The Council of Canossa


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  1. #1

    The Council of Canossa

    The opening of an Alternate History story, undergoing an extensive revision.


    The Council of Canossa



    AVINGON,FRANCE APRIL 14, 1351



    Pope Innocent, awoke with the visions still firm in his mind. Daniel servo mihi! Daniel servo mihi!,he shouted. The guards at the door rushed in with swords drawn. His Holiness sat on his bed looking out the window with wide open eyes.
    “Your Holiness, are you well?”
    The Pope quickly scanned the room.“Yes, yes, I'm fine, it was just a dream. Would you please have Cardinal Albornoz and my confessor, Father Mateo Vincenzo come to my quarters. When they get here we're not to be disturbed.”
    A half candle later, Cardinal Albornoz and Father Mateo arrived at the Pope's chambers. The doors closed after they entered. His holiness, Innocent VI, Vicar of Christ on Earth, on his knees, praying.
    His Holiness said, “Good friends, I’m glad you came. I’ve had the most wonderful vision! Daniel came to me saying “Etienne, God will send you three visions, one for each day Jesus Christ was entombed,before he conquered death by rising from it.”
    Albornoz saw a book with a marker in it; Dante’s Inferno, on the nightstand.
    “Your Holiness, did you have these three visions?”
    “Yes, Albornoz, I did and as God who sent them is my witness, what magnificent visions they were!”
    He placed his hands on Albornoz shoulders, his eyes beamed with amazement.
    “In the first vision, I was walking the countryside of Avignon, watching the peasants build wooden huts, but each hut had something wrong with it. Though none fell, I feared for them, should a strong storm come.”
    His Holiness walked over to his window and gestured outside. “For the second vision, I saw a winged lion, a white horse, a dove, and Daniel, along with twelve knights carrying old spears.”
    He sat in his chair, before continuing. “For the last vision, I saw a procession with my sedia gestatoria being carried by saints Mark,George, Ambrose, and Januarius around seven hills and a river that they never crossed. However,my chair was empty.”
    “Your Holiness,” said Vincenzo, as Albornoz continued looking about the room. “What would you have of us?”
    “Until Easter arrives I will fast, having only water and seeing only you two, as I pray on the meaning of these visions. Yet, I ask this not as your Pope but as your friend.”
    As they left, Albornoz said. “You do realize that he’d been reading Dante before going to bed.”
    “And that matters in what way to a vision from God; Your Eminence?” said Vincenzo.
    “A bad meal and disturbing images from a book, could well become a bad dream father, but not a vision from God,” he replied.
    Last edited by Pelwrath; November 6th, 2017 at 05:51 AM.
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."
    ​Virgil

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush



  2. #2
    Honestly, there isn't much here to comment on, but there were a couple of things that I noticed. Keep in mind that these are my own opinion and may or may not be wrong, use them how you will.

    For one, a half candle is a very odd unit of time to be measuring, not to mention one that may be misleading. A candle, to me at least, burns slowly. I have had candles that have burnt for days and not have reached the halfway mark. The average reader probably wouldn't have an idea of the rate a candle from the time period you are writing about burns at, and honestly, just saying a half hour or something similar would probably just be more efficient.

    Secondly, this is probably incorrect as I am Orthodox and not Catholic, but I know that as you rise the ranks of the orthodox church (deacon to father to bishop to archbishop etc) you receive confession from a different person. I would think that the pope would be more likely to receive confession from a bishop (who I at least have always just referred to as Bishop [name]) instead of a father. Again, I might be incorrect.

    All in all, it's interesting. If this was the sample from a book I would probably be on the lookout for that book, so keep going! ^-^

  3. #3
    Birb;
    Thanks for your input. Back then there were town/church clocks but in most house holds had a candle clock. Two versions but the most common was a candle in a box or with a metal back splash that had markings inducating time. Time was more if a sun up to sundown affair and church bells rang, roughly every two hours. The graduations were in quarters, marking the time be the bells ringing. This was good enough for night time. You do make a valid point, sometimes the historical accuracy is or becomes confusing.

