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Sunday, May 3, 2009

History's tough mothers

The worlds' oldest profession, err, the other oldest profession.


We are the cornerstone of society, the building blocks of an empire rest on our shoulders, how we nurture the next generation makes history. This mothers day, I would like to acknowlege some of the tough mothers we might have forgotten.

Anne Boleyn:

Refusal to become Henry VIII's mistrress. Anne kept her eyes on the prize. She became Queen of England when Catherine of Aragon was evicted back to Spain.

A key figure in the English Reformation, She gave birth to one of the greatest leaders in England: Queen Elizabeth I. Sadly, the birth of a daughter became her undoing when the king wanted a son.

She was beheaded May 1536 for high treason.

When her daughter became queen, Anne was venerated as a marty and heroine of the English Reformation.

Her sister ran off with Anne's child and raised her so, Mary Boleyn deserves mention as a tough mom as well.

Olympias of Epirus:

Princess of Epirote, commander of her own army and Queen of Macedonia, Alexander the Great just called her mom.

Angry at comments that her son was an inferior hier as he wasn't of pure Macedonian blood, she told her husband Zeus fathered her baby. They divorced and her husband, king Philip of Macedonia, denied Alexander.

At the wedding of his next wife, a toast was made blessing Philip and the legitimate heirs he will have with his new bride. Philip then offered this man the hand of his daughter (with Olympias).

He was found murdered soon after and Alexander took over his father's throne.

Olympias supported her son and they were close, afer his death Olympias reared her grandchildren as warriors, plotted against ememies, and caused the deaths of usurpers.

Cruel while in control it is said she was denied burial rites after she died.

Elizabeth (Ersébeth) Bathory:

Countess of Hungary, mass murderer, occultist and mother of four.

When accused of her crimes aginst female blood the countess outsmarted her cousins attempt at a land grab and left all her property to her children, assuring thier wealth and title after her death.

She helped fund the war against the Turks and was in line to be queen of Poland.

Her son stood up for her in court. Bathory was not executed but bricked up in her room until she died four years later in 1610.


Incestuous marriage to her brother yeilded no children. Political alliances (and betrayals) bore a son to Julias Ceasar and a son as well as twins to Marc Antony.

Her reign marks the reign of the Roman Era in the Eastern Mediterranean. She rebelled against Rome and tried to fend for the best interests of Egypt.

Allied with Marc Antony they suffered a final defeat at Actuim. She killed herself.

Her beauty was not as renowned as history proclaims. In the words of Plutarch, what made Cleopatra attractive was her wit, charm and sweetenss in her tone of voice.

Coretta Scott King:

After her husband's murder in 1968, the easiest course for this lady might bave been to flee to a more tolerant part of the country and never risk raising public ire again.

Coretta might have been critcized for not protecting her children, instead she rose to the challenge of continuing her husbands work with the civil rights movement, as as well as the womens movement.

She approached Josephine Baker, an entertainer and activist, to take over her husbands place as leader of the civil rights movemement. Josephine declined, stating her children were too young to lose a mother.

Coretta stepped up to the plate herself, speaking boldly for human rights, and an end to war and poverty.

She founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center of Non Violent Social Change in Atlanta.

Any threat of violence was superceded by a desire to carve a better world for children, hers and ours.

Does motherhood bestow an occult inner strength or does the power of love transcend all forces both natural and supernatural?

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Some great examples, there. However, a couple of errors with respect to Anne Boleyn:

"She became Queen of England when Catherine of Aragon was evicted back to Spain."
Catherine of Aragon never returned to Spain. She spent the rest of her life in England, as a virtual prisoner, and died at Kimbolton Castle in 1536.

"Her sister ran off with Anne's child and raised her so, Mary Boleyn deserves mention as a tough mom as well."
No she didn't! That's a complete invention by the makers of the film, "The Other Boleyn Girl." Elizabeth had her own household from the time she was a baby, and spent her early years primarily at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, under the care of Lady Bryan, before that lady joined Prince Edward's household. (Hatfield still stands and can be visited today.) We know next to nothing about Mary Boleyn Carey's parenting - she may well have been a "tough mum," but not to Elizabeth.