Allegedly, Charles V said, “I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.” Whether true or not, such a quotation bespeaks of a very educated and powerful man. He was the heir to three of Europe’s greatest dynasties, simultaneously!
This rare combination of blood lines put him on the thrones of multiple kingdoms and in control of vast expanses of territory in Europe, Asia, and in the Americas. Although the British claim the statement, “The Empire on which the sun never sets,” for themselves, it was first said of the empire of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in the mid 1500’s. It meant that the sun was up somewhere in his realm all of the time.
Collectively, Charles V was King of Germany and Italy, Holy Roman Emperor (because he controlled the geography of Italy. He was not a Pope), King of Spain, Archduke of Austria, Lord of the Netherlands, and Duke of Burgundy.
As King of Spain, he controlled all lands that Christopher Columbus touched in the Americas plus those conquered by Cortes and Pizarro. Reigning during the age of worldwide discovery, he had possessions and interests throughout the region of the Mediterranean Sea, North Africa, and in Asia. A decisive leader and mostly just, he was thrust into the role of taking on the challenges of his age.
Most notably, he faced Suleiman the Magnificent at the head of the Ottoman Empire, bent on swallowing up all of Europe. Charles stopped him cold at a great battle in Vienna, Austria. Charles faced the challenge to Catholicism as the single Christian religion when the Protestant Reformation rose during his reign to question Papal authority. His waning health dogged him, and by controlling so much territory, he was embroiled in war somewhere for all of his 38 year reign. It is no wonder that he spoke different languages to folks in order to throw off so many people who might betray him, poison him, or take something away from him. Web search Charles V, and read his fascinating story.
He allegedly said something else that has survived the ages. See if you can figure this one out: “Fortune have somewhat the nature of a woman. If she have too much weed, she is the farther off.”