Saturday, January 30, 2010

Library Visit

Having about an hour to kill this morning, I dropped into my local library - a place I have long neglected for the past six months (though quite possibly more).

I managed to pick up a little light reading:

* Barbarians to Angels: The Dark Ages Reconsidered by Peter S Wells
I knocked this one over today - and was much impressed. A concise narrative of times long considered "dark" and "barbaric". Nice and to the point and not a bit long-winded. Highly recommended.

* Bad Girls & Wicked Women by Jan Stradling
Nice retelling of some of the more notorious "bad girls" from history - Messalina, Belle Starr, Empress Cixi, but to name a few. About two-thirds through this one and will no doubt finish tonight. Highly enjoyable.

* Moriarty by John Gardner
I love Sherlock Holmes and his nemisi, Moriarty so looking forward to this one.

* Marie & Mary by Nigel Tranter
Novel about Marie de Guise and her daughter, Mary Queen of Scots.

* The Templar by Paul Doherty
Novel of the Crusades by a masterful writer of medieval whodunnits.

* Mary Tudor: The Tragical History of the First Queen of England by David Loades.
Biography of "Bloody" Mary.

So, some more reading to add to my list whilst currently reading John Fox's marvellous biography on Jane Whorwood (spy to Charles I).

More WASPS Honoured

From the Seattle Times:
They were mavericks of their day, taking to the skies when the nation was at war and most women were at home caring for families. At a ceremony this spring, 11 Washington women will join the 200-some surviving Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) in receiving Congressional Gold Medals for service during World War II.

Sixteen more medals will be given to local WASPs posthumously.

Congressional Gold Medals have been awarded nearly 150 times since the nation was born in 1776. The women join polio-vaccine inventor Dr. Jonas Salk and poet Robert Frost, as well as two other World War II groups honored since 2000: the Navajo Marine Corps Radio Operators, known as the "Code Talkers," who developed a code using their Native language to communicate military messages, and the Tuskegee Airmen.

Congress and President Obama approved the honor for the WASPs last year.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ballina Jockey Club's Hall Of Fame

From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Three inaugural inductees into Ballina Jockey Club's Hall Of Fame will be announced today at the Iris Nielsen Ladies Invitation meeting.

Ballina CEO Sarah Wills said the trio were all former female riders.

The Iris Nielsen, in honour of the late rider who died in a race fall at Lismore in March 1988, continues to grow in stature.

With prizemoney lifted from $27,000 to $50,000, the line-up of riders includes Clare Lindop, the first Australian female jockey to ride in the Melbourne Cup and winner of the Victoria Derby aboard Rebel Raider, New Zealand's Sam Pratt, last season's leading stakes earner in her homeland, and prolific winner Kathy O'Hara.

Bolivia: Women In Politics

From Momento 24:
The new Bolivian cabinet, in which half of the ministerial posts went to women, took office on Saturday in a showcase of the country’s efforts to achieve gender equality.

“My great dream has been fulfilled, half of my cabinet are women, the other half men,” said President Evo Morales, speaking at a ceremony at the Quemado presidential palace.

A day before, Morales, a leftist and Bolivia’s first indigenous president, was sworn in for a second term. He won more than 64-percent of the vote in December’s election.

The President swore in each one of the ministers, urging them to work to strengthen democracy and fight corruption. Female members of his cabinet include Labor Minister Carmen Trujillo; Justice Minister Nilda Copa; Transparency and Anti-Corruption Minister Nardy Suxo; and folk singer and activist Zulma Yugar as minister of culture.

The only precedent in Latin America for a similar split was under President Michelle Bachelet in Chile, who after her 2006 election divided her cabinet of 26 ministers equally among men and women.

See also: People's Daily Online

Lebanon: Women's First

From the Daily Star:
The Clemanceau branch of Bank of Beirut and other Arab Countries (BBAC) held a joyful reception on December 27 when Barabara Batlouni became the first mother to open a bank account for her underage sons, Jad and Samir Batlouni, without their father’s legal consent. Among those on hand to cheer Batlouni’s achievement for women’s rights were Wafa Abed, president of the Istitute of Progressive Women, BBAC vice president and legal adviser Abbas al-Halabi, as well as Sabrina Abdelkarim and Nadine Abou Hatab.

Betty Wilson

From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Australian cricket is mourning the death of Betty Wilson, the country's greatest women's player, aged 88.

Wilson was a household name in post-war Australia and her remarkable on-field deeds matched those of her male contemporaries Keith Miller, Ray Lindwall and Lindsay Hassett.

In 11 Test matches spanning a decade she averaged 57.46 as a batter, with three centuries, and took 68 wickets with her offbreaks, at an average of 11.80.

Wilson, dubbed "the female Bradman", had an immediate impact in her international career, as she made 90 and took 10 wickets for the game in her debut, against New Zealand in 1948.

A decade later she became the first Test cricketer - male or female - to make a century and claim 10 wickets in the game, against England.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Eadgyth of Wessex

From BBC News:
Remains of one of the earliest members of the English royal family may have been unearthed in a German cathedral, a Bristol University research team says.

They believe a near-complete female skeleton, aged 30 to 40, found wrapped in silk in a lead coffin in Magdeburg Cathedral is that of Queen Eadgyth.

The granddaughter of Alfred the Great, she married Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, in 929. She died 17 years later, at 36.

The team aims to prove her identity by tracing isotopes in her bones.

And from History Today:
The University of Bristol announced today, January 20th, the recent discovery of the remains of the Saxon Princess Eadgyth, possibly the oldest member of the English royal family whose remains have survived. They were excavated from beneath an elaborate 16th-century monument bearing her name in Magdeburg Cathedral as part of a wider research project into the cathedral.

Relics of Joan of Arc

From Discovery News:
The so-called "relics of Joan of Arc," overseen by the Archbishop of Tours in Chinon, France, do not contain the charred remains of the Catholic saint.

Rather, the artifacts consist of a mummified cat leg bone and human rib, both dating to the 6th-3rd century B.C., according to a new study.

The "relics," which have fooled onlookers for decades, did resemble burnt bones, in keeping with historical accounts of the death of Joan of Arc (ca. 1412-1431), who was convicted of heresy and executed by burning.

