Geeking Out Over History

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Random facts that will probably only interest the blogmistress Includes posts from all eras of history.

Although the blogmistress is currently suffering with an unhealthy interest with the English monarchs of the 15th century!

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The family of the Grand Dauphin, by Pierre Mignard, Versailles, National Museum of the Trianon Palace, 1687.


    The family of the Grand Dauphin, by Pierre Mignard, Versailles, National Museum of the Trianon Palace, 1687.

    — 14 minutes ago with 2 notes


    Detail of Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1806

    (via lordozner)

    — 4 hours ago with 914 notes


    History Meme ♔ ancient world ~ LEADERS [2/?]
    G A I U S J U L I U S C A E S A R

    More than two thousand years after his death, Julius Caesar remains one of the great figures of history. He shaped Rome for generations, and his name became a synonym for “emperor” — not only in Rome but as far away as Germany and Russia. He is best known as the general who defeated the Gauls and doubled the size of Rome’s territories. But, as Philip Freeman describes in this fascinating new biography, Caesar was also a brilliant orator, an accomplished writer, a skilled politician, and much more.Julius Caesar was a complex man, both hero and villain. He possessed great courage, ambition, honor, and vanity. Born into a noble family that had long been in decline, he advanced his career cunningly, beginning as a priest and eventually becoming Rome’s leading general. He made alliances with his rivals and then discarded them when it suited him. He was a spokesman for the ordinary people of Rome, who rallied around him time and again, but he profited enormously from his conquests and lived opulently. Eventually he was murdered in one of the most famous assassinations in history.

    (Source:, via tiny-librarian)

    — 9 hours ago with 32 notes

    Remember kids, being a Goth isn’t about the wearing a particular style of clothes or listening to certain types of music…

    It’s about ravaging the Balkans, threatening to sack Constantinople, actually sacking Rome and eventually establishing permanent kingdoms in Southern Gaul and the Iberian and Italian Peninsulas.

    (via khaleesi-of-lannisport)

    — 14 hours ago with 36386 notes
    #history jokes are the best jokes 


    A plaque on the ground in front of the Obelisk of Luxor marks the place where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed. 

    This site, inaugurated in 1763, was originally called Place Louis XV.

    From November 1792 to May 1795 it was then referred to as the Place de la Revolution. It was the main place for public executions, including those of Louis XVI, the 21st of January, 1793, and of Marie Antoinette, the 16th of October, 1793.

    (via tiny-librarian)

    — 1 day ago with 140 notes

    Marie Antoinette Josèphe Jeanne de Habsbourg-Lorraine by Martin van Meytens; Joseph Ducreux; Joseph Kreutzinger; Jean-Baptiste Gautier Dagoty;  Elisabeth Vigée-Le Brun (5, 6, 7 and 8)

    (Source: mylovelyblueblood, via lordozner)

    — 1 day ago with 129 notes


    The Queen discussed her dress design with Lord Melbourne, who suggested patronage of struggling English manufacturers rather than the Parisian designers she had been using. The elegant, simple dress designed by the Pre-Raphaelite painter, Willion Dyce of the Government Design School and probably made by Mrs. Bettans, was made of very fine, pale cream silk woven with the Huguenot weavers, such as Samuel Courtauld, of Spitalfiends. The large collar and cuffs were made by lace makers from Honiton in Devon, who had been suffering because of the recent fashion for Brussels lace. Queen Victoria continued to patronize the Honiton lace industry throughout her life.

    In a break with tradition, the Queen refused to wear any tiara or coronet, nor any gold or silver woven cloth. Instead, she wore a band of artificial orange blossoms in her hair and a train covered in the same flowers hung from her waist. This was, indeed, not a magisterial outfit, but a simple, well-designet, expensive wedding dress.

    Deborah Jaffé - Victoria: Her Life, Her People, Her Empire

    (via gimmetea)

    — 1 day ago with 176 notes

Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, Alexandra of Denmark.


    Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, Alexandra of Denmark.


