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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Historical Enigmas #2 The Fuggers

The Fuggers were a family of historically prominent European bankers, members of the fifteenth and sixteenth-century mercantile patriciate of Augsburg, venture capitalists. They replaced the Medicis as strategical lenders of European aristocrats during the Renaissance.  Fuggers took over the Medicis' assets, political power and influence.  They bankrolled Hapsburgs, Vatican, etc. during late middle ages and renaissance. They were part of a chain of financial king-makers that resulted in the  modern Bilderberg and Carlyle groups.

The Fuggers reached their zenith during the administration of Jakob (1459 –1525), nicknamed "de rijken", or "the rich" Fugger. He was criticized by Martin Luther for urging the Pope to rescind prohibition on the sale of indulgences. Imperial authorities in Nuremberg brought action against him to halt his monopolistic tendencies, which is all very interesting but now I'm thinking about Luther.

I really admire Martin Luther from two things I learned as a teenager. First, he smuggled his future wife out of a convent by hiding her in a beer barrel and wheeling it away on a hand truck. The second was this unforgettable quote: "Wenn ich in Wittenberg furzen sie riechen es in Rom."  ["When I fart in Wittenberg, they smell it in Rome."]

This brings us to Rome. Romans conquered Greece --around 170 BC--because Greece had declined militarily. Rome had perfected an infantry move based upon flanking the enemy by the principles of the vise, the caliper, the lever and the inclined plane. Greeks, on the other hand, improvidently adopted the dubious tactical merits of the conga line, which Romans foiled by compromising their rhythm and trombone sections. However Greek culture would in turn conquer Roman life and all subsequent civilization, as demonstrated by the ageless popularity of the Olympics. Even today, we are astonished that one person can outrun another. How can this be?

I shall leave off here and continue this series of historical enigmas another time, but wish to dedicate it especially to those several subscribers to this blog who have had some sadness lately. What I've written here is mainly factual and accurate, and has by its own strangeness beaten a doorstep to my path --which is eccentric. I hope it furnishes some small relief.



  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this informative post and, of course, I needed the smiles. I have never heard of the Fuggers and I'm glad I don't share that surname........

  2. First quiet little chuckle for me came with:

    'The Fuggers reached their zenith during the administration of Jakob (1459 –1525), nicknamed "de rijken", or "the rich" Fugger.'

    And a handful more followed. I hope the friends for whom you have penned this will react with similar tempered but satisfied glee.

  3. Nothing much has changed. The rich Fuggers are still trying to control the world today.

    Another fun post, dude.

  4. Nothing will throw a civilization off more successfully than compromising their rhythm and trombone sections.

  5. I do like your revisionist history and am learning a lot!


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