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Harmonia Time Capsule: 1578

Let’s take a quick look back in time… We spun the wheel, and it landed on 1578…a year of news and a year to remember.

Ferdinand II

Photo: Gryffindor (wikipedia)

Ferdinand II

In this year, a crew member of Francis Drake’s expedition lost his head, literally! Thomas Doughty, set off on the voyage with Drake, supposedly to circumnavigate the globe, but it soon became an expedition to relieve the Spanish ships of their large amounts of gold as they left their American ports. Thomas Doughty was assigned command of one of the secondary captured Spanish ships, the Mary–and when he complained, he was given an even smaller one called the Swan.

When Doughty’s ship separated from the rest of the fleet, he was accused of practicing witchcraft, mutiny, and treason. He was tried on board for these charges, with Drake acting as the final judge—something that was unusual for that time.

After Doughty was executed and the crew returned to England, Doughty’s brother John sought remuneration for Thomas’ death, but the request was dismissed. The ship’s carpenter had testified against Doughty in his mutiny and treason trial. When this carpenter was promoted to master of the ship Marigold, many people saw this as Drake making good on a promise of promotion if the carpenter falsely testified against Doughty.

Some have said that Drake simply wanted to make an example of Doughty since many sailors in the expedition did not want to be part of a pirate crew and were not quiet about sharing their opinions. And Drake’s choice to hold the trial in the same area where Ferdinand Magellan executed his mutineers must have been more than a coincidence.

To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World
Arthur Herman
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album cover

The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake: 1577-1580
Samuel Bawlf
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album cover

The year 1578 also saw the birth of Ferdinand II, who through his life he would hold the titles of Holy Roman Emperor, archduke of Austria, King of Bohemia, and King of Hungary. He was Holy Roman Emperor for the majority of the Thirty Years’ War and was a supporter of the Counter-Reformation. Before this, he was recognized as the King of Bohemia by the Bohemian diet, but the Protestant majority in Bohemia deposed him in favor of a Protestant monarch. This essentially began the Thirty-Years’ War: a conflict that would envelop the majority of Europe and permanently change its borders.

The Thirty Years War
C. V. Wedgwood and Anthony Grafton
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The Thirty Years War: The Holy Roman Empire and Europe, 1618-48
Ronald G. Acsh
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Meanwhile, in Spain in 1578 Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria was in Rome working as a chaplain at the church of San Girolamo della Carita with a group of lay priests called the Congregazione dell’Oratio. During this time in Rome, he published five volumes of music that included hymns, a Magnificat setting, a mass setting, music for Holy week, and motets, paving the way for a more prestigious gig working for the Spanish Dowager Empress Maria.

The Victoria Collection
The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips (Gimell, 2011)
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Music heard in this time capsule:

Peccantem me quotidie (excerpt)
Hilliard Ensemble — In Paradisum: Music of Victoria and Palestrina (ECM New Series, 2000)
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album cover

Peccantem me quotidie (excerpt)
Hilliard Ensemble — In Paradisum: Music of Victoria and Palestrina (ECM New Series, 2000)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake: 1577-1580
Samuel Bawlf
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World
Arthur Herman
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Thirty Years War: The Holy Roman Empire and Europe, 1618-48
Ronald G. Acsh
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Thirty Years War
C. V. Wedgwood and Anthony Grafton
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Victoria Collection
The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips (Gimell, 2011)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Harmonia Early Music

Harmonia Early Music is a nationally syndicated weekly early music radio program, podcast and blog produced by WFIU Public Radio.

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