The Indigenous Rebel Who Took the Fight to White Settlers

The rebellion would lead to Riel’s downfall, but it would also have a lasting impact on Canadian politics and Indigenous rights. Riel remains one of the most controversial figures in Canada’s history. In most accounts of the country’s history, he has been presented as a villain — a violent Indigenous rebel who challenged the Canadian government. But now, as Manitoba, the province he helped found, reaches its 150th anniversary this month, and as activists put a spotlight on Canada’s suppression of Indigenous rights — like their recent attempt to shut down and arrest Indigenous people protesting a pipeline on Wet’suwet’en land — the time has come for a reexamining of Louis Riel’s legacy.

The Pope Who Wrote an Erotic Novel

Aeneas Silvius Bartholomeus caught the attention of King Frederick III of Germany, the future Holy Roman Emperor, with his talent for words. King Frederick named Bartholomeus poet laureate in 1442 and commissioned him to write his own royal biography. The king may not have known that Bartholomeus had a far less regal side interest. According to Absolute Monarchs, by historian John Julius Norwich, over the next three years, while working in the royal chancery in Vienna, Bartholomeus wrote a large amount of “mildly pornographic poetry.” And then there was his magnum opus: The Tale of Two Lovers, or Historia de duobus amantibus, an erotic novel that he penned in 1444. This dalliance with erotic literature is even more surprising given that Bartholomeus later took on a much more high-profile position: In 1458, he become Pope Pius II.
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