Thursday, March 27, 2008



Joan of Arc, also known as Jeanne d'Arc and the Maid of Orleans. St. Joan was burned at the stake after she helped restore the King of France to his throne in the Hundred Years War.


Isabella of Spain

She financed Christopher Columbus -- but her joint reign with her husband, Ferdinand of Aragon, was notable for much more, including victory over the Moors, expulsion of the Jews, the Inquisition, and patronage of scholars and the arts


Queen Elizabeth, or Elizabeth Woodville, was one of the more controversial Queens of England. She secretly married Edward IV, and Edward's supporter Warwick changed sides in the Wars of the Roses and restored -- briefly -- Edward's rival, Henry VI.
Elizabeth Woodville, married to King Edward IV of England, and mother of Elizabeth of York, married to Henry VII.

One of the stories about Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV is that she met him on the side of the road, with her two young sons by her previous marriage, to petition him in a legal matter -- and then charmed him into marriage.


she was from Magdala, a town known for vice and violence. The real Mary Magdalene led the faithful sisters in financing the Lord's work "out of their own means" (Luke 8:3) and following Jesus wherever he went.
For her devotion alone, Mary Magdalene serves as a fine role model for twenty-first-century believers. Follow her to the tomb on Easter morning, and you'll learn the greatest lesson Mary M. has to offer.Go And Tell
When Mary Magdalene "saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance" (John 20:1), she hurried to Jerusalem and convinced Peter and John to see the empty tomb. I might have started with a lesser disciple, but this leader among women went right to the top.
Clearly they respected her, because they wasted no time running back with her.
Finding it empty, the two disciples returned to their homes, while Mary remained weeping outside the tomb, unwilling to abandon her Lord. Such faithfulness was soon rewarded. Two angels in white appeared, followed by a stranger whom she mistook for a gardener, until the moment he spoke her name: "Mary" (John 20:16).
Her response was immediate. And it wasn't "Honey" but "Rabboni!" The meaning is "my great teacher


Hypatia of Alexandria, the real Hypatia, philosopher of Alexandria, and the romantic and anti-Christian legends that have surrounded Aspasia's martyrdom.Described as "the spirit of Plato and the body of Aphrodite," Hypatia was turned into a martyr immortalized when local monks stripped her alluring body and tore it to shreds. She was the last significant mathematician until the late Middle Ages. Her death marked the end of the freedom of inquiry. Hypatia stood as the leader of pagans against an oppressive Christian tyranny. She was a mathematical, astronomical, and philosophical scholar because she trained in Athens. These are some of the myths perpetrated by the likes of heavyweights, Edward Gibbon and Voltaire, who looked at events through anti-Christian prisms, and whose accounts Dzielska counters.Well, she [Hypatia] was speaking in the square to many people,speaking about the present God and they were listening to her in silence,in a stupor, both followers and adversaries. But a fanatic horde interrupted, hands and hands came down upon her,they tore her clothes and her flesh, they pushed her into the church of Christ,and there they finished her. There she died on the floor of the temple."

was a third century queen of Palmyra, located in modern Syria.
She defied the Romans, but like the ancestor she claimed, Cleopatra,
she was defeated


Vispania Agrippina

Following her mother Julia's exile, Agrippina (Vipsania Agrippina), future mother of the Emperor Caligula, was raised by her grandfather Augustus and Livia
Agrippina the Elder married Germanicus and bore him nine children, including the future Emperor Caligula and Agrippina the Younger.Agrippina, a fertile granddaughter of Caesar Augustus took on the duties of a general and offended the sensibilities of the ancient historians by other "masculine" traits.

Helena was the mother of the Emperor Constantine, who, upon her conversion to Christianity, went to the Holy Land where she is credited by some with having discovered the True Cross.

From the Feminae Romanae site. Illustrated, including both sides of a coin with Helena's image. Explains why we think she came from humble origins in Bithynia instead of being the daughter of a British king. Also explains her sudden rise from obscurity when her son Constantine became Caesar.


Ancient philosopher and teacher, Aspasia, was known for her independence as well as her relationship with the Athenian leader, Pericles.

What choices for relationships did Aspasia of Miletus have? To be a concubine? A prostitute? A madam? Aspasia was accused of all of these. But she was thwarted in the normal aspirations and expectations [see Jill Kleinman article] for aristocratic women like herself whose primary responsibility was to produce legitimate offspring. Since Aspasia could not produce legitimate children, there was no reason for any Athenian male citizen [Brian Arkins, 1994. "Sexuality in Fifth-Century Athens," Classics Ireland Volume 1] to marry her.

Thus, any sexual relationship Aspasia entered into could be viewed as improper.
That she chose to enter into a relationship with the Athenian leader Pericles put her, too, in a position of power, but also a position particularly vulnerable to criticism. Aspasia, some say, was courted and caressed by Pericles upon account of her knowledge and skill in politics. Socrates himself would sometimes go to visit her, and some of his acquaintance with him; and those who frequented her company would carry their wives with them to listen to her. Her occupation was anything but creditable, her house being a home for young courtesans. Aeschines tells us, also, that Lysicles, a sheep-dealer, a man of low birth and character, by keeping Aspasia company after Pericles's death, came to be a chief man in Athens. And in Plato's Menexenus, though we do not take the introduction as quite serious, still thus much seems to be historical, that she had the repute of being resorted to by many of the Athenians for instruction in the art of speaking.


Poet of ancient Greece.(wrote about 610-580 B.C.E.) poet
Sappho, a poet of ancient Greece, is known through her work: ten books of verse published by the third and second centuries B.C.E. By the Middle Ages, all copies were lost. Today what we know of the poetry of Sappho is only through quotations in the writings of others. Only one poem from Sappho survives in complete form, and the longest fragment of Sappho poetry is only 16 lines long.
The poems of Sappho are more personal and emotional than political or civic or religious, especially compared to her contemporary, the poet Alcaeus.
Sappho lived in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, where women often congregated and, among other social activities, shared poetry they'd written. Sappho's poems usually focus on the relationships among women.


Dates: 14th century BCE, Eighteenth Dynasty.
Occupation: Egyptian queen - chief wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV who took the name Akhenaten
Nefertiti was the chief wife (queen) of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep IV who took the name Akhenaten when he led a religious revolution which put the sun god Aten at the center of religious worship. Art from the time shows a close family relationship, with Nefertiti, Akhenaten, and their six daughters depicted more naturalistically, individualistically, and informally than in other eras. Images of Nefertiti also depict her taking an active rol


Dates: 69 BCE - August 30, 30 BCE
Occupation: pharaoh (ruler) of Egypt

Much of what we know about Cleopatra was written after her death when it was politically expedient to portray her as a threat to Rome and its stability.

Thus, some of what we know about Cleopatra may have been exaggerated or misrepresented by those sources. Cassius Dio, one of the ancient sources that tell her story, summarizes her story as "She captivated the two greatest Romans of her day, and because of the third she destroyed herself."

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