Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all and thanks for all the encouragement and support throughout this year. It really means a lot to me.

Podcasting is a lonely business and getting an occasional positive comments, rating or even a  review makes all the difference. And if you become a Patron, that means even more. As one recent reviewer said: “Let‘s put it this way: you can perhaps fathom the quality of this podcast when I tell you that it motivated me, known to be stingier than a Swabian, to finally sign up for Patreon and pay for a subscription as long as I will listen to further episodes”. Thanks Syromand all the other Patrons!

As for the Podcast, regular service will resume on January 20th when we go into the glamorous century of the Hohenstaufen. I am so excited to talk to you about the heroes of my childhood, Frederick Barbarossa who tried to put together what his great-grandfather Henry IV had broken, Henry VI who used the ransom of Richard the Lionheart to buy himself a kingdom. Then we have Philip of Swabia, murdered for reasons still not fully understood leading to the loss of the crown to Otto IV of the House of Welf, the Hohenstaufen’s archenemy. Otto IV’s defeat at the battle of Bouvines not only brought about Magna Carta, but also the reign of the greatest, most extraordinary figure of the Middle Ages, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, Emperor, King of Sicily and ornithologist extraordinaire. He spoke fluent Arabic and negotiated Jerusalem out of the Muslim Emirs of the near East, only to be excommunicated by the Pope so often, he spent more time under the ban than within the Holy Mother Church. The papacy finally calls for a crusade against the Hohenstaufen that ends with the 16 year-old Konradin being beheaded on the market square of Naples. The Hohenstaufen’s enemies, the House of Welf did considerably better. They today occupy the throne of the United Kingdom.

But whilst you are waiting there is something you may enjoy on its way. One of my favourite fellow podcasters, Benjamin Bernier of the Thugs & Miracles Podcast (@ThugsAndMiracles) has kindly agreed to be interviewed by me. Despite my inept questioning he gives you not only an exciting and well-founded perspective of what happens over on the opposite shore of the Rhine River as well as great insights into why anyone would be mad enough to embark on a project like his, covering all French monarchs from the fall of the (Western) Roman Empire to the Fall of the Guillotine…

Have a lovely Christmas and in case you want to do it properly, hang the Christmas tree from the ceiling, decorate it with apples, nuts and Lebkuchen, light it with real candles and shake it on the 12th day of Christmas, as they (first?) did in Freiburg in 1419. (Could not find a picture from 1419 but here is inimitable Karl Lagerfeld’s take on the upside down Christmas tree from 2017

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