Historic Setting

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Alamut, the site of Hassan i Sabbah’s fortress in Persia

From alchemists and Knights Templars to the Children’s Crusade and Hasheeshins, Orphans, Assassins and the Existential Eggplant includes historic settings that are both fantastic and real.

1212:  Thousands of children with a few adults and clerics, fired up by preaching against heretics, start for Jerusalem to rescue the Holy Land from Muslims. They are deficient in money and organization but believe that as children they are favored by God and could work miracles that adults cannot. Before the year is over it ends in disaster. Many children die or are sold into slavery.

1214:  King John of England wanted his fiefs in Normandy and Anjou back. He allies himself with Emperor Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor. But Philip Augustus of France defeats them at the Battle of Bovines.

1215:  The Church’s Fourth Lateran Council meets in Rome to enact legislation as to what is heresy and what is not. The Council decides that all Catholics are to confess their sins at least once a year, that clergy is to remain celibate, sober and to refrain from gambling, hunting, engaging in trade, going to taverns or wearing bright or ornate clothing. The Council decrees that marriage will be a Church affair and that Jews will wear a yellow label.

1217:  The Fifth Crusade has begun. It was planned by Pope Innocent III, who died in 1226. Its purpose, to rescue Jerusalem from the Muslims. But it is not the popular movement that previous crusades were. It begins with small-scale military operations against powers that be in Syria. Muslim opposition to the new crusade is divided, giving the crusade a better chance of success.

1223:  Genghis Khan has pushed into Persia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, defeating Christian knights and capturing a Genoese trading fortress in the Crimea. He has invaded Russia, and on his way back home in 1223 he routes a Slavic army at the battle of Kalka River.

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