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What really happened to William II (Rufus) in 1100?


Rufis falls dying, struck by an arrow that 'bounced off' a stag /

Rufis falls dying, struck by an arrow that ‘bounced off’ a stag /

  William the ‘Red-faced’ was the second son of William, Duke of Normandy and William I of England, a.k.a. the Conquerer (q.v.). He was bad-tempered, wily and unpopular, and certainly not a chip off the old block. His father had made himself King of England, turning out the Saxon dynasty and replacing their language with Norman French, which was used officially in local and national government almost up to the time of Geoffrey Chaucer. Latin was universally used in the Church. When the Conquerer died, Rufus succeeded but not without considerable opposition from the barons of England, led by his own uncle, Odo Bishop of Bayeux, who wanted the older brother Robert on the throne. The Bishop’s rebellion was crushed first in 1088, as was a second attempt in 1095. (more…)

The Emperor Constantine (known as ‘the Great’)

The statue of Constantine before York Minster /

The statue of Constantine before York Minster /

Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus was born around 274 AD. His was a patrician family in Rome and his father was Constantius I who died in the year 306, when our subject was thirty-two years old. He should have succeeded immediately, because the army declared him emperor, but there were, as always, complications; several other patricians rather thought they should rule, among them Licinius. Constantine showed consummate skill in staying alive, at the same time ‘removing’ the competition according to the ancient rules of the game. (more…)

A law in urgent need of repeal: the Royal Marriages Act

The Houses of Parliament /

The Houses of Parliament /

 Yes I know that the majority of you don’t give a stuff about royalty anyway but quite a few nations prefer their Head of State to wear a crown; some fine republics abound, where the H of S is elected every so often, such as the United States, France and Germany, but there are plenty of Presidents on this planet who would make a fine old mess of managing a small shop, let alone a nation.

    Now in Great Britain a hard law exists which is not as oecumenical as the Church of England claims to be: this law prohibits the heir to the throne (alone among all British subjects) from marrying a Catholic. It does not matter if the heir has not thought of doing so. The fact is that the law is insulting to the British monarch’s innumerable Catholic subjects, as well as being an even greater insult to common sense. (more…)

The second Spanish Republic


Manuel Azaña /

Manuel Azaña /

  Political philosophies in the Latin country of Spain are so aggressive that journalists who have an opinion, or dare to have an opinion about politics that affect Spain run the risk of, at the least, being spat upon in the street. At the most, they might be killed, as happened to a number of writers and journalists during the 1930s. Victims were usually affiliated to the Left, but many who died were of the Right. We are going to attempt to write an unbiased account of the Spanish Second Republic which lasted from 1931 to 1936; we are not associated with, nor affiliated with any political party. Nor do we consider ourselves right-wing or left-wing. An American TV crime series used to have its chief character saying “Just give us the facts . . .” in every episode. That is what we intend to do in this post.

Spain’s first democratic administration for nearly sixty years was established in 1931 and was cheered by the population, following fairly disastrous policies of the monarchy. But the Republic had to face an almost indefatigable series of obstructions, such as the unmovable and institutional power of ‘the ruling classes’, the timidity and feebleness of the State, immeasurable debt and the international impact of the Depression and, above all, radical differences in the regime’s own ranks. (more…)

By | 2013-03-19T11:57:37+00:00 March 19th, 2013|Church history, Spanish History, World History|0 Comments

The time when there were THREE Popes

   At this very moment the cardinals gathered in the Vatican are arguing about who shall be the next Pope, following Benedict XVI’s resignation on grounds of health. While the octogenarian Ratzinger rests ( and he certainly deserves to) in Castelgandolfo, dozens of seniors of the Catholic Church will shortly approach the moment when they must vote for the new Pontiff, and we will see white (or possibly) black smoke puffing from the famous chimney, installed again only two days ago. But many Catholic co-religionists do not even know that at the time of the Great Schism in the fourteenth century, there were at one time three popes! (more…)

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