Twenty-six days, 24,483 words, 26 posts: art, music, mathematics (?!?), drama, popes, plagues, giant horse statues that don’t get built.
Looking back over the last 26 days, I see posts that I don’t even remember writing. There are at least two posts that nobody read, not because they’re bad, but sometimes these slip between the cracks. But the benefit–and curse–of the A to Z process is that you have to write every day (only four breaks) and you have to cover all the letters.
The discipline to write every day is intense. Actually, let me rephrase that to distinguish this from twitzing and ingramming and all that other stuff, which I don’t do. The discipline to write at least 500, semi-lucid words, in paragraph form with complete sentences and thoughts about a topic is intense. It requires planning and forethought, determination and a sense of urgency.
What shall we choose for the Renaissance “Z”? Zacco, the King of Cyprus (James II) who controlled the sugar industry until the Venetians took it? Bartelomeo Zorzi, a Venetian alum merchant, who negotiated with the pope over the mines discovered at Tolfa? (Alum was a key ingredient in textile dying.) Both of those are economic stories, about controlling resources, which was an underlying motivation for many of the skirmishes of the age.
But there were wars for control of territory, belief systems, and ruling classes. So how about ending a month of Renaissance history by looking forward to the next wave. The Reformation and the rise of the Hapsburg dynasty. We go to Germany.
Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious by this summer sun of York…
Opening of Shakespeare’s Richard III
Meanwhile in the north… not all of the Renaissance happened in Italy.
Elizabeth of York was glorious summer, indeed. She was the daughter, sister, niece, wife, and mother to kings–and queens. As Alison Weir says, in her fabulous biography of this fascinating linchpin of history:
Elizabeth of York’s role in history was crucial, although in a less chauvinistic age, it would, by right, have been more so.
Alison Weir, Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World
In other words, if she’d been more of Penthesilea type, a bit more Eleanor of the Aquitaine and a bit less Jane Bennett, then maybe she’d have been Queen Elizabeth I. Or, maybe she’d have been thrown in the tower with her brothers. Hard to say.