Special Sub-Topic: Love Makes the World Go Round
|Iiti. I was a queen, the last of my line. I fell in love with a very powerful man, and we had a son together, even though he was married. When he was killed, I fell for one of his best friends and married him. My husband committed suicide after having been defeated in battle, and when I heard the news, I also committed suicide. Who am I? |
Cleopatra. Iiti is ancient Egyptian for hello. Cleopatra VII was the last Egyptian Pharaoh. When her father, Ptolemy XII, died, she married her brother Ptolemy XIII (the old Egyptians didn't think of that as incest - they saw it as a way of preserving the blood royal!). They were enthroned as co-rulers in the spring of 51 BC. She was 18, Ptolemy was only 10, so it was easy for her to be the dominant partner. It wasn't long before Ptolemy XIII was pretty well out of the picture - Cleopatra alone was featured on the coins, for instance. This did not go down well with the very bureaucratic court, and in 51 BC, Cleopatra was forced to flee the country, leaving Ptolemy in charge. Ptolemy, who wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, did a very stupid thing in 48 BC - he messed with Rome, the strongest nation in the world. He had Julius Caesar's enemy Pompey killed as a way of ingratiating himself with the mighty Roman leader. Caesar was not pleased with this act of treachery. He invaded Egypt, and Ptolemy met his death by drowning (which was probably better than his fate would have been at the hands of Caesar). Caesar restored Cleopatra to the throne, with her younger brother Ptolemy XIV as husband and co-ruler. Caesar, smitten by Cleo's charms, stayed on in Egypt for the winter, became Cleopatra's lover and fathered her son, Caesarion. After Caesar was assassinated, Cleopatra took up with Mark Antony, by whom she had twins and another son. Meantime, young Ptolemy XIV had died (rumour has it that he was poisoned by his sister-wife) and Cleopatra reigned supreme with her son Caesarion as co-ruler. She and Mark Antony married according to the Egyptian rite, even though he already had a wife in Rome. When Mark Antony was defeated in battle by Octavian, Caesar's heir, he fell on his sword (the approved method for suicide in the Patrician class of Rome), and shortly thereafter, Cleopatra also committed suicide by allowing an asp to bite her. Caesarion was executed by Octavian, and the three younger children were taken to Rome where they were raised by Antony's wife Fulvia, which was a nice thing for her to do, don't you agree? The clue about the needle? When you visit London, you'll see the obelisk known as Cleopatra's Needle on the Thames Embankment.
|Madainn mhath. I was a queen in my own right, and I married the crown prince of another country. Unfortunately, he died not long after he ascended the throne, so I returned to my own land. By the time I was 25, I was already on my third marriage! I was beheaded by my cousin. Do you know who I am? (My first name, family name and my title, please.)|
Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots & Mary, Queen of Scots. Madainn mhath is Scottish Gaelic for hello. Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, was only six days old when she became Queen of Scotland (her father James V died of cholera when he was only 30). When she was five, her French mother Mary of Guise took her to France to be raised at the French court so that she would be a suitable bride for the Dauphin of France. Francois and Mary were married in 1558, when she was 16. Francois had always been a sickly child, and he died two years into the marriage. Mary returned to Scotland, a widow at 18, to take up her duties as Queen of the Scots. In 1565, Mary weakened her already tenuous relationship with her cousin-Queen, Elizabeth I of England, by impetuously marrying 19-year-old Lord Henry Darnley, son of the Earl of Lennox, an English subject in line for the English succession. Elizabeth was miffed. She felt Darnley should have asked her permission to marry the Queen of Scots because any child of Henry and Mary would have a very strong claim to the English throne. (Darnley and Mary had the same grandmother in Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, and the same great-grandfather in Henry VII. Indeed, their son James succeeded both his mother Mary and his cousin Elizabeth to become James I of England and VI of Scotland). Henry, who was a bit of a drip, soon lost Mary's love, and eventually his life at the hands of a powerful faction led by James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell. Bothwell was not only a ringleader in the murder of Darnley but also kidnapped the Queen and forced her to marry him in 1567 (by Protestant rites). It's my considered opinion that Mary didn't need a heck of a lot of forcing to marry the manly, domineering Bothwell, who must have been something of a relief after the first two weaklings who had been her husbands. The other Scottish lords, however, did not take kindly to this marriage, and Mary was forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son. In 1568, she fled to England to seek the protection of Elizabeth who promptly imprisoned her. Bothwell escaped to Denmark, where he too was imprisoned. He died, insane, in 1578. Mary, as we all know, was beheaded at Fotheringay in 1587.