    — 1 day ago with 1424 notes


    "However, I think we’re going to do it, and I think that we must pay what needs to be paid. I don’t think we ought to waste any money, but I think we ought to do the job. And this will be done in the decade of the sixties. It may be done while some of you are still here at school at this college and university. It will be done during the term of office of some of the people who sit here on this platform. But it will be done. And it will be done before the end of this decade.”

    ~President Kennedy talking about putting a man on the moon, Rice University, Houston, Texas 1962

    — 1 day ago with 215 notes


    imperial russia memeone/two sovereign tsars/tsaritsas: Peter The Great

    On June 9th 1672, Peter Alexeievich Romanov was born to Tsar Alexis I and his second wife, Natalia Naryshkina; he was their first child and their only son. His father has been married once before, to a woman who bequeathed the dynasty thirteen potential heirs - but when Alexei married Natalia, only eight were alive. Two of these were sons, Alexis’s heirs, Ivan and Feodor. Alexis and Natalia would also produce two daughters, Natalia and Feodora. 

    Tsar Alexis I died in January 1676, passing the throne to his eldest surviving son, the weak and sickly Feodor. Feodor died in 1682, but the new king, his brother Ivan, was chronically ill and in no right mind to rule Russia. 10-year-old Peter Alexeievich was chosen to become Tsar with Ivan, his mother Natalia as regent - he now reigned as Peter I, as he would for the next forty-two years.

    Peter’s first years as Tsar saw his mother ruling like an autocrat, whispering into the two boys’ ears responses to questions, listening in to the matters of state. She arranged Peter’s first marriage to Eudoxia Lopukhina in 1689 - a failure - and that year, Peter planned to take control of power, now having reached his majority. His half-sister Sophia Alexeievna conspired with other leaders to raise disorder and dissent, so she could keep the power for herself, but Peter was informed and escaped in the night to safety, where he gathered support. He overthrew Sophia’s government and forced her into a convent, stripped of her name and position in the royal family. Still, it was 1694 before Peter could rule independently; the year his mother Natalia died. His half-brother Ivan, his co-ruler, died two years later.

    In 1690, Peter’s son and heir, Alexei Petrovich, was born. As he matured, the boy showed no interest in matters of state; in 1715, Peter agreed to let him renounce his place in the order of succession, if he became a monk. Alexei travelled to Europe, fleeing from his father’s pressures on him to join the army if he wished to remain Tsarevich. Emperor Charles VI, Alexei’s brother-in-law, sympathized with Alexei and suspected Peter of harboring murderous feelings for his son - a grave insult to Peter that caused a huge scandal at court.

    On February 18th 1718, Alexei had returned home and a “confession” extracted from him that renounced the throne. A reign of terror began; friends of Alexei Petrovich were tortured, his mother Eudoxia (Peter’s first wife) dragged from a convent and publicly accused of adultery. The month of April brought fresh confessions from his son, with no facts to back them up; the worst was a wish for Peter’s death. Peter saw his son as a dangerous traitor, and Alexei was sentenced to death. His torture was continued to try and uncover more information; the Tsarevich was weak and ailing, receiving stroke after stroke with a knout (a multiple whip), until he died on June 26, 1718.

    Peter implemented sweeping reforms to modernize Russia, inspired by Western Europe; all courtiers, state officials and those in the military had to shave their long beards and dress in the styles of the day. His dream was to make Russia a maritime power. His Azov campaigns of 1695 were to obtain the Ottoman fortress there, where he could take control of the Black Sea. Three years later, on September 12th, he established the first Russian Naval base at Taganrog. The year before in 1697, Peter went on his infamous “Grand Embassy” - incognito travelling around Europe in hope of finding an ally to invade the Ottoman Empire with. Those hopes were dashed, but Peter travelled to many European cities, meeting artists and kings and studying various crafts such as shipmaking and city-making - which he would put to good use in 1703, when Peter built the spectacular city of St. Petersburg. 

