Nice Little Republic You Have Here, Guv, Pity If Something Happened To It

The Ditmarschen affair in the early thirteenth century illuminates an aspect of the period that does not make it into popular histories, let alone films. We find the archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen and various counts cutting a deal to apportion the dues to be extracted from an area, once the free peasant republic that existed there had been suppressed. About this free republic that so unrighteously occupied its own land and that so intolerably failed to provide a revenue stream for deserving outsiders, we know a good deal less, no least because such peasant republics were not in the habit of employing monastic scribes. Such scribes were, of course, paid out of the revenues appropriated by their rent-seeking archbishop and his enforcers. The pope was in on it as well, in consequence of which he declared the peasant republic to be heretical. In modern language, that translates into the farmer-republicans having to be suppressed because they were communists, violating human rights or harbouring weapons of mass destruction.

Posted on November 10, 2009 at 10:57 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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