The Siege of Malta: Part 1 A special edition of Minimum Wage Historian!

Zach – Welcome back to Minimum Wage Historian and we have a special presentation for you today. We are going to embark on an adventure so epic, so unbelievably bone crunchingly awesome that it could only be found in history books and not Hollywood.
Anna – For once Zach isn’t exaggerating. This story is a more desperate stand than Rourke’s Drift, Bastogne and Helm’s Deep combined.
Zach – The topic is: The 1565 Siege of Malta. The full force of the Ottoman Turks smashes against a tiny island fortress guarded by the Knights of St. John.

We’re about to find out how seriously hard core these Knights of St. John were. They were called Hospitillars because they put you in the hospital. Okay…not really.

Anna – But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with introducing our panelists.
Zach – Of course. First we have Tomoe Gozen, woman samurai and head taker. Then we have Matilda of Tuscany, Medieval countess who fought the Germans. Then we have Scipio Africanus, Roman general and conqueror of Carthage. Next is…oh boy, Boudica, woman warrior that fought Rome. Then we have Napoleon Bonaparte who wasn’t as short as they say. Then Gaspar Correia, Portuguese conquistador and historian. And last and not least because she’d burn my house down, Olga of Kiev, Russian saint that specialized in blood soaked rampages of vengeance.
Napoleon – Your introductions stink!
Olga – You said there would be milk and cookies, dah?
Boudica – I’m not sitting next to a Roman dog.
Scipio – Would today’s topic be about slaughtering barbarians by any chance?
Zach – (laughs nervously) Aren’t we all full of energy today. Please, no one kill anyone. We have too much to discuss.
Matilda – Yes, so let us get to it then. I shall start by giving a history and description of the Knights of Malta: the Knights of St. John.

Matilda – I think I would have gotten along splendidly with these knights!

They were one of many knightly orders that began in the Crusades. The Knights of St. John, or the Knights Hospitallers started off as a group of monks trying to set up some hospitals for pilgrims and wounded crusaders. But as time passed, the need to protect the pilgrim routes grew and the Knights of St. John grew more militant. They soon became a powerful fighting force answerable only to the Pope.
Scipio – But every fighting force needs a good leader. Let me tell you of the man who led these knights during this Great Siege. His name was Jean Parisot de la Valette, a French knight with a long history of crusading in his family.
Napoleon – Ha! Of course he’s French.
Scipio – indeed. This was a man with one purpose in life, to destroy the enemies of Christendom.  He joined the Order at the age of twenty and never looked back. He was a very strict man that was stern with discipline and didn’t let emotion get in the way of his thinking. He would have made a fine Roman! He spoke many languages including Italian, Greek, Arabic and Turkish. He also spent a year as a galley slave when he was captured by the Turks. Only the toughest of men survived below decks. This was a tradition that dated back to my time fighting the Carthaginians and before that with the Greeks at Salamis. In fact, the ships were nearly the same as well. La Valette was a hard man. These were not times that awarded the weak. One had to be strong to survive and La Valette was one of the strongest. He rose through the order’s ranks and became its Grand Master. Everyone that met him respected him. A natural leader and a man that could give everything for a cause.
Boudica – But he was an anarchistic throw back to the Medieval Crusades. (Didn’t think a barbarian like me knew that word, right?) The Knights were viewed as backwards zealots and old fashioned. Which was one of the reasons they received so little support from the rest of Europe.

Here’s La Valette, the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John. He was considered very handsome for his day. What do you think, ladies?