Medical examiners, pathologists, geneticists, biochemists, a radiologist, zoologist and archaeologist all participated in the extensive study, which was accepted for publication in the journal Forensic Science International.

The bottle containing the bones first surfaced at a pharmacy in 1867. Its label read: "Remains found under the pyre of Joan of Arc, maiden of Orleans."

Different techniques, including DNA analysis, several forms of microscopy, chemical analysis and carbon dating, were used to examine the bottle's contents.

A few years ago, Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at Raymond Poincare Hospital in Garches, France, and his team first determined that the bottle contained an approximately 4-inch-long human rib covered with a black coating. It also housed part of a cat femur covered with the same coating, three fragments of "charcoal" and "a brownish textile scrap" about the same length as the rib.

From National Geographic 4th April 2007:
The charred bones that were long believed to be remains of St. Joan of Arc don't belong to the French heroine but are instead the remains of an Egyptian mummy, a new study has shown.

Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at the Raymond Poincaré Hospital in Paris, France, obtained permission last year to study the relics from the church in Normandy where they are housed.

Temple of Queen Berenike

From The Indpendent:
The remains of a temple of Queen Berenike - wife of King Ptolemy III - have been discovered by archaeologists in Alexandria, Egypt.

Dr. Zahi Hawass said the remains discovered are 60 meters by 15 meters, and extend under Ismail Fahmy street. About 600 Ptolemaic statues - amongst which are beautiful depictions of the cat goddess Bastet - were also unearthed....

Early studies on site revealed that the temple’s foundation can be dated to the reign of Queen Berenike - the wife of King Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-222 BC) - making this the first Ptolemaic temple discovered in Alexandria to be dedicated to Bastet. It also indicates that her worship continued in Egypt after the decline of the ancient Egyptian era....

The 'Dishonorable' German Girls

From Der Speigel:
Hitler's Gestapo arrested thousands of women for admitting they had affairs with foreign forced laborers in Germany, despite many confessions being false and made under duress. Men were often executed and women sent to concentration camps for the crime of "racial defilement." Some continued to suffer the consequences long after the end of the war.

Gisela Schwarze, a historian from the western German city of Münster, has spent years investigating cases like hers, digging through the files of special courts in cities like Dortmund, Bielefeld and Kiel. She uncovered Maria K.'s story in a local archive. It unfolded in Asbeck, a village with a wartime population of 850 in the western Münsterland region.

As a result of her research, Schwarze discovered a group of victims of the Nazi regime that has been neglected to this day. It consists of the women and girls who government officials accused of having sexual relations with foreign forced laborers. Some of the romantic relationships did exist, while others were made up, but the punishment was almost always extreme. The women were sent to concentration camps by the thousands, while the men were usually executed.

Historian Gisela Schwarz is the author of the recent German-language book, "Es war wie Hexenjagd. Die vergessene Verfolgung ganz normaler Frauen im Zweiten Weltkrieg." (It Was Like a Witchhunt: The Forgotten Persecution of Normal Women During World War II.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Celebrating Women's History

From Pilot Online:
Rear Adm. Michelle Howard, the first black woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, will address the Greater Hampton Roads Chapter of the National Association of Black Military Women at its 2010 Women's History Month Luncheon.

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Norfolk Marriott Chesapeake, 725 Woodlake Drive.

The event will feature Howard, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2, and Bianca Martinez of WTKR-TV as mistress of ceremonies. Several women will be honored for making a difference in their community, according to a news release.

Tickets cost $25 and are required in advance. Information: (757) 836-3239.

India: Women Want Tougher Laws On Abuse

From the Times of India:
The organisations, including All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and National Federation of Indian Women, suggested widening the definition of rape and molestation to bring it in conformity with international standards and ensure that there are no legal loopholes.

A delegation led by CPM leader Brinda Karat met law minister M Veerappa Moily to press for speedier trails and procedural changes that would ensure justice was meted out. “The minister assured us that he would convene a meeting of nodal ministries of home affairs and women and child development to discuss the bill. We have already submitted a comprehensive draft of urgent amendments in the criminal law,” Kirti Singh, AIDWA legal convener, said.

The delegation asked the ministry to introduce various other sections on cases of protracted sexual assault and sexual assault by guardians under the IPC.

Nigeria: Women Given Pride of Place

From the Nigerian Compass:
GOVERNOR Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State said that apart from appointing women to key government positions, his administration also offered free medical services to pregnant women and children below the age of five.

The governor spoke when the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Damaturu.

Geidam said that a VVF unit would be established at the Mariam Sani Abacha Maternal and Child Health Clinic, Damaturu.

The governor restated the commitment of his administration to continue to empower women, children and vulnerable groups in the state.

The governor appealed to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), well-meaning individuals and other stakeholders to join hand with government in its effect to improve the general wellbeing of women and other vulnerable groups by establishing orphanages, daycare centres and motherless babies homes.

The minister, who called for more effort by the government for maximum result, disclosed that her ministry had mapped out strategies that would be better the lives of women and children.

Troublemakers Luncheon

From the Salt Lake Tribune:
The monthly luncheon spans two tables and two generations, women munching salads and sandwiches at a suburban steakhouse. The menu may be mundane but the agenda is anything but: These women are here to dish on political elections, government reform and civic redevelopment.

Membership in this 2-year-old lunch club, which includes current and former mayors and councilwomen, has swelled since the informal group of political junkies finally donned a title last fall: Troublemakers.

"It became more appealing" once it was known as the "Troublemakers' lunch," laughs founding member Jennifer Scott, district director for U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz. "Women should make a little trouble."

The name is spoken tongue-in-cheek -- a lighthearted jab at people who would believe that any time women get involved in politics they are up to no good.

"Troublemaking," former Taylorsville Mayor Janice Auger explains, "that's in the eye of the beholder. I don't think that we start out to be troublemakers, but the people who disagree with us perceive us as troublemakers."

Pakistan: Ban Bride Price

From the Daily Times:
Legal experts Sunday demanded that the NWFP government immediately ban bride price and effectively implement the National Plan of Action 2005 to combat women trafficking in the province.

The demand came at a two-day consultative workshop on countering women trafficking organized by the Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme (CAMP) in collaboration with DFID (UK Department for International Development) and UNDP (United Nation Development Programme) under the Gender Justice and Protection Project (GJP). The workshop covered both legal and humanitarian aspects of women trafficking.

