The Battle of
Piperdean (1436) was an engagement in the Scottish
Borders, fought between the Kingdom of Scotland and the
Kingdom of England.
An English force led
by George de Dunbar, 11th Earl of March and Henry
Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland attempted to take
the forfeited Dunbar's Castle of Dunbar, back from
William Douglas, 2nd Earl of Angus who as Warden of
the Scottish Marches had invested the castle the
previous summer. Percy and Dunbar came north with
some 4000 men.
Angus did not want
to undergo a siege, and decided to pre-empt the
English by attacking them en route. An army of
roughly he same force surprised the English, under
Angus, Adam Hepburn of Hailes, Alexander Elphinstone
of that ilk and Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie.
overwhelming Scots victory, here is some confusion
as to casualties and prisoners taken. Ridpath states
that the Scots lost 200 men including Elphinstone,
with Brenan concurring about this 'trifling' amount,
whilst stating that the English fatalities were to
the tune of 1500 men, including 40 knights. Balfour
Paul disagrees citing Walter Bower's Scotichronicon,
stating that the slain on the field of both sides
amounted to only forty, but with 1500 taken
retreated to Alnwick Castle, but it was not long
before he returned to Scotland to successfully
relieve Roxburgh Castle, under besiegement by King
San Marco is the
name of a religious complex in Florence, Italy. It comprises
a church and a convent. The convent, which is now a museum,
has three claims to fame: during the 15th century it was
home to two famous Dominicans, the painter Fra Angelico and
the preacher, Girolamo Savonarola. Also housed at the
convent is a famous collection of manuscripts in a library
built by Michelozzo.
The present convent occupies the site where a
Vallombrosan monastery existed in the 12th century, which
later passed to Benedictine monks of the Silvestrine line.
In 1435 the Benedictines were replaced by Dominicans from
the Convent of San Domenico in Fiesole. Two years later,
they appealed to Cosimo de' Medici the Elder, who lived
nearby in the family palace, now known as the Palazzo
Medici-Riccardi, to fund the renovation of the entire
complex. The works were entrusted to Michelozzo. Each cell
of the monks cloister and many other walls were decorated by
Fra Angelico in collaboration with others, including Benozzo
Gozzoli. Cosimo de' Medici had a cell at the convent for his
San Marco is famous as the seat of Girolamo Savonarola's
discourses during his short spiritual rule in Florence in
the late 15th century.
The façade and the
bell tower of San Marco in Florence.
was consecrated in 1443, in the presence of Pope Eugene IV.
It has a single nave with side chapels designed in the late
16th century by Giambologna, and housing paintings from the
16th–17th centuries. In the late 17th century the tribune
and the carved ceiling were also realized. A further
renovation was carried on in 1678 by Pier Francesco Silvani.
The façade, in Neo-Classical style, was built in 1777–1778. Among the artworks, the most ancient is a 14th century
crucifix in the counter-façade. The crucifix on the high
altar is by Angelico (1425–1428). In the first altar to the
right is St. Thomas Praying by Santi di Tito from 1593,
while on the second altar is a Madonna with Saints by Fra
Giambologna completed the Cappella di Sant'Antonino (also
known as Salviati Chapel) in May 1589. The Salviati family
had been linked by marriage to the Medici (Pope Leo XI was
the son of Francesca Salviati, the daughter of Giacomo
Salviati and Lucrezia de' Medici. The interior was decorated
in fresco with a Translation and Funeral of St. Antonino
Perozzi by Domenico Passignano. The dome of the chapel is by
Bernardino Poccetti, also author of frescoes in the
Sacrament Chapel. The latter also has canvases by Santi di
Tito, Crespi, Francesco Morandini, Jacopo da Empoli, and
Significant figures buried in San Marco include Giovanni
Pico della Mirandola and the poet Angelo Poliziano.
Last Judgement by Fra
Museo di San Marco, Florence
Michelozzo built for
Cosimo de' Medici a sober, though comfortable, Renaissance
edifice, including the elegant cloister and, above all, the
Library, which, under the reign of Lorenzo il Magnifico
became one of the favourite meeting points for Florentine
humanists such as Poliziano and Pico della Mirandola, who
could conveniently consult here texts in Latin and Greek
The convent was stripped from the Dominicans in 1808,
during the Napoleonic Wars, and again in 1866, when it
became a possession of the state.
