Thursday, 12 March 2015

Synchronicity in history!

My history course on Richard III is continuing, with a lot of interesting aspects. Week 4 is named 'Death and Commemoration'. There is a really interesting find of a middle age (middle aged as well!) skeleton, the so called 'St Bees Man'. This web-site tells the story of Dr John Todd and his wife's search for the identity of the man, and the woman who was found in the same grave. It is more exiting than any mystery book. At the end of the page, there is an update to the status of today.

In week 2, we read about peasants and farmers and their situation. I am reading, since quite some time, historian Lars-Olof Larsson's book on the Kalmar Union (Kalmarunionens tid). Not yet finished, but I found an intresting reference to the peasant revolt of 1381 in England that we read about in the course.

The Kalmar Union, was a union between Denmark, Norway and Sweden, named after the city of Kalmar where the Treaty was signed in 1379. In those days it belonged to Denmark, today it is in Sweden. It was Queen Margareta (one of the few Queens in our history) who was the first, very capable ruler, for the three countries.  The union actually lasted until 1523, but I think we can safely say, that the Nordic co-operation today is more peaceful and harmonic.

Wat Tyler (picture from Wikipedia)
In 15th and the beginning of 16th century was the time of peasant revolts in Sweden. Normally they were headed by someone from the upper range of farmers, as was the case in England. One of the most famous is Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, active in the beginning of the 15th century. He is unique in the sense that he is the first one from this class, who during turbulent times, made an impact on the political scene, and thus landed himself a place in our history books.  He was assassinated in 1436.

Engelbrektsson was unique for Sweden, but Larsson makes references to other actors on the European scene with similar backgrounds. Such as Joan of Arc, albeit being from a very humble origin and a woman was even more unique.  Jan Hus, theologist and university professor, acting as a church reformer and Czech nationalist, opposed the German dominans in the Bohemian Kingdom. He was burned at the stake. Parisian mayor Etienne Marcel's fight against the French autocracy. And...the big but short lived peasant revolt in England during Wat Tyler's lead in 1381. Here we come to the synchronisation with my course. It was satisfying to read this peace in the book and I could say - to myself of course - yes, I know about this revolt!

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