Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Queen's Revenge

There is a saying "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" - well how about a woman whose husband / lover has been murdered / assassinated. There are many instances of medieval women extracting the most brutal revenge on the murderers of their husbands and lovers.

I have allowed a fair bit of lee-way with regards to the rank of women I have cited - here's a few examples:

  • Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scotland - following the assassination of her husband, King James I of Scotland, in which she herself was injured, a number of brutal tortures and executions took place, which included members of the royal family - Walter Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl (James' uncle) and Robert Stewart, Master of Atholl (Walter's grandson).

  • Mary, Queen of Scots - vowed vengeance on those who murdered her Secretary Rizzio - the death of her husband Henry Stewart, Lord Darnely followed shortly after - was she complict or not?.

  • Melisende, Queen of Jerusalem - took out her anger on her husband King Fulk and his followers following the death of her cousin / lover Hugh le Puiset. Not only did she have them followed by the Assassins (a threat in iteself), but she also gained a great deal of power through her admission to the Inner Council.

  • Brunhilda, Queen of Austrasia - waged a forty year war (which included numerous assassinations and murders) against Fredegunda (and Neustria), whom she accused of the murder of not only her sister, Galswintha but her first husband Sigebert.

  • Elizabeth of Gorz-Tyrol, Queen of Germany - following the murder (1308) of her husband, Albert "One-Eyed" (son of Rudolph of Habsburg), the Queen pursuded the murders "with a bitter hatred"; one was eventually brought before her and died "in a terrible fashion". But the Queen's vengeance was not sated and many innocent women and men were tortured and killed.

  • Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forli - yes, not a Queen. Caterina was bloodthirsty in her treatment of her husband's murderers (public executions and secret stranglings). She extracted a similar vengeance upon those involved in the murder of her lover Giacomo Peo (and this included her son).

~~~ Melisende (first pub: 26/2/2006)

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