Mary Trivia You Might Not Know: 1) Mary was no dainty little creature - she was almost six feet tall! 2) In the Vatican archives there is an unfinished petition for the canonization of Mary as a saint (despite that marriage using Protestant rites). 3) Mary supposedly invented the word 'caddy' for the person who carries the golf clubs. She enjoyed a round of golf, and always referred to the servant who carried her golf bag as her cadet, which, to Scottish ears, sounded like caddy. 4) Two of her husbands - Darnley and Bothwell - were the sons of men who had sought her mother's hand in marriage.
|Yassou. I, too, was a queen. However, I fell in love with a prince from a neighbouring city-state and ran away with him, leaving behind my husband and my little daughter. My husband declared war on my lover's state, swearing to kill the two of us. However, when my husband proved victorious, he found he could not kill me because my legendary beauty overwhelmed him. Who am I? |
Helen of Troy. Yassou is Greek for hello. Most of the story of Helen (the Face that Launched a Thousand Ships) and Paris of Troy belongs in the realm of myth and legend, although there may actually have been a city called Troy. The ruins of a Bronze Age city were discovered in the late nineteenth century by the German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann, and he declared them to be the ruins of Troy (the jury, incidentally, is still out on that). Helen was a daughter of Zeus (see, told you that most of this story was myth!) and she was married to Menelaus, King of Sparta, with whom she had a daughter Hermione. However, when the handsome Prince Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, came calling, Helen abandoned her husband and child and took off with him. (Evidently it was all meant to be because Aphrodite, the goddess of love, had arranged it - more myth!) If you want the full story wade through Homer's 'Iliad' and 'Odyssey'. There's too much of it to fit in this small space.
|Dydd da, dydh da, demad. I am yet another queen. I was married to a great and noble warrior king, but I fell in love with one of his knights. Our love affair has been the subject of poems, stories, plays, operas - even a musical. Who am I?|
Guinevere. Dydd da is hello in Welsh, dydh da is hello in Cornish, and demad is hello in Breton. Arthur and Guinevere may or may not have existed, but certainly not in the way that the legends depict them. If they did exist, it would have been in the 5th century AD, a far cry from the mediaeval-style court of Camelot. I thought it appropriate to use the greeting in the ancient Celtic languages which would have been spoken by them. Arthur was most likely a Roman-Brython chieftain, living around the time of the twilight of the Roman Empire, in Brittany (where some of the Brythons fled when the Saxons invaded England after the Romans left), southwestern England (Cornwall) or Wales. The legend crops up in all those places. The earliest mention of an Arthur figure is in Wales in the late 6th century. Countless poets have written about the legendary Arthur - the Welsh poets Aneurin and Taliesin, Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century, Sir Thomas Mallory in the 15th century - all the way up to Tennyson in the 19th century. Guinevere is the French version of the Welsh name Gwynhwfar, meaning "Fair One". The love story of Lancelot and Guinevere is a later addition, inserted into the legend after the 12th century. Lancelot's name possibly derives from the name of a Celtic prince, Llenlleawg. The wonderful mediaeval romance of Arthur and his knights of the Round Table, the quest for the Holy Grail and all the rest is mere myth. Great stories, though!
|Shalom. I was living in exile with my uncle, when I was chosen as his bride by the king of that country. I was instrumental in saving my people from a wicked plot, and they celebrate me to this day. Who am I?|
Esther & Hadassah. Shalom is Hebrew for hello, and Esther (or, in Hebrew, Hadassah) was the niece of Mordecai, and they were Jews of the Diaspora. They lived in Susa in Persia when Ahasuerus was king. Ahasuerus had a bit of a battle of wills with his beautiful and haughty queen Vashti. She defied an order of his - in front of the whole court and visiting dignitaries, yet! His advisors, misogynists to a man, told Ahaseurus that Vashti should be deposed and banished, and that he should find himself a new queen, one who would be more aware of her wifely duty to her lord and master the king! You can read the whole story of Esther, a nice Jewish girl, and how she came to be the wife of the Persian king in the Bible. The Book of Esther comes right after the Book of Nehemiah and right before the Book of Job in the Old Testament. The last part of the story is told in the Book of Esther found in the Apocrypha (you'll need a non-Protestant Bible for an Apocrypha). A wicked courtier named Haman convinced Ahaseurus that the Jews in Persia were enemies of the state and they should be done to death (actually he just wanted to get his hands on their money and property). King Ahaseurus sent out an edict to that effect, but Esther turned the tables on Haman by convincing Ahaseurus that he had been fed a pack of lies by the nefarious Haman. By this time, Ahaseurus was so deeply in love with his virtuous wife that he took her at her word, and the upshot was that the edict was rescinded, Haman was hanged, Uncle Mordecai became Ahaseurus' right hand man in his place, and the Jews in Persia were left in peace. Thus Queen Esther saved her people and that's why Jews around the world celebrate Purim and eat hamentaschen, delicious little three cornered pastries filled with apricots, dates or any other fruit filling. (Hamentaschen means Haman's pockets).
