The Doctor meeting some of my favorite historical figures (Two showing a living dinosaur to Mary Anning, Eight completely geeking over Nikola Tesla’s work, and Five trying to convince Julie d’Aubigny not to kill someone who made fun of his celery).
The book tour is done for this year. Regular work and posting should resume soon.
(from the Boston event - featuring cosplayers for Isabella of France, La Jaguarina, Sappho, Micaela Almonester, Khawlah bint al Azwar, Marina Raskova, Julie d’Aubigny, Hildegard von Bingen, Xena, and Mariya Oktyabrskaya. Not pictured: Mariya’s wheelchair-bound dog, who cosplayed as Fighting Girlfriend)
Thank you to everyone who came out. It was amazing seeing all of you. I’m so grateful to be able to do this, and it’s all thanks to your support.
Guys. Julie D’Aubigny. 17th century, swordswoman, opera singer, queer af
Julie D’Aubigny, also known as La Maupin, was brought up at the French court and learned her lessons alongside the pages. These included dancing, reading, drawing…and fencing. When she was young she used to dress like a boy. At only 14, she became one of the mistresses of the Count D’Armagnac, and he married her off to another man to avoid scandal. Her husband went to the south of France, she stayed in Paris. Now here’s where it gets like a romantic novel - Julie had an ongoing affair with a young fencing master. He became a fugitive, accused of murder, and Julie ran away with him to Marseilles (they earned money by doing fencing shows on the way, during which time she dressed as a man). In Marseilles, she became an opera singer. No, really. She soon became bored with her young lover, and took up with a young lady instead. The girl’s parents objected and sent her to a convent. This didn’t deter Julie, though! Being a woman herself, she entered the convent. There, she placed the body of a dead nun (honestly) in the bed of her lover, and set the room on fire so they could run away. The affair lasted three months, and then her lover went home. Julie stood accused of bodysnatching, kidnap and arson. The sentence was to be burned to death…so Julie ran away back to Paris, earning a living as a singer again. On the way, she was still dressing in men’s clothing, and was insulted by a young nobleman. She promptly fought him in a duel. She won, driving her blade through his shoulder. The next day she enquired of his health. He turned out to be the sun of the duke of Luynes. He sent a friend to apologise to her, she went to his room, and they became lovers. He then went off to the military, she carried on to Paris. On the way she had another affair, this time with a singer, and they both joined the Paris Opera. In Paris, she contacted the count D’Armagnac - she was his mistress back as a teenager, and he persuaded the king to pardon her. So she sung and she acted. She was popular, but she didn’t stop being badass. In fact, she once famously beat a male singer after he pestered the women in the troupe. She also fell in love with the mistress of the air to the French throne, and attempted suicide when rejected. In 1695 she got into trouble. She kissed a young lady at a society ball, and was challenged to a duel by three separate noblemen. She beat them all, but there was a law against duels in Paris at the time. She fled to Brussels, and had a brief affair with one of the Bavarian royals. In Brussels, she was in trouble with the law for beating up her landlord. The final years of her career were spent in an affair with the lady Marquise of Florensac, and when the Marquise died she was inconsolable, and retired to a convent in Provence where she died.She was 33 when she died. All this accomplished in 33 years, and she was such a good singer that she had an opera part composed solely for her.
Anhotep I, Ancient Egyptian Warrior Princess, Hyksos War, “cleansed Egypt of the Hyksos”.
Queen Boudicca, led the Iceni Rebellion against Rome, 1st century.
Relief of two Roman gladiatrices found at Halicarnassus, Roman Empire
Hua Mulan, Tang Dynasty China, disguised herself as a man to fight in her father’s stead. Inspired the Disney movie “Mulan”.
The Trung Sisters, 1st Century Vietnam, rebelled against the Chinese Empire.
Joan of Arc, the Hundred Years War. Led the French to victory against the English.
Tomoe Gozen, 12th-13th century Samurai. The woodblock print below depicts her beheading the Samurai Moroshige of Musashi at the Battle of Awazu.
Matilda of Tuscany, Middle Ages, Investiture Conflict, personal bodyguard of the Pope.
The Isabella de Carazzi and Diambra de Pettinella Duel, circa 1552.
Julie d'Aubigny, 17th century swordsmen and opera singer. Considered one of the greatest duelists in history.
