Latest posts by The Maestro (see all)
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Hey Jim. I need some advice. Since this seems to happen to you all the time, I figured you’d be the ideal person to ask.
What can I do for you, brother?
Well, Jim, I wanted to ask – what’s your approach for dealing with getting your ass handed to you on a silver platter?
Well, John, I can tell you this: if you think that asking me that kind of question is a game, then to respond to it, in the middle of the night, I will take a red-hot poker and shove it up your…
Oh, so like Ohio State does to you, year after year. C’mon, little bro. Surely you’ve got better than that? I’m trying to get cheered up, here. Not get further depressed by your shitty comebacks.
What shitty comebacks? You couldn’t even mount one against the Titans.
That’s it. If you’re gonna be a shithead about it – as always – I’m gonna take a little vacation. Time to cram a month’s worth of activity into an 8-hour trip to Italy. Then back to the film room.
THE WAR OF THE OAKEN BUCKET
Combatant 1: Italian city-state of Bologna
Combatant 2: Italian city of Modena
Location of Conflict: Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy
Reason for Conflict: Somebody stole a bucket.
What happened? Throughout history, the Pope has always retained religious power, but as late as the turn of the 20th century, he also held serious political power. During the Middle Ages, the Pope’s political power was at its peak, controlling wide swathes of territory through the Italian peninsula, in addition to every person in western Europe swearing their fealty to him, at least in a religious sense. In the north of Italy, however, the Pope’s power was not absolute. In 1154, the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II Barbarossa, invaded northern Italy from Germany, claiming that he, not the Pope, was God’s representative on Earth. While this invasion was brought to an end in 1176 after papal forces defeated the Emperor at the battle of Legnano, he made a lasting impression on the political divides of the area; the Emperor had successfully seized Milan, Tortona, Pavia, Bologna, and the region of Tuscany, and even after his return to Germany, left behind many ardent followers. In the region of Emilia-Romagna, loyalties were extremely divided. Those who favored the Emperor were known as Ghibellines, while those who supported the Pope were Guelphs. The city-state of Modena was Ghibelline-controlled, while nearby Bologna was Guelph-controlled.
Thanks to these large-scale political tensions, a typical border skirmish would almost always get blown out of proportion. From 1176 onwards, these border skirmishes occurred quite frequently, and over the next hundred and twenty years, hatred between factions grew ever stronger. Finally, in 1325, some soldiers from Modena snuck into the city of Bologna, and stole a wooden bucket, made of oak, from the well at the centre of the city, and took it home to put it on display.
While the bucket wasn’t of any particular material or sentimental significance, the city of Bologna was outraged at such an egregious act. After demands to return the bucket were denied, the Guelphs prepared for an all-out war to destroy the Ghibellines once and for all. Sparing no expense, Guelphs raised an army of 30,000 infantry and 2000 cavalry – an extremely large force for a relatively small amount of territory. In defence, the Ghibellines numbered only about 5000 infantry and 2000 cavalry in total.
With the Bolognese holding the numerical advantage, as well as the high ground thanks to their positioning on the hilly terrain, the battle of Zappolino was the Guelphs’ to lose.
The Aftermath: The Guelphs got absolutely massacred. Despite outnumbering the Ghibellines almost six to one, the city of Modena emerged as the victor. 1500 Guelph soldiers died in the battle, against about 500 Ghibelline deaths; not only that, but the victory took just two hours to achieve. The Modenans chased the Bolognese all the way back to Bologna, destroying a number of strategically valuable castles along the way, as well as a sluiceway that provided water to the city. The Modenans captured 26 Bolognese nobles and took them as hostages, and could have held the entire city under siege – but decided to taunt them instead. The Modenans staged a mock palio – a horse race – outside the city walls of Bologna, celebrating their great victory, and capped things off by stealing a second wooden bucket and bringing it home. The original bucket is still in Modena – a replica is displayed in the belltower of the Modena cathedral, but the original can be found in the Palazzo Communale.
The Battle of Zappalino was a high point in challenging papal authority during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance; still, wars between Guelphs and Ghibellines continued on for the next two hundred years. In 1529, when King Charles I of Spain, the new Holy Roman Emperor, invaded northern Italy, the Guelphs and Ghibellines were forced to band together to drive out the Habsburg forces, essentially squashing the differences between the two sides once and for all.
Well Johnny, I hope you enjoyed your little vacation. In the time you were away, even though you activated your security system and engaged your perimeter defenses, I still managed to scale the barbed-wire fences and sedate your attack dogs. Now I have your Super Bowl ring. You really thought a basic biometric scanner would be enough to protect that safe?
Oh, that? You mean, the knockoff I planted there? Charming, Jim. I bet you put next to your Pro Bowl statuette. By the way, have you seen that recently? You might wanna check…
YOU SON OF A…