Saturday, October 7, 2017

Devil letter written by 'posessed' nun finally translated

From Daily Mail Online comes this mystery from 1676:
A 17th century 'letter from the devil' written by a Sicilian nun who claimed to be possessed by Lucifer, has finally been translated thanks to the dark web.

The coded letter was written by Maria Crocifissa della Concezione at the Palma di Montechiaro convent in 1676, and she claimed it had been scribed by Satan using her hands.

Some 340 years later, a group of Italian computer scientists unscrambled the code using decryption software they found on the dark web, and found it does carry a devilish message - describing God and Jesus as 'dead weights'.

Sister Maria Crocifissa della Concezione was born Isabella Tomasi in 1645, but was rechristened once she entered the Benedictine convent at Palma di Montechiaro aged 15.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Queen Mother Idia of the Benin Empire

The Benin ivory mask is a portrait of the Queen Mother Idia of the Benin Empire in the 16th century, made like an African traditional mask.
This miniature sculpture was worn as a pendant by the queen’s son Oba (which means King) Esigie. There are two almost identical pendant masks today, one of them is in the British Museum in London, and the other one is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The bought masks are portraits of the queen and symbolize the legacy of the Benin dynasty that continues to the present day.

read more here 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Egypt Uncovers Remains Of Pharaoh's Daughter in 3,700-Year-Old Tomb

From an article in Newsweek

Archeologists have uncovered the 3,700-year-old tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh’s daughter near a newly discovered pyramid in the Dashur royal necropolis south of Cairo. Within the burial chamber, archeologists from Egypt’s ministry of antiquities retrieved an ornately inscribed wooden box containing four pharaonic jars used for the preservation of organs. It is believed the tomb belonged to the daughter of King Emnikamaw (Ameny Qemau), a ruler from ancient Egypt’s 13th Dynasty whose own burial pyramid is located 650 yards away in the same necropolis.

Not much is know of Ameny Qemau of his reign which lasted only two years.






2,500-year-old seal unearthed in Jerusalem

From an article published by CNN
An ancient seal from Israel's "First Temple era" was recently uncovered, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. The "First Temple," also known as Solomon's Temple, goes back to Biblical times. It's believed this seal is more than 2,500 years old and belonged to a woman described as "exceptional" or quite well-off in society at the time.
"Finding seals that bear names from the time of the First Temple is hardly a commonplace occurrence, and finding a seal that belonged to a woman is an even rarer phenomenon," the Antiquities Authority said in a news release. "She had legal status which allowed her to conduct business and possess property," it went on.


Hama: Forgotten Queen of Assyria

Who was Hama, queen of Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, daughter-in-law of Adad-nerari?  Very little is known about either Hama or her husband, Shalmaneser IV (r. 783–773 BC).  We conjecture that Hama's husband succeeded one brother and was himself succeeded by another.  However, this was a period of turmoil, of weak central government, and palace intrigue was at its zenith.  Courtiers held power, and Shalmaneser IV's reign was dominated by the powerful Field Marshall, Samsi-ilu, and the Palace Herald, Bel-Harran-belu-usur. The Assyrian Empire was systematically weakened by plague and civil war, and there were rumours that the royal family was murdered due to internal dissatisfaction with the monarchy.  


From an article in USA Today
In a crumbling Middle Eastern palace, a woman’s coffin lay undisturbed for millennia, her remains surrounded by treasure and protected by an ancient curse. Now scientific sleuthing has revealed her identity: she was Hama, queen of an empire.
Hama died young, and perhaps suddenly, hinting at why she was interred in a bronze coffin rather than the usual stone sarcophagus. She was no more than 20, but the gold crowns and other riches in her grave signal her power and wealth.
Seal of Hama
Hama was entombed near other queens at the sprawling Northwest Palace in the Assyrian capital of Nimrud, near present-day Mosul. Discovered by Iraqi archaeologists nearly 30 years ago, Hama’s coffin held a breathtaking array of riches, including chunky gold anklets, a beautifully worked gold jug and jeweled rings.
Amid the hoard was the nearly complete skeleton of a short, slender woman. On her head was a delicate gold crown depicting pomegranates, flowers and female winged genies. By her side was a gold stamp seal like those used to stamp documents. The script on it read in part, “Belonging to Hama, queen of Shalmaneser.”
Near Hama’s coffin was a tablet written with a curse warning, “Anyone later who removes my throne … may his spirit receive no bread!” But the curse, which was installed for another queen, didn’t stop Islamic State fighters. They blew up part of the Northwest Palace with barrel bombs in 2015 and wrecked Mosul’s museum, which held Hama’s bronze coffin.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New images reveal Tamworth’s Warrior Queen taking shape