Niaz Muhammad and Anis Badshah Bukhari, member inspection team and additional registrar Peshawar High Court respectively, highlighted the legal aspect of women trafficking and demanded that all sections pertaining to the punishment of perpetrators must be amended and due role of police and other agencies be included so as to address the issue comprehensively. Federal Ombudsman Director Mashood Mirza said that every year hundreds of thousands of women and children were trafficked both locally and internationally to use them in heinous crimes like prostitution, bonded labor and inhuman sports like camel race. Human rights activist Rakhshanda Naz lamented the poor performance of Pakistan in the TIP report of 2009 that placed it on tier 2 watch list.

“Early child marriages, IDPs influx and rapid surge in poverty in the recent past have also contributed to the trafficking of women and girls,” she said. CAMP Chief Executive Naveed Ahmad Shinwari said that drastic reforms in laws and inter-institutional coordination among the law-enforcement agencies and CSOs would help curb the issue.

Canada: Sheema Khan

From the Ottawa Citizen:
Sheema Khan was just three years old when she emigrated with her family from India to Montreal. They wanted a country with a good education system, and work opportunities. But mostly, they wanted to leave behind the sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims in their Calcutta home.

Canada was that land of promise for them. Today, Khan is a patent agent who holds several patents of her own in drug delivery systems. She has a PhD in chemical physics from Harvard, and took a year off to do social work before continuing her studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is married, the mother of three, and a faithful follower of Islam who started wearing a hijab after much soul-searching. She loves hockey (the Canadiens, of course), and plays soccer once a week with a women's team near her home in Kanata.

Most recently, however, she has become a public advocate for Muslims in Canada, particularly women, who find their rights and points of view not always heard.

Germany's Raven Mothers

From the New York Times:
Manuela Maier was branded a bad mother. A Rabenmutter, or raven mother, after the black bird that pushes chicks out of the nest. She was ostracized by other mothers, berated by neighbors and family, and screamed at in a local store.

Her crime? Signing up her 9-year-old son when the local primary school first offered lunch and afternoon classes last autumn — and returning to work.

Ten years into the 21st century, most schools in Germany still end at lunchtime, a tradition that dates back nearly 250 years. That has powerfully sustained the housewife/mother image of German lore and was long credited with producing well-bred, well-read burghers.

Modern Germany may be run by a woman — Chancellor Angela Merkel, routinely called the world’s most powerful female politician — but it seems no coincidence that she is childless.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rosa the Red

From the Telegraph:
The Communist icon's corpse was buried in a tomb in Berlin where every year thousands of sympathisers have honoured her fight for a workers' paradise. Or so everyone thought.

It turns out that a previously unidentified body that was found two years ago in a wooden coffin in a basement room at Berlin's Charite hospital, could be Luxemburg, according to the head of the institution's forensic medicine department.

Michael Tsokos says that the body, which is without arms, legs and head, bears "astonishing similarities" to Luxemburg, indicating that her last resting place was not, in fact, in a grave at a cemetery in the German capital that was later vandalised by the Nazis.

But his claims are fiercely disputed, and have generated an intense debate in Germany around the fate of a woman still widely respected across the political spectrum.

Luxemburg's life was also the subject of a 1986 film by Margarethe von Trotta, which won Barbara Sukowa a best actress award at the Cannes film festival.

Freya von Moltke

From the Telegraph:
“He put the question to me explicitly — ‘The time is coming when something must be done,’ ” Freya von Moltke said. “ ‘I would like to have a hand in it, but I can only do so if you join in too,’ and I said, ‘Yes, it’s worth it.’ ”

So, with a wife’s assent, began a famous challenge to Hitler. At the height of the Nazi victories, Count Helmuth James von Moltke invited about two dozen foes of Nazism, many of them aristocrats like himself, to imagine a new, better postwar Germany.

For him, his wife’s participation was essential, as she remembered the conversation in “Courageous Hearts: Women and the Anti-Hitler Plot of 1944,” a 1997 book by Dorothee von Meding.

The dissidents met at the count’s ancestral estate, Kreisau, which Bismarck had given his legendary great-great-uncle, Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, for his victories over Austria and France.

It was a perilous act of resistance. As many as half of the dissidents were later executed, some for actively plotting to kill Hitler, others for thinking the unthinkable: they had marshaled logical, moral and religious arguments to question the legitimacy of the Third Reich. Their high-minded planning for a future without Nazis angered a regime that expected to endure 1,000 years.

Mrs. Moltke, who disdained the title of countess, was the last living active participant in the group. She died of a viral infection on Jan. 1 at her home in Norwich, Vt., her son Helmuth said. She was 98.

Miep Gies

From Yahoo News:
Without Miep Gies, the story of Anne Frank might never have been known.

The former office secretary who helped hide the Jewish teenager from the Nazis for two years gathered up the scattered diary pages after the Frank family was arrested and sent to concentration camps. She locked the papers — unread — in her desk until Frank's father Otto returned, the only family member to survive.

Gies died Monday from a neck injury suffered when she fell last month, the Anne Frank House museum said. She was 100 and had been one of the few people still alive who knew Anne Frank.

Gies (whose full name is pronounced 'Meep Khees') was the last of the "helpers," the six non-Jews who smuggled food, books, writing paper and news of the outside world to the secret attic apartment of the canal-side warehouse where Anne, her parents, sister and four other Jews hid during World War II.

Julia Baird - Victoria: Queen & Working Mother

From Newsweek:
Queen Victoria loathed being pregnant. She felt more like a pig or cow than a queen, she said, which was unfortunate, given that she had nine children. As several of her relatives had died while giving birth, she was also, quite rationally, terrified of labor. She was given chloroform for her last two births, to her great delight. Until then the use of anesthetics for women in labor had been vehemently opposed by priests on the grounds that women should suffer for original sin, and prominent doctors because they believed it aroused women's libidos. But when the respectable reigning monarch happily inhaled deep breaths from a cloth soaked with chloroform, every 10 minutes, at the birth of her son Leopold in 1853, it soon became acceptable. Oh, how she would have loved an epidural.

Julia Baird is the author of "Media Tarts: How the Australian Press Frames Female Politicians". Follow her on Twitter.