    The Pope, traditionally has had a Father confessor, a simple priest who was intended to remind the Pope, where he came from and have no other duties besides being his confessor and guide.

    I’m glad you like the opening. Thanks for your time and comments
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."
    ​Virgil

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush



  4. #4
    Interesting. I've never read any fiction regarding a Pope before.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I don't think there is (or certainly wasn't then) any such thing as a book called "Dante's Inferno". Inferno is part of a longer work - the Divine Comedy and that was all that existed in manuscript form at the time you are suggesting - bear in mind printing and publishing wouldn't exist until one hundred years later and books were expensive so while I believe a Pope would own manuscripts I would imagine a whole book would not be produced for one part of what isn't a huge work anyway (the entire comedy is only about 150 pages).

    Also, and I really hate to be picking on minor details that aren't super important, but Innocent VI was not crowned Pope until 1352 - yet it sounds like he is already pope? I get this is alternative history, but if you're going to modify the timelines (and there doesn't seem to be much need to move his papacy forward by one year?) I would need a bit of explanation for that at some point in this novel.

    Its an intriguing concept and I would be very interested to read more.

  5. #5
    von Bradstein;

    Thanks for the time to read and comment. This story begins just before easter in 1351. It’s alternate History so I had a change to when his predecesor died. The Divine Comedy was published in 1320. I didn’t think of manuscript vs. book, so I looked into into that and the first printed edition was in 1472. Over 800 manuscripts were made in the 13 & 14 centuries.
    I’m glad you liked it, it stalled around 11k words so maybe time to dive back in.
    Thanks gain for for read and comments.
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."
    ​Virgil

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush



  6. #6
    I️ will say it seems so far like it might be very niche. May I️ inquire as to what kind of themes you are tackling? Is it to do with a challenge to faith or just a historical retelling? Might want to be careful if the latter. The kind of folks who are into ancient popes possibly won’t take too kind to having the history meddled with too much. I’m not sure how much appeal such a book would have outside of a catholic readership


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Here is a brief list of the important historical changes and who was in power in that time.

    Council ofCanossa Notes


    Louis IV doesn’t die in 1347. Conflict between him and Charles IV continues. There is no Holy Roman Emperor.


    Pope Clement VI dies in November, 1350 of the Black Plague.


    Etienne Aubert,elected Pope in February, 1351. Takes the name, Innocent VI. He supports neither Louis or Charles.


    Joanna I, Queen of Naples


    Charles I-King of Hungary


    Simone Boccaneraga-Doge of Genoa


    Galeazzo II Visconti- Ruler of Milan


    Andrea Dondolo-Dogeof Venice


    The theme/plot of the story is Innocent's vision's...The return of the Papacy to Rome. A few secondary things and a little religious commentary between the Father Confessor and the Cardinal.
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."
    ​Virgil

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush



  8. #8
    You clearly have some knowledge of this relatively unknown period and I️ definitely encourage it on the basis of originality alone. Just don’t go too heavy on the vagaries of history if you want the interest of a mainstream audience. The general public loves historical stories but they probably will not be aware of the actual facts let alone your variation on them and people tend to lose interest if they feel bogged down in academia. If you’re going for a very niche audience of hardcore medieval history buffs not so much a problem. Are you thinking of self publishing or traditional?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    When it comes to Alternate History, the purpose, for me, is to take the reader back to that time with an enjoyable story, without boring or losing them due to the minutia. Harry Turtledove and H.B. Piper are excellent writers in this genre. Piper wrote a story, He Walked Around a Horse.
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."
    ​Virgil

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush



  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Pelwrah View Post
    When it comes to Alternate History, the purpose, for me, is to take the reader back to that time with an enjoyable story, without boring or losing them due to the minutia. Harry Turtledove and H.B. Piper are excellent writers in this genre. Piper wrote a story, He Walked Around a Horse.
    Good to hear. I think that's the right way to go.

    Best of luck to you.

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