November 26, 2017

Christian Wars, Mosquito Bites, and spread legs.

Pope Urban II

On November 26, 1095, Pope Urban II issued his famous war cry, "Deus volt," or "God wills it," thus launching the first of seven major crusades against Muslims in the Holy Land.  Five and a half centuries later, the Vatican was still beating the war drum -- only this time, Christians were being urged to kill Christians in the Thirty Years' War, one of the most destructive conflicts in European history, fought in the midst of the so-called Enlightenment, when some of history's worst acts of human depravity were committed.

Like his predecessor from the Dark Ages, Pope Innocent X considered the war God's work, and he was thus immensely displeased when relative harmony was restored to the devastated continent with the Treaty of Westphalia.  Indeed, the Vicar of Christ was so unhappy with the peace compromising his own interests that on November 26, 1648 -- exactly 553 years after Urban II's call to slaughter--he issued a blistering condemnation of the treaty.  It was, he declared, "mull, void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate, inane, empty of meaning and effect for all time"-- just as Jesus would have wanted.


Lord Carnarvon

On November 26th, 1922, Howard Carter breached the front door and peered through the hole into the antechamber for the first time to Tutankhamun's tomb.  The search for Tuntanklhamun's tomb had been funded by George Herbert Lord Carnarvon (who's country house, Highclere Castle, serves as the filming location of the hit television series Downton Abbey) an English aristocrat with strong interest in Egyptology.

Among the huge numbers of gold and priceless artifacts that were discovered that November 26th, 1922, emerged also the curse which supposedly threatened to strike down anyone who disturbed the dead pharaoh's tomb.  Apparently, at the precise moment that the pharaoh's resting place was opened, Carnarvon's dog back in England let out a howl and died.  Lord Carnarvon himself, who had been present at the opening of the tomb, suddenly died just weeks later from a mosquito bite.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and a great believer in the occult, got involved, publicly stating that he suspected that a great curse had been unleashed.



Around this time every year in the Basari villages of Senegal, the young men are initiated into manhood with elaborate rituals, competitions, dancing, and feasting.  On this day in Nepal, the goddess Gujeswari Jatra is honored by Hindus and Buddhists.  The day's activities include prayers, music, and songs of praise to Gujeswari.

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