Monday, March 27, 2023

Something About John of Austria

Puzzlin' evidence.

Don John of Austria led the Christian fleet in Professor Childermass's bathtub – or rather, the fleet on which Childermass based his model (The Curse of the Blue Figurine, 61). 

I wonder if the professor had little figures in his boats. The book doesn't say how many boats the professor had, either. Where did he keep such things when they weren't in the bathtub? Where did he buy these boats or find the time to make them? They did have matchstick oars – though it doesn't identify the rest of the materials.

Can you imagine assembling them? All those pieces!

John of Austria (1547-78) was the son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.  John later became a military leader in the service of his half-brother, King Philip II of Spain, and was admiral of the Holy Alliance fleet at the Battle of Lepanto. In 1577, Philip appointed John as governor-general of the Spanish Netherlands. Shortly thereafter, John's health worsened, and he died a little over a year later on Oct. 1, 1578 [1].

Now comes the interesting bit.

In St Aubin's Cathedral in Namur, Belgium, is a marble plaque concealing a casket containing the heart of Don Juan. His body lies in El Escorial near Madrid. How did the body get there? To avoid his body being captured at sea by Spain's enemies, the corpse was dismembered and returned to Madrid overland in four saddlebags (I've also read three boxes, but who's keeping track).  

Can you imagine reassembling them? All those pieces!


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