Queen Aelfthryth || 4/6 women, history meme
The daughter of an important family in western Wessex, Aelfthryth of Devon married Edgar I of England in approximately 964. According to legend, Edgar I killed her first husband Aethelwald in a hunting “accident,” because Aethelwald had taken the beautiful bride for himself. Once queen, she was active in the nation’s affairs, and the affairs of the Church. She was also the first to be crowned and anointed as Queen of the Kingdom of England.
As the crowned and anointed queen, she felt that her son, Aethelred, was next in line for the throne. Edgar, however, had children from previous marriages (or perhaps affairs) and upon the king’s death, his eldest son Edward was crowned. Yet, a mere 3 years into his reign, Edward was stabbed to death in the Queen’s castle.
While later literature names Aelfthryth as the mastermind of the attack, the earliest accounts do not implicate her directly. Despite this, she went on to rule England as her son’s regent for nearly 6 years, until he came of age and rejected both her and her “older” allies’ councils. She retreated to the country to her son’s children by his first wife, while Aethelred went on to not be a very good king.
Despite being (probably) the first woman ruler of the Kingdom of England, she is known more as the archetypal evil stepmother. She is associated with witchcraft, adultery, seduction and murder. She is often depicted offering Edward a glass of liquid in welcome while her attendants stand in wait behind her, ready to attack. (x, x)
Aethelstan, the first king of England || 3/9 kings and queens, history meme
He ‘who fought against Anlaf and slaughtered his army and put him to flight, and afterwards with his people dwelt in peace,’ is perhaps best remembered for his famous victory over the combined forces of the kings of Dublin, Scots, and Strathclyde at ‘Brunanburh’ in 937. But Aethelstan, the favorite grandson of Alfred the Great, did much more for the land he ruled: he centralized his government, imposed coinage, and perhaps laid the foundation for its future parliament. For whatever the reason, Æthelstan’s importance as the first king of all England cannot be doubted. In the words of the 12th century poet whom William of Malmesbury quoted, this was indeed a great king, glory of his native land: ‘magnus Adelstanus, patriae decus.’ (x)
Teddy Roosevelt shot, insists on giving speech anyways (October 4, 1912)
3/10 moments, history meme
In 1861, a civil war broke out in the United States of America. The war introduced the world to the unlimited power of the latest technology in weaponry. The war between the states caused 620,000 casualties. The civil war left deep scars, but the people who rose and found light beyond the agony… would march forward toward building a new country.
Those weapons used during the American Civil War found their way to Japan. And beginning with their arrival on those black ships, the weapons would play a role in ending the Tokugawa Shogunate.
Socrates, death by hemlock (Ancient Athens, 399bc)
2/10 moments, history meme
hangeul, the korean alphabet || 3/3 inventions, history meme
The haerye says, "A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days." // "Hanguel is the alphabet that all the languages have dreamed of." - John Man
literature meme | 1/5 poets | Robert Browning
His most famous poem is My Last Duchess, in which a sinister Renaissance Italian duke tells of his marriage to the duchess, and hints that out of jealousy he had her murdered, though she is clearly innocent. Unlike most of Browning’s monologues, this poem is written, very deftly, in rhyming couplets that are concealed by the sinuous movement of the lines.
The poem fascinated Henry James, who knew Browning socially, and was amazed at how bluff, bourgeois and ordinary he appeared socially, when he was such a seer in his imaginative life. James based a short story, The Private Life, on Browning’s paradoxical nature, which also fascinated Thomas Hardy, who said his public personality was that of a smug, dissenting grocer. Probably more famous for his Romance with and marriage to Elizabeth Barrett, Browning never remarried after her death. However he was linked romantically with Lady Ashburton who, when he proposed to her, said, “We entertain our artists, Mr Browning, but we do not marry them.” (via the Daily Mail)
Alice Roosevelt Longworth || 2/6 women, history meme
When McKinley was shot, making her father president, Alice claimed to experience “sheer rapture” and then, she said, she danced a jig. The new president is quite famously known to have remarked to the writer Owen Wister: “I can be president of the United States OR I can attend to Alice. I cannot possibly do both!” After she married in a great white house ceremony, her stepmother told her, “I want you to know I am glad to see you leave. You have never been anything but trouble.”
She made that trouble wherever she went and for the rest of her life — She had married one Washington politician, but had a daughter fathered by another. She once told a certain Senator McCarthy that “the truckman, the trash man and the policemen on my block call me Alice, but you may not.” Eleanor Roosevelt, with whom Alice had a sharp but respectful rivalry, thought that Alice’s life was “one long pursuit of pleasure and excitement and rather little real happiness.” In 1974 Alice herself proudly declared on 60 minutes that she was “a hedonist.”
Upon her death in 1980, President Carter (famously snubbed by Alice) said, “She had style, she had grace, and she had a sense of humor that kept generations of political newcomers to Washington wondering which was worse—to be skewered by her wit or to be ignored by her.”
Sejong the Great || 2/9 kings and queens, history meme
King Sejong (reign: Joseon, 1418-1450) didn’t see his people as objects or toys of his governance, but believed that they possessed a limitless potential to transform, realize, and awaken themselves to greater cultural and spiritual planes. To help them achieve this, as he thought, was the real duty of kings and officials. He was a better renaissance man than any European could have dreamed to be, and one of the only two Korean rulers in history to be honored with the appellation, “the Great.”
During King Sejong’s reign, he oversaw the invention of Hangeul, the alphabet of the people, with the aim of making literacy accesible to the masses (not only did hangeul eventually succeed in this respect - providing greater literacy than in most countries where chinese characters are used - it would also strengthen Korean national identity and its letters would become symbols of national pride). His Hall of Worthies made advances in the fields of science, medicine and agriculture, designing new water clocks, a perfected Korean lunar calendar, and inventing the world’s first rain gauge. Female servants were given 130 days of maternity leave. He adjusted taxes for farmers according to fluctuations of popular prosperity, and distributed surpluses of palace crops to peasants. All the while he strove to strengthen his nation and its people, and cleanse his government of corruption.
The World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1893)
1/10 moments, history meme