"The accession of a female ruler in Mercia is described by the historian Ian Walker as "one of the most unique events in early medieval history". Whoops why are women who have MADE IT in English history, so exceptional? I suppose the answer is we never think about it. Elizabeth 1st (and 2nd) are both figureheads as was Victoria but the rest be they artists or writers miss out on the important person list;)
So who is Walker talking about, well it was King Alfred's daughter, expect you have heard about him but her history has also been noted for her ability to run the Anglo- Saxon kingdom of Mercia. Aethelflaed, for that was her name ruled from AD 911 to her death in 918. There is a video of her mock burial in Gloucester .I believe the Saxon women had much more equality than their later medieval sisters and a burial of a presumed Saxon Princess just by the coast near Whitby at Loftus gives some idea.
As an aside; Did I ever go on to write part 2, ?
I have been reading Virginia Woolf, her writing is so delicate, can think of no other word as her thoughts sink into the written words. Her book ' A Room of One's Own' strikes out in a true feminist mode but of course is a historical account of the early 20th century, we have moved on though. Though there are plenty of threads that still need picking up so that equality rules supreme!
Anyway a couple of thoughts I picked up from her, the first, like a snake we slough off our ruffled emotional skins of the day, is rather comforting.
The second, an analogy of mirrors and warfare not too sure about this, brings to mind the Celtic mirrors for some reason.
|Iron Age Mirror|
1) I thought at last that it was time to roll up the crumpled skin of the day, with its arguments and its impressions and its anger and its laughter, and cast it into the hedge.
2) Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. Without that power the earth would probably be still swamp and jungle, the glories of all our wars would still be unknown. We should still be scratching the outlines of deer on the remains of mutton bones and bartering flint for sheepskins or whatever simple ornament took our unsophisticated taste............Whatever may be their use in civilized societies mirrors are essential to all violent and heroic action.