Pakistan: Benazir Income Support Programme

From the Daily Times:
Waseela-e-Haq, a scheme of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) initiated by the PPP government, will help alleviate poverty and empower poor women and the vulnerable section of the society.

Benazir Income Support Programme Chairperson Farzana Raja said this while addressing a seminar titled “BISP technology-based governance for poverty alleviation and women empowerment” here on Thursday.

She expressed the hope that Waseela-e-Haq programme would create employment opportunities for more women.

Bahrain: Jobs For Women

From Gulf Daily News:
MORE than 5,800 job vacancies in the public and private sector will be offered to unemployed Bahraini women at a job and training exhibition opening on Monday.

Around 3,000 unemployed women have been invited to attend the event, which is the first of its kind in Bahrain. The minimum wage offered will be BD400 for university graduates and BD250 for undergraduates.

The Job and Training Exhibition for Unemployed Bahraini Women is being held under patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of His Majesty King Hamad and the chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Women.

Forbes: 20 Best Blogs

Forbes has listed its 20 best marketing and social blogs for women.

This list is full of women that I have found to be leaders, women who are consistently providing relevant and useful information to the marketing and social media industry. I appreciate each and every one of them and recommend these ladies as the Chicks Pick Best in Blog--Marketing and Social Media.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Maha Sati Relic

From the Times of India:
A rare 15th-century relic — a combination of veeragallu and mastigallu — was discovered at Kalkeri village in Hangal taluk of Haveri district recently.

In an official release, deputy director of archaeology and museums, S K Potnis, said that the stone was rare as it was a memorial to a brave soldier and his wife who laid down her life after a `Sati' (bride burning) ritual. The stone was erected during the reign of king Veera Harihara Rama of the Vijayanagara kingdom.

While veeragallus are erected in memory of brave soldiers, mastigallus represent women who sacrificed their life on the pyre of their husbands. However, this stone is unique as it is a single structure erected in the memory of a brave soldier and his wife, a `Maha Sati'.

2010: Blockbuster Movies

From Wales Online comes a list of blockbuster movies planned for release in 2010.

Included: Alice in Wonderland, Clash of the Titans, Robin Hood, Iron Man 2, Toy Story 3, Predators (sequel), Expendables, Rapunzel, and the Green Hornet - just to name a few.

Twitter: 14 Power Women To Follow

From Forbes:
But there's a new generation of Twitter powerhouses that are worth watching.

These women tweeters have brands that are soaring--they have found their niche and are capitalizing on it through their work, their personalities, their writing, and now, their Twitter followings. They land securely in the range of the almost-famous, with their eventual domination of the Twittersphere not yet complete. But the 14 showcased here are all gaining steam fast and are on schedule to double (or more) in size in six months.

They are:
Bonnie Fuller, Gretchen Rubin, Gwen Bell, Jessica Gottlieb, Jessica Weiner, Julia Roy, Juliette Powell, Kristi Colvin, Lisa Stone, Liz Gumbinner, Sarah Evans, Suzy Welch, Ree Drummond, and Tory Johnson.

Bahrain: Women & Domestic Violence

From Gulf Daily News:
A NETWORK of prominent Bahraini men is hoping to introduce legislation to specifically protect women from domestic violence.

If passed, the bill would cover the penalties associated with violence against women in the home, workplace and in public.

The law could include a clause making it mandatory for television programmes and films that show violence against women to appear with an advisory about the penalties associated with such acts.

Extremely violent films or programmes could also be censored or banned under the new bill.

France: Burqua Bill

From AFP:
Muslim women who wear the full Islamic veil in France will face a possible 750-euro (1,000-dollar) fine, according to a draft bill unveiled Thursday by the leader of the parliamentary majority.

Jean-Francois Cope, who heads the governing UMP party in the National Assembly, told Le Figaro newspaper's weekly magazine that men who force their wives to wear the burqa or niqab could face an even heavier fine.

Dubai: FREEJ

From the Daily Star:
Rampant development, modern etiquette and the erosion of traditional values have so enraged four Dubai grannies that they plan to conquer the world. Um Saeed, Um Saloom, Um Allawi and Um Khammas, the veiled, sassy grandmothers from the hit cartoon TV series “Freej” have won the hearts of viewers across the Gulf as they dole out advice, insults and do battle with the encroaching modern world.

Now the creator of the Gulf Arab region’s first animated TV series is in talks with international companies to take Freej global and work on new animation projects for children.

Plight of Afghan Women

From the Star:
Increasing numbers of Afghan women are choosing suicide to escape the brutality of their daily lives, says a new human-rights report prepared by Canada's foreign affairs department.

The 2008 annual assessment paints a grim picture of a country where violence against women and girls is common, despite rising public awareness among Afghans and international condemnation.

"Self-immolation is being used by increasing numbers of Afghan women to escape their dire circumstances and women constitute the majority of Afghan suicides," said the report, completed in November 2009. The document was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

Brigitte: A New Era

From Deutsche Welle:
Germany's top-circulation women's magazine, Brigitte, has started the New Year with a new concept: replacing professional models with real women. It's a response, they say, to what the modern woman wants.

Brigitte is the fashion and lifestyle bible for the German everywoman. Women flicking through the January issue will see just what they were expecting: diet tips, man-advice and models advertising clothing brands and accessories. But a closer look reveals a subtle change. The women wearing the clothes are not professional models, but everyday women.

Women of the Wall

From JNET News:
The campaign against Women of the Wall steps up. Yet learned that chairman of the feminist Jewish worship group, Anat Hoffman, was investigated Wednesday by the police on suspicions of violating a legal directive and of rebellion following a minyan - or prayer quorum - she and her colleagues held three weeks ago – the start of the Hebrew month of Tevet – in the Western Wall pavilion.

The police reported that Hoffman was investigated at the Merhav David Station after the events at the Western Wall on the grounds that she disrupted the status quo at the site. Hoffman was questioned about her role in organizing the prayer service and the clashes that ensued. She was reportedly asked to give her finger prints. At the end of the investigation, she was released to go home.

The Women of the Wall chairwoman claimed that most of the group's members are Orthodox and that the prayer services they hold are conducted according to halacha. She also said that their consistent attendance for more than 20 years makes their monthly minyan a Western Wall custom, such that it must not be viewed as a one-off provocation.

