Pope Innocent VII

Pope Innocent VII, born Cosimo de' Migliorati, was Pope from 17 October 1404 to his death in 1406. He was pope during the period of the Western Schism while there was the rival Antipope Benedict XIII at Avignon. Despite good intentions, he did little to end the schism, owing to the troubled state of affairs in Rome, his distrust of the sincerity of Benedict XIII in Avignon, Ladislas of Naples. Migliorati was born to a simple family of Sulmona in the Abruzzi, he distinguished himself by his learning in both civil and Canon Law, which he taught for a time at Perugia and Padua. His teacher Giovanni da Legnano sponsored him at Rome, where Pope Urban VI took him into the Curia, sent him for ten years as papal collector to England, made him Bishop of Bologna in 1386 at a time of strife in that city, Archbishop of Ravenna in 1387. Pope Boniface IX made him cardinal-priest of S. Croce in Gerusalemme and sent him as legate to Lombardy and Tuscany in 1390; when Boniface IX died, there were present in Rome delegates from the rival Pope at Avignon, Benedict XIII.

The Roman cardinals asked these delegates whether their master would abdicate if the cardinals refrained from holding an election. When they were bluntly told that Benedict XIII would never abdicate, the cardinals proceeded to an election. First, they each undertook a solemn oath to leave nothing undone, and, if need be, lay down the tiara to end the schism. Migliorati was unanimously chosen – by eight cardinals – on 17 October 1404 and took the name of Innocent VII. There was a general riot by the Ghibelline party in Rome when news of his election got out, but peace was maintained by the aid of King Ladislaus of Naples, who hastened to Rome with a band of soldiers to assist the Pope in suppressing the insurrection. For his services the king extorted various concessions from Innocent VII, among them the promise that Ladislaus' claim to Naples would not be compromised, which claim had been challenged until recently by Louis II of Anjou; that suited Innocent VII, who had no intention of reaching an agreement with Avignon that would compromise his claims to the Papal States.

Thus Innocent VII was laid under embarrassing obligations. Innocent VII had made the great mistake of elevating his unsuitable nephew Ludovico Migliorati – a colorful condottiero in the pay of Giangaleazzo Visconti of Milan – to be Captain of the Papal Militia, an act of nepotism that cost him dearly. Following his elevation to head of the militia his uncle would name him the rector of Todi in April 1405. In August 1405, Ludovico Migliorati, using his power as head of the militia, seized eleven members of the obstreperous Roman partisans on their return from a conference with the Pope, had them assassinated in his own house, had their bodies thrown from the windows of the hospital of Santo Spirito into the street. There was an uproar. Pope and cardinals, with the Migliorati faction, fled towards Viterbo. Ludovico took the occasion of driving off cattle that were grazing outside the walls, the Papal party were pursued by furious Romans, losing thirty members, whose bodies were abandoned in the flight, including the Abbot of Perugia, struck down under the eyes of the Pope.

His protector Ladislaus sent a squad of troops to quell the riots, by January 1406 the Romans again acknowledged Papal temporal authority, Innocent VII felt able to return. But Ladislaus, not content with the former concessions, desired to extend his authority in Rome and the Papal States. To attain his end he aided the Ghibelline faction in Rome in their revolutionary attempts in 1405. A squad of troops which King Ladislaus had sent to the aid of the Colonna faction was still occupying the Castle of Sant' Angelo, ostensibly protecting the Vatican, but making frequent sorties upon Rome and the neighbouring territory. Only after Ladislaus was excommunicated did he yield to the demands of the Pope and withdraw his troops. Shortly after his accession in 1404 Innocent VII had taken steps to keep his oath by proclaiming a council to resolve the Western Schism. King Charles VI of France, theologians at the University of Paris, such as Pierre d'Ailly and Jean Gerson, Rupert III, King of the Germans, were all urging such a meeting.

