Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 10:08 PM
Illness virtually ended Annibale Carracci's career in 1605; the year Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament, Russia was plunged into her 'Time of Troubles' with the advent of the False Dmitri, and a Spaniard wrote a tragic-comic story that became an immediate and enduring best-seller.
The master-mind of the 'Powder Plot' was not Guy Fawkes but Robert Catesby, a gentleman in his early thirties who had already been active in several Catholic conspiracies against the Protestant English state. For his most ambitious plan, Catesby recruited three other reckless young men and brought over from the Netherlands a tough Yorkshireman who had served for some years with the Spanish army Guy, or Guido, Fawkes. The plotters rented a house in Westminster whose cellar extended below the House of Lords into which Fawkes carried 20 or 30 barrels of gunpowder, placing iron bars over them to make the intended explosion more lethal and covering them with faggots. When King James I opened Parliament on the 5th of November, the royal family, the King's ministers, the great peers and many of the English 'establishment' would be eliminated at a single stroke. In the ensuing confusion, a well-armed force of Catholics ostensibly assembled for a hunting party at a house in Warwickshire, would take power.
To carry out and finance this second part of their plan, the circle of conspirators was widened and it was one of the new adherents, Francis Tresham, who betrayed the secret. Ten days before Parliament was to meet, Tresham contacted his brother-in-law, Lord Monteagle, a Catholic peer who would be present at the opening. Tresham wrote: 'I would advise you, as you tender your life, to devise some excuse to shift of your attendance at this Parliament . . . for though there be no appearance of any stir, yet I say they shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament and yet they shall not see who hurts them.' Monteagle immediately reported this obscurely worded message to the chief minister, the Earl of Salisbury. On the night of November 4th the cellar was searched and Guy Fawkes arrested. He eventually broke down under torture and revealed the names of his fellow-conspirators who were hunted down and either killed or captured.
James I was a Scot, a fact that Englishmen viewed with a mixture of interest and centuries old prejudice. In 1605 Shakespeare was shrewdly exploiting the interest in things Scottish by writing Macbeth, inserting suitably admiring tableaux of the King's Stuart ancestors. During this year he also made his last recorded appearance as an actor in Ben Jonson's new tragedy, Sejanus.
Another notable literary event was the publication in Spain of the novel Don Quixote (part one). Its author, Miguel Cervantes de Saavedra, had a career even more chequered than his hero, the 'Knight of the Doleful Countenance'; he had fought at the great battle of Lepanto against the Turks, been captured and worked as a slave in the galleys of Algiers, and had more recently got into serious trouble in government employ when his accounts proved unsatisfactory. Don Quixote won immediate popularity inside Spain and was very quickly translated into several European languages.
In the East, power changed hands smoothly in two empires. In India, the Mogul Emperor Akbar died and was succeeded by his son Jehangir and in Japan, the Shogun leyasu retired in favour of his son Hidetada. But Russia hardly part of Europe during this period was plunged into her 'Time of Troubles' by the death of Tsar Boris Godunov in April 1605. Boris may have been poisoned, or may even have committed suicide, since his position had become critical; Russia was stricken by famine, and men were flocking to the banners of a pretender who claimed to be Dmitri, the son of a former Tsar, a boy who had in fact been murdered 14 years earlier. Within a few weeks of Boris's death, his son and successor, Fyodor II, was assassinated and 'the false Dmitri' began an inglorious eleven-month rule as Tsar. Civil wars and foreign invasions continued during the 'Time of Troubles' until 1613, when Mikhail Romanov became the first Tsar of a dynasty that was to rule Russia right down to 1917.
Writer – Marshall Cavendish