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Showing posts from May, 2010

Ursula Sontheil (1488 - 1561)

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Ursula Sontheil 1488 - 1561 Soothsayer Prophetess I was born Ursula Sontheil in 1488 in a cave beside the river Nidd in North Yorkshire, England, but the world knows me as Mother Shipton.  Close by was an ancient well with supposed mystical powers.  I was reputed to be hideously ugly and I am credited with today's images of a witch who is ugly with a pointed nose and warts.  I married Toby Shipton, a local carpenter, near York in 1512 and told fortunes and made predictions throughout my life. The first publication of my prophecies, which did not appear until 1641, eighty years after my death, contained a number of mainly regional predictions, but only two prophetic verses -- neither of which foretold the End of the World, despite widespread assumptions to that effect. I prophecied the Great Fire of London.  The Royal family were heard to discuss my prophecy of the event. The most famous of my prophecies foretells of many modern events and phenomena. The most famous of

Wordless Wednesday - Nun in Rome

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Saint Catherine de Ricci

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Born as Alessandra Lucrezia Romola de' Ricci in 1522 to a wealthy Florentine banking family.  She later changed her name to Catherine when she entered religious life.  Her father, Pier Francesco de' Ricci, was one of an old and respected family of bankers and merchants.  Her mother of the Ricasoli family — died when she was a small child, and she was brought up by a devoted stepmother, Fiammetta da Diacceto. Fiammetta soon took notice of her step-daughter's extraordinary inclination towards holiness — particularly for solitary prayer — and did her utmost to foster and develop it From the time she was an infant, she demonstrated a great love for prayer.  When she was six years old, her father placed her in the convent of Monticelli in Florence, where her aunt, Louisa de Ricci, was a nun. After a brief return home, when she was fourteen, she entered the convent of the Dominican nuns in Tuscany and joined the nine nuns there who were devoted followers of Savonarola,

The Love Story of Abelard and Heloise

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The love story of Abelard and Heliose has endured as one of the famous and popular love stories of all times.  It is the tale of a French philospher named Peter Abelard (1079-1142), one of the greatest thinkers of the Middle Ages, but because his teachings were controversial, he soon was accused of heresy. Heliose ( 1101- 1164) was a well educated niece of a prominent cleric named Canon Fulbert.  It was through Canon Fulbert that Heloise and Abelard met.  In 1117 Abelard went to live at the house of Canon Fulbert of the Cathedral of Notre Dam as a border.  The moment he laid eyes on Heloise, he was intrigued by her beauty and intelligence.  He wanted to get to know her more so he convinced Canon Fulbert to let him tutor Heloise. Abelard was twenty years her senior. The two fell in love and before long, Heliose found herself pregnant.  Abelard wanted to marry Heloise even though he would lose his job.  But Heloise refused his suit, citing that their marriage would impede his work

Wordless Wednesday - Boboli Garden Florence

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  A view within Florence's Boboli Gardens. I can envision the grand ladies of their time strolling through these beautiful gardens in their elaborate and colorful gowns. What a pretty picture.

The Vestal Virgins of Rome

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In Ancient Rome, the vestal virgins were virgin female priestesses of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. It was their job to maintain the sacred fire of Vesta.  This duty was a great great honor and granted the women many privileges and honors.  They were the only female priests within the Roman religious system. The discovery of a "House of the Vestals" in Pompeii made the vestal virgins a popular subject in the 18th century and the 19th century.  The objects of the cult were essentially the hearth fire and pure water drawn into a clay vase. A Roman man by the name of Numa Pompilius introduced the vestal virgins and assigned them salaries from the public treasury. He stole the first vestal virgin from her parents.  More vestal virgins were added later.  The women became a powerful and influential force in the Roman state.   Numa Pompillius The chief vestal oversaw the efforts of the vestals.  The last known chief vestal was Coelia Concordia in 380. The Coll

Wordless Wednesday - Venice Gondoliers

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The History of Cannoli

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In The Godfather, Part I, the character Pete Clemenza orders the other guy in the car after a murder has been carried out to leave the gun and take the cannoli. While this line has been parodied and repeated a thousand times, what exactly is a cannoli? A cannoli is a Sicilian pastry dessert that is an essential part of the cuisine of Sicily. They are fried, tube-shaped pastry shells filled with a sweet, creamy filling. These treats have a long and storied history and just as many variations.  For traditional cannoli, the filling is made of ricotta cheese or even sweetened marscapone. This cheese is blended with a combination of vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, Marsala wine, rosewater, or any other of assorted flavors. In addition, the size of the cannoli varies as much as the filing's flavorings. The shell is made of flour, butter, sugar, and a number of other ingredients. This dough is then rolled into ovals and wrapped around a dough ring and fried. Following the frying process

Mary Moders Carleton (1642 - 1673)

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Mary Carleton 11 January 1642 - 22 January 1673) Trickster Bigamist Englishwoman, Mary Carleton, used false identities such as a German princess, to marry and defraud a number of men. Her real name was Mary Moders and she was born in Canterbury, the daughter of a fiddler. She wed a young journeyman shoemaker named Thomas Stedman.  Together they had two children who both died in infancy.  Her marriage failing, she left Thomas and moved to Dover where she met and married a surgeon.  This soon resulted in her prompt arrest and trial in Maidstone for bigamy. After the trial she travelled to Cologne where she entered into a brief, but torrid, affair with a local nobleman.  He bestowed her with many a valuable trinket as he pressed her for her hand in marriage.  He even began the wedding preparations. Fearful of getting into trouble again, Mary snuck out of Germany, not only with all her precious gifts in hand, but also with most of her landlady's money.  She returned to England

Wordless Wednesday - The Insignia of the Holy Roman Empire

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  The Orb, Scepter and Crown, insignia of the Holy Roman Empire     These precious objects belonged to Otto I in the 10th Century, and were brought to Frankfurt for every imperial coronation.   Otto the Great is the son of Queen Mechthild and King Heinrich the Fowler, main characters in my current work in progress.    I LOVE COMMENTS