Tamworth's landmark ‘Warrior Queen’ statue is taking shape, with latest images of the work in progress revealing a little glimpse of just how impressive and magnificent the new sculpture will be.

After several weeks of back-breaking labour by artist and sculptor Luke Perry, work to create a steel statue of the iconic Lady Aethelflaed has reached the halfway point.

Once complete, the Saxon Queen will rise six metres above the ground on the Offa Drive/Saxon Drive roundabout, outside Tamworth Railway Station, where she will greet visitors as they step off the train, and point them towards the town centre.




Also known as Tamworth’s ‘Lady of the Mercians’, Queen Aethelflaed, played a pivotal role in English history by building a chain of fortifications against Viking invaders throughout the Kingdom of Mercia. Her fortification of Tamworth in 913 AD became the forerunner to Tamworth Castle. Daughter of Alfred the Great, Aethelflaed’s accession as a female ruler has been described as one of the most unique events in early medieval history.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Mother, dancer, wife, spy: the real Mata Hari

As the centenary of Mata Hari’s execution approaches (15th October), there are signs of renewed interest in her story.

Here is an article by Julie Wheelwright in the Guardian:
Since her execution on the outskirts of Paris almost a century ago, the Dutch exotic dancer Margaretha “Gretha” MacLeod – universally known as Mata Hari – has been synonymous with female sexual betrayal. Convicted by the French of passing secrets to the enemy during the first world war, MacLeod’s prosecutors damned her as the “greatest woman spy of the century”, responsible for sending 20,000 Allied soldiers to their deaths. MacLeod’s status as both a foreigner and a divorcee, who was unrepentant about sleeping with officers of different nationalities, made her a perfect scapegoat in 1917.

Read more here:





Who Was Julie d’Aubigny - aka Mademoiselle Maupin?

From OZY comes this interesting post on 
How many duels do you think you could fight in a single day? A glimpse at one badass French swordswoman in action offers a possible answer: three. After attending a royal ball dressed as a man, and romancing and then kissing another woman on the dance floor, she was challenged by three men. She proceeded to take them on one by one, and to best all three.

“Most of the more astonishing events happened before she was 20.” While researching Goddess, [Kelly] Gardiner visited every known location of one of d’Aubigny’s most notorious exploits and pored over primary sources for information about her wily subject. What she found: a woman who flouted social convention, class, gender, marriage and the law.
Read more here @ Kelly Gardiner's website and also an interview here @ NPR
Read more about Julie d’Aubigny @ wikipedia

How the British treated 'hardcore' Mau Mau women

From the University of Cambridge:

New research on the treatment of 'hardcore' female Mau Mau prisoners by the British in the late 1950s sheds new light on how ideas about gender, deviancy and mental health shaped colonial practices of punishment.
The research, published in the Journal of Eastern African Studies, was conducted by Gates Cambridge Scholar Katherine Bruce-Lockhart and is the first study to make use of new material on a camp in Gitamayu used to hold "hardcore" female detainees.
Bruce-Lockhart is interested in the treatment of "hardcore" Mau Mau women in the final years of the Emergency Period, one that was marked by uncertainty, violence and an increasing reliance on ethno-psychiatry.
From 1954 to 1960, the British detained approximately 8,000 women under the Emergency Powers imposed to combat the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya. The majority of female detainees were held in Kamiti Detention Camp and its importance has been widely acknowledged by historians.