Prognathism is well recorded as a trait of several historical individuals. The most famous case is that of the House of Habsburg, among whom mandibular prognathism was a family trait; indeed, the condition is frequently called “Habsburg Jaw” as a result of its centuries-long association with the family. Among the Habsburgs, the most prominent case of mandibular prognathism is that of Charles II of Spain, who had prognathism so pronounced he could neither speak clearly nor chew as a result of generations of politically motivated inbreeding.

Friday the 13th - medieval roots

Some believe that the arrest of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and 60 of his senior knights on Friday, October 13, 1307 by King Philip IV of France is the origin of this superstition. That day thousands of Templars were arrested and subsequently tortured. They then ‘confessed’ and were executed. From that day on, Friday the 13th was considered by followers of the Templars as an evil and unlucky day.

Image: Jacques de Molay sentenced to the stake in 1314, from the Chronicle of France or of St Denis (fourteenth century). Note the shape of the island, representing the Île de la Cité (Island of the City) in the Seine where the executions took place.


March 18th 1314: Jacques de Molay killed

On this day in 1314 Jacques de Molay, the twenty-third and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake. The Templar knights were a major fighting unit of the Crusades, aiming to preserve Christendom and regain control of the Holy Land. After control the Holy Land was lost to Muslim forces, support for the Knights Templar started to fade. King Philip IV of France began to mistrust the group and wanted to free himself of his debts to the Templar; he thus had many leading Knights burned at the stake. Pope Clement V disbanded the group in 1312, and the hunt continued for remaining members. The Knights were tortured until they confessed to a range of crimes, including heresy, obscene rituals, and idolatry. De Molay had been forced to make such a confession, and despite retracting the confession, he was charged with heresy and burned at the stake. Pope Clement died a month later, and King Philip died that year. With their leader gone, the remaining Templars were arrested or removed from the group and the Knights Templar were no more.

“God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death"
- De Molay’s words from the stake

Happy birthday to Spanish painter Diego Velázquez. Velázquez (1599–1660) is arguably one of the greatest European painters, admired in particular for his sensuous handling of paint. He created most of his work as the official painter to the King of Spain, Philip IV, including many portraits such as this one of the king’s daughter Maria Teresa, probably made for her future husband, Louis XIV of France. Here, Maria Teresa is shown in an extraordinary dress and an elaborate wig decorated with silver butterfly ribbons. The painting was most likely an official copy produced by Velázquez’s studio. The original is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and it seems to have been cut down drastically in size at some point—it shows only the infanta’s head and shoulders.

Portrait of the Infanta Maria Teresa,” 1650s, by Diego Velázquez

General reactions when people read about the Habsburg dynasty

Charles V (I in Spain)

People who are dazzled by his achievements on the battlefield:

Heretic people:

Philip II

Spanish ladies:

Turkish, portuguese, heretic and communist people: 

Philip III

Yes, normally, nobody gets excited reading about him.

Philip IV

People who thinks that all he did in life was to go to the brothel:

People who knows that he was interested in government issues too (and go to the brothel):

Charles II

The first time you see his portrait:

The second time you see his portrait:

The rest of times you see his portrait:

Medieval Knights Templar Coin of Philip IV ‘Le Bel’ of France, 1268-1314 AD

Castle tournois with a border of twelve fleur de lis/ Short cross pattée. A silver gros tournois, nice grey tone with iridescent “rainbow” patina.   

The gros tournois (big tournament) is a silver coin created by St. Louis from 1260-1263. It was created after the Seventh Crusade (1248-1254), after St. Louis discovered the Arab Monetary System.  They are among the most imitated coins in the Middle Ages and were struck until the end of the Middle Ages.

Philip IV (April–June 1268 – 29 November 1314), called “the Fair” (French: Philippe le Bel), was King of France from 1285 until his death. By his marriage to Joan I of Navarre, he was also, as Philip I, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne from 1284 to 1305.