The convent is now home to the Museo Nazionale di San
Marco. The entrance to the museum is from the so-called
Cloister of St. Antoninus, frescoed by Bernardino Poccetti
in the 16th-17th century.
The museum houses the major collection of works by Fra
Angelico. Panel paintings included the Deposition executed
for Palla Strozzi, the San Marco Altarpiece commissioned by
the Medici in 1440, and a Tabernacle of the Linaioli
(1433–1435) whose frame was designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti.
There are also a great number of small frescoes by Angelico
and his assistants in the monastic cells and a number of
larger frescoes including the Annunciation. His masterwork
is the complex Crucifixion in the Capitular Hall, finished
The museum exhibits works by other artists including
Domenico Ghirlandaio, a reduced scale version of the Last
Supper in the church of Ognissanti; Alesso Baldovinetti,
Giovanni Antonio Sogliani and Fra Bartolomeo. The cells
where Girolamo Savonarola lived can also be visited.
Pala di Santa Trinita
Deposition by Fra
Museo di San Marco, Florence
from the Cross is a painting of the Deposition of Christ by
the Italian Renaissance master Fra Angelico, executed
between 1432 and 1434. It is now housed in the National
Museum of San Marco, Florence.
Giorgio Vasari defined it to have been “painted by a
saint or an angel”.
Angelico intervened to complete this altarpiece when it
had been already begun by Lorenzo Monaco for the Strozzi
Chapel in the Florentine church of Santa Trinita. It
portrays Christ supported by several people, with Mary
Magdalene keeping his feet, as a symbol of human repention.
A figure on the right, with a red hat, is showing the cross'
nails and the horns crown, symbols of passion and sacrifice.
Mary, wearing a dark dress, is showed in the traditional
gesture of keeping hands joined.
Madonna with the Child,
Saints and Crucifixion by
Museo di San Marco, Florence
The San Marco Altarpiece (also known as Madonna and Saints)
is a painting by the Italian early Renaissance painter Fra
Angelico, housed in the San Marco Museum of Florence, Italy.
It was commissioned by Cosimo de' Medici the Elder, and was
completed sometime between 1438 and 1443. In addition to the
main panel depicting the enthroned Virgin and Child
surrounded by Angels and Saints, there were 9 predella
panels accompanying it, narrating the legend of the patron
saints, Saints Cosmas and Damian. Only the main panel and
two predella panels actually remain in the Convent of San
Marco, Florence, Italy, today. The San Marco Altarpiece is
known as one of the best early Renaissance paintings for its
employment of metaphor and perspective, Trompe l'oeil, and
the intertwining of Dominican religious themes and symbols
with contemporary, political messages.
The San Marco Altarpiece depicts a portrait of the
Virgin and Child seated on a throne surrounded by
saints and angels. The formal elements are
innovative for a contemporary Virgin and Child
altarpiece as the positioning of the characters
creates a deeply-receding and logical space in front
of the landscape background. The pomegranate
embroidered curtain behind the Virgin and Child
establishes a distinct horizontal line separating
the events depicted in the painting from the
landscape behind it. The altarpiece is situated on
the then newly-invented single rectangular panel,
which helps turn a typical easel painting into the
principle image of the altarpiece.
Representing the figures set within a coherent
pictorial space was also a new technique Angelico
employed. While partially covered by the saints and
angels, there is a definite line created by the
carpet's receding squares in the foreground adding
depth to the painting. Angelico's use of space is
exceptional as he creates a sense of balance on both
sides of the Virgin and Child, but also leaves
available space on the carpet approaching the Virgin
and Child so the viewer does not feel blocked or
This symmetry and order would allow worshippers to
clearly view the painting from afar. He also employs
naturalistic effects of light and color combined
with a variety of colors and patterns. The natural
colors contribute to the slightly darker complexion
of the painting, which may accentuate the sacred
holiness of the moment.
