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Lesson 14

A noble gangster

贵族歹徒

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[00:00.50]
  • Lesson 14
  • [00:02.46]
  • A noble gangster
  • [00:09.86]
  • How did Hawkwood make money in times of peace?
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  • There was a time when the owners of shops and businesses in Chicago
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  • had to pay large sums of money to gangsters in return for 'protection'.
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  • If the money was not paid promptly,
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  • the gangsters would quickly put a man out of business by destroying his shop.
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  • Obtaining 'protection money' is not a modern crime.
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  • As long ago as the fourteenth century,
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  • an Englishman, Sir John Hawkwood,
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  • made the remarkable discovery that people would rather pay large sums of money than have their life work destroyed by gangsters.
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  • Six hundred years ago,
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  • Sir John Hawkwood arrived in Italy with a band of soldiers and settled near Florence.
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  • He soon made a name for himself and came to be known to the Italians as Giovanni Acuto.
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  • Whenever the Italian city-states were at war with each other,
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  • Hawkwood used to hire his soldiers to princes who were willing to pay the high price he demanded.
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  • In times of peace, when business was bad,
  • [01:28.32]
  • Hawkwood and his men would march into a city-state,
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  • and after burning down a few farms, would offer to go away if protection money was paid to them.
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  • Hawkwood made large sums of money in this way.
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  • In spite of this, the Italians regarded him as a sort of hero.
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  • When he died at the age of eighty,
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  • the Florentines gave him a state funeral and had a picture painted which was dedicated to the memory of 'the most valiant soldier and most notable leader, Signor Giovanni Haukodue'.
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