History is crazy

From this review of this book, about an executioner in 16th century Germany.  Being an executioner was, needless to say, a bummer job and here’s how he ended up with it:

His own apprenticeship as an executioner was the result of a catastrophic fall in family fortunes, originating in an episode of almost cinematic vividness. In October 1553, the erratic and unpopular Prince Albrecht Alcibiades von Brandenburg-Kulmbach suspected three local gunsmiths of plotting against his life. Invoking an ancient custom, he commanded a hapless bystander to execute them on the spot. Frantz’s father, Heinrich, had no option but to carry out the commission and, tainted by the act, no options thereafter but to become a professional executioner.



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