The Sarum Rite

From the Catholic Transcript:
Before the Protestant Reformation and King Henry VIII’s break with Roman Catholicism, the Sarum Rite was used in parts of England and Wales, as well as in Scotland and Ireland.

“Sarum” is the old English variant of the Latin Sarisburia; “Salisbury” in modern English. Salisbury is the site of the famed cathedral in which the Sarum Rite was observed. The Rite (i.e., manner of conducting the Liturgy and various ceremonies of worship) developed in Britain after the Norman Conquest. Efforts to revise the sacramentaries and ceremonials followed closely upon William the Conqueror’s Norman stamp on customs and practices. According to some historians, the changeover was especially evident from the time of St. Osmund, the second bishop of Salisbury (1077-99).

Father Joseph A. Jungmann, one of the greatest scholars of the history of the Roman Rite, notes in his opus magnum that following the Norman Conquest, “the Rite of Salisbury or Sarum was gradually developed as a distinct and, up to the Reformation, an essentially conservative and fixed arrangement, both for the entire service and more especially for the Mass. It was the standard not only in a great portion of the English Church but also here and there on the Continent.” (The Mass of the Roman Rite, 1949; English ed., 1959)

Now, of course, the Holy Father has elected to open up the doors of Catholicism to Anglicans not by establishing a new Rite, or by reviving the Sarum Rite, but rather by instituting a fresh structure within the Latin Rite in whole or in part, that of “personal ordinariates.”

However, in the authentic documents relating to these “personal odinariates,” reference is made to accommodating Anglicans desirous of embracing Rome by liturgical adaptations reflecting their own customs, some of which apparently do reflect the medieval English Sarum Rite.

The Tools of Death

From the Business Standard:
The Exhibition of Medieval Instruments of Torture is one of the most complete of its kind in Europe. It traces the 700 year history (13th-19th century) of refinement of torture methods used largely, but not exclusively, under the Spanish Inquisition. For the visitor, entering it is a free fall from the sense of grace and peace of the mosque-cathedral, a plunge into a den of madness. A reminder that the Middle Ages were not only about romance, knights and fair maidens, or ballads and religiosity, they were violent and bloodthirsty; that beauty and ugliness went hand in hand; that the most grotesque forms of cruelty lay just under the veneer of some of man’s most amazing deeds.

Ellen Malcolm: Emily's List

From the Washington Post:
The founder of the political advocacy organization Emily's List, the fundraising powerhouse that has propelled hundreds of progressive women candidates into office, is stepping aside as its president and will be replaced by a veteran Senate staffer and Democratic operative, officials said Wednesday.

Ellen Malcolm will continue to be involved as chairwoman of the board of Emily's List but will hand over day-to-day management of the vast network of political donors and activists and its political operations to the new president, Stephanie Schriock.

History Books In Review

Time Travelers Guide to Medieval England - by Ian Mortimer
Review:"The Time Travelers Guide to Medieval England is a surprisingly engrossing read, even if you don’t particularly care about history. For anyone who enjoys history, they’ll be engrossed by the facts that dispel the history taught about that time frame, for instance, the aristocracy had indoor plumbing. An easy read, you can pick it up and read any chapter."

A World By Itself: A History of the British Isles - editor Jonathon Clark
Review: "Perhaps the most surprising thing about Clark’s book, which consists of six chronological sections written by eminent specialists, is that it is supposedly aimed at a general audience. In fact, it is almost impossible to imagine a lay reader finishing this book, because it could hardly have been written in a more off-putting style."

The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land - by Thomas Asbridge
Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades - by Jonathon Phillips
Review: "Both of these books take us back to the period in western history when belief in the afterlife was paramount. The Church's message was terrifyingly simple: there was no avoiding the consequences of sin. Urban II, an ambitious and ruthless Frenchman, launched the movement with a brilliant new formula: wipe the slate clean by going on the crusade. All the vicious and violent misdeeds that were occupational hazards for medieval warriors and their entourages would be cancelled. For the knightly classes the "neatest aspect of all is that they could continue fighting – only now their energies would be directed towards the enemies of God, rather than their fellow Christians"."

Exhibition: The Eglinton Tournament

From BBC News:
A set of paintings depicting a 19th Century jousting tournament in Ayrshire are to go on display in the area. East Ayrshire Council has successfully raised £85,100 to buy the Eglinton watercolours by James Henry Nixon.

The works depict scenes from a Medieval re-enactment tournament staged by the 13th Earl of Eglinton in 1839. Historic shields, which furnished the knights' tents, were also bought for £7,000. The works will go on display at Dean Castle, Kilmarnock, next year.

The Eglinton Tournament, which took place over three days in August 1839, highlighted the 19th Century fascination with all things Medieval. Privately funded by Lord Eglinton at a cost of £40,000 and held in front of the castle on his Ayrshire estate, the spectacle included a procession, jousting by tilt and mêlée, a banquet and a ball.

TODAY: Meet Michelle Cameron

From North Jersey:
On Saturday, Jan. 9, at 2 p.m., author Michelle Cameron will be at the Morris County Library, 30 E. Hanover Ave., Whippany, for a reading and discussion of her latest historical novel, "The Fruit of Her Hands," based on the life of Cameron’s 13th-century ancestor, a renowned Jewish scholar of medieval Europe. Book signing afterwards.

To reserve seats, call 973-285-6930 or go to

A Little Bit of History

From UPI: Bologna to restore medieval canals.
Officials in Bologna believe restoring its canals, paved over in the name of progress 50 years ago, will make the Italian city more attractive. Bologna's canals date to the late Middle Ages and were dug between the 12th and 16th centuries. Five canals still survive, although mostly underground, including the Navile, which carried shipping traffic from Bologna to the Po River.

From the Malay Mail: The Iron Maiden of Nuremburg.
The most famous example is the Iron Maiden of Nuremberg, which was destroyed in the 1944 air raids. A replica was then obtained from the Royal Castle of Nuremberg and crafted for public display which was later sold. Find out more about torture devices used during the Medieval times at "Tortura2: Exhibition of Medieval Instruments of Punishment", from now on until Feb 28 at Bastion House, Malacca.