Mary Read and Anne Bonney, 17th/18th century pirates.
Elizabeth “Lady Bare Knuckles” Stokes, popular bareknuckle boxer in Britain, early 18th century. Fought both men and women, was also noted for her skill with the broadsword and cudgel.
Hannah Snell, Royal Marine, Seven Years War, disguised herself as a man.
Deborah Sampson, American Revolution, disguised herself as a man. Removed a musket ball from her thigh with a knife.
The “Petticoat Duel” between Almeria Braddock and Mrs. Elphinstone, circa 1792.
Nadezhda Andreyevna Durova, most heavily decorated soldier in the Russian Cavalry during the Napoleonic Wars.
Pine Leaf, Crow Nation War Chief, 19th century
Harriet Tubman, American Civil War, spy, army scout, and co-commander of Union forces during the Combahee River Raid.
Loretta Valsaquez, American Civil War, Confederacy. Disguised herself as a man.
Frances Lousia Clayton, disguised herself as a man to fight with her husband, Union Army, American Civil War.
Cathay Williams, 38th Infantry (Buffalo Soldiers) during the late 19th century. Disguised herself as a man.
“Stagecoach” Mary Fields, Old West icon, once shot a man in the bum in a gunfight after he called her a nigger.
The Dahomey Amazon’s, West Africa 19th century. The most feared warriors of the Kingdom of Dahomey. Their favorite pastime was to decapitate their captured enemies.
Princess Pauline Metternich and Countess Kielmannsegg Duel of 1892
One of many “Soldateras” during the Mexican Revolution
Captain Flora Sandes, World War I, English woman who fought in the Serbian Army. Won the Serbia’s highest honor (the Order of the Karađorđe’s Star) after leading her company on a successful assault despite being wounded by a grenade and in a bout of hand to hand combat.
Edith Gerrud, the Jiu Jitsu Suffragist
Spanish Civil War.
Lydia Litvyak, Soviet Air Force, World War II: First female fighter ace, first kill scored by a woman, highest scoring female fighter pilot with 16 kills. Heroine of the Soviet Union.
Nancy Wake, World War II, commanded a 7,000 man resistance group in France. Was tortured by the Gestapo for 4 days and never talked. On the flip side she was known for interrogating enemy spies and getting them to talk, then executing them.
The 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Group, a Soviet all female bomber group during World War II. Nicknamed “The Night Witches” by the Germans because of their stealthy bombing tactics.
Partisan Fighter, World War II
Lyudmilla Pavlichenko, Soviet Sniper during World War II, deadliest female sniper with 309 kills. Heroine of the Soviet Union.
Mariya Oktyabrskaya, Soviet tank driver during World War II, Heroine of the Soviet Union.
Capt. Kim Campbell, US Air Force, A10 Warthog pilot during the Iraq War, the pictures speak for themselves.
Rukhsana Kausar, defended her family from a band of terrorists with an axe and a captured assault rifle.
You can run out of colorful adjectives trying to describe Julie d'Aubigny. She was, according to history, exquisite in appearance, a graceful and superb fencer, a sublime singer, a swashbuckling duellist, and lover of men and women, famous and cloistered — and that’s just the beginning.
Australian young adult author Kelly Gardiner has written her first novel for grownups about a character who seems to leave no adult passion untested. It’s called Goddess, and Gardiner tells NPR’s Scott Simon that some people find it hard to believe that d'Aubigny was a real person, because her life was so remarkable, “but yes, she really did live.”
Imagine Len, Sara, and Mick go bar crawling once they get back to 2016. Sara is drinking practically the whole bar under the table while Len hustles them at cards/pool and Mick’s just enjoying the scene. Then when Len and Sara take a break Mick casually points out that Chronos’s ship was never salvaged from 1986 Russia and is probably still there. With a little help from Jax they could get it up and running again.
The three share a look. Len starts to smirk and Sara laughs as she knocks back a shot. Mick suggest they celebrate with a good old fashioned bar fight since everyone else in the establishment is ready to kill Len and/or Sara.
Sara having a fling with Mademoiselle Maupin aka Julie d'Aubigny.
Len actually getting to steal some artwork
Mick constantly making every other trip to see some great forest fire or volcano eruption or something.
Playing cards and drinking the best booze the history/future of mankind has to offer.
