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Wikipedia: From

by Hershel Beamon (2019-04-24)

Man, Wikipedia has almost anything on it. They have an article on almost every subject. There are days when I just go through and click links which lead me to more Wikipedia articles. And then I am trapped on Wikipedia for hours and hours. One time I started, on a whim, on the subject of pizza. The entry for pizza itself is expansive. It has the basic definition, the fact that it is a flat, baked bread, with lots of toppings on it. But then I can click on the history of pizza link.

On this page, the first link that catches my eye is the Italian town of Gaeta, so I click on it. Now I know that Gaeta is one hundred and twenty kilometers from Rome, it has a coat of arms, and is in central Italy. It's old. So old that the fortifications that it has dates back to the Roman times, which is crazy. It also has a first-century mausoleum of the Roman general Lucius Munatius Plancus.

Of course his name is the next thing that I click on. Okay, so this guy was not only a Roman general, he was also a senator and a consul. I also know now that along with a guy called Talleyrand, whose name I think I should recognize, he is a person that people often point to as an example of a person that has managed to survive even though he was in extremely dangerous situations. And the way that he did manage to survive is by often switching his allegiances.

Very intriguing. So now I want to know more about Talleyrand. Ah ha! I know now why I recognized that name. Talleyrand was a French diplomat under the reign of Louis the sixteenth. He survived through the French Revolution and then under Napoleon and three more French Kings. Because he switched his allegiances often, he is sometimes viewed as an amazing politician, and sometimes viewed as a traitor to first Louis the sixteenth, the French Revolution, and then the Restoration. Not only did he betray kings and politicians (or maneuver around them depending on your viewpoint), he also betrayed the Catholic Church after he was ordained into the priesthood.

Now, I remember Louis the sixteenth vaguely, but I could do for a brush up. So of course, I click the link. Ha! I knew he was the man that married Marie Antoinette! Let them eat cake and all that nonsense. The sad part is that Louis the sixteenth actually tried to reform his kingdom by abolishing torture, serfdom, and jhgjhgjhg being more tolerant towards Jews and Protestants. But his nobles were upset with him, and he was not a strong king, so revolution was inevitable.

How strange that we are already on the French Revolution and we got here in just a few short clicks. And the starting point was pizza. It's just amazing how much you can actually learn on Wikipedia if you start clicking things that sound interesting to you.