From the Indian Express: Mona Lisa had high colesterol.
Mona Lisa’s famous smile may have been the result of fatty acids gathered around her eye socket suggesting her high cholesterol levels, according to an Italian medical expert.Vito Franco, Professor of Pathological Anatomy at the University of Palermo, who has been studying art masterpieces for evidence of disease and illness, alleged some of the world’s greatest works of art revealed signs of illness.

From the Times of Malta: Valetta built on agricultural land.
Mount Sceberras, the hill on which Valletta was built, was not barren wasteland but served as agricultural land in medieval times, according to new archaeological evidence. New evidence that the hill was the site of “intense, ancient and medieval agricultural occupation” challenged the often-repeated theory that Mount Sceberras was barren and rocky, architect and Valletta Rehabilitation Project CEO Claude Borg said. Mount Sceberras had been chosen by Grand Master Jean de la Valette as the site to build the new capital city after the Great Siege in 1565.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Women Speakers United

Meira Kumar and Fahmida Mirza have become friends and discovered a lot in common.

Both are first women Speakers of their countries, Meira of India and Fahmida of Pakistan.

Both hail from political families. Meira is the daughter of the late Jagjivan Ram, a former defence minister and deputy Prime Minister. Fahmida is married to a senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, Zulfikar Ali Mirza, who is a close associate of President Asif Ali Zardari.

Both had successful careers before joining politics. Meira, 64, was a diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service, Fahmida, 53, was a doctor.

In their current job as Speakers, they share a problem — that of unruly parliamentarians.

Today, they hugged and sat at the same table, displaying a frame of bonhomie that has eluded their countries.

Liberia: Sex Scandal Boys Flee

From All Africa:
Nine juvenile, all below 18, are reportedly on the run after linking 15 women to a big sex scandal that has left several homes broken in Harper City, the capital of Maryland County.

The boys have been charged with "Defamation of Character", and authorities say they are running after the juveniles to face the law.

According to report reaching this paper from Harper the recent claim of the boys raised serious eyebrows in the Kru Township of Tobeville.

The boys reportedly went on the rampage and published the names of 15 married women and girls that they were engaged in illicit and other forms of ugly sexual lives.

The boys posted the names of the females on light poles, market tables and other public places in the city.

The township commissioner of Toberville T. T. Nagbe Sonpon told the Informer the boys were charged for "Defamation of Character" by the township authority since last year, when the names of 15 female were posted around town linking them to sex scandal.

The anonymous lady said many of the accused women have been thrown out by their husbands because their names were published by those disgruntle boys in town.

The women have however decided to register the case with the Liberia national Police, but some high profile citizens in the area are persuading them otherwise.

Somalia - No Women : UN - No Aid

The United Nations World Food Programme curbed food aid to a million people in southern Somalia after Islamist rebels said the aid agency couldn’t employ women and had to pay it for security.

The al-Shabaab militia controls much of the southern and central parts of the country and has been fighting Somalia’s Western-backed government for the past two years along with other groups, including Hisbul-ul-Islam.

“In November, the al-Shabaab group set unreasonable conditions, saying we couldn’t employ women and that the WFP should pay al-Shabaab $20,000 every six months for security,” Peter Smerdon, a spokesman for the WFP, said in an interview from Nairobi, Kenya, today. “They also demanded that we do not deliver food to areas under their control and, as they control 95 percent of the area, this was unacceptable to us.”

Somalia hasn’t had a functioning central administration since 1991, when former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted. The continuing conflict has left much of the population dependent upon food aid.

Sierra Leone: No More Rhetoric Mr Koroma

In 2009, Sierra Leonean Women from various shades of opinions came together to challenge that chauvinistic taboo by taking the Ernest Koroma led State Government to Court in order to champion the rights of women like Madam Kumba Torto of Kono and Madam Sia Bandabilla of Kissi-Kailahun to contest for the same chieftaincy position that their male forefathers had successfully contested for.

The unprecedented solidarity and determination of Women of Sierra Leone sparked off an international debate that saw prominent international figures turn their attention to the stance of the brave women of Sierra Leone.

“It is not enough to pay lip service to our rights. President Koroma must back his words with positive action; he should keep to his 2007 Elections Manifesto promises and set Sierra Leone women free from the bondage we are under or else come 2012 Elections, he should prepare for a possible shock defeat at the elections polls,” said Madam Hawa Mansaray, who identified herself as a prominent female activist from Koinadugu District.

Mary Daly

Fiercely and playfully -- often at the same time -- Mary Daly used words to challenge the basic precepts of the Catholic Church and Boston College, where she was on the faculty for more than 30 years.

Dr. Daly emerged as a major voice in the burgeoning women's movement with her first book, "The Church and the Second Sex," published in 1968, and "Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation," which appeared five years later. That accomplishment was viewed, then and now, as all the more significant because she wrote and taught at a Jesuit college.

"She was a great trained philosopher, theologian, and poet, and she used all of those tools to demolish patriarchy -- or any idea that domination is natural -- in its most defended place, which is religion," said Gloria Steinem.

Dr. Daly, whose relationship with Boston College grew tempestuous as she insisted that only women could take her classes, died Sunday in Wachusett Manor nursing home in Gardner. She was 81 and her health had failed in the past few years, including recent paralysis due to a neurological condition.

Author: Du Lala

From AFP:
Du Lala is a brash, 30-something Chinese woman who successfully breaks the glass ceiling in the macho corporate world.

She is also the title character in a novel that has been a breakout literary hit in China and an unofficial handbook for ambitious career women in the Asian nation, now the world's third largest economy.

"The Story of Du Lala's Promotion" was such a success that the author -- herself once a young professional like her protagonist -- quickly churned out "Du Lala 2: Splendid Days", which was equally well received.

She uses a pseudonym, Li Ke, to maintain a bit of privacy amid the excitement over her books.

Li Ke's [her pseudonym] first book has already been adapted for the theatre, and a television series is in the works for this year.

The author was in ninth place on China's list of best-paid writers in 2009, having earned 3.5 million yuan (513,000 dollars).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Author: Guida Jackson

From Global News Wire:
Women Leaders of Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Pacific, a comprehensive biographical reference for use in high school or beyond, is the first of a two-volume set that covers the lives and careers of powerful women leaders throughout history.

