| Women. Historical Figures Essay
The essential moment for understanding the highest forms of public life is explanation of that circumstance that women were equal to men both in politics, culture and private life.
Elizabeth I (1533-1603) was the Queen of England and Ireland. Nobody wanted the birth of Elizabeth I. She was 25 at the moment of her coronation. Up to the end of her life, Elizabeth I neither married officially, nor had children.
The time of reign of Elizabeth I is called the Golden Age of England, because of the increased value of England on the world scene, and the blossoming of Renaissance culture. During the reign of Elizabeth I, the drama art flowered (Shakespeare, Bacon). It was promoted by the queen, who patronized theater. She also participated in amateur theater performances. Besides, the Royal Troupe was created under Elizabeths I patronage. Elizabeth I died at the age of 69, having turned England into one of the world cultural centers and one of the strongest countries of that time.
Maria Stuart (1542 – 1547) was the Queen of Scotland, who reigned from 1561 till 1567, also the Queen of France (1559-1560) and the claimant for the English throne. She married dauphin Francisco in Notre Dame de Paris on April 24, 1558. Maria had strong influence on the king and skillfully pursued the policy favorable for Scotland. Maria Stuart was beheaded and met it with Scottish cold-bloodedness. Even before the death she refused to renounce the rights to the English throne though Elizabeth offered her freedom for it.
Catherine Medici (1519-1589) was the Queen of France from 1560-1563 and in 1574; the wife of Henry II, the King of France from the Angouleme line of the Valois dynasty. Catherine could not be called beautiful. During her arrival to Rome she was described as a red-haired, short and slim woman with bright eyes. She had typical appearance of the Medici family. She married Henry II de Valois. After his death Catherine was in mourning for her husband for thirty years and was called A black queen. The politics of Catherine Medici can be considered as a number of desperate attempts to hold a monarchy and the Valois dynasty on a throne at any cost. It is possible to argue that her sons would never keep the power without Catherine; therefore, the period of their reign is often called the years of Catherine Medici.
Ninon de Lanclos
Ninon de Lanclos (1616 – 1706) was a well-known shameless courtesan, a seducer of anothers husbands. Ninon de Lanclos belonged to the respected, rich and noble family. She obtained wonderful education, witty mind and gracefulness, noble face pallor and wonderful body forms. She died at the age of ninety in her small house. Ninon de Lanclos name, one of the most charming women of the 17th century, still remains a synonym of charm, grace and mind, uniting all the defects and virtues of her era.
Caterina Sforza (1463-1509), the countess of Forli, Galeazzo Maria Sforzas illegitimate daughter, one of the last representatives of the well-known dynasty. She was one of the best-known women of the Italian Renaissance by the nickname Tigress of Romagna. She was the countess of the city of Forli and when Cesare Borgia began to gather Italian lands, he took Forli as well. She tried to escape, but was brought to Rome and placed under the guards in Vatican. She tried to run away, but was imprisoned in the Sacred Angela Castle. After a while, however, she was released, and eight years later she quietly died in Florence. She was offered as one of the Mona Lisas real models.
Hurrem (1506-1558) was the unique woman in the sultan harem, having an official title. She was the sultana of Hasseki, and sultan Souleyman shared power with her. She was the woman who forced the sultan to forget about harem forever. Hurrem was the first woman who managed to play the role of a woman and a politician at the same time; it caused a huge irritation of a conservative-minded court. She was young, but not beautiful though looked very lovely. She devoted verses and even wrote books to the sultan. It was unknown for those times and caused fear instead of respect. Her ability to study plus the desire of sultan to spend all nights with her created a steady glory of a witch for Hurrem. Sultan married her in 1530. Hurrem was considered to be an influential person, whose behavior led to the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
Jeanne dArc (1412-1431) was the national heroine of France, one of the commanders in chief of the French troops in the Hundred Years War. Having been taken prisoner by the Burgundians, she was transferred to the Englishmen and burnt on a fire as a witch. Subsequently, she was rehabilitated and canonized by the Catholic Church. She was tall dark-haired and black-eyed girl possessing a hypnotic charm. The Englishmen have burnt Jeanne because of her success, because they thought that the Frenchmen would always be successful. During her burning, Jeanne showed her courage and confidently refuted all the accusations in heresy. At present, there is the statue of Jeanne dArc in every Catholic Church in France (Pettinger, 2007).
Diane de Poitiers
Diane de Poitiers (1499-1566) was a lover and official favorite of French king Henry II. She belonged to a noble family and was very interested in politics. She was very beautiful and her company was always pleasant. Diana was very cold at court; thus, she was called Icy Lady. There are a lot of frescos, sculptures and portraits of Diana and French king Henry II.
Isabella of France
Isabella of France (1295-1358) was called she-wolf of France. She was very beautiful; she had big eyes, milky skin and charming black hair. The beauty of Isabella was the beauty of the Snow Queen with the ambitious and haughty character; the princess frightened everybody with her coldness. People tried not to contradict her and not to meet her eyes. The young queen aspired to penetrate into all the details of the kingdoms affairs. However, she did not reign.
Isabelle dEste (1474-1539) was the wife of the Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua, the connoisseur of art and patroness of famous artists, one of the most famous women of the Italian Renaissance, who was nicknamed La Primadonna del Rinascimento. She was well-educated, very clever, passionate and smart beauty of that time.
Lucrecia Buti (1435-1510) was an Italian nun, who served in the Saint Katherine Monastery in Prato, where she met Fra Filippo Lippi. He has stolen her from the monastery and they both escaped from Pato. In 1457 she delivered a son, who, like his father, became a well-known artist. Lucrecia was the model of all the Madonnas of Fra Filippo Lippi.
Simonetta Vespucci (1453-1476) was the lover of Guiliano Medici and was considered to be the first beauty of the Florentine Renaissance. She received the title La Bella Simonetta for her beauty. She was the model of the majority of Botticellis works such as Nascita di Venere, Primavera, etc. She died at the age of 22.
Teresa de Avila
Teresa de Avila (1515-1582) was the Spanish nun, the catholic saint, the author of mystical stories, the reformer of the Carmelite order. She was interested in the biographies of the saints. At the age of 20 she escaped from her house to the monastery in which she spent her whole life. She was mentioned in the history as the reformer of the Spanish Carmelite monkhood. After the death Teresa de Avila was canonized. At present she is considered to be one of the protectors of Spain.
Nell Gwynne (1650-1687) was English actress and favorite of English king Karl II. She was prostitute from her youth. Later she became the most famous actress of the Bridges Street Theater. In 1670 she delivered a son to the English king. She died at the age of 37 after two strokes. While alive she could not even write.
Cecelia Gallerani (1473-1536) was one of the lovers of the Duke of Milano Ludoviko Sforza; an outstanding model for the works of Leonardo da Vinci. She was gifted and well-educated woman, who perfectly sang, wrote verses, spoke Latin and was rather witty. In 1492, when she married Ludoviko de Brambilla, a Karmanyolla palace was presented to her. She had four children and died at the age of 63.
I conducted the research about famous women in history. I have chosen 15 women whose lives always impressed me greatly. Each of them made a huge contribution either to politics, or to the culture of the countries all over the world. It should be noted that women have and always had great influence on men, their actions and political decisions. Thus, for example, Hurrem was accused of being the reason of the Ottoman Empires fall. Most of women I have chosen were the heads of their countries; they ruled the countries no worse than men.
I read a great deal of literature before writing the paper about biographies of well-known women. The main book I was based on was Women who changed the world by Pettinger. The work at the biographies of famous female historical figures absorbed me. Their biographies made me amazed by their bravery, love and passion.
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