appeared to a crowd of supporters, showing he was still alive, if wounded. His survival inspired the Medici forces to strike back without pity.
Archbishop Francesco Salviati was already in custody in the Palazzo Vecchio. He was quickly joined by his brother, Jacopo Salviati, and his cousin, Bartolomeo Salviati. All three  had been in the cathedral during the murders of Guiliano Medici and Frecesco Nori.  In addition, armed men were dispatched to the Pazzi home, where the still bleeding Francesco Pazzi, was arrested.  They were all questioned at an rump trial by the eight members of the City Council. The results were, it might be said, per-ordained.
Within the hour Francisco Pazzi was stripped naked. A noose was thrown around his neck. Then he was pushed from the second story window of the Palzzo Vecchio. The drop was not intended to be far enough to break his neck. It was intended that he should slowly strangled for the amusement of the jeering mob filling the square. And while he still writhed at the end of the rope, Archbishop Salviati, also naked, was shoved out a window, to writhe in desperate agony until, as an observer noted, his eyes bugged out. Once both men were finally dead, the ropes were cut and the bodies dropped into the square, where the mob beat and dismembered the corpses. One enraged man, said a witness, even bit into the dead Francesco's chest.
Next out the window was the two Salviati cousins, to dance to the crowd's delight, who then vented their blood lust upon the dead bodies. Then the priests, Setefano da Bagnone and Antonio Maffei de Volterra, the pair who had attacked Lorenzo, had their noses and ears cut off, before being castrated. Then, they were thrown from the window, to dance for the mob. Now, eager to prove their loyalty to the Medici family and with their blood lust released, the mob tracked down as many Pazzi and Pergia supporters as they could find, breaking into private homes and public buildings, even churches, to kill them. At least eighty were butchered that Easter Sunday on the streets or in their homes, with many thrown from the Vecchio's clock tower. Guilt in the murder or the plot was no longer required. The Pazzi name was enough.
Jacopo Pazzi was trying to reach Pisa, but only managed to get as far as the tiny mountain village of Castagno, about seven miles west of Florence, before he was captured, beaten and returned to the city. He then flew out the Palazzo Vecchio window, like his nephew and sons. After he was buried in the family crypt, a drunken mob disinterred his corpse, and dragged it through the streets. It was then reburied outside the city walls, but dug up again, this time by children, who used the head to pound on the Pazzi family front door. When no one answered, the rotted corpse was dragged to the river Arno and tossed into the water. It was last seen, decomposing in the shallows.
Those Pazzi males not killed outright were arrested. and confined in the new prison fortress in Volterra, twenty miles southwest of Florence. It was so secure, it is still being used as a high security prison today.Guglielmo Pazzi, Francesco’s brother, was spared execution only because he was married to a Medici daughter. He was banished from Florence for life, along with all Pazzi females, old men and children. All Pazzi gold and silver in Europe were ordered seized, their homes, businesses and estates plundered and confiscated. No Pazzi was ever again allowed to hold public office in Florence. The family crest of two dolphins was removed wherever found, as were all images of Pazzi faces in paintings . So complete and absolute was the Medici revenge, that the name Pazzi became, in English, to define anyone who could be implicated in a crime - a patsy.
Then there was the case of Giovanni Batista da Montesecco, a cousin to the Duke of Urbano. He had originally been chosen to kill Lorenzo, but bowed out after realizing the murders were to occur in the cathedral during Easter services. But neither had he warned the Medici of the plot. Arrested after being implicated by the unfortunate Setefano and Antonio, Giovanni revealed how deeply Pope Sixtus' had been involved. In return for his testimony, he was merely beheaded.  The man who had officiated at the Easter Mass and Sixtus' nephew, Cardinal Raphael Riario, was held incommunicado for a month before Lorenzo decided he was only naive, and allowed him to return to Rome.
Bernardo Bandini, who had helped Francesco Pazzi murder Guiliani Medici, managed to get as far away as Constantinople. But the Medici bank reached that far, and 18 months after the attack Bernardo was kidnapped and hustled aboard a fast ship back to Italy and Florence. Immediately after his arrival, on 29 December, 1479, Bandini also flew out the Palazzo Vecchio window, still dressed in his Muslim disguise Leonardo Di Vinci sketched him hanging there (above).
After the Easter Sunday massacre, all of Italy had to pick sides, and most either joined the Pope or chose not to support the Medici. The King of Naples, Ferdinand I, sent an army to lay siege to Florence. And while the King of France offered an army to Lorenzo, the surviving Medici son knew the cost of such support would be disastrous for the rest of Italy. Once French troops were in Italy, it would be hard to convince them to leave. And so in December of 1479 Lorenzo changed the rules of the game. He sneaked out of Florence, and took ship for Naples. He was instantly imprisoned by Ferdinand, but the monarch was convinced by Lorenzo's own wounds that the Pope had precipitated this crises. Also, Naples was clearly on the French wish list of Italian properties to grab, if a French invasion was approved. Ferdinand forced Sixtus to reconcile with the Medici, and the war quickly came to an end. From that day forward, Lorenzo would be known as Lorenzo the Magnificent.
Sixtus (above left) would sit on Peter's throne for another six years, and be best remembered for this Easter Sunday attack, for the Sistine Chapel he had built, for two decrees approving of black slavery in the new world, and for appointing Tomás Torquemada (above right) as the Grand Inquisitor of the infamous Holy Office of the Inquisition. This worldly Pope died in 1484 a bitter and disappointed man.
Lorenzo Medici (above) ruled Florence for another fifteen years, gradually more openly as a dictator. .He tracked down the new born son his brother had fathered with Fioretta Gorini, and had the boy brought into the family home and raised and educated as a full Medici. When he died in 1492, Lorenzo de Medici would mostly be remembered for his wise rule, and the great public art works he commissioned, including the magnificent tomb containing his own and his brother' Guiliano's bones in the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence, a tomb designed and carved by Michelangelo.
But the ultimate Medici revenge of Sixtus came when Lorenzo's son, Giovanni de Medici, became Pope Leo X in 1513, and was succeeded by Giuliano's son, Giulio de Medici, as Pope Clement VII in 1523 It is said, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And the Medici of Florence did both.
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