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Thread: Strong Women of History

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    Strong Women of History

    During a coffe break discussion at work the other day, the conversation came around to 'Strong Women of History'. When it was my turn, and after a little thought, I came up with Eleanor of Aquitaine.

    Amazingly, just a few minutes ago she was the subject of a new biography on the Radio 4 bookclub programme. I feel therefor justified in my choice!

    But in terms of 'Strong Women from history' who would be your choice?

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    Re: Strong Women of History

    Well, Elizabeth I, Mary of the Scots, Queen Isabella of Castille, Catherine the Great, Madeleine de Valois, Pompeia Plotina, Countess Erzsebet Bathory, Jeanne d'Arc, Olympias (mother of Alexander the Great), Nefertiti and the Iron Lady - the Baroness Thatcher - are a few prominent examples that come to mind. In the intellectual sphere, Ayn Rand, Rose Wilder Lane and Isabelle Paterson would be some of my favourites. I suppose one could term Eva Braun as a strong woman too, given her devotion to the Reich and her family.

    Of all I like Rand best, but Elizabeth I comes a close second and Thatcher third.

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    Re: Strong Women of History

    I agree with most of the ones stated above. I would like to add these women.

    Sammuramat, Scathach, Cleopatra, Maria Theresa of Hapsburg, Catherine the Great, Abigail Adams, Ada Byron, Tzu-hsi, Liliuokalani, Wilma Mankiller.
    Last edited by ladybright; Sunday, March 4th, 2007 at 11:37 PM.
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    Re: Strong Women of History

    On an intellectual level, I would for sure include Hypatia:
    Hypatia of Alexandria (Greek: Υπατία; c. 370–415) was an ancient philosopher, who taught in the fields of mathematics, astronomy and astrology. She lived in Alexandria in Hellenistic Egypt during the suppression of the pagan cults by the Roman Empire, and her fame stems principally from her murder in 415 CE at the hands of a Christian mob.

    Letters written to Hypatia by her pupil Synesius give an idea of her intellectual milieu. She was of the Platonic school, although her adherence to the writings of Plotinus, the 3rd century follower of Plato and principal of the neo-Platonic school, is merely assumed.

    Later sources attribute several works to Hypatia, including commentaries on Diophantus's Arithmetica, on Apollonius's Conics, and on Ptolemy's works, but none have survived. Her contributions to science are reputed (on scant evidence) to include the invention of the astrolabe and the hydrometer.
    Hannah Arendt, one of the best political thinkers of the 20th century

    Thatcher was, like her of not, a solid leader, with way more guts than any modern male British PM

    Marie Tudor, a strong Queen

    Sophie Germain, she was considered an outstanding mathematician by Gauss himself. Another French woman mathematician would be Madame du Chatelet, Voltaire's mistress and translator of Newton's Principia Mathematica
    "The heavenly motions... are nothing but a continuous song for several voices, perceived not by the ear but by the intellect,
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    in the immeasurable flow of time."

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    Re: Strong Women of History

    Vivien Leigh (1913-1967), the great English actress.

    She won two Academy Awards for Best Actress, and is usually regarded as one of the most accomplished actresses of the twentieth century.

    From "Vivien Leigh: An Internal Struggle," by Gavin Lambert:

    "Twenty years earlier, after winning an Oscar for Gone With the Wind (1939), Vivien Leigh had been the most famous movie actress in the world. She was twenty-six then, and would go on to make only nine more movies. Few stars have had such an impact with so few appearances, but Vivien was never a conventional star. Under Olivier's influence, she devoted most of her time to the theatre. While she achieved her greatest success in Hollywood, she continued to live in England. Her brilliant career was repeatedly halted by physical and mental illnesses.

    She had her first breakdown after Caesar and Cleopatra (1946), and a year later medical tests revealed a tubercular patch on her lung. Not coincidentally, the Shaw movie was the last in which she played a character with direct Scarlett O'Hara affinities. She followed it with Anna Karenina (1948), a misfire that pointed to the tragic element underlying all her later work, from A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) to Ship of Fools (1965)."

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    American Women: Hannah Dustin

    Hannah Dustin was a forty-year-old colonial New England woman who was captured during an Indian raid, and escaped from her captors by killing them in the night and fleeing in their canoe. She is believed to be the first woman honored in the United States with a statue.



    Hannah Dustin Painting
    By Junius Brutus Stearns, 1847
    Earliest known painting of the Hannah Dustin Story

    Born Hannah Emerson on December 23, 1657, Hannah Dustin, her husband Thomas, and their nine children were living in Haverhill, Massachusetts, when the town was attacked by Abenaki Indians on March 15, 1697. Thomas fled with eight of the children, but Hannah, her six-day-old baby Martha, and her nurse Mary Neff were captured.

    The Indians killed the baby and forced Hannah and Mary to walk for days, until they arrived at an island in the middle of the Merrimack River about six miles north of Concord, New Hampshire. There Hannah and Mary met Samuel Lennardson, a 14-year-old white captive. They became friends and plotted to find a way of escape.

    They were soon informed that they were to start traveling again to a distant Indian settlement, so they decided to escape before the journey began. When the Indians fell asleep, Hannah and the other two captives seized tomahawks and killed ten Indians: six children, two women, and two men. Before leaving, Hannah insisted that they scalp the dead Indians as proof of their accomplishment and to collect a bounty.

    The former captives escaped down the river in a canoe, and traveling only at the night, after several days returned to Haverhill, where Dustin, Neff, and Leonardson received high praise. The Massachusetts General Court later awarded them a generous payment for the ten scalps.

    Hannah Emerson Dustin was viewed as a frontier hero, and her story soon entered into American folklore. The event became well known, due in part to Cotton Mather’s account in his publication Magnalia Christi Americana in 1702. Hannah became more famous during the nineteenth century, when her story was retold by Henry David Thoreau and in many genealogical histories.



    Hannah Dustin Memorial Statue
    Haverhill, Massachusetts

    In 1879, a bronze statue of Hannah grasping a tomahawk was placed in Haverhill town square, where it still stands, and another on the island in New Hampshire. Some of her artifacts are displayed at the Haverhill Historical Society.

    In the 1870s, a statue of Hannah was placed in the Haverhill town square, and another statue of her was erected on the island in New Hampshire where they killed and scalped the natives.


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    That statue is a mile at most from my house.

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    Actually, in a broader sense, the strongest women in history were all the good mothers and homemakers, without whom we wouldn't be here.
    — Always outnumbered but never outclassed —

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    Hanna Reitsch.

    Hanna Reitsch (29 March 1912 – 24 August 1979) was a German aviator and the only woman awarded the Iron Cross First Class and the Luftwaffe Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds during World War II. Along with her flying skills Reitsch was photogenic and willingly appeared in Nazi Party propaganda throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s, which made her a celebrity. Reitsch was the first woman to fly a helicopter, a rocket plane, and a jet fighter. She set over forty aviation altitude and endurance records during her career, both before and after World War II, and several of her international gliding records are still standing to this day.
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