• Arachidamia of Sparta

    The Greeks did not have a good track record on women’s rights in the ancient world.  However, there was an anomaly in a strange place.  The city-state of Sparta was not generally a tolerant place.  Men were expected to give life long service to the military and boys were separated from their families to build esprit de corps.  A coming of age ritual was killing a slave and not getting caught.  It was a messed up place. (For more on the Spartans, please see these posts:  http://www.historynaked.com/leonidas-unlikely-king/ and http://www.historynaked.com/historical-inaccuracies-300/ )  However,  women there were given extraordinary rights.  This was because the men were off fighting and the women were left…

  • The Valiant Ladies of Potosí

    When the Spanish “discovered” South America, they were thrilled to find a plethora of precious metals to take.  The heart of the silver boom was the town of Potosí, in what is now Bolivia.  At the time it was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru and was known as Alto Peru.  There was so much money there that the theory is that the mint mark of Potosí, which was the letters “PTSI” all written over each other, is the origin of the dollar sign.  The very name meant money, and a common Spanish expression is “vale un Potosí”, which is literally translated to “to be worth a Potosí” and means…

  • Isabel MacDuff Comyn-  The Lady in the Cage

    As I have said before, do not mess with a Scottish woman.  This is the story of a woman who did her duty to her country and her king and paid the price.  A price that seems like it’s out of a fairy tale or a horror movie, but paid it she did.  This is the story of Isabel MacDuff Comyn, a patriot of Scotland. Isabel was born to Duncan Macduff, the Earl of Fife, and Johanna de Clare.  The date of her birth isn’t recorded and estimates range from 1270 to 1285.  Her father was murdered by his classman in 1299, and Johanna and Isabel’s younger brother also named…

  • Pingyang and the Army of the Lady

    Princess Pingyang was born in 600 to Li Yuan, a peasant who had risen through the army to become a commander.  She was the only daughter to him and his second wife Duchess Dou.  She did have two older sisters from Li Yuan’s first marriage, however, Pingyang spent more time with her four brothers.  As was customary, she was given in marriage when she was quite young.  Her chosen husband was Cai Shao, the son of the Duke of Julu.  By all reports, Pingyang was a dutiful and loving daughter, sister and wife.  However, her loyalty was put to the test when everything went sideways. During this time, China was…

  • Tamar of Georgia-  Queen of Kings

    Despite the name, I am not talking about the state in the Southern United States.  There is a whole other country coincidentally called Georgia located on the Black Sea near Turkey.  The name “Georgia” is probably a corruption of the Persian name for the people there, gurğān.  There is also a theory put out there that the people loved the legend of St. George and the Dragon.  In any case, they were devoutly Orthodox Christian country with a reputation for being fierce warriors.  Their rulers also claimed to be descended from King David, the second king of Israel.  Yes, that David. Tamar was born in 1166 CE to King Georgi…