Caterina Sforza Occupies the Caste Sant’Angelo (August 1484)

“The city (Rome) was given up to anarchy, many houses were pillaged and destroyed, especially all that belonged to the family of the late pontiff (Sixtus IV)… In the palace of Girolamo, they found little of value, as all the treasures had been safely carried to Forli, but they tore down the marble doorways, the carvings and all they could not remove they destroyed…
Caterina, being in possession of the citadel, Girolamo was able to make terms with the cardinals, and insist upon his arrears of pay, some 4000 ducats, and a safe conduct for himself and family to Forli.”

(via isabelladeste:)

Catherine de Medici {13 April 1519 - 5 January 1589}

Queen Consort and Queen Regent of France. Also known less flatteringly as Madame la Serpente, the Maggot from Italy’s tomb and Queen Jezebel

Even during, and well after, her lifetime, Catherine (Italian- born Caterina) remains a figure of controversy for historians. The image of this woman, dressed in black in mourning for her husband, and known for a certain ruthlessness when wielding power, has remained more or less a figure of blame and cause for the turbulent events that occurred during her reign and the reigns of her sons. But despite the negativity that shrouds her, Catherine has, and will remain, a woman who cannot be over-looked and is marked out as one of the most powerful rulers of the early modern age.

Daughter of Lorenzo II de’ Medici and Madeleine de la Tour d’Auvergne, her early life was mainly placed in the care of her grandmother and then aunt until the revolt against the Medici family happened in 1527. As a hostage, Catherine was placed in a series of convents where she found “a corner of calm from the raging world outside” and it was here in these convents that she learnt all the graces and skills she would need later in life. She remained hidden away until Florence was taken back with the help of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. The most terrifying moment of Catherine’s life so far was when angry voices shouted out for her execution and humiliation as the siege of Florence continued. Soon after, Pope Clement VII arranged for Catherine’s marriage to Henry of Orleans - a match that tied Italy and France.

However, Clement’s death some time later jeopardised Catherine’s new position in the French court. Since she had no real prestige herself, her reliance on Clement’s power had been her main source of political leverage. With him gone, questions were being raised. But Catherine’s new father-in-law, King Francis, seemed to be taken with the young woman and regarded her fondly which eased some of Catherine’s fears. Though Catherine loved her husband deeply and bore him a son (after there was some speculation that she was barren) he was distant with her. Unfortunately for Catherine, there was already another that her husband loved, the beautiful Diane de Poitiers, a woman who would rival her in every way until Henry’s death.

In 1547, Henry took over the throne of France but Catherine, though Queen, seemed to remain the forgotten wife whilst Diane was ever-present. Catherine and Henry would have ten children all together, seven of them surviving infancy. Catherine was nothing if not a devoted mother, though sometimes felt too much. She loved her sons in particular but her relationship with her daughter, Margaret, on the other hand was difficult and Catherine had Margaret cut out of her will later on.

It has been often felt that though three of her sons may have been kings, the real power was with Catherine. When Henry died in 1559, their son, Francis II, became king. Now Catherine seized the opportunity for power and influenced her son in his decisions. But by now, religious tensions were rising dramatically in France and Catherine had a great deal of difficulty in keeping the peace between the factions. When Francis died, her other son, Charles XI was too young and so she became queen regent.

The French Wars of Religion that would last thirty years stained the royal family and particularly Catherine. Already there were accusations of Catherine, in the Italian fashion, had been poisoning some of her rivals, but it would be the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre that would severely damage her. Catherine’s role in this has often placed her as the sole perpetrator, yet as Leonie Frieda points out, “when the admittedly terrible events of 24 August 1572 in Paris are placed in their proper historical context, however, I believe they can be explained in terms of a surgical operation that went wrong rather than an act of pre-meditated genocide.” It was easy to put all of the blame at the foreign Queen Mother that had, over the years, faced great opposition and political and religious turmoil.