However, the troubles of 1405 furnished him with a pretext for postponing the meeting, claiming that he could not guarantee safe passage to his rival Benedict XIII if he came to the council in Rome. Benedict, made it appear that the only obstacle to the end of the Schism was the unwillingness of Innocent VII, it is hardly necessary to say that Innocent VII was unreceptive to the proposal that he as well as Benedict XIII should resign in the interests of peace. It is said that Innocent VII planned the restoration of the Roman University, but his death brought an end to such talk, he died in Rome on 6 November 1406. List of popes This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Pope Innocent VII". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton

The Flies (English band)

The Flies known as No Flies on Us, were an English psychedelic pop band formed in London, England, in 1965. Releasing three singles during their recording career, the group is best-remembered for a cover version of " Stepping Stone". Although the Flies' rendition of the song was not too commercially successful, it, along with the band's other material, has since received notice as a result of " Stepping Stone"'s appearance on the early psychedelic compilation album Chocolate Soup for Diabetics, Volume 1. Known as the Rebs, the group's line-up featured Robin Hunt, Ian Baldwin, George Haywood, Brian Gill John Da Costa, Peter Dunton. In 1966, the band recorded a British Invasion-exploitation album on RCA Records, Introducing the In-Sect Direct from London, under the name In-Sect, with all but one of the tracks on the piece being cover versions of contemporary pop hits. In the year, the group known as No Flies on Us, auditioned for Decca Records by presenting them two demos of songs with one appearing on the band's debut single: a rendition of Paul Revere and the Raiders' tune " Stepping Stone" and "Just Won't Do".

The Decca label negotiated a record deal with No Flies on Us after they agreed to shorten their moniker to the Flies. In October 1966, the band re-recorded a psychedelic pop-oriented cover of " Stepping Stone", along with the new composition "Talk to Me" for the respective A-side and B-side of their debut single; the record became a regional hit. With a substantial following circulating around the Flies, the group was picked up as the opening live act for popular English bands such as the Move, the Who, the Moody Blues. In addition, the Flies held a prominent slot alongside the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the popular club, the Roundhouse, in February 1967; the band became notorious for their sometimes outrageous stage acts their April 1967 appearance at the 14-Hour Technicolor Dream psychedelic festival where the group arranged hundreds of bags of flour to explode and cover the unsuspecting audience. A follow-up single in mid-1967 included the heavy rocker "House of Love" and the pop standard "It Had to Be You", according to Allmusic website reviewer Lindsay Planer, "made the band sound more like Sopwith Camel or the New Vaudeville Band than the acid-laced garage rockers associated with their earlier sides".

In addition, working in a solo project called Alexander Bell, issued the single "Alexander Bell Theme", which featured guest musician Jimmy Page. The Flies recorded one final single "The Magic Train", this time for RCA Records, in 1968, but it went unnoticed. Although the group was beginning to experiment in several unreleased demos with an ethereal organ-driven sound, the Flies disbanded by the end of the year. Although the Flies' material was not unique to the English psychedelic scene, the band has continued to gain attention for their version of " Stepping Stone"'s appearance on the 1980 compilation album Chocolate Soup for Diabetics, Volume 1, one of the earliest collections of rare English psychedelic music. Other works the song is featured includes The British Psychedelic Trip: 1966 - 1969, The Electric Crayon Set, Rubble, Volume 3. In 2002, Won-Sin Records released The Complete Collection: 1965 - 1968, an album compiling released material, alternate versions and tracks from the In-Sect's 1965 cover album

Great Mosque of Mahdiya

The Great Mosque of Mahdiya is a mosque, built in the tenth century in Mahdia, Tunisia. Located on the southern side of the peninsula on which the old city was located, the mosque was built in 916 CE, after the founding of the city within the walls built by the Caliphate on an artificial platform "reclaimed from the sea" as mentioned by the Andalusian geographer Al-Bakri; the other buildings erected nearby at. The first Fatimid imam, Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah, founded Mahdia in 909, he chose to build the mosque in an area of the walled city near to his palace. The fortified appearance of the monument shows the pioneering spirit of religious architecture built in Ifriqiya in the early centuries of the Arab conquest. Mahdia was designed as a city of refuge from the growing hostility of the Sunni population towards the imposition of Shia Islam by the Fatimids. However, the two large corner towers of the mosque are not designed for defense, but as tanks for collecting rainwater, it is that, at least for some time, they were fed by the water line that served the al-Mahdi palace from underground sources at Miyyanish, six kilometers from the city.

