Friday, September 12, 2014

Today the Church celebrates the Charge of the Rohirrim

Foley does not mention bagels, but according to legend, they also commemorate the victory at the Battle of Vienna. According to some sources, the word "bagel" comes from the German word for "stirrup". A Jewish baker created them to honor the Polish prince Jan Sobieski, whose cavalry charge of 20,000 horses downhill saved the day. It is more likely that the stirrup-shaped bagels simply commemorate the Polish cavalry charge--after all, it was the largest cavalry charge in history. It included the famous Polish winged hussars--heavy cavalry riders who wore wings behind them and wore lion and leopard skins on their horses. The wings--which were tied at the top--prevented enemies from lassoing the rider and pulling him off his horse. The feathers made a rushing sound that terrified enemy horses that were not used to the sound--the lion and leopard skins may have had similar effects. The winged hussars were very effective. Witnesses said that they looked like angels on horseback.

Some people speculate that the Polish cavalry charge that lifted the siege of Vienna was the inspiration for J. R. R. Tolkien's cavalry charge of the Rohirrim that lifted the siege of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings.
Tea at Trianon

There's much to be said about the significance of this battle. Taking Vienna essentially would allow the Turks to run freely over the rest of Europe. The fall of Vienna would mean the fall of Europe. It was indeed a historical moment that parallels the battle of the Third Age of Middle Earth. In contrast, today Europe voluntarily hands the motherland over.

It's almost humorous when Tolkien analyzers want to allegorize The Lord of the Rings into World War II with some hobbits sprinkled in. I have no doubt The Battle of Vienna is primary historical influence of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

As to the Christian charity of King Sobieski, the charity that saved the West...
After the battle of Vienna, the newly identified constellation Scutum (Latin for shield) was originally named Scutum Sobiescianum by the astronomer Johannes Hevelius, in honor of Jan III Sobieski. While there are some stars named after non-astronomers, this is the only constellation that was originally named after a real non-astronomer who was still alive when the constellation was named, and the name of which is still in use (three other constellations, satisfying the same requirements, never gained enough popularity to last). - wiki
Tolkien was no fool about the passing of this world either.
"He has dwelt in the West since the days of dawn, and I have dwelt with him years uncounted . . . and together through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat." - Tolkien

As my good pastor reminded us in his homily this morning, the primary battlefield in this world is internal but when necessary the fight must be made externally.

I could keep going for days...

Our Lady of Częstochowa, ora pro nobis!

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