|Dia dhuit. When I was yet a child, a great king chose me to be his bride. He gave my nurse instructions to raise me in such a manner that I would be a fit queen for him. I did not want to be tied to an old man, which is what he would be when I was old enough to marry, so before he could claim me, I ran away with a young prince with whom I had fallen in love. We married and had seven years of wedded bliss before the old king's spies tracked us down. My young husband was killed in battle against the old king, and I committed suicide. Who am I? |
Deirdre. Dia dhuit is Irish Gaelic for hello, and John M. Synge wrote a wonderful play called 'Deirdre of the Sorrows', based on the story of King Conchobar, Deirdre and Naoise (a prince of Ulster who was Conchobar's nephew). (** Funtrivia member mnbates tells me that the play was unfinished when Synge died, and it was completed by his widow Molly.) When she was born, a druid predicted that Deirdre would be the most beautiful woman in Ireland and that kings would wage war for her love and die. If you read the play by Synge you'll find that everything turned out just the way that old druid predicted. After Naoise was killed, Deirdre either died of grief or she committed suicide by leaning out her chariot and dashing her head against a rock. Whichever version you believe, you'll understand why Synge called his play 'Deirdre of the Sorrows'. **mnbates gave me added information on another possible ending to Deirdre's sorrowful story - in this version she stabbed herself and fell into Naoise's grave.
|Bonjour. I was born and raised in Martinique and married a French aristocrat. Unfortunately, my husband was guillotined during the French revolution. I escaped that fate and later married a hero of the revolution. Who am I? (Just my first name, please.) |
Josephine. Bonjour, of course, is hello in French. Josephine was born Marie Josephe Rose Tascher de la Piagerie on her family's plantation in Martinique in 1763. When she was 16 she accompanied her father to France, to be married to Alexandre, Vicomte de Beauharnais, a distant relative. The marriage was not overly happy, but it produced two children, Eugene and Hortense. Alexandre met his end on the guillotine in 1794, leaving Josephine practically destitute since all his property had been confiscated. Josephine escaped her husband's fate, and quickly allied herself with the revolutionaries. She became the mistress of several leading politicians and was serving in that capacity to Paul-Francois Barras, executive leader of the Directoire, when she met Napoleon Bonaparte in 1795. There is some reason to believe that Barras, fed up with Josephine's spendthrift ways, engineered her romance with the young military hero who was six years her junior. Be that as it may, Napoleon and Josephine were married on March 10, 1796. She loved him, no doubt, but not with the intensity with which he loved her. Many of his passionate letters to her survive, while few of hers to him are extant. Either she wrote seldom or she just didn't feel the pangs of separation caused by his military endeavours to the same degree that he did. The only dissension between them was caused by her debts, until she embarked on a love affair with one Hippolyte Charles. Napoleon was crushed, and retaliated by having a love affair of his own with Pauline Bellisle Foures, the wife of one of his junior officers in Egypt. The Bonapartes patched things up, however, and life at Malmaison, their home in the suburbs of Paris, continued as before. In 1804, Napoleon was crowned Emperor of France, with Josephine as his Empress. However, by 1809 it was obvious that Josephine, now 46, was never going to give him the son he needed to succeed him, and in January, 1810, they were divorced in a solemn ceremony, the first couple to divorce under the new French law. Napoleon married Princess Marie Louise of Austria two months later and at the end of 1810, the new Empress presented the Emperor with his longed-for son and heir. Despite the divorce, Josephine and Napoleon remained on friendly terms. She died in 1814 at Malmaison and is buried nearby.
|Buon giorno. I was not quite 14 when I met the love of my life. Unfortunately, his parents and mine were sworn enemies. We were married secretly, but died shortly thereafter. Who am I? |
Juliet. Buon giorno is hello in Italian. I don't have to go into a lot of explanation about Juliet and her Romeo, do I? It has to be the most famous love story in the world. Still, I can offer some interesting information about the story's origins. The earliest known version of this sad tale is Masuccio Salernitano's 'Il Novelino'. In Salernitano's story, the young lovers are Mariotto and Gianozza and they live in Siena. Around 1530, a fellow named Luigi da Porto wrote a book called 'Istoria novellamente ritrovata di due Nobili Amante' which contained another version of the story called 'Giulietta e Romeo'. He set the tale in Verona, and gave his lovers the family names Montecchi and Cappelletti. Matteo Bandello adapted da Porto's story in his 1554 book 'Novelle', and called it 'Giuletta e Romeo'. Bandello's story found its way to England where a fellow named Arthur Brooke translated it and adapted it as a narrative poem entitled 'The Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet', which was published in 1562. Shakespeare, never one to pass up a good story idea, based his play on Brooke's poem. He followed the story line closely but fleshed out several of the major and minor characters, particularly the Nurse and Mercutio. It is also known that several Italian acting troupes were in London at the same time that Shakespeare was writing, performing a play based on Bandello's work. It would seem that copyright laws in those days were not as stringent as they are now! By the way, I gave balcony as a clue because of the famous balcony scene. You know the one, where Juliet says "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" Contrary to popular interpretation, Juliet's not asking Romeo where he is (she'd have to be blind not to see him standing below her balcony in the moonlight!). She's asking him "Why art thou Romeo (Montague)?" She even suggests that Romeo change his name ("Deny thy father and refuse thy name") That's because she knew that Old Dad Capulet would never give his little girl permission to marry the son of his sworn enemy, Romeo's dad Mr. Montague.