Tomoe – His rival was the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The Ottoman Empire saw its golden age and peak of power under this powerful ruler. He controlled an Empire that stretched from Austria to Persia. He had conquered most of Eastern Europe and the Mid-East. He now wanted Italy. To accomplish this, he needed Malta as a staging ground for invasion. Here are some of his titles:
“Sultan of the Ottomans, Allah’s Deputy on Earth, Lord of the Lords of this world, Possessor of Men’s necks, King of Believers and unbelievers, Emperor of the East and the West,” and so on and so on. This man controlled the most powerful empire of its time.
Anna – Barbarians! They expanded at the cost of the Roman Empire. I shall never forgive them.
Boudica – But you’re not Roman, you’re Byzantine.
(Room falls silent.)
Napoleon – Did she just…?
Zach – She did.
Boudica – What?
(Anna rises to her feet.)
Anna – You take that back, heathen barbarian.
Boudica – What did I say?
(Zach whispers in Boudica’s ear.)
Boudica – Oh..l get it. She’s overly sensitive about not being considered Roman. Gotcha.
Zach – Let it go, Anna.
Scipio – Let us discuss the armies involved in this war.
Napoleon – Agreed! I will start with the Turkish Janissaries. These were the elite, creme de la creme of the Turkish army. These men were recruited at a young age from the non-Muslim populations under the Empire’s control. They were trained in harsh and rigid conditions to make the ultimate, unbreakable soldier. Obviously they were nothing compared my personal bodyguard of cavalry, but they would do. They were shock troops and excellent snipers. They were the spear point.
Matilda – “Spear point?” Isn’t that a German term?
Napoleon – I would never stoop so low as to use a German term or German anything! I don’t even eat sauerkraut on my hot dogs.
Gaspar – The Janissaries were genetically engineered super soldiers that were programmed for nothing but killing. They had the best training and equipment time travelers could buy.

A group of Janissaries waiting for orders to wreck some faces.


Anna – No, Gaspar, they looked like this.

Boudica – They also had elite units of fanatics that would care nothing for death and charge fearlessly into the enemy. They were not trained like the Jannissaries but were good shock troops to charge into places other men would hesitate to go.
Zach – Also, the Turks were famous for their artillery. They had brought artillery from a science to an art. No one could match the power of Turkish guns.
Olga – Except the Russians. We Russians can blow up anybody.
Zach – Of course. I meant “besides the Russians.”
Olga – Good.
Matilda – Now let’s talk about what the Knights had on their side. The knights themselves were monastic warriors trained in all the arts of chivalry and Western warfare. However, having spent the last two hundred years on islands, (Rhodes was their home before Malta) they had adapted to the sea like few others. They had galleys like the Ancient Greeks, but bigger and now with cannons. They were 280 ft long with a hundred or so slaves working the oars. About 200 fighting men with a main bow cannon, several smaller cannon and several more anti-personal weapons; think of giant shotguns. They couldn’t operate in bad weather because they were so low to the water so winter sailing wasn’t going to happen.
Boudica – Don’t forget the peasants!
Matilda – Of course not. I’ll get to them. Aside from about 800 fully armored and armed knights, they also had about 1,200 men at arms, infantry from Spain and Italy and a few thousand Maltese militia. Normally militia aren’t worth the mud they live in, but these Maltese men and women would prove that the rocky little island produces stout, courageous people. One thing to note, every nationality helping the knights had defectors that wanted to save their lives by running to the Turks. All except the Maltese natives. Not one of them defected. Though Phoenician by heritage, they prided themselves on being one of the earliest Christian communities, dating back to one of St. Paul’s voyages. They spoke an Arabic dialect but hated the Turks.
Zach – Okay, we now know the sides. Time to set this off.
Scipio – The Knights of St. John were dedicated enemies of the Muslims. They had vowed never to wage war on other Christians and viewed themselves as protectors of Christianity. Malta had one advantage. It wasn’t good for farming, mining, livestock or much of anything. But it did have several natural harbors. The Knights used these harbors to launch their ships against Turkish trading lanes. Now, the Sultan was already planning on eventually taking Malta as his next step in invading Italy, but things were sped along with the Knights captured a ship that women of his harem had invested heavily in. This angered his harem. As they say, “a happy man is one with a happy wife.” Now image dozens of unhappy wives. Also, having his shipping lanes constantly attacked by these Christian “pirates” was a problem as well. He thus decided to launch an invasion of Malta.

