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The Goliards

A story by Brian Sloan, Author of Double Crossed: The Imperium Impunged

Nearly one thousand years ago, a loosely knit band of student clerics, collectively known as the Goliards, roamed what are now regions of England, France, and Germany. They were a lively, sinful bunch despite their priest-in-training status. Most historians see eye to eye on the fact that they were vagabonds; though, few have made the logical conclusion that they were on the run. Heresy, in those days (and for centuries beyond) was punishable by a tortuous death, usually of the burning at the stake variety—and sadly, much to the delight of the public.

Some historians have viewed the Goliards as the most scholarly of the time, while others have labeled them drunks.   Scribed history must be especially viewed with a skeptical mind. Skewing the truth of the day’s events isn’t just a recent phenomenon of this digital age (CNN v. Fox), but an effective tactic since the beginning of time for those who have sought influence and power.

Works of art, however, have survived in a more pure state over time and while masterpieces have been commissioned with the intent to influence, art has, and always be, subjectively interpreted. In the early 19th century in what is now, Germany, a collection of poetry, short stories, and music was discovered that has been attributed to the merry Goliards. Most of the collection takes direct aim at their employer, the Roman Catholic Church.

The Carmina Burana would likely remain unheard of except for German composer, Carl Orff, who in the early 20th Century scored the cantata which too is titled the Carmina Burana. Cue Fortuna Plango Vulnera, the 2nd movement from his opus magnum, and most will rightfully claim they’ve never heard it. Cue the first movement, Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi, and nearly all who have watched commercials or movies will recognize this piece instantaneously. Not many could sing along, and fewer yet can comprehend the lyrics, but it’s seemingly loved just the same.

In writing Double-Crossed: The Imperium Impugned, I borrowed the translated lyrics from the first movement to frame the outline for this novel.   My intent was to create an intriguing story in the most beautiful place, with the most beautiful people, marred by the ugly truth. It’s a story about how quickly life changes and the importance of exploiting each and every moment. And like the Goliards, I placed anagram and acronym clues to answer the readers’ questions as they arise in the story. Can you make an anagram from Goliards?


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