Women in history

Treading the streets of the first town in Sweden

There are rune stones mentioning Sigtuna, so we can safely say that today’s stop on our exploration of the lesser-known aspects of Sweden is old. Like very old, even if these days the theories that Sigtuna was founded on a place hallowed to Odin are dismissed as fanciful. Instead, Sigtuna is thought to mean “marshy …

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A very wicked woman

Not all medieval women were paragons of virtue. Not all that surprising as I’d hazard the paragons among us were as much of a minority back then as they are now, but still. Today’s protagonist falls in the category, mean, cruel and generally bad-ass, at least if we’re to believe her near-contemporary Orderic Vitalis, who …

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The queen who took down the empress

Some time ago, I published a post about that rather impressive lady Matilda of Flanders who married William the Conqueror and thereby became the matriarch of the Norman kings. Today, I thought we’d spend some time with her namesake, the equally impressive Matilda of Boulogne. This Matilda was born in 1105 or thereabouts. Her father, …

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Isabel of Portugal – or how one portrait inspired +2000 words

This post started with a picture. If we’re going to be quite correct, it didn’t even start with the picture relevant to this post, but with another picture by the same artist. The artist in question is one Rogier van der Weyden, and he’s been dead for so long likely even his bones have turned …

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