On the right of the main island you’ll see a bunch of harbors. That’s where all the main action will be. As soon as the Knights arrived, they started fortifying those harbors. What will become the center of the battle was a small fortress of St. Elmo. Let’s see….I think I have a map of it somewhere…


Here’s the eastern part of the island where most of the fighting took place. See how Fort Elmo overlooks the entrance to two great harbors? But it was a small fort and not very well made. It shouldn’t last longer than 5 days…right?

Olga – I see, I think I read this. Sultan not very happy with Crusader peoples. So he say, “Comrade General, Comrade Admiral, you two go over to Malta and blow it up! Now, get along and don’t argue. To make sure you good boys, I send Turgut Reis to help you.
Zach – Turgut Reis was a pirate captain of the highest order. he was so awesome as a pirate that the Turks made him an admiral of their navy. The guy knew his business. He had raided Malta twenty times in the past forty years and took Tripoli from the Knights a few years earlier.

The guy was eighty years old and showed no signs of slowing down. Eighty years of combat and leadership experience. He was also known for being generous and merciful to his captives. His nickname was “the sword of Islam.”

Anna – La Valette had spies in Constantinople and knew the Ottomans were preparing a massive fleet to send against them. He prepared his fortifications and sent civilian women and children to Sicily. The native men he kept for a fighting force. Once word arrived that the Ottoman fleet was inbound, all food and animals were to be brought into the fortresses to deny the Turks anything to live off of.
Zach – And they Turks did indeed come. They came with an estimated force of 40,000 fighting men including 4,000 of the elite Jannissaries. When the Knights of St. John saw this enormous fleet of over two hundred ships coming at them, they had to have felt fear. Their tiny garrison was grossly outnumbered and more importantly, out gunned. They had a slim hope that help would arrive from Sicily, but La Valette wouldn’t base his plans around it. He would conduct the defense of Malta as if they were on their own. And guess what? They were.
Matilda – As mentioned previously, La Valette was a tough man. he immediately made a plan of defense that required that they don’t surrender an inch of ground. They would defend every fort to the last man and give the Turks nothing that didn’t cost them dearly.
Scipio – As the Turks surrounded the island, they began to land their troops. Wisely, La Valette didn’t oppose them.
Tomoe – My fellow Japanese would do the same in World War II. They would allow them to come ashore while they stayed in their defensive positions. If they tried to defend on the beach, they would have success at first, but then they would be overwhelmed and surrounded. Valette chose to let the forts defend them where they can fight off enemy forces much larger than themselves. This is wise move.
Anna – The only hope the garrison had was help from Europe. This could only come in through the north which the Turks, for some reason, didn’t bother blockading. Instead of going against the more vital forts, they went after Fortress St. Elmo. This tiny fortress was barely noticed by the Turks and they thought it wouldn’t last five days. The entire might of the Turkish invasion turned on this one fort and its few hundred defenders. In order to win the Knights had to hold the Turks at Ft. Elmo for as long as possible. Their hope was to last until the fall when the Turks would have to sail back to Turkey because of the winter seas. It was vital that they hold the fort for as long as possible. The entire war centered on this one small fortress.

How long will the fort last? How many casualties would they inflict on the Turks?

Stay tuned for next week when the defense of Ft. Elmo starts. Helms Deep has nothing on Elmo.


Gaspar’s History of Thanksgiving

History’s Gaspar Correia here to bring you the real history of Thanksgiving… it REALLY happened. I know what you’re going to say. “But Gaspar, we already know about the Pilgrims and Indians.” That’s what they teach you in schools. It’s wasn’t a peaceful party of thankful Pilgrims celebrating with their kindly Indian Neighbors. No, sir. But before I get ahead of myself, let us start at the beginning.

You see all this? This stuff you’ve been shoveled all your life? It’s all garbage. Let ole’ Gaspar tell you how it went down.

It was actually more like this.