The most notable conflicts include a dispute with Edward I of England, who was also his vassal as the Duke of Aquitaine, and a war with the County of Flanders, which gained temporary autonomy following Philip’s embarrassing defeat at the battle of the Golden Spurs (1302).

In 1306, Philip the Fair expelled the Jews from France and, in 1307, annihilated the order of the Knights Templar. Philip saw both groups as a “state within the state”.

To further strengthen the monarchy, Philip tried to control the French clergy and entered in conflict with Pope Boniface VIII. This conflict led to the transfer of the papal court in the enclave of Avignon in 1309.

His final year saw a scandal amongst the royal family, known as the Tour de Nesle Affair, during which the three daughters-in-law of Philip were accused of adultery. His three sons were successively kings of France, namely: Louis X, Philip V and Charles IV.


Francisco de Zurbarán

Death of Hercules, 1634

Museo del Prado, Madrid

· Last scene from The Labours of Hercules, a series of ten paintings commissioned by King Philip IV of Spain, for the Hall of Realms in the Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid.


Letter of Öljeitu, Mongol ruler of Iran, to Philip IV of France
Iran (1305)
[Source], [Source]

Here’s some translations from the text:

Oljeitu Sultan our word. To the Iridfarans (King of France) Sultan.

How could it be forgotten that from ancient times all you sultans of the Frank citizens have dealt peacefully with our good great-grandfather (Hulegu Khan), good grandfather (Abaga Khan), good father (Arghun Khan) and good brother (Ghazan Khan), esteeming us near although you are far, pronouncing your various words and sending your ambassadors and gifts of health-wishing?…

Our nation has been interlocked (peacefully connected) from the land of the Nankhiyas (plural for ‘Chinese’) where the sun rises to the Talu Ocean (Mediterranean Sea) and our roads have been tied together.“

The Chinese characters on the seal say: 真命皇帝天順萬夷之寶 Zhēnmìng huángdì tiānshùn wànyí zhī bǎo (Precious seal of the Emperor truely mandated [by Heaven] to pacify the ten thousand foreign peoples).



1. Workshop of Diego Velázquez : Philip IV in Hunting Dress, c. 1634. Musée Goya, Castres, France - on deposit from the Musée du Louvre, Paris.

* The painting was acquired from Mündler by the Louvre in May 1862. The same year, Manet (admirer of Velázquez) was unsurprisingly interested in this work, and did both a drawing and a print after it. The “new” work by the Spanish master acted as a poweful stimulus on Manet’s art.

2. Édouard Manet : ‘Philippe IV, d'après Velasquez’ (Philip IV, Copy after Velázquez); 1862. Etching, drypoint, and aquatint; sixth state. The New York Public Library - S. P. Avery Collection, Print Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs. / Impression from the 1862 publication 'Huit gravures à l'eau-forte’, no. 3.

3. Diego VelázquezPhilip IV in Hunting Dress, c. 1632-34. Museo del Prado, Madrid.

* One of the most notable aspects of the original in the Prado is the obvious pentimento that runs along the lower profile of the body, from waist to feet. In an earlier phase of the execution, this part of the anatomy was placed farther to the right; in addition, the harquebus played a more important role. At first, as the Castres copy demonstrates, Philip IV was pictured with his head bare and holding his cap in his left hand. To know what this earlier state looked like, one need not rely on this evidence or on radiographs but on the version in Castres, which was doubtless painted before Velázquez made these last changes in his original.

Source: Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting, pp. 455-456 / pp. 505-506.


Louis XIV became King of France in 1643, while he was still just 4 years old. He would go on to become one of the world’s most infamous monarchs, whose reign of  72 years and 110 days still stands as the longest in European history.

These are the monarchs of 9 other countries at the time he ascended the throne:

Portugal: John IV

Russia: Michael I

Spain: Philip IV

Japan: Empress Meisho (Who would abdicate at the end of the year in favour of her brother)

Sweden: Christina

China: Chongzhen Emperor

Poland: Władysław IV Vasa

Austria: Ferdinand III

Great Britain: Charles I