Hot off of International Women’s Day and in the throes of Women’s History Month, I thought I’d use this week’s space to highlight some interesting female rulers – specifically, queens (and more specifically, queens with sons) – from history.
Sammuramat, Assyrian Queen (9th century b.c.)
From womeninworldhistory.com: “Sammuramat is the subject of many myths about her reign as both the wife and mother of kings. She apparently accompanied her husband into battle, greatly expanded Babylonia’s control over far-flung territories, irrigated the flatlands between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and restored the fading beauty of her capital [sic], Babylon.”
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt (69-30b.c.)
From history.com: “Cleopatra VII ruled ancient Egypt as co-regent (first with her two younger brothers and then with her son) for almost three decades. She became the last in a dynasty of Macedonian rulers founded by Ptolemy, who served as general under Alexander the Great during his conquest of Egypt in 332 B.C. Well-educated and clever, Cleopatra could speak various languages and served as the dominant ruler in all three of her co-regencies. Her romantic liaisons and military alliances with the Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, as well as her supposed exotic beauty and powers of seduction, earned her an enduring place in history and popular myth.”
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of England and France (1122-1202 a.d.)
From womeninworldhistory.com: “Eleanor was one of the most influential figures of the 12 century. Married at age fifteen to Louis VII of France, she later divorced him to marry Henry II, the future King of England. She bore Henry eight children, two of them future kings of England. Throughout her life she maintained control over her extensive lands in Southern France, and cleverly managed the lives of her children and grandchildren.”
Catherine de Medici, Queen of France (1519-1589 a.d.)
From notablebiographies.com: “Catherine de’ Medici was married to the French King Henry II (1519– 1559) and was mother and regent (one who governs a kingdom in the absence of the real ruler) of three other kings—Francis II (1544–1560), Charles IX (1550–1574), and Henry III (1551–1589). She had great influence over her sons and is thought by some to have authorized the famous Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572. Read more: http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ma-Mo/Medici-Catherine-de.html#ixzz3TqAQFsdG.”
Tzu-hsi, Empress of China (1835-1908)
From womeninworldhistory.com: “Although only a low-ranking concubine of the Emperor Hs’en Feng, Tau-hsi rose in status when she bore his only son. At his death, and her son’s succession, every decree had to be approved by her. Called the Dowager Empress, she exerted herself into state affairs and refused to give up her regency even when her son came of age. In effect, she had the power of a ruler. Tzu-hsi’s rule was imperious. She used state funds to build herself a palace and sold posts and promotions. Such acts were resented by some, particularly after the Chinese were defeated by the Japanese in the 1890’s. Under Tau-hsi’s reign, the Western powers forcefully increased their presence in China. After the suppression of the anti-West Boxer Rebellion, Tzu-hsi began a policy of appeasement, allowing reforms and the modernization of government.”
I hope you enjoyed this little romp through history. What’s got me thinking about queens? Well, turns out I would have made a good one. My first child was a son… and guess what? Over the summer, I’m having a spare!
And now that the cat is out of the bag, my future posts will simply be links to the prior week’s post by Allison, with “Ditto.” (Also, I’m totally joking about a queen’s worth being dictated by whether she had children and the sex of any child(ren) she did have.)