They didn’t tell you about the cloned dinosaurs, did they?

Way back, before recorded time, a group of necromancers known as “Pilgrims” led by their lich king, left England for the New World, a world where they could set up their own undead empire aided by the arts of alchemy.

the Pilgrim leader who sailed across the ocean.

However, the Pilgrims didn’t know the land was inhabited. The Native Indians were living there and they weren’t happy about the plagues Columbus dropped off in his little visits. However they would have been caught by surprise if it weren’t for the aid of a friendly time traveler. He organized the welcoming party for the pilgrims and waited on shore. The battle that ensued wrought terrible destruction to both sides.

A famous painting of the Pilgrim armada as they stormed the beaches.

However, the pilgrims gained a toehold on shore and sent their hordes of zombies to overwhelm the pilgrims and then…
(Olga of Kiev walks into room eating Taco Bell burrito.)
Olga – Gaspar man, what you doing on Zach’s computer machine?
Gaspar – Telling the true history of Thanksgiving.
Olga – That holiday with turkey and big fat man in red suit?
Gaspar – That’s the one. Want to help?
Olga – Glad to, darling.
(Olga sits down next to Gaspar and looks at computer for a minute, obviously deep in thought.)
Olga – What happens next?
Gaspar – So the Pilgrims settle in and start to build a colony. Their zombie horde keep them safe from attack.

The Indians didn’t know about the “destroy the brain” part.

Gaspar – But pilgrims soon run out of food and begin raiding Indian settlements.

A pilgrim raider

Gaspar – The battles rage for years, neither side gaining the advantage.
Olga – Oh! I know what happens next!
Gaspar – You do?
Olga – Yes, yes. During battle, Russia comes in with space ships and blow peoples up!

Boom! Boom! They blow up Pilgrims and Indians!

Gaspar – Um….yes. The Russians came in and blew up both sides, but not completely. The lich sorcerers unleashed terrible spells and the Indian Medicine Men sent water monsters and spirits at them. It was a pitched three-way battle.

The battle was so brutal that few recorded the details. The true horrors are lost to history.

Gaspar – After the battle, the survivors gathered together to give thanks that they survived. They shared a meal of pizza and General Tso’s chicken to celebrate the end of the terrible war. For generations after their descendents celebrated the peace with Pizza and Chinese chicken to remember the tragedy.
Olga – What about dinosaurs with lasers?
Gaspar – Oh, yeah, um…they were there two, summoned by the undead sorcerer Pilgrims.
Olga – So, that what all this Thanksgiving is about?
Gaspar – So, now you know. Remember, dear readers, when you sit down for your Thanksgiving dinner this year. Honor the sacrifices of those that fought hundreds of years ago. Remember what really happened and not the drivel they teach you in schools. This is History’s Gaspar Correia, signing off.
Olga – Happy Thanksgiving pizza to the peoples!

Gaspar – And remember; Thanksgiving’s for winners!

Russian armies of the Renaissance

Joan of Arc – Welcome to ze Minimum Wage Historian, oui? First we shall begin with a few hymns, a prayer and mass.
Olga of Kiev – Nyet, nyet. Skip all that and get to the so-called-good stuff.
Joan – Are you not a saint?
Olga – Sure. Why not?
Joan – I’m surrounded by heathens.
Olga – Let’s get show going! I say we start with Russia army before Mongol invasion.
Joan – Why? I say we start with ze weapons, no?
Olga – Nyet. Weapons, armor, and horsies different after Mongol scum. Rus, Novogrod and Kiev ruled by Vikings. Ha! My ancestors Vikings. They have big axes, chain armor and fight on foot.
Joan – Like other Vikings zey depended on heavy infantry.

This is helmet before bad Mongols come. Like Vikings, but more drunk and depressed.

Olga – Dah! But there is problem. Mongols use lots of horsies. Mongols shoot arrows at Rus and run away before Rus can chop them up with swords.
Joan – Oui, the Mongols were nomads and they fought in way that overwhelmed ze Russians. Now, Russia was many countries, mainly Rus, Novogrod, Muscovy and Kiev.

