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Monthly Archives: August 2015

Documentary Sunday – Secrets of Althorp, Home of the Spencers

Going in a different direction today with the history of the family home of Diana, Princess of Wales.  Althorp is located in Northamptonshire and is currently owned by the late Princess’ brother, Charles, Earl Spencer, and the house is simply gorgeous!  I happened to catch this on the TV last night and thought I would post it today.  Enjoy!

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Posted by on August 24, 2015 in Documentary Sunday

 

Documentary Sunday – The Silver Pharaoh, Secrets of the Dead

Secrets of the Dead used to be a documentary series, and this one in particular is pretty interesting.  In ancient Egypt, silver was rarer than gold because there were no ways of mining it in the empire.  Silver had to be received during trades with other nations, so the fact that a king of Egypt was found buried in a coffin made entirely of silver is truly remarkable.  Tutankhamun was buried in three coffins, one made of solid gold and estimated to be worth billions of dollars in modern currency, but Psusennes’ burial discovery received very little attention due to World War II.  Enjoy his story above!

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Documentary Sunday

 

1503 – James IV of Scotland Marries Margaret Tudor

James IV Stuart, King of Scotland, was thirty years old when he married the teenage Princess Margaret, daughter of Henry VII of England.  The union produced one living son, the future James V, father of Mary Queen of Scots.  It would be the first of three marriages for Margaret; her second to Archibald, Earl of Angus ended in divorce while the third to Henry, Lord Methven, lasted until her death in 1541.  James IV himself died just ten years after his wedding when he was killed in the Battle of Flodden in Northumberland, leaving her with the title of Queen Mother to their young son.  Without this union, there would have been no royal blood to claim the crown of England when Elizabeth I died in 1603.  Their descendants established the Stuart rule in England, effectively joining the two kingdoms when Mary of Scots’ son James VI also became James I of England.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Documentary Sunday – The True Caribbean Pirates

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Documentary Sunday

 

30 BC – The Death of Mark Antony

A bitter defeat in a decisive naval battle in Egypt, on 1 August 30 BC, Mark Antony escaped to Alexandria while his rival Octavian (later Roman Emperor Augustus) invaded the country.  Having received false word that his lover, Cleopatra VII of Egypt, had already done so, Antony committed suicide by falling on his own sword.  He lingered on in agony just long enough to die in Cleopatra’s arms, and moments later, she was taken prisoner by Octavian.  With Antony’s death, Octavian became uncontested ruler of Rome with only the Queen of Egypt and her son by Julius Caesar, Caesarion (literally “little Caesar”), standing in his way.  When twelve days later, the captive queen committed suicide, traditionally by allowing a poisonous snake to bite her, Octavian had the seventeen-year-old Caesarion murdered and Egypt at last fell under the full control of the Roman Empire, thus ending the Age of the Pharaohs forever.

In life, Mark Antony was a great general and politician who fell under the spell of Egypt’s “grand seductress”.  Perhaps not a true love match, his union with Cleopatra was one of sex, power, and intense rivalry, both often trying to outdo each other in terms of thrift and splendor.  They had three children together (Selene, Alexander, and Ptolemy) and he even rejected his fourth wife (Octavian’s own sister) in order to remain in power by Cleopatra’s side.  Even 2000 years after their deaths, their romance is the stuff of legend, portrayed by the likes of William Shakespeare in his play Antony and Cleopatra and of course Richard Burton in the 1963 film Cleopatra alongside Elizabeth Taylor and Rex Harrison.  The above depiction of his death was painted by French artist Bernard Duvivier in 1759.

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2015 in Ancient Times, Today in History