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I should really change my profile picture. It was meant as a ridiculous form of a bathroom mirror selfie (hence the shower curtain), but it comes across as some pretentious photographer. Pretentious, moi? And also not a photographer, not more than everybody is.

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My favourite period? This exact moment when King Edward desperately wanted a male heir to succeed him on the English throne, was dying, and nature told them no. Every descendant, even from the lines they didn't want (bastards, Catholics), was female. So on his death bed, he placed a woman in line of the succession for the first time ever: Jane, a 16 year old girl and I think one of the brightest people ever. She did become queen that next day and stayed so for a few more days, deposed by another woman (Mary I) who raised an army.

This is Tudor times and I don't know whether that counts as medieval or modern.

Tudor royal family tree at the time of Edward VI's death, indicating a whole lot of sons to be in line of the succession, but they didn't exist yet nor were these women even pregnant. Jane is the only woman also in line, in a change to the original plan.
#JaneGrey #Tudor #EdwardVI

For people who are interested in "Western" history, what's your favorite period?

(I realize that breaking it down like this is probably going to piss some people off, but there are only 4 poll options and this isn't a fuckin journal)

I've seen a documentary about this thing once and it's completely fascinating. It's a device (or was before it eroded on the seabed) that can calculate future astronomical events (planet positions, eclipses) and is small enough to be handheld or at least portable. It is two thousand years old, ancient Greek, a time of great accomplishments but this we didn't know they could do. Some call it the world's first computer.

The Antikythera Mechanism

Image Credit & License: Marsyas, Wikipedia #APOD

An old and corroded mechanism is shown fronted by a large wheel. The mechanism has patches of tan and brown color but it is mostly green.

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Thinking again of Jane Grey, a royal of Tudor times, and how the world was robbed of her brilliance when she was beheaded on orders of Queen Mary, when Jane was only seventeen. Most people focus on the history around her short time wearing the crown of England (the first woman, or girl, to do so in her own right), but to me her life before is much more fascinating.

The writings of her tutor and of philosophers in Europe, where you can feel how much in awe they were of her intellect while knowing she was a fifteen year old girl, are spine tingling. Her translating a book into ancient Greek from another ancient language and giving it to her father as his birthday present, at that same age, indicates she was indeed super smart but also a total show-off.

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During her months in The Tower, Mary sent her own chaplain, the most learned Catholic in the country, to Jane every single day to try and convert her. Every day he reported back to Mary that he had not succeeded in converting Jane to Catholicism. His private writings in his journals have been preserved. In it he says that not only did he not succeed in converting her, but many days Jane almost succeeded in converting him.

She could argue like the best. And she would never give in.

(She was aware that the deal was that if she converted to Catholicism, she would be let out and not executed. It says quite something that she didn't take that deal.)

In those days science wasn't some people together doing experiments, but it was a network all over Europe of individual people, usually old gray men, at home thinking about stuff and writing their thoughts down in letters to each other. What blows my mind is that 15 year old Jane Grey was part of that network. Not by trickery, writing under her father's name, or them only replying out of politeness. No, they fully knew who she was and they accepted her as an equal. It's a shame her letters have not been preserved.

What could she have achieved had she been able to live into adulthood. I believe she would have become an important scientist whose name we'd remember. Can you imagine that an earlier scientist even than Isaac Newton would have been a woman, rather than us having to wait centuries later for Marie Curie? I think our whole perception of gender in science would be different.

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I like that at Anne Boleyn's coronation, King Henry was not allowed to be present. Though there are rumours he peeped through a window.
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