Mongols laying a so-called “smack down” on my fellow Rus.

Olga – Rus no like being beaten by pagan nomads. They change way they fight! They use more horsies with arrows and more armor from Byzantines and Persians.
Joan – They adapted. After Mongol invasions they went from heavy infantry Vikings to a more “modern” force. Tsar Ivan III even adopted the double headed eagle of Byzantium after Constantinople fell. They were cultural inheritors of Byzantium, but Ivan also married the niece of the last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI.

They went from this…

To this. A mix of eastern and western equipment and tactics. Armies went from private armies of nobles to government professional army.

Joan – Russian army adapted to face Mongols, but also to face more advanced European armies, such as Polish, Tuetonic Knights and Finland. Their power came from firearms.
Olga – Guns! Yes, Russians use lots and lots of guns. Show those Mongols who is boss.
Joan – I am not so sure you are ze saint…or educated. But ze Russian army adopted many guns. Large cannons and muskets.  They fought with large formations of musket armed infantry with a few pikes to defend.  When war gets ugly, they use axes to attack.  Then cavalry move in from flanks.  Simple but effective.  When fighting arrow armed Tartars, they used mobile wooden walls with gunports.

Olga – Different strokes for different folks!

Olga – They get shiny new muskets and also new uniforms. They all look alike now!
Joan – Yes, they adapted uniformity within the different units.

Joan – They used large axes with crescent blades to rest their muskets on while they shot. Now, something that is not commonly known about me, but I learned a great deal about gunpowder weapons during ze Hundred Years War. Russians make large cannons. But being in artillery was not viewed as honorable so position in Imperial artillery so it became almost hereditary. They took great pride in this! During one battle when they were being overrun, they hung themselves rather than surrender their cannons.

Olga – We make big guns in Russia, dah? This is “Tzar Cannon” in Kremlin.

Joan – They trained with muskets a lot and became one of the most powerful armies in Europe. During the 1500’s and 1600’s Russian united and expanded and fought many enemies. They used artillery with big guns and smaller more portable ones. But they also used bows, sabers, pikes and broadswords.

Russian cavalrymen with quilted armor, sabers and bows. Strange mixture of up-to-date and old fashioned.

Joan – Now one of my favorite subjects. Armor.

No! Not that kind of armor! You stupid, silly staff you!

No, no, armor as in what ze soldiers ware. Russians used quilted armor to protect against Tartar arrows and nobles used chain mail with metal plates.

They use eastern style helmets with cone and union shapes. Good for deflecting an overhead sword.

Joan – The nobles fought and were armed with an… antique style.
Olga – Chain mail not good for stopping bullets, dah!

Streltsi were professional soldiers. They did not wear ze armor like the nobles. They had uniformed coats, very big axes, muskets and sabers. Units were in competition with each other for highest ranking spot, always held by Imperial unit in Moscow. Other units in lesser cities were not as prestigious.

Olga – Wait moment. Gaspar Correia e-mailed me a photo of Russian soldier.

Joan – I should have known, no?
Olga – Funny. I no remember soldiers looking like this.
Joan – Because they didn’t.

Joan – Russian army was full of ze contradictions. East and West. Old and new. Peasant and Noble.
Olga – Russian army full of Win!
Joan – They adapted and changed to fit their opponent. They needed mobile armies that could go from Persian to ze Balkans to Poland. Because of Russia’s size they also needed more men to defend so Russian armies were bigger than European armies. Over 120,000 infantry and cavalry.
Olga – We like big armies that kick butt.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

Salem Witch Trials

Beware of witches! Or Communists! Or anyone that thinks differently than you!