The mosque was clad in marble, but much of this was removed during episodes when it was reduced to ruins and rebuilt. It is possible that the Pisan church of San Sisto was built using marble, stripped from the mosque; the building underwent several changes over the centuries during the Ottoman period, after the destruction of the city by the Spanish in 1554. Between 1961 and 1965 the mosque was renovated by the French architect Alexandre Lézine, while respecting the overall layout and structure of the tenth century building; the monumental access gate and portico in the north are preserved from the original structure, while the rest is the result of previous reconstructions. The building consists of about 85 by 55 metres; the south side, which houses the mihrab, is longer than the north side. Seen from the exterior, the mosque looks like a fortress because of its massive walls without openings except in the facade, the extensive use of stone and the presence on the facade of the two truncated square towers at the northeast and northwest corners.

Since the mosque does not seem to have included a minaret, it is that the call to prayer was from one of the towers. The main entrance, located in the center of the north wall and flanked by two small apertures, is marked by a large arch resting on piers and crowned by an Attic style pilaster; the solemnity of the portal is reinforced by the simplicity of moldings on the surfaces, the blind arcade and horseshoe arches in the lower level and the niches in the upper level of the archivolt, reflecting the motif of the cornice. Inside there is a large courtyard surrounded by arcades on all four sides; the north portico still retains its original ogival arches supported by stone pillars, while the other arcades have arches on Corinthian columns. The columns are single in the east and west arcades, twinned in the south arcade and along the facade of the prayer hall. There are some similarities between the straight-arris design of the groin vaults that cover the western portico and the groin vaults at Cluny, Monte Cassino and Sant'Angelo in Formis which could be due to Burgundian influence.

Mahdia was captured by Crusaders in 1088. The great hypostyle hall, dotted with Corinthian columns, consists of nine aisles perpendicular to the qibla and four bays; the central nave, much higher and wider than the others, is flanked by a row of thick twin arches, supported by groups of four columns instead of the twin columns used in the aisles. The central nave thus defines an axis within the hypostyle structure; the intersection with the transept, of equal magnitude and parallel to the qibla wall, results in a T-shaped plan, an architectural feature whose central point is the intersection of transept and nave in front of the mihrab niche. Open to the axis of the nave through a horseshoe arch, the central area is defined by pillars and half-pillars in angles and bundles, formed of groups of columns, on which rests a hemispherical dome, it is an octagonal tholobate pierced with 24 windows in green glass. The load is carried by pendentives. A band of black marble decorated with inscriptions from the Quran marks the transition between the two complex structural forms.

This focal point of the architectural composition is plunged into darkness but bathed in a soft light green passing through the windows of the dome. The mihrab has the shape of a horseshoe, in white stone from Keddāl, is supported by two columns of dark green marble. Inside is a rich sculptural decoration with two separate levels separated by a band of white marble covered with Qur'anic verses in Kufic characters; the lower level has nine vertical grooves ending in shell-shapes at their upper ends, above which are decorations of clover in high relief. Above the white marble band, curving grooves converge at the top to a single point at the top of the arch; the unusual presence of a second and smaller mihrab - a simple undecorated niche - in an eccentric position on the west wall of the prayer hall, is explained by the controversy between Shiism and Sunnism on the correct direction of Mecca. The mosque draws in its plan and other architectural elements from the ninth century Great Mosque of Kairouan, a monument that served as a model for Muslim religious architecture in Ifriqiya.

However, the large portal, reserved for the caliph and his entourage, is a major turning point in Islamic architecture because it gives for the first time an ae