Volume I: Women Leaders of Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Pacific brings more than a hundred women leaders, including tribal queens and Muslim queens who ruled in their own right, from obscurity into the limelight. With its alphabetically and regionally arranged entries, this thoroughly researched book presents women, both famous and little known, who held the reins of power on two continents, one subcontinent, and many Pacific islands. Its companion, Volume II, covers Women Leaders of Europe and the Western Hemisphere.

In easy-to-read entries with suggestions for further reading, Jackson describes wise and altruistic stateswomen as well as rapacious and blood-thirsty killers. Their similarities and differences illustrate the many facets of leadership and power in both ancient and contemporary times. These stories reveal how women acquired and used power to serve their country, satisfy their own desires, or simply, by hook or by crook, maintain their own authority.

Deborah Howell

From the New York Times:
Deborah Howell, one of the first women to become the top editor of a large American newspaper, died Friday in New Zealand, where she was struck by a car while on foot. She was 68 years old and lived in Washington.

Over three decades in Minnesota and in Washington, Ms. Howell repeatedly ascended professional heights that had been the near-exclusive province of men, earning accolades for her toughness, curiosity and enthusiasm. At each stop, she expanded coverage of social issues like AIDS and women in the workplace.

At age 34, she became city editor of The Minneapolis Star, which later became The Star Tribune after a merger. Four years later she jumped to a rival paper, The St. Paul Pioneer Press, where she served as managing editor and then executive editor. At The Pioneer Press, she oversaw two projects that led the paper to win the first Pulitzer Prize in the paper’s history, in 1986 and 1988.

Ms. Howell left The Pioneer Press in 1990 to become the chief of the Washington bureau for the Newhouse newspaper chain, a post she held for 15 years. Her staff at Newhouse News Service also won a Pulitzer while she was there.

Interview: Elizabeth Gilbert

From the Houston Chronicle:
The success of Elizabeth Gilbert's last book, Eat, Pray, Love, was stupendous.

A memoir of her solitary trip through Italy, India and Indonesia, Eat, Pray, Love struck a chord with women that still resonates. By the end of the book, Gilbert had shed the ghost of her first marriage and fallen hard for Felipe, an older, Brazilian man. Reading along, millions of women cheered.

Those same readers are expected to flock to see the upcoming film with Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem in leading roles.

Today marks the release of Gilbert's second memoir, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage. The book does double duty. It looks at the history of Western marriage and picks up a few years after Eat, Pray, Love ends.

Gilbert and Felipe have been living in Philadelphia. But after a business trip overseas, Felipe, an Australian citizen, is denied re-entry to the United States at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The easiest way for him to remain is to marry Gilbert. But he needs a fiancé visa and, until he gets it, he cannot return.

Sentenced to wed, Gilbert travels with Felipe for 10 months and researches the institution she vowed never to enter into again.

BC Women Demand Inquiry

From the Vancouver Sun:
More than 100 women rallied in Crab Park in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Sunday to demand the federal government strike a public inquiry into the more than 500 missing and murdered aboriginal women cases across Canada.

"We've asked and asked again but there is no answer," said Bernie Williams, a native elder and activist.

There are 520 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women in Canada, according to the Native Women's Association of Canada.

The smell of smudged sage filled the cold January air as the women lit 520 candles and placed them in a circle around a stone memorial erected in memory of Vancouver's missing women.

Magazines & Real Women

From the Herald Sun:
IT'S not often that you have to take your clothes off to make a serious political point. But in today's edition of this newspaper I have bared all in the name of improving the body image of women.

I'm not doing it to prolong my career as an Aussie supermodel, or to answer a calling as a table-top dancer.

Instead, I am taking the gauntlet thrown down by model Jennifer Hawkins this week, but making it real.

As a concept, it appears to have backfired somewhat, with the move appealing primarily to Ralph readers rather than normal women battling with a variety of body image issues.

Jen appears on the cover of the magazine without airbrushing, to show her body has real "flaws".

It's just that putting Jen's body up to make women feel good about their bodies is a bit like putting up Tiger Woods to make beginner golfers feel good about their bumbling game.

For another opinion on this - read Bianca Dye's article.

BBC & Older Women

From the Guardian:
When a male newsreader gets older, he becomes an authority; when a female newsreader gets older, she becomes a problem. Harriet Harman, equalities minister, says she heard this gem from a former senior executive at the Beeb. It's probably true, but hopefully it won't be for much longer. Last September, the BBC director general, Mark Thompson, decided that the real problem was not enough older women on the telly – and urged his news chiefs to employ more of them. Suddenly, from being a problem, 50-something women news anchors were in demand.

Now four of them are back in jobs. Just before Christmas, the BBC confirmed the appointments of Julia Somerville, Zeinab Badawi, Fiona Armstrong and Carole Walker . But why hadn't news bosses realised sooner that older women were perfect as news anchors? In many cultures, after all, older women are seen as the fount of wisdom and authority — who could be better for a job that requires lashings of both?

So will this be a flash in the pan? Or might this be a real change? I think it really could. Not only is it cheering that the BBC's head of news, Helen Boaden is herself, wait for it, a 50-something, but when you look Stateside you see a TV landscape in which older women news anchors have every bit as much status as older men (and a lot more, given their experience, than younger women).

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Women Only Taxis

From the Jerusalem Post:
Taxis driven by women and exclusively serving the fairer sex are the rage in Arab capitals as women seek a safe and comfortable mode of transport.

Lebanon's Banet Taxi ('Taxi Girls'), sporting signature candy-pink taxis and well-kept uniformed drivers, began in March.

Now, following the Lebanese success, two Egyptian governors in Cairo and Alexandria have stirred controversy with proposals to service women-only taxis.

"It means isolation for women," Nehad Abul Komsan, Chairwoman of the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights told The Media Line. "It's very risky for our society. If it's an excuse to solve problems like sexual harassment or other types of violence, it's a very naïve solution for a very complicated problem."

Cairo's subway network already reserves the fourth and fifth carriages for women not wishing to sit with men.

In Damascus a similar women-only taxi initiative is being launched by Widad Kanafani, aiming to make transportation more secure for female passengers.

Dubai has had a women-only pink taxi service since 2007 and the Roads and Transport Authority will be launching a women-only bus service in April 2010 to accommodate an increasing number of female passengers.