His usage of the red
and blue traditional colors of the Virgin and Saints
Cosmas and Damian are noteworthy. By dressing both
kneeling saints as well as several of the angels in
red, Angelico creates a vertical link and further
geometric stability. The symmetry resulting from the
figures and colors allows the viewer to zoom-in and
creates a smooth, continuous movement from figure to
figure, eventually arriving at the Virgin and Child
in the center. On the right, Saint Damian kneels on
an inward angle towards the center praising the
Virgin and Child, which draws the viewer's eyes
towards the painting's vanishing point at the
Virgin's chin. The Virgin and Child are featured
precisely at the vertical and horizontal axes'
intersecting points and are placed above Angelico's
Trompe l'oeil depiction of the crucifixion. One may
criticize Angelico for his imperfect use of scale.
Though they are sitting on a pedestal, the Virgin
and Child do not seem much larger than the rest of
the characters, showing a lack of a scale setting
the main subjects apart from other mortals. If
anything, the Virgin and Child should be smaller due
to their increased distance from the viewer. While
he does create a sense of depth, the distance to
approach the throne is minimal, which some
historians perceive as a lack of awe for the holy
figures. The altarpiece is thus seen as a radical
departure from the vulnerable models known in
Dominican art. One should also note that the San
Marco Altarpiece is one of the earliest examples of
sacra conversazione (sacred conversation), a type of
image showing the Virgin and Child amongst saints in
a unified space and single pictorial field, rather
than setting them completely apart.
St. Peter of Verona
Museo di San Marco, Florence
The St. Peter of
Verona Triptych (Italian: Trittico di San Pietro Martire) is
a painting by the Italian early Renaissance master Fra
Angelico, executed around 1428-1429.
It is housed in the
National Museum of San Marco, Florence, central Italy.
The work is Fra Angelico's first documented
work. It comes from the convent of San Pietro Martire and a
document from 30 March 1429 notes a sum of 20 florins owed
to the convent of San Domenico, Fiesole, where the painter
was a monk.
According to some art historians, it could be
contemporary of the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne by
Masaccio and Masolino da Panicale (1424-1425), although it
lacks the use of compartments which at the time were
Description In the center of the work is a Maestŕ
(Madonna Enthroned with Child) and, at the sides, are the
Saints Dominic, John the Baptist, Peter of Verona and Thomas
of Aquino. In the cusps are lobed tondoes with the
Annunciation Angel, the Annunciation and, in the center,
Blessing Christ. Between the cusps are scenes of the life of
St. Peter of Verona (Predication and Martyrdom). The Madonna sits on a brocaded seat, with the Child
standing on her knees. She is holding an ampulla, a
reference to Mary Magdalene's ampulla and thus to Jesus'
passion. The Child wears a tunic with rich golden
decoration. His hand holds a globe, a symbol of his power,
while the other hands is raised in a blessing gesture. The
relative lack of decoration, compared to Angelico's earlier
Fiesole Altarpiece (1424-1425), which was still heavily
based on Gentile da Fabriano's style, show the growing
influence of Masaccio and a more realistic approach.
The Tabernacle of
the Linaioli (Italian: Tabernacolo dei Linaioli, literally
"Tabernacle of the Linemakers") is a marble aedicula
designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti, with paintings by Fra
Angelico, dating to 1432-1433. It is housed in the National
Museum of San Marco, Florence, central Italy.
Tabernacle of the Linaioli
by Fra Angelico and
tabernacle was commissioned for the exterior of the seat of
the Linaioli (the guild of line workers in Florence), in the
former Old Market, in the October 1432. The marble parts
were executed by Simone di Nanni da Fiesole, under design by
Lorenzo Ghiberti. The contract for the internal paintings
was signed by Angelico on 2 July 1433, for a total of 190
golden florins. The predella is generally dated to
The work was a large one, comparable only to Cimabue's Santa
Trinita Maestŕ or Duccio di Buoninsegna's Rucellai Madonna.
It has been speculated that the marble frame was sized
according to a pre-existing painting, which was later
replaced by Fra Angelico's, or that the size was inspired by
that of the statues in Orsanmichele niches. Work had been moved to the Palazzo della Borsa as early
as 1777, together with other works commissioned by the
city's guilds. In that year it was transferred to the
Uffizi, whence it was transferred to the current location in
The tabernacle is composed of a
rectangular marble frame, with a triangular top with a
sculpted almond depicting the "Blessing Christ and Cherubims".
