Pompeius von Planta

24 January

Murdered today in 1639 was Jörg Jenatsch, a Swiss Protestant pastor whose career had taken an unexpected turn when he took part in the infamous murder of his political rival, Pompeius von Planta (above), leaving him pinned to the floor of a castle room by an axe. Jenatsch’s own murder 18 years later was similarly colourful, as the leader of the murdering party was dressed as a bear, and was most likely the son of von Planta.

This is the feast day of St Francis of Sales, the patron saint of journalists and writers, blessed be his name. Why not celebrate by opening a new Word document, staring at the screen stupidly for three minutes, and then playing ‘Starship Titanic’ for two hours?

Today in 1076, Henry IV, the future Holy Roman Emperor, held the Synod of Worms to declare Pope Gregory VII deposed, for basically getting too big for his boots. ‘Step down, step down, thou eternally damned’ – that was his catchphrase. Gregory responded by releasing all Henry’s subjects from their duties of obedience, and added that if they fancied having a rebellion he’d come and join them.

Born this day in 1843 was Josip Stadler, the first Archbishop of Vrhbosna, in Bosnia and Herzogovina. He’s currently on the Vatican’s sainthood list, so watch this space.

Image Wikimedia Commons

Time-travel news is written by Steve Tomkins and Simon Jenkins

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