We were about to sit down to a formal dinner. The lads were hungry, and we had been smoking some excellent weed and sipping beer and wine for some time. We had been listening to ZZ Top’s One Foot in the Blues. The acting guardian of good taste replaced it with Purcell’s Ode for the Birthday of Queen Mary, justifying the decision with:
“We need something more frankly élitist”.
The phrase struck a chord. Today, you need something more frankly élitist. I present two arias from Vivaldi’s opera, Bajazet. First Vivica Genaux, then Elena Garantsa, spelled Garanca.
Bajazet recounts, in baroque Italian operatic fashion, the fate of the Ottoman Sultan and Caliph Bayezid I when his armies were crushed by the forces of Timur in 1402 AD. Timur is known to us as Tamerlane.
The Wikipedia article says of him:
Scholars estimate that his military campaigns caused the deaths of 17 million people, amounting to about 5% of the world population at the time.
An equivalent warlord today would have to kill or cause the deaths of 5% of 7.5 billion people, or 375 million people. With nukes it could be done. Hmmmn…..