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The cloister life of the Emperor Charles the…
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The cloister life of the Emperor Charles the Fifth

by Sir William Stirling-Maxwell

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O how I wish I had my own copy of this extraordinary book! As is known by a sadly dimninishing number of persons, the Emperor Charles V was for a time, the ruler -- with wildly varying degrees of actua lpower -- of the largest empire ever. In 1555, after an adult life spent in almnost continual travel and war, he abdicated his power, dividing it between his brother, the Emperor of Austria, and his deranged son Philip. He retired to a monastery in Yuste, Spain, and practically before he hgad donned his cassock, the rumours began to fly. The most celebrated was the alleged funeral he had for himself while still living. The assiduous Scottish antiquary Sir William Stirling-Maxwell examined as many source as he could to write a dispassionate acoount of what actually hgappened in the final years of Charles' life. For all I knew, there may have been more materials available to him than have survived into our age. As for "dispassionate", Stirlinbg-Maxwell was exemplary in rising above the prejudices one might ordinarily have expected of a Scottish Presbyterian dealing with one of the most unforgiving champions of Roman Catholicism of that day. Charles' The p, as it emerges, is that of a highly energetic, but terribly conflicted and ultimately miserable man ( )
  HarryMacDonald | Mar 8, 2013 |
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