Catherine’s third son, Henry III, who became king in 1574, was her favourite but Catherine’s hold over him was not as strong as it had been with his brothers. Catherine travelled around the country in hope for keeping the peace though she knew it would only take a small spark to set off another revolt. Her last days were spent at the Château de Blois and she died before her son would be assassinated a few months later. She was buried at Blois because Paris was being held by opposing forces then later moved to Saint-Denis basilica. Her bones would later be thrown into a mass grave during the 1790s by a revolutionary mob.

“Rather than deeming her evil, it would be equally mistaken to label Catherine as a victim of her terrible circumstances. She was, above all, a courageous survivor and a true product of her times…A sceptic at heart and a pragmatist by nature, neither morals nor remorse encumbered her fight for the survival of her children, her dynnasty and France.” - Leonie Frieda

(via isabelladeste:)

Happy  Birthday Queen Elizabeth I

She was the Queen without any help from a king for 45 years. Don’t let anyone tell you a woman can’t run shit.

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Acre in 1291, when conquered by the Mamluks.

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Bust of Tutankhamun Found in His Tomb, 1922. 

The head of Tutankhamun emerging from a child lotus flower evocation of the permanent regeneration of the King. The tomb of Tutankhamun (1340-1331 BC) was discovered by Howard Carter in November of 1922. The Pharaoh died at age 19, his mummy was laid in a coffin of solid gold, placed inside two wood coffins. These three coffins were in a sarcophagus with a lid of quartzite red granite. Around the sarcophagus, fitted together into each other, 4 chapels of gilded wood which fully occupied the sarcophagus chamber.

(via magictransistor:)

Mysterious graffiti in the Tower of London, carved by Hew Draper, a Bristol innkeeper, accused of sorcery, dated 1561 (photo HRP)

HEW DRAPER OF BRISTOW (Bristol) MADE THIS SPEER THE 30 DAYE OF MAYE, 1561

A zodiac wheel with a plan of the days of the week and the hours of the night on the right.

(via bluecrowcafe: / irisharchaeology:)

James Basire, egyptian & greek script of the Rosetta Stone, 1810. Engraving. Society of Antiquaries of London. Via NYPL
The Rosetta stone is dated 196 BC, made in Memphis, Egypt. The stone was brought to England in 1802 during the Napoleonic Wars and has since then been on display in the British Museum. It shows three scripts with the same text: the code of the hieroglyphs could be cracked in 1822.
(via design-is-fine:) James Basire, egyptian & greek script of the Rosetta Stone, 1810. Engraving. Society of Antiquaries of London. Via NYPL
The Rosetta stone is dated 196 BC, made in Memphis, Egypt. The stone was brought to England in 1802 during the Napoleonic Wars and has since then been on display in the British Museum. It shows three scripts with the same text: the code of the hieroglyphs could be cracked in 1822.
(via design-is-fine:) James Basire, egyptian & greek script of the Rosetta Stone, 1810. Engraving. Society of Antiquaries of London. Via NYPL
The Rosetta stone is dated 196 BC, made in Memphis, Egypt. The stone was brought to England in 1802 during the Napoleonic Wars and has since then been on display in the British Museum. It shows three scripts with the same text: the code of the hieroglyphs could be cracked in 1822.
(via design-is-fine:)

James Basire, egyptian & greek script of the Rosetta Stone, 1810. Engraving. Society of Antiquaries of London. Via NYPL

The Rosetta stone is dated 196 BC, made in Memphis, Egypt. The stone was brought to England in 1802 during the Napoleonic Wars and has since then been on display in the British Museum. It shows three scripts with the same text: the code of the hieroglyphs could be cracked in 1822.

(via design-is-fine:)

Royal finger rings from anglo-saxon England belonging to King Ethelwulf and his daughter Queen Ethelswith 828-858 A.D.

