Friday, November 23, 2007

Some Light Reading

I am about to embark on some "light" reading.

My poor brain is completely "fried" - overworked and just plain old tired, so I have decided to give the non-fiction a bit of a miss for a while and take up some historical fiction. Mind you, every book I selected in over 400 pages!!

So, on the agenda for the next month or so - depending upon the state on my mental faculties, are the following books, in no particular order:

  • "The Winter Mantle" by Elizabeth Chadwick ( - Norman England and the revolt of Earl Waltheof of Northumbria)
  • "The Tigress and the Rose" byRichard Cameron Low (- Eleanor of Aquitaine and Fair Rosamund Clifford)
  • "Innocent Traitor" by Alison Weir (- Lady Jane Grey) - I am slightly hesitant as Weir is not a particluar favourite of mine, but others think this foray into fiction is okay.
  • "The Greatest Knight" by Elizabeth Chadwick (- William Marshall)
  • "The Scarlet Lion" by Elizabeth Chadwick (- William Marshall, again)
  • "Bretheren" by Robyn Young (- Knights Templar)

I wonder if I should have tackled those books sitting, covered in dust, on my own bookcase first???

Monday, November 19, 2007

Queen Jezebel

Recently, a Dutch researcher, Dr. Marjo Korpel, identified an ancient seal as being that of Queen Jezebel. In an article for, writer Cnaan Liphshiz reported that the opal signet on display at the Israel Museum did not come from an approved excavation, so its actual origins remain shrouded in mystery. Marjo Korpel, however, claims that the seal's symbolism, unusual size and shape, and antiquity, all point to it being the official seal of one of the most reviled women in Biblical history.

An article in AlphaGalileo reports that:
"In Israel in 1964, archaeologist Nahman Avigad found a seal engraved with the name yzbl in ancient Hebrew. It was initially assumed that the seal had belonged to Queen Jezebel (Izebel), the Phoenician wife of the Israelite King Ahab (9th century B.C.). However, because the spelling of the name was erroneous and the personal seal could just as easily have belonged to another women of the same name, there was uncertainty regarding the original owner. A new investigation by the Utrecht Old Testament scholar Marjo Korpel demonstrates that the seal must have belonged to the infamous Queen Jezebel. Korpel reached this conclusion after more careful investigation of the symbols that appear on the seal.

Seal Characteristics
The seal not only bears symbols that indicate a woman but also symbols that designate a royal female owner. Furthermore, the seal is exceptionally large compared to the seals commonly possessed by ordinary citizens. With regard to the name, Korpel demonstrates through comparison with similar seals that the upper edge of the seal must have carried two broken-off letters that point to Jezebel as owner and lead to a correct spelling of Jezebel’s name (in mirror image). The seal is included in the ‘Israel Antiquities Authority Collection’ of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which thus vouches for the authenticity of the object.

Queen Jezebel
Jezebel was the Phoenician (and therefore foreign, and according to the Bible also pagan) wife of the Israelite King Ahab (9th century BCE). The Bible portrays Queen Jezebel as a woman who, in the background, exerted enormous influence, including on her husband (1 Kings 21:25). She sees the opportunity to bend the country's affairs to her will by devious means, including using her husband's seal (1 Kings 21:8) to forge letters. Nonetheless, she now appears to have possessed her own seal, which enabled her to deal with matters independently of Ahab. Eventually, Jezebel came to a bad end. The prophets of Israel accused her of prostitution, murder, idolatry and sorcery. She is made to suffer a horrific death."

It will be interesting to see what becomes of Dr. Korpel's research, and the reaction to this from the Archaeological community. It would be a shame for such interesting and possibly valuable research to be discounted solely on the basis that Dr. Korpel is not an archaeologist by profession.

Further Note: as at 1st December 2007.
I found the following article in "LiveScience" which goes into more detail regarding the Seal of Jezebel.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Elizabeth I - Quotes

The following are some of the quotes of Queen Elizabeth I of England. I am sure there are many more, these are but a few of the ones that I found and liked.

“I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married.”

“She almost reluctantly learns to admire her strength and convictions as another powerful, determined woman.”

“There is an Italian proverb which saith, From my enemy let me defend myself; but from a pretensed friend Lord deliver me”

“To be a king and wear a crown is a thing more glorious to them that see it than it is pleasant to them that bear it”

“There is small disproportion betwixt a fool who useth not wit because he hath it not and him that useth it not when it should avail him.”

“I am your anointed Queen. I will never be by violence constrained to do anything. I thank God I am endued with such qualities that if I were turned out of the Realm in my petticoat I were able to live in any place in Christendom.”

“Though God hath raised me high, yet this I count the glory of my crown: that I have reigned with your loves. And though you have had, and may have, many mightier and wiser princes sitting in this seat; yet you never had, nor shall have any that will love you better.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Medieval Nicknames

The following is a list of nicknames of some of our medieval women:

Queen Mary I of England:

  • Bloody" Mary

Empress Matilda:

  • Maud
  • Lady of the English

Isabella of France, Queen of England:

  • "The Fair"
  • "She-Wolf"

Maria II of Portugal:

  • the "Good Mother"

Joanna / Juana of Castile

  • The Mad (la loca)

Queen Elizabeth I of England:

  • Good Queen Bess
  • The Virgin Queen
  • Glorianna

Lady Jane Grey:

  • The Nine Day Queen

Agnes of Dunbar, 4th Countess of Moray:

  • "Black" Agnes
Anne Boleyn:

  • Anne of a Thousand Days
  • Nan Bullen
  • Concubine

Anne of Cleves:

  • Flanders Mare

Friday, November 9, 2007

Marie Rua Ni Mhathuna

Noblewoman of County Clare, Ireland

Marie was the daughter of a chieftain of the O'Malley sept. Marie was thrice married and an stute protector of her lands in Leamaneh, which she had inherited from her second husband, Conchubhar O'Briain. Marie married (1) Donall O'Niallain, who had lands in Dysert O'Dea - he died five years later, leaving her with four children; she married (2) Conchubhar O'Briain, eight months later and had five more children. He was killed fighting the Cromwellians (1651) and she married (3) a Cromwellian officer John Cooper (1653).

Of her three husbands, husband number two was the most famous. It was said that the pair of them would waylay and rob travellers who passed too near to their castle, and hung from the walls those who fell foul of them. Marie was placed on trial (1661-1663) for the murder 20 years earlier of a servant of an English settler - she was not convicted. Marie lived and ruled over her lands at Leamenah till her death, after which a series of legends grew up around her and she became famed for having many many husbands.

~~~ Melisende (first pub: 1998 Women of History)

Monday, November 5, 2007

William I and the Question of the Papal Banner

I have written yet another lengthy article - "William I and the Question of the Papal Banner" which you can read via my website "Women of History".

It is just my thoughts on the question of whether or not William, Duke of Normandy, had been given papal sanction for his invasion of England in 1066.

~~~ Melisende

Friday, November 2, 2007


November:- Month of the Crone
One aspect of the Triple Goddess. She represents old age or death, Winter, the end of all things, the waning moon, post-menstrual phases of women's lives, all destruction that precedes regeneration through her cauldron of rebirth.

Crows and other black creatures are sacred to her. Dogs often accompanied her and guarded the gates of her after-world, helping her receive the dead.

In Celtic myth, the gatekeeper-dog was named Dormarth (Death's Door). The Irish Celts maintained that true curses could be cast with the aid of a dog. Therefore, they used the word cainte (dog) for a satiric Bard with the magic power to speak curses that came true.

See also: Triple Goddess

843 - Emma, Queen of France
1083 - Matilda of Flanders (wife of William the Conqueror)