In Jordan the Amman Municipality turned down a request to set up a taxi rank to serve women exclusively and employ female drivers with rose-colored vehicles, saying there were too many taxis in the capital already.

However, you heard it here first with: "Pink Equals Women Only" and "Mexico: Pink Only Taxis"

UK: Women Blackshirts

From BBC News:
..... speaking to the historian Julie Gottlieb (author of Feminine Fascism) I was surprised to learn that the first fascist political organisation in Britain was actually founded by a woman.

"It was called the fascisti, then changed its name to the British Fascists and it was founded... in 1923, by a Miss Rotha Lintorn-Orman," she told me.

Until then the most prominent political movement for women had been the Suffragettes.

Mother Was a Blackshirt will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday 4 January at 1100 GMT.

Vatican Secret Archives

From the Telegraph:
A 13th-century letter from Genghis Khan’s grandson demanding homage from the pope is among a collection of documents from the Vatican’s Secret Archives that has been published for the first time.

The Holy See’s archives contain scrolls, parchments and leather-bound volumes with correspondence dating back more than 1,000 years.

High-quality reproductions of 105 documents, 19 of which have never been seen before in public, have now been published in a book. The Vatican Secret Archives features a papal letter to Hitler, an entreaty to Rome written on birch bark by a tribe of North American Indians, and a plea from Mary Queen of Scots.

Noah's Ark Was Round

From the Guardian:
According to newly translated instructions inscribed in ancient Babylonian on a clay tablet telling the story of the ark, the vessel that saved one virtuous man, his family and the animals from god's watery wrath was not the pointy-prowed craft of popular imagination but rather a giant circular reed raft.

The now battered tablet, aged about 3,700 years, was found somewhere in the Middle East by Leonard Simmons, a largely self-educated Londoner who indulged his passion for history while serving in the RAF from 1945 to 1948.

There are dozens of ancient tablets that have been found which describe the flood story but Finkel says this one is the first to describe the vessel's shape.

Helen Lewis

From BBC News:
A Belfast-based choreographer who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp has died aged 93.

Helen Lewis, who had a long association with the Lyric Theatre, settled in Northern Ireland after WWII.

Born in Czechoslovakia, she trained as a dancer and having made a new life in Belfast became involved in dance teaching and choreography.

In 1992 she published a widely acclaimed autobiography A Time To Speak which recounted her time in the camp.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Well, another year has begun. And I would like to thank all those who have dropped by over the last couple of years. I hope that you have found something of interest.

As always, I will try and find some news articles of interest - pertaining, of course, mainly to women - and from a variety of sources worldwide. There will also a few articles from archaeology and history. I will add a list of books that I find interesting - and feel free to add your own or add a link to a review (good or bad!).

And to anyone on Facebook or Myspace - feel free to click the "add as friend" button - and I'll return the add.

Well, off to source some news stories .... take care loyal readers!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Byzantium & Werewolves

From Medieval News:
A new article explores how Byzantine doctors treated people those suffering from lycanthropy, a mental disorder where a patient believes he or she is, or has transformed into, a wolf and behaves like one. This disease is the basis for the legendary werewolves.

In "Lycanthropy in Byzantine times (AD 330–1453)," four scholars from the University of Athens examine the writings of six Byzantine physicians to see what they believed lycanthropy was and how it should be treated.

Debunking the Myth of Lady Jane Grey

Excerpt from the article "Debunking the Myth of Lady Jane Grey" by Leanda de Lisle in Intelligent Life:
Lady Jane Grey is mythologised, even festishised, as an innocent girl sacrificed on the altar of her mother's ambition. But behind the popular biographies of the Tudor Queen lies a different story of misogyny and masochism. It seems the much-maligned mother is in fact the victim.

When I began researching for "The Sisters Who Would be Queen", my triple biography of Lady Jane and her sisters, Katherine and Mary Grey, I hoped the well-known life of the iconic teenage Queen, would lend some insight to the younger sisters, the forgotten heirs to Elizabeth Tudor. I assumed there would be little new to day about Jane herself. But as I began my research it became clear that nothing written about Jane could be trusted. The first woman to wield the power of a Tudor monarch had been reduced, over time, to an eroticised image of female helplessness. Meanwhile, her conventional mother became the embodiment of the belief that powerful women are monstrous and mannish.

D'Artagnan's Grave

From the Ottawa Citizen (November 2008):
"A five-year quest to locate the tomb of d'Artagnan -- the inspiration for Alexandre Dumas's novel The Three Musketeers -- has led to a small Dutch church where new research suggests the swashbuckling hero is buried.

Charles de Batz de Castelmore d'Artagnan died during the Siege of Maastricht on June 25, 1673, and, according to a leading French historian, was laid to rest only few kilometres away at Saint Peter and Paul Church in Wolder."

I recently read "The Man in the Iron Mask" by John MacDonald. It is an indepth research into 17thC France and the secrecy surrounding the identity of the Mask. Apparently all four Musketeers were real - and the MitIM was not Fouquet as is popularly believed. There were three other important "political prisoners" jailed with Fouquet one of which was the Mask. Whilst 17thC France is not my forte, this makes for very interesting reading.

Lancaster Against York

This has been out for about a year and a half now - has anyone seen any reviews yet for "Lancaster Against York: The Wars of the Roses and the Foundation of Modern Britain" by Trevor Royle ???

St Bernard of Clairvaux

Ok - this has been nagging away inside my head for some time.

Why did Bernard of Clairvaux NOT go on Crusade.

Yes, he was busy whipping up support and shaming all and sundry into taking the Cross; he was closely associated with those who founded the Templars. And yet, to my limited knowledge, this man never stepped foot in the Holy Land - either as a pilgrim or crusader. Why?

Other notable Churchmen took up the pilgrim's staff - Adhemar of Puy is the most notable - and the entourages of the nobles of the First Crusade were chock full of ecclesiastics.

For a man who threw himself whole-heartedly behind the Crusading ideal - he is rather conspicuous in his absence.

He was 63 when he died in 1153 - however his age offered no hinderance to his constant travels throughout (modern-day) Europe drumming up support for the Crusades.

My question is: for one so fervant in his support - why did he not actively take the Cross??