    The “Grand Embassy” was cut short in 1698, when a rebellion broke out with the state officials; easily crushed, Peter extracted his vengance by torturing and executing over 1,200 rebels. Peter ended his marriage to Eudoxia Lupukhina, established beard tax (a fine of one hundred roubles to any man wishing to keep their long beard), and ended the practice of arranged marriage - a practice Peter thought barbaric. In 1699 he moved the celebration of New Year, and thus the calender used in Russia, to January 1st (it had previously been September 1st); the Julius Calender was put into effect.

    Russia went to war with Sweden in 1700 over control of the Baltic Sea - this was known as the “Great Northern War”. At first it was a disaster, until Sweden concentrated on battling the Poles, which gave Peter time to build a city, St. Petersburg, and reorganize his army. Sweden invaded Russia again in 1708. The Swedes suffered his final loss when Peter crushed forces in Riga, and they abandoned their plans to take Moscow. It would be 1720 before Russia and Sweden made their peace. Peter attacked the Ottoman Empire in 1710 - it was a disaster. Peter was forced to relinquish the Black Sea, which he had captured thirteen years previously in 1697. By 1714, Russia occupied the majority of Finland; it would remain this way until the 1917 February Revolution. St. Petersburg was named capital in 1717.

    On October 22nd 1721, Peter proclaimed himself Emperor of All Russia. His title was not recognized by the majority of European powers, because many of them feared he would claim authority over them. That same year, Peter created the Holy Synod; a council of ten clergymen who would rule the Russian Orthodox Church. The “Table of Ranks” was created in 1722: it was a new order of precedence, where your rank was not determined by birth but by merit and service to the Emperor. This was in effect until the 1917 dissolution of the monarchy. He also made education compulsory in 1714 for all those age 11-15 in the nobility. Taxes began in the cities to fund improvements. In 1725, construction of the “Russian Versailles” was complete - the Peterhof Palace (Dutch for “Peter’s Court”) stood in all its splendour near St. Petersburg.

    In 1714, Peter’s second wife Catherine Alexeievna (born a Lithuanian peasant called Marfa Skowronska), who he married in secret in 1707, was crowned Empress. Of their twelve children, two survived; daughters Anna (born 1708) and Elizabeth (born 1709). There was plenty of affection between the Imperial couple - Catherine was often able to calm her husband and soothe him during his epileptic seizures.

    Peter’s health had never been robust; he had epilepsy and notable facial tics, and although he stood a gigantic 6’8, he lacked the bulk of a man that size. He was tall and slim, with narrow shoulders, small hands and feet, and a small head atop his body: he had a head of thick dark brown hair, black eyes and slightly disfigured lower lip. His health began to fail in the winter of 1723. The next summer, surgery performed on his bladder released four pounds of blocked urine. Peter was bedridden until October 1724. In January 1725, uremia struck him again. Legend has it he scrawled a note "Leave it all to" before he was struck by exhaustion, and summoned his eldest daughter Anna.

    Between four and five in the morning of February 8th 1725, Peter I, the first Emperor of Russia, known to us today as Peter The Great, took his last breath. His bladder was infected with gangrene. He was fifty two years of age. He did not name a successor, so his wife Catherine ascended to the throne as Russia’s first female ruler. She opened a path for a century almost entirely dominated by women. She survived Peter by two years. The throne then passed to Peter’s grandchild by his son Alexei, Peter II. 

    Peter the Great was a powerful figure, the first symbol of Russian imperialism. His reign was marked by change; he was the creator of the great city of St. Petersburg that still stands today, still bearing his name; he introduced taxes that would last for centuries; Westernizing the court’s way of dressing paved the way for court dress; he made considerable effort to improve the army and navy; he introduced the Julian Calender, followed by Russians until 1918 - Peter crafted an empire that over time became one of the greatest in the world. 

