Women of History: Catherine Trastámara

Out of Henry VIII’s six wives, the ones that are most remembered are his first three.

Catherine of Aragon: His first queen and mother of Queen Mary.

Anne Boleyn: mother of Queen Elizabeth, and a woman who is also known for helping cause a religious revolution in England and her tragic end.

Jane Seymour: the young woman who gave birth to his only son. To be fair, Jane is often forgotten and limited as “mother of Edward” then anything else.

I will admit that I am biased against Henry VIII who I felt was a bit of a bastard towards his wives in more ways than one. I also feel that general history has basically reduced these women to just being one of the six wives, without a sense of individuality. There has to be so much more to them then just their spouse.  In that respect, I have decided to learn more about these six women, starting with the first, Catherine of Aragon.

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Women of History: Boudica

When I decided to start a blog series about women from history, Boudica jumped out at me.  Not because she was my favorite historical woman, or because she had some major play in history.  She just did.  So for no reason whatsoever other than ‘because’, she’ll be my first post subject.

Boudica was a British Queen, back during the Roman Empire.  At that point England (And Great Britian as a whole) was made up of different tribes.  She was part of the Iceni Tribe which lived in what is now modern day Norfolk.

Boudica (also spelled Boadicea, Boudicea, and called Budding in Welsh) was born around 25 AD  She was married to Prasutagus, who was the elected ruler or King of the Iceni.  Prasutagus had a agreeable relationship with the Roman Empire, enough so that when he died he left his kingdom to both his daughters and the Empire.  This of course caused problems.

The Romans had left the Iceni and the other British tribes for the most part alone since Ceaser visited a century before.  However, around 43 AD, Emperor Claudius decided to invade, and this time take control.  The Tribes eventually had to submit, but instead of leaving them alone for the most part, Claudius left behind his soldiers on the island.  Some of the native population continued to rebel, but successive governors of the island sent by rome made things more and more difficult for the Iceni and their neighbors. At one point they no longer had the ability to have any weapons that could be used for rebellion (hunting weapons were still allowed to a point).  When Claudius died, his successor Nero had them build a temple in Camulodunum for him, which required the Celtic Icenic to worship their invader. They were also forced to pay for it.  Not having the funds to do so, they ended up borrowing money from rich Romans.  

Boudica’s eventual rebellion was motivated by different things, depending on what source you were told.  Most of the tales of Boudica were Roman, as there was no written celtic history at the time.  However, the Romans who wrote about the Queen of the Iceni had different ideas of what motivated her.  According to some, her motivations were due to oppression.  The Romans, such as Seneca, who had leant money to the Britions called those loans in with force. The Governers took more and more of the freedoms the Celtic populations enjoyed to keep them under control.  THis included destruction of their holy lands, which sadly would not be the last time this would happen in history. This got worse when her husband, who had on friendly terms with the Roman Empire, died.  Rome decided to take complete control rather then share with the man’s daughters.

Other accounts have more dramatic reasons.  According to Tacitus, Boudica was flogged for resisting her estate being taken over by the local leader and her daughters raped.  Given that there is no account from the side of the Celtics, or Boudica herself, its hard to know for sure what really happened to her or her people that caused her to decide to seize leadership and rebel.

In around 60-61 AD, Boudica lead Celtic rebels in full rebellion against the Roman invaders.  She attacked, and destroyed several cities.  One of which was the City of London, which still bears traces of the attack where Boudica’s army burned the city down. Other cities included Verulamium, and Camulodunum (Colchester). According to Dio, she was vicious in her retribution, killing those who remained in the cities.  She had a larger army, with an estimate of 230 thousand.   However in the end the Roman leader Suetonius was victorious and returned Britain to Roman control.  His troops were better trained and better armed, and in the end that seemed to win the day.

Boudica died soon afterwards, with even her death in dispute.  In some accounts she ended it by poison, others she died of an illness.  She was given a costly funeral by her tribesman.  Despite the loss, she was still greatly respected by most accounts.  I suppose in a way its amazing that she managed to not only gain the respect of her fellow celts, but enough respect from the Romans that they told stories about her.  They won, they could have told any story they wanted.  Made her out to be some demon, but they didn’t.

I suppose it confused them.  The Romans weren’t particularly equalitarian when it came to gender. Most of the heroines of their tales were either godesses or foriegn Queens.  Boudica, Dido, Cleopatra.    Women who defyed the Roman idea of Womanhood.

Today it doesn’t seem that far fetched that a group of fighters would go into battle for their Queen.  Its happened many times before.  Boudica left in imprint on the history of Great Britain, not just as a Queen.  She became a symbol of resistance.  She became a subject of Art, and inspiration during the Victorian Age.







Further Reading:

Boudica – Wikipedia

Boudica: Celtic War Queen who challenged Rome

Boudica:

Historical Social Media

There has been much interest in the President’s use of social media the last few years.  Donald Trump is known for using twitter in particular to express his opinon.  I was coming across headlines about it today, and It reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend a long time ago.

Back when Farmville was a big thing on Facebook, the two of us starting joking around about the Founding Fathers and what they would be up to.  Somehow Thomas Jefferson was immersed in his own virtual farm whilst in Wiki-Thrall.  At the time we figured out what some of the others were doing, but Thomas Jefferson was the only one I remembered now.