|Goede dag. I was a very tiny princess and spoiled rotten by my parents. I had refused to marry the ruler of a neighbouring country because I felt he was low born. Naturally, he was ticked off, so he came after me in rather a high-handed fashion! Of course, I fell in love with the brute on the spot, and eventually we married and lived happily ever after (for the most part, anyway) as king and queen of a great country. Who am I? (Just my first name, please, either in full or the diminutive.)|
Matilda & Mathilda & Maud. Goede dag is Flemish for good day, which is much the same as hello. Matilda of Flanders (c.1031-1083), usually called Maud, was the daughter of Count Baldwin V of Flanders and his wife Adele Capet, who was the daughter of the King of France. Maud, who stood a mere 4'2", was much indulged by her doting parents and they allowed her to choose whom she would marry rather than choosing a husband for her (most unusual parental behaviour for that day and age). When the powerful Duke William of Normandy sent emissaries to her father's court in Bruges, seeking Maud's hand in marriage, the pint-sized princess sent them away with a flea in their ear telling them she considered herself rather too well-born to consider throwing herself away on a man born out of wedlock! She was, after all, descended from the English king Alfred the Great (you know, the chappie who burned the cakes and routed the Danes). William was not best pleased with the feisty little woman's response, so he rode all the way from Normandy to Bruges, encountered Maud on her way to church, took hold of her long braids, dragged her from her horse, threw her on the ground, (in front of her startled servants), and rode off without so much as a backward glance. (One version of this rough wooing has William whipping her with her own riding cropo as well.) Maud was enchanted. They were married in 1052, over the protestations of the Pope who said they were too closely related. Maud was 19, William was 24. They must have presented an interesting picture - as I said, she was only 4'2", while he was 5'10" (very tall for a man of that time). She was the shortest Queen of England on record. They had ten children together, and when William was preparing to invade England in 1066, Maud presented him with a fully outfitted ship called the Mora, paid for out of her own pocket. After Maud died in 1083, William became morose and tyrannical and his people felt that it was because he no longer had Maud with whom to match wits. He died four years later and was buried beside his wife at St. Stephen's in Caen, Normandy.
|Yassou. Mine is a sad story. I fell in love with a very vain young man who spurned me. I pined away, but you can still hear me calling in hills and valleys. Who am I?|
Echo. Again, yassou is Greek for hello, and Echo was a Greek nymph who was a maidservant to Hera, wife of the god Zeus. One of Echo's duties was to keep Hera entertained with long, amusing stories while Zeus snuck off to amuse himself with other women and nymphs. When Hera found out how she had been duped, she was furious and punished Echo by taking away her powers of speech, leaving her with only the ability to repeat what others said. Then she banished Echo from the Olympian court. Ashamed, Echo lived alone in the hills, far away from people. One day she saw a very handsome young man who was tracking a stag in the hills. His name was Narcissus, an he was the object of the affections of many, both male and female. Echo fell madly in love with him. Narcissus spurned all advances, including those of Echo. Heartbroken, she spent the rest of her lonely life pining for Narcissus, wasting away until only her pathetic little voice remained, still repeating what others say. Narcissus eventually got his come uppance. One of his admirers declared his undying love for Narcissus, so Narcissus sent him a sword and said 'Prove it'. The suitor killed himself, but not before calling down divine retribution on Narcissus. The goddess Aphrodite who didn't like people monkeying around with her gift of love responded(in some versions it is Artemis, goddess of the hunt, who takes issue with Narcissus, though why she should care is beyond me). whichever goddess it was, she caused Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection in a still pool. Realizing that he had fallen in love, but that his love could never be requited, Narcissus stabbed himself in the heart. On the spot where he died a beautiful white flower grew, which we call Narcissus. (You could see that one coming, couldn't you?) I used bats as a hint because bats use echo location to 'see' in the dark.
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