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1. ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
17th May 1204: Baldwin I is crowned first Latin Emperor in Constantinople
After the Fourth Crusade had taken advantage of dynastic strife in the Byzantine Empire to capture its capital Constantinople, the Latin Empire was created in its place, and Baldwin IX, Duke of Flanders, was crowned Baldwin I, its first emperor.
In 1186, the Baldwin had married Marie of Champagne, daughter of Count Henry I of Champagne and Countess Marie of France. Through Marie, Baldwin had additional connections and obligations to the defenders of the Holy Land: her brother Henry II of Champagne had been King of Jerusalem in the 1190s (leaving a widow and two daughters who needed help to keep and regain their territories in Palestine). Marie's uncles Richard I of England and Philip II of France had just been on the Third Crusade.
Baldwin's own family had also been involved in the defence of Jerusalem: his uncle Philip had died on Crusade. Baldwin's mother's mother was great-aunt of Isabella, Queen of Jerusalem and the Counts of Flanders had tried to help Jerusalem relatives in their struggle. Baldwin wanted to continue the tradition. His mother Margaret died in 1194, and Baldwin became Count of Flanders. His father died the next year, and he succeeded to Hainaut as well.
In 1200 Baldwin "took the cross" (became committed to the Crusades) and after extensive preaprations finally departed in 1202. Diverted to Constantinople after being promised funds by the Byzantine pretender Alexius Angelus, the crusaders helped him take the throne as Alexius IV, but when Alexius was himself deposed by the hostile Alexius V, and fearing for their lives, the crusaders had successfully stormed the city and looted its treasures.
With Venetian support, Baldwin was elected emperor on May 9 and crowned on May 16.
Baldwin then set about the task of conquering remaining Byzantine territory. Baldwin had rejected an alliance with the Tsar of Bulgaria, so when in 1205 rebellious Greeks took Adrianople back from the crusaders, the Bulgarians supported them. Attempting to re-take the city, Baldwin was defeated at the Battle of Adrianople by the Greek-Bulgarian army and taken prisoner. The exact circumstances are unclear, but Baldwin was probably executed on the orders of the Tsar after initially being treated well as a hostage.
Hopelessly outnumbered by its hostile Greek subjects and under-resourced with no unity among the barons, the Latin Empire gradually lost most of its provinces to the Greek Empire of Nicaea, and finally in 1261, Constantinople itself, ending the Latin Empire. A few counties in Greece held out as independent duchies before falling either to the Venetians, Aragonese or the renewed Byzantine Empire.
2. TODAY IN MY LIFE
Business promotional work
Twitter Followers = 2,228 (up 1)
Never-followed unfollowers eliminated = 1
Followed unfollowers eliminated = 1
New Followers followed back = 1@NCGIncMarketing,
Spammers not followed back = 2
@KarinAaxh +1 untraced
3. TODAY'S SELF-OBSERVATION
A day of rest and high doses of analgesics seem to have done the job - the virus seems to have been fought off and my knee is less painful. I can now plod into another week in Shangri-La pursuing my goals and facing challenges as they arise. My new routine, with blogging at a lower priority, is suiting me so far.
Watching a documentary on head injuries last night reinforced my beliefs about the "self" that it is no more than a sophisticated survival program in the brain enabling genes and memes to be passed on successfully. It is high-maintenance, needs frequent shutdowns for maintenance and extremely fragile. THIS program appears to be more high-functioning than most, fully self-aware and able to view things from the universal and not just the individual perspective.
Its purpose is clear: to make a difference to self, the environment and others as a vehicle for passing on its memes, so that the whole universe may know itself that little bit better. This it will do while the deteriorating infrastructure remains able to sustain it. This does not sadden me in any way. I am simply the universe manifesting in a particular temporary way at one point in time and space among an infinity of others. As the universe I will simply carry on manifesting. As the universe, I am you talking to yourself, that you may know yourself better.
4. TODAY'S QUESTION FOR YOU
What are you really? What is this thing that you call "you"?
5. TODAY'S WEATHER IN BRADFORD
Dry, sunny, mild
1020 millibars and static
6. TODAY'S ONELINER
No matter how stupid you feel, remember, Little Red Riding Hood couldn't figure out a talking wolf in drag wasn't her grandmother :D
7. NOW THAT'S FUNNY!
Stacey Scowley on men
A group of crows is called a "murder." This name came about because a group of crows will sometimes kill another dying crow.
9. ZEN WISDOM
Each form of life supports all others; together they weave the grand web of life. Thus there really is no happiness for oneself alone, no suffering that afflicts only others.