History | Odd Things That Happened in History: Part Two

I had a lot of fun writing part one of Odd Things That Happened in History and it proved to be quite a successful post! I love discovering little pieces of anecdotal history and I think it's interesting how much they can reveal more widely about the context in which they occurred. Today's post features two anecdotes rather than three as the pope/anti-pope one turned out quite long. Hope you enjoy!

Between 1378 and 1417, multiple men simultaneously claimed to be the one true pope
"One pope to rule them all, one pope to find them, one pope to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them." Well, not exactly. This period is generally referred to as the Western Schism or the Papal Schism, and was a more political than theological split in the Catholic Church. In 1377, Gregory XI became Pope, ending the Avignon Papacy (during which popes had resided in Avignon, present-day France, rather than in Rome). As the Avignon Papacy had developed a reputation for corruption, following Gregory XI's death in 1378, the Romans rioted to ensure the election of a Roman as the new pope. When no appropriate Roman candidates presented themselves, a Neapolitan, Urban VI was elected. After he proved reformist and of a violent temperament, the majority of cardinals who had elected him removed themselves from Rome to Anagni and elected Robert of Geneva as a rival pope, in September of the same year.
Colin Firth mamma mia MyG!f stellan skarsgard pierce brosnan Mamma Mia ...
Imagine Mamma Mia! but instead
of love interests it's popes and
instead of Meryl Streep it's
the entire western world
There had been anti-popes before, but never had the anti-pope and the pope been elected by broadly the same group of people. This all begs the question - if the pope is Christ's representative, is the anti-pope the Antichrist's representative? I sure hope somebody cashed in on that propaganda opportunity. This split quickly turned political and secular European leaders had to choose which claimant they would recognise. This double papacy continued on until 1409, with the pope and antipope's successors maintaining the split.
In 1409, cardinals from both factions attempted to end the schism by... electing a third pope to replace the other two. Oh honey, bad move. Now we've got three popes. Eventually, in 1414, the Council of Constance was convened in order to resolve the issue. The council had the popes 1.0 and 2.0 resign, then excommunicated pope 3.0 who refused to step down. In 1417, pope 4.0 was elected by the council and his succession line continues to the present-day.

The First World War was started by a sandwich
You may know that Franz Ferdinand's assassination is often cited as the spark of the First World War. But the story behind the assassination's execution is a strange one. A group of six men, associated with Serbian nationalist group the Black Hand, lined themselves along the route of Franz Ferdinand's car ready for the assassination attempt. Nineteen-year-old Čabrinović threw a hand grenade at the car, which ended up missing Ferdinand but injuring someone in one of the cars behind him. To avoid capture, Čabrinović swallowed a cyanide capsule and jumped into the river. However, the cyanide pill had decayed and made him sick rather than dead, whilst the river was a mere 10cm deep: he was soon hauled out and arrested. When Franz Ferdinand later decided to go to the hospital to meet with victims of the grenade attack, the driver took a wrong turn - placing Ferdinand right outside Moritz Schiller's café. Luckily for Gavrilo Princip, a fellow Black Hand conspirator (but unluckily for pretty much everyone else), he'd decided to grab a sandwich to soothe his post-failed-assassination woes. The driver, realising he'd taken a wrong turn began to reverse, but as the engine stalled Princip had the perfect opportunity. It was thus outside this humble sandwich shop that the first shot of the First World War was fired as Gavrilo Princip assassinated Franz Ferdinand.

Thanks for reading! What are some of your favourite odd history tales?

Paris out 💃 xxx

P.S. I have a custom domain now! I'm now 71featherstreet.com instead of .blogspot.co.uk