In the center, within an arched opening, are Fra Angelico's
panel of the Maestŕ with twelve musician angels. At the front are two shutter panels with further
paintings of saints. These are, internally, St. John the
Baptist (left) and St. John the Evangelist (right); and
externally St. Mark the Evangelist (left) and St. Peter
(right). The panels are completed by a predella, placed
below, with three scenes of St. Peter Dictating the Gospel
to St. Mark, Adoration of the Magi and Martyrdom of St.
Mark. The figure of Mark is recurrent due to his status as
the patron of the corporation which commissioned the work.
The central panel, although damaged, has a style similar
to Angelico's early works, with a marble step over which is
the throne. Behind two draperies (perhaps a hint to the
guild's textile activities) is a ceiling painted in blue
with stars and the Holy Spirit dove, which is similar to
Masolino's Annunciation in Washington, DC.
The Annunciation by Fra
Convento di San Marco, Florence
This is a fresco in a corridor of the San Marco convent in
Florence. Mary and the angel greet each other devoutly. In
the background Fra Angelico painted typical Tuscan
The purpose of the black
lines between the arcs of the loggia is unclear. They do
show that Angelico had good control of linear perspective.
Fra Angelico spent most of his life in the San Marco
convent. He and his assistants decorated the walls between
1438 and 1450. For the fresco's in the monks' cells they
used less expressive colours.
James II (16 October
1430 – 3 August 1460), who reigned as king of Scots from
1437 on, was the son of James I and Joan Beaufort.
Nothing is known of his early life, but by his first
birthday his twin and only brother, Alexander, who was
also the older twin, had died, thus making James the
heir apparent and Duke of Rothesay. Curiously enough,
James held no other titles while Duke of Rothesay. On 21
February 1437, James I was assassinated and the
six-year-old Duke of Rothesay immediately succeeded him
as James II.
James II, (born Oct.
16, 1430, Edinburgh, Scot.—died Aug. 3, 1460,
Roxburgh Castle, Roxburgh), king of Scots from 1437
to 1460. He survived the civil strife of the first
half of his reign and eventually emerged as a
masterful ruler who consolidated his power
throughout the kingdom. The only surviving son of
King James I, he succeeded to the throne at the age
of six upon his father’s assassination (February
1437). Because he was too young to take control of
the government, the strong central authority that
his father had established quickly collapsed. In the
ensuing turmoil three rival families—the Crichtons,
the Livingstons, and the Douglases—fought to gain
control of the young king. James finally assumed his
royal duties upon his marriage to Mary of Gueldres
in 1449. His first task was the restoration of
monarchical authority. He immediately seized the
Livingston estates, but he maintained an uneasy
peace with the powerful Douglas family until 1450,
when he quarreled with William, 8th Earl of Douglas.
In February 1452 he stabbed the earl to death. Three
years later James demolished the Douglas castles and
confiscated their vast estates. The revenues from
these lands enabled him to set up a strong central
government and make improvements in the
administration of justice. James then turned his
attention to the English, who had renewed their
claims to rule Scotland. He attacked English
outposts in Scotland in 1456 and 1460. In the latter
campaign he was killed during a siege of Roxburgh
Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor d., last of the House of Luxembourg;
succeeded as king of Hungary, Bohemia, and (1438) Germany by
his son-in-law, Albert V
Magnanimous KG (10 August 1397 – 27 October 1439) was
King of Hungary from 1437 until his death. He was also
King of Bohemia, elected (but never crowned) King of
Germany as Albert II, duke of Luxembourg and, as Albert
V, archduke of Austria from 1404.
Albert was born in Vienna as the son of Albert IV,
Duke of Austria, and Johanna Sophia of Bavaria.
He succeeded to the
Duchy of Austria at the age of seven on his father's
death in 1404. His uncle Duke William of Inner
Austria, then head of the rivaling Leopoldinian
line, served as regent for his nephew, followed by
his brothers Leopold IV and Ernest the Iron in 1406.
The quarrels between the brothers and their
continued attempts to gain control over the
Albertinian territories led to civil war-like
conditions. Nevertheless Albert, having received a
good education, undertook the government of Austria
proper on the occasion of Leopold's death in 1411
and succeeded, with the aid of his advisers, in
ridding the duchy of the evils which had arisen
during his minority.
