1634: THE BAVARIAN CRISIS — snippet 21

 

1634: THE BAVARIAN CRISIS – snippet 21:

 

 

            Mike frowned a little. “Now that we have the USE rather than the CPE, a union rather than a confederation, what is the State of Thuringia-Franconia doing conducting its own foreign policy?”

 

            “Foreign policy?” Ed gestured. “Heaven forbid, once more, I assure you. Just a modest venture into a mutually profitable field of economic development. No different at all from the trade relations that we are opening with Genoa. Until such time as the USE adopts a constitution that specifically says we can’t, we can.”

 

            “Spaghetti diplomacy,” Mike groaned. Then, “Why Genoa?”

 

            “Jeans,” answered Ed. “Everybody’s jeans are wearing out. Genoese sailors wear work pants made of cotton denim. Obviously….”

 

            “I don’t,” said Mike, “even want to know about this. Really.”

 

            “All right, then. Back to Naples. We’ve covered Osuna, so that brings us to the second guy: Dom Giulio Genoino. He’s a priest—a scholar, a political theorist. And, I think, a lawyer. I figure that he’s about seventy years old, but he’s going strong. He has interesting ideas about equity in taxation. He’s been in jail for his ideas, which include wanting the voice of the people on the city council to be equal to that of the patricians. Even without the Committees of Correspondence, there’s a lot of agitation going on there. The question is whether it will just be one more rebellion—people rioting, attacking the prisons, attacking the armories, lynching a few unpopular persons, and then being put down by the Spanish military. Or if something actually comes of it… Which it might, if Genoino somehow links his people up with Osuna the Fourth. Anyway, that’s part of why the Spanish and the Curia aren’t exactly on speaking terms at the moment, because for various reasons, Urban VIII isn’t doing anything firm to oppose Osuna the Fourth.”

 

            “Why not?”

 

            “I honestly don’t know. Then, thirdly, there are the Albanians.”

 

            “What are Albanians doing in Naples?”

 

            “They’ve been there for a hundred fifty years, at least—exiles.”

 

            Mike groaned. “Don’t tell me about it, please don’t. Is there any spot on the map of Europe that isn’t harboring exiles from somewhere else?”

 

            “The short answer is, ‘No.’ Shall I proceed?”

 

            “Yes. But I don’t want to hear it.”

 

            “Scanderbeg. Famous Albanian hero. His son turned the Albanians’ holdout against the Ottomans over to Venice in 1474. Venice turned around and sold it to the Turks. The Albanian nobility took off for refuge in Naples. Some of them, like the Arianiti family, have been very prominent in the Imperial diplomatic service; others have burrowed in. The Kastriotes heiress married into the Orsini, for example, which pulls a whole complex of the Italian nobility into having interest in what the Albanians do. Anyway, the Albanians have decided that this would be a wonderful time to try to get Skopje back, and they’re throwing almost all of their resources into mounting a flotilla. Think Cubans in Miami. If it goes out, we’ll have a Balkan crisis on our hands, of course.”

 

            “We don’t need a Balkan crisis,” Mike protested.

 

            “You can’t avoid having a Balkan crisis,” Ed answered quite serenely. “Cavriani tells me that this falls under the rubric of predestination. There is always a Balkan crisis. If we had arrived five hundred years ago, there would have been a Balkan crisis. If we had been thrown five hundred years into the future, there would have been a Balkan crisis, too. It’s a given. So, think about what this means.”

 

            “It means that there will be a lot of small boats in the Adriatic Sea.”

 

            “At the most elementary level, true. But factor in the word, ‘crusade.’ For the guys down at the Curia, ‘crusade’ has the same ring as, ‘The South will rise again’ for the Sons of the Confederacy. It causes emotional reactions in the most improbable sort of people. Think of Pius II, for goodness sake! Aeneas Scipio Piccolomini, the ultimate secular humanist—say ‘crusade’ and he started to drool. If the curia doesn’t excommunicate Osuna or take some kind of action that could give his more wavering supporters a religiously acceptable excuse to leave his camp, the Spanish will have to focus mainly on him, which means that the Albanians will have enough wiggle room to launch their little fleet.”

 

            Mike winced. “It doesn’t make sense.”

 

            “No, it doesn’t make sense. Some things don’t, but that doesn’t make them any the less real.”

 

            “We don’t need a crusade on top of everything else,” Mike protested.

 

            “It will,” Ed answered cautiously, “be a small one. I think.”

 

            “How is Cavriani involved with the crusade?”

 

            Ed’s answer came as something of a relief. “Not at all, I think. He is, after all, a Calvinist. They’re having the crusade on their own. Next.”

 

            “More?”

 

            “More,” Ed agreed cheerfully. “Now, to move on to the fourth factor, there’s Tommaso Campanella. He finally—or, at least, in combination with Dom Genoino—probably gets us to what the Cavrianis are messing about with.”

 

            “Who’s he? Campanella, I mean. Never heard of him.”

 

            “Well, Campanella’s a Dominican. He has been for the past fifty years or so.  He’s a philosopher. He’s probably a heretic. At least, the Inquisition has been trying him for heresy of one form or another for the last forty years. You will note, however, that he’s still alive to cause trouble.  If nothing else, the man has a genius for attracting influential supporters, climbing right up the ladder from local feudal lords in Naples to the Orsini again to the Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany in Florence to Maximilian of Bavaria to the Austrian Habsburgs—the late Rudolf and our beloved Ferdinand II both. At this point in our old world, up-time, he was in Paris under Richelieu’s protection.”

 

            “Richelieu. All we need is Richelieu. Why is Richelieu supporting a Neapolitan heretic?”

 

            “Supporting is the exact word for it, at the moment. Richelieu is paying Campanella’s bills. I think you’ll enjoy the reason, but I’m not quite ready to get to it yet. I need to run through some other stuff, first. Unlike Galileo, it isn’t Campanella’s natural history that has kept him in hot water with the Inquisition. He started thinking about political theory. He wrote things about the authority of the Catholic church. He wrote things about the role of the Spanish monarchy in Italy. He developed all sorts of plans for reforming society. Starting in 1599, he got involved in political conspiracies in Calabria. That’s the general area outside the city of Naples itself. This landed him in prison for thirty years, but it didn’t keep him from writing. What’s more, he got involved with Osuna the Third. Remember Osuna the Third?”

 

            “It was inevitable, I suppose,” Mike said.

 

            “Well, of course—once you get to know the people,” Ed agreed.

 

            “Ed, how on earth do you keep track of all this? Starting from ground zero, so to speak?”

 

            “It’s really no different from being a high school principal—not from being a good one, at least. You have to know the cliques, the inherited animosities, the buzzwords. The main difference is that I don’t have the level of personal acquaintance, now, when I’m sorting all these things out. But the principle is the same.”

 

About Eric Flint

Author and Editor
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