Jax seriously not wanting to know how they keep banging up Chronos’s ship so badly and just resigning himself to being their 2016 repair guy. At least until the trio invite him along and Stein gets nostalgic (SOMEHOW) for their adventures on the Waverider.
Castle Rising is a ruined medieval fortification in Norfolk, England. It was built sometime after 1138 by William d'Aubigny II. The castle was inherited by William’s descendants before passing into the hands of the de Montalt family who later sold the castle to Queen Isabella, who lived there after her fall from power in 1330.
The castle is most known for serving as the home of Queen Isabella, who was the former mistress of the power hungry Roger Mortimer. In 1327 Isabella was instrumental in the murder of her own husband, Edward II. Because of this, legend has it that she was held as a prisoner at the castle but that is a misconception. She was free to move about between various residences and lived in splendor. It is believed that she suffered from a terrible dementia in her old age and spent most of her final troubled years in the upper stories of Castle Rising. She died at her castle in Hertford in 1358, and was buried in the monastery of the Greyfriars by Newgate in London.
Isabella’s demented spirit is said to still roam about the upper stories of the castle’s keep where she spent most of her final tormented days. Many visitors have reported the sound of hysterical laughter echoing in the top floors of the building. People in the nearby villages have reported the sound of maniacal screams and laughter coming from the castle in the early morning hours.
After Isabella’s death the castle was granted to Edward, the Black Prince. During the 15th century, the castle became increasingly valued for its hunting facilities rather than its military defenses. It eventually fell into disrepair and by the middle of the 16th century it was derelict.
Have you reviewed Goddess by Kelly Gardiner? I was it at B&N and wanted and opinion.
No, we haven’t. But I’ve gotta say, just looking at the description, it sounds pretty badass:
Versailles, 1686: Julie d'Aubigny, a striking young girl taught to fence and fight in the court of the Sun King, is taken as mistress by the King’s Master of Horse. Tempestuous, swashbuckling and volatile, within two years she has run away with her fencing master, fallen in love with a nun and is hiding from the authorities, sentenced to be burnt at the stake. Within another year, she has become Mademoiselle de Maupin, a beloved star at the famed Paris Opéra. Her lovers include some of Europe’s most powerful men and France’s most beautiful women. Yet Julie is destined to die alone in a convent at the age of 33.
Based on an extraordinary true story, this is an original, dazzling and witty novel - a compelling portrait of an unforgettable woman.
Which rejected princess do you think deserves much love from all media?
All media? Uh, hm. I think the easiest two to package up and for everyone to understand are actually Mariya Oktyabrskaya and Noor Inayat Khan. They’re both relatively modern figures, so no period explanations are necessary. Mariya’s pitch is easy: lady buys tank for revenge! Noor’s is more complex, but the historical record shows her as someone essentially without rough edges. Whereas a woman like Mariya or Wu Zetian or Julie d’Aubigny could be criticized for being too violent, brash, or the ugly catch-all of “un-ladylike,” you can’t really level the same criticisms at Noor. The best I’ve seen in terms of attacks on her story are claims it was largely made up the SOE. Despite being from a background not often seen in the mainstream (half-Indian princess, Sufi mystic, pacifist), she’s still pretty universally relatable.
Obviously I think all of them deserve love, but in terms of moving the needle in popular culture when it comes to perception of women, those two are a decent place to start.
Taking an evening to enjoy being Natalie while taking off the armor of Lady Knight Dormer, watching myself as D’Aubigny and preparing for another week as Rizzo. Being an actress has never not been confusing.
Hullo! I really love your blog, it's really informative! My current favourite is Noor Inayat Khan but dang it's hard to choose. :/ I was wondering two things: 1) if you know any badass ladies in Britain or Europe around 1780 (working on a project and hoping to get some historically accurate females into the picture). 2) if you're thinking of covering Ruth Luka Keanolani Kauanahoahoa Keʻelikōlani! My family loves her story - she literally stopped a volcano! :D thank you! Tabi
Don’t have time to dig up folk for you, but I know Hester Stanhope and Julie d’Aubigny were running around within that general timespan. If you’re curious, though, you can search the RP site by date to find specific people.
You can even play with the time sliders on the map to do it interactively. It’s pretty neat. Easier to imagine who would be on different Leagues of Extraordinary Gentlewomen!