Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Shakespearean Death of King Cynewulf

Upon the death of King Cuthred of Wessex around the year 756, the throne passed to Sigebert, a distant member of the royal family. As the new king was not a direct descendant of his predecessor, he was vulnerable to court intrigue. Unluckily for him, another distant kinsman of the late King Cuthred had his own ambitions for the crown, and the prospective usurper waited only a year to strike. In the end, corruption was Sigebert’s undoing—either his own corruption, or the corrupting influence of his rival. Sometime during the year 757, the officials of Wessex abruptly turned against Sigebert. The witan, a high advisor of the king, charged Sigebert with allegations of unrighteousness and corrupt behavior. A man named Cynewulf then claimed the throne, with the witan’s support, and his first order of action was to chase his rival into a forest, where the unfortunate King Sigebert was murdered.

King Cynewulf went on to rule for multiple decades. By Anglo-Saxon standards, he was a decent king. As a warrior, Cynewulf fought bravely and, as a Christian monarch, the monk-historians of medieval Britain seemed to have no complaint with the way he dealt with the church. The biggest blemish on Cynewulf’s rule was the battle he lost to King Offa of Mercia, the high king (or Bretwalda) of the time, at Bensington in 779. Overall, however, Cynewulf kept the strength of Wessex largely intact during his reign. Nevertheless, despite his successes, the death of his predecessor, Sigebert, would haunt Cynewulf to the end.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Guest Article: The Intriguing Personality Of Charles V Of The Holy Roman Empire

1.1 Introduction
Voltaire once pointed out, ‘’The Holy Roman Empire, was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.’’ Well, in that case he was indeed right. Although, a very powerful man would do his best to fix these aspects in an attempt to create a universal empire. That man, Charles V, also known as Carolus Quintus, was, perhaps, the most powerful Holy Roman Emperor of them all.

Born in Ghent, Flanders in February 1500, which back then was an Imperial Habsburg territory, young Charles wouldn’t have any idea that one day he would be ruling one of the biggest empires of all times. In fact, Charles’ empire would not be surpassed in size until the advent of the Qing, Russian and British Empires.

Although the Spanish kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united by the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1469, Charles reaffirmed and solidified the idea of a unified Spanish Kingdom by crushing any idea of separation. His devotion to keeping Spain united paid off, as the majority of his power came from this state in the Iberian Peninsula. He would later bequeath the Spanish Kingdom to his only living son, Philip II of Spain.