Tag Archives: Elizabeth

Snow White and the Huntsman, Part 2

The Evil Queen in History and the First Time I Ever Heard of Her (bc I know you’re dieing to hear about that)

The evil Queen’s methods of maintaining her youth and power are rather similar to those attributed to Erzsébet Báthory, a Hungarian Countess living in the mid 1500’s to early 16oo’s. (Julie Delpy directed and starred in a wonderful movie about her, called “The Countess”, in 2009) Mind you, historians find the whole assertion of her bathing in virgins’ blood highly questionable. (To find out more about the views of historians and the times Erzsebet lived in, click here.)

The first time that I heard of the Countess was when, as a pre-schooler, I traveled to Slovakia…I was in the backseat of our car with my grandmother when we stopped at a border and she leaned towards me and said:”We’re entering the realm of the Countess. They say that she used to kill young women and girls and bathe in their blood”. The first part of that sentence seized up my brain; the second part, contorted my body. “Why?!” “So that she could stay young and beautiful.” “Why are we going there then?” “Silly, she died hundreds of years ago,” grandma replied. I relaxed somewhat.

The real life castle of the Countess

Btw, do not introduce such concepts in this manner to impressionable, pensive children. They will ponder this for weeks, months, even years. Why would you kill someone and then do something so bizzarely gruesome after that? Why is it so important to  be young?

Mind you, as the wrinkles start to creep in, I think, I’m finally starting to wrap my brain around the concept….really, I need to sensor myself more…or else people will start to believe me and come with their torches and pitch forks and there’s nothing worse than mob mentality as Erzsebet found out….

P.S. on Monday we’re going to have a great book review by Randi O’Hare, a guest reviewer from London, Ontario. 😀

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Queen Elizabeth’s Wooden Teeth and Other Historical Fallacies by Andrea Barham

For someone who’s a bit of a history buff and an “uncoverer of truth”, this was an interesting find.

While I did know that the Vikings did not have horns on their helmets, I was not aware that there were female gladiators in ancient Rome. A gladiatrix (I’ve never even heard the word before) was rare and was, generally, a thrill-seeker from the upper classes.

  • Queen Victoria’s first name was Alexandrina.
  • Napoleon was not short. He was 5’6 to 5’7, which was average for a man of his time.
  • Lady Godiva did not ride through the streets of Coventry in the nude.
  • The Pythagorean Theorem predates Pythagoras.

But, mostly, I learned about the misconceptions that I didn’t even know existed (and, thus, more about history in general). For example, King Cnut, an 11th century ruler, did not try to hold back the tide to prove that he was all powerful. That was just a bunch of bad PR, written about him after his time had passed. (Not surprised! History is a lot of PR.) And Dr. Livingstone did not get lost in the Congo. And who is Mrs. Beeton?

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P.S. I will be giving away this book…check back on May 15th.

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