If I were to write the story of my life it would shock the world', Caterina Sforza, 1463-1509. As action packed as as a Game of Thrones novel, the complete life of one of Italy's most fearless women. Between her birth in 1463 as the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Milan, and her death in 1509 as a member of the powerful Medici family, the life of Caterina Sforza crossed the firmament of Renaissance Italy like a shooting star. She was painted by Botticelli, feted by Pope Sixtus IV, slandered by Macchiavelli and celebrated as a warrior who led her own troops fearlessly into battle. While defending her fortress city-state of Forli, she was prepared to sacrifice her children rather than surrender – yet she was eventually defeated, imprisoned and raped by a Borgia. Caterina Sforza bore 8 children, buried 3 husbands, and wrote a recipe book that has since been through more than 100 editions. Her youngest child became, like his mother, a brilliant soldier and a national hero. But not even the determined Caterina could have planned that her son's direct descendants would include the kings of France and of England ... Or that she herself would be reborn 600 years later as the kick-ass lead character in the multimillion-selling videogame Assassin's Creed.
the tigress of forli
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Nancy Mitford was, in the words of her sister Lady Diana Mosley, 'very, very complex'. Her highly autobiographical early work, the biographies and novels of her more mature French period, her journalism, and the vast body of letters to her family, friends such as Evelyn Waugh, and to the great love of her life, Gaston Palewski, all tell an intriguing story. Drawing from these, as well as conversations with Mitford's two surviving sisters, acquaintances and colleagues, prize-winning author Laura Thompson has fashioned a portrait of a contradictory and courageous woman. Approaching her subject with wit, perspicacity and huge affection, Thompson makes her serious points lightly, eschewing clichés about the eccentricities of the Mitford clan. Life in a Cold Climate is full of the sound of Mitfordian laughter;but tells also the often paradoxical and complex story beneath the smiling and ever elegant façade.
Who says women don’t go to war? From Vikings and African queens to cross-dressing military doctors and WWII Russian fighter pilots, these are the stories of women for whom battle was not a metaphor. The woman warrior is always cast as an anomaly—Joan of Arc, not GI Jane. But women, it turns out, have always gone to war. In this fascinating and lively world history, Pamela Toler not only introduces us to women who took up arms, she also shows why they did it and what happened when they stepped out of their traditional female roles to take on other identities. These are the stories of women who fought because they wanted to, because they had to, or because they could. Among the warriors you’ll meet are: * Tomyris, ruler of the Massagetae, who killed Cyrus the Great of Persia when he sought to invade her lands * The West African ruler Amina of Hausa, who led her warriors in a campaign of territorial expansion for more than 30 years * Boudica, who led the Celtic tribes of Britain into a massive rebellion against the Roman Empire to avenge the rapes of her daughters * The Trung sisters, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi, who led an untrained army of 80,000 troops to drive the Chinese empire out of Vietnam * The Joshigun, a group of 30 combat-trained Japanese women who fought against the forces of the Meiji emperor in the late 19th century * Lakshmi Bai, Rani of Jhansi, who was regarded as the “bravest and best” military leader in the 1857 Indian Mutiny against British rule * Maria Bochkareva, who commanded Russia’s first all-female battalion—the First Women’s Battalion of Death—during WWII * Buffalo Calf Road Woman, the Cheyenne warrior who knocked General Custer off his horse at the Battle of Little Bighorn * Juana Azurduy de Padilla, a mestiza warrior who fought in at least 16 major battles against colonizers of Latin America and who is a national hero in Bolivia and Argentina today * And many more spanning from ancient times through the 20th century. By considering the ways in which their presence has been erased from history, Toler reveals that women have always fought—not in spite of being women but because they are women.
Most of today's familiar fairy tales come from the stories of Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen, but this innovative study encourages us to explore the marvelous tales of authors from the early modern period Giovanni Straparola, Giambattista Basile, Madame Marie-Catherine D'Aulnoy, and others whose works enrich and expand the canon. As author Jo Eldridge Carney shows, the queen is omnipresent in these stories, as much a hallmark of the genre as other familiar characteristics such as the number three, magical objects, and happy endings. That queens occupy such space in early modern tales is not surprising given the profound influence of so many powerful queens in the political landscapes of early modern England and Europe. Carney makes a powerful argument for the historical relevance of fairy tales and, by exploring the dynamic intersection between fictional and actual queens, shows how history and folk literature mutually enrich our understanding of the period.
ITALY, 1492. 5-year-old Mura is a strange and bewitching child. Daughter to a Nordic mother and Spanish father, she has been tutored in both Arabic learning and the ancient myth cycles of the north. But her widower father has been arrested by the Inquisition, and Mura is sold to a Genoese slaver. In the port of Savona, Mura's androgynous looks and unusual abilities fetch a high price. She is bought as a house slave for the powerful Medici, arriving in Florence as the city prepares for war against the French. When the family are forced to flee, Mura finds herself gifted to the notorious Tigress of Forli, Countess Caterina Sforza. Beautiful, ruthless and intelligent, the Countess is fascinated by Mura's arcane knowledge. As the Tigress educates her further in the arts of alchemy, potions and poisons, she becomes much more than a lady's maid. Mura becomes a potent weapon in the Machiavellian intrigues of the Renaissance court...
A preeminent scholar of Catholicism transports readers to Rome for the traditional station churches pilgrimage, offering a vivid and informative guide to the Eternal City and the Lenten season. The annual Lenten pilgrimage to dozens of Rome's most striking churches is a sacred tradition dating back almost two millennia, to the earliest days of Christianity. Along this historic spiritual pathway, today's pilgrims confront the mysteries of the Christian faith through a program of biblical and early Christian readings amplified by some of the greatest art and architecture of western civilization. In Roman Pilgrimage, bestselling theologian and papal biographer George Weigel, art historian Elizabeth Lev, and photographer Stephen Weigel lead readers through this unique religious and aesthetic journey with magnificent photographs and revealing commentaries on the pilgrimage's liturgies, art, and architecture. Through reflections on each day's readings about faith and doubt, heroism and weakness, self-examination and conversion, sin and grace, Rome's familiar sites take on a new resonance. And along that same historical path, typically unexplored treasures-artifacts of ancient history and hidden artistic wonders-appear in their original luster, revealing new dimensions of one of the world's most intriguing and multi-layered cities. A compelling guide to the Eternal City, the Lenten Season, and the itinerary of conversion that is Christian life throughout the year, Roman Pilgrimage reminds readers that the imitation of Christ through faith, hope, and love is the template of all true discipleship, as the exquisite beauty of the Roman station churches invites reflection on the deepest truths of Christianity.