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Is there a historical figure that you find fascinating and nobody else seems to have heard of?

(27 Posts)
lucydogz Tue 25-Jul-17 08:21:53

Margaret of Austria ruled The Low Countries as regent for her nephew, Charles V. She was an influential figure in European politics of the early 16th century. Yet very few people I know have heard of her. Has anyone else got a historItaly figure they think deserves more publicity?

lucydogz Tue 25-Jul-17 08:22:20


SvartePetter Tue 25-Jul-17 08:23:12

Charlotte Corday

colleysmill Tue 25-Jul-17 08:27:33

Rebecca Clarke but then I'd not heard if her until recently

lucydogz Tue 25-Jul-17 09:26:48

Did Charlotte kill Marat? And who was Rebecca Clarke?

BikeRunSki Tue 25-Jul-17 09:33:21

Don't know if she counts as historical, as she only died in 1996, but Beryl Burton. Dominated cycling in the 1960s, many domestic, international and global medals. In some events here times were faster than the men's. Women's cycling even more badly covered by the press then than it is now.

squishysquirmy Tue 25-Jul-17 09:35:13

Diotima of Mantinea, if she did exist.

Aristotle was taught by Plato, who was taught by Socrates, who was (probably) taught by Diotima.
But Socrates did not write things down, so the only records of her are the second hand account from Plato, who is recording what Socrates told him he was told by her. There is some uncertainty whether she existed, or whether Plato invented her.

colleysmill Tue 25-Jul-17 11:28:50

Rebecca Clarke was one of the first recognised female British composers and professional musician (violin originally then switched to viola) mainly between the 2 world wars. She has music published under a male pseudonym but then in her own name.

A real trail blazer at the time smile

bookworm14 Tue 05-Sep-17 22:04:57

Sophie Germain - French mathematician who made significant inroads to proving Fermat's Last Theorem. Her life story is fascinating and inspiring.

BetterEatCheese Mon 02-Oct-17 09:25:30

She only died recently but I am fascinated by Grace Lee Boggs and her work in Detroit. Nobody knows who she was!

AllTheWhoresOfMalta Mon 02-Oct-17 09:27:56

Placemarking for the learning grin

pilatesofthecaribbean Thu 05-Oct-17 12:28:02

I like Margaret of Austria too, although I have read little enough about her - did she not write (this may be apocryphal) a poem that translates roughly as “here lies gentle Margaret, married twice yet died a maid” when it seemed the ship taking her to Spain might sink?

Most of the people from history I am most interested in are either little known or were almost impossible to find anybooks about in pre-Internet days, where I live. One of them is the duc de Saint-Simon - not the memoirist, his father.

These days it seems less that nobody has ever heard of a person than that they only know some utterly awful television caricature of them from the rash of “historical” series, and think that’s what they were like.

EdithWeston Thu 05-Oct-17 12:41:37

This is someone who everyone’s heard of but really doesn’t know enough about.

Katherine of Aragon. She was Regent for a while. Who ever mentions her role as victorious commander at Flodden?

OutwiththeOutCrowd Thu 05-Oct-17 13:19:44

Emmy Noether - a mathematician/scientist with a lower profile in non-scientific circles than, say, Marie Curie. Noether's theorem linking symmetries to conservation laws is very deep and I think she deserves to be more widely recognised for her work.

lucydogz Thu 05-Oct-17 21:38:19

She did pilates! She was very accomplished - wrote poetry and painted. Her large art collection included the Arnolfini Marriage and an Aztecs feathered cape.
Katherine of Aragon was regent but was she really the commander of the army?

AlbusPercival Thu 05-Oct-17 21:40:45

Robert FitzRoy

Captain of HMS Beagle for Datwins voyage and founded the Met Office

Zoll Thu 05-Oct-17 21:45:47

The She-Wolf of France!

I was quite old when I discovered Britain was once (successfully) invaded by its own queen. Rock!

lucydogz Thu 05-Oct-17 21:51:08

Did he commit suicide albus? I remember thinking he had a sad life, despite his achievements

EdithWeston Thu 05-Oct-17 22:13:22

It is rare that a queen consort acts as regent (is it even unique?)

And no she wasn't actually on the battlefield (possibly because she was pregnant at the time) - that was Surrey - but she was political commander and gave several public speeches to rally men to the fight. The Scots paid dearly for their erroneous belief that victory would be theirs whilst the king was away. Her political role, also in the dealings with Europe and the wars that took Henry out of the country, is barely known.

AdaColeman Thu 05-Oct-17 22:26:15

AlbusPercival Have you read "This Thing of Darkness" by Harry Thompson? Fiction I know, but a captivating read.

AdaColeman Thu 05-Oct-17 22:57:11

Catherine Parr acted as Henry's Regent while he was in France, and earlier Matilda of Boulogne took the role of Regent.

Matilda's situation was complex as she assumed the Regency when Stephen was captured and imprisoned. She led a brilliant military campaign, preventing the coronation of Maud and leading to Stephen's release from captivity. Tactically, it seems she was a better General than Stephen!

pilatesofthecaribbean Fri 06-Oct-17 02:36:18

Oh good, lucydogz, I’m glad I didn’t misremember that! And wasn’t she one of the regents who brokered the Ladies’ Peace? I forget its other name.

Another person from history I like a lot is the Prince Consort. He’s far from unknown but has such a stuffy reputation, and he was much more interesting than that. He also had a wicked sense of humour (see: the after-dinner pirouette incident).

lucydogz Fri 06-Oct-17 07:59:37

Yes, it was the Treaty of Cambrai. Fancy writing a poem when you think you might die! When her 3rd husband died (she was still under 30) she was under a lot of pressure to marry the elderly Henry vii. Her life was so interesting but so full, which I why I think very little has been written about her as it would be difficult to condense into a fictional narrative.
The latter 2 decades of her life were as regent of her nephew charles v and which seems to have been extremely difficult work with the complex politics of the time.
Yes, Albert must have been a remarkable man, and saved the British monarchy imo

pilatesofthecaribbean Fri 06-Oct-17 09:22:50

Oh lord, being pressured to marry Henry VII? HURL! (No fan of the Tudors here, I’m a Richard III fan from way back)

Yes! The revival of the British monarchy owed a great deal to Albert. South Kens, too. ::lapses into nostalgia about long-ago visit to the V&A::

lucydogz Fri 06-Oct-17 10:08:44

One of the reasons that she was such a good negotiator was that she had been married to the dauphin of France, the heir to the Spanish throne and the Duke of savoy and knew so many of the great and good.

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