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You might be familiar with Beethoven's "Egmont", in particular the Overture.
It is a set of incidental music pieces for Goethe's play "Egmont" (1787).

But who was this "Egmont"? In full, he was Count Lamoraal of Egmont, Prince of Gavere, and Gavere is a small village in Flanders, and it is where I'm from.

He is famous because in 1568 the Duke of Alva had him and his cousin Hoorn beheaded.

This caused the start of the final revolt against the Spanish.

historyofyesterday.com/lamoraa

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The above post was the result of a mention on the radio of the Spanish Fury, also known as the Sack of Antwerp in 1576. It is the greatest massacre in Belgian history.

Spanish soldiers of the army of the kings of Spain in Flanders mutinied because they were no longer being paid. They looted Antwerp, which was at that time very wealthy. Between 7,000 and 18,000 people died and 700 houses were burned down.

@Eidon Yes indeed, and although this was by the worst, it was by no means the only place that got looted: they rampaged over the country and looted hundreds of towns and villages.
And these were basically abandoned armies, unpaid, so you can understand it to some degree.
But before, under that infamous duke of Alva, these same armies were ordered to sacked several cities, and to behave in the most cruel way conceivable.

Flemish history is terrible.

@wim_v12e Truly, Flanders suffered so very much... I suppose it is also because it was (is) "at the centre of everything," so to say.

I was not aware of so sad episodes, though I am very much aware of what happened in Leuven during WWI. Another terrifying tragedy -- that time, it was the Germans. Victim of the sack was the population of course, though culture too, as the Germans for no reason at all burned down the University Library...

@Eidon Yes, WWI was terrible as well. Burning the library was an outrage. But I'd say the worst destruction was in the Westhoek. Even today farmers still plough up live ammunition from that war.

@Eidon There is song about the legacy of WWI that I find very moving. It is in the West-Flemish dialect, and it's called "Duizend Soldaten" (A thousand soldiers)

youtube.com/watch?v=J6MTbbM0sX

"laat de bom'n nu maar zwieg'n
en dat 't gras niets verteld
en de wind moet 't ook maar nie zing'n
dat julder'n dood tot niets hè geteld
dat woaren al te schrik'lijke dingen"

"Let the bombs say nothing
and the grass tell no tale
and the wind shouldn't sing either
That their deaths have served for nothing
that were too terrible things"

muzikum.eu/nl/willem-vermander

@wim_v12e
I have been lucky -- I've found a great translation in the anti-war songs site: antiwarsongs.org/canzone.php?l

...Truly moving. Also, so much wisdom in those words.

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