In 1422 Albert
married Elisabeth of Luxemburg, the daughter and
heiress of the King Sigismund of Hungary (later also
Holy Roman Emperor and Bohemia), and his second
wife, the Slovenian noblewoman Barbara of Celje.
Though Elizabeth was not the
daughter of Sigismund's first wife Mary of Hungary and thus
not a member of the royal Angevin dynasty, she descended
from the old Arpád kings of Hungary. Her paternal
grandparents were Emperor Charles IV and Elizabeth of
Pomerania. Her maternal grandfather was the Ban of Slavonia
Count Herman II of Celje, whose parents were Count Herman I
of Celje and Catherine of Bosnia, who apparently descended
also from Nemanjić kings of Serbia and from Catherine of
Hungary, a daughter of Stephen V of Hungary. In right of the
paternal grandparents, she was, through Elizabeth of
Pomerania, also heiress of Poland, of its Kujavian Piast
branch of kings.
marriage brought him claims to several Slavic
kingdoms and principalities.
Albert himself descended from Béla IV of Hungary
through his daughter Ilona whose descendant was a
princess of Brieg who became Albert's ancestress the
countess of Hainaut and Holland, and from a younger
sister of Queen Elisabeth of Bohemia, thus
descending from both Constances of Hungary, and also
from King Géza II of Hungary through his daughter
Elisabeth who married Bedrich of Czech, their
daughter being an ancestress of Albert's maternal
Albert assisted his
father-in-law Sigismund in his campaigns against the
Hussites, involving the Austrian duchy in the
Hussite Wars. In return Sigismund designated him as
his successor and granted him the title of a
Margrave of Moravia in 1423. The Austrian lands were
devastated several times and Albert also
participated in the 1431 Battle of Domažlice where
the Imperial troops suffered an embarrassing defeat.
When Sigismund died in
1437, Albert was crowned king of Hungary on 1
January 1438, and just as his predecessor did, he
moved his court to the Hungarian Kingdom from where
he later oversaw his other domains. Although crowned
king of Bohemia six months after ascending to the
Hungarian throne, he was unable to obtain possession
of the country. He was engaged in warfare with the
Bohemians and their Polish allies, when on 18 March
1438, he was chosen "King of the Romans" at
Frankfurt, an honour which he does not appear to
have sought. He thus was not crowned as Holy Roman
in defending Hungary against the attacks of the
Turks, he died on 27 October 1439 at Neszmély and
was buried at Székesfehérvár. Albert was an
energetic and warlike prince, whose short reign as a
triple king gave great promise of usefulness for the
Holy Roman Empire. Until its final dissolution in
1806 the House of Habsburg remained the ruling
Expulsion of the
Though the Jews in the Austrian duchy had been
subject to local persecutions during the 13th and
14th century, their position remained relatively
safe. Jewish communities prospered in several towns
like Krems or the area around the Judenplatz at
Vienna. During the confusion after the death of Duke
Albert IV in 1404 their situation worsened sharply,
culminating in the blaze of the Vienna synagogue on
5 November 1406, followed by riots and lootings.
When Albert V came of age in 1411 and interfered in
the Hussite Wars, he repeatedly established new
taxes imposed on the Jewish community to finance his
campaigns. On the other hand, after the Hussites had
devastated the duchy, the Austrian Jews were accused
of collaboration and arms trade in favour of the
enemies. The accusations of a host desecration at
Krems in 1420 gave Albert pretext for the
destruction of the Jewish community.
According to the 1463
Chronica Austriae by chronicler Thomas Ebendorfer
the duke on 23 May 1420, at the behest of the
Church, ordered the imprisonment and forcible
conversion of the Jews. Those that had not converted
or escaped were sent off in boats down the Danube,
while wealthy Jews remained under arrest, several of
them tortured and stripped of their property. The
forced baptism of Jewish children was stopped on
intervention by Pope Martin V.
On 12 March 1421 Albert sentenced the remaining Jews
to death. 92 men and 120 women were burned at the
stake south of the Vienna city walls on 12 March
1421. The Jews were placed under an "eternal ban"
and their synagogue was demolished.
The persecutions in several Austrian towns are
explicitly described in a 16th century script called