(via yeaverily:)

(Source: britishmuseum.org)

The seven liberal arts taught as basic studies in medieval universities are personified here as elegant young women dressed at the height of fashion.
Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Music, Geometry, Arithmetic, and Astronomy all line up headed by Philosophy. They hold in their hands clues as to which studies they represent.
Philosophy Presenting the Seven Liberal Arts to Boethius, about 1460 - 1470, Attributed to the Coetivy Master. J. Paul Getty Museum.
(via thegetty:) The seven liberal arts taught as basic studies in medieval universities are personified here as elegant young women dressed at the height of fashion.
Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Music, Geometry, Arithmetic, and Astronomy all line up headed by Philosophy. They hold in their hands clues as to which studies they represent.
Philosophy Presenting the Seven Liberal Arts to Boethius, about 1460 - 1470, Attributed to the Coetivy Master. J. Paul Getty Museum.
(via thegetty:) The seven liberal arts taught as basic studies in medieval universities are personified here as elegant young women dressed at the height of fashion.
Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Music, Geometry, Arithmetic, and Astronomy all line up headed by Philosophy. They hold in their hands clues as to which studies they represent.
Philosophy Presenting the Seven Liberal Arts to Boethius, about 1460 - 1470, Attributed to the Coetivy Master. J. Paul Getty Museum.
(via thegetty:) The seven liberal arts taught as basic studies in medieval universities are personified here as elegant young women dressed at the height of fashion.
Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Music, Geometry, Arithmetic, and Astronomy all line up headed by Philosophy. They hold in their hands clues as to which studies they represent.
Philosophy Presenting the Seven Liberal Arts to Boethius, about 1460 - 1470, Attributed to the Coetivy Master. J. Paul Getty Museum.
(via thegetty:)

The seven liberal arts taught as basic studies in medieval universities are personified here as elegant young women dressed at the height of fashion.

Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Music, Geometry, Arithmetic, and Astronomy all line up headed by Philosophy. They hold in their hands clues as to which studies they represent.

Philosophy Presenting the Seven Liberal Arts to Boethius, about 1460 - 1470, Attributed to the Coetivy Master. J. Paul Getty Museum.

(via thegetty:)

Merit-Ptah circa 2700 BCE

Art by J Bea Young (twitter, tumblr)

Merit-Ptah is the first woman known by name in the history of science.  Little is known of her life, but according to the tomb her son created for her in Egypt, Merit-Ptah was “the chief physician.”

A handful of physicians are known by name from this early period and there is some debate over the exact timeline.  Merit-Ptah’s life likely overlapped with that of Imhotep, the man most often considered the first named physician in history.  Another male physician, Hesy-Ra, is believed to have lived at around the same time as Merit-Ptah and Imhotep.  Peseshet is sometimes named as the first female physician, but she is likely at least a generation younger than Merit-Ptah, Imhotep, and Hesy-Ra. 

Peseshet was referred to as the “lady overseer of the female physicians” during the Fourth Dynasty of ancient Egypt.  This shows there were a number of female medical professionals working in Egypt 4,600 years ago.  Peseshet is believed to have been involved in gynecological and obstetrical training at the ancient Egyptian medical school at Sais.  An inscription at Sais gives insight to the training of early medical practitioners: "I have come from the medical school at Heliopolis, and have studied at the woman’s school at Sais where the divine mothers have taught me how to cure disease.”

(via coolchicksfromhistory:)

The Aztec calendar stone as photographed in 1889

[Abadiano’s cast of the Aztec calendar stone], 1889, Dionisio Abadiano. Getty Research Institute.

(via thegetty:)

Next month, scientists will meet to mark the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the La Madeleine mammoth – an engraving on ivory that proves humans had lived alongside these prehistoric creatures. More of this story

Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP

(via guardian:)

Pearls - Jewels of the Sea

an exhibition by the V&A and the Qatar Museums Authority exploring the history of pearls from the early Roman Empire through to present day