Zach – Welcome back to Minimum Wage Historian. We have a ghoulish topic today, one that people have been asking questions about ever since it happened. The Salem Witch Trials. How could seemingly normal people break down into mass hysteria and kill twenty people accused of witchcraft? What led up to this and how did rational people allow it to happen? I’m going to need some help on this. With is my trusted sidekick –
Anna – What?
Zach – Umm…my co-host, Anna Komemne, Byzantine princess and first woman historian. Next we have Tomoe Gozen, woman samurai and butt kicker. Then we have St. Olga of Kiev, first Russian Christian who went on a blood soaked killing spree.
Olga – Dah! It was fun! Burn many houses down.
Zach – Then we have Giuseppe Garibaldi, hero of the Italian unification.
Garibaldi – Boun Giorno!
Zach – And last and least, we have Gaspar Correia, conquistador and “historian.”
Anna – I do say, this is a ghastly subject, but to understand it, we must start at the beginning. Witches have always been a worry to those strange Latin Christians. However, the worst punishment they received was a harsh talking to or a day in the stockades. But one day in the late 1400’s, a German man named Heinrich Kramer went around trying to convince people that witches were real. After being laughed at and thrown out of town, he wrote a book called the Malleus Maleficarum. (Latin for “Hammer of the Witches.)

The Malleus Maleficarum deals with the nature of witches, how to identify and find them, how to legally prosecute them and how kill them. It also has one of the coolest names of any book ever.

Zach – So, this guy writes this book to show the world he’s right and thanks to the newly invented printing press it spreads as fast as another book of spell casting people that some Christians still want to burn, Harry Potter. Now, thanks to this book, the hunting, persecution and killing of witches becomes widespread throughout Europe. And the Puritan Pilgrims bring this hobby of witch hunting to the New World.
Gaspar – There were professional witch hunters that went town to town and also the people were encouraged to tattle on their neighbors.
Zach – That’s good, Gaspar. You’re finally getting the idea of truthful history…
Gaspar – Wait a sec. These witch hunters were professional face wreckers. They had the best equipment: power armor, big guns and the might of righteous fury!

Did I mention they were all babes?

Anna – Gaspar, one of these days I’m going to…
Gaspar – Do what?
Anna – I’ll get Tomoe Gozen to fight you.
Gaspar – Oh.
Olga – Oh! Oh! Dah, I know of Salem. I read a book! Salem was small frontier town. They were…um…not my kind of Christians. They, how you say, fanatics.
Tomoe – I do not know about “fanatics,” but I do know they have very harsh religion. Very stern and demanding. A person is either preordained for heaven or hell and there is nothing a person can do about it. How is it they do not take into account honor? A samurai is nothing without honor!
Zach – So, we have a situation where we have a small, isolated town with very stern and zealous religious people and we add in the fact that the town was divided into two, the well off and the “other side of the tracks.”
Anna – Also, women had no rights. They were to be silent mothers and were expected to obey unquestionably. I could not endure this.
Garibaldi – Che bene! You are strong woman and take no flack from bossy men. I like this! (Moves closer to Anna.) You know, I know a great Italian restaurant down the road. Perhaps we can go get a little something to eat, yes?
Anna – Oh, umm…Perhaps another time. I have to…wash my hair.
Garibaldi – Your loss, princess.
Zach – Back to Salem, which was called Salem Village, not to be confused with nearby Salem Town. We have a group of repressed teenage girls who were not allowed to sing, dancing, celebrations and holidays including Easter and Christmas were all forbidden. No X-box, no movies, no paintball. No way to let off steam.
Olga – Boring! I would go CRAZY!
Garibaldi – Crazier, anyway. They listen to wild stories from their slave, Tituba. She shows them some voodoo and the girls are excited. But due to their harsh upbringing they also feel some guilt and this begins to trouble them greatly. They needed some good food and a little opera to relax them!
Anna – It all started in 1692 when Betty Paris, Anna Putnam and Abigail Williams began having strange fits and claimed they were being poked and pinched. Well, naturally, according to Latin Christians, someone must be the cause of it. They asked the girls who was doing this to them and they accused Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba. Tituba confessed almost immediately. All three of these women were social outcasts, a slave, a begger and an old woman that didn’t go to church. Easy targets to blame things on.
Garibaldi – I have to add here that once they were brought in for so-called questioning, they were treated as the Malleus Maleficarum suggested. They were stripped, searched for a “Devil’s Mark” and probably tortured. lovely peoples.

