Sunday, October 16, 2005

TsuDzu presents: Medieval History Re-Enactments!

I am currently reading "Hildegard of Bingen, The Woman of Her Age" by Fiona Maddocks (along with a half-dozen or so other books). Maddocks is the Chief Music Critic at the London Observer. I find her subject matter fascinating (if a wee bit challenging with my current mental capacity), and her prose and dry wit are absolutely delicious.

Try out this passage (from page 218):
The continuing rivalry between Rome and Empire had reached a critical juncture following the death of the English Pope, Hadrian IV, in 1159. In Rome, the college of cardinals was split over who should replace him. Two names emerged in the contest: the aristocratic Octavian of Monticelli, and imperialist, and the bourgeois Roland Bandinelle from Siena. Octavian was elected by a minorty and called himself Victor IV. Roland, meanwhile, announced himself Alexander III. An unseemly and quasi-operatic brawl took place in St. Peter's, with Victor IV tearing the purple cloak, symbol of papal power, from Alexander's back ' with his own hands', uttering loud shouts as he did so. A complicated farce of mutual excommunication then ensued, with neither giving in and both exercising a degree of power.
Mad Magazine characters the white crow spy and the black crow spy in a face offIn honour of the "quasi-operatic" nature of the incident, we are pleased to offer the following historical re-enactment, which we are affectionately entitling
"Pope vs. Pope:"
Alexander III: I excommunicate YOU!

Victor IV: No, I excommunicate YOU!

Alexander III: I excommunicated you FIRST!

Victor IV: I excommunicated you MOST!

Alexander III: (shuffling off to exile in France) Sniff! I want my cape back.
We wish to assure readers that no popes were harmed in the making of this post.

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