It makes you wonder what kind of uses would historical people have used social media for?  Would Martin Luther have had a blog about his religious convictions?  Would Confucius use Twitter to share his wisdom?  Would FDR have fireside Youtube videos?

I’m interested in what you think would be likely.

Manchester

Yesterday, a terrorist killed 22 people, and injured 59 others in Manchester, England.  They were going about their business on a Monday Night, some having attended an Ariana Grande Concert at the Stadium when an explosion took place in the foyer of the building.  Some of them were even children, with at least 13 were under the age of 16, according to the BBC.  One of the dead is an 8 year old girl.

It’s hard to think of anything to post in light of that.  I refuse to talk about the person who committed these crimes – that is what they wanted.   I will talk about the wonderful citizens of that city who turned to each other and helped those who needed a place to stay, or a ride home.  Those in emergency services worked hard to make sure everyone who needed treatment got it, and investigate the cause.  These people are heroes.

My prayers and thoughts are with the city tonight, as they try to heal from this.  With the families of the victims, and the victims themselves.

If you want to help out, there is a Just Giving campaign ran by the Manchester Evening News to help raise money to help the victims of the attack.

BBC Page on the Manchester Attack is where I’m getting most of my information, along with friends who live in the Greater Manchester area.

Movie Review: Lady Jane (1986)

So I got netflix in the mail (Yes, I still use the DVD service) and it happened to be a movie with Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes in it.  Always a good reason to watch a movie.  As I watched I also recognised a few actors I liked, although some I still refer to as their character from whatever I saw them in before.  Patrick Stewart was a surprise, playing Lord Grey,  Jane’s father.

From what I read on Wiki (doing a quick check of facts, nothing too indepth) the movie is an overly romanticsed story.  Jane may be the closest to her actual person, but Guilford is changed to be more the sweeping romantic hero.

As you can guess from a cast that has the three actors I mentioned, the acting was good.  The settings were also good, and so were most of the costumes (although some of Jane’s early costumes were not appealing on her, but alas that happens to us all).  Its just that the actual script is not so good.

For example, their idea of a intro conversation to a love scene is to talk about the differences in Prostantism and Catholicism.  Kind of a weird topic to inspire kissing.

And there is this scene where these two are going around making wishes, about how they want things to be better for the poor and the hungry and breaking their dishes to confirm the wish was sent.  I spent most of the time going “Don’t do that, someone’s going to end up bleeding and your servants are going to have to clean all that up and then what will you have to drink out of?”

While the two leads try to make it work and do seem to have some chemistry the awkwardness of the script and the real life storyline seem to fight them the entire way and it just seems…awkward.

So my final grade is a B-.  I managed to sit through it without pausing it it too much, and I didn’t even start to skip scenes till nearly the end. It just had too many awkward scenes.  Also I have found I can do without the word popary.

The Amendments: Three

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.  (source)

This is a reactionary Amendment.  Basically, during the time right before the Revolution (and during, I’m sure), the British tended to tell people that they needed to share their homes with their troops during war time.  When the war ended, the British decided to keep on quartering soldiers in private homes during peace.  Its one of the items that started warming up the revolution. It’s hard to imagine that happening today, but the men who wrote this document wanted to make sure it didn’t.

There isn’t much to say on this one.  As far as I know it’s pretty much never debated that the Government could actually come to your home and say “Guess what, Roomies!?”

For a more modern example, I googled the third amendment and found a case in Nevada where a homeowner claimed the local police violated their third amendment rights by forcibly invading their home to use it against a neighbor they were investigating and staying for 9 hours.

It has also started to come up to relate to surveillance state by police/government but its debatable on whether the amendment would include “cyber soldiers.”

Mary Queen of Scots & Reign

So I’ve been reading those “Today in HIstory” pages again, and one of the events of today was the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.  Which reminded me of Reign.

For those of you unaware, Reign is a CW teenish drama about the Queen’s life.  It’s not historically accurate, so I call it history crack.  It’s sometimes fun to watch just to see how they deal with the real history in there their attempts to make a period drama fit for their intended audience of young adults.  It doesn’t always go successfully.

One of the major historical issues was that they aged everyone up.  Mary is 16 at the time of the show’s opener, brought to France to marry Prince Francis, the Dauphin of France.  Now that she marries the Prince is accurate, but they were much younger in real life.

Also Frances on the show has a older half-brother named Sebastian.  He’s not a real person, at least not that anyone is aware of.  His parents are real, but he isn’t.  The real life Equivalent of Bash’s mother had only daughters with the King.

The real reason to watch this show is Meghan Fellows.  She plays Catherine de Medici, the Queen of France.  She spends the first season trying to get rid of Mary, who she suspects will be the death of her son, and then the second season working with Mary to prevent the death of her son.  (historically, her son dies early as King, and is succeeded by another one of her sons.  Which I think she actually outlives as well.)

This show is still on the air, although it seems to have finally dealt with the big major plot issue, and that was the fact that alot of these characters died early deaths.

So if you don’t mind historical inaccuracy, but love costume design, Meghan Fellows, and soapish dramas, you should watch this show.