    (via gimmetea)

    — 2 days ago with 35 notes
    #tsar peter i  #peter the great 

Charles II by Marcellus Laroon, 1684


    Charles II by Marcellus Laroon, 1684

    — 2 days ago with 2 notes


    Destination Moon: The 350-Year History of Lunar Exploration
    Infographic by Karl Tate
    July 16, 2014  ||

    — 2 days ago with 1283 notes


    Hairstyles of Ancient Rome

    "Hairstyle fashion in Rome was ever changing, and particularly in the Roman Imperial Period there were a number of different ways to style hair. Much the same with clothes, there were several hairstyles that were limited to certain people in ancient society. Styles are so distinctive they allow scholars today to create a chronology of Roman portraiture and art; we are able to date pictures of the empresses on coins, or identify busts depending on their hairstyles."

    "Busts themselves could have detachable wigs. There have been many suggestions as to why some busts have been created with detachable wigs and some without. Perhaps the main reason was to keep the bust looking up-to-date. It would have been too expensive to commission a new bust every time hair fashion changed, so a mix-and-match bust would have been preferable for women with less money." [X]

    (via lordozner)

    — 2 days ago with 2332 notes
    #ancient rome  #hairstyles  #fashion 


    Robert the Bruce; The Rebel King Part II; The Bruce Gets His Royal Arse Kicked.

    In case you missed: Part I

    After murdering his rival, John Comyn, on the 10th of February, 1306, Robert the Bruce was coronated King of Scotland.  Many turned to the Bruce in the hopes that Scotland could once again be an independent kingdom free of English rule.  The English however, were not going to allow all of this happen quietly.  As Robert the Bruce settled into his new throne, King Edward I was preparing an army to end the reign of the new king.  In addition, the Bruce not only faced opposition from the English, but from many Scots as well.  Many clans that were the supporters of John Comyn and John Balliol rebelled against the Bruce, seeing him as an illegitimate king who seized the throne through bloodshed and murder.

    In June of 1306 a 3,000 man army composed of English soldiers and Scottish supporters of John Comyn occupied Perth in central Scotland.  At this time Robert the Bruce was especially naive, believing that he could easily defeat the English army and win the war with his own 4,500 man Scottish Royal Army.  The Bruce invited the English commander Earl Aymer De Valence to engage in “gentlemanly warfare”, in other words the two sides would meet in open battle and duke it out.  With superior numbers, the Bruce believed he could defeat Valence’s army, winning Scottish independence.  Valence however, refused the offer and held tight to his fortifications in Perth.

    Robert the Bruce was so overconfident of his superiority that he didn’t even bother to post sentries around his camp.  On the night of June 19th, the English left their base in Perth and conducted a surprise attack on the Scots.  Roused from their sleep, the Scots were helpless as the English quickly stormed the camp, slaughtering unarmed and disoriented Scottish soldiers in the darkness of the night.  Robert the Bruce himself barely escaped the assault, and was force to flee.  Out of his 4,500 grand Scottish army, only 500 remained.

    To escape the English, the Bruce and the remnants of his army retreated west towards the Mountains of Argyll.  At Strathfillian he was met by the army of Clan MacDougall, supporters of John Comyn and a fierce enemy of Robert the Bruce.  MacDougall’s 1,000 soldiers easily massacred the Bruce’s worn and tired force of 500.  In one fell swoop, the Bruce’s army was completely obliterated.

    Robert the Bruce and a handful of loyal men escaped the battle, but for the next several months were forced to hide in forests and caves, essentially no more than petty outlaws. Where once the Bruce had been King of Scotland, in a matter of months his kingdom was reduced to a network of hidden caves, his only subjects being cave spiders.  Many of the supporters of the Bruce were rounded up and executed, including two of his brothers.  His wife and daughter were forced into convents.  

    In the winter of 1306, Robert the Bruce put to sea on a small ship at Dunaverty and disappeared. Many believed he would never return.

    (via lordozner)

    — 2 days ago with 83 notes
    #robert the bruce  #king of scots 


    "Lady and unicorn" French tapestry, 1485-1500

    (via lordozner)

    — 3 days ago with 427 notes
    #15th century  #tapestry  #art