Category: history

Madeleine de Scudéry’s Femmes Illustres – Julia Agrippina

Agrippina was the daughter of general Germanicus, a popular guy, and the youngest sister of future emperor Caligula, a far less popular guy, but she’s mostly famous for being the mother of emperor Nero. And we all know how that one went. She’s given credit for several assassinations in order to grant his son the […]

Madeleine de Scudéry’s Femmes Illustres – Octavia the Younger

Octavia was the eldest sister of Augustus and the fourth wife of Mark Anthony, whom she married by decree of the Senate in 40 b.C. The approval of the Senate was necessary because, at the time of the marriage, she was pregnant with her first husband, senator Gaius Claudius Marcellus, one of the most vehement […]

Madeleine de Scudéry’s Femmes Illustres – Κλοιλία

Cloelia was a woman who was allegedly taken hostage, along with other Roman women, by the Etruscan king Lars Porsena during his war against Rome around 508 b.C. In some other versions, instead of being taken hostage, she was given by the Romans as a tribute. Regardless of the version, it is said that she […]

Madeleine de Scudéry’s Femmes Illustres – Livia Drusilla

Livia was the influential and powerful second wife of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar out of her second marriage. She was his adviser and eventually she was declared a goddess by her grandson emperor Claudius. Before meeting Augustus, she was married to one Tiberius Claudius Nero, a politician and the actual father of future emperor […]

Madeleine de Scudéry’s Femmes Illustres – Πουλχερία

As narrated yesterday, Pulcheria was the sister of Theodosius II and the one who had preceded him as Empress on the throne of Costantinople while he was coming of age. She was a central political figure throughout all her life and was crucial in trying to resolve the theological conflict between the archbishop of Constantinople […]

Madeleine de Scudéry’s Femmes Illustres – Aelia Eudocia (Athenais)

Aelia Eudocia (Athens, 401 – Jerusalem, 20 October 460) was the wife of Byzantine emperor Theodosius II. She was born from a Greek philosopher and was educated in rhetoric by her father, a wealthy nobleman of Athens. The story goes that Athenais took upon herself to manage the household and raise her two brothers, when […]

Madeleine de Scudéry’s Femmes Illustres – Volumnia

Volumnia was a noblewoman and the mother of the Roman general and rebel Gaius Marcius Coriolanus. According to Titus Livius, she disapproved of her son’s rebellion against Rome and was ultimately successful, aided by her daughter-in-law Volumnia, in visiting her son’s camp and convincing him to desist in his will to launch an attack against […]

Madeleine de Scudéry’s Femmes Illustres – Lucretia

Lucretia is one of the most famous women of Roman tradition, a noblewoman whose suicide (again) prompted the overthrown of the Roman monarchy and the birth of the Republic. Her story is narrated by three main sources: Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ovid and Titus Livius. Our favourite is, of course, Ovid. As the story goes, Lucretia […]

Madeleine de Scudéry’s Femmes Illustres – Amalaswintha

Amalasuintha was the daughter of Theoderic the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, and she reigned from 526 to 535 first as regent and then, if only for just one year, as queen regnant. She was a prominent intellectual figure and is known to have spoken fluently both Latin and Greek, on top of the Gothic […]