They weren’t well versed in “due process.”

Zach – During the trials, the accusing girls would convulse, scream and claim phantom visions of the accused…and all this was taken as hard evidence. CSI Salem would have been quite a show!

“Now all we need to do is find out….which witch is which.”

Tomoe – These girls do very dishonorable thing. They lie and make false accusations. For what? Was it for fun? Revenge? Attention? I believe all of these things.
Olga – Yes, yes, petty little girls want have fun. They point fingers and laugh. All is game to them.
Garibaldi – No game my sweet rain soaked muffin! People died for these girls’ amusement. They come to Italy, we have plenty fun there.
Zach – More women were accused, including Rebecca Nurse, a member of the town in good standing. If someone like her could be a witch, then anybody! Now people began to use this as an excuse to get revenge for old grievances. This small town was full of feuds and rivalries and with the ease to rid ones self of a rival, the accusations began to number into the hundreds. 62 were held in custody. In the end, 20 people were executed. 19 were hung and one man who refused to plea guilty or not guilty was crushed by rocks according to an old English custom.

Gaspar – Rob Zombie has take photos of the accused, such as this one. Now let’s talk about the “American Witch…”
Zach – Hey, let’s get back on track.
Gaspar – But its a great song!

Anna – The town exploded in revenge and accusations. Neighbor accused neighbor and everyone was afraid of who might be a witch. To these people, witches were real. They absolutely believed that witches lived among them, trying to convert others to worship Satan.
Zach – So, fear, mixed with petty rivalries, mixed with cultural repression. Not a good combination.
Tomoe – After executions, they put stop to spectral apparitions as evidence. No surprise but convictions dropped.
Zach – Many confessed to witchcraft and were saved while others maintained their innocence and stayed in prison. Some more died in prison.
Anna – Finally they ran out of poor and outcast people, so they began to accuse rich people and that was when they had had enough. People began to question what was going on and wondering “Hey, maybe those teenage girls accusing everyone of being a witch isn’t the most legit thing ever!” Also, judges and lawyers from outside of Salem began to criticize the proceedings and it all came to a stop. The common people began to realize how freaking insane they had been acting. It was like a fire that had burned itself out.
Olga – This all sound crazy. What cause this mess?
Garibaldi – Teenagers being bored.
Gaspar – Strong belief in devil worship and witches
Tomoe – Petty rivalries.
Anna – Isolated community.
Zach – But the real question is: can this happen again? Sadly, the answer is yes. In the 50’s America suffered “Maccarthyism” where everyone became scared of hidden communists and began accusing others, mostly politicians and Hollywood actors. So, yes. It can happen to any “rational” society. What might be the dangers today? Anyone that thinks different than the norm is a potential victim. Remember, just because someone doesn’t believe in the same things as you or has opinions you don’t agree with, does not make them a bad person, just a different person than ones self.

And remember, witches float on water because they’re made of wood.

Gaspar Correia here for one last bit of information. If you or someone you know is interested in witches or the paranormal and like good stories, check out a book written by a friend of Minimum wage Historian. Freak of Nature is a story about a witch girl that has to fight cultists and vampires. Check it out!

Women Samurai

Zach – Okay, they weren’t called “Samurai.” The term for Japanese women warriors was Onna-Bugeisha. Bu- means war or fighting,(martial) gei- means “performing arts” but not how we typically think of it. To the feudal Japanese pretty much anything could be an art, including wrecking faces. So, Onna-Bugeisha means “woman martial artist.”

Some Japanese women you do not want to mess with.

Anna – I want to be an Onna-Bugeisha.
Zach – Tomoe could teach you all about it.
Anna – After this I want to learn to cut off heads.
Zach – But first let’s introduce our panel for today. First, we have our resident Samurai expert, Tomoe Gozen, woman samurai. Then we have Matilda of Tuscany, woman soldier for the Pope. Then we have Gaspar Correia, conquistador and “historian.” Voted most likely to become a fantasy novelist. Next we have Admiral Nelson, hero of Trafalgar. Finally we have…Napoleon who…ordered a sandwich today.
Napoleon – Hey! You think that is what I am remembered for?
Zach – Don’t care.
Anna – Let us begin. These women martial artists, the Onna-Bugeisha were disproportionally represented in history.
Gaspar – Come out and say what you mean, Anna.
Anna – There were a lot of them but they’re hardly mentioned in history.
Gaspar – Wasn’t that easier?
Matilda – I understand these Onna-Bugeisha quite well. The Bugeisha were traditionally trained to fight as samurai. After all, they belonged to the Bushi warrior class. They trained how to fight using Katana, tanto and their most famous weapon: the Naginata.

Most noble women were trained with the Naginata to defend their homes. While the lord is away, the women shall…er…kick butt and take names.

Nelson – Wait a moment. Why the naginata? If they are to defend a home or castle, why a polearm? Why not something shorter and more usable in close confines?
Tomoe – Small women need reach and power. Naginata gives woman reach, can keep enemy away. Great for defense. These women were trained for defense. Not go out on battlefield. They stay home and defend. Imagine hallway with three women, each with naginata. You want to go down hall?
Nelson – I would say not.
Napoleon – You would say nothing, you stupid English…
Zach – Napoleon? What did we say about being polite?
Napoleon – If I can’t say anything nice…
Zach – Very good.
Anna – When the lord is away with his army, sometimes the castle may be attacked.
Matilda – I owned a castle and know about castle defense. It is not easy. These women had a hard job and were trained well.
Nelson – I did some reading and besides our own Tomoe Gozen, we have other examples of Onna-Bugeisha. There was the legendary Empress Jingu, Nakano Takeko, and Hojo Masako. Now, Empress Jingu launched an invasion of Korea in 200AD or so.

“Now, once we invade Korea I wish to learn this, gangam style I hear so much about.”

Gaspar – Now these Onna-Bugeisha lived dangerous lives, wandering the country side –
Anna – Gaspar! We just said they defended their homes!
Gaspar – They wandered the countryside slaying demons and rescuing people from oni. With their magic swords they slayed evil and righted wrongs.

Gaspar – One of these heroic girl warriors. They took on hordes of undead and oni without hesitation.

Tomoe – This Gaspar person is stupid man. At the Siege of Suemori, during battles of unification, Suemori castle was besieged and the lord’s wife fought with husband to save castle. Many women in Japan risked lives to defend castles and homes. Often Naginata was above doorways: easy to get to in case of emergency.
Matilda – Hojo Masako, after her husband died ( I wish my husband had died early )she became a nun as was tradition. However, she was pulled back into politics and was very powerful.
Napoleon – A Japanese nun in charge of a country? I think I like.
Tomoe – Pig.
Nelson – Yes, he is a pig. But after the unification, there grew several fencing schools for women that were devoted to the naginata. I like the saber, but I think I would like to learn the naginata.
Tomoe – Admiral Don Juan at battle of Lepanto used a big sword like staff, close combat. Same thing.
Zach – These women were home makers and important in their own right. But they were also necessary in military strategy. When their husbands were off, it was up to them to rule the castle and defend it if necessary.

Go ahead and invade her house. She’ll “home defense” ya faster than you can steal her best china.

Tomoe – Many women trained to fight from young age. I trained many years.
Matilda – And it showed. You kick butt. We need to spar sometimes.

Napoleon – Ha! French women are much stronger.

I’m not wearing a school girl outfit, covering my mouth while giggling or falling in love with an neurotic wimpy boy.