History rant — Erasing women or making them special widdle snowflakes.

I love history.

Give it to me.

Give me women rising above their rivals. Show me women being ambitious, cruel, ruthless, kind, compassionate, and everything in between. I want to see it all. I want to see triumphs and failures. For me, these women in history are more inspiring to me as a woman in the current year than many feminism works today. I’m not sure why this is or why I feel this way.

I have noticed a lot of erasure when it comes to women in history or making women who were successful into little special snowflakes. Please don’t do either. I am currently doing an assignment on Galla Placidia, who was a Theodosian princess, empress, and lets just say she had an important role on the laws that later influenced many of the courts of Europe, long after the Roman empire in the west fell.

One of the works from the 1950s describes her as being “an unusually able woman.” by Pharr. Well, to be fair, to survive in those courts you needed to have your wits about you. There were many people at court who wished to control her, and try to force a marriage with her. Euphemius, for one and Constantius for another.

Why ignore Pulcheria in the East who had been ruling on behalf of her brother? Why ignore the various educated women from the time period (to be fair, there is not a lot of information available during this time period, but still)?

The more I have been learning about history the more I’m learning about the erasure of women. It is absurd to think that women have not played a role in history or they can be achieve a great deal. As Salisbury said in her book. It says more about 1950s America than it did with the late Roman empire.

Be careful with older sources of information. Hell, be careful with current sources of information as well.

 

 

This rant was inspired by Rome’s Christian Empress, Galla Placidia Rules at the Twilight of the EmpireJoyce E. Salisbury — Check it out. It is amazing, and is likely helping me to pass this damn unit!

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Women in history: My faves

Either today or tomorrow is International Women’s day.

I was going to do a mini feature on some of the women from history who I find incredibly interesting. I am also going to do something that would make my Professor smack me with a book by not providing you with any links. You may know some of these women or you may not. Hopefully you will learn something by this.

I tend to identify more with historical Roman than with ones in the current day. It could be that it is easier to ignore their faults this way. There are many more and I plan to write number two of this at some point.

In no particular order. Here goes!

  • Zenobia, a Palmyran Queen who took on Rome and lost. It was said, she was paraded through Rome and later married a Senator. Her fate is not known. She was said to be beautiful, educated, and had the stamina to march alongside her infantry.
  • Caterina Sforza, Bold and willing to battle with Borgia Pope. What is not to love? She was not successful although I love her resilience. She was quoted as saying, “Se io potessi scrivere tutto, farei stupire il mondo” or, If I could write everything that happened, I would shock the world.
  • Khutulun, granddaughter of Ghenghis Khan. A skilled rider, rider, and archer. She would only marry a man who could out wrestle her. If she won, she got their horse and she remained unmarried while having plenty of horses.
  • Cynane, elder half-sister to Alexander the Great. She was quoted as being the following; “Cynane, the daughter of Philip was famous for her military knowledge: she conducted armies, and in the field charged at the head of them.” She was not successful in placing her daughter on the throne after Alexander died.

 

Not a lot of women. Although I thought that it would be interesting to have this as a regular feature. Four women from history will have a small snippet about them. If you would like to learn more about these women, please do so. I love reading and learning more about these women. Next time I will add in women who were not of royal or noble lineages. I already have a few more in mind.

Although I have to say. I’m curious about what women interest you and why they have sparked it.

 

Why do I love history so damn much?

Why do I love history so damn much?

This isn’t going to be a BDSM post, although I may bring up some points about it. Mainly this will be me rambling about history and my love of it.

The more I study history the more I realise that humans really haven’t changed all that much. Empires fall because of bad decisions (or timing), innocent people are led astray by tyrants, both sides will commit atrocities on the opposing side, etc. It is fascinating for me to learn about cultures and religions that have led to shaping our current day. It also makes me wonder whether humans will have another apocalyptic event. Humans become more warlike when food or other resources become scarce.

I realise this is mainly rambles and I am not using any primary or secondary sources to back up my claims or thoughts. At a later date, I will try to to add them in so people can link up to what I’m talking about. But for now… this is my venting time. 😉

Why is history shunned?

I think in some ways there is guilt associated with actions of the past. For example; colonisation, etc. There is also a bit of a snobbish element to it. It is one of the reasons why I love Mary Beard’s books because they are approachable and give a fresh, easy to understand look at history.

I think people think it’s boring — and some people like it being viewed that way.

What do I think of awful historical fiction?

I have a love and hate relationship with it.

I love that it encourages fresh viewers to read and learn more about history. I love binge watching the tv shows in my underwear while snacking on lychees. I love being snarky about the lack of historical accuracy with the costumes.

 

I hate how it teaches things that are FUCKING WRONG or leaves out important events/people/etc. For example, the white Princess is a turd of a production. It dressed itself up as the “feminist Game of Thrones”, and came out as nothing by typical high school girlesque drama. I would consider Game of Thrones depiction of women to be far more feminist than that piece of tripe because the female characters act in their own interests. Despite the world they are in.

Not that Game of Thrones is actual history. However, it is inspired by history so I’m sticking it in there.

When did my love of history start?

From my Mum. She has always been interested in history. My sister also caught the history loving bug!

Do you think history should be taught?

Absolutely!

YES!

YES!

YES!

I think it should be taught in a way that is helpful for students to learn in a supportive environment, and in